Thursday, November 29, 2012

Living with your Tea Collections- Part 1

Ah, collections! How to live with them is the question. Do you have large groupings in one room of your home, or do you sprinkle them in small vignettes around the house? There really is no right or wrong way. I think it depends on the items in the collection and how they lend themselves to your style of living.
I have a few things that I collect and I do try not to get carried away. Moving twice in the last 6 years has helped me weed through my "Stuff" and keep only the things that I love.

My fascination with all things tea, leaning towards the European and floral, can be seen throughout my home. I like to mix it up! You'll find tarnished silver mixed with old pottery and fine china. Small groupings tucked in corners, featured on tables and even decorating the walls. Living with your collections adds a personality to a home, it reflects the mood and character of the people who make the house a home.

Over the next week or so, we'll be taking a look at how to highlight your tea collections around the house. I'd love to hear about your favorite item to collect and how you showcase it! Feel free to comment below and join the discussion on my facebook page :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Making a Human Connection in a single moment!

As Thanksgiving comes to an end and we gear up for Christmas, I wanted to reflect on a wonderful moment during my Disney Vacation.
No, it didn't involve a mouse, princess or a long line. Although all were present!
This special moment took place when I least expected it to. (as it most often does)

A small gesture making the most important impact of the day, the week even.

I was scouting out a vacant table to snag for the family break over a taco salad.
It felt like thousands of others were thinking the same thing!
Around the corner, I spied a table just getting the wipe-down, so off I went. Four chairs sat around the table, but we needed five, so I very nicely asked the gentleman sitting at the table next to ours if he would be using all of his chairs.
He was with his granddaughter, and as soon as we began talking she darted off.
I was still by myself and in that flash of a second, I asked if he was having a good time, and if this was his first visit to Disney. We exchanged pleasantries, and I continued to ask a few small questions and then listened.
The conversation lasted five minutes at the most, and when we finished up he offered me his business card, and then thanked me for speaking with him. In those few moments of really connecting with a person I learned quite a bit about him.

But what made this moment special was his statement, "Kathy, I want to thank you for taking the time to talk with me. No one ever talks to a person in a wheelchair. They look the other way, ignore you or rush by you. It's a very strange thing"

When he said it, I looked carefully and realized that he was indeed in a wheelchair & holding his cane.
As I spoke with him, I focused on his eyes and his smile, not really taking in the wheelchair.

Imagine, if we looked into someone's eyes when we were "connecting", how magical it would be.
Now there is something the Mouse and Walt himself would agree with!

In fact, I do believe it was my "Jabez Appointment" for the day! Thank you, Nolan.

How do you take the time to make a new connection? When was the last opportunity you had?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Celebrating Life over Tea with a new Club just for you!

I'm so excited to launch this new VIP Hostess Club! It's been in the works for over a year now, as more and more friends, clients and even family have asked me to "put something together" for them!

I wanted it to be a  place where we can meet and celebrate life over tea! 

Did you ever want to have a few girlfriends over to tea one rainy Sunday afternoon, while the guys yelled at the football players on the screen?  But you didn't know where to start? What to serve? How to pull it all together?
 Today is the day!

I have pulled together the best tea selections, menus, tips and themes for you to enjoy! And it will be delivered right to YOU! 
Here are a few of the themes: 
TEAS the Season
Winter White Moonlight Tea
Mardi Gras Magic
Friendship Tea

I'm thrilled to share a new tea party planner with you each month.You will be inspired to "throw" that party, invite a few people over and celebrate those relationships, you know the ones, the people in your life that matter the most and yet time flies by and we spend very little time with them!

So take that first step, and join the club! If for any reason you're not as thrilled by the inspiration as I think you will be, you can slip out at any time.

AND for those of you, like me, who just adore the whole process of tea party entertaining, I've got a special invite just for you! I'm launching a new Facebook group! A place for our Hostess Club to meet and share! I'm really looking forward to it and to meeting you to celebrate your life over tea!

PLUS! I've also put together a "Tea Party Pack" for you! Yes, each month you will get the featured teas and scones from your monthly themed planner delivered right to you! Enjoy our December theme, TEAS the Season, delivered to you to get the party started!

I can't wait to share a cup of tea with you and celebrate life's simple pleasures!
By the way! Don't forget to grab the free offer! It's up at the top of the page on the right!
You'll love these easy steps to setting a beautiful table for all of your tea parties!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Preparation and a pot of tea do wonders!

We have two December birthdays during the Christmas Season! That makes it a bit challenging, let me tell you! My youngest child's birthday kicks off the month and we always tried to hold off on the decorating until after his day. Now that he is going to be a teenager (how did that happen?) I decided to ask him about how we should handle his big day and getting ready for Christmas. He shocked the heck out of me and said, "Moooom.....the best part of having a December birthday is having the whole house look like a party!"
There you go, out of the mouth of babes! For years, I've put so much pressure on myself to do Birthdays and Holidays separately, not having enough time to do any of it properly, and it didn't have to be that way!

So this year, we are kicking off the whole season together! I've pulled out my teapot this morning, made a pot of Earl Grey and a nice english muffin as the printer hummed. I think the key to a great season will be in the planning and preparations. I remembered a fantastic organizer I had a few years back from The Flylady.
I put a Decorating Planner together for myself using her guides from her fabulous "Cruising Through the Holidays"  Have you met the "Flylady" yet? She'll help you fly through the house and more!

Now, I just need to figure out how to make my husband's birthday celebration more fun, as his is only a few days after Christmas and by then I'm so tired I'm not much fun.

Do you have December Birthdays in your family? What's your best tip for keeping it all together and fun for the family?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Giving back and honoring our Veterans

My dad and husband both served in the military, one in the Army, the other in the Navy. So it is with great pride that I mention them both in this post. As you can imagine, Veteran's Day is a day of gratitude in our family.

Everyday you hear about companies giving back to their community. Each puts a different spin on it, sometimes losing the real spirit of the charity in the process.
For the past 5 years, I have been thinking, praying and researching different organizations, topics and charities-looking for something that we could sink our teeth into. I wanted it to really call to us. When one of our Consultants asked me, quite innocently, if we could send some tea overseas to her husband who was serving our country a great big smile spread across my face! This idea, immediately felt right! It's exactly what my soul was searching for.

That is how our new program, launched on Flag Dag this summer came to be. "Let Freedom Steep" is our small way to give back. Our servicemen and women need a bit of comfort from home. A cup of tea can provide that comfort and perhaps bring them to a place of quiet in an uncertain spot far from their friends and family.

Each month, we gather up all the donations of tea donated by our friends, family, facebook fans, Consultants and clients. We send a variety of tea, all in tea sachets so it's easy to make and enjoy ( better than a tea bag)
We select a troop, unit or even an individual to receive the care package from the recommendations made
through our clients. (If you would like to add a loved one to our list please contact us here )

Our first unit to receive the care package was so kind to send us a Thank you email and photo. The TEAm and I were so excited by their gratitude that I proudly put their photo in our new catalog!
I'm so pleased to be able to give back in this way, it's with a servant heart that we honor our Veteran's, past and present.  Happy Veteran's Day! And thank you so much for serving our country well.

* For more information on how to make a donation in honor of your Vet please click here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Partnering with another Professional!

Are you joining networking groups and scratching your head after the meetings?

"How are these people going to help me?" is not the question you should be asking yourself.
"How can I be of service to these professionals?" is the right way to approach it!

Let's take a look at partnering with a Real Estate Agent. In this housing market, agents are scouring the earth for unique ways to get the house sold. Millions of dollars are being spent on "Staging" and making the home ready for the sale. But then what?

Who's coming to look at the home? What can you do for this agent to increase the traffic to the property and make it look and feel good?

A Tea Party, of course!

Offer your services to make that property stand out and get attention! This will get your business attention in the end!

Many styles of homes lend themselves to a tea party, imagine what a draw this can be!

So, what does this entail?
You can serve tea and cookies/scones at the Property's first open house. Most listings will be shown to local agents first. This is where you want to be, meeting and shaking hands with the local professionals.

Let's make a checklist:
Items you'll need
* Pretty tablecloth-white or ivory so you don't compete with all the work the stagers have done.

* Tiered server for finger size goodies- see if the open house is sponsored by another professional, like a Title Company. If so, they can pick up the tab for the cookies etc.

* Tea-enough for 30 0r so (plan for the weather-you may need iced tea rather than hot tea!/
confirm with the agent on the presence of a tea kettle or bring your own)

* Pretty paper napkins (check out the clearance section of the local party store or try the $1 store)

* Small/6-8 ounce paper cups/hot cups -plan for 30 or so

* Your business cards

* A bowl or basket to collect the visitor's business cards (The listing agent also collects these cards, she/he may offer these to you at the end of the day.)

Make the table feel like a tea party, but not too fussy. The focus needs to be on the home for sale.

Where should you be?

That's up to the agent. Talk to her/him. They may need to you "dress up" a plain dining room, or the dining room can be staged to the nines. In that case, the table in the kitchen or setting up on the front porch can work to your advantage.

What should you charge? This is about getting you branded and making connections. Not making a product sale or booking a show. (Although both usually occur!) My suggestion is to
cover your expenses for items purchased, and do not charge for your time. The exact amount charged will be dependent on the location of the tea party/travel time for you and the cost of
goods used. Be smart and make some calculations. Draft up a word document - an "Event planning guide" to help with the details and the appointments. This can also act as an agreement between you and the agent.

Your goal here is to meet people and let them know that you are the local tea expert. This will brand you and grow your business. Don't just stand by the table and pour tea. In fact, pour someone tea and deliver it-engage in conversation and if someone else has to pour their own tea, that's okay. You can shake hands and make those introductions later.
Talk to the attendees, find out how they know your real estate agent. Make connections.
The other agents are going to be very intrigued by this new tea party/open house approach.
Answer their questions. Listen to their needs. Offer your assistance to solve their problems.

A"Service first" approach is going to keep people talking about you long after the open house.

Don't go to all this effort and then show up in jeans! Remember, you are making a first impression on lots of professional people. Wear your best business attire. Your company apron is appropriate, and your name tag too!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Marie!

I'm joining the celebration this week and enjoying all things wonderful about Marie Antoinette!
BirthdayLogomarie antoinette B
I just love, no -ADORE all things Parisian and Marie is at the top of my list! What I wouldn't have done to be on the set of the movie and just be an extra having tea and pretty little petit fours with Kirsten!
Maybe today I'll just pretend! I'll be on the phone all day, checking in with my TEAm but I always enjoy a pot of tea while I do this-so today I'll set the table and dream of having a princess take tea with me!

I know that pink was one of her favorite colors, and also that she loved little dogs! If you look closely you'll see her photo in the background and of course the glittery Eiffel Tower! I just love the swags and garlands on this fabric! If you want to take a peek at the collections and set a table for Marie, please click here.
Have you checked out this magazine yet? Lots of ideas to just set me pink with envy! I did come across a talented lady and just wanted to share her lovely Marie Madness with you! I think that we are kindred spirits- now I just have to meet her!  Please visit Joy,, you'll be happy you did. And I'm sure you need to "suggest" a gift idea or two for that hubby of yours to put into your stocking!

I'm always on the lookout for cute items with Marie's monogram on it! Please post a comment below and share your favorite "Marie Blog" or give me a heads up on where to find her monogram on  a great gift or two :) Have a Tea-rific Weekend!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Celebrating Autumn!

I have an Autumn birthday, and many have told me that is why I adore the season so much! The colors really seem to speak to me, and I enjoy bringing them into my home.
 I just love the soft chocolate tones of this set! Well, how can you go wrong with chocolate? The flowers on the tea cozy are so fun and did I mention that the chocolate tones just whisper to me? :) Okay, they scream at me! :)
Tablescape thurs bloomsbury truffle

 Tablescape thurs bloomsbury truffle 3 
Here are the little friends stopping in for tea on their way south for the winter! (from Micheal's Craft Store)
Tablescape thurs bloomsbury truffle 4
I just love this plate with the quote along the rim and the gardening theme! (from Portmerion) I'm getting good use from my flatware purchased at Tar-get! And what do you think of the napkin tucked under the plate?
Tablescape thurs bloomsbury truffle 2
Thanks for stopping in for my fall fest! I hope that you enjoyed the setting! And do stop in at Susan's to visit with the other talented tablescapers!
 And please do visit all the talented tablescapers over at Susan's blog!