Friday, January 29, 2016

Subscription Box Round-Up

My wife has an addiction to subscription boxes. For those not in the know, subscription boxes are mystery boxes based around a certain theme. You pay a certain amount of money, and every month or two months or whatever, you get a box full of stuff based around that theme. She has subscribed to boxes of skin care products, makeup, Japanese snacks, young adult literature, and many others.

To be honest, I started feeling a little jealous. For her, it was like Christmas every couple of days, whenever a new box would show up in the mail. I wanted that thrill, but there aren’t a lot of boxes aimed at men. However, because my wife loves me, she sought out subscription boxes that she thought would fit me. As it happens, I received three of them in the past week, so I thought I would share what came in them.

(Apologies for the quality of the photos. My wife has a nice tabletop photo studio, and I think I'm going to try to use that the next time I do a blog like this.)

The first box is a fairly new one for me; this is only the third time I’ve received it. It is called the Gentleman’s Box and contains men’s fashion accessories and other items themed around a particular individual. (A couple of months ago, it was Tom Cruise.) As you can see, the box is packaged in a very classy wood-grain pattern.

Opening it, I found the usual booklet explaining the theme and the person who inspired it. Without naming him, this month’s box appears to have been inspired by Bill Gates. 

Once I removed the booklet and opened the wrapping paper, I could immediately see that I had received another nice pair of socks. (Another subscription my wife found for me is Sock Fancy, because I was always running out of or losing socks. Sock Fancy sends me two pairs of brightly colored socks every month.)

These new socks, from a company called Happy Socks are 100% cotton. I haven’t actually worn them yet, but they feel nice and comfy. We will see if they live up to their name.

Also inside the box, I found… another box! Inside that, I found a watch from Winners Circle Fashion Company, which came with three different wristbands, I guess to match my clothing choices or mood for the day. It’s a very simple, elegant design, and I like it quite a bit.

I also received  wooden lapel pin from My Suited Life. I don’t often wear suits, but the next time I do, I’m wearing this little wooden flower.

Finally, they included a tube of mint-flavored lip balm from a company called Brickell Men’s Products. It’s a relative new company, started in 2014. I like the lip balm; the flavor isn’t too intense, and it doesn’t feel thick or greasy or waxy like other lip balms I’ve tried.

So, out of the various items I received, I’ll be using the socks, lip balm, and watch on a regular basis, I’m sure. And I’ll wear the lapel pin when I actually wear a lapel to put it in.

Another box I received this week was Nerd Block. This is a monthly collection of geek stuff, themed around a particular genre, book, or movie. This month was fantasy. (Mostly Harry Potter, but also some other stuff.)

The box, as usual, is nothing spectacular, but at least there’s no longer a customs label listing all the contents on the outside.

Inside, it’s not packaged with quite as much class as the Gentleman’s Box, but it’s not the wrapping that counts.

I got a Harry Potter film frame bookmark, which is exciting for me, because I love bookmarks and never have enough of them. This one is sealed in plastic, so it won’t get worn around the edges. It’s a 35mm film frame and a card, and the back of the card is printed with a “certificate of authenticity,” for what that’s worth. It looks neat, even if the frame is just a shot of Filch’s face.

Continuing with the Harry Potter theme, I also got a Hogwart’s crest keychain. It’s very intricate and beautiful. I’m not sure it’ll go on my keys, because it’s like two inches long. Maybe it’ll go on my work keys. That would be appropriate, I think.

The last Harry Potter item I received is a Deathly Hallows T-shirt. It’s nice, so that’ll go into my T-shirt rotation.

My wife was jealous of the small notebook bound in faux leather and embossed with the title, “Your Neverending Story,” inspired by one of her favorite books and movies. As much as I love her, this one is just too cool to give up. (Maybe.)

One item that I can share with my wife is the Game of Thrones Khal Drogo action figure from Funko. My wife loves Daenerys from that show and series of books, and already has an action figure of her. Unfortunately, the Daenerys action figure is from after Khal Drogo dies, because she has her baby dragons with her. I suggested that we could set the Khal Drogo figure on fire, but we decided to just leave them together anyway.

Finally, the Nerd Block box included a nice print of the Shire from JRR Tolkien’s books. It’s pretty, in a style that reminds me of the detailed linework of James Owen. However, I’m usually at a bit of a loss as to what to do with these prints. I get so many of them, and little postcards, from these boxes, and I can’t think of a good way to display them.

Overall, it’s another nice collection of geek swag from Nerd Block, and most of it, I’ll use.

Finally, the same day that Nerd Block arrived, I also received the latest Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty box from Funko. This is—as the name would suggest—a bi-monthly box of specifically Star Wars themed toys manufactured by Funko. They promise that the items in the box are exclusive to the box, so this is the only way to get these specific versions of the figures.

As you can see, there is nothing subtle about the Smuggler’s Bounty packaging. No way does my mail carrier not know what I’m getting. 

Immediately upon opening, I found the usual cloisonné pin and patch; one of each comes with every box. This time, I got a Poe Dameron pin (again, my wife was jealous; I offered it to her, but she refused) and a BB-* patch. I love BB-8, and it’s a nice patch, but I’m not sure where I would sew it onto.

Inside, the first thing I saw was a Funko Force Awakens T-Shirt, featuring the stars of the movie in their Funko Pop bobblehead versions. I’ve gotten a couple of similar T-shirts from Funko’s Marvel Collector’s Corps box, and they’re super cute. This one is, as well. I look forward to showing it off.

Once I lifted the shirt out of the box, I could see that this month’s exclusive Pop figure was not—as I had hoped—BB-8. Instead, it’s the world’s cutest Chewbacca. What makes this one exclusive, I think, is that it’s flocked, instead of hard plastic.

My other item is a C-3PO mug. It’s a really nice design, with enough attention to detail to include his ears and that thing on the back of his head. I think it would cooler if it had been gold instead of bright yellow; the paint makes him look a bit like Tweety Bird. On the other hand, painting the handle red (like his arm in the new movie, my wife had to point out to me) is a nice touch.

I had previously received a Star-Lord mug from the Marvel Collectors Corps box, and I like the design of the Funko mugs from a visual standpoint. However, they are so huge, I don’t know if I could practically use them. Either they would look completely empty, or I would have to drink so much coffee I’d have the jitters for a month.

Practicality of the mugs aside, I feel like I got some cool stuff from my boxes this month. Do you subscribe to any boxes? Please let me know in the comments, and please check back next week for more things that make me happy!


  1. This makes me reaaaalllly want a subscription box or two! But I'm trying to save up for various things both fun and practical this year.
    A fun way to display your art cards/postcards could be one of those photo wires w/ little clips, or a greeting card holder that's meant to hang on the wall. Easy to make a little gallery and easy to change it up.