Sunday, March 30, 2014

spring cleaning.

in my cup: premium keemun hao ya from teavivre
It's been raining cats and dogs outside, and I spent all day dismantling IKEA furniture with friends. Any moving we planned on doing was postponed in order to remain dry. We played Munchkin Cthulhu, smoked some hookah, and had a peaceful afternoon spent indoors. After they left I found myself at a loss as to what to do. The weather was still foul and I didn't feel like playing videogames ... so I turned my attention to the blog. I spruced a few things up and fiddled around with images.

I can't wait for my move to be finished! I packed and moved all of my teacups (except one) already. I wanted to make sure they were transported delicately and without any rush. It's funny, but I have been fretting about not being able to pick a cup that matches my mood on a whim! I mean, the one I am using right now is gorgeous, but I need that little bit of variety!

With my big furniture dismantled I feel like things are finally progressing. You pack and pack and pack, but with your furniture all about it feels like you're getting nowhere. My apartment is now a mess and I am happy about it! Progress, yay!

Also, I am in love with this song by The Honey Trees at the moment ... I can't wait for their new album to come out!

Monday, March 17, 2014

this has been a rough month ...

So far 2014 has been a rough one, which in part explains why I haven't been so active on the blog or diligent about responding to emails! For that, dear friends, I do sincerely apologize! I had a run in with a sore throat, injured myself slipping on ice, battled bronchitis, and developed a severe dental abscess and had to undergo a fairly painful procedure to treat. On top of that I need to pack for my move! It feels like I can barely catch my breath with all that happening in between work. My friends always say that I make them believe in bad luck, and now I can see why!

This month in particular was the worst. Just after recovering from bronchitis I developed sudden jaw pain and attributed it to a filling my FORMER merciless dentist did a botched job on. As it turns out, he placed the filling so deeply that it was resting on top of my dental pulp, and it finally got infected. I started browsing new dentists in the area. The pain went from annoying to unbearable in a matter of a few days. Next thing I knew I was blinded with pain. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, and I couldn't escape it. Thankfully I found a new & compassionate dentist who squeezed me in for an emergency procedure to drain and treat the infection. The procedure was so painful during and afterwards that I scared my neighbor as I ran into my apartment building with an ice pack held to my jaw and tears streaming down my face. I'm going back on Wednesday to remove the medicinal packing and have the remainder of a root canal performed. I can't wait for this to be done and over with! I want to feel healthy and not ill!

This year so far has been an interesting lesson in life. The instability of relationships, unexpected breakups, working through illness, and coming out stronger than before. I feel like I earned a few battle scars in the span of just a few months, and it has changed my views on a lot of things. I'm a tough cookie and I am taking a positive perspective on this bout of misfortune. The only challenge is giving up this darling apartment and my wonderful neighbors. I swear, if this building is haunted, it is surely by the happiest and most loving ghosts imaginable! Everything here feels warm, joyful, and welcoming, and I don't think I'll ever find another building with so much love radiating from it.

I am looking forward to spring weather rejuvenating me. I need a little bit of sunshine and warmth to keep me motivated!

Friday, March 7, 2014

gokujo hojicha & uji-shimizu from ippodo tea.

ippodo gift.

I was fortunate to be contacted earlier this year by Ippodo Tea Co. and sent a lovely sample of their teas! When I received the package I was completely charmed by the detailed packaging and pretty containers inside. The teas they sent were a Gokujo Hojicha and Uji-Shimizu. I know some tea drinkers may not care about the appearance of what their tea arrives in, but I found that it made the experience all that much more enjoyable.

gokujo hojicha.

First up is the Gokujo Hojicha. As soon as I opened the bag of tea inside the canister I found myself hit with a toasty and nutty scent. The leaves are large, flat, and warm brown in color. This tea should be steeped with boiling water in a kyusu ... but that is one piece of teaware I've yet to add to my collection! I steeped it in a similar vessel and followed the instructions on their website. It makes a rich golden brown brew. I poured myself a cup and took a deep breath in. The toasty aroma remains, but it is isn't strong or bitter. It is slightly savory but remarkably light. It almost reminds me of lightly toasted bread with a gentle malty aftertaste!

This is an earthy tea for sure, but it is not pungent or overbearing. It is low in caffeine and I found that I enjoy it most accompanying dinner. It gives me my evening tea fix and allows me to get to bed without any caffeine jitters!

uji shimizu.

Admittedly, I think their Uji-Shimizu is my new favorite tea treat! You can purchase it on their website in either portioned stick form, or as a loose powder to mix on your own. This tea arrived in the midst of several winter storms back to back, and I found that grabbing a packet after a long day of shoveling was perfectly relaxing. It really is as simple as that, though. It is an instant powder tea and doesn't necessitate whisking. It dissolves quickly in water stirred with a spoon. I need to order more of this, because I can see it being a purse staple. Tea on the go is always a delight!

I say this is a tea treat because it is SWEET! It isn't offensively sweet or cloying, Ippodo managed to get a perfect balance to cut the richness of matcha into something that can be consumed at any time of day. It is also a great way to introduce the tea to someone who might find themselves intimidated by matcha otherwise.

They recently opened up a storefront in NYC, and now that the weather is becoming more reasonable I am hoping I'll be able to pay them a visit soon! In the meantime, however, I will continue to cozy up with their wonderful tea offerings!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

winter blues.

winter blues.
afternoon ritual.

Winter has been rough this year. There have been many major storms battering our area, piling up snow, and making it nigh impossible to go out and enjoy yourself. While we had a lovely thaw (which I took full advantage of) they are saying we aren't out of the woods yet. Apparently our usual unwelcome March storm is upon us, and it will be bringing with it 6-10" of snow. I am tired of shoveling, slipping on ice, and getting stuck inside for days at a time until the roads are cleaned up. It also makes going to work THAT much more stressful.

Also, can I just rant for a moment about how utterly neglectful PennDOT has been in regards to the GIGANTIC car-eating potholes on almost every major road? I know that they prefer to repair things when winter ends, but they need to at least put temporary filler in. My mother and I actually drove past a hubcab graveyard today.

Every time I come home after dodging potholes I have to sit down and make myself tea. I need to loosen up, because I get SO tense when I see a giant unavoidable hole in the road waiting to wreck my car. This is bringing out the worst behavior in drivers too. When I see someone ahead dodging potholes I slow down and give them the space they need, but no one is ever that considerate for me. In fact, if you try to evade and slightly drift into their lane they will blare their horn and act like you're being reckless. Must remember to breathe and relax, must remember to not rudely gesture at inconsiderate drivers that totally deserve a middle finger, must remember that spring will be here soon.

sun dried jingshan green.

In the meantime, while being trapped inside, I've been recovering from my nasty chest cold. I spend my afternoons reading, watching Bollywood movies, drinking tea, and playing with Chai. I think I can finally catch my breath 2 weeks after my initial sickness. I can't wait to go outside and not be set into a coughing fit from the cold winter air. I don't even enjoy being out in the sun, but at this point I am longing to sit outside for a while and soak up some sunshine.

Dear spring ... come quickly! We are all in dire need of you!