Category Archives: Life

Tea Blending Experience

Are you a coffee or tea drinker? Tea is my drink of choice and I’m fairly knowledgeable about various teas and their health benefits. Honestly, I’ve become a bit of a snob about my tea and definitely prefer brewing loose tea over using purchased teabags.

A new tea shop recently opened in our neighborhood and I’ve been intrigued by their tea blending classes. I am always able to talk myself out of taking the time or money to treat myself to this, however. So I am pleased when a staff member gets me a gift certificate for the tea blending experience for Christmas. I get to try another “new thing”.

It takes about 6 weeks to organize this event on my calendar but I finally arrive at my tea blending class. We hear some history of tea and the health benefits of the various ingredients on our table to blend with our tea.

We have scales to measure 1 ounce of a tea base: black, green or green rooibos. Then we can add various ingredients and taste the tea until we have a blend that is our “cup of tea”.

The class provides for two 2-ounce bags of our blended tea creation. There are so many intriguing ingredients to blend with the tea bases. There are cards on each ingredient that list health benefits and suggest pairings. Available ingredients include: chamomile, hibiscus, lavender, rose petals, safflower, lemongrass, peppermint, spearmint, allspice, star anise, cocoa nibs, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and rainbow peppercorns. There is also bee pollen, licorice root and stevia for natural sweeteners.

I make a green rooibos blend with cocoa nibs and cinnamon chips and name it Mexican Green Rooibos. My green tea blend is blended with lavender, rose petals and cardamom and I name this blend Floral Green. I think they are both delicious!

What drink is your proverbial “cup of tea”?

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Winterlights at Newfields

We did a “new thing” during the holiday season by attending Winterlights at Newfields, the Indianapolis art museum.

Winterlights is impressive from the moment we first walk in the museum. The guide points out that we should look up and even the entrance atrium is decorated for the season.

The event is even more impressive from the moment we walk outside and see the bright and festive lights.

We continue walking along the path to Oldfields, the Eli Lilly mansion. The light display on the lawn is a highlight of the event, these lights are choreographed to the Nutcracker Suite. Even in the cold, it is entertaining to stand a while and watch the lights change to music.

We tour the interior of the Lilly mansion which is attractively decorated for the holidays. Then we continue browsing the grounds and enjoying the light displays. Another highlight is a tree decorated with kiddie swimming pools and other play toys.

So creative! And what is not to like about a pretty tree in my favorite color? Maybe this is a new tradition?

Kids Move Back Home

I actually still did “new things” in 2017 – I just didn’t share. The year started with an unexpected “new thing” when our college “senior” moved back home in January. Much of the year was spent getting him back on track and this took some emotional energy and often had me questioning myself.

Now it is 2018 and although we are not completely back on track, we are more stable and moving forward. Stay tuned for posts of new events and recipes with new ingredients.

Happy New Year! What are your goals?

Amelia Island

Previous “new thing” posts have reported about girls’ weekend, one of my original 50 new things.  This year’s trip is to Amelia Island, Florida which is a new destination city for me although I have been to Florida many times. I fly to Atlanta and meet my friend who lives in Atlanta so we can fly together to Jacksonville, Florida. 


The Omni Plantation Resort has all the ingredients for a wonderful girls’ weekend: warm weather, ocean views, walking paths, shopping and great food.  We have the added bonus this year of ocean front property so we can walk on the beach.  The weather is so gorgeous and it feels good to sleep in. 


I am grateful for any time I can walk on the beach. I love Island colors and seashells. 


You can’t beat doing next to nothing with a dear friend in 80 degree sunshine!!! What a great, fun and relaxing weekend. 

Donaldson’s Chocolates

This is a quick “new thing” post to encourage you once again to stop by those spots you drive by hundreds of times, thinking that you will stop and visit another day.  I’ve driven by Donaldson’s chocolates on I-65 in Indiana literally hundreds of times for years.  I love chocolate and have wondered about this small business but never stopped.  Usually we are in a hurry to get home or it is past closing time.  


On Valentine’s Day, I was in Lafayette for work from 9:00 – 12:00 and had a few minutes to stop on my way back to the office.  This was a quick stop to select a small box of chocolate for my husband and sons. The friendly staff gave me a sample and I picked my favorite – coconut haystacks. Yum! 

What attraction or business have you driven by a hundred times in curiosity?  Make a stop!


Virtual Reality 

I have an unexpected “new thing” this week.  Our department has a staff retreat every year at the community room of a property funded by our Affordable Housing Program grants.

After continuous improvement, team building, goal setting, naming our new online portal and lunch, we end the day with a fun activity courtesy of our database manager – we get to experience virtual reality.

I intend to pass on the activity.  I don’t want future staff retreats to include comments such as, “Remember when our department head threw up on us after virtual reality?”  But one of our analysts convinces me that the ocean diving experience does not make you feel motion sick so I decide to play along.

This is fun and cool and amazing!  I had no idea you could turn 360 degrees and see images all around.  I’m in a diving cage descending the ocean with fish and sting rays and colorful jellyfish.  I feel brave enough to peer over the edge of the diving cage. 

Very fun!  What have you done recently to get out of your comfort zone?

Indy Car Ride

My next “New Thing” is unplanned and unexpected.  I ride in a street legal Indy car. 

I am fortunate enough to work for a company that holds a nice holiday party for staff and guests. We all get dressed up and enjoy a nice meal together with some door prizes for fun.  Our 2016 event is at the Dallara car factory in Speedway, Indiana.  Did you know the Indianapolis 500 is technically in Speedway rather than Indianapolis?

The venue has some Indy 500 race displays and racing simulators.  There is also the opportunity to ride in an Indy car.  I know that my husband really wants to do this so I try to be a good sport.  Then I try to back out and sacrifice my spot for the sake of the long line but I don’t get away with that.  The staff puts a helmet on my head and  buckles me into the car!


We drive a few blocks and through a roundabout before returning to the party center. It’s not as bad as I expected, in fact, not bad at all!!  The hardest part is getting out of the car in a dress and heels…

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!!