A Little Bit of Cozy to Go

December 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ack. How did it get to be the end of our week of Disconnection? It always goes too fast, but I did enjoy the time away. Thankfully, there are still a couple of days to go.

And then we are At It again. Since we are all going to be back in the swing of things soon enough, may I remind everyone of a few things I always remind myself of, especially when I am getting the Sunday Blues or Equivalent:

1) It is never as good or as bad as you think it is going to be. (So worrying is rather pointless.*)

2) It is never what you think it is going to be. (But it is always something. Just go with it.*)

3) It does not take a lot of time to have a little fun. (So be sure that you have some!)

Onward to a wonderful 2012!


* These are most definitely Development Areas for me.

(Photos of A-Dog by the fire and O-Dog by the cashmere: Some Cozy Night)

For Whom the Fed-Ex Man Tolls…

December 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Two items arrived for me yesterday, arguably in preparation for the New Year. I am not really all that into resolutions, since they never stick. But I thought some new sneaks would get more use if I had a new swimsuit to get myself into:

And an impending trip to Warmer Climes requires that I get into those sneaks stat. But first, I think I’ll finish the last few pages of my book, then I’ll need to tidy up a bit, and then I have lunch with friends…but after that, yes, fitness.


(Photo: Some Cozy Night)

Retro Leftovers

December 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

I decided to go super-traditional this year with Christmas and made a giant turkey. Mr. H was kind enough to brine it without our usual giant brining bin, and even upped the ante by roasting the bird himself. (I suppose that means that I did not make a turkey on Christmas, then, does it? Well, at least I planned the menu.) I am happy to report that it came out beautifully, but since we could not pawn all the leftover meat on to our relatives, we had a little situation. One that not only included leftover turkey, but also a sizable bag of fresh mushrooms that my Mother brought over because…well…I guess it was because she had them and was leaving for Florida the next day.

Those leftovers felt like a time bomb in my refrigerator. I had to do something with them quickly and preferably something that was not disgusting. I was thinking a pot pie could be the answer, but the mushrooms seemed out of place. Thankfully, my old Joy of Cooking had a better idea: Turkey Ala King. Yes, that stew-like dish from, I think, the fifties. I had never made it before since I do not live in the fifties, but the main ingredients were turkey and mushrooms, so I dove in…


While not exactly photogenic, it was extremely delicious. And although I tend to prepare fare that is more of this century, I do have a thing for vintage cookbooks…


I love their covers and the wonderful illustrations that can often be found in them. Most of mine are back in the city, but I have a few here that make great reading:  MFK Fisher is a must for any foodie, and a personal favorite of mine,  Liberace Cooks!* , is a treasure for anyone who appreciates the absurd.



* I came to know of this cookbook while searching online for others for my collection. (Alibris and Abe’s Books are good sources.) I know the sixties and seventies were a different time, but how could any publisher think a Liberace cookbook would be a great bit of cross marketing? I just don’t know. I mean, does Cher have a cookbook? (Don’t answer that.) Anyway, Mr. H made sure I got a copy for Christmas last year. Like I said, he gets me.


(Photos: Some Cozy Night. And I am saving my Liberace Cooks! photos for when I can post about the bio-pic of Mr. Showmanship,  starring Michael Douglas. Yes, this is really happening. Yay.)

You Know What Would Be Great Right Now?

December 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

If Season 2 of Downton Abbey was on the air — all episodes, of course. Mr. H has caught my Holiday Cold from last week (I give excellent gifts, no?) and the weather is kind of cloudy and cold.  So this would be the perfect day for settling in with The Earl, Cora, Lady Mary, those big yellow dogs, professional Meanies O’Brian, Edith and Thomas and the rest of the gang. I guess I will just have to wait until January, but if you haven’t see the show, there is still time to catch up! Episodes can be viewed at the link below or purchased online on iTunes.




What’s a “weekend“?



Are We There Yet?

December 24, 2011 § Leave a comment



Not quite, since there is Christmas Dinner to prep and terriers to bathe, but yes, I can already feel the quiet settling in — and it feels good.

Wishing you all a restful holiday and a moment to count your blessings and be glad.



(Photo of my Drunken Squirrel Ornament: Some Cozy Night)

Getting Cozy

December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

If you have been with me since the beginning, you may recall that last year I started this project while on my break between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Mr. H and I close our company for the week so that we can disconnect as much as this highly connected world allows. And generally, we spend that time by the beach.

Since swimming and sunbathing are not options this time of year — New York is weather challenged — prior to Disconnection it is essential to make sure that we have everything on hand for a proper time of indoor rest and relaxation. The focus of my efforts is on two things very dear to my heart: Eating and Being Entertained


Ensuring the proper complement of goodies to enjoy while resting requires both planning and cheating. Under “Planning” we have a stop at my favorite cheese shop in town and its equivalent by the beach (I never remember everything). New Year’s Eve nibbles are on order for delivery next week, and I am slowly working myself out of my Holiday Cold Haze to purchase the other ingredients needed for dinner on Christmas Day. (Note to self: Pack that turkey.)

As for the “Cheating”, I’ll be serving a ginger cake from Zingerman’s instead of making one myself on Christmas Day, as well as their cinnamon buns for the following morning, since I just can’t knead this year.**

Finally, Mr. H has made sure that the bar is stocked, including a supply of lemons and limes, a fresh Soda Stream cartridge* and ice made with the giant ice cube tray*.


Aside from long walks with A+O, Disconnection generally involves a stack of magazines, Pandora, an Intended Reading List and an idea of movies we’ve been meaning to see or want to watch again. These have all been gathered, although I could stand to spend a few extra minutes planning out the movie selection. I believe “Iron Lady” will top the list, even though we’ll need to leave the house to see it. Suggestions welcome.

Not to be Forgotten…

1) Firewood! Essential to being truly cozy. Kindling and newspapers are also very much required. (Good thing I’ve been reading all those Financial Times this month.)

2) Facial Masks and other Treatments that can be done since you are home anyway. My newest love is Sonya Dakar’s Nano Mask. I have no idea what is “nano” about it, but after 15 minutes, my skin feels plumper which is the only place I ever wish to feel that way.

3) My loved ones, since Disconnecting without them would make the whole endeavor pointless — and not at all fun.

So there you have it: A little bit of effort, but not so much that I wind up blowing off the preparation entirely and find myself bored instead of blissed. And I didn’t even use Excel for this one. Yay!


* These are life-changing items:

The Soda Stream:  http://www.sodastreamusa.com/store.aspx?gclid=CIfHxuuHlq0CFQXd4Aodu30OoA

BIG Ice Cube Tray (Big cubes, less water in your drink.): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00395FHRO/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B003DR4W4C&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1KK82YBAA8FD18R11CKA

** When I can, however, Nigella Lawson’s Norwegian Cinnamon Bun recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess is my favorite. Just don’t use wax paper in place of parchment, even though it says you that you can. You can’t.

(Photos: Some Cozy Night)

Deep Thought While on NyQuil

December 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

I do not know what is happening to me at the moment, but I seem to have come down with some kind of nasty cold with rapid onset. I swear I was well just a few hours ago. ANYWAY…

While I am waiting for the NyQuil to kick in, I decided to check out the sweaters on sale at Net-a-Porter and noticed a preponderance of “button back” sweaters. Here is my deep thought on the matter: Isn’t a “button back” sweater just a cardi worn backwards?

Yeah…I think it is.




Oscar Lady?

December 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

I have always admired the work of Oscar de la Renta. Grown-up, timeless, beautifully made clothes — for Women Who Were Not Me. I had never ventured into the store on Madison. I was not an Oscar Lady. Oscar Ladies picked at their food, went to Charity Things and never brushed their dog’s teeth. I am pretty much the opposite. Case closed.

Then something happened: I had to go to a very proper luncheon and a very proper dress by an American designer was needed. So I surveyed my American options…

Narcisco: too sexy

Rodarte: too outlandish

Proenza: Not that season.

Michael Kors: I am just not tall enough. (Good luck to him with going public today, though!)

A pretty major Panic set in which led me straight to Oscar’s door. And much to my surprise, I found the Perfect Dress, which they tailored to my imperfect body and I was done. All within an hour. Whew!

A mere 110 weeks later, I was invited to the same luncheon. This time I did not hesitate to make an appointment with Christine, the store manager who helped me during The Panic. My first pick was the winner for the event, but I could not help but notice other things on offer that I could imagine myself wearing quite often. And Things Happened.

I still was eating food and brushing dog teeth, so I chalked it all up to a freaky good run. Until the Pre-Fall collection came in, and I found myself standing before Christine and Graziella (it is a good idea to become friendly with the magician who wields the pins) while she nipped in and let out as necessary. The belted camel dress with a petal collar and I have been having a great time together since the temperature dropped. And I know we will be doing so for many years to come.

While in the store that morning in August, I decided that I could quit Oscar at any time. Right then and there, in fact. Even if there was this really beautiful embroidered floral number that left me drooling. This was it. I was not an Oscar Lady.

Except it wasn’t it. The sale season began and my Embroidered Lovely was available in my size for half the price. The Cosmos was clearly telling me something…maybe that I was an Oscar Lady. And when I slipped the dress on and it fit perfectly, I knew that I was. Just not the usual kind.

This brings me to the Point of the Post, which is that trying something new — anything new, certainly a dress can’t be all that life-altering — isn’t necessarily an attempt to be someone else. It is simply an opportunity to find out things about yourself  that you may not have known.


(Close up photo of the Embroidered Lovely: Some Cozy Night.)

Whinin’ and Wrappin’

December 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

In spite of my feelings for the Holidays, like Ouiser Bourdreaux*, I do what The Rules dictate: I decorate, I plan, I shop and I wrap. A lot. I have been wrapping since yesterday at around eleven in the morning until probably 9 last night, and then I picked up again at eleven again today. I am still not finished. And I am cranky.

That said, the whole mess looks rather pretty:

As you may have noticed, I really don’t wrap with a holiday theme in mind. I just kind of buy a bunch of things that I like and put them together in ways that I hope people will find to be Delightful. (Or at least not Hideous.) This may be one reason why it takes me so long to wrap everything, volume aside.

There are also these factors:

– I’ve cut too much or too little paper for any given gift.

– I’ve done the same thing with the freaking ribbon.

– The tape rejects the paper.

– My hair gets caught in the tape.

– My dogs try to help.

– The paper rips at the corners (Ms J, this may be happening to one of your gifts. Just know that I tried my best. And I hope you like what I got you.)

– The gift is a toy for a child. Seriously, next year all children on my list are getting trade paperbacks.

– The gift came in a paid-for “gift box” that doesn’t quite contain said gift. (Mom, that would be your gift this year.)

– The gift comes with NO BOX, even though I purchased it at a VERY SWANKY STORE. (Mr. H, that one is yours.)

– Tying bows is a Development Area for me.

– I only have two arms and two hands. And a job outside of wrapping gifts.

Given all that, I suppose I should not be surprised that it takes so much time. But like dressing yourself properly, I do think it is worth the effort:

So I guess I’ll keep on wrappin’.


Ali Baba and 40 Thieves

*I have no words for you if you don’t get this reference and need to click this link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098384/

(Photos of the mess in my study and the progress I’ve made on The Great Wrap of 2011: Some Cozy Night)


What Christmas Means to Me

December 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Rushing. Annoying holiday music. Endless gifts to wrap and tips to give. Deals to close. Pushing through the crushing crowds on the streets. Social things to plan and always feeling behind. Very behind.

So now you know: I am a Grinch when it comes to the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

I blame the culture. Expectations are impossibly high and you can’t help but feel like everyone else has figured out how to enjoy the season in ways that you could not possibly achieve. And while my Holiday Edition Excel spreadsheet does keep me pretty organized, it does not keep me in the moment. No spreadsheet can do that — only the discipline to take a deep breath and slow it all down. I am going to give it a try this year. I hope you do, too.


(Photo of our vintage ornament tree at the beach from 2010: Some Cozy Night)

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