Monday, January 31, 2011

A Birthday Brunch!

Last week was my oldest son, A's, 10th birthday and this weekend was my grandmother's 89th birthday. We celebrated on Sunday with a brunch at my house. I love to host parties. I admit I do not cook. My husband does. He is in the food business. He's a chef as well as. I can cook, he's just better at it. Anyway, he made a wonderful ham, my mother brought rolls and wine and my sister brought a fruit salad and of course there was cake.

This is my old A with his youngest cousin E. She is 2 and just adores him. He's really sweet with her.
This is the children's table. The three big ones are mine, the two smaller ones as my sisters.

The table setting. I love my china which is a Wedgewood pattern called Chipendale. It's only avialable now in England but I love it as much as I did when I picked it more than 15 years ago. I also love the hotel napkins from William Sonoma. They are monogramed of course!

The birthday boy and girl! A is 10 and my grandmother is celebrating her 89th! Happy Birthday to both!

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Morning Routine

Mornings are crazy in our house. I have three kids who have to be fed and get to school. A starts at 8:10 the other 2 at 8:30. I live about a 15 minute drive from the school. I get up and exercise (well I try to) and then shower and get dressed before I wake up the kids. Now I go from drop off to my office so when I say get dressed I mean the whole 9 yards inlcuding makeup and often a suit.

Anyway, the one thing I have found that makes things go as smoothly as possible is the night before preparations. I make lunches, set up the coffee pot and assemble what I call the station. That's this wall hook by my front door. Each childs backpack has a hook and their sweater/sweatshirt hangs under it. All homework and lunches and library books are in the backpack before they go to bed. At least this way some of the chaos is minimalized. Do you have a routine or a great tip? I'm always looking for ideas to improve!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Matchbook Magazine

While aimlessly trolling around on the internet I stumbled across Matchbook Magazine. It's a new online magazine launched Just this year. To visit yourself click the link here http://

The copy says they are a "Field Guide to a Charmed life". I love that. It sounds right up my alley.
Are you a "Matchbook Girl"? The web site describes one as follows:

The matchbook girl...
views the world through rose colored glasses • loves to throw dinner parties, but has been known to burn the roast • values eccentricity over convention • is the first to laugh at her own bad jokes • knows the cha-cha, the charleston, and the tango • paints her nails bright coral when she's feeling blue • is infinitely curious • could happily live off of red velvet cake • pens hand written notes to her grandmother • has a signature shade of lipstick • secretly thinks she may be babe paley reincarnated • received an iPAD for her birthday, but will never give up her library card • has a bucket list a mile long and dreams a dime a dozen • is smart, but never a show-off • listens to the day's forecast, but trusts her own intuition • never says no to a sunday matinee at the theater • is quick to blush, but never short of a witty reply • has a skip in her step and a twinkle in her eye • always shares her last piece of gum

This is totally me! Yes, I am a "Matchboox Girl" If you are one too, hop on over and check them out!

Think Spring! New Arrivals at Talbots

My eye was caught by this great image in an email from Talbots announcing new arrivals for Feburary. I have to say I love this skirt. It's a wonderful shape and length. I'ts called the Champ-Elyees skirt and retails for $89. It is a cotton linen blend. I think this piece is destined for my closet. I am small on top (usually a size 6) but larger on the bottom (usually size 10) with narrow shoulders and a small waist so this type of skirt is perfect for me. I would wear it both ways they show it here. With a crisp white button down and belt and also with the cashmere sweater tee and statement necklace. This could go to work with pumps and to a weekend causual event with espedrilles or flats. Considering that I was not thrilled with anything I saw in the new rollout at J Crew, I may be casting a closer eye at Talbots.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Great Giveaway at Nautical by Nature!

The great blogger behind Nautical by Nature is hosting a terrific give away for Francesca Joy Palm Beach. The hand painted bags are totally to die for! I love this one with the pink anchor. You can visit Nautical by Nature and see for your self by following this link:

Good Luck!

Happy Birthday!

10 years ago today my beautiful baby boy AGB was born. After 3 years of ertility treatments and procedures it was an amazing day in my my. I can't believe it's been 10 years. I am amazed at the sweet, wonderful young person he is becoming. Happy birthday baby!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kiel James Patrick

The very lovely EAS from "Let the Tide Pull you Dreams Ashore" did a post last week on Kiel James Patrick. T read her original post please follow the link.

Anyway I had never seen these put recall wearing the off white rope bracelets during the summer when I was growin up. So I went to the web site and swoon! Loved it! You can reach the web site by clicking the link here. http://
The web site describes the bracelets as follows:
"A re-creation of the timeless beachside accessory. Our Turk's Head Knot Rope nautical bracelets are braided by hand from high-quality twisted cotton cord in various weathered summer color combinations. The cotton rope used in the bracelets is made in Rhode Island, and each rope bracelet is dyed and braided at Kiel James Patrick by the designer.As kids growing up in the Cape, Kiel and his brother Tom would pick out their sailor bracelets every June. Shrinking them to their wrists under hot water, the rope bracelets would endure an entire summer of havoc and adventures. It was always a terrible moment when at the end of the summer their favorite bracelet would have to be cut off. The KJP Turk's Head Knot Rope bracelet is fastened with our signature button so that you can wear your bracelet when you want to -- and take it off when you need to. "
They have really cute things in all sorts of patterns and even in headbands!

I ordered this cool red one called Narragansett Lifeguard Chairs for my son A who is turning 10 this week. Red is his favorite color. I totally wanted to order a ton of other stuff and likely will order a hearband or two for my daughter and maybe a bracelet for her and my other son after I see how A likes his.

What do you think? I thought these were really cool and they would make a really unique gift.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

San Francisco Ferry Building

The San Francisco Ferry Building is a very unique landmark in downtown San Francisco. It sits at the foot of Market Street where it meets The Embarcadero. It obviously is where ferries come in from acrross the bay. I don't commute this way but lots of people do and it is apparently quite nice. Anyway, it used to be a very run down icky place. Really only tourists and homeless people hung out there. A few years ago they renovated the whole things. During the summer they have an amazing outdoor farmers market and live jazz. There are restaurants and shops, all with local items. Anyway, yesterday was a beautiful day, sunny and 65. While the rest of the nation is freezing, we are having spring apparently. So I took a walk from my office down to the ferry building in search of some special treats for the weekend.

This is the ferry going across the Bay to Oakland/Alameda. That's Treasure Island and the Bay Bridge in the background. This would be my choice of commute venus if I lived on the other side of the Bay.
The Cowgirl Creamery has just amazing local cheese. They have a triple blue cream that is to die for. I purchased some and hopefully my hubby and I will snack on it this afternoon with a glass of wine. That's assuming A gets his science project done and C doesn't need me to pick her up at Brownies.

The Gardener has all kinds of interesting gadgets. Just fun interesting stuff.

This is a shot from the front of the building. It truely was a beautiful day. It reminds you why this is a great place to live. Yes it's very expensive and admittedly not very preppy but you can't beat the weather!
It's going to be a crazy weekend here. A's science project is due Monday so we have to finalize and assemble it. C has brownies up at the SF Zoo. There are 2 baseball team meetings and A's 10th birthday party to get through as well. Hope your weekend is fun!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Supporting a Coffee Habit

I've always had a coffee habit. Even before coffee was fashionable. It started in college, really grew in law school and really spiked when I had three kids under three. (twins born when the first child was 2). Anyway, now that I have gone back to working full time it is in full swing. I admit to loving my Starbucks lattes but that's an expensive habbit. Anyway, I have developed a stategy to support my habit without breaking the bank. First as seen above I make coffee at home. Then I fill my cute pink polka dot mug (not sure if you can see it but it has my monogram). This I drink in the car while driving the kids to school and myself to the train. I also fill the cute blue and green thermos (a gift from my mother in law) with coffee. This I put in my tote bag and take it to the office. It gives me 2 full cups of coffee, hot and just like I like it, when I get to the office. Then I can save Starbucks for a special treat. Do you have a coffee habit? If so, how do you spport it?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What's in your wallet? I mean purse?

I've seen a bunch of posts recently about purses people carry and what they carry in them. I thought I'd join the party and share too. First off, the purse itself is a green leather tote. I bought it at a small shop near my office in downtown San Francisco. It's not a brand I have ever heard of but I love the color. The there is my bright pink planner. I'm a write it down kind of person. Yes, I also carry a blackberry and a smart phone but I am lost without my planner. There there is the small blue wallet. Another no name but pretty color item. The little red bag has a powder compact and lipgloss in it. I also always have the inhaler. The yellow Lilly Pulitzer sun glass case holds sun glasses from Target. I am always losing sun glasses so I don't spend a lot of money to buy them. During the winter an umbrella is a requirement, especially on my commute since often it is raining on one end or the other but not both. Keys, obviously. Finally yes that is both a blackberry and a droid cell phone. I work for a bank. We are required to use their devices for work. The droid is my personal device. I think that sums it up. There is also the black camera case. So, what's in your wallet?

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Day Out with Hounds

I grew up riding and still love it. I rode jumpers and went to shows all through high school and college. Then in law school I got interested in fox hunting. It's a little different in California than in Virginia or the East. We mostly have coyote and wild pig. They run very fast and not in smaller circles the way foxes do. My whole family rides. In fact, my parents are the joint Masters of Foxhounds at our pack here and my sister is a whipper in. I used to whip before I had kids. My husband rides as well but not often since our two boys dont ride and he had back surgury a year ago. My daughter C is 7 and has been coming out on her pony since she was 3. This likely her last year on this pony as she is getting really tall. She has gone from being on the lead line and just walking to riding full out and keeping up with the second field. This pony can't really jump high enough for her to join the first field. Anyway here are some of the components needed for a great day out.

One darling daughter with perfect pony!
One happy huntsman!

One super sister!

Second shot of darling daughter, now all ready to go!

Finally, add a cup of courage, one of my Christmas presents was this new sterling silver cup. I has my name on the back and makes sipping port all the more enjoyable.
We had a great day, hounds worked really well and we saw two big coyotes and gave a spirted chase before they just out ran us. Tally Ho!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lilly Pulitzer on Rue La La!! Sunday!

Just in case you haden't heard, Lilly Pulitzer will be on Rue La La this Sunday, January 16th at 11:00. That's 11 am eastern time which is 8 am for us west coast girls. So excited and I even have some credits from mom mom's recent purchases. I got a great Bowen dress last time for a steal! My minnie has grown out of all of last years things and she is really tall for her age so I am thinking this might be a stock up situation, if you know what I mean. If you haven't been invited yet, it's free, just click here for your free invitation. From the preview photo, it looks like there will be a lot from the Spring and Summer 2010 season. Be sure and put this exciting event on your calendar! Rememeber that Lilly sells out fast on Rue La La so be sure and get there fast for the best selection.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Brooks Brothers and the Perfect Gift

I love going to Brooks Brothers. Its like stepping back into a different world, especially in Northern California where people wear fleece out to dinner. There is soft music, pens in silver juelp cups. I can get hankies, bow ties collar points, knot cuff links and so on. Anyway I went today in search of a special gift. My oldest son A will be 10 on January 25. Don't get me started on how could he be that old. No longer a little boy but a young man. A very young man to be sure but still. I purchased a copy of the book "50 Things a Young Gentleman Shuold Know". I love those books. Back when my daughter was born my mother gave me a copy of the book "How to Raise a Lady". This one is really just common sense but I thought it was cute and very appropriate.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cold Weather Warmers!

In cold weather nothing tastes better than a hot, warming drink. Now, I live in Northern California so what I consider to cold I admit is somewhat wimpy by most standards. It's been highs in the 40's and 50's for over a week and today it is raining. For us that equals articlly cold. Anywhat my first favorit, which my mother tells me is called a "Stonewall Jackson" after the famous Civil War general pictured below is delicious!

To make a "Stonewall Jackson combine 2oz. of Markers Mark with 5oz. of hot apple cider. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and some orange zest. Enjoy!
My personal favorite is called a "Stagecoach". I first discovered these at the Times Square Marriott hotel in New York City. I went to college in Connecticut and every December my parents would come to NYC and I would ride the train in to meet them for a long weekend of theater going and shopping. So much fun!

Anyway, to make a "Stagecoach" you take 20z of Bailys Irish Cream, 1oz of pepermint schnaps and mix it with 5 oz. of hot chocolate. Add marshmellows and stir with a pepermint stick. Really yummy.

I have also been told by my sis that if you put 2oz of vodka into a Starbucks Grande White Mocha it taste just like a hot White Russian. I haven't tried that one yet but admit that it sounds great! Do you have any favorite winter warmers? If so I'd love to hear so please share! Stay warm my friends!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Combatting the winter doldrums - with sparkles!

It's always a little sad when you get to the middle of January. All the decorations and lights have come down. It's cold and gray and spring and summer fun seem ages away. It can lead to an overwhellming sense of the gloomies. So in keeping with my main resolution for 2011, being more postive about live overall, I have decided to combat the winter blahs with some sparkles. No, I don't mean the J crew sequin tees, I mean the mental and emotional kind. The things that make your life a little more fun and exciting when you think about them. Sometimes just stopping to think about them makes them glitter a little more brightly! Here are my "sparkles"

1. A bright pink raincoat on a gray wet day

2. New red ribbons on my daughters braids

3. A gallop on my mare on a crip morning

4. Full reservoirs (We need rain in CA)

5. Little League starts (my son's favorite)

6. Resort collections in stores. The pcitures are fun, even if you aren't going anywhere.

7. The days start to get longer

8. A fresh pedicure

9. Date night

10. Going sledding with the kids

11. Hot chocolate with my husbands homemade marshmellows

Just a list of some of the things that make my winter a little less dark and gloomy. Do you have any sparkles? How do you combat the winter "gloomies"?

Friday, January 7, 2011

The magic of cousins

I never really thoght much about cousins growing up. I was the oldest and my sister three years younger. My dad's siblings had kids but the oldest was 10 years younger. My mom's siblings didn't have any kids. But now, my kids are awash in cousins and it's a great thing. In addition, the cousins that seems like little kids when I was growing up are all now adults and we have a great time together! Family is a wonderful invention, even with its wacky crazy make you nuts sometimes dynamic!

These are my now adult cousins and my sister. I'm in the glasses and green sweater on the end. My sister in is the beige sweater and gray pants on the other end. We always joked about how my sister and the other cousins looked more like sisters than we did!

These are my kids and the cousins on my side of the family. Mine are the three oldest. The boy in the striped sweater and girl in the red patterend dress belong to my cousin. The littlest girl and boy in the plaid shirt are my sisters kids. My kids are the oldest on this side. A will be 10 in a few weeks. They all get along really great and we get together fairly regularly.

This is a picture of the cousins on my husbands side of the family. They are all much older than my kids and there are a ton of them. My husband is the youngest of a family of 9. His oldest brother is my fathers age. This is the younger group of cousins. The older group is out of college, married etc. These kids are also super nice and my kids worship them. The oldest boys are seniors inhigh school and the yougest and my twins at 7. Really a fun time.
Family is a great thing. Cherish yours!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I love to needlepoint, knit and do other crafty things. High on my list of fun is a trip to the needlepoint shop arounf the corner from my office in downtown SF. They have tons of beautiful things. Quite some time ago (I won't say how long) I purchased this canvas and another similar one. This one is a jumper rider and the other is a hunter rider. Anyway, I finally finshed the first one last night. It came out really nice and I'm proud to to have finished it. Now maybe I will finish the companion to it before my children go off to college.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Written thank you cards and why I love stationary!

In todays wired world of facebook posts and tweets it can sometimes seem like the written thank you note on proper stationary has gone the way of the dodo. When you can pop on email and send a note of thanks I think that people feel their duty is done, at least they did say thanks! But really I sometimes feel like the written thank you note is the last gasp of civilization. My mother raised me right. I send a written thank you note for gifts received, dinner parties attended and other random acts of kindness. I also enforce this upon my kids. I know they hate it it is one of those things that falls under the heading of "you will thank me later". I have already sent all the cards my kids wrote, as well as my cards for this past holiday season. Don't hate me!

With this ingrained need to write cards comes a love of stationary. I love to buy new cards, pads stickers and I could go on and on. Bonus points if it is monogramed or pink. I just ordered new calling cards because we moved. I have buisness cards of course but I really prefer not to give those out if I meet someone fun and new at a party or even at the park. I save the business cards for, well business. I found these adorable cards at polka dot stationary, click here

There are a ton of choices and I am still deciding but I am leaning towards these for spring. What are your views on the written thank you note? Do you love stationary?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hunter Wellies - Just the best!

I just wanted to post about how much I love my new Hunter wellies. I've had rubber ain boots for several years and do have a pair of burberry plaid ones that I totally love. However, I have been hankering for a pair of the real deal and my lovely Nana gave me a pair for Christmas. They are the traditional green wellies and they are perfect. We had a very wet, soggy holiday period here in the bay area and they have certainly gotten plenty of use. Nana also gave me a great pair of red fleece wellie socks which are so cosy! They really are perfect and will be getting a lot of use this winter if the weather keeps on as it has been. The only trouble is, they are so cute I almost hate to get them direty! I wore them out to the barn this weekend and had a hard time getting out of the car because I didn't want to get them direty! Of course I did and the mud came right off with a good hosing.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Do you have a "stack"?

I was out with my sister the other night and she looked at my wrist and said "I like your stack". I had to look and see what she was talking about. She meant the assortment of bracelets and the watch I wear. She had one too but it was different and meant different things. We started looking around and realized that everyone has a "stack". So here is a picture of mine. The gold watch was a present from my Mom and Dad when I turned 21. The gold and white knot bangle is Lilly Pulitzer and was a present from a Junior League committee I chaired almost 10 years ago, the brown pearl bracelet I made because I liked it and the gold horse bit bracelet was a gift from my parents in high school when I won a big champoinship at a horsehow. What's in your stack? Send me a picture and I will post as many as I can!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year and a New Attitude!

Happy New Year everyone! Hope yours was fabulous, fun and safe. The new year is always a time for reflection and to resolve to do better in the fresh new year. I love New years Day. It seems like a chance to start over. Everything seems possible again. One of my resolutions for this year a to have a more positive attitude and just be happier. I've posted in the past about some of the struggles we have had in our family the last several years. I really feel like 2011 is a turning point. We are so blessed with three healthy children and a happy marriage that has lasted 15 years that it seems a terrible thought that I am not happier.

You may notice I changed the name of my blog. I used to be "Dancing as Fast as I can". As I was pondering the changes I wanted to make this year it seems that even the name of my blog was taking a glass is half empty view of life. I don't want to just juggle life, I want to enjoy it! Anyway, a change was needed.

Truth be told I am a very preppy person. I love plaid and Lilly Pulitzer. But being preppy is more than that. It's manners and tradition and being something inside. I never really thought of it like that until at Christmas Eve dinner. We were at a friends house and having come from mass, my children were all dressed what I considered properly. The boys had khaki cords, white shirts, plaid ties and loafers. The oldest had a navy blue blazer and the youngest a navy sweater vest and pea coat. My daughter had a plaid taffeta dress, white tights and black patent leather mary janes. My friend laughed and laughed and said "You are just so preppy".

That's when it hit me. Yes, I am preppy and I am proud to be that way. I didn't intend that the kids look that way exactly. It's just a question of what was appropriate. It's not always easy to be preppy here in Norther California where laid back is the norm. But I strive to do it.

So welcome 2011. Bring it on! I am ready for you and it's gonna be great!