Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Trader Joe's Candy Cane Green Tea

I'm normally not a fan of peppermint based teas, but this stuff is amazing!  It tastes exactly like a candy cane, from the light sweet mint topcoat to the smooth feel of vanilla aftertaste.  It's a delicious soothing blend.  And it's decaffeinated, so perfect for an evening of sipping before the fire!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy December 2nd!

Happy 2nd of December! I'm enjoying the Yuletide season so far this year, and trying to do one thing each day to stay in the holiday spirit. Join in- it's fun to be festive!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lazy Saturday

Today was a lazy Saturday.  I stayed in my pajamas all day catching up on movies...and hopefully tonight I will catch up on my sleep!  Off to bed now...  Today's post is short and sweet.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Ugh, so tired today.  I REALLY need a couple days of downtime.  Feeling run down and wiped out, and like I'm fighting something off.  Mornings seem to come way too early these days no matter what.  Work is exhausting; the a/c is blasting even though the temperature has dropped outside.  I feel a constant chill and can't seem the shake the cough I've had.  My head feels swollen and my neck is stiff.  Not the most exciting post today, but it is what it is.  The good news is…  it's Friday!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Zhena's Gypsy Tea- Rooibos Chocolate Chai

 Time for a tea update!  I've discovered a new tea that I really like.  It's made by Zhena's Gypsy Tea and is a Rooibos Chocolate Chai.  For those of you that have been following my blog, you know that I am a tea fiend.  I love tea.  I could drink it all day long, except the caffeine tends to keep me awake if I drink it late in the evening.  And I'm just not a fan of herbals.  So I've been keeping an eye out for some time looking for a suitable substitute for evening sipping.  Zhena's Gypsy Tea Rooibos Chocolate Chai seems to be the trick so far!  I'm normally not a chai fan, or straight rooibos.  But somehow this particular blend is tasty as all get out.  Zhena also makes a Rooibos Caramel Chai that tastes similar- a bit more subtle but also very good.  I think they are both seasonal blends, so try them soon if you get a chance.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Frustrated Artist

I'm in a bit of a liminal state right now.  I can feel the stirrings of creativity.  I feel the desire to create, to express myself, but I haven't quite decided in which format.  Writing, drawing, dancing…just plain living?  They all sound appealing in theory.  Yet the collapsing of infinite possibilities into one specific choice seems to simultaneously collapse my desire and drive into nothing as well.  Feeling like a frustrated artist.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Rest and Relaxation

So I've already missed a few days in the 31 Days Challenge, and you know what?  I'm okay with that.  In fact, it felt really good to make the conscious choice to give myself a break, and take some extra pressure off of myself.  I was already feeling run down and overloaded.  I have a history of pushing myself too hard and too long, until I reach a breaking point. 

The whole point of getting back into writing was to stimulate my own energy, my own creativity- not to meet some arbitrary external deadline.  I have enough of those already.  My naturally perfectionistic personality needs a reminder every now and then to lighten up and unclench.  Instead of pushing myself, I spent this weekend sleeping in, drinking tea, catching up on novels and snuggling with my boyfriend.  I am unapologetically pleased with my choices. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I'm feeling better today, although there are still a few lingering effects fading out.  What a powerful reminder to grateful to be for good health when it is happening.  To be grateful for everything!  Xoxo world.   :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In Process

I apologize for my late start to the 31 Days.  I had a bad reaction to a new medication yesterday, and I'm still recovering from it.  Lesson learned-  Don't mess with Mother Nature unless absolutely necessary!  Anyway, I'm excited to be participating in the 31 Days Challenge for a second time.  This year my posts may be more rambly, more day to day life, more of what's going on with me personally.  I'm getting back in touch with myself, both as a writer and as a person, and I'm leaving the door wide open to see what comes up.  This year is all about me and my process.

Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Days of Writing

I will be joining the 31 days challenge at Nesting Place again.  This will be my second year!  As I've fallen off the writing bandwagon lately, I'm using this opportunity to get back in the habit, and am leaving my topic more open ended, to see where it takes me!

To view my posts from last year on the topic of "Living a Magical Life" please click here:

1.  Welcome October! 
2.  In Process
3.  Whew  

7.  Rest and Relaxation
8.  Frustrated Artist  
9.  Happy
10.  Zhena's Gypsy Tea- Rooibos Chocolate Chai  
11.  TGIF
12.  Lazy Saturday

Monday, April 15, 2013

Plant Rescue

 Earlier this week, I decided to reward myself with a slow browse through the garden section of the local home improvement store.  I have always found being around plants to be an enjoyable experience.  And wandering quietly on my own through garden shops is a soothing way for me to unwind from a long day at work, recenter, and generally just feel more at peace with myself and the world in general.  The prospect of discovering a new leafy green find to bring home just adds to the fun.

At the store, tucked away in the back of the plant section, were two large garbage bins.  They were filled to the top with dead plants, except for one lone Dracaena.  It was lying forlornly on its side on the very top of the pile- still green, still very much alive, but battered, bent and broken.  The bottom two thirds of its leaves were cut off, its top leaves were split and cut as well.  Its two stems were actually bent sideways.  Apparently it had been there mispositioned so long they started growing that way. 

I picked it up out of curiosity, set it on a nearby shelf to look it over, and could practically hear it calling, "Help me, help me please!"  I felt sorry for it, but then shrugged to myself and then set it back on top of the bin.  On top of all of those other dead plants.  I paused.  I picked it up again and set it back on the shelf.  What did I need with this little thing?  I should just leave it be.  But I couldn't walk away.  The thought of leaving a living being behind to suffer and die on top of a pile of fellow plant corpses tugged at my heart strings.  It had a very sweet little energy.

So I picked it up and carried it with me through the store.  I asked a passing employee if it was possible to bring the plant home, explaining that it was bound for the trash, but that I would like to rescue it.  She was friendly, if a bit puzzled by my request, and said she needed to check with her manager.  Well, after about 20 minutes of back and forth over the radio with said manager, who obviously couldn't care less about this entire situation, I was becoming more and more attached to this little green being, and feeling more and more protective of it.  I would not leave it behind, no way!

The difficulty, the employee finally explained, was the way these plants were inventoried.  Dead plants were returned to the supplier for credit, not just thrown away.  But she was kind and wanted to help.  She persisted, and the manager finally said she could sell it to me at a discount, he didn't even care how much.  It was obvious he just wanted to be done with the conversation.  I eventually walked out of that store, 8" Dracaena in hand, for the total cost of $1.66.  It was bone dry, crumpled, but quietly aware and grateful.  I spoke to it gently, of how I would care for it and nurture it, of the place I had waiting for it.  I bought it a beautiful new spring green colored pot, and once home, soaked it with water, freshened and adjusted its leaves, and gave it a place of honor high atop the refrigerator in my kitchen. 

The change in energy was instantly palpable.  Green fronds waving in the air, my little rescue now perches in peaceful cheeriness from its vantage point above, basking in the light, looking down on the smaller houseplants on the counter below.  I smile every time I see it, my new little friend.  There is a sense of joy, of peace, and of happiness.  In the grand scheme of things, this is just one of many house plants.  But for me, it became something more.

Friday, April 12, 2013

House Plant Connections

 Okay, I'm a plant person.  We've established that earlier in this blog.  I talk to plants and trees. Sometimes they talk back to me.  I form personal connections with certain plants over time, often instantly.

There are some types of plants that I seem to connect with over and over.  I'm sure other plant people can relate.  Those are the ones that easily survive, and thrive, over the long term in my care.  My house plants tend to be rescues, with the occasional impulse purchase from the store.  The current selection in my home consists primarily of various hybrids of Dracaena or Ficus.  There are two recent African Violet additions as well, but they are still in the experimental phase, and not yet part of the regulars. 

When I do buy plants, what I've discovered is that what I intend to purchase is often quite different from what I actually end up purchasing.  In theory a certain plant may sound ideal for my home.   But in person, it may be quite different.  One example that comes to mind is of a varietal that I researched thoroughly ahead of time.  At the store, I found a good specimen, but couldn't bring myself to buy it.  It very clearly gave off a "leave me alone" vibe, while a completely different type nearby was practically waving its little fronds and jumping up and down, silently shouting, "Pick me, pick me!"  What to do?  Well, listen to the plants of course!  

And that's how my last Dracaena purchase came about.  I didn't even realize what it was until I got it home and settled in.  It fits perfectly, looks like it was here forever, and is happy and thriving next to a large Janet Craig rescued from a family member's old office building.  When in doubt, listen to the plants!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My First Boxing Class

I've been offline for the last month.  Well, at least not posting here on my blog.  Offline and trying to focus on real life instead.  So what have I been doing?  I've been spending a good amount of time gardening out on the deck.  Also drinking tea and watching lots of movies and TV.  The new Vikings show on the History channel is my latest obsession.  

I took my first boxing class last week.  Aside from still learning how to use hand wraps, and how to put that second glove on once the first is already on, it was pretty fun.  I'll admit though, I was nervous ahead of time.  And I still don't feel comfortable punching, not hard anyway.  It feels so unnatural to me.  I just don't understand how those tiny little knuckle bones can avoid damage after being repeatedly pounded into something heavy.  Open palm strikes, elbows and knees, and leg kicks seem much more practical!  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tazo Vanilla Apricot White Tea

Oh yeah... Now I remember why I don't drink bagged teas from the grocery store anymore.  Unfortunately, despite past experience,  I just can't seem to resist trying them anyway.  The boxes look so appealing all lined up together.  The packages are brightly descriptive, and the tea sounds so inviting and tasty.  Design wise, Tazo tea boxes are simply lovely.  They look so good, it's hard to remember that the actual product leaves much to be desired. 

I realized long ago that I do not like Tazo teas.  They taste old and stale and dusty to me.  But I love the packaging, and if I wait long enough I forget how awful they taste.  So when I saw this new Vanilla Apricot White on display, I took a chance and added it to my shopping basket, hoping for a pleasant surprise.  Boy, was that a mistake.  The best way I can describe it is that it was exactly like brewing and drinking sawdust.  It was awful. 

After forcing down several sips, I gave up and dumped the rest of the freshly brewed cup.  And quickly tossed the the box as well. 
I hate to write a post about a bad tea, let alone drink a bad tea, but perhaps it works out.  Drinking a truly bad tea reminds me how good the good teas are. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

More More More TEA!

It's official: My tea obsession has reached new heights.  But then I was never one for doing things halfway, haha.  I just placed my THIRD order (within the last month!) with Harney and Sons.  This was obviously a highly necessary action, as my last order arrived a mere two days ago.  Of course I am already craving more!  I am now never without a cup of some kind within drinking distance.  Work, home, travel, everywhere.  When I go to bed each night, I look forward to getting up in the morning so that I can drink more tea.  Yes, it's that good.  More tea reviews to come…very soon.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Training Update

Lest this blog get too girly with all of the tea talk, I thought I'd throw in a quick workout update.  I met with my personal trainer yesterday for our weekly training session and OMG he worked me hard!  Cardio, cardio, lots and lots of cardio.  Whew!!!  Looking forward to some strength training on TRX later this week if I'm recovered by then.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Harney and Sons Tea

I recently placed my first tea order with Harney and Sons.  They are a New York based family owned company that have gotten rave reviews throughout the tea community, to the point that they were even commissioned to create teas for the British Historic Royal Palaces organization.  Wow, an American company being commissioned by the Brits?  I figured with that kind of "tea cred" they were definitely worth a shot. 

They were extremely quick and efficient when it came to order confirmation, shipping and delivery.  A big plus!  I ordered three different tins, although they also offer an option for ordering samples.  I took the risk, as I was pretty sure I would like what I had chosen.  They were all white teas:  White Christmas, Winter White Earl Grey and Royal Wedding Tea, an Historic Royal Palaces blend created in honor of William and Kate's royal wedding in 2011.  With that kind of background, I figure it's gotta be good, right?!  (Honestly, I feel quite crass speaking that way about this tea lol.  It just sounds wrong.  Drinking tea like this calls for using words like "uppity" and "preposterous" and wearing a hat and gloves.)

Anyway, what I'm learning about white teas is that they need to steep a lot longer than is recommended to really get the full flavor.  If I stick to 1-2 minutes, it just tastes like hot water- bleh.  4-5 minutes adds light flavor, but still primarily hot water overall.  I did roughly 8-10 minutes today and it was perfect!  The trick is to never use boiling water.  That will cause bitterness, and not much tastes worse in the tea world than bitter flavored hot water. 

So far, White Christmas and Winter White Earl Grey are pluses in my book, and I will probably eventually reorder.  Royal Wedding is good, but it doesn't impress me as an anything out of the ordinary sort of thing.  It's soft and smooth and fairly delicate.  Think buttercream coconut wedding cake.  It would be a good light dessert tea.  Unfortunately Harney doesn't offer sample sizes of this tea.   The smallest size I could find was a 30 sachet tin, which is what I purchased.  I ended up bringing it to work to brew up in the morning.  I keep an ongoing tea stash there, while saving my more preferred teas for enjoying at home.  

All in all, I definitely recommend Harney and Sons tea so far.  Their tins are gorgeous, the teas are tasty, and they offer a high quality selection at a very reasonable price.  Order yourself a few (or more!) samples, take a risk on a tin or two, and embrace the luxury of tea!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Today I tried a new tea from Mariage Frères.  It is called Iskandar, which is supposedly the Persian name for Alexander the Great.  An odd pairing I thought, as this tea seems very feminine to me.  It tastes and smells exactly like Flavigny Violet Pastilles.  I used to love eating these, but they are a bit perfumy if you're not used to that sort of thing.  And I'm not loving the tea so much.  It's very well done, but violet perfume is not my first choice for tea flavor.  And with such a wide selection in the MF catalog, there are plenty of other blends that I prefer.  

If you are a fan of candied violets though, by all means try it.  This would be an excellent tea to pair with a rich dessert of some sort.  I tried it with chocolate and that seemed to help counterbalance the overwhelming taste of violet fragrance.  On its own this tea is somewhat cloying and very "in your face"- nothing subtle about it at all... violet, Violet, VIOLET!

(Edit to add:  It has now been two weeks since my initial review and I have to say that Iskandar has really grown on me.  Or perhaps my brewing technique is just improving haha.  Either way, I find myself craving this blend more and more over time.  I think I will have to buy a refill very soon.)

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Love of Tea

 As I mentioned in my last post, I have been trying to nurture myself as much as possible these days.  A big part of that has been re-embracing, among other things, my love of gourmet teas.  Yesterday I discovered a new local teahouse that carries some of my favorite teas by Mariage Frères, an amazing French tea company located in the Marais district of Paris.
I first discovered Mariage Frères several years ago and fell utterly in love with their Earl Grey French Blue, along with many of their fabulous other dark blends.  These days, sadly, my stomach no longer tolerates black tea, so I was forced to end my long term love affair with Earl Grey.  Fortunately their green teas are just as delicious as the black teas, and I quickly found several new standbys to fill my cupboard.

I never thought I liked green tea.  What I discovered is that I don't like BAD green tea.  And most bagged green tea found in the supermarket is pretty bad.  But opening a fresh tin of loose tea from Mariage Frères is a sensory experience not to be denied.  The long curled verdant green leaves, mixed with multicolored herbs and petals, are a lush visual feast.  The fruity bouquet of Marco Polo Vert takes one on an olfactory journey to lands far away across caravan roads.  The rose and lavender of Vert Provence is completely reminiscent of the real Provence.  Thè des Impressionnistes
may be my current favorite of all-  a soft floral blend swathed in a delicious subtle vanilla.  J'aime le thè!