Archive for the ‘FASHION’ Category

Sake 101….
August 28, 2012

It was a stormy afternoon outside Pabu at Harbor East,
but inside, it was all smooth sake….

Yeah, what I know about sake would fill a thimble. Seriously. So the idea of going to sake school(Sake 101 they call it) at Pabu at the Four Seasons at Harbor East, to learn how sake is made, how to tell good sake from bad(oh there is bad my friend), how it’s (properly)served, the history of the beverage was interesting enough. But when you get to taste sake throughout the class? I’m all in.

These are the sakes we tried….no I cannot
read the labels. But so pretty…I wanted the center one for a vase!

Lesson number one: Sake is not hot battery acid you drink at 3AM  with bad sushi. This was quite a revelation to most of us, as that’s exactly what we’ve done in the past.

Lesson #2: Sake is not rice wine. It’s also not a beer or a spirit. What?? Sake is unique unto itself…(however it is brewed like beer soooo…..just sayin’).

Here is your sake professor..a.k.a. The Sake Lady….she know all!

Ok, I love edamame, but this fire roasted soy coated thingies
were just AMAZING….I want some right now.

No we did not just drink…we also ate. Delectable goodies like fire roasted edamame, and squid salad….really yummy stuff….

Beautiful, no? And we got to devour it!

I wish I could tell you that I am now a sake expert, and can order with aplomb from the extensive sake menu at Pabu….but that’s not be true. But no matter….I know tons more about sake now than I did before, which brings us to Lesson #3: Sake is served cold. COLD!

Oh, and there are two more Sake 101 classes(9-08 & 10-13) at Pabu, about which you can read details here. For only $25…it’s fun hour…and you learn something too. Win-win in my book. Here’s sake in your eye….

Fifty Shades of Gray…..and more.
August 1, 2012

Here it is before…Chinese red…with dove grey fixtures….

OK, I have a small powder room on the first floor of my house(I say small, it’s actually tiny-there is only room for one person at a time in there, but then when are there ever 2 people in a powder room, right?)….and years ago I painted it a Chinese red. And while I’ve loved the red, it really needed  repainting and I decided to shake it up a little and use a shade of gray. I’m kind of obsessed with gray.

Holy Gray cow….that’s a lot of choices(and there were many, many more)

But I quickly realized at Lowe’s how many shades of gray there are….many more than fifty, ok? Stone Harbor, Coastal Fog, Silver Fox, Smoke Embers….all so…evocative…so gray. But I knew I wanted something on the lighter side….and many grays are have quite a bit of blue in them. Coastal Fog was the final choice.

Thrifty, no??

At first I thought….hey, why not take all the sample cans I paid a dear $5.99 for when I was picking a gray for the kitchen, and mix them all togetherand voila, free paint! But after I painstakingly mixed them …and they were pretty…..

Truly a customized shade of gray….that could never be recreated.
Hmmmmm.

I decided to save that gray for a smaller, specialized project…maybe a piece of furniture… or something. And I grabbed a gallon of Coastal Fog.  Enter Mr Lawson, my painter, who I’ve discovered is….wait for it…. 87 years old.  I know. I flt so guilty hiring someone who is 87 years old!!!!!! I said,”Are you sure you want to do this? Please don’t feel like you have to.”  He assured me he did still do small jobs like this one(tiny bathroom, remember?). But I’ve got to get that man’s youth potion. You’d swear he was …maybe 65?

Anyway, he did a lovely job, as always…and here is the finished result…

Tah-dah!!! I love it.

The room is definitely brighter, and I love the monochromatic look of the gray walls and fixtures. Only Baby Girl is unimpressed by all the hubbub…

Baby Girl hates change….loves life just the way it is. All about her.

Spring, spring everywhere….
June 6, 2012

I heard this little chirping the other day…ground level chirping…looked thru the bushes…and I saw this….

Oh no, baby Robin!

Yep, a little baby Robin, out of the nest just a little early. OK, I flip out, and immediately start googling how to save baby Robins. Answers, mush up worms and berries, and feed them to baby. So I do.

Yeah, I know. And in a pretty green bowl, too.

Then I read further. That you should feed them every 15 minutes(who can do that?)…and even further….that you should leave them alone and let the parents take care of them….that they won’t come around with you dithering about. So…I stopped. I don’t know what happened after his initial meal of worms and berries…but he was gone the next day. Fingers crossed for you, little buddy.

Isn’t this pretty? Totally unplanned…

And nature is at her very best this time of year….this picture above is just outside my house. Absolutely none of it was planned…it just….happened. OK, this was planned…

Who doesn’t love the sound of water…

I made a water feature for the front garden from  a fire pit, a pump, some stones, and one water plant. And surrounded by ferns and hostas, it’s just the most soothing noise when you’re leaving or returning home. And the birds adore it too. SO dead easy.

So Original!

And how cute is this in the garden…using a vintage toy as a planter. Just adored this when I saw it the other day(and wished I had that kind of imagination)…And this past weekend I was in Talbot County( Tilghman Island), for the Heritage Garden Tour. Saw some really kick butt gardens that made me feel pretty guilty about some weeds I left growing at home….here are some things I loved.

Look closely…see the chandelier over the chair?

In the same garden…using bushel baskets as chandeliers…
brilliant, and so perfect for the Eastern Shore!

Perfect use of old barnacled buoys by a front door….

But my fav view was when I got back home, over the Bay Bridge Sunday afternoon…Yeah.

A perfect G & T with Hendrick’s Gin…cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

Bangles, grits, and groundwork…..
April 30, 2012

I got my baby back this past week….I had missed her soooo much. Here she is arriving in the mail, from where I left her in Charleston.

Mommy, where are you???

So I immediately put her back to work….Twitter and Facebook, and blogging.

Good morning....got my tea, ready to go...

And I took a picture of this ’cause I thought it was pretty…I gathered up all my many  bracelets(actually there are more), and arranged them in a pretty antiqued bowl that had no other seeming use…now it has something to do.

Hmmm, who gets to go to work today?

Had some friends over for dinner Saturday night…did pan-fried catfish with remoulade sauce…amazing…and did creamy grits in the slow cooker. I had never tried this before, and it worked! Took about 2-ish hours.

And we started with oysters on the half shell…some Choptank sweets from Whole Foods….not inexpensive, but soooooo clean! These babies had been scrubbed…

Cleanest oysters in the world!! (and delicious)

So clean, that I took some of them and used them for other things…like salt, and vitamins!(Yes I washed them first!) But as Nate Berkus says, using designs from nature you can never go wrong.

Nature's salt cellar...

Planted a new succulent garden…I adore the way these look, all the different textures and shades of green. They just look to chic to me, especially when they fill in a little.

Pretty, oui?

And here’s the topiary I dragged home from a Charleston Piggly-Wiggly…I had to have it, and now it’s in its new pot, outside. It would have been sad if it had died after all that….

From a Charleston Piggly-Wiggly parking lot, to Maryland...

Uganda
March 26, 2012

That's Allen in the back on the left....he's such a great kid(sorry, man)

3-16-2012 I leave today for Uganda….this is a trip my sisters and I first talked about last Thanksgiving…really at the time we were joking, and now here we are headed for Africa!  My nephew Allen, has been involved with the Methodist missionary group Sozo Children for several years now…..you may remember when I wrote about him being in one of the bombings in Uganda at World Cup time-here. And he was instrumental in beginning the orphanage there. How could he not? Don’t you love those little faces?

Getting on Dulles Airport futuristic trains to who knows where...

So the talk ended with us all deciding we would go on a trip to Sozo Children in March. I admit there has been some waffling since then…my daughter does not want me to go, nor does the lovely Jennifer(I think they worry for me.)…. And there have been a couple of times I thought about not going. But I want to see the work Allen and the group is doing there, and I want to see Uganda. And let’s be honest, I love being with my sisters. Love.

My sister Audrey asked several days prior to leaving(in all seriousness)…”Are you taking heels?” I thought, only a girl raised in the south would ask that. “No, it’s flats, flip-flops, and tennies for me this trip

Lounge for first class passengers at Dulles. You can order an entire, amazing meal before you fly so you can sleep in the air. How civilized.

So tonight I’m off…after totally raiding my AMEX travel points account to upgrade my ticket(I mean, it’s a loooooong trip), and the only flight I never wanted to end, was one where I flew from London to Baltimore in British Airfirst class. I mean…They. Do. It. Freakin’. Right. Seriously, I didn’t want it to end. And now they have “pod” beds, whatever that means. That in itself is an adventure.

Here's the pod...it's like your own little room....at the end of the pod you can see the pajamas they gave me to sleep in. To this, my sister said, "I hate you." And the bed is flat so you can actually sleep!!

Breakfast at 40,000 feet...almost to London...

Next stop, Entebbe(yes, as in THe Raid on Entebbe)...Uganda, almost there!

More tomorrow!

 

When I saw this…
March 5, 2012

ImageWhen I saw this picture of those swirl vases on the dining table at the HGTV Dream Home 2012, it was love. And when I saw they are from Ethan Allen, and knew I had an unused  Groupon to Ethan Allen…it was happiness. Here’s what I did with mine….

Curly willow in my swirl vase.....

The thing weighs a ton….seriously, it’s a hunk of glass, but I love it…and roots from the curly willow are growing…not sure why I’m happy about that but I am…

Curly willow roots growing...can I plant it outside this spring??

My daughter gave her first big girl dinner party….she called, to talk it over, and I asked if she needed anything. Yes, as it turns out…plates, cutlery, wine glasses, a table cloth(for the floor-no dining table), candles, etc. Sooooooooo…

Salad servers, check...big serving bowl, check....

I loaded it all up and drove over Saturday afternoon…and while I left the final setup to her… I love the result of her dresser turned bar.

This piece belonged to my Grandmother...I painted it red when I was a teenager, but I love the color!

Adiosing all the makeup and hair stuff, and putting the wine glasses and wine and flowers there…is just beautiful. I wish she would keep it like that, but I know.. life intervenes.(And a girl needs a place to do her makeup!!)

And this I show you just because I thought it was such a great looking way to deal with the litter box issue, when you don’t have a basement in which to keep it….a litter box with classic French style, made with wooden wine crates…hinged on the back. You can find out more about in on Apartment Therapy…love it!

Chat boîtes!!

 

Monday Catch Up….
February 27, 2012

Love Jean Dejardin!!

OK , I got to see The Artist…the silent film that won Best Picture Oscar last night, just under the wire before Sunday night’s Oscars. It’s still playing at The Charles Theatre downtown.. one of my fav places to see a movie, but it’s a bit more of a challenge to eat dinner, since the Zodiac closed a couple of year ago. Sure, there’s Tapas Teatro which is wonderful…but even though we arrived at 6…were told there was a 40 minute wait for a table(a problem, obvie, when your movie starts at 6:50). Sophie’s Crepes was standing room only(that doesn’t take much of course as it is tiny), and my daughter had told me the Diner on the corner was good. So we traipsed over there…sign on the door says “closed for renovation“. Hmmmm, you never know what that means, except that you’re NOT having dinner there. But the sign also said the Club Charles next door was now serving some of the much missed Zodiac favs.

Let's be honest ...it looks like a dive bar...

So we tentatively open the door..it’s locked…they have to buzz you in, which the girl at the bar does. It’s dark inside, with kind of a 1940-ish, hipster/creepy/cool vibe…..there is one lonely other couple in the room, seated in the corner. And it is silent as…a… tomb. Not a good sound for a bar. But we’re hungry, and thirsty. So after dropping some money in the jukebox so things aren’t so depressing(yes they still have one) , we sit at the bar and ask for menus. Sure enough, the Zodiac pizza is there!!….With smoked mozzarella, chicken and caramelized onions…it’s a no brainer, and a winner. I get a glass of  sauvignon blanc(for $5 believe it or not)…and we chill. Bottom line, the drinks were cold, the music personally chosen, and the pizza fabulous, we made the movie…and we will be back. Don’t let the skeezy looking exterior put you off…push the buzzer..and come on in.

Working the night shift…
February 23, 2012

Here we are, making tv widgets.....around the clock...

Most of tend to think of people who work shift work, as perhaps factory jobs, where things roll around the clock…or maybe a 24 hour restaurant. My Dad worked over 40 years at a place that made cast iron pipe in Birmingham, Alabama. He would change shifts every two weeks as I remember. Imagine, for two weeks working 3:30am-noon, then two weeks day shift, and then two weeks 8 pm to 3:30 am….it must have been brutal, a continual sort of jet lag.

AC yes, but we didn't have a clothes dryer for years!

That was why we got air conditioning back in the day…he was trying to sleep during the hot summer months with 3 little girls running around screaming outside the windows. Yeah.

And as I’m sure some of you have noticed, I am now on the night shift. Television is also a business, like hospitals or factories, that operate 24-7. And those shifts have to be covered. So I’m working mid afternoon until after the 11 pm newscast. A man I saw at Whole Foods tonight said, “Wow, I see you on the 11 o’clock newscast. I know that’s tough.”

And while there positives and negatives  about everything…here’s the positive I have found in this move.

I have yet to achieve this look....

-I have time for all kinds of appointments! Hair, doctors, yoga class…running errands…You have good quality daytime hours to do things, and when your off hours are at night, many things aren’t open, or you don’t have the energy after work.

nap like a rock star...

Naps. I try to take a little while before I get ready for work to lie down for a little while, and maybe even take a nap…which I love. The nap is a much underrated pleasure.

Muffy!

-Feeding the cats. OK, that sounds truly weird, but Muffy is a grazer, and weighs almost nothing…that’s because  when I feed the cats in the morning, she nibbles and then wanders away, and Baby Girl gobbles everything she left. So now I feed Muffy several times a day, and she is actually gaining a little weight. Score!

People on the night shift. Rod Daniels(who brings in Big Pup Bandit every now and again), Kai Reed, Gerry Sandusky, Tom Tasselmyer, Jerome Chester , Sheldon Dutes…all great people I enjoy being around very much. And working on a shared project….a terrfic 11 pm newscast…is something we all share and craft together.

So it’s all good…much to my surprise, I’m enjoying being on the night shift…more than I ever thought I would. Now what has taken a beating is this blog, because I haven’t quite found the groove that allows me to do it as often. But I promise to put out a blog at least once a week. And maybe I’ll find the time to do more than that.

Someone asked had I deserted the blog for Facebook….no…but a Facebook post takes a few minutes if that, and a blog takes a block of time. If you aren’t on FB and Twitter, I encourage you to try it…you might find it much more rewarding than you think. On Twitter, I’m @donnahamiltontv, and on Facebook Donna Hamilton WBAL-TV. And it’s easy. Really.

P.S. If This Is Austin…..
January 30, 2012

Oh, Willie....

I’m listening to the song by Blake Shelton as I write this little love letter to AustinTexas, where I visited for several days last week. What a great town….the capital city of Texas…the MO of Austinites being “Keep Austin Weird”…..and I think they’ve succeeded…in a good way.

A walk thru Austin will make you hungry...guaranteed...

The most amazing sushi I've ever had...at Uchi...

I wish I could say I took the picture above….my phone ran our of power right after I took a pic of our sake…below…but Mike Sutter of the American Statesman felt as strongly as I did about the sea-bass crudo with golden roe, orange oil, citrus vinaigrette and black pepper.

Cold sake with roasted cauliflower nibbles at Uchi...AMEX ready to rock...

I don’t know how to tell you how amazing this place is…but absorb this.  In the middle of dinner, who walks in for dinner at Uchi, but Matthew McConaugheyand his lady love/baby mama. That’s how good Uchi is. Hat’s off to Chef Tyson Cole, who won the James Beard award for Best Chef SW last year.

Jerky with no additives at Whittington's ...

Lobby of the historic Driskell Hotel....wow...

The people of Austin were so happy for visitors…I gathered the economy has hit them pretty hard. Everywhere you went, residents said, “Thanks for visiting Austin“…and “Thanks for spending your dollars in Austin“…which of course, I did.

Keepin' it real in Austin...what you don't see is the herd of goats...

Lunch at the Roaring Fork....kettle of green chili pork and tortillas..

Samsung Lounge in Dallas airport....why aren't they everywhere???

More this week on a side trip I made that was my best day there. Hint: LBJ.

My Big Fat Pork Butt…..Perfected
January 20, 2012

See the raven head?? See it???

Ok, I ran out of purple pretty quickly in my closest…it’s just not a color I seek out, for some reason. So now the Ravens have made it another week in the playoffs, and I wore my best purple dress LAST Friday, sooooo….the bottom half of my dress is purple. I don’t know if anyone can see it on the news, but trust me, it is. And I have on the Ravens earring s you see above…and that’s just gonna have to do it this purple Friday.

All coated in herbs, salt and pepper, ready for searing..

Though for good luck, I think I may again make the pork butt in apple cider….but I did something different last week, that’s worth repeating. Instead of apple cider, I used fresh sqeezed orange juice.

OK, NOW they're ready for the compost pail....

Not that I’m a fresh squeezed snob, but I had some oranges and tangerines that were starting to harden on the outside, but inside, they were perfection. Fished them out of the compost bin(where the hubby had put them), cut them in half and squeezed out the juice. Ta-da!

Pour this in around the roast....or heck, mix with vodka...

A nice comfy bed of veges for the butt to cook in...

And I used a different recipe in the end…(not wildly different)…and this one called for deglazing the pan after searing the meat and the veges, with a little bourbon. That just can’t be wrong. Here is the recipe for My Big Fat Pork Butt Perfected, that I found on a blog called Bootnik.Oh, and it calls for brining the roast(which I did for 12 hours) so start a day ahead….remember you still need a good 4 hours of cooking time.

 I leave you this Friday with some words from the late Ron Smith, whose memorial service knocked me out this week…really, it was amazing.

What is a mere individual to do? Live as sane and decent a life as you can, love your family and friends, and understand that everybody is in this together.”

Here, here. Have a great weekend everyone, do something nice for someone, be sane and decent, and because Ron would want me to say it…Go Ravens!