Ooh, my favorite!

Some fun new toys
November 12, 2013, 10:28 am
Filed under: Art and Design, Clean, Drinks, Green, Health

Processed with VSCOcamAs much as I love a fun and sexy ice cube, I of course, can taste the funkiness from the silicone trays. Luckily Andrew found this vintage-style ice cube tray which has been updated with food grade stainless steel (instead of aluminum) and makes yummy ice without any leeched tastes.

Processed with VSCOcamAnd while I’ve never been a straw fanatic, I am very much in love with these  glass straws. So much fun for sodas and cocktails at home, and easily cleaned in the dishwasher.

Gen Mai Matcha
September 24, 2013, 11:49 am
Filed under: Drinks, Green, Health


I was so excited about this new tea I received yesterday that I wanted to share it with you today. My morning tea routine is everything to me as it sets the tone for the rest of my day; and while I very much love a proper cuppa Matcha with a nice frothy top, there are some mornings (usually any given weekday) where I’m just not up for the whisking ritual (though my Matcha How-To is perfect for the weekend).

If you remember, the anti-cancer properties and overall health benefits of Matcha are off the charts because you’re consuming the (stone ground) leaf and not just the brewed water. I am happy to say that I found a tea with Matcha and Gen Mai, so there is no whisking to be done!


This organic blend of teas consists of Dragon Crisp Gen Mai Cha, which is organic Japanese Sencha leaves tossed with toasted rice kernals; and Grade A organic Chinese Tencha that is stone ground into Matcha powder. These two combined have the smooth, creamy texture of matcha with a light grass and toasty flavor.

Serving:  As always, steeping temperature and time are important here. Too hot and the tea will become bitter and upset your tummy.

–  Use 1 teaspoon of tea for each 8 ounces of water.

–  Steep the tea in water between 180-185° for 3 minutes. If I do a second steep I’ll go for 5 minutes.

–  Pour into your favorite cup and sip away.


A much easier introduction into the world of Matchas this guy will probably even entice you to get a weekend whisking ritual going…there’s just something about that frothy foam. Regardless though, start here and give it a go before you move on to the bigger stuff.

Gen Mai Matcha | Art of Tea |4 ounce pouch (60 cups) $14 

HOT Healing Kit
July 1, 2013, 11:25 am
Filed under: Beauty, Drinks, My favorite things, Seattle, Yes please

Hot Healing Kit

Evian brumisateur / 2 Hibiscus tea leaves / 3 Iced tea pitcher / 4 Ice cube trays / 5 no-pull hair ties / 6 comfy bralette (my faves here) / 7 vintage table fan 

I’m not complaining outright but I am pretty damn hot and sticky. Since there’s just no way I’m braving the mobs of Seattleites flocking to whatever shorefront they can find; I have decided, instead, to hide out in my skivvies (hence the little bralette) and douse myself with my very favorite Evian atomizer. If you haven’t experienced the super-fine mist from one of these I can assure you that it alone is worth the price. More than that though your skin will be happy and you will be nice and cool.

Another staple for us has been Hibiscus iced tea: nice and tangy and cooling but also hydrating and a powerful antioxidant. Very good for cleaning the blood and liver, so in a way it’s like turning the sauna-like weather into a spa experience. (Add a little honey for some sweetness.) And finally, we’ve decided to skip the crappy emergency fan and go for a super-sturdy vintage refurb. There’s a bunch on Etsy, but there’s also some vintage-inspired newbies like the guy above.

Here’s hoping you’re staying nice and cool, especially to all my friends braving triple digit temperatures. (Stay hydrated!)






Biodynamic Darjeeling black tea
June 4, 2013, 10:46 am
Filed under: Drinks, Health

Picture 1


I’ve found the most perfect Darjeeling black tea and there are so many exciting things that make this tea extra special. It comes from one of the last remaining family-owned tea estates in Darjeeling, India. That’s one. It’s grown using biodynamic, organic, permaculture agriculture. That’s two. It’s grown at high altitudes among fresh air and fresh mountain water. That’s three. It’s hand-picked, artisan processed, and fair trade. That’s four, five, and six. 

I’m once again directing you to my favorite tea source at Art of Tea for this award-winning, proprietary blend that has been called “the champagne of teas” (hell yeah it is). This blend of select high-altitude leaves steeps to become a lighter and more fragrant tea than the black blends that many are used to, and quite simply it’s the most beautiful and elegant cup of black I’ve ever had. It’s also rare to enjoy a 100% Darjeeling tea outside of India, so let’s call that lucky number seven.

Like other black teas it can be steeped as high as 206-degrees, but they recommend steeping at a cooler 180-degrees, more like the temp of a green tea. I much prefer it at this temp too.

I steep 2 teaspoons in 16 ounces of 180-degree water for 3 minutes. And one additional minute for each subsequent steep up to 5 minutes.

Biodynamic Darjeeling | Art of Tea | $11 for 2.5 oz (40 cups)


Thani’s Julep
May 2, 2013, 11:42 am
Filed under: Drinks


My punk ass brother came up with a cocktail for the restaurant menu, and his outsells mine 10 to 1! To be honest though, it’s a really good drink and I wouldn’t drink my namesake, the Sweet Natira, either. In celebration of the Kentucky Derby this weekend (my dad is so excited) I thought you might enjoy a new take on the classic cocktail.

Thani’s concoction uses Thai Basil instead of mint and St. Germaine instead of sugar. Over the years I’ve played with the proportions and the type of whiskey used. The classic calls for bourbon (distilled from corn), but I prefer rye because it is drier and more expressive than bourbons which tend to be sweeter. Since we’re adding a sweet and floral note with the St. Germaine I have found the rye to be a better pairing.


Thani’s Julep

serves one

4-5 Thai Basil leaves

2 1/2 oz. rye whiskey

1/2 oz. St. Germaine elderflower liqueur

soda water

crushed ice

In a chilled cup, muddle the Thai Basil leaves, bruising them to release their fragrance. Fill the cup with crushed ice, add the whiskey and St. Germaine, then top with soda water. Garnish with a basil leaf.

(For the ice just place ice cubes in a bag or towel and smack it around on the sidewalk, no need to make a special trip.)

Sip and enjoy!








Tulsi Tea
March 18, 2013, 12:01 pm
Filed under: Drinks, Green, Health


Tulsi Tea

One of a few teas I drink everyday I rely on Tulsi for it’s stress relieving and antioxidant properties. It’s also referred to as Holy Basil, but the Tulsi herb has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to promote balance and well-being. I usually have a pot after matcha or green tea, and before I head to work. I swear it helps make the commute easier and helps set the tone for the rest of my night at work. I also love it because it can take high heat, so the water doesn’t need to be tempered like with green teas. Just boil water, steep for 8-10 minutes and you’re set.

Organic India is, of course, organic and practices sustainable farming and harvesting methods and is GMO-free. (They even preserve seeds.) You can find it at most grocery stores but you can also find it online quite easily. If the hectic pace of life is starting to get to you try sipping some Tulsi. It will help you relax and make you happy.

Fentiman’s Botanical Sodas
March 12, 2013, 12:07 pm
Filed under: Drinks

FentimansHave you ever had one of these Fentiman’s sodas? I hadn’t bought a soda in years but decided to give these guys a go when we spotted their line of flavors. Using slightly updated traditional methods (less fermentation than was historically used, with the addition of mild carbonation) the sodas are flavored with brewed herbs and roots. It’s also great that the company is still family owned…that always makes me happy.

The Ginger Beer packs a big punch (and it’s awesome) and there’s just something special about drinking the Cherry Tree, a proper cola flavored with herbs. The Dandelion & Burdock soda has the most interesting earthy and slightly spicy flavor, and it’s great spiked with a shot of rye or whiskey! Since my soda sweetness tolerance has waned over the years I often like to add a bit of sparkling mineral water to take off a bit of the sweetness, but most people wouldn’t likely notice.

There are a few other drinks to try in their line, and I’m excited to give the rose lemonade a go. Check out the craft soda aisle at your grocery store. For fellow Seattleites I got these at Central Co-op (Madison Market) but I bet Whole Foods has them too.


Kurosawa Junmai Kimoto Sake
January 23, 2013, 10:29 am
Filed under: Drinks

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Yes, it’s true. This is not a sparkling wine post. On a trip to Uwajimaya, on an innocent turn down the sake isle we decided to branch out and play with something new. But let me just say that drinking sake is nothing like drinking bubbly. Or maybe I should say that the pace in which one drinks bubbly should not be the pace that one drinks sake. I found this out the hard way and ended up going to bed at 8:30…on a Saturday. I was, however, able to salvage our night by getting up again at 10:30 and enjoying a lovely dinner with Andrew.

I blame the fact that like those first two glasses of bubbly, this Kurosawa sake was especially easy to drink and is the perfect intro to sake (and I am admittedly in the intro camp). It comes from the Nagano prefecture and means black river. It is brewed using the kimoto method which is considered rare even by Japanese standards as the hands-on method requires a meticulous eye and process.

The Kurosawa has a perfectly smooth texture and viscosity (not syrupy!), and a quality and taste like cocoa butter. In the most complimentary way possible it smells of tootsie rolls, and the finish tastes of toasted coconut, banana, and a hint of chrysanthemum. Surprisingly no fruit notes. Even with all of these tastes of sweet it is quite dry. I prefer my sake chilled, but many prefer this just reaching room temp.

Kurosawa Sake, $20 online here or at Uwajimaya in Seattle.

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Lemon Maple Soda
January 10, 2013, 11:49 am
Filed under: Drinks

I swear there must be endorphins in bubbles because I can’t ever seem to get enough in any form, wine or mineral water (not that this is a surprise to many of you). So when conventional sodas became too sweet for me I started coming up with ways to get a soda fix without the sugar and other junk. This is the easiest way to make your own concoction, no measurements just quick-and-dirty pour to taste. (Do try not to go too heavy on the maple syrup though.)

Lemon Maple Soda

–  1/2 lemon, squeezed

–  maple syrup, to taste

–  naturally sparkling mineral water

–  ice

lemon-maple-sodaI love the taste of the maple with the lemon, and sometimes I’ll even add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Kind of Master Cleanse-esque without the 10-day timeline. (So not good for you, by the way.) The great thing about this is that I can also drink it during detox to help curb my sweet and bubbly cravings.

Grab all of these ingredients at Trader Joe’s too. Their bags of organic lemons and their organic maple syrup are perfect.




Milk Punch
December 17, 2012, 9:52 am
Filed under: Drinks, Entertaining

Milk punch

I’ve never been an egg nog kind of gal but I’ve always felt a little lonely without it during the holidays. There’s something so wonderfully festive about a richly coated glass of boozy, milky goodness. Thankfully this season I happened upon this vintage concoction (but still a southern favorite) and was immediately giddy, I mean with a name like Milk Punch how could you not get excited?

In the most non-alcoholic way possible I must admit we’ve been enjoying this on our weekend mornings while still in our pajamas. There are many a variation out there, and of course heritage recipes are always being rediscovered and reinterpreted, but after playing with proportions I’ve included our favorite here, for two. It’s really easy to size up though, so if you’re thinking holiday get-together I’ve seen recipes where you’ll whisk instead of shake. (In this case you’d get to serve it in a fancy punch bowl too!)

I used organic raw whole milk and half & half, but there are recipes where cream is used. Ultimately you’ll want more than one, there’s no need to make it richer with cream…I’d say start here and go the cream route later if you wish.

Milk punch


Milk Punch for Two

–  3 oz. organic whole milk

–  3 0z. organic half & half

–  2 oz. bourbon or brandy

–  1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

–  1 tsp. superfine sugar

–  Ice

–  freshly grated nutmeg (to top only)

Add all of the ingredients (except the nutmeg) with ice in a shaker and shake vigorously until sugar is dissolved and a nice this foam is made. Strain into two small glasses. Grate fresh nutmeg on top of each. Sip and enjoy!

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