Summer of 2013 I am going to be taking a break from swapping for the summer at least. Too much fun stuff to do outside right now! I am not going away forever though because this place is just too fun. See you around later in the year!
Statements of Common Sense:
If you do not receive a swap from me, Please Let Me Know! Life is not perfect. Emails will be blocked and mail will be lost. So we communicate and work it out. I am happy to resend where it is needed. I am here to have fun and share smiles. Seems totally reasonable you are here for similar reasons. No drama needed. Just some good old fashioned practicality!
Mailing Address Issues:
I have 2 valid mailing addresses. Both work! Which one you use is mostly dependent upon Your country of origin. Both require you list my name, though I am not listing it here. Please Do Not Forget when you address your swap! If it does not have my name, it may be sent back to you or possibly destroyed as a suspicious package. (The military gets quite silly about those possible terrorist threats you know!) Also, please do not mix parts of these addresses. Use one or the other, but do not mix them. Won't work. It will be lost, destroyed, or, less likely, it might return to you.
This is the address I have listed in my profile and is the one you should use if you are sending from the USA or Canada:
PSC 76 Box 2523
APO, AP 96319-0004
It is a standard stateside address requiring standard stateside postage. The ONLY possible additional step to using this address is if you are sending a package rather than a letter. Then you will need to use a customs form. They are easy to obtain and fill out. A bit tedious admittedly, but easy none the less! A package without a customs form will be going back to you. (If you use this address when your country of origin is somewhere other than USA or Canada, it should still get to me. It will travel to the USA first before coming to Japan though, greatly increasing its journey. Just something to keep in mind, please!)
PLEASE NOTE: The MPS (military postal system) does tend to run a bit slower than the USPS (US postal system). In particular during the winter, starting early Nov all the way through Jan. (Holiday jam, we call it.) It mostly runs slow coming to me, but in those winter months it is just as slow going out to you. More patience than you want to use will be required! Please, I beg, try very hard to be reasonable. I will appreciate it! And please, no bitching about the MPS. It is a service offered to active duty military, DOD civilians, and their family members who are stationed over seas. It's not perfect, but no postal system in the world is. The MPS personnel work very hard to ensure I can send and receive fun mail at no additional cost than I would incur stateside, and I appreciate it greatly. I'd rather not deal with you dissing them or their work, thank you.
If you are sending from any other country NOT the USA or Canada, you might find it better to use this address:
Misawa Air Base
Using this address means the mail will travel directly from your country of origin to Japan without taking a trip stateside first. Much quicker! And probably about the same postage for you. (Actually, using this address from the USA or Canada will likely mean a faster journey as well, but it would be international postage rates! Not good for budgets!)
Ultimately, it is up to you which address you use, but I have done my part in explaining the options available with their inherent positive and negative aspects.
Request for Patience:
I have noticed my current tendency is to wait for a nice pile of received swaps to accumulate before I rate. This means you may be waiting a bit longer for a rating/indication I received. Between this and my already slow mail service, this may cause you to get quite nervous. I am sorry, please forgive me. It is not my intention to make you nervous! So please allow me to reassure you: I am NOT a hasty rater; nor do I rate poorly without first trying to communicate with you. And yes, I Will Rate! (eventually;) But if your nervousness gets the better of you (it happens, NBD), do feel free to contact me and check. Thank you for understanding. I will return the courtesy.
First thing you should note, I like to write. I will be as precise as I feel I need to be. I do not require you read all of it, but if you choose to do so, you should absorb a sense of my personality. I will come across negatively to many, amusing to a few, and absolutely odd to everyone. Such is me! I endeavor to label my profile topics so as to facilitate skimming. I hope it helps you find the information you desire. If the info you want is not readily apparent, please ask. I might just copy and paste a chunk of the profile to you, or perhaps you are interested in a topic I have not covered, or your asking might reveal a way which helps me make topics more clear and precise. Learning process! Everything in life is a learning process.
Next, just to be clear, my husband is the active duty military member. His service is why I am currently living in Japan, but I am not in the military. Thanks for my service are a bit misplaced. And I promise he hears it plenty too. No need to share more! And if you don't mind, please never pray for me or my husband. We are not comfortable with such things. I don't mind answering questions regarding mil life, but I am not going to cover it here. Thank you.
I'm a creative sort who loves color and nature. If you get nothing else from this profile, please get Color & Nature! (I do cover those topics in far greater detail further down.) Also very into sci-fi and fantasy (art, books, thought processes). Love to read, mostly sci-fi/fantasy! I am happily married to my life-bonded soul mate. (He gets mentioned often enough you might have figured this one out already!) I am originally from Minnesota. Which I think led to my preference for nature having all four seasons in a year. (I truly hated south GA!) My one and only non-nature related love is aviation. (Must have an oddball preference to disprove my own generalizations!) I adore airshows and airplanes. My fave aviation group is the Blue Angels (started as a color preference!). And rather as expected my fave plane is what they fly, the F/A 18. I have some minor gaming tendencies in me. Mostly, I'm a Spyro the Purple Dragon addict! (Yes, a marvelous melding of color, nature, and fantasy preferences!) My husband is more of a gamer with his devout Magic: The Gathering addiction. (I will consent to facilitating trades through here if you or someone in your life also suffers from the same addiction.) I am also a big fan of Garfield. I identify with his personality greatly. I don't like human kids. I don't want any and I don't want to be around any. Ever. I don't care for overly cutesy things. I prefer regal and majestic. Doesn't mean cute is bad, but it does need proper framing. I do not drink or smoke, and don't want much to do with people who do. I am an introvert . I am not likely to introduce myself to you or even specifically notice you exist. But even beyond that, I don't look at people. I don't enjoy art or pictures featuring people. I don't even enjoy music made by human means all that much! I also do not consider any of this to be a failing or fault. It is part of who I am and I like it. You don't need to, but I will expect you to respect it. I do socialize. I just tend to have more outgoing friends who made all the first moves so to speak. Many of those I consider close friends are quite adamant that while I am a rather bizarre individual, I am one of the most interesting, loyal, and jovial people they know, and they treasure me as a friend. Nice to be treasured, but if you ever meet any of my friends, first thing you notice is they are all crazy! Stark raving loony. Honest. Don't trust a word they say (about me)! ;)
I have 2 cats, Squirrel and Zuki. I adore them. I could, as most cat people are wont to do, tell you all about them at very great length, but I shall refrain. I'll save it for swaps! However, if you would like to see pictures, I have many on my facebook profile. Our little zoo includes more than felines though. The newest babies are 2 grass turtles. They are a native Japanese species, and they are gluttonous growing weeds! Very cute though. Their tank also currently holds a crayfish, a loach, and 5 goldfish. The goldfish are meant to be food for the turtles, but the turtles haven't caught on yet. We have one other tank in progress. Mostly trying to establish some plants in there, but we decided to pick up some algae eaters because despite appearances algae is not the plant type we are trying to grow! And finally, we have some beetle grubs. The grubs are new to us. They are quite common here in Japan however, which is part of why we have them. And so we are learning about beetles as pets. (We've learned grubs are very boring!) That may be all we have currently, but we have had many other types of critters over the years. Preying mantises are super fun to catch. Fascinating bugs! They groom themselves just like a cat does. And they are also to be found locally so we will have more. My husband has had many types of aggressive aquarium fish. Oscars, piranhas, cichlids... The blue lobster he had was really pretty. I generally prefer the pretty swimmy types of fish like neons. Betas are pretty, but way boring since they are not so good with the swimmy part. We've had several snakes. There have been a few dogs, turtles, and tree frogs in the mix too. And though they were never officially pets, we did actively observe all the adorable anoles (American chameleons), skinks, tree frogs, and even a writing spider that frequented our yard while we were stationed in south GA. Safe to say, we are critter sorts and will always have pets and other animals with and around us!
Purple! Purple, purple, purple. Blue and green too. Think cool color spectrum and jewel tones. Nothing wrong with pastels though either. So long as it is properly framed, there is no color I truly hate. Promise, I am not scary picky about this. So long as it has a natural context, I'm good. Very hard to separate my color and nature preferences into absolutes! Rainbows are wonderful, in the "normal" gem tone shades or pastel. Not normally big on pink, but mix it with purple and blue and I usually can't resist. Actually, I rather like pink and green together. I think of flowers with leaves. (Nature reference again!) Purple and green is another fave combo. Not an easy combo as pairing the right shade of purple with the right shade of green is an art form onto itself, but when done well it can be spectacular. I love silver! Silver and blue together, wow! Brown. Yeah, I know it's a warm toned color. I generally don't care for it paired with cool colors, but I do love how many ways it adds depth, richness, and dimension to nearly everything. Seriously, nothing on this planet would exist without brown! Extremely undervalued color. In general, like sparkles and iridescent versions of everything too. So long as the glitter aspect is not over done. Sparkles are great, but I'm not very girlie.
Orange. Just ick. Unless of course it's on a tiger or Garfield. Always comes back to the idea of natural framing for color usage! Not big on red, yellow, pink, gold... All the warm tones. But I'll say it again, natural references. Can't have fire or fall leaves without warm toned colors! And I'm a pyro who loves fall. So again, with the proper framing, there is no color I hate absolutely. There are a few color combos I simply can not stand though. Red and black. Too pseudo artsy. Honestly, not cool. Get over it. Red, white and blue. I Do Not Do Americana. Yes, I have serious design issues with the USA flag. Purple and orange. I can not reconcile my fave and least fave colors paired. They need at least one more color and some damn good context before I'm OK!
Natural Critter Likes:
Tigers! Definitely orange tigers over white tigers. Nothing wrong with white tigers of course, but orange tigers are more jungle oriented. I prefer jungle context. I love almost all big/wild cats. Puma/mountain lion/cougar is my second fave. Jaguars, ocelots, lynx, bobcat, kodkod, caracals, leopards... If it's feline, I like it. Though least faves in the feline category are cheetahs and male lions. Love the female lions, but the mane on the males is a bit over the top for me. Not to say I dislike cheetahs or male lions, but I will pick other felines first. And yes, domestic cats count, but I prefer big/wild felines. Domestics are great for companionship, but less so for art and décor.
I strongly gravitate towards predators in general. Frogs/toads, dragonflies/damselflies, snakes, eagles, owls, hawks, bats, dolphins/whales, crabs, preying mantises, lizards of pretty much every size shape and description, and wolves are all predatory critters I like. Spiders scare me, but damn are they fascinating. Hard not to appreciate them, but do prefer to do my appreciating from a safe distance!
Of course, many non-predatory critters are worth appreciating too. Insects are fascinating! Butterflies, moths, and beetles can be so gorgeous whether they are showy or more subtly colored. And yes, I like the caterpillar stages too. (Not so big on grub stages, but we are still learning!) Turtles and tortoises are big favorites too. (Turtles tend to be omnivores, not strictly predatory.) Since moving away from MN, I have begun to appreciate our state bird, the common loon, more. And I miss seeing huge flocks of Canadian geese migrating each year too. Boils down to I like critters, but in general if I mentioned it specifically, it is among my high interests. However, I love to learn about those I know less well too!
Natural Critter Dislikes:
Monkeys and primates. Yes, to include humans. And yes, this is one of those rare instances of I really very truly Do Not Like! There are not many things which generate such a strong negative reaction for me. (So naturally, to break my own generalizations, it has to be in the nature category!) To be fair, there are some primitive primates I think are fascinating, but, in all cases, they don't look like primates. (My only means to explain, I am an introvert. I consider a dislike of primates to be an extension of disliking humans.) I am also not fond of most domesticated farm animals. Pigs are ugly; cows/sheep/goats are not compelling to me. I regularly go back and forth about whether or not I would like to try owning a goat, chickens, ducks, or geese. There are practical reasons for trying (fresh eggs!), but also not sure I have a proper mindset to do right by the critters either. Ultimately, a moot point until such time as we are not moving every few years due to the mil life! As a general concept, I'm not a fan of cutesy. Critters are cute enough as they are, no need to add (pink) bows or bunny ears on beings who are not bunnies. Not into kawaii or anime versions of anything.
Fantasy Critter Likes:
Dragons! Big, evil fire breathing monsters, wise and sage advisers, oriental, mini pet types... Basically, if it is recognizable as any type of “dragon,” I love it! I always root for the dragon. Humans who hunt dragons are a scourge to burned! There are several types of fantasy critters that seem like dragons to the layman, but are indeed separate critters. I love all of them too! Wyverns, wurms, serpents that fly or swim... Fundamentally, if it's lizard like, I most likely think it's cute. Well, except dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are fascinating, just not sure we know enough about them to include them fully in the realm of “natural,” but they are too real to be “fantasy.” Life is full of those gray areas!
Here is one of the few ways I show I am a girl; I do love unicorns and pegasus or any combination thereof. Not as deeply into the really young girlie types as much though. Another gray area I'm afraid. Don't specifically dislike the girlie types. After all, I have fond memories of glittery rainbow festooned fun! But I have grown up (some) and now am drawn by their regal, elusive, mysterious, magical, and beautiful aspects now. Some of my favorite art depicts those qualities, but there never seems to be enough! But hey, if you are 13 in truth or just at heart, and you love to make glittery rainbow festooned unicorns, bring 'em! Nothing wrong with celebrating simple pleasures of youth.
I am drawn to griffons and phoenixes as well. Griffons more, but both are so rarely seen I tend to think of them about the same.
Now to explain “fairies.” I do understand what most people picture when encountering the word “fairy.” It's not what I picture. For me, fairies are NOT scantily clad human females with flimsy wings. That type of fairy is far from my list of likes! But nature fairies most certainly are on my list of likes. Have you ever looked at something like natural wood paneling and started to see faces or creatures looking back at you? Those are nature fairies. They may have eyes and mouths and hands and feet, but one would never mistake them for being human! They are too powerful and changeable to be confined by a single form. They are too sensible to be bothered with mirroring human forms. And they only show me what they think I need to see, when they think I need to see it. They are teachers and guides, tricksters and prank artists, joy and sorrow, dark and light.... They are outside our ken, precisely where they should be.
Fantasy Critter Dislikes:
By proper definition of fantasy creatures, I have no dislikes. However, I have no love for human monsters. Vampires, werewolves, and zombies are not fantasy based. Fiction yes, not fantasy. And please do not get me started on how morphing monsters that are analogs for human depravities into sex symbols speaks volumes about psychological states. Keep it simple: I Do Not Like!
(formerly called Favorite Crafts)
Keeping it simple: If you can make it, I can appreciate it! I don't even require it be your “best” work. All I ask, as many of the swaps ask, is please send what you would appreciate receiving. Creative pursuits are a huge part of my daily activities. I love to try new types. What you send just might inspire me! So I do not want to tell you specifics of what I like. Show me what you like. I am going to use you as a teacher. (No fretting! We can all learn from each other in many ways. This is how life works! And it is one of the better aspects of swap-bot. Embrace it!)
But to be fair, I should give some an idea what you might receive from me. First and foremost, I write a note/letter with every swap. Unless I crunch my time. Always my own fault when it happens, but unfortunately my swap partners are those who miss out on the letter. Sorry! One of my favorite parts of any swap, no matter the intended items, is an included letter. It's a personal touch. Makes all the difference sometimes between a good swap and a great swap. So I try to pay it forward.
I am a paper addict. I do not prefer to buy paper though. I upcycle instead! But I am not limited to paper. I use many mediums. Paper is my favorite though. There is no point in me listing every sort of technique/medium/craft I do or have used. It's an extensive list and always growing!
A large quantity of the ATCs I make are hand drawn. My drawing style is unique. Many have said it is “like zentangle.” But it is not zentangle. There are often “hidden” images incorporated into the drawing, but I prefer to let your imagination find what it will rather than telling you what I drew. It lends itself to copying easily. So I do. I enjoy coloring in the copies and using them as extras or for other swaps. Yes, I do label which ones are originals and which are copies!
I am not christian. Hence, christian icons tends to make me uncomfortable. By Politically Correct terminology, I am spiritual but not religious. Technically, I am an atheist since I do not believe in any god/goddess form. Not to say such beings do not exist, but why should I label them as gods? Would they label me as primitive then? By whose standards do these labels apply? All they are is words whose only meaning is held by the individual who uses them. So please refrain from using words to label me and my beliefs. I won't fit into your definitions. And you have as much right as I do to believe what you will. So believe, but do not preach or push or judge. It is not your place or mine. And I just might take it upon myself to educate you if you do push or judge. Such are the freedoms the USA stands for and people like my husband defend.
Holidays as I Celebrate Them:
Pretty much any holiday is a good excuse to make greeting cards! I enjoy playing with each holiday's set of colors and shapes. But in no instance do I feel a religious compunction behind any holiday. Which is not to say I don't feel spiritually moved by the seasonal origins of some. I do celebrate nature and the turning of the seasons one to the other! All seasons are beautiful and special. Every christian holiday is based on an older, nature based tradition so it is not hard to lay such celebrations over each other. I just eschew the christian trappings. Decorating for any holiday is not something I do. I will make ornaments for many holidays (as product to sell or gifts), but I refuse to own any ornaments. So no heart window clings, no easter baskets, no turkey center pieces, no xmas tree. (Sometimes Halloween is the exception to my no decorating rule!) I don't even decorate for the season either. Nature does that well enough. I will go outside and enjoy mother nature's “decorating!”
New Year's: Fireworks, peel & eat shrimp meal with fries, bonfires, reflection and introspection, and my wedding anniversary! My favorite holiday!
Valentine's Day: Hearts! (One of my favorite shapes!) And making a point to appreciate and convey love and friendship to every family member and friend I value.
St. Patrick's Day: Spring, shamrocks (another fave shape), return of green, rainbows, and fertility.
Easter/Spring Equinox: Pastel explosion! Green and flowers, vibrant and fertile spring, being outside to appreciate the renewed life every day possible. Only if we are near family do we consent to a meal. It's much better to avoid it!
Independence Day (USA, July 4th): Fireworks! (Only because I love fireworks though.)
Halloween: Probably my second favorite holiday. I love this holiday for it's sheer fun. A good scare is liberating for the soul! I am disappointed how cutesy it is becoming... I think Halloween is when we should celebrate death and all our fears of darkness and the unknown and how we face or overcome these fears. That is not exactly a cutesy warm fuzzy sort of endeavor! If it is not scary, ghoulish, creepy, intimidating, eery, or frightening, it has no place in this holiday. There are many enjoyable icons for this holiday. Black cats, moon, bats, spiders and their webs, ghosts, owls, crows/ravens, bare branch tree silhouettes, “traditional” witches with the pointy hats and green skin and a big nose with a prominent wart, disembodied glowing eyes, fog. Lots of ways to use those images, without them being too cute OR too scary, to suggest enough eeriness for self introspection of fears and acknowledge the turning from the bounty of summer to the chill of winter.
Thanksgiving Day (USA): Celebrate autumn! And avoid the big meal if possible.
Xmas/Winter Solstice: Winter! To me, all about the blue and silver, snow, snowflakes, ice and cold. Sure, I do send cards out with a year in review letter and an exchange of presents with those closest to me. But again with avoid the meal if possible. Too much stress involved in the social obligations! I also enjoy viewing holiday light decorations. The bigger the better! I really miss the holiday light display in Riverside Park, LaCrosse, WI! I adore How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (The cartoon version, not the Jim Carrey bastardized version.)
If a holiday is not on this list, it means either I don't know about it to be able to celebrate it or it has no significant form of celebration associated with it. However, I am very open to learning about more holidays and traditions no matter their origin or meaning. I never know what I might learn or wish to incorporate into my life and personal traditions! Please share yours with me.
First, if you do not receive a postcard (or any swap) from me, PLEASE let me know and I will resend. Postcards are small and can get lost easily in transit. And I won't know you didn't get it unless you tell me. It's not like it will come back to me like a letter would! The last thing I want is for you not to receive your bit of happiness.
I found this link on some one's profile. It is good info to keep in mind for all swaps, but it references postcard swaps specifically. Every point on it I know and have known and simply consider to be common sense. However, humans have the capacity for lack of common sense to a startling degree so perhaps you should read it too. Either you will learn something or you will feel the need to share it as I am for all those who need common sense pointed out to them! http://www.swap-bot.com/forums/topic/53189/
Yes, I adore sending out little smiles to mailboxes by the use of postcards. Yes, I also collect postcards. No, I am not picky about receiving “naked” or in an envelope. I might prefer really high quality photograph cards be in an envelope, but that's the only exception I can determine right now. I do understand other people have other preferences so all you have to do is ask nicely and I will do my best to accommodate yours!
Postcards I Like: Anything with a nature theme! You can review my critter preferences for detailed ideas. I like to collect nice photography shots of animals, flowers, insects, sunsets/sunrises, or landscapes from ground or aerial views. Any image displaying a seasonal aspect is quite welcome. I love spring flowers and summer storms and fall leaves and winter's frosts and snow. Well, I just love seasons! If there is a human visible on the card, it looses a great deal of value to me. But it is possible if the human is in an ornate costume of cultural significance I might find that interesting. Hard to ignore how fascinating other cultures can be! I do not care for city scenes at all. I might not mind a close up of a single building if it has remarkable architecture or some other form of art associated with it like stained glass windows or a mural though. Perhaps a funny sign would be OK too. Humor is valuable! I do have a deep love of aviation so any shots of planes are welcome! I like military birds best from the classic war birds to the modern jets. The Blue Angels or their birds, F/A-18s, are special favorites. Any map sort of card might be interesting to start collecting. State map cards tend to show tourist hot spots. Non-USA maps would be utterly fascinating and perhaps help give me travel ideas for my future! I currently have no experience with handmade postcards past what I make so I would welcome handmade. Hopefully I can learn a few new techniques! But please don't go over board with the fancy level right now if you expect in kind swaps. My handmade postcards are pretty simple so I don't want anyone to end up disappointed I did not reciprocate appropriately. I do have to learn the new techniques before I can apply them after all!
I have no known allergies to foods or beverages. However, I have health concerns which mean I should never ingest ginseng or echinacea and I need to limit my caffeine intake. I am also mindful of the rampant alcoholism in my family so I do not and will not drink alcohol. It just seems prudent.
Coffee: I don't drink coffee. Love the smell of the beans, but can't stand the flavor! Which is just as well since I should not have the caffeine.
Hot chocolate: I do love a good hot chocolate. Preferably dark chocolate versions, but I would never turn away any chocolate! I do not care for marshmallows or whipped cream on/in my hot chocolate. It is plenty sweet enough without adding more sugar! My experience with brands is limited, but I know for certain I prefer Swiss Miss over Nestle. My favorite flavors to mix with hot chocolate are mint and irish cream (not at the same time). I have not had the pleasure of other flavors of hot chocolate, but I am willing to try. Flavors I am confident about enjoying would be raspberry, strawberry, mango, cinnamon, pineapple, banana, white, spice, caramel, and ginger. Flavors I would probably dislike would be cherry, orange, peach, coffee, or jasmine. I don't know if any of those flavors are available in hot chocolate, but I thought I'd mention just in case. Like I said, I am quite happy to try almost anything. Even if I think I'll dislike it. No harm in determining for certain!
Tea (from tea plant): As much as I love black tea, I really should not drink it anymore. So when possible please send herbal only teas (see next section down). But since I cheat on this one once in a while, in particular to try new flavors, I am going to give you info in this category! My favorite black tea is Earl Grey. Of the different brands of Earl Grey I have tried, I like Bigelow and Stash best. I like Irish Breakfast too, but I only allow myself that one once ever couple of years! Stash and Twinnings do a real nice Irish Breakfast. After those two, all other black teas I might have any interest in will be flavored. Flavors I am confident about enjoying would be mint, mango, raspberry, strawberry, pineapple, lemon, lychee(fruit), cinnamon, chocolate/cocoa, chocolate mint, and ginger. Flavors I would probably dislike would be cherry, orange, peach, apple, vanilla, any nut flavor, or jasmine. I have never met a jasmine flavored tea I like. It smells divine, and I've tried many. But I think jasmine must make a better flowering plant than tea! I do like some oolongs and orange pekoes, but need to go just as easy on those as the black teas. And do not try to convince me Lipton brand is even tea! Lipton sucks. The rest of the tea family I do drink regularly enough to warrant a good look at them. I drink green tea daily and white tea a couple times a week. Japanese loose leaf green teas are the best! But any straight green tea will work too. For flavor ideas, refer back a few sentences. Because I have a big mint addiction, I greatly enjoy Stash's Moroccan Mint Green Tea and their holiday Merry Mint Tea. (Don't have much of either at the moment, hint hint!) China White Silver Needle is the best white tea. And oddly, I really like the Celestial Seasonings White Tea. I rarely like that brand for anything, but their white is good. Flavored whites are OK, but I tend to prefer just “plain” white tea. However, Stash makes a divine raspberry & white blend. And in case I haven't mentioned enough yet, I do like to try new flavors.
Herbal Tea: This is what I drink the most every day. No caffeine to worry about in this category, but I really really need to avoid ginseng and echinacea. I read labels. So long as what you send me has an ingredient list or a flavor name with brand name, I will be good. In general, I like to be able to read the ingredient list anyway. If it tastes good, I want to know why! So let us talk of brands. Good Earth, Stash, and Bigelow are my top three favorites, not in any specific order. I also like Yogi and Traditional Medicinals. It is great fun to try blends and herbs from herbal growers too. In particular from those who have some herbal healing knowledge. Raven's Nest Herbals and Earth Elements Herbals are a couple I have found. I will give specifics of what I like, but please use them as guidelines for flavors in general. That whole idea of I like to try new flavors and brands comes into play here too you know! Good Earth's Sweet & Spicy Herb Tea is my all time favorite tea! I will happily share this marvelous tea. Unless you really don't like cinnamon, you will most likely love it too! Bigelow's Mint Medley is my favorite mint tea. Any mint tea is good though. (Mint addict--> Me.) Bigelow also has the best lemon tea, I Love Lemon with C. And Bigelow has a really good raspberry one called Red Raspberry. Not to be confused with their Raspberry Royale which is black tea based and therefore falls into my avoid drinking it category. I like Bigelow's new(er) Lemon Ginger Herb + Probiotics too. Stash has a nice Licorice Spice tea. Celestial Seasonings has Tropic of Strawberry which is the best strawberry tea I've found. I enjoy the taste of red raspberry leaf herb teas too. I prefer to get the herb from a grower if I can, but for swapping here I can say both Yogi and Traditional Medicinals have red raspberry leaf teas. They also both have ginger teas and stomach ache/digestive aid teas with ginger as a dominate ingredient which I enjoy for flavor and the medicinal applications mentioned. I could not make it through every month without Yogi's Woman's Moon Cycle tea. If you suffer from PMS and cramps too, I highly recommend it! Just for the fun flavor of it, I like Yogi's Mayan Cocoa Spice. Don't drink it often because it is really spicy, but when I'm in the mood it is wonderful! I am actively searching for a purely herbal chocolate mint tea. I've found a few that are black tea based that I do like, but clearly can't drink often. If you could help me find a good herbal version, I will love you forever! As with everything, there are some flavors/teas I don't like too. I hate roobios. Nasty gross stuff! Apple, vanilla, any nut flavor, cherry, orange, peach, caramel, or jasmine are all flavors I do not enjoy in herbal teas. There is something about those flavors that just does not transfer to tea well. I would probably try any new (to me) version of any of them except peach though.
Other Beverages: There are a few other drink mixes I've run across that I really like, but they don't fit other categories so I'm going to lump them together here. Ginger Drink. It's Asian in origin and I think goes by several names. But basically, it's a pelleted form of strong ginger and honey. Dissolves readily in hot water and is oh so yummy! It does pack a wallop though. If anyone would like to try this, I have Gold Kili brand packets I could share. Apple Cider. Normally, I mull apple cider with a blend of spices, but Alpine brand Spiced Apple Cider packets are good. I like their flavor and the convenience. So if you have something similar but in a different brand, I would happily try! Royal Milk Tea. I know, it is a tea, but I'm putting it here because it's from Japan. It is a specific flavor of tea made by Nittoh Tea, and I prefer the powdered versions so I can control the flavor intensity. I don't think anyone who is not in Japan will find it. And yes, I was in Japan when I found it and fell in love with it. I want more! So anyone who can get it, please oh please message me so we can arrange something! I can provide pics to show what I'm talking about if this is not making sense.
I won't mind too much if I receive something I can not enjoy myself. Mild disappointment will happen I'm sure, but I will simply put the item aside as either a gift for friends or material to pass on with the next swap! I am a firm believer in the concept of re-gifting!
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