Assam Melody

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Tea of the Day: Assam Melody by Adagio Teas

Description: Bold black tea from the Assam region of India. Assam tea is known for a deep, burgundy-red cup and pungent flavor. Our Assam Melody is perfect for tea drinkers who may be new to the powerful character of Assam. Rich aroma, more sweet starchy than malty, like roasted plantains. Rounded mouthfeel, malty without being overpowering. Slight notes of raisin. Brisk astringency and not extremely pungent. A solid, ‘friendly’ Assam, from the well-regarded Meleng Estate.

First thing I smell is raisin, pungent and sweet.

Liquor is a chestnut brown in the cup, dark but clear

Raisiny-malty in scent. Slightly astringent mouthfeel, and has a starchy flavor. Adding sugar smooth it out a bit, plays up the malty flavor

Tea Rating: 4/5


Revisiting a topic from last week…the only one from last week, in point of fact.

Brief recap: I spent some time being very straightforward and open about the things that get between me and feeling true belonging, and thus happiness.

It was the only thing I wrote about last week because it hit me hard, harder than I realized at first.

My reaction to it was intense, but so delayed that it took me most of the next day to really understand what was going on with me.

And so it goes when we feel vulnerable, protect and deflect, but rarely confront.

You see, what happened was subtle, but profound.

Writing about what I did,in all of the detail I did, was sharing a very personal part of my story…with strangers. Just putting it out there to be seen and read and judged or interpreted however my readers might. I am sure all of you are lovely people but most of you I will never meet face to face or speak to outside of the comments section. That’s the way of online life, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it certainly was a different experience.

It was a good thing, to really talk about what stops me from moving forward with my life and continuing on the path of being happy. Good because naming a thing helps to get a handle on the thing. Also good because when my Mate and I run up on those things that I struggle with, it’ll be easier to talk with him about them, to ask for help, because I’ve already done the legwork.

But…there was a downside.

I felt raw and vulnerable, which would have been fine but for two things. One: I was not at home at the time, so I had to take what I was feeling and push it down (which I know from experience is a bad thing). Two: I did not address what I felt later on, when I was at home and safe, so it came out the next day, in a way that I was not prepared for.

I was angry. The majority of the following day I wanted nothing more than to yell and rage and stomp around and curse at anyone and everyone who came anywhere near me. I have enough self control that I did not, but my internal dialogue was on the poisonous side of things.

I couldn’t figure out what was going on, or why. None of the usual things worked. Not tea, not chocolate, not a good meal, or reading the latest novel I’ve been into, or taking a walk. I was just flat out pissed off.

It wasn’t until I stormed into my Mate’s flat and he looked at me with something like patient incredulity and asked me what was wrong that I confronted the issue.

At first, I didn’t know what was going on but as I talked to him I realized what was going on: I was protecting myself.

Valuable lesson learned: if for some reason I do something that makes feel vulnerable in an environment where I feel can’t be, I will react with anger to protect myself from further harm.

Not the best reaction in the world, but now that I know what happens, I can move towards being able to adjust that.

What is your protective strategy?

Is it helping you or hurting you?


“The intention and outcome of vulnerability is trust, intimacy and connection. The outcome of oversharing is distrust, disconnection – and usually a little judgment” —Brene Brown

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Gingerbread

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Tea of the Day: Gingerbread by Adagio Teas

Description: Premium black tea from Sri Lanka flavored with sweet gingerbread. Both Gingerbread men and women agree: this unique tea is the perfect addition to any house (gingerbread or regular). Warm and cozy, perfect sweetened or not.

Dry tea smells like freshly baked gingerbread cookies, warm and sweet with a pleasant nip.

Tea actually has little bits of cinnamon bark and orange peel in it

Liquor is a dark, chocolaty chestnut color in the cup

Steeped tea before sugar smells just like the dry tea, like gingerbread cookies. Does not taste quite like it smells, but is warmer and slightly citrus.

Adding sugar makes it taste more like it smells, sweet-spicy gingerbread cookie, and there’s even a hint of vanilla frosting in the flavor as well

Tea Rating: 4/5


If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed a trend to my musings.

I write about love and various types of happiness 4 posts out of every 5.

This is not an accident, these are the thoughts that occupy me.

They occupy most of us, I would argue.

Recently, I’ve been reading a book by Brené Brown about something she calls Wholehearted living.

I’m not going to give a book review, or a blow by blow account of what she writes, because there are tons of reviews out there already, and because I feel that her topics are personal enough that you’d get more from it if you actually read it yourself. Her website is here: http://brenebrown.com/, if you’d like to learn more.

What I am going to do is a bit more openly address why I spend so much time talking/reading/writing about love and happiness, and what I think I may have been missing in my previous discussions.

I talk about love and happiness so much because they are tied together, woven into the same tapestry of life. I have always felt the best when I felt the most loved, even when(maybe particularly when) those moments of love came out of a moment of pain or hardship. I truly believe that if your life is absent of love, it will be absent of happiness as well.

There are some things I’m missing, and/or still working on, though.

First off, self love is the true key to being able to love others. I’ve seen it in my own life, and watched it unfold across the pages of my journals and in this blog…when I started truly accepting and loving myself for who I am, neuroses and all, I found that the relationships I had became more real, and more precious.

But I still struggle with it. I still feel like a crazy person who’s just pretending she knows how to do anything but really fails at it and will eventually end up with no one because they deserve better. Not as frequently as I once did, but these thoughts are still there. And they’re hard to talk about because I have no reason why I feel this way, nothing I can really articulate.

So I try to counteract it by putting positive things out there, by deliberately choosing gratitude over despair, but it does sometimes feel hollow.

The other thing I struggle with most is that happiness and joy are not the same thing…and that it’s ok not to be happy or joyful all the time. I can be a joyful person, full of life and wonder, and yet still be sad or angry sometimes. This is because, quite simply, you can’t pick what you feel. Emotions are all or nothing and you literally can’t experience positive emotions if you refuse to experience the negative ones.

This is a scary concept. My darker emotions are sharp and vicious and hungry and makes the inside of my mind feel like a minefield at times. And so, accepting that I have them, and feeling them is normal is stupid hard.

Joy is also not an easy emotion. It can be blistering, like staring into the sun. And, much like staring into the sun, it can throw other aspects of your life into sharp focus, which is sometimes something I’m not ready for.

I want to live a full life, to embrace joy and sorrow both like old friends, but these are the things I struggle with.

What about you?

Chestnut

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Tea of the Day: Chestnut by Adagio Teas

Description: Premium Ceylon black tea flavored with roasted chestnuts. Perfect for enjoying in front of an open fire. With Jack Frost nipping at your nose, this is the ideal time to enjoy this Holiday favorite. Roasty, smooth and full bodied, with pleasant dryness.

Dry tea smells wonderfully sweet and nutty with a hint of caramel

Liquor is a caramely brown in the cup

Has a very similar scent when steeped, just slightly deeper. Tastes exactly like you’d expect from the smell, nutty and sweet, with a smooth and full mouthfeel. Doesn’t need sugar, but if you do happen to add it, it brings out the caramel hint and enhances the body of the tea

Tea Rating: 5/5


Small victory: got myself back into the gym yesterday, after a bit of a hiatus because of stuff that happens in that thing called life.

Bigger victory: My man had one of those “I-just-want-to-become-a-hermit” days but he still went to the gym with me. This is more his victory than mine, of course, because I didn’t have to do much of anything except decide to go to get him to come along. I know, however, how tempting it is to throw hands in the air and say “fuck it” after a day like that.

Biggest victory: In spite of the stresses and pressure we are both under, we’re happy. Enough so that when we met up with a couple of friends for coffee after our workout, they both commented on how happy we are.

And we are, truly. We can both literally have had the worst days and yet within an hour of so of being around each other again, we’re making jokes and laughing. We’re both comfortable enough with each other that we can talk about serious things, things that hurt, things that make us mad, that the conversations only end with us being closer and feeling more secure with each other.

We know we are happy, and don’t need anyone’s validation to prove this, but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t feel good that other people have noticed enough to comment!


“It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy. ”
― Lucille Ball

English Breakfast

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Tea of the Day: English Breakfast by Twinnings Tea

Description: Originally blended to compliment the traditional hearty English Breakfast (from which the tea derives it’s name), it’s refreshing and invigorating flavor makes it ones of the most popular black teas to drink any time of day or at any occasion

Dry tea smells right and slightly spice, then sweet and fresh

Liquor is a dark brown in the cup, very similar to the color of coffee

Steeped tea smells like sweet sun tea, even before sugar is added, but retains its spicy hint

Drinks like coffee, smooth, dark and robust

Tea Rating: 3.5/5


A favorite quote of mine about tea: “If you are cold; tea will warm you. If you are too heated; it will cool you. If you are depressed; it will cheer you. If you are excited; it will calm you”

I find that this a very accurate statement for me, particularly when it comes to bad days: when I am upset, my first thought is to go make tea. Even when I’m not recording it because it’s a tea I’ve had before, or writing a blog post, I find myself digging in my tea cupboard almost before I fully register that I am unhappy

There is something in the ritual of it: filling the teakettle, setting it to boil, choosing tea, choosing a mug, prepping the tea and the mug for the hot water, pouring the water over the tea and then wrapping my hands around the mug while inhaling the aroma of the steeping tea that makes everything seem right with the world

Even when I’m facing a problem larger than the serenity of tea can fix, going through my tea ritual calms me enough to allow me to face the problem head on with a clear mind and intention.

I’m not the only one who feels this way, or even one of few. There are recorded quotes from people all over the world, from all walks of life, who hold the ritual of tea in high regard for much the same reason I do.

My tea ritual is simple compared to some, such a tea ceremonies in China and Japan, but it’s something that can come with me wherever I go. In fact, the last time I traveled, I brought with me my tea mug and sugar cubes and a small selection of tea, so I could keep drinking and writing while I was away.

I remember getting more than a few glances and smiles as I prepared my tea while waiting for my plane in the airport, almost like people were pleasantly surprised to see something so simple and normal in such a usually stressed and hectic situation.

For myself, I felt like I was showing a whole new audience the joy of tea, and that’s a pretty awesome accomplishment in my book


Perhaps it is while drinking tea that I most of all enjoy the sense of leisure“. ~George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, 1903

Black Tea

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Tea of the Day: Black Tea by Lipton

Description: Savor the original, delicious taste enjoyed by discriminating tea connoisseurs for more than a century. Orange pekoe, and pekoe cut black tea is the ideal blend for the perfect cup of tea

Strong, slightly orangey smell. Same when steeped

Liquor is dark chocolaty brown in the cup

smooth, slightly citrus, slightly sweet flavor

Adding sugar deepens the flavor and adds a smokey tone to the tea

Tea Rating: 3/5


This world can be a lonely place

Some people even argue that while you can have people around you in your life, your journey is your own, never to truly be shared with anyone. You’re born alone, you die alone.

To some degree that idea has merit. Two people can be a part of the exact same event and view it differently, take away different memories, put a different emphasis on it.

But, I I also think that the “born alone, die alone” concept is missing something important

We as humans are all seeking connection, on some level, all the time. Why would we seek it if it’s not possible to share with anyone else?

I also think that while many people seek connection, they also often shy away from the deep connection that would allow them to truly share their experiences with someone else.

I can understand why: to be deeply connected with someone is a terrifying experience as it’s not a one way street. When you truly understand someone, they are able to understand you equally as well. You give as much as you get and for many people (particularly with the “me me me” mentality of this digital age) that concept is abhorrent, to say the least.

But, as much at it is scary to know that there is someone (or multiple someones as you can have deep friendships as well as romantic relationships) who knows what you mean versus what you say, knows all of the things you don’t normally let out and could lay you bare for all the world to see, it is also deeply satisfying. To not have to explain yourself or worry that you are misunderstood means that around this person you are truly free to relax

Personally, I can’t think of anything better than that.


Make tea, not war. ~Monty Python

Pu-Erh Chai

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Tea of the day: Pu-Erh Chai by Golden Moon Tea

Description: An exotic blend of rich, earthy notes enlivened by aromatic cinnamon and green cardamon pods, highlighted with a smooth citrus bouquet. Sweet and full-bodied

Smells of cinnamon and citrus with an unusual bitey bitterness behind it that is not unpleasant, rather lends the dry leaves some unexpected depth

Dark chestnut brown in the cup

Smells much the same steeped as dry, but with a smokey character that comes out in the flavor as well.

Adding sugar brings out the spices and citrus, very tasty

Tea Rating: 4/5


I can breathe!

I slept last night!

I can smell things again!

*runs off into the distance, cheering*

I really don’t have much of a post today, I’ve been so focused on getting better there isn’t much thoughtful going on

I am simply happy to say that though I am still congested and tired, I am definitely on the mend which is a wonderful way to begin my weekend


“With melted snow I boil fragrant tea.”
Mencius, Mencius

Raspberry Pineapple Luau

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Tea of the Day: Raspberry Pineapple Luau by Teavana

Description: Bright raspberry, and ripe, tangy pineapple kissed with sweet hibiscus flower and pieces of crisp apple come together fantastically in a cup certain to have you in an Aloha state of mine

Definitely smells very strongly of sweet pineapple with a nice overlay of something a little more tart

Liquor is a lovely dark pink (almost red) color in the cup

Tastes like it smells, fruity and tart, a refreshing cup

Tea Rating: 3.5/5


Life has a funny way of working out

Not always the way you want…but often the way you need. Like that song by the Rolling Stones:  “you can’t always get what you want/you can’t always get what you  want/but you might find/you get what you need”

I was seeing a guy for a while, someone who treated me well and was fun to be around and made me pretty darn happy. He seemed pretty happy to spend time with me too, until one day he needed space. These things happen from time to time and there’s nothing to say we won’t someday spend time together again. Either way I’m happy I met him, cool people like that are hard to find.

I’m alright with it now but at the time… I was pretty upset (predictably so). Worried about him, and frustrated that it seemed that my time, attention, and caring seemingly was not being appreciated…again.

Not too long after it was said that he needs space because he’s got a lot on his mind that he needs to work out (totally understandable, even if I’m not fond of the idea), I started having a rough go of it myself. I’ve talked about why recently, so I won’t belabor the point…long story short, grief is a funny thing, and not very nice to the whole concept of being emotionally/mentally in balance

At first, the thought was “well of course, just one thing after another. Lonely on two fronts. Isn’t that just great”

But then, this thought: As much as I love to give my time and energy to people who matter to me, if I leave no time for myself, I can’t take care of myself. I can’t process what I feel and adapt new ways of thinking about it if I have no time inside my own head. Between my best friends and the guy, I was spending more time out of my house than at home. This is fine when I’m at peace with myself, but would have been disastrous for my health and for my relationships (friendships and otherwise) when the grief pain rose up.

So, though it was not initially by my own choice, I’m glad I’ve had this space and time to think, to grow and (most importantly) to heal.

A blessing in disguise

I’ll have to thank him, one of these days

So, my lovely readers, what blessings have you had that were disguised as something not so nice at first? Did you learn more from those hidden blessings than from the obvious ones?