Monday, February 28, 2011

Marie Antoinette

This morning I rolled out of bed and flipped on the local morning news. In Houston, your life revolves around traffic and weather conditions. As I began preparing breakfast for my lovely husband I couldn't help but notice that the Houston Ballet is performing "Marie" (Marie Antoinette). I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. Immediately after my husband left for work I logged onto my computer and purchased tickets.

Did you know that the Houston Ballet is the fourth largest ballet in the United States? If you are ever in Houston during the season you must catch a ballet at the Wortham Theater. I highly recommend that you add it to your list of sights to see. I've yet been disappointed with a performance.

Marie Antoinette assumed the title of Queen of France after marrying her husband, King Louis XVI of France. At first, France loved her charm and beauty but over the years they began to despise and hate her. One of France's enemies at the time was Austria and since Marie Antoinette was, after all, an Austrian, it didn't help her position.

I think that Marie Antoinette was one of the most scandalous women in history. She had numerous allegations (gossip) that surrounded her title and name for centuries. Her infamous, "Let them eat cake," remark is not only one of the most well known quotes of all times but it was also the match that fueled the fire during the French Revolution. The fate of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, as well as for the royal family, was not a good outcome. They were convicted of treason and executed by guillotine in 1793.

I wrote a post a couple of months ago on Lucerne, Switzerland where it mentions Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution. You can click on the link below and it will direct you to the post.

Kirsten Dunst played Marie Antoinette in the movie, Marie Antoinette, which was released in 2006. I love the beautiful attire. The dresses are gorgeous but can you imagine wearing this heavy thing around town? However, it would be fun for a day.

Wishing everyone a wonderful start to a fabulous week ahead.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Work Out Must Haves

Today was a glorious 77 degrees in Houston, Texas. Believe me, I'm not trying to rub it in, for all those who are stuck up north in the freezing temps. No, I'm just saying we had a nice day (and those are far and few around these parts). This is the only place I've ever lived where I had to question if the humidity index could pass 100%. My favorite is when you try to cool off in the pool and you don't feel any different from when you were standing beside it. It's so bad that I have literally seen my shins sweat. My shins, y'all!!! Now that's just down right miserable if you ask me. So when the weather is 77 degrees I'm taking full advantage.

Today I ran some errands and stopped by the gym. I suppose it's a good time to shed those extra pounds that I managed to gain during hibernation (Christmas). This mama bear has to get fit if she dares to slip into a pair of shorts this summer. I've noticed that dropping those extra pounds hasn't been as easy as it use to be. I use to eat whatever I wanted, Snicker bars, ice cream, Gummy Bears, etc... and not gain a thing. Now if I so as much look at sweets I blow up like blow fish. Awww...I sure miss my youthful metabolism. However, it's no use to cry over it now. I just have to adapt to a healthy lifestyle.

Here are my 6 Work Out Must-Haves .....
Burt's Beeswax Lip Balm. I try to keep my lips from becoming chapped. I like how Burt's Lip Balm conditions my lips.
My Mercedes hat. I don't leave the house without it if I'm going to work out. I like to hide my crazy work out hair under it. Does anyone else have a favorite work out hat? My Apple Nano. It doesn't hold as much memory as the original but it's functional and fun. I like the mini size and it has some really cool features like the pedometer and clock. It's pretty practical if you are just taking it to the gym.
ASICS GEL-Kayano 17 Road-Running Shoe. This is a great shoe if you are a runner. I really like how they fit snug and the gel makes it feel like I'm walking/running on pillows. L-O-V-E them!!!

Nike dry fit pants. I have several pairs of these. They are by far my favorite work out pants.

I like to work out to Classic Rock. And no, the 80's are NOT considered Classic Rock. That's Hair Metal Rock. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Rollings Stones. Funny story.... I sort of met Mick 13 years ago in Hawaii. He was sitting next to me at the pool and said hello. I remember thinking to myself, Ewww...this old European guy is gross. It wasn't until I turned in my towel that the pool attendant told me who he was. It also burst my bubble because I thought the two good looking guys across from me were checking me out in my new bikini. Come to find out that they weren't looking at me at all but at Mick Jagger sitting next to me.

What are some of your favorite work out items?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Product Lover

Ok, so I'm notorious for buying shoes for their style rather than comfort. I can't even begin to tell you how many outings have had to cut short because my feet were killing me. I seriously have suffered for beauty over the years.

About six weeks ago I happened to be flipping through a magazine while waiting in the lobby at my dentist office. I read this horrific article regarding the long term effects women have on their hips, legs, back, and feet caused by the type of shoes we wear. I cringed as I thought of every high heel, mule, and platform sandals I've worn over the years (especially in my twenties). I still remember attending an event over five years ago where my feet were so blistered from a new pair of stilettos I could hardly walk the next day (ouch). I began searching my memory rolodex of all the shoe incidences I've had over my lifetime and it wasn't pretty.

The article stated that knee osteoarthritis is twice as common in women but we don't see the long term effects until we reach our mid forties and fifties. By that time the damage is done. My eyes immediately shot down to the high heel boots I was sporting and I instantly thought about my knee injury. I had hurt my knee years ago from a snow skiing accident. I thought I just sprained it but 10 years later I still have problems with it. I wondered if my shoes have been adding pressure to my knee without realizing it. So with my health in mind I've set out to find good shoe.

Over the weekend my husband wanted to stop by REI. He's a huge REI fan. When we lived on the West Coast we use to do a lot of hiking in the Pacific Northwest. My husband is all about comfort and loves to wears Solomon shoes. Part of his job is to observe healthcare facilities so some days he's on his feet all day long. That's why a good comfy shoe ranks top of his list.

While browsing through the shoe section I came across these Dansko shoes. At first I passed them up because they weren't really my taste. I didn't think I would find anything for myself at REI but I became bored while waiting for my husband so I decided to try them on. As soon as my foot slipped into these shoes I was sold. They are one of the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. My feet were in heaven as I pranced around the shoe department. I loved them so much I purchased two pairs. I was worried how they would look with my attire but they looked great with my outfit.

Dansko was founded by husband and wife team Mandy Cabot and Peter Kjellerup. I've included their story from youtube. I love the little clip of the dogs. Get it...shoe dogs, isn't that clever, ha!

Dansko sells more than just clogs but sandals, heels, boots, wedges, and flats. They are created to promote good foot, leg, and back health.

I purchased these Solstice Clog in a deep red. I looked for the picture of the same color but didn't come across it.

I also got the same Marcelle Cabrio Clog.

What are some of your favorite comfy shoes?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Historical Home Wednesday

Things have been extremely busy these past few weeks and I haven't had much time for blogging. However, I've decided to unplug from the hectic schedule and just take a little downtime to enjoy the things I enjoy most...blogging and researching historical homes (especially plantations).

I've been absolutely horrible about keeping up on Historical Homes Wednesday. So today I've decided to jump back into the swing of things and write my first Historical Home Wednesday post for 2011. I've decided to share with y'all the gorgeous Madewood Plantation. It's truly spectacular.

This is the Madewood Plantation located in Napoleonville, Louisiana. It was built by New Orleans architect Henry Howard for the Pugh family in 1845.

In 1795, the three Pugh (pronounced 'Pew') brothers set out for Louisiana. They settled along the Bayou Lafourche to grow sugar cane. Louisiana is still today big on sugar and coffee for those who might not know. Many wealthy entrepreneurial men invested their fortunes along the banks of the Mississippi river building quite an empire for business, politics, and high society that still lingers today.

Thomas Pugh hired architect Henry Howard to build a plantation home that would outshine both his brothers along the bank of the bayou....and so the Madewood was built.

During the 19th century many architectural styles came from European influence and some from the Middle East. Since architects were not as common as they are today, America didn't have architect schools until 1865. Many of American architects prior to 1865 would study in Paris. That is why the plantations and cities like New Orleans have a lot of French overtones throughout the South. Massachusetts's Institute of Technology was the first to teach architecture in 1865 but Notre Dame was the first to offer a degree in architecture in a university setting in 1898.

Henry Howard gave the Madewood more of a Greek-Revival look rather than the traditional French colonial homes that were popular in through out the region. It had started becoming a trend on the East Coast but not so much in Louisiana. This made the Madewood really stand out from all the other plantations in the area.

Look at that beautiful staircase

I would give anything to have this old world look but the convenience of my modern appliances. The chandelier and the fireplace are my favorite things about this room.

What I would give to have this baby doll and carriage. I have a friend who has an amazing doll collection. I'll have to ask if it would be alright to do a post on them. It's truly a fantastic collection.

Thankfully the Madewood was spared during the Civil War. However, Thomas never saw the 100% completion of the house because he passed away in 1852. His widow, Eliza Foley, continued the completion of the home. She was also the one who convinced the Yankees not to burn down the house by informing the Union general that Thomas had been a Mason.

After her death the house passed through many hands. During the Great Depression the Thibaut family acquired it but sold it to Mrs. Harold K. Marshall in 1964. Naomi is the mother of the current owner, Keith Marshall. Today Madewood can be enjoyed by all as it is opened to the public as a grand Bed & Breakfast.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams ~ Dr. Seuss

A heart that loves is always young ~ Greek Proverb