Time For Tea: You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

What’s In My Mug: Water Sprite Oolong by Tea Runners

Here it is: the final Time For Tea post of 2017. It is also, likely, the final Time For Tea in general. I’m currently working on a new blog plan for 2018, so there is a chance it’ll look quite different. What you can always count on, however, are a lot of book reviews. But I’ll go over the plan in another post later. Today, I want to talk about something else.

Christmas is coming. As it approaches, I am reminded of the past year and what it’s brought me, both good and bad, as well as why I love Christmas. Christmas is, without a doubt, my favourite holiday. I will admit I enjoy receiving gifts—frankly I think anyone who says they don’t is lying—but the gifts are not the primary reason I love Christmas. For me, it’s all to do with spending time with people I care about. For the past few years, one of my favourite moments of the entire Christmas season was always when we would let the gate down and allow Indy to rush to his stocking for a new toy. The little guy knew what Christmas was and started sniffing it out well in advance of the day. Unfortunately, that particular piece of joy won’t be around this year, but I have many videos of it as a reminder. Of course, we do have a new puppy in our midst, and I for one sincerely hope he will gain at least a fraction of the joy Indy had on Christmas morning. It won’t be this year, of course, but in the future.

This year though, I’ve done a lot of things differently. I finally purchased my first Christmas tree and have started decorating it with homemade ornaments. It looks a little sparse this year, but I have a feeling it will be full before I know it. I also feel like I hit the mark in an incredible way with gifts this Christmas—though I cannot share those with you, since I know some people in my family read my blog and I refuse to spoil things for them.

But what I have come to realize this year is that what I have always cited as my favourite Christmas movie, is flat out my favourite movie—I mean, I’ve seen it so many times I have lost count and have yet to tire of it. I am talking, of course, about the 1966 Christmas cartoon movie, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, with Boris Karloff. I have seen the 2000 version, and while it’s not bad, I still greatly prefer the original. I also know there is going to be another version coming out next year. I fully plan on watching it (in theatres if I can), but I also feel confident I will still prefer the cartoon from 1966. If nothing else, I grew up watching it multiple times every December on television, so the emotional attachment from the memories are likely the trump card.

This month has also been marked by a burst of creativity. I think it started with creating Christmas ornaments for my tree (I painted the Grinch, BB-8, the Star Trek logo, and the Golden Snitch), but then extended to painting a selection of three themed Christmas paintings. I believe I have mentioned this before, though I did not show them at the time, since I was still working on them. The good news? I recently finished the third painting and they are now hung on my wall in the entrance to my home. Want to see them?

I bet you saw that one coming, didn’t you? I am incredibly proud of these paintings. I know I will have to take them down once Christmas is over, but at least until then they will make me smile when I walk in and out of my home.

With this in mind, I would love to know: what is your favourite Christmas memory? What is your favourite Christmas film? I would love to hear your stories and thoughts below!


Time For Tea: Paint A Picture

What’s In My Mug: White Pearls by Tea Runners

Did you know I enjoy painting?

The walls of my apartment are slowly filling up with an array of artwork, most of which I created myself, whether through a tutorial or otherwise. There’s a galaxy I painted last Christmas. There’s two Van Gogh inspired pieces. There are fiery feathers. There is a hobbit hole ready to take it’s place on my wall.

This time last year I was really just getting started with painting. It was a struggle for those first few months. I always scrutinized my pieces, to the point of tears in a few scenarios. I imagine this is what the extreme looks like when we consider how we are all our own worst critics. If I overanalyze my paintings, I still criticize more than I imagine others might say I should. Maybe. No one’s perfect.

For the past few days, though, I seem to have hit a painting bug. I finished the hobbit hole I’ve been working on for months—it’s ready to be varnished and hung on my walls. I have a renewed desire to hang the painting I was doing the night little Indy left us. I finished my first of three Christmas paintings, and started the base on my second.

I don’t know why I’ve been painting so much. I spent so much time doing different paintings and painting related projects over the last little bit—it’s all I wanted to do over the weekend. It’s interesting to me because while I enjoy painting, it never really took over like that. Frankly, if it continues I am either going to need to magically discover more wall space or start giving away paintings. I guess it helps I am doing three Christmas paintings, because I can easily take those down and rotate them with others on my wall.

I can’t wait to show them to you. The three share a theme, one quite close to my heart in more ways than one. I hope to tell you the story during my next Time For Tea post. I don’t see why I would miss it—somehow I expect I will finish the remaining two paintings by the end of this coming weekend.

It’s been…cathartic? I think that’s the right word. It’s a different feeling than reading books, I know this. Painting, for the time being, has morphed into something that will calm me and center me. It’s not the same a reading, since that can provide an escape, but it still works.

I don’t know if you enjoy painting, but I encourage you to find some sort of outlet like this, whatever form it takes. Creating something is a wonderful feeling. Just remember, it looks beautiful. No matter what.

Time For Tea: The New Years Trap

What’s In My Mug: Keemun Black from Tea Runners

First of all, I would like to extend my apologies to you for missing the previous Time For Tea. I realized late in the day of when I was supposed to post that I had nothing to really share, and I would rather have missed the post than put up something just to fill space. In any case though, you did not get the post you were supposed to and I am sorry for anyone who might have been expecting it. But now it’s time for another post!

Lately I have been thinking about New Years. Partially this is because I am basically in full on Christmas mode, but also because I’m thinking about what this past year has brought me and what the next might have in store.

I’m not completely happy with the way this year has gone. I mean, there are many things happening around the world that have made the past year an incredibly stressful one. And, of course, if you have been following me on my blog for a little while you will also know my family lost our littlest member, our family dog Indy, in June—without a doubt the worst day of the year.

It hasn’t been all bad by any means though—I’ve painted quite a bit and have read a record number of books in a year. I also donated to a charity, Lumos, for the first time and have since been researching a lot more about what they do and it’s certainly enlightening! I definitely want to continue doing good in 2018—in fact, I want to do it much more than I currently do, whatever form that takes. My parents also recently got a new puppy—I threw the name Levi into the ring and everyone seemed to agree on it (so that’s the little guy’s name).

So now my mind is constantly working and thinking about many different things. One of the dominating thoughts right now, specifically about New Years, is how I may end up falling for the New Years trap. Specifically, I am thinking about joining a gym and thought I might start that in January. Of course, I know one of the most popular resolutions is to join a gym in an effort to lose weight, so the gyms will likely be packed. That said, I also know many people drop these resolutions pretty quickly, and I just want to be sure that would not be me. If I’m paying good money for a gym membership, I want to be sure I get my money’s worth out of it, but I’m also just afraid of my resolve to get up at go all the time. I just wonder if there’s a better way to take of myself and my body—I know I need to do much better.

For instance, I know I do not get nearly enough sleep (and have known this for quite some time). I get up at around 5 or 5:30 in the morning, but often find myself still awake around 10:30 or even 11pm. Not good when you do that for five out of seven days each week. Perhaps I should start with baby steps and simply try to sleep more. This might help me figure out exactly what I need, give me more energy and motivation to do something like work out at a gym (or find the appropriate substitute).

In a few weeks I will likely share a post about my New Years resolutions, which I never really remember writing, so I guess that’s another thing I should probably do better at. Maybe joining a gym will be on it—or maybe it won’t. We’ll see!

Time For Tea: The Future

What’s In My Mug: Golden Monkey from Tea Runners

I don’t enjoy thinking about the future. It’s not so much some individual things, but what they lead to. So I do not mind thinking about how the next Star Wars movie is coming out in December, even though I am almost positive I will cry when Carrie Fisher appears on the screen. But I do not enjoy thinking about the fact that I am getting older, the people I love are getting older, and all of the developments coming (or not coming) with that. I doubt I am the only one who is astonished about how much things have changed in the past little while and who occasionally wishes they could go back in time and redo some things and do them differently.

But right now? I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with this blog in 2018. No, I don’t plan on abandoning it any time soon, but I also think it needs a change. Right now, as you might know, I post a new book review every Friday and every second week I post one of these Time For Tea posts. But next year?

Next year I don’t think I will be reading as much. Currently I am working on my 103rd book of the year, and I’ve realized you can indeed read too much. I want to be fussier with my choices. I want to savour them as much as I can. But what that means? I might not be able to do a review every Friday if I run out of reviews.

Part of the reason I want to read a little less, as I said, is because I want to savour my choices. But it’s also because I really do want to write and finish my own novel and this requires a lot of time. Time I don’t have if I try to finish a new book every few days.

I’ve written books before, given that I have participated in National Novel Writing Month a number of times, but I know I want to dedicate a lot more time than that to writing this time around. I have dreams of publishing my own stuff one day!

I think the other part of me has just read anything and everything. While on the surface this does not seem to be a bad thing, I also think being fussier about the books I choose to read increases the chances I am going to enjoy them. I can’t necessarily say I will enjoy all of them, of course, but I think being fussier will still increase my number.

So I don’t know what I am going to do with this blog next year. I know reviews will still continue, but I am also thinking about sharing experiences like if I do a readathon or updates on how my novel writing is going.

What I do know about the future of this blog in 2018 is that it will be a bright one. It will just look a little different.

Time For Tea: The Thing About Skin

What’s In My Mug: Raspberry Meringue by DavidsTea

Have you ever been jealous of other people around you who seem to have perfect skin?

I have. It’s a feeling I have been experiencing all too often lately.

I know, of course, that the women in magazines have not only professional makeup artists working on them but the photographs also often go through photo editing software—so they really are not real. That being said, I cannot help but feel the twinge every now and again.

The worst of it comes, though, with the people around me every single day. It seems like they have gorgeous skin…or at least better than mine.

Read more