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Reverie is a modern lifestyle publication that explores nature, food, disciplinary methods and external surroundings to improve and promote physical well being and mental wellness. While inspiring individuals with wisdom for the mind and soul, we aim to be a source that helps obtain and sustain a harmonious, healthy and happy lifestyle by encouraging a balanced, sustainable and self-satisfying mentality. 03



E D IT O R ’ S


n the course of our lives, we face a number of obstacles or challenges that end up affecting our perspective. Many of us become consumed in a general perspective — a sort of routine society built for us: attending elementary school, graduating high school, applying and attending a university, graduating from said university, working a full-time job, finding a significant other, marrying and, then, developing a family to restart the whole process over. Amongst this, we gradually lose bits of the vast creativity we came to life with and begin to engulf ourselves in every day tasks making up this routine. Now, I’ve taken a leave. Being the ambitious, goal-driven and demanding individual I am, I found myself at lost in this routine and unconscious of where my creativity went. Suddenly, the confidence and ambition I developed for a routine life lost its’ fire as I drowned in a storm of my own self-abandonment. Who am I? Where am I? What am I doing? These were thoughts I interrogated myself with


time and time again, but, alas, I found selffulfillment in traveling, meeting new people and meditating to ease my weary mind. Although I still have much to learn about myself and from others, I want to share what I’ve discovered. Reverie, although appealing to a rather direct audience through its’ visual aesthetics and content, is meant to become resource. A resource absolutely necessary and suitable for anyone who has trouble handling the journey life takes us through. In this issue, we cover aromatherapy, the art and science of using naturally extracted essences from plants in order to balance, harmonize and promote the health of the body, mind and spirit. I personally found this technique effective in changing the mood and aura of any environment. We direct focus in meditation, a disciplinary method assists in practicing daily mindfulness. I hope that we continue to empower individuals with our mission: achieving a harmonious lifestyle by encouraging a self-sustaining mentality.



E D I TO R ' S L E T T E R

You deserve the freshness that comes from local produce without having to sacrifice convenience. Now you have the ability to shop for farm-fresh produce at your fingertips.




CONTENTS Reverie, Volume Thirteen





Amicalola Falls Trails provides one of the most beautiful getaways for family vacations in Dawsonville, Georgia.

Relax, ease your mind, and meditate near a body of water to significantly improve mental health and physical well-being.

A Weekend Excursion


Highlight: Costa Rica

Full Release: Water Meditation


Highlight: Aromatherapy

Travel to Costa Rica, a backpacker's haven, Understand the benefits and effects of your with four percent of the world's vast tropical sense of smell and how that surrounds you rain forests and live volcanoes. when it comes to sensual aromatherapy.





The Benefits of Berries

Yin & Yang of Plants

Researchers and scientists continue to find Relax, ease your mind, and meditate near a more chemicals and components in berries body of water to significantly improve mental that improve health and prevent diseases. health and physical well-being.



Discover a new, family-oriented tea spot in Doraville, Georgia for young millenials that is quiet, minimal and delicious.

Take note on the physical difference of various indoor plants and understand the effects they have on homes.

Tea House Formosa

Indoor Plants


Traditional Cranachan

Try out a sweet, beautiful traditional Scottish pudding recipe served during Burn's Night — a celebration of poet, Robert Burns. 07


If the world is a book, then those who do not travel have only read a page. SA I NT A U G U S T I N E







A weekend vacation: Amicalola Falls

Nature's wonderful surprise made for a good day out and excellent way to relax.



Left: An overlook of Georgia’s beautiful landscape from the fall’s highest mountain.

his past weekend the call to do something different won out. I went with a very special person in my life to the Amicalola Falls in Dawson County, Georgia. The price to visit is a state park fee of $5. We parked the vehicle and began our journey at the Visitors Center. Everywhere you look is a picture worth taking and the soft sound of cascading waters gently tickles your spirit as God’s architecture surrounds you every day. The center is designed to make you aware of the animals that live in the area. First is a display of poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes. On to a display of black bears, groundhogs, birds and insects. To myself, I’m thinking 011

that surely these animals are not coming out with people around. I like to watch Animal Planet, but I have seen enough to know it’s all better on television. The rangers running over the center are friendly and inviting to every guest that comes. There were children who looked at the snakes to the bears with wonder in their eyes as they then look at their parents for an answer. Boys were thinking, “This is cool,” and the little girls were saying, “Mom, are the snakes going to come out to bite us?” or “Is that bear alive?” As we purchased some things, an older gentleman greeted us with, “Hello kids, what can I help you with?”. He was extremely helpful and knowledgable of the falls. W A N D E R LU S T

A close view Amicalola's waterfall from bottom of the Appalachian Approach Trail. 34.5654° N & 84.2427° W REVERIE












Hike this Amicalola Falls loop to catch the most scenic views at the park. The hike begins under a stone arch commemorating the Appalachian Trail, climbs to a ridge with incredible views and then winds down a series of stairs flanking the immense, tumbling waterfall.

Stay the night at the Hike Inn, a lodge that’s accessible only by hike — and one of the coolest outdoor experiences in Georgia. Located between Amicalola Falls and Springer Mountain, the Hike Inn offers access to great hiking – but you’ll be tempted to just relax at this beautifully unique inn.



Hike from Amicalola Falls to the eco-friendly Hike Inn, a backcountry lodge that is only accessible by trail. Stay the night at the Adventure Lodge to catch the stunning morning sunrise, great company and great food before hiking back to the falls.

Try hiking from the actual crest of Amicalola Falls on the AT Approach Trail to Springer Mountain, the southern end of the Appalachian Trail. This 15-miler makes a challenging day hike, or even a better overnight backpacking adventure.

Above: Steps for any hiker that leads to the top of Amicalola Falls. 017


COSTA RICA: ULTIMATE GUIDE With four percent of the earth's wildlife species, vast tropical rain forests, and live volcanoes, it's no wonder this former backpacker's haven in Central America has been discovered by the world. WOR DS BY H EI DI S H ERMAN MI TC H ELL PH OTOS BY S ALI NNA P H O N








dozen years ago, I spent a summer backpacking through South and Central America. Having lost my glasses somewhere along a four-day hike to Machu Picchu, I arrived in Costa Rica to find a wilderness where green landscapes blurred into turquoise horizons, red volcanic flames bled into the black night, and rainbow-tinted birds streaked across the sky. At that time, basic $20-a-night lodges were the only places to stay, and I moved around by public bus over bumpy roads in search of tiny surfing villages and cloud forests 6,000 feet up. Nearly everyone I met was an American on a budget, there to catch the waves, study the turtles, and scope out the country's 10,000 species of plants and more than 230 kinds of mammals before the rest of the world discovered this Eden for themselves. Even with my fuzzy perspective, I shared their urge to guard the fragile ecosystem of this "rich coast"—as Christopher Columbus named the country in 1502—from the onslaught of mass tourism. Once home, I complained about how developed it was (a lie) and how human intervention was destroying natural habitats (not an untruth: the golden toad, now believed to be extinct, was last seen in 1989). When I returned to Costa Rica a couple of years later—contact

lenses, this time—the hues still blended like watercolors and the light breaking through the clouds above the Nicoya Peninsula was just as milky. What had changed was the country's newfound respect for its precious and abundant resources. In the mid nineties, the government instituted the most progressive reforestation program in the Americas and began an international campaign to market the nation, wedged between Nicaragua and Panama, as an "ecologically friendly" destination. As a result, environmentally conscious backpackers like me were no longer the only ones heading to Costa Rica. Educated visitors with cash to burn flocked to see one of the most biologically varied places on the planet—the Switzerland-sized country is home to 4 percent of the earth's species of wildlife—and an ecotourism movement was born. Hotels built according to self-imposed conservationist standards couldn't be put up fast enough. Meanwhile, acres of clear-cut land began to grow back into secondary forests. Much of the guilt associated with being a tourist—contributing to erosion and overconstruction—was alleviated. Gradually, this secret natural world opened up. This year, Costa Rica is expected to lure 1.2 million visitors, up 20 percent over last year.


Following the opening of a Four Seasons resort in January, three major airlines increased direct service from Houston, Miami, and Atlanta into the country's second-largest airport, Liberia International (40 minutes from the hotel). Farther down the Pacific coast, dozens of equally luxurious boutique hotels have been built, and in the vast tropical reserves that cover 28 percent of the country, a handful of $500-a-night ecolodges have sprung up. Though an affluent crowd has invaded this painted land, much of Costa Rica—its roads, its glacial pace—continues to try one's patience. A surfer I met on my first visit gave me some sage advice: Slow down, share the love. His voice has echoed in my head on return trips, and I've learned to adopt the mentality of the ticos (as locals are fondly called). I still want to protect the riches, but I no longer feel compelled to distort the facts about overdevelopment (there really isn't much) or to moan about the disappearing rain forests, which over the past 10 years have begun to reappear. I've even learned to laugh about the treacherous roads, which I now navigate with bilingual naturalist drivers in private vans rather than by public bus. There's just one aspect I take issue with: there's simply too much to do.



Home to almost one-third of the population, San José is surrounded by two volcanic mountain ranges. If the main airport weren't here, though, it would be tempting to skip the city and its suburbs altogether. Little more than a commercial hub, the area lacks the cathedrals found in other Latin American cities. But it is an efficient place to begin an adventure. From San José, you can visit a steaming volcano, Poás, or a fire-spewing one, Arenal; hike in a cloud forest; and tackle Class IV rapids—all in one day. Ticos argue over whether the Reventazón or the Pacuare is better for rafting, but the rivers have rapids ranging from Class II to Class IV and are the winter training grounds for a few Olympic kayaking teams. Costa Rica Sun Tours arranges expeditions down both of them.


Indigenous crafts have almost disappeared from Costa Rica. But in the village of Guaitil, 18 miles north of the city of Nicoya, you can watch ceramists who have maintained the pottery tradition at work. In Islita, the 17 members of the Artisans of Papaturras collective create sinuous, elegant driftwood mirrors that are sold for less than $25 each in the Hotel Punta Islita gift shop. Costa Rica's are not the whitest shores on earth, but after a week of hard adventure, soft sand is a welcome respite.Twelve miles off the Osa Peninsula lies this island biological reserve, rich with marine life. Snorkelers, divers, and sunbathers can make a day trip from Corcovado National Park to take advantage of the isle's surrounding warm waters. An hour outside San José, trails lead up to this active volcano's crater, which is filled with an opaque teal-colored sulfurous liquid and exhales grayish steam. Rich enough to satisfy any sweet tooth, this cake is saturated with condensed milk and topped with sugary meringue. Hotel Grano de Oro, in San José, makes a sinful version. Just-made crackling pork rinds, sold at any bus depot or soda. Ticos on road trips carry little jars of hot sauce and limes to sprinkle and squeeze over this local snack food. Choose your adventure wisely. Costa Rica isn't one of those places that you master on your first visit, or one that allows you to slip into a well-trodden circuit. The most developed country in Central America, Costa Rica has roads that are so poorly maintained, they would have been better left unpaved; pristine forests that are accessible only by lightplane, followed by taxi, then boat and, sometimes, foot; and a rainy season that can make moving from one place to the next unimaginable. Split down the middle by two mountain ranges, its 20,000 square miles include more than 750 miles of coastline along the Caribbean and the Pacific, with 12 tropical life zones in between. Costa Rica is only 100 miles at its widest—but by car, that can mean a death-defying 12-hour journey. To make your trip easier, think of the country as five essential regions and pick two to visit (optimum time frames are provided below). Unless you've got a month, don't even attempt to hit all five. REVERIE


Inland from the white sands of the Pacific is one of the last intact dry tropical forests of Central America. These pristine stretches, alternating with clear-cut areas marked by lone umbrella-shaped conacaste trees shading humpbacked Brahman cows, rise up a volcanic mountain range to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve in Puntarenas, an essential stop on any nature-lover's itinerary. Getting there requires a four-hour drive from San José or Liberia.


Populated by American pensioners, international surfers, and tico farmers, this coastal corridor claims some of the country's finest hotels, all of them built with a conservationist's eye. You'd be mad to spend all your time lazing by the Costa Rican shore, but the region's dozens of beaches do come in handy for convalescing after a week spent trekking, tracking birds, and, let's be honest, driving. A ferry that crosses the Gulf of Nicoya connects the peninsula to the mainland at Puntarenas, near Manuel Antonio National Park, home to the country's most popular beach. Florblanca, the newest addition to the luxury accommodations in Costa Rica, is just down the road from Punta Islita. The quickest way to this resort, with its outdoor bathrooms, stucco porches, and gorgeous canopy beds, is to drive along the beach, which is subject to flooding at high tide. Regardless, Florblanca's 10 villas and its open-air restaurant are always crowded—with surfers, honeymooners, and the occasional society-page regular.




In southern Costa Rica, the remote Osa Peninsula is one of the most biologically dense tropical regions on earth. Scarlet macaws do flybys past the lodges, howler monkeys swing from the forest canopy, and whales migrate along the coast. Basically, if it lives and breathes in Costa Rica—caiman, iguana, sloth, jaguar—it probably resides in the nature preserves, public and private, that blanket this peninsula. Some of the world's first ecolodges were built in the undeveloped jungles of Drake Bay, Golfito, and Corcovado National Park; they are still models of sustainable tourism today. When they opened Lapa Rios in 1993, Americans Karen and John Lewis pioneered the practice of ecotourism in Costa Rica. The 16room hardwood-and-thatch resort on 1,000 protected acres of jungle and Pacific oceanfront continues to win conservation awards. Visitors often plan their Costa Rican vacations around availability at Lapa Rios, whose friendly service and surprisingly creative meals—not to mention alfresco showers, private decks, and abundant wildlife right outside your screen door—make up for the rickety prop plane (and the airsickness) that gets you there. Just be sure to take a low-numbered room: the higher they get, the farther the trek up and down the steep incline on which the villas are built.


If no one told you otherwise, you could easily mistake Tortuguero National Park, on Costa Rica's east coast, for the Amazon. This dense forest was carved out by a series of rivers and canals dug to ease the transport of timber before the area became protected in 1970. Easier to reach (and cheaper to stay in) than that other basin in South America, Tortuguero has turbulent Caribbean beaches that give safe haven to four turtle species, including the Atlantic green, during the summer nesting season. It's also the stamping ground of tapirs, caimans, anteaters, coatis, and the morpho butterfly. The hotels along Tortuguero's lagoon specialize in guided cruises down the area's waterways by canoe or small motorboat. You can get a free nature tour if you approach the hotels by water: your craft will be greeted with the squawks and screeches of countless species of birds and monkeys. Pachira Lodge, a rustic resort with almond-wood cabins and a pool shaped like a turtle, attracts a mostly European clientele, which gives it a relaxed, rather festive vibe. Tortuga Lodge, whose 24 rooms are distributed among five bungalows, has a lovely river-rock pool and excellent service.




Seasoned travelers may balk at the thought of hiring a car and driver, but unless you're comfortable navigating cratered, winding one-lane roads yourself, they're an essential aid to getting around the country. Similarly, if you confine your visit to only two places, a guide is not vital. Two American-based outfitters, Abercrombie & Kent (800/554-7094; and Butterfield & Robinson (800/678-1147;, can create special itineraries—active or otherwise—for individuals or groups; both companies work with tico guides. Swiss Travel (011-506/282-4898;, which has offices in San José and Liberia, also hires local guides and has relationships with most top hotels. Costa Rica Expeditions (011-506/257-0766; www.costaricaexpeditions. com) pioneered travel in the country in 1978 and still owns three of the most popular lodges in park areas. Its guides are naturalists and will have the driver pull over whenever they spot a three-toed sloth or a quetzal's nest. Cobblestoned bathrooms and teak porches and sit right beside the gently roaring Quevrada Grande River. Though one day isn't enough time to see all of Costa Rica's northern neighbor, you can at least get a glimpse of it (most companies run 12-hour trips to the colonial city of Granada). Even better: Spend the night at Morgan's Rock (San Juan del Sur; www.; doubles from $302, including all meals), an ecoresort associated with Lapa Rios, north of the Guanacaste border. Set to open in July, it's Nicaragua's first luxury hotel. Twelve miles off the Osa Peninsula lies this island biological reserve, rich with marine life. 025




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Even in the midst of disturbance, the stillness of the mind can offer sanctuary STEPH E N RI C H A RD S





Left: A light brown, stray dog wanders on the coast of Tamarindo Beach in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Full release: a take on water meditation WO RDS BY M A DISY N TAY LO R P H OTOS BY S A L IN N A P H O N


ur bodies are well over fifty percent water, so it makes sense that human beings have always considered water to be a sacred source of life and healing. It is literally half of who we are, and well over half of the earth’s surface is water. Water cleanses and hydrates, contains and produces nourishment, and when we enter it, holds us in an embrace that leaves no part of us untouched. Meditating with water can be a powerful way of aligning ourselves more fully with this support system that makes life both possible, peaceful, and pleasurable on a variety of different levels.


We may desire to conduct our meditation while in physical contact with a body of water, whether in the intimacy of our bathtub or the vast container of an ocean. We might float on our backs in a swimming p o ol or sit wit h just our feet submerged in a pond or creek. On the other hand, we may simply close our eyes and choose a location based on our imagination. Whatever we choose, we can begin by closing our eyes and listening to our breathing—inhaling and, then, exhaling. At the same time, we tune in to the particular music of the water we have chosen: the loud 030

rushing of a river or waterfall, or the surreal silence of the world beneath the surface of the ocean. We might consider how the type of water we choose reflects what we seek, being the peace beneath the hectic surface of life, the cleansing power of a river racing through a canyon, or the mood lifting, melodic bubbling of a creek. As we move between awareness of our breath and awareness of the water in which we find ourselves, we can begin to release the things we no longer need into the rushing river, or release ourselves completely into the water’s embrace as we float.

Water is life and meditating with water can create a profound experience. When you feel you are ready to return to more solid ground, ease your body back onto earth, in your mind or in reality, and lie flat on your back, allowing the water to bead and roll off

your skin, soaking the earth and evaporating into the air, leaving you cleansed, healed, refreshed and renewed. This fluid type of meditation, water meditation, will keep you mindful. 031


Above: Two people climb a rock that's off-limits. A stray dog joins them in frame.











DEFINING AROMATHERAPY Aromatherapy is the practice of using plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being.


romatherapy is a type of alternative medicine that uses essential oils and other aromatic plant compounds which are aimed at improving a person’s health or mood. Many consider this type of treatment as unscientific and wishful thinking; however, scientific evidence of its effectiveness is continues to grow. This study acknowledged that aromatherapy makes you feel good although there was no evidence that it makes you actually well. The essential oils used in aromatherapy have a different composition compared to other herbal products because the distillation recovers the lighter phytomolecules. Aromatherapy is a widely used term for a range of traditional therapies that use essential oils. These may include massaging oils, or any topical application that uses pure, essential oils — the essential oils are either absorbed through the skin or inhaled. We are not completely sure what the source of the benefit behind aromatherapy is — the massage, the smell or maybe it’s both. A THEORY OF AROMATHERAPY It is believed that the inhalation of essential oils stimulates the part of the brain connected to smell - the olfactory system; a signal is sent to the limbic system of the brain that controls emotions and retrieves learned memories. This causes chemicals to be released which make the person feel relaxed, calm, or even stimulated. If the aromatherapy includes massage in the practice, then the effect is to further relax the person. The essential oils are



said to have a direct pharmacological effect. Aromatherapists claim there is a synergy between the body and aromatic oils; however there is no scientific proof that this is the case. Nevertheless, some preliminary clinical studies have revealed positive results. Essential oils, phytoncides and other natural volatile organic compounds work differently. When targeting our sense of smell they activate the limbic system and emotional centers of the brain. When applied topically, meaning directly onto the skin, they activate thermal receptors and destroy microbes and fungi. Internal application may stimulate the immune system. ACROSS OTHER COUNTRIES In France, and across much of Western Europe, aromatherapy is incorporated into mainstream medicine as an antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial, much more so than in the United Kingdom, USA or Canada. In fact, there are some essential oils that are regulated as prescription drugs in France and can only be administered or prescribed by a doctor. French physicians use the aromatogram to help them determine which essential oil to use. The doctor will first culture a sample of infected tissue or secretion, and then grow the culture in petri dishes which are supplied with agar; each petri dish is inoculated with an essential oil to decide which fight against the targeted strain of microorganism. The best activity is the one that inhibits growth of the target microorganism. HIGHLIGHT







The person breaths the evaporating oils straight in. This is commonly used for respiratory disinfection, decongestion, as well as for psychological benefits.


Applied on to the skin. Commonly used for massage, baths and therapeutic skin care.

Basil Bergamot Black pepper Citronella oil Clove oil Eucalyptus Geranium oil Jasmin Lavender oil Lemon oil Sandalwood Tea tree oil Thyme oil Yarrow oil



The oils evaporate into the air. The aim is to give the air a fragrance or to disinfect it.




Anxiety Stress Insomnia Muscular aches Body aches Headaches Circulation problems Digestive problems Menstrual problems Menopausal problems Depression

A Visit to the Aromatherapist The aromatherapist will ask about the person’s medical history, lifestyle, diet, and aspects of his/her current health. In the UK the aromatherapist will ask the patient’s permission to inform his/her GP, known as a general practitioner, primary care physician, that the patient is receiving aromatherapy treatment. Aromatherapy has a holistic approach — the whole person is treated. Treatments are selected which physically and mentally suit the patient best. Depending on why the person wants treatment, and several other 039

factors related to the person, the aromatherapist may recommend a single or a blend. When preparing for a massage, the aromatherapist will usually mix the chosen oils with a “carrier oil” which carries the oil and provides lubrication. It is extremely crucial that people with nut allergies notify the aromatherapist prior to recieving essentials oils because carrier oils are generally obtained from nuts and seeds. The initial session usually lasts much longer than the subsequent ones — about two hours. V I TA L I T Y

There is no sincerer love than the love for food. G EOR G I A BE RN A RD S H AW







Big Health Benefits in Small Packages Researchers continue to find more and more reasons to eat these nutritious powerhouses.


ou should already know berries are healthy and beneficial for you. Here’s one of the latest juicy details: Berries may lower the risk of erectile dysfunction. Other recent studies show they may play a potential role in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and assists with losing weight. “Berries do warrant the hype that they get,” stated by Barbara Shukitt-Hale, PhD, a USDA REVERIE

staff scientist with the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. “And where we are now, in terms of research, is leaps and bounds —even lightyears — ahead of where we were 10 years ago.” The fruits, no matter what type, are linked with lower risks of cancer, heart disease, and inflammation, Shukitt-Hale says. The possible link to erectile dysfunction is new. In a study 042

of more than 25,000 men, those who ate the greatest amount of blueberries and citrus fruits were reported to have a nearly 20% lower risk of ED, compared to those who ate the smallest amounts. Researchers aren't able to prove that eating berries caused the drop in risk, and they say more study is needed. What makes nature's berries so beneficial? They have different chemicals that are good for you.


The chemicals in berries protect cells from damage and possibly from disease. Berries are loaded with vitamins A, C and E.


Found in wine, grapes and a wide selection of other berries, it may lower inflammation, and offer protection against cancer. 043


These nutrients give berries their brilliant colors, and it may help protect against most cancer, inflammation and heart disease. GOURMAND



Review: Tea House Formosa, where millennials go for tea and snacks


he first time I stopped by Tea House Formosa on Buford Highway, my friend and I found a quiet nook and ordered a pot of Rose of the Orient: green tea delicately scented with rose, marigold and cornflower. My friend became

happy as she poured tea from the a lantern-shaped porcelain pot. We sipped from dainty white matching cups and filled our table with an wide assortment of snacks: tea eggs, tempura-fried green beans, hand-cut taro fries, springy variations of Tea House

Formosa's bao sandwiches. We decided to get a second pot and ended our tete-a-tete with a lemon tart baked in a shortbread crust flecked with ground black tea. So elegant, clean, minimal, but with the next couple of visits, things got a little crazy.

TEA HOUSE FORMOSA 5302 Buford Highway, Doraville, GA Monday—Thursday Friday—Saturday Sunday



11 a.m. to 11 p.m. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.


East-meets-West gathering spot

R E CO M M E N D AT I O N S Rose of the Orient or lavender green tea, brown-sugar milk tea, oolong tea con panna, Formosa Fried Chicken, squid balls, green beans, oyster mushrooms, rice burger with crispy chicken, Lu Rou Fan. The rituals of tea make a visit to Tea House Formosa a fun and exciting discovery. Here a guest pours a pot of Rose of the Orient, green tea scented with flowers. A crispy chicken Rice Burger and an order of fried oyster mushrooms at Tea House Formosa combine the flavors of Taiwan with the thrift of American fast food.

Along with the nibbles, my guests and I drank tall glasses of cold, brown-sugar milk tea; iced oolong topped with clouds of fluffy whipped cream; black tea with cut out peaches and, at my own request, gelatinous ovals of “custard pudding” that had to be broken up before the drink could be slurped through a straw. I was on the verge of adding redbean topping to the latter until I babbled to the cashier that I thought it might be “too much.” Owned by Taiwanese sibling partners Winnie Peng and Tao Huang, the bright, minimalist space is a favorite gathering spot for young Asian-Americans who come to sip teas swirled with milk or flavored with fruit; teas topped with cream, salted cream butter or vanilla ice cream; teas 045

reimagined as floats, slushies and lattes; or just old-fashioned pots of hot tea. Tea House Formosa is a classic example of a next-generation Asian-American business. Peng and Huang’s late mother ran a Chamblee tea shop, Jinhuchun Tea Co., from 1998-2005. In an email, Peng told me her mother served Atlanta its first bubble tea, in 2000. When the siblings decided to open their Doraville spot, they sought to bring tea into the 21st century. In sum, this sibling venture is a thoughtfully conceived Eastmeets-West gathering spot for millennials that makes everyone, even curious old Westerners like me, feel at home. I believe that Peng and Huang’s mother would be extremely proud. GOURMAND











Traditional Cranachan, the perfect Burns Night pudding


tockan’s Oatcakes are perfect additions to Burns Night. Lovingly baked on the idyllic Orkney Islands, our Thick Orkney Oatcakes are made with coarse milled crunchy whole grain oats, making them the perfect ingredient for this delicious, traditional Cranachan recipe. The ancient Scottish dish, originally called Cream Crowdie, is the traditional dessert to serve after your haggis on Burns Night. The dish is traditionally made with crowdie, a soft spreadable cheese, similar to ricotta or mascarpone, but we choose to use double cream as it helps to make the dessert a bit lighter. The creaminess of the whipped double cream and tanginess of the raspberries makes it the perfect dish after the rich main course. Stockan’s Oatcakes, Scottish raspberries, Scottish whisky, and Scottish honey. This is as Scottish as puddings get! This easy, no-cook dessert, is the perfect ending to any Burns supper. It is also easy to add your personal touch to it. Use some local honey, switch to your local crowdie or add a splash of your favorite whisky and you can make it exactly suited to your unique taste buds. And if you have any bairns enjoying the

pudding with you then why not switch out the whisky for a spiced fruit coulis. This lovely little Scottish dessert is wheeled out in January by chefs and editors casting around for Burns Night inspiration – but with some of the finest soft fruit in the world currently in season, now is the time to indulge. Just as Eton mess wouldn’t be the same without sweet, ripe strawberries, this similarly simple and sublime summer pudding relies on the softly fragrant raspberry — so gorge while you can, because they’ll be gone by autumn. Burns night is coming up at the end of the month and what better excuse to come up with some traditional Scottish food with a vegan twist! But what the hell is Cranachan? Cranachan is a delicious raspberry, cream, oat and whisky pudding which can be eaten to celebrate Burns night. Or any other time you want a sweet and creamy pudding! I can’t take full credit for this idea though, my lovely friend Lucy came up with the suggestion. An old school friend who moved to a small island in Scotland (so beautiful!) when she was 13, so she’s my knowledge of all things Scottish! Oh, and she happens to be vegan. Next on the list, vegan haggis!



The perfect pudding to celebrate Burns Night. This vegan cranachan is made with raspberries, whipped coconut cream and granola.

P R E PA R AT I O N T I M E 15 minutes INGREDIENTS 2 cups fresh/frozen raspberries 3 tbsp maple syrup 1 tin coconut milk 1 tsp vanilla bean paste 1 tbsp whiskey, optional ½ cup granola

LET'S GET COOKING 1 . Gently heat fresh or frozen raspberries

in a pan with two tablespoons of maple syrup. Squish the raspberries gently until it turns syrupy but still has some chunks. Set this aside.

2 . Remove the coconut fat from the tin, it

usually always sticks to the top. Add one tablespoon maple syrup, vanilla pasta and whiskey is using. Whisk on high for a minute until thickened or to your liking.

3 . Make layers by scooping two tablespoons

of raspberries, two tablespoons of cream and a sprinkle—or more if you wish—of granola. Repeat once more.

4 . Top with some extra raspberries and a

squirt of maple syrup to taste.

5 . Serve straight away. If you're making this

ahead of time, keep it inside the fridge and add the granola before serving.






A beautiful plant is like having a friend around the house. B ETH D I T TO





Above: Man takes a stroll and tends to his outdoor plants outside his tiny villa.





Plants enhance life in tiny homes and apartments Houseplants are good for your health — and not just for their visual beauty.


hat do air plants, marimo moss balls, string gardens, bonsai and other indoor herb gardens have in common, besides greenery? All are plants that fit themselves perfectly to small or tiny homes or apartment living, a popular trend among millennials and older generations as well. Building tiny houses and the movement toward simple living on a smaller scale have been around for more than 20 years but have gained recognition in the last 10 or so. Architect Sarah Susanka popularized the movement in 1998 with the publication of her book “The Not So Big House.” Susanka’s mantra is “Build better, not bigger,” and she has since authored several more “Not So Big” books. Building, decorating, organizing and landscaping tiny houses is now the topic of several TV shows. "Tiny” is an accurate descriptor of these homes. Utopian Villas, a tiny home builder located in Oak Creek, builds homes that range generally from 180 to 400 square feet, according to the company’s website. Some models can be used as an RV, towed along on wheels to set up house wherever you choose or happen to live. A few hundred feet of living area seems pretty small to squeeze in house plants for a little tropical ambience. But even if your dwelling space hovers around 200 to 500 square feet, live greenery is not only healthy, it also provides a sense of peace and calm. According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, “Research has explored how exposure to plants, or even 055

images of plants, indoors and outdoors, can improve productivity and create a sense of well being.” Plants also contribute to a reduction in energy use by as much as 15% “because less air circulation is required with indoor plants.” Horticulture Magazine does a great job describing how plants improve air quality. “Perhaps their best-known attribute … is their ability to clean the air of toxic volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, such as benzene and formaldehyde. Plants increase oxygen levels; in photosynthesis, they take in the carbon dioxide that we breathe out, and let out the oxygen that we breathe in.” Houseplants release moisture into the air through transpiration, so dry skin and nasal passages are less of a winter weather issue, the magazine asserts. Plants don’t need to have a large footprint to make a big impact. Oregon born nurseryman, Jesse Waldman, wrote about small-footprint houseplants on his brother Ethan’s website, Jesse’s Pistels Nursery in Portland sells both fascinating marimo (Japanese for seaweed) moss balls and string gardens, describing them on the website. Both these mini plants add a refreshing summery touch on a windowsill or hanging in a corner to help ease the winter blues and add a decorative touch. If you’re starting out with plants geared toward small spaces, you may want to go with common houseplants that are easy to care for, such as phaelenopsis (moth orchid), African violets or clivias, known for bright trumpet-like blooms. FENG SHUI






Sharp corners in your home create what are known as “shars.� It is recommended to soften these sharp corners to promote a harmonious, enlightened energy in the room. Plants are an excellent solution to soften these harsh and sharp corners. REVERIE


Place a large potted plant with rounded leaves on the floor in at least one corner of a room. This can be highly effective if the corner is in the Wealth portion of your home. Rubber plants generally symbolize abundance, good fortune and wealth.


Bamboo is a beautiful and simple plant to add to your home. It's easy to grow and can bring good luck. Add a touch of the Water element to your home when growing bamboo by simply placing and potting it in a vase of water.

If you wish to attract financial good luck to your home, add African violets. Their round leaves symbolize wealth and fortune. Remove wilted, dead, dried or dying plants from the home immediately since they encourage negative energy. 059



Another low-maintenance option for those new to caring for houseplants is indoor edible gardening, which gives you the double whammy of beautiful greenery and sustenance. Basil, thyme, mint, dill, sage and rosemary are a sight for sore eyes in the depths of winter, not to mention the fragrances they emit to soothe the senses. Herb gardens in a can, jar or decorative containers are found easily on the Internet or at local garden centers. A mushroom farm in a box is a perfect small-space slice of nature. One version is sold at, a site that also offers a fascinating aquaponics fish tank with edible greenery growing on top. Both are excellent ideas for teaching kids about nurturing plants. If space in your apartment or small home is at a real premium in decorating, consider a single dramatic statement — a potted tree. In the corner of a room or set on a table in a decorative basket, stately long thin trunks (or even a braided trunk) with arching dramatic foliage goes a long way toward warming the scene. Spotting a touch of natural drama like a small tree just makes you want to take a deep breath and let it out slowly. One idea from to grace your dwelling is Ficus elastic, the rubber tree, which has an alluring, nearly black leaf with a gorgeous orange-red underside. Other suggestions include New Zealand laurel, an olive tree or a citrus tree, which also would make a bold statement in a petite place. These require different kinds of care, but if you just have one, it’s easy to pay attention. Check websites and with the nursery where you purchased the tree for details regarding light and watering requirements.

is thought to bring good fortune, two stalks means love, three equals happiness, wealth and longevity, four stalks means stability, strength or power. Five bring wealth or fortune; six, prosperity; seven, good health; eight, growth or wealth; nine, great fortune; 10, completeness or perfection; and 21, blessings. I received bamboo as a gift one time, and though I can’t remember how many stalks it had, I felt happiness and good luck that a friend would give it to me. Making just as large an impression as one dramatic tree, but smaller in scale, is a miniature ornamental bonsai tree such as Japanese maple or juniper. Bonsai is a thousand-year old art form and will require a bit more intense devotion to the plant. If you’re intrigued with trying your hand at this beautiful practice of harmonizing with nature, the Milwaukee Bonsai Society offers workshops and has an annual exhibit at Boerner Botanical Gardens. HOUSEPLANT CARE REMINDERS

Grow lights, yes or no? If you don’t have a sunny spot or much natural light in your home or apartment, grow lights might be a good idea. However, keep in mind that they will take up more space. High-end grow lights aren’t necessary and are bulkier, so stay away from those, advises Mother Nature Network. “CFLs and LED bulbs run cool, provide a broad spectrum of light and — best of all — offer a lot of light with low energy use,” according to the website. “Basic commercial bulbs fit into ordinary light fixtures. You can even use gooseneck lamp and a single LED bulb angled to bathe them in lots of light. This is an affordable and minimally disruptive way to use a grow light around the house.” Under- or over-watering are two of the most common problems that lead to stress BAMBOO TO BONSAI Bamboo is another possibility. It’s usually or death for your indoor plants. It’s tricky, as grown outdoors, but a few types can tolerate each type of plant has different requirements. indoor conditions. Bamboo is considered Check them routinely and you should be OK. If I don’t know the plant well, I often keep in China to bring good luck and prosperity, and the number of stalks present symbolizes the tags that come with indoor and plants for various good omens. One stalk of bamboo a while, to remind me of their names as well



as their care recommendations. Toxicity to pets is something to consider. The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a more complete list, but here are a few common plants to avoid for your docile ats and dogs: African violet, aloe, calla lily, dieffenbachia, gardenia, jade, eucalyptus, pothos, rubber plant, mint, peace lily, shamrock. It’s surprising to find out how many are toxic, so it’s best to check to see if your plant is on the list. For other excellent indoor plant advice, including feeding your new plants and pest control, check out the Wisconsin's Horticulture landing page at the University of Wisconsin-Extension website. HOUSEPLANT GURU

A wonderful new book recently published has 272 pages of plant photos and advice for their care. “Houseplants: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Growing and Caring for Indoor Plants” (Cool Springs Press, 2017, $22) by “Houseplant Guru” Lisa Eldred Steinkopf highlights more than 150 different indoor plants. In an email, Steinkopf (who has more than 1,000 of her own!) supplied a little advice for small-space dwellers wanting to branch out by decorating with live greenery: “Do not be taken in by the latest Instagram plant craze. It may not be the plant best suited for your light situation in your home and the size of the area you have for it. Fiddle leaf fig and Monstera — HUGE plants and fiddle leaf not the easiest plant overall anyway. “Research the plant you want to buy for your home. Make sure you have the right conditions for the plant or you are setting yourself up for failure. “Unless you have a lot of light or an electric light set up for plants, do not be taken in by the succulent craze. There are some succulents that can take lower light but still bright conditions, including haworthias and gasterias.” Steinkopf offers other houseplant advice and lush photos of her plants on her blog,

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