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Holiday Recipe: Rooibos Chai Shortbread Cookies

Organic rooibos chai shortbread cookies recipe Organic rooibos chai shortbread cookies recipe
This post was written in collaboration with NUMI Organic Tea.

My husband is the baker in our family. He's the first one who tried adding spices and tea to shortbread. and his sweet, spiced cookies have always been a hit at holiday parties and weeknight get-togethers alike. I've eaten Earl Grey and Chai Shortbread before, but it seemed to me that Rooibos would make an even better addition to this simple, seasonal cookie due to its naturally sweet flavor and vanilla notes. The addition of chai spices makes it the perfect holiday dessert, enjoyed after dinner with coffee or tea.

This recipe is also fairly fool proof, with a simple ingredient list and no special prep. I hope you enjoy it!

Rooibos Chai Shortbread...

Organic rooibos chai shortbread cookies recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. Softened, Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 c. Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Flour
  • 4 Roobois Chai Tea bags, opened, emptied, and lightly food processed (I used NUMI brand)

Organic rooibos chai shortbread cookies recipe
Organic rooibos chai shortbread cookies recipe

To Make: 

  1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream sugar and softened (but not melting) butter together in a bowl until fully combined.
  3. Place 4 teabags worth of tea in food processor and pulse until fine (see above photo for example).
  4. Add tea, vanilla extract, and flour. Knead dough in bowl with hands until ingredients combine.
  5. Form dough into log about 2" in diameter and wrap in wax paper. Cool in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Slice log into 1/2" pieces. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.
Recipe yields 25-30 small cookies depending on how you cut them.


Organic rooibos chai shortbread cookies recipe

Shortbread cookies are great for gift-giving because their low humidity helps them keep for longer. I'll be making a bundle to give to my coworkers this Holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Recipe: Fair Trade, Organic Thai-Inspired Spiced Milk Tea

Special thanks to Numi Organic Tea for sponsoring this post

If you've ever been to a Thai restaurant (or better yet, Thailand) you've likely seen ombre Thai Tea served in a jar or a tall glass. My local Thai restaurant makes a great version of this with just the right amount of sugar and spice.

If you haven't had Thai Tea before, the flavor profile is reminiscent of iced chai or bubble tea depending on the spices used and the amount of sugar added. It's the perfect mid afternoon pick-me-up on a hot day because it's refreshing, energizing, and filling.

Traditional Thai Tea combines Thai Tea leaves with sugar and a spice blend of cardamom, cloves, and star anise. I wanted to put my own spin on it, so I opted for one of Numi Organic's spiced teas mixed with organic sugar, cloves, and half & half. Though the color and viscosity of my tea is different from traditional Thai Tea, the flavor and refreshment factor are right on par, perfect for a lazy afternoon spent reading in the shade of a porch.


Thai-Inspired Spiced Milk Tea for Two


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

TO MAKE:
  1. Add 2 cups of water, 2 tbsp. sugar, and a few shakes of ground cloves to a small pot. 
  2. Heat on medium high heat. Gently stir until all sugar is dissolved. 
  3. Once water is boiling, take the paper tags off of 4 spiced tea bags and submerse in pot. 
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes. 
  5. Take pot off heat and let tea continue to steep until the water is room temperature.
  6. Pour room temperature tea and tea bags into a glass or plastic container and let cool in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or overnight. 
  7. After steeping, remove your tea bags, pour tea in two glasses, and add cold half & half to taste. You may add ice if you wish. 
  8. Drink immediately or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


I've tried to make my own spiced tea at home before with less-than-stellar results. But this recipe is my new go-to when I'm craving a sweet spiced drink. It's easy enough to make on an easy Saturday morning in between other chores and tasks, and it stores well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Let me know if you make it and how it turns out.

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See my previous collaborations with Numi here. 


Follow along with Numi on social media: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

The Henna Experiment: Dyeing My Hair with Henna + NUMI Organic Rooibos Tea

dye your hair with henna and rooibos tea Numi collaboration
Special thanks to Numi Organic Tea for sponsoring this post. All opinions (and results) are my own.

The last time I dyed my hair with henna, I was intrigued by the instruction booklet's suggestion to use hot tea instead of water to alter the final color: black tea to reduce the red undertone, red tea to enhance it. I stuck with regular hot water that time around, but I made sure to stock up on tea for the next time. And that time is now!

As I discussed in my last post on the subject, henna has been used as a natural, organic hair dye for centuries. It's known for it's thickening and conditioning properties and, of course, its distinctive red tone. Since I've been hankering for a new hair style (you may have noticed I'm growing it out), it was the perfect time to make a statement, so I decided to add red (or Rooibos) tea to my henna powder for vibrant red hair.

I chose to use Numi Organic Tea because of their commitment to fair trade practices, sustainable infrastructure, and quality. They kindly sent me a range of teas to select from for my little experiment and I decided to stick with their traditional Rooibos. Numi tea is really delicious - unlike many grocery store brands, they use full leaf tea in their bags for a richer flavor - so I made sure to use every last drop of it by drinking what I had leftover from the dye process while I let my hair steep. It's not every day that you can say you drank your hair dye or dyed your hair with a beverage. The efficiency freak in me feels quite satisfied, so I'm coining a new term for this process: tea-fficiency.

dye your hair with henna and rooibos tea Numi collaborationdye your hair with henna and rooibos tea Numi collaboration

The dyeing process is actually quite simple. Don't let the plethora of preparation materials intimidate you.

You'll need: 


Two tea bags, a plastic spoon, a glass or plastic mixing bowl, henna powder (I purchase mine from Whole Foods), gloves (definitely use them - I didn't and now my hands are orange!), a plastic bag or shower cap, and a towel.

Make sure you're wearing clothes you don't mind dyeing and avoid metal utensils and bowls, as henna reacts with metal.

For bright red hair...


  1. Make sure your hair is clean. It may be damp or dry.
  2. Pour boiling water over two Numi Organic Rooibos tea bags and let steep for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add a few tablespoons of henna powder to a glass or plastic bowl. You can always add more if you run out during application.
  4. Add tea until mixture takes on the consistency of yogurt.
  5. Put on gloves and apply mixture with your hands, making sure to cover each strand from root to end. Make sure to cover counter tops and surfaces, as henna can and will dye ceramic tile and other materials. 
  6. After a thick coat has been applied to your hair, wrap a plastic bag or shower cap around your head, then wrap a towel over that. 
  7. Wipe off your ears, wrists, forehead, and neck to keep henna from dyeing unwanted areas. 
  8. Brew yourself some extra tea to sip as you sit in a warm place (I sat in my back yard) for at least an hour. 
  9. Wash your hair thoroughly, first with warm water, then with 1-2 rounds of shampoo. Finish with conditioner, then rinse with cool water.

Remember:


Henna is heat reactive, so it's important to apply the henna while the tea is still warm, adequately cover your head to close in heat, and find a warm place to let it do its work.


The Result:


  red tea and henna hair dye with Numi
Before and After

red tea and henna hair dye with NumiNumi Tea DIY henna

The interesting thing about henna is that it will actually get brighter in the hours after you finish dyeing your hair as it continues to react to heat. You can expect your henna to last 4-8 weeks depending on how frequently you wash your hair. The color will fade back into your regular hair color over time.

I LOVE the result of my Henna + Numi Rooibos Tea experiment, and judging by the incessant compliments I've been getting, so does everyone else. The red is quite assertive without looking alien. Keep in mind that your results may vary depending on your base color, but the tea should deepen your red tones all the same.

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For more creative uses for tea, check out the Numi Tea Garden Blog. 


Follow Numi on social media: Instagram // Twitter // Facebook

ethical review bonanza: summer edition

reviews


I've purchased a fairly high volume of new ethical goods recently thanks to a combination of an awesome ebay gift card and site sales. I thought I'd review them all in one fell swoop to give you an idea of what did and didn't work for me.

1. Fair Indigo Organic Sleeveless Shirt Dress  


This looked a little big out of the bag, but I washed and dried it and now it fits really well. My coworkers liked it, too. It hits right at the knee and you can unbutton the lower buttons if you want to make it a little more vacation ready. Fair trade, organic.

2. Fair Indigo Organic Scoop Neck T-shirt  


Heavyweight, soft pima cotton with a bit of stretch. I like the dimensions on this, but the small fits a little big. I kept it anyway, because I think the length and arm holes would be too cropped in a size smaller. The fabric is really high quality, too, so I think it'll be a closet staple for a long time. Fair trade, organic.

3. Pact V-neck Tee  


I love the white and navy stripes, but this felt too tight at the hips and the v dipped too low on my small chest (didn't want to expose myself!). I returned it, but if you have a straighter frame (and maybe bigger boobs), this might be awesome on you. Fair trade, organic.

4. The Body Shop Colour Crush Eyeshadow in Mon Cherry  


I love this eyeshadow. It leans a bit pink on my skin, but it contrasts beautifully with my hazel-brown eyes without being in-your-face. Slight shimmer. Uses community fair trade Marula oil.

5. The Body Shop Aloe Protective Serum  


I have used this sparingly so far, but the good news is that I haven't had an allergic reaction! I have really sensitive skin, particularly under my eyes, so that's really saying something. The serum adds a bit of moisture and smooths out and brightens my skin immediately upon application. I'd recommend layering this over your regular moisturizer because it's not quite strong enough to do it alone. Uses community fair trade aloe and Soya oil.

6. Oliberte Hirari Booties  


I ordered these two sizes up from my normal size (I typically wear a US 7 and I got a EU 40 in these). They're comfy and beautiful and have a great sole. I got mine on ebay, but they're currently available at the link I provided. Fair trade.

7. Synergy Organic Clothing High-Low Peacock Skirt  


I'd wanted this skirt ever since I saw it all over Floyd Fest last summer. I got mine in a pretty plum color in one size smaller than normal (a size small) and it fits great. The lightweight, stretch cotton is comfortable and the front length hits at the knee, which makes it more versatile than most high-low skirts in my opinion. Fair trade, organic.


All in all, some pretty good experiences! I've been working to replace everyday basics this summer as my old things deteriorate and pill. I feel confident that the things I ended up keeping will stand the test of time, which is such an important part of the ethical shopping process.

giveaway: $50 Synergy Organic Clothing gift card

synergy organic clothing giveaway

Synergy Organic Clothing is giving away a $50 gift card to one lucky Style Wise Blog reader. With $50, you could get this cool muscle tank or a fun high low skirt (and dozens of other things). Or, you could get a significant discount on the Beatrice Dress, which I wore in Monday's The Moral Wardrobe post.

To enter, just complete the form below. Note that the first entry is mandatory, but all other entries are bonuses! Plus, you can come back here and tweet about the giveaway once a day for extra entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Open to international readers. Contest ends at midnight Saturday, June 27. Winner will be randomly selected and notified by Monday, June 29. 


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Check out Synergy Organic Clothing on facebook, twitter, and instagram. Visit their website here

the moral wardobe: henna and layering

mata traders dress
blue knit sweater
mata traders
Ethical Details: Dress - Mata Traders fair trade; Sweater - thrifted; Boots - thrifted; Necklace - handmade via etsy; Belt - thrifted

I've been trying to figure out how to make this Mata Traders sundress work for winter ever since I bought it on sale late in the summer season. I'm pleased that this ensemble seems to really work. I like all the textures and shades of blue running up against each other. 

You may not be able to tell, but I dyed my hair with henna. I used the shade, Persian Mahogany, by Rainbow Henna. It comes in a screw top plastic container, which makes it easy to scoop out what you need for one application and store the rest. The application process is never a simple one and it smells pretty grody, but I learned how to keep a clean work area from last time, so it wasn't so bad. I like the subtle dark red tint it added and the way it evened out my partially natural, partially dyed hair color. I'm kind of a hair dye addict, but I am trying to keep things a bit more natural in terms of both color and processing. Henna is time tested and all natural.

the moral wardrobe: nomads peacock tunic

indian tunic

I'm feeling pretty groovy in this Nomads Peacock Dip Hem fair trade tunic. The silhouette is a little outside of the norm for me, but I love that it has a sort of late '60s feel to it. It's also long sleeved, which means I could (just barely) get away with wearing it without a sweater on Saturday. I think I'm finally starting to adapt to Charlottesville weather; either that, or I'll go to great lengths to get the perfect shot. 

Nomads graciously sent me a few items to style and review and this is the piece I looked forward to most. While this top is made of viscose for a flowy chiffon look, many of their pieces are made with organic cotton (you'll see a few examples here soon). I like the subtle bell sleeve created by elastic at the wrist and the perfect placement of the v-neck - it's not too low or too high. If you look at the pattern closely, you'll notice little peacocks! Nomads draws heavily on the craft and print traditions of India, where their goods are made under fair trade guidelines.

nomads printed peacock tunic on stylewiseblog.blogspot.com
boho style post womens fashion on stylewiseblog.blogspot.com

I wore this last Saturday. It turned out to be the relaxing day I'd been anticipating since before the toy sale and Daniel's end-of-semester madness began. I drove Daniel to school (UVa has this weird practice of administering finals on Saturdays), then headed downtown to buy some fair trade coffee and browse at Ten Thousand Villages before stopping into Java Java for a latte made with Equal Exchange fair trade coffee. I caught up with my old boss (I used to work there) and then walked around a local craft fair, where I saw a woman who made some of the clothing I wore in the fashion show I was in last April. 

Sometimes I get a bit bored with Charlottesville, but a trip downtown always cheers me up. This time around, there was an excellent banjo player and an accordionist singing Irish traditional music serenading people on the pedestrian mall. 

boho style post womens fashion on stylewiseblog.blogspot.com
 Ethical Details: Top - Peacock Dip Hem Shirt c/o Nomads; Shoes - old; Earrings - handmade via etsy

boho style post womens fashion on stylewiseblog.blogspot.com

Nomads is based in the UK, but ships internationally. They're currently offering 30% off a large selection of products, so it's a great time to shop!
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Get to know Nomads on facebook, pinterest, and twitter

fair finds august

faves
faves by fracturedradiance featuring gold dipped jewelry

I'm anxiously awaiting the unveiling of fall arrivals from my favorite ethical retailers, but there are still plenty of things to enjoy. I know Birkenstocks have been a big deal this spring/summer season, but I only really decided they were cool again when Dakota Fanning said they were in the September issue of InStyle (yes, I realize that's lame). I like the black triple strap style. I've also been obsessing over Dogeared jewelry for several months and plan on buying myself their Eye Ring for my birthday (or I could let Daniel purchase it for me).

Speaking of birthdays, Daniel's is tomorrow! Hooray!

Click on the styleboard to be redirected to product sources.

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12 months, 12 goals february wrap up

shop local

Phew! I'm a little behind on the 12 Months, 12 Goals posts.

Last month was all about shopping local to save resources and support ethical retailers in my community. Since I stopped most unnecessary spending, it was pretty easy to meet my goal on accident! I purchased products at or perused:

  • Java Java, a fair trade, organic coffee shop, for coffee and house made treats

  • Paradox Pastry, a local patisserie, for a yummy chocolate croissant

  • Low Vintage, my favorite vintage shop in town

  • Ike's Undergound, another local vintage shop

  • Trade, a local consignment store

  • Cafe Cubano, a downtown coffee shop that serves fair trade coffee

  • Aromas, a Mediterranean restaurant, for a delicious falafel wrap


And Daniel and I purchased two six packs of local cider to bring to various dinner engagements.

So, even though I failed to keep up with things here, it was a month of local love.

How did your month go? What goals were you trying to meet?

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people tree spring/summer lookbook

pt pt2pt3

People Tree just released its Spring/Summer interactive lookbook. I love everything in the Orla Kiely collaboration. The best part is that it's all fair trade and most cotton products are organic. Take a look by clicking here or on the screenshots above (all images clipped from People Tree lookbook).

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