Monday, September 26, 2016

Top 5 Favorite Teas

When I was growing up, we weren't a tea house. My dad drank coffee in the morning & my mom drank coffee all day, but we only ever had Lipton iced sun tea in the summer. When I moved to Greeley for college, my brother discovered an excellent English style tea house called the Canterbury Tea Room. It was one of our favorite places to go for lunch, dessert & drinks. I remember dressing up for Halloween & going there to eat & take old timey pictures! They had a little dessert cart that the server would push around to each table & everything was delish!  But the whole time that the Canterbury Tea Room was open, I never ordered hot tea. They had a wall of loose leaf teas behind the register to choose from & would bring out a little pot on a doily for each person. While I loved the presentation & idea of a piping hot cuppa out of beautiful china, I would always just order an iced tea or hot chocolate.

I quite honestly couldn't stomach the thought (or smell) of drinking hot tea & because of that, I missed out on the full majesty that was The Canterbury Tea Room. I still kick myself for that! But when the smell of tea makes you physically ill, you steer clear, know what I mean?

It wasn't until my sophomore year that my lovely roommate, LaRaine, asked if I'd ever tried green tea. While I explained that I probably wouldn't like it, she made me a cup & for the first time, I liked hot tea! I remember very distinctly that what I liked about green tea was, and I know this is weird, that it tasted like dirt. It was light, earthy & oddly comforting. For years, I exclusively drank green tea in all it's different forms & when I read that it was good for your skin, I was extra pleased.

After years of working in coffee shops & trying different brands & blends of tea, I'm a full-fledged tea drinker & oddly enough, green tea is no longer my favorite! When it comes to buying tea, I tend to stick to the types that I know I like. I can't stomach chamomile (No Sleepy Time for me!), and a lot of herbal tea has chamomile in it's blend. I also don't like any tea that has hibiscus in it.

I have compiled my top 5 all-time favorite teas for your perusing pleasure! What are your favorite brands or types of tea? I would love to add a few new options to my tea tray this fall!

5. Two Leaves & a Bud Organic Tropical Green-

This is great, hot or cold, but it is especially good iced! 


4. Celestial Seasoning's Antioxidant Green Tea-

If you're looking for a solid plain Jane green tea, this is your guy! Especially if you like tea that tastes like dirt! ;) AND if you live in Northern Colorado, you can drive down to Boulder & take a free tour of the Celestial Seasonings headquarters. I highly recommend the Mint Room & the tea shop! 


3. Bigelow's I Love Lemon- 

I don't have many herbal teas that I like, but this one is so good! When I start to feel sick, I load up on I Love Lemon to stay hydrated & get my extra vitamin C! 


2. Twining's Irish Breakfast-

Now, this bad boy is a staple in my house! I buy the decaf version in bulk on Amazon because I go through it so quickly during the winter months. I also buy Constant Comment in bulk for my husband (even though I think it smells like the ham my mom used to make for Christmas dinner. The things you do for love #hamtea). I also keep a box of the caffeinated version on hand for mornings when I don't want coffee or when my asthma is giving me fits. Caffeine is similar to the drug theophylline, which is a bronchodilator & can temporarily relieve wheezing, coughing & breathlessness that my asthma brings on. 

Though this particular brand is my go-to, any black tea is my default. I don't add anything to it; no milk or sugar. I leave the tea bag in while I drink it (I like it really strong). I also like English Breakfast & most Earl Grey. Black tea is where it's at, kids! 


1. The Republic of Tea's Tea of Good Tidings-

This tea is amazing & magical. Plain & simple.

It's like Christmas in a cup.

I used to work at a coffee shop that stocked Republic of Tea products exclusively. While working my way through the stock, tasting each type, I found the Tea of Good Tidings & my life has never been the same. This is the only tea I have ever purchased in a 5lb bag (totally worth it, by the way). While it's especially nice during the holiday season, I could drink this delicious elixir any time of year. It's that good!


Runners Up:

-Republic of Tea's Earl Greyer 
-Celestial Seasonings True Blueberry (Contains hibiscus, but when mixed with the blueberry, it isn't too bad.) 
-Republic of Tea's Ginger Peach Black (Great hot or iced) 
-Cranford Cove's Coconut Vanilla (If you live in Greeley & haven't been to Cranford Cove yet, you need to check it out the next time you're in downtown!) 
-Tea Pigs Popcorn Tea
-Republic of Tea's Temple of Health (I can't find this for sale anywhere, but if you can get your hands on it, it works miracles when you're sick!) 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Favorite Friday Favorites #140

1. New Music & Cool Covers-

2. These Color Palettes are a Dream-

This set is my jam! Check out more color sets here

3. Novel Creations-



4. Vintage Front Clasp Belts- 





5. Consider This-

The last couple of weeks have been a real doozy.  I'm not very good at letting go, but I'm working on it. Little by little. 

More Links to Love-

-I am firmly in the Berenstein camp! 
-I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but.....well, maybe I am. 
-This is beautiful & heartbreaking. 
-NPR was live on Facebook with Shovels & Rope & it was spectacular! 
-This is hilarious! I don't know if it makes me want to drop $50+ on a wallet, but it is funny! 
-We can all learn something from Alex
-This fabric & gift wrap from Abigail Halpin is AMAZING! 

Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The First Day of Autumn

Today is the first day of autumn & I couldn't be happier! Fall is my favorite season by far. The leaves change, the air gets crisp & the clothes are so much better than summer clothes! And don't even get me started on Halloween! 

This morning when we woke up, it looked like it had rained a little in the night & was delightfully foggy. I immediately pulled out the crock pot & started chopping squash, onion & celery for a soup. It was perfect for dinner! 

Tomato squash soup

Because we were really reveling in the fall spirit, we decided to pay a visit to our local Halloween & home goods store to check out the spooky goodies! 

And in keeping with the festive spirit of the day, a recent Etsy order arrived in my mailbox! It's like our mail woman knew! If you get the reference on this t-shirt, we can probably be fast friends! This gem will join my Black Flame Candle sweatshirt in my October outfit rotation! 

I know we still have some 70 to 80 degree days left in these last moments of summer, but I'm so glad that Autumn is here & fall weather is on the way! What are your favorites things about the fall? 

“But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”

Monday, September 19, 2016

Color Crush: Fall 2016

As fall approaches, I like to check out the Pantone colors for the season & I think this year might be my favorite yet! You can check out 20142015's posts to see how this year compares!

My absolute favs are Lush Meadow, Potter's Clay & Sharkskin. I've put together a little Polyvore set with some of my favorite uses of these colors in current styles. While I most likely won't buy any of these pieces (even though that blue, red & yellow Modcloth sweater is really calling my name), I can use them as inspiration for my fall thrift adventures! 

What are your favorite colors of the season? Do you follow the Pantone colors at all when it comes to fashion?


Color Crush: Fall 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

Favorite Friday Favorites #139

1. New Music-

2. Consider This-

I made a small move toward a big change earlier this week & I'm still asking myself if I'm doing the right thing. I'm trusting that it will all be worth it. I'm trusting that just outside my comfort zone lies my future. 

3. The White Witch-


4. The Practical Magic House-

I re-watched Practical Magic this week, as fall is the perfect time for it's witchy magic! I am always struck with how much I love the Owens house. Can you believe they built it especially for the movie? Check out all of this awesome movie info if you the Practical Magic as much as I do!


5. These Dr. Martins-

They remind me of the Sherlock wallpaper! 


More Links to Love- 

-I needed to hear this when I was 12. Hell, I needed to hear this at 30. 
-This skirt is perfect for this time of year, but you know me. I'd also wear it in July! 
-This immersive dinner & theater experience is definately not for nasty, nosey little children! 
-The tiniest tree houses
-I am loving Debra Styer's art & her Etsy shop
-One of my favorite bloggers visited one of my favorite small, American towns. This blog is the result. 
-Anytime Carol Burnett is on The Tonight Show it is solid comedy gold! 
-Roald Dahl would have been 100 on the 13th. Starting today, you can get all his books with new covers in celebration! 
-Emily Halpin's beautiful "Alfred". 

Happy Friday, Friends!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thrifting Thursday: Fall Clothing Exchange

I recently hosted my 7th clothing exchange & I think it was the best one yet! If you'd like to throw your own party (which I highly recommend you do), check out my how-to guide here

I still think that's a pretty good to-do list for how to throw the perfect clothing exchange, but over the years I have learned a few more tips! 

1. Body Positivity & Sizing-

I always tell the ladies that come to the exchange that's there's only one rule; you can't say anything negative about your body. Undoubtedly when you get a group full of people together, trying on clothing, negative self-talk starts to materialize. "My butt's too big for these pants!" "I've really gained too much weight this year." "I'm not even going to try that on! It will never fit!" Trying on clothes can turn into a negative body image spiral & I truly hate that! You know you wouldn't speak to your friends the way you talk to yourself! So, if we hear somebody talking negatively about their body, we call them on it! 

Part of the reason I've never worked out a way to organize clothing by size is that I don't really want anyone to feel self-conscious about what section they're "shopping" in. On top of which, women's sizing is absolutely bananas & shouldn't be taken seriously at all! By mixing everything together, nobody has to worry about someone seeing their size & it forces everyone to think outside their usual size to find some real gems they wouldn't have normally tried on! 

2. Personal Shopping- 

One of the things I love about these parties is seeing my friends find clothes they love for FREE! Because party goers are getting everything for nothing, they can afford to step outside their comfort zone. Not only might they try different sizes than they normally would, just because they like the look of something, they can also try some new styles! I always think it's so nice when I hear people say, "This looks like something you would wear! You should try it on!" And it's even cooler when someone helps one of their friends try an item they wouldn't normally pick out  for themselves & they end up loving it! 

Sometimes it takes someone else making a suggestion for you to try on that pair of skinny jeans or that off the shoulder dress. Just that extra little nudge to let someone know you think they'll look like a total babe in something is magic, especially when they're not feeling particularly babe-some. Don't you wish you had that every time you went shopping? I sure do! 

Dinner was a hit! My famous chicken tortilla soup went over like gang busters! 
All the ladies trying on new clothes.
We had a great turn out this year! 
So many leftovers going to our local women's shelter! 

I may change some things up for the next clothing exchange, but the general idea will stay intact; set up an environment where my friends feel comfortable enough to find clothing that they love. Any maybe I'll find a few special pieces for myself. I mean, I'm not a monster! ;)

What would you add to this list? Have you ever had  a clothing exchange? I would love to hear about your experience!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

So, You Want a Cleaner Closet?

"This clean."

The Fabulous Zelda Rubinstein

No, my closet wasn't previously haunted by spirits unable to find peace, but it was full of clothes, shoes & accessories that I just didn't need anymore.

About once or twice a year I like to plan a clothing exchange for my friends to bring their unwanted clothing to swap. You can read about a past clothing exchange here if you want to see what it's like! Now, this isn't an entirely selfless endeavor. You know your girl loves her some secondhand clothes & I can alway use an excuse to clean out my closets! Because I am an avid thrift shopper, my clothing stash can get overflowing pretty quickly if left unchecked. I've heard about the Marie Kondo method & capsule wardrobes, but the truth is, I like my system & it works pretty well for me! That may not be the case for you, so I encourage you to try different methods of organization to find the best one that works for you!

I'm ready for a clothing exchange! 

Here are just a few of my tips for clearing out your closets, whether you're heading to a clothing exchange or just want a clean slate as we head into the new season!

1. Don't Be Overly Sentimental-

Now, don't throw out your wedding dress or anything you would really be devastated to lose, but don't agonize over every piece of clothing in your collection. There's no need to keep everything just because it holds some sort of memory for you. For example, I just got rid of a hoodie that I've had since high school. It was stained, tattered & stretched out. There was no reason to hang onto it, so I finally cut it loose. If you really feel like you have a ton of t-shirts or jeans you just can't part with, consider making something useful out of them. Check out this awesome t-shirt quilt & these craft ideas for denim! Any of these would be better than having old clothes sitting in your closet or drawers! 

2. Go Through All the Clothes & Accessories in Your House-

Don't just go through your closet. Go through your seasonal clothes. Go through coats, shoes, hats & scarfs. Go through your jewelry. Check any place you might have clothes or accessories hiding. Make sure all your laundry is done before you start so you don't miss anything. Trust me, you'll feel much better knowing everything that can be sorted through has been. It will save you a ton of time and work in the long run! 

A lot of junk tends to hide in my coat closet.  
I sorted through all our shoes & my purse crate. All of them have a cubby or can fit neatly in their place. It will be so much easier to find what we're looking for now! 

3. Create a Safe Guard System- 

If you've been burned by over purging in the past & have regretted getting rid of something that you wanted later, try this. If you have a few items that you're not sure about (maybe you're in the process of losing weight & want to keep a pair of pants that might fit in another three months), put it in a basket on the bottom of your closet. Out of sight, out of mind. If by the time your next clean-out rolls around it still doesn't fit or you haven't missed it being in your wardrobe rotation, get rid of it. 

4. How to Know if You Should Get Rid of an Item-

Ask yourself these simple questions: 
  • Does it fit? (This is important. Be honest with yourself. Don't keep clothing that makes you feel bad about yourself! When you lose weight, you can pick out some new items. Have a wardrobe that makes you feel like a million bucks right now. Don't worry; this can be accomplished on any budget!)
  • Do I like the way I look/feel in it? 
  • Have I worn it in the six months/last year(only if it's a seasonal piece)?
  •  If I saw this in the store today, would I buy it? 
  • Is it permanently stained, broken or damaged? 
  • If it can be cleaned or repaired, am I prepared to fix it right away? 

If the answer to any of these questions is no, get rid of the item in question. 

5. Think About Outfits- 

This takes some time, but try building outfits with everything in your closet. If a piece doesn't work with most of your basic wardrobe staples, ask yourself if it really fits into your style? If it doesn't, why are you keeping it? It shouldn't take you any longer than ten minutes to get dressed in the morning. That time limit is going to be a LOT easier to hit if everything in your wardrobe can be used to easily build an outfit. 

Bonus Tip- 

As you're going through your wardrobe & putting outfits together. Make an actual physical list (Seriously. Write it down with a pen & paper or make a list on your phone. Just make sure you keep track of it) of pieces you would like to add to your closet in the next year. Then, when you head to the thrift store, clothing exchanges or if someone asks you what you might like as a gift, you can refer to your list! This is the best way I know of building a thoughtful wardrobe that lines up with who you are AND saves you money in the long run. 

If you're still unsure about some of your items, check out this great closet detox quiz from Into Mind. I hope these tips have helped or encouraged you to revamp your closet! What are some of your tips for a cleaner, more organized space? I would love to hear them! 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Favorite Friday Favorites #138

1. August's Playlist-

2. The Bow Tie Shoes are the Tops-


3. Consider This-

4. New Music-

5. 10 Brutally Honest Comics-

These comics by Mari Andrew are so incredibly hilarious & relatable! 

More Links to Love-

-My friend Jourdan made this awesome art exercise timeline! 
-David Bowie's reading list
-These raw amber rings are amazing! 
- Bram Stoker from Blue Hour Studio.
-Another great episode of 99% Invisible! 
-This phone case is so choice! 
-These are beautiful answers to interesting questions. 
-While I'm in no hurry for Christmas to be here (I mean, we need Halloween, right?), but these Harry Potter themed decorations & food are amazing! 
-"How exactly are we supposed to examine the dark corners of our soul when we are so busy? How are we supposed to live the examined life?"

Happy Friday, Friends!
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