Perfectea, A Perfect Cup of Tea or Tea for Two

So you know how much I love tea:

And then I got into loose leaf tea. That can take a lot of time and work. You heat the water, fill the little infuser, steep-thats the easy part. The hard part is trying to clean your infuser, it takes forever!

So much time

But then I went to Teavana and I saw the coolest thing ever!

An infuser that makes two perfect cups of tea and is so easy to clean-Perfectea.

And it really is perfect! I just love it so much! It is so easy to use, to clean, etc. Just watch it, you will want one too.

It makes two cups of tea- the perfect amount for tea time with a friend:

Or if you are like me- the perfect cup of tea. Yep, I love tea and a lot of it.

All you do is:

  1. Scoop two teaspoons of whatever tea you love and place in the infuser.
  2. Add hot water and steep according to tea instructions.
  3. Place infuser over a mug and push it down, allowing the tea to come out and fill it.
  4. Add sugar, milk, cream, or creamer.

Fantastic! I love it so much I can’t stop using it.

For more tea posts, go to How to Make a London Fog

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

For more on C.S. Lewis, go to When A Willing Victim Who Had Committed No Treachery Was Killed in A Traitor’s Stead, the Table Would Crack and Death Itself Would Start Working Backwards: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Cherry-Pistachio Tea Cakes

So when reading, especially Jane Austen, it is always nice to pair it with something. Of course tea:

But while on a literary adventure, it is always nice to have something to eat to sustain you in your “travels”.

So here is a delicious recipe borrowed from my sister blog MysteriousEats.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Pistachios
  • 1/3 Cup of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2/3 Cup of Powdered Sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 12-24 Medium Cherries with Stems

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. Pulse the pistachios, flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor or blender until finely grounded.
  4. Whisk the powdered sugar and eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in the pistachio mixture until just combined.
  5. Stir in the melted butter until just incorporated.
  6. Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup.
  7. Bake until slightly puffed and just beginning to set, about 8 minutes.
  8. Place 1 or 2 cherries in the center of each cake and continue baking until the cakes feel springy and the edges are lightly browned, 10-12 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan to cool completely.
  10. Dust with powdered sugar.

Thoughts After Baking:

It did not come out well…

Fresh cherries are not in season, so I substituted with frozen.

I should not have done that…they made too much liquid…it just did not work…

I will keep my tea cakes, and as soon as fresh cherries are in season I will remake this and give you an update.

For more recipes, go to How to Make a London Fog

How to Make a London Fog

As you can tell, this post isn’t about this:

Stay out of the forest!

But this:

StirsTea

So during the week I go to a coffee shop in the morning to kill an hour before work and while there buy a cup of Earl Grey tea.

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I drank so many that I had enough to get any drink free! I asked the barista what she recommended and they said a London Fog- Earl Grey tea with Vanilla and heated, foamy milk. I tried it and LOVED it!

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I had to have more of it. So I decided to make it myself.

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Ingredients:

  • Tea Kettle/Teapot
  • Earl Grey Tea (I use loose leaf but you can do bagged)
  • Milk
  • Vanilla Creamer
  • Milk Frothier
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Tall Glass
  • Tea Mug or Teacup

Directions:

  1. Put your kettle or teapot on and heat the water.
  2. Prepare your loose leaf tea (one teaspoon per cup of water). [I typically drink out of a two cup tea mug.]
  3. When water is ready pour in mug over tea infuser or tea bag. (Tea should steep no more than three minutes.)
  4. When tea is steeping prepare the milk. This is something that might take a few trials until you find your perfect taste. I typically take 1/4 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of Vanilla creamer and pour both into the tall glass.
  5. Using the frothier, whisk the milk mixture until it is nice and airy. If you don’t have a frothier you can use a tall glass jar and shake it up.
  6. Heat the milk mixture in the microwave for a minute.
  7. When the tea has steeped, remove it from the mug and add sugar (if needed) and foamy milk mixture.
  8. Drink & enjoy!

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It was delicious, and cheaper than forking over four dollars every time you wished to have it. Delicious!

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For more recipes, go to Harlem Tea Room Cheddar-Thyme Scones

For more Tea posts, go to I Made My Own Teabags

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Whether Presentable or Not, I Love Spending Time With You: Episode Four, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

I Made My Own Teabags

PatrickjanementalistTEA

So I don’t know how many of you remember, but I went to Teavana and became addicted to loose leaf tea.

StirsTea

Yes, loose leaf tea is so much better than the bagged one. It is richer and just tastes amazing.

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Now there is a problem with it, unlike the bagged tea you can’t just stick the loose leaf tea in your purse or bag and take it wherever you go. You have to have the infuser, keep your tea dry and cool in an container, have a dish to hold the infuser afterwards, etc. It can be a lot of work.

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I mean a good infuser is hard to find, one that the holes are small enough the tea doesn’t come through. Once you find one, you protect it and make sure that it doesn’t get damaged. I like having my tea throughout the day and at work, so I’ve been buying loose leaf for home and carrying the packaged ones with me for travel.

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But this was starting to rack up in money and I knew there had to be an inexpensive way to make tea bags. But what to do?

ThinkingHmmwriting

I checked online to see if there was anything I could do. I found a way to make teabags using coffee filters on The Make Your Own ZoneThe directions and guide were super easy to follow and do. I made two bags and thought I would test them out at the nearest tea time.

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I stuck the bag in, and I think I folded it wrong as it had a ton of air in it and floated to the top. I had to use a spoon to weigh it down so it would steep. It tasted alright, but not as good as a regular infuser. I think it is good of you want to take your tea on the go.

But either way, loose leaf or bagged: I love tea!

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For more on tea, go to It’s Always Tea Time

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to There’s a Cyclone Coming: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

 

Lemon Scones

Even though we are in the middle of Horrorfest V, it never hurts to take a tea break!

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Here is a post borrowed from my sister blog on scones! 🙂

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Mysterious Eats

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So in the Miss Marple mystery we have quite a few tea parties. And what do we need at a tea party?

teaandscone Tea and Scones!

As I have a tree that produces a lot of lemons, I am always trying to find lemon recipes to use them. This Lemon Scone recipe comes from Eat Up and Slim Down: Tried and True Recipes and Tips from Real Weight-Loss Winners by Jane Kirby and David Joachim.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of Unbleached or All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of Ground Cardamom or Coriander
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Safflower Oil
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 1/2 Cup of Low-Fat Plain or Lemon Yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Grated Lemon Peel

Directions:

  1. Preheat the Oven to 400 degrees F and coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cardamom or coriander, salt, and 2…

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It’s Always Tea Time

So a while back we had a tea party at our church for an event.

teaandscone

Different people were given a table, in which we could make our theme whatever we wanted. I was given a table and my theme was books! After all:

blanceTea&Books

Anyways, I just realized I forgot to post the pics from it. So I thought I would now.

tea

My centerpiece was a collection of nice hardcover classics stacked on top of each other, with a hollowed book on top that a tree branch came out of. Clipped to the tree was tea bags for each person to choose from.

I then chose six of my favorite classic books in which the characters have tea time or talk about tea. With each table setting I tried to embody the book.

mr knightley drinks tea

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Setting 1: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, 1814

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So for the first setting I made sure to pair it with a very simple cup, as Fanny is not only a poorer relation, but she is a girl who likes simple things over the grandiose and showy. I laid out a copy of the book cover in front of the table setting, and then had this quote on the table.

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Then the cutlery:

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I put a white bow because Fanny would be the type to have a simple adornment like that, instead of extensive work on her dress.

I also added the gold cross as that is a huge part of the scheming by Maria Crawford to get Henry and Fanny matched up. When Fanny asks to borrow a chain for the gold cross her brother gave her, Maria sneakily gives her one that Henry gave her; so when Henry sees it he thinks that Fanny has decided to embrace his attentions, (i.e. gave him the green light).

For more on Mansfield Park, go to A World of Teas

For more Jane Austen, go to Free, for Lack of a Better Word, is Good

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Setting 2: Emma by Jane Austen, 1815

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The second setting I choose Emma. For this I had a gold and cream cup and saucer; the fanciest one I could find as Emma was rich and from an old family. She would have the finer things.

I laid out the book cover and this quote from the novel:

teaEmma

For Emma’s cutlery I wanted something a bit showier and fancier. I made a hair clip out of a red flower and gold fan charm. I thought this would encompass the character of Emma.

tea

For more on Emma, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to I Can’t Pretend, I Have to Be

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Setting 3: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, 1859

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This was the table setting I choose for myself as I figured I would probably be the only one at the tea party who has read this book. And I was right. I don’t know why people don’t read Wilkie Collins anymore. This one of my favorite mysteries, as our main character comes upon a woman in white who holds a warning, leading him down a very twisted path. As the story continues, different characters become the voice of the book, until we reach the conclusion and discover who this woman in white is and what she is trying to stop.

I set up a copy of the book cover, and in front of it had my absolute favorite tea quote:

teatime

Seriously, if you aren’t here I am starting without you.

StirsTea

Anyways, the silverware:

tea

This was the first one I put together going with a magnifying glass as this was a mystery, and adding a cameo afterwards. I thought it would be a great symbol of the time, along with the white silhouette of a women being reminiscent of the woman in white.

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Setting 4: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, 1865

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The fourth setting was an Alice in Wonderland theme. The cup I choose for this was one designed to be a rose, while the saucer a leaf. This was to symbolize the Garden that Alice has a not so fun time in.

I set up a copy of the book cover, and in front of it had this quote:

teatimealiceinwonderland

Then I designed the napkins thusly:

teanapkin

The watch of course for the White Rabbit who is always running late, and the creamer for the Mad Hatter and March Hare’s obsession with tea and their endless tea party.

For more on Alice in Wonderland, go to Disney Lesson

For more on Lewis Carroll, go to Can’t Go Back 

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Setting 5: Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, 1911

PeterPan

Second to last we had Peter Pan. The cup I choose for this one had strawberries on it, and I choose it because I thought it was something that Wendy would have liked.

I laid out the book cover and this quote:

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For the setting I went with something a little more basic, a red feather. This feather was supposed to be the feather Peter wears in his hat.

tea

For more on Peter Pan, go to My Teaddiction (Tea Addiction)

For more on J. M. Barrie, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try

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Setting 6: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, 1950

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For the last setting I went a little more modern than the others. This one’s tea cup had a winter scene as the world of Narnia is stuck in a cycle of :

Always winter but never Christmas”

I laid the book cover and this quote:

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This quote is from Mrs. Beaver, but for cutlery design I went with Mr. Tumnus and Lucy’s tea time. I had two tiny tea cups tied to symbolize their tea for two.

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For more on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, go to Simply Fantastic

For more on C. S. Lewis, go to Going on a Treasure Hunt

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drinkteaReadbooks

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For more on my love of tea, go to My Trip to Teavana

For more book-filled posts, go to A Book Only a Reader Could Write

A World of Teas

Recently I was given a collection of five teas; A World of Teas by Tea forté. 

StirsTea

As I was about to try them out, I started thinking, which books would best suit the teas? After all nothing goes together better than a good book and a delicious tea.

drinkteaReadbooks

You guys ready?

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Tea #1: Bombay Chai from Bombay, India

tea

This tea was spicy with layers of taste. The first thing that popped in my head was the scene from Sense & Sensibility (1995) when Colonel Brandon says the air is full of spices. This made me think that this book was the perfect pairing.

sense-and-sensiblity

Its range of spices and many layers make it just like Colonel Brandon.

ColonelBrandon

At first glance an average soldier, but as you read you see there are many parts to him. Plus it seemed as if it would be something he would drink after his time abroad.

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

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Tea #2 Moroccan Mint from Morocco

CupofTeaFeelBetter

This tea was refreshing and cool, but also predictable. This was a familiar taste with no real surprises, however that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. For that reason, I choose Death on Demand by Carolyn G. Hart.

DeathonDemand

Death on Demand is the beginning of the series and follows amateur private detective and mystery bookstore owner, Annie Laurence, as she tries to figure out which of the many possible suspects killed an annoying, blackmailing, author. She is racing against the clock as if she cannot find the real killer, she will end up being thrown in jail!

While at times it may be predictable the character and stories always leave me coming back for more.

For more on Death on Demand, go to It’s Fantastico!
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Tea #3 African Solstice from South Africa

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So this one started off good, lots of flavor and taste; but then I had the rooibos. I don’t like rooibos, as for me it has a weird aftertaste that I just don’t agree with. Once those came in, this tea was lost on me. The book I thought would be the best pairing is Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

ThingsFallApart

Things Fall Apart is the story of Nigerian Okonkwo, an Ibo leader. The book chronicles his life, family culture, and ambitions. An accident causes things to derail for Okonkwo, and he is sent away. While he regroups and plans how to re-achieve his prior success, the British arrive with their influence and missionaries changing the structure of the villages. Will Okonkwo be able to adapt? Or will he fall under the British wheel of “progress”?

Like this African tea, I really enjoyed about two-thirds of the novel. The rooiboss of the the novel, for me, was the ending. I thought it built up perfectly, but ended way to soon, with enough falling action. It is like when you bake a cake and open the oven too soon, causing the cake to fall. That’s how the ending of this book and tea were to me, too soon.

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Tea #4: Sencha from Japan

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This tea at first seems simple and plain, but as you drink it you realize there is a whole lot more going on, and it has an incredible flavor. I finished this tea off first of all the others in the collection.

This actually made me think of two books. The first being Mansfield Park:

mansfieldpark

At first glance Mansfield Park seems simple and a lot say it is boring. Fanny is a placid girl, often being the tool of others instead of going after what she wants. However, as you continue reading you see that Fanny has a lot more to her character than meets the eye. She is often passive as she is grateful for being pulled out of a bad situation; but when one tries to force her to do something she really does not want to (marriage to Mr. Crawford, a first class rake) she becomes a will of iron and will not be bent. She completely encompasses the old Japanese proverb of being bamboo, willing to bend with the wind but not break.

The second being Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

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Now I don’t want to spend too much time on this book as I am planning on reviewing it in the winter as part of my 30 Day challenge.

However, Hale is a master crafter as she takes the simple fairy tale of Maid Maleen and turns it into this incredible adventure full of bravery, romance, and supernatural elements.

For more on Mansfield Park, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

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Tea #5 Estate Darjeeling from Darjeeling, India.

mr knightley drinks tea

I’ve had other Darjeeling but didn’t like them, I thought they were too sweet and didn’t care for them. However, this one was fantastic! It was an amazing surprise.

Originally I thought I would pair this with Emma, but instead I think two other books would be better:

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When I first had read the Jane Austen novels, I had heard of all of them (and seen film adaptions) except these two. Not only had I never heard of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, it appears most fans of Jane Austen also don’t really know much about them. Why is that?

Anyways, when I first read them I was so surprised with how amazingly great they are that they knocked my list of favorites all about. Perfect match with a surprisingly fantastic tea.

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen
For more on Persuasion, go to Captain Wentworth’s Diary

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After all:

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For more on tea, go to My Trip to Teavana

For more book-filled posts, go to Post Approved

Harlem Tea Room Baking Powder Scones

We’ve talked about books, we’ve talked about tea, now it is time for something to pair with the two: a scone.

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Mysterious Eats

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Thoughts Before Cooking:

So I was going to make scones for a tea party and pulled out this recipe I had clipped from an old O- the Oprah magazine.

The magazine article is about Patrice Clayton opening up a tearoom in Harlem. This article must be really old though because the website hasn’t been updated since the mid 2000s and on Yelp it appears that it has closed down. 😦 That’s too bad.

The article gives three versions of the recipe: Baking Powder Scones, Cheddar-Thyme Scones, and Raisin Scones. I only had the ingredients for the Baking Powder one, but I will test out the others and post when I do.

This recipe is designed to go with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

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Ingredients:

  • 8 Tbsps (1 Stick) of Cold, Unsalted Butter, Cut into Small Pieces, Plus Extra for Baking Sheets
  • 3.5 Cups of All-Purpose Flour, Plus Extra for…

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My Trip to Teavana

So I’m sure you are probably thinking this another pun like in my teaddiction.

Couldn't resist

But it is not a pun, but about my actual trip to Teavana.

huh

huh

So a couple weeks back I took my niece and mother to the big mall in the next city. It has a ton of stores, ones we don’t have in my town.

You should have gone shopping.

So something I do every time is consider buying a teddy bear from Build-a-Bear.

Don't be fooled by its cuteness, evil lurks in that heart.

So let me back up a bit. When Build-a-Bear first came out I really, really, really wanted one. But my parents said it was tooo expensive for a stuffed toy so I never got one.

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

So every time I visit a mall that has one I consider buying one, but then I fight with myself after all I really don’t need it.

Tempting but no

Tempting but no

This time we were at the store and they had a great deal on the animals. You saved ten dollars if you bought two. I was really planning on it until I saw the cutest Ewok bear.

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I was totally going to come back for it before I left. After all it was cute, Star Wars, and I had just gotten paid. And it was soooo cute!

ShutUpTake MY Money

We were going to come back but then my mother maneuvered us toward Teavana. I was happy as you all know how much I love tea.

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Plus free samples!

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The tea was great and my mother wanted to buy some. So she headed in the back while I was looking for a trash can. I then went to the back when the guy was asking me what tea I wanted to buy.

Majorly

Majorly

I was about to tell him it wasn’t for me but my mom, when I looked around and she had disappeared.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

She had tricked me. She took me there, got the salesman all prepped  and now I was going to have to buy the tea.

And of course I had no tin to put it on so I had to buy one of those. Pretty much I ended up dropping a larger wad than I was planning.

Argh!!!

Argh!!!

And I couldn’t buy that adorable Ewok.

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Oh well, at least I know one thing that will make me feel better:

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And watch out for your mothers, they be tricky.

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For more tea stories, go to One Hot Date

For more trips to the mall, go to A Trip to the Mall Turns into the Twilight Zone

For more on teddy bears, go to The Teddy Bear that Would NOT Die!

For more stories from my every day life, go to I Will Not Bend, I Will Not Break