Tag Archives: friends

Tea at Thistle Farms

Note: I did not take the featured photo above, but it inspires me to more seriously pursue tea photography!

As I mentioned in a previous post, last week I had a wonderful visit with my friend Michelle. (Even strep throat couldn’t keep us apart!) If you know us at all then you understand when we get together we do our best to find a good afternoon tea.

We found that and more at The Café at Thistle Farms in Nashville!

Isn’t the tea tray lovely? To drink we chose the Firepot Breakfast black tea (which they described as lively, dried cherry, fresh oak) and the Iron Goddess of Mercy Oolong (mineral, stewed peach, walnut). Both teas were tasty, but I actually preferred the Oolong, which was Michelle’s choice.

Here’s a closer view of the tea tray. We started in the middle with the scone, cream and jam before making our way to the sandwiches and other savories on the bottom tier. It all looked like a manageable amount of food, but I have to admit that the deserts (top tier) nearly, but not quite, did me in.

Before and after we ate, Michelle and I perused the lovely shop and its offerings of essential oils, jewelry, clothing, and body/skin care products. I found some lovely items for myself and a family member. It became clear to me there was a charitable purpose to this shop, but I was so wrapped up in all the good smells and cool things that I didn’t take the time to read carefully about their mission.

Later I decided to purchase a few more items from their online shop. The box arrived in two days.

This note greeted me upon opening. At that point, I finally read their mission in detail. I’ll include it for you here:

Thistle Farms is a social enterprise of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction. Thistle Farms houses the bath and body care company, The Cafe at Thistle Farms, and Thistle Farms Global. All proceeds support Thistle Farms and the residential program, Magdalene. The community provides housing, food, healthcare, therapy and education, without charging residents or receiving government funding.

WOW. We (or at least I) just stumbled into this cafe thinking to have an interesting tea experience with a dear friend. It turned out to be an amazing enterprise that I will continue supporting. If you live in or near Nashville, do consider visiting this lovely cafe. Or just visit their online shop–they have lots of gorgeous and nurturing products, and your items will be lovingly packed and shipped QUICKLY.

I’m so glad Michelle and I tried this place. (She did the work finding it, to her credit.) I hope to enjoy their tea many more times, and I’ll keep their online store in mind for my birthday and holiday shopping! I recommend the cafe and store enthusiastically and quite independently–no one at Thistle Farms suggested that I promote them on my blog.

Monday Miscellany

For today’s blog post I offer you a grab bag of happy-making things:

This past Tuesday I picked up my dear friend Michelle in Dallas and we had quite the tea adventure in Fort Worth. I’d read glowing reviews of Antique Outlet and Mitra’s Tearoom on Teamap. When we arrived, we were afraid the GPS had failed us — all we found was an old and mostly dead strip mall. Upon closer inspection, we noticed the “Antiques and Tea Room” sign. We ventured inside to find a fairly ordinary-looking antique shop. At the back, however, was a little Victorian oasis of dainty, chintz-bedecked tables surrounded by teacup and teapot displays. Mitra’s Tearoom doesn’t actually offer an afternoon tea, but we enjoyed a “combo” lunch that included soup, tea sandwiches, salad, and dessert. It was DELICIOUS. Our tastebuds rejoiced and our tummies groaned.

We poked around the antiques afterwards, but soon realized a brisk walk was in order. Hence we made our way to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

See Michelle above with our tea and muffin appetizers (or would you say amuse-bouches?). On the right is a lovely wooden path through the Botanic Garden. We certainly met our goal of walking off the meal–the garden encompasses 110 acres–and the fact that it was 90 degrees outside made it even more challenging. But what a gorgeous place! I can’t wait to visit when the trees are in full leaf.


On Friday I took Michelle to the airport (wah!) and immediately set out for Tulsa, as this past weekend was the “Ignite the Spark” conference for the Oklahoma region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Our regional advisors put together a splendid panel of agents and editors, and, as always, I enjoyed meeting up with old friends and new. (Above you see me with Valerie Lawson and my roomie/critique partner Brandi Barnett.) I left inspired and recharged, which is a good thing as this week I REALLY MUST GET SOME WRITING WORK DONE.


Finally, I just wanted to point out that the BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall is finally coming to PBS! Above you see Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell, and I am delighted to learn that Damian Lewis plays Henry VIII. This six-part series actually covers both Wolf Hall and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies. The Guardian called it “sumptuous, intelligent, event television.” Go here for more review blurbs that seem to indicate an overwhelmingly positive critical reception of the mini-series. Huzzah!
Wolf Hall premieres Sunday, April 5!

Friday favorites: Friendship and Fangirling

Last week I spent a few days in Las Vegas with dear friends.

We took a spin on the High Roller — which is even taller than the London Eye — to get a bird’s eye view of Vegas at sunset.

We enjoyed afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental and explored the Strip.

We soaked in the sun at Rio’s Voodoo Beach.

And we fangirled at the Supernatural con!


The con was EPIC. But the best part of all was hanging out with friends I’ve known and loved since childhood.

Can’t wait to do it again!