Friday, January 29, 2016

A Downton Abbey Giveaway

For Christmas I received a set of Season 5 DVD's.   I removed the cellophane wrapper eager to begin watching them only to discover they were Blu-ray discs, and our DVD player isn't made for Blu-ray.  Therefore, I'm giving away the never-been-used set of Season 5 DVD's. If anyone would like to have it please leave a comment.  If there's more than one person, I will have a drawing and announce the winner on Tuesday.

Did you watch Episode 4 last Sunday night?  It paled in comparison to Episode 3 the previous week, but was still enjoyable. 

Did you recognize Mrs. Harding [née Gwen Dawson, Downton housemaid in Season 1] as she rode up to Downton with her husband, Mr. John Harding, treasurer of Hillcroft College? I didn't recognize her, but my daughter did.

[Internet Photo]

Of course, Thomas Barrow was as evil as ever with his feeble attempt to expose Gwen which backfired when she endeared herself to the Crawley's with her loving tribute to Sybil. Even Lady Mary's heart was touched.

[Internet Photo]

Impetuous Daisy came perilously close to a disaster with Lady Cora, and after Anna's successful surgery, she finally broke the happy new to Mr. Bates that she was pregnant. Other than that, there were no cliffhangers - unless Robert's chest pains are setting us up for an impending health crisis. Please don't make him die, Julian.  He's got to be in the upcoming Downton movie [if it comes to fruition].

This Sunday afternoon a girlfriend and I will be at the McAninch Arts Center [College of DuPage] near Chicago, IL attending an event with Jessica Fellowes [author and niece of Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes].  She'll be taking us behind the scenes and discussing all things Downton Abbey.   I'll be sure to tell you all about it when I return.

While my hubby is keeping the home fires burning, I'll be tuning in to Episode 5 from my hotel room, and lamenting that only 4 more episodes remain.  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Shopping at Great Lakes Crossing

Continuing with my Great Lakes Crossing shopping adventure on Tuesday afternoon, after I left Teavana, I went to TJ Maxx.  I seldom look at clothing there, but I love to check out their home goods department, which almost always has something tea related.

On the clearance rack I spotted a pedestal teacup and saucer which I've never seen before. In addition to High Tea, the box also says High Class Cuppa.  It was only $6 [marked down from $7.99], and since it was such a novelty I bought one.  Have you seen these teacups before?  I think they'd be more suited for dessert rather than tea, or maybe as a candle holder. What do you think? Would you use them on your tea table?  However they're used they'd definitely evoke conversation.

The next stop was Talbots where I almost did a happy dance in the store!   If you recall, my post last Friday, Jan. 22nd, featured my small collection of tea-themed clothing, and I commented that I wished more clothing designers and manufacturers would design tea-themed clothing. 

Talbots manager told me a shipment of tea-themed scarves and matching socks had just come in about a week earlier.  Eagerly, she took me to the racks where they were hanging.

You know I couldn't walk out without purchasing one of each!  And with her help we put together a complete casual outfit that included jeans, knit top, and a light-weight, quilted vest. Yay, Talbots!  All the items are a part of their new spring line.

After Talbots I decided I had done enough damage to my wallet for one afternoon, and was heading to the mall exit, when I passed a Nine West shoe store.  The question flashed through my mind, "What shoes am I going to wear with this outfit?"  On impulse I darted into the store not really expecting to find anything, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? When what to my wondering eyes should appear but a pair of casual shoes in the same color as the knit top and teacups on the scarf!  It was meant to be! ;-)

They're a little outside the box from what I'd normally wear, but they'll be fine with jeans.   So... if you have a Talbots near you, and tea-themed garments are your thing, pop over while they're still in stock, and tell them Phyllis sent you! ;-)   

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Acquiring a New Tea

Yesterday, I had a 10:00 a.m. district council meeting for my church just north of Auburn Hills, MI.  Great Lakes Crossing - Michigan's Largest Outlet Center - is in Auburn Hills.  As I passed the outlet I determined I'd stop on my way home.

At 12:30 p.m., on a wintry, January day, it wasn't crowded.  Just the way I like to shop!

The first store I approached was Teavana - a store with marketing savvy.  A sales lady was standing at the door to offer me a sample of their "featured tea of the day" as I entered the store.

The featured tea was "Winterberry".  Had I not tasted it, I never would have known to purchase it. It was delicious, and very aromatic.  Winterberry is a blend of two of Teavana's teas - Strawberry Grapefruit Green Tea and Strawberry Lemonade Herbal Tea. Another wise marketing strategy - you have to by two teas in order to make the Winterberry tea!

It was so good I opted to purchase 2 oz. of each - which totaled $21.26 for 4 oz. of tea! Teavana's teas are definitely not cheap, but they're usually very good. The sales lady suggested packaging them separately to give me the opportunity to determine the ratios according to my taste preference.  She suggested 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons of each.

The wonderful aroma of the dry leaf even permeated the dense paper bags with plastic Saran-like linings.  

I noticed they carry Matcha.  While I didn't purchase any yesterday, it's on my list of future purchases.

I made the Winterberry tea for breakfast this morning based on Teavana's suggested ratios. It was very good, but for the next steeping I will cut back a little on the Strawberry Lemonade to eliminate the slightly tart edge.   Since it's made with half green tea, I'm anxious to see if it will yield a second steep.  The red color of strawberries comes through in the steeped tea.

Below is the infused leaf.

After leaving Teavana, I went to TJ Maxx, Talbots, and Nine West.  I found something in each store... tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Let it Snow!

When I planned the program theme, 'Let it Snow', for the assisted living tea this past Sunday, I had no idea a winter storm named 'Jonas' would actually blanket multiple states with several inches of snow!  Somehow it skirted around the metropolitan Detroit area, and we didn't get any.

My granddaughter, Brianna, is attending Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee, and they got about eight inches of snow, which is unusual for them.  Brianna is a native Michigander, so she's used to snow, but it was a novelty for many of the students.   Below are some fun photos taken on campus.

A Nashville weather channel aired a video of the students having fun in the snow.

Vintage Scarlett Photography took photos of some of the students during the snow storm.   Below is Brianna

Brianna is the third one down.  What a fun and creative photo!

Meanwhile, back in Michigan, the Norman Rockwell snowman figurine that I won on E-bay arrived in time for the program.   I got the figurine for $5.99 because no one bid against me. The postage was more than the figurine - $6.35 - but the combined total of $12.34 was still a bargain.  

The figurine was made from the Rockwell painting that appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on December 20, 1919.  It's 7 1/4 inches tall.

Below are a few photos from the assisted living tea party.  The ladies loved the Hostess Sno Balls, and mini powdered sugar donuts.

Table of visuals [below].  Attendees enjoyed singing Frosty the Snowman and Let it Snow! Ironically, Let it Snow was written in July 1945 during a heat wave in Hollywood, California. The lyricist and composer wrote it while imagining cooler weather.  Who knew!  I learn so much fun trivia when I research the program themes.

~ 13 ladies attended the tea party. ~

Next month's theme will be Valentine's Day and President's Day.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Tardis Tea Party

Dr. Who is a British TV program about an extraterrestrial Time Lord who travels through time and space in the spaceship TARDIS [Time and Relative Dimensions in Space].  The spaceship resembles a blue police phone box.

I'm not a big science fiction fan, so Dr. Who probably wouldn't be my cup of tea [although I've never watched it].  I do, however, love tea parties and any occasion for having one.

The Yahoo international tea e-group, Afternoon Tea Across America [ATAA] - of which I am a member - currently has a Tardis teapot traveling around the country, residing at a member's home for a month and then moving on to another location.  A blog chronicling the activities at each location has been established [].

The Tardis recently arrived at the home of Martha, in Orange County, CA after spending a month in rural Ohio.  

Martha, an extremely creative person, wanted to give Dr. Who and the Tardis teapot a special welcome, but ATAA members are so geographically diversified it wasn't possible for everyone to gather at her house.  So she implemented an alternative plan, and mailed out a "Tea Party in a Box" to several members enabling welcoming parties to be held last Friday [1/22], at multiple locations. 

I was one of the recipients of Martha's "Tea Party in a Box".  An invitation to participate accompanied the box containing a tin of The TARDIS Blues tea, Jelly Babies candies, and a Jammy Dodger Biscuit [cookie], favorites of Dr. Who.

The tin of TARDIS Blues tea is blended by Adagio Teas based in Chicago, IL.  There are several teas in the Tea Stories series.

The TARDIS Blues is a blend of black and oolong teas flavored with apple pieces, rose hips, hibiscus, natural almond, blueberry, and passionfruit flavors, safflower, cornflowers, and marigold flowers.  Each tin holds enough tea for 5 cups.

Below is a closer look at the tea.  The aroma was delightful, and the taste was good too.

Martha sent each of us a tea party reminder on Friday morning. I fixed my oatmeal breakfast and cup of TARDIS Blues tea, and ate at my computer desk so I could read about the Tardis activities. 

When it was time for the afternoon tea party, I switched from a casual mug to  more suitable china using a Royal Albert English Chintz trio. The Jammy Dodger Biscuit [shortbread with jam filling] was great with tea, and the Jelly Babies were the perfect ending to the "Tea Party in a Box." 

What a fun way to spend a wintry Friday.  Thanks for all your creative planning, Martha! Who among my readers watches Dr. Who?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Reflection...

 "It's not happy people who are thankful.  It's thankful people who are happy."

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever."  
I Chronicles 16:34 [NIV]

 My son sent the link below for the song, How Could I Ask for More.  I hope you enjoy it too.

May God bless your week!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Newest Tea-themed Garment

There is nothing more exciting for a tea lover than finding a garment depicting tea.  I recently acquired a new brown knit top [thanks to a tea loving friend] which was sold on QVC before Christmas by Quacker Factory.  

How I wish clothing designers would make more tea-themed garments.  In times past I've blogged about my tea time jewelry collection, teapot purses, tea themed sleepwear, and tea jackets, but I've never blogged about the tea-themed clothing in my wardrobe [which is minimal]. Hopefully it will spur other tea blogging friends to share their tea-themed garments.

Cracker Barrel, Dress Barn and Christopher Banks sold the three comfortable, loose-fitting, tea-themed tops below.  The middle one was a gift from a tea friend in Kentucky.

~ A Michael Simon cardigan top. ~

Navy teacup pullover sweater purchased at a Talbots store in Pennsylvania en route to Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, Delaware [to see the Downton Abbey Costume Exhibit].

The blouse and coordinating sweater vest was purchased at a Tanger Outlet store several years ago.

And that's it!  My small tea-themed wardrobe!  ;-)  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fifty Years Ago Today...

My hubby reminded me that fifty years ago today he took his induction oath to serve in the U.S. Air Force. In some ways it seems only a short time ago, and in other ways a lifetime ago.

On the morning of January 21, 1966, I drove him to the induction center at Fort Wayne [in Detroit] where he took his oath, and later that evening family members and close friends gathered at Detroit Metropolitan Airport as he departed for Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.  It was a tear-filled day.

~ An 18 year-old-young man in training to serve his country. ~

After basic training, he went to Chanute Air Force Base near Rantoul, Illinois for 12 weeks of training at an aircraft maintenance school.  After graduation he was assigned to Altus Air Force Base [a Strategic Air Command base] in Altus, Oklahoma, where he worked on KC135 air refueling tankers, and B52 bombers.  

As a new bride, Altus became my home too.  The photo below shows us with our small U-Haul trailer containing all our worldly possessions ready to leave Michigan for Oklahoma. Today the U-Haul probably wouldn't even hold the contents of one bedroom! ;-)

Below, our small, furnished, one-bedroom rental home at 605 N. Spurgeon Street.  Notice the rickety swamp cooler protruding from the front living room window.  Not many people had central air-conditioning back then, and a window unit was way beyond our means. Looking back, we barely had two nickles to rub together, but our Air Force friends lived meagerly too, so we assumed all young couples lived that way, and we carried on in blissful ignorance.  I wasn't into drinking hot tea in those days, but I consumed lots of sweetened iced tea. That's what "Okies" drank in copious amounts. It was cheap too, so we could afford it! 

~ Our first wedding anniversary. ~

Jerry served a stint in 1968 at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan where he was an aircraft crew chief, and did in-flight air refueling missions over Vietnam.  He was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska when his military commitment ended with an honorable discharge.

We were both happy to come back home to Michigan.  While I wouldn't take anything for those four years in the military, I don't think I'd want to relive them either!  ;-)

Thank you for your service to our country, Jerry!