December Escape Monthly Review

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Escape Monthly is a subscription box which sends monthly foods and lifestyle items from locations around the world. Each month is a different location. December’s theme was Christmas in Europe. There were 8 items in the box.

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Stash Christmas in Paris Herbal Tea – This was an ok tea. It has mint undertones but it’s nice that it’s herbal so you can drink it in the evening.

St. Dalfour Raspberry & Pomegranate Fruit Spread – This is still sitting in my refrigerator unopened. But I like that is has no added sugar and how wrong can you go with a fruit spread.

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These exact same two items are in the Try The World Paris Box.

Nougat de Montelimar – This little nougat bar is quite good and I liked it. But in Try The World you get two.

Chestnut Spread – I had tried this from my Try The World box and I thought it was a bit sweet and not really my thing so with this one I gifted it to a friend.

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Mini Madeleines French Sponge Cakes – These were good. They reminded me a little bit of a twinkie. I felt like there should be whipped cream inside.

Bisschopswijn Mulling Spices – I have not tried these yet but it says they can be steeped with 3 gallons of apple or cranberry juice. It also says made in Pella, Iowa USA.

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The last two items in the box were:

Rick Stevens European Christmas – I have not read this yet but I plan to at some point.

StivoTex Christmas Tree Ornament – I went ahead and put this on my tree but it’s not a super sturdy or spectacular ornament. At least though it says Made In Germany.

Verdict – I really want to like Escape Monthly but month after month their curation is just poor. The theme said Christmas in Europe but the items are centered mainly on France with only a couple of German items. Where’s the rest of Europe? Also it would feel better to me if it didn’t feature items Made in the USA. I can buy Stash Tea at my local supermarket. They’ve been around for over a year now and it seems their products are getting worse rather than better and I don’t feel like they always deliver on what they promise. I also would have liked to have seen some lotions or other non food items in this box. The main problem is that all of these feel like cheap items. They don’t have a luxury or authentic feel. I’ve been to Paris and this box didn’t remind me of it.

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Fare Trade December Review

IMG_0034The Fare Trade is a monthly subscription box which seeks to deliver flavorful, hand-crafted ingredients to you each month. Each month features a different chef with video tutorials and recipes. The theme of this month was a retrospective on some of the year’s best ingredients. There were 5 ingredients in the box and 2 sample candies. There are always sample candies and it’s possible that I ate them before taking this picture.

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Drunken Monkey Jam – I had never heard of this before but apparently it is a jam with bananas, rum and a squeeze of lime. The recipe that came with it was for “Drunken Monkey Budino.” I had never heard of a budino before but it seems to be a pudding type dessert with a cookie crust. It sounds very very tasty and the recipe is easy enough for me to make so I may try it.

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Texas Grapefruit Shrub – This ingredient is essentially a cocktail mixer and the recipe for it is for a Blue cheese, Walnut, Grapefruit Vinaigrette Salad. I’m not a fan of grapefruit so I’m on the fence about keeping it or gifting it.

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Skillet Bacon Spread – I’m very intrigued by this ingredient. I have never heard of a bacon spread before but the included recipe is for Maple Bourbon Baked Apple Crumble which sounds divine. The included card says it can also be used on burgers, sandwiches or even toast.

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Unbound Pickled Okra – I don’t like pickles and I don’t like okra so I gifted this to a friend who was delighted. I probably should have at least tried it because the recipe included frying the okra in a beer batter and then dipping in aioli.

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Baia Pasta – This was in one of my other boxes. It’s a good pasta although a bit unusual. I had a tough time finding recipes for it and the included recipe involves crab and several other ingredients I am not familiar with such as pernod. What is Pernod?

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The box includes several recipe cards as well as an explanation of each ingredient and the different ways it could be used. I like the box this month. Most of the recipes seem doable and the ingredients aren’t too far out there. I only have one more month on my subscription and I am kind of sad my subscription is ending. But truthfully the majority of recipes and ingredients I’ve received I haven’t gotten around to trying yet. I think the box is more for an adventurous cook who likes to try new things and not so much a busy mom with a fussy midwestern meat & potatoes type husband.

December PopSugar Must Have Review

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PopSugar Must Have is a monthly subscription where each month they send a mix of items from beauty, fashion, food, fitness, home, etc. The cost is $39.95 a month but you can usually find good coupon codes and deals if you search around. This month’s box contained 6 items and was one of my favorite boxes ever.

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Subtle Luxury Speckled Metallic Scarf – Value $62 – I love love this scarf. Perfect for this time of year.

Sparkle Pop Jewelry Sydney Pendant Necklace – Value $42 – This is one of the few jewelry items from subscription boxes that I’ve actually liked. I haven’t worn it yet but I think it’s a great item.

Canvas Home Dauville Bowl in Platinum – Value $29 – I really like this. What a great little bowl for putting jewelry in.

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Smashbox Be Legendary Long Wear Lip Lacquer in Bordeaux – Value $24 – This lipstick color was a little bright for me but I have to say that it lasts and lasts. It stays on longer than any other lipstick I’ve ever used including lip pencils.

Knot & Bow Gift Package Tags – Value $4 – I’m not exactly sure why they chose blue gift tags for a December box. I would’ve preferred red or silver or something but I will use them eventually.

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Williams Sonoma Cupcake Mix in Vanilla Bean – Value $15 – I was skeptical about these because $15 for cupcake mix seemed just ridiculous but I made them and they were YUM. I mean seriously good. Like the best cupcakes I have ever had. The box only made about a dozen but even so I may have to buy more of these. LOVE LOVE LOVED the cupcakes!

Verdict – This box was a win for me. I liked every item in it.