Saturday, December 20, 2014

Thanks a lot Facebook Ads: My Latest Obsession with Subscription Boxes & a Citrus Lane Review

So, you know those little ads that show up on Facebook for everything in the world you didn't know you needed? Some of them creepily right on about what you are into (is that a coincidence?)? Well, sitting around on extended maternity leave left me wide open to way too much Facebook time. Let's face it, my friends are only so interesting after checking facebook 1057 times, clicking on ads was inevitable.

I think Citrus Lane does the best job of advertising their subscription box. Bright colors, name brands, who can resist? So when Target sent me an invitation for a Target Citrus Lane Box for $10 (valued at $29) and no commitment I caved in. There I was signing myself up, I mean my toddler up, for a surprise box of goodies delivered right to my door. Now for the waiting.

I guess I couldn't wait, I decided to go and find myself another subscription in the mean time. This one I'd heard about way back on another blog I think. Stitch fix, boy they hit the nail on the head with that name. A year ago or so I'd toyed with the idea of doing this one. The idea is you tell Stitch Fix what your style is, the brands you love, your sizes and pay a small fee to have a box of clothing and/or accessories sent your way. You pay for and keep what you like (and the $20 fee is applied to your purchase) and send the rest back, or send it all back and you're out $20. They give you a 25% discount if you keep everything. I am skeptical but excited at the same time, we will see how this pans out.

It's funny, I'd already created a Stitch Fix style profile a year ago and I really didn't need to change a thing when I looked it over. I did request that they not send accessories or pants, since these are the things I'm pickiest about. And I gave them the biggest challenge they likely face,  I asked for tops and sweaters that won't make me look frumpy post baby. The box is coming tomorrow, I seriously can't wait.

Well, my husband didn't want to miss out on this opportunity (when else would I agree to frivolous spending) so he quickly ordered himself a Loot Crate. Apparently the theme is "Anniversary" this month and he has convinced himself it will contain Batman stuff since it's the 75th anniversary of, well, Batman? (I don't know what's going on!) Thank you Facebook ads for also confirming this so we can rest at night. His box comes tomorrow, too. A subscription box his/her face-off!

So the only thing I have to base my subscription box opinion on at this moment is the Citrus Lane Box. And now, for the big reveal!

Keep in mind, this box was intended for my 3 1/2 year old son, and these opinions are entirely my own. He hasn't seen any of it and you'll see why shortly.

The biggest item in the box was a set of dominos from Janod. They are made from a nice thick cardboard and have shiny colorful animal pictures on 1 side and dots on the other. These haven't come out of the box, other than me looking at them, because we have dominos and other similar games. It never occurred to me when I ordered this box (for my 3rd child) that we might already have the items in the box. Noted. This is my first experience with this brand, seemed like good quality. From a quick search, it looks like they retail for around $10-13 dollars online.

The box also contained Maracas from Hohner Kids. I am familiar with this brand, in fact I have a few of their instruments. And yes, we already have maracas. So...these are still in the box. They sell for around $6 online, so likely under $5 in a retail store.

Next up is a red velvet Hero Cape from Little Adventures. Not only do we have 1 red super hero cape here at home, we have 2! And guess how many times they've been worn. That's right, only the first time they received them as a gift! The cape seemed very well made, I'd have given it a shot if we didn't already have a few. I turned around and sold this on a local Facebook group for $10, it retails for $17.

Here is something we didn't already have at home, a tiny bag of Annie's Organic Cheddar Snack Mix. My son took this to school for snack and it was never heard from again. He hasn't requested more. It's probably worth less than a dollar.

By the way, here's what the ad looked liked in my email invitation. Striking resemblance, right?!

Needless to say, I've lowered my expectations for the boxes headed my way. It isn't that I didn't like the stuff in the Citrus Lane, it just didn't match what I pictured in my mind (or my email) . I think if I purchase from them in the future I would skip the surprise. I also think these would make excellent gifts for first time parents who likely don't have all the junk we do!

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you about another box I bought as a gift for my former mother-in-law from Mary's Secret Ingredients. She likes to cook and is one of those people who has everything, so this was a no-brainer for me. I found a coupon on the blog for a few dollars off and shipping was included, just $21.95 out the door. I didn't take pictures because the website posts a full rundown. I opened it to make sure everything was intact and then wrapped it up for Christmas. I am super happy with this box and would definitely gift it again. I stole this picture from their blog.


Now let's see how long I last before ordering a Golden Tote. I don't know if I can rest until I've exhausted every subscription box option!

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