Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Prospurly September 2015 Review + 10% Discount Code for Life!

According to Merriam-Webster, Cambridge, the Oxford English Dictionary and the Free Dictionary, the word "prospurly" does not exist.  According to the folks at Prospurly, the definition is "a monthly treat for body and mind".  If you make up a word, I guess you are free to define it!  In this case, the monthly treats are small batch artisan goods curated around various fun themes.  Each month, they send about $80 worth of goods that may include edibles, bath and body products, gift items and other "luxurious essentials for rest and relaxation".     

At $49.95 a month, this is one of the more expensive boxes out there.  But discount codes are widely available that will get that price down to $44.95 a month for the duration of your subscription. (See end of post.) Boxes arrive around the 25th of each month. Prospurly ships via USPS Priority Mail.

It took about three weeks from the order date for my first Prospurly box to arrive. The big orange box weighed a satisfyingly hefty three pounds.

The theme of this box is "Breakfast in Bed" and there were seven items inside.

The information card introduces the theme on one side and tells about each product on the flip side.  They also provide retail values, which for this box add up to $82.40.  So far, so good.

At one pound, three ounces, the heaviest item in the box is a jar containing Apple with Cinnamon Whiskey Spread from Smashed! This apple butter jam seems like a great seasonal product and the card assures us it is non-alcoholic and "family friendly".  Retail $14.95

Next is a cute little tin box from The Tea Spot containing premium loose leaf organic Assam tea. This black tea is considered a morning tea and connoisseurs will appreciate that it comes from the Banaspaty Estate in India.  Retail $5.95

There are three greeting cards made from recycled brown kraft paper.  They have hand drawn abstract nature-inspired designs on the front and are blank inside. These come with matching envelopes.  Retail $7.50

There is a bookmark from an Etsy vendor called "Authorized Adornments". This custom designed limited edition bookmark is made of vintage silver and says (what else?) "Live well and prospur!" Retail $15

This cute little tin with its clear lid reveals what looks like an herbal seasoning mix. But it's actually intended for facial steaming.  This product is made by Safiya Botanicals and contains aromatic botanicals including calendula, chamomile, rose buds, rosemary and witch hazel. Add a bit to a bowl of boiling hot water, let it steep, then breathe in deeply. This is said to be quite relaxing, good for your skin and deeply satisfying.  Retail $10

Another little tin contains an all natural lip balm in "Pink Rose" from Humm House. The product is pink and has an odd almost chocolaty smell to it.  I generally prefer lip balms in tubes since they are less messy but this is cute and made from rich ingredients, so I'll give it a shot.  Retail $5.00

Last, but certainly not least, is a big 8 oz. container of Body Resurfacer by The Savvy Heart in "Espresso".  This exfoliates and invigorates your skin and stimulates cell regeneration.  This product has an intoxicating smell, just like a fresh cup of espresso! (I am sitting here inhaling...)  I am really looking forward to using this but I'm pretty sure that scrubs like this age/expire pretty quickly.  There is a LOT here that probably needs to be used up quickly. Challenge accepted!  Retail $24

This box contained an interesting assortment of products.  For me, the big winner is the Body Resurfacer, strictly based on the heavenly smell! The facial steam botanicals are also of interest to me.  I did think that some of the retail values were inflated, particularly the cards and the bookmark.  All of the products did a good job of meeting Prospurly's mission of providing treats for the body and mind.

The theme for Prospurly's October box is "The Harvest" and, as of the date of this post, they have only 45 spots left.  So, if you're interested, click here and use one of the codes SPRING, BREAKFAST, FOUNDER or SUMMER to get 10% off your subscription for life!

Thanks for reading,


Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was purchased by Lone Star Shopper. Post may contain referral or affiliate links.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fun Amazon Find - 20 Pc. Breakfast Oatmeal Cereal Gift Box Bundle

Every once in a while I stumble across an interesting buy on-line.  As a full time e-commerce retailer, I am always on the lookout for unique marketing angles. This particular Amazon find is both a fun purchase and a great example of re-packaging for profit.  I won't bore you with details about the latter but the realities of selling on Amazon have created an explosion of bundling innovation. From the consumer perspective, this is a fun and useful assortment and the kind of product you're probably only going to find on Amazon.  So, what came in this box?

It's a fun assortment of individual oatmeal packets and snack mixes. There are many similar offerings on Amazon; the one I chose is linked above. For $27.50, you get 14 individual packets of oatmeal and 6 single serve packets of fruit and nut mixes. (Since I had some Rewards Points accumulated, this purchase actually cost me nothing. It really pays to get an Amazon credit card and charge all your biggest expenses to it. You'll be surprised at how fast those points accumulate!) 

Since I'm constantly assembling care packages for various nieces and nephews (plus I like to eat!), this pretty-much-healthy assortment was very appealing. Here's a quick rundown of what the box contained.  There were four packages of oatmeal from Nature's Path, one each in the flavors Maple Nut, Multigrain Raisin, Apple Cinnamon and Blueberry Cinnamon Flax.

There were two packages of organic dried fruit from Made in Nature.  The one on the left is Super Berry Infusion with cranberries, raisins, cherries, pepitas, blueberries and goji berries. The other one is Tropical Infusion with banana, pineapple, mango, coconut, ginger and cacao nibs.

There are three packages of gluten free oatmeal from Glutenfreeda (the name says it all, doesn't it!)  The flavors are Banana Maple with Flax, Apple Cinnamon with Flax and Maple Raisin with Flax.

There are two snack mix packages from a company called Eden.  One is a Wild Berry Mix containing blueberries, cranberries, raisins, almonds and various seeds.  The other is Dried Cranberries.  Although similar in calories, one of these has 8g of fat and the other has .5g. Bet you can guess which is which!

The most interesting oatmeal flavor (to me, anyway) is this package of Pumpkin Pecan with Vietnamese Cinnamon oatmeal from McCann's Artisan Collection.  This sounds wonderful and may be the one I end up stalking for a larger quantity.

I know that all of these products were most likely broken down from larger packages but the two that REALLY look like big box refugees are these from Country Choice. They are both multigrain oatmeal, one is Maple Spice and one is Cranberry Apple.

Here are two more snack packs from Eden.  One contains dry roasted pumpkin seeds and the other has a mix of pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almonds, raisins and cherries.  The latter is called "Quiet Moon".  These look good but both contain an enormous amount of fat (14g and 11g, respectively).

This colorful group comes from Bakery on Main, a name I haven't run across before. They have bakery-inspired flavors like Strawberry Shortcake, Blueberry Scone, Maple Multigrain Muffin and Carrot Cake.

What prompted this purchase was Amazon's unheard of deal on their Prime membership last week.  Normally, Prime is $99 but for one day only, it was $67.  As you probably know, Prime membership has many benefits but the most valuable one is undoubtedly the free shipping on Prime products.  I had tried Prime in the past but found that it wasn't really economical for book purchases, which is mostly what I bought. I quickly found that merchant fulfilled books are generally less expensive than the lowest cost Prime option.

But I know a deal when I see one and $67 was just too good to pass up.  So I'm now trying to expand my horizons beyond books and am looking for other items that will help justify the Prime cost.  The postage on this order alone probably amounted to at least $7 or $8; I'll relax when I've fully justified the membership fee....just $60 or so to go. (Anybody who thinks "Free Shipping" means you aren't paying for postage is in serious denial!)

Have you run across any fun or interesting Amazon deals?  If so, please let us know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading,


Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was purchased by Lone Star Shopper. Post may contain referral or affiliate links.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Scentbird Perfume Subscription Review, September 2015 + Second Month FREE!

There is a certain amount of frustration involved in writing a Scentbird review.  On the one hand, they offer unmatched access to designer fragrances...the real thing, not knock-offs. On the other hand, we're talking about scents definition,
subjective and difficult to describe. And yet this service deserves attention.  Where else can you try generous samples of the latest name brand fragrances without taking out a second mortgage on your house?  With popular fragrances costing upwards of $50 an ounce (and that's on the conservative side), I bet I'm not the only one who would otherwise never try them.  

For $14.95 a month, Scentbird will send a 30-day supply of any fragrance from their impressive collection.  As new scents catch your eye (or nose), you can arrange them in a Netflix-like queue where the first fragrance in line will be the next one you receive.  

Since there is virtually no difference in the appearance of the product from month to month, I thought I'd go ahead and discuss the scents I've received over the past few months. Here's what four months of Scentbird look like.  Each month's fragrance arrives in a box inside a black bubble mailer.

Your first shipment includes a sleek black matte logo case.  Every shipment thereafter contains a glass vial labeled with the name of your selection.  These can easily be switched in and out of the case.  Scentbird also makes extra cases available in red, pink and black for $12.95 apiece.

These are the four vials I've received to date.  The one on the left, Dior's Miss Dior Le Parfum was the first scent I received and was covered in my initial review.

Each month, Scentbird includes a card that tells about the featured scent of the month.  For September, that fragrance is Clean Cashmere which is described as "effortless, elegant and unbelievably comfortable and sexy" with notes of cedar, bergamot, lavender, musk and guaiac wood. I thought that sounded interesting, so put this one in the March, 2016 spot in my queue.

I've been wanting to try the DKNY Be Delicious scents for a long time but didn't want to commit to full size bottles.  So, the second scent I ordered was DKNY's Be Delicious Fresh Blossom.  This one is perfect for me, fruity and fresh with notes of grapefruit, apricot, rose and jasmine.  I've placed the original Be Delicious scent in the February 2016 slot in my queue.

The third scent I ordered is Marc Jacob's Daisy Eau So Fresh Sorbet, another very fruity, floral and feminine scent.  This one seems very spring-appropriate so I may hold on to it until next year.

Last month, I received Thierry Mugler's Angel Eau de Toilette.  I knew nothing about this one but liked the sleek, elegant bottle.  This is my least favorite of the four I've tried so far.  It seems kind of old fashioned and heavy to me with an intense oriental scent.  Really glad I didn't buy the full size of this one; that demonstrates exactly the value of this subscription.

What I love about Scentbird is the opportunity to affordably try just about any designer fragrance and especially to arrange and order them in my own queue. I also like the idea of having a broad scent wardrobe available so I can match an appropriate fragrance to the occasion.  

The only complaint I have is that some of the paper labels do not stick to the vials very well. If one comes off, my nose is definitely not sophisticated enough to identify the scent....especially as my collection grows.  Also, the name of the scent cannot be seen when the vial is inserted in the black case.  Seems like there should be easy solutions to these small issues!

For October, I have the Coach Poppy scent in my queue.  I have no experience with Coach fragrances so am hoping I like it as much as everything else Coach. Fortunately, I don't have to make a major investment to answer that question!

If you're interested in trying Scentbird, click here to get a free month (one perfume). This offer is valid for new subscribers only and you will not be charged for your second month. This promotion is available at the time of this post but may change in the future.

Thanks for reading,


Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was purchased by Lone Star Shopper. Post may contain referral or affiliate links.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

PopSugar Must Have Lifestyle Box Review, September 2015 + $5 Discount Code!

I'm pretty proud of my skill at avoiding PopSugar Must Have spoilers....after all, they are everywhere in the months leading up to the latest box. The September box actually sat around for about a week before I opened it so the reviews were all over the place.  My self-imposed denial meant that everything was STILL a surprise when the lid finally went up!  (Yes, there probably is something wrong with me.)   

According to the the information card, the words that inspired this month's choices include "travel, refresh, fashion fix, beauty recovery, to-go snacks and XOXO".   Hopefully, you'll see how each of those words apply by the end of this review. PopSugar boxes are $39.95 per month or less if you sign up for a longer term subscription.  I don't always recommend the longer terms but in this case, you're safe in committing to whatever level you can afford.

Although there are some great products in this box, the visual appeal is not what it usually is; there is a lot of black and white.

There is the usual tri-fold information card, two $10 discount cards to give to friends and a discount card for one of this month's vendors (more about that later).

The standout in this box is the new Brow Envy kit from Too Faced.  This shaping and defining kit has every tool one could possibly need for eyebrow maintenance. There is a palette containing both blonde and brunette brow shades (they really aren't that far apart in color), a highlighter and a setting wax. There is also a tiny brush, spoolie and the cutest little pair of gold tweezers I've ever seen!  A helpful how-to guide is tucked into the mirror slot in the lid and it has three brow stencils inside.  The case itself is a substantial metal with a magnetic closure and gold trim.  Retail $39

Along with the brow kit is a discount card with a custom code for 20% off any purchase at Too Faced's website. Sorry, I'm not sharing that one since I plan to use it!

I have zillions of cosmetic cases (thanks Ipsy!) but I don't believe a single one of them is see through.  This TSA-friendly cosmetic bag is clear with black trim making it perfect for airport inspections.  This comes from Hudson + Bleecker.

This travel trio also includes two generously sized drawstring bags with black and white graphic prints.  One has a shoe tag and the other is tagged for intimates but of course, they would be great for packing all sorts of things that you want to keep separate from your clothes.  Retail for trio $42

Nail polishes in sub boxes are common but it's nice to sometimes get other nail care products.  This is a bottle of So Rich Vitamin-E Enriched Cuticle Oil from NCLA.  Apply just a drop to each cuticle for softening and conditioning.  Surprisingly, this actually has a light fruity scent.  Retail $18

This pair of adorable "XO Earrings" from Kris Nations are packaged in the cutest way....inside a corked glass bottle!  These are handmade and the card says they are cut from recycled brass and plated with 14K gold.  These little studs will go with pretty much any outfit.  Retail $35

PopSugar also included a 20% discount code for any purchase at the Kris Nations website.  If you're interested, the code is KNJPOP20.

It wouldn't be a PopSugar box without a nice healthy snack.  This time, we have a package of Almond to Cherries from Nourish Snacks.  This contains roasted almonds and dried tart cherries.  I've actually had these before when I subscribed to Nourish Snacks; they're pretty good!  Retail $2

From Briogeo, we have Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray. This softens and conditions dry hair and is loaded with anti-oxidants.  It is also nutrient-packed, containing argan, rose hip and coconut oils which act as heat barriers. Retail $20

Although this is not my favorite PopSugar box, at $156 total, the retail value is definitely there.  High maintenance brow girls will love this box but for me, the more useful items are the travel bags and the earrings.  Leave-in conditioning products are always welcome for my desperately dry hair!

To get your own PopSugar box, click here and use code MUSTHAVE5 for $5 off.  This code works for new subscribers only.  I have seen $10 codes in the past but right now, this is the only one that seems to be working.

PopSugar really sets the standard for all other subscription boxes in terms of consistency and great curation. Their boxes are always fun to open. Some months are better than others but there is always something to like in a PopSugar box!


Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was purchased by Lone Star Shopper. Post may contain referral or affiliate links.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The 3B Box (Asian Beauty Products) Review, September 2015

The 3B Box is all about making Asian beauty products more accessible to U.S. customers. Their name is derived from "Beauty Beyond Borders". Beauty mavens know that innovative new cosmetic products frequently originate in countries like Japan, Korea and Taiwan but unless you have reason to travel there, those great products can be nearly impossible to find here.  The Asian reputation for high quality cosmetics is well deserved and several relatively new sub boxes make it possible for us to try them out.  

At just $12 per month, The 3B Box is probably the most affordable Asian beauty box around.  The boxes can include skincare, hair care, cosmetic or nail products. Typically, boxes contain 4 or 5 deluxe samples...sort of the Asian equivalent of Birchbox or Ipsy.

My first 3B Box arrived via USPS about two weeks after placing the order.  The goods were packaged in a custom folded piece of white cardboard.

The box was very loosely taped so the products were showing through on all four corners.  Miraculously, nothing fell out.  The box definitely needed more tape!

Inside are four beauty products, three of which look like full sizes.  They were packaged in a purple drawstring organza bag.

A very basic information card gives a few tips or bits of information about each item.

Here is the out-of-the-bag group shot:

The largest item is a tube of Aqua Therapy Hand Cream from Leaders Mediu. Although English was clearly not the first language of the packager, there is sufficient English labeling to let us know this is for moisturizing and that it contains organic olive oil.  The metal tube reminds me of French-packaged cosmetics that I've received in other boxes.

Do you know what a "lash essence" is?  Neither did I; that's why we need access to Asian beauty products!  This is called Luxe Eye Lash Essence and it comes from RiRe.  It's packaged like a mascara but it is actually colorless.  The formula is packed with nutrients that help to strengthen and lengthen lashes.  Why didn't we have a product like this in the U.S.?

This moisturizing skin cream from Yu-Be is the only familiar item to me in the box. The card says it is one of the best selling skin creams in Japan and I know I've received samples in several previous beauty boxes. Because of that, I don't think this product is too hard to find in the U.S.

Last out is Honey Bee's AC Control Spot Remover from Secret Key. This can be used on blemishes or problem areas to eliminate bacteria and heal irritated skin. Honey bee venom and propolis are ingredients known for their anti-bacterial properties.  (Who knew?)  I'm not sure but this looks like a full size tube.

So there you have The 3B Box.  Except for the poor external packaging, I am quite pleased with what I received.  With the tremendous R&D commitment by cosmetic companies in this country plus our domestic distribution capacity and massive retail engine, I think it's amazing that so many good beauty products are still mostly unavailable here.  That's the REAL beauty in an Asian beauty sub box!

If you'd like to try The 3B Beauty Box, click here and check it out!  (You may be placed on a wait list but if so, I don't think the wait is too long.)

Thanks for reading,


Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own. Product discussed in this post was purchased by Lone Star Shopper. Post does not contain referral or affiliate links.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pet Gift Box Review, September 2015 + 50% Discount on First Box!

You might want to stop reading right now if you don't like seeing photos of other people's pets. It just wouldn't be a proper (or fun) Pet Gift Box review without the assistance of my best friend Tucker! He takes this responsibility seriously and as a senior citizen, he has the experience and perspective needed to evaluate these products in a thoroughly professional manner.

Although Tucker thinks his snack capacity is unlimited, he is a little guy so I've had to cut back on the pet subscription boxes.  For the time being, we are receiving only Pet Gift Box which has consistently sent the best themed dog boxes with the most value. Little touches count and the fact that Tucker's name is hand written on a gift tag on the outside of the box never escapes my notice. Out of all the boxes pouring in our front door, somehow Tucker always knows this one is his!

"Hawaiian Lu-arf" is the theme for September's box which contains five fun tropical products.

My eyes went immediately to this colorful floral bandana since we've never received an item of doggie apparel before!  I love that it didn't annoy Tucker in any way; he was completely comfortable wearing it.  (The same cannot be said for his Halloween costume, which is an itchy bumblebee outfit!)

As you may have surmised, Tucker does NOT like to sit on hard surfaces.  He spends most of his non-running time parked on cushions or pillows of one type or another.

This big treat bag contains Cocotherapy Coconut Chips which are dehydrated organic coconut treats.  This is high in fiber and good for digestive health, a problem Tucker sometimes struggles with.

These were vacuum packed and had an odd appearance for a dog treat.  I was very skeptical that Tucker would accept these....boy, was I wrong.  I offered him a few and he gobbled them right up. A lot of this is quite powdered so I will sprinkle it over his regular food as well as use the bigger pieces for treats. I've been looking for something that he likes that would have the added benefit of calming his stomach and this just may be it.

Somehow, Pet Gift Box always finds a theme-appropriate toy; this month it's a tiki god rope toy from Aloha Dog Toys.  Although Tucker lives to chase things, this may be a bit too big for his mouth.  But I really like the rope handle and how that makes it interactive for the dog and their person.  We will give it a shot.

Tucker's other passion in life is chewing so this Ultra Chewy Passion Fruit Tropical Bone will probably be his favorite item in the box.  We will save this for an extra special treat.  (His nose and ears pointed in my direction as soon as I pulled this one out of the box.)

The fifth item is something we've never tried before. It's a small tub containing a dog smoothie in Pina Colada flavor from Cool Treats. Just freeze it, pull off the lid and give your pup a fun snack. Ice cream is probably Tucker's all time favorite dessert (he has a serious sweet tooth, just like his Mommy) and since I don't eat much of it, it's a rare treat for him.  I know he's going to love this!  By the way, it contains no sugar and is a low calorie/low fat treat.  Maybe I should try some too!

We couldn't be happier with this box.  It had a great pulled together theme and Tucker loved the snacks.  I like that they are all healthy and good for him and I particularly liked the floral bandana.  I also appreciated that his chasing and chewing needs were met in such fun ways.

Pet Gift Box costs $28.99 per month but you can get significant discounts with longer term subscriptions.  For dogs or cats, it's $23.99 per month for a three month term or $20.99 for six months.  The best deal is 12 months, which works out to just $18.99 per month, an absolute bargain for a box of this quality.

If you have a special pup in your life (and they are ALL special), do him or her a favor and check out Pet Gift Box.  Click here for 50% off your first box.  Your best friend deserves it!

Thanks for reading,

Cheryl and Tucker

"Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one is a life diminished."
--Dean Koontz

Disclosure:  Views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own.  Product discussed in this post was purchased by Lone Star Shopper. Post may contain referral or affiliate links.