Welcome the Lunar New Year with a custom liquor infused with your favorite tea. Great as a DIY gift or even a unique offering for a party.

With the Lunar New year around the corner, I thought a little fun with our tea was in order. Last year my boss and I experimented with infusing alcohol with different teas (yes and it was the best end of shift ever). We had a whole prohibition ladies night event and all. The favorite was Baileys and earl gray. But I wanted to experiment with something a little outside of the norm for my hometown (just for me, and if you make it you too).

Sencha infused Sake was what came out of my experiments. The two go so well together that it, that it is the perfect pairing with dumplings for the New Year. So either head over to pick up some sake or even try an experiment of your own. 

Welcome the Lunar New Year with a custom liquor infused with your favorite tea. Great as a DIY gift or even a unique offering for a party.

All you need is

Liquor
A Mason jar
Tea of your choice

All you need to do is

1. Measure 1 tsp per 1/2 cup of liquor into a clean mason jar

eg. 500ml (2 cups) needs 4 tsp

2. Seal up jar and label with date and mix

3. Store in the fridge. Leave traditional teas for no longer than 24 hours, herbal blends can be left to desired taste


4. Strain and serve


Welcome the Lunar New Year with a custom liquor infused with your favorite tea. Great as a DIY gift or even a unique offering for a party.

Tips

  • Drink within 2-4 days, for greener teas

  • More oxidized teas seem to last longer when infused into liquor

  • Give a bottle as a gift to other tea lovers

  • Bring to a party (why not)

  • Finally, experiment. Adjust to your taste just as you would with normal tea

This is a great way to use up old tea that has been sitting around or you want to branch out a bit with. A final idea for this is to use the blend in mixed drinks, I personally think that a touch of a fruit juice or fruity liquor would go well with the sencha/sake. Giving it a unique new dimension to its natural vegetal notes.

Leave a comment or tag me on Instagram or twitter if you try this out. Keep steeping everyone.

There is a lot to learn from japnese Tea ceremony. The best place to start is Sen No Rikyuu's 4 Principals which you can easily use in your life now to become a better version of yourself.

Since the beginning of my tea journey Japanese tea has been a focus. I feel for Sen no Rikyu’s vision of tea and how relations in the tea room should be. If you are new to tea or its your first time hearing about Rikyu then let me give you a bit of some points to start out.


  Rikyu lived during the Sengoku period which was very war stricken in Japan. Why is this point important? There was a very distinct divide between classes. Samurai, Aristocrats, Farmers etc were all in different classes with set expectations on how to interact between them. 

 But Rikyu was a rebel and began to teach that everyone is treated equally in the tea room (yup even the Aristocrat had to treat a farmer as an equal). It removed barriers and became even more ingrained into the Japanese Tea Ceremony. 

  To build further on his concept of equality, 4 principles were developed. These four are still taught to students of Tea Ceremony. For us we can use these four to change how we interact with each other and grow as a society together. Start with yourself by setting an example for those around you by taking these four in to your heart and making them part of your truth.

WA – Harmony

With his hope that tea guests respected each other no matter who they were, even the Shogun became an equal in the tea room. With that everyone played their part which contributed to the larger picture.
For modern times, working towards seeing everyone as equals and treating them as such. Also working along side with others by striving to have a harmonious relationship.  

  Apply this to your own life by letting status, dress, job/career etc not effect how you interact with those around you. After working a few years in Toronto’s Financial district, everyone was an equal. But that does not mean that I had moments where I slipped. When it happened I told myself that those identifiers had no meaning to who that person was when they are taken away (yes I had to ignore that great Kate Spade bag in the moment). Closing my eyes, breath in and out and try again.

KEI – Respect

Can you already see how these all link up together? Respect is something that we all wish to have from those around us. But have you thought about applying it to the world around you?  Rikyuu fostered not only mutual respect amongst participants and host, but also of the tea space and tools. 

Respecting tools was very important (okay any item) as it was widely  believed that after 100 years of its life it could come alive, while it is superstitious. It became common practice to repair items many many times till it was no longer usable. Once that time was up it would be given a little something like a memorial, in thanks for its service. 

   

 Now I am not saying being superstitious about your belonging, I am saying take care of them and thank them for their help once you are done with them. The KonMari cleaning craze even promotes thanking items, which the author also cites the same reasoning as I just did. The item has done so much for you. It may seem odd to thank them but would you not thank a friend for helping you? Treat everything around us with respect, people and the things around us.

SEI – Purity

  I previously made a reference to KonMari, this is a great example for purity.  While you may have thought I was going to point towards meditation or tea, cleaning our space is just as important. One problem we have (I do too) is too much stuff. We have so much that it is nearly impossible to keep things tidy and clean. 

An idea from KonMari is to only keep what brings you joy. Yes you read that right joy. Not “I might need this” or “I am going to use this someday”. All those excuses need to go. Keep just what brings you joy. Like makes you feel all bubbly inside and adoration. The rest needs to get gone (don’t forget to thank them) or be donated. There after you will be able to keep things pure and tidy.

  In Japanese Tea Ceremony it is traditional to clean all the instruments infront of guests. Now they are clean before starting but it is to show the purity and respect towards the tools. Give yourself (and your mind) a “cleaning” buy tidying your space.

JAKU- Tranquility

 As you may have guessed this is where (finally) meditation comes in. But I am going to also say that it does not need to be traditional meditation. Tranquility is cultivating calmness, quiet and being serene. If traditional meditation is not your thing this is for you.  

  Last week we talked about self care, those are amazing ideas to use to cultivate tranquility. We really zone out as we dive into something to just pamper ourselves. Or if you are a creative (any type of creative practice), get lost for a while as you make something new. For me that has been creating things for my planner, creating printables (for you all), scrapbooking, painting… you get the idea. 

   In Rikyuu’s terms this would have been traditional meditation but there is so much more out there that we can do to live up to the definition of the word.

There is so much to learn from Japanese Tea Ceremony and its masters. I hope that you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it for you.
If you have any comments please share them either below or over twitter. I can not wait to hear from you. 

Keeping up with what is around us bogs us down so much over time. We get up, rush to eat (or not at all) and then commute to work, have all sorts of things happen throughout our day, come home and then. BAM. We find ourselves exhausted and unable to push to do this vs for ourselves. At least we believe it to be so, I know I do very often. 

Grab some great idea for your self care (or me time) no matter how busy your day is. Enjoy this list of simple self care ideas and treat yourself to some zen.

I work in the evenings, so my mornings range from getting a things done for Tea Journey to going out with my Mom (when else would I find the time?). Head to work to workout then help other clients and then clean and head home. Tired, hungry and I just want to lay down. Once bedtime rolls around I wonder where all that time went and wish I could have done more. But there is no real need. Do we need to binge watch a new show or play pokemon in bed (please tell me its not just me that does this)? We can use these moments while home to slow down and do a few things to make ourselves feel refreshed and more in tune with ourselves.

Self care, is not a bad thing. Yet it feels like we unconsciously feel we never have time for ourselves. Here are a few things you can do to get some self care in and be more able to handle the world around us.

Face mask

Sheet masks are everyone’s friend (yes guys too). In the packet is a sheet with cut outs for your eyes, nose and mouth. All you have to do is place it on your face and let it work. With all the assortments out there you will find one for you. Plus if you want it to stay on while doing a task (dishes, laundry‚Ķ.) Then there is this great gizmo that will keep it on while you get things done. 

Another alternative is a cream face mask. I love my mask from lush (Mask of Magnaminty), winter is so harsh to our skin, this one moisturizes and cleanses. When you wash it off after about 10-15 minutes, your skin feels great and overall you will feel refreshed.

Yogic breathing

Practicing for just even a minute will help your mind feel clearer. It is my go to tool throughout the day (especially after 100+ crunches). It will help relax your muscles and can even be done in bed to help you get to sleep. To do this one breath in to fill your belly and then finally your lungs. Hold for a few seconds then, slowly breath out. Do this a few times to get used to it and it will be your secret tool throughout the day.

Moisturizing Creams

While I love the changing of seasons, dry skin sucks. Recently I picked up a lovely cream (Karma Kream) from lush that smells just divine. It’s a light scent so no worries. Every night I put it on, not always everywhere but I do what I can. When able I massage my feet which really helps prime the body for sleep. There are so many acupuncture points on them that it makes sense why it just feels good.

Bath after a shower

While I am not able to do this often ( 4 people, one house and one bathroom) it is such a luxury to just soak in the tub. A few drops of essential oils and epson salt or a bath bomb , totally like a spa. To get the most out of this one turn off the light and light a candle or don’t and read a juicy book with a cup of tea.

Glass of wine or a cup of tea

Nothing is better than either of these. I love taking the time to put together everything on a small tray (sometimes even a snack) and lounge on my bed with a book (or audio book). No work just something for me. Or at dinner (menu pending) I will even take the time to pair it with either tea or wine. It makes something I have to do into an experience which is less regimented.

There is always time for ourselves in our day, we just have to let it happen. Take time for yourself and give yourself some love that it deserves.

There is something magical about releasing one year and welcoming another. We make plans and goals for the coming year to create a better life for ourselves. Continually through out our lives we determine what we want to leave behind and what to bring into our lives.
As promised I have created a quick and easy New Years Printable to let go of the current year and welcome in 2017. My favorite part is the gaiwan painted sketch I added and the list for the new year.  Let’s look both pages over together, so grab the file and print it out (fit to page will give you the best result).

Got a few minutes before it hits midnight? Use these printable to let go of the previous year and welcome 2017 with a soulful plan to achieve your dreams.

Releasing 2016

  To let go of 2016 I picked statements that are simple but also reflective. The year was full of twists and turns but we got through it. Now is the time to look over the year with fresh eyes as it comes to a close.  My favorite memory was receiving my camera and spending time with close friends in Toronto late fall. Before both of those moments I had so much self-doubt in my abilities and was weighed down by it. It was through photography and my new job that I let it go. There is so much that each and everyone of us can do. We just have to let go of that voice that tells us otherwise. Doing so helps us realize something incredible about ourselves, that we can do anything. Looking over the previous year lets us see how much we grew and what we achieved. Only then can we go forward with an open heart.

Download the New Year Planner Printable

Welcoming 2017

  Now that we let 2016 close, we can begin to prepare for an amazing New Year in 2017. Dig deep, what do you want to accomplish, feel and release? When I started to fill out my own sheet I started with the list. I listed out things that I wanted, places or events I wanted to attend, creativity goals etc. My favorite thing on the list is creating my own stickers to use for my planner or give away. A creative focused goal always ends up on my list every year (sometimes more).  Every time I do this I look at it regularly for the first few months and then forget about it. Once October or November roll around I look it over. It is surprising the amount of things can be accomplished when we answer soulful statements. They dig into us and stay, then through out the year we somehow accomplish them. It is an amazing thing. But if we want to ensure everything (or most) things get done then lets make these goals and ideas into real plans.

Making Goals into Plans

Earlier this week I released a word of the year planner page. If you got it then then perfect, if not grab it and lets make this year count. On your welcoming 2017 page you listed out things you will do this year and other promises to your soul. With the year planner page jot down those promises, or break them down if needed. For example, one of my goals is to save up money for Blogpodium next year. For January I have put that I would print out the 52 or 26 week savings challenge stickers for my planner. Then from there I would just need to put reminders to check my progress for other months.
  Another goal is to go to continue to develop Tea Journey as a brand. I have put a “due date” in February, now this may change due to other life things that pop up but I have a blueprint. With this baby I can move things around and even prioritize what needs to get done each month.

Let me know if you would like a mini planner to track your progress with your goals and to celebrate unplanned achievements.

Happy New Year everyone! Here is to a great 2017!

Make your year planning simple by beginning with your word of the year with these tips. And a printable planner to draft out the year ahead for a spirited intentional Tea Journey year..

 Are we really this close to the new year? Yikes. It is totally normal to start worrying about goals and plans for the following year when we are this close (like under a week). You are not alone, I have been doing the same thing  for years. But over the last few years I have been gradually adjusting how I go about it. The solution I found was picking a word of the year to shape everything you do through out the new year. Here are a few thoughts that will help you fin your word to frame 2017 to be the best it can be.

   Choose a word with the right intention

  Last year my word was freedom, I felt stuck and restricted by the world around me. My solution was to give myself permission to let go of the pressure from media, past relationships and even negative self talk. It worked, I gradually as the year passed began to speak my truth and do some crazy things that were totally me.  For 2017 I picked the word ” Forward”, I wanted to progress more with freedom by letting go of the past and really being intentional with the now.

   

Choose an action word or an emotion

 Both my words for 2016 and 2017 were very contrasting. This closing year was an emotion that I desperately needed in my life, and 2017 is very action oriented. It kinda makes me want to dance as it has so much movement to it (why not right?).  There is no wrong or right answer for this, as it really depends on the word you choose.

  For example if you want to be more loving then choose “love” or turn it into an action by choosing “loving” or “caring”.

Display your word throughout the year

   Like any goal or plan you need to see it to keep at it. A constant reminder is very important. I had picked up a flat stone at the beach and wrote my 2016 word on it. The stone still sits at my altar which I look at every morning when I wake up. Seeing the word reinforced my intention to let go and give myself permission to feel freedom.

Plan your year around your word

 Once you have your word you can make a rough plan for the year on paper. I created a printable which you can download to keep everything together. It’s super simple to use. Write out your word of the year and main things you want to do every month of 2017.  Draft it out, you do not have to commit to it. Latter this week I will have two more to help you fine tune your plans for the coming year. 

Download the 2017 Word of the Year Planner

Let’s make 2017 even better than 2016, next time we will look over 2016 and let it go. At the same time we will make plans and goals around our word for 2017 for an intentional Tea Journey year.