Well, WE Like You.

FullSizeRender (2).jpgCome find us at our booth this Sunday at Smorgasburg LA. Our custom line of teacups will get your point across.

A lady must always speak her mind.

Miss Havisham’s Curiosities Joins Smorgasburg LA

 

Very pleased to announce that Miss Havisham’s Curiosities will be at Smorgasburg LA every Sunday beginning June 19th at the Alameda Produce Market in Downtown LA.

Antiques, housewares, local artists, and tea!

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Come visit us and sample her fine wares, darling. Miss Havisham does not disappoint.

 

We’re Moving!

We have been remiss in our correspondence as of late but with good reason!

Darlings, Miss Havisham’s Tea is dipping our toe into new waters.

Firstly, we are moving our blog to www.MissHavishamsCuriosities.com.

Because we’re really more of a lifestyle movement after all, aren’t we dearies? Why limit ourselves to tea and gossip?

All of our content, social media, and discussion forums will now be in one lovely little hub.

Secondly, and this is a big one, we will be adding an online store in the near future.

So many of those trinkets we’ve showcased will eventually be available to you online. How else can a lady support her weekend flea market addiction?

And so it is out with the old and in with the new including our fancy new logo courtesy of Mr. Havisham (Thank you, Tim).

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So please visit us at our new home, subscribe to our newsletter, and look out for more exciting announcements soon.

xoxo

Miss Havisham’s Curiosities

We’re getting curiouser and curiouser…

War Brides and Movie Stars: The Queen Mary

This is my love letter to the Queen Mary.

Docked in Long Beach, the Queen Mary is rumored to be one of the 10 most haunted sites in the country and for a small fee you can take one of her many tours including several night time ghost walks.

I’m not going to lie, whenever we go to the Queen Mary, we are usually the youngest people there by a good 30 years, but that’s probably part of why I love it. There are a number of exhibits that, frankly, I am not the target audience for like the Princess Diana exhibit, but just walking around the ship and looking at the art deco interiors is enough to keep me coming back.

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The Queen Mary made her maiden voyage in 1936 and was considered the height of luxury. “She boasted five dining areas and lounges, two cocktail bars and swimming pools, a grand ballroom, a squash court and even a small hospital. The Queen Mary had set a new benchmark in transatlantic travel, which the rich and famous considered as the only civilized way to travel. She quickly seized the hearts and imaginations of the public on both sides of the Atlantic, representing the spirit of an era known for its elegance, class and style.” -QueenMary.com. Photos are also from the ship’s website.

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My favorite exhibit is a display of the collected memories of former passengers. It’s a poignant look into life during the war because after those first three glamorous years, the Queen Mary became a warship transporting soldiers to Europe for World War II. As many as 16,000 soldiers were transported during the war. Painted to camouflage her from enemy sights, she was nicknamed “The Grey Ghost.”

The ship’s website also tells us that “Adolph Hitler offered $250,000 and the Iron Cross to any U-boat Captain that could sink the Queen Mary.”

After the signing of the armistice in May 1945, the Queen Mary was dedicated to bringing US troops home and, more interestingly, carried thousands of war brides and children born to American soldiers to the US to begin their new lives.

One woman recalls leaving England to join a husband she hadn’t seen in two years. She said she didn’t recognize him out of uniform. Watch her story here.

The following pages are taken from a promotional pamphlet for the Queen Mary who was bigger and faster than the Titanic.

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A few of the deco details (pictured above) that were restored to the ship after it was decommissioned in 1946. It was returned to its former glory and sailed for nearly two more decades of commercial use.

With the rise of commercial airlines and the decline in the market for luxury sea travel, the ship was sold to the city of Long Beach in 1967 for $3.45 million. She docked in Long Beach after her final cruise and she has remained there ever since as a hotel, museum and events space. She was even in an episode of Arrested Development. Lucille Bluth hijacks her and there are gay sailors. Heaven.

While a bit shabby, the rooms still maintain their original charm. Just go in with an appreciation of what the lady’s been through and what she’s done for so many people. Aging gracefully is a bit rare here in LA so let’s embrace it, hmmm?

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We had tea on the ship twice. It was great. The waiter, clearly accustomed to explaining every single detail of the tea service, was so delightfully bored by his own talking that I wanted to wink at him and say, “Shhhh, it’s ok. We don’t really care, just bring me all of it and I will eat it.”

He seemed to sense it though and did exactly that. I left feeling like I had willingly done terrible things to myself by eating so many scones, but then returned and did it again recently and will surely do it again soon. Make reservations and try to go on a weekday or you’ll be surrounded by screeching bridal showers and fussy groups of ladies asking all those questions our waiter friend is so very tired of answering.

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There are any number of events throughout the year you can use as an excuse to visit the ship. The Fourth of July is a big one and usually sells out right away. I hear the fireworks are to die for and yes, there are themed old timey sections where you can drink and get rowdy. Valentine’s day is another one, bask in the vintage romance. Halloween is a bit crazy there so be warned. There are lots of teenagers going to the haunted house, loud music. Meh. We recently went to a flea market next to the ship which was small but fun and came with free admission to the boat. Check out their calendar of events here, you’ll find something to do, I’m sure.

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles apparently hosts an Art Deco Festival on the ship in August. Side note: the society also seems to host a lot of drinking events at historic bars…interesting. Cocktails and pretty? Yes.

Now the big question, is The Queen Mary HAUNTED?

There have been numerous sitings and as many as 150 different spirits have been “documented.” At least 49 people have died on the boat. If ever a place SHOULD be haunted, it’s this one. The engine room is supposed to be the hotbed of paranormal activity. It is definitely creepy.

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Also on the haunted list: both of the swimming pools. A young girl is said to have drowned in one of the pools. Again, it is creepy.

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And here it is empty…even more creepy.

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The number of spooky stories is countless, doors slamming, phones ringing, a phantom baby that cries. Stateroom B340 is no longer rented to the public because of its supposed paranormal activity. Faucets are said to turn on by themselves and the bedsheets fly across the room.You can read all about the ghosties on Haunted Honeymoon.

So is she really haunted? Rumor says yes. I can’t confirm it. While I barely slept the night I spent there, it was largely due to the air conditioning vent being aimed right at my delicate little face and the sink drip drip dripping and…my waiting for the ghosts to come. No ghosts came. It should also be noted that Tim slept like the dead.

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The boat does offer their own ghost tours…plural. I haven’t done any of them. If you do, email me because I’m curious about all the secrets that lurk inside The Grey Ghost. It should also be noted that this is the first in a series of haunted hotel reviews. Stay tuned.

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Port bow view of the QUEEN MARY at anchor. The Queen Mary on war service. 28 September 1944, Greenock. The 84000 ton Cunard Liner Queen Mary in her grey white war paint as she prepared to make another atlantic crossing taking wounded us troops back to America.

May your nights on the ship be spine tingling. xoxo

 

 

All the china…allll of it.

Rather than having strictly matching sets, my cupboards are filled with one-off antique china plates that I happen to fall in love with. They’re inexpensive and it’s like having ten different china patterns. If one breaks, you move on.  I’m not the only one who feels this way, have a look at the brilliant Cake Stand Heaven blog and shop. You can buy whole mismatched sets grouped by era and color.

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Not everyone enjoys finding plates at flea markets and antique stores, however, and even I have succumbed to wanting a whole set or two of some patterns.

I have a nearly complete set of Blue Heaven. What’s great about this pattern, aside from it’s mid-mod vibe, is that you can find pieces of it everywhere: etsy, ebay, flea markets, and even on the Replacements site.

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At the request of the lovely and talented author Susan Elia MacNeal, Miss Havisham has compiled a smattering of beautiful dishes for your table. They are dishwasher safe for the most part because we certainly don’t have time for anything else. Some are steals, some are extravagant, all are special.

These Pavoes plates feel like they were stolen from the Russian Tea Room. They are, in fact, based on a 17th century Portuguese design. Bring me a rustic boule and a flagon of wine now please.

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This Adelaide pattern also comes in both pink and blue, but I prefer the black which can be tricky to find. It looks like pen and ink. The blue and pink are available at Macy’s.

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This minimalist, yet haunting, every day set by Corelle is a steal. Act fast, they’re on sale. You can also have a custom set of plates printed to your specification at Zazzle. Dishwasher safe!

These Masked Skull plates by Rory Dobner are available online at  Liberty London. Gold trim, darlings.

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I also love his Fantastic Mr. Fox plate, his bee and pirate plates.

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I can see these exquisite Firenze Medici plates by Juliska moldering away on the table of Miss Havisham. They are inspired by handmade Venetian paper and available from Neiman Marcus. I encourage you to zoom in on the details.

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I love these happy botanical plates also by Juliska.

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The Simply Fine Chirp series from Lennox is available at Macy’s. This set has the advantage of a wide array of accessories from serving platters to table linens. You might also enjoy the Flutter  or Curious Toille series from Loveramics.

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Who knew Christian Lacroix designed china? Save your pennies for this flight of fancy. The Vista Alegre Series.

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A dish for every occasion. Sometimes a lady needs to go on safari and when you do, I hope you dine on Lynn Chase’s Jaguar Jungle.

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If you’re lost in the woods, I hope you remember to bring your Dupaquier Dinnerware by Mottahedeh and if you are off for a horseback ride, snack from these pony cocktail plates from Pottery Barn.

And, of course, if you are slaying a dragon, please dine heartily on the Red Dragon plates before the kill; you’ll need your strength.

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I was happy to see these at Pottery Barn right now. Poppies!

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And this whole setup is fantastic. Spring has officially sprung at Pottery Barn. There are also table linens for all your spring desires.

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I got these Jason Miller plates as a wedding gift and they are now in everyday rotation. I hate having to choose one thing definitively thereby excluding all my other options, so these were perfect, half china pattern, half black crow.

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Seletti also understands my ambivalent nature. I might have to splurge on these hybrid masterpieces.

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And I love pretty much anything that comes from Pipstudio especially their Royal Collection. Happy happy happy.

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Melody Rose in the UK has some whimsical offerings. The trapeze plates are my favorite.

Whatever your pattern, whether it’s vintage or new, expensive or thrifty, don’t save your pretty dishes for special occasions only. I purchased a set of Jadeite dishes and cups a few years ago and they sat in my cabinet for way too long. The set was piecemeal, three cups and a few plates and eight, no NINE saucers. I couldn’t turn them down yet they sat unused for years. Finally, I just started using the extra saucers to feed the cats. It makes me happy every day. Life is short, don’t eat from ugly plates.

Want more inspiration? Follow Miss Havisham’s Tea on Pinterest.

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PS: These only cost me five dollars. DEAL!

Go Ask Alice

Alice in Wonderland has captivated readers for decades. Written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, it was published in 1865. Three years earlier, Carroll rowed a boat up the Isis section of the Thames river with three young girls and Reverend Robinson Duckworth inside. The three young ladies were the sisters Liddell,  daughters of Henry Liddell (the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University and Dean of Christ Church): Lorina Charlotte Liddell (aged 13); Alice Pleasance Liddell (aged 10); Edith Mary Liddell (aged 8).

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Alice Liddell, far right.

While on the river it’s said Carroll entertained the girls with a story that was so beloved by Alice that she asked for it to be written down for her and thus Alice in Wonderland came into existence. Carroll approached the artist John Tenniel to illustrate the manuscript.

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In 1998 Lewis Carroll’s own copy of Alice, one of only six surviving copies of the 1865 first edition, sold at an auction for US$1.54 million to an anonymous American buyer, becoming the most expensive children’s book (or 19th-century work of literature) ever sold, up to that time. Alice Liddell’s copy of the manuscript sold in 2009 for $115,000.

The relationship between Alice and Carroll is a murky one. She posed for Carroll often and those photos have been cited as proof that the nature of their friendship was less than appropriate.

This past June The Morgan Library in New York held an exhibit celebrating the 150th anniversary of the book’s publication. The exhibit included original drawings by Carroll and Tenniel as well as a number of photos. I was surprised that there was no mention of the question of Carroll’s relationship with Alice. You can view a number of the illustrations online at The Morgan Library’s site. There is an interesting article on the subject of their relationship here.

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Character development sketches between Carroll and Tenniel

We may never know the truth about Carroll’s proclivities as Richard Cavendish writes here:

“The friendship between the Liddells and Dodgson (Carroll) had broken down in 1863, for reasons that are not clear – the relevant page in his diary was cut out by one of his descendants – but it may be that Mrs Liddell was uneasy about him and Alice. Polite relations were resumed after a few months, but the earlier warmth did not return. ”

Alice grew into an adult and married a cricket player at the age of 28. They had three sons. She became quite the society hostess. After her husband’s death in 1926 she found the upkeep of their household to be draining. Facing financial difficulties, she sold her copy of the manuscript for £15,400. She died in 1934 and is quoted as saying, “I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland.”

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Alice as an adult.

Alice in Wonderland has been the subject of songs, art, and numerous films, one of my favorites is the stop motion film by Jan Svankmejer.  You can watch the trailer online.

There are no shortage of Alice themed events. Don’t forget to attend The Victorian Tea and Dance Society’s Alice in Wonderland themed social Sunday, March 6.

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Should you find yourself in London, you must go to The Madhatter’s High Tea at the beautiful Sanderson Hotel. I left with diabetes but I also left happy.

Want to throw your own tea party? I have several pieces of the Alice in Wonderland collection from Fishs Eddy in New York. I love them. Not sure if they still have the dinnerware but they also carry the prettiest cake stands.

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Cakestands for days.

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And who’s ready for a garden party? Alice always is.

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Need to make a pillow? A skirt? Find all the fabric you need on Etsy:

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And let’s not forget shoes. Wow.

From Elusive Rabbit:

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Or these from Irregular Choice:

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Care for a scarf?

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An entire tea set? Egg cup? Gift wrap? Check out The Alice Boutique.

I find The Hudson Hotel in New York to have a very Alice in Wonderland feel. Much of the furniture in the library bar is oversized and the lobby is really something. It’s a fun place to take a client for a drink.

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Or this acrylic chandelier from Vinci Living. Plenty more Alice interior design ideas on Lace and Ruffles.

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And I leave you with a great Queen of Hearts from Popsugar:

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Curiouser and curiouser!

Miss Havisham’s March Appointments

March! Ever striving to approach the majesty of Martha Stewart herself, I humbly submit my own schedule for your eagle eyes. Here are the LA events I will be attending in the next few weeks, maybe I’ll see you there, dearies.

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Miss Havisham’s March Social Obligations:

Thursday, March 3 Planned Parenthood LA’s Food Fare

Like food? Like reproductive freedom? Believe in affordable healthcare for women? Then attend Los Angeles Planned Parenthood’s annual fundraiser. There will be well over 150 of LA’s best restaurants, caterers, wineries, breweries, libations and vendors. Proceeds from Food Fare benefit Planned Parenthood Los Angeles.

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Friday, March 4 Le Bal Drag

A one night drag extravaganza at the Ace Hotel Theater. “An homage to the last sixty years of variety entertainment, Le Bal brings the art form of drag back to the stage and seeks to introduce new audiences to counterculture entertainment. The production celebrates the evolution of variety performance, from cabaret to theatre to contemporary drag.”

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Saturday, March 5 Halloween Club’s 4th Annual Spook Show

“This all-day outdoor festival will be filled with a curated selection of Southern California’s local spook makers, vendors, artists, collectors, cooks, teachers, musicians and enthusiasts of Halloween.”

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Sunday, March 6 CicLAvia The Valley

“CicLAvia temporarily closes streets to car traffic and opens them to Los Angelenos to use as a public park. Free for all, CicLAvia connects communities to each other across an expansive city, creating a safe place to bike, walk, skate, roll, and dance through Los Angeles.”

I’ll be the girl with the red bike with baskets and a bell looking fashionable and wildly out of shape.

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Sunday, March 6 Alice in Wonderland Tea

The Victorian Tea and Dance Society is new to me. They are apparently hosting an Alice in Wonderland themed tea with dance lessons. Will there be magic mushrooms?

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Wednesday March 9 Miss Havisham dines at Bestia for the day of her birth.

That’s right, it’s my 153rd birthday and have finally secured a reservation at Bestia. Review to come. Nom nom.

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Friday, March 11 Poltergeist screens at The Great Horror Movie Night 

Come to an outdoor screening in the old zoo in Griffith Park brought to you by the same folks to run The Great Horror Campout each year.

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Saturday, March 12 Brewery Tour

Atlas Obscura hosts a tour of The Brewery Arts Complex  which is composed of twenty-one former warehouses (including the Edison Electric Steam Power Plant and Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery) and is known as one of the oldest and largest art colonies in the world.

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Saturday, March 12 and Sunday March 13 Cherry Blossom Festival

Descanso Gardens will be filled with cherry blossoms and those who flock to view them.

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Saturday, March 12 Jane Austen Spring Assembly

The Victorian Tea and Dance Society annual Jane Austen fete. It is apparently the biggest event they throw. I, for one, have two left feet but I’m told the dance lessons are fun.

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Sunday, March 13 Spa Day for Miss Havisham

The lady will be accepting no invitations this day, apologies. In the words of Dolly Parton, “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.”

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Sunday, March 13 Rose Bowl Flea Market

I need to get one of those collapsible wagons this time and a sun hat. It’s time to get serious.

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Friday, March 18 Odd Nights at the Autry Museum

Flea markets abound! Crafts, food vendors, live music. And who doesn’t love a cowboy museum? Select galleries will be open as well.

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Saturday, March 19 Gardening classes at Theodore Payne

Back to back California native gardening classes. My day is planned.

Native Plant Garden Maintenance with Lili Singer 9:00-1:00 pm

Designing with Color in the Native Garden with Steve Gerischer 1:30-3:30 pm

Must bring a snack. Must bring a snack. Must bring a snack. I always forget.

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Saturday, March 19 Esotouric’s Birth of Noir Tour

If you don’t know about Esotouric, get in the know. Murder, mayhem and the occult are the focus of these LA tours. They’ll take you to the underbelly of LA’s past while riding comfortably on an air conditioned bus. These aren’t your typical tourist attractions.

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Sunday, March 20 Pet Cemetery Tour

Another gem by Atlas Obscura. Tour America’s largest pet cemetery with writer, Hadley Meares.

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Sunday, March 20 Long Beach Antiques Market

My favorite of the flea markets. Antiques galore. Check out some of my previous finds here.

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Saturday, March 26 Esotouric’s Hotel Horrors and Mainstreet Vice Tour

Another great tour offering by Esotouric. I haven’t done this one before.

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Saturday, March 26 Pretty in Pink

Street Food Cinema presents the 30th anniversary of the teen angst and fashion DIY film, Pretty in Pink.

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Have an event you’d like us to review? In the LA area and like to have tea? Email us at dearmisshavisham@gmail.com.