Slice of Pie: Dryad Tea’s Lovely Rubiee Has A Cuppa For You

I say, old chap! I’ve got a rather nouveau idea. What do you say to some tea to go with your pie? Even better: what about some meticulously chosen, carefully blended, uniquely delicious tea from a lovely lady like Rubiee?

~A Slice of Pie!~

A tasty sample of something fresh cooked up by an artist of my choosing.

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Who are you?

My name is Rubiee Tallyn Hayes, and I own Dryad Tea!

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What’s your thing right now? That thing. You know. That thing over there. What is that?

My thing Right now is Dryad Tea, it’s a loose leaf tea company inspired by music, mythology and literary art.

Note: Dryad Tea isn’t just an online store… it pops up now and then at some of the funnest, finest conventions in the country!

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What do you love about this thing?

The creative freedom that I am allowed, all of the people that I meet and all of the creative bits that can inspire me.

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Firebird’s Child Chai (black tea)

What do you dislike about this thing?

I work from home, so I don’t see people a lot. Also, Dryad is my 24/7 job, I work many more hours than I would if I worked a 9-5.

How and why did this thing get started? How long has it been going on?

In 2012 I was singing with my band Pandora Celtica, we had been talking about ways to create personal product that would allow us to bring a little more money home over and above the music gigs. I had seen perfumes inspired by things, so why not tea?

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We Are Shangri-La (green tea)

When/how/where can people get some of the thing?

My website: www.dryadtea.com is where you want to go. Tea, pottery, tea accessories, tea of the month club and more!

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Loki’s Kiss (herbal tea)

 

What thing would you do if you had all the money and time in the world right now?

Buy a building for a store front, the whole entire building so that I could have a store front for Dryad and also be able to work pottery in the same space.

Note: Rubiee and Dryad Tea just launched a magnificent Kickstarter to raise money for a storefront space so she can create more tea, more products, and handmade pottery items!

Click here to check out the pitch video and see how you can help!

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Delightfully geeky pottery

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Lovely leafy trivets!

What’s your new favorite thing that someone else has done/made?

I am in love with Paletree Arcana’s work and also these hollow books on Etsy.

Possibly the most important question… If your thing was a pie, what kind of pie would it be?

Pecan pie!

And even more importantly: what kind of tea goes best with that pie?

Awaken tea would go best in my opinion: a nice smooth black tea.

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Awaken Tea (black tea)

All photos courtesy of Rubiee Hayes and Dryad Tea website!

Rubiee is the incredibly lovely creator of Dryad Tea. I first found Dryad Tea at Salt Lake Comic Con in September 2015. My eye was caught by their name, but I quickly fell in love with their unique and varied herbal blends which were all cleverly arranged in spice canisters so customers could smell any of the blends they wanted to. My heart nearly exploded with joy to find that they were also vendors at my home turf of Teslacon in November. I even made sure that some of my favorite friends and family got Dryad Tea products for Christmas this year. Trust me – this is not “just like every other tea company out there.” Give them a try and you’ll fall in love just like I did!

Review: Professor Elemental’s APEQUEST is a timeywimey triumph!

It’s a funny old world. One minute, you’re at Teslacon screaming because Lord Bobbins just announced that the world-famous Professor Elemental will be joining us next year for Teslacon 7 – and then the next minute you’re at home screaming because the Prof himself has agreed to let you review his newest album for your blog – and he’s said some awful kind things about your blog and accomplishments to boot.

See? Funny.

I was thrilled to find that Professor Elemental had released a new album – if I owned his previous albums The Indifference Engine and More Tea? on a physical disc, I would undoubtedly have destroyed the discs by now from overplaying them. (Is that still a thing? Do discs get messed up from overuse?) Even more thrilling to me was the title: Apequest. The Prof’s omnipresent but never vocal primate butler has gone missing and it’s up to the Professor to find him… what I didn’t realize is that this quest would also involve one of my favorite things in the entire universe: time travel. 

Ohhhhhhhhhh yes, friends. Buckle up because this album is friggin’ awesome.

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photo courtesy of professorelemental.com

From the get-go I was stoked to settle in and listen to Apequest – but honestly the storytelling and the time travel element made me even more ecstatic. The Professor would naturally need his Time Travel Trousers to find Geoffrey – but he can’t use them, as Geoffrey is the one who absconded with them accidentally! So out come the Prototype Trousers, the first version of the more successful Time Travel Trousers, and off the Professor goes to find his faithful friend.

The album is one outstanding track after another, following the Professor through time as he searches for Geoffrey and discovers that there is more than just a misplaced monkey afoot. He has littered the lyrics with dazzling rhymes and references to other popular space and time icons and legends, and each track has exquisite sound editing and richly textured orchestrations that fill the imagination and the stage of the mind’s eye to follow the Professor through the various chapters of history (and the future). The Professor heads back to the age of dinosaurs, then forward to the medieval times, the Wild West, the future, even outside time itself for an incredibly funky “The Inn At The End Of Time” (which almost feels like a funky timespace edition of “Love Shack”). The unbelievably well chosen guest artists are additional icing on the cake – reaching “Weird Weird West” and suddenly hearing the extraordinary harmonies of Steam Powered Giraffe oozing through my headphones was like biting into a perfect fluffy cake to discover there’s an unrealistically perfect lemon curd filling hidden inside. And furhermore, Steam Powered Giraffe on this track brings to mind the ghostly Greek chorus of the Haunted Mansion at Disney, i.e. utterly delicious.

Professor Elemental is not just an outstanding rhyme-wizard, but he’s also a marvelous storyteller and a clever, clever nerd. The musical easter eggs are plentiful and rewarding when you notice them – I could be wrong but the sound that signifies the Time Travel Trousers’ transportation sounded a bit like a squealing R2-D2 for a hot second. The future’s flying cabs sound like the Jetson’s car. There’s 8-bit chords in “End of Level Boss.” It’s a smirk-inducing ride of brilliant fun that I’d recommend to any fan of the Professor – and any fan of smart lyrics, good beats, and unusual subject matter.

Pick up Apequest on Professor Elemental’s website and enjoy it for yourself – your ears will thank you!

 

photo courtesy of professorelemental.com

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Where There’s Tea, There’s Hope

When I was in high school, I discovered the incredibly delicious and fascinating world of tea. I read everything I could about the history of tea, its uses and types in different cultures around the world, and the wide variety of flavors and treatments it comes in. I became so enamored with the culture of camellia sinensis and its offshoots that my first job in high school was at Teavana, hustlin’ leaves and cast iron tea pots to unsuspecting passersby. In the spirit of warm, healthy beverages and an intense history of trade, war, and conflict, I offer you today’s Top Ten Tuesday: Where There’s Tea, There’s Hope!

In London near Buckingham Palace (in 2010).

In London near Buckingham Palace (in 2010).

1. Earl Grey. A black tea! It’s classic and timeless, it goes with breakfast, lunch and dinner. First appeared in England in the 1820s as a Chinese black tea flavored with bergamot (a citrus fruit like an orange found in Italy). There are lots of stories as to why it’s called after an English lord, but no one’s quite sure about the truth on that matter. These days there are tons of companies that produce Earl Grey black tea, some with added lavender, or rose petals, or other mixtures and flavorings. A variant called Lady Grey by Twinings is particularly delicious. I’m off caffeine permanently now, so I’m on the look out for caffeine-free/herbal alternatives to the illusive and mystical Earl Grey’s hazy bergamot flavoring.

2. Dragonwell. A green tea! Pure and simple, with no additional flavoring but for a kind of smoky, grassy taste natural to this particular tea’s process. The leaves are flat and dark green, and the steeped color is a bright, yellow-green. It’s a lovely alternative to sencha, which is a sweeter green tea that burns faster and thus turns bitter more quickly.

3. Genmaicha. Another green tea! It’s grassy and light, and mixed into the green tea leaves are kernels of roasted brown rice, which give a strange toasty flavor to the steeped tea – it’s a hint of popcorn (with no butter or salt, of course) along with a smooth green tea to compliment any meal. My favorite sushi places on the planet have genmaicha as their standard offering when you order ‘green tea’ with your dinner. Deliciousssss.

4. Pom tea from Argo Tea. Herbal tea! At any Argo Tea, I order a Pom Tea with a shot of ginger, and sometimes some lemon to go with it. It’s my feel good tea on sad days, and the shot of ginger kicks your insides up a notch when you’re feeling under the weather. Tart and sweet, it’s probably really good on ice, too, but I haven’t tried that yet.

5. Lemon Ginger from Bigelow Teas. Herbal tea! It’s got probiotics in, too, so your stomach is soothed and healthy after drinking. Strong lemon flavor is balanced with chamomile, ginger, lemongrass, a bit of cinnamon, and some rosehips to smooth it all out. Delicious and balanced. Obsessed!

6. Midsummer Night’s Dream from David’s Tea. Herbal tea! I did not think I’d like a combo of citrus fruits and mint… but I was wrong. This tea has everything: apple pieces, spearmint, gooseberries, marigold, rose, and safflower petals. It is so, so amazing that I can’t help but hold all other herbal teas to this standard of taste quality. GET SOME.

7. Sweet Fox from Adagio Tea. Herbal tea! The cool thing about Adagio is you can blend your own combinations right on their website with ease. I love making new combinations and imagining what goes best with what, and taste testing the results, of course. Adagio Tea has a huge online following of ‘fandom teas’ – folks who create blends online based on different geek fandoms, fictional characters, films, TV shows, comic books, etc. Sweet Fox is a toasty, sweet, dessert blend I made for myself at Christmastime this past year. Light hints of chocolate, almond, vanilla, and rose petals party with honeybush herbal tea. Click here to check it out!

8. Rooibos Earl Grey from Adagio Tea. Yeahhhh so I mentioned I’m off caffeine – this is my current go-to alternative for the classic Earl Grey. It’s got a great flavor and Adagio even offers it in tea sachets if you don’t have time to truck with loose leaves.

9. Tension Tamer from Celestial Seasonings. Herbal tea! I know Celestial Seasonings isn’t the most luxurious brand, but this ginger-based herbal tea includes a startlingly soothing mixture of peppermint, cinnamon, chamomile, licorice, lemongrass, eleuthero (some insanely zen herb), and more. Anyone who thinks herbal teas are boring hasn’t really pushed the boundaries, have they? Also there’s a lady riding a dragon on the box of this tea. A DRAGON. Okay.

10. Throat Coat from Traditional Medicinals. Herbal tea! Okay, I kind of did not want to include this. I have a love/hate relationship with Throat Coat, as do most actors, singers, and performers I know. It’s the number one go-to beverage when there’s a tickle in your throat, a voice hoarse from coughing, or any kind of vocal ailment or pain. It’s got licorice, slippery elm, and marshmallow root in it, each ingredient chosen for its natural ability to heal sore throats and coax voices back out of their hibernation. My personal end-of-sickness-weak-voice-cure is Throat Coat, honey, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. KaBLAMMO, as the kids say. You’ll be back in (show)business in no time!

And on that note, kids, I’ll leave you with the immortal words of the international sensational chap Professor Elemental. Turn up the volume and get hooked on the Prof’s sick beats!