Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Get a Taste of Locally Made Goodness with Hammock Pack

Hey everyone! Sorry I've been MIA this past week. I've been a bit under the weather and really stressed at work so I decided to take a little me-time away from my computer to decompress. There was a lot of reading, napping, and cooking of comfort foods, as well as bit of good ol' Netflix binging. Now that I've had a bit of a breather I'm feeling refreshed and ready to get back to chatting beauty and other fun things with you all.

Speaking of which, how much fun is this box of Philly-themed goodies? I was recently contacted by one of the lovely people over at up-and-coming subscription service Hammock Pack and asked if I would like to check out one of their boxes and offer some feedback. As someone who totally appreciates local and handmade goods I was completely on board, and am really excited to share what I think with you guys.

Many of you may not have heard of Hammock Pack yet, but their business concept is really pretty cool. Each month they pick a different city or travel destination and specially curate a box of unique, often handcrafted items that were made in that area. Unlike the typical chintzy trinkets or souvenirs that are marketed towards tourists, Hammock Pack goodies are often produced by local small business and give you an extra special little taste of whatever city they come from. You can choose to purchase a single pack buy itself for $32 or subscribe monthly (at the same price) if you'd like the surprises to keep on coming.

Hammock pack also curates an adorable little online shop of local, handcrafted goodies for you to peruse if you're looking for a neat gift idea. With everything from candles, to stationary, to bath products, to tasty treats there's a lot of inspiration to be found.

The city my box was centered around was Philadelphia. Truth be told, I don't think I've ever actually been to Philly, although I did spend one family vacation visiting Pennsylvania (Gettysburg...you know...getting our American history on). That being said it was pretty neat to be sent a few little things from an area I'd never been. Inside the box was a hand illustrated tea towel, a delicious all-natural rose lip balm, a yummy scented candle, and a package of Stroopies, which, despite the silly name were downright delicious. Not only have I been enjoying using each of these items on its own, it's also been cool to get to know a little bit more about the business that created them.

Girls Can Tell, the creator of this fun printed tea towel, is the brainchild of Sara Selepouchin Villari. Having a bit of experience in mechanical drawing, she started to create adorable annotated prints that she could silkscreen onto a variety of homegoods. While the Girls Can Tell line has a physical presence in Ocassionette, her Philly retail store, you can also purchase from them online. This fun Pretzel Towel is 100% cotton, is very absorbant, and should hold up well to washing.

I can never have too many candles, especially ones that smell as yummy as this one. Perhaps its the New Englander in me, but I definitely love all things maple. What I love even more about this candle is that it was handcrafted thoughtfully, using all-natural soy wax and high quality fragrance oils. Candelles is all about small batch, hand poured candles that bring fun and color with their designs instead of adding nasty chemicals to the wax itself. I also really dig the sort of rustic charm of a candle in a mini mason jar. You can pick one up for yourself here!

You all know what a sucker I am for rose scented anything, so I was definitely in heaven seeing this lip balm. It smells lovely, tastes great, and has an ingredients list that makes me smile. With a little stevia for sweetness and a blend of pure, natural oils and shea butter there is nothing nasty inside for you to worry about. And if doing good by yourself isn't enough, this lip balm also helps you do good by others! For each lip balm purchased Hand in Hand will donate a bar of soap and a month's worth of clean water to a child in need. How awesome is that? You can snag one of your very own here, and if rose isn't your jam, there are a ton of other fragrances (and products) that might suit your fancy.

I'd never heard of a stroopy before this box arrived on my doorstep, but I have to say that I've been missing out all this time. It's hard to explain exactly what they're like, but I'll try to do my best. They're essentially like a giant sandwich cookie, with a cinnamon-y, caramel-y kind of filling. Although instead of a cookie, the outside bits are more waffle-like. Hopefully that makes some semblance of sense. Anyway, apparently the traditional way to eat a stroopy is to warm it up on the rim of your hot beverage, so that the inner filling gets sort of soft and gooey and wonderful. If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that last week I did exactly this and it made for quite a delightful evening snack. If you want to get in on your own Dutch Stroopwaffle experience you can purchase them here!

All in all I think this was a pretty fun box. I probably never would have thought to purchase these kinds of items for myself, so it was a nice little treat to receive them. I also love the whole idea of a small business supporting other small businesses, so I definitely commend Hammock Pack for that. That being said, if you're the kind of person who's looking for insane value in your subscription box, you aren't going to find it here. You are guaranteed to get product at least equal to the $32 that you paid, but you shouldn't expect double or triple the return on your money (although you could argue that you save a lot on shipping were you to buy each thing individually). I also think that a monthly subscription fee of over $30 might be a deterrent for some. As an occasional splurge purchase, or even something you get once a season I think more people would be comfortable with spending that much.

Personally I think a Hammock Pack would make for an awesome gift. Unlike a subscription box that focuses on one particular type of item (beauty, food, accessories, etc) this has a little bit of everything. There's also something inherently special about handcrafted goods that I think people appreciate that much more. So, with the holiday season approaching, if you're feeling stumped about what to get your hairdresser, or your kid's teacher, or other special lady in your life, this might be a great option to consider. Speaking of which, you can actually snag this Philadelphia pack at a discounted price of $30 right now. You can also pre-order this month's Maine-themed box, which just started shipping out today. Maine is actually one of my favorite places to visit, so I'm really curious to see what types of things that box will include! I'm imagining blueberries and lobsters, but I suppose with patience I will see.

Would you subscribe to Hammock Pack? What city should they curate a box for next?