I needed a break from the snowy west and booked a trip to Kinderhook via Boston a few weeks ago.  Micaela picked me up at Logan and we drove south for a relaxing weekend.

It was nothing short of perfect.  I slept until 10 on Saturday and then we took a long walk on the beach and through quaint seaside towns.  We shopped the rest of the day away and went out for a quiet girlfriend dinner.

On Sunday we slept in again, then took a walk (this time in the rain) on the beach after morning tea and oatmeal.

When I’m away from the ocean for more than a year, I forget the sound and the smell.  From M’s house, you can hear the waves.  All night long – those lovely, lulling, rolling waters.

I could not get enough!




Boat and Tote love.

Since I was a wee kid, these bags have been hanging around my life.

I’m a total bag lady – just like my Grandma Betty.  I love a good, sturdy bag I can stuff full of everything and anything.  That’s why the L.L. Bean Boat and Tote is a must-have.

My momma uses these bags all the time, and over the years, has purchased several for herself, friends and family.  From the small size to extra-large, these bags are the best for trips to the library, the beach, a picnic, toting groceries or using as carry-on luggage.

They’re made in Maine from heavy-duty canvas, able to be monogrammed and practically indestructible.  Because they’re from L.L. Bean they’re guaranteed for life.


[A gift for Katie!]

I travel with one of these bags almost every trip I take.  I gave them to my bridesmaids (filled with some of my other favorite things) as gifts for being in my wedding.  I have open top, zip top, large and extra-large sizes.  I have them in pink, black and navy-colored straps.

As we were walking out the door to Martha’s Vineyard for a quick getaway honeymoon last year, my mother handed us a Boat and Tote with beach towels, sunscreen and snacks.  Our “Stroh” bag gets used at least once a week.  Cute, right?


[Stroh bag's first beach trip]

These bags aren’t too expensive in general–as you’ll have it for the rest of your days on earth–but right now, through Wednesday, May 29, they’re an even better deal because they’re all 20% off.

Click here for details!

[Top photo by Kara Pearson]

La cucaracha.

To break up a long afternoon at work yesterday, I took a walk with my coworker in our warehouse.  This is a very regular occurrence as the space is made for walking.  There is actually a loop trail our office mapped out and once around is a half mile.  It’s great exercise and many people here have actually resorted to “walking” meetings when there are less than three or four people involved in a project.  I’ll reiterate.  It’s a very high-traveled path.

However.  Due to the fact that the warehouse serves as storage of furniture and files, houses a gym and mail room and all shipping a receiving works from the area, it also seems to serve as a safe haven for cockroaches.  Rumor has it that many years ago, a delivery of systems-furniture arrived from (of all places) Syracuse, New York.  When the crates of furniture were opened, hundreds, maybe even THOUSANDS of cockroaches spilled out and ran into the deepest, darkest corners of the warehouse to breed.

Every other month now the warehouse is fumigated for these little suckers.  It’s generally some days after the fumigation that you see a few belly up roaches on the cement floors down there.

Today, I’m not sure if something was in the water or the fumigation schedule was ignored or delayed, but there were at least five LIVE cockroaches furiously skittering about the walking route.  The first one I saw made me nearly jump into my coworker’s arms.  She pointed out the second one to me too so I didn’t step on it.  The third and forth were easier to avoid…and scurried into storage areas in the darkness of the hallways.  But the fifth…

I was in the middle of telling an animated story (as per the usual) and stepped on something that popped.  I mean, snap, crackle, POPPED.  I thought at first, it was just a piece of plastic strapping that ended up under my Chuck Ts.  But it was not.  I had my coworker take a look at the bottom of my shoe because I couldn’t bare it.  And then I let out another yelp when she told me I had full-on stepped on a cockroach and killed it.  I considered throwing the shoe in the trash.  But then, I’d have to walk back upstairs to my desk with only one shoe and touch my bare foot to the floor.

Oh lordy, I won’t get over it.  I am still considering throwing the left sneaker in a hot bleach bath.

I thought I came to terms with bugs in South Africa.  I have not.


South Africa Story: My first ele.

We arrived at Mpila Camp at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, checked into our site, dropped bags and got back in the bakkie (South African slang for pickup truck) for some late afternoon animal viewing.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, except that we’d gotten a poor report on what animal viewing was like at Kruger National Park from Ludi’s brother two weeks before  we arrived in KwaZulu-Natal.  Being summer, and the wet season, animals are less likely to come to watering holes in the reserves where often, there are hides, or places where people can quietly observe them as they drink water.

I also wasn’t sure what to expect because I hadn’t yet seen the African bush in its glory.  Everything was new to me.  The landscape, the sky, the heat.  We were hours and hours away from the city.

Because it was my first time looking for animals, Ludi and Amy insisted I sit in the front passenger seat.

“Now Bridget,” Ludi started, “because everything is new to you, it’s going to be hard for you to spot animals in their natural habitat.  Remember, they look like the landscape.”

“I see an elephant!” I yelled.

“Exactly,” said Amy calmly from the back seat.  ”When you see something wandering around, just yell it out.  Let us know.”

“I SEE AN ELEPHANT!” I yelled again.

“Oh for real!  There it is!”

And Ludi put the brakes on the bakkie, threw it in reverse, and we watched quietly.

This is what I saw.


But he was there.  He was a really real wrinkly elephant.  And then he saw us.


And he said hello.  And we said hello.  And I fell in love with him.  He followed us for nearly two kilometers down the dirt road as the sun set on Zululand.


He was a little shy at first.

Then he stopped at a puddle and muddied himself to cool down.  And then he got back on the dirt road and continued to follow us.

ele4I really wanted to get out of the bakkie and hug him.  He probably wouldn’t have liked that.

ele5Bye, bye, lovely.

Winter layover in Paris.

We flew through Paris to on our way to Johannesburg in December.

There is just nothing like Paris in the winter – except, I imagine, Paris in the summer, spring and fall.  And even though it rained nearly the entire time we were traipsing across the city’s ancient cobblestone, it was still well worth the ride on the RER from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Paris.  We had twelve hours to soak it all in.

It was kind of a love fest.  We were married.  We were in La Ville-Lumiere.  We were on our way to Africa.  Pretty romantic.

Paris1Tres adorable.  I learned in Paris that Chris has an EXCELLENT French accent.  So many talents!

Paris2Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris.


Un artiste.




Un ecrivain de fumer.


Pour un appartement de jardin.


Musee du Louvre.

Paris6La Tour Eiffel.

JCPenney. Bargains galore.

You know I can’t pass up a good bargain.

I think all my small town talk a few weeks back about JCPenney catalog stores got me thinking that I really should hit up our local Penney’s to check out all the fuss since CEO Ron Johnson was ousted last month.   After a dismal run in which Johnson attempted to “modernize” the store by cutting out coupons and sales, JCPenney seemed to have a realization.  Money talks.  And JCPenney lost a lot of it when they hired Johnson and his team.

JCPenney released this apology last week.

I’ve long been a browser at the chain store.  In the past, I’ve had lots of luck purchasing dresses for work and the occassional pair of shoes.  And of course, as a kid, I looked like every other fourth grader in Penney’s turtlenecks and Arizona jeans.

So last Friday, I found myself at the JCPenney in Stapleton, east of downtown Denver.  It’s a stand alone building in a large shopping area.  The parking lot was fairly full and when I walked inside the store I was immediately struck by how welcoming it was.  Wide aisles, bright walls and clearly marked prices–and sale items–loads and loads of sale items.

I found so much I liked it was ridiculous.  I needed a shopping cart in my dressing room. There were so MANY bargains to be had.  Most items I purchased were between $10 and $20.  Nothing cost over $20.


Polkadot dress (ALYX) – on sale for $20.


Orange quilted dress (Liz Claiborne) – on sale for $20.


White lace t-shirt (a.n.a.) – on sale for $10.


Ombre spring sweater (a.n.a.) – on sale for $12.


Workout tank in hot pink (Xersion) – $10 everyday price.


Apparently the everyday price for these is $8…but since we’re soon out of stocking season, these babies were on sale for $2.  Score!

IMG_2249 I’ve been looking all over the place for these.  $3 everyday price.

And this is me in the $10 tank on race day.  Cute!

945597_10200981680045474_169046521_nAccept Penney’s apology.  Go back and check them out.


A young lady’s house-warming.

I received a message the other day from my friend, DW, asking what she should purchase as a house-warming gift for her friend’s daughter, a 19-year-old college student who’s moving into her own apartment.  This gal’s style is unfussy, practical and a bit vintage.

I was happy to give some suggestions to DW that will help this young lady feel right at home in her first place.  Ideas for these gifts are in a smattering  of price ranges.

Mugs – $6 each


These mugs from Anthropologie have been around for years.  They are pretty spectacular.  One can go on a writer’s desk with pens and pencils in it.  A set of four can spell out the word “love” or “chic” or a set of five can spell “hello.”  Imagine how cute h-e-l-l-o would be hanging from hooks beneath a cupboard in the kitchen?  Or, the mugs can be purchased with her first initial in a set, or as a part of a larger gift.

Canisters – $45 – $150

Target_CanistersCanisters for her kitchen countertop are a lot of fun and there are many choices–new and vintage.  I like these canisters from the Threshold collection at Target for styling a kitchen.  Etsy and thrift stores also have several different styles of canister sets to compliment her new digs.

Potholders – $10 each

WilliamsSonomapotholderWhen C moved in he brought some of these lovely Williams-Sonoma potholders with him.  These are awesome and part of the reason I let him stay.  They are durable and washable.  Williams-Sonoma carries solid colored potholders, pictured above, as well as complimenting stripes.  They also carry lines of oven mits, dish towels and lovely dish and hand soaps – perfect for her housewarming.

Throw – $129


If DW knows the colors she’s using in her new home, a throw is a cozy, wonderful gift.  A blanket in a neutral, classic color and weave can help warm her living space.  These from Pottery Barn are lovely.  I purchased one from a wedding registry for a friend and I think it looks great on her sofa.

Vase and Bud Vase – $14 – $62


Fiesta vases are a wonderful house-warming gift for a first place.  Both styles are beautiful and will add a warm, colorful quality to her home.  I own the vase in Sunflower–a gift for our wedding, and I use it all the time.  The shape is elegant and timeless and easy to find at places like Kohl’s and Macy’s, where they often go on sale.  Though harder to find in stores, the Fiesta bud vases are absolutely precious and can dress up a kitchen table or night stand.

Happy shopping!  And happy first place!

May Day.


I’ve figured it out.

April [snow] showers bring May [snow] showers.

It’s May 1 and Denver is covered in snow.  It continues to fall in big, juicy flakes.

C and I went to the Nuggets playoff game last night and celebrated by getting an ice cream cone at Sweet Action.

As we pulled the car into Cheesman Park, the first sprinkles of rain started falling and by this morning, the rooftops in our neighborhood were covered with a light dusting of snow.  Throughout the day, many inches have fallen (this is my official estimate from my seat by the window at work).

When we were little and living on Knollwood, I remember our next door neighbor, Hillary, who was also little, pulling the May Day trick.  For years, she’d walk up our front steps on May Day and leave a basket of marigolds outside the front door, knock and run away.  I don’t know if my momma ever caught her to give her a smooch, but I always thought that was fun.

I imagine even through snow, Hillary would have delivered her May Day treats.