An Open Letter To A Coffee-Loving World From A Tea Fanatic

An Open Letter To A Coffee-Loving World From A Tea Fanatic

I have some news.

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Throughout high school (and I guess the real world), coffee has infiltrated everyone's life at some point.

I have friends who cannot make it through the morning without a cup, and friends who cannot make it through the whole day without several of the caffeine-laced liquid. I hopped on the coffee-train around sophomore year because I honestly just wanted to bring my cute to-go mug to class because it would be cool to drink coffee as everyone else did.

What I didn't expect was to gain weight, have to go to the bathroom all day and stain my teeth. And even with all of that, it turns out that I was the kind of person that caffeine had no effect upon!

But no one wants to be exhausted going to class, especially in high school, when the first bell rang at 7:20 a.m.

My solution was to keep chugging along with the coffee because there was no way I was going to give up my habit of bringing that cute mug to class.

But it turns out I didn't have to because I found something else to fill it up in the mornings.

I grew up in a house that constantly had the kettle on the stove. There was an entire cabinet dedicated to tea in the kitchen. But the only one who drank it was my mother or when one of my sisters or myself had a sore throat. The classic Lipton yellow tea boxes were used by my father throughout the summertime for his massive batches of iced tea.

I was always around tea, but it never had the strong tastes or sweet notes that I sought for in a sugary cup of coffee. My mother had been offering me cups for years, but I never developed the same taste as she had. But all it took was a single trip to Teavanna (when it was still in business) for my whole perspective to change.

It took only a tiny holiday sample of an oolong chai tea to completely alter my perspective. Without sugar, or cream, or any flavoring syrup, the flavor was exploding in my mouth, and had even a little spice to it! It was the herbs and spices that accompanied the chai and tea leaves that made it so different.

I became an avid drinker of that spicy tea and bought so much that when Teavanna went of out business I still have a significant amount stocked up for use — even years later. The only problem with bringing it to class every day was that I was still falling asleep within first period, and it wasn't doing the trick of keeping my eyes and mind awake.

But the summer before my senior year, my mom came back from a tea-class with a strange, dense green powder. She called it matcha tea, and it was basically the "most amazing thing ever" and not even just taste-wise.

At first, I was so skeptical, it didn't taste as great the way I was making it and it wasn't something spicy or hearty. I also hated the fact I couldn't drink it with milk and couldn't have it hot. I wasn't finding anything great about it until after I stopped drinking it for a few days after trying it for a week (twice daily).

I was tired, lazy, and could barely stay awake. But I didn't feel like the matcha had made a difference because I was not vibrating with energy when I was drinking the tea. What my mom told me then was that — besides crazy health benefits — it gave an eight-hour energy high without the crash that caffeine from coffee gives (plus, it wasn't a diuretic). I could go on about matcha forever, but it might be another post for another week!

It was a habit to drink my matcha and spicy tea, but I wasn't a "tea drinker" yet. Any person can introduce a tea that you love to you, but it takes another "tea-drinker" to introduce the love of tea to another. The summer after senior year, before I left for college, I spent an incredible amount of time with my family. Summertime wasn't the best time for my hearty chai, and matcha was too expensive to drink all day. I started drinking what my mom drank (jasmine green and white tea) and exploring other types of teas when something caught my eye.

I grew more interested in physical and mental wellbeing (my major going into college was Public Health) and started exploring teas to help with skin, weight-loss, mood, and remedies for colds or allergies. It became my favorite hobby alongside herbalism and fitness and created something fun, tasty, and interesting for my mother, sisters and I to share. Now, we will sit for hours to talk at the breakfast table before the day starts, pouring cup after cup of tea, and having to refill the kettle more than a few times.

At school, eight hours away from that breakfast table with my family, tea has become more than a hobby: it has become a comfort and something to connect me to my family. Like so many college students, I am always calling or texting my family, especially my mom, every day. I know that whenever I pick up the phone and hear my mother's voice, there is always a mug of that jasmine green and white tea in her hands.

Time sometimes doesn't allow me to join her in our "tea talks" but every time I hold the warmth of some herbal tea in my hands, I always think of her, and much of the warmth I feel doesn't only come from the mug.

I write this post with a stuffy nose and a mug of steeping echinacea tea on the shelf beside me to help comfort that. To combine this newly found love of tea with reminiscence and effectiveness, I can give you a pretty good argument as to why you should really give that cup of "flavored hot water" a try.

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How To Play 'New Girl's' True American Drinking Game

"It's 75% drinking, 20% Candy Land, and the floor is molten lava."
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I think it's fair to say that anyone who watches "New Girl" knows about True American. This crazy, nonsense drinking game which pops up every so often throughout the seasons and first introduced in season one, episode 20.

The game, as described by "New Girl" character and fan-favorite Schmidt, is 75% drinking game and 20% Candy Land with a floor of molten lava.

The point of the game is for players to navigate through the Candy Land-like spaces to the "castle," which is a table in the center of the room that holds beer "pawns" and the "king" bottle. The first person to reach and sip from the bottle wins.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things "New Girl" Fans Know to Be True

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Here's how to play:

Step #1: Prepare the "castle"

First, set up your "castle." The castle is made up of beer "pawns" and the "king," a bottle filled with the alcohol of your choice.

The bottle should be in the middle of the table, surrounded by four lines of beer pawns. There is no exact number of beers necessary for each line of beer pawns. Choose any amount of beers that seems appropriate for the amount of players.

Step #2: Set up spaces

Set up spaces using pillows, chairs or any other objects players will be able to stand on. Place an equal amount of spaces around the table. You'll want about 5-8 spaces on each side, depending on the size of the room you're playing in.

Only four of these spaces should reach the castle, lining up with the parade of beer "pawns" and allowing players to take a beer pawn from the castle. For example, in the photo above, each of the chairs touch a corner of the table at the end of the line of beer pawns. Therefore, these are two of the four special spaces that allow players to take a beer. Unlike the pillows pictured, which are just regular spaces that the players can use to move around.

Step #3: Pick teams

Teams are optional. To pick teams, all of the players will place a certain number (1 to 5) of fingers against their forehead on the count of three.

Any players who hold up the same number are a team. Unmatched players can team up as needed or simply pair up with the person standing closest to them.

Step #4: Begin

Begin with a shotgun "tip-off" to determine which player goes first.

The winner of this shotgunning contest will yell, "One, two, three...JFK!" to announce the official beginning of the game. All players will enthusiastically respond, "FDR!" then quickly grab a beer pawn from the castle and run to any space they wish to start at, excluding for the four special spaces that reach the castle.

Step #5: Make moves

The winner of the shotgunning contest has earned the first turn. From then on, the order of turns will move in a clockwise rotation. During each turn, the player will move one space toward the castle and choose to play one of the following mini-games.

Mini-game No. 1: The player whose turn it is will count to three then all players will place a certain number (1-5) of fingers on their forehead. Any player who selects a number no one else selected can move ONE space.

Mini-game No. 2: The player whose turn it is will recite the beginning of a famous American quote. The first player to complete the quote can move TWO spaces.

Mini-game No. 3: The player whose turn it is will name two famous American people, places, or things. The first player to identify what the two have in common can move THREE spaces.

For example, say it's your turn. You will move one space then choose one of the three mini-games. You and all of the players will participate in that game, and the winner will move accordingly. After this, your turn is over and it's the next player's turn (in the original clockwise rotation).

Step #6: "Play on, playa."


Continue playing by these rules until one lucky winner reaches the bottle and sips from its royal glass.

The bottle cannot be opened until every last pawn is removed from the castle. Any players who fail to keep at least one beer in hand, who accidentally end up with more than three beers in hand, or who touch the lava are immediately disqualified. Disqualified players can rejoin the game by shotgunning a beer.

Congratulations!

You are now able to impress all of your "New Girl"-loving friends with knowledge of the workings of the epic True American drinking game. Know your limits, drink responsibly, and enjoy!

Cover Image Credit: i.amz.mshcdn.com

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A Poem Dedicated To White Claw Hard Seltzers

May you have my heart always, White Claw.

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White Claw, White Claw, oh what would I do,

If I didn't have a cool, refreshing beverage as simple a you?

The art on your can is of pure and simple beauty,

Don't get me started with the flavors; for they're all fruity.


The deliciousness stretches from Blackberry and Raspberry,

No one can forget Natural Lime.

To Ruby Grapefruit or Mango,

But to try all these flavors you're going to need some time.


The way that you bubble, the way that you fizz,

Don't forget, people, these drink aren't for kids.

White Claws may feel like a very light drink,

Although maybe that's what they want you to think.


One moment you're thinking "these are delicious!"

The next morning, however. can be quite vicious.

These White Claws are strong, these White Claws are pure,

One too many and you're guaranteed a hang-over for sure.


For you, White Claw, there are risks I'm willing to take.

Not all nights are perfect, it's the decisions we make.

One Claw, two Claw, three Claw, four,

The next morning I'm going to promise myself no more.


Soon Friday night comes around the next week,

As I remember my decisions last time, I promise myself just a peak.

Friends gather as I crack open a can of Natural Lime,

For I have decided, once again, it's White Claw Hard Seltzer time.

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