Some time ago, I gave some beauty product subscription services a whirl. It is a fun concept. You pay some amount per month–typically around $10–and get a box full of goodies in the mail. They were moderately fun but I quickly found that most months I was lucky to get a single sample that was worthwhile. The rest was just filler. I cancelled them pretty quickly.

In the meantime, subscription boxes are taking off like wildfire. I have ignored them until… Enter Quarterly and The Clothes Make the Girl. I’ve been following Melissa Joulwan’s blog, The Clothes Make the Girl, for a few months. I’ve been interested in adopting more of a Paleo lifestyle and she’s an awesome resource, in addition to being totally kick-ass. She recently announced that she was curating boxes for Quarterly. In Quarterly’s own words, they are:

Quarterly is a new way to connect with the people you follow and find interesting. We spend so much of our lives connecting with people online that we forget the value of tangible interactions that happen in the real world. Quarterly wants to bridge that gap by allowing anyone to subscribe to influential curators and receive physical items in the mail from them. It’s like a magazine, but instead of receiving words on a page, our subscribers receive actual items that tell a compelling story crafted by the curator.

Curators include people such as Andrew Zimmern, Ludo Lefebvre, Nina Garcia, Food52, Arianna Huffington and more.  Their curated boxes range from $50 to $100 for a quarterly delivery. The price was a bit higher but, after snooping around the innerwebz, the quality of the boxes was much higher than the average subscription boxes. But these aren’t just boxes culled from whatever samples could be had from various manufacturers. These boxes have had thought put into them. Items are full-sized and quality. (Can you tell I’m impressed with them?)

Quarterly: MELISSA JOULWAN #1

Box #1 from Melissa Joulwan included:

  • A jar of Nikki’s Coconut Butter. Based on online feedback, it seems that different flavors went out. I got Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie. It is really pretty good. I was expecting something overly sweet, like Nutella, but it has a nice chocolate-coconut flavor. I didn’t pick up much hazelnut. That’s probably a plus in my book.
  • Wild Planet White Anchovies. Hmm. I haven’t broken into these yet. I’m dubious but game to try them. Looking into recipes now. These are supposed to be mild and very good. I’m thinking about using them to make some sort of a sauce.
  • Pure Indian Foods 100% Organic Ghee. Haven’t broken into this yet but I’ll give it a go when the jar of ghee that I currently have open is depleted.
  • Pacific Bone Broth. This is a cute little 8 oz container. The flavor is chicken with ginger. I’m looking forward to trying it. Along these lines, I probably should start making and drinking bone broth more often.
  • Primal Pacs Small Paleo on the Go snack pack. I’ve been wanting to try these for a while now. They have beef jerky, mango, macadamias, almonds and cranberries. It was all reasonably good, especially the mango. This is the kind of thing, though, that I’d be more inclined to pick up as an occasional snack or for a road trip.
  • A Knork paring knife. I was unfamiliar with the brand but the knife has a good hand-feel and is plenty sturdy. I’m planning to test drive it on some sweet potatoes later today.
  • There was also a cute full-color print with doodles, an explanation of the curated items and a recipe for a sweet potato soup. That might also get a test drive today!

Soo… my plan is to continue the subscription for another month or two. We’ll see what happens after that. For fun, I also subbed to the Andrew Zimmern box. His next one ships in October. Looking back over his subscriptions, I really wish I had gotten his Asia box. Good stuff.