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Bigelow Tea Kicks Off “Do It Yourself Month” With Creative Inspiration

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b064FEv0DQI[/youtube]

The New Year is still young, and we’re feeling giddy with the can-do spirit! As our own Cindi Bigelow reminds us in this fun video, people accomplish amazing things when they follow their passion—whether it’s creating art, making a hand-crafted item or starting a new business. So this February, Bigelow Tea is celebrating “Do It Yourself Month” to encourage all enterprising dreamers in the pursuit of their goals!

After all, Bigelow Tea traces its roots to the aspirations of one determined woman: Ruth Campbell Bigelow, who created “Constant Comment”®, the first Bigelow Tea, in her kitchen back in 1945. With the support of her husband and family, along with succeeding generations of “tea believers,” the business has thrived and grown to become America’s number one specialty tea maker. We honor this tradition of entrepreneurship and find inspiration in the creativity of other business owners and artisans.

This video emerged from one of Cindi’s trips to Charleston, South Carolina, home to our Charleston Tea Plantation. She explored the city’s lively arts scene and talked to some amazing do-it-yourselfers who are making jewelry, baskets and more. After viewing it, you just might get the itch to tackle a special project of your own.

What’s great about the DIY track is that anyone can jump on with an idea and see where it leads. A modest plan to freshen your décor can morph into a full-fledged home-improvement project. Or, a crafting hobby can turn into a lucrative part-time job. Even trying new recipes in your kitchen can lead to creative ideas!

So tell us … what fuels you? We’d love to chat on Facebook and Twitter about the ideas you hope to unleash in 2013!

 

Bigelow Tea Celebrates Go Red For Women®

Bigelow Tea  celebrated the 10th Year of the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women® movement on its annual “Go Red Day” in fashion by all wearing red shirts. We also took this opportunity to discuss health and wellness and raise awareness about the importance of a healthy heart.  We shared statistics on heart disease, as well as tips for prevention, and we spent time talking and sharing personal stories of how the disease has affected us personally.

Cindi Bigelow Travels To Sri Lanka Journal: Heading Back

Down the winding roads we went, turning, turning, turning. I will have to say the drive, while having stunning views, was not for the faint of heart.  Both from the car motion as well as the style of drive. I truly felt the drivers in this country have a language of their own.  Passing and honking at a level that would be considered completely out of the question in the US. But here, well, they just kind of knew what they were doing, and more importantly the other drivers seemed to know too.  Many a time our wonderful driver, Ishanka, would have to slam on his breaks to avoid a steer or oxen in the middle of the road. Or dart away quickly from a “tuk tuk” (small motorized vehicles that fill the streets in Sri Lanka). But we trusted Ishanka.  Although he spoke no English, we knew that he knew exactly what he was doing.

Finally, six hours later we arrived in town. We stopped at a small stand on the roadside to enjoy a king coconut.  There, all four of us got out and John and I watched in amazement another old tradition. The owner of the stand took out his machete, cut off four small orange coconuts from a branch freshly off the tree, then passed it to his wife who took a knife to chop off the top.  They placed a straw in the hole they had created and handed it to us.

The locals do not drink coconut in the middle of the day as it is thought not to be good for you in the heat of the day, but Prassana and Ishanka joined us as good hosts. When we finished drinking the coconut water, they hacked open the entire coconut, first cutting a small piece of the side of the shell to form a scoop. We then used that scoop to remove the coconut gel in the middle of the nut. It was quite an experience and certainly on “the bucket list” of things to do while in Sri Lanka.

It was now time to drop Prassana off at his home where we met his warm and welcoming mother-in-law. She of course invited us in to chat. After a short visit we said our heartfelt good-byes to our most wonderful guide, partner and friend.  We were going to miss him!

John and I didn’t have much time to dwell on that fact, however. We were already late for our next meeting. This trip literally had us on the go non-stop!

Cindi Bigelow

 

Creativity And Caring Go Hand In Hand For Bigelow Tea Fan Of The Month Kelly Pascarella

Bigelow Tea Fan of the Month Kelly Pascarella is a budding innovator who will get you excited about the power of youth. The fashion design/merchandising student wowed us with her fabulously eco-chic dress made partially of … Bigelow Tea bags! It’s no surprise that Kelly loves Bigelow Tea (her favorites are Green Tea with Mint and Jasmine Green Tea), but we think you’ll be delighted to learn about her other projects dedicated to the environment and to helping others– two things that are near and dear to our hearts!

As a student at Centenary College in New Jersey, Kelly is busy with classes, clubs, work and homework. She recently made time to cut her long hair and donate it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a program that helps provide women fighting cancer with real-hair wigs. What a great cause! And drawing inspiration from her creation of the tea dress pictured below, Kelly continues to experiment with eco-fashion. She is currently working on a dress made out of recycled shirt ties and another made out of soda can tabs. We can’t wait to see how they turn out!

With all she has going on, Kelly cherishes time spent talking and laughing with friends, as well as quiet moments with a cup of tea. “I have been drinking Bigelow Tea as long as I can remember,” she says. “I have always enjoyed the different flavors that the company has had to offer.” And when does she drink her tea? “I always make sure I have a cup of tea in the morning and at night,” she tells us. Kelly says she gravitates to mint flavors but that Vanilla Caramel is emerging as “my new favorite.”

Kelly, you certainly deserve your daily tea indulgences, and we salute your enterprising and compassionate spirit–qualities that make for an ideal Fan of the Month and future leader!

 

Our January Sweepstakes Winner Is Announced!

We are so excited to announce that Bridgett from Arkansas has won Tea For A Year (our January sweepstakes)!

Congrats and Happy Hot Tea month from Bigelow Tea!!

Cindi Bigelow Travels To Sri Lanka Journal: Beautiful Nayabadda Mountain

Woke up at 4:50 am to the sound of Buddhist monks chanting in the distance. Seventy percent of Sri Lankans are Buddhist and this is how they like to wake up before work. They believe the pleasant sound or waves go into your body and make you more positive. So although I would have preferred a few more hours’ sleep, I enjoyed waking up to their chanting.

We gathered for breakfast: John, our VP Blending and R&D, and Prassana, our export partner in Sri Lanka.  I wanted to finish this trip ensuring I was experiencing as much of this country as possible, so I had a very authentic meal of a porridge called Kenda made from kurukan (a wheat-like plant) with jaggery (a cube of sap from the palm tree), that you bite into before each sip.

Alongside were string hoppers (made of rice), and chicken curry.  Oh yes, we were finishing in style.  I tried to savor every bite. When we finished we packed up the car and said our goodbyes to the staff.  As usual they were warm and made you feel like family.

As we headed down the mountain roads we were once again surrounded by tea fields as far as the eye could see. The British brought tea to this country back in the 1860’s, when blight wiped out coffee plants. As I looked out over vast gardens that employ over a million people on this island, I could only think how much this country has done to develop that concept, and how the Sri Lankan people nurtured this industry to make Ceylon tea renowned as one of the world’s finest quality teas.

As we continued our descent, we passed by stunning natural waterfalls running down the mountain side, sometimes seeing as many as one every few minutes.  On the way down I asked Prassana to stop if we saw monkeys so I could photograph them.  Well within a short period of time, we were pulling over to see a family of these adorable little creatures sitting on a fence. Of course I wanted to get out and pet them but was quickly dissuaded when I was told they most likely would attack me.  I didn’t want my trip to end on that note so I proceeded to talk to them through the open window while they were just a foot or two away. They definitely had a funny look on their faces as I talked to them like we were friends.

Cindi Bigelow

 

Love Tea? Enter the Bigelow Tea February Sweepstakes!

Looking for something to brighten up your February?  Enter Bigelow Tea’s February sweepstakes to win the I Love Tea Tin or our Valentine Gift DuetBoth our I Love Tea Tin and the Valentine Gift Duet will definitely bring a smile to your face, or the face of a loved one … if you decide to share!

Filled with a variety of 120 individually wrapped flavored black teas, such as Earl GreyConstant Comment®Cinnamon Stick, and English Teatime, our I Love Tea Tin is bound to please. The I Love Tea Tin could be the perfect post-Valentine’s Day gift, something special to brew with friends or family, or even something just for you to enjoy.  What’s not to love? If you love tea, you will definitely love the I Love Tea Tin.

And the Valentine Tea Twin Pack features our White Chocolate Obsession Tea—which blends the heavenly taste of rich, decadent chocolate and robust black tea—and Sweetheart Cinnamon Herb Tea, a tantalizing combination of cinnamon and sweet apple herb tea.

Enter our sweepstakes from February 1 (today!) to February 22 to win these amazing prizes!  Fourteen (14) lucky winners will receive our I Love Tea Tin and fourteen (14) lucky winners will receive our Valentine Gift Duet … so don’t hesitate to enter!  To enter, simply “like” our Bigelow Tea Facebook page, then click the Sweepstakes icon under our cover photo and follow the instructions.

Look for an announcement of the winners on our blog! Good luck!

 

Cindi Bigelow Travels To Sri Lanka Journal: More On The Art Of Tea

We headed toward the Ragalla Estate where we had another incredible learning experience, focused mostly on the processing and tasting of these delicate teas. Each plant processes a little differently to get the exact flavor they want to represent their gardens, much like wine.

After a few more hours we headed to a hotel in Bandarawela.  We just dropped our stuff off and headed back out to visit the Nayabadda factory to see their night manufacturing.  Well that was an experience! Up windy roads with few signs in the pitch black of night. Turning and turning, we made our way to this large, hundreds-of-years-old factory on top of a hill.

The crew greeted us with huge smiles. There, the learning process began once again, with an understanding of how they have operated for over 150 years to gently process this tender leaf to create the perfect light, bright cup of Ceylon tea.

We finished up and headed back to the hotel for a late dinner.  Completely exhausted at this point, I flopped into bed to catch a few hours’ sleep before waking up early to head back to Colombo. As I lay in bed my mind was swirling with information and emotion. I felt so connected to this wonderful country and, to be honest, with the realization that this could be the last time I came to visit. So I was happy and sad all in one.  This was truly a trip to cherish for a lifetime.

Cindi Bigelow

 

Bigelow Tea Goes Red for American Heart Month

Let’s get ready to focus on matters of the heart in February! The second month of the year is American Heart Month, and Bigelow Tea encourages everyone to learn more about heart disease. And please wear red on Friday, February 1 … the 10th anniversary of National “Wear Red” Day!

National Wear Red Day is the perfect way to kick off American Heart Month, and to lead into Women’s Heart Week, which begins on Monday, February 4. By wearing Red on Friday, people will make a statement that it’s important to take action and commit to fighting heart disease. The Wear Red awareness campaign certainly adds a lot of color to this important cause!

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease remains the leading cause of death for women. It’s more deadly than all forms of cancer. Since the first National Wear Red Day ten years ago, 21 percent fewer women are dying from heart disease and 23 percent more women aware that it’s their No. 1 health threat.

At Bigelow Tea, we think that “sipping” red is a nice way to recognize the day too! Enjoy the flavors of our teas that come wrapped in red-colored boxes. Start off with something fruity like our Red Raspberry or Pomegranate Pizzazz herbal teas. Or add a little spice to the day with “Constant Comment”® or Spiced Chai. There are many Bigelow Teas in red wrappers, so check them all out!

So, as you move through February, remember to take your heart health seriously … and enjoy a little tea along the way!

Top image via American Heart Association/Go Red for Women

 

Bigelow Tea Is Looking Forward To The Big Game!

It’s almost here: Super Bowl XLVII (that’s #47 for us “Roman numeral-deficient” types)! We’re seriously revved up at Bigelow Tea for the big game Sunday, and all of the pomp and circumstance that surrounds it. The game is being played at the newly named and renovated Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, and it’s not just a game … it’s an event!

From the pre-game to the super halftime show featuring musical icon Beyonce to the whole amazing city of New Orleans, this will be one Super Party. If you happen to be throwing a party, let Bigelow Tea provide some Super beverages and appetizers for your guests, like our Sangri–Tea-ahhhh Iced Tea Lemonade and our Miniature Vegetable Quiches
(both recipes below) that both taste great!

We even expect an exciting game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. We know our good Bigelow Tea friend (and Super Bowl XXI MVP Quarterback) Phil Simms will be watching for sure. He’s not only one of the greatest New York Giants in history—he’s one of the best Bigelow Tea spokesmen ever!

So, in anticipation of Sunday, here are a few “Super Facts” we wanted to share!

Super Fact: it has been 10 years since the big game has been played in the SuperdomeOn February 3, 2002 the New England Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams 20-17 in the Superdome.

Super Fact: Phil Simms’s MVP passing performance in the big game XXI is still considered one of the greatest in history!

Super Fact: the best seats for the big game are actually at home with friends, family and a cup of Bigelow Tea! Throw in a snack like Mini Vegetable Quiches made with Bigelow Tea, and you will be all set for kickoff! Enjoy!

Sangri–Tea-ahhhh Iced Tea Lemonade (Red)

Ingredients:

4 cups boiling water
2 bag Bigelow Half & Half Iced Tea & Lemonade with Pomegranate
3 tablespoons sugar
3 cups fresh fruit including oranges, lemons, peaches and apples ( Red, Fuji or both) cut into bite sized pieces
½ cup Brandy
½ -1 liter of any flavor sparkling seltzer water
1-750mL bottle of Merlot

Makes 4 servings Prep Time: 15-20 minutes Chill Time: 1 hour or overnight

Instructions:

Place tea bags in a 4-cup glass measure. Add boiling water. Let steep for 10 minutes. Squeeze and remove tea bags, add sugar, and stir to dissolve. Add brandy and fruit to tea concentrate. Refrigerate 1 hour (or up to one day for a stronger flavor). When ready to serve, combine chilled mixture with wine and sparkling seltzer water. Pour into ice filled pitcher.

Serve and enjoy!

Miniature Vegetable Quiches

Ingredients:

Tea Concentrate:

10 bags Bigelow Green Tea
1 cup boiling water

Vegetable Tea Mixture:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup diced colored bell peppers
½ cup asparagus tips: cut into small pieces, 1/2 – 1 inch
½ cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon minced shallots
¼ cup tea concentrate 

Egg Mixture:

6 large eggs
½ cup half and half
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
4-ounces (1/2 of an 8-ounce) package cream cheese, slightly softened, cut into 18-20 pieces
Dill, optional garnish

Yield: 18 to 24 miniature quiches depending on size of mini-muffin tin (About 1 ½ cups vegetable mixture.)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 15 to 18 minutes

Top image by Iam_chihange via Flickr.com