Chocolatea Candles

This story is a manifestation of the snowball effect in which one thing leads to another and then another. Aware that our summer internships at The Scripps Research Institute were drawing to a close, we pondered the best way to thank for mentors for their time and teachings. Crystal had given her mentor a Hello Kitty edible arrangement last summer, but this go-around we thought chocolate!

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Hello Kitty Edible Arrangement

While surfing the mighty internet we learnt of the many perks of becoming a Godiva Rewards club member. In exchange for the standard personal information, we were ensured a free piece of chocolate every month, free shipping for one online order, a special birthday offer, and “spend $20 and receive a free gift the following month.” With free shipping on the table, we ordered two Ultimate Dessert Truffles Gift Boxes, one to gift and one to try ourselves.

A week later, the package arrived at our doorstep, and just like how antibodies and other temperature-sensitive materials are packaged and sent to the lab, our chocolate was accompanied by an ice pack in a Styrofoam box. So that was how they guaranteed freshness (and more importantly, non-melted chocolate).

Chocolate packaging vs. antibody packaging

Another week later, we finished sampling the nine different flavors. They included carrot cake, crème brulée, caramel apple tarte, chocolate lava cake, strawberry crème tarte, red velvet, chocolate éclair, chocolate soufflé, and vanilla mousse (from left to right).

Carrot cake = da best. The flavors were spot on!

Then with the end of the month creeping upon us, we paid a visit to our local Godiva boutique in the mall for our free monthly chocolate. Expecting some sort of cop-out in which the freebie would be either plain, cheap, or both, we were pleasantly surprised to hear that we could pick anything from the bottom shelf of the display case. Felicia chose the birthday cake truffle, Crystal the champagne.

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Here the psychological food perspective prevailed in which the smaller the portion, the more upscale it seems. What made the chocolate even more decadent, however, was the knowing that it was free. Although in the grand scheme of things, redeeming a sole piece of free chocolate is rather insignificant, on a monthly schedule, it’s still a fun activity in which to partake.

Sweet is to bitter as chocolate is to tea. And the perfect neighbor to Godiva was Teavana! (Their names even coordinate 🙂 Teavana regularly solicits customers with free samples of their tea, but skeptical of the sample pink and orange colored “teas” at the storefront, we never tried them. After having chocolate, however, tea seemed like just the right complement. Although Teavana’s juice+tea+spices concoction wasn’t bad, the inner traditionalist in me likes my tea plain and pure.

One of the many unique teapots also for sale

What, like tea, is aromatic when heated? Candles. Perhaps this subconsciously acknowledged similarity is what prompted us to visit Yankee Candle next, another store we rarely ever visit. The rainbow selection of various scents was pretty impressive, the most intriguing scent by name being pineapple cilantro. Too bad the actual scent was disappointingly mundane! Caught up in the moment, we almost bought some reed diffusers for our home, until we regained our senses and ascertained that the universally best scent for a home is no scent at all.

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There are always those stores in the mall that you pass but never enter. For a college student at least, free stuff can change that. And then who knows? You might have a blog-worthy time.

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