Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yep, this is me

Every so often, I have a somewhat mundane question that I think to myself, "That would be a good question for Mom." My mother passed away a little more than 10 years ago, but I still find myself forgetting this fact for a split second when I think of a question I know she could answer.

We are leaving for a week-long vacation in St. Michael's, Maryland soon, where we have rented a house. This will be our first vacation with our young son and old dog and I am looking forward to the time together. As the time approaches, I have become more and more anxious about getting everything done to ensure a great trip. When it occurred to me tonight that I would even have to take toilet paper and dish soap, I was reminded of my family's trek to the beach every summer, with our humungus Oldsmobile station wagon packed to the ceiling with such common, everyday items.
When I wondered what else I would need, I thought "That would be a good question for Mom." I think this, not with sadness, but with fond rememberence and a touch of melancholy.

I remember the dining room filling up over the preceding weeks with everything she thought we would need. I'm sure there were times when something was forgotton, but to me, it was all smooth sailing.

So, my friends, when you rent a place to stay for vacation, what else have you brought (or wish you had)?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chalk It Up

I love anything that makes life simpler, more organized, and is beautiful to boot. Enter these chalkboard rectangles I found at PaperSource, and voila!, an instant message center in the kitchen. I keep a tin of chalk with an eraser on the counter nearby. If I decide to rearrange, relocate, or remove the chalk board, it removes easily without damaging the paint on the wall or leaving behind marks.

PaperSource also sells a similar product, but with a little more flair:

This chalkboard contact paper looks nifty too, providing endless possibilities for it's use.

Feeling more creative? Chalkboard paint is right up your alley! Naturally, Martha Stewart has a lot of fun ways to use this paint.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Frozen Lettuce

No, it's not a new trend in dining or a cooking tip. It's a sign I need to up my caffeine intake.

I was just making a sandwich for lunch when I realized I couldn't find the bag of lettuce I just bought an hour ago, only to find it in the freezer. Yes, it's been that kind of week, which is why I haven't posted. But I have a few things in the works and hope to be back real soon!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

Stain Removal 101

Creatas Images Single Image Set

Successfully removing stains is the only satisfying part about the chore of laundry for me. I have my old stand-bys, Gonzo (which I buy by the gallon these days...the reason why deserves it's own post so more on that later), the recently discovered Grandma's Secret Spot Remover, and the hard-to-believe trick of regular Aqua Net to remove ball point pen ink.

But what about an unusual or difficult stain? What if it's on your favorite piece of clothing that cost an arm and a leg? Well, a few years ago, when I was searching for the best way to remove red wine, I stumbled across a gem that the smart people at Cornell have assembled and graciously share with the world. This document covers everything imaginable and is quite an interesting read (especially for nerds like me). Asphalt? No problem. Glue? Piece of cake.
Mixed drinks? Now you're talkin'! Gonzo has since come out with a product called Wine Out, but I still keep a copy of this stain removal guide near my washing machine.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Best in Show

This was going to be a post about unusual items sold at my neighborhood Whole Foods (required shopping for all urban-suburbanites). But a much better post offered itself up instead.

While in my favorite part of the store, the prepared-foods department, a woman approached me, smiling at my baby. She said, "That is just the cutest baby!" To which I replied, as any mother would, "Thank you! I think so too!" But it did not end there. As she began to walk off, she said, "You have a real winner there. A definite best-in-show!"

In honor of my Westminster-bound offspring, I bring you Ostrich Eggs. Sadly, they were out of emu eggs today. Guess my omlette will have to wait.


The convenience of that all-too-famous coffee chain often lures us, however, there is an undeniable charm when it comes to your local coffee shop. I am fortunate enough to have two within a short driving distance from my home (well, I guess I could walk...), and a number of other options in Old Town Alexandria just a few more minutes away. My current fave is the Grounded Coffee Shop at the intersection of Telegraph Road and South Kings Highway. Delectable desserts made on the premises, delicious sandwiches, (and of course, tasty coffee) make this a favorite among locals. A play area and changing table in the restrooms offer a much more convenient spot for a cuppa joe for parents. Find a locally owned coffee shop in your neighborhood at Delocator.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I'm a modern housewife living in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside of our Nation's Capital, with my husband, eight month old son, and our elderly cocker spaniel. This is a great city and I think we live a pretty amazing life here. And I look forward to sharing it with you!