Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cuppa Crew's Egyptian Chamomile

A couple of weeks ago, I won a giveaway contest by Cuppa Crew. My prize? A sample of their Egyptian Chamomile tea! Coming from someone who has a really hard time getting to sleep at night, this tea was a bit of a godsend.

Chamomile tea is actually an herbal tisane, meaning that it doesn't actually contain any tea leaves at all even though we do refer to it as a tea. That also means that it's caffeine free! It's great for restlessness, stress, and stomach aches. If you're feeling anxious and out of sorts, then this tea is a great one to have on-hand.

Most of the chamomile teas I've tried have tasted vaguely like Fruit Loops to me. Yes, the cereal. It's a bit odd. This chamomile is actually the first loose-leaf one I've had; and, let me tell you, the difference is astounding. First of all, there is no fruit loop-y taste I've come to expect from chamomile teas. It's more floral than the ones I'm used to drinking- more floral in a very good way. It's still sweet. It has a bit of a honeyed taste to it without adding any honey, and I like it.

This tea definitely relaxed me... I slept all night for the first time in a very long time!

I definitely recommend this tea if you're looking for a nice, relaxing herbal.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Meet Teacup

I adopted Teacup from Texas Humane Heroes about a month ago. She looks like a German Shepherd puppy, but she's actually an adult mutt. She's pretty adorable.

She's also a little destructive when we leave her alone. She shredded my leather jacket, tore through a bag of potting soil, tore a hole in the carpet, and ate my paper Tardis. A bit of a challenge, but we've worked it out. Rescues can take a lot of work, so I was prepared for something like this (maybe not quite to that extent though). 

I take her to the dog park every Saturday, like today, where she plays with the smaller dogs (she only weighs 25 lbs.) before going into a larger area where they have a pond. It took her a while, but she loves playing in the water. She gets a bit nervous when the other dogs starting running around her, but she's getting better with it. She loves the other dogs (when they're not chasing her). I think she misses having another dog around. 

To curb her destructive behavior since I can't play much with her during the day, considering I have to work, I got a Kong toy for her. I read great reviews about it on influenster. I picked it up in a pet store on a whim the other day when I ran out to pick up some groceries. You can stick special Kong biscuits in there for them or fill it with peanut butter. You can freeze things to put in there. The sales clerk who helped me said that dogs love it when you layer treats in there like peanut butter and small biscuits.

It isn't exactly a challenging toy, but it does keep your dog occupied. Teacup loves it! And you can wash it on the top rack of your dishwasher which is a bit of a relief considering how gross it gets. 

There were a few puzzle toys at the store where your dog has to tilt it at the right angle to get out the treat, and you can adjust the difficulty level for your dog. I think I might get one of those for Teacup. Right now, though, her favorite toy is a little yellow bumblebee pillow with a squeaker inside. She acts a bit scandalized whenever it actually squeaks, but she goes nuts when you throw it.

What about your dogs? Do they have any favorite toys I should try for Teacup? I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Teacups and Texan Teas

One of the best things about being a tea (or any hot beverage, really) person is getting to use really cute teacups. I've mentioned before how much I love teacups. Since moving to Austin, I've slowly been amassing more. It's easy to rationalize it with the majority of my teacups in storage back in Alabama. This teacup is one of my newest acquisitions. The only downside? I have to hand-wash this one, like the majority of my really delicate teacups.

The tea featured in this picture is Black Tea Lemonade from Supple Skin Boutique. It's a Texas tea, and I'm really looking forward to trying more local teas. I picked this one up on an impulse during my last grocery trip. I spent about ten minutes in the tea/coffee aisle trying to decide on which tea. This particular one caught my eye because I love flavored teas, and lemonade is something I really enjoy with my tea. Also, this tea is a detox tea for your liver, and I figured that couldn't hurt after college. 

Honestly, I was a little disappointed with this tea. It's a solid tea on the black tea side, but I really expected more of a lemony taste. There really wasn't a clear citrus tang at all. Not even a hint. When I pick up flavored teas, I certainly don't want the flavor to overwhelm the tea, but I definitely expect at least a hint of it when I take a sip. The aftertaste had a (very) slight hint of lemon to it, but it wasn't enough for me. As for the detoxing properties, only time (and more tea!) will tell. I don't think I'll be picking it up again any time soon. 

It certainly looks nice in my teacup, though. This is the most delicate teacup I have with me in the apartment. Most of my tea-drinking apparatuses are mugs. They travel better, and people keep giving me mugs. In fact, I'm drinking out of this owl one right now. Adagio's pomegranate green. A review for another day. As adorable as these mugs are, though, I really miss my teacups. Tea seems to taste better when served in one. 

What's your go-to hot beverage container? Do you prefer mugs over teacups? I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Back and Ready to Blog

I've been away for months now which makes me a terrible blogger, but I really needed some time away from things for a bit. Unfortunately, I couldn't get away from everything considering social media is my primary way of staying in touch now that I'm in an entirely different state from the majority of my friends and family. But it was a much appreciated break. I even got to spend a week with my boyfriend before he left to study abroad in Korea!

I wish I could say I got up to exciting things during my break, but I really haven't done much. I've had a lot of tea. A ridiculous amount, even. I'm pretty sure I have enough tea in my apartment that I could have a different type of tea every day for a month or so. I ended up reorganizing my tea cabinet, and I took a picture before I put everything back. I actually managed to acquire some more tea (three more things of tea, to be more specific) since I cleaned out the cabinet, so this isn't even all of it.

I did have an interesting moment on the way to work the other day involving a water bottle filled with Coke. I was running a little late that morning, so I hit almost stand-still traffic. It's a good thing I was at a stop when I opened my water bottle though because Coke started spewing through the straw all over me and my car. I was soaked. It was down the front of my brand new blouse, in my hair, on the ceiling of the car, on the steering wheel, in the backseat, and even down the back of my shirt. At least I provided some entertainment for the cars around me as I screamed and frantically tried to close the bottle. I'm glad it didn't permanently stain my clothes.

I am back and ready to buckle down again. I joined the 20SB postcard swap. I'm just waiting for my postcards to come in so I can send them out! I ordered some really cute tea-themed postcards on etsy once I realized that I have no idea where all of my postcards are since I moved. Hopefully they'll come in soon so I won't be the last blogger to send them out. That would be awkward.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Baking with Limited Time

As you can probably tell from my previous posts, I enjoy baking from scratch a lot. The problem with baking from scratch, however, is that it takes a good deal of time; something not everyone can spare during the holidays. I have been a huge fan of Pillsbury holiday ready-to-bake sugar cookies that come with Santa, reindeer, and jolly snowmen on them. They're the only sugar cookies I like. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find them this year. So I decided to try some Nestle holiday ones that looked like they might be similar.

If you're familiar with the Pillsbury cookies, you can tell these are a little different. The Pillsbury ones are round, and these are cut out. Also, the designs on these cookies are a good deal more elaborate. When I opened the package, I was a little surprised to see two layers of cookies (pleasantly so) and that the cookies, while cut, were still in the square of dough.

If you are choosing to bake these cookies (instructions on the back), I highly recommend keeping the dough cold beforehand. Don't set them out and let the dough get soft because it will stretch the design and make it harder to separate the dough you want from the excess. And there is a good deal of excess. I was tempted to combine all of the excess dough and use it to create more cookies because I hated the idea of wasting it, but I decided that wasting it was better than tempting my dad who needs to watch his cholesterol intake.

I spent a good deal of time trying to get off any of the dough that didn't fit into the cut-out design on the first layer I baked, but it turns out that didn't matter because the cookies expand a bit anyways. So if you're pressed for time, I wouldn't bother with it.

These cookies do taste really similar to the Pillsbury holiday sugar cookies. I was pretty satisfied with that. These cookies, however, are slightly crunchier because they're thinner. I prefer softer cookies, so that was a bit of a drawback, but they're pretty good overall. And they aren't very heavy cookies either. So if you don't have time for baking some more holiday cookies for Santa from scratch after all that baking for family, friends, and others, then I recommend leaving out a few of these instead!