Monday, March 31, 2014

boxfullove toys :: Nerd Block Jr. :: March 2014

Full disclosure: I'm a total kid.

No, not in human years; I'm way, way past childhood on that timeline. But I'm not one to let that small technicality stop me from playing games, watching the occasional cartoon or animated show (Um, Avatar, anyone? EPIC.), orcollecting the odd toy here and there (I'm looking at you, Unicorno).

So when I found out Nerd Block was starting a toy-based kids' subscription, I naturally had to sign myself up, stat.

Are you familiar with Nerd Block? It's a monthly delivery of "epic geek gear" -- in other words, geek- and gamer-related collectibles, toys, figurines, and t-shirts. As a matter of fact, every month's box includes a t-shirt along with the rest of the goods.  Fun facts: Nerd Block is based in Canada, and has possibly the coolest promotional video ever -- more on that in a few.

Not content with catering only to adult geeky folks, about a month ago Nerd Block announced two spinoff boxes were in the works: Nerd Block Jr. for boys and Nerd Block Jr. for girls.  The Jr. box concept is the same as the adult  but designed especially with kids ages six to eleven in mind (not to mention the occasional sparkly-eyed, nostalgic adult -- ahem). And that awesome promo video? The Jr. version is awesome too:

So for a mere $13 plus shipping and handling ($19.99 total), I subbed to receive the girls' version of the Block.

First look. Bears! Ponies! Hello Kitty! Be still, my girly, Lisa Frank-plastered, prepubescent heart!

Who doesn't love a stuffed bear? Harris here is a pretty adorable little guy, and boasts Pixar pedigree to boot. He's about eight inches tall and quite fluffy.

Too much cuteness in one multipurpose tin! If I were eight years old, I would absolutely rock that Derpy tin as a pencil case for school. This guy comes with two pink My Little Pony logo-stamped pencils, a set of Pony stickers, and the two cutest Pony erasers known to man. 

Since I'm a subscription and mystery box addict, it follows that I also can't resist a blind bag. This one promises to be cute, but that could it be?


If there were fines for word abuse (and there probably should be), I'd be in trouble by the end of this post: this is, again, ridiculously adorable. FYI, Hello Kitty's bucket and sun hat are removable, her arms are poseable, and she can choose to stand on or off the green Lego grass block.

In other news, have you noticed the boyfriend/resident shutterbug stepping up his photography game? Look at that sweet bokeh and gradient background! (I've been noticing lately we sub box ladies seem to have unusually understanding, indulgent, and cooperative significant others. Coincidence? Hmm. I sense a totally off-topic speculative post brewing. Stop me!) 

I am totally unfamiliar with Moshi Monsters --they must've come along well after my time. Either way, the box holds all the blocks and pieces necessary to build Katsuma, the cute monster on the front cover. 

My Little Pony Slap Band. $24.99 for a set of 6 (so about $4.17 for one).
With the exception of the Moshi Monsters set and the Brave bear plush, this is such an 80s/90s-kid grab bag! This brought on such a wave of nostalgia. I used to love these things! So much mindless fun. My boyfriend and I took turns slapping these on each other's wrists probably for longer than we'd like to admit. The cool thing about the new and improved 21st Century slap bands is that, unlike the sharp, totally unsafe (but awesome), living-on-the-edge bands of yore, these are reinforced with a plastic cover. I've read online that the manufacturer (allegedly) has discontinued these bands, so they may actually be collector's items now! 

The total value for this box comes to approximately $38.12, well over the subscription price + s&h. Not only that, I thought it was perfectly assembled to delight any little girl -- not to mention many of us who haven't really had a legitimate reason to visit a Toys "R" Us for quite some years now.

While I can't justify continuing to subscribe to Nerd Block Jr. (sniffle), I sincerely and enthusiastically recommend it for any little kid in your life. It's a really sweet, fun treat. Remember, there's also a boys' version!  If you'd like to learn more or sign up for a sub, click to check out the Nerd Block Jr. website

This post does not contain affiliate links, referral links, or other forms of advertising for compensation. Regardless, all opinions are my own and never affected or influenced by sponsorship. For full disclaimer and disclosure details, click the disclosure tab above.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

boxfullove sweets :: Orange Glad review :: March 2014

Don't you hate how sometimes work gets in the way of the things you'd rather be doing? Like writing blog posts about your subscription box habit? Yeah, me too -- it's been one of those weeks. 

But it's Saturday! And I'm back with some brunchable treats.

For the uninitiated, Orange Glad is a monthly gourmet dessert subscription: for $15 plus shipping and handling (about $21.95), each month you receive a box of five baked goods, chocolates, or other confections.  You can save some money off the monthly price by committing to three or six months of box deliveries, and you can also opt to receive twice the amount of goodies for an additional $12.  Not into commitment? You can buy single boxes too, for the same amount, no need to subscribe.  I wish more sub services offered the option to get single boxes!  It's a great way to sample the sub before deciding whether or not it's for you, and probably saves quite a bit of time FAQing and emailing and unsubscribing.  So I really appreciate Orange Glad's purchasing flexibility.

And then there's the packaging and design, which Orange Glad has down.  From the clear plastic packages to the pops of bright pink to the cute cardboard-brown branded stickers, these guys are all about presentation, and the cohesiveness really makes unboxing feel like opening up an expensive present.

Right?  Isn't that pretty?

The enclosed information card lists each of the treats in the box by name, includes a short description, and tells you approximately how much time you have until it expires ("Enjoy right away," "Enjoy within 3 months," etc.).

These cookies, aside from being adorable, are also made with all-natural ingredients (cage-free eggs, organic cane sugar, unbleached wheat flour) by former restaurateurs based in California. I received a strawberry jam-filled cookie and an apricot jam-filled cookie, and they both tasted home-baked. Delicious.

By the way, I forgot to mention that Orange Glad also has a small virtual shop where you can purchase a selection of the products featured in it boxes.  These cookies were not available at the shop as of this writing, but you can find them at the Cookies con Amore site.    

OlaMola Hazelnut Meringue Kisses. $35.95 for a "party pack" at the Orange Glad shop.

I thought these might be super crunchy and tooth-unfriendly, but they're actually really light, airy, and crispy-soft.  An absolutely delicious chocolate-dipped bite. These were gone seconds after the bag was opened. I get that they're sold in individually-packaged party packs, because they'd make awesome party favors.

(Left) Donsuemor French almond cakes. $17 for a box of 20. Not available in the Orange Glad shop.

These small almond tartlets, also known as financiers in French, are sweet, moist, nutty, and basically perfection with a cup of café au lait (or, in my case, just a plain ol' cup of pod-brewed coffee).  

(Right) Cornology C Squared popcorn. $8.95 to $21.95, depending on package size. Not available in the Orange Glad shop.

C squared = caramel + cheddar. Does a better popcorn combination exist? I challenge you to name it. On top of offering C Squared (greatest name ever) for sale, the Cornology site also features a small variety of super tempting flavor combos, from truffle Parmesan to chocolate drizzle to Jamaican mojo. Yum.

Bonus shot of the almond cakes. So spongy!

The last item in the box was tucked away at the very bottom, enclosed in this very cute, very mysterious pink envelope.

Posh Pantry blueberry swirl cake. I couldn't find a price for this guy: not available in the Orange Glad shop, and Posh Pantry appears to be a wholesale manufacturer of baked goods, so I'm not sure how one might get her mitts on this again. Anyway, this mystery item turned out to be a slice of blueberry pound cake. It was light on the blueberries, kind of on the greasy side, and didn't quite have the natural, homemade taste I'd come to expect from the rest of the products in the box. Still, it was super-moist and light and, again, was a good companion for a cup of coffee.

The end. What do you guys think about the March Orange Glad box?

This was my first OG box, and I loved it. The amount of treats is manageable enough that I don't have to to roll myself out the front door in the morning, but still indulgent enough that I felt a little naughty for owning this stash of goodies. Perfect balance of good vs. evil, and at a very reasonable price.

Speaking of a reasonable price, if your interest is piqued and you'd like to learn more or to sign up for an Orange Glad sub, you can enter code YUMMY10 at checkout to save 10% off your order.  Just a little incentive to sweeten (har) the deal even more.

Happy Saturday! Now go treat yourselves!

This post does not contain affiliate links, referral links, or other forms of advertising for compensation. Regardless, all opinions are my own and never affected or influenced by sponsorship. For full disclaimer and disclosure details, click the disclosure tab above.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

boxfullove books :: Book Riot Quarterly :: #BKR02 :: March 2014

I know I've said this before, and I'll probably say it again, but --at this moment, subject to change-- I have found my favorite subscription.

Everyone, this is the second edition of the Quarterly Book Riot box, aka #BKR02.

Quarterly is, as its name indicates, a quarterly subscription service -- with a twist. Quarterly itself doesn't put together the subscription boxes available on its site; rather, it works with celebrities and individuals influential in their respective fields who themselves curate a package and offer it for subscription on the Quarterly site.  Curators range from Project Runway judge Nina Garcia to design lovers Poketo to hip hop legend Q-Tip to Oakland Raiders cornerback D. J. Hayden to Bill Nye the Science Guy (!). 

Each subscription, which ships out every three months, is either $50 or $100 per quarter depending on the curator, though most are $50.

So far, I've subscribed to two Quarterly boxes: Q-Tip (shipping on this one keeps getting delayed, and I think it's because the subscription slots aren't filling up -- which is inconceivable to me, but hey, people are strange) and Book Riot, and this is my first-ever Quarterly unboxing.

Book Riot is, essentially, a website built by book lovers for book lovers of all stripes and walks of life and reading habits. Its contributors, a mix of professional writers and not, adhere to the following mission statement (per the website):

Our Beliefs
  1. We create.
  2. We always prefer the book to the movie.
  3. We riot as a team.
  4. We geek out on books, embarrassingly so.
  5. We’re leaders.
  6. We practice charity.
  7. We miss our subway stop cause the book is that good.
  8. We are non-traditional.
  9. We believe in family (bookshelves and cats count).

That's a manifesto I can totally get behind.  And so I subscribed.   

AMAZING first look.

Everything about this package was fantastic, from the contents all the way down to the bookish packing tape.

Inside this beautifully designed blue sleeve were four looseleaf pages detailing the contents of the box. The other several typed loose sheets you see to the right of the sleeve are bonus portions of Lauren Leto's Judging A Book By Its Lover, available exclusively to Book Riot Quarterly subscribers (more on Lauren Leto below).

We couldn't resist taking a close-up of the gorgeous Quarterly logo embossed into the info sleeve. Packaging nerddom strikes again.

Box contents, part one. Clockwise from top:

Book Darts: Read Harder. $6.69 for a pack of 30 (though my tin has 32 -- I counted). So much less intrusive than a bookmark, and excellent to point directly to memorable lines and passages.

YAY! LiFE! Yay! Books! magnet. $3.50 each. The first item I saw on unboxing, which mirrored my feelings exactly as I went through the contents of the package.

The Unemployed Philosphers Guild Banned Books mug. $12.95 each. I love this mug, which features the titles of several notoriously banned books, from George Orwell's Animal Farm to William Burroughs' Naked Lunch. I don't think you can really tell in these pictures, but the word BANNED is embossed across the front of the mug. Badass. (By the way, to the left of the mug is the box in which it was packaged, not another item. I just thought the box was cool and deserved its moment in the spotlight, too.)

More mugshots (har).

Box contents, part two: the books!  Top to bottom:

Parnassus On Wheels by Christopher Morley. Paperback, $10.00. This  novella, written in 1917, is "about a couple who travel the countryside selling books." See, to me, that's a totally appealing read, not to mention lifestyle/career change. I'm sold. About its decision to include this in its mailing, Book Riot writes that "it's a beautiful and timely reminder that, although we live in a time when readers have oodles of options and everything seems new, some of the very best things about the reading life are constant."

Judging A Book By Its Lover by Lauren Leto. Paperback, $7.50. In the spirit of Book Riot's all-inclusive, totally egalitarian approach to reading, Lauren Leto's book contains essays and musings on the idea that "[t]here are no right books or wrong books to read, and no right or wrong way to read them." In the book, Leto includes "guides for faking like you've read books," and the bonus loose sheets I mentioned above are extra guides for faking your way through Karen Russell, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Donna Tartt. I haven't started the book yet (still working my way through the to-reads stacked on my nightstand), but I read through the extra and it's mostly witty fun (but what does she mean she's never read The Little Friend?!).

Gemini: A Novel by Carol Cassella. $25.99 for a hardcover edition. My copy is a paperback, but only because it's an advance reading copy. This is a new release, so it probably won't be available in paperback for a few months.  Gemini, by the way, was a #BKR02 bonus: according to the info leaflets, only "[l]ucky randomly selected subscribers" received an advance reading copy of one of four yet-unpublished books, including this one. I was, of course, chuffed to find out I'd been one of the lucky bookworms -- although another of the advance copies was Molly Wizenberg's Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage, which I also would have loved to receive.  If you're not familiar with Ms. Wizenberg, she writes (beautifully) a blog over at Orangette that I've been following for years, mostly about food and cooking, but also about life in the Pacific Northwest, and about starting a restaurant with her husband (whom she met through the blog), and about marriage and (very cool) motherhood, and about writing. It's fantastic, and I can't recommend it enough. Sorry, Carol Casella: this section was supposed to be about you!

Finally, to the right, leaning against the book stacklet:

Custom USB drive: Short Story Thursdays Digital Dispatch.  Writer Jacob Tomsky wants to bring literature into your everyday life. At least every Thursday. Once signed up for the Short Story Thursdays mailing list, you'll receive a "classic" short story in your inbox every week.  Into this particular USB drive, Jacob loaded a selection of short stories as well as a video of himself giving some background on SST and speaking about the included stories. I'd never heard of SST until #BKR02, but I think it's a brilliant idea, a provisional bridge between analog and digital (which Book Riot also builds so well), and I promptly signed up for the weekly mailings.

Box contents, part three. Last words.

Vintage bookworms-in-a-bookmobile poster, courtesy of Brooklyn-based independent publisher Melville House. This will be framed and hung proudly next to my living-room bookshelves.

Box value: This one is difficult to calculate. How do you put a price on the USB drive, which is so much more than a storage device, filled as it is with Short Story Thursdays content? Or the Melville House poster? Or the privilege of getting to read an advance copy of a yet-unpunished novel? This sub is an excellent value, but the value is derived more from the thoughtfully-curated experience and exclusively sourced items than from a tally of its worth in dollars.     

Box verdict: I absolutely loved this package. It gave me not only new reading material, but stuff with which to enhance the reading experience (coffee mug and book darts, both reading essentials), a way to proclaim and show off my love for books (a magnet, an awesome poster), and a tool to bring the Internet (crack) and literature together. #BKR02 far far exceeded my expectations for this sub. I think I'll be keeping this one in perpetuity.

What did you think of the second Quarterly Book Riot mailing? 

I don't have an affiliate link for you to follow, but if you'd like to learn more about the sub or sign up for this or any Quarterly mailing, just click on any of the Quarterly links scattered through this page. 

boxfullove party time :: Share Your Subscription Link Party! :: March 2014

It's party time again!

Share Your Subscription with MommySplurge

Your hosts at MommySplurge and Unpack the Box hope you'll swing by (just click on the linked image above to attend) to check out this month's participating blogs and bloggers.  As always, pull up a chair, BYOB, and you might just find your new favorite subscription box blog(s).

Are you a sub box blogger?  Then share your favorite March review on the link party page, link back to the hosts and the party on your blog, and you'll be an official party participant (party-cipant?).

I am especially excited to participate in the linkup this month because the lovely MommySplurge selected my review of the limited-edition La Prairie Glossybox as her February favorite. Wooooooo! (Thank you!) So yes, if you needed extra incentive to participate, your post might be selected by one of the hosts to be featured in next month's linkup. 

All right sub box enthusiasts, I'll see you at the party!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

boxfullove makeup :: ipsy Glam Bag review :: March 2014

Back-to-back ipsy! Woo! For a look back at February --it was an eventful Glam Bag month-- and to learn a little more about the ipsy subscription, check out my last post.

Here's the March edition.

The print on this month's makeup bag was designed by San Francisco artist Klari  Reis, and taken from her geography-based series "Street Anatomy." Her shapes do sort of look like birds'-eye-view globule-lined streets, right?  I love that ipsy collaborated with an up-and-coming artist, and hope to see this turn into a series of collabs.  Makes the Glam Bag that much more special.

Love the Glam Bag zipper pulls.

This month's theme was "Destination Beauty," and the items in the bag were, I suppose, curated loosely around the idea of destination travel, although only the bag itself, which featured an abstract San Francisco grid, and an eyeshadow quad named "Bora Bora" really, explicitly fit the concept. 

Left to right:

There were only four items in the Glam Bag this month instead of the usual five.  Maybe the art print makeup bag stood in for the fifth?  I wasn't really bothered by the omission, because the polish and the quad were worth the entire bag for me.  Yes, even though the primer and lipstick sample felt like afterthoughts.  Did you guys get these and think so too? I'm not sure exactly how a tube of primer and a relatively ho-hum deluxe lipstick sample are supposed to call up images of exotic destinations, but oh well. Again, there's the out-of-left-field OPI polish and the pretty quad, and the fact that this subscription is only $10 a month, so I'm happy enough.

Here's the star of the moment.  True, rather than screaming "vacation!" this guy squeals "Easter!" to me, but either way it's so quirky and cool. From the bottle design to the formula, this polish is entirely outside-the-box. The slanted glass looks like it's about to melt off and turn into a Miyazaki character, and the robin's-egg blue polish is flecked with tiny blue and purple beads that look like sand. I am so not a blue polish kind of girl, but this one is awesome: a coat goes on matte and has the texture of a candy-coated Easter egg. Love.

The shades on this aptly-named Bora Bora quad are gorgeous and really complementary.  This isn't the most pigmented shadow, and I probably won't get much, if any, use out of the red and blue colors, but it's just so pretty and fits the month's theme perfectly. I wouldn't buy this for myself, but I loved getting it in my Glam Bag, if that makes sense.

The grand total for this bag is about $42.99, and that's without taking the Klari Reis pouch into account, so that's a fantastic value. ipsy may not have thought through the month's theme entirely, and a couple of the products were meh, but I was happy overall.  This is only my second month as an ipsy subscriber, and so far I've been sincerely pleasantly surprised.

How did you like your March Glam Bag?

If you're not yet an ipsy member, feel free to click on this referral link (thank you!) to learn more, complete your beauty profile, and sign up for your own sub. 

This post may contain affiliate links, referral links, or other forms of advertising for compensation. Regardless, all opinions are my own and never affected or influenced by sponsorship. For full disclaimer and disclosure details, click the disclosure tab above.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

boxfullove makeup :: ipsy Glam Bag :: February 2014

Because better late than never, right?

For the uninitiated, ipsy is a beauty sample subscription with an emphasis on makeup and social networking.  At signup, you take a short quiz about your beauty needs, skin type, and product preferences.  Based loosely on the quiz results, each month you'll receive a Glam Bag filled with four or five sample- and deluxe-sample-sized products.  One of the cool things about ipsy is that, unlike similar beauty subs, each month's delivery comes packed not inside a cardboard box, but a different, reusable makeup bag -- that's like getting an extra treat every time, on top of your allotted samples.  ipsy also gives you points for reviewing your samples and sharing them on social media, which you can then trade in for a selection of other samples and full-sized products to "upgrade" your next Glam Bag.  At $10 per month, this is one of the most affordable, best-value beauty subs out there.

February's Glam Bag was actually my first.  This is what I got:

Left to right:

I got three full-sized products --the polish, the blush, the falsies,-- one deluxe sample --the gloss-- and a foil packet duo.  Not too shabby for ten bucks, right? Plus, all added up, the total actual value of these products comes to $30.48.  Fantastic!

This guy was my favorite Glam Bag surprise. I love nail polish, in general I like Zoya (despite its oddly peelable formula -- have you guys noticed you can peel off a day-old Zoya coat in one satisfying/frustrating swoop?), and this orchid shade is just gorgeous. Bring on the Pantone color of the year

Speaking conservatively, I have ten million blushes and bronzers lying around the house from various sub boxes, birthday presents, and Sephora excursions; but what's one more?  This one is a vivid pink flush that looks wearable and virtually screams spring.

Ok, now for a science experiment.  Ready?

Eek! This is me in the "lab" (read: bathroom, chez moi) taking the most humbling selfies ever and applying the first layer of the Skyn Iceland Fresh Start Mask, which is purportedly composed of blue clay and "13,000 year old oxygenating mud" (per ipsy). Fancy!

Aaand phase two, which involved spreading a layer of detoxifying fruit acids over the clay/mud combo, massaging both into skin, and waiting for an "effervescent" effect.  I didn't know whether to expect Pop Rocks-style effervescence or slightly less alarming Alka Seltzer bubbles, but the reality was a lot less dramatic than I anticipated. The mixture got a tiny bit fizzy, and that's about it. I left it on for about 8 minutes, during which my face felt cool and tingly, and then rinsed it off.  After towel-drying, my face looked super glowy and smooth, and nowhere near as tight as most masks I've used before.  I might have to invest in a full-size version, which is actually 50% off this month for ipsy members. Woot!

Did you guys get this mask in your Glam Bag?  What did you think?

Ok, so I had the craziest experience with this unassuming little gloss.  I loved the shade, loved the packaging, and couldn't wait to try it on,... until I actually opened the tube and brought the applicator close to my face.  You guys, something was so wrong.  The gloss had this overwhelming chemical smell, like burnt rubber (!), and only the most underlying hint of sweetness.  I couldn't even bring myself to put it on my lips. Yuck! I was so befuddled that I immediately took to Googling, and found out I wasn't alone: dozens of beauty bloggers and message board posters had also received unintentionally funky-smelling glosses, possibly as a result of a defective batch manufactured in an overseas plant. Happy to learn I was not alone, I emailed both ipsy and Pop Beauty to report the problem, and received impeccably courteous responses and offers to replace the defective product from each. I totally respect that both companies owned the mistake and immediately offered a solution, so I actually came away from this mini-incident feeling pretty great about my ipsy experience, funky gloss notwithstanding.

That was quite the eventful unboxing, huh?  What did you think of the February ipsy Glam Bag?  (Feel free to click that link --it'll mean referral credit for me-- if you want to learn more about ipsy or want to sign up for a sub. Thank you!) Did you get a smelly gloss too?

(P.S. The March ipsy Glam Bag is up next!)

This post may contain affiliate links, referral links, or other forms of advertising for compensation. Regardless, all opinions are my own and never affected or influenced by sponsorship. For full disclaimer and disclosure details, click the disclosure tab above.

Monday, March 17, 2014

boxfullove umai :: Skoshbox :: March 2014

I can actually pinpoint the moment that first piqued my interest in Japan. 

I remember my dad went on a business trip to Tokyo when I was a tiny kid and brought me back all kinds of cool toys and knickknacks when he came home, all of which amazed me.  I still have a little handpainted kokeshi doll he got me, who's almost as old as I am.  After that I progressed through the Candy Candy cartoons (a soapy, super girly anime TV show -- this might've just been a phenomenon in Japan and Spain, I have no idea whether it caught on anywhere else, but I don't think it aired in the States); Empire of the Sun, which features little Christian Bale in what I think was his first movie role; tough history lessons about Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Ran; Ghost in the Shell; the Miyazaki universe; Haruki Murakami; etc. etc.

This overly dramatic intro is just to say that when I found out there was a subscription box for Japanese snacks, I probably squealed and then immediately signed up.

And here it is.  Meet the March edition of Skoshbox.

For $12 a month, Skoshbox will mail you a package filled with handpicked snacks sourced from Japan and shipped out of Hawaii.  Every now and then, they'll release a limited-edition Premium box you can purchase separately from your regular subscription (the last two were rolled out for Christmas and then Valentine's Day).

And that's it. No other subscription plans, options, filler. The Skoshbox crew keeps it simple and surprising, in the spirit of the best sub boxes.

Overeager unboxing job --> torn tissue paper. Oops.

Each box comes with an info card listing the contents of the box and a brief description of each.  Since most of the copy on the packaging and wrappers is printed in Japanese, the info card really comes in handy.  (You can also log onto the Skoshbox website to find out even more about the goodies you received.)

This month, we also got an extra treat, aside from the edibles:

The cutest hiragana chart possibly ever, with which you can practice writing and sounding out Japanese characters.

The back of the card is a mini-workbook!

But you're really here for the snacks, right?  Let's get to it.


Too much cute. Maximum kawaii.

See what I mean about needing the info card though? Love the info card.

This adorable little lady is actually Kokeshi Arare, or baked rice crackers in Girls' Day wrapping. Girls' Day, also called Doll's Day or Hinamatsuri, is celebrated on March 3rd. Check out the ancient origins of the Hinamatsuri tradition here (thank the Universe for Wikipedia). I haven't actually tried this yet, because it's too cute to eat.  But I'm sure I'll break down eventually.

Clockwise from the top, these guys are:

  • Dried fish jerky strip in spicy wasabi (orange wrapper).
  • Kit Kat White, which is supposed to taste like Oreo ice cream.  Or, in other words, heaven.
  • Strawberry Look Chocolate, a chocolate square with a tart strawberry center.
  • Pretz Roast, or buttery biscuit sticks.

Umaibo sticks in salad flavor (green, left) and tonkatsu sauce (blue, right).

These!  These are revelation on a stick!

Think of a super light, airy, giant cheese puff, and that'll give you an idea of the texture and consistency of these umaibo sticks.  But that flavor!  The flavor is like nothing I've tasted before. I tried the salad flavor having no idea what I was getting myself into, and it was amazing: by turns sweet and salty and savory, with that indescribable deep umami undertone (MSG, I <3 U).

The boxfullove seal of approval.

You'd better believe I was combing ebay for more of this crackly goodness as soon as it was gone.

Speaking of buying stuff, you'll notice I'm not listing prices for the individual snacks in this review.  That's for a few practical reasons: most of these products are probably bought in bulk in unguessable (at least for me) quantities and divided up among multiple boxes, and most are also probably only available in Japan, so all the converting from yen to dollars and guesstimating bulk amounts and pro rating to get a tiny unit price is just way too involved for this type of review.  Plus, rather than a bang-for-buck sub service, Skoshbox is all about the experience.  You're paying for a curated product that's a) unavailable outside the United States and b) delightful, so counting pennies is really besides the point.

The final four.  Left to right:
  • Green tea chocolate with almond (green twisty wrapper).
  • Chelsea scotch candy in butterscotch (pink wrapper).
  • Apple pie cream sandwich (round cookie).
  • Creamy chocolate with almond center (gold wrapper).

Bottom line(s)?  If you're trying to eat healthy, avoid sweets, avoid artificial ingredients, and/or are sensitive to MSG, you'll want to steer clear of this subscription.  But if, like me, you're more of the Anthony Bourdain school of thought (i.e. "your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park"), then this is the sub box for you.  It's fun, it's an adventure, it's a sensory experience, it's just generally really cool.

So what did you guys think about Skoshbox?  Which of these candies or snacks would you want to try?

If you want to learn more or are sold and ready to sign up for a monthly delivery of Japanese snacks, go check out the Skoshbox website.


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