The Last Tea

May 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Very English weather today, but armed with hats, wellies and a map, we set out on a five mile walk around this beautiful estate, Gravetye. There was rain. There was mud. We may have taken a wrong turn or two, but we made it back quite pleased with ourselves.

Given the rather challenging terrain — many hills, rocks, and stiles (more on these later) — I came to believe that we were entitled to two treats for our efforts. First, we hit the pub…

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I didn’t care that it was all fried. It was just what I required, including my Half Pint. However, that Half Pint along with the walk made me a touch sleepy and an Epic Nap ensued. But my body is now fully on English Time, and I woke up just a few minutes before 4, just in time for Treat Number Two, tea…

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Served by a nice fire…

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The perfect ending to a rather perfect — and filling — day. Now it is upstairs to pack, and down to our last dinner of this wonderful trip.

More to come.

xx

(Photos: Some Cozy Night)

Rediscovering the Art of Fielding

April 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

First, let us begin by acknowledging that it is just past 1AM and I am awake. I have read a new magazine*, watched a rather mindless episode of The Good Wife from season 1**, and listened to an entire 43 minutes of Tara Brach telling me how to better accept myself. And then I decided to accept the fact that I could not sleep and got out of bed. Why fight it? Right, Tara?

It seems however, that I am not alone…

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If you look closely, there are some other lights on in the neighborhood. Why do I suspect they are on because people are just getting home from something fun or are doing a 1AM feeding?

Anyway, this is not the point of this post. This is:

I imagine that I don’t strike anyone as a someone who is into sports. And for the most part, this is true. However, I was brought up in a Baseball Family, and while the Yankees were the Family Team (and still mine), I spent a rather large part of my teens at Mets games c/o Nelson Doubleday and the fact that my Dad worked for him. While I may not have truly appreciated the choice seats we always had at those games (I felt as if I knew Gary Carter because I was always right near him), I did learn a thing or two during those years. And of course, ’86 made me a little obsessed and I got in deeper. Then college rolled around and I just about never thought about baseball again.

Until last winter when I read this wonderful book: Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding***. The book is about baseball and then not about baseball. But the passages about actually playing the game were so beautifully written that I found myself right back in 1986, with better hair, I hope. (Those scenes are almost topped by the conversations among these young men while they are trying to become amazing ball players. It felt so honest to me…but I digress.) After I finished the book, I moved on to another and kind of forgot that I was into baseball once again.

And then some extremely cool friends of ours invited us to a suite at Yankee Stadium to see the second game of their season.

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Let me begin by saying that being indoors with the option to be outdoors — that included a fully stocked bar to make sure that you were “toasty” in the 30-degree temperature — is really the best possible way to get reintroduced to the joys of a live game. (To my knowledge, I never was able to sip on tequila while watching the Mets. It rather does take the edge off crap weather.) Mr. H and I arrived a little bit before the others, because I hate being late and am therefore often early. The upside here is that I was able to geek out a bit and first have a giggle at this important warning:

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However, I will be truthful and tell you that I read “bats” as you know, BATS. Those flying things that scare the hell out of me. Only later did I realize they meant baseball bats. Still, at the height we were at, I am not super clear as to how I could have gotten hit with a baseball bat, so maybe my confusion was reasonable.

Then there was the field:

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Just seeing it got me kind of psyched for a game I knew my team was going to lose. And lose they did. But it didn’t matter. I simply find the art and ritual of the game to be very pleasing. The pitchers getting warmed up…the batters waiting for their turn, even if they know the guy before them is going to make this waiting and prep unnecessary…the catcher pretty much feeling like the heart of the team, keeping everyone together. Heck, I even get excited when they play the National Anthem.

And then there is the fabulous part of watching it all with your friends. Laughing over a shared disapproval of a particular player, wondering why they were all wearing “baseball slacks” rather than the usual bottoms, and all deciding that even though it was 30 degrees outside, we would get our butts out there and watch the final inning together. In the cold, like our own little team.

A wonderful way to remember a love that was forgotten.

xx

* Bullet. I like the intent and hope they stop with some of the weird type and typesetting. No margins isn’t cool…it just looks wrong. But do check them out online to get a flavor: http://bullettmedia.com/magazine/

** Is this show worth my time? I can’t tell yet, but I feel like lots of people love it.

*** Just in case: http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Fielding-A-Novel/dp/0316126675

(Photos: Some Cozy Night)

One More Time For All The Old Times

March 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Ahhh…just when you think you are rounding the corner into spring and there could not possibly be any more snow, a Friday Surprise:

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Thankfully the city decided to just brave it and complain, like proper New Yorkers. Everything was running, schools were open and we went to work. And honestly, it was still kind of pretty. Especially the trees that reminded my of powdered donuts. (I am in a Donut Phase. No judgement!)

But I think we are done for the season. For real. I am seeing all sorts of buds all over the place and my fall bulb planting is beginning to reveal itself, so I suspect I will be putting away my wellies and filling up my Nephew’s Easter basket in no time. Fingers crossed!

xx

(Photos: Some Cozy Night)

Colorful

March 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

So, spring is here and I still maintain that almost anything goes when it comes to fashion these days. Aside from the new-ish Deco trend (which is a pretty option for night, but unclear to me for day) and patterned pants, the only thing fashion editors seem to agree on is that you should be wearing a skirt. Great. I have some, so I am good there.

The one thing all of these trends (Deco aside) seem to have in common is that color is still very “important”. I happen to like color, so this is good news for me. It is also good news for my newest pair of sandals:

I wore them constantly on vacation last month and look forward to things warming up so that I can wear them some more. A lot more. I also fell head-over-heals with a super-intense pink silk top with a very pretty scarf detail at the collar, and am feeling the need for a pair of pants with a colorful stripe down the side. But those might burn out fast. We shall see.

In the meantime, for those of us who live in Weather Challenged areas, there is the matter of being sick of wearing winter clothes, with temperatures too low to bust out anything for spring. I think this is where color comes in especially handy: A brightly colored plain woven sweater and a light colored, but heavier weight pant can help get you from “cuddly” to “chipper” in no time. I must also sing the praises of the blue and white striped T to go under said sweater or even a blazer to brighten things up without turning yourself into a human icicle.

For venturing out-of-doors, may I suggest the trench (liner in, if it has one) and a soft, light-colored scarf? Shoes are tough, but maybe just focusing on not wearing anything that looks too Ski Chalet is a step in the right direction.

Stay warm and bright!

xx

(Photo of the sandals I will be wearing all summer long: Some Cozy Night)

The Perfect Excuse

January 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Happy Saturday! I stumbled out of bed after a 36-hour bug to find this outside my window:

“Did it snow?” I asked myself. I checked again. Yes, it had. Even though the weather report had not indicated that we would be getting more than an inch or two and I was not convinced we would get any. For the record, we definitely got more than and inch or two.

I surveyed my options and while the thought of building a snowman crossed my mind, after assessing the accumulation a little more closely while out with A+O, I decided my best course of action was a day indoors. A perfect excuse to catch up on some reading…

I have been meaning to get to this Jansen book for well over a year. And it is fascinating. (As is Know Your Rodent, but that is a much quicker read.) While reading about the many amazing homes this venerated design firm decorated well into the later part of the 20th century, I began to get The Craving to order a few more books on some of the more infamous and glamourous figures who made up much of Jansen’s clientele and their circle, including the Mitford sisters and Nancy Lancaster. It seems to me that these topics could take me through a number of other snowy days and it is totally possible that this weather is here for a spell:

Really, who wants to go out in that, which isn’t even as bad as it could get. Much better to be curled up with a book and a dog, I say.

So, I fixed the fire…

Which enabled Mr. H to build upon said fire…

Leaving me with nothing to do but order my books, keep reading and then make dinner for friends*, starring a fresh bolognese from Marcella Hazan, who is pretty much that last word in these matters.

So, it will have been basically a day of loafing and pasta-eating, which we all need from time to time. So, thank you very much Surprise Snowfall.

xx

*Although even that might be a Mr. H production. At least I set the table. And pulled out the necessary ingredients.

(Photos: Some Cozy Night, who left her good camera in the city.)

Unreasonably Cold

January 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Some years ago, the weather section on the front page of the New York Times included among the usual weather info the following statement: “Unreasonably cold”. I assume that the Times should have used “Unseasonably cold”, but I feel certain that this “typo” was the work of a rogue copy editor just calling it like it was. And for the next several days in New York, it is going to be totally and relentlessly Unreasonably Cold.

So, before I get on with my own advice on keeping warm without looking like a schlub, here is a nice little post from New York Magazine on the subject:

http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2011/01/designers_on_cold.html#

While I don’t agree with all that is said here, I will be doing some personal vetting of those Uniqlo Heattech underthings as I am a major believer in major layering. (Making this the only time of year when I would ever consider a game of strip poker. But you know that I’d probably consider it for about three seconds before dismissing such an activity entirely.) Anyway…here is my list of top layering pieces for Unreasonably Cold weather:

1)  J. Crew Long-sleeved Tissue T’s.

Sure, they may fall apart, but the are light weight and can actually be seen peaking out of things without losing your modesty or fashion credibility.

2)  Hanro Silk Long Undies

For when I am feeling all Swiss and Fancy. No bulk, lots of extra warmth.

3) LL Bean Silk Long Undies

Sometimes I like to  pretend that I am a practical girl. Very little bulk for good warmth.

4) EMS Long Ski Undies

These are ideal for when I think I might die from the cold and don’t give a fig about bulk.

5) Brooks Brothers Wool Knee Socks.

Argyle. Their insanity makes them work with anything. And these babies are LONG, so you are assured excellent calf coverage.

6) Wolford tights.

We’re all adults here. And Wolford hosiery is not for kids. For maximum layering, pair the regular opaques with the silk Hanros. Wool ribbed if your pants are feeling a little roomy.

7) Hunter Wellies

With a liner. Let’s not mess around.

The one glaring omission from NY Magazine’s suggestions from the Fabulous Set is the hat. Sure, they were mentioned here and there,  but I know you know this Essential Truth: Hats keep you warm. Your hair will survive. Just put one on. A nice-looking one, naturally.

And finally, a word on keeping warm indoors: Get yourself a hot water bottle. Really. LL Bean makes a nice cashmere covered one for a reasonable price, and if you are feeling unreasonable, get thyself to Malo.

xx

(Photo: Mr. H.)

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