Wednesday, September 1, 2010

tidbits from my last mama night out

Last week, my usual Mama Night Out didn't happen until Friday night. I didn't like going out alone on a weekend night at first, but when I realized that everything was open an hour or more later than on a weeknight, I decided I could roll with it.

I didn't get to leave the house until a little after 7pm, so I decided to head to a local outdoor mall where I knew there'd be several stores open until 10pm (and a bookstore open until 11). First stop - Panera Bread. Rumbly tummy.

photo: that girl with a camera (fun blog!)

I used to turn my nose up at Panera... for a really prissy reason. I didn't like clearing all my dishes cafeteria style. Honestly, I still don't like it. Something about putting your dirty forks into a bin with everyone else's dirty forks - ew. I deal with my family's spit and slob just fine - it's the spit and slob of other peeps that makes my skin prickle.


At any rate, I changed my tune when this whole weight loss thing got underway. Panera has some great-tasting, low-cal options. This summer, I've been pretty much sticking to what I know works. Have you tried the Asian Sesame Salad? 410 calories, and yummy. I skip the bread (I know, but hey - bread vs. waist) and go for the apple, which I usually save to eat an hour or so later. The salad has nice wontony crunchies, a tangy/sweet viniagrette, and cilantro. Love the cilantro.

Blood sugar stabilized... I headed to BR. Mission: find some skinny jeans that work with my mom body. BR? for mom-friendly skinny jeans?, you say. Worth a shot.

photo credit hereI tried on several clothes and chatted with my favorite sales person, Stephanie. She's probably about 22 and she is so, stinkin' cute. She stands back in the dressing room and chats with me about how to wear my scarf this fall, what boots might be best, etc. She's great. Too bad all the jeans just weren't working for me that night. Depending on your height & shape, they might work out for you. These almost worked for me, but the skinnies had some weirdo sagginess behind the knee. Plus, their low-rise is pretty, well, low-rise. I needed to find some mid-rise skinnie to keep that dreaded muffin top at bay. Bye, Stephanie. See you, soon!

eddie bauer modern fit skinny jeans in "rinsed"

I never go into Eddie Bauer, but maybe I should. It's right beside BR, and last week I decided to go in because I'm still in the market for a classic denim jacket (last year's is too big - yay!). I'd check on a jacket and I figured there was a chance they'd have skinny jeans, and - if they did - they just might be mid-rise. Bingo! Eddie Bauer, I'm converted. These are GREAT jeans for moms who need a higher waist but still want to get the dark wash, skinny look. Don't worry, I won't wear these without a top to cover my rump. They might look fine, but I'll wear them with longer tops for modesty reasons. I didn't buy them just yet. I'll take my sister with me next time and get her opinion before I make the purchase. Skinny jeans are part of my fall core wardrobe plan, though, and these are serious contenders.

Well, that was fun. Two stores down was Ann Taylor LOFT. The stores weren't closing until 10pm, so I still had time. Why not?

ann taylor loft charcoal and ivory striped sweater

I sort of accidentally found a shirt that I really liked. Do I love it? I'm not sure. I at least really like it. It looked good on, too. It's not every day that some other shopper in the dressing room comments. I had two ladies comment when I had this on. Do you think the store plants those shoppers to get you to buy their stuff? ;) Problem - it's $60 and not on my wardrobe plan. I already picked up something that covered the "gray stripe" category. Hmm. Dunno - I really liked it. It looked super cute with my rolled boyfriend jeans and black ballet flats. Drat.

cold stone's berry yogurt (more low-cal options here)

Being unsure, I left the sweater behind for the time being. The clock was striking ten. Did I have time to quick step it to Cold Stone Creamery? Sure thang! Cold Stone is a calorie-counter's nightmare, by the way. I mean seriously, people. Did you know one of their big ole "creations" can rack up over 1500 calories!? Yikes-ola. However, they now have "healthy" options. My favorite of which is the berry frozen yogurt. Its texture is somewhere between a traditional frozen yogurt and a sorbet. I added raspberries as my stir-in and ordered a kid's size. The Like It size is about 140 calories, so I figure I came in around that with the add-ins. A little splurge. Totally worth it. The photo is from flickr, and looks rather soupy. Trust me, though. If you like a little sweet/tart action, this is a great treat.

Okay. Everything was shutting down, so I trotted toward the bookstore and munched my yogurt. There was an older gentleman playing the sax on one of the corners. I love street music - when it's good. And he was pretty good. I plopped down on a bench nearby and scrapped the last drops from my cup. Beautiful night. Sax. Treat. I could feel myself re-fueling. Mama Nights are awesome.

I've been pulling back on the interior design inspiration for the last month or two. I feel like my inspiration file is filled to over-flowing. I need to do, now, not just get inspired. So then what, I ask you, caused me to pick up Bunny Williams - of all people? Man!

available here

I had flipped through this book before. I think, though, that was during a time in which I was trying to edit out the more formal inspiration sources. I strongly admire the work of the old-school traditionalists like Charles Faudree, Charlotte Moss, Albert Hadley, and Ms. Williams. Their designs are for extremely wealthy people, though, and rarely offer much for me to actually work with in our own home. So, when I thumbed through An Affair with a House, I must have pushed it aside as too formal.

Friday night, though, I picked it up and looked at it with fresh eyes. Eyes that had been mostly absorbing "accessible" and eclectic design. Formality in IKEA doses. So, this time Ms. Williams' designs were bringing balance to my mental cache. Can I tell you something? The house and property in this book are hands down the most amazing I can possibly imagine. Sure, my personal style is different than Ms. Williams', but this house... this land... these out buildings. Gah!

If it were for a get-away. A Sam-and-Jacci-only weekend. This place would be 100%, completely perfect in every single way. The word "inspiring" doesn't even begin to touch it.

This was Ms. Williams' weekend home (she has an apartment in NYC) for 30 some odd years. 30 years. Of Bunny Williams loving on a house. And, really, that's what I took away from the book. She loved that house into what it became. A multi-million dollar budget didn't hurt, of course, but she and her husband loved it into perfection.

If you struggle with convetousness, maybe it's not wise to leaf through this book. If you can take it all as inspiration and use it as a springboard for you own home within your own means, I can't recommend it enough. I have many weaknesses, but one of my strengths is the ability to take something inaccessible and break it down into parts and adapt those parts so that some of them become accessible. I look at this book and the biggest thing that stands out to me is the emotional reactions it draws from me. The sense of history, elegance, rest, hospitality, graciousness. The connection to nature. The lack of pretense. Really, don't laugh - I mean that last part! If this were my home, it would be pretentious. I'd be trying to be something I'm not. However, Bunny Williams' is a wealthy, wealthy woman. She came from money and she, obviously, has money. She and her husband are mature, no kids at home anymore. I totally believe that this house is them. I just don't get the sense that it's pretensious. I've never met Ms. Williams, but she seems very comfortable in her own skin. And completely confident in who she is. This home is her.

from this wonderful New York Social Diary article

Look. Isn't she so cute? I love the perspective of this photo. You can see her hubby there in the hall, and I can just imagine sitting opposite her and chatting. We're waiting for the shephard's pie to finish baking before we enjoy it with a simple salad out on one of the idyllic porches. She says that guests will always be drawn toward the rooms you use the most as a family because those are the rooms that have the most soul. This is such a great room... lots of soul, I think. It may not seem like it if it were photographed without Ms. Williams and her poochy, but with them there you see that it fits them. They don't have kids, but they have doggies and it's fun to see how they keep such upscale interiors comfortable and welcoming. This is what a room looks like after 30 years of Bunny Williams.

The New York Social diary article in the link above is top-notch. If you're interested in more about the house, check it out.

I headed home after the bookstore closed at 11. I seriously don't know if I can take any more inspiration for a while. I have ideas running around in my head like mad. I've had to sit down from time to time and sketch some things out, just to free up some mental space :) Some of the best ones are straight out of our trip to Door County (so fun you honeymooned there, Renae!). More on that soon.

Have an awesome day!


Deb said...

I love Eddie Bauer. Thanks for the great book review, I'll have to check it out!

Noella said...

Hello, Just found your blog while on another site. Love, love the Ann Taylo top. Looking forward to reading your older posts - great blog. N