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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Teavana Honey

I'm a tea lover.  I adore the inherent richness of black teas, the delightful cleansing flavors of green teas, and the dainty crisp notes of white teas.  I adore the bounty of possibilities of the flavors of herbal teas...

My love of tea is matched only by my love of honey.  Once, about 4 years ago, I learned that there were different KINDS of honey, not just the standard clover honey available at the supermarket.  There were honeys divided by primary source type, pollen content, and level of processing.  There were honeys that could cure flesh eating diseases where modern medicines had failed.  I gained a great appreciation of honeys... and at one point I had at least 10 different varieties occupying valuable cupboard space.  My mother wasn't happy.

Now, though my adoration of the sweet liquid gold has tempered, it has not waned...and when I find a variety I have not tried... I simply must taste it.

That is how I came to purchase the honeys available at Teavana.  Tea and honey.  A match made in heaven.   The varieties I purchased were the Ohi'a Lehua and Wilelaiki options.

The first had a mellow scent, grassy and warm.  After tasting it, I found that it had deep, earthy flavor, and strangely enough, didn't taste very sweet to me.  It gave light teas more depth and made black teas feel like a meal in a glass.  It was extremely rich and had a fairly decent amount of beeswax and pollen in it.

The second I tried was the Wilelaiki honey.  This one was unexpectedly ...bright.  Upon opening the jar, you're greeted with a sharp, sweet citrusy scent, like you just stuck your face into a bowl of fruit punch with extra orange juice.  It was much sweeter than the Ohi'a Lehua and VISIBLY had a lot of sugars in it.  It gave my teas a bright, slightly citrusy finish that didn't linger on the tongue and felt... clean.

I liked both the honeys.  If they weren't so blasted expensive, I'd keep them on hand.  For now, though, I'll have to stick to my favorites, acacia, canola, sunflower, and manuka.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Chinatown Snack Shopping

Back when we were in college, my friends and I would take bi-weekly trips to Chinatown for get togethers, snack shopping, and hanging out.  Everything there was always intriguing, surprising and delicious.  Back then, even though Chinatown had a touristy, campy feel to it, there were still pockets of authentic delicacies to experience.  Seasoned pork belly with fermented vegetables, roasted sea bass, tea eggs and hundred year eggs you can eat with your warm, filling soup...  So good. 

Since those days Chinatown has become more modern and feels a bit colder.  It could be because of all the construction or the fact that since my friends and I all have weird schedules we almost never go together.  Whatever the case, you can still stroll into the Chinatown Market grocery store and find some good eats. 

Left to right: Matcha kitkats, Lemon crackers, Jasmine tea, Beef udon, DIY Mount Fuji chocolates, Horn wafer candies, A different kind of Udon, Salted duck eggs, Matcha and almond pocky, Sugar cane juice, chrysanthemum tea.  YUM.

I used to buy tons of weeb crap when I went to Chinatown.  Heaps of pocky, yan yan, pocari sweat, ramune... All the Japanese junk food you could find for cheap.  My tastes have changed and I've become more open to buying new things.  For example, I've been learning to cook more foreign dishes instead of just consuming their snacks.  In fact, I rarely eat snacks and treats from Chinatown any more.  I live on tea, though. 

The filling is made from purple sweet potatoes.  Pretty good.

I'm going to save this for another day.  I don't have the patience to make these things right now.

The first "fresh Udon" soup I've had that didn't have that nasty citric acid after taste.

I'm waiting until someone can tell me the right way to eat these.

Just some green tea, almonds and chocolate.  Yum.

Lemon sandwich crackers: Some people think these are bland, but I like the combination of lightly sweet and salty

Strawberry coconut wafer cookies.  Pretty straight-forward to be honest.

Again, don't feel like fiddling with this.  This will be a rainy or sick day project.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Regal Headphones: Gothic Regency

So.  You may remember a post a while ago with a photograph of a box of Skullcandy Hesh headphones as well as a cryptic caption.  Yes?  Well, good.  I've completed the project I hinted at earlier and I'm finally comfortable with showing you guys what I made.

I started off with plain headphones of the Skullcandy Hesh variety.  I chose Skullcandy because they are GREAT brand that I trust and they aren't as expensive as Beats.  So, if I manage to seriously bork up my design, it's not like I'm out of two hundred dollars or anything.  I decided to go with the Hesh headphones because they are supposed to have better sound, a better microphone and they have more features that allow the headphones to sit cozily on your head.

The last pair of headphones I gothed up didn't have the lovely memory foam cushioned headband and the speaker cushions pressed against my head awkwardly sometimes.  The cord also presented a problem because it was permanently anchored into the headphones themselves.  That sort of design lead to the eventual death of that particular pair because the cord shorted out.  The Hesh headphones can have their cords replaced.  I managed to snag a pair on sale and avoid paying over $50 bucks for them.  SCORE!

Ok.  Here are my new lovelies.

I followed pretty much the same method as the other headphones, even included leather scraps and ribbon just like last time.  However, these headphones presented a unique problem when it cam time to clean up the residual glue and fly-aways from my sloppy E-6000 work.  Don't get on my case, my neuropathy makes my hands shake like crazy most times, so it's a miracle that I can type, let alone glue over 500 rhinestones, chain, and cabochons to a pair of headphones.

So, the fly-aways.  Because the Hesh headphones aren't made of slick, slippery plastic, but rather self-healing rubberized plastic, when I went in for clean up, my usual method of simply yanking the stray threads of glue off with tweezers meant that I peeled off a bit MORE than I intended.  I had to find a different kind of epoxy that would bond to silicone to help seal the bonds between my headphones and the rhinestones... and I'm still scared that I'll hit them against something at the wrong angle and all my hard work will go peeling off.  So far, that hasn't happened, but the E-6000/epoxy combination isn't as sturdy as I'm used to.

All in all, this was another successful decoden project.  Hopefully, it'll be another year or two before I have to make repairs to my design elements on these headphones.