Archive for September, 2014

September 29, 2014

September Reflections

The month has been filled with some up and downs. But I choose to look at the ups, like quitting my job and heading out on my road trip in 3 days. Wow it’s 3 days away that is insane to me. I finally finished editing my young adult novel, and it just needs to go through on final read through before being sent to beta readers. Oh and seeing Katy Perry in the pit! Dream come true, as she was less than 5 feet away from me. On her last song Firework, I swear she finally saw me. Her eyes piercing my soul of course. I will post photos from that night at some point, but I’ve been working nearly non-stop trying to not burn out. It’s really been an interesting month filled with tears of joy and pain, but I’m ready to start a new chapter of my life because all I can do is learn, grow, and be me!


new chapters

 

life is about risk for a dream

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September 26, 2014

Committing to the Dream…

I’m a dreamer and a doer. I know to accomplish what you set out to achieve takes hard work and dedication. But I tend to have commitment issues. I go for the easy more attainable goals first, and then let the big ones hang out against the wall. They can hang out for years, waiting for some TLC. Next week I start my road trip across the country, a big dream of mine that took more than just a few years to get to.

My family was all about road trip vacations, going to Palm Springs and Mammoth. Sometimes we’d jump in the car and head out on the road in the middle of the night. Aside from my terrible motion sickness, I loved being in the car on a trip. I’d stare out the window wondering about the people who lived in the houses, imagine epic tales that took place on the terrain, stop at the road side stands for fresh jerky and dates. Listening to my own walkman radio I’d imagine what road trips I’d go on as an adult, picking songs that I’d put on the soundtrack of my road trip.

The road trip day dreaming turned into an actual dream for my life, and for years I’d tell people how I’d want to travel the country collecting stories. Then about 3 years ago I finally decided I was going to do it. I was going to save money and drive across the country for 6 months, just to do it. Now this is where my dreams tend to get too big for my own britches. I was planning on saving enough money for 6 months on the road in just a year, without even having an actual goal on how much to save each month, just a rough idea of how much money I should have.

And as each month passed, the invisible savings of mine never grew. I met this great guy, and wasn’t sure if  I would want to leave him behind. I felt it would have been rude to leave my job after only being there a year. I made excuses, and I wasn’t putting forth the effort to make it real. I let the day to day, get in the way of making my dream a reality. I let myself down and it felt awful. By the time I would have left for my trip; I was ready to quit my job, the boy and I were strong, and I didn’t have any money to make it happen. So I let it go, and continued to have it just be this dream. A dream I always have, but never get any closer to…until now.

following your dream road trip map

The thermometer was at $100 for a over year, and the card saying October 2014 is covering May 2012.

 

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September 3, 2014

#SOTD August Playlist

Let’s keep this short and simple, like my playlist. Here are my August Accomplishments:

  • Finished watching Gossip Girl and found out Lisa Loeb ends up with Rufus

Gossip Girl_ Lisa Loeb

 

  • Discovered the calendar on my phone has stickers.

 

  • Found a new band I adore, Friends . But they could possibly already be broken up as they haven’t put forth new music in 2 years. 

 

  • Watched my boyfriend play a packed Echo and it was pretty epic.

 

  • Apparently all the bands I like are playing the south in September  and not October, like this August find Paperhaus.

 

 Listen to the entire August #SOTD playlist here !

September 2, 2014

SPOTLIGHT ON T-WE TEA : Interview with owner Chris Coccagna


T We Tea Interview

T-We Tea is a fun tea company based out of San Francisco, they’ve set up booths at Renegade Craft Fair, Patchwork, and even have a store font in the bay area. This is not your grandmother’s afternoon tea, and their loose leaf teas have whimsical and sometimes cheeky names like Grumpy Dinosaur a spearmint, peppermint vanilla bean tea or Scandalous Man Friend a Darjeeling tea with spearmint, clove and peppercorn. I reached out to the founder and owner of T-We Tea, Christopher Coccagna to find out more about this highly creative and delicious tea maker. My favorite is Chai Hard, it’s a blend of two black teas, spices, crushed coffee bean, and chili; it’s my late night kick in the pants.

Do you remember your first cup of tea?

Chris C: My first cups of tea in life started with my mother.  We had a peppermint patch in the backyard and part of our nightly ritual before bed was for me to pick peppermint leaves while she heated water and together we shared tea.  From those moments, tea has always held a really special place in my heart for community and warmth.

You hear of wine specialist, and Starbucks baristas are trained to be coffee specialist, but when did you decide to be a certified tea specialist and what is that like?

Chris C: I always knew that my life needed to be in the culinary arts and always loved cooking, eating, drinking, and creating unique experiences around food.  After college I did some soul searching while living in New Zealand and fell in love with the culture surrounding tea, and thought to myself “We need this back home.”  From then I pursued tea professionally and sought out the Specialty Tea Institute’s Certified Tea Specialist program.  I’m a regular old business administration bachelor’s degree from college, but to then focus my studies on something I am so passionate about was life changing.  I took what I learned about tea and reapplied it in the world of natural tea blending.  Most tea blends use flavoring additives, and I took a unique stance of zero flavorings in our teas but using real ingredients.

T We Tea and Whiskey

How long did the process of opening T-We Tea take? Do you remember where you were when you made the commitment to see your tea dream through?

Chris C: T-WE TEA started as a little doodle 2006 in a journal titled Renaissance man (my personal journal focused on career, art, and culinary pursuits).  Surrounding the words T-WE was written “Community” and “With no tea in him, a man is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.”  Those were my three guiding principles in setting everything up:  Truth, Beauty, and Community.  It took some time and preparation of everything but T-WE launched in Dec 2010 after an amazing sleepless month fueled by creative tea caffeine.

Was T-We Tea an online store, before an actual brick and motor location?

Chris C: Before even online and brick & mortar, T-WE began as a mobile traveling setup at artisan handmade markets.  We found our inspiration in artists and makers (since they create beauty in this world), so the fit was natural to be together in a selling event setting.  We started small then grew to markets outside of San Francisco, and you will now find us at bi-annual shows in SFO, LA, Long Beach, Santa Ana, Austin, Chicago, and Brooklyn.  So our company was completely mobile until we opened a more permanent store in San Francisco in Feb 2013.  We expanded that location in Feb 2014 to include a tea store with tea bar and in-store tea blending where we now manufacture everything by hand for our community to witness.

There is an obvious LGBT friendly spin on your teas. Has anyone ever loved an Earl Cray Cray and then condemned Bicurious George? I imagine your response is as silly as the tea names?

Chris C: T-WE is proudly gay owned and operated and we love to celebrate and support the community.  Being from San Francisco, I love how our company fits so easily into what is culturally San Franciscan (creative and sarcastic).   I love how our product can create a special moment between friends (Imagine giving your bestie Lesbi Friends or Scandalous ManFriend).  In the tea world, I have encountered a lot of tea smug when it comes to knowledge about tea and a lot of “I only drink …(insert fanciest tea name here)…. syndrome”.  I wanted to cut through the smug with some genuine sarcasm and whimsy to brighten this world and make tea a special moment in one’s day.

We have our subtle ways of handling a customer who doesn’t want to say SEXPOT tea, but the only formal complaint came from someone from Dallas (a member of the LGBT community, too!).  We actually created a tea blend for them in response called Precious Angel Kitten to subtly be more PG and say “Bless Your Heart.”  It has become one of our top sellers too.

T We Tea San Francisco

Speaking of tea names, have you taken a name suggestion yet? Your website encourages people to submit their idea. 

Chris C: Lesbi Friends (Apple jasmine oolong), Bad Bromance (hangover herbal tisane), Ghetto Fab (roasted green tea with cacao), and a couple others have come from our customers.  We have accumulated quite the list and pair the name with the best flavor profile in a tea.  Most of the other tea names come from common conversation that you will hear between team T-WE.  You would be amazed how many things we say daily that would make an excellent tea name.  The key is not to think too hard and maybe add bourbon.

Personally I’m a lazy brewer, I don’t time my steep or check the temperature. Are there cardinal tea rules one should never break?

Chris C: Water temperature is pretty crucial in a good cup of tea.  Too hot (like for green tea) or too cool (like for black tea) will definitely affect your end cup.  My tricks are sight and smell.  I always follow the color of the brew and I kind of know when my cup is done because it hits my favorite color for that tea.  I also use my nose and follow the scent, you can kind of tell if it is ready by the fragrance (too soft or too strong).

In October you’re hosting a DIY Tea Blending Class at Workshop in San Francisco. What will that be like? Are people going to learn how to break open their existing tea bags and mix different flavors, or save dried rose petals to kick up their afternoon cup?

Chris C: DIY Tea Blending Class happens monthly in the T-WE TEA store and it is one of my favorite creative classes I teach.  In the class we learn all about tea (tea types, how it’s made, etc), then I teach attendees how to properly cup and taste teas and how subtle nuances will affect a tea blend, then I let them go nuts with all the T-WE ingredients to try their hand at their very own tea blend.

Lastly, what tea ritual do you like better, Japanese Tea House or English Afternoon Tea? 

Chris C: I prefer to be a part of the sacred ritual in an Asian inspired tea ceremony, but who doesn’t love to gorge themselves on scones and sweet treats?  I am morally opposed to loud hats though (but that is just for myself as I would never impose a hat restriction on others).

Even if you are not a tea drinker you should still visit T-We Tea website just to see all the fun names and blends. Pass it along to your favorite tea drinking friend or buy a box of loose leaf tea for yourself and begin your tea journey. Teas range from $10- $15 dollars but are extremely delicious. Tell me your favorite type of tea and if you try and T-We teas.

Basically until next time…. Blow the tea before sipping, burned tongues blow.

 

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