Friday, February 28, 2014

18 Days and Counting...

It's coming up so fast, too fast I fear. March 18th Ashlee and I board our flight and arrive on the morning of the 19th to Dublin, Ireland. We stay there until the afternoon of the 25th then fly to London to stay in Kensington until the 28th when we hop aboard the Eurostar and head off to Belgium for a week. I tend to get so wrapped up in planning the adventure that it isn't until just before departure that it all begins to set in. Three countries in 17 days with my twenty year old niece. Have I lost my mind? What was I thinking?? I'm terrified of talking to people and Ashlee is even worse. At least in Italy with Nicole I could easily convince her to ask store clerks questions, but Ashlee? Not a chance. I'm not as concerned with visiting Ireland, since let's face it, the Irish are the salt of the earth and just wonderful people, but in London? Our accents will be a dead giveaway and we will be instantly despised. I asked my British gal pal if the English really do hate Americans and she assured me, "Yes, but we are far too polite to let on." Terrific. Maybe I can lie and say we're Canadians...What ever possessed me to think that all this was a good idea?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Notes from Ray

I am known to save everything. I've recently decided that it's entirely ridiculous and I need to go through all my stuff and toss it. I started with my childhood shoebox filled with every note that Rachel and I passed to each other from 4th grade through to senior year of high school. Why do I still have these? But before I throw them to the fire, I thought I'd scan my favourites and share them. The first one clearly predates email and was labeled Top Secret, although I'm still trying to figure out why...

Rachel was never ashamed to state her feelings, especially when it came to boys.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Young Brendan

Lately I've been in purge mode and have been getting rid of a ton of crap. I have all these old photo albums with pictures of random celebs - why am I keeping these? But before I throw them all in the dumpster, check out this super old pic of my favourite actor of all time. Hard to believe he turned thirty-four this month.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


After watching True Detective a couple Sundays back I ordered Nic Pizzolatto's book Galveston. Usually I drag my feet through reading a book, even one I really enjoy. Especially one I really enjoy. I get attached to the characters and don't want it to end so I stop a few chapters from the finish line and don't go back to it for months. It took me years to finish The Color Purple. However, Galveston is a pure page turner. Made me think of the story my mum told me about The Other Side of Midnight and how she could not put it down and stayed up til one in the morning because she had to see how it ended. I used to only read nonfiction, but lately I've branched out and Galveston was one of those stories that is so vividly written that you can almost smell the mildewed carpets, feel the tension, sense the fear, hear the creak of those old pickup truck doors, and taste the salty coastal air. I'm sorry it's over, but, man, what a read.

Monday, February 24, 2014

M'new Specks

So I got new glasses last week and thus far they have mostly gone unnoticed by friends and family. My mum and my lil' brother were the only ones that took note and their response was the same: "Oh, you got new glasses..." Translation: "You look worse than before." I feel like it's kind of a huge change seeing as I went from rectangular sophisticated frames to old school Elvis Costello types and so I don't get why more people haven't said something. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about them myself and Baby's lookin' for some feedback.

I saw Bishop last night and figured if he didn't say anything that I should seriously consider going back to the old ones. Maybe I'm too old for fun, funky frames. As soon as I crossed his threshold, he stopped me and said, "Hey, new glasses? Huh...I like them. I do. Very Buddy Holly." Whew - what a relief. Then he spent the rest of the night making fun of me and his husband for watching Downton Abbey. He prefers to watch it with us while listening to his iPod. "Downton is so much better when put to House music." I don't think those words have ever been uttered before. That's our Bishop - a complete original.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Scala Santa - Castagneto Carducci

by Mauro Baldetti

Friday, February 21, 2014

Jason Hinson

Here's a groovy little drawing from Jason, one of my Icon pen pals from the nineties. I just love it; it's so fun and cheerful.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

Goatherd of Terni - Circa 1871

Silenus - 1838

The Bridge at Narni - 1837

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ella for Ms. Star

Track listing for the spectacular Ella Fitzgerald mix that my bestie made for me as a Valentine's gift.

Blue Skies
Can't We Be Friends?
Bewitched, Bothered, & Bewildered
I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
Black Coffee
Satin Doll
You Can Depend on Me
Miss Otis Regrets
I've Got a Crush on You
You're Blasé
Sophisticated Lady
Lush Life
It's a Pity to Say Goodnight
Night and Day
So Dance Samba (Jazz Samba)
I Concentrate on You
Wait Til You See Him


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

True Detective

(photo kidnapped from indiewire)

I'd been hearing a bit about this series but seeing as I don't have television I never got a chance to really check it out until last night. After Pax and I watched the latest Downton Abbey ep it was Bishop's turn with the remote. He is currently addicted to True Detective. No surprise since he's somewhat infatuated with Woody Harrelson (who isn't?) and so he caught me up on what the show is all about. "It's very dialogue driven," he said, "It's not so much about the case as it is the detectives themselves." I was all-in at that point. So often with cop shows it focuses only on the cases and you rarely get an in-depth look into the lives of the characters. We settled in and checked out last week's episode and merged right into this week's and I'm already completely hooked. Sunday night can't come fast enough.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Kinda Colouring Book!

O-M-G!! A Twin Peaks Colouring Book? Doth mine eyes deceive me?? I seriously think I need to purchase this for all the planes and trains I'll be taking next month. It's an ideal travel companion!

(photo kidnapped from etsy)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Letter from Logan

I think you should go to Ireland for the trip. I am in the school spelling bee!!! I loved the super bowl. Anyone can be good at music. You can come over every saturday and i Will show you how to play the cello. Circle responce: Yes No. Anyways i am in a chess tourtament. If you want you can come to. In the computer, on Minecraft, i am building a parkour map. A parkour map is a map with a lot of jumping puzzles. Bye.

♥ Logan

In my previous letter I think I had told Logan about my trip abroad with Ashlee. Maybe he thought I was trying to decide between Ireland, London, and Belgium and that's why he said to go to Ireland. I also told him that while my brothers are each pretty good with musical instruments, I can't play anything. I love how he just dove right in and told me everything on his mind. In one brief paragraph he covered foreign travel, school spelling bees, American football, music, chess, and computer video games. I just love that boy.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine Couple of 2014

(photo by Jennifer Liz Aponte)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sarah Jessica Parker

Ever since I saw her as Rusty in Footloose I knew she was someone to watch. I continued to follow her career throughout the Eighties and all the way to the now. I think she is genuine and strikingly beautiful. Every interview I have seen or read left me with the impression that she is a true and wonderful lady.

When Sarah Jessica created Lovely, I remember seeing her on talk shows discussing how much time and effort she took to get the perfume just right. Lovely is my signature scent. I wear it nearly every day and keep several bottles on hand as well as one in my purse. A few years following her perfumes, SJP started a line of clothes, Bitten, for Steve and Barry's. Marina and I flocked to the store and were terribly impressed with everything we saw. I was particularly impressed by Bitten's manifesto:

it is every woman's inalienable right to have a pulled-together, stylish, confident wardrobe with money left over to live.

I so admired her Fashion is Not a Luxury t-shirts and remember thinking, "Bravo, darlin'! A woman who is looking out for those that love high fashion, but need to pay their rent and fill up the gas tank." I still have a bunch of Bitten clothes, shoes, jewelry, and bags and actually, I'm wearing Bitten jeans this very moment. It was a solid line of clothing and as a consumer, I felt like she really put her heart into designing each piece.

When I heard she was back a-cobblin' I was extremely excited. A new line of SJP shoes? Oh, it's a dream come true! Then I saw the price tags. A hundred and ninety-five bucks for freakin' flip flops? Really? Really?! Four hundred for a pair of heels? Honestly, if I'm going to drop almost half a paycheck on shoes, I'm going for the real McCoy. Manolo Blahnik is an established and highly reputable shoe maker and I'd drop five hundred bucks on his shoes before I would anyone else. While I still love Ms. Parker, I'm super disappointed that she's left us working class gals behind.

(At least I still have my fabulous "Ruth Dunbar" shoes from the Bitten collection. As soon as I saw them I was immediately reminded of Holland Taylor's character from Bosom Buddies. They just called out to me. And they only cost $9.99.)
(photos of SJP kidnapped from kraftworks)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

ModCloth Must-Haves...

Leeds Time Dress

One for the Picture Books

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

De zaak Alzheimer

I saw this movie a couple of times last year and finally decided that I needed to snag myself a copy. Great cast and a solid film that's perfect for one of those days where you find yourself snowed in or are maybe just trying to avoid the world.

 (photo kidnapped from impawards)

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Nana Irma and Aunt Merc, 1944
(the back of the photo reads "Wartime but still shopping!")

Da holding a picture of his father who was away serving in Japan during World War Two

Carl and Aunt Cass about town

My Grandad is the gent on the lower left - his mates are Offtedahl, Schoettle, Chapman, then next to my grandfather is Marouski, Johnson, and Chapman.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Main Event

Ashlee and Sean's wedding day finally arrived! I was a nervous wreck all week, as I dread any and all social situations, but everything worked out and it was a completely gorgeous evening.

I tend to feel like I'm an after-thought for everyone that I know, so it was particularly endearing to me that once word reached the bride that I was in the building, she sent her sister, Nicole, to come get me. When Nicole couldn't track me down, Ashlee sent her father to find me. Matt then brought me back to the room where Ash was getting ready. All she wanted was to say hello, I love you, and to check out the dress I was wearing. How sweet is that? She's in the final few minutes of preparation for her walk down the aisle and she wanted to see me. (by the way - thank you ModCloth - my dress was a huge hit!)

Then at the night's end, as I was saying so long to Sean, he asked me to take down his cell number so we could stay in touch when he's back in Washington State. I warned him that I will be text message stalking him at every turn and he seems totally fine with that.

My wish is for Ashlee and Sean to be together until the end of time and share nothing but fabulously joyous moments. They are such an ideal couple and I'm just bananas over my new nephew-in-law!!

(I really liked that they had a small table set up with beautiful flowers surrounding a photo of Ashlee with her mom. Donna would have had a blast and tore up the dance floor to Single Ladies and Sweet Caroline. She was, without any doubt, seriously missed. Her absence was palpable.)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Is that a...

I was showing Skylar my copy of Shit Girls Say and when we reached this page he asked, with complete and utter sincerity, "Is that a douche bag?" After about twenty five minutes of raucous laughter, I pulled myself together and explained that a douche bag doesn't actually exist and informed him that no, that is what is known as a hot water bottle.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Random snapshots of Venice from March of last year with my cutie patootie, Nicole!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Geert Van Rampelberg

This fella is a god damn delight to watch.  Aside from the fact that he is completely gorgeous, he is just an absolutely sensational actor. I'm really hoping De Behandeling is released in the States, as it looks way intense. My obsession with all things Belgian continues, with no end in sight...

(exquisite photograph by Sarah Van den Elsken)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Happy 2nd Bday, Jax!!