September 2013: Oregon
As much as I enjoy the peace and tranquility of Boulder, I do tend to get antsy because the town's so small and there aren't a lot of things to do. Now that I've been out here for almost two months, the travel bug is getting pretty hard to ignore. Sure, I can temporarily alleviate the itch for new and exotic by visiting the plethora of state and national parks within a day's drive of town, but it never goes away completely. To erase that, I'd have to go somewhere completely different from the Utah desert, like a tropical rainforest or a big city like Chicago or Washington DC.
Well, I can't afford to do all that, but when I heard about a new subscription box called "Escape Monthly" which sends out monthly boxes themed around a particular location, it appealed to this desire to explore the world. If I can't go out and see Rome or Beijing or London, then perhaps some of the things that make that place special can be sent to me. If nothing else, it would be one more random surprise in the mail each month!
I received my first box a few days ago, and the escape was to Oregon. Since one of the things sacrificed to make this internship in Utah feasible was my late summer trip to Ashland, I thought that this was a PERFECT box for September. The Pacific Northwest is beautiful, lush and green - virtually everything I don't see when I look out on my doorstep. It seems like the perfect destination for a "staycation".
Each Escape box has a brochure, not unlike the ones you find in hotel lobbies, that tells you a little bit about the destination and then lists the contents of the box and why that item was chosen.
Time to explore the itinerary, as they rather cutely call the box's contents! One thing that I find interesting about this subscription box is that, unlike the others I've seen, they actually list a retail price for each item in the box. I guess they want to prove that you're getting more than your money's worth. I'll include the retail price they give, but it's worth noting that these prices often seem inflated.
Moon Handbooks: Portland Travel Guide: I've always wanted to go to Portland, but to be honest the only thing I really know about the city is that Grimm is filmed there. I do find it interesting that I received a book specific to the city, when the brochure both shows and describes a more general guide for the state of Oregon. Did they change their minds at the last minute? The Portland book retails for $16.99, not $21.99 as they claim.
Oregon Rain Soap: Portland Rose Lotion: This arrives with perfect timing, since I'm on my last lotion with less than a quarter of the bottle left to go. I love the scent of roses, and this has fairly strong fragrance. The bottle proudly boasts that this is "made with real Oregon rain" and is paraben free. I love that the product is actually made in Oregon, too. The company sells an 8 oz. bottle for $8.00, not $8.99 as the brochure states.
Oregon Orchard: Cherry Chocolate Hazelnuts: Oh man, these are GOOD. Crispy hazelnuts coated in cherry-flavored chocolate. It's almost shameful how quickly I've gone through the bag. I will definitely be buying more of these - and looking at the Oregon Orchard website, there are plenty of other flavors I'll have to check out, too. Marionberry hazelnuts? YES PLEASE. Retails for $3.29.
Doug's Nuts: Original Blend: "Lightly sweetened and salted with hints of vanilla and maple." This blend is really, really good. I love that there are pumpkin seeds mixed in with the peanuts, walnuts, cashews - pumpkin seeds don't get used in nearly enough stuff! Retails for $5.95.
Grounds for Change: "Peru Cafe Femenino" Coffee Beans: This sounds delicious - I'm immediately hooked by the description of "baker's chocolate and roasted nuts". But I don't have a coffee grinder and these are whole beans, so I'll have to wait until I'm back in San Jose to find out if this is as delicious as it sounds. An 8 oz. bag sells on the Grounds for Change website for $7.95, and yet Escape Monthly is trying to claim that the 6 oz bag I received retails at $10.45. Where the heck did they pull that number from?
Primitive Lights: Beesewax Cinnamon Roll Votive Candle: I like the handmade, almost folksy quality of this candle, and it certainly smells like a delicious cinnamon roll. I'll look forward to burning this and making the house smell delicious! It is sold in a set of 3 for $10.00, so Escape lists a single candle as $4.00. More shady math, but I'll let it slide this time since it usually does cost a little more when you buy something individually instead of in a pack.
Metolius Tea and Apothecary: Emma Loose Tea: This herbal blend sounds relaxing and delicious, since it lists lavender, toasted coconut and raspberry leaf as ingredients. I've definitely never tried that combination before! Plus, the tin is cute - always a plus! Retails for $10.00.
Portland Bee Balm: Well, you know me! I love me some lip balm, and beeswax is definitely moisturizing. Retails for $2.75.
Molly Muriel Volcanic Bliss Soap: This black charcoal soap smells of neem and tea tree oil. It's definitely going to be very detoxifying, and those ingredients are spectacular for oily skin. Hmmm. I'm not sure how great it will be on my dry skin. Seanie might have to use this one. I do like that smell, though. Very clean and antiseptic. Retails for $6.00.
Wooden Pumice Brush: This is the "mystery bonus item" advertised in the brochure. It's useful, and I haven't got one out here so I'll use it, but this seemed a very random addition to the box. Escape Monthly claims that this is worth $5.99, but I've seen them retailing between $2.00 and $3.00 all over the place.
Did I enjoy this box? Absolutely. I think there are a lot of great things, and I'll use/drink/eat all of it. It definitely gives an impression of the Pacific Northwest - all of these items would be found in a gift shop in Oregon or Washington. I do find it really odd that Escape's listed retail prices are often off - by their calculation, the box is worth $79.41; my own research puts it much closer to $66.00 which is not an insignificant difference. But I still found this to be a great introduction to Escape Monthly, and I look forward to next month's adventure "in" Hawaii!
Escape Monthly is a vacation-themed subscription box. Each month, one subscriber is randomly chosen to "win" a trip to the themed location! The subscription rate is $49.95 a month, but if you use the coupon code "YOURESCAPE" your subscription will be 20% off each month. (That's what I did - otherwise, this would be too expensive for me!
If you want to know more or wish to subscribe, please consider using my referral link: http://mbsy.co/hjDG