Dinner 15: Ladies High Tea

Fun & Fundraising: Ladies of High Tea

2 Comments 12 October 2011

By Hairee Lee

Candied almonds by Rago Events in the large Match Pewter oval lidded box as a sweet reward at the donation table for National Breast Cancer Foundation

I have never been seriously ill.

I’ve never broken a bone, caught a disease, or suffered an allergy. (Except for penicillin, which I’ve never needed because I’ve never fallen seriously ill or been broken from, say, a car crash or a falling accident.) I have a few scars, all of which are cosmetic. I eat whatever I want, drink more than most, and still manage to keep a fairly steady weight with a somewhat regular running routine. People often think I’m younger than I am and I don’t correct them. Good genes and quitting smoking helps a lot. And I’ve never had to endure the loss of a loved one. In fact, one of the first things I ever told my boyfriend when I first met him was, “Nothing bad ever happened to me.” Yet.

I’m just wise enough to know that there is a “yet”. And it’s the “yet” that makes me aware of how lucky I am. Because it’s only a matter of time before something bad happens. Bad things, after all, happen to people, good or bad, all the time. That’s not pessimism. It’s just the way life goes. My body is aging, thus dying, and will get sick, cancer runs in my family, and someone I love will die because we all will.

So it’s important to me that I have as much fun while I can and, while I can, do what I can to help prolong the fun as much as possible for me and those I love.

Fundraising for the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) is one way I thought Dinner Series could be involved in that prolonging of life and fun through financial contribution to research and services surrounding breast cancer detection, treatment, and support.

Last Saturday (10/8) 24 women met at the Cambridge Historical Society (CHS) to enjoy afternoon tea in support of NBCF during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October).

Cambridge Historical Society on a gorgeous October day

We didn’t all know one another when the event began, but we had the same idea in mind: to have a great afternoon and to help those who need help while investing in our own healthy futures and our children’s healthy futures. We met some new people, maybe even made some new friends, and looked healthy, fabulous, ate well, and enjoyed a beautiful setting through it all.

Cynthia Harney Becker in the sun lit room at the Cambridge Historical Society


Melissa Ragonese, Dinner Series’ visual director, and her friend Laylah Mohammed, interior designer.

We delighted in the scrumptuous baked goods by Laura Wilson, the main cook for Dinner Series. Her famous babka and toffee chocolate chip cookies were a huge hit. I’ve had these before and they were just as fabulous last Saturday as they’ve ever been. I’m still thinking about the raisin scones and the cucumber sandwiches. To learn more about the menu and links to the recipes, go to Afternoon Tea Menu. (COMING SOON!)

Laura Wilson (right), baker extraordinaire, with her sister-in-law, Erika Wilson and Erika’s baby, Charlotte Wilson


(Left to right) Elizabeth Caldas, Cynthia Harney Becker, and Michelle Samplin-Salgado enjoying the buffet delights by Laura Wilson


Fatima Lopez helping herself to Laura’s Babka using the Sabre Paris Old Fashioned Tart Slicer

Thank you to all the Ladies’ of High Tea for joining Dinner Series and making our event such a lovely afternoon. I didn’t fail to notice how stylish you all looked and the care taken in noting my dress code suggestions. But especially your conversation and enthusiasm.

Rachel Henke looking fabulous in a dress picked up especially for the tea

I also want to thank those who donated to NBCF. We’re looking forward to making next year’s just as delicious and successful and even more helpful to NBCF than our first.

A big thanks also goes to our sponsors, all of whom were represented in the gift bags that each of the women took home with them at the end of the afternoon. If you want to find out more about the companies that made donations to our event and the gift bags, go to The Gift Bag: Sponsors of Ladies’ High Tea.

Ladies’ High Tea gift bag full of goodies from Didriks, MEM Tea Imports, Rago Events, O’Sugar! Cakery, BudiBars, and Laura’s Baked Goods,

A special thanks goes to Gilbert Tsang, President of MEM Tea Imports for his donation of the most important ingredient for our afternoon tea: the tea! Not only was his selection of 4 teas outstanding and well received, each guest took home a generous sized tea gift.

(Left to right) Stephanie Shimada-Brand, Cynthia Harney Becker, and Elizabeth Caldas choosing their MEM tea at the tea and samovar table

Laylah Mohammed and Domenica Lopreato refilling their teapots

And last but certainly not least, thanks to Melissa for her stamina and creativity. The beautiful buffet and table setting she envisioned and executed completely transformed the CHS space into an almost novel-like setting. It surpassed my expectations and my experience at the Boston Athanaeum’s afternoon tea, which was pretty fabulous.

For more details on the table setting and the buffet setting and all the touches put together by Melissa, go to Afternoon Tea Setting #1: Table Setting and Afternoon Tea Setting #2: Buffet Setting.

Table Setting by Melissa Ragonese, Visual Director and Table Stylist for Dinner Series

* * *
I don’t claim to know the meaning of life–assuming there even is one. All I know is that I love having fun and eating good food and drinking good drinks and loving the people I love and doing it all with vigor and vitality. Last Saturday became one of those perfect moments in time, so perfect it seemed to stop. And, strangely, its those time stopped moments when life seems most vigorous and vital. Good health and lots of happiness to everyone who came.

For more photos, scroll down or visit our Flickr album.

Carly Grant, new mother and long time fan of Laura’s Baked Goods

Fatima Lopez, long time friend of Laura Wilson

Kirstina Drobkova (right), Purchasing Manager at Didriks, and her mother, Katerina Mendoza

Michelle Samplin-Salgado. Her husband, Diego Salgado, personal chef, will be cooking for Dinner Series’ next event

Sarah Margerum, volunteer at CHS, looking fabulous in her navy lace dress

Suzanne Hemman, whose boyfriend, Jeff York, designed the new face and logo for Dinner Series

Anne Stranberg, friend of Margaret Wilson Henke

Your Comments

2 Comments so far

  1. Carly says:

    Amazingly beautiful and delicious event…thanks to everyone for putting it together! I look forward to attending dinner series!

  2. Hairee says:

    Thanks Carly! I’m so glad you had a nice time. I’m looking forward to having you at a future event as well. Sooner than later. I’ll be in touch :)

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