Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Has Anyone Ever Actually Been Promised a Rose Garden? February Tea Box Express Review

I had a long day on Monday.

I woke up bright and early, because the baby wakes up bright and early. Actually, the baby wakes up pitch-black and early, although I suppose her mood is definitely bright. She went back to sleep fairly quickly, just in time for me to be totally up. So Jason and I shrugged and went about getting ready for the day.

I took her in to the doctor for her six-month well baby visit, shots and all. She was an angel, all cheer and smiles for the nurse and the doctor, and took her shots like a champ. Honestly, I cried more than she did. Then again, I usually do...

So I get her home, and we snuggle on the couch for a while. I put her down to nap and she wakes up only thirty minutes later. So we snuggle some more. She's clearly feeling a little achy and wants nothing more than constant holding in my arms all day long. So... that's what we did.

At some point, the animals also noticed that I was paying attention to a creature who wasn't them, and decided to rectify that situation.

So I spent my whole day either holding/lying down with Audra, with Indy trying to be a lapdog, or one of the cats attempting to insinuate themselves either onto my lap or the top of my head. Audra started running a little fever in the afternoon, so she became even clingier. By the time Jason got home from work I was about ready to tear my hair out from TOO. MUCH. TOUCHING.

But there was one shining bright spot.

My Tea Box Express box arrived!

I was looking forward to February's box, since I knew it would be Valentine's Day themed. Andrea does little sneak peeks on the blog, but I like to be surprised when it arrives so I try very hard not to check. All I was hoping for was chocolate.

And chocolate there was.

This month's box surprised me a little bit, actually. Although I expected chocolate I was pleasantly surprised by the teas - Serendipitea was the brand this time, but it was the teas themselves I was interested in.

There are two kinds. The above is Once Upon a Tea - a rooibois, or caffeine-free red tea, mixed with peppermint, cocoa nibs, rose petals, and more. I mixed it with my usual honey and milk and it was a lovely unwinding tea, for the end of what had definitely been a very, very, very long day. It's a smooth tea, and it's nice to have something chocolate that isn't a caffeinated black tea, so that I can drink it even after dinner. I totally get this as an extension of the theme - it went really well with the chocolate bar, which we'll get to here in just a bit.

I will be drinking this very quickly, I think, and mourning its loss when it's gone.

The other tea is Roses Aplenty, a delicate green tea with rose petals. This I only put the barest touch of honey in. Anything more would have overpowered it. Good green tea really stands on its own, and I would probably not even put honey in it in the future. It would be a lovely waking-up tea, if you aren't in a hurry and are able to curl up on the couch and watch the sun come up. It's a Saturday-morning tea, a quiet tea. I really like it, and I have a feeling I'm going to very slowly parcel it out so I don't run out too quickly.

I am actually not much of a green tea person. Unless it's a very good green tea the grassiness tends to be too overwhelming to me. This tea didn't really have that problem, it had the right delicacy of flavor and was definitely a pleasant surprise. I have already begun to have dreams about there being a quiet morning someday when I can really enjoy sipping it, and not in-between attempts to dodge a baby's flailing, curious hands trying to get their hands on it.

We also received a couple of items from PuurBody - a candle and some lip balm. The candle, as you can see, had an interestingly different wood wick. Its smell, labeled Conservatory, is also unusual - both floral and full of spice. The wax color is kind of a pretty, pastel lilac purple - perfect for spring and one of the very few pastel colors I really like. I only burned it for a few minutes, because it's a small candle and I want to save and use it sparingly to make it last. It's a have-with-a-bath kind of candle, I think. This is a the-grandparents-have-the-baby-overnight-and-I-can-soak-in-tub-for-an-hour candle. The orchid smell is strong but not overpowering and there's definitely some spicy notes underneath. 

The other item from Puur is this Earl Grey lip balm. I've worn it for a couple of days since the package arrived and I like it! The smell isn't quite Earl Grey to me, which may be a downside for some people, but more sort of a mix of chocolate and bergamot. That's due to the oils in it that keep your lips soft. I actually like that it has a little less of an overwhelming "tea" flavor; I had an Earl Grey Tea lip balm that I ended up essentially throwing away because the flavor was so overwhelming.

I like PuurBody's lip balm as well because it doesn't glop on too heavily. 

I'm also excited to see this being an etsy shop and a small business run by a mom of five. I'm always happy to help support small businesses and see them thrive!

I actually went and clicked around the PuurBody shop after trying it on and discovered she has lots of different lip balm flavors, including Kentucky Bourbon. I find that... intriguing.

Others who receive the February box will notice something missing in the photo above, and it's a tea steeper! I... kind of made myself a cup of tea before I remembered to take the photos, and didn't realize the steeper was missing until afterwards. It's actually wonderful. One problem I've had with a lot of our tea steepers (um... all of them so far) is that tea with small leaves (like rooibos or some chai) manages to get through the mesh and so my tea ends up with sort of a leafy sludge at the bottom or tiny leave floating on top.

I used the steeper to make myself both a cup of the Once Upon a Tea and the Roses Aplenty, and it worked perfectly - maybe one or two teensy tea leaf-bits made it through, but otherwise nothing! It's the best steeper I've ever owned. I'm so happy with the silly thing that I've already used it multiple times, if that tells you anything.

And last but not least, what I looked forward to the most...

the chocolate.

Yeeeeeeeah, this was good.

Normally with this kind of dark chocolate percentage you're looking at a pretty bitter chocolate bar, not an exceptionally sweet one. I love bitter dark chocolate, so that's fine with me. But I was actually surprised by how very mild the flavor was! Just the addition of coconut did a lot to counter the bitterness and it tasted dark, but sweet. It was also a somewhat soft chocolate bar in texture. There was a really strong coconut taste and, promising myself I'd parcel it out as carefully as possible, I took two tiny squares and put it in the fridge.

By Tuesday night it was gone.

I'd like to blame Jason, but... I really can't. It was me! It was all me! I admit it!

I'm completely not sorry and I'd do it again if I could. 

All in all, I like this box! It wasn't quite as much my soulmate-in-a-box as the January Scones-and-Clotted-Cream was, and these teas aren't as much my favorite as November's masala chai, but I enjoyed every single item. I'm not kidding when I say I would eat that whole chocolate bar over again with no shame about thirteen times. The fourteenth time, I would probably start feeling some regret. But I make no promises.

Although we're past February's cutoff date, you can always shoot Andrea an email and let her know if you're interested, to see if any of February's boxes are still available! Also take a gander at the shop, where some of the other months are still up for grabs as well. 

Remember, the best way to make sure you get these boxes is to subscribe for the monthly delivery. I'm having a lot of fun being surprised each month, and I'm really looking forward to March - it's my birthday on the 6th and I'm sort of declaring March's box my unofficial Birthday Present to Myself. I'll be a few weeks into my new job and I could probably use whatever relaxation that box has in store for me. 

(Interested in giving the box to someone special? Send them one as a gift!)

*This post was done in collaboration with Tea Box Express. I get a nifty discount on each month's box, I get to try out and write about all the fun stuff I receive. Basically, everyone wins. I'm not even kidding; I have a cup of tea in my hand right now because of this (it's the Once Upon a Tea, if you were curious). If you have any questions, drop me a line or you can reach the awesome folks at Tea Box Express here.*


  1. Sounds like a pretty excellent box! We buy these insane 88% cacao bars by the case when they go on sale at Vitacost, so I'm RIGHT there withe you!

    Also, I'm pretty sure Matt has a selfie he took of himself with Gbear and I, slumped on either side of him, asleep with fevers, and the cat on his lap. What an afternoon that was. :)

  2. Sounds like a pretty excellent box! We buy these insane 88% cacao bars by the case when they go on sale at Vitacost, so I'm RIGHT there withe you!

    Also, I'm pretty sure Matt has a selfie he took of himself with Gbear and I, slumped on either side of him, asleep with fevers, and the cat on his lap. What an afternoon that was. :)


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