|photos by Aimee Wenske, props and tea provided by Sophie Parrott of the Marvelous Vintage Tea Party Co.|
Chris Perez is a photographer, blogger and soon-to-be magazine editor. He's such an interested and inspired individual. I love his can-do spirit and passion for food, photography, and connecting creative folks through his magazine, Citygram. We met over a few photo lessons via Skype wherein I was supposed to be giving him some tips and I learned all kinds of useful tips and practical ideas from him (Chris has a photo cart full of backgrounds and props for his food photos he can just wheel up to a window, genius!) Love it when the tables turn and a great friend emerges.
Chris is simply rocking it in Austin, cooking up all kinds of crazy dinner parties for his lucky wife and launching Citygram, incredible interactive digital FREE magazine focused on local food, music, design and culture. Yowza, isn't that awesome! Be sure to give him a pledge and check it out. Thanks for joining me for tea Chris!
What is your favorite type of tea and how do you take it?
I love Roobois. It's bold, unmistakable and can be creamy and rich with just a touch of added milk. I prefer varieties that have a hint of smokiness to their flavor profile.
How does tea punctuate your day?
Tea gives me that needed break between lunch and dinner. It gives me the chance to step away from my desk, compose my thoughts and relax.
My tea accompaniment of choice is:
Cookies and cake! I'm the guy who always says "yes" to dessert, so pairing sweets, like mexican wedding cookies, with my tea is something I especially look forward to when brewing a pot.
My sense of awareness . . . is on when I'm having tea. I typically listen to music as I write articles or edit photos. Tea however, is something I enjoy in complete silence - next to a window with the sun peering brightly through it. It's a moment when I take the time to notice the light, the shadows, the way a cookie crumbles, the movement of the steam lifting from the spout of a teapot. I'm just more tuned in to my environment as I recharge over a cuppa.
I first started drinking tea when . . .
I saw beautifully styled pictures of tea next to cookies and cake. This is no joke. I got turned onto tea just under a year ago and it wasn't until I saw cups of tea arranged so artfully amidst lavender buds, dripping honey dippers, crumbs from half-eaten cakes that I got it. In fact the first time I had a Roobois was with a lavender cake and ever since then I've appreciated mixing up something sweet with something herbal and slightly bitter. Leela, I'd be completely amiss if I didn't mention that viewing some of your very own photos led me onto the road of discovering this beautiful new part of my day.
(shucks Chris! you are a doll!)
My dream tea party would include . . .
All my friends I've come to know in the community. People I grew up with, people I've recently met, and people that have inspired me. We're all seated at a long table that stretches as far as the eye can see, in a meadow, under a canopy of trees. Sunlight peeks through the leaves, and everyone's face is illuminated by these little sparks of shimmering light. We're sampling all kinds of tea, cookies, and cakes either made by us or by our favorite local chefs (who of course are here at the party as well). Our minds are free from stress and we're all laughing and enjoying each others company, each others craft, and each others enthusiasm for living. It's magical.
When I sip from my tea cup, I . . . am calm, relaxed, aware of the present, the now, and the opportunity to effect a world without barriers.