My Favorite Teas of 2014!

Hello friends, if you notice I did not share a December 2014 Tea of the Month.  That was not an oversight.  I continued to drink the same teas I loved the months before.  So, not much stood out for me in December.  However, I didn’t want to slip too far into January 2015 without sharing the teas that I loved the most last year. Such a hard choice…sigh.  It was so hard to narrow my choices down but I think I’ve done a good job.  If you want to learn more about my thoughts on each I have linked past posts for each one.

Here we go…if I could pick only four teas from 2014 I would select these:

Pear White Tea by Revolution Tea

Full Review 

revoluationtea

This is a silky smooth white tea with natural pear flavor.  It’s perfect without any additions and is packaged in a convenient tea pouch. If you want the convenience of a pre-packaged tea bag without sacrificing quality this brand is  a good option.  They use flow-through infuser bags filled with quality loose leaf tea.

Yunnan Gold Tea by Teasenz

Full Review 

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Yunnan Gold Tea is a beautiful black tea from the Yunnan province of China.   As far as black teas are concerned, this one has a milder flavor than other varieties. It is also a sweeter black tea with notes of honey tempered by earthy-peppery tones. In my opinion, this is a very smooth tea that makes for nice pairings with sweet treats.

Organic Superfine Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea by Teavivre

Full Review

teavivre2

Teavirve has such a wide range of amazing teas.  I was hard to pick just one as a favorite.  However, this one  has the freshest aroma and a mild, sweet, vegetable taste. I love that it’s organic and always well packaged.  I would purchase this one time and time again.

La Menthe Glaciale Thé by Palais Des Thé (Icy Mint)

Full Review

icymintFinally, I’ve saved the best for last.  Ahhhh….this is an icy mint green tea with an aroma and taste that are a frosty breath of fresh air. If it’s possible to imagine a cup of it is warm but cool and refreshing. I could gush about the tea for days but I’ll just say that the flavor is absolutely invigorating.  If you want to try a new tea I recommend this one without reservation!

As a tea lover, 2014 was a great tea year and I can’t wait for new discoveries in 2015.  What were some of your favorites last year?  Please share in the comments below!

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Happy New Year 2015!!

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On the first day of 2015  I want to thank all of you for your support of me and Honey Lemon Tea over the past year.  I have learned with each of you and I am looking forward to gaining even more from our time together this year.

Soon I will be offering a blog update and sharing some changes that I have in the works.  However, for now, I’m just stopping in to wish you: joy, prosperity, peace, love and all the best that God has to offer in 2015!

Love,

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Homemade Gift Idea: Christmas Crinkles

christmascrinkels

I know that some of you are out there shopping and some of you are just beginning the process.  However, if you are like me and want to avoid that madness homemade cookies are always appreciated.

One of the first posts that I shared last year when we started this blog was the sugar crinkle recipe below.  It definitely isn’t healthy but they are truly worth the indulgence.  They were a great hit with my family last year.  So, I have no choice but to give them again. :) Last year I used individual tins lined with parchment paper to package them.  This year I found the cutest boxes to use instead and they were only .50¢/each at the Dollar Store.

cookiegrid

The recipe below is fool proof and taken from one of my favorite cookie cookbooks, Southern Living Incredible Cookies  It’s likely that you have the needed supplies handy and you can have several inexpensive gifts whipped up in no time. The book itself would make a great gift for the baker or cooker lover in your life as well.

cookiebook

Ingredients:

1 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups organic sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar ( I used sanding sugar but that’s optional)

Directions:

1.  Beat shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy.

2. Add eggs and flavorings, beating until blended.

3.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to shortening mixture, beating well.  Cover dough and chill.

4.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in 1/4 cup sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheets.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 9 minutes or until barely golden.  Cool 2 minutes on baking sheets; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Yield:  about 5 1/2 dozen.

To get these ready to deliver, just line small cookie tins or boxes with parchment paper, fill with cookies and cover them well to preserve freshness.

Do you have any favorite DIY Christmas treats that would make great gifts?  If so, please share your suggestions below!

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Tea of the Month: November 2014

I actually tried a new seasonal tea that many of you may be interested in for the holidays.  It’s the Twinings Winter Spice Herbal Tea.  This is an herbal tea with a chamomile base and flavored with apple, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.

This tea is caffeine free so you may have it at any time of day.  I’ve been drinking this tea mostly at night in place of my usual chamomile tea.  It’s warming and has a festive flavor that’s great without any additives.    However, I think this tea would be a great base for a holiday cider.

Last year I shared my Simple Spiced Apple Cider recipe that I’m thinking of combining with this tea.  If I try it I’ll be sure to share the results.

Do you have a favorite holiday tea?  If so, please share in the comments below.

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*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Green Beauty Stocking Stuffers – $10 and Under!

 

 

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We are three days away from the biggest shopping day of the year.  I know that many are making lists of items to get for loved ones on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  I’ve always loved the little things that I get in stockings.  They are always a surprise and very special.  So, I thought you all might be interested in some of my favorite green beauty/ skin care  stocking stuffers.

The best part about these items is that each of these items retails for $10 or less!  The price points of these items may allow some of you to try new products, stock up on favorites or introduce newbies to the world of non-toxic beauty.  If you have any others to add please share them in the comments below.  Your suggestions are welcome!

Budget-Friendly Green Beauty Stocking Stuffers

1. Honeybee Gardens Black Magic Natural Mascara  ($9.50) – a great every day mascara. It has a very light formulation which makes it easy to layer on more than one coat.

2. Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Bath, Body & Massage Oil  ($9.79) – great for sealing in moisture into the skin or the hair.  It’s a true multi-purpose product.

3. Weleda Skin Food (8.89)- a thick cream that’s perfect for dry skin.  This is a go-to hand cream for me in the winter months.

4. Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon in Napa Vineyard ($9.00) – a beautiful matte red that’s great for any skin tone.

5.  EcoTools Large Powder Brush  ($7.49) – a soft, affordable, eco-friendly brush. What’s not to love?

6.  Blum Naturals Dry and Sensitive Skin Daily Cleansing Towelettes with Chamomile, 30 Towelettes ($6.99) – great for removing make-up before using a cleanser.  I also take these with me when traveling.

7.   Unearth Malee Organic Soap Chai Tea Chocolate ($6.50) – a decadent smelling soap that’s gentle enough for my sensitive skin.

8.  Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar Solid Perfume ($8.44) – a mild scent that can be worn year-round.  It travels easily as  well without concerns of spillage.

9.   Zoya Miniture Nail Polish in Oswin ($5.00) – gorgeous non-toxic lacquer.  Zoya nail polishes are a must-have!

10.  Fig & Yarrow Nail & Cuticle Salve ($10.00) – use for manicures or any time to want to soothe your cuticles.

11.  Deep Steep Candy Mint Foot Polish ($9.95) – great for pampering!  This scrub gently polishes dead skin cells away, smells just like mints and has a cooling  effect on the skin. So refreshing….

12.  A Ray of Holiday Sunshine Rachel Roy 3 Pack ($7.49) – great lip balms!  I am a lip balm addict and I continually go back to EOS balms. This particular set is a limited edition just for the holidays.

13.  Nubian Heritage Body Wash Coconut & Papaya ($7.99) – a luscious feeling body wash that moisturizes the skin and smells divine.

 

Happy Shopping!

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*Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.

 

Reflections on Republic of Yoga, Cary NC

Republic of Yoga, Exterior

“Republic of Yoga fosters self-discovery,
renewal and creativity through the
ancient system of Hatha yoga.”

Do you take enough time to reflect on “you”?   This is the question I asked myself several months ago when I visited Republic of Yoga in Cary, NC.  I was asked to come to a class and experience all they have to offer and within the first minutes of class, this question resounded in my head.  As I sat on the floor with my eyes closed, breathing and focusing inward, as directed by  Nicole Nichols (founder, co-owner and yoga instructor), I realized that it had been entirely too long since I took time to look within and tune out the world around me.

Nicole Nichols Founder

Nicole Nichols,
Founder

For those of you unfamiliar with this yoga studio it was founded by the talented Nicole Nichols, who has over 18 years of experience teaching yoga in New York and around the world. She now shares her passion for life and yoga practice with others in Cary,  North Carolina.  The studio focuses on the practice of:

“Hatha yoga in the flowing Vinyasa style 

where breath and movement synchronize, like meditation in motion.”  

Prior to visiting her studio I had practiced yoga in the past but on a very limited basis.  So, I was quite nervous about accepting the offer to attend a class.  However, any concerns that I had were soon put to rest.  Upon entering the studio I immediately noticed how Nicole greeted students by name and with a warm smile.  Her bright and welcoming demeanor is contagious and helped to put me more at ease.

Moving on the the class itself, Nicole’s level of experience is evident in the ease and competence she exhibits when teaching. There were yogis there with various levels of experience which can be intimidating.  However, I found that the Nicole gave clear instructions that I was able to follow.  Where I was lacking she offered me encouragement and extra instruction without disturbing the overall “flow” of practice.  She was equally attentive to other members of the course as well.  Not only was Nicole encouraging but every one there helped add to the overall atmosphere of calm energy and support.

Although I felt at ease and fully supported in my endeavors, I still found the course to be physically challenging.  I felt a positive pressure to reach further and make demands on my body that I didn’t it was think capable of.  When it was all said and done, I was reminded me that it’s absolutely necessary to push yourself because we are much more capable than we allow ourselves to believe.  Also, to reach higher levels of achievement you have to take advantage of all aspects of your being (body, mind and spirit).  I left the studio feeling motivated to dedicate more time to reflecting on me so that I can answer my initial question in the affirmative.

Top: Article showing Nicole teaching yoga in Time Square. Bottom: Studio interior, Republic of Yoga

Top: Article showing Nicole teaching yoga in Time Square
Bottom: Studio interior, Republic of Yoga

 

If you are ever in the Cary, NC area consider stopping in at Republic of Yoga (yep, they have drop-in classes and your first one is free)!  They offer a wide range of classes to fit your schedule and practice level, a welcoming environment, professional instruction and a beautiful space for you to challenge yourself from the inside out.

Thanks Nicole & Republic of Yoga!

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Roasted Carrot Apple Coconut Smoothie

carrotsmoothieSmoothies can get boring!  Please don’t send the health police after me for saying that because I’m just telling my truth.  Back in the day you wouldn’t catch me drinking smoothies. I just wanted a plate of yummy food to chew and enjoy.  So, smoothies absolutely lacked appeal (no matter how good for me they were).  I’m over that now and love incorporating healthy smoothies into my diet but I need to mix it up.  I’m kind of tired of my usual avocado green smoothie or my raspberry/blueberry special.

I thought that it would be fun to take the Williams-Sonoma Smoothie Week challenge to create as smoothie that is “Not Your Typical Smoothie”.  I love trying and creating new recipes.  Some work out and some don’t but it’s always a fun process.  What I came up with was a Roasted Carrot Apple Coconut Smoothie.  Roasting the carrots  brings out even more  of their sweetness and adds a depth of flavor that I think my normal concoctions have been lacking.  While I don’t think that  it’s completely weird, I am sure that it’s far from typical!

Ingredients:

1 cup carrots, roasted

1/2 cup diced apple, peeled (I used gala apples)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

2 teaspoons coconut sugar

dash of sea salt

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup almond milk

3/4 cup coconut water

1 tablespoon coconut manna or shredded coconut (optional)

Directions:  

1.  To roast your carrots, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Toss carrots in melted coconut oil, cinnamon, coconut sugar, nutmeg and sea salt.  Place the carrots on a pan and roast until they soften. This will take around 30 minutes. You will have to rotate them half way through this process.

2.  Allow carrots to cool completely.

3.  Add carrots and all remaining ingredients to the blender and process until smooth.

 *Tips:  You could always  roast more carrots for dinner and use leftovers for your morning smoothie.  Double duty!!  Also the carrots need to be blended smoothly, so be sure to use a good blender.  If you like you may check the Williams-Sonoma blender page for options.

carrot collage

There you have it…a Roasted Carrot Apple Coconut smoothie. Try this smoothie in the morning or as a slightly sweet treat that has added health value.  Do you have any smoothie creations that are unique and delicious?  If so , please share them with us in the comments.

Cheers!

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