Happily is a monthly subscription that delivers everything you need for a unique, creative date designed to help you reconnect with your partner as you spend quality time together.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: Happily
The Cost: $39.95 a month + free shipping. Save with 3- and 6-month subscriptions.
The Products: Everything you need for a creative date night activity with your significant other.
Ships to: The US
Happily August 2020 Review
Last month I shared a little bit about what Dustin and I do for fun. This month, I decided to bring our family aspect into it. Like I have mentioned in the past, Dustin and I have been married since I was 18 years old. At that time I was attending college to become an MLT, working as an HR assistant, and learning how to be a wife. It wasn't until five years later, when I was 23, that we decided to start a family. We soon learned that things don't go as planned, and ended up losing two consecutive pregnancies. Finally, a little over a year later, I became pregnant with Hank. Fast forward a year, we decided to add on to our group of three. Again, things don't go as planned, and we lost another pregnancy. Finally, our rainbow baby Charlie was born, and we decided our family was complete. Through the ups and downs we have learned to lean on each other through thick and thin. It hasn't been easy, but with faith and understanding, we have made it this far. As a family, we do a lot of outdoor activities, but also enjoy playing board games and baking. We are always up for an adventure and this month's Happily box was definitely that...read on to see how my and my husband's date night turned into family chaos!
First up was our "Welcome to Your Date" card. This month we learned that we would be headed on a journey of epic proportions to Japan complete with a sushi-making experience, green tea, origami, sudoku puzzles, and more. How did it go, you ask? I'll give you a hint: neither of us has ever eaten sushi before...
Here we received the info card for our custom playlist. I went to Spotify and was dumbfounded as I couldn't find the August playlist. Dustin usually doesn't care for the music they choose, so he was requested we listen to George Strait radio on Pandora instead.
Instead of conversation starters this month, we received a link to origami directions instead.
To create our flower and crane origami, we were sent a variety of black and white paper squares. This thin paper was easily folded and is very eye-catching. I wish I knew where to order it from as I would love to have some on hand for my scrapbook stash!
So, origami was interesting...Dustin pulled up the instructional videos on his phone and followed the steps. We have a little experience with Origami thanks to the Together Unplugged July box, but found that this instructional video was hard to follow. The instructor went extremely fast, and because his paper was the same color on both sides, it was hard to decipher which side we should be on and which side should be folded. I have to admit, Dustin did a heck of a lot better than me with his paper folding, and actually came out with something that slightly looks like it was supposed to. I gave up halfway in and moved onto the crane, but that didn't pan out either. At least we got a laugh out of it!
We also received a postcard-sized sheet with 2 Sudoku puzzles on them. We both enjoy these puzzles and found that they were easy enough to be completed in mere minutes. If you were to get stuck, they did include the answers on the back.
Harney & Sons Japanese Sencha - Buy 20 bags for $6.50
To complete the experience, we also received 2 packages of Japanese Sencha green tea. While I am not particularly fond of tea, my husband and I gave it a shot, and found ourselves actually enjoying it more than we thought! This mild-flavored tea provided light notes of citrus and toasted bread, wonderfully accompanying the Sudoku and origami lesson while our rice was cooking.
Homemade Sushi Recipe Book
And now onto the main part of this month's experience: the sushi! We received this 6-page recipe book that describes how to cook the rice and create 3 different types of rolls. It also includes helpful hints and a link to an instructional video for extra assistance. As a side note: the video's water measurements are off compared to the recipe book's measurements...I stuck with the book and seemed to have okay luck doing that.
Here we have a bag of sushi rice. The recipe in the included booklet gives detailed instructions on how to cook this rice. I didn't realize how long it takes! Read through the steps before starting to make sure you aren't up until midnight!
Sushi Chef Bamboo Rolling Mat and Paddle - Retail Value $4.99
To create our California rolls, we received this bamboo rolling mat and paddle. I have not worked with these types of tools before, but found them to be pretty easy to use!
No trip to Japan would be complete without chopsticks!
To create our rice, we also received a bottle of rice vinegar. The recipe booklet called for 1/4 cup of rice vinegar, and there was some extra left over, so as a warning: don't dump in the entire bottle!
To create our rolls, we were sent a stack of seaweed sheets. Thank goodness, because my husband did the grocery shopping this week, and as you will find out later, he struggled with 2 of the items needed to create our recipe, so looking for these might have put him over the edge!
Sriracha Chili Sauce
To accompany the sushi, we received 2 packets of sriracha chili sauce. These packets were just enough for one serving, and were deliciously spicy with a nice chili flavor. I could definitely see myself putting this condiment on things other than sushi, so I'd like to get my hands on more!
To complete our sushi experience, we also received 6 packets of soy sauce. I love the panda clip art on the packages - they are so cute!
Honestly, I had no idea making rice was so much work. I am a lot more familiar with cooking wild rice, which also takes some patience, but consists of a lot fewer steps! After I rinsed the rice over and over again until it was no longer cloudy, I placed it in a medium pot with water to cook on medium-high for about 10 minutes. Once the rice started steaming, I turned the heat to high and cooked for 2 minutes, then reduced to medium and cooked for another 5 minutes. After that, I turned off the heat and let the rice rest for about 15 minutes. Once it was done steaming, I wrapped the lid in a cloth towel and covered it for another 15 minutes. Honestly, I skimmed through the directions, but didn't realize just how long this process would take. I suggest doing this for a date day rather than night, because it does take a while...
Once the rice was done, I spread it out in a large bowl to allow to cool. I then sprinkled the rice vinegar, salt, and sugar over the rice and tossed it around, letting it cool for another 15 minutes. And this is the part where I lost Dustin's interest. Dustin nor I have ever tried any kind of sushi in our lives. While Dustin eats a lot of fish and shrimp, I tend to avoid any type of seafood, but was willing to give this a shot. One whiff of the rice vinegar and Dustin was out...sad!!!!
Once the rice was done cooking and in its cooling stage, I went ahead and started prepping my other ingredients. Our garden is flourishing right now, so we have an abundance of cucumbers, perfect for a California roll, but because I didn't have an avocado on hand, I asked my sweet husband to pick up one from the store. Side story about avocados: when my kids were babies I bought them all the time, pureeing them and adding them into everything. My husband protests that he hates avocados (even though he thoroughly enjoys the chocolate pudding I make which, SPOILER ALERT is made out of avocados!) Anyways, he has never bought an avocado...do you see what he brought me? It was pure mush and was more brown than green...I can say this didn't help him want to sample the finished product...
Onto the rolls!! To create our California rolls, we needed our sticky rice, cucumber, avocado, seaweed wrapper, and crab meat. Speaking of crab meat...funny enough, the same day I asked my husband to grab an avocado, I asked if he would pick up some crab meat at the store for our sushi date. The instructions didn't say what kind of crab to buy exactly, but after watching the video I see they did not use shredded, canned crab meat like my husband bought. Next time, I really should watch the instructional video BEFORE buying my ingredients...lesson learned!! Anywho, I laid out plastic wrap on top of the bamboo mat with a seaweed wrapper on top. Next, I placed a scoop of rice, followed by cucumbers, avocado, and crabmeat. Using the bamboo mat, I rolled the mat creating a nice log shape. With a serrated knife I cut the log into small slices, removing the plastic wrap.
Voila, my California rolls are complete. Why does my picture only feature three, you ask? Well, my other ones looked horrible....so bad that the stuffing had squirted right out. And why is Charlie wearing an extra-large Kikkoman shirt during what was supposed to be mine and my husband's date? Well...being 5 is really hard and he just couldn't sleep because he knew that something fun was going on downstairs and he was missing out. This of course lead to Hank coming downstairs too because he needed a drink and just had to see what Charlie was doing. Now, I was ready to give this sushi a sample, while my husband had already ditched me to go to bed. Slyly, I told both boys that daddy didn't try the sushi so if they took a bite they could tell him that they ate something he never has! Hank was up for it, so he popped in a roll in one bite and munched it right up, smiling the entire time. Charlie, on the other hand, scooted it around the plate until it was a huge mess, then (without me coaxing) proceeded to put about 2 kernels of rice in his mouth with a tiny piece of seaweed wrapper...which he then projectile vomited all over the floor along with his blueberry pancakes and bacon that he ate for supper. And that's how the date nightmare ended...
The Verdict: Happily really brought down the house with this date...literally! Last month we enjoyed sweet treats, which was right up our alley, while this month took us beyond our comfort zone! As I have mentioned in past reviews, I am a bit of a fussy eater. I will try just about any snack, but when it comes to seafood, I usually pass. I have never tried sushi (until tonight, and honestly it wasn't bad) but after tonight, I don't think my husband will ever give it a chance. While this date wasn't a great fit for my husband and me, I did feel the curation was pretty special, and the idea was good. At $39.95 I would like to see a few more physical items in the box, but do consider the thoughtfulness to count for part of that price. Next time I am hoping for something sweet and a little less messy. What do you think September's theme will be?
To Wrap Up:
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