A Better Way To…

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Way back in time, I wrote about Wawa, and all the goodness that it brings.   Kids of all ages that have ever visited one of their stores (locations can be found herelocations can be found here) or heard about one, know of the aura that Wawa has.  There’s no overstating this, I find happiness here, that I don’t find just anywhere.  And there’s happiness to be found anywhere and everywhere…

WawaMenu

I would have to give myself enough time to write about every tea, coffee, latte, and everything in between that Wawa has to offer.  And that’s just counting for the fall season, let alone everything else.  The photo above is just the beginning, and everything else is great too.  Yes, this story will be loaded with heavy biases, and I’m proud of that fact.

On average I’m here at least five times a week.  That isn’t an exaggeration.  I’m fortunate to be near a half-dozen or so stores/filling stations just within driving distance, and many more in the area, that I’m never without my Wawa.

Three plus years was way too long to get back to talking about one of the best places in the whole wide world, so let’s get to it…

WawaHotPumpkinSpiceChaiTea

The Hot Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea is more on the lighter side, and that’s just the way I wanted it.  In many past stories I’ve elaborated on why I feel this can be too rich and too aggressive for my tastes.  As we approach comfort food, comfort drink, and comfort everything this season, a little richness never hurt anybody.  But when it comes to chai I want it light, I always want it light, and I want it just like this.

What’s beautiful about the drink choices (and pretty much most of the food choices as well…) is that it’s built to order at your fingertips.  I know a lot of places have instituted this, but I would like to think Wawa was first, and the greatest of all time.  I warned you about biases!

WawaMilkChoices

You have your options of milk and whether or not you want whip cream.   Their recommendations are shown to you, but you can come up with whatever makes you happy.  Almond milk makes he happy. Yay!  With the chai I kept it real simple as opposed too…

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The Iced Pumpkin Maple Harvest Latte is full on commotion and chaos, no not really, it’s a heavy drink.  I got it iced and with whip cream on top.  And if you think I finished this one in one setting, you would be right.  Actually no, this one took a long time and my stomach said no thank you.  But the truth is, it’s good, but it’s not for everyone.

Maple has somewhat caught up to pumpkin in terms of all the fall concoctions that you can make out of these two autumnal entities (not sure it that made sense).   This isn’t a knock on the drink at all.  I ordered this deliberately to counterbalance the chai tea.

WawaAutumnDrinks

While I like it, and it’s not necessarily for me, it easily could be something you will enjoy.  I’m all about trying something different.  And their menu has something available for all to enjoy.

WawaTeas

I love Wawa.  Wait, did I already say that?  But it’s the truth.  Since the first time I set foot into one up to earlier today, I always enjoy a visit.  I get excited when I drive past one or a see a sign on the highway for one of my favorite places.  I still get the warm and fuzzies, and feel like a kid in this store.  And this is before I even walk in.

These warm feelings of love are heightened as we are officially (maybe?) into the fall beverage season, and fully appreciate right now and what’s to come.

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I look forward with what’s to come, but for now, I love Wawa.  Always have and always will.

Peace Be With You.

Love,

Ideen

Fly On…

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Oh man.  So yeah, Paromi Tea was a late Christmas gift from some dear friends I hadn’t seen in some time.   It’s one of the more unique tea packages you’ll find.  And if you like what you see on the outside, just wait…

I love Sachet’s, I love all kinds of way that tea is presented.  But Sachets are something else.  The pyramid or triangle shape gives a glimpse of all the amazing herbs, spices, fruits, and other amazing entities from this planet, and it’s all there for you to see, in all its glory.  It’s much different than you standard steeping tea bag.  This is an event.  And the way the bag opens up while it steeps is all part of this fantastic journey.

What else is does is you get a lot of beautiful colors rather quickly.  And the Chamomile Lavender Rooibos brings all the amazing things I just wrote about, and so much more.  Oh there’s more.

I’ve come across lavender a lot lately.  There’s so many things lavender, from scented trash bags (yes that’s correct), air fresheners, incense, oils, soaps, lotions and all that good stuff that keeps popping up into my life.   So it makes sense that I’m gifted this amazing tea, as my mind is drawn to and focused on lavender.  The universe works just like that.  Ask and you will receive.  Some things may take longer than others.   And yet not everything needs or has to be rushed.

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And after writing about one beautiful lavender flavored tea two weeks ago (which was no accident by the way, either), we come to this one.  So no more build up, but as I’ve said Paromi is doing something tremendous.

The ingredients, which are Fair Trade, organic, and from something much bigger than all of us, is just tremendous.  It’s a stellar blend of the aforementioned ingredient and a little vanilla flavor which is just understated enough to make this a meteoric and world class tea.

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And when the description says no more than five minutes of steeping, they’re not kidding.  This has some power to it.

I might be caught up in the fact that this was a gift.  But yes, I will get caught up in the fact that this was a gift. I’m grateful.  I would love this tea if I discovered it on my own, but I wasn’t supposed to.  I hadn’t heard of this until it was presented to me, in present form.   And that’s living in the present folks.  Yes, that was intentional.

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The days are getting longer.  Spring is rapidly approaching.  I’m contradicting what I just said about being in the moment, and present.   Yet, I do have a few Spring like pieces in these displays, just to get the happiness going.   We should always be happy, but sometimes the winter and the short days, will do something to people.

For me, it’s been strange.  I could go back and look at all my previous stories, and likely find positives in all of them.  Maybe so much.   Lately, it’s easy to find all the positives but with a more realistic tone.   Life has been funny for me.  It’s been funny for a many of my peers, our peers, and people we’ve yet to meet.   It can be chaotic, stressful, and sometimes overwhelming.   One day it’s great, the next day it’s an experience.  And we go to bed with those feelings and wake up hoping each day is better, is great, and is going to transform into something good.

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But to ease the stress, a little help might be needed.  This tea did something to me today.  Lavender has its calming tendencies.  And that easily could be it.  Yet I had some moments standing outside, where the synopsis even says, a lot of things just faded and melted away.

This feeling, among other things, inspired the title for this post.

I stood outside, took my photos, but then I just kept standing there.  There was still lots of daylight, maybe no sunlight, but lots of time to still appreciate what I’m looking at, and feeling.  I saw beautiful animal friends, grass, I saw trees, nature, thing maybe not so natural, but everything felt fine.

Something hit me.  It may fleeting, because feelings tend to do that, if you let them.  Feelings can be fickle.  But, for a few minutes I felt comfortable with me, in my own skin, and the universe.  It felt good.  I want that feeling all the time.  I have this tea to thank, my friends to thank, and I always owe it something much bigger than us.  I’m going to say that a lot.  It just comes to me, naturally….

For more on Paromi , here is their story, where you can find their teas, and to purchase online.

At $10 a bottle, that may seen steep (ha) to some.  But trust me, it’s well worth the investment.

And I know I’ll be making another investment soon.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

What Will Be…

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In the three plus years I’ve been doing this, there’s several tea brands I’m grateful to have gotten feedback from,  have a working relationship with, or are in constant dialogue with to see how I can expand this thing.  The latter is entirely up to me, and my belief that I can take this to another level.  In my head and my heart I’m already there.  It will manifest itself naturally, organically, and through a strong spirit and belief in abundance, and in myself of course.

I mentioned how I’ve gotten feedback from several companies.  There’s several that resonate but one from Celestial Seasonings still affects me for a variety of reasons.  That post that ties it all together can be found here.

This was based on negative feedback I gave to one of their teas, and they gave me the best gift (during the holidays of course) of having me sample all their teas as a thank you for my honest feedback, and also maybe as a make good.

What made this so special was not only did this give me enough content to last past Christmas and into the new year, but it felt like a validation for all the dedication and effort I’ve put into this blog.  But in a way, at the time, it felt effortless.  I thought after a while, did I peak too soon?  Did I not deserve this kind of praise?  Did I expect more or less than I deserved?  All the questions I should and then I shouldn’t be asking in hindsight.

But because I gave a bad a review a tea, and they wanted me to try a bunch more, it makes me want to buy their teas and support them even further, which I’m doing for sure.  I don’t take that for granted.

At the time I felt grateful, and I still am.  I felt at the time that time stood still, anything is possible, and the universe had big plans for me.

Then maybe I got complacent, too busy, or started taking things for granted.  I honestly don’t know.  All I know is you and I can be our best friend, or otherwise.  Where am I going with all this?

In those two years since there’s maybe been a part of me that is expecting care packages and feedback, when I shouldn’t expect anything.   There’s a different between expectations, presumptions, and a genuine feeling of success.  I’m truly grateful to be able to even write this out, and have an audience (which continues to grow) that enjoy what I’m doing, and want to help me and see it succeed.  That makes me feel good

So in a way, this is an homage, a thank you, and another walk with a tea that’s not only affordable, accessible, but all around awesome.

CelestialPeppermintTea

The Peppermint Herbal Tea contains just one ingredient.  That’s exactly right.  Does it get any better? Well only if the taste matches the aura that surrounds Celestial Seasonings.  And the answer is yes.

Maybe it was the mood my friend and I were in.  It was just after Christmas, and that still means a time for reflection (as I’m doing now and we were doing just about a month ago), contemplation, confusion, and a lot of other things.

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Yet it’s also time for hope, promise, looking forward to a new year, but also appreciating where we are.

Time, feelings, moments can be fleeting, fickle, and at times all an illusion.

We’re all connected, all energy, and coming from the same source.

I like to think that the good I’ve put out there into the universe has and will continue to be rewarded.  I can only hope this continues, and it will.

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A simple like sipping tea with a friend brings me joy, uplifts me, and gives me the most meaningful stories.  It gives me a sense of purpose.

This is my purpose.

The title of this post is pretty open-ended, and that same goes for most of our lives.  We experience just joy, sometimes sadness, but hopefully more joy, and a lot of adventures along the way.   This adventure is just getting started.

Big things are coming, I can feel it.  But for know I adore this tea, and I suggest you grab yourself some while the weather is cold, and being cozy and comfortable sounds like the best thing ever right now.

To find Celestial Seasonings at a store near you click here, or you can buy them online,  there’s so much to discover, so much to learn,  so much to see, and so many ways to connect.

Finally, here is my growing (and will continue to do so) history of Celestial Seasonings Tea.

2018 is going to be something else.  I don’t know where this year is going, but I have some idea.  It’s good to embrace to unknown, not fear it.  It’s good to be get a sense of things, even if you can’t see it…

Peace and harmony to you.  Peace be with you.

Ideen

 

That’s The Island Greeting…

HITeaCoconutMacadmiaTea

This post is long overdue for several reasons.  First, a friend brought me a couple of boxes of Hawaiian Islands Tea Company, and while I sampled them, I just never gave myself the opportunity to write about them.  That, or the timing didn’t seem right.

For more on purchasing Hawaiian Island Teas, click here.

Speaking of timing, a recent visit right after Christmas, to the ever-so-charming Café Latte da in the beautiful Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore, told me the timing was just right.

I met up with a friend on a truly random day, which are always my favorites.  The intention was coffee, breakfast, maybe a pastry, and who know what else.  But intention and attention to things change.  Yes there was coffee, but I recall fondly how charming their tea display was.

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While you see a familiar brand in full display, off to the left was the Hawaiian Islands that have alluded me for far too long.

It was meant to be.  It’s really that simple.  I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, I detached myself from the universe, whether I realized it or not, and the tea was just waiting for me, in plain sight.

The tea I’m actually going to talk about is the Coconut Macadamia Herbal Rooibos tea, that I’m actually sipping on currently to make this post a little more authentic.  I may do more of this in the future, if I can gain even some more inspiration reminiscing on the past sipping experience, and how I feel in the present, and as I write this.

Considering that this was a little under a month ago, and still technically in the holidays, a lot of feelings and emotions are already in place, and even more amplified because of the season.

For all the melancholy, there’s always much to be grateful, hopeful, and to be happy for.  Just the fact that I’m able to write this out is a blessing.  And the fact that you, me, or anyone else has a gift to express themselves is another one.  I could go on and on.

HITeaCoconutMacadmia

How was the tea?  While it may not make sense to drink it during the colder months, it made all the sense to me.  It makes all the sense.  That’s what’s so great about tea, you can have many of them, hot or chilled, and many during any time of year.

This was a great tea.  And Roobios continues to be impress me and make me so happy.

HITeaCoconutMacadmiaTeaNotes

The flavors of coconut and macadmia are enough, more than enough, to make you smile, feel good, and feel relaxed.  As the synopsis says Rooibos is known to help with digestive issues and nervous tension, which is something I’ve been dealing with for quite some time.  And while I think most natural teas, have so many health benefits, it’s good to know that Rooibos is exactly what I need more times than not.  No matter I’ve been so drawn to it.  That’s no accident.

You know what else helps with tension?  Good company, a quiet space, and plenty of time to listen to what’s going on with the friends in your world, in a setting that I yearn for.

 

HITeaCoconutMacadmiaTeaSantaI haven’t been to Latte da since, and I almost in a way feel that’s fitting.   I’ll go back for a coffee, a pastry, a breakfast item, and time will go on, and I won’t think about things.

But another magnetic force, a sign from the universe, and something much bigger than I can describe will bring us back here for another momentous day.   I might be sound dramatic, but these are the experiences that better me as a person, humble me, and remind me that it’s ok to feel whatever it is I’m feeling.

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I hope I’m forgiven for posting these holiday images a little late. Haha.

I want to believe the universe loves me, forgives me, and is here to look out for me.

It looked out for us on this day.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

 

…The Highest of the High…

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If you don’t know then I’ll say it, The Land of Kush is a masterpiece in all areas.

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It took me over 3 1/2 years from discovering this gem, to actually walking and enjoying myself and my life.  What took me so long?  I have no answers, other than I wasn’t meant to go there until right around this past Christmas.  I honestly don’t know after that, but the universe had other plans for me now, and now the universe has brought me here.

This wasn’t a meal I was ever going to write about or share with you necessarily across this blog or wherever else I may write about things. And it wasn’t for any negative reasons, it just did’t come across my radar.  I was going to enjoy my meal, likely give a great review across multiple sites, then hopefully romanticize it enough to the point I’ll set myself up for a letdown the next time I came back.  That last sentence was a joke by the way, but I think you know what I mean.

Your first impression is the lasting impression, and like I said, I didn’t think I was going to be able to share with you.  But that was until…

LandofKushSorrell

I saw their Sorrel (or Sorrell) on the drink menu which is fresh brewed hibiscus leaves, and nothing else.  And my favorite kind of drinks are the ones with the fewest ingredients.  And this was joy to drink, and it’s best drank cold.  You can see the pictures for yourselves and just picture how magnificent this is.  And it’s exactly that and all the other good vibrations that comes with it.

And I’ll have more good vibes to talk about shortly.

LandofKushCurryChickun

I kept it simple with my order, which is something I’m guilty of when going somewhere new.  I got the Curry Chickun, vegan mac and cheese, and rice and vegetable medley.  And the meal is incredible.  I can only say so much, the pictures say it all.

I so badly wanted to like this based on what friends of mine had shared with me, and the aura of prestige that I bestowed upon this place, just because the years started to pass by and I still had yet to set foot in the restaurant.

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Damn this was good.  I didn’t expect to finish it all right then and there.  But I took my time and found myself in the most peaceful place I’ve been in some time.  And with all the commotion of life, the holidays, and and everything else that comes in our direction, any kind of peace and tranquility is welcome.  And I was so out at peace, I was so happy, and I was just so happy with everything.

This place felt so Baltimore, felt so local, but also felt unfamiliar, yet familiar all at once.  The feelings of familiarity and doing this somewhere before in a previous life were there.  I can’t quite put my finger on it.  I was transported myself into a different universe and felt transformed all at once.  And when I go to the next level; it’s not always about the food, and at many times it’s bigger than anything related to the restaurant itself.   It’s something bigger than us, out of this body, and out of this world.

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For about an hour, I felt like I was the only person on Earth.  And that’s a feeling that isn’t narcissistic, self indulgent, or any other bells and whistles like that.  It’s more of a feeling of calm, of zen, of what makes this life so great.

This food was so great, the simple service, the amazing staff, and that incredible music are all the perfect complement to one another.   Everything was vibrating off the charts in a way I haven’t felt in some time.

And about the music..  I haven’t heard a quality sequence of songs anywhere in years.  That includes going to bars, lounges, even live concerts, and the occasional pretentious club I’ve been to.   The latter part is kind of a joke but somewhat serious, ha.  But give me great beats, hip hop, neo soul, or whatever you want to call it, from the 90’s, and I’m a happy guy.

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I was already done with my food but the hits just kept coming one after another.  At this point I was afraid to leave.  I was afraid I was going to miss a song I hadn’t heard in years.  And truthfully, I didn’t have that big of plans later in the day that I had to leave.  I was happy where I was, I was grateful where I was, and I was where my feet were.  And it was a beautiful place.

This is a beautiful place.

LandofKushMenu

For more on Land of Kush, here is their story, their menu, upcoming events, and their contact info.

It won’t be three plus years until the next time.

Thank you Land of Kush.  This is a memory I’m so grateful for.

Happy New Year.

Ideen

 

 

The Joy and Peace of the Season

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I used a similar title once before (right here), in a different universe, where I was in a different place.  I was in a place of peace, of happiness, where I was younger (even though it was only three years ago), and everything seemed like it would go on forever.  All the while knowing that the life I’m living can’t go on forever.

And I’m not talking about a life full of partying, going crazy, and living in the fast lane, or whatever these cheeseball terms are.  I’m talking about spending time with the ones you care the most about, whether it’s over Christmas or any time of year.  We’re grateful for the moments and the time we have, feeling that time may stand still, we could do this all day, we want to do this all day, and we want to be where we are.

I’ve had so many moments like that in the past year, with the awareness that nothing lasts forever.   The fact that I’m expressing my thoughts about this is that I still haven’t come to terms, or made peace with this.  If I’m being vague, well that’s the point.  But the fact that I’m aware at least shows that I’m at least trying to come to terms with things in my life.

The peaceful, the relaxing, and the calming parts of the holidays will always be there, but for me, it’ll take on a whole new trajectory.   I feel like I’ve outgrown a few things that I maybe should’ve done a while ago but such is life.  And while I outgrow certain aspects, I embrace the simple, the companionship, the love, the community, from friendship and family that has always been, and will always be there.  At least I hope so.

This leads me to another community.  The Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company has been so good to this blog for the duration, (previous posts can be found here), and a much needed visit, which was again unplanned, to their Timonium location, brought upon me some much needed Christmas Cheer.

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And that Christmas Cheer lead into some Christmas Spirit, aha!  The Eastern Shore Christmas Mint Tea from the Eastern Shore Tea Company came at the right time, in a time where my this holiday season has been a bit off for me, and has seen so many rapid fire changes around me, that I wasn’t sure I would be able to cope with.

But we learn to adapt.  Whether it’s because we have no choice, fight or flight, or we just learn through experience, somehow life goes on.  And it’s going on my friends.

With all the commotion of the holidays, the running around, the shopping, the parties, the eating, the drinking, and all the other frenzy that comes with it; there’s these reminders in life to slow down.  I for one wish I didn’t need reminders, and should always live in as harmonious and as peaceful of a place as possible.  It’s more than doable, and while external situations can’t be helped, there’s still more than enough room for peace, that should be embraced and never taken for granted.

So what’s what I did here.  It was a busy day, but after I purchased my tea, I found a seat, and just was happy with where I was, nothing more, nothing less. Actually more yes.  More happiness and peace is good.  I brought a few chocolates, more for display than anything else, and got some photos with my new friends.

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But before I continue to lose sight of the point of this blog, the tea is tremendous.  But then again, in the place I was in, the mood I was in, and with this setting, just about any tea would be making me feel like a new man.  But this China Black Tea, with hibiscus and peppermint made me feel so warm inside, was so kind to my stomach, kind to me, but most importantly was kind to my soul and spirit.   For this window of time, I felt the joy and peace of the season, and it’s something we all yearn for and it’s not that we deserve it, but we deserve to be good to ourselves, to be good to our family, our friends, our neighbors, our community, and this universe.

After I stopped taking a few pictures, I just sat there, no phones, no distractions (well I maybe did take a picture of their beautiful Christmas tree), and a whole lot of just being,   This is not necessarily an art form, but it does take precision and practice.

What I got from this day is while things may be tumultuous at times, confusing at times, and trying at times, that I’m still here, I’m still breathing, and I have value to give to myself, my surroundings, and this great big world of ours.

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Even if this wasn’t the most amazing and beautiful of Christmases for me, it was still enjoyable at many points.  And maybe down the line I’ll look back at 2017 and realize this was more of a pivotal, transitional, or maybe life altering year then I even realize.

For more on Baltimore Coffee & Tea Company, here are their locations, their story, and their list of teas as well as coffees available for purchase online.

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I hope you guys had a Merry Christmas.

Ideen

 

It’s Beginning To Look…

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Yes it is.  It’s less than a week till Santa, Rudolph, and all their friends will be bringing joy to folks like you and me.

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And that includes some fine teas from Stash that perfectly embody what the holidays are all about.  Holiday Chai, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Morning are the three I decided to go.  I would’ve done more and I might later, but these teas scream fun, heartwarming, love, and all the joys of what makes this holiday season so bright.  The labels say so, so I have to believe it right?

This post may go the way of how many of our seasons are going, which is a frenetic pace with little rest.  However, if I find my stride it will settle itself.  And that truly applies to any time of year

Ha well here goes.

The Holiday Chai was different than the usual chai’s I’ve had in the past.  And that may sound like I’m reaching but after further review the ingredients speak for themselves.  Natural gingerbread and natural Jamaican rum give this black tea an added kick for the holidays.  Yet this can be drank at anytime.  I found this enjoyable and I’m not one to always find chai’s to be my favorite.  But this was really good.   And a little nutmeg never hurts either.

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We now fast forward to Christmas Eve.  There’s a deliberate order to this because I like y sentiments as cheesy as they might be.  Just like these cheesy mugs you will see throughout.  But when it comes to the season, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Just like with the previous tea, the Christmas Eve has cinnamon as well.   And while there’s orange, vanilla, and other flavors, the major problem here is the spearmint.  It was too overpowering for me.  I wasn’t a fan.  And while I may like spearmint gum (and that’s not my favorite either), this did not work for me.

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And that’s a shame because I love Christmas Eve the day itself, but this tea didn’t work.  I envision some will like it, but I doubt I will be having this anytime soon.  It was, in my opinion, an ambitious effort that comes up short.

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Now we go to what was my favorite, Christmas Morning.  How apropos.  Didn’t you love Christmas morning as a kid.  And I mean the day itself.  You loved the simplicity of it, the time with family, opening gifts, the smiles, the music, the food, the smells, and all the other little things you can’t put into words.

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This is my kind of tea.  It’s a simple mix of black and jasmine green teas.  And while I love all the creativity of these tea blends with dynamic flavors, fruits, oils, and other essences of this universe; sometimes you just want a straight forward tea.

This is as straight forward and simple as it gets.

I remember drinking this thinking this is my dad’s kind of tea.  He got me into drinking simple black, Earl Grey, and eventually green teas.  This is just a blend of all those simple tea drinking moments with family.

This is the kind of tea that speaks to me.  Well all have things that hit home, in a spiritual sense that makes us something bigger than whatever it is that we’re eating, drinking, doing, and in this instance sipping.   I felt an out-of-body experience while having this cup.  And as I write about this, those feelings are coming back.

It applies to this tea, and I hope it applies to you and yours this holiday season.   This tea is beautiful and I hope the rest of your season is beautiful, through Christmas and beyond.

Here are my previous holiday posts on Stash, here and here.

For more on Stash Tea, here is their story, teas available for purchase online, and where to find their teas at a store near you.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Peace Be With You.

Ideen