July 20, 2015

Quotable Life Lessons: Let emotions flow to see the sun

    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.

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.  You cry a little, and then you wait for the sun to come out. It always does- Maria in The Sound of Music     Tune in to either set your intention for the week and learn more about yourself to get closer to living in your highest truth. let emotions flow to see the sun
 
   After two weeks I am finally back with a quotable to get back into the grove here at Tea Journey. Loosing Shuuhei still is tough at times but the necklace I put together with my Mom has helped. This weeks quote I found within my Google Keep account and thought it suited the occasion.
    This quote was from The Sound of Music, Maria was asked what do you do if someone does not love you and replied with it. The situation is different but it sill applies for grief over any kind of loss. Love, family, job loss, stress, and even losing someone.
    When any of those things happen we always feel like its the end of life itself. Asking ourselves how can we go on and what should I do. We can not truly start to see the sun till we let ourselves cry a little. Bottling emotions is bad for the body and causes you more harm than the initial trigger.
     This weeks post is to everyone out there (past present and future) who are going though a tough time in their lives. My heart goes out to you all in hopes that you too see the sun when it comes out. And remember, it always does.

If you are going through something right now (or have in the past), please feel free to share it. We are here for eachother, the internet lets us help eachother out in tough times. Let's share the love and support for each other. Many blessings friends.
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July 13, 2015

Urban Oasis:Toronto Ripley's Aquarium of Canada Lion Fish

Urban Oasis is a collection of images of spaces in cities where we can take a few moments to connect with nature, find balance and peace. Past posts from the series can be found here.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto Lion Fish coral reef Tea Journey

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto Lion Fish coral reef Tea Journey

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto Lion Fish coral reef Tea Journey

 If you have not got the chance to visit the Toronto Aquarium or are visiting sometime soon, here it is on a map. Other local attractions include The CN Tower and Rogers Center.

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July 11, 2015

Saying goodbye: Coping with loss of My Cat Shuuhei

 
Saying goodbye to a pet is hard. This is how I am coping with the loss of my cat Shuuhei. The original tea cat with a pandora necklace
   
    This has to be the hardest post I have written to date. Please bear with me as it has taken me all of friday to get my thoughts and feelings straight. Initially I had not written this week due to doubting my self and what I wanted to share. I was not sure what you would want to read.

    When Wednesday morning came I was woken up by my brother. My cat (I call him my little boy) was not eating and crying. Throughout the day we were distraught on what to do, the signs told me that he might not be with me much longer. I doubted the signs and told myself that he was strong and we just needed to help him eat.

    Once it got to early evening, I finally allowed myself to begin to accept what was happening. I was not going to have "My little boy" around for when I get married or even have kids. I wanted that so badly. It was a little dream I had for the two of us. To finally have something stable and not have to move so much. A little over a month after we came home the first time , there was an electrical fire at my apartment. Thankfully for both of us it was on the other side of the building. But when I was let in to get my things, I could not think of anything but finding him. He was missing.

     The next day I was prepared to make fliers. My Aunt, who was down to visit, heard he was at the shelter where I got him. When we got there he had been moved to another shelter. When I was finally in the room to "identify" him, he let me know where he was with a big hiss.

   From there he lived with my parents till I got a new place and we stayed there until December 2013. From there we lived together with my family while I faced big life decisions. Here he got to experience the outdoors, rather than hearing the sounds from the busy street near us before (he disliked loud noises). We would throw sticks most recently and he wound chase after them. It made the whole family laugh.

   Its the memories that keep me going right now. Late Wednesday evening, after we told him how much we loved him as we pet him, he passed. Till then I had never had a pet pass like that right before me or be there for everything after. I insisted on holding him while my brother let my parents know, we kept them informed while they were away.
 
  Besides him I have not cried that much except for my Grandmother, who helped raise me. The feeling was the same. I was so close to Shuuhei that I still have moments where I think I hear him and expect him to be in any of his favorite spots.
 
   The only thing that is helping me through is the necklace I put together Thursday with my Mom. I felt like I wanted to keep something from him close to my heart. That is why I have his Toronto liscence from when we lived there on the chain. With it is a charm of the moon and a star, I thought it represented us well as we stayed up late many nights together.

  While I walk now, it makes a noise that sounds like when it was on his collar. It is strangely soothing to hear it cling together as if he is with me still. That does not mean that I don't have moments where I cry. Instead of keeping the pain of loosing my "child" (yes I am that kind of cat person, and proud of it) inside, I am letting it out.

    Once my parents are back again we are going to make a little marker for where he is along with his friend Kiki, our family cat. Loss is hard but it is best to let yourself process how ever you need to. Mine was spending time with my family, remembering the good, seeing my best friend , letting emotions flow and (disappointingly) smoke. The latter I am vowing to quit but that is another story for another day.

In Memory of Shuuhei 

Saying goodbye to a pet is hard. This is how I am coping with the loss of my cat Shuuhei. The original tea cat.

2010-2015

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July 1, 2015

Roundup : All about matcha

Round up of Matcha Posts from Tea Journey. Japanese tea. Ceremony, Natsume, chawan, chasen, chashaku. Learn about how it is made, how to brew, whisk types and look into if price really gets you good tea (or not).
     Matcha is among one of my favorite teas. It sets the tone for a meditation or gathering of friends with its unique preparation. It was the tea I saught after more than any other.So in honor of this delicious brew we are going to look at posts on matcha!

1. Whisks: There are kinds?

2. Do Matcha: How to Brew

3. Matcha: How is is made

4. Taste is everything Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian readers.  I hope you are enjoying your summer with a good cup of tea (perhaps iced?). If you know of any other great Matcha posts out there feel free to share them and why you enjoyed it. 
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June 29, 2015

Urban Oasis: Toronto Ripley's Aquarium of Canada Shark Reef

Urban Oasis is a collection of images of spaces in cities where we can take a few moments to connect with nature, find balance and peace. Past posts from the series can be found here.

Toronto Ripley's Aquarium of Canada Shark Reef Tea Journey

Toronto Ripley's Aquarium of Canada Shark Reef

Toronto Ripley's Aquarium of Canada Shark Reef

Toronto Ripley's Aquarium of Canada Shark Reef

 If you have not got the chance to visit the Toronto Aquarium or are visiting sometime soon, here it is on a map. Other local attractions include The CN Tower and Rogers Center.

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June 26, 2015

Digital Table: Global Tea Hut May 2015

 Welcome to the Digital Table where you are part of a global conversation with tea. Global Tea Hut is a Non-Profit Organization that sends out a sampling of tea, a gift and a special magazine. Everything is brought together by the community to spread the love of tea, Dao and Zen. Join us the last week of every month to discuss the current packet from Global Tea Hut.

      This series was created because the message from Global Tea Hut touched me. It is of my own creation and I receive nothing from them ,but good karma of spreading their message and cause . All past posts can be found under "Digital Table" here

Spring 2011 Wild Purple Tea De Hong, Yunnan

This months packet came with a tea created from an older tree picked by De'Ang Women, an aboriginal group in De Hong. This varietal has been around the market for few years now and has gained some popularity. If you are new to it , purple tea is created from tea leaves that are purple in colour, which occurs from a mutation in the plant itself. It has been mainly made into Pu-erh tea but there are some oolongs out there.
   This tea is a lovely Sheng Pu-erh with a refreshingly sweet aroma from the dry leaf. It gives a smooth soothing feeling in the body. It is suggested as a meditative tea which it truly is suitable for. The taste is like drinking tea in nature. I am describing it this way as it is the best way to do it. It is very much a  living tea picked in its natural surroundings as any plant should be.

Kettle In the off-hand by Wu De

Have you ever tried a day using both hands with everything you do? If you haven't then I highly suggest you try it out. By balancing the way you do things with both your hands, you will see how we rely on one hand for most things we do (unless you are blessed with being ambidextrous, in which case I am jealous of your gift).
   When you apply this idea to your tea brewing it helps your session flow. The first thing that you can change is by handling your kettle in your off hand. When you do this it allows your dominant hand to be free to help with the pot lid or lid of a gaiwan. This protects your tea ware when you balance how you brew during your tea session. You will no longer have to worry about knocking over teaware during your sessions (I have been close a few times before I made the change). Test it out and you will love how smooth your tea session becomes with practice over time.

Gift: Photograph of Global Tea Hut's Main Hall Altar

   This months gift touched me, I went the extra mile to laminate it to keep it safe. Seeing the altar which resides at Global Tea Huts Main Hall reminded me of my spiritual practice with tea and the desire to create my own space for such practice in my own home down the road.
   After laminating it I placed the photo in my planner so it is always with me. A reminder of why I continue to write for Tea Journey and the spiritual practice I have with the leaf. In its new home in my Spirituality Journal section in my planner I am reminded each time of why I am on this path when I write a new entry. It is my goal to visit the center in the near future to deepen my practice along side fellow Tea Brothers and Sisters, a moment I can not wait for.

Global Tea Hut is a digital community where tea drinkers enjoy the same tea(s) every month across the world. It is subscription based where all the proceeds go towards a non-profit tea center (Tea Sage Hut) in Taiwan that is open to all. For more information on Global Tea Hut and the center please visit them at:

**All opinions are my own and subscription is paid by me, as a donation to the tea center

What thoughts and/or feelings come up for you when looking at this months gift? Share in the comments below.
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June 24, 2015

Intentional Living: Memory Keeping with Project Life


 About a month ago I fell down the Project Life "rabbit hole". Creating a scrapbook to share with my family in the future has been on my list for years. What kept me from starting was all these professional level scrapbooking pages and magazines that are out there. Then I saw Project Life pages on IHeart Organizing and it gave me new hope.
   Project life is super simple. All you need is an album, pocket pages, a core kit and a pen. It can be as simple or crazy as you wish. I choose the simple way (with some embellishments latter). The core kit comes with 600 cards in both 4 x 6 and 3 x 4 sizes. All you need to do is pop in a few cards into the pockets and fill in the rest with photos. For embellishments I picked up this gold foil half kit to spice up some pages in the album.


 So far I am am loving the system and seeing all my memories in one place. Intentional living and tea go hand in hand. it is part of my "Tea Journey". When I say intentional living I am referring to living in the present and celebrating life. I feel by documenting memories I am able to look back during the present and inspire myself to live fully.

 What type of memory keeping do you do? Share in the comments below.
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June 17, 2015

Digital Table: Global Tea Hut April 2015



Welcome to the Digital Table where you are part of a global conversation with tea. Global Tea Hut is a Non-Profit Organization that sends out a sampling of tea, a gift and a special magazine. Everything is brought together by the community to spread the love of tea, Dao and Zen. Join us to discuss the current packet from Global Tea Hut.
  This series was created because the message from Global Tea Hut touched me. It is of my own creation and I receive nothing from them ,but good karma of spreading their message and cause . All past posts can be found under "Digital Table" here

Autumn 2014 "Temple Mist" Green Tea  Wu Liang, Yunnan

    After a little hiatus Digital Table is back with a new set up, let's jump into this packets tea! This time around Global Tea Hut sent the most lovely green tea I have had in a while. It just begged to be brewed but I let the tea rest for two weeks so it could get over its "jet-lag". This lets it get accustomed to its new home and the altitude change.
     After the enough time passed it was finally the wait was over, it was time to brew. The curly leaves offered a light yellow-green liquor with a refreshing minty touch. The smooth vegetal taste had a note that reminded me of cooked broccoli. This tea was relaxing and perfect for a late evening tea before bed or after a morning meditation (or yoga session).

Circle Towards the center by Wu De

 Fluidity while brewing can be a struggle for anyone. As part of the second installment (we are going to revisit the others over the summer) of the five basics of tea brewing series. In the series Wu De covers the 5 pillars of tea brewing are applicable to all tea practices and methods. Wu de mentions that they are the foundation to build on for most practices but bowl tea they are all you need to know.
    Going back to this issues installment, "circle towards the center". This brewing basic seems so simple in writing but it takes a little hand-eye coordination and prior practice.  This brewing tip can be broken down to two motions. First "all movements of the left hand are clock wise and" second,  "all movements of the right hand are counter-clock wise".
  Think of it like the Karate kid who used one hand to "wax on" and "wax off", going in the same pattern as this tip. The reason for using this method is to ensure nothing gets knocked over and so you can have a smooth tea session.
   Everything you have placed on the left side of your tea space will only be held by your left hand. Which the movement flows towards yourself in a clock-wise motion. Then everything on the right side will only be held by your right hand with a movement that flows in a counter-clock wise motion.
   Try this out with objects that are unbreakable to practice this movement. That way if you need more practice or something slips your favorite pot is safe.

Gift: Gaba Baba Chocolate with BABA Tea

 This months gift was this lovely chocolate (which I ate most of before taking photos). I'll admit I was unsure what I was going to get myself into when I noticed that turmeric was an ingredient. After getting over my prior thoughts, I tried it. The turmeric was subtle within the chocolate. Overall the chocolate was just what I needed to sweeten up the end of my day.

Global Tea Hut is a digital community where tea drinkers enjoy the same tea(s) every month across the world. It is subscription based where all the proceeds go towards a non-profit tea center (Tea Sage Hut) in Taiwan that is open to all. For more information on Global Tea Hut and the center please visit them at:

**All opinions are my own and subscription is paid by me, as a donation to the tea center
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June 15, 2015

Urban Oasis:Toronto Ripley's Aquarium of Canada Dangerous Lagoon

Urban Oasis is a collection of images of spaces in cities where we can take a few moments to connect with nature, find balance and peace. Past posts from the series can be found here.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada Dangerous Lagoon. Fish coral Toronto

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada Dangerous Lagoon. Fish coral Toronto Sting ray

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada Dangerous Lagoon. Fish coral Toronto shark

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada Dangerous Lagoon. Fish coral Toronto

 If you have not got the chance to visit the Toronto Aquarium or are visiting sometime soon, here it is on a map. Other local attractions include The CN Tower and Rogers Center.

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June 12, 2015

Purifying your Tea water with Crystals

Purify your tea water with crystals. Infuse your crystals by cleansing them with good energy and brew with your tea. Give it a good qi (energy) for every cup.

A few weeks ago we talked about Maifan "medicine stones" and latter about Bamboo Charcoal. Today we are going to look at using crystals.  While these don't  work the same as the last two, they do contribute to a good energy of the water over all.
   The two stones I have came with the set of stones I received from Global Tea Hut a few years ago along with Maifan stones. The first is clear crystal quartz and the second is jade.Quartz removes negative energy thus purifying it in its own way. The Jade on the other hand can be infused with your energy by holding it between your palms, while focusing on warm kind thoughts.
   As you can see they work very differently from the Maifan Stones and the Bamboo Charcoal. Try them out next time you brew some tea. Simply put a few cleansed stones in your kettle before turning it on. Try making the same tea with "crystal infused water" and without, and see how you feel after each steep.

P.S. Don't forget to cleanse your stones every once in a while. Just like any other crystal, cleansing is needed to reset them. Either leave in the sun for an hour or two. Or even outdoors on a clear full moon. Both of which give the stones a different type of energy.

  Have you used crystals with your tea before? Share your experiences with the Tea Journey community that you have had along your own Journey.
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June 10, 2015

Happy 5th Anniversary Tea Journey


  Last night I celebrated the anniversary of Tea Journey with my family (yup cake and all). It feels life just yesterday that I signed up for the Tea Sommelier program and began to invest in this blog.
   Blog Podium last fall really pushed me in the right direction. While I can not attend this year, I am going to revisit all the information I learned before. I created a to-do list to get me to this day and I am so glad that we got a little facelift.

   Speaking of facelifts I want to introduce our new tag line "Living beyond your cup". While writing my blog business plan last month I finally picked a tag line that reflected Tea Journey. Tea Journey is not just a tea blog. It is a space that supports intentionally living beyond your cup though the ideas from people such as Lu Yu or Sen Rikyu. 

  It is about creating a life you enjoy and can remember. So keeping with this idea, I have come up with a few long term goals for Tea Journey. They are written in my planner and I am going to break down each one into simpler steps. So that more exciting things can happen before we reach the big 10.


Long Term Goals

  • Write a Manifesto
  • Create an e-book before the end of summer
  • Experiment with my photography 
  • Share some freebies
P.S. Check out last years Anniversary post here.

Have you bought a cake just because you wanted to?
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June 8, 2015

Monthly Wishes: June Goals

     
  Every time I create this post I always have the impulse to say something relating to how fast time passes. Anyhow, I ended May impatiently waiting for a special package for not only blog planning but life planning as well. It finally came on the first and I jumped into my planner from Kikki.K (it was too pretty to pass up).
    Flashing forward, it has helped me keep all my to-do lists in one place and even is helping me tackle little life things ( read debt). In a week it has changed my life and it will change Tea Journey as well.
   Sometime in the next 24 hours Tea Journey will be going through a few changes. Please bear with me through the changes as we reach Wednesday, the 5th Anniversary for Tea Journey. It will be a change to remember, but it is time for me to go back to work.

June Goals

  • Finish blog business plan from By Regina -  Already at half way point so just a little stretch more to go!
  • Continue turning my room into an Oasis - Currently planning out the stages for completing this project before the end of summer. 
  • Create Tea Tasting book - Paintings almost done for the pages and got my hands on Indesign to complete the project. 
  • Finish preparation for  Tea Journey's Anniversary- I have two days to finish things up on my list. I have a planner now from Kikki.K that is making getting through my to-do list so much easier. Stay tuned!
  • Create more Project Life pages- Need to print photos I have listed in my wallet and then get started on Amanda's wedding pages. Really excited to be scrapbooking my friends wedding and time in Montreal. 

P.S. My name on instagram, twitter and pinterest has changed to "tea_journey" (or "tea.journey" for instagram).  I hope you like the change.

What changes are you making in your life?
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