Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Gift List II…here we go!
December 15, 2011

My gift wrapping station, that now consumes the dining room....

I was talking to Jennifer Franciotti today…she said she had mostly finished her holiday shopping…but had to “fill in the gaps“. I know exactly what she means. While I have a pile of stuff in my house(some of which still needs wrapping), I haven’t really taken a count. Which means, do I have too much for some and not enough for others? I think I got this “super-equal” mindset from my parents… who were always overly conscious about how many presents each of 3 daughters had, and how much money had been spent on each. I mean, they were religious about it. So some of that has kinda slopped over onto me…you know?

And since you may also be “filling in the gaps“…I’m here to help with some things I am giving… or have received, that I very much love…in several price ranges.

Love, love, love my Jambox!!

First, the Jambox. My son gave me this Bluetooth wireless speaker(it’s about 6 x 2′)…so tiny, but so portable and has AMAZING sound. It’s on the expensive side, but if you know someone who loves music and is a techno geek…they will adore this. I use mine constantly(I can even have music on the iPad downstairs and take the Jawbone upstairs-still plays). Found it online for $159.00.

The Euca-mint is my fav scent....

Ok Eco-Armour-here,  is the bomb. Add to that it’s locally made, and smells divine, and will save you money-a no-brainer. “Virtually eliminate ingrown hairs, red bumps, razor burn, nicks, cuts and dull blades“…I will tell you that for women(or men) who shave in more, ummmm, delicate areas….this product makes it a breeze. Seriously. Around $24 for the large bottle…and it lasts a long time.

Cheese, nuts, spreads, can you go wrong?

Food. We all eat it. We all love it. A basket of goodies from Whole Foodswould make anyone smile(and can be any price range), but they also have these super-cute gift cards, that could be a nice stocking stuffer, or be tucked in a basket of cheeses and crackers. My favorite: “Hugs and Quiches“…or maybe “Dough“. As a rule, I hate gift cards(I know, I know…everyone else loves them-whatever, not me…) but these are too cute to dislike.

Just for the Halibut.....that's funny....

Fresh Pasta ...what's not to love??

Or put together some fresh pastas, sauces and olive oils from Casa di Pasta in Little Italy. I would so dig a present like that….and the shop is run by a wonderful father-son team. Just a great place.

Monograms...on your phone!

Ok, I cannot imagine a girl(or woman) who wouldn’t love this(if they’re into monograms like my daughter)…a monogrammed iPhone case from Neiman Marcus….it’s $56…very chic. Though monograms I know, are one of those preppy, certainly southern things that are not for everyone. But I like them.

Jonathan Adler...very popular home designer...

OK, here’s a way to have some designer style with none of the cost….the Jonathan Adler coffee mug-here. Porcelain with silicone lid and sleeve, it comes in lots of designs…for a measly $13.95. Please, it may be the buy of the year.

Wouldn't Fido look so dashing in this???

And speaking of Jonathan Adler….he even makes something smart for your puppy…a dashing scarf-here (that also comes in  pink and orange), for $14.95. It makes me want a dog.

Gummys in a paint can....

Last but not least…sweets for the sweet….a paint can filled with gummy bears!! And the paint can, can be used later for snacks or cookies or on your desk(you can also get them filled with gum balls and other treats)…$15.

So get busy…fill in those gaps! Have a great weekend everyone(I’m off tomorrow)…it’s the last weekend to make it count before Hanukhah and Christmas. But I hope it’s relatively peaceful for you as well. Yeah, I know. Come home safe, ’cause we miss you!



The perfect day off…..from toes to Zoe…
October 27, 2011

Ok, I had a couple of days off this week…in the middle of the week…with nothing really planned for those days. Unusual for me. And lovely. And for at least one of those days, I think I put together the perfect  schedule….Step one: start the day nice and slow…

A little iPad, Today Show, and green tea....bliss!

Step 2: a little tv….got to watch Regis and Kelly….can I say I will miss Regis? They have this odd, cranky chemistry that is gonna be hard to replace with someone younger and cooler.

Oh Regis...waxing poetic over something....

Step 3: Take daughter to lunch….always good to catch up with my girl. She had the gumbo…I had the grilled salmon salad(and a glass of wine-at lunch!)

Good eats in Langerman's...

Step 4: Pedi at About Faces in Canton.

How decadent is a mid-week, mid-day pedi??

My toes really needed some attention, and I had a gift certificate to pay for it. How fabulous is that?

the color: "You Don't Know Jacques"

Step 5: Make another cup of tea at home, and catch up on magazines and catalogues. They’ve been waiting patiently… for a look-see, or the recycling bin.

Neiman Marcus gift book.....oooh, lovely.

Step 6: Lazy girl’s dinner…carrryout!Went to the new Manchurian Rice in Harbor East….they were pretty fast. Chicken and mushrooms, and Mongolian Beef…both delish(served on real dishes of course…all the better to fool you with).'s good they have a powerful fan system.....

Step 7: Glass of wine and catch up on Rachel Zoe Project…..

Oh,'re a Mommy(with a baby in Chanel!)

This show is my guilty pleasure that I can only watch alone, or with my daughter…who understands me. I mean, it’s so MAJ…..obvie.

Step 8: Go to bed a little early and read my other guilty pleasure….The Faefever Series by Karen Moning. Seriously, I’m a little ashamed of liking these books so much, so don’t tell anyone. Please.

Poke Chops and Apple Pie….and Chicken!
September 27, 2011

CLick, snapping the sign as my son snaps me...

Ok, I had a terrific time this weekend in Maine….and as you can see, I took lots of pictures of things I found interesting…like the sign at the nearby pub….sooooo wished I had caught Pork Chop and the Other White Meats…hilarious.

Oh, Poke Chop...

Surprised me the number of places that were already closed for the’s just September, guys.

Where will I get my live bait now??

Had some amazing local oysters at a restaurant in Portland, called Street and Co….amazing place with some delicious small plates. They make a kicking aioli and mignonette sauce for the oysters.

Just keep on shuckin'....

Discovered a great find in Naples called Beth’s Kitchen Cafe….the stuff they were baking in the kitchen(pies, cakes, vegetable lasagnes and strombolis-wow)were just amazing.

View out the window at Beth's...

Got my son’s birthday pie(he’s a pie man) from there…it’s so pretty.

A piled high birthday apple pie!

Discovered dogs drive in Maine….he looks pretty responsible…

"I've been trucking for years"

More on the birthday dinner, and a 2 hour wasted DRIVE looking for a present later this week. I was really such an idiot! But I was happy to see my favorite free range chickens were still around just down the street…

Note the black chickens in the background on branches...

Seafood, barbecue….it all says a Maryland weekend….
August 12, 2011

Sweet Home Alabama....

I was reading the newspaper this morning(yes, the paper kind)…and noticed that the Charlie Daniels band is playing in Havre de Grace tonight….at 8 PM!! Not that I will actually get there…that might be a little ambitious when you’re not off until 6:30….but that is just part of the festivities. This weekend is their big Havre de Grace Seafood Festival-here. It’s free, lots of crab cakes, crab fritters, crab ice cream(not really) from vendors, and artisans, entertainment…..sounds nice. They expect about 25,000 people(you could be one of them).

Get yer 'cue right here....

Or, the Bel Air Barbecue Bash 2011 sounds promising…there are four categories for the contestants…chicken, pork ribs, pork brisket, and beef brisket(yum)…..and one group will walk away with the title of pitmaster. No, you can’t eat the same barbecue submitted to the judges…but some  of them have commercial stands as well, where you’ll have your pick of chicken or pork or beef. And there’s a farmer’s market in Bel Air Saturday morning too. Nice.

Anything better on the weekend than ribs?

Or maybe we’ll do our own ribs this weekend….though something sad happened this morning(trash day). Some ribs that had been leftover from a cookout(I think 2 weeks ago) I discovered this week in an unlikely section of the refrigerator. That means they were growing some “foreign matter” on them that you would not want to ingest. But what a waste. Seriously , it made me sad. I hate wasting food.

But have a lovely weekend all….do something nice for yourself, go for a long walk, visit a barbecue bash, and don’t throw rocks…or rib bones. And come home safe, ’cause we miss you.

Ten Travel must-haves…..what I always take with me….
July 21, 2011

Rosebud...old school but the best...

Love my Ray-Bans....

My "stuff"....

To me successfull travel is all about organization. Nothing is more irritatating than to realize(after you’ve left home) that you don’t have your book, or your glasses, or your whatchamacallit or whatever it is that you need as a pacy on your trip. Here’s what I take. Always.

1. My Nook. Before my Nook I would have said a book, but now I can take a big library with me. Love the Nook, and for me, the iPad has not replaced it for reading. Currently reading: Lotus Eaters( excellent suggestion Gerry Sandusky).

2. Ipad. It can serve as an ereader if the light is dim or nonexistant as it is backlit. Plus it also functions as my iPod(latest download Raphael Saadiq) as it has my tunes on it. Plus I could watch a movie if I wanted.

3. Earphones. These speak for themselves….they are the Dr. Dre heartbeats by Lady Gaga, gift from my son and the lovely Jennifer.

4. A wrap. If you’re on a plane or even in a car with a husband who is BLASTING the AC….it can get chilly(in more ways than one)…so I take a pashmina. And you never know when you might want it in a restaurant, if you are sleeveless.

5. A snack. It’s just comforting to know there’s a little sumthin-sumthin in your bag, if you should get the munchies. I try to make it lo-cal, like the Think Thin bars.

6. Water. Especially if I fly…it’s dry up there. Nothing like a Think Thin bar stuck in your throat. Arrrrgh…

7. Lotion.  I. Can’t. Stand. Dry. Hands. And if I have some eye cream, all the better(should go put some in my bag right now)….

8. Glasses. Without these babies, I can’t read the Nook or the Ipad or anything, or find the lotion. Or open the THink THin bar.

9. Sunglasses. I’m addicted to wearing my Ray-Bans when the light is bright, and they give me an air of mystery( or that’s the way it is in my mind)….

10. Lip Balm. Refer to No.7, though for lips the need for moisture is even more intense. My fave….Rosebud Salve….a classic made in Woodsboro Maryland. I prefer the original formula in the tin….and it’s only $6. (and you can use it on hands and elbows too!)

Have a great trip!

Potter, Romesco, and Graffiato….making plans for the weekend….
July 15, 2011

OK, there are several things I want to accomplish this weekend….first:

Harry, Hermione, and looks serious this time....

That’s right…see the latest…and the last..installment in the Harry Potter series. My daughter heaved a huge, aggrieved sigh when she heard this, saying, “that’s not gonna happen“. No support at all…and I know the hubby is a lost cause on this one. Still, it could happen(ever heard of passive-aggressive?).

Two…. cook something killer this weekend. The Contenders:

How could these ingredients combined NOT be delicious??

Creamy Grits with corn, goat cheese and roasted tomatoes….this recipe came in my inbox this morning from The Kitchen…here it is. While I did resent the line within the article saying, “Gone are the trashy Southern stereotypes of yesteryear“. Excuse me?  I have made allowances for the writer, and intend to put this on the table, maybe Sunday. Oh, and while the recipe calls for milk and water, I’d finish it off with some cream or half and half, if you really want creamy grits. And the idea of roasting halved cherry tomatoes for an hour at 400 degrees, seems like asking for cinders…I would at least check them at 30 minutes. OK?

The other contender:

Ever had Romesco Sauce? Me either....

Grilled Skirt steak with Romesco Sauce-here’s a recipe from Simply Recipes…. the marinated steak would be pretty darn fine by itself but the sauce which comes from the Catalan region of Spain,  sounds really intriguing…

Love the color of the sauce....

It’s made with grilled red peppers or pimentos(some recipes add a tomato), toasted bread, almonds,  garlic and other stuff(liked smoked Spanish paprika, one of my fave new spices), sautéed and all thrown in to the food processor. Interesting. Have any of you ever made it?

I'm going this weekend!!

Going to try Graffiato this weekend with friends in D.C….remember Mike Isabella from Top Chef last season? He was the runner-up(should have won in my opinion, but whatever)…

An Italian, tatooed cutie.....Mike Isabella

Looks like a cool place..casual… Italian of course, lots of small plates, five kinds of cured hams, some amazing looking pastas and pizza(roasted potato gnocchi with braised pork shank anyone?)….and a wine list that doesn’t feel like you have a gun stuck in your ribs…if you know what I mean. I’ll report back Monday.

And I hope all of you do something fun, cook something delicious, don’t throw rocks, and come home safe….’cause we miss you!

Crap-tacular….and how’s your day going?
July 13, 2011

See the jagged edge? more on that later....

It was one of those mornings, you know? Where for a little while, you feel like you’re on top of everything, and then…bam. In the morning I like to do some yoga, water the garden if it needs it(and right now, wow does it need it)…have some breakfast….the usual. But today is recycling day, and we had a BUNCH of boxes that needed to go out. And while the hubby had taken out the vast majority of it, I remembered that there were two boxes still in the basement that were still there. So I rush downstairs, and spy the boxes, perched on top of another box of something(who knows what’s inside)….I get one firmly in hand, and stretch up, up, for the other…get it, and then….lose my balance. I step back trying to right my self, right into one of the litter boxes, almost overturning the thing, and all the boxes come crashing down. Even had your foot covered with cat litter? Not. Pretty.  Crap-tacular.

Were the two boxes worth it? NO....

Run the two boxes out to the curb(might as make the mess worth it)…and of course, recycling has come and gone. Damn.

Help me gps!!

So I head off for work(after showering and getting ready-not right after the litter box)…now running a few minutes late…after cleaning up said litter. My usual route downtown is blocked…arghh…I’ve been Artscaped(it’s this coming weekend)! Now I’m kinda wandering through the side streets of Bolton Hill(wow,they have a lot of one way and blocked off streets), trying to find my way to Mercy Medical Center for a shoot.

Nothing here....keep looking...slowly...

Pull into the parking garage…where a woman, a very nice lady I’m sure…has pulled up in front of the ticket dispenser at the parking garage, and seems to have never seen one  before. Because we…just…sit…there…..finally she gets the idea, and we’re off! Kind of. We sloooooowly work our way up until we fiiiiiiiinnnaaalllllly find parking places. Getting out of the car, I discover this cut oooooozing blood on the back of my leg…so pretty. I realize this is from the cat litter incident earlier in the day. Like I said, craptacular. And how’s you day going?

The Fourth of What???
July 1, 2011

I love the Fourth of July..can I have my treat now?

OK, I like many of you love the Fourth of July…what’s not to like really…picnics, parades, pool parties, popcicles….all the P words come out of the closet. There’s a parade Monday morning in my community….and lots of other things going on too. But I’ll stay pretty close to home…not trekking to the beach like many of you.

If you want to see a funny video, here’s one called Fourth of July for Math Nerds..pretty clever… this one will probably make you smile, it did me. Irreverant, yes, but hey…it’s the Fourth of July. Stay cool…and out of trouble….eat some watermelon…and come home safe..’cause we miss you!

And I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…maybe it’s a Nutella pizza?
June 24, 2011

Before the concert started...but it's already packed, in summer heat!

OK, being at the U2 360 Tour concert was, in a word…amazing. As much event as concert, whenever you gather 80-thousand….picture that…80-thousand people into a hot, muggy stadium for a rock concert, there could be trouble, you know?  But amazingly,  the crowd was so zen…and by that I don’t mean placid….there was hooting and hollering, singing, clapping a plenty…but no fights that I saw or heard about, no cursing, in the crowd or from the stage. A group of like-minded people who came there to hear some great music from a legendary band…and that’s what we got.

When Bono sang(and of course everyone in the audience sang along) “But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for“…I glanced around at people from age 15 to, what maybe 70?….all happily swaying and singing the lyrics to a song that obviously touches something deep in the wellspring of simply being human….watch a little of  “In the Name of Love”-here. That feeling of seeking something…even when we’re no longer teenagers…we’re all still seekers. Great concert. But last night I was seeking Chazz, A Bronx Original

Chazz is right by Pazo.....

The Chazz man-heard he was at the opening but I never saw him...

Chazz…A Bronx Originalhad its “grand opening”(it had what they call a soft opening a couple of weeks ago)  in Harbor East on Aliceanna…owned by non-other than Chazz Palminteri, of A Bronx Tale. Think luscious coal-fired “Bronx style” pizza, fabulous antipasta, and some great wine.

The coal-fired pizza oven is the first thing you see when you enter....

Margherita pizza, with fresh basil...and at the top, rice balls filled with bolognese-unbelievable...

Let me tell you, I’ve been to more than a few openings…and you often struggle to get food to eat(people camped out by the kitchen door and attacking waiters as they come out with stuff-hey, I’ve seen it…)….but not at Chazz…the kitchen was slamming it last night…constant hot pizza, big platters of prosciutto(which I adore) cheeses and bread….fresh pasta…sigh.

Is there anyone who doesn't love Nutella???

And the killer…a Nutella pizza fresh from the oven sprinkled with powdered sugar. That’s right. A freakin’ Nutella pizza(don’t get me started on the Limoncello rice pudding) good.

Room full of movers and shakers(I'm a shaker, not a mover)...

And because I like myself a nice looking Ladies room….here it is. Thumbs up..

The ladies room...Chazz style...

Have a lovely weekend everyone…don’t throw rocks, make a Nutella pizza(or order one)…do something nice for someone else(it all comes back)…and come home safe…’cause we miss you.

Vacation cooking….southern food, mountain style!
June 16, 2011

Pan-fried of my favorite dishes!!

I don’t think it’s wrong to start this post with a big skillet of pan-fried okra….which is in my mind, the only way okra should be fried. Yes, restaurants always batter and deep fry it…but take it from me…this takes away the flavor of the okra, and makes it too bready(and fattening). Just toss it with some plain cornmeal, and pan-fry it in a small of vegetable(or olive) oil. You will need to add a little oil as you go along….salt and pepper….done. Some people like it darker(burned), like my sister…I prefer mine a little greener, as above. Either way, you’ll love it.

from left: my sister Jan, the lovely Jennifer, my precious daughter, me, my sister Audrey, and my son!

And we cooked a lot in North Carolina….and why not? We had a huge, killer kitchen with a large island(and a 6 burner stove), so lots of people could prep(aka stand around drinking wine and peeling and inhaling 5 pounds of gulf shrimp my sister hauled from Gulf Shores-that’s what my son is doing in the picture)….and socialize at the same time, of course. My fav way to prepare a meal…not alone! Occasionally we did eat out….

Hey, can I borrow that lip gloss???

Watch the roux, or it will burn, baby!!

We made a fabulous gumbo one night….with chicken, Andouille sausage and shrimp…in a big pot. But of course you start with a roux(oil and flour cooked to a carmel brown), and add the peppers and onions and garlic..the step you see above.

Serving up bowls of gumbo, Paul Prudhomme style...

We listened to Clifton Chenier during gumbo prep… NOLA music…

Dinner on the porch(right after I check my Blackberry)my bros-in-law Jack and George in foreground...

How lovely is that??

Our VRBO house thru the trees….as we called it, our “big-ass house”!
Highlands….you’ll love it!

Tomorrow….”cake surgery” on a birthday cake that…ummmm….wasn’t up to code!