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.

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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

 

With A Little Help From My…

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Winter can throw many for a loop, depending on where you live.  For those of us in Maryland we’re currently in the heart of those winter doldrums.   It’s been a relatively mild and free from much precipitation.  That part I’m embracing and celebrating.

It’s the end of January so we’re in the heart of it and yet can see the light.  The light is coming.  The days continue to get longer by a few minutes.  And that’s something to be celebrated.   Most of my dear friends haven’t really been hibernating.  They’re more so doing different things, more low key things, and more cost-effective things.  And I’m for all of the above and anything similar.

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Speaking of cost effective, I had the most beautiful and affordable meal at one of my favorite places to sip tea and exist peacefully, Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company.

There is much to embrace about winter and January.  What I should have harped on more was that January is National Hot Tea Month.  Personally, every month for me is hot tea month and tea month in general.  But I digress and I welcome any extra excuse to drink some delicious hot tea.   And to explore teas and flavors I don’t always try.

I have a bit of an adviser.  I refer to this tea guru from time to time.  And when I’m at a personal stalemate or impasse I seek guidance from said guru.  My good pal has never failed me and came through in the clutch once again.

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She mentioned that she’s been enjoying the Pure Peppermint Tea from Twinings.

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I enjoyed it too.  And how I got to try it was serendipitous, organic, and spectacular.

I was all set to buy this package at my local store.  But I felt inspired.  I hadn’t been to my usual Baltimore Coffee and Tea Shop, in Timonium, MD, in quite a while.  I actually have been a couple times recently but don’t always look to blog or take pictures.  Sometimes I just need to grab a cup and a snack, and relax.

My senses told me that this peppermint tea would be available in individual bags for me to drink on site, and to pair with something healthy.

I searched through the goodie basket of singular teas and saw loads of Twinings, but not the Peppermint.

Luckily, the staff here is so great.  They will open a box of teas upon request.  I had asked and without any hesitation the extremely kind person behind the counter was thrilled to open a fresh package of Peppermint Teas, and even mentioned that it’s most of the baristas favorite teas.  That made me feel good, and it was a win-win all around.

That kind of service is so charming, and will make me want to keep coming back. And it was going to make my tea so much better.  It’s not a little thing. This is going above-and-beyond when it wasn’t even necessary.  I’m so appreciative and so grateful.

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My day was already made.  But I just needed a little something extra, and no it’s not the free sample area (I might have more on this later) you see below.

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I’m feeling like myself again, but that doesn’t mean I abandon what got me back to near full strength.  I wanted some chicken noodle soup.  I’ve been craving it everywhere I go. It’s sometimes been a part of my breakfast.  Yes, breakfast!

This was early afternoon so this tea with soup pairing seemed a little more practical.   And what a dynamic duo.

The tea is exactly what I hope for and more.   The ingredient is pure peppermint, all natural, and all awesome.  My friend told me it helped with her bloating.  So this is something I was all about trying, and be a part of my tea rotation, not just during the cold weather months, but throughout the year.  Yes this a tea for all seasons and all temperatures.

My simple soup and tea made this a peaceful, calming, and soothing meal.  And I can’t forget healthy.   I took a few pictures but after that I shut my phone off, and just sat there. I needed this.  I need this zen as much as possible.   For such a simple and satisfying meal, at just a touch over $5, I was there for nearly an hour.

I felt great.  I feel great.  And what made this all the more great was this tea.  When you know you’re drinking something healthy and so natural, your mind and body responds in kind.

I genuinely felt a healing during and after each sip.  My stomach and bloating issues are something I’ve been dealing it for some time.  This alleviated so much of that.

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Why didn’t I drink this sooner?  Maybe I’ve had it in the past and in a previous life, and it didn’t resonate with me like it has now.   Now I’m craving some as we speak.  I will make a cup as soon as this article goes up.

Having a tea like this can make a person feel good, but so can discussing it, and recanting the experience.

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I loved this experience.  Thank you as always Twinings, and thank you Baltimore Coffee and Tea.

For my previous posts on Twinings, which has been an important tea to my family and I for years, click here.   

And here are my previous posts pertaining to Baltimore Coffee and Tea.

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Finally, here is where you can find Twinings Teas at your local store, or for our friends locally, you can get it through Baltimore Coffee & Tea’s website, or in person.  Here’s their entire tea collection.

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Happy Final Day of National Hot Tea Month!  The celebration will continue into February, and for a while.

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

Super Everything

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I had heard about Chocolatea in passing by a few friends, but never had the opportunity or gave myself time to make the short drive to the Tuscany/Caterbury neighborhood of Baltimore.  That’s actually the location.   I will always think of it as on the peripheral  to Johns Hopkins University.

Sadly, I only have a few more days to think of it as that.   For after 10 years, they will be closing their doors on November 20th.

I had mentioned to a close friend that it’s important to venture out of our usual comfortable and all-too-familiar places of Baltimore.  It’s great for our spirits, our souls, and our sanity’s to change it up as much as possible.  I’ll give some of the credit to the Supermoon.

But if I hadn’t looked up going here on this day, this experience was never going to happen.  Seriously.  That freaks me out in a way.  Fate and destiny were calling.  This one and only visit was supposed to happen today and no other time.  I love the speculation.

I’m going to project a bit here.  I’ve driven by the storefront so many times that I’ve lost count.  But I never thought anything of the location.  And not in a bad way.  It’s a habit I have.  And I would be willing to say that many of us have a way of overlooking and flying past things, entities, places, etc that are right in front of us.   I took this location for granted and now it’s being taken away before I really got the chance to fully embrace what could have been my favorite tea shop in the city.

Now I could be heaping high praise simply because the place is closing its doors.  That’s possible.  But knowing me and knowing many of my friends it’s the continued sign that times are changing and much more rapidly than I anticipated or wanted to believe.  More on that in a few.  Onto the teas, and more…

My friend and I had no idea what to expect other than it was most likely going to be cozy and feel as authentic as a cafe can be.  We were correct on both counts.

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There’s less items available since they’re in the final days so I was happy and grateful to get the Peppermint Tea in honor of the holidays.   My pal ordered a chocolate peanut butter coffee.  Not tea but I think in honor of everything, exceptions for this blog can be made.

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I ordered a pot and the tea press that was presented to me was a dream.   You could literally see the leaves brewing and steeping in front of your very eyes.   I got a few magical cups from it and could have made many more.  And I mean that.

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This was a tea that never stood a chance.  My only wish is I could have savored it longer. And we were there over an hour but it didn’t feel like enough. Our conversation was off the charts and that only enhanced this experience.

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We did order cookies to complement our cups.   A chocolate chip went with the coffee.  I got an oatmeal raisin for mine.  They were great too.  But it didn’t matter, we could have likely had any food and beverage combination and it would have been a masterpiece.  And since you asked I did get a sip of that coffee.  It was decadent.

But this is one of the many reasons why I love tea :

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It hurts my heart that Chocoaltea is closing.  I can’t pretend to have any history with this place but it felt so familiar.  I felt an energy, a spirit,  connection that felt so familiar.  I don’t know where it was from but it made me sad to know the end was near.  But also there was this feeling of relief and finality that we got to experience this.  One time only is better than no time at all.

I got to meet one of the partners, Janice, as I was leaving and told her about this blog.  She could not have been more friendly.  She told me after a good 10 years it was time for a change.  I hear that.  Change can be good. Our visit to this Baltimore staple was a necessary change.  New experiences and situations is what life is all about.  I’m so thankful to have been a part of this one.

It’s not a complete goodbye.  Even though their doors are closing, you can still find them at Ejji Ramen in the Belvedere Square Market.

If you live in the area and get a chance before the 20th, go check them out.

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I’m hoping this is where I get to talk about them again.  So instead of goodbye, it’s a see ya in the next life, or see ya soon!  Whichever comes first!

More holiday posts soon!

Ideen

 

 

Harris Tea-ter

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I know, I was looking for a more captivating title, but the Organic Peppermint Herb Tea from Harris Teeter is anything but.

Maybe it was an off-week, but not every tea I have is going to inspire me and make me throw every superlative in the book at it.  This won’t be that post.

A lot of energy and emotion has been thrown at some of my recent stories that this come-down might be necessary.  I’m just surprised it came from this one.

Dear friends of mine are aware I do this blog and always suggest certain brands and flavors to choose from.  They’ve given me carte blanche to rummage through cupboards and pantries to discover some hidden treasure.

This tea has only one ingredient, organic peppermint. I’m immediately thinking this is going to be one of the more natural and genuine cups I’ll have or something abysmal.  This wasn’t the worst but it’s disappointing.  There’s nothing to it.

I’ve had plenty of store and name-brand teas that have been so memorable that I still think about to this day.  I’m thinking about a few just as I write this now.

Peppermint is a flavor that might only be suited for winter or colder weather months.  I say that if a tea is good, it’s going to work year-round.  And I technically did have this cup right at the change of seasons, and still relatively cooler temperatures.  If a tea is great, it’s going to be taste magnificent any time you have it.

Of course some teas work better during certain months and certain times.   This was just bland and felt soulless.  The peppermint tasted inconsistent.  Sometimes I tasted it more than others.  There was powerful sips and some that tasted like nothing at all. There’s not much more to say.

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Well, at least the cookies were good.

I’m a big fan of Harris Teeter, so this will not deter me from trying more.  I just hope future teas won’t be tasting as ordinary as this one.

More times than not, the second or third go around usually meets or surpasses expectations.   I’m confident the same thing will happen here.   And as we approach the warmer months, I’m looking forward to having some more inspirational experiences.

Take good care,

Ideen

 

Ye Olde Tea Party!

My first Maryland Renaissance Festival was in 2006. And I was thinking at the time what took me so long? This past Sunday while in attendance I was recanting the same thing.

A tradition for many years, this event brings thousands of people in droves and in costume to the event.  There’s so much to see, so much to drink in, and so much unhealthy food to eat.   And in the back of my mind I may have thought to write about tea if I came across one. And as happenstance would have it, here we go.   Huzzah!

My friends had souvenir drinking mugs from the 2013 event and it was suggested to me that I join the fray. The ye olde shoppes which carried mugs, goblets, and tankards were ubiquitous.  And the prices ranged anywhere from $8 to $700 for the hand-carved ones. If I had that kind of money maybe I’d go there.  But not today.

I saw a few that caught my eye that were on the much lower end, but I decided to wait.   I’d figure out later how nearly maladroit that decision was.

While my pals and I were looking around for some greasy food, I stumbled upon a line that had coffee, espresso, and yes herbal tea!   As I got to the line, I was just about to get a cup when a light bulb went off in my head.  If I ordered this is in a plain cup I would be doing myself, this blog, and my readers a disservice.  So I bee-lined back to the same stoneware shop where one mug stood out and I grabbed it!

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I happily waited in the ever-so-growing line and the maiden poured my tea in my beautiful new mug!

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How was the tea?  I didn’t like it at first, but it’s a grower. And it grew on me almost immediately.   I had a sore throat and one of licorice roots benefits is helping with thy throat.  It’s not a flavor I particularly like but this cup got better with time.  It’s the flavor that stood out the most. Lemon and mint do make their presence felt as well.   Marjoram is a sexy yet synonymous name for oregano.  If that was in my cup I wouldn’t have known it.

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The most intriguing component in is the catnip.   I wish my taste buds could have picked on it.  Maybe they did and I jut didn’t know it.  Maybe I’ll ask my cat what she thinks of it?  I won’t take any of hers, that would be mean.

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Nevertheless, my cup went great with our cheesy bread and macaroni & cheese on a stick.  Yes just like how it was in olden times.

I didn’t think to ask anyone if the team is local or made in-house; or if the herbs, leaves came from a nationally known brand.  I did an online search on what all it contains and nothing concrete came up.   I did one search and that’s that.  I rather keep the mystique and believe this is the same herbal remedy that the King drank with other fellow royalty hundreds of years ago.

There’s only one weekend to go from the date of this post.  I don’t need to sell this event to anyone that lives reasonably close to attend.  It sells itself and is so fun. I wish I had more time or I’d go every weekend! Maybe I’ll see you there this weekend.

And if you do wait in line for a hot or cold (it’s also served chilled) beverage, consider the tea!

For more RenFest fun click here.

I’ll leave with some pictures of this wonderful party.

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Let the merriment continue!

Best,

Ideen

Merry Christmas in July

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What better way to celebrate two of my favorite things, Summer and Christmas, by incorporating a tea that represents the positive attributes of two wonderful times of the year, and so much more.

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The Peppermint Tea from Wegmans was a joy to sip.   And speaking of feeling like Christmas, Wegmans is just that.  I always feel like a kid in a candy shoppe when visiting any one of their stores near me or in my travels.  But it’s more than just that. It’s a place of wonders, imagination, and happiness.

With just one ingredient, they stand by their motto, Just Tea.  I like it.   It pulls no punches and doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. It’s by no means the best tea I’ve ever had. But it doesn’t need to be.  It’s a comforting drink to be enjoyed heated or chilled.

In the spirit of the holidays, I chose to have it boiled.  And even on a warm Summer’s night, it was a pleasure to have.  It was so palatable, I served myself a second cup.

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Throughout this process, the color of the tea changed rapidly and looked gorgeous.  You know you’re getting something good.  And I had to take a photo a few minutes after, because the tint just kept getting stronger. I’m loving this.

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Tis the season to be happy!   And hopefully that means all year round.  The holiday cup has made its triumphant return! It’s a nice reminder of feeling good and what’s important in life.  It’s on what the inside that counts but positive images such as these only heighten the experience.

If I only had some holiday treats to go with it.   Well not to look too far ahead, but those times will be here before we know it. And all the goodies have since been long gone or way past their expiration date.  The latter would not be a good idea!

In the true spirit of the season, it’s all about indulgence and abundance, so enjoy all the photos I have provided!

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I wish I could try all these teas!  Maybe I will…

Happy Holidays!

Best,

Ideen