Monday, September 30, 2013

The Paris Wife

Having been to Paris for the first time in my life two years ago, I suddenly became obsessed.  I couldn't help but put my hands on all things Paris.  So, it was only fitting that when a friend recommended that I read The Paris Wife, I was drooling at the mouth to get my hands on a copy - for the record, I have both the hard copy and ebook versions. 

The book tells a lovely, yet very unique story from the perspective of Ernest Hemmingway's first wife.  It begins in their courtship and then follows their journey to Paris, until the ultimate, one cannot say ending, but rather transformation of their relationship. And no, it's not a spoiler that they don't end up together - that's history already known, people.

Now, it can occasionally be a tough story to take in because of their tumultuous lives, but a story from which you learn an appreciation. Hemmingway's first wife has no problem admitting that the life of the famous isn't always easy, a well-told truth.

And hear me now when I say this, the book will make you want a drink. Seriously. You will want to drink not because of their ups and downs or highs and lows, but actually because there is no getting around the presence of booze throughout the book.  Most of their time is spent in cafes drinking - whether morning, noon, or night.  Party all day and party all night.  So readers, have your liquor cabinet well stocked.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

J. McLaughlin Fall Dresses

As we step into the Fall season, I like to start the transition of my wardrobe, and one of my favorite Summer to Fall transitions are the J.McLaughlin 3/4 sleeve dresses.

My favorite used to be the Harbor cotton dress, which unfortunately they no longer carry. So happy to have stocked up when they did, but that still doesn't stop me from continuing to question if they will ever bring it back:

Theses days, the Panama Wrap has replaced my beloved Harbor Dress as a new favorite. As with most of their current lines, it is the nylon/spandex mix of comfort, style, and a great fit all in one.

Above photo provided by J.McLaughlin

Sunday, September 22, 2013

OPI: Chihuahua Bites

One of my favorite nail polish colors for the seasonal transition of Summer to Fall is OPI's My Chihuahua Bites.  It's the perfect blend with a touch of pink to not completely lose the Summer, but also an orangey tint to help welcome the Fall.

Happy Fall!  

And, cheers to me for another year wiser...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tennis Hall of Fame

When in Newport, you must visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame. 

The museum site dates back to 1880 and its historic grass courts are the world's oldest continuously used competition grass courts, which are also the only competition grass courts open to the public for play.

There is a restaurant attached to the museum where you can sit outside, grab a drink and/or a bite to eat, and enjoy the view of the grass courts. Be a true tennis connoisseur and order a Pimm's Cup!

When we were there, we were lucky enough to catch a Court Tennis match being played. Court Tennis, or Real Tennis, is the game from which all racquet sports evolved, dating back to the Renaissance era. The game is housed in a cavern-like 90' x 40' court with a red cement floor and is confined on the sides by towering gray slate walls.

 Enough verbal jargon, just check out the pics below:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Magnolia for Brunch

Magnolia Cafe declares its motto as "Everybody Knows, Everybody Goes" and it isn't at all presumptuous, it's just the truth.

Not only is the food wonderfully delicious and originally creative, but also the location is the perfect pit stop after a walk along Lady Bird Lake.

Be sure to sign in, and don't be shy! Our first visit, we made the mistake of waiting for a host to put our name on the list. After about 5 people had passed us, we realized it's a self-serve type of thing...

The cafe was originally named "Omelettry West" as it was the sister restaurant to Austin's original Omelettry, but within the first 10 years of operations, in the late 1980s, a change of ownership resulted in a change of name. Yet no worries, they still have a plethora of omelet options, all of which are delicious.

But the change in name meant the menu could become more expansive, and for brunch, the options are endless...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Oriental Rugs

In this month's September 2013 edition of Architectural Digest, the magazine features a look inside Ralph Lauren's Bedford, NY home. Of course, the look was nothing but tasteful and well done - I could move into the place in a heartbeat.

One thing that did particularly catch my eye was the layering of Oriental Rugs in the living room. Not only was there doubling up of Oriental Rugs, but his living room actually does a triple play of the decorative flooring.

You could tell the rugs had been well aged because they were so thin, which might attribute to why it is okay to have the multiple layering. I don't know if I could pull it off, but either way, I really like the move.

Above photo provided by Architectural Digest

Oriental rugs are a classic interior design that never seems to go out of style. Whether you are lucky enough to inherit one, or just splurge on one yourself, its an investment worthwhile and a gift that keeps on giving. Here are some that were fortunately passed along to us:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Whole Foods Mecca

Austin has been the beginning for many greats - music and food and you-name-it. When Whole Foods began, it started as a small concept market in this quaint space:

Now, more than 20 years later, look how far they've come?!

While the store may have outgrown its origins, the quality and concept have remained the same. The market stays true to a core focus on healthy, natural foods good for all to consume.

But when I think of Whole Foods Market, I am constantly reminded that it was actually Wheatsville Co-op that started the natural foods movement in Austin. Unfortunately, they didn't have the same business drive as the Whole Foods team. Despite opening its doors in 1976, four years before Whole Foods, it is only this year that Wheatsville has announced the opening of their second location, some 37 years later...

Granted, Whole Foods was off to a rough start. Within the first year of starting the market, a huge flood hit the Lamar location and caused crisis for many businesses along the road. But, you can't feel too bad considering nowadays they have over 240 stores! Not too shabby...

Above photos provided by Whole Foods Market, below photos taken by Slone Ranger:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The US Open "serving up bagels"

Nothing beats a New York bagel.  They say it's in the water, and it truly has to be. Really any New York bagel beats every other bagel, but my favorite in the Big Apple is Ess-A-Bagel.

Finagle a Bagel in Boston does run a close second, and in DC, I like to hit up Bagels, Etc in Dupont Circle, pretty legit.

But what cracks me up these days are the Announcers at the US Open calling out Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray, just to name a few, for "Serving up bagels" meaning a scoreless set for their opponent, 6-0.

Classic New York.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Lobster Pot at Tackle Box

Hey Washingtonians - looking for an East Coast quality yet casual seafood shanty? Have you tried Tackle Box? The picnic tables and decor are quite fun, and the clam strips are pretty legit. Get your fish grilled or fried, simplicity at its finest.

The clam chowder is not too thick, not too thin, but just the right consistency and flavor.

Really cool... you can get a Lobster Pot to go! They will put it all together for you - clams, mussels, chorizo, corn, potatoes, seaweed, spices, and of course, lobster - and then you take 'er home to get to cookin'. Just add a bottle of cheap white vino and presto - fresh lobster in the comfort of your own home.

Even cooler, the pot can then be turned into whatever planter your heart may desire. Nothing wrong with planting your Kale or Collard Greens to be available for the year round. Reduce, reuse, recycle...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stubb's for Food and Fun

You may have seen the sauce in the store, but to truly get the taste for Stubb's, you have to have the experience.

So what exactly is the concept of Stubb's? Take a Texan who knows good food and music, and you have the perfect recipe to create a gathering worthy of a POTUS.

Musicians, known and unknown, come to Stubb's to work for their meals, and everyone else comes for that viewing pleasure. For top bands, Stubb's is a destination. For me, it is heaven in my mouth. Their chopped beef sandwich is where it's at.

Live music, good food, cold drinks, folks, and fun...