Fresh This Month: Chai Tea

Chai is a perfect winter scent with a warming grounding blend of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and ginger. The warming spicy aroma of cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg meld with the creamy richness of milk to create a delicious and soothing blend.

Chai is a phenomenally distinct yet versatile flavor and scent. Commonly founds mixed with black tea, chai originated in South Asia and can be traced back to India and China. While chai spices vary from region to region, traditional chai spices include cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, cloves, fennel, ginger, and peppercorn.

Etta + Billie Chai Tea

If you’re interested in making your own chai drink, here is a simple and delicious recipe that combines black tea, milk, and spices.

Ingredients:

2-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
6 cardamom pods
6 cups cold water
6 bags of black tea
2 cups of whole milk (or almond/soy milk)

Directions:

  1. Combine fresh ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom in a medium saucepan. While stirring, lightly crush the spices.
  2. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover the saucepan, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, add tea bags and steep for 5 minutes.
  5. Discard tea bags, add your milk of choice, and simmer over high heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, strain chai into a teapot, and serve hot.

Etta + Billie Chai Tea Limited Edition Products

Want to include the deliciously aromatic smells of chai not just in your beverages but in your home and skincare routine too? You’re in luck! Etta + Billie just released a line of limited edition chai tea inspired bath and body products for those who can’t get enough of the stuff.

A perfect scent for the cooler temperatures of fall and winter, these chai bath and body products offer the perfect blend of warming cinnamon and ginger with spicy cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg:

Chai Tea Body Scrub
Chai Tea Room + Body Spray
Chai Tea Skin Balm
Chai Tea Soap

Where to Go? What to Eat? Newport, RI

Newport, a gorgeous coastal city located in New England’s Rhode Island, is famous for its vast harbors filled with sailboats and yachts as well as its historic mansions, several of which have been converted into museums. The city has one of the highest concentrations of colonial homes in the nation in its downtown Historic District as well as its Gilded Age mansions, which were summer “cottages” built by mid-19th century wealthy southern planters looking to escape the heat of the south. But Newport has so much more to offer than sailing, mansions, and museums!

Kristen Coates, owner of a an arts and home goods store in Newport, grew up in Newport, RI and—after having lived in Los Angeles and New York for more than 15 years—currently resides in the beautiful city. Kristen shared some of her favorite activities, places to visit, and things to eat with us so your next trip to Newport can be filled with great sights, delicious food, and fun!

Newport RI

Photo by: Christian Harder for The Wall Street Journal Off Duty

Music Festivals
During July and August Newport hosts both the Folk Festival and the Jazz Festival along with the Live Local Music Festival, a grassroots indie arts and music festival started by a local photographer.

Cliff Walk
Cliff Walk is a world famous 3.5-mile walking trail that winds along the coast behind the mansions and gives an outstanding view of the water. This public access trail is unique in that it combines ocean views, stunning architecture, and rugged shorelines.

Newport Art Museum
The Newport Art Museum is a museum and art school located in downtown Newport that features changing exhibitions and art classes year-round. The museum’s exhibitions and collections reflect Rhode Island’s cultural heritage and contemporary art scene by featuring artists with ties to RI.

Redwood Library and Athenaeum
The Redwood Library is the oldest lending library that still occupies its original building in the United States. Designated a national historic landmark in 1962, the building also houses antique sculptures, paintings, furniture, and rare books.

Third & Elm Press
The oldest operating printing press in the country, Third & Elm Press, is also located in Newport. Visitors can view and purchase woodblock prints, limited edition books, and note cards and even watch the process of them being made by artist Ilse Buchert Nesbitt.

What to Eat?

White Horse Tavern
“The White Horse Tavern is a personal favorite come fall with the crackling fireplaces and the stories of haunted dining rooms and the bar!” One of the oldest taverns in the country, established in 1673, this place offers delicious food and drinks in a cosy historic setting.

Thames Street Kitchen
TSK is a wonderful farm-to-table restaurant that focuses on fresh seasonal and local ingredients. “The family that owns this place also owns the epic burger restaurant, Mission, and Winner Winner where they serve—you guessed it—chicken.”

Other Locally Owned Restaurants
Newport has dozens of locally owned restaurants including the Clarke Cooke House as well as Diego’s and Perro Salado (both excellent for Mexican food and margaritas). Stoneacre Brasserie has the best brunch, Pasta Beach for authentic Italian, and newly opened Bar and Board has cheese and charcuterie boards perfect for sharing over delicious wine

Additional Tips

Kristen notes her favorite Newport sights are along the coast and at the beaches. There are coves filled with soft-to-the-touch powdery white sand and waves perfect for surfing. Other beaches have great walking areas full of various flora and fauna. One of the best parts about Newport is being on the water and sailing around the island. There is a reason Newport is famous for it!

“The quality of life and the beauty surrounding the island,” Kristen remarks, “there is no other place like it in the world.”

In the Kitchen: Fall Picnic Recipe Roundup

It happens every year: Summer goes by in the blink of an eye and it’s over before we know it. But just because fall is quickly approaching doesn’t mean we have to cease all outdoor fun and hide inside until spring rolls around. Autumn weather offers its own charming ambiance for outdoor activities, from hiking and camping to leaf peeping and picnicing.

fall squash

Don’t let the end of summer stop you from enjoying the outdoors. Instead, pack some of these great fall dishes, grab a picnic blanket (and maybe a sweater), and enjoy it!

etta + billie lip balm fall

Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Bread
Bacon, Fig, and Arugula Sandwiches
Slow Cooker Lentil and Ham Soup
Apple Cabbage Slaw
Caramel Apple Cider
Lumberjack Julep

Etta + Billie is Hiring!

Etta + Billie Soap Making

We are looking for two folks to join the E+B crew. We’re a small but hardworking team that loves music, food, and great scents!

E+B needs a part-time Production Assistant and a part-time Studio Assistant ready to start ASAP. You can read more about the positions and find out how to apply at SF MADE (links above), 

Makers Gonna Make: Bergamot

Bergamot is a citrus fruit from the tropical Citrus bergamia plant, which is commonly found in the Mediterranean, Italy, France, and other parts of Europe. The fruit is typically the size of an orange, yet is closer in color to a lime or lemon depending on ripeness.

Many people are familiar with Bergamot because it’s the fruit that gives Earl Grey tea its citrusy scent and distinct flavor. A highly fragrant fruit, Bergamot is also used to make essential oils (which can be used for perfumes, soaps, or oil diffusion) and can be used in a number of recipes. Bergamot flesh and its zest—which is tart, aromatic, acidic, and spicy—has been used as an ingredient in everything from cookies, custards, and marmalades to syrups, cocktails, and even pesto, mayonnaise, and other condiments.

etta + billie bergamot ginger bath + body oil

Bergamot and Lavender Reusable Dryer Sheets: Both environmentally friendly and easy to DIY, these dryer sheets will leave your laundry soft and smelling great! And with the added bonus of not needing to dispose of the dryer sheets with each load.

Bergamot Ginger Bath + Body Oil: With the invigorating combination of citrusy bergamot and spicy ginger, this bath and body oil is perfect for skin that is in desperate need of hydration or a soothing and relaxing bath. This oil can be used directly on the body as a moisturizer or in a bath, and it doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy! (If you prefer a standard lotion for moisturizing, check out the Bergamot + Ginger Body Lotion or Skin Balm.)

Bergamot Honey Frappe: This delicious frappe recipe only needs 5 ingredients, takes about 15 minutes to throw together, and is vegan! Perfect for a mid-morning pick-me-up or a refreshing evening drink this combination of flavors will have your taste buds singing.

Bergamot and Lime Deodorant: Whether you’re in a pinch and need to craft up some homemade deodorant or prefer to use deodorants with all natural ingredients (or without aluminum), this recipe will not only have you smelling great but is easy on your skin as well.

Bergamot Ginger Room + Body Spray: Need to refresh your kitchen, bedroom linens, car, or even yourself? This room and body spray can do it all in an instant! Made with simple ingredients that won’t damage or stain anything, you can spray this product on everything knowing its all natural ingredients aren’t harmful to yourself or your home.

Oyster Mushroom Salad with Apple and Bergamot: A unique combination of ingredients, this salad makes a perfect addition to any dinner or could be enjoyed on its own for lunch. With the apple marinated in bergamot juice, this winter salad will be sure to wow anyone who eats it.

Go-To Tips: Shopping Your Local Farmer’s Market

Your local farmer’s market can be a great spot to buy inexpensive and fresh produce, support your local farmers, and even try some tasty pre-made foods or purchase quirky handmade items. With these tips, you can be sure you get the most out of your visit and walk away with an armful of delicious foods!

farmer's market peaches

5 Tips for Shopping Your Local Farmer’s Market

Bring cash. Some vendors accept debit cards, credit cards, and checks; you will likely run into many vendors that are cash only. The best way to ensure you are able to purchase everything you need (and stick within a budget!) is by bringing cash with you. If you are trying not to overspend but still want to be able to treat yourself to a beautiful handmade necklace that may catch your eye at the market, or if a vendor is offering a great deal on berries at a larger quantity and you’d like to be able to grab some for your friends, set aside some extra cash in addition to your produce funds

Select your time wisely. If you want to freshest, healthiest produce and don’t want to risk missing out on items that sell out before you arrive, your best bet is to arrive as soon as the market opens. On the other hand, if you’d like to scope out some deals and discounts, you might want to consider showing up about an hour before the market is due to close. The vendors will be more likely to bargain since they are seeking to get rid of their items so they don’t have to haul them back home.

Buy in season. Your farmer’s market won’t have the same selection that your grocery store has since grocery stores have produce shipped to them from all over the world, but your farmer’s market will have the best tasting in-season organic foods! And knowing which fruits and vegetables are in season can help you grab the freshest produce and the best deals. Berries, are plentiful in May while corn tends to be sold more in August. Peaches and apples, on the other hand, you’ll see more of in September. Herbs can be easier to buy since they stay in season longer. Rosemary, for instance, is in season in both summer and fall (or year round in temperate climates.) For a full list of when fruits and vegetables are in season, visit the US Department of Agriculture’s “What’s in Season?” guide.

Make a loop around the market before buying anything. You want to avoid buying the first few things you see because another vendor down the line may wind up having better deals on that same item, or worse, you’ll spend all your money and then come across something you wish you has some cash for! To avoid these pitfalls, walk a loop around the entire farmer’s market before purchasing anything and take mental notes of which booths you want to return to. After you’ve seen everything the vendors have to offer, you can make better purchasing decisions and head straight home with your goods, without having to lug them around to continue browsing the market.

Try new things! Farmer’s markets often have samples of their homemade food items, and it’s worth trying as many as you can. You never know if you might wind up falling in love with a local farmer’s sweet horseradish pickles, or if the jalapeno jam will become the next staple item on your breakfast table. If you get thirsty, try a cup of the ice cold lavender lemonade or the locally grown coffee to add some pep in your step for the rest of your farmer market adventure.

farmer's market lettuce spinach salad greens

Farmer’s markets can be a great experience and an opportunity to support your local agriculture. In no time, heading to your local grocery store will have you missing your farmer’s market!

Where to Go? What to Eat? Portland, Maine Travel Guide

We’re all familiar with Oregon’s largest city, Portland, known for its hip culture and thriving art, theater, and music scenes. But did you know Maine also offers its own Portland, a smaller city with river and mountain views as well as gorgeous Victorian-era houses, working fishing wharves, and converted warehouses with restaurants and shops?

Lauren, the owner of Fitz and Bennett Home—a thoughtfully curated home decor and gifts store located in Portland, ME—shares some of her favorite places to go, items to eat, and things to do in Portland. In addition to offering the standard attractions that come to mind when people think of Maine—great seafood, a beautiful coastline, and stunning lighthouses—Portland is also a popular spot for food and beer. “We have amazing restaurants in every food genre you can imagine,” totes Lauren.

Lauren’s storefront, situated in the historic Old Port of Portland, is just off of the beaten (and tourist ridden) path but still amongst the scenic cobblestones and historic architecture, and has a waterfront view right outside her door!

Portland Maine

Where to Go?

Willard Beach
Located in South Portland on the bay, Willard Beach is a moderately sized beach (so you don’t feel like you’re walking forever to find a spot, but also aren’t sitting right on top of other beachgoers) that offers calmer waters, slightly warmer water temperatures, and a dog-friendly environment before 8:00am during the beach season. “We love to bring our pooch down for a little play—dogs galore!”

Nature Trails
Portalnd, ME has a number of trails full of stellar views and calming natural surroundings. Some of these include Wolfe’s Neck in Freeport, Mackworth Island in Casco Bay, and the Eastern Promenade. With food trucks frequently parked along the top of the Promenade, you won’t go hungry during your hike!

Fitz and Bennett Home

What to Eat?

“The best activities (and almost all of them here) involve a good view and good food.”

The Green Elephant
An all vegetarian restaurant located on Congress Street, The Green Elephant is a favorite of Lauren’s. “My carnivorous husband loves it there too!”

Novare Res
A hidden away beer mecca, Novare Res has a great outdoor patio with games and picnic tables, making it a perfect stop for beer aficionados and families alike.

Local 188
Local 188 is the perfect spot for an intimate dinner or stellar brunch.The decor is reminiscent of being inside of a Toulouse-Lautrec painting.   

Silly’s
Slightly outside of the downtown area (but still on the peninsula), Silly’s is a great stop for all kinds of food options. Vegan selections are just as plentiful as meat-heavy dishes, and beer is served in tin mugs. Silly’s also has outdoor seating and funky decor throughout.

Fitz and Bennett Home - Etta + Billie Products

Additional Tips

Lauren recommends visiting Portland on months that shoulder the busy seasons; mid-June and early September. “Most of the tourists are gone and you’ll feel more like a local.”

There are also countless hotels in town to choose from during your stay in addition to very unique Airbnbs, so there’s no need to feel like you’re beholden to the big chain hotels.

Lauren’s overall advice for those wanting to visit Portland, ME? “Explore beyond the most popular places in Portland that have been written about over and over again. They are great and get press for a reason, but there are also a ton of other smaller fish here that are equally as amazing, so explore a bit!”

Fitz and Bennett Home

Go-To Tips: Better Camping Meals

Camping, depending on your outdoor expertise and hiking level, can vary from “glamping” to completely roughing it in the wilderness. But being away from your home and its kitchen doesn’t mean you have to eat trail mix during your entire camping trip! Here are a few tips, tricks, and hacks to help you eat well while still being able to pack light and remain environmentally friendly on your next camping trip.

General Tips

Dutch Oven Vegetarian Chili and CornbreadPhoto by: Fresh off the Grid

Cookware

When camping, you always want to limit the amount of things you need to bring with you. When you are packing your cooking items, consider limiting yourself to multi-use items that can be used to cook in a number of different ways.

If you are camping in a car, trailer, or will not have to transport your gear far by foot:
Instead of one or several small- to medium-sized pans, consider bringing a wide, flat griddle or cast iron skillet that you can cook multiple items on at once (Being able to cook eggs, bacon, and pancakes at the same time will speed up your breakfast cook time!). A griddle will also likely pack much easier than a pan or two, which are rounded and have handles that stick out.l Dutch ovens are another great option. They can be used as both a pot for stews, soups, chili, etc. as well as enclosed ovens for baking meals over a fire. Dutch ovens can also be used over propane stoves if open fires are not allowed within your campground. And if you want to limit clean up efforts, dutch ovens can also be fitted with disposable liners (parchment paper or aluminum foil). Just be sure to take all your trash with you!

If you are camping in a tent:
If you will be traveling on foot, you won’t be able to carry heavy dutch ovens or cast iron skillet with you. Instead, pack a small, lightweight aluminum or titanium pot and pan. Your pot can double as a cup and your pan can also be used as a plate to cut down on what you need to fill your pack with. You’ll also want to bring aluminum foil. Not only does it not take up much room, but you can use it to wrap root vegetables like potatoes or carrots and even meat and fish, then throw them into the coals of your fire to cook without having to worry about getting a mouthful of ash when it’s time to eat.

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza NachosPhoto by: twopeasandtheirpod

Food

Before your trip, fill plastic squeezable bottles (you can reuse emptied and cleaned ketchup bottles) with pre-mixed pancake batter, soup broth, homemade BBQ sauce, and other ingredients you’ll want quick and easy access to. This can also help limit the number of utensils you’ll need to bring with you.

If you are camping in a car, trailer, or will not have to transport your gear far by foot:
You will basically have access to a full kitchen, so the sky’s the limit! You can decide on several meals before your trip, anything from pizza and pasta, burgers and ribs, to jambalaya and chicken noodle soup.

If you are camping in a tent:
You’ll want to pack high protein, higher calorie food options that don’t take up much room if you need to carry everything with you. Snack options like trail mix (with dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate if you have a sweet tooth) or beef jerky are classic choices. You can also visit specialty outdoor retailers to purchase freeze dried or dehydrated meals that will limit their size and weight but can still provide you with tasty meal options.

Backpacker’s Blueberry CrispPhoto by: Fresh off the Grid

Fire

Nothing beats cooking over an open fire, but if you are unable to or prefer the control of having a stove, you have options too.

Cooking on a campfire:
A campfire may not offer you the temperature control of a stove, but nothing tastes quite as good as something cooked over hot coals! If you plan on cooking over a fire, it is a good idea to bring your own firewood in case existing log piles have gotten wet or rotten. Many campgrounds also have strict rules against collecting firewood, so this will help you bypass that completely.

Cooking on a portable stove:
If you are camping in damp, wet climate or are having trouble starting a fire due to rain or other environmental issues, having a backup camping stove will save you a lot of stress. They are not only reliable, but are often designed to be lightweight and pack away easily. Depending on how you will be camping, you can select a classic two-burner propane stove or a single burner stove that uses small canisters to provide a flame.

Recipes

  1. Camping Breakfast Sandwich
  2. Cast Iron Skillet Pizza Nachos
  3. Dutch Oven Vegetarian Chili and Cornbread
  4. Lemon Dill Salmon Packets
  5. Backpacker’s Blueberry Crisp
  6. 3 Easy Campsite Cocktails

Etta + Billie Crew: Sonia

Etta + Billie crew members are the heart of our company. Since the company’s launch in 2009, our employees have helped us along the road of creating purposeful, sustainable, natural body care products and without them, we wouldn’t be the company we are today!

Want to know more about the Etta + Billie team? Here is a closer look at one of our crew members: Sonia!

Etta + Billie Crew Sonia

How long have you been at Etta + Billie?
I have been working at Etta + Billie for 3 years and 2 months.

What five things couldn’t you live without?
1) My family; my partner and my siblings. 2) My headphones. 3) My sketchbook. 4) Coffee. 5) The Internet.

What’s one nice thing you could do for somebody in your life today?
Give them a call out of the blue.

My favorite quote is:
“Success is when preparation meets opportunity.”

My favorite scent is:
Anything citrus!

What is your favorite Etta + Billie product?
My favorite product is the Etta + Billie Earl Grey Tea soap.

Behind the Counter: The Making of Etta + Billie’s Room + Body Spray

Our Room + Body Sprays are intended to be simple yet versatile sprays, hence their multi-use purposes. Created with both home and beauty care in mind, Etta + Billie’s Room + Body Spray is designed to be fragrant without being overpowering. Perfect for freshening up your linens, car, and even yourself! But have you ever wondered just how we make this magical potion?

etta + billie room + body spray

All of our Room + Body Sprays are a mix of 4 simple ingredients: Spring water, witch hazel, non-GMO organic vegetable glycerin, and essential oils. Here’s how they’re made:

  1. Blend together a combination of witch hazel, spring water, and glycerin.
    2. Pour this blend into glass amber bottles, either 2oz. or 4oz.
    3. Mix with a combination of essential oils, depending on which scent is being made.
    4. Use a pipette to draw a measured amount of the essential oil blend and deposit into each individual bottle.
    5. Cap and seal each bottle with a spray top.
    6. Label the bottles.

Short, sweet, and simple! All of our ingredients are 100% natural, and since our Room + Body Spray is made in small batches, you always receive the freshest possible product. And not only are they easy to use (just shake and spray), but the bottles can be recycled or upcycled and reused!