Le Tote – October 2018

What is Le Tote?

Le Tote is a clothing rental subscription service.  Based on some input given to Le Tote when signing up, they will select items they think you will like.  If you don’t like them, you can swap them out for other items you pick yourself.  You have the option of purchasing the items in your tote at a discounted price and you can send back whatever you don’t want to keep.  Totes come once a month, and prices depend on how many items you want in each tote.  Options are:

  • 5 clothing items = $74/month
  • 8 clothing items = $94/month
  • 10 clothing items = $114/month
  • 5 clothing items & 3 accessories = $84/month
  • 7 clothing items & 3 accessories = $104/month
  • 10 clothing items & 5 accessories = $124/month

They also have maternity options which are:

  • 5 clothing items = $84/month
  • 8 clothing items = $104/month
  • 10 clothing items = $124/month
  • 5 clothing items & 3 accessories = $94/month
  • 7 clothing items & 3 accessories = $114/month
  • 10 clothing items & 5 accessories = $134/month

Follow this link to get a free tote with a 14-day trial.  You will get five clothing items and three accessories.

My First Box

Octavia Tie Neck Top

I thought the pattern of the top was nice, buy I just didn’t like the tie neck, especially since it wasn’t symmetrical.  However, it did fit well and had a nice light feel to it. This was the only item that I didn’t swap out since I figured I should try at least one thing they picked out for me.

Levi’s Mid Rise Skinny Jean

I really loved these pink jeans but unfortunately they were too small.  It seems like I should have gone one size up from what Le Tote recommended with this one.

Octavia Eyelet Tank

This was a cute bohemian style top.  I ended up wearing it twice paired with the maxi skirt below.  It did seem like the top came a little wrinkled and worn.

Kensie High Waisted Maxi Skirt

The skirt was soft and comfortable.  I think it was my second favorite item in my tote.  This is one that I may have considered purchasing, but I would have preferred to purchase one that hadn’t been worn yet.

French Connection Mixed Media Floral Blouse

This ended up being my favorite item of the lot.  It’s funny because I thought I didn’t like it at first, but I ended up wearing it with a pair of black ankle pants to work one day.  I liked it so much that I wore it again the next week!  The only problem was that it seems like other people loved the shirt too because it was a bit worn.  As you can see below, I found a hole in it.  If it weren’t for the condition of the shirt, I might have purchased it.

My Thoughts

This is the second clothing rental subscription I’ve tried so far (the other was Gwynnie Bee). I liked the selection a little better.  I felt like it was easier to find items that might fit my style.  It was also nice that they had recommended items to save a little time.  Unfortunately, I didn’t like the items they picked out for me, but it was my first tote so that’s understandable.  Plus I was able to swap out as many of the items as I wanted for ones that I picked out myself, so it still worked out.  Most of the items in the tote fit me well except for the pair of pants.  One issue I noticed is that over half of the items seemed a bit worn and I was disappointed that one of the shirts actually had a hole in it.  Given the condition of the items I received, I was not willing to purchase any of them.  One other issue I noticed was that the return bag seemed a little too small to hold all of the items.  I really felt like I had to cram them in there.

The price was better than Gwynnie Bee as you received more items in a box for a lower price.  However, you are limited to one tote per month.  Whereas with Gwynnie Bee, you can get a new box as soon as you send any items back.  Overall, I enjoyed having some new clothing items to mix into my closet for a couple weeks and I think it is worth a try.  I’m guessing that their recommendations will get better with time, and hopefully they will do a better job of checking item quality before sending out items in the future.

Follow this link to get a free tote with a 14-day trial.  You will get five clothing items and three accessories.

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Plated – October 2018

What is Plated?

Plated is a meal delivery kit subscription service.  The insulated box comes with recipe cards and pre-measured ingredients for each selected recipe.  Ingredients are thoughtfully sourced with pork and poultry raised without antibiotics, beef with no added hormones, sustainably caught fish, fresh & seasonal produce, and organic ingredients when possible.

There are different weekly plans available with 20 dinner recipes to choose from each week, plus dessert options!  The option to skip weeks or change delivery days is available, if needed.  Price depends on the number of servings and recipes you order.  The plans are:

  • 2 servings = $11.95/serving
    • 2 recipes = $47.80/week
    • 3 recipes = $71.70/week
    • 4 recipes = $95.60/week
  • 3 servings = $9.95/serving
    • 2 recipes = $59.70/week
    • 3 recipes = $89.55/week
    • 4 recipes = $119.40/week
  • 4 servings = $9.95/serving
    • 2 recipes = $79.60/week
    • 3 recipes = $119.40/week
    • 4 recipes = $159.20/week

~Shipping is free for plans over $60~

Note: I have seen various promos for Plated, so definitely search around before ordering so you can get a discount!

My First Box

Braised Chicken, Apricots, and Currants with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

This was definitely a great flavorful dish.  The already small potatoes only need to be cut in half and the dried apricots and shallot were easy to slice as well.  Although this one took a little longer to cook, the recipe was pretty easy.  Normally, my husband and I are not crazy about spinach, but the way in which it was cooked and mixed with the potatoes, made this side our favorite part of the meal!  The only thing I didn’t like as much about this dish is that it seemed like it probably had a high sugar content since it used dried fruit and we also added some brown sugar.

Shrimp Pad Thai with Bok Choy and Peanuts

I love ordering Pad Thai at restaurants, but this is the first time I’ve tried making it at home.  Thanks to the recipe and ingredients provided by Plated, it turned out great!  Usually when I try to cook shrimp, it ends up being sort of rubbery, but the recipe card gave great instructions on how to cook it perfectly.  The flavor of this dish was awesome, and besides a little bit of prep work, it was very easy to prepare.

PlatedButternutSquashGnocchi

Brown Butter Gnocchi with Butternut Squash, Walnuts, and Sage

This was such a great fall dish!  I’ve never had gnocchi with these kinds of flavors before, but I loved it!  It was nice that the butternut squash came pre-chopped.  The recipe did recommend chopping it up further, but having it already cubed made this step much easier.  I also don’t usually like nuts but the walnuts added a great crunch to this pasta, and went well with the other flavors.

My Thoughts

I gave each of these dishes five out of five stars!  The recipes had a nice variety, great taste, and weren’t too difficult to make.  The potion sizes seem better than some other meal kits I’ve tried.  I never felt hungry after finishing my meal and sometimes even had enough for leftovers!  The recipes were pretty simple to follow.  I actually kind of enjoyed cooking these recipes, which isn’t usually the case.  Also, I didn’t try any, but I love that they also offer desserts.  Based on their other recipes, I’m sure those are great too!  I would definitely recommend this service if you don’t mind a little prep work and cooking, want to add some variety to your meals, and care about how your food is sourced.

Note: I have seen various promos for Plated, so definitely search around before ordering so you can get a discount!

Public Goods – October 2018

What is Public Goods?

Public Goods is a yearly membership for various personal care and household items that are made with safe, healthy ingredients.  The membership is $59/year and unlocks membership prices on their products that can be purchased at anytime.  They do offer a free 30-day trail so that you can try their products out at membership price before committing.  This is how much I paid for the items in my first box:

Shipping is free if you spend at least $25.

My First Box

My first impression wasn’t great as the box the products came in was a bit damaged (most likely the fault of the carrier, rather than the company), and the way the products were packaged was not very appealing as they kind of just look like they were all thrown in there.

The shampoo and conditioner both smell like fruit-loops.  Personally, I wasn’t crazy about the smell, but some people may like it.  The shampoo had a nice lather and my hair was easy to comb through after using the conditioner.  The shampoo seemed like it was a bit too drying for my hair/scalp as I had some tiny flakes in my hair and some itching.  I will say that this is a common issue for me as I have sensitive skin.

The body wash had the same fruit-loops smell as the shampoo and conditioner.  It lathers really well, but I didn’t feel like there was anything too special about it.

The lotion was my least favorite product that I ordered.  It did not have the same scent as the others.  It seemed like an unscented lotion, but it still had a smell that I can’t quite describe.  The product seemed fine as a light lotion, but I just couldn’t get over the smell.  I’m glad I ordered the travel size rather than the full size.

The hand soap was fine.  It had the fruit-loops smell again.  I do like the minimalist design of the bottle, so once I use the soap up I may refill the bottle with a different soap.

The glass cleaner was fine, but I don’t think it worked quite as well as Windex.

My Thoughts

I like the concept for this company: healthy ingredients, minimal design, and no middle-man to markup the costs.  That being said, I wasn’t a fan of the smell of the ingredients and the products didn’t work well enough for me to want to purchase them again.  They work fine and I am able to use them despite my sensitive skin, but I do have to alternate with a different shampoo and conditioner to prevent my hair and scalp from getting too dry.  I don’t see myself paying for a membership and ordering from this company again.  That being said, it may still be worth a try since you get a free 30-day trail.  If you do try it out, I would recommend buying travel sizes in their products to make sure you like them first.

Dollar Shave Club – October 2018

What is Dollar Shave Club?

Dollar Shave Club is a shaving subscription box that delivers razor blades on a monthly basis and also offers various grooming products.

They currently offer three different blade types at different price points.  The blades are:

  • THE HUMBLE TWIN – $1/month + $2 shipping
    • Five cartridges, two stainless steel blades
  • THE 4X – $6/month + free shipping
    • Four cartridges, four stainless steel blades
  • THE EXECUTIVE – $9/month + free shipping
    • Four cartridges, six stainless steel blades

My First Box

For my first box, I bought The Daily Essential Starter Set for $5.

Here are the products that came in my trial kit:

img_2943

The starter set includes:

  • Body Cleanser Trial (1 fl oz)
  • Razor Handle (1 ct)
  • 4 Razor Cartridges
  • Shave Butter Trial (1 oz)
  • One Wipe Charlies Trial (3 pkts)

I also received a bathroom reader (self-explanatory) and the Member Handbook, explaining how the subscription works.

The razor I received is called The Executive.  Each cartridge has six stainless steel blades.  This razor has a nice weighted handle, which was comfortable to use and I didn’t have any issues with it slipping out of my hand.

I could have done without these wipes, but they were included in the kit so might as well use them right?  I used one for the intended purpose, but I think I may end up using the rest for messy foods like chicken wings! Either way, I don’t think I’ll be ordering these again.

I love this Easy Shave Butter! It has a nice light pleasant scent.  It does go on clear so if you have light hair this may not be good for you, but with my dark hair it was not a problem at all.  Between the razor and this shave butter, it seemed like I got a close shave and my skin felt smooth and not too dry.  I did still apply lotion afterwards though.  Out of the shaving gels, creams, etc. that I’ve tried, I think this one is my favorite so far!

I was worried the Amber & Lavender Body Cleanser might smell too manly, but it had a nice pleasant gender neutral scent that does seem to be “calming” as the bottle claims. Plus I love the look of the bottle, and it has a good lather too!

It’s nice that the starter packs comes with four cartridges.  The blades seem to give a close shave without too much irritation.  They also seemed to last a good amount of time without getting dull.  I changed mine after about six uses I believe, but probably could have used it even longer.  I did cut my ankle pretty badly on the third use, but I blame this on myself for rushing and pushing down too hard.

My Thoughts

Overall, I was pretty pleased with this starter set.  My favorites were probably the cleanser and shave butter.  They both had great scents and I felt like I was pampering myself while using them.  I’m definitely thinking about ordering full sizes of them with my next shipment!  The blades seem to be good quality, especially for the price.  I’ve used Gillette Venus Embrace for several years and I think this is a great cheaper replacement!

Follow this link to get The Daily Essentials Starter Set for $5.

Gwynnie Bee – October 2018 (Part 2)

What is Gwynnie Bee?

Gwynnie Bee is essentially a monthly subscription which allows you to rent clothing.  You may keep the items sent to you as long as you like and when you’re ready to send them back, they will prepare your next box.  This allows you to receive more than one box in a month! You also have the option of purchasing items if you cannot part with them.

There is little risk in trying Gwynnie Bee, as your first month is free.  During your free month, you are able to have two items out at a time.  After the first month, the cost is based on how many items you can take out at once.  The plans are:

  • $49/month for 1 item
  • $69/month for 2 items
  • $95/month for 3 items
  • $139/month for 5 items
  • $179/month for 7 items
  • $199/month for 10 items

Follow this link to get 30 days free + $10 off your first paid month.

I received a second shipment with two clothing items this month since I returned my other two items.  This time, the two pieces came in one box.

My Second Box

Skies Are Blue Waterfall Grey Cardigan

I did not like the feel of the fabric on this one and I couldn’t see myself wearing this.  My hope was that it would be a nice cardigan to wear to work, but it seemed a little too casual for me.  This was a piece that I immediately put in the return bag after I tried it on.

Lucky Brand Sleeveless Ruffled Hem Natural Floral Print Top

This top looked super cute online and I thought it would be something I could wear to work, but it turned out to be much different than I thought.  Again, it seemed too casual to wear to work.  The fabric was thin and I had a problem with gaping between buttons. I did notice that after I reviewed and submitted my return for this item, it now shows the suggested size as large (my regular size is a medium).  So it does seem like the system learns from your feedback.  Unfortunately, this piece went straight in the return bag right after I tried it on.

My Thoughts

This box was definitely a miss for me.  I know these were items that I had “closeted” myself, but they just didn’t turn out to be quite what I expected.  One downside to this service is that you have to select all of the items yourself and honestly I don’t think this is the best option for me.  I enjoy the services that come with a personal stylist who will pick out items specifically for me.  I think they are better at figuring out what would look good on my body type and they know if items tend to run small or large.  Luckily, even though these two garments didn’t work out, I can return these items and get another box before the end of the month.  Maybe I’ll have better luck next time!  I think I will try “prioritizing” some of the items in my closet this time so that maybe I will get pieces that I’m more excited about in my next shipment.

Follow this link to get 30 days free + $10 off your first paid month.

GoReadyMade – October 2018

What is GoReadyMade?

GoReadyMade is a meal delivery service that delivers individually packaged, ready-made meals.  The meals are not frozen and all of the prep work is already taken care of.  Meal containers come inside a sleeve that has instructions for preparing the meals as well as a use-by-date.  There are different weekly plans with about 20 meals to choose from each week.  The option to skip weeks is available, if needed.  Price depends on the number of meals you order.  The plans are:

  • 4 meals = $11.99/meal + $3.99 shipping
  • 6 meals = $9.99/meal + $5.99 shipping
  • 8 meals = $8.99/meal + $7.99 shipping
  • 10 meals = $7.99/meal + $9.99 shipping

If you would like to save $20 off your first three boxes (total of $60 saved), click here.

Meals

GoReadyMade Butter Basted Chicken.PNG

Butter Basted Chicken with Thyme Carrots and Parmesan Mash

The chicken was a little bland, but the mashed potatoes were delicious!  I noticed that some of the other meals that had raw meat had instructions to season the meat, but this one didn’t.  I think the chicken would have been better if we had seasoned it.  I appreciated that I could just stick this in the oven for 25 minutes and it would be done!

Unwrap uncooked meat

GoReadyMade Cherry Balsamic Pork Chop

Cherry Balsamic Pork Chop with Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli

The sauce tasted too much like vinegar for my taste.  The pork chop was good.  I’m glad it said to season it because I think it would have been too bland without.  We loved the mini potatoes and broccoli!

Beef Steak with Peppercorn Sauce with Herb Roasted Potatoes

This meal was our favorite of the lot.  I think it helps that the steak gets seasoned and pan fried.  We enjoyed the peppercorn sauce with this one more than the sauces that came with the other meals.  The potatoes were delicious! We also got some carrots and green beans that were tasty as well.

GoReadyMade Sweet and Sour Chicken.PNG

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice

This meal was our least favorite.  I’m guessing it would have been better if we had made it in the oven, but we took this one for lunch so our only option was the microwave.  I did not like that the sauce contained high fructose corn syrup.  The flavor of this one was okay, but not something I would want to eat again.

Teriyaki Chicken Noodles with Green Beans

Okay so I know I said the steak was our favorite, but that was before we tried the teriyaki chicken.  OH MY GOODNESS! SO DELICIOUS!!  It was an easy meal since the chicken was already cut up.  All I really had to do was cook everything in a pan and BAM! the meal was done.  I could totally see myself ordering this every week, it was that good.

My Thoughts

I seriously love how quick and easy these meals are! They definitely prevent me from picking up fast food because I’m too tired to cook when I get home from work.  I felt a lot better about myself eating these meals than picking up fast food.  All I had to do was stick the container in the oven or microwave, or put the contents in a pan.  I think the longest cook time was 25 minutes, but that was in the oven with absolutely no work required of me.  The quickest meal was about 3 minutes in the microwave.

Since the meals come in individually packaged, this is a great option for the times when you only need enough food for one person and don’t want to eat out or eat the same food over and over again. It’s also makes for a great packed lunch.  With that being said, I would have to try some other meals that can be made fully in the microwave to see if I like them any better than the sweet and sour chicken I had.

Although they offer a large selection of meals in a week, I did notice that there were several repeats from week-to-week. This can be good if you have a favorite that you want to order again, but it’s nice to be able to try different meals so you don’t get tired if eating the same things every week.

I think the price of the meals is pretty fair, especially the more meals you buy.  It can certainly be cheaper than eating out (depending on where you go) and probably healthier.  It’s also similarly priced to some other meal delivery services that require much more work with washing, chopping, measuring, etc.  For anyone who really doesn’t like cooking and/or doesn’t have much time/energy for cooking, I would recommend this service.

If you would like to save $20 off your first three boxes (total of $60 saved), click here.

Gwynnie Bee – October 2018

What is Gwynnie Bee?

Gwynnie Bee is essentially a monthly subscription which allows you to rent clothing.  You may keep the items sent to you as long as you like and when you’re ready to send them back, they will prepare your next box.  This allows you to receive more than one box in a month! You also have the option of purchasing items if you cannot part with them.

There is little risk in trying Gwynnie Bee, as your first month is free.  During your free month, you are able to have two items out at a time.  After the first month, the cost is based on how many items you can take out at once.  The plans are:

  • $49/month for 1 item
  • $69/month for 2 items
  • $95/month for 3 items
  • $139/month for 5 items
  • $179/month for 7 items
  • $199/month for 10 items

Follow this link to get 30 days free + $10 off your first paid month.

My First Box

In order to receive my first box, I needed to “closet” at least six items.  This meant looking at all of the available garments, selecting my size, and hitting the “Add to Closet” button.  There was an option to prioritize certain garments, but I wanted to leave it to chance!  It surprised me that my two items came in two different boxes, each with their own pre-labelled return pouch.  My first box shipped three days after I completed my closet and the second box shipped the following day.

Vince Camuto – Sleeveless Exotic Woodblock Floral Blouse

This top fit nicely and was lightweight.  I appreciated that the fabric was not see-through and did not show any lines underneath.  I wore this top to work with a white cardigan and gray slacks.  Great for the office, flattering, and comfortable – that’s a win! I wore this once and then returned it because I wanted to try out some other styles Gwynnie Bee had to offer.

NY Collection – Double Bell Sleeve Key Hole Detail Blue Top

Out of the two options, this one was my favorite.  I really thought that I wasn’t going to like the bell sleeves on this, but I thought they balanced out my figure nicely.  The color was lovely and the fabric felt nice.  I chose to wear it with a pair of black skinny jeans (casual Friday) and I even received a compliment on this one!  I did wear this top once and then return it because, again, I wanted to get some new garments to try out and mix things up!

My Thoughts

I love that this service prevents the buyers remorse that comes from purchasing a shirt, dress, pants, etc. and then never wearing it or only wearing it once.  I also love that you aren’t limited to just one box per month.  So if you don’t like what came in your box, you can ship it right back and get a new one!  It is nice that each item was shipped separately so that I didn’t have to wait for both items to be available before they shipped.  It is also nice if you wanted to keep one item longer than the other, so you could send one back but still have another return pouch for the item you’re holding on to longer.  On the other hand, it does seem a bit wasteful to me.

I was pleasantly surprised with the fit of the items I received and happy that I liked them enough to wear them to work.  I could definitely see this subscription being a great option for anyone that loves wearing different clothes every week and/or wants to experiment with new styles, but doesn’t want to fill their closet with items they might only wear once or twice.  I do think the price is a little bit steep for what you get, as I know that I could buy two new garments for the same price as the subscription.  Gwynnie Bee does make up for this a bit by offering a rewards program where you get points for adding items to your closet, returning items, etc.  After accumulating a certain number of points, you can redeem them for a $5, $10, or $15 reward which can go towards an at-home purchase or an item upgrade.

Follow this link to get 30 days free + $10 off your first paid month.