Blog

Turbo Charge Your Life

Part 1 
You know one of the biggest fears people have is public speaking…you’ve all heard that people would rather die than speak in public…or as Jerry Seinfeld says, “People would rather be in a coffin than giving the eulogy”. I always tell people who are shy or scared of making fools of themselves that no one cares about them anyway…people are far to busy thinking about themselves.  

Imagine if Margaret Mitchell had let 38 publisher rejections of “Gone With The Wind” stop her from trying to get it published. Imagine if Thomas Edison had listened to his teachers who told him that he was too stupid to learn anything. Imagine if Elvis Presley had listened to Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, who fired Elvis after just one performance telling him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” 

Benjamin Disraeli said: “Life is too short to be little”  

French Author, Andre Maurois Wrote: “Often we allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. We lose many irreplaceable hours brooding over grievances that, in a year’s time, will be forgotten by us and by everybody. No, let us devote our life to worthwhile actions and feelings. to great thoughts, real affections and enduring undertakings.”

In other words. we have limited time here, don’t waste it on the “small stuff”. Dr. Robert Eliot, Professor of Cardiology, University of Nebraska suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 44. He was forced to spend a few months looking at life from the perspective of a patient, rather than a doctor. There was no history of heart disease in his family and he had a feeling that his heart attack was the result of the constant stress in his life. Dr. Eliot, who now heads the Institute of Stress Medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona, estimated that as many as 500,000 Americans die each year from stress-related heart conditions alone. Some people tend to react to stress by overreacting in ways that may damage their heart and blood vessels by producing excess adrenaline.

As a heart patient, Dr. Eliot offered two rules to live by:

Rule #1: Don’t sweat the small stuff
Rule # 2: It’s all small stuff

Lot’s of people have ambitions and dreams in life – whether it’s to travel, to start a new career, to get out of bad relationships…whatever…and they wait till the time is right to pursue their dreams. They wait until they have enough money, till the kids are grown, till they lose weight, till they put together a business plan, etc. The problem with that is that a lot of talented people end up standing on the sidelines and not on the playing field.

The trick is to start before you are ready. I’m not saying to be reckless and not plan and think ahead, but don’t wait for the PERFECT time to pursue your dreams because you don’t know what that perfect time will be. Oftentimes when you start before you’re ready, the momentum of starting will propel you forward and you’ll be on your way.

Don’t let age deter you or be an excuse to keep on the sideline either. Many of our great success stories made their mark on society later in life. Who would believe that an overweight, ex-boxer-turned preacher could recapture the title of heavyweight champion of the world at age 45. George Foreman did. Who would believe that a 48-year-old widow who never owned a business before could start her own cosmetics company and turn it into a billion dollar enterprise. Mary Kay Ash did. Ray Kroc was a 52-year-old traveling salesman of milk-shake mixers before he launched McDonalds. Winston Churchill was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister of England at age 62. Harland Sanders was 65 before he began selling his Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises from his car.

So it’s never to late to pursue your dreams or to start on a new goal. Don’t procrastinate.

Procrastination is such a huge problem for many people. We’ve all heard techniques against procrastination, like breaking down the task into small chunks, overcoming perfectionism, managing time properly, etc. There is a simple trick that psychologists say works best. It was discovered in the 1920′s. A psychology graduate named Bluma Zeigarnik was having tea in a cafe with her supervisor when they happened to come upon something interesting. When a customer asked for the check, the waiters could easily remember the food that had been ordered. However if the customer already paid the check and then asked about the order a few minutes later, the waiters had to struggle to remember anything about the order. The psychologists concluded that the act of paying for the meal brought a sense of closure so the waiters erased the order from their memories.

Based on this theory, Zeigarnik did some lab experiments where she asked people to start a task but didn’t allow them to finish it. She later asked people to describe the task and, like the waiters, she found that people who didn’t finish what they started remembered the task very clearly. It stuck in their minds.

The psychologists concluded that if you start an activity and don’t finish it, your mind experiences a kind of psychic anxiety until the task is completed. Now procrastinators put off starting activities because they are overwhelmed by the size of the job, but if they can push themselves to work on the activity for just a few minutes, they often feel an urge to see it to its completion. “Just a few minutes” rule is one of the best ways of getting a procrastinator to finish their work. Those few minutes of initial activity create an anxious brain that refuses to rest until the job is done.

Written by Orli Kohn



Thanksgiving Food Drive

Daily Bread Food Bank is a non-profit, charitable organization that is fighting to end hunger in our communities. Every year thousands of people across Toronto rely on food banks. Daily Bread serves these people through neighbourhood food banks and meal programs in over 170 member agencies.  In support of our local Fire Department station #422, the staff at the Old Mill Toronto held a food drive for the daily Bread Food Bank.

Boxes were placed in various staff areas throughout the Old Mill Toronto building with signs to support our mission.

           

Every staff member was encouraged to donate at least one can or jar as listed on the poster. All non-perishable food items were being collected on Friday October 11, 2013 and being delivered to our local Fire Department.

         

Every year, with the assistance of volunteers, Daily Bread Food Bank conducts a survey across the GTA of people who access food banks. For a fifth year in a row, food banks in the GTA saw over a million client visits. Did you know that 32% of Food Bank Clients are children and that 45% of adults go hungry once a week as they struggle with fixed incomes and rising food costs.

Daily Bread Food Bank is committed to providing food and resources for people experiencing hunger and poverty. Thank you to everyone who supported our food drive, we collected 11 boxes with over 350 non-perishable food items. 

          

It’s amazing what the power of a group can do to help a greater cause!



Tea, Men & Romance

Let’s talk about Men!

A friend of mine had a tea party a while back and the husband of one of the guests came early to pick her up. And he was invited in and promptly the ladies started serving him tea and gave him some cookies and cakes, and put a napkin on his lap. He was chatting and had a great time and then left with his wife.

If I told that same story a hundred or a hundred & fifty years ago people would be outraged. Women would have said how low have we come?… Women never serve men at any public or social function, men serve women.

In the Victorian and Edwardian eras – that is, from 1837 right through to 1910, (the end of the Edwardian era), the idea of men sort of sitting around at any party or social gathering and not constantly serving women would be unthinkable. A man’s character and social class was measured by his gallant treatment of women. Men were frequently invited to ladies afternoon teas and here’s why: Here’s a quote from an 1897 etiquette book for men.

Manners for Men – by Mrs. Humphry 1897
Gentlemen are in great request at 5 o’clock tea. Their duties are rather onerous if there are but one or two men and the usual crowd of ladies. They have to carry teacups about; hand sugar, cream and cakes or muffins, and keep up all the time a stream of small talk, as amusing as they can make it. They must rise every time a lady enters or leaves the room, opening the door for her exit if no one else is nearer to do it, and, if the hostess requests them, they must see the lady downstairs to her carriage or cab. With regards to the viands, a man helps himself, but not until he has seen that all the ladies in his vicinity have everything they could possibly want.

At any kind of social function, men always served women. For example at a dinner party, after the dinner was over, the ladies would rise to leave the dining room. The men sitting closest to the door would rise with the women, open the door for them, and remain standing at the door until all the women had left to go to the drawing room. Now, the servants would usually serve tea in the drawing room after dinner, and again, just as in afternoon teas, it would be the men’s job to take the empty tea cups from the women.

At a ball a woman would give her trusted man, like her brother or father, her gloves, fan, evening purse, and flowers to hold when she wanted to dance. Today, men would feel this was unmasculine, but Victorian and Edwardian men were honoured to be a woman’s most humble servant. 

Interestingly, the Victorian and Edwardian eras were extremely patriarchial. Women couldn’t vote until 1918 and 1920 in the U.S. A married woman could not own property. Married women were not allowed to make a will. A woman could not enter into a business contract without her husbands approval. A married woman who worked outside the home was not allowed to keep her earnings; her wages became the husband’s property. In short, a husband had the right to everything that was his wife’s, but she had no right to anything that was his.

Single women or “spinsters and old maids”, as they were called at the time, actually did have the right to own their earnings, widowed woman could also inherit property. In general, however unmarried women were looked down on, and had difficulty making ends meet unless they came from a wealthy family.

Here we have an extremely patriarchial society in which men are taught that real masculinity lies in worshipping and serving women. The truth was that Victorian and Edwardian men really did adore women, and they felt that having a patriarchial society would protect them. 

Men were so delicate and refined during the Victorian era that they would walk backwards when retreating from a room so as not to turn their backs on the ladies who remained. Men were required to bow slightly and lift their hats if they met a woman they knew on the street. Men were never allowed to push their attentions upon women unless the lady gave an invitation of some sort – through a card or mutual acquaintance.

Men always stood up when a lady entered or left the room. If a man was smoking when a woman walked by he would have to remove the cigar from his mouth. When dancing with a woman, men always wore gloves so that his sweat would not touch her hand or dress. 

Men who didn’t respect women were actually more frightened of other men…Rudeness, especially to a lady, was the kiss of death in Victorian society. A rude man would get “the big chill” from other men. He would be ostracized from social activities; from the sacred men’s clubs and other men might even refuse to do business with him.

Interestingly, in an 1891 issue of the Ladies Home Journal magazine, women were asked to predict what life would be like for women in the year 2000. They said they were happy that our sisters in the future will probably have freedom, rights and independence, however they said we also fear for our sisters of the future. Victorian women predicted that feminism and women’s independence by the year 2000 might lead to a sexual revolution. They predicted that if women were promiscuous without marriage or any promise of solid commitment, men would no longer respect them and chivalrous behaviour would be unfamiliar to us. A very interesting prediction!

Dedicated to Orli Kohn…



History of Tea

 

Part 4 of 4

Afternoon teas could be very simple events or more elaborate ones used to introduce debutants to society or to honour special guests. The more elaborate teas were often called “at homes” and could take place in the evenings.  There would be maids and footmen to help guests out of their carriages, and tons of food and drinks, including champagne as well as tea, bullion and hot chocolate. Musicians would also complete the event.

Now the only problem left to deal with was “how could a Victorian lady truly relax with her tea when she couldn’t breathe?” Victorian women often had difficulty breathing and fainted often because their waists were squeezed into a tiny 18 inches by a whalebone, wire, sometimes steel ribbed corset. Also Victorian Women could wear up to 37 pounds of clothing – up to 19 lbs suspended from the waist alone. On top of the corset problem, there was the problem of sitting down with a bustle. Bustles were made of wire mesh and springs, and they wouldn’t allow a women to sit back in their chair so they had to balance themselves on the edge. In fact in the late 1870′s bustles became so large that they were called tea tray bustles (because they were large enough to hold a tea setting).

In the 1880′s, the Dress Reform Society in England came to the rescue by introducing “tea gowns”. These very loose, flowing gowns, almost like negligees were made of chiffon, lace, velvet, satin or silk, and were very ornate – trimmed with beads, jewels, feathers, furs or ribbons. Many “tea gowns” had matching jackets. They were usually worn in the home, or if you were visiting friends in their country house. The comfortable tea gowns, however were not worn to public functions or formal teas.

When Queen Victoria’s son, King Edward the seventh, took the throne (1901 – 1910), tea gowns became even more lavish and high society went all out with teas. Evening tea parties had footmen, hot dishes, professional musicians, and ornate silver tea pots on swivel stands. The Edwardian era was a very lavish and joyful time. People emulated the extravagant ways of the king.

LOW TEA – also called afternoon tea is the most elegant of teas, served between 4 and 5 o’clock. This was the tea of wealthy aristocrats and features dainty finger sandwiches, scones with Devonshire or clotted cream and jam, and also a variety of tarts and pastries. Sometimes fresh fruit is also served. Low teas are called “low” because it was taken in the sitting or “withdrawing” room where low tables (like a coffee table) were placed near sofas. In a traditional low tea, all food must be dry to the touch as Victorians wore hats (some with veils) and gloves to these events. The gloves would be left on while eating, especially at outdoor garden teas, so food was prepared neatly so as not to get the gloves dirty.

HIGH TEA – also called a “Meat Tea” was traditionally the tea of the middle and lower classes. During the second half of the Victorian Period, known as the industrial revolution, working families would come home tired and hungry. High tea was served at 6 o’clock at the end of the workday, and is basically a large, heavy supper with several courses – meats, eggs, cheese, fish, vegetables, sandwiches and tea. Despite its name there is nothing elegant about high tea. It was the main meal of the day and is still a tradition in English, Welsh and Scottish farming regions.

 So there you have the basic history of tea… After almost 5,000 years of tea drinking, we’re still discovering new varieties, new flavours, and the wonderful health benefits of this drink.

Join us for our Musical Twilight Tea with musical guest Rosalee Peppard. Her music is steeped in the sea, as she brings the rich maritime past to life in song.



History of Tea

 

Part 3

In the 1820′s, the British East India Company began large scale production of tea in India, and by the 1850′s the British learned how to commercially cultivate tea plants. It took the British several decades to learn how to grow and produce various types of Indian tea like Assam and Darjeeling. By 1875, the British had the knowledge to produce tea on their own island colony of Ceylon, Sri Lanka. In 1878, tea was cultivated in Indonesia by the Dutch and by the turn of the Century…early 1900′s, tea was also being cultivated in parts of Africa, like Kenya. The English and the Dutch managed to crumble China’s world tea dominance.

In 1904 St. Louis World’s fair, ice tea became all the rage. One plantation owner decided to dump a load of ice into his hot tea because the weather was so warm, no one was buying the hot tea.  Ice tea was consumed in the 1800′s in tea and liquour punch cocktails but iced tea alone took off in popularity in the early 1900′s.

In 1908, the first teabags were invented.

Starting in the late 1880′s, fine hotels in America and England began to offer tea service in Tea Rooms and Tea Courts. Victorian ladies and gentlemen would meet in the late afternoon for tea and conversation.  By 1910 fashionable hotels began to host afternoon Tea Dances. Tea Dances were very popular with singles and they were considered a very respectable way for singles to meet. The Tango became all the rage in 1910, and tea and tango became connected.

The London Ritz was the first hotel where young women were allowed to go alone to tea without a chaperone. Romance writer Barbara Cartland said that in the years following World War One, tea at the London Ritz was a great way to meet single men. “You’d have a long lunch with men you liked, a short tea with the rest,” she said. The editor of Vogue Magazine once fired a large number of female secretaries for “wasting too much time at the tea dances.” in the 1920′s.

 

 to be continued….

Join us for our traditional high tea and enjoy a cup of your favourite tea!



History of Tea

 

Part 2

Tea first arrived in Paris in 1636 and a famous gossip and letter writer, Madame de Sevigne wrote about a friend of hers who was tired of breaking her precious tea ware due to the heat of the water, and one day added cold milk prior to the tea. The dishes did not break and the addition of milk to tea was born.

Interestingly, Great Britain, known as a tea-loving nation, was not familiar with tea until about 1652. As in Holland, the royal family had to provide the stamp of approval for tea to gain nationwide acceptance. In 1662, King Charles 11 married the Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza. Princess Catherine was said to be a tea addict and she brought a large tea chest as part of her dowry. Her influence made tea the beverage of choice in English high society. Tea became very popular, but it was extremely expensive so tea leaves were kept in a locked caddy. Tea was locked in a caddy throughout Victorian times as well, so the servants couldn’t steal it. (By the way, in Victorian times, once the masters of the house drank the first brew, the servants would make tea for themselves from the used leaves and then sell the twice used leaves at the back door to vendors.) The vendors would press the used leaves into tea cakes.  They would sell these cakes to people who could only afford to spend a penny or two for the tea, and that’s where the phrase “Tea for two” came from…the cost was “tea for two pence”.

Tea Gardens became popular with the English in the 1600′s. They took the idea from the Dutch tavern garden teas and embellished it. Ladies and Gentlemen would take their tea outdoors and were entertained by orchestras, flowered walkways, concerts, games, fireworks, etc. The Tea Gardens were the first time that women could mix freely with men and with all social classes. Tipping for good service started in the English Tea Gardens. Locked wooden boxes were placed on the Garden Tables. Inscribed on the boxes were the letters T.I.P.S – TO INSURE PROMPT SERVICE. Customers would drop a coin into the box to insure that the waiters hurried to bring the tea hot from the distant kitchen.

Since tea was so popular in Britain, the government decided to profit by putting heavy taxes on tea, up to 119% Unfortunately, this backfired because it created a huge organized smuggling industry in the 18th century. Millions of pounds of tea were smuggled into Britain and obviously there was no quality control so a lot of the tea was adulterated. Leaves from other plants or used tea leaves were added to fresh tea leaves. Sometimes the colour was not convincing enough so anything from sheep’s dung to poisonous copper carbonate was added to make it look more like tea.

In 1784, the government dramatically lowered tea taxes which ended the smuggling. 

Several wars were started because of tea. By the mid-1700′s tea was so expensive and so popular in Britain that importing tea from China was creating a burden on the currency reserves in England. Since India was a British Colony, opium from India was smuggled into China by British Merchants to help pay for the tea exports to Britain. When the Chinese destroyed the opium, it started the opium wars between Britain and China. Britain won these wars and this lead to the Chinese opening more ports to trade tea with the world.

Tea didn’t come to America until 1690. Tea Gardens opened in New York City, and by 1720, the tea trade was based in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. In the U.S., tea made history when there was a fight over the high taxes levied on British tea after England’s French and Indian war. In 1773, a group of radicals disguised as Indians dumped hundreds of pounds of British tea into the Boston Harbour to protest high taxes. This was known as the Boston Tea Party, and eventually led to the American Revolution and American Independence.

In the 1800′s, Tea Plantations sprung up in the American south and America became the biggest importer of tea due to the faster clipper ships and the ability to pay its debts in gold.

 to be continued….

Join us for our traditional high tea and enjoy a cup of your favourite tea!