Monday, January 1, 2018

Barb's Tea Service In/Out List for 2018

Cheers to a what's in for 2018 in my all white kitchen with quartz counter tops

As we approach the new year, I not only look forward to fresh beginnings, but eagerly await the multitude of experts who weigh in on what's trendy and what's not for the next twelve months. Inspired by these lists, BTS, in its humble opinions (and we have many!), offers up its own In/Out List for 2018.

Drawing once again, in particular, from the Detroit Free Press' Homestyle "What's hot, not. . .", we are saddened to learn white kitchens are out, since we just put one "in" this spring.  Another strike against us:   Sherwin Williams "Poised Taupe" is replaced by the deep, blue green hue "Oceanside" for its color of the year.  We do however, find solace in our quartz countertops and Prince Harry and Megan Markle's upcoming nuptials. Both are IN and we're on board.

Jane Austen Christmas by Carol DeVito

IN:   A Jane Austen Christmas.  As described in Carlo Devito's book of the same name, a Regency period Christmas, before the Victorian falderal, still had much to offer with yule logs, mead, champagne and green tea punch and lots of parlor games, including charades and whist. Add a fortified Syllabub to your next pinochle tournament and jump bids will receive much approbation.

OUT:  Hallmark Christmas movies . . . until next year.  We have another 11 months to wait for incognito Princes to meet up with attractive, amnesiac, ladies in a town laden with fake snow.

Beverage center away from the kitchen, easy to self-serve!

INBeverage stations.  This year, my husband, Chris, created a "beverage station" in our hallway between the kitchen and the great room. This lessened the kitchen congestion and provided a convenient help-yourself drinks buffet for our family and friends. (We also found further "IN" support of this handy innovation in Mary Carol Garrity's "Style at Home: Cheers in the New Year" with her pop-up bars outside the kitchen.)

OUTCongested traffic patterns in all white kitchens (but with quartz counter tops which provides us some redemption).

This year brought in new DA gowns
DA teddy bears - cute or a cry for help?

INDownton Abbey.  Reboots and possible movies are dangled before us Downton Abbey-ites almost weekly in social media posts to both taunt and delight. We've filled the gaping void with Crawley family teddy bears and Edwardian dresses. To assist, BTS is still scheduling Downton Abbey-inspired afternoon teas for 2018 (our first DA event is in February).

Tera, our own Downward Dog, shares her fav magazine, Bark

OUTDown-ward Dog:  Sadly, this new TV show didn't last a whole season. Although not the period epic of Downton Abbey, it featured an emo talking dog that observed his family environs with the keen and entertaining quips of any Dowager, (e.g,. "Who fluffs your pillows in the wild?").

Costume changes are tiring

Cat with bow tie for Sept. wedding

IN: Dressing your family pet, (eg. dog for the holidays and your cat for weddings).

OUT:   Rolling your eyes at dressing dog or cat and saying, "not again".

Gown in Venice dress shop, not considered business casual

Pretty dress from Saks, always in vogue

INBeautiful, pastel party dresses from Sax!

OUT:  Ornate, wide-hipped gowns accompanied by a powdered wig, unless you are attending the masked ball in Venice.

Sip soothing limited Crown Teas while binge watching the series.

IN: Season Two of "The Crown". This fascinating mini-series tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II, royal warts and all. Enjoy binge-watching with The Crown teas from The Republic of Tea.

OUTThe Last Jedi.  I'll be considered a heretic in my own family, but really, isn't "last" in the title?

Da Vinci painting at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence

INDa Vinci, This genius artist has never gone out of style, but his story has gained a renaissance (if you'll forgive me!) with the new biography out this year by Walter Isaacson. If you find the hardcover a bit heavy to hold, download the Kindle version like we did.

Golden Girls coloring book

OUTGolden Girls Coloring Book.  Well, not really. If you don't have the talent of a renaissance painter, this is a fun pastime while binge-watching your favorite mini-series. However, note there's not much demand for your finished product (and none spotted in the Uffizi Gallery. . .yet).


Etiquette! Never out of fashion, BTS offers classes on dining and tea etiquette. Watch for a new companion book to our etiquette series to hit the stores in 2018!

Discovering Michigan! Whether its Michigan tea rooms, waterfalls, train stations or the wonders of the UP, there's many trip-worthy destinations to uncover. This February we'll be in Marquette for the annual dog races - bring on the thermos of hot, black tea!

With author of 100 Things to do in the UP, working on no. 34

Homestead Harvest  made in Michigan

And, whether you're in Michigan or not, you can enjoy some home-grown products from the Mitten State wherever you are. We recommend Mindo and Bon Bon Bon chocolates (see below) as well as Homestead Harvest (available at Eastern Market). Sample their canned products including dilled onions, sour cherry smoked Habanero sauce and Black Raspberry Jam, the latter  being the perfect accompaniment to scones and a cup of Earl Grey.

Afternoon tea can be anywhere, but be weary of party crashers!

Afternoon tea from luxurious to rustic! Celebrate the joys of bringing folks together for a pot of tea, an assortment of sweets and savories and the company of family and friends. Among our favorites this year: The Townsend, Abiding in  the Vine, Royal Tea Room, Babbington's, and Pemberly Pines. Just watch out for party-crashers!

BTS with Mindo Chocolate, stocking up on supplies
Tasty treat sans caloires

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! When you write a tea blog and a large percentage of your content is devoted to chocolate, you know said blogger looks for ways to combine the two for some extraordinary results. Consider a cup of Republic of Tea's Double Dark Chocolate Mate or try sampling a Mindo candy bar or a Bon Bon Bon truffle with complementary tea  or, perhaps best of all,  booking BTS for a chocolate tea pairing!

Whether you're in or out this season, we know you're always trending! We raise our tea cup to all in the spirit of the holidays and with all good wishes for a wonderful new year.

Happy New Year from Barb's Tea Service!!

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