Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Calming Evening Moment

My husband and I started dating our senior year of high school. During those first winter months of dating, we spent hours upon hours sitting at his mom's kitchen table drinking mugs of hot tea and talking. The mugs were standard issue white and blue Corelle and the tea was standard Lipton, but as with any Tea Moments, the best ones are shared and it's not always about the tea. It's very often about the company. And I had found the best.

7 years of dating and 13 years of marriage later, we still enjoy sitting together after the girls are finally in bed and sipping on something. The beverage has changed over the years to a leisurely glass of wine or two. But very recently, we noticed that what "they" say about a drink before bed is true. Sleep is not as restful or consistent. And so, we got back to our roots.

I had just received some Sleep and Relax Tea from Bell Lifestyle, so we decided to introduce that as our new evening beverage of choice. While a glass of wine is comfortable, it really comes down to the slow sipping, the togetherness, rather than the beverage itself.

As we discovered in our high school days, the preparation of the tea helps begin the winding  down process. Waiting for the kettle to boil, bringing the mugs out, steeping. There's no chance to rush. And in this case, the tea helps too. A blend of chamomile, linden and other herbs, it's warming, it's soothing, it's relaxing. Did we sleep better? We're cautiously optimistic. But we definitely feel more healthful about our evening routine. And it's fun to re-live those first months of dating, when life was simpler. And to talk about how far we've come since those teen age, simple days.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Tahitian Breeze Moment

There's a reason so many of us are drawn to tropical vacation destinations. I had nearly forgotten how intoxicating such places can be. Recently, I was able to escape to Hawaii for a couple of days with Gene, and I couldn't believe that delicious scent in the air as you're deplaning in Honolulu.

Now, every city truly does have its own signature scent. Paris is cigarettes, diesel fuel, freshly baked bread with a soupcon of doggy doo. Which has its charms, and is certainly memorable. But Hawaii is a heady mix of tropical fruits and flowers. It's a scent that soaps and candles have tried to replicate - and they can come close - but it has a magical impact on you. On me, anyway. I move more slowly, I take in the sights and sounds around me. I soak it in. And having a view like this doesn't hurt.

Unfortunately, vacations don't last forever.

So when a package arrived from Teanzo 1856 with a sample of Organic Tahitian Breeze Dessert Tea, and I opened the package to brew my first cup of tea, I was suddenly transported back to my vacation state of mind. Heavenly!

While I'm not usually one to consume much rooibos, the incredible scent combination of chocolate and coconut and a light fruity sweetness (which I discovered is apple), gave me pause. I was looking forward to having a change of taste.

I could have inhaled the aroma all day long. But I forced myself to get a grip and take that much- anticipated first sip. While the sharp rooibos flavor is there, the mix of black tea, coconut and apple round out the edges and smooth it out to a mellow friendly brew. At first, the lack of distinct chocolate and coconut flavor was surprising, but as I continued sipping, I found myself appreciating the subtlety. I also had to remind myself that I have been nearly snorting the dry tea blend for a good 5 minutes, so my head was full of that intensity.

I've never been to Tahiti, but this tea blend takes me on a tropical excursion that melts away the hustle and bustle, the "musts" and the "what-ifs" and all those rat race realities that turn our hair prematurely grey.

A vacation in a cup. That's what this boils down to (forgive the pun). And if I didn't enjoy drinking it so much, the remaining blend would be in great danger of becoming my office potpourri. Though, that would be ill-advised, as I would probably lose all productivity as I kicked back in bare feet, breathing in that seductive Tahitian Breeze.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Tea Lover's Festival Moment

A Tea Festival! Practically in my own backyard? Call it an early Mother's Day gift, but my family agreed to journey to Pasadena on May 5th to visit the Tea Lover's Marketplace being held at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, California.

It was fun to see so many people enjoying the day and visiting the different tea and tea-inspired booths in the marketplace.

Edie was in love with Sencha Naturals, who has mints made with green tea extracts. There were some amazing flavors, and although I figured Edie would like one of the fruit flavors best, she actually loved the Bombay Chai the most.  

She was also happy to try out a variety of teas at Glenburn Tea Direct's booth.

And we were thrilled to be able to say hi to our new friends, Michael and Elyse from Tealet, who were at the Mountain Tea booth! (And Edie and Anne Marie scored Tea Fairy stickers from Elyse!)
And finally, I had the surprise pleasure of meeting a long-time Twitter friend, @LibreTea, aka Wendy Weir, who was showcasing their Libre Tea Glasses.  Let me tell you, these were a hot item! There was a line waiting to check out the display, and with half the day to go, the Libre glass 'n poly Mugs with handle were nearly sold out!
Although we didn't have long to chat, it was so great to meet Wendy live-and-in-person after "knowing" her via Twitter for so long. I look forward to catching up with her more in the near future! After all, we both love a good "Tea Moment!"
If you missed the Tea Lovers Marketplace, don't worry, there's still a couple of weeks left of the Tea Lovers Festival! This is a month long event that has workshops, classes and events throughout the Los Angeles area.
I love finding out about these types of tea events and festivals. If you hear of one, please let me know and I'll add it to my own list of Tea Events.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Neem Nectar Moment

Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come from the oddest places: a stranger offering you a bright, uninhibited smile, a cluster of roses growing in a perfectly formed bouquet, a last minute getaway that allows you to think about nothing, some unexpectedly good feedback on a project that you thought was horribly off track.

I've had a few of those moments recently, and I feel like many tiny bubbles of inspiration are about to hit full boil.

Maybe that's one of the reasons I was instantly drawn to Teatulia's Neem Nectar Tea, as it is subtitled, "Black Tea Inspired to Greatness by the Magical Neem Tree."  How could I resist a proclamation like that?

While there are organic Neem leaves in this Black Tea blend, I love that it's really about the inspiration of it all. It's aspiring to greatness, and it's asking us to participate in the journey. I'm happy to oblige.  The Neem tree, I learned, is a tropical evergreen tree that is native to India. It has long been a cornerstone of Ayurvedic medicine (and when I say "long," we're talking 4,000 plus years), and is known as "the village pharmacy" because of all of its medicinal, household and agricultural uses.

The dry leaves have a bright and almost spicy scent to them. And I love the rich, deep color of the liquid. And then, the first sip. There's a deep earthy undertone to this hearty black tea, but it has a brightness to it. It's that large, gregarious chap at the party who has a constant crowd gathered round him for half the night.

Yes, inspiration. I'm excited at some things that are currently in the works, and I'm looking forward to sharing some of them here very soon. Which leads me to wonder, what currently is inspiring you? Would love to hear!