The Best Way to Say Thank You – The Gratitude Tea!

Drink tea poster

I’m going to plug an event that is very near and dear to my heart. Every year in early December I organize an event called The Gratitude Tea with my sister and close friends. I attended my first Gratitude Tea in 2006 with my mom. I was nervous to get up and share with everyone why she was so special, but I did it anyway because the love for my mom trumped my fear of public speaking and she deserved all the recognition she could get.

Sadly, my mom passed away unexpectedly in 2009. I’m lucky I got the chance to publicly recognize all that she did for my sister and I and that’s why I continue organizing the tea every year – to give other people the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the important people in their life. The tea returns on December 8, this time celebrating its fifth anniversary! It’s hard to believe it has already been five years since we brought back The Gratitude Tea to make it an annual event.

For those who have never been to the event before, it is an afternoon tea with a special twist – gratitude! Our attendees get the chance to recognize their guest(s) just like I did with my mom, and share with everyone what makes them so special. Attendees can also share a personal written message with their guest if they wish to not get up and speak.

We’re thrilled to be welcoming Body Bijou to the tea this year. They will be on hand selling their jewelry that supports GirlsHelpingGirls, a wonderful organization that empowers women by sponsoring girls’ education.

We’ve got some great auction items up for grabs this year including some Kate Spade clutches and iPhone covers, Raptors tickets, spa certificates, theater tickets and much more.

Come for the merriment, stay for the finger sandwiches, tea and mimosas! Learn more at gratitudetea.com

Gratitude Tea Poster

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It’s Tea Time Once Again

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In less than a week I will be co-hosting an event that is near and dear to me, The Gratitude Tea. Now in it’s third year, the event is an afternoon tea in celebration of the inspiring people in your life.

Attendees are encouraged to bring the person who has had a positive affect on their life to the afternoon tea service and share a short story of their influential guest.

All funds raised will go to Dress for Success Toronto, a non-profit organization that provides career development to low-income women.

The event includes: afternoon tea, silent auction, live music, specialty vendors and other surprises!

Drink tea, give thanks and be merry at the 2011 Gratitude Tea.
http://gratitudetea.com/
#GratTEA11

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It’s Been a Year…Time for a Little Reflection

It’s time to get a little personal, which is something I don’t do very often on this blog. If you have ever lost someone very close to you, maybe you can relate.

It has been one year (Aug 3) since my mom died. It has been a wild one but a challenging one as well. Not just the challenge of learning how to grieve, or move forward but learning how to grow from this situation and try to turn some of the negatives into positives.

Looking back at this past year, it’s remarkable I was even able to do anything at all, considering in the first three weeks since the event took place, I didn’t even want to feed myself.

I was able to get back into a normal routine and I think being able to focus on work again really helped me put things into perspective. I can’t say I was too productive at work though, because my mind was thinking about a million things…what to do with my mom’s house, where will my sister and I live? Can I afford a mortgage or a downpayment?

Despite all the worry in my head, I tried not to get caught up in all the grown up stuff I had to take care of and made it a priority to have fun, see friends, treat myself to getting my nails done and the general stuff that would make me happy and distract me from all the negative emotions I had.

If I also did not have the support of my boyfriend I may have probably had a much tougher time coping.

I feel I accomplished a lot this year. I was still able to host another WordCamp Toronto, change jobs – which is somewhat of a scary prospect in challenging times and I was able to put on a charity fundraising event in honour of my mom, now an annual event called The Gratitude Tea.

The best thing I’ve learned from this year is that friends are really important. They will cheer you up when you’re feeling down, take you out for dinner to distract you and remind you that everything will be okay. More importantly, life will go on.

I am my mom’s legacy and I know she would be proud knowing my sister and I picked ourselves up after tragedy and continued to look forward. She was a self-made woman and I try to live by her example everyday.

Here’s a video treat I put together for people who knew my mom. It was taken at my sister’s graduation in the spring of 2009. You can hear in the video that my sister is telling me to put the camera away but I’m glad I didn’t listen. It’s the only video I have of her in recent history.

A Look at the Gratitude Tea

I immediately felt sad after our event concluded because I had poured a lot of passion and hard work into something I loved planning. It was a good sadness, a sigh of relief you could say after completing something you felt went off without a hitch and flew by too quickly. The Gratitude Tea, a charity event I planned with my best friends and sister was a huge success and I say that humbly because the positive feedback we received was overwhelming from event attendees and the charity. The money we raised in one afternoon for a good cause made me feel pretty good too.

The idea of a Gratitude Tea is to bring someone you are thankful for having in your life and sharing with everyone (if you wish) why you are grateful for them. Maybe this person has had a major impact on your upbringing or has influenced you positively. Naturally most brought their mothers and other family members but some came just to observe and enjoy a high tea on a lovely Sunday afternoon in downtown Toronto. 

The charity we raised money for, Dress for Success Toronto came to support the event and Jessica Roelink, the Executive Director spoke about how the money we raised will directly impact women in the GTA.

Thanks to the guests of the event, we were able to donate 18 bags of gently-used work clothing to Dress for Success as well as raise a couple thousand for the charity.

It was such a pleasure to organize this event with close friends and I look forward to making the event bigger and better next year.

Our site: www.gratitudetea.com

Expressing Gratitude for a Good Cause

 

In the spirit of Christmas, giving thanks and getting together on a Sunday afternoon for a high tea, The Gratitude Tea is a charity fundraiser that promises to warm your heart, satisfy your taste buds and inspire the most empowered of women. A cause that is very close to me, the Gratitude Tea was started in 2006 by my classmates at the time who organized the event as part of the school curriculum. My mom was my guest in 2006 and liked it so much that she considered organizing a Gratitude Tea again the following year. Nothing was ever planned, so after her passing in August I decided to bring back the Gratitude Tea with the help of my friends.

Introducing the Gratitude Tea 2.0 featuring food catered by George, in an exlusive setting, the private women’s club Verity with more auction items but with just as many Oprah-like inspirational moments. I’m so excited to be planning an event with close friends that is centred around such a positive message. The idea of a Gratitude Tea is to bring someone you are thankful for having in your life and to share, if you so desire something about them with everyone else in the room.

If you have ever wanted to tell someone how thankful you are for having them in your life, then this is the perfect outlet for you. At the 2006 event I spoke to everyone about how my mom played such a major role in my life and how truly grateful I was for everything she did for my sister and I. I have to say, that was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had and am glad I got to share that with her before she passed.

Also on board is Dress for Success, the Toronto chapter. We chose this charity because of what great things they are doing to help women get back on their feet, land a job and be self-sufficient so they can support themseleves and their families. Dress for Success offers employment assistance as well as professional attire, including: shoes, bags and jewellery so women can look their best for job interviews and the work place. We are also asking guests of The Gratitude Tea to bring in any gently used dress clothing to donate to the cause.

Because the event is so close to Christmas, the theme is a sugarplum affair, so there will plenty of holiday cheer and auction items that will be good for any present or stocking stuffer. Thanks to Blowdry Lounge, Gee Beauty, Flip Video Canada, RIM, the Raptors, Ed’s Real Scoop, the Nail Studio, the Rebel House and others for helping us out.

For info about the event visit www.gratitudetea.com