Ginger Peach tea and other finds

Rosemary scented water is popular.

Rosemary

Found some fun new things this week. Mind you, when I say new, I mean new to me…my discoveries may not be cutting edge. But in case I’m not the only one…

Favorite new tea: Republic of Tea Longevity Ginger Peach. This is wonderful as a hot or iced beverage. The flavor is amazing, refreshing, and the tea comes in individual bags with no messy string or paper tag to fuss with.

Google Chrome web browser: thank you Rob! He introduced me to this browser and I like  it better than Internet Explorer…seems faster and offers some great new features.

Amazon Windowshop Beta App: A new way to shop Amazon…this is an app from the  Google Apps site. Easy to navigate through the page and lots of links to explore…Amazon just gets better and better.

Rosemary scented wash cloths: Place a lightweight wash cloth and a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary in a bowl and cover with water. Microwave one to two minutes until water is very hot. Let the cloth steep in the herb infused water. The longer the cloth steeps in the scented water, the stronger the fragrance will become. I like to reheat the bowl in the microwave just before using so the cloth is a perfect temperature…warm but not too hot. Find the Goldilocks spot for your taste. This is a refreshing way to revive after a busy day or a calming wind-down before bed. Check out the baby department for small perfect sized cloths. This also works well with a few basil leaves or any herb you prefer to substitute for the rosemary.

The best part of these finds is that they add fun, variety and functionality to routine. What’s new with you?

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The comfort of ritual

Every morning I do the same thing: I let the dogs out, push the brew button on the coffee maker, begin my day’s routine. Routine gives order and rhythm to my progress. Yet much of my routine is ordinary…just the regular steps required to get myself out the door in the morning.

Then there are the moments of my day that are about ritual. There is a subtle difference between routine and ritual in my mind. Both are words that describe repeated events. Yet “routine” captures the ordinary, “ritual” describes a more deliberate and elevated experience. Although commonly associated with religion, “ritual” can refer to any repeated behavior. For me, rituals represent choices that are about comfort, serenity, peace.

Lighting a candle at dinner, choosing soft music, brewing an evening cup of tea, reading something inspirational…these are all rituals in my day, small luxuries that soften the hard edges of life. One of the best ways to infuse a sense of serenity  is through scent. I have a special herbal soap that takes me (however briefly) to spa mode as I use it. One of my husband’s rituals is to light incense or a scented candle when he comes into the living room. Music can also contribute to ritual. My husband and I love classic Frank Sinatra and music of that era and frequently choose that genre of music to play during dinner. Or on a Saturday afternoon, the tunes may be classic rock and roll, Johnny Cash, Jack Johnson, or Southern rock …each type of music evoking a different mood, unique to the day.

Rituals can be simple, yet significant.  When my husband is home,  one of our favorite meals is a plate of fruit and cheese and a bottle of wine as we watch the sunset. Or we watch an evening sitcom with the dogs curled up beside us. Sometimes we look at each other and say, “this is the good stuff.”

Rituals slow me down, make me more contemplative. Rituals soothe me when I’m anxious, warm me when I’m chilled, and remind me that days are not meant to be just routine. There is a void in life that only the addition of ritual can fill.