Sunday, March 29, 2015

Things That Made Me Smile #5

Happy Sunday! First, I just want to mention that I have a new blog profile picture! My friend Dan was kind enough to snap some pictures of me for the blog and I absolutely love how they turned out! Below are a few more shots from the shoot ^_^

On to the main post! This week was a really nice week and there were so many things that made me smile that it was hard to choose only four to share with you! 

1. Soup when sick. I got a little cold this week so I've been eating lots of soup. I love soup all the time but there is something so delicious and comforting about soup when you aren't feeling 100%. Don't you guys agree?

2. Taking time to speak with friends. I feel like we get so caught up in our busy lives sometimes that we push our friends to the side. We tell ourselves that when we are less busy we will make time for a quick phone call or dinner. This week I tried to make more of a conscious effort not to do that. Even if it was just for 15 minutes I attempted to take  time away from my work and really listen to what they were saying. After all, relationships are the most important thing in our lives!

3. Writing in cursive. I've always wanted to write more in cursive. However, I'm not very quick at it so I don't use cursive when I'm taking notes in class or things like that. I've been trying lately to write more in cursive in things like letters or to-do lists. I think my cursive handwriting is really improving!

4. Practicing Japanese. After coming home from Japan I had limited opportunities to practice Japanese. It makes me so happy when I can watch some Japanese TV or speak to one of the Japanese exchange students here, my friend Moe. Even if it's not every day I feel like this really helps me keep up my Japanese!

What made you guys smile this week?

P.S. the tea of the is raspberry pineapple white tea ^_^

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Firsts: The Coffeehouse and Deli

Happy Friday! Yesterday my friend Amy and I went to a new coffee shop called The Coffeehouse and Deli. Since we only have a few weeks left until graduation, I wanted to go to a new coffee shop for my first Friday Firsts post. I thought it would be a good way to hang out with one of my friends while still being able to finish all of our studying.

The Coffeehouse and Deli has all types of coffee and, typical of a place that serves mainly coffee, has limited tea drinks. However, they do serve chai tea which is my obsession right now, so I was happy ^_^ They also serve assorted pastry items and have a full deli menu of all vegetarian/vegan items. I would definitely like to try some of their deli items sometime. They all looked so delicious!

The restaurant itself has tons of space for seating. They have an assortment of different size tables and different style chairs. I loved this since so many coffee shops have limited seating and it is hard to spread out if you have studying to do. The eclectic mix of furniture lends to a fun atmosphere which was very conducive to studying. It would also be great for eating dinner or just catching up with friends over a coffee/tea. They also have a bunch of artwork on the walls. I would love to walk around more if I go back and take a look at all the artwork!

I tried a chai tea latte and a strawberry cream cheese strudel and thought they were both delicious! My friend had a cafe mocha and was less satisfied but still thought it was good. Plus, they came in these awesome mugs! 

Overall it was a great experience and I would definitely go again. The all vegetarian/vegan menu is enough of a draw to get me to go back soon! 

Check out the Coffeehouse and Deli here!

P.S. the tea of the day was vanilla chai ^_^

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New and Improved

Welcome to the new and improved Tea Time with Taylor! 

I've been thinking a lot about this blog lately. I originally started it to document my time studying abroad in Japan. I wanted to be able to share with my family and friends all the things that I was doing and seeing while living in Tokyo for the year. When I came back from Japan I loved my blog so much I knew I was not going to give it up. However, I had trouble finding a direction for it. I don't travel a lot, so it couldn't continue to be a travel blog. I like to dress up and try new clothing styles, but I am by no means enough of a fashionista to run a fashion blog. I don't use makeup so running a beauty blog also wasn't for me. I ended up just writing posts about things that were important to me; things that I was thinking about at that point in time. 

Therefore, for a long while I've been looking for more structure to my blog. I haven't been feeling inspired and I've noticed a decline in the quality of work that I put up here. After lots of thought I decided that I want Tea Time with Taylor to be a place where people can come to find inspiration and happiness. I started a series, inspired by The Tea Drinking English Rose, of things that had made me smile during that week. I have really enjoyed blogging this series and wanted to add on to it. So, enough chit chat! Here are the changes that I will be making to the blog! 

First, I have obviously changed the look of the blog. Do you guys like the new design? Anything you would like to see different?

Second, every Sunday I will be continuing with the Things That Made Me Smile posts. I'm super excited to share with you all the little things that make me smile throughout the week! 

Third, every Wednesday I will be starting a series called Weekly Inspiration. On this day I will be sharing something that inspired me that week. It could be a quote, a person, a book, a movie, some pictures, etc. The possibilities are endless! 

Finally, on Fridays I will be starting a series called Friday Firsts. Each week I will be trying something new. It could be a new type of tea, a new hairstyle, a new restaurant I ate at, or a cool new experience that I had! If you guys have any things you want me to try let me know! I would love to try out your suggestions and tell you what I thought about them. 

In between these posts I will still write about the things that are on my mind or travel posts if I happen to go somewhere. I love posts like this but they just weren't enough to keep me inspired.

I can't wait to see how this new structure will work out! Hopefully it will inspire me to write more often and put more effort into my writing! I hope it will also give you guys more to look forward to since you will have set posts to look forward to! 

P.S. the tea of the day is strawberry grapefruit green tea ^_^

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Things That Made Me Smile #4

Life has been absolutely lovely lately, so I thought I would share a few of the things that have put a smile on my face recently ^_^

1. Warm weather. Spring is here and it actually feels like it in Illinois! I've ditched my winter wear for light sweaters and brighter colors. Going outside everyday is now fun instead of a pain! 

2. Mail. I simply adore getting letters in the mail! This letter is from one of my friends in Japan, Erika. Getting letters is one of my favorite things in the world, so if you want to start writing letters just let me know! 

3. Freshening up my look. Last weekend I went and got my hair trimmed and bought a few new pieces of clothing at the mall. It wasn't a huge shopping spree but it was still fun! It's amazing how much only a few items can reinvigorate your wardrobe. 

4. Morning tea. I'm usually more of an evening tea drinker since I am too lazy to make it in the morning. Lately though, I've been making a mug each morning and it's wonderful! Now I wake up looking forward to the fact that I'll have a cup of tea in a few minutes. 

What has made you guys smile recently?

P.S. the tea of the day is green tea ^_^

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#iamimperfectlyme Week 4

Today marks the fourth week that I have been doing my #iamimperfectlyme Lent challenge (see what it's all about here). I thought I would give you guys a little update of how it's going! 

Since I wrote my last post (see it here) all the thoughts that I have put into my negative thought jar have been about my body. Whether it's that I am fat, I don't look good that day, etc., they all revolve around my appearance. I was thinking about this and I feel like this is due to the media. We are constantly told that we need to have the perfect body, even if that body is unobtainable. I've been trying really hard, every time I have a bad thought about my body, to think about it logically. 

For example, one of the thoughts I have frequently is that because my posture when I sit is poor I look fat. My posture being poor and me being fat are completely unrelated. If I want to fix my posture that's one thing. I can consciously sit up more or I can do yoga to work on my posture. Just because I am not sitting up straight does not automatically mean that I am fat. Thinking about my thoughts like this helps me realize how irrational these thoughts are.

One good thing I have noticed, however, is that most days I don't have too many negative thoughts. I can go whole days without thinking badly of myself. Part of this is that I am just busy. I only have about 5 weeks left of university before graduation. I think the majority, though, is that I have made such a conscious effort to stop thoughts in their tracks. I am able to occupy my mind with other topics, not just bad things about myself. 

Connected to this, I have also noticed that my thoughts tend to be constructive. I think things like "sit up straight" or "wash your face soon" instead of thinking that I look fat or ugly. This has overall made me happier with myself. I have found myself presenting myself better, dressing well, doing my hair every day, etc. I feel much more confident with myself and I enjoy putting the effort in every day. Sometimes when we feel fat, ugly, or whatever we think is wrong with ourselves, we don't want to put in any effort to ourselves. We don't get dressed in the morning, we don't shower for a few days and then we inevitably just feel worse about ourselves. It turns into a cycle that we can't get out of easily. 

These four weeks of this challenge have showed me how much strength I have. I am learning how much confidence I have in myself. This confidence generates a positive cycle in my life. I feel better about my appearance so I present myself better. Seeing that I look nice each day makes me feel better about myself, and the cycle continues. 

Overall, I think that so far this challenge has had a very positive effect on my life. I am obviously not perfect and still think bad things about myself. However, I am better able to stop these thoughts in their tracks and tell myself why this thought is wrong. 

The challenge is ending soon, so I'll do another post towards the end of it!

P.S. the tea of the day is chai tea ^_^

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Women Who Inspire Me

The other day my friend Katie suggested that I write a blog about the people who inspire me. As I brainstormed I realized that the most inspirational people in my life are all women. I planned on writing this post today before I realized that it is International Women's Day, so I ended up planning this perfectly without even knowing it!

1. Audrey Hepburn
I loved Audrey Hepburn the moment I saw my first film with her in it. As I've learned more about her I only became more impressed and inspired. She always looked classy and well put together. In addition, she was a huge advocate for human rights after she finished her acting career. What's not to love?

2. The Bronte Sisters
My favorite novel in the whole world is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I kept reading her works and eventually branched out into reading the other sisters' works as well. I've absolutely adored everything they wrote. Plus, they first submitted their work under male pseudonyms since the books they were writing weren't seen as proper for a woman to write at the time. Isn't that just too cool?!

3. Emma Watson
I, along with everyone else in the world, have a huge crush on Emma Watson. Like Audrey Hepburn she always looks classy. Additionally, she continued on to university after finishing the Harry Potter movies even though she had enough money to not need to go to school. Finally, she has became the UN ambassador for the He For She campaign. Seriously though, could she be more awesome?

4. Essena O'Neill
Essena O'Neill is an Australian blogger/Instagrammer/YouTuber. She mainly posts about her veganism but she has other unrelated posts as well. I love her outlook on life and I've learned so much about veganism from her even though I'm not vegan.
Her YouTube
Her blog

5. Brooke Saward
Brooke Saward is another Australian blogger/Instagrammer/YouTuber. Her blog is a travel blog where she writes about her solo travels around the world. I am so inspired to chase my dreams whenever I read one of her posts. You should definitely check her out, even if it's just to see her awesome travel photos!
Her YouTube
Her blog

6. Rachel Brathen
Rachel Brathen is a Swedish yogi who lives in Aruba. Her blog and Instagram are full of pictures of amazing beaches, yoga, and inspiration for how to live your daily life. Her posts always make me want to go live on a beach and just do yoga all day long!
Her blog

Who inspires you guys?

P.S. the tea of the day is Oprah chai ^_^

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


I've been thinking about this quote a lot lately. I noticed recently that when I get together with friends we spend most of our time talking about other people. It could be simple things like the internship a friend got or where someone is that weekend. More often it's hurtful and consists of judging one another or making fun of people. Why do we do this?

Why do we get so much entertainment out of discussing people? Especially when it is a person we call our friend. Friends are supposed to build one another up, not tear each other down. Does that mean gossiping makes us bad friends? I've thought about this for the past few weeks and I couldn't come up with a solid answer to this question that I posed myself. 

I want to get out of this cycle of discussing people; whether it is strangers or my friends. Either way it is hurtful. As a person who aims to make people happy, I was surprised by how many malicious comments I make in a day. I think this ties in a lot to my last blog post (see it here). Just because people are different than I am or handle situations differently than I do, does that give me the right to spread gossip about them? OF COURSE NOT! 

I think we should all try to get out of the habit of gossiping about people so much. Let's all work on having great minds, not small minds. It will make our relationships with people more substantial and we won't be hurting people with our words. 

What do you guys think about gossip?

P.S. the tea of the day is Oprah chai (again) ^_^

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Being Considerate of Difference

What would life be like if everyone was the same? I think it sounds pretty boring. However, one of the hardest things to do is accept that people are different and be considerate of this fact. 

An example of this in my own life is diet. For the past 3-4 I have been vegetarian on and off. Currently I am pescatarian, so I eat fish and seafood but I don't eat meat. I have been considering transitioning back to being vegetarian. Maybe I'll even become vegan. Who knows what the future may hold? 

I know that the diet I have is the correct choice for me. I feel better when I'm not eating meat and it simply feels right to me. However, I've encountered a lot of obstacles on this journey of mine. From people not providing vegetarian friendly food to people not knowing to cook meat and non-meat dishes in separate, clean dishes. All this has made me think, how can we be more considerate about people's differences? 

Some people eat meat, some people don't. Some people exercise a lot, some people don't. Some people drink alcohol, some people don't. The list could go on and on. All of these choices are what make us unique and they should be respected. Just because you like to go out and have a few cocktails does not mean that you should make fun of a friend who isn't interested in the same activity. 

We all need to stop thinking that everyone else is exactly like us. Before you have people over for dinner ask what types of food/drink are preferred or if anything is off limits. Choose an activity at your gathering that will be fun for everyone and won't leave anyone out. And if you know that one of your friends has a quality that is unique and different from you, do everything you can to make their visit the most comfortable for them that it possibly could be. Isn't that what it means to be a good friend? 

I don't want this post to be a rant or make anyone feel bad. I've also been inconsiderate about people's differences. I simply want to say: everyone is unique and that is a beautiful thing! Let's all be better at noticing our friends' uniqueness and being considerate and respectful about the things they choose that are different from ourselves. Let's take the opportunity to learn something new instead of putting someone down because they enjoy different things than us.

P.S. the tea of the day is green tea ^_^