Thrift-Tea: Indulge Your Inner Queen On A Peasant's Budget

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There is something really special about drinking tea. Even if you don’t go to Japanese tea ceremony lengths, there is still a relaxing ritual to it. Slapping a steamy cup of java into a coffee mug is definitely the faster and easier way to get a cheap caffeine fix when you need it, but preparing tea requires decorum and delicacy. Patience is required to steep the bag for just the right amount of time so as not to end up with a bitter brew.   Let me put it this way: there is schlepping to Starbucks, and there is fine dining in a formal tea room. Coffee is yoga pants and a T-shirt, a glass of red wine is a sultry little black dress, but a cup of tea is a Michelle Obama J.Crew a-line number. Do I have to say it? Drinking tea makes me feel like a lady.

While all of us wanna-be refined ladies can’t tear down the drapes to make a gorgeous gown Scarlet O’Hara style, we’ve got to start somewhere. I don’t have a lot of the fancy accoutrements to sip a super stylish cup of tea but I have the basics to enjoy a basic one. Craigslist’s for sale section is a fantastic place to search for tea kettles, tea pots, and cute cups and saucers (often from legacy sets of fine china) on the cheap. One of my favorite things about shopping on Craigslist, aside from the sustainable living factor and instant gratification of skipping shipping time by buying local, is that you can dictate a maximum price when browsing.  eBay is, of course, a great resource as well for the dollar-and-cent savvy to stock up too.

For the actual tea, you all know I’m a devote-tea (couldn’t resist) to the dollar store lifestyle. One of my local bargain haunts carries both Chamomile and Mint Tea in Bigelow brand, and is where I grab my organic Earl Grey. Speaking of organic, farmers markets are also getting to be a great spot for a spot of tea, in addition to artisan honey and other delicious garnishes. What the best way you’ve found to unwind and feel like a lady for a moment each day? —Casandra Armour

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