Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tea During Disney Honeymoon

I planned the wedding while the husband had the fun job of planning the honeymoon.  However, we both helped each other out at times as we are both organized people who love making plans and schedules anyways.

After much discussion we decided to honeymoon in Orlando, Florida visiting Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World.  Since I discovered my fear of flying when we flew to Miami, Florida in 2011, I thought it best to pick a destination within reasonable driving distance.  From Indiana to Florida was about 17 hours, but, even though I did all of the driving, I found that much more relaxing than having to spend three hours on a plane.

I could go on and on about our amazing trip to the magical world of Disney, but since this is a tea blog I will keep the event topics strictly to those that involve tea.

I have drunk from many teacups, but this is the first time I got to ride in one.  The Mad Tea Party ride in Magic Kingdom is incredibly cute with all of the bright colors, the giant tea pot in the middle, and the whimsical spinning teacups.  After boarding our teacup and spinning around for about 10 to 15 seconds, the ride slowed and stopped.  We knew something was wrong since we had watched a few sessions of the ride before it was our turn and saw that it normally lasted longer.  We were instructed to stay in our teacups for a moment while the crew worked out an issue.  So, we took this opportunity to snap a few pictures of each other chilling in our cup.  After a few minutes the crew instructed us to exit our teacups as the ride needed further maintenance.  Thus, our ride was cut short, but I really didn’t mind because of the pictures we were able to take while on the ride and the new perceptive I gained from inside a teacup.  Although, I can’t help but to wonder how much tea would fit into one of those cups!

I spotted several tea items/locations while in EPCOT.  We checked out the Twinnings store in the England area.  I didn’t buy anything, but it was an adorable store.  We sniffed around the Joy of Tea booth, but it seemed like an Americanized version of tea with all of their fruit flavored mixes.  Finally, we made it into the beautiful China and gorgeous Japan areas.  I think I may have spent a little too much time (and maybe a little too much money) in those two places, but the tea and tea ware displays were so pretty!

The husband, knowing my love for tea, made reservations to the Garden View Tea Room at the Grand Floridian resort.  Although we had kind of a flighty waitress who tried to serve us the same course twice and kept forgetting things, the overall experience was elegant.  I had a pot of a basic green tea and the husband sipped on a citrus flavored green tea.  We were served five small finger sandwiches, a tiny tart, and two small dessert pastries.  The manager brought out a special dessert for it being our honeymoon.  The tea was average, but the food was full of flavor.

While at Hollywood studios, we had a few minutes before we needed to head to the Fantasia light show so we ducked into a café to have a look.  It was a cute little coffee and tea shop that had comfortable seating and shelves of books, tea, coffee, and drink ware.  I ended up buying a big box of Alice in Wonderland themed teas, plus we both bought a cup of freshly made tea to go to take with us to the light show.  It was about eighty degrees outside, but the hot English breakfast tea I ordered was still refreshing.

During our shopping spree in Downtown Disney, we visited a tea and spices store.  The whole place had kind of a homey kitchen feel to it.  There were rows and rows of teas and even more spices along with utensils, plates, drink ware, aprons, etc.  At that particular time the store was quite busy so we didn’t stay long, but I bought some chocolate flavored tea and a black and white Disney mug.

Almost all of the restaurants that we went to had some sort of tea menu.  Some menus were larger and more sophisticated than others, but the overall selection was far greater than any restaurant in our home town. 

At Jiko in the Animal Kingdom resort we had a dessert that featured green tea ice cream.  Additionally, while at Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge resort, we had a pot of a delicious gong fu style tea along side a bowl of mixed berry cobbler.  Feeling bold, I asked our waiter how much they are required to know about tea.  Being the friendly gentleman that he was, he stopped and told us all about how they have a professional tea taster come in to train them on different types of tea, the brewing process, steep times, temperatures, etc.; He sounded very knowledgeable on the subject.

Neither of us were previously into the whole Disney propaganda… until our trip.  In fact, I have never seen Alice in Wonderland or Snow White (among other movies, though I do know the plots).  However, by the time we got back into town we were already planning a return trip.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

My Tea-Themed Wedding

The hours and hours (and oh my goodness the hours!) of preparation paid off.  Everything went smoothly.  Despite all of the fun this past year, I am glad it is over.

The “Soon-To-Be Tea-Themed Wedding” post discusses my ideas mid-planning.  Please enjoy pictures of the final result.

It was a little difficult to find true tea items for decoration, so I had to stretch the theme and use leaves and vines.  One detail I was very pleased about is that the carpet of the venue in which we had our ceremony was dark green with gold leaves/vines.  Additionally, our wedding colors were black, white, and green.  Notice my dress?  Yes, I couldn't help but to add my favorite color to it.

After working with the cake decorator we came up with a design for the cake to have a smooth white background with dark brown piped vines decorated with protruding fondant leaves.  The leaves are actually lemon leaves, but they were the closest thing to tea leaves that I could find.  There was no way I was putting a topper on this cake because 1) I think toppers are stupid and 2) they take away from the overall design of the cake.

I wasn't going to get custom made napkins but the husband surprised me with these.

I designed the guest tables to have a black table clover with a white table runner in the center.  On the white runner is glass teapots with green LEDs on the bottom with rocks on top of the LEDs to hide the light source but still show the light (they looked a lot better when the overhead lights were off).  I took the lid off the teapots, sat them next to the teapots, and filled the teapots with flowers.  On each side of the teapots I had glass teacups filled with green rocks with a tea light candle in the center.  At each seat sat custom made coasters (another surprise from the husband), wedding favors filled with custom made tea, bells to ring us in as we came into the reception hall, and custom made pens.  I put white covers on the chairs with a green tulle bow on each one.

These were the custom teas that were available to the guests during the reception.  These same blends were in the favor boxes on the guest tables.  I couldn't find a picture of them at the reception so I took a quick picture to show off the design of containers... which were also custom made.

A few more tea-themed items from the wedding were my necklace and earrings that had leaves/vines on them, my tiara that had flowers and leaves, and the cake knife, server, and toasting flutes that sported leaves and vines.  Furthermore, since this was a secular ceremony, I printed the ceremony wording landscape style then wrapped the printed pages around a few of the pages from "The Book of Tea" so the officiant looked like she was reading out of the book.

Now that everything is over, I have over 20 glass teapots and over 40 glass teacups that I might sell or give away soon!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tea-Themed Bridal Shower

Amongst planning the layout of the reception tables, the order of the processional, my overall survival of the wedding day, etc., there was one wedding related event that I didn't have to plan – my bridal shower.

My bridesmaids graciously hosted an elegant tea-themed bridal shower in honor of my – at the time - upcoming nuptials.  No detail was spared; Pastel green table cloths covered five long tables – three tables for guests, one for gifts, and one for cake and punch.  Upon each guest table sat two vintage teacups with saucers, each holding a bouquet of fresh purple flowers.  Placed on the saucer were teabags filled with green tea adorning custom made tags that said “Brittiny and Kevin” one side and “The Perfect Blend” on the other side.  Additionally, each place setting had its own set of materials needed for each game.  The cake table held not only the beautiful cake, but also the delicious green punch, nuts, and handmade mints.  There were color coordinating cups, napkins, and forks for the occasion, as well. 

The games we played were surprisingly fun and resulted in loads of laughs.  Here is what the bridesmaids’ planned:

The first game lasted the entire time of the bridal shower.  Each girl started out with one clothes pin that they clipped to their shirt.  The only rule was that you could not say the groom’s name and if someone caught you saying the groom’s name then they got to steal your clothes pin.  The object was to be the person with the most clothes pins at the end of the party.

The second game was bride bingo.  Each person had a custom made bingo board that had a question about the soon-to-be wedded couple in each box.  Examples of some of the questions are, “Where did the groom propose,” “How long has the couple been dating,” and “How many dresses did the bride try on before she found the one?”  The guests were allowed time to answer each question to the best of their knowledge.  
Next, the bridesmaids read the questions and I answered them.  If the guest wrote down the correct answer, then they can mark that square.  The object was the get five squares in a row like a regular bingo card (across, up and down, or diagonal).

The third and final game involved matching each guest with their celebrity husband.  Each guest secretly wrote down their celebrity husband on a small piece of paper, folded it, and put it in a collective basket.  The bridesmaids then pulled out each name, read it aloud, and each guest had to match the celebrity with the guest whom they thought wrote it down.  To make this easier, the bridesmaids had given each guest a list of names of all of the guests at the party.  The object was to have the most correct matches.

The bridesmaids also had each guest write their name and address on a small envelope which ended up being the envelopes used for the thank you cards that I filled out later.  So thoughtful!

The prizes for the games were the beautiful teacup center pieces.  I didn't win any of the games, but I received a teacup just for being the bride!  After the games we loaded up on cake and punch while oohing, aahing, and chuckling as I unwrapped the gifts.

I am not the girly-est of girls and I only have a few girlfriends whom I hang out with on occasion, so being in a room full of the coolest ladies I know ended up being more fun than I had originally thought.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

I’m Back… No, Really!

Seriously!  Yes, I know, there have been several gaps of silence followed up with I-apologize-for-not-writing-more-posts posts and the I-am-back-and-starting-to-write-again posts. A lot of crying wolf, I know.  However, now that the wedding, honeymoon, and move are over and done with, I can get back to my hobbies.  Seriously.  Hey, wait!  Just hear me out.

I did not realize how much of a life suck wedding planning was going to be.  Holy.  Crap.  I do not mean that wedding planning sucked; I mean there is a lot to it (especially when on a tight budget).  I swear I had more free time working and going to college than working and planning this wedding.  It is over now and things couldn't have gone better (pictures to come)!

Another thing that stole a lot of time was that we planned to go on a honeymoon right after the wedding.  When I mean right after I mean we left town the very next day.

Furthermore, we had planned (maybe stupidly) to move from an apartment to a house right after we got back from the honeymoon.  This meant that we had two weeks to pack and move once we got back into town.  We did it, though (surprisingly)! 

What does all of this have to do with tea, you ask?  Well, I had a tea themed bridal shower, tea themed wedding, and spotted several tea venues/items on our honeymoon… which makes for some interesting blogging content.  Additionally, I have thought of other interesting tea topics to write about since the last time I have posted (if only I would actually write for this blog as much as I thought about writing for it…).  Trust me, I have never stopped thinking about this blog and I am not about to give up on it; I just had to take a break to get over a few time draining life events.

All of my tea ware made the trip safely.  I have an even bigger tea nook/office so review pictures will be a bit better and easier to take.

I hope to start more regular posts in the very near future.  I’m serious!