Friday, June 14, 2019

New Book

It's been a busy week at The Whitney.  I worked Monday thru Thursday serving Afternoon Tea to 62 guests.  I'm off today because I have a Dr. appointment, otherwise there would've been more guests added to the total.

Since I didn't have to set an alarm for early wake-up this morning, I decided to treat myself to some pleasure reading before going to sleep last night.  Preparing for my presentations means reading non-fiction biographical and historical books, which doesn't leave a lot of time for fun reading.

Last April I ordered my friend Angela McRae's new book, Emeralds and Envy, and it's been patiently waiting to be read.

I read seven chapters last night and will take it with me to my Dr.'s appointment today, which will be at least an hour's wait!  I'm anxious to resume my reading so I can finish the book this weekend.

I'm not a big jewelry person, so it was fun looking up the names of costume jewelry designers mentioned by Emma Madison, the main character in the book.  Some of my tea friends, Linda, Barb, and Louise, are big jewelry collectors and belong to a jewelry club called, "Glitterbugs", so I know they'd recognize the names Miriam Haskell, Delizza & Elster, Eisenberg Ice, and Cristobal.  The only ones I'd heard of were Coro and Trifari.  

The book is actually a murder mystery that Emma tries to solve when she happens upon the crime scene at the Silver Squirrel Antique Shop and Tina LeMann's dead body.  That's as much as I'm going to share.  You'll have to read the rest for yourself.  The book is available at Amazon.  Order your copy today.  It's a great read!

On another subject...  I was pleased to finally get my official Whitney business cards this week.  

I trained one of the male servers to take over for me on days like today when I'm off and on the weekends.  He'll be working the Daddy/Daughter tea tomorrow which will only have 15 attendees.  It's an event sponsored by Mary Jones, the tea blender for The Whitney.  She'll be serving two iced herbal teas - Strawberry/Raspberry and Peppermint.  Since I'm off today, I made a gallon of each yesterday and put them in the beverage refrigerator after they cooled down.  I researched keeping them chilled for two days and most references said iced tea will keep up to three days refrigerated if no sugar or fresh fruit has been added.  Some websites, however, said iced tea is best consumed the same day it's made.  I'm hoping these herbal teas will still be fresh tasting tomorrow at 12:30.  Otherwise they'll be scurrying around making more.

How long do you keep iced tea in your refrigerator?

One last item for those who like to keep up on my family events.  Granddaughter, Isabella, graduated from 8th grade this week.  It doesn't seem possible that she'll be going off to high school next fall.  She's beautiful inside and out.  I don't know too many 13-year-olds who text their grandparents for no other reason than to tell them they're loved.

Our son, Jeremy, was teaching in Denver, Colorado when he and Samantha were married. Izzy wasn't born there, but she was conceived there, so a couple weeks ago Jeremy took her on a Daddy/Daughter trip to Colorado where she could see first-hand where it all began - both her life and her parent's marriage.  Her middle name is Vail in honor of where it all began, hence the significant sweatshirt!  ;-)

They had a great time together, and I'm glad Jeremy and Samantha take their parenting roles seriously by being very involved in their children's lives.  These are memories Izzy will never forget.

I was delighted when I got a text from Jeremy earlier today saying, "Look what I'm having."  The message was accompanied by the photo below.  He knew what would bring a smile to his mama's face!  ;-)

HappFlag Day!

[Crafty Mommy Photo]

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

53rd Wedding Anniversary

Fifty-three years ago today I married my highschool sweetheart. Three children [plus spouses], eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren later, I'm feeling blessed beyond measure! 

They say after you've been married for many years you begin to think alike.  I guess that's true because when Jerry and I opened our anniversary cards to each other this morning they were identical.  ;-)

Beautiful flowers arrived from my hubby.

Our son, Steve, called early this morning to wish us Happy Anniversary and to ask about taking us to breakfast.  I have to work today so we'll have to take a rain check, but it was a thoughtful offer.  Jerry's made dinner reservations for after I get off work - P.F. Chang's one of my favorite places!  I'll definitely be having their white tangerine tea.

We celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary in Boston and New York City.  Below is a pic of us taking Afternoon Tea at the Plaza Hotel.  Fond memories!

More later...

Well, I thought we were going to P.F. Chang's for dinner, but Jerry just said that so I wouldn't know where he really made reservations - Andiamo's.

Our knowledgeable and attentive server was Shayma.  Isn't she pretty?

Our appetizer course was marinated, char-grilled Portabella mushrooms in zip sauce.

Jerry and I each got a salad instead of soup, but I forgot to take a picture.  Next was the pasta course.

Jerry ordered Chicken Parmigiano-Reggiano for his main entree and I ordered Chicken Marsala. I'm usually a 'clean plate' gal, but I had to get a carry-out tonight.  Too much yummy food for one meal.

We did manage to save room to share a piece of Tiramisu though.

It's been a great day, and now we begin pursuing Anniversary #54.  God is good!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Michigan Brides, Etc.

I was recently contacted by a retirement community in Dearborn to do a presentation on Saturday, June 22nd.  The subject they chose was Famous Michigan Brides - probably because the month of June is associated with weddings.

I'm not famous, but I was a Michigan bride in June 1966.  It's hard to believe 53 years have gone by so quickly!  I wasn't into tea when I got married, but if I would have been this cake surely would have tempted me in place of the traditional wedding cake!  ;-)

The two famous Michigan brides I'm going to focus on are Eleanor Lowthian Clay Ford [1916] and Frances Matilda Dodge Johnson [1938].  Both brides were related to auto magnates, Henry Ford and John Dodge. 

In 2012 my girlfriend and I attended the annual Holiday Walk at Meadow Brook Hall where the theme was Puttin' on the Glitz.  It showcased Frances Dodge's wedding.  Since the ceremony took place in the mansion's Living Room, Frances' and Matilda's [her mother] gowns were displayed in that room.  No photos could be taken, but the two pictures below were in the printed handout booklet [which wasn't copyrighted]. 

Frances' gown was ice blue and her attendants gowns were various shades of blue with the exception of her maid of honor who wore rose taffeta.  The gowns were custom made by Peggy Hoyt of  New York City.  500 guests attended the wedding.

In 2017 Meadow Brook published a book about Frances Dodge and her equestrian accomplishments, titled Riding on the Edge

It's been on my book list ever since it came out, so I called Meadow Brook this week to see if the book had a chapter about Frances' wedding.  I was delighted when they told me chapter 6 is entitled Wedding Bells.  

I drove over to Meadow Brook on Thursday to purchase my copy.  I always love going to Meadow Brook Hall, and am so grateful I got to do two tea presentations there.  Matilda Dodge Wilson hosted many teas at the mansion when she lived there.

Portrait of Matilda Dodge Wilson that hangs in the foyer of the mansion.  I wasn't able to take the photo without getting the reflective glare of the chandelier across the hall on the portrait.

The book I acquired has six pages of great information about Frances' wedding that I'll be able to incorporate into my program, so it was well worth the drive to Rochester.

By the way, the traditional month of June for weddings is said to date back to the Middle Ages when couples were still somewhat clean from their annual spring bath, and fresh flowers were in full bloom to mask body odors.  Yikes!  Thank heavens for indoor plumbing!  ;-)

Now that I'm working, I don't have much time for Facebook, but Thursday night while looking for something else, I stumbled upon a photo a friend had posted of a teapot lamp that was for sale at a downriver resale shop.  It just so happened my hubby was going downriver on Friday to have lunch with his brother, so I asked him if he'd stop by the resale shop to check out the lamp.  It would make a great anniversary present!  ;-)

[Facebook Photo]

Turns out the resale shop was right next door to the restaurant where my hubby and his brother were having lunch.   He inspected the lamp and found it in pristine condition, and bought it for the great price of $35.  I didn't like the lampshade, so I went to the lampshade shop this morning to buy a new one.  The new shade cost more than the lamp, but it was worth it because it really dressed up the lamp.  Here it is [below] with its new shade in its new home.

I'm not a gardener, but I like watching the progress of the kitchen and vegetable gardens The Whitney kitchen staff planted behind the mansion.  On most days when I arrive at work [around noontime] I'll find the chef out there tending the gardens. We're going to use the mint to garnish our Lavender-Rose iced tea.  Do you have a kitchen garden?

Just before I left for work yesterday the postman delivered a jury duty summons.  This will be my third time for jury duty.  I don't mind doing my civic duty, but this seems a bit repetitive. Have you been called for jury duty multiple times?  The irony is my husband would love to be a juror, but has never been called once.

Today is a pleasant 79 degrees day in southeastern Michigan with a slight breeze and clear skies. A perfect day for Tiger baseball at Comerica Park.  The Tigers are playing the Minnesota Twins at 4:10, but my two sons and grandson, Landon, got there early and went down on the field.  


[Jeremy and Landon]

Go Tigers!

Monday, June 3, 2019

New Teacups and More

As you know, I'm trying to limit my teacup collecting to black ones, and I recently acquired a new one to share.  Isn't it lovely?

You may remember, a year ago my girlfriend gave me a Lena Liu teapot in the Blossoms and Butterflies pattern.  It's a Teleflora teapot, so it's not fine china, but Lena Liu is a popular painter/artist and her work is collectible.  I didn't realize there were teacups to go with the teapot, so I was happy to find one recently.

A few days ago I saw a post on ATAA [Afternoon Tea Across America] Facebook page that Kohl's has tea-themed summer pajamas.  My friend, Linda J. at Friendship Tea blog posted today that she purchased a pair over the weekend.  I was in Kohl's today so decided to see if my store had them.  They did, indeed, and they're on sale.

The color is 'Tea Time Blue.'  They're really cute, so if you're looking for summer pj's that will leave you dreaming about teacups, stop by your local Kohl's.

Last, but certainly not least, a few days ago, Donna H., from Miss Spenser's Special-Teas of Longview Farms posted the cutest picture I have ever seen on Facebook.  I don't know who the little girl is or who took the photo, so I don't know who to attribute credit to, but I guarantee the picture will bring a smile to your face!  A miniature Queen Elizabeth, II look-alike.  ;-)

[Internet Photo]

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Happy June!

June is National Iced Tea Month, and June 10th is National Iced Tea Day.  Today was the first time this year The Whitney offered Afternoon Tea in the garden.  Our tea blender created a black floral signature blend called Lavender Rose that's perfect for sipping in the garden.  I was asked to make enough iced tea to serve today before I left work on Friday afternoon since I don't work weekends.

The cold water brewing method was very popular last summer but I didn't try it, so I decided to experiment with it at home Thursday night.  I visited several websites for instructions and finally settled on the method at Epicurious.  After the concentrate had steeped overnight, I added the additional cold water Friday morning and took it to work for a taste testing. Everyone loved it.  

I quadrupled the recipe for the seven reservations today, using knee-highs [tea socks] to contain the loose leaf tea.  The socks eliminate the straining step.  Then I added the required cold water and put the container in the refrigerator to steep.  The loose tea can steep for up to 48 hours, but I left instructions for the tea socks to be removed yesterday afternoon and discarded, and the additional water added to the concentrate today.  I'm anxious to see how it went when I go into work tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I made another pitcher at home for us to enjoy.  Have you tried the cold water brewing method yet?  There are advantages. Cold water extracts less caffeine and tannins from the tea and there's no cloudiness that sometimes occurs with hot water brewing.

Saturday morning we went to watch granddaughter Isabella participate in USTA [United States Tennis Association] tournaments [Chelsea team] at Michigan State University in East Lansing.  The rain held off just until she was done playing and then there was a torrential downpour.

[Jerry and Jeremy]

Then we drove to Grand Ledge, MI where our granddaughter, Tiffany, and her family live. Great-granddaughter, Evie, celebrated her 2nd birthday on May 23rd so this was an 'extended' birthday celebration.  Evie loved Izzy's visit!

~ A Madeline book ~

Fairy princess outfit for tea-time [complete with fairy tea party book, pink lemonade and cookies].  I gave her a tea set for Christmas, so she's all set for a fairy tea party now.

We finally got to meet great-granddaughter #2 - Juliette Grace, born April 3rd.  Evie has given her the nickname Jules since she can't say Juliette yet.

Juliette will be two months old tomorrow and is so sweet.  'Babies are God's opinion that the world should go on.'    ~ Carl Sandburg

Beautiful blue eyes!  

June - the midway point of the year - has begun perfectly!