I Felt Transformed, Transported…

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Some time ago, I had stumbled upon SPORTea at one of my favorite places, Baltimore Cofee and Tea Company, and it was on a display table along with many other teas to select for your brewing and steeping enjoyment.

It just didn’t feel right at the time.  Sometimes it just doesn’t.  It didn’t stand out to me.  I drank it hot.  It literally felt like a tea that was just there to me.  I ordered it, I drank it, and then I left.  Maybe it felt forced.  If it sounds like I’m talking badly about it, I don’t mean to.  There’s a reason I never felt compelled to write about it.  I have so many teas like this on backlog, and these stories will sadly (or not) never see the light of day.

But then something magical happened…

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A couple of weeks back I stopped in at Baltimore Coffee and Tea’s newest location, at the Annapolis Towne Center, I already knew I was going to walk into something special.

I could tell from the outside looking in that this has that place to be kind of vibe.  And I don’t mean in a pretentious sense.  I mean in a place to feel like you’re in your world world, or your own universe, but still feel same to be near your home or loved ones.

In typical fashion, I stopped in alone and already felt at peace about things.  It’s all your perception, and I could have felt like I was just there or in a funk, like I was in a previous visit I alluded to, but I felt good.  The gentleman at the counter literally read my mind.  I asked for an iced tea recommendation and without any hesitation, he said SPORTea.

There was a blast from the past and a flashback but right away.  I had heard that name from somewhere, but it didn’t register right away.

All you need to know about SPORTea can be found here & here.  I’ve done my job and now I’ll just tell you how great this tea is.  The dichotomy is like night and day.  This is meant to drank iced.

I don’t think words can describe how healing and uplifting this drink is.  It hit the spot on so many levels, and I don’t have the words for that either.   Being in a good mood and in a good place helps.

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I started off admiring the inside, but a drink like this and a place like this screams sitting in the courtyard that faces the Towne Center and the rest of the world.  But inside I felt safe, I felt protected, and I felt like I was the only person on Earth.  I’ve often said this in previous stories, but it’s true.

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The skies and the sun were looking picturesque, and it was a perfect day for doing nothing or anything you want.  That can apply to just about any day if you think about it, or better of not.  This felt like a go with your own flow kind of day, and I’m grateful I ended up here.

Baltimore Coffee & Tea has always displayed the best, brightest, and most inspiring stories to me, for not just tea, but life life in general (previous visits from all around the area can be found here) and for this to be in Annapolis (My past Annapolis memories for your viewing pleasure are right here) makes it that much sweeter.

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Speaking of sweet, I can’t help myself but include a sweet treat with my teas, but SPORTea can be enjoyed alone or with anything you want.

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I’ve yet to see SPORTea outside of Baltimore Coffee & Tea but this link to shop online seems like a good start.

I hope you have a great one and as always, peace be with you…

Love,

Ideen

 

From The Heart to the Soul

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Literally next door, and I mean literally next door, from where I spoke on last week, is another charming and I’ll say it, adorable spot in West Annapolis, Rutabaga Craft Juicery.

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I had no intentions of writing about this wonderful place, (here is their menu, some eco information, more about them, and their contact info) and that’s not meant in a disparaging way.  I just came for some cold-pressed juice, a smoothie, and some peace.

There’s plenty of places I walk into that I’ll never write about because either it doesn’t fit the context of what I’m saying, I like the break, or I just don’t think about.  I’ve been doing this for a while now, that I don’t always think about what to discuss or not discuss, without a little research, preparation, but my favorite is always the spontaneous.

As would be with Rutabaga…

West Annapolis is its own entity, its own island, and own universe within such a tiny and beautiful universe of Annapolis (my past posts on this wonderful place are here), that the joy just continues to compound.

With such a cozy space, it’s a blessing I had an outside table to myself.  I came around lunch hour, and while people were in and out, it once again felt like I was the only person on Earth.  That’s a good feeling, and while it may feel egocentric or narcissistic, it feels like peace to me.  And there’s more of where that I came from, and more at our disposal then we know.

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I went with the Berried (a blend of apple ,strawberry, blueberry raspberry, and banana maple chia) and it went down smooth, went down easy, and went down a little too fast.  The weather warranted it.  Which also means I could’ve used a glass of water or two.  I did get around to that eventually.

But as I was leaving, I noticed they had kombucha on tap and available for sampling.  Since I already bought a drink, I feel like I had some immunity and didn’t feel as greedy or as cheap by trying all three samples.

One stood out above the rest.

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The Green Garden from Federal Brewing Company based out of Federalsburg, MD, was one of the more refreshing kombucha’s I’ve had.  It was the perfect contrast to my fruit drink, that I loved trading a sip of each back and forth, while cleansing my palate of course.   Even without a sip of water in between, I got all the beautiful tastes and flavors from each.

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I honestly forgot what was in the Green Garden, but maybe I wasn’t supposed to know or remember.  I just knew it was great, and I would love to have some more.

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For the warmer climates, you can’t go wrong with either of these.  You can’t go wrong with supporting local business, and any chance to sit outside, be with nature, enjoy my surroundings, and enjoy not one, but two amazing beverages is something to be truly grateful for.

If you’re local to the area, and have not visited Rutabaga’s, I highly recommend it.  The staff is so friendly and accommodating. Many tourists will visit this summer, and because of its location it may be overlooked, but I wouldn’t.  It’s a gem among gems, among more gems.  While open for less than three years, it looks like it’s going to be a mainstay for years to come.  It’s another great reason to visit and love our state capital.

Have a good one, enjoy your day, and peace be with you.

Ideen

 

 

Add To Wishlist

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With all the writing that I do, it’s hard to not sound repetitive.  I’ve only recently started looking back at stories from the last year, and I’m proud that many of them have a different slant on teas, similar teas, and just life in general.  While I do see similarities, every story is different, and every story feels significant and feels real.

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Harney & Sons continues to be one of the standard bearers for tea, and it’s highly sought after by many of my friends and peers, that it’s the one tea they prefer, and some they only sip exclusively.

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They’re doing something right.  That’s an understatement by the way.  All their teas are available for purchase here, and here is my Harney history lesson.

Speaking of exclusive, I first had the sense that Harney & Sons teas had this stigma of being unapproachable and only available to the elite and high society types.   My presumptions were false.  However, over 10 years ago I worked in a typical corporate environment where their teas were served at parties, luncheons, and other events, where I thought this tea was out of my league.

Don’t ever thing something is out of your league.

But I would grab the leftover bags, and of course the free food when everyone left, (hey free food is free food), and when I would have their teas, I thought I had struck gold.  It’s gold alright.

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And free tea is free tea, but this is worth paying a little extra for.  While most teas are $2-$4, to only have to pay $6 for the Green Tea Coconut tin 20 pack of sachet’s, is a bargain.  That is more than welcoming, more than inviting, and feels like home.

This tea takes us back to February, where the weather was different, and the teas are all going to be hot.  They’re still going to be hot, here and there, as the weather gets nicer.

Everything about this is great.  I was on a mini vacation, and while I was isolated, I really wasn’t. I had the company of some amazing dogs, beautiful nature, and a selection of teas where you throw in that kid in a candy store analogy.  Just a little healthier of course.

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Green tea, coconut, vanilla, ginger, and lemongrass is a memorable melange, where my words are not going to be enough.  When I opened up the tin, the immediate sensation and feeling of all the goodness hit me.  I knew the steeping and brewing process was going to be just as special.

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Perhaps it’s because I was away from home, yet I was in a home where I felt comfortable and at ease, that this might be more romantic then if this were somewhere else.  A tea like this deserves all the romanticizing in the world, yet doesn’t need me or anyone else to do so.  This is a masterpiece.

I’m glad I had this, where I did.  The three dogs I shared this time with (no I didn’t give them any tea), made this all the more memorable and my heart feels so big right now.  The pups did it, this tea did it, and something just made my spirit so big.

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This was 3 months ago and I remember it like it was well, I don’t know.   It’s beautiful.

I’m glad I decided to write this today.  It’s Be Kind To Animals Week, and I’m so happy and grateful that some caricatures of animals are on display with this incredible tea.

Where do we go from here?  I almost want time to stand still or I would love to go back to this story.  I’m glad I have this written out, and I have this memory that will last with me forever.

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This is a tea for now, and for….

Blessings to you..

Ideen

It Is Only With The Heart…

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I write this on the verge of Spring, the verge of Iranian New Year (which coincides with the first day of spring, and depending on where you are, has already happened), and the verge of well I don’t know.   I am of Iranian heritage by the way, yet was born here, but I just digressed.  And I’ll stop now.

This has been some winter,  some year already, and a whole lot of other things.   Many I can’t describe, many that seem invisible and hard to comprehend, and some that need no explanation.  Some things are just bigger than us.

As we approach Spring, we know this can be a time of rebirth, spiritual healing, rejuvenation, and all those other words that mean the same thing, but mean so much.

It’s a time that can mean so much…

As the days go longer, and our spirits are heightened, it’s a reminder how quick and fleeting this life is.  I’m over three years into this blog, wondering but appreciating where all this time went.  It’s a good thing.  I’m fortunate to continue to do this, and hope that this will grow, flourish, and become something bigger than I can imagine.  Just like the season.  I know it’s coming.

I know things are good, they’ll only get better, and I believe it for myself and for those closest to me.

So it only makes sense that the tea this week is the Supreme Matcha Green from Pukka.

If they’re sounding familiar, it’s because I’ve written about them twice before since February, and I see them becoming a regular staple of this journey.   Pukka has my heart, and I feel it understands me.

I would like to say I understand them, but I don’t necessarily need to.  But I do know I love their teas.  And seriously, I love their teas.

The Supreme Matcha Green was actually not what I was going to write about.  A dear friend suggested I write about the Clean Matcha Green, but I looked far and wide (no not really haha), and while there was no luck, the signs were all their to write about something Supreme.

And supreme it is.  It’s masterful.

The synopsis is great, and it shows sense of humor and seriousness all at once.

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Sometimes our superhero or are normal (whatever that means, it’s all relative) powers do run low and we need a reboot.   This is the tea that’ll do it.  And there’s nothing glamorous about it, which makes it fantastic to me.  That’s just the way I want it.

It’s the combination of green teas from the great regions of the world, and the matcha powder that even though seems understated after each sip, you know it’s there.  I couldn’t tell you what stands out in this tea, because in this instance, it doesn’t have to.

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It’s a green tea that is just a cut above many green teas you’re going to have.  I take it that the energy and soul behind this tea has a lot do with it.   Pukka has a lot to be proud of as they have created something incredible, joyous, and it’s the quintessential tea for not just this season, but anytime you want.

But this is the kind of tea that can kickstart a season, your life, and your anything.

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There’s just something so grandiose in the simplicity of this tea.  Even if you’re not a fan of Matcha or how it tastes, I think this tea is going to change people’s minds and win hearts and spirits all over the place.

You may notice a sweet treat within this holiday display, and that’s merely for decoration.  Well I did sneak a snack or two, but this tea doesn’t need anything.   A lot can be paired with something, but teas like this are best sipped slowly and sipped on its own.  This is one to savor my friends.

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Pukka continues to amaze and inspire.  I feel like my superhero powers will be running high after a cup of the Supreme Matcha Green.

It’s heart, and sometimes it is only with the heart…

And if you needed another reason to love their teas, look here.  Hi Pukka, you’re amazing.

Here is their story, a focus on our well being, their contact information, and where to buy their inspirational teas.

Happy Spring and Happy New Year to you! It’s going to be a good one!

Love,

Ideen

…Look Up To The Sky…

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Well we finally got to March, and while it felt like it wouldn’t get here, it got here, and got here quick.

This is life now.   As we get older, it feel like things are accelerating.  While that might be true, (and no this is not some rant about space and time, well maybe), everything is relative.  We’re all from the same creative source, and we all come from abundance.

I want to believe that for me as well.  I can believe it for everyone else, but lately doubt has crept in my life.   Maybe it’s the cold weather, maybe it’s life changes happening to me and the one’s closest to me that have an direct or indirect impact on me.

As happy as many of my posts have been, I was due for some turbulence.   And this is where I am currently.   As I write this, I could go up, down, or stay the course.   My feelings, as well as your feelings, are fickle.  They’re fleeting, and can come and go at a moment’s notice, like it just did right there.

When times can be tough, and I don’t feel like my best, I must take a look around and look at myself, and realize I have much to be thankful and grateful for.  It’s easier done than said.  Yes I did just say that.  Again I need to tell myself that.

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So I always look up the sky…

My gratitude for this post comes from the fact that this tea was given to me as a gift.  And specifically this was Christmas gift, including the mug, that I was only able to receive a few weeks ago.   It comes from dear friends, along with myself, being busy with other plans and things just coming up.  But making time for the people you love is of the upmost importance.   So I’m thankful to say, that time was made.  And more has been made since with these wonderful people.

This most wonderful tea comes from one of my now new favorites, Pukka.

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I wrote about Pukka a month ago, based on a brand new discovery of this tea.   And this is how life can be so wonderful.  I wrote about Pukka, not knowing I would be presented with another gem from them…

The Turmeric Glow is as close to perfect as its going to be for calming, for peace, for joy, for abundance, for happiness, and all those things we strive for.

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The combination of turmeric, lemon, cardamom, and green tea is almost like a throwback to how a tea should taste.  I’ve always said the less ingredients the better.

And wouldn’t you know it, there’s licorice.  And if anything, the licorice is so understated that it adds just enough to enhance this tea, but doesn’t take away from it.

Just because you might not taste it, or see it, doesn’t mean it’s there.

Lack of evidence, doesn’t mean evidence of lack.   Think about that one for a minute.

I had this tea in a different setting.  And a change of scenery means everything…

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I sat outside in my friends’ backyard, with nothing but nature, nothing but their beautiful dogs (they didn’t make any of these pictures, but maybe in a future post), and nothing with the silence of my thoughts, which were up, down, around, and all over the place like a roller coaster.

But after a few sips, all felt right.  If it’s a placebo then so be it.  If it’s the fact that sipping tea is one of those simple joys that will always make me happy, then so be it.  If it was the flavors, then well you get the idea.

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Here’s more on why so many of us love Turmeric.

It’s all of those things, maybe none of those things, and a lot of those thing unseen, unspoken, and unheard that make this or any experience what it is.  Ultimately it falls upon us to make the best of it.

I just need to keep telling myself that.

This is just the beginning.  There’s more love of Pukka coming.

To find out more about Pukka Herbs, here is a list of all their teas (including Turmeric Glow)their mission,  a section on our well being, and, frequently asked questions, and, a little something inspirational.

To get in touch you can find them here.

Their teas are available at Wegmans, and hopefully a retailer near you.

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Peace Be With You.  Spring is coming…

Ideen

 

There Will Be A Next Time

 

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Over the Summer, I made a trek to the Gulf Coast of Florida, and was mesmerized by the love for tea people have, and all the tea shoppes, markets, and displays all over the place.

St. Petersburg in particular was so good to me.  All my posts can be found from those captivating experiences can be found here.

One thing I neglected to mention over the course of January, is that it’s National Hot Tea Month.

While that shouldn’t change my posts for any particular reason, it should give me a reason to change up something.  I think you know what I’m trying to say here.

There’s so many stories that unfortunately are past the expiration date, or it’s the time of year where it doesn’t make sense or feel right to write about a certain time, place, or experience.  Those will either have to keep waiting, or it’s not meant to see the light of day, just yet.

I knew I had the amazing tea and experience from Haraki-Gordon,whom had a booth from the Saturday Morning Market sitting in my back pocket, just waiting for the perfect time.

Now is as a good as time as any.   It was a whirlwind of a day trying all the teas on a display.  And considering that this was June, of course I mainly sipped on iced teas, kombucha, and got a sweeter sensation.

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But when all is said and one, my heart will always be with the hot teas, the most natural of teas, and made of the most purest ingredients.  Haraki-Gordon had the most unassuming of stands, off to the side, and if you weren’t looking for it, you wouldn’t have given it a second thought, or paid it any mind.

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The couple who was there, were the actual makers of the tea, so it made for a more genuine conversation versus someone who would be at a stand because they had to be, or may not be so passionate for what they’re talking about.

They were so nice, and regardless of how warm is what, they made me want to sip on their green and red teas.  Yes I said red tea!

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They cultivate their teas mainly in Matcha form, which is as pure as it gets.  All items are available for purchase here.

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The Green Tea Powder, for this day, was a palate cleanser for one, but it was a spiritual one as well.  The samples were merely in tiny cups but it was enough to purify me in a way that I didn’t know until now, was even more important than I realized.

The Red Tea Powder, while more brownish in tint has a stronger taste that isn’t going to work well with everyone.  It’s higher in tannins but it will rejuvenate you in ways that you didn’t know possible.  I’m serious about this.  This was incredible.  Both teas are incredible.

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It helps where I was.  It was the summer, and the energy at the market was incredible.  Everyone seemed so friendly, so kind, so inviting, and so welcome.   What’s funny is you see that I took these teas to a nearby fruit stand, and soon as I took these pictures, it started to rain.

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It would stop raining and it would rain again.  It would be sunny and it would rain, and for a while it was just sunny and raining.  There’s symbolism in all this.  It was the only day I experienced this weather masterpiece.  And while I’m sitting huddled under a tent with people I’ve never met, may never see again, holding my tiny cups of tea; it all felt so real.  I was alone but I wasn’t.  I was with all these people but I was ok being alone.  I knew this is something that doesn’t happen often so I’m grateful to have experienced an atmosphere and energy I don’t always get at home.

And at some point, walking in the rain felt fine to me….

That’s the point of going away for a while.  I think it’s time to go away for a while again.

Everything about this was beautiful.

There will be a next time.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

Springtime Feelings In The Middle Of…

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So this felt quick.  Well when you do three posts in three days, it feels about right and it fells relative.  But I think I’m just getting started.

After the first two posts (you can find them here and here respectively) from one of my favorite places of all time, Wegmans, (click here to find a store near you).

I’m feeling a tad emotional. Why I don’t know.  I just tend to get emotional.  It’s not like the teas and store is going anywhere. If anything this is only beginning.   I feel like we use that term, ‘it’s only the beginning’, or ‘we’ve only just begun’ a lot, but it’s true.   There’s so much tea and so much time to talk about it.

Absolutely.

The Jasmine Globe Tea is exactly that.  It’s shaped like a globe and during steeping it blooms into a flower.  Well that was the intent.

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I just love the look of this tea.  It’s almost too beautiful for it to be brewed.  But then again, I can always save another piece or two to admire.  I mean look at this thing. How this was fused in the way it was is a marvel.  I bet it wasn’t that difficult, but I like to think this was done with such precision to get every herb, flower, spice, and everything else to look like perfection.

It smelled like perfection.  However, during infusing it didn’t quite break up to be like the flower it was meant to be.  I tried with and without the infuser.  Maybe it was me, maybe the water wasn’t hot enough, or maybe it was something else.

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But the smell of jasmine takes me back to my childhood.  I just recall it being in parts of potpourri, air fresheners, and even parts of various foods my parents could cook up.  It’s those scents that remind me of you holidays and celebrations past.  It’s not always the best of memories, but this one reminds me of many other people, not just relatives, going back in time.   I’m sure you have familiar scents and tastes that remind you of something from growing up, or maybe even more recently.  That’s my take on it, and this tends to manifest itself more so this time of year.

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The taste was not at profound as the aroma, but it was just right.  Too much jasmine might not work on the mouth at times.  This was meant to be exactly how it was intended.  I celebrate that spring time feeling with one of my favorite cups and we segue and tease future holiday celebrations with some more of my favorite decor, and some pumpkin spice oatmeal.

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One of my most favorite birthday presents ever, the beautiful black labrador retriever plate, is back for an encore.  It should be part of the main set and every encore!

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Last and certainly not the last (for now), is the Apple Pie Chai Rooibos.  Try saying that a few times without messing that up!

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This was the only tea that listed the ingredients on the bag.   Did every other tea have nothing except what was in the tea itself?   I still enjoy the vague, wine like descriptions of these teas, and will always find unintentional humor in them.

There’s ways to describe tea and then there’s ways to describe tea.

The Apple Pie might have had my favorite tint after completion.  It looks more orange but that’s due in part to orange peel and orange lemongrass.   The inclusion of apple pieces, cinnamon and hibiscus flowers make this the happiest of teas for the season.

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I love this one so much.

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I didn’t have any apple pie but some apple cider and pumpkin pretzels is just as viable as an alternative.   There will be more mentions of apple cider and similar teas as we progress.

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But right now there’s still plenty of time to celebrate autumn, November, Thanksgiving, and all the good that comes with it.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and the celebrations that will ensue makes me warm inside.  It gives me butterflies and makes me thankful for good family, good friends, and good health.

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I hope you enjoyed this trilogy.  This is it for now.   But there’s so much time for me to seek out some more approachable and welcoming holiday teas.  The traditional weekly post will be back, but not just yet.

I got a few more things in mind starting this weekend, into next week, and leading in to the big day.

I wish you good health and a happy holiday season.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen