Masala Chai

In February, I spent five weeks in India completing yoga teacher training. The experience was one I won’t forget anytime soon but something that will stick with me for life is my newfound love of chai. I knew before going that I wanted to drink as much chai as possible. Now I have a full-blown addiction.

‘Chai’ and ‘cha’ means tea in many languages from India to Africa to China and beyond. The particular chai in India is masala chai. Much like chai, masala the word is used in many different ways and refers to a mix of spices. One goal upon returning to China is to master my own masala chai at home. I brought back spices from India, have experimented a bit and am still working on the perfect cup. As it may take a while for my chai to be as good as Indian chai, I thought I would share some recipes that are getting me close to the real thing. I’ve been playing around with recipes from the always trusty The Kitchn blog and this recipe.  Two tips: cardamom and ginger are key – Jai jai for chai!

Chai chai

Masala Chai

SWSW: Check This Out

My best spring breaks both took place in Texas and both involved Ashley. There is just something that draws me to that state and that classy lady. Our trips to South Padre Island and SXSW top the spring break list.

And it’s that time of year again – Spring Break. Although I won’t be heading South (or anywhere), this time of year always makes me think back. Every year I love following the SXSW happenings through the news and two of favorite podcasts: Sound Opinions and NPR’s All Things Considered. One gem I recently found was All Things Considered’s Austin 100 – a playlist they put together every year with interesting bands playing at the festival. The playlist is a great way to see what’s going on and find some cool new bands to listen to. It’s a free download (for the month of March only, so hurry!) and available on Spotify. Happy listening!

[Editor’s Note: Neither Ann nor Ashley could find electronic photographs from these epic trips!]

 

 

SWSW: Check This Out

Tasty Tea

While I absolutely hate the word ‘detox,’ this is sort of a recipe for a ‘detox’ tea, but for our sake lets called it ginger party tea time!

Little rant: detox, okay people what are those ‘toxins’ that everyone says they are ‘getting rid of?’ Just ask, and you’ll most likely be met with a befuddled face. Why can’t we just enjoy good food and good times? Sure there are times where I’ve eaten (and/or drank) too much and need to drink some more water and eat a little lighter, but a detox, no thanks.

Rant over and on to tea. I’ve thoroughly enjoying this tea on Sunday afternoons when I have some time to use real ginger. A little ginger, lemon, turmeric and cayenne  –  ends up spicy and wakes me up!

Get the recipe here and enjoy!2016-01-03 15.20.42

 

Tasty Tea

Hair Do: Curly Side Sweep

I am in a bit of a hair rut. Having curly hair every day for the past 30 years gets a bit old. However, the last visit to my salon sparked a new idea. My hairdresser suggested embracing my inner 80s. I swept one side of my hair to the other, secured with bobby pins and, voila, a funky do. It felt a little weird to leave the other side long and loose, but I got a lot of compliments on the new do. I’m adding it to the rotation.

Hair Do: Curly Side Sweep

My Favorite Hangover Cure

It happens to the best of us. We drink one, two (OK, maybe five) too many drinks one night and feel the after effects the next morning. My go-to fix is always drinking a big glass of water and popping two Advil the minute I wake up. A few Sundays ago, my sure-fire fix wasn’t making a dent in my mood. So the fabulous Skip whipped up the next best thing – breakfast nachos.

Hearty, filling, just bad-for-you enough to make the hangover go away, breakfast nachos feel naughty but don’t give you the gut-bomb feeling of some greasier fare. Since I don’t eat cheese, I topped my pile of chips off with eggs, avocado, salsa and chorizo. What’s your hangover fix?

Hang Over Food

 

 

My Favorite Hangover Cure

High Tea at House of Commons

As I typed this title, I had to giggle. Knowing I live in Denver, one might think this post is about some sort of weed-laced tea. While I am sure this exists, my coworkers and I decided to be fancy and meet for regular, drug-free afternoon tea at House of Commons. And I have to tell you, I don’t know why this ritual isn’t more popular in America!

We were served multiple types of tea complete with soy milk and sugar cubes. Dainty horseradish sandwiches, scones with lemon curd and white cake petit fours. We gossiped and laughed the afternoon away. This is going on my list of must-dos for out-of-town visitors.

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High Tea at House of Commons

Explorations: Ski Season is Finally Here

Before moving to Denver, I had skied twice in my life. Needless to say, I was no expert. But the amazing ladies I met in Denver all snowboarded so I figured I would give it a try. Eight seasons later, nothing compares to the rush I get floating down the mountain on my snowboard.

Usually I have a day or two under my belt by the end of December but with the wedding and work, I wasn’t able to head up the hill until the year was nearly complete. Winter Park received about 10 inches a few days before the weekend so we were treated to great snow and even a bit of fresh powder in the trees.

No matter how bad traffic might be, how long I have to wait in line, this view makes it all worth it!

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Explorations: Ski Season is Finally Here

Ann’s Top Three iPhone Apps

Our phones. Our thirds arms. We can’t do without them (okay, we probably can). In honor of that third arm, below are my three favorite iPhone apps.

Affirmations: A bit corny but using this app is a great way to start the day. Too often I reach for my phone to check my e-mail or social media but taking a few seconds to check the daily app and dwell on this before getting out of bed and checking my other things is a great way to start the day and always helps put your day in perspective.

Instapaper: This is a great app for when I want to read something but can’t take the time to read it then and there. I receive two newsletters, one in the morning – The Skimm –  and one at night – Next Draft – and they often link to great long-form stories. So I save them on Instapaper for times like waiting at the elevator or reading before bed.

WeChat: The be-all, end-all of apps in China. If you don’t have WeChat you aren’t a person. It is a great app. I mostly use it for communication, social sharing and paying/sending money but it can be used for just about anything: ordering items, booking a taxi, paying bills, booking different appointments, etc.

P.S. Nike+ Training Club is a good workout app but I don’t use it as often as I probably should. Also, interesting tidbit, in China they don’t say app but instead A.P.P. – pronouncing each letter.

Ann’s Top Three iPhone Apps

Quick & Easy: Tarragon Chicken

In an effort to bring more health into my life, I’ve been trying to cook at home more. Living in Shanghai, I have never eaten out more in my life. This is good for my taste buds and bad for my wallet, but nothing beats a home-cooked meal.  One of my favorites as of late is Chicken Tarragon, a quick dish that feels decadent.

This recipe is so simple to put together. I think of it as “healthy” as I use coconut milk to get that creamy taste and it has vegetables. There is no hint of coconut, only the rich flavor of tarragon shining through. Even my mushroom-avert boyfriend loved this dish.

The only picture I have is the horrible one below as I had got home from a day of work to prepare this for a Friday night meal and was more focused on getting wine in the glass and food in my tum than taking pics.

Check out the easy, delicious recipe here.

Tarragon Chicken-

Quick & Easy: Tarragon Chicken

Face Product: Keihls

The older I get the worse my skin becomes. My sun spots and discoloration have become darker and cover more of my face. My face is strategically turned so the photo below doesn’t show ‘the bad side’ of my face but you can see the spots along my lip and cheek area. Concealer does not cover this and it is embarrassing! I’m blaming these unsightly spots on the environment in China speeding up the breakdown of my skin. Seriously, I’ve aged five years in the one year I have been here. It’s a sad story and one that’s forced me to take a closer look at my products. A drugstore fan I am but there’s two products that I can attest to and that are worth the splurge.

Ann's spotsKiehl’s clearly corrective dark spot solution and Murad radiance serum are the two products I’ve used with success. After trying home remedies and numerous other potions these two, (not to be used at the same time) have both given me a more even complexion. I used Murads after receiving a free trial after a facial, but especially like the Kiehl’s serum as it not only decreases existing dark spots, but it also prevents dark spots from happening in the future.  Both are pricey but when you have spots as bad as mine it’s worth it!

Kiehls clearly corrective dark spot serum

Face Product: Keihls