Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2016-06-10

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket: Adagio Teas Spring Haul

Hey everybody! I’m back with a new episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket! I haven’t done one since I left New York City and it’s high time I inaugurated my tea porch with some reviews of tea.

adagioteahaulBoth of those mugs are from Dollywood. The iced tea pitcher is from David’s Tea. The plant is in a pot from my mom and cuttings from her citronella. Praying that the cuttings take, I’ve never planted plants from cuttings before.

My last episode talked about my Christmas Adagio tea haul and I’m excited to have been offered the opportunity to spend a gift card at Adagio teas to review more tea! Thanks Adagio for supporting the biggest fan of your decaf black! (Am I the biggest fan? Probably.)

Here’s the episode shot just this morning on my porch! You can’t see my gardening mishaps of the hanging basket variety (may that hanging basket rest in peace I’m so bummed about it), and you also can’t see the giant pile of garden accessories I just got from my mom’s retiring and selling her house please take all my garden stuff trip to the Bay Area on Memorial Day weekend.

Here are the teas I shout out:

Coconut Iced Tea

Coconut Black Tea
Valentines
Green Rooibos Key West
Honeybush Vanilla
Decaf Earl Grey
Decaf Raspberry
Decaf Tropics

To get $5 off your first order at Adagio, use this coupon code: 3189993374 (I get social media credit for it so I can buy MORE tea and have more reviews of tea!)

I didn’t mention in the video how much I LOVE the Adagio website and how they have created the tea buying experience. Number one, I love that you can buy samples for $2! No big risk there when you only have $2 on the line! Number two, I love that they incentivize tea customers by offering points for reviews so there are many perspectives on each tea. Number three, I love points (ask me about my Dunkin Donuts Perks card) and you can get points by sharing your favorites on social media, reviews and when you check out they give you another free sample by tweeting or Facebooking about your order!

Not related to the website, I love that their packets of tea are exactly right for preserving tea–they keep out light, moisture and air and keep the tea maximally fresh. Don’t store your tea in clear plastic bags! That’s not protecting the leaves!

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This is an adorable Lesbian Tea Basket I picked up while thrifting!

Enjoy the video and I look forward to sharing more about tea from my lovely California home!

If you’d like to watch more episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket check out this playlist–I started this web series in 2010! SO much has changed since then and I have reviewed a lot of tea!

bevindaraeverybodydance

Me and Dara last weekend at the EveryBody Dance fundraiser for the low income scholarship program for the new body and gender positive gym opening up in Northeast LA! The glittery dress was a hand me down from Nora of Nora’s Novity! Goddess bless Femmes purging their closets!

2016-05-09

What the Heck is Inflammation and Why is Drinking Anti-Inflammatory Tea Good For You?

My friend Mucha just moved to LA and she’s renting out our guest room briefly while she gets settled. It’s nice to have someone to teach all of my newfound information about the neighborhood and living in LA. She used the same movers we used, she already has her driver’s license, she’s getting stuff done.

She’s also getting hives. It’s probably a weed allergy she hasn’t been exposed to yet, so she’s doing the things you do like taking Zyrtec and whatnot, but I suggested drinking my Hibiscus Coconut tea to help with the inflammation.

hibiscuscoconutteaThis tea is so gorgeous, when it’s in dry form and when you brew it, it’s so pink and pretty.

She said to me, “What the heck is inflammation anyway?” (She didn’t say heck, actually.) She’s right, people throw around health buzzwords but they rarely get explained in this mile a minute internet world.

I’m going to tell you my understanding of inflammation. I am not a doctor and you should totally consult a doctor or naturopath or someone in the medical field who knows your body before you take my advice, but maybe this will help folks have more understanding about how inflammation works and why anti-inflammatories are so good for you.

My understanding of inflammation comes from my experience doing my friend Vic’s cleanses. Vic is my health coach and I am so forever grateful to her for helping me address chronic health issues by reorienting how I interact with food. Her cleanses are a real stay full, learn about cooking and foods and your body’s reactions to foods experience.

Inflammation is when your body is in fight mode. Our immune system is meant to rise up to attack when we get sick or injured, to move healing energy to that part of our body that needs healing. When you have a cut that’s puffy, that’s inflammation because our immune system is going to work. When we have chronic inflammation it is where our bodies are fighting everything.

beltanemuchaA weed allergy and yet the opportunities to hang out on lawns on blankets with friends in LA abounds!

For example, if you are allergic to the grass around your house and every single day you had itchy eyes and watery nose and hives, you might get used to that being your everyday life. But you go to visit a friend’s house and when you’re there you have clear eyes and no watery nose and no hives. You feel so good! And then you go home again and feel crappy. Inflammation is like a silent version of that, where your body is exhibiting lots of side effects from other parts of your body you don’t realize.

Inflammation in the gut (where 70% of your immune system lives) can lead to tons of outside symptoms–for me it was chronic IBS and my body being achy. For other folks it can lead to auto-immune disorders, psoriasis, increased depression, the list is endless. Anti-inflammatory foods are also sometimes linked to cancer prevention and since my partner is a cancer survivor we work hard to give her nourishing anti-inflammatory foods!

bevinmuchaLove this babe so much. She got to town four days before Dara and I threw a HUGE Seder dinner/performance art event in our backyard. This photo is from my outfit as “God.”

Inflammation can result from the food you eat, sleep deprivation and stress. Yes, having an ongoing stressful situation can physically harm you and wind you up with a chronic or worsened health condition.

I handled my chronic inflammation by doing the Candida Murder Plan. Working with Vic, it really helped me figure out what are my trigger foods and how to orient my nutrition.

I now focus on supplementing my diet with anti-inflammatory natural foods. (Like the Good for Me Lifestyle Heal Me honeys–so good for inflammation and migraines.) I make a lot of bone broth and try to make sure there’s always soup in the house made from bone broth. The recipe I use is from my health coach and I make sure to add a whole bunch of scallions, more salt than you think you need, a little pepper and a cup of dried Nettle leaf because of its anti-inflammatory gut healing properties.

muchaonsunsetWalking in Silverlake.

When I made my Hibiscus Coconut tea it was because I wanted something refreshing and hydrating and delicious. I also realized as I did more work with hibiscus, how good it is at anti-inflammatory work in the body. I decided to add Nettle leaf to the tea to just give it a wham pow of anti-inflammatory magic. So folks who bought the tea in the first pre sale got the original version and when I tried

The way Reiki works is to transmit life force energy. When you get a Reiki treatment, this energy is put into you by your practitioner. Because it is energy once you are Level 2 certified, you can transmit that energy through time and space and into objects. My goal with my teas is to amplify the naturally occurring herbal benefits in the flowers and leaves themselves, as well as provide the drinker with Reiki healing energy.

With all of my teas, I think you get the most benefit drinking one cup a day. Set aside fifteen minutes a day to enjoy a cup, treat it as a centering experience and you’ll experience better quality of life. Even if you don’t buy into the anti-inflammatory idea, self care stretches time. Taking that pause is important!

I’m excited to be feeding Mucha lots of nourishing foods and see if having her drinking deliciously tart Hibiscus Coconut tea every day helps with her “Welcome to LA you’re allergic to everything” hives.

bevinmuchadunks

I’m doing a pre sale of my teas through May 10th, but will leave the sale open a bit longer if you’re reading this post later than that. Can’t wait to scale up my business so I can do orders all the time!

And if you have questions about any of the tea blends hit me up, I am excited to talk about them and have so much communications work to do on my forthcoming website! It’s truly my dream come true to develop a business to help get healing and self love into as many hands as possible!

2016-05-02

Honoring Prince with New Reiki Infused Tea Blends–Pre Sale through May 10th

Hey friends!

I am excited to start my second Reiki-infused Tea Blend pre sale! This time around I am using the proceeds to work with a graphic designer on tea branding and fund attendance at the World Tea Expo next month! Dara and I can stay with her mom, so that means I just need to get the funds for the steep (pun intended) $500 entrance fee. Also, the diagnosis of the back end buggy issues on this here blog is to install a new theme and move to a new host, which is going to cost hundreds of dollars. It’s also wrapped into starting a website for the tea itself!

feelingsThis is what the tea tins look like, the packaging will continue to evolve as I work on new labels and work with a graphic designer on branding.

I had so much great feedback from the first round of tea shipped out. People said it was “love in a cup,” “totally delicious,” and one person even said “Best tea I’ve ever had” about the Find Your Chill blend! Wow!!

Because I love to grieve by creating art, I thought that for this sale I would create two special blends to honor Prince. One caffeinated and one herbal tisane. I’ve heard a lot about his secret philanthropy since his death and am donating 20% of the proceeds from those blends to Yes We Code, a coding school empowering folks from low-opportunity backgrounds find success in the tech sector.

Reiki Infused Tea Blend Offerings:

Each tin contains enough loose tea or tisane for 20 cups.

PurpleReign

Purple Reign: A Tea Honoring Prince
Caffeinated tea. Ceylon tea blended with purple herbs and a subtle berry flavor. This can be a good daytime pick-me up or drink so you can keep rocking all night, like Prince himself. 20% of the proceeds from this blend benefit a charity Prince supported. Yes We Code is a coding school empowering folks from low-opportunity backgrounds find success in the tech sector.

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Erotic City: An Herbal Tisane Honoring Prince
Herbal Tisane. Green Rooibos tea is a naturally caffeine free anti-oxident powerhouse, blended with Passionflower, Damiana, Rhodiola root, and Oat Straw to reduce feelings of anxiety and naturally enhance libido through relaxation. The flavor profile tends towards fruity but it is a subtle flavor. 20% of the proceeds from this blend benefit a charity Prince supported. Yes We Code is a coding school empowering folks from low-opportunity backgrounds find success in the tech sector.

selflovetea

Self Love Tea
Caffeinated. Pu-erh is a type of tea that is fermented rather than dried. The result is a more full-bodied tea with richer flavor and darker in color. I blend the Pu-erh with rose petals, citrus peel and bergamot. Rose petals balance the heart and mind and soothe emotions. Making yourself tea is a self-loving act; making tea with the intention of loving yourself and the support of rose petals kicks the effectiveness into high gear!

Bevin’s Earl Grey
Caffeinated. Black tea leaves are blended with a small amount of Rhodiola rosea, a root traditionally used to fight fatigue and improve energy in folks depleted by stress. Flavored with bergamot oil like a traditional Earl Gray, this tea goes beyond the standard renewal of the traditional Earl Gray.

Find Your Chill
Herbal tisane (the common parlance is “tea” but actually when they are herbs it’s a tisane). This is my calming blend. Chamomile and lavender are standards in the calming herbal market, but did you know that catnip has a soothing effect on humans? I find it really takes down my stress levels. For this reason, catnip is also great at soothing upset stomachs! I blend it with lemon peel, orange peel and other natural citrus flavors to add deliciousness. My serving suggestion to take the flavor up a notch is to add lemon juice (bonus if it’s fresh lemon from a neighbor’s tree).

feelingsinahar

Feelings Tea
Herbal tisane. When you are having Big Feelings–anger, hurt, frustration, sadness, grief–the only way out is through. My Feelings tea is a blend of oatstraw, rose petals and hawthorne berries to support soothing and strengthening the nerves and emotional healing. My Find Your Chill calming herbs–lavender, chamomile and catnip are also added to help soothe tension. To this I add natural tart flavorings, including elderberries, rosehips and hibiscus, to acknowledge that having feelings is sometimes tart. The blend is delicious and a great way to step back and support feeling your feelings.

dollymintscale

Dolly Mint
Herbal tisane. This was my favorite to blend as I am a really picky mint tea drinker and I’ve really nailed it with this one. I blend spearmint and peppermint, both soothe digestion. Added to it is a touch of sweet blackberry leaves, rosemary, rosehips, and chicory root. Chicory (you might know it from the addition to th that rounds out the mint with an earthy flavor. It’s great as a standard hot tea and also wonderful iced. Another serving suggestion–I like to give it a long steep (say, 30 minutes or so) and then add ice and your fav dairy or non-dairy milk for a delicious iced tea latte situation.

hibiscus

Hibiscus Coconut
Herbal tisane. Hibiscus, which is great for hydration and cooling, and coconut, which is great for being delicious. Includes Nettles, which is a great all-purpose herb and anti-inflammatory.

Rooibos Citrus
Herbal tisane. Rooibos is an African Red Bush tea that is known to hold flavors exceptionally well. Rooibos is a medicinal wunderkind–great at treating skin conditions and fighting free radicals. I blend this with citrus flavors to create a delicious tea suitable to any time of day.

Lesbian Tea Basket Sampler Pack
A sample pack that will make you 3 cups of each of the above seven flavors. (Does not include Prince tea blends.)

The tea pre sale goes through May 10th, and all items will ship by June 2, enabling me to purchase supplies and containers.

Click here to order!

2016-04-21

My Favorite Tea Accessories

Hey it’s British National Tea Day! What better way to celebrate than to tell you my favorite tea accessories and chronicle my day’s tea drinking on Instagram?

madtparty

If I were going to personal shop for you what you need in your tea making arsenal (except the leaves themselves), this is what I would buy you.

First and foremost is the proper loose tea brewing accessory. Before I upgraded I thought I was fine with a tea ball, a mesh contraption that holds tea like a tea bag does. Wrong. Life is so much better and tea brews so much better with a cup shaped infuser. It’s a $10 investment in your tea drinking happiness.

The cup shape allows the tea to swim around in your tea water and brews each herb better. Loose tea is superior to bagged tea because it’s the full leaves of tea, not a powder. (Cut open a Celestial Seasonings tea bag and check out the powder for yourself!) I find a cup shaped infuser is so versatile! I can use it in a mug of any size, the product I suggest has a longer arm so it can sit on a wider mouth cup. I can also use it in a tea pot. Normally you use about a teaspoon of tea per cup of water (depending on the type/manufacturer) and because there’s more space in this you can brew multiple cups at once. If you don’t have a teapot yet, you can use a large measuring cup as a teapot with one of these infusers.

I invested a long time ago in an electric tea kettle. It was a great choice for me because I tend to walk away from the brewing water and it wastes gas and could cause a fire if I walked away from the stove, right? I had this one for only $15 and it served me well until I leveled up. I found the cord fiddly to constantly have to unplug in order to refill my cup.

I leveled up to a tea kettle that hits all of my sweet spots. It sets on a base which is much easier to refill cups. I can set the temperature to adhere to tea brewing instructions. Sensitive white tea likes it 180 degrees Farenheiht, versus boiling which is 212. Best of all, it continues to heat the water for up to an hour after boiling, which is exceptionally helpful in a multi-tea drinker household where both of us work from home.

The tea kettle did poop out last Fall, six months after I bought it. The base just stopped heating up my water. I called Hamilton Beach and they replaced it under warranty for $16 shipping, which was cheaper than buying a new one and fairly easy to do. If you buy a different one than this be sure to read the reviews! There was one I bought for $80 with a coupon and gift card and returned to Bed Bath and Beyond because the reviews were so bad.

An essential tea accessory for iced tea drinker is a 3-in-1 iced tea pitcher! I like to have a lot of iced tea ready at once so I combine two pitchers and mason jars in my fridge for multiple options. Usually I brew it in this pitcher and then transfer it to a mason jar for storage, and then keep brewing.

This one is great. The long infuser is a cup infuser, it comes with a screw top so it can be immersed in the pitcher. You can swap out the cup infuser for a fruit infuser, and can add fruit flavor, lemon, whatever to your tea. Or just use it for infused water! It also comes with a reusable frozen thingy that keeps the tea cold for use outside. It rules, I love it! Dara bought mine from David’s Tea for our six month anniversary after watching me lust after it. David’s has moved on to simpler iced tea pitchers (why???) but you can get it on Amazon for $30. (Be sure to grab one that is BPA free–anytime you buy something plastic that might come in contact with hot stuff like water you want to make sure it’s BPA free.)

All of these accessories have been so essential to me starting my Reiki infused tea blend business! I’m excited to announce I’ll be doing another pre sale of tea starting next week. I’ll have the sale page up for a week and then I’ll order supplies, pack and ship again! This time I’m raising money to go to the World Tea Expo in Vegas in June so that I can learn more about tea flavoring and expand my supplier options!

2016-02-25

I’m Following My Dreams and Doing a Reiki Tea Pre Sale Through March 2nd!

(If you don’t want to read the backstory and want to go straight to the Reiki tea ordering page, click here for seven blends of Reiki infused tea, available through March 2.)

As readers of my blog know, I am obsessed with tea. I started my web series, The Lesbian Tea Basket as a way to chronicle my burgeoning interest in tea and now I’m a full on tea nerd, with an entire pantry closet of tea and a lot of tea opinions.

findyourchillteaMy “Find Your Chill” blend is my calming blend. Good for bedtime or just chilling out during the day when you’re stressed. I love it with some fresh lemon juice or neighbor lemons.

For the past two years, I have been working on my own blends of tea. Combining herbs and flavors to meet my demanding standards for tea tastiness and personal wellness.

But more exciting than that, I am creating a healing modality out of my tea.

In November 2013, when my partner Dara was diagnosed with breast cancer, I took a Reiki level one class. I barely knew what Reiki was but I knew it was a modality for healing and I wanted to help in any way I could during a time I felt really helpless. I also felt a strong calling, that was buttressed by a tarot reading the summer prior and an astrology reading.

Reiki, for those who aren’t familiar, is a healing modality that infuses life force energy into something. Usually people, but is also used on animals, plants, your house, or pretty much anything. When you are Reiki level two certified, you can send Reiki energy through time and space and into objects. When I learned that you could do that, I knew I needed to start infusing my teas with Reiki energy. I got my level two certification as soon as my Reiki teacher offered the class, in May, 2014.

darabevinmay2014smilingMe and Dara in May 2014. She wants me to mention how much my Reiki treatments helped her during chemo.

When I create a tea blend, I infuse each herb or ingredient with Reiki energy. I go back in time to its seed, and give it Reiki energy all through the plant’s growth, through the harvest and to the person harvesting it. This amplifies the plant’s natural potency. (For example, chamomile has a great reputation for being a calming herb, imagine if you got chamomile that was all Reikied out how calming it could be?)

After blending each batch of tea, I infuse the entire blend with Reiki energy, so that the person drinking it will then also be infused with Reiki healing.

I have a lot of plans and ideas for my Reiki infused tea line. Feminist icons, wisdom, really fun mystical ideas.

I have a lot of things to do in order to launch my tea line. A great website is key, a marketing plan, killer packaging, writing wisdom that connects with me and the tea, distribution, scaling, figuring out how to make tea bags from high quality loose tea that doesn’t turn the tea into powder.

reikimintteabyafireplaceMy Dolly Mint tea enjoyed at an outdoor fireplace this weekend.

I need capital to get started, so I decided to start small on my blog. I LOVE following the bloggers I love that work towards their dreams, the process and the progress. I love behind the scenes action and I love supporting them. Blogging takes a lot of time and effort and I like supporting their work so they have the time to blog. I am definitely committed to chronicling the journey of developing my tea line with my readers.

Throughout my departure from Brooklyn, I worked on my blends to create a sampler pack of Reiki tea that I would give each of my hosts during our cross country trip to test out my recipes. The reception has been great and people are loving them!

My friend Laura Vogel said, “Helps me start my day calm and centered, and helps me get back there when I’m in the muck of the day!”

I’m offering a pre-sale to my blog readers in order to raise capital. You all know me, know my work and know what I’m about in the world. Maybe you were going to buy tea at the grocery store anyway? Maybe you want to help me launch my dream business?

My first big goal for the money earned with my first Reiki tea presale is to go to B-School. I want to learn how to create a business from the ground up that is centered on being aligned with my values, being financially successful and getting my healing to as many people as it can. I need $2,000 to make my B-School tuition. Is it possible to earn enough from a presale to do it?

Each $20 tin of loose leaf tea I’m pre-selling will have enough tea for 20 cups. Since it is a healing modality, the pricing is more than you’d pay for Twinings, but it’s far beyond what you can get anywhere else. Uniquely infused with Reiki energy and totally delicious.

I’m also offering a $30 sampler tin of all of my blends, with each sample pack enough for 3 cups.

If you don’t have a tea infuser for loose leaf tea, I’ll also send one along with your tea for an additional $10. Trust me, loose leaf tea is better quality than most bagged tea, imagine the tea leaves swimming around in your cup infusing your hot water, versus the powdery stuff in a standard tea bag. Switching to loose leaf is a life upgrade.

B-School’s enrollment is only open for two weeks every year, and enrollment ends on March 2nd. That’s next Wednesday. I was lamenting to Dara that I didn’t have the $2,000 for the tuition (I’m living on savings) because of the otherwise most excellent timing for B-School enrollment. I have lots of time while I’m in my career shift and I do genuinely want to make a plan so I can live off of my Reiki tea hustle and continue to do my artwork, blog and book. Dara said I should try to do a limited time Reiki tea flash presale to see if the universe can help me get what I need to get into B-School.

behappyitdrivespeoplecrazyI love this shirt. This is the corner of my house that’s going to serve as my Lesbian Tea Basket studio so I can interview interesting folks and continue to rate and review tea. More unpacking needs to happen first, as it’s our current staging area.

More about why I want to go to B-School:

I’ve been hearing about B-School, the online business school for internet entrepreneurs, for years–from friends who have taken the course and loved it, and from spiritual thought leaders who I admire. I follow the founder of B-School, Marie Forleo, all over the internet. Her MarieTV episodes are great for anyone who is an entrepreneur and wants to create a business and life they love that is heart centered and authentic to their calling.

When conceiving of my Reiki tea business I have been working on concepts and ideas. I know the B-School curriculum of marketing with authenticity, branding with pizzaz, and shedding fears and limiting beliefs around money are going to help me create something beyond my vision. The strategies taught in B-School are things I need to work on prior to building my tea website, developing my packaging and business model. This is the right time for me and B-School! I want to make my Reiki infused tea business the best it can be and get it into the hands of all of the people who need its healing.

It has long been my wish to retire from the practice of law in order to follow my dreams. For years I thought about it, but had no idea how it could happen.

Eventually I managed to work part time in law and part time advancing my work to help make the world safe for people to love themselves. Moving across the country, out of the states I’m licensed in and having to leave my private practice has really kicked this into high gear. This is the time in my life to gamble on myself… can I do like Mariah Carey and Make it Happen? Will you help by buying some tea or sharing with your networks?

Creating my own line of Reiki-infused teas is one of my biggest dreams, and I’m taking the first steps in order to turn it into a goal. After all, goals are dreams with deadlines!

Clickie here to read about the flavors or just get to ordering!

Maybe you don’t want to buy tea and just want to donate to my B-School tuition? OMG thank you!





2015-12-08

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket: Adagio Christmas Tea Sampler

Happy holigays to you! On Black Friday I happened to need to restock my stash of loose leaf decaf black tea, AND Adagio has my favorite loose leaf flavored black teas AND I got an email for a sale, SO I went for it. And because I spent $25 I got a free Christmas teas sampler, a $9 value. Plus free shipping!

birthday36I love to show my outfit from the video–this is the sweater I’m wearing. A vintage cardigan I got at a thrift store in Columbus, OH. The photo was taken on Christmas Eve AKA my birthday last year–we delivered meals for God’s Love We Deliver. If you’re in NYC I highly recommend this service activity, it was super heartwarming work.

In this episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket, I review the Christmas teas sampler! I also used those teas to serve festive iced tea at my birthday party over the weekend.

I hope you enjoy this episode! And if you’re interested in buying some Adagio teas, you can use this coupon code for $5 off your first purchase: 3189993374

(I get 10 frequent cups points for every person who uses it. You know I love a coupon.)

All of the Christmas teas reviewed are caffeinated black teas, but all distinct flavors. I enjoyed!

I don’t know why there’s no Hannukah or Solstice teas but I’ve sent them an email. Edit to add: They DO have a Hanukkah tea! I was spelling it incorrectly.

It was a really self loving thing to do for myself prior to the depths of packing, to make sure I had my favorite decaf black teas on hand (decaf tropics, decaf earl gray, and the decaf black sampler). To check out my review on those, here’s another episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket!

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2015-04-10

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket: Downton Abbey Teas (No Spoilers)

THERE ARE NO SPOILERS IN THIS POST.

That’s important for anyone who remains a Downton Abbey virgin. My dog groomer, Sequinette, of Fur Majesty NYC grooming, recently confessed to me that she hasn’t ever watched it. I know she’ll love it, so I said it to her and I say it to any of my readers who haven’t gone there with Downton… It’s waiting for you when you’re ready.

People are so into Downton for a ton of reasons. Here are some of the reasons I love it:

1. High drama: This show, like Empire, Nashville, Alias, Dallas (I went there with an 80s nighttime soap opera), loves to make 90 degree turns with its drama. By the end of an episode out of nowhere a character’s life will be changed forever. Also, like Buffy, the show’s writers are not afraid to kill off a beloved character, which amps the drama up 10 million percent. Scientifically proven high drama factor.

2. Vintage glamour: OMG the costumes! The hair! The sets. Downton the location (it’s set in some huge castle that is a real life place) is practically a character in the series.

maggie-smith-downton-abbey-2The Dowager Countess (played by Maggie Smith) is my favorite character. Her one liners are amazing. “Don’t be defeatist dear, it’s very middle class.”

3. Class tension: There are not a lot of shows on television that address class in any way, even the ones that are set in working class surroundings don’t always discuss it. I love that they talk about it, and especially that the show over the seasons addresses changing times in England, that exploration of the division between “upstairs and downstairs” (the upper class and the serving class that served them) is actually pretty nuanced and ongoing.

4. English people experiencing feelings: Emotions aren’t something Brittish people are known for being comfortable with and it’s so fascinating watching characters who are supposed to suppress feelings having them. The actors are really great in Downton Abbey.

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5. Shirley Maclaine! She shows up sometimes.

6. Tea passion: I literally always go make some tea while watching Downton because they remind me about tea and then I want to drink some.

So when Dara and I found a canister of GRANTHAM BLEND tea from The Republic of Tea at Bed Bath & Beyond last summer we were dumbfounded. Did we plop $12 on a caffeinated tea I probably wouldn’t like as much as PG Tips (because it is my hands-down favorite black tea why try something else). But the answer was, we love Downton Abbey and I figured it would be great to try it.

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Then on a recent trip to BB&B* I found more Downton Teas! Their English Rose tea (based on the daughters Grantham) and their Estate Blend (an Earl Gray based on the Dowager Countess). After that score I knew I needed to Lesbian Tea Basket about it.

Here are the Downton Tea Blends I tried from The Republic of Tea.

English Rose Tea (delightful hibiscus rose blend)
Grantham Breakfast Blend (a black tea basic–don’t be fooled it does not taste like ginger)
Estate Blend (an Earl Gray that is the best vanilla black tea I’ve ever had–you can only get it at Cost Plus World Market OR the CPWM in the Bed Bath and Beyond)

There are FOUR MORE varieties of Downton Teas I still need to try (and you can get them from The Republic of Tea website). Lady Cora’s Evening Tea is next on my list (chamomile lemon blend). Bates’ Brambleberry tea (another caffeinated black flavor tea) comes out on May 1st! And for $6 you can buy a sampler pack of ALL OF THE DOWNTON TEAS. I love a sampler.

You can watch all the seasons of Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime here in the States! And *sob* the upcoming season is going to be the last!

20141106_153105I think I love BB&B partially because of my triple B initials and partially because of the coupons and partially because I live in the city and it is kind of the best suburban style store and partially because of all the as seen on TV merch.

*We were at Bed Bath because I had coupons! I bought a $130 slow cooker/roaster/steamer thing for $80 on a gift card! I felt like the best Cooking Identified Femme Huntress when I scored that level of discount and used a gift card. I love coupons. I’ve been posting my recipe successes with the Ninja 3-in-1 on instagram.

If you want to buy your Downton Tea with a coupon, sign up for the Bed Bath & Beyond mailing list. The most valuable one for this I think would be to get the $5 off $15 coupon from the back of the catalog or use the 20% off coupons from the mailings or that you sometimes find in People Magazine. It’s like the best ongoing easter egg hunt when you have a BB&B gift card like I do and you want to ultra maximize your savings. Do you have BB&B money saving tips to share? Please comment!!! I love this game.

If you want to watch all of the episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket, my web series where I rate and review tea and reclaim tea parties for lesbians, clickie here!

2015-04-02

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket: Adagio Tea Haul

Filed under: Lesbian Tea Basket — Tags: , , , , , , — Bevin @ 3:42 pm

I had watched a few you tube videos about video bloggers doing “Hauls” about how they bought a bunch of stuff at a vintage store or make-up or whatever. I did the same thing with something I know a lot about buying. Tea.

So far, I love Adagio. I even had a really great experience talking to their live chat doohickey on the website. (“Want help? Chat live with a specialist!”) They call the chat person a “Tea Docent” and after their extreme competency helping me get a perpetual coupon to put up here on my blog, I believe they can help you get some tea knowledge going on. I mean, if you walked into a fancy tea store, hopefully someone would roll up on you and help you find the tea you want. Just like a docent in a museum tells you about the exhibits you’re looking at, a docent in a tea website can tell you about their teas.

IMG_20150401_183102Here’s the whole outfit I was wearing when I filmed this. I did it after a Bjork concert and I had a lot of creative energy.

The teas can be purchased in sample sizes (10 cups or so for cheap), bigger pouches and even in tea bags in case you don’t want to hassle with loose tea.

To get $5 off your first order at Adagio, use this coupon code: 3189993374

Full disclosure, I get points towards free tea if you use it. Win-win. Sip sip.

Here’s the episode with my haul, some brief yays and skips about the teas I’ve tried, and below the video are a bunch of links to the teas I talked about that I would recommend (and a couple I didn’t have time to talk about).

Here are the varieties I’ve tried, enjoyed and recommend:

Herbal or Decaf:
Blood Orange
Decaf Peach
Decaf Tropics
Decaf Raspberry
Sour Apple (a good kool aid kind of tea)
Decaf Earl Gray (I’m on a mission to find my favorite decaf Earl Gray… so far this is #2 on my list, behind Harney & Sons, but it’s #2 of at least 8 that I’ve tried–it’s pretty great)

Caffeinated in some capacity:
Earl Gray Moonlight (I love a cream Earl Gray and this one is superb)
Pu Erh Chorange (they nail this one, so delicious)
Pu Erh Hazelberry
Pu Erh Sampler (a really great place to start if you’re new to Pu Erh–has the two above in it)

And if you’re both a tea nerd and a lifestyle nerd, they offer Fandom blends. At the recommendation of my dear friend Megan Beene, I tried the Quartermaster sample, which came in a really cute tin with 50s dad glasses adorning it. I couldn’t figure out what Quartermaster was about. I thought it might be a Sherlock thing because Megan loves that show on the BBC but it took me asking my Tea Docent and a follow-up email to confirm that it’s about “Q” from 007, the recent movie. This “Q” is a handsome nerd dude, and I can see why people want to make tea about them. (P.S. I found the tea not as flavorful or strong as I would want from a caffeinated black tea.)

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I’ve been working on a Dorothy Allison blend of my reiki tea. I get it.

Watch more episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket on this You Tube Playlist! I just changed the ordering of it so it goes from most recent to oldest. Watch me age in reverse!

2014-11-13

New Episode of my Web Series The Lesbian Tea Basket

Hey friends! There’s a new episode of my web series The Lesbian Tea Basket up! Epsiode 29. With a backlog of unedited episodes, in this one I’m back to basics having figured out how to film myself on this computer and rating and reviewing tea.

In this episode I try some Teavana tea, iced, in a new Tervis Tumbler cup I got as a wedding favor.

The flavor is Youthberry Wild Orange Blossom Blend with Rock Sugar Sample. The link I’m giving here has slightly different ingredients than the one I was given as part of Leo’s tea stash divestment, so perhaps Teavana changed their blend? Now I have something else to investigate.

I meant to talk about my outfit in the video but I got carried away about the tea… The pink jacket with the silver flare on the shoulders was what I call a “failed resale.” I bought it when I was doing my own side clothing resale stuff online about three years ago. It never sold and I couldn’t part with it when it came time to get rid of the remnants. And now it’s part of my wardrobe.

If you’d like to check out other episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket, here is a playlist that has all of them! I love sharing my tea adventures.

20141112_222508 (1)I didn’t manage to get a photo with the sweater on but here’s the outfit underneath the sweater that I wore to MIX Fest on Wednesday night for the Queer Rebels curated films.

2014-05-12

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket! Grandmother and Oh Canada! Tea from David’s Tea

Friends, I am so pleased to debut this episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket. My first adventure reviewing a tea from David’s Tea that I brewed at home. Since the tea is from a Canadian company and actually called Oh Canada! (because of the maple content) I decided to ask my beloved Grandmother to be my special guest.

We put out a full tea set and my mom video taped it. Grandmother is one of my femme icons and has taught me a lot about being exactly as glamorous (or, as I would say it, as glitter) as I feel like being regardless of how many people try to rush you to get ready in the morning.

teawithgrandmotherMe and Grandmother at High Tea a couple of years ago. I did an episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket about it!

My bestie Jacqueline was kind enough to lend her incredibly baller professional video editing skills to the finished product and here we have my review of Oh Canada! and some cute anecdotes from my Grandmother.

Spoiler alert: Grandmother loved the tea so much she asked me to leave it at her house in Palm Springs, CA.

You can order Oh Canada! from David’s Tea online or visit one of their shiny teal tea stores throughout the US and Canada. I am a big fan of the Park Slope one, but also have made friends with the tea folks at their Upper East Side and West Village locations.

You can find all of the episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket in this playlist on my You Tube Channel!

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2014-02-03

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket–A Visit to the Tea Shop in Woodstock

Last week I went away with my sweetie to a tiny town near Woodstock, NY in the Catskill Mountains. A friend of ours gifted us with the time at his rental property as a nice pre-chemo getaway. It was really lovely. I can feel myself completely relax when I’m around nature and out of the city. Part of my relaxation rituals, especially in Winter, involve the consumption of tea.  20140129_142200

Dara and I are both big fans of rooibos teas and we ran out of a few favorite varieties while at the cabin. Since we’re conserving pennies we didn’t want to “go into town” to spend money, but the idea of taking a wander through the adorable storefronts of Woodstock was super appealing. I thought that perhaps we could combine an errand with an adventure and googled tea store in Woodstock thinking I’d find a coffee shop with a smattering of teas. Instead we stumbled upon this gem of a store right in the “downtown” area of Woodstock called The Tea Shop.

It was gorgeous, light-filled and had a literal wall of loose teas, each in a big tin that the shop keeper opened for us and then spilled onto the lid so we could get a good whif of the tea and see the components. Fantastic presentation!

We settled on a few rooibos varieties, and we each picked a black tea (decaf for her, full caf for me) to order a la carte as a cup of tea. I was so delighted by the experience I had to film a Lesbian Tea Basket right then and there. Watch this video below and find out how magical the tea experience was, as well as my rating of the Orange White Chocolate black tea.

You can order from the Tea Shop of Woodstock online. Many thanks to my wonderful friend Leo for editing the video for me.

Other things I loved about visiting the Phoenicia/Woodstock area of the Hudson Valley:

Mirabai–super cute New Age book store. We were drawn in because of the sign that said “Calm, this way.” It was basically the catalog of Hay House in a store, plus a whole bunch of other related awesomeness. Great kids books and virtually all the self-development, spiritual and/or beautiful books you can think of. A giant selection of tarot cards–all on display so you can touch and feel them. There was also a really sweet meditation room that you can just go in and meditate in when they aren’t giving workshops. I almost bought a 40% off calendar but see above about trying not to spend money. (I still don’t have a 2014 calendar so if anyone out there has one to unload on me get in touch!)

calm

Mama’s Boy Market–seriously it’s called that. They have tee shirts if you’re interested in repping that way. Also, they have an awesome Pay it Forward board where you can buy stuff for your neighbors. One of my favorite bloggers blogged about a woman whose sister had Down syndrome and passed away. On the anniversary of her sister’s death they were doing a social media Pay it Forward campaign, and I thought it was too much of a coincidence not to participate, so I bought a random Phoenician a cup of coffee in honor of Maura.

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If you want to check out more episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket click here!

2013-12-23

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket! Birthday Cake Tea!

Filed under: Lesbian Tea Basket — Tags: , , , , , , , — Bevin @ 5:54 pm

There’s a new episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket!! I review Birthday Cake Tea from David’s Tea in NYC. It’s a super brandy brand kind of tea store with overpriced tea with fancy things inside it like birthday cake sprinkles (as in Birthday Cake Tea). My birthday is tomorrow so I kind of went for it with this $4 cup of tea. Also I said in the video they were in NYC but apparently they are all over North America.

Check out all the episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket here! And if you know anyone who sells tea and wants to send me some to review I am stoked to support small businesses on the LTB!


Me and my two Persian Princes, Bear and ALF, who passed about six months to the day apart. ALF was four years younger but he’d never known life without Bear and I think he just couldn’t hang.

This week has been kind of intense. I ended up having to put my beloved cat, ALF, to sleep on Wednesday, and I supported a loved one through breast cancer surgery so it’s been intense. But the super bright spot is I finally got my new laptop that I crowd funded through the support for this website! Thank you all so much who have donated so far. Your words of support have been so amazing and I’m super excited to be able to create more content for QueerFatFemme.com!

If you want to donate the page is here and there are a ton of cool prizes, including lots of services donated by my awesome friends. My hope was to raise $1,000 per year the site has content up and gather funds to be able to continue creating the content I’m super stoked to share with you, including more episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket!

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