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We've had an exciting and busy month celebrating Moms as well as attending some really amazing events. We're dreaming up new teas and ways to maximize your health--body, mind, and soul--so take a peek at this month's wellness-themed edition. If there is something you'd love to see us write about, drop us a note at sashee@myteadrop.com. Enjoy!

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Click the image to check us out in our first TV appearance on KATU's AM Northwest! We are so honored to be acknowledged as a great, pampering gift.

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Embracing Uncertainty by Skyler Hicks

The newest member of the Tea Drops team and offers his inaugural writing piece:

Opening ourselves to the possibility of surprise can bring about personal growth in unexpected ways. Take a look at what the newest member to the Tea Drops team learned by stepping out of his comfort zone to embrace uncertainty. Read on here....



screen-shot-2015-05-20-at-1.14.00-am.pngCharleston Tea Plantation: Visit America's Only Tea Farm

When you hear the words “tea planation,” your mind probably conjures up images of Japan’s verdant tea fields located at the base of Mount Fuji or perhaps the sweeping regions of Darjeeling in India. You probably wouldn’t think of America as home to a tea planation and yet, there is one. But only one. 

Owned by the Bigelow Tea Company, the Charleston Tea Plantation is located a short drive outside of Charleston, South Carolina. Seeing as the next closest tea plantation state-side is 7,320 miles away in China, this tea-growing paradise is a great spring break or summer road trip destination.

Visitors can tour the grounds the tea factory which as been in operation since 1987. One can even attribute tea growing on this land as far back as 1963, however, when the J Lipton (sound familiar?) Company used it as a research facility for over two decades. Prior to this, many U.S. companies have tried and failed to launch tea plantations in many regions of the south, dating back to the end of the 18th century when Francois Andre Michaux first brought the camellia sinesis plant to America.

The Charleston Tea Plantation harvests this same plant, branding their black tea the “American Classic Tea,” and proudly boasts being the only tea grown in the United States. It was on these grounds that the Green Giant, a hybrid of a cotton picker and a tobacco harvester was invented as a tool that is still used today to harvest tea leaves.

Admission is free to this unique bit of hidden American history with tours and free samples of the season’s newest selections. The plantation also hosts a Flush Festival to celebrate the beginning of the harvest season, celebrated at the end of this month. If you are in the area and would love to tour the beautiful grounds, sip on some American-grown tea, and enjoy free music and entertainment, the Charleston Tea Planation Flush Festival is a destination not to be missed.

When we think of traditional American crops, we rarely think of tea. And yet, the U.S.’s one and only existing tea plantation proves that through it all, we actually possess a history with our favorite beverage that dates back nearly to the birth of the country itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

screen-shot-2015-05-20-at-1.19.42-am.pngA Beautiful Garden On A Water-Saving Budget 

Here in California, we are monitoring and cutting back on our water usage and consumption due to drought. However, everyone can benefit from learning new ways to conserve their natural resources. A drought-friendly garden will not only help you contribute to a worldwide environmental effort geared towards preserving our planet, but it will also help you shave down your water bill.

When I started looking up ideas for water-saving garden layouts, I was surprised to not only find an abundance of flowery, pretty plants that could fit into a cottage garden, but I also found some variations that could do well in clay-heavy soil. I have many friends who have clay-like soil and think that they have to gravel over it. I’m so glad to find some verdant alternatives for them!

Blue grama grass and Buffalo grass are two variations that provide green, rambling lawns but need very little water or maintenance. Blue grama can also grow in clay-heavy soil. I am so excited to find these alternatives because I still want a live lawn (I’m not quite ready to use astro-turf) but I also had to cut my sprinklers a week ago so this might be my answer! Plus, I won’t have to spend every weekend mowing.

Waxflower (Chaumelaucium) is a tall flowering plant adorned in delicate flowers available in an array of colors, ranging from white to a light magenta-pink.

Russian Sage or Perovskia is a medium-height flowering plant with beautiful purple blooms. It has low water needs and attracts hummingbirds, which I feel, is just a double bonus!

Lavender. French lavender is hearty and doesn’t require much water. If you’re looking for a traditional addition to a garden that can provide you with fragrance (either outdoors in the garden, inside when brought it and dried for potpourri, or infused in soaps and lotions), this is a wonderful staple to any garden.


Penstemon is another medium-height plant with vibrant red flowers and soft foliage. 

Euphorbia “Diamond Frost” is a low-height flower with beautiful, lacy-looking white flowers. I would use these as borders, but that’s just my preference!

California Poppy. These beautiful, bold gold flowers flourish in poor soil as well as full sun and would make a bright addition to your water-saving garden. 

I hope that these will give you some great garden inspiration for a safe and relaxing haven that will minimize maintenance so you can maximize time enjoying your outdoor space!

 

 

screen-shot-2015-05-20-at-1.28.02-am.pngMEET US THIS SUMMER! 

Hey, Californians! We'd love to share a cup of tea with you at these fun Bay Area-based shows. We are so thrilled to be a part of these two upcoming nation-wide events this summer.

Renegade Craft Fair SF is a vibrant artisan fair happening from July 17 to the 19 in Fort Mason Festival Pavillion. We are so happy to return to this show! For more information, visit the Renegrade Craft Fair site. 


The Big Fake Wedding is a unique and interactive way for brides and grooms-to be to meet vendors--from photographers to designers--and see their work in action! Big Fake Wedding is just that, a "fake" wedding put on by experts in the industry. This is the first time Tea Drops will be able to be a part of the fun, so we'd love to see you there when the festivities take place on July 30th at the General's Residence, Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. Click here to learn more + purchase tickets.

 

From The Blog: Travscreen-shot-2015-05-20-at-1.29.32-am.pngeling On A Shoestring Budget

"If travel was free, you'd never see me again." - David Avocado Wolfe

Springtime is upon us and with the warm weather comes the natural human desire to stretch our legs, enjoy the sunshine, and venture outdoors after a long winter. As you prep for spring break trips, camping expeditions, or journeys both near and far, we are here to provide some helpful tips on how you can make the most of your travel budget.

Make a list: As with all aspects of our financial life, we can really check ourselves and gain an element of control simply by making a thorough list of the things we want/expect to spend money on. Figure out where you’d like to spend your money (food vs. activities, for instance) and budget accordingly. Keep your list handy as you travel so that you remember to stay grounded and within your planned means. That way, you’re less likely to be maxing out your resources on the road. 

Make an itinerary: This might seem obvious, but be strategic here. Make a list of the places you’d like to see on your trip and then schedule your sight-seeing as you research fares and travel deals that will make your travel wishlist a reality. There are lots of sites that offer adventurers great discounts. It may mean spending some time in a forgotten town or an off-beat location (as deal sites are some of the ways little-known gems promote themselves), but you have only everything to gain here—you save money and you may discover something wonderful you would have missed otherwise.

Master the art of haggling: While traveling, many people (myself included), found it daunting to delve into the act of haggling. I was terrified of offending and so I would just pay whatever the going price was, but that was before I adjusted to the fact that this back-and-forth is quite the norm; and many times expected! Indeed, in many countries around the world, negotiating and trading is a social activity. It can’t hurt to offer a lower price for that deep-sea scuba diving afternoon. The best that can happen is you can reallocate some funds for an additional stop along the way.

Live like a local. This is my favorite budget-friendly travel philosophy! Ducking into small family-owned cafes instead of opting for brand-name restaurants is just one of the ways you can travel without going broke. Plus, you will truly get a taste for the flavor of the place you are visiting (no pun intended). Some of my most treasured places and memories from my time abroad are of tiny, little-known corners of well-known cities, pubs and parks that the locals love but a “tourist” often misses. Also, look up the free and local festivals that are happening when you travel—it’s a great way to enjoy some culture and have a ton of fun without spending serious cash. On a related note, picnicking with your travel buddies (or even solo) is a great way to enjoy a meal and take pause in the middle of the hustle-and-bustle of a trip. Shop local and enjoy a great impromptu spread--the memories will be unbeatable!

Bank wisely. You seldom get a great deal when you exchange currency at the airport. However, if you check with local currency exchanges at your destination or even find a bank that is offering a competitive rate, you can be sure your money will go as far as possible. Additionally, obtain a bank account that offers withdrawals without a transaction fee—those $3-5 charges will really add up!

Four is the magic number. Traveling in groups gives you the chance to bond with old friends and forge new friendships. In fact, I have many friends who maintain incredibly close relationships with those they've met and traveled with on the road--it's a very special connection you'll share. Additionally, traveling in numbers (especially four) enables you to snag group deals on accommodations, food, activities, and transportation. Whether you're doubling up on rooms or buying in bulk, sharing is caring.

Get App-y. In today's digital age, we have a wealth of wonderful resources at our fingertips, many of which are perfect for the thrifty traveler. For instance, if you find yourself in need of accommodation at the last minute, the app Hotel Tonight tracks down undersold hotel rooms in the area and delivers you the greatest rate. 

Join the club. Everything from AAA to your university (if you're a student) can offer you a wide array of deals and discounts. AAA is well-worth the investment and for a minimal fee, your savings will be returned ten-fold.

Travel Off-season. This one is simple: booking trips from October-April will get you great rates in the off-season. Plus, you may avoid some of the tourist-heavy crowds. 

Most of all, make memories and have a wonderful time. Try to not stress (and I know that even for the most seasoned traveler hopping on planes and making it onto buses can be stressful). Everything is part of your journey and your experience, even the complications and imperfections. Take the time to relish the moment because when it’s over and you’re back home, you’re going to dream of going back. You are going to see beautiful things and experience extraordinary events. You’ll meet incredible people and learn something about the world and even more about yourself. Life bravely and adventure freely this spring!

 

 

 

screen-shot-2015-05-20-at-1.32.49-am.pngRECIPE OF THE MONTH: TURMERIC GINGER ICED TEA

Boost your mind, energy, and fight cancer with this awesome anti-inflammatory beverage that is the perfect warm-weather treat. Packed with turmeric and ginger, it will provide a sweet and spicy kick while soothing your tummy and appeasing your tastebuds. As the weather starts to heat up, be sure to brew yourself a pitcher to have on hand just about anytime!

Ingredients:

- 2 C of water for brewing + 6 additional C of cold water for adding to your tea and serving

- 8 Turmeric Tea Drops

- 8 Teaspoons of dried ginger or 4" of fresh ginger

- 1 Teaspoon black pepper

- 1/4 - 1/2 C of honey, to taste.

 

Directions:

Place Tea Drops, ginger, and pepper into a saucepan. Add 2 C of water. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the Tea Drops and all ingredients together. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for a couple minutes. Turn off heat.

Cover pan and allow to steep for an hour, or overnight. Add in the honey while the mixture it still warm.

Strain out the ginger particles using cheesecloth. 

Allow mixture to cool and store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Add the last 6 C of cool water to your iced tea concentrate for 8 servings of this delicious and healthy drink. Enjoy!

Recipe Source: Fresh Bites Daily  

 

 

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