Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Boars, Bucks and Hoppin’ John!!
January 3, 2013

Hope your holiday season was like mine…fairly peaceful, lots of good food and wine, family, laughs, interspersed with, ummm…disagreements, about what would and would NOT fit into a car as we headed south . I may have mentioned before that I travel in the non-light fashion. I carry my house with me…it’s sad, I know, but there are things I just NEED for Christmas!

And the seat in the picture is the front passenger seat….the rest of the car: fully packed. What’s in the white bakery box?

Yep…even a buche de noel made it down. And it arrived, miraculously, in one chocolatey, yummy piece.  It is the season of miracles after all.

See? This was from Sugarbaker’s in Catonsville…it was soooo good…..chocolate and raspberry….

Let’s face it….things that go pop and have people wearing funny hats at dinner, is just plain old fun.

Found a great furniture store in Ashville(such a cool town)…called Dwellings.

I could literally have spent all day here..happily.

Fell in love with a vintage dresser there….the orange is adorable!

NO, this did not come home with me…it wouldn’t fit in the car. Alas.

Also really loved this lamp….very tall. No, it’s still at the store too! I think)….

But this little guy did come home with me…Jonathon Seagull!

Love this little guy…..

I must have liked this a lot…took a picture of it…..

And this…..snap. Can one have too many mirrors?

Saw this handsome fellow outside an antique shop in Cashiers, NC….great little town with some amazing shops!

I realized that, once again, I packed badly when it came to my own clothing…these I found at a shop in Highlands NC…they saved the day, and my ears!

My fav ornament this year…Harry the hedgehog. Isn’t he a cutie?

I could see the Christmas tree from my bedroom window…. it was a nice feeling.

Hung out at a coffee shop in Cashiers called Buck’s Coffee…actually I could move in there and be pretty doggone happy.

Never get tired of a mountain view like that….

Made a killer batch of pimiento cheese(and by killer, I don’t mean people got sick after they ate it!)….

And this was a new recipe I tried…Hoppin’John Risotto with greens, sausage and Parm…..it was truly….amazing.

I want some right now!  And how was your holiday??

I’m back!!
November 21, 2012

Sorry I’ve been a bad, bad blogger….technical issues…plain ole busy…you know the drill. So we have a little catching up to do, do we not?  In no particular order, let’s go. Ever see bookshelves made out of books? SO cute!

Saw these at Women’s Industrial Exchange downtown…

This is how the actual shelf looks…books cover the bracket.

The same artisan made this lampshade out of pages from a book.
An amazing idea…

Seriously, the Exchange has some wonderful gift ideas…

And speaking of gifts, I found these for my son who is a big Ravens fan…and Natty Boh too. I think he’s gonna love these…got them at Charm City Clothing….super cute, and they come in lots of colors(orange for O’s fans)…

Whoops, left out Buddy’s pic!!

This cute little kitty,  my daughter and I have been feeding a block from the station. Buddy(that’s what we call him) is such a sweetie, but needed a home really bad…wasn’t neutered and was living on the street. He and Tom… an old red cat(who is about 16, almost toothless, and so tattered, but sweet as pie) now are in homes, thanks to a young woman named Dani who scooped them up, took them to the vet, and placed them in homes. And who says angels don’t exist. This winter, both of them will be safe…and warm. Makes me happy.

As does this, in the morning….

Hot green tea, morning sunshine, and almond butter and banana on
toast…my fav way to start the day.

A recent Sunday night dinner….I love, love, love roast chicken!

Green beans, and cauliflower with cheese….yummers!

And roasting a chicken is so dead easy. SO. Dead. Easy. I know, I know…it’s no turkey.

Doesn’t that look delish?

And before I leave you to your Thanksgiving weekend…a question for all of you!

And I got my flu shot…did you get yours? It’s not too late!

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….

Sista-hood..and making the gumbo….
August 14, 2012

This was the 3 sistas in Uganda this spring….we look a little tired, and I think we were!

When my sisters and I get together…even if we haven’t seen each other for months…it’s like we were together yesterday. I know those who don’t get along with their sisters…it’s more like they’re competitors, who just happen to have grown up together and share the same parents. I can never understand that, just because I are so close, and we always have been really. I can’t even remember being in a real argument with them…maybe a little tiff when we were younger, but today…never.

This crew is familiar with seafood, but not cracking crabs, Maryland
style…

So when the sisters, my niece and her daughter came for a visit, it was a whole houseload of female…plus my daughter came over to spend a couple of nights with us too….yeah…girls. Lots. We had an amazing crab feast on the back patio, with corn, wine(no beer, sorry)…a lovely, …girlie evening.

I did a pretty good job on these but we had 6 leftover crabs.
They were not wasted…

And some of the leftover crabs came in handy….But that leads me to a cookbook my sister brought me…

Crazy Sista Cooking….great gumbo recipe inside!!

My older sister Audrey(she hates it when I call her that…older sister) brought me Lucy Buffett’s new book…Lulu, as she is known, is the sister of the famous Margaritaville singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffet…she has a well-known seafood restaurant in Gulf Shores. First stop at the stove: gumbo!!

Lucy’s Summer Gumbo…

Lulu says it takes courage to take the roux to the color of mahogany, and yet not burn it(’cause if you do you just have to start over)….no likee.

Just keep stirring until your arm falls off….

Honestly I didn’t get there. I chickened out right at the end, and figured  it was dark enough, at least a light mahogany.

Add the chopped onions(and later the green and red peppers) and
saute in the roux. MORE stirring.

The recipe doesn’t call for chicken…but gumbo is what you make of it…

these are chopped chicken pieces….

And to me, it’s not gumbo without some sausage…andouille or kielbasa…

Note the queen made vegetables underneath the sausage!

Fat and Juicy…good stuff….

One does need some refreshment during the day long process of gumbo…Lulu suggest bloodies…I concur. And Fat and Juicy-here…is amazing…smokey, horseradish…yum.

Getting ready to add the chicken and sausage….the shrimp
right at the end….And

And…the finished product.

Sorry this isn’t my picture, but I forgot! (bloody Mary’s??)

Just in case you want to make this amazing gumbo for yourself…here’s the recipe from Alabama food. Really, I think it was the best gumbo I’ve ever made…and that’s saying something. Piece of advice…get a couple of sous chefs(husbands, daughters, friends) to help do the chopping and sauteeing…makes it so much easier.

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.

Have a piece(or mice) of the Zuckerberg wedding..
May 23, 2012

Credit:Allyson Magda Photography

Ok I cannot for the life of me remember where I read about this…Facebook maybe? Twitter? An article?

Chocolate Shop on Harvard Square in Cambridge

But the story was that at the super hush-hush Mark(aka Facebook)Zuckerberg wedding…they ditched the wedding cake and  served some cunning little chocolate mice made by a confectioner on Harvard Square, which Mark and his bride had on their first date. So romantic.

First thought, I want some. And I knew you would want me to try them. I did it for you, OK? Went online to L.A Burdick Chocolates…which said: “CONGRATULATIONS to Priscilla and Mark!  We are thrilled to have been a part of your special day. We want to extend the celebration to your wide circle of friends with a celebratory 9 mouse wood box wrapped with blue and white ribbons, stamped with a heart-shaped wax seal.”

Here they are….with cold packs inside…

Now I reallywant some…and for $20(plus shipping), I did it, and they arrived two days later.

And underneath the neatly wrapped tissue paper…

And inside the box, six dear little mice!

Aren’t they precious?

And there they are…six little mice with blue and white silk tails. The dark chocolate has an orange flavor interior, the milk chocolate is mocha , and the white chocolate has cinnamon. I haven’t eaten one yet…they’re just too darn cute. And these aren’t poured in a mold…no way…they’re all piped and decorated by hand. As it says on the Burdick website, “bon gout ne peut mentir”…which in English means “good taste cannot lie”. I suspect it can, and often does, but perhaps not this time. I have a piece of the Zuckerberg wedding!

Preakness week wrapup….check.
May 21, 2012

Just hangin’ with Cam Newton and Torrey Smith….look how happy I am.

This past week has honestly been a whole lot of the P word for me. You know, that big old party over on Northern Parkway that we call the Preakness….you know the one. The picture above is one of my fav moments there…Once I heard the Raven’s Torrey Smith(who is really the nicest young man in the world…seriously sweet) say Cam Newton(once an Auburn Tiger and now the Carolina’s Panther’s hotshot new quarterbackk) was in the Under Armour tent…nothing was gonna keep me away. Creepy obsession? Maybe. One woman asked me was he dreamy…me: “Yes, the dreamiest.” And also very nice…and they were both dressed like a million dollars!

My lemon yellow hat this year…..

Found my hat at Hats to Hose, on Reisterstown Road….they always have some gorgeous chapeaus…and because I had waited until the last week to go pick one….there was only  a few yellow ones(I wanted yellow to go with navy) left…and two were too small for my huge cranium. But this one really worked….I loved it! As for shoes?

J. Crew comes through again….

Picked these from J. Crew…and they were remarkably comfortable, even for clomping around the infield of Pimlico. THe only danger in shoes like these, is the tip-over…you unwittingly place your foot on uneven ground, and….over you go. At best, you’re embarrassed, at worst, you end up with a sprained ankle. Neither happened to me.

Ha-ha….beat you again Bodemeister!

And my Twitter pal I’ll Have Another is on his way to the Belmont! Who knows, maybe he’ll be the first triple crown winner in 34 years. In one tweet, he said, “Got my hooves crossed for a good run today.” Is he cute or what?  I just love that horse.

My mega pill carrier…

Several people in the newsroom have had some fun at Donna’s expense, regarding her industrial size pill carrier. It is indeed my first foray into the pill organizer world that my Mother in habited for many years. But when I found this one at Target before I went to Uganda…it solved my vitamin problems. That’s the only diff between Mom and me…she carried prescription meds, and mine is full of vitamins. Sigh.

Why, why, why mix your peanuts????????????

And just a little nudge to companies that ship things to people. If you send me biodegradable packing peanuts, I’ll compost them. If you send styrofoam peanuts, I’ll recycle them. If you mix them, I’m mad. And here’s why. It took me a good 30 minutes to sort through them all to pick out the ones I can compost. So why do that to your customers? Why? Just pick one, and I’ll deal with it. Mix them and I biodegrade. So stop it.

Salty moss and Key Lime dreams…..
May 14, 2012

There’s been a lot going on at my house, like yours, I’m sure…things springing up out of the ground, new things to try, just stuff, ya know? So let’s catch up….remember the stone path we had put in last year? Now look how pretty it looks with the grass actually growing around it…

Fernw take over the world….

And these ostrich ferns came from ONE plant years ago…I guess they like where they are, as they are about to swamp the Japanese Maple tree.

Succulent garden on pot of dancing nymphs!!

I love succulents…just planted these a few weeks ago. As soon as they fill in a bit, I think they’ll be stunning..such a great contrast of textures and colors.

Mossy table…

and this is a table made from old wood, that has frankly…started to r-o-t. So in the worst bits, I gouged out the rotted wood, and plunked in some moss. Now I know, that will probably make the rot worse-it sure won’t make it better, anyway. But I figure, it’s a way to make the table pretty again in the meantime…and I’d better start looking for a new table for  next summer.

Here’s some places I’ve been recently….

Momma’s Day Brunch at Blue Grass Tavern…housemade pimiento cheese!

Chunks of salt and a microplaner for Mother’s Day… My kids know
I’m a salt freak, so now I can grate my own. (Or will people think that’s
weird?)

B & O Brasserie….this is the Horsecar…made with Hendrick’s GIn,
Blueberries and thyme…amazing.

A single bite of Taharka Brothers Key Lime Pie is soooo
satisfying…tart, crunchy graham crust…luscious.

And I thought I’d share this with you too…Rod Daniels brought in some duds from the 60s….

He can’t wear them now so the station dummy got to model…
the crotch of the pants has a pic of Jimmy Hendricks, his idol!

One of his old girlfriends did the embroidery…not bad…

And it’s Preaknss week, and you know what that means…the search is on for hats….These were brought in by La Chic Boutique….some gorgeous hats there, but none of them were quite right for what I’m wearing, so I’m still on the lookout!

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...

Bacon and chocolate, beef belly, and gardens…did I leave anything out?
April 23, 2012

Project side garden....underway. I need more rocks!

OK, let’s see what’s been going on….I’ve been working on a little garden on the side of my house. It doesn’t get seen much really, so I’ve never given it much love. But when a huge Black Walnut tree came down last summer there, the area was just… so…nude, really. SO I bought a tall crepe myrtle that I intended to get in the ground last year. Ok, let’s make it THIS year. And once that was done( I hired someone to dig the hole for me) I was inspired to create a stone border and get some other things in the ground. Almost there, but still need more rocks!! But one of my neighbors has this garden thing down to a science.

I love the rhubarb in the pot...such a nice contrast....

And this morning, I paid a visit to the courthouse, where my daughter was determined to fight a “turning right on red without making a complete stop” camera ticket. “

I know I stopped before I turned. I’m fighting that ticket!”…..Oh my little activist. But what she(and probably others) didn’t know…is that the police don’t just have still pictures of your offense. They have actual moving video. So when she’s called up, and presented with video evidence of her heinous crime(in which she clearly doesn’t come to a complete stop)…really, what can you say? But just for her taking the trouble of showing up, the judge cut her fine from $75 to $35. I guess that’s worth a visit.

The charcuterie is housemade, and freaking fabulous....

Ok, best new restaurant find. I’m really psyched about this place, because I went there on a Groupon(which has fooled Donna a few times)….But the Blue Grass Tavern in Federal Hill, is the real foodie deal. It’s on the corner of Fort Ave. and Hanover…nice atmosphere, and the food was just sooooo good. And they had something on the menu I’ve never seen before. Beef belly. Pork belly…plenty…but never beef belly. The waitress  described it as a cross between pork belly and a pastrami(she had me at pork belly). I’ll just say this…if you go, order it if it’s on the menu. Just stop deliberating and get it. And I noticed at the end of the meal, they also have pimiento cheese, which was too late to order, but next time…next time.

Just plain yum.

Best new guilty treat: Vosges Haut Chocolate “Mo’s Dark Bar“….62% dark chocolate with hickory smoked uncured bacon and smoked sea salt. The guilt is on two levels. 1. That I just paid $7 for a chocolate bar. and 2. That there is something so amazing and I get to eat it! I allow my self a square or two after salad at my desk. It makes the evening at work, just a little smoother. Trust me on this.