Happy Girl

1. Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV by Warren Littlefield 2. Speculoos Cookie Butter from Trader Joe’s 3. Queen Elizabeth II

Summer is finally here! Actually, here in Beaufort, South Carolina, it has been here since mid-March. We really didn’t have much of a spring (or a winter for that matter), we just went full steam ahead into summer. And when I say steam, I mean steamy. South Carolina really isn’t much hotter than my hometown of Athens, Georgia. It’s just a heck of a lot more humid if you can believe it. Hello big frizzy hair!

Despite my bad hair and scary electric bill, here are a couple of things that have made me a happy girl lately:

I just finished reading Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV by Warren Littlefield. Who wants to read a book by a former TV executive? Not me really, but it discussed some of my all-time favorite TV shows: Cheers, Fraiser, Friends, ER, Will and Grace, and Seinfeld. This book isn’t going to become a classic or anything. However, it was actually a fast easy read.  It was nice to turn back the dial and get all of the goods from behind the scenes with some of my favorite actors and learn how these shows came to be on our TV screens each week. I don’t watch reality TV shows except for No Reservations and Housewives (I know, I should be ashamed to admit that last one openly), so reading this book made me long for the days for a place where everybody know’s your name; the doctor is listening; an ugly naked guy lives across the street; yada, yada, yada…

I stopped by Trader Joe’s the other day when I was in Charleston and was immediately drawn to the big sign that said “Cookie Butter.” It was like a beacon in the middle of the store with two of my favorite words in big bright letters: Cookie. Butter. What’s not to love? I also noticed the word “speculoos.” Granted, I only know about a dozen Dutch words, but I do know what speculoos means. Delicious gingerbread-like cookies with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger cardamom and white pepper. I grabbed a jar and brought it home to the Dutchman. The verdict? Stop whatever you are doing and go. Go now to the nearest Trader Joe’s or as I like to call it, the place to blow a paycheck on cheap wine and dark chocolate pistachio toffee. Grab a jar of Speculoos Cookie Batter and get ready to spread it on anything and everything. Better yet, why waste time with a vehicle for the spread? Just eat it with a spoon out of the jar when no one is looking.

Last but not least, congratulations to you, Liz. Sixty years on the throne and still counting! I bet Charles and the Rottweiler are peeved.


A Wicked Good Time

It’s that time of year for pumpkins, ghosts, skeletons, zombies, and witches, so it is also the perfect season to read about the life and times of the most famous witch of them all in Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire.

Wicked is such an interesting take on the characters from L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Who would guess you would actually feel sympathy towards Elphaba, the little girl who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West?

I have to admit The Wizard of Oz was my favorite book as a child. My mom and dad said that when it came time to read me a bedtime story, they would cross their fingers and silently hope that I would reach for a different book other than Oz. However, they would read the book over and over to me because I apparently couldn’t get enough of Dorothy and her sparkly red shoes. My parents told me that even when they would try to skip a page so they could tuck me in bed a little faster, I would always interrupt to let them know they skipped a page and asked them to go back and read it again. 

I loved the story so much that my mom decided to throw me a Wizard of Oz birthday. My mom is an elementary school teacher, so with her creative brain you can only imagine what all she made for my big day. She constructed an Emerald City and braided my hair, and I even remember that she took an entire roll of yellow bulletin board paper and rolled in down our driveway so that my friends and I could walk on the yellow brick road.

So in honor of the wonderful memories of the Wicked Witch of the West, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, Dorothy, Toto, the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Munchkins, take a look at some of the fabulous Wizard of Oz-themed handmade items available by talented members of Etsy:

1. Wizard of Oz buttons 2. Cupcake topper kit 3. Infant knit hat with Toto 4. Somewhere Over the Rainbow cowl scarf 5. Wicked Witch original art print 6. Somewhere Over the Rainbow printable calendar 7. Tin Man and Dorothy hand-stamped necklace 8. Yellow Brick Road print 9. Wicked Witch bookmark

Setting the Agenda

I am a sucker for notebooks. I remember when my mom took me  shopping for school supplies, and every year I would pick out college-ruled, spiral-bound notebooks in every color I could find. As an adult I switched to agendas,  but instead of taking notes on math assignments and writing notes to my friends, now I keep up with what bills to pay and what groceries to pick up on the way home from work.

I picked up my 2009 agenda in The Netherlands, and I love starting each week looking  at pictures of windmills, modern architecture, beautiful canal houses, and amazing farmland. However, we are only eight weeks away from ringing in the new year. It’s agenda time.

My friend K and I decided to trek it over to Atlanta today for some girl time. We visited our usual list of shops in Lenox Mall, and of course, Anthropologie was at the top of our list.

I could live in Anthropologie. Their textiles are amazing, and don’t even get me started on the plates, bowls, serving platters, and cups and saucers. As I took a mental inventory of everything I wanted to purchase, I stumbled on the “Sale” section. Now I am not one to pass up a bargain, but I didn’t need an oversized wooden serving spoon, an Asian-inspired wooden apple, or heavy silver metal letters in K, Q, X or Z. However, while I was looking through the books and calendars, I found a book stuck in the middle of the stack that immediately stopped me in my tracks…a silkscreened agenda with pumpkin-colored letters, accented in birds and leaves in robin’s egg blue, charcoal and fern green.

Now I don’t know about you, but picking out an annual agenda or calendar is a very personal thing. I must have space to write important birthdays and anniversaries, pencil in weddings I will coordinate during wedding season, and of course, a place to doodle my transparent boxes and wavy lines during boring meetings. This agenda from Sukie looked pretty promising.


As I flipped through this book, it had everything I could ever imagine in an agenda: an undated weekly calendar, plain and lined paper, glassine pockets to hold business cards, receipts and notes, tear-off postcards and business cards,


and sticker sheets!


Sold! I’m ready for 2010.

Coming this week: New sewing projects.

(Photos courtesy of Sukie)