Stitch Fix: My First Experience

I’ve wanted to try Stitch Fix for a while now, and last month I finally gave in and decided to try it! For those of you who don’t know, Stitch Fix is an online styling service. You take their style quiz which gauges your style, size, prices, and gives room for you to make special requests. Then, your stylist picks out clothes for you based on your answer to the quiz, and a week or so later a box arrives on your doorstep! The styling fee is $20, which is later turned into a credit to be applied to buying the items in the box. If you find an article of clothing you like, you keep it and pay for it through the Stitch Fix website. If there’s something you’re not a fan of, you simply seal it in the pre-made shipping bag they send you and mail it back!

For my first box, in my special requests I told my stylist that I wanted casual wear that was just a bit more fashionable, but appropriate to wear to work. I asked for layering pieces since the weather in my area varies greatly, and I requested hair accessories for my long hair. I was impressed with what my stylists picked for me based on the limited information she had!

Piece #1

The first article of clothing is a light gray Denver front twist brushed knit top from Market & Spruce. This knit top is so comfortable and soft, and it’s going to be a very well-loved piece in my closet! It’s slightly over-sized and absolutely adorable! It’s a simple shirt that’s perfect for a chilly fall day.

Piece #2

The second clothing item is a Ruby cold shoulder open back knit top rom Kaileigh. I love cold-shoulder shirts, it just adds a little sass to any outfit! I liked pairing it with an open back, and it’s a piece for one of those sunny fall days at the pumpkin patch. Unfortunately, it was a little big on me. When it comes to shirts with more intricate styling at the top, it’s difficult for me to find a good fit. This shirt came to me in a small, and it hung a little too low on me and was a bit baggy. I only have a quick photo of the size that doesn’t fit because I’m in the middle of exchanging it for a smaller size.

Piece #3

My pants for this outfit were Ellie skinny high rise jeans by STS Blue, and oh my gosh, I love these jeans!! I was nervous about trying them on, because it’s extremely difficult for me to find jeans that fit well, and this was actually one of the reasons I originally decided to try Stitch Fix. These jeans are so comfortable and stretchy, and they remind me of jeggings while still being jeans. I was stunned, and I applaud my stylist for picking out an impeccable jean and a perfect size on the first go-around!

Piece #4

My layering piece was an Adelie hooded rib sleeve cardigan from Lety & Me. I’ve always adored a olive greens such as this, and some of my favorite shirts are in this color. I like the ribbed sleeve and hood on this piece, and it’s not to heavy but not too light, it’s just right for my climate! I’ve already worn it a couple of times, and it fits me well in the arms and the length is immaculate.

Piece #5

For my last piece, it’s time for accessories! My stylist answered my request for hair pieces splendidly with a Python three piece scrunchie set from Marlyn Schiff. These animal print scrunchies are perfect, and are a big trend for fall. I love how soft, plush, and luxurious these are; I never thought that I would be calling a hair scrunchie luxurious, but there’s no going back to regular scrunchies now.

Pricing & Buying

It’s time for a total! The Denver front twist top was $38.00, the cold shoulder open back shirt was $34.00, the cardigan was $44.00, the jeans were $55.00, and the scrunchies were $29.00. The subtotal for everything was $200, however if you choose to purchase everything, there’s a ‘Buy All’ discount of 25%, which totals to $50. The styling fee for $20 is also applied as a credit, and shipping is free. All together, the $200 is knocked down to $130. I chose to purchase all, because I adored all of the pieces and they all fit well! I am exchanging the cold shoulder shirt for a smaller size, though.

This article isn’t sponsored, but if you want to give Stitch Fix a try, you can check out their website here. For more articles, check out my September wrap-up here, my Autumn SipsBy box here, or my review of this dairy-free cold brew and mocha here! For updates and more content, check out my Instagram @tarynstales here! Thanks for reading!

Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.

Bill Cunningham

SipsBy: Autumn Box

Hello fall lovers and tea drinkers! This month I decided to embrace the taste of fall and order SipsBy’s speciality boxes to try. Today, I’ll be sharing their Autumn Box. Let’s get sipping!

Tea #1: Apple Strudel Oolong

This tea from Churchhill’s Fine Teas is made with Ooolong tea, apple, cinnamon, almonds, and beetroot! It smelled like apples, nutmeg, and had that signature oolong earthy scent. It had a light apple taste, a hint of cinnamon, and the oolong complimented it nicely. It was overall a very light tea, but I wish the flavor was a little stronger so I could get more of an apple taste.

Tea #2 Spiced Pear

I had never heard of pear tea before I was sent this from Davidson’s Organic Teas! This tea contains organic black tea, organic cinnamon, organic carob, and organic cloves. This tea smelled delicious, and the pear and cinnamon aroma was the epitome of an autumn farmer’s market. I steeped this tea for 4 minutes, and I was surprised how strong the cinnamon taste was. The spice part was strong, and overpowered the pear taste. If you like cinnamon, this is the tea for you!

Tea #3 Southern Pecan Green Tea

This tea by Biron Teas piqued my interest! It’s made with organic green tea, natural pecan pie flavoring, and apple pieces. I was surprised with how sweet it smelled, and my dad was a big fan of this tea! To me, it was a little weird, and didn’t quite taste like pecan pie, although I could taste the green tea. My dad has loved this tea, though, and he said it’s been one of his favorites so far!

Tea #4 Autumn in Vermont

This caffeine-free tea from Woodsong Herbs caught my interest because of the leaf-shaped sugar candies in the loose-leaf tea. It’s made with red rooibos, pure maple sugar, Fenugreek seed, vanilla pieces, and the sugar candies. It tastes like not quite like maple syrup, though there is a maple flavor with a hint of vanilla. It tastes kind of like a maple sugar cookie, and it is delicious! Just like the package said, I can see curling up on the couch with the fireplace on, with a blanket on a chilly fall evening! It was fun to brew, and tastes great too!

My Favorite Tea of the Box Is…

Hands down, everybody’s favorite tea in this box is the Autumn in Vermont!! We all love it! It’s sweet but not overly so, the maple isn’t overwhelming but you can taste it, and overall it’s just a wonderful cup of tea! Second place goes to the Apple Strudel Oolong tea, as we all like that tea as well, but we wished the flavor was just a little stronger. Third is the Spiced Pear tea, which my mom and dad were a fan of, but the cinnamon taste was too overwhelming for me. Lastly is the Southern Pecan Green Tea. It wasn’t my mom or I’s cup of tea (pun intended) but my dad had been thoroughly enjoying it!

This article isn’t sponsored, but if you would like to try SipsBy, you can find their website here and their Instagram here! For more articles, check out my September SipsBy Box here, my review of Synergy kombucha and Remedy Organic’s Matcha Oxidants here, or my article on the basics of migraines and my diagnosis here! For updates and more content, check out my Instagram @tarynstales here! Thanks for reading!

Tea is to the body as music is to the soul.

Earlene Grey

Migraines, Part 1: Basics, My Diagnosis and Experience

Before we begin, I have to note that at the current moment I hold no medical license, degree, and have no schooling in the field of neurology. This is just my experience with migraines, what I’ve noticed, and what I’ve read.

We’ve all experienced those pounding headaches that keep us in bed for the day, but when does it go from a simple headache to a neurological condition that may require medication or lifestyle changes? There’s a lot of information out there, but I’m going to summarize the basics and information I think is vital if you’ve just been diagnosed, as well as my own journey in being diagnosed.

Migraines vs. Headaches: What’s the Difference?

If you haven’t been diagnosed with migraines but are wondering if your headaches are more than just simple headaches, it’s always best to talk to your doctor; however, you can also compare and contrast while you wait for your appointment.

First, Migraines involve more than just a headache. According to pennmedicine.org, the neurological disease affects the nerve pathways and chemicals, which can changes the blood in brain and tissue surrounding it. This is why symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and and increased sensitivity. So if you’re experiencing more than just a headache, it could be a sign that you might actually be experiencing a migraine.

Healthline.com also points out that migraines can be divided into 2 categories: those with auras, and those without. An aura is symptoms a migraine sufferer may have anywhere from 10-30 minutes before a migraine attack. These include feeling tingly or numb in the face or hands, seeing flashing lights or lines across your vision, and having issues thinking and not feeling mentally alert. Some people may experience the aura a day or two before the actual attack, and these symptoms include neck stiffness, irritability, frequent yawning, and depression.

If It’s Not a Migraine, It Could Be a…

If you don’t think you have a migraine, you may be experiencing a different type of headache, such as the following defined by medicalnewstoday.com:

Tension headache – You may feel a band of pressure around your head, which could be caused by lack of sleep, clenching your jaw, bending or straining your neck, or stress.

Cluster headache – cluster headaches are on one side of your head, and usually behind the eye. They come in clusters, just like their name, and will come around the same time everyday.

Hemicrania – these are usually on the same side of the head and can change on the pain scale from headache to headache.

My Diagnosis and Experience

When I was younger, I went through a nasty cycle of cluster headaches. Luckily after my doctor’s recommendation of pain relievers to break the cycle, I was back to normal on the headache front. Years later I’ve had a few accidents and concussions, and I was starting to have problems with headaches again. I would get them on and off throughout the day, and they would come on for an hour or two and then mysteriously disappear until later that day. I’ve gone to a few neurologists and children’s hospitals over the years for different issues, and at my initial appointment at my last children’s hospital, my specialist diagnosed my reoccurring headaches as migraines.

Since then, I’ve been able to track and notice when a migraine may come, if Advil will help or if I’ll have to take my abortive medicine, and what will aggravate my migraine. I know that if I move while I have my migraine, it will aggravate it. Laying down or sitting makes me feel a lot better when I have a migraine, because as soon as I stand up or just move my head I’ll have an onset of a dull, achy pain across my entire forehead or a sharp flareup concentrated in the middle of my forehead. I know that weather has gotten to be a huge trigger for my migraines, and if my neck or jaw feels tight, I may have one in next few hours. In Part 2 of this article, I’m going to be sharing some resources that helped me identify my triggers, what I do during an attack, and what I do to prevent my migraines.

As always, if you suspect you have migraines or any abnormal headaches, please contact your doctor. If you have migraines, please follow the procedure your doctor created for you. This is just general information and in the next article my personal tips and tricks, but please consult your doctor before making changes to your regimen or trying anything new.

For more articles, check out my review of Synergy’s Rose Berry Kombucha and Remedy Organic’s Matcha Oxidants drink here, or my September SipsBy box here! For updates and more content, check out my Instagram @tarynstales here! Thanks for reading!

Remember this: you are the expert of your body.

Sarah Hackley
Works Cited

Eske, Jamie. “What Is the Difference Between a Headache and a Migraine?” Medical News Today, 9 April 2019, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324890#migraine. Accessed 11 Oct 2020.

Nall, Rachel. “What’s the Difference Between Migraine and Headaches?” Health Line, 10 August 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/migraine/migraine-vs-headache#migraine. Accessed 12 Oct. 2020.

“Migraine Vs. Headache: How to Tell the Difference.” Penn Medicine, 1 November 2019, https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2019/november/migraines-vs-headaches. Accessed 12 Oct. 2020.

Synergy Rose Berry Kombucha and Remedy Organics Matcha Oxidants

Lately I’ve been on a drink kick, and I’ve been stumbling upon some different delicious drinks to try! I’ve been drinking Kombucha on and off for awhile now, and I’m always looking for new Matcha drink combinations to try, so I figured I’d share these 2 recent discoveries in this post.

Synergy Kombucha: Rose Berry Flavored

What is Kombucha?

Ah, kombucha. I absolutely love drinking kombucha because of it’s sharp, tangy flavor. You may have heard of it, but in case you don’t know what it is, kombucha is a fermented tea. The fermentation gives the drink live probiotics that assist with digestion and gut health.

This kombucha has its classic tart taste, but it smells like flowers and tastes like I’m drinking a rose. The only other flower-y drink I’ve tried is Jasmine tea, and I couldn’t get over the flower taste and disliked it tremendously. This drink reminds me of a rosewater facial mist I used to have, and it tastes like I imagined the facial mist would’ve tasted like. The flower flavor did throw me off a bit because to me, it’s just so odd of a thing to taste! But I ended up enjoying this Kombucha, it was different than what I usually drink and I enjoyed the change of pace! If you want to check out GT’s Synergy Kombucha, you can browse their website here.

Remedy Organics: Matcha Oxidants

This drink was so delicious!! I’m loving this brand (website here!) right now because all of their products are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, and organic. Their drinks contain superfoods, and this matcha oxidants drink’s main ingredients are almond milk, Japanese matcha, maca, spirulina, turmeric, and prebiotics!

This drink contains 12 grams of protein and is a wonderful afternoon pick me up when I’m feeling a little sluggish. It tastes almost like a matcha smoothie, but the consistency was thinner than I had expected it to be. The earthy flavor wasn’t overwhelming or strong, and it was gone in no time flat. I ran back to the store and bought another bottle, and as I type I’m getting ready to start sipping!

I especially love that this drink has prebiotics because I feel that probiotics take the spotlight of gut health, as prebiotics don’t have as much research behind them. But for people such as myself that are trying to improve their gut health, drinking probiotics such as the kombucha, and then drinking this will boost the healing process. This is because probiotics are the beneficial live bacteria that are good for our stomachs, and prebiotics is a fiber that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut! And what better way is there to get some good prebiotics in then a matcha drink?

For more articles, check out my September SipsBy box here or my dairy-free cold brew and mocha here! For updates and more content, check out my Instagram @tarynstales here! Thanks for reading!

Be willing to do whatever it takes to be a warrior for your own health.

Jan Mundo

SipsBy Box: September

Hello, tea-lovers and tea-curious readers! Today, I’m going to be sharing my September SipsBy Box. In one of my last posts, I shared my August tea box, which was also my first SipsBy box experience (check it out here) and I was thoroughly impressed with my box! So without further adieu, let’s see our September teas!

Tea #1: Apricot Sunrise

This fragrant tea is from Ahmad tea, a British family business with over four generations of tea lovers who supply teas for the Royal Collection, which includes Buckingham Palace. This tea is high in caffeine and is made with black tea and apricot fruit pieces. This tea smelled like candied apricots, and I wish I could buy a candle in this scent! It had a light black tea flavor with a hint of apricot, exactly as described. My female taste-tester and I enjoyed it, and I especially liked the balanced flavor of the black tea. My male taste-tester (I.E. my dad, who is finally giving tea-tasting a try!) said it wasn’t bad, but he wished the apricot flavor was just a little bit stronger. If this tea was decaf or lower in caffeine, I would definitely drink it more.

Tea #2: Cacao Tea

This caffeine-free tea is from Micacao, and contains a myriad of health benefits! Cacao helps your body to release endorphins, contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, and the antioxidants in this tea is 40-times the amount found in blueberries. It’s also ethically sourced, and a portion of their proceeds go to organizations that assists veterans, as they’re a veteran-owned small business themselves! This loose-leaf tea is made of organic cacao shells and organic cacao nibs, and it’s quite unique. This tea has a very unusual scent, and it threw me and my taste-testers off a bit. It had a neutral taste, it wasn’t that strong, and I could taste the smallest hint of chocolate. This tea just had a very odd scent and flavor overall.

Tea #3: Green Tea Passion Fruit Matcha

This delicious tea is from Yogi, and is labeled as having a medium level of caffeine. I love the quotes this brand puts attaches to the tea bags, the combination of tea and inspiration is a lovely pick-me-up. This tea contains organic green tea leaf, organic lemongrass, organic matcha green tea, organic ginger root, organic licorice root, organic passionfruit flavor, and organic plum flavor. The combination of green tea and matcha green tea gives the tea antioxidants for overall health support. I love this tea, it smells like matcha with a fruity undertone, and it tastes wonderful! A lovely green tea flavor partnered with the fruity flavor of passionfruit, plum, and the added pep of a little lemongrass and ginger makes this tea a must-have for a morning boost or an afternoon pick me up!

Tea #4: Moroccan Mint

This tea is a loose-leaf tea made of organic gunpowder green tea, organic peppermint leaves, and natural flavors from Savoy Tea Co, a group of tea lovers that came together to create teas such as this Moroccan Mint! I enjoyed everything about this tea; when I opened the package, it smelled like Christmas! It was a nice spearmint aroma, and the tea was very minty as well. It was a crisp and refreshing spearmint flavor with the slightest hint of green tea. It’s low-caffeine, which is perfect for me! This is definitely one of the best mint teas I’ve tried!

My Favorite Tea of the Month Is…

If I absolutely had to pick just one, it would be the Moroccan Mint by Savoy Tea Co. It was a favorite among all of my fellow tea-testers, and everyone loved the crisp mint and lovely scent! A very close second is the Green Tea Passion Fruit Matcha by Yogi. I love the fruity flavor combined with green tea, and I will definitely be buying a box soon. Third is Apricot Sunrise by Ahmad Tea. It was a delicious tea, but for one tester and myself, the caffeine level is too high, but something I could probably drink every rare once in a while. For my male tea tester, he was a fan, but wished it had a stronger apricot flavor. And last place is the Cacao Tea by Micacao. Overall, I wish I would’ve liked this tea, but my testers and I weren’t fans.

This article isn’t sponsored, but if you want to try SipsBy, you can check out their website here or their Instagram here! For more articles, check out last month’s SipsBy box here, my September wrap-up here, or my recent St. Louis visit here! For updates and more content, check out my Instagram @tarynstales here! I’m awaiting my October SipsBy box, and a few other fall-flavored surprises are heading to this blog in the weeks to come, so stay tuned! Thanks for reading!

Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world.

T’ien Yiheng

Dairy-Free Cold Brew & Mocha Review

Happy Friday! In celebration of the end of the week, I’m going to be sharing 2 coffee-esque drinks to pep you up for the weekend.

Our first drink is from Califia Farms (website here) and it’s a Mocha Noir Cold Brew Coffee. It has a strong dark chocolate taste, and is free of gluten dairy, carrageenan, BPA, and is vegan. It’s like a cold Starbucks’ mocha, but healthier. The bottom-of-the-barrel strong taste was there, and while I’m not the biggest fan of this strong coffee taste, my taste-tester (A.K.A. mom) loves it and adored this cold brew. You can get this drink online here, but I got it at my local Co-Op.

The second drink is from REBBL (website here) and it’s a Maca Mocha Super Herb Elixir. It’s made with dark cocoa, chicory, & coconut milk. There’s no coffee in it, and the caffeine in it is all from the cocoa. The drink is non-GMO, USDA organic, grain-free, and has no artificial flavors or cane sugar. The maca extract helps support endurance and stamina, and this drink is delicious! It’s like drinking chocolate milk but better. It tastes like drinking pure liquified chocolate! It’s not overwhelming or strong, just pure chocolate, and I loved it! You can get this drink online here, but I found this one at my local Co-Op as well!

For more articles, check out my September wrap up here, and for updates and more content, check out my Instagram @tarynstales here! Thanks for reading!

A bad day with coffee is better than a good day without it.

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See Ya, September!

It’s time for another monthly wrap-up! I feel like I’ve said this with every month’s update, but WOW did the time go by quickly!! I’m now halfway through fall 2020’s semester, and I’m excited to be a step closer to my goal. My college campus is still open and doing online/scheduled/hybrid courses (read more about that here) and they’re still screening and temperature checking everyone before they’re allowed to enter the campus. I’m still working, and this week we’ve started to pick up to around where we were before COVID-19 hit.

A few weekends ago, we hit up St. Louis to go to Xtreme Xperience, our first out-of-town trip since right before COVID (read about our experience here and the gluten-free food we tried here!), and the weekend after, we hit up Bowling Green, KY, to stop by Holley’s Moparty! This is the first year for this event, and by the name, you can probably tell that it’s a celebration of anything Mopar! It was held at Beech Bend Raceway, September 18th-20th, and we’ll definitely be looking out for this one next year. For it only being their first year, I felt like the show had a lot to offer: drag racing, burnout contest, show and shine, general lee jump, Dodge thrill rides, and even a mullet contest, and more. I wish we would’ve been able to go for longer, but unfortunately, we had another event to attend in my home state so we weren’t able to stay for a majority of the show. But, we were able to see some awesome drag cars, see a little bit of drag racing, walk around the swap meet, and admire a few of the show and shine cars before we had to leave. If you’re a mopar fan looking for a new show to attend, I highly recommend you keep an eye out for this show! You can check out their website here.

Dressed and ready for our event!!

This month, my boyfriend and I also celebrated our one-year anniversary! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning more about cars, fishing, traveling, and just plain having fun with you, honey!

I’m surprised at our weather lately; usually around this time of year, it’s still hot, and we’ve worn short-sleeves into November before. But this year, it’s already starting to cool down nicely! The leaves are just starting to turn and fall a little bit, and the crisp air has given us the chance to do a little bit of walking and hiking!

Also, as I’m wrapping this blog post up, I have to wish everyone a Happy National Coffee Day!! As you all have probably guessed, I’m a sucker for some coffee, and I’ll try just about any sort of caffeine-containing drink! So happy day of coffee to all of my happy sippers!

For more articles, check out my review of my first SipsBy box here, or last month’s wrap-up here! For updates and more content, check out my Instagram @tarynstales here! Thanks for reading!

Ah, September! You are the doorway to the season that awakens my soul.

Peggy Toney Horton

Gluten-Free Restaurant Reviews: St. Louis Foods + Dairy Free Ice Cream

In this review, I’ll be sharing what I ate at The Shack Frontenac, Whisk, Clementine Naughty & Nice Creamery, and Fitz’s!

A few weekends ago we took a quick trip to St. Louis (read more about our trip here!) and one of my favorite things about going to a bigger city is trying the gluten-free options they have to offer! So while we were in town, we hit up a few new stops, and an old favorite.

The Shack Frontenac

We started off at The Shack Frontenac for a quick lunch, and I have to say, I wish I would’ve chosen a different place. I got a simple omelet, and what I could taste of it was good. However, I ordered my omelet without cheese, and it came with extra cheese on it. So, since we had already hit the road to our next destination, I had to try to take the top half of the omelet off and just eat the bottom and what was left of the middle. It was good, and my side of bacon was yummy, and I have to say the hashbrowns were delicious! But for a restaurant that offers a gluten-free menu, I was a bit disappointed.

Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery

Originally, I hadn’t planned on getting anything because I didn’t know they offered gluten/dairy free alternatives, but I’m so glad that I did!! They had a few vegan ice cream options, but when I spotted the gluten free ice cream cone, I was sold! I got the vegan lemon poppyseed ice cream in the gluten free cone, and it was yummy! The ice cream was creamy and lemon-y without being sour, and the cone had a bit of an odd aftertaste, but the texture was on point! Overall, I would recommend giving this place a try if you’re an ice cream addict like myself!

Whisk: A Sustainable Bakeshop

We popped into this little bakeshop for some gluten free/vegan goodies, and I picked up some raspberry almond thumbprint cookies! I don’t have any pictures because I was craving cookies, but they were delicious! The bakeshop had a few gluten-free goodies and a few vegan goodies, but the raspberry almond thumbprint cookie was the only treat that was gluten-free and dairy-free, so I was a little disappointed, but if dairy isn’t an issue for you, pop on over if you’re in the area!

Fitz’s Root Beer

As you may remember, I’ve given Fitz’s gluten free menu a try before (read that article here!) and they didn’t disappoint this time around either!! I was tempted to order the same thing I had ordered last time, but I also wanted to try something new since I had enjoyed our last meal so much. So, I decided to give the old-fashioned turkey club a try, without the swiss cheese.

All I can say is YUM! I wish Fitz’s was closer to my town, because it would most definitely be a restaurant I’d go to regularly. The sandwich was huge and delicious, the fries are to die for, and their root beer can only be described with heart eyes.

Favorite food of this trip goes to…

Fitz’s! This is my favorite gluten-free spot in St. Louis at the current moment! I highly recommend it to gluten-free and gluten-consumers alike!

If you’re interested in more gluten-free restaurants in the St. Louis area, check out my restaurant review of The Corner Pub & Grill here, and for more gluten-free food, check out my review of Timberwood Grill and Mellow Mushroom from our trip to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg here! You can find my blog post about our trip here, and about both of our St. Louis trips here and here! For updates and more content, check out my Instagram @tarynstales here! Thanks for reading!

Laughter is brightest where food is best.

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St. Louis: Xtreme Xperience Super-Cars & Visiting the Zoo

This trip was so much fun! It was my first time leaving town since our COVID-19 quarantine in March, and while I was nervous about going, it was /so/ nice to have a sense of normalcy and to get out and do a few fun things over the weekend! We took as many precautions as we could think of, and overall I felt all the places we visited did their best at keeping everything clean and safe for everybody to enjoy.

A big part of our trip was food-related was we visited a bakery, 2 restaurants, and an ice cream parlor. We both LOVE food, and we’re always up to try new things; especially myself when we’re in a bigger city, since my hometown doesn’t have a lot of gluten/dairy free options when it comes to eating out. So on Friday, an overview of our food tasting adventures will be up to enjoy! But until then, I’ll focus on our non-food related adventures.

Our focus for this trip was Xtreme Xperience. It’s a pretty cool program where you get to drive a super-car (such as a Lamborghini Huracan) on an actual race track with a professional instructor in the passenger seat. They have a variety of exotic cars you can pick from, and a ride-along option if you’re like me and don’t quite trust yourself with a $200,000 car.

The ride-along was an absolute blast! Our driver was so nice, and he explained everything he was doing. It was neat to get a behind-the-scenes on how to get the most out of a vehicle, and I learned a lot! To get a taste of what it was like, check out my video on my Instagram of our last lap! Now if only I can apply this newfound knowledge on my own racetrack…

After we finished at Xtreme Xperience and were full from part of our food expedition, we went to one of my favorite places: the zoo!! I hadn’t been to the zoo in years, and I’ve been dying to go! I’m a huge animal lover, and our visit to the zoo made our trip.

Again, I felt like the St. Louis Zoo was doing their best to keep everybody safe. To enter you had to first reserve a spot online to make sure they didn’t go over their allotted number of people. A mask was required, but they had designated socially distanced spots where you could take your mask off if you needed a break. I never once saw an employee without a mask on, which surprised me considering they work outside all day! We spent about 2 and a half hours at the zoo, and we almost made it through every exhibit! There were a few we rushed through or skipped, but we closed the place down and had a blast! Here are a couple of my favorite animals from our trip.

Overall, I was nervous about us going, but I’m SO glad we did! I needed a bit of normalcy back in my life, and this trip gave a taste of freedom that we all haven’t felt in a while. It was a quick and fun little trip, and on Friday I can’t wait to share a run-down of the restaurants and foods we tried, so if you’re gluten-free like me or are looking for some recommendations for the St. Louis area, stay tuned!

For more articles, check out my first review of my August SipsBy box here, and for updates and more content, check out my Instagram @tarynstales here! Thanks for reading, and stay safe!

Take only memories, leave only footprints.

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SipsBy Box: August

Last month, I finally caved and ordered my first SipsBy box! I know it’s now September (oops!) but I couldn’t find the time to give this article the time it deserved. But I’ve made the time now, so let’s get to it!

If you don’t know what SipsBy is, it’s a monthly tea box that personalizes teas to your taste through their quiz. Each box contains 4 different teas that make 15+ cups, all for $15. I’m not sponsored, but I truly think that this box is worth the $15, especially considering that the price includes shipping! Their quiz is very in-depth, and asks questions about what types of teas you’d like to try, if you’d like to try loose-leaf, the level of caffeine in the tea, etc. They also provide tea bags for any loose-leaf tea they send you, which is great for beginners that may not have their own tea bags or infusers.

Tea #1: Dark Chocolate Cookie

This is a loose-leaf dark chocolate cookie flavored black tea from Cookie Tea. It contains black tea, cocoa bits, and coriander. This tea was wonderful, and although the taste wasn’t quite chocolate, it did remind me of dark chocolate and a cookie! You could taste the black tea in it, and the overall flavor was a mild dark chocolate. It smelled scrumptious, and was a beautiful amber color! This tea is high in caffeine, which is unfortunate for myself since I’m sensitive to caffeine. This is too much for me to drink on a regular basis, but if it was caffeine-free I would drink it after dinner as a treat!

Tea #2: Oolong

This is also a loose-leaf tea and is an Oolong tea from Bare Leaves. This tea is made from only oolong tea leaves from the Eastern Fujian Province in China. It has a very nice, light flavor, and I’m definitely a fan! I steeped it for the maximum amount of time (4 minutes) and it had that earthy oolong flavor, but it wasn’t as strong as other oolong teas I’ve tried, which I enjoyed! Made hot, it was the perfect cup for warmth and easy sipping. It smelled wonderful and overall had a nice, mild, and mellow flavor.

Tea #3: Mango Passionfruit

This is a caffeine-free tea from Stash Tea that is made with rosehips, orange peel, lemongrass, hibiscus, safflower, and licorice root. The aroma was delicious and smelled like a peach. The flavor is a little hard to describe; it’s not overly fruity, but it was good! It wasn’t overwhelming, and there wasn’t an aftertaste. I was surprised at how much orange I tasted, and I would like to try this tea iced!

Tea #4: Organic North African Mint

To be completely honest, this tea surprised me! It’s a low-caffeine loose leaf tea from David’s Tea that is made with green tea, ginger, peppermint, cardamom, licorice root, fennel, clove, and black pepper. When I read the ingredients and saw the ginger, black pepper, and licorice root, I was skeptical if I would like this tea. I am not a fan of ginger, and I thought that the ginger in this tea would be too strong for my taste. However, I was wrong! I thoroughly enjoyed this tea! When in loose-leaf form, the ginger had a strong smell, but once it had been steeped, the tea smelled more like peppermint. I tasted mostly peppermint, with just a hint of ginger and black pepper. It was one of the more mellow mint teas I’ve tried, and I was pleasantly surprised, and would drink it again! To anyone else hesitant to give this tea a try, just give it a sip; you may be surprised!

My Favorite Tea of the Month…

I have to say that my favorite tea out of this box had to be the Oolong tea from Bare Leaves. I loved the light, mellow, earthy flavor, and it’s great for a relaxing afternoon pick-me-up. Second would probably be the Organic North African Mint, as I’m loving the mellow mint and added digestive aids in this tea! Third is the Mango Passionfruit tea, I love fruit teas, but I wish this tea had a little stronger of a fruit flavor. Lastly is the Dark Chocolate Cookie tea, and this tea comes last just because of the high caffeine content. This tea has way too much caffeine for me to drink on a semi-regular basis, but flavor-wise, this tea is a must-try.

My assistant taste-tester (i.e. my mom because nobody else will drink tea with me) ordered her favorite teas as the Dark Chocolate Cookie tea first, but agrees with me that it can’t be consumed on a regular basis due to the caffeine content. Next is the Oolong tea, followed by the Mango Passionfruit tea, and lastly the Organic North African Mint. For the record, I did have one adult male that doesn’t drink tea try the Mango Passionfruit tea, and he also said that he would like to try it iced.

If you’d like to give SipsBy a try, check out their website here, and their Instagram here! For more articles, check out my August Wrap-Up here, or my introduction to my newest fluffy friend here! For updates and more content, check out my Instagram @tarynstales here! Within the next week or so, I should have my September SipsBy review out, so if you’re interested in seeing what’s in my box, stay tuned for more! Thanks for reading!

Tea time is a chance to slow down, pull back and appreciate our surroundings.

Letitia Baldrige