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  • Melissa Orquiza

5 Min: Chai Pumpkin Turmeric Latte, Facing Your Fears, The Santa Ana Winds, Star Wars, Dylan & Adele

Chai Pumpkin Turmeric Latte Slidehow. It's fall and sunshine in a cup.

Chai Pumpkin Turmeric Latte, Facing Your Fears, The Santa Ana Winds, Star Wars, Dylan & Adele

Originally Published Oct. 28, 2020

We all need our blankie. I have a stuffed polar bear with one eye, threadbare and grey, whom I’ve had since childhood. It’s been everywhere and she now lives in my closet- sheltered, protected, and loved. I’m slightly horrified at myself for being too sentimental to give her away but grateful I have a tangible piece of my childhood that, although physically mangled, is a symbol of my heart as it grew to accept love, defeat, success, failure, and joy.

Last year, at about this time, we escaped a fire that threatened to engulf our home. (Our backyard was toast but our home survived thanks to a brave neighbor that ran into our yard and snuffed it out… with our garden hoses! We are so grateful.) In our neighborhood, there are homes, a year later, still in the process of rebuilding. I never posted pictures or talked about it much because like most difficult things, I was mindful that it can affect someone else negatively, especially if they’re still going through it. (If you’re curious as to what happened last year, here’s a post I wrote after I processed the incident. The noodles are a hug in a bowl. It was that or lasagna.)

A few nights ago, LA county instituted a red flag warning and the 50-70 mph Santa Ana winds kicked up again. My fear was agonizing. Yesterday morning, I did everything I could to try and shake it off. I tried talking about it with my husband, holding my daughter (that worked but she could tell my mind was in mama bear mode), and having a small bite to eat with my drug of choice, caffeine. Nothing worked but this exception (and voting).

In the midst of the howling wind, the dust swirling and stinging into my eyes, the trees yielding, looking like they’re about to break, I ran into the chaos with a chai pumpkin latte in my hand. First off, running into my biggest fear, the howling wind (the sound I heard for HOURS leading up to being evacuated and when we came back days and nights later), forced me to rethink the good and bad and to try to live in the present. (I know. So woo- woo but how else can you think if the wind keeps whipping at your face, lashing your hair?)

The latte… well, it is alarmingly significant in my history. I loved chai lattes so much I was minorly addicted for years. Whenever I needed a warm hug or blanket (and couldn’t get to one), I ordered a soy or almond milk chai latte. When I was in Edinburgh and trying to adjust to the drizzly weather (and the fact people got a kick at my American accent in comparison to how I looked?) I would order a chai latte. Not sure what decision to make? Chai latte and a walk. Not sure what to order when running out of time? Chai latte. Don’t want to talk to people while trying to sort your life? Headphones, music, and a chai latte.

Here’s what the chai latte, my adult blankie, helped me understand: the realization that most things in life that are worth doing or having, can be incredibly difficult and oftentimes what I think I want, isn’t truly what my heart wants and vice versa. What are my priorities or better yet, how do I manage my fear? Life constantly shifts. Are my priorities the same as in comparison to before? Will they be roughly the same in the future? Am I being true to my value system or going along with something that truly makes me uncomfortable? (Wait.. isn’t that what entrepreneurs deal with on a daily basis?)

17 Inspiring Quotes to Help You Face Your Fears

The drink, the walk, the simultaneous freedom and tangible comfort in my right hand, made the unknown, less scary, and the difficult, ripe with opportunities. (I’m pretty patient and stubborn. Double edged sword.) Although my mind was telling me to run away from the sights and sounds that happened during the trauma, my body was telling me to face it, see how it reacts, sit with it, and then try to understand or manage it. Ironically, running into the face of this fear (the howling wind through the trees) helped make it go away. I felt more anxious inside the house instead of outside, standing and walking (no inaction here!) against the unpredictable wind.

Since I’m a mom, I’ll say this in the kindest way possible. In case you feel something is unmanageable, please remember that you’re human and oftentimes, the only way past is through (with a blankie). I hope my own adventures with fear will help you in any way or make you laugh! Remember... a warm drink fixes EVERYTHING. I hope this makes you smile and makes your day a bit easier. Thanks for reading! Xo, Melissa

I love Star Wars so much I had Star Wars pancake molds on our wedding registry. Tie fighter or Millennium Falcon pancakes, anyone?

Fear is the Path to the Dark Side

Because I deal with difficult times usually in this order: gravity, thought, plan of action, bewilderment, joy (omg! I survived!), and (finally) humor. OMG! We could’ve died!

Santa Ana Winds - feat. Eric Michael Roy - "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

I honestly don’t remember the first time I heard this. It’s as if it’s been forever in my bones. (Yes. I usually remember the details the first time I hear a significant piece of music… including what you wore or what we ate. Amazing how music is so visceral). Here’s to finding your shelter and thriving in spite of the weather.

Bob Dylan- Shelter from the Storm "live '76"

Inaction renders me soulless. (Don’t let it get you!) Because, sometimes the only way out, is through. (Thank you, Under Armour!)

Adele - Set Fire To The Rain (Live at The Royal Albert Hall)

Chai Pumpkin Turmeric Oat Milk Latte

(Pretentious yet comforting at the same time. Kind of like classical music.)

Improvised by moi. Please make this your own. Maple syrup or more cardamom?


Chai Tea

Pumpkin Butter

Oat Milk (or whatever milk you want use)

Turmeric (to color)

Cardamom (because I like extra cardamom with my chai)

Cinnamon (because it’s fun)


  1. Brew the Chai Tea. (I have packets of Chai Tea given to me by my mother in law. She must have known it’s my blankie without me telling her.)

  2. Heat about 1 to 1 1/2 cups oat milk in microwave. (I did about 2 minutes.)

  3. Add the warm oat milk to French press. Add cardamom and cinnamon. Color with turmeric. (This is the fun part. Just add and pump the French press until you get the yellow color you like. Extra crazy day, extra technicolor for me!)

  4. Add a dollop of pumpkin butter to the steeped chai tea. Top the chai tea with the turmeric foam. (Easy peasy! Enjoy your sunshine filled cup!)

Thanks for reading! I hope this brings some light and fun into your day (or makes any difficult situation more manageable.) If you have any comments or something you’d like me to delve into, please feel free to contact me. Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

#chaipumpkinturmericlatte, #facingyourfears,#santaanawinds,#starwars, @yoda, @bobdylan, @adele,#technicolordrinksO

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