Monthly Archives: December 2015

Review – Monthly Subscription Boxes

Review – Monthly Subscription Boxes

Lately I have been drooling over the lovely “planner hauls” and unboxing videos and periscopes from everyone I follow on YouTube and Instagram, and I thought…

Why can’t I order a few things myself? I could totally write about what works and does not work for ME?

So… I decided to do this.

To be fair I started these experiments in August — I was on Instagram and I came across 2 different planner girl monthly boxes that had recently started shipping their boxes to Canada. Not knowing what to ask, or what to look for when signing up for these companies, I just jumped in head first and ordered both of them that first day in August.

WHAT. A. MESS…

So far my experiences with these sorts of subscription boxes has been less than stellar. I have placed orders for several types of subscription boxes and had no problem with most of them… but the planner/stationary subscription boxes have ALWAYS been a fail for me.

Package/kit #1: Paper Junkies

My first experience with the planner subscription “boxes” was with Paper Junkies. I had come across them on Instagram and at the time they were offering a planner box/kit (although looking at the website now I don’t see that as an offering at this time) and they had just started offering to ship to Canada. I checked online to see if anyone had complaints, if they had been reviewed by other people, how their customer service was… etc, and everything seemed to check out fine so I placed an order and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

a month passed and although I had received notification that my order had been processed, I had not received any shipping notification or tracking numbers. So I contacted the company and had been told that the owner had had some health difficulties that had caused some delays, but that things were still being processed. I appreciated that they had communicated with me that there was a reason, and that I was still to get what I ordered… so I waited some more.

And waited.

And waited.

And finally at the end of September I received a tracking number for the package that I was expecting. But every single time I checked the tracking number there was no information,  instead the USPS website always stated that the package was in Pre-Shipping, that they had been notified electronically to expect a package but that they hadn’t actually received the package so it was untraceable. I still had hope that there was a package coming.

Eventually I got tired of being patient and I emailed the company again. Within a few hours I was told that there was an issue with the shipping and that another package was to be sent out. I was assured that this had happened to a bunch of packages, and that they had worked the issue out with the USPS and that everything had been handled.

So I waited.

But nothing ever came. So I contacted the owner AGAIN to state that i had STILL not received a valid notification of shipment. The owner once more stated that she had sent the package, but that if I wanted I could get a refund. I asked her how she wanted to go about doing the refund and she asked for my PayPal. I thought that was odd, but I sent it to her, and waited.

And waited.

Finally a few friends suggested that this person was NOT going to give me a refund and that it was well past time that I contact Visa about this issue. Two and a half months after I placed my order I hadn’t received any product AND I had not been able to get a refund, so I had to contest the charges (which thankfully Visa was quite able to do without any issues).

Because I never received any product, I have to give this box/kit a ZERO out of FIVE

Box #2: The Planner Addict Box

The same day that I ordered from the Paper Junkies shop, I also placed an order from The Planner Addict Box. Unlike the Paper Junkies order, the Planner Addict Box was a recurring subscription service. Since I only wanted ONE month to try (with the idea that when I find something I actually LIKE I’ll subscribe as an ongoing customer) I chose the option of “gift” rather than subscribe. I had done this with  several subscription boxes that I ordered for my kids (we have tried 4 non-planner type subscriptions and have had absolutely ZERO issues with any OTHER Crate Joy subscriptions) as a way to ensure that I wasn’t automatically charged for additional months, as a way to just TRY a box.

And just like the first one, I waited and waited and waited. From the first week of AUGUST, until mid-September I waited before contacting the customer service department. Unlike the Paper Junkies customer service, I waited 3 days to get any sort of answer from the Planner Addict, and then it was to say that they didn’t have any record of my order. I provided them with a screenshot of my subscription with their Crate Joy, as well as the date and transaction number for the Visa payment made to them. They could not find my order at ALL for over a week, and continually emailed me asking what I was searching for, not reading what I was sending them!! It was extremely frustrating.

After a week of back and forth, it was finally discovered that my order had just not been fulfilled for the September 1st subscription box, so they stated they would just send me the October 1st box instead.

So I waited and waited and WAITED…

October 12th I emailed asking why I hadn’t received a tracking number. October 13th I received a response stating that my address was coming back undeliverable… because for some reason they had tried to send it to my address but with the country code as USA instead of Canada. I informed them that this was the error, and I didn’t hear anything back… but 2 weeks later (October 27) I received the box — including planner stickers, a gem pen in black, some pretty paper clips, and chip board stickers. All very pretty things, but things I wouldn’t generally use in my journalling or bullet journalling.

Planner Addict Box – 3 out of 5

I am glad that I didn’t sign up for an ongoing subscription, simply because the type of things that were in the box were not the sort of thing I will really use in my planning system. I might RAK some of them later, but the quality and variety were excellent.  On the other hand, I found the interactions with their customer service to be unfriendly and unhelpful, and for that reason I wouldn’t order from them again. 

Box #3: Maker Monthly Box

This is the third try with this type of box system, the more stationary based Maker Monthly. Maker Monthly is touted as “Designer Notebooks and Creative Supplies Delivered monthly” and has come highly recommended by other bullet journal people I have followed, as well as reviews I have read.

Once more I had chosen “send as a gift” for the reason that generally this option, through the Crate Joy system, ensures that you don’t keep getting charged. In this case it doesn’t really work that way, since no matter what I chose my account lists my subscription as “month to month” instead of “gift”, and in order to stop from being charged additional months (which I don’t want until I actually get to SEE and REVIEW said product) I had to log into my account and suspend a month.

Just like the other 2 boxes, when I received my shipping notification, the tracking number only showed that there had been an electronic notification to the USPS to expect a package, and never moved onto actual delivery.

This time, though, I didn’t wait more than 2 weeks before emailing the company regarding the issue. Within a day I received an email stating that yes, they verified that I did order and everything on my end (payment details, address) was correct, but for some reason even though they had sent a notification to me AND the USPS that something was to be sent, a package had never been created and it wasn’t coming. He was very apologetic though, and stated that he would send one out to me immediately, and that I would get notification when it was shipped (expedited shipping) to me…

So far, haven’t received any notification (but my idea of IMMEDIATELY and someone else’s are likely different, especially for this time of the year) but I am willing to give them a week before I contact them again asking if it will still be sent, because I don’t want to have to deal with Visa again.

Maker Monthly: so far disappointed by lack of delivery

While I have been impressed with the various offerings that I have seen from the Maker Monthly subscription box, i’m fairly disappointed that I seem to have missed out on a pretty cool box this past month  (and potentially another $40 Canadian) and that even though there was some offer to fix the mistake, there was no timeline given either so I am still left wondering WHEN or even IF anything will even come…

But if it does I will definitely be reviewing anything that comes…

 

 

 

Preparing for a new bullet journal

Preparing for a new bullet journal

As luck would have it, my current bullet journal book is coming to an end just as the calendar year ends.

Maybe it is serendipity. Maybe it’s just luck. Either way, as the calendar and the sunlight tick down, so does the available space in my current journal. I currently have 5 pages left in the pocket sized Moleskine  that I have been using for my bullet journal, which is roughly 2 more weeks (will take me up to December 20th, and the book I want to move into (Hobonichi Techo Cousin) doesn’t have weeklies until December 28th, and the dailies don’t start until Jan 1…

Evolution of my journal - current layout

Evolution of my journal – current layout in my pocket (A6) sized Moleskine Grid

Hobonichi Techo Cousin

Hobonichi Techo Cousin A5 

If I leave things the way they are going, I will have a week of time (and the BUSIEST week of my year) where I won’t have a planning book. If I start a new book for only a week before I move into the Hobonichi, it might be wasted. I could choose to use multiple books, but I’m not sure if I can keep up with all that…

So I am faced with trying to decide what it is that I am going to do for my next bullet journal and/or planning system for the new year. Right now, i’m pretty undecided as to how I am going to do this, and if I am going to stick with ONLY bullet journalling, or if I am going to try to maintain multiple systems.


Planning has been a part of my life for… well, MOST of my life.

I have always had a strong need to write things down. I have always kept lists and schedules and planners. I have also kept journals most of my life. I’ve always kept my schedules/planners separate from my journals; journals were always very private and involved thoughts and feelings, whereas my planners and schedules just involved what I needed to get done and the events that I needed to remember that I’ve scheduled.

Starting in January 2015 I have decided to try using a modified bullet journal/journaling system in a Hobonichi Techo Cousin. Considering my last bullet journal was a personal (about A6)/pocket sized Moleskine, this A5 size (twice as big) will offer me a lot more space. As well, not having a way to index or catalog collections will be somewhat hard to adjust to.

IMG_0186

I have considered having both a home system and a portable system. Right now I have both the passport and regular size Midori Traveler’s Notebooks, which I have been using as my journal for the past month. While I like having a separate journal from my daily logs and tasks, a place a bit more private, I would like being able to detail SOME of the thoughts and feelings that come from my days. I am considering moving to a 3 book system – 1 schedule, 1 journal, 1 bullet journal. The schedule would be contained in my Hobonichi, the journal would be in both the Hobonichi (events, details, logging) and the Midori Traveler’s notebook (regular), and the bullet journal could be kept in the Passport sized Midori…IMG_3624

I love having so many choices in my writing, planning, journalling life… although it can be a little overwhelming to have so many things to keep up with…

What sort of system do you like to use? Do you use a combination book (journalling and planning/scheduling and art in one) or separate books for different things???