Time for Tea! A Review of Plum Deluxe

Plum Deluxe Tea

One of my favorite ways to warm up on a cold afternoon is with a cup of tea. So when the founder of Plum Deluxe (an artisan tea company based in the Pacific Northwest) kindly asked if he could send me some samples, I didn’t have to hesitate to give an answer.

Plum Deluxe is based in Portland, Oregon and offers a unique variety of tea blends, including flavors like Coconut Macaron, Mindful Morning Tea Blend, and Everything is OK Herbal Tea. Just the names of these teas are great, aren’t they? All of their tea blends are organic, non-gmo, vegan, and free of chemicals and sulfites. Whenever possible, ingredients are sourced from the Pacific Northwest.

Andy Hayes, the founder of Plum Deluxe, explained to me that the company is a tribute to his mother who passed away from breast cancer. As he writes on the company’s website, “My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 59. The subsequent 5 years of her life while she battled the disease were some of the best years of her life. She took the opportunity for self-care days and spa treatments, to keep her spirits up. She went out to dinner parties with friends to celebrate each day, and went to the gym regularly and became very fit. She laughed more. She traveled more – visiting her favorite city, Paris, and finally visiting the town her family was from in Germany. My mom taught me that no matter your circumstances, you can choose to create moments that matter, every day. And some of the most enjoyable moments are the small things – time to sleep in, relaxing in a reading nook, going on a neighborhood walk, or catching up with an old friend over a cup of tea.”

Plum Deluxe Philosophy

When I received my package of tea samples, one of the first things I noticed was that everything was packed with care. Andy’s mission of helping people appreciate life’s little moments came through immediately! As I read the list of ingredients on the tea labels, I smiled. Something that you will find in every batch of tea is love and gratitude. This attention to detail did not go unnoticed.

The fragrances were amazing, too. In fact, my 6-year-old daughter took off with one of the bags just so she could keep smelling it! I was now really looking forward to brewing a cuppa. My expectations were pretty high, and let me tell you, the teas did not disappoint! I was immediately drawn to the Deluxe Pumpkin Spice tea. I added a bit of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and thoroughly enjoyed my first cup of Plum Deluxe tea. It had a great balance of spice and black tea flavor.

Plum Deluxe Tea

Plum Deluxe Tea

The next tea I tried was the Autumn Orchard black tea. I was finishing up some editing work and wanted a little lift. I was really impressed with the amount of dried apple in this blend — there were so many nice chunks that plumped up as the tea steeped. A bit of honey brought out the wonderful, comforting flavors.

Plum Deluxe Tea

Plum Deluxe Autumn Orchard

My final test tea was the Oregon Breakfast Black tea. I drank it with a splash of milk while having my cranberry oatmeal. It had a wonderful, full flavor that I have to say brightened a rainy, dreary morning.

Plum Deluxe Tea

Finally, I want to tell you about something that I think really makes Plum Deluxe stand out: their monthly tea club! Unless you live under a rock, you know that monthly subscription boxes are all the rage. For as low as $10/month, you get one ounce of one of Plum Deluxe’s unique blends each month, plus a special second sample. Members also enjoy a discount on purchases, membership in a private Facebook community just for tea lovers, a monthly tea reading, and a few other benefits. There is nothing like getting a happy surprise in your mailbox! (Plus, wouldn’t it make a great birthday or Christmas gift?) 

I want to extend a special thank you to Andy and Plum Deluxe for introducing me to these wonderful teas. If you enjoy blends that aren’t run-of-the-mill, and are packaged by people who put thought into every step of process, you have to check them out. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Print Friendly

Catching Up

last vinca

Once again, life has gotten busy! You know how it goes. Oh my goodness, where to even start? It’s not like too much has been going on. Just lots of everyday life kind of stuff. Over the last week I’ve been busy with copywriting work, which has been wonderful! At this time of year a little extra money is definitely welcome.

I’ve also gone a little crazy with some new Erin Condren orders (thanks to referral credits)! Last month they had an amazing sale — 25% off anything on their website. I had been thinking about purchasing a horizontal planner to use as a daily journal, so I went for it. Now maybe your’e thinking, Carol, didn’t you buy a horizontal back in June, then decide to sell it? And you would be right. I immediately regretted it, but the deal was already done. So, after thinking long and hard I decided to purchase another one. I also picked up a couple new covers and extra folders. 

new erin condren goodies

My other purchase, just yesterday morning, was the new hourly planner. I am really looking forward to this for 2016! Earlier in the year, there was a customer survey with several possible changes. An hourly planner was one of them, and I was all for it! I’m looking to simplify my planning, so this should work well. I absolutely love my washi and stickers, but I’m craving a little more order, especially as our family gets busier. So I’ll save my crazy decorating for my journal and keep it simple in my planner. At least that’s the plan.


A photo posted by Carol Bancroft (@carolwrites) on

Of course, I’m also thinking about my favorite holiday — Thanksgiving! It kind of snuck up on me this year. Hard to believe it is next week! Once again, I’ll be happily hosting it. I need to start my list of dishes and hit the grocery store. 

The kids are great. Report cards should be out any day now, and judging by the work they have brought home I have no worries at all! Laura started Daisy Scouts and seems to love it. Of course, two of her best friends are also Daisies, so I’m sure that has something to do with it 😉

This morning I went for a mammogram. Oh, the joys of getting older! I suppose it’s a rite of passage for a 40-year-old woman, though — right? It actually wasn’t horrible, and I know it’s so important. Everything is normal, so it was nice to leave the appointment knowing that. Plus I got to wear this awesome “spa” robe, LOL!

oh hey!

Otherwise, I’m just doing my thing! I have to get back to a couple crochet projects I started. I’ve just been tired at night and zoning out in front of the TV. The time change earlier this month kicked me on my rear, like it always does.

Well, I ought to attack the three overflowing laundry baskets that are currently staring me down. Oh! And if  you’re a tea lover, be sure to check back tomorrow. I have a review going up that I think you’ll enjoy! Have a great day!


Print Friendly

The Week I Turned 40…


A photo posted by Carol Bancroft (@carolwrites) on

It’s true. I turned 40 last Monday. Eek, right? LOL, honestly it was painless. I’m OK with it (it’s certainly better than the alternative, right?) And truthfully, I had a spectacular day and a wonderful week. Since I never got around to posting on my actual birthday, I thought I’d just do a recap of my entire, awesome week! Actually, let’s start with the prior weekend. I actually went into my blog archive vault. Yes — there’s a vault! I have my pre-Wordpress archives stored there and I decided to look back at 2005. This is the entry from the day I turned 30:

Sweet 30 
Am I goofy to be totally excited to be turning 30? Well, so be it! So far I'm having a happy birthday, indeed! Jake made me a fantastic card and gave me some earrings. Drew gave me an absolutely gorgeous necklace, handmade by the woman I did the lookbooks for last fall (Drew maintains her web site, too). Photos later. I got to take a shower and wash my hair AND shave my legs. Plus, I actually got to do my hair this morning and put on makeup, woot! The boys and I are leaving shortly for a Halloween party. And the dusting of snow melted (as I knew it would) and the sun is shining and it's a perfect fall day!
Oct 26, 05 | 10:31 am

It was a perfect fall day this year, too! Glorious sunshine, cool temperatures. I don’t think I would change a thing if I had control over the weather. Although I didn’t get to sleep in, I was surprised first thing in the morning. As you all know, I’m a pretty quiet person. I joke that I’m a “professional homebody” and I’m so glad my husband gets that. So there were no surprise parties or big to-dos. Instead, he told me that he had arranged for me to have a quiet spa day — he’d made the appointment and all I had to do was show up! Again, he knows me well. He made the appointment because I’d never do it for myself. So sweet! Pedicure

Spa DaySo yes, I had an indulgent morning: massage, facial, manicure, pedicure. They even gave me a glass of champagne since it was my birthday! The rest of the day was nice and relaxing. Drew and the kids made me dinner and then we had caramel apple cake. (Please excuse how I look here, LOL! I was not about to put on makeup after my amazing facial.) I got a few other goodies, too: a new bag, candy (ha — look at the emotions on the Snickers bars), and someone thought he was being funny with the large-print word search book. My birthday!

Birthday GoodiesTuesday was back to the grind! I did some grocery shopping and opened up orders for Christmas elf hats. I have two that I am finishing up so I’ll share photos once they are done. Wednesday I started working on hat orders and did work around the house. Thursday I met my parents for lunch at O’s Eatery up in Chatham. I’ve driven by this diner probably hundreds of times, so I was excited to finally try it out, and it did NOT disappoint. I was hoping to order their deluxe fish sandwich, but they had run out of the cod. I was a little bummed, but happy to learn that their fish is delivered on Fridays, so in the future, I know when to go! Instead, I had a grilled chicken sandwich with pesto, mozzarella, and roasted red peppers. SO good! I also got a cup of their split pea soup — delicious as well. I will definitely be going back there.  Diner

My mom also gave me this beautiful afghan for my birthday! No one appreciates a handmade gift like another crafter. She made it with Simply Soft and it is so smooshy and cozy. I think I’m going to have to fight the kids for who gets to cover up with this one in the mornings, LOL!

Friday night we had some friends over (OK, Jake had some friends over, mostly) for an outdoor Halloween movie party. It got so cold, but the kids had fun. We showed a Tales from the Crypt episode and Transylvania 6-5000. Nothing too creepy.

Party ListSaturday, of course, was Halloween. We went out to lunch and ran errands earlier in the day and then went out Trick-or-Treating in the evening. This was probably Jake’s last year for ToT — sad as it is, at some point you have to stop. He’s actually OK with it. He felt a little “old” out there with the little kids, he said. Kind of a coincidence given his costume, LOL! Halloween 2015

Yesterday was a quiet day at home. I made Zuppa Toscana. Drew made a big pot of Marinara. We watched movies and were generally lazy. But today it’s to business! I have so much cleaning to do and things to take care of. I think I’m going to fortify myself with one more cup of coffee and then start tacking my to-do list!


A photo posted by Carol Bancroft (@carolwrites) on

Hope you all have a fantastic start to your week!

Print Friendly

{Freebie Friday} FREE Printable November Planner Stickers

 FREE November Planner Stickers from PureSugar.net

Hello everyone! I know, I have so much to catch up on — but that will have to wait for tomorrow. Today I’m just popping in to share another FREE November printable for your planner or calendar. It’s already the end of October, so it’s definitely time to start writing in all of those important November events. This sheet has some stickers that are designed for the Erin Condren vertical planner, but you can certainly use them anywhere they will fit!

 FREE November Planner Stickers from PureSugar.net

First, I want to give credit to @Jen_Plans on IG. She posted this photo of stickers she made for a RAK, and I loved her event sticker with the banner. I took that idea and created a half-box sticker with the same idea. So thank you, Jen, for the inspiration and I hope you don’t mind me using your idea! Som of the other images are used in accordance with the TOS from Freepik.com. If you enjoy making your own stickers — that’s a resource you should definitely check out!

 FREE November Planner Stickers from PureSugar.net

As usual, my free planner printables are for personal use only and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. I will either print these out on regular printer paper and then cut and paste into my Erin Condren planner using a tape runner, or else print them on full-sheet labels and just hand-cut the stickers.

Print Friendly

Autumn Hike at Wilderstein

Wilderstein view

Sometimes I feel bad for everyone else in the world who does not live here in the Hudson Valley. I’m not quite sure how my path brought me here, but I know for sure that it is where I’m meant to be. It is just so damn gorgeous, especially this time of year. We are lucky to have so many amazing historical sites nearby where you can go (for free) and just take it all in. Laura joined Daisy Scouts, and today was their first outing. We went on a nature hike at Wilderstein. Now, a few years ago I wrote an article on some rennovations that were completed there but until today I had never actually visited. It was a perfectly cool fall day, and a great time to visit. I forgot my DSLR at home, so I only snapped a few shots with my iPhone, but still, I think these photos give you an idea of the beauty of the area. I am a sucker for any Hudson River view. Can you imagine seeing this every day when you walk out of your house? Oh, what I would give! Hudson River view

And then, of course, there is the mansion itself. You can read about the building’s history here. We did not go on a tour (with 8 little girls, that would have been a challenge), but it’s definitely on my personal, ever-growing list of things to do in the Hudson Valley. I also want to do a little research to see if it’s haunted at all. With all the additions and rennovations over the years I wonder! There is a creepiness about it, but that’s not uncommon to many of these Victorian-era houses.

WildersteinThe girls hiked like champs, and we identified many different types of trees, nuts, and grasses. I think this might be the first time I’ve ever seen a ginko tree in person. Gingo leaves

And what little girl can leave without a few treasures? We collected a Sycamore leaf, some chestnuts, a black walnut, and an acorn cap (of which we must have hundreds in our own yard, but…). The acorn cap is to practice whistling. One of the moms showed everyone how to do it. I can’t seem to get it, but a few of the girls had no problem!

Nature hike treasures

Definitely a fun afternoon out! But now I am ready to wind down. I have a fire going and I’m making pork chops, baked potatoes, and broccoli for dinner. Afterwards I look forward to (possibly) seeing if I can manage any last-minute crochet (maybe a hat or cowl) to wear to Sheep and Wool tomorrow. Hope you are having a great Saturday, too!

Print Friendly

{Freebie Friday} Trash Day Planner Stickers

Free Trash Day Stickers For Your Planner

Hello, hello and TGIF! Today I have another planner freebie for you. I hope you will be able to use them! A little over a month ago, our sanitation company changed our trash day and there were a couple weeks that I actually forgot to put it out on the curb! I whipped up a page of reminder stickers to print out for myself, and then thought that I’d offer them here, as well. 

Free Trash Day Stickers for your Planner
Free Trash Day Planner Stickers

As usual, my free planner printables are for personal use only and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. I will either print these out on regular printer paper and then cut and paste into my Erin Condren planner using a tape runner, or else print them on full-sheet labels and just hand-cut the stickers.

Print Friendly