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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

 

 

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

That’s The Island Greeting…

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This post is long overdue for several reasons.  First, a friend brought me a couple of boxes of Hawaiian Islands Tea Company, and while I sampled them, I just never gave myself the opportunity to write about them.  That, or the timing didn’t seem right.

For more on purchasing Hawaiian Island Teas, click here.

Speaking of timing, a recent visit right after Christmas, to the ever-so-charming Café Latte da in the beautiful Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore, told me the timing was just right.

I met up with a friend on a truly random day, which are always my favorites.  The intention was coffee, breakfast, maybe a pastry, and who know what else.  But intention and attention to things change.  Yes there was coffee, but I recall fondly how charming their tea display was.

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While you see a familiar brand in full display, off to the left was the Hawaiian Islands that have alluded me for far too long.

It was meant to be.  It’s really that simple.  I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, I detached myself from the universe, whether I realized it or not, and the tea was just waiting for me, in plain sight.

The tea I’m actually going to talk about is the Coconut Macadamia Herbal Rooibos tea, that I’m actually sipping on currently to make this post a little more authentic.  I may do more of this in the future, if I can gain even some more inspiration reminiscing on the past sipping experience, and how I feel in the present, and as I write this.

Considering that this was a little under a month ago, and still technically in the holidays, a lot of feelings and emotions are already in place, and even more amplified because of the season.

For all the melancholy, there’s always much to be grateful, hopeful, and to be happy for.  Just the fact that I’m able to write this out is a blessing.  And the fact that you, me, or anyone else has a gift to express themselves is another one.  I could go on and on.

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How was the tea?  While it may not make sense to drink it during the colder months, it made all the sense to me.  It makes all the sense.  That’s what’s so great about tea, you can have many of them, hot or chilled, and many during any time of year.

This was a great tea.  And Roobios continues to be impress me and make me so happy.

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The flavors of coconut and macadmia are enough, more than enough, to make you smile, feel good, and feel relaxed.  As the synopsis says Rooibos is known to help with digestive issues and nervous tension, which is something I’ve been dealing with for quite some time.  And while I think most natural teas, have so many health benefits, it’s good to know that Rooibos is exactly what I need more times than not.  No matter I’ve been so drawn to it.  That’s no accident.

You know what else helps with tension?  Good company, a quiet space, and plenty of time to listen to what’s going on with the friends in your world, in a setting that I yearn for.

 

HITeaCoconutMacadmiaTeaSantaI haven’t been to Latte da since, and I almost in a way feel that’s fitting.   I’ll go back for a coffee, a pastry, a breakfast item, and time will go on, and I won’t think about things.

But another magnetic force, a sign from the universe, and something much bigger than I can describe will bring us back here for another momentous day.   I might be sound dramatic, but these are the experiences that better me as a person, humble me, and remind me that it’s ok to feel whatever it is I’m feeling.

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I hope I’m forgiven for posting these holiday images a little late. Haha.

I want to believe the universe loves me, forgives me, and is here to look out for me.

It looked out for us on this day.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

 

…The Highest of the High…

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If you don’t know then I’ll say it, The Land of Kush is a masterpiece in all areas.

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It took me over 3 1/2 years from discovering this gem, to actually walking and enjoying myself and my life.  What took me so long?  I have no answers, other than I wasn’t meant to go there until right around this past Christmas.  I honestly don’t know after that, but the universe had other plans for me now, and now the universe has brought me here.

This wasn’t a meal I was ever going to write about or share with you necessarily across this blog or wherever else I may write about things. And it wasn’t for any negative reasons, it just did’t come across my radar.  I was going to enjoy my meal, likely give a great review across multiple sites, then hopefully romanticize it enough to the point I’ll set myself up for a letdown the next time I came back.  That last sentence was a joke by the way, but I think you know what I mean.

Your first impression is the lasting impression, and like I said, I didn’t think I was going to be able to share with you.  But that was until…

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I saw their Sorrel (or Sorrell) on the drink menu which is fresh brewed hibiscus leaves, and nothing else.  And my favorite kind of drinks are the ones with the fewest ingredients.  And this was joy to drink, and it’s best drank cold.  You can see the pictures for yourselves and just picture how magnificent this is.  And it’s exactly that and all the other good vibrations that comes with it.

And I’ll have more good vibes to talk about shortly.

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I kept it simple with my order, which is something I’m guilty of when going somewhere new.  I got the Curry Chickun, vegan mac and cheese, and rice and vegetable medley.  And the meal is incredible.  I can only say so much, the pictures say it all.

I so badly wanted to like this based on what friends of mine had shared with me, and the aura of prestige that I bestowed upon this place, just because the years started to pass by and I still had yet to set foot in the restaurant.

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Damn this was good.  I didn’t expect to finish it all right then and there.  But I took my time and found myself in the most peaceful place I’ve been in some time.  And with all the commotion of life, the holidays, and and everything else that comes in our direction, any kind of peace and tranquility is welcome.  And I was so out at peace, I was so happy, and I was just so happy with everything.

This place felt so Baltimore, felt so local, but also felt unfamiliar, yet familiar all at once.  The feelings of familiarity and doing this somewhere before in a previous life were there.  I can’t quite put my finger on it.  I was transported myself into a different universe and felt transformed all at once.  And when I go to the next level; it’s not always about the food, and at many times it’s bigger than anything related to the restaurant itself.   It’s something bigger than us, out of this body, and out of this world.

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For about an hour, I felt like I was the only person on Earth.  And that’s a feeling that isn’t narcissistic, self indulgent, or any other bells and whistles like that.  It’s more of a feeling of calm, of zen, of what makes this life so great.

This food was so great, the simple service, the amazing staff, and that incredible music are all the perfect complement to one another.   Everything was vibrating off the charts in a way I haven’t felt in some time.

And about the music..  I haven’t heard a quality sequence of songs anywhere in years.  That includes going to bars, lounges, even live concerts, and the occasional pretentious club I’ve been to.   The latter part is kind of a joke but somewhat serious, ha.  But give me great beats, hip hop, neo soul, or whatever you want to call it, from the 90’s, and I’m a happy guy.

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I was already done with my food but the hits just kept coming one after another.  At this point I was afraid to leave.  I was afraid I was going to miss a song I hadn’t heard in years.  And truthfully, I didn’t have that big of plans later in the day that I had to leave.  I was happy where I was, I was grateful where I was, and I was where my feet were.  And it was a beautiful place.

This is a beautiful place.

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For more on Land of Kush, here is their story, their menu, upcoming events, and their contact info.

It won’t be three plus years until the next time.

Thank you Land of Kush.  This is a memory I’m so grateful for.

Happy New Year.

Ideen