Friday, August 31, 2018

"Waiting for Papa"

It seems that every time I take a few moments to check out the Library of Congress's collection of digital images, I come across something new that's tea-ish. This week, it was a chromolithograph titled "Waiting for Papa."

The description says, "Print shows a young woman and a little girl doing needlepoint at a table which has been set for tea," and a note says the piece is copyrighted by J. Stiner in 1876.

At first I thought this was a Christmas image because of the color palette, but the more I looked at it, I decided not. What do you think? (It would make a great Christmas card, though, wouldn't it!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Tazo Glazed Lemon Loaf Herbal Tea

I believe it was a blog commenter who recommended Tazo's Glazed Lemon Loaf tea, and when I saw it on sale at the grocery store the other day, I tossed a box in my cart.

Tazo teas have been iffy for me, but I was in the mood for something lemony, so why not?

Now I like most lemon-flavored teas I've tried anyway, but this one was just outstanding! I hadn't realized the tea combines the flavors of lemon and vanilla, and the rich, decadent taste is definitely suitable for a dessert tea. So if you see this one on sale at your local grocery store, I recommend you give it a try!

Monday, August 27, 2018

"My Energy Tea" from My Organic Tea in Victoria, Australia

So I was at a HomeGoods store over the weekend when I came across a new herbal tea with packaging so interesting, I had to bring it home with me to check it out.

The store had several blends for sale, and I got the "My Energy Tea" blend, which contains sencha green tea, lemongrass, Siberian ginseng, yerba mate, rosebuds and petals, and lime.

I was a bit concerned about the clear packaging, since tea experts often tell us to be sure tea is stored in a dark place. While I've rarely seen tea sold in plastic, the label says this packaging is recyclable, BPA-free, and nontoxic. I saw the "Open" tab on the lid and realized it would be secure until I got home and broke the tab off, which was a good thing.

All these pretty rose petals are another reason I wanted this tea, and when I steeped it, I was surprised (and pleased) that the tea wasn't overly perfumey at all. Instead, the citrusy notes are what I tasted most, and while I can't say the caffeine gave me a noticeable dose of energy, I loved the flavor and am delighted with this new herbal tea blend. Now that I've tried it hot, I think I'll make a pitcher in the fridge and give the iced tea version a try.

So, have you tried any new teas lately?

Friday, August 24, 2018

A great resource for tea lovers!

I've long enjoyed seeking out vintage tea images in the public domain through sites like the Library of Congress and others, but I know that lots of great contemporary images are in the public domain as well, and I believe they could come in handy for some of you who promote tea at a business, workplace, church, or community event. Who couldn't use a great graphic for a card, poster, or email invite? The latest site I've discovered is, and this image of tea bags immediately caught my eye. (, though attribution is not required.)

 Naturally, I liked this tea-and-computer image as well. (

 Or I can go old-school with a tea-and-typewriter image instead. (Also

Check these images out for yourself by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The famous September issue of Vogue

Over the past few months, I have received an incredible number of offers for totally free magazine subscriptions, probably because I'm on some mailing list from back when I was a city magazine editor myself. So I'm now getting everything from Vogue and Bazaar to regional titles like Seattle, Portland Monthly, Charlotte, and Houstonia, to lifestyle mags like VerandaTaste of Home, Martha Stewart Living, Food Network Magazine, and O, the Oprah Magazine. But the new Vogue is here this week, and it happens to be that big honkin' 648-page whopper of a magazine that is their September issue. This one has a lovely Beyoncé on the cover. I'm trying to figure out why she's wearing a flower arrangement on her head, but Beyoncé seems to have done just fine without my input, so there's that.

I accepted the Vogue subscription since a character in one of the novels I'm working on reads Vogue for inspiration, but in this gigantic September issue, which I've not yet started actually reading, I've yet to come across an article. The table of contents doesn't appear until page 138, which just blows my mind, but Vogue, like Beyoncé, does just fine without my opinion. But I came across an ad that stopped me in my tracks. Can you guess what this is advertising?

Gucci! And what does it say about me that I'm far more interested in the teapot (at right) and all the plates than the fashion?

And here's another two-page ad with even more breakables, though I wish this model would kindly get her loafers off those dishes. I think the monkey at left agrees with me. I'm too exhausted from trying to find the table of contents to know whether I'll come across any tea in this magazine, but stay tuned, because it's certainly surprised me so far!

Monday, August 20, 2018

A teacup that's brimming with history

On Saturday, Aunt Jane and I shopped in Rome, Georgia, and one of the antique malls there turned up a red transferware teacup that has already provided me with much more than $9.99 worth of intrigue. The front of the teacup features the images of Priscilla and John Alden, who were some of the Pilgrims who came to America on the Mayflower.

The back of the teacup features this image of the Statue of Massasoit, said to be the leader of the Wampanoag when the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth.

The saucer depicts more images associated with the early years of our country. Like most Americans, I imagine, I'm always interested in the story of how our forefathers got to America. Years ago at a family reunion, a relative shared a notebook of photos and genealogy, and I learned that my paternal grandmother, Ruby Pace Webster, was descended from Richard Pace, an early settler of Jamestown, who was born in 1590 in England and died at Jamestown in 1628 (or 1627). Back in England, he had married an Isabella Smyth (or Smythe), and their plantation on the James River was called Paces Paines. (And that's as far into the story as I've gotten, as I simply don't have time to dig deeply into family history. Maybe when I retire one day!)

 So I wonder about the unknown ship (not the Mayflower) that brought my relatives to America.

Also, I was fascinated by the teacup's design of the portico over Plymouth Rock. Never having been to Plymouth, I had to research this and find actual photos of this portico. Who knew? (All of you who've visited Plymouth, no doubt!)

And I must say I find great irony in the fact that Adams Potteries in Staffordshire, England, made the teacup commemorating some early American history. So as much as I resist adding to my teacup collection these days, this is one of those sets I bought purely for its history!

Friday, August 17, 2018

TeaVivre's Fuding Shou Mei White Tea Cake 2013

This week I realized I hadn't yet sampled TeaVivre's Fuding Shou Mei White Tea Cake 2013, and since I was in the mood to try a new tea, I decided to see what a white tea cake looked and tasted like. 

 I quickly figured out that it looked like this, so I broke off a bit and steeped it.

Copper-colored in the cup, this tea had an earthy, brisk taste, with only a little astringency, and I liked it very much as a delicious change from all the iced tea I've been sipping this summer! (Click here to see the white tea cakes currently available from TeaVivre.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

September/October 2018 Tea Time magazine

The fall issue of Tea Time magazine is always one of my favorites, and this year's did not disappoint. I know some folks are griping about seeing pumpkins at the grocery store in August, but for me, fall can't get here fast enough! In fact, I saw my first new pumpkin spice product of the season, an air freshener candle, at the grocery store on Sunday and was just delighted. So this cover with its rich golden hues is right up my alley!

Here in Georgia, I noticed yesterday that the afternoon sunlight out my office window has a bit more of a gold tint than usual. Real or imagined? I can't say, but I can say that the sight of pumpkins and golden teawares in the new Tea Time has me hankering for some pumpkin spice tea!

And one other note about the new issue: It features a Music Tea spread. The plates are rimmed with piano keys, and check out those finger sandwiches laid out to look like piano keys. How clever is that!

So are you eager for fall as well, or do you think we're rushing the season just a bit?

Monday, August 13, 2018

The winner of "Tea Parties Around the World" is …

Sarah of the Sarah Did It! blog. And I've just sent Sarah an email so that she can claim her copy of this wonderful new book from Hoffman Media. And thank you to everyone who entered!

New Detox Teas from Palais des Thès Paris

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of sampling two teas from the new Detox Collection by Palais des Thès Paris.

The inspiration behind the new collection sounded intriguing: "Different regions of the world boast ancestral detoxifying practices using specific ingredients to purify the body. Our journeys in search of the very best teas have given us the chance to observe them. Drawing on the sources of these proven methods, Palais des Thés unveils 5 delicious recipes for Detox teas and infusions with very specific powers."

The two teas I tried were the Japanese Detox variety, Relaxation, and the South African Detox, Draining. Both were impressive "gourmet tea bags," and the Japanese tea had the pleasantly smooth Sencha taste I was expecting, along with a little fruitiness (the pear, I later realized), and some soft floral notes from rose petals. The South African tea had a rich rooibos taste that had me longing for fall, and the mango notes made this seem rather like a luxurious dessert tea. I can happily recommend both of these new teas, and you can learn more about the entire collection (which has some seriously gorgeous packaging!) by clicking here.

Friday, August 10, 2018

A fun teatime treat!

Recently I had lunch with my friend Kathy, and she brought me a teatime treat to take home and share with Alex, a package of sugar-free brownies. And they were quite good! (I think she got the recipe from one of those new keto cookbooks.) But I was so impressed by the cute packaging that I wanted to share her ideas.

 The little basket and package of brownies were wrapped in cellophane and had a card tucked inside.

And I absolutely loved her idea of securing the bag for the brownies with a cute mini clothespin! Fun ideas, and maybe some of you will find them as inspiring as I did.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Afternoon Tea in Winnipeg, circa 1937

I came across this Afternoon Tea menu from the Royal Alexandra Hotel in Winnipeg online, courtesy of the New York Public Library's digital collections.

The cross-stitch design on the cover is quite intriguing, as I'm assuming someone probably stitched this at one time, as the shading of the cross-stitches looks handmade and not perfectly designed by an artist's hand. Do you agree?

If you're interested, click on the link underneath the photo and you can go to the NYPL site, where you'll find all the pages from the menu, including one with the line "Private Tea and Bridge Parties Arranged by Head Waiter." Wouldn't you like to have attended a private tea there? I sure would!

Monday, August 6, 2018

August Giveaway: "Tea Parties Around the World"

Boy, do I have a great August giveaway item for one of you—it's a hot-off-the-presses copy of Hoffman Media's latest book from Tea Time magazine, Tea Parties Around the World.

Like many of you, I love to collect these tea-themed books from Hoffman, and their newest one is such a visual feast with all of its wonderful recipes from countries around the world. From the chapter on Scotland, we have some Raspberry-Oat Tartlets with Whiskey-Honey Cream.

And if you love Russian porcelain, there are images like this one to whet your appetite!

And in the chapter on the Netherlands, you'll find recipes for these Speculaas Teapot Cookies, Oliebollen (Chocolate Doughnut Balls), and those pretty Tompões with Pink Glaze and Vanilla Pastry Cream. Other countries with recipes featured in the book include Australia, China, France, India, Japan, Morocco, and South Africa.

If you'd like to win a copy of this book for yourself, just leave an "Enter me" to this post by 7 a.m. on Monday, August 13, 2018, *making sure you've provided an email address so I can get in touch with you if you're the winner*, and you'll be entered to win. Hoffman Media says they will mail the book directly to the winner, and they are kindly offering to send it internationally as well, so everyone is welcome to enter this giveaway. Good luck, and thank you, Hoffman Media, for sharing this gorgeous new book!

Friday, August 3, 2018

A 1915 Red Cross Tea Room photo

So my obsession with old tea photos from the Library of Congress continues, and this week's find is just endlessly fascinating to me, so I hope this 1915 photo piques your interest as much as it did mine! You'll note the women are carrying trays bearing boxes of tea.

The LOC entry says: "Photograph probably shows Helen Fidelia Hoffman (Mrs. William Kinnicutt Draper), a Red Cross volunteer involved in the March 1915 Red Cross Tea Room at the International Flower Show in New York City; and Mary B. Atterbury (Mrs. J. Fuller Potter), later Mrs. Henry Wainwright. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2012)"

Check out the hats. The dresses. The brooches. The shoes. And on the photo of Mrs. Potter-slash-Mrs. Wainwright at right, would you say that's pantalets peeking out?

Fun stuff, at any rate! If you'd like to see the complete reference for yourself, click here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Harney's Peach Fresh Brew Iced Tea

Well, that was fun! With a recent order from Harney & Sons, I received a sample bag of their Peach Fresh Brew Iced Tea. I'd been saving it to try sometime when I was in the mood for a new iced tea, and that time was this week.

The instructions said to boil two cups of water, pour it over the teabag, steep for 15 minutes, add 6 cups of cold water, and then remove the bag and squeeze it. I'm sure that would be a good way to try it, but I was curious to see whether this tea would work as a cold-brewed tea. And it was! I filled this small tea pitcher with water, let the tea bag steep in the fridge all afternoon, and voila, an absolutely delicious, peachy-fresh iced tea, and now I can't wait to order more!