Tea with Cream and Sugar

Loveys, you know that my sister Sara and I love to have tea. We met yesterday for a much-needed tea date, and it was wonderful. I'm not sure when it was that I first fell in love with having a spot of tea. :) Growing up, I only drank hot tea when I had a sore throat. My mother is a coffee-drinker, for sure. I'm definitely a fan of all things British--so I think that started the fascination. Watching movies like Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility helped. And, of course, in the past several years, watching Downton Abbey (where they drink tea constantly!) left an impression.

We moved to Colorado about twelve years ago, and I first had tea at the Glen Eyrie castle. Starting your tea experience at a castle seems to be a little bit of an advantage. How can you not love the experience? Since then, Sara and I have found several tea spots around Denver that we love. And I've hosted tea parties at my home, of course. Even Ashtyn had a Paris-themed tea party for her birthday last year. That little princess is definitely growing up with an affinity for tea-drinking (which thrills me!).

There's something delightful about having tea. With scones and lemon curd and clotted cream, or biscuits and blackberry jam--maybe quiche on the side or truffles. I lean toward black teas. Yesterday at the tea shop, I had a pot of chocolate peppermint tea, which was absolutely delicious. Some people like fruitier teas or green tea.

What's the draw? When watching a movie or a TV show like Downton Abbey, you notice that every time someone comes to visit, the family "rings for tea." When Mary goes to visit Granny, they always sit at an elegant table for two in her parlor and sip tea. To me, the experience feels special. As though you're partaking in something that's been going on for years and years. I still remember watching one of the older versions of Little Women every time I went to visit my Mimi. Laurie invites Jo in for tea. "One lump of sugar or two?" he asks her. "One," she answers, then after a quick thought, "Three." (My kind of girl.)

So yesterday, in a small tea shop, Sara and I sat across from each other and sipped tea and ate quiche and talked and laughed quietly. And that's the best part of having either high tea or an informal tea--it's all about the company.  

Now in the movies, it's always extra easy. They ring for tea and it magically arrives. You all know that my sister Laura got married in October and that the wedding was at the incredibly beautiful Trump Vineyard in Charlottesville. We basically had breakfast in a gorgeous estate (which felt like a castle!). It's the kind of experience that happens in the movies. You go have breakfast in an elegant room, near a crackling fire. You sit at a table with linens and china, and they bring out your coffee and cream and sugar. And all is right in the world.

Real life is a little different. No one brings me breakfast. There are waffle crumbs all over the kitchen island. I gulp down my coffee while it's still lukewarm, amid feeding Lily (the messiest eater ever). Curious George is on in the background, and Jeff is heating up a burrito in the microwave. That's real life.

To me, that's why having tea is extra special. Because amid waffle crumbs and sticky counters, we all need something beautiful and clean every now and then. We need to show up where someone has tea ready and waiting (and still hot). We need to sit and breathe deep and have either conversation or comfortable quiet. We need Downton Abbey. And friends to talk about it with. We need to pour tea and talk and laugh over quiche and scones. We need special moments and treats to balance out the chaos and busyness of life.

The other night I went to a "Galentine's" party at a girlfriend's house. It was SO wonderful to walk in to a beautiful space, with delicious food and champagne all ready for guests. I loved it. Music in the background, conversation all around, chocolate cake--we all need nights like that. I appreciate the thought and the work that goes into those gatherings. It's a gift. It's meant to be special and it absolutely is.

That's how I feel about tea parties. I know some women might think they're old-fashioned or overly girlish. And that's totally fine. All women are different. But for myself, I love the experience, and I love the friendship that goes with it. I love knowing that Ashtyn will grow up with memories of having tea with her mom. You guys know that I enjoy community. Even yesterday, Nancy came over for just a quick cup of coffee and to catch up. It doesn't always need to be fancy. Just coffee and conversation with a friend is enough to lighten the load and give us a boost.

But every now and then, a tea party might be in order.

We're nearing the final episode of Downton Abbey, lovey. (Which is devastating to me.) But the tea and scones can live on. :)

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