Friday, July 31, 2015

A New Book

My girlfriend's daughter, Kimberly Franks, has written a fiction book that will soon be in the book stores, and I want to help spread the word about her exciting accomplishment.

Synopsis:  Just outside the city of Detroit in 1839, a young lady inherits her grand family estate. Built by her eccentric grandfather, rumor has it that the Canterbury family treasure is hidden somewhere on the estate.  But that's just a rumor - isn't it?

Should the lovely Miss Ruby Canterbury trust her new employee, the handsome and mysterious Scotsman, Charles Gerard, who found the first clue to the cache?  After all, she did hire him straight out of the local jailhouse.  Or should she put her trust in her house guest, the banker Henri LeFevre?  Since both men arrived at the cottage, someone has been listening at doors and searching through drawers.

Events soon turn dangerous as Charles and Ruby decipher clues, which lead them down hidden stairwells, escape tunnels, and ultimately to an affection for each other that could change the course of both of their lives.  Amid happy spring festivals, surprise parties, and horse races, danger presents itself at every turn as Ruby learns how to be the mistress of her lands, and attempts to uncover her family's hidden fortune.

The book contains a little history, mystery and romance all in one.  While not a book about tea, tea is mentioned within its pages.

220 pages - $17.99 paperback

Several options are available for obtaining the book:  It's listed on Amazon and Barnes & Noble web sites.  If your local bookstores doesn't have the book, they can order it for you.  Or you can order it directly from the publishing company, as I did yesterday.  The publisher's web site is:   Search by book title, or author's name.   

Congratulations, Kim!  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Antique Shops in Romeo, MI

Yesterday was a 'hodge-podge' day.  My hubby likes Chinese food, so we usually eat lunch at a local Chinese restaurant once a week, on varying days. Yesterday was the day for this week's visit. We're very predictable, each ordering the same thing every visit. The waitresses have our orders memorized, and don't even write them down anymore - Sweet and Sour Chicken combination for Jerry, and a Shrimp Subgum combo for me, with Wonton Soup and hot Oolong tea.  Do you like Chinese food?

After lunch Jerry headed back home to putter around in his shop, while I decided to drive to Romeo, a quaint village 22 miles north of where I live.  I've blogged about Romeo before, but's it's been awhile since I was there.  My girlfriend told me one of the antique stores was having a going out of business sale, so I decided to check it out.

On the way, I passed a Ct. bearing my name. Since it's not a real common name, I couldn't resist taking a picture.  ;-)

My first stop was Connely's Creations, located in a large Victorian house.  I've purchased many things for my home at this shop over the years.  More recently they focus almost exclusively on holiday decor.  I bought my Tom Hegg Cup of Christmas Tea china there when it was still available retail.

Even though they were in the midst of a Christmas in July sale, nothing called my name, but I enjoyed looking.  Fall/Thanksgiving display [L], and 4th of July [R]

~ Halloween and Easter ~

~ Christmas and Valentine's Day ~

~ St. Patrick's Day ~

Just down the street is Matters of Taste Antiques & Gift Shoppe.  It's the store that's going out of business.  

When my mother passed away last August, the owner purchased some of her antiques. I saw two of them in the shoppe yesterday.  I purchased my Russian Samovar there last year  too. The owner said she's been in business at that location for 25 years, but the rent was raised so high she can no longer afford to stay there.  For local readers, everything is 25% off and some items are 50% off.  She will be there until the end of September.  I promised I'd help spread the word.

Across the street were two more antique shops.  One is located in an old bank, and the other is Kane's Town Hall Antiques.

I asked permission to take photos inside the bank because it's so unique.

Antiques inside the vault! 

Let it go on record that I was in four antique stores, and only purchased one $6 commemorative plate of JFK and Jackie Kennedy.  I will use it the next time I speak about Jackie.

I wasn't done looking around Romeo, but the sky became dark and it was thundering, so I decided I better get back home.  There's some quaint shops at Romeo's Frontier Town, but they'll have to wait for my next visit.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Grandmother of the Bride Outfit

I've been so busy this spring/summer with traveling, speaking presentations, and the living room renovation project that I got off to a very slow start in shopping for my outfit for Tiffany's wedding. As grandmother, the impetus is a little more laid back than when I was mother of the bride.

Knowing I had to get moving, I pushed myself out the door last Saturday in the direction of the mall with a definite purpose and mission.  Fortunately, I found an outfit I liked suitable for a 'mature' woman, and it's a petite so no alterations are needed. Hooray!

Since none of you will be at the wedding, here's a peek!  The mauve colored under dress has a gray sequined lace overlay.  I'm not a glitzy person, so the sequins aren't gaudy.  To me it met the criteria ascribed to Jackie Kennedy's clothing - 'simple elegance' - minus a haute couture designer label, and a much more affordable price tag! ;-)  Amazingly, Jackie's 1947 Debutante of the Year tulle gown was a $59 off-the-rack, department store purchase, and dubbed a 'designer's dream.' She made it look like a million bucks. [The 1947 price tag of $59 wasn't exactly cheap though. The amount is equivalent to $719 in today's economy.] But back to the grandmother of the bride...  ;-)

The tea length hemline is scalloped to match the scalloped edging on the jacket.

~ Silver shoes and purse to match ~

I'll probably be the only lady there wearing gloves, but it's an appropriate occasion to wear them, so I went for it.

I didn't, however, want to be the only lady in attendance wearing a hat, so I opted for a small clip fascinator.

So now you know what Tiffany's nana will be wearing on August 14th.  The clock is ticking, and the wedding will be here before we know it.  You can be sure there'll be a blog post about it!  Grandma's have bragging rights! ;-)  I told a girlfriend, "Just think, next year at this time I could possibly be a great-grandmother."  Yikes! How can that be?  ;-)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tea Tasting at The Rendezvous with Tea

Yesterday I met some friends at The Rendezvous with Tea for a tea tasting.  I was there five times in 2014 [and blogged about those visits], but this was my first time to return in 2015. Naszreen, the owner, had a tasting in May, but it was while I was in England.  Every tea tasting has been a delightful experience, but yesterday's exceeded them all.  

I arrived a few minutes early so looked around the shop and took some photos.  Pictured below is the retail area at the front of the shop.

Naszreen's son, Kareem, has been in the shop assisting his mom during previous visits, but today was the first time her daughter, Sabrinne, was there.  They allowed me to take a photo them.

Naszreen was born in Sri Lanka, and recently returned from a visit with her daughter.  She brought back Noritake porcelain elephants [pictured below] to put loose tea in for gift giving. What a unique idea.  I've never seen them before, so one came home with me.

The table was set up at the back of the shop for the tea tasting.  There were seven participants - including a young man, Brian, who is an avid tea connoisseur.  It was so nice to see a young man enjoying tea.  He's a MSU grad, and said many of his peers are tea drinkers too.

*  We began with three different grades of Lover's Leap black tea that Naszreen brought back from the Pedro Tea Plantation in Sri Lanka.  It was freshly processed.   I apologize that I was so into the tasting that I forgot to take pictures of the individual teas.

Lover's Leap is a very special single-estate leaf.  It gets its name from the legend that two lover's [a prince and his damsel] leapt off the precipice to their death because the King wouldn't allow his son to wed the maiden from another castle.  To this day, every drop of water that cascades down the rocks is a eulogy to their undying love.

[1] Orange Pekoe A grade [OPA] - Leaves were longer, and the liquor was light brown in appearance.  It had a slight vegetal taste which is unusual for a black tea, but Naszreen said that's because it was so fresh and hadn't been sitting long.  It was the mildest in taste of the three grades - the larger the leaf, the milder the flavor.
[2]  Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe [FBOP] - A little stronger than the Orange Pekoe A grade.
[3] Broken Orange Pekoe [BOP] - Strongest of the three - robust. A splash a milk might have helped give it a smoother taste.

* Royal Wedding Tea blended to celebrate the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate.  It was a blend of African, Indian, and Chinese black teas flavored with bergamot, vanilla, rose petals, and natural flavors.  

The rose is the national flower of England, and dates from the reign of Henry VII who introduced the Tudor rose, combining a red rose, representing the House of Lancaster, and a white rose representing the House of York, as a symbol of unity after the English civil wars of the 15th century, which came to be called the Wars of Roses.

Light floral smell because of the rose petals.  Mild floral and vanilla taste.  Very smooth, and no aftertaste.

* Ginseng Oolong - light green in color, and lovely taste.

* Green Genmaicha - Japanese Sencha with fire-roasted rice.  Very delicate taste, with the flavor of the roasted rice coming through nicely.

* White Ginger Orange Peach - the dry leaf smelled wonderful, and it had a lovely aroma after steeping.  The taste was delicious.  This was my favorite of all the teas, and I purchased 50 grams.

* Black Superkiwimelonicious - It sounds like a song from Mary Poppins, ;-) but means kiwi is super delicious - and it was!   The word melon is included because an early marketing name for kiwi was 'melonettes'.   

* 1600 Pennsylvania - Red, White and Blue.  Naszreen had this tea blended specifically for her shop.  It is Pai Mu Tan white tea with cherry, rose, strawberry and raspberry for the red, and blueberry and blue mallow for the blue.  The dry leaf had a wonderful aroma.  It was served cold, and was very good.  I bought 25 grams.  This tea would have been perfect for my Jackie Kennedy Onassis presentation.

Photo before 1600 Pennsylvania was added to the cup.  The star is frozen pureed raspberries.

Naszreen always serves a savory and some sweets at the conclusion of the tasting. Yesterday's sweets were a delicious cupcake that looked as good as it tasted made with 1600 Pennsylvania tea, and a shortbread with raspberry puree in the center.  The savory was eggplant quiche.  It was all delicious!

While we ate, Naszreen showed a computer presentation of her trip to Sri Lanka and the tea plantation she visited.

From there we went to lunch at Mack Avenue Grille down the street from the tea shop.   

There was an option for al fresco dining, but it was 91 degrees, so we opted for indoor air-conditioning!  Everyone else did too, as evidenced by all the empty tables.

Each of us ordered a different salad.  Mine was Chicken Oriental with Sesame Dressing.

It was delicious, but we were all full from the food we ate at The Rendezvous With Tea that we asked for carry-out containers.  My hubby was happy to eat mine.  ;-)

Below are my purchases from The Rendezvous With Tea. Thanks for a wonderful tea tasting, Naszreen!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Tea Time at Shorepointe Assisted Living

Yesterday's tea program at Shorepointe Assisted Living went very well, and there was a good turnout. Who doesn't enjoy a program about Jackie Kennedy?

The lady in blue [top right above] is Clara.   She's 101 years old and very sharp.  When I asked what JFK's famous quote from his inaugural speech was, she responded "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."  At the conclusion of my presentation she asked, "Where does Marilyn Monroe fit in?"  I told her all skeletons were left in the closet! ;-)


American Fashion Designer, Oleg Cassini, referred to Jackie as a "geometrical goddess."  She was the perfect size for high fashion.  She stood 5' 7" tall, was long-waisted, had a small bust, and weighed between 120-130 lbs. throughout her life.  She wore a size 4 or 6 dress.  

[Internet photos]

At the height of Jackie's greatest influence and popularity, the only one close to holding as much public fascination was American actress, Princess Grace of Monaco.  Both were beautiful first ladies who led seemingly fairy-tale lives, both married handsome older men, and both had named a daughter Caroline.  The royal couple visited the White House in May of 1961.

Now it's on to studying about Julia Child  for next month's presentation.  Ironically, Jackie's White House years helped set the stage for the success of the PBS program, The French Chef, which stared Julia Child, produced in 1963-1966.  When the Kennedy's were in the White House the majority of middle class women weren't in the work force yet.  For those who admired Jackie's elegant style and love of all things French - including a French Chef at the White House - Julia's French cuisine cooking shows offered a way to acquire a taste of French sophistication.  Soon women were experimenting with quiche Lorraine and a lot more!  The timing was perfect for Julia to rise and shine!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Reflection...

My cousin recently posted this prayer on her Facebook page, and I liked it so much that I decided to use it for my Sunday Reflection.

May God bless your week!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Wedding Countdown

Only 22 days remaining until my granddaughter Tiffany's wedding.  

Tiffany asked her Papa to make the Unity Cross for their wedding ceremony.  It's a new tradition as an alternative to the Unity Candle.  I had never heard of it until Tiffany told us about it, and it's a beautiful concept.  Below is an example from the Internet.  The one my hubby makes will be a bit different.

The Bible engraved with their names for their White Bible Ceremony was ordered and arrived, but finding an available date on their calendar is a challenge. The ceremony is supposed to be held within a couple of days of the wedding.

The silver tussie-mussie flower holder [specific flowers are an integral part of the ceremony] was a gift from a thoughtful friend when my mother passed to symbolize her presence at the ceremony.  

A while back I saw these adorable engagement ring napkin holders, and couldn't resist purchasing them. It's past Tiffany's engagement dinner, but there will be other granddaughter's engagements when they can be used.

Aren't they cute?