Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TJ Maxx Finds

I took Friday off from work for a much needed mental health day. After a late breakfast with a friend I had not seen in a while I stoped by TJ Maxx before I had to pick the kids up. I scored some interesting finds.
First are these blue and white china balls. They were $5.99 and are currently looking quite posh in a sea grass basket on my end table.

I love pewter serving pieces and have several. This shell shaped piece was $12.99 and will make regular appearances in my serving piece line up.

This wicker clutch has dark brown mock croc accents. It also has a short chain inside. I can see it going to several fun parties this summer. For $19.99 it had to come home with me.

This cute red, white, navy and yellow striped bandana is from Talbots. It's a crisp cotton and I can see it around my straw hat this summer, around a pony tail as well as around my next. It was $6.99. Another great find.

I do love to shop at TJ Maxx or Loehmans, Marshalls and Ross too for that matter. It's a little like treasure hunting. Some days you walk in and nothing jumps out at you. Some days, you find the perfect treasure.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Back to School Night and Feeling Better

Many of you have read my recent posts fretting about the school my kids go to. Overall it's a great public elementary school with top class staff. The principal is a great guy and really dedicated. Still, test scores went down this year and there are some people who are leaving for what seem like really weak reasons. All and all, I was a little worried. The I went to last night's Back to School Night and was totally blown away. The work the kids are doing in class was amazing and the teachers were so involved and so proud of the kids that I was amazed. It's not an easy time in public school and this school is doing a fabulous job!

This is AGB. He is in the 4th grade. What he is showing is a scrapbook the class made about the gold rush (remember we live in California). Each person had written a diary as if they were living in during the 49er gold rush and prospecting for gold in Sutters Fort. Then, they had each dressed in "prospector" type clothes and taken a picture for their class scrapbook with their "49er name". His was Beaver C. Morrison. He's also showing his wire sculpture and clay figure, both of which are baseball players.

Here is OPB. He is in first grade and showing me his work folder. The art in action program our district uses is amazing and they had such amazing things. He had written a book of "scary idioms" My favorite was "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't lead a bull to water".

This is CMB in the second grade. She is showing a piece of art in action drawn with chalk pastels that has her name hidden in the picture. Her class had also done a science project about the life of crawfish and snails. (we go to a math/science magnet school).

All and all, it was a great night. We also went to the science lab and the computer lab. All kids go to both labs at least once a week. We also visited the Reading Partners lab where kids who need a little extra reading help got twice a week instead of morning recess. AGB goes to reading partners and it has really helped him this year. I feel so much better!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Entertaining is Fun! or Fighting the Will to be Dreary!

Entertaining is fnu is a neat book by Dorothy Draper (1889-1969). Dorothy was a contemporary of Diana Vreeland and Elsie de Wolfe and became an icon of stylish living through her interior decorating and many books. Originally published in 1941 this book is a really fun read. Given the time frame in which it was written, not all of us live the lives her hostesses live. I know I don't. But the part I thought was the most important was how important it is to fight what she called the "will to be dreary". That over whelmming feeling of "why bother" or "I'm to tired" or "it's to much trouble". I fall prey to this every now and then. I work full time outside the home and have three school aged kids, two of whom have learning disabilities. Lately I have been feeling a case of the blahs. I was feeling sad that it was about to be Memorial Day and I didn't have any fun plans or invitations. The I decided I was being dreary. I called my mom and sister and are going to my folks beach place this weekend with the kids. I took Friday off from work just because and called a couple friends and am throwing a BBQ at my house on Monday. So there! Now I feel much better. How do you fight the will to be dreary?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In Praise of the Crisp Little Jacket

I've always been a cardigan lover. I own a ton. They are so useful for throwing over a dress, or pencil skirt and blouse, they go well with pants too. I work in an office with an odd dress code (really that's another post) and cardigans have been a go to for me. Lately however, the cardigans hav looked a little sloppy to me. Enter the crisp little jacket. My new favorite item this spring. The lovely one above is Bodens Sleek Cotton Balzer. I especially love the color and the cheeky dotted lining. . Makes me feel like Pippa Midleton, which can't be a bad thing right? So this spring I've been throwing assorted jackets over my trousers and pencil skirts instead of cardis. What do you think? Which do you like better?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summering in Seersucker

Do you love seerucker? Do you wear it? I confess that here in Norther California it is not much in vogue. It simply isn't that hot here, nor does it get humid as it does in the South and North East. I am loving this post over on the Brooks Brothers blog, Rouges and Gentlemen. Follow the link to read the whole post. http://blog.brooksbrothers.com/the-clothes/summering-in-seersucker/

To me seersucker is summer, even here. I have a great pair of tailored bermunda shorts and a blazer. I prefer the traditional blue and white seerucker but have been know to rock pink and white. J Crew makes great seercuker bikini's too. I have some of them too. There is something about seersucker that just says summer. If if you aren't sitting outside with friends, watching the fireflies while sipping something cold and delicious, which of course is how I prefer to enjoy it!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Vineyard Vines Tennis Collection

How cute is this? I got an email this morning that Vineyard Vines has a new tennis collection. The items are all super cute. Do you think they would improve my game? You can check it out
on the Vineyard Vines web site.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dressing for your body type - The Pear

There are a ton of articles out there about body shapes and how to dress them. I'm pretty much a classic pear. I have narrow shoulders, a small waist but curvey hips and thighs. I tend to wear a size 6 or 8 top and a 10 or 12 bottom. I'm also 5'8" tall. I'm going to share a few tips I have found work for me. I'm going to preface this with a reminder that these work for me and are only guidelines. Certainly not gospel. I'm also a lawyer, not a stylist or professional shopper.

1. Drawing attention upwards

Wear the right under garments to define the waist and create curves in all the right places. There’s nothing like a good lift to lift an outfit. This is really a no-brainer for any body type.

Look to create an “A-line” silhouette with clothes (fitted on top and roomier at the bottom). And the more pear-shaped you are, the more A-line you can go. We pears look exceptional in A-line dresses or skirts and should take advantage of this ultra-feminine look all year round.

Most pear-shaped gals have tiny waistlines. Show them off! Opt for waist defining knit tops, knitwear, blouses and button down shirts.

Don’t turn away voluminous tunic tops and dresses either. If they’re A-line and structured in the shoulders, the chances are high that they will work.

Wear V-neck tops and create V-neck shapes with your layers. V-shapes elongate the neck and draw attention to your slim midsection.

It’s imperative that anything that you wear on top fits properly on the shoulders because the eye is drawn to definition. As soon as your shoulder line is sloppy, the outfit won’t look as good.

Don’t shy away from boyfriend jackets. Find a style that’s more tailored than boxy, wear it open or belted at the waist, scrunch up the sleeves and add heels. Voila.

look for tops, knitwear, jackets and coats with interest. Tops with wide cuffs, bell sleeves, ruffles, zippers, embellishment, rushing, vertical seaming detail, large collar/lapels, wraps and princess lines all work. These design features naturally draw the eye upwards.

Wearing an eye-catching colour on top draws the eye upwards, so take extra care with the shades that you wear on the top part of your body.

The length of your tops should either catch you just below your hipbone (a few inches above crotch point), or past the thigh area. Avoid lengths that finish over the widest part of you, which is usually across the bottom or straight across the thighs. Pears can wearleggings with the right A-line dress or tunic because this look is about the dress and not the leggings.

Try to to add visual interest to your torso. Longer length camis underneath knitted tops and shirts can work as can a fitted shorter jacket or sweater as a third layer over these layers for the most flattering effect. The layers automatically create a visual balance between the top and bottom half a pears body.

Accessorize the top part of your body well, with necklaces, specs, scarves, earrings, hair clips (but not all together).

Tying scarves in vertical ways creates a flattering long lean line down the front of the body. Wear scarves!

Pears were made for the waist cinching belt look. Wear a waist defining belt over tops and dresses for extra definition and to lengthen the leg line.

2. “De-emphasizing” the bottom and elongating your legs

Keep your bottom choices simple and structured, thereby saving all the visual interest for your tops. No cargo pockets, side entry pockets, waist pleats, drawstrings or hip embellishments.

Yes, Pears can wear skinnies or straight legs if you match them with A-line tunics, dresses and heels. Belted tunic button down shirts look incredible so be sure to give that look a go.
Tucking skinnies into chunky knee-high boots is another great way of balancing out your silhouette when you wear tapered bottoms. This way of wearing skinnies might not require a longer top because you’ve balanced out the look with tall boots.

Keep the front part of all pants (dress and denim) free of detail and the rise mid in length (not too high or low). Make sure that there is enough ease through the hip and thigh. Fabrics with stretch are the best bet.

Keep the hems of pants boot cut or flared if you’re not sporting “the skinnies and tunics” silhouette. Pants that skim along the contour of your thighs always work best. Size up and have the waistband adjusted.

Keep walk shorts straight from the thigh down and knee-length and avoid lengths shorter than this. Clamdiggers (knee length Summer skinnies) will work if you pair them with longer tops.
Don’t force yourself to wear pants denim if you look and feel fabulous in skirts and dresses. Just wear skirts and dresses.

Knee length A-line skirts with vertical panel seaming are great. Stay clear of bias-cuts.
Pencil skirts and sheath dresses can also work if you keep the side seams straight from the hip down to the hem (no tapering). It’s also best to add a little length to this style of skirt and dress, so around the knee is ideal.

Try pointy or almond toes shoes with bottoms that are wider at the hem because it elongates the leg line. But round toed shoes are just as fab as long as you sport pants that are not to short!(hems should almost skim the surface of the ground).

Wearing some sort of heel (even if it’s just an inch) whenever you can will give you the height that automatically slims down your curves. Simple rule: the curvier your bottom, the longer and wider you’ll need to wear your pants and the higher you’ll need to wear your heel to balance out your silhouette. This doesn’t mean that you can’t wear flats. You just have to be careful with the pairing of flats with pants and jeans.

Wearing heeled knee high boots that are slim at the ankle with skirts or dresses in cooler weather is a great leg-flattering look.

I hope this helps! If you have other tips please share them with me!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What have I gotten into?

It shouldn't be a surprise when I say, AGB, my oldest son loves baseball. I think everyone who reads my blog knows that. He's 10 and playing on a great Little League team in the upper division for his age. He goes to baseball camp every summer and plays in the "fall ball" league our Little League puts on which is just designed to play and have fun. No score keeping, standings play offs etc. What I have sucessfully avoid up till now is the dreaded tounrament team. Last week he was invited to try out for a 10 year old tounrament team in the area with some of the other guys on his team. He was desparate to try out so I thought, why not. Well he made it and of course is totally over the moon about it. I'm happy for him, really I am but now a summer full of weekends spent at the baseball field loom before me. I totally believe in the importance of sports in a childs life and this is a huge acheivement for him. 40 kids tried out, 12 made it. That's something he can be justifiably proud of. Still, I admit to some misgivings. I was kind of looking forward to a weekend that didn't inlcude hours spent at the ball park or practice field. I guess that's what moms and dads are for right? By the way, don't ask me how I became the baseball parent. When AGB was 5 and starting t-ball I was a stay at home parent and hubby was just starting his own buisness. I ended up the managing that t-ball team and it sort of snow balled. Now I am secratary on the Little League board. Most importantly AGS loves that I do this with him and he always wants me to take him and come watch or play with him. I suppose that is why I do it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Big Night at the Annual Meeting

Saturday night was the Annual Meeting for the Los Altos Hounds. My parents are the joint masters of the hunt and my sister and I are whipper-ins. I don't whip much anymore since I had kids but she does. Claire loves to ride and she was a big winner this year. She was the reserve champion junior rider based on points won at the seasons pace meets. That's the big, long ribbon. She also won the silver cup for the junior rider who came to the most hunts this past season. She has won that the past 2 years. Finally she was awarded her buttons. The awar of buttons is a hunt award that allow a rider to wear buttons engraved with the lunt logo their coat and vest. In our hunt this award is made to riders who ride competantly in the second field, in all of our differnt countries, help at all the fund raisers and come to most of the social events. Hunting is full of these odd traditions and awards. The most coveted award in hunting is to be awarded "colors". A female member with colors wears black coat with the colors of the hunt on the collar. She wears black boots and beige britches. A male member wears a scarlet red coat with the colors on the collar. He wears black boots with brown tops and white britches. A male member with colors also wear scarlet tails with white tie at the formal hunt events. Interestingly the difference is historical. A member with colors is someone who can be relied on in a problem, someone who can get off and open gates and so on. Traditionally, ladies rode side saddle. The could not get off their horse (or on) without aid. Hence, no red coat. Any any rate, colors is a riding award. A member has to be a member at least 3 years and ride and jump in the field consistently. Additionally, the Masters of Fox Hounds Association, our govering body, does not allow the award of colors to members under 16. Claire is 7 so she has a long wait for that. She has set her sights on winning the junior rider award. She has a new horse this season so watch out!

Friday, May 13, 2011


Hi there, I need some pants advice. I need some new pants and am having trouble finding them. My go to look for the office is good trousers, a pretty blouse and a cardi or blazer. My go to pants were always Banana Republic Martin pants. They seem to have changed something about them and now they are very narrow through the leg. I have a narrow waist but do have hips and "sturdy thighs". Any other recomendations out there?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How to be a good house guest

As summer comes ever closer now is the time that those wonderful invites to visit wonderful places come around. The fabulous blog Social Primer has a terrific post today on how to be a good house guest. Click on the link to read the whole post. http://www.socialprimer.com/2011/05/most-favored-guest-status-house-guest-code/

In today's fast moving, sensationalized world I find that manners sometimes get lost. Little things, like a hostess gift upon arriving and a thank you note upon returning home, mean so much and yet so rarely happen. The importance of pitching in and helping, of conforming to your hosts or hostesses habits are also important, and yet somehow missing. Make yourself a happy useful guest and you will be invited back.

Monday, May 9, 2011

First Communion

Mt twins, celebrated the First Communion this weekend. It was cold and chilly but a wonderful day just the same. The mass was beautiful and the kids all looked so cute in their dresses and veils and the boys in their blazers and white ties. We had a brunch back at our house afterwards and I think it was a special day for them.

OPB and CMB, getting ready to go. Hard to realize these two are twims isn't it?

CMB, she loved that veil and dress.

The whole family at the church afterwards.

CMB and OPB getting ready to go in the church doors. You can't see it well but CMB is wearing the cross my grandmother gave my mother on her First Communion day. I wore it on mine and my sister wore it too. It was a very special day for all.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Mothers Day to everyone out there! My day started out with homemade cards and pancakes before baseball. In our little league the league buys enought long stem roses for every player who has to play on Mothers Day to give a rose to his or her mother. It's so cute. At the end of the third inning all the players run to the dug outs and come running towards to stands with thier roses. They give their mom's a kiss and a flower and then runb back and resume play. This is OPB and I as he is giving me my rose. It's a sweet tradition!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

How cute is this?

So I am seeking with quite desperation for something towear to my twins First Communion this weekend. It's a 9 am mass and then a small family brunch at my house. It's a slow day at work and my boss is out of the office. A combination of things that leads me to online browing. I found this cute outfit on the Nordstroms web site. Now I know it's not what I want to wear to the First Communion but I still might at least try and copy it, if not run over there on my way home and buy every single piece. I've never been a Nordies shopper for some reason. I have tended to buy from J Crew or Banana Republic for basics and work staples and Lilly Pulitzer is my go to place for a special dress with a occasional stop at Tory Burch and Kate Spade. But really, I think I may be missing something here. I'm less than thrilled with the offerings at J Crew this year. Things seem like they are very short skirts and very high prices. And I had a horrid trip to Banana last week. Sorry folks, $100 work pants should be lined. Anyway, I'm thinking it might be time for a fresh start. What do you think? Do you guys shop at Nordies? Or another department store? And if anyone has a suggestion for what I could wear to a 9 am mass on a morning that will likely be partly cloudy in the 50's, please share!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Here come the party pants!

I love white jeans. They look so great and just scream summer fun to me. When I was a kid my Dad had a pair of white jeans that he used to put on late in the afternoons on the weekends with a Tommy Bahamas shirt. We called them his "party pants". Somehow the name stuck and even now when anyone in my family comes out in white jeans people yell "party pants". These days though, white jeans have gone more mainstream. I wear mine other places although I don't feel they belong in an office. I work as a lawyer in a bank remember. What kind of white jeans do you like? I have the ones above which are a Banana Republic Wide Leg Flare. I also have a pair of white boy friend jeans I like to wear rolled up with a tank top and flip flops. I have not jumped on the white skinny jeans band wagon. I am a size 10 with "athletic" thighs so unless I'm wearing boots, I tend to prefer a boot cut or flare jean. I do wear white capris though so maybe I'm missing out. What do you think? Another important thing is keeping your "party pants" in pristine condition. I suggest you invest in some Oxyclean. I put my whites in alone and let them soak on the Oxyclean before washing them and I don't use the dryer. I like Oxyclean better than bleach because I also think bleach yellows the fabric. For a really bad stain a great tip is to make a paste of Oxyclean and leave it on the stain. Put it in the sun if you can. Then wash and it really comes out. Let's all cheer for the return of the "Party Pant"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

When life gives you lemons, make limoncello!

I have a wonderful lemon tree in my back yard that has a bumper crop of lemons right now. It's Limoncello time! Limoncello is a wonderful lemon liquor that is a wonderful sipped ice cold, added to sparkling water or lemonade for a delicious cocktail. Consider it liquid sunshine! My mother makes it sometimes and this is her receipe.

15 lemons

2 bottles (750 ml) 100-proof vodka

4 cups sugar

5 cups water

Choose thick-skinned lemons because they are easier to zest.

Use 100-proof vodka, which has less flavor than a lower proof one. Also the high alcohol level will ensure that the limoncello will not turn to ice in the freezer.


Wash the lemons with a vegetable brush and hot water to remove any reside of pesticides or wax; pat the lemons dry.

Carefully zest the lemons with a zester or vegetable peeler so there is no white pith on the peel. NOTE: Use only the outer part of the rind. The pith, the white part underneath the rind, is too bitter and would spoil your limoncello.

Step One:

In a large glass jar (1-gallon jar), add one bottle of vodka; add the lemon zest as it is zested. Cover the jar and let sit at room temperature for at least (10) ten days and up to (40) days in a cool dark place. The longer it rests, the better the taste will be. (There is no need to stir - all you have to do is wait.) As the limoncello sits, the vodka slowly take on the flavor and rich yellow color of the lemon zest.

Step Two:

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water; cook until thickened, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Let the syrup cool before adding it to the Limoncello mixture. Add to the Limoncello mixture from Step One. Add the additional bottle of vodka. Allow to rest for another 10 to 40 days.

Step Three:

After the rest period, strain and bottle: discarding the lemon zest. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.

I'm planning to make a double (or even triple) batch depending on the number of lemons I have and use them as hostess gifts for summer parties this year.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekend Recap and a New Family Member

We had a lovely weekend weatherwise here in Northern California. Much of Saturday was spent at the ball park. Saturday morning AGB had an early game in which he was the starting pitcher. He had a great game and went 64 pitches which was 4 innings. He only walked 2 batters and allowed 3 runs. Pretty good for a 10 year old. He was hit by a pitch in the hand during the 5th inning and the coach pulled him rather than risk the hand. A great game which we ulitmately won 9 to 7.

On Sunday, I went with my mom and CMB to look at some new horses. My mare , Jasmine, had to be put down last month and CMB has totally outgrown her pony. Ultimately, we found the dark and handsome gentleman below. The newest member of our family is Dancer. He is a 15.1 hand quarter horse gelding. He had lovely gaits and was very sweet and gentle and should be a perfect next step for CMB. He needs to gain some weight and shed out that winter coat but we are excitedly awaiting his arrival sometime later this week!