What’s Making Me Happy: December 2018 and January 2019

Winter in Massachusetts means that, as a resident, you often get some… interesting weather. Two Sundays ago, we had a storm that started as snow, then changed to rain and later to sleet / freezing rain. Then our high temperatures for the next two days were in the single digits Fahrenheit, with wind chills below 0. (Plus, all the snow and rain that had fallen? It froze.) By that Thursday, it was precipitating like crazy again – except it was pouring rain, because the temps had warmed up to over 50 deg F (10 deg C). 😮

And then, on other days, it’s still cold but at least nice enough for moments like the banner image. 🙂 So where was I when I took this photo? And what joys from the past 2 months did I decide to share today? Let’s get right to it! Continue reading

What’s Making Me Happy: May 2017

Is anyone else having a hard time believing that May is almost over? Gosh, was it busy. Not in a bad way, either. But in between writing, work, trips to Cape Cod, and life in general, I also worked on the online photo album of my Iceland trip that was one of the promised GoFundMe perks. (FYI: If you’re one of those donors, I hope to have the link ready within the next week or so. Sorry for the delay!) As a result, I’m on a social media hiatus (except for Goodreads) until the photo album is done, and then things should return to some sense of normalcy.

So what kinds of things made me happy in between all of May’s busyness? Would it surprise you if some of those joys are lingering reminders of Iceland? 😉 And as always, feel free to share the things that made you happy this past month in your comments on this post.

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Time Flies!: August 2016

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

I’m starting this post with a confession: While I’ve managed to keep up with my own blog-writing, I’ve been so burnt out from the past month’s busyness that I’m struggling to keep up with reading other blogs or replying to comments. I’ve also been dealing with stress from (without going into too much detail) expected and unexpected sources. Some days were great, but others… Yeah.

Bilbo faints

I hope this is temporary, though, since I still have one big event around the corner: My friend’s wedding (the one where I’m a bridesmaid) is this coming Saturday. Maybe once things calm down and I have some time to rest and regroup, I’ll feel some semblance of my normal self. But I just wanted to let readers know what’s going on, since you guys deserve my honesty.

But I really can’t complain. August was an awesome month on its best days, and it ends with much that I’m grateful for. This will make more sense as this post goes along, so let’s start with…

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Tea Time at Reverie: Plum Deluxe’s Self Care Herbal Tea Blend

I love it when I find tea companies that impress me so much, I know I’ll be a paying customer in the future. Plum Deluxe has become one of those companies, and partly due to today’s sample. Check out my review of their scrumptious Self-Care Herbal Blend at A Bibliophile’s Reverie!

Also, as I announced back in May, this is my final Time Time for ABR. Thanks again for reading and sharing these reviews, and for talking tea with me there for the past 2 years!

A Bibliophile's Reverie

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Our final sample from Plum Deluxe is the Self-Care Blend, an herbal tisane that caught my eye for two reasons. First, how can you go wrong with a name like that for a tea? Everyone needs a reminder to slow down and take care of themselves, and tea serves as a good reminder of this. Second, this unique herbal blend features apricots and elderberries, two fruits that are known for their healing properties. It’s an intriguing combination – in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen apricots or elderberries paired together before, in tea or in food. So, I’m very curious how they’ll brew up together.

Let’s have a cup or two of Self-Care together and see what it’s like, shall we? 😉

The Basics

self-care-square-477x477 Photo courtesy of Plum Deluxe

Bingley’s Description:A curious pairing of elderberry (tart) and apricot (sweet), this all-organic tea has mellow flavors and…

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Time Flies!: June 2016

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

It feels right to start off this month’s Time Flies with a big “thank-you” hug for everyone’s support recently. You were right: I didn’t need to worry about how downsizing my blogging schedule would affect things here. Plus, I feel more relaxed now that I’ve accepted my new time limitations and am focusing on quality and enjoyment instead of quantity and pace. This was the right choice, and I thank you all so much for encouraging me to do what was best for me.

Stitch hug

Speaking of change, I’ve altered the format of Time Flies this month. It’s not too different from what it was before, but you’ll see what I mean as this post goes on. So, let’s get to it!

Oh – and I’m still looking for questions for the upcoming blogoversary interview! Read here to learn how you can submit them. The deadline is Tuesday, July 5th! 😉

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Tea Time at Reverie: Plum Deluxe’s Reading Nook Black Tea Blend

Here’s my second-to-last Tea Time for A Bibliophile’s Reverie. (This is starting to get a little sad, thinking about the end.) And this first sample from Plum Deluxe out of Oregon (United States) caught my eye the moment that the vendor contacted me about reviewing some of his teas – and it wasn’t just the name. Read on to find out why I enjoyed Reading Nook Black Tea Blend so much. 🙂

A Bibliophile's Reverie

plumdeluxe_logo_straptea

Our next two Tea Time samples come from Plum Deluxe. Since 2008, this Oregon-based tea vendor has been exploring all aspects of the phrase “Making Moments Matter.” From handcrafted organic tea blends and a Tea of the Month Club, to recipes and meditations and other gifts, Plum Deluxe is committed to reminding its customers to be well, mindful, and positive. I can’t say I’ve met another tea company with such an inspiring mission – not to mention the teas in their online shop look delectable!

And what better way to introduce you to Plum Deluxe than with a bookish tea? 😉 Reading Nook blends a cream-flavored black tea with floral accents to create a soothing, stimulating, and truly unique brew. One look at the picture and description, and I knew I needed to review this beauty!

The Basics

Photo courtesy of Plum Deluxe Photo courtesy of Plum Deluxe

Plux Deluxe’s Description:One needs a…

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Tea Time at Reverie: Tea Maineia’s Cold Comfort Herbal Blend

Today’s Tea Time comes courtesy of the Maine-based tea shop Tea Maineia, as well as my first head cold of the winter. (No worries, I’m feeling much better now!) But really, it’s funny how your health or frame of mind dictates the kinds of tea you crave. In this case, I tried Tea Maineia’s Cold Comfort, a blend of green tea, fruit, and herbs known for their healing properties. Read more of my thoughts on it at A Bibliophile’s Reverie. 🙂

A Bibliophile's Reverie

Tea Maineia logo

During a recent trip to Maine, I visited Tea Maineia in Winterport, about 25 minutes south of Bangor. What a charming place! Not only does Tea Maineia carry a wide variety of teas (black, oolong, green, white, and herbal / rooibos), but it also sells teapots, mugs, and locally made condiments and other foods that pair well with tea. It also has a bright, welcoming environment inside, and the owner is friendly and wonderfully knowledgeable. If you’re ever in the Bangor area, I highly recommend checking out Tea Maineia!

And of course I couldn’t leave without purchasing some tea. 😉 So, for today’s Tea Time, we’ll cover one of Tea Maineia’s several herbal tisanes. Cold Comfort blends green and rooibos teas with fruit and herbs often used for alleviating symptoms of the common cold. How does this unique infusion brew up? And did I find it comforting during a recent head cold?…

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Tea Time at Reverie: Lydia Had More Fun Rooibos Tea from Bingley’s Teas

Looking for a more “dressed up” rooibos tisane? Lydia Had More Fun from Bingley’s Teas might be the choice for you then. It mixes red rooibos with freshly shaved coconut for a fun and indulgent herbal tea. Find out more about Lydia Had More Fun – and which Jane Austen character inspired this “dessert in a cup” – at my new tea review at A Bibliophile’s Reverie!

A Bibliophile's Reverie

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“‘You need not send them word at Longbourn of my going, if you do not like it, for it will make the surprise the greater when I write to them and sign my name Lydia Wickham. What a good joke it will be! I can hardly write for laughing.’”
– Lydia Bennet, Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice

Ah, Lydia Bennet. The youngest daughter of Pride and Prejudice’s central family, she adores fine clothes, fancy parties, and men in uniform. It’s no surprise that she’s one of literature’s most famous debutantes – or that she runs off with that shifty Mr. Wickham. Now, if there was a perfect tea match for Lydia’s naivety and self-indulgence, what would it be? The answer comes courtesy of Bingley’s Teas and their extensive Jane Austen Tea Series. Decaf seekers and dessert-tisane lovers, meet Lydia Had More Fun Rooibos Tea.

The Basics

Lydia Had More Fun 1 Photo courtesy…

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Time Flies: December 2014 Edition

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Looking for this month’s Freelance Article Round-Up? It’s here – under a new name!

The Freelance Article Round-Up series will now be known as Time Flies!, a monthly wrap-up article that… well, does exactly what the Freelance Article Round-Ups had been doing. Originally, the round-ups were designed to share my columnist projects at A Bibliophile’s Reverie, Grub Street, and DIY MFA. Then I started including other happenings related to writing, this blog, and life in general. And so the round-ups evolved into something more – and a couple weeks ago, I realized the title didn’t fit the purpose anymore. What do you think of the new name? And the new logo? 🙂

Let’s jump right in with this month’s updates: Continue reading

Tea Time at Reverie: Compassion For Mrs. Bennet’s Nerves Herbal Tea from Bingley’s Teas

Herbal teas are well-known for their medicinal, soothing qualities. Compassion For Mrs. Bennet’s Nerves, part of the Jane Austen Tea Series by Bingley’s Teas, combines sweet, mellow chamomile with stimulating peppermint and other ingredients to offer a panacea to the excitable, melodramatic matriarch of Pride And Prejudice‘s Bennet family. The question is, does it do the trick? Find out by reading my review now at A Bibliophile’s Reverie!

A Bibliophile's Reverie

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“Oh Mr Bennet! How can you tease me so? Have you no compassion for my poor nerves?” – Mrs. Bennet, Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice

With each Tea Time, I like to pick a tea that’s noticeably different from the previous review. For example, after a lusciously bold and complex black tea last time, I decided to try an herbal blend next. I also was eager to revisit Bingley’s Tea’s Jane Austen Tea Series , since I fell in love with the first tea I sampled from them. So, out came my sample of Compassion For Mrs. Bennet’s Nerves. This blend of floral, mint, and fruit ingredients is inspired by the matriarch of the Bennet family in Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice. Frequently nervous and easy to upset, Mrs. Bennet (whose sole desire in life seems to be marrying off her daughters) would no doubt benefit from a…

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