Love Yourself First-Now: Teen Esteem Subscription Unboxing & Review-January 2016

CrunchyParent Love Yourself First-Now Jan 2016 unboxing & review

Love Yourself First-Now is a monthly subscription service targeted for young women ages 14 and up. LYF-Now was developed by a school psychologist/mother of two, and is aimed at promoting self-esteem and developing a sense of self through appreciating one’s self rather than looking to others for validation. Each month’s box features a theme and includes 4-6 functional products like jewelry, makeup, accessories, and inspiration to LOVE YOURSELF FIRST-now. Boxes cost $29/month, shipping included. Discounts with multi-month subscriptions. Use code CRUNCHY for 10% off of your subscription purchase.

Love Yourself First-Now graciously sent me this box to review. I received no additional compensation, and all opinions are my own. To see my previous LYF-Now reviews, look here.

Eva, my almost teen helped me with the unboxing. She is always excited when the LYF-Now boxes arrive. Please enjoy the video unboxing, or if you prefer to skip directly to the product close-up photos and details, scroll down past the video.

The box came with cute colorful trim and an LYFN sticker. Everything was received safely and mostly intact. One item had a small chip in it, as noted below.

LYFN included an enclosure card describing the box contents as well as providing valuing information and some usage suggestions. We set the card aside during the unboxing so that we could enjoy opening it all on our own, but did reference it to learn that this month’s theme is “New Year, New You.” Because LYF-Now tends to include non-branded items, all values listed below are those provided by them on the card.

Love Yourself First-Now teen esteem subscription for girls

The first item that Eva grabbed was a small box with a beautiful turquoise damask print and a bright orange bow. It came as no surprise that she was eager to open this adorable gift box. Inside she found a cute turquoise and gold, vegan leather, wrap bracelet/watch (value: $20.00). The bracelet featured three different snap settings to accommodate wrists of different sizes. Eva loved the trendy look of the accessory and was anxious to wear it.

LYF-Now January 2016 watch bracelet

Eva was also intrigued by a little silver-toned, crown-themed photo holder (value: $5.00) that LYF-Now had paired with a cute card that encouraged girls to list and display three of their resolutions or goals for the new year. Our photo stand had a small chip in its clear plastic base (as mentioned in the video). This did not affect the stability or function of the stand.

LYF-Now January 2016 unboxing & review

The final two items focused on room decor. LYF-Now sent cute wall decal with the saying, “A dream is a wish your heart makes” (value: $8.00). Eva really liked this decal and asked immediately if she could put it up in her room. We’re holding off for the moment. We’re still in the process of deciding on wall colors for her new room, and I am not sure how well the decal holds its “stickiness” if we were to put it up now and then take it down to paint. Hopefully I’ll get to that painting before too long and we can add the decal to her cute “teen” room.

For the final bit of bedroom flair, LYF-Now included a blank pillow case that featured a plastic sleeve to hold a favorite photo or saying. Along with the pillow case, they sent a rainbow of permanent markers to use to decorate the pillow case with goals or dreams for the new year (value: $10.00) . I thought that this idea was a very cute one and would make a great craft for a New Year’s party for kids. I wish though that LYF-Now had included some additional crafting and washing instructions for the case. I’m worried that the markers may bleed or fade if washed incorrectly, and I’m not sure the best approach to wash given the plastic sleeve on the case. I also would have appreciated suggestions for where to purchase a pillow to fit the case. I imagine that a craft store might have accent pillow-sized inserts that may fit, but I can’t say for certain since I have not looked yet.

LYF-Now January 2016 unboxing

I thought that this box did a nice job of curating appealing teen-friendly items around the New Year’s theme, and encouraged girls to think about, and set goals for the year ahead. Eva was especially drawn to the cute watch and the wall decal in the box. As an adult, I sometimes find the quality of the items included less than top-notch, but I think that is fairly standard for kid-focused items. To some extent, the value is in the experience more than in the end-product, and cute, trendy fashion or decor items aren’t intended to be heirloom-quality pieces. The total value of the box according to LYF-Now is $43.00. I think that some of the individual item prices seemed a bit generous to me, but overall I think that the value of the box is still strong for the price, and Eva thought that the box was fun and cute.

To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you are interested in finding “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes to enhance the way you live, eat, craft, play, care for you home and body, etc. you can find them on my ULTIMATE list. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to CrunchyParent!

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Love Yourself First-Now Teen Self-Esteem Subscription Unboxing & Review: December 2015

Crunchy Parent December 2015 Unboxing & Review Love Yourself First-Now

Love Yourself First Now is a subscription service targeted for young women ages 14 and up. LYF-Now was developed by a school psychologist/mother of two, and is aimed at promoting self-esteem and developing a sense of self through appreciating one’s self rather than looking to others for validation. Each month’s box features a theme and includes 4-6 functional products like jewelry, makeup, accessories,  and inspiration to LOVE YOURSELF FIRST-now. Boxes cost $29.00/month, shipping included. Discounts with multi-month subscriptions.

Love Yourself First-Now graciously sent me this box to review. I received no additional compensation, and all opinions are my own. To see my previous LYF-Now reviews, look here.

We’ve been experiencing some technical difficulties around here as of late. WordPress is being very temperamental about uploading my photos. My hard drive is rapidly filling with video and has stopped uploading any more for now. I’m at a bit of a standstill. I wanted to get to unboxing and reviews in a timely fashion so that you could see all of the goodies. That’s a long way of saying that video is on hold at the moment and I’m going to cross my fingers that the photos will upload correctly. On with the show….Eva, my almost teen helped me with the unboxing as always. Her eyes light up when the LYF-Now box arrives.

The box came with cute colorful trim and an LYF-Now sticker. Everything was received safely and intact.

LYF-Now enclosures December 2015

LYF-Now included an enclosure card describing the box contents as well as providing valuing information and some usage suggestions. We set the card aside during the unboxing so that we could enjoy opening it all on our own, but did reference it to learn that this month’s theme is “Gift of Giving.” When we reviewed the card following the unboxing, we thought that the box’s theme was well captured by the enclosed Nelson Mandela quote, “There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy without expecting anything in return.”

The first item at the top of the box was a smaller card listing ten ideas for ways to give to others. Ideas ranged from giving validation, joy, and support to others, to giving spare change and volunteer hours. I liked that the card focused on what a tween/teen child can give and do that makes a real difference for others. At times, requests for giving are outside of the domain of a child’s ability to give; unless a child is working giving canned goods, money, etc. is really encouraging parents or other adults to give. The suggestions on the card really focused on giving that a child can begin to do independently and take full ownership for, as well as develop life skills, e.g., “Ask someone in need what you can do for them.”

LYF-Now December 2015 unboxing & review ornament & earrings

Up next in the box was a small silver snowflake ornament in its own little gift box (value, $5.00). LYF-Now explained that snowflakes give beauty, softness, and freshness to the season and represent a uniqueness just as every girl is unique and special. We do not celebrate Christmas, and I especially appreciated the seasonal/secular nature of the ornament, as well as LYF-Now’s suggestion that it could be hung on a tree, a window, or used as a bookmark.

After admiring the snowflake we found another wrapped item, perfect for gifting. Eva pulled out a small gold organza bag that held two pairs of festive earrings (value: $12.00). The earrings came in both silver and gold and looked like holiday ornaments int heir own right. The card explained that the earrings were great for adding a little holiday sparkle to one’s wardrobe and that there was a pair to keep and a pair to gift to someone else. Once again, I appreciated that LYF-Now not only sent something fun and festive to keep, but gave the girl a gift that she could give. Eva does not have pierced ears so she will have the opportunity to give two gifts with these earrings.

LYF-Now Teen Esteem subscription unboxing & review December 2015

I loved the next item that we discovered; a heart-shaped glass “Gift of Giving Jar” (value, $5.00). The jar is designed to hold spare change that is then donated to a favorite cause. We have little jars like this around the house, and I think that it is a great way of reinforcing the idea that small kindnesses add up over time to make a powerful difference.

Always ones to notice yummy treats, our next find was a Goodness Knows Very Cranberry snack bar (value, bonus gift) LYF-Now tied the bar into the theme by including this bonus gift to subscribers and highlighting that goodness is a trait that drives giving to others. The bar included some ingredients that Eva is sensitive to, but she enjoyed being able to pass the gift along to Rich to serve as a sweet reminder of her when he needed a little snack at work.

LYF-Now Dec 2015 unboxing

The final item was a hit with Eva. She loved the faux leather clutch wallet (value, $20.00). The wallet was sturdy and roomy. She liked that it included a chain to convert it to a wristlet, although she wished that the color had been something more vibrant and youthful. LYF-Now tucked a small note into one of the inside pockets reminding girls to use their spare change to help others in need.

Love Yourself First-Now December 2015 Unboxing & Review

This may have been my favorite LYF-Now box to date. It can be difficult to balance the focus on receiving and giving during the holiday season, especially for children. I appreciated that the box focused on ways that children can give to others by doing things large and small; both of which make a difference. I thought that the items in the box were age-appropriate and represented a nice mix of accessories, snacks, and decor. The neutral color palette gave a serene, seasonal air to the box that I really liked. Most importantly, Eva loved the items included, although she would have preferred a more colorful clutch.

To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you are interested in finding “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes to enhance the way you live, eat, craft, play, care for you home and body, etc. you can find them on my ULTIMATE list. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to CrunchyParent!

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Love Yourself First-Now Teen Self-Esteem Subscription Unboxing & Review: November 2015

Crunchy Parent Love Yourself First-Now Teen Self-Esteem Subscription Unboxing & Review November 2015

Love Yourself First Now is a relatively new subscription service targeted for young women ages 14 and up. LYFN was developed by a school psychologist/mother of two, and is aimed at promoting self-esteem and developing a sense of self through appreciating one’s self rather than looking to others for validation. Each month’s box features a theme and includes 4-6 functional products like jewelry, makeup, accessories, and inspiration to LOVE YOURSELF FIRST-now.

Boxes cost $29/month, shipping included. Discounts with multi-month subscriptions. Use code CRUNCHY for 10% off your Love Yourself First-Now subscription order.

Love Yourself First-Now graciously sent me this box to review. I received no additional compensation, and all opinions are my own.

Given that this is a subscription box aimed at girls in their younger teen years, I invited my own in-house, almost-teen to join me for the unboxing this month as well. Eva was very excited to see the LYFN box on the counter when she came home from school, and couldn’t wait to see what LYFN had in store for this month. You can watch us unbox and discover, or if you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

The box came with cute chevron trim and an LYFN sticker. Unfortunately I did experience some breakage with this box (more on this below).

Love Yourself First-Now November subscription unboxing & review

LYFN included an enclosure card describing the box contents as well as providing valuing information and some usage suggestions. We set the card aside during the unboxing so that we could enjoy opening it all on our own, but did reference it to learn that this month’s theme is “Thankfulness.”

The first items that Eva grabbed out out of the box were two bags of herbal tea; Tazo Passion tea and Stash Cinnamon, Apple, Chamomile tea (value $0.50). All of my children are big tea drinkers, especially in the colder weather. We do appreciate herbal and other naturally caffeine free teas, so these are right up our alley. These look like they will be perfect to provide warmth on a cool fall day.

Next Eva saw a small envelope with a tiny “thankful” clothespin and four “I’m thankful for you because __________” cards (value “priceless”). LYFN suggests using these cards to reflect on what you are thankful for in others and leave the cards as a way to brighten their day. I think that cultivating a practice of gratitude is an important and rewarding habit for everyone. Building this skill at a younger age will pay dividends across a lifetime. I also think that adolescents can be surrounded by temptation to point out what they wish was different about the people around them (especially parents and siblings). Being thankful for the people in their lives gives perspective and appreciation that can lead to stronger relationships and to greater overall happiness.

LYF-N teen tween subscription box review November 2015

Eva really liked the cute owl “Thankful” mug that she saw in the box next (value $10.00). As she said, it was a perfect match for the enclosed teas, and was really cute with the purple owls and the polka dots. I think that Eva will welcome having her own special mug. From a very practical standpoint, I always like having distinct and different glassware for all family members. It makes it easy to know whose glass is whose on a given day so that we don’t mix them up and drink out of the wrong one, especially during cold and flu season. This mug is super cute and age-appropriate. I also like how it ties into the thankful theme. You can never have too many reminders to be grateful.

LYF-N thankful mug closeup

Both the thankful clothespin and the mug were customized with the word “thankful” handwritten on them. To some, this handmade touch may seem like the perfect personalization; to others the handwritten embellishments may lack a certain level of polish. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. That said, when taking photos for the review, I did notice that the “Thankful” on one side of the mug was already starting to rub off. I’m not sure what type of product was used to embellish the mug, but I expect that with washing the words will probably wear off pretty quickly. Hopefully the sentiment will still be remembered anyway, and the owl mug is really cute even without the embellishments.

Love Yourself First-Now subscription unboxing & review Damaged picture frame

I am glad that I went to take the next item out of the box because unfortunately it had broken during shipment and there were many glass shards as a result. LYFN sent a cute custom picture frame (value $10.00). The 4×6 frame is a cheery turquoise color and is embellished with a bright pink flower and a dry erase marker attached to the frame with velcro. Inside the frame is the the prompt, “Today I am thankful for.” The girl is encouraged to write on the frame who or what she is thankful for on that day.

I thought that this was such a cute idea and I could see Eva having a lot of fun with it. Obviously with the broken glass we couldn’t give it a try, but I wondered if it might have been tricky to write on the frame with the limited blank space available. I think that I might have reprinted the prompt in a smaller font to leave more space for Eva’s thoughts. I contacted LYFN to make them aware of the shipping problem, so I hope that boxes not yet sent may have had extra cushioning added around the frames to avoid breakage. LYFN offered to send a replacement frame. I imagine that if anyone receives a broken frame they can contact LYFN and they will take care of the problem.

LYF-N Thankful necklace

The last item in the box was a pretty gold-toned necklace with three charms; a small round “be thankful” disc, a turquoise-colored bead, and a metallic tassel (value 15.00). I can see this versatile necklace being dressed up or down, and I think that Eva will really enjoy wearing it. Once again, I think that it will serve as a reminder to be thankful for all the things that are good, and right, and helpful when she begins to feel overwhelmed by all that seems wrong, and missing, and difficult in life. During adolescence, life can hand you some big situations, and yet the brain development still makes emotion regulation a challenge. A concrete reminder hanging around your neck to encourage you to focus on the good can be grounding, and helpful in keeping emotions from becoming overwhelming.

Love Yourself First Now thankful necklace closeup

I am still a big fan of the concept of the Love Yourself First-Now box. Eva really likes receiving the boxes. She responds well to the types of items that have been included, and the color and style choices made. She commented that she thought that this month’s box had a more mature overall feel than last month’s box. She attributed this in part to the color choices but also to items like tea and a necklace that was stylish.

Love Yourself First-now complete November unboxing & review Thankfulness theme

According to LYFN, the value of this month’s box is $35.50 plus they thankful notes, which are priceless. I find it difficult to assess the objective value of the items included in the LYFN boxes since they generally seem to be non-branded items without tags or packaging, as well as handmade or customized items that are exclusive to LYFN. I try instead to look at the overall box as a gift and consider whether I would end up paying $29 or more for something similar if I was to put it together myself with comparable items. I absolutely think that this month’s box value justifies the price, and all of the curation, acquisition, customization, and packaging has been done for me. I loved the chevrons, polkadots, and colors throughout the box. I thought that the overall appearance of the package was very appealing for the demographic; cute without being over-the-top.

I really liked the thankfulness theme and thought that it was carried through the box items very well. Gratitude is a skill that Rich and I try to practice regularly for ourselves, as well as cultivate in the children. I appreciate that LYFN is highlighting an attitude of appreciation through this box. I thought that the items included this month were on-target for the age demographic. I know that Eva will use all of the things in this month’s box. Her new room and her collection of wardrobe accessories is shaping up to be quite cute with the items that LYFN has been sending.

I think that LYFN is still a newer subscription that has been evolving since its inception with some growing pains along the way. I like that there appears to be a commitment to staying true to the intention of helping teen girls to nurture a sense of appreciation for themselves and for their lives. As a small indie company I think that a few of the items reflect a handmade “imperfect” quality that some will find endearing and others may not enjoy as much. My guess is that most of the girls receiving the boxes won’t mind the less refined touches.

I would love to hear what other parents think about the Love Yourself First-now boxes. Do you think that this would be a good box for your daughter? What do you think about the overall LYFN concept and execution?

To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you are interested in finding “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes to enhance the way you live, eat, craft, play, care for you home and body, etc. you can find them on my ULTIMATE list. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to CrunchyParent!

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Love Yourself First Now Teen Esteem Subscription Unboxing & Review-October 2015

Crunchy Parent Love Yourself First Now october subscription unboxing & review

Love Yourself First Now is a new subscription service targeted for young women ages 14 and up. LYFN is aimed at promoting self-esteem and developing a sense of self through self-appreciation rather than looking to others for validation. LYFN was developed by a mother of two and school psychologist. Each month’s box features a theme and includes 4-6 functional products like jewelry, makeup, accessories, and inspiration to LOVE YOURSELF FIRST-now. Boxes cost $29/month, shipping included. Discounts with multi-month subscriptions. Use code CRUNCHY for 10% off your LYF-Now purchase.

Love Yourself First-Now graciously sent me this box to review. I received no additional compensation, and all opinions are my own.

Given that this is a subscription box aimed at girls in their younger teen years, I invited my own in-house, almost-teen to join me for the unboxing. Eva was very excited to hear that there was a subscription box just for girls around her age. She loved LYFN’s mission to increase self-esteem by encouraging girls to pump themselves up. She was more than happy to join me in seeing what LYFN had in store for this month. You can watch us unbox and discover, or if you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

The box came with cute trim and an LYFN sticker. I think that Eva liked the presentation, and she was excited to dig in.

LYF-Now October unboxing & review teen tween self-esteem box

LYFN included an enclosure card describing the box contents as well as providing valuing information and some usage suggestions. We set the card aside during the unboxing so that we could enjoy opening it all on our own, but did reference it to learn that this month’s theme is “Fall into You.”

The first item that Eva picked up was a paper scroll tied with festive purple tulle. When Eva unrolled the scroll, we saw a brightly-colored activity page featuring an image of a mirror and questions to guide the girl through an exercise focusing on her accomplishments, skills, and features about which she feels proud. As a mom (and as a psychologist), I appreciated that the activity also encouraged the child to seek adult help if she got stumped filling in the responses.

Sometimes young teens can become so overwhelmed by what they see as their personal shortcomings that they have difficulty identifying their own strengths. I really liked that the activity had a built-in “phone a friend” option to give a girl help if she got stuck, rather than leave her feeling incomplete. I think that this exercise could be a great independent or supported activity that would leave the child feeling good about herself and her abilities. When Alina saw this activity, she too wanted to participate. I made her a copy and both girls spent some time working on their sheets independently. I was able to help remind them of various skills and triumphs when they forgot how amazing they truly are, which I imagine is the primary purpose of the exercise.

The next treat that Eva saw was a pair of gold-toned, dangly earrings in a delicate leaf design. They were displayed on a “leaf” card printed with the phrase, “You are as beautiful and unique as a fall leaf.” Eva loved the earrings and the message. I think that they are a great length for the age-group; something to noticeably accessorize an outfit and look cute, but not outrageous or too heavy.

The box enclosure card did not give any information about the content of the metal, and the earrings did not come with any original packaging, so I do not know if they would work for those with sensitive ears. Likewise, I could not really find them online for valuing purposes. LYFN listed their value at $12.00. I would say that the quality appeared relatively comparable to earrings from Claire’s Boutique or similar. Unfortunately, none of us have pierced ears so this item was a miss for us, but I am sure that we will easily find a girl who will love them.

LYFN october subscription box infinity scarf, nail polish, mirror

Eva was eager to get to the next item in the box; a cute, lightweight infinity scarf in a colorful mixed print. The colors reminded me more of spring than of autumn, but in the same vein I think that the colors are probably more appropriate and useful for this age group than dark, autumnal colors would have been.

Scarves are such a popular fashion accessory for girls and women of all ages. Eva has been asking for scarves for years to add personality to her outfits. She was excited to have this one to add to her collection. I expect that she will wear it often. Once again, there were no identifying tags or labels on the scarf that I could find to help assess value, but LYFN listed a value of $15.00, which seems in line with what appear to be comparable scarves at stores like Justice or Aeropostale.

Eva was also a big fan of her next find, which was a bottle of Nabi Gel Nail Polish (value $3.00). The polish was in a very appealing “baby teal” color that went well with the colors in the scarf. I liked the idea of a polish for this age group. I know that a lot of tweens and teens like painting their nails to let their personal style and creative expression extend to their fingertips. That said, if you think that this crunchy parent is dogmatic about green beauty for her own health and well-being, there is no room for compromise when it comes to my children. I ceased wearing nail polish completely when I read this research that was published when I was in my first trimester with Eva’s pregnancy. In short, it linked exposure to some of the chemicals in traditional nail polish during pregnancy to fertility problems in male offspring later in life. I didn’t wear nail polish for about ten years, at which point I warmed up to the greener, healthier options now available.

I could not find any information about Nabi’s ingredients online, and the print on the bottle was way too small for these old eyes to read. Since Nabi does not market themselves as a green brand, I assume that the ingredients in their gel polish are among those that I would not be comfortable having the girls use. The polish represented a small percentage of the box’s value, so I really didn’t mind it being a miss for us, although Eva would have liked to have been able to use it.

The next item was a hit; a blinged-out compact mirror packaged in a pink, organza drawstring bag. Eva appreciated the presentation of the mirror. I think that it felt special and sophisticated to her. The mirror was a cute tie-in to the activity sheet. I really responded well to the message that when a girl looks at herself in a mirror, she should practice asking herself what she likes about what she sees rather than what she wishes was different. The enclosure card did not mention the mirror. Michelle of LYFN reached out to me to share the mirror’s intended function relative to the box, and that it has a value of $3.00.

LYF now subscription unboxing & review October Tea light owl candle holder and candy tin

It did not take Eva long to notice a cute heart-shaped tin that was filled with tiny chocolates (listed value: $1.50). I thought that the colors of the candies were very appealing for this age group. As a family we’ve always tried to communicate a healthy relationship with food to the kids, which for us includes enjoying sweet treats in moderation. We were happy to see a little something sweet included in the box. These particular chocolates contain dairy, so they weren’t something that we could eat, but we know that they will sweeten someone else’s day.

The last item in the box was a hit. Eva liked unwrapping the individually boxed item to reveal an adorable owl tea light holder in an ivory metal. The enclosure card explained that owls have integrity and an air of mystery and difference about them. LYFN encouraged girls to let the candle shine bright when they soared like owls this month. I think that Eva will enjoy using the candle holder as a decorative item in her room, and I hope that it can serve as a symbolic reminder to her that she is unique and special. I think that I might remove the candle portion before adding it to her room. I’m not sure that she’s ready to take responsibility for a lit candle in her room just yet. LYFN listed a value for this item of $3.00.

love yourself first now subscription box to build self-esteem in teen and tween girls October 2015 review

I like the concept of Love Yourself First-Now a great deal. The idea of a lifestyle box for girls that caters to their interests while also enchancing their self-esteem during a vulnerable time in their growth and development is admirable. I am not the target demographic of the box, and I don’t have a lot of 14+ year-old girls in my life at this time, so I can only use Eva’s 12 year-old reaction as a guide to evaluate the appeal of the box for girls.

She loved the box from start to finish. She thought that the presentation was cute and colorful and made the box feel like a special gift just for her. Eva mentioned that she would have preferred that LYFN have included a more universally-accessible jewelry item such as an ear cuff, toe ring, necklace, or cartilage ring as opposed to pierced earrings, but she also knows that most girls her age have pierced ears even though she herself does not.

If Eva had the keys to the castle, she would have been thrilled to use every item in the box. In reality, some of the box contents were not consistent with the way that we are raising the kids to care for their bodies. It is really important that they love themselves in healthy ways, which for us includes an emphasis on non-toxic beauty and personal care items, and food that doesn’t make their GI systems freak out. LYFN doesn’t market themselves as a green beauty or food allergy-friendly box, so I only mention this with respect to the goodness of fit for us in those areas, and not with the expectation that they should be catering to those needs. For what they strive to be; a box to help young teens feel good about who they are, I think that they did a great job. This spirit was woven through the box and punctuated by the affirmation activity. The seasonal fall theme was perfect, and the box had a nice mix of lifestyle items. I think that the quality of the items included is on par for products marketed to this age group.

The total box value using LYFN’s stated prices is $37.50, plus the activity sheet whose value could not be quantified. I think that this is a solid value relative to the box price. I would assert that the curation and presentation of the items also enhance the overall box value. Moreover, I think that weaving reminders into a teen girl’s every day that she is special and has many admirable strengths and qualities is priceless.

I don’t feel entirely qualified to comment on the fit of this box for girls who are in their mid to late teens. It was very attractive to Eva as a 12 year-old, and even 9 year-old Alina was interested in most of the items included. I found myself wondering if the 14 year-old mark might be closer to the upper limit of the box as opposed to the target starting age, but I may be off base. I hope that the parents of older girls will chime in. Do you think that this would be a good box for your daughter? What do you think about the overall LYFN concept and execution?

To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you are interested in finding “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes to enhance the way you live, eat, craft, play, care for you home and body, etc. you can find them on my ULTIMATE list, newly updated for fall. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to CrunchyParent!

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Kings Road Apothecary Herbal Subscription Unboxing & Review-October, 2015

Kings Road Apothecary Indie Herbal Subscription Unboxing & Review October 2015 Crunchy Parent

King’s Road Apothecary is a company owned by herbalist Rebecca Altman. In addition to selling handcrafted seasonal herbal products through her site, Rebecca offers a monthly indie subscription service. Each monthly box features four herbally-based, small-batch, handcrafted items that center around a theme. Box pricing is $54.00 plus shipping each month when ordered individually, but multi-month subscriptions include shipping. The October theme was “Into the Dreaming.” As of this writing, the October box is still available for purchase. To see my other Kings Road Apothecary unboxing and reviews from prior months, look here.

I was kindly sent this box for review purposes. I received no additional compensation for my review. All opinions are my own.

Please enjoy the complete unboxing video. If you want to better acquaint yourself with some of the herbalism terms that I use throughout the video you can do that through the Crunchy Parent Herbal 101: Glossary of Common and Unusual Herbalism Terms and 50+ Great Ideas for Using Herbs. If you just want to see closeup photos of what was in the box, scroll on down.

The idea behind the KRA Surprise Boxes is that each month Rebecca picks the theme for the box, gathers plant material local to her that fits with the theme, and takes the month to reflect on the plants and experiment with new recipes for products. Her four favorites end up in the box. This month’s theme was less focused on local, wildcrafted herbs and was inspired by kava kava, cacao, and palo santo, and their capacities to evoke relaxed, dreamy states.

The box came with the entire contents wrapped in a piece of muslin, hand dyed in beautiful shades of mossy green. All items were carefully protected with bubble wrap, individually wrapped in coordinated tissue paper, and tied with kitchen twine. In addition to the four herbal items, the box also came with a copy of a watercolor painting of beautiful green leaves created by Rebecca exclusively for this box. On the back of the drawing were recipes for palo santo ice cream with honey and dates and for a palo santo and cacao tincture. In addition to the above, the box included a letter from Rebecca describing the box contents.

Kings Road Apothecary Kava kava hot chocolate and Kava & Palo Santo massage oil crunchy parent

The first item that I pulled from the box was a bag of Kava Kava hot chocolate. (Approximate weight 2 oz., ARV: $4.50) The blend mixes kava kava along with cacao, Dutch cocoa, coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla. I was a bit surprised at first with the earthinesss of the flavor profile influenced by the kava and cacao, but then I realized that this was not a packet of instant cocoa; it was a blend of herbs and spices. I added some coconut milk and honey to my cup and enjoyed the sophisticated, rich, flavor and the slightly numbing quality on my tongue. With the relaxing properties of the kava, this would make a nice beverage to wind down with at the end of a day.

Next in the box was a glass bottle of Kava Kava and Palo Santo Massage Oil (1 oz., value: $12.00). The massage oil is a blend of several different moisturizing oils that have been infused with palo santo and kava kava and then scented with essential oils of coconut, cacao, vanilla, palo santo, and sandalwood. The oil was easy to work with for massage; providing moisture and glide without being absorbed too quickly. The addition of the kava kava should help support muscle relaxation, another great quality for a massage product. The fragrance was absolutely delicious. I found that the palo santo and cacao were the most pronounced notes to me. I absolutely love the scent, as evidenced by my initial reaction to it in the video.

Kings Road Apothecary October unboxing review kava bath decoction spiced kava elixir

The next product discovery was a jar of Kava and Coconut Bath Decoction. (4 oz., value: $8.00). The instructions were to boil the contents in a big stock pot for 20 minutes and then strain into the tub. I was a bit dubious about my ability to strain a big boiling pot of water into the tub without making a grand mess of it all, so I placed the bath decoction into some t-sacs, stapled them shut, and tossed them in the pot to boil. After 20 minutes, I poured the whole pot directly into a warm bath. The fragrant soak was heady with the scent of the coconut and cacao. After a long bath I felt the salts and kava kava had worked together to ease my muscles. My legs definitely felt wobblier than is typical for me when I exited the tub, and I was not at all upset that my bed was close by so I could cozy up and enjoy feeling warm and relaxed.

The final item in the box was a bottle of Spiced Kava Kava & Cacao Elixir (1 oz, ARV: $15.00). This elixir was exclusive to the box, but the KRA site has this similar kava kava elixir available for purchase. The description indicated that it would numb the mouth slightly, which I did experience when tasting it in the video. When I tried it again another day, I did not feel mouth numbing and neither did Rich when he tried it, so this may vary with use or user. The elixir is suggested to induce feelings of dreaminess. I am not sure that this was the case for me, but I did take it prior to going to bed so the dreaminess may have manifested in slumber for me. I will continue to experiment with the elixir, and would love to hear your reactions if you have tried it, or if you have used kava kava in the past to promote relaxation or dreaminess.

kings road apothecary indie herbal subscription October-into the dreaming

I really enjoyed this box. The focus and intention to promote relaxation and dreaminess seems so appropriate for the time of year when we tend to begin to focus on holidays and over-scheduling ourselves. I appreciated the reminder to slow down, relax, and tune into my creative spirit. I think that Kings Road Apothecary is such a unique subscription box offering. As I’ve said before, it feels a bit to me like being an artist’s benefactor. I love the idea that the cost of the subscription supports hands-on wildcrafting and creating unique, small-batch products that are so closely tied to nature.

As mentioned above, the October box is still available for purchase as are a few of the September boxes (you can see the September review here). The November box is also available for preorder. Its theme is Reishi and Hawthorn with the intention of grounding, centering, and calming amidst the mounting holiday excitement. Among the four herbal products included in the box may be any of the following, or other inspired creations: reishi, hawthorn and cacao bitters; reishi and wild mushroom salts; reishi and hawthorn spirit elixir; reishi and chaga body butter; wild reishi double strength elixir; deep forest tea: reishi, hawthorn, douglas fir, aralia californica; black reishi cocoa; reishi and hawthorn drizzling syrup; reishi, hawthorn, and cacao tea; reishi, Douglas fir, and hawthorn flower atmospheric mist; reishi and douglas fir foot bath/ bath soak.

As a reminder the KRA boxes are made using wild crafted ingredients. In an effort to support plant sustainability in harvesting, only a limited number of boxes are available each month, so if a particular theme speaks to you, you may not wish to wait. Are you starting to feel the pull of the holiday energy as fall rolls along? What herbs do you turn to during times of stress?

If you would like to see my most recent comprehensive listing of “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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BuddhiBox Yoga Lifestyle Subscription Unboxing & Review: October 2015

CrunchyParent BuddhiBox October Unboxing & Review

BuddhiBox is a subscription service bringing mindful living products to use in your yoga practice and to enhance your life. Products are ethically sourced, cruelty-free, and created with intention. BuddhiBox is guided by the principles of discovery, union, and compassion; hoping to help you discover new products and share them with your community. BuddhiBox donates a portion of each box’s cost to a new charity each month. Each box includes 4-6 full-size items for $32.95/month (shipping included). There are discounts on multi-month subscriptions.

I purchased this box and all opinions are my own. To see BuddhiBox unboxings from prior months, look here.

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you would like to skip along to the photos and valuing information, scroll right on down.

The box was well packaged in an outer shipping box. Everything arrived to me safely and intact.

Buddhibox October unboxing & review enclosure cards

I really enjoy BuddhiBox’s presentation. I love the Yogicard that they include each month, illustrating and describing the technique and benefits behind a yoga pose. This month’s pose was “Heart Chakra Pose.” I though tit was especially cute that the yogi in the pose was wearing pink ribbons on her skirt as a nod to October as Breast Cancer Awareness month, which was highlighted later in the box as well. The box also included a recipe card for Fried Rice with Tofu, and the card describing the box contents. Every month BuddhiBox donates a portion of their proceeds to a charity, and the box enclosure card highlighted the Circuelle Foundation as the charity selected this month. The Circuelle Foundation aims to educate young women about breast health and teach healthy rituals.

Buddhibox October unboxing Om intention candle & thieves oil spray

The first thing that caught my eye in the unboxing was an absolutely gorgeous candle, The In Light & Love Intention Candle (6 oz., value $12.00) is their Om candle, associated with the crown chakra. The candle is housed in a beautifully decorated tin that encourages you to write your intention in a space provided on the tin. When you light the candle, you direct your energy toward the declared intention.

Closeup of Om candle lid

Closeup of Om candle lid

I loved this idea and thought it such a great way to tie intention and mindfulness to ritual. The candle even came with a tiny piece of chalk for writing the intention. I imagine that you could either dedicate a single intention to the candle, or erase and write a new intention as needed. The soy wax candle’s scent is a blend of vanilla, coconut, magnolia blossom, and lavender. I found the scent to be stronger than I prefer, although I can be quite sensitive to scents. I know that others prefer candles with a strong scent throw in a room, so this might be the perfect choice for someone who likes candles to have a pronounced presence.

I loved the scent of the next item, Optimal Health Oil’s Thieves Blend Spray (size estimated as 2 oz., value $10.00). I am a huge fan of Thieves oil and have been blending my own Thieves for many years. This legendary mix of rosemary, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and lemon essential oils has been used for centuries to kill bacteria and viruses. We spray it all throughout our house regularly, and especially during times of illness.

BuddhiBox October unboxing & review Jiva headband & Circuelle cream

As a nice tie-in to yoga practice on the mat, the box included a cute sweat-wicking headband from Jiva Clothing, a new-to-me brand (value $10.00), s well as a coupon code for $10.00 off of a Jiva Clothing order. The headband is stretchy and designed to be worn either as a narrow band or it can be unfolded and word wide for a different look. I liked the cute print and thought that the black and white was a very versatile option for most workout gear.

Buddhibox also included a bonus gift from the Circuelle Foundation. Circuelle’s Breast Ritual cream is an organically-based blend, designed to assist in breast self-examination and earlier detection of breast cancer. Circuelle also included a helpful pamphlet to guide the user through a breast self-exam. I think that this bonus is a true gift to remind us to monitor our breasts and bodies for changes that may be suspicious. Breast health and breast cancer awareness is critical and so important for early detection. I will add here that 50% of all cancer diagnoses are “rare” cancers, so while you are checking out your breasts for any signs of lumps or suspicious changes, remember to give the rest of yourself a look too.

BuddhiBox unboxing review October Energy Muse Chakra Heaing Stones Set

Arguably the most colorful item in the box was a happy little bag of Energy Muse’s Chakra Healing bag of stones. BuddhiBox listed a value of $25.00, but Energy Muse prices this item at $19.99 on their site, so I am going to defer to that (value $19.99). The tag on the bag of stones outlines the property most associated with each stone and the color associated with each of the seven chakras. Energy Muse also provided a suggestion for using the stones in a chakra-balancing, quick meditation. I love the idea of having a little bag of stones dedicated to the seven chakras. I think that there are many people, myself included, who often feel imbalance in their lives. Having an array of practices to try that might help a person feel restored in their balancing is a good idea, and I imagine that many people would feel refreshed after taking 8-10 minutes to clear their mind and relax.

BuddhiBox October review People Towels paper alternative

The final item in this month’s box took me a minute to fully understand. The On the Go Alternative to Paper Towels set by People Towels (value $11.00) is a set of two washcloth-size organic cotton towels in a small bag. The towels feature cute prints, dyed with eco-friendly dyes. It took me a moment to realize that the set is meant to be tossed in a purse or gym bag and used instead of paper towels when washing hands in public restrooms, or I suppose whenever you might need a paper towel or small cloth. I really love this idea and think that it would also make a great alternative to hand wipes to keep around in a diaper bag for messy babies and toddlers (just add a splash of water).

BuddhiBox yoga subscription unboxing review October Crunchy Parent

In total this month’s BuddhiBox had a retail value of $62.99+ the bonus cream. I think hat this is an excellent value, at almost double the purchase price of a single box. I like that Buddhibox embraces the idea of a yoga lifestyle subscription. They included items to support physical health, emotional and energetic balance, environmental health, and items for direct use in yoga practice. I continue to appreciate the yoga cards and recipes. I also really like that BuddhiBox includes a charitable aspect to their box, with monthly nations to different charities.

What do you think of BuddhiBox? Have you had a chance to sample some of the other yoga-focused or crunchy, zen, mindful subscription boxes to compare?

To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you are interested in finding “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes to enhance the way you live, eat, craft, play, care for you home and body, etc. you can find that here. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos or unboxings, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to CrunchyParent!

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Kings Road Apothecary Herbal Subscription Unboxing & Review-September 2015 (Pinon & Sagebrush)

Crunchy Parent KRA September 2015 unboxing review picture

King’s Road Apothecary is a company owned by herbalist Rebecca Altman. In addition to selling handcrafted seasonal herbal products through her site, Rebecca offers a monthly indie subscription service. Each monthly box features four herbally-based, small-batch, handcrafted items that center around a theme. Box pricing is $53.50 plus shipping each month when ordered individually, but multi-month subscriptions include shipping. The September theme was “Pinon and Sagebrush.” As of this writing, the September box is still available for purchase. To see my other Kings Road Apothecary unboxing and reviews from prior months, look here.

I purchased this box and received no compensation for my review. All opinions are my own.

Please enjoy the complete unboxing video. If you want to better acquaint yourself with some of the herbalism terms that I use throughout the video you can do that through the Crunchy Parent Herbal 101: Glossary of Common and Unusual Herbalism Terms and 50+ Great Ideas for Using Herbs. If you just want to see closeup photos of what was in the box, scroll on down.

The idea behind the KRA Surprise Boxes is that each month Rebecca picks the theme for the box, gathers plant material local to her that fits with the theme, and takes the month to reflect on the plants and experiment with new recipes for products. Her four favorites end up in the box. I was very excited for this month’s box as I absolutely adore the rich scent of piñon pines and find the varieties of sage native to the Southwest to smell rich and fabulous. I was looking forward to seeing what Rebecca would create this month and to receiving the goodies.

Kings Road Apothecary September unboxing review-pinon sagebrush inserts painting

The box came with the entire contents wrapped in a piece of muslin, hand dyed in beautiful shades of green. All items were carefully protected with bubble wrap, individually wrapped in coordinated tissue paper, and tied with kitchen twine. In addition to the four herbal items, the box also came with a copy of a watercolor painting of spring of sage and pine as well as pine and piñon cones penned by Rebecca exclusively for this box. On the back of the drawing were recipes for pine nut roca and for pine infused sugar. I love the flavor of flowers, herbs, and other botanicals in edibles, so I am happy to have these recipes to try. The roca calls for butter, but I think that I can make it with a simple substitution of either coconut oil or palm oil shortening. i think that pine infused sugar would be amazing with baked goods in fall and winter and I also think that it would make a unique holiday or hostess gift. In addition to the above, the box included a letter from Rebecca describing the box contents.

Kings Road apothecary indie herbal subscription september unboxing review pinon sagebrush tea and foot balm

The first item that I pulled from the box was a bag of Pinon Nut and Vanilla Black Tea, which is the same as the Pinon Toffee Black Tea listed on the KRA site, now sold out (approximately 1.5 oz oz.). The blend mixes black tea, oolong tea and puerh tea, along with with cacao, cardamom, vanilla, piñon cone, and roasted wild pine nuts, and then studs the whole mix with chunks of piñon toffee. The toffee in the tea is the same as the roca recipe included although the rock also adds chocolate. I am a big tea drinker, although I generally stick to herbal and other non-caffeinated teas. Receiving the KRA blends has nudged me to try some different teas and so far I have not responded with jitters or sleep disruption at all, so I’m happy. I made the tea with a bit of honey and a dollop of coconut milk cream. I was warming and gently spiced, and as I got closer to the bottom of the cup, I found myself getting a bit sad that I had drank it up so quickly. Fortunately there will be several more cups in my future with what was provided in the box. The tea gave me a very “autumn” feeling. I can see craving a cup of it after tromping around outside in the crisp air and fallen leaves.

Next in the box was a 2 oz. glass jar of Pinon and Juniper Foot Balm, which was available exclusively through the subscription box. The balm infuses piñon needles and resin, juniper berries and branches, and sagebrush leaves into a blend of organic sunflower, jojoba, coconut, and avocado oils. This mixture is enhanced with a mix of essential oils and stabilized with organic beeswax to produce the lightweight balm. The instructions suggest applying the balm to clean feet before bed and then wearing socks while you sleep to help the balm infuse into, and soften your skin. The balm does feel exceptionally light and softening. When I applied the balm to my skin, it felt silkier and softer almost instantly. The foot balm is also one of the best things that I have ever smelled. The fragrance is intense and very natural all at the same time, due no doubt to the layering of the infusion of fresh berries, branches, needles, and resin as well as essential oils into the blend. Closing my eyes and smelling the balm immediately transported me to a pine forest.

Kings Road Apothecary Herb Indie Subscription Box Unboxing Review October Pinon Sagebrush room spray and elixir

The next product discovery was a 1 oz. bottle of Pinon and Juniper Sagebrush Room Spray (value $10.00). This spray is a mix of pine and juniper hydrosols with pine resin and essential oils of pine, juniper, and sage. Rebecca created this blend to evoke the scent of the Pinon flats; the mix of plants and trees, fresh air, and sunshine. The spray has a “greener” scent than the foot balm, reminding me more of green pine needles and less of the earthier barks and resins brought through in the balm. Rebecca suggests using the spray to freshen a room, especially if someone is sick, as it can be helpful in killing airborne microbes.

The final item was a 1 oz. bottle of Pinon Flat Elixir, exclusive to the box. The multi-purpose elixir can be used medicinally to help with lung congestion or tightness or in smaller amounts as digestive bitters or to flavor cocktails. The blend of pine cones, needles, resin, and nuts along with sage, yarrow, mullein, and aralia (spikenard) tasted fresh, earthy, and very pleasant to me. I found it to be grounding, but others may experience it differently.

Kings Road Apothecary herbalist subscription box September 2015 Pinon Sagebrush box complete unboxing review

I greatly enjoy my Kings Road Apothecary boxes. They are a splurge relative to the typical monthly subscription box, but they are in a class of their own in terms of the freshness, seasonal appropriateness and relationship to herbal plant ingredients. I appreciate that someone across the country is out gathering plants that are not available in my region, and is working with them as I would to create incredible products far beyond what I have the knowledge or experience to create on my own. The products and recipes inspire me to work more directly with plants when I can get ahold of fresh plant materials, and to seek opportunities to learn more about medicinal plants and their many uses. It is difficult for me to assign values to the individual items in the boxes because they are often unique items that are exclusive to the box or the size of the product sold on the site is not listed so I cannot estimate the value of the sizes received. Nevertheless, this box feels very luxurious to me; handcrafted products that are created exclusively for a small group of subscribers with wildcrafted ingredients at their peak. I don’t think that I could want for better.

As mentioned above, this box is currently available for purchase if you want to capture this celebration of Pinon and Sagebrush before it is gone. The October box will focus on four plants, palo santo, cacao, hawthorn, and kava kava. It is designed especially, “the dream weavers, the witches, the makers, the edgewalkers,” and sounds rather magical to me. I notice that the October single box price is listed at $54.00, which is a 50 cent increase over the September box. Among the four herbal products included in the box may be any of the following, or other inspired creations: palo santo, sandalwood and kava infused cocoa body butter; smoked kava hot chocolate; cacao and hawthorn spiced syrup; kava, hawthorn and palo santo between the worlds elixir; kava, cacao and palo santo massage oil; palo santo and cacao ritual incense; smoked kava kava and palo santo ritual bath; hawthorn and cacao bitters; palo santo and cacao shimmering body oil (a deep bronze shimmer that looks like autumn leaves).

As a reminder the KRA boxes are made using wild crafted ingredients. In an effort to support plant sustainability in harvesting, only a limited number of boxes are available each month. Are you going to snap up one of the remaining September boxes? I’m tempted just to have another jar of the incredible foot balm. Is the October box calling to you?

If you would like to see my most recent comprehensive listing of “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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Kings Road Apothecary Herbal Subscription Box Unboxing and Review-August 2015 (Cactus and Cool)

King’s Road Apothecary is a company owned by California herbalist Rebecca Altman. In addition to selling handcrafted seasonal herbal products through her site, Rebecca offers a monthly indie subscription service. Each monthly box features four herbally-based, small-batch, handcrafted items that center around a theme. Box pricing is $53.50 plus shipping each month when ordered individually, but multi-month subscriptions include shipping. The August theme was “Cactus and Cool.” The August box is sold out, but as of this writing there are still a handful of September Surprise boxes available for purchase (more on those in a bit). To see my other Kings Road Apothecary unboxing and reviews from prior months, look here.

Please enjoy the complete unboxing video, during which you may feel compelled to toss slippery elm lozenges or bags of tea at the screen as you listen to me cough my way through the unboxing with a bothersome cold that still lingers. Sorry about that. If you want to better acquaint yourself with some of the herbalism terms that I use throughout the video you can do that through the Crunchy Parent Herbal 101: Glossary of Common and Unusual Herbalism Terms and 50+ Great Ideas for Using Herbs. If you just want to see closeup photos of what was in the box, scroll on down.

The idea behind the KRA Surprise Box is that each month Rebecca picks the theme for the box, gathers plant material local to her that fits with the theme, and takes the month to reflect on the plants and experiment with new recipes for products. Her four favorites end up in the box. I was very excited for this month’s box as I have been really drawn to prickly pear cactus and its remarkable medicinal and skincare uses over the past several months. I am not sure if it is gaining a stronger foothold in our collective consciousness and consequently being used more, or if I am just so taken by it that I have had my eyes out for it everywhere that I go so I’m noting it more often. In any case, I was looking forward to seeing what Rebecca would create this month and to receiving the goodies.

King's Road Apothecary Subscription Box Unboxing Review August 2015 Cactus and Cool

The box came with the entire contents wrapped in a piece of muslin, hand dyed in beautiful shades of purple, berries, and wine. All items were carefully protected with bubble wrap, individually wrapped in coordinated tissue paper, and tied with kitchen twine. In addition to the four herbal items, the box also came with a copy of a watercolor painting of a prickly pear cactus with beautiful bright pink blooms that was penned by Rebecca exclusively for this box. On the back of the drawing was a recipe for prickly pear fruit syrup and a prickly pear margarita. As luck would have it, a local market was having a sale on prickly pear fruit this week, so I have a bag of them ripening up in my kitchen waiting for their big moment to shine in these recipes. I love when my subscription boxes inspire me to try new things and discover new favorites. In addition to the above, the box included a letter from Rebecca describing the box contents, and an invitation to post box images on instagram to enter to win a little gift.

Kings Road Apothecary August Subscription box-cactus & cool

The first item that I pulled from the box was a bag of Prickly Pear and Hibiscus white tea (approximately 1 oz., maybe 2 oz.? I drank several cups before I could weigh it and also made the bag messy before the photo-op. Forgive me). The KRA site indicates that both prickly pear pads and hibiscus are good for soothing and moistening. At the time that I filmed the video I had an irritated, dry throat and nagging cough. Immediately after finishing the video I brewed myself some of this tea and continued to drink it in the days that followed because it helped my throat feel so much better (hence the reason why the bag looked far more full in the video than when I got around to taking the photo-oops).I do not generally drink caffeinated teas because I am often sensitive to caffeine, but I had no problems with this. Likewise, I am not much of a hibiscus fan, but I found the flavor enjoyable and appreciated the medicinal properties of the plant; accepting what it had to offer me with gratitude.

Next in the box was a 1 oz. bottle of Prickly Pear and Rose After Sun Potion. The lightweight gel combines prickly pear with aloe vera, rose, and calendula to provide quick soothing and cooling relief to skin that has been upset by too much sun. Although I have not spent too much time in the sun since receiving the box, I can say that in testing the product, it smells really good. There is a distinct rose presence but also something astringent and not quite citrusy that I cannot put my finger on. Maybe it’s what the inside of a prickly pear pad smells like. I don’t really know (if you do, please tell me because I’m terribly curious. I’m holding myself back from going downstairs to cut open and sniff a prickly pear paddle right now). The product was exclusive to this box and is not available for purchase through the KRA site.

KRA herbal subscription box cactus and cool-prickly pear summer heat relief elixir & prickly pear and sage wound powder

The next product discovery was a 1 oz. bottle of Prickly Pear and Rose Summer Heat Relief formula. Unfortunately the instructions on this bottle were accidentally mislabeled and the ingredients were incomplete (sometimes small-batch products made by human hands will come with the occasional human error; a small price to pay if you ask me). When I reached out the Rebecca, she offered apologies and clarified that the elixir is to be taken at a dose of “3-30 drops, 3 times a day or whenever you’re feeling extra aggravated.” I may have suggested that as a mom of three young kids/tweens I have occasion to feel extra aggravated that is not even related to the summer heat, but I am sure that it is excellent for heat relief too. I can say that the elixir is delicious. I don’t think that I’ll ever get enough of how wonderful rose tastes in anything and everything. I wish that the elixir had arrived a couple of weeks sooner. We spent a sweltering day at a local Renaissance Faire recently, and by the day’s end all of the children were hot, aggravated, and looking like this.

Hot & sweaty day at the Renaissance Faire. Some Summer Heat Relief elixir would have hit the spot I am sure

Hot & sweaty day at the Renaissance Faire. Some Summer Heat Relief elixir would have hit the spot I am sure.

Bet that potion sure would have come in handy, and I would have felt all Renaissance-y talking about getting my herbal elixir from the apothecary to treat our ailments. I know that I will get good use out of this potion on hot days or whenever that hot aggravated feeling sweeps over us. This product was another box exclusive.

The final item was a 1 oz. bottle of Prickly Pear and White Sage Wound Powder. I have been very intrigued by wound powders. I have just recently become aware of them and they are quite unlike anything that I grew up using to treat cuts, scrapes, or burns. I guess that I was more accustomed to using a salve, cream or ointment to treat wounds, so I am finding herbal powders very novel and fascinating. This wound powder blends prickly pear with yarrow, white sage, rose, plantain, and calendula to help fight potential infection and promote healing. I greatly appreciate being able to build an herbal first aid kit and will be happy to grab this the next time that one of us gets a bit banged up. The powder smells fantastic, but I may be biased because I could sit and sniff white sage happily all day long (more on that in a moment too). This item was yet another box exclusive and is not offered for sale at this time.

King's Road Apothecary Herbal Subscription Box Unboxing & Review August 2015 Cactus & Cool

I always look forward to my Kings Road Apothecary boxes. I find Rebecca’s creativity to be inspiring and she shares so much of her process and research through her email newsletter as well (signup for the free newsletter here). I love seeing and using her formulas and find them to be delicious, effective, and they all smell wonderful. As I have been subscribing over several months I see how her products have woven their way into my life from my kitchen to my shower, to my first aid kit. I don’t think that there is any other subscription box out there currently that offers a comparable herbal experience month to month. I really enjoy supporting a small business and feel connected to the process by what Rebecca shares with her subscribers as she works on the items throughout the month. This box feels very luxurious to me; handcrafted products that are created exclusively for a small group of subscribers with wildcrafted ingredients at their peak. I don’t think that I could want for better.

I am anxiously anticipating the arrival of the September box, which focuses on what may be two of my very favorite herbal ingredients, at least based on olfactory delight alone. The September box theme is “Pinion and Sagebrush” and is inspired by the plants one would find walking the pinion flats of southern California in the fall. The box is designed to be a sensory experience, with products intended to delight at least four of the five senses. Among the four herbal products included in the box may be any of the following: pinon, white sage, and sagebrush room and body spray; white sage, juniper, and sagebrush smudge sticks; juniper and sagebrush foot cream; juniper, sage, and pinon digestive bitters; pinon and juniper scented candle (with a hint of white sage); wild pinon pine nut liqueur; pinon flat elixir (for lung health); pinon resin infused body oil; pinon and pinon nut caramel black tea; or pinon oxymel.

As a reminder, the KRA boxes are made using wild crafted ingredients. In an effort to support plant sustainability in harvesting, only a limited number of boxes are available each month. Are you going to grab a September box before they sell out? I can only imagine how the whole room will smell when I open that box. I can hardly wait!

If you would like to see my most recent comprehensive listing of “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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Whimsy Kids “Whimsy Box” Subscription Box Unboxing and Review-May 2015

Whimsy Kids is a lovely website offering a range of children’s products that appeal to families embracing a more natural lifestyle. They feature items such as cloth diapers, open ended toys made from natural materials, low-to-no toxin personal care items, and more. About six months ago, Whimsy Kids launched their “Whimsy Box” subscription service. Not to be confused with the now defunct “WhimseyBox” subscription, this unique endeavor pairs a hand-selected hardcover children’s book with a carefully curated mix of 4-5 toys, treats, and other special items to complement the story and stimulate continued play and awareness inspired by the book. Items are often exclusive to the Whimsy Box, and many are handmade by artisans based on inspirations from the monthly book. Book selections appear to be geared primarily toward young children, ages approximately four to eight years.

Boxes cost $35 per month plus $5 shipping when introduced for pre-purchasing and for a few months thereafter. Prices increase after that time to more closely reflect the value of the items included. Multi-month subscriptions are discounted and include free shipping. In addition, Whimsy Kids offers a Sibling Box option for $20 shipping included, which features the supplementary items without the hardcover book. This is a great option if you have multiple children who may be interested in sharing the story, but not in sharing the special items, or if you already own the book being featured.

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing, please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

Star Stuff book-May Whimsy Kids

This month’s Whimsy Kids box featured the Book Star Stuff (value $17.99) which explores Carl Sagan and his boyhood curiosities about space that later led to a lifelong career as an astronomer. As soon as I saw the preview for the May box, I knew that this would be an excellent selection for us to try. Asher has been very interested in space, the solar system, and life beyond Earth as of late. I thought that he would be excited about a book featuring a boy with many of the same questions and curiosities. In addition, because the book was previewed, and we are currently living in transition with my parents while we look for a new house, I was able to request the book from our local library and take advantage of the Sibling box option during this time when we have to be especially mindful of the things that we can keep at our home, given our current space limitations. I was very grateful to be able to have the book at the ready when the rest of the items arrived, and I will look forward to adding the story to our home library when we move into our next house. The typical box includes your own beautiful copy of Star Stuff to keep and enjoy. Amazon lists this book as being intended for children ages 4-8 years, although I believe that it could be enjoyed by children a bit older and younger than the stated range as well.

Whimsy Kids May 2015 box

To complement the book, the package included a colorful nebulous post card, a cute solar system sticker, and a Yummy Earth Organics lollipop as a sweet treat. The sticker and lollipop were quickly put to good use. We’ve been longtime Yummy Earth Organics fans, I even interviewed one of the owners years ago as part of this blog’s 1.0 version. We love that their products are free of nuts, corn, soy, gluten, dairy, and artificial colors or flavors. The post card would make a beautiful addition to a nature table or any space or sky-themed decor. Of course you could always use it to drop someone a note from your next space adventure.

True colors were a bit more muted than picture shows

True colors were a bit more muted than picture shows

Also in the box was an absolutely beautiful, 21” square playsilk. The silk had been hand painted by Whimsy Kid’s owner herself to evoke the dark starry sky that inspired Carl Sagan’s curiosities about space. It is accentuated by what appear to be batiked twinkling stars. At first I was not sure of the fabric content of the scarf, as reflected in the unboxing because it feels less “silky” than I am used to. Hannah from Whimsy Kids confirmed that it is 100% Habotai silk, which is the material most commonly used for Waldorf-style playsilks.

Whimsy Kids constellation disc-May 2015

The final treasure in the box was a unique wood constellation disc made by From Jennifer. The disc features five constellations highlighted by drilled holes and connected and labeled by wood burning. When a single light flashlight shines through the holes of a complete constellation, the lit up “starry” image is projected onto a wall or ceiling. This disc was a custom creation for this Whimsy Box, although similar “constellation coins” are often available at the FromJennifer Etsy shop.

Whimsy Kids complete May 2015 "Whimsy Box"

This box was a hit for us. Asher and Alina were both interested in listening to me read the story and they loved shining a light through the constellation disc and wondering about the stars, the sky, and life beyond Earth. I am confident that the playsilk will make a great backdrop for space-themed play and be used in many varied ways by the kids.

It is difficult to place a dollar value on the box. The book itself lists for $17.99 but the other “big ticket” items in the box were custom, handmade items, and thus are difficult to value. I think that the curation is exceptional, and I feel as though my money was well spent on this special star-themed box. I personally think that Whimsy Kids boxes would make excellent gifts for young children, especially those whose families gravitate toward toys made from natural materials, that are handmade, and that inspire open-ended play. Having a story to read and items to extend the story themes into a child’s own play and exploration is a unique idea for a subscription box. I am excited to see what other stories and items will be featured in future Whimsy Boxes. The May Whimsy Box is still available for purchase if you want to grab one for yourself or for someone else.

I will soon be updating my list of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes to add the Whimsy Kids Box and other recent and unique crunchy subscription box finds. Be sure to subscribe to CrunchyParent.com to be notified when the updated list is posted. Until then, the list should give you many great options for kids, home, baby, food, and more.

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Crunchy Parent’s Ultimate Guide to Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes-Fall 2015 Update

For those seeking subscriptions for organic, eco-friendly, non-toxic, green beauty, food-allergy friendly, pregnant, new baby, fair trade, indie, and other crunchy awesomeness.

For those seeking subscriptions for organic, eco-friendly, non-toxic, green beauty, food-allergy friendly, pregnant, new baby, fair trade, indie, and other crunchy awesomeness.

Crunchy, green living is on the rise, and there has been tremendous growth in the area of natural, conscious, and otherwise crunchy subscription box offerings. The Fall update of the Crunchy Parent Ultimate List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes follows. All subscription services that are new or new-to-me since the summer update have been indicated in bold. If you are wondering how I came to compile this list, keep reading. If you just want to get right to the list, scroll on down.

As I mentioned briefly in this post I have been making conscious attempts to make self-care a higher priority in the last several years. Parenting can be all-consuming, at least it has been for me many times, and I tended to seriously neglect myself. My cancer diagnosis almost five years ago was a wake up call that I absolutely needed to take better care of myself mentally and physically if I wanted to be able to continue to be a good parent to my children, and to live a healthier and more balanced life. I also wanted to feel better about myself and how I presented myself to the world. Realistically, I still was not going to have oodles of “me” time, and being able to get away from home to do things alone is even more challenging.

Moreover, although I had been interested in naturally-based personal care items since I was a teenager, my diagnosis shifted green beauty from an interest to an absolute non-negotiable. Skincare, haircare, body care, and cosmetic products simply had to be no- or low-toxin for me to use them. I would rather go without than slather myself with ingredients that might make it harder to stay healthy, but I really didn’t know where to begin. My skincare products had distilled down to aloe gel, shea butter, and coconut oil and they just weren’t cutting it. So, I decided that one aspect of my self-care plan would be to join some monthly subscription services.

Just in case you’re unfamiliar, subscription services send out a “mystery” package (usually monthly) of products in sample or full sizes for you to try that fit within a certain theme such as eco-friendly beauty and skincare products, or gluten free snacks. I figured that by joining a service, I would get a special package (or more) each month just for me with products to encourage me to pamper myself. It would also help me discover new natural, organic, or otherwise eco-friendly products that had already been screened and curated by companies with values like my own. Once I got my boxes, I could have some R&R time with a new face mask after the kids went to bed at night, or if I had an occasion when I might want to wear lipstick, I might actually own one that I felt good about using. I have been receiving subscription boxes for almost two years now, and I must say that it has been great! Not only have I been enjoying receiving amazing green beauty items, but I have found boxes to promote mindfulness and balance in my life, to support my yoga practice, to discover new food-allergy friendly foods for our family, and more.

I personally found it overwhelming at first to select a couple of subscriptions to try. I always want to know all of my options to allow for informed decisions. Additionally, there are countless services available, with many different target markets and missions. There are new subscriptions being introduced and old ones phasing out all of the time. I decided to put my well-honed research skills to work (they didn’t give me that Ph.D. for nothing), and compile the most comprehensive list that I could of subscription boxes that represent values or areas of interest that are consistent with living a crunchy, natural, green lifestyle.

I thought that I would try to save you some of the trouble that I went through. I have compiled the most comprehensive list of subscription services currently available that may appeal to people of the crunchy mindset; wherever they may be along the crunchy continuum or whichever aspect of crunchiness is important to them. I have tried to include beauty and lifestyle boxes that might be organic, or vegan; that might be eco-friendly, GMO-free, or support charities. Food boxes might be gluten, nut, and/or dairy free. They may feature organic or non-GMO products, or provide pre-packaged produce all ready to juice for your next cleanse or to boost a new health practice. I’ve listed herbal boxes, essential oil boxes, fair trade boxes, and eco-friendly boxes for the expecting or new mama. Boxes for children likely feature organic products, high-quality wooden/battery-free toys, or promote natural handmade crafts, storytelling, and more. There is even a toy rental subscription service included. Some of the subscription services are large and well-established. Others are small, limited, indie subscriptions or may be just starting out. In any case, I hope that you will find what you are looking for.

For the sake of brevity I have included shipping information assuming shipping in the United States. Many of these companies may send boxes elsewhere for an additional cost. Please see individual sites for information. I have attempted to screen companies to most closely adhere to natural personal and family living ideals, but I cannot speak to the specifics of any individual subscription, nor am I recommending any of these services over any other. I am attempting to sample and review as many of these subscriptions as possible to allow for a more in-depth look at what each service provides. Wherever possible, I have included a link to my unboxing and reviews following a subscription’s description. If you have any personal experiences that you wish to share, or if you know of any subscriptions that you think should be added to this list, please mention it in the comments.

To see all of my crunchy subscription box reviews, look here. If you wish to exclusively view the video unboxings, you can do that on my YouTube channel here.

Beauty/Lifestyle

BabeBoxx $24.99/month includes free shipping. Discount on multi-month subscriptions. Focused on skincare, cosmetic, and grooming items, BabeBoxx goes for the products that are, all-natural, organic, hand-made, and free from the harmful toxins and chemicals. Their goal is to guide you through a unique and exciting journey to natural beauty! This recently-launched indie subscription partners with artisans to bring the newest products to their subscribers.

Bare Bliss Box $19.99/month (free shipping) Discounts with multi-month subscriptions. In every box get 4-6 “healthier” sample-sized skincare and makeup products that will nourish your body and enhance your life, with occasional bonus lifestyle items. BBB screens products for ingredients such as artificial fragrances and dyes, parabens, SLS, and other potentially harmful chemicals. They also emphasize products that are cruelty-free and organic.

Beauty Heroes $39.99/month includes shipping. Less with multi-month subscriptions.The Beauty Heroes mission is to provide their customers with products from the very best non-toxic, clean, green beauty brands. Each month Beauty Heroes sends one full size luxury product, sometimes with a smaller bonus item (because every superhero loves a good sidekick). Products are chosen to fit with the season, and are screened to avoid an impressive laundry list of villain ingredients; and to include natural superpower ingredients to nurture your skin. For my Beauty Heroes reviews, look here.

Blissmo Box $19.95/month plus shipping, free shipping with multi-month subscriptions. Value of $20-$40+ per box. A monthly box of premium organic, non-toxic and eco-friendly personal care and food products. Full & trial-size. Allows choice among three themed box offerings each month (usually a food, beauty/personal care, and seasonal themes). Also allows for skipping a month if none of the themes seem to be a good fit.

BuddhiBox $32.95/month. Less with multi-month subscriptions. Box contains 4-6 full size items to enhance your yoga practice and lifestyle. BuddhiBox is committed to supporting non-profits. Most of the items featured are organic and vegetarian, and a brief questionnaire also allows the purchaser to indicate a preference for vegan items if desired. Each month BuddhiBox picks a charity and donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the boxes to them. They also offer a smaller sampler box for $11.95/month, and a jewelry box for $49.95/quarter. To see my BuddhiBox reviews, look here.

Calmbox $35/month, shipping included. Each month’s box features 4-8 mindfully chosen items to help with unwinding and calm such as candles, natural minerals and crystals, aromatic herbs, inspiring books, music, tea, motivational cards, and physical aids. Every month highlights a new theme like meditation, zen, or mindfulness.

Causebox Ships quarterly. $49.95 per shipment and includes shipping. You will receive at least $150 worth of full-size products for women from Sevenly’s favorite socially conscious brands. Each box also includes a new, exclusive Sevenly product. For every box sold, Sevenly gives $7 to one of 7 partner charities. Additionally, the box features products from companies that are committed to doing good all over the world. Some give one-for-one, some give meals, some medical aid, others give money to help various causes.

Conscious Box $40.00/month including shipping for the newly launched “Premium” version. Conscious Box had historically offered smaller boxes along the themes of classic, vegan, or gluten free. Boxes typically included small sample sizes of mostly food and supplement items with 1-2 full sized products. In their new re-branding, all boxes will be vegan and gluten free and contain more full-size and luxury items including stylish home items, delicious snacks, and lush beauty products hand-selected from brands who care about the planet. Conscious Box promises that every box will be valued at a minimum of $60.

Eco Salon This quarterly box is not a subscription, rather a first come, first served seasonal collection of food/nutrition, beauty, accessories, etc. There are generally pretty limited numbers of boxes available (around 50). Price and value varies but generally cost is $100+

Goddess Provisions $33.00/month with free shipping. Discounts with multi-month subscriptions. Goddess Provisions in a recently launched subscription service by the sister company to Vegan Cuts. Each month, GP sends a box filled with tools to nourish your inner goddess and grow your spiritual practice. Boxes feature a mix of 4-6 full size items, spanning across the categorizes of aromatherapy, apothecary beauty products, superfood snacks, teas, crystals, books and more. All items will be 100% vegan and cruelty-free. To see my Goddess Provisions reviews, look here.

Goodebox $19/month, including free shipping. Modest discounts offered for multi-month subscriptions. Goodebox is a trial and discovery service providing expertly curated, trial-sized healthy beauty and personal care products, along with samples of natural & organic health and wellness products. Each Goodebox includes a pre-screened selection representing what Goodebox thinks are among the best healthy beauty products available.

Hemp Box/Hemp Box for Men $19.99/month includes free shipping. Hemp Box features 5 health, beauty and nutritional products each month that contain hemp.

Herbal Bliss $25/month including free shipping. Discounts for multi-month subscriptions (e.g. an annual subscription drops to $18/month) Herbal Bliss contains an exclusively curated assortment of high quality herbal delights. Five items will be included each month, representing the categories of well-being, culinary, aromatherapy, blissful body, and “spotlight.” All suppliers are small-batch producers.

holBox $30/month. includes shipping. holBox is a subscription service for women who desire to live a holistic lifestyle. It is intended to serve as a starting point for women transitioning into a holistic lifestyle. Each box contains 5-7 different sample products, and will include products that you can use for the body, hair, mind and in the household.

Honest Beauty $50.00/month. The Honest Company has recently expanded its product and subscription line to include cosmetic and skincare items. Each month, select three full sized items of your choice from among the products in the line.

Klover Box $25/month free shipping. Discounts for multi-month subscriptions. Klover Box features natural, cruelty-free and organic beauty, health, nutrition and home products. Klover Box aims to provide opportunities to try affordable eco-friendly products, handpicked by their health conscious curators to allow the buyer to incorporate better products into every aspect of life. Each box features 4-7 sample and full sized products.

Love Goodly $35.00/box including shipping. Ships every other month. Cost per box is less with multi-box subscriptions. Each box includes 5-7 cruelty-free, natural, vegan products, including a mix of full size products and deluxe samples of nontoxic beauty and skincare, healthy snacks and eco style accessories. All products have been screened to eliminate Love Goodly’s banned ingredients and all products are selected and labeled to support one or more of Love Goodly’s values, which include organic, non-gmo, gluten free, and fair trade. Every purchase from Love Goodly supports either Farm Sanctuary or F*ck Cancer.

Mindfulness Box $29/month includes shipping. Discounts for multi-month subscriptions. A monthly subscription box service promoting wellness and reflection by giving people the tools to live with more intention and in the “present moment.” Boxes contain 4-5 items each month intended to promote mindfulness, meditation, and reflection. Offerings include holistic and homeopathic mineral/essential oil based health care products, handcrafted jewelry, delicious biodynamic treats, natural minerals/crystals evoking positive energy and MUCH more! To see my Mindfulnesss Box reviews, look here.

Nourish Beauty $34.95/month includes free shipping worldwide. Receive four full-sized products each month, including three full-sized, natural, earth-activated, cruelty-free, healthy beauty products, and one eco-friendly canvas tote bag, with limited edition, original print. Average total retail will be $70+

Organic Authority Goodie Box Organic Authority is a sister company to Eco Salon (see above) with a similar approach. They are not a regular subscription, rather a first come, first served seasonal collection of food/nutrition, beauty, accessories, etc. Numbers are quite limited. Price and value varies but generally cost is $100+

Petit Vour $15/month includes shipping. Petit Vour focuses on cruelty-free products, but tend to feature product lines that are also natural and organic. Petit Vour delivers 4-5 fresh beauty miniatures right to your doorstep each month. The samples are generously sized (and sometimes full-sized!)

PureBox $39.99/month (free shipping), less with multi-month subscriptions. Each box includes one full sized product and several deluxe samples from 1-2 featured brand per month. All products are ethically sourced and selected for being luxurious, of premium quality, cruelty free, and with gluten free and vegan choices. PureBox specializes in non-toxic, natural, and organic beauty products that are handcrafted and hard to find. Boxes will reflect a retail value of $60-$80. For PureBox reviews, look here

Prospurly $49.95/month includes shipping. Often run coupon codes for 10% off per month for the life of the subscription. Boxes feature 6-8 luxurious products each month that are artisinal and often organic. Items may be useful for home, beauty or personal care; food, beverages, and more.

Pumeli $49.95/month, less with multi-month subscriptions. Pumeli is a monthly delivery of relaxing goodies for busy women. Their mission is to inspire women to unplug and make time for themselves through practical tips, tutorials, and time-slowing rituals that are simple enough to do at home or the office, yet leave you feeling relaxed, recharged and present in as little as 5-10 minutes. Pumeli likes to feature products that are sustainable and handmade, and every box will include teas, items for journaling or reflection, and handcrafted items such as candles or handcrafted jewelry.

The Remedy Rush $59.00/quarterly box includes shipping. (boxes ship around the seasonal equinox). Discount for annual subscription. Each box includes a collection of seasonally-appropriate items for skincare, body care, and home. Products are screened to exclude a host of harsh irritants and health-compromising synthetics. Only the finest wildcrafted or organic herbs, herbal extracts, pure essential oils, cold-pressed, fruit, nut oils and butters are chosen as key ingredients in cherished brand creations. All products are cruelty-free, and all product containers, packaging, shipping, and marketing materials are made from 100% recyclable and/or biodegradable components.

Sapphire Soul Balance Box Sapphire Soul offers 5 different box configurations ranging from “Crystal Pack” of 1 or more crystals at a price of $9/month to “Large Lotus Balance Box” at $52/month which features a crystal, essential oil, a piece of handmade crystal healing jewelry, and one or more additional products (soaps, candles, and aromatherapy products tend to be featured frequently). Overall the box highlights holistic products to nurture mind, body, and soul; striving to increase balance and positive energy. Prices do not include shipping.

Teens Turning Green Conscious Collection Not an auto-billing subscription, but a first come, first served single purchase box available in limited quantities, and sometimes comes in both “male” and “female” versions. Cost is $75/box plus $20 shipping. The box includes Approximately 20 deluxe and full size items per collection. Each box highlights thoughtfully curated, ethically-produced products across many lifestyle categories. Product selections are based on health of ingredients, environmental impact, efficacy, and verified standards like USDA Certified Organic, non-GMO, Fair Trade, and data from the Environmental Working Group. Proceeds from the box benefit the Teens Turning Green non-profit organization.

Terra Bella Box Offering two levels of subscriptions for $17.95/month or $37.95/month respectively (shipping included and less with multi-month subscriptions). Terra Bella box features products that are created in small batches by small businesses, are always cruelty free, and are made with natural ingredients. The Terra Bella Lite box offers 2-3 products per month, and the full-sized Terra Bella Box offers 5-6 products per month. Items include skincare, body care, and cosmetics, and are a mix of full size and trial size items, with the majority being full sized. For those who like to try before making a larger commitment, Terra Bella offers a one-time Trial Box option for $24.00 and includes 4-6 items.

The Cosmic Box Cost is $27/month including shipping. Discounts for multi-month subscriptions. Items for this indie box are chosen for being crafted with spirit, eco-consious, and cosmically good. Boxes include items from various artisans and also feature products from Wild Honey Apothecary, the sister company of The Cosmic Box. Boxes feature a mix of 3-6 trial size or full size goods and include everything from toxin-free skin care, organic/gmo-free artisan edibles, unique home goods, gems, jewelry, and more. A portion of the proceeds from each month’s boxes go to a charity, which varies from month to month. To see my reveiws of The Cosmic Box, look here.

The Simple Soap Cost is $19.99/month for a three bar box or $14.99/month for a two bar option. Shipping included free. The Simple Soap is a family-owned indie subscription box service that sends out their own organic, handmade bars of soap. Their soaps are scented with essential oils and plant materials, and do not contain artificial perfumes or other additives. According to The Simple Soap, a single bar of soap will usually be enough for one person for an entire month.

Truly Organic $55/month (shipping included). Each month’s box will include six full-size products from Truly Organic’s natural hair care and body care line consisting of shampoo, conditioner, scrub or body wash, lotion, face cream and a surprise accessory from the country your ingredients were harvested. Truly Organic offers several collections, including lines for mother and baby. All products are natural, organic, vegan, and fair trade as well as being free of sulfates, GMOs, and gluten.

Vegan Cuts $19.95/month included shipping. Modest discount for multi-month subs. Vegan cuts features 100% cruelty-free brands, many of which are also natural and organic. Each box contains 4-7 full and sample-sized products to try, ranging from unique cosmetics to luxurious skincare.

Yogi Surprise $35.96/month with free shipping. Each box features 6-8 full-size products designed to nourish and support your well being, vitality and growth. Items include pure, natural, and handcrafted goodies that are vegetarian, cruelty, and GMO free.

Yuzen $33/quarter includes shipping. Yuzen strives to include only the very best eco-conscious products to nourish the body and soul. Each beautiful box includes high-quality natural and organic personal care products, healthy snacks, and lifestyle items carefully chosen from about 6 companies.

Food

Cuisine Cube $34.99/month includes shipping. Discounts with multi-month subscriptions. Each monthly box features at least five exciting full-sized gluten-free breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert items. Cuisine Cube tries to introduce lesser-known artisanal brands. Some products are certified gluten free, others use only gluten-free ingredients but are not certified gluten free. Many products are certified organic and CC strives to avoid GMOs and artificial ingredients.

Farmivore products Three box sizes range from $25.95-$69.95, which includes shipping. Farmivore sends boxes filled with all that you need to make blended or juiced drinks using only organic, GMO-free, fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices. Subscriber can select delivery frequency and either all-green juice boxes or “mixed” boxes with green, red, and orange juices featured. Produce will be sent bagged with recipes to create each of the juices featured in that shipment, and each box makes between 4-16 servings of juice depending on box size. Currently Farmivore ships to eight states in the Northeast.

Farm To People Tasting Box Two tiers of subscriptions (Casual Foodie-$29.95/month and Food Critic: $49.95/month both of which include shipping). Boxes include 2-3 or 5-8 full size products respectively. Items included will be unique, humanely made food items that are locally produced in small batches. All foods are GMO free. FTP also advertise that they are happy to accommodate any serious food allergies or dietary restrictions if you email them directly. Each box centers around a theme. Past themes have included Oktoberfest, Heat Things Up, Turkey Day, among others.

Green Blender $49/week shipping included. Each box brings you pre-portioned and individually wrapped ingredients to make 10 servings of blended smoothie drinks (2 servings each or five different recipes). Boxes include fruits, vegetables, superfoods, and whatever else you need to make a week’s worth of smoothies (you just provide the blender and the water). Produce is organic, local, and seasonal whenever possible. Currently Green Blender delivery area covers approximately a dozen states throughout the Northeast.

Healthy Surprise Offer three subscription options: Classic Box, Big Box, and Paleo Box. Boxes range from 15-21 full size snacks and are priced from $49-$74 depending on subscription option. Multi-month subscriptions are discounted. All items are gluten, soy, corn, wheat, and GMO free. Paleo box also does not contain any refined sugar, grains, dairy, or legumes, but may contain some items with honey, eggs, or high quality meat or fish. Classic Box and Big Box are 100% vegan.

Love with Food Offers three subscription options (Tasting Box, Deluxe Box, and Gluten Free Box) ranging in price from $12-$29/month, shipping included. Discounts for multi-month subscriptions. Designed to help you discover new organic or all-natural snacks. Boxes feature between 8-20 snack items depending on subscription type. Snacks are either organic or all-natural, GMO-free, gluten-free or free of artificial junk. All snacks in the Gluten-Free box are guaranteed to be gluten free. For every box sold, Love with Food donates a meal to several food banks such as the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength – No Kid Hungry.

NoMoo Box $20/month plus $5.49 shipping, less with multi-month subscriptions. Boxes include carefully selected dairy free foods, coupons, recipes, and the occasional surprise. Each month you will receive 6 to 9 items in your box, including some full size and some sample size dairy free products. You will also receive coupons from dairy free brands to help with the cost of a specialty diet. A portion of the proceeds from every box goes to donate dairy free foods to a local Food Bank for families in need of a dairy free diet.

Num-Nums Munch Box Offer Single Box ($21.99/month) or Double Box ($43.50/month) plush shipping. Each box available as either Gluten Free, Dairy Free, or Nut Free, although most snacks are selected to be top 8 allergen-free (dairy, egg, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish) so the entire family can enjoy them. Single box contains 10 to 12 single-serving snacks, and double box includes 20-24 single-serving snacks. The assortment of snack items includes snack bars, chips, sweets, cookies and more. Although snacks are free of identified allergens, they may be manufactured in factories that process other ingredients.

Send Me Gluten Free $30/month includes free shipping. Discounts with multi-month subscriptions. Each box will include 8-12 gluten free products and will include at least 1 full-sized item. Product selection will include food, personal care items, supplements and household products that support a gluten free lifestyle.

Paleo Life Box $35/month shipping included. Less with multi-month subscriptions. Each box includes 8 to 10 snacks hand-picked from the best Paleo companies on the planet. Paleo Life likes to send a few of new discoveries each month in addition to several tried and true favorites.

Tasterie $25.00/month, includes shipping. Four box varieties (Gluten Allergy, Gluten and Dairy Allergy, Nut Allergy, and Top 8 Allergy). Each box includes 4-8 full and single-serving sized allergy-free foods. Nut allergy and Top 8 allergy foods are all confirmed to have been made in a nut-free facility.

Taste Guru $19/month plus shipping. Discounts for multi-month subscriptions. Each box contains a mix of full and single-serving sized gluten free food items. Around 10 items per box.

Trade As One $99/quarter 12-15 hand-picked, ethically sourced pantry products. Each box is seasonally themed and includes a broad range of items from everyday staples to fun discovery items. We also help you unpack the meaning of the items in your box with stories from producers, tasty recipes, and product highlights.

Urth Box Offer multiple sizes from Mini (4-5 products) to Large (20-24 products), which range in price from $9-$49/month, including shipping. Each box includes food and beverage items focused health. All boxes are offered in one of four varieties: Classic, Vegan, Gluten Free, or Diet. In addition to snacks, boxes may include “extras” from categories such as supplements, personal hygiene, hair and skin care, gourmet and more. Products will be full sized, although this may include single-serving items.

Vegan Cuts $19.95/month includes free shipping. Each box contains 7-10 full and sample sized vegan food and beverage items. Most products are also gluten free.

Health/Wellness

Natural Herbal Living Herb box + magazine PDF $48/month ($44/month recurring) Mini Herb box + magazine PDF $24/month ($22/month recurring) Will include ingredients to make several recipes shared in Natural Herbal Living Magazine including, but not limited to, the herb of the month, essential oil, flower essence, additional herbs, oils, bees wax, vinegar, honey, and other herbal goodies necessary to make the recipes of the month. This also includes a generous amount of the “herb of the month” to experiment with above and beyond the recipes included in the herb box. The value of the contents of the box will range between $50-60 in addition to the magazine PDF ($4 value). All of the ingredients will be responsibly sourced and organic whenever possible. If the herbs are not certified organic they will be ethically wildcrafted. No box will ever include gluten, nuts, corn, or dairy.

Essential Oil Wizardry Three levels of membership $20/month gets 1 blend; $49/month 3 items including an essential oil and a tincture; $87/month for 5 items including EO, tincture, and, massage oil plus a 10% off coupon. (Shipping included). Limited to just over 100 members.

Kings Road Apothecary $53.50/month plus shipping. Multi-month subscriptions include free shipping. Kings Road Apothecary in an indie sub sending handcrafted, small-batch, herbal-based products that often are seasonal in nature. Boxes are themed (e.g., pinon, lymphatic support, seaweed, salt & water, etc.) and include four full-sized products in each shipment. Items may include an herbal tincture, tea, body scrub, facial mask or cream, massage oil, and more. Due to the sustainable wildcrafting of the box ingredients only approximately 50 boxes are available each month. This is not a re-billing subscription. Boxes are available as single purchases or can be pre-purchased as a multi-month subscription. To see my Kings Road Apothecary reviews look here.

Pregnancy/New Baby/Mom/Home

16 minute club $35/box, less with multi-month subscriptions. The one-and-only home-delivery lactation support program focused on helping new nursing mothers meet their breastfeeding goals. Developed by IBCLC Wendy Wright 16 Minute Club boxes are designed to provide lactation support for roughly baby’s first year, starting with a prenatal box option. Each box includes a chapter of the 16 Minute Club breastfeeding handbook, as well as a collection of breastfeeding support products. Boxes ship every 6 weeks.

21 Bundles $39.99/month, shipping included. Discounts for multi-month subscriptions. Started by a woman who has served as a pre and post-natal yoga instructor, post-partum doula, Certified Lactation Educator Counselor and nanny, 21 Bundles sends all natural, toxin free products to delight new mom or mom-to-be. Boxes tailored for whatever stage of pregnancy or of baby’s first year and will include 5-8 full size items, with a total retail value of anywhere from $50-$80.

Andrea Schroeder Candle of the Month Club $120 for a 3-month membership. Includes shipping. Each month’s box includes a full size 10.5 oz. Andrea Schroder candle, a travel size candle, a signature notecard, and a special hand selected gift from Andrea Schroder. Candles are made from a blend of coconut, natural, and palm wax. They are non-toxic and free of toxins, artificial dyes, or colorants. Candles are scented with essential oils stabilized with a blend of natural oils. Candles and ingredients are not tested on animals.

Austin Lloyd $49.99/month includes shipping. Discounts for multi-month subscriptions. Each box includes 3-5 premium toys and at least one book catered to your child’s developmental level and gender (or gender neutral), focused on children ages birth to 3 years. All items are non-toxic and BPA-free. These are unique, high end toys that are not typically sold at large retail chains and come from brands like Haba, Plan Toys, Melissa & Doug, and Manhattan Toys among others. They are designed to be engaging and targeted at improving fine motor, cognitive, and social skills. No battery operated toys included.

Ecocentric Mom $24/shipment, shipping included. Ships every other month. Available in three box types (Pregnancy Box, Mom Box, Mom & Baby Box). Each box included 5-9 hand selected products that are gentle on your body and the earth. Items are natural, sustainable, organic, and ethical. Boxes feature a mix of large sample sizes and full size products. Items range from skincare, wellness, snacks, and more in the Mom Box to diapers, skin cream, and organic first food in the Mom & Baby box, to skincare, makeup, spa products, and more in the Pregnancy Box.

Homegrown Collective $39/month plus shipping. Price reduced and shipping free for multi-month subscriptions. Receive a seasonally appropriate, professionally curated box of products that deliver the satisfaction of living a more self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle. Examples of past boxes include Home Remedies and Cure Alls, Kombucha, Detox in a Box, and The Beauty of Coconut. Boxes include instructions and all supplies needed to create one or more awesome DIY products with each box (may need to provide some basic supplies). Also teaches you how to become more self-sufficient/sustainable.

The Honest Company Offers several monthly themed bundles: Eco-Friendly Disposable Diapers & Wipes ($79.95/month), Essentials-items for home and body care ($35.95/month), Honest Health & Wellness-food based and quality supplements (($35.95/month), and Organic Infant Formula + dha ($119.95/bundle; buyer sets frequency). With the exception of the formula bundle, bundles are fully customized buy the buyer within each theme and specified quantity of items (for example, any 5 items/Essentials bundle; any 2 items/Health & Wellness bundle.

Children/Adolescents

Happy Hedgehog Post Cost $30/month for a la carte purchases, less with multi-month subscriptions. See site for options to Canada. In addition, HedgehogPost offers a Sibling Envelope add-on for $18 with extra materials to make multiples of the primary crafts featured if you have multiple children or if you just want more. A monthly indie envelope subscription featuring products for children and families to enhance their home, crafts, and nature tables. With a distinct focus on the handmade and natural, this subscription may be a good option for families who are familiar with, and appreciate a Waldorf schooling and play approach. Each month will include materials and instructions for one or more craft projects, a Zine featuring season-specific stories, recipes, bonus craft, and more, and a special gift often appropriate for play or to beautify a nature table. 10% of the purchase price of every box goes to support a different charity each month. To see my Happy Hedgehog Post reviews, look here.

Little PNuts Annual subscription required, no month-to month or single box option. $60/quarterly shipment if annual fee of $240 is paid up front. Shipping is included. Can also opt for $25/month payments for 12 months ($300 total), but will still only receive 4 quarterly boxes. Filled with engaging Eco Friendly & Organic Toys designed to encourage creative play and discovery (3-5 toys/shipment). Choose from three programs : Infant 0-12 Months, Toddler 1-3 Years or Preschool 3-6 Years. Partner with many trusted brands such as Haba, Kathe Kruse, Green Toys, Tegu and more.

Love Yourself First Now $29/month, shipping included. Discounts with multi-month subscriptions. Developed by a mother of two and school psychologist. LYFN is targeted for young women ages 14 and up, and is aimed at promoting self-esteem and developing a sense of self through appreciating one’s self rather than looking to others for validation. Each month’s box features a theme and includes 4-6 functional products like jewelry, makeup, accessories, and inspiration to LOVE YOURSELF FIRST-now. Products valued at $40-$60. To see my Love Yourself First-Now reviews, look here.

Magic Craft Box $65/box or $250/year. Magic Onions sends four seasonally-appropriate eco-friendly crafts per seasonal box, using all-natural craft materials. Craft projects echo Magic Onion’s emphasis on handmade treasures for the natural home. Crafts are intended to be done by kids or with kids.

Mindfulness Box Kids $29/month includes shipping. Discounts for multi-month subscriptions. Intended for children ages 3-12 years. This monthly box is aimed at teaching mindfulness to children, while promoting peace in themselves and the world around them. Each month is thoughtfully curated with hands-on activities, literature, meditations, a healthy snack and so much more to nurture your child’s heart and mind.

SparkBox Toys One Sparkbox every 4 weeks $34.99/month; 1 Sparkbox every 8 weeks $19.99/month. Two month minimum for membership. Designed for children ages 0-4 years, Sparkbox is all about the Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. This toy rental subscription sends 4 age-appropriate, gently used toys to your child to enjoy for 4-8 weeks. When the fun is done, just sent the box back for more toys. Shipping both ways is included in the subscription price. Sparkbox will curate your box based on child’s age, but they allow members to review, edit, and fully customize their box if they desire. Toys are screened to be high-quality, unique, award-winners. Some may be plastic and/or require batteries (included), others are made from natural materials. SparkBox uses only eco and child-friendly sterilization solutions to clean their toys between shipments. All toys go through a 5-step cleaning process that includes surface cleaning, sterilization, disinfecting, inspection and vacuum sealing.

SwiggyDiggyDo $39.95/month. Discounts for multi-month subscriptions. Designed for children ages 6 months to four years, however currently box contents will only vary relative to clothing size so some items may be to hand down/gift or grow into depending on your child’s age. SDD seeks to find the best, eco-friendly products that are free of BPA, lead, bromine, phthalates and a bunch of other weird chemicals that companies decide to put into toys, clothing and basically everything else. You will get a custom designed, limited edition shirt for your kid. Along with the shirt, your box might include toys, crafts/activities, books, clothing, feeding items and more.

Whimsy Box $35 plus shipping. Multi-month subscriptions are discounted and include free shipping. In addition, they offer a Sibling Add-On option for $20 which includes the box contents minus the book if you wish to have duplicates for the sibling or if you already own the featured book and would like the additional items to enhance the story. Each month’s package features a book appropriate for children approximately ages preschool through age 8 years as well as several artisan and often handmade items related to the book’s theme to extend the story into the child’s play, as well as a few additional small extras such as stickers, organic treats, and post cards. Past items have included play silks, face masks, wooden figures, musical instruments and more, and often are made from natural materials. To see my Whimsy Kids reviews, look here.

Fair Trade/Handmade

Craftly Just launched and still in beta phase. $19.99/month plus shipping. A lifestyle subscription box for either men or women that features high quality products and handcrafted goods from independent artists, small businesses, and mid-to-large scale brands. Every month, subscribers receive a surprise box of 3-5 samples, full-sized items, and exclusive offers for home, beauty, grooming, tech, fashion, stationary, food, fitness, and more.

Fair Ivy $30/month. Currently monthly and multi-month subscriptions are full but you can request to be added to the wait list. Fair Ivy sends a handmade and hand wrapped gift each month. All items are created by individual US artists, with each month representing a single artist’s creations. Each gift you receive is vegan-friendly, and contains an information card with details of the artist’s process, background, or inspiration, so you can understand the time and care put into each hand-wrapped item. Past selections have included a single jewelry item, a purse or clutch, set of stationary, or selection of bath products.

Fair Treasure $35/month. Discounted for multi-month subs) FT hunts for the most amazing designs in home décor, jewelry, and other accessories, personally curating these finds for each month’s treasure boxes. Sometimes they even work collaboratively with artisan groups to develop and design unique products just for their boxes. Each box will contain at least $30 in retail value of ethically sourced treasures. Typically, your treasure box will contain 2-3 items. They will also include information on the people and communities who made your treasures and are benefiting from your purchase.

Fair Trade Friday $35/month plus shipping. Discounts for multi-month subscriptions. monthly membership club that delivers a box of 3-4 high quality items to your door by the first Friday of the month. The items in the box are often jewelry and accessory items, are fairly traded, and provide employment to women all over the world. 100% of the proceeds from each box goes to the empowerment of impoverished women.

GlobeIn Artisan Box $35/month, shipping free. Discounts for multi-month subscriptions. Each box includes 4-6 artisan-made products from around the world (a “globe in a box”) packaged in a Mexican palm leaf basket, as well as a story about the crafters whom you have supported with your purchase. In addition, GlobeIn just launched a new mini box called the Benefit Basket for $19.99/month, which will feature one lifestyle products per month in their signature Mexican basket. To see my GlobeIn Benefit Basket reviews, look here.

MakrBox $29/month MakrBox features handcrafted artisan goods from the Pacific Northwest. Each month subscribers receive 2-3 curated artisan made kitchen or home goods.

I hope that everyone can find something in the listing above that would be perfect to add a little crunchy delight to their mailbox own or to gift to someone else. If you know of a sub box that I missed that you think belongs in the list, please mention it in the comments.

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