Trader Joes ‘Winter Wake Up’ Tea

This tea is AMAZING. It literally tastes like fair trade Christmas. And I love it. It’s probably a rip off of Coffee Bean’s Winter Dream because it tastes eerily similar, but, if I’m being honest, I don’t care. Because it’s cheaper and it’s from Trader Joes, which I already have an unhealthy obsession with.

The Winter Wake Up tea by Trader Joes is a black tea with hints of cinnamon, ginger, and other spices that makes you want to snuggle up on the couch, watching cheesy Christmas movies and the snow fall outside your window. And you know you’ve made a good decision when two Trader Joe’s employees tell you that you made the best holiday decision. Which is no easy feat if you’ve ever been in TJ’s and tried to get a compliment from the cashier. Am I the only one who does that? Okay fine, maybe I am. Whatever.

Anyway, I love this tea because it’s only a few bucks, tastes like Christmas, and is a great way to ease into a holiday morning. And I am all about comfort and ease during the holidays. Because, well, who isn’t?

Buy this tea at any Trader Joe’s location or if you’re extra lazy, on Amazon. Happy tea drinking!

Hope your holidays are going amazingly! What are some of your favourite treats during the holidays?

Advertisements

Toasted Coffee + Kitchen

So honest tidbit, the only reason I came here to work was because I have to pick up some alterations down the street and it’s in a neighbourhood (knox/henderson and Lower Greenville) I’m lowkey in love with. And I’ve been itching to find a coffee shop nearby so I could have a reason to come that didn’t involve food trucks or late nights that turn into mornings.

Anyway, I found this place on Yelp and I was instantly sold when I scrolled thru the photos. It’s so hipster that their avocado toast has TWO KINDS OF SIRACHA. the only reason I didn’t get it because I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to the green siracha. Which is just a travesty in of itself. Anyway, first I got their lavender latte — which you CAN CHOOSE WHAT COFFEE BEANS GO INTO YOUR LATTE — and the barista recommended the Ethiopian since I was getting a floral syrup. Can you tell this place is super hipster already?

Then I got their drip coffee and I tried their Guatamala coffee. Which isn’t my favourite by default but still pretty quality. I didn’t try any of their food since I wasn’t super hungry but their menu looked amazing. And the decor is basically an industrial hipster’s dream. Exposed brick, no lampshades over the lights, and lots of exposed beams. Super cute yet also weirdly functional. ANd they have a dog-friendly patio. It’s basically my dream of a coffee shop.

Anyway, this place is adorable. I could easily spend all day here if they wouldn’t kick me out and I had an endless supply of money in my bank account. The decor goes together really well, the baristas (at least the one I had) are super friendly, and I love it here. Plus, they have a hodge podge of for here mugs, which just makes my life.

10/5 

The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety by Alan W. Watts

Though this book was originally written in the 1950’s, The Wisdom of Insecurity still holds up today — just as the reviews mention on the back of it. But it also doesn’t come without a couple questionable comparisons.

As many know, I have anxiety. I’m not ashamed of it but it can be a serious pain and is always evolving. With that being said, I’m always looking for ways to curb it and hold it accountable. My mother sent me this book a few months ago and I’d been meaning to read it but always found a reason not to. So finally, this past week, I made the decision to finally pick it up.

It’s a quick read, just under 200 pages, but it is a little difficult at times because it is written as if we were still in 1950’s, not in the 2000’s. Throughout the book, Alan Watts makes the assumption that anxiety isn’t a be all end all. You find ways to take care of it, often thru your version of a higher power and knowing that you are merely human.

Watts simplifies anxiety and the need to know everything all at once. But it makes sense. He uses theology — in forms of Zen Buddhism, Christianity, and more — to eplaint aht anxiety isn’t merely a mortal issue but can be solved thru finding something larger than yourself.

It’s an interesting read, one I’m still trying to wrap my head around, and it’s a quick finish. I’m sure, because of this, it’ll take a second read to fully understand the message but it’s an interesting take. If you’re looking for a different take on anxiety or if you struggle with it yourself, pick this book up. It’ll make you think.

Favourite quote: By all outward appearances, our life is a spark of light between one eternal darkness and another. Nor is the interval between these two nights an unclouded day, for the more we are able to feel pleasure, the more we are vulnerable to pain — and whether in the background or foreground, the pain is always with us. 

3/5

Ja Rule & Ashanti

Okay so over the weekend, my boyfriend and I went to The Bomb Factory here in Dallas to mildly relive our childhoods and see Ja Rule & Ashanti live. We were super stoked because their music may not change the world anytime soon but it was always fun to get stoked for an event or pretend you were a BAMF & secretly weren’t.

But dang, did they disappoint. Maybe it was the state of mind I was in that night or the venue or some combination of various factors. But it wasn’t what I was hoping it’d be. A couple friends had mentioned in passing that they weren’t great live but I was hoping that since a couple years had passed and there was that #fryefestival debacle earlier this year that they’d get their act together, literally.

Ashanti & Ja Rule both have new music out and they played a few of their past hits. It was a good time to sway and dance to but it wasn’t the concert high we all seem to chase, if you’re into live music like me at least.

I’m not sure who the opening acts were, as I’d never heard of them, but they definitely didn’t set the stage well for the rest of the show. The hype men were off but the dancers were attractive.

I guess this was a lesson in having realistic expectations early on for concerts. And that they’re not all going to be winners, unfortunately. But it was a good date night and we’ll have a story. Because who knows when the next time they’ll go on tour will be? It was an experience, to say the least.

Taylor Swift “Reputation”

Let me get this out of the way. I love Taylor Swift. Not because she’s a fantastic songwriter or because she’s the most hipster artist out there. But because I can listen to her music, relate to it, and dance my ass off to it. It’s ear candy and I fully understand that. There are plenty of issues with T Sweezy that I have (i.e. cultural appropriation, lack of perceived awareness of POC women, etc) but for all intents and purposes, the woman knows what she’s doing. And I can respect that.

Her new album Reputation is amazing. I love it. And I’m only mildly ashamed. But I love it for different reasons than I did previous songs of hers. Reputation is the first album of Swift’s that I could listen to throughout without vomiting once or twice. This album seems more mature, and much more aware of what it takes to be an adult today. With all its nuances and such.

T. Swift turns her reputation on its head and she runs with it. With this song list, she seems to know exactly how everybody thinks of her. ANd she doesn’t care. And I love it. Absolutely love it.

I get that Taylor Swift has her issues. And her music isn’t necessarily mind-blowing or life-altering. But it’s calculating and it’s to the point. She knows what she’s doing, she’s in control, and I love it. She’s a guilty pleasure, for sure. I’m not sure which song is my favourite but Ed Sheeran & Future make an appearance on the second track and weirdly, it works well.

Listen to this album. Even if it’s solely for the fact of judging her new music. It’s so different than her previous work. And it stands out in her repertoire.

“American You” by Yelawolf

My boyfriend makes fun of my choices in hip-hop because I often refuse to listen to anything in the genre unless it’s Eminem or they’re from the Bay Area. Eminem because he always strikes a chord with me, I can understand it when he raps fast, and he’s wonderful. And The Bay Area because that’s where I grew up, where I first started exploring music, and hip-hop from the Bay always seemed to be honest, genuine, and hard-hitting.

Obviously there are exception – I will get on the dance floor if it’s Ying-Yang Twins or Lil Jon. But the stuff I always come back to is Bay Area hip-hop. This includes but isn’t limited to E-40, Yelawolf, Tupac, and more. I only recently started listening to Yelawolf and his latest single “American You” is FANTASTIC. There’s definitely a lot of swearing but it’s got a beat that makes you want to bob your head, sing along, and you realize that there are a lot of hard working Americans out there that often feel like they’re forggen in today’s society thru no fault of their own.

maxresdefault

Plus, the music video isn’t something to miss. I love watching the faces of so many different people with their own troubles, stories, and successes. It’s a fantastic way to see the fabric of this country and how we shouldn’t ever judge a person by how they look or present themselves. This song reminds us all that we’re all struggling in some way. That one person’s story may be different than another but we all still fail, flail around, and try to find the way we should be living that makes sense. that if somebody doesn’t take the time to understand your story, then leave them at the curb.

This song will be on repeat for a while, that’s for sure. Check out the video here! Plus, Travis Barker from Blink-182 plays the drums in the video and I’m obsessed. Carry on.

Favourite Lyric: You make somethin’ out of nothin’, you make money for a livin’/
Pushin’ buttons, stickin’ digits, flippin’ burgers in the kitchen/
With the vision, you’ve been dreamin’, you’ve been savin’/

“Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body” by Roxane Gay

Trigger Warning: this post will have a frank discussion of sexual assault & mental health. please take care of yourself first. 

This book, man. Roxane Gay is something else. I’ve read three of her four books now and to say I’m obsessed is an understatement. Her work is beyond powerful and more importantly, it’s relatable to those questioning feminism, how they personally react to their own trauma, and how things can often have lasting effects on us long after the fact.

When Roxane Gay was not even a teen yet, she was brutally gang-raped and left for dead. This book details her journey trying to come to terms with this assault and gaining a few hundred pounds to protect herself and to “build a fortress” around herself as well. Because of her immense weight gain, she details how not only does she have to deal with mental repercussions after the attack but she also has to figure out how to fit into society at the size she’s at. She struggles with if she even deserves to take up space and with losing all the weight while still maintaining some sort of self-protection.

roxanegay.jpg

Going thru trauma breaks you in a way most people who haven’t been thru it don’t fully understand. Trauma messes with you in ways you don’t even expect and it can often have lasting effects — especially if the trauma stems from sexual intimacy. And it manifests in ways that force you to deal with it eventually as well as leaks into parts of your life you don’t know until you’re neck deep. It sucks and I related to this book more so than I thought I would. My story differs from Gay’s as I’m sure many do. But some overarching themes like trying to find personal security after being ripped open, self-medicating, and finding ways to still love yourself were unfortunately similar.

What Hunger taught me is that trauma has lasting effects and that it’s okay to fail sometimes. That sometimes learning how to take care of yourself takes a bit (or a lot) longer than you expected. That even with all the ‘even thoughs’, you still deserve to take up space, you still deserve to be here, and that you deserve to be taken care of. This book was a hard read because it made me take a hard look at myself, to see what I’m doing that may be self-sabotaging, and that I can still fix it.

I’ll also be recording a vlog about this book later today and will post that once completed as well! Let me know what you’d like me to address as well.

What are some healthy ways that you’ve dealt with traumatic events and how do you still take care of yourself?

Favourite Quote: One of my biggest fears is that I will never cut away all that scar tissue. One of my biggest hopes is that one day, I will have cut away most of that scar tissue”