November 2013: Vermont
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.
If you want to know more or wish to subscribe, please consider using my referral link: http://mbsy.co/hjDG
This month's Escape Monthly destination is Vermont. Initially, I was a wee bit disappointed - Oregon and Hawaii are both places I've longed to visit, but to be honest Vermont has never crossed my radar. But then I reminded myself that southern Utah wasn't particularly high on my list of places to go, and I had an absolute blast there. So what do I know about Vermont? Other than the fact that people love to see the fall leaves, not much. I'm under the impression that maple syrup is a big deal, too. The box's travel brochure is quite in line with my assessment:
Colonial history and backwoods industries, eh? Well, let's see what that translates to in the box...
Well, I see a lot of snacks, which is always promising. Like the preceding Escape Monthly boxes, there also seems to be strong bath & body product component. I wouldn't say I'm getting tired of soaps and lotions, because I love pampering skincare regimes, but I had rather hoped there'd be a bit more variety in the products. More location-specific things, like...oh, I don't know. Something with a fall leaves pattern printed on it? A scarf or some stationery, something like that?
Now, as you may remember from my previous posts, Escape Monthly lists a retail price for each item in the box, which initially seems great - but my personal research has often turned up very different numbers. To simplify things, I'm going to use the following system: Escape Monthly's price will be listed first, in italics, followed by my price in bold.
Moon Handbooks: Vermont Travel Guide: Where to stay, what to eat, and things to see when traveling through the Green Mountain State. $16.99 / $16.99
Quinn Vermont Maple & Sea Salt Popcorn: I have never heard of this popcorn company before, but they claim to use no chemicals or coatings in their microwave bags (they even removed that metal strip that helps the popcorn pop more evenly), and their corn is organic and GMO-free. Plus, it tastes pretty good! We had some technical problems when we made our first bag (our microwave is dying and couldn't get hot enough to pop the corn) but after switching to a stove pot we were finally able to finish preparing the bag. The Vermont Maple and Sea Salt flavor packets are separate from the popcorn bag, added after the kernels have finished popping, and it was very good. It was very similar to kettle corn, a nice blend of sweet and salty. It looks like this brand is carried by a couple of local grocery stores, so I'll definitely have to get more when we get our microwave replaced. $5.00 / $5.00
True North Choco Granola Snack Pack: Chocolate and granola and pumpkin seeds? This sounds like something I would find in a Graze box - and that's a good thing! I can see on True North's website that they have several other granola flavors, so I might have to order a sampler and see how the others taste if I like this chocolate flavor. I'm looking forward to eating this for breakfast tomorrow! $3.00 / $3.00
Distler's Maple Pretzels - This Vermont-based company was started in 2008 by an eighth grader for a school project. I'm quite impressed that it's still going five years later! The pretzels were very hard, and the larger chunks were a little difficult to eat. The maple sweetness was very nice, though - like the popcorn, it was a good combination of sweet and salty flavors. A three-pack of these 2 oz bags costs $6.00. $6.00 / $2.00
Lake Champlain Vermont Chocolates - There are four pieces of chocolate, in the following flavors: Honey Caramel, Evergreen Mint, Green Mountain, and Maple Crunch. The Maple Crunch is the only one I've eaten so far, but it was delicious - rich dark chocolate surrounding a crisp piece of maple-flavored buttercrunch. I could eat the entire box in sixty seconds. $6.00 / $6.00
Way Out Wax Escentual Love Tea Lights: Lavender, patchouli and rosewood - an earthy, herbal fragrance that reminds me of the old Aromatherapy: Sensuality line at Bath & Body Works. It's quite strong - the scent filled the entire box when I first opened it, and even now that it's been airing out for a while I can still smell the candles through their packaging. I don't use tealights very often, but I find this scent very relaxing so maybe I'll dig out one of my old tealight oil burners and use these. $3.99 / $3.99
Whisper Hill Olive Oil Soap: This has a very spicy fragrance - cinnamon, clove and orange - which I don't especially care for. I mean, I like spices in my food, but I don't usually want to smell like a cinnamon stick. I'll probably give this one to Seanie - he's usually not too picky about his soaps, so long as they lather well. $4.95 / $4.95
Nature's Mysteries Twilight Face Cream: I believe this is a full-sized pot, although it is only about 3/4 full so I'm not sure. It may simply be a deluxe sample. This is a heavier face cream, ideal for dry and mature skin. This smells like roses, which makes sense - rosewater is the third ingredient listed. But there's a lot of other great stuff for your skin, like aloe vera, jojoba oil, and extra virgin olive oil. The label is very homey, and the website makes it clear that this is a small business - but one of the things I really love about Escape Monthly is they do try to spotlight these smaller companies. $20.00 / $20.00
Belle Savon Whipped Shea Butter Cream in Lavender & Mint: This is the second lavender-scented item in the box, which was a little too bad because I really don't associate lavender with Vermont at all. It makes me think of Provence in France, not New England! This is a heavy, thick cream that I would use for spot-treating dry patches, but you couldn't use it for full-body coverage. It has a consistency like Vaseline, but less greasy. It smells very medicinal to me. $4.00 / $4.00
Compared to previous boxes, this one has a smaller net value at about $66, but that's still significantly higher than the subscription's cost. I think that Vermont was a challenge, because it doesn't have the star power of, say, Hawaii, but the folks at Escape Monthly did a good job of putting together a box that captured the essence of autumn.
There are two exciting boxes coming out next month. The first is the regular subscription box, which will be Italy. Personally, I would have loved to see a box focused on just an Italian city, like Rome or Venice or Florence, because each region of Italy has such a distinctive personality and rich history! But I'm very excited to see what Escape Monthly selects from one of my favorite countries!
The second box is a limited edition Holiday Bonus box! This is not part of the regular subscription, so if you want to try Escape Monthly without making a monthly commitment, it's a great opportunity. I've already ordered my box, and I can't wait to see what will be inside.
Once again, if you want to know more about Escape Monthly or wish to subscribe, please consider using my referral link: http://mbsy.co/hjDG