Hand picked craft tea collection- Amoda tea

Amoda tea

I’m a big tea lover. I drink tea almost daily. Ever since I read about all the toxins in mainstream tea-bags (also here),I’ve stopped buying big-name tea bags. I am lucky to have an amazing local, organic tea shop where I can do all my tea-stocking.

However, I was delighted to hear my old friend Tegan told me about her company, Amoda Tea. Tegan and I used to take Chado (Japanese tea ceremony) lessons together. She was kind enough to let me try one of the packages.


Amoda means Joy, Peace, Serenity and Aroma in Sanskrit. Amoda tea offers exclusive craft teas from all over North America. You can shop on their online shop and pick whatever you fancy, but what makes Amoda different from other online tea shops is that they offer monthly subscription service for hand-picked collection of craft teas.

As you might already know, subscription services are huge these days. Amoda tea send you hand-picked collections of organic craft teas every month. I was thrilled when I learned about this.

Every idea starts with a problem. Ours was simple: ordering tea online was a pain. We wanted more than our local options, but found ordering online to be frustrating, time consuming and expensive. We were tired of searching for reputable brands, paying separate shipping for every company’s order and really not truly knowing whether we’d even like any of the tea.  (from Amoda website)

I feel their pain!

Few days later, I received my Amoda package. It came in a simple flat box. Amazing thing is, when you order their subscription boxes, shipping is free! Which is a great bonus for us living in Canada. (Shipping is SO expensive in Canada.)

Inside was a beautifully packaged collection of teas! Each package of tea has enough tea for you to enjoy 2-3 cups.

Here are the teas that were included in my package (Winter Collection).

Candy Cane from Naked Teas
A fun green/rooibos tea inspired by the classic holiday candy. Lightly minty.
Berry Mocha Truffle from Octavia Tea
This blend smells and tastes like dark chocolate covered fruit!
Fig Peach Oolong from Modern Tea Girl
Interesting blend, wonderful aroma. Also liked since it was medium caffeine. I like Oolong tea.
Chocolate Frost from Petali Teas
A little info sheet that came with the package says, “Of all the mint chocolate teas we’ve tasted, this one is at the top.” This one smells wonderful.
Celebration Medley from Sloane Tea
This was by far my favourite in this package. Caffeine free Rooibos tea. I’m usually not too crazy about rooibos, but this was flavoured so nicely it somehow masked the distinct rooibos smell. Blended with apple, orange, cinnamon, clove and rose. Just lovely.
Amoda tea bags

The collection comes with natural, unbleached, 100% biodegradable paper filters. They are made in Canada from Canadian and American wood pulp that is sustainable harvested.

I loved having the filters. I made different teas every day and just toss the used tea filters into my compost!

Monthly box is $18/month and you can cancel any time. This will also make great gift. I highly recommend it. Visit Amoda tea for details.

VNCS Japanese Cultural Fair

When I first came to Victoria in 1998, I didn’t know any Japanese people in Victoria. I was a young mother in the early ‘20s and I didn’t know much about living in Canada, let alone anywhere else in the world. Eventually, I met few Japanese people and learned some great tips on living in Canada. Where to get great Japanese food and how to re-create the culture without leaving Victoria, etc.
Now, 14 years later, Victoria has a significantly larger Japanese community and there are at least four main groups/societies out there. When Japan was hit by the Earthquake and Tsunami in March 11, 2011, all these groups joined together to fundraise to help the victims. We are very lucky to have such active community here.

One of the groups is Victoria Nikkei Cultural Socety(VNCS). The purpose of the society is to promote the awarness of Japanese culture, represent the Japanese community, support other Japanese organizations, and to serve the need of the Nikkei community. I am a member of VNCS and it has been great source of information for anything Japanese in Greater Victoria, in BC, and in Canada for me.

This weekend, Saturday, October 20th is their annual Japanese Cultural Fair. It will be held at Esquimalt Recreation Center (527 Fraser St) from 10:00am − 4:00pm. It is a FREE family event where you can experience many traditional Japanese culture with demonstrations of Ikebana(Flower arrangement), Tea Ceremony, Bonsai, Shodo(Calligraphy), Sumi-e(Ink-wash painting), Kendo and Aikido. There will be food sales(Sushi and sweet Manju desserts), performances by Uminari Taiko, Furusato Dancers, Koto by Satomi Edwards, and Japanese School Children’s Choir, just to name a few. There will be kids activities as well.

This is a major fundraiser for VNCS. Please support by stopping by with the whole family. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society Japanese Cultural Fair
When: Saturday, October 20th, 2012 10:00am – 4:00pm
Where: Esquimalt Recreation Centre (527 Fraser Street)                                       Admission: Free

Here is Facebook event.

For more information, please visit www.vncs.ca

Don’t Balance it, Turn it On/Off—30DBC Day 9

My online friend Jitsuko—who has turned me on to do this 30- day blogging challenge, wrote a great post that really spoke to me. Of course, she wrote in Japanese (If you understand Japanese you can read it here.), so I am going to explain her post in English.

We often talk about Work-Life Balance in North America. It’s the same issue in Japan, too. Not just for parents. Basically if you have a life, everyone is struggling with Work-Life Balance. Perhaps more so in Japan where many work long hours.

But Jitsuko says she’d rather think in a different way. Instead of trying to balance everything, in her mind, it works like a switch. You have to turn each one on/off.

-Mom button, Work button, Private button, Wife button…

She says she used to try having multiple buttons on at the same time, but realized only one switch can be flipped on at a time.

So when Mom button is on, she can focus on being a mom, work when Work switch is turned on, Private one (Me time) is particularly important…

and if she can use all the buttons(or maybe you can call them channels) effectively, that is a great day. But if you end up using only one or some of the buttons, things could go a little crazy.


I always said myself there is no such thing as Work-Life Balance. It just does not exist, so don’t look for it. In my opinion, you just have to do what is most appropriate at the time. If the kids need attention, that is important, and sometimes work really needs to be taken care of. And I know it’s not easy.

Jitsuko’s “switch button” theory kind of makes me want to gamify my busy life. Next time I have my kids, let’s see if I can use all the switches effectively, shall we? Suddenly, this sounds much more fun than trying to achieve a perfect Work-Life Balance. Thank you, Jitsuko-san!


Now is the time to Breathe

One of my favourite words is Fellowship. To me, it reminds me that we are not alone. Breathe Now —I am one of the four co-founders of this event— is for fellowship of women. I wanted Breathe Now to be the opportunity for all women to come together and connect and share. Sometimes we forget how powerful sharing can be.

With only a week left to go, the four of us and all the volunteers are working hard to put together what is becoming an amazing event.

Last night, we met around 20 women for the Meet The Founders get-together. It was an intimate gathering, and I felt so honoured to be surrounded by all the amazing women. We all introduced ourselves and honestly, every single person in the room had an interesting thing to say.

Everyone has a story to tell. It is important to share our stories, in order to keep us sane and healthy. We all go through challenging times that test who we are. It’s part of our lives. But I know many women still try to manage it and act as if everything is all right. Where does this need to be perfect come from?

What I have learned from talking to all the people I’ve met and going through a fair share of tough times myself, is this—it is our basic human need to be connected with one another.

Just recently I heard a story from a woman I greatly admire. If you just look at her, she is full of energy and always putting herself out there. She is strong and fierce. You’d think she has it all together. Then few days ago, she revealed on her blog that she was having a hard time with an immediate family member’s passing. She said she was a mess.

Do I think she is weak to reveal her emotional state? No. All I felt for her was admiration for her courage. I felt empathy—I felt, Me too! Me too!

We are all busy. You are building a career, raising children, have a meaningful relationship, taking care of the family… many of us are stressed out and exhausted. It is so easy to forget that the most important thing is to take care of yourself.

Breathe Now is your chance to listen to other amazing women and to share your stories. We have purposefully scheduled a lot of time in-between the sessions so that everyone have plenty of time to talk. Of course, there are fun things to do as well—shopping, massages, fashion show and cocktails. Ultimately, this is a day and a half set aside for us. To be together. To share. To laugh. To joke. To learn about each other.

What is your story?