Some of you may already know that I am currently in the midst of finishing my book, so here is a sneak preview into what you can expect.

I took an adventurous approach to writing this book by incorporating a lot of my personal views and experiences, rather than writing solely about tea and tea facts. My intention is to create a bond between me as an author and the message of the story, and by doing so, to allow the reader to draw personal connections to the story while getting to know me personally. My book will be filled with inspirational experiences and how I am growing as an individual who is driven by the passion of tea. I also can say that the book has a romantic feel to it, you will find that hidden among various recipes and party ideas will be moments of sharing, confession and vulnerability.

It is important to me that the reader connects with the book and its message because the book itself carries a lot of what I stand for and believe in. I would want the reader to get to know me and in doing so, cultivate an understanding of what tea is all about in relation to our life experiences and personal growth. I also want to share innovative and creative ideas, experiences and thoughts, not just about tea but also about what it means to truly get to know who you are as an individual. I want the readers to discover these new facts and ideas because ultimately it will enlighten their senses and hopefully persuade them to pursue long life dreams, aspirations and goals.

This book is a journey, and I want all the readers to embark on this wonderful opportunity to discovering something new, perhaps rediscovering something forgotten. I want this book to introduce the readers to a world of possibilities, not just when it comes to tea, but also when it comes to self discovery. This book is about growth, passion and determination, and above all – peace of mind.

Behold! Paradise does exist, and I have found it.

I know what you are thinking – is it just another resort with an average menu, a kitsch decor and a superfluous evening program? Let me reassure you, it is quite the opposite. I had the pleasure of staying at the most wonderful place, which is truly the definition of a small paradise. The reason why it is such a special place is because it made me realize how important it is to get away, and to be in the warm embrace of unfamiliarity and illumination. Let me explain. I believe that discovering a new place or being immersed in a new environment is such a healthy experience, we get distracted with new images, smells and sounds, we get drawn in by the excitement of finding something new…it takes us far away from our troubles, insecurities and preoccupations . As for illumination, I am convinced that being in a light, warm and inviting place is essential to a perfect getaway – our bodies relax, our skin’s thirst is satisfied with the much needed vitamin D and the biggest decision you will have to make that day is what hat to wear.

The place that convinced me that it is in fact possible to get away from your own thoughts is in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I won’t focus on the resort itself, but I will tell you about an experience that took my breath away – lunch at the Hacienda San Angel Gourmet. The Hacienda San Angel is a boutique hotel with stunning colonial architecture and a romantic past. Walking through it, I immediately immersed myself in a state of tranquility and bliss. The rooms are bright and spacious, with stunning views of Sierra Madre mountain range and the Guadalupe Church. Looking out from the balcony, the cobblestone streets and the terra cotta rooftops reminded me of Europe, with an array of beautiful shops, galleries and restaurants. The hotel is indeed a fusion of culture, history and beauty (no wonder it was one of Elizabeth Taylor’s favourite vacation spots)!

At my luncheon at the Hacienda San Angel Gourmet, I started with the oysters on the half shell from Baja and finished with the Pablano Chile stuffed with shrimp, accompanied by lemon risotto – absolutely delicious! While sitting at a table in one of the main verandas, I was mesmerised by the lightness of the room, a very unusual experience in such a hot climate, but it was so calming to me that I was convinced – I found it, a little piece of paradise. There is something very comforting about being able to close your eyes and feel like you are swept away by the warm breeze and brought closer to the sun. I let go of all my thoughts, and I let the warmth of the air fill my body. Now that is truly something heavenly.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Ancient PROM Gala at the Royal Ontario Museum.  As a member of the Young Patrons Circle, I attended this fundraising event in hopes of connecting with other motivated and philanthropic individuals, and it paid off. I have met many individuals who are just as passionate and interested in making a contribution to the preservation and vigor of the museum life.

The Young Patron Circle members are bound by their love for new experiences and their continuous interest in the unique connections between the ancient and the new. The Royal Ontario Museum’s galleries and exhibitions provide its visitors with an unusual bond, made upon the discovery of old artifacts and epic events in history. It is of no wonder then why I frequent events that bring me closer to uncovering the mysteries of the ancient world, they are exciting and above anything enlightening.

Now here’s the fun part – sure, the event had great music and a lively crowd, but what made it all so unusual was the dress code. Toga anyone? From Greek goddesses to the Nordic fighters, the room was filled with an array of colorful and remarkable costumes. For a moment, they all blurred together, creating an extraordinary mishmash of different cultures and eras, it was so easy to imagine that you were attending a international masquerade, only many centuries ago.

Events like these make me appreciate the time I am living in because I can learn so much about history and its secrets, and to only think how much information has been gathered, it is overwhelming. But at the same time, it is so gratifying. We often take for granted the abundance of information that exists on events that shaped who we are today. It is so important to appreciate the efforts of cultivating and preserving artifacts and their stories, because without them our understanding of the world around us would be rather dull, leaving us forever in search of answers.

So if you are like me and are fascinated by history, then grab a friend and head down to a museum, a gallery or an event that is bound to bring you closer to your roots. Get involved and get inspired! You can also read the stories of some donors and volunteers here: http://www.rom.on.ca/en/support-us/inspiring-stories.

 

 

 

There are still a few cold days left until the long awaited spring, disappointing I know, but do not despair. I have come up with a perfect hot cocktail to get you through these few remaining cold evenings.

Mix the following:

  • 4oz Rooibos Sugar Cookie or Sugar Plum or Rooibos Sweet Embrace
  • 2oz Rum
  • ½ teaspoon sugar/one cinnamon quill

Steep the tea according to how many serving you would like (1 tsp./cup), add rum of your choice (I chose gold rum) and ½ tsp. of sugar (preferably raw sugar). To make this dessert beverage an ultimate treat, I decided to go big or go home – add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and enjoy its smooth, creamy taste while it melts in the cup. So if the weather doesn’t keep you warm, make something that does!