Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday

For those of you who celebrate, Happy Easter!  For those of you who do not, Happy Sunday!  It all works for me, just so long as we are having a nice meal and thinking good thoughts!

Last night, we went to our closest friends' house for a nice dinner - beef tenderloin, potatoes, veggies, home made pudding, hmm - divine!

Today is Easter and though we do not have big plans, we will dress up and have a nice meal and think spring-like and warm thoughts!
The table is decorated:

Chicks and bunnies...

..all grouped around a nice little vase of mums and carnations...

...lambs on the other side, protecting one of my old cardboard decoupaged eggs?  Do any of you recall these growing up?  I do not - I bought this and a smaller one at a local antique shop several years ago - they still had the old grass inside!  Isn't that fun? 

I dug out my Velveteen Rabbit books and placed them on the buffet - they always make me think of love and of my children (who also make me think of love!)

Guaranteed to make you cry, every time you read this passage:

“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'

'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.

'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'

'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'

'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”

When I was young, we would get new straw hats and white gloves to wear to church, a chocolate bunny and maybe a stuffed animal.  We would hunt for eggs inside the house, as there was always so much snow outside!  Am i the only one who wishes we would take up gloves for events again?  White gloves are so spiffy and I may just do that in 2013, since I have many pairs that I inherited from my beloved Aunt Betty! Oh, I hope I get invited to a wedding!

In my mind, the Easters of my childhood were always sunny, though I am sure that can't be true! Easter makes me think of new bicycles and jumping ropes and rubber balls.  When we moved into our current house, Easter weekend 15 years ago, we gave our daughter, who was then 6, her first bicycle and our son ( who was 3 years old) a new tricycle.  It was so much fun for them, as our old house was located on a busy street and the new driveway was long and had plenty of room for learning.  Oh, and along with white gloves, I believe that Easter bicycles should have streamers on the handlebars!

In my Easter box, I found an old picture made in clay by my son when he was 5 years old.  It has stood the test of time quite well I think:

Not a carrot lost!

From my Easter Bunny to yours, Happy Easter!  May you have a joyous and peaceful one!  See if you can find Easter Bonnet on TV! And stay safe out there!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Random Saturday Mornings: shopping, usher, etc

Happy Saturday! 

It appears that it is going to be a busy day here - and it is going to be awfully nice out - sunny and warm and you may see me out in the yard shovelling snow off the back deck!  I will also be digging through for something nice to wear for easter dinner!  But first the dreaded grocery store.  And I need more flowers - can there ever be enough?

But as always, lots going on in my head:

1) Leaving the mint to the drinks (alcholic and otherwise)

Many thanks for helping with me your advice on minty fresh fashion.  Sometimes, it is just a moment of needing something colourful to pep us up and then it is out of your system!  I think I went and put on a lilac sweater that day and it helped! I am still contemplating the spearmint cashmere sweater, but have decided to follow my new rules and stick to less trendy items...

But I have had a hankering to order some inexpensive casual clothes, so I have ordered some things to try on from J Crew and Banana Republic!  The latter are the easiest to try on as they cost nothing to return.  The former, sigh....

What goodies have I ordered?

From J Crew:

The Minnie Trouser in beechwood.  Know they fit, know I like them, know they are flattering.  Nice neutral for spring.

Minnie pant in stretch twill

The Sera silk top in dark cove:

Sera top

I love this colour and had been waiting for it to pop pack in my size.  I plan to wear it with my white jeans, blue jeans, the pants above, skirts.  The dealbreaker will be if the lining is poly, since i refuse to swish, swish, swish anymore. 

And in case, it does, work, I ordered a little summerwieght cardi in the same colour:

Featherweight cotton V-neck cardigan

And in a purely whimsical vein, I have pre-ordered the linen banana tank top for summer:

Pre-order linen banana botanical tank

For $37, it was worth it to try and I think it will be quite fun if it works.

I also gandered over to Banana Republic and here is what I have ordered to give a try:

Textured Peplum Top

The Textured Peplum top.  I wanted to try one on, and JC version are back-ordered to July (until next week when they may suddenly be available!).  Will let you know what I think when it gets here!

And for some reason, the heritage ikat skirt below just spoke to me:

Heritage Ikat Tulip Skirt

So. not sure what if any will actually stay with me besides the minnie trousers (I have given up on the cafe capris - I find them getting too baggy for my taste - I seem to do well with skinny trousers or very wide leg trousers, anything else just looks kind of odd on me I think), but will let you know when they finally arrive and I give them a whirl.  The banana tee is back ordered until May, but it is J Crew, so you never know.

2) and speaking of J Crew...

When I looked in the pre-order section, I was instantly attracted to the Collection Fringe Linen Skirt below:

Pre-order Collection fringed linen skirt
Oh it was expensive, $314 CDN, but it had that weird je ne sais quoi that I love so much.  SO I clicked to see what sizes were available still for pre-order, but here's the thing: the sizes only go up to 6.  While I think I could fit into a 6, I was shocked to see no sizes larger than this!  You cannot convince me that everyone from a size 8 up have already ordered this skirt.  Has anyone noticed J Crew doing this before?  Having a lookbook item in only small sizes seems quite rude to me, but am I being overly sensitive?

3) My new crush

I started watching The Voice with my daughter this week.  I prefer this show to American Idol - the format is more to my taste, plus I have a crush on Adam Levine and Blake Shelton and their bromance.  But then I met Usher.

Oh, I know - you all know him.  I know him.  But I don't think I had paid any attention to Usher until this past week, when I got to see him smile for 2 nights in a row.  Sigh... Yes, I have a crush.  Don't tell me bad stuff about him please.  There, I feel much better to have gotten this off my chest!

4) You know you live in a small place, when....

The second top story for the Maritime Provinces on Thursday night was about a wedding photographer from Prince Edward Island (PEI) who moved away to Alberta and took all the wedding photos with him.  The first was about a house fire.  This is a good place to live, and it is good to remind myself of that from time to time!

One of Canada's favourite comedy shows, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, did quite a nice spoof of this phenomenon, called "PEI Witness News", which is actually not only funny, but close to the truth of this place!

Have a wonderful day!  Am off to get ready for Easter!!!  Stay safe out there!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward

Given the holiness of this day for many of you, we will forego Miller Time Friday and instead have a more contemplative time, which whether or not you are religious, may be of interest to you.

Today marks the 400th Anniversary of John Donne's remarkable poem, Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward.  I first read this poem in 1981 at university and for whatever reason, I have taken out my trusty Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume I, and re-read the poem each year on Good Friday ever since.  You can tell it is pretty beat up.

Written in 1613 in a letter to his friend, the poem was never meant for publication and in fact was not published until 1633 after Donne's death.  It was a deeply personal poem to describe his feelings towards Christ, God and redemption through the imagery of the Resurrection. 

Donne has been grouped as a member of the metaphysical poets for literary purposes and his life's story is fascinating in the extreme, his work a mixture of the divine and the profane, often intermingled.

To have the opportunity to read this poem once more again on its 400th anniversary is very special to me.  I checked the internet to see what celebrations were happening (i.e. am I the only geek who is excited by this???).

Imagine my delight to see that Polesworth Abbey, located in North Warwickshire England, is having a weekend workshop to celebrate Donne and the poem.  The activities are described as follows:

The day includes a masterclass on Donne's poem, an overview of his whole work, and the chance to explore the Polesworth Poetry Trail and the chance to write your own lyric in response to so much inspiration.

Am I the only one desperate to get on a plane to see the Polesworth Poetry Trail, then take a good hike around the country, perhaps ending at a local pub (I hope I will find one open) to have a toast to John Donne and to this day?  My husband tells me that yes, I am the only one desperate to do this. 

The signifigance of Poleworth Abbey to the poem is that the recipient of Donne's letter, and the remarkable poem contained therein, was Sir Henry Goodere, then owner of Poleworth Hall, which now serves as the vicarage for Polesworth Abbey. 

While Polesworth Abbey is holding its workshop and celebration on April 2nd, the exact date of Good Friday in 1613, they will read the poem during their Good Friday Service this morning.  I have decided to stick with my own tradition and read it as well today, as well as some other works by Donne, in celebration of a remarkable gift to literature which was endured for 400 years.

And so in honour of John Donne and of this Good Friday, I will end with the poem itself.  I wish you all a lovely day and as always, stay safe out there..

Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward

By John Donne 1572–1631
Let mans Soule be a Spheare, and then, in this,
The intelligence that moves, devotion is,
And as the other Spheares, by being growne
Subject to forraigne motion, lose their owne,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a yeare their naturall forme obey:
Pleasure or businesse, so, our Soules admit
For their first mover, and are whirld by it.
Hence is't, that I am carryed towards the West
This day, when my Soules forme bends toward the East.
There I should see a Sunne, by rising set,
And by that setting endlesse day beget;
But that Christ on this Crosse, did rise and fall,
Sinne had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I'almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for mee.
Who sees Gods face, that is selfe life, must dye;
What a death were it then to see God dye?
It made his owne Lieutenant Nature shrinke,
It made his footstoole crack, and the Sunne winke.
Could I behold those hands which span the Poles,
And tune all spheares at once peirc'd with those holes?
Could I behold that endlesse height which is
Zenith to us, and our Antipodes,
Humbled below us? or that blood which is
The seat of all our Soules, if not of his,
Made durt of dust, or that flesh which was worne
By God, for his apparell, rag'd, and torne?
If on these things I durst not looke, durst I
Upon his miserable mother cast mine eye,
Who was Gods partner here, and furnish'd thus
Halfe of that Sacrifice, which ransom'd us?
Though these things, as I ride, be from mine eye,
They'are present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them; and thou look'st towards mee,
O Saviour, as thou hang'st upon the tree;
I turne my backe to thee, but to receive
Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave.
O thinke mee worth thine anger, punish mee,
Burne off my rusts, and my deformity,
Restore thine Image, so much, by thy grace,
That thou may'st know mee, and I'll turne my face.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Minty Fresh Fashion

Well it is Thursday and I seem to have a newly minted case of mint fever. 

Oh, you know that I have been all neutral lately, except for the other day when I was a lovely orchid blue shade.  and then three days ago, when I wore pink, top to bottom.

I should have known that was a sign...

And then yesterday it hit full force. 

It started with these pants:

Café capri in pinwheel eyelet

I had seen them in store n New York City.  Such a lovely pale shade of mint.  I could see them with ballet flats, my new Tory Burch shoes, my minty green Valentina slingbacks of 2012...  And then they went on sale and are now 30% of that...A navy top, a black top, a white top, pinks, etc, etc.

And then I thought about sweaters.  I had seen this featherweight cashmere sweater in NYC and actually tried it on.  It was a delightful, healthful shade, a paler, mintier version of the retro jade.

Collection featherweight cashmere cardigan

Oh dear, expensive.  So I headed over to the factory site.  Maybe there was a cheaper version?

Well there was: The Clare Cardigan, at a much more reasonable price:

Factory Clare cardigan

Not a bad version of the colour and  a $100  or so cheaper - but would I like it as much???  I think so.

And then, darn it, there was also a spearmint sequin tank top!

Factory sequin v-neck tank

And then I remembered that the wonderful A Bigger Closet made a lovely set with the pinwheel capris and I had to go see it here.

Sigh.  Yes, I know it is easter.  I know I have Spring fever.  But then I think how pretty these would be with the things I already have.  I think of my shoes, with lovely new friends.  I think of the sequin tank with jeans, both blue and white.  Ah dear...

How about you, are you steering towards mint, or shall we just have a Mojito, instead?

Happy Thursday and Stay Safe Out there!  Will keep you posted on what I decide!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Style Question Wednesday: Literary Fashion

Oh you know me - I drag you into the depths of my deep blue sea and once you are under, I give you a nice glass of champagne and send you bubbling back to the surface.

Today's style question is just such a bubbly elixir!

Oh, every style book I have EVER seen contains images of the famous iconic fashionista whom we revere:
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Jacqueline Onassis
  • Grace Kelly
  • Coco Chanel
  • Katherine Hepburn
  • Kate Moss
  • Patti Smith
  • Every french woman...
  • insert own icon...
But WE will not be boxed in with pictures.  Not us.  What I want to know is more cerebral and may take a moment to think about:

What literary character's fashion do you (or did you!) most identify with?  Can be from a new book or a classic - your choice!

Now given the title of this blog, you might think I would say Anne of Green Gables. 

But no, it would not be Anne, though I have come to acquire her red hair..

After much deliberation, it would have to be Jo March from Little Women.

Why? Because Jo March was a klutz about clothing, just like I am.  Do you remember the scene in chapter 3 where she and Meg are going to the party?

Describing her dress:

'I'm sure our pops look like silk, and they are nice enough for us.  Yours is as good as new, but I forgot the burn and the tear in mine.  Whatever shall I do?  The burn shows badly and I can't take any out."

And then her gloves:

"Mine are spoiled with leomonade, and I can't get any new ones, so I shall have to go without," said Jo, who never troubled herself much about dress.

Given the fact that I cannot see a bit of grease or dirt without attracting it to me, I have to say that Jo is indeed my literary fashionista!

How about you - what character's dress do you love or is emblematic of your style?  I would love to know!!!

Cannot wait to hear - have a wonderful Wednesday and stay safe out there!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

One is the Loneliest Number

Happy Tuesday!

Thank you so much for your meditations on meditation yesterday - they were great and I am always heartened to know that I am not the only person who struggles to "slow" it all down!

Another deep topic for today - loneliness.

I have been fortunate in my life - I think I have only suffered from loneliness once or twice in my life, both times were the result of moving to a new place - once when I was 14, the other time when I was 23 - and not knowing anyone for awhile.  If you are familiar with Myers-Briggs, my introvert-extrovert rating is even; that is, I feel comfortable doing public things, but I need to retire back home and re-charge my batteries.  I was the child who liked to go to slumber parties until about midnight, then I wanted to go home to my own bed.  My father was not impressed.  I have always had some good close friends and many acquaintances to call upon when required.

I have a close family member - not of my immediate family - who is suffering from loneliness.  When she married 12 years ago, she let her friendships all whither away.  Now she finds herself at home as a result of slowly losing her eyesight and needing rehabilitation (my gosh this does sound like a Bronte novel, doesn't it) and she is very lonely.  I have encouraged her to reconnect with her old friends and explore courses and online blogs, especially those geared at people in similar situations as she (she has the magnifiying tool for her monitor), but would love some other suggestions for her, if you have any.  She is working with the Canadian Institute for the Blind and they are being good to her, but what she really wants is to make some friends.  She is 53 years old and quite shy, but is feeling very sad that at 53 years of age she has no non-family friends.  I am sure you all have lots of good advice and I would love to be able give her some of your brainpower.  Have any of you gone through anything similiar and how did you cope?  If you feel able to share that would be so great!

This got me to thinking quite a bit about my own situation.  Since i have been off work, I have been home almost all of the time.  Most of that is self-imposed, but I can see how necessary it would be, should I choose to work from home permanently or for awhile, to have regular connections.  This blog and the other blogs I visit regularly are the real social parts of the workweek thus far.  I have ceased surfing the net unless it is for purposeful reasons and now just check on you all to see what you are up to. 

My husband is here quite a lot as he is working from home for his business, but he is out frequently at meetings.  Do those of you who work at home plan regular outings with friends or colleagues during the workweek?  I am by my nature a very social person, though I have relished the quiet tranquil pace of the last few months.  Now I am feeling restless to begin to see people during the week now and then, not only on the weekend.  Any suggestions as to how to do this without suddenly becoming overly social and not getting your work done?  Would love some advice?  I am also planning to add in some dedicated volunteer time to give back to the community if I do not go back to working 80 hours a week!

I don't want to end up like this:

Thanks so much for all your thoughts and comments - they are so appreciated!  Stay Safe out there!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Present tense only, please

First - a brief update on yesterday's shenanigans!

Abby, you lost a diamond earring at the restaurant and they would like you to pick it up before you check out.
GetFresh - Mumford and Son's enjoyed your impromtu getting up on stage to sing with them and have left their business cards for you.
I am still waiting for confirmation as to whether Tabitha has indeed decamped to Los Angeles with her own bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel, locked in with bourbon and food for a week and phone numbers of certain actors and musicians...And I suspect Nigel is with her.
The rumours of me hitting on Elvis Costello are viscious lies.  Or maybe half-truths? Dani and Lane - would appreciate if you would call Diana and send my apologies.
And Kathy, tell your mother she is a hoot!
Now wasn't it fun to get away????  We should do it more often! 

And Louise, I did try the blue eyeliner:

It was a light hand as you can only see the faintest trace of blue as my eyes are so deepset.  I think I could have gone further and they did sparkle more IRL!  Not like the gold i wore with the Hummingbird Dress last night, but they did sparkle!


Did I tell you I am trying to learn to meditate?

Well I am and it is not easy!

My journey towards meditation began on Christmas Day, when my children gave me the following book:

The Buddha Walks Into A Bar...: A Guide To Life For A New Generation

I am still making my way through the book (which you can get here) - and it is quite funny and really interesting.  It is described thusly:

This isn't your grandmother's book on meditation. It's about integrating that "spiritual practice" thing into a life that includes beer, sex, and a boss who doesn't understand you. It's about making a difference in yourself and making a difference in your world-whether you've got everything figured out yet or not. Lodro Rinzler is a bright and funny young teacher with a knack for showing how the Buddhist teachings can have a positive impact on every little nook and cranny of your life-whether you're interested in being a Buddhist or not.

Now here's the thing: you know you are working too hard and your engine is revving too hard when your children give you a book on meditation as a present.  There were many signposts on the road to me taking a few months off, and this has got to be in the top 5.

So I started taking baby steps.  I did not want to join a local meditation group at present for a few reasons related to privacy, but I will probably do so in the future.  In the interim, I got some "mail" a few weeks ago from Oprah Winfrey, inviting me to take a 21 day meditation challenge with her and Deepak Chopra, to learn to meditate.  I typically ignore these kinds of emails, because usually they invite me to go shopping and I am trying really hard not to do that these days!  But I was having a bit of a hard time getting going on the meditation and thought "why not, maybe this will kick start me!"

Indeed it is has and i am grateful that in this case I ignored my typical approach to deleting these spam-y emails (I decided to sort of a George Costanza thing - remember when he did everything the opposite of what he would normally do and became so successful?").  The 21 day challenge is really "meditation lite", but frankly for folks like me, whose minds are racing constantly, this has been the perfect way to dip my toes into the world of meditation and when the 21 days are over, I feel as though I have a launch pad now to begin more intensive meditation.  Even though we are into day 14, you can begin anytime during the 21 day period, so if any on of you are interested feel free to check it out here.

I have always avoided meditation in the past as my mind has always gone a mile a minute.  I didn't have time to be still.  I was the ultimate multi-tasker.  And I was the person who was constantly reviewing the past and worrying about the future.  Some of the most recent research about multi-tasking indicates that it can reduce our productivity by up to 40%, since we are causing our brains to constantly shift gears and we end up not really paying attention to anything.  The worst offender of this in the workplace is of course email, where people are checking their email constantly throughout the day, including during meetings.  I felt like I was getting the attention span of a gnat.  Am I the only one?  I don't think so - you can read this thoughtful article here for a more in-depth analysis of this phenomenon.

What I want to be is to fully present in my life and in each activity.  I don't mean this as navel-gazing in the extreme, but I want to notice the trees when I walk the dog, truly hear the conversations I am having, feel what I am feeling in the moment.  Prior to my break, I had felt a bit like an automaton; I was always rushing through things to get to the next thing.  And then I was surprised that I couldn't remember things I was doing! 

For me, meditation is hard.  There I am meditating away, doing my mantra and it is SOOOO hard to stay on track.  Suddenly I think about the need to vaccum behind the oven.  I think of some obscure movie I saw in the 1970s, I think about a conversation I need to have with someone.  I take a breath and continue on with the mantra, keep trying to stay on task.  I liken it in my mind to the scene in the "Wizard of Oz" when all of the images are popping in front of Dorothy when she is up in the Tornado.  So I am trying to close my eyes and not think about the witch or those guys going byy in the rowboat!

After two weeks, I am becoming more mindful  and more present.  I am trying very hard to be present, really present at whatever i am doing, whether it is walking the dog, cleaning the toilets or cooking supper.  Because I am more present, and paying more attention, I am doing a much better job at the things I am doing.  This mindfulness will accompany when I begin to work again.    I read a quote by Alexandra Stoddard over the weekend that really resonated with me:

"When we're mindful of what we love, where we most love to be, who we love to be with, how we enjoy spending our time, we have the key to living wisely."
Choosing Happiness

Right now, I have cheap grocery store bouquets of flowers all over my house: carnations, daffodils, tulips, daisies, and they are keeping me going until my own garden comes alive again.  And I am taking the time to look, really look at them and enjoy their beauty, however fleeting it might be.  Being present is hard - we all have worries and concerns and things we must attend to, but taking a break and clearing your mind of the clutter is as important as cleaning out the junk drawer in the kitchen.  (which is one of this week's tasks!)

Do you meditate?  How do you find your ways to "go placidly amidst the noise and haste"?

As a little gift to you all for coming by, here is a picture I took of my lovely tulip bouquet yesterday afternoon.  I would send one to all of you if I could!

The great thing is that the tulips can tell that Spring is coming soon - like me, they are straining to the light.  Have a great day, take time for yourselves and stay safe out there!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday - Spring Adventure with your hosts, WMM & Nigel

Okay, so it is snowing again.  Sure I could wallow in the terrible truth of a guest who has stayed on a little TOO long, but no, I am choosing today to cheer myself up with Spring. 

I am not the first to be penned in by a winter that has gone on forever.  For the ultimate "it is a FRIGGING long winter movie" that also happens to be a musical (and no comments about its inherent sexism - both against men and women) and which happends to be a favourite of all members of the chez WMM household, lets start with a little spring reverie from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  This movie has fabulous singing and dancing, including the immortal musical lament "A man can't sleep, when he sleeps with sheep..."  Of course, Spring finally arrives and the whole farm is alive with new babies and a lot of brothers and soon-to-be-brides running around giving each other moony eyes as they want to make babies too, but it is the 1950s and they need a preacher.  But this will get us in the mood for the rest of the post!

There, don't you feel all ready to embrace spring now?

What shall we do first?  Well it's first thing in the morning, and we need to do our makeup.  I suggest we head over to Louise's wonderful blog Ingredients and get our eyes done in a wee tiny bit of blue.  You don't think you would like blue?  Well, I think you can give it whirl and it is Sunday after all and who's going to see you anyway?  Oh wait, a lot of people, once you keep reading.  But dammit, it's spring, let's try it!

We are going to need to wear some colour folks, it is spring and the blacks and greys that I wore so fetchingly must be replaced today by something a little gentler.  I forgot to tell you (and actually forgot about it myself till yesterday as the weather has been so wretched) that I picked up the following v neck sweater at Banana Republic in NYC.  I had a 40% certificate, thanks to GetFresh (THANKS!) and paid $44 for it. 

Draped V-Neck Sweater

It is 52% silk, 35% poly and 13% cotton and it is very soft.  I think I will wear it with my khahi minnies and around the house, an old pair of hugo boss turquoise ballet flats.  I need to look spring-y where we are headed.  Will update with a picture later.  Do you think it is too much to have a little turquoise on my eyes with this sweater?  Wait - don't answer that, I am going to do it anyway!  Better that I don't know your thoughts and I will sally forth as if I have your full love and support!

Okay, I am dressed.  Let's go to lunch shall we?  There are a lot of us, so I suggest an outdoor cafe.  I checked the weatehr for Paris.  Only 3 degrees there this morning.  Then I thought so many of you are lovely Americans, so perhaps we would go somewhere warm AND local.  So there is a reservation for us all at the Shoreline Beach Cafe in Santa Barbara.  Now I've never been to Santa Barbara before, but the weather looks quite nice today and can't you see us all sitting outside together?  Waiter - more pinot grigio, please!  Bourbon for the Scot over there!

Now some of you will have winged in from far away, so I suggest you might want to go get a room somewhere.  I suggest, since time and money are no object to the likes of us this fine Spring Day, that we all hole up at the Montecito Inn, which appears to me to be just the kind of establishment for people like us.

Comfort is so important for these trips and we will need a spot with a spa AND a bar and nice accommodations:

Montecito Inn - Santa Barbara, California

I'm suggesting that since it is Sunday, we stop at the Santa Barbara Mission for some spiritual guidance before we head off for the wine tasting afternoon.  However, this is the perfect Spring Day, so really, feel free to do whatever you want to do!

Some of you may prefer to shop...Just make sure you have your platinum cards, darlings - you will need them!

I would suggest a gallery or two as well. Culture you know!

I suggest we all meet for dinner and if that is the case, I would also suggest dressing up a little.  I mean, my goodness, you are at one of the finest Inns in town and who knows who may pop in for Sunday dinner? Is that Oprah?  Oh sure Oprah, you and Stedman can join us, just don't hog all of the conversation....

I think I'll wear this little Alexander McQueen Hummingbird dress, that was a recent gift from Nigel, who has come into some sort of inheritance.  It is bad form to ask a chimpanzee where their money has come from, so I am keeping mum and just enjoying the fact that he wanted to fly us all to Santa Barbara!  You must go and take a proper look at this print, though I guess you will see it when we meet for drinks before sitting down to our sumptious dinner.

Alexander McQueen Printed cady dress

After dinner, we will be whisked away to the historic Arlington Theatre.

Arlington Theatre Marquee 100703

Oh you can check the schedule all you want - looks like there's nothing on tonight, right?  Well Nigel has been busy!  We will see a lovely little double-bill: Mumford and Sons, who will have us on our feet, and then Diana Krall, who will soothe us before we had back to our Inn, happy with our lovely spring day!

There - what a day we have had!  And you know what, while I was writing our itinerary down, the snow has slowed a bit and I can even see some brightness in the sky.  That's what a nice overnighter to Santa Barbara can do for you!

See you on the beach - and stay safe out there!!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Random Saturday Musings

This is a quiet weekend, Chez WMM - after a busy couple of weeks of entertaining and travelling, we are planning on burrowing into our little Hobbit Hole and relaxing and reading and watching a movie or two.  But of course, I do have some jumbly thoughts rumbling around in my head. 

1) Voyager 1 and 2 Leave the Solar System Forever
(and then we find out they are just out on the highway...)


This story reminds me of when my brother once threatened to run away from home, but it turns out no one would give him a drive to really do so.  The big story this week was that after 33 years, these spacecrafts had finally left our solar system.  Frankly, I was excited; it's not every day that humanity slips the ties that bind us to our sun.  In fact, this was the first day.  Only then it wasn't.  It turns out they are hanging about on the magentic highway, a special place right on the edge of our solar system and interstellar space, filled with highly charged particles.  Oh they'll leave for deeper space all right, they just haven't left yet.  I assume if the magnetic highway is anything like the highway on the way out of the small town that I lived in growing up, they could be there for awhile...Damn those intergalactic drinking holes - Voyager 1 and 2 probably stopped in for a bathroom break and a Tim Hortons run and are now finding themselves gambling and drinking cheap beer..

2) Talbots

Earlier this week, I did a mini review of things I have liked (or not) from various retailers' spring releases.  As you know from my earlier posts, this spring's releases have left me a little cold, due in part perhaps that I am unsure as to whether or not I need dressy outfits or no outfits or very casual outfits..Or it could just be one of those years..  We all have them!

However, the lovely Paula suggested that I go back and take a look at Talbots.  I must make a confession:  I had forgotten all about Talbots.  A few years ago, Talbots made a bold move and attempted to broaden their clientele with more streamlined and trendy cuts.  There were some very nice pieces, but it seemed they could satisfy no one: the streamlining wasn't streamlined enough and were accused of being matronly, the trendy cuts were accused of moving outside the typical Talbots customer's comfort zone.

However, the universe being what it is, within one hour of reading Paula's comments, my husband arrived home with the mail, which included a Talbots catalogue.  There were the regular suspects, but there were some nice pieces and I would be remiss not to point them out for those like me who are looking for simple cotton dresses.  They also have a 25% off sale going on right now.

The very simple fit and flare dress and it comes in many colours, including navy, which I would really like.  It is $149, less the 25%.

The Silk d0upioni dress is very similar in print to the Elie Tahari skirt I liked:

Silk Doupioni Watercolor-Floral Dress

For those who like critters, there is a charm bracelet:

Animal-Charm Stretch Bracelet

And a very pretty dragonfly scarf.  I love dragonflies - we have them all over our property in the summer.

Dragonfly Scarf

In general however, I think Talbots would be my go-to spot for finding a tasteful mother or grandmother of the bride dress.  I know that sounds worse than I mean it to sound!  There are some really lovely things, but I still do find the cuts a bit matronly.  But I know that there are many who like that looser fit, and even my beloved Ralph Lauren's Lauren label veers in that direction from time to time.  So I will not forget Talbots in the future, as that dress above in navy would be the perfect little dress for running errands this summer!

3) Someone else is 50 too...

I forgot during all of the shenanigans going on in my own life that someone else had a very big 50th this year as well! The Beatles released their first record, Please Please Me in 1963.  I am sure i was listening to that in my cradle!

The soundtrack of the first 50 years of my life would have the Beatles on it for sure and though there is the ongoing (and to me tedious) debate as to whether the Beatles or the Stones were the greatest band of the 1960s (I happen to love them both and refuse to be drawn into this - and I am talking to my son here!  Oh wait, he doesn't read my blog - good thing).  This album stands the test of time.  Everyone has a favourite Beatles song (or maybe not?) and I have a list as long as my arm but Get Back has a special place in my heart, as I remember listening to it on a 45 in my bedroom on our little yellow record player when I was 6 years old with my 8 year old sister.  I still giggle when I hear the line "JoJo was a man who thought he was a woman" because we NO idea what that meant at the time!  We played it over and over again and then flipped it over and played the B side, Don't Bring me Down, over and over again!  What Beatles songs do you love?

And I don't care what you say, this man is one of the sexiest men ever:  I would take him and the car!

 So those are my random musings of things I heard about this week.  How about you?  Anything exciting going on?  I have decided that next year, I am going to tag along with some of you on your warm winter vacations - the winters are too long!!!

Have a great Saturday!!!  Stay Safe Out There!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Miller Time Friday! Dodging Brooklyn and Storyteller Scarves

Yippee!  Friday once again!

My goodness!  Our weeks together pass quickly!  I am always amazed that it is Friday once again...

This Friday is dedicated to Brooklyn.

But I have a confession: I have never been to Brooklyn....Not that such minutiae bother me.

As some of you know, I am making my way through the David McCullough canon.  My enthusiasm for Mr. McCullough borders on creepy, and I will not be surprised should he or his kin take out some kind of restraining order on me.  I bore one and all with my familiar refrain of "last night, I read..." and you can insert your own section on artists of the 19th century who lives in Paris, Teddy Roosevelt or the Brooklyn Bridge. 


The latter has resulted in me being obsessed with civil engineering, which is odd, given my lack of higher mathematical skills.  Regardless, it is a riveting story, and if you are not up for the book (which Barry most decidedly was NOT), you can order the documentary by Ken Burns, which Barry has done.  It has not arrived yet, but I assume it will be good as it is, after all, Ken Burns. 


Get yours here.  Barry is head cheerleader of the camp of "why would I read the book when Ken Burns can tell me the whole story in 60 minutes?"  It is hard to argue such logic and so I have not.

But then Madewell came along with their storyteller scarves.  Last summer I bought the parisianne scarf, which I love:

Parisienne Storyteller Scarf
And then, thanks to Fabulour Florida Mommy, I happened to see that Madewell had a sale and its City Bridges Storyteller scarf was part of that sale.  And guess what is on the City Bridges scarf?  Yup - the Brooklyn Bridge.  So of course, I had to have it!  I am now reading the biography of Teddy Roosevelt.  Do you think Madewell will do a Teddy scarf?  Because if they do, well, I think I should have a piece of that, don't you think??

Here it is on the site, now sadly sold out, though this is Mickey Land and you know that popbacks are possible:
City Bridge Storyteller Scarf
And here it is in real life:

The other four corners are the Manhattan Bridge, the George Washington Bridge and the Willamsburg bridge.  it is 70% cotton and 30% silk and will be so nice this summer with white or navy or my new red dress:

When we were in NYC, Barry and I had planned to walk the Brooklyn Bridge.  However, we had not factored in bitter winter weather.  It was simply too cold.  So my date with destiny awaits another day.  However here in the Maritimes it is important to mark all occasions, real or imagined, with a drink.  As such, I have taken it upon myself to do research on the Brooklyn Cocktail, which though yet untasted by me, the ingredients of which shall be in my NB Liquor basket tomorrow afternoon.  If it is good to go, I will mix a batch and meet you all on Dani's newly winterized front porch, no doubt newly winterized as we were getting to be too many for poor Mr. BP, who on Friday nights must now not only bring home the bacon but fry it up in the pan as we are on the porch drinking with his wife

Brooklyn recipe

Stir well in a mixing glass filled with ice cubes. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and serve

So thank you, FFM for the heads up and thank you, internet for the drink recipe!  When you drink this, drink to the memory of the bridgebuilder Colonel Roebling and his Wife Emily, who became a civil engineering savant herself.   They will appreciate it!  They are probably STILL tired after all their work 100+ years later!

As an aside, Les Miserables is being released on DVD today (we can discuss this more tomorrow).  Only allow me two Brooklyn cocktails please, or I shall be singing "I dreamed a dream" at the top of my lungs and with great gusto and pathos on the porch. 

I hope you have the loveliest of Fridays!  Stay Safe out There!