Thursday, August 27, 2015

Conflicting Dreams

I've always wanted to be a music teacher.  And for the past couple of years I've been extremely focused on getting a doctorate and teaching at a University.  I would love to teach music history and direct some college choirs.  I finished my Master's degree and now I'm teaching full time.  And it's great.  I'm right on track.  In a year or two I'll start my doctorate and by the time I'm 35 (hopefully) I'll start teaching at a University.  That's the goal.  That's the dream.

But lately I've been having other dreams creep into my mind.  Dreams of traveling full time.  Dreams of starting a stationery or stamps business.   Dreams of being a full time photographer.  Dreams of starting a coffee/tea house/store.  Dreams of creating and selling.  After all, my blog is named, "Alone with my tea" for a reason.

From Matt Austin Images
From Cool Mom Picks

A large room with concrete floors, exposed brick walls, and high ceilings.  Most of the space will be the store but one corner will be dedicated to a coffee/tea bar, with tables and comfortable chairs.  Patrons can order coffee/tea to go, or they can order a pot of tea to share at a table.

From Paper Blog

Decor will be comfortable and classy.  A menu of tea sandwiches, scones, and desserts will be available.  The "cafĂ©" part of the store will be big enough to host parties (bridal showers, baby showers, etc).  There would be twinkle lights and feminine decorations.  I want it to feel warm and inviting, but also modern.

The front of the store will contain a curated selection of stationery, ephemera, stamps, and some home decor items.  I would also love to sell items from around the world.

From The Pretty Blog

My dreams are interrupted by the sad realities of life.  Rent payments, car payments, student loan payments... 401Ks and health insurance...  Sadly they'll probably always stay as just dreams.

What are your conflicting dreams?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back to School

It's that time of year again.  Can you hear the collective groans around the world?  It's back to school time.  Time for students to open their minds to learning, and time for teachers to lose their minds.

Now that I'm back to teaching full time, I expect my blog will be neglected for a little bit.  I hope to resume posting at least twice a week, but I need a bit of time to adjust to my new schedule.  This was our first week back and I've been extremely exhausted every single day when I get home.  Give me a few days to recoup and hopefully I'll be able to get the blog going again.

Thanks for your support of Alone with my tea!  I appreciate all my readers.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Art Journal Update || Watercolor and Quotes

This is what I originally envisioned for my art journal... using it more as an actual journal... storing quotes and images I like... layering color and writing whatever I want.  Somehow along the way my art journal became more of a place to practice sketching and random watercolor and acrylic techniques, and less of a journal.  After doing these pages I decided I wanted to go back to my original intent and produce pages where I could reflect and actually write.  So maybe I'll get back into that and start posting those pictures on the blog... but now that school is starting back up I'm not sure I'll have a lot of time.

Sea Fever is my favorite poem.  It's by John Masefield and it actually has 3 stanzas, though the first is my favorite.

Water Night is a song by Eric Whitacre that I love.  It's an English translation of a Spanish poem by Pablo Neruda (I think...)


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Hometown || Middle-of-Nowhere, California

There are pros and cons to growing up in a small town in the middle of nowhere, CA.

California isn't all beaches and palm trees.

Pro - Everyone knows everyone.
Con - Everyone knows everyone!
Pro - Mild winters.
Con - Freaking. Hot. Summers.

Pro - Fresh produce year 'round.
Con - Pesticides.

Pro - Family-oriented community.
Con - Am I related to everyone in this town?

Pro - Wide, open spaces.
Con - Anything "fun" is 2+ hours away.

Pro - No mosquitos!
Con - Did I mention it's hot?  Like boiling hot.  Like "why do people live here?!" kinda hot.

Pro - No hurricanes, tornadoes, or blizzards.
Con - No beach, no seasons, no trees...

Pro - It's where I grew up and where my family is currently located.
Con - Why couldn't I have grown up in San Diego?!

What are the pros and cons of your hometown?


Linking up for Travel Tuesday

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Art Journal Update || Watercolor Backgrounds

My husband has been getting into typography and hand lettering.  He wants to do a collaboration with me... I produce the backgrounds and he produces the text.  We will scan my paintings and then he'll do the text via the computer.  It sounds like a great idea but I don't think I'm really good enough.  I like to paint for fun but I don't consider myself an artist.  In any case, I was experimenting in my art journal and here's what I came up with...

I left some white space on some of the pages so that he'd have a defined area for his text.  Other pages were just painted fully and he can add text however he wants on top with the magic of computer editing.

He said he wanted "clouds" or "clumps" of color... so that's what I tried to give him!

I'll let you know if we ever get around to finishing them.  And who knows - maybe we'll make them available as prints!

What text or quote would you put with each of these pages?  I'd love to know!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Coffee Table Wedding Album || & A Mini Review

This post is not sponsored.

I recently saw an ad on Facebook for a company called Artisan State.  They were advertising digital photo books for as low as $5.  I was intrigued.  So I went to their site and created an account.  Sure enough, for your first order you could choose from a photo album or framed 8x10 for as low as $5 (plus shipping/handling).  I ordered one right away!

This book is small, and it is perfect for my coffee table.  The $5 version gives you only 20 pages (10 pages front and back), but you can add as many photos as you want to each page (the more photos you add, the smaller the photos will be).  The layouts are easy to use.  They don't crop any of your photos, and you can rearrange and adjust as much as you want.  They have pre-set layouts that you can choose from, and you can specify the number of horizontal and portrait photos that you have for each page.  The layouts adjust accordingly.  Very simple and easy to use.

The pages are thick card stock and feel very durable.

Front Cover:


That is dog hair, not a print imperfection ;)

Some of my favorite inside pages:

These full-page spreads are my favorite

Back Cover:

The print quality is ok, but it's probably not the best you'll find out there.  The covers are a little blurry.  But I love that they give you the option of doing a full-page of one picture.  The pictures go all the way to the edge and, to me, look really awesome.  I didn't include pictures of the reception (cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc) because I was limited to so few pages.

Overall, for $5 these are an excellent deal.  I don't think I would purchase one at full price though ($30 for 20 pages).  There just aren't enough pages to justify the price.

I'm keeping this one on my coffee table!  Do you think you will try it out yourself?  For $5 you can't go wrong!  They still have the $5 deal going on now.  Click here to try it out.
Note: I purchased this album with my own money and did the review on my own whim.  Artisan State has no idea who I am.

We got married at a park in San Diego, CA.  The park is called Ventura Cove and is located in Mission Bay.  It is one of my favorite places in San Diego.

More wedding pictures:
guest book (diy)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Travel Essential You've Never Heard Of!

This post is not sponsored.

If you've been reading my blog for awhile then you may have heard me mention this product before.  But I don't think you realize how versatile and amazing this one product is.

It relieves indigestion, soothes upset stomachs, cures constipation, calms diarrhea, eases tension, reduces acid reflux, relaxes muscles, relieves anxiety, acts as a sleep aid, and tastes yummy!  

What is this mystery product?

Natural CALM Magnesium Supplement

This is not Milk of Magnesium, so it won't act as an instant diarrhetic, but it will help with constipation if that's what ails you.  

Why Magnesium?

Many of us do not get enough magnesium on a daily basis.   Many essential minerals are removed from our water due to strict water purification standards in cities.  Don't get me wrong, it's great that we have safe tap water.  But that means we don't get many natural minerals that we need.  

Check out these facts from

- Magnesium is known to reduce muscle tension, lessen pain associated with migraine headaches, improve sleep, and address neurological disorders such as anxiety and depression.

- Conditions linked to magnesium levels include:
Muscle Spasms and Muscle Cramps
Autism and ADD
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Psoriasis, Acne and Eczema
Blood Pressure

"Essential to life, necessary for good health, and a vital component within our cells, magnesium’s benefits help our bodies maintain balance, avoid illness, perform well under stress, and maintain a general state of good health."

How many travelers get tired, sick, stressed, or have trouble sleeping while traveling?  (*Raising my hand*)  I suggest trying out a magnesium supplement, like CALM.  It has helped me relax on airplanes, settle a nervous tummy, and regulate digestion.  I know this sounds like an ad, but it's not!  I just really love this stuff!!!  I bring it on my carry-on, too!

You can find CALM at any health food store or Whole Foods.  CALM can be mixed with hot or cold water.  I like it as a comforting, warm "tea."  Very soothing and relaxing.

Linking up with A Compass Rose for Travel Tuesday