Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy New Year to Teaophiles and Teaophytes Alike!

Greetings fellow tea enthusiasts!

I'm sitting down in front of my computer with a delicious cup of Elmwood Inn's English Breakfast Tea. It's the perfect fog-cutter for a misty, Michigan afternoon, although it's not just the weather that needs some adjustment. After a busy holiday season and a tea schedule that beat last year's record, I'm ready to settle in for a few weekends and get organized and re-energized. One of my goals for 2008 is to update my blog weekly and chat more regularly with my tea friends.

Brief Year-in-Review

2007 was an expansion year for Barb's TEA Shop. We ran the gamut of tea presentations from children's manners classes and teddy bear teas to in-home tea tastings. We conducted seminars at several venues throughout the state including the Grand Oak Herb Farm , the Masonic Temple, Sajos Banquet Room (for a group of 80-plus Red-Hatters!) and rounded out the year with two Holiday Teas at the Community House of Birmingham. We traveled to Bancroft, Mount Clemens, Grosse Point, Rochester and Sterling Heights - and many places in between.

The teddy bear tea in September at the Community House was particularly special for me; my 3-year old nephew, Rigel Christopher, was visiting from Denver and joined us for (kool-aid) tea for the last half of the program. (Aunt Barb says, "You can never start tea, socialization and etiquette classes too soon.") I'm quick to note that all children who attended the tea and etiquette classes were well-mannered before stepping into class. The classes simply add an extra dimension of confidence, poise and self-assurance that can be applied to all social settings - not just tea parties. And - put your stereotypes in the last millennium - half the children in attendance were boys!

Barb's TEA Shop also traveled out of state to Kentucky to meet up again with Bruce and Shelly Richardson and - the highlight of the year - my one-on-one tea tour of New York City with Elizabeth Knight. BTS is anxious to hit the road again and we have a couple of exciting, new tea trips planned for 2008. Stay tuned. . .

Barb's TEA Shop is also appreciative of the wonderful media coverage we received this year, including the full coverage on page 2 of The Detroit Free Press (Sunday, March 17).

Now, I've detailed all the highlights and it truly was a fantastic year for us. However, not everything can run as smooth as cup of darjeeling. We did run into some "hot water" - or should I say lack of - at one of the tea events this year. We were presenting and serving to a group of over 30 women and we soon discovered there was a problem with the facility's electrical hook-ups. We were temporarily prevented from serving tea to our guests. I'm happy to report, the maintenance folks were quick to find their error, and we were back in business once they made the proper connections. It is times like these, I must say, that I'm so happy I'm in the tea business - where one can benefit from the soothing and calming qualities of this delightful beverage.

We look forward to another exciting, healthy and prosperous year and wish the same for all our tea friends. To our new and "old" friends, we'd love to hear from you, too!

Yours in tea and friendship,


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