Sunday, October 12, 2014

Subscription Boxes part 3

Boxes are still showing up - at a slightly slower pace now since I haven't signed up for many new ones recently. Both of the travel subscription boxes that I chose arrived recently.  These boxes take a destination theme and send items from that area ... the type of things that you might buy as a souvenir or taste if you visited.
Escape Monthly

The first was Escape Monthly.  I had signed up for the larger size box, and this month's theme was Puerto Rico.  It included a Moon travel guidebook to the area.  This was nice - definitely appeals to my researching nature and I can see that if the box inspired me to visit that area it would be very handy.  There were a number of food items - plantain chips, coconut pineapple candy bites, hot sauce, and coffee.  None of these are personally appealing to me.  I will probably try the plantain chips just to see what they are like (I don't like bananas though and am not expecting much) and the hot sauce.  The coffee and candies will find other homes.
More from Escape Monthly

Along with the food, there were a few smaller items.  One was a coconut scented candle somewhere between the size of a tealight and a votive.  With a very active kitty in my home, I expect this item will also be given away.  The last two items were unexpected - a small frog pin and a bottle opener with a frog on it - I had never associated Puerto Rico with frogs, but there was a card that came with the pin that described their significance to local culture.  I don't know if I will use the frog items, but I did learn something because of seeing them in the box.  My final verdict ... based on only this box, I wouldn't consider it worth the money; however, I'm going to try the next box (London) to see if a theme location that I am more interested in is more appealing. So, expect a second review on this company.
The anticipation of opening Hammock Pack

The other travel box was Hammock Pack.  They seems to have more USA based destinations, and this month's theme was Vermont.  I did a little guessing before the box came with what I associated with Vermont to see if it was included.  I was only correct with one item - maple flavoring. 
Hammock Pack revealed

The very first thing that I noticed about this box was how well it was packed.  The box was about the perfect fit for the items and the filler was packed so tight that I had a hard time getting the contents back in.  The other initial impression that I had was that the company does a very nice job with the explanation card.  All of the items get the same amount of space, and a website is included in case you want to order more of something from that company. 

There were four full size items included.  First, my correct guess on maple was reflected in a full size bag of maple granola.  I haven't tried this yet, but it looks yummy.  The other food item were some really good gluten-free vegan cookies.  Evidently the company sent multiple varieties out since I got the chocolate fudge, but the picture on the card was of a chocolate chip cookie.  These were some of the best commercially made cookies I've had - glad to see a company making something yummy that can be enjoyed by people with a wide variety of dietary needs. 

The other two items were more spa-related.  A very nice honey oatmeal soap - again a different scent that the picture on the card, but I was very happy to get the honey rather than the maple scent.  The last item was a jar of bath salts with a very interesting combination of scents - lavender, peppermint, grapefruit, and lemongrass ... all together - I've opened it to sniff several times trying to decide what it smells like.  I haven't come up with an answer yet.  I don't use bath salts often, so this will most likely make its way to someone else.  This was an interesting box and well put together, but it didn't inspire me to continue to subscribe.  I'm not sure why - maybe because they were all items that I would normally buy local from small producers I know.

The next box - SporkPack - challenged my expectations; the company sends kitchen gadgets and unique foods.  I had seen some very cool gadgets in other reviews online, but the food didn't move me.  However, I felt the opposite about the box I received.

There were two gadgets and two food items.  I was really turned off by both of the gadgets.  First, a sugar/creamer set ... I would expect that most people who need this sort of thing already own it.  I know I have a set lurking in my cupboard that I rarely use.  Plus, I don't really consider it a gadget.  The second was a oil and vinegar server for salad; again, I would think that you already own this if you need/want it.  Plus, it might look interesting on the table, but I bet it would be very hard to clean.  Not going to keep either one.
more SporkPack

The food, though, was very unique.  Freeze-dried corn for snacking.  It tastes just like corn on the cob but the texture is very different - crunchy, but not like popcorn.  It did highlight to me how much natural sugar is in sweet corn as it left a sweet aftertaste in my mouth (there were no additives).  The second food item was chocolate covered goji berries.  These were not as unusual a taste experience, but still interesting.  I would have preferred a higher berry to chocolate ratio because mostly what I could taste was the dark chocolate, but they were still good to try.  I think I'll try another box to see if this was an off one for gadgets ...

The last box is one that I haven't tried any items from yet.  Cocolectic sends tasting bars (full size) of high quality chocolates.  These are all high percentage dark bars.  The shipment was beautifully packaged, and the guide sheet gives ideas on what to taste for - similar to wine tasting notes.  I found it interesting that two of the bars got a long paragraph on the sheet and the other two had only a line with the flavors to taste for.  I expect that I will enjoy the chocolate, but I don't think I will continue this subscription as it seemed a bit pricey.