Tuesday, February 28, 2012


You may - or may not - remember a while back I mentioned some big news coming up.  Well, I can finally tell y'all what that is.

Our kitchen is in the April issue of This Old House magazine! For real, people! Check it out!

Yeah, that's a before picture at the bottom. Thanfully, I can hardly remember it.

All the yellow and green items are from the stylist.  I guess all my white dishware wasn't colorful enough for the photos?

Here's how it all came about: 

Last year we entered our kitchen in a This Old House Magazine home remodeling contest.  At the time that we entered I didn't realize it was an online popularity contest where entrants were supposed to encourage family and friends to vote for them, and the homeowners with the most votes won, so we never asked anyone to vote for us.  We didn't win.  Live and learn and life goes on.  A few months after the contest was over I got a phone call from one of the editors of the magazine.  She said that, while we obviously didn't win (the winner had already been announced and their picture was in an earlier issue), the editorial staff liked our kitchen, and the fact that we did it all ourselves, so much that they wanted to do a story about it, and would we be willing to do that? Yeah, I could hardly contain my hysterical laughing.  I'm sure she thought I was a lunatic. Or maybe she hears that all the time?

The photograper and stylist came out one day last fall, and then the interivew took place just after the holidays.  In the meantime we had to sign a contract stating that we wouldn't tell anyone about the whole thing until the magazine came out.  Although the editorial staff has been in constant contact with us, it seems likes it's been forever since this all started.  It has been more fun than I ever imagined, and I'm so excited to finally reveal all!  And I can tell you - although we were a tiiiiny bit disappointed that Norm didn't come out with the crew, (Not really.  Obviously we knew he wasn't coming. But it would have been pretty damn cool.)  the people at This Old House are awesome! Our thanks to everyone there.

So that was my big secret!

Monday, February 27, 2012

flowers in the house!

I'm linking to Jane at Small But Charming, for her Flowers In The House party today!

My Camellias have been blooming since New Years, and though they are starting to get a little ragged, I think they're still beautiful.

Sorry, I just can't seem to get enough Jack!  And he's such a willing model!

It's Saturday as I write this and I find that this is the first weekend in the last several that I haven't had anything pressing to do.  It's cold outside - or least colder than it has been in a long while - so it's good to stay inside.  I think I may just curl up on the couch with my little footwarmer (shown above) and my latest book today.  Hope you all enjoyed your weekends, as well!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

a busy weekend

I know it's Wednesday, but this is the first chance I've had to say it - hope y'all had a wonderful weekend.  It was beautiful here in NC, and though I was busy all weekend long, it was a good busy, so I'd say it was a nice weekend.

Saturday afternoon was spent outside, working on the garden (me) and the pond (bf).  We did lots of cleaning and tidying up to get ready for (real) Spring.  Here we are in the middle of February and I was outside in a t-shirt! LOVED it. Saturday night we went to a fundraising event for our favorite non-profit.  The story behind the organization, and the man who started it, is interesting and inspiring (it's all  here, if you're interested - I promise it is a compelling story).  Beyond the fact that both the bf and I are inspired by this man and what he's doing (bf volunteers often), we consider our lives enriched by his (and his girlfriend's) friendship. You want to talk about someone who can tell incredible, funny stories at your next party?  He's your man. His girlfriend is pretty spiffy,too.  Anyhoo...the party/fundraiser/event was lots of fun and we ran into a few people we hadn't seen in ages, and you know that's always a good time! And, it was sort of a dressy affair!  Living in a beach town means living in a casual town.  No one ever gets dressed up here. Ever.  So I kind of like putting on a dress and some heels once in a while!



Sunday was not quite as nice as Saturday, in fact it was drizzly most of the day. I didn't really mind because I had to meet my boss at a local bar/hang out/music venue in the afternoon, to help set up for yet another fundraiser - this time for our local state Representative's re-election campaign.  Is there such a thing as a "fundraising season"? If so, this must be it. All of the invites to this event went to folks in the film industry here in NC. This party was fun, too, although I was supposedly there to "work".  And work I did - pimping for my oldest lovey and her boyfriend, for jobs in some of the new film production companies coming to Wilmington this year! Keep your fingers crossed, would ya?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

is it just me?

Or does this happen to you too?  Wilmington, NC (where I live) is one of those places that, for no particular reason, people either live here, have lived here in the past, know someone who lives/lived here, or they just know about it for some reason.  It seems that I can't go anywhere without talking to someone I know or could know.

As I mentioned before, last weekend the bf and I went to Brooklyn to see our girls (his and mine - I mean one is his and one is mine, neither are ours).  Once we got to our hotel and got settled, we went to meet my lovey at a vegan place for lunch.  We had just sat down and got our drinks when a young couple walked in and passed us on their way to a table.  I said "Holy crap!  They're from Wilmington!"  The bf and my daughter thought I was crazy, but I decided to make a trip to the ladies room to get a better look at them to be sure.  What? You never fake a trip to the ladies room to get a closer look at someone? When I headed back to my table, I stopped at theirs and asked them if they were, indeed, from Wilmington and they were! The young man, while I don't actually "know" him, works in the same building that I do, and the young woman, who now lives in Brooklyn (the young man was visiting her), used to work for someone I know.

That in itself, while a funny story, is probably not that unusual.  But this happens All. The. Time.  When we were in Paris, we were eating dinner in a neighborhood bistro.  A man who was dining alone overheard us speaking American English and asked where we were from.  Turned out he was from the next town.  I've been in California, NewYork, New Orleans, France, Mexico and Peru - I can't remember a place I've been where I haven't run into someone from, or familiar with, Wilmington for some reason.  Is that weird or does it happen to everyone? And am I the only one making fake trips to the ladies room?

Home Sweet Home

Friday, February 17, 2012

a quick trip...

Last Friday the bf and I made a trip up to Brooklyn for a long weekend.  We have both been to the city (New York) many times, and since his daughter lives there and my youngest is there temporarily, we've also been to Brooklyn a few times before, but this trip we decided we would spend all of our time in Brooklyn. We didn't go into the city at all.  

We stayed in the heart of downtown Brooklyn at the Sheraton.  A really good hotel and, compared to NYC,  very reasonable rates.  I would recommend it to anyone looking for a hotel in Brooklyn

We dined in Brooklyn - Williamsburg's Bliss Cafe (vegan) for Grilled Portobello sandwiches at lunch, then the abistro (Nigerian) in Fort Greene for dinner on Friday, where I had Pepe Soup, which was clams, mussels, and Vietnamese catfish in a fragrant lobster-coconut consomme, and it was beyond delicious. Saturday was brunch at a place called Char #4 in the Cobble Hill neighborhood,  where they had sort of "fancy" southern style food.  I wondered if anyone in Brooklyn could make decent grits, and now I know the answer.  Yes.  Yes, they can. With poached eggs on top. Yum. That night was Thai at M Shanghai in the Metropolitan area of town, where I enjoyed a Lobster fried rice dish unlike any fried rice I've had before.  Sunday brunch was at a "famous" Brooklyn restaurant called Junior's.  It was one of those places with 70's decor and lots of pictures of famous people who have eaten there over the years all over the place. Nothing fancy there, just good ol' soul food.  It was fun. One of the things I most enjoy about going up there (other than the fact that we get to see two of our favorite people) is the chance to eat things we may not get around here. It inspires me to come home and start looking for recipes, or to try on my own to replicate things I've eaten while there. The Nigerian food we had really has my wheels turning.  I wonder if I can find Vietnamese catfish around here?

And we shopped in Brooklyn. The bf's daughter had training on Sunday (for an upcoming 35 mile marathon she will be running in South Africa later this spring! Yup, that is correct. Thirty five miles.), and my lovey had to work, so we had several hours after brunch to spend on our own.  It was savagely cold (okay, I admit I am a weather wuss, but really, it was cold), but we bundled up and went out walking down one of the main shopping streets in Brooklyn.  We ducked into many of the shops (partly to warm up, but also because they had really cool stuff that we don't see around here much). One place apparently specialized in (old) animal bones, horns, and the kind of charts and diagrams that you might find in a biology classroom. Odd, but interesting.

All in all, although I think I ate my own weight in delicious food, I think I walked it all off! It was a fabulous trip. One we hope to make again.  Soon.

View from our hotel room on the 22nd floor, Sunday morning.  Snow was coming down, but melted before it hit the ground.

View from the other direction.
Just an odd building we walked past.  Upstairs; a Tyrolean cottage, downstairs; a  Dollar Store.

The bf and his favorite daughter. Isn't she beautiful? Oh, and a cow.

One of many adorable neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Book Club!

I just realized that I haven't shared any book club choices lately.  Maybe because I haven't loved any of the recent choices.  All of them were okay, some were even pretty good, but I didn't LOVE any until last month's pick:

I'm always hesitant to recommend books (or movies, for that matter), because what consitutes a "good" book is somewhat subjective.  But this book has so many facets to it that I think it will satisfy many different types of readers.  In case you want just a bit of info on it, here's my very brief summary:

  • It's a true story.  Most of the historic info was obtained from letters between many of the people in the book, or police and court documents.
  • It takes place just before, during and after the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.
  • It weaves together the stories of some of the most influential people involved with the Fair, who also happened to be the most influential people in the country at the time. Then there's H.H. Holmes - recognize that name?  He's the "Devil" in the book's title.  Maybe not influential, but definitely a historical figure in America.
  • Some influential people in this country were indirectly involved or influenced, like Walt Disney (who wasn't yet born in 1893), whose father worked on many of the buildings on the fairgrounds.  
  • The book is jam-packed with so much historical information.  The 1893 World's Fair impacted so much in this country, much of it that most of us are unaware of! 
In short, I found this book fascinating and will go out on a limb and recommend it. Let me know if you've read it and what you thought? Or if you've read this author's (Erik Larson)other book, "In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and An American Family in Hitler's Berlin"?  (Mr. Larson doesn't believe in short titles, apparently.)   My own book choice for the book club will be in April.  I'll let you know what it is, and will recommend it as well (I've already read it, of course, and loved it).

I haven't started my next book club choice yet, but in the meantime I'm reading "The Paris Wife: A Novel".  It's the story of Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.  I've never been a big fan of Hemingway (a little too macho, I think), but this takes place before he wrote anything and became famous.  So far, so good, I would say.  About one fourth of the way through it I'm finding it very interesting.   I seem to be in a "historical" frame of mind lately!

Friday, February 3, 2012

all the makings of a perfectly wonderful day

So this was the timeline of my birthday yesterday:

6:00 am: Wake up to find a birthday card from the bf containing a gift card for amazon for the whole year's worth of book club selections for my Kindle.  The birthday card and knowing he remembered my day would have been enough.  And he's not done yet...

6:30 am:  57 Sun Salutations with a dear friend and yoga teacher. I guess to some 6:30 am yoga might sound like torture - 6:30 am anything is torture to some. For me it is the best way to start my day.

8:30 am:  Arrive at my office to find my chair, desk, etc., all covered with banners and glitter, and a Birthday crown sitting on my computer.  To be honest, not unexpected, as I have done the same thing to them on their birthdays.

8:35am - 4:30 pm:   Find facebook messages and ecards from friends and loved ones all day.  Love that.

8:30 - 12:30:  work, work work...

9:15 am:  Phone call and ecard from First-born Lovie.  She sent me a book on my Kindle, too.  What a love.

12:30 pm:  Lunch with  my office pals. The ones who are responsible for the banners and glitter.

2:00 pm -4:30 pm:  work, work, work...

2:10 pm:  Phone call from Second-born Lovie.  She's in Brooklyn right now and I haven't seen her since the holidays, so it was so good to hear her pretty voice.

2:25 pm:  Chipotle Chocolate cupcakes!  Woo Hoo! They were melt in your mouth devine! Oh and there were candles and singing, too.

4:30 pm:  Go home and get ready for the evening.  Little black dress (velvet - it is still winter you know, even though it doesn't feel like it!) with lace patterned tights and black boots.  And the bf wore a nice jacket with his jeans - I love that look on men!  I should have gotten a picture of the two of us.  We don't dress up often, but we do clean up okay.

6:00 pm:  Dinner at my favorite sushi place.  Ahhhh...it was incredible.  Then a little walk down the street to  our favorite cozy little piano bar, where a friend of ours tends bar, for a lovely glass of wine before the theater.

8:00 pm:  Another little walk (it was a beautiful night for walking) to Thalian Hall to see a local production of "To Kill A Mockingbird".  One of my all-time favorite books from childhood.  It meant a lot to me that the bf remembered that and got tickets to this. I give him grief sometimes because he doesn't always seem to be giving me 100% of his attention when I'm talking to him, and then he goes and proves that he does listen - at least when it really counts. And as is usually the case in this town, I was gratified to see it was a full house for this Opening Night.  Wilmington is very proud and supportive of our art community and I love that about living here.

10:30 pm:  Home for (more) cupcakes and dog kisses.

What a glorious day.  A big thank you to all who made it so.