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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pearls, Peonies and Petticoats

When TLC had just turned nine, she and I had an opportunity to go to Seattle with my husband. He had a convention. It would mean a few days out of school, but we felt it would be tres educational for her. Hubby suggested she and I take the ferry over to Victoria, British Columbia and stay three nights—while he was in meetings and workshops. It sounded like a grand idea!

Who knew Victoria was a little too FANCY for a Small-Town Mom and Daughter from Texas? We stayed at The Empress Hotel. If you’re not familiar with it, you should Google it. It’s world famous and stunningly beautiful, majestic, historic, traditional, charming—FANCY. We arrived in the late-ish afternoon our first day, so really only had time for dinner near the hotel before turning in. The next morning we got on a double-decker bus (FANCY) and went on a City Tour and to Butchart Gardens (positively, absolutely, heavenly-ish FANCY). TLC was not impressed.

On our third day, I signed us up for “Afternoon Tea” in the Lobby of The Empress. I had to pay about thirty American dollars—a piece—for a total of $60 before taxes and tips—to have this FANCY tea.

From the moment we sat down in the “Tea Lobby,” TLC was uncooperative—almost fiesty. Hmmm. . . a better word? BORED. She missed her Dad and was tired of me trying to play up this very European, adult city. I was growing weary of that myself. She couldn’t wait to leave the next afternoon and kept reminding me of that fact—always with a charming whine. When they (finally) brought the three-tiered serving dish full of small finger—FANCY foods, her eyes got HUGE—and not with happy surprise. She was mad. There was nothing on those pretty trays that interested her—nothing at all. Tiny little bites of smoked salmon pinwheels, mango and curried chicken, egg salad croissants, mushroom pate crostinis, lemon curd? Nope. (She would, however, adore all of that now!) Where, she wanted to know, in a somewhat haughty voice for a 9-year-old, were the chicken nuggets and fries?

Although Afternoon Tea currently costs $47 to $58 per adult—before taxes and tips—they have a special “Prince and Princess Tea” for children under the age of 12. It’s half the adult price and has treats like fruit in a mini glass cup, a Teddy Bear cookie, a mini chocolate cupcake (sooo sorry, TLC!), a mini ham and cheese sandwich and Pringles. SURE—now they think of this. Sheesh. (Actually, that’s the menu I’d prefer! I’m not even kiddin’.)

We survived. But it wasn’t hard to decide we would not be doing anything “fancy” for several years.

The Royal Wedding stirred up a discussion between the two of us about what constitutes “fancy.”  

TLC’s List of Fanciness:

  1. British accents. I often try to emulate them around my house. (I am from English descent, you know, chaps and chappettes.) Hubby doesn’t seem too impressed. Apparently he’s a Commoner. I’ve also taken to using words like “Cheerio!” And “queue.” And “holiday.” And “arse.” And “crisps.”
  2. Velvet. It makes me think of fancy holiday parties. Where they serve wassail.
  3. Crème Brulee. The fanciest dessert. Eva.
  4. Embossed stationery. Oh-so-chic.
  5. Ginormous cocktail rings. Swoon. The bigger and blingy-er, the better.
  6. Champagne. Bubbles = fancy. Period.
  7. The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Miami. They serve $20 pina coladas. They clearly think they’re pretty darn fancy.
  8. Chanel. Timeless. Classy.
  9. Peonies. The name alone sounds fancy, ne croyez-vous?
  10. Gone With the Wind. The book AND the movie. Southern. Dramatic. Romantic. Just plain fancy.
ELC’s List of Fanciness:

  1. Taffeta, chiffon, organza and tulle!
  2. Petticoats.
  3. Short and long white gloves.
  4. A fur (faux is fine!) muff. (It keeps your hands warm, Sillies.)
  5. Hats and Fascinators (except for those worn by the Wild Cousins at the Royal Wedding—those were cRaZy/ridiculous/ugly/seriously).
  6. Sterling Silver roses and pale pink peonies (TLC’s bridal bouquet was divine with pretty peonies and pale pink feathers).
  7. Pearls.
  8. The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in (FANCY) New York City.
  9. Commander’s Palace in New Orleans.
  10. Town & Country Magazine.
Fancy is defined in very individual and personal ways. PLEASE share with us and everyone your “fancies!”

Ta-ta for now, Darlings . . .

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