Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Helping the Children in a Beautiful Setting...

Last night I went to a lovely charity event benefitting the Child Abuse Prevention Center of NY at the Kittle House in Chappaqua.  The Child Abuse Prevention Center is a not-for-profit organization whose aim is to reduce child abuse and neglect in Westchester County.

The Kittle House is a charming inn and restaurant, built in 1790, that serves amazing food and has one of the best, if not the best, wine lists in the COUNTRY!  Owner John Crabtree is a local resident who has been honored multiple times for his numerous contributions to the community.  The event was held outdoors in Amy's Garden, a garden in memory of John's wife who passed away in November, 2009 after a valiant battle with brain cancer.

Tasty still and sparkling wines were flowing and a special savory menu was presented.  30% of the proceeds of the evening went to the Center.  It was a delightful night with old friends and new supporting a very worthwhile cause.

Martha, Wendy and Myself

A few glasses of Riesling into the night...
I had a wonderful time!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Current Obsession...

I am going crazy lately for teardrop gemstone earrings!  I first noticed them when I walked into Green With Envy, a cute jewelry and accessories store in Armonk, NY.  I bought the black ones in the picture, and ended up going back a few more times for the other three colors.  These stylish earrings will take me from fall to winter and beyond.  (Sorry for the blurry pic - I am waiting for a replacement part for my camera so all I have is my BB for now.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My First Time to Whole Foods...I am Serious!

I know many of you may not believe me, but today was my first visit to Whole Foods.  I was driving by (after a successful shopping trip to Bloomingdales) and decided to check it out.  The store was clean and attractive.  There were so many associates around willing to help.  There was even a live cooking demonstration going on.

My eyes were immediately drawn to this colorful veggie display:

And I let out a squeal of delight when I found one of my most favorite veggies:

I wish I knew how to make them like 42 The Restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton White Plains.  Those were definitely the best fried zucchini flowers I ever had!

Next I had to check out the fresh seafood....I didn't see any lobsters (my favorite) but the displays were top notch:

This display had me giggling a bit, as it made me think of those crazy people who eat these and then try to eat other people:

I was tempted to buy a sliver of soap from this display, but passed:

Last but not least, I grabbed two of these "Authentic Belgian Waffles" hoping when I eat one later (with sugar free syrup!) it will remind me of trip to Bruges, where hot waffles were readily available and delicious!

VERDICT:  I will be returning to Whole Foods very shortly when I have more time!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

E-Bay – The Great Equalizer!

I am not one for buying used items (Ok, books maybe), but I am always on E-Bay.  I have been using E-Bay for years for numerous transactions.  I have purchased pocketbooks and accessories, golf clubs, language instruction CDs and many other things through E-Bay sellers.  And I have almost never been disappointed.

I also always check E-Bay to determine the real value of something, whether I am looking to buy the item or sell the item.  I remember growing up my mom would buy me Precious Moments for every occasion, convinced that they would be worth something one day.  Yes, there are a few “limited editions” that people will pay for, but most are listed from $2.99 - $19.99.  And, there are over 51,000 listed as of today.  Some investment!  They actually went DOWN in value.  The same can be said for my Hummels, another collection my mom though would make me rich one day.  She did forget one thing though – she let me play with the Hummels and I seemed to have broken off every single one’s head.  She carefully glued each one back together.  Current value – zero!

I also have a lot of success on E-Bay.  Take my most recent purchase – a day pass to the United Airlines Club.  Although I am a frequent flier to Europe, I fly Economy Plus (often called “Premium Economy”) which does NOT entitle you to relax in the lounge before takeoff.  So, I would usually purchase a “one day pass” at the door for $50.  Yesterday something clicked…and I went right to E-Bay!  VoilĂ ! 40+ auctions for a day pass….and I scored one for $15.15!  See me smile?  Next time, don’t pay full price for something right away…check E-Bay first!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Best Eye Makeup Remover Ever!

Lately I have been hearing more and more talk about how to prevent wrinkles.  I attribute this to the fact that I am getting older!  I love to experiment with new products for the face, hair and eyes.  I look forward to my monthly issue of In Style, Allure and Lucky Magazines as I know there will be some new product I will want to run out and buy.

Everyone once in a while, however, I come across a product that I cannot live without.  One that makes such a difference that I know I will never find something better.  And this is one of those products (which I have been using for over 20 years!):
Borghese's Gel Delicato Eye Makeup Remover
This gentle, oil-free, fragrance-free product removes even the most difficult waterproof makeup from your skin.  And the gel-based formula soothes the area around your eyes as it removes.  As a contact lens wearer, my eyes can be quite sensitive.  I have had zero irritation with this product.  And, because it is gel-based, there is no pulling around the eyes, when means the delicate skin is not stretched like with other removers I have tried.  Pick up a bottle today at Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor or online (around $32).  A little goes a long way - my bottle lasts for a year! (P.S. you can also use it to remove lipstick, too.)  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Polpettina Restaurant...a Must Try!

Last night I met friends at a new restaurant I have been wanting to try, Polpettina in Eastchester.  My curiosity was getting the best of me after reading the N.Y. Times review and rating Polpettina (whose name means "little meatball") a "Worth It."  I weaved my way through the stop and go traffic on the Hutch to the Mill Street exit, and quickly found myself in a residential neighborhood off of White Plains Road.  Parking was a little difficult; but after a few tries I found a two-hour spot within walking distance.  Polpettina has a market next door that sells Mediterranean delicacies, from pastas to vinegar and oils to sea salt and peppercorns.  They also sell wine by the half bottle and bottle, and many craft beers - this is a big plus because the market is where you wait until your table is ready.
The very inviting exterior of Polpettina Restaurant and Market
I was very lucky to be early!  After I got my name on the list for a table of four (at about 6:50) by 7:15 people were entering the restaurant, exiting and swearing.  There was now a long wait for a table.  There is usually a wait, and on the weekends it can be an hour or more!  That being said, we had a lovely time hanging out in the "Market".  We chatted with our very busy, but friendly bartender (all takeout orders are handled from here) and had some delicious wine:
A little blurry, but we had "Attitude" Sauvignon Blanc and "Petit" Chenin Blanc
Coffee, Tea, Wine, Beer or Me?
After about 35 minutes, my cell phone buzzed...the table was ready!  We walked next door and sat at our surprisingly roomy table...we were ready for our culinary adventure!

The four of us tried many appetizers.  Truffle oil and Parmesan french fries (so good we got a second order!), a meatball sampler (a beef meatball with fresh ricotta and basil, a chicken meatball with scallions, cilantro, pickled carrots and sesame soy jus and a pork meatball with broccoli rabe and pecorino, all fabulous), delicious warm Burrata in a red sauce and tasty "Brooklyn" pizza -  a thin, crust, well done pizza with fresh basil and pecorino cheese.

After another bottle of Chenin Blanc, it was time for our entrees.  Wendy and Eddie both got Truffled Carbonara pasta, one of the richest, tastiest pasta dishes I have ever tried.  Brian got the Bolognese pasta, another winner.  I tried something different - Monday nights is $15 All-u-Can-Eat clams and mussels night.  That was a winner, too!

Friendly service, delicious food, a cozy atmosphere make Polpettina a place I will return to.  Oh, did I mention the reasonable prices?  All that food for four, plus a bottle of wine, was about $155 total.  I will offer this one bit of advice - if you are not prepared to wait, come early or late.  (The are working on expansion plans but have nothing definite at the moment).  YUM!

Monday, August 13, 2012

I Love to Win Contests!

Have you been to Aurora in Chappaqua yet?  Aurora is a specialty boutique that sells fair trade goods from around the world.  They have many items to browse through, including jewelry, purses, stationary, toys, clothing and accessories.  There are many one of a kind pieces to choose from, too.  And, a portion of the store's proceeds are donated back to the fair trade producers.

During the month of August, Aurora has a daily Facebook contest.  Click "like" on the day's offering and you are automatically entered to win!  I was so thrilled to learn that I was last Thursday's winner of the Rockflowerpaper Itsy Bitsy tote!  Isn't it cute...and it is the perfect size to hold my lunch!

Aurora is a great place to go when in need of a gift, or a treat for yourself!  As an added bonus, you can feel good about what you are purchasing knowing that you are helping others receive a fair wage for their products.  Check out their Facebook page for more info:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Jewelry Party!

Last weekend I went to my friend Katya’s house for a girls get together.  Her friend was selling Stella & Dot jewelry.  What a great reason to get friends together for wine and hors d'oeuvres!  Stella & Dot is a San Francisco based company that sells their boutique-style jewelry and accessories line exclusively through in-home trunk shows by independent stylists and online.  Their jewelry has been featured on TV in Gossip Girl and in the pages of In Style and Lucky Magazine.  Choosing the piece I wanted was tough, but I settled on this gorgeous “Pippa” necklace in green (it also comes in purple).

You can also double-up the necklace for a different look:

The necklace arrived in this adorable box:

And look at the message when I opened it!

I can't wait to wear it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Window Madness

Yesterday I was on a quest to find a new (but retro-looking) Gucci belt.  As I wandered through the mall, I could help but smile when I saw Louis Vuitton's windows.  The French fashion house, established in 1854, is known for their unique and creative window displays.  I snapped a few shots with my BB as I strolled by:

Love this!
Yes, that's me in the window refection holding my colorful C. Wonder bag!
Taken May, 2012 when I was in Amsterdam...made with arrows!
I can't wait to see what the windows of Paris will bring!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Music Mondays...A Day Late!

Living in Westchester affords me the opportunity to enjoy live music any night of the week.  I go to a jam, open mic or show several times a week and have met some really terrific friends and musicians during my travels.  We have one of the best music scenes around and I often find myself having to choose between two or three performances in a night.

Last week I took a ride to Opus 465 in Armonk to see Geoff Hartwell’s Acoustic Jam, which runs Thursdays from 8-11pm with no cover charge.  For those of you that do not know how a jam works, usually the host/host band will play an opening set of 4-5 songs and then start calling up jammers from a sign-in sheet.

Pleasantville native Geoff is an amazing singer, songwriter, guitar player and teacher.  He has been on television, has two amazing CDs and teaches guitar clinics and seminars all over the US.  To see him play slide guitar is a real treat.  His bluesy-rock sound brings you right to your feet and makes you start dancing.  Check out his website for full information on this amazingly talented fellow:

As an added bonus, Geoff has special guest Petey Hop Hopkinson join him for the opening set.   Pete is another gifted musician, writer, guitar player and teacher with a very versatile style.  Whether playing solo (check him out on Monday nights at Lucy’s Lounge in Pleasantville where he runs a no-cover, acoustic open mic night where originals are encouraged) or in a trio or larger ensemble, listening to Pete is always a true pleasure. 

Hope to see you out there!

Geoff and Petey rockin the opening set
Geoff with jammer Mike on the guitar

Friday, August 3, 2012

Well scrub me down!

It is very important to properly exfoliate your skin.  Exfoliation removes the dry cells from your skin’s surface.  Using an exfoliator is one of the quickest ways to achieve healthy, glowing skin.  And who doesn’t want that!  Over the years I have been in a quest to find the best body scrub.  I have looked everywhere, from on-line, to department stores, to the beauty section at TJ Maxx.  My favorite one is Fresh’s Brown Sugar Body Polish.  However, at $65 a tub, my exfoliation habit had become quite costly!  I thought I would never find a scrub I would like as much as Fresh’s.  But, thanks this exfoliant from Nina Patino of Paul Labrecque Salon & Spa, my predicament is solved!  And, I made it myself!  Here’s the recipe:

Juice of 2 limes
½ cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons coconut oil 

In a small bowl, whisk juice and sugar until free of lumps.  Add oil 1 tablespoon at a time to thicken.  The scrub is ready to use!

It is that easy!  Try it and let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

To Blot or Not to Blot?

One of the greatest beauty inventions ever....blotting papers!  They are very thin, tissue-like and may or may not have some loose powder on them.  I have been using this essential beauty tool for years.  Just a quick swipe and my makeup is well-blended and any shine is gone.  I blot a few times a day to ensure my face has a smooth, matte finish.  My two favorites are: Shiseido 'Pureness' Oil-Control Blotting Paper (powder coated, $18 for 100 sheets, available in most higher-end department stores) and Face Secrets Professional Oil Absorbing Blotting Papers (non-coated, $3.49 for 150 sheets, order online at  Do you use blotting papers?  If so, which ones?  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I recently read...

Chef/author David Lebovitz has done exactly what I want to do (packed up all his belongings and moved to Paris) and wrote a book about it!  I tore through his hysterical take on being an American in Paris, The Sweet Life in Paris, in one sitting this past weekend.  Anyone who has ever visited Paris before will chuckle through this story of how David “came to fall in love with – and even understand – this glorious, maddening city.”  Pick up a copy, pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy!

Oh, I covet this...

Last night I ran into a girl named Alicia and she was wearing this beautiful necklace.  The picture doesn’t do the piece justice.  It was bold, had an amazing sparkle when the light hit it, and fell at a perfect length on her neck.  It was a gift from her friend Karen, who proceeded to tell me she purchased it at Nordstrom Rack.  Alas, this was a disappointment – any of you who have been to that store knows it is hit or miss and the “good stuff” isn’t there long.  I will just have to admire the necklace from afar instead of adding it to my collection.