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

 

Peach on the Beach

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We are days from Memorial Day and the holiday weekend here in the US of A.  How did we get here so quickly?  Well that’s life.  We’re busy and encompassed with so many things that while we may wish for holidays, we’re also so occupied with life and activities and everything else that days and events just creep up on you.

Here we go.  It’s the end of May and it’s time to celebrate.  It’s always time to celebrate. The party continues.  And of course that means the tea drinking party continues.

What better way to get this week and upcoming weekend going than a fateful stop to one of the great towns in Maryland and all of the United States, Annapolis, MD.

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The state capital has been so good to me and so good to this blog (here is a refresher), and so has The Spice & Tea Exchange.

Here is my cherished history of stories about this amazing company.

So I’m so fortunate to have ended up in Annapolis this week.  I always believe that nothing is by chance, and just as I was all set to have something else written up for this week, I find myself (or they found me) at their beautiful location on Main Street, which is centrally located to everything exciting in downtown Naptown.

I want to thank Gaby, the manager, for helping me find the correct teas for the season, the time of year, and for the story I’m telling.

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I will never try all their teas.  It just won’t happen.  Actually who knows, but their collection is so colossal that it’s just meant to be that there will always be a journey with this group, and not a conclusion.  I love that so much.

What makes them so sun is they always break out a few season and limited edition items at various times throughout the year.  Some I’ve presented to you over the past couple of years.

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This week I present to you the first of two of their limited time teas, the Peach on the Beach.  And it’s a grower for many reasons.  It smells absolutely incredible.

I think I’m going to like this even more as the weather heats up.  As of the day I brewed this, the skies were grey, the weather was lukewarm, and it wasn’t conducive to fully appreciating all that this tea has to offer.

 

Everyone’s palates and taste buds are different but I didn’t get all the peach and mango I was hoping for.  But after analyzing and preparing this tea hot and cold (yes both!), I understand.  It’s a black tea first and foremost, and I genuinely love that fact.  Black tea is what made me first get into tea before anything else.   This reminds me of teas I had growing up, sharing with my dad, members of my family, and now often with dear friends.

I fully think this is going to taste even better when shared with friends, shared with good times, shared with appropriate snacks (which isn’t necessary), and I fully think shared with sunny skies and glorious conditions.

Mine was sipped in solitude under murky skies and not the most ideal of spring or summer weather.

However, tell to that to my newest friend and newest tea infuser, Mr. Tea.  Yes, Mr. Tea from Fred & Friends, is also available through the Spice & Tea website or at all of their stores.

Mr. Tea is more than ready for the Summer, so he (I think?) might be making another appearance or two in the coming months if it feels right.  Which I know it will.

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So I said I also made it iced.   And not to be outdone by our beach bud Mr. Tea is another infuser and friend I made a couple of months back, ManaTEA.

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The ManaTEA is the perfect complement to any tea and infusing party, that I’m so grateful he decided to join us for this pre Memorial Day celebration.

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I want to add I used filtered water for both cups/glasses, and used plenty of ice for the iced tea.  Well yeah that would make sense.

Once again, I think under better days from the universe this is going to be incredible.  It was really good here but the atmosphere and the sky was not my friend on this day. Actually I shouldn’t say that.  This was how it was supposed to be.  It creates a different perspective for now and once the skies are perpetually picturesque, it’s going to make drinking this tea again all the more satisfying.

So what I did was add a little dash of Rose Sugar.  I don’t see it listed in their iconic list of sugars on the website, so maybe it’s exclusive to in store. Yes, for purchasing three tea packets you get a free bag of sugar.  I saw the Rose and didn’t look anywhere else.  Actually I did but the Rose stood out.  Just the color of the Rose petals and sugar looks like the most beautiful sand on the beach.

I love that this happened.  None of this was planned but it seemed pre-destined or pre-ordained.

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A little bit, and then a little more was added and it did add something to the tea.  I think the teas are perfect on their own but this was the perfect sweet kick to put this tea on another level of joy and inspiration.

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Speaking of inspiration, this company has been so great to me.  I’m a huge supporter of them and they have been supporters of this blog.  All I can hope is that I’m giving these teas their proper due.  Next week will continue with the Tiki Punch Herbal Tea.  Yes you read that right.  It smells amazing, I can only imagine what else it has to offer.

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Here is a list of the Spice & Tea’s Exchange locations, their link to shop online, and their contact information.

I wish you all a Happy Memorial Day Weekend.  Be safe, have fun, drink lots of tea, and then drink some more, tea that is.

Blessed,

Ideen

 

I Love This So Much

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I don’t have any clever titles for Easter or any other holiday this week.  What I do know is that the weather is more of a friend than a roadblock at times.  And as the sun shines brighter and the days get longer the tea drinking will slowly transfer over from hot to iced.  Maybe.

The tea I experienced recently is from a company that is near and dear to my heart.  And I’ve written about them once or twice before.  Well more than that.  But Celestial Seasonings will always have a soft spot with me.  They’ve been so good to me and this blog that each time I write about them (here is my history lesson) I want it to be crafted and worded in the best way possible.

With the Country Peach Passion this shouldn’t be difficult.  This is everything that I want in my tea and reminds me of everything that is good about this season and life in general.

And it helps when you’re in the comfort of your friends’ living room relaxing and doing as little as possible.  If this sort of sounds familiar, this is the same spot I was sitting in last fall for another wonderful tea sipping experience.

I think I would love this tea in any setting, with or without friends and family, hot or iced, or even when I’m not feeling so hot.  This is just the cup that’ll rejuvenate and brighten anyone’s day.  I mean how can it not?  That packaging is the gateway to wonders and enjoyment that I knew was coming, but I didn’t know it would be this good. Well yeah I did.

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Celestial Seasonings has always been evolving with their packaging and presentation. Yet it continues to even be more approachable, accessible, and all the while still affordable. We can’t take that for granted.  You can find this tea in many a grocery store shelve that it’s hard to miss.  But that’s the thing, it’s always there that these are the teas I sometimes overlook when searching for something new and something that might be amazing, but sometimes disappoints.  Celestial has rarely disappointed.

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Upon opening I just knew.  I just knew this tea would be great.   One of my dearest friends who I was hanging out with was raving about this tea, and that may have influenced my feelings a bit, but there’s no denying this.  This is a tea I want in my life forever.

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Peaches are symbolic of what’s happening now and what is to come.  It reminds me of sitting outside, relaxing, fun festivals, outdoor events, and the good people that we share these experiences with.  This was a tea I was grateful to share for the first time, with some amazing people.

Oh and my dolphin friend from the fall was back to enjoy the experience one more time.  Not sure my friend had any of this tea but I would be happy to share it.  This is a tea I’ve already purchased since for enjoyment at home and I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to try some peach tea.

This is also another reinforcement of my love for chamomile.  But there’s so much to love and there’s ingredients I love that I can’t pretend to be familiar with or understand.  But I don’t need to and neither do you.   The peaches and orange peel is what really stands out the most, to me at least.  I love hibiscus and not sure if I tasted any but I bet it added something just the same.  Sometimes less is more but sometimes every ingredient just works here.

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I tend to say this a lot but this is now one of my favorite teas.  I imagine the present company and the hours of relaxing and doing nothing definitely added to it.  But it’s an awesome tea all the same.

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After just a few pictures to capture the moment,  I went back to lounging in my comfy chair with an absolutely inspiring cup of tea.

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The sailboat mug and images in the background are just an added touch to a tea that didn’t teach any added touches.   Get this tea.

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You can the Country Peach Passion and any of their other stellar teas either online or at a store likely minutes from you.

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I hope you all had a Happy Holiday weekend, whether that would be Easter, Passover, or any other tradition that you honor.

More fun teas to celebrate and more celebrations (and times to relax and do nothing) to come.

Ideen

The Joys of Spring

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I love Spring.  We’re so close to the official day, which will be less than one week from when this thing gets posted.

There’s plenty of things I love.  One thing I know for sure has been my love affair with The Spice and Tea Exchange (for past posts click here), and with every new shoppe of there’s I visit, there’s another reminder of why I enjoy visiting their stores and sampling their incredible array of teas.

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As I just stated, I love checking off the list of locations I’ve been to.  At my count I’ve been to their Annapolis, MD; Alexandria, VA; and New Orleans, LA locations.  For only visiting three I feel like I’ve built a genuine connection with these wonderful company, and it all felt so effortless.

Williamsburg, VA should be on that list but I don’t think I can count that (more on that maybe down the line, as I don’t recall if I actually visited their store) and another friend was thoughtful enough to bring me a tea from their Forth Worth, TX store.  Good to know my friends know me so well.  And I think that’s what this tea experience is all about, enjoying tea and enjoying the company you have that tea with.

Now this is not going to turn into a national tour of visiting all their stores, even though that would be so wonderful, this is more about two fabulous and similar, yet so different experiences this past weekend in Rehoboth Beach, DE and Ocean City, MD.  Yes, two more off the list.   And yes, I went to the beach a little early this year.  But it’s never too early or too late for tea.

I think I shall break this down into two parts.

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My first ever visit to Rehoboth was a couple of days ago and was one of those experiences that continues the tradition of why I love this place so much.   And what a cozy and charming area Rehoboth Beach in general is.  It has a great small town feeling.

Yanna,  who was working at the time was enthusiastic to help and answer any questions. Whenever I visit, my main intent is to check out their seasonal teas, because they come and go in rapid-fire fashion.   They’re turnover with the new season of teas is sometimes less than a month.

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With that, before time runs out, I am proud to bring you the first of two Spring teas, their Wild Berry Spring Tea.

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I got to experience many free smells of their teas, but this was my first.  And it really got me excited for Spring.  The aromas of berries, vanilla, mint, and tulsi make for a lighthearted yet at the same time powerful bouquet of flavors that I could not wait to try.

The anticipation and build-up was worth it.

At the Ocean City Store that same day I bought a beautiful, new infuser mug that fits the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day.  You know because of well, yeah.

I want to thank Tiffany at the OC location for also being so kind and so helpful in my search for new tea gadgets. There will be more on this next week.

I’ve really set high expectations with this tea, and I still had a near three hour drive home before I got a chance to brew it.

I have good and breaking news.  This tea tastes just as good as it smells.  And just as good as advertised, if not more.

It once again has a powerful initial taste, which might be the cream.  But it’s light and for a Spring tea that’s what you want.  As the weather improves and the temperatures rises, we might be looking for more of those light bodied and lighter flavored teas that will be gentle on the stomach and in turn we’ll feel grateful and spiritually rejuvenated to have such a wonderful and majestic tea.

I put the suggested amount and that really made the difference.  I think adding too much may undermine the intent of what this tea is all about.   A few good minutes of steeping paid enormous dividends in the end.

The pictures of the tea leaves before and after are a thing of beauty.  How they expand after boiling, steeping, and infusing in water is absolute art.  Not all leaves, and for all intents and purposes, flowers bloom in this fashion.   What a treat and a what a blessing this was to witness.

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The green mug did not fully to the color of the this tea justice that I enlisted a new friend to help me show you how it looks in a clearer cup.    There it is!

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Beautiful right?  And my new holiday themed buddy enjoyed its (his?) (her?) tiny cup.  I almost think my friend savored theirs just a little bit more than I did.  This was an easy one to drink.  And if you’re at a nearby store, I would strongly suggest getting this tea while supplies last.  I’ve been told these teas will be around for 3-4 weeks.

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You can have nothing or everything with this tea.  These holiday themed sugar cookies were more for decoration than anything else.  I did have a little myself but a healthy tea likes this deserves a great complementary snack to go with it.  And that can be anything ou want.  In that sense the cookies worked perfectly.

I didn’t give all the details of both visits. I’ll save that for next week.  But I have posted some pictures from the Rehoboth store throughout this post for your viewing enjoyment. This is one where another post is more than necessary.

And any chance to write about Spice & Tea is good enough for me.   And hopefully some of you will get some enjoyment and seek out their teas, and maybe their which are also available for purchase online.

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This tea was fantastic, and with that I am so looking forward to trying the Peach Tumeric tea.  If the weather permits I will present it hot and cold.  I’m confident in that and confident the weather will cooperate on all levels.  It is Spring after all.

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And Spring mean a new year, new hopes, new opportunities, and new teas to try and share with the people we love, or in solitude.

As the days grow longer and the sun looks stronger, I now the tea experience will continue to get better.    And man I’m excited to get to part two next week.

See ya then and Happy Spring Forward, St. Patrick’s Day, and Happy Spring itself!

The best is here and the best is coming,

Ideen

 

 

 

Have A Holly & A Jolly

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I know I know, Christmas is officially over.  It’s 2017.  It’s time to move forward. But what better way to move forward then talking about a new that could be beneficial to all the folks who enjoyed themselves a little too much over the holidays.  I would fall into that category as well.

The Holly Jolly Ginger Aid Tea from Traditional Medicinals might have been what you were looking for.  Unfortunately it may be hard to find right now.  As I was lucky to find this as a clearance item at my local Wegmans.

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You might be able to tell by the photo that I literally snagged the last one.  I thought that it might have been waiting for me to be sampled and reviewed.  In hindsight, I wish I got around to this within the last couple of weeks.

But I remember the first time I tried it that it didn’t stick out to me in any way. The flavors of lemon, ginger, and blackberry really didn’t wow me whatsoever. This is part of why I waited a bit to right about it.

It had a nice aroma of lemon and ginger.  It didn’t overpower me which didn’t feel like a red flag on first sniff but made sense a few minutes later when I began sipping.

As like all teas, I really wanted to like this product.  Just look at that adorable packaging. And look at how pretty at the design of the bags before being opened.

Sadly, the tea was just kind of there.  And I’m a huge fan of Traditional Medicinals so I consider this an aberration more than anything. It has the tint and shine of another solid tea but I wouldn’t go out of my way to find it again.  But I do have a near full package so I will do my best to enjoy it over time.

On a personal note I’ve pretty much had a full stomach and lethargic way about me going back a while.  This goes back way before Thanksgiving.   Without getting into too many details, this tea hasn’t been as beneficial in that regard as I hoped. Maybe it worked differently for you if you did get some yourself.

I can’t speak for you or anyone else, but I can only imagine that over the last month or so, eating healthy and seeking out health with digestion was not at the top of everyone’s list. That’s completely understandable.

We have this short time on earth and want to enjoy ourselves not only during the holidays but with all the celebrations we attend.  In that way we should feel blessed that we get the opportunity to be invited to such gatherings.  I’m grateful to have been a part of a few myself this holiday season.  I hope you got to enjoy yourself as well.

But as with New Years and all the resolutions that come with it means a bit of a reality check.  Many of us try to eat healthy, exercise, and practice healthy lifestyle choices.  The decisions we make on a daily basis can lead us to that happy and healthy place.  I’m saying this to you as much as I’m saying this to myself.  And not as a sermon but as a friendly blogger who happens to love good tea.

I truly wish I could say this tea was awesome.  I can’t though.  But I can suggest plenty of other great teas from their vast collection.  It’s been a while since I wrote about them, but here are my previous reviews of their fun and beneficial teas.

I’ve been having this tea myself to much more positive results.  I will get to this one in time as I have a lot of positive things to say about it.

For where you can find their teas click here.  And you can order online as well.

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It’s been a great holiday and my decorations are still up  When I will take them down is when I’m ready to let go and move on to the next thing.  But this is likely the end of the Christmas-themed posts unless I magically come across something inspiring in the next few days.

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There’s still this day by the way.

I hope you all had a stellar holiday and look forward to sharing more great tea experiences in 2017.

Stay healthy,

Ideen

 

 

A Christmas Tea To Remember

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How did we get to the end of the year so fast?  Well as of this post it’s a mere five days until Christmas.   Now usually that would lead to feeling sad that the season is fleeting. And I would be lying if I would say otherwise.  But this has also been a time where time has felt like it’s moving at a reasonable place, neither fast nor slow.  It’s just been as is.  And that lends itself to appreciating every moment I can, whenever possible.  Now that may be easier said that one.

As we often do, we’re busier this time of year than any other  And that is on top of our already busy lives.  The things to do just pile up to the point where we’re on the verge of being no longer being able to handle it.  But that’s the funny thing about life.  It gives us just enough of what we can handle.  We reach our threshold and then some.  I also think that the hectic nature is just a part of Christmas.  It’s inevitable.  And either go big or go home, adapt or fall behind.  And I just don’t mean all the shopping.  There’s so much more to Christmas than shopping.  But isn’t it fun to give to the people you love?  I’m starting to ramble like I usually do.   When it comes to the holidays I could ramble on forever.  I’m a softy.

From talking to friends this year there seems to be this added pressure to get everything just right.  Whether it’s meeting up with all the friends and family you see seldom, making your rounds at all the holiday parties, or just catching up on all the usual day-to-day aspects of everyday life, it can drive you bonkers.  For me, at least this year, it’s been about balance.  It’s about keeping it simple.  And that means an added focus on spending the holidays with the people you care about the most and vice-versa.  And to slow it down and make a few hours for those people at a time.  That may be easier said than one but I adapted.  And because of that, I’ve gotten so much more enjoyment out of the holidays.

And with that comes with one of my favorite traditions of the year.  It’s a simple gift exchange with close friends that has been going on for quite a number of years now.  The location has changed but the sentiment remains the same.

Gifts were handed out, snacked were nibbled on, and there were plenty of libations.  But one of the most important aspects, and one of the highlights was the tea.  And what tea did we have this year?  This wonderful tea would be the one and only, Christmas In Paris from the underrated Stash Tea.

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But this tea will be anything but underrated.  This carried an intense and uplifting aroma immediately upon opening. Here is my Stash Christmas Post from two years ago.

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The peppermint and cocoa shells permeated the whole house that the term Christmas Spirit took on a life of its own.  I’ve been waiting to say that all season.  There’s a wine hiding back there, and for more on that fun bottle click here.

And the way that tea brewed was a sight for all eyes.  It’s some of the most beautiful brewing I’ve seen in some time.  That color is something else.

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This all made even better by present company.  I imagine I would enjoy this alone but a tea like this, with the Christmas connotation is meant to be enjoyed with the ones you love. This is one that can be enjoyed all winter for sure.  The chocolate and peppermint vibes well with everything December.

There were plenty of treats that paired with this tea.  And this can go with anything holiday.  But just as important, this is an herbal tea, so the caffeine levels are low, even with the cocoa.  So this is more for soothing, calming, and relaxation.

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And this is what the spiritual and peaceful part of the holidays is truly meant to be.  A quaint, cozy, and harmonious environment is what most of us want.  It’s what we all seek. It’s not that hard too find and can be almost anywhere.  We don’t even have to look that hard for it.  That’s the other fun part of the holidays, and life in general.  As hectic as things are, the simple things, like good friends, good eats, Christmas movies (good and bad), and that incredible cup of tea.

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I don’t need to get into the specifics of the gifts or anything like that.  What’s more important is that this season has an organic energy and vibe, that only comes this time each year.  I’ll miss it.  I’m getting nostalgic already. But hopefully many memories to come.

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To find this and all of the Stash Tea collection at a store near you, click here.

This’ll be a tea and Christmas to remember.

Merry Christmas!

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 :

wawateas

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