Tuesday, February 12, 2013

We Are Beings

Stop what you are doing.  Stop thinking.  Sit tall.  Turn your focus inward.  Take a deep breath in all the way to your collarbone.  Hold it.  Now, let it out - all the way to your belly.  Breathe.  In.  and.  Out.  Close your eyes.  Let go of the labels and the responsibilities and just be.  In this moment.  In this space.  In this body.  Breathe.  You are a being.  Not a thinking.  Not a doing.  But a being.  There are 9 billion human beings on the planet.  Know that you are enough.  Breathe.  In.  and.  Out.  Feel your breath move through you.  And know that you are enough.  You are love.  Peace.  Joy.  Breath.  Life.

These meditative thoughts and breathing practices are just a few of what I experienced while attending yoga classes at this very hip, beautifully remodeled, welcoming yoga studio in Morgantown, Pennsylvania.  Yes, that's right.  You read that correctly.  Morgantown has a yoga studio!!  And a thriving one at that!  Human Breathing Yoga Studio is located on East Main Street (Route 23), just behind the Chiropractic Arts Center, next to the National Penn Bank and in the same building that once housed El Video (remember those days?!).  This yoga studio is one amazing place to connect with like-minded community members of various ages; all seeking greater flexibility, toned and strengthened muscles, wellness and insight that is both gentle and rigorous for the mind, body and soul.    

I had noticed the big bright yellow YOGA sign from time to time as I would come through town on occasion and kept thinking to myself, "I gotta check that out!"  Well, I finally did and I am so thankful I did!  Normally, I practice yoga at home with my girls (ages 7 & 3).  They love it, which makes me a happy momma, but ... someone usually ends up in my space, on my mat, on my head, or on my back, and the practice ends too soon.  By joining a class, I have found a renewed kindle of joy for yoga practice, and can feel the positive energy and vibes within a class full of other yogis.  The word yoga means "to join, or unite."  So, it only makes sense that this practice would be made even more powerful, more enlightening, and more energetic by joining others in their practice.  Plus, I think I try harder while in a room full of peers all practicing the same poses (and they don't end up on my back). ;-)

After my first class I knew that I wanted to highlight this small business on my blog, so I chatted with the owner, Ron Coughenour directly after class about the idea.  He was very open to my request (thanks, Ron!).  Two weeks later, I showed up with my camera prepared to take a few shots of everyone practicing together, however, Ron asked that I refrain, stating that "it's like taking pictures in church."  I understood, and respectfully put my sidekick away for the class.   Although, I did manage to capture a shot of the welcome area before class.   

Take your shoes off, and come on in! 

These two lovely yoginis, Danielle and Kaili, were more than happy and willing to stay after class in order to be my models as they moved very gracefully, fluidly, in sync with one another through a series of poses well known to them.  I am so impressed by these beauties.  I love their energy and enthusiasm for life.  Kaili is an intern at Human Breathing Yoga Studio and a high school senior within the local area.  She was the first person I connected with when coming through the door for my very first class.  Thank you so much ladies!  You are an inspiration!  
Ron also took time out for me to stay after class so I could pick his brain about his flourishing business and how it came to be.  He explained how Human Breathing Yoga Studio has been established for 3 1/2 years and that the memberships are really the driving, influential force that keep the studio going with a positive growth factor.  Besides Ron, there are 3 other instructors:  April Showman, Dottie Ruggieri & Jesi Yost, that lead classes here as well.  The schedule is brimming with classes throughout the week, and there are different levels of classes aimed at individual needs.     

After talking with Ron a bit and hearing his story, I noticed a kindred, teacher's spirit about him, and I told him so.  Come to find out, he is a teacher by training and earned his undergraduate education studying English education with a Master's degree in Elementary education.  Aha!  When I asked how he came to be a yoga instructor, he replied with a shrug of his shoulders, "It chose me."  He talked about his wife (while beaming, I might add!) and how she was the one who introduced him to yoga.  It became a natural progression for him, and a passion.  Other than running Human Breathing Yoga Studio, and teaching classes at the studio, he's also a stay-at-home dad caring for his 8 year-old son, and 18 month-old daughter.  Plus, he finds time to teach yoga to "at-risk" high schoolers through a program at Twin Valley High School in Elverson.   Kudos, Ron!     

These three were so energetic, they even did some partnered yoga for me and my camera!!  Aren't they awesome?!!  As Ron would say, "Smile, like you like it."  :) 

Drop-ins are welcome anytime at Human Breathing Yoga Studio.  And your first class is free.  Sunday morning classes (10:30 - 11:30) are $5.  If you are in the area, I would highly recommend attending one or more of the yoga classes offered at this unassuming, welcoming studio filled with happy yogis.  :)   

I cannot say enough good things about the practice of yoga, the breathing exercises, and the meditation.  It's a wellness practice that once you begin, will forever be a part of you.  It's a stretch that feels great, and helps you to find your center, balancing life in all aspects.  And a great stress reliever!   

My warm, kind thanks go out to Ron and his interns, Danielle & Kaili for allowing me the unique privilege of photographing you, interviewing, and just plain satiating my inquisitiveness.  Your light shines brightly in this world, and I am grateful to have met you all.  I wish you continued success in your business, personal and student life.  


"Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. 
We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment." 
-~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~-

P.s. See you Sunday in class, friends!! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Gifted Touch

Just 3 miles south of Coatesville at the corner of Route 82, or otherwise known as Doe Run Road, and Buck Run Road, in Chester County, PA lies a small, artisan style gift shop with the biggest heart.  In the midst of "horse country" with its wide open spaces of running hilly terrain set against a tone of tree lined roads, split rail fencing, great big barns and stone homes, sits this very unique, very quaint, very hospitable, very deliberate gift shop called Tender Touch Gifts.  Although, the story doesn't begin here.  This one begins with a not-so-wild goose chase, or rather, fox hunt.  In order for me to fully appreciate this experience and share with you, I must start at the beginning. 
I was invited by my friend, Kendra, equestrian and extraordinary animal lover, to accompany her and another friend of ours to watch, follow and photograph a fox hunt in the company of the Cochran Hunt Club. We arrived just in time to watch the mounted hunt members set off on their adventure.  Now, this is not the easiest thing to watch.  We basically followed other horse hunting loving people (who happen to have walkie-talkies and communicate with one of the huntsmen in the club) in our car, driving around the back, country roads hoping for a glimpse of the fox!  It is deemed good luck if one is seen, however, our luck wasn't so terrific in that respect, at least. We were pretty thrilled to be parked alongside the road as the hunting company drew near and passed our way following the fox hounds as they sniffed out the sly fox.  Such excitement in the air! 

This hunt garners quite a crowd of followers - in vehicles as well as on bicycle! I couldn't help but feel the thrill of possibly getting a chance to see the fox outwit the horsemen and women, and especially the hounds!  ;)  Just for the record, this hunting is purely for the game of it; the Master Huntsman calls his hounds off if things get too close to call for the fox.  No worries.  The fox is not intentionally killed.  This is more about the chase, than the catch.  We hung around until our bellies began to grumble and talk to us.  So, we said goodbye to the hunt enthusiasts and we were off to get a bite to eat.  
After all that excitement, we were ready for some good eats.  Kendra took us to a friendly little place with an excellent, epicurean style menu of fine food called The Whip Tavern located at 1383 North Chatham Road, Coatesville.  With it's dark mahogany, low lights, friendly atmosphere, wall-lined benches and tables I felt as though I was in a brown cafe in Europe somewhere.  But, alas!  I was on American soil! ;)   
We settled in and looked over the menu hungrily.  We placed our order and didn't have to wait long for our delicious meal to arrive our table.  The mushroom soup was a feast for the senses to behold - fabulous!  My friends thoroughly enjoyed their lunch as well.  A burger, club sandwich, and I had the veggie wrap. Everything was scrumptious and top notch.  Their ales were tempting, but I stuck with coffee.

This description is straight from their website: 

English pub in the heart of horse country. Serving classic pub fare and a bit of American nosh as well. Plus a fine selection of beers and ales, along with a warm atmosphere in the company of friends.
We left there with full bellies and boxes to go.  If you should get a chance to stop by The Whip Tavern, you'll be glad you did!  Tell them I said "hi and thanks for a wonderful meal!" And, I'll gladly be returning! 

We were ready to shop local as we happily digested our lunches. Feeling rejuvenated and refreshed we headed to Tender Touch Gifts, located at 803 Doe Run Road in Coatesville, and most importantly, the main reason for our day out together.  Kendra has shopped here before and she highly recommended that I check it out and possibly highlight it here on my Focus on Local blog.  Well, I knew it had to be someplace special and was eager for this opportunity to finally come together for all of our schedules.  The day we visited happened to also be a special day for Tender Touch as the owner, Brenda Hillard, was having her 17th annual Christmas Open House with refreshments, door prizes, and meet and greet artists & authors, too.  We picked a great day!  

Come in, come in!!  

Everything from handmade jewelry, soaps, candles, signs, scarves, gloves, hats, to paintings, sculptures, embroidered pillows, stained glass, and more can be found within these walls.  And, there are vintage items, books, and almost an entire 2nd floor dedicated to equestrian needs. 
Here's my friend Shannon modeling this beautiful creation made by Tina Skinner.  I purchased a pair of her fingerless, woolen gloves, and they are divine.  Thanks again for modeling, Shannon!! :) 

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting this lovely woman and the author of "The Lady Blows a Horn."  Nancy L. Mohr wrote this book from interviews she had conducted with Nancy Penn Smith Hannum (1919-2010), a lady master of foxhounds and preservationist.  From an excerpt of her book: 

"Nancy Penn Smith Hannum is indeed the most visible, and controversial member of the rural support system. Stepdaughter of the man who began consolidating the Unionville fox hunting country in the early 1900's, master of hounds herself, wife, mother and ardent open space preservationist, Nancy Hannum has lived in Unionville for a long time, sometimes longer than even she can believe. As her children have grown, married and produced heirs of their own, some of the best days have been spent introducing her grandchildren to the joys of country life, appreciation of open space, sharing enthusiasm for local sports and accepting the value of becoming better than average horsemen." 

And, yes, I also purchased a signed copy of her book.  I love conservationist  stories and if they involve a feisty lady, than I'm hooked.  It was so nice to meet Mrs. Mohr and chat with her about her book and her life.  She's a gifted writer and I am grateful to have crossed paths with her. 
These unique horse sculptures are made using horse hair!  Look close, you'll see it! Be amazed! 
It's time to take you upstairs to show you a little something that might entice and astound… 

The Equestrian Room is loaded with goodies for any horse loving enthusiast.  This is the Tender Touch's biggest consignment area - we can see why! 

I chatted with these terrific ladies for a short while and felt very much at ease with them - almost like we've been friends for years.  Thank you for allowing me the distinct honor of photographing you and for the opportunity to get to know each of you however briefly it was.  It's encouraging to me to meet other artists and hear your stories, the familiar juxtaposition that occurs for me.  I wish you all every success in your careers and in your personal lives.  And thanks for the smiles, too!! :)   
(L-R) Tina Skinner (crafter, woolen creationist), Brenda Hillard (Proprietor of Tender Touch Gifts), and Cristin Rojas (Photographer). 

All in all it was a very full day loaded with fun adventures from start to finish!  I learned a few things, met new friends, ate wonderful food, and had the chance to hang out with dear friends, too.  What more could I ask for?  

Thanks, Kendra for inviting me along to experience these new adventures in fox hunting, savory foods, and shopping locally at a most uniquely creative, and interesting artisan style gift shop.  This was a day to remember.  One for the books and my blog! :) 

So, if you happen to be in the area Wednesday through Sunday, do make it a point to stop by Tender Touch Gifts, browse a while, and help support this small business and these wonderful artists, their work and their passion.  Giving the "American Dream" a real, tangible chance to continue to exist and flourish - that's where it's at, my friends!  And, please tell Brenda I said "hello! and thanks for keeping your shop locally grown and intentional."  Kudos to you, Brenda!!  

As I look back over the 2012 year of Focus on Local, I am reminded of the different projects I set out in pursuit of:  Natural Foods Store, Winery, Bakery, Bookstore, Tea Room, Plant NurseryUpholstery Shop, and now a Gift Shop, too.  Each one is near and dear to my heart in a distinctive way.  These projects have taken hold of me in a very positive way.  How can they not?  They are labors of love, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy photographing and writing about them!  As I look ahead to the New Year of 2013, I am curious where it will lead me, who I will meet next, and what is to be learned.  I am so grateful that I started this project.  It feeds my soul.  I feel more alive when I am in the process of creating.  So, for that, I am forever thankful to everyone for putting up with me and my nosing around in their business, asking questions, taking photos, and then blogging about my experiences.  I am blessed and enriched by each and everyone of you. 

I guess this is where I say See You Next Year, my friends!!! 
Here's hoping that 2013 is abundant in life's simple joys and pleasures; let peace, prosperity, and love reign in your hearts, always!  And continue to shop local! ;)  

Warmest kindness and gratitude,

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sewing New Life

Have you ever known anyone that absolutely loves vintage furniture and "old" stuff?  Yes?!  What a coincidence - So do I!!  ( me ) I can't help it.  I'm a sucker for a pretty piece of furniture.  And if it's an antique that has sentimental value; say, I cherish and love the previous owner, well, I'm simply done for.  This situation has occurred to me on more than one occasion.   I guess I'm what you might call a collector of nostalgic family heirlooms.  My home is filled mostly with "hand-me-downs" and I love it that way.  Every piece has a story, a history, a true-to-my-heart meaning.  The table that I write upon at this very moment and use as my desk was created for me by my beloved, master wood-craftsman grandfather.  He's no longer with us, but every time I sit here, I am fondly reminded of him.  Over the years I have acquired many well made, sentimental pieces of furniture.  I won't name each and every one and their story, or we'll be here for a while.  But what I will tell you about is my most recent inheritance - A broken down, musty, rotting, torn, dust infested sofa that belonged to my great aunt Helen who recently passed away.  As soon as I saw it, my heart leaped with joy!  "If nobody else would like it, I will give it a new home," I told my family members as we worked to clean out her house this past summer.  Sure!  It's yours, Barb!  When my husband came to pick it up with his truck, he tried talking me out of it.  But when a woman's mind is made up - it's made up.  You may as well just accept that fact, guys. 

Lucky for both of us, where there's a will, there's a way.  I knew just who to call to help remedy this situation.  Someone with the ability to see beyond the surface damage, beyond the ripped and dusty exterior, beyond the here and now.  Someone with vision.  Someone with the know-how, the years of experience, the craftsmanship, the hands and mind of an artisan for his craft.  I called my local upholstery friends at Glass Upholstery in Morgantown, PA.  I knew that Craig Glass would know if this piece was worth saving, or if I needed to let it go.  And, well, I wouldn't be writing this story if he had broken my heart and told me "no, sorry, it's too far gone."  No, he told me, "It still has a good solid frame."  As you can imagine, I was thrilled with this news.  And then he told me, "If I find any money inside, I'll split it with you!"  SOLD!  We loaded it up in his van and away he took it to his shop located at 4177 Hay Creek Road. 

I made an appointment to stop by Glass' home based upholstery shop, a father and son business, to look through their myriad of upholstery fabrics and browse the different selections that they offer.  After this browsing experience, and narrowing down my choices to a handful, I talked with Craig's father, Bob Glass who gave me some great tips and advice.  He told me that I shouldn't settle on a pattern that I didn't like completely.  It should be something that I will be able to live with for many years to come.  And sometimes it's best to see a larger swath of fabric in order to fully visualize how the fabric is going to look on my "new" sofa.  He suggested that I visit another small business in the area, located in Elverson, The Interior Alternative.  He told me basically how much fabric I would need in case I found my choice fabric elsewhere.  Not many small business owners would be willing to put the needs of their customers' satisfaction before their own possible profit, but that's the way Mr. Glass does business.  His patience and advice was and is greatly appreciated.  I left their shop and headed over to see what The Interior Alternative had to offer.  

Literally, within minutes of walking into The Interior Alternative, a rather large fabric & bedding outlet with floor to ceiling rolls upon rolls of fabric, the salesperson, Keith and I had located my ideal choice!  And it was on sale!  I love when things fall into place like that, don't you?  Kismet, I tell you.  Keith was great.  After measuring the needed yardage of material, and tallying my order, I paid for it, and he set it up so that he would get the fabric to Craig for me.  Smooth sailing!  Thanks, Keith!!  If you get a chance to stop by his shop, please tell him I said "hello! and thanks again!"  

A beautiful reupholstered chair awaiting it's owner to pick up in Glass Upholstery's customer service area.

I had an opportunity to stop by Glass' Upholstery once again; to formerly tell Bob and Craig about this write-up and my blog focusing on local small businesses.  We had lively, spirited conversation filled with plenty of laughs, inquisitive questioning on both parts, and serious dialogue as well about the state of small businesses such as theirs.  Bob, a veteran in the upholstery industry for 54 years, expressed a deep concern for the upholstering industry on the whole.  According to him, it is becoming a lost art.  There aren't many people willing to put the amount of hours, the amount of dedication it takes, the amount of worthwhile experience required to master this art form, as well as, run a small upholstery  business successfully.  And Craig told me that most of their clients that bring antique furniture, the stuff that is actually capable of being reupholstered, is the more mature generation of folks that have interest in reclaiming their well-made treasures.  He also told me that most of the furniture that is being produced today, is so cheaply made that when it comes time to consider reupholstering, it won't be worth it, or possible for that matter.  There's not much one can do with furniture made from particle board.  

On the flip side of this, I see their small business as a great value and asset to people like me.  People that value heirloom quality hand-me-downs.  People who appreciate the unique furnishings of yesteryear.  They had previously (a few years ago) reupholstered a channel back chair for me that was inherited from my husband's aunt Betty.  It is the most beautiful piece of furniture, and so comfortable that I keep it in my office - away from bouncing children or dog hair and grime.  Craig did an outstanding job for me, and I am grateful to him and his dad for their dedication to their profession.  So, as long as there are people like me to bring you unique challenges in reupholstering, Bob & Craig, you will keep your business for many years to come!  That's a promise.  

Here are Craig & Bob in their shop.  Bob was very reluctant to have his photograph taken and he gave me just one opportunity to get it right.  His fun witted humor was spry and, yet, serious at the same time.  He told me with great sincerity, while earnestly staring straight into my eyes, that he "has never met a piece of furniture that he was afraid of."  No upholstery challenge is too great for his expertise, and craftsmanship.  I believe it.

They even let me take a peek inside their shop and take a few photos to share with you!  I felt honored with this privilege.

Okay!  The moment you have been waiting for!  I hear you - I know what you're thinking: "She sure has lots to say about this sofa, well, let's see it!!!"  Here are a couple of the *before* pictures…

There is beauty in all things.  ;)

It didn't take long, just 2.5 weeks, for the phone to ring and to hear Craig on the other end telling me, "Your sofa is ready!"  Of course, I was thrilled!  We set up a date/time for him to bring the sofa for delivery to our home.  While he and my husband moved it into the house, I took plenty of photos!   

After all this build up, the wait, the challenges that this sofa produced for me and my family, naturally, I needed to follow it's debut up with something extra special!  How about a family sofa session in the field adjacent to my husband's family's farm!  Yes!!  We strategically moved it to the field, and after doing so, have decided that this is a once in a "blue moon" occurrence.  

Here it is!  In it's debut appearance on the web … Great Aunt Helen's sofa reupholstered and brought back to life by the master upholsterer's at Glass Upholstery!!  … Ta Da!! 

Isn't it lovely?  Oh, how I love it!!  And it's super-duper comfortable!!  Another treasured heirloom for me and my family to enjoy (carefully).  A beautiful piece of furniture that I hope to one day pass along to my girls.  It is my hope that while living amongst these treasures that fill our home, my girls will learn to appreciate the beauty, the craftsmanship, the sentimental value that each carries with it. 

You may see more images from our evening sofa session on my other blog by clicking on this link > My 3 Girls Photography | My Family's Sofa Session <
I cannot say enough good things about Glass Upholstery and how they have added to the quality of our life with their fine, precise care for details, and master craftsmanship.  They have my utmost respect.  I feel privileged to have had the chance to gain insight into both Bob & Craig's life on a personal level, as well as, on a professional level.  Sharp as tacks, both of them, and great fun to be around.  I wish them many more years of successful small business ownership.  And should the need arise for their expert services, and you have the great honor of meeting these fellas, please tell them you saw this blog post and how important they are to our local economy.  I know my great aunt Helen must be smiling down on her sofa made new by these artisans, and I am eternally grateful.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tea with the Ladybugs

It all started with a photo of ladybugs on a garden flag and the conversation began between a fellow photographer friend and myself.  I explained how ladybugs represent a love-bantering between my paternal grandmother and I.  She loves to tell the story over and over about how I had once asked her as a very young girl if all ladybugs were ladies.  She has a good chuckle at this. :)  Over the years, at birthdays or Christmas or whenever we exchange gifts, there is usually something with a ladybug reference that we give to one another with a little knowing wink and a smile.  It has reached the point that I can no longer look at a ladybug (of any sort) without thinking of my beloved grandmother.  So, when my friend told me about this wonderful Victorian tea room called the The Lady Bug Tea Room in the historic district of East Berlin, PA (Adams County), my natural curiosity got the better of me!   

I did a little research on the tea room and then began planning a group invitation for lunch and a photo walk afterwards for the "Berks County Photography Facebook Group."  This is a terrific group of photographers and lucky for me I've made some lasting friendships.  Many of the guys in our group were not interested in lunch at a tea room.  So, my friend, Tony also mentioned another lunch venue in East Berlin - Rick's Hog Wild BBQ - something for everyone.  Win-win!  

With the help of other group members, we were able to settle on a date and even managed carpooling arrangements (thank you, Denean for driving - :)!   After all, this was going to be a day long commitment and a hefty part of it was the drive.  This was not exactly "local" for any of us!  However, since this is a small, family-owned business, I decided to highlight this beautifully distinct tea room on my blog.  I would confidently say that my friends and I were delightfully satisfied that we made the trip!!

I knew I would find a few ladybugs here! 

When we arrived, we were warmly greeted at the door by Jen, the owner's niece.  She was hurrying us inside since the temperatures outside were quite HOT.  Come in, come in!!  Once we settled our bags and camera gear at our table, it was time to pick out a unique tea pot and cup.  With all the choices, it was tough to decide.  

And decide we did.  Once we all had our tea pots and cups ready to go, we were given a whole menu of different teas to choose from.  These are no ordinary, run-of-the-mill teas either!  Each tea has been named after a family member AND precise ingredients go into the making of each unique, individual tea to coincide with the family members' personality!  We each chose 2 different teas and shared with one another.  My favorites were "Forest Dan," "Boo Lukie" and "Jumpin' Jennifer Chai."    

We were then presented with the 1st of 4 courses - the hot and cold hors d'oeuvres.  

And after we "mmm..ed" and "ahhh..ed" over the 1st course, we were given 2 soup choices - free range chicken in a potato stock or cream of spinach.  I chose the spinach.  We were also offered blueberry iced tea.  Quite simply put - outstanding! :)  Every detail has been thoroughly thought through with creative flair and personal touches.  All of the recipes are made from scratch and made fresh.  This is not only a tea room, but also serves as the owner's residence.  She has a kitchen garden out her back door where she picks fresh ingredients each day and she explained that in East Berlin they still deliver fresh cow's milk to her door each and every morning in order to serve her customers the freshest and the best of what's in season at the present time.  I was in awe.  I think my jaw just about hit the table when the owner explained in detail all of this to us.  'Impressed' is too light a word for how this made me feel.  I felt like Royalty!  ;)      

Speaking of the owner - here she is … Miss Millie.  With her "no nonsense" attitude about life, tell you "flat out" about yourself, and about what's going on in Washington, I sat up straighter when she walked into the room and paid close attention.  This is a woman that I want on my side!!  Millie told us that owning and operating a tea room was a dream that she and her mother both shared.  Sadly, she lost her mother when she was 19, but she did not give up on their dream.  The day we happened to visit, July 1, Millie explained was her 5 year anniversary.  She told us how she learned a great deal in the first year of her tea room's history, and how she was able to make changes and become more successful than she had ever imagined.  A firm believer in the power of prayer, Millie told us that she asks God for guidance in her business life, but He doesn't give her exactly what she asks for - it's usually greater and better than what she had in mind.  This lady is an inspiration, and I feel so privileged to have met her.   

Here we are at The Lady Bug Tea Room - pinkies poised and having a great time!  Thanks, Jen for taking this shot of us!  And a special and sincere thanks to my photographer friends for making this day extra great!  These ladies are tops in my book!!  
(L-R) Marilyn, Cathy, Andrea, me and Denean

After we finished up, it was time to look around some more.  The Lady Bug Tea Room offers unique artisan style jewelry, hand knitted items, small original paintings, and their signature, homemade teas, too!  

Millie mentioned that we were welcomed to go check out her backyard, photograph her flowers, and see her yard and garden.  So, we did just that!  And, as you can imagine, we found more ladybugs!  These lucky beetles, and in my case smile invoking beetles, serve this tea room well.      

I completely enjoyed The Lady Bug Tea Room and would highly recommend it to anyone in search of fine, fresh cuisine; delicious, unique teas; comfortable, beautiful surroundings; hand-crafted, artisan shopping; and a relaxed atmosphere.  When you do get the opportunity to experience this lovely tea room, please be sure to tell Millie, Jen,  and the staff members that you saw this blog post and that I said "Hello from across the mighty Susquehanna!!"  :)   

Until my next 'Focus on Local' adventure, I wish you many fine local shopping and dining encounters!  And have a terrific Independence Day tomorrow!!  It's a good time to reflect and remember that only 236 short years ago the great states (or colonies) of America decided that enough was enough, and took back their rights to support one another at the local level.  

Cheers to your good health, my friends,