Monday, January 16, 2012


{via Pinterest}

Falling down, falling behind, falling to pieces, falling head over heels-- guilty of them all in the past six months. 

There's nothing like having your loved ones there to remind you of who you are when even you yourself don't seem to remember any more. 

Now I know where I stand and I'm ready to get this year started with a clearer focus than I've had in a long, long time.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Keep Calm & Have a Cup of Tea

Allow me to take you on a flashback to August when I had the very wonderful pleasure of visiting England and Scotland.  I loved the trip.  In fact, I distinctly remember being in Edinburgh and thinking that if someone told me I could stay and live there if I only agreed to start a brand new job shoveling horse [you know what] and left everything I owned in the states, I would have agreed right then and there.

So what did I love the most about the trip?  Besides the amazing company of my sister and the divine hospitality of a dear friend in Newcastle, having so many things that I've studied or taught from a book appear life size and in 3-D was by far the biggest thrill of the 10 days.  I'll post the pictures that look like romantic scenes from Braveheart soon so I can share just how beautiful, surreal, and serene the experience was with you.  Every castle, every mountain, every flock of sheep grazing on the foggy countryside, made me feel like William Wallace was going to appear in front of me at any moment and whisk me away into the Highland hills.  Yeah, I know, head completely in the clouds!

When I wasn't being an annoying history nerd and sappy romantic, I was enjoying the UK's finest foods and refreshments.  So many people told me the food in England and Scotland wouldn't be very good, but I found quite the opposite to be true.  I had the best smoked salmon I've ever eaten in my life at a pub on the shores of Loch Lomond, the most delicious sticky toffee pudding (that still makes my mouth-water) in Newcastle, and my first afternoon tea service at the adorably eclectic Eteaket Tea Room on Frederick Street in Edinburgh.

{above images via 1, 2, 3, 4, 5}

Perhaps the closest we have to the sophisticated afternoon tea ritual here in the states is our "soup and salad" option at neighborhood cafes.**  I'm curious how an afternoon tea service would do here in America.  I imagine that the appropriate portion sizes, variety of sconces and sandwiches, and the afternoon pick-me-up from the tea would be an ideal lunch option for the busiest of all Americans, yet I have never seen a cafe offer anything remotely similar.  Is it a niche market?  I don't think so.  A gold mine?  Perhaps.  Maybe more of a diamond in the rough as far as an idea goes for now.  I'll post it on my inspiration board to see what I think of the idea in a few months. What I do know, though, is that I need more afternoon tea in my life, fast!

** Disclaimer:  I can't believe I just compared afternoon tea to a "soup and salad" combo but I did, tragically... in an attempt to draw attention to my point that nothing nearly as elegant, timeless, and enjoyable exists in American culture, I'll admit that even I am disappointed in the analogy.  But can you think of a fair comparison?**

(that's me)

(that's not me, but I'm sure she'd be thrilled to know she was chronicled mid-sip on the SLP!)

{above images by the SLP}