May 25, 2016

Unplugged: Coloringbooks as Meditation

It is no surprise that this medium made it into this series. Who doesn't love a good coloring book session? I love just releasing the inner child in me and working on a page (or more). There is a meditative trance we get into as we color in each page. I clearly remember being this way as a child and nothing has changed since then. Let me introduce two that I have at my disposal which I just love, and a few ideas for types of materials to try out (why not try something new?).

After coloring books were used to calm children is there any surprise that as adults we have turned to the same activity to reduce stress? What a great way to reduce stress through a simple "meditative" practice which anyone can do.

The first book is called Mandala Magic which is packed full of different kinds of mandalas. Mandals are great as they use repeating patterns to make up the space it is within, which usually is a circle.
  The second book is called Secret Tokyo which is full of different sorts of imagery from Japan. With the kimono pages and even the tea page I could not pass this up. This same company does other places such as New York City.
 Now let's look at some different types of materials. There are so many out there but here are a few that I suggest you give a try with your coloring books.

Pencil Crayons

 When we were kids this was the upgrade we longed for once we were a bit older. They are great as you can layer different colors on top of each other lightly to (create more dimension or) just broaden out the colors you have.

Watercolors

It is quick to use but you can really get more dimension put into each page you work on. The other great thing about this material is that you can also find portable palette with all the colors with it. Just add a collapsible brush with a water barrel and you can paint any where you may be.

Chalk Pastels

  Now for this one you will need some kind of fixative to keep your coloring in place which you can pick up at your local craft or art supply store for under $15 (or use hair spray as a last resort). This one it super fun as you can really build up layers to get the depth you want.  It would be a great choice even as a base which you use another material over top (pencil crayons for example).

Markers

There are so many other types of materials out there that you can try. If you are worried about bleeding through (which happens with markers) either get the picture copied and printed on a thicker paper or place some papers under the page you are working on. The last point will still allow for bleed but the second page will not be affected.

Have a favorite coloring book your would like to share? Share your suggestions in the comments below.
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May 20, 2016

Exploring Photography: Tips to help you take better photos

It has been almost two months since I received my new camera and I adore my new creative outlet. Photography is drastically different from drawing or painting. Using what is around you or bringing aspects together to create a new image. Everything is left up to light that comes into the camera which all these little settings to alter it. High light, low light, large shadows, no shadows. There is so much you can do with it, but it is all up to how you alter the setting to get the image you want.
  At the moment I am slowly trying to put together elements to develop my own style. Taking pieces from here and there to get to the end result. It's a long road but I am taking it day by day.  But I want to share what has helped me so far with you.

Exploring Photography- Tips to help you take better photos with use of a few very affordable items you can obtain locally. Get the most out of your cell phone camera or DSLR Canon Camera.

Tip #1: Use  daylight where ever possible

A bright window does wonders for lighting up your subject. Lights in most homes are fluorescent which gives pictures a tint in any pictures you take. Which brings me to our next tip. 

Tip #2: If not then use "daylight" light bulb to create it

 Thanks to technology we can now recreate the light we wish. This type of light bulb can be purchased sometimes at dollar stores but if you cant to create a quick kit for under $20 then check out places such as Home Depot. There you can find a light socket with a clamp and adjustable "neck". Super handy if you need to take a picture latter in the evening or when it is overcast out. 

Tip #3: Used White foam core to bounce light back onto your subject

This has been my go to tool for the last few years, a trick I picked up at Blog Podium from Giulia's photography workshop. Either check out your local dollar store or craft supply store to pick one up. Have the light coming in from one side and bounce the light back on the subject with the foam core board. When you feel you have mastered bouncing light this way try out our next tip.

Tip #4:  Rent or buy a 5 in 1 reflector

I have only had this for about little over a month and I love it. You zip and flip to get the side out that you desire. There is gold, silver, white, black and the middle can be used as a diffuser (lessen the light or soften). It folds up small and comes with a little bag making it super portable! For this little gem I would check your local Photography store and also Amazon.  Mine is 20" wide and suits all of my needs so far. 

Tip #5: Try out a fixed prime lense (50mm or 35mm)

   These little guys have no zoom, only a focusing ring on them. They are light usually and versatile. If you are into portraiture and still life (such as flat lays) then 50mm  is perfect for you. Although if you are into fashion photography with friends or need a wider shot then 35mm is your friend. Compare prices (don't forget to look at used from a certified retailer such as Henry's here in Canada) and abilities online to find the ones that suits you the best.

Bonus Tip #6: Practice regularly to get used to your camera and its functions 

  This applies also to the camera's on our phones as well (or apps for that matter). Getting used to all the functions of a camera takes time and practice. I learned back in High School but was not able to recall what each thing did such as ISO and shutter speed. Practice has helped me understand it in the best way for myself.  

But if you are the type that likes a little guide ( same here, so I can break rules after I learned them). Here are two e-courses that  I would highly suggest checking out A Beautiful Mess' DSLR for Beginners e-course or even Giulia's Table Top Photography e-course on Atly. I have purchased both of them and found the information very valuable.

   Do you have any tips for photography with either a camera or phone? Share them in the comments below to help others in the community here at Tea Journey.
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April 4, 2016

Irresistible Tea Fundraiser for George Brown College Scholarships and Nanny Angel Network on April 10

  I was contacted over the weekend by some lovely ladies about "TEAlightful".  Their e-mail  touched me that all the proceeds go to both George Brown College Scholarships and the Nanny Angel Network.  I love it when people give back to those around them.

Irresistible Tea Fundraiser for George Brown College  and Nanny Angel Network on April 10 First of there are two sessions : 10am till 12:30pm  and 1:30pm till 4pm.  Attendees have a wide arrange of things to check out! There will be plenty of tea and food samples, but also some workshops, tea leaf readings, photo booth, live entertainment, raffle and more.

   You must be wondering what is planned during the event. First of there are two sessions : 10am till 12:30pm  and 1:30pm till 4pm.  Attendees have a wide arrange of things to check out! There will be plenty of tea and food samples, but also some workshops, tea leaf readings, photo booth, live entertainment, raffle and more.
   This group responsible for this fun filled are in their last year of the George Brown College Special Events Planning Program. Props to these lovely ladies and their selfless efforts to promote tea through their final project!
   I put together this post to promote their event as I believe in their cause and also wanted to support them as a George Brown College Alumni. Much love ladies and to all who attend this event.
       For more information check out their website TEAlightful , twitter or instagram.
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March 29, 2016

Spring Celebrations: Teas being made and festivals around the world

While it may not feel like Spring, luckily we have small subtle clues to give us hope for the warmer weather. Perhaps you saw crocuses peeking out of a garden (or lawn) or just counting your blessings for no more snow. Noticing these small things can make a HUGE difference in your day by just noticing them however small. It is time to start thinking about what teas you will drink this season and which ones to stock up on.  Fresh Spring crops are on the way, let's take a look at some main tea growing areas and what is going on over the next few months for Spring.

Spring Celebrations: Teas being made and festivals around the world | Every tea growing region is beginning to process their specialties. Japan and China are making green teas, Taiwan is making Oolongs and India is making Darjeeling. Different teas are processed throughout the seasons. Learn what ones are coming so you can get your favorite tea this Spring.

Japan

    In all the various tea growing regions are gearing up for the first harvest of the year as their plants slowly wake up form their winter hibernation. From now to May we can expect all the first flushes to begin to become available, while others there is a little wait on. 
Currently, the Japanese Cherry Blossoms are beginning to bloom. Many are waiting eagerly as we wait for the best time to view the blossoms  in Japan (and across the world).  In Japanese this  time is called Hanami. The word means Flower viewing, "hana" meaning flower and "mi" meaning to watch or see.  Of course this is exactly what brings people together to admire the blossoms at all times of the day with a packed meal (bento) and sake, or tea.  

China

Leading up to  the Qingming Festival (Typically April 4 or 5) is when all those extra fresh young leaves are plucked for teas ranging from white to green. During this time, before the festival, the most sought after teas are processed.
   The festival is a time for families to clean out their family tombs and grave sites. Together as a family the cleaning is done which ends with a family tea and , of course, some tea. 

Taiwan

 The big difference between the mainland and Taiwan is that delicious Oolongs are being processed (#yumm)! Most of the greener Oolongs are on their way, such as Four Springs, Ali shan and Bao Zhong.  The first flushes are all processed from March to April, with time for family in between. Being so close to China it is no surprise that Taiwan also observed "Tomb Sweeping Day" which is known as Qingming Festival.  

India

The Holi Festival is long over and first flushes are almost finished. These teas were picked from around mid-March until about the second week of May. These leaves are typically used for Darjeeling, which is known for its light body that is often compared to champagne and Taiwanese Oolongs. 

With so many teas to choose from pick out an old favorite from your stash to celebrate the spring season (and fresh teas to come).  In the comments below share which Spring harvested tea your are eager for.
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March 14, 2016

Unplugged: 6 Self-help Books for Spiritually Present Life


Unplugged: 6 Self-help Books for Spiritually Present Life ||  Books to get you spiritually focused on the present today. Be present for your tea, life, or just because you are the Spirit Junkie that you are. Rock your world. || Gabrielle Bernstein - May Cause Miracles, Marie Forleo - Make Every Man Want You, Rebecca Campbell - Light is the New Black, Elizabeth Gilbert - Big Magic, A Course in Miracles, Danielle LaPorte - The Desire Map ||
   
   Sometimes we really need that push to dig deep at what lies beneath the surface. There is so many things that get swept aside as we progress through life that the come back at us as stress which can lead to  anxiety, fear, depression or even an illness.  To work through this jumble of things that have built up the best solution you can do is consult a thought provoking read.
      Who dosen't like a book that provokes change? I have curated a selection of ones that I keep going back to. They are ordered from a read, guide, slight workbook right down to full on out long term spiritual work.
These six books are a great selection of varying types ; from super-deep spiritual life change , then right down to inspiring read.  No matter what your preference there is something for everyone no matter where you are in this moment.

Light is the  New Black by Rebbecca Campbell

  If you are looking for something lightly woo woo (spiritual with no preset religious views) this is a great read. Each section is only about 2-5 pages, great for a just before bed (or before you start your day) read. There is a little bit of suggested thinking, meditation or journaling but not that heavy. You can make it as deep or as light as you need to in the moment ( you can always go back to it latter). If you have ever wondered where the #lightworker tag came from, it is this book.

Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte

   Part book and part workbook; this is the real deal for changing how you go about your day. Danielle makes you focus on what you want to feel and plan your life around them. If you want to be energized, perhaps you take up a cardio class or make changes to your diet to feel that way. These little changes help you filter out those things that just don't make you feel good. This one is great for any planner girls out there. Create the life you feel amazing in, that way down days (or moments) do not overwhelm you.

May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein

  I adore this guide, there is a small task each day for 40 days. Sometimes its journaling other times its a short meditation ( which can always be as long or short as YOU want). It really opens you up to understanding who you really are and make small changes which can drastically change your life. These little changes range from how you speak to yourself, how you go about your day, your relationship with money, or even those around you. No worries if you miss a day you can just pick back up where you left off. It's a no stress little guide. 

A Course in Miracles

    If you are a fan of either Light is the New Black or any of Gabrielle Bernstein's books, this may be one for you. This is where they got some of their ideas from for their book but elevated to a teacher by  writing their own books. The best way to start is slowly progressing through the student workbook. One lesson a day to make it really simple, latter on progress to reading the "book" and perhaps even progress to reading the teachers guide. It really is a well rounded package for the super Spirit Junkie.

Make Every Man Love You by Marie Forleo

   I have to say this is the best book for anyone looking for a fresh start or "figurine things out". With an open mind it can work for both women and men. The book is a no nonsense guide to a better more present version of you. Marie Forleo is my girl and I love her personality in her videos, which comes through SO well in this book. Try it out and rock out as the goddess you are.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

  This has to be the biggest book out there at this moment with so much buzz. Creativity is something that is in every aspect of our lives whether we realize it or not.  If you have a passion this is a book for you (this being a must for bloggers)!  Elizabeth Gilbert really helps you along through in a tone that makes it feel like she is there with you helping you along. While this is not truly a self-help book for most people, it still is a must read for everyone.

Have any other suggestions or views on these books? Share them in the comments below or tweet it out over twitter. 
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October 11, 2015

Unplugged: 4 Tips to Take Control of Your Social Media Cravings

Throughout October we are going to focus on being present by unplugging. "Unplugged" is going to help you find things to do when you just want to disconnect. It can be 10 minutes or a whole day. Take a chance and join us. All unplugged posts can be found here.


Do you remember the first time you created a social media account? Perhaps it was facebook to connect with friends and family. Or even Instagram or twitter. My first account was Facebook back in 2007. At the time it was handy to catch up with friends from High School or even plan outings. But since then there has been an increasing amount of studies that connect it to depression, anxiety or worse. But this is when you spend hours (or a whole day) on it. It takes dedication , control and some tricks to take control of this consumption.

     While writing this I have got notifications from Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. I am just as guilty of being on Social Media too much. My "poison" is Instagram, but I avoid Facebook.  This is because I feel the social pressure to get married, have kids etc. On the other side is the negativity that is just constant for some that I just can not bring myself to unfriend, I care about them so much. My choice is to choose when I look at these platforms and also monitor the time I spend (less than 5 min on Facebook is my record low).  But it I had to use a few little things to help me get there and I hope they help you.

Use these tips to take control of your Social Media Habits

Leave Priority Mode On

    My favorite trick, which my phone left on one day. I got work done and when I truly had a bit of time to update I could. No sounds go off which means no calls for attention from any platform.

Put it on Airplane Mode

   Take advantage of this built in feature of your devices. Turn it on when you have work to do or out with family. Being present is better than letting others look at back of your phone.

  Use a "Self Control" App

An App like this (such as Productivity Owl) will allow you to set times or days that you can look at social media. But it blocks them until then. And if you need a bit of info (maybe an event address) you can go to the page but once the timer is up, the window will be closed on you.

Log Out

This will make you think before you check messages or updates as you are completely logged out of all your platforms of choice. While it may come off extreme, it works.


How do you feel about how social media has developed over the years? Share your opinion, negative or positive, in the comments below.
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October 5, 2015

Quotable Life Lessons: Don't be a prisoner

    Inspiring quotes can provoke you to set intentions and become closer to your truth. Quotable is a series where thought provoking lines from various sources are brought together and lessons can be learned from each one. 
   Tune in to either set your intention for the week and learn more about yourself to get closer to living in your highest truth. All past posts can be found over on the Quotable series page


        Ever since we passed the age of pure innocence, we constantly are looking for approval from everyone around us.  It is like a nagging feeling that just will not go away.  It can stay with us even till adulthood.  Not only do we seek it from our parents but also our bosses (some times teachers and partners). For me it was my parents throughout University. Every piece the first few years I showed them, but every time it felt half hearted. Now I know this was not their intention but something that I made myself see.
        In my last year (and beyond), I decided to just do things for myself to express how I am in that moment (no mater the subject matter).  By letting go I was eventually able go further. But letting go of the need for approval from others is a struggle, one you need to take one day at a time.
   The most recent struggle is with the mental voice which represents all of you. I ask myself am I making the right choice for a post, this picture or that and even am I the right person to write this?                You have to make the choice to trust your intuition and do it. For me this is writing posts that talk about tea in a different way and trusting that all of you will stick with me.
    Take a chance for the good of being true to yourself. Listen to your intuition. It has your best interest in mind.

    Have you been "prisoner"  to the opinion of others before? Share your story with us in the comments below. Much love everyone.
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October 4, 2015

Let's Talk Taiwanese Oolong: Tie Kwan Yin Oolong

Taiwanese Oolongs have a special place in my heart as they are one of the first teas I tried when I begun my Tea Journey.  So in dedication to the leaf and Taiwanese teas, we are going to look at 5 different Oolongs throughout September. To see past posts check out our "Let's Talk Oolong" page.

Taiwanese Oolongs have a special place in my heart as they are one of the first teas I tried when I begun my Tea Journey.  So in dedication to the leaf and Taiwanese teas, we are going to look at 5 different Oolongs throughout September. Our fifth tea is Tie Kwan Yin Oolong.

  It is only natural to end with the first Taiwanese tea I ever tried.  This roasted variety has a special place in my heart. On that note it saddens me that other tea drinkers are moving away from this variety in favor of the green version.  There is a uniqueness to both of them, that makes me treat them as entirely separate teas. But let's get back to our roasted one.
    It is a great idea to see them separately as it is Taiwan's unique take on the tea that originally started in Main Land China. The same plant, the Tie Kwan Yin Cultivar, was taken by the Tsang brothers back to Taiwan in 1875. It is thanks to them that we have this tea available in Taiwan's Muzha District. But there is a legend that says otherwise. 
  A poor farmer regularly visited a local temple to pray to Guwan Yin, the Goddess of compassion and mercy. While there he took extra moment to burn incense, sweep and clean the statue of worship. He did this everyday, showing true devotion. One night, in a dream, Guwan Yin visited him. She said "Look behind the temple. There is a treasure there that will last for generations. Please also share it with your neighbors". 

Taiwanese Oolongs have a special place in my heart as they are one of the first teas I tried when I begun my Tea Journey.  So in dedication to the leaf and Taiwanese teas, we are going to look at 5 different Oolongs throughout September. Our fifth tea is Tie Kwan Yin Oolong.

   When he woke, he went behind the temple to find the treasure. The only thing there was a tiny tea bush. He brought it home and nurtured it. Years latter he made tea from the bush and kept his word, by sharing it also with hig neighbors. From then on him and his neighbors prospered. This legend is just one version. Like all legends they change over time.     
   The one thing that will not change much is the tea itself. This tea gives you a smooth toastyness that makes you want to snuggle up with a book (and reading socks). But like all versions of this tea there are fruity notes. The taste of cooked plums are welcomed with the weather slowly getting cooler. Give yourself a warm hug, and brew yourself a cup. 

What version of this tea do you enjoy most? Green or toasty? Share your thoughts in the comments below (and feed my curiosity).
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October 3, 2015

Unplugged : How to Improve your Handwriting

Throughout October we are going to focus on being present by unplugging. "Unplugged" is going to help you find things to do when you just want to disconnect. It can be 10 minutes or a whole day. Take a chance and join us. All unplugged posts can be found here.
Want to improve your handwriting?Here are a few tips to get you started and why you should take the time to write by hand. |Throughout October we are going to focus on being present by unplugging. "Unplugged" is going to help you find things to do when you just want to disconnect. It can be 10 minutes or a whole day. Take a chance and join us.

When was the last time you took the time to write for the sake of writing? Was it during University, College , High School or , as far back as Elementary school? No matter when was the last time, there is always a chance to start again. Even with technology slowly taking over our lives, pen and paper has taken the back seat.
    Why should you start again? Writing with good old pen and paper helps you focus on a task ( by the way put your phone on air plane mode, you will thank me). Secondly, it also helps you remember material. The very act of taking notes during a lecture (or webinar) helps you absorb and keep the information. Thirdly, doing something mindful (aka turning off and being present) has been known to reduce stress, anxiety and fight depression. Lastly, (this is for my tea friends) it connects us to something from the earth. Paper comes from a plant just like tea, take a moment like the tea sages and reflect on paper.
    Before we get into the tips, I wanted to discuss tools. There are so many out there it can be daunting. Try different materials next time you are out. My favorites are fountain pens (refillable with ink you want), brush pens and fine tipped pens (0.3 point). Go to your local art store or hobby shop and test a few out. It is welcomed. Always.

Want to improve your handwriting?Here are a few tips to get you started and why you should take the time to write by hand. |Throughout October we are going to focus on being present by unplugging. "Unplugged" is going to help you find things to do when you just want to disconnect. It can be 10 minutes or a whole day. Take a chance and join us.

Tips to improve your writing

Practice writing

   Get some scrap paper and get messy (make mistakes). Most of all have fun. Write out the alphabet or even just write out words you love to write. Some of mine include: love, free, live, and breath (with an occasional "wheeee" because I can). By the way if it feels like your cramping up you may want to check out this post for form. Remember: move your arm, not your wrist.

Morning pages

  Morning pages are what Julia Cameron encourages in her book "The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity". All you have to do is free write (no editing, this is for your eyes only after all) three pages every morning. The very act will allow you to let go of all the thoughts that are going on (consciously and subconsciously). After doing this for a while you will have more focus, and had the chance to practice. Two birds with one stone. Yey!

Always take written notes

   As I said earlier there is a link to writing and memory. But it also let's you reframe thoughts as you go.  During university this was my go to method. Writing out my exam notes by hand helped me remember crazy dates and names that I needed to pass. In any field this is something that will help you go further ( and perhaps even improve your memory over time).

Keep a physical planner

   There is something that just satisfies the soul when you create a to-do list, plan out gifts to buy, budget, wish lists etc. It helps you focus and keep your mind free for other things (like more tea or yoga maybe).  From experience my planner keeps me accountable. All my reminders are in there (with some alarms on my phone too).  For job hunting it has allowed me to make a list of places to apply, numbers to follow up by and keep track of who I even talked to. It just makes things simple.

Send hand written letter or cards

  This is high on my list for this month, sending a little note to friends or family goes a long way.  When you write it by hand it gives it a personal touch that will be conveyed to the reader. Now I am not talking about buying a card and putting their name, date, and signing. I am referring to actually writing a little note from the heart. Tell them why they matter to you and that they are in your thoughts. Or hey you can even start sending mail to a pen pal for practice. Anything is better than nothing. 

What ways do you use to improve your handwriting? Share in the comments below. 
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September 29, 2015

Let's Talk Taiwanese Oolong: Dong Ding Oolong

 Taiwanese Oolongs have a special place in my heart as they are one of the first teas I tried when I begun my Tea Journey.  So in dedication to the leaf and Taiwanese teas, we are going to look at 5 different Oolongs throughout September. To see past posts check out our "Let's Talk Oolong" page.
Taiwanese Oolongs have a special place in my heart as they are one of the first teas I tried when I begun my Tea Journey.  So in dedication to the leaf and Taiwanese teas, we are going to look at 5 different Oolongs throughout September. Our fourth tea is Dong Ding Oolong.
    
 It feels good to be back with the fourth part of "Let's Talk Taiwanese Oolong".  The first time I heard of Dong Ding was from reading +TeaMasters  blog during university.  The name itself made me want to look more into it and seek out the tea. Now years latter  we can look at this wonderful tea together. Let's jump in.

Taiwanese Oolongs have a special place in my heart as they are one of the first teas I tried when I begun my Tea Journey.  So in dedication to the leaf and Taiwanese teas, we are going to look at 5 different Oolongs throughout September. Our fourth tea is Dong Ding Oolong.      Dong Ding translates to "frozen peaks", this relates to where it is grown up on Mountain Dong Ding. This mountain is responsible for approximately 11,000 Ton of tea ( the thought of that much tea makes you want to put the kettle on doesn't it?).  The reason for this amount is that it is almost entirely covered in tea plantations, with somewhere between 4,000-5,000 growers.
    Currently there is around 4,000 growers in the region using the name "Dong Ding" for their tea, even if its not grown on the mountain. That's a lot of Dong Ding teas out there.  Lucky for us Tea Ave sought out the real deal for us, grown between 600 - 1000m above sea level on Mountain Dong Ding.

Taiwanese Oolongs have a special place in my heart as they are one of the first teas I tried when I begun my Tea Journey.  So in dedication to the leaf and Taiwanese teas, we are going to look at 5 different Oolongs throughout September. Our fourth tea is Dong Ding Oolong.     What is there to say about this tea? So much. Every sip makes your mouth beg for more. It has a lasting feeling in the mouth, with a peach like taste and texture that I can only describe as butter. It sits in the mouth and "melts", leaving that lovely soothing floral taste behind. This tea means business and I highly suggest it for your evening work (or play why not) activities. I even made some more as I am writing this, it is hard to pass up this little gem.

What tea makes you come back for more? (this one is calling right now) Share your experience with tea in the comments below!
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September 19, 2015

Let's Talk Taiwanese Oolong: Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong

 Taiwanese Oolongs have a special place in my heart as they are one of the first teas I tried when I begun my Tea Journey.  So in dedication to the leaf and Taiwanese teas, we are going to look at 5 different Oolongs throughout September. To see past posts check out our "Let's Talk Oolong" page.

Taiwanese Oolongs have a special place in my heart as they are one of the first teas I tried when I begun my Tea Journey.  So in dedication to the leaf and Taiwanese teas, we are going to look at 5 different Oolongs throughout September. Our third tea is Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong

Another week so that means another installment for "Let's Talk Taiwanese Oolong"! Alishan is up there along with Oriental Beauty in my top favorites of Taiwanese oolongs.  This series has helped refresh my memory of all the little points that make these teas truly unique.
   But let's get back to Alishan Jin Xuan. This tea is grown on Alishan Mountain, the most famous mountain of Taiwan (making it a big tourist attraction). During the time that Taiwan was occupied (1895-1945) many of this mountains giant evergreens were exported.  This area is now a protected area with a natural park, protecting many differnt forms of life.

Taiwanese Oolongs have a special place in my heart as they are one of the first teas I tried when I begun my Tea Journey.  So in dedication to the leaf and Taiwanese teas, we are going to look at 5 different Oolongs throughout September. Our third tea is Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong

    On this very mountain is where this tea is grown, between 700 - 1700m above sea level. In the area of Nantou, high quality- high altitude grown tea is produced. From tasting many different teas grown at high altitudes, I find they have a unique smoothness that comes though in the brewing.
    This tea produced a golden liquor that sooths the body with every sip (or in my case eases a sore throat). The lingering sweet finish with some nectar or honey like notes coat your mouth and throat evenly.  The taste that it starts with has fruit and pastry notes with a touch of vegetalness that lingers beneath.  It is very smooth and calms the body.  The taste is due to the similar cultivar we have seen already so far, QinXin. It is what gives the floral smell to the leaves after they are steeped. The best way to describe this tea though is yumm.

Taiwanese Oolongs have a special place in my heart as they are one of the first teas I tried when I begun my Tea Journey.  So in dedication to the leaf and Taiwanese teas, we are going to look at 5 different Oolongs throughout September. Our third tea is Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong

  Now that fall has set in finally (and the cold), make sure you are taking care of yourself. Best wishes to all my readers to your health and well being.

  What teas do you turn to once fall has set in?
P.S. The Tea Ave Giveaway has been extended to September 25th at Midnight! Get yourself in there for some yummy Oolongs from Tea Ave!
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September 17, 2015

Think Beyond your tea: Using a Mala for meditation

Using a Mala as part of your meditation before brewing tea could change how you look at your process. Take a note from Sen Genshitsu and take a moment to center yourself before you start to prepare your tea. Mala Collective is located in British Columbia Canada, and they have curated a selection of Bali created malas with an array of intentions. Online Global Mediation for Wold Peace Saturday September 19th with Unify.Org


 It is strange the little things that make our lives that little bit better. Getting a mala helped my life, I find it impossible but it's the same feeling I get from a tea. When you have you when things seem impossible and all things make sense after that last sip (sometimes after a few cups even).  This is the subtle power that this little gen has.

    I have talked before about doing things intentionally (such as planning and living), but you can also have that intention with you in the form of a mala (or gem stone). This mala has green aventurine which Mala Collective says  "The stone is known to protect, activate and clear the heart chakra. Those with heart problems often turn to the stone's healing qualities of strength and stability. Green Aventurine not only encourages regeneration, but is also thought to be a stone of comfort and balance. "

My belief for this that it works in the background, a subtle energy that assists if you let it, but you have to have some faith in it. When I wear this mala , Prana Mala, I feel like there is a little push to get things done. Anything that will push me to achieve something for my greater dream or (at times) pushes me to go seek a friend to talk to. These little things add up over time.


Using a Mala as part of your meditation before brewing tea could change how you look at your process. Take a note from Sen Genshitsu and take a moment to center yourself before you start to prepare your tea. Mala Collective is located in British Columbia Canada, and they have curated a selection of Bali created malas with an array of intentions. Online Global Mediation for Wold Peace Saturday September 19th with Unify.Org
  
  You may be asking what I use this for other than jewelry. When I have a mantra I want to focus on I use the mala very similarly to how a rosary is used. Each bead is used as a counter, with there being 108 in total. If you have trouble with concentration I find 1-2 rounds of a mala and using "I am calm" helps clear it up.

Taking a simple moment to meditate, such as while your water is boiling, will help you focus on the act you are about to do. It saddens me that this tradition is not part of many tea practices. While reading "Tea Life, Tea Mind" I was reminded by Sen Genshitsu the importance of the importance of taking a moment to center yourself before brewing any tea. It can be by breathing , visualization or even by using a mala.  It's so simple to add to your current routine.

 If you have never meditated before there is a great chance to try it out in the comfort of your own home. Unify has a free Online Global Meditation for World Peace that is happening this weekend.  Starting at 4PM PST/ 7PM EST on Saturday September 19th , the evening will begin with a Premier of a film called "Inner Peace to Global Peace". Then an hour latter will begin the meditation.  It is a great chance to try it out.

 What tools do you use to assist your meditation or tea time?  Share in the comments below.
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