Squishy

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No teas today, just sappy post time, because I am squishy and very very loved.

And tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so why not?

Last week, I had a moment with my fiance that I consider to be a significant indicator of the strength of our relationship, a “defining moment” if you will.

We had a spat over something that wasn’t particularly significant but my crazy brain got a hold of the situation and off I went.

Later, once I had calmed down, I felt really bad about it, like I do.

In a fit of misguided sorrow, I turned to my fiance and said: “Wouldn’t you be happier with someone less broken?”

He laughed.

The concept of being happier with someone else was so absurd to him that he just laughed.

This would seem like a no-brainer, because we’re getting married so of course he would not be happier elsewhere. But it is one thing to know it and another entirely to have it confirmed so blatantly.

I feel very loved, and very grateful, and I’ll probably be telling this story for years to come.

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Bombay Chai

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Tea of the Day: Bombay Chai by Mighty Leaf Tea

Description: A melange of spicy notes conjures the steamy, aromatic delights of an Indian street market. Black leaves with subtle hints of orange, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper and cloves

Dry tea smells like you might expect from the description, sweet and spicy. To me, the orange and pepper smells stand out the most

Liquor is an orangey brown in the cup.

Steeped tea smells more peppery, but not unpleasantly so.  The tea is lightly sweet on its own, with a spicy aftertaste

Adding sugar makes it a little less spicy, but does not take away from the overall vigor of the flavor.

Tea Rating: 4/5


For some reason, every November I find myself feeling sentimental.

Maybe it’s because it’s usually getting pretty cold by then and cold days make me want to snuggle with blankets and loved ones.

Maybe it’s because it’s my birth month and looking back on the last year makes me squishy.

Maybe it’s just because Thanksgiving is coming up.

Certainly, brainstorming my wedding vows and fleshing out some of the wedding plans does not help with that. Although, if I’m honest, I don’t mind be squishy and sentimental in the least.

But whatever the causes of or contributing factors to my sentimental thoughts, they are here to stay, and I’m cheerfully embracing them.

Being grateful isn’t just good for me (or me) , it’s also good for people around me (or you).

So, throughout the rest of this month, and maybe even as a theme from here forward in this blog, I’ll spend at least one post a week talking about things to be grateful for. Some things will be personal anecdote type things, others will be a bit more broadly applicable. I have this easy-to-use platform, and readers who follow what I post, so why not make it a positive thing for myself and my readers (and maybe the Internet as a whole)?

Today, I’ll leave you with an article I found on this very same subject, written for the New York Times last year.


 

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.“–Marcel Proust

 

Wild Rose Red Currant

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Tea of The Day:  Wild Rose Red Currant by the Alaska Herb Tea Company

Description: Wild Rose is a delicate herb tea; a harmonious blend with fragrant rose leaves and rose petals gathered in midsummer from thickets along Alaskan river banks.

Dry tea smells bright and tart

Liquor is a chestnut brown in the cup

Steeped tea smells like the dry, just a bit more tart than before.

Tea has a stronger smell than flavor, but is still a pleasant cup.

Tea Rating: 2.5/5


 

An interesting article from this weekend: http://time.com/4124288/thanksgiving-day-2015-thankful-gratitude/?xid=newsletter-brief

Essentially, it says something that we all know instinctively, that gratitude makes us healthier

Last month, and last week in particular, people seem to really focus on counting their blessings, and talking about what they are grateful for.

This tends to be a pretty positive thing, and is certainly nice to see, but I think it’s missing the point.

One week or even one month of consciously focusing on the good things in your life is a start, but we really should be doing so all year around

Every day, there is something in our lives that we can appreciate

Even if it’s just “I’m glad I have a job.” or “I am glad I can pay rent and buy food” or “I’m happy to see my dog when I come home every day”

If it’s the same thing most days, that’s fine, because it doesn’t stop being a good thing

Maybe if we all find something to be grateful for every day, we’ll stop feeling like we don’t have enough and stop competing with everyone else.

Maybe not, but a girl can dream, right?


Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
― Epicurus

 

Wild Berry Zinger

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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

Pumpkin Spice

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Tea of the day: Pumpkin Spice by Adagio Teas

Description: Premium black tea from Sri Lanka flavored with pumpkin and exotic spices. Autumn festivities just wouldn’t be the same without the comforting, smooth sweetness of spiced pumpkin – and neither would your tea time. Warm and rich flavor, with lingering cozy aromatics.

Dry tea smells like egg nog and fresh pumpkin, though I do notice a artificial hint in the scent.

Liquor is a brown-red in the cup.

Steeped tea is astringent, but pumpkiny. It also smells spicier than it tastes. Adding sugar allows the nutmeg and clove to come through, but it has an artificial flavor to it.

VERY sensitive to steep time.

Tea Rating: 3/5


Came across an interesting article in my morning browsing, about four things you can do to be happier, as found out by neuroscience research

The article is here, if you’d like to read it for yourself: 4 Rituals To Make You Happy

A summary of the points and my thoughts follow.

Be grateful. You don’t even have to tell anyone or write it down, just thinking about what you’re grateful for makes your brain happier, an actually rewarding thought. Bonus points for expressing your gratitude. We have a lot to be thankful for, but it can be hard to be mindful of such things. I wrote thank you letters one day last month, and the happy feeling I got from doing it was marked and noticeable

Label negative feelings. If you can name what you feel, it gives you power over it. It’s that old idea that names have power, with research to back it up. We, as a rule, like to understand things,  and naming things is just one way to do it

Make decisions. Continuing with the control thing, we feel like we’re in control when we make decisions, even if they’re snall. Plus, we aren’t worrying about it once it’s been decided and acted on

Touch people. This one is the second most “duh” one for me. Physical contact just plain feels good. Even a hug, or a brief touch on the shoulder  (particularly from someone you love) does wonders for your feelings of self worth and love. Don’t like being touched?  You can still get a lot of the sane benefit from a pet!


“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” –Leo Buscaglia

Organic Green Tea

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Tea of the day: Organic Green Tea by Golden Moon Tea

Description: For the health conscious tea connoisseur comes this outstanding green leaf from the world’s first certified organic tea garden. Long, slender green leaves produce a smooth, mellow cup with exquisite flavor and subtle notes of candied pineapple. Sweet and clean in character, this exceptional green loose leaf tea is organically grown in the famous Uva district on the Isle of Ceylon.

Smells like a rainy spring day–rich yet light, grassy and refreshing

Has a more savory smell when steeped, but still very light

Liquor is bright yellow gold in the cup

Savory in flavor, a little sugar heightens the sweetness and lightness of the tea

Tea Rating: 4/5


The other day I talked about what breaks us apart; today I wanted to lighten the mood and talk about what brings us together

In a word: Gratitude

Sounds like such a simple thing to be such a big deal

And it is, really: saying “Thank you” with sincerity takes very little time or effort…

….but we often find it difficult to say to someone, or to accept when we are thanked, assuming we’ll be taken as being insincere, or finding sarcasm where there is none

We’re funny like that

Thing is, though, we need the gratitude, we really do

How much better do you feel about yourself or your day when someone thanks you for doing something, and you can tell they mean it?

Even when it’s something that you would have done anyway, you’re suddenly in a better mood and more willing to be cheerful and kind throughout the rest of your day

Plus, seeing someone smile from a genuine “Thank you”  always feels good

So, let’s spread a little gratitude

Say thank you to someone today, or many someones

Maybe start small: thank your parents, or your best friend, since you know they’ll understand that you’re not being sarcastic

Or, if you’re shy about saying so in person, write a thank you note. Everyone loves to get mail that isn’t junk or bills, right?

However you decide to do it, just try it.


This morning’s tea makes yesterday distant. ~Author Unknown

Black Forest

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Tea of the day: Black Forest by Stash Tea

Description: Rich Chocolate and cherry flavors, hibiscus and black tea combine with all the decadence of Black Forest cake without the guilt

Smells like rich chocolate cake batter

Liquor is chocolaty brown in the cup

When steeped, tastes of chocolate. Adding sugar brings out the cherry notes. Tastes like having cake, but without getting weighed down at all. Delicious!

Tea Rating: 5/5


As of today, I have 100 lovely followers on this blog.

I am ecstatic and blown away; i never expected quite this reception to my passion and my musings. I would have continued this endeavor if I had no followers outside of people who have met me face to face, but the fact that people are reading this (and apparently sharing it with their friends) is added incentive to keep at it

So thank you, all of you.

This seems to be a common thing as of late; I am the luckiest unlucky person

What I mean is this: I have had a week of crazy, I am now unemployed and hunting for a job and just when I thought I had things in order as much as possible for that, one of the parts in my desktop computer goes out.

I will admit I had a bit of a spaz out at this

But, just by telling people that this had happened, the parts I need are now on the way. I wasn’t expecting help, I was just talking about my day and looking for advice on how to proceed, but I am appreciative of the help

And that’s not the only awesome thing that has happened in terms of people being supportive in this crazy week, it’s just the most recent

It seems that I actually am getting the kind of good I give out to people, that I have help and support simply because I give help and support

This is how it’s supposed to work, I’ve always felt, but now to have it actually happening is pretty wonderful

So, thank you to all of my friends who read this. You really mean the world to me

And to all of you I don’t know, when you help someone in need out, even if you aren’t the closest of friends with that person, you mean more to them than they may ever be able to say. So, on their behalf, you’re awesome, and thank you.