Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wedding Wednesday Goes to Richmond

I expected to get lots of pictures during my visit to Richmond, friends, gardens and the sights of the city. I got pictures of all of those things, but I had the added good fortune of discovering a wedding party being photographed during my walk around the city.

As I walked back to our hotel with friends, my friend Betsy, who is a citizen of Buttercupland, called my attention to this beautiful young woman in a wedding gown being photographed. "Perfect for Wedding Wednesday," she said. I think my friends are pretty special, but I am especially touched when they look out for ideas for Buttercupland. Thanks, Betsy!

I asked if I could also take a photograph and they couldn't have been more gracious. The bride, Erin, and her lovely mother, invited me to take as many photos as I liked. Soon several members of the wedding party joined in the pictures.

The adorable bride and groom and family
Soon the entire wedding party joined the fun. The bride's mother is on the far right. Thanks so much for your graciousness.
Before I left the bride's mother asked if I wanted to come to the wedding. I was very tempted, but the class dinner and my college friends were the reason I was in Richmond. One of my mother's favorite expressions was "You can't dance at two weddings,"  and it came to my mind as I thought about the evening.  
This photo and the one below were taken during our wonderful tour of the Virginia State Capitol. Designed by Thomas Jefferson, it is a beautiful building. Our guide brought so much enthusiasm and knowledge to our visit. 
 I think I've said this after every time I go away, but it's taking me a few days to get back to my New York life. I don't sleep quite right and my eating is leaning to the fancier food we ate in Richmond. There were crab cakes and fried oysters and this delicious apple dessert. The ice cream is maple-bacon. I ordered it to try the ice cream -- a little odd -- but I enjoyed the apple pastry a lot.
Of course my sleeping may be a little off after watching almost all fourteen innings of the World Series last night. I'm listening to Game 2 as I type. A Mets win would help me sleep better, but that doesn't seem to be happening.
As always, thanks for visiting. Take care and have a sweet Thursday.  


Monday, October 26, 2015

The Post that Got Away

Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Virginia
When I posted about the giveaway for "The One that Got Away" I had a schedule all set for announcing the winner last Friday. I would do the post on Thursday night and press send on Friday morning, just before I left for the airport for Richmond and my class reunion.  Yes, I know I can preschedule, but when I do that I miss one of the links for my posts. It made sense when I wrote it on my calendar at the beginning of last week. What was I thinking! Even if I'm only going away for three days -- actually not more than 48 hours -- and packing not much more than three pairs of black pants, a couple of shirts and a toothbrush -- time ran away. I had the foggy notion of blogging during the reunion, but -- very happily -- I got so caught up spending time with classmates and enjoying the activities that blogging never happened. I did manage to take the picture of this wonderful bookstore that I thought would be the perfect photo for this post. 

Without further ado, I will be sending a copy of "The One that Got Away" to Sweepmom. Dear Sweepmom, I'll be emailing you to get your address. Thanks, all for your comments and book recommendations. There will be more Fiction (and Non-Fiction) Fridays and more giveaways, too. Thanks, too, to my Goddaughter, J, for graciously donating a copy of the book.   

I've got some photos of Richmond that I'll be posting later this week. I'm still in somewhat of a fog thinking about the weekend and seeing friends I've known since 1968, when we began college together. But it's a good fog and I know how fortunate I am to have spent the weekend with dear friends, including five women from my dorm freshman year. Now it's time to get back to grocery shopping, the gym, Weight Watchers and blogging. I know, too, how fortunate I am to have all of this to come home to. 

As ever, thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Why I Keep Blogging

From time to time my non-blogging friends ask why I keep blogging. My answers are several. I like writing about books and this is my favorite platform. I like sharing my photos. I like the experiences I have as a result of blogging. Whether it's BlogHer or events I am invited to, my life is richer because of them. But lastly and most importantly, I really like the friends I've made through Buttercupland.

While I was recovering from bronchitis I received this lovely card and tea bag from my buddy, Missy. Though Missy isn't blogging now we've kept in touch and I was delighted by her thoughtfulness. The tea -- delicious -- made one evening of coughing much less difficult to withstand. On another evening I received an email from sweet Anne, who sent me a wonderful article about kohlrabi. Good reading and great recipes. Thanks to you both!

I am blessed to have wonderful friends in New York and around the country. But I can't imagine the last six years without my blog buddies all over the world. The deepest thanks to all of you! And a toast to those I've yet to meet. It all starts with just a comment.

This weekend will be spent with friends long-standing. I'm attending a reunion of my college class in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to touring and programs I'll spend time with friends from college days. But I will also have the opportunity to get to know women from my class I didn't know in college. It looks like a great weekend and you know there will be pictures.

As ever, thanks for visiting and hope you're having a terrific Thursday! 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Halloween State of Mind Pink Saturday

I'm definitely getting into a Halloween state of mind. Decorations started appearing in stores in the last week and then the street d├ęcor followed. I've been taking pictures in my Upper West Side neighborhood as well as journey today to the West Village, the area below 14th Street on the west side of Manhattan.  The West Village is one of my favorite neighborhoods, with many historic buildings. It's low rise -- not as many tall buildings as in many places in Manhattan -- and it's blessedly sunlit, as a result.

These were among the first pictures I took this season, and the top picture is one of my favorites.

This pumpkin bunny in the window of one of my favorite gift shops won my heart.

  This snack store is devoted to rice crisp treats -- only in New York -- and always has fun windows. 
 I found this haunted house only a block from home. 
On my visit today to the West Village I stopped at one of my favorite dessert places, Milk & Cookies Bakery, for a treat. I've really refrained from sugary desserts, but made an exception this afternoon for a chocolate chip toffee cookie and their fabulous coffee with steamed milk.

I enjoyed my dessert treat and the Halloween decorations at Milk & Cookies. And, yes, they ship their cookies.

Seventh Avenue, just a block from Milk &Cookies. The only sign of autumn are the yellow leaves on the trees.
I hope you've enjoyed our autumn days in New York. I loved the bright sun, but not as much the cold weather. I definitely needed gloves and the winter coat I was wearing. I enjoy autumn and don't want to see it cut short by an early winter. 
The last few days have been busy. I'm glued to the television watching the Mets vs. Cubs, but I've also managed to order Christmas cards and address labels -- couldn't resist the Shutterfly offers -- and attend a wonderful book program, about which I'm planning a post later in the week.
Happily joining my blog buddies at Pink Saturday. Please stop by and visit. It's a wonderful group of bloggers. As ever, thanks for visiting and have a sweet week!  


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fiction Friday: The One that Got Away Giveaway

I love first sentences of novels. Whether it's "Anna Karenina" or "Gone with the Wind," give me a good first sentence and you've got me for the rest of the book. The converse is not necessarily true, but if the first page of a book doesn't draw me in it's less likely I will stay with the book. If this is shallow, I plead guilty. But there are so many books and so little time.

Bethany Chase, you had me at the first sentence of  "The One that Got Away." "Every woman has one. The name you Google at two o'clock in the morning." You kept me through the last sentence. Though I'm a good thirty years beyond the main character of the book, Sarina Mahler, I, too, have a name I Google. It's not necessarily at two o'clock in the morning, but the sense that there is a "could have been" for romance stays with us. 

"The One that Got Away" is warm, witty, sad and above all, real. It's not my generation, but the story  absorbed me and kept me reading. It's a love story that will delight fans of romance novels, but it's also a family story and that aspect especially captured me.

Do I recommend this? Highly! And happily I have a copy to give to a citizen of Buttercupland. Just leave a comment -- perhaps whatever you're reading now or read lately -- follow Buttercupland on Google+, BlogLovin or Google Connect. Easy Peasy! Entries open through Thursday, October 22 and on Friday, October 23, I'll let the lucky reader know.

Please note: Disclosure in blogging...Bethany Chase is a friend of my goddaughter, who is sponsoring this giveaway. I've never met Bethany and the opinions are, as usual, all mine.

Autumn is definitely in New York. I'm in socks and it's just chilly enough to feel I'll be in socks for the next six months. Summer, I'm missing you.

As ever, thanks for visiting and wishes for a great weekend.   


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Lincoln Center Autumn Evening

Lincoln Center Plaza, the lights of Manhattan in the background
I was at Lincoln Center earlier this week. It was the kind of night that people write songs about and those of us with no musical talent take pictures. It was autumn in New York at its best -- clear, no wind and the sky was as full of stars as the air over Manhattan will ever be.
Coming attractions at the Metropolitan Opera
The park area between Avery Fisher Hall and the Vivian Beaumont Theater
The lights of the Plaza in a semi-abstract style. I did nothing to get this effect, but I really like it. 
I'm beginning to see lots of Halloween decorations -- in stores, store windows and even a few street decorations. I'm taking lots of pictures and I will be putting together a Halloween decoration post for this weekend.
Please stop by for Fiction Friday (on Friday) and my thoughts on "The One that Got Away."
As ever, thanks for stopping by. Wishes for a terrific Thursday.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

What's It All About, Kohlrabi Pink Saturday

I've still got Michael Caine on the brain, hence the source of my title. But I've also got fall vegetables on my brain. One more thing I need to add to my list of things I like about this season are the vegetables of autumn. I'm joining my Pink Saturday buddies for a kohlrabi and friends Pink Saturday.

I've already starting roasting Brussel sprouts, but I'm looking at these beauties of the season, especially leeks, fennel and the green bulbs in the center of the picture, kohlrabi.  Kohlrabi was a part of my mother's garden in Connecticut, and she used it raw in salads. I've never explored any other ways of using it, but the link above suggests steaming, roasting, soup and fritters. I'm a big fan of roasted veggies and that's probably the first way I will prepare it. I also saw a recipe for "fried" kohlrabi -- kind of like French fries -- somewhere in my internet wandering and will look for that again. I've been off fries for awhile and I'd like a healthier alternative I can turn to occasionally. Does anyone have a kohlrabi recipe they like? All ideas gratefully received.

I've also been exploring spicy peppers to add a little snap to my cooking. I bought thirty cents worth of jalapeno peppers and prepped them in about seven minutes. I've used them in cooking twice this week and what a treat to have fresh pepper ready to go in my refrigerator. I'm getting ready to branch out with some of the other peppers.

My local fruit and vegetable (and more) market. I find it so easy to get carried away and buy a lot more than I can reasonably eat in one week.
Blissfully, we're still in the glory days of autumn and I'm loving it. Sixty degree plus weather, blue skies and it's still light into the early evenings. I'm enjoying a quiet Sunday, catching up with NY Times, blogging and my iced coffee.
As ever thanks for visiting and wishes for a sweet week!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Random Five Friday Autumn in New York

This isn't an official Random Five Friday where I link up with other bloggers, which seems just right for a day that didn't feel like an official autumn day. The Random Five linkup is no longer -- alas -- and the almost eighty degree weather capped off by a thunderstorm was more summer than fall. But I've got some snips of the week to share, not quite enough for a post each, but fun for a Friday evening. Shall we begin...

1) The pumpkins are out and I am so happy to see their patches of color as I walk down Broadway. I've been reading about a possible pumpkin shortage closer to Thanksgiving and will be picking up a couple of cans of pumpkin to have for treats throughout the season. I love pumpkin, ginger and all foods of the autumn.
2) I was delighted to discover that Awesome Annie, a favorite Weight Watchers leader is back from her summer hiatus. We had a great session this week discussing goals.
3) Besides tonight's thunderstorm the weather has been great this week. This is the scene outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If I had a scrap of wall space I'd be searching here to fill it up. I'm always intrigued when I walk by.
 Fifth Avenue on a perfect autumn day
4) Last winter before I traveled to Japan and Korea I attended a wonderful lecture series on Japanese art. This fall I've been fortunate to sign up for a series of lectures on Asian Art. This was one of the topics last week and Thursday the topics were Korean Art -- fabulous! -- and Chinese Jade. I'm eager to start exploring the galleries and see the pieces that have been discussed. Yes, there will be a post and pictures to share.   
5) Sneak preview for "Fiction Friday" The official kick-off is next Friday, but I'm opening the series with thoughts on "Ruby" by Cynthia Bond.  Thanks to Blogging for Books I've had the opportunity to read this thoughtful and haunting -- in the best sense -- work of fiction. Generally the books I write about are much lighter, but "Ruby" is the antithesis of light reading. It looks at issues of poverty, racism and the long and lingering effects of trauma. The characters, especially Ruby Bell, the title character and Ephram Jennings, who has long loved her, are memorable and their pain and humanity will stay with me. I'm grateful for the opportunity to read this book. It's not light reading, but definitely worth reading and thinking about. 
That's this week of autumn in New York. The weekend is quiet and I hope to be back to complete peppiness by next week.
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a sweet weekend.
Please note: I was given a copy of "Ruby" by Blogging for Books for review purposes, but the thoughts are all mine.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

You Know You're Grown Up When...

...Just seeing the box for your new Shark Rocket Powerhead is exciting.
BlogHer15 had lots of giveaways and one that I was especially interested in was sponsored by my friends at Shark. I'd been reading about the Shark and friends had recommended it. I was delighted to find out that I was one of the winners of the giveaway. I sent the needed tweets to Shark and settled in to enjoy the rest of the summer. I didn't forget about my Shark, but it was well in the back of my mind. Until today...

 My floors and I thank you, Shark!
When I was in elementary school I always replied "toys," when I was asked what I would like for my birthday or Chanukah. When I got to Junior High, books and clothes were at the top of my list. They're probably still at the top of my list, but I'm loving my new vacuum. This is definitely not the gift I would have asked for in years past, but it's the gift the grown Buttercup is thrilled to receive. Thanks, friends at Shark.
My new vacuum wasn't my only surprise this week. My sweet goddaughter, J., sent me a copy of "The One that Got Away" by Bethany Chase. It looks terrific and I can't wait to read it and then share it in a giveaway next week to formally kick-off "Fiction Friday." My goal for the rest of this year is to write about one novel every Friday. Fiction lovers, hope you will stop by.
Our first "Fiction Friday" giveaway next week features "The One that Got Away." 

It's a beautiful autumn day in New York. I'm feeling much better and was able to enjoy being outside this morning. I'm still barking, but much less and my energy is coming back. So glad and grateful to be more of my peppier self. 
As ever, thanks for visiting and have a terrific Thursday!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Please Give the Blogger in the Dalmatian Socks a Hug

I was all set for autumn. I was ready to bake, roasted my first vegetables and contemplated when I would get my flu shot. I even scored terrific new socks at a super discount at Bloomingdale's. Apples: check, Pumpkin recipes researched: check and gloves rediscovered. 
I had a headache -- rare for me these days -- last week, but took two Advil and went on my merry way. Saturday morning my throat was scratchy, but I had a ticket for a benefit fashion show chaired by a dear friend. I couldn't miss that and hopped on the train. I skipped the gym yesterday, but figured I'd be back to my peppy self this morning. But at three o'clock this morning I woke up barking like a seal, and it continued on through the morning. 
I'm thankful for the walk-in medical center two blocks from my house. After reading the latest issue of "People" I saw the same doctor I'd seen last spring for a similar ailment, though I'd caught that a little sooner. I've got my change of season bronchitis and even my spiffy Dalmatian socks  aren't cheering me up. I'm barking a little less thanks to cough medicine, but I'm drippy and you can just call me Sneezy. I'm optimistic this will run a quick course, but I could use a hug.  Virtual is actually the best, because I don't want to give my sneezy barking to anyone else.
One nice thing I have noticed in the last few days is a renewed zest for blogging. I've been remiss for the last few months, but I'm feeling a little zing when I think of things I'd like to write about. While my chest and throat don't feel especially good, getting back my blogging mojo is a great feeling. Next on my list is a lot more catching up with all of your blogs. 
As ever thanks for visiting and hope your week is healthy!  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Paper or Plastic Pink Saturday

With my return to baking I took an inventory of my baking tools. Almost all were bought forty years ago -- really -- and purchased from Woolworth's. When I moved to New York in 1975 I was living on a $150.00/week -- not a fortune even then -- and lived in a studio apartment. By the time I graduated to a bigger apartment and more disposable income I'd pretty much stopped baking. Miraculously my Woolworth's cookie sheet and cooling rack have held up well, but I decided it was time to step up my baking game and took a trip to several stores looking at muffin tins and new baking sheets.  

I started my shopping stuck in 1975. I was looking for metal muffin tins and paper liners, which was all that I knew. Feeling like Rip Van Winkle waking up after a long nap I was quickly catapulted into the present  -- silicone. I found both silicone cupcake/muffin liners and silicone muffin and loaf pans.

 muffin liners and...
 silicone muffin cups.
To buy, or not to buy, that is the question...
With apologies to Mr. Shakespeare, that is my dilemma. Should I stick with the tried and true metal or move to silicone. My first thought was to put the question out on Facebook, and then decided to open it to my blog buddies, some of whom are known to be outstanding bakers. I also turned to my friend, Nancy, a terrific cook and baker, who I expected had some familiarity with using silicone products. She used silicone ice cube molds for freezing coffee and the coffee aroma stayed, no matter how many times the molds went through the dishwasher. 
I then turned to Google -- of course! -- and opinions were mixed, very much so. My concern about not being able to get the liners clean -- cake stuck in the little folds -- seemed to be a common complaint and there were a number of concerns about fillers in the silicone. I read over fifty comments and blog posts and there was no clear decision. I'm leaning to buying a good muffin tin and using paper liners, just as my mother did fifty years ago.
Dear baking blog friends, any recommendations? Paper or plastic, as they ask at the grocery? I'd also appreciate any advice about brands of either silicone or metal that you like. I'm looking for something sturdy, but it doesn't have to be top-of-the-line. I'm actually quite impressed with how long lasting my Woolworth's purchases have been, and I still have my first Pyrex measuring cup, bought in Nashville in 1972, also at Woolworth's. I do miss that store! 
It's still nippy in New York, but after rain yesterday we had a sunny autumn day. Thankfully we've escaped the hurricane, but my heart and prayers are with everyone in South Carolina affected by the flooding. 
 I'm happy to join my friends at Pink Saturday tonight. I'm also happy, as ever, for your visits and comments. Wishes for a sweet autumn week!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What's It All About, Sir Michael Caine?

I'm a movie fan and have been ever since I can remember. I still enjoy seeing movies on the big screen and love the moment when the lights go out and the excitement is about to begin. I know that puts me in a distinct minority, but it's one I'm happy to be a part of. I'm easily distracted at home, and like to focus on the story unfolding in front of me at the theater.

One of my favorite actors for almost fifty years has been Michael Caine. How do I know that it's been that long? "Alfie" was released in 1966 and that was the first of many Michael Caine movies I saw. My favorite -- though it's hard to choose -- is "Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels," which I found laugh-out-loud funny. When I saw that he was speaking in New York I put the event on my calendar.

It's not the closest photo, but it's Michael Caine, and yes, I was delighted. He was funny, had great stories and was complimentary to everyone he mentioned. There wasn't one unkind story. 
I especially enjoyed the film clips that were shown. This scene is from "Hannah and Her Sisters." There was also a clip from "Alfie" with Shelley Winters and one from his next movie, "Youth," which is scheduled for release this December.
Any other Michael Caine fans in Buttercupland? I've got any number of movie favorites. Some are long gone -- Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart -- and happily some are still making movies. My present favorites have to include Tom Hanks, Daniel Craig, Colin Firth and Jennifer Lawrence. 
It's definitely turned to fall today. I am wearing closed-toe shoes and jeans. I think my sandal days are coming to an end. One of my chores for later in the day is to buy extra bottled water. I'm keeping an air of optimism that Joaquin won't have any effect on New York, but just in case we lose power, I'm being prepared. Prayers for all in Joaquin's path.
As ever thanks for visiting and keep safe.