Weekend Getaway…Relaxing in Rhode Island!

July 10, 2012 - 4 Responses

This pic personifies Rhode Island…stone walls and hydrangeas…
I’m in heaven!!

OK, a couple of weeks ago…I attended a wedding in Bristol, Rhode Island, a charming small town on the water. But rather than fly up Saturday morning…go the the wedding and back home Sunday(what a schlog)…decided to make a long weekend of it.

Classic gray shingle cottage right on the bay…(no the big
house on the right was not a part of the deal!)

You know I’m a hopeless fool for VRBO….my go-to website for vacation places to stay. And in Bristol…there was one especially charming choice. I fell in love with this precious cottage a mile out of downtown. The owner lives in a (larger, obvie)house to the left, closer to the street. Big shade trees, private dock….it was amazing inside and out. Take a tour…

Honestly, I think it was this little screened porch that
sold me…look at the view!

Living room to the left, staircase leading to loft bedrooms…
adore the light.

Seaglass blue everywhere…

The owner has such a nice eye for details….

My view reading under the tree….sigh. Heaven.

By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea….

Bristol is a town that really does it up for the Fourth of July…they have a huge parade, and the stripe in the road lets you know the parade route.

Classic front porch of a house on High Street, as one neighbor told me,
“the nicest street in town!”….It was pretty sweet…

Blueberry stuffed French toast at a sidewalk cafe….yumsters.

And lobsters galore, naturally….

Keep in mind, you can drive to Bristol in about 8 hours….and Southwest Airlines, bless them, fly nonstop to Providence…so Rhode Island in general is a great weekend getaway…just up the road a ways. All the Rhode Islanders said they’d love to have you!!

Hot and in the dark…..

July 5, 2012 - 3 Responses

This huge limb is still dangling from this enormous tree in my yard…haven’t found anyone to take it down…yet. I think this past week has been one to remember for many people, and one they’d also like to forget. Friday night when the darn derecho…that’s what the storm was called…moved through….and left such a mess behind, and a heaping helping of misery.

This little device really saved us….we could at least charge phones, computers, Nooks, etc…..in the car(where it was also blissfully cool)…

The Powercup Inverter is something I’ve used more often on long car trips…but in this power outage, it was a lifesaver. It has  two 120-volt AC outlets and a USB port…so you can power three devices at one time….and it fits right into a cup holder! It’s powered by plugging it into your cigarette lighter.

Spagetti and meatballs from Cafe Gia in Little Italy…great food…plus they had AC, power and cooked food!

Like many of you who lost power, we had to find cool places to go. Saturday afternoon…a movie at Harbor East and dinner right down the street at Cafe Gia. Their ac was making thing decently cool, and the food was amazing…it’s like eating at your Nona’s house(if you’re Italian). And I didn’t have to open the refrigerator( a no-no during a power outage). But then Sunday morning at 8….I felt like the angels started singing…

The power is back, the power is back…hallelujah!!!

This is the first thing I had from the frig….

A big glass WITH ICE of Hojicha green tea with vanilla. Yum.

My neighbor’s dogs came over for a “cooling off period”….bless their hearts.
Had to take this from the next room looking through a French door, as my
cats were NOT happy about it.

Ok, this picture has nothing to do with power outages….

A leftover from some plumbing work done in my basement….

The plumber handed this to me as he left….and I’m trying to figure out what kind of art project I can do with it…any ideas? I love the old copper getting the aqua blue tinge….so cool looking. But what? Still pondering.

For those of you out there still sweltering in the heat and the dark….I feel you…and I hope your lights come on very, very soon. Then you’ll hear the angels sing too….

Groupon Garden Party…..

June 18, 2012 - 3 Responses

While I will put REAL blackboard in eventually, I waited too late
for this shindig. Answer: foamboard and chalkboard paint.

OK, I used to be (as many of you have been, don’t deny it) a Groupon addict. But when I found there were too many of these “bargains” that I was allowing to expire unused, I kinda backed off. But I’ve had this one simmering in my hip pocket for almost a year….expiration was approaching..so I called the folks at The Savory Kitchen in Frederick, and set a date for the “Friends and Family Feast“….a catered dinner for 25.  June 16th…be there.

Don’t have enough matching plates? Party rental…love these
white square ones….20 of each, about $25….

And not doing any of the cooking,  frees one to be a little more creative in other areas(or clean the house as the case may be)….here were some things I tried.

Napkins are Ikea dishclothes…huge so great for a buffet lap napkin.
Only $.79 each…and if they get stained: cleaning cloths. Morandi in
NYC also uses them as napkins..

Yes, more hydrangeas…

Put all the flatware in this little tin container I got from Pottery Barn last year…and used Mason jars as drinking glasses and votive holders. I didn’t have tons of Mason jars, but I ordered them from Ace Hardware for $12 a dozen. And I wish I had gotten all of them the little size…they make perfect size drink containers!

Put all the empty Mason jars in this old strawberry crate,
with some flowers…for guests to grab.

nibbles….the Buffalo Chicken Blue Cheese Dip was to die for,
and so was the black-eyed pea salsa….

A really creative guest brought baby veges from her garden,
that were so pretty, they became a decoration….love the idea.

An equally creative guest brought bundles of lavender from
the Eastern Shore, wrapped with ribbon. Yes, they grow loads
of it…lucky devils. I can’t grow lavender to save my life.

Remember the huge vase from Ethan Allen(yes a Groupon)..
today filled with long-stemmed hydrangeas…..

Used oyster shells(of which I have many) as iced tea
spoon rests.

Ok, this is not my picture, but used a stand just like this one to
Sangria….I forgot to take a picture. Party brain!

I’ve wanted a hanging chandelier over this table for
forever…Found this one at West Elm on sale. And it’s
made for outside use!!

Many, many many thanks for the delicious food from Cheri at The Savory Spoon. I honestly did not know what to expect…I knew absolutely nothing about them, and certainly not how good…no, make that how delicious… their food is. And they bring it right to your door! Best pulled pork I’ve ever had…seriously. Na’an herbed toasts for dips…addictive. Salads and slaw yum, fresh guacamole ditto….and those little cheesecakes with the crunchy crusts I squirreled a few away for Donna… for later… you know what I mean. Sorry 🙂

 

Spring, spring everywhere….

June 6, 2012 - Leave a Response

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Have a piece(or mice) of the Zuckerberg wedding..

May 23, 2012 - 3 Responses

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 - Leave a Response

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 - One Response

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 - Leave a Response

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 - 4 Responses

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.

Duly chastened….and back on the case!

April 16, 2012 - 5 Responses

One of our neighbors in Chucktown....dig the placement of the hazard marker!!

I just got an email from a blog reader who said,” I know you’re busy, but I live vicariously through you and miss more regular posts! I always learn some about new fact, or tidbit, trends and trendy spots.  I love your travel advice and suggestions and the food chat and photos – oh, how I miss the food chat and photos! .  C’mon, Donna, you’re killing me here!”

 

My favorite bridge....to the Holy City...

Tout mes excuses!! And while my excuses aren’t bad really….let’s just get with the program. I just got back from the Holy City(someone here in the newsroom with initial GS–ok, Gerry Sandusky–asked me if I had been in Israel, as I tweeted something about being in the Holy City). I just gave him what I hope was a suitably scathing look, and informed him that here in the U.S., Charleston SC is the Holy City, because of all the church steeples that dot that city skyline.

Here’s the beach I walked to almost every day, over a long boardwalk out over the marsh…you have to know the code to get on the boardwalk, which is why the beach there is never crowded… http://youtu.be/sJ8Jpv3W2CQ

We also had baby gators..so cute....while small anyway...

My daughter with Esmerelda, the dog who lives down the street....

Fish tacos at Poe's Tavern on Sullivan's Island...yes that Poe....

Pistachio gelato on King Street...with some of the best shopping and eating you'll ever want....

Shop window of Blue Bicycle Books, also on King Street....a literary kitty!

Classic....just classic, and so Charleston.

My two fav purchases....

Adore the dress above with the cute bow in the back and beading…and the grey-green topiary was the subject of some spirited discussion about hauling it back in the car…but as you see, I won.

If you're looking for preppy(and pricey)...look no further than M Dumas.

M. Dumas is really pronounced Doo-Mahs’……but in fun, we call it Dumbass. Quietly of course…quietly.

Dumas ties look like sherbets.....

More Topsiders and in more colors and styles I never imagined.

I did say the place was prep, right?

Soft shell crab at hot new restaurant called The Grocery...soooo delicious!

But Cru Cafe is still our go-to restaurant....so charming, and the food is so inventive. Best mac and cheese in town, hands down.

This was the view I woke up to every morning....the beautiful salt marsh.

And alittle bird right outside always called first thing, “cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger“..seriously it does! If you have never heard a bird say “cheeseburger“(they really do) listen carefully to this video I took, on the little porch right outside my bedroom….http://youtu.be/gBYbJbWa4H8

Yep, the drive home was as fabulous as it looks...

But this was the view home, on a 10-1/2 hr drive that should have taken 8…horrible traffic, and fast food french fries. Just keeping it real, ya’ll.