Still Using Crap?? The Yin and Yang of Hair Products….
March 18, 2010

I love you Dove...I don't care what they say...

This whole thing brouhaha over hair products started when my daughter moved out. She took quite a few of her fave hair products out of the shower we both use…and I used whatever was left behind ….that’s how I roll. So at a visit to the hair salon for color a couple of months ago, my colorist(God, love her) was running her fingers through my hair and said, “Your hair feels really nice…soft and it’s in good shape. What are you using on it?” I knew what she wanted to hear…some expensive brand of shampoo and conditioner that usually cost upwards of $20 a pop each. But I steeled myself and told the truth….”Honestly…I been using Dove.” Come on…it is their best formula…says so on the bottle.

dregs of the pricier products left behind....

She just stared at me…actually shocked. “Dove?? Seriously??'” When I nodded yes, she shrugged, and said, “Well, it really does look good…”. And here’s the thing…I love that Dove conditioner…it truly takes the tangles out of my hair in the shower, which the more expensive brands just don’t do….at least not for me. Yes, I’ve been told it’s because there’s wax in some of the less expensive brands, that can build up on your hair…whatever. idig it.

So I was back in for color a week or so ago….and the stylist asked, again fingering my luxuriant locks….(that’s how I like to think of them), “Still using crap on your hair?”  To which I replied, “Yep.”, though I was thinkingand saving my self a bunch of money too!”  But again, she had to agree that the proof was in the pudding…ok, bad metaphor…but you know what I mean. If your hair looks good, and feels good, and is shiny, bouncin’ and behavin’….it’s all good, right?

My nephew Quint...Julie in background...

Oh, and my sister replied to my blog about my recent trip to Pensacola…she was obviously not satisfied with my level of detail….here’s what she had to say…”Hi sis–quint will be upset if you don’t at least mention beyond the piece of a sentence –his wedding and his beautiful bride–”the lovely julie”–(does that term sound familiar??)–and i think the hotel where we stayed deserves a hit on your blog—i loved the bed and breakfast feel of it–NEW WORLD LANDING INN –15-16 individually decorated rooms, wonderful staff, and great place to have a wedding and our family time~–and i know for a fact you enjoyed the HUGE jar of m&ms outside your room! i also liked the fact that it was in the historic district of pensacola–and lots was in walking distance –sooo—i guess i have just blogged about it for you! but feel free to edit! love you–audrey”

New World Inn...loved it...

OK, let me just say this….Quint won’t give a rat’s butt about what I say or don’t say in my blog….what she means to say is that SHE will be upset if I don’t say more…hey, I know my sister. And Julie is lovely…gorgeous actually…she’s the kind of girl who can fit a dress off the rack and make it look like it was custom made for her. You know the type….my nephew is a lucky man, and he knows it.  And as for the New World Inn…I really did like it, and the large glass jars of m&ms were a nice touch. And yes, sweet sister….you blogged it for me…all correctly. Love you too!

No Grits, No Glory…….
March 9, 2010

The Fish House in Pensacola....

This past weekend I was in Pensacola Florida for my nephew Quint’s wedding(congrats Quint and Julie)….and not having really spent any time there(except for a hot, week long childhood vacation), I didn’t know much about the place. This I will put out for your consideration….think about going there for a vacation. Seriously. The numerous reasons why I will share with you this week….but let’s start with the obvious…food. You cannot have a good holiday in a town that does  not have good cuisine. You just can’t. And Pensacola has it goin’ on, in that category.

Grits a Ya Ya at the Fish House....over the top!

I decided to do …let’s call it…an informal grits competition….the various ways one can prepare grits. Without a doubt, the most over the top version was at a highly recommended restaurant at a marina, called simply enough, The Fish House. Its humble weathered grey facade conceals the look within….lots of large beautiful aquariums scattered about the room and white table cloths…that kind of place. And on a Sunday night ,we had to sit at the bar it was so crowded, but that’s fine with me. The tuna and salmon sashimi  was impeccably fresh, but the reason I was there was for their famous Grits a Ya Ya….a dish in which grilled gulf shrimp sit atop a saute of spinach, portebello mushrooms, applewood smoked bacon, garlic shallots and cream, over a heaping bed of smoked Gouda cheese grits. Need I say more? One order was plenty for the two of was just that rich…and at $19.95, a relative bargain. Oh, and I found a recipe online that claims to be Grits a Ya Ya….here’s a link….and when you read the ingredients you’ll want to sit down. Oh, ya ya.

The Coffee Cup....slinging grits since 1945....

I had read about a famous dish in Pensacola called Nassau Grits. I had no idea what that was, and it wasn’t easy to find someone who did know….however, in the article about “greasy spoon” restaurant…the Coffee Cup Restaurant was evidently the place that served Nassau grits  by which all other Nassau grits in Pensacola grits are judged(since 1945).

Finally, I've found the elusive Nassau grits...

And as someone else says about the Coffee Cup…..” it’s the place where cops and attorneys, drywall hangers and artists, dilettantes and debutantes gather to eat grits and eggs in the morning“….good enough for me. We cruised by Sunday morning….no luck… closed tight. But never one to be deterred so easily from grits at least, we were back Monday before a flight home….and  in luck. Even at 10 am, the place was packed….and of course nothing would do, but Nassau grits…plus a couple of eggs over easy, and a nice slice of Southern ham. Oh, and easily the best cathead of the trip(cathead is what my late Dad always called biscuits).  When the grits arrived…those suckers were red. Clearly, tomatoes were involved.

Ever had some red grits? Me either.....

Oh, the places you could go....

When I asked the waitress what was in them, she replied a touch wearily, as though it had been a long morning with yahoos like me around…but said, “Tomatoes, onions, green peppers, hot sauce and ham“. They were deliciously different….and just in case you want to make them yourself…here’s  recipe for Nassau Grits. Don’t say I never gave you anything.

Sometimes the simplest is the best....depending on the time of day....

But it was hard(impossible?) to beat the simple grits preparation at The Seville Grill in Pensacola. I ordered the pesto, spinach, mushroom and swiss cheese omelet…with grits, naturally….and they nestled up to one of the best omelets I’ve ever tasted…in their little white stoneware bowl. The waitress had asked, “Do you want cheese in ’em?” After only a moments hesitation, I replied in the afffirmative.  They were topped with cheddar and a diet devastating dollop of butter. In all honesty, you can gild the lily in many, many ways….but stone ground grits(which these clearly were) with butter and a little cheese is ….well…to me at least…a simple dish of true perfection. It was a great breakfast at the Seville. Tomorrow…more on Pensacola and why you should be planning a trip there, right now.

Watch who you’re emailing…..
April 28, 2009

The suite life....

The suite life....

OK, weekend before last I was in NYC, trying to get the lay of the land, so to speak, of a certain wedding that is to take place there, soon, and getting sooner every day. Ended up finding a great hotel in the financial district, for a great price  on Expedia, at Gild Hall in lower Manhattan. My son warned  me that “the financial district is desolate on the weekend“….but I didn’t find that to be true at all. And I had a reason to stay there. For the wedding, I found a loft apartment where we can 1. Stay for the 5 days we’ll be in town, and 2. Have a party Friday night for family and out of town guests(like me). Much more relaxed than a restaurant…more like a party at home…and think of all the money you save of liquor when you buy your own!! I wanted to see what was around there.

So anyway, we arrive at the Gild Hall early, because Megabus…now my favorite thrifty way to get there…got in by 11 am. We went on to the hotel, to at least store our stuff and check in later, and sure enough, the king room wasn’t ready. But the clerk said, “But if you like, I can give you a suite for $50 more...”. I hesitated, wanting to keep the 50 in my pocket…but he added, “It’s a gorgeous room, you won’t be sorry.” So I went for it. And was soooo glad. Really just  unbelieveable looking…check out their website, it’s quite a place if you can get a good deal.

My co-worker WBAL-TV anchorman Rod Daniels, who sits right by me in the newsroom, often goes to New York, and he was asking about where I stayed, so I emailed him a link to the hotel. Or…I thought I did. A few minutes later, he said , “I didn’t get anything.” So I checked again…ooooohhhh…I didn’t send to link to a romantic NY hotel to Rod Daniels…I sent it to Dan Rodericks, from the Baltimore Sun and WYPR!! I quickly sent along another email, explaining what happened, why it was an accident, not an attempt to lure him to a hotel room. I haven’t heard anything back. Sooooo embarassing. Check your mail addresses, people….

A New Kid in Town, and no I’m not getting married
October 20, 2008

Went to the Performance Workshop Theatre in Federal Hill Sunday afternoon for the last performance of  A Time to Speak, based on the Holocaust memoirs of Helen Lewis, a one woman show starring Joan McCready, a long time friend and neighbor of mine. She was fabulous, as always….I only regret that there are no more performances for any of you to see. PWT is as intimate a theatre setting as you will ever see….only room for about 25 or so people.

Theres a new chef in town...

There's a new chef in town...

We wandered for a while in Federal Hill on South Charles…and stopped in at Junior’s Wine Bar….hadn’t been in since it was an Italian place that closed a long time ago….I had forgotten what a great space it is. In the center of the restaurant, a step up from the front section is a HUGE round table that seats at least 10 and maybe 12-14. As I was staring at it(the place had just opened for the day and no other customers were there yet), a man comes over, sticks out his hand and says, “Hi, I’m the new chef here, Anthony Marini….can I help you with something ?” He then explained how they hope to do chef’s table dinners at that very big table….arranged in advance, of course, for groups or parties….and small world…he’s from Birmingham Alabama…my hometown, and had a couple of restaurants there! We chatted for just a moment…he’s only been in town for a week….but his new menu looked very interesting . I looked him up on line and found a review from a restaurant of his in Birmingham that talked about the 10 course dinners….sounds fabulous and daunting.

Oh, a couple of days ago, a very nice woman came up to me in the supermarket, and said, “Donna congratulations on getting married !”…..and when I told her that it is my son getting married, not me (already there), she seemed a little disappointed, but pleasant about the whole thing. And yes, wedding plans are now coming fast and furious…I’m just keeping my head down.







Hallelujah, my son is engaged….finally!!!
October 16, 2008

At the risk of being one of those bloggers that I read about in the Baltimore Sun this week in an article by Andrew Ratner about the “blogosphere”, in which he says a certain percentage of bloggers report their personal relationships have suffered with friends and family because of their blogs(because they use them for blog-fodder…),  but I still just have to tell you this! My son and the lovely Jennifer, about whom I’ve written often (too often?) are…yes…engaged. At long last. Like many parents of 20-somethings, you watch their lives from a certain distance(judging, judging, always judging, my daughter would say)…but that’s not true. More like, observing.

And here’s what I have observed. My son has been in a wonderful relationship, with a wonderful girl, for a wonderfully long time. And in his Mother’s opinion, which was never asked by the way, it was time for a ring. No, I never said anything, never even hinted at it…I don’t think. The only time I ever brought it up was a couple of years ago, when he was home sans Jen, I asked very casually, I swear, “So, do you and Jen ever think about getting married ?” He clearly interpreted my casual question(I practiced it, serously), as inquiring into his private life(which I was), where he did not want to go(and we didn’t).

Yeah, enought of that subject. So I just let it go, and thought, what is meant to be, is meant to be. Good Mommy, yes? Yet as the months and years went on of this happy relationship, my family in ‘bama has nagged…yes, nagged me relentlessly about it. “When are they getting engaged?”….”I’d like to go to a wedding while I’m still young enough to dance.” “Do you think it will be this year?”  Leave me alone, leave me alone…..was what I wanted to scream, but just smiled wanly and said, “I really don’t know.”

So, last Friday night, when we got a call from the boy and he announced, “I just asked Jen to marry me…”, there was great happiness all around. Happiness for him, for her(oooh my future daughter-in-law I can say that now!!), for her family, for our family, which will soon be one family. And I can’t wait. And no, I don’t think there will be any big wedding…Jennifer just isn’t into that it seems, and really, with the economy being what it is, it might be too much anyway. A small wedding is such a kindness to the bride and groom’s respective families, don’t you think?

Anyway, I wanted to share the news with you….for those of you who have gone before me, keep me in your thoughts….that I don’t say or do the wrong thing (beyond writing about it), that everything stays on a somewhat even keel, that none of us go off the deep end….wow, any cliches I missed there? But you know what I mean. I just want it to be a happy time. Not a stressful time. None of us need any more of that right now. We need some good news…and I got some!