Introducing The New “Tea Party Girl” – Sonya Michelle

Sonya Michelle, Tea Party Girl


It’s hard to believe that today has finally come.  Today is the day I turn over my “hostess” responsibilities at Tea Party to a special someone.  I have loved owning and operating Tea Party Girl and I have so enjoyed getting to know each and everyone of it’s readers. (like YOU!)

So without further adieu let me introduce to you, Sonya Michelle, the NEW, “Tea Party Girl.”

Sonya Michelle, Tea Party Girl

 I’m ready to bring you more exciting ideas, stories, information and recipes on Tea Party

Q: Welcome Sonya Michelle.  First things first.  All of the readers of this blog are dying to know your personal tea story.  We want to know the nitty gritty on how you came to love afternoon tea and what it’s like to “take tea” in Australia (where you live!)

A: Thank you all for a lovely, warm welcome!  I am sooo delighted to meet the criteria and pass the test to qualify as the new hostess of afternoon tea with Tea Party Girl. Yes, I am an Aussie and I can tell you I thoroughly enjoyed the two years that my husband, Tony, and I spent living in Atlanta GA, USA,  working and living like a local. Traveling a bit and exploring a lot and loving our lives and friends over there! Back home here in Brisbane, Australia – now with 3 beautiful sons – nothing gets me through the day quite like a cup of tea, or two, or three….


Sonya Michelle and Family

Here’s a photo of me with my husband, Tony, and our three Boys Charlie, Max and Rhys (L-R), earlier this year.


I haven’t always been, but for the past 12 months or so I have become almost exclusively a tea drinker, so I think it is curious that this new venture has presented itself to me now.  Doesn’t life work in curious ways?

Australia, just like the USA, is a large country, so I’m sure I can’t speak for all Australians, but taking tea in the typical circles I circulate in involves – tea bags and mugs!  Occasionally a cup and saucer, but usually a mug.  We’re usually all in such a hurry it’s a teabag and a mug – and if you’re at the home of a coffee drinker, it’s a coffee mug at that!

At a coffee shop or café, a teapot and strainer and cup and saucer will be served (but the mug will be thick and clunky and not at all elegant, sob!).

It hasn’t always been the case in my life … my Grandmother would serve ‘proper’ morning and afternoon tea, with fine china, a teapot and homemade date slice (I must see if I can get hold of that recipe from the family – it was delicious).  More recently, a very sophisticated and charming neighbor would serve an elegant afternoon tea, with delightful teacups, company and chatter.  But everyone seems to be in such a hurry these days, and everything is done ‘on the run’.


I’m on a mission to bring the experience of soul nurturing afternoon tea times back into our lives.  Surrounded by friends and/or family and treated with small, delectable treats is what we need.



 Q:What part of Australia do you live in and can you tell us something about YOU?

A: I’ve lived in a few parts of Australia in my time, but find myself happily settled in ‘rural-residential’ acreage suburbia in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.  With three growing and lively sons, we have the space to move here, and grow and be noisy and keep chickens and run with friends, get muddy, graze knees, laugh, love and live.


Tea for Two - Australia with Sonya Michelle


“Tea for Two” in Australia : Two Rainbow Lorikeets having bread and honey on my back deck.

Besides being a full time Mom and happy wife, I also love the internet and connecting with people with similar interests to myself through my computer! I love fresh, healthy food and looking after my health and the needs of my family.

To me, tea is a big part of this healthy living and I’ve become increasingly interested in the health benefits of different types of tea.  (Not to mention the healthy social aspects!)

I love spending time with friends, caring for our animals, spending time at home and I always endeavor to make my interactions with others a positive experience.


Q:What made you connect with “Tea Party” ?

A: My increasing interest in having a healthful lifestyle and excluding harmful and unnecessary ingredients from our bodies had led me to thinking more about what I consume – is this a dead giveaway for my age? – and a love for drinking tea and sharing a social ‘cuppa’ with special people in order to connect, and enjoy, made the opportunity to join Tea Party Girl literally “jump out” at me.

There are so many aspects to enjoy about Tea Party Girl.  The drinking of the tea for taste and refreshment, the gorgeous accompanying accessories (the ‘pretties’ – teapots, teacups, tea towels, trays, sandwich platters, table cloths….), the opportunity for friendship, sharing, connecting, the opportunity for charitable events and business endeavors.  Tea is so easily interwoven with so many aspects of life!


Q: What’s your favorite tea?

A: Is anyone else like this?  I seem to go through phases, where one month I will like one tea, another time I will prefer another tea.  I also prefer different teas at different times of the day, before and after particular meals.  At the moment, my overall favorite is peppermint herbal tea.  It is soooo very refreshing!


Q: What’s your favorite afternoon tea food?

A: Oooooh…well, because I’m on a plan to live to 100 years of age (there’s just so much to DO), and I’m taking a particular interest in healthful (but plentiful and delicious and more-ish) food, I particularly love tasty morsels of Orange and Almond Cake (made with oranges, almond meal, eggs and a little sugar) and dried fruit balls (made with chopped nuts, dates, raisins, coconut, …..) and I have a lovely and adaptable recipe for a “fruity carrot loaf”.  These all go beautifully well with most teas I drink – and are delightfully guilt-free.  Of course, if someone puts a dark chocolate mud cake in front of me, it will disappear in a flash as well…


Q: I know you have big plans for this site and for connecting with the readers.  Can you share just a few things we can all look forward to?

A: Where to start? I can’t decide if exploring the stunning array of tea cups, teapots and afternoon tea accessories out there should be first, or, perhaps an exploration of just how many different types of tea that are available to us to enjoy. Then again, the health benefits of tea are incredibly important to appreciate, so that will be a high priority.  The business of tea is an attractive and lucrative one to be in, so exploring further details of how this can be realized is on my list – and I’ll be asking you, Dawnya, to assist me here with your vast experience and knowledge of this area!

Fundraising for charitable causes is also of interest to me, and I imagine will be of interest to some readers, so I will be reporting on some ideas there.

In September, a “High Tea” is being held at a local ‘Bush Garden’ in my suburb and I will be attending to enjoy the experience, review the event and talk with the hostess about the proceedings.

I will also be visiting some local tea rooms (in comparison with coffee shops, they are few and far between, here, I can tell you!) I have just recently learned about, to report how those businesses attend their customers and what really makes them “tick”.

Have you ever heard of “Billy Tea”?  Well! That is an Aussie “experience” and a half.  I won’t call it a tradition, but it’s from folklore in this country and something to be experienced at least once!  If you like tea out of an enamel mug, with bits of ash from the open fire in it, and campfire smoke in your hair while you’re drinking it, you’ll love it!


Q: Where can the readers connect with you?

A: Since I’m nearly always connected to my computer, I’ll be close by if you post or send a message on Facebook or via or the Contact Us page on  And on that note I warmly invite you to reach out and let me know your thoughts and wishes and requests for posts, information, solutions, recipes and topics for future blog posts.


 I want to thank you, beautiful Dawnya, for entrusting your much-loved Tea Party Girl blog to me, and thank you readers, for the opportunity to serve you and be in your lives.



Well ladies and gentleman.  I know I leave you in great hands and don’t worry, Sonya Michelle and I plan to work together from time to time.  I still have a contribution or two to make to the world of afternoon tea.

“Until then, pour yourself a cup of tea, sip, sigh and know you are loved.”

-Dawnya Sasse Tea Party Girl – Retired


Meet Dawnya – My Story


Recently, I did a survey of our Tea Party Girl readers.  One of your requests was a bit more information on me.  So here’s my full bio.  Hope you enjoy it




Dawnya Sasse was raised on the road, the child of musicians and quickly gained from a young age, a unique and creative perspective on entertaining. In 1988 Dawnya began traveling to Great Britain, leading tours throughout the United Kingdom. Her passion for Britain and her love of all things theatrical, led her to the creation of Tea Events in the 1990′s.

In 1997, Dawnya traveled to Cape Cod, Massachusetts for extensive tea consulting. She enjoyed personal training with Donna and Ron Lasko (New England’s Tea Couple). Ms. Sasse went on to study with Pearl Dexter – publisher of Tea – A Magazine and nationally acclaimed tea author James Norwood Pratt, Edward Brahma of the London Brahma Tea Museum among a variety of other tea authorities.

Dawnya opened her first tearoom in 1998 and her second tearoom in 2000 in Bend, Oregon.  The local media dubbed her “Lady” Dawnya and the title has stuck to this day.

In 2003 Dawnya launched (the worlds first online tea training program) allowing students from all over the world to receive tea training from the comfort of their own home. (currently she has taught students in almost every state in the union and 25 foreign countries.)  Start A Tea Business 4.0 was recently launced at the beginning of 2011.

 In 2004 she authored the first complete children’s tea party training program entitled Start A Children’s Tea Party Business , and launched the first internet radio station devoted solely to tea.  (  She also producing a series of exciting tea seminars  on CD. 

In 2006 Dawnya hosted the first Tea Cruise for tea busines owners (hosting a total of 4 so far.)

2007-2011 have been busy writing and teaching various courses online such as:


 Build A Tea Dream From The Comfort Of Your Own Home

Start A Childrens Tea Party Business 2.0

Tea Business (recently sold to a fantastic student!)

Tea Business Dreams Blog

Tea Party Girl Blog

Tea Talks Volume 1

Build A Successful Web Presence

My Club Etiquette

Tea Party Girl Blog


 Lady Dawnya spent the first 7 years of her tea career working full time as the owner and manager of Tea Events teahouse in Bend, Oregon. In the summer of 2004 she sold the teahouse in order to provide tea related education full-time.  

She is a past president of The Ladies Tea Guild – Bend, Oregon Chapter ( and a regular contributing tea author to such periodicals as Bustle, The Gilded Lily ,The Country Register, The Tea House Times and and a regular speaker on a variety of tea, etiquette and historical topics.

Her picture and tea house have been featured in various tea related guides such as Teatime in the Northwest and Tea Journal for Teatime Enthusiasts.  She is the Artistic Director and creator of Victorian Days – A Girl’s Camp.

Dawnya has taught people from around the world.  Corporate CEO’s from companies like Harley Davidson and Shell Oil and professors from Ivy League Colleges like Purdue, Stanford and Georgetown.  She has worked with Senator’s families, stationed military troops and housewives from around the world.  If someone has an interest in tea Dawnya is the “go to gal!”   She hosts a live training event in Kansas City each year in August.

Lady Dawnya continues to pursue advanced tea education in order to bring her clients “extraordinary tea business training.”

Hmmm.. what wonders will this year bring?

In her spare time Dawnya enjoys pouring tea for good friends, traveling, chasing her cats (Mister, Tea’ and Keeper) and relaxing with her husband of 21 years.  (no kids just cats :)

But- a business owner’s work is never done.  Who knows that this year holds….

More on Dawnya:

5 Things About Dawnya, Aka Tea Party Girl

5 Things About Dawnya, Aka Tea Party Girl

Dawnya Sasse, The Tea Party Girl

Dawnya Sasse, The Tea Party Girl

  Over the years I have been pretty open and honest about my life and especially my tea story. Those of you who have followed me online have seen everything from pictures of my swollen feet (after the World Tea Expo) to my kitchen and favorite Kitchen Aid mixer. (which I wouldn’t want to go without.)

But I have been challenged to list 5 things that few people know about me so here we go:


1. Popcorn, macaroni and cheese (Kraft!) and hot buttered toast are the three foods I would hate to live without. It’s not like I eat them every day (well, I eat buttered toast with tea nearly every morning.) but I would hate to not be able to eat them if I wanted to. I am not really sure why these three foods stand out in my mind but I can definitely say that they were part of my growing up years. My sister and I love all three items to this day.



2. I am a proud Star Wars fan. I have seen Star Wars over 30 times and often quote lines from the pre-quels and sequels. I also love the Muppets and the 80’s TV show Remington Steele. Don’t tell me television and movies don’t affect children. These programs influenced my style, humor and spiritual insight for life! (scary isn’t it?)



3. My “flash back” music of choice would be Air Supply. Every song they did seemed to fuse with a distinct memory for me. Another strange musical quirk is my unusual ability to recite words from most songs between the 60s- early 90s including commercials and TV shows. (weird what sticks in my brain!)



4. My favorite thing to do in London is sit on the bridge and stare at Big Ben at night. I love to watch the clock turn 8 or 9 pm and hear the bong, bong, bong. I breathe deeply in and out and sigh. I like to call London my home and America my country. On a side note, one of my first cups of tea in England was drunk out of a tall, pink, plastic, Tupperware glass. I remember hoping it didn’t melt. Luckily for me Tupperware never dies!



 5. When email first became popular I actually said aloud “Who needs email?” My past experience with computers included my B in 8th grade computer science. (the only computer class I have ever taken) The teacher told me not to worry about class, as I would never be the type of person that used a computer. (wouldn’t I like to see his face now J )  Today I average 100 plus emails a day.


 Ok, so now you have it. You know far too much about me and I know so very little about you. The good thing is we share a passion for tea and that is enough to make us friends. If I haven’t said it enough, thanks for reading this blog.