Texas Toasty

Looking for adventure around every corner.


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Review: Taste Japan Subscription Box

Note: I originally posted this review on the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club blog on August 15th, 2014. This is a repost, since I worked really hard on it and I enjoyed the service, so I wanted to share it on my own blog.
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Hello, everyone! I’m so happy with the overwhelming response we got from the Okashi Connection subscription box review. I think some other people were happy with that response too! After that resounding “YES!” we got when I asked if y’all wanted more subscription box reviews, another Japanese candy company named Taste Japan asked if they could send me a box to review. And, well, I couldn’t say no!

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Let’s start with the details: Taste Japan is a monthly Japanese candy and snack subscription box that comes straight from Japan. It costs £15 (includes shipping), which is about $25USD. They ship internationally to anywhere the Japanese Post Office will deliver. I forgot to weigh my sample box, but the boxes should have about 400-650g of candy and snacks per month, according to their site. From the weight of my box, I think this was pretty spot on. They take payment on the 20th of the month and your box ships on the last day of the month each month. From there, since it’s coming from Japan, expect it to take about 1-3 weeks. They include an information guide with the boxes so you know what you’re eating. My example box didn’t have a guide included due to time constraints, but they said the next ones will have the guides.

So, what’s inside the box? Taste Japan’s goal is to provide seasonal and unique items in your boxes, things you can’t find anywhere but Japan and things you probably haven’t heard of. I think they succeeded. Mostly. More on that later. On to the snacks! All Photos can be made larger if you click them!

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Review: My Geeky Goodies Subscription Box + Code

Note: I originally posted this review on the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club blog on Semptember 2nd, 2014. This is a repost, since I worked really hard on it and I enjoyed the service, so I wanted to share it on my own blog.
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Hello, Iggles! Today I’m reviewing a subscription box sent to me by the company, My Geeky Goodies! They’re a fairly new geeky swag type of subscription box, coming into a market that’s already got some pretty serious contenders, so let’s see how they did!

The box was nice and big, though it wasn’t stuffed. I’m assuming they’re leaving room for possibly larger items in the future. It was one of the largest packages for subscription boxes I’ve gotten, so just letting you know it might not fit in your mailbox if they continue to use the same box! Each box is guaranteed to contain either a t-shirt OR a Funko POP! vinyl figure. As a special gift to My Geeky Goodies founders, this box included both of those items as well as a Game of Thrones Mystery Mini.

Box Contents:

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Tea Review Tuesday – Genmai Hojicha

When I first spotted Genmai Hojicha on the DAVIDsTEA website, it was under the Web Specials section. I was intrigued, but intrigued enough to buy a 250 gram bag of it? I consulted my tea loving friend and we decided to split the bag. I love hojicha and I love genmaicha, so how could a blend of the two be anything but amazing?

Hojicha is a roasted green tea that has a toasty, slightly sweet, lightly smoky flavor. Genmaicha is a green tea that has been mixed with roasted grains of rice, giving it almost a sesame or popcorn taste, also imparting that toasty profile to the final brew. There is no fruity, no flowery, no chocolatey taste to these teas. They’re no-nonsense, bold, savory teas. Upon opening the bag, it definitely smells how I expected. A subtle, roasted flavor, that green tea musk.

I wanted to love this tea. I wanted to crave this tea in the way I thirsted for genmaicha. I do like the tea, and I see myself drinking it, but I would probably pick something else over this one. The toasty, sesame seed-like taste overwhelms the delicacy of the underlying green tea base and it can sometimes have an almost astringent quality to it, depending on what I’m consuming it with. It is definitely not a tea that goes well with sweets or cookies.

This is a tea that I don’t think everyone will like, though I know others will love. I fall somewhere in-between. Hojicha and genmaicha are wonderful teas when separate, but I think I prefer them that way. That being said, this tea is delicious and I’m happy I purchased it, even if it’s not my favorite. Green teas are wonderful and good for you, and I can never have enough of them.

I brewed Genmai Hojicha at 175 degrees F for 4 minutes. The tea says to brew it at 183 for 4-5 minutes, but my water boiler doesn’t have that option, so 175 it was. As with any green tea I enjoy it with honey. I have yet to try it with cream or milk, but I imagine it would be quite tasty with some cream. It’s available from DAVIDsTea sometimes, but not at the time of this posting. However, if you would like to try it out, I’m giving away a free sample, so enter to win! If you don’t win, check out their genmaicha. It’s delicious!

Click here to enter to my giveaway!


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Tea Review Tuesday – Elevenses Blend

Slight delay on my weekly tea review. Yesterday was crazy! Here it is now, though! Better late than never! Also, I’m reposting this, because there were issues with the comments that I couldn’t figure out how to fix. I really hope it works now!

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Elevenses is a tea blend I was curious to try from the first time I happened upon it. Unfortunately, every time I made a tea order, it was out of stock. Every. Single. Time! Exasperated, I whined to the blend’s creator on twitter (she can’t influence the availability of teas, but I was feeling particularly whiny). The lovely person she is, she offered to send me an extra bag she had for the price I’d pay on Adagio plus the cost of shipping! I immediately took her up on the offer and was excited to get my bag in the mail.

This tea blend did not disappoint. First, it smells delicious. It has a strong vanilla scent, which isn’t bad, but you don’t really smell much else. But that’s okay, because it’s a wonderfully delicious scent and it smells like something I’d rather eat than drink. The first thing you notice after steeping is the light taste from the white blueberry tea, and then you taste the cream, which blends nicely with the subtle taste of the vanilla oolong. The balance is great and you don’t even need to add milk or cream to the tea, because the tea has a natural creamy flavor built into the mixture. Of course, if you do want to be bad and add milk or cream, it only enhances the tea even more.

As the white blueberry is the most delicate tea in the blend, I brew it at the recommended temperature for that tea, which is 180 degrees Fahrenheit for 4 minutes. . As with any tea, it can be enjoyed without anything added, but I like to add a touch of rock sugar to bring out the sweetness of the blueberry. The tea truly fits the name. It is right at home as a mid morning snack companion, though it’s something I could (and do) enjoy all day. It’s another one of those teas I just want to keep in stock all the time just in case I’m craving it, which means I will have to order more soon while it’s still in stock!

If you would like to try a sample of Elevenses, enter my giveaway! In a week, I will send the lucky winner a small pouch of Elevenses blend that would be enough for a few cups of tea or a pot. I will also throw in a few tea samples if I have any I think you might enjoy. If you don’t win, you can always buy it directly from Adagio for $10 for a 3oz a pouch, or $19 for a 5oz tin. It’s also available in the Tales & Tea Leaves Framed Fandom Set and the Tales & Tea Leaves Sampler Set.

Click here to enter the giveaway!

Also, congratulations to Joanna for winning the TARDIS blend giveaway! Your tea will be on its way shortly!


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Photo 365 Compilation Days 16-27

Taking a photo a day makes you realize that sometimes you have this great vision and it just doesn’t turn out how you planned. Actually, most of the time. Sometimes, it turns out better than you planned it, sometimes not so much. I am beginning to miss having a macro lens, one of the lenses I had to give up when I moved from a cropped frame to a full-frame DSLR, since the EF-S mount lenses don’t work with the EF mount on my new camera. Since I don’t have hundreds of dollars to plunk down on a macro lens, I’ll have to make do with the tools I have. I do have some of the Lensbaby macro kits that I haven’t messed with all that much, so I’ll likely be pulling those out, definitely when spring finally hits.

This set of photos actually has one of my favorites so far from the year. We have an adorable Adventure Time Mondo poster that glows in the dark. The parts that glow are the skeletons of the characters in the print as well as ghosts that only show up when it’s glowing. I love how it turned out and it’s one of those times where the vision was far exceeded by the result.
If you want to see more of my photos, visit my flickr or click the tags at the bottom of this post!

Day 16/365 Green Wrangler
http://flic.kr/p/jyBo61

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Photo 365 Compilation Days 9-15

I feel myself becoming more aware of my photo 365 project as the days go along. I’m taking less photos right before I go to bed, desperately scrambling to find a subject. I find myself planning my photos and looking forward to making the shot. I’m still waiting until I have a few days saved up to make edits, but that’s okay. I think as long as I stay on top of it, it won’t become too much of a burden, and I’d rather edit a batch of photos instead of one each day. The only risk is, if I don’t like any of the photos I took three days ago and I’m editing now, I’m kinda screwed. I guess I have to make sure I have something I’ll be happy with! Click the tags at the bottom of this post to see more of my compilation or photography posts or you can visit my flickr to view all my photos.

Day 9/365: Glow

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Photo 365 Compilation Days 2-8

So far, I’ve learned that I really need to stop waiting until the last minute to take my daily photos. I kinda new this before, but things have been kinda stressful lately. I’ll work harder to take my photos earlier in the day. This will most likely be easier on weekends, but I need to work on it on weekdays as well. I’ll be happier as the days get longer. I’m not super impressed with this week’s collection of photos, but I suppose that’s the point of this project. It can only go up from here! I’m starting with day two here because day one was in my previous post.

Day 2/365: Negative Space

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