A Box of Fun for Everyone!

You may not have noticed, but there’s a new trend in town: subscription product boxes. Blissmobox, Julibox, Knoshbox, Birchbox, Glossybox™, and Bulubox are some of the subscription services that have popped up in recent months.

Each month, a new box is delivered to your door containing sample products and some full-sized products, depending on the subscription service. I’ve subscribed to all of the services above, to see what each has to offer. Most offer a low subscription fee – between $10 and $40 per month, depending on the company and free or nominal shipping.

Blissmo’s basic subscription is $19.95 per month plus $4.95 for shipping. I’ve received several months’ worth of boxes from Blissmo and love this service. Each month, subscribers have the option to choose from one of three themes: food, personal/beauty, or seasonal (some months even include an option for doggie products, mens’ boxes, or cleaning products). Subscribers receive a curated box of organic, non-toxic and eco products. Blissmo also offers some fantastic Office Break boxes. Blissmo packs each box with $20-$40 worth of products.

My October Knoshbox contained some fabulous finds including Skillet Pumpkin Sauce from Skillet Street Food in Seattle – a product I might not have otherwise sought out. Other goodies included Nate’s Happy Jack Pumpkin Granola from New Haven, Connecticut and Redhead Bacon Peanut Brittles, created by chef Meg Grace Larcom, co-owner of the redhead® restaurant in the East Village of Manhattan in New York City. A Knoshbox subscription runs $30 per month and shipping is free.

Skillet Foods Pumpkin Sauce






The November “Bourbon Box” is available to order through October 31st and features the following:

  • Fat Toad Farm Farmstead Goat’s Milk Caramel limited edition Salted Bourbon from Brookfield, Vermont
  • Hand-made artisan marshmallows coated in Bourbon barrel-aged demerara sugar by 240 Sweet™ of Columbus, Indiana
  • Bourbon Salted Pecan pancake mix by Southern Culture Foods of Decatur, Georgia (Non-GMO project certified)
  • Decadent Bourbon Pecan Brownies hand-crafted by Cacao Sweets & Treats of Grayslake, Illinois

Birchbox features well-known brands such as Kiehl’s®, Stila, and Smashbox® and offers free shipping on orders over $50. A monthly subscription costs $10.

Bulu Box is a monthly subscription sample box containing four to five premium vitamin and supplement nutrition samples, also for $10 per month, delivered to your door. Each Bulu Box contains a mix of products for both men and women, including vitamins, supplements, sports nutrition, meal replacement, diet, energy, protein, detox, digestion, sexual health, herbs, natural remedies, endurance and more.

Julibox was recently featured on the Today Show and I can hardly wait for my November box to arrive to try them out! Each month, subscribers are introduced to two great cocktails, curated by Julibox mixologists and designed for easy home preparation. Julibox provides the recipes and ingredients to make two of each cocktail – four cocktails total, complete with spirits and mixers. I can’t think of a better way to build a collection of spirits and recipes at home, not to mention an excellent reason to invite friends over to join in the fun. They’ll even email you in advance of your shipment to let you know if you need to grab any fresh items to embellish your cocktails (lemons, limes, etc.). A Julibox subscription costs between $36 and $40 per month, depending upon the type of subscription selected.

A Glossybox subscription runs $21 per month (with discounts offered for longer-term subscriptions) and delivers a box of five luxury travel-sized beauty products for subscribers to lather, blend, soak, spray, buff, and groom. Products from October’s SpaLuxe box included Carol’s Daughter Shea Soufflé, Nastassja Skin & Wellness Enzyme Facial Peel, Heartland Fragrance Co. Loofa Soap, basq skin care Calm Resilient Body Oil, ModelCo LIP DUO Lipstick & Ultra Shine Lip Gloss, and Alterna Professional Haircare BAMBOO Luminous Shine Mist.

Glossybox October Selection “Spa Luxe”

I live in an area of the country where shopping is limited to a couple of local department stores, Target, and a handful of locally-owned boutiques, which is nice in some ways, but also limits my sense of experimentation with new products. Now, for things like spirits and food, we do have some pretty fantastic options, but I appreciate a service like Julibox, which does some of the homework for me. Many of us pack a lot into a week with work, kids, family, and other obligations, so it’s nice to “try on” products that we may not have the time to seek out – or otherwise have access to.

Seattle Day Trip: Cruising the San Juan Islands

Eager for a Seattle getaway, the plotting and planning began. Most of our Seattle weekends are mini-vacations involving fly-in, fly-out foodie trips with a little shopping thrown in.  This time, I wanted something different. Our teen-aged sons were joining us and both needed as much time relaxing as we did.

I booked us on a full-day Clipper Vacations Whale Watching and Sealife Search cruise. We started early, boarding at around 7:30 a.m., grabbed a booth inside, a cup of coffee, snacks, and sat back for the ride. We would be cruising most of the morning before arriving at Friday Harbor to disembark for a short stay – as it turns out, several guests planned overnight stays on the island.

Cruising was chilly, foggy, and invigorating. The tour guides were chatty, as tour guides can be, but we enjoyed the narration and watched the city fade into the distance. The cruise was full and latecomers found themselves without window seats (if you want to ride inside the vessel). Seats outside were available, but warm clothing is a must!

Navigating the channels of the San Juan Islands

We followed two orca pods that day, one with a calf, and marveled at their size and grace. Our cruise offered up glimpses of dolphins and various sea birds as well.

Orca and calf

Halfway through the day, we arrived at Friday Harbor and disembarked for lunch and a quick tour of the harbor shops. Charming, to be sure, and worth a look.

Friday Harbor, WA

We arrived back in Seattle in time for dinner, feeling as though we’d been a world away for the day – just as I’d hoped!

Mrs. Bridges Ginger Preserve with Malt Whisky: Product Review

Mrs. Bridges Ginger Preserve with Malt Whisky is a sweet and spicy palate-tickler.

Open the jar and breathe deeply for a heady ginger scent. You could simply enjoy it on your favorite slice of sourdough toast, but it is brilliant served as a condiment with duck, pork, turkey, or any white meat. Here are a few more suggestions for savoring this little delight:

Spoon a cup into a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons whisky, cider, or water, and a few tablespoons of brown sugar; stir until heated through, then use it as a glaze to add a little zing to a dish.

For a unique holiday appetizer, serve this thick, but spreadable preserve with a silky paté and a savory cracker.

Try a dollop on a cheese plate with marcona almonds, candied ginger, and a selection of artisanal cheese.

Swirl a half cup into your favorite scone recipe with a handful of white chocolate chips for a fragrant, chewy treat.

Mrs. Bridges uses a traditional approach to making marmalades and preserves: without additives, and slowly boiled in open, copper-bottomed pans. This family run company is based in Arbroath on the east coast of Scotland.

Lovin’ Las Vegas

Vegas nudges me, almost daily, to return to it. Maybe it’s the fact that I am hopelessly on my way to succumbing to at least four of the seven deadly sins – all within the first hour of arriving. Lust. Greed. Gluttony. Sloth. Check. Check. Check, and check. It’s a chance to leave behind 60 hour work-weeks and routine obligations to re-energize, eat a little too much, sleep in a little bit too late, and laugh a little more than usual.

Las Vegas evokes the fountain of youth in all of us. What is it exactly? It’s fun. And, it’s the unapologetic pursuit of instant gratification. Las Vegas days and nights elevate each and every one of us to celebrity status in our own life story, if only for an evening, or a weekend.

It’s been nearly eight months since I last donned my stilettos to navigate the highly polished marble floors of The Palazzo, Las Vegas. This all-suite hotel boasts more than 3,000 spacious suites, with high-end accommodations ranging from a Luxury Suite at an unprecedented 720 square feet to the 8,000-square-foot Chairman suite with private terraces and plunge pools. I stayed in a comfortable, well-appointed Luxury Suite. The Palazzo offers at least nine different packages to suit just about any occasion. The hard part is choosing one.

The Palazzo Luxury Suite

The Palazzo also offers a variety of cuisines from a collection of award-winning chefs such as Carnevino by Mario Batali, CUT by Wolfgang Puck and Table 10 by Emeril Lagasse. Carnevino is an award-winning steakhouse created by chef Mario Batali and winemaker Joe Bastianich – the third restaurant launched in Las Vegas by the partners. It lives up to its name by offering mouth-watering, house-aged beef rubbed with a satisfying combination of sea salt, black pepper, and fresh rosemary and a robust international wine list, featuring hundreds of exciting wines (including Super Tuscans, Amarone, and a great selection of Barbaresco). Carnevino also offers a Special Beef Tasting Menu that will tempt any palate.

From the time I arrived until the time I departed – four days, I left The Palazzo and The Venetian properties exactly once, to see a show at another property. It’s a city within a city, and leaves you wanting for nothing. Shopping, gaming, dining, relaxing – it’s all here.

The Palazzo Las Vegas

The current lineup of fall and winter entertainment is stellar – the Faith Hill and Tim McGraw ‘Soul2Soul’ engagement from December to April in the Venetian Theatre; the Rock of Ages show (tickets are on sale now for December performances); and, comedians David Spade, Tim Allen, and Rita Rudner all have limited engagement shows coming up.

The Palazzo’s other unique offerings include the dining and nightlife hotspot, LAVO; the luxurious (and world’s largest) Canyon Ranch SpaClub®; the ultimate sports bar, sportsbook and restaurant on the Strip, Lagasse’s Stadium; and Prestige at The Palazzo – designed to offer the sophisticated traveler an elevated level of services and amenities including private champagne check in, packing and unpacking services, exclusive bath and pillow menus, complimentary cocktail reception and more. What’s not to love?

Oh, and the shopping… The Shoppes at The Palazzo® feature more than 60 luxury boutiques, including 20 stores and couture brands making their Las Vegas debuts at The Palazzo including Chloé, Tory Burch, Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg, and Van Cleef & Arpels. There truly is something for everyone. Just walking into the Salvatore Ferragamo boutique makes me feel a bit more glamorous.

For additional information, visit The Palazzo website at palazzolasvegas.com, follow on Twitter @palazzolasvegas and interact on Facebook at facebook.com/palazzolasvegas.

I’m off to plan my next visit!