Raw Spice Bar Global Culinary Subscription: November 2015 Unboxing & Review

Crunchy Parent Raw Spice Bar Global Spice Blend Subscription Unboxing & Review November 2015

Raw Spice Bar is a subscription service aimed at expanding culinary horizons with fresh, exotic spice blends and recipes mailed to your door every month.

Envelopes cost $6 per month, which includes shipping. I was sent this envelope for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

A good friend of mine recently sent me the Raw Spice Bar link with a note that she was requesting that I review their subscription on Crunchy Parent soon. She has a “foodie” family and knows that I love to cook and enjoy good food from various cultures. As luck would have it, Raw Spice Bar reached out to me a short while later and offered to send me an envelope to review. I was all too pleased to say yes, and eagerly awaited my envelope. I opted not to do an unboxing video because I didn’t think that pulling spice packets out of an envelope would be especially compelling media. I went for lots of food photos instead.

Raw Spice Bar Unboxing & Review November 2015

The envelope was thin and unassuming, but sturdy. It was received in pristine condition.

When I opened the envelope, I saw that the November theme was Ethiopian food. I was thrilled. I have had a few absolutely delicious and memorable meals at Ethiopian restaurants in major cities. I loved eating the brightly flavored mounds of meats, vegetables, and legumes; using the spongy, flat injera bread as my utensil. That said, I have never tried preparing Ethiopian food at home. This was a perfect nudge and inspiration.

Raw Spice Bar November 2015 Ethiopian theme

Raw Spice Bar included a colorful pamphlet with recipes, photos, and information about Ethiopian cuisine. They highlighted Asante Mama, a farming business in Uganda that helps to elevate the financial circumstances of impoverished women, and who provided some of the peppers in this month’s blends. Raw Spice Bar also included three freshly-ground, custom spice blends for use in the recipes; Berbere, Mitmita, and Pumpkin Pie Spice.

Raw Spice Bar subscription ethopian spice blends and recipes

The recipes that Raw Spice Bar provided were Berbere Roasted Carrots with Fennel & Mint, Spicy Ethiopian Stewed Beef (Key Wat), and Ethiopian Pumpkin Spice Ricotta Donuts. I decided to prepare the first two for a family dinner and seek an alternative to the third, which would have been difficult to work around our food sensitivities.

It took me a couple of days to gather the ingredients for the meal, which included fresh mint, fennel, and stew meat; all of which I don’t always have on-hand but were not hard to acquire. I was looking forward to presenting my family with the dishes, and breaking out of our routine meals. I even went big time fancy and bought colorful heirloom organic carrots to use in the vegetable dish to match the ones in Raw Spice Bar’s beautiful photo.

I also decided that I wanted to make injera bread to eat with the meal as well. The spongy, tangy Ethiopian bread is made by fermenting teff flour; a perfect bread for gluten-free dining. It took me a few tries to find a store that carried teff flour, but I was able to track some down and make the bread too.

When food prep time rolled around, I began to notice a few curiosities in the information provided by Raw Spice Bar. They called for large quantities of the spice blends in the meat and vegetable dish, especially since these blends listed very hot peppers among their primary ingredients.

I do not have an very bold palate and the children fall in the same category. Rich appreciates spicy, but I suspected that even for him, a tablespoon or more of a hot pepper-based spice blend to a pound of meat would be too much. I took a taste of the two spicy blends and quickly determined that I would be cutting back on them a lot when making the dishes, and then adjusting the amount to taste as needed. In the end, I used about 1/8 to 1/4 of the spice suggested in the recipes.

In addition, the roasted carrots, fennel, and mint dish called for four fennel bulbs to one pound of carrots. I weighed out a single fennel bulb at one pound and thought that it would be excessive (and expensive) to include four pounds of fennel to a pound of carrots. This ratio of fennel to carrots would look very different than the picture of the dish provided by Raw Spice Bar. Moreover, even for our veggie-loving family, I couldn’t imagine us needing five pounds of roasted vegetables with our meal. I decided to stick with one fennel bulb. I also decided to double the recipe of the meat dish to feed us all because a pound of meat seemed inadequate.

One pound each of fennel and pretty carrots.

One pound each of fennel and pretty carrots.

Lastly, the Key Wat recipe recommended serving with injera bread, couscous, or butternut squash mash, all of which sounded great. They instructed the reader to go to RawSpiceBar’s monthly blog for recipes, but I did not find recipes for any of the suggestions there. I found an injera recipe on my own and used that instead.

In addition to the seemingly disproportionate quantities in the recipes, I also was a bit confused upon opening the spice packets. I had noted that the spice blends were all labeled .4 oz., but when I opened the envelopes they very obviously had different amounts in them.

These do not look like the same quantities to me.

These do not look like the same quantities to me.

I weighed the spices and after adjusting for the weight of the envelopes themselves, I discovered that there was actually .55 oz. of the Berbere blend, .2 oz. of the Mitmita, and .35 oz of the pumpkin pie spice. In total it averaged out to about .4 oz. per packet. The quantities also supported the recipes included, which called for greater quantities of the Berbere than of the ultra-spicy Mitmita, but it threw me at little, so I wanted to mention it.

Ethiopian Key Wat and injera bread smelling delicious.

Ethiopian Key Wat and injera bread smelling delicious.

I made the appropriate adjustments to the recipe quantities based upon my instinct, experience, and preferences. After those tweaks, I found the recipes to be easy to follow and relatively simple in their steps. The Key Wat essentially involved browning the beef and the aromatic ingredients and then adding tomatoes and stock and simmering a number of hours until tender.

Berbere spiced carrots and fennel ready to be roasted.

Berbere spiced carrots and fennel ready to be roasted.

The vegetables just needed some peeling, chopping, and tossing with olive oil and spices before being roasted in the oven and then tossed with chopped mint.

Berbere roasted vegetables tossed with fresh mint.

Berbere roasted vegetables tossed with fresh mint.

I was really excited to be cooking a new type of food, and loved seeing it all come together. The family was also intrigued by the tempting fragrances and unfamiliar foods. My children are relatively adventurous in their eating, but they were a bit dubious about what would happen if they were not fond of the food.

When the Key Wat, vegetables, and injera were ready, we all sat down to eat. Eva and I thought that the Key Wat and vegetables were delicious and we went back for seconds. Rich spiced his portions up a bit with added Berbere and Mitmita. He was blown away by the meal, and I think was in for thirds. Alina found everything a little too spicy. She ate a half serving of the meat and veggies and then made herself a sandwich. Asher eats about seven foods at this point so he had opted out of the meal and stuck with one of his standards. We negotiated over the leftover Key Wat the next day (Eva and I split it), and I claimed the leftover veggies.

The Pumpkin Pie Spice did not go neglected. The next morning, I modified our weekend gluten free/dairy free pancake breakfast to be gluten free/dairy free pumpkin aebleskiver breakfast. I added pumpkin and Pumpkin Pie Spice to the batter and filled the aebleskivers with chocolate chips or pumpkin butter. They were a big hit (I’ll post the recipe soon). I also used the spice blend in a GF/CF chocolate chip pumpkin bread that we enjoyed for Thanksgiving.

Raw Spice Bar subscription ethopian spice blends and recipes

The spices from Raw Spice Bar were everything that they promised to be. They seemed very fresh and were extremely aromatic and flavorful. Every recipe that I made with them was delicious, once I made adjustments to spice quantities that seemed more consistent with our palates. I thought that the flavors in the foods were bright and lively; balanced, and layered. It was a great way to acquaint the kids with Ethiopian food and to introduce me to preparing it at home.

Eva raved about the Key Wat in particular, and made me promise to make it again. She also expressed a desire to try making some other Ethiopian dishes at home. Rich praised the meal so effusively, and so often that it was striking. He kept saying how delicious the food was, but also that he really appreciated having a whole spectrum of new flavors at our dinner table (and at breakfast).

I am not sure if the spice quantities that were suggested by Raw Spice Bar were reflective of authentic Ethiopian cuisine and we are just mild-palated, or if the recipes were aggressively spiced under any circumstances. I certainly didn’t mind adjusting the spice level down, and am excited that it means that I can make these dishes several more times with the quantities of spices that were provided.

As for my overall impression, my mother has worked in fields related to food advertising and marketing or specialty-food gifting since I was young. I have joined her in attending many food and gift-oriented trade shows around the country over the years. She also happens to be a fantastic cook. I have had the good fortune of tasting a lot of good food. I find that I often have high standards for food and for food-oriented subscriptions.

That said, Raw Spice Bar delighted me with what they had to offer. I think that for the open-minded eater and relatively experienced cook, this is a fantastic subscription. I was a little concerned about presenting my family with such exotic flavors. I was pleased that the girls tried both dishes, and Eva loved the food. Next time, I’ll cut back on the spice a bit for Alina and the rest of us will just add a pinch more at the table.

In addition to the high quality of the spices and the exotic blends that Raw Spice Bar provided, I really appreciated how they expanded our family dining horizons. I know that we will make these dishes again. They were truly so good, and absolutely packed with flavor. I am also inspired to try and to create additional Ethiopian recipes at home using the spices, and I love that sort of creative inspiration.

Have you received RawSpice Bar in the past? Who do you think would love this type of subscription as a gift?

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La Ritzy Vegan Beauty Subscription Unboxing & Review: November 2015

Crunchy Parent La Ritzy Vegan Beauty Subscription Unboxing & Review November 2015

La Ritzy is a monthly beauty subscription service that sends 4-5 vegan, cruelty-free cosmetic and skincare items in each box. Although not specifically marketed as a green beauty box, the brands that La Ritzy sends have tended to be non-toxic, natural brands. La Ritzy recently ran a promotion offering one month free with a three month subscription. I knew that it was the right time for me to give this subscription a try.

Boxes cost $24.99 per month, which includes U.S. shipping. There are discounts for multi-month subscriptions. I purchased this box and was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own.

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

La Ritzy had released spoilers showing what two of the items would be in the November box. I was excited to get my hands on the box and check out everything inside. The box came well-packaged, and everything was received intact.

La Ritzy November vegan green beauty subscription-GlamNatural and Jacq's Organics

La Ritzy included an information card that provided a brief description and valuing information for all items in the box. The first item that caught my eye had been spoiled in the sneak peek. It was a full size of GlamNatural’s Finishing Powder (value $30.00). The natural, super-fine powder is designed to be applied atop one’s makeup to set their look and give lasting wear to cosmetics. I must admit that I tend to neglect this step and then start wish later that I hadn’t. I was glad to be sent this little reminder to take an extra moment to finish off my face in the morning to get more bang for my buck when I do my face.

The next item in the box was a big surprise to me. I was so excited to see the Jacq’s Organics Green Smoothie Scrub and Mask (1 oz., value $17.50). This item has been in other subscription boxes recently but none that I had received and I was coveting it mightily. The mask blends clarifying and detoxifying charcoal, clays, and sea kelp with almond meal for scrubbing and mints, rosemary, geranium and other essential oils to stimulate and cool the skin.

The dry powder is designed to be blended with your liquid(s) of choice, which can be anything from water to honey, yogurt, a hydrating hydrosol, or other nourishing selection. I love dry masks for exactly this reason; they can be catered to your preference and the shelf-stability is prolonged with the absence of liquid, which also eliminates the need for preservatives. I opted for water to try the mask in its purest form. Although I was expecting a green mask based on the name, the charcoal gave it a deep gray/black appearance. I made a relatively thin mix with the water and painted it onto my face with a mask brush (an old, clean foundation brush works well for this step too). Once dried, I rinsed as directed, scrubbing my skin with my hands to get the most out of the almond meal as I rinsed. My skin looked clear, bright, and refreshed after using the mask. I am interested to see how my skin responds to repeated use over time.

La Ritzy vegan beauty box Palmetto Derma and Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques

The next box reveal was the second item from the sneak peek. I was very much looking forward to receiving the full sized Palmetto Derma Collagen Booster & Restoration Serum (value $48.00). The serum is packed with anti-oxidants and hydrating ingredients like aloe and hyaluronic acid. I was surprised by how light and completely odorless the serum was and yet my skin was noticeably more hydrated immediately after I applied. I think that this product will be an excellent addition to my skincare routine this winter layered beneath my skin oil and moisturizers. For those with combination oily skin, I think that the serum would hydrate and nourish the skin without adding oil or shine. As a tip to those who missed out on the box and want to give the product a try, or who received the box and want to stock up on more Palmetto Derma items, the site is offering 30%-50% off all of their items sitewide throughout the cyber weekend shopping extravaganza.

The last item in the box was a full size Pressed Cheek Colour from Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques (value $14.00). I have been using Lauren Brooke products as a natural cosmetic option for about a year and have been very pleased with their ingredients and formulations. I have not tried the cheek colors yet so I look forward to trying this one out. The Sweet Sixteen shade that I received looks like it will be easy to wear and complement many skin tones. Once again, if you are looking to take advantage of sales this weekend, Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques will be offering 30% off of all of their full-sized products for Cyber Monday.

La Ritzy November 2015 vegan natural cosmetic and skincare subscription box unboxing review

I was very pleased with my first La Ritzy box. I liked the mix of skincare and cosmetic items. I am sometimes wary of cosmetic items in boxes because it can be so difficult to appeal to a wide range of skin tones and color preferences. I thought that the cosmetic items included in the box were useful and flattering for most skin tones. Although La Ritzy markets themselves as a vegan beauty box and not necessarily a green beauty box, all items included were from great green beauty brands and were chock-full of organic, natural, and plant-based ingredients. The overall value for the box was $109.50, which is an exceptional value for the box price. I am looking forward to the December box. La Ritzy has already released a spoiler saying that the box will include a vegan, 7-free polish from Trust Fund Beauty.

I continue to delight in the growth of the green beauty industry and its integration into the subscription box world. Two years ago, when I first began to look into subscription boxes there were only a handful of vegan and green options available. In the last quarterly update to my comprehensive list of crunchy-friendly subscription boxes, there were over twenty boxes geared toward green beauty and cruelty-free beauty enthusiasts. I think that this growth speaks volumes about growing consumer awareness and demand for healthier, safer, more conscious beauty and personal care products. It’s exciting to see.

What do you think about La Ritzy? Are you a fan of their vegan cosmetic and skincare hybrid approach? Are you curious to see what will accompany the Trust Fund Beauty polish in the December box? I know that I am.

If you would like to see the most recent Crunchy Parent List 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 or reviews, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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Mindfulness Box Zen Lifestyle Subscription Unboxing & Review: November 2015

Mindfulness Box

Mindfulness Box is a lifestyle subscription service aimed at promoting mindfulness, inner peace and balance by giving people the tools to live with more intention and in the present moment. This lifestyle box includes holistic and homeopathic, essential oil, and mineral based health care products, handcrafted jewelry, delicious biodynamic treats, natural minerals/crystals and more. Each box contains 4-5 items accompanied with guided dialogue to enrich the recipient’s journey to balance and inner peace. Boxes cost $29.00 per month, which includes shipping, and are less with multi-month subscriptions. Use code CRUNCHY10 for 10% off of your order.

Mindfulness Box graciously sent me this box to review. I received no additional compensation, and all opinions are my own. See more of my Mindfulness Box reviews here.

Asher and Alina have become my regular Mindfulness Box unboxing sidekicks. They love to see what interesting, useful, and tasty items will be included in the box. 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 the sunny, smiling Mindfulness Box symbol and “Present Moment. Beautiful Moment” message to set the tone to best appreciate the contents. Everything arrived to me safely and intact.

Mindfulness Box November unboxign & review

As always, Mindfulness Box included an enclosure card listing the contents along with descriptions and values, as well as suggestions for how to integrate the items into our life in a way that would promote mindfulness. We set the card aside so that we could discover the items on our own, but referenced it at the end to help us learn about what Mindfulness Box had curated for this month. This month’s theme was focused on gratitude, a perfect message for November when we shift our intention more mindfully to giving thanks.

Mindfulness box serpentine palm stone & heart chakra meditation

Alina had asked to be the first to unwrap an item from the box. She discovered a smooth, polished green stone. In reading the enclosure, we discovered that the stone was a serpentine palm crystal; perfect for carrying in a pocket or holding in one’s hand during meditation (value, $7.50). Mindfulness Box described serpentine as being excellent for meditation and associated with the heart chakra. They also included a heart chakra guided meditation activity.

Mindfulness box custom grateful tea towel

Asher wanted to find the next item in the box, and chose to take out a white tea towel that had been embellished with a stamped mandala design and the word “grateful” as well as the Mindfulness Box logo (value, $14.00). I really liked the unique design of this Mindfulness Box custom item. I do a lot of fermenting and culturing and often need to cover jars with a tea towel to protect my ferments from dust or critters while allowing air to circulate freely.

kombucha infusing with gratitude-mindfulness box

This tea towel was perfect for covering my most recent batch of kombucha. It made me think of Marasu Emoto’s work investigating the relationship between focused intention and water crystal formation. Although the science is dubious, I figure that it cannot hurt to infuse my kombucha and other ferments with a little positive energy and gratitude while they culture.

Mindfulness box gratitude pocket journal

Building on the theme of gratitude, Mindfulness Box sent a pocket-sized, softcover, gratitude journal; custom made as an exclusive for this box (value, $6.00). The journal included a number of writing prompts to reflect on gratitude and blessings, as well as inspiring quotes about gratitude.

Mindfulness box gratitude journal sample page November box

I look forward to using this journal for my own reflections as well as using the prompts to serve as conversation starters during dinner or discussion times with the kids this month. Rich and I often talk about gratitude and how to practice gratefulness in our life as a way to bring about greater happiness. This journal will be a welcomed addition to our practice.

Mindfulness Box Zenbunni chocolate & yo soy candle Grateful

Alina showed off the Zenbunni Spirit Weavers Chocolate Bar as her next selection (value, $3.00). We have gotten to sample several Zenbunni bars through subscription boxes and have become familiar with their high-quality, full-bodied chocolates. The Spirit Weavers bar commemorates the Spirit Weavers gathering that brings together women from around the world annually to practice and share skills that support the body and spirit such as fermenting, dyeing, and herbal medicine making. The biodynamic bar blends hibiscus, elder flowers, and blood orange with cacao and cane jaggery to give a delicious boost to the immune system. I enjoyed the hint of fruitiness balanced by the rich and slightly bitter chocolate.

Zenbunni Spirit Weavers chocolate bar Mindfulness Box

The final item, uncovered by Asher, was a Yo Soy “I am Grateful” soy candle in a sweet orange and chili pepper fragrance (4 oz., value, $8.00) I did not see this scent on the Yo Soy site, but they had many other tempting fragrances available. As is obvious in the video, my kids are very used to having little glass jars of homemade salves all around the house, which is why Asher kept trying to dig his finger into the candle (fortunately without success). As much as I love salves, I was happy that this was in fact a candle. I find that with the darker days in the fall and winter months, I am lighting candles more for meditation, during a relaxing bath, or to create a quiet tone within the house. I was delighted to have this candle to add into the mix, and I loved the fresh orange scent that was balanced with just a hint of spice from the pepper. According to Mindfulness Box, the candle is meant to align you with your intention of gratitude.

Mindfulness full November Box Unboxing & review; zen meditation, chocolate, crystals, gratitude

The overall value of this month’s box according to the retail values provided was $38.50. This is a good value relative to the box price, and a significant increase over last month’s box value. I know that I will use every item in the box, as well as the meditation and gratitude practices. I find that the longer that I have been receiving subscription boxes, the more I have come to appreciate item utility and goodness of fit with my lifestyle over straight retail price. After all, the ultimate value is in the perceived utility to me, not a theoretical number. I very much liked the gratefulness theme; it is one that is not just popular at this time of year, but is very much in keeping with Mindfulness Box’s year-round mission. I like that Mindfulness Box consistently sends a nice balance of items for home, for self, and for emotional and spiritual wellness.

What are your thoughts about Mindfulness Box? Do you appreciate reminders and practices to promote gratitude in your life?

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, recently 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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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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Goddess Provisions November Box Sneak Peek

If you checked out the recent fall update of the Crunchy Parent Ultimate List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes, you may have noticed the addition of Goddess Provisions. They are new subscription service created by the owners of Vegan Cuts. Goddess Provisions offers a monthly lifestyle box for women. They send products 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 are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

Goddess Provisions November subscription sneak peek

Goddess Provisions has just released a sneak peek for their November box, which will focus on the sacral chakra and aim to ignite your passion and creativity. Every box will include a deck of Oracle Cards from Healing Crystals, and 21 drops aromatherapy roller balls (size, type, and quantity not specified). I can’t wait to receive my box, which is scheduled to ship in about a week. Are you in for one?

If you want to see my unboxing & review of the very first Goddess Provisions box, 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 or reviews, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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