I Like Big Samples and I Cannot Lie!

The start of April brings singing birds, awesome weather, and the next round of monthly subscription boxes!  I always look forward to the beginning of each month, anxiously anticipating the awesomeness that will be included in each of my subscriptions.  As far as beauty boxes, I have been getting a Birchbox since July 2012 and have added Ipsy (formally Glam Bag) this month after being on a short waiting list.  I’m excited to see what will be included in each of those and maybe make a decision on which of the two to continue with next month.  Though, I’m pretty sure, I’ll end keeping both subscriptions!  I also bought Nick a month of Birchbox for Men just to try it out.  He isn’t too big into the whole guy skin and hair product rage, but since each box is tailored to your likes and lifestyle, maybe there will be some useful products in his box.

My most anticipated box this month is the StrideboxLast month’s box was chock full of practical goodies for runners.  I could not wait to try out the products.  The two bars, the Picky Bar and the Kind Bar, made their way to my gym bag.  I always eat a snack before each post work run so I knew that these two would be gobbled up in no time.  I already love Kind bars so I ate that one first (their newest flavor, dark chocolate nut and sea salt), saving the Lauren’s Mega Nut Picky Bar.  As much as I love getting the goodies in all my boxes last month, I hoard them. Seriously.  Much like my gift card collection, I like to hang on to the samples until I can absolutely savor them.  I do it with my Birchboxes already, using up the products that I currently use or interest me the least and saving the ones that I know will be awesome.  It’s a crazy weird quirk, but that’s me. 🙂

That being said, the Kind bar was really tasty.  I had intentions of taking a pic of each bar, but I ate this one before I took a picture.  Oops!  The bar was the perfect mix of chocolate and sea salt. Crunchy and a little gooey, exactly what you want as a snack before a run.  It sticks with ya, but not in a bad-upset-your-stomach-kind-of-way.

After hoarding for a few weeks, I finally gave into the Picky Bar experience and loved the bar!!  It was amazing.  It was a softer bar but it had plenty of crunch.  It tasted like the inside part of a Snickers Peanut Butter egg from Easter but way more nutritious.   There 2013-03-06 15.26.52were also pieces of dates and cranberries which added sweetness and tartness in some bites.  The crunch in the bar was from pumpkin seeds, walnuts and cashews.  The bar has a bit of sea salt which took the bar over the top of other bars for me.  This bar was awesome! They aren’t available locally yet, but with the Picky Club, I can have 18 bars delivered monthly for $37.  They also have boxes of 10 bars available too.  Definitely contemplating signing up, they were that good.

So in true sample hoarding fashion, I am hanging on to the two Power Ice freezer bars.  I want to fully enjoy one of those after a long hot humid Summer run.  I dream of finishing a run and cooling down with one of those; they are perfect for that.  I gave the two Peanut Butter GUs to my hubby.  GU and my tummy just do not get along well.  I should have put my Run Guard into my gym bag already.  I ended up getting a slight burning under by arm on Sunday’s long run and instead of using lip balm to calm down the chafing, I could have used this.  Lesson learned, it’s in my bag now.

The fab pink wrist wallet from Given Brand is now in my gym bag.  I am planning on using it today on my run.  I usually wear shorts or capris with small key pockets already, so I need to consciously make an effort to use this one.  As far as the last two products, Win sports detergent and Click protein drink, yup, you guessed it, I haven’t tried those either.  I have a hard time incorporating the samples that are out of my normal routine.  I need to make a conscious effort to remember to use these.  I have a few more days left before my new box arrives, so I hope to finish sampling the rest of this one first.  But knowing how I am, I’ll probably still have some things hanging around.

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March StrideBox! It’s here! It’s here!

2013-03-04 18.20.48I was so excited to see my first StrideBox sitting in my kitchen counter when I got home from exercising yesterday!  It was the perfect pick-me-up for a Monday!  Since I had no idea what to expect inside of it, I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of products in the box.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I signed up last month right as the February boxes were shipped out, so I had to wait a whole month for mine!

When I first opened the box, tore open the tissue paper wrapping and checked out The Stride Guide (a list of all the products included), I was thrilled to see something fabulously hot pink staring back at me.  It was a Given Brand – Original Flip Pocket Wrist Wallet (retail: $10.95).  It is awesome!  Perfect sized band with a handy pocket that will easily fit a key, some cash and an ID on a run.  I can’t wait to use it tomorrow.

Next I checked out two long tubes of PowerICE (retail: $8.99/6 pack), one is Lime Kicker and the other is Orange Blast .  Oh my gosh, these are freeze pops with electrolytes!  The suggestion on the card says to consume one 15-30 minutes before a run, but I might be interested in trying them on a summer day after running.  These will make the perfect treat! Totally helping to cool your core temp after a hot run.  Can’t wait to try this!

There were two different bars in the box, a Picky Bar (retail: $22.99 for 10 bars) and a Kind Bar (retail: $1.99 a bar).  I thought the Picky Bar was super cute, great packaging! The flavor in my box was Lauren’s Mega Nuts *Peanut Butter Booyah*.  It is a gluten and dairy free energy bar especially designed for athletes.  I’ll definitely try give it a try this week as my afternoon snack before I head out for a run.  The other bar is already one of my favorites, Kind Bar Dark Chocolate Nuts & 2013-03-04 18.24.15Sea Salt.  This bar combines my favorite flavors, chocolate and sea salt.  I was definitely happy to see this in the box!

After digging deeper into the box, I found two GU Energy Gels, peanut butter flavor (retail: $11.60/8 gels).  Though I don’t normally use gels on my runs, they tend to upset my tummy, I might give this one a try.  I have several friends who use GU so if my tummy can’t tolerate it, I can pass it along to them.

Next, there was a packet for Mocha Click Espresso Protein Drink (retail $2.95/packet).  It has only 120 calories and packs the punch of a double shot of Espresso coffee.  You can “click your way” and make it hot, cold or blended by just adding water.  Love the options!  This might be a great pre-run beverage in lieu of my normal cup of coffee.

Near the bottom of the box were the last two products, a travel size of Run Guard – Original Anti Chafe Stick (retail: $3.95/travel size) and a one use size Win Sports Detergent ($1.00/travel size).  Run Guard is the new product from Nip Guard.  It is the perfect size to keep in my gym bag.  I’ll be interested to compare it to the other two types of anti chafing products I use already.  I’m always looking for the best products that not only work great, but are cost effective too.  And at $3.95 for a travel size, that’s a great price!  The Win Sports Detergent is made to help remove that sweaty smell that hangs out on workout clothes, even after you wash them.  I will also be comparing this to the detergent that I current use that’s also formulated to remove workout stink from clothes.  Can’t wait to put it to the test!

Overall, I’m totally stoked about my StrideBox.  For the $15 I spent for this month’s box, the box contained just over $26 worth of products.  In addition, The Stride Guide also included some discounts for some of the products, so if I wanted to purchase any of them, I could save some cash.stridebox march

Once I try the products, I’ll be sure to share my thoughts in a future blog post.

“Birchbox” for Runners?! Awesome!

I love my monthly Birchbox shipment.  What girls wouldn’t love a beautifully wrapped box of beauty samples and other fun goodies!  Don’t worry, guys, theybirchbox-homepage-600x298-dec didn’t forget about you, they also have Birchbox Man.  In any given box, there are usually 6-8 high end samples for face cream to shampoo and nail polish to lip gloss.  Each box is based on your own personal beauty profile which you can update at any time. Some boxes have even had some cute goodies such as headphones, hair ties and chocolate covered potato chips!  The ability to try products first without spending hefty price tags is also a huge benefit.  I’ve purchased full size items of some of the samples I tried and found out others didn’t really live up to the promises.  Stupid stretch marks, I had such high hopes for that cream too!  Every month is a surprise and I love Birchbox delivery day!

While I was looking at details about #Runchat’s I love Running challenge, I saw one of the prizes listed was a monthly subscription for Strideboxsb-three-samplesThey described it as a monthly box of assorted running products (apparel, nutrition, accessories, etc.).  I had to check that out, it sounded just like Birchbox, but for runners! What a brilliant idea!  I clicked on their site and immediately signed up for the first month once I read the details.  At $15 a box, I felt like that was really reasonable and what a great way to try out new products.  Just like Birchbox, you can cancel your subscription at any time.  They just sent out the February boxes, so I’m anxiously awaiting the March delivery.  Once the box arrives, I’ll be sure to share my thoughts about it.

Now, I’ll have two days to look forward to each month, Birchbox and Stridebox days!

Life is full of challenges and surprises.

~Jill Sander