Thursday, October 19, 2017

Return Visit to Secluded Celebrations Tearoom

Yesterday eight ladies met at Secluded Celebrations Tearoom in Hartland, MI for a delicious 'high tea' meal and wonderful fellowship amongst friends.  The event was coordinated by my friend, Linda Pudlik.  

This was my second visit to Secluded Celebrations. I blogged about my first visit on July 28, 2016.  You can read that post here.

When Grit [short for Margaret] named her tearoom, she got it right because it is definitely secluded.    As you begin approaching the tearoom, she has signs by the side of the road to let you know you're headed in the right direction.

And one large sign before the house becomes visible.

The tearoom is in a year-round sun porch that Grit and her husband added to their home.  Below is the entrance to the by-reservation-only tearoom.

~ The cheery inside.  ~

Grit doesn't like to have her picture taken, so there's no photos of her to share with you, but  she was ready and waiting for our arrival.

This was my place setting.

Three black teas [steeped from loose-leaf tea] were served throughout our meal.  We began with 'Peace' by Eastern Shore Tea Company.   It was followed by Black Raven [flavored with Black Currents] by Culinary Teas, and lastly a dessert tea, Chocolate Caramel Turtle.  They were all good, but my favorite one was the Black Raven.

The meal began with a toast to friendship drinking Sparkling Cider with Pomegranates. It was accompanied by two baguettes spread with Grit's homemade Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes.  Grit said whenever she tries to change the spread to something different her guests always request the pesto.  By the way, the china underneath the baguettes was Grit's grandmother's wedding china.

Next was Squash Soup [made from three different kinds of squash] garnished with Balsamic Vinaigrette.  

A delicious salad made with Mixed Greens, sliced Pears, Gorgonzola Cheese, Sugared Pecans, Blueberries, Craisins, and dressed with homemade Honey Mustard Dressing.

Our main course was Grit's signature Spinach Pie, a Pasta Salad, a slice of Artichoke, Chicken and Onion Quiche, and an assortment of fresh fruit garnished with slivered Mint from Grit's garden.

Dessert was a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream topped with a Fruit Sauce and Fresh Fruit, and a piece of Chocolate Brownie Brittle.  Everything was delicious.  Grit charges $30 per person for a five-course meal which includes tax and gratuity. 

In between courses Linda asked each lady to stand and tell how they went about selecting outfits to wear to the tea, and what they felt their greatest accomplishment in life is.   It was an insightful time of sharing.

Every outfit of Linda's always has a fun story.  She could go to a tea party everyday for a year and not repeat outfits, jewelry, or hats.  She felt her greatest accomplishment was her success in the tea world, and sharing her passion for it with others.

Teresa drove from Napoleon, Ohio to join us.  She's very modest and not one to draw attention to herself, but she's definitely a creative and talented lady.  She collects tea-themed purses, so I always look to see what purse she's carrying.  Yesterday she had one she got at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia.

Judy said she always decides on an outfit the night before she attends an event and has it laid out, ready and waiting.  Yesterday, however, as she got ready, the outfit she selected didn't seem right, so she changed outfits a couple of times until the one she wore felt right.  She shared how she overcame deafness in one ear as a child, and went on to become the first women in Michigan to hold an executive city job in her career field.  

Barb always gets teased for wearing black because it's what she likes best.  She accessorized her black dress with beautiful autumn orange jewelry, jacket, and hat and looked lovely.  She felt her greatest accomplishment was choosing a good husband.

Louise oped for a whimsical outfit in keeping with Halloween which is right around the corner.  She felt her greatest accomplishment was not only selecting a good husband, but remaining happily married for over 50 years until he passed away.  She was also grateful for her five children.

Suzanne selected an outfit in keeping with Halloween too - although she brought a non-Halloween hat in the car in case she changed her mind. She felt her greatest accomplishment was a successful career with the phone company, and raising her two daughters to have successful careers.

Sweet little Joanie is 86 years young and still leads a very active life.  She said her color choice for the outfits she wears is usually beige.  She felt her greatest accomplishment was getting her RN degree after her husband died in an automobile accident at a very young age, and left her with young children to raise.  

I didn't take a selfie when it was my turn. ;-)   The best thing I ever did in life was deciding to follow Christ and give Him first place my life. The accomplishment was God's when He sent His Son to redeem/save me from my sins.  I'm definitely not wearing a halo, because I've had my share of wrong choices and deeds, but God always forgives when I seek His forgiveness. Anything good that I have done is because of the abilities and blessing He's given me, and I'm sure the other ladies feel that way too.  

Thank you Linda and Grit for a great afternoon!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mommy and Me

If you're friends with me on Facebook, you've already seen what I'm sharing today. 

I recently read a post on Facebook by Good Housekeeping that listed 40 Things Every Mom and Daughter Should Do Together at Least Once.  #28 on the list was 'Plan a photoshoot for just the two of you.  Hire a photographer to capture your relationship in the moment.'

I loved the idea and asked my daughter, Lori, what she thought of it.  We have lots of candid photos of us together over the years, but none by a photographer.  Since this is my 70th year and her 50th, we agreed now would be a good time to do it.

At the same time we were discussing it, I received an e-mail from JC Penney Portrait Studio telling me they had a 40% sale in progress, so I called and made an appointment for last Friday evening.  The sales associate wanted to know if the picture was for any special occasion and I said no, just my grown daughter and me wanting to have our picture taken together.  With a giggle she said, "I'm going to enter the setting as a 'Mommy and Me'." 

The pictures I'm posting have the JC Penney 'watermark' which the associate said allows me to post them on the Internet.  I pick up the photographs this Thursday.

Below are the poses we selected.  Two different backdrops were used.

I feel so blessed to have a wonderful daughter!

I needed an updated profile picture, so I had a photo taken by myself [my old one was from 2009!].  Lori opted not to have a photo taken by herself.

It was a fun experience and I highly recommend it for all mothers and daughters. Afterwards we went out to dinner together.  Studio portraits are becoming a thing of the past with iphones that take such good pictures, but professional lighting and backdrops are usually missing. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Oliver T's Market

A friend recently told me about a unique specialty food and beverage store in Grand Blanc, MI called Oliver T's Market.  One Saturday a month [eight months of the year] they host an Afternoon Tea [which is really a high tea] at 12:00 noon and 2:00 p.m.  The teas are $22 including tax and tip.  Grand Blanc is about 56 miles north of where I live, so it's a doable drive.  My girlfriend, Linda, was up for the ride, so off we went last Saturday.  We attended the 2:00 p.m. seating since the 12:00 o'clock seating was sold out.  

It was windy and poured down rain all day, so a tea outing was a welcomed diversion.  Below is Oliver T's Art Deco style building.

They have a separate tasting room for wine and beer tastings, so that's where their teas are held. 

The cozy room accommodates about 20 comfortably.  There were 19 attendees [10 tables] at the 2:00 p.m. seating.  There's no program, only a delicious and substantial high tea meal.  They don't offer loose-leaf teas, but carry a huge selection of quality tea bags.  For Saturday's Halloween Tea each table had a selection of Twinings teas to choose from.

I began with Mixed Berry [a black tea], and the first item we were served to go with our tea was a Pumpkin Scone.  A teapot of hot water was placed on each table and refilled when necessary.  Throughout the meal I also drank Lady Grey and Lemon Twist tea.

One of the owner's wives [it's a family run business] came around to take our order.

I ordered Butternut Squash Soup.  It was delicious!

It was followed by a Chicken Crepe, and a Mixed Greens Salad with Artichokes and Mandarin Oranges with an Orange Vinaigrette Dressing. 

Linda with another family member of the business.

Dessert was a large Pumpkin Cupcake with Italian Buttercream Frosting.

A good time was had by all.

The certificate below shows the Red Hatters have found Oliver T's!

After the tea, we browsed the large store.  There's a gourmet deli section, bakery section, imported chocolates, gourmet coffees, wines, and almost every other kind of specialty food and beverages you can imagine.  A large section was devoted to tea and tea equipage, but at this point no loose-leaf tea.  I saw Bigelow Teas, Stash Teas, Mighty Leaf Teas, Twinings Teas, and a huge selection of Republic of Tea Teas, but surprisingly no Harney & Son's Teas.

It was fun to browse the store.

We headed back home with full tummies, and in agreement that it was an enjoyable afternoon.  

Monday, October 9, 2017

Happy Columbus Day

As we know, Columbus Day is celebrated as a state and federal holiday across the United States.  It began in 1792 as an Italian-American heritage celebration in New York, since Columbus was an Italian-born explorer.  The first state-wide celebration was held in Colorado in 1907.  The day was declared a federal holiday in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt commemorating Columbus' landing in the New World on October 12, 1492.  Since 1971, it has been celebrated on the second Monday in October.

Tis the day to bring out my Fitz and Floyd "Figures from History" teapot bearing the explorer's image - well, sort of!  ;-)

While Columbus found no tea to take back to Spain from his first voyage, he did return with allspice, vanilla, and red peppers.

A quick search for vanilla tea brought up blends from Harney & Son's and other tea purveyors.

Republic of Tea has Caramel Vanilla Cuppa Cake tea - a black tea with the flavors of old-fashioned Southern yellow cake with homemade caramel vanilla frosting.  It was inspired by the caramel cake in the movie, "The Help".  Doesn't it sound good?

The only accessible vanilla tea for me today is Bigelow's French Vanilla, which is quite good.

What's in your cup as you celebrate Christopher Columbus Day?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Purple Door Tearoom and Shirley Temple

It's a rainy, uneventful, fallish day in Southeastern Michigan with a temperature of 60 degrees, while the TV weather channel is predicting that tropical storm Nate could strengthen into a hurricane over the weekend causing New Orleans to brace for a direct hit.  What a horrendous hurricane season this has been!  Prayers for those living on the Gulf Coast.

It's been a good day to stay in, sip tea, and work on an upcoming Shirley Temple presentation scheduled for October 27, 2017 at the Purple Door tearoom in Ferndale. I blogged about visiting the tearoom on October 2, 2014, just a little over three years ago.  You can view that post here.

My friend, Linda, has returned to the tearoom several times since 2014, and has booked the entire tearoom for October 27th.  

I did a Shirley Temple presentation last May for the residents at the assisted living facility, but I rarely do the same presentation twice without tweaking it.  So today I'm sitting at my desk re-reading Shirley's autobiography, and typing a revised script.

I'll be sure to blog about the October 27th tea and tell you all about it.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Women of the Bible - Delilah

My Bible study group took the month of September off, but we resumed today studying Delilah.  She's not an inspirational Bible character - as a matter of fact she, like some of the other women we've studied, are considered 'bad girls' of the Bible. She betrayed her husband for wealth, but there were lessons to learn from her.  God's Word truly is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.  

I like what Eleanor Roosevelt once said:  "Learn from the mistakes of others.  You can't live long enough to make them all yourself."

Following Bible study was our light lunch - Savory Cornmeal Cheddar Scones with Corn Chowder [garnished with bacon bits].  The tea was the Southern Belle Signature Blend [Ceylon Peaches and Cream with a touch of Cinnamon] that was in the gift bags for the tour participants.

Dessert was Chocolate Applesauce Cake with Caramel Frosting and a dollop of Vanilla Ice Cream.  This cake is unique in that it's an eggless batter, yet very moist.

While in the Christmas Tree Shops yesterday, I saw a bottle of Sparkling Pumpkin Spice by R.W. Knudsen, which sounded good for this time of the year, so I bought a bottle for us to enjoy along with our hot tea today.

I also went in Hobby Lobby while I was out yesterday, and bought the three vintage-looking Halloween figurines.  They were only $4.99 each. I love Hobby Lobby and the Christmas Tree Shops.  Do you have them near you?

Next month we'll study Naomi and Ruth - definitely inspirational women in the Bible.