Monthly Archives: October 2011

It’s tea time… again…

Oct 31, 2011 // by admin // Blog, tea // No Comments

I have a love for fruity and flowery teas. Sometime in the last few months, I developed a love for peppermint, which has been described at the farmers market as chocolate mint. And I’ve had an obsession with finding good peppermint teas. Overall, the mint family is said to have a variety of medicinal properties. The naturally occurring menthol can aid in digestion, help to open the sinus passages, and help foster relaxation. I think these are why I almost always have some peppermint tea on hand, but lately, I’ve been exploring new brands and varieties. This week’s tea time is the mint addition. There are tons of different mint teas available – from pure peppermint or spearmint to blends of peppermint, spearmint, Japanese mint and the like. This edition features 5 varieties of mint tea for your drinking pleasure… Numi Moroccan Mint, Teekanne Triple Mint Tranquility, Teekanne Purely Peppermint, Yogi Purely Peppermint, and Bigelow Mint Medley.

Numi Moroccan Mint – fair trade certified organic Mint

I have trouble finding the right words to explain just what it is about this tea that I like so much. I don’t know if it’s the subtle flavor of the mint that is just so refreshing or what. I can say that this is definitely one of my favorite mint teas on the market. It is light and refreshing. It’s definitely become my go-to tea when I want a caffeine free pick-me-up or just a nice warm beverage in the middle of the afternoon. This tea happens to be great both hot and iced, and I definitely recommend trying it iced sometime. I’ve even drank this with green tea (steeped the two bags together) and I find that it blends quite nicely with green tea. I am finding that I have trouble keeping this one stocked in my tea cabinet, so next time, I’ll be trying the loose-leaf variety and we’ll see if there is any difference in flavor or enjoyment.

Teekanne Herbal Wellness Tea – Soothing in Triple Mint Tranquility – a blend of peppermint, spearmint, Japanese mint, and red clover (originally featured September 19, 2011)

A few weeks ago, I first tried triple mint tranquility. The blend of mints is nice and the peppermint is definitely not overpowering, like I’ve had in other tea varieties in the past. The flavor is really nice. And after a stressful morning or afternoon, I could feel how the tea was helping to soothe and relax the body. After drinking this tea though, I seem to always feel ready to take a nap. So, I’m definitely enjoying the tea, although it might be better to drink right before bed or when I have time to just let go and relax, because feeling in need of a nap is not exactly the best way to increase productivity at work. It’s among the must-have’s in my tea cabinet.

Teekanne Purely Peppermint – Peppermint

Purely Peppermint is exactly that, pure peppermint tea. It is the smell and scent of a candy cane without any of the calories. The aroma is great for opening up the senses. This tea isn’t as strong as a peppermint candy cane or candy, which makes it much more pleasing to my palate. And it is very soothing. This might actually be a tea that I would mix with instant hot chocolate for a peppermint hot chocolate when I’m in the office.

Yogi Purely Peppermint – Organic Peppermint Leaf

This pure peppermint tea is full of flavor and very strong peppermint taste. And as it claims on the bag, it is very soothing on the belly. It is very similar to the Teekanne variety, although the leaves are organic rather than conventional. For a plain peppermint tea, I definitely think either this or the Teekanne are good options. It all depends what’s on your store shelf. And going beyond that, I think this variety would probably mix just as well with instant hot chocolate for a peppermint hot coco (steep the tea first, then add the instant coco mix).

Bigelow Mint Medley – a blend of peppermint leaves, spearmint leaves, rose hips, lemon peel, and hibiscus

As soon as I begin steeping the tea bag, I can smell the spearmint and peppermint. On the first sip, I can taste that citrus undertone that you get from the lemon peel. It’s an interesting blend. I am not sure that I can taste the rose or hibiscus, like I might in some of the more flowery teas, but I know that it’s there. After a few sips, the peppermint becomes more pronounced. This is a good, refreshing tea. I might try to make it and then let it cool next time to have as an iced tea.

What are your favorite mint teas? Do you like pure mint or prefer it to be blended with other mints or other things?

Keeping my head warm this winter…

Oct 30, 2011 // by admin // Blog, knitting // 2 Comments

my new blue hat and scarf set (hat: Lion Brand Yarn Homespun in Delft & Lion Brand Yarn Incredible in Blue Shades; Scarf: Lion Brand Yarn Fun Fur Stripes in Deep Sea and Fun Fur in Light Blue)

I recently finished two new projects to help keep my head warm this winter. As I was completing the scarf on the left, my friend and knitting buddy, Alison, suggested that I should make a matching hat and I decided I would give it a try. So, I found a pattern for a simple hat, bought the correct size circular knitting needles, and learned how to read the pattern. And I have been more than pleasantly surprised by the results. My blue hat didn’t come out exactly like the picture, but it’s pretty close, similar result with my pink hat. (The first hat was the prototype hat, and then I decided I needed to make a second prototype – these two hats are for me. As I learn, I always keep the first of whatever I make.)

my new pink hat (Lion Brand Yarn Homespun in Mixed Berries and Lion Brand Yarn Incredible in Purple Party)

This was the first time that I followed a pattern. It was the first time that I increased and decreased stitches and used circular knitting needles for more than just an infinity scarf – a big loop. I had so much fun making these hats. And this morning, it was so cold out, I even wore the blue one when I was out about town. I do plan on working with the pattern some more and making some hat and scarf sets as gifts for this upcoming holiday season.

I’m so happy to be working with my knitting needles so often again. I have fun doing it and it’s become another way that I can socialize with my friends (posts about knitting afternoons coming in the upcoming weeks). Hopefully, I’ll have more projects to share soon, but for now, I have two new ways to keep my head warm this winter.

Are you working on any fun or creative projects? What’s your creative outlet?

This week in food…

Oct 29, 2011 // by admin // Blog, food // No Comments

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. Life has had some ups and downs. And although all of my meals may not be post worthy, I have had a few that I just have to share. Here are the highlights of my last two weeks in food (October 16 to October 29).

I enjoyed a few lunches out over the last couple weeks, as usual…

Rice Bowl w/ kale, cabbage, & yam noodles from Java Green

 

Crab Sandwich from the Feelin' Crabby food truck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

grilled salmon salad from McCormick & Schmick's

 

Incredibly sweet raspberries, I enjoyed them for few different breakfasts with a hard boiled egg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butternut Squash Lasagna w/ goat cheese and sage from Basil Thyme DC food truck -

 

The Ridiculously Chocolate Cannoli from Basil Thyme DC (and it was delicious)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

asian chopped salad from chop't

 

grilled vegetable (eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and bell peppers) sandwich at the Jersey City Hyatt - one of the best vegetarian lunches that I've had at a conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I even did a little home cooking…

the first batch of pumpkin spice muffins/cupcakes

the second batch of pumpkin spice muffins/cupcakes - the mini's

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

quinoa with roasted butternut squash

 

 

 

 

It’s nice to find time to be able to get in the kitchen and cook. I shared the first batch of pumpkin spice muffins/cupcakes with my colleagues last week. The second batch was shared with some of my friends and again with my colleagues (they will be eating well, if I continue on this baking kick – which I do hope to).

A day in the life…

Oct 29, 2011 // by admin // Blog, Events // No Comments

Today was a rather long day, at this point I’ve been up for nearly 21 hours, and seemingly still going. Knowing that this was going to be a rather long day, I thought it might be fun to chronicle it. So here’s my day in timestamps and photos.

it all started with a 3:10 AM wake-up call.

i left my apartment and called a taxi at 3:55 AM.

 

 

 

 

i arrived at Union Station at 4:15 AM and got my train tickets.

 

 

 

 

 

at 4:30 this morning, McDonald's wasn't open at Union Station, so my breakfast came from Au Bon Pain instead (bagel sandwich w/ egg whites and cheese)

 

 

 

at 4:51 AM, I boarded the train

 

 

 

 

 

woke up to a gorgeous sunrise in Philly, put on my make-up, changed my shoes, and pulled myself together for the day ahead.

 

 

 

 

This sunrise and views from the train were breathtaking. Here are some images from the ride…

images from the train - sunrise over Philly taken with iPhone

images from the train: sunrise over Philly taken with iPhone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

images from the train - more of the sunrise

 

 

images from the train - fall leaves in NJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

images from the train - fall leaves in NJ

 

 

images from the train - "Trenton makes, the World takes" - i've always found this fascinating... i don't really know why either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

images from the train - sunrise over the Trenton train station

 

 

 

Arriving in Jersey City was a little surreal. I felt nostalgic, recalling commuting into NY when I lived in NJ 3 years ago.

arrived at the conference just in time for the opening remarks

 

 

 

 

 

a little bit of nostalgia - I spent a year commuting into NYC via NY Waterway (the Belford Ferry)

At lunch, I had an opportunity to take in the breathtaking views from the conference location and can’t resist sharing them.

breathtaking views - midtown, always love this view of the Empire State Building

 

 

 

 

 

breathtaking views - the World Financial Center and World Trade Center (I used to work in the building on the right with the domed roof)

 

 

breathtaking views - I remember when this view used to be part of my daily commute

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

breathtaking views - the Statue of Liberty

 

breathtaking views - Jersey City's Financial District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a great day. I even got an opportunity to catch up with my friend, Tanya. We used to work together at the firm and are indirectly working together again now.

had a great time catching up with my friend Tanya today during the conference breaks and over lunch

After the conference ended, donning my deceptively comfortable dressy shoes and my jeans, we all headed back to Newark to catch our return train.

my deceptively comfortable dressy shoes - i absolutely love these!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i boarded the train at 6:19 PM, heading back home to DC

arrived back at Union Station, right on schedule at 8:40 PM

 

 

 

 

 

outside of Union Station, where my day started and ended in the dark, as I waited for a friend who graciously picked me up on this cold and rainy friday night

It was a really great day and a really long day and definitely not my normal Friday. For as much as long days like this knock me out, it’s nice to have one every once in a while.

How was your Friday?

 

 

 

 

What’s your Halloween playlist?

Oct 27, 2011 // by admin // Blog, music, Yoga // No Comments

courtesy of pinterest

I have a lot of fun creating playlists for the yoga classes that I teach. It stems back to when I was a kid making mix tapes (yes, cassette tapes, remember those) when I’d record songs off the radio. This process definitely got easier when burning CDs on the home computer became common place. And now, making a playlist is as easy as a few clicks of a mouse in iTunes or some other music management software.

courtesy of pinterest

Back in the day, I would create mix tapes for car rides, to listen to in my Walkman when hanging out, and for when I would exercise (nothing like an energetic mix to help you make it through a long walk or run – there was that one fall that I ran cross-country in high school). As the years have evolved, my playlist creation has been expanded to playlists for yoga classes I teach, home practice, and, although not so recently, for my time on the elliptical machine at the gym. I have so much fun going through my collection of music and picking seemingly random songs that I feel go together really well. Last week’s playlist had the Lion King theme, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, right after Lady Gaga’s The Edge of Glory.

So being the week before Halloween, I decided that this week’s playlists would have a Halloween theme to them. Really though, how could they not? I themed my playlists around July 4th in a similar fashion. And I cannot wait until I can use my holiday playlists. I faced the challenge this time to strike a balance between the darker and lighter sides of Halloween, hence the wide range of musical selections. Here’s my core playlist – 75 minutes – for Halloween:

Title Artist Album
1 La valse des monstres Yann Tiersen Amélie (Sountrack from the Motion Picture)
2 The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Leopold Stokowski & The Philadelphia Orchestra Fantasia
3 Overture Addams Family Orchestra The Addams Family (Soundtrack from the Musical) [Bonus Track Version]
4 This Is Halloween Panic! At the Disco Nightmare Before Christmas (Special Edition)
5 Thriller Michael Jackson The Essential Michael Jackson
6 Time Warp Little Nell, Patricia Quinn & Richard O’Brien The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
7 Whatever Happened to Saturday Night? (Glee Cast Version) Glee Cast Glee: The Music – The Rocky Horror Glee Show
8 Once Bitten, Twice Shy Lori Chacko Elvira’s Gravest Hits
9 Haunted House Elvira Elvira’s Gravest Hits
10 Monster Mash Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers The Original Monster Mash
11 Thriller / Heads Will Roll (Glee Cast Version) Glee Cast Glee: The Music, Vol. 5
12 Oogie Boogie’s Song Danny Elfman Nightmare Before Christmas (Special Edition)
13 Devil’s Arcade Bruce Springsteen Magic
14 Wanted Dead Or Alive Bon Jovi Slippery When Wet
15 Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 “Fate”: I. Allegro con Brio London Symphony Orchestra & Josef Krips The 50 Most Essential Pieces of Classical Music
16 Bewitched Knightsbridge 100 Hits: TV Themes
17 End Title Danny Elfman Nightmare Before Christmas (Special Edition)
18 Great Pumpkin Waltz Vince Guaraldi Trio Charlie Brown Holiday Hits

 

What’s in your Halloween playlist? Do you like to do themed playlists around the holidays for your workouts? Any song recommendations that I should think about going into Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Happy listening!