The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler with English Breakfast Tea

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler was, unfortunately, a challenging read for me. I grew up in a very strict Christian home. Sexuality, even biology,  was never discussed and if mentioned was presented as dirty or bad. I’m a feminist and yet I struggle with the simple vocabulary for my body. It’s disappointing and I am happy that The Vagina Monologues exist so that it can challenge me and others like me.

The book talks about the need to simply say vagina and talk about vaginas so that they are not forgotten. I think that as women we need to reclaim our bodies and I think that The Vagina Monologues is important to this mission.

I do worry about how a focus on the vagina may make feminism not intersectional or may make trans-women feel excluded. There is, however, a fair amount of inclusion for lesbians in the text.

I will warn you that The Vagina Monologues is not for the faint of heart. If you are a woman, who like me, isn’t necessarily the most comfortable with your own anatomy then maybe you need to read it. Drink some strong black tea though, I drank English Breakfast tea. You may even want to consider making your tea ‘Irish’.

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Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou with Chai Tea

 

Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou is moving, inspirational, overpowering, loving, and forgiving. Angelou is a person that I inspire to become more like, her power to move forward, to love honestly, and forgive wholly are nearly beyond belief.

When I read of her mother in I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsI struggled with how she could forgive so completely. When I read it, however, my own experiences as a mother were only two or three months old. Now I have been a mother for 1.5 years. Although that is still a very short period of time, my perception of motherhood has evolved drastically. I can better understand Vivian Baxter and Maya Angelou.

Angelou’s relationship with her mother is imperfect, messy, and loving. I think their relationship is saved by their love, acceptance, and honesty. I know that I give my son that love from within my soul, from within my marrow, and I strive to give that level of acceptance and honesty. I related deeply to Vivian Baxter when she is quoted saying,

“I am here. I brought my whole self to you. I am your mother.”

I bring my whole self to my son and I always will. As a mother and a daughter, this book really touched my heart. Drink some chai tea so that your tea can give you the same hug that you receive from the words of Maya Angelou. Sip, enjoy, grow your heart.

 

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe with Tension Tamer Tea

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a powerful novel. It welcomes the reader into an Ibo village in Nigeria. The reader is given a unique insight into the village and is able to relate, empathize, and become emotionally invested in the well-being of the villagers. The great strength of literature is that it allows people to experience worlds outside of their own, and to relate to people who have different customs than their own. Achebe is gifted in the ability to create an organic connection between the reader and the characters.

This book is powerful because just as you have become completely invested in the villagers, their lives are uprooted and devastated. The devastation is slow and stealthy, it creeps in innocently and then tears apart the world. Achebe shows the humanity behind the horror of colonization. He writes,

“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”

Allow Things Fall Apart to challenge what history has taught you about colonization. Allow it to open your perspective to the pain that it brought to the world. As you read this book and you allow it to challenge you, sip some tension tamer tea. I actually started drinking tension tamer simply because I was having a difficult day, but I found it to be a nice companion to the novel. The combination of chamomile and ginger root are soothing and pair nicely with

As you read this book and you allow it to challenge you, sip some tension tamer tea. I actually started drinking tension tamer simply because I was having a difficult day, but I found it to be a nice companion to the novel. The combination of chamomile and ginger root are soothing and pair nicely with a novel that will change your perspective — if you let it.

 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll with Chamomile Tea

There are so many people who are completely in love with Alice and all of her crazy adventures. As a child, I found the movie frightening and therefore never had any desire to read the book. It felt like a hole in my reading and its pretty pink cover called to me from my bookshelf. I finally decided to sit down and read it.

I was pleasantly surprised. It is crazy and so full of whimsy that you need to release your thinking mind and just enjoy the experience. My favorite part is the word humor. There is a lot of play on words that I found clever and intriguing. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll are quick reads that leave you feeling a little confused and hungover.

I enjoyed chamomile tea with lavender honey. The lavender honey gives the chamomile a sense of whimsy that is perfect for traveling with Alice. Let your mind go and enjoy the craziness of Lewis Carroll’s creations.

 

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho with Wine or Peppermint Tea (or Wine)

It is my personal opinion that when I take the time to read a book it should give me something. It should change me, grow me, challenge me, or allow me to experience something new. If I were just looking to be entertained, I would watch tv.

Paulo Coelho has become a favorite author of mine because he challenges and changes me. The Alchemist is a book that has been translated into 56 languages because it challenges and changes everyone who reads it.

Coelho has a different perspective on life than most of us. It is a perspective that is more at peace with life and death. A perspective that calls you to wonder about things like souls, purposes of life, and omens.

“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation.” — The Alchemist

In The Alchemist we are told, “To realize one’s personal destiny is a person’s only real obligation.” This book made me think about my own personal destiny, to ponder the Soul of the World, to think about God in a grain of sand, and to examine the things that stop you from reaching your personal destiny. You mind is allowed to explore these thoughts alongside Santiago as he journeys on his personal destiny.

I love the way this book challenged my thoughts and helped me gain a new perspective. Personally, I enjoyed a glass of wine but I would recommend peppermint tea. Peppermint tea is refreshing and awakening, which is good for focusing on this beautiful story.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Illustrated Edition) with Chai Tea

I have been a Harry Potter fan for as long as I can remember. My best friend became my best friend when I accidently hit her in the head with a Malfoy lego in the fifth grade. I majored in Literature in college because of a love of reading that was inspired by J.K. Rowling. Hermoine showed me that a girl could be smart and strong and that it was good to have those traits. The  Harry Potter series has played a potentially odd, but extremely important role in making me the person that I am today.

So, when I got the illustrated edition of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I realized that it was time to enter this world again. Opening this book and reading these familiar words felt like getting a hug from an old friend. Sounds cheesy (I’m aware), but it is honestly the way it felt. 2017 is full of uncertainty and I didn’t realize how much I needed the familiar comfort of this book.

The illustrations by Jim Kay take this well-loved story and bring a unique and wonderful beauty. If you have ever read Harry Potter, you know that you become completely engrossed in the story and forget your surroundings. These illustrations actually had me stopping to admire them and appreciate how much they added to the experience of reading. I look forward to when my son is old enough for me to read him this story and see him enjoy these stunning illustrations.

I love to enjoy a chai tea when reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The spices of chai tea are so warm and always fill me with some feelings of magic. This book is innocent and warm and magical so I love the way chai tea pairs with it. If for some reason you haven’t read Harry Potter, START NOW. If you have read it and you just want to rejoin that place then check out this amazing illustrated version.