Monday, January 31, 2011

Paris Memories

I'm not sure if it is because I am a photographer, but I "see" my memories as pictures in my mind.  When I am suggesting Things to do in Paris to family and friends, I choose from the images (in my head) that made a lasting impression on me.  

A favorite is the view from the top of the glass-enclosed escalator on the Centre Pompidou, which houses the Museum of Modern Art.  You'll want to go to the Panoramic Terrace at Level 6 and ride all the way down.  The escalators descend down the outside of the building in a series of glass tubes.  Very modern and very cool.  I've noticed that a lot of couples think that this "ride" is a great place to kiss, and why not?  After all, they are in Paris!

In the clearest panel in the middle of this photo you can see Basilica Sacre Coeur high on the hill overlooking Paris.  The view is gorgeous!

I am not a big fan of modern art (I distinctly remember seeing an all white exhibit that, as you approached to view the texture, you could hear whispers in French being piped in surround sound - neat, but a little unnerving!), but everyone should see a Warhol in their lifetime.  Open your mind, wander through some unexpected exhibits and then ride down the glass great escalator.  This is what brings delight in Paris.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Luster Ornaments

Tea anyone? 

I love this set of tea-inspired ornaments so much (Martha Stewart for Kmart, circa 2006?) that I am ignoring the fact that they are for "Christmas" and am putting them on display in my kitchen.

They are "brand new" to me - a gift from my mom.  She & I used to make a pilgrimage to Kmart the moment we thought that the new Martha Stewart for Kmart ornaments would be on the shelf.  She bought this set and now that I am beginning a collection of full-size pink luster teacups, she thought that I would love a reminder of them on my tree.  So true!

I think they look fabulous against the aqua stripe wallpaper.  They have a "luster-like" coating to them and they are a wonderful reminder of my favorite Winter ritual, having a cup of tea in the afternoon.  Are you with me?

Friday, January 28, 2011


I thought that you might like to see a piece of an actual shipwreck.  The waters of Lake Michigan were crystal clear on this particular day and as I looked over the side of the boat - voila!  I could see a small part of history.

The area of Lake Michigan shoreline that I visit in the summertime is part of the Manitou Passage.  The water in this area is home to 16 shipwrecks and occasionally bits and pieces of them sweep in with the waves or are uncovered after decades beneath the sand.  FYI - shipwrecks are protected by the State of Michigan.  It is a felony to remove or disturb any artifact found in the Great Lakes.  

These beautiful (and dangerous) waters attract scuba divers (and marine biologists) who are thrilled to get an underwater look at two hundred years of marine wreckage.  Can you imagine how interesting it would be to see the schools of fish that live in these underwater homes? 

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Anyone seen Robin?  I can handle this thing, but I'll need a sidekick! 

I was shopping at The Gardens Mall and was surprised to find that there was some sort of car show going on.  What caught my eye?  The original 1966 Batmobile!

My Dad and I had a wonderful time photographing this historic car from every angle and noticing that all of the special features were labeled: "Bat Scope" and "Emergency Bat Turn Lever" - fun stuff.  I also loved that the dashboard was signed by the cast of the show.  

But our favorite part was this simple license plate: Gotham 1966.
Now everyone, "To the Bat Cave!"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dean and Deluca

Someone buy me a cake!  Wouldn't this dessert be the star of any party?  I think the hand-piped Dogwood blossoms are charming. 

I just realized that this cake represents what is normally my holiday mantra of "Visual. Edible Givable."  That is the order in which I prepare for any big holiday.  I handle all of the visual elements in the house first (decorating, a change of accessories, plants).  Then I do the baking and candy-making, so that I have something sweet on hand to offer my friends and family.  Then I focus on the gifts - whether I am able to make something or find the perfect gift out in the world.

Anyhoo, I think it is neat that this cake is all three things: visual, edible, givable.  Want one for yourself?  I photographed this beauty at the Dean & Deluca in Georgetown.  I am sure that, with enough notice, any Dean & Deluca could create this masterpiece for you.  Love it! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Orchid Stands

I'd like to shake the hand of the person who decided that orchids should be sold at "pop up" roadside stands in south Florida.

At least 150 Phalaenopsis orchids (the easiest to care for!) were waving in the the breeze trying to catch our attention the other day. They looked so beautiful on display and since they were priced at 3 for $25, we couldn't resist.

I love this type of orchid - each bloom will last for at least a month, so try to choose a plant that has a few tight green (not yellow - they will fall off unopened) buds at the end of the stalk. They will develop slowly and keep your plant as pretty as the day you bought it.

The trick to successful orchid care is the watering - set 3 ice cubes on the moss once a week and allow them to melt. Voila!

So if you see a glorious display of flowers for sale by the side of the road, pull over and take a look. Just don't stand too close to the curb when you are's hard for drivers to keep their eye on the road!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Honeybell Oranges

Oh, honey (bell)!  I am steeped in citrus and it is wonderful.  My favorite orange (the juicy "Honeybell") is in season and I have been slurping my way through a small bag. Yum! 

I have always loved Orange Pie (my grandmother's secret recipe), a tall cool Orange Julius and fresh oranges eaten section by section with a spoon. 

I am not sure of the direct beauty benefits of Vitamin C (brighter eyes? shinier hair?), but I do know that my smile is a mile wide.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Baby Goats

Can we all say "Awwwwwww" together?  Look at this darling baby goat smiling for the camera. 

When my friend's young niece and nephew were in town visiting, she decided to host a farm party to celebrate.  She found a service that was a little like a "mobile petting zoo"- a few goats, some chickens, an angora rabbit and a donkey all showed up on cue to be adored.

Look closely at the mouth of this baby goat;  I tell you he is smiling!  Want to see more baby goats?  Follow my friends, Josh and Brent (aka The Fabulous Beekman Boys on Planet Green) and see how their life (and business) as accidental goat farmers results in love, laughter, soap and cheese.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sun Worship

So gorgeous!  You know how I love to stop everything in the Summer and watch the sun go down over Lake Michigan.  Well it has been ages since August and I have been missing this quiet time of night so much.

But this week I am lucky enough to see it rise over the ocean!  I've escaped the snow and cold of Michigan for a few days in the Sunshine State.

I love the shells (stay tuned for some wonderful jewelry!), the food and, of course, the view!  Most people come to Florida to lay in the sun, I choose an entirely different way to appreciate it.  

Take a moment and gaze at what looks like my own personal "inspirational poster." *sigh* 

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Aren't these vintage sewing implements charming?  I love that the Richardson Silk Company is willing to boast that their blue box of thread is perfect.  Shouldn't all things be described with such conviction? 

I photographed this display in an "old fashioned millinery shop" at Greenfield Village, a life-size town and museum made up of actual buildings (the Wright Brothers' bicycle shop and Thomas Edison's original laboratory are both here) from the late 1800's.  Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford museum are a must-see educational (and entertaining) destination in Dearborn, Michigan. Henry Ford's vision was to create an indoor/outdoor museum "to preserve historical items that illustrated the American experience and American ingenuity."  Facinating.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sounds Wonderful

As you look at the 2011 calendar, make sure that you plan some things that sounds wonderful

This is a photograph I took on a perfect day in northern Michigan.  My aunt was in charge of planning an outing for a groups of ladies and I was invited to join them "for lunch at a lavender farm."  Seriously, what could sound better?  

Now is the time to get out your calendar, call up some friends and start planning some fun.  Been talking about a weekend reunion with college friends?  Always wanted to travel to Round Top Spring Antiques Fair?

I'm all for spontaneity, but things this good have to be planned.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

12 Days of Valentine's Day

The 12 Days of Valentine's Day starts on February 3rd!  I am telling you now so you'll have a chance to plan.  I absolutely love Valentine's Day and could not possibly fit all the heart-shaped food, flowers and decorations I desire into just one day.What is the 12 Days of Valentine's Day?  To me, it is making small gestures to celebrate the love you feel for your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors.  It has nothing to do with numbers.  You don't need to have 9 Hershey Kisses on the 9th Day, nothing like that.  Just relax and enjoy spreading "The Valentine's Effect" to those around you.

The tiniest things can count as celebrating.  Wearing pink one day - check.  Ordering a heart-shaped pizza for your family - check. 

On the side of my blog, you can see dates of prior posts.  Click a year, then click February to scroll through some of my other 12 Days of Valentine's Day posts.  You'll get the idea.

Come celebrate The Twelve Days of Valentine's Day with know you want to.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pantone Color of the Year 2011

So pretty!  The Color of the Year for 2011 is this gorgeous reddish-pink shade of "Honeysuckle!"  Pantone and I are definitely on the same page this year.  Who wouldn't want to surround themselves with this rosy color? 

I decided to represent this year's selection with a David Austin rose ("Jubilee Celebration") that looks to me to be about the same shade as Honeysuckle. 

How can you incorporate Honeysuckle into your life?

A new blush for some rosy cheeks...
Paper napkins to brighten a dull day...
A bunch of roses...
Strappy sandals...


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Resting Your Eyes

It is time to rest our eyes.  To "calm down" your living space this January, why not strip the room of excess color and introduce a few layers of white & cream.  You can try softening the room with the glow of candlelight.  The votives shown above were cooling on a tray after being filled with melted beeswax.  Have you ever smelled beeswax?  Heaven!

Maybe you could add a fleece throw in the palest shade of pink.  Change the lampshade to a neutral cream or white.  Remove the extra items from the room to give your eyes a rest.  Instead of stacks of newspapers and magazines, place the one book you are reading on a side table.

Now breathe. A little less visual "noise" will do us all a some good as we welcome the new year.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Merry Go Round

I am doing my best to make you fall in love with everything that I love.  I am trying to show you things that will peak your interest and maybe even prompt you to act (see link).

Today's moment of delight centers around simple paper structures.  Do you like my little carousel?  I bought it at a newspaper stand in Paris (more than ten years ago!) and just had the courage to "punch out all the bits" and make it stand on its own today. 

You see, these delights come with an envelope and are sold as mailable art.  Since it starts out flat and requires a little bending and a lot of slots and tabs to make it 3-dimensional, I was afraid that one wrong move would prevent it from standing up.  I was dumb dumb dumb to wait so long.  This charming merry-go-round went together without a hitch and I love it! 

I think I will keep it on our piano and let the actual music imply that it is coming out of this paper treasure.  Now do you want to ride the pony or the camel?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Candy Chair

"Hey Sugar! Got a sweet tooth?"

You can hunker down in the chair of my dreams!  This is the super cute display in the window of a new candy shop called "Sweet Thing" (215 N Old Woodward
Birmingham, MI 48009 (248) 792-2410) in downtown Birmingham.  Retro candy, bulk jelly beans, novelty candy - you name it! 

I think it is a welcome addition to this shopping town - everybody likes the idea of walking to town to buy some candy, right?  I'll take some Junior Mints, please.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Video Update

Patricia Michelson of La Fromagerie sent me a great video interview from a Belgian television show and I've added it to my January 3rd post.  If you'd like to see inside the store and hear how Patricia was inspired by cheese, click the link or scroll down to the January 3rd post and check it out.

Cupcake Maker

What was my heart's desire this Christmas?  A pink "Babycakes" cupcake maker!  In my mind it is a cross between an Easy Bake Oven and a waffle maker and the result is a batch of mini-cupcakes every 7 minutes! 

I owe a big thank you to my Mom and Dad who heard me talk about wanting one of these ridiculous appliances and for realizing that I wasn't kidding!

What could be more fun?  As a matter of fact, I was whipping up a batch of chocolate cupcake last night, when I called my neighbor and invited her to come over for a chat.  I mentioned that I was trying out my new cupcake maker and she was over in a flash!  The funny thing was, that she had bought me this embroidered cupcake dishtowel and had been meaning to bring it over.  It was kismet.

The next time you see a wonderful yet unnecessary appliance (quesadilla maker, s'more maker, hot chocolate maker) ask yourself, would it bring me delight?  I rest my case.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Good Friends

I have been spoiled by some great conversations lately.  With the holidays behind us, my friends and I are less "crazy busy" and are finding it much easier to chat. 

I had a long talk with one of my friends about how social media can play a part in the book business.

I shared an appetizer of roasted artichokes with another dear friend as we talked about all the fun things we wanted to do together.

And I was on the phone the other day when an old friend said, "I can hear the difference in your voice," after I had explained how some things I had been worrying about had suddenly gotten much better.

We all need to talk and we all need to be heard.  Whether the topics are big or small, remember to carve out some time to catch up with your girlfriends.  The smallest comment or word of encouragement can mean the world. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monogrammed Towels

Does your kitchen need a lift now that all of the holiday touches are gone?  My kitchen looks very bare and in need of a touch of color.  I think a few monogrammed dishtowels draped at the sink will do the trick.

All you need is some inexpensive flour sack towels, a plastic alphabet stencil sheet (from the craft store), a bottle of fabric paint, a plastic baggie (to pour your paint onto and throw away after!), a small stenciling dauber tool, masking tape (to keep the stencil in place) and a paper grocery bag (to protect the counter top). 

Follow the directions on the paint bottle - most air dry and then can be "set" with an iron on a low setting.  Then you can wash them without loosing your design.  Super cute and super easy.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Downton Abbey

Do you love Downton Abbey too? 

(Note: this post was written in 2011.  The 2013 showing of Downton Abbey, Season 3 starts January 6, 2013 on PBS! Yippee!)

Set your televisions to record!  I just noticed that PBS will be airing the mini-series "Downton Abbey" on Sunday nights this month - starting tomorrow night!  It looks wonderful - a portrait of Victorian life with the clothes, characters and secrets that makes it a must see in my book. 

When I wrote earlier about my love of the British series, Foyle's War (you can read my post here) a lovely reader named Lillian thought that I would enjoy watching Downton Abbey.  I haven't had a chance to find it on YouTube as she suggested, and just happened to find it being broadcast on American television this week.  What luck. 

And won't the cold month of January be more fun with a mini-series to look forward to.  Everyone light the fire, get a cup of tea and meet me in front of the telly tomorrow night!

*P.S. This is a photo I took of Blemheim Palace in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds.  I took a guess that it would be a fitting image for this series and I was tickled to see that looks perfect!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cincinnati Broomball

How do people from the Midwest amuse themselves in the Winter?  Apparently, some play Broomball (ice hockey, but with broom-like sticks and sneakers) at night in the freezing cold in downtown Cincinnati!  You can see that this area is tucked among the buildings in the downtown. Did you notice the red star? That star is 5 feet across and sits on top of the 65-foot Christmas tree that illuminated Fountain Square over the holidays.

Crazy, but fun, right?  I tell you, these people were having a blast participating in the HGC Broomball League in Fountain Square.  This is a major part of a Cincinnati Winter.  The link above shows that this league is comprised of 40 teams!  Amazing. 

We had just finished dinner at The Rock Bottom Brewery around eight o'clock and the lights and cheers of this game lured us over.  The announcers lively commentary (and the fact that the game was being broadcast on a jumbo tron screen) made the whole experience feel authentic.  I mean, if you are going to leave work, layer on a ridiculous amount of clothes to ward off the cold and give your all "out on the ice," you should at least have some fanfare, right?

I cringed over crashes and wipe outs, but I could tell that in Winter, this is where their heart is.  At Fountain Square, out on the ice.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Player Pianos

Can you hear the music?  My friend had Auld Lang Syne playing on her antique player piano on New Year's Eve.  So nostalgic!  Look closely and you can see that a white key is being played...this is an action shot!

When my friend Kim and her husband bought their house, the previous owners offered to leave this Story & Clark player piano in the basement.  It didn't play, mind you, but my friends could see the potential. 

When the time was right, they found an expert in player piano restoration (a blind man with an incredible ear for music) and the piano was taken off site for a complete overhaul. 

Voila!  This historic piano plays like a dream now and based on the serial number we think it is from between 1924-1931.  It came with a large selection of music (paper rolls with a pattern of holes that triggers the keys) with dreamy names like "Midnight Waltz", "1924 Rose Marie Fox Trot" and "Oh Boy, What A Girl!" 

Kim's basement holds a time capsule of romance.  Is your dance card full?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Botanical Gardens at The Bellagio

There is a moment of delight inside the conservatory at The Bellagio Hotel.  The last time I was in Las Vegas, I made a point to visit the enourmous botanical gardens inside The Bellagio Hotel.  Have you heard about it?

Thousands of real flowers, petals and leaves cover sculptures, walkways and vignettes in a giant glass conservatory.  The way in which the flowers tell a story is a "show" in and of itself.  Be sure to take your time and soak it in.
I saw a rose-wrapped snail, a giant frog covered in green pincushion mums and these Great White Heron. 

Remember when I photographed a Great Blue Heron in Florida?

I recommend visiting at night, when the glass roof conservatory is dark (from the night sky) and the floral designs are gently lit. While you are there, be sure to watch the music-synced show at the water fountains out front.

Considering all of the currency-based activities in Las Vegas, this free stroll through wonderland makes this a garden of delight. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I have posted this photo as a reminder of the glory of composition.

When you see something beautiful, examine different ways to "frame" the scene.  This gentle image of a hydrangea surrounded by cosmos and other leaves and blossoms is actually part of a huge garden between the three buildings (tasting room, cafe and gift shop) at Cherry Republic in northern Michigan.  I have tried time and again to get a grand landscape shot here and communicate the rich varieties of plants in this walking garden.  It is possible, but not beautiful.  So instead, I decided to hone in on one area.  With a dark backdrop of shadow and leaves, the composition of this picture makes it look like a painting. 

Think of your camera screen as an actual frame in your house and see if you can find something worth hanging.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Barefoot Contessa in London

I was so happy to see that Ina Garten visited La Fromagerie when she was taping her holiday special in London.  I wrote all about my lunch at this spectacular cheese shop (full of epicurean delights!) after my visit in June - you can read my post about it here
Before I go on, I want to list the shops that Ina Garten visited in London:
Now back to La Fromagerie!  Although I couldn't bring back cheese in my suitcase, I was smart enough to buy a La Fromagerie tote in black and cream.  The version I bought has the cows (that produce milk for the cheeses they sell) marching across the bag with dignity.  I love the design and whenever I am on-the-go, it is by my side filled it with magazines, knitting and snacks.

So far it has been impossible to watch "Barefoot in London" on the Food Network.  I am hoping that they re-play this fun episode full of the London food scene.  You can read the recipes Ina derived from her visit here

*Watch a video interview with La Fromagerie's Patricia Michelson and have a quick tour of the shop and a peek at all of her luscious cheese!  Her segment begins (in English) on minute 4:17 - Press play, then move the bar to advance the footage.   

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Open Door

I have a feeling that many doors will open for us in 2011. 

If you are considering a new opportunity this year, imagine crossing this threshold to meet it head on.  There is a world of possibilities out there and so much of life can bring delight.

I am optimistic about the future and happy to be able to share my world of Delight with you.

Happy New Year!