Sweet Treats: Ice Cream

Sweet Treats: Ice Cream

When the sun shines so strongly that I feel blinded even with my sunglasses on and the rays of heat seem intent on burning a hole right through my skin, that is a day for ice cream! Ice cream is one of the best summertime treats out there, as it is sweet and chilled~

Normal ice cream, purchased at the grocery store, is generally okay. There’s always a wide selection of flavors and consistencies, and one purchase is usually several servings of ice cream–unless my brothers get to the container first. Some of the newer, “boutique”-type ice cream brands offer really inventive flavors that can please even the trickiest palate. In the summertime, it can be a lot of fun to sit around the kitchen table and talk while everyone’s ice cream slowly melts.

In fact, an ice cream social would be a really lovely summer meetup! Hmm, maybe I’ve just given myself an idea~

All that aside, although there is plenty of ice cream available in the summer, sometimes it’s best to go out to an ice cream parlor! An ice cream parlor is (of course) the best place to get sundaes and sodas and other creations…but it can also be the source of exquisite flavors and wonderful craftsmanship! My favourite places to stop are little personally-owned shops where they make their own flavors.

In my neighborhood, this means Bobtail! I adore everything about their shop, from the delicious signature flavors to the quaint surroundings and ambiance. I ordered “Lincoln Park Zoo,” a strawberry ice cream with rainbow sprinkles and frosted animal crackers swirled into it! (How could I resist something combining so many tastes I am fond of?) A carefully-layered scoop was pressed onto the pointy-tipped cake cone, the rainbow-dotted pink confection looking almost too good to be edible~

Sitting on the bench, swinging my feet and trying to keep my cone from dripping on my hand, summer never seemed so sweet!

Sweet Treats: Tea for Beginners

Sweet Treats: Tea for Beginners


Tea Cabinet Chaos
Originally uploaded by sweetmilktea

The beverage most closely associated with lolita fashion is tea. There is a decided fixation on tea time, taking tea, and tea parties; tea is even a theme for clothing designs or prints. The focus on tea is due to its relation to Victorian times, one of the many inspirations for lolita fashion. Additionally, a formal tea time or tea party seems quite fitting as a luxurious activity for beautifully-dressed lolita to partake in–even if they’re sipping coffee or soda from the delicate china.

Tea can seem overwhelming or hoity-toity at first. There are “tea snobs,” just as there are elitists of almost any kind. In the United States there isn’t a lot of information readily available on tea, as there might be in other countries were tea is a more popular beverage.

However, it’s easy to learn more about tea! Greater tea knowledge can increase enjoyment of the drink and make gatherings focused around it more fun~

There are many varieties of tea–black tea, white tea, green tea, red tea, and herbal teas. The most important thing to know when making tea is the temperature the water should be at. Steeping at the wrong temperature can make even the most wonderful tea taste bitter, while steeping even the lowest-quality teabag at the correct temperature improves its taste wonderfully! Herbal teas can withstand the highest temperatures, then black teas, followed by red, green, and white teas. The water for green and white teas should not be boiled! Either turn off the water before it boils, or let boiled water sit for several minutes until it cools sufficiently.

Tea bags are never as flavorful as loose leaf teas, for several reasons. Tea bags often contain fannings, which are smaller particles of tea that are often swept from full tea leaves. Loose leaf teas consist of the actual leaves, sorted depending on the grade of tea. Tea looses its flavor when exposed to air, so it is best stored in an airtight container. This is another reason that tea bags are less flavorful–air seeps into the box and gets to the tea. The bags themselves can introduce odd flavors to the tea when steeped. Tea bags are quite tiny, which doesn’t allow enough water to come in contact with the leaves inside–thus less flavor is infused by the leaves.

If you aren’t ready to make the leap to loose-leaf tea, pay attention when choosing bagged tea so that you can brew a better cup. Try your best to sample the tea before you purchase an entire box, or at least smell the box to get an idea of how the flavor might suit you. Look for tea bags that boast to contain whole tea leaves, and tea bags made of meshed fabric instead of paper. Also, look for large bags–pyramid is a popular shape–so that the tea inside has plenty of room to expand and add it’s flavor to the water.

Although I am certainly no tea expert, I love tea and am always hoping to convert others to my obsession! I don’t think I could resist writing more on it in the future.