People who have known me a long time know that I am a music lover. I went from a large record and tape collection to a large cd collection to a large mp3 collection over the years. Everything from classical to heavy metal with some jazz, pop and show tunes in between.
The nice thing about music is the variety. Music can be uplifting or solemn, energetic or relaxing, enjoyed with friends or alone. The options are infinite.
Tea is much the same way. That is probably why I love it so much. I didn’t continue my piano lessons long enough and sing so poorly that I have given in to lip syncing at church. However, I can make a decent cup of tea. And what goes better with tea than music? Okay food would probably be the correct answer. But after food, music is the number two thing that goes best with tea.
I am known for my support of a variety of charities. My one boss nicknamed me “Mother Earth” because I am always coming to him to donate to one cause or another. My other job is at a wonderful non profit that does a lot of good work in the community, Co-County Wellness Services. I have been involved with the Literacy Council of Reading-Berks since 1988. I attend many fundraisers for other non profits in the area annually. It is just something that I have always done. I got that gene from my father who was the Executive Director of different Boy Scouts of America offices at one time or another. I obviously got my tea addiction gene from my mother since my father wasn’t that into tea.
The thing both of my parents have in common is their love of music. They were from different schools in the Pittsburgh area and met at one of the County Band ensembles. My mother played clarinet and my father played trumpet. Years down the line they had me who could play neither:) As my boyfriend always says “learning an instrument takes patience and you were clearly too impatient to wait in that line before you were born”. It’s true. I drove my piano teacher to drink. I was never good at rolling the fingers over the keys…I was more of hit the keys so hard that they can hear it in the next house. But I did learn how to appreciate the music of others and I have a son who is a very talented tenor so it’s all good in the end.
But back to my point of music and tea and charity. I started Stylin’ Tea Blends for many reasons. One my job at Gloray was changing and I thought I would be losing it. Luckily it evolved into another job which is equally rewarding with awesome people I adore. My job at Co-County Wellness Services is never 100% secure. It only takes losing one or two grants for the doors to close. Hence the many fundraisers to help cover overhead costs so we can meet the needs of our clients. I had to help my son through his last year of Albright College which is not a cheap school. I was a depressed, stressed mess. So, I decided to focus on what I love and what I wanted and selling tea not only became a possibility, it became a reality. I was so thrilled to be able to buy the teas that I have been paying retail for over the years at wholesale prices and share them with friends.
Stylin’ Tea Blends was created with three main goals. One is to sell high quality tea from vendors who share my core values. I don’t want to carry tea that is bartered and sold for cheap off while some poor farmer is being exploited. I do believe that energy gets into the tea and it is why I have such love of my vendors who know where their tea comes from.
The second goal is to bring the community together through tea. We live in a very strange area in a very strange time. I love the Reading area but I can tell you it is not perfect. Reading is well known for its high crime rate and was voted #21 of America’s most dangerous cities in 2009. For our size that is rather significant. Reading also had the highest poverty rate of any city in 2012. It is a shame because the one thing that Reading does have is a lot of heart. That is why there are so many non profits and churches trying to help the significant amount of homeless and working poor in the area. There are many who see this “us/them” as a blur that has turned into “we” and those are the people that I have tried to do what I can by having tea tastings, donating product for raffles, etc. I get nothing from these events except knowing that in some small way I did my part to help better our community. Hence the name “Communi-Teas”.
The third part of Stylin’ Tea Blends is one that many of my customers are familiar with because they hear about it all the time - Fundraising Opportuni-Teas. We have raised money to help sponsor walkers in cancer, diabetes and MS walks. We have helped send a junior ambassador overseas with the People to People organization. And coming up we are going to be raising money to help The Collective School of Music in New York City with their fundraiser to help their school through a significant funding issue so they don’t have to pass those costs to the already financially burdened students.
I love the journey that Stylin’ Tea Blends has taken me on and that music, tea, and fundraising are all going to be coming together over the month of July. I thank everyone who I have met along the way from my vendors to my customers and most of all my very supportive family and friends. I look forward to making new friends and sharing new teas.
If you haven’t checked out Stylintea.com lately then you really should because we have a vast selection from amazing vendors. Some of the products I carry because I have customers who buy them by the pound (i.e. Nutty Almond Creme and plain Yerba Mate). Others I carry because I love the vendors and want to give others an opportunity to try their teas (all of my Mountain Tea oolongs). 10% of everything I sell on the website for the month of July will be donated to The Collective School of Music fundraiser. Doesn’t matter if the item is on sale or not. There are no disclaimers of any kind. Everything counts from Harney & Sons to Stylin’ Tea Blends Private Label.
I will write more about the fundraiser in upcoming blogs since this has turned from a simple blog entry into a short story. But I wanted to prepare everyone for the upcoming event. July is going to be a fun month with raffles, giveaways and more tea tastings.
An explanation of the project we are fundraising for in July: