Archive for September, 2007

September 29, 2007

I will endeavor to make something I saw yesterday at the insanely huge and fabulous Expo East natural foods show at the Convention Center. Acres and acres of booths of companies that sell organic baby foods, teas, all natural meats, fruit bars, organic fair trade chocolates….and all with samples, natch. So Chuck the photographer and I,when finished with our shoot, wandered happily through this cornucopia of good food…no need to get lunch that day.
But Numi Tea was having a Marteani party later that afternoon….obviously we couldn’t be there, but they showed us how they just took tea bags and put them in bottles of vodka and let them steep for several hours. I guess you could do this any flavor tea….and now I’m trying to find the rest of the recipe….they said it was on their website but I haven’t found it yet…will let you know when I do, and how the ‘teanis taste!!

Zodiac and Valley of Elah
September 28, 2007

Went recently to the Charles Theatre to see a film….one of my favorite spots, as you may know….watched In the Valley of Elah. Wow, what a powerful film. After hearing me describe it, my sister, said, “It sounds pretty grim”.
Well, it’s sobering, perhaps that’s more accurate. It is certainly an indictment of what war can do to young men(and women-who remembers Pfc. Lynndie England?). And not just the war in Iraq, though the film is about that conflict, and a young soldier who has come stateside, and just disappears.
His Dad, played brilliantly by Tommy Lee Jones(I know, he’s always brilliant), goes in search of him. Great, thought provoking flick.
Here’s what Roger Ebert says about Jones….so much better than I could…
Look at the lines around his eyes. He looks concerned, under pressure from himself, a man who has felt pain. Look at his face. It seems to conceal hurtful emotion. He doesn’t smile a lot, but when he does, it’s like clouds are lifting. Listen to his voice, filled with authority and hard experience. Notice when he speaks that he passes out words as if they were money he can’t afford. Whether these characteristics are true of the private man, I have no way of knowing.”

Stopped for dinner across the street at Zodiac…If you’ve never tried it, you really should. They have a great menu…casual but sophisticated food, with more than a few nods to vegetarians. Desserts are always top notch. And again, don’t be scared off by the bars on the windows which do look a little forbidding…it’s nice inside, with a spectacular mural over the bar.

Beyond Mascara…..
September 24, 2007

(a note:blogger has been a naughty blogger website lately, as most people haven’t been able to post in days!-sorry…)Just got a package at work from Melinda, who used to work here at WBAL writing promos for us…she is a very good writer, and we miss her….but that’s not the point of this blog….She sent me a cute card and a product(we both love product) she found in New York where she now lives with her hubby and daughter…..Paint-On False Eyelashes!

It looks like a tube of mascara, made in Japan by Fiberwig, and says it will make you look as though you’re wearing false eyelashes(not sure that’s ever the desired effect of course,”wow are her eyelashes fake or what?”, but you get the idea…LONG LASHES), and supposedly slips off easily with warm water.
I can’t wait to try it tonight….’cause I do use the individual lash clumps, and have finally gotten fairly efficient at putting them on, but this would be much easier. I’ll let you know how it goes…..
OK, since I haven’t been able to post lately, I have tried it….a fabulous mascara, but I’m not sure it gives the length of the fakes….I’m gonna try it again today. Thanks for thinking of me Melinda, and I hope you and the fam are living it up in the big apple!!

Just bag it…or rebag it…
September 22, 2007

Plastic grocery bags have been a pet peeve with me for some time. I try like the devil to remember 1. to bring my cloth bag to bag groceries in, or 2. bring back the plastic bags that I save. And now I’ll get a little reward. SuperFresh is offering a 1 cent rebate when you bring back and reuse one of their bags. And if you bring back paper or use a reusable(again one they sell), you get a 2 cent rebate per bag.

I know, none of us will take a trip to Paris soon on that money, but it is at least a beginning of a commercial establishment to encourage customers to reuse things, not just throw them away and get another one.
Once again, it’s simply learning a different way of doing things, a little change in our habits. I just keep bags and my reusable one in the car, or I try to. It’s little but if we all do it, it adds up to a lot fewer plastic bags that have to be manufactured, and a lot fewer adorning area trees. Geez, I hate that.

A Cleaner Current…now available!
September 20, 2007

Yesterday on 11 News at Five we told you about a new program that Maryland businesses are being offered…. the chance to sign up for wind power to supply part or all of their power needs, with a three year guaranteed rate against rising electricity prices…sweet. And consumers might be offered a chance to sign up sometime in the not too distant future, which would be great.
But let me add a little more information…BGE customers can do that right now through PEPCO. They offer two options…100 % wind power at $0.1308/kWh, and another option of 100 % green electricity(wind farms, solar panels, hydroelectric plants, biomass fuels) at $0.1248/kWh. BGE power rates are around $0.11/kWh, so if you use say, 1000 kWh a month, your bill would be around 15 bucks a month higher.

Good heavens, why would anyone be crazy enough to want to pay more for their power bill???? It’s not that I want to, but I’m willing to. I want to help reduce greenhouse gases….I want to save conserve energy supplies…and I want to use more renewable resources like wind and solar. I’d love to have enough solar panels on my roof(I don’t have even one now), like Larry Hagman, to be off the grid. Hagman’s energy bill went from $37,000(yes, no decimal points) last year, to $0.13 this year. Sure he has a BIG house…how else do you get a bill for 37 grand? And yes, he spent a bundle on the solar panels, but now he can also supply power for free to 5 lower income families.
That’s really sweet.

September 19, 2007

Did you catch the “booty cam segment” on the
Today Show this morning? Seriously, that’s what they called it. Featuring jeans for all body types and the most important thing…how you look from the back…..and jeans to flatter any figure, though I suspect there really is no such jean.
I remember when shopping for jeans was pretty simple really….and not too long ago. Most stores had a few different cut pair of jeans, you tried them on until you found one you could tolerate, and buy them Now jeans are a lifestyle decision. Stores have seemingly endless options, boot cut, straight leg, skinny leg, flares, dark wash, light wash, low rise, high rise(better known as “mom jeans”, and ones that are best for the majority…a nice mid-rise.
For me, shopping for them is a little intimidating, horrendously time consuming and more than once it’s been depressing, so I just don’t wear jeans that much.
Here’s what I learned from watching the segment…For women who are “gifted back there”…simple, simple pockets….nothing extra. For women who aren’t “gifted”, wide pockets and back flaps can add a little volume. But hey, if it’s volume you’re looking for, search no further than the “butt pad panties” you see to the left. it’s kinda shocking to think about, but some people really do want bigger as….I mean, derrieres.

Funky water….
September 18, 2007

From time to time I get odd things that have been sent to me…new food products supposed to be healthier, carbon monoxide detectors, kits to organize your medical records…you get the theme.
The latest to come in was Twist Organic Water. 100 % natural the label says, no preservatives, and “Simply a twist of juice”. It came in quite a few flavors…blueberry, mango acai, lemon, pomegranate….so I invited fellow workers to give them a try….Comments from men included…
“Better than nothing but not much.”
“Kind of has a bad aftertaste, don’t you think?”

Women said….”It’s pretty good.”
“I like it.”
You see how upbeat we are? Easy to please, not so negative all the time.
Willing to give a new product a chance. And I must say, the label does say it’s better when chilled, so I put one in the frig, and it was better.
But here’s the thing…it’s a 19 oz. bottle…not big,just a regular size bottle of water, and it says there are two and a half servings in that bottle! I don’t think so.
And if you are watching the calories(I know, Oprah’s Dr. Oz say you don’t need to), there are 25 in the bottle from the sugar in it (2g a serving), and it’s not sweet!
Sooooooo, I’d have to give Twist organics water a 6 out of 10? I think I like just regular water better. If I need to twist in some lemon juice…I can, without the 25 calories.

Limas from Lima
September 17, 2007

OK, sing along with me now….”If you loved limas, like I loved limas”….seriously I grew up on lima beans. The old-fashioned way. My Daddy had a BIG garden, about a quarter acre big, filled with corn, tomatoes, okra(‘bama, remember?), string beans, and yes, lima beans.
If you’ve never picked and shelled lima beans, I’m not gonna say you’ve really missed out, because honestly, it’s awful. I hated it. Picking limas is a dirty business…they grow low and close to the dirt…dirty to pick…matched only by the sheer fingernail ruining laboriousness of shelling them. Stick in two thumbnails, pull open shell, get out 3 lousy beans. Repeat. And repeat. But in spite of that, oh who knows, maybe because of it…. I love lima beans.

So at the JFX farmer’s market Sunday, when you see big coolers of already shelled lima beans(as well as black-eyed peas and butter beans), ready to cook and eat….who could resist? A woman stands behind the coolers and ladles them into plastic bags…she does this without talking and without smiling, and if she shelled all these by hand, I could understand that.
“Does a machine shell all these beans?”, I inquired, and she assured me they did, with a single…”Yes we have a machine.” (She probably thought this was an idiotic question, and I guess it kinda was….).
Anyway, took the limas home, cooked them wiith some olive oil and onions, and served them to lunch guests….what a great day for dining al fresco yesterday….a singularly perfect day for an outdoor lunch.
Not everyone was a lima bean fan….I was prepared for that, but one guest, Phil, loves limas. He not only ate several helpings, he carted the leftovers home. I’ll he honest, if I had shelled all those limas, no way would they have left the house, but since I know I can get more at the farmer’s market, generosity wasn’t hard. And if you’ve never had lima beans….$2.50 a pound at the farmer’s market….try them!

The Maestra Cometh….
September 14, 2007

This is a little peek into the world of Marin Alsop, the country’s first female conductor of a major orchestra. It’s a corner of her beautiful dressing room at the the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall downtown Baltimore,…you might have seen the feature on the room’s extreme makeover by Nouveau(great store) in Style Magazine. I had a chance to interview Marin yesterday, which you’ll see next week…about her first full season here. She was fascinating to talk with….not that I expected anything else, but on a busy, busy day that she had set aside to do media, and interviews were lined up back to back(we had 30 minutes)…she was calm, pleasant, erudite, funny, and completely in the moment. Not at all distracted or thinking about the NEXT interview or the drive to DC for National Public Radio.
She spoke about the ceiling that women composers hit about mid level, and what she thinks it will take for more to break that ceiling, which she has done. And the challenge to reach out to a new audience, a younger audience , yet not alienate your loyal core. Not an easy task, but she has some fascinating things she is doing this season….first $25.00 tickets…don’t dilly-dally, this has been so successful, they’re almost sold out of those…and things like C.S.I. Beethoven!
Marin admits to being an addict of forensic crime shows, and so they will conduct a forensic autopsy of Beethoven, complete with his music, a doctor talking about why Beethoven went deaf, why he died and some of the great composer’s hair! Now that’s different. And fun.
And guess what’s one of the favorite songs on Marin’s I-Pod list? Dixie ChicksI’m Not Ready to Make Nice. You go girl, and stay tuned…more from this woman cutting a new path, next week.

Hair, cupcakes and candles…
September 13, 2007

Sounds kind of like a dangerous mix…like when I saw a huge sign in my my native Alabama advertising “GUNS, LIQUOR AND FIREWORKS“….you can’t make up stuff like that. But I digress…
I told you I went to a beautiful wedding this weekend…I didn’t tell you my son(who lives in New York) and his long time girlfriend Jen were in town…he was in the wedding(some call him a professional groomsman), and the rest of us were guests.
Jen has long, beautiful really thick hair…gorgeous, but a handful as she would quickly tell you. So for a wedding she gets a blow-dry and flat iron, something that’s hard to do yourself with hair that long.
So after dropping her off at M Salon in Federal Hill where the magic happens….now what for an hour? When in doubt…cupcakes!

Down to Fort Avenue to the tres cute Baltimore Cupcake Company, which for my money, puts the famous Magnolia Cupcakes in the big apple to shame, and they have lots of other stuff besides. Picked some chocolate, strawberry and vanilla woo…and then roamed around Fed Hill for a while, where I stumbled across Sobotanical on S. Charles St.

What a fabulous smelling place! It used to called Life Smells Good, I guess they figured that wasn’t really always true, so…..Sobotanical.
They make the most wonderful array of scented candles with essential oils, body products, perfumes…luscious stuff, really. And as of last weekend they have 40 % off many of their products, making way for the fall collection. I told the young woman there, I didn’t know candles and creams had seasonal collections…and she assured me that they do….so they’re clearing out the summer stuff. Got some great candles. Now life does smell good!