Friday, December 31, 2010

New Bird On The Block No. 28 chirps farewell to 2010

Seven Thirty. Collage on paper, 4″ x 4″, 06.10.10, by Randel Plowman

I have long coveted many pieces by Randel Plowman of A Collage A Day. Sadly they are usually scooped up by the time I click over to his site from an email or Google Reader. So I made haste when he announced his sale on orphaned collages (sale priced? with matting? and free shipping? sign me up!). I was shocked to see a few bird ones among the orphans. Of course my favorite was already sold by the time I clicked on it, but after a little digging I found the beauty above and made him mine. He arrived on Wednesday and is sitting in a place of honor on the curio cabinet, awaiting a frame.

With so many blogs and sites to read on the interwebz I am constantly thrilled and humbled that you are here. As we bid adieu to 2010 I wish you a New Year filled with all good things, and when you count your blessings and your friends, may you find you are “the richest man in town”.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Christmas Trololo

I can’t decide which is more disturbing:

The masks
The audience singing along
The addition of Santa hats

For the original Trololo weirdness (so weird, yet you can’t stop watching) go here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Boxing Day, grab a shovel


Happy Boxing Day! Here in Connecticut we are awaiting the storm that yesterday blanketed the Southeast with a White Christmas. The weather fear-mongers are calling for a blizzard of 12-18” and 40 mph winds, which of course had people panicked last night. “It’s Christmas! All the stores are closed! I can’t stock up on bread and milk and snowmelt and shovels (how do you live in New England and not have a snow shovel?) and we will be snowed in for months Icannevereverleavethehouseeveragain whatwillIdooooooo?” Fun times! Personally I’m annoyed that the storm will prevent me from meeting up with an out-of-town college friend I haven’t seen in years and from hitting the half-off sales for next year’s wrapping paper etc.

So I’ll be keeping cozy with The Lounging Party, some Christmas leftovers, my Google Reader and a stack of DVDs and books (including this (nerd alert) and this, received as gifts from my wonderful family yesterday). Although I live downtown, my building is on a side street that probably won’t get plowed ‘til Tuesday, so I may have to instigate an impromptu BYOB potluck in my building… I love a snow day!

Snowman Treeclip by CatandFiddlefolk on Etsy.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Everybody knows, some Nyquil and some misteltoe, help to make the season bright

Merry Christmas bloggy friends! I hope your holiday is holly and jolly and free of sniffles. So far mine is holly and jolly but loaded with sniffles and other assorted cold symptoms, but I'm making the most of it by getting cozy on the couch, admiting my tree, and watching White Christmas with The Lounging Party.

You can't tell from the photo, but it is loaded with bird ornaments... ;-) Sent from my iPhone. Testing the blogger email app.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Getting in touch with my roots

Let’s talk about gray hair. I gots me some. I gots me a lot actually. And by gray hairs I don’t mean a bunch of long ones mixed in with the rest of my hair, or in a cool stripe, a la Lily Munster:


And I don’t mean steely-gray-almost-mousy-brown. I mean bright shiny gray. Noticeable gray. You know when you see photos of Jessica Simpson and it is clear she needs to touch up her brunette roots?


Imagine that but with the lights and darks reversed (I’m showing only the top of the image because the rest of the photo reversed is downright creepy):


I can go no more than four weeks before my roots need a touchup. In fact, four weeks is kinda pushing it, I could probably do three but I actually pay a professional to do this and when I think about what I already spend annually on my hair… well, I get another gray hair. Come Day 22 or so, I am pretty much relegated to wearing my hair in a ponytail and touching up the hairline with eyebrow powder to hide the evidence. Yes, I am that vain. The roots are so glaring you could probably see them from where you are.


My grays started when I was in college. Not a lot, just a few here and there, and I used to (gasp) pull them out. I didn’t believe that old wives’ tale that for each one you pull out, seven more grow in its place. They started growing in a patch just north of my ears and back a bit from my temples. Then they migrated to the top of my head, and just kept on going. Yesterday morning (Day 28) I made the mistake of looking at the back of my head in the medicine chest mirror via my makeup mirror to see how far back they went. I instantly regretted it. The only part of my hairline that is not gray is from the nape of my neck up about three inches on each side.


The Devil Wears No Miss Clairol

At 43 I feel I’m too young for Meryl Streep’s “Miranda” look, but I hope that when the day comes that I am ready to stop dyeing it, my hair comes in this white so I can sport this haircut. I think it would be pretty chic, and very freeing (not to mention cheaper!). In the meantime, to quote my friend Christine (who is very blond), “the grayer you get, the blonder you get”. So buh-bye grays and hello increasing number of blond foils…

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Every dog has his day. And then some have owners who do this:


Why America? Why?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Maybe I should change the name of the blog to “posts only on the last day of the month”

This is what’s happened since my last post: work, work, a week of travel for work, work, Thanksgiving, recover from food coma, and blam, it’s the end of the month.
* * * * * * * * * *
I wonder if people who learn English As A Second Language from some snotty American recent college grad end up with terrible American accents.
This thought came to me as I watched a documentary about the Eurovision Junior song contest, which is broadcast in English, and all the contestants spoke great English, some with British accents and some with odd American accents. (And nice job, Sundance channel, with your constant ads for some program that airs next Tuesday taking up the right side of the screen and blocking part of the subtitles).
In a Where Are They Now wrap-up at the end of the film it was noted that the contest winner and her family had to flee their home during the Georgian-Russian conflict and hoped to someday safely move to Tbilisi. Now there’s a story you just don’t hear on American Idol.
* * * * * * * * * *
I miss Lost. And Mad Men. I’ve been watching The Walking Dead and I do like it but I confess I have to watch HGTV afterward to help stave off the nightmares. I don’t “do” horror movies. The last one I watched was The Ring and I was so creeped out (and it was 3 in the afternoon with the sun out) that I could not watch the last two minutes. The last two minutes! I’ve been told they were key. Oh well.
* * * * * * * * * *
I hate those mascara ads that feature models who are clearly wearing fake eyelashes and promise that their product will give you those kind of lashes. False advertising! (pun intended)
And speaking of cosmetic companies, why is it so hard for them to make a nice shade of dark red nail polish that matches the one in my head?
* * * * * * * * * *
For Thanksgiving I made this kick-ass pecan pie recipe, except I doubled the nuts, and I toasted them in the oven first. Make it. Even if you think you don’t like pecan pie, make it. Your people will love you.
* * * * * * * * * *
More random Tuesday here. Ciao blog babies.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ten little pumpkins, sitting on a stair...

Capitol Ave pumpkins 

The above jack-o-lantern peanut gallery is on the street behind me. They look even better at night all lit up, but of course every time I’ve seen them lit I didn’t have my camera on me.

I had a quiet Halloween, no costume parties this year, very low-key, but after a crazy month at work (including a week – while suffering a horrible cold – in my home-away-from-home Chicago), a night with bad movies and laundry folding is a welcome respite.

In related Halloween news, one of my neighbors is again secretly leaving candy in a bowl by the elevator on my floor. Yum!

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween, with only good goblins and lots of candy from the upper hierarchy.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Teach your children well

Another example of how the Europeans get it right and we don’t. If you teach children to appreciate good food and nutrition, they grow up to be adults who appreciate good food and nutrition.

Jamie Oliver (the Naked Chef) managed to get the British schools to change their school food policy and is trying to get American schools to do the same. It is sad that someone from another country has to rescue us from our chicken-finger-eating ways. More here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Holding on to summer

Misquamicut July 2010 052
(photo taken by me, at Misquamicut State Beach, Rhode Island)

Dear, dear summer, why must you go? I am not ready! I need another trip to the beach, more melty ice cream cones, a long bike ride in the dappled shade, garden tomatoes, damp bathing suits drying in the sun, new sandals and a fresh pedicure…

More summer lovin’ here and here. And here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No corsets. No hatpins. And no crying.

The first rule of Fight Club is always the same, no matter what century it is.

with thanks to Mrs. SOC for first posting it on The Book of Face.

Note to self: find more friends with cottages

Earlier this summer I was lucky enough to get away with some girlfriends to another friend’s lovely cottage tucked away behind two other cottages on a tiny side street in a little neighborhood in Newport, RI.

Newport0610 093Newport0610 116 

At two blocks in from the harbor we were just a block from the main road’s restaurants, shops and boutiques, but once we turned onto the alley and were ensconced in our little patio we were worlds away from the noise of the street and tourists.

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The cottage was beautiful but comfortable, with cozy rooms tucked under eaves and stairs, a huge sunroom, and original art on every wall.

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We lazed on the beach and walked the Cliff Walk and lounged in Adirondack chairs. Ate fish and chips on the edge of the harbor. Bought and sold extravagant yachts and stately mansions and charming cottages with our imaginary riches. 

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We drank a lot of wine and dark ‘n’ stormies. We slept in and ate late breakfasts and lingered long over coffee.

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We did a lot of window shopping, and bought delicious fudge. We found the most amazing little natural food store.

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There was a lot of walking, and talking, and not talking. Ridiculous laughing. A little crying. More wine.

 Newport0610 073

We decided we all need more friends with cottages to loan.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A book worth a thousand pictures

Four of my favorite things: books +the art of paper cutting + stop-motion + man with foreign accent = great video about the joy of reading, via the New Zealand Book Council:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Me, Me, Meme

I love me a good meme and Sherri at The Claw was kind enough to include me with some pretty fab bloggers in her tag list, so here goes with her Eight Questions:

1. best news you've heard in a while? Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth was finally made into a movie. Well, a miniseries. A great book, I hope they don’t screw it up.

2. first concert you ever saw? Toto, 1982, at a theater (vs. an arena). At the time I knew only one of their songs but the French exchange student who was living with us that summer was mad for them, and she was cool, so they must be cool, so I happily tagged along. We sat right in front of the speakers and I was deaf for at least a day afterward.

3. who was your teenybopper crush? Young Patrick Dempsey was a fave. Current Patrick Dempsey also, but wasn't he so cute in Can't Buy Me Love? Also, the whole cast of The Outsiders. Except maybe Ralph Macchio. Not my type. Also: too Karate Kid.


4. favorite new blogs you'd recommend? These aren’t new per se, but they are new to me: La Maison Boheme, Small Place Style, From Me To You (really gorgeous photography and food styling and I love the Diary of a Brocavore series of recipes and photos).

5. would you be interested in a bloggy pal meetup, and if so where do you suggest? New York! Or Chicago. I'll go anywhere.

6. total eclipse of the heart - crank up or change the station? Crank it up once for old times sake and a loud sing-a-long. Definitely not on repeat though.

7. currently reading? Catching up on stacks of magazines before diving into a new book.

8. karaoke - yes or no? I love the idea of karaoke, but the few times I have gone it seems to be very cliquey and elitist, and that is no fun. So ‘no’ on principle. Maybe we could have a private Total Eclipse of The Heart karaoke party at the blogger meet-up?

Want to play along (and I hope you do)? Answer my Eight Questions in the Comments or on your blog (and put a link in the Comments):

1. Favorite non-John Hughes ‘80s movie?

2. Cake or pie? Discuss.

3. Here is $100 cash, what would you splurge on?

4. Here is another $100 cash, but you have to donate it. To whom and why?

5. First job you ever had.

6. Something that you collected and have since stopped but people keep giving you (and what do you do with it now?).

7. Describe your perfect Sunday.

8. Look! Time travel is now possible! Where would you go?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hold the phone, Domino may be calling

That’s right fellow shelter mag junkies, I said Domino. The word in ad-land is that Conde Nast has a soon-to-be-released Gourmet app –- that may be followed by a Domino version.
The Gourmet app launches in November, and while it will include selections from Gourmet’s treasure-trove of classic food editorial, it will be a social experience “that will involve earning points, spending virtual currency and sharing recipes.” According to Ad Age, Conde Nast CEO Chuck Townsend said other shelved brands that failed as print publications during the recession could be brought back in different forms, such as the beloved shelter title Domino, "one of those brands we know has real legs."

I can see the attraction of a recipe and grocery-list app for a smartphone (I already have 3 for my iPhone). But when it comes to a potential Domino version, two things worry me: the impact of good decor photos will be completely lost on the small screen of a smartphone*, and the prospect of user-generated decor photos + virtual currency + social experience makes me think of Farmville decorated by Apartment Therapy. And that can’t be good.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t be one of the first to download once it becomes available, however. ;-)
*hmmm, would look great on an iPad…

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Yes, DO cry over spilt oil

Here is a visualization of the Gulf oil spill on a Google map of the area:


Even with that map, it is hard to understand just how big the spill is, so here is the same visualization of it If It Was My Home* of Hartford, Connecticut -- pretty much wiping out the entire area between Boston and New York City:


Ironically, if it were a land-based spill, it would not have gotten this big, as it would have been more easily contained. It’s 48 days later, over 400 species of animals have been affected, and over 40 million gallons of oil have gushed forth. Tar is already washing up on beaches in Alabama, Florida and Louisiana. If you have never stepped in tar-sand, let me tell you it does not wash off easily, you basically have to scrape it off your skin with a paint scraper. Unless you are a duck, egret, or seal, then you have to hope someone catches you and gives you a bath in Dawn dish detergent. If you are a fish, tough luck, you will suffocate. Experts say it is only a matter of time before the slick gets caught in the Gulf current and works its way up the East Coast and then farther east to Bermuda and Europe.

I encourage you to put a map of the slick over your town on your blog, to help more people understand how big it is (you will have to do a screencap to get the picture).

*Grammatically speaking that should say “If It Were My Home” but let’s not get picky, the guy wrote a program that can put the spill on a map anywhere in the world, ‘k?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

She could (w)ring my neck


So it was over 90 degrees today yet I am obsessed with these scarves by Clarice. They are like flowers for your neck.



I have a scarf I started crocheting over a year ago, still unfinished, and rather lumpy. I am tempted to rip it out and start over…. except it’s too hot to think about scarves!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The original Charlie’s Angels?

Hey Barbie, I’ll see your Dream Home and raise you "Barrier-breaking feminist vision"…

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's time to play some music! It's time to light the lights!

Holy cow, you can make your own Muppet!


They are $129.99 but c'mon they are REAL MUPPETS, made by the Muppet People! More info here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Three birds, one post


I have long wanted to join this blogger in the Random Tuesday Thoughts posts that this blogger put together. And this blogger has started a fun Fill In The Blanks series. And I have a half-dozen half-started blog posts (including one that somehow includes both Michael Crichton’s art collection and the Times Square bomber. I know, right?). So in the interest of posting something new, here are my Random Tuesday Thoughts via Fill In The Blank:

1. My guiltiest pleasure is really trashy chick-lit novels. Also gossip mags at the hairdresser (where I’m headed tomorrow night to get the roots done).
2. I can't wait to watch both Glee and Lost tonight (nerd alert)
3. The last song I listened to was something by Mountain that my boss was playing a little too loudly in his office. I curse the day I introduced him to Pandora. Not because of Mountain, but because of the constant onslaught of music I didn’t pick. I don’t know how he gets anything done.
4. You really can't beat a good book. No relation to #1 above.
5. My least favorite sound is the cats trying to break into the bedroom (plaintive meowing and standing on hind legs to rattle the doorknob. Obnoxious) at 5 am looking for their breakfast when it is clearly not breakfast time. Also see #3 above. I love the sound of the Italian language. Too bad I don’t understand a word of it (except the ones related to food and wine).

Ciao, bellas. More Random Tuesday fun at the UnMom.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Vegan is the new "faux"


On Tuesday I fed my handbag obsession with a little retail therapy. I knew from the price point that this bag wasn't real leather, but did not expect to see this spin on it:

May 2010 004

Monday, May 3, 2010

Teeny, tiny, terrific

My friends Laura & Anna's teeny-tiny (380 sq ft!!) Boston digs survived the Sweet Sixteen bracket in Apartment Therapy's SmallCool Contest. Please vote and help get them into the Final Four (Yes, basketball fans, I am using NCAA Finals terminology. This is *exactly* like March Madness. Except it is May. And about home design instead of basketball. In a space that is 1/12th the size of a regulation NCAA court. Etc.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

For Sherri: Le Chat Botte

When I posted the original version of this video, Sherri said he looked like he needed a monocle. Apparently someone else thought he needed a whole outfit and a Mexican sidekick:

I find this particularly amusing because for a recent charity fairy tale costume ball, The BF went as Captain Hook (reprising this costume) and I went as Puss In Boots. I wore more clothes than Monsieur Le Chat above though, and everyone thought I was a pirate or a musketeer. Didn't matter, we had a blast.

Thanks to Papasan for the link.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April, Enchanting


This time of year I always want to pack it all up and rent a villa in Italy. As I have neither the time nor the means, I try to fill the void with a semi-annual viewing of Enchanted April. In 1920s London, four women –- strangers to each other -– pool their resources and rent San Salvatore, a beautiful castle on the side of a wisteria-draped hill on an Italian lake. As each reflects on the things at home that they think are making them unhappy, they fall under the spell of their enchanting surroundings and come to terms with their lives and loves. If you have not seen this little gem of a movie, put in on your Netflix queue right now.

And if anyone wants to go in on a villa with me, leave a note in the comments…

Saturday, April 10, 2010

First they stand upright, then they grow opposable thumbs, and before you know it they are smoking and drinking

I used to have a cat who would stand at my front door like this—for hours—checking out what was going on in the neighborhood. She couldn’t balance this well; she needed to lean her front paws on the bottom of the storm door window, but you couldn’t tell from behind. She looked oddly human. Or maybe alien. And like she forgot her pants.

Meanwhile, The Lounging Party can barely rouse themselves from sleeping to do anything more strenuous than take a nap.

Miss you Casper…

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter to all my peeps


And Happy Passover, Happy Spring, Happy Vernal Equinox, or whatever suits your fancy. Also: it is time once again for the Washington Post’s annual Peeps Show. I love how creative some people can get with a shoebox, some pipecleaners and plenty of colored, sugared marshmallows. I don’t remember any of my grammar school dioramas looking that good. Or edible.

Personally I like my Peeps stale and slightly chewy. Yum.

Photo via Flickr.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

March: in like a lion, out like a cheetah

Hey pup, objects in mirror are closer than they appear

Hey puppy, objects in mirror are closer than they appear…

So, not posting for a whole month was not my plan. I could pretend it was an intentional hiatus but the truth is, it was just March 1st a minute ago, I swear. Busy-busy-busy for work and planning the auction for a local charity that I am on the board of. And then, whammo! just like that it’s the end of March. Hoping to feel more inspired this month. I miss you people and your lovely comments.

photo via

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Damn you, Procter & Gamble

All of the P&G Thank You Mom commercials shown during the Olympics have been very touching, but this one really got me (I should note that I tear up at the slightest provocation. Hallmark commercials. Maxwell House Christmas commercials. Parades. I’m a sap). I sang this song in college glee club but our rendition lacked the touching visuals. I especially love the scene of the mom changing her own tire in front of her daughters. I couldn’t change a tire if my life depended on it.

The song is from Rodger and Hammerstein’s 1945 musical Carousel. It is also used as an anthem by the Liverpool Football Club, among others. If you go to the YouTube site for the above commercial there are some hilarious comments by soccer hooligans who are up in arms about P&G appropriating “their” song. Apparently they were not aware that its origins have nothing to do with football, although it is well documented, and actually gives more credence to P&G’s selection of it as a theme for this commercial.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

One of these things is not like the other

At the beginning of the wave of good magazines going under, a little gem called Cottage Living was the first to go. I was among the many who mourned its demise, and also to receive what publishers Time Inc. thought was a suitable replacement: Southern Living. FAIL.

cottage_living   slocthighres

No offense to the legions of SL subscribers, but a mag that “celebrates the best of life in the South” and where every cover features food instead of charming decor does not fill the void. I would think a better fit would be another sister publication, Coastal Living. Or even Real Simple, both of which have more in common with Cottage Living. And PS, last time I checked, Connecticut was not considered to be in the South. Except maybe if you are in Canada.

Among the most recent publications to hit the skids was Metropolitan Home, one of the last bastions of contemporary design in the shelter mag world. I had hopes that Hachette Filipacchi Media would replace it with its lovely sister pub, Elle Decor:

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Silly me. I received a postcard yesterday welcoming me to my replacement subscription:

methome mar09 February-17-2010_current_issue

Woman’s Day?


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Some New Year’s resolutions require new shoes


One of my Christmas gifts this year was this fabulous Shoe-A-Day Calendar, based on Linda O'Keefe's international bestseller Shoes. Every day is a new piece of eye candy. Some are from recent collections (such as the above (“Pippa” vegan faux patent leather mary jane by Natalie Portman for Te Casan, 2008) and some are vintage. My favorite so far (and it’s only January 12!) was a red satin number with rhinestone heel and beaded daisy toe clip from the late 1950s. Very Mad Men.  Do my people know me, or what?

I’m off to Minneapolis this week for work. And my trip involves spending considerable time at The Mall of America.  For. Work. It’s like the mother ship is calling me home.