Soulful Leaf

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12 gifts for Your Soulful Tea Spirit

New Years may be over on the Gregorian Calendar but the Lunar New Year is not until February 16th. As a tea and culture lover, I prefer to celebrate the Lunar New Year. This is because it truly feels like a fresh start energetically and because I was brought up with some of the traditions with my Mom’s Indonesian background. One tradition for this time is to give red envelopes with money in it to the younger generation, which my mother loved to share with us, but also sometimes even small gifts.

With that thought, I pulled together some items to celebrate this time and also set the right tone for the year of the Dog. I cheekily pulled in a few baby cat items because I really wish there was a year of the cat (how about you?).  Use this guide either for yourself or for loved ones to bring them good wishes as we make this transition.

1. Drippy Unicorn Chawan Tea Bowl by Kira Call Ceramics

2.  Cosmic Baby Cat Hoop Art Kit by Sparkle Collective

3. Plum Tama Yunomi Cup set from Hibiki-An

4. Essential Tea Pot in Ocean from Tea Ave

5. Huiming Tea Bags from Camellia Sinensis

6. Embrace Imperfection Throw Pillow from Chapters 

7. Midnight Magic Iron on Patch by Sparkle Collective

8. Matcha: A Lifestyle Guide from Chapters

9. Lifefactory Active Flip Cap Waterbottle from Chapters

10. Toronto Tea Festival Tickets 

11. Journal – Mentally in Another Galaxy  from Chapters

12. Belle & Bloom Demi Tin Candle “Life is a Party” – from Chapters

Best wishes. Many steepings (and many cats) for the New Year.

Digital Table: Tea as “medicine”

Digital Table is back and with a new twist. Let’s both put the kettle on and sit together to talk and get to know each other. While reflecting over our cup of tea we will dive into discussions at our Digital Table together. From discussions on Global Tea Hut subscriptions to what’s going on in the world, from blog post reflections to debating where tea begins and spirituality ends, this series is all about conversation and connection.  So get cozy, let’s curl up and sip at our digital table together.

As I turn on the kettle for our talk, I feel like we need to reflect on the holistic healing of tea. Sipping my tea the last week has been very healing, not only for my mind but my body. As we approached the end of October I found my body was sick from a sinus cold (or sinus-chest-cold of doom as I liked to refer to it). Modern medicine such as “big brand” cold daytime or nighttime has always left me feeling groggy and unable to do regular everyday tasks. But worst off my gut health goes down with it, possibly leading me further into this care for my colitis. This time around I opted for a holistic healing with thousands of years of history to back it up: tea and herbs.

Over 5,000 years of history of tea as medicine

Have you heard of Lu Yu? This writer (no, Tea Scholar) changed how I view tea forever. In his book Cha Ching – which is The Classic of Tea – he documented all things related to tea in the Tang Dynasty. Literally, all the small things we take for granted (like water) are in this book. But the bigger part is the note about additives to this boiled brew, things such as orange peel, ginger, and flowers. In 2010 realizing what Lu Yu adding these ingredients meant, he had just made tea blends. And that made a lightbulb go off –  so-called “blends” are NOT new. Lu Yu documented the first tea blend, and expressed his dislike of it, but also acknowledged the “long-rooted practice.”

This Tea Sage even makes a note (ahem, credit) of Sheng Nong, the first Emperor of China and Herbal medicinal god. This God-Emperor-Person experimented with steeping different leaves and made note of their effects. His biggest discovery was the tea plant, also known as Camellia Sinensis, which he found cured him of a poison he got from some leaf he had steeped. True tea is made from this plant and all others are called Tisanes or Herbal Infusions.

Skeptics of Tea Medicine

In the tea professional community, it is seen as a touchy subject to talk about holistic healing as it relates to tea. The reactions when the subject is brought up quickly go to skeptical: “ Who did the study?”, “What were the steeping methods?”, “How hot was the water?”, “They must have used too much tea or too hot of water.” The reactions go on (and on… and on); it shocks me that some even try to not answer customer questions relating to health. Have you experienced that when shopping for tea, too? I hope not dear friend.

But if you have please keep in mind that not everyone though is like that. I have one friend who is seen as the go-to for tea health information. Michelle Peirce Hamilton is a lovely woman who took her own health into her hands and sought out a Holistic Medicine certification. If you talk to her, she lights up the room with her passion not only for tea but health.

Tea is a Holistic Medicine

Michelle had a talk at a Tea Guild of Canada meeting a few years ago on health. Her well-sourced research silenced many skeptics with proven fact that tea IS a holistic treatment. From findings from The 5th International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Health, she presented these facts for us to take to heart. Some of the findings are:

 

  • Drinking any amount of tea (green, black or oolong) can help reduce the chance of a stroke

  • 5 cups of green tea a day can contribute to preventing some types of cancer

  • Tea is proven to help with mood and problem-solving.

 

Even with science to back it up, there is no better proof than how it makes us feel as we drink it. Take another sip of your tea. Do you feel a calmness wash over you? That my friend is the L-theanine within the tea. It is the anti-stress component which relaxes your body when the tea is sipped telling your body all is okay (even if it’s not). And you may also feel more alert or able to concentrate better on our conversation and our tea.

 As it affects the body and makes us feel better, is there really the need for debating if tea is holistic? I don’t think there is after all one of the definitions of medicine is healing substances or drugs collectively.”  With that wording then tea is truly medicine for the mind, body, and soul. But dear traveler, what do you think?

 

Momo Tea Matcha Green Tea Mug Cake

Make a special treat for yourself with Momo Tea Matcha Green Tea Mug Cake Recipe.

Who doesn’t want a snack? When I found my first mug cake recipe I was blown away, but add in matcha and it makes it a Matcha Mug Cake. Since, who doesn’t like matcha? In university, I would use the same ingredients in a rice cooker for a whole cake. Just. For. Me. #guiltypleasures This version is quick and portion sized to be just the right amount for a “healthy” snack that will also go well with a mug of matcha (why not right?).

  The matcha I used for this recipe is Momo Tea’s Momo Usucha, but their Matsu or Take would also do well. The latter two are both great introductory teas to try matcha. I personally like to use a higher grade of matcha for more taste, a vivid green and to make it that little bit extra special. Use whichever works for you and feel free to adjust the sweetness or even omit if you would like.

Make a special treat for yourself with Momo Tea Matcha Green Tea Mug Cake Recipe.

Matcha Green Tea Mug Cake Recipe

Ingredients

3 tbsp All-purpose Flour (or alternative)

1tsp Momo Tea’s Momo Usucha Matcha

2 ½ – 3 tbsp sugar (or alternative)

¼ tsp baking powder

2 tbsp Milk (or alternative)

1 egg

2 tbsp oil

½ tsp Vanilla Extract

 

Directions

  1. Sift and mix all dry ingredients together to prevent lumps.
  2. Add wet ingredients and mix till combined
  3. Grease a mug and pour mix into it
  4. Microwave on high for 90 sec or till cooked.

Make a special treat for yourself with Momo Tea Matcha Green Tea Mug Cake Recipe.

Just a quick note on when you are cooking, keep an eye on it. It can “levitate” out of the mug if it’s not watched. This is because it is basically being steamed by the microwave and because you greased the mug.

Lastly, if you want to add anything extra it’s all up to you. This recipe goes well with fruit, dark chocolate or even white chocolate. The choice is yours.

Have you tried a mug cake recipe before? Share your experience with us in the comments below. 

Momo Matcha Tea was purchased on my own, without sponsorship from the brand. 

3 Ways to Understand Your Inner Self

Learn 3 ways to understand you inner self . What you need in relationships, what your personality type needs and what your astrology birth chart says about your journey.

Through my Yoga Training, I have learnt more about myself. It meant to go deep but when you begin to confront and understand our inner self. It’s scary. But also enlightening. You discover what you need in all situations (hey even in relationships). You gain confidence as you know who you are beneath all the stories from the past ( or even from the day-to-day interactions). You have clarity and direction.

If you have felt stuck (been there) or felt like you lost yourself (here too), you’re not alone. Going beneath the surface digging can help you remember what you truly need from a friend, in a Career, from Family, or even from a partner. The following are three ways to dig deeper, without letting that awful voice get in the way (looking at you judging Ego). Let loose, let go of expectations. And let’s get to know your inner self.

Understand your  Personality type

16 Personalities Quiz

 Huge fan of Myers Brigg’s personality breakdowns, it’s so legit true! If you have done a personality type quiz before this is one where we are broken down into 16 personality types. Each is represented by acronyms and some groups even came up with “titles” for each type. For example, mine is INFP which is called “The Mediator” over on 16 Personalities.

  This one is a fantastic way to find out more about your strengths and weaknesses for your personality type. Now, take those words with a grain of salt as we are all unique in our journey. But most of all “weaknesses” can become strengths when we put the effort into yourselves with personal development.

 

Understand your Love Language

5 Love Languages Quiz

  Ever wondered why it’s hard to connect with certain friends, family or even partner? Perhaps its because your love language is different. Earlier this year City Line (Canadian lifestyle show), talked about this topic. We are actually more prone to use the long language that WE NEED towards other people who may need something entirely different.

 This is a fantastic way to build up relationships of all forms by learning the love language that you need and value. And if you send the quiz to your loved ones, you can learn what they need. For example, My highest love languages (which are tied) is Acts of Service and Quality Time.

Understand your Astrology Chart

Full Astrology Birth Chart

 These are basically your “factory settings” when you were born, no influence from the world. Yet, we are still affected by the energies of the world around us. So learning more about your chart is key as the sign you have been looking up in the newspaper (or online) is only a small part of a larger picture! 

   Sign up, it makes life easier for going between the two sections it has on there. The link will take you to getting your birth chart. This will tell you what sign your sun, moon, mercury, mars etc. You will learn what each one is. Now, each planet (or star or the moon) represents something different in our lives. Such as the Moon is our inner self and our emotional needs.

Mine is Cancer which means at the end of the day I need family and I am very concerned with others. My emotions can get the best of me and learn the rhythms of my emotions will help me go forward. To learn more about these different meanings check out Astrology Clubs menu on the right side. Each link to specific planets (the sun or the moon too) will explain that part deeper. On your chart though is an explanation of your character for that portion. Again if you want more info on signs and planet meanings Astrology Club is a great place to start. But always feel free to do a google search such as ” Cancer Moon” or even “Sagittarius Saturn”. 

Astrology Houses

Next step (when you are ready) if to look at your houses. Each one represents part of our lives, Such as our first house (also known as rising sign) is our Persona. Second House is how we are with Finances. and it goes on from there. A simple google search of “astrology houses” will bring up a simple wheel with these parts detailed on it or even go deeper. On the Signs By Stars page go to the left side and scroll down till you see “Rising Sign”. Click that to get your houses (or click here to go to it).

Houses works similar to your chart, in each house you will have a sign. Such as My 6th house, health, is in Jupiter. Which some places say I use unconventional healing and I take my health seriously. I used Astrology Club page on the houses to learn about these meanings (they were the best source for direct language, but also down to earth.

 

Accepting ourselves means understanding who we are inside and our needs. These are three things that helped me and I hope they help you on your own journey to self-discovery. There is always something new to learn about ourselves, no matter what age we are. Blessings for your decision for looking deeper. Go forward with grace.

Soulful Back to School Guide

Mac book air on desk with brass work imagine and crystals. Pink and spirituality focused.

I have to admit, this is one of my favorite times of the year. Feel free to sing with me, “its the most, wonderful time of the year”. Gotta love that Staples commercial from the 90s. Anyhow it’s finally back to school season, even if you are not a fan there are little ways to make it that bit better. Since leaving school (nooooooo, take me back!), I have fallen in love with the line up that Chapters has on hand. Every. Single. Time. Just take my money. I’m seriously obsessed.

After scoring through their website (certain items may or may not have ended up in my cart),  I put together a spirited back to school mood board for you. Think of it as inspiration to kick a$$ at school and be a BAWSE at the same time.

A quick note before you check out the goods. The bento box is a super fun way to bring your lunch (and save money), Just Bento is a great place for yummy recipes to fill it up with. The Gold pentagon shape thing is a great home for some succulents. Who doesn’t want some greenery in their study space for some extra O (Oxygen)?

Then finally, the book. This had to be the most inspiring book I have read (listened to, thank you audible) this year. If you need a kick in the butt, Lilly will help you get there (with some amazing popular culture references along the way). Listen to this amazing unicorn goddess, read her words or get to know her through her youtube account. You will love her wit and sense of humor. And go back for more.

 

Gift guide for going back to school or studying. Chapters indigo picks, light blue, pink and violet. Superwoman, Lilly Singh.

//Fitbit Alta HR // Rose Gold Pouch // Takenaka Double Bento Box// Brass “Imagine” Word //

//Celestial Pen Set// Boss babe pens// Celestial Notebook // “Work Hard & Stay Humble” Pencil case//

//Mini Office Tool Kit// Fjallraven Kanken Backpack//

//How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh // Glass Sphere Terrarium // S’well Waterbottle//

// “Be Fear-less” Print// Celestial “Made of Star Dust” mouse pad//

 

Is there anything you would add to this list or change? Share in the comments below with a link to the item or even share a mood board of your own.