Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What Blake Lively and I have in common....

blake lively-vogue us interview cover-baby rumours-pregnacy rumours-handbag.com

I know how your minds work: you thought of Ryan Reynolds immediately, didn't you?

blake lively-ryan reynolds-met gala 2014-pink0bude-dress-blonde hair-red carpet-handbag.com

Well he is Canadian, but no, I am still pining for Georgie-Porgie...

So Ryan Reynolds is not what what have in common.

What is?

Well, Blake loves Martha Stewart and so do I.

Image result for martha stewart

Many of you know that I adore Martha, despite her kind of crusty exterior and the fact that she doesn't need a lot of sleep.

I have been a member of team Martha since around 1986 and I credit Martha for stepping in where my mother (seriously) feared to tread.  Thanks to Martha, I can clean, am a good cook and do things like make herb flower vinegar (note to self: time to try the vinegar...).

I defended Martha passionately when she went to jail, not because I thought she was innocent, but because the court was separating me from my self- appointed homemaking mother.  I considered it wrong of them to do that to me then and still think it was wrong of them now.

I need to know Martha is out there, testing things in her perfectionist way, making sure that all is well for me.

Apparently Blake is going the Gwynnie route with a new online site to be called Preserve.  I'll not critique that as frankly, Blake may have a trick or two up her sleeve that I've not seen (except for stealing Ryan).

Just so long as she makes no pretense of emulating Martha.

Emulating Martha is like trying to be the Queen.  Sure you can Helen Mirren all over the place, even do not a half-bad job of it, but in the end, you are not the Queen.

And like the Queen, the next-in-line seems slightly off-putting to many, though I will take Prince Charles over Alexis Stewart any day of the week!

Nope, it's Martha or nothing for me.

What made me think of Martha was that I made her grilled pizza tonight.  As I said, you can count on Martha: if she says something is going to work, well by God, get out of the way, it WILL work.  We have made this recipe lots of time over the last 18 years and loved it, and tonight was no exception.

Grilled Pizza

  • YIELD:Makes 2 fourteen-inch pizzas


  • Pizza Dough, divided in half
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Fontina cheese
  • Sliced fresh tomatoes
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves
  • Julienned scallions
  • Julienned pea pods
  • Fresh corn, kernels, blanched
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Cooked and crumbled sausage


  1. STEP 1

    For best results, use a charcoal grill. Create two sections on the grill's very hot back section and a cooler preparation section in the front by putting extra charcoal in the back and less in the front. Place fire bricks on the grill's surface to divide these 2 sections. Allow the charcoal to burn, then cool a bit before cooking to prevent burning the crust.
  2. STEP 2

    If using a tomato sauce, place in a pot on the grill off to the side, stirring occasionally.
  1. STEP 3

    Place one half of the dough on a lightly oiled flat surface, such as an upside-down cookie sheet; work dough until it stays flat and forms a round or square shape, about 1/4 inch thick. (Tip: Pull dough out, and allow it to snap back. Let it sit for a few moments, then pull it out again. It will hold its shape better this way.)
  2. STEP 4

    Once dough is in desired shape, pick it up and place it directly on the hot section of grill. With tongs, gently rotate dough as it cooks, 2 to 3 minutes, until bottom side is browned and dough holds its shape.
  3. STEP 5

    Remove from hot section with tongs, flip over, and move to cooler section of grill. Brush top (grilled side) of crust with olive oil, and add toppings of your choice. Return to hot side for a few more minutes. Continue to cook until cheese melts and bottom is crisp, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough and more toppings. Serve hot.

Well all choose our own toppings chez Wendy, as frankly there is not one kind of pizza that all of us will agree to eat.  For example, I cannot abide a pepperoni or a pea.  Go figure.  In my defense, the former is just plain Wendy and the latter is because they make me ill.

Tonight was extra yummy, because in addition to my chosen bacon, heirloom tomato, and goat cheese, I smothered the pizza in fresh herbs from the garden:

As Martha would say: it was a good thing.

I do wish Blake well.  I wonder who will be the Martha to the next generation - who will teach young women about all things home keeping?

Given that I am 20 years younger than Martha I am fearful of the day she leaves me.

When I needed a new family doctor a couple of years ago, I chose one 20 years younger than me - given my plan to live to be 93, I was pretty sure he could 'see me out'.  Do we think Martha can live to be 113?

I sure hope so....

Have a great day out there!

xoxo wendy

Monday, July 21, 2014

Love People, Use Things

one of the great philosopher kings

I read an interesting article in the New York Times this morning and you can read it here.

I won't repeat the arguments in the piece, since you can read it through the link above, but the gist of the article is that fame, fortune and money do not buy happiness.

Only through loving people, all people, and finding ways to support them, can we find happiness.

I think most of us know that.

And yet...

And yet, we spend a lot of time in our lives chasing things, possessions as an activity in and of itself.

We are all susceptible to this.  We are constantly inundated about glamorous images of other people's homes, vacations, new purchases.

It all looks so amazing.  We don't see the cobwebs in the corner, the spat in the car en route to a restaurant, the credit card bill.

I saw one of those Facebook images the other day that talked about how people work harder to acquire things which in turn forces them to work harder to maintain those things.

When I was working crazy hours I was not able to invest as much time in the people I love (except for my family) and I can tell you that it made me feel empty and lost at times.  Since I have been able to invest time in my friends regularly, I feel like a different, happier, person.

The article made me think of the changes in my life over the past couple of years...

Yesterday, Naomi had a wonderful post about her evolving blog.

I have had my own blog crisis of late.

When I began this blog I was writing about redefining my personal style as I headed into my fifties.

Then I up and left my job to start over and move into new directions.

I have struggled to get over the habit of purchasing clothing for a life that I no longer live.  I think that takes time and I do feel I am on track.

When I used to get stressed at work, really stressed, I bought new shoes!  Now I have either given half of my shoes away or am consigning them.  I don't wear 'em.  The infamous wall of shoes is probably down by at least 15 to 12 pairs.

And slowly, I am getting better about only buying what I need versus buying because something would be fun to have.  There is a cost to all things, and monetary is only part of it.

I continue to try and simplify and lighten up, which probably explains my move to a lighter house and clothing palette.

Because of all of this, the blog is evolving.

I share a lot on this blog, but to be honest, my life isn't that exciting.

However, what I do share is 100% me, good or bad, no varnish or polish, warts and all.  If you walked in my house and met me, you would find me exactly as what you see here.  Although I do hope I am funnier in real life!

But I have less money than I had before and much less desire to shop.  You aren't going to see a lot of clothing posts now.  I feel foolish doing outfits now; I am quite sure you have seen all I own and really I don't often have much to say about it all.

I don't live in a fancy house.  All renos are done by us and done on the cheap.

I am not going to be going on a ton of exotic trips.

My feelings towards things are changing and I am not sure if that is entirely due to my changing circumstances, turning 50, being tired of it all, or all of the above.

When I read the article this morning, I was reminded yet again that it is people, not things that give us pleasure in life.

So I will keep blogging, but the blog is beginning to morph into something else, although into what I am still unsure.

I hope many of you will continue to come along for the ride, as it is the people that pop in that are important to me.

Oh and every now and then we will talk about clothes.  I will always like clothing.  But right now, I feel like I am more interested in how I can better serve people, through my writing, my actions, my life.

I feel like I am on another journey and it may be about making my own corner of the world, myself included, a place of joy.

I was born in Alabama, people at school make fun of me all the time for it. What theyre to ignorant to learn is that sometime the best people are from there. Back home people knows each other, they have each others' backs. In Alabama people are the sweetest kindest most down to earth people, sure they get called rednecks all the time but i'd rather be called that than be called materialistic.In the south children are raised with morals. So think twice before you judge me about where im from.

I love my new life and every day is an adventure.  

Have a great day and stay safe out there!

xoxo wendy 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Remembering James Garner


He was a likable every man.

Whether in his icon TV roles as Maverick

or Jim Rockford

rom-coms with Doris Day

Julie Andrews

or Sally Field

tearjerkers like The Notebook

or even Polaroid Camera commercials

James Garner seemed like the kind of fellow you'd want to have a beer with in the backyard.

He never seemed to make himself out to be something he wasn't and he seems to have chosen his roles carefully in order to build on on his simple persona.

But oh my - he was sexy.  You don't even mind him in the 1970s fashion.  James Garner was a real man - nothing soft about this guy - and every role he played reflected that.  He was always the hero.

He had a long career that really only slowed down in 2008 when he has a stroke.  The public never tired of seeing him and likely never would have.

Garner was only nominated for one Oscar, for his delightful turn in Murphy's Romance, which I think is one of the loveliest love stories.  If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it!

Murphy's Romance (1985) Poster

James Garner has left us at age 86, but luckily for us, he will never really leave us, because his work will live on.

I can't help but think of Mike Post's iconic Rockford Files theme this morning and thought I would share a snippet.

Rockford Files Season 1 intro from jonathan bogner on Myspace.

Thank you Jim Garner - you were a class act and I will miss you!

Stay safe out there!  xoxo wendy

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Protesting, fashionably

Supporters of Fredericton's Morgentaler Clinic chant 'Not enough' on Friday in response to a Liberal promise to 'move swiftly' to deal with medicare payments for abortions if elected in September.
the young people who inspire me to show up

I spent the last 25 years being very politically and socially neutral.  In the position I was in, it was critical to be perceived as completely non-partisan.  Furthermore, as an employee of government, it wasn't exactly kosher to come out publicly to critique one's boss.  Career-limiting to say the least.

However, I find myself at the age of 51 suddenly free to have opinions.  This has been a shock.

The first few times I did it, I did it tentatively, anxious to offend no one.

And to be truthful, I don't want to offend anyone.  

But this past year I have actually protested in front of my provincial legislature three times, most recently on the topic of the woeful state of reproductive health services for women where I live.  So yesterday, my friend Mary and I marched with women half our age, and quite a few men, to protest the closure of the only clinic in New Brunswick that provides women with access to safe affordable abortions.

Mary is on the far left of this photograph here!

Before I get hate comments about supporting abortions, I should say this: I am uncomfortable about abortions.  I doubt I would have one.  But I will fight to the death for a woman's, not a state's, right to choose what happens to her body.

So we marched and chanted and clapped and booed.  

Protesting is a new and interesting experience for me.  For example: what to wear?  In this case, it was hot, so I wore a white linen top, a silk max studio skirt, and espadrilles.  I may have been over-dressed compared to my fellow marchers.  I guess I'll have to learn how to do this better.

I often feel uncomfortable protesting.  But since I am in the position that I can protest without being punished (and in New Brunswick, you can be punished in your job or in other ways for speaking out - we have a media monopoly here and so many are government employees of government or of the Irving Corporation that owns everything) I feel that I must, as I have so many friends who say that they wish they could be there, too, but cannot for the reasons above.

marching cartoon humor: 'Why's your sign blank?' - 'It's my day off'

Finding my public voice has been an exhilarating experience, and mostly, I leave such thoughts to to my Facebook page, since it is followed in the main by people who live near me. 

I am a firm believer that protests and letter writing campaigns by the public, coupled with turning out the vote, are the only things that keep government in check.  And I say this from the experience of being 25 years on the inside and seeing how politicians panic when they are criticized.

But next time, I'll dress down a little....  Anyone else out there protesting anything these days?

Have a great Saturday - stay safe out there!

xoxo wendy

Thursday, July 17, 2014

And the Apes Shall Inherit the Earth...

Actually, my money is on cockroaches, but never mind.  The whole family is off to see the new Planet of the Apes movies tonight.

View Original Image

The movie is getting great reviews and I cannot wait to take see it.

Surprised?  I am a serious Planet of the Apes geek.  My younger brother and I were all over the movies and were probably 2 of the likely 100 people who watched the TV series.  Never mind: the heart wants what it wants.

While the new movies are arguably technically superior, and perhaps better written and acted, my money is on Charlton Heston.

Not as controversial as kiss between Kirk and Uhura....

I watched the original movie with my 12 year old nephew the other night and loved it just as much.

The drama!  The pathos!  The overacting!  Really, one couldn't ask for more from a movie.

And at least once a year during a dinner party here someone is want to say "It's a Madhouse!  A Madhouse!"  That's when you know things are rocking...

George Taylor: A planet where apes evolved from men? There's got to be an answer.
Dr. Zaius: Don't look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find.

Have a great one and stay safe out there!

xoxo wendy

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Style Wednesday: A Review of J Crew's Songbird Bracelet by Marc Alary

The Style Wednesday posts have been sparse for the last couple of months.

There are a couple of reasons for that.  Since my purchases in the spring I have purchased very little.  Nor have I been putting together 'outfits' per se or feeling any great urge to take pictures of them.  Lest you think I am walking about town in some kind of sartorial slump, I have simply been a uniform of J Crew vintage tanks, a few other other nice linen tops and long skirts or tank dresses.

Nothing exciting or worth taking pictures about.

Except for the vintage tanks above, and the two dresses earlier in the spring, I have not purchased anything from J Crew this summer except this bracelet.

I have to say that I have been totally underwhelmed by J Crew this summer.  I am hopeful for the fall offerings, but not too hopeful.  And while I liked the two dresses I purchased in the spring, they have gotten less wear than the cheap jersey midi dresses I purchased at Joe Fresh

Midi DressStripe Racerback Midi Dress

Really I need less and less, and things I thought I might need have gone mostly unworn.  They will have their day at another time I suspect, but it is interesting to see how this working from home has changed everything so much and how I am still struggling to sort it all out.

I often still think I need things because it is a new season and that is how I always operated when I worked full time.

And while I still like to dress nicely, I prefer simpler things and I am not all that interested in paying as much money as I once was for clothing that will be worn only rarely.

However, one thing I did buy about 6 weeks ago, and keep forgetting to blog about, is the Marc Alary for J Crew Song Birds bracelet.

You may recall my obsession with all things bird:

So when I saw this bracelet and knew that I had a J Crew reward card that I could stack on top of the 20% off promo they were running at the time, I jumped at it.

It does not disappoint and is just the kind of piece that is fun to look down and see on your arm.  I have received many compliments when I wear it.  The small enameled birds are a delight.

Marc Alary is (apparently) known for his higher end jewelry.  I visited his website and discovered that I quite loved it, but there is no way I could possibly afford it.  My bracelet has the same style aesthetic, but lacks the price tag (and to be fair, the finer materials).

Who wouldn't want a fun monkey necklace?

Double Monkey Necklace

well for $20,000, not me...

So I am content with my little bracelet and highly recommend it for those of you who have been sitting on the fence about it.

Have a wonderful day and stay safe out there!

xoxo wendy