As amazing as my post yesterday made me feel about my writing frequency, I kept the blog tab open and was hit with a little guilt that there isn’t enough balance flowing through this space.
I remember feeling so cleaver when I came up with the title of the tab that would house my tea drinking obsession and I set out on a rather ambitious goal of regularly posting about the tea I drink.
Nowhere in my mind did I think that would be a problem because I really do drink it all the time…and I did…
Last year, at the end of the summer, I visited some friends in Chicago and they introduced me to David’s Tea. I was instantly hooked and have been very blessed that those same friends have kept me well supplied in the months that followed.
In fact, it’s about the only tea I drank for the months of December-Feb and I kept track of all of it…I saved tea bags, tried my best to give honest feedback…it was great, until it wasn’t.
My goal is to drink and enjoy tea, not critique it. So, when I sat down to start planning blog posts about it, nothing interested me about posting my reviews…and ultimately, not only did I stop taking notes about my experiences, the drinking of it slowed also…
And then May happened…
Drinking a good cup of tea is part of who I am, part of my self care and I gradually forgot that along the way.
Maybe it was the pressure to track every sip that crossed my lips or maybe guilt that I spent so much time with one brand but whatever the reason, I shut the door on this room and I am here to bring it back to life.
The above photo was taken at a dear friends house. It’s an herbal blend from, you guessed it, David’s Tea. In my search for the literal dozens of tea sachet wrappers to share, I found this and thought to myself, this is what I want to share instead.
A cup of tea is comforting and soothing to me…like a friend or a good hug. Sharing tea with people amplifies that experience for me and I think, ultimately, that’s what I wanted to do here…share a cup a tea, with a friend…
So, welcome again to this corner of Wanderwood Lane.
That being said, as much as I enjoy big brands like David’s Tea, Tiesta, Yogi, etc., I’d like to focus on smaller brands, perhaps home blenders, that would potentially benefit from the exposure. If you have a small tea company in mind you think that I should try, please leave a comment!
***For those curious, David’s Tea remains one of my favorite brands of tea. I think I tried over 25 blends since discovering them and there isn’t a single one that I couldn’t finish. By all means, Check them out!!!***
Almost 2 months away seems really bizarre…
The truth is I have been writing. I’ve written letters to pen pals, two poems, a chapter in my book and LOTS of letters that I’ll never send. The lesson I learn time and time again is that I process exactly how I need to, in my own time and in my own way…and I am kinda diggin’ that right about now!
I am excited about today’s post because I have promised to be apart of this for months and haven’t followed through, yet. My friend Ashton has a great website called Eight Hundred Words and I found their writing prompt today the perfect opportunity to participate.
The Prompt: Tell the story of a crush you never actually spoke to (or did and it ruined the crush).
Now, my romantic life may only be a comedy to me but this is a chance that I can’t pass up…so, here goes.
It was evident from the beginning that I would be unable to pinpoint just one encounter because, well, I kinda do the same thing, EVERY, SINGLE, TIME.
For a decade I’ve been telling myself “I want to be a writer”, while the millions of sheets of paper left in my wake scream “what, exactly, would you call this?”.
As silly as it might sound, more than half of those sheets of paper have served to witness me, pouring my heart and soul out. Writing with pen on paper, even though my handwriting is plain awful most of the time, helps me process and I hand write often, to this day.
I’ll start with a story over a decade ago.
I was helping a friend work her handmade candle booth at a craft fair one fall when I noticed a guy helping his grandmother in the booth 2 down from ours. We made eye contact often but my feet wouldn’t make the trek over to say hello. SO, I wrote a short note of hello and my number on a piece of paper and made my booth partner take it over. The first thing he did after he received it is call me out for not bringing it over myself. Crush, Crushed…
Befriending people comes really easy to me, guys especially. I like to think it’s because I grew up with two brothers and can relate a little better because of it. Probably also why I all too often put myself in the proverbial “friend zone”.
In my late 20’s/early 30’s I happened to have several great guy friends. We had dinner together, played video games (especially Rock Band and/or Guitar Hero), had long phone conversations and hung out weekly. It was amazing to be forming such incredible friendships but unfortunately my hopelessly romantic heart wouldn’t let me leave it there.
To the one…I went over to his house the day before he was about to be out of the country for a month to tell him (vocally) how I felt and a new roommate was moving in, so I lost my nerve and ended up writing an email a book long. His response was “he never saw me that way”.
To the other…I played the true friend for years, watching the ending, beginning, ending of his relationships until he hit a seemingly solo run. We chatted and had dinner often and I just knew we were working up to something. Losing my nerve became my middle name around this time and as lame as I feel, I ended up telling him how I felt in a very vague text that was never addressed.
It took a while but eventually, both of those crushes were crushed too.
Within the past 6 years…
The reason this prompt was so perfect is because the one of the things I want to do the most in the world (convey thoughts and feeling via written word) isn’t really hard for me…at all…I do it all the time without even realizing it…I guess it just takes the right prompts to remind myself I do!
Maybe I’ll get better at the crush game, maybe I won’t but at least I know I’ll always have something to write about!
Thanks Eight Hundred Words! This was fun!
It’s just before 8am on a Sunday morning and I’ve been tossing and turning for the better part of an hour, so I though I’d put the coffee and on and sit down to write for a bit.
My mind has been busy as of late and thus my anxiety through the roof.
A dear (and true) friend reminded me that writing was one of my tools and this morning I had to remind myself that I had this corner of the world to put some of it in.
My thoughts started in a really good place this morning, so I wasn’t upset to be awake sooner than usual on a day off, but weight quickly crept in and so I know it’s going to take more than coffee to get me going.
I had originally planned to apologize and speak to why posting has been so sporadic these past few months but then realized I am here to live a real life, with authenticity and transparency…so I won’t be doing either of those things…
What’s on my mind this morning is, in many ways, no different than most other days, the overcast sky and still of the morning are just amplifying it…the Heavy and the Light…
A lot has happened in my mothership market of Charlotte (and it’s surrounding areas) this week, even just this morning…the kind of things that make me want to gather the ones I love and hold them close…the kind of things that make me want to be held.
So much has been shared in our Heart Camp group this week and while we are there for whatever each of us may need, a lot of virtual hugs, love, light and peace for the hurting has been sent this week.
One of my best friends told me last night that she might be moving soon and even my wide eyed wanderer was saddened by that news…
But good things woke me this morning…something that was new a few weeks ago is hitting a comfort level that makes me smile, it’s my Grandmother’s 80th Birthday and she shares it with some pretty amazing people and as I type, the sun is coming out and lighting up my office.
It’s SO easy, almost too easy to let the Heavy things in life be our constant companions… This morning I am grateful for the trenches in which those that love us get in with us until we both find our way to something more hopeful.
We have to hold on to the Light, even if it’s a minute by minute refocusing…we have to fight for those moments that remind us that in all that, frankly, sucks in the world, we are the ones with the power to love, support and lift eachother out of the darkness.
Still do the things that bring you joy, even and perhaps especially in a Heavy season because we MUST continue to offset the balance…we have to.
Writing is one of the things that brings me joy and I am so glad I leaned into it this morning.
“Love is still the most powerful force on the planet” and I am sending it to you all today.
Happy Birthday Momaw Martha!
As I mentioned in the last post of Turn the Page, reading really hit a lull for a few weeks.
I am a true believer in everything that happens is trying to teach me something. February not only came/went too quickly, it had more than it’s fair share of challenges (lessons).
My take away was (as obvious as this may be to most) that no matter how enthusiastic the goal, I have to WANT to read what I am attempting to read.
Choosing an Austen after a memoir probably wasn’t the best choice. Don’t get me wrong, I adore her, but let’s face it, my head & heart have to be in the same place to fully enjoy it.
So, instead of throwing in the towel, I spent two weeks trying to get myself into it…
…it turned out like the photo below…less than stellar…
Needing to save February from a big old goose egg, I turned to one author I knew would get me back in the swing of things…Gail Z. Martin
Gail is one of my favorite authors and with countless (ok, I could count if I wanted to but I don’t 😉 ) books in a half dozen worlds, there is always something from her I can add to my TBR pile!
To save my February reads, I chose…
Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curios shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them and along with her business partners Teag, who has Weaver magic and Sorren, a 600-year-old vampire, they get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats.
When zombies rise in Charleston cemeteries, dead men fall from the sky, and the whole city succumbs to the “grouch flu,” Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren suspect a vengeful dark witch who is gunning for Teag and planning to unleash an ancient horror. Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren—and all their supernatural allies—will need magic, cunning, and the help of a Viking demi-goddess to survive the battle with a malicious Weaver-witch and an ancient Norse warlock to keep Charleston—and the whole East Coast—from becoming the prey of the Master of the Hunt.
Tangled Web is the third book in the Deadly Curiosities series and though I can’t pick a favorite just yet, this one is very close to the top. Teag is a character I have grown very fond of. The idea of weaver magic intrigues me and I have been anxious for more of it in a story…Boy did I get it.
The familiarity of setting with this series helps me to really immerse myself in the story and Tangled Web is no different. As the cover suggests, the team has to deal with horses, both living and undead, and the case briefly takes them to Aiken, SC. This was a welcome and pleasant surprise as I have a cousin that lives in Aiken and I have seen how big the area is on all things horses!
One of the things I appreciate most about Gail is her attention to detail when it comes to coming up with both friend and foe in this series. It would take me a while to name every ally/villain but suffice it to say that I have wanted to learn more about the ‘old ways’ of multiple people groups because of her work in Deadly Curiosities.
Tangled Web was indeed the perfect choice to spur me into my March reads and I am so happy I chose it!
About the Author
Gail Z. Martin is the author of Scourge: A Darkhurst Novel, from Solaris Books. Gail is also the author of Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel and Trifles and Folly 1: A Deadly Curiosities Collection, the latest in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC; Shadow and Flame is the fourth book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga; The Shadowed Path (The first Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures collection), as well as Iron and Blood a Steampunk series, and Spells, Salt, & Steel, both co-authored with Larry N. Martin.
She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities and Tangled Web. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.
Gail’s work has appeared in over 35 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Heroes, Space, Contact Light, With Great Power, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Cinched: Imagination Unbound, Realms of Imagination, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens, Gaslight and Grimm, Baker Street Irregulars, Journeys, Hath no Fury and A Haven Harbor Halloween.
I don’t know about you but January and February have really gotten away from me.
When I did the math a few months ago, I realized that 8(ish) miles per month would help me reach the #nc100mileschallenge goal with, almost, no issues.
Well, here I am, a few days away from March…looking at only one trail so far…
I am still hopeful I’ll meet the goal and so I want you to see where I started this year.
Lake Norman State Park found me a couple of years ago, when I was first introduced to the challenge and at only about 45min away, it’s quickly become my go to for a morning outdoors.
The Lake Shore Trail provides several miles of hilly terrain, great for a cardio boosts and a multiple views of Lake Norman itself. If you catch it early enough, it’s nice and quiet out there.
I have been blessed to have my Dad along with me for the past three times I’ve come here. We usually start early, with a big breakfast and hope to complete at least half the trail within an hour and some change.
Hiking with my Dad is great because he helps me hike at a good pace which helps me with conditioning for more intense hikes in the future.
I’ve done the entire (almost 7 miles) of Lake Shore in the beginning of June the first time I’d set foot on the trail and totally exhausted myself (I mean calling on angels exhausted) so I am a little scared to go for it all BUT I am working toward it.
Mornings are my favorite time to hike this trail because I can catch it before it gets too warm AND there are these amazing spots where the trail goes, almost, right to the water.
This creates the perfect spot to catch your breath and/or a selfie 😉
Lake Norman State Park is where I decided I’d start adding park pins to my collection and so it holds a near and dear place in my heart and on my trail hat (courtesy of The Trek).
Until the next mileage update, Happy Trails!
By the title of this post you might think I am about to talk about a recent trip to my local Hallmark store.
While I don’t have a moving greeting card purchase to share, I have found a place with just as much warmth, heart, dedication and genuine care at
Percent Tap House is brand new to the neighborhood of Harrisburg, NC and the first of it’s kind in that area (which happens to be close enough to me to make it local 😉 )
I was introduced to PTH via my brother and sister-in-law (regulars since day 1) about 6 weeks ago and the first thing to hit me, after the amazing decor, was the phrase on the back of staff’s shirts (What is done in love, is done well). I hadn’t even tasted a beer yet but I had a good feeling about the place.
I was fortunate to meet the place at a slow moment and 3 out of the 4 owners were there and ready to share the vision with me. By the time I left on my day 1, I knew that this space was going to be more than just a place to grab a tasty beer…it was going to support and grow a community.
The message is a really easy one to get behind. When you love and care about what you do, it shows. These guys were/are looking for a way to support a growing community with a quality product and a business that can serve the area for years to come.
They want to create space where people can gather small and large to discuss everything from the current day to the next phase of life. The only screens are the ones that tell you what is on tap and that is to encourage engagement with the people around you. It’s a fantastic concept that I can appreciate.
On more than one occasion, I have ventured there solo, just to see how one might fair in a setting like the one Percent creates.
From the moment I walk in, I am seen and greeted. Most of the time it’s by Carl, Zach or Neil (though I have met Alec a time or two) and they are ready to share their favorite brews of the week and if not super busy, a conversation or two about life.
Now, I’ve been on slow nights (which are already rare) and busy nights alike and while no two visits are the same, I can tell you that what the motto the company puts on the merchandise is in the air.
Most of my solo visits find me at the bar. I figure that I can at the very least chat with one of the guys while I have a drink.
Two weeks ago, I went in with much the same mindset. I was a few sips into a Brown Ale when I picked up on the conversation going on beside me. The Gilbert’s were tabbing out but I happened to catch that they were going to be hiking for Make-A-Wish over the summer so I decided to find out more of the story. They shared it with me and I found a new Facebook friend.
As they left, I turned back to my seat to find several other customers had come to sit at the bar also and were ready to chat. I began to ping pong, delightfully, between multiple conversations as customers ordered a beverage, chatted for a min and returned to their company. There were many couples sharing a beverage before dinner, many having a beverage after a long shift and others just connecting with friends…just connecting…
One of my favorite connections of the night was with my new pals Stefan and Andy. They moved to the bar beside me well into the night and didn’t hesitate to engage in conversation. I’ll not share their stories (I gotta keep some secrets) BUT I will say that Stefan has one of the coolest tattoo sleeves I have ever seen and my gushing about it led to talking about Ireland, so that was EPIC!!
That night was SO much fun and pretty much the embodiment of what I think the owners are trying to cultivate within Percent Tap House. Community exists where people feel welcome, are encouraged to communicate and feel cared about…a tasty brew (or several) is just a great accompaniment.
What is done in love, IS done well and it is done 7 days a week at Percent.
Go by and check it out if you get the chance and tell them Candice sent you (at least I think I’ve earned regular status by now 😉 )