Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ospedale degli Innocenti :: Festa della Rificolona

And this is the other side of the card mentioned in the previous post. Executed at dinner with a BIC pen and a highlighter purchased at the local farmacia that day.

Love :: A Desk of One's Own

Stuff everywhere... I was sitting down to write or sketch or something one day last week and thought this summed up my ideal space. This is where I conduct my personal correspondence and At The Meadows business, where I write notes to friends... on paper. It's a bit of curated haunting -- I know some things have been seen on At The Meadows before (like this and this), but to see them together and how they "talk" to each other is nice.

The card in the holder is from the Ospedale degli Innocenti ("Hospital of the Innocents") in Florence. I like to send postcards to myself at home when I'm traveling. They are great reminders when you first arrive home, but even more so years later. On the back of that card is a quick sketch I made of the lanterns of the Festa della Rificolona. And the birds in the background are needlepoint done by a German woman (according to the signature on the back of the frame).

What's on your desk?*

*And a side note on desks, my favorite baristas offered to make me a little desk made of milk crates so I could work in the beautiful weather today. Those baristas are handy!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Mama

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Looks pretty good --

Oh but those hushpuppies were dense! Like little breaded super bounce balls.

Kitty and I made a barbecue run on Saturday between haunts -- to Sweet Baby Ray's restaurant. They say their BBQ sauce is "the boss" -- and it is good if you like the red stuff (on chicken, I would say).

But I dragged Kitty out to try an Eastern NC style sandwich. Kitty was raised in Chicago, so this was exotic! And I was ready to give this Chicagoland sandwich a try.

Points for having the slaw on the sandwich when it arrived. I did have to add some extra sauce, to really get a good vinegar taste, but all in all, not a bad sandwich. I had been jonesing for this for two weeks, so I'm sure I am being generous, but happy to do so (before our visit, I was on the verge of calling Kings in Kinston). As I mentioned, the hushpuppies were hard and dense. And get this -- they charge $2.49 for four puppies. I sweet-talked them for gratis, though. Good thing, since they were not up to House-Autry snuff! And no sweet tea, of course.

I was happy to just have a little bit of sandwich to taste and review... worth the drive for this Chicago-southerner. Sweet Baby Ray's is serving Eastern NC style barbecue during the month of June, so check it out for yourself and share your thoughts!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day :: 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Call your Daddy or Paw-Paw today!

This photo is of my Paw-Paw... this picture was probably taken in the 40s or 50s. Maybe you can see where one of my aunts wrote "Daddy" on the left side in his t-shirt. He was the best!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Haunting :: Some Saturday Finds

Oh, Lord. Kitty* and I hit the haunts today and whew... we were all over the place. Here are a couple of my finds:

A brass magazine rack with a relief of what looks to be a landing scene of a Spanish ship -- conquistadors? No telling really -- though I can't see any Spanish helmets on our landing party. It's marked "Peerage -- Made in England", and it definitely has some patina, if you know what I mean. But it will look fab in the living room -- I have a lot of magazines, and I need a lot of ways to corral them. And y'all know I love all things Americana/explorer/manifest destiny/history (what a thought-bucket!). Check the end of the post for an impromptu set-up.

This deck of playing cards was a steal! Love the type on this!

Okay ---- drummmmm rolllll pleeeease....

Oh this is going to be good.

More haunted stuff to come -- stay tuned!

* formerly known as "K"

On the Prowl Today!

K and I are out today haunting -- hopefully there will be post-worthy objets!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wish List :: Stanley Ford's Bachelor Pad

Last night I was surfing through my digital converter box offering (no cable here), and came across this embarrassment of riches. I missed the very beginning of the opening credits, so not until today when I was researching for this post did I find out that the flick is called "How to Murder Your Wife". (gulp!) Jack Lemmon's character, Stanley Ford, is a cartoonist ("Bash Brannigan" is the name of the strip) -- and he is the ultimate bachelor until he impulsively and drunkenly marries a beautiful Italian bombshell who jumped out of a cake at another gentleman's bachelor dinner.

Stanley lives in a townhouse in Manhattan with all the good stuff: a study, a terrace, a bar, incredible cabinetry in the kitchen and his dressing room. And the type in the opening credits ain't too shabby either. All this with a cuter-than-all-get-out Jack Lemmon.

These are my kind of digs. I love this 1960s eclecticism -- great art, great objets and fantastic furniture.

And check out the studio!

Love the way he's making hand gestures as he speaks, and the woman in the painting in the background has her hand to her mouth. It's as if they're the ones having a conversation.

Is it weird that I want this bachelor pad?

PS :: Going haunting with K tomorrow -- crossing fingers that we'll score some good stuff!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Haunting :: Sea Biscuit

I'm not talking thoroughbreds, either.

What a great score that I found at a haunt in the dead of winter. This beautiful blue vintage glass piece has the shape of a sea biscuit like one I remember my mother always had in her house, but the transparency like a jelly fish (I remember seeing them from the heights of the Johnny Mercer Pier). Either way, it's summertime at the beach -- at home!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Hog Highway

Since I posted last week about my recent cravings for some Eastern NC barbeque, I have been seeing it everywhere. Maybe there is something to asking the universe for what you want! Since I posted this, I have had the following things come to me:

1) My June/July Garden & Gun just arrived, and it features an article on the best barbeque joints of Eastern NC. (Ayden has two!)
2) America's Test Kitchen showed how to make it at home... specifically, sandwiches with slaw! My favorite!
3) The Sweet Baby Ray's restaurant in Elk Grove Village, IL is featuring Eastern NC barbeque all month! Check it out here. My expectations aren't very high, but I am desperate.

I am trying to go next weekend, and I will report back on how the Illinois version of NC barbeque goes... apparently there will be hush puppies as well!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flag Day

Today was Flag Day, and DAR Chicago was out in full-force along Michigan Avenue giving away American flags. We gave away 3,000 flags at three locations: the Water Tower (shown above), the Wrigley Building (right at the Michigan Avenue Bridge), and at Millennium Park's "Bean" (Cloudgate sculpture). It was so great! So many smiles!

After our flags were all gone, we regrouped at The Gage for some more social time. Thanks to all the ladies who came out today!

PS :: if you're on Facebook, you can join the "Friends of DAR Chicago" group!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Absinthe, Chocolate and Minnies

Last night I attended a little soiree for the opening of Vosges' wine bar service at its Armitage shop. I always love a good Vosges event -- remember? Haunt-Chocolate. Everything is so rich and wonderful -- signature purple is everywhere and the place exudes a worldly vibe.

Mr and Ms Fab* and I headed straight to the back for a glass of prosecco, and Sam (check out that suit -- talk about dandy-glam!) treated us to a brand-new Vosges creation. It's a "Rock 'n Roll" interpretation from their Groove collection, and it's a dark chocolate truffle with clove ganache that has some kind of Brazilian smoked tobacco infusion. Forgive me, Vosge-ies for not describing it exactly right or eloquently, but I am not a foodie. (I'm a lover not a foodie... I don't analyze.) To get to it: This truffle was amazing. Amazing.

But what's next:

There is ABSINTHE. I have never had absinthe before. In fact, about the only knowledge of the green fairy that I have is from watching Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge. Sam demonstrated how to serve it -- from pouring to sugar with water drops, to adding more water and ice -- it was quite a production. And after all that, I have to say that I am not a fan. Loved the demo, the drink, not so much. The licorice flavor is just too much for me. Back to prosecco I went.

In addition to the Rock 'n Roll truffle, we sampled the Chef Pascal (one of my favorites), the Red Fire (with chili pepper -- num) and the Woolloomooloo truffle. I can never pronounce that one.

After all this decadence, we headed off to Minnies on Halsted for a quick nosh before home with our chocolate purchases (I decided on Red Fire Chocolate-Covered Tortilla Chips). What a night. Loved being with you, Mr and Ms Fab!

*as in Fab Four, you know

Castaway for an Hour

Ahoy mateys!

It's finally sunny in Chicago today, and Mr Interior had the great idea to head down to Castaways at North Avenue beach for lunch. I was amazed at the number of people in the water! If you know Lake Michigan, then you know that the water is freezing until mid-August, and even then it's iffy. No gulf stream here, babies.

PS :: That waitress in the red tank top was totally rocking out to the tunes.

Blog? What blog?

I have been remiss this week! But I also have new pics to share, so there will be a new post this afternoon. And I will have to be more diligent. I've only been blogging for a short while, and I am new to the experience of blog-guilt -- that pang of "shoulda" when I don't have time to post. As soon as my camera charges up, I'll post some great pics from last night.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wish List :: Bar-B-Q King

It's Sunday, and I have a hankering for a visit to the barbeque place. Alas, none here in Chicago. Oh, they can call it "Carolina pulled pork", but it's messy and doused in red sticky sauce, but that is not my barbeque. Shredded pork with clear vinegar "sauce" is what I like -- Eastern NC style. The photo above was taken during a road trip with Mama. We were traveling from Asheville to Charlotte and decided to take the business route into Lincolnton for lunch.

Luckily we found the Bar-B-Q King. Everything you ever wanted in a barbeque place. Good, fast and low-key. Every table had a bottle of ketchup, a roll of paper towels (the kitchen-Bounty variety), salt/pepper and a a bottle of Texas Pete. This place is pretty far west, but is on the geographical edge, so to speak, of where barbeque goes from shredded to sliced and sauce goes from "clear" to red. It was a great lunch. And the tea was pretty good, too. (I have a friend whose mother says that a place's sweet tea is the only real way to judge a restaurant.)

Somewhere I have the card of a barbeque place that overnights food. I need that card. I'll make tea today -- halfway there.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Urban Pow-wow

Members of the American Indian Center in Chicago conducted a mini pow-wow today at the Raven Festival (one of Chicago's many summertime neighborhood festivals). As a member of my DAR chapter's American Indian committee, I accompanied B, the committee chair, to the event.

The outfits were great. I particularly liked the "fancy dance" girl (that's what they called her). Her headpiece is beaded with images of the Hancock and Sears Towers flanking a tepee. And her moccasins and cape have the same image themes. Very interesting to see these images manifested in Native American beading techniques.

Learn more about Chicago's American Indian Center here.

Sunny Day Ensemble

Blue linen jacket, white button down, blue/gray striped trousers with a gold-link and tomato soup red enamel with a kelly green pocketbook. Oh and straw flats with a light gold buckle. Love these shoes.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Modern Paradox Wrapped in a Vintage Enigma

MBM over at Preppy Patio posted a quiz for identifying your decorating style. They call me "Vintage Modern". I can see it. We southerners love our antiques, but that doesn't mean that we live in the past. But they also mention microfiber -- I think not.

:: Take the quiz here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Low Country Treasure

Charleston has quite a few historic plantation houses, but after pouring over the details of the lot, we settled on Drayton Hall on the Ashley River for a visit. Drayton Hall is the house of an old indigo and rice plantation. It is spectacular in its state of preservation. The paint is peeling, the floors creak, and you can still see where the family marked children's heights on the door frame.

This house has been preserved, not restored -- meaning that since it was acquired by the National Trust from the Drayton family in 1974, it has been kept as-is. The wonderful part is that not many changes had been made since the mid-eighteenth century (it was built in 1742). Shutters were added in the nineteenth century, and repairs made with contemporary materials as needed, but on the whole, it's very similar to how it would have been back "in the day".

There is no furniture or artwork inside the house, since there is no air conditioning to protect it. Windows are wide-open as you pass through the rooms. Window views of languid spanish moss and lush grass are the art. The ultra-verdant landscape contrasts sharply with the dull green-gray of the walls with bits of red wood underneath, and striking greek key on the mantels and star motifs on the molded plaster ceiling. This place is a feast for the eyes.

Find out more about Drayton Hall here.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Haunting :: Back in the Day

From the pages of the Hugh Morson High School in Raleigh, circa 1930. My favorite: "A certain Buick".