Why I Started Using My “Good” Teacups

Hey There!

In my dining room, I have a hutch. In that hutch are several teacups and teapots. (Ok, more than several. For a while there, I brought back teacups whenever I traveled.) These cups have been shuffled around from location to location, and to be honest, I’ve never really used any of them.

Why I Started Using the Good China Moonshineinateacup
The Fellow brought me this cup back from England!

Teacups are pretty. I like the idea of them, but most of the time I end up drinking a cup of tea from my favorite pottery mug. In my mind, there was no point in using the “good” teacups when I wasn’t making a full pot of tea. Making a full pot of tea is an endeavor and too much work I felt when I only want just a single cuppa.

If I’m being honest though, the reality is that when I’m sitting or working, I don’t drink just one cup of tea. I have a few. It takes the same amount of time to make a pot as a cup, and if I have a pot in front of me with a little pitcher of cream, I don’t have to get up as often and interrupt my workflow.

Since I now have a pot of tea, the “good” teacups are justified, and now I am finally using my pretty cups because after all – teacups are functional objects. There is something so beautifully civilized about tea in a proper cup. I still love and use my pottery cup, but now my teacups get their own share of tabletop time.

Disclaimer Good

I enjoy sitting down to write with a pretty tea set in front of me. It’s amazing how it elevates a simple cuppa. I want to love everything in my life and my house. We’re going through things and trying to pare down unnecessary things, and while I’ve never read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, it’s on my list (and her principles are all over Pinterest). One of my goals is for each item I own to serve a purpose, bring me joy, or have a functional use. (I am also working towards not keeping items out of guilt, but that is a topic for another day.) Pretty teacups just happen to hit all three points.

Do you use your “good” items or keep them back for special occasions? Let me know in the comments!

Advertisements

Tea Technology – Smart Kettle

Hey There!

Last weekend The Fellow and I went to the home of some friends for board games and dessert. The Fellow just got a 3D Printer  (I can barely wrap my head around the fact that they exist, let alone that there’s one in our back room. It’s like something straight out of Star Trek.), and he printed a 3-D board for one of our favorite board games. The husband of this couple is very tech-savvy, so The Fellow was excited to share his new toy hobby with someone who would appreciate it.

Hey there, I want to let you know that my posts may have affiliate links. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This means that I get to share products I think you’ll love. The cost of the item to you remains the same, but I’ll earn a small commission to help keep MiaT up and running.

While the guys were discussing the printer, “L” and I were discussing her newest tech addition – a smart kettle. Yupp. An electronic tea kettle that is hooked to an app on your phone.

Tea Kettle Moonshine in a Teacup

She loves it, and I have to admit, as much as I’m not a tech-obsessed person, it was pretty cool to not have to get up from the table to turn the kettle on.

They walked me through the app a bit, and it can be preset to come on at a certain time – like for your morning cuppa. You can control the temperature of the water for a more precisely prepared cup of tea. (Teas have recommended water temperatures and steep times, not that I pay attention to them.) It also shows how much water is in the pot.

Basically, the only thing you can’t do from the app is fill and pour, but with driverless cars a real thing today I’m sure filling and pouring aren’t too far off.

When I went to college, the one thing I asked the student guides was if I could have an I have an electric tea kettle in the dorm. The answer was yes. (I probably should’ve asked something better like, “Why do most kids in my major have a 6-year graduation rate?” But hey, priorities.)

I got this little kettle, and it lasted me all through college. We just replaced it last year with the same model. It hasn’t given me a bit of trouble and since I’ve never bothered using the proper tea temps, I think my tea tastes just fine. Maybe when it’s time to replace this kettle, I’ll upgrade to a smart kettle. Maybe. What do you think? Technology for our tea – yes or no?

 

3 Ways To Start Living Intentionally Today

Hey There!

Anyone out there feel when you are motivated you have a thousand thoughts and ideas racing through your head each second? I do. If you’re like me, you jot them down into a list, but it seems like the list never gets finished.

I work all day, come home, fix dinner, and then I’m usually exhausted, so we just Netflix and chill until it’s time for bed. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I try to have a well-kept house, but if you judged me by the standards of Mrs. Lind from Anne of Green Gables (or my mother), I fall just a bit shy of the mark.

I find that after a busy work week, what ends up happening is that household chores pile up – and then the weekend is spent cleaning.

I am working to get myself in the habit of cleaning as I go. If there are things that I can do in 2 minutes to tidy up, I do them. It is something that I’m intentionally doing to improve my day-to-day life.

Today I wanted to share with you 3 things I started doing to help me kick-start this new mindset, and I think you could do these things as well. It’s amazing how much these three simple tasks ground me and make other things I still need to do less overwhelming.

3 Ways To start living intentionally moonshine in a teacup

1. Make your bed when you get up.

The Fellow will not make a bed on his own. He will help me if I’m making it, but not if it’s just him in the house. He says it’s just going to get wrinkled again in a few hours. I disagree. I love walking into my bedroom and seeing a neatly made bed. We don’t have a ton of throw pillows, and our room isn’t a Pinterest perfect snapshot of perfectly matched furniture and well-framed original artwork, but I’m working on it. Having the bed made makes it look tidy and welcoming. It also encourages me to do other tasks in the bedroom like putting away my folded laundry immediately, so that it doesn’t detract from the order of the room or clearing off items from the dresser so that it doesn’t become cluttered.

2. Lay your clothes out the night before.

This has been a game changer. No more standing half-dressed in front of the open closet door frantically putting things on, taking them off, and usually leaving them lying on the floor because I’m in such a rush, there is no time to hang them back up. I put a command hook on my closet door, so all I have to do is grab the hanger with my outfit and take it with me to the bathroom when I go to shower and get dressed.

I have perfectly coordinated outfits because I did all of the work already. No more waking the fellow up before his alarm because I’m digging through the closet using my cellphone as a flashlight. (Don’t judge, you know the struggle!) Now there’s time for a morning cup of tea!

3. Go to bed with an empty sink.

Nothing is worse than when you have to do the dishes. There’s a giant pile in the sink, and it takes an eternity to finish them. I’ve started doing my dishes directly after dinner, so I never have a full sink. In the event that I have to run and do something in the evening, I make sure the dishes are done before I go to bed. It’s refreshing to walk into the kitchen in the morning and see it all neat and tidy just waiting for me to put the kettle on.

What are your must-do tasks that keep you grounded and your house running smoothly? Leave a comment and let me know so that I can try them out!

Nail Polish and Street Performers

Hey There!

As you all know, Fridays are my Self-Care days, when I relax and paint my nails. Sometimes I buy a new nail polish, and no matter what the bottle says it never quite looks the same. As you may have seen on the MiaT Facebook or Instagram feed this week, I went for a rose gold metallic. I didn’t realize it was going to be quite so, well, metallic.

moonshine in a teacup nail polish metalic

I’m committed though, so it will last me the next few days until my next paint job.

Sometimes I forget that I have readers who haven’t gotten the chance to sit down with me for a cup of tea and really talk. One thing you should know about me (if my writing a blog didn’t make it clear) is that my communication style is storytelling. One thing sparks a memory and then another. The next thing you know we’re best friends, and you know half the weirdness that is my life.

Now that you know to expect random stories from me – back to the one at hand. All week this nail polish color has reminded me of when I went to Spain for a concert tour with my college choir. We went to several locations, and at each one of the larger cities we saw street performers!

Street Performer Moonshine In A Teacup

Each performer had their own different routine. The acts that fascinated me though were the metallic-painted people. They stood completely still like they were a statue or an art installment. If you were distracted, you could almost walk past them without noticing them. However, when you dropped a euro into their collection jar, they would jerk alive and chirp and whirr (that’s the best description I can give you of the sounds) as if they were a wind-up doll and go through their mechanical movements.

Street Performer Moonshine In A Teacup
Yup, that’s me with a pixie cut. I actually got that haircut while on this trip in Sevilla. The music group had quite a week of Barber of Seville jokes!

Usually, the act consisted of small movements, like a bow or series of head movements. My nail polish reminded of the the golden lady in the next picture. When she received a donation, she would spin her flower.

I remember reading this list that a teacher gave his students of rules for life. One of the rules was, “If a street performer makes you stop walking, you owe him a buck,” and I completely agree. Where did you see your favorite street performer and what was their act? Tell me in the comments below!

5 Things No One Tells You about Getting a Cat

Hey There!

I am excited to introduce you to the newest member of our little family – our kitten, Luna. Having a kitten is a huge adventure, so I am also going to share with you 5 things no one told us before we got a cat!

5 Things No One Tells You about Getting A Cat Moonshine In A Teacup

Back in January, we re-homed little Luna from a friend at work whose adult cat was not liking there being a new kitten in her space. After much stress and many attempts to reconcile the two, Luna came to live with us.

The Fellow was not convinced that he wanted a pet at first, but I’d been talking about wanting a cat for about a year, and he finally gave the go-ahead. We’ve had a few months to get to know one another now, and she has absolutely brightened our lives. (The Fellow still likes to act tough, but he’s attached.)

Little Luna Moonshine in a teacup

I researched a lot about being a cat owner before bringing Luna home. I read articles and kitten-proofed (ha!) her space. As promised earlier, here are 5 things I was so not prepared for:

1. Cats do the weirdest things.

There is no planning for it. Luna tries to eat our hair. Off of our heads. No one told us to expect that. Of all things, she plays fetch. She also sits in the bathtub and meows at the faucet until we turn it on so she can drink. Luna hates being wet but will sit on the edge of the tub while the shower is running. At least twice, while I was taking a bubble bath, she has decided that my knees were a safe island to jump to. That didn’t end well for either of us.

2. Cats have the biggest personalities.

Each cat has their own distinct personality and there’s no telling what weird quirks they will have once you get them home. Luna hates being more than 2 feet away from us at any given time. She will follow me back and forth throughout the house as I’m doing chores and loves all the pets ever. However, she decidedly does not enjoy being picked up. We’ve learned that she tolerates it as long as we let her stand on our arms and be carried to her destination – kind of like Cleopatra being carried on her litter. (Google tells me litter is the official word for “chase-lounge-chair-thing-on-poles.)

3. You can train a cat.

Well, to a certain degree anyway. We harness-trained Luna. We’re working on her fetch game, and we don’t let her on the table or counters. The Fellow and I are very serious about how we allow her to play with us. When we play, we don’t roughhouse, and if she bites or claws we encourage her to do so at a gentle level. If she bites too hard, we pull our hands back and whimper (which is about the most adorable thing to watch the Fellow do), and that’s the end of play time. You can actually see her realize she’s playing too hard and dial back the bites to little love nips.

4. They are great alarm clocks.

Remember my saying I was seriously struggling getting back to my early morning wake-up time? I am happy to say that I’m back to getting up between 5-5:30 a.m. Luna comes into the bedroom, hops up on the bed, walks up the entire length of my body to sit on my chest, and tries to eat my hair. Good morning!

Side Story: When I was in high school, my father was dead set on having a domesticated bobcat as a pet. My mother and I vetoed the idea. I remember saying, “I am not waking up to a 40-pound house cat sitting on my chest licking its lips.” After life with Luna, I am convinced we made the right call.

5. Once you have a cat, you can’t imagine your life without them.

In just four short months, Luna has become such a part of our lives. The first thing I do in the morning is give her snuggles. I can’t wait to get home to see her, and I have become used to having her company while I hang out around the house. She has the cutest, chirpy voice and the biggest personality. While I may never have the bathroom to myself again, that little ball of fur curled up on my toes purring away while I do my makeup is completely worth it.

5 things nobody tells you about having a cat moonshine in a teacup

The Year Daddy Buried the Easter Eggs

Hey There!

How was your Easter? I hope it was fantastic!

On Easter morning, we picked up Grammy and headed over the mountain to my parents’ house for our traditional ham dinner and Easter egg hunt.

This year my mother was excited about my brother and I taking on making the deviled and pickled eggs. After much debate among the family as to the best way to make deviled eggs (My brother’s vote for hot sauce in the yolk mixture did not win), I brought these lovely pastel eggs.

Pastel Deviled Easter Eggs Moonshine In A Teacup

I love how my  mother decorates her table for each holiday, and this year we used the DIY Easter Napkin Ties from last week’s post.

After dinner, we had our annual Easter egg hunt. Yes, we’re nearly 30 and married and that Easter egg hunt is going nowhere. My folks love it.

Every year, my father gets trickier with his egg hiding. Remember that episode of Gilmore Girls when Taylor lets Kirk hide all the eggs for the Stars Hollow Easter egg hunt, and he doesn’t make a map? That’s what it’s like. Every year. We always end up looking for those last three eggs.

Now, since we do this every year, and the egg hunt area is relatively small, I have a pretty good idea where the eggs tend to wind up. This year though Daddy went into full-on stealth mode. I actually took pity on the Fellow’s sad 6 eggs and showed him the correct way to look for the invisible eggs.

My father had buried some of the eggs along the base of the trees covered in fallen pine needles or leaves.

Buried Easter Eggs| Moonshine In A Teacup
Can you find the Easter egg?

After we located all of the eggs, we regrouped on the deck to do a final tally and open our winnings.

Super Hidden Easter Egg| Moonshine In A Teacup

Then we went back inside to warm up, drink a little coffee, and enjoy some family time before heading back home.

What are your favorite Easter traditions and Easter egg hiding spots? Tell me in the comments!

Old Books Are Old Friends

Hey There!

I was chatting with a friend the other night, discussing things in our lives, and our plans for the future.

During that conversation, we discussed objects and the sentimentality behind them. Something you will hear when researching simplistic/intentional lifestyles or organizational tips is learning to understand why you keep something. The suggestion is that you take a picture of the object so you can remember the memories and then let the object go. My friend was relating how she’s had success with this method, but for some objects, nothing can replace how it feels or smells – like an old book. I completely agree.

Old Books Are Old Friends Moonshine In A Teacup

Old books are old friends. You know the characters, the location, how the spine feels in your hand, and the journey you are about to embark on. You want to refresh every detail in your mind with the re-reading. You know the excitement, chills, or comfort it will bring, and you’re excited to spend your time in the world the author created. A good book is one that I can read myself completely into. You know what I mean? Everything around you melts away, and you are there. You smell the air, hear the sounds and the voices around you. Suddenly, it’s hours later; your tea is cold beside you, and you don’t want to be pulled back into real life. When the story is finished, there’s a small twinge in your heart because the characters are no longer with you. A fantastic book will linger.

When I read a fantastic book, I’ll re-run passages in my head, and for just a short while my internal monologue takes on the cadence of the characters. Then slowly, it fades. I’m on my own again and find other things to fill my time and mind. I read other books . . . but then one day, I pick up that old favorite and read it again.

I read some of my favorite books so long ago that I don’t think I can imagine my life without the knowledge of them. Two that immediately come to mind are Gone with the Wind and Anne of Green Gables. I swear I reference Gone With the Wind more than any modern woman should. What are your favorite old book-friends? Let me know so I can meet them.

DIY Easter Napkin Ties (with Free Printable)

Hey There!

The Easter Bunny is hopping our way. Sunday is Easter, and I’m excited to share with you these adorable DIY Easter Bunny napkin ties (with Free printable) which will be gracing our table. The best part? They cost only $2.50 to make!

I figured after last year’s Surprise Easter Bunny Cake fiasco (which admittedly turned out fine, just not as planned), I would stick to something safer this year and make crafts and my deviled eggs.

My mother is one of those homemakers with a set of “good” dishes. Every holiday my entire life, I have eaten off of that set of Pfaltzgraff Remembrance dishes. From an early age, I have appreciated an artfully folded napkin. One restaurant we used to frequent, when we lived in Pennsylvania, had especially fancy folded napkins. I deconstructed that fold, so that I could recreate it at home. From that point on, napkins were my task along with setting the table. I thought I’d do a throwback to my old job and get a little creative with these Easter Bunny napkin ties.

DIY Easter Bunny Napkin Tie Moonshine In A Teacup

Now let’s hop to it!

For this project you will need:

  • The free printable Easter Bunny template which you can Download Here
  • Craft felt sheet. I used tan and white ($0.24)
  • Small white pompoms ($0.97)
  • Ribbon ($0.97)
  • Hot glue gun (I’m going to assume you have a hot glue gun and glue on hand.)

1. First things first. Plug in the glue gun and cut out the Easter Bunny template you downloaded.

It looks a little silly with the neck being so skinny, but when you trace the pattern, the lines tend to thicken up and it doesn’t look as silly. The thin point in the neck is where you will tie your ribbon. If the neck were thicker, when you pulled the ribbon tight, it would scrunch up the fabric and make the bunny’s body pucker.

2. Trace around the Easter Bunny onto the felt.

Be sure to trace as many Easter Bunnies as you have guests! I used a regular pen and made the side with the pen marks the back of the Easter Bunny.

Easter Bunny Napkin Tie Moonshine In A Teacup

3. Cut out your bunnies.

If you’re anything like me, you can’t cut a straight line to save your life. It’s ok. These are forgiving bunnies. Just do your best and no one will notice if one side of Flopsie’s ear is thicker than the other.

Easter Bunny Napkin Ties Moonshine In A Teacup2

4. Glue on the tail.

Use a bit of hot glue and press down the pompom. As always, be careful! My worst burns have been from distracted or quick crafting with a hot glue gun.

Easter Bunny Napkin Tie Moonshine In A Teacup

5. Cut your lengths of ribbon.

I have a confession. I’m a ribbon overdose-er. I’m bad for always cutting more ribbon than needed and trimming off the excess. For this project, I used ribbons cut to around 15″ in length.

6. Fold the napkin.

Lay your napkin out turned at an angle, so it looks like a diamond with your flatware in the center.Easter Bunny Napkin Tie Moonshine In A Teacup 4

Pull the bottom corner up over the flatware and meet the other corner covering the utensils, then bring the outer two corners up to meet the first two and hold tightly.

Easter Bunny Napkin Tie Moonshine In A Teacup 5

7. Tie the ribbon.

Tie the ribbon around the napkin/flatware once, and then place the Easter Bunny over the first tie.

Easter Bunny Napkin Tie Moonshine In A Teacup 7

Tie your Bunny’s bow and trim any excess ribbon.

Easter Bunny Napkin Tie Moonshine In A Teacup 8

8. Enjoy your Easter meal! 

Why My Self-Care Fridays Are So Important

Hey there!

Part of my focus on intentional living is taking better care of myself, and self-care Fridays are one of the things I’ve implemented to do just that.

Self-Care Fridays Moonshine In A Teacup

On Fridays, the Fellow goes out with friends, and I get the house all to myself. Now I love my husband, but we both live and work together so we’re together all the time. When he goes out on Fridays, I relax. There is no rush to get dinner made and get things done so we can get to bed at a reasonable time. I stay up just a little bit later than usual. I watch the terrible TV shows he hates and paint my nails.

My self-care Fridays are the time I intentionally set aside to rest, recharge, and reinvest in myself. Giving myself permission to enjoy my “me time” has been amazing. I have to manually turn off my brain and say, “This is OK.” I don’t allow myself to feel guilty if the house isn’t clean, or I should be working on MIAT, or whatever else has been pressing on my mind (like the bathroom closet which needs to be reorganized). I enjoy the little things that bring me happiness, like a new nail color. Knowing I have Friday night coming and that I am allowed to use that time to decompress makes such an impact on my week.

give yourself permission to be happy moonshine in a teacup

I  started getting acrylic nails a year or two ago and learned that I love how my hands look when my nails are done. I don’t have the daintiest of hands, but long nails make me feel feminine and graceful. I work in an office so I stare at my keyboard and hands all day. I’d much prefer to look at well-manicured nails than chipped and uneven ones.

Having my nails done make me feel that much more put together. It makes me want to pick out my outfit for the next day and do other things to put my best self out there. What are some of your favorite self-care practices?

Choosing to Live More Intentionally

Hey there!

I wanted to sit down with you today and talk about that little Intentional Living button in the menu bar. If you noticed a few weeks ago, Moonshine In A Teacup (MIAT) got a new layout, and this little button appeared. Up until now, that category has been empty. I want to share with you why that spot appeared, what it means, and why I’m choosing to live more intentionally.

Intentionally Definition Moonshine In A Teacup

The next section here is very real. I am going to be upfront and open with you about my life behind the curated blog posts, and my decision to start trying to live more intentionally. I decided a long time ago if something I’ve experienced could benefit someone else, I would share it. But I haven’t done a good job of that here.

I love MIAT. It’s a fun way to chronicle what I’ve been up to and share it with all of you.  That being said, I’ve had a hard time sometimes fitting it into my busy life, and that makes me sad.  I look on Pinterest and compare my blog and my home to the perfect snapshots of other people’s lives on social media. I think, “Why am I doing this? It’ll never look as good.” Or worse, I think, “I don’t want friends to come into my house because it’s not perfect.” I’m jealous of adventures other go on because I don’t have the time or funds to go globe-trotting. I go out shopping and grab whatever fits and I like in the moment, or because it’s on sale, and it sits unworn in my closet. Or I wear the same outfit with it every time because only a few things match. I stress and obsess about being sure everything is done; everything is perfect. That I am perfect. Food and I have the worst relationship, and every time I eat something that isn’t a salad, I feel it’s the worst failure or a justifiable reward for something that’s happened. I have a hard time letting go of anger.

All of these things are the reason that little “Intentional Living” button appeared. I’ve never been one for New Year Resolutions. See above. I don’t do failure well, and whoever succeeds with those?

However, in January I started to think about my life. I know I mentioned it a bit in posts about the wedding, but last year was rough. There were some wonderful spots! The wedding, our honeymoon, time with friends, but I spent a lot of time trying desperately to claw my way out of the depressed, anxious place I was in. I took on too many large projects I truly couldn’t handle. There were health issues in the family. We bought a new house, work stress – then I was promoted to a new team that met me with a lot of resistance, the wedding, not being able to work on our house because I was working on the wedding. It was all just too much, and I couldn’t handle it. I gained 20 pounds and had to buy a new wedding dress. For three months, my anxiety level was so high that I had chest pain and sometimes heart palpitations. (Yupp, that’s a thing.)

I could never do a minimalistic life, but I can live an Intentional Life. This is what I’m working towards and it’s hard. It’s very hard. If I’m upset, emotions are emotions. What I can do is intentionally make an effort to not to let that impact those around me. I can choose to flip the situation and intentionally find something good in it. I can intentionally plan my wardrobe and purchases so they make a cohesive look, and I have the money to pay for better quality items that will last and serve me. I can intentionally schedule my day so I have time to work on the projects that I love.

Live Intentionally Moonshine In A Teacup

This blog and sharing with you guys is one of the things I love. Thank you for listening and sharing in this adventure with me. I hope you enjoy the new topics and posts coming, and I promise to be more open with you.

Let me know what questions you have or topics you want to hear about. Ask me anything, I’ll answer.