Review: Starbucks Teavana Youthberry White Tea

Yesterday, I tried a hot Teavana Youthberry White Tea from Starbucks. I prefer unsweetened, floral hot teas, and I’m not usually a fan of fruity teas. When it comes to Starbucks teas, I’m usually a straight black tea kind of gal, but I was feeling adventurous. So, after work last night, my hands numb from the cold and four dollars of quarters in my left hand, I drove Le Mini (my Mini Cooper) to the Starbucks down the street and ordered my first hot youthberry tea. Since I had never tried it before, I was given a free sample courtesy à la Barista Boy.

Starbucks describes the tea as:

“A delicate white tea with red currants, açai berry, hibiscus and rose petals, then completed with candied pineapple, mango pieces, Fuji and golden delicious apples. The taste is timeless.”

The description couldn’t be more accurate! It wasn’t like a BAM in-your-face kind of fruity. It was very light. It tasted like warm pineapple and apple with subtle hints of floral. If I was the Queen of England, I would drink this tea out of fancy china tea cups in my castle garden every day.

The best part about this tea is that it has health benefits! White tea is suppose to be great for skin, possibly helping protect skin from harmful UV rays. Not to mention its grand antioxidant properties! Combined with the antioxidants of the fruit infusion and flower petals, this tea  is quite the post-workout treat.

I have seen complaints about the little bit of sugar and sweetener that they put in this tea. It doesn’t appear to be enough to add any calories, though. My guess is that the sugar added to the mango and pineapple is used as a preservative and the sweetener is used to tone down the açai.

While those looking for a completely natural tea may not find this tea appealing, its a grand substitute for sugary coffees and hot chocolates this winter. 🙂

Thanks for reading,




7 ways your public library can make you queen bee for free

  1. Unlimited access to health and exercise books and DVDs. Why pay for a gym membership or surround yourself with smelly gym socks when you could bring the health and exercise classes into your home? May I suggest

    Yoga as medicine: the yogic prescription for health & healing

    Your body will thank you.

  2. Free movies and music. Sure its fun to go see the new releases at AMC, but what about the oldies? Betcha your library has a grand selection of the movies and music your parents remember. Sit back, relax, and check out the past!
  3. Language learning books, audio books, and software. Some people spend hundreds of dollars on Rosetta Stone, the Barnes and Nobel language isle, and classes. I borrowed

    Swedish: the short course

    for freesies. Hallå.

  4. All kinds of self-help material. Stuck on the past? Self-destructive behaviors? Looking for happiness? There’s a book for that, that, and that. Plus a whole lot more! You’re a doctor, congratulations.
  5. The entire history as we know it. Whether you missed out on those months studying Ann Frank and the Holocaust in middle school or you can’t quite remember all 43 presidents, the 900s in nonfiction have you covered. Think of all the conversation starters.
  6. Databases so you don’t have to cry over research papers. Face it—school is harder when you use school to do school. Browsing through a public library’s databases can be much more exciting, and in my experience, they are much more user-friendly! And that means no more crying over the search for topic-relevant, full-text, academic primary and secondary source articles. Oh, Academic Search Premier, how I love thee.
  7. Stories galore. If you’re like me, every once in awhile the world sucks and I need to read about a different world. Luckily, public libraries house westerns, romances, mysteries, science fiction, young adult, and literature novels! It’s a good thing the library understands that one day a lady is a southern belle and the next day she’s a European princess courting French men.

Feminist Literature and the Neustadt Festival

As part of a course at the University of Oklahoma sponsored by literary magazine, World Literature Today, I had the incredible opportunity to meet award-winning author Dubravka Ugrešić after studying several of her novels and essays (graciously provided to us through a WLT book scholarship, I might add).

Ugrešić’s works we read included Baba Yaga Laid an Egg, Ministry of Pain, Europe in Sepia, Lend Me Your Character, and pieces from The Museum of Unconditional Surrender. Ugrešić’s writing is nothing like I’ve read before. Her novels are like a puzzle, which are left to the reader to put together. Luckily, I was debriefed before jumping into each piece and knew what to watch for. Admittedly, I was on Google every couple of pages or so researching textual references and metaphors, which are uniformly sprinkled through her writing.

I found Ugrešić’s themes particularly fascinating. Nostalgia, folklore, and memory are relentlessly pursued by Ugrešić, but with an emphasis on women’s roles and perspectives. If interested in reading some of her work, I recommend starting with Ministry of Pain, following with Europe in Sepia, and ending with Baba Yaga Laid an Egg. 🙂

During the Neustadt Festival at the end of October, I had the privilege of listening to Ugrešić twice (besides her keynote speech), once in a more intimate setting and once at a banquet. I couldn’t believe how funny she was! My classmates and I conducted an interview with her in a cozy, covered patio. A small excerpt of the interview can be found here on the Lit Hub website.

I also interviewed novelist and translator, Alison Anderson, who was one of the festival guests. Here’s the transcription of my interview with Anderson:

Q: You nominated Ugrešić for the Neustadt prize. Why, specifically, did you choose to nominate her?

A: Because she has accompanied me in my life as a reader for over twenty years. So, I’ve kind of followed her in her career since she left Yugoslavia in the 90s, and every time that she’d have a new book out I would order it or rush out and buy it. And she’s a comfort to me, because I’ve seen the world become not a very nice place compared to how I imagined it would be when I was your age. Even though she criticizes and she finds fault and she’s pessimistic, it’s a comfort to know she’s out there and writing about these problems, that I’m not the only one who sees these problems. Sometimes they’re very trivial, and it’s a kind of solidarity among people maybe of my generation.

Q: I particularly found comfort in how [Ugrešić] described nostalgia, and that’s a big theme in Ugrešić’s work. Do you agree with Ugrešić’s descriptions of nostalgia?

A: Yeah, I do. I do differently because I don’t have a real nostalgia for a country that no longer exists. Sometimes she calls herself a “Yugonostalgic.” But I do have nostalgia for what I hoped the United States would become or what I hoped Europe would become when I was much younger. Or just maybe for even countries in the 19th century sometimes. So, I can identify with some of the good and bad things about nostalgia.

Q: Can you describe nostalgia in one sentence?

A: A longing for the past. A longing for what is no longer there.

Q: Out of all [Ugrešić’s] novels, do you have a favorite?

A: The Museum of Unconditional Surrender.

Q: Is there a particular reason why?

A: Because it’s very poetic. It’s very beautiful. It has its nostalgia without being sentimental. Yeah, I like it both for the way it’s put together and for the themes.

Q: What do you think is the most important theme in Ugrešić’s work?

A: Hmm. That’s a hard one because her work has evolved, so it’s been through different themes. I think integrity is important. It depends on the essays. Other times it might be equality. But equality you’d have to define, and that’s a lot to go into.

Q: Do you think there’s something for everyone in Ugrešić’s work, or do you think her work is written for a specific audience?

A: I think there are may be some people who want to control their lives and who want to have cut and dry ideas, people who are narrow-minded that might not get it, unfortunately. But I think people who are open, people who are willing to do some research if there are some issues she’s talking about that they don’t know, but they’re curious to find out about, whether it’s about Yugoslavia or whether it’s about a dead Russian author or something in literature… I think anybody who’s open and curious. She refers to a lot of current events and a lot of literary history that require research. I had to do some research. She’s stimulating. She’s very stimulating.

Q: In your opinion, as a translator, do certain meanings sometimes get lost in translation?

A: Certain meanings… I can’t answer for correlation. I know that for French, I don’t think meanings so much, nuances certainly. Sometimes you have to approximate; you have to try and find the closest thing, but it might not be what their original word was in Croatian or Russian or French. But if it works for the American reader and brings them that much closer to understanding those other cultures, that’s what we try to do.

You can read more about Alison Anderson here at her website. You can also find more information about Debravka Ugrešić here at her website.

Thanks for reading 🙂


A day at the public library

I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorite moments at the public library.

  • A very tall man at the back of the library burst out singing “Imagine” by John Lennon and continued until he reached the exit at the front of the library. By the time he was halfway to the exit, everybody in the library was singing along. His swagger was unrivaled.
  • An employee picked up a small abandoned coin purse. On her way to taking it to lost and found, a little girl screamed, “THAT LADY STOLE MY PURSE!”
  • A lady removed an exploded poop diaper from a backpack. She then proceeded to pull her library books out of the same backpack. The books did not go back on the shelf.
  • While looking up Bluford High books at a catalog computer, a young boy, about twelve, spontaneously busted into a seriously intense pelvic thrust dance. The library was silent.
  • On two separate occasions, shirts were lifted up to show me tattoos. One was a heart around a bellybutton.
  • When I asked a woman if she wanted to pay her forty-cent fine, she demanded to know why I wouldn’t want her to pay her fine. I told her I didn’t care whether she paid her fine or not. Flabbergasted, she told me to stop trying to take advantage of her.
  • An elderly man whipped out a digital camera and snapped a picture of me. I don’t want to know.
  • The “King of Africa” yelled that I was the only one allowed in his country.

The library is a magical place. Next time you’re in need of some free entertainment, grab a bag of popcorn, settle in at your *local public library, and wait for the fireworks. 😉

*Not all public libraries are created equal. Public libraries may be substituted for other public locations and/or your local Walmart.


Dewy or not, here I come


As the weather gets colder and the leaves turn from green to orange, more of us are retiring our beloved matte foundations and lip stains for the season and searching for more hydrating options to keep our skin looking flawless. I gave Madeline, 18, a comfortable dewy look using five cold-weather makeup bag staples.

First, I used the almighty Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in Sx01. In case you’re wondering, it lives up to its reputation! To get this look, I applied a dab of product using the Kevyn Aucoin concealer brush for imperfections and applied a thicker layer as a highlighter on the cheekbones, between the nose and eyes, the bridge of the nose, and the chin.

Next, I applied Becca’s Lowlight Sculpting Perfector using a thick, angled brush. I used a technique I like to call V-sculpting. If you look at Madeline’s profile picture you can see how her contour has a v-shape to it. I like this technique because a contour is more masculine than a blush, but more romantic than a hard, straight contour.

To enhance the look, I applied a small amount of Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara to the top and bottom lashes. Than, I applied a small amount of Chanel’s Illusion D’Ombre Velvet Long Wear Luminous Matte eyeshadow in 98 Melody. It’s a very natural pink, which compliments most skin tones. To complete the look, I dabbed a generous amount of Bite Beauty’s Agave Lip Mask in the clear shade simply using my finger. Try a messy application for plumper-looking lips!

Here’s the must-have winter Sephora list:

Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, $48,

Becca Lowlight Sculpting Perfector, $38,

Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara, $12 (travel size),

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask, $26,

As always, the photos above are filter-free, edit-free, and touch-up-free.

Talk to you guys in the comment section 🙂

With love,