Ginseng Oolong


Tea of the Day: Ginseng Oolong by Sipping Streams Tea Company

Description: Stimulating and subtly sweet, this oolong tea has a taste resembling ti kwan yin, but with the sweet and refreshing aroma of ginseng. Our ginseng oolong is produced using tightly rolled, superior oolong tea mixed with ginseng root, resulting in a healthy drink that nourishes the body and enriches the soul.

Dry tea smells slightly sweet and fresh.

Steeped tea smells a little sweeter than the dry does

Liquor is a light golden yellow color in the cup on the first steeping, and gets darker on subsequent steepings.

The tea itself is sweet and light.  It is a pleasing and soothing cup that feels calming with every sip. I didn’t feel it needed any sugar, but from the way it tastes it would take sugar well. All in all, will definitely drink again.

Tea Rating: 5/5

There’s a storm outside.

Not literally, it’s actually shaping out to be quite the nice day as far as the weather goes.

The storm I’m referring to is rather more personal than that.

Between the actual hurricanes, the concerns over health care, and the recent deadly shooting, it seems to me that there is more hot air and anger than anything else.

There is what seems like a storm of division across the United States, and in some cases this is bleeding over to world politics as well.

And I just find it sad.

This is not to say that I think people should stop being upset. In many cases, being upset is the right response.

What I feel sad about is what I see being done with that upset.

There is so much fighting, name calling and vitriol that some moments I’m surprised that we aren’t already fighting Civil War II.

I’ve said this before, but you can’t fight hate with hate. If you say something hateful to me, or about my family, and I respond the same way, nothing has changed. You feel like you were justified in your ire, and I feel righteous about mine.

Meanwhile, people who need help from both of us are dying.

Most politicians are in that top tier of people who don’t live (and have probably never lived) paycheck to paycheck. They have no concept of the day to day struggles that their actions or lack of action causes.

But, we do.

No matter where you stand on the issues that plague our country and our world, being hateful to each other only makes all of our problems worse.

So, please, before you post a thing, think about it for a second. Would you be hurt, or angry, or scared if that thing was directed at you? If the answer is yes, don’t post it. And if you already have, don’t keep that thread going.

We all need to find out compassion, before it’s too late.





Sunny Mountain


Tea of the Day: Sunny Mountain by Summit Spice and Tea

Description: A house blend of green rooibos with currant and berries.

Dry tea smells like warm, ripe berries.

Steeped tea smells like a berry crumble, sweet with oats and sugar

Liquor is a reddish gold in the cup.

The tea tastes like berries with a kind of flat undertone, almost like a chapstick. Adding sugar gives the tea more body.

Tea Rating: 3/5

Yesterday, as I’m sure you all know, was the anniversary of the terrorist attacks that occurred on 9/11/2001.

I have some thoughts, and I did mean to write yesterday, but I was too frustrated and sad.

Some of it was for obvious reasons; it was a sad day that changed our nation and a good chunk of the world, forever. It spawned action and tighter security and some questionable policies in the name of safety. Because of that event, there is fear and hate towards people who are actually innocent just because of the lack of understanding about the motives of the people  responsible for the event. Plus, there has been and continues to be plenty of talk about how it was caused by our own government and so there is more distrust and disillusionment with our government than there once was.

But the thing that makes me the most sad about it isn’t obvious.

After 9/11, the nation came together. People cared, they came together to help each other out, not just within New York, but across the country. This is something we see a lot: when disasters happen, people are generous and kind and go further for strangers than you’d ever imagine.

It’s a great thing, but it makes me sad because it doesn’t last. A day, a week, a month later we’re back to being hateful and mistrustful, with our heads down only looking out for ourselves.

It shouldn’t take a disaster to be good to each other.

I firmly believe that if we treated each other more like we do after a disaster every day that there wouldn’t be so many people in dire need, or people living in fear of hate because that kind of love washes everything else out.

It’s a beautiful dream.



China Green Tips


Tea of the Day: China Green Tips by Tazo

Description: Linger in the pure, steam-fired broth of this first-flush green tea, thinking clear, peaceful thoughts. Like watching mist rise off a thermal spring, hidden behind a wooded glen and accessible only by trampoline.

Dry tea smells light and savory, like a thin vegetable broth

Liquor is a bright golden yellow in the cup

Steeped tea continues to be veggie-like in flavor, but now with a hint of sweetness. To me, the tea lends itself too easy to bitterness and the clarity of the liquor is not reflected in the taste.

Tea Rating: 2.5/5

This blog is meant to be a safe haven of sorts; part diary part positive thinking and images I can share with others.

As such, I don’t typically spend much time talking about current events.

But there’s been something in the news lately that has caught my attention and I feel needs to be shared.

A letter the Stanford victim read to her attacker. Take a few minutes and read it. It’s long, and heavy and really cannot be rushed or skimmed over. Or, at least, it should not be.

Essentially, from my perspective, this issue keeps coming up because no amount of legislation is going to fix the underlying problem: a fundamental lack of respect for other people’s lives coupled with a sense that people (though in this case men/boys specifically) are not responsible for their own actions. With the right excuse, all can be forgiven or swept away.

This not just a problem that needs to be addressed by men; it is something that encompases all of us.

The solution, I think, is not some grand gesture made in the future, but rather little things done by each of us right now.

Every single person we meet during a given day is someone who deserves as much personal respect as we would want for ourselves or our loved ones, and we are responsible for how we treat them.

It’s not right for us to excuse ourselves when we act poorly because someone else acted poorly to us; that kind of thinking is what eventually leads to the attitude that being drunk is an excuse to rape someone.

Each and every one of us needs to lead by example, starting now. Treat other people like they are actually people, not just objects to be avoided or manipulated. This is important, because if we don’t start now, all of us, nothing will ever change and the Stanford story will keep repeating.

“I never meet a ragged boy in the street without feeling that i may owe him a salute, for I know not what possibilities may be buttoned up under his coat.” ― James A. Garfield


Egg Noggin’


Tea of the Day: Egg Noggin’ by Bigelow

Description: A smooth and delicious blend of black and green teas with the creamy flavor of eggnog

Smells like eggnog with a nice black tea bit underneath

Liquor is honey colored in the cup.

Smells and tastes like eggnog but (obviously) not as thick so it’s smooth and tasty going down

Tea Rating: 3/5

Thought of the day: What makes people stand out in your mind, even if you never see them again?

For me is a combination of confidence without being cocky mixed with good humor and kindness

This sounds like it’d be hard to pick out or even see…but it’s not

It’s the guy in the grocery store who smiles at you when you suddenly turn around right in front of him because you forgot something

It’s the woman who thanks you for simply doing your job at work

The person who pays for your lunch because you were willing to wait for him to buy his groceries

The woman who writes individual thank you notes for a group present that you contributed to

The person who works the late shift at the airport who remembers you specifically from the last time you traveled and asks where you’re off to now

Obviously these are specific examples, but my point is there are people all over the place who are comfortable enough with themselves to really appreciate the people around them and show it

These are the kind of people I’d go back and talk to again, if ever given the chance

“I don’t want tea, I want justice!”
Ally Carter, Uncommon Criminals

Tippy Earl Grey


Tea of the Day: Tippy Earl Grey by Sipping Streams

Description: This classic recepie has subtle essences of ripe citrus fruit and lavendar that emit a calming aroma and create a smooth taste. Our blend is made with high quality tea containing a large number of buds, or tips

Very strong citrus smell with a hint of something sweeter

Liquor is a dark chestnut brown in the cup

The sweet smell is stronger when steeped.

Still has a citrus flavor, with a hint of something floral. Also has a a slight astringency that makes the aftertaste seem a bit dry. Adding a touch of milk smooths that out to make a soothing cup

Tea Rating: 3.5/5

Here’s a fun social experiment: the next time someone is rude to you for no reason that you can see, be nice to them.

It sounds hard—which it is—but trust me, it’s worth it.

Smile at the person. If they’re a customer of yours, take an extra second and do a little more for them, or strike up a conversation. If it’s just someone you encounter when you’re at the grocery store, just tell them you hope they have a wonderful day or something to that effect.

Why be nice to someone who is rude?

Because they won’t know how to respond.

From a purely observational standpoint, watching a person who is rude and expects rudeness try to figure out how to respond to you when you don’t give their rude right back to them is quite possibly one of the most entertaining things I’ll see all day.

But there’s another reason, one that’s a little more nice

You don’t know why they’re like that.

Yes, they could just be a rude rude person. But they could also be having a horrible day or got the worst news of their life. It doesn’t take away from you to smile at someone, and that small act of kindness could be just the thing to turn their day (or life, even) around.

Try it once, see how you feel



Tea of the Day: Organic Bramblewine by Tazo Tea

Description: Organic Rooibos and green tea meet under the apple tree and follow a hidden trail through brambly hillsides to their hidden strawberry patch. They unpack a picnic, toasting the day’s adventure over hibiscus chalices brimming with ripe, dark berries— (side note here, talk about a pretentious description!)

Smells of apples and citrus, bright and sunny

Once steeped, smells much the same. Liquor is a clear dark magenta pink in the cup

Relaxing and subtly fruity. Sweet but not cloying, easy to drink

Tea Rating: 3.75/5

Life is good

But, life is also hard

I’m in a good place in my life, in truth.

Healthier and happier than I was a year ago, even a few months ago, by far.

Except there’s this one thing

My family is not a particularly tight one…we’re all a little bit anti-social and do better in person. So we love each other but we don’t spend a lot of time day to day saying so. We know it’s there, and don’t spend a ton of time expressing it

However, during the holidays, we all make a little more of an effort to really show that we care. From the end of November to the end of December we tend to spend more time doing things as a family (things that are fun, and memorable) than at any other time of the year

So, being away from my parents house is always a little sad around this time, though I do spend Christmas down with them whenever I can

This year it’s more sad, in a more pointed way

This year, my grandmother is not here to celebrate with us.

Not a surprise, but not easy either, since it’s the first holiday season without her at least on the phone for my entire life

I am so very blessed, so very glad I am where I am right now….but I feel just a bit broken

I understand this is part of the grieving process.

That this is normal

But I feel like I’m taking up at least a part time residence in Crazy Town

I spent a little time thinking about things…about how I feel, and why, and what I can do.

There isn’t much I can do, because wounds (even the emotional kind) simply take time to heal

But I do understand that there will be certain chunks of time that will be harder for me than others. Cycles, if you will. And with that awareness, I can at least make an effort to prepare for the rough patches

That’s something, at least.

“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.”
Bill Watterson, The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book

Black Dragon Pearls


Tea of The Day: Black Dragon Pearls by Teavana

Description: These famed pearls carry sweet undertones of chocolate, creating exquisitely smooth body in each cup

Dry, has a very subtle sweet smell because it is tightly rolled

Clear pale gold in the cup. Once steeped, has a smokey smell and flavor not apparent in the dry tea. Subtle chocolaty flavor. Adding sweetener brings out the smoothness and light sweetness.

Tea Rating: 5/5

It’s been an interesting couple of days

My Thanksgiving was good, but also hard. First year where I called home and my grandmother was not there.

This missing people thing, it’s hard, and in ways you don’t expect.

And then the next day I had confirmation that the guy I’d been seeing needs more time and space than I’d hoped.

This was cause to call home and talk to my dad, because frustrated!

Doing so turned out to be the best possible thing I could have done. I was able to get a fresh look at what happened, and what I could have changed (which was, amazingly, nothing), and a better understanding of what to do next. In this case, what do to next is really nothing. Or at least nothing related to the situation. I’ll simply go about my business and keep on being me, because me is pretty great and I’ve too much going for me to sit around and twiddle my thumbs waiting for a change that may never come around. I’ll be the change I want to see, every step, every breath

Another great thing about talking to my father is that it really cemented in my neurotic brain that I’m not alone in this world with my awkward and cute and conflicted but going for it anyway…and my parents found each other so there’s hope for me yet. There’s always hope. And always room to grow.

Now today, it’s my birthday.

I’m older, probably no wiser, but at least willing to admit that there is much I don’t know. Life is beautiful and I’m so grateful to be where I am with the friends that I have that it’s almost like a daydream sometimes. My life may not be what I expected it would be at this age but I can’t say I’d have it any other way.