Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

iPhone Cleanout!! Pics from the past eyar….
January 6, 2012

Twisty Bacon was in my son's Xmas stocking, and he left it here!

Isn’t it funny how many pictures your iPhone can hold…so many that they just stack up, and every so often I like to go through…relive a few choice moments.. and then move on. SO I thought I’d share some with you… including some from a trip to the mountains of NC last week…we spent most of our time in Cashiers and Highlands. Here goes…in no particular order.

Santa and me at the Monument lighting....he's so cute!

Best chocolate I had all year….came from Zoe’s Chocolate in Frederick…

Roasted almonds in dark chocolate in the shape of a tree...yes!

Also seen in Frederick….

Love, love, love this chandelier made from twigs and greens at En Masse

En Masse always has the most beautiful flowers, and some of the best ideas ever for gifts and decorating…like this simple pine cone…

Big pine...stick in pretty pot...instant style...

These wooden plates I saw at Great Stuff by Paul in Frederick,and yes, I did take one home, but the pic of multiples I think would be pretty framed! Great colors…

These are from China...I think...

When I saw this girl(the blonde one) as our place landed last year…I took the picture straight to my colorist, and said…I want MY hair to look like this…which meant: lowlights. I have no idea who she is…do you? But I love her hair color!

Excuse me while I invade your privacy...oh wait, there isn't any. Snap.

I was very jealous of this gorgeous candy apple red chalkboard my son gave the lovely Jennifer…I love chalkboards…so useful and decorative. He found this one on Etsy, of course from a vendor called Revived Vintage-here. The frame is resin and comes in all colors. Just makes such a statement.

THis will look amazing in their apartment...


Almost time for Xmas daughter admires the moss centerpiece she gave me!

Another Etsy purchase: pine gift cards...wish I had bought more!

Another Etsy purchase, tiny serpent earrings for the lovely Jennifer

You should check out Michelle Chang jewelry on Etsy…she makes some lovely things…and different. (come on, snakes on your ears are definitely different!) Finally…North Carolina!

What a terrific reinvention of a space...

Loved time in Ashville…the city took an old Woolworth’s store, and created a space calle Woolworth’s Walk  for lots of artists to display and sell their wares…and they kept the luncheon counter…brilliant.

Meatloaf at he soda fountain...and art!

Just one of many artist displays at Woolworth Walk

And this darling window display I saw at a knitting shop…the title of it was “Dr. Stitch and Professor Purl have one of their eclectic gatherings, and ask what people wish for the new year.

A clever and creative store window in Ashville....

The answers you see here are: “Monkeys who love me, and bananas of course“….and another wishes for  “Awesome monkeys who advocate for the rights of all!” Ashville is has such an amazing feel about it….loved my time there.

A REAL bacon, egg and delish does this look?

Tommy’s Coffee Shop was just down the road from where we stayed in Cashiers, NC(pronounced Cash’-ers, not like a grocery store cashier)…great food, and wireless!!

Love me some potbelly stove...and it was toasty in there!!


But it is Friday, my friends…and while I doubt I stumble into a place like the one above just outside of Highlands, NC…where people sit close to the potbelly stove and chat and have coffee(more’s the pity)…I hope to FINALLY get all the wrapping paper put away for next year….and remove the last remaining traces of Xmas from the house. Be nice, play  by the rules, and 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.

the zen of bathroom remodeling… and other tales from the palace(as in Blenheim)….
October 5, 2011

Shower floor is pebbles...white subway tile on the walls...

Well, a number of you have asked how the bathroom remodel is coming along….and truly, by now, I thought it would have been long finished. We are now a week past due date. The bath is functional, by which I mean you can take a shower, you can brush your teeth at the sink, you can go to the loo….but some detail work remains on the tile and the ceiling lights, no shelves are up to put anything on…so I’d say we are 7/8 there?

I have gone from being a little frustrated…to wanting to stomp my foot… that it wasn’t finished in time. But now that my house guests leave in two days, I have retreated to that Jamaican “Soon come, man” attitude.  I’m not upset, or angry, or anything really. It will be finished when it will be finished. Very zen, yes? Oh…but there is one thing. remaining monies stay in my pocket until it’s done. All. done.

Guinness shirt...of course....

Oh, and here’s a little tale about the people staying at my house…the Shelleys, as I’ve told you are 84 and 79, I think. They grew up in England…Harry in London, and he and his Mum were shipped out to the countryside when he was just a boy, when the  London Blitz  began in 1940( he actually was dug out of his house after it was bombed there…not injured). He said it was the most amazing scene you can imagine at Paddington Station….hundreds and hundreds(maybe thousands) of women and their kids milling around taking trains to who knows where? They didn’t know where they were going, but when they got off…people who lived in the towns just came and picked out people to stay with them(the clean and tidy were picked first of course). And there they stayed until it was safe to come home.

Inside Blenheim Palace...very posh...

But that’s not the story! On a walk one morning, Harry shared something I had never known about him(and I’ve known him for 30 years)….that his grandfather was head coachman for Winston Churchill’s Father.

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."

And Harry’s grandmother was in the room when Winston was born in 1876…part of her duties at Blenheim Palace, as head housekeeper! Very upstairs, downstairs…yes?

Insanely good!! I think we had been talking about Downton Abbey-here, the insanely popular British costume drama( season two is airing right now in the UK so I downloaded Season 1 from iTunes and LOVE.) It jogged his memory I guess.  SO if you haven’t seen Season 1…get it together, so you can be prepared for season II which begins here in the U.S. in January. You will NOT be sorry! Here’s glimpse at the trailer for Season II.

Roast it, wrap it, grill it and love it!!
September 30, 2011

Come on baby, blacken!!

In Maine last weekend, I had the luxury(it is a luxury if you don’t have one) of a gas stove. Nothing fancy about it, but cooking with gas, I love love  love. ..especially for roasting peppers. And the lovely Jennifer loves Poblanos….and who could blame her. Smokey, not too hot…they’re lovely. So to roast, you just blacken them all over,  then pop them into a paper bag to “sweat”them(which makes them easier to peel) and after they cool, take the skins off. Do not attempt this while they are still hot….I have burned my fingers, getting a little over zealous.

Peel them, and don't forget to seed them....

I reduced some wine and a little vinegar in a saucepan, the added cold pats of butter, salt, and the poblanos, and little chopped cilantro…and we served it alongside of steaks we grilled…only it was pretty fabulous on the lobsters too.

The turf part of steak and lobsters....

It was my son’s birthday dinner, and really it was kinda perfect….beautiful view, great food, nice wine, and presents of course.

Just waiting for some food and drink...almost dinner time!

Presents to open!!

And it’s hard to know what to buy for a guy who lives in limited space in Manhattan(I made a vow long ago never to buy them anything that sits on something), and has almost everything he wants(ok, except for the 2 million dollar brownstone)….so for the most part, I opt for gift certificates(those are the little scrolls in the pic above)…for restaurants, clothes, blow drys(for Jennifer, obvie)…services for the most part, not things that take up space. Oh and the “ribbon” on the package above is actually a knit necktie from Bonobos.

One does want a hint of color....

He is currently loving colorful socks…a look I love. Have yet to talk the hubby into this trend, but a pop of color is just so cool…love it. (And socks don’t take up much room, and they do wear out!)

speaking of a pop of color....

And it’s sooooo Friday. And while the leaves aren’t changing there like they were in Maine, the weather will feel like autumn this weekend. So put on a sweater, cheer on your favorite team(go Ravens and War Eagle!), take a nice long walk, and maybe roast some marshmallows over an outdoor fire….and come home safe, ’cause we miss you! (Next week, the bathroom reveal…it’s been a couple of dusty, trying weeks.)


Sahara Desert eyes…..Donna has the red eye blues….
September 13, 2011

Yikes...they are red!!

I’ve had this “little issue” now for several months… I wake up at night, and my eyeballs feel like dry little orbs covered with a sandpaper lid….no moisture at all to blink.  I’ve been handling this uncomfortable problem in one of several high-tech(not) ways…pull my eyelids up and blink without the lid touching the eyeball to get some tears started…dip a finger in the glass of water on the beside table and put a drop in each eye(so hygienic)…or, and I feel terrible admitting this…spit on a finger and put that in my eye. Hey, it worked. But not doctor approved.

And I have to thank a viewer for kicking me enough to go have this seen about. She wrote: “I am a loyal watcher of Channel 11 News, but I’ve noticed that Donna Hamilton’s eyes are often red and bloodshot…her eyes are too pretty to be red!” Ok…I know my eyes are kinda pink on occasion, especially if I fill in on the 11 pm show(I’m normally asleep by then!), but I didn’t think viewers could see that. Thanks HD.

I bought the ultra...the tears are a little thicker for night...

So I did see the doc yesterday morning(And I did not admit the spit part) and told him about the dry eye and red eye thing…he said even though my eyes FEEL fine in the daytime, they’re probably still dry, and the eye’s way of getting oxygen when there’s not enough moisture is for the blood vessels to dilate. Not pretty. So he recommended for a first try, artificial tears called Systane…to try at night and during the day…and if the nighttime trouble continues,  he gave me a nighttime ointment, that I hope I won’t need.

And I’m adding some other things that I found on a website called the Dry Eye Zone….which has some interesting tips of dealing with dry eyes, including putting warm rice bags on your eyes, right before you go to sleep, to stimulate the oil protection….using an eye mask, and drops of course.

An eye mask helps keep moisture in...

The mask also helps to protect the eyes from ac or fans that might blow in your face. Last night, I used only the Systane Ultra and a mask…and it was much better than previous nights. I still woke up, but didn’t have to add drops, because my eyes felt pretty moist. Tonight I’ll give the rice bags a try. I’ll let you  know how it goes!


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!

Back from the land of cool nights and sunny days….
June 14, 2011

Welcome to Cashiers, baby!!

I’ve just returned from a little slice of heaven…..for those of you who have never been to the mountains of North Carolina…a little south-west of Asheville…around Highlands and Cashiers, you must go one day. Beautiful mountains, incredible views, cascading waterfalls, cool crisp nights, and sunny warm days. Seriously…it is an amazing area. Love it!!

Hello outdoor new obsession....

We rented BIG house in Highlands, big… because my sisters and their husbands came up from Alabama, and my kids came down from Baltimore and New York….VRBO, of course… know that’s how I roll.  And while there are many lovely homes for rent, the thing that really sold me on this one was the outdoor fireplace you see above. We fired that baby up almost every evening on the porch….heavenly, when it was 100 degrees back home. And we ate most of our dinners gathered around  the big porch dining table you can see in the background. Lots of wine, lots of laughs.

The great room....lots of seating room...

Pretty views everywhere you went…..from winding drives (kinda scary at first) to golf clubs with views. Our house was inside the Old Edwards Golf Club….and while I’m not a golfer…my son and the lovely Jennifer played the course, which you can see below.

Yeah... I lovely is that??

The views there were drop dead gorgeous  ….and the club has a gps system so if you need something to eat or drink….just let them know, and they’ll bring it to you on the course. Two beers and two club sandwiches please! They thought it was one of the prettiest courses they’d ever seen, and they’ve seen many, all over the world.

Easy to see why they're called the Smokies!

Some of the cutest consignment and decorating shops I’ve ever traipsed through…my sister went home with a darling lime green wicker table, and my other sister, a wonderful painting of raccoons peeking through a window.

Love this little arbor!!

Wow....old school....but no gas to be had.

And I re-visited High Hampton Inn and Golf Club-check it out here….a place we covered on Great Country Inns years ago…I have to say it is prettier than ever…modern improvements but kept the charm….seriously, a wonderful place for a family vacation.

High Hampton's dining room.....charming...

Things for the kids to do all day….great food…the prettiest dining room, where you’re assigned a table that is yours for your stay, men wear coats and ties at dinner….and you dig into some delish food. Mountain living at its finest.

View from High Hampton

More on the food we cooked (and we made some great meals)….and a special cake surgery my sister and I accomplished….the redo of a cake that needed some help…in a couple of days. Glad to be back(kinda)!

Techie update….Donna gets some new toys….
May 16, 2011

All those lovely little icons mean something, I think...

Ok, some of you know I have joined the iPad revolution(which is a good thing right now as my computer at work is currently kaput)….and I really do love it. As my son(who’s had the iPad for a while)pointed out, it doesn’t do everything perfectly(no Adobe flash video, for example), but it is a terrific gadget, and

popup keyboard...

I use it much more than my laptop these days, unless I want to write something longer, and then the popup onscreen keyboard is too small for much typing(certainly not accurate anyway…some things I write occasionally look like jibberish). 

Wireless Keyboard for iPadSo, for Momma's Day, my son and the lovely Jennifer sent me Apple wireless is super light and super thin(see pic below) so it travels easily with me to work.super thin...

As long as it’s within 30 feet of your Mac or iPad, it works, so it can be in your lap, or on a table, or whatever…nice. I really like it. And it has a “smart” battery system so when you’re not using the keyboard, it automatically powers down. The instant you start typing, it turns back on! What??

And here’s another gadget that the New Yorkers brought as a gift when we all went to South Carolina for family vaca in April….it’s called the Jambox. SO cute.

So small, but terrific sound...

Made by Jawbone, the Jambox  uses bluetooth technology…after it pairs with your iPad(or smart phone or computer), you can cart the little speaker around with you….out on the porch, in the kitchen and listen to tunes from, say, iTunes, or  Pandora Radio(another great Ap to have on your iPad or computer) wherever you are, without having to have your iPad in the kitchen or in the bathroom. To give you an idea of how it works, and all the things you can use it for,check out this video-here. Very, very smart device. On the way home from Charleston, we had downloaded free podcasts of  This American Life…(if you’ve never heard of it, look it up-one of the best radio shows ever), and played them thru the Jambox sitting on the dashboard. Made the 8 hour drive, almost seem shorter!

Bracket Fever…Guess who’s tied for first??
March 21, 2011

There I am, tied for first!

Ok, let me say this right up front. I really don’t know anything about basketball teams, and I really don’t care. That said…I do know the sport pretty well. My high school boyfriend was a basketball player(and the football quarterback, but hey…that’s how I roll)….so I faithfully attended all of his games.

And I like basketball…it’s a pretty exciting game, but nothing gets me interested like…ummm….green cupcakes on the line. And guess who is tied for first place in our cupcake bracket here at work….that’s right. Moi….Hamma Dammatin(that’s my madeup transposing of letters name)  OK, in all truthiness, President Obama is in first place, but since he isn’t technically in our pool(more’s the pity)….he is in first in name only. No cupcakes for him.

Look how excited they sweet...

So that leaves just 3 of us, at the moment…. Tim Tunison(who has Ohio St as finals champ) and meateater Matt Nixon(who has Kansas-really? Kansas? as champ). I have San Diego State and the Aztecs at the end. And while  it was a pretty ugly game they played on Saturday, they still pulled it out. And as my sports guru Chris Dachille says, “That’s the name of the game. Win and advance.” (He also finds it hilarious when people like myself talk about the bracket, because I don’t have the right terminology for it-for instance, I didn’t know that it wasn’t possible for San Diego to play Ohio St. in the final 2…but on the other hand, I’m beating him, so take that, sucker). I know the Aztecs have a long road ahead, but if they’re game, so am I.

Ten Tips for Surviving an Earthquake…..
March 11, 2011

Today's earthquake in Japan....

Living on the east coast, we are, for the most part, blissfully earthquake free…execpt for a little rumble now and then. The only “real” earthquake I’ve experienced was in 1987, in southern California…called the Whittier earthquake.

building collapse in 1987 Whittier earthquake

I was part of a week long Evening Magazine shoot there…we were staying on the fifth floor of the famous Biltmore Hotel…the time 7:42 am. I was  on the floor, exercising in my room, when a rumble started. At first it felt like a big air conditioner had come to life in the room underneath mine. the rumble got worse, and then the building started to pop and sway. My next thought was …explosion? I ran to the window but everything outside was perfectly normal, and it hit me…earthquake.

another building collapse -Whittier earthquake

I opened the door to my room and stuck my head out…as did several other heads….and then realizing I could use a little more clothing on…went back for a robe(wise move). After standing under the door frame for a minute, another woman whom I’d never seen before, grabbed my hand and we ran down the stairs and out into the street, along with tons of other people. We were all directed to a park up the street, away from glass windows that might pop and break. Honestly, it was one of the most frightening things I’ve ever experienced(though more seasoned earthquakers were pretty unfazed).

Yikes.....not good....Whittier earthquake 1987

It was a serious quake though…5.9…which gives me a clue as to how wrenching the Japan quake today was. Some 8 people died because of it, directly and indirectly….a parking deck collapsed on top of one woman, another man was buried by a landslide, and hundreds were injured.

And I’ve since learned I did lots of things wrong(going to the window, standing under the door frame, going down the stairs)…or at least things that did not enhance my best chance of escaping injury or death….but here is a link to a wonderful article-here- written by  Doug Copp, Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International. He has ten tips for earthquake safety…read and learn…like me, you never know when you might be somewhere and the knowledge will come in handy.

But I’ve never smelled fear before that day….when I went back to my room after we were allowed back in the hotel(yes, I had been hanging out in the park in my robe)….the robe had the oddest scent on it. Not like a perspiration smell….it’s hard to describe, and I have never smelled it since. Thank God.

Thoughts and prayers to all the people in Japan…..and with that in mind, hug your family this weekend,  don’t throw rocks, and come home safe…’cause we miss you.