Bookish Box- Illumicrate Review

One of my favorite things in the bookish world are the subscription boxes full of goodies. If you aren’t aware Illumicrate is one of the very best. I was asked if I’d like to receive a box for review and I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

This was my first Illumicrate box but will not be my last- I’ve already signed up for the next box going out which will include “a dark tale of music and mischief, and the other is an advanced reader copy of an upcoming fantasy book!” How could I not sign up for that?

Illumicrate differs from other boxes by being quarterly rather than monthly. I love this since I can’t afford a monthly box. This is a UK based subscription box so shipping is a little high for US but honestly, it’s worth it. Plus, you often times get the UK version of the book! That makes it all worth it in my opinion.

Lets take a look at what was in the November box,

unboxing

I was so excited about all the items but the socks and candle are probably my favorites. I love that the candle was an exclusive to this box. I’ve always wanted a Meraki candle so YAY.

candle

Have you ever gotten a bookish box? An Illumicrate in particular? You can still get the February box if you’re interested- order here.

Interview with Anissa from FairyLoot

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I am fairly new to bookish subscription boxes but one that has always stood out to me was FairyLoot. Not only are the contents gorgeous each month (including items such as: bookmarks, candles, jewelry, and a hardcover book) the logo and name are perfect.

I am thrilled to have the owner and creator, Anissa, here on my blog today…

What inspired you to start FairyLoot and how long has it been going?
Firstly, thank you so much for featuring me on your blog! It’s such an honour! When I started FairyLoot there weren’t any fantasy focused book boxes in the UK and I actually was looking for one to subscribe to. So, I thought to myself why not make one? I had seen amazing some book boxes in the US that were so inspiring so I just took the plunge! We started creating FairyLoot in February and launched it in March 2016 – we worked nonstop to pull it together and haven’t looking back since!

Each month you pick a theme and surprise your subscribers with a new release and goodies based around it- Do you have a favorite box or theme you’ve done so far?
This is such a hard question because I love them all so much! If I really had to pick I think my favourite boxes so far are Royals & Rogues and Sci-Fi Adventure. I have some really exciting things planned for 2017 that I can’t wait to reveal, and those themes are some of my favourites too!

Rogues and Royals

What about a book makes it a good contender to be included in a FairyLoot box?
I read a lot of proofs every month to choose the best book, and when a book clicks with me I just know it’s going to be perfect for FairyLoot. My favourite type of fantasy is high fantasy, but I like mixing up different types of fantasy books that have different types of protagonists.

FairyLoot tends to focus on the fantasy genre- was there a book that made you a fantasy fan? If so, what was it?
I grew up reading Harry Potter and being totally obsessed with Lord of the Rings. Fantasy was everything to me – I just loved it. It has always been my go-to genre for books, movies, TV series, computer games – anything, really! I used to only read adult fantasy books and then I read The Mortal Instruments and fell in love with Young Adult and haven’t looked back!

And the question I have to ask– is there anything you can hint about the next boxes?
All I’m going to say is we’re going to be featuring some pretty highly anticipated books in 2017, and we’ve got some AMAZING themes planned, along with some very unique items that I’ve never included before in our boxes. Needless to say I’m beyond excited!

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Did you see February’s theme? I’m so excited about this box and you can order it RIGHT NOW. Hurry though because these boxes always sell out quickly. And if you are on bookstagram you should consider entering FairyLoot’s latest rep search.

Tell me- have you ever ordered a FairyLoot box? And, what books releasing in 2017 would you love to see featured?

Bookish Shops and Subscription Boxes- Interview with Alexis from Nerdy Post

Recently, I’ve fallen in love with Instagram and since I became more active there I have come to find out about so many amazing Bookish Shops and Subscription Boxes. This is the start to a new series of interviews I’m doing with my absolute favorite bookish folks. I hope to introduce you to new bookish obsessions and highlight shops you might already be a fan of.

Note: some of these are companies I help represent on Instagram and some I don’t.

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Up first, Alexis who owns Nerdy Post. I happened upon this sub box early on because of my bestie, Crystal (bookiemoji) gifted me the Doctor Who box. I immediately fell head over heels and became a fan. Each box is full of beautifully hand lettered items with quotes and the like all related to that month’s theme. I love that Nerdy Post covers all fandoms (not just bookish ones). Upcoming for January? STAR WARS. How exciting is that. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us.

This beautiful picture is from Nerdy Post's Instagram. Click image to see more

This beautiful picture is from Nerdy Post’s Instagram. Click image to see more

Interview

What inspired you to start your subscription box for fandoms, Nerdy Post?

I started getting subscription box obsessed a few months into my bookstagram experience, and was simultaneously trying to build my own brand, hoping to find a way to make enough money to quit my 9-5 design job and stay home with my freshly baked baby girl. She had just gone into daycare because my maternity leave was over and I hated it. She was too young and I wasn’t ready. So the idea crossed my mind that maybe the way to get my art to a bunch of people would be to get involved with the boxes. At first I was just hoping to get featured in one, as I figured the logistics and coordination with companies and behind the scenes aspects of running my own box would be a nightmare. But then we did the bookmarks for The Bookish Box and my husband suggested we keep everything in-house and paper goods and suddenly it was a real possibility. Obviously my obsession with fandoms and my need to push everyone I ever meet into becoming obsessed with just one show or book or movie I am obsessed with meant that this is what I would base my box on. My goal is really just to convert new fans every month! I’m only 5% kidding.

Do you have a favorite box you’ve done? If so, which?

My favorite box so far is the Classic Novels one. I have never worked so hard for so many hours in all my life but it was totally worth it because every item is my favorite.

Have you found one box to be the most popular or a group to be the most enthusiastic?

img_0640It’s hard sometimes to tell what’s most popular because we are growing steadily bigger each month but that has more to do with our reach growing than each month doing a more popular theme than the one before. But I would say the Doctor Who, Harry Potter and Outlander ones have been the most enthusiastic. Outlander actually surprised me. It was our biggest growth month and one I was just hoping not to dip too low with subscribers, so that was nice!

What would you say has been the hardest part of getting Nerdy Post up and running?

The hardest part is keeping up with customer service aspects. I’m an artist with ADD and sometimes my brain just doesn’t want to compute with replying to a billion emails and I’m constantly worried customer issues will slip through the cracks with my busy self-employed-mom-of-a-toddler lifestyle and heavy work load. But I also just can’t get to stuff on a normal time schedule and thus slips happen. Luckily I’m a nice person and genuinely want my customers to be happy, so I haven’t angered anyone that I know of, and am able to make right any issue that come up. But customer service is still hard. It’s just not my forte.
The other thing is budgeting. I would literally be broke if not for my husband keeping me in check. He’s the numbers guy. So you can blame him for not getting 15 items every month because “we really ought to try and make a little money this month, Alexis, or we won’t be able to buy any items next month at all.” Haha

Can you give us any hints to what you have upcoming?

The next few months are going to be so much fun. We have several extremely popular fandoms ranging genres from SciFi to Animation and everything in between! Something to keep in mind if you really want hints is that I do try and coordinate with releases of new seasons or sequels or movies when I can.

Questions about Lettering…

In each box you include the most beautiful prints, bookmarks and hand -lettered goodies*. You create all of these images- how long have you been hand-lettering?

I have really been lettering all my life. I always liked to “write pretty” and experiment with the styles of the letters I wrote. But I didn’t consciously understand that what I was doing was lettering until about 8 years ago. I just always chose to use my own “fonts” when I couldn’t get the actual fonts do behave the way I wanted them to in my artwork.

fullsizerenderDo you have any tips for anyone wanting to start lettering?

The biggest thing, and probably the most disappointing for a lot of people, that I recommend is to practice. Haha But I am dead serious. When I started Nerdy Post and was lettering every single day I started to see a rapid improvement on my skill and style variations as well as how quickly I could complete a design. {I’m still super slow, but that just means I was scary slow before}. Practicing every day is now a must. Also, find styles you like and emulate them. Copy everything until you can reproduce each style without looking at it, then be sure to use it often so you don’t lose it, but rather it becomes a staple in your bag of tricks. Another aspect to that is to challenge yourself by picking different words than whatever you are copying, so you are forced to try and recreate the style in letters you can’t see and still make them cohesive. That’s probably the step between straight up copying to finding your own style.

*Be sure to check out Alexis’ account on Instagram for videos of her lettering. She makes it look easy and I’m certain she’s magical.

Thank you Alexis for your time!

Before this interview had you heard of NerdyPost? If so, have you ever gotten a box?

If not, it’s really easy to subscribe- Head to the site and create an account and hit subscribe. you can choose to get a month here and there or get it monthly. I am honored to help represent NerdyPost on Instagram so, if you are interested, I invite you to use my promo code to save 10% just enter FICTIONFRIENDS