Mission Cute: A Box With A Conscience

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What could make a monthly subscription box filled with cute, useful goodies better? How about sourcing from small businesses and non-profits? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me!

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That’s exactly what Mission Cute is doing, and I love it.

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Each box contains items made from often local businesses, and artisans. Not only that, but they also partner with a non-profit for each box to help spread awareness a bout their mission, and give them half of the net proceeds!

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As you can see from my delightful first box, I received a gorgeous bracelet, shimmery hand-made necklace, print, body scrub, Apple scented candle, and I got to learn about the work they’re doing over at Karam. (I also got candy!) Celebrate the holidays by giving this gift, that truly gives back.

Inside the Box: Mantry

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I recently threw a fantastic Thai dinner party, and I owe it all to a hip, new monthly subscription service called Mantry.

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Each month they send high-end, artisanal food products matching a theme such as coffee, bacon, or in our case –  Thai.

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Once I surveyed the box, which included  products such as Dried & True Sriracha Beef Jerky, and drinking vinegar from the world-famous Pok Pok restaurant, I knew that a get-together was in order. The stuff was just too nice not to share!

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We carefully read their enclosed product guide, gathering ideas for what to make.

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Then we rounded up a few extra ingredients, and set off to our friend’s house to do the cooking. (His house is much, much nicer than ours – plus he has a fully stocked bar.)

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We snacked on a few the items as we cooked, including the Dallas-based Lord Nut Levington’s Thai-Dyed Peanuts.

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I took full advantage of our host’s prior bar-tending experience, and had him make delicious summer cocktails from the drinking vinegar.

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I essentially had a house full of men all doing the dirty work (cooking) for me.

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We made shrimp and used Apinya for the dipping sauce. It was fantastic – I think I may prefer it to sriracha now, and normally nothing tops that condiment for me.

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I sampled a few of the other enclosed ingredients, and secretly wished that we had thought to make Thai nachos.

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We meandered through all of the enclosed delicacies until at last we arrived at the coconut chips, which alongside raspberries helped to elevate our simple vanilla ice cream dessert.

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If you’re looking for a creative, delicious, and unexpected Father’s Day gift, be sure to check out Mantry. The items they will send you are normally hard-to-find, and make eating an exciting adventure, as opposed to an everyday chore.

Disclosure: I received this box free of charge for reviewing purposes, but opinions expressed are my own.

Austin Eastciders: Not Just A Canned Response To Overly Sweet Ciders

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When I learned that Austin Eastciders was hosting a party at La Barbecue to celebrate the release of their new can, I was beside myself, but not just for the obvious reasons. My partner’s absolute favorite food in the world is barbecue from La Barbecue, and his number one drink of choice is cider from Austin Eastciders. I was admittedly tempted to threaten to not let him attend the event with me unless he agreed to a few slave-like conditions, but I’m not always that mean.

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A big thing that he raves about when it comes to their cider, is that it tastes like the cider he grew up on. (I should probably mention that my boyfriend, like Eastciders’ founder, is from England.) He’s always assumed that the apples in America are much sweeter than the ones they grow in Britain, giving American ciders an intensely sweet taste. Austin Eastciders’ Original product is made from bitter-sweet European apples, as well as American dessert apples, giving it a dry, complex flavor that the Champagne connoisseur in me loves. At 4.8% alcohol by volume, and given its large 16 ounce can, the Eastciders Original is easily a patio pounder with a unique taste, and I can see why that boyfriend of mine is so partial to it.

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Full disclosure: I was in the beginning phase of a low-carb diet when I attended this, so I only got to take baby sips. Lots and lots of baby sips. Believe me though, my boyfriend looked happy as a clam. No, happier than that. He looked like happy as an Englishman eating Texas barbecue and drinking cider.

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