Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shopping local

No, I don't grow strawberries in my backyard (I wish!!!) but I do get gorgeous, sweet beauties like these from a local seller. He swings by every two or three weeks with flats full of perfect strawberries. The first couple of times he rang the doorbell I declined, but then I figured, he obviously is a regular in this area so I figured there was accountability. If the strawberries were crap I'd tell him off the next one. But they weren't. Not only they were NOT crap, they were all perfect. I am used to the ones from the store where you get a few good ones and then the bottom ones are all squished. Not these. I have bought every time since that first time and have yet to be disappointed.

My boys love them by the bowlful, I eat them plain or in smoothies, with a banana and/or yogurt, sweetened with honey, for a lovely and filling breakfast. I wanted to make strawberry shortcake, but the strawberries never lasted long enough for me to bake.

Support your local growers. Obviously be smart about it, I don't buy from the random truck that has "great leftover cuts of meat" that I've never seen before and will probably never see again, but if it's someone you see on a regular basis, or if there is a fruit stand nearby, check them out. I trust my strawberry guy and get a great deal on beautiful fruits, what could be better?

Friday, October 23, 2009

And on the other side of the pond . . .

After the sensation British First-Lady-to-be Samantha Cameron caused with her off-the-rack M&S dress (pictured left), the shop has been smart enough to come out with another print variation in the same style. Yes, I know that she didn't quite go to the store and plunk down the 65 pounds it cost, but still, the choice is brilliant. While Ms. Cameron does, undoubtedly, have a great figure, the dress is not only on-trend but also very flattering.

Not in boring black and white but rather in a rich slate gray with haphazardly placed white polka dots, with great shaping at the waist and hips, and with the deliciously retro detail at the neckline, this is a wonderful dress whether you are built on the curvy or straight side.

I am not too crazy about the new print, it is a little too "optical illusion" for me and black and white has been played already - M&S should just cave and do the original dress print in a camel/ivory combination, or in a rich brandy color with beige polka dots. Even a dark chocolate would save this from the incredibly boring black and white combo.

In any case, at a price of only 55 pounds, it is not a bad offering all in all, and it is easily dressed up with a chunky bracelet and black heels. Check out the Marks & Spencer website for more affordable and stylish dresses.

However, the one that truly caught my eye is this one at left - only 49.50 pounds and you even get the necklace included! I absolutely despise overall Missoni-type patterns, I think that not only are they very aging and matronly, but you have to have the right insouciance to wear one. In this M&S dress, however, you have only the skirt done in the zigzag pattern and the result is that you have the top be a clean canvas for that statement necklace.

If you want to see a badly worn Missoni coat, just check out the hopeless Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, with shiny head, bad posture, and a coat that makes her look like a psychedelic bag of potatoes. No, no, my dear, only solid fabrics for you!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Salad days

I love seeing my salad greens grow.

To me they are as beautiful as flowers, and just as delicate. Every day I go out and see them get a little bigger, a little fuller, and I look forward to putting them in as many dishes as I can.

And yes, my avocados are here, buttery, delicious, perfect - I see a turkey and avocado (and greens) sandwich in my near future!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fabulous art - for cheap!

I love to have beautiful things up on my walls. Not only photos of my boys (of course), but also pictures of faraway places, timeless works of art, etc.

How can you get gorgeous images like these without breaking the bank?

Calendars, baby!

Check these out!

The oft-maligned calendar of foreign castles - there's about 30 variations of these out on the market, but gazing at these architectural beauties can perk up your cubicle real quick, so why not your home?

The castle calendar may be a cliche, but a framed shot of a faraway chateau can be a very elegant accent.

Now this is more my speed - I can get photos of beautifully done flower arrangements up around my rather stark office area AND also get inspiration for when I actually arrange flowers.

A good thing, as The Martha would say.

Images like these will make your dinner guests' mouths start watering even before they smell your delicious concoctions.

The best part is that, since you don't actually need the calendar part of it, you can buy last year's (or this year's, since we're almost at year's end) and find very cheap calendars that will reward you with gorgeous images to brighten up your home.

I got a DaVinci calendar and transformed it into this display for the upcoming holidays - I love the quiet soberness of it and look forward to putting it up on my mantel along with some candles and other goodies.