I always seem to start these posts by writing something along the lines of, “I can’t believe [insert month here] is already over. How did another one slip through my fingers?” But alas…here I am…wondering how another month flew by. This is absolutely a reflection of how present I am each day. I’m always looking forward– forward to better weather, forward to when we can feel safe in public again, forward to when my tea budget resets again… Perhaps April should be an exercise in intention and being present. Until then, let’s take a look back at some of my March Favorites:
I’ve raved aplenty about Tea Thoughts over on my YouTube channel and my Instagram feed, but I’ve not yet dedicated any space on my blog to Nazanin’s wonderful creations. Nazanin is one of my favorite tea-adjacent creators…nay! She is one of my favorite creators, in general! She designs tea-related stationery and apparel, and she also crafts tea accessories like coasters, teacups, and tea pets. And while I wear my gaiwan t-shirt or sweatshirt literally every week (depending on the weather), it’s her curated tea boxes that have stolen my heart.
The 2020 Countdown to Spring box was Japan-themed, so we sipped through Bancha, Kukicha, Matcha, and even sakura blossoms! This year, the Countdown to Spring box centers around bowl brewing tea. Day One was an adorable bunny and sakura printed bowl– a chawanmushi, actually– and the following days were teas that we could experiment bowl brewing with.
I cannot recommend the Tea Thoughts boxes enough. If you haven’t experienced one, I recommend signing up for the Tea Thoughts newsletter, so you can be among the first to be alerted of their arrival in the shop. These boxes sell out quickly, and I believe her Countdown to Spring box was sold out within 24 hours.
Speaking of Springtime, I feel as though it has arrived early this year! It’s not uncommon for Michigan to see snowfall in April. I supposed snow could still “grace” us with its presence, but I’m holding out that the clear skies, sunshine days, and 60-degree weather is here to stay.
I mentioned recently that one of my unofficial New Years Resolutions was to enjoy a cup of tea outdoors at least once a day, but frigid February temperatures kept me indoors all month long. The weather has been so nice recently that I’ve finally been able to enjoy a cup of tea on the back porch again. Lately, I’ve been enjoying oolong teas and green teas while listening to morning birdsong.
The first of the 2021 harvests are arriving at Masters Teas, and a few were sent my way to sample. Last year, I was lucky to try the 2020 Rohini First Flush Darjeeling, and this year I get to try the 2021 Rohini First Flush Oolong and the Rohini Gold Wire, which is an Autumnal Darjeeling. I also received some 2020 harvests to sample such as Qimen Caixia, Jun Shan Yin Zhen, Ma Liu Mi, Shi Feng Long Jing, and another tea from the Rohini Estate– a first flush white tea! I’ve never tried a white tea from India before, so I’m pretty excited about that.
I’ve already dipped into the Qimen Caixia because I was certain I had never tried this tea before. Turns out Qimen = Keemun, which I’ve only ever had in breakfast blends. I always thought this tea added a smoky element to breakfast blends, but after trying this tea on its own, I realize it’s more complex than I realized. It offers toasty and honey aromas followed by soft florals on the finish. In later infusions, I notice something that reads as lemon and pine.
I treated myself to a new gaiwan earlier this year. It was a Blood Moon Light & Shadow gaiwan from Crafted Leaf Tea. These kaolin clay gaiwan are fully handmade, and the kiln and firing process creates unique designs, so no two gaiwan look the same. It pours like a dream, and the cup doesn’t become scorching hot like my porcelain gaiwan, which means I don’t burn my fingers. Unfortunately, after about two weeks of owning this gaiwan, I dropped a watermelon on my tea tray, and it crushed the lid. (Everyone gets really curious about the logistics of this one because who drops watermelons on a gaiwan? But, the tea tray and gaiwan were sitting on my kitchen counter waiting to be dumped and rinsed).
I loved this gaiwan so much that I turned right around and bought a new one less than an hour later, and it finally arrived! I don’t love the design of the new gaiwan as much as the original. The original was a lovely purple color, and my new one is mostly grey with some faded purple along the lip of the cup. It still pours like a dream though! (Also, the cup of my old gaiwan survived, so I imagine I will pair the new lid with the old cup like the heathen I am).
P.S. The 2020 Moon Waffles from White2tea was the first steep.
I mean, of course Oliver makes this list every time. He’s my favorite Favorite!
Toddlerhood has challenged me in ways I did not expect and did not want. Early on, I learned that I have about as much patience as my two-year-old, so we’ve both been working on that these last few months. As a result, we’ve become really good at counting to ten as a way to cool down rising tempers. We also count to ten to help with waiting for me to switch gears from working to giving him a snack or playing a game with him. The downside is, I can’t give him “until the count of five” to do a task he doesn’t want to do because he just counts with me and continues to ignore my requests.
He’s becoming more and more himself though, and that’s been exciting to watch. He loves playing outside, sliding down the big kid slides, playing hide-and-seek, drawing all over my notebooks and work folders, reading the Narwhal and Jelly Bubble! book, talking to grandparents over FaceTime, singing along music, playing Toca Blocks on the Kindle Fire, and as always, trying all of my teas.
I also love hearing from his teacher that he’s a sensitive boy and that his favorite activity is going on walks around the school. She said they push all of the toddlers in strollers, but he’s the only one they let walk because he insists on it. I’m not surprised though– walking to and from school is a big part of our weekday routine. Also, when I dropped him off at school recently, one of his pals ran up to him greet him and hugged him. (Oh, my heart!)
The Earl Grey chocolate bar from Crow and Moss • My new, yellow fingernail polish • Waking up early to enjoy a cup of tea and a chapter of the Lord of the Rings before the family wakes up • Staying up past my bedtime to sneak in some time with Mass Effect Andromeda • The exciting news that the release of the Mass Effect Legendary edition is a few weeks away, and news that a Mass Effect 5 may be on the horizon, soon
I hope you had a happy March! Let me know about your March favorites in the comments.