Monday, March 15, 2010

Afternoon Tea At Least Once Each Year

It has been over a year since I've enjoyed a formal Afternoon Tea. Pretty much since we packed up Two for Tea to be precise. I love Afternoon Tea anytime of year and truly drink hot tea even when it is 90 degrees outside, but something about winter makes we think of my favorite places to enjoy the fine art of taking tea.

The last time EJ and I enjoyed Afternoon Tea not by our own hands was a delightful trip to The Lobby at the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago. The Peninsula is a Five Star hotel on Chicago's magnificent Michigan Avenue. I am not sure of the history of fine hotels serving tea, but there is definitely a connection. Perhaps that will be a future post.

Until then, since Two for Tea is no longer open, I suggest these fine places for Afternoon Tea:

1. The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago
2. The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.
3. The Waldorf-Astoria in New York
4. The Plaza Hotel in New York

If your taste runs to the less high brow, what a shame! However, I suggest consulting This resource is a fairly comprehensive list of tearooms nationwide. Please call the tearoom ahead of time as many require reservations and even more may no longer be open.

Sharing the love of (Afternoon) tea,


Thursday, March 11, 2010


Look what I found for $1.99 at the thrift store! I wouldn't call myself a collector, but I do have a few things that might appear that way to the casual observer. I have approximately 16 mismatched tea cups, 12 tea pots and 10 books about tea.

Just before I was married, my girlfriends hosted an Afternoon Tea Bridal Shower. The invitation requested that each guest bring a teacup to start my collection. I love them now, but at the time I thought, "what the heck I am going to do with a bunch of mismatched teacups?" And I still use the same 2 or 3 cups for my daily cuppa.

The books were a more natural extension of my interest in tea. EJ and I starting snapping up every book we could find about tea and tea parties as a part of our research to prepare for opening Two for Tea. On a recent excursion to the thrift store (a guilty pleasure since childhood), I found a copy of A Passion for Tea by Hattie Ellis. My mother already has a copy for which she paid full price at the local bookseller. It is not the best book about tea I've ever read, but it is a sweet little book with very nice photographs. Plus, who can deny anything useful that costs less than $2.00!

On of my favorite elements of Ellis' book is in "The Teas" chapter where she summarizes the various tea producing countries and the varieties for which they are best known. I forgive her for not including any African countries, since they are mostly known for beverages that are commonly called tea, but are really herbal beverages or tisanes.

So make that 11 books about tea.

Sharing the love,


Monday, March 1, 2010

I'd Do It Again and Again

People often ask if I'd do it again. If I would again become an entrepreneur. I like to compare it to riding a roller coaster:

You wait for what seems like FOREVER
Gathering information, killing time, waiting for the right moment & only moving inches.
Finally it's your turn!
Now you're excited, scared, nauseated, and locked in.
There are highs and lows, flips and turns. You think, "I could die here."
And in the end, it was your decision, and you survived.

"Yes! Of course I'd do it again."

Next time I will have the benefit of experience. My second ride will be different. I will narrow my focus, quit my secure day job and really commit to making the business work. There is something about being an entrepreneur that makes all of the sacrifices worthwhile.

Tea is a luxury. A delicious & delightful luxury for some. We tried, and to a small degree succeeded, to capture our key demographic market and tell them, everyday deserves a little luxury. Take this drink, this experience, this luxury and incorporate it into your daily life.

I can't wait to do it again.

Sharing the love of tea,


p.s. Here is a little something I found at

Top five reasons why start-up businesses fail:

1. Insufficient capital (money)

2. Lack of management experience

3. Poor business location

4. Poor inventory management

5. Lack of initial planning

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