Citrus Lane Review #2 – October 2014

I got my second box from Citrus Lane around mid-October (technically third box, but I’m counting it as second because the last 2 were both September Boxes).  Remember last time I thought the boxes were mediocre at best, especially the first box they sent me, and it was only somewhat redeemed by their customer service.  This time I was pleasantly surprised by everything in the box, and was generally much happier.  Still not completely sold on the box, and not sure whether or not I am going to keep the box past when my promo boxes end…we shall see.

Anyways, if you are new to my blog or Citrus Lane, you can read my original post here.  Citrus Lane is a box for kids 0-5 years old.  You enter your child’s age and gender, and every month they send you age appropriate toys, clothing, etc for your child.  Citrus Lane usually costs $29.00/month, with lower prices (as low as $19.00/month with longer subscription plans).  I have found, however, that if I am willing to wait, I can find much better deals on them with coupon codes.  Again all of the citrus lane links are referral links…but why not?

So on to the review!  This box is for an 18 month old girl.

First look at the box:

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Citrus Lane always includes s small paper detailing the items in the box (the yellow and white striped card).  First impressions – I see several full-sized toys and no fillers, so I was pretty happy right off the bat.  V was waiting on the sidelines trying to grab things out of the box and start playing!

#1.  Ooh La Leggies Cupcake Heart Ruffles Leg Warmers – $10.00

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So I originally thought these were kind of weird.  I opened them up expecting tights, but they are definitely not.  They are long tubes that have elastic at the top to cling above the knee, and ruffled decoration around the ankle.  Worn under dresses or skirts they look like fancy leggings.  However, V thinks these things are the most fun things ever.  She already loves socks and shoes (trying on shoes is one of her favorite past times and “socks” was her first word) so these were right up her alley.  In fact, after receiving these, she did not want to take them off for 2 days.  I still frequently come home from work and find her running around in just a diaper and these leg warmers.  So although they are a little weird they are definitely a hit in our house.  And they are pretty cute…

#2.  Hohner’s Kids Maracitos – $9.25 (Amazon Price)

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We could hear these bad boys before we even opened the box.  We knew there was something noisy inside.  This was actually the only picture I have that did not have V’s hand in it, trying to take these away.  Out of the entire box, this has been the biggest hit.  They actually are not terribly annoying, as they have a fairly mellow sound, and V loves to give one to either Mark or myself and have us shake them together.  Overall win!  And the size is just perfect for her little hands.

#3.  Janod Story City Pink Car – $5.95

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#4.  Janod Story City Taxi – $5.95

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These toys are pretty cute, and V does like to play with cars.  I feel like moms might like them more than kids, because they are very simple and not that easy to push around.  V  has played with these a little bit but so far they do not hold her interest like the other toys do.  Maybe I will put them up for a month and see if they are more interesting next month.

Verdict:  I liked this box MUCH more than the last month.  It’s really like Citrus Lane could read my mind…or I guess maybe my blog?  Haha, you never know!  I was much happier with 4 similarly priced quality toys, rather than 1 really big item with a few fillers.  Keep it up, Citrus Lane!  Again, I’m still not convinced I’m going to renew this subscription, because it seems like a lot of money to risk when I so far have been neutral on the boxes.

Value:  $31.85 total.  Normal box cost: up to $29.99/month.  Not a super value, although with this box I did feel like I got my moneys worth (of course I only paid $15.00).  Not sure I would have been as happy with it if I had paid full price.

Any of you guys subscribe to Citrus Lane?  How did you like your boxes?  Let me know!

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Graze Box Review…and Running Update!

I almost didn’t write tonight. It’s been a busy/somewhat stressful day, and I’m exhausted.  But I then I remembered how much I actually enjoy this, so here I am.  I have been getting back to my training schedule after being out for 3 weeks, and finally feel like my legs are remembering that they were used to these miles.  However, I had my longest “long run” this week since starting training (12 miles), and it kind of kicked my butt!  It might have been the heat – it was a dry 82 degrees, which is pretty good for Fl – or just that it was my longest run, but I was expecting to recover better.  I did push myself through it though, and am feeling nearly recovered, about 3.5 hours later…Hopefully this means I’m prepared for my half marathon next weekend – stay tuned for that update!

Ok, but on to the real reason we’re here – more fun boxes!  Now, before anyone gets worried about me, I set myself a strict box budget, and have a fun time seeing how many boxes I can fit into this budget!  Also I look for deals so I can get a few months of one box at a time for that month’s budget and then can spend my next months budget on something else!  So far, so good, although this only works if you stay on top of cancelling the ones you don’t want to be charged for again.  Not that anyone has asked or expressed concern, but my friends and family know how I tend to jump on board to these trendy (aka crazy) ideas, and sometimes they don’t work out…

Graze Box

Graze is a snack subscription box that you can choose to have sent to you up to once weekly.  They also offer every 2 weeks and monthly subscriptions.  Boxes cost $6.49 each, and they are currently offering a deal where you can get your first and fifth box free, with no commitment to subscription (you have to cancel after you receive your first box if you don’t want them to start charging you).  They say on your site that you have to use a referral code to get this deal, but I am pretty sure I got the same deal without one.  Either way, if you would like to use my codes, here is the link including the code, and here is the input style of the code: X9GJ2HJ3P (either one works fine).  If you are trying it as a sample and have no intention of renewing your subscription, I would first set your subscription to every other week or longer, to give yourself time to cancel.  Graze is also in the process of offering a “big box” with multiple portion bags in the near future.

The boxes are delivered by USPS and are small enough to fit in your mailbox.  The site says they commonly ship to both home and work.  I usually receive mine on Monday or Tuesday, which I like because I feel like I then have new snacks for the week.

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First look on opening the box:

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Each box comes with 4 healthy snacks – dried fruit, nuts, nut/seed bars, trail mix – individually wrapped for convenience.  The box also comes with an insert containing nutritional information and also helpful healthy eating tips.  All of their snacks have symbols on the wrapper, which are supposed to quickly indicate which ones are the low calorie ones, the ones with extra vitamins, and other potential health benefits (I will admit, I have not figured out all of the symbols yet).  Most snacks are between 90-250 calories.  At this time, Graze is unable to do allergy requests.

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Close up of the food.  Especially for your first couple of boxes, there is no way to pick which snacks you get, however, as you eat your snacks, you can go online and let them know if you “loved it” would love to “try it” or want to “trash it”.  In theory you should receive more of the ones you love, and never receive anything you hate again – their selection is so big that, in about 4 boxes so far, I have yet to even get close to trying everything!  I have only had one snack total that I disliked enough that I didn’t want to eat it, most of them I have loved.

Review: When trying this box, I had absolutely no intention of renewing my subscription.  I didn’t think I would be excited about snack boxes in general.  However, after receiving the first box, I liked how easy it was to just grab a snack to put in my purse and eat it at work – rather than scrounging the break room for whatever is fair game – and I like that I have healthy alternatives on hand all the time.  I also like that it is only $6.49.  Unlike more expensive boxes (not necessarily food boxes), I feel like I expect very little to feel like I received “my money’s worth”, and I feel like Graze exceeded my expectations in both excitement of opening the box and in quality of product.  I also feel like I spend $6.00 a week or every other week on random stuff anyways, so why not spend it on something fun and healthy?  I have been getting a box every week so far and for the most part liking them a lot!

My Stitch Fix Review #1 – October 2014

At long last, after nearly 1 month of waiting, my Stitch Fix finally arrived!!  If you haven’t heard of Stitch Fix, here’s the deal: Stitch fix is like hiring a personal shopper to pick out clothes for you.  You go online and fill out a comprehensive style profile.  This profile includes questions like sizes, style of clothing you like to wear, and types of clothing you are in need of (dresses, work clothes, casual, etc).  You can also leave as long of a note as you would like for your stylist to make sure they know what you would like, or link a Pinterest page to your stitch fix account so you can show them your favorite clothes.  After you fill out your style profile, you schedule your fix.  You can request a one-time fix, or schedule recurring shipments.  Each time you get a shipment, you pay a $20.00 styling fee, which you can put towards any clothing you decide to keep.  By the way, once you sign up for stitch fix, you get a referral code, which you can give to anyone who decides to sign up because of your experience.  For each person that signs up, they give you a nice $25.00 in credit, which I think is very generous.  All of the stitch fix links on this page have my referral code embedded, just FYI, but might as well give someone your credit if you are going to sign up anyways, right?

Anyways, on to the clothes!

So I got the notification that my box shipped on Wednesday, and was scheduled to arrive on Saturday, so I was very surprised and pleased when it showed up Friday afternoon!  I had peeked at what they were sending me earlier, so i already had some idea what was on the way, and I was excited!  I had heard that peeking early may help temper your expectations so you are not disappointed when the box arrives.  I think this was probably true for me. So here’s the box:

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It was quite a bit smaller than expected, but that was actually a plus rather than a minus.

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All of the items were neatly packaged in a pretty box, and the box includes a personalized note from your stylist.  For me, this included the reasons she picked out the clothes that she did and what I could pair together or add from my own closet.  There is also a style card included for every piece of clothing showing two different ways to wear them including accessories and shoes.

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Here’s a first look at all of the clothes, I’m liking all the prints and colors!  I had told my stylist that I wanted mostly clothes for work, that I liked floral prints, polka dots and shirts with unexpected details, and that I really like maxi dresses.  Here are the items one by one.  Prices are shown so you can get an idea of what everything costs.  Stitch Fix says they try to keep their price point around $55.00 per item, but you can customize how much you are willing to spend on your style profile.

First Item: Market and Spruce Abi Colorblock Maxi Dress – $88.00

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Ah, this maxi dress… This was the piece of clothing I was most excited about when I sneak peeked on my shipment.  I have seen lots of blogs with people looking cute in this dress.  But alas, it was not for me.  The top was too big, which made the band in the middle hit me in a weird spot.  Because of this, and because the fabric was thin and clingy, I felt like it emphasized any extra bulge on my belly, which I consider my “problem area”.  Also, as you can see in the picture, it was several inches too long.  This might have been ok if I wore heels, but I pretty much don’t.  However, I was ok with not loving this dress because 1. I really need work clothes and this was the only piece I couldn’t wear to work, and 2. $88.00 for a maxi dress?!?!  I would have to really, really love it (and even then maybe not).

2.  41Hawthorne Coco Swiss Dot Lattice Detail Blouse – $68.00

3. Liverpool Anita Ponte Pant – $78.00

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First off, these are seriously the best pants ever.  Like, for real… I want to wear these pants every day and not take them off.  I am amazed that Stitch Fix could find me pants that fit so well on my first fix – especially because in my style profile it asked what my waist size was in inches and I didn’t know!  So no surprise I had to keep them. $78.00 is still a little pricey for me for pants, but these felt really well made, and they can be worn for work or casual so I will get a lot of use out of them.

The shirt – It looks really cute in the picture, and it was actually really cute on.  However, it came with a built-in (but detachable) undershirt in the same color.  The undershirt was way shorter than the rest of the shirt, short enough that I would want to keep adjusting it throughout the day, but if I pulled it down even slightly, my bra would stick out over the top and was visible through the cut-outs in the shirt.  I could have just worn it with a different undershirt, but I don’t think a black or white undershirt (the only colors I have) would look as good, and really, if I’m going to spend $68.00 on a shirt, it needs to be perfect.

4. Pink Martini Alexzandria Floral Print Sheer Sleeve Knit Top – $68.00

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This top was fine.  I really liked the pattern and the shirt looked like something I would pick out on my own at a store.  The fit was a little wide, but other wise it was fine.  I would probably wear it to work.  I liked that it had an exposed zipper in the back.  I didn’t end up keeping it because 1. $68.00 is a lot to spend on a shirt that is just “fine” and 2. although my stylist said I could pair it with these black pants, I felt like it made the outfit too dark, and I pretty much only have dark colored pants.

5. Sweet Rain Lucio Graphic Print Blouse – $48.00

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So I was not excited at all about this shirt when I saw it was coming.  I thought it would be too loose and drapey, and shirts like that tend to hide my figure rather than flatter it.  But when I put on this shirt, it was love at first sight.  I had to keep it!  As a bonus, stitch fix included a black undershirt to wear under it, which was not on my invoice or mentioned anywhere in the paperwork.  I thought that was extremely thoughtful.  I have worn this exact outfit twice already this weekend and feel like I look really cute and put together in it.

The rest of the clothes I put into the pre-paid usps shipping envelope provided and dropped it off at the post office – easy as that!  They give you 3 days from delivery until the package is due to be in the mail, so you have plenty of time to decide.  You also check out online and let them know which items you are sending back and why you did not want to keep them.

My overall thoughts – this was an extremely fun experience.  No, I didn’t love every piece of clothing sent to me, but I didn’t actually want to, because I was not planning on spending that much on clothes (Stitch Fix does give you a 25% discount if you decide to keep your whole box, but that would still be pretty pricey).  I am planning on getting another box, I think I will stay on every other month shipments for now and see if I still like it.  I think this service is great for branching out on your wardrobe, and for finding quality pieces in brands you haven’t tried before.  For me, I think it also lets me know what basic pieces my wardrobe is lacking (A LOT).  However, I would not use stitch fix to buy all my clothes, only because of cost.  Some of the items (like the maxi) I also feel like I could find similar items for much less.  I did leave a note for my stylist for next time (I requested the same stylist again) that I would be very unlikely to purchase shirts priced above $60.00.

Again, if my experience has made you want to try Stitch Fix for yourself, I would appreciate it if you use my referral link, the only risk is $20.00 if you don’t like anything!  And no, I did not receive any compensation (other than referral credit) to try Stitch fix, I paid for my styling fee myself.  So what do you guys think?  Have any of you tried stitch fix yet?  How were your fixes?

Stay tuned for pictures from my mom and sister’s fixes – they are due to get their first ones later this week and i will share their experiences with you guys too so long as they don’t mind!

Fabletics…A Gateway Into my New Interest?

I told you guys about Stitch Fix in my introduction blog.  If you don’t remember you can read about it here.  Anyways, I signed up for it, but it has about a month long waiting period before receiving your first box.  So I have had nothing to do but think about it since ordering it…torture!  So, in the meantime I have found it very interesting to read other people’s stitch fix blogs.  These blogs usually show exactly what came in each box, most show how much each item cost, and why they did or did not decide to keep each item.  It is very entertaining if you are into that sort of thing.  While reading some of these blogs, I came across a different kind of blogger…the subscription box blogger.  OMG these things look like so much fun.  So much so that I am sure they are potentially dangerous to my bank account, but don’t worry, I’m keeping it under control (so far).  Subscription boxes are monthly (usually) boxes that are sent to your house from various companies.  In most cases the contents are a surprise and vary by the type of box received (beauty boxes, lifestyle boxes, food boxes, etc).  There are probably several hundred if not more types of subscription boxes out there, and they all look like fun.  I have also found that many of these boxes have starting coupons for your first box at a significantly reduced price or sometimes even free, so I have arranged to try a *few* of these boxes and see if they are worth the hype.

Fabletics was the first shipment to come in.  This is a workout clothes company co-founded by Kate Hudson that, based on your style and exercise profile that you fill out, picks out several outfits for you to choose from every month.  The cost is $49.95/outfit/month, but you can buy more than one outfit if you want, I had a coupon to get my first outfit 50% off, which they offer anyone (it pops up automatically when you visit their website).  I wear A LOT of workout clothes, and I figured I would have a hard time getting a full workout outfit for $25.00 even at Target (my usual workout clothes store), so I figured it was a safe investment.  I filled out my style profile, which asks what your primary type of exercise is, and what body parts you like to show off, then hand-selects some outfits the site thinks you will like.  I was a little disappointed with this part.  I am a runner, so obviously I selected running, and I selected running outside rather than in a gym.  I also selected that I preferred to show off my legs (it’s Florida, people, no time for long pants while running!).  3 of the 4 outfits that were “hand-selected” for me included long yoga pants or capris!  The other one had shorts but they were very tight and short, and it came with a cotton t-shirt, not great for marathon running (at least for me).  Luckily, I could browse all of their available outfits, and after some work was able to select an outfit that I would wear, even if it still wasn’t the best running gear.  I really feel like this site is more geared to people going to yoga classes who want to still look stylish, but I feel like they should branch out if they are going to have running as one of their style choices.

I ordered online on Sunday evening, and got an e-mail that it had shipped Monday afternoon, which I thought was very fast processing.  My package finally arrived on Saturday afternoon, which I thought was a long time to ship, but whatever.  It arrived in a soft envelope, pictured here:

photo 1 (15)I will admit I was a little disappointed in the packaging.  One of the fun things that I have enjoyed seeing is how pretty a lot of the packaging and presentations are for these boxes.  I know that this isn’t exactly the same as a subscription box, but I was still expecting something cute.

And here’s the outfit I got:

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I thought all of the clothes were very well made with high quality materials.  They also all fit well!  I decided the capris were even light enough that I could probably use them to run in when the weather cools off a bit, and I have already tested out the sports bra and top on a run and they did great.  The best part about the top (besides for the amazing print!) is that nearly the whole back is open, which makes it a little stylish/sexy and keeps you cool!

Here’s me wearing them (excuse the bathroom selfies)

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Cute and good fit! And check out that back!

Overall Experience:  Good.  I enjoyed the clothes, they are high quality, and at approximately $25.00 they were less expensive that pretty much any of my other workout clothes.  As far as a subscription box goes, it didn’t have that same surprise factor, since I picked out the clothes, which made it a little less exciting I think.  I also don’t think I would want to spend $50.00/month on clothes (however cute) that I may not be able to run in.

With Fabletics, you have the option to look at your offered outfits at the beginning of the month and choose not to buy anything.  If you do not “opt out” then you are automatically charged $50.00 and can pick out your outfit.  I decided to cancel my account because it just wasn’t as much fun as I had hoped, however nice the clothes were.  Cancelling was the one low point of the whole experience.  You have to actually call their customer service vs cancelling online.  Their customer service, while polite, had to put me through the whole “well, what if I gave you this, then would you stay?” or “we can send you reminder e-mails monthly so you don’t forget to skip”, which was mildly annoying because I had to just keep telling them that I just wanted to cancel.  However, the entire process really only took like 5-10 minutes.

Along with learning about Fabletics, I also learned the difference a good and bad picture can make as far as overall appearance, and to maybe not let Mark take my pictures anymore (but more on that later).  Until next time – See you all later!