Amandine Rose

If you are a tea-lover and have not been to a Teavana, you are depriving yourself of a wonderful experience. If you are not a tea-lover, then you will find this post utterly boring.

Teavana is a magical place filled with delightful smells and lovely tea accessories. There are sample stations scattered around the store so that you can sip while you shop (in every Teavana I have visited, the samples are the same). They have cast-iron teapots, British-style tea sets, special tools for making the perfect cup, and even books about tea. The salespeople are rarely hover-y, but if you ask, they are more than willing to discuss their favorite teas with you. I give only one rule to poor tea-lovers like myself: do not look at the prices. If you do, the spell will be broken. Checking prices in Teavana is akin to touching treasure in the Cave of Wonders. If you refrain from peeking at the little white stickers, the experience will be wonderful.

I go to Teavana whenever I get the chance, just to take in the sights and scents. The employees at the one in Memphis are beginning to recognize me. Last week, however, was the first time I bought anything.

I was online the morning of my visit, looking up various types of teas, not just on Teavana’s site, when I came across it: Amandine Rose. Teavana’s site describes it thusly:

“Travel the globe to faraway Scandinavia where we’ve found the creamiest of marzipans and added a scrumptious decadent mix of toasted roasted almonds from the West, nutty cinnamon and sweet saffron from the exotic East. This truly delicious dessert tea adds a pale blush of red rose petals taking you far away on a decadent black tea journey…Full-bodied nutty infusion with cinnamon and rose undertones.”

I was in love. I was already planning to go out that day–in fact, one of my errands was right across the street from Teavana. My parents needed to go to that part of town as well, so they dropped me off and said they would meet me later. When my errand was finished, I couldn’t resist the call of Amandine Rose. I made the trek across the street (which was made more difficult by construction, a busy intersection, and a decided lack of sidewalk). Once inside, I asked the saleswoman if I could examine the Amandine Rose. It smelled as amazing as its description promised. “I’ll take two ounces,” I told the saleswoman. She measured the appropriate amount into a canister and pressed on a label with instructions for brewing.

I exited the store triumphantly, my first Teavana purchase swinging from my arm. When I returned home, the first thing I did was prepare a cup of it. The result was heavenly. As I told a friend, my firstborn will be named for this tea. The photograph below is of me with my tea (and my tea ducky, because my tea ducky is adorable).

 

 
 

 

A Chocophile Gives up Sugar

Four weeks ago tomorrow, I gave up sugar. Those of you who know me know that I am a sugar addict; giving it up was a very difficult thing to do. In fact, it seemed like (and many told me it was) a crazy thing to do. Why give up something you love so much?

Four weeks ago, I was listening to a CD lecture about physical fitness.While I am by no stretch a health nut, I do want to take care of my body. God has called us to be good stewards of what he has given us, and the first thing that we receive from him is a body. The speaker on the CD said that there were three things that one could give up to vastly improve one’s health. I was immediately interested. Surely I could do three things? Besides, who doesn’t love a challenge? Those three things were:  MSG, hydrogenated oils, and sugar. MSG isn’t too much of a problem in my life. While I do like Chinese food,I am otherwise good at avoiding MSG. Hydrogenated oils are more difficult. They are in everything. I decided to wait until my self-control pertaining to food was a bit stronger before attempting to cut them out of my diet. But sugar? I thought about it. I could give up sugar. I mean, sure, I like sugar. Yes, I have a monstrous sweet-tooth. Indeed, I put two or three spoonfuls of the stuff in my tea. But that doesn’t mean I can’t give it up, right?

I did some research and made myself some guidelines: I could have up to
forty grams of sugar a day. I would give myself a once-a-week cheat day
in which I could eat whatever I wanted. My cravings could wait until then.
The first day was easy. I had just made the decision, and all I had to do
follow-through. I informed my parents what I was doing (they laughed and
assumed that I was joking), and began to check the labels of everything
that I consumed. It turns out that sugar is in a lot of foods. No matter–
I could do it. The second day was more difficult. I wanted sugar! I had
to have something sweet. The solution turned out to be this:  If I were
very good throughout the day (less than 20 grams), I could have a very
small portion of ice cream in the evening (three and one half ounces of ice
cream, depending on the type, has only seventeen grams of sugar).

The hardest part was shifting from sweetened to unsweetened tea and coffee.
As I said, I like my tea on the sweet side. Two months ago, I couldn’t
drink more than one sip of unsweetened tea at a time. Now that I’ve adjusted,
however, I’m guzzling my English breakfast without sugar. I still have to
put creamer in my coffee, though (the creamer I use has five grams of sugar
but I don’t add more).When I told G about my personal challenge, he informed me that he had (unintentionally) done the same thing. Since he had moved, he simply hadn’t had anything sweet. This was something that we could do together, even as far apart as we were. After three weeks, though, G had to stop; he was losing too much weight, and needed to put sugar back into his diet. I have not had that problem, so I am continuing with my forty gram a day limit.

I’ve only lost control twice. Once was my great-uncle’s birthday party, and
I felt it necessary to eat the cake (it would have been rude not to, right?).
The other was last week. I wasn’t feeling very well, so I went to Sonic and
got some ice cream. It was worth it. Other than those two slip-ups, though,
I’ve managed to keep myself in check. Now if I could only make myself work
out as much as I should.