"Coconut" by Paul Hostovsky + Coconut-Lime Scones

One of the benefits of coming home with a box of coconut flakes is the inevitable quest to find new ways to use it. Coconut hasn't always been in my repertoire. In fact, it's quite a new addition. I suppose blame can be placed on the beautiful island of Maui, where I had enough coconut to realize that my childhood aversion no longer ruled my taste buds. Since then, I've made Luisa's coconut banana bread more times than I can count, added coconut to tropical smoothies, and now, I've made scones.

I make no secret of my love of scones. One of my favorite ways to indulge is with a proper scone, Devonshire cream, and jam, but it's also the ritual of tea that I adore so much. Wherever you are, tea forces you to slow down. It resets your mind. I drink it all morning at work (only made possible by the mug warmer I can't live without), and in the afternoon when I'm working from home. If I'm not in the mood for coffee on the weekends, I'll brew tea while my husband grinds coffee beans. When I need to write, I make tea. 

Tea is a trigger. It tells my mind that it's time to work, to be creative, and to accomplish something. Poetry is a trigger, too. You can't read poetry without really reading it. You can't scan poetry like a magazine article or an online newspaper. Do that, and you're bound to miss something incredibly important.

"After Lunch" by Po Chu-i + Simple Scones

Just over a year ago, I visited London again for the first time in eight years. Except for my favorite cafe in Bloomsbury that had closed, the city hadn't changed. There was still soot on the churches, black cabs darting through narrow streets, a hint of gray light as the sun starts to set. This time, no longer on a student's budget, we had afternoon tea at the Dorchester. It had all the pomp and circumstance you'd expect like perfectly tender scones and smoked salmon sandwiches. But what I love most about afternoon tea is the state of mind. There's something about it, isn't there? Pausing from work from 3:30 to 4 pm each day, brewing a dark cup of tea, watching cream swirl in the teacup, taking that first, hot sip. It truly helps you relax and ease into things. It's the perfect time for a mental break, too, when you can let yourself wander, mull over a creative project, or daydream. I so wish we took this ritual more seriously in America, that it was part of our culture so that not having tea would seem, well, uncivilized. A girl can dream.