Category Archives: Blog

Farewell, Cookie Tea

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

Tonight was a somber evening. I had to say goodbye. As I brewed and drank my last cup of Cookie Dough tea from David’s Tea, I knew that things would never be the same.

Cookie Dough is a discontinued tea from David’s Tea. Stephanie is currently seeking a cookie tea substitute. PHOTO/Stephanie Sokol

Cookie Dough is a discontinued tea from David’s Tea. Stephanie is currently seeking a cookie tea substitute. PHOTO/Stephanie Sokol

The loose white tea, which was a splurge purchase during a trip to San Francisco, was one of my favorite teas of all time. Steeping the blend in 208 degree water gives you the taste of cocoa, walnuts and chocolate chips—it was like drinking a cookie, with a taste of tea. The beverage did not even need any sweetener, it was naturally on the sweeter side. And the aroma was deliciously comforting, like that of warm cookies fresh out of the oven. It smelled like chocolate, happiness and childhood.

With cookies being one of my favorite foods, and tea a favorite beverage, I should have thought to order more. Cookie flavored tea just is not something you see everyday. But it never occurred to me that it might not always be there. After I prepared that last cup, however, I visited the David’s Tea website to order more (they only have a few locations in the United States, non of which being Michigan), only to find that the tea blend had been a limited edition seller.

I’m not sure why it was not popular. People love chocolate beverages,

Who doesn’t love some good chocolate chip cookie dough? Now imagine drinking it.  PHOTO/Stephanie Sokol

Who doesn’t love some good chocolate chip cookie dough? Now imagine drinking it. PHOTO/Stephanie Sokol

and this one was the perfect balance of tea and dessert. And people love cookie dough. Name one person you know who doesn’t like to sneak cookie dough when baking, or buy it just to snack on. Now just imagine that, in beverage form, without sugar or calories? How could it fail? But the fact is, my favorite tea is gone, so I will have to find a way to manage.

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a tea junky. I enjoy other beverages as well, but give me a good cup of tea and I will be happy. Some of my favorite blends are loose teas, this tasty tea being one of them. What will replace Cookie Dough in my tea collection? Looking at the David’s Tea website I see a few possibilities. There’s red velvet cake, another dessert brew—a black tea that brews to a bright red shade. That one might be tasty. Or maybe birthday cake, a rooibos blend with freeze dried ice cream and sprinkles – maybe I can have my tea and eat it too. Both sound interesting and tasty enough, but they aren’t cookie dough. I might order them to replace the void in my life, but today starts a new journey—the search for another cookie tea.

Stephanie Sokol is currently taking recommendations for a replacement for cookie tea. If you have some tea tips, comment below, email her at sasokol@oakland.edu, or tweet to her @StephanieSokol.

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YOUTHBERRY WILD ORANGE BLOSSOM TEA BLEND

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

After sampling it a few dozen times as I walked by the store, I finally broke down and invested in Teavana’s most popular tea combination, Youthberry White Tea and Wild Orange Blossom Herbal Tea. And I have to say, I am happy with my purchase. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the store’s exchange policy, and returned the bit too sour Berry Kiwi Colada, for this sweet treat.

Youthberry White Tea and Wild Orange Blossom is a signature blend Teavana offers in stores. I purchased the two and tried it for myself. Photo/STEPHANIE SOKOL

Youthberry White Tea and Wild Orange Blossom is a signature blend Teavana offers in stores. I purchased the two and tried it for myself. Photo/STEPHANIE SOKOL

While the two teas are sold together as a blend, I purchased two ounces of each kind. Herbal teas usually taste best when mixed with a black, green, white or rooibos. Youthberry white tea is a great pick, and mixes well with the crisp orange flavors for a tropical treat. The tea blend is good both hot and cold, but when chilled takes on a sweeter flavor.

Orange is the main note flavor, and has the highest aroma in the tea.  The drink is very citrusy, which meshes well with the hint of berry in the white tea. Floral follows in taste. It’s not overpowering, but offers just the right amount of earthy flavor to create a great tasting beverage, that is also healthy and enjoyable.

To make Youthberry and Wild Orange Blossom Tea blend at home, add one tablespoon of each tea to your basket, and about a half to one tablespoon of sugar  to desired taste. (I usually use Teavana’s German Rock sugar, which has a hint of honey, but any kind works)

Bring the water to 175 degrees, and steep for only two minutes. With flavorful teas, steeping too long can lead to a bitterness, so keep the process short. After following these steps, let the drink cool somewhat, and poor over ice into a tall glass, to enjoy the last few weeks of summer tastefully with this refreshing and energizing beverage.

TRANSITION INTO THE NEXT SEASON WITH A FEW FALL ESSENTIALS

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

The weather is getting cooler, the wind is picking up and the days are getting shorter. Summer is on its way out—which means it is time for fall fashion.

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. Sweater weather is amazing – really, who doesn’t enjoy cuddling up in a cozy sweater, with a cup of warm spiced cider and gazing at the leaves changing shades? Transitioning from summer to autumn in style is easier than ever this year, because almost anything goes this season. A few essential, inexpensive pieces create a great wardrobe base that can be personalized with the wearer’s favorite trends.

Photo/wheretoget.it

Photo/wheretoget.it

When worn properly, leggings can be chic and sexy. Pair them with a long sweater and lace-up boots to stay warm and cozy on a cool fall afternoon. Stick to dark hues for versatility, like Vera Wang’s Kohl’s line “Simply Vera” black leggings on sale for $15.99.

A good pair of pants, whether denim or comfy cotton, is essential to any wardrobe. Find the right jeans to flatter your figure. Dark washes in jeans flatter everyone; taller people can wear bell bottoms, while skinny or straight jeans flatter those who are on the shorter side. Old Navy has men’s and women’s comfy jeans for a great price. For young women, The Diva Skinny Ankle Pant, that can be worn dressy or informal, and flatters every figure. Pac Sun also carries cool jeans for guys, in a variety of styles and colors.

There’s nothing more important to a wardrobe than good shoes. You need your feet to work, so keep them comfortable with quality footwear. A good pair of flats, whether a moccasin or embellished leather shoe—is crucial to any young woman’s clothing collection and works well with every outfit, and sometimes investing a little more in this area is advisable. Ann Klein loafers are comfy and provide good foot support, while still keeping the wearer stylish.

Both men and women can benefit from a good quality moccasin. Minnetonka moccasinsare more casual, made from comfy suede available in a variety of colors and styles. Well the shoes aren’t cheap ($30-$45), they last a long time and always give you your money’s worth in wear. Sneakers are also great shoe for everyone; get a nice dark pair for those weekends spent at the apple orchard.

A denim jacket is another necessity for fall weather. Whether you want a

Denim jackets are great for men and women, and can be found in a variety of shades, fits and washes. Photo/Esquire

Denim jackets are great for men and women, and can be found in a variety of shades, fits and washes. Photo/Esquire

dark wash, or colored denim, this item is timeless and works with a variety of looks. Layer it with a dress to add a casual vibe, or pair it with pants to add more structure to a look. Just try to avoid the “denim suit” ensemble.

Thrift stores, like Plato’s Closet or Salvation Army are a great place to find a great jean jacket at an even greater price. If you have the time, check one out, or hit up the clearance rack at your favorite department store. With coupons and savings, I found a purple Jessica Simpson jean jacket marked down to about 70 percent off. Putting in time is rewarding – there’s nothing better than finding an amazing bargain on a quality clothing item.

So as the temperature starts to grow chillier, don’t be left in the cold. These wardrobe essentials help transition, providing a great style start to a new season.

Groovy Tie-Dye Flashback Friday

Stephanie Sokol for Stylit

Tie-dye has been around for a long time. Recently making a comeback, the look has been popular around the world for a long time, and started being seen in the United States in the 1950s.

In the mid to late 60s, more people started sporting the style, standing up against the Vietnam War. The trend was a common look among attendees of concert Woodstock Music Festival in 1969.

woodstocktiedye

The festival was the first of its kind, a three-day art and music fair focused on promoting peace, love and happiness in a time of war and change. Tie-dye was warn and sold at Woodstock, in vibrant rainbow colors as well as darker shades.

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The trend provided an outlet for rebellion and freedom, worn by people labeled as “hippies” during the groovy decade.

Janis Joplin, a major performer at Woodstock and popular psychedelic rock artist from the late 60s often wore tie dye to her shows.

Janis Joplin at Woodstock no publication after December 31, 2009janisjoplin2 

Janis Joplin

Today, tie dye remains a trend. A tie dye maxi dress is reminiscent of a time of peace promotion. Red and white are more toned down, though still trendy. Accessorize with fringe and feather accessories to take the hippie style even further. Beaded sandals are down to Earth, and work well to tie the look together.

tiedyedress

Tie dye dress

Vanessa Hudgens was spotted at Coachella in a 60s style ensemble, sporting a fringy studded crop top and navy tie-dye maxi-skirt. She added extra hippie fashion with a lavender tie-dye headscarf.

vanessahudgenscoachella
Vanessa Hudgens

Elle Fanning wore a red, white and blue tie-dye maxi dress to Met Gala, with a hippie hair style to match the look.

ellefanningmetgala

Elle Fanning

Courtesy Photos.

-Stephanie Sokol

Lacey Looks

Stephanie Sokol for Stylit

StyliTips recommends lace for this spring!

The trend can be classic and vintage, or flirtatious and sexy, depending on how itis worn, but it is always feminine and fun.

1. One per look: To wear lace during the day, add one lacy material item to your outfit. A peplum top with a subtle brown lace-printed pant creates a cute and casual look.

LacePeplum2. Keep it subtle: Sometimes, less is more. For a subtle take on the trend, choose an item with lacy trim. A cute white tank and matching skirt with black lace trim makes a sophisticated statement. Glam up with a sparkling hair pin, earrings, a gold cuff and pale pointed heels.

subtlelacelook3. Stick to dark shades: Lace works best in dark hues, like black. When going out on the town, pick out a gorgeous lacy black dress for a sexy style.  Add extra appeal with a pair of peep toe heels. Complete the ensemble with a black and white clutch and adorable bow earrings.

LaceDressLook

The red carpet was filled with lacy looks at last week’s Cannes Film Festival. Lace added a sense of mystery and sophistication to the gowns.

USA-AUS ONLY Cara Delevingne attends the Opening Ceremony and Premiere of 'The Great Gatsby'

Model Cara Delevingne attended Cannes in a black lace Burberry gown. The look was sexy, and she accessorized with diamonds and red lipstick to accentuate the ensemble without drawing away from the dress.

cheryl cole lace cannes

Television personality and artist Cheryl Cole looked gorgeous on the Cannes red carpet in a lacy burgundy dress. The look was beautiful and oozed Hollywood glamour. Because of the detailing, minimal accessorizing worked well for her.

-Stephanie Sokol

Mix it up

Stephanie Sokol for Stylit

Looking for a chic way to dress up a simple summer outfit? Turn a plain tank and shorts into a more stylish ensemble by adding a blazer to the look.

blazer

Blazers are a cute and easy way to update any outfit, and are available in a variety of materials, patterns and colors. Cotton blazers are great for summer, because they are light-weight and cool, while still providing a fashionable feel.

D'usse Cognac Launch Party

Solange Knowles wears a bright yellow blazer and keeps the rest of the look neutral, yet fabulous.

Gray is a great shade, because it is very versatile.

Many celebrities have been seen recently wearing mixed blazers and shorts, because of the versatility and simplicity of the look. When the weather getswarmer, it can seem difficult to be super stylish, but this outfit works, while keeping you cool.

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Jamie Chung made her mint shorts and blue handbag the focus of the outfit.

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hilary Duff was cute and casual at Coachella, sporting an army green blazer with a white top and cut-off jean shorts.

-Stephanie Sokol

Cut it out: An update on the sophisticated classic

THE-LITTLE-BLACK-DRESS1

Stephanie Sokol for Stylit

There’s nothing like a black evening gown. It’s classy, retro and very versatile. It can be worn simply, with diamond earrings and a bracelet, or with more accessories for a playful look.

While Coco Chanel created the first “little black dress” in 1926, being the first one published in Vogue, Audrey Hepburn brought the iconic look to life.

First little black dress

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Coco Chanel little black dress

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Known for her role as Holly Go-Lightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Hepburn helped make it a wardrobe staple for women when the film was released in 1961.  In the film, Hepburn was adorned in diamond jewelry, and giving the look a feeling of decadence.

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Audrey Hepburn

Regardless of how the dress is styled, structured black gowns show sophistication. The classic look was updated with the addition of a cut-out style, which shows a little more skin for a sexier look. The trend was popular on the red carpet at Met Gala 2013.

Strappy black high-heeled pumps pair perfectly with the dress, to add height and lengthen the silhouette. Grab a black chiffon wrap, beaded clutch and sunglasses for that Tiffany’s-inspired look.

Courtesy Photo / Stylit

Courtesy Photo / Stylit

Evening gown

Since diamonds are a girl’s best friend, sparkling accessories are a must. Earrings, a bracelet and a ring add instant Hollywood glamour to the ensemble.

When wearing a black dress, it’s good to match your makeup to the look. Keep it simple and stick to black shadow for the lids; curl your lashes and add some black mascara so your eyes pop when the sunglasses come off. If you’re feeling bold, go for the red lipstick –though nude lip color is great with this look.

Actress Carey Mulligan wore a structured cut-out black gown to this year’s Met Gala. While her dress was a bit shorter, she spiced up the look and made it her own with a strappy pump and diamonded bracelet.

Courtesy Photo / Met Gala

Courtesy Photo / Met Gala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carey Mulligan at Met Gala 2013

-Stephanie Sokol