Fleeing from Nice Weather?

May 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

It appears that the three nice spring days that New York is allotted each year have just begun…


The sky is cloudless. It is almost warm. And all the bulbs that were planted last fall in our front garden are in full bloom. Lovely.

Naturally, Mr. H and I won’t be around to enjoy this glorious time at home. No, no…we are headed to England, where it has been known to rain somewhat frequently. But our bags are packed…


And to be truthful, we have a wonderful itinerary planned, including visits to all the gardens and manor houses I’ve been reading about these last couple of years, and a morning of learning the fly a hawk. So, rain or shine, we are going to have ourselves a little adventure. Definitely worth the trade off.


(Photos: Mr. H and Some Cozy Night)

Wardrobe Experiment

August 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

It is that time of year again, when women are supposed to begin shopping for Fall and Winter. Yes, I know it is a zillion degrees outside, and we are all just finishing up our summer steals with everything on Final, Super-Duper Discount sale. But still, it is time.

In fact, in some stores, we are already late. Case in point: The fantastic brocade pants at Céline that I suddenly very much needed last month were no longer available in my size. Gone. Forever. (Did I mention that they were from the Fall collection? They were.) And just the other day I was invited to a Resort trunk show later this month, which essentially clothes for the beginning of NEXT SPRING.

Such is the cycle of fashion.

To be truthful, I like the idea of getting my wardrobe in order well before the season hits. So I play ball and am quite close to being “done” for this one. However, this time around I am doing things a little differently.

As you may know, in general one wears 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. And while I suspect my percentages are a little better than that, I am attempting to significantly improve that ratio using a three-pronged approach:

1. Inventory
I am currently going through every item in my wardrobe — every one — and putting it into one spreadsheet that can be sorted by garment type, color, season, label, year made, and size. I already had a running start on this document, as I have been keeping these kinds of spreadsheets for years, but a new and completely up-to-date one is in order. It will keep me from over-buying (especially at sale time) and remind me of when things might need to go.

2. Ruthless Edit
While taking the inventory, I am trying everything on to decide if it stays in the picture. So far, the editing has been fierce. Anything that I no longer completely love is in a Donate bag. For the record, there is more than one bag and I am not done with the Inventory and Ruthless Edit Process. I tell you: I mean business here and I will have a smaller but better functioning wardrobe.

3. Precision Purchasing
This part is not going to be what you think, as I am not a fan of “basics”. Sure, we all need a pair of great black pants and a few perfect white t-shirts, so those are purchased as needed. But when thinking about what is going to make it into my closet, I first decide if we have chemistry. Without that, there is no point. Then, assuming we do, I decide if I have anything else too much like it, and if not, whether it goes with my life and the other things in my closet. And, in the hopes of improving my ratio, I now ask myself the hardest question of all: Will I wear this frequently? If the answer to this and all the other questions are “yes”, the piece is in.

And so, in the last few weeks I have added several items that met the above criteria, including a cool pair of black wedge booties with a rubber sole for wet days, a skirt that reminds me of Charlie Brown’s T-Shirt in a good way, a black down coat that actually looks good on me (a small miracle) and a fantastically simple short sleeved top done in pin-striped wool flannel.

And while my list of purchases for the season is far from short, many more things are leaving the closet than are being brought in, so I think I am off to a good start with my little experiment. Wish me luck — and don’t be afraid to try it yourself on the next rainy weekend.


Have I Mentioned?? (Pet Edition)

July 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Not sure if I have mentioned this, but A+O have been with me at the office almost every day since the beginning of June. While fun in the beginning, after several days, seeing those two conked out in various poses can start to get a little annoying…

Especially when they position themselves right under me, so that I get the full view of their relaxed state while I am toiling away just a few feet above them. But that is really the least of my concerns with this new situation.

Our new “closeness” has also made it extremely important to stay on top of that “Not So Fresh” scent that comes from having two of these creatures around. Much to their dismay, they are on a bi-weekly bath rotation. And after all my years as a pet owner, I declare this to be the best shampoo currently on the market:

Yes, then name and packaging is screaming “adorable…buy me!!”, but honestly, this stuff works. It has a mint-mixed-with-rosemary fragrance that isn’t too powerful and super-soft suds that make the job of bathing someone who would rather not be bathed a little less horrid.

On “off” weeks, nothing tames pet odors coming off said pet the way a good brushing and a wipe down with these babies does:

I have tried other wipes with cuter packaging and those that promise a more “organic” experience, but honestly, they just cover up what lurks under the fur. The Nature’s Miracle Wipes appear to actually remove the offending whatevers that are causing it. And anyone who knows their way around a pet situation will probably have a gallon or two of their household cleaning product as well. (I keep containers of it all over the house for those “oopsy” moments.)

I also highly recommend those microfiber towels for the quick drying of your furry ones, and trying to surprise them with a bath so that they don’t run and hide.

And that’s all I’ve got for making the insanity of pet ownership a little less insane.

Happy weekend!


(Photos: Some Cozy Night.)

New Life for What is Spent

July 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

So, you guessed it: I am still at the beach. Fielding work and home crises, naturally.* But I have been able to fall into several wonderful Beach Comas, determined that no shelter magazine from the last five years contains My New Kitchen (for another post) and also puttered around the garden a bit.

Yesterday’s haul was quite pleasing…

Even O-Dog approved:

And yet, there was the issue of the lavender plants. A week ago, they were in fine form:

I keep them by the back door to the house so that when you brush by them, you get that delicious fragrance. Which also works in smaller doses in the guest bath, for instance…

But as of yesterday, they were spent, and if there was any chance of getting more blooms, I had to do the deed: deadhead the suckers. Like a hard prune (which I performed on my tomato plants earlier in the week), this is one of gardening’s most uncomfortable endeavors. But, it must be done, and so I did it. This left me with a significant position of lavender blooms that I just could not toss. So, I began harvesting, which is probably considered a sign of insanity in the DSM.

“How long could this take??” I cheerfully thought to myself as I began the process. For the record, it took as long as it took Mr. H to get through the first half of his seven hour BBQ Pulled Beef (which is insanely delicious, but off topic, I know). Still, I let the perfume soothe my slightly achey head and kept going until the above pot was full.

And there was still more.

So I decided that these little science lab measuring cups would be perfect for tiny bedside whiffs of lavender. (They are also good for a chic way to dispense vitamins. Also off topic.)

And there was still more. So I found a jam jar and put the rest in there for later use.

I wish I could tell you that my house smells like Provence, but it smells more like BBQ sauce (homemade!) and sunscreen. Still, I was glad to have had the time to do it, and who knows, maybe my weekend houseguest will have sweeter dreams on account of my of efforts.


*Was that water leaking from the office above ours onto a few desks? YES, is was, making this our second flood in about six weeks, but whatever. Thanks to my able team that I didn’t need to come back to the city to manage it.

(Photos: Some Cozy Night.)

Beware of Dogs Who Beg…

May 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Especially those who plead to go outside for a nice, long Memorial Day Walk. Case in point:


They swore they wanted a full country walk — not a town walk — with little bursts of jogging in between. They told us they it would make them both oh-so-happy. Then, somewhere around the last quarter of The Walk, attitudes changed: Increased, pointless sniffing, the classic “Terrier Stop” and finally, the decision that any old slice of grass by a potato field would be where the walk would end. 

After a few of these episodes, our spent companions made the final leg home. O-Dog took to a sofa and A-Dog to an a/c grate.

Lesson Learned: Never trust a Terrier. Just love them. 




(Photo: Some Cozy Night)





Awesome Wife Production

January 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

So, I went a little nuts yesterday and spent the day cooking and freezing to make at-home dinners a little more within our grasp. The goal was to make several soups, a few things with our beef*, and a number of sides and sauces that will enable me to cook up a chop or two, make a salad or get some nice cheese and call it a meal.

When I began at noon, I didn’t really think about the end game exactly. I just bought a ton of stuff and got down to cooking. Here is some of the fruit of my labor:

Please note that it is very hard to make edible food look nice in a photo. But this was my “cooling” center where prepared food was left to get cool enough to freeze and avoid freezer burn.

A recent Development Area that I decided to work on in earnest this year was to begin labeling the things I make and freeze. No matter how certain I am that “I’ll remember”, I do not. And it is silly to pretend that I will. So, here are my very casual labels.

And here is the end result, with everything in the freezer.** Again, not pretty pictures, but I am still pretty proud. In fact, it was around this time, either in a fit of delirium or just too much dancing around the kitchen to the Scissor Sisters, that I proclaimed myself “An Awesome Wife” for doing all this stuff.

So, what did I make? I’ll tell you:

– Three containers of Roasted Veggie Soup with Spelt Pasta
– Three containers of Escarole, Bean and Sausage Soup
– Two Sautéed Broccoli and Pine Nuts for use over pasta or as a side
– Two Sautéed Brocoli Rabe with Garlic and Red Pepper as a side
– Two Sautéed Bok Choy, Ginger and Mushrooms to be combined with thin chicken slices at dinner time
– Two Sautéed Kale with Onions and Red Pepper as a side
– Five mini-meat loaves
– Thirty meat balls
– Five containers of Tomato, Basil and Garlic sauce, for use with said meat balls

I finished at around 7PM, just in time to have a little dinner, wash all the food off of me and settle in for my reward: the season premier of Downton Abbey. A very good end to an Awesome Wife Production indeed.


* Have I mentioned that Mr. H and I do a beef share every year with about ten friends? It sounds nuts but it is excellent.

** And there’s the beef. And some lamb from our CSA. And other important items like ice cream. (You have to have priorities.)

(Photos: Mr. H, who also put everything into the freezer for me. That was an Awesome Husband Production.)

And then there were three

June 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

A+O had a visitor at the office the other day. W is a beautiful dog who somehow manages to completely change the balance of power in the pack:


Everyone is laying down. No one is whining. No one is jumping. Needless to say, this makes me consider the sanity of a third dog. Or maybe I have just watched one too many episodes of “Sister Wives”…


(Kind of blurry photo of the dogs and a waste basket at my office: Some Cozy Night)

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