Fine Words Butter No Parsnips

Listen I don’t know what’s wrong with these parsnips but I have a few “fine” choice “words” for them. After I’m done I am sure you’ll grab the butter yourself and take care of these rather ridiculous parsnips.

Ever since Robert @thedevotea mentioned this little challenge I was curious what I’d write. First, I don’t know many parsnips and certainly can’t understand it’s reluctance to wanting to be “buttered” even if that butter are the words I write here. So I thought the best approach was to tell these parsnips who is boss and lay it all out there. I am going to take my buttery words and forcibly take these parsnips “50 Shades of Grey” style. Sorry, I just had to find a way to throw that in there. So let me share these “fine” words with you and you tell me if these “parsnips” should agree to be “buttered.”

The last six months have been an amazing and terrifying ride. I have gone through enormous personal change. I have taken my life into my own hands. I have stopped wishing I could be happier, healthier, and wealthier. I made some major and risky life choices. These choices have altered my personal trajectory. I am no longer at the same risk of heart disease I used to be, I am not looking at complete pancreatic failure, and don’t suffer from infertility anymore. I am living the literal dream I always wished I could live.

Here are the facts… I am no longer diabetic, I no longer have acid reflux, I no longer suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome. Basically, I am no longer “fat” actually make that no longer morbidly obese. I am still over weight but I won’t be for long. I have energy, I am happy, I am the mother and wife I always imagined I’d be. Why? Because I stopped “buttering” my “parsnips.” I decided I matter too. You can’t take care of anyone until you take care of yourself first. These are very wise words I never really understood until now.

I didn’t start this journey to be inspirational. I did this for me. If I didn’t make a change I knew I would die much earlier than I should. I also knew I was looking at a number of health related issues as I aged. Some I was already seriously facing. My biggest issue was my diabetes, by the way I love saying “was” being that the issue is now past tense only solidifies my decision. My diabetes was seriously out of control. Not because I eat too many sweets or any of those stereotypical responses to someone with uncontrolled diabetes may be. No matter how much I watched my diet, which I DID I wasn’t able to grasp the control I needed. Just as I got close, my body decided to change the game. I was on insulin and pills. To this day I have so many black and blue marks on my abdomen that just won’t heal from all the daily injections. I hated the life I was trapped in, it felt like survival and not really living. I tried every “traditional” weight loss method out there. It was never the lack of drive it was my body that was failing me. My doctors were telling me there was a chance that my pancreas was being so over taxed that it was getting ready to fail. I was terrified and it wasn’t that I was terrified for myself. I didn’t want to leave my kids. They need a mother, they need me and I need them.

I decided it was time I did whatever it took to save my life. People think you are a cheater, people think you took an easy way out. I dare anyone out there to go through what I did and say the same thing. This was the single more difficult decision I have ever had to make in my whole life. I was terrified I would die on the table, that my kids would be left without a mother my husband without his wife. I did this because I refused to fail. I did this because I am not a quitter. I did this because of my family. I tried every other medically safe option before coming to this decision and nothing worked. Hormones control so much of what your body does and in my case they were king.

Last August 22nd 2014 after five months of education, tests, and preparation I underwent gastric bypass surgery. I had intended to originally try the band because it was suppose to be less evasive. However, it isn’t effective for those with diabetes. I didn’t get the surgery to be a skinny and try to live a life that wasn’t mine. I did it to do something drastic about my diabetes. Doctors don’t know why but many people either go into remission or have an extremely reduced case of diabetes and without even losing a pound after having surgery. Apparently there is a type of hormone in the stomach that is affected by this surgery that can help people with diabetes. So I decided if I was going to go through this I was going to make the best decision to help me with my situation. Let me make this clear. No amount of dieting and exercising could have put me into the remission I am in now. This was my only option and I took it. I had already been suffering with diabetes for nearly two decades. At my age that is a very long time. Considering the length of time and the severity of my case if I didn’t take a more drastic approach I was on the path to blindness. I had already been diagnosed with a cotton wool spot which has since resolved. I don’t want to lose any of my appendages and mostly I didn’t want to be any kind of burden on my family.

It was the single best decision I ever made. I almost backed out on the day of surgery but managed to get the pros to out weight the cons. I have a fantastic support group. My family and friends all supported my decision and they were there for me. I know some of you can’t imagine why someone would do something so drastic and that is okay. I am not writing this to justify my actions or get your approval. This was the right decision for me. I am off ALL of my medications. I only take vitamins. I am down over 70 pounds and have only 19 pounds to go before I reach my personal goal. I have created new positive behaviors, such as daily exercise and healthy eating. I have been on some kind of medication or another since I was 21 years old. Now it’s over, I don’t have to take anything anymore. It is this that drives me to be better, to work harder, eat better, and get to the gym.

I am happy and living a generally “butter” free lifestyle. So there is plenty of butter to go around “parsnips” I’m passing the butter onto you because I don’t need any, anymore. So take these “fine words” and slather it on baby.

 

For other related posts see here…

Scandalous Tea
The Devotea
Tea With Gary
An International Tea Moment
Cups of Tea with Jackie
Joys Jabberings
AmazonV
Lahikmajo

Spicy Black Matcha Cocoa Recipe

Spicy Black Matcha Cocoa

I know I promised two recipes but since I haven’t finalized the recipe using alcohol I decided I couldn’t hold off on sharing this incredibly delicious cocoa recipe. Before sharing the recipe let me share with you the flavor profile of this amazing black matcha.

Pure Matcha Black Matcha

Pure Matcha – Black Matcha Flavor Profile
• lovely rich depth of flavor
• obvious earthy feel
• hint of natural chocolate notes

The black matcha that I used in this recipe is from a Pure Matcha which I picked up from Amazon.com. I am so glad I decided to try it. Honestly, you could enjoy this all on its own but of course I had to find an unconventional use for those days you need an extra special treat. When working with the matcha my only suggestion is you sift the matcha powder very well to avoid clumps. You do need to work with a little but it so worth it.

Ingredients:
1 tsp – Black Matcha Powder from Pure Matcha
1 tbsp – Unsweetened Cocoa Powder from Trader Joes
2 tsp – Sugar (Adjust to taste)
¼ tsp – Cayenne Pepper (Adjust to taste)
¼ tsp – Cinnamon Powder (Adjust to taste)
6 oz – Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk from Trader Joes
Dash of Kosher Salt
Whipped Cream (Optional)
Gold Edible Glitter Stars (Optional)

Directions:

Sift Matcha into a small bowl that you will be using to enjoy your finished beverage. Be sure to do your best to sift through the matcha thus avoiding clumps. Next, add in all dry ingredients the cocoa powder, sugar, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and salt. Mix them all together until well combined. Heat the almond milk on the stove, in the microwave, or using the Nespresso Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother like I did. I love using my frother, it’s quick and easy and always at the right temperature. It is an investment but well worth it. Using the heated milk add a very small amount into the dry ingredients mixing as you go. Once all the ingredients have blended into the milk evenly pour in the remaining milk and mix. I use my hand held milk frother for this part but I am sure a spoon would work just fine. Once you are all done and everything looks well combined add the whipped cream and edible gold stars. Enjoy!

Assuming everything turned out perfectly. You should be tasting a sweet and spicy earthy hot cocoa. It is very rich and comforting on a cold day. You may find some adjustments are needed to the ingredients based on your taste preferences. It’s my hope that this will either be perfect from the start or only require a few adjustments to meet your liking. In the end I am hopefully it will put a smile on your face.

Win Tea For A Year From The Tea Spot

The Tea Spot

 

To enter, there is a simple submission form here. To get a Bonus Entry, you can also nominate up to 2 people who have done something remarkable and tell us why they’re amazing here. (If you win, your two nominations will​ win tea for a year as well!)

Thank you for the amazing contest The Tea Spot! Good luck to everyone.

Stress Relieving Tea, Tips, and Tricks

It is that time of year where many of us are plagued with more than the normal amount of stress we are used to dealing with. For me there is an increased financial burden at the beginning of the year. I like to think I always do my best to prepare for the increased pressure and expenses but you never really are. No matter how I prepare I still feel the pressure to make sure I get through the first two months alive and hopefully in one piece. I have put together a list of ways to manage but not eliminate the stress so you too can get through the rough stuff.  Once again, I am not a doctor or any kind of expert in this area. My experience is my own. It is trial and error that has worked for me and I thought it could help you too.

Stress Relieving Teas & Herbal Remedies: 

tea

Green Tea – Drink plenty of green tea. Try to enjoy it if you can. Carve out a few minutes to help clear your mind and enjoy every sip. I enjoy Japanese Green Tea most such as Gyokuro and Sencha. My favorite companies are Ito En, Yunomi, and Tealet. There are many more amazing companies out there. These three are great to start with.

 Chamomile Tea Cup Pic

Chamomile Tea – Chamomile has long been known to aid in reducing anxiety and helps with digestion. Chamomile can also be used while bathing. For an extra infusion there are many lotions and potions out there with chamomile that help boost the effects throughout the day such as iHeartTeas Pumpkin and Chamomile Kaolin Face Mask. I used a little green tea to make my facemask and apply. A little pampering goes a long way.

Chai Tea Cup Pic

Chai Tea – An aromatic chai does wonders for the soul. The spices in the chai are invigorating and encourage digestion. The aroma is soothing and can put you into an instant state of relaxation. When made with milk and sugar it can be satisfying to both the body and soul. A mini vacation and renewed power to get you back to the daily grind. Some of my favorite chai’s are as follows, one I have made for iHeartTeas called Apple Pie Chai. I also adore Tipu’s Instant Chai Tea Powder, in a pinch I will have the Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks, and though not exactly a chai I also enjoy an occasional cup of Chocolate Pu-erh from Numi Teas. It comes in a bag but don’t worry this particular tea is an exception and works just fine as a bagged tea. I usually make it as a latte and a bit stronger than called for with a touch of sweetener.

Tips:

 I know we don’t have time and we tend to want to mull around thinking about how we can find an immediate solution to the stress. However, there is a lot that can be said for just taking a break. Do something else! Take a walk, clear your mind, exercise, visit a friend, read a book, watch a little TV, play a game, don’t fixate on the problem as the solution may evade you if you don’t give yourself a little time to separate yourself from the issue. Get back to the problem later with a fresh mind and the solution may present itself. Also, try a little aromatherapy. I find a little scent in the background can help put your mind at ease. Though too much and it is migraines for me.

Tricks:

Please don’t give up. Try not to feel so stressed that you don’t think there is a way out. Trust yourself to do the right thing. Don’t punish yourself if it takes more time that you imagined it would. We are our worst critics and often that shows when presented with difficult challenges. Don’t poison yourself with junk food with the excuse that you had no other time to eat healthy. Forgive yourself if you slip and learn for the future. Make time for your family they suffer without you. Bottom line, please take care of yourself and you will make it through this stressful time. Sometimes even talking it out with someone, perhaps over a cup of tea can make a world of difference.

Stress Free Zone Pic

* Before beginning any new exercise program it is recommended that you seek medical advice from your personal physician.

* The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of a licensed physician. The reader should consult with their doctor in any matters relating to his/her health.

How To Survive Mondays

mondays joke pic

Oh Monday, how I often loathe you! You start with an early wake up call to get the kids ready.  One for school and the other needs changing and fed. Then the older one begins to complain.  It is the same routine. You know what I am talking about. The fake sleeping, the whining about waking up, then finally waking up, only to complain about getting dressed, teeth brushed, and eating. Please don’t get me started on making lunch. What to make, plus did we pack the backpack, is the homework in the folder, did we forget the winter gear?   I just don’t know what it is about the weekend that brings on such a hard start on Monday but the fact is it does. I am here to tell “Monday” I am not going to take it anymore. Wait, who am I kidding? “Mondays” are “Mondays” and no matter what we do, no matter how hard we try we suffer through each one every week.  However, I just might have a few tips and tricks that might make it a bit easier. Don’t worry it is all worth it. As they say… “Everybody Is Working For The Weekend!”

So it isn’t always so bad but “Mondays” seriously have us dragging our feet to get the week going. As a result I have been trying ways to help with that struggle. Maybe they can help you too.

Sleep Pic

Step One: GET MORE SLEEP!

The first steps seems a little obvious but unfortunately it’s something many of us don’t do. I am trying my very best to get to bed at a reasonable hour every night. I like to see myself get to bed no later than 10:30pm. After all, I have a set time for the kids and I do so because I know their bodies need that time to reset, rejuvenate, and heal. As adults this applies to us as well. I know “time is money” but to me rest is far more valuable as I am more productive throughout the day making it easier for me to “work smarter, not harder.”

 early_morning_exercise

Step Two: EXERCISE EARLY

I know this one is difficult to do but I promise it isn’t as hard as you might think assuming you take “Step One” seriously. You will then find yourself waking up earlier naturally and thus well rested putting you in the positive and motivated mindset to get your body moving. I start the morning with a solid jolt of protein. Normally I get in a protein shake sometimes I put some protein in my coffee but I do that only in a pinch. Then I get in some cardio, weights, and soon I plan on getting back into Yoga. I love Yoga! After my workout I make sure I get in some more protein. Keep in mind some protein drinks are pretty high in calories be sure to read labels especially when drinking the prepackaged ones. Normally I stay away from those, as I like more control over what is actually in my drink. I usually mix my own using unsweetened almond milk and protein powder. Making it this way I usually stay at 140 calories per serving. You can’t go wrong there.

 Drink Tea All Day Pic

Step Three: DRINK TEA ALL DAY

It may be in my head but when I drink tea all day I am happier, I am livelier, I am to be quite honest much better to be around. Keep in mind I usually see optimal benefits when I have followed both steps one and two. Please keep in mind I am not a doctor, fitness expert, or any kind of guru, wizard, or otherwise. What I am is a mom of two with a busy schedule. I can use all the help I can get. So I drink cold tea when I workout. I drink tea after I work out. I transition to hot tea in the afternoon. I am sure people would cringe when I say this but tea is my main source of water. I have been doing this for well over a decade and I am doing well. It may not work for everyone and I do drink regular water from time to time but I prefer tea. Doing so also helps curb my appetite while at the same time satisfy certain cravings. It isn’t a great solution for when I crave pizza but it does help with chocolate cravings and other sweet things. I love vegetal flavors and there are so many different teas out there that really hit the spot.

If anyone tries out these three steps I’d love to hear your results. Please always remember progress can and will be hindered if you don’t eat healthier. I didn’t mention it earlier but I can only assume that was self-explanatory. On the off chance it wasn’t… EAT HEALTHIER!

Eat Healthy

In an effort to keep this post from turning into a book I will post another blog about specific teas I drink to help me get through the “Monday’s” and move forward head strong and happier through Friday and get me ready for the weekend.

Favorite Tools:

FitBit Flex

FitBit Flex Exercise Tracker (Plus additional features)

Soon I will be getting the FitBit Charge HR to replace my Flex because it has a heart rate monitor function. Plus it doesn’t require the need to have to wear a band around your torso.  Love that!

My Fitness Pal Application (Keeps track of caloric intake, among many more additional features)

Tea, Boring? Blasphemy

Frustrated
I don’t know about you but I’m tired of people outside the world of tea giving me blank stares when I say I’m into tea. To those people I say you are missing so much. Tea cannot easily be described as leaves steeping in hot water, tea isn’t that dull. Use your imagination people.  You are missing out.

Tea to me is so versatile. Tea has limitless possibilities. What can you do with tea?

Here are some exciting things…

1. Obviously drink it.
2. Cook with it.
3. Make fun concoctions using varied ingredients. For example my Lemon English Breakfast Martini.
4. Tea Art
5. Excuses to have tea parties

Most of all, outside of the possibility of coffee I don’t know of any other beverage that brings people together like tea does.  Please explain how that could be boring. Mothers and fathers bond over tea with their children. Friends catch up on old times over cup.  When you drink tea time seems to stand still.  Plus, I can’t think of even one negative thing about tea.  If you think of one please keep it to yourself.  That is how bad information gets out.

Not sure about you but to me tea might just be a magical elixir. Far from boring if you ask me.

How do you combat people who just don’t get the power of tea? Not saying you have to make anyone drink it, though it usually helps for them to better understand your passion but for me I am tired of that look. You know which look I’m talking about.

Fight the good fight my friends. And today that is what really grinds my gears.

Now for a relaxing cup of tea.

Relaxing

WTE 2015 Series – Episode 1

World Tea Expo Pic

It is official come May 2015 I will be headed to World Tea Expo. This is hard for me to admit but this will be my first trip alone that isn’t a “work” thing. I have never thought of tea as work so I don’t classify it as such.  Now the fun part, I need a plane ticket, Press Pass, Retailer Pass, but the good news is I at least have a room. Let the games begin.

First, I would like to thank Jo Johnson (@jopj) of A Gift of Tea and Scandalous Tea for asking me to participate in the Tea Bloggers Roundtable; this would be my second appearance you can click the link to see info about the last one I participated in.  I am so excited to join my other tea blogging peers and feeling a bit intimidated by their awesomeness, but not to worry I will do my best.   I hope those attending the Expo will be able to come see us in action. It is such an amazing way to learn about each of us, our styles, where we get our ideas, and methods we use to blog. My blog is an ever-changing evolutionary style where I cover subject matter with an infusion of where I am in my life and how tea applies to it.  I won’t give away too much as I want to see you all front and center ready to ask questions and learn all you can.

Second, this year I plan on hunting down new and exciting innovations in tea.  If it’s different I want to know about it.  I am on a mission and I promise to report back what I find. I will still enjoy, appreciate my roots and will always honor tea traditions as well.

Third, I am looking forward to connecting with old friends and making new friends alike.   There are no friends like tea friends and I am in withdrawal. Having missed last year due to the birth of my amazing son I am ready now to jump back into the preverbal teacup and drink up all I can.

Yes - Asom the original spelling of the Assam tea region on India.

Ethan Asom Carter   Yes – “Asom” the original spelling of the Assam tea region on India. Born Oct. 2013

Finally, I have never been to Long Beach. I am looking forward to explore what tea offerings can be found. I will be on the hunt and what I find I will report time allowing. I hope my fellow tea-buds will join me on my journey.

Please comment here if there is something you would like me to research for you.

Heck comment anyway. I love hearing from you all.

World Tea Expo here I come!

Airplane Pic

The Day My World Turned To Ice

Frozen Cartoon

Day two and we are barely surviving these frigid temperatures. Each year it feels as if it is getting worse or perhaps the older I get the less tolerant I become. Yesterday schools were closed and I spent the day cleaning, organizing, and packing away Christmas decorations. Five hours later it was all gone and the house looked amazing. The second half of the day involved a very fun play date for my oldest. So much fun plus the mom is fun too so I guess we all had a play date.   Lastly, I finished off the night “hanging” out on Google+ with some tea friends I haven’t seen in a long time.

Tea Time Pic

Breakdown

Part 1:

 Epic Morning Cleaning Session – So much tea and coffee involved. It started with my Nespresso shot and next a decadent Matcha Latte with all the naughty bits. Then when I really started to hustle and get into a groove I went on to my daily fix of Oi Ocha Dark Iced Green Tea from Ito En. Basically, my go to water replacement everyday. Don’t worry it hydrates just fine. I have recently had my electrolytes checked and everything came back perfect.   Thought I would throw that out there for those naysayers and those that cringe at the thought of drinking tea for hydration. Lets just say it is not a diuretic for me. Next, I am coming in on the final stretch of my cleaning marathon and I go in for a coconut pouchong. I figured it would renew my drive to get it done with some positive tea vibes. Coconut always makes me happy so I figured it had to work and you already know how the story ends so I guess it did.

Wine Pic

Midday

Part 2: 

Time for a little company and bam there go the video games, Lego Movie, playing music videos of Taylor Swift, One Direction, and Katy Perry. I skipped the tea and went for some delicious soft red wine and next some amazing Australian Moscato. I am sure you can understand and forgive my decision to skip the tea and go straight for the alcohol. In my defense I drank slow and was totally responsible especially since I was home. Fun was had by all I suggest a repeat for another time.

 california-dreaming

Evening

Part 3:

So excited to logon to Google+ I was finally going to chat tea with other tea obsessed people like me. No one else understands a tea person like another tea person. If you have made it this far into my blog post I am sure you agree with my statement.   That night I was first greeting by Nicole Martin (@TeaForMePlease), then Jo Johnson (@Jopj), and finally Geoffrey Norman (@LazyLiteratus) and once we all got together the fun ensued. We talked about all kinds of tea we had been drinking, our recent favorites, and our upcoming plans to see each other at the World Tea Expo in Long Beach, CA.   To help get things going I decided to “double fist” with a glass of Moscato aforementioned and a cup of Winter Frost. Oddly they worked well together or maybe at that point I was so giddy I didn’t care. Though I was glad to have another hot cup of tea on such a cold day. Did I mention this is day two of frigid temperatures which means this is the second day the kids stayed home from school?   Let me get back on track and say that it looks like the entire crew is going to be making it to Long Beach this year. I will be going alone which is the first time in history for me. Trust me it is hard for me to leave my family if even only for a short while. Especially my youngest who will be about one and half years old and he is a “Mama’s Boy” or maybe it’s the otherway around. I just know there will be a ton of Face Time during my trip. Still despite my reluctance to go at this alone I think it is for the best both personally and professionally. I will have the chance to focus 100% on classes, networking, talking tea, and of course blogging. Doesn’t get better than that. I can’t wait to see everyone. I have booked a room already so it looks like this is happening.

Just think this all happened because it is cold and I am trapped.

 Chicago Frozen

Winter Weather Tea Forecast

A quick summary of the day so far…

Yay! – My sweet daughter Alexandria turns 8 years old today
Boo! – Coldest day of the year so far
Yay! – Kids are back to school
Boo! – Furnace is on the fritz
Yay! – Repair crew hopefully arriving soon

It has been a day of ups and downs. As always I will find the bright side and move forward. Today the cold has inspired me to find tea that will warm me from the inside out. I find myself wrapped up in a blanket, TV on, and the space heater continuously running while I ponder what tea I should have next.
Weather Forecast
Cold Weather Recommendations:
Tea The
Tea Thé – Aveda Comforting Tea
This is an herbal blend. Organic and caffeine free. I find it very soothing and relaxing. Truly warms me from the inside out. I am a fan of licorice and peppermint which may be why I enjoy this one so much.
River Shannon
River Shannon Breakfast Blend – Upton Tea Imports

A delicious black tea blend of Assam and Ceylon. Very brisk and great for a warming wake up call. I enjoy it a bit stronger than called for and find it’s a marvelous punch to the palette.

MatchaCeremonial Matcha – Do Matcha

I absolutely love their matcha. Always delicious and flavorful. Makes a lovely sweet and vegetal cup. Sip slowly and try to experience all the individual nuisances. When it is this cold out I make a creamy (full of guilt) matcha latte. I don’t hold back on the cream. I have a post I wrote sometime back on how I make my matcha latte. Click here for the recipe. You can substitute for any matcha powder you prefer and just this time I used all cream and no milk.

It is forecasted to be very cold this week. I hope to experience some new teas while I hunker down. I’ll report back with anything worth a mention. I’m open to recommendations and suggestions on some of your favorite winter time favorites. In the meantime stay warm friends and…
Happy Birthday Alex!
Alex

Lemon English Breakfast Martini

If you want a real tea martini this is it! It just came to me and I was compelled to experiment. Little did I know I’d nail it on the first try. I dare you to try this and not like it. I will be adding this to my list of “must have” drinks. Plus it is a great way to use up those unwanted tea bags. I get them gifted to me often and sometime can’t find a use for them. I will drink them in a pinch but I like this much better.

Lemon English Breakfast Martini
Lemon English Breakfast Martini Recipe
Lemon English Breakfast Martini Supplies
Supplies Needed:
Martini Shaker
Martini Glass
Measuring Cup with ounce measurements
Knife

Ingredients:
2 oz Good Vodka (I used Grey Goose)
½ oz Fresh Lemon and wedge
2 pumps Pure Cane Sugar
2 oz Super Concentrated English Breakfast Tea (I used 2 Bags of Bentley’s English Breakfast) steeped for 4 mins
Ice

Directions:
Put ice into the martini shaker. Add all of the freshly steeped tea and shake until cold.
Next add remaining ingredients into the shaker.
Shake vigorously and pour into your martini glass and enjoy.

Warning: This makes a pretty full glass so be careful when pouring or make a little less or a little more and share with a friend.

Enjoy and Drink Responsibly!

Recipe Created By: Rachana Rachel Carter

January 2015 Tea Focus – Straight Tea

I enjoy my occasional flavored tea. Heck, I blend them all the time for all my friends, family, and customers over on iHeartTeas.com though when it comes to my personal palette I tend to lean towards “straight” teas. I know what you’re thinking. “If you dig the straight teas, why do you blend flavored teas?” Great question and the simple answer is… “It’s so much fun!” Don’t get me wrong I love the occasional flavored tea. I am enjoying Winter Frost right now and let me say it is really hitting the spot right now.
Winter Frost
However, blending flavored tea provides such a creative outlet for me, the sky is the limit friends.

Anyway, let’s get back to the point. This month I am going to focus on drinking more straight teas and trying them with a twist. I’ve been dying to try this Earl Grey Martini.
Earl Grey Martini
I know technically it isn’t “straight” but I am going to make an exception. I will be trying to cook with some teas too. I’ll find healthy options in which I will incorporate tea. I always love doing that. If I come up with something worth a mention I promise to let you know.

In the meantime, I have been enjoying the Keemun Congfu and Lapsang Souchong from Joseph Wesley Tea. I picked up some of the limited edition teas too but haven’t tried them all yet so I’ll leave my judgement for a later time. I even have a couple adorable tea houses and a gorgeous handmade chawan from there.
chawan
I recommend you check them out if you haven’t already.

Until next time friends. You’re going to be seeing a lot more of me this year.

2015 The Future – Yes! There Will Be Tea

Yes I know it has been some time since I have blogged but rest assured there is still tea and plenty of it in my life. First let me catch you up on a few things…

1. I am now proud mother of a 14 near 15 month old. Can’t believe how much time has passed.
2. My first born is on the verge of turning 8 years old in just a few days.
3. Husband is just as amazing as always if not more and we will be celebrating 18 years in just a few weeks. I love you more than you know sweetie.
4. Focus is still on family, tea, and creating.
5. More focus on discussing tea this 2015.

Though I haven’t been blogging about tea recently I have been posting pictures on Instagram, Twitter, and I finally gave in and created a personal Facebook page (peer pressure). I will continue spread tea love via social media and blog more in 2015.

Plans for iHeartTeas.com
I am still creating for iHeartTeas.com but in less capacity. I have learned this past year that I am far more interested in the creative process and less with the logistics of running a business. Therefore I am sticking with limited edition products only. They will continue to be offered through my site on Etsy. Creating has always been a therapeutic outlet for me, one I can’t give up. I have made so many wonderful products that I couldn’t possibly keep them all to myself so I will be making them available on my site in limited quantity only. This will not apply to select regularly offered tea blends. Most limited items will be in the bath and beauty section. I hope you try some of my creations if you haven’t already.

Personal Goals
Anyone that knows me will agree that I am a family first kind of gal. That has not change and will not change. However, I will add that late last year I took my health into my own hands and made some rather huge changes in my life. One day I will share all the details but today I want to promise to myself with you all as my witnesses that I continue to make “me” a priority. For many years I put everyone else first. I realize now that putting myself on the list priorities has made me a better mother, wife, and happier all around.

To Come In 2015
You are likely to hear more about my fitness goals, inspirations, different recipes that help me reach weight loss goals, fun tea recipes I have incorporated into my diet, personal achievements, my daily goings on, and a few family memories I am sure to collect over the year. Beyond that I plan on writing about various teas I have had, want to have, tea accessories I have collected and dream to have one day. I will still talk about my favorite tea retailers and share pictures of how I enjoy this obsession of mine. This year I want to reconnect with all my tea friends, chat tea, and share stories. I hope you all join me.

Final Thoughts
Ultimately, this year will be about tea as it applies to my life. Improving overall physical and emotional health, be an inspiration for others, especially my kids. Since the beginning of August 2014 until now I have lost nearly 60 lbs. The journey was difficult and far from over but truly life altering. I am a level of happiness I have never been and I want for everyone I care about to feel what I feel. This year will be about making the most out of life, about keeping that momentum going. It’s going to be about spreading that drive and love to others, doing good in the world, being charitable, helping, volunteering, being a role model. Bottomline being the person I want my kids to grow up to be. First step, be proud of who I am and what I do. The rest will fall into place.

Happy New Years my friends! I wish you all the best and encourage you to do your very best this year.

P.S. Look at me now!
Before and After