Monday, December 17, 2012

December 2012 SeasonsBox - Unboxing and Review

At long last, here is my review of the December 2012 SeasonsBox! This is a brand new subscription service that promises 3-5 full-size luxury products for your home, body, and spirit. The box ships out of Brampton, Ontario, Canada and is available to Canadian and U.S. residents.

I've been looking for a box that is not exclusively beauty products so I was pretty excited by SeasonsBox's concept. Based on the name of the box, I initially assumed that this would be a quarterly (or seasonal box). However, after exchanging a few e-mails with Agnes (the founder), I learned that, besides curating boxes themed with a particular season (i.e., winter, spring, summer fall), SeasonsBox will also be curating boxes themed with specific holidays (e.g., Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Halloween). The contents of every box are intended to stimulate your senses with the scents and flavours associated with a season or holiday.

SeasonsBox provides a preview of the products at the beginning of the month. Each box will also include a little surprise as a bonus. To access the preview, you can visit the SeasonsBox website or like the SeasonsBox Facebook page for updates.

// Price //

This box is on the higher end in terms of price. The reason is because SeasonsBox provides high quality, luxury, and full-size products (versus samples) with a focus on natural and responsible products. The products are also sourced from various places around the world and most of them are not available in commercial stores.

The price of a monthly subscription or a one-time purchase is $29.95 plus $4.95 shipping. The prices per box decrease if you purchase a subscription for multiple months (i.e., 3, 6, or 12 month). The current prices including shipping are as follows:

- Bill monthly for $34.90
- 3 months for $99.70
- 6 months for $174.50
- 12 months for $250 (note that this is an introductory offer - there was a pricing error on the website but SeasonsBox will be honouring the lower price until the end of January. The regular price for the 12 month subscription is $349.)
- One time purchase or gift for $34.90

Agnes confirmed to one of my Youtube viewers that you will be allowed to skip months under the 12 month subscription plan (you just have to send an e-mail noting which month you'd like to skip).

// December SeasonsBox //

Now that you know a little about the box, here is what I received in the December SeasonsBox (in order of appearance in the video):

The packaging is simple yet classy - a substantial sized unmarked box, tied with a red ribbon. Inside, the products are nestled in lots of red crinkle paper, which kept the goodies safe during shipping. I'm not sure what I was expecting but the quality really caught me by surprise. This box was an absolute pleasure to open.

Gaaah, look how nicely the products are laid out when you open the box! I think this would make a great gift as all the hard work is already done.

1. Bambu Earth Handmade Soap in Peppermint

4.5 ounces // $8

This product smells so deliciously minty! I detected a strong peppermint scent even before taking the tape off the outer shipping box and immediately thought that something had leaked or spilled inside the box. To my relief, all the products in the box were in perfect condition. There were various scents of soap sent out and I was very happy I received peppermint.

Bambu Earth is a line of responsible soap and skincare, founded in 2009 and based in Southern California. All products are made with sustainable, ethical, and local ingredients. The soaps in particular have a note on the back that they are handmade by Amber, the company's owner.

The ingredients in the peppermint soap are organic extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, organic sustainable palm oil, unrefined shea butter (fair trade), organic cocoa butter (fair trade), pink kaolin clay, red moroccan clay, and peppermint essential oil. The soap is wrapped in paper label can be planted to grow wild flowers!

2. Soak Essentials Bath Salts in Spiced Chai

5.5 ounces // $5

Soak Essentials is a company based in Vancouver, British Columbia that offers handmade bath products. I believe the Aches & Pains version of bath salts was included in some boxes but I'm glad I received the spicy chai scent... it smells exactly like chai tea. The directions advise using 1/4 cup of bath salts so there is enough product for 3 baths. The suggested soak time is 10 to 30 minutes and this product is not recommended for pregnant women.

I had a very relaxing soak with these bath salts! The product smells amazing in the package but oddly enough the scent almost completely disappeared once I put the salts in the bath water. I measured 1/4 cup but maybe I should have used more?

3. Tisano Original Cacao Tea

4 ounces // $14.95

Tisano is a cacao, tea, and chocolate company based in California. We received a chocolate "tea" that is made with 100% Venezuelan cacao (i.e., there are no actual tea leaves in this product). Only the outer shell of the cacao bean is used but cacao shells apparently absorb many of the nutrients from the cacao bean so they contain similar health properties. I thought their story about how they came about the idea to use the outer shell of the cacao bean was really interesting.

I have brewed this tea around 4-5 times and I absolutely love it. The tea has an amazing chocolate aroma. It has a very light, yet intense chocolate flavour... it's only light in the sense that it does not have the heavier, sometimes syrupy consistency of hot cocoa. I described this tea as tasting like a watered down hot chocolate but in the best possible way. I prefer drinking this tea with a little sugar but it is definitely palatable unsweetened.

4. Evergreen Lip Balm in Mint Truffle

0.25 ounces // $4

Evergreen is a company based in Upstate, New York and currently sells a variety of beauty products and candles on Etsy. The lip balm is packaged in a cute mini drawstring bag with an evergreen tree stamped on the front.

I received the lip balm in mint truffle, which was absolutely perfect for me! I love the scent of mint chocolate and the scent of this lip balm is literally mouthwatering. It smells SO good. The texture of this lip balm is very nice. It is moisturizing and feels light on the lips. Best of all, there is no flavour that I can detect - just a delectable scent.

5. Bath & Body Works PocketBac Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel in Winter Candy Apple

26 g // $3.50

This was our bonus sample and it was also previewed on the SeasonsBox website. I am not a frequent user of hand sanitizer but if I were to purchase one, it would be from Bath & Body Works. I've tried one in the past and it smelled incredible. The Winter Candy Apple scent is really nice and I'm glad we received the PocketBac size as I can easily throw it in my purse.

6. Bath & Body Works Mini Candle in Frosted Gingerbread

29 mL // $1.50

Our second bonus sample and another mouthwatering scent! I love Bath & Body Works candles. I usually buy the 3 wick candles but maybe I'll start buying the mini ones instead. Each mini candle burns for 10 to 15 hours and the price is so reasonable. I haven't burned this candle yet but I plan to very soon... so I can trick my husband into thinking I baked cookies. :)

// Summary //

Overall, I am very happy with the inaugural SeasonsBox. The total value was $36.95 so there was not a huge return compared to the monthly subscription or one-time box price; however, you are getting a lovely curated box that is packed full of goodies and shipped to your home. After watching my review, Agnes wanted to clarify that the value of the box each month will differ. The value will never be below $35 and some months will have a higher value (e.g., $50-$75). I appreciated the clarification and found Agnes to be very forthcoming and open to suggestions.

Since I will be cancelling Glossybox after the January box, I am thinking of subscribing to SeasonsBox for a year. At $250 for the year, the price of each SeasonsBox actually works out to be a little less than Glossybox. If you are still shopping for a Christmas gift and would like something in the $35 price range (including shipping & taxes), I highly recommend this box. I believe the order cutoff date for shipping before the holidays is December 18.

FTC: This box was sent to me for review purposes and I am sharing my honest opinion. I have never accepted money in exchange for a review.

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