August 20, 2014


Today I need some comfort. I am writing this from my studio surrounded by loveliness, where I have the curtains drawn, a cozy cup of chai, my favorite candle burning and a little Michael Buble, affectionately referred to as The Boob in these parts. While I sit here in my happy place, there are plumbers outside doing all manor of loud, destructive and expensive things to my pipes and my neighbors yard. Let me just say that I was upset when I got a water bill that was 6 times the normal amount so when the plumbers gave us a $2300 bill for this job, I was less than excited. Old house living. I still wouldn't trade it! Looking on the bright side (because that's what I do) we are going to have a hose spigot on the side of the house now so I can easily water the front beds and they say our water pressure will be outstanding now. Laundry and a shower at the same time? I'm there!

As the disasters pile up, our nickname for this summer changes. We are now calling it the $10,000 summer. And we won't even talk about the cat that needs dental surgery. The dog already had hers. So, you can maybe see why comfort is in demand right now. But you know what's really important here? Perspective. We are all healthy and have a roof over our heads. Get over it girl. Life goes on. Though hopefully less expensively after this. There we go. I needed that pep talk. It's easy to choose joy when times are good, much harder when you are down 10 grand, right? Doing it anyway!

Chai tea is a new comfort habit of mine that Maddie got me hooked on. Trust me, I am NOT a tea person. At all. But I love chai. It's like a hug in a mug. It's like sipping Christmas. I'm quickly becoming unable to get through a day without my fix of it. Plus it's cheap. Which obviously appeals to me right now. And the best part? I finally have a real excuse to use these lovely mugs. Don't be fooled, the ugly ones with guns and maps on them that my guy insists on using, are hiding in the back.

Maddie's Chai

-Heat milk for 2 minutes in microwave
-Steep Trader Joe's Chai tea bag for 5 minutes
-Squeeze and wring every ounce of flavor and life out of tea bag, dunking as necessary until milk begins to darken
-Add a heaping teaspoon of brown sugar (dark because light is for amateurs)
-Add a dash of cinnamon (or more if you are heavy handed like me)

Stir and warm for another minute in the microwave.
Feel instantly comforted.

How do you like yours?


  1. My cat was at one time nicknamed the $10,000 cat but, like you said, life goes on.

    My tea of choice is an herb tea called Evening in Missoula that has a minty vanilla flavor. Maddie's Chai sounds delicious, however, and I just might try it one autumn evening soon.

  2. For years I collected pretty tea cups but rarely used them because I'm not a "tea" person partly due to my love affair with coffee I'm sure. But you have made me want to give chai tea a try. Your photos are dreamy...The rest of the news stinks but good for you, counting it all joy for what you do have. Hang in there and stay tucked right where you are.

  3. Oh Jen, I am sorry for the unexpected expenses….they always seem to come in 3's. Boo!

    I LOVE a good Chai Tea! I am not a coffee drinker so it's my drink of choice at Starbucks….although you have inspired me to make it at home now.

    Email me more about your lighting needs for your kitchen and I will get you some sources to look at…..Have you checked out Schoolhouse Lighting? They have some adorable striped shades that would be darling in your cottage. But perhaps you have something else in mind? {}. xo~

  4. Yikes! But like you said, water pressure is a beautiful thing. I have never had Chai tea but it sounds wonderful.

  5. Yay for a spigot to water your beautiful flowers!! Something good along with water pressure, right! I enjoy an occasional Chai tea in the winter months. My fix is a good SF Hazelnut Latte! Anytime of year! Great pictures! Did I use ! too much? Maybe so, sorry!

  6. So expensive!!!! Cost of living?!!!! You are absolutely right about putting it in perspective.... Hard to do sometimes!
    I had the plumbers here happily running water!!!!
    I also had my yearly mammogram yesterday....healthy, cancer free boobs!!!! 10 years now!!!!
    Health is so much more important but the little things make for such a happy that your daughter has a chair tea recipe!!!!
    Your photos and writing are lovely.

    1. Meant to write Chai tea but my keyboard keeps "correcting" me! Lol!

  7. ugh!! expensive seasons suck!! i was just searching for a date on something the other night, and rediscovered the winter that we had everything go wrong. and then the summer after that, we revisited the matter. and then i remembered why i needed to buy a new car last year ... i'd put more than $5000 into my old one over the course of six months. and that was just the car. but i digress ... expensive seasons suck!! sing it, sister! there is no shame in lamenting the bad, as long as you are able to harness the good, too. nicely done on that one. i hide ugly mugs, too ... it just works better that way. and chai? yes, please! i actually add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom to my coffee before i brew it ... must try your version sometime. next weekend, mayhaps? hugs & lady kisses.

  8. the chai sounds yummy... i'll have to give it a try because i'm ready to save some $ in the fun beverage department as well!!! i completely understand your water woes... i cannot be doing two water activities at a time in our house... you'll be so thankful when you can!!! i'm hoping for that next summer since this summers fundage is being spent on a new roof... the joys of home ownership : ) have a great rest of your week friend... {btw... loved all of your photos... so relaxing and calm... and pretty!!!}

  9. I am a big fan of chai tea too. So yummy.

  10. I am going to try your recipe for chai. My girls are trying to get me to drink it, but the one time I tried it I didn't get past two sips!

  11. Wonderful idea putting brown sugar in the chai! Now, top it with a nice squeeze of whipped cream and YUM.
    So sorry about the expensive summer. Really stinks. My husband snapped his leg in half much like the basketball player a couple weeks ago. It's easy to get down about bills that pop up, a cane that my man now uses, and teens that inhale the whole fridge and pantry because they insist on growing out of their entire wardrobe every six weeks. But, it is so small in light of relative health, safety, a home, cars that run, rain that waters gardens for free, etc. etc. thank you for your honest post. It takes the shine off of my problems and reminds me that everyone has them. And as my hubby says, "money is just money...a tool, not a happiness indicator."

  12. mmm. the chai sounds wonderful! i used to drink it a lot during college, but i haven't had a good cup in a while. i'm so sorry to hear about all the surprise costs of the summer. :( but it sounds like despite the frustrations, you are choosing joy! (and how can you not be happy with that collection of mugs on your counter!?!?!?)

  13. Wow, that Chai tea sounds delicious. I love Chai, but I've never made it with all milk. Just water and a little bit of milk and sugar. I am definitely going to do it Maddie's way next time. :)
    Sorry to hear about all the expensive "disasters" that keep popping up this summer. Way to look on the bright side of things, though! More water pressure, and a water spigot on the side of the house are definitely good things. Living in an old house myself, those are a couple of "no fun" things that we would like to address some day. It would be nice to get the spigot and hose out of the middle of the front yard, and to be able to wash laundry and take a shower at the same time.
    Keep on looking up!

  14. I've been using TJ's Spiced Rooibos Ruby Red Chai for quite a while now as my evening cup (and sometimes at work, too) with a splash of milk and a couple of sugar cubes. Either that or a cup of Earl Grey.

    Having just unpacked way more mugs than I a) know what to do with and b) have space for in the new cupboard that requires a step ladder to reach, I''ve got to know where you found a mug tree with so many arms!

  15. I needed to read that kind of post today, thank you!

  16. Oh my! I can see why you need some comfort. Hang in there. As they say, This too shall pass. And until it does, enjoy that chai and your lovely house. :) Kit

  17. We are having our own $10,000 summer here. Dog with cancer. Cataract surgery in two eyes for me. Re-do of the garden. Falling trees. Some of this is self inflicted, some not. Sigh.

  18. Hello :-) I just stumbled on your blog today and I am so glad I did. How warm and inviting it is. Blessings to you and yours.

  19. Hi there! Just checking in. You know I'm not above a little harmless stalking!

  20. Where did you find the mug tree?


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