Christmas Shopping 2011….here’s what I’m giving this year…
December 5, 2011

Ok, we’re all on the lookout for gifts that people will love, and yet not send your charge card into paralysis…you know what I mean. And I’m not of the school of buying one or two BIG things for the kids…I’d rather have more gifts under the tree than fewer, so I’m always on the lookout for little, less expensive presents. Here are a few ideas in a lot of price ranges..

Stila...and so many of them!

I love Stila lip glosses, and I found this set at South Moon Under-here, in Canton for $25 bucks….loves. it. (Online, SMU offers 20% off on orders over $150!)

Love these....and a great buy...

These earrings, also at South Moon Under, could be $200, but they’re $24. That’s it. And so pretty. Done.

A-gloves...a must have for winter iPhone users...

OK, these I had on the list last year, but I think even more people now have iPhones and iPads…and these are the only gloves I know of that can operate them(around $18), without having a weird little patch on the finger tip. There are silver threads woven in the fabric, so ALL your fingers can text their little hearts out. And they’re soft and warm…the white ones are made from bamboo! Agloves-here.

These are at Urban Chic...shop small and local!!

The Hunter rainboots are such a classic…not inexpensive…this is a bigger gift(around $125), but think about this. They. Last. For-Ev-Er. I have had the same Classic green pair for, well, a reeeaaally long time. And they still look great. And you can get liners for them to wear in colder weather. I saw these at Urban Chic in Canton..and dig the purple ones!!

Isn’t this so cute? Flannel and reversible pocket squares, and they come in lots of different colors and styles, along with ties that are actually reasonably priced(I mean really reasonable….around $20 each)….and cool looking! Found tons of stuff at The Tie Bar. Can we all just say it  out loud…”It is ridiculous to pay $100 plus for a darn piece of silk.”  I mean, really people. Lots of facrics..cotton and wool, skinny ties and regular, and extra length…great looks.   Check out the Tie Bar…. 

Chocolate. Nuff said… the toffee bark in the picture below makes me want to cry it looks so good….all handmade in Stephenson MD….Velvet Chocolatier. They are just sooooo good, and come in cute little bags. Ruthie knows her way around the kitchen…delicious.

The Velvet Chocolatier does it all! 

For your fave techie(even if they're not a kid)....

Goodnight iPad“…..I got a copy of this hilarious book for my son for Christmas(they  don’t read my blog, so I’m safe), so the lovely Jenniefer can read to him as a bedtime story…and he probably will ask her to do just that….all the time. I found this at Trohv, in Hampden. They have the mother load of small, fun gift ideas, as well as beautiful furniture and accessories(great stocking stuffers). Amazing place to shop…check it out, and shop local and small this Christmas!!

Rescue from a nightmare “rescue farm”…and it’s Friday people!
September 17, 2010

This horse weighed 900 pounds in July, now down to 700..

Ok, this is a story you must see tonight on 11 News at Five….about horses that were given to a “horse rescue”  place in West Virginia….because the owners couldn’t care for them anymore, but here’s the catch. The woman who runs the “rescue” place….puts these horses out to pasture with no feed and no water. They were slowly dying from hunger and dehydration. What a terrible cruelty…and worse because the place accepted healthy animals and starved them. Who would do such a thing? Collect money to care for animals and then deny them any sustenance? 

This vet said, "He's just bones covered by skin."

Luckily an investigation led to their true rescue…those in worst shape were taken to Day’s End Farm (here’s a link)in Howard County…where the horses are being rehydrated and fed, and hopefully, brought back to health.  As the vet in the story said about these horses…”They’re just bones covered by skin“.  Even these people at Days End who are used to seeing malnourished and abused animals, were shocked. 

Worker at Day's End Farm....

Honestly, it just makes me very very sad…and then very very mad. There’s just no excuse at all…I hope you’ll watch Rob Roblin’s story at five. Rob asked me  if we should warn viewers that the video might be disturbing….I told him people should be disturbed. That if you can see something like that and NOT be disturbed something is wrong with you.  So if you’re disturbed tonight, you can blame me.  Here’s a link for more details about Rob’s story

OK, enough about that,,,happy thoughts, happy thoughts…it’s Friday people!! Friday after a somewhat stressful week. I’m gonna have dinner with my sweet daughter tonight(135% Wine Bar in Hampden), and Auburn plays Clemson Saturday night…hollah!! We’re doing bison burgers with a choice of toppings(tba toppings)…sweet potato fries and a black bean salad. And, something for dessert(hello, Sugarbakers?)…so all is well. Hope all of you have a great weekend…play nice, don’t throw rocks, and come home safe(that all takes on special significance to me after this week)…’cause we miss you.

It’s Friday , baby….
April 9, 2010

Where are you going this weekend, handsome??

It’s Friday, which means it’s almost time to get the hell out of Dodge…if you know what I mean, and I think you do. This particular weekend has great appeal for me…because…I have nothing planned. Don’t you love weekends where there are really no commitments, like people coming over to your house to have lunch on your porch? I mean, that’s very nice(and I loved seeing anyone reading this who was there last weekend), but the thought that anything is possible this weekend…I can do a lot or a little, is tantalizing.

I think that’s because most of us live our weekday lives so scheduled, that there’s little room for error, much less experimentation, or wandering about. Like an afternoon wandering through the shops of Hampden…you never know what you’re gonna find. Or taking a bike ride somewhere you’ve never been….ditto.

Ok, I have one plan…tonight, to see Phantom of the Opera. It’s at the Hippodrome  downtown through April 25th. I may be one of the last people on earth who has never seen it…onstage or in the movie theatre…so I’m a Phantom newbie.  Everyone tells me this production is “fabulous”, so I’m excited to see it. Though someone who works here (who you would know), said she did not like Phantom.. “It’s just a show about a stalker!” And I guess from what I know of it, that’s true. But the music is lovely, and well…it’s Phantom of the Opera, dammit!

And from this blog to the airwaves….I write about the new Grilled Cheese and Company restaurant in Catonsville, and presto…it’s on our air tonight! 11 News Rob Roblin will be taste testing the goods….and he brought me their menu…does sound killer. Maybe I’ll check it out this weekend…let’s face it, I don’t have anything better to do. Play nice, be kind to others and come safe….and have a great weekend!

And the winner is…..
March 1, 2010

After much deliberation, this Orla Kiely wallet is the winner....

As you know, my wallet disappeared  last week, never to reappear. But as I told you, I got a call that night from a woman who said she had found my driver’s license, some credit cards, and business cards on the ground. We met at an appointed place Saturday and I got them back…most were useless of course, having been canceled, but to get my license back was HUGE! I thanked her profusely, and gave her a cash reward(appropriate, oui?)…and I was on my way.

Really liked this one....would make a great evening bag!

I started perusing wallets on-line this weekend, looking for one that could be everything I asked it to be: 1. large enough to contain all the stuff I put in it 2. durable 3.  attractive and 4. one new requirement …it also could fit my cell phone, so that I could  use it as a clutch purse on occasion. A lot to ask, yes?

Double Dutch to the rescue!!!

But as I started looking, my daughter called and told me to check out a shop called Double Dutch  in Hampden. I know the place, I pass it all the time and have shopped there before…and I like to keep it local if I can. Double Dutch has loads of cute clothing and accessories. But evidently this February, they got in the mother lode of  wallets, of every size, color and description….shiny, metallic, leather, plastic, with grommets and studs and without….some great looking choices, really. 

Oh Orla...you really get it....

In the end, I picked one by Orla Kiely….not the least expensive model there(it’s in the top picture), but it was on sale, super chic and I know it will be extra durable. The owner said she carried one for years, and when the zipper broke, they replaced it for free…..love it. And Kiely makes some smart looking bags and clothing…the line is based in London. Plus I can get my cell phone inside, zipped up with looking like a snake that ate a hardboiled egg. Mission accomplished.

Trying to relax…..ohmmmmmmmmmm……
December 23, 2008

Do I really NEED these wine glasses??

Do I really NEED these wine glasses??

On The Today Show this morning , there was some  blonde chick saying with hands primly clasped over the perfect holiday table, all gittery and golden that don’t kid yourself,  took a stylist to put together, saying ….”And you need wine glasses like these from The Conrad Shop.” Seriously? Seriously? I need to go get some wine glasses like that? What else should I do, lady? Oh, and she just said that brocade napkins are recyclable..”wash them and use then again“. Wow, I would never have figured that out.

Relax,that’s what Monica advised me….she wrote, ” Just relax! It will all be over by this time next week. And you can start planning for next year right away! Sure you will. ” So I just say the word that the lovely Jennifer says whenever she is feeling stressed…”Breezy!” So I’m “breezy” today. My sweet daughter and I are having $20 pedis this morning….our toes look awful…and we’re gonna have a girl’s lunch in Hampden…mybe Cafe Hon? Or Golden West Cafe? So many choices there.  And then we have some last food shopping to do….my son is training in from New York this afternoon…so I debated pizza for dinner. That would have been the breezy choice, but I have decided on a less breezy but still pretty simple(ha-ha-my eye is twitching) chicken in wine with mushrooms and little onions, over creamy grits. Sounds more complicated than it is. Not breezy in all honesty, but still not too bad.

The rest of Monica’s advice? ” Now I am just going to have another drink and maybe, just maybe when I am finished everything will be purchased, wrapped, and under the tree. And all of the food will be bought and prepared. Now if only I could find my red shoes and click my heels together.”  Good one, Monica.

That reminds me….I need to stop by the wine store.  And find my red shoes.

A Zone Drone……
August 14, 2008

Two little Zone Drones

Two little Zone Drones

Yes, I’ve become a Zone Drone….an “Olympic Zone” Drone that is…..and I’ve had lot of people ask me…”where on earth are you?”, and I don’t wonder that you would wonder! Big fiery torches, gorgeous old ruin-looking brick and stone walls in the background, gorgeous blue pool….But it’s right here in town, and for us right at the bottom of TV Hill.  Clipper Mill is providing us that beautiful setting, and this part of the condominium and townhouse complex was indeed created from the ruins of the old Clipper Mill, thanks to the as always creative efforts of Struever Brothers.  The mill burned  in 1995…the tragic  Clipper Mill Fire is well remembered, because a brave young firefighter lost his life there.  The link above was written by a woman whose firefighter husband broke his leg, when one of the huge granite block walls came tumbling down in that fire. But as she says…he was lucky.

Wow...

Wow...

But like the mythical Phoenix rising from the ashes, Clipper Mill has taken on a whole new, and a much better life than it ever had before. Seriously, if you’ve never seen the place, you have to check it out. Not only are there the great condos, partments, green contemporary homes and the staggeringly  beautiful pool setting, but the offices they’ve created from the space are incredible…modern yet with the old stone and brick walls….really, really nice. And there’s a coffee shop, all kinds of art galleries and  studios (beautiful blown glass), and Woodberry Kitchen….Spike Gerdje’s latest creation, which is hot, hot, hot. Marianne Banister and I tried to meet there last night for dinner…Ummmm….no we didn’t, because we couldn’t get in! The place was packed, so if you go, make a reservation in advance, even on weeknights or you’ll end up like us.  We ended up(and happily so) at The Dogwood Gourmet on 36th Street in Hampden, just down the road. They seriously, have some of the best food in town and so pretty….great appetizers and small plates, nice wine list, and innovative entrees. You can’t go wrong….and it won’t hurt to have a reservation here too…especially on the weekends. It’s popular, and one of my favs.

So, if you join us tonight at 7:30 for The Olympic Zone….NOW you know where we are! Maybe we’ll see you there….

Weekend wrapup….
July 28, 2008

Well, let’s see… what did I do? I didn’t get done all the things I needed to…I still have a towel bar that needs to be selected, bought and installed (hey isn’t drying towels what the door is for?)…I still have the leaky toilet problem to be solved, but lets think on fun things. Went to the last of the season concert out at Oregon Ridge with the BSO…Billy and the Hillbillies were there doing bluegrass, and the the symphony seemed to be good sports about the whole thing, thought I have to admit, I enjoyed their show tunes more than I did Billy…nothing against Bluegrass, but they were…corny…OK?  See what I mean? Beautiful evening though, great fireworks, set off the immediately recognizable music of The Magnificent Seven. Nice.

Took a picnic that included some savory pork pie from Dangerously Delicious Pies new location in Hampden called The Savory House. They are just open a week, for breakfast lunch and dinner serving…yes, pie. Savory pies like BBQ pork, steak pie, ham and swiss, steak chili pie…and of course all kinds of dessert pies. If you like pie…here’s yourplace in Hampden…it’s on Chestnut.  I like their pie but…..I think the crust needs a little more shortening and salt. There. I’ve said it, and I feel better. Take my advice on this.

I have a turtle!!

I have a turtle!!

And I found a little  turtle in my garden! Have no idea where he came from, but I hope he sticks around . Any ideas what kind of turtle this is? Or is he a tortoise? Should I feed him or does he survive on his own? I mean, I know he’s made it this far without me and is not my pet, but….you know what I’m sayin’.