A Better Way To…

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

WawaMenu

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

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

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

WawaHotPumpkinSpiceChaiTea

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

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

WawaMilkChoices

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

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

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

WawaAutumnDrinks

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

WawaTeas

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

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

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

Peace Be With You.

Love,

Ideen

And All In Good Time…

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I wanted to wait just a little while before getting into my quarterly tradition of raving about the seasonal teas from The Spice & Tea Exchange.  We are barely into autumn, and two of the three teas were out of the stock as of this post yesterday.  As of today, two of three are now available.  This is too funny, but it’s also the times we’re in.

I would say this is a faux pas of mine, and to some extent it is.  It also speaks volumes of how good these teas are, how much so many of us embrace the change of the season and the impending well, you know…, and the power of tea (here is their complete list of teas, available at their stores and to purchase online) and how so many of us love it for the art of drinking, as a hobby, a passion, and the way it makes us feel.   I think the place and the energy of many of their stores has a lot do with that.

Spice&TeaOldTownAlexandria

This time it brings me to where I was born, Alexandria, VA, and their charming shoppe in the heart of Old Town. That was not meant to be as dramatic it sounded.  Ah maybe it was…

A huge thank you to Jessica the manager for being so kind.

As I wrote about several months back, I was in a similar position spiritually, (and in many ways still am, and might be for a while) and a visit to a tea shoppe, especially their’s is always cleaning for the soul and the spirit.

I’ve been writing for long enough that the changing of the seasons is now synonymous with a visit to their stores, and knowing that three amazing teas will be presented to all of us.

And that’s exactly what happened once again.  These guys are incredible.  My past stories will confirm all of this.  

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It was still Summer when these teas were introduced and still Summertime when I bought these.  I along with some of my close friends know that we shouldn’t rush these things.  I had a sense that these flavors would be out of stock soon if not already.  The packs were on the low side, and I didn’t think to ask if more were coming.  You just know sometimes.

The three for us this time are the Tipsy Toffee, the Spiced Ruby Cider Herbal Tea (out of stock for now?), and the Pumpkin Chai Latte.

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The ingredients are all on the back of the packs.  I want to review this like I always do, with as light hearted and approachable as it can be.   If things overlap then that’ll happen naturally.  I have so much to say but sometimes the tea says all that need to be said, and we should embrace.

Here goes…

One thing that always stands out is while the aromas of their teas give the impression that they may be too sweet for many, but it’s so brilliantly deceptive.  It almost tastes exactly the opposite of what you would expect.  In many cases this is a good thing and I believe this is the intent.

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The Tipsy Toffee has the strongest scent of all in my opinion.  And while I love toffee, I was weary of how it would taste.  Nah I’m kidding.  It’s not that serious.  There’s nothing to be weary of haha.

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This is tremendous.  While you might think the butterscotch and caramel flavorings may be overpowering, they were anything but.  Everything has its place and complemented the other so well.   I’ve said this before but so much about tea is what you don’t taste immediately until seconds later, or even longer.  Understated yet endearing is what their teas are all about.  Beautiful.

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The color on the toffee among with the others was a little more special this time.  All credit goes to the dragonfly infuser, which is also available through them.  For significant, personal, and sentimental reasons I’m grateful to use this trusty friend for the first time, for this round of teas.

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The Spiced Ruby Cider had this color of red that is perfect for this season and matches the color of things to come.  Yes I’m thinking a little bit ahead too.  In order to brew this, I had to break the pieces up a little.

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Again, with cinnamon apple pieces, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, orange peels (I feel like a pendulum), cloves, and more cinnamon stuff, you would think this would be too sweet.  Even if was, I think it would be awesome.  The smell is great and once again this is a universally wonderful tea that everyone will love.  However, that’s for you to judge and judge alone.

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You can’t forget the Pumpkin Chai Latte.  This is why we celebrate autumn right?  We got more pumpkin then we know what to do with.   You wouldn’t know it here though.  And I’m not a fan of most chai, but once again this is nowhere near as rich and that full feeling chai you might expect.

I never tasted any whipped cream or caramel.  But it’s there and so is that pumpkin!

I thought this would be the most potent of the three and I felt it was actually the most tame.  This was my least favorite of the trios, and not in a bad way.   You can’t go wrong, and you can only go right with all of them.

This sounds like a heavy bias, but with few exceptions The Spice & Tea Exchange clearly knows how to make superb tea with a lot of soul and a lot of feeling behind it.

Yes you see sweet treats with each cup, and while they were merely for display, it’s to prepare us for indulgence, because indulgence is coming.  I’m so happy to begin the fall season with their teas and I’m so grateful for the opportunity once again.

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One last thing, when you buy 3 packs, you get a free packet of sugar.  What do with this Apple Cinnamon Crisp Sugar?  I answered my own question by maybe wanting to add to these teas, but maybe it’s meant for something else.

Peace Be With You, and there will be another story much sooner than later.  I’m purposely being vague because I honestly don’t know what’s next.

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All in good time…

Love,

Ideen

We All Have A…

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Until a few week ago, I had never heard of purple tea.

I hadn’t heard of the brand Purpose either.  There’s first times for everything.  I’m all for first times.  I hope this isn’t the last.  Here is where to buy.

PurposeTea

That brand name sounds so powerful, and so is this tea.  There’s a lot of heart, soul, and passion put into all of this.  From the label, to the logo, to the tea itself, and with a story (and impact…) that will inspire anybody.  I’m inspired.

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When you have three different teas to choose from, then why not try all three?  There’s all kinds of firsts to quench your thirst.  Yes I just thought of that.  Funny I know…

The Purple Reign, Lemon Bliss, and Mint To be has beautifully similar ingredients, which are few and masterful.  The natural lemon flavor, and the mint extract are what makes the latter two teas so special.

Upon first sip this may not wow you, because it’s so healthy and so well intended for you.  After each drink I felt a connection.  I felt a connection to the tea, to the good nature behind it, and to good nature.  This is first class and while it’s different, it resonates to me from somewhere familiar, and somewhere divine.  Where that place is, I don’t know exactly, but it’s somewhere within me, and within all of us.

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While I write this the weather isn’t my friend. It’s dark, it’s gloomy, and it’s maybe a place in time that’s supposed to be happening.

Thankfully, these pictures were taken while the days are still long (and they still are, for while), and the flowers and plants are still full of so much life.  While it’s still summer, the fall flowers are showing up on front porches, on stoops, and on a deck near you.

So I enjoy my teas in all their glory and surrounded by nature.  These tea leaves just, well, I don’t know.  I have nothing to compare it too, but why should I?  Maybe this tea needs no comparison.  Not yet at least.

I honestly forgot how much I paid per bottle.  But if it was $2 or $3, or even more, I’m not complaining.   Of course you want the best tasting tea for what you pay for.  But I wanted an experience.  I wanted to feel something.  And while I may say this consistently across various posts, that it might lose it’s luster, it’s perfectly fine to feel something as much as possible.

It’s been a roller coaster of emotions for me lately.  And maybe more for you.  I had all kinds of ideas, and things to write about this summer that may never see the light of day.  I had intentions of making more than one post a week.  That didn’t happen.  I had to take a break here and there to deal with many matters.   I know this has nothing to do with the tea, but in some ways it does…

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I feel like I’ve had an issue of what my purpose is lately, and the writing is one of the many things that gave me purpose.  How apropos is that I find this tea, or this tea found me.  Maybe we found each other.

And I’m still here, we’re all this here, still breathing, and full of purpose.

Peace be with you.

Ideen

 

I’m So Grateful For This

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There are days where I feel lost, and have no idea what I’m going to write about.  In some instances I’ll start to worry that maybe it’s not meant to be this week.   That has only happened sparingly.  Worrying doesn’t accomplish anything.  I still do it knowing it has no benefits.  If that’s part of what keeps me going and motivating then that’s what I’ve created and is what I’m used to.

The positive contrary is relaxing, letting things come to you, being at peace, and being on with the universe, with myself, and everything.  I think I just repeated myself.

Leave it to Trader Joe’s to help with that peace.  The store that has brought me to so much joy way before writing about all this always comes through when needed, and when I’m not looking.

A few days ago another random visit (sometimes that’s how it is) brought me to my beloved store, and while scanning the tea section, I noticed something….

I’ve written a lot about them and for a split second felt like there was nothing left at this time.  At least in terms of the season.

But I didn’t sweat it.  What is the point in sweating any of this?  It’s not that serious even though I tend to make it as such.   The stories and my love of tea (and your love of anything) is about enjoying life and enjoying everything possible.    Putting yourself out there, while allowing entities to find you is the most beautiful thing.  And it happened again seconds later.

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Their seasonal kombucha aisle is perfect right now and perfect so many other right nows, and thens, and futures too.  The timing was perfect because I’m not sure how much longer the Organic Mango or the Pomegranate Hibiscus will be at a store near you.

Just like I feel I got in those holiday themed kombuchas down to the wire, I’m grateful to be sharing my thoughts with you on two that just echo what makes this Summer so great.

And some sweet treats never hurt either.

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The Organic Mango is so beautiful in all the beautiful ways.  It’s easy to drink, easy to look at, and easy to appreciate.  That color is gorgeous.  I sincerely mean easy to drink because some kombucha beverages may be too much for some.   The cultures, the probiotics, and the fermentation may be a combination that might be too harsh.

MangoKombucha

This is anything but harsh, even though I haven’t had many I didn’t like.  I will say that at least for me, it takes time to drink this.  A bottle can last me a few days.  And it can last you a while too.  That’s the beaut of this.

PomegranateHibiscusKombuchaGlass

I seemed to get more of the mango taste then I did of the pomegranate but that’s reaching for a complain where they really shouldn’t be. The latter also radiates with such a beautiful color that you really can’t go wrong with either.  You can only do right by both.

PomegranateHibiscusKombucha

I had some fun here, pouring them into fancy teacups.  That was about all I needed for today, based on what I was saying earlier.  This is to be savored.

Savoring is what I did with charming cookies that don’t necessarily pair with said beverages, but it doesn’t matter.  Like I was saying earlier, this is fun, this is joyful, and it’s blissful.

Drinking savory tea and kombucha is one of those simple and heartwarming things that almost shields me from things.  It’s a source of protection, comfort, and a feeling of home.  I love happiness and this makes me happy.

At under $3, this is as affordable as you’re going to find, when comparing to similar beverages.

I’m so grateful about all of this.  All it took was a little faith, some trust in myself, the universe, and to feel good about things.   This means a lot now but as time goes by, the stories I first share with myself but then with close friends and an audience is going to feel timeless.

Yes I get sentimental while in the moment, but I can’t think of a better way to appreciate the moment.  I’m overstating the obvious but it’s one of many instances I must tell myself that things are ok.

It’s more than ok…

Stay healthy,

Ideen

Awaken, Invigorate, Revitalize

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All roads lead to something, and some other roads lead to something, wait I just said that.  I was going for more of that dramatic stuff, but if and when I get to more, then so be it.

I’m writing this as there’s a little bit of mixed precipitation.  That’s been the theme of this and what seems like last year’s winter.  We get teases of things, only to get nothing.  But in that regard, I take it as a sigh of relief.  We had our cold days, our windy days, and our hints of the warmer weather to come.  But as always, it’s best to live in the moment.

So this takes me back to a recent memory, where I was on my own mini vacation.  I was staying at a home of some dear friends’, while I took care of their dogs (who are so dear to me), and I had the blessing to write about some of the teas in their collection (a few that are in mine as well), and to share it with you from a different perspective, a different vantage point, and with different props.  I love props.    I may have alluded to all this last week.

I don’t view one tea brand as better than another, but I do have my favorites.   Trader Joe’s will always be a favorite.  My ever growing encyclopedia of my Trader Joe’s tea recaps can be found here.

So it helps that while I’m away, to still have some familiar friends nearby.  And the TJ’s tea I’m talking about is the Organic Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea.

The teas that actually aren’t tea (no leaves to be found), are some of those fascinating.  This is why we call them tisanes aka herbal tea.   Beautiful.

I think of this tea as an all in one kind of tea,  It rebuilds, it rejuvenates, it reinvents.  And it does all those things I list in the title, and so much more.  That seems like a cheesy plug for something, but it’s true.   My dear friend suggested I get to this tea as soon as I can.  I had the the time, I had the space, the setting, and all those other little things that are the big things too, that make a tea and the experience that much more exciting.

You see, any entity can be great, but when surrounded by certain elements that make you feel good,  it’s that much better.  This is not covering up any deficiencies, because there aren’t any.   This is just making this the most memorable experience, for me, that I can make.

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I knew when I was brewing the water, opening the tea packet, and steeping, I was on the verge of something great.

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I’m running on a string of great teas, as if you read my posts you can tell, and I hopefully don’t see an end in sight.  There may be a hiccup or roadblock or two, but it just says that the level of teas is off the charts by so many companies.

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Maybe it’s the competitive marketplace, the interest in tea drinking going up, or maybe there’s room for everyone and everything.  I’d say it’s combination of all of the above, and then some.

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I’ve said so much without saying a lot about the tea itself.    And that guy in the picture does seem a bit creepy no? Ha.  Those are animal crackers since you were asking.  Oh yes, the tea, finally…

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The turmeric and ginger are easily detectable, based on appearance and on taste.  That golden color can only mean one thing.   I didn’t realize until after reading the synopsis, that that other powerful spice was black pepper, and not so much the licorice root.  Add some orange peel and orange oil, and you have an entirely organic experience, literally.

I’ve been spoiled and blessed all at once.  This tea did everything it said it would, and to call anything the best or the greatest makes those terms lose their luster.  So I’ll just say the tea was great.  Because it really is.

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And as the weather begins to break, this is the perfect for now, and for a little while longer.  Actually for any date, time, and season you want.   And those are the best teas.

Those are the best anything.

It’s almost Spring.   More is coming.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

Simple, Tranquil, Peaceful

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You know there’s the simple joy of heating up that tea kettle, seeing all that steam, and hearing it whistle.   You pour the hot water into a cup, with a bag, loose tea, or however you do your tea already in place; and then you sip.   That’s simple, it’s joyful, and it’s one of those things I never want to take for granted.

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Then there’s the simplicity and happiness in adding a few extra ingredients, to take tea to another level of all those wonderful things I’ve alluded too.  And while winter is winding down, and the temperatures start to rise, there’s still time to appreciate a cozy drink in a pleasant, safe, and just as cozy environment.  Of course I’ve talking about a latte.

This was a suggestion from a dear friend to try, sip, and relax with this latte, over the course of a day of doing nothing, or as some might say, professional chilling.  That’s an official term by the way.

I take no credit for this beverage.  My friend did all the work, even though she suggested we try it together.  I knew I would not be involved in the prepping.  It’s just one of those things.  I’ll leave it to the experts, and I’ll do my best to write about it.

The Chamomile Lavender Latte is immediate peace, immediate harmony, and immediate (fill in the blank).   I’ve mentioned in the past how lavender is such a calming scent, that the affects are immediate, and are more than a placebo.  When it hits your nose, your lips, your tongue, and all other parts, the feelings are transforming.

Life has become too hectic in many instances.  And we allowed this.  But as I say that, we can also allow ourselves all the easy going experiences available to as well.   Life is meant to be enjoyed, to be awesome, and to be extraordinary, not ordinary.

This late is extraordinary.  And while you see the ingredients used, of course you can use your own creativity.

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Yes, that’s lavender.  This is what puts the latte over the top, when it’s already pretty great to begin with.

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What I didn’t realize at the time is my friend used syrup over honey.  That’s a pleasant change, as I’ve grown accustomed to using honey (if I am to ever use anything) in my tea.  So this makes me even happier.

Non-dairy milk, and in this instance coconut almond was milk, is also a positive attribute, that I think using regular milk may not bring.   You see where the Chamomile tea is from, and I’ve had this tea on its own, and it’s fantastic.  But to see if mixed in with all these simple, and fantastic ingredients is a testament to the tea, and to all the components.

The whole does equal the sum of all parts.

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But the lavender flowers are the true highlight.   I mean look how gorgeous that is?  I look at these photos with such a heightened feeling of nostalgia and happiness, that I knew existed.

There’s those moments at the time where you know you will look back with such fondness that it will be forever etched in your mind, and within your spirit.   I felt this at the time, but then I feel it even more as I write this.  I can’t explain why, and some things don’t need that explanation.  It just feels good, it feels abundant, and all feels right.

We took our time sipping this.  And even when there might have been a rush to go to the next thing, is there really a rush?

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Those lavender flowers were almost too pretty to take in.  But I took them in, we took them in, and yes there’s multiple meanings to take in.

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This was incredible.  I’m grateful this is was my first experience with such a different take on tea, chai, or blend of so many wonders of nature, and the universe.  This was tremendous.

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This moment will never be forgotten.

Here’s to many more…

Ideen

 

Fly On…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace Be With You.

Ideen