Thursday, August 28, 2014

Steeping Beauty: This is a real head turner!

So many uses for tea I keep saying! It’s found in many beauty products from creams and lotions, to shampoos and scrubs…the list is endless. Of course you can make up your own recipes right at home. All you need is tea, perhaps a few other ingredients, and a little time and patience.

My trademark hair is long, dark, with reddish highlights, and I do my best to look after it. One way I take care of it is by rinsing it with black (red) tea. It’s very simple and you need not purchase high quality, expensive loose leaf teas. Use tea bags instead. Red Rose, Tetley, Lipton, even a no-name brand will do. Brew up some tea as normal and allow the tea to cool down completely. I brew my tea for much longer than if I were to drink it. Going well over 20 minutes is fine. I also make enough to fill a small spray bottle allowing me to have it ready to go for another time. 

Put your hands up!

After the tea has completely cooled down, simple pour it into a spray bottle, and spray onto your hair. Make sure your hair is totally saturated with the tea. Pin up your hair, and relax for about 20 minutes. You can also, ladle the tea over your hair, catching it in a bucket to repeat several times before discarding it. After the time is up, wash it out. Shampoo if you desire, or just rinse out with water. Your hair will look radiant over many applications!

Hit me with your best shot!

Apparently tea rinses can help darken grey hair. Perhaps not entirely, but I’ll have to wait several more years for me to confirm this claim. Some even believe their hair becomes stronger and prevents shedding after several rinses with tea. This might have something to do with all the incredible nutrients and antioxidants tea has. 

Blondes can also do a rinse using Chamomile as I mentioned in a previous post. I suppose redheads could try Rooibos to enhance their hair colour as well.

If anyone was able to turn their grey hair darker with a tea rinse, let me know. Would love to know if it works.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sippin’ by the lake!

Up until this last weekend, I hadn't been to Harbourfront Centre for about a year. It’s a lovely area by the lake and there’s always something to do there especially in the summer with so many cultural and foodie events. In the last couple of years, there have even been a few tea events. I decided to attend a couple of them during the Hot & Spicy Food Festival.

The first event I attended was a cooking demonstration for Chocolate Cayenne Shortbread Cookies along with a lecture on Victorian Afternoon Tea by Marilyn Mirabelli of Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas.

Fit for tea!

She discussed the history of afternoon tea, table-setting, tea wares, tea preparation, and etiquette. The shortbread cookies had a twist in that they included cayenne pepper as an ingredient which added a kick near the end of each bite. Everyone had a chance to sample the cookies along with cups of Red Rose tea, and we were all provided with a copy of the recipe for home baking.

Spiced-up cookies!

The second event was held in the evening and was presented by my fellow Tea Sommelier, Carol whose events I've attended in the past. Her show was called The Art of Throwing a Sizzling Hot Cocktail Party. Carol talked about required bar and food items, party themes, mood music, and activities. As well, she demonstrated how to make some popular drinks and prepared various finger foods and dips. One of the drinks she made was a Sweet Southern Tea which is very much like iced tea. A member of the audience, who happened to be a bartender, volunteered to make a pomegranate cocktail using the sweet tea and slices of citrus fruits.

Though Carol’s presentation was not centred on tea as her other events, it was still interesting to see how to put together an affordable Mardi Gras themed party with a little imagination and creativity. A booklet of all the drink and food recipes were also provided to all the attendees.

Life of the party!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A cold one for the lazy girl!

A few weeks ago, a friend and I attended the first ever Taste of Toronto. I was lucky enough to win the tickets by correctly answering a tea trivia question from one of my Twitter followers. The event was quite good. There were plenty of yummy samples to try along with more higher-end offerings available for purchase.

There were a lot of tea vendors, so naturally I lingered a little longer at their booths. One vendor had a display for an iced tea called Pure Leaf, which I had never heard of. As I sipped on my sample, the vendor was explaining what Pure Leaf was: a product with no preservatives, added colour, or artificial flavouring. It was just tea brewed from the selected tea leaves grown on some of the best plantations around the world. 

Ready to go!

I loved it! It really did taste like a cup of freshly brewed tea. It was not artificial tasting or overly sweet and masked with so much lemon flavouring like one of its popular competitors which always deterred me from purchasing and consuming it. I sampled the lemon flavoured iced tea, but there was also a raspberry flavour as well as unsweetened flavours.

The great thing about attending foodie events is the many coupons and discounts you are offered. I received a couple of coupons from Pure Leaf which I so happily took and redeemed immediately! Hey, as much as I love brewing up my own iced tea, sometimes you get a little lazy and want someone else to do all the hard work. Nothing wrong with that, and this just hit the spot!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My Cuppa: Tea for stayin’ alive!

Thought I'd start off August with another tea review. I was given some packets of a PC brand tea from a friend who thought it might be good for me to try when I was feeling a little under the weather. It's called "Feeling Revitalized", a green tea with ginseng and astragalus. Huh?

I scanned the list of ingredients on the packet. It contained plenty of items, some of which were well known: Ginger Root, Green Tea Leaves, Rooibos Leaves, Peppermint Leaves, Yerba Maté Leaves, and Rosemary Leaves. As well, a variety of lesser known ingredients:

Siberian Ginseng Root - Fights fatigue, increases overall energy, and also enhances memory.

Gotu Kola Herb - Used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, this is a small herbaceous plant. It is found in beauty products, used as a treatment for varicose veins and heals wounds.

Astragalus Root - Used in traditional Chinese medicine, it helps slowdown the aging process, improves energy, and stimulates the immune system.

Guarana Seed Extract - Contains a high concentration of caffeine and is often used in soda and energy drinks.

The list of ingredients also included some natural flavouring but no indication as to what that was.

The scent through the tea bag was pleasant and earthy. I could detect hints of ginger, rosemary, and peppermint the most.

Nope...not beer!

The leaves produced a golden yellow colour, a little cloudy, almost like beer. The aroma was mostly that of ginger and rosemary. It tasted like ginger, but I found the feel of the liquor a bit thin. It wasn't bad. Drinkable, but not something I would run out and purchase immediately. However, I did feel a little more upbeat and alert after consuming it.