Decorating · Holiday · Travel

It is beginning to look scary out there

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This may be my favorite time of year.  Trees are showing of their brilliance with red and gold as leave change and fall.  The are leaf piles for jumping in, corn mazes to explore and pumpkins patches to mine.  Let’s not omit the apple orchards with their bounty of delicious apples.  The air is crisp and cool causing me to reach for a coat before leaving the house.

I love walking around the town looking at the Halloween decorations.  Ghosts and pumpkins decorate the lawns and doors lending a festive, if not haunting, sense to the air in anticipation of the Feast of Samhain (if you are Irish and like the Celtic version of the holiday), or Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve as we more traditionally think of the celebration.  It is the festival marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter.

Munchkins, ghosts and goblins will grace my front door on Halloween for a treat.  I love seeing the children attired in their festive costumes.  After the last visitor had received his or her treat, it is time for movie night.  For me that is my annual viewing of Halloween followed by the Fog.  Capping a wonderful night and leading to the celebration of All Saint’s Day.

Last year I spent the holiday in Ljubljana, Slovenia.  I arrived on October 31 to see a Halloween celebration in a country far away.  What was more surprising was the celebration of All Saints Day in what was once a communist country.  A national holiday, everything was closed in celebration.  Huge flower bouquets decorated the cemeteries in respect of those who passed.

In anticipation of the season, I’m heading to the pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin or two for decoration and carving.  Then it is time to find my receptive for stew in anticipation of a hearty Halloween dinner to be eaten in between receipt of visitors.

Family · Travel

The detour taken

I am truly my father’s daughter.  I realized that today as I took an unplanned detour on the way home. It was so like my Dad.

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It was a frequent weekend occurrence to end up in our Ford Ltd. station wagon exploring some back road in North Carolina.  Dad always had a destination in mind. Sometimes he would share other times we would find out when we arrived at the destination.  We might end up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, or an old family graveyard, or a country store reputed to have the best sugar-cured ham around.  Barbecue was another favorite destination.  It was an adventure.  It broke the routine.  It took us to the new and different.

Life is so busy these days.  It seems like every minute is planned and then there is the pull, just take that exit, see what is around the bend in the road . . . .  My inner adventure voice whispers to me, see what is around the corner that you don’t anticipate!  Explore that destination you saw in Southern Living or heard about last weekend.

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So today as I made my way home, I took that exit.  I silenced my inner voice that was listing everything that waited for me at home.  For two years I’d heard about this wonderful nursery/market somewhere near Orange.  I decided to find it.  The detour took me through beautiful rolling hills around Charlottesville with exquisite views of the Blue Ridge mountains.  I eventually found my destination with a bit of help from my gps and Iphone.   All told, it was an hour out of my life and worth every second.  I found myself thinking about fun stuff and not my to do list.  I enjoyed the scenery colorful and beautiful with the changing leaves. I found a whole new town with amazing antique stores.  I will be back there to explore  another day.

I made it to my destination and found this wonderful space tagged as a Virginia treasure.  There I found inspiration for fall decorating with pumpkins and gourds as well as the most wonderful lunch restaurant.  I opted for cider since I was driving but there was a wine option as well.

I tapped into my father’s wanderlust and sense of adventure.  There was something so fun about the journey, the detour and even more satisfying that it was a journey taken.  It was a break and restoration.  I tapped into a different part of me that needed to wake up from the nap it was taking.  Somehow I feel like I’m better for my detour, that I rejuvenated a part of me.

Family · Home · Travel

The Quadruped

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Are you a cat or a dog person?  I’m a dog gal.  No offense intended to cat lovers but I’m violently allergic to the little darlings so dogs are for me!

My first pet was a gift for my fifth birthday.  He was supposed to arrive in November but finally arrived in January, in the middle of a snow storm.  He was appropriately named Snowball.  I cherished Snowball.  He was the perfect companion and, upon returning home after my first semester of college, I was devastated  to learn Snowball was gone to Doggie Heaven.

For the first time in my memory, we were dogless. Even my Dad’s hunting dogs had gone to that great Dove field in the sky.  Fast forward to my second year of law school, another birthday, and Dad arrived bearing this wonderful, wiggling gift of a black and tan dachshund.  It was love at first sight.  Tippy saw me through the remainder of law school, the bar exam, and my first years of practice.  He was my constant companion.

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My current quadruped is Kenan.  She is a beautiful, miniature dachshund of the English cream, long-haired variety.  She loves a good cuddle and believes herself to be three times her actual size.  In otherwords, she is a typical dachshund.  A constant companion, she possesses the tenacity of the breed and with surgical skill immediately removes any squeaker from a toy.  She is a toy hound and is frequently found with the carcass of what was once a stuffed toy in her mouth.

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Did I mention that she is a frequent traveling companion?  She is an excellent flyer.  Never a peep from her while on Delta.  She enjoys a ride in her stroller around the market in Charleston or a walk in White Point Gardens near the Battery.  Even better is a run down the beach or playing tag with the waves, an evening walk around the neighborhood, or a Sunday hike.   She is a blessing in every sense of the word.

 

As for me, what is better than the joy of being loved by such a wonderful quadruped!

 

Food · Travel

Destination Beverly Hills

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I’ve never been to Southern California, so when selecting a destination for a long weekend, I decided it was time to explore California.  This was going to be a quick trip, leave on Friday morning and return Sunday night but a get away for fall break.  I love iconic hotels so I explored my options on booking.com and through Amex’s travel concierge.  I ended up at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It seemed perfect for my brief trip.  Built in 1912 and famous as a hotel of the stars, it had all the qualities I wanted for this vacation. A great pool, spa, yoga, and options for retail therapy.  What more could a girl want?

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I arrived Friday afternoon and was immediately checked into a gorgeous room.  Since I was starved, I dropped my bags and headed to the iconic Polo Lounge for lunch.  So many delicious options from which to select.  I ended up with a French 75 cocktail and the McCarthy chopped salad.  Thoroughly satiated, and tired from getting up at 4:30 AM, I headed up to my beautiful room and my favorite feature, the lounge chair on the private balcony. I happily curled up on the lounge for a bit of sun and the remainder of the book I’d started.

 

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Yoga was one of the reasons I’d chosen the Beverly Hills Hotel. Amy Rose offers yoga classes in the garden on Saturday mornings.  You need a reservation so I’d called early and reserved my mat and blocks.  It was a wonderful class.  The morning was cool, perfect for a workout.  Amy was excellent.  If I lived close, I’d be there every Saturday morning.  Even better, the hotel supplied everything I needed in the line of equipment so no need to pack and carry anything.  After yoga, I headed to the spa for a massage.  Complete indulgence and a wonderful way to conclude the morning.  I rounded out my Saturday with a bit of retail therapy.  The hotel has courtesy cars that I was happy to use to drop me off on Rodeo Drive.  The weather was beautiful.  I strolled  in and out of boutique after boutique browsing.  I scored a birthday gift for my wonderful cousin and new sunnies for me!

I ended my day with a delicious dinner at the hotel.  This time lobster tagliatelli, a glass of red wine, and chocolate soufflé.  Delicious!

Sunday was another beautiful day but a bit on the cool and foggy side to start.  I opted for a bit of a sleep in, after all it was a mini vacay!  I’d marked Sunday as lounge by the pool day.  I arrived around 10:30AM and opted for the hot tub as it was still on the cool side.  It quickly warmed up and I enjoyed a morning and lunch by the pool before time came to check out and head to LAX.

The hotel was amazing.  Everyone there went out of their way to make my stay wonderful.  My only regret?  I needed another day.  I’d planned a tour of homes but ran out of time!

Fashion · Travel

Packing for a long weekend

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I’m off for a long weekend in sunny California and trying to pack.  This weekend is for relaxation and nothing more.  I’m planning to read, sit by a pool, enjoy yoga, walking and good food so my packing philosophy is KIS or keep it simple!

I’m taking a swimsuit, cover up, yoga pants and top for lounging and tennis shoes for walking.  I’ve packed flats, jeans, and a tee-shirt for optional retail therapy or a walking tour. For evening, I’ve got a knit dress and a tank dress depending upon how formal or casual I want to be. I’m throwing in a navy cardigan that will match everything I’m taking for the just in case it is cold concern.

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I’ve got suede mules with two-inch heels  for dress.  The heels are just the perfect height for casual or to step it up a notch for evening.  In line with my KIS strategy, I’ve gone with a blue theme to permit me to mix and match and save on shoes, one pair of flats and the mules, both navy and both match everything I’m taking.

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I decided on a navy Evelyne bag which will slip into my carry-on tote for the plane.  I’m adding my Ipad, kindle, and pouch with charger and cords to the tote. Last thing into my tote is my cosmetic bag.

I’m off for my long weekend!

 

Travel

The Carlyle Hotel (New York part 2)

 

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Last weekend I tried something different.  When I visit the City I usually crash in my BFF’s guest room.  I’m fortunate to have wonderful friends and the only thing better than a trip to New York City is a trip shared with great friends.  As luck might have it, my schedule was such that I was going to miss my friends so I elected to stay at the Carlyle.  While this was my first time staying at the hotel, I’ve visited the Carlyle or rather Cafe Carlyle and Bemelmans’ Bar for years – both are favorites!  I could not have made a better choice for a stay.

The location of the hotel was perfect for me.  It was a quick walk to the Met, the Frick, and Central Park from the hotel.  It is also across the street from Zitomer’s, a New York favorite.

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I arrived late Friday evening where I was greeted by the doorman who wisked my bags to my room while I was checked in by the wonderful staff.  My room was spacious, especially by New York hotel standards.  Since I’d come in on a late flight, I’d not had dinner and opted for room service.  I elected mac-n-cheese which arrived quickly and was delicious.  The bed was to die for and I immediately crashed after a long day.

The next morning I slept in  and then headed to dining room for breakfast which was  included in my package.  After eggs, fruit, bacon, and pastries, I headed to the Met to begin my day.  The buffet was extensive and tasty.  It was the perfect start to the morning.

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Everyone at the Carlyle was wonderful.  They did their absolute best at making my stay delightful.  The hotel itself is old New York from the elevators with the elevator boys to the doorman who is great with cabs, luggage, and directions.  I could not have picked a better place to stay.  I will be back!

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Fashion · Travel

New York City in 48 Hours

Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today, I want to be a part of it, New York, New York . . .  (Credit Frank Sinatra)

I’ve been in love with New York since my first visit with sorority sisters as a college freshman.  I’ve been fortunate to visit many cities and each has its own special je ne sais quoi but New York is definitely in its own class of city.  Museums, shopping, Central Park, Times Square, the theatre district, the architecture, eating, so much to enjoy and so little time.  So, what’s a girl to do, just how do you spend a weekend in the City?

The Met, as it is known by many, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is one of many museums available to frequent.  MOMA, The Frick, the Neue Galllery, and J.P. Morgan’s library are some of my favorites and a wonderful escape for when the weather is bad.

Madison Avenue, SOHO, and Fifth Avenue are home to designer and other boutiques.  If it can be bought, you would be hard pressed to not find it in the City.  Madison Avenue is my personal favorite.  I spent a wonderful birthday on the top floor of Tory Burch sipping Champagne  and purchasing new boots.  Claudia there is amazing.  Lexington Avenue also has a number of fun boutiques that are very New York.  Canine Styles is my favorite boutique for the quadraped and Gracious Homes is my go to store for linens.  I love their house brand sheets.

Central Park, so long as it is not freezing cold, is a must visit.  The boat pond, the Zoo, the Carousel , the Alice and Wonderland statute, John Lennon’s Imagine and, just simply, the existence of an oasis in the middle of the City means that it is not to be missed. Just take a walk, grab a sandwich, and simply enjoy the amazing green spaces in the middle of the metropolis.

So how do I spend 48 hours in the City?  First stop is a museum, usually the Met.  I pick one area of the Met to visit in a day.  You could spend days there and, as much as I love it, I find a couple of hours in one or two exhibits usually has me on sensory overload.  Next, I head to lunch.  The Met has several wonderful restaurants,  but Neil’s Coffee Shop on Lexington Avenue is an absolute favorite.  Forget the calories!  I go for a grilled cheese and fries and  enjoy.  If not Neil’s, then BG Restaurant  on the 7th floor is another favorite.  Their mac-n-cheese is another lunch favorite.  A bit of shopping has to be part of the visit.  I usually pick one of Madison Avenue, Lexington Avenue, Soho, or Fifth Avenue for a bit of retail therapy. The end of the day is perfect for dinner at any one of the City’s amazing restaurants. Cafe Carlyle, Bemelmans’ Bar, Cognac, Un Deux Trois, Deux Amis (yes, I have a thing for French restaurants), The Smiths, or Fig and Olive.  Finally, a Broadway play, or a concert, or simply an after dinner drink at the Peninsula Hotel or the St. Regis is an excellent way to end the day.

Day two usually begins with sleeping in a bit and then a Sunday brunch.  Balthazar’s on Spring Street, Esse-a-bagel, or Neil’s are all favorites.  The Botanical  Gardens are amazing and the Orchid show in February is always a treat.  Grand Central  is a fun stop and Sunday afternoons are great for the park or one of the museums.  Then, back to reality and time to return home so I head out to LaGuardia  or Penn Station for the trip back and a reunion with the pup.

So how did you spend your weekend?