Peach Lemon


Tea of the day: Peach Lemon Herbal Tea by Kroger Select

Description: Private Selection Peach Lemon Herbal Tea is a premium blend of real fruit pieces and herbs, with notes of hibiscus and lemongrass.  Delicate peach flavor and a hint of sweetness.

Dry tea smells just like the name, like peach lemonade

Liquor is a light, slightly murky, golden brown in the cup

The steeped tea smells pretty much the same as the dry, just a little more lemon.

The tea is surprisingly bitter at first sip, but as I kept drinking that bitterness went away, leaving a pleasant drink. The tea stays peachy throughout and because of the lemon, it is not overly sweet. The tea really needs no sugar at all (at least not to me.)

Tea Rating: 4/5 (but only because of that bitter shock right at the beginning).

A couple days ago I was up in my office space straightening up, which I hadn’t done in a bit because I’m in the habit of picking up after myself as I go, so if I’m the main person using a given space it doesn’t get cluttered very fast.

It was night and I had my little table lamp on rather than the overhead light, so the room was lit with a warm glow.

I sat down in my desk chair and just took a moment to look around, and it was then that I realized something.

That room is filled with art. Actually, our whole house is filled with art. Video game posters, photographs I’ve done or done by people I know, art prints from local artists, paintings, coloring book pages, wall hangings, puzzles glue together, a cross stitch piece, a small quilt…art.

There are a lot of differnt things, and not all of it really “goes together,” but the end result is that our home is welcoming. It’s relaxing and comfortable, and reflection of the people who live in the house.

It is a mish-mash, but one that is full of life and personality, and something I would never trade for magazine clean and unified.




Vanilla Comoro


Tea of the Day: Vanilla Comoro by Harney and Sons

Description:  A natural sweetness and rich flavor makes Vanilla Black tea an irresistible delight. Its aroma awakens memories of baking sugar cookies with your grandmother. The Comoro version is decaffeinated, so you can enjoy our favorite vanilla dessert tea and still get a good night’s sleep

Dry tea smells like, well, vanilla.

Liquor is chestnut brown in the cup

Steeped tea smells of vanilla too, of course, but also has a richness to it. It does indeed smell like sugar cookies, sweet and buttery and warm.

The tea tastes very like it smells and only needs a touch of sweetener. Sugar makes it lighter in flavor, honey adds a little more depth. Add a touch of milk and you get a very soothing tea that tastes good all the way to the bottom of the cup, or even cold if you leave it to sit for a while.

Tea Rating: 5/5

Today marks a small, yet significant, milestone.

I have now delivered (or had delivered on my behalf) the photographs from my third commissioned photo shoot.

It’s an interesting feeling.

On the one hand, I feel accomplished and proud of the work I’ve done.

On the other, I realize that I still have plenty I can learn and room to grow and get better, so I feel humbled and maybe a little intimidated.

I can look back and what I did when I started this photography thing, and what I did most recently, and clearly see things I’d like to do better.

But I also see improvement.

So, I’m feeling motivated, if a little nervous.

I’ve made some improvements to my photography page, paid a small amount for Facebook to boost one of my posts, and set up and linked an Instagram account to my business page.

This weekend, I want to work on creating a logo for my business, because to me that’s the next logical step.

I don’t know how long my motivation will last, so best to take advantage of it while I can.

So, if all of the above was a little boring to you, there is something I think anyone can take from this.

There is no reason not to spend time doing something you enjoy, even if you’re not great at it. You don’t even have to spend a lot of money on it; even now some of my favorite raw shots were done with a point-and-shoot camera that was a gift.

The point is to do it anyway. There is a lot of joy to be found in the making or the doing of something that you’re not being actively paid to do

I’m thinking, in particular, about artsy stuff like photography or drawing or writing or wood carving and so on, but enjoyment is not limited to that.

If you enjoy reading, or running, or making goofy faces at dogs or anything else that you could do but you don’t do, what’s stopping you?

If the thing is not something that actively hurts you or someone else, take the time.

You’re allowed. It’s ok to have fun.

Besides, who knows? You might be able to find a way to turn doing what you love into something that also makes you money (so you can do more of that thing you love).


Tibetan Rapberry


Tea of the Day: Tibetan Raspberry by Xanadu Tea

Description: Highlighted with real raspberry for additional color and flavor, this tea is a real treat from the secret garden.

Dry tea smells like warm raspberries with a stronger smell behind it, something like you might expect having just picked berries in your own garden.

Steeped tea smells very similar to the dry, but with a touch more depth and bite

Liquor is a chestnut brown in the cup.

You can absolutely taste the raspberry, which is great because often flavored teas that do not have pieces of the source of the flavoring do not match their smell. It’s very drinkable without sugar but adding sugar does not detract from the flavor or diminish the pleasantly smoky finish. It also tastes like it would take milk well, although I did not try it.

Tea Rating: 4/5

I live a life where I know that dreams can come true.

I know this because some of them have.

I day dreamt about the perfect place for my fiance and best friend could live together without too much wanting to kill each other (even in my dreams I know that relationships are never exactly perfect). And, a year ago, we found it and secured it.

I’ve spent many hours of my teen and adult life dreaming about a truly good romantic relationship, one that will last through good times and rough patches alike; I’ve recently celebrated two years with the man I’m going to marry next year.

Because of these, and many other smaller dreams and goals I’ve met or achieved, I find that my dreams are expanding.

I dream about the wedding itself, and the honeymoon, and at least one awesome vacation I’d like to go on with my future husband.

But, and I think more importantly, I dream of the bigger things I’ve never before considered could be a reality.

Some of them are a little more grounded, like the one about becoming a counselor a bit later in life and helping people work through life’s pains and hopefully come out stronger people. Because of where I work getting the degrees required for that dream is a very possible thing.

Others a little more outlandish, like traveling the world pulled by my camera to take pictures of all the beautiful things, even the ones that are a little sad as well.

Who knows, though? Maybe both of those things will someday come true. And in the meantime, it’s fun to dream


Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”Ashley Smith



Tea of the Day: Chamomile by Celestial Seasonings

Description: This calming herbal classic will captivate you with its rich golden color, delicate aroma and sweet floral taste. It’s a soothing antidote to life’s little complications.

Dry tea smells like, well, chamomile. It’s got that familiar herby sweet-sharp smell

Liquor is golden in the cup

As I believe I mentioned before, I am not the biggest fan of chamomile, it just doesn’t agree with me. That being said, I do like the herby flavor and light taste. This particular tea tastes like it would be great with honey and lemon.

Tea Rating: 2.5/5


As someone who has flirted with art for a long time, I spend a decent amount of time thinking about how you define art/what makes someone an artist.

When I say “flirting with art” I mean that I’ve always loved music and dance and sculpture and painting and well made movies and videos and beautiful writing and have been inspired by it, mostly to write poems and scenes from stories….but I’ve rarely thought: “oh hey I’m awesome at this”

Now, I’ve had a show, gotten good feedback  (largely positive) and had people express interest in my work beyond just looking at it and saying “oh hey that’s pretty.”

I’m still not sure that makes me an artist, but it certainly feels good

To me, an artist is someone who is so moved by the world around them that they are driven to create something. A song, a poem, a dance, painting, photograph, sculpture, a video, any and all of those things…and I’m sure I missed some form of expression.

Art doesn’t have to be appealing to be art. It can be raw and harsh (Think Picasso’s Guernica) or move you to tears, or even make you angry. The emotion it generates is the point, no matter what that emotion might be.

I guess that makes me an artist, so the next question is: what makes someone a good artist?

That’s something I don’t have a good handle on, and I rather doubt –though there are plenty of art critics who make their money off this–that anyone ever will.

Art is just too subjective, to have any hard-and-fast declaration of what is universally good or bad.

Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.
― Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park


Wild Berry Zinger


Tea of the Day: Wild Berry Zinger by Celestial Seasonings

Description: A luscious berry blend with the zing of tart, ruby-red hibiscus , this wonderfully balanced brew has layer after layer of juicy berry flavor. Great hot or iced.

Dry tea smells first of hibiscus, tart and strong, then other berries

Liquor is a deep, vibrant red in the cup

Smells a bit more like berries when steeped, specifically raspberries and strawberries

Tea before sugar tastes mostly like hibiscus with a hint of berry

Adding sugar makes it taste like it smells, like ripe sweet berries warmed by the sun. My only real complaint is how strong the hibiscus is, it’s “berry zinger”, not “hibiscus zinger”

Tea Rating: 3/5

It’s an interesting feeling, calling yourself an artist.

It feels a little pretentious, since I don’t have a degree or other formal training or professional equipment.

It also feels a little like I’m going “hey look at me! I’m so awesome!”

I’m certainly enjoying the idea of sharing my work to a wider audience.

I also like the thought that my images can bring people joy or open their eyes to the breathtaking world that’s all around us.

So far, the reception and reactions of people who’ve seen it have been positive and encouraging, as well.

Maybe I’m not reaching for something that isn’t attainable.

I also want to say thank you.

To my friends who have shown enthusiasm for my work and encouraged me when I talked about taking this step.

To the first person who showed me that my photographs actually look good printed and framed.

To my uncle who got me my first camera.

To my parents who never once told me that I was wasting my time (even when I probably was).

And finally, to my Mate, who was stubborn enough to keep telling me I should move forward and patient enough to wait for me to listen.

I couldn’t have done it without you.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” ― Pablo Picasso

Apricot Black Tea


Tea of the Day: Apricot Black Tea by Adagio Teas

Description: Imagine being whisked away to a perfumy, fresh apricot orchard… That’s the sensation you’ll get with your first sip of our delectable Apricot Black tea. Combining the sweet flavor of ripe summer apricots with the tangy bright taste of Ceylon black tea, you can experience it year-round. Soft, mellow mouthfeel, succulent flavor and balanced astringency.

Dry tea smells like warm apricots, sweet and tangy, the tea scent adding a bit of a bite to it

Liquor is a dark almost chocolaty brown in the cup

Tea has an apricot smell once steeped as well, more so than the dry tea. Tea tastes like a flavored coffee, before sugar

Sweet-tart apricot flavor with sugar, although I feel like the tea would do better with a cooler temperature water, even though it is a black tea, because the tea tends toward the bitey side

Tea Rating: 3/5

The world is full of art.


Full of it.

There’s music in the conversations that happen all around us, in laughter, in the rhythm of walking, the sounds your house makes in the night, everywhere.

There’s a painting in the way sunlight filters through trees, and shadows move across walls because of a breeze passing through what makes the shadows, in the pop of color of a flower poking through the dirt.

Dance is art in motion, even the slightly spastic dancing of children…

I often wish I had more talent at drawing, or could paint what I see and feel, but most days I settle for writing.

I also enjoy photography, but have never really thought of myself as an artist. In my mind I’m more like a reporter with a camera, showing people what I see.

This is not to say that I think that photographers are not artists. I have seen some truly stunning images that could not be anything but art.

I just don’t tend to see myself as being at that calibre

But.. my perspective is starting to change.

I feel weird about it, but looking over my work and listening a little more carefully to the feedback I get from it, I have decided to call myself an artist.

As I put it “a photographer with a day job”

I’m going to do a showing of my art for the first First Friday my local tea place does after they move to their new location.

I feel..I think stunned is the right word

And very, very excited.

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Moroccan Mint


Tea of the Day: Moroccan Mint by Sipping Streams

Description: This blend of peppermint leaves and fragrant green tea is cool and refreshing. It is naturally low in caffeine and is traditionally sipped with an over-indulgence of sugar. Naturally occurring antioxidants and flavonoids in green tea may prevent cancer, heart disease, and lower cholesterol.

Dry tea has a savory smell at first and then the sweetness of mint makes itself apparent

Liquor is a pale gold in the cup

Tea is far more minty in scent once steeped.

Without sugar the tea is minty-sweet with a hint of savory from the green tea. Light and fresh

Adding sugar makes the tea even more minty. It’s plenty sweet with just a little sugar. It makes me think of midsummer, and I bet it would be great iced

On the second steeping, the tea is even sweeter and the mint flavor is even stronger.

Tea Rating: 4/5

Art is disctracting. It’s meant to be, of course. It’s meant to capture your attention, to shed light on a situation, to make you think, to make you feel.

This is why we need it, and it’s an integral part of what makes us human.

But to have it your head…

What I mean is that I’m an artist, or at least have an artistic mind.

I have literally interrupted myself, on more occasions than I can remember, because something caught my eye that demanded I take notice.

Or because I heard a piece of music that made me want to dance and I just dropped everything to listen. Or to sing along, if it was something I knew.

And then, and those of you who are writers at heart will know exactly what I mean, there are the times when someone says something that sends your mind spinning off into a wonderful tangent and you’re just itching to write it out.

I spend a lot of my life totally in the moment and totally distracted.

No wonder I trip so much.

All profound distraction opens certain doors. You have to allow yourself to be distracted when you are unable to concentrate.
― Julio Cortázar, Around the Day in Eighty Worlds