Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Special Day Today

Eight years ago today, a tornado ripped through College Park, Maryland, a very unusual feat indeed! Even more unusual and sad was that freak tornado took the lives of two sisters, Erin and Colleen Marlatt, students at the University of Maryland, who were on campus that day and were driving home to their parent's home about 30 minutes away. The tornado lifted their car and tossed it across the campus, killing them instantly.
Colleen and Erin were the only two daughters of my dear friends, Patricia and Patrick. Pat & Pat are remarkable people and have channeled their grief into something wonderful. They created a scholarship fund for children whose parents are teachers in Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The merit scholarship awards $2,500 per year (for up to four years) for a area Catholic High School or the University of Maryland, College Park.
Tonight, we will celebrate the gift of Colleen and Erin with a Mass and reception in their honor and memory. Please say a prayer for the girls and their family today, and if you have children, Hug them tight today! Life is a precious gift!
Visit the website at to learn more about the girls and the scholarship fund.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yoga Today!

I am trying to add some relaxation to my life. I keep super busy with family, career, volunteering and, of course, socializing and I totally feel guilty when I sit down to take a break. "Shouldn't I be doing something"? "Shouldn't I always be on my toes"? My husband suggested I take yoga (he is a runner and takes an occassional yoga class for flexibility) to calm down a bit, so I bit the bullet and showed up for class today. The instructor was nice and gave great direction. There were 10 other women in the class and we all seemed to be on the same page. I felt really good during and after class, so now I have to decide whether to plunk down the $192 bucks it will cost to take it every Wednesday AM for the next 12 weeks. The bonus is that with a 90 minute class, there is a 15 minute "re-balancing" segment at the end where you just lie there and meditate. It felt super good! I think I am going to like yoga. Namaste!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Majesty Magazine

OK, so I am little obsessed with the Royals - not "off the deep end" obsessed, but ever since Princess Diana walked down the aisle in 1981 in that fabulous dress with that fabulous train (My Mother and I were up at 4 AM watching it live that morning), I have been hooked!

If I was a native Brit, I'd be a Sloane Ranger. I just adored the Queen Mum, she reminded me of my Great-Aunt Elizabeth and I just love the tradition. So why is it I never knew about the magazine, Majesty, until this past weekend. Majesty has been published for about thirty years and though it looks like a tabloid, it is actually pretty classy and newsworthy. I happened to stumble across some old issues from 2002 & 2003 while I was visiting the Book Thing (see previous post). If you like reading about the lifestyles of the British Royals, check out

Majesty gives its readers a colorful insight into the privileged lives of the royal families of the world. Personalities, lifestyles and fashion are all captured in exciting features and stunning photographs.
Majesty records all the important royal engagements and takes an in-depth look at the dramatic history of Britain�s monarchs. Month by month it builds into a beautiful and authoritative collection.

If anyone is interested in the back issues I picked up - I can mail them out media anywhere in the US....Cheers!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Grace Before Meals - Fr. Leo vs.Bobby Flay!

Last night, I had the pleasure of having dinner with my good friend MFF at Amicci's in Baltimore's Little Italy. After a delicious meal of house salad with calamari (MFF had a Caesar salad with shrimp), garlic bread and a glass of red wine (full-bodied Chianti), we walked across the street to the parking lot of Da Mimmo's to watch a big screen presentation of "Throw Down with Bobby Flay" featuring one of Baltimore's own Catholic priests, Fr. Leo Patalinghug. Bobby and Fr. Leo were in a contest to create the best fajita and Fr. Leo won. You may be familiar with Fr. Leo - he is a cookbook author, creator and host of "Grace Before Meals." His message is pretty simple -- the act of creating and sharing a meal can strengthen all kinds of relationships -- Check out his website at

Now that our children, K & J, are out of the house, I realize just how important it was to gather together nightly for a meal. At the time, J didn't think so -- Here is a sample scenario circa 2004-05:

Dad: (with a smile) "How was your day"? J: (without a smile) Fine. (then dead silence..) Dad: (still smiling) "What did you do at school today"? J: (still not smiling) Nothing.....(silence continues throughout the rest of the meal)
tries to make small talk to break the silence, but to no avail.

And so it went. Now that D and I eat alone (don't get me wrong, every night is a date night when your children are gone), I do miss a crowded table and the "stimulating conversation" we shared with the angst filled teenaged boy (who has turned in to a fine young man BTW!).

If you don't know about GBM, visit the website. Here is a recipe that I have tried that is just delish -

Mushrooms Stuffed with Honey Sausages

Ingredients: Olive oil, Mushrooms, Sausage, Honey, Blue Cheese, Fresh Spinach

How to make it: Add olive oil to Pan. Cut stems off large mushrooms and place cap-up in the pan. Carmelize for a few minutes. Remove casing from sausage. Form meat into mini meatballs and cook in a second pan. Add ½ cup water and allow meat to cook in the steam. Add a few tablespoons of honey and blue cheese to the pan. Fill mushrooms with meatballs and pour honey sauce over top. Add Spinach to the pan and sauté for a few minutes. Plate spinach, place mushrooms around it in a circle.

Simple Meal!

A Great Swap!

I follow the blog "Monograms and Manicures." You may already be familiar with Hopsy -- she is the super cute style maven who posts daily -- like I should -- and offers her readers chances to sign up for her give-aways and swaps. Last month, she hosted a "swap" and had over 125 blog followers sign up, including moi. She paired me with a Texan named Desiree who, other than being a Duke Blue Devil Fan, was the perfect swap partner. Here is a photo of the "loot" I received from this extremely generous blogger friend. I must say, for someone who has never met me in person, she was pretty spot on with my likes and style. She sent me a gorgeous moc-croc GREEN journal and a beautiful crystal turkey that will hold the Godiva after dinner chocolates on Thanksgiving Day! Thank you Desiree!! If I am ever lucky enough to have a bevy of followers I would love to host a swap. I guess if I posted more than once very few weeks I would get more followers!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Farmer's Market

It was a good morning to hit the Waverly Farmer's Market. It wasn't too hot, it was overcast and I think that helped in keeping some people away. It was very easy to maneuver the midway, I remembered to bring my reusable shopping bags (Go Green!) and the fruits and vegetables were ripe for the picking! A few weeks ago, I made it a goal to buy something new every week. Two weeks ago, I bought a green called Purslane and last week I bought cute little Twilight Eggplants and Asian Stir-fry Greens. Husband D was not impressed with the greens selection ("Too Bitter"! he exclaimed), so today I asked him to come along with me and my good friend (and fellow gourmand) E to help me make my selections and, of course, carry the bags! After purchasing the "regular" weekly summer staples: peaches, peppers and coffee beans, we went searching for new goodies. We settled on Green and Red Zebra Tomatoes and fresh red beets. Now, I have always eaten pickled red beets, but it is my hope to grill them tomorrow as a side dish with dinner, so I am classifying them as a new find. If things turn out as delicious as I hope they do, I promise to post the recipe! Yum!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Need to Add More Photos to my Blog...

Here is a photo of my husband D and me on our most recent vacation. We went to Alaska in July and, as a East Coast gal who loves to head anywhere "up the Atlantic" but particularly to Jamestown/Newport, Rhode Island, I was a little leery about spending my precious downtime in the damp and chilly Northwest. It turned out to be a terrific trip and I will post more about it later, but in the meantime, here is a photo of us sporting our "Lilly" during cocktail hour on the ship.


I follow the cutest blog - Monograms and Manicures. The author, Hopsy, has almost 900 followers and her daily posts are quite amusing and sometimes informative (I got a great cakeball recipe, found a cute website, "Not Soap Radio," etc.). Last month, she posted a opportunity to participate in a "swap" and I eagerly signed up. It is my first one. There were 128 other followers who also signed up and she did a great job of randomly pairing us up. The theme was "Fall into Prep." My "Swap Partner" lives in White Oak, Texas. She is a fellow blogger but unfortunately she is a Duke Basketball fan (ugh! I am a Maryland fan and Duke is our biggest rival). I had lots of fun shopping for her and even added a little something for her daughter and her dog. We mailed our packages to each other the beginning of this week. I can't wait for the mailman to come!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Talbot's Outlet

Do you have a Talbot's Outlet where you live? There is one near me, on the outskirts of Baltimore, about 35 miles from my house, and if I hit it in on the right can be PAY DIRT! I visit the outlet about three or four times a year -- and last week I got $721 retail of Spring and Summer duds for $140! 80% off the original prices! Checkout the Talbot's website at and click on the outlet link. You won't be sorry!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Book Thing!!

I took a trip the the Baltimore Book Thing in the Waverly section of Baltimore City this morning with my niece, L. L is a freshly minted high school graduate who is starting at the University of Baltimore in a few weeks (on a full four-year scholarship). The "Book Thing" is a unique book store of sorts -- all of its books are donated by individuals, groups and even libraries, and the best part -- ALL OF THE BOOKS AT THE BOOK THING ARE FREE! In fact, the volunteers encourage you to take as many books as you can carry, or haul in my case, as many times as you want! The Book Thing is a Baltimore treasure and something that should not be missed. I donated a box and left with a box, so I am not sure how that helps me weed out my book collection, but...... Today's catch was 16 books, ranging from a 1958 Mary Margaret McBride cookbook to a 2006 copy of The Devil in the Junior League, a book that many of my gal pals have read. I almost bought it on Amazon last week for $24, so I think my morning at the Book Thing was one well spent.
Right after the Book Thing, I headed over to the Waverly Farmer's Market to check out all the goodies. I bought purslane, a salad green, that was featured in one of my health magazines last month...full of lots of anti-oxidants, so I'll give it at try. I also got three little twilight eggplants and some homemade ginger chutney. Looks like tonight's dinner is going to be a pretty yummy experiment!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Running Again!

After a nine hiatus, I am back in the running game again! I can't believe I let myself slip ( oh yes, I can - who am I kidding?), but after celebrating my 47th birthday last Friday and trying on some cute summer things I picked up at the end of the season in 2008 that are, shall I say, a "bit tight," right now, I am back on the program. I ran four miles this morning - it was tough and slow, but I was determined to not stop and take a break. I did OK and I know with practice my time will improve. I have a great pair of Saucony shoes that I just love and they really alleviate the pressure on my knees. Am I really middle-aged? I just don't want to believe it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Lilly Sale Was Super!!

I went to the third day of the Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse Sale on Friday. Though I am sure I missed the bulk of the deals that were found on Wednesday and Thursday, I didn't have the time or patience to wait in line to get in any earlier. It was well worth the wait and the 90 minute drive. There were still quite a few good deals and I think I found them. Friday was Ladie's Shoes - buy one get one free. I scored two pair of McKim's, a coral pair and a white pair for $69.00 - that is $34.50 a pair and McKim's were retailing for $138.00 this Spring. I also got a dress and two pairs of capri's. I took my 15 year old niece along as well (it was her first sale) and she really had fun. I found out that the Fall Sale is Friday, November 20 and Saturday, November 21. Circle it in the calendar!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Junior League of Baltimore New Year Kicks Off

I have been a "card-carrying" member of the Junior League of Baltimore since 1987 and this year I am the Membership Vice-President. This is a great job for me because I love socializing with people and I love the Junior League! In case you don't know anything about the Junior League -- it is an international organzation of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communties through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. We had a leadership training workshop last Saturday featuring a dynamic trainer named Vicky Clark. If you are in the market for a trainer, she would be a great choice. Our 2009-2010 Leadership Group is pictured above.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Time Flies!!

So, my last post was almost two months ago! I think I said in that post that I was going to be more dedicated to posting.....oh well!! It is not that I was hanging out doing nothing. Just when you think your life is getting a little less stressful and you think you can relax, the "Man Upstairs" sends something more for you to handle -- the story of my life -- and where I will begin today.

When I started to post again in April, I was just finishing up helping my dear Mother-in-Law through some pretty serious surgery and rehabilitation. She, at 87 1/2 years old, was diagnosed with breast cancer in January and underwent a mastectomy in late February. While she was in hospital, she was found to have some other health complications, that were not life-threatening, but did require her to have a 30 day stay in a rehab facility. Attending to her needs, with the help of my husband and our niece, Dee, took a huge chunk out of my winter/early spring, but on April 15 she was given a "cancer-free" diagnosis from her oncologist. We rejoiced and felt pretty confident that our lives and schedules were going to get back "to normal."

But when man plans, God the very next day -- April 16 -- at Noon, I received a call from my brother that my 72-year old father, who has Alzheimer's Disease. fell and could not get up. By 2:00 PM that day, less than 24 hours after my M-i-L's "all clear," I found myself once again in a hospital, now taking care of my Dad. After a week at Johns Hopkins, he too went to rehab (the same one as my M-i-L) to regain his strength, but he did not get any better. My dad passed away on Tuesday. May 5.

For the past three and one-half weeks, I have started the task of dismantling my father's life, going through his belongings, washing and then donating old clothes. clearing off shelves and laughing and crying while looking at old pictures and momentos. This has been a crazy, and unexpected, year for me so far. It has not all been bad though, there is a lot if good news to post as well and this time, I promise to sat in top of it!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cash In Those Gift Cards

I know you all have them. In fact, you probably have hundreds of dollars in gift cards that are just sitting in cabinet drawers, old purses or in your wallet. Make a point to find them now and SPEND THEM because you never know when your next favorite retailer is going to go the way of the typewriter and rotary dial phone! I still get a bit melancholy when I think of the demise of Bombay Company and Linens and Things (...and Circuit City was one of my husband's favorites).

I have a bunch of gift cards, mainly given to me as Christmas gifts. I recently corralled them all together to see what they totalled and much to my surprise, the total came to $800! That is just sinful and I will admit I am a bit ashamed that I am have not used them, so I am making a plan to spend them down within the next 2 months. After all, it's "free money" and there is no reason why I shouldn't be spending "free money" before real money, right? The first gift card to fall will be at Johnnie Rockets, a retro 50's hamburger shop that has restaurants in most malls around the country...$40 down, $760 to go. And, to pay it forward, if I don't use the entire amount tomorrow, I am going to give the remainder to a random fellow diner and ask them to do a good deed in return.

Back on Track!

OK, so 4 months have gone by since my first and last post! I am not sure whether it was the winter doldrums, my over committed schedule or general melancholy because of the state of the economy that kept me from posting, because I definitely have opinions and comments about many things, but I am back on track and hope to be a regular poster from here on out! Though I have not been writing, I have been reading and have found a few blogs that I cannot live without checking a few times a week - so I do feel connected!

My goals for this blog are simple: to make some new friends from around the country (and the world), to muse about the things a 40-something with family and career demands faces and to report great deals on food, fashion, make-up and fun as I find them! Though I do not profess to be the utmost authority on these things, I do hope I will find some followers so I feel compelled to continue to blog (who wants to write to themselves anyway?). I do hope you will check in with me periodically, if not regularly. Cheers!