Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's like crack

Addictive stuff. You've been warned.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Make that thrice

{Anika Moa CD, all the way from Kiwiland}

Another lovely package from another lovely blogger. This time, an Anika Moa CD courtesy of Raina of If The Lampshade Fits. Raina is an American ex-pat living in New Zealand (aka Kiwiland) and blogging about design, art, fashion, and the Kiwi take on American politics and culture. She's not afraid to pick apart some of the design mistakes that are out there (hello, Kelly "I love the 80s" Wearstler, are you listening?), and her sense of design is surpassed only by her sense of humor. She had posted a video from this artist and when I lamented that stupid American iTunes did not yet have this CD (and it wouldn't let me buy it from one of the international versions), she offered to send me a copy. I've already listened to it three times and will probably wear it out tomorrow while I clean the house and get ready for lunch guests and dinner guests.
In exchange for this musical goody, I'll be sending some issues of Cookie magazine off to NZ to help feed Raina's magazine addiction.... Thanks Raina!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The postman rang twice

{An unexpected package from Fifi Flowers: notecards of a painting that
she did of
one of my photos, plus another of her lovely creations}

Last month I wrote a post about how nice it is to receive mail that is not a bill, and encouraging you to send a note to a friend just to say "hi". If any of you did your homework, a good 20 or so people got a nice surprise in the mail, including yours truly. Fifi Flowers decided to send a note to me (on one of her own notecards of course), and surprised me with a bundle of blank notecards, on the front of which are prints of a painting she made from my photo of peonies.

{A beautifully wrapped package from A-M of
that I
was expecting, with an extra surprise gift}

I, in turn, used one of the peony cards to write a thank you note to A-M, of The House That A-M Built, to thank her for the purse I won on her giveaway. The package I had received from her was beautifully wrapped (and well packed for it's trip half-way around the world) and included an extra surprise -she included the flocked pink notecards that had admired in her web store, Armchair Trader. So of course I used one of those to write a thank you note to Fifi!

Hmm... who shall I write a note to next?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

End of summer, like a ripe cherry

I spent this last weekend working at my friends' winery again for their Fall Harvest Festival. It was the last two days of summer, and the weather was glorious in a way that you hope you can remember come March, when it is cold and gray and you are digging your car out of the snow. Blue skies, bright sunshine, and a nice breeze off the lake brought the regulars and tourists out in droves, and I was too busy to say more than a quick "hello" to Marie Louise et famille, or Meg & Mo from Two Ladies in Waiting, when they breezed through the shop on their way to the tasting tent. Well, it was really crowded, so I'm lying when I say they "breezed through". Think subway platform at rush hour and you've got the right idea, especially given the preponderance of New Yorkers that come up to the country for a bit o' sightseeing.

Before the crowds arrive I like to peruse the retail area and scoop up the good stuff for myself familiarize myself with the new merchandise, and there was a nice display of new chutneys, spreads and dips by The Gracious Gourmet. I think a heaping spoonful of this Spiced Sour Cherry will be great on pork loin. Sear the pork loin on the stove, finish it in the oven, and deglaze the pan with a little wine. Reduce and stir in the cherry goodness. Yum.

Gracious Gourmet owner Nancy Wekselbaum and her husband Natan base their gourmet business out of nearby Bridgewater, CT, so they stopped by the festival to pick up some chardonnay and see how sales were going. They are not only gracious, but charming as well. Their toy poodle, Chutney, is cuter (and mellower) than the Mango Pineapple Chutney in the line.

In addition to checking out their website, I googled them and found that Natan and his brother founded NYC's famous emporium of home goods, Gracious Home. There is so much merchandise that it can be a little overwhelming to shop there, but you come out inspired to go home and move furniture and redecorate. They carry everything from basic cleaning supplies to Diptyque candles to switchplates to 800 thread-count sheets. Definitely one of those places where if they don't have it, you don't need it.


The lovely Christina Hendricks, who plays "Joan Holloway" on AMC's Mad Men, rocks an emerald green Tadashi Shoji jersey knit dress at the Emmys on Sunday night. Attention Posh: eat more than a grape for lunch and you, too, can look this hot.

Spreading the Love

My bestest friend in real life, Marie Louise of Cottage Industries, bestowed this award upon me, which is only fitting as I'm the one who hooked her up with her blogging addiction. Now I'm supposed to give it to 7 blogs that I love, which is harder than it seems because everybody has already gotten this award. This means either I can't think independently, or we all have very good taste. I pick "B".

Sunday, September 14, 2008

You've just got to want it

When Sarah Palin first came on the scene folks said she resembled the lovely and talented Tina Fey with her updo and trendy glasses. Well, turnabout is fair play (sorry about the commercial at the beginning).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Snap, crackle and random pop culture

Hey kiddos, sorry for neglecting my space here, work keeps getting in the way of my social life, both real and virtual. Post-Labor Day may be back to school for us Northern Hemisphere types, but for me it is also the kick-off to our busiest event season of the year. My posts may become a bit sporadic at times; bear with me.

So here's a few random pop culture bits that have made it through the fog of my brain these days. First, Victoria Beckham got a new haircut. Now here's a celeb who is famous (currently) just for being famous (and fashionable). But a haircut as news? Hmph. I admit I watched the one and only episode of her "Posh and Becks come to the US" reality show. It was a fascinating train wreck, I couldn't look away. Far more entertaining than most of the reality drivel on tv.

{Gosh Posh, keep your head girl. photo from UK Telegraph}

Her head is just not connected to her body. Note how the pasty English girl is more tan than the hot Latino girl. And she is just too skinny. Posh, a grape is not lunch, go eat a hamburger for cryin' out loud.

Who watched Fringe the other night?

Kind of "Lost" meets "X Files", courtesy of "Lost" creator JJ Abrams (early X Files, when it was about aliens and creepy, not later X Files when it got all weird and paranoid). Interestingly, the music sounds like they are using the same composer and/or some of the same music as Lost. There's even a big menacing corporation performing its own experiments. Yes, there was a kind of superhero-finds-the-antidote-in-the-lab moment, complete with swelling brass orchestral theme. Which was preceded by a rooftop chase scene a la Bourne Ultimatum. The ending was also a bit too tidy; let's see what the next episodes bring.

{Project Runway Season 4 Finale, from}

Lastly, Remember the Fab Assistant Kelly? One of her college gal pals is photog Stephen Meisel's neice (I know! How cool is that?) and gets to work backstage as some kind of assistant at the Project Runway fashion show today (I know! How cool is that?). So she (and the rest of the anointed ones) will know who the final four are (they always let the 4th one show, to keep the real final three a mystery), even though on last night's episode they were down to only the final six. I'm a bit jealous...

PS - "The Women" opens today. Between the long version of the trailer and advance reviews I'm a bit concerned that it may not live up to my expectations. Let's hope it was the victim of a tired and bored studio marketing exec (as so many movie trailers are) and that it's not as trite as it seems. The original 1939 version was not exactly deep, mind you, but I fear this version may be too shallow....