Sunday, February 21, 2016

being a bulugan: bulu box review

Disclaimer: I received a 3-month subscription to Bulu Box to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!

I don't know about you, but I'm a fan of subscription services. Getting fun things in the mail monthly? Yes, please. Obviously when the chance to try out Bulu Box came about, I definitely wanted to be included.

First off, what is Bulu Box other than a subscription service? It's the best way to discover health, nutrition, and weight loss products that are right for you. You have the opportunity to try out 4–5 samples (based on your profile) before buying full-size so you don't waste your money on a product you don't like. It's the first health, nutrition, and weight loss discovery box designed to help you feel your best.

Here's a video on How it Works:

Also, you can earn points each month (up to 100 Rewards Point = $10) for subscribing and sharing your thoughts. You just log into your account and fill out your sample surveys about the products your just tried. Once you've earned Rewards Points you can use them like actual cash towards a full-size purchase of your new favorite product.

When I went to subscribe, I had a choice between the Bulu Box Original or the Bulu Box Weight Loss. 

What's the difference between the two? The Original box provides a well-rounded sampling of all things health and nutrition. Each box contains 4–5 premium samples such as sports nutrition, sleep, and healthy snacks. 

The Weight Loss box is designed specifically to help with the varying factors of weight loss. This box contains 4–5 premium weight loss items such as energy aids, healthy snacks, sleep aids, and fat-burners.

I chose the Bulu Box Original and then anxiously awaited my first box's arrival. I even mentioned this on twitter, and they replied to let me know that they ship out each month around the 15th, and on the 15th of December, I received an email that my Bulu Box had shipped as was on its way.

Now, for monthly plans, they have a few options. Month-to-Month, which is one box a month for $10, 3 months for $30, 6 months for $60, or you can get the whole year of 12 months for $110 ($9.17/box). I was getting a 3-month subscription so chose 3 months. Shipping is always free, and you can cancel anytime.

When my first box arrived, it was smaller than I was expecting, but it fit nicely in our mail box, so that was nice. Here is what I found in the box, along with a card describing each item:

• MHP Fit & Lean Protein Brownie
• Fru-Liscious Twists
• ERZO Vitamin Biscuit (labeled as a Prenatal vitamin)
• 8 Hour Energy Patch
• Westrock Coffee k-cup {bonus sampled}

There were also 2 bonus samples:
• Burn Blend and Garcinia Cambogia from Shapeology

The items that interested me most in this box were the protein brownie and the twists. 

The MHP Fit & Lean Protein Brownie contained 15 grams of muscle-building protein, 5g or fiber and 190 calories. They're also gluten free. I ate one after a run, and thought it was quite tasty. It had the consistency sort of like fudge more than the brownies I'm used to eating. Didn't bother me at all, and I would definitely eat more of these. You can get 12 brownies (chocolate fudge or blondie chocolate chip) for $31.99.

The Fru-Liscious were a great snack to toss in your purse or bag. They came in a box with 6 pouches that contained 2 twists in each. The flavor was Apple Strawberry and they were delicious. They are made with 99% real fruit ingredients. It was a bit like a Twizzler, but it was more sticky. I ate mine through the pouch, so I didn't actually touch the twist and have sticky fingers. Each pouch was 60 calories, 0g fat, 5mg sodium, 15g total carbohydrates, 12g sugars. You can get more info on the product here. You can purchase a container (4 boxes, each containing 6 pouches/box) for $16.99. I loved these so much I always ripped into them and ate them, before remembering I should take a photo! 

I don't have a machine for the K-cup anymore, so I can't say anything of a personal opinion on the product, but can mention what I read: it's a farmer-focused, crop-to-cup coffee company that grows the coffee in the fertile soils of East Africa. Westrock Coffee works directly with East African coffee farmers to provide a better crop-to-cup coffee and improve the lives of farmers and their families. According to the sheet provided with the box, you can get a 12 count cartoon for $10.99.

The ERZO Vitamin Biscuit was fine. I wouldn't say it's something I'd want to eat daily, but I suppose it's better than pills, which I'm not a big fan of. I think I'd enjoy one of the other flavors – they come in Oat, Strawberry Greek Yogurt, and Ginger and Apple Cinnamon. Oat is probably the most bland, so I'd be interested in trying the other two flavors. It's packed with daily vitamins, including prenatal vitamins, which are popular for promoting hair and nail growth. They are made with 100% whole, organize grains and are a good source of fiber. Get a 5 pack for $10.99, and with this purchase, Bulu Box will donate $.25 to Vitamin Angels, which helps at-risk women, new mothers, and children gain access to lifesaving and life-changing vitamins and minerals. Each package has 3 biscuits inside. 

The 8-hour Energy Patch combines only all natural energy ingredients to provide you with the best and safest way to energize. It contains a proprietary blend of B vitamins, green tea extract, caffeine, and taurine. The sample contained 4 late patches. For optimum energy levels lasting 8 hours, it is suggested to apply two patches to your skin on clean, dry, and lotion-free skin. You can place it on your upper arm (inside or out), shoulder, wrist, abdomen, or calf. Not sure on how my body would react to the product, I only tried one on my upper arm. I have caffeine on the regular, and so didn't really notice much of an energy boost. Perhaps using two at once as suggested might help out, but to be honest, I'm not really interested in boosting my energy via a patch.

I also didn't try the bonus samples of Shapeology dietary supplements. I am not a supplement person, and the pills were a bit larger than I can handle. They aren't huge, but just big enough that I chose not to try them out. 

Even though there were a few things I wasn't a huge fan of, or didn't want to try, that's the joy of the sample subscription box! You get to test (or maybe not test) a variety of products to see what works for you. And at the price of the subscription, I wouldn't feel guilty about skipping a product or two if I felt it's not right for me.

My second box came and I found it to have a few more items that I was interested in. Inside January's Bulu Box was:
• ETB (Eat the Bear) Whey Pure Isolate Protein
• Fanda Labs Driv
• Dream Water Sleep Powder
• Honey... Don't Cough
• Health Logics BioCell Collagen
• VitaPerk Energy (bonus sample)
• Earth's Care Dry and Cracked Skin Balm (bonus sample)

The ETB protein powder was a chocolate peanut butter flavor - that got me excited. I did a cup of almond milk, half a banana, and the package of powder. It was pretty tasty, though I was noticing an off flavor or after taste. I looked at the ingredients – Sucralose. Not something I'm a fan of. However, one scoop (serving) was 10 0calories, 83mg potassium, and 24g protein. You can get more nutritional info here.

For some items like this, I try not to look at the ingredients until after I've had a taste so I don't have any preconceived notions or ruin the sampling by making up my mind before tasting it. It wasn't so bad I couldn't enjoy the remainder of my smoothie, but I think if I had just added the powdered to almond milk I wouldn't have been able to keep drinking it. I think having some banana in there saved the day. You can get the protein in chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, cinnamon bun, ice cream sandwich, mint chocolate, or vanilla for $52.99 for 31 servings.

Next up, I tried the VitaPerk Energy. I didn't know if there would be any flavor to this or not. I don't drink straight coffee. I'm the kind of person who wants as little coffee in my coffee drinks as possible haha, so I'm usually drinking frappuccinos or lattes. I dumped the VitaPerk (it's a powder) into my mug, then did a milk froth and a shot of espresso, and then added some Vanilla Caramel creamer and stirred it all together. I didn't notice any extra flavor in there. Anyway, if you look on the website, it describes what each option is/tastes like. I found out Energy is in fact a flavorless option.

VitaPerk is a 15 vitamin and mineral coffe boost. It's available in 30 stick packs and you can get it in original (flavorless), vanilla, hazelnut, or energy. It is gluten free, kosher, and naturally flavored. I'm into the idea of just adding a stick of VitaPerk into my daily latte to get some extra benefits from something I'm doing most days anyway. Here are the vitamins and minerals you'll be looking at: Vitamin A, C, D3, E, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, Folic Acid, Biotin, Iodine, Molbdenum, and Chromium.

Next up: Honey... Don't Cough. I love honey, especially in my green tea. It's definitely green tea season, with it being cold, and attempting to ward off sickness when most everyone in the office is sick. I was expecting to open the box and find a container of honey, but instead, I found 20 little packets filled with a dark honey. This is a natural cough remedy (tell me you've taken a spoonful of honey when your throat is hurting - it's amazing) that utilizes the power of natural buckwheat honey to soothe your throat and support your immune system without any of the unnatural ingredients found in over the counter medicines. Honey is known to help enhance your immune system, it's all natural, sad for kids 12 months and up, no preservatives, gluten free, no dyes or sweetners. It suggested to either warm the honey between your hands or to put into a warm cup of water to help it come out of the package better. The first time I tried the hand warming thing, but may hands are usually pretty cold, so it was a little difficult to get the honey out. Second time around I put the packet up against my mug of hot water and it was much easier to push out the top of the packet. I liked the taste and will be using all 20 packets. For two boxes of 20 packets each is $11.92.

I tried the Fanda Labs Driv next. I didn't mention any flavor on it, so I didn't know what to expect. Driv is supposed to boost your endurance and speed up your recovery. The ingredients are meant to help improve your body's energy and increase your endurance while reducing muscle cramps and soreness. It came with a little warning: it's an effervescent powder that will fizz when mixed with liquid. For best results, place into an empty sports bottle and add 16–24 oz of filtered water, leaving an inch of space at the top for fizz. Whoa - were they right! It was a crazy amount of fizz, so I'm happy that I read the helpful tips before just adding water.

When I dumped Driv into my cup, it was purple. I didn't get a chance to take a photo of the cool fizz before I got back to my desk and tried to take a photo. Anyway, I took a sip and it was a strong grape flavor. I would definitely need to add more water next time to help make that flavor less strong - not my favorite flavor. Also, I noticed something strange in the taste. Took a look at the ingredients, and there it was: stevia leaf extract flavor. Another no no for me. As you can probably tell, I'm very picky when it comes to sweetners.

I love lotions. I hate when my hands get dry, so I try to prevent this from ever happening. However, in the winter, and with winter running, usually comes chapped/dry hands. The Earth's Care Dry and Cracked Skin Balm smell reminded me a bit like vapor rub. Nothing that bothers me though. It contains naturally hydrating ingredients to rejuvenate skin and keep it moisturized through the winter months. Two thumbs up on my end. You can get a 2.5oz tub for $10.99.

The Dream Water Sleep Powder is to be used in warm water, cold water, or straight from the package. It's a fast acting sleep powder that's easy to use, drug free and will ensure you wake up feeling refreshed. I decided against using this one, since it warns of taking with medications and to consult your doctor. You can get a container of 10 for $13.98.

The final item was the Health Logics BioCell Collagen. I refrained from this one as well, as it was a bigger pill than the Shapeology ones, which again, I have problems with. What it's supposed to do is reduce wrinkles and fine lines, improve skin tone, visibly smooth and supple skin, improves hydration, helps comfort sore joints, helps renew joint cartilage and skin collagen. It came with 2 capsules, which is 1 serving. If it's something that interests you, you can purchase a bottle of 120 capsules for $39.95.

I just received my February box yesterday (though wasn't home most of the day and just had a chance to open just now). It contains a seasoning, supplements, vitamins, a fiber drink mix, and a bonus sample of BANDA-SiL, which helps treat cuts by speeding up the healing time. Haven't had a chance to try anything yet, though.

I definitely enjoyed my experience with Bulu Box and plan on continuing my subscription, along with putting in an order for some of my favorite products throughout my 3-month trial. I will admit that I preferred the snacks over supplements, as I'm just not the type of person that takes supplements, but I am DEFINITELY the kind of person that snacks... all day long.

If you're interested, you can try out Bulu Box too for only $5 a month (month-to-month subscription only). Use code BIBRAVE5 to receive your discount of $5 (regular box is $10).

Also, mark your calendars to join BibRave and sponsor Bulu Box on Tuesday, February 23 at 8pm CT for #BibChat. It's a great chance to chat with other runners and enjoy an hour of talking about running, health, food, food, and food ;)

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