back 100 years ago when i had a life i skied the mountains of st. anton in austria.

oh, the fun.

oh, the slivovitz.

that stuff will kill ya, but while in austria….ya drink what the locals drink.  or what the locals want the tourists to drink so they can see them make fools of themselves.


did i bring back any cool souvenirs while i was there?

no.  it never occurred to me.

i think i brought a shotglass home.

so when i saw this book at goodwill i knew i had to have it.

it’s vintage.

vintage austria!

this is just what the area looked like even though this isn’t st. anton.

i’ve skied that sh*t!  and one day it was in blizzard conditions!  but mostly it was sunny and wide open and beautiful just like this.

kinda makes me miss the slopes.  i haven’t skied in a dozen (or more) years!

and look – there’s a pic of me giving a mud treatment massage.  how’d that get there?

it’s really brownie batter.

and me in the healing caves in my white bikini.

and ellen degeneres in green.

with the crazy eyes.

check out the mod chairs.

(the pastil chair, designed by eero aarnio, 1968.)

this was also the first time i drank hot spiced wine.

between the slivovitz and the hot spiced wine, maybe this trip turned me into an alcoholic.

like everyone else there.

it’s lucky for you folks i made it out alive.  and no, not cuz of the drinking.  the day we left there was an avalanche that killed 7 people.  no lie.

(way to turn this post into a downer.)

king me

so, indeed, sister’s new house had another interesting and creative paint application in the kitchen. 

i arrived 3 days after the house was officially hers and sister had already gotten to work covering up the kitchen cabinets from their mustard color on the top/forest green on the bottom.  the only “before” pics are from her home inspector.  and they’re not large.  get out your magnifiers. 

the green lower cabinets: 

the mustard upper cabinets:

yes – that little photo there is a hint.

faux checkerboard tile backsplash. 

in black and mustard.  with brighter yellow walls.

so beautiful.

of course i kid.

again – it had to go.

i did arrive in time to take a photo of yet another color introduced into the mustard/forest green combination.  the brick red tall cabinet.   

and here you can also get a glimpse of another mustard upper cabinet, which was eventually taken down.  why was it hung where it was hung?  why so high?  mysteries we will never unravel. 

the kitchen received the same whitening and brightening relief as the living room.  bright white paint on the window trim and cabinets and country linen paint on the walls.

more “before” shots (of the walls):

ahhhhh, a nice close-up of the checkerboard backsplash.

here you can see where the cabinets have been painted over.  gone is the mustard.  gone is the forest green.  the walls are still buttery yellow. 

beautiful (well, potentially beautiful) kitchen sink once it’s scrubbed up good and clean and the faucet is replaced.  all in due time.

sister adding last coat of paint to cabinets:

the cabinets look great, right?

before i had even seen the place, i had suggested maybe a black chalkboard wall somewhere in the kitchen.  i could see one on the above wall, the one where the kitchen sink is, possibly.  sister thought maybe the backsplash wall.  either/or.  for now it’s neither/nor.  for now it’s bright and happy and sunny.

and done.

well, done as far as the walls and cabinets are concerned.  (there still might be one tall cupboard that needs a couple coats of paint.)  and of course the countertops need to be sanded and oiled or waxed or however you treat wooden countertops.  and new appliances are coming in.  i tried my darndest to convince her to buy a smeg refrigerator to no avail – her home is screaming for a smeg – but any new appliances will look fantastic.  i believe she’s going stainless.  to be fair, she DID try asking someone at sears about the smeg fridge (they are listed on their website,) but apparently the sears help just shrugged their shoulders and said, “smeg?  we don’t know nothin’ about no smegs.” 


oooohhhhh, wouldn’t one of those look great in that empty space below?  (although i can’t be sure it would even fit.  might be too small for her space.  i can’t remember the dimensions she needed.)


sister is done.  over it.  finis. 

the following day i put another coat of primer on her last cupboard there in the corner while she mowed the lawn.  and then i took off for home.

she, on the other hand, still has this to contend with:

oh joy.


oh dear.  i love me some tina fey – really truly – she’s genius.  but doesn’t her (awful) gown from the emmys 2010 this past sunday night look like it was designed by the same folks who painted my sister’s bedroom?????  tragic.


i’m still having dreams of ferns. 

they will haunt me. 

they were everywhere.

and they needed to go.

sister bought a GREAT cottage-type home in a FANTASTIC location at a smokin’ great price.

yah, that’s right.  great.  fantastic.  and great.


her home is situated on a quiet, private lot, but is close to downtown, close to grocery shopping, close to restaurants, close to everything AND close to this:

and close to this:

and this:

“the sea was angry that day, my friends.”  – george costanza

(click that quote to watch one of the funniest scenes ever from seinfeld.)

anyway – the area is just gorgeous.  everywhere you look.  even on rainy days.

and the house – well, the house came with just a few questionable paint treatments inside.

green ferns.  bronze ones.  turquoise ones. 

mixtures of greens and bronzes.

are you asking yourself, “is that a faux painted mantle/fireplace of some sort?!?!”

why yes, yes it is. 

this is your brain on drugs. 

with a paintbrush.  and a few stamps.  or stencils.    

a faux fireplace and ferns.  the theme that day was let’s paint things that start with the letter “F.”  (cuz those ferns could also be feathers.  we couldn’t be sure.)

it was my job to cover those bitches.  sand.  prime.  prime some more.  prime a litte more after that. 

sister painted over that whole mess with “cottage linen” paint (sherwin williams.)

oh dear.

i just realized i don’t have an “after” shot.  it was so rainy and dark that day and i forgot to take “after” shots of the living room the following days.  oops. 

this is it somewhat done. 

i can’t believe i forgot to take completed “after” shots.  oh well.  you’ll have to take my word for it.

it looks good.  way good.  way better fernless.

stay tuned for the kitchen…

good fries

can i just say NJ did not disappoint in the gourmet fries category.  fries in a bucket, fries in a cone (and some sweet potato fries on a plate.)  i was pleased.  i have simple wants.

you almost feel sorry for the sweet potato fries cuz they’re just on a regular ol’ plate. 

and a nice watermelon martini to wash it all down.  mmm mmm.

again – i cannot stress this enough – fruits and vegetables – potatoes, watermelon, grapes – it is essential to healthy living.  i’m adamant about getting plenty of fruit and vegetable servings per day.  i have listened and i have learned.

decade 5

or as one friend suggested – “L.”

start using roman numerals to state my age.

yes, i will be saying goodbye to my 4th decade of life (or “XLIX” in roman numerals) and hello to “L” (aka the twilight years) right here in this hotel:

photos via: bungalow hotel

yah, that’s right.

i’m staying at the bungalow on the jersey shore.  designed, of course, by cortney and robert novogratz, as seen on the bravo series “9 by design.”

not bad, huh?

for someone without a job.

feel free to send a bottle of champagne to my room.

‘cuz after paying for the room, there won’t be much leftover for food or drink.


back from a little roadtrip to maine to visit the fam. 

weather was spectacular for hiking.

the creativity continued to flow.  and by creativity, i mean tequila.  margaritas were consumed, white sangria was concocted, and more felt flower corsages from “not martha” were made. 

a pink felt flower dahlia:

sister dressing up her overalls in the pink version of the dahlia brooch.

and a light purplish one i’ll probably wear to a wedding this weekend.

drinking and dahlias, booze and brooches, cocktails and creativity.  my kinda day(s.)  i’m such an overachiever.


i had such visions.  this is the garage and shed of the red cottage i mentioned last month – the little red cottage i had envisioned to be my charming swedish-type cottage in new england.  in my mind i saw the shed as a little massage office (it even has brickwork where a woodstove used to be!)  and this house was in a nice little town, far far away from the ghetto i’m in now.   unfortunately the house is a structural nightmare.  the bugs have gotten to it.  not to mention the mold.  it’s a complete mess.  while i was waiting for my realtor to meet me, i took the opportunity to hoop a little.

this backyard is where i envisioned my cement patio and firepit to be, much like one of the outdoor sitting areas at the parker in palm springs (look to the far left on the parker’s website link.)  ok – hang on for a couple bad smudgy photos from the palm springs vaca.  i’ll just throw them in so you can get a visual.  once again, i apologize in advance for the crap photography. 

firepit at the orbit in, palm springs

i know.  just digest all the awesomeness that IS that wall hanging and ignore the smudge.  there’s just something so right about being outdoors drinking a beverage next to a fire. 

unfortunately, there is something so wrong about being outdoors drinking a beverage next to a fire outside a crooked moldy termite-ridden house.  alas, the red cottage dreams ain’t gonna happen.  my real estate gal conservatively estimated repairs at $80 grand just to get it in liveable shape, which is $40 grand over my allotted budget, and that number didn’t even account for the firepit/patio/butterfly chairs portion of my renovations.  rats.  yet another house dream squelched.   

in crafting news…

like i’ve mentioned, it takes me forEVAH to finish a project.  i get stuff nearly done and then never finish things up.  i have a defective gene.  the put-things-off gene.  and ya know, i’m well aware of how BAD i am at this and cannot for the life of me get my act together.  i’m too easily distracted.  so yes, finished up the back of this mini quilt wall hanging in ’09 (i think it was november.)  finally sewed the 2 stinkin’ pieces together and quilted around the edges in mid-february.  what?  3 months later?  man, that’s slow.  i was going for thanksgiving/christmas colors in this piece.  well, i’ll be all prepared for the holidays in 2010, i suppose.

the ace

i think we stayed in a couple of the coolest hotels in palm springs, although there certainly were a TON of hotels. 

typical tourist shot

we look pissed, but we're not

checking out the menu at the ace

lori lounging poolside at the ace

outdoor showers at the ace pool, i thought they were lights

showerhead close-up

early morning view of the ace hotel from the room

one of several firepits at the ace hotel

man, i love me some instant outdoor fire, the instant heat against your back – what’s better, i ask???  a gas outdoor fireplace now goes on my “list of wants.”  (again – a JOB should be first on my list of wants.  but no, i think outdoor fireplace.  and vintage cruiser bicycle.  i don’t even have a HOUSE yet.  what am i thinking???)  anyway, a girl gal woman  broad can dream, can’t she?

inside the room were some interesting elements.  loved the silver tipped lightbulbs.

silver-tipped lightbulb in ace hotel room

and here are a couple more ideas i’ll have to incorporate into my imaginary house/cottage of the future:

pipe-fittings for bathroom hooks, painted black

pipe-fittings used as a toilet paper holder, clever

this concludes my palm springs tour.  next time i’ll be sure to clean my camera lens more often. (!)   apparently there’s a bob hope’s house hike we need to do.  we’re shooting for the film festival next year.  hopefully i’ll have some income coming in by then.

again with the palm springs

pre-hike morning coffee

outside the palm springs museum

this was our “abbey road” photo attempt outside the palm springs museum in front of a herbert bayer 1950’s painted steel sculpture, untitled.   except there’s only two of us and we’re not on a road. 

we were scouting out the locale of the trailhead to our upcoming hike and this sculpture was yards away from it.  how cool.

hike weather turned HOT.  i was overdressed.  you kind of forget what heat is when you come from new england winter conditions.  and i don’t like being cold.  turns out i didn’t need the scarf around my neck (so i wrapped it around my head,) nor did i need a sweater. at all. 

picnic tables at the midway point of the hike

and this photo is the exact moment when “the smudge” on my camera lens occurred:

 darn it.  this smudge is in 75%  of my pics.

palm springs, con’t.

unfortunately on day 2 of the trip, i smudged my camera lens with sunscreen and didn’t realize it ’til the last day of the trip.  ugh.  most of my photos have a smudge right smack dab in the middle of them, which STINKS, but i have learned my lesson – clean the camera lens often. 

and so, some of the most potentially awesome photos of us drinking prosecco at the parker, dinner at citron, the firepit at the orbit in, etc. are NO GOOD.  following are some photos not affected by “the smudge.”

lori on cruiser in front of great palm springs house with awesome tree

breakfast at peabody's

yes, that’s a mimosa at 7:30 in the morning.  i’m on vacation.  don’t judge.

the folks in palm springs take their potatoes seriously.  o’brien potatoes seem to be a popular item, so when in palm springs…..i ate them every morning.  no pictures of ’em, but i ate ’em.   i’m even going to attempt to cook some myself this morning. 

not only are the o’brien potatoes popular, but fries are gourmet and homemade potato chips were served at the citron.  again, i was in potato heaven. 

lunch at the keiser grille

good snackin' at the ace hotel restaurant, king's highway

homemade potato chips at the citron, viceroy hotel

ok, that’s the WORST picture ever, but i had to include the homemade potato chips.

we're standing in front of lemon and grapefruit trees!!

bike locked up while eating lunch