Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Shite State of Affairs

It is important to clean out your septic tank regularly.  It is important to be able to flush your toilet. 

Alas, we had forgotten the cleanout last fall, and were rewarded with the whole thing backing up.

Barry got to dig holes so the septic people could come.  I got to wash the laundry room floor.  Twice.

That's just muck folks, honestly

First he moved a BUNCH of snow...

But never mind, because tomorrow's April 1st right.  We're in the throes of spring, right?

Here's my back deck this morning.  We are quite a while away from seeing grass.....

I am soldiering on, because I am, to quote Betty White, "A cock-eyed optimist".

Thus today's outfit, a new Joe Fresh cardigan I bought last month and wide legged Joe Fresh Chambray trousers.


 I'm wearing them for work around the house this a.m. with a pair of sneakers I bought at Aldo last fall.

This week, in anticipation of Easter, I shall wash and store away my woollens in a misguided effort to call Spring to my little corner of the world. 

I am doing some spring cleaning, having delivered some work to my agent (no book deal yet - you all will know when I do - promise!).  I am planning Easter dinner.

We appear to be the place now, thanks to Global Warming, where it will be forever winter and cold.  The West coast has no water.  I could melt my snow and bring it to you, Janet and Jennifer....

Am now actively seeking other spots to move to....

Have an awesome day!

xoxo wendy


Monday, March 23, 2015

Bring Out Your Dead!

“And therefore, — since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days, —
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.”
William Shakespeare, Richard III    

I was planning to write a wee update on my outfits of late in the hopes that they would call forth Spring, but I admit to being very busy all weekend and frankly, my attention has gone elsewhere - to Leicester, England in fact.

Those who know me well know I a) love history b) love the history of the English Monarchy and c) love a good scandal.

So for the past several years I have watched with great interest as the bones of old Dickie the Third were dug up at the local grocery store.  I admit to jealousy, as the only thing I have yet to dig up at the grocery store is rotten bananas, but I digress.

The last York King, Richard has been much maligned in history and theatre, depending upon the perspective.  At the very least, he was an ambitious, aggressive man, who managed to have two other brother conveniently die in advance of him so he might have the throne.

He's never caught a break - until now.

But all good things must come to the end, and Richard got his.  In the 15th century, that meant the battlefield and friends turning into foes.  Wait that seems very modern, doesn't?

Is this the face of a King?  Apparently...

Regardless, the discovery of Richard's bones, hidden neatly beneath a parking lot, required a decision about where they would find their final resting place, since one assumes that the clackety clack of the broken wheels of the shopping carts being dragged to the waiting car was getting to him.

Never fear, the British are a proud and noble people and they give, as we like say Chez Wendy, good pomp.

I see he's right in front of the Dorothy Perkins store, he might want to pop in...

So Richard's bones have been touring around the English countryside lately so everyone could get a good look at this bones 500 years later, making their way slowly to the town of Leicester, will they will lie in state and then be reburied.  Honestly, Richard probably didn't get this kind of attention when he was King, so you gotta think he is enjoying himself wherever he is now.

On Thursday the King will be reburied.  I, for one, will be watching.  I don't know about you, but I feel finally at peace about the whole thing.  I mean, it was really nagging at me.

They say that revenger is a dish best served cold.  If living well is the best revenge, surely dying well and being feted 500 years later is even better, no?

Well played, Richard, well played...

“I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die.”
William Shakespeare, Richard III    


Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Son Also Rises...

With apologies to Walt Whitman......
Joy, Shipmate, Joy!
JOY! shipmate—joy!
(Pleas’d to my Son at 20 I cry;)
One life is closed—one life begins;
The long, long anchorage we leave,
The ship is clear at last—he leaps!
He swiftly courses from the shore;
Joy! shipmate—joy!
Twenty years ago today I was in the hospital, trying to get birth to a 10 lb, 6 oz boy whose head felt as big as a pumpkin!  (And he was early!)

I am no longer the mother of teenagers.  Thus endeth one chapter and beginneth another....

Those of you with little kids at home that are exhausting you, mark my words well:

It passes in a blink of an eye.  You will be me, soon enough.

And if you are lucky, you will do your job well enough that at the end you look at the face of a beautiful child, inside and out.

There has never been a moment that I regretted having children.  It has been an honour to see them through their childhoods and it will be an honour to continue to watch them thrive and blossom throughout the rest of their lives.

Happy Birthday Forrest!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

To be a peacock or not? That is the question

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

I have been expending all of my grey matter on book revisions, so this post will be less than coherent I suspect!  Head over to A Well Styled Life (she's on the list on the right) for a great discussion of invisibility in older women.

I thought of Jennifer again this morning, when I dug out my old Basler peacock blazer.  I have always sort of loved it, and sort of not.  But there is green in it and for some reason I wanted to dress up a little today and to be honest, I was contemplating consigning it.

Sorry for the grainy photo

I never could decide if I loved this or not after I bought it.  Nor could I decide if I truly felt comfortable in it, despite its lovely pedigree.

I put it on this morning with a wowza scarf that I love, and I am still back and forth at the end of the day.

I love the print, but I always felt a little over the top in it, like it was a bit too much.  I can't tell if that is some WASP tendencies emerging as I age or not.  There is the fear, as one ages, which Jennifer touches on very well, of slipping into the "oh isn't she cute wearing those bright colours" camp.  So all day, as I have passed myself in front of mirrors, I have asked myself this question.  Now, as I near dinner time, I am no closer to an answer, which I guess is kind of an answer, isn't it?  Plus the blazer is 4 years old and a wee tight.  I have been heartless about tight things in the purge (AKA Wendy's version of the red wedding), but the price of this and the not being sure, kept me putting it back in the closet.

So I turn to you all, since you are unbiased voices, given you a) did not pay for it b) don't particularly care if I've gained 15 pounds and c) probably have strong opinions about a peacock blazer.

Fire away.  All opinions gratefully accepted so long as they given with a dose of kindness and fun!

Oh and p.s. Happy St. Patrick's Day.  I do not believe I am Irish, but then, I have been surprised before!
xoxo wendy


Monday, March 16, 2015

But the closet (and office!) I really want belongs to Drew's Husband

While I am not immune to celebrity gossip, I mostly don't get too caught up in it. 

But now and then, I find myself rooting for one of them, and that is certainly the case when it comes to Drew Barrymore.

And I am especially rooting for her latest marriage to art advisor Will Kopelman. 

I've never heard him utter more than two words (which I think I heard him utter when Oprah interviewed Drew a couple of years back), but he seemed nice and I am determined that Drew should have her happy ending.

While travelling a couple of weeks ago, I picked up the latest issue of Architectural Digest and there was Will.

Will Kopelman

As an editorial aside, I almost never see anything in AD, much as I might admire it, that I would ever want in a house of my own.  Does that make me a Luddite?  Perhaps. 

I am more of a put the kettle on kind of decorator (to borrow from Lisa Borgnes Giramonti's wonderful Novel Interiors) who espouses a more-is-more kind of approach, a combination of British/French/Canadian/Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey.  I am after all, a woman with two giraffes in her living room.  I really must do a post about that...



But then I saw the officer/dressing room that Will Kopelman designed for himself and said to myself: Damn!  That Will Kopelman is talented!!!  He should redo my office and closet!

 I suspect he may be too busy to do that, but I am the Queen of Magical Thinking, so who knows?

To whet your appetite:

The Singer Sargent reproduction on the wall is a magnetic bulletin board!
How genius is that!!!  I am so stealing that idea some day soon...

Sitting Area
I can so see myself curled up in one of those chairs reading Drew's upcoming memoir....


Here's a pop quiz: What do Barry and Will Kopelman have in common?  Well, besides the beards they sport, it's the Putnam Rolling Ladder Company

Barry has been obsessed with getting a ladder from the Putnam Rolling Ladder Company since the late 1980s.  We have even visited their little squirrely rabbit warren of an office/warehouse in Manhattan.  And damned if Will Kopelman doesn't have two of them in his office/dressing room.  You can imagine how Barry's eyes popped out at that! 

Hmm - I may have to start a rolling library ladder savings account...

Dressing Room
I mean seriously....

Dressing Room
This is a meticulous man

Love the cameos in the distance....

There's a soaker tub for you!

This almost feels like an old elevator to me...

That's a sound-proof door!
Do you think Will sings loudly in the shower and that's why he did that?

Yes, Will could gladly take on my office/closet redo.  There are two things standing in the way of this happening: his interest and my wallet.

Well a gal can dream can she not?  After seeing Will's vision brought to life, I like him even more.  Take care of our Drew, Will!

What do you think?

xoxo wendy


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Drew Barrymore and I are doing better at the wardrobe thing thank you very much.....

I have a total crush on Drew Barrymore.  Having watched her wild years and then recovery and then search for happiness, I have always rooted for her, because she wears her heart on her sleeve and is so open-hearted.

A couple of months back I was surprised to see Drew on the cover of More Magazine:

Then it hit me: Drew had turned 40!  If Drew is 40 I must be in my fifties.  Oh my...

I don't know if any of you have tried her flower cosmetics, but I have tried a few things and been quite impressed.

My favourites?

I think Flamingo Flower would be perfect for spring...

And I love this cream eye shadow:

Flower Color Play Creme Eyeshadow
Wild geranium

The packaging is very pretty and the quality is excellent.

But I digressed.  What made me think of Drew this weekend was an article she wrote for Refinery29 about her recent closet purge.

Drew Barrymore Put Her Closet On A Diet — Here's What Happened
I like the look of this closet...

Yes, it seems just like we mere mortals, even lovely Drew struggles with what to wear as she gets older and struggles with post-baby weight.

In other words: she is human!

For those of us who are aging (and who isn't!) or whom have lost or gained weight, the closet can become a conundrum.

You may recall my purge back in November/December and my folding obsession.

Well I am happy to report success.  With the exception of a few lighter weight items that couldn't cut the freezing winter we had here, my purge meant that I wore everything.    I had let go of things that were too big or too small; I had let go of things that I might wear if I was living a different sort of life, and I concentrated on only keeping things that fit well and that I loved.

It made a huge difference actually. 

What I learned was when it was all out and there wasn't a ton, it was easier to get dressed - I didn't stand for hours trying to figure out what to wear. 

I learned that my style is NOT minimalist, though it is quite simple. 

I learned that I do not wear dresses in the winter, although I could benefit from a pretty one next fall.

I learned that most of my shoes are simply works of art in the winter, working from home.  It turns out I live in my Minnetonka slippers.

I learned that there are a few colours I adore:

  • Navy
  • any other shade of blue
  • a jewelled pink
  • white
  • cream
  • black
Building my wardrobe around those colours (with a few exception) is making my life easy indeed.

And if I had my own closet (I share with Barry), I could easily have all four seasons in one place.  Easily.  I could not have done that a year ago.  And I sure couldn't have done it three years ago!

And while I am nowhere near getting out spring clothing (we are having yet ANOTHER blizzard today), I did take a couple of hours to go through the upcoming season's clothing and shoes and threw some things out, donated some things, gave some things to my best bud, and got some bags ready for consignment.  It also helped me realize what I actually needed for the season, which isn't much actually.  My plan now is to always purchase two or three "nice" things a season and augment with other less pricey places like Joe Fresh or J Crew. 

My favourite part of Drew's article was this:

Sixth: Expect depression and/or identity crises.
My closet seemed to be clean. But, no longer eclectic or wild enough. It actually seemed like I had no clothes. It got too sparse! I was sad. Had I gone too far? I was missing my old funky self and felt like I had become some conservative, boring woman — but not even in a cool, J.Crew way. I was more like, I don’t know…just not me.

But, then something happened. There was such a noticeable lack of chaos that I could actually start playing clothes Jenga in my mind before I reached the closet. This was different. Normally, the inner dialogue was defeatist and avoiding. Now, I was looking forward to a minimalist curation that didn't overwhelm me. Holy crap! This closet diet is working!

I could so relate.  I kind of missed my pencil skirt and suit days and all the funky stuff.  But I have the pictures, and I have moved on to simple and comfortable and chic.

J Crew Wendy!

I am definitely now in the camp of loving a smaller wardrobe.  And while I choked at giving away some of the more expensive of my things, I do concur with old Marie from the KonMari method that it is a good thing to send out all that good energy and make someone else happy!

So Yay Drew and Wendy!  And next post, I want to talk about Drew's husband...

xoxo wendy


Friday, March 13, 2015

Get Ready for the Pi Day of the Century

Or should I say an "extra special" Pi Day?

As many of you know, March 14th is celebrated yearly as Pi Day, as in 3.14.

According to Piday.org:

"Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.

Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, Pi’s infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits."

BTW - there's a great scene in the play The Audience where the actor playing Prime Minister Harold Wilson rolls the first dozens of numbers after .14 off his tongue.  Quite a feat!

Anyway, tomorrow's Pi Day is especially interesting because of it's once in a century significance:

"If you’re a math enthusiast, maybe you’ll be celebrating the once-a-century day when the calendar and the clock align to represent the first 10 digits of pi (3.141592653)."

Ah so much to do when that old clock hits 9:26:53 tomorrow morning!!!! 

It is already making me feel like I am back in Calculus writing about this, but I'm not going to lie: I hated calculus, but I love Pi Day!  Who doesn't love a formula that just won't quit?

Me?  I think I'm going to buy some apples and make a pi.  If my crust is holding together really well, I might even try this:

Yes, I am just that much of a geek... And I like to make pies...

xoxo wendy

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wednesday, in which Wendy ponders spring, The frick'in Fricke, and well the highest of fashion

I am only going to whisper this, as I do not want to jinx things...

It hit +6C today!
Things were melting, including my cold heart.

Oh sure, rumour has it that we are going to get 6 inches of snow on the weekend, but that's the weekend, and this is well, almost spring...

The snow has made me very Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
For instance, right before my trip, the snow was at the bottom of those
four slashes of black on the lower part of the picture.
This is big news in these parts folks.
Cling to your families as surely this is very Walking Dead...

Well whatever.  We all have our "things".

It seems there was a time when rich people built houses that were so excessive that they boggle the imagination.  No this is no Kanye and Kim K. tell all, this is The Fricke Museum.  We had never been and were not to be daunted by a mere blizzard.

For those unaware:

The Frick Collection is an art museum located in the Henry Clay Frick House on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, New York City at 1 East 70th Street, at the northeast corner with Fifth Avenue. It houses the collection of industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919).

Henry C Frick House 009.JPG

Mr. Fricke liked a fancy house.  And he liked to fill that fancy house with pretty things, so you get to get up nice and close to the Vermeers and Rembrandts he probably drank his coffee in front of each day.

and they decorated over the top!

I loved this museum, and we spent quite a bit of time there, before braving the blizzard for the ten block walk up to the Met. 

My favourite was this little room:

Sorry this is out of focus - my fingers were frozen!


Three cheers for Mr. Fricke and his avarice!

Tonight I made a lovely tomato tart from my A Kitchen in France cookbook by Mimi Thorisson.

Really, this should not be attempted except in perfect tomato weather, but I had spring fever and what the hell, I went for it!

This a good recipe!

If you go to her blog, you can find a pretty close approximation to the recipe here.  I think the one in the cookbook, with its basil pesto layer at the bottom is better.  and I made my own Pâte brisée , following her recipe, which was excellent.

I don't know about you, but I am still giddy over the surprise guests at the Valentino show in Paris:

 I adored Zoolander and have so many favourite quotes:

Derek Zoolander: I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.

Derek Zoolander: So join now, 'cause at the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too, we teach you that there's more to life than just being really, really, really good looking. Right kids?

The only thing that would have made it even better for me was if Bowie had suddenly popped out of the crowd...

If nobody has any objections, I believe I might be of service.

I'm setting my watch set for the countdown right now....

So that was my day.  How about you?

xoxo wendy

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring Shopping

Having been ever-so-good, I decided to look for some new things while in NYC.

As I have said before, we really have very little in the way of shopping in my town, so I do take advantage of certain stores when I get to the U.S. 

We were somewhat daunted by the exchange rate of $1.27, but such is life...

I did not shop a lot; probably only two hours out of the total trip.  I hit the following stores:

  • J Crew
  • Uniqo
  • Joe Fresh
  • & Other Stories
  • Saks 5th Avenue
My first stop was J Crew, where I wandered around, completely uninspired.  I found things too boxy, poor material.  I did like a pair of sandals, but frankly I don't need any sandals this year and I can certainly wait until June to buy them!

I left the store with these purchases, a skirt and two tshirts:

Punched-out eyelet skirtLinen V-neck pocket tee

I returned them the next day.  Did I really want to spend $27 US on a Tshirt?  No.  Did I love the skirt?  No. 

So that was a bit of a bust....

However, the tote bag I adored is now on sale, so that is probably going to be ordered because it will work so well with the purchases below!

Off to Uniqo (please note this was not the same day!), where I tried on the Ines collection (well lots of it).  My thoughts?  Poor construction that will only suit the super skinny.  But very nice designs!

So that was a bit of a bust...

Then to the Joe Fresh flagship store, which in my opinion presents its merchandise in a manner that makes it much easier to find things.  It also seemed to have a coherent approach to their Spring collection.  But since I can actually order the items more cheaply in Canada, I bought nothing, but had my eye on the following:

Actually, bought this for $20 at my local grocery store yesterday.  Looks smashing with jeans!

Be afraid J Crew, Joe Fresh is creeping up on you...

We headed to SoHo and I picked up a skirt and a top at & Other Stories.  I really liked this store a lot.  I cannot remember which one of you recommended it, but thanks!  I also loved the Vince store, which was two doors down!

& Other Stories | Blossom Skirt
I am so short - this came to my knees!  And has pockets, which I love!

I also purchased this simple creamy v-neck shell with some nice detailing on the shoulders.

While in line, I stood beside a striking woman.  I was in a bit of a rush and was still thinking of the sales person - a tall man with dreds who was so lovely - so I hardly looked at her.  As she was checking out, the salesgirl said "it's such an honour to have you in our store!".  Yes, I had been rubbing elbows with Stacy London (literally!).  and what I know for sure?  Her hair is fantastic.  Seriously fantastic.  She was wearing a tuque.  How Canadian of her!

yup - she looked that good.  Though I never looked her straight in the face.

Well enough of heartbreaking celebrity encounters (is it wrong we followed her out the door and were disappointed she lost us?  I mean, we are nice people, and all...). let's go to Saks 5th Avenue.

I had time to kill before meeting a friend and his wife at the Waldorf-Astoria.  So I settled Barry in a chair and wandered around.

When you are not a size 4, sales people tell you they have more sizes available.  That is so kind of them.

I went to the Theory section, because I adore Theory.  My list for 2015 was a comfortable and chic summer dress and a an ivory cardigan to match the Theory ivory shell I bought on sale last year.  I snagged both!

This actually comes to my knees!

And this cardigan:

Simple things, but very nice additions to my spring and summer wardrobe!  I plan to start wearing them both soon! 

So I am pleased with my purchases and what I am discovering more and more is that simply buying a few things that will fit in with what I already own is a good thing.  Thoughtful additions.

Now, I am dreaming of pulling it all out, like Dani did - but am holding off till April! 

xoxo wendy