best of 2013.

2013.  what a ride you were.  i can honestly say you held some of the best & worst moments.  you were challenging and frustrating and trying and honest.  and yet, at the same time, you were surprising, full of new experiences, love, magic and most of all, growth.

i didn't document much this year- and that's okay.  i lived.  i embraced.  i forgave.  i moved.  i learned.  sometimes without even knowing it, i did what i needed to do.  and in the end, it made this past year perfect.

so adios 2013.  i know this next year will hold much wonder and joy- and for that, i'm thrilled.

christmas 2013.

christmas this year was magic.  
a. and i picked up our tree on a random tuesday night.  
we decorated our home.  
we visited brightly lit neighborhoods and ventured to festive events throughout the month.
we received holiday cards from loved ones near and far.
we made homemade kielbasa and wrapped presents.  
we celebrated christmas eve with our annual fondue fest.
we bonfired often.
we basked in amazingly warm san diego weather.
we surrounded ourselves with family and friends.
we opened presents.
we laughed.
we loved.
we celebrated.
christmas, you're my favorite, one million times over.


tea time.

from left to right: tie kwan yin, glass mug, tea maker, cast iron teapot, tea spoon, countess of seville

i love tea.  generally, i drink a few cups a day- one or two in the morning, another around 3:00 in the afternoon and finally, an herbal tea before bed- assuming i don't choose an adult beverage instead.

but i have to be honest, while i've always loved tea, i never truly became obsessed until a. and i purchased this coffee/hot water maker.  it's awesome because water's always hot and ready- making it perfect for an impromptu cup of tea at anytime of the day or night.

as my interest in tea has grown, so has my desire for more specialized tea accessories.  i love loose leaf tea, so the tea maker and cast iron tea pots make using the loose stuff convenient, and since it's a bit more expensive, the tea spoon helps me gauge how much tea i'm using per cup.  win-win-win.

in addition to finding tea at our local farmers market, i also buy from teavana and david's tea.  there's a ton of flavors out there- so that can be a little overwhelming.  i recommend starting with what you like or making a purchase with a friend and split the loot.  i'm a bit of a purist...green, black and oolong are my go-to choices.  but i've also experimented with buying some fruity herbal teas and mix them with mate or another base flavor.  it's a fun way to find your fave combination.

if you're looking for a last-minute gift for the tea-lover in your life, i'd say start with anything listed above.  i guarantee they'll be happy campers.