How to Plan a Tea Party (A Guest Post by Alison Walsh, Author of A Literary Tea Party)

This week, a very special cookbook has come into the world: A LITERARY TEA PARTY, by Alison Walsh, founder and cook at Alison’s Wonderland Recipes. Yes, it’s exactly what you think – a collection of recipes inspired by classic novels and perfect for afternoon teas. Alison and I have been following each other’s blogs for some time; and after she invited me to write the introduction for the cookbook, I knew I wanted to have her stop in for a guest post. So here is Alison, with her tips on planning a fun and delectable tea party.

Tea has been my drink of choice since before I was old enough to work the tea kettle, so it’s no surprise that tea parties are my favorite way to socialize. Four years ago, my bachelorette party was a quiet Irish-themed tea party held with a few friends at my mom’s house, and it’s still one of my fondest memories. I’ve hosted a few teas of my own (and a hot chocolate party!) and even wrote a literary-themed cookbook on the subject.

What is it about tea parties that charms me so? For one thing, I love that they’re designed to facilitate rather than impede meaningful socialization. It’s so much easier to talk in someone’s living room over a cup of tea than in a noisy, crowded bar or restaurant. I also love how, despite having a reputation for formality, tea parties can be as fancy or informal as you want (think high tea in an English manor versus a child’s imaginary tea party with plastic cups and teddy bear guests).

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What’s Making Me Happy: December 2017 & January 2018

I’m sort of glad now that I decreased my blogging schedule again. Because January was a blur, and not a fun kind of blur. I was buried with work at my day job for most of the month, which cramped my free time to a minimum and zapped my blogging time to… well, zero. :/ But some good things happened in January, too, and I can’t forget or discount any of that goodness.

That’s why I’m grateful for this series. What’s Making Me Happy reminds me of the highlights, fun events, and other recent joys – and after a month that drags you down in some ways, it’s a nourishing perspective to have. This month’s Happy post is twice as delightful, too: I’m covering both December and January, with three joys from each month. And with my slower blogging schedule, this bimonthly format might be the way to go from now on. What do you think?

Let’s start with…

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The Creativity Corner: Summer 2017

Summer ends tomorrow, and what a busy season it’s been. Traveling, sightseeing, getting a head cold (OK, that wasn’t fun, but it did happen), and through it all I managed to get a lot of writing and reading done. So despite the busyness, it was a productive and satisfying summer. 🙂

Without further ado, let’s launch into the Creativity Corner for a recap of what I’ve been writing and reading, and other related happenings, since the end-of-spring edition in June.
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What’s Making Me Happy: August 2017

As I write this, I’m battling a cold (which should be gone by the time this goes live), so I can barely grope for words to summarize my August. Except for “awesome.” Yes. I still dealt with lingering anxiety in my offline life, but as the month comes to a close, I’m utterly delighted with what happened and what I accomplished during that time.

So, yes, it was an awesome August. Say that alliteration ten times fast. 😉

Since today is the last day of August, it’s also time to share some of the joys of the past month. I’m taking a slightly different approach this time, too. Instead of mostly material items, I included two accomplishments (or, rather, “to-do list” items that I completed) and one experience. And feel free to share your August joys in your comments. I always love hearing what’s made you happy, too!

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Writing Spaces, Rituals, and Other Habits

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Ahhhh… Isn’t that a lovely view? Sometimes I think the beach would be my writing space paradise. Other times, I know I’d be so distracted by its beauty that I’d be better off indoors. But one can always dream, right?

Today I’m sharing tidbits about my real writing space, from my current “Draft #3 Central” to rituals and other habits when working on my WIP. This topic was inspired by recent posts by Jessica Matteliano and Rae Oestreich. In fact, I’m sort of copying Jessica’s format, which was based on questions from a recent #Storycrafter Twitter chat led by Faye Kirwin of Writerology. (Hope you don’t mind, Jessica. *winks*)

Curiousity piqued? Then let’s dive in!

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A Blogoversary Interview With Sara Letourneau

Happy Blogoversary

Today marks the blog’s 7th birthday!  😀  It seems like forever ago when I signed up for a free WordPress account – and to be honest, I had no idea what I was doing back then when it came to blogging. But since then, this site has evolved so much, and I’ve learned a lot and become a better writer because of it. And now, it’s time to celebrate this special birthday with a post that YOU, the readers, voted for.

Last month, readers selected an interview with yours truly as this year’s blogoversary post. I admit that I was a little nervous about this – but I’m an introvert. Of course, I would be nervous about being interviewed. This turned out to be a lot of fun, though, and I thank everyone who submitted questions. Enjoy!
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Submit Your Questions for a Blogoversary Interview with Me!

Happy Blogoversary

The poll results are in – and the “Interview with Sara” option won by a landslide! So, for this year’s blogoversary, YOU the readers have the chance to grill ME with questions. How does that sound?  😉

Today’s post is a call for questions for the interview, which will post on Saturday, July 9th (the official blogoversary date). You can ask me anything about writing, books and authors I’ve read, tea, music, something else – it’s up to you! But first, in case you need help thinking of questions…

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The Liebster Award 4.0

Liebster No 4

Back in September (which seems like forever ago now), Rona at Tea with Polly was kind enough to nominate me for my fourth Liebster Award. (Thank you, Rona!) It’s taken me a while to get to it because of the holiday craziness offline and the end-of-year posts I wanted to get out. But now, I finally have time to start catching up on awards again. (Yes, I still have others to do. It’s a little embarrassing…)

Btw, if you’re a fellow tea lover, I highly recommend you follow Tea with Polly. I’ve been part of Rona’s readership for a while, and have found some delectable-sounding teas and herbal tisanes I want to try as a result. 😉

Here are the rules for this round of the Liebster Award:

  1. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  2. Answer the questions given to you by the nominator.
  3. Nominate up to 11 other bloggers.
  4. Create 11 questions for the nominees.
  5. Notify all nominees via social media and/or their blogs.

Let’s get started, shall we?

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Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 21: Christmas-January Haul, Plus My Reading Plan for 2016

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Stacking The Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga’s Reviews that shares the books (both physical and virtual) that you recently purchased, borrowed from a fellow reader or the library, won from a giveaway, or received as gifts. Stacking The Shelves will post on Saturdays as new books are added to my shelves.

It’s been a while since the last Stacking The Shelves post! I always try to be good (i.e., not buy any books) in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and I did pretty well with my ban again this year. Of course, I put books on my Christmas list instead, just to make up for it. 😉

Today’s post will be a mix of gifted books and other additions to my (overflowing) bookshelves. And, since last year’s reading plan worked out amazingly well, I have a new one for 2016 and will share that, too.

Finally, this is the first post using photos taken with my new camera. I’m still learning some of its functions, but for the most part the pics came out pretty well!

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Interview with Alyssa Palombo, Author of “The Violinist of Venice”

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Writers rejoice when their publishing dreams come true, but it’s equally thrilling when the same happens for a writing pal. I met Alyssa Palombo back in 2004, on an official messageboard for the symphonic rock band Evanescence. That’s where we bonded over music, the Boston Red Sox, and writing. We fell out of touch after a while, but I always remembered how helpful Alyssa’s feedback had been and wondered if she was still writing. The answer came in 2014, when I stumbled across Alyssa’s book deal announcement for her first two books. No lie – I was so happy for her, I freaked out!

Today, I have the immense pleasure of having Alyssa Palombo here on the blog. We talked about her historical fiction debut The Violinist of Venice, which comes out next Tuesday, December 15th. (Click here to read my review.) You’ll also learn how her music background helped with writing the book, and why she recommends reading outside your preferred literary genre now and then. And, um, there might be lots of some fangirling (on both her part and mine) about metal music and tea. 😉 Let’s begin, shall we?

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