Saturday, April 4, 2015

“Tea is the magic key to the vault where my brain is kept.” - Frances Hardinge

When I was a younger version of the Lauren I am right now, I was still a know it all, smart-assed, brat. Old habits die hard. On this particular Little Lauren day, I was helping my Thea (aunt) clean my Puna's (grandmother) house. She had me precariously standing on the kitchen counter in order to reach the tippy-top of the cabinet where the tea cups and saucers were kept. It was one of the most thrilling moments of my young life. Why, you ask? Because everyone knows that tea was made for tea parties. And that's exactly what I wanted. Right away. My Thea, who was used to bossy bessie over here, complied. She brought out some tea and some sandwiches, cut in half. 

Yeah, that didn't go over smoothly. I created a monologue centered around what a "tea party" really was, because I'd watched Alice in Wonderland and The Secret Garden but apparently my Thea had not. Tea parties consist of tea, sugar (preferably in cube form), tiny sandwiches, scones with that cream stuff, and little pastries. And you have to dress up. Duh, Thea.

My Thea, always up for a challenge, decided to take me to a REAL tea party. And we haven't stopped since. I've even been to tea parties in 3 different states. San Francisco still has some pretty epic ones.

In 1875, the Palace Hotel in San Francisco was established. It was one of the most grand and beautiful hotels with star power. The last reigning king of Hawaii, King Kalākaua, born David Laʻamea Kamanakapuʻu Mahinulani Nalaiaehuokalani Lumialani Kalākaua (no, seriously), even died here in 1891. They converted the area they used to bring in the horses and carriages into a beautiful garden area with glass from Italy and chandeliers from Austria.

It was Thea's idea for me to sit on the throne, I swear.
We've had tea in a handful of hotels before. It's always weird to me since I'm not an actual guest of said hotel. Usually, at hotels, they don't take "tea time" seriously. I'm VERY serious about my tea, dammit, so I don't appreciate when the staff is not. The Palace Hotel was not an exception. While the tea was pretty tasty, our over-priced food was not even what we ordered but decent. That being said, it was a beautiful place to be. So I'd suggest stopping by and grabbing a drink or two. Or just tea, no food. Or just bring your own drink and hang out. That would work too.

The Legacy Blend. That thing on the left, I want one.

1st - I'm not sure this is on the menu and we didn't actually order it. 2nd - Warm Crab Asiago Tart, we ordered this one. 3rd - Panini Toasts, we didn't order that
Side note, do not go up the stairs by the entrance. They will not lead to the super cool looking area up above. I feel like there's a secret entrance that we were not privy to.

The waiter was pretty good at taking photos though. He even posed us.
If you want a wonderful tea place in the city, I'd suggest Secret Garden. Partly because of my love for the movie... But mostly because we have been there 3 times and we always love it. It's pretty adorable.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

International Children's Book Day

April 2nd is International Children's Book Day! Ever since I can remember, I've been heavily into the reading of books. I think it started with my dad forcing me to read Dr. Seuss books over and over again. I'd say it was to torture me, but it was actually because he loved me. My evil Kindergarten teacher informed my parents that I had a speech impediment. It wasn't so much an impediment as it was my dad thinking that it was genius to teach his child how to incorrectly say words. Thanks, dad. Since my parents never signed onto the camp of, "Let's have other people fix our children", my dad figured the best way for me to get rid of my lisp and speech impediment was to read aloud. All the time. When he was cooking dinner, washing dishes, working on the car, or driving, I was reading to him. And it was always the complex rhymes of Dr. Seuss. I grew out of my lisp and speech impediment while also growing into an extreme book lover at the same time. 

So here is a list of a few of my absolute favorite Children's Books. These books changed my life, taught me lessons, and helped me believe in a world of fantasy. There's a link to Amazon in each caption!

The book that started it all. 
When I learned the definition of a love/hate relationship.
The most underrated Children's Book
And the least.  
The book that makes you think you're TOTALLY ready for adult themes.