Saturday, August 1, 2015

Life is like a Teacup

...To be filled to the brim and enjoyed with friends. 

And, I might add, paired with tasty munchies like stroop waffles.

Stroop waffles and one of my favorite Anthro mugs

(This is a picture-heavy post)

One of my all-time favorite things is afternoon tea.

I first had afternoon tea while I was studying abroad in London. Ever since, I've loved trying out different places, but going out for it can be expensive. I knew that I wanted to have a tea party for my birthday this year so I figured that maybe instead of going out, I could just hold one of my own.

Well, this idea circled around in my mind until it burst, and instead of just one, I ended up having two tea parties.

Tea and teacup collection

The Spread, Day 1: Zucchini bread, finger sandwiches, Irish Tea Cake, cookies and stroop waffles, apple rose tarts, cinnamon scones by my roommate Leigh. Not pictured: cheese platter, fruits

The Spread, Day 2: Zucchini bread, finger sandwiches, cookies and stroop waffles, fruit, apple rose tarts, cinnamon scones by my roommate Leigh. Not pictured: cheese platter with more than 10 pounds of cheese that friends brought, crepe cake

Finger sandwiches: tuna salad and cucumber, egg salad, salmon and cucumber, and cucumber sandwiches

Stroop waffles and LU milk chocolate cookies

There was definitely a lot of preparation that went into both, but I think it was a lot of fun and totally worth it! During my Clinton Crib days, I had the chance to help host several festivities with my housemates including a Mad Hatter Tea Party, an Election-themed Party, and more. I think those helped prepare me for hosting on my own. I also enjoy planning and putting things together, so figuring when and how to make everything was a logistical jigsaw puzzle that I had fun solving.

Other fun things - this also gave me a chance to try out some things that I've been wanting to do for a long time, like making a crepe cake, apple rose tarts, and giant paper flowers. And I got to use the Cricut to make a bunch of goodies!

Cake 1, Irish Tea Cake 

Cake 2, 26-layer vanilla crepe cake 

Apple rose tarts with cherry preserves

Giant tissue paper flowers

Paper teacup favor

Paper teacup favors

Design a teacup-nametag

I think the best part, though, was being able to celebrate with so many friends in such a personal way. I've thought for a while about how strange birthdays can be. Isn't it so strange that we usually celebrate by having others treat us? When really our birthdays are a remembrance of how blessed we already are and of how much others have given to us, whether that's family or mentors or friends? And perhaps another natural response, then, would be to give out to others in return as celebration? I definitely enjoy receiving gifts and getting treated to nice things, and I also understand and love that someone's birthday is a time to appreciate and celebrate how much they mean to you - but for me this year, it became a challenge to give rather than to just receive.

As much fun as it can be to go out to fancy places together, it was so precious to me that I was able to serve my friends in doing some of the things that I enjoy most.

Dearly beloved friends

Far and near, old and new

They're too cute! 

Some time ago, I wrote about how my family's house reminded me of dumplings - filled with love and joy. I can't help but think of it again. I hope that this house has been a dumpling house, and I hope that I can learn to grow more and more in helping to make one so.

Thank you, friends who could make it and friends who could not but celebrated with me nonetheless!