Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mother's Day Giveaway

Check out my friend Leigh Anne's Blog: She's having a Mother's Day giveaway of one of my favorite Vintage Style Necklaces from my Etsy Shop.
This is one of my favorite Vintage Style pieces and I hope it will be yours!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Princess Diana Exhibit

When I found out that DH had a business trip in Atlanta, I knew that I had to see the Princess Diana Exhibit while we were there. The exhibit was only going to a handful of cities in North America. My Mom had seen an announcement in the paper of this touring exhibit, and called to tell me about it. When would I ever have the chance to see Diana's wedding dress, tiara, and glamorous gowns close up?
Her wedding gown was prominately featured.  The designers, David and Elizabeth Emanuel, opted for a Victorian Fairy Tale look.  The gown shimmered in the light with thousands of seed pearls and sequins.  To me, this gown seemed very un-Diana, and it certainly seems like as she grew more confident in her life, her style changed to a sleeker style.  She initially favored English designers, but later went to Italian designers like Versace.  I was struck at how very thin she was.  The dresses featured classic fabrics, with beautiful details.
These images were taken off the tour website, since attendees can't take photos during the exhibit itself. When you first walk in, the first thing you see a magnificant tiara from the Spencer family collection.  It was really breathtaking!  There were several photos, movies, memorabilia, and jewels from Diana's family.  There is also a portrait of Diana's grandmother, and it's amazing how much they looked alike.  Diana's father was a amateur photographer, so there are lots of still images and movies of her as a child.   
I left feeling renewed sadness that her life was cut so short.  She was such a great humanitarian and connected with people from all walks of life.  As a testiment to how admired she was, there was a whole wall of bound condolence books from around the world.  You can't help but wonder what her life would have been like had she lived longer and found a more compatible mate.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Blue Banana Coffee Shop

I was editing some photos from our Titanic Dinner last weekend, and came across these images from a little coffee stand in Lostine, OR.  Have you ever driven on a road, in the middle of No Where, and then suddenly something catches your eye and you burst out laughing?
Well, here's a little coffee stand with the tail end of an airplane, a back end of a VW, and a giant Blue Banana, did I mention that this was in the middle of No Where?  Of course, we had to check it out.  Oh Yeah, they make good coffee too.
Yours truly enjoying a cuppa....
Friend Mark, in the VW. A view from inside the VW, surrounded by skateboards...a cozy little nook.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Last Titanic Dinner

Last summer, I went to a 'Knit Night' at the Oregon Coast and ran into an amazing group of fun loving women.  They couldn't stop talking about a Titanic Dinner that they had attended in April, at the Foley Station Restaurant in La Grande, OR.  They were so enthusiastic about the meal, dressing in period costumes, and the stories that were told about the passengers lives, that I knew we had to attend this event!
Fast forward to last Friday, when Rick bought tickets for this amazing dinner to celebrate Bryan's and my birthdays.  Our dear friends, Mark and Barb joined us, and we drove the 4 hours from Portland to Eastern Oregon.  We got there early to check out the Titanic Museum put together by John Lamoreau, a Titanic Curator.  John has one of the largest Titanic collections in the Northwest and many of the authenticated treasures were displayed for the first time.
As we arrived, we each received the name of a passenger with a little biography.  L to R: Rick, Mark, son, Bryan and lovely Marika.  During the dinner, you found out if your passenger lived or went down with the ship.  If you survived, you received a gift certificate for brunch on Sunday.  Friday night was a dinner for Second Class passengers, and only six survived.
 While we waited for dinner, we were invited to check out the amazing amount of memorabilia.  Most of the items were purchased from auctions, or from the estates of the families of passengers.
Dinnerware from the sister ship of the Titanic, the Olympic.  

Below are tiles from the Titanic's sister ship the Olympic which was decommissioned in 1939;  identical ones were also on the Titanic.
Below, a replica of the Titanic in all it's glory.
We received a commerative menu, along with a Bio card of 'our' passenger.   
Our friends Mark and Barb, looked like they stepped out of the Era.  Barb's sister-in-law, lent her this hat from her collection.
Below, Rick and I.  I was excited to wear this hat that was purchased on a business trip in Minneapolis several years ago.  Our wonderful neighbor from the Coast, 95 year old Gertie Smith, lent me a handbag that belonged her mother.
Bryan on his 24th birthday.  Below, Scenes from the dinner
The first course, Consomme' with Tapioca, was paired with a Kenwood Sauv Blanc wine.  The soup tasted better than it sounded.
Soup was followed by Baked Haddock with Sharp Sauce.
Curried Chicken with Rice was next, paired with a Hinman Reisling
There were two main courses: Roast Turkey with Savory Cranberry Sauce, and Roast Lamb with Mint Sauce, Turnip Puree, Green Peas, and Roast Potatoes, paired with a Petit Bistro Pinot Noir .  Everything was beautifully presented and deliciously prepared by chef/Owner, Merlyn Baker.
In between courses, John Lamoreau shared stories of the people who's Bio's we received.  There was a trivia question, which Mark answered correctly, and he was allowed to have champagne served in a glass purchased from the estate of a passengers family.
Dessert was Plum Pudding with Sweet Sauce, Wine Jelly, a Jello like concoction, and a coconut Sandwich.  The wine pairing was a kourakis Samos Sweet Muscat
Wouldn't you know, Barb's Passenger was the only survivor in our group!  (Although, we all went out to Brunch anyway)
Finally, a plate of Fruit, Nuts and Cheese was served with a Lunetta Prosecco-Brut (champagne).  It was hard to imagine that the First class passengers had a dinner with four more courses and three more wines!
After the cheese and fruit was served, and the last passenger story told, the sound of swirling water, and the Hymn "Nearer My God To Thee" played, the lights flickered and you had a sense of the dreadful fate that awaited the passengers on the 'unsinkable' Titanic.  That being said, a remembrance dinner of this historic event is held annually around the world on the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The 100th Anniversary will be held in two years. If you ever get a chance to attend one of these dinners, I would recommend that you do it!  The sharing of the meal, telling of the stories, keeps the memory of these amazing people alive, and not just relegated to a sad footnote in history.  

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

On The Town

It's been awhile since we've been out to dinner in this trendy area of Portland called The Pearl.  We decided to take our 'starving college student' KTB, to dinner at a Peruvian restaurant called Andina.
The interior was very warm and inviting, and even at 5:30 PM on a Tuesday, the place was filled up to the point where we barely got a seat.
Andina offers full sized meals, but also offers Tapas in the Spanish tradition.  We opted to go the Tapa route and weren't disappointed. We ordered four medium size plates to split between the three of us, and everyone had more than enough to eat.
Tabule De Cereales Andinos quinoa salad served with cotija cheese, avocado, and olives.  This was so yummy, I actually thought the cheese was crab
I'm not sure what this is called.  The top was tuna, on top of crab and potato.  The crab and potato was fantastic, but I didn't go near the seared tuna since I don't like raw fish.  DH and KTB raved about it though.
Anticucho de Pollo marinated chicken kebobs, served with a spicy salsa de rocoto.  This was wonderful with the spicy salsa.  However, my favorite was the Empanadas Caseras de Carne, which is a flaky pastry filled with slow-cooked beef, raisins, and Botija olives. Amazingly, I didn't get a photo, but the complexity of spices with the sweetness of the raisins, made for a delightful dish.
Finally, we opted for three mini Creme Brulees.  As you can see, by now the family was pretty tired of my staging photos, and just dove into the desserts!  One was a cinnamon custard, one was a rum raisin concoction, and one was a chocolate bliss.  Not the real name, but it was chocolate and pretty blissful.  All were definitely worth the carbs.  If you're in Portland, I definitely recommend Andina-I can't wait to go back!
On the way back to the car, I paused to take photos and check out some shops.
Doesn't this 'Vintage Living' shop loook like a fun place to return to?  I did get a quick walk through before they closed and found it to be full of treasures. 
Finally, I love the colors and lines in these city shots.  Can't wait to sketch.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Well, we're going to do this backwards and start with The Ugly. This is the year I am breaking of cycle of the imperfect Deviled Egg!  I decided this was a Blog-worthy topic, when once again, I was asked to bring Deviled Eggs to Easter Brunch...(more about that in another post).  Every year, it's the same scenario.  The night before Easter, I boil the eggs, run them under ice water, and then peel them.  More often than not, the egg sticks to the shell, and I need to make up a new batch.  Last year, the eggs were too fresh, so this time around I bought them a week ahead...with the same result!  As you can see above-definitely not Brunch worthy.
The Bad:  Well, if you don't succeed at first, make another batch!  The trick I found out, is to bring the eggs to a full boil for 5 minutes, and then simmer for about 20 more.  Then, this is the key: peel them while they're still warm and the shells will come off easily.  Scoop out the cooked yolks, mash them with a fork, add mayo, mustard and sweet pickle relish. Salt and pepper to taste. Which brings us to The Good: Yummy Deviled Eggs, with Hungarian Sweet Paprika.  Hmmm-photo doesn't do them justice!
Happy Easter

Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Perfect Spring Day on the Oregon Coast

We've been spending a fair amount of time on the Oregon Coast lately, trying to get the beach house in shape.  There's been wood blinds to install, furniture to re-upolster, and some painting to do.  These things take some planning to do from two hours away.  However, on a beautiful spring day, it's hard to stay put and not take a drive north to Astoria to visit the thrift shops, and fun restaurants.  On a recent trip, we found the coolest shop, Ambiance, chocked full of great decorating ideas and reasonably priced treasures!  DH, a non-shopper enjoyed browsing and even found a cool clock for his downtown office.  The owner said that they mail order tons of clocks for wedding gifts.  Great idea, since everyone can use a clock!
Displays are changed often and are a real inspiration for me, who is tyring to decorate on a budget in a 'shabby chic' style at the beach.
Below, I couldn't resist a shot of this cool bridge to Long Beach WA.  I love bridges and look forward to painting this one. Recently, I drove across it, and couldn't resist taking some shots.  I don't recommend this, but nobody was on the bridge when I did it, and so I was able to slow down and shoot this:
  Here's a different angle of the bridge. I thought this would be a good watercolor subject. 
 Below,  had to photograph these charming flower stands. They were doing a land office business on this warm spring day.  Many people stopped to support these little roadside vendors.
Did you know that there's several places on the Oregon Coast, where you can actually drive your car on the beach at certain times of the year? 
As Molly and Lulu can attest, it was a dog-gone good day!