Monday, March 28, 2016

FabFitFun Spring 2016 Review + Vendor Discount Codes + $10 FFF Discount!

Even when your P.O. box locker is stuffed, a box that looks like this stands out! FabFitFun outdid themselves with their Spring 2016 box. FabFitFun is a quarterly lifestyle subscription that features a range of products, from beauty to jewelry to home decor, health and fitness, snacks, bath and body and other cool things that they run across. All of the products are full sized. The cost is $49.99 per season or $179.99 if you sign up for an annual subscription.

The Spring box is not only three and a half pounds, it is also quite hefty, one of my criteria for a great sub box!  Fittingly, the themes for this box are "Spring With Happiness" and "Let Happiness Bloom".  Please note that several of the vendors have provided generous discount codes (shown below) to be used on their sites. Most of these expire May 31, 2016.

The beautiful Spring color scheme continued under the lid!

The booklet inside goes way beyond introducing the products.  For one thing, the box artist (Minna So) is introduced.  There is information about "I Am That Girl" a non-profit support system for girls "8 to 108" as well as a celebrity beauty advisor (Joey Maalouf) who was instrumental in helping select the beauty item in this box and some detailed instructions pertaining to a couple of items in the box. There's a lot more but those are a few highlights.

FabFitFun is now three years old and they included an interesting two page spread showing key accomplishments and how the box has evolved.

 Here's everything inside the box, probably the last time it will all be seen together!

This was the first quarter where subscribers had the chance to customize their box by indicating skin tone (Light/Medium or Medium/Dark) although we were not told what product we'd get.  This stunning contour kit from ISH (I'm Smoking Hot)was the result! This is the Light/Medium version; it contains a highlighter, a blush, a bronzer and a contour powder, all packaged in a sleek black compact with a large mirror inside the lid.  Getting new luxe brands like ISH is a real benefit of a good sub box. 

Unfortunately, my poor photography didn't begin to do justice to this gorgeous quad. Somehow, my camera turned the rosy pink blush in the upper right to white! You'll have to trust me on this one; the shades are subtle and lovely and will complement any complexion. (Retail $32) 

This DIY Kitchen Herb Garden was made for FabFitFun by MakersKit and is just the kind of fun item they always include.  The kit includes a rectangular wooden box, three plastic containers and compost. The packaging mentions mint, thyme and basil seeds.  

I don't see any seeds so I assume they are already mixed in with the compost.  This couldn't be easier; just add water and wait.  Love this! (Retail $35) By the way, the code FABFITFUN will get 20% off your entire purchase at the MakersKit website. I took a quick look around; there are lots of fun things there and the prices are reasonable even before the discount.

HelloLegs is another new brand to me. This 3 oz. tube contains a shaving emulation lotion which combines a rich body lotion with a very gentle shaving cream, said to give the softest, shiniest and smoothest legs ever!  (Retail $19.95)

The fitness item this time is a hot pink Mat Strap Plus from Merrithew.  This multipurpose cord can be used as a resistance band for strength training, it can help with holding yoga poses and can also be looped around a yoga mat for carrying.  The code FFFMAT16 is good for 25% off the entire mat line at Merrithew's site. (Retail $14.99)

The other choice subscribers were asked to make in advance of this box was the word for a tag necklace from Jook & Nona.  The options were "Love, Happy, Inspire or Dream".  I chose "Inspire" and received this lovely 18k gold-plated bar necklace. Simple, chic, elegant! Use code JNSPRING for 10% off at Jook and Nona. (Retail $65.00)


Here's a pair of Keratin Gloves & Socks from Bodipure.  This is an all-in-one hand and foot spa treatment for nail strengthening and skin nourishing. The gloves and socks contain keratin for strengthening, Vitamin E for anti-aging, Copaiba oil for Anti-fungal, Urea for hydration and Lipex PreAct for UV protection.  Put them on your hands and feet at the same time, massage in the cream, then wait a minimum of 20 minutes (longer is better), remove and dispose.  (Retail $9.98) Use code FABFITFUN at the Keratin Gloves website for 20% off plus free shipping!

This bottle contains Argan & Hemp Oil Therapy by Marrakesh. This is a blend of nutrient-rich argan oil and ultra fortifying hemp seed oil which are said to significantly improve hair's condition, leaving it silky smooth, glossy and frizz-free. Smells really good; can't wait to try this! (Retail $22.99)

I have saved the BEST for last!  This is Bath Bomb Trinity from Jus D'Amour.  This presentation box contains three big bath bombs. Each bomb contains an intoxicating essential oil blend. One is jasmine, rose and sandalwood. Another is lavender, chamomile and ylang ylang and the third is eucalyptus, peppermint and lime. These are beautifully packaged and suitable for gift giving....but these babies are mine! (Retail $28)

To finish up, there are a few cards in the box.  The pink one gives a unique discount code for $25 off any purchase at 31 Bits, which features handmade products from Ugandan artisans. The small black card provides a unique $30 code for use at Sterling Forever, a site that contains some really beautiful jewelry.  The third card gives information about sponsoring a girl through I Am That Girl, which looks to be quite a worthwhile effort at "shifting girl culture" as they put it.

Wow!  With a total retail value of $282.91, this was an impressive box.  Everything in it is something I'll use but the herb garden, bar necklace and bath bomb set were the big hits for me. FabFitfun did their usual outstanding job of curation and I expect the reaction from subscribers will be overwhelmingly positive.

If you're inspired to try FabFitFun, click here for a $10 discount. Since this box has been consistently good over the past couple of years, I have no hesitation in recommending the annual plan (which will save another $19.97). I believe the Spring boxes are still available if you sign up now.

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.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Amor Naturals Bath & Body Box Review, Spring 2016 + FREE Shipping!

For sheer bath and body decadence, you can't beat Amor Naturals.  Their quarterly boxes contain four or five (usually five, in my experience) deluxe sample sized organic and natural handmade luxury products. This is an elegant box with a price ($19.99 + $4.99 shipping) that is on the high side compared to other similar subscriptions. The boxes arrive at the start of each season and are generally themed. The Spring 2016 box is already sold out but if you sign up now, you can get the summer box which starts shipping in June.

Spring's box is pale blue with gold lettering.  The theme is "Coconut Rose".  

There are five products inside, all quite small.  

The information card introduces the theme on one side and provides use instructions plus full size prices on the other side. Some of the products are available in full sizes in their on-line store; however, I don't see a single full size product from the Spring box at the time of this post.  (Looks like only six of the twelve products listed are available at all; hard to understand! Amor Naturals' products are either made in extremely limited quantities, snapped up immediately or a combination of both.)

This little pot contains a sample of Coconut Rose Exfoliating Mask which is for use on the face once or twice a week.  You can see the coconut flakes in this and it smells exactly as you'd expect, like a light coconut plus rose fragrance.  The amount of product here is probably good for three or four applications.

This one ounce bottle contains Rose Brightening Essence.  Applied to a clean face, this helps even out skin tone and provides hydration.  It has a fairly strong rose scent.

Here is a very small packet of Rose Coconut bath salts.  I love that there are visible botanicals but honestly, this isn't enough to do much good in my bathtub. For the price, they really should have included more.  This might adequately scent a foot bath!

This Coco Mint Lip Scrub is quite textured and minty tasting.  When I first applied it, the product disintegrated into a mess on my lips.  It was too soft to hold its shape long enough to apply properly.  I'll stick it in the refrigerator and try again tomorrow because this really isn't usable in stick form right now.

The final product is a small pot of Coconut Rose Moisture Balm which is super concentrated and melts on contact with your hands and body.  Again, there isn't much here but this one will probably last longer than any of the other samples.  It has a very subtle coconut rose scent.

I hate to say so but I was somewhat disappointed with this box.  There is no denying the quality; the products are exquisite.  The problem is quantity for price paid and lack of availability of these items in full sizes.  I think the purpose of this box is to introduce Amor Naturals' products via samples but if the full sizes aren't available, then what's the point?  

Having said that, it's always nice to try out luxury bath and body items. This is probably as close as many of us will get to an at-home spa experience.  If you would like to try Amor Naturals, use the code FREESHIP15 to get free shipping (worth $4.99) on your first box. You'll definitely get more product in other boxes but there's an undeniable charm factor with Amor Naturals.

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.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Walmart Beauty Box Review, Spring 2016, Still Available!

You would think the cheapest beauty box out there would be the least impressive. While you won't get any exciting brands in Walmart's quarterly Beauty Box, what you do receive easily exceeds the paltry $5 price. These boxes contain several tiny samples (the kind that are passed out for free in department stores) but there is enough real product inside to make this one worthwhile.

The theme of the Spring Box seems to be "define your beauty into full bloom!" Since I'm sure these boxes depend largely on vendor contributions, the contents reflect what they want to push...which often means their newest products.  For Spring, Walmart sent a bright sunflower print box full of samples: 

A surprising number of products in varying sizes were inside this cheerful box:

First out are a day moisturizer and a night cream from Aveeno.  My skin LOVES moisture in any form so I'm really glad to get these.  With judicious application, there are probably a couple of weeks worth of product in each of these.

The big card from Neutrogena contains 12 foundation samples on one side (really helpful for determining your correct shade) and a $1 off coupon on the other side. There is a foil pack sample of Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream Moisturizer plus a $3 coupon. The third card has two shade samples of Neutrogena's Acne Correct & Cover Pink Grapefruit Moisturizer on one side and a $1 coupon on the other side. (Do you think they're trying to get us in the store?)

One of the two best products in the box is this 2 oz. tube of Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer which contains Monoi oil...quite popular right now.  I think the idea is to apply this in the shower to lock in as much moisture as possible.

I've just gone through some dentist-supervised teeth whitening so am interested in products that maintain my investment.  This tube of Colgate's Optic White Platinum Express White is said to whiten teeth in three days but right now, it will be more of a maintenance product for me. In case you haven't noticed, whitening toothpaste is considerably more expensive than regular toothpaste.

Here's a tiny little bottle of Cetaphil Cleanser, a very good product that I use all the time. This won't last long but some is better than none.

The only cosmetic is a Moisture Smooth Color Stick from Neutrogena in the shade "Almond Nude".  This is a moisturizing lip color that contains mango butter.  I think this one is almost the full size, which retails for $6.97. I like the pretty, neutral color.

More tiny samples - a Chest, Neck & Face cream from ROC, foil pack samples of Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Moisturizer (plus $3 coupon), Burt's Bees Renewal Intensive Firming Serum and a little pump spray bottle of Vera Wang's "Embrace", a nicely old-fashioned rose and vanilla scent.

Last is a tube of SPF 30 tanning cream from Banana Boat. This says that sand brushes off easily; I want to test that out.

So, what do you think?  Yes, I know we're being marketed to heavily here but there is enough useful product in this box to justify the very small cost. Since these are all run of the mill drugstore brands, I'm guessing they will be more broadly used than some of the higher end brands that come in other beauty boxes.  Another thing I like about Walmart's Beauty Box is that you don't have to order one every quarter (as you do with Target); just sign up once and you'll get the new ones automatically as they come out.

If you're interested in ordering a Walmart Beauty Box, the Spring boxes are still available. You'll get your box within 5 to 10 days of receiving your shipping confirmation e-mail. (Summer boxes will start shipping in June.)

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.

Friday, March 18, 2016

French Box Review, February 2015, Kitchen Theme

Phrases that might describe French Box lately are also pretty good metaphors for the country that inspires it: lovely products, inconsistent service and sometimes non-existent communication.  You might remember that French Box had some serious problems in early 2015 which resulted in a switch from monthly to bi-monthly boxes. As evidenced by French Box's absence from social media for over four months now and the almost complete lack of response to customer concerns on their Facebook page plus the fact that the January box did not arrive until the end of February, one gets the impression all is not well with French Box.

For the above reasons, I was hesitant to do this review but I did enjoy the box once it finally arrived and thought it could use some love!  French Box is normally $36 which is charged on the 15th day of every other month.  I was expecting the charge on the 15th of January but was actually charged on February 13th, which was frustrating since there was no communication about late shipping from French Box. The box finally arrived in its usual beautiful box-in-box packaging.

Very elegant first impression with the contents tied with logo grosgrain ribbon:

There was a cookbook on top and underneath, everything was wrapped neatly in black tissue with a French Box seal.

There wasn't an information card but this is clearly a kitchen-themed box. The cookbook/calendar has a fold-out section in the back that allows it stand on its own.  It's spiral-bound so you can flip to the recipe you want. For each month, there is a French recipe, then you can turn the calendar around to see the step by step instructions and ingredient lists.

It's been a while but I believe we were allowed to choose the two tea towels we'd like to receive.  These are very high quality tea towels; almost too nice to use.  

I borrowed a couple of full length photos from French Box's site since these are BIG thick 100% cotton towels that measure 19" x 28". I'd say they are suitable for framing!


Next is a Cookie Squares bar from Michel et Augustin; this one is Milk Chocolate Caramel with a pinch of sea salt.  I received these in another subscription box and knew they were something special!  It's a rectangular biscuit cookie with a shallow well filled with something similar to chocolate ganache in the middle.  Delicious!

To cover all the bases, they also included two small Cookie Squares made with dark chocolate. One of these vanished immediately. The other one won't be far behind.

This quartet of adorable mini preserve bottles from Bonne Maman was a terrific addition to the box.  There is one each in Raspberry, Apricot, Strawberry and Wild Blueberry. Magnifique!

Since there wasn't an info card in the box, I had to do a little sleuthing to figure out what is in this little package.  This is French Baker's Yeast which makes a baguette fresh and crispy. Unfortunately, the instructions on the back are all in French and my rusty college French didn't cover cooking terms.  Come on French Box, a little help here? I would really like to try this!

Somewhat inexplicable was this discount card for l'Atelier Maquillage, a French cosmetic line that is apparently now available in the U.S.  The code prettyeyes is good for a 20% discount, which is nice.  Nicer still would have been one of their products in this box!

At this point, I don't know whether to recommend French Box or not.  This box did meet the excellent quality standards to which they committed after the early 2015 debacle. But it was quite late and the lack of communication regarding shipment was inexcusable.  As noted above, there are a lot of red flags here, the biggest of which is the poor response to legitimate customer concerns on their Facebook page.

French Box is clearly capable of putting out an exquisite box.  But my advice for now unfortunately is....proceed with caution. Since this subscription is only available on a month to month basis, the most you'll risk is $36.  Although the January box was very late, it should be noted that they did not charge my card until the box actually shipped.  

I sincerely hope this box survives as there is not another like it!


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.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

People X The Voice Limited Edition Gift Box Review + 10% People Shop Discount!

So....want the good news first or the bad news?  The good news is that People's Limited Edition Gift Box which was issued to kick off Season 10 of The Voice was an amazing deal! The bad news is that it's no longer available. (Hopefully, you saw the post on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago and snagged one of these for yourself!)  A few of the items in the box ARE still available; more on that below.  But this box deserves a quick reveal for those who haven't yet seen it.

The cost of The Voice box originally was $49.99 plus $4.99 shipping.  It would have been a pretty good buy at that price.  Then, they dropped the price to $19.99 and there were discounts available for even more off that amount.  I ordered on a free shipping day and got this terrific box for a total of $19.46.  

At close to two pounds, this was a much bigger box than I expected for the price. Since the contents were fully disclosed upon ordering, they weren't a surprise but still, it was nice to see seven full size quality items.

An accordion style information card devoted one page to each item.

This big thermal travel mug was made exclusively for People and says "But First, Coffee" on one side. I use these a lot and always keep a few in rotation so am pleased to add this one to my collection.  

From Laqa & Co. is a Cheeky Lip Pencil in "Humble Brag", a pretty berry pink shade (not the Barbie pink that my camera made of it!) This crayon gives a creamy matte finish for cheeks or lips and is packaged in a sleek gold case.

The star of this box (for me, anyway) are these beautiful sunnies from Quay Australia. This pair has a bit of cat eye that is so of the moment. They are well made and the lenses are tinted a dark lavender.  They also came with a case.  Love love LOVE the retro cool vibe! (Sunglasses like these retail for $50 on their site.)

Thanks to sub boxes, I am the owner of several Konjac sponges.  They are really effective at facial cleansing and gentle exfoliation.  This particular one is enriched with charcoal (good for clarifying) and hangs from a suction cup so it can be easily accessed in the shower.

In case you're not aware, ear jackets are in right now.  This cute pair comes from Bauble Bar, one of my favorite on-line resources for fashion jewelry.  The tiny pave crystal studded triangles can be worn alone or you can add the larger solid gold triangle drops for a more dramatic effect. They also included a 25% discount code off your next Bauble Bar purchase.

This is a pretty substantial personal notebook; "The Battle Is On" refers to the Battle Rounds on The Voice.  Inside are many lined pages and several extra features, like a gusseted pocket in the back.  I like that the pages are structured but not dated.

The last item is a full size bottle of Julep nail color in Myriam-Classic With a Twist, an absolutely classic red creme polish. This is fast drying, long lasting and 5-free.

Although this limited edition box is no longer available, they do have three of the items (the sunglasses, Laqa pencil and Julep polish) bundled together in a special deal for $16.99.  The code PS10 will get you a further 10% discount, making the total just $15.29.  Even with the shipping charge of $5.95, this is an absolute steal!  The same code can also be used towards any of the other products in their on-line shop.
OK, People Shop, you have my attention!  This is one of the best boxes (in terms of both quality and value) that I've received in a long time.  I am now on high alert watching for future limited edition boxes from People.  If you're interested, I suggest getting on People Shop's mailing list ASAP!

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.