Momma’s Day weekend….it’s all good, even when it’s not
May 9, 2011

My daughter's note to me...so very sweet...

Mother’s Day means many things to many people…I know a lot of moms who simply want to be left alone a little bit…so they can read a book, take a nap, have a glass of wine, take a long bath…unmolested. You know what I mean. And I know others who want a messy breakfast in bed,  prepared by little sticky hands who will also help them eat it, right after they spill the orange juice…been there. Hopefully you got a modicum of what you hoped for….and I hope you were remembered.

Yoga in Patterson Park!!

My weekend was pretty busy….the yoga class in Patterson Park was ab fab…really, the weather was perfect for yoga.

Ace ready for yoga....downward dog!!

As we all did our downward dogs….a little dog named Ace…did the most natural one…He came over an sniffed my ear during one pose which almost made me collapse with giggles..you can’t get that in a regular yoga class.. . The outdoor series will last all summer..sponsored by lululemon…maker of wonderful yoga gear(and they now have a store on Aliceanna St. in Baltimore)…my daughter, writer of sweet notes,  gave me a pair of their yoga pants for Momma’s Day. Adore them!

Where else but Baltimore would you see this????

Downtown traffic was a bear though….with a race that closed off several streets…wish I’d know about it(I mean, come on, I do work in news)….and there was even a parade with the strangest assortment of homemade floats…loved it.

Blackboard specials at Regions...love the lanterns....

Tried a new restaurant for dinner Sunday night….Regions in Catonsville-here. I’ve been meaning to get there for a while, but when it new, you really couldn’t get a reservation. So I just waited a while…and the menu rocks it. My latest ordering routine is a couple of small plates, instead of a starter and main dish…that’s usually too much food.

The Mad Hatter....yumm...

The risotto with scallops,  and beef tips with ratatouille stuffed ravioli(called The Mad Hatter) were perfect, though I ended up bringing some of that home too-quite rich, both of them. But a great meal. Oh, and Regions is byob…which as you know I adore…and there is a wine store on Frederick Road in Catonsville if you forget.

And I spent part of the afternoon, just reading on the back porch with my Nook….and enjoying the birds feast at the feeders. So relaxing, and too too rare…the chance to just sit and read, and observe nature. Hope yours was lovely too!

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Breathless from Ballroom….Donna learns to dance…
May 6, 2011

In my dreams...

Ok, let me say..if you think the picture above in some way depicts what my first lessons have been  like…it does not.  Let’s start at the beginning….I was asked by an acquaintance to be part of a fundraiser for The Tuerk House-here, a non-profit substance abuse house in Baltimore. These folks do really great work, and provide many, many services to recovering addicts. So it’s hard to say no to those who do good works. And when Lucy Henningfield asked if  I would learn and perform a ballroom dance(something I have NEVER done)….I agreed. Because it’s a good cause, sure. But also, we all get to a point in our lives where we are comfy…and we like comfy. This was absolutely not in my comfort zone, so before I could say, “Ummmmm, no“….I said yes. Let the lessons commence.

Again, not me...yet...

My teacher John McCraw is at the Arthur Murray studio on York Road…beautiful, light filled studio.  I enter with great trepidation…I mean, I have pretty good balance, I do yoga, but I don’t have any sort of dance background(which was I think, pretty disappointing to my instructor….my Mom really let me down). “Ballet, tap, anything?”, he asked….nope,  just a big old blank slate. But he is very patient(thank God).

We are doing a bolero(for those of us who are ignorant of bolero-here’s one)…which I am told is a combination of a waltz and a samba. Is it hard? Yes. And you have probably seen enough Dancing with the Stars to know how some of those practice session go, especially at first. Yeah.  Next week I will share some video that we shot at a practice yesterday…I just don’t have time today to get it together. You’ll see what I mean.

Love outdoor yoga!

It’s a busy weekend tomorrow, have a doctor’s appt at 7:30 Saturday morning(I know-who does appts at 7:30 on Saturday?), then an outdoor yoga class, followed by a dance lesson(doing the bolero, of course), after which I hope, there is a nap…..then onto the Center Stage Gala that evening, for which I have to figure out what on earth I’m going to wear(it has to be something in my closet-I’m NOT going shopping). Whatever you do, have a lovely Mother’s Day, and if your Mom is still living…enjoy her, I miss mine so much. Cook something tasty for her or take her out, and just let her know you care…that’s what she really wants. And come home safe, ’cause we miss you!

Rue La La! Competitive shopping at its finest…
August 7, 2009

You may rue the day you found Rue La La....

You may rue the day you found Rue La La....

My daughter sent me a link, actually it’s called an “invitation”, to join Rue La La. What, you may well ask, is Rue La La? Well, here’s a hint. Today’s “invitation” read like this….”slip on the edgy sweetness of Vera Wang Lavender Label. Fun, flirty and feminine collide with sultry, dark and romantic.” Say again?

Basically, it’s a website where virtual “boutiques’ selling different designer goods, and even hotel rooms,  at 50-80% off, open at certain hour….Vera Wang’s opened at 11 this morning, and then, it’s an online rush like you see every year  at the Filene’s Basement wedding gown sale. Only instead of women rushing through the doors and elbowing each other our of the way to get to wedding gowns, it’s women crouched at their computers, waiting until the clock strikes 11, and then elbowing each other “virtually” out of their way. And I’ll have to tell you… the stuff  goes fast. If you’re not there right at 11….all that’s left is size 0 and 2.

Oops....too late...loser.

Oops....too late...loser.

Or….you see the Sold Out ribbon gaily festooned on the picture, reminding you that others are faster, better online…or tinier than you…and got there first. I must admit it creates an odd kind of competitiveness in me, and the idea that if you don’t get it, someone else will! And that’s probably the idea.

The running of the bulls..I mean brides…in Filene’s were to be studied by academics, they would no doubt find the same mentality going on. Throw it on my pile…even if I can’t use it, I sure don’t want you to have it. Some kind of bizarre, survival, hoarding instinct that comes from our barely upright ancestors? Basic human greed? The need to adorn ourselves? Honestly I don’t know. But it works.

Here’s my little confession. The first day on Rue La La…the Lulu Lemon Boutique opened. Only those who are yoga people like me know what Lulu Lemon is, and the only reason I know, is the lovely Jennifer in New York told me that’s what all the cool girls in yoga class wear.  I had no idea!! Sooooo, long story short, I got a couple of Lulu Lemon tops and a pair of pants…and I seriously would not have paid full Lulu Lemon prices. No way. But at such a bargain price…how could I NOT buy them? I know, I know…sucker punched. But today I was wiser. The crafty Vera Wang did not lure me into her dark, flirty, romantic boudoir. Unh-uh. This girl didn’t buy a thing. However, I just told my daughter I was writing a blog about Rue La La, and she said, “NO! Don’t tell other people about it!”  and then comforted herself with… “But they can only join if they’re invited“…isn’t that innocent? She thinks it’s actually a club, instead of just another ploy to get us to buy things we don’t need and they want to get rid of.   Oooh, gotta run….the Laundry by Shelli Segal boutique opens in 5 minutes!! Have a great weekend, play nice and come home safe.

Reclaiming My Zen……
February 3, 2009

Can you hear the trickling water??

Can you hear the trickling water??

Ooooohhmmmmmmmm…..come on, say it with me lotus blossom, eyes closed….oooohhhmmmmmmmm. Well, it’s a start.  You know, at the beginning of this new year, with the economy in the crapper, and everyone a little anxious, and nervous, and…well…a little crabby it must be said, I realized I need to reclaim my zen. Get back that little peaceful feeling inside that no matter what, all is well. Or at least ok…pretty much ok. I realized that for sure after reading a reply to my post about the Superbowl and CNBC’s Maria Bartelomo giving us bad news during SuperBowl coverage…normally a happy occasion, to which I took exception.  One person who clearly needs some zen had a serious lashout…..and bless Courtney for taking up for me. She wrote “Whoa…sounds like someone is having a bad day.” So, clearly I, AND OTHERS WHO WRITE IN ALL CAPS need a soothing dose of  living in harmony.

Anyway, I’ve been trying reclaim my zen by getting back to yoga, at a new studio I found in Mt. Washington called Ojas….I really like it. Ojas(which also has other locations) has a real zen vibe….very pretty,  smells really good like you’re having aromatherapy just walking in, and they don’t do hot yoga, which I intensely dislike(sorry, I just don’t like it). Ojas also has mat pilates classes  and for those truly inspired they also offer The Reformer.

Ummmm....let the goodness blossom....

Ummmm....let the goodness blossom....

And massage and facials….none of which  have I tried….but the classes have been great,  I adore their lovely bathrooms, and after class you can make yourself a free cup of delicious Yogi teaummm, a nice cup of hot tea after yoga(love the Sweet Mexican Chili) is soooo soothing.  And their prices are right… important today… in fact you can take two introductory classes of mat pilates or yoga for just 10 bucks. Good deal.

Calm, comfort, relaxation, zen….say it with me now lotus blossom…Oooohhmmmmmmmmmmm……

Because of consumer demand: cool gifts III….
December 11, 2008

Alright you chipmunks, ready to sing your song? Ready Simon? Ready! Ready Theodore? Ready! Ok…..because of demand for additional gifts ideas….I have more for you. Why, you ask?
Jessica wrote this: “Thanks for all of the wonderful ideas Donna! However…I think you need to change this to the top 12 gifts! It’s alright though…just 2 more wonderful gift ideas! Have a good holiday and happy shopping!”

Then Paul, (aka Simon) added” Yes Donna, Like Jessica said. You could do the twelve gifts of Christmas ! ! Have a great Christmas !!!”

And Katrina on the chorus..”Thanks for all of the fabulous ideas!!! I am convinced you have been to every store, boutique and restaurant in the Baltimore market. Oh…and while your at it…any good ideas for a reherasal dinner?? Roughly 50-75 people and we would like to keep it close to Mt. Vernon since the out-of-town guests will be at The Peabody Court and rehearsal will be at St. Ignatius 🙂 Thanks much!!! I think you would be a good wedding planner.…”
You guys, it’s not that easy to come up with different ideas….especially when I have to now plan Katrina’s wedding…I’m already  on it. But I do have another couple of things up my magical sleeve!….Last  items, and this time I mean it. I think.
11. This one has lots of ideas inside it….a gift list within a gift list….it’s the lovely Jennifer’s Excel Rainman newsletter gift list…You can sign up for the newsletter if you like and get free Excel tips…I still don’t understand what Excel is, actually. Some of these gift ideas will be great if you have friends or family who live in NY…where she lives…and you’ll notice we have a couple of the same things…..great minds think alike, and we steal liberally from each other. (Oh, and if you are a great Excel spreadsheeter and looking to make some cash, they are looking for some help…)
 Just go to the Submit Request section of ExcelRainMan.com.
 
Excel Rain Man’s Top 10 Holiday Gifts  

1.  Personal cooking lesson and/or dinner with Tall Order – select a 4 course menu that suits your needs and taste and Tall Order Chefs will bring everything needed for a customized cooking class/dinner in your kitchen! (Learn more at www.tallorderonline.com)

2.  Gift certificate to The Kula Yoga Project – Best hipster yoga in NYC, and by far the most talented instructors around!  Every class is a great class (28 Warren Street near Church Street in TriBeCa) 

3.  Gift Certificate to Jack’s Coffee – Organic, Fair Trade, Shade Grown Coffee and so much more (West Village: 138 West 10th St btw Greenwich Ave & Waverly Place/South Street Seaport:  222 Front St btw Beekman St and Peck Slip)
4.  Dinner at Bobo – The West Village’s hottest new restaurant. Open every night for Dinner and Brunch on the Weekends (181 West 10th St at Seventh Ave South in the West Village)
 
5.  Gift Certificate for work requests and private tutoring from the Excel Rain Man. Sorry for the shameless plug 🙂 !! (888-598-9992, info@ExcelRainMan.com)
6.  Personal Yoga lessons from Jen Guarnieri. What’s even better than yoga at a studio?? Yoga in your living room!! (Check her out online at www.jengyoga.com)
 
7.  Beautiful hand-made jewelry from Lark and Lotus -Designer Suzannah Murray finds her inspiration from the mysticism and culture of New Orleans, grown from West African Voodoo… Now you have to check it out! (Available Online and at 8310 Willow St, in New Orleans)
(AND I should add Suzannah is a Baltimore girl….and several of her beautiful creations donate to Habitat for Humanity and Susan G. Komen….DH)
8.  Reusable shopping bags from Gecko Traders – Skillfully crafted by a Fair Trade Co-op in Cambodia, these bags are made from recycled rice & feed bags. Perfect for Green grocery shopping! My future mother-in-law (Donna Hamilton) found this before all of the stores… as she does with everything!   
For more excellent and chic gift ideas (her famous list will be out this week), check out Donna’s blog ,… she even blogged ExcelRainMan!!
 
9. An engagement ring from Marisa Perry What better way to suprise that special someone than popping the question over the Holidays!! (154 Prince Street in SoHo)
 
10.  The New York Times Weekender – get the best paper delivered to your door on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. (Save 50% @ www.nytimesathome.com)  
Ok, but there are more ideas people have sent me…I like these….don’t you love it when we gift-pool??
From Susan: ” We can’t change the smell, but we can help change the look of your UGGS. Check out these great new accessories for your boots. http://www.llove8.com
 
Dr. Kim Hammond-saving lives again!

Dr. Kim Hammond-saving lives again!

And last but not least, you can give a gift that could save someone’s life. The always dashing Dr. Kim Hammond from Falls Road Animal Clinic brought one in today for us to look at …it’s a Fire Escape Smoke Hood,  that will allow you to breathe in a house fire, for up to 60 minutes.  You keep it where you can get to it, maybe in the bedroom. Every home should have one…maybe more than one.

Ummmm....fudgey brownies!

Ummmm....fudgey brownies!

No, actually brownies are last.  Not just any brownies….no, no, no!  In fact , I just heard two people (whose judgement I respect)  discussing these very brownies  today and how fabulously fudgey they are…just the way brownies should be. Lady Baltimore Brownies  are the creation of Joan Allen, from her Grandmother’s treasured recipe…they come in chocolate SINsation, chocolate peanut butter, Gran Marnier macademia, and decaf espresso. Made fresh and shipped to you pronto, a pan that serves 15 is $37.50. How good are they? When Joan was getting her car detailed, she told a woman about her brownies, as an older gentleman sat a few feet away. “Usually when women eat my brownies they just repeat the same nine words..’Oh my God, oh my God,oh my God.” The man took two dozen…he hadn’t made his wife say that in years! Ba-tump-tump!

Happy holidays everyone….

Say it with me now….Ooohhhhmmmmmmmmmm…
July 24, 2008

Told you yesterday that I would share with you more details of a yoga class…outside in the sunshine, right by the Inner Harbor.  Now for those of you who have never tried yoga, and I know there are quite a few of you…are saying…no way, I could never do that.  Come on, try something new! It’s for all levels, even beginners…And guess what? This class is free!!

You may be thinking that I am over enthusiastic about free things, and Gerry Sandusky said not too long ago he’s beginning to think I’m cheap, because I donwanna pay 50 bucks for a bottle of wine. Whatever. Back to the topic…you can try this class to see if you like yoga, and you’re not out anything.
I found about this 9am, 3 class series(this Saturday is the last, sorry)…from an email from the sponsors, Charm City Yoga. I’ve taken a few classes there….unfortunately,  in a hot yoga class. Now let me say there are loads of people who love hot yoga….meaning they love to sweat…but I’m not among them. It’s just tooooooo intense. Regular temps for me , please. But outdoor yoga is a lovely way to start your Saturday. And to all of you who left lovely get well notes for my mom…who we thinkis getting of the hospital today (fingers crossed)…thank you for your kindness. It means a lot to me, really, and I’ll make sure she sees them. Namaste ….I honor the spirit within you!