Business, Fun, Writing

Iz in your tea cup writin ur blogs

This weekend I “soft launched” It’s a tea blog. Basically I drink so much tea, find so many little tid bits related to tea, that I could fill a whole blog talking about it. And I don’t put it all here otherwise it would become rather clear just how crazy I am when it comes to tea. I don’t claim to be an expert on it. I’ll leave that to the professionals that go to Asia, India, Sri Lanka and Africa to source the tea, but I hope to entertain other tea lovers with my finds.

There are about a dozen posts over on my tea blog – stuff that I’ve been bookmarking for a while now.I’m slowly getting through it all.

So remember: Tea solves all.

Flickr Photo Download: Ra Tea


McCain taking tips from eBay core values?

Watching McCain’s speech tonight and in the middle of the speech I hear “We believe everyone has something to contribute.” Hmmm…has Meg been giving him some tips on what to say? Meg Whitman that is. That’s eBay’s #2 core value. I should know. I wore it on my badge for nearly 4 years.  And as the speech progressed it sounded like he was building his own Republican core values list. But they didn’t seem so trusting and ideal as the eBay ones.  


Pottery Barn Kids Vancouver

Right now in Vancouver it’s incredibly hard to buy gifts for friend’s kids if you saw something you want to get at Pottery Barn Kids. There’s no Canadian website, no catalogue, and no store. So you’d have to call a store in Toronto, already know what you want and hope that they can ship it out to you. Because you can’t order from the U.S. And if I’m buying for friends in the U.S. I get dinged on the exchanged rate.

So I emailed them to ask what was up given that Restoration Hardware seems to have gotten it correct when they launched their kids line. Well it turns out they’re opening a Vancouver store in 2009.  

Thank you for your e-mail and for your feedback. I can tell you that there are plans to open a Pottery Barn Kids in the Vancouver-area in 2009. I apologize for the inconvenience that is caused by not having the catalog or Website available in Canada. I do hope you’ll be on the look out for us next year.

Yay! No more having to pay exchange rates for friends in the U.S., and I’ll be snag a fancy diaper bag to use as a laptop bag.


Sephora Coming to Vancouver

Yay! Sephora will be opening a store in Vancouver, but not until July 10, 2009. I had emailed them to ask because I heard some rumblings about it. And it seems like the big-brand retailers have finally realized that Vancouver is a pretty large brand-obsessed, shopping-addicted population.  So here was their response:

Good News! There is a Sephora store opening at Pacific Centre in Vancouver, BC on 7/10/2009!

It is not an exclusive event, so no hassle at the door, no lines to stand in. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on this store opening, make sure that you are signed up for our email blasts.

Besides getting the latest beauty news and trends, the most up-to-date detailed information for the store opening (including date, time, and any special promotions or happenings) will be sent to you about 4 days prior.


I would say that until then I’ll have to settle with hopping the border and going shopping down in Washington. But that’s just way too much of a hassle. I’m not one that does regular U.S. shopping expeditions. If you go for a day trip, you’re supposed to declare what you bought and pay import tax on it. Hopefully, they’ll get their pricing right and charge the same for the Sephora products as you in the U.S. One good thing now is that if you order over $120 worth of products online they’ll ship it to you in Canada for free. At least they ship here, unlike some other companies.

Note: I do NOT work for Sephora and this is not a Sephora website. I’m just a fan of the company. So PLEASE stop contacting me asking for a job there. I’m not going to email you back and say you have the wrong site.


Sweet Tea

Since it’s been feeling like summer here in Vancouver (finally), Brendon and I have been drinking some good old-fashioned sweet tea. There’s only one company on the West Coast that I know that serves it, and it’s the restaurants at the Flying J truck stops on I-5. Since we’re nowhere near one and Vancouver thinks that sweet tea means Nestea or Snapple, I’ve been making my own. It’s one of the few things that makes me want to move to the South – super humid, buggy summers keep me away.

If you want to try making it yourself, you can try my recipe. Everyone has their own and the best way to make it is always a debate.

  1. Get yourself a 4 cup Pyrex glass measuring cup.
  2. Boil 5 cups of water in a tea kettle.
  3. While the water is boiling, put 1 1/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of baking soda into a Pyrex measuring cup. (Baking soda helps to make the tea brew darker and less bitter.)
  4. Set aside 7 round Tetley tea bags. (Others swear by Lipton, but I like the round Tetley ones.)
  5. Pour the boiling water in a circular motion into the sugar and baking soda.
  6. Stir the sugar until the water becomes clear and syrupy looking.
  7. Add the 7 tea bags.
  8. Gently stir 5 times.
  9. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
  10. Fill a sealable plastic 2.5 quart (2.4 litre) pitcher with ice. (This will make a super sweet tea. If you don’t want something that tastes like you’re getting cavities, try a gallon pitcher.)
  11. Take the tea bags out of the Pyrex cup. DO NOT SQUEEZE THEM. Toss them in the sink and squeeze later if you don’t want all the water in the garbage or compost.  Squeezing causes the tea to be bitter.
  12. Pour the tea/sugar syrup into the pitcher with ice.
  13. Top it off with cold water.
  14. Seal the pitcher and shake.
  15. Serve right away over ice if you’re impatient or let it sit in the fridge for a half hour or more. The longer it sits the better it tastes. Always serve with ice. It is called iced tea after all.

Green tea version – Before WWII green tea was the most popular tea in the U.S., and supposedly the first sweet tea recipe used green tea. If you want to try a green tea version, try replacing the Tetley bags with jasmine tea bags. And replace the sugar with 1 cup of honey and 1/4 of sugar.

On the usage of mint – It’s up to you. Sometimes I add it at the same time as the tea bags, and remove it before pouring it into the pitcher. It can add an interesting little flavor. Don’t leave them in the pitcher – it gets gross after a while. 

Filtered or unfiltered water – It’s up to you. I’ve found that filtered water can make a clearer tea, but you miss out on any natural minerals or floride that’s good for you. Vancouver has really good water, so for me it doesn’t necessarily make much of a difference with the taste.

If you think you have a better recipe, you can add it below – or perhaps we’ll just have to face off at the Sweet Tea Challenge.


Public Service Announcement

by beneneuman
Tip 1 – Avoid Antibiotics, but take probiotics if you do.
Don’t ever go on an antibiotic unless it’s absolutely necessary. And when you do, take a probiotic. You don’t want to end up with what I have.

During my trip to Costa Rica I got sick and the ship doctor put me on cipro (yes the anthrax drug). And it was lovely. It got me home and feeling fine in no time because it killed off all the nasty bacteria. Bad thing was, it killed off all the good ones too. So lesson learned, take a probiotic whenever you have to take an antibiotic. Or if you have a stomach infection, ask your doctor about Florastor first to avoid the antibiotic (but that wasn’t an option for me.)

Tip 2 – Go to the doctor if your stomach is weird.
Anyway, a few weeks pass and my stomach was not completely right. But I’ve always had a sensitive tummy. I kept putting off going to the doctor because I thought it was something I ate.

Tip 3 – Challenge a doctor if you think they’re wrong.
I went to a doctor, not my usual one, and because my symptoms weren’t typical she chalked it up to a virus. Stomach pain is never good sweetie. I should have pressed her on the whole fact that I took cipro. If you’re not going to be an advocate for your health, who will? Well, after a trip to emergency we figure out I have c. difficile.

Tip 4 – Don’t do too much research on the internet.
I don’t think I have it as bad as some people get it. But reading the internet about what you have will make you starting thinking that you have all the bad symptoms when you don’t and that you’re going to die. Yes I may be acting like Camille. But I’m still able to go to work at my new job (granted it’s been rather sporadic of which I feel very guilty) despite the tiredness and stomach weirdness. Other people don’t sound as lucky.

Before you eat. Before you touch your keyboard or mouse. After touching the handrail on the bus that the snotty guy who just coughed in to hands touched. I’m not talking about the anti-germ soaps; just use normal soap and water. I’m not suggesting you turn into Monk, but I’ve seen people leave bathrooms without washing their hands. Imagine what they might have, what they’re touching and what you’re touching.

Well I think that’s all that I’ve learned so far. And I think I’m on my way back to normal. I’m on my second course of Flagyl and now trying the Florastor along with the bacteria probiotic. It’s really not a fun thing to deal with.

Image by beneneuman


Bikram’s Yoga – Class 3 & 4

I should have written this post over a month ago. I tried Bikram’s again in the afternoon, twice. Both times I drank a lot of water throughout the day so that I wouldn’t feel sick during the class. No luck. I’m thinking that it’s just not for me.

The whole getting yelled at like I’m in boot camp seems counter productive. And considering that my people don’t do heat well (family members have been known to faint because of it) makes me think that I need to find another yoga studio. I just feel miserable and completely knackered for after a session. With other forms of yoga, I feel better and actually have energy after it.

I think I’ll be exploring some more studios in the next little while.

Movie Reviews

Run Fat Boy Run

It’s a quirky little movie. If you like British comedies, you should probably see it. Oddly, I can’t see this being an American movie even though David Schwimmer directed it. (I think he’s found what he should be doing in film.) Not being able to get an American producer to fund it was probably the best thing that happened to him. If it was an American film, the “American schmaltz” (thanks to my British friend Paul for introducing me to that term) that producers would have demanded and the scenes they’d want change would have made it annoying. There’s a light touch of schmaltz like they’re embarrassed to show it but they know they should…I call it the “British schmaltz”.

I liked the story – the topic reminds me of About a Boy – and even though the feat that the main character achieves would be rather unbelievable in real life, it’s believable in the story. I enjoyed the relationship between the father and son, and the father and his landlord. There were places where the film could have had better timing and the some of the actors were playing the characters that they typically play. But it didn’t ruin the movie – like the guy from Blacks Books playing a toned down version of his character from the show. And Hank Azaria was good at playing the American asshole. I’m not sure if I’ve seen him in that role before, and there was no accent for him to play around with.

There are certain scenes where I noticed the cinematography/framing/lighting being good, which is unusual for me. But that might be just because I spent 11 days behind my camera on vacation.

It was worth the matinee price that we paid. And it’s the kinda of movie that grows on you – in a good way. I’d watch it again.


And I’m back

Short post. I’m back from Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Even though it was only 10 days, it felt like I was there for a month – we did so much. Had fun, got sick, enjoyed the cruise, zip-lined, saw lots of wildlife and plants, held hands with a monkey, and saw what it’s really like in a developing country. Photos to follow. Tomorrow I start my new job, so the photos will probably come later rather than sooner.


Hola desde Costa Rica

I think that’s how you say it. Well I’m in Costa Rica waiting for my mom and sisters to arrive. We’re doing a girls only cruise on the Wind Star. Yes, la-de-da. It’s my mom’s big birthday. (Not going to say how old because she may kill me for broadcasting it to the world, but it’s not that old.)

Last night I got in and watched TV – mostly flipping channels, seeing how much Spanish I remember and reading the Spanish subtitles on the English stations. TV doesn’t seem to be much different than what you get up north. It’s a lot of the same exact crap with Spanish dubbing.

The music is pretty good. They have it piped into the hotel lobby. I heard a band that sounds like Blink182, but in Spanish, and they’re now playing something that sounds like your typical girl pop song, but in Spanish. So you could probably say it’s the same crap you get up north, but in Spanish.

I’m typing on a Spanish keyboard, and this is it’s taking me forever since all the punctuation is in the wrong spots.

¡Hasta la vista!