Thursday, January 31, 2008



One of the blogs that I have fallen in love with is Chic & Charming. Sophia is innovative, unique and has a certain elegance and grace that is truly her own. She gave me a wonderful idea that she actually received from another blog. She has started an online store on her website.

I have a passion for beautiful books. Being a struggling author...(yes, I am even working with a publisher), I am always on the quest for outstanding books and ideas for entertaining, decorating, travel, sports, etc. With three children (one is a teen) of my own who are avid readers, I will watch their interest in books and will share them with you. Since anyone can type in certain key words in and get similar results, I will not say that these books, etc. are difficult to find, I just have selected a few of my favorites and organized them for you. If you choose to purchase them through my site, it would be a little tribute to my time and would be appreciated. P.S. Please be patient because I am still working on a few of the categories. For example, my husband said I must have a scotch, cigar and wine book for the men's section.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


We love turtles!
We love the turtles from Palm Beach

and those from the Vine,

Those that are good to eat

(just kidding)

and those who love canine

We want a turtle to hug
and one that makes a nice note
(my daughter has this)
Turtles are great...they get our vote!
Herend Hand Painted Porcelain Turtle

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Etiquette Class for the Chinese

There was an amusing news clip today about how the Chinese government is teaching etiquette to its citizens. With the Olympics coming this summer, Chinese leaders want the world to be impressed by the sophistication of the Chinese people (which was totally lost during the cultural revolution). In a country where we debate the proper behaviour of our dogs, comparatively, the Chinese are working on some human basics:
- Let people off the bus first before loading
- Do not spit on the sidewalk
- Do not blow your nose on the sidewalk without a Kleenex (disgusting..they even showed this on the news)
FUNNY STORY: A few years ago, my husband was invited to speak at the annual Chinese Designer Showcase in Shenzhen, China. We were actually there with two french couture designers..I need to look these guys up sometime (more stories to follow about their experience). While my husband was speaking and it was being translated, cell phones in record numbers, were ringing and conversations were being conducted. In most situations, one person's cell phone goes off in a speech, they leave in embarrassment, not was the norm.

We were also invited to a elegant, formal dinner with all the fashion leaders in China. I was placed next to the editor of Vogue China and his model girl friend. We felt a little like celebrities.. if I had known that people would be taking my picture, I would have definitely dressed better. My husband was photographed as well and many young Chinese women came up and said.."Mr. A. so handsome". I said "They are probably the gals sewing your garments in the factories...of course you are great". Anyway, the interesting thing about the evening is that we were excited about a traditional formal Chinese dinner. To our surprise, the dinner was totally western fare right down to the silverware. The Chinese are so historically elegant and detail oriented, but for some reason, a small detail was overlooked... many of the people at this fancy affair were not familiar eating with silverware. Even though the Chinese may be laughing all the way to the bank, this evening was not their best work.
LESSON: "To Thine Own Self Be True" -- William Shakespeare

Monday, January 28, 2008


A few years ago my husband and I took a trip to Belgium. We stumbled across a little store in Brussels. I remember the beautiful chocolates but as always, could not recall the full name. Looking for some delicious chocolates for Valentine's Day...his name came up and now his chocolates are available in the US. Not only is he one of the best chocolate makers in the world, is presentation is stunning too. Love the red heart!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tiffany Pearls for Dessert

As many of you will see in my blog, I am always in pursuit of the perfect cake or cupcake. Here is a little number from Cake Envy that says it all.....dessert, pearls, Tiffany...what's a girl not to like. This is definitely a new twist for those Tiffany themed showers for weddings or babies. If you are out to dinner and your husband or boyfriend thinks this dessert will work in lieu of a real set, he is purely mistaken.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Thought this would amuse you. Sad to say that I have actually served colored bread at one of my daughter's birthday party. Isn't presentation everything?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Everyone has their priorities on how they spend their money and I prioritize household help. I am fortunate enough to have a housekeeper and a laundress. Our laundress has not been here is a few weeks and we are starting to pay the price. She simplifies a big element in my life--mounds of laundry. Mostly she washes, folds and puts away the clothing. That is it! If time permits, she will starch and iron my linens. Even though I owned a business and managed a staff of 50, I am weak when it comes to household help. I like the comfort of knowing who is in my home and touching my laundry. Also, I believe it is easier to keep someone than hire and train a new person. So I am stuck making a national plea for her return.

In terms of ironing, I was blessed at one time to have a rotary iron or known to some as a mangle. This was a linen lover's dream come true! It was from a friends estate so it was old. I tried to put a large folded tablecloth through it and burned out the motor. Oh well, I guess it is best for napkins only. I have my eye on a new rotary iron...on my list.

Old Rotary Iron

(use to have)

Wish List Rotary Iron

(I guess it is strange to want this but I do)


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Can Popcorn Be Preppy?

I discovered this little popcorn company just in time for the Valentine's Day. Not only does it come in an adorable blue and white tin, it is actually delicious. My favorite is the Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate and the Air Popped Cheddar Cheese. Smaller tins or adorable bags could be customized with a monogram & used for party favors. If you want to give your sweetheart something red, they have a red & white tin too. To purchase click here: Hampton Popcorn Chocolate Caramel Crunch 1 Gallon Tin

Monday, January 21, 2008


For those preppy puppies and their masters that are not receiving the proper etiquette lessons at home and need additional guidance, there is "Miss Fido Manners Complete Book of Dog Etiquette". We found this delightful book in the pet section of Macy's on State Street in Chicago.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


New York may have Frank Sinatra but Chicago has Frank Wright
(Frank Lloyd Wright)
Well, because we have a 3 day weekend, and it is way, way too cold to ski, I decided to take my three children to Chicago for a few days. We head to Chicago about every 2-3 months for a quick visit (my sister and sister in-law live there). We just love Chicago!
Big Bowl on Cedar Street
RJ Grunt's

We have our usual stops which to most seem rather boring...Big Bowl on Cedar, which is a stir- fry Asian restaurant (I had pomegranate mochi), the Walnut Room which is at the Marshal Field's (I mean Macy's) on State Street and RJ Grunt's which in below my sister's condominium. I'd say...that is about the extent of our dining repertoire.

(can purchase at Trader Joe)

Other favorites include the restaurant at Ralph Lauren, the Neiman Marcus store restaurant and before we leave town today, we will hit Cereality...can you tell I have children. If you complain about paying $4.00 for a box of Fruit Loops in the grocery store, wait until you pay $4.00 for a cup of Fruit Loops! If you think that is not bad enough, just wait until your kids pile on the M&M's, Reece's Pieces, and Coconut and have chocolate milk on it too. Yummy! Dining at its finest. UPDATE: Cereality was closed! Space for rent. Bummer. I also try to incorporate some type of education exchange even though from an economic perspective, Adam Smith would find shopping quite educational. This trip, we went to the Field Museum..I think this is about the 12th trip for us. In addition to the 1500 dead animal carcass displays (they probably are not real--just case there are animal rights activist reading) and the oversize lizard bones (according to my tour guide they are plaster casts from molds of actual bones--whatever), there is something that every girl should see...Jewels. This time my children learned about the variety of cuts and yes, the most important skill... how to spot a fake! According to the tour guide, there may have been 6 major extinctions on the earth but many of these gem stones have survived them all. Now that is truly survival of the fittest!

Field Museum of Natural History
Grainger Hall of Gems
Pretty! (not actually at the museum--for effect only)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


He Fired Gene Simmons!
Unlike most normal families who are watching American Idol , Dancing with the Stars, or playing a quite game of Monopoly, my family watches the APPRENTICE and this season, it's CELEBRITY APPRENTICE! Even though other shows are entertaining and we love them too, the Apprentice teaches people-skills essential to survival in the corporate world and in life. My children have to guess which candidate will be fired and why, and the strategy used, etc. They are also learning about losing gracefully, etc. Love it.. Last week they fired NADIA COMANECI ....she will be fine, she has a perfect "10". Yes we went to B-School so this show appeals to us "Pink Preppy Party Yuppie" types!


I am just looking at my fingernails and realized that, I am desperately in need of a professional manicure. Wouldn't be nice to bring back those 1957 white gloves for days like these..when you would like to hide your hands. I love my new nail salon. I took my 93 year old grandmother there last week of a winter pick-me-up. The deluxe manicure treatment including a salt rub, hot paraffin wax, hot stone massage and the other typical filing, polishing, etc. I had a basic treatment with clear polish because nail polish remover seems to evaporate in my home ....yes, because it is always left opened, it evaporates, so any nail color is out for me . This is what happens when you have a pre-teen and teenage daughters. Even though I have never smoked, a nice pair of white gloves and a smoke would have made my day (I guess the car and earrings would have been great too).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


As they say in Chicago "Vote Early, Vote Often". Today is the Michigan Presidential Primary. As many of you may have heard, what a mess. As any party person knows, discussing religion, politics and sex (or is it money) at a party is in poor taste. I plan to leave politics out of my blog (even though it is a large part of my life) because this is blog is suppose to be for fun. After several personal attacks over my party affiliation--even by good friends, I realized, discussing politics is not fun and we never bring it up to anyone outside our family unless we have a written guarantee that they agree with us (just kidding). We love a healthy debate...which so many people are uncapable of having.
On to the lighter side of politics....there are always great parties involved. I even met my husband at an "Election Night Party". I have attended four Inaugural Balls in Washington (for both Democratic and Republican Presidents), and I must say, the Michigan Inaugural Ball is the best --sorry Dallas--the Black Tie and Boots Ball" is not an official ball since it is the night before the Inauguration. The Michigan Ball is at the American History Museum in Washington DC. Most of the other balls are at hotels with 3-4 other states involved and you have to pay to sit down--yes pay. In addition to the Inaugural Balls, I also think there was some type of ceremony--peaceful, changing of power-thing going on in DC at this time too.
It is a long road until Jan. 20th, 2009 (Inauguration) ...Black Tie and Boots is Jan. 19th.....HANG IN THERE EVERYONE!
UPDATE: My husband just read my blog and said the Michigan Ball is not official either. Well then, never mind!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Smathers & Branson

I have included on my blog a section of shopping sites for husbands, sons and boyfriends. My husband is always on the looking for unique classic clothing so I will share my findings with others looking for the same. My dream is to needlepoint belts for my son and husband (golf course design belt). Since I am still working on a pillow I started this summer (and the hard elements were done for me), I thought it would be best to purchase my husband a belt. Here is the belt I selected. I think the $165 price tag is definitely fair when it comes to time and materials required to make my own. I just doesn't have the same meaning, but it works all the same. At this point, the only other company I have included is Bill Khakis--others to follow when I get the time. Bill Khakis featured my husband in their newsletter and website (standing in Iraq), so he made the request for them to be on my blog.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Well, I just finished up my thank you notes (a little late but needed to coordinate my three children's notes too) and have recovered from the holidays. I am starting to plan the next few months of parties. Will keep you posted of my plans. We also have two breaks (3 weeks total) in the next three months. Planning to go skiing and somewhere warm. I just love the movie Marie Antoinette. Being a history buff (especially historical fiction), I loved how this movie was produced...ascetically, it is everything I hoped for . "The Other Boleyn Girl" is coming out February 29th and I am trying host my book group at the movie theater. We will see if they would be interested. I read the book 3 or 4 years ago and am anxious to see the movie!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


After 20 long years of using my preppy yellow golf bag, and three years of research and trying to decide on the perfect bag for the next 20 years, I have settled on the Keri Golf "Nancy" bag. Even though your immediate thought is...."Is black preppy?" Well, my preppy yellow bag was not only dirty looking, it looked like it was starting to grow mold...a little disgusting I must say. Even though the caddies at our club always were willing to drag it out of the bag room, they never really held it too close to them. I went with this bag for the obvious reasons:

1) Black looks good year round and this bag comes with a anti-mold coating (not really).

2) This bag will match all my outfits...even though my clubs stay on the cart, someday I may have to carry them and I cannot clash with my Lilly P

3) This bag comes with a written promise to lower my handicap


5) I am having custom green monogram FootJoy shoes made to match the green on the bag

6) Black makes you look like a serious golfer

7) It has so many pockets for all my lip gloss, sun glasses, sun screen, and 50 golf balls I need to carry because I loose a lot, etc.

8) It has a matching tote bag

Anyway--I am finally at peace with my golf bag. The golf bag selection for preppy girls is pretty limited and Keri seems to have the best selection. Lilly Pulitzer had one too but I choose to go with this one for all the above reasons.

SCALAMANDRE (french accent is missing)

Well, here is my new wallpaper for a small bathroom in our home. I love Scalamandre fabrics, wallpapers and trims. When decorating, I always start there! Now I just need some fabric to go around the antique sink we had glazed. Will keep you posted but love just love this wallpaper.


Sex in the City "The Movie" Count Down: 139 Days
(Does she marry "Big"?)

Friday, January 11, 2008


Back in my college sorority days, there were two sisters from Indiana and their mother owned a fabric purse and accessory company. All our party favors for special events were from this company. I remember a fabric book cover for sure. Amy and Joanie's grandmother's name was Vera Bradley. Because of this, I have been very loyal to the cause. Here are my latest finds....



(My husband does not think this is masculine enough for his female
bird hunting dog --he also feels the same about the name Coco).


Well, one of my favorite pop culture artists is Andy Warhol. I just love his humor (his quotes) and interpretation of everyday life. While smelling the roses, he just adds a splash of bright color to a black and gray world, and there you have it... Art. My preppy daughter loves him too. We are in the process of re-decorating her room and are looking at this picture for the walls. I also love Chanel No. 5---so this picture is a natural fit for our home. I recently read in the "Wall Street Journal"-- that an investor is purchasing Warhol painting to "jack" the price up or more properly said, to increase the value through acquisition at inflated prices. What this means to me--posters! No originals ..No lithographs...just posters. Even the orginal poster of this above picture (which were displayed in store windows in Paris in the 1990's) is still $500. I think what I need is a poster of this poster.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Well, I love funny books about lifestyle and this one is an old favorite that has been updated. The first book was "Princess Margaret will never be a Kappa Kappa Gamma". Being a Kappa in college, makes this book extra amusing. I love the quotes and the personality descriptions of women based on the silver pattern they select. A few priceless quotes:
SOUTHERN BELL RULES: " Never date your sorority sister's ex-husband until at least three years after the divorce. You might need her to write your daughter a Kappa Kappa Gamma recommendation one day. Just remember, it's a lot easier to find a new man than it is to get your daughter into Kappa."
SILVER PATTERNS: "Francis I: The belle who chooses Francis I is the girl who wants it all. There are 28 pieces of fruit just on the knife handle. It's showy and opulent and so is she. Francis I girls want a husband, children, a place on the board of the Junior League, and a full-time career."....
Here is a quote about the book:
"What The Official Preppy Handbook did for the madras-and-penny-loafer set "A Southern Belle Primer" does for the indestructible ladies from below the Mason–Dixon Line, in an uproarious guide to navigating a society that continues to fascinate people the world over."
Hope you find this book as amusing as I do.

Well, friends and family, I have started a blog. I thought that I would take my creative energy and funny, crazy life (hopefully others will think I am as funny as I do), and entertain, educate and amuse people. I am married to a wonderful man, have three great children and a spoiled, loving English Springer Spaniel named COCO. We live in Ann Arbor, may say--Ann Arbor was in the "Preppy Handbook". Well, all those restaurants in the book are long gone and Ann Arbor to me is about tie dye and birkenstocks. We have a few people who are wearing the same clothing they wore in the 60's--I also do not think they have cut their hair nor bathed since the 60s either. I am always looking for brights shades of pink or a little madras in a black and gray town. Aside from being a "fish out of water", Ann Arbor is really a wonderful place to live and I will tell you more about it over time.