Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why I Love The Killers, Reason #5712

Shortly after my son turned one, he started talking. He hasn't stopped since. It's been an eight year long monologue. He even talks in his sleep. The monologue has covered everything from snowboarding to cold fusion.

Last Friday, when we were driving up to the mountains, I put Sam's Town in the CD player. About half way into the first song, something seemed strange to me. Then I realized that my son had stopped talking. And he was quiet through the next song and the next song and the next song. Then he asked what CD was playing, and was quiet for a whole other song.

It's a pre-Easter miracle.

Brandon Flowers just keeps on giving.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Keystone, Peace









This is the view from the condo in Keystone. There's the requisite mountain stream. In the middle is the bunny hill and lift. It is quite beautiful in the summer too.





Sunday, March 28, 2010

Keystone Through the Years

For the past three years, we have been coming to the same condo in Keystone, Colorado. It’s lent to us by a friend, the one who embraces moose d├ęcor with a tenacious passion. (She once described herself to me as a home accessory whore. Agreed.)

Two years ago, while my family was out skiing and snowboarding, I was sitting at the condo dining room table churning out billable hours for the law firm – billable hours that the partner who I worked for would ultimately not bill. I sat at the table day after day, working and rewriting and revising and billing, hoping that everyone would stay on the mountain long enough for me to bill 8 hours (on a Sunday).

One year ago, right after the layoff, my husband held me on the condo couch while I broke down. Just a few weeks earlier, our very own mountain condo hadn’t been too far out of reach. Then it seemed like everything we were working for was now out of reach.

This year, I sat at the dining room table in the condo (It was cold – I am a perfect condition skier only) and crafted out my business plan for the franchise, watched the news channels, catnapped, made dinner, painted my toes, and waited eagerly for my family to come home to me from the mountain – generally, acting and feeling like a human being. And I was blissfully happy, feeling like me, feeling like a part of a family.

[P.S. I don’t even want a mountain condo. If we learned anything on the blog this month it is that I am quite fond of Baja.]

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weekend Treat, Clinique Lip Smoothie

As noted earlier, I am naturally luminescent (of Scottish decent - pale, with freckles). Accordingly, all of those things that the experts claim to be universally flattering do not work on me. Nars orgasm blush looks like hell on me.

I have been craving some bright summer lipstick, but its hard to find brights that don't look clownish on a naturally luminescent person.

I was at Macy's picking up some Clinique sun screen for our ski trip and it happened to be Bonus Time! When the lady said I only needed to spend 3 more dollars to get the Bonus, I spent another $17.50 on this lipgloss.

Well, I love it. The Mango-Thon Clinique Lip Smoothie is the perfect bright for the tanless. Also, it feels soothing too - which is a nice extra around this time of the year. As we all know, the right lipstick functions like a superhero's cape. I am wearing Mango-Thon lipgloss - if I felt like it, I could draft a lasting peace plan for the Middle East, balance the national budget and cook a delicous dinner that my entire family would love.

Despite the pale skin and freckles, I do not have red hair. You would think, but no. I do not know what color my hair really is. Sometimes I have ideas when I go into my stylist regarding my cut and color, however this is exactly what my stylist says: "I don't tell you how to practice law." I pay good money to be treated that way.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gluttony, With Moose

Because I have put in a full (well, almost full) two work days this week, it is time for another break and we are off to Keystone, Colorado, for a long weekend of skiing. Rather, the other members of my family who don't mind lugging around unruly sports equipment among hoards of other people with unruly sports equipment will be skiing. I will be lounging by the fire enjoying my coffee and/or wine depending on the hour and drafting my business plan for the franchise.

We rent a condo that has many moose. We once counted 14 decorative moose in the bedroom. There is a wanton disregard for the less is more concept with regard to moose in this condo.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Books in Baja

Things I read on vacation because, did I mention, there was NO T.V.:

The Politician, by Andrew Young. Holy Mother of God. Did you ever do anything that you were ashamed of? Make a mistake? Do you have regrets? Well, you will feel so much better about yourself after you read this book. No matter what you have done, you have not screwed up as badly or acted as despicably as the players in this book, including the author. I was dizzy and felt a little sucker-punched after reading this.

The Forever War, by Dexter Filkins. This is about the war in Iraq. Read this book. Dexter provides you with the real story that the mainstream news programs won't. Its not for the feint at heart, but it's real and it's insightful and I am still thinking about it days after I finished it. Best book I have read all year.

How Starbucks Saved My Life, by Michael Gates Gill. I cried through the final two chapters. This is about an ad executive who lost his big-time job and ended up working at Starbucks. The scene where he served his three kids coffee broke my heart. This resonated way too close to home - only I haven't found my Crystal yet. Even my husband, who unreasonably dislikes the Starbucks corporation, decided he liked them after this.* And, also, have you seen the CEO of Starbucks on CNN lately speaking about how they provided their hourly employees with health insurance long before health care reform? (As if I needed another reason to support Starbucks each morning.)

* Apparently, Starbucks put a store up on this famous street in Vienna, Austria. This offended my husband terribly because he felt it was an affront to Viennese culture. My husband is from South Carolina and doesn't drink coffee but speaks with great passion about the matter.

** There will be no Real Housewives of NYC Recap of week three. I was able to catch it On Demand today. It was so inane that I have nothing to say. (Oh my God what happened to me in Baja?!) (But the previews for week four look good.)

(Sorry Jen Lancaster re declaring The Forever War the best book I have read so far this year. Bright Lights, Big Ass is still near and very dear to my heart. Actually, your books about your lay off kind of remind me of How Starbucks Changed My Life, only Michael Gill Gates seems like he ended up being somewhat endearing. Perhaps you become warm and fuzzy in My Fair Lazy? Let's hope not! [P.S. I do not know Jen Lancaster personally.])

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rancho Pescadero Part 2

When the hostess showed us our room (after first suggesting that we stop at the bar for a margarita on the house - the hostess is my new best friend), I cried. That's right. It was so damn beautiful I cried. The room. The view. The decor.

You have to go to Rancho Pescadero at least once. If you go once, I know that you will want to go again. Ask for a second story room. The second story rooms have a great big outdoor room as well as an outdoor rooftop room, both with outdoor daybeds for siestas.

You can take your coffee that has been delivered to your doorstep in the morning by the little man who spreads joy throughout the land and go up to the roof to the daybed. There you can sip your coffee while watching the waves on one side of you and watching the little town of Pescadero wake up and come to life on the other side.

After I was done being in awe of the room and the view, I noticed that there was no t.v., no alarm clock and no phone. OH MY GOD WHAT WERE WE GOING TO DO? It worked out just fine - I read a lot of books and became totally relaxed. (People did seem to have luck getting a wifi connection, but we didn't even bring our computers.)

It was so lovely there that I contemplated sending for the kids and just living down there. There appeared to be no school, but they could sell fish tacos on the side of the road. Or better yet, we could sell the children on the side of the road and construct a beachfront property.

Now that this place has been written up in the LA Times, Sunset Magazine, and Decision on Margaritas (a trifecta of fine literature, to be sure), I predict it will be booked for the foreseeable future.

P.S. Sunset is a terrible name for a regional magazine. Oh, I get it, the sun sets in the West. But the title sounds like it could be a pamphlet for a retirement community. Although a large majority of those are called Sunrise, fooling nobody. Anyway, Sunset, terrible name - but great place to read about trips and hotels. Rancho Pescadero, for all its luxury, was even listed in the budget section!

P.P.S. Picture, again, from ranchopescadero.com. Our camera was in the lost and found at the airport.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rancho Pescadero Part 1

Part 1: The Man Who Spreads Joy Throughout the Land.

Our hotel was in Pescadero, Baja California Sur (Racho Pescadero, about 2 hours north of Los Cabos). Each room had three walls. You could create a fourth wall with the sliding panels and curtains, but none of the guests did.


By leaving the panels and curtains open, there was an unobstructed view down the gardens to the beach. The effect was like you were sleeping right on the beach, except in a super comfy bed. You could see and hear the giant waves right from bed. This had to have been a location for the filming of Endless Summer - I'll have to check.


But the best sound of all was the little cart going down the pathway in front of the rooms in the morning. It was the soft sweet jangle of a catering cart. The cart had baskets filled with a coffee carafe, milk and sugar. One basket was delivered to the steps of each room. This is brilliant!


I have been saying that Starbucks should deliver for years! But it was not until our trip to Pescadaro, in the middle of Baja California Sur, home to only a few serious surfers, some retired California people turning into retired hippies, and the people who sell fish tacos by the side of the road that I found this civilized practiced of coffee delivered to your doorstep every morning by a lovely man, a lovely man spreading joy throughout the land.

The picture is from ranchopescadero.com (We left our camera at the USAirways gate! Apparently it is with airport security.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Don't Hate Me Because I'm In Baja


This is the view from where I blog. It's one of my favorite spots in the world.
You can't tell very well but it's snowing in this picture. Which is why I am leaving you for Baja. I will see you next week and hopefully have some good pictures to share.
Oh note those stylish gray walls! I had always wanted a gray room and it is all that I hoped it would be.

Real Housewives of NYC Recap

In the second show, Ramona is still talking about Ramona's hair. This is not like when Linda Evangelista went short in the late 80s - get over it Ramona. On the first show, Ramona remarked that with her new hair she looked like Cameron Diaz. Alex must have overheard this and told her husband, Simon, because at a dinner party Simon tells Ramona that she looks like Cameron Diaz. Alex has a hard time keeping a straight face, but Simon executes this beautifully. This is why we love Simon.

Bethany's boyfriend must be easily confused because he tells Bethany that she is complicated. That weave is complicated. Otherwise, she seems about as complicated as sugar free bubbly water - if you think about it, its kind of strange that there are little bubbles in there, but its not really something you need to consider any further.

LuAnn lost her housekeeper to the Count during the divorce, but she tells us that the housekeeper still comes over because the two of them are confidants and tell each other everything. The housekeeper does not get a word in edgewise.

Kelly has a great big really important secret to tell a few select people at LuAnn's BBQ. LuAnn asks if it can wait until after dinner, but Kelly assures her that it cannot. LuAnn speculates to the camera that perhaps Kelly has been arrested again. Is someone ill? Has someone been arrested? Oh what is this supersecret really important message?! Finally, Kelly spills the beans - she is going to pose for Playboy. LuAnn, not to be outdone, runs and gets her modeling book.

Kelly only wants to share her super special secret with a few people and a million BravoTV watchers so she wonders out loud during the BBQ whether she or Jill should tell Jill's husband about the Playboy shoot. Kelly ends up telling Jill's husband, who then proceeds to tell Kelly that he has a collection of Playboy magazines. Kelly postulates to the camera that the thought of Jill's husband looking at her in that way is kind of creepy. I know that I concluded that Kelly was the mental giant in the the last update, but you have to wonder what she thought posing for Playboy was going to mean if not the fact that slimey old guys were going to ogle her.

The Early Bird Gets the Dollar Bills

I am a morning person. When I worked at the law firm, I would set my alarm so that I could bill an hour between 5a.m. and 6a.m. I still set my alarm an hour earlier than I need to just so I can have a peaceful hour in the morning to myself.

But I cannot understand, for the life of me, why the strip club between my house and and my office (and we live in the nice part of town!) needs to open at 7a.m. on Saint Patrick's Day. I mean, who says, "It's St. Patrick's Day. I need a steak and a stripper, and I do not want to wait until 8a.m."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Basil and Beenz, the Ultimate Party Favors

Here are pics from the festivities. My son invited three guests, and we only lost the one. (We eventually found him. But not until after his father showed up. I do not know whether it is more or less horrifying that the father of the lost kid was less worried than the other parents.)

I wish the cake was more visually "wow" considering all the excitement surrounding it - even Keegan felt that it was missing something. I can assure you, however, that it was the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted. The frosting is like the inside of a truffle. Mmmmm cake.

That's a Hexbug on the cake, a little robotic bug. My son's party theme was Hexbugs.

Now be very impressed - the personalized party favors. Every 9 year old wants to leave a birthday party with basil, right? Oh, and we also put a Hexbug nano (a mini robot bug) in each planter.
I had also purchased Tom's organic stawberry flavored kid's toothpaste as a prize for the party game, but my husband gave me such a hard time that I ended up running to Target to get a new prize - Beenz. These are large jumping bean-like toys that roll down ramps. It wasn't until after the party that I realized that each of the guests has a younger sibling and the beans are the perfect size to be a chocking hazard.
Clearly I should have stuck with the toothpaste and I should not start a new career as a child's party planner (or, really, ever have more than one child under my care at any given time.)

Monday, March 15, 2010

This and That

1. Thailand. My step-daughter has one more year until she is out of high-school and my son has one more year before middle school, so it seemed best to avoid pushing a move there this year.

2. The house. When I first got laid-off, we thought we could afford the house for another year, and that year is upon us. I guess we have sort of readjusted to make it work. We don't save like we used to. I still have moments where I want out of the burden and think that we should be being smarter about saving, and others where I feel like I don't want to tell my son that he is moving again (unless it was to Thailand because that is a whole different dumpling).

3. The job search. I am getting just plain tired of rejection letters. I know you can't take them personally, but not even the US magazine in the box can negate the fact that they are still a bummer to encounter time after time. Somebody may know somebody that has a partner that is looking for someone. It's hard to get excited about the opportunities anymore because they all seem so ephemeral, but you can't give up either. I just have to keep remembering that at my last job I was hired almost on the spot because I am one of the few people that knows (was willing to learn) this one particular area of the law. Somebody is going to want that skill again.

4. The franchise. We are at the stage now where we are inquiring about selling our mid-century modern rental property and looking at commercial real estate. I have an appointment tomorrow to go over my questions about the 186 page franchise disclosure document and agreement.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Weekend Treat - Liberty of London and MAC


Another fabulous thing about this Spring - Liberty of London is teaming up with Target and MAC.

When I was a young girl living in England, my mom and I would make shopping trips into London. We would stop at Harrods, then have lunch across the street at Richoux. There I would get the most fantastic grilled cheese sandwich followed by the most delicious chocolate milkshake. After lunch, we would go to Liberty. Ahhhh the smell of the fabric and the sight of all those beautiful prints - so girly, so British.

I still have my pink and black patterned jewelry case from there, and a hair barrette that my mom got me that last time she was in London. Liberty shopping trips remind me of my mom, and I couldn't be more excited for Liberty's arrival over here.

Now I can relive a Liberty treat this Spring and I know I'll feel my mom right there with me. How very beautiful! I love the teal of the MAC nail polish.

Friday, March 12, 2010

March 14 and March 18

My son was born on a Wednesday and my mom passed away that Sunday. You might wonder what you do when such events happen within the same week, and I suppose there would be as many different answers as there are people in the universe. For me, the sadness numbed the joy and there was just a great void - a vacuum, if you will.

Nine years later, though, there is immense joy on March 14, and a dreary deepness to March 18. And then comes Spring.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ke$ha

I do realize exactly how old this makes me sound, but where is Ke$ha's mother?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bringing Canada up to Speed


It has been brought to my attention that there are certain parts of Canada that do not get The Real Housewives of New York City until months after the original air date. Dear God. I am from Canada, but I never realized it was a third world country. As a public service to my fellow Canadians, I am providing a recap of the first installment of the new season . . .

Ramona has reinvented herself (got a haircut) and she wants to celebrate by gathering the housewives on a yacht for a trunk show of her new jewelry line, which looks kind of like ring-pops, but not as yummy. Because Ramona is a new person inside too, she extends an olive branch and invites Alex to the boat party, but not Bethany or Kelly (she's not that new inside).

[I like Alex because she too was laid off from her job for no good reason. She used to be a graphic designer for Victoria's Secret. I propose that letting Alex go was the biggest mistake in VS marketing history. If VS could have somehow worked Alex's job into the show, perhaps it wouldn't look so much like the Limited Too in there anymore.]

Ramona's friend LuAnn, the former countess, recently got a divorce from the count. She did not think it was funny that Ramona's husband, as a result of the recent circumstances, called her Countless. Actually, that is very funny. I told this to my husband who cares about the RHWONY about as much as he cares what colors our walls are. This made him laugh so hard that sangria almost came out of his nose. See, LuAnn, funny.

Bethany is doing a photo shoot for PETA in the nude. She emails her boyfriend with a naked picture from the shoot. Her boyfriend gets very angry about receiving the picture at work. He is very concerned about what HR would do if they saw the picture. Bethany, if your boyfriend is able to remember that there is an HR department at his office while looking at naked pictures of you, this is probably not the guy for you. Nevertheless, we find out later that she thinks this is the guy for her.

Kelly (the former model and sometimes current model [when she hires herself to model for her own pictures]) tries to explain to LuAnn that she would rather find mister right than mister right now. This confuses LuAnn very, very much. Kelly tries to explain but then gives up, realizing that she is, in fact, the mental giant of the bunch.

LuAnn and Bethany meet in the Hamptons for a drink. LuAnn (who must hold some kind of record for harboring grudges) wants to be clear about how they are going to pay for the drinks. LuAnn wants to know because, as LuAnn points out, it's not always clear that when Bethany invites people out, she doesn't intend to pay for everyone. To wit, Bethany once invited everybody to join her for surfing lessons but then said a snide remark when LuAnn walked away without paying the surfing instructor. LuAnn, honey, you are all class.

LuAnn writing a book about class and manners is like me writing a book on housekeeping.

Canada, you now have all the news that's fit to print, with bonus commentary.
Picture credit to New York Daily News.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Very Eloquent

1. I was talking at dinner about my cube (you think you get a lot of it here, imagine if you were my family). I was explaining that the darkness in the cube area was made much worse by the fact that the lady with the office across from my cube always keeps her blinds down and slanted to deflect out all light. If she is that light adverse, perhaps I could make her a deal on a cube . . .

Anyway, later that night, my son sent me an email and suggested that I forward it to the "light blocker lady". The email contained a picture of a steaming pile of poo covered in flies.

2. When I told my son that Keegan (from Food Network Challenge) was going to be able to make his birthday cake, his response was "Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! ad infinitum. Awwww. I love this kid.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pale is the New Tan

I've had a hard time liking Anna Kendrick, but mostly because I didn't like her character in Up in the Air. Her character in Up in the Air reminds me of many of the girls I knew in law school and as a new associate (See triacetate Ann Taylor suits and wound like a spring) before we realized we were all in it together.

But I must say, I am growing to love her. I love the lack of the spray tan on Oscar night. I no longer consider myself to be "fishy-belly white." Rather, I now consider myself to be Oscar night ready. Thank you Anna Kendrick. Accord, my new hero:

In other Oscar related news, I disagree completely with the girls over at Go Fug Yourself. I thought SJP looked amazing in her yellow Chanel number. (Although she does win the award for the worst spray tan of the night.) I thought the dress was a perfect modern take on 50's glamour.

Also, you should know, my husband and I are as cool as Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard. You would totally think that if you ever met us.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Weekend Treat - Margarita Accessory

I am so happy to have such a great entry for the return of Weekend Treat. Check out these pendants . . .

They are part of a drawing at The Life of a Suburban Princess http://thelifeofasuburbanprincess.com/ but hurry because the drawing is on Monday. If you don't win, they can be purchased at http://www.perfectlypreppy.com/.

Oh the tactile thick smooth surface. I imagine these would look very good with all the beachwear that I will be taking to Baja in two weeks. A perfect accessory to wear while drinking margaritas.

A Day in the Life of 1 in 180

Right before lunch, I got an email regarding one of the four jobs I applied for late last month. The email said that the firm received 180 applications, and then had the routine language about my experience being great but not what they were looking for. Contemplating those odds, and feeling just a little overwhelmed, I decided to go run it out at the gym.

Lately, I have been able to hit that running groove fairly quickly - that pace and that speed where I get the runner's high. I was in such a great zone leaving the gym, rejection email long since forgotten.

As soon as I got back to my desk and checked my email, I had another email from one of the other firms saying that my experience was great but not what they were looking for. So I did what any reasonable or crazy person would do, I am not sure which I am at this point - I laughed a little, started mainlining M and Ms, and got back to my data entry.

Later in the afternoon, I got yet another rejection email. I have a bottle of champagne that has been sitting at home in my fridge waiting for something to celebrate. I think receiving three job rejection emails in one day might even be better than the day I got two speeding tickets. I think a day like today requires champagne, that's all there is to it . . .

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Birthday Wish

My fantastic son, who asks for so very little considering that he is a kid, wants only one thing for his birthday - a cake made by this man:

Keegan Gerhart, host of Food Network Challenge, my son's favorite show. And because my favorite eight year old is about to turn into my favorite nine year old, it would make me very happy to be able to do this for him.

I called Keegan's shop and talked to Keegan's people, who are all very friendly. I imagine it would be very hard not to be feeling friendly surrounded by cake and all the other yummy things Keegan does. Anyway, tomorrow they will all meet to discuss some plans for the cake and to come up with a quote. Hmmmm. The last time I got a quote for something it was for the restoration/remodel of our mid-century modern rental home. I was less nervous about getting that quote.

I suspect however, that it will be well worth it. The first thing that my son asked me this morning upon waking was whether I has spoken to Keegan. He then told me that his heart was just pounding in anticipation of his cake. He is his mother's son. My heart has often pounded in anticipation of cake.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Betty Ford for Eyeliner Abuse

I spent some formative years in Texas. Accordingly, eyeliner is very important to me.

I am also a fan of Sea of Shoes, another blog by a Texas girl (although, technically, now I am a former Texas girl). Sea of shoes is absolutely beautiful and eccentric in the most wonderful way. In a recent post, she linked to another blog, Cupcakes and Cashmere, and although the author is not a Texas girl, I love that blog. It is my absolute favorite right now - I can't explain why even but it just makes me happy.

So Emily over at Cupcakes and Cashmere had a post where she explained how to do the dewy makeup look. http://cupcakesandcashmere.com/how-to-dewy-make-up/


For some reason I trust this Emily person and she doesn't seem at all preachy or pretentious even though she is beautiful and just won some big fashion blog award. I followed her instructions exactly for the dewy look even though it didn't involve eyeliner. And I loved it! At first, leaving the house, I felt a lot like what people must feel like their first day of rehab - lost, alone, jittery. I was out alone in the world without my eyeliner.

I look different. I can't tell if I look really good and I am just not used to seeing myself without eyeliner, or if I look like hell. But its a look, and I actually think I really do look better. And my blush stays on all day. Thank you Emily at Cupcakes and Cashmere! Blog love to you.