Spread That Love

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I will be self indulgent for a bit.  But when it come to blogging isn’t that what blogging is? I’m talking about a subject matter while throwing my personal spin on things.  That may not appeal to some but then again we all have a story, and I think all of our stories matter.

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My birthday was recently. And while I don’t expect anything, whenever I do get a gift I’m eternally grateful.  I’m annoyingly eternity grateful to the point I can’t stop saying, ‘thank you!’.  Spreading the love, showing gratitude, and saying thanks is what life is all about. It’s not much but a simple mutual gesture of comradery and friendship goes so far in this universe.

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This is why the gift of tea, and this most incredible teacup, from my close friends has had me grinning over a week later.

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Within all my charming gifts, I find the most beautiful canister from English Tea Shop.

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Now if memory serves me correctly, the last time, and maybe the only time, I had their tea was with the same friend(s) who gave me this gift.    I don’t remember what tea I had then, but the Chamomile they gave me this time is one I will never forget.  And not just because it was a present.

 

I mean that.  There’s so much to this tea.

When you see an inviting and bright pink container it’s automatically going to make the tea taste that much better.  And I haven’t even opened it yet.  That tea kettle design with all the images of the season are just adding to everything.  No added pressure.  But this tea needs to be good or I’ll be really sad.

It was really good.  Actually it was great. And it’s a lighter than usual chamomile.  And I brewed this on the sunniest of all days.  I would have made this iced but…

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…Not only did I get this amazing tea, but right next to it was the most beautiful of all teacups (that I alluded to before).   They hit my heart.  Animals are the best.  My cat is the best.

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This cup is one I want to use all the time.  But for sentiments sake it will be one I will love, appreciate, and celebrate all over, but I feel it should only be used for the most special of occasions and the most special of teas.

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This chamomile is just that special.  And I’m not just saying that.  The steeping process was as charming and organic as the tea.   It may not show up in all the pictures but start to finish the natural progression and changing of colors in my teacup was as good as I’ve ever seen.

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I literally could see it before my very eyes.  It’s those little things that make me excited. No, actually they’re big things to me.  I didn’t want it to stop.  Here I am still building up all this excitement and I had yet to actually grab a sip.

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After celebrating the packaging, this beautiful teacup with some lovely cats, I can safely say this tea was fantastic. Actually somewhere in this post I did mention the tea was great, it was light, it was colorful, and it was calming.  The calming part is big.

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Chamomile is an herbal and wellness tea that is meant to bring peace and tranquility.  In a chaotic world (and not just the crazy cats) it’s sometimes hard to find.  But tea is always there for you.  It’s authentic, affordable, and approachable.  Yes I used all those big words that start with the letter ‘A’, on purpose.    But how about my cat friends?  What about all the fun things that start with ‘C’?  Calming, charming, and comforting.

I took my few pictures and then enjoyed myself in the comfort of my own home, with my cat, and with the beautiful weather surrounding me.

Cats are my favorite and this chamomile is now one of my favorites.

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This makes me want some more.  I’m a fan of English Tea Shop (or Shoppe as I like to call it), and I believe this is only the beginning.

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Here is their story,  their expansive list of teas, where you can find their teas around the globe, contact information, and once again their link to purchase their teas online.

I hope the opportunity presents itself that I get to try another of their teas.  This chamomile is perfect in any kind of weather.  I imagine it’s amazing iced and chilled, but it’s light and refreshing taste makes it work in wall temperatures and all seasons.

Whether it’s another gift from my dear friends, the universe, or somewhere else, I look forward to having many more of their selections for the duration.

Plus the cats really seem to like it.

Ideen

 

This Was A Good One

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But they all can be and should be.  However, this was more about the experience than anything else.   Otherwise I don’t know how good the Chamomile Tea from Stash truly is or isn’t.

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I can’t believe it’s September already.  Well yes I can as well.  Time just keeps on going. Yet for this post I’m going to take this back to June, when it wasn’t even officially Summer on the calendar year yet, but as you can tell by these pictures, the Sun was on our side.

This is one of those stories that might be too good to share, but also too good not to. I’m glad I waited this long to talk about it.  It’s gotten better with time.

The tentative plan was to grab some lunch nearby in Baltimore before I took a dear friend to the airport, in the Washington, DC area.   We gave ourselves ample time. However, there were signs all over that we should just drive closer to the final destination  and see where the wind takes us.

I had been to historic Herndon, VA a year prior on another random encounter, and saw nothing but happy and folksy people.  Like most historic locales you have your farmers market, museums, mom and pop shops, community centers, and independent restaurants. It was real and I soaked it all in.  It was with the understanding that right outside this epicenter is nothing but big buildings and gigantic companies that have infiltrated major cities.

One year later as we’re driving, that light bulb went off in my head.  I had investigated happy places to grab a bit to eat, in a cozy area beforehand, but realized that happy town was minutes away.

We found a great place to eat with outdoor dining, and took our time.  The town called for it.  It felt like we were the only people on Earth.  I don’t mean to overstate how amazing the Sun was on this day. Actually the heck with it, the Sun is our friend. The more I expound on this special trip, I realize how perfect everything was.

No rush, no running around, no beating the clock.  It was as close to Zen as you can get.

After a little walking around, a little tea and coffee seemed necessary.  Green Lizard Cycling, (yes a cycling place) came through in the clutch.  Yes I wrote that on purpose. Maybe it was one of those moments where I felt random, but after a hearty meal a hot tea was a must.  And my inspired thought was that Chamomile.

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Looking back at these pictures I realize how much that tea matches the color of the sun. The signs and the positive energy are all around us.  It just freaks me out, in a good way, how good this day was.  And all the intricacies and details that I overlooked have been presented to me months later.  This is what we call endearing.

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But like I said, on another day, I’m not sure how great this tea would be.  Chamomile has not always been my favorite flavor, but this might be a change of heart.

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Circumstances allowed this to be a lot better than I think tea might be.   But Stash has been one of those brands that I feel is overlooked versus some of the more household brands you see at the store.  This is not a dig but more of an observation.

I need to review more Stash teas.  They’ve always been good to me.  Here is the one time I did a recap of one of my favorite and inspiring teas by them.  Talk about a dichotomy. Again,  nothing but signs and serendipitous situations.

The specifics of this day are not necessary and sometimes your best memories should be kept from within, and I’ll leave some details out.  But I did add a couple of pictures of the town and outside the cycling shop to give you a feel for how peaceful and inspiring this day was.  I might be overstating how tremendous all this was but I don’t care.  This was awesome and yet all so simple.

The future is looking bright and full of hope.  A good cup of tea always brings hope. And joy!

Here’s to many more unplanned and inspiring events to come!

Kindest,

Ideen

Fall Fun

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I did just type that out.  I always embrace the Summer with open arms.  The autumn months are full of positives too.  And I don’t have to look too hard to find them.  If it’s not a genuine feeling of joy and euphoria than it’s not going to be feel authentic.

This tea I will discuss today is authentic and so much more.  It’s that time of year which means the changing of the leaves, different flavors, scents, foods, and of course pumpkins.

There’s going to be a lot of pumpkin-style and related posts forthcoming and I hope you enjoy!

The Harvest Blend Herbal Tea from our pals at Trader Joe’s is the embodiment of what this season is all about. From the packaging, to the beautiful illustrations of animals, and to the scent and taste of the tea itself, this is perfection.

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First off, when I visited the pumpkin display at my local store, it’s an in-your-face reminder of the time of year we’re in.  But I’ve been seeing it while we were technically still in Summer.  I understand the rush but I really don’t.  I could have written about this a month ago but I want this part to be authentic as well.  Lets all get into the season in a little more sensible fashion.

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I took multiple angles of this package as I only feel it’s right.  And one on of the sides are all the ingredients listed.  And it’s a lot.  But it’s a who’s who of what makes this season great.   After smelling the bag upon opening, the most noticeable scent is cinnamon, one of my favorite things on this Earth.

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After steeping, more aromas start to come alive.  I got a great whiff of apple, chamomile, ginger.  If my nose and taste buds got carried away I may detect everything included and then some.  Nevertheless, this is a winner.   As my tea became ready to sip the cinnamon and apple hit me the post.  This packs a punch suitable for the season.   And since there’s so much involved I think multiple cups can be made from this.

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With all these incredible elements you think something would get lost in the shuffle.  This is not the case. There’s room for everything here.   However, I will say that chicory is not a plant I’ve had much exposure too. I’ll be curious to see if I can trace it in other teas that I come across.  I may have to do some further investigating but I don’t want to lose course here.

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As I ended my first cup, the flavors were so strong, I had to add more boiling water.  And I mean that with highest of praise. This tea cannot go to waste.  I’m ecstatic thinking about it.  This will be a staple in my sipping repertoire for the reason of this season and beyond.   It just tastes and feels so good.   The words soothing and comforting come to mind.  I feel so happy sipping it, thinking about it, and putting it to words.

And with a price tag of only $1.99 how can you go wrong?  This is a bargain for that price and what you’re getting.

I included some wonderful items that reflect the season that has just commenced. I’m enjoying wonderful piece of golden raisin cinnamon bread to complement my cup.

This is just the beginning.  I am thrilled to get fall off on the right foot.

Thanks so much!

Best,

Ideen

Chamomile Calming

Treats!

The best experiences, at least for me, are the ones that are unplanned.   We are now into autumn and as tough as that can be for myself and others, I still try to find the positives.  And I think discovering a new place for tea drinking more than qualifies!

Last week I was in Arlington, VA and did some random driving and sightseeing.  I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. Maybe I would find something fun to eat or drink.  I might discover a store that would tickle my fancy.   Without trying too hard, I found one with all of the above.

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Trade Roots is located in the more laid-back and less frenetic part of the town, Westover.   And the store has a very positive and uplifting energy emanating, as soon as you walk in the door.  Even the outside signage made me feel something endearing.

I’ve driven through this part of town many times and never thought to stop.   I almost passed through again. For whatever reason, either to write about this place, or something bigger, I was meant to stop in. I’m grateful I did.  I want to give this place the proper credit it deserves.

The store represents the best in honoring what fair trade and giving back is all about.  I would have stayed longer if I could. I also would have seen my checking account depleted.  There were so many wonderful things available to purchase. And many of those items can also be procured online!

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And to do my part, I bought an incredible cup of tea and some fantastic cinnamon-pecan granola bites!

I ordered a chamomile.  But not just any chamomile. This was a German one. You could say this is in honor of all the Oktoberfest celebrations that are happening and will be occurring all over the place soon.  But this drink raised my spirits up but without any potential hangover on the horizon.

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Honesty, I did taste a difference in contrast to the traditional ones I’ve had before. I couldn’t place my finger on the why or the how.  But it made me feel so good.

Originally I purchased this to go.  But after surveying the area, I thought what is the rush. So I grabbed a seat on a bench and enjoyed myself.  Actually I was the only one around so I really did enjoy my own company.

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I didn’t have a plate so I used the lid for my snacks. And any crumbs that were leftover I added to my tea.   How cool is that? Ha.

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I wish I had taken more photos but all this entails is that I must come back before the year is out.   Besides taking in my surroundings and a few snapshots, I relaxed for a good 30-plus minutes.  There was a sense of ease in me that I can attribute to my tea, my environment, and how good I must have been feeling at the time.

Imagine feeling like that all the time!  Yes please!

There are a few seats inside but the weather was too good to be anywhere but here.  For those few minutes, I was meant to be spiritually in tune with things and with nature.  I think I succeeded.

If you’re in the vicinity, I highly suggest visiting this shoppe.   The folks inside were great.  Everything was great.

More to come.

Best,

Ideen

Two Leaves, Two Teas – Part 1

This weeks post is the perfect example of how the ideas find us.   I was fortunate to work one of the company tents at the 140th Preakness this past weekend.

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I was helping with tables and food set up when all of a sudden, I see this beautiful display of teas in a lovely case.  It had such a nice assortment of flavors and colors.  I just had to take a few for myself, to try at home.   Until this past weekend, I’ve never heard of Two Leaves And A Bud.  Where have they been all my life?  And no I didn’t pilfer the entire case!

Since it’s Two Leaves, this discussion will be broken up into two parts.   This week I’ll discuss the two decaffeinated selections. And next week I’ll do the caffeine.  Sounds fun right?

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First up is the Organic Peppermint Tea.  Just look at the bag pictured above and you can tell this is something special.  This has some power to it.   When I steeped it in my cup, the color just kept getting stronger in seconds.  I could actually see the hot water change into this amazing, dark and rich shade in moments.

I had this in the evening time and I felt emotions I hadn’t felt in tea drinking before.   I imagine you could get nearly a half-dozen cups out of this.  With just one ingredient, you know you’re getting the real deal here.  This is the perfect tea to put you at ease and instill peace. I had this before a perfect nights sleep.  And this is exactly what this flavor did for me. Incredible.

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And then there’s the Organic Chamomile.   Again, the tint of the color rapidly grew in my cup.  I haven’t seen such a rapid transfer from leaves in the bag to hot water.  It’s really a thrill to watch.   This is a tad sweeter than other Chamomile’s I’ve had, but I’m not complaining.  This is a wondrous pick as well.

This is the perfect soothing and mellowing out tea.  And how beautiful is the bag?  Those are some incredible looking leaves.  As in the peppermint, I think you get a lot of mileage in reusing the same bag.  Magnificent.

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I enjoyed both of my cups with a delicious cupcake!

When reading more about this organization, I’m elated and a bit sad at the same time.  I’m happy that I’ve found a new tea brand to support but sad it look me this long.

I’ve not seen them in any stores or tea shoppes near me.  But that means I’ll need to be aggressive in tracking them down. In the 10 years they’ve been existence, they look like they’re really putting their stamp on the tea drinking market.

Part 2 next week!

Best,

Ideen

Pineapple Pals

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I had no idea what I was going to write about this week.  And while canvassing the town for a tea to purchase, I caught up with an old friend.  I caught up with familiar face.  I believe it’s someone one we all know well.

I was going to write about Lipton eventually.  It was inevitable.  And I’m glad I chose this time and the heart of the Spring season for my first.

Lipton is one of the first teas I ever had.  I think it’s safe to say that applies to a lot of us.  At one time, many restaurants or convenient stores, only carried the old school black teas from them. If you wanted coffee, there were more options.  But if you wanted tea, it was usually that one or nothing at all.

It’s a different time and more folks are drinking tea than ever before.  And the flavors and creativity are off the charts.  So when I took a drive to find some cool teas, I discovered the Pineapple Chamomile.  And it’s very good.   And Lipton, along with any other companies, have really kept up with the times.

I had no expectations going in. And I am pleasantly surprised. For a warm weather tea, this is perfect.

I’m updating this post, for the morning after.  I had some of the best sleep I’ve had in some time. And I have more energy today than usual.  This tea has something special going for it.

Chamomile is a flavor that took a while for me to enjoy.  Now it’s a tea I actively look for when I’m at my nearby market or tea shoppe.   I’m happy this is my first review of said herb.

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The pineapple and chamomile flavors are both detected immediately.  And the aromas are fantastic.  Some of the other ingredients seem like great complements, but I may have only gotten a smidgen of those.  That doesn’t take away from the fun of this tea.  I think serving this cold during these happy months is ideal.

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And how cool is the pyramid-shaped tea bag?  More tea companies are amping up their creativity, not only with their flavors, but with their presentation.

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I found a Hard Rock cafe mug that matches the beautiful color of the tea.   The golden pineapple color really is a charmer. I’m enjoying mine with some mini oatmeal cookies.

As I write this I’m liking this tea more and more. Lipton really brought something refreshing here.  And in checking out their wide array of flavors, I will be reviewing a new one very soon.  Yum!

Thanks so much.

Best,

Ideen

Gotta Have A

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Wawa is known for so many happy things on Earth.    I have been a fan, since I first visited one outside of Philadelphia, in 2000.   Just about all of their stores I’ve visited have had a strong energy, and a sense of community. Many I’ve seen have a strong sense of community and is a meeting place for locals, pals, and friends of from nearby towns of neighborhoods.   The coziness is endearing.    They have great coffee, but I love them for their tea.

And I love them for their hoagies, smoothies, soups, salads, sides, and of course the soft pretzels.   But, their tea has evolved into something delicious.   For years, I didn’t even know they carried their own teas.

I did some research about where they get their teas from, and I got nothing.   Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.  I should just enjoy their teas for what they are.  No over-the-top flavors, additions, or gimmicks.

I love their green tea.  Ingredients : green tea.

The added experience that it’s from Wawa, might make it taste even better. But it’s tremendous.  I usually enjoy it by itself.  But they have plenty of breakfast hoagies, bagels, pastries, and scrambled egg dishes to complement it with.  And I’ve indulged in them all pals.

Look at that awesome selection :

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At certain locations I have had their Chamomile, which is a flavor that has grown on me.  The staples are there – Earl Grey, Regular Black, and Lemon.   Along with the aforementioned Chamomile, you might see Decaf, Ginger Peach, among some other charming flavors.   I am a big fan of the Lemon.  The flavors are parallel to their iced teas.   These teas are not glamorous. I don’t think Wawa intended them to be.   They’re just great and that’s all you can ask for.  I swear I’ve seen an Orange tea in a store somewhere.

Next time you stop into your local Wawa, give the tea a shot.  It’s one of the reasons I look forward to going to their stores now, along with the sentimentality and convenient food choices.   Happy sipping!

TowerOfTea!

Best,

Ideen