Oh Buddha!

April 2012 005Remember the Big Buddha I fell for and then couldn’t find again?  Well, I did find it again, and it has come to live in the woods.  It’s a little darker than the one I saw in first, but I like that; it’s almost a wine-red, so it seems to go with more colors than the true red… 

The first picture is very accurate color-wise on my monitors, both at work and at home.  It’s a fabulous soft, quilted, faux patent exterior, with a rather typical interior fabric.

April 2012 004That interior is perhaps the reason I’m smitten.  It’s tall enough for a standard magazine to stand up in there, but it’s structured enough to hold its shape when it only has a sunglasses case and a large wallet within.  It has the traditional inside side zip pocket, and the other side has two slip pockets up high enough that my trusty iPhone is always within reach.

April 2012 002It even has feet on the bottom, and it came with a matching cross-body strap, but I’ve already managed to put that out of sight, out of mind.  Hem.  Luckily, I don’t have another conference that requires air travel ’til fall.  Maybe I’ll find it by then.

We’ll see how it holds up.  The Knight found it on eBay and paid roughly 40% of the suggested retail price, shipping included.  At that price, I hope it will last all summer.  However at comparable retail price, I would be expecting multiple seasons, with no signs of wear for several months. 

I am re-thinking my wallet strategy.  I’m very fond of my Tignanello wallet, but it’s not really a wallet on a string, nor is it a functional crossbody.   The BB (Big Buddha, get it?) is large enough I could tuck a small crossbody or a large wristlet within for errands, but that still doesn’t address the fact that I rarely utilize all the space in that very large wallet.  Who out there still carries her checkbook everywhere?  I did… until this last conference. I stupidly  re-pursed in front of the Knight, and while I was pulling out business cards and such, he asked if I REALLY needed my checkbook?  Well no, but… 

And I haven’t bothered to put it back in said big wallet.  I haven’t missed it.  But don’t tell the Knight, okay?

April 2012 006

gratuitous wee one shot - she's still not letting me out of her sight

How was your weekend?  I do have 27 book reviews for you, and one more bag to share, but we have all week… maybe… if life doesn’t get all hectic again too soon.

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Short Maxi

TGIF!!!  I am so, so happy it’s Friday.  I have a few things to do this weekend, but mostly I can take some really long walks with the fur girls.

Lilly P Treena in Shorely Blue Big Garden By The Sea

I tried to find a maxi dress last year, but I didn’t really get brave enough to even try one on until late summer, and it didn’t make sense to buy one then.  However, I’m truly a little obsessed with them already, and I just stumbled across a Lilly P one that I think I’ll actually go try on.

Here’s the problem…  I’m petite, mostly.  I’m on the taller side of petite at 5’3″, but almost all of my dresses and skirts are petites, or they require alterations.  While I don’t mind having a dress altered, I do try to avoid styles that accentuate my lack of height, and the experts generally agree that includes maxis.

However…  this one in particular seems simple enough that SURELY, it can’t pose any real problems (that lobbing a couple of inches off the bottom won’t cure), can it?

Dress Barn petite maxi

I have found a couple of petite maxis, but nothing that has motivated me to even consider going to try it on.  So many of them are strapless, and I just don’t do strapless.  I’m tempted on this one though…  can’t you just see it with a cropped jean jacket, vest… white cropped cardi?  Or even a denim shirt, knotted at the waist, sleeves rolled up?

So, what do you think?  Are maxis only for women 5’5″ or taller?

What about weekend plans?  Anything exciting?

I Remember You

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful thursday and more!

I have a question for the city dwelling dogs, or for any lucky dog who has gotten to go to town before on the girls’ blog.   One thing I loved about San Fran was seeing all the dogs, everywhere we went!

DSC00593Because of our crazy weather – winter one day, summer the next, with doses of seasonal spring sprinkled here and there – my roses are blooming already.   Specifically, Mugsy’s memorial roses are going nuts.   What a sweet boy.  Even from the other side of the bridge, he sends me flowers, and lots of them!!

I’m a bit of a sap about my departed pets, particularly the boy dogs.  I still talk to them all the time, have their photos as my wallpaper and screensaver on my phone, etc.  

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Dogs & Dadaw OBX 2009

I’m so thankful for the dogs that have enriched my life, but I’m also thankful for my very supportive husband, family and friends.  Not only does the Knight hold down the fort when I travel, but my nephew ran duty crew for him at the firehouse so our spoiled brats   precious dogs wouldn’t have to spend the night alone.

What are you thankful for today?

A word from our sponsors…

I realize most of you don’t give a hoot about my over-zealous passion for all things Junior League, but stick with me through this post, and MAYBE I’ll be able to move on.  (Plus, tomorrow’s Thursday, which means I have a prescribed program…)

You know you’re in the right place when even the corporate sponsorships secured by the non-profit’s staff make you happy.  Such is the case with most of AJLI’s corporate sponsors, so I’d like to introduce them to you.

In order of their appearance on the AJLI website:

Lilly P Marlisa

My beloved Lilly Pulitzer.   Okay, this is where I confess that I didn’t do much Lilly until they became affiliated with the JL several years ago.  The rest is history.  Add in that our local Lilly boutique really does love their League, and I honestly feel guilty shopping anywhere else.  THAT my friends, is how my marketing friends dream it will work!

(Although I think I’d like Marlisa in the Bee in Your Bonnet pattern… maybe?    That yellow/pink/blue would look cute with my 3/4 sleeved denim jacket, because those who know me well know I’m not going to bare my shoulders!)

I don’t really know Lierac, but given that they gave each conference attendee three full-sized products to try, they’re getting a mention.  When/if I try them, I’ll report back.  One of the presidents I affectionately call the rocket scientist supermodel likes their products, so they must be first-rate.  (And I’m not being snarky…  her job is rocket scientist-like, and she totally COULD be a supermodel.)

Skipping light years ahead, I’m also a fan of Favorite Recipes Press, aka: FRP.  Back several years ago, our League made the decision not to attempt the rigorous process of producing a legendary Junior League cookbook.  In the two years of research it took to get to that point, I had the privilege to work with FRP and to get to know their staff and their program.  A friend and I are “graduates” of their Cookbook University, and I still dream of a JLC cookbook. 

No disrespect to the more recent winners, but I have to share the Virginia League that won the 2010 FRP Cookbook award, The Hampton Roads’ My Mama Made That.  (Please consider paying a bit more and ordering directly from JLHR; ALL of the proceeds go to them that way.)

Isn’t the cover alone reason to own it?!   This is where I have to confess that I don’t own this one… yet.  I might have accidentally almost ordered it.  However,  I can vouch for Virginia Hospitality, which is a regularly used cornerstone of my JL cookbook collection.  (And no, I won’t tell you how many I own.  I will give you a hint…  I seem to accidentally purchase a couple at every conference I attend, and then friends usually give me at least one or two more throughout any given year, and I’m on FRP’s email list and…)

Last but not least on my list is Kashi.   They put their money where their mouth is, and that allows Leagues to make strides to end hunger and educate the children in their communities on healthy living.   I am hopeful that next year this time, I will be sitting on a big secret, and come mid-May, I’ll be able to share photos of the JLC receiving a grant/award for our Kids in the Kitchen projects. 

As an aside, there are generally a host of Kashi products both in my pantry at home and stashed in my office at work.  Most taste wonderful and are pretty good for you, as processed, pre-packaged foods go. 

A special thanks to those of you who actually read this post.  I don’t take for granted that my need to spout off about what matters to me matters to others!

Global Community Impact

I feel as though it’s been a month since I’ve blogged.   Last Thursday, I jetted ‘cross country to San Fran for the AJLI Annual Conference.  It was my favorite conference to date.   Each and every speaker was motivating and inspiring, and I’m all energized and chomping at the bit, even through my jet lag.

I was blown away when I snagged my hospitality bag from the table.  I certainly wasn’t expecting a copy of San Francisco Flavors.  

Why yes, that’s an Amazon link.  Amazon and the other “big box” bookstore online and likely near you, are very, VERY good to Junior Leagues and their cookbooks.  If you don’t know JL cookbooks, then … you should.  They’re first-rate, and the proceeds support the League on the cover’s local programs and the mission all Leagues share – to provide trained volunteers, to develop the potential of women, and to improve their communities.  (Paraphrased thanks to the phenomenal Carol Scott’s PDI hint!)

The two speakers that really moved me were Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the woman behind Miss Representation and the ever-inspiring Ann Milling, the force behind Women of the Storm.  I have had the distinct privilege of hearing Ann speak twice now, and if she can’t convince you that one woman can change the world… no one can.   Ann is now the newest Mary Harriman Award winner, which (in my opinion) is the crowned jewel of the AJLI awards given annually.

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She can be ANYTHING she wants to be!

I confess here that I wasn’t excited about our private screening of Miss Representation.  I remember the intital social media campaign, but like some of you who might have burned your bras in the 1960s, I’ve done my time in the trenches, and I am guilty of resting on my laurels.  Yes, the fire service accepts women now, almost without any bias or overt discrimination.  Yay for me, and all of us on the front lines who made that possible, but again… that was one battle.  The war isn’t over.

Let me know if you’ve watched Miss Representation, taken the pledge, etc.  Let me know too if you think it’s militant feminism and you want no parts of it; I’ll put you in touch with Jennifer and her staff. 

Has the smell of fresh-popped popcorn ever led you to a thought-provoking film?

The Timekeeper

Happy Thorsday, little friday and Thankful Thursday!   Today seems to be a rather Gretchen-centric Thorsday.  Ah well, as our local vet tells Queen Sissy, “It’s not ALWAYS ALL about YOU…”  Hem.  However, I do have a question for hound or other vocal dog owners over on the girls’ blog, so DIVA is getting some time after all… of course. 

April 2012 005I don’t know where my dogs – especially Sissy – get the idea the world revolves around them.  Do you?   (Yes, that’s a blooper from my efforts last week to get photos of that skirt.   Sometimes you just have to stop and pet the dogs, right?)

Anyway, today’s post is about my life without an alarm clock.  I know dogs have pretty good internal clocks, but I’ve never had a dog quite like Lady Gretchen Greer.  Some of you will scoff, some just won’t believe me at all, but I haven’t set an alarm clock in a couple of years now, and while the Knight still does, when he needs to be up earlier, I insist upon telling Gretch what time we need to wake Dadaw.  He has slept through the alarm, but I can’t sleep through the wee one’s face to face stare, complete with a whimper-whine if needed.

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The face of my alarm clock

Yes, I’m really serious.  That little dog NEVER fails me.  She always awakens me within a couple – yes, TWO – minutes of the time I ask her to get me/us up.   Even the whole time change thing doesn’t stump her; she’ll be off the first morning, might let me actually sleep until the alarm goes off (roughly 30 minutes later than we normally rise – we meaning me and the dogs) the next day, but after that, she’s back on her own schedule.

Thankful?  I’m thankful that I don’t have to get jolted awake by a buzzer or radio or whatever other alarm clocks do.  I like that sweet little face willing me to open my eyes! 

What are you thankful for today?

Filed in the Circular File

(Circular file – the trash can.  Get it?)

Last night, I wore a new pair of shoes for the third time.   They just weren’t comfortable, and it wasn’t something “breaking in” would fix.  Evidently, I fussed at least once too often, because when we walked in the back door, the Knight said, “Take off your shoes!” so I kicked them off in the kitchen.  Imagine my surprise when he swooped them up and filed them … in the kitchen version of the circular file.

I can’t find them online ANYWHERE, despite the fact that I just bought them last month, albeit on sale.  It’s a brand I know and trust, so I was shocked that they weren’t comfortable at all…  So aside from still being shocked that the Knight tossed my shoes (I would have thrifted them, but trust me… no one wants them now), I still need a go-to pair of sandals for the warm weather that will come back soon. 

Right heel/base, wrong "top"

My beloved Merrells died.  I can’t find them either, and I know I blogged them when I purchased them while visiting with Ruth and her husband when last they were in DC.  They still LOOK okay, but they aren’t comfortable anymore.  I’m not terribly hard on shoes; the Knight has a little trouble with me retiring running shoes that aren’t blown out on the side or separating somewhere. 

What I want is those Merrells all over again.  A nice bit of heel, a bronze-brown leather, slip-in style that doesn’t weigh much but offers good support.   Something I can trot in if I need to catch someone as they are leaving, but something that looks good with jean capris or a simple dress… 

Anyone have any suggestions?  I love Clarks, don’t own and Soffts yet, but I haven’t seen anything “just right”…

And while I’m talking shoes, do any of you other fairly small-footed gals wear youth sizes ever?  I’d forgotten that trick, but the new running shoes the Knight bought me are youth sized, and while I’ve only worn them once, they fit well.  I seem to recall (from when I used to exercise this option regularly) that the youth shoes run a little wider, and don’t work at all for anything other than athletic shoes…