These Are The Words…

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Summer means a lot to me.  I know it means so many things to many different people, from all different walks of life.

For me it takes me back to when there were no worries.  As a kid my biggest dilemma in the summer was whether I go to summer camp, or stay at home and do nothing, and daydream.   As time has gone by, I find myself in a similar situation.  I’m not sure how many of you may be going through your own trials and tribulations.

Not all of this is bad.  It’s a time of rebirth, reawakening, and rejuvenation.   Perhaps it’s a time to reflect.  Where do we go from here?   As much time has passed there’s still so much left to look explore, look forward to, and to accomplish.

When preparing (or not) or contemplating what tea stories to elaborate on (and some to leave unsaid), I tend to make it more dramatic and complicated than it has any right to be.  For me, or for any of us who enjoy writing, it’s a personal thing.

Memories are so beautiful, and so many are meant to be kept to ourselves, and those close friends and family that we shared them with.  To that I say, some are so amazing, that it’s best to write them or say that out loud, so for where we can capture or recreate details and memories that otherwise we’d forget.

This takes us back to before the long holiday weekend, yet a weekend of companionship, conversation, and doing as much relaxing and being in nothingness as possible.  Nothingness is a good thing in this instance.

I love going to friends’ house and enjoying a day and night in (often more times than a night out now) and knowing that the night has already been made, and there’s no worries or cares of the outside world.

We had plenty of snacks, treats, vino (more on that here), and some of my favorite animal friends and the freshest are there is.  Just what everyone can use, in times of joy or otherwise.

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I couldn’t think of a better place to continue the story of one of favorite entities in general, The Spice & Tea Exchange.

Here’s the link to shop online, their store locations, contact information, and my past stories on their incredible teas.

I want to thank Denise from the Annapolis, MD location for all of her assistance and support.

For the Summer, for National Iced Tea Month (even though this was in May, but I don’t think anyone is going to write me a demerit), and most of all for you and me, I’m honored to discuss their most recent releases and limited time teas, the Blue Raspberry Crush, and the Get Up & Goji.

Both have endearing names, and have endearing qualities that have stuck with me as I write this.  That can only mean I will keep loving these teas more and more over time.

 

Just the colors on the Blue Raspberry are going to win you over.   When it looks this good, I can only hope that the scents and tastes will mirror what you see at first sight.

That’s exactly right.

 

I only wish I added lemon to see the changing of colors.  I’ll have to revisit this again later in the Summer.  Thankfully there’s so much left…

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I think it’s only fitting that my friend prepared this tea hot, but we made it iced and served in the most perfect of glasses.

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This tea was shared among so many other food and drink, but it never got lost in the shuffle.  It was a day and night of indulgence, celebration, peace, and all the emotions in between and book ending.

 

The Get Up & Goji was for the next day.  And after everything has settled, this was the perfect sip for a rebirth, and to get the day going.   Once again, iced or hot, you can’t go right or wrong.  There’s no right or wrong.  It’s all just so magnificent.

 

I’m constantly exhausted lately, so this tea,with the sun shining the way it did, felt like someone or something was watching me, looking out for me, and telling me everything was going to be ok.   You can substitute ‘me’ for ‘us’ or with ‘you’, and it all applies.

 

I don’t recall the sun ever looking so beautiful in my entire life.   I don’t think that was an accident.

 

The company of my friends, and these amazing dogs I’ve had such a history with, made these two days so perfect.

This is why you share these stories, or at least write them out to yourself in diary or however form you like.  You realize the little things or those big things.  And those big things are whatever you want them to be.

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It’s all important.  And with that said, I still left details out (some on purpose), because while stories are meant to be shared, parts of it are not easy to share, just yet, if at all.

And some are just meant for you, for me, and for anyone you want it to be.

I’m so grateful the teas of one of my favorite shoppes, Spice & Tea Exchange, were featured at this vulnerable and emotional moment in time.

It’s good to be back…

Love,

Ideen

 

 

 

Same As It Ever Was…

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Rockville, MD has seen so many changes in recent years.  These changes in these once historic towns are inevitable, necessary, and at times heartbreaking.  We can take comfort in the way things used to be, but also embrace what’s arrived, and that more is coming.

As many things do change, one of the constants (which has evolved to something special, but I haven’t attended in years…) is Rockville Hometown Holidays which celebrates Memorial Day with live music, food, street vendors, a farmers market, the parade, and all the other stuff that makes any festival, community, and party magnificent.

I have such fond memories of going with my family, to at least the parade part.  It was something to look forward to on the calendar every year.  It was the simplicity of just being at the parade, and appreciating the marching bands, the floats, the people, and the community groups of this fare city.

Yes, it’s more of a city now, then a town.  And so much has changed.  People grew up, got older, moved away, and moved on.  Yet there’s still a soul and spirit that remains.  The historic parts and older looking neighborhoods are still the majority and not there in spite of anything.  There’s still lots of character, all the while all these new places have shown themselves.

My family embraced that change.  They’ve been here in some form or another for nearly forty years.  So instead of fighting it (there’s nothing to fight really…), I welcome the change, because much of it is great.

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This includes the ever so charming Lavande Patisserie that opened several years ago, in one of the newer parts of Rockville, that is involved in this evolution.

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The outside is just as welcoming as what’s going on indoors.  The pastry list is a joy, tremendous and I’ve shared many with my dad on the most random of days.  One  thing that has always stood out is their tea list.  If you aren’t paying attention you won’t see it.  They’re known for their coffee, which I will try down the line, but for the sake of this discussion, and the season, I went with something beautiful.

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The Matcha Lemonade is an absolute joy.  It was per the suggestion of the staff, and it was more so along the lines of what I wanted.  And while the teases of Spring and Summer are here, so are the change in teas.  This was wonderful.

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One thing I forgot to do was stir.  The matcha is on the top and the lemonade is on the bottom.  I adore that.  I didn’t have my straw all the way down, so the first thought was why am I drinking this iced matcha.   This is why one (meaning me) should take their time and not rush things. So I take the straw a little further down, like a normal person would, and got that sweet lemonade taste.   I could have finished this in one sip, but this is not the point.  It should never be the point.  This is one to be savored, appreciated, and cherished.

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I love this tea so much.   The lavender shortbread cookie that I was drawn to (or was drawn to me) was meant to be.  I almost didn’t want to eat it, it looked so pretty.  Those lavender pieces are a sight for all eyes.  What a joy this was.

The benefits of lavender in times of uncertainty are something else.  This place, this matcha, and this lavender, it all just found me.

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I noticed looking across the street something so familiar.  There was a family connection, that only hit me as I started writing this story.  It’s the street where the parade I mentioned about earlier still takes place, after all this time. I get a laugh out of that, and then a feeling of sadness as well.

Life goes on, and as there’s much to be embraced, there will be much to miss.

Tell the people you love, that you love them.  As much as you can.  That you love them so much.  And when they pass, you will miss them so much.

Yet, you’ll always love them so much.

I love you so much.

I love you…

Love,

Ideen

The Clock On The Wall Is…

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At Baltimore Coffee and Tea (here’s their tea collection and list of locations) there never seems to be a clock.  Not that I’m looking for it.  It’s more than when I’m here, I feel an  ease and calm I don’t get everywhere.

The visits are always by happenstance (or are they?), where I don’t think about going, unless I think about going.  The latter part is due to circumstances beyond my control?  Maybe.   If I’m in the vicinity of one then theme music might be going off in my head, and I hope to see the light…

The many visits before (stories can be found here) might tell of cozy and community feeling experiences.  That’s exactly right.

They might also tell of enjoyment in solitude.  That would be the case as well.

There’s happiness where it’s the simplest.  What goes on here is also a separation from the commotion of the outside world.  I’m not in the city, there’s little to no traffic,  the noise is practically non existent, and all the cares and worries seem to disappear.

It’s like I’m the only person on Earth.  Feelings like that come more times than we realize.  Being selfish in that way is ok.  We’ve all had those feelings where the world revolve around us and no one else, but not in that narcissistic sense so much.  Just a feeling of we deserve and have earned a place to just be, and nothing else.

Forgetting when I was here at my favorite and original location in Timonium, while it always seems busy, it never seems crowded. There’s room for everybody.  They say that without having to say that.   Again, it’s just being.

Thanks again to Eastern Shore Tea Company for providing the tea this week, the Blueberry Lemon for my enjoyment, and hopefully yours.

The seasonal tastes of blueberries and lemons, is just right.  There’s not much else to it, and on a day where you don’t want too much, don’t ask for too much, and in many cases just want to be alone or left alone, this is perfection.

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My breakfast sandwich was just as yummy, and while that is for display, it also did go well with my tea.  Not so much for pairings sake, but for my sake.

While the friendly patrons seem to know one another, and it would be nice to be in the know, it’s ok to be anonymous.  In a world where we’re more and more connected, and everyone seems to know you or about you, it’s nice to remain hidden, even if it’s plain sight.  It’s easier said and easier done.   As small as the world it, it’s also so big.  Just like our spirits.

I wish I could make every experience and story this simple.  When I go back and look, they all tend to be.  The teas may change, the locations may be different, the arrangements might be altered, but the story remains constant.  I love tea, it’s a timeless joy that I enjoy partaking in and sharing with you.

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I can’t wait to see what happens next…

Take good care…

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

The Far Side of the…

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When I go back in my history of writing, I’m surprised to see that I’ve only made two posts ever about Harney & Sons.   The two posts I’m alluding to can be found here.

Dear friends of mine, whose opinion I value when it comes to tea, always rave about Harney & Sons.   And they don’t really talk about many other brands.

Someone close to me told me that they exclusively only order tea online from them, and they always throw in free samples.  No, not just the baby sized free samples.  We’re talking above and beyond, and in sometimes half dozen quantities.

Here’s more about them and more about the Harney Family themselves.

A company that carries so much prestige and has such an aura about it, doesn’t need to do anything.  Their teas sell themselves.   To go the extra mile, when the tea is already incredible, is not only smart business, but a goodwill gesture where one isn’t necessary.

The act of love and kindness for no reason, is the best reason of all.

With that I bring us to their Paris Tea, and it’s incredible.  This has to be done sooner versus otherwise, as we’re moving into sunnier skies, warmer climates, and that will segue into a different tea drinking experience in the coming months.

However, first things first.   This goes back to February when the days were short, layers were worn, and many a nights turned early, and one would find comfort in the simple things at home.  Well that can happen at any time of year, but the winter may bring hibernation and a time to reflect and prepare for rejuvenation.

I had myself a little getaway.  I got to be in a different part of the state.  I spent time with some dogs I’ve known a long time (and a new friend too), and I got to be one with the universe.  Which means a lot of alone time, which is good in certain doses, in small doses, and not be done too much, or it could become a part of the norm.

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When it comes to tea drinking, I would love to share it with friends  I’ve made many a mention about how good company can make any tea taste that much better.   With the Paris Tea it was as if I was with my friends who lived at the house (even though they were away) were with me and of course my animal friends always liven up the day with their cute, cuddly, and sometimes boisterous ways.

You may have noticed that I’ve barely mentioned how the tea actually tastes, and how marvelous it goes down.  I’m painting a picture, of what I’m not entirely sure.  But that’s my story.  It took little time for that strong black tea color to shine through.  The tea combined with oolong, vanilla, caramel, lemon, and bergamot is out of this world.

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I went to Paris once, but was too young to remember much.  I’m sure I had some tea, but not like this.  This is something out of a picturesque scene with beautiful people sitting around enjoying one another, eating yummy pastry, and having a cup of tea that would be part of their daily routine and feel like home.

Here back home, it feels more like a special occasion which I would like to partake in as much as possible, if not everyday.   Yet it my lose it’s shine or not feel as special.  Maybe, but who cares.  Great tea is great tea, where this goes way past the levels of great, and belongs in its own category.

Word of mouth is an easy thing to fall into.   The consensus is how good Harney & Sons tea is.  The Paris Tea is a reminder of their greatness.   I highly recommend getting some wherever you can, and who knows what amazing samples will come from that.

Which is going to lead to more from this incredible company much sooner than later.  How this is only my third post is beyond me but all that’s about to change.

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Have a good one, and peace be with you….

Ideen

 

 

Spring In Your Step

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As the title might imply, I’m waiting.  A lot of us are waiting.  Depending on where you are in the country or in the world, you’re waiting for the weather to break.  This might be an extended April Fools joke.  No, I won’t go for that.

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What isn’t a joke is the the Organic Cinnamon Cardamom from the new Teahouse Organic Collection from one of my favorites, Celestial Seasonings.

For more on their teas, you can purchase them online, or at a store near you, and finally my long storied love of their teas can be found here.

I’m grateful to a friend for sending me information and a visual on this tea, because who knows when I would have discovered it, or ever gotten around to it.

The answer is now.

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My favorite teas are the ones that pack up so much that involve so little.  All this tea contains is in the title, organic cinnamon and organic cardamom.

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You know when you have a sense of how good a tea is going to be, before you even open it?  That packaging evokes positive energy, spirit, and healing.  Which is what is always needed, even if isn’t actually needed it.

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Right now I can only speak for myself, but I can use all the spiritual healing I can get.

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The sun is trying to show itself,  it really is.  I know we’re waiting.  It changes so many things.  The sun peaking its head here and there is such a tease.  It’s a sign of hopefully good things to come, but I want more.  I know many of us want more.

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Looking at the teacup half full, grey skies make for the best pictures.  So there’s that.  I’m happy with how mine turned out.

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My displays are celebrations of so many things good, including this tea.    In case you didn’t notice, I love animals.  In fact, I adore them.   So both cups on display are ones I’ve used before, but I’m honoring how much I love my cat, and how much she’s been there for me for this ongoing love of tea (and my other blogs, which you can find here and here), and being there for me period.

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She’s laying on my lap as I write this story out.  That makes me feel so happy.  This tea makes me so happy.   The simple blend of cinnamon and cardamom makes both tastes distinct, noticeable, without having one trying to outdo the other.  They work in perfect harmony and concert with one another to make for another perfect tea.   I tend to say that a lot  about teas, and I’ve elaborated on the elaboration in the past but it rings true, this tea is incredible, along the lines of so many teas I’ve had while doing this blog.

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And there’s no right or wrong to that.  I love this tea.  I mean, I really love this tea.  I love it so much.  This celebration of all things good is that step into spring that’s always welcome.  I was about to say needed, but ‘needed’ again sounds like something is lacking, and that’s not what I’m trying to say.   It’s what’s welcomed and what embraced.   I’m feeling the joy, the love, and energy emanating from this tea and the symbols I’ve placed side by side.

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Yes I love dogs too.  The cups and plates are gifts from friends, along with gifts to myself.

This tea is a gift from a friend, from the universe, and from myself.  Which we all are worthy of as much as possible.  In the grayest of times or even the happiest of times it’s always important to appreciate and open yourself up to everything around you.

I’ve been hesitant lately and have this ongoing match in my head about what’s right, what to welcome, and hopefully what fades away.

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This tea and this experience was more about spiritual healing and accepting all that is sacred, and that is good in the universe.  Because there’s so much more than I realize, and will never realize.  But that’s ok.   It’s not about getting there or some journey to destination scenario.   It just is.  I need to just be.

Just be….

Sigh.

 

Ideen

Sunday In The Summer Tea Party

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The calendar still reads September.  My love affair with Infused Tea Company concludes (for now) with what have been my favorite of the three.  Actually I can’t say that for sure. Each visit over the weekend told a different story, yet it also told something similar.

After knowing what to expect, my third visit was anything but ordinary and predictable. I just love not knowing what I’m going to order ahead of time.  A large menu with so many options helps.  It helps with expanding my palate, my horizons, and ultimately making this another endearing and perhaps out-of-body experience.

Saying I love tea is an understatement.   It’s been a part of my life since the beginning.  It will always be a part of me.  Whoever invented tea and the whole experience has created a way of life, that is way past the point of cultural.  It’s just a part of so many of us.  It’s become commonplace that I’m hoping the majority of us appreciate how beautiful the ritual is.  Because tea with friends, with family, with snacks, or with nothing at all is something so genuine that words will not always paint a picture of this joyous thing.

What also brings me joy is Matcha.   And over the past couple of years, via this blog, and other wonderful situations, it’s also become a staple of my life.

And this leads me to the conclusion of what has been a Summer to remember.  This was back in June, but the Infused Tea Company of my other adopted city St. Petersburg, FL.

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I didn’t even need to look at the menu this time.  On display for everyone to see (well it was kind of understated all the same) was a sign for Matcha Lemonade. I may have seen it the day before and kept it in on file, or this was a spontaneous and welcome surprise.

What a surprise this was.

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You might think that the dichotomy of flavors with how the powdery green the matcha tastes against the sweetness of the lemonade would be a disaster.  Not even close.  This blend worked perfectly.  And it worked that at least for me, it’s not something you’re going to drink quickly.  I took enough sips and enjoyed my time outside, that it felt like time stood still, I could do this all day, and I think I did do this all day.  Timeless..

I got another pastry to for display, and to complement my enchanting beverage. Seriously, how photogenic does this all look?

And once again the views and the weather could not have been better.  We’re in the 80’s to 90’s on this June day, which ironically wasn’t technically in the Summer.  Not that big of a detail but now that we’re in Autumn, the temperatures are basically the same, and will be like this for a while.  So while here in Maryland, lemonade and iced tea may begin to phase out, in beautiful Florida, you can have everything.  And everything is everything.

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But this Matcha Lemonade was one of those spiritually healing and invigorating kinds of drinks.  Again, I don’t know the exact words to give it, but this was special.  I can imagine having this at home, or somewhere local, still finding it special but maybe not having the same memorable experience.  Not everything is nor should it be.

This was my last day of vacation.  It was bittersweet (and I don’t mean the lemonade) but also a feeling of calmness came over me.  It was time to go home.  I saw some great friends, did some great things, ate some yummy food, and have some of the best tea experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

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The bikers I mentioned from last week were back and the crew looked bigger.  That’s a great life and that’s how I’m told the Gulf Coast does.  It’s all about outdoor activities and living a healthy lifestyle.  I was living vicariously through them, but in a way I was living vicariously through myself.   Oh man… I miss this city so much.

That’s it for now.  If there’s time I’ll throw in another post from this amazing place.  I love St. Petersburg so much.  I love Infused Tea Company so much.  I’m so glad I was invited to visit, and so grateful I got to experience such an amazing tea scene.

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I’ll be back and can only hope the experiences I’ve had thus far (my Florida experiences can be found here and here), can come close or maybe even exceed what I’ve seen thus far.

Here is the link to purchase their awesome teas, their accesories, and their location for those local or visiting.

Thank you so much Infused Tea Company, St. Petersburg, and Tampa.   It’s been a glorious time.

Fall and pumpkin themed teas as we head towards October, begin next week.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen