How to Survive a Case of the Mondays

Mondays. Bleck. Few words in the English language elicit as much disdain as "Monday." 

So, when you have a big-time case of Office Space-style Mondays, here are some of my go-to survival tips:

Fix your hair.  Mondays + bad hair day = inevitable crankiness.  Take a little extra time to blow-dry and curl and fluff your locks.  I assure you, if your hair looks like a Pantene ad, you'll feel much more eager to greet the day. 

Words to Live by

These words by Omar Khayyam, the twelfth-century Persian mathematician and philosopher, always resonate with me.  Each time I read them or hear their poetry, I am inspired anew.


Taste Testing: Giada's Sauce

I'm sure you've been seeing Giada's smiling face all over Target commercials lately.  Honestly, when I noticed her new line of products on store shelves, I thought she was a bit of a sell-out.  How many celebrity chefs do we really need to pimp their own products?  How good can this stuff really be?

Love and Marriage...

...sometimes it doesn't go together like a horse and carriage.

Most mornings at approximately 10am, my neighbors wage a war of words against one another. Lovely--this is NOT a petit plaisir. They scream and yell at such a volume that I can hear them across the parking lot, as I sit in my office.


Round and round we go

Lately I feel like I'm spinning.  Forgive me if my posts are infrequent over the next few weeks-- I am taking on some extra work this summer.
In the meantime, let's all just dream of sweet treats and chocolate-covered goodness:


The Taste of Summer

I wouldn't consider myself a big fan of summer. Fall is my season.  From an early age, my mother inculcated in me an obsession with pumpkins and changing leaves and Halloween, for candy corns and cinnamon scents and cool crisp evenings in turtlenecks.  When September rolls around, you will likely need to remind me to contain my autumnal exuberance. 

But, aside from time at the beach and the smell of Hawaiian Tropic, there is one thing that LOVE about this time of year and that is the taste of summer.


Feeling Blue?

Homemade blueberry muffins are a true taste of summer.  Who needs a boxed mix when recipes are this simple?  

Pour mon père

Happy day to my dad! 

Daddio, you've given me a strong moral code like Atticus Finch: 


Cocktail du jour

After a fabulous idea from one of my readers, I would like to debut... my very own cocktail:

The Pink Frenchie!

A Tribute to the Tall Girls

For those of you who know me only through that little bitty profile photo, I am in fact not lilliputian.   Quite the contrary, I consider myself a tall girl.  Technically, I measure in at 5'11 and 1/2 inches.  I embrace that last half inch away from six feet, as I have since I was about age thirteen which I reached that height. 

So, what's the big deal?  I am not WNBA tall or circus tall or Guinness Book of World Records tall.  I am just a bit above average.  But, for my entire adolescent and adult life, on an almost daily basis, someone feels compelled to remark about my verticality.  That tends to seep into a girl's psyche after a while.


Table for Two: Tropical Fish Tacos

The hubby has been having a rough week at work.  So, this evening, I tried, best I could, to whisk him away to the Riviera Maya for dinner.  I played some relaxing tunes, poured him a cold cerveza, and for dinner, I pulled together some tropical tilipia tacos. 

Words to Live by



Traveling Tuesday

This evening I'm giving my Art Appreciation students a lecture on the Italian Renaissance.  For most of them who hadn't set foot in a museum prior to my course, the only familiarity they have with the Renaissance is because of the Ninja Turtles: Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo and Raphael.  


The Art of Design: The Peacock Room

In 1876, a shipping magnate from Liverpool, England consulted James Abbott McNeill Whistler, American expat painter living in London, in redesigning his Far East-inspired dining room. At first, Frederick Leyland, the patron, asked Whistler for simple suggestions on paint colors for the space, as one of Whistler's portraits was to hang over the mantle.

When the patron was away on business, Whistler impulsively seized creative control and redesigned the entire room, without financial support or consent from his client.


The September Issue

Yes, gals, that's Anna Wintour's signature smirk on my tele.

Have you seen the 2008 documentary
The September Issue? If you have ever read Vogue, or secretly wanted to be Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, or coveted a Chanel suit, you MUST watch this film.

Crudites 101

My go-to easy summer appetizer is a lovely assembly of raw or poached veggies with an assortment of dips. But, rather than haphazardly arranging your carrots and cucumbers on a plate, or dashing off to CostCo for a ready-made version that's been sitting in the refrigerator for ten days, take a bit of care, and you'll produce a visual display that might make even the kiddies want to gnaw on some crudites.


Flowers for Friday

Rather than dashing out to buy peonies or tulips this Friday, I am simply staring at one of my potted plants. Two birthdays ago, one of my dearest friends from high school/soul sister sent me this orchid. It bloomed a glorious fuchsia shade for about a month and then, as they do, the blooms all fell off.

Wall of White

After four years of living in our apartment sans draperies, I finally purchased curtains for our living room. Because we live in easy breezy CA, I selected very soft, white, sheer panels that are uncharacteristic of my usual exuberant color choices.

As I told my perplexed hubby, "I want to feel like I live on a sailboat." And now, with those curtains aloft, I do.


Words to Live by

Images borrowed from here, ImageShack & here.

Paris Reverie: Le Musée Rodin

"The main point is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live. To be human before being an artist!" -Auguste Rodin

Most often, the big museums of the world receive heaps of praise from the press and from art-hungry tourists. But for me, the little collections of art delight my eye and capture my imagination.

While the Met or the Louvre or the Prado boast encyclopedic collections that seamlessly cover any major period or movement in art history, given a choice, I prefer museums with smaller yet carefully assembled collections.


Love in the Time of Baseball

Though you might not guess it from my Pink Frenchie exterior, I LOVE baseball. I love that the season lasts from Easter to Halloween. I LOVE listening to baseball radio. I love talking ERAs and RBIs and OBPs.


Design Inspiration from Nature

Thanks to a faithful reader for reminding me about the loveliness of blooming Jacaranda trees. In Southern California, these purpley flowering trees are a botanic harbinger of summer. They line so many streets in our neighborhood that the skies appear to have produced lavender snow. Will someone please build me a Jacaranda flower snowman with a tulip nose and poppy eyes and a celosia mouth?


Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice

The current issue of Saveur magazine is entirely devoted to markets. When I set foot in a new city, I usually head for the local food market first (don't tell my art historian buddies that cathedrals and museums are sometimes second or, gasp, even third on my list of sites to visit).

Markets offer the unique opportunity to mix with the natives, to sample the food they actually eat (not some watered down tourist muck), to see glorious displays of produce and meats, to be inspired and to enjoy the purest of culinary pleasures.

The Tart Tongue of Tony B.

I not so secretly wish I had a little more Tony Bourdain in me. In a world of fake folks, Tony is among a rare few television personalities who says what he thinks (with or without the assistance of the local beverage of choice).

Top of Your Queue: A Movie Review

I am catching up on the chick movies in my dvd queue and finally got to my disc of It's Complicated. Most anything that Nancy Meyer's touches turns to cinematic gold (Something's Gotta Give, The Holiday, The Parent Trap--- a.k.a. before Lohan went cracko, Father of the Bride); and, I knew from the initial credits that I would find equal satisfaction in her latest flick with Meryl, Alec, and Steve (I like to think of them as my friends, so I refer to them in the first person).


Prosecco: For the Everyday Celebration

Americans save sparkling wine for special occasions far too often. Bring out the Champagne at Christmas or the Blanc de Noirs for a graduation or Cava to celebrate a promotion. I believe in popping out the sparklers for all the little everyday achievements!

Salut--- I just folded all seven loads of laundry in under two hours!

Cin, cin--- we're not having spaghetti for the fifth night in a row!

Bottoms-up--- we sat through an entire Ken Burns documentary!

Tapas Time

In response to a special request from a reader, I wanted to take an afternoon break and talk tapas. As the days grow warmer and the nights grow longer, tapas are the perfect mid-evening patio snack.


A Still Life from My Real Life

On the weekends, I often indulge in a little midday snacklet in the form of cheese (pictured here is the herb and garlic Boursin--yum!). A fresh crusty baguette and some Spanish olives compliment the ensemble. And du vin blanc never hurts....

Cheers, mes amis!


Flowers for Friday

Today's flowers are not trapped in a vase or contained in a bundle or stashed in a grocery store cooler. Rather, they are out in the California soil, soaking up the sunshine.

A Summery Weekend Wish

May your weekend be filled with all kinds of wonderful: Images borrowed from WeHeartIt.

Coffee Table Chic

I perpetually rearrange my coffee table to reflect my current taste. Sometimes the table is quite minimal with three sleek silver candlesticks. Other weeks I'll have a large bowl of seashells out.


Up, up and away

Ever since I watched Up, I have dreamed of tying balloons to a little house and going aloft with all of my domestic goodies. Since that would only happen in Pixarland, my fantasy has morphed into a fascination with taking a hot air balloon ride. This dream is only ever so slightly hindered by the fact that I am really scared of heights. I'm talking knees-knocking-in-the-nosebleed-seats scared of heights.
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