Tag Archives: tea

Year in Review: 2014

Moving Forward
Moving Forward

In the Christmas television classic, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, there’s a song that always rings true to me. It’s called, “Put One Foot in Front of the Other.” The crux of the lyrics is that change can come from just standing up and taking a few steps in a new direction. And, that’s what I tried to do in 2014 with my blog.

I continued to enter contests that would win me cash and prizes, but I also entered those that would challenge me. There were three examples of this.

The first involved taking photos of public art in Port Moody. I had hoped that one of my photos might be chosen and featured in the city’s 2015 calendar. Unfortunately, none of them were, but I learned a great deal in the process. I realized that I wasn’t aware that there was so much art in this city. Also, the act of going out and taking photos from multiple angles and trying to capture the best light was really enjoyable, as was the editing process later. Thus, photography has become an even more important part of my life than it was before, and learning Photoshop has certainly helped with that as well.

The second contest that challenged me was the DAVIDs Tea Contest, which I have blogged about at length and I invite you to reread my post here, if you haven’t already. All I’d like to add now to what I wrote before was that enjoyed stretching my creative muscles for this contest. I’m not a huge fan of puns and this naming challenge made me think outside of my comfort zone. That’s a really great exercise for a writer and something I resolved to do more of.

Consequently, we have reached the third contest: National Novel Writing Month. Again, I wrote about this at length here. Writing a 50,000+ word novel in a month is a huge task that I think I am still recovering from! Yet, I’m proud that I stuck it out. I’m happy I learned things through the research process and even waxed nostalgic about the early 1990s! In the end, I did win ten free ebooks from Kobo that added up to almost $50. I will really enjoy reading these in the coming winter months, especially as some focus on how to become a better writer.

So, that’s it. 2014. Not a year that I really enjoyed, but certainly one filled with lots of learning and adventure. I’m looking forward to 2015 and more opportunities to become a better writer, editor, and person. All the best to all of you!

*Total cash and prizes won in 2014: approximately $240.00

How I Didn’t Quite Win A Tea Contest

The Contest

As some of you know, Davids Tea has a Mystery Tea Contest each year. They put out a blend for sampling and ask customers to submit names, based on the taste and ingredients in the tea. This year’s tea was a white tea blend of pineapple, melon, and mango. So, I was one of the customers who submitted names.

Coming Up With The Name

I believe the company got hundreds of names, as one customer announced on Twitter that she alone had submitted 35. The name I came up with occurred to me after tasting the tea at the Gastown store and having the clerk remind me how much Davids Tea likes puns (last year’s winner was “Mint to Be”). I was trying to think of words that rhymed with “melon”, rather than mango, as Davids Tea already has a number of mango-related names. Believe me, nothing good rhymes with pineapple.

Helen rhymes with melon. Famous people named Helen: Helen Keller, Helen Hayes…Helen of Troy! Thus, “Melon of Troy” was born and submitted to Davids Tea.

Making It To The Top Ten

After I sent in “Melon of Troy”, I kind of forgot about the contest. However, I wanted to vote when I saw a reminder notice on Facebook. I looked at the list of the top ten names and “Melon of Troy” was there! I was so elated. I’d been having a rather dull week and this surprise made things much better.

I started campaigning for “Melon of Troy”: sending out Tweets, posting on Facebook, e-mailing my friends and family, and even making an announcement in my graphic design class. I connected with a young woman on Twitter who tweeted that she was the originator of “Honey-I-Dew”. I was really impressed by such a creative submission and liked it almost as much as my own, and certainly more than the other options.

Finding Out I Didn’t Win

Tonight, on the way home from my Photoshop class, I found out that “Honey-I-Dew” won. I am a bit disappointed. Not because I didn’t win 250 grams of the tea, which frankly I didn’t like that much, but simply because it’s nice to have your creativity validated. I hope the nice young woman from Montreal who won is happy and will smile when she sees “Honey-I-Dew” on the Davids Tea wall in 2015. I am going to try not to wince. Maybe, I’ll just avert my eyes from the white tea section and remind myself that there’s always next year. 

Thank You For Voting and What I’m Up To Next

I’d like to thank everyone who voted for “Melon of Troy”. It was nice to have support from so many friends and family members. As that great sage Clarence from It’s a Wonderful Life says, “No man is a failure who has friends.”

So, in terms of entering contests, I will still continue to enter contests as I see them, but the main contest I will be a part of is National Novel Writing Month. Basically, I will be writing 1667 words per day in the month of November. By the end, I should have a novel the length of The Great Gatsby, if not the quality. I win if I complete the required number of words by the end of the month. What do I win? A few discounts from online sites and the legitimacy to buy a t-shirt that says I “won” off the website. What I really win is the chance to cross off a bucket list item. I very much doubt I will show the novel to anyone when it’s finished. Yet, I’ll know I did it and it will stand as a relic of my perseverance, if nothing else.

Note: At the start of November, I will post a link if you’d like to follow my progress.

Got Craft?

Saturday morning crowd
Saturday morning crowd

Got Craft? is an inspiring event, which I have been fortunate enough to win passes to for two years running. As you can see from the picture above, I am not the only one who got up early this Saturday to marvel at all the creativity on display.

Just Beautiful!
Just Beautiful!

There’s always lots of jewellery at the show and this year I was especially struck by these gorgeous Shi Studio pendants. It was with great difficulty and tremendous self-restraint that I avoided picking up several of these beauties for myself.

Felting is so cool!
Felting is so cool!

I never get tired of checking out the felted creations at Got Craft? It is amazing how such a variety of things from wreaths to sushi displays can be created from these tiny fabric balls. If I had had more time, I might have joined one of the workshops and finally tried felting for myself. This is where Got Craft? stands out from other craft shows. Instead of just looking at all the work of others, you get the opportunity to try crafting for yourself. For example, in addition to the felting workshop, Spool of Thread had participants making fabric bows. Other workshops were also available for those who had signed up in advance.

My finds!
My finds!

So, as you can see, I didn’t entirely resist temptation and bought a few items. The first was from Karla’s Specialteas. I LOVE tea and think it is truly the best drink on the planet. However, instead of adding to my already vast collection of brews, I thought it was high time to announce to the world, via very pretty earrings, that I am a serious steeper!

Also, I love earrings and that is why I have yet again bought from Lana Betty. Her resin flower earrings are irresistible and at the show she was offering two pairs for $12; a great bargain! The red roses will be taking a trip to Greece later this month and will make a wonderful made-in-Vancouver present for my cousin.

Got Craft? has some tasty food samples, too. This year, I was won over by The Candid Confectioner and some highly original caramels. Have you ever had bourbon and orange caramels? Well, this was my first time indulging and it won’t be my last. They had an intense, memorable flavour that you must experience for yourself. Also, the texture was the right balance between hard and soft. Definitely a pleasure to chew!

Finally, on the way out the door, I signed up for Got Craft’s newsletter and received a free copy of UPPERCASE magazine. I have certainly flipped through this design-focused publication before and am very eager to give it a more in-depth look this week.

So, if you have time on Sunday, I sincerely hope you will check out Got Craft? Then, like me, get bitten by the crafting bug and start making something marvellous!

Chocolates in January

As the days turn colder and the excitement of the holiday season dies down, we find ourselves looking for warmth and quiet comfort. I found both at Rubens earlier this month.  Bundled up in my scarf and red coat, I went inside and ordered strawberry tea for myself and hot chocolate for my husband, Ryan. I paired my beverage with my two favourite chocolates: passionfruit matcha and English toffee. Ryan opted for their sinfully delicious brownie.

We sipped and munched away happily while I tried to decide how to spend the rest of my $50 this month. My thoughts turned first to my parents.  My Dad who was celebrating his name’s day in a few days, got the milk chocolate almond bark (his favourite Rubens product).  My Mom, who was planning a dinner party for 30+ people, got some sugar-free chocolate (diabetes is no fun).  Then, I remembered a friend who had just been fired. Chocolate therapy was in order and green apple truffles were the remedy of the day.

A chocolate fruit assortment was intended for another friend, but due to a bad day I had later in the month, it never reached her.  I can tell you, though, sometimes a little selfishness is very, very necessary.


For those of you following my winning ways, I am still entering contests.  Watch this space for updates!