Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Grapefruit Oolong Style!

Good morning, friends!!!

This morning is brought to you by the sedate calm of mornings in the summer and the cool upper 60s. It is fabulously cool here - albeit slightly chilly compared to our former temperatures - and I am warming up with a cup of tea!

Tea of choice this morning is Grapefruit Oolong! When I opened the envelope, a delightful grapefruit-y aroma wafted out and invigorated my senses this morning. The tea brewed up dark and contemplatively brown and the tea smells slightly of fresh citrus. It reminds me of cooking with a lemon or lime and being able to catch a hint of it an hour or two after. The flavor is relatively weak, but the tea leaves themselves come into play and tingle the senses with a bit of zest from the grapefruit. I personally can't taste the grapefruit, but I do detect the slight zing of the citrus.

So overall, not a bad cup, but nothing stunning.

It receives a 4/5 for aromatic quality, 4/5 for flavor, and a 4/5 for the Josh Factor.

Now on to life.

Today I plan on recording, studying, and knitting as well as cleaning. Unfortunately I have to limit my knitting time slightly to allow my hands to heal. They are feeling sore, but I have figured out why. I cast on a new lace shawl on Monday and I was tensing up over the small needles, beads, and lace weight yarn and not relaxing. I paid for it yesterday with a hand cramp that lasted all day and now I am taking things slowly and stretching and massaging my hands.

Moral of the story: be careful, don't stress out, and whatever you do, don't pout! :D

Cheers to you, friends, and a toast to you as I raise my cup of tea!

Much Love!


P.S. DON'T forget to vote for my essay!!! I'm in the lead now, thanks to all my lovely friends yesterday, and need you all to KEEP VOTING! Check out my ESSAY!!!! Thanks!!! :D

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Citron Green Style!

Good Morning, Friends!!!

This morning is brought to you by the smell of fresh rain, the breath of fresh are blowing through my window, and the beautiful, warm cup of tea I'm consuming at the moment!

Today's cup of tea is green... err... yellow, deep golden yellow. It is the Citron Green Tea and it brews up into a delightful, bright yellow and tastes as if it descended from the orchard this morning! The tea is a delightful blend of green tea, lemon, and lime. It is simply beautiful. I love the crisp, citrus flavor and the light touch of earthiness from the tea. The citrus note plays bold, brass, deep, wonderful, and light. It smells like Pinesol and reminds me of cleaning products, but the taste is delightful!

I give this cup a 4/5 for aromatic quality, a 5/5 for flavor, and a 5/5 for the Josh factor!

These green teas are quickly becoming my favorite teas of choice and they make everything fresh, vibrant, and bright!

Now onto the thoughts of the morning.

I woke up to the delightful sound of tip-tapping rain as it gently fell upon the earth and it was such a sound and smell of beauty that I lay in the sweet rapture of bliss, filling my soul with the clean, fresh feeling of rain.

After enjoying this simple beauty, I got up and started to work on an idea I had worked through while sleeping. My friend Lisa and I are going to be doing a KAL together of Jared Flood's Rock Island shawl and I wanted to alter the pattern to be smaller. So I pounded numbers out while the rain covered the land with mist. I computed the numbers I needed, altered the stitch counts, and added beads into the picture.

Yes, all of this was worked through in my head while I was sleeping and I knew exactly how I wanted to alter it. I just had to do the physical number crunching and math when I woke up.

For the shawl, I will be using Malabrigo (My FAVORITE :D ) Lace in the color ways VAA and Cypress. I'm using two colors due to yardage requirements and because I LOVE colors! ;)

I have to find the beads to pair with the yarn, but I'm thinking something along the lines of emerald or hematite. Something equally striking and subtle at the same time. After doing all of this thinking on the project, I REALLY want to knit it, but I need to finish my sweater and some other things first. Plus I don't have my beads yet, which I need to start the shawl. So I will be knitting on my sweater and perhaps something else, but more then likely just my sweater...

Speaking of which, my sweater's body is ALMOST done! I have 10 rows left to do on the body, then the fun bits begin! I really am enjoying this sweater and I can't wait to show it off and wear it!

Finally, I leave you with this simple request: Please take a moment and VOTE for my essay! You can VOTE every day on every device, in every internet browser! So please VOTE! Thanks!! :D

Cheers to you, friends, and a huge toast to you! I raise my cup to you!

Much Love!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Peach Oolong Style!

Good Morning!!!

I am currently enjoying a FABULOUS cup of oolong tea! It is called Peach Oolong and it is smashing!

The brew is deep medium amber and is a scrumptious blend of tea that is amazing! It brews up a fragrant blend of peachy keenness and tastes as though one walked into one's private peach orchard early this morning and picked a couple of these lush, golden beauties...

Overall, a FANTABULOUS cup of tea and I give it a 5/5 for aromatic qualities, 5/5 for flavor, and 5/5 for Josh Factor!

I am going to ply my single this morning, followed by a recording session. I am looking forward to it and can't wait to see what the yarn looks like! :D

Yesterday I made quite a bit of progress on my sweater design and it is currently sitting at the halfway mark and I'm excited to get this far in one week! :D

So now to finish my cup and go spin! :D

Cheers and I raise my cup to you! :D

Josh :D

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: White Blueberry Style!

Good Morning!!

First off, you may notice that the blog looks different this morning. No, my friends, it is NOT a carry over from your dreams last night nor your groggy morning eyes that deceive you.

I changed my template due to the previous template giving you all problems leaving comments and the layout kept going HEY-HO CASABLANCA VOLCANO every once in awhile. So I chose a different layout and template and here is the new blog! :D

So now onto other things. Yesterday I finished my ounce of polworth/silk I've been spinning and it is going to be beautiful!!! I also got a 10 rows done on my sweater design (which is looking STUNNING, if I might say so myself! ;) )

I also had my essay for a scholarship contest I am in, approved and it is up on the website. If you would be so kind as to take a moment to vote for me, I'd appreciate it! :D You can vote here! :D

Onto the tea, which has just finished brewing! This morning is brought to you by the lovely White Blueberry, a delightful pale amber brew of white tea from the Fujian Provence in China and blueberries. She is a golden little lady with the fragrance of the summer. I am reminded of the delightful smell of blueberry pie in the dead of winter, which, while it cooks, takes you from the frozen, harsh, cold winter back to the sweet summer days of berry delight.

The taste of it is as the growth of a plant: you taste the rich, earthy quality of the tea, which the sprout pushes through, bringing sunshine to its leaves and grows up into a floral, fruity, fragrant flower of a fruit and the aroma wafts across the land with a sweet, simple symphony of ethereal, even, ecstatic exposition that gives one's heart a beautiful, blossoming, burgeoning bouquet of bliss.

I give it a 4/5 for aromatic quality, a 5/5 for flavor, and a 5/5 for the Josh factor.

Cheers, friends! and Till the morrow breaks, I raise my cup to you and give you all much LOVE!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: StevenBe Glitter Time Tea Style!

Good Morning!

So I realize that I haven't had a cup of tea for the past three days and I haven't blogged in the same space of time, which leads me to believe there is a connection here somehow... ;)

Anyhow, this morning's cup of tea is brought to you by my favorite yarn store, StevenBe!!!

I visited their shop on Saturday past and had a fantastic afternoon of knitting, talking, and meeting people! I felt at ease, at home, and just in general, comfortable!

I was talking about what is new with me, one of which is my new obsession with tea and Jeremy (my friend of friends at StevenBe!) ran over to their coffee display. StevenBe carries an exclusive line of coffee blends in their shop that is specially made for them, of which I have tried none as I do not drink coffee. However, apparently I am not the only one and they have crafted a shop exclusive tea blend with Bingley's Teas. This is the tea that resides in my cup this morning.

The tea, unfortunately, had no instructions on how to brew the best cup possible, so I eyeballed it and it brewed up a light, golden yellow. This was probably not the best brewed cup of this tea, the more I think about it, but more on that later.

The tea is quite fragrant and fresh-smelling. It made me curious to taste it. But one thing held me back: the shiny glint of glitter in the cup.

For those of you that may not know, StevenBe is a magical place filled with yarns of all textures, fibers, colors, feathers, and glitters! They carry many, many texturally intriguing yarns (of which I avoid like the plague due to personal preference!) and their motto is Glitter it Up! So naturally, glitter is a central component of the tea.

The tea is a blend of Ginsing Oolong Tea mixed with Green Tea, candied mango pieces and cornflowers. Add the edible pastry glitter and you have StevenBe Glitter Time Tea.

Naturally, the cup is full of glitter and swirls around mesmerically, enchanting your eyes with the trail of golden glitter. This, however, presents a great difficulty to me as I am one of those people who gets freaked out by things in the bottom of the glass. I will admit, right now, to not swallowing the last bit of the tea. I quailed at the thought of ALL THAT GLITTER going down my throat and it made me queasy. Not because the tea was disgusting! Not at all! Just me and my slight case of OCD.

So now to finish this review before I head into work in the next 5 minutes!

The tea was weak, but I believe this to be my fault and not the tea's fault. I will have to re-brew a cup later on and try it again. The flavor was weak, so I can't really judge it yet due to me not brewing the cup properly. The tea itself was fragrant and beautifully colored. The glitter was a bit over the top for my taste, but it IS StevenBe in a cup! Trust me!

So overall, keeping in mind that I brewed the tea improperly, I give it a 4/5 for aromatic quality, non-scoring for the flavor of it as I have no idea what the TRUE flavor is, and at the moment, a non-quantifiable Josh Factor as by default I HAVE to brew another cup! (Once I recover from the mental picture of glitter floating in my beverage! ;) )

So cheers to you and I'm off to work!


Friday, July 12, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Yunnan Gold Style!

Good Morning, friends!!!

So in my cup this morning is a lovely blend of tea. It is not a flavored tea, it is simply tea. Yunnan Gold is a beautiful black tea with a rich, delicate, soft flavor. I am not going to lie; I was nervous about this one as it had no distinct smell while brewing. So I took a sip and am in love. It is so stunning a brew that it makes me smile. It is light and you can drink the whole cup without even realizing it.

It doesn't have a distinctive flavor, it just is a beautiful tea. It receives a 1/5 for aromatic quality, 5/5 for flavor, and a 5/5 for the Josh factor. This is a tea I could literally drink all day. It is simply amazing.

So onto life things. Today I (hopefully!) get to go meet up with my friend Hayley at the Mall of America or StevenBe's! (or both!) I am SO excited and can't wait for it to happen! :D

However, apparently my plans may be for nought, as I have to go pick up a stupid trailer this afternoon at the repair shop. Here. In my hometown. NOT in the cities... ARGH!!! So while I'm hoping to go, I may not be able to. Which makes me sad. Makes me angry. Makes my frustration abound...

So I plan on going, but I may not be able to go. I am accepting this, but it is SO frustrating! I seem to make plans and get ready for them and then the phone rings and the schedule changes. But rather then end this post on a whiny, teenage-esque angst, I will end it with this:


Raising my glass to you all!!!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Mango Green Style!

Good Morning, Friends!!!

I am currently enjoying an AMAZING cup of tea and a red velvet cinnamon roll while typing this!

The cinnamon rolls turned out BEAUTIFULLY and while they aren't mind-blowing, they are really good!

So onto my cup of tea! I am LOVING this cup this morning! I am drinking Mango Green: a delightful green tea with beautiful, fresh, floral mango pieces. The cup brews a beautiful golden color and is simply STUNNING in the taste and smell! It makes me want a second cup right after drinking the first.

I give this amazing blend a 4/5 for aromatic quality, 5/5 for taste, and 5/5 for the Josh Factor!

So onto my morning cup of thoughts, life, and anything else.

I am currently getting ready to bind off a new design today and it is going to be FANTASTIC to have it off the needles. I made quite a bit of progress on another new shawl design and on my Megalodon shawl. I also got quite a bit spun up yesterday and it makes me giddy to think of all the things I can do today! This is day 2 of vacation and I'm LOVING it! :D

So, Cheers, my friends!

Have a great day and I raise my cup to you!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Ginger Peach Style!

Good Morning, Friends!!!

I hope your day starts off with a fantastic thing, whatever it is! :D

So in my cup this morning is Ginger Peach tea: a black tea flavored with bits of ginger and peach. It is unfortunately my least favorite of the box o' tea (so far!) and I am not in love with it... sad panda... The ginger is too overpowering to be able to taste the fruity undertones of the peach flavors. :( So my rating is 1/5 for aromatic quality, 1/5 for flavor, and 1/5 for the Josh factor.

So my cup of tea was bad this morning. BUT that doesn't mean my day started off bad! :D

I woke up and was in relaxed glee of NOT having to work for the next 5 days! It made my morning even sweeter! I rolled over, checked my phone, and answered my good morning texts with a big grin, albeit groggy and with much eye rubbing. Then I logged onto my social outlets and checked in with everyone. After checking all the sites, I played quite a few Nonograms - which happen to be one of my favorite number-based puzzles. I CONQUERED all, except one that was broken... I swear... ;)

But fast forward to breakfast. I made a quick breakfast nacho (which is a DIVINE way to start the morning! :D ) and began to make the dough for my red velvet cinnamon rolls (recipe here). The dough is still rising, but now begins the long wait of waiting for the dough to rise...

While I was beginning to down the last dregs of my tea, a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless, though she knows who she is! :D ) sent me a pattern as a gift! Slade, which is a knit sweater that I LITERALLY just saw yesterday, is now my newest pattern acquisition! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to my Random Pattern Giver! (RPG!!!) I LOVE it and THANK YOU!!! :D

So now to be to conquer my list for the day and to make some EPIC cinnamon rolls!!! :D

Cheers, Friends and I raise my cup of tea to you! :D


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea: Casablanca Twist Style!

Good Morning!

So no cup of tea yesterday due to me feeling down in the dumps yesterday. It had no apparent reason, no logical source, nothing. I just woke up on the sad side of life. But today, I woke up to a dark morning. Literally. It's cloudy and POURING rain and I LOVE it! :D

I've always had a fascination with thunderstorms and rain in general that has led to me wishing to be curled up with a cup of tea, casually reading a book while watching the orchestra of clouds, rain, thunder, and lightning as they compose a beautiful symphony of organic quality. It is simply wonderful to sit here curled up with a cup of tea, writing away while the storm plays on.

So back to yesterday. I felt down all day with no apparent reason why. It was odd as I just finished a new design the night before and should have been celebrating the completion of a project. However, I woke up in a sad state of mind. Maybe it was my inner knitter mourning the loss of working on a project, but I think it was something else entirely. My inner AND outer knitter was quite ecstatic to be free from that particular project and quite relieved to have it finished.

The project? A shawl design I've been working on for about a year off and on. I've designed QUITE a few things in between working on this project and I FINALLY finished it. It was dragging my knitting soul down with the feeling that it was quite alien to me, yet it wasn't. In essence, I pulled out a sketch from early Josh, sat down, cast it on, and found that it was dreadfully simple. But this was exactly what I needed for this design. A yarn store had given me a skein of their exclusive shop color way in the Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Silk +. The color way is STUNNING and grey and black and white and GLORIOUS! However the yarn has been stubborn and not cooperating with me, leading to many failed design/yarn combinations.

But I soldiered on and finished it (Thanks to Briar, Heather, Hayley, and Jenna), resulting in something that I'm actually proud to call my own! I had hated it for a long time due to it feeling like a third arm and completely unnatural to me. It didn't feel "Josh-like" to me, yet I was re-assured that it was. So I went on and BAM! I finally figured out how to add the "Josh" twist and the "Josh" factor I had been looking for in the entire shawl. So now that it is done, I have something I'm proud to call mine.

So as you can see, no logical reason for me being sad yesterday and yet I was. Why? One might ask that question and yet you would still get the same answer from me: I'm not sure and I don't know. It was just one of those days.

Now onto today. I woke up to the orchestral sounds of nature and wind and rain and thunder and lightning and clouds. It seemed fitting for my mood this morning, until I thought about it. Why be down? Why? And with those words, I became pro-active in changing my thought process this morning.

I began my journey with a cup of tea, a VERY good place to start, and set out to change this human's mind and feelings. My tea of choice this morning? I selected a green tea blend from my box o' tea and that blend was Casablanca Twist - a green Darjeeling tea from India, mixed with a potent peppermint tea blend. It brewed a golden amber and smelled of mint. The taste is simply divine and BURSTING with fresh minty flavor! I LOVE this and it makes everything fresh and refreshing!

My rating for this cup of tea? 3/5 for aromatic quality, a 5/5 for flavor, and a 5/5 for the Josh factor! I LOVE this tea! :D

So now to go and begin to proactively change my day for good! Cheers friends and here's my cup of tea to you!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea - White Symphony Style!

Good Morning!

This morning there exists in my cup a blend of white tea that is simply scrumptious! Truly!

My blend of choice is the new-to-me flavor of White Symphony.

It brews up to a delightful pale amber and the flavor is subtle and light. At first taste, the flavor seemed to be very earthy and vegetal. However after the third sip, it becomes a light, almost surreal floral accent with a touch of fruity flavor comes through and is simply... a symphony of flavors. It starts with the tuning of the violins and ends with the beautiful, tear-producing note that makes you stand in awed wonder as you applaud the performers.

I give it a 1 out of 5 for aromatic quality. It has little to no scent while brewing. A 5 out of 5 for flavor and a 5 out of 5 for the Josh factor!

I am in love with it and it makes my tastebuds happy!

Now onto life things. Yesterday I had to go into work and it was not something I was looking forward to in the least. I said as much on Plurk and one of my dear friends gifted a pattern to me on Ravelry as a "something to look forward to coming home to" gift. I was stunned and truly appreciative of all my friends and how much they care for me, love me, and accept me. I really am one lucky guy and to have just even one friend like that would make me a blessed soul, but to have a whole huge group of them, makes me sit in wonder and thankfulness for all they do and that they are there for me.

I've been going through a lot lately and hit many a rough patch. My days turned into sad, dark, despairing days where nothing seemed to help pull me out of my funk and get me going. My friends have been there to comfort me and help me through it, but I still struggle sometimes to even cope with things. I believe it to be a sign of my repressed ideas, thoughts, emotions, and stresses.

Work has been stifling me and holding me back from school, knitting, designing, and life in general. In the past month, I've spent more time at work than at my textbooks. I've spent more time at work than with my family. I've spent more time at work than with my knitting friends. In general, I've spent so much time at work that I have no time to do "me" things.

My coworkers keep asking why I'm not "the normal 'Josh'". Why am I sad? Are you okay? How are you feeling? You scare me Josh by being so quiet. You can't be sad Josh or we all will be sad. Josh, you are dragging the team down. Josh, what's the matter? Can we help you? Josh, you are the emotional anchor of our team and we need you to be you. Josh... Josh... Josh...

This is the culmination of my mood recently. I'm stuck in the quicksand and slowly sinking. This is the feeling I've been feeling: helpless and trapped, stuck in a rut so deep, the very earth cracks beneath my feet. I have no idea who this "Josh" person actually is. I feel lost. I've lost my self-assuredness and just feel as though I wear a mask all the time to hide my pain and feelings from the world. When my coworkers ask why are you so quiet, I adjust the mask and put on a facade of fun and laughter, while cringing and writhing on the inside. At home I wear a mask to protect my family from me. When I talk with friends, I play the strong, lean-on-me character, while despairing over having no one to turn to in my turn. In all spheres, I wear the mask and play my part to keep the facade, the charade, the farse going.

However, there is light in this tale of despair. I can, will, and AM getting past this feeling and to combat it, I draw strength from my friends and instead of having to be the rock for everyone, I am attempting to be a rock for myself. When the therapist (one of my many roles in work and life) is broken, how can one give therapy to others problems? So instead of putting so much imaginary pressure upon myself, I have now come to the realization that I need to take care of me. If that means locking myself into my room and just letting the mask go and let all the things come out, then so be it. If that means thinking on paper and sharing it, then so be it. If that means I turn off all communications for an hour or two, then so be it.

I refuse to play the strong facade anymore and simply be more honest about me and my feelings, thoughts, and states.

This, my friends, is the junk that has been screaming to be let out and all it took was a simple cup of tea.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My Morning Cup of Tea - Earl Grey Bravo style

Good Morning! So I have a new fabulous habit that is now entrenched into my day: a cup of tea to start the day off with. That being said, I have been drinking tea regularly with a passion and as such, needed to order more last week.

I'm quite a bit of a tea snob in the sense that I find tea in bags (teabags) to be less flavorful as a loose leaf tea blend. One of my favorite tea shops in my area is the Tea Source. They carry amazing blends of tea and have a fantastic variety of tea blends and pure, straight tea. I LOVE this place and every time I go, I come home with some fantastic tea blend of some sort. Now they are a bit of a distance from my house and as such I go very infrequently, which in turn causes a problem when one is running out of tea slowly. Thankfully they have an online ordering option and will ship their teas to your house, saving you the trouble of having to find a window in your schedule to make it to the shop.

So I dutifully went online, shopped in their shop and was about to place an order when two of my friends told me of another magical tea shop that also shipped to your house and carries an amazing selection of tea as well. This magical place of wonderful teas is called Adagio Tea and as I shopped their beautiful website, I selected 21 flavors of tea to try. I may or may not have gone taste crazy and ordered many different types of blends and teas to try.

This magical box of tea arrived yesterday (they have FABULOUS shipping speed as well!) and I opened it with the joy of a four year old at Christmas! I now have 23 flavors of tea (they sent me two other samples!) to taste and enjoy everyday.

And now to the tea that is in my cup this morning: Earl Grey Bravo! This tea is a traditional Earl Grey with extra citrus-y flavor that creates an amazing aromatic cup. Seriously aromatic. I opened the pouch of tea and was hit with a fresh orange smell so potent it was almost too magical for one's nose to handle! It brewed up with a deep amber color and is simply delightful. Not my favorite tea I've tried, but it is a nice, light cup of tea that has a delicious orange aftertaste. So I give this blend a 5 out of 5 for aromatic qualities, a 4 out of 5 for flavor, and a 3 out of 5 for my personal taste.