A blogger seeking a richer life... in a wasteland called the suburbs... for my family, myself, and anyone who will listen!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

'Content New Year' To All!

"From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.The Dalai Lama

The readable version of "Instructions For Life".

Tonight I'm making fish burritos for 25 people to bring to a friends 'New Years' party, and they will each be wrapped with a copy of the above... a Healthy and Happy 2010 to all of you who have been so supportive of my blog... Thanks!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lost & Chewed Gloves!

While my kids are in tennis lessons I often spend time at the 'Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth Outlet' at Tanger.  This season I needed another pair of leather driving gloves... because last year I bought a beautiful pair and my dog got a hold of one (from my handbag) and chewed up the the top edge and one finger!  So this year I swore I would do EVERYTHING to protect this new pair from (Michael Kors, originally $120/ Saks Outlet for $54/ Bluefly $72) him.  Well, the leather must speak to him because they were in my suitcase, still unpacked from skiing, he lifted the top of the suitcase and found them under some clothes... and surprise, he chewed just one in the same place as last years' glove minus the finger!  I pride myself with how I take care of things, and I love my dog, but this is crazy... more training I guess...   So now I still wear the gloves with determination, and tuck the one glove in under my coat sleeve. Shhh, don't tell anyone!  Would love to hear your 'pet/glove' stories...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thumbs Down for Avatar!

How unpopular am I right now!... Avatars' 'Special FX' was definitely special and beautiful (60% of the movie was CGI), but the plot was not original, and in fact made me very uncomfortable in it's ethnocentricity.  The ethnic Na'vi, need the white man to save them because they can't save themselves?! Will Heaven, a writer for the UK's Telegraph, put into words what I was feeling.  Don't hold back, let me know how you feel...

Our original plans were to go into NYC yesterday with timed tickets to see the exhibit on Tim Burton, the Pop Surrealist filmmaker... Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas... we cancelled our plans for a number of reasons and decided to see "Avatar" with the kids instead, well boohoo... OK my 11 year old is really into SciFi Fantasy (big reader of that genre) so he loved it, but I really think that seeing the current of Burton's "visual imagination from early childhood drawings through his mature work in film" would have been a better choice ("Oh Mom").  Of course we can do both, and do plan to go in again to see the exhibit which is at MoMA through April 26, 2010.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ski Patrol... Finds Great Design!

We drove from 19 inches of snow on Long Island, to just a few inches in Vermont to go skiing!  When we arrived at Mount Snow last Wednesday, the sign said that it snowed '4 inches over the past 12 days'... as my kids would say "MAJOR Fail!".  However the man-made stuff made everyone happy.  Here's my shopping tip... skiing is not a requirement... if you're looking for a sporty winter coat and appreciate good design, then pick a ski shop and you'll find quality, great looking winter apparel for both men, women, and kids.  It's not inexpensive, but it makes the winter coats I saw in the department stores pale in comparison, and you won't have to toss (each season) a perfectly good jacket because of a broken zipper.  Just got back from Mt. Snow, and 'Mount Snow Sports', the ski shop in the 'Grand Summit Resort Hotel' has the best selection of everything from Marmot, Bogner Fire + Ice, Killy, and 'Banner Forty Seven's shirts...

If you're a serious skier, with a serious bank account, and think that many of the clothes are 'gimmicky' and the prints scream 'look at me', then take a look at KJUS.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mysterious, Confident, Feminine

I discovered the designer Morgane Le Fay many years ago in SOHO while living in NY.  My wedding dress was from the designer.  Their pieces are wistful, feminine, and timeless... stores are in NY and LA.
Below are a few pieces from the Spring 2010 Collection...

We just put new carpeting in our bedroom, a deep rich eggplant color and everything else is a creamy white.  I have an amoire that was inexpensive and I want to dress it up with new hardware from Anthropologie... $10 each for this one... their knobs, hooks, and pulls are beautiful!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ping Pong... Innovation!

The product description says that"Ping Pong is back with a vengence", well you don't have to tell me that, because it lives with a vengence in my house... my 13 year old was ready to give up tennis (after years of le$$ons) at one point to "dedicate his life to Ping Pong"!  One Halloween he even dressed up as a '70's Ping Pong Player'... he had the whole thing down...  headband, short shorts, tight t-shirt, high white socks!  We have family tournaments (which sometimes go south), and he not only challenges his father, but any father or older child wherever we go.  
When we have get-togethers with other families, it's something that can be played by everyone.  I love it too... This racquet innovation in Table Tennis (ping pong) makes a great last minute Christmas gift or for a birthday.  Of course if you don't have a Table Tennis table you can purchase one Amazon.com any where from $300 - $500.

Just wanted to say a few things about 'holiday tipping'... make it personal with a hand written card or note, that makes the gift appreciative and not obligatory. Tipping is personal and flexible depending on your budget and your relationship with the individual.  Emily Post is still the go-to on 'Tipping Etiquette' or if you would like dollar amount guidelines MSN has suggestions for cutting back in a tight year.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Blizzard... and 'Snow Ice Cream'

Parts of Long Island, where I live, got hit hard with Saturday nights' Blizzard!  We have about 11/2 feet of snow, powdery snow, NOT the heavy icy kind that glistens on the tree branches and usually shuts down ALL communication... but this storm did present other problems as we discovered on our family neighborhood walk with the dog.  As we shuffled down one hill with a van next to us we saw a car sliding backwards (not 4 wheel drive), trying to make it's way up the next hill only to trap both vehicles in a valley between two hills.  The van turned around trying to climb back from where he came only to face the same fate as the car. There was nothing we could do... so the kids took a run with their boards and then we scurried home to make 'Snow Ice Cream'.   I  found a 'How To' video with the same recipe as I grew up with from livingonadime.com.  What's special (and thrilling when I was a child) is that the ice cream can only be made in a small window of time... at the time of fresh virgin snow!  Celebrate the shortest day of the year with this 'sweet dessert' and make it a winter tradition.  You can make the recipe with cream, milk (any percent) depending on your preference.
You can top it with fresh fruit too... Enjoy!  If you have a 'snow ice cream' recipe please share it with us.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Parenting... A Frustrating Morning!

This One...

...or This One!

I usually pride myself on being on time, but One thing messes me up, (my son forgot a book he needed at school today), I drove it to school and my morning routine is out the window... life with kids (tweens), hence I'm soooo late posting my blog today... WOW, I don't believe it, JUST NOW my other son called because he needs his 'flash drive' brought to school by 8th period!!!  Am I crazy to being doing this?  Should I say 'tough kiddo' learn the hard way?  Am I a sucker or is this just what we do as Moms?  Would you?...

I don't think I overindulge them materialistically, but what about emotionally... If I protect them from failure how will they learn... and will they build coping skills so they won't become stressed kids, and later stressed adults?  I want them to succeed and be happy but I also want to raise a child of character!
Here's a good article by Dr. Dan Kindlon, "Why Parents Indulge".

Gotta go!...  that same drive is driving me CRAZY... between morning Clubs, Jazz Band, Math Olympiads, Oh, and schlepping the forgotten things, I've worn out the road and my patience too.  Things could be a lot worse, I know...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's Brilliant... a Parent's Dream!

A secret since September?... Usually I'm pretty informed about school stuff, but yesterday...
I feel like I struck GOLD after my neighbor went to a PTA Council meeting, and told me the big BUZZ at the meeting is that our library website, hhhlbrary.org, offers FREE 'Live Tutoring' 7 days a week from 2pm - 11pm for K- early college, GED and ESL!  All you have to have is a 'Suffolk County Public Library Card', click on the icon for 'Suffolk Homework Help', plug in your number, pick the subject (Science, Math, Social Studies, and English) and a few parameters, and Voila' LIVE help from a real certified tutor (that's GOLD because we know what the hourly for a tutor is these days, right?!).  It's not only for homework, but it's a WRITING CENTER for help with essays, and resume writing too.
I know this will alleviate the sometimes math homework stresses that occur between my husband and my 13 year old Honors Math Student...

 'Suffolk Homework Help' is a consortium of Suffolk County Libraries of which we are a part, who subscribe to 'Tutors.com', founded in 1998, by Founder and CEO, George Cigale.  Hip Hip Hooray George!!!  Thanks Half Hollow Hills.  If you've tried it please share your experience with us and comment below... Thanks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Cook's Tools... and a Steal at H&M!

Like John Lennon said, "All You Need Is..." Love is GOOD, but these 3 pieces of cookware... my favorite tools I can't live without... and if I had to pick one piece of cookware that's a must it would be Le Creusets' Braiser.  "The braiser is ideal for searing foods and then cooking the ingredients slowly and evenly"...  or go from stove to oven (using foil to cover).  It's really easy to clean, and best of all it goes right to the table.  Pick a vibrant color to match your kitchen, it's a great accent color!  Suggested Price $325, Williams-Sonoma $240. The Braiser is harder to find in stores than their other products, but don't settle.

December 5th, H&M launched Sonia Rykiel's lingerie line, she is the first guest designer to create a lingerie collection for H&M including 67 luxurious pieces... so if you're sleeping in T-shirts (you know who you are) this is the time to break out. There are stores all over Long Island, and their flagship store is on 5th and 51st in Manhattan, or some prefer the SoHo store.  It's great fashionable clothing for him or her and INEXPENSIVE... especially if you're on a budget!  You'll feel like the woman in the fabulously funny IKEA commercial "Start The Car"... like you're stealing...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lace So Soft...

There's nothing like wearing lace that digs in and leaves it's mark, and especially in a thong... I know my sister swears by thongs, but I have never been able to wear them until NOW... or should I say until I saw a testimonial on YouTube for Hanky Panky lace thongs and ran out to buy a pair...  how soft, and the colors are great!  They come in special wrappings for the holidays... "Bon Bon" and a"Star Ornament". I also love this Chemise with the peek-a-boo lace panels. "To Thong or not to Thong", let me know what you think...

More Lace...
One of my favorite eclectic places for "one-stop shopping"is Meringue Boutique in Dix Hills, NY... you can shop online with them now either by 'Trend' or 'Category'... and if you decide to shop the 'upfront and personal' way in the store, you'll experience GREAT service...

Monday, December 14, 2009

9 Degrees Fahrenheit... in Orlando?!

                       Gaylord Hotels' ICE

                                       Harbin, China
What do you get when you combine Two Million pounds of ICE and 40 award-winning Chinese artisans?... a simulated North Pole in the middle of Florida!  At Gaylord Hotels,  the whole family can experience 'ICE', a Christmas Spectacular, now in it's seventh year... through January 3rd.  Share your 'holiday memories' for a chance to win a 2 night stay at the Hotel... or you could travel to China (13 hours from NY, Yikes!) for the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival starting January 5 and lasts to the end of February.

Now if you're really SERIOUS about COLD, and your kids are a wide age range, head north to Mont Tremblant Ski Resort for a whole winter culture, or if it's too cold now, enjoy it during spring break. Let me know what your No.1 ski resort is for the family?