Emerald mist. #WHPteatime #tea #PhotoToaster

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Chocolate Rocket, from @davidstea. #WHPteatime #PhotoToaster #tea

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I wasn’t featured, but I like these pics.


24 Days of Tea


I was lucky enough this year to get my hot little hands on David’s Teas tea advent calendar, thanks only to my cousin (in-law), Sean Hugunin, who picked one up for me in their San Francisco store (they sold out in just a couple of hours online). Seriously, Sean, I can’t thank you enough. I really loved this!

Chocolate Orange

I got to try a huge variety of different teas; many of which I’ve never even considered tasting, such as pu’erhs and oolongs. Some of them I didn’t care for too much (turns out I really don’t like Jasmine-flavored teas AT ALL), but it was such a fun experiment, and a nice surprise each morning!

Main Squeeze

Also, it forced me out of my tea comfort zone, which was a good exercise.

Day 5: Stormy Night

My very favorite was Stormy Night (above). It was chocolatey (what a surprise, I know) and malty. I’ll for sure be purchasing some of that once my tea supply dwindles a little bit.

24 Days of Tea

It also made for some fun photo subjects! Want to see more? Check out my 24 Days of Tea set on Flickr.

Saturday Evening Posts


This image has nothing to do with this post. It is pure clickbait.

Confession time: I’ve been binge watching Gossip Girl on Netflix (Canadian Netflix is years behind the times, we only just got it),…

The “homemade irish cream” thing is the only part of this post I’m interested in.

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Donna M. Lanclos, and Erin M. Hood, in conversation with Beth Forrest Warner, share insights into a three-year U.S.-U.K. collaborative study project that identifies how students and faculty engage with technology and information sources.

This was a great year for all things photography, with posts to help you behind the camera, in front of it, when you’re shooting, and when you’re editing. Here’s a look back at our most popular photography tips, tricks, and hacks of 2013.

Have I ever told you about my love for bread? Probably not. Most people think I am all about the sweets since…

My love of Naan is overshadowed only by my love of Irish Cream.

I’m going to take the opportunity to address the points Matt raised – not because I am trying to stay “relevant,” as some might suggest (my blog is a not-for-profit personal passion and I don’t consult/train for a fee), and also not because I have a vested interest in “keeping Boolean search alive” (because I really don’t) – rather, because I am still amazed that a fundamental lack of understanding of search and information retrieval – both “manual” Boolean search and “automated” taxonomy driven and/or AI-powered semantic search – and I am constantly trying to help people not only understand both, but also appreciate their intrinsic limitations, as well as separate reality from hype.

iOS: Keeping track of all the junk you find online is never an easy task. To help you organize that stuff, Ember is an app that fits somewhere between Pinterest and Evernote, and manages to keep things simple enough that anyone can use it.

Ember works a lot like Evernote’s Web Clipper where you can quickly and easily add a picture to a collection. From there, you can add notes, create different collections, and more. The iOS version of the app is basically a simple organization app, whereas the (pricey, at $50) Mac app is a bit more feature-packed. Even still, as a simple and fast place to collect images, Ember works really well on iOS and you don’t need to use the Mac app to appreciate it.

Oh, my gosh, how I need someone to organize all my digital junk. And, while we’re at it, how ’bout my physical junk?

OK – don’t shoot me for the wording of the title of this post. We can all argue about what “better” means. I opened this thread in response to comments in a previous thread expressing concerns about what today’s students…

For those of you looking for gifts for the tea lovers among you:

This [Kickstarter] project was born of my frustration with not being able to drink my carefully-brewed, but too hot, coffee right after I made it, and it then getting cold before I had time to enjoy it. I wanted it just right.

I thought about this problem and had an inspiration: why not take the excess heat out of the too-hot coffee, store it in the wall of the mug, and then use it later to keep the coffee at a pleasant drinking temperature?

This actually sounds really cool, and I may be persuaded to fund it.

There’s something wonderful about curling up with a warm cup of tea on a freezing cold night. I’m partial to mint myself,..

This is just pretty cute. Especially if you know a scientist-type who loves tea.

Forever Nuts

Forever Nuts is a delightful herbal blend from DavidsTea that’s perfect with a little Bailey’s, just before heading to bed.


It contains beetroot so it turns pink, especially if you add some kind of creamer. (Or Bailey’s).


One of the things I quite like about it is, the following morning, the leaves act as a really good blend with almost any of the black teas I favor in the morning, adding a great nutty flavor (especially to the chocolate teas I enjoy). I don’t typically have good luck re-steeping used leaves, but this tea is different. It’s very subtle, though, so I find I have to use a lot of it (as in, three to four teaspoons for a large mug) if I want a more robust flavor.

Definitely recommended. Simple, sweet, tasty. And caffeine free!

Tea Party

I’m leaving for a conference in Florida today, so yesterday after getting back from Wisconsin I was rather harried and preoccupied. AG gave me this note:


“Dear Mommy
I hope you come soon”

It’s an invitation to a tea party. Of course, what could I do but drop everything and attend?


She had thoughtfully set the table for three, complete with table cloth, cups and saucers, spoons, and a doll’s dress for added color.


For added “Awww,” these are baby’s breath from an arrangement from her grandmother’s funeral.


“World’s Biggest Tea Party”



Thé au Chocolate

You guys, this stuff is good.
I walked into Lupicia (another tea store I visited in San Fran) and told the guy there that I like my teas really sweet. He seemed a little affronted: “Well, we don’t have anything really sweet or really anything. We pride ourselves on teas with balance.” Whatever, tea zen dude, in my mind, the sweeter the tea, the better the taste.

He recommended their Thé au Chocolate, and that was a good choice. It tastes like hot chocolate, but – sophisticated hot chocolate.
UntitledHot chocolate with balance.


Pumpkin Chai

Hey! Tea for Tuesdays is back.


I was in San Francisco a few weeks back, and one of the things that I did while there was purchase a lot of tea. One of the places I went to was DavidsTea, which I’ve been meaning to try for a while now. They have a lot of flavored teas, which I’m all about (serious tea drinkers are now clutching their pearls. They should just stop reading now, because I’m going to put in milk and sugar). Basically I want my tea to taste like chocolate, caramel, almonds, cream … you get the idea.


One of the teas I purchased at Davids was Pumpkin Chai. So yummy! Creamy and sweet, with a twinge of pumpkin spice. It maybe could use a little more spice? I make my teas pretty strong (typically 3-4 teaspoons for a 2-cup mug), but I dilute them with half-and-half, so maybe it’s not fair of me to suggest the tea isn’t spicy enough.

Let me tell you, I have tried every kind of creamer and creamer substitute: soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, 2% cow milk, whole milk, heavy whipping cream … and half-and-half is the best (sorry, vegan friends). Just the right amount of thickness and creaminess. I use four tablespoons.


Yeah, I know that’s a lot. It’s really good, though.

I also pretty routinely add two teaspoons of sugar.

Tali’s Masala Chai


This is good stuff, Maynard.

Tali’s Masala Chai from Art of Tea is really yummy. It smells deliciously nutty, and it has a smooth, nutty taste that really goes down nicely. I can’t think of any other way to describe it, and I couldn’t tell you what kind of nuts it tastes like – really mellow and malty, though. There aren’t nuts in it, but that’s really what it tastes like to me. In fact, according to Art of Tea, there are only five ingredients: Organic Black Loose Leaf Tea, Organic Cardamom, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Cloves, and Organic Ginger. The ginger provides a little, tiny bite at the end of a sip. Not too strong.

It doesn’t really taste like the chais I’m accustomed to (maybe I should put a little more cardamom in it on my own?), but I really, really like it. In fact, it’s become my favorite chai. I brew it for 4 minutes, 20 seconds (I actually experimented with different times on this one!), and I add about 1/4 cup 1% milk and one or two teaspoons sugar to it. Highly recommended!

Squee! New tea!

This was waiting for me at work this morning. @artoftea #tea #PhotoToaster

The tea order that I placed a while ago came in on Friday! But I had it sent to my office, and I didn’t go into the office on Friday (had to stay home with kiddo who was temporarily without childcare), and, although I was scheduled to go in on Sunday, I didn’t, because of a giant, nasty storm (it really would’ve been nice to have the tea then …).

Anyway, I have the tea now! But I haven’t had an adequate amount of time to taste any of them before reviewing them. You know, because it’s so important to my public that I have time to reflect on this. For science and all. So! Expect a review of one of these next week.

I can tell you that they all smell and look wonderful …