Friday, March 31, 2023

Meadow Brook Downton Abbey, Tea, Talk and Tour

Yesterday The Whitney paid the way for two servers [who work Mansion teas on weekends] and myself to attend Meadow Brook's Downton Abbey Tea, Talk and Tour.  Mother Nature intervened on our behalf, because the tea had originally sold out when The Whitney asked me to make reservations.  An ice storm cancelled the original February date, and when they rescheduled for yesterday, some who had previous reservations couldn't make the new date, so they used their waiting list to fill the tea.  Lucky us!

Yesterday was a beautiful, clear, warm spring day [unlike today that is rainy and gloomy].

The tea was held in the beautiful Christopher Wren dining room.

The tea food was delicious.  The courses were plated rather than presented on tiered servers.  Savories were:  Quiche Florentine which was a crustless quiche with mashed potatoes on top reminscent of Shepherd's pie;  Smoked Salmon & Boursin Roulade on Sourdough Crostini [not visible in photo below]; Dried Fruit & Herb Chicken Salad in Demi Brioche Boule; Cheddar Biscuit with Roasted Garlic Whipped Butter, and Honey Ham on Pretzel Roll with Coarse Dijon & Gruyere.

~ Kristin ~

Desserts were:  Chocolate Dipped Strawberry; Petite Apple Cinnamon Muffin; Mini Scone with Lemon Curd; Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce and adorable Chocolate Mousse Cup.  The Cheesecake was handsdown the favorite at our table.

Tea was the biggest disappointment.  They offered three herbals:  Apricot Rooibos, Mint Melange, and Chamomile Citrus.  The only Camellia Sinensis tea was Earl Gray and the consensus at our table was awful.  Little to no taste of Bergamot which is the distinguishing characteristic of Earl Grey tea and it was SO strong.  The British say they like their tea strong enough to 'trot a mouse across' but this tea was so strong an entire army of mice could have trotted across!

Barb Gulley did a program near the end of the tea.  She talked about the overlap of Downton Abbey and the Gilded Age, highlighting Alva Vanderbilt and the Newport, Rhode Island 'cottages', particularly Marble House.   

At the conclusion of her talk, a member of Meadow Brook staff, dressed in a servant's uniform, gave the comparisons between Downton Abbey servants and those at Meadow Brook.  Then we were divided into groups to tour the mansion.  The docents were dressed in servant's uniforms as well.

Before exiting the dining room, Steve, Kristin and I posed for a picture in front of Matilda Dodge Wilson's huge portrait.

I've toured the mansion several times, but always see or learn something new each time.

Before leaving we paused for one more photo to share back at The Whitney.  

Special thanks to the Whitney owners and General Manager for making this day possible for us.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Color Me Blue

Blue is my favorite color, but you already know that if you've been reading my blog for any length of time.

I know every teacup we have in service at The Whitney, so imagine my surprise when I was straightening the teacups in the Music Room last Saturday and saw an unfamiliar dark blue teacup pushed back in the corner of a shelf.  I pulled it out for a closer look and saw it was a beautiful Lomonosov Imperial teacup in the "Forget Me Not" pattern.  It was too beautiful to put into service where it would eventually get broken, and I have a small collection of Lomonosov porcelain.  How The Whitney acquired it I don't know, but I immediately asked my boss if I could swap it out for one of my bone china teacups at home.  He said I could just have it.  Hooray!

I had no idea at least three of the servers had their eye on it too.  I found out later it was one of the servers who hid it in the shelf corner.  It made its appearance sometime during the week after I worked the previous Saturday.  I was glad I spotted it and asked for it when I did, because it wouldn't have stayed at The Whitney long.  I had to rearrange my china cabinet to make it fit, but it's happy with my other pieces of Lononosov.  [Second shelf from top, right side.]

I received an email from Tea Thoughts, an online company, saying they had some new tea-themed sweatshirts and T-shirts that came in blue, so I ordered a sweatshirt. I'm wearing it as I type this post.  

I'll finish this post with a cute quote I read yesterday online:  "You're not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but that's okay because not everyone deserves a sip."  ;-)

Monday, March 20, 2023

Teacups, Tea Clothing and WhatsApp

Happy First Day of Spring!  As I type this post it is 31 degrees and sunny in southeastern Michigan, but hopefully warmer spring weather is right around the corner.

I hope you had an enjoyable weekend.  It was a busy one for me.  On Friday leading up to the weekend, I went to an estate sale where online photos showed a large number of china teacups. The sign said $10 each, but I told them I was purchasing for The Whitney and am only authorized to spend $6 per teacup.  I would take all 25 of them if they would sell them to me at that price and they did.  I brought them home, washed them up and took them to work on Saturday to put into service.  There were many beautiful teacups in bunch.  Saturday was VERY busy at The Whitney. We served tea to 108 guests, using both the first and second floors of the mansion.  

My youngest great-granddaughter, Juliette, turns 4 on April 3rd, and I found the perfect gift for her.  I ordered it online but picked it up at The Children's Place.  It's by Jamboree and they currently have a whole line of girls [and boys] clothing called 'Time for Tea' - dresses, tops and pant sets with matching accessories [hat, shoes, purse, socks].  They're so adorable.  Below is what I purchased for Jules and I'm seriously thinking about ordering the same for her sister, Evie, who has a May birthday.  

If you're a tea-lovin' mom, grandma, or auntie, the garments in this adorable clothing line make the perfect gift, and it's currently on sale.  The three pieces below only came to $40 [including tax].

Do you use the WhatsApp on your iPhone?  It's predominately used for communication with people in other countries for free.  I just recently learned about it and have been using it to chat with people in England.  But that's a topic for another post at a later time.

Our youngest son, Jeremy, came by for a visit yesterday with exciting news about a career advancement which comes with a move from Chelsea to the western side of the state - Zeeland, MI [right next to Holland].  It will take them an additional 1 1/2 hours farther away from us, but at least they're still in the State of MI, and it will give us new areas to visit.  They have a new [to them] house sale pending and it's an exciting time for him and his family.  Life is always full of changes.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Hope it's been a good St. Patrick's Day for you.  It's been a busy day for me, but I managed to bake some Irish Soda Bread.  I tried a new recipe this year which is different from the one I normally use [from the Silver Palate Cookbook], but they're equally good.  The recipe called for a 9-inch pan and I only have 8-inch and 10-inch pans, so I opted to use the 10-inch pan. 

My thoughtful girlfriend gave me two more vintage glass shamrock dishes to add to my collection.

My cousin shared a beautiful St. Patrick's post on his Facebook page this morning, and I thought it was worthy of  sharing here.

"I know for certain, that before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and He that is mighty came and in His mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall.  And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for His great favours in this world and forever, that the mind of man cannot measure."

Amen! St. Patrick!  We are all recipients of God's great grace, mercy, and love.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Never to Old to Learn!

I've already blogged about my hubby and I getting a new iPhone 13 [upgraded from our old iPhone 7], and there's so much we don't know about it, we decided to take the basic class, 'Getting Started with iPhone.'    The class was this morning at 10:30.

~ Apple Store ~

When we arrived the store wasn't too busy, but by the end of our hour-long class the store was beginning to fill with people. 

When we first arrived. 

The free class was limited to 5 people and there were just 3 of us.  The other man was 83 years old with about the same technology level as ours which helped prevent intimidation!  ;-)

Our instructor was excellent.  I wanted to take his picture, but he was camera shy [per store policy]. Though extremely knowledgable, he kept his instructions on our level, and didn't talk over our heads.  He said everyone suffers from CRS syndrom - Can't Remember Stuff ;-). Learning the iPhone is a repetitive process.

One segment of the class pertained to apps which made me wonder if there are tea apps, and there are indeed!  When I quickly Googled it, several tea apps came up.  This will be fun to pursue when time permits.  Do you have any tea apps on your iPhone? 

I came home and fixed myself a cup of tea to soothe and stimulate my brain, which at the end of an hour was was approaching overload zone.  The time did pass quickly though, and an hour was the perfect length of time.  I was happy I took the class and plan to take more.  

This is a short post and practically unrelated to tea, but I wanted to keep in touch so you know I'm alive and well.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

A St. Patrick's Day Tea

I intended to write this post last Wednesday, but as I mentioned in a previous post, I got a new iPhone and it wouldn't let me send pictures to my e-mail address so I could upload them to my computer for this post.  So frustrating!  My hubby and I finally went to the Apple store on Friday and they worked their magic, so I now have pictures to share.  We signed up to take a class this Wednesday, and I have a half page of questions to ask about my new iPhone!

The tea on Tuesday was a lot of fun and I highly recommend Pamela's catering.  It was was held in the banquet room at her catering facility.

My girlfriend, Sandy, and her good friend, Lois, lived the farthest, but arrived first.  Sandy and Lois worked together at a bank for many years.

My dear friends, Lori and Sandy.

My daughter, Lori, and me.

Lori, Me and Daughter-in-law, Sharon.

Everyone was seated at 1:00 and the tea began with scones and mock Devonshire cream.  The tea was Harney & Sons Strawberry Kiwi [an herbal tea].

~ Joyce, Lori and Sue ~

Next a delicious Garden Blend Salad was served with Candied Walnuts and Fresh Raspberries dressed with Raspberry Vinaigrette, and Rolls with Honey Butter Roses.

Daughter-in-law, Samantha and daughter, Lori.

Granddaughters, Isabella [Izzy] and Brooke and daughter-in-law, Sharon.

After the salad came a cup of chicken soup with Acini de Pepe pasta, a mini Chicken Salad Croissant, Cucumber Sandwich on White Bread, and Ham Salad in Phyllo Cups.

~ Edwina, Lisa and Vada ~

The Grand Finale was a Chocolate Mousse Parfait garnished with a fresh strawberry and a Pirouette [rolled chocolate filled wafer cookie] and a shamrock shortbread cookie.

Before departing there were a few more photos...  Granddaughters Brooke [who was home from university on spring break], Izzy, Ellie and Nana.

The four of us below - Vada, Lisa, Edwina, and me - belong to a Facebook Group called Christian Tea Time & Hospitality.  I met Lisa and Edwina for the first time at the tea.

Daughter-in-law Samantha with her daughters, Izzy and Ellie, and me.

Samantha's mom attended the tea too.

It was a lovely group of ladies.  I distributed an Irish Proverb to each lady and we went around the table sharing them.  I also asked them to share either their first tea memory or their most memorable tea experience, and it was fun to hear their responses.

Monday, March 6, 2023

March Happenings

March definitely came in like a lion... We had our third ice storm on Friday, March 3rd, but we were better prepared for it this time, and thankfully it wasn't as bad as February's.  Our power went out twice, but came back on momentarily.  No long-term power shortage this time, but just in case I got out my mom's antique oil lamp which provided much nicer atmosphere than flashlights.

On Friday night I thought for sure The Whitney would be closed on Saturday for Mansion Tea, but to my surprise, the temps rose above freezing and by the time I left for work at 11:00 a.m. much of the ice/snow mixture had melted and the roads were clear.  Our count was down from the reservations, but 66 guests still came.  Bad weather can't keep tea lovers home!

In 2016 I said goodbye to my flip-top phone and got a new Apple 7 Plus.  It was a learning curve and seven years later I still didn't know everything it was capable of doing.

Time marches on, and seven years is a long time in technology and upgrading.  Our old iPhones needed to be traded in for new ones.  My hubby and I are in the midst of planning a trip and we wanted new phones for it - my hubby's old phone was definitely on its last leg.  We spent three hours at the Apple store last Friday listening to the representative's recommendations and settled on the iPhone 13 [his recommendation for us].  This time we're going to take the class that Apple offers.

iPhone 7 was the last phone Apple made with a metal case.  Why?? They're glass now, which is much easier to shatter when dropped.  Aside from getting the insurance Apple offered, I ordered a wallet case for my phone.   It will also protect it from getting scratched in my purse. I'm anxiously awaiting its arrival.

I've been coordinating a tea party since the end of January.  I blogged about the caterer on January 27th.  She took the month of February off, so I scheduled the tea party for March 7th. The time has swiftly passed and tomorrow's the day!  There will be 16 ladies [including me].  I spent last night putting together a small edible favor for the ladies.

I belong to a Facebook group - Christian Tea Time &  Hospitality, and three ladies from that group will be attending.  I've never met two of them so I'm looking forward to new face-to-face friendships instead of online/vertual.  Six attendees are relatives and the rest are good friends. I'll be sure to blog about the tea, so be watching for it.