Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

As the clock ticks down on 2011 and we prepare to welcome 2012, I have only a few random thoughts. First off I am taking down all the Christmas decorations and giving the house a tip top cleaning. I always do this. I like to start a new year on the right foot. Tonight we are staying in with the kids. Yesterday we picked out a new movie to watch (Kung Fu Panda 2). We'll have a nice dinner and watch the ball drop in NYC at 9 our time. We call that celebrating "New York New Years". Hubby and I may stay up till our time New Years but no guarantee! I have to say I am not sorry to see the end of 2011. It has not been my favorite. I'm hoping for better things in 2012! Wishing you and yours a safe New Years Eve and a fabulous 2012!

Christmas Recap Part 2

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were spent at my parents house. We do this every other year. It's both fun and stressful. I do love to see the cousins open their presents together.

Niece E opening her presents. All she wanted Santa to bring her was a snow hat. Looks like she got her wish.

My youngest son, OPB. His great grandmother gave him this funny wolf hat she got on a trip to Alaska and it was a huge hit. He is a wolf scout this year in cub scouts so he loved it!

Daughter CMB wanted roller blades and Santa obliged. She was totally excited.

All three of my kids dressed up for Christmas Eve. Love the bow tie on OPB?

CMB by the tree on Christmas Eve. She's getting to be such a big girl. It's hard to believe she is only 8!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Recap Part 1

The Christmas festivities commenced for us this year on 12/23. We alternate where we spend the holidays. One year we spend Thanksgiving at my folks and Christmas at home and then reverse the following year. This was a year to be at my folks. On the night of the 23rd some friends of theirs had a caroling party. The host is a former concert pianist and has an amazing voice. It was really fun.

My niece, E who loves to sing and looks quite at home on the piano.

CMB singing her heat out!

MMB and CMB. People think we look a lot alike but I don't really see it. Plue she's pretty blond.

CMB up close. It was a really fun night and a great way to start the Christmas festivities!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Quick Thoughts for 2012

I promise to do a series of Christmas recap posts but have yet to manage to get all my pictures out of my camera. However, as we approach a new year, thoughts always turn to resolutions. I really loved this article entitled..."30 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself" You Can Read It Here!

It really spoke to me. Especially numbers 5 and 6. But it was number 25 that really grabed me. Number 25 is "stop pretending everything is fine when it is not" I am the queen of this.

I am going to print the article out and post it on my cube wall to remind me. I'm sure I have other resolutions but this list is a pretty good start!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays

Add ImageToday is my last day at work before the holidays and likely my last post too. Tomorrow we will head down to my parents and I won't have access to my computer till the middle of the following week. I'm looking forward to the time away from work and relaxing. Hoping everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Belle of the Ball

One of my favorite parties of the year is the Los Altos Hound Hunt Ball. It's always the Saturday before Christmas and held at the Menlo Country Club which is a gorgeous club and the food is terrific. One of the most fun things about a Hunt Ball is that it is "white tie, scarlet if convient." That means long dresses and even more fun, the gentlemen of the hunt who are awarded colors wear scarlet tails with their white tie. It's so festive and fun!

LAH Huntsman MC, Master of the Hunt (and my dad) KB, Master Emeritis AS and Master of
Hunt JG. My brother-in-law D, sister JAO, Hubby and me!

Hubby and I. I totally love this dress and most excitingly, I last wore it the year before I had AGB which was 11 years ago. Love that it still fits! It was a really fun night and a great kick off to the week before Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Favorite Holiday Tradition

I had another favorite holiday tradition to share, The Nutcracker. Every year since I was 10 I have gone with my parents and sister to see the Nutcracker at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House. The San Francisco Ballet was the first ballet company in the United States to perform the Nutcracker and they are justifiably proud of their production. The past 4 years we have taken my daughter, CMB and the last 2 years my sisters son T. Neither of my boys attend because they just aren't interested and getting dressed up does not appeal to them. I take a day off from work, we get all dressed up and go out to lunch first. It's my favorite part of th eholidays!

The San Francisco production of the Nutcracker is a little different. First the Nutcracker has a slightly different and distinctive look as you can see above. Second, at the end, before the grand pas deux that is more traditionally danced between the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavilier, the Sugar Plum Fairy turns Clara into a grow woman (by magic) and the grand pas deux is danced between the grown Clara and the Nutcracker Prince. This has 2 different results. First, their is no Rose Queen, the Sugar Plum Fairy dances that solo and second, there is no Sugar Plum Cavilier. It was a little odd the first time I saw it but now it makes sense.

Here are CMB and her cousin T after lunch before the performance. I have more pictures of the kids and family but haven't had a chance to get them out of my camera. Truely it is a special day and one both CMB and I look forward to all year. We buy a special ornament for the tree each year and then when we decorate the tree the following year can remember the good times. Do you go see the Nutcracker?

Monday, December 12, 2011

On my wish list!

I have been on the hunt for a new scent. I love Bobbi Brown Beach and wear it all summer long. But summer is over and I just used that last of my fresh lemon sugar which I like but don't love. I wanted something a bit more grown up. Something that says, "Why yes, here I am" if that makes any sense. I think I may have found it in Brooks Brothers new scent called Madison.

The Brooks Brothers web site describes it as follows:

"Introducing Brooks Brothers Madison for her, a new style of signature fragrance that captures the essence of the feminine, flirty and glamorous. Madison is filled with dramatic notes of night-blooming jasmine, pink peony and purple rose maroc against a sensual background of deep Tuscan leather and spicy pink saffron. Includes a crystal pave fleece charm attached with 40" silk cord which is removable and can be worn as a jewelry piece"

I will have to stop in on my way home some night this week and check it out. Meanwhile, I've put it on my Christmas list. Santa, are you listening?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Creating Holiday Traditions

Everyone has their treasured holiday traditions. Did you ever wonder how they got started? In our case, it usually starts with a one off experience that is so fun, it must be repeated and pretty soon it isn't Christmas without it. In our family we have a tradition about cutting down our tree. We live in the SF Bay area. For years, we have gone over to Half Moon Bay to cut down our tree. Three years ago, the weather was so nice, we went down to the water and had lunch. This time of year coincides with crab season, so we bought some crabs for dinner (YUM!). Suddenly it was tradition. Some years it is wet and some years fine. This year all the kids are old enough to enjoy the crab, clam chowder and calamari. In such small ways, traditions are born.

AGB holds up the treasure. Crabs for dinner!

It's nice to have AGB old enough to help secure the tree to the car. Having it fall off is my re-occurring nightmare!

Dad cuts it down although everyone wants a turn withthe saw!

A rare moment of fmaily togetherness, no fights on Christmas tree day!

MMB, I always get the final say on the tree!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Another Wardrobe Staple, The Camel Coat

A while back I did a post about one of my favorite wardrobe staple, a black cashmere tee. Well I have another one to mention, the camel coat. Mine is a cashmere, single breasted one the hits below the knee. I bought it at an end of the season sale, almost 10 years ago when I was preggo with AGB. Then it hung unworn in my closet for almost 8 years while I was a stay at home parent struggling with baby spit up and toddler mess. At the start of this last current cold season I noticed that my last years coat looked a little tired and unearthed this brand new coat from the recesses of my hall closet. It is still perfect and given it's absolute timelessness, still looks perfectly stylish. Wearing it today with my tartan perfect shirt, black cashmere tee, bronze ocher J crew pencil skirt and black boots I feel just like Dan Ackroyds preppy girl friend from Trading Places!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thoughts on the Flair Skirt

J Crew branched out from their fabulous pencil skirts this year and gave us the flaire skirt. I was totally seduced by the rose print. Then I canved and bought navy.

However, I have to wonder about the camel and henna. J Crew is offering 25% off and free shipping on any amount today and I was thinking about grabbing another color. The issue of whether I need another skirt aside, I'm concerned that, unlike the pencil, this shape and the buttons will look dated next winter. The material and workmanship are top class on this skirt and it has the capability to be a wardrobe staple for many years. What do you think? Is this a shape that will stand the test of time? Or will I pull it out next year and think, "so 2011?"

Friday, December 2, 2011

Need a Little Christmas!

In spite of my great list of ways to avoid letting the "Grinch" down the chimney yesterday, he is still lurking around so I am courting "Holiday Cheer" with great determination. This picture from J Crew years back is one of my long time favorites. I have this great coat in red and love it. I'm going to pop into Starbucks for a peppermint mocha on my way home and cuddle up with my kids to watch Rudolph tonight. Tomorrow we are going get our tree and deck our halls! Then I will really be ready to throw out Mr. Grinch

Thursday, December 1, 2011

When the Grinch Comes Calling

As the clock clicks over to December, I find myself feeling somewhat Grinchy. The holidays can be a very stressful time and I always feel the pressure to create the perfect holiday moment. The best tree, just right presents, fabulously fun parties and terrific treats all need to be part of the mix and I find myself feeling overwhellmed and cranky. So how to keep the Grinch at bay?

First, I try to remind myself that I don't have to be perfect. The excitement of the season is really enough for my kids. Just being me is good enough. Second, I try and enjoy what I can. I work full time and am not the one home baking cookies (which is likely a good thing since I am

a terrible cook) but I can sit down after dinner with a cookie and hot choclate and hear about the mess they made with Dad. I can walk around the city at lunch and admire the tree in Union Square and the skaters at the Embarcadero. Third, I really do try and work out. It's horribly hard to get up in the cold and dark to do this before work, but it does make a difference.

Saturday we will go and get our tree and dress up our house for the season. Hopefully, the Grinch wont come bother us! Do you have any secrets for when the Grinch comes calling? If so please share!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Wardrobe Staple

There are certain items that are just the building blocks of a wardrobe, at least mine. A navy blazer, a striped boat neck tee, you get the idea. Another absloute staple is the short sleeved cashmere tee. I have several of these but the black one is most certainly the centerpiece. Today I am wearing it over a white turtleneck with gray skirt and tights. Saturday I think I will wear it to pick out our tree over the tartan boy shirt. A short sleeved sweater just can do so many things. Here in Nothern California, where our summers are cool and foggy, they can be worn to the office with skirts and trousers and look polished and puleld together. In the winter they layer over tissue turlenecks and button downs for that extra layer. Truely a cornerstone in my closet. Do you agree?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was fun and festive. Now however, my thoughts turn to my very favorite holiday of them all. Christmas. When I got to work this morning the office lobby was all decorated and I am looking out my office window at the tree in the Bank of America plaza across the street. Starbucks is filled with their red cups and gingerbread lattes abound. But, having kids, we often experiement with hot choclate recipes. I found this one below for gingerbread hot chocolate in Coastal Living Magazine. Yummy!

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
10 whole cloves
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
4 cups whole milk
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnish: mini marshmallows

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in an 8- x 10-inch piece of cheesecloth; pull edges together, and tie to secure.
2. Heat milk and spice bundle in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring just to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and steep 30 minutes.
3. Remove spice bundle from milk. Heat milk mixture over medium-low heat until hot. Add brown sugar; cook, stirring constantly, until sugar melts. Add chocolate, stirring until chocolate melts. Stir in vanilla. Serve warm; garnish, if desired.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Being Thankful

I can hardly belive that it is Thanksgiving tomorrow. It seems like this year has just flown by. I have so many things to be truely thankful for. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday and I will see you all next week!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Think Boys, Think

It's 5th grade music time! That's right, yesterday AGB came home with a trumpet. I suppose I shold be thankful, he attends public school and this is not an enrichment program I paid extra for. It's the school 5th grade music program and all 60 5th graders take part. Still, I feel like I need to apologive to my neighbors, "that noise? no there is not a cow in labor in my yard, that's my son and his trumpet". I have visions of Robert Preston in The Music Man standing in front of this group of 5t graders going "think boys, think". Still, learning to play an instrument is a good thing and I also suppose I can think of worse instruments. His best friend was assigned the violin.

Monday, November 14, 2011

My New Favorite Show

I totally love the new ABC series Once Upon a Time. The idea is that the Evil Queen cast a spell that transported the inhabitants of Fairy Tale Land to a small town in the Northeast called Story Brook and none of them remember who they are and none of them are happy. A small boy named Henry, the adopted son of the town's mayor (who happens to be the Evil Queen) is the only one who knows what is going on and how to break the curse. He finds Emma Swan who is his birth mother (and the stolen daughter of Snow White) and tries to convince her to help him break the curse. It's totally fun and fabulous! Have you seen it?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What I decided

In my last post I shared that I was thinking of getting another skirt in the Jcrew 25% off sale. Well, I tohught I would share what I decided. I actually ended up getting none of the skirts I was thinkng about. I received the dreaded cancel email about the green pencil skirt, the blue was just to bright and the camel was sold out in my size. I figured it was the universe's way of telling me I didn't need another skirt. Then, last night as I walked to the train I passed a J Crew store. In the window was a maniquin wearing the flair skirt in the rose print, a red turtleneck sweater and camel coat. I felt faint with desire and rushed home to check the website. The skirt was still there, in my size and I jumped. It's a beautiful print and I can't wait to wear it. I also ordered the cashmere turtleneck in the red to go with it and already have a camel coat. My fall/winter story is really, camel, gray and navy with red touches. This should fit right in.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

I've decided to buy one more skirt during the current J Crew promo. It's 25% off, plu i have my rewards card and 8% with ebates so it seems ot good to pass up. So it's decision time. I'm wanting a great camel skirt since my color story has evloved to be camel, gray, navy and touches of red. So should I get the pencil? It's totally classic

Or should I get the flair. I admit the a-line shape appeals to me more than the pencil which I usually have to buy a size up and have altered because I have hips but a small waist. Still, I worry that this shape will seem dated next year while the pencil will be classic forever. Also, it somehow reminds me of middle school.

Now I totally went nuts and bought the skirt in virideian green. It hasn't shipped yet but I couldn't resist the color.

If I have the green one, do I need the blue one?I missed it the last time it was out and have lusted for it since then. I haven't seen it in person but understand it's really bright. They both seem pretty similar, in that they are statements, in a classic shape. I don't think I can justify both. Which do you like best?

Decisions, Decisions. I may just get the camel pencil and call it good. Do you have any of these? What do you think?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Here puppy, puppy

I've had a rough week at work and thought this might bring a smile to yours (and my) face. Summer is puppy time in hunt kennels. One day during the summer we took CMB's new horse up to our kennel property to ride and start getting him used to hounds. While there we got to play with the new puppies. There are very few things cuter than hound puppies. My daughter, CMB, is in the center with the lemon colored puppy. The other two are our huntsman's kids. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Manner will Always Matter

Are good old fashion Southern manners going away? The NY Times seems to think so. According to an article found HERE. Although the article was interesting, I refuse to believe it. I think manners will always matter and I am raising my kids with that in mind. Saying "yes, please" and "no, thank you", waiting until everyone is seated before begining a meal, writing a thank you note, standing when a lady leaves the table, and a hundred other small things are what matter. They may seem like an outdated way of behaving but I think how you present yourself and how you treat others is important. The overall mood of the country and the anger I see only serve to reinforce that. Manners and civility are the better course rather than ranting and raving. It's not always easy to do but it always pays off, at least in my experience. I'm going to give you a specific example from my professional life. Two years ago the manager that hired me left for another position and I was shunted about the department and had staff added, then realigned. It was not a good experience. I was always polite and helpful and never refused to do what I was asked. Although it seems like I should have been more angry and forceful the utlimate response was a new manager and a great review commending my positive attitude and grace under a less than ideal situation. Are manners on the way out? Not in my household!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I tend to do alot of posts on cousins. My kids have alot of cousins. On Hubby's side they are the youngest and there are 15 cousins older than my kids, the oldest of whom is married with kids. On my side my kids are the oldest and there are only my sisters two. However, we see them the most since we live close. My sister's son and OPB are besties. However, this post is girl cousin based. My daughter, CMB is 8, my sisters little girl E will be 3 next week. They haven't really had alot in common until now. E is finally old enough to ride the pony and CMB loved that. This past weekend we had a race meet on the day before our opening hunt. CMB rode her new horse Dancer and E made her debut on the pony, Baxter. CMB used to ride Baxter but has finally grown to tall. You can see Baxter behind the girls and the trailer. He's totally darling and a great first leadline pony.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Opening Meet

This past weekend was the opening meet for the Los Altos Hounds. We were a little anxious because it was the first time that CMB's new horse Dancer had been out on a formal hunt. We've had him out several times during the pre-season autum hound training but a full on hunt is a little different and opening meet is a big deal. I am thankful to report that he was very good. The weather was quite warm and dry here in NorCal but we still had a great time.

Hopeful wants out of the trailer! I love the hounds. They are so sweet and darling.

This is our whole group. From left to right are my father, me, CMB, my mom and my sister.

Mom, me and CMB. Getting ready to go!

CMB calls my father Abu. I've been taking this same shot of the two of them every year at opeing since her first opening meet when she was 3. She is 8 now and this is her 5th opening meet.

CMB and Dancer. The begining of a wonderful new partnership. He's about 15 hand high so she ought to do for her for the next several years. By next season they should be ready to go first field and jump.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I love Bobbi Brown makeup. He tinted moisturizer is one of my absolute favorites. I also adore the gel eyeliners and cream eye shadows. Her palettes are also amazing. She has a nack for putting together the right shades so that they all work and nothing is left out. Currently I am loving this tortoise shell palette. The Nordstrom's web site describes it as follows:

"A flattering collection of warm neutral makeup for medium to darker skin tones, this palette lets you go from soft to smoky in no time flat. The eight shadows in the Bronze Tortoise Shell Eye Palette are designed to be layered—there's no blending required. Start with the lightest shade, then layer the darker shades until you get the desired intensity. Tortoise-shell glasses inspire the special limited-edition compact—Bobbi's muse for this collection.Shades include:- Banana Eyeshadow.- Gold Nugget Sparkle Eyeshadow.- Amber Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow.- Copper Cocoa Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow.- Tiger's Eye Metallic Eyeshadow.- Bronze Metallic Eyeshadow.- Olive Sparkle Eyeshadow.- Espresso Eyeshadow. "

It feels like the perfect combination for falls richer colors. What do you think?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Help out San Mateo Park School!

Hello and happy Monday to all my lovely readers. Hope your weekend was fabulous. I wanted to ask for your help. Everyone knows about the dire straights most public schools are in these days. Well, A few months ago our Grant Team (of which I am a member) submitted an entry for a proposed tech lab with new computers, iPads and printers for San Mateo Park School. Voting is now open and the school needs everyone's help to win up to $50,000 in The Clorox Company’s Power A Bright Future grant program so we can do it!

Help us secure funding to "Create a Technology Lab that Empowers Teachers to Engage all Students"! There are two easy ways to vote - and you can do BOTH daily!

We need your votes daily until December 9th!

Text clorox8968 to 44144

AND you can also vote on our nomination web page at
You may vote one time online AND one time via Text per day. Please share this great news with your family, friends and neighbors so they can vote too!

Our school is a wonderful place. The teachers and the staff are truely amazing. It's a math/science magnet school and we want to keep making it even more amazing. If you could spare a moment to help that would be fabulous!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mad for Plaid

I love plaid and last night looking in my closet I realize that it is possible that the plaid shirts may have taken over from the navy striped ones. J Crew has done several great plaid shirts this fall and most of then have taken up residence in my closet. I really love their "Boy Shirt". It's slim and neat, not sloppy and it has a presence and style, whether worn with jeans or a pencil skirt. What do you think? Are you "mad for plaid"?

I love this navy with cream and red plaid shirt. It has the brass colored buttons too. I am wearing it to work today with dark trouser jeans and ballet flats. I also like the look of it as they styled it on the web site and might try it with my camel trousers. I also plan to wear it under my navy tippi sweater with the cuffs rolled back and my bronze ocher pencil skirt.

I know they have re-released this tartan shirt but I bought mine last winter. Looks great with black pants and is very festive and yet I don't think it screams "Christmas" so loudly that it couldn't be worn other times.

I loved this navy plaid shirt above so much that I also bought it in the red color. This one looks great with cords and jeans and is a weekend staple.

I also bought the fabulous quincy tartan shirt which appears to be sold out on the web site so I can't find a picture. It looks great under the navy Tippi and also under the camel one. I may need an intervention!