Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It's a Small [Tea] World After All!

When I took Dawnya Sasse's Start a Tea Business online course in 2003, one of the teas we sampled during the course was SerendipiTea's Persian Nectar - a fair trade certified, organic Indian black tea and organic peach.  My taste buds thought it was divine, and I've ordered it since. 

The company, located in Manhasset, New York, was founded by Tomislav Podreka and Linda Villano in 1975.  After Tomislav's death in 2004, Linda kept the business going.  I have their book, A Guide to the Varieties, Origins, and Rituals of Tea, and consider it a great addition to my tea library.

Now fast-forward ten years... my middle son, who is a minister, recently made a trip to Cordova, Alaska, April 11-18th, to speak at special services, and to plan a Work & Witness trip this coming July with 20 parishioners from our church.   They will make improvements to the church building in Cordova, and conduct a children's Bible school while there.

The City of Cordova, which was formed in 1909,  is situated in the southeastern end of Prince William Sound, in the Gulf of Alaska.  It lies 52 air miles southeast of Valdez, and 150 miles southeast of Anchorage.  

It has 61.4 square miles of land, and is only accessible by aircraft or boat as there are no roads to connect the town to any other town.  

Cordova has a population of 2,316 residents, and commercial fishing is their main industry. There are six churches in the small city.  The photo below is the church of our affiliation.

In this remote city with no shopping malls, my son found a shop called SerendipiTea.  The Cordova Chamber of Commerce lists it as a Gift Shop, but they sell tea [with tastings and samplings], as well as other merchandise.

I'll have to train my son to come home with photographs when he finds a tea shop!  ;-)  It was a futile online search to obtain a photo of the shop, so I'll just have to wait until he returns in July to get one.  But he did come home bearing gifts from SerendipiTea.

My interest was piqued by the name of the shop, and I HAD to know if it was affiliated with SerendipiTea in New York.  The only way to find out was to call the business in New York  and ask.  Sure enough, they are the namesake for the shop in Cordova, which stocks their teas.  I'm impressed that a small, remote city has a shop that carries quality teas.  Those tea loving residents definitely have their priorities right, don't they?  ;-)

Now I'm off to make myself a cup of Persian Nectar tea!

Monday, April 29, 2013

More J.L. Hudson Department Store Memorabilia

In June, I will be speaking about the J.L. Hudson Department Store at a ladies' tea, so I've been keeping my eyes open for memorabilia to add to my collection.  You may recall, I did a four-part series on the famous department store in March 2012.  The first post in the series can be seen here.

I thought I'd share my newest memorabilia in today's post.  I already had a July 1946 Hudson's Mezzanine Tea Room menu, thanks to Angela at Tea With Friends blog, but I recently acquired another one that's dated April 29, 1942, when a pot of tea was .15 cents!  I love the JLH initialized logo on the back of the menu cover.

The Mezzanine Tea Room opened in 1928 and was converted to a buffet in 1962.


[inside - click on to enlarge]

I acquired a second Hudson's trade card.   It's not dated, but based on the items listed on the reverse side, it was during the early days of the store, since they weren't yet selling women's ready-made clothing.



I also obtained a copy of the Sunday, October 25, 1998 Detroit News/Free Press newspaper that covered the store's implosion on October 24th, 1998 at 5:47 p.m.

The article stated the mammoth 25-story structure wobbled like a drunk, then collapsed into a 60-foot-high pile of rubble. 

Lastly, a piece of brick that was retrieved from the rubble.  An acquaintance whose husband worked at Hudson's gave it to me.

The store once ranked as #2 of the nation's three largest department stores in the 1960's, both in size and sales volume, and boasted the world's largest basement budget store.  The first phase of the store's building took place in 1891.

Friday, April 26, 2013

An Evening with Paula Deen

Last night my girlfriend and I made our 20 mile drive into the City of Detroit to see Paula Deen's first appearance in the metro-Detroit area.  Her performance was at the Motor-City Casino Hotel.   Yesterday was a chilly [high 40's], overcast day, with a light, late afternoon rain, but when we left home at 5:30 p.m., the rain had subsided, and the clouds began to dissipate, and the temperature climbed to 52 degrees.  It was a pleasant drive into the city. Below is a photo of  Motor-City Casino.

We allowed ourselves plenty of travel time.  The doors of the Sound Board live-performance theater, where Paula was appearing, didn't open until 7:00 p.m.

My girlfriend and I found a couple of chairs to sit while we waited for the doors to open.  As I glanced at a nearby wall I noticed two pictures featuring tea, so, of course, I had to photograph them - a Deco tea picture and a Retro tea picture.

A promo photo of Paula near the Sound Board theater.

It was a sell-out performance in the 1,500 seat theater, and security was tight - similar to an airport, with walk through metal detectors and purse and bag inspections.  It was a comfort knowing precautions were taken for our safety, but sad that the world we live in today requires such measures.  The photo below was taken after we had gone through security, and just before entering the theater.

Our tickets were front row balcony seats.  We were able to see quite well, but there were also large viewing screens positioned around the theater.  The photo below of Paula was shown on stage as we waited for the show to start.  Once the show began no photos were allowed.  As you can see by the logo in the photos, the event was put on by St. John Providence Health System.

At each seat was a guest gift bag containing the May/June 2013 issue of Cooking with Paula magazine,  St. John/Providence literature, and a raffle ticket to be filled out and returned for a drawing at the beginning of the show.  The raffle ticket drawings were for three "tasters" who sat on stage and sampled the foods prepared during the show.  There was also a drawing for a weekend stay at the Motor City Casino Hotel, plus a ticket for An Evening with Diana Ross at the Sound Board theater this coming August.  Neither my ticket, nor my girlfriend's  were drawn.

Paula's husband, Michael, accompanied her.  The first part of the show was interview style with Janice Crosby, Corporate Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the hospital.  She began by asking Paula how she and Michael met.   As everyone knows, Paula is a hoot, and she kept the audience laughing as she shared her walk down memory lane with Michael. Michael injected his humorous comments throughout the evening too, and it was evident he is truly her help mate. 

The stage was set-up with three cooking stations.  At the left station was Dr. Patricia Maryland, President and CEO of St. John Providence Health System.  The middle station was Paula and Michael - although Michael did all of the food preparations while Paula talked.  At the right station was Leslie Murphy, Health System Board Chairwoman.

[Photo Courtesy of St. John Providence  Website]

The two recipes prepared on stage were Beer in the Rear Chicken [a whole chicken placed on a can filled with beer and slow roasted in the oven], and Sweet Potato Chips with honey roasted chopped peanuts.  Paula, who is a lover of potatoes, said she has weaned her and Michael off white potatoes and replaced them with healthier sweet potatoes.  

Since Paula was diagnosed with diabetes in 2008, she has lost 40 lbs. and wants to lose another 15.  Michael has lost 60 lbs. and is striving to lose 40 more. Weight loss has been a joint endeavor - actually a family affair, since her two sons have lost weight too.

Paula talked about her diabetes, stating that she was in denial the first year, and experienced the gamut of emotions from anger to fear.  She has accepted the disease now, however, and complies with diet and medication to live a healthy lifestyle.

The last segment of the show was questions from the audience about a variety of topics.  One woman brought a letter her little boy had written to Paula, and Paula had her come up on stage to have their picture taken together, with Paula holding the little boy's letter.  She truly is a gracious Southern lady!

It was a fun evening with the show concluding around 9:30 p.m.  Below is a photo of the casino in night lights.

I searched the Internet looking for a photo of Paula drinking hot tea [being from the south she's an iced tea gal].  I found this photo, courtesy of Prevention Magazine.

The St. John Providence website has a photo and caption that I couldn't resist sharing.

"Drink more green tea.  It's antioxidant-rich, lowers heart disease risk, and can even help you find those missing keys!"

Thank you St. John Providence Health System for a very enjoyable evening with Paula Deen and Michael Groover!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Another "Official" Collection

If you read my post on April 19th, you'll remember that I shared the red transferware demitasse cup that fellow blogger, Nancy, of Two Cottages and Tea sent me. 

Last Saturday my girlfriend and I stopped at an antique mall in Livonia, MI where we both found treasures.

Not only did I purchase the six red water goblets that I blogged about yesterday, but I also found another red transferware demitasse cup.  It's made in England by Copeland, and I got it for $6.00!  It's marked Spode's Tower.

Yesterday, the red transferware demitasse cup that I got on E-bay also arrived in the mail.  

I now have three red transferware demitasse cups, so it's an "official" collection!  Three down and five more to go! ;-)  They will be perfect for lemon curd, jam or clotted cream when I use my red transferware dishes at tea time!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Girls' Night Out

Eight high school girlfriends and I meet once a month for dinner.  Since I moved away from the community where they still live, I drive down to join them.  With my recent surgery, they decided to drive up to where I live, and take me out to dinner at a restaurant of my choosing. My recovery has been good, and I love cooking and having company, so I decided the "restaurant" would be my house instead of going out.

I chose an Italian menu with an antipasto salad, Italian bread, baked lasagna, green beans, and a cannoli cake for dessert.   I set my table with the dishware I always use for Italian dinners.  I had four of the red water goblets already, and found six more that were identical last Saturday when I was "antiquing."  Since they coordinated perfectly, they became a part of the tablescape.  Don't you love it when a plan comes together? ;-)

I had never made a cannoli cake before, but was quite pleased with the Taste of Home recipe I tried.

There were six of us this month as two were out-of-town, and the other couldn't make it.  We spent an enjoyable evening sitting around the table talking, reminiscing, and laughing for over three hours.  It's always a fun time when we get together.

Below is a photo of us.  The gal standing next to me [second from right] was a bridesmaid in my wedding.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pure Leaf Tea

Do you drink Ready-to-Drink [RTD] teas?  They are one of tea's fasting growing market segments because of convenience.

Pure Leaf, RTD tea by Lipton, is a sponsor for Food Network's Chopped program.  A few Sunday nights ago on Chopped there was a commercial for Pure Leaf, where a bottle was actually included in "Open Your Basket" for a dessert preparation.

[Internet photo of Chopped Host, Ted Allen]

[Photos courtesy of Pure Leaf's Facebook page]

I don't typically drink RTD teas, but the TV commercial piqued my interest, so I went on-line to see where I could find it in my area.   Target came up in the search, and sure enough when I visited the store I found six packs of Pure Leaf Lemon flavor, in stock.

My hubby and I both liked it very much.  Pure Leaf, made from fresh brewed tea, is available in nine flavors:  Unsweetened Tea, Sweet Tea, Extra Sweet Tea, Lemon Tea, Green Tea with Honey, Peach Tea, Raspberry Tea, Diet Lemon, and Diet Peach.

If you haven't tried it, look for it in your area and give it a try.  I think you'll like it!

Monday, April 22, 2013

TranquiliTea's Harney & Son's Tea Affair

 Recently I received an E-mail from a friend telling me about a tea event at 

It was the 2nd Annual Harney & Sons Tea Affair 
A tasting event and opportunity to meet Harney rep. Howard Davis
To be held Saturday, April 20th from 11 am to 4 pm

TranquiliTea  is a tea shoppe in Plymouth, MI.   I visited the shoppe at its former  location, but I had never been to the present location.  It sounded like a fun outing, so my friend and I drove over last Saturday.  

By just looking in the front window, we knew we were in for a tealightful visit!  

The store sells lots of quality loose-leaf tea, as well tea sachets.  Harney & Sons are a big part of their inventory, but there are teas from other sources as well.

[Internet photo]

They also carry a nice supply of teapots, teacups/mugs, and assorted tea equipage.

[Internet photo]

The shoppe is a feast for a tea lover's eyes from the moment of entry, because aside from  tea and tea equipage, they carry tea jewelry, linen tea towels, tea cozies, tea-themed cards and calendars, tea books and magazines, and more.  If you live in the area, you'll just have to stop by and take a look for yourself!

It was a pleasure to meet Pat and Colleen Cannon, owners of the shoppe.  Below is Colleen and me.

It was fun tasting a few Harney Teas that I hadn't tasted before, and I particularly liked the blueberry green tea.

I chatted with Harney representative, Mr. Howard Davis.

And the following merchandise came home with me from TranquiliTea.  A book by Sandy Clough with tea theme ideas, recipes, and more.

Two linen tea towels.

The May/June issue of Tea Time magazine.

And a teapot pin.

TranquiliTea is a wonderful shoppe, and I know I will be returning again in the future.   In addition to their website, they're also on Facebook, so check them out!

Afterwards we went to Sweet Afton tea room, but since it was lunch time and we didn't have reservations, the tables were filled and we couldn't get in.   We ended up eating at McDonalds.  

We drove to two antique malls in the nearby city of Livonia, and had more fun shopping.  I will show you what I purchased in another post.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Wonderful Postal Delivery

Isn't it fun to receive a package in the mail?  I experienced that fun yesterday when I opened my front door and found a package sitting by the doorstep.

One of the nicest highlights that comes from blogging is the friendships that are formed. Fellow blogger and tea lover, Nancy, of Two Cottages And Tea has become one of those friends.  We're both Michigan residents, but Nancy is from the upper peninsula and I live in the lower peninsula.

We had hoped to meet in person when Nancy was recently passing through the lower peninsula on her way home from Florida, but circumstances prevented it.  So now we're hoping to meet sometime this summer - over tea, of course!

The package the postman delivered was from Nancy, and it was so nice I just had to share it. When the brown paper was removed, a lovely box was revealed.

Inside the box were several wonderful gifts.  First, a red transferware demitasse cup from England.  Nancy said she often uses demi cups for lemon curd, jam, or clotted cream at her teas.  What a great  idea, and I told Nancy she gets the credit for starting me on another collection. I went on E-bay and ordered a second one!  They will be perfect for tea time with the "Grands" too!

Next was an adorable book in the Holly Pond Hill series, "You Put a Smile in My Heart," illustrated by Susan Wheeler.  I really like the Holly Pond Hill tea-themed cards that Susan Wheeler illustrates, so I knew I would enjoy the book.  It is filled with lovely poems and quotes such as:  "Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot help but keep it for themselves." ~ Sir James Barrie

Some cute illustrations...

I wonder if Susan was inspired by Beatrix Potter??

Also in the box was a Punch Studio card.  Don't you love their cards?  And a tin of Strawberry-Kiwi tisane from Hanna's Tea Time, in Ishpeming, MI.  My caffeine intake has recently been restricted, so the tisane is perfect!

The complete package.

I made myself a mug of the tisane to sip while I was typing this post.  It's delicious!  Thank you so much for your thoughtful gifts, Nancy.  You made my day!