Sunday, February 28, 2010

Houston Ballet

This afternoon my husband and I attended the Houston Ballet. We love the ballet and Houston has an extraordinary theater district. Did you know that Houston is #2 in the nation for the arts? Yes, it's #2 and NYC is #1 in the nation. Houston has a fantastic Opera, Symphony, and Ballet. And Houston is very vast in the live music venue which spreads across the city. This Sunday afternoon we went to see La Bayadere. It was a lovely performance. And my husband got a big kick that former President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush were sitting a few rows in front of us. I agree it was exciting to see any former President at the ballet.

The Wortham is such a beautiful theater. I always enjoy the performances that I attend there. And the dancers were marvelous. I thought the dancer who played the part of Nikiya the temple dancer danced so elegant. How I wish I could be so graceful. And Solor the warrior prince was also very impressive. However, my favorite scene was in Act III during the Kingdom of Shades scene when all the temple dancers danced. It was such a beautiful scene. If you are ever in the Houston area I highly recommend an outting to our theater district. Fabulous performances.

Afterwards my husband and I drove over to one of our favorite local German restaurants. However, we were disappointed to find that it was closed on Sunday's. We rarely venture out on Sunday's after church so it was a surprise. We decided to dine at Cheesecakes instead. I ordered something new and was delighted I did. I had the White Chicken Chili. Has anyone ever ordered this dish from Cheesecakes? It's absolutely delish. And of course a trip wouldn't be complete to Cheescakes without dessert. I had their traditional Apple Crisp. Now I feel so guilty that I will be hitting the gym first thing in the morning, ha. Hope everyone had a lovely weekend.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Furniture

I'm so excited. My husband and I have finally agreed and settled on furniture. We've been spending months searching for a new set. When we were first married we had purchased a few pieces but most of our furniture blended from his house and mine. Not a lot matched. Most of our furniture came from Pier 1 Imports. That was high end for someone on a college budget and very popular 10 years ago. After hurricane Katrina wiped out our home we replaced the odds and ends through antique dealerships and your average run of the mill department store type furniture stores. After 8 years of wedding bliss we have finally reached that place where we can afford to buy what we really want. And I'm over the top about placing my order tomorrow afternoon.

Thankfully Houston has a large port and I will not have to pay a hefty shipping price. The furniture is being shipped from Europe. It's 100% Mahogany. Not a base coat or cheap wood but the actual real deal. I don't like the fabric so I'm going to have the chairs reupholstered and I've already begun looking over fabric samples.
Here are a few ideas I have. Tell me which you prefer more.

Here's some pictures I found online of the furniture we will be ordering.

Our new TV Cabinet

Side Table

Writing Desk

Gold Mirror

Dining Room Chairs

Bench in corner of Dining Room

Dining Room Table

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Rude Shopper

I just finished reading a post by Miss Janice. She's one of my favorites and I truly enjoy reading her blog of etiquette's. Her blog name says it all Etiquette with Miss Janice. She is such an admirable woman and a true Southern lady. She teaches many etiquette classes but my absolute favorite are her etiquette courses for children. If only this was a mandated requirement in our educational system. It would change our society for the greater good. However, sadly with every generation it seems that proper etiquette and social graces is something that is regretfully slipping away. Just as I said in my reply to her post; "It's not a class, age, or money issue." Yes, economics does not play a role into our profoundly arrogant and selfish society we've turned into today. I've seen this bad behavior in some of the most luxurious resorts, hotels, restaurants, and stores as well in common public areas. It's rather disturbing as a small gesture such as opening the door for an elderly woman, thanking someone who has helped you, shocks the individual. Isn't this how we were raised?
Well, I have a story that I told Miss Janice that I would post. It's regarding an incident with a very rude shopper. I believe we all have ran into one from time to time. True elegance isn't what the individual does to you but how you respond. Your response is the key that sets you apart. You can still be appropriate and get your point across all by remaining proper.
One evening, while living in New Orleans, my husband suggested that we stop at a very well known bookstore. My husband and I both love to read and spend countless hours hunting down good books. I was in search of a particular book on interior design. When I entered the section I needed I noticed two women discussing the photographs inside one of the books. They were both standing directly in front of the section I needed. They weren't being rude but just enthralled in conversation. I smiled and asked if I could slip by them to pull a book off the shelf. They gladly stepped to the side so I could reach my book. I too automatically began flipping through the pages.
Suddenly a loud bang could be heard as it echoed through out the building. All three of us turned to see a woman who apparently dropped her book. We all went back to reading our books. Again, the same loud bang. This time we all stood looking at her in confusion. She dropped two books? She stood glaring at the two women and me.
Me- "If you need to get by please let me know."
Rude Shopper- "I thought you would get the picture when I threw my books on the ground."
All three of us stood in silence not knowing what to say. The two women actually turned white over her remark. She went onto say, "I would think someone of your age would respect their elders."
The reason why she was upset is that the other two women were blocking her view of the bookcase. I was on the side and really not in her way but I knew she was too cowardly to say something to the two women so she was attacking me. I suppose because I was the youngest one she thought she could pour her venom onto me.
I looked around and other customers sitting at the tables and chairs were all gawking and were eagerly waiting to see how I would respond. It takes more strength not to want to yell at this woman but remain in control of my emotions.
Me-"Well, you would be correct. I was raised to respect my elders. And when I see someone respectful I'll be sure do to that. By observing your behavior of throwing books on the floor like a child it leads me to believe you're lost. Perhaps you should seek assistance from a store employee to point out the section on proper etiquette's."
I smiled picked up my purse and walked away. I could feel everyone eyes glaring at that woman. I got my point across without even raising my voice. A store employee approached me and said, "What was going on over there?" I told him, " A woman is throwing books on the floor." He took off after her.
I was appalled by this woman's behavior. To throw a tantrum like that is inexcusable. I believe we are seeing more and more of these "tantrums" in society. It's ridiculous when you see someone over the age of 5 throwing one. Perhaps Miss Janice could write a post on bookstore etiquette, ha, ha... A true Southern lady always conducts herself porperly even in the midst of the battle.

Monday, February 22, 2010

White House China

I'm in the midst of deciding between two China patterns by Villeroy and Boch. I'm slowly building up my China collection. I have only a few sets that I've managed to purchase in my 8 years of marriage. Now I'm looking to acquire another for solely entertaining purposes. I would like to have several for all four seasons and occasions. While drooling over several patterns I stumbled onto a site that listed the China patterns used by our former Presidents. I only listed my top four favorite patterns.

Pattern #1 ~ President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921). I really like this pattern. It's very masculine but elegant. This is by far one of the best patterns in the White House collection.

Pattern #2- President Franklin Pierce (1853-1857) This pattern is so simple but yet stunning. I really love the dark blue color with the gold. Just enough color but not overdone. Lovely!

Pattern #3- President Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) I really like the this pattern. It's beautiful! I really think the way the crest is surrounded by the tiny details makes it look very European. And the edges of the pattern surrounding the plate looks like a tiny Fleur De Lis fence.

Pattern #4- President George Washington (1789-1797) This isn't my favorite pattern. However, I think it's pretty remarkable that it's the first China set that was ever used in our nation's capital. I can't imagine who actually sat at the table with President Washington and feasted off this immaculate dinnerware. Truly the beginning of American legacy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lobster theme

Wouldn't this be a fun theme for this summer? I could see using these lobster plates during 4th of July (BBQ shrimp and steak). The pillow is one of my favorites. And what an adorable lobster napkin rings.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Old Swan Hotel

It is only Tuesday evening and I'm already looking forward to Saturday. It has been a very hectic schedule and I do not see any relief approaching until the weekend. However, tomorrow I'm scheduling a little hour of down time. My down time consists of two very important things; a pot of Chamomile lose leaf and an episode of Poirot. I've purchased every episode that has been released to the public. I'm a huge Hercule Poirot fan. However, I'm only interested in David Suchet episodes. He makes a fabulous Poirot and I love his expressions with his witty humor. I believe I've seen every episode at least three times. My favorite episodes are with Caption Hastings, played by Hugh Fraser. They way they play off each other is hilarious. Not everyone understands why I love this little Belgium detective but I honestly feel that if he did exist we'd be very good friends.

I'm sure he was more realistic to Agatha Christie. She was such a talented author. It amazes me how many people do not know who she is. That's always a shock. However, less and less people read novels these days (shameful). Agatha Christie's books are truly a classic. I find her story plots more fascinating than an episode of CSI.

One day I would like to travel to London and to the English countryside. I would love to have high tea at the Old Swan Hotel. Did you know 1926, Agatha Christie hid out there? Yes, the entire country was looking for her. She checked herself into the hotel under a false identity by the name of, Teresa Neele. Everyone had thought she might have committed suicide after learning of her husband's infidelity. However, she was held up for eleven days coping with her divorce out of the public eye (I'd hate to be famous).

Let's a take a tour of the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate, in Yorkshire, England.

Another place I'd like to see is Whitehaven Mansion located in London. This is where Poirot lived on the show. This is not only the character's home but his office as well. This would be a fantastic trip that I absolutely will be taking in the near future.

I hope everyone is having a fabulous week full of many wonderful things. Remember, always take time to find an hour or two to treat yourself to something that you enjoy doing. Life is too short not to enjoy the little things.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Valentine's Day!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day. I had a great one. We celebrated Valentine's Day on Saturday night. My husband had to see some patients on Saturday afternoon so he didn't get home until a little after 5 PM. I decided to surprise him with a romantic dinner. I decided to transform our sofa table into a Japanese style dining table (pillows/floor). I had purchased a really cute Valentine's Day table linen last year on sale that I was dying to pull out of my linen closet. It draped over the sofa table a tad bit but with the white throw pillows and packages you hardly noticed. I made a fabulous chicken and rice meal. It was lemon chicken baked in a white wine, cilantro, and lemon wedges. It was awesome! I just came across the recipe last week and I was surprised how easy and delicious it was. I promise I'll post the recipe this week. It really worked out because we cuddled on around the table and watched "High Society" with Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Bing Crosby (such a classic).

Here's our tiny little table....

I'm sure you've noticed the monkey theme. My husband's nickname for me is "Monkey." He gave that name when we were first dating. A long story but I love it. He's always buying little monkeys.

These are sooo good. I made chocolate almond and butterscotch pecan truffles. YUMMMM...And they are so simple to make. Perfect for any holiday. Again, I'll post the recipe once I have more time this week.

Look at the lovely gifts my hubby got me for Valentine's Day. I'm a huge Southern Lady fan so now I have their fabulous 2010 calendar, adorable Mary Lake Thompson towels, a book on Tea (stunning photos), and a fun Southern book written by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson. He also got me a beautiful Villeroy & Boch colander and tray but I haven't taken a photo of them yet. I bought my hubby two new shirts that look great on him. And a fantastic new jacket from Michael Kors. What I didn't tell him is that I purchased a new wool coat for myself from Michael Kors (wink).

I can't believe the steal I got on these red roses today. I ran out of milk and ran to the grocery store this evening. These roses were on sale for $5.00. I love roses and thought for 5 dollars why not. They had a ton of bouquets but I already have three vases full of flowers. Otherwise I would have purchased a few more bouquets.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dreaming for Spring

Personally I can't wait for Spring. I'm already tired of these cold snaps and freezing temps. I feel horrible for our friends up north. It's strange to see the White House surrounded by huge piles of snow. I heard that this is one of the largest snow storms ever recorded for that region. I do hope that everyone is staying warm and safe up there.

It's a whopping 45 degrees in Houston, Texas today. I've been dreaming of those lovely mid to high 70's temp Spring afternoons. Those are my favorite days. Filled with crystal blue skies, chirping birds, butterflies, and all the beautiful flowers coming into full bloom. Yes, I'm fantasizing of a Spring afternoon today.

I've decided to turn off the tele (except the news) and spend my evenings reading books these past couple of days. I came across a fabulous book called, Southern Gardens. It has so much information on gardening. Last year I dabbled with my first flower garden. I must say, I'm totally 100% addicted. This year I'm planning on stepping out a bit of my comfort zone by planting Camellias, pink Roses, and Gardenias. Oh the Camellias will look so lovely in my crystal vase. I enjoy clipping my own flowers during the Spring/Summer months. My grandmother was quite the Gardner. How I wish she was still with us today. I'm sure she and I would spend hours discussing gardening tips. Life is funny that way....once you get to an age to truly appreciate your grandparents it seems they are gone. My grandmother had one of the most beautiful gardens I've ever laid my eyes on. Hopefully I will inherit that gene and keep the tradition alive with my own.

One of the many tips my grandmother shared with me before her passing is that there is a special technique in clipping flowers. Not everyone knows this and often will just break and tear the stem. This would make any gardener shudder at the very thought.

Here's my grandmother's advice:

1.) Harvest flowers early in the morning. Flowers cut in the heat of the day will be droopy and floppy from the mid afternoon sun.

2.) Immediately after cutting the stem (with clippers), immerse the stems in a bucket. Be sure to always fill the bucket with room-temperature water. She used a small plastic bucket to carry around the garden with her.

3.) Once inside, fill the kitchen sink with water and recut the stems underwater.

4.) Remove the leaves and other foliage that will be submerged under the waterline. This will help to avoid rot and fungus.

5.) Try to avoid putting flowers in the refrigerator because it will dry them out. Obviously florist shops can't avoid putting arrangements in the cool temps for shipping purposes.

6.) Fill your vase with room-temperature water and add an aspirin or a bit of lemon-lime juice.

7.) Be sure to always change the water daily. It keeps it from forming bacteria causing rotting.

Camellia - These beauties are often found in the Southeast region. They mostly prefer part-shade. They grow very well in containers/pots. Camellia's should be moist not soggy when watering. When digging a hole make sure it's at least 1 1/2 depth of the root ball. This will keep it from suffocating and not getting the oxygen it needs to grow. Pack with loose mulch, such as bark, after filling in hole with amended soil. Mulch keeps from weeds growing, keeps roots cool, and moist in the summer and warm in the winter.

Pink Roses- When you plant roses you want to place them in a liquid fertilizer from the beginning of the growing season. Be sure to water the Roses diligently because they require a lot of water during the first stage. As the roses begin to bud place mulch around the bushes. Roses need less weeding and watering and have fewer diseases if you lay down 1 to 2 inches of organic mulch.

Gardenia- Gardenia's needs lightly shaded area. Make sure that your Gardenia plant is planted in a moist soil. Work in a lot of peat moss into the soil. Be sure to keep the soil moist every day for good growth. As roots begin to show you can back off watering every 2 to 3 days. Gardenia's are heavy feeders so be sure to give it a good healthy dose of fertilizer every 6 to 8 weeks.