Countdown to Christmas: Tea Advent Calendar Swap 2019

So last year on Instagram I saw that @TeaisforTravel was starting an Advent Calendar Tea Swap. When I first saw it I was extremely interested and totally wanted to join:

But then I thought about it…a few years ago I did a book swap and sent my books off to the people I was assigned and was supposed to receive some, but I never did. I decided to skip it as I didn’t really want to get involved in something, have my hopes up, and then have nothing arrive.

Not okay.

Then I saw @teaandme blog was going to do it, and it looked like so much fun…plus I had almost 25 teas I just needed a few more…I figured aw, why not?!

So I signed up to do it. But then I was like how do I make an advent calendar? Whenever we did an Advent Calendar/Christmas countdown growing up, we always did paper chains. I never had one that had things in it. Thank goodness for the internet-I googled and searched pinterest to try and find some ideas.

So the concept I really wanted to do, didn’t work with mailing it to my person. I had a few ideas but I needed to finish it up between all the other holiday things I needed to do + get it out in the mail before December 1st, so I ended up doing a very simple envelope style.

I actually had so much fun making my advent calendar I didn’t even care if I ended up not getting one. With mine I chose certain teas for certain days and every pod had a tea and a letter about why I picked it to be a part of the calendar or to be had on a certain day.

I can’t remember what I wrote for everything, just a few-but I do remember the teas I used. They were:

December 1st-Lifestyle Awareness Serene Slumber Soothing Lavender: As Sunday was the first day of Advent I chose a “purple” tea (I did for every Sunday of Advent). Purple is a symbol of Advent as in ancient times purple was extremely expensive and used for royalty. As Advent is awaiting the “coming of the King”, its color became purple as well. The first Sunday of Advent symbolizes Hope and the first candle lit is the “prophecy candle” in remembrance of the prophets, such as Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ.  I also wanted to start off with a soothing tea as Christmas can be super stressful for people.

December 2nd-Stash Earl Grey

December 3rd-Tiesta Tea Maui Mango

December 4th- Lipton Black Tea

December 5th- Stash Chai Spice

December 6th- Tiesta Tea Fruity Pebbles

December 7th- Good Earth Sweet & Spicy

December 8th- Stash Wild Raspberry Hibiscus: The second Sunday of Advent is also a purple candle and represents faith. This one is called the Bethlehem candle and is a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.

December 9th- Sencha Naturals Organic Matcha: Just in case I included in my letter how to make a matcha latte.

December 10th- Bigelow Pumpkin Spice Tea

December 11th- Stash Premium Green Tea

December 12th- Oliver Pluff & Company Jasmine Green Tea: I had won this tea in a giveaway from Regency Marketplace

December 13th- Panera Ginger Peach Tea: Our library hosted a parent event every month. Right before I put the advent calendar together, they canceled their meeting but forgot to cancel their order at Panera. So we enjoyed a bunch of breakfast sweets, coffee, and tea.

December 14th- Stash English Breakfast Tea

December 15th- Tiesta Tea Nutty Almond Tea: This sunday of Advent you use the pink candle, so I chose a tea that is pink after it steeps. This candle symbolizes joy and is the Shepherd’s candle-representing the joy they and the world had with the birth of Christ.

December 16th- Twinings Earl Grey: December 16th is Jane Austen’s birthday so I chose a Tea that Jane Austen would have had. In one of her letters she wrote she purchased Twinings tea, because it was unadulterated -unlike other tea that was blended with anything.

December 17th- Tiesta Tea Royal Breakfast

December 18th- Stash Chamomile: Being halfway through the month I thought it was a good time to have some more relaxing tea.

December 19th- Tea Bar and Fusion Cafe Octavia Tea Company Earl GreyI love this place and wish it wasn’t an hour away but in my city.

December 20th- Stash Peppermint

December 21st- Bigelow Pomegranate Pizazz

December 22nd- Tiesta Tea Lavender Chamomile: This is the last Sunday of Advent. This candle represents peace and is called the “Angel’s Candle”. I thought it was perfect for today as this close to Christmas chamomile is perfect to give one peace as they finish any last minute anything they need to do.

December 23rd- Stash Lemon Ginger: December 23rd is my sister’s birthday and she loves Lemon Ginger Tea.

December 24th- Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea: When I was a kid I had such a hard time trying to sleep on the night before Christmas as I would be too wired. My mom used to always have us drink Sleepytime Tea to ehlp us sleep, sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t-but I still drink it every December 24th.

December 25th- Tiesta Tea Victorian Earl Grey: When I think of Christmas I of course think of A Christmas Carol and so what would be better than Victorian Earl Grey? 

In fact I had so much fun making this, that I ended up creating and sending one to my niece as part of her Christmas gift.

So it turned out that the person who was making my Advent calender was @TeaisforTravel, the creator of the swap. I tried to use a different cup each day and have the pictures be different or about what I was doing that day. Some days I combined it with my 25 Days of Christmas Movies or with my reading Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane AustenNow I like different types of tea, but I tend to only buy/drink one: Tiesta Tea Victorian Earl Grey.

So it was nice trying out different teas, some of them being ones I had never heard of before. And while I may not have loved all of them, I loved having this experience of trying all these different teas.

So I am sharing the pics I really liked/thought turned out great. If interested in seeing all of them, just head over to my instagram @janeaustenrunsmylife

December 1st- Old Barrel Tea LavenderberryThis was a very delicious tea that made me think of relaxing in a field of flowers.

December 2nd- Tazo Prickly Pear Cactus TeaPraying With Jane. This tea was beyond good. I gave one of the tea bags to my niece who also loved it.

December 3rd- David’s Tea Seaberry SpaThis was a fruity and relaxing tea. I gave this to my niece to try and she LOVED it.

December 4th-Good Earth Rosa de Jamaica: This was my first time having Rosa de Jamaica hot as I had only ever had it as a cold brew and I really enjoyed it.

December 5th- Encore Chocolate & Tea Candy AppleThis tea wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t for me. I gave this to my niece who loved it.

December 6th- Whittard Earl Grey– I loved this tea and drank it while reading my Book Club’s Pick monthly pick, Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale.

December 7th- Trader Joe’s Lemongrass Earl Grey: I’d never had this tea before but I was surprised how much I enjoyed this variation on my favorite type of tea.

December 8th- David’s Tea Nutty & Spice

December 9th- Teatime Scottsdale Royal TeaA very sweet tea that is in no need of sugar.

December 10th- Stash Chai SpiceIs it really winter if you haven’t had a cup of Chai tea? A delicious tea for a cold winter’s day.

December 11th- Teatopia Yellow Mudan Praying with Jane: This was a tea I had never heard of but it was really good.

December 12th- Bigelow Lean and Fit Citrus Oolong Tea: I was so tired I needed to drink a whole pint.

December 13th- Artful Tea Purple Lychee: This was a Friday the 13th so of course I needed to wear my Ghostbusters T-Shirt, use my Ghostbusters mug, eat pizza, and watch horror films. This Purple Lychee was really good as I am not a big fan of lychee but enjoyed this.

December 14- Whittard English Breakfast: I’m really picky about my English Breakfast, but LOVED this tea. I also really love cats and Audrey Hepburn movies (if you couldn’t tell lol).

December 15th- Nobilitea Pina Power: I didn’t think I would like this as I don’t care for pineapple, but I enjoyed it. I also gave this to my niece.

December 16th- Nobilitea Prima Donna: This was a nice tea, but not for me. I also gave this one away to a friend. I paired this with my viewing of Star Wars: A New Hope as part of my 25 Days of Christmas. I know most will say it isn’t a Christmas film, but my family watches it every year at Christmastime.

December 17th- Steepologie Sour Patch TeaThis tea surprised me as it was better than I thought it would be. This day we decorated our family Christmas tree, our family tradition is to have an ornament that represents important events that occurred in the year.

December 18th- Buyulu Bohca Green Tea with Jasmine FlowersI drank this to relax after wrapping gifts.

December 19th- Nobilitea Regal PlumDrank this while wrapping more Christmas gifts.

December 20th- Crafted Leaf Teas Golden Tip Lapsang Souchong: I LOVED this tea so much that I ended up buying my own bag. It is so good and worth every penny of the price.

December 21st- Steep by Bigelow Organic Oolong and Jasmine Green Tea: A delicious tea and perfect for starting off a day in which one has a lot to do.

December 22nd- Nobilitea Cinnamon Blondie Praying with Jane: I really loved this tea as it smelled and tasted like Christmas, just like gingerbread cookies.

December 23rd- David’s Tea Lemon SmashThis tea was perfect for today as it was my sister’s birthday and she loves anything lemon. This tea was delicious and we both had a cup.

December 24th- Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey Holiday Mix TapeI loved this tea and drank it as I edited my review of Holiday Mix Tape, a modern Christmas Persuasion.

December 25th- Nobilitea Banana Pancakes: I wasn’t sure if I would like this as banana flavored things aren’t really my thing, but I really enjoyed it.

This was so much fun, that I was excited to do it again this year. I wasn’t sure if @teaisfortravel was going to do it again (with COVID19), so this year I put together a tea swap with some friends and family members.

If you are interested in doing it, contact her or try to do it with your friends or family. It is a lot of fun and a great way to stop and take some moments to relax during the holiday season.

For more tea posts, go to The Picture of Earl Grey Tea Cookies

For more Christmas posts, go to Holiday Mix Tape

I Won the Regency Marketplace Giveaway

So if you have been following me for a while, you know how I feel about free things.

As I always say:

“Free is always good unless it is diseases.”

So I just cannot resist a giveaway-anytime I see one I have to enter it.

They are calling to me…

So with the Regency Marketplace, I love their stuff and when I saw the giveaway I had to enter.

I don’t remember if I was tagged first and then tagged others or if I saw it and then tagged friends, but however it happened, I entered and won.

So with the giveaway, I won two teas and a tea infuser. Of the teas, I had the option of:

  • English Breakfast Tea Bags
  • Jasmine Green Tea Bags
  • Irish Breakfast Loose Leaf Tea
  • West Indies Citrus

I can have a hard time making choices…(you should see me in restaurants)

Which way should I choose?

So I asked the proprietress to send me any of them and then settled in to wait.

I was a little anxious about when it would come as it has been soooooooo hot here. Like EXTREME heat, 98 to 100s, and I didn’t want it sitting in the mailbox all day.

It took about a week to get to me from Colorado to California, which is really great for a giveaway (others I have won have taken much, much longer.)

So, I love receiving mail!

And I was so happy to see this package, it was wrapped in a beautiful flowered envelope:

And when I opened it (video on facebook, twitter, and instagram) I saw I had won two Oliver Pluff & Company teas: Jasmine Green and English Breakfast.

So I decided to try them out with my mom and get her opinion as well. I even pulled out my teacups for the special occasion. First came English Breakfast Tea

My mom loved it and thought it was good, even though black teas aren’t her favorite. I LOVED it!

I don’t really drink a lot of English Breakfast Tea as a lot of the ones I have tried in the past have had a strange, acidic aftertaste.

Meh.

But this one was fantastic. I drank two cups, and ended up taking the tea canister to work so I could have it on my break.

The second one was Jasmine Green Tea.

My mom tried this one and really loved it as green tea is something she drinks often. I poured the tea for myself and put some sugar in and drank it, and wowee, boy was that sweet.

The tea was very good and didn’t need any added sugar as it was plenty sweet on its own. I am currently using it to cold brew some iced tea.

The tea infuser was beautiful and so easy to clean! Those of you who brew loose leaf tea know what I am talking about. I scooped out the leaves, rinsed it, and it was good to go for another brew. I also love how it has a little cup to set the infuser in and capture extra water/tea and keep it from staining your plates or counter.

So I love what I won in my giveaway, and I know for a fact I will be entering any future ones and will be checking out the store.

For more tea posts, go to Clean Cup! Clean Cup! Move Down, Move Down, Move DOOOWWWNN!!!!!

So a few years back I was given a collection of five teas, A World of Teas. As I was about to try them out, I started thinking, which books would best suit the teas? After all nothing goes together better than a good book and a delicious tea. I decided to repeat it with these two teas. After all:

Tea #1: English Breakfast Tea

So like I said, I’m a bit wary/particular with my English Breakfast Tea as in the past I haven’t had the best ones. But I was WOWED by this one. Hmm…so a book that I didn’t think I would like, but just absolutely loved?

I have never been super interested in epistolary books or books written in diary format. There are a few I have enjoyed, but that format isn’t really my taste. When I read this book, I was WOWED by it. I couldn’t stop reading and enjoyed it so much I made my book club read it. (I promise that I will do a full review soon!)

Juliet is an author in post-WWII London trying to figure out her next book, but having terrible writer’s block. She receives a letter one day from a Dawsey Adams on Guernsey Island who is writing to her as he purchased a used book and it had her name and address in it. The two exchange letters and Juliet learns about life on Guernsey Island and how reading and the literary society saved them during the German occupation. Soon she is receiving letters from all the literary members and their stories have such an impact on her she heads to the island to meet them and write about them.

Like the English Breakfast Tea, this book happily surprised me!

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Tea #2 Jasmine Green Tea

So this was harder…this tea was sweeter than I thought it would be, extremely tasty, and Asian…after thinking on it I went with

Rachel Snow has never had a good relationship with her father, and when he kicked her out as a teenager-her relationship with her sister suffered as well. Now her mother has dementia and Rachel is declared the power of attorney-she finds herself at odds with her father again, but closer to her sister as they try to solve a mystery about a book her mother keeps talking about. In between the sisters of Snow, the book tells the story of the legendary female samurai, Tomoe Gozen who lead the army in Yoshinaka’s military, along with being his concubine. When Yoshinaka marries a girl from court, Yamabuki, Tomoe resents everything about her. But as the two spend more time together, they grow to become sisters of the Heart; and discover that both hold traits that help each be stronger.

Just like the tea, I didn’t expect the book to be as sweet as it was and enjoyed both.

For more on Sisters of Heart and Snow, check out my sister blog From Print to Screen