What’s in a week? The most appalling secrets of Donna’s week off!.
December 13, 2011

OK, here’s the thing…I’m not used to having a week off with no plans. As in….I’m not traveling. I’m not sick. I’m just…not working. SO, I had planned to do all sorts of crazy productive things…things that really needed to be done(clean out closet/basement/litter box/car), but in reality… I only did a smattering of them. Oh well. Here’s what I did on my vacation, in pictures.

Put up Xmas lights, while listening to Chris Botti, drinking red wine!

Made this from things I had IN MY BASEMENT!!

The container is from Pottery Barn(and I have more downstairs from my son’s “Maine wedding” that ended up in NYC….so the birch, not quite the thing), the twigs I got at Nettleton Hollow-here…great source for all things twiggy….and the moss from..somewhere.

Here's a closeup...

It’s not the sturdiest creation I’ve ever put together, but as long as the wind doesn’t blow hard, and Baby Girl doesn’t get rambunctious…it should be fine, and I do love the way it looks!

Took my daughter to lunch at American Can Company(love the tree)!

I also needed a pedi badly(really they were awful), and I had a Groupon for one at Juste B-here…..on Fort Avenue in  Locust Point.

Hot stones between my toesies!!

When you walk in you immediately notice a difference at Juste B…no chemical smell. That’s because they use only water based polishes and removers…no bad chemical odors….much better for you and them. Loved the place!

Ingredients for Chicken Marbella...from Silver Palate's 1st book

Had some longtime friends over for dinner one Saturday night, and feeling a little nostalgic, made one of my old fav recipes….Silver Palate’s Chicken Marbella-recipe here. The first time I made it was back in the 80s…and I felt so chic taking Chicken Marbella to a party….until a big pan of it spilled an oily, garlicy mess into the back seat of my Volvo…the car reeked of garlic for weeks. But I still love the dish…it’s amazing how simple ingredients like chicken, olives, prunes, garlic, wine and brown sugar can combine in the most delightful way.

Ready to pop in the oven...but wait, something is missing!

Something is missing all right…I forgot to put on the cup of brown sugar right before baking…and I will tell you-that is a key ingredient. It was pretty good anyway, but ain’t Chicken Marbella without the brown sugar. Made me sad.

Redeemed a Groupon at Casa di Pasta in Little Italy....

Their lasagna is the bomb….and the fresh pasta…is molto delizioso. Great little shop on Albemarle Street that is sooooo worth a visit!! Frank Vellegia’s Casa di Pasta-here.

Had an amazing dinner at Sotto Sopra on Charles Street....

And then headed over to see The Lion King at the Hippodrome Theatre-here…if you haven’t…it’s a must see.

Amazing costumes...

I HAVE seen the show before, but I love it enought to see it again….wonderful production! The show is in town through New Year’s Eve, and the week after Christmas….they also have a matinee every day. What a treat for the kids to see this performance(the night we were there, there were LOTS of young children in the audience which frankly worried me, but the show is so mesmerizing-they were actually quiet!).

OK, the things I didn’t get done😦and this is just a sampling-there are more)…

Didn't giftwrap these shirts for my son....sigh...

Didn't take clothes to the cleaners, or mail these cd's to my sister!

So plenty remains on my to-do list…just like yours, I suspect. But there’s still time…a little, right?

You Don’t Know Jacques….
September 29, 2010

My new nail polish shade....

Like many of you, I am a creature of habit…I keep my hair the same color, I love things in grey, I have a yoga routine that I stick to…and I’ve been wearing the same shade of nail polish on my toes for years…a nice basic off-white. It goes with everything and I love it…not red, not orange, not pink…just…off white.

So my nail technician( do they call them that?) at my walk-in ($20 pedi-hollah!) nail place was kinda surprised when I stepped off the path and picked …You Don’t Know Jacques..a taupe/eggplant/gray shade. Seriously, that’s what it’s called. OPI…the nail polish company…must have someone in a back room with a sense of humor(I’m Not Really a Waitress) and who knows a little about history(remember Melon of Troy, anyone?), whose sole job is to creatively name polish colors.

Try it on...on longer nails than I'll ever have...

And OPI has a fun little feature I stumbled across on their website…a “Try it on” page-here’s a link, where you can pick the color of your skin and the length of nails(kinda-the shortest you could pick still looked pretty long to me)..but still, it’s fun to see what the different colors look like.

My daughter, who has loved the darker colors for a long time, had one thing to say about You Don’t Know Jacques…”Welcome to the 21st century, Mom“.

I’m not the only one with a problem pet….and we’re looking for a place to lunch!!
September 23, 2009

Baby Girl pondering where to pee next...

Baby Girl pondering where to pee next...

Gentle blog readers….now is your chance to help out a fellow reader, and get a laugh at the same time. Remember the cat Dolce, who will only drink from the faucet, and who was, for a while at least,  on kitty prozac? Well, Dolce’s owner Katrina wanted to commiserate a little about cats who occasionally…ummmm… “act out”, like my Baby Girl…..here’s her email.

Natures Miracle...problem solver...

Nature's Miracle...problem solver...

Hi Donna, Hope all is well on your end! I saw your post on Baby Girl, and it made me think of my sweet little Dolce. She too had a peeing problem, and the Nature’s Miracle  stuff works like a charm. Dolce felt it was necessary to pee all over my fiancé’s new luggage right before we left for a trip. Thank you Dolce. 

Anyways….I am writing to see if you can help on a location for my bridesmaids luncheon. Our wedding day is 4 ½ weeks away, and I need a cute place to take the girls after our nail appointments. Any suggestions?”

I’d like to add that Dolce survived the incident ,thought I’m sure a few choice words may have been uttered. Oh, and Katrina says she’d like to keep the lunch downtown Baltimore, as the mani’s and pedi’s are in Canton. So…any ideas out there? Cute places for a girl’s lunch? (I’m not a big lunch person…I get a salad everyday and eat at my desk…I know, so dreary.) Right off the top of my head, maybe Helen’s Garden in Canton. It’s a cute place, and they have an interesting menu, even at lunch…an almond crusted tomato sandwich with portobello, chevre, pesto mayo and roasted red peppers sounds divine. And you probably couldn’t go wrong with Pazo…I’ve never been there for lunch, but it’s always so pretty and chic, and the food is very good. Or for something historic Baltimore(and I have never been there..only seen pictures and read about it)…the B & O Brasserie  in the new Hotel Monaco looks to be like a cool space. Gonna check it out next week…



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.

Don’t Underestimate the Pedi….
June 6, 2008

My toes!!When it’s springtime, almost summer really, thatmeans open-toed shoes. And open-toed shoes mean toes…loads of them will come pitter-pattering to the salons for their pedis…..I go to a little informal salon, not too far from WBAL…they take walk ins if you’re willing to take your chances. And while I call ahead for an “appointment”…it doesn’t really mean anything. OK, that’s not totally accurate. It means a little bit. If you say, have an “appointment” at 2 pm, and you show up at 2 or a little before, do notexpect the technician to be waiting for you.  Taking walk ins means that whoever walks in gets the next  chair available. So you often wait. Now, here’s the value of the appointment…sorry..”appointment”. If there is a whole slew of women(and men sometimes) waiting and they are all walk ins, you get the next chair because you have an “appointment”. But hey, don’t expect things to be like it is at a fancy place like the Red Doorin Cross Keys (which is delicious, btw)…beautiful lighting, softly scented, privacy, luxury), you know. But here’s the deal….my pedi is twenty bucks!! Seriously, a 20, plus tip of course. And they do a really nice job. The lights are bright, it can be loud, it smells more like nail polish than lavender, and there’s no privacy…at all. A trade off I guess. But in my book it’s worth it.

And like many salons of this type,  most of the nail technicians are from other countries…here, mostly from Vietnam. So one thing that bothered me a little at first, and others will know exactly what I’m talking about, the ladies often talk to each other in Vietnamese…chattering away, then breaking into peals of laughter…and sometime you get the uneasy feeling they are talking and laughing about you!! But you know, I’ve gotten over that feeling…I mean, it’s really not all about me (alas), and even if they are talking about me…I just don’t care. As you know from Gossip Girls, you’re no one, if no one talks about you.

(And for Angela who asked about how they found the goat on the bus from the news yesterday…it was Craig’s List….EVIDENTLY YOU CAN FIND ANYTHING, INCLUDING A GOAT THERE.)