Sunday, December 30, 2018

Lipstick Love

The older I get…………the older I get.  What?  You were expecting maybe something witty and wise?  Well, how about something practical instead? 

The older I get, the more I realize the importance of never leaving the house without lipstick.  In fact, I wear it even when I don’t leave the house.  It makes me feel sooo much better when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and nothing lifts my spirits better when I’m getting ready for a night out on the town than putting on that perfect shade of red lipstick. 

“Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” – Elizabeth Taylor

And, so, I intend to kick start the New Year in a great black dress and a “kick-ass red lipstick,” to quote Gwyneth Paltrow, who is not someone I normally associate with red lipstick, but you never really know about us women and what catches our fancy, now do you?  They’ve yet to invent a reliable algorithm for that one. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Little Boy on the Landing

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  It was just the three of us again this year – Dan and I and the Ghost of Thanksgivings Past.  The latter has become a welcome guest -- very discrete, never intrudes on the present, says little, eats nothing and serves up a feast of delicious memories.  

Every year my opera-singer brother would arrive from New York a few days before with a freshly killed turkey and a huge bag of chestnuts.  The prep for Thanksgiving dinner would begin right away.  Paul was the only person I could ever work with comfortably in my kitchen.  Somehow, we never seemed to get in each other’s way.  The smell of roasting chestnuts would fill the house as he worked on his special chestnut and sausage stuffing. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Messages in Metal Etched with Love

Periodically, I get emails from manufacturers who want me to write a post sponsoring their products.  I don’t follow up on most of them, particularly if the email looks like a mass mailing to bloggers (“Hello , I love your blog….etc…..”) or if the product is not something that interests me nor, probably, my readers. 

But not long ago, I got an adorable email from a woman named Hallie that started this way: 

“Bonjour Marie-Therese,

That is officially the first time I've used four years of French in high school...  :)

My name is Hallie Schumaker and I work for a company, Messages in Metal.”  

She then proceeded to tell me a little bit about her Company and what they do, and I was interested enough to respond. 


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

With a Little Help from my Friends and a Shopping Spree

No, I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth – more like I fell into a hole.  I’ll explain.  The truth is that I was under the weather for a while.  If you have auto-immune issues as I do, you know exactly what I mean.  I think of it as walking along minding my own business on a bright sunny day, when suddenly I fall into a dark hole and have to dig my way out again.   

Those are the times when you feel like just curling up with your favorite purse and shutting out the world.  But you ride it out, do what you can, postpone or cancel what you can’t and when you start to feel like yourself again, it’s time to celebrate with a little help from your friends and a shopping spree. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

A New Season Begins with Something Old and Something New

Last time, in And a New Season Begins, I talked about starting our 2018-19 Metropolitan Opera Season with one of the most popular and most performed operas in the world – Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème.  In fact I’d hazard a guess that at any given moment, somewhere in the world,

A bunch of starving artists are huddling together against the cold in a dingy, rooftop garret in Paris preparing to sing their way into our hearts, just as they did during the very first performance at the Teatro Regio in Turin in 1896. La Bohème was a smash hit and would secure Puccini’s legacy as one of the greatest opera composers of his generation. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

And A New Season Begins

I had that recurring dream last night – the one where I’m standing in the wings of the Metropolitan Opera, in costume, waiting for my cue to go on and I suddenly realize….

YIKES!!  I’m singing the major role and I don’t know the words or the music!!!  Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to wing it.  Mercifully, I wake up in a cold sweat before I am forced to test that theory, which I don’t think would hold up.  Phew!! 

Fortunately, the cast and conductor of Saturday’s opera knew exactly what they were doing.  After a long, opera-deprived summer, I couldn’t wait for our first opera of the 2018-19 Season, and it was well worth the wait. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Special Wedding Anniversary

I’m not quite sure how it happened and where it all went, but being single is just a distant memory.  What did it feel like?  I forget.  40 years ago last weekend, on a sunny afternoon in Philadelphia, a young woman with high hopes and big dreams married her future to that of a young man with a wonderful laugh. 

The following day, we left for Paris.  I couldn’t wait to introduce my new American husband to family, friends and the country I hoped he would come to love as much as I did. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Awesome August Birthdays

So, here we are – finally – in the last week of August.  We actually had a few days that almost felt like fall the previous week.  They were glorious.  Fall is nipping at summer’s heels, but we are still in the soup at the moment and doing our best to remain cool.

A Cool Cat

I may not be a fan of August temperatures, but I am a fan of some of the awesome people born during this month, and I would be remiss if I did not pay tribute to three of my favorites, all of whom were a force of nature and had a great impact on my life. 


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Perfect Pout – I Bid You Adieu

Ah, the picture-perfect pout made famous by silver screen sirens like the delectable Brigitte Bardot. 

It’s just so mysterious, so quintessentially French – that unapproachable, yet come hither peut-être pout that drives men wild with desire and women wild with envy.  How exactly do they do that and NOT look like they’ve just sucked on a lemon? 

Well, there are two major requirements for mastering the perfect pout. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Bounty from the Bark of a Tree

I love to cook and will happily slave over a hot stove in fall and winter. 

Courtesy of Heather Stillufsen

But summer is my time for a big KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid.) – easy recipes, casual dining with friends and lots of chilled Prosecco. 

It was a hot Friday afternoon and I was expecting my friend Anna and her husband.  We were going to Haddonfield to shop, then back to my house for some light bites and bubbly to cool us off while waiting for my husband to come home from work (Anna’s husband loves shopping; mine hates it!!).  Then we were off to the Country Club for dinner. 

An hour before they arrived, I threw together one of my favorite easy hors d’oeuvres whose main ingredient comes from the bark of a palm tree.  No kidding! 


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

In My Own Backyard – Maison Marcellé – Part 2

In Part 1, I introduced you to Andrea Marcellé Miller and her fabulous jewel box Boutique on Kings Highway in Haddonfield – right In My Own Backyard.  And I promised to share some of Andrea’s favorite finds and places in Paris in Part 2. 

So, come with me as I pay a return visit to Maison Marcellé and make good on that promise. 


Thursday, June 28, 2018

In My Own Backyard – Maison Marcellé

In my first post about falling in love with the wonderful things In My Own Backyard, I promised a review of one of the newest shops in town, Maison Marcellé, which bills itself as “French Inspired Shopping for the Très Chic Woman.” 

I had no idea what a treat was in store for me when I popped in one Friday afternoon to check out the Boutique and meet the proprietor. 


Walking into Maison Marcellé is like walking into your grandmother’s jewelry box.  Everywhere you look there is something sparkly and wonderful to delight the eye, and getting to know the owner may just be the jewel in the crown. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

In My Own Backyard – Talented People

Last time I shared with you the beauty of spring and favorite places in my neighborhood.  Now I’d like to introduce you to a very talented artist right In My Own Backyard. 

Meet my neighbor Richard Heacock. 

After retiring from a successful career in business, Rich (known to friends and family as “Bink”) decided it was time to do something he had always wanted to do – paint.  After all, his mother had done some painting and his son is a gifted artist, so…how hard could it be??

Well, as it turned out…..not very hard at all. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

In My Own Backyard

The Metropolitan Opera Season is over (sigh!) until the fall, but I know New York and everything I love about it will be waiting, unchanged, like a faithful paramour ready to open his arms to me when I return. 

And so it’s time for me to fall in love again with my own town and my own backyard. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Birthday, Derby Day and Something That Didn’t Work Out but Did

Got my husband off on his golf trip yesterday morning (phew!).  We weren’t sure if he would make it (will fill you in on that later), but he did.  What a relief!

Miss Kiri Kat Ready for a Trip with Daddy

Of course, it’s a good thing he checked his golf bag before he left or he would have discovered a furry white stowaway when he arrived, which could have been “cat”astrophic given the careless way airline companies have been handling pets these days; but I digress. 

Anyway, I finally have time to sit down and catch you all up on a few things – a birthday, Derby Day and something that didn’t work out but did.  Does that make sense? 

Friday, May 4, 2018

I Think It Got Lost in Translation

Following a brilliantly successful trip to the United States in which the President of France dazzled everyone with his charm and command of English, a slip of the linguistic tongue during his recent trip to Australia raised more than a few eyebrows on several continents.  I’ll get back to that. 

White House balcony Photograph by Jim Bourg Reuters

The visit of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte to Washington could not have been more perfect.  Watching Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron together, each with her signature look, was a lesson in knowing what works for you and how to put it all together – in short, mastering the elements of style and making it all look natural and effortless. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

What Do Women Want? It’s Complicated – Or Is It?

What do women want?  Ask a man that question and he’ll probably roll his eyes and look heavenward for divine inspiration, which doesn’t come because even God doesn’t want to take this one on.  So, the poor guy will just shrug his shoulders.  He doesn’t have a clue. 

The truth is that the clues we women do give men, when we bother to give them at all, and the little hints we occasionally drop are confusing and often contradictory.  We are, indeed, complicated creatures, but are we so complicated that even we can’t figure ourselves out?  Or, have we just overcomplicated our lives by trying to make sense of the dizzying array of choices available to us that were not available to Grandma. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

My Brilliant Birthday Month – Part 3

Well, we’ve finally come to the final post of My Brilliant Birthday Month (See Part 1 and Part 2).  I really drew this one out, didn’t I?  Didn’t mean to, but between Parts 2 and 3 there were a few projects that needed my attention, such as an article for a local magazine and getting all that tax info together as the deadline approaches (ouch!).  Sooooo, as promised, it’s time to wind things up with a roundup of my Birthday Group’s favorite skin care products we’ve given each other over the years. 

One of Earline's Great Little Doodles!

For more years than I can remember (hmmm, I think we may have actually been young when this all started.), Earline, Linda and I have met to celebrate birthdays and special occasions over lunch.  These lunches typically run about three hours, Earline typically orders Chicken Walnut Salad, and we always consume copious amounts of Prosecco.  Of course, they also always include the exchange of presents large and small and what Earline calls “little doodles,” which are often the most fun of all. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

My Brilliant Birthday Month – Part 2

Well, here I sit looking out the window on the official first day of spring plus two as we dig out from yet another two days of a blizzard that dumped more than a foot of snow on us.  Kinda makes me want to curl up for a long winter’s nap in a cozy drawer. 

Miss Kiri Kat -- "Wake Me When It's Spring!"

Spring has missed her cue, yet again.  Can someone cue her a little louder from the wings, please?  Still, I have confidence she will eventually take center stage.  I only hope she gets to do her number before summer gives her the hook.  I do love a lovely spring. 
You will recall from my last post that February was my birthday month and I definitely made the most of it (See My Brilliant Birthday Month – Part 1).  I celebrated all month with a memorable opera at the Met, lunches and dinners with old and new friends and was royally spoiled with gifts.  Take a peek at a few of them…

Thursday, March 8, 2018

My Brilliant Birthday Month – Part 1

I’ll bet you thought I’d forgotten about you, my lovely readers.  Never – just been on a bit of a post-birthday, blogger breather break.  As you may remember from my last post, February was my birthday month and the festivities stretched over the whole month and three States.  There was a truly memorable opera in New York, and there were lunches and dinners with old friends and the unexpected pleasure of making new ones courtesy of my cousin in France. 

We only had one opera on our Met Opera schedule in February, but what an opera it was!!  The night before, Dan and I celebrated my birthday at one of our favorite restaurants, Nougatine at Jean-Georges in the Trump International Hotel on Central Park. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Girl with Pink Hair

February is my birthday month, the shortest month of the year (No jokes about it being appropriate for my stature, please!), and this year I needed to renew my driver’s license by presenting myself to the offices of the DMV along with the requisite number of documents totaling six points proving that I actually am who I am and not someone else pretending to be me. 

And so, on a rainy February afternoon, I packed up the necessary provisions to survive an afternoon in bureaucracy -- sandwich, water, magazine, book – and drove to the Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Department of Motor Vehicle Services. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

What Price Politesse?

My grandfather George, who was often less than sober, was never less than polite to and cooperative with the local constabulary, who frequently escorted him home.  Even in his cups he was such a gentleman that no one ever laid a finger on him. 

I was raised to mind my manners and be polite to everyone, especially my elders and my betters, but no one ever said I had to be nice to everyone.  Imagine being expected to be nice to everyone all the time.  That’s too much of a strain on anyone’s nervous system, particularly today when the barbarians have gotten past the gate. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Happy New Year – Catching Up with You

It’s a funny thing, but after the mad rush before the holidays when it seems there’s never enough time, once the holidays hit time seems to stand still, at least for me.  Routines are put on hold as we disconnect from daily life to reconnect with loved ones.  It’s all so worth it. 

Miss Kiri Kat Taking a Christmas Cat Nap

Now it’s time to play catch up and to catch up with you, my lovely readers, as we look forward together to a new year and all that it promises.