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My brother Gary sent me these images of my mom and dad and the obituary of my grandmother’s first husband (my grandfather was her second husband). 

I stumbled across a blog the other day called Sea of Shoes. It was started five years ago by a 15-year old from Texas, Jane Aldridge. She has apparently become one of the most influential fashion bloggers going. A number of high fashion houses from around the world have started correspondence with her after seeing her blog, sending her gifts, collaborating with her on projects, etc. Chanel even loaned her one of their couture gowns to wear to a ball in Paris!

For me it isn’t about the labels or the high price tags, but rather the genuine, exquisite beauty of many of her clothes and accessories. I have no idea how she finances her habit (I have a hard enough time financing mine and there’s slim pickings as far as haute couture in my closet)!  But check it out and let me know what you think.

A few of my favourites are here, here, here, herehere, the black jacket here and the one here. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Our own Chanel model, not looking very happy in her Yukon haute couture fashion.

Not sure where this originated, but it was in my ‘in box’ this morning and I had to share:

A guy is driving in the country and he sees a sign in front of a house: “Talking Dog For Sale”.

He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard. 

The guy goes into the backyard and sees a  nice looking labrador retriever sitting there. 

‘You talk?’ he asks. 

‘Yep,’ the labrador replies. 

After the man recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says, ‘So, what’s your story?’ 

The lab looks up and says, ‘Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA. 

In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.’ 

‘I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running.  But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.’ 

‘I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired.’ 

The man is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog. 

‘Ten dollars,’ the owner says.

‘Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?’ 

‘Because he’s a  bullshitter. He’s never been out of the yard.’

 
If you could see
the journey whole
you might never
undertake it;
might never dare
the first step
that propels you
from the place
you have known
toward the place
you know not.
 
 
Call it
one of the mercies
of the road:
that we see it
only by stages
as it opens
before us,
as it comes into
our keeping
step by
single step.
 
There is nothing
for it
but to go
and by our going
take the vows
the pilgrim takes:
to be faithful to
the next step;
to rely on more
than the map;
to heed the signposts
of intuition and dream;
to follow the star
that only you
will recognize;
to keep an open eye
for the wonders that
attend the path;
to press on
beyond distractions
beyond fatigue
beyond what would
tempt you
from the way.
 
There are vows
that only you
will know;
the secret promises
for your particular path
and the new ones
you will need to make
when the road
is revealed
by turns
you could not
have foreseen.
 
Keep them, break them,
make them again:
each promise becomes
part of the path;
each choice creates
the road
that will take you
to the place
where at last
you will kneel
to offer the gift
most needed -
the gift that only you
can give -
before turning to go
home by
another way.
 
Jan L. Richardson, The Painted Prayerbook
  
 

For the last couple of years, I have been trying to improve my very limited knowledge of wine. I’ve read several books, but to be honest, a lot of the material is pretty much Greek to me. They throw around terms like dry-farmed and clonal selection…am I the only person who doesn’t know what that means? They never explain.

However over the holidays I stumbled across a refreshingly different book. It’s called “Great Wine Made Simple” by Andrea Immer Robinson, and for the first time, I get it! She explains things very simply and clearly, and encourages taste testing along the way that really helps unlock the mysteries of this intriguing drink.

What’s brilliant too is that she includes what she calls a flavor map. The idea is that wines have different flavours depending on whether their grapes have been grown in a cool climate or a warm one. For instance here in Canada, a white wine will most likely have hints of apples or pears, and a red wine could taste of cranberries or red cherries. A wine from the Mediterranean – say for example from Southern France or Italy – would carry more the flavours of dark fruits like black cherries, peaches, blackberries, etc. Go for an Australian wine and you can expect to taste mangos, pineapples, papayas, bananas or figs (fruits that need a warm climate to grow).

What I find so helpful about this map is that I can now go into a liquor store or a restaurant and, just by knowing the wine’s region, I can pretty much know what I can expect from my wine (at least with regard to the flavours). That, plus knowing the general characteristics of the major grape varieties, means I’m much better armed in terms of taking the guesswork out of wine selection.

I have come to know that the wines I like best are in-your-face reds from France, Italy, Spain, or South Africa. This book is helping me to understand why. By the way, that screaming you are hearing right about now is my oldest brother, who is very loyal to Canadian wines. Yes Gary, there are Canadian wines I love too, but there’s a whole world out there that I am having fun exploring.

Just on that, this book is encouraging me to wander outside my comfort zone and take another look at some of the wines I had earlier decided I didn’t like…things like dessert wines or Reislings, and reds from parts of the world I typically don’t focus on when buying wine.

Anyway, if you are at all interested in this subject and are looking for a starter book, I would say this is a winner.

I have no idea what it is about vintage shoes, but I truly am hooked. I found these shoes on etsy. The blue ones, I justified, would work perfectly with my blue 50s Christmas dress. The red ones…well, they are just little works of art. Both pairs were very inexpensive.

The woman I bought them from told me they had been stored in her grandmother’s closet for years. Apparently when going through a divorce, the grandmother’s lawyer advised her to buy lots of expensive shoes before she left the marriage.  She took his advice. Sadly though, I don’t think they gave her much pleasure, because these shoes have not been worn outside, if at all. I think once they arrive in the mail I will smudge them to get rid of any negative energy.

From Saks Fifth Avenue

Nina shoes from Spain

 

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