Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tradewinds – St. Pete’s Beach, FL

We spent a week in March at the Tradewinds Island Grand resort in St. Pete’s Beach, FL.  This was our first trip to that area of Florida and I’d definitely recommend this resort to anyone looking for a fun Florida getaway.

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What a treat to look out the windows of our room and have this view of the beach.  Our unit was like having two rooms with one side having a kitchenette, dining area and two queen beds and the other side having a kitchenette, dining area and living room. 

There were several nice restaurants on the property.  My favorite dinner was at the Guy Harvey RumFish Grill just down the beach at the Guy Harvey Outpost resort.

The main attraction at RumFish is a 33,500 gallon aquarium that fills an entire wall of the room.  It is filled with many of the fish that are found in Florida gulf waters.  The giant tank was built by Wayde King and Brett Raymer of Animal Planet’s hit series “Tanked” and was featured in an hour-long episode on May 16.

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Our dinners were excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed the RumFish bouillabaisse.  It was filled with lobster, scallops, mahi, and P.E.I. mussels all in a tomato saffron broth.

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Our waiter said that the big green eel that resides in the tank is affectionately know as Frankie.  I think I’ll pass on the restaurant “Swim with the Fishes” program.  ☺

There was also a shop that sold Guy Harvey art, clothing, jewelry, etc.  Of course I had to purchase a t-shirt and a Tervis cup, both with his favorite sailfish motif.

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I actually joined hubby in trying out the High Tide Slide. ☺ We both think that a return visit to the Tradewinds will be in our near future.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Soap With Tea Leaves

Seems like a lot of us tea enthusiasts are on the lookout for new products using tea.  My latest find is Fresh Lime Massage Bath Soap.

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The packaging is pretty and the soap has a lovely fresh citrus scent.

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You can see the bits of tea leaves all through this extra large (10 1/2 ounce) bath bar.

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The soap lathers well, is gentler on the skin than I thought it would be and you can smell a hint of lime.  The only negative for me is the awkwardness of holding such a large bath bar, but that will be temporary.  ☺ 

This soap is made by CST Fall River in the USA.  I found mine at Marshalls, but you can also find this brand on Amazon.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Page-A-Day Digital Calendar

In a previous post I told you about my Downton Abbey Page-A-Day calendar.  Since then I’ve been thoroughly enjoying all the Downton photos, quotes and 1920s trivia. 

My favorites are quotes from the Dowager Countess.  I particularly like this one from the new season (not the calendar) “A lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears”.  Mary really deserved that piece of advice.   ☺

pink macaronsMy Downton Abbey desk calendar came with a perk, a free digital calendar.  I chose 365 Days in France.  I look forward to seeing some wonderful scenery, architecture or foods of France each day. 

After seeing todays photo of the lovely pink macarons, I’m more determined than ever to find a baker in my area that makes these delicious treats. 

The calendar page today stated “Traditional French macarons are made from almond flour and whipped egg whites—plus an array of delicious flavorings like rose and coconut. The delicate treats were created in the town of Nancy.” 

If you’d like to check out what subjects are available in Page-A-Day calendars you can visit their website here - (and they’re on sale!). 

 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Teavivre–Tea For Life

I’m always excited when my mail includes a box of tea from Teavivre.  I know that there will be some excellent new teas to sample.  I really like how the tea is packaged for optimum freshness.  The detailed information on where the tea is grown, processed and the proper water temperature and steep time is great. 

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This shipment included some Pu-erh and black teas. 

The company website contains so much valuable information on the different types of tea, as well as interesting pictures and videos.  If you look under Pu-erh tea, you will see: 

“ A unique form of tea, named after the town of Pu Er in
Yunnan province, that has a completely different processing
method,and usually taste, to other teas. Made from a broadleaf
variety of the tea grown in Yunnan, it is initially processed like a
green tea. However things then change radically! The dried tea is
then aged in a dark location – often for many years. During this time
the tea undergoes a form oxidation caused by the growth of yeast on the tea – in just the same way that wine is produced. Though the tea appears like a black tea, this secondary oxidation produces a tea
that has an absolutely unique taste. When done right – again just
like wines – it results in a tea that has an amazing bold, strong
taste and aroma!”

I sampled the Yunnan Palace Ripened Pu-erh Loose Tea 2005 first.  It is made from Yunnan large leaf tea trees.  It is mentioned that these trees are up to 100 years old!  I’m a Pu-erh newbie and have not tasted very many of these teas, but I found this particular one to be very smooth and it had a rich dark liquor.  I appreciated that the flavor was not extremely earthy, which is a characteristic that, for me, is an acquired taste.

For my morning tea, I sampled Superfine Tan Yang Gong Fu Black Tea.

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Look at all those lovely golden tips.  The brew was refreshing and mellow, with just a little astringency.  I added a splash of milk, but I will try it without next time.  This was a very nice tea to start off a day of tea drinking.

I’m definitely looking forward to tasting the other tea samples, including Superfine Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea, Fengquing Ripened Tribute Pu-erh Cake Tea 2013 and Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Ancient Wild Tree Black Tea. 

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Check out this terrific tea retailer website for yourself here.

 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

PUGG Teapot

The latest addition to my teapot collection is a 24 ounce Pugg teapot by Tea Forte.  I was looking for a small versatile teapot and this pretty little “Cherry Blossoms” pot seemed to be just right.

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This teapot includes a stainless steel infuser basket for loose tea and an interesting removable stainless steel lid.  I read somewhere that you can take the lid off and put the ceramic pot in the dishwasher.

IMG_1575The large loop handle is great and easy to get a good grip on when pouring tea or rinsing out the pot.

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I like being able to take the infuser out in the morning when I mostly use tea bags, and then replace it in the afternoon for my loose tea.  My only complaint would be how this pretty teapot pours.  It seems that whether I pour my tea quickly or slowly, the spout dribbles tea – maybe because of the unusual narrow shape. 

So, I guess I’d recommend this teapot.  You can check out the other pretty colors and patterns on the Tea Forte link above.  And for those of you who love yellow – that pot is $10 off today.  ☺

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Downton Abbey Calendar

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Don’t you just love a gift that can be enjoyed all through the New Year?  To go along with the excitement of a new season of Downton Abbey on GPB, I have a new Page-A-Day Calendar.

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This calendar is filled with wonderful photos, history of the times and quotes by the characters.  There are some great quotes by the Dowager Countess – she cracks me up.

My favorite wall calendar is The Collectible Teapot & Tea Calendar, which I’ve been purchasing every year since 1998.  It’s amazing to me that this calendar has featured so many gorgeous teapots for so many years.  How about you – do you have a favorite that you purchase year after year?

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Traditions

At this time of year, we all seem to pull out certain special recipes that are made each Christmas.  One of my favorites is steamed pudding.  I’ve been making the same recipe for thirty years.  My mom always made the pudding with hard sauce (dark rum) at Christmas and it’s a holiday favorite with the family.

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As well as the usual raisins, currants and spices, my recipe includes grated carrots and potato (an old English recipe)  I know that sounds weird, but it truly is delicious.  It also has chopped suet in the mix – try explaining that to someone in a grocery store in Georgia.  The first time I tried to find suet in the South, the meat manager gave me a strange look and inquired did I know what suet was. ☺

See those gold and red crackers behind the pudding? – another tradition that I brought with me from Canada.  We always have them at Christmas and New Year’s Day dinner.  It is such fun to see everyone in their silly paper crowns and to listen to the jokes and laugh at each others funny little prizes.  My son-in-law liked this tradition so much, that now his family also has the crackers at Christmas dinner.  They are becoming more common in the South now and you can find them just about anywhere.  I buy mine at the after Christmas sales (the nicer ones, like Tom Smith brand, can be quite pricey).

MERRY CHRISTMAS  

   

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