Friday, April 29, 2011

What I Love This Week- Peggy Sundays

Sorry for the late posting but I’m still groggy from all the royal watching!

I don’t generally pick something commercial for my favorite of the week but this week’s visit to Multnomah Village yielded so many treasures I’m going to make an exception. Specifically, I want to talk about a charming shop at the end of the street called Peggy Sundays. I love this place!

As I mentioned Monday was pretty blustery and unpleasant so my mood was not all it could be when I walked in. Meeting and talking with Peggy herself made everything seem brighter as she is so engaging and outgoing. She opened the shop 13 years ago after her children started school thinking it would give her something to do during the day. Now they’re finishing college and she still runs what is a charming shop chock full of home décor and gift items. I could not turn around without seeing something I wanted. Like this….

classic table lamp w/ striped silk lampshade- the colors are perfect neutrals

Or these…

LOVE these! So whimsical, would be perfect for the backyard

Or these…

so delicate and charming; I want to sip a very ladylike cocktail from them

Unfortunately, the budget does not allow for home purchases right now so I settled for a gift for my sister-in-law; some adorable stacking bracelets with little rhinestone stars on them.

For the rest of you, this is a store well worth visiting. Peggy is a great host- informative and nice but not hovering- and you are sure to find something you can’t live without.

Special Note: on the first Friday of every month all the shops in the Village stay open late and many have special prices. Peggy Sundays offers 20% off the majority of items in the store and even has little desserts for visitors!

Princess Catherine's Dress

It's 4:17am and I've made it through with nothing worse than too many potato chips and a Diet Snapple and am going to hang on for the balcony kiss. More importantly, here is the dress, which I absolutely love. Classic, simple, elegant, and she looks gorgeous. Very reminiscent of Grace Kelly's dress when she married the Prince of Monaco. The tiara was lovely as well- a gift to Queen Elizabeth when she was 18.

I must say, after 4 hours of viewing, no one does pageantry like the British.You can't help but get caught up in it. And yes, it is Catherine not Kate. Queen Catherine- it has a nice ring to it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Wedding- Game Plan

image from Loop Flowers

Because I believe in being a girl with a plan I’ve approached this event with much care. Starting on Monday I scanned the TV guide and judiciously chose for recording only those programs that looked interesting and not too schlocky. By this morning I realized we were going to run out of DVR space so have surrepetitiously deleted anything J recorded from the Military channel (it’s called priorities, people). Am pretty sure I can rely on his notoriously bad memory to pull this off plus I am allowing him to record 2 episodes of Dual Survivors tomorrow night (don’t ask).

The wedding itself will start at 3am PDT but BBC America has programming for the event starting at midnight and going until noon tomorrow. Given my newfound status as unemployed sloth this could seriously cut into my sleeping hours and adjustments have been made.

Here’s what I’ve got:

v Power nap 6-7pm tonight
v Dinner (one glass of wine only) 8:30-9:30pm tonight
v Event prep (snacks, beverages, pillows, blanket, remote, telephone organization) 9-11:59pm tonight
v Complete immersion (with intermittent phone calls to likeminded friends) 12-?am Friday

Let’s be honest, unless the BBC will be broadcasting the reception and after party I’ve seen enough weddings in my life. And who are we kidding, ladies? All I care about is the dress. Once I’ve seen it from 360° and checked out the flowers, bridesmaids, and interesting dignitaries’ outfits i.e. Victoria Beckham (who’s been quite camera shy while pregnant) I will most likely shut it down.

What will you be doing? And don’t be a cynical grouch- it’s something to be happy and silly about that will not happen again in the near future. We could all use a little of that in these trying times…

My Best Fit

In the spirit of my post on Pokeware (still hate the name) here is more great news in the world of fashion technology. More importantly, it’s available right now and Pokeware is still in the future (just as well, I have no cash for designer fashion).

Apparently, a woman with more gumption and technical know-how than myself has finally had enough of the recent vagaries of clothing sizing and created a wonderful little gizmo that will soon be parked in malls across the country. It’s called My Best Fit and it is going to return us to the days of shopping fun instead of frustration.

Case in point: I have been a size 8 at both Ann Taylor and Talbot’s since the late 80s (yes, they did exist back then). It was one of the reasons they were my go-to stores because I could go-to them, grab an 8 of anything I liked and try it on and buy it. Or not try it on and buy it. Or shop with them online knowing that whatever I bought would fit. Do you remember those glory days? Now I stagger into the dressing room of my favorite stores with the same item in 3 sizes because I could be a 6, an 8, or a 10. Any higher and it’s not something I really liked anyway. And shopping online for clothes? No. Not unless they have free return shipping because even if I know the manufacturer I no longer have any idea how they size their clothes.

The chart below shows it not us it’s them- clothing manufacturers no maintain any pretense of standard sizing. Sometimes, it’s nice because they’ve moved to “vanity” sizing which means I can wear a 2 (which I haven’t been since the 9th grade) but that pleasure is short lived when you try on something at another store and you’re two sizes larger than you’ve ever been. It is one more thing about fashion that really needs to change.

Now when you go to the mall, you can step into this kiosk (remaining fully clothed), it will run a body scan and give you a printout of women’s stores in that mall and what sizes you wear in their clothes. How crazy cool is that?!

If you want to learn more here is an interesting article from the New York Times.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Monday Adventure- Multnomah Village

I have to begin with an apology: Multnomah Village, I’m sorry! I have driven through your streets on my way to or from other destinations and never stopped despite thinking ‘could be interesting’. Who knew you had so many cute, fun, and interesting shops?! Again, I’m sorry and I will make it up to you by coming back and spending money I should not spend!

It was what I’ve sadly come to realize is a typical Portland day- overcast, light rain (just enough to undo whatever style you’ve given your hair), and a bit windy (also great for the hair). My mood was not the best and I was close to abandoning this foray but I soldiered on and ducked into The Jealous Gardener.


And just like that my mood shifted. Everything around me was light, fresh, and charming; a welcome relief from the grayness outside.

They have a wonderful selection of topiaries, wreaths, garden pottery, and gift items as well other gardening items. Additionally, they do floral arrangements so you could take of Mother's Day right now!

I picked up a new pair of gloves with a special foam nitrile coating on the palms and fingers that keeps stickers and thorns at bay. Exactly what I needed after my painful encounter with a stinging nettle plant and very reasonably priced at $8.50 (Weeders gloves). Before I left the woman who helped me (Jeanine) told me of a cute clothing store I should try which I had completely missed so I headed off to…

Switch. What a great store! To find a combination of fun and whimsy in both the merchandise and the people working there is unusual indeed. Everyone was so relaxed and happy as well as knowledgeable- a great vibe when you’re shopping. The selection of both clothes and shoes fits into that hip but not trendy category- so covers a variety of women, which is no small feat. Plus they have an entire sale room upstairs with all kinds of great stuff.

They do have an online catalog for the shoes if you want to check it out but I recommend going to the store. It’s too much fun to miss.

Love these denim looking leather shoes. Funky but comfortable

Unique leather accessories. I'm pretty sure I'll be buying one of the sweet wallets with flowers on the outside

I wanted some pink earrings for casual wear and voila! Super cute

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Unemployment Diaries- Sunday Night

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get some kind of weird agita on Sunday nights. Even if you love your job (or hate your job but have uber-compartmentalization abilities) there are few who do not experience that creeping feeling of unease. It usually starts after dinner and will manifest itself in any of a number of ways. You have those who will bring out the laptop and start checking email, work on a Powerpoint presentation, or get ‘a few things ready for Monday morning’. You know- “getting a jump on the week”. Then there are those who are pretty sure that the weirdness will abate if they just have another drink, a little more dessert…any form of denial. Most of us muddle through somewhere in between, right up until bedtime. Then the fun begins. Either you can’t fall asleep because the list making has begun in your head (and the ‘list’ being what-am-I-going-to-wear-tomorrow is completely legit) or you do fall asleep only to awake several hours later to stew (2am seems to be a magical time for this sort of thing) and fall back asleep at 5am.

My point to all this aside from making you feel jumpy and depressed? I STILL have this every Sunday night! I’ve been out of the workplace for months and while I often don’t know what day it is or if it is the weekend every Sunday night some primal switch flips in my brain causing me to go into affirmation overdrive (or a klonopin countdown) in an effort to fall asleep. Reminding myself that I don’t have to go to work only makes me feel worse (voice in brain begins screaming LOSER). It’s vicious and seems inexcusably rude that this condition should continue when the cause is removed.

Anyone else out there get the Sunday night willies? If so, what is your remedy?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Crazy Daffodil House

Every neighborhood has one- the creepy rundown house with no visible tenants, an overgrown yard, and cars on blocks in what used to be the driveway. In short, a place that could be either a meth lab or something out of a horror film. The fact that it looks eerily similar to the house in the Amityville Horror movie (look it up) means I’m obsessed- to the great confusion of my husband.

J: Why do you stare at it every time we go by? Why do we always have to go this way to the grocery store?
Me: I bet there are people locked in the basement. Why is that industrial strength light always on over the garage but the house is dark? How is it we have never seen anyone on the premises in two years?
J: Sigh. You need a hobby.

Then spring arrives and for one month despite the sheets hanging at the windows and the dangerous amount of moss weighing down the roof it is a house that makes you smile. At some point in the past someone took the time, care, and effort to plant these cheerful flowers. Someone cared how their house looked. That alone can send me off into another line of imaginings but ultimately, after the flowers are gone, I’ll be creeped out again.

Friday, April 22, 2011

What I Love This Week

I am one of those most fortunate of women- when it comes to food I married well. My husband finds cooking relaxing and enjoyable- two things I can’t always say about it. However, I find eating relaxing and enjoyable so it works out.

Shortly after we were married he suggested having macaroni and cheese with dinner and when I asked, “Oh, do we have some Kraft macaroni and cheese mix?” the look on his face was more appalled than if I had suggested puppy kebabs as the entrée. He could not believe I ate boxed mac and cheese as an adult (seriously, who doesn’t?) and went on to lecture me that the macaroni was the only natural ingredient in the entire mess. Thus began my love affair with the rich creamy warming deliciousness that is J’s mac and cheese.

It is a little misleading to call this my love of the week because it is a dish  I could eat every day. Sometimes, I crave it. I can also eat a stupid amount of it and I do not share. J gets a portion the night he makes it but ¾ of the pan is mine. He accepts this in the same way I accept he needs a car, a truck, and a motorcycle.

I’m not being my usual stingy self in not sharing the recipe- there really isn’t one. He is one of those ‘taste’ chefs who only uses as a recipe as a jumping off point. It starts with a béchamel sauce but from there it varies each time with 3 or 4 cheeses, whole milk, and a dash of cayenne pepper- a wonderful addition that gives it a little kick without overwhelming the cheese. Then its panko bread crumbs on top and into the oven.

I could have included a photo of a portion on a plate but that would have required too much restraint on my part (despite the fact that we even had guests!). YUM!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Project Runway

Here’s why I wish Project Runway was still on Bravo: because they are a franchising juggernaut. They take one concept and work the hell out of it- successfully! They started with one Real Housewives and now have six (thankfully, they wisely cancelled D.C.) and one Top Chef which morphed into Masters, All-Stars, and any number of additional reunion type challenge shows. Are you getting my drift yet? Think what they could do with Project Runway!

Lifetime is not known for innovation or original programming (unless you count putting 10 horribly unattractive, trashy, foul mouthed girls into one house for a month to see what happens) so I’m trying to help here. Why not a Project Runway All-Stars competition? Or a Project Runway season vs. season competition? The permutations are almost endless and the contestant pool vast as every season had talent and personality.

So there you go, Lifetime, my gift to you. Get off your asses and give us more Project Runway!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Adventure- Tulip Festival

Sunshine today so I headed south to Woodburn for the tulip festival. It’s not accurate to call it an adventure this week- it was more of a respite. With 40 acres open to the public and all of them overflowing with an explosion of color it became a walking meditation. Despite the crowds there is so much space that you can find pockets of silence. I let my mind become quiet (a hell of a lot harder than it sounds, for me) and then released out into the universe some of the questions and fears that have been plaguing me for the last several weeks. At one point I stopped and stood very still with my eyes closed. It was so peaceful that while there were no answers forthcoming I felt calmer and more accepting than I have in some time.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Make-up Must Haves

I’ve never cared for what I call the ‘desert island’ challenge. As in ‘if you were stuck on a desert island what one book would you bring?’ What kind of craziness is that? Who can choose just one book? Even if you up the ante to 5 books I’d sink with the ship’s library trying to decide.

So ‘one’ anything is not realistic but how about 3? With most of my days spent in sweatpants in the house I’ve actually started missing make-up and have been reviewing my make-up drawer to figure out what I love and need and what I do not (copper glitter powder- which was totally hot when I was hanging out at Club Rio).

Here are my daily go to items:

Anastasia Brow Whiz in Brunette

5 years ago if you had told me I would need to fill in my brows I would have fallen over laughing. I cursed my thick dark brows right up until Brooke Shields showed up and then I used her as an excuse to stop plucking. Why then do I now have a gap in one brow and the other ends a bit short? Who knows but this pencil and brush are the best solution I’ve found- after much trial and error.

  Nars Multiples in Orgasm

Easy to use and blends so smoothly you can absolutely wear it without any other make-up and as has been joked about ad nauseum- it gives you a healthy glow just like…

p.s. the Riveria color is my other favorite- a great soft pink

Neutrogena MouistureShine Gloss in Healthy Blush

Not so high end as the other two but my first choice was cherry Chapstick which goes with me everywhere. Anyway, this is a good inexpensive gloss, lightly tinted, that doesn’t make a mess. Another basic that can be worn without any other make-up.
What are the 3 make-up items you could not do without?

Friday, April 15, 2011

What I Love This Week

I know, it’s another flower photo showing up in my blog. It’s verging on tiresome but the arrival of spring in Portland is beginning to make Mother Nature seem like a sadist. Yesterday we had hail and I’m still wearing gloves and a wool coat whenever I go out. The result is that the flowers and flowering trees have been very tentative and spotty- not the usual onslaught of petals and gorgeous scent.

So when my sweet delicate narcissus finally managed to open it had to be my favorite thing of the week. Like old fashioned ladies their gently nodding heads bob goodbye when I leave the house and welcome me back when I return. And that is a happy thing indeed.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


First of all, the name. What is the electronic obsession with being poked? And how many of us want to be poked? I’m not sure the people who came up with this as a verb even really get what it means- unless they’re a bunch of nasty minded 12 year old boys. Seriously, people you need to rethink that. It’s not sexy or fun.

The name aside, Pokeware is a tool that falls under the new hotspotting technology which is the ability to embed data in an online application.  So, you’re watching a video or movie on your computer and you can roll your cursor over the actors and see what they are wearing and, potentially, the price and where it is available in your area. This would apply to music videos, commercials, and even at some point, movies. Here’s an article that can explain it better than I can. I don’t need to understand how it works I just want to use it!

If they can do retrograde updates to old movies or TV shows than my 401K is toast and I’ll be the proud owner of 90% of what I saw in The Devil Wears Prada and Ugly Betty.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Portland Food- Bijou Cafe

I could put a lot of words here but why bother? You're just staring at the picture- as you should.

Here's all you need to know: Bijou Cafe, grilled cinnamon bread.

I got to have it and you didn't (sorry but I can be a little petty in victory). Beyond that it is just noise.

p.s. if you really need more here is my Yelp review.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Adventure- sort of

Big weekend with two events that I’m counting as my Monday Adventure, namely because I’m still so tired from all the walking around I can’t imagine going out to explore. Sorry, it’s one of the side effects of MS- a kind of tired that means even though you’re still standing you literally cannot take another step. Not complaining though because we had a lot of fun!

The 2011 MS Walk- Portland

I’ve done this event every year since my diagnosis. One, it’s important to me to raise awareness of the disease and two, it is woefully under-funded due to the fact that it is not a disease tracked by the CDC  or NIH(don’t ask me why not- I get agitated just thinking about it). This year I raised over $3K thanks to the amazing generosity of friends and family. Plus our dear friends Mark and Michael were able to join us so it was a chat-athon from the word go. Love you guys!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fashion Reality TV

These are hard days for anyone dedicated to fashion reality TV. Since moving to Lifetime Project Runway’s schedule is hit or miss and, in fact, I’ve seen that they’ll only begin casting the new season on April 15th- with no show time in sight. Aaarggghhhh!

That’s why I was so pleased to see Sundance stepping up to the fashion plate with their new series All on the Line (Tuesdays at 10pm EST). Every week Joe Zee (creative director, Elle magazine) works with a different new designer who is on the verge of losing their business (or cannot even get it started). It’s like Project Runway- the next step.

I watched the first episode and can say that my Project Runway cravings have been greatly eased (there is NO replacement for Tim Gunn). Joe doesn’t pull any punches, which always makes for good TV. I mean, how would you feel if someone that influential looked at a dress you made and said, “Nice if I were going to the prom with Justin Bieber.” Ouch! And yet, it’s not just bitchiness, these people need to hear it.

The only really bad news (and it’s not really news) to come out of this is I had to hear for myself that a size 8 is considered plus size for designers. I know, I shouldn’t support anything that messes with women the way the fashion industry does but I love all the pretty stuff!

Anyway, you’re welcome.

Friday, April 8, 2011

What I Love This Week- Vintage Purses

My love this week comes from my visit to the Pittock Mansion. Yes, it has amazing furnishings and you can feel like you’ve gone back in time moving through its quiet rooms BUT the real reason I went? They are having a vintage beaded purse exhibit and I knew I needed to have a look.

There were about 50 purses spanning the early 1900s. I especially loved the fringed flapper purses. Reminded me that I have one from my grandmother and ought to look into donating it for a collection like this as it’s too fragile to be used anymore and is simply sitting in a box upstairs.

Settle in with a cup of tea or something more sophisticated and cocktail-y and enjoy!

I like the coppery gold shimmer of this purse and the fact that it is balanced by a very simple shape and design.

Absolute classic! I could see using a purse like this today. I especially like the inlaid mother of pearl at the top.

This bright blue was quite common- almost a counterpoint to the darker navy of the evening wear.

This one seems so shy and ladylike with its soft rose ribbons

One of my favorites- a great mix of funky and goth with the multi colored iridescent beads and heavy metal chain. The detail at the top is amazing!

Sorry for the color quality on some of the shots- no flash allowed and while I get it from a preservationist’s viewpoint it made getting good photos a bit more difficult.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Lure of Oprah

Yes, she makes me tired. And yes, she adds to my feelings of inadequacy as she is working her way towards world domination and I am working my way towards 25% body fat. Why then am I compelled to buy her magazine? There are two mitigating factors (excuses): it’s at CostCo for 30% off (I love a bargain!) and I need something to read while I eat my $1.50 hotdog (don’t start with that). Still, there is a rack filled with magazine options and I fall for her every time. Somehow I believe what she’s selling; that despite my inherent laziness and confusion whatever I read in the pages of her magazine will have the profound ability to change my very nature. That after reading the articles my goals and actions will coalesce and I too will be on the path of fulfilling my greatest good. Or at least to making piles of money.

Or maybe that’s not the way this plays out. Maybe Oprah is not invincible. I just went to her much vaunted new TV station and as far as I can tell it is all recycled content. Not new or innovative but the same old Dr. Phil/Oprah show re-runs.

Is it possible? Has she finally hit the handcrafted-sustainably- harvested-Hawaiian-teak wall? It’s called the dark side, Oprah, and it’s filled with all of us who are working for a paycheck, thinking about losing weight but eating at McDonalds, using our journal to write the grocery list (which is carb loaded), and neglecting our vision boards to watch really bad reality TV. Come on over….you know you want to.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Monday Adventure- Pittock Mansion

Yesterday I traveled up into the west hills to visit the beautiful Pittock Mansion, former home of Georgiana and Henry Pittock (publisher of The Oregonian newspaper). It’s a lovely 22 room estate built in 1914 on 46 acres; so high in the hills that despite all the later development in Portland it still has unobstructed views of the city all the way to the Williamette River.

Unfortunately, the weather has remained stuck in rain mode so I didn't walk the grounds but did get lots of wonderful photos that showcase both the house and it's eclectic furninshings. Enjoy!

the grand staircase to the second floor

gorgeous inlaid table from the games room (seriously, they have a room for everything- smoking, writing, sewing...)

the formal living room- even on a rainy day a beautiful light filled room

Fabulous fabric on this settee

the bright blue enamel and intricate gold detail on this clock pick up the blue detail in the chair's fabric

A bit over the top but who doesn't love some bling in an otherwsie restrained room?

Love this! Hand painted glass w/ exquisite detail and color

Handmade imported tiles- pattern so intricate a blueprint was created before they were set in the kitchen floor

Kitchen seems small for all the entertaining that was done but each room was separate- this is the pantry and then there was the cold storage room and the butler's pantry

One of my favorite rooms- a sleeping porch for summer nights or just lounging and reading in the afternoons. Beautiful view of the woods and beyond that Portland.

Because lounging and reading is thirsty work (and cream puffs are always appropriate)

Henry's solid silver and carved ivory handle Masonic sword

Ladies evening dress of midnight velvet with gold embroidery detail on coat and lace and gold embroidered bodice with velvet skirt
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