Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Escape Monthly December: Europe Box review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , ,
1

So I’ve been with Escape Monthly for a year and a half now and I think I’ve reached the end of our time together. For awhile I was really enjoying getting items from other cities, but I’m not getting the same sense of excitement with them anymore. I hung in there for this box because there’s so much Europe can offer and I was suuuuuuuper curious what they would highlight. I wish they had focused less on food items and included some other seasonal items or personal care type stuff.

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city/region. Each box comes with a guide for that area. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral commission program.

escape monthly december europe box products showing escape monthly december europe box info card escape monthly december europe box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

I would have preferred to see more diversity in countries – it seems that the majority of products are French or French-inspired. While I do enjoy France, it certainly doesn’t represent the breadth of cultures across Europe.

Here’s what came in the box:

St. Dalfour Red Raspberry & Pomegranate Jam (French) – I need to start eating breakfast and incorporating jam. I’ve accumulated a couple jars of various flavors and I don’t want them to all go to waste! This didn’t feel uber Christmas-y, but I can see it evoking certain memories of the season.

Rick Steves’ European Christmas – Well that’s interesting. A book about Christmas in Europe! I never knew travel guides go specific to the time of year like this. I’ve spent two holiday seasons in Europe, but I didn’t seek out specific holiday festivities, so perhaps I shall have to plan another trip to take advantage of what I can learn from this book.

St. Michel Mini Madeleines (French) – I love these snacks and happily brought the bag along for my travels to save me from the possibility of going hungry. I actually haven’t needed to open them yet since I’ve stayed rather well-fed, but I’m definitely looking forward to having these. I imagine to them to wonderfully moist. I like eating madeleines in general (like the Costco ones) so I’m glad to get this.

Stash Christmas in Paris herbal tea (French-inspired) – Chocolate tea was never my thing and peppermint in tea can be a bit too cooling for me, so I wasn’t sure what to make of this. The warmth of the chocolate actually helps dull the peppermint so it’s not too cooling in my belly. It’s an interesting combination that I will certainly drink, but it’s still outside my normal tea-drinking habits enough that I wouldn’t get more on my own. As a fun holiday thing, it’s nice though.

bisschopswijn mulling spices (Dutch-inspired) – Oh, this smelled good! Definitely perfect for the season and very reminiscent of Christmas spices. I’ve been drinking a lot of hot apple cider and I wonder how this will compare (or enhance that flavor?). I’ll brew some of this and experiment with taste options over the next two months when the snow finally hits!

Chabert & Guillot Nougat de Montelimar (French) – What a wonderful bonus treat! I have a major sweet tooth and nougats are one of my top favorites. I love the chewiness and sweetness and the bit of nuts offers a nice break to the sticky bar. This is fantastic.

Stickservice Vogel ornament (German) – What a cool little ornament. It’s so delicate and dainty! I’m amused that it’s in the shape of a Christmas tree, so it can act as our tree this year, since we don’t have one. In the future I want to collect one ornament a year so this is an excellent start with such a special piece.

Clement Faugier Creme de Marrons de l’Ardeche Chestnut Spread (French) – I have to admit, I’m apprehensive about this. Something about it coming in a metal tube seems odd. I’m used to hand creams coming in this form, but food too? I don’t plan on making my own crepes anytime soon, so I’ll have to see how else this can be used. Maybe as part of a dish! We did make a chestnut pasta dish a few weeks ago…

I would have appreciated this theme a lot more had it included a candle, skincare product, or something else non-food. Much as eating is a part of the holidays, so are a ton of other things that didn’t get highlighted here. The other thing would have been to include just one (max two) products from any given country. Certainly there could be compelling stuff from Italy, Spain, Eastern Europe, and Scandanavia. Would you want this Europe Escape Monthly box? What do you like best? If you want to sign up, try one of these codes (not sure which ones are still active): PORTLAND or MYESCAPE for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription or GIFTESCAPE for 25% off.

For the first time, the next month’s location was not yet chosen – it was a “users choice” type thing, where I guess you could put in your suggestion on their Facebook page. At the beginning of the month, they announced that it will be Portland. There are a ton of great products coming out of the Pacific Northwest, so I’m looking forward to this. I hope they don’t overlap with the previous Oregon box.

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Hawaii 2014 haul

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1

Somehow I always manage to forget to take pictures after coming back from a trip and it’s week later when I actually have a haul post ready. This time around I got so eager to share some of the snacks we brought back that they were taken to work and devoured (or given to my parents) before I ever snapped a photo. But here’s a look at some of the cool things we got while in Oahu last month!

bag of kulu kulu mini waffles

One of the many snack items I got. These fun little guys came in panda or seal shapes and are filled with custard or jam! I just wish they were more fresh when I got them.

hawaiian red shrimp and snails ecosphere self-sustaining ecosystem

These awesome self-sustaining ecospheres have Hawaiian red shrimp and (optionally) snails. I’ve wanted one for years and I’m so happy they made it through air travel just fine.

pineapple-scented candle in coconut shell, koa wood bookmark, and hawaii calendar for 2015

I got the pineapple-scented candle in a coconut shell and koa wood bookmark from an ABC Store. The calendar came free from a Hilo Hattie purchase!

purple halter top dress with white flowers, blue and beige hawaiian shirt, and hawaii t-shirt from hilo hattie

The clothing we got at Hilo Hattie included a dress for me, a Hawaiian shirt for my brother-in-law, and a t-shirt for my father-in-law. I actually have a dress in the exact same pattern as the Hawaiian shirt, from Panda’s previous visit to HI.

hawaiian host macadamia chocolates from costco and gold sea turtle earrings from hilo hattie

The other item I got at Hilo Hattie are those awesome earrings! I love sea turtles. At the local Costco, we got a giant tub of the Hawaiian Host macadamia chocolates – they were a hit at work. We also got tins of nuts for my parents, but I forgot to get a picture of that.

blue and white flip flop oven glove from dole plantation in hawaii

One day, we stopped by the Dole Plantation and I thought this was a super cute and creative oven glove design. I hope my mother-in-law likes it!

honolulu cookie company pineapple-shaped shortbread cookies

And of course, no visit to Hawaii is complete without some Honolulu Cookies. Panda and I both brought some to our offices. They disappeared pretty quickly!

Escape Monthly November: Hawaii Box review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
0

This is the first true repeat theme that they’ve done, so of course I was curious to see how much overlap it would have with the previous box. I personally don’t feel this was as good as the first box and especially having received that one, this was rather disappointing. Even just looking at it without considering what I had previously, I didn’t feel like the value and variety were there. I guess I prefer boxes with more smaller items versus a larger-ticket item or some medium ones. I’m starting to carefully evaluate the value I perceive I’m gaining from these boxes to decide how much longer I’ll stay with them. Another box or two that are under par might make me end my subscription, but for now I’m really intrigued with the possibilities for next month’s box.

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city/region. Each box comes with a guide for that area. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral commission program.

escape monthly november hawaii box products showing escape monthly november hawaii box info card escape monthly november hawaii box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

Everything here was new to me, so that was great for introducing me to different items. I like that some of them went full out with the British look while others are just products you might go for any day as you shop around.

Here’s what came in the box:

Moon Handbooks guide to Maui – Well, at the least it’s good that they didn’t send the same guidebook. Last time I got the Big Island and this time I have Maui, which are perfect since so far I’ve only been to Oahu. With all that new territory still waiting for me to explore, both of the guidebooks I have will be useful.

Hawaiian Host Kona Glazed Macadamia nuts – As always, I’m not into nuts (though macadamia nuts are at least tolerable and even enjoyable at times). What really kills this for me is the coffee flavoring, so I’ve passed it on to Panda for him to eat. I doubt another flavor would have persuaded me otherwise anyway though.

Hawaiian Rainforest Naturals Stress Release Bath Crystals – This was the only entirely new brand to show up and I think it’s pretty cool. I love bath stuff, so this will be great for my next bath when I’m looking to soak away the stress. This pouch is gently sweet and almost reminiscent of baby powder. I find it wonderful that the ingredients are responsibly sourced from the Hawaiian rainforest and I’d love to go there on my next trip. I’m curious what flower essences went into this one, which would have been a nice thing to outline along with the directions for use.

Royal Hawaiian Orchards Kona Coffee Banana Macadamia Crunch – Again with the coffee flavor! I think with one, that should have been enough for this box and they should have included a different flavor. I would have been fine with receiving the same flavor I did with the last box (papaya lime) since that was pretty unique and tasty. Unfortunately, I can’t stand coffee flavored stuff, so this has been put in Panda’s pile as well. Pity.

Honey Girl Organics Face & Eye Creme and Night Creme – This is the exact same thing from the last box. I wish they’d included any other products from this line, since I would have been happy to try those, but I don’t want repeats of the same items! I sure hope someone would want to trade for this. I’ve barely even used the first set since I have so many other products I’m using too.

Personal Paradise Noni Papaya Pineapple shampoo – We received this brand in the last box, but I like that we get to try their shampoo this time. I like how they have very tropically-inspired scents and I’m looking forward to how my hair will smell after this one. I like the packaging for this brand and I like the lotion that I got in the other box, which I’ve already used up. Now this is how to repeat a brand across different boxes.

Personal Paradise Noni Papaya Pineapple body lotion – This lotion is definitely a lighter scent than the coconut lime one I got in the original Hawaii box, but I like it as well. It’s so refreshing and the lotion is a great consistency. It absorbs into my skin really well and softens my hands right away! I’ll totally be using this until it’s completely empty too, just like the other tube I had. I’m glad I get to try another one of their lovely scents.

seashell lei  – The bonus item was again a lei, though a different design. I like the use of some cowry shells to change up the pattern and I’ll add this to my growing collection of seashell leis from Hawaii.

Well, it was an ok box, but I was to feel more excited about what I’m getting. I think something with koa wood would have been cool, like the bookmark I’d bought on my recent trip to Hawaii. What’s your impression of this Hawaii Escape Monthly box? If you want to sign up, try one of these codes (not sure which ones are still active): MYESCAPE or YULETIDE for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription or GIFTESCAPE for 25% off.

escape monthly november hawaii box info card back with preview of next month's box theme of europe

To round up the year is a more general theme, with all sorts of possibilities! I look forward to some European delights. This will help me decide if I should actively consider cancelling this subscription or if I should continue on for awhile. Bring on the good stuff!

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Working remotely in Hawaii

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
0

I spent a week out in Hawaii while doing everything to make it seem like I wasn’t even gone work-wise. It was a last-minute thing: when I realized Veteran’s Day was the following week, I had asked Panda what our plans were (anticipating taking Monday off to enjoy a 4-day weekend). Instead of the type of answer I was expecting, I discovered that would be the week he was slated to go to Hawaii for work. I was so disappointed because I was really wanted to enjoy the weekend with him, but work travel meant he’d be leaving me Sunday morning. In other words, what I thought would be a long weekend would actually only consist of Saturday. For the first time, I was actually serious about joining him on a work trip. I really didn’t want to lose out on making it a holiday weekend worth my time.

So, once it was confirmed that he was going, I decided to make a decision and book tickets too. I’ve never planned a trip like this on such short notice, but it was one of those things I knew I’d regret for ages if I didn’t go for it. I figured I could still get all my work done at the normal EST hours I work and then I’d have the afternoon to enjoy the surroundings in Hawaii. Just like that, we found tickets for times I felt were reasonable and least interfered with work. By Sunday, we were off on our journey to spend a week out at the North Shore.

turtle bay resort at north shore hotel room with king bed

My office for the week.

I woke up daily (except Veteran’s Day and the weekend) at 4:30 HST to start work. I joined meetings remotely, answered emails, and worked on projects. Before I knew it, the sun would be rising and people were going off to lunch. I’d usually have a late “lunch” break and go enjoy the breakfast buffet downstairs. I savored the meals and watched the waves coming in as the heat began to build outside. Then it was back to the room for more work, which flew by pretty quickly. I found myself to be more productive (or at least it felt so) working from the hotel. This was probably because I had very few distractions. I hardly even got up for a drink or restroom break whereas usually at work I’m up at least once or twice an hour.

view of sunrise from turtle bay resort hotel room

Being awake for the sunrise was pretty cool.

view of turtle bay beach and ocean from turtle bay resort hotel room

The daytime view was pretty awesome too.

breakfast spread from breakfast buffet at turtle bay resort

A typical breakfast halfway through the work day!

I tried to finish my day around 1, but it usually went past that, though for the most part I was able to stop working by 2. At that point I had the choice of beaches to play at. One day I went the less traveled route and happily caught dozens of hermit crabs, snails, and even fish. Another day I found other crabs lurking by the rocks and swam around in the bay following a variety of fish around coral reefs. Yet another day I caught more critters and had a staring contest with some ghost crabs. I kept meaning to go to the banyan tree everyone checks out, but there were so many distractions along the way that I never quite made it there. I did have fun filming storks taking off in slo-mo, getting super close-ups of the creatures I caught, and generally basking in the sun.

clear plastic cup with a fish, hermit crab, and sea snail

Just the beginning of my catchings.

As the sun went down, we’d search for dinner and my night would wind down. I’d shower off the sand from the day and spend some time online before calling it a night. I tried to sleep around 8, but oftentimes it was closer to 10 when I got to bed. And then the day would start anew just past 4 as my alarms began to ring. It was much easier to wake up at that time than I thought it might be. I was quickly alert and ready to go! On our days off, we’d sleep in until 9 or so and then grab breakfast before embarking out on some adventure. Panda didn’t get the weekend, but luckily was free on Veteran’s Day and had some opportunities to leave work for a few hours. We went to Waikiki twice, hiked Diamond Head, visited Pearl Harbor, and even swung by the Dole Plantation. Not bad for a working vacation!

How to train a crab

laelene Posted in how to guides, lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
0

I’ve been playing with a variety of crabs of late and it’s fascinating. They’re rather smart creatures and I can almost swear they understand me. I’ve definitely stared into the eyes of some and felt like they could communicate with me. Maybe that’s just how their eyes look, but if you’ve ever tried to stare down a crab you might know what I mean. Sometimes their cunning is shocking. I’ve had them figure out how to climb up and out of cups, planning their escape. I’ve had them (somewhat) calmly crawl on me and learn that I’ll keep picking them up every time they try to leave. I’ve even had them working in teams to try to reach higher out of their temporary home in my cup.

tower of hermit crabs climbing on top of each other

The leaning tower of crabs. Smaller ones love to hitch a ride on larger ones!

clump of hermit crabs crawling on each other climbing up side of paper cup

Hitching a ride or using teamwork to escape?

line of hermit crabs crawling up side of paper cup

One by one, they learn from each other and crawl out.

It all started with some hermit crabs. It was the first day I got to go to the beach by the hotel (Turtle Bay Resort). I went wandering and eventually found a way to get to the beach I’d seen from the breakfast table. At first it was just tons and tons of snails on the rocks. I picked a bunch and was just enjoying the day playing around in the water with them when I noticed much faster movement. It was a hermit crab scuttling by! Once I knew what to look for, it was game over. I spotted so many that I had caught at least 30-something and there was no room in my cup. So I started to take pictures and release them. After all, what I really want are some close-up images of these cool creatures.

hermit crab staring at person holding it in fingers

If you just hold them, they’ll come out and look at you.

The next day, I went to the other side of the resort to check out what else I could find. It turned out to be a gold mine for other crabs. The land ones move far too fast to ever be caught, but the water ones have a tendency to hide and blend with the rocks. Since these rock formations have plenty of pools, it provided an easy microcosm to focus on. I was determined to get a “normal” crab (the kind that walks side to side). I succeeded with that eventually and got a crab that was almost too big for my cup! Now my goal is to get one of those burrowing crabs, which are a lot harder since they’ve got plenty of open beach to run across and even more sand they can dig below to escape.

crab hiding against rock and blending in

The crabs blend in quite well with the rocks!

crab hiding against rock and person pointing finger near it

I see yoooou.

ghost crab in hawaii sitting at entrance of tunnel in sand

My next challenge awaits.

So, how to train a crab:

1. Figure out where they hang out and go sit/squat nearby.

2. Stay still and watch for a bit. Look for an area they’re hiding where it’s enclosed enough for you to chase it.

3. Choose one that isn’t too large (no bigger than your pinky is probably best) and use a clear cup to get close to it. If we’re talking hermit crabs then just pick them up.

4. It takes a bit of back and forth to trick them into running into the cup area or falling into it as they scurry around. Just be careful and use one hand to guide them towards the cup.

5. Once caught, make sure you provide a decently comfortable environment, whether it’s just having enough sea water and not making it too warm or you need some rocks so the crab can sit out of the water too.

6. Keep it in the cup for awhile. Let it calm down and get used to this strange new environment.

7. After the crab is no longer desperately attempting to crawl out of the cup, you can stick your hand in and see if it’ll let you brush it. Move your finger around to guide it where you want to (that’s how I taught a crab that it actually could climb up the cup – of course then it wouldn’t stop climbing up the wall after that).

8. Before you know it, the crab will be totally fine with you touching it and might even crawl around on you! Beware, it’s definitely trying to escape though. If you’re good you’ll get some moments of peace where you can actually stare into its eyes, make that eye contact, and ponder its thoughts.

baby crab sitting on hand with ocean in background

Spending some quality time with my baby pet.

holding crab on hand smiling at it

Another one of my trainees, just chillin’ on my hand.

Escape Monthly October: London Box review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
0

Alright, London time! I can hardly believe it’s been a year since we went there, so I’m certainly happy to get products from there. I hope to learn some good spots to hit up next time we go there. In the mean time, products from across the pond are a welcome sight and I look forward to try them all.

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city/region. Each box comes with a guide for that area. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral commission program.

escape monthly october london box products showingescape monthly october london box info card escape monthly october london box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

Everything here was new to me, so that was great for introducing me to different items. I like that some of them went full out with the British look while others are just products you might go for any day as you shop around.

Here’s what came in the box:

Rick Steves’ Pocket London – I’m sure Panda and I can make good use of this guide next time we venture to London. I’ve never looked at a guide for London, so it should be fun to read about some hidden gems and go find those. I wonder if they chose this brand because Moon Handbooks doesn’t offer a general guide to London (instead they appear to have the guide to living abroad there).

Walkers’ Nonsuch English Creamy Toffees – I love candy like this and the flavor of this was yummy. Nice and chewy without being so soft it gets stuck all over your teeth. It’s basically like eating a caramel candy and I’m a huge fan of those. I wonder if this is related to Walkers the brand that’s the British version of Lays.

Hill Biscuits Custard Creams – I’m saving these for a rainy day, when I want a sweet snack to go with my tea. It just seems like it’d be a good companion for that sort of thing. I did bring them with my on my travels in case I want to eat them on the plane. They’d make a nice snack in flight when I get hungry.

Orico Rush Hour Vibrant Dry Body Oil – Good thing they put these in plastic baggies, because one of them leaked in transit. Luckily, it was all contained in the pouch and was just enough to permeate the label, but not create much of a mess. This is excellent timing as the weather gets cold and my skin dries more quickly. I’ve switched my lotioning to body butters and oils, so this fits right in to my routine.

Soapsmith soap samples – I always enjoy a little bit of soap and I look forward to using these. For some reason it feels really satisfying to finish a bar of soap, so these will certainly offer me that satisfaction faster. The scents are pretty strong and I like how refreshing it is to get a whiff of them. I expect they’ll foam well, which is always entertaining.

English Tea Gifts London English Breakfast tea caddy – What a cute container! I’ll have to think of how to reuse it when I drink up the tea. I generally prefer green teas rather than the darker teas the Brits like. I never really learned to add milk and sugar to my tea, so these are rather bitter. I might just try to lightly brew them (or this would make an excellent gift for someone).

London Taxi diecast – Panda got all excited when he saw this. It’s right up his alley along with toys, trinkets, and random collectibles. I think we should get him a bookshelf to showcase his little collections and we can add this mini taxi! I remember my first impression of a taxi just like this when I arrived in Scotland. I marveled at how much space we had in there, luggage and all.

Corkers Pork Sausage and English Mustard crisps  – These made a good snack, though I’d definitely opt for another flavor. The meat flavor thing seems popular in the UK, but it’s a bit strong and salty for me. Or maybe it’s overwhelming with intense umami sensation. I did like the texture of these a lot so the whole sunflower oil thing works for me. I also happen to love Hula Hoops, which are snacks they cook with sunflower oil too. It gives a crisper, crunchier finish.

I’m a fan of all the food items provided as well as the body products. The miniature diecast is cool for display, but I don’t know what to do with it. I would have been interested in something like that that also can serve a purpose. Perhaps as a little container or pencil sharpener or something. What’s your favorite from this London Escape Monthly box? If you want to sign up, try one of these codes (not sure which ones are still active): RICOESCAPE, CARIBBEAN, or LONDON for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription or GIFTESCAPE for 25% off.

Next up is Hawaii (again). Funny since I’ll actually be in Hawaii right before this box is shipped. It’s been just over a year since they previously did a Hawaii box and this is the first repeat theme, so I expect a new set of items to show me even more of what the islands have to offer. Either way, I do believe I’ll enjoy the products. There’s all sorts of goodness in the middle of the Pacific!

escape monthly october london box info card back with preview of next month's box theme of hawaii

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Hong Kong haul

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
2

Check out the awesome things I acquired in Hong Kong last month – some were gifts, some were free, and some I purchased. I’m very pleased with what I got! You’ll probably want to see some of these in more close-up, so feel free to click on the images to enlarge. 🙂

pandora bracelet and christian dior coin purse with pandora bag

Fancy gifts from the relatives!

3d holiday cards, tissue box cover, scarf, hong kong dollars, and red envelopes

More stuff from the relatives, including a tissue box cover, scarf, and red envelopes.

pizza express bag, ovolo hotels go bag, and drawstring bag with slippers inside

Free stuff from the hotel and Pizza Express. Two totes and a drawstring bag with slippers.

collage of black wristlet pouch with three compartments and clear purple pouch for toiletries

The very first items I bought were these pouches. I love the three compartments on the black one and the translucence of the purple one.

collage of chopstick set in box with two pairs of chopsticks and chopstick holders

At Ngong Ping, I got to choose chopsticks and chopstick holders. Panda and I both chose our own chopstick holders so they don’t exactly match! 😛

collage of glass teapot and mini cups set with pack of six blossoming teas

I’ve fancied a glass tea set for awhile and I’ve always wanted to get blossoming teas, so this package was too much to pass up.

collage of hong kong mtr map microfiber cloth

At first I saw generic ones and bought one, but then we found this one with the MTR map, so I immediately exchanged for it.

uniqlo purple down jacket and gray fuzzy hooded jacket

I have officially discovered Uniqlo and looove their jackets. These two are my favs for fall.

navy blue boxers with cat faces

When I saw these while shopping for gifts, I just had to get them for Panda. Smokey will love them!

empty box of flaky almond pastry treats from macau

We got these for our coworkers from Macau, but I forgot to take a picture before they were all devoured.

collage of five 3d cards that pop open to ferris wheels, eiffel tower, ship with sails, and dragon designs

Last but not least are these awesome 3D cards that I got my friends who helped catsit Smokey (and of course I snagged some for myself too).

Escape Monthly September: Puerto Rico Box review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , ,
0

Time to go to a warm climate full of festiveness. This time around, the box got updated with a new look inside and out. They’re also changing how they’re awarding the monthly prize to a subscriber (before it was a random ticket in the box and now it’s based on votes on FB or something).

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city/region. Each box comes with a guide for that area. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral commission program.

new exterior design of escape monthly box inner lid of escape monthly box with new design and messaging escape monthly september puerto rico box products showing escape monthly september puerto rico box info card escape monthly september puerto rico box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

Nothing in the box was amazing, but I feel like I got a good sense of Puerto Rico from the selections. There are a lot of cute things!

Here’s what came in the box:

Moon Handbooks guide to San Juan, Vieques, & Culebra – Everything about Puerto Rico is new to me, so this will definitely be my go-to whenever a trip to that area is on my radar. I don’t even know these city names and I haven’t a clue what to do or see in this country.

Coqui pin – This is a cute little frog that isn’t useful for much, but symbolizes the region and love. I’d totally love to see them hopping around in front of me and I’m curious if they’d lull me to sleep at night the way crickets do.

El Isleno Plantain Chips – I was never much of a plantain person, so I’m hesitant to try these. I think they’ll be fine, but nothing that would make me want more. I do appreciate the look at a local snack and I’m sure plantains are far more popular there than they are with me.

Yaucono Cafe Puro Puerto Rican coffee – As a non-coffee drinker, I have kindly donated this to Panda’s pile of coffee to drink someday. I’m thinking I might want to just take it to work for someone else to enjoy.

Dulzura Borincana’s Coconut Pineapple candy – These were not at all the color or texture I expected. I thought they’d be white rather than yellow like the pineapple part of the flavoring. I also expected more of a hard candy, but these are like coconut shavings put into a little chewy bar. I didn’t really taste the pineapple. It’s an okay candy, but not something I’d reach for.

Mi Madre Natural hot sauce – I’m a bit nervous about this. I’m a lot better with spicy stuff, but I can’t bring myself to try this yet. I think I need to make a sandwich and drizzle some on so the bread can help absorb some of the heat.

Caribbean Vela Coconut scented candle – This is a fabulous candle that burned really easily. I like how it became clear when melted. I burned through the whole thing in just a few days of enjoyment. The jar is nice and I’ll keep it to put other things in. I’d totally love to have more of these.

Puerto Rican souvenir mini hat  – I’m pretty sure one of my coworkers has this exact type of little hat! It’s cute and I tried to put it on Smokey (she was not amused). After that I guess it’ll go up on a shelf.

tiny straw hat on cat's head

Smokey would not cooperate and sit with the hat on.

cat sniffing tiny straw hat before taking a bite

She sure did love sniffing it and trying to bite it though.

This was a very food-centric box. I liked being introduced to some flavors I’m not as used to, but I would have loved to see something I can use for my body, whether lotion, shampoo, scrub, or otherwise What do you want from this Puerto Rico Escape Monthly box? If you want to sign up, try one of these codes (not sure which ones are still active): RICOESCAPE, CARIBBEAN, or LONDON for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription or GIFTESCAPE for 25% off.

In October we’re off to London!!! I love Britain and I can’t wait to see what will be brought from there. I sure hope to feel like I’m back there visiting.

escape monthly september puerto rico box info card back with preview of next month's box theme of london

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Escape Monthly August: Paris Box review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
0

Ah, Paris… of course we’d some gourmet items here and leave it to one of these items to have some delays coming through customs! I was also intrigued by the very different guide book included this time around.

Escape Monthly is just under $40 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – see end of post) and comes with a variety of food, home, skincare items themed around a city. Each box comes with a Moon Handbooks guide for that region. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a lovely recurring referral commission program.

escape monthly august paris box products showing escape monthly august paris box info card against blue and white chevron background escape monthly august paris box info card opened with details of products included(click to enlarge and read full messaging)

The items this time around didn’t take up much room, which made me feel like there wasn’t much there, but the value of the items is certainly higher than usual.

Here’s what came in the box:

Rick Steves’ Pocket Paris – This is a nice little guide full of colorful pictures! You might not even have to go to Paris anymore after seeing all the sights from its pages. I certainly plan on visiting Paris time and time again, so this will be a great way to help me discover all that the city (and surrounds) has to offer.

Nuxe Body Scrub & Shower Gel – Well, I didn’t get the scrub and that’s really sad for me since that’s one of my favorite skincare items. Instead, I got two shower gels, so I’ve emailed them to get the scrub sent to me. I didn’t even notice the seal on it when I first tried to open it for a whiff. I’m not a huge fan of almond, but the combination with orange flowers is really great! It smells fantastic and I can’t wait to lather up to the scent in the shower. I’ll be even happier to scrub to this scent!

Institut Karite Paris Perfume Almond and Honey Precious Hand Cream – I’m guessing that this was the product holding things up in customs. It looks luxurious and definitely fancy and Parisian. I’ve certainly enjoyed shea butter hand creams like the ones from L’Occitane, so I’m sure I’ll love this for the winter months. It’s so thick! I love that I got a scent that is rather unique and I hope the almond scent doesn’t get too strong for me after awhile. So far so good – it appears to be a nicely mild and sweet scent.

Edmond Fallot dijon mustard – There’s quite the history behind this little jar. I don’t really eat many items I’d put mustard on, so I’m thinking I might take this to work to put in the communal fridge.

Pierre Biscuiterie French butter cookies – I like that they have two plastic packs in this box, so I don’t have to worry about having to each all of them quickly. These little butter cookies are crisp and rich in flavor. The dried fruit bits offer a bit of a tangy, fragrant kick to the cookies. I’ll be finishing these off with my next pot of tea, which I think will be just fabulous.

les Anis de Flavigny French mints – The light lemon flavor of these mints is lovely. There is a bit of an aftertaste that I can’t quite place – perhaps that’s the anise (no idea what that is). It’s a bit bitter, but not outright so. I think of these more as candies though, since I don’t think they’re really freshening the breath much. Whoa! I just bit into it and definitely got the anise taste – I think they have small bits of it in the center. Now I know these must be related to those star anise dried things you cook with.

Bonne Maman strawberry preserves – I love the little jar this comes in. This was the bonus item for this box. Perfect for traveling with and a 1-2 person portion. I actually got this in another box once upon a time and have yet to open that one. I just don’t get around to eating jams, so perhaps it’s time to consider buying bread or English muffins. I’d also want to get into the habit of eating breakfast, I suppose.

I could have gone for more items, but the hand cream really elevated the feel of this box. Which item do you think is the coolest from this Paris Escape Monthly box? If you want to sign up, try one of these codes (not sure which ones are still active): PARISESCAPE or RICOESCAPE for 20% off the lifetime of your subscription or GIFTESCAPE for 25% off.

For September it’s time to go to Puerto Rico! Fantastic. I’m really excited about that one since I could certainly learn more about that country.

escape monthly august paris box info card back with preview of next month's box theme of puerto rico

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Las Vegas good clean fun

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , ,
0

Question: What do a pair of teetotalers who don’t gamble and aren’t into partying do in Las Vegas?

Answer: EAT (a lot), walk around (maybe even shop), and indulge in entertainment like a show or tour.

 

For what I’m deeming our “pre-honeymoon” trip, Panda and I went to Vegas for a few days. Sunday morning he got the rental car and came to pick me up. Off we went on our grand adventure! He drove until Baker, the place with the giant thermometer. We got some lunch and then I took over driving for the rest of the way. After checking in at our hotel, we went down the strip hunting for a deal on a helicopter ride. It was way more expensive than we’d imagined, but I really wanted to commemorate this trip with something special. We ultimately got the ideal package at a better than your average price. The rest of the night was spent walking around shopping and then trying to find a Johnny Rockets that was open past 8.

water reflection along road in desert

Water reflection along our drive.

interior of trump las vegas hotel room

The hotel room!

Yesterday we spent the morning in a time share presentation and then headed straight to the Maverick Helicopter center for our ride. We got to see the Grand Canyon and Vegas strip from our helicopter – fantastic! From there, we got some gifts for my dad and brother-in-law before making our way to dinner at Wicked Spoon. Somehow two hours just flew by in there, as we munched away on dish after dish. I think we finally made it out at the 2.5 hour mark.

sitting in back of limo

Our limo to and from the time share presentation.

pilot explaining safety for maverick helicopter

Just before boarding the helicopter!

standing by wicked spoon sign

So ready for a fabulous dinner.

This morning, we got a chance to go enjoy the pool and our bathtub jacuzzi before we packed up and headed out. It was a fun trip, without involving alcohol, casinos, or clubs. That’s how we roll. More on the Trump stay, helicopter ride, and Wicked Spoon experience another time. For now, I’m pooped after a busy day on the road.

swimming pool at trump las vegas

Making time for a dip.

alien fresh jerky pouches

Pit stop along the way. Check out the invisible jerky! Lol.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...