MAY 2014: CALIFORNIA
May's Escape nearly did escape from me; I received notification that the box would ship on May 16th, but as of the 29th it still had not arrived. I clicked on the confirmation number I'd been sent and found out that the box had never made it to the Post Office. Oops. I e-mailed Escape Monthly's customer service, and they promptly sent another box out. It seems like I run into little issues every few months with this subscription box service, but I have to admit that their customer service always responds promptly.
So California. My home state. It's not the most exciting destination to me, since I live here, but I was curious to see how Escape Monthly would represent us and I knew that the travel guide they sent would actually get used, since weekend getaways in California are much easier to organize than a trip to Vermont or Ireland. Here's how Escape Monthly described the collection in the box's travel brochure:
Welcome to California!
Notorious for sandy beaches, Hollywood stars, Beverly Hills spa, and the sun shining bright year round, California is the epitome of relaxation. This month, dive into the West Coast lifestyle and chill out like a native!
Relax with an ice cold Cactus Water and plan your dream escape with the travel guide. You'll find luxe beauty products, scrumptious snacks, and even an iconic state flower that you can cherish all summer long.
Based on this description, and the fact that "Napa" was the destination for the very first Escape Monthly box, which was before I subscribed, I think the box is going to skew heavily toward Southern California. But we'll see!
MOON HANDBOOKS California Wine Country Travel Guide: I was rather hoping to get the California Travel Guide or Coastal California Travel Guide, since I'm not a big wine drinker, but perhaps some exploration of our wine country is just what I need to inspire a love for fermented grape juice. Looks like the book includes the better known wine areas like Napa and Sonoma, but there's a chapter devoted to the Santa Cruz Mountains and local wineries in Los Gatos and Saratoga. That's practically in my backyard! Definitely gonna have to plan a little adventure. $21.99.
Coast Redwood Tree Seed Germination Kit: One of the items in the box was supposed to be a California Poppy Kit, which I thought would be pretty cool. I love our state flower. Instead, I got a redwood tree kit. I guess that's nice too, but you can't just throw a tree into a pot like a flower. I don't know where I can plant this. I've seen this exact product many times at state and national park gift shops, so it's a legitimate California tourist item. $8.25.
JUICE BEAUTY Age Defy Hand Cream: It's hard to think of Juice Beauty as a "California" item because their products are always showing up in subscription boxes! That doesn't seem very special or unique to the state, does it? But I guess it's made here in the city of San Rafael, so not only is it from California but Juice Beauty is a fairly local company. Who knew? They produce quality skincare products so even though I'm whining a lot, I'll use it and enjoy it. $12.00.
HUGO NATURALS Vanilla & Sweet Orange Soap: I was just starting to run low on bar soap so it's rather fortunate that this box came with one. It saves me a trip down to Trader Joe's, which sells this same brand. I can't say I'm a fan of the scent of "Vanilla & Sweet Orange"; I had hoped for something like an orange creamsicle fragrance but this is a weird sweet smell that reminds me of neither vanilla nor oranges. Oh well. My husband will use it. $3.99.
Premium Sea Sponge: There's nothing particularly Californian about a sea sponge. I mean, I'm pretty sure we can't grow them; don't we import them from more tropical locales the same as any other state? There's absolutely no identification on this sponge as to where it came from, so for all I know it was harvested by starving children in Micronesia. According to Escape Monthly, this sponge would retail at $7.99.
NICOBELLA ORGANICS 2 Piece Truffles: The little cardboard box wasn't labeled in any way, so I didn't know what was inside. It turns out there are two little truffles! I'm pleased to see this brand - Nicobella's Coco-Nut Munch from the Chocolates of the World box was delicious! In fact, I could have done with more of that. I believe that one of the truffles is Blueberry Almond, while the other is Walnut Flaxseed Crunch. I should have taken a picture of them sitting in the box, but alas it is too late - I have already devoured the pair of them. $3.95.
SAN FRANOLA Cinnamon Almond Granola: Yum! Who doesn't love tasty cinnamon almonds. This will make a yummy breakfast, and if I decide to order more it looks like San Franola sells the granola in 12 oz bags. Good. I was thinking it'd be mighty wasteful to buy a dozen single-serve boxes every few weeks. $1.99.
CALIWATER Cactus Water: I know people eat the fruit (and the leaves?) of the prickly pear, but I guess you can now buy bottles of its juice, too. The internet claims it's naturally rich in electrolytes, minerals and antioxidents. Can this be the next big thing in healthy water, bumping coconut water off of its pedestal? We'll see. $3.50.
INTELLIGENT PROTEIN SNACKS Egg White Chips in Aged White Cheddar: Egg chips? What on earth? This is so weird that I have to try it. It's basically a puffed corn snack, and with the cheddar flavor I can't really detect anything eggy about this. The packages claims you get healthy egg white protein in every bite, but I wonder if there's really enough of it in here to make it different from any other crunchy chip. On the IPS website, I see a cinnamon sugar variety. Ooo, that's tempting... $1.99.
So that's California in a nutshell! I'm not sure I'd consider this box a good representation of my state. Most of this seems like the same old stuff you can get at any Sprouts or Whole Foods - but maybe if I lived in Ohio or New York, my Whole Foods wouldn't carry these brands because they aren't "local". Still, there are some unique, fun California items, like the redwood seed kit and San Franola Granola and Cactus Water. What the hey. It works for me!
NEXT MONTH: LAS VEGAS!
I've been to Vegas a handful of times, and I'm curious to see what the box will contain. Will it be random items from all over Nevada or weird stuff straight off the Strip?
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