May 2017 Orangeglad & 10% off Coupon Code!

Okay it’s time to get back to boxes. To push us over the mid-week hump, I’ve got some sweet treats with my May review of Orangeglad, a monthly artisan dessert subscription.

If you’d like to try out one for yourself use my code ST10 for 10% off your order.

Lovely packaging as usual:

Rustic Bakery – Larkspur, CA
About the Company:
“So, the bakers scrambled to find a commercial kitchen space in their hometown of Novato, which they outgrew in the first week, struggling to keep up with more orders while working with a rolling pin and standard convection oven.  It wasn’t an around-the-clock effort.  Josh would mix all of the dough, and Carol would shape and bake the flatbreads.  As luck would have it, there was a wine bar in Larkspur with a fully outfitted, but unused bakery in the back.  Carol and Josh signed a lease, and the crowds converged the same day.  Two days later they purchased the entire space , turning the wine bar into a café serving coffee and croissants alongside the crackers….As far as we know, it’s the only handmade sourdough flatbread anywhere…”

Pecan Shortbread
($2.99 Each)
Description: “Tender and luscious, this delicate cookie is topped with sanding sugar after baking to complete its yumminess!”

Chocolate Chip and Cacao Nib

($2.99 Each)
Description: “This sophisticated cookie has a double chocolate flavor with the Valrhona chocolate and cacao nibs with a tiny bit of salt on the finish.”
Verdict:
Like
These are lovely shortbread cookies that aren’t overly dry.  They didn’t blow me away as super amazing, but they were quite nice and would pair well with a cup of tea or coffee.


McCrea’s

About the Company:
“The company uses local, real-food ingredients and packages its caramel in beautiful compostable containers.  Everything is made in America.  In fact, McCrea’s is a Good Food Award winner, an honor given to outstanding American food producers and farmers who provide their ingredients.  The company was also selected by Martha Stewart as an American Made finalist, by USA Today as a Best Gift for Foodies and by People Magazine for inclusion in the publication’s gala gift bags.”

Cape Cod Sea Salt Caramel
(5.5 oz Tube: $14.95)
Description: “Sweet caramel with savory flakes of coast a New England se salt. A walk in the surf.”
Verdict:
Miss
While I thought the caramel had a wonderful buttery taste, I did not care for the sea salt addition.  It was like eating caramel that accidentally got some sand in it.  I’d have loved to sample one of their offerings without the salt.

Treat Bake Shop
About the Company:
“Sarah started her culinary career as an early-morning bake in college.  After college, she studied with a pastry chef in France and got a master’s in Library and Information Science with an emphasis on Collections and Food Research.  She then started working at food magazines, went to Japan, wrote, and published a highly praised cookbook, A Cook’s Journey to Japan.  All of her experience led up to the moment in November 2011, Sarah made the scary, but more-so exciting, decision to take the plunge and open Treat Bake Shop  – business focused on sourcing the highest-quality ingredients to produce unforgettable baked goods delivered with exceptional customer service.  Treat Bake Shop’s first product, Spiced Pecan, was inspired by her childhood friend, Sarah, and became an instant hit.”

Candied Pecans
(3 oz Bag: $5.95)
Description: “A salty-sweet treat with great crunch. Perfect with a little white wine…a creamy cheese…on salads. And of course, on their own.”
Verdict:
Love!
This is so beautifully packaged and would make a wonderful wedding or party favor.  These nuts were delicious and not overly sweet.  And as mentioned in the description, they are a versatile treat that can be used in as an ingredient in a larger dish or paired with other savory components.  My favorite item in the box!

Torie and Howard
About the Company:
“Coincidentally, along the road somewhere, each of them experienced a health related event that would have a significant impact on their life.  For Howard, Losing over a hundred pounds led to a renewed focus on eating as healthy and nutritionally conscious as possible.  For Torie, it was the onset of severe food allergies that forced her to make serious changes in her life and in her diet.  With a new dedication to nutrition in their lives and the relative lack of healthy, indulgent snacks on the market, it became apparent that the time was right to fulfill their dream of starting their own snack food company.  And so Torie & Howard was born, out of a mutual love of delicious and all natural foods that soothe the soul and nourish the body.

Pomegranate & Nectarine Hard Candy
(2 oz: $3.99)
Description: “Unique, sophisticated sweets brimming with fresh flavors that taste of real luscious fruit-picked straight from the garden.  You’ve certainly never tasted anything like these candies.  Carefully crafted from all natural ingredients, the candies feature sophisticated dual flavors of tart California pomegranate with sweet freestone nectarine.  No additives, no artificial flavors or colors.  Just pure. fresh. delicious satisfaction.”
Verdict:
Like!
These hard candies definitely have a fresh fruit taste, unlike so many that have a chemical or overly processed flavor.  The tin is lovely as well and is nice to keep in your bag or car when you need a little pick me up.

 OVERALL

Verdict: Hit!
Even though I receive this box free in order to review it, I’ve had some issues in the past with the price tag relative to the value you receive.  This month marks a huge improvement in that area.  The cost of a box is $25 and the estimated retail of the items comes out to $19.73, but that’s without shipping.  The flat rate shipping just from the Treat Bake Shop would set you back $9.99.  I don’t think a consumer would be able to get all these items for $25 or less on their own, so we’ll check off the value box as a win.

I thought the treats in this box had a nice variety and were all quite sophisticated.  Orangeglad is a great gift for someone who you may not know super well or someone who you know in a less personal capacity – like a work colleague or business associate.  It has a lovely high end feel and most people would find at least one treat in the box they’d enjoy.

Have you ever given a subscription as a gift?
If so, what was it and how did the recipient like it?

THE BACKSTORY
Orangeglad is an “artisan dessert box that sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts each month. Eat delicious treats created by local artisan chefs throughout the country, and learn about the amazing people behind each item.”

Single Portion Box: 5 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 1-2 people happy
Cost: $25 per month (shipping included)

Double Portion Box: 10 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 3-4 people happy
Cost: $40 per month (shipping included)

Managing your account is easy. If you want a break, you can cancel or skip at anytime, with absolutely no hassle.

Coupon Codes: Use code ST10 for 10% off your orders

Cannonball Collective: Wonderland

So today I’ve got something that’s been awhile in the making. The folks at Cannonball Collective were awesome enough to send me their second box, entitled Wonderland way back in Autumn

Cannonball Collective bills themselves as “an experience in a box” and are a quarterly subscription, priced at $95.  Kits center around different themes and each includes a copy of the Cannonball Collective magazine which offers info on the box contents and ideas on how to use them.

The first box had a theme of “Torn & Frayed” and “Revival” and was put together by their “Cannonball Ace” Luke from Darn and Dusted based in East London. This second box had a Wonderland theme and was put together by “Cannonball Ace”, The People’s Pop team from Brooklyn NY. Cannonball Collective offers up this description: “Using frozen ice as a medium, the Wonderland Kit gives you the tools and inspiration you need for a trip down flavor lane to experience some wonder of your own delicious making. Explore and experiment to create your own flavor magic!”

Not sure Wonderland = Experimenting with Ice, but I’m always up for something new.

We open the box to discover the lovely packing and Cannonball Collective’s Issue #2 right on top. It lists a retail value of $12, which seems a bit high to me. It has lovely recipes but doesn’t have a ton of content after you take out the portions that discuss what’s in the kit. I’d value it at more around $3.
Box Open Box 1st
Open Box 1 Open Box
What’s In the Kit:
“People’s Pops offer inspiration with their mastery of frozen treats. Royal Rose augments with insane organic syrups. Add the tools you need to experiment for yourself, and we’ve nailed a fun, tasty (and boozy) way to create your own Wonderland!”

Oh I get it now, you’re supposed to use booze. Now I totes get the Wonderland thing.
PopsiclesSticks
Ice Pop Molds w/ 24 sticks

(Estimated Retail: $25.00)
Description: “We don’t screw around. This sucker is a Grade A ice pop mold that delivers quality, consistent pops every time. Trust us, we tried them all. Once you’ve jammed your first batch just pop’em out of the mold toss them in a freezer bag (or chomp them down right away) and crank out another ten. Of course we also include enough sticks for 2+ batches and a handy dandy storage bag to get this party started Cool-io!”.
Verdict: Like
I actually already have a set of Popsicle molds but there are quite nice. The retail price doesn’t include the personalized bags and packaging we received. I actually do appreciate Cannonball Collective creating a bag to tuck all the pieces into. It makes it much easier to store.

Notebook
ScoutBooks Notepad
& Pencil
(Estimated Retail: $4.95)
Description: “We chose this Scout Books notepad as the pocket friendly place for you to record all of your amazing flavor inspirations, ingredient lists for the fruit stand, happy doodles, funny thoughts and more. We’ve also included our magical Cannonball Collective formulation stylus to be sure you never miss a chance to capture those flavor ideas. It can even write upside down and includes a handy “delete” feature. Hooray!”
Verdict: Unnecessary
This is just a mini pad and a pencil. The pad is cute and all but I don’t really feel like we need it. Most people have a way to “write down their inspirations” or recipes. I feel like this could have been replaced with something more useful. I estimated the retail based on the other notepads on the ScoutBooks site.

Simple Syrup
Royal Rose Organic Syrups – Trio

(Estimated Retail: $38)
Description: “OK, so these all natural organic, small batch simple syrups are A-AMAZING! Husband and wife team, Forrest and Emily, craft these fantastic flavors (and more) to supercharge cocktails, frozen treats, desserts…you name it! We’ve included three dee-li-cious flavors for you to wet your whistle – Orange-Vanilla, Lavender-Lemon and Ginger-Lime Soooo tasty!”
Verdict: Love!
I love this inclusion because you can use these simple syrups in a wide variety of ways, plus they are organic and small batch, so not the kind of thing you can just run down to the store to buy. I couldn’t find this exact trio online, but I found another set of three flavors so I’ll estimate that this one is similar in price.

Now, as I mentioned earlier this review was awhile in the making because I try to come up with interesting things to do with my Cannonball boxes. So for New Year’s I decided to try my hand at some champagne popsicles. I decided to take the “experimentation” seriously and ignore the recipes in the book and just try to wing it. (I think you can guess where this will go).

I grabbed by Popsicle set and opted to make two kinds.
The first used Rosé Champagne, A bit of Chambord, simple syrup and sliced strawberries.
Rose Prosecco
The second was an inexpensive Prosecco someone gave me mixed with the orange vanilla simple syrup.

I guessed at quantities, poured into the mold and hoped for the best.
Filled
When, removed sadly it was an ice mold disaster. The Rosé pops were half formed at least, whereas the Prosecco ones did not hold up at all.
Strawberry Popsicle 3 Champagne Popsicle Strawberry 1 Disaster
My boyfriend ended up waiting for them to melt a bit and made gigantic slushie out of it because no booze can go to waste in this household.
Clearly my ratio of non alcoholic mixers to alcohol was way off, but hey I had fun with it and it ended with a giant booze slushie.

OVERALL
Cannonball Collective Wonderland
Verdict:
Like the Concept but a miss the price
I really love the fun spirit of this box and the Hipster/Maker vibe makes me smile. My problem with this box is the value versus the cost you pay. Including the magazine at $12, I only get an estimated retail value of $9.95 (and that’s including the high retail price of the magazines). Even adding a few dollars for the nicer storage bags and packaging just don’t bring up the value enough for my taste. The cost of this is mostly in the curation, but I think the value needs to be a bit higher for the future boxes. I also think this box should have had more edible items. Instead of the notebook, I’d have rather seen something like jarred wild hibiscus flowers or some other bottled mixers that we could use in the popsicles.

Despite my reservations with this box, I’m still excited to see what fun thing they come up with next.

Would you be interested in this type of sub? What experiences would you want to see in it?

THE BACKSTORY
Cannonball Collective sends out quarterly kits centered around particular experiences.

“Each quarter, we serve up a curated collection of goods and inspiration delivered straight to your doorstep. Your ongoing subscription to our Cannonball Kits is a back-stage pass to fresh ideas and remarkable goods!”


Cost:
$95 for each quarter (Shipping is free)

Orogold Box: November 2015

I’m always enjoy trying out new brands so when the wonderful folks at Orogold sent me a box to review I was super excited.

According to Orogold, each of their products is infused with 24K gold and base they have Denise Richards and Brian Austin Green as our celebrity brand ambassadors. (My inner 80s fangirl squees).

Now about the sub itself:

“Orogold Box is a subscription service that offers skin care and beauty addicts a taste of the good life with a diverse range of luxury skin care products delivered right to your doorstep, once every three months. Try out the very best of what OROGOLD has to offer with a rotating selection of 3 different products featured in every box. ”

You have to pay for this annually and it’s $192 for the year, but you’ll receive 4 boxes, quarterly.

To start, adorable packaging (they always get me with the packaging). This is perfect for gift giving.
Box
Opening up the box reveals our three, magic gold skincare products:
Open Box 1 Open Box 2

Moisturizer
24K Deep Day Moisturizer Cream

(1 oz: $118.00)
Description: The delicate 24K Deep Day Moisturizer Cream is designed to give your skin a fresh and revitalized feeling. It is infused with rich ingredients such as gold and Helianthus Annuus seed oil (Sunflower Oil) to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and expression lines. This unique day cream will leave your complexion with radiant and vibrant look.”
Verdict: Like
The very first thing I noticed about this cream was that it had a sweet scent. It’s not floral but it almost reminds me of apples. I’m particularly sensitive to scents and it didn’t bother me, but it is noticeable. I found this cream absorbed quickly and didn’t leave a greasy feeling. I have combination skin and at times I felt this moisturizer was a bit too heavy for me. I think it would work well with dry and normal skin and will probably be a much better fit for me as we move into the cooler weather.

CleanserCleanser 2
24K Gold Milk Cleanser

(2-Step Cleansing Kit with Toner: $128.00)
Description: The luxurious 24K Gold Milk Cleanser is specially designed for delicate and sensitive skin. It is formulated to help remove impurities without irritation, yet providing a gentle cleanse. This cleanser is enriched with Vitamin C & E for antioxidants, and jojoba and musk oils to leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.”
Verdict: Nice for someone else
I had trouble finding this product alone on the site so I linked to the set which includes a toner. I’m addicted to my oil cleansers so these foaming style just aren’t my bag. That being said this one had a nice texture and wasn’t drying. The packaging is quite luxe and would look great on your bathroom counter. If you enjoy foam style cleansers, you might really like this product.

Sea Salt Souffle Scrub
Salt Souffle

(Retail:???)
Verdict: Love!
I couldn’t find this product on the Orogold site, but it’s my favorite of the three. It’s a very fine face scrub that is quite gentle. I’d recommend this for folks with more delicate/sensitive skin that find most scrubs too harsh. It also has a very pretty shimmer to it that gives it an upscale vibe. I found that I could use this scrub a lot more frequently than many others I own.

OVERALL
Orogold
Verdict:
Hit!
The cost of this box comes out to $48 which I think is a great value when compared to similar products. I found everything to be high quality, although I’m not sure if I notice a difference with the use of 24K gold as an ingredient.  I feel like this collection has an older, sophisticated vibe that would suit a more mature woman. The products seem like a great match for the needs of older skin and are nicely packaged for gifting, so this is definitely something to keep in mind come Mother’s Day.

Have you tried any skincare products with unusual ingredients? If so, what were they and what did you think?

THE BACKSTORY

Orogold Box is a subscription service that offers skin care and beauty addicts a taste of the good life with a diverse range of luxury skin care products delivered right to your doorstep, once every three months. Try out the very best of what OROGOLD has to offer with a rotating selection of 3 different products featured in every box.”

Cost: $192.00 annual subscription

Cannonball Collective: Torn & Frayed – Revival

For TGIF, I’ve got something extra special for the creative folks, the hipsters, and the lovers of more unusual boxes. The folks at Cannonball Collective were awesome enough to send me their introductory box, Torn & Frayed, to review for you. I’m going to confess this review has taken me awhile because I wanted to actually get creative with the contents and come up with something cool to show you.

Cannonball Collective bills themselves as “an experience in a box” and are a quarterly subscription, priced at $95.

Their description: “Each quarter, we serve up a curated collection of goods and inspiration delivered straight to your doorstep. Your ongoing subscription to our Cannonball Kits is a back-stage pass to fresh ideas and remarkable goods!”

Kits center around different themes and each includes a copy of the Cannonball Collective magazine which offers info on the box contents and ideas on how to use them. There aren’t step by step instructions, just ideas.

The first box had a theme of “Torn & Frayed” and “Revival” and was put together by their “Cannonball Ace” Luke from Darn and Dusted based in East London.
Box
Now let’s see what’s in the box.
Open Box 1Inserts
We have our lovely idea magazine.
It gives us a breakdown of what’s in the kit: “We worked closely with our pal Luke on what to include in the Torn & Frayed Kit. In particular, we were hyper-focused on providing the highest quality tools and textiles like the ones he uses. They are the best on the planet. After all, if you don’t have best tools you can’t do your best work!”

Nestled inside the packing paper is an adorable little tin.
Open 2 Tin
Open Tin Stitches

Needles
Merchant & Mills Long Darners
(Estimated US Retail: $7.59)
Description: “These long needles have “long eyes” that can handle thick thread or yarn and are suited for all sorts of mending project. You know, like the kind you’ll be doing. There are three sizes including in the sweet turned wooden case”.
Verdict: Love!
I’m a crafty sort and I enjoy embroidery and applique so these needles will come in handy. They are high quality and I love the little wooden case. Just remember to put them in sharp side down (don’t ask me why I need to tell you that). This is a British brand so it’s extra nice to have it in a US sub box.

Scissors
Merchant & Mills Wide Bow Scissors

(Estimated US Retail: $18.21)
Description: “4 inches long, tough and sharp, these suckers allow for pinpoint precision. Oh and they’re cool black steel. Awesome!”
Verdict: Love!
Good scissors can be super expensive and these are very high quality. I know I can use these for tons of sewing and crafting projects.

Pins
Merchant & Mills Dressmaking Pins

(Estimated US Retail: $6.83)
Description: “There’s nothing worse than crappy pins. So here is your very own little black box just brimming with the best nickel-plated dressmaking pins that nickels can buy.”
Verdict: Hit!
You’d think pins were inexpensive and decent ones were easy to find, but you’d be wrong. I needed a bunch to make some ornaments and let me tell you, they were way pricier than they should have been for junk made in China. These will definitely get plenty of use.

Thimble
Merchant & Mills Tailor’s Thimble

(Estimated US Retail: $6.83)
Verdict: How didn’t I know these existed?
Description: “Nobody likes bloodstains so we thought it would be smart to provide you with a ‘proper” Tailor’s Thimble. Cool Fact: It offers both finger protection and helps dexterity because it’s capless. That means it has an open top, so you can still feel and control he fabric you’re working on Booyah!”
Where have capless thimbles been all my life? I didn’t even know these were a thing…and my mother is a seamstress. I tried this out and it is so much easier to use than a regular thimble. If you hand sew, you must get yourself one of these.

Gum
Marukawa Fuken Gum

(Estimated US Retail: .64)
Description: “A little somethin’ to sweeten the deal and pass the time (Grape is our favorite)!”.
Verdict: One of these things is not like the others..
Not quite sure why this is in here, but candy is always good.

Fabrich UnopenedFabrich Sealed
Fabric
Japanese Fabrics

(Estimated US Retail: ???)
Description: “With the help of textile guru Kelly Stevens at Superbuzzy in Ventura California we’ve included an array of high quality Japanese fabric swatches for you to get started – some denim, some patterns, some stripes, some color. All wove and printed at the epicenter of the world’s most beautiful highest quality textiles.”
Verdict: Like
I’m not in love with most of the prints on these fabrics but I do like the idea of including some in the kit. I almost wish they’d had some more British inspired patterns to go with the Merchant & Mills products. I really couldn’t figure out a way to estimate the price on these, so they remain a mystery.

Thread
Moco Thread

(Estimated US Retail: 6.95 Each)
Description: “Crafted in Japan, FUJIX describes this thread as ‘fluffy hand-stitching thread that has a fluffy, thick feel.’ Uh, Ok. Frankly, we chose it because Luke really digs it. This stuff is made from six strands so depend on what you’re working on you can use just one strand or all six. Oh, and we included three colors to work with…cream, indigo, and a pop of color. Hint…they all go well with denim.
Verdict: Hit!
I like to embroider items and this thread sounds really similar to embroidery floss (where you have multiple strands). I think I’ll have a lot of fun using these for applique projects and ornaments.

Now, as I mentioned earlier I wanted to use these awesome items to make something, because what fun is an “experience in a box” without the experience to go with it.

I really dig mixed media jewelry so I decided to try my hand at an embroidered pendant.

I grabbed these items from the box:
Tools from Box
And from my own supply I grabbed a small embroidery hoop, embroidery floss and the pendant findings that I purchased https://www.etsy.com/transaction/193339940from Etsy. I opted for my own embroidery floss just because the colors of thread in the box weren’t quite what I wanted to use with the fabric I’d chosen.
My supplies
I put the fabric in the hoop and using the embroidery floss, stitched a freehand heart. Following the directions on the findings, I put it together and here is my finished project:
Locket
It looks homemade and sweet and I like the effect. With more practice I’m sure I can get it too look more polished.

OVERALL
Full Box
Verdict:
Like

I love, love, love all the tools from Merchant & Mills and I wish they had a store in the US so I could order more at my heart’s content. The only reason this box has a “like” instead of a “hit” is because of the value. Excluding the fabric, we get a US dollar value of about $60.95. Even if you add on the fabric for $20, you still don’t reach the $95 pricetag. The fact that the bulk of this box is imported should also be taken into consideration since exchange rates vary and there are extra costs associated with bringing products in from overseas. It’s also packaged quite nicely in the tin, plus we have the cute magazine. I think a bit lower price would be more appropriate (like $85). I still really love the items in this box and even though I received this free in order to review it, if I paid $95, I still be satisfied with my purchase because of the tools included.  They will last forever and I’ll use them on a wide variety of projects.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this unique box? Would you be interested in this type of sub? What experiences would you want to see in it?

CANNONBALL COLLECTIVE NEWS
The next theme is Wonderland” and it will let you “embark on a frozen flavor journey”.

THE BACKSTORY
Cannonball Collective sends out quarterly kits centered around particular experiences.

“Each quarter, we serve up a curated collection of goods and inspiration delivered straight to your doorstep. Your ongoing subscription to our Cannonball Kits is a back-stage pass to fresh ideas and remarkable goods!”


Cost:
$95 for each quarter (Shipping is free)