Category Archives: Things I Recommend (for what it’s worth)

I love this dress

Usually, when something seems to good to be true it isn’t, but occasionally, it actually is.

I saw an adorable little black Norma Kamali dress in this month’s O Magazine (maybe you saw it – it was the issue with Oprah on the cover. Ha – a little O Magazine humor.)  I investigated, and it said was available at Walmart for $20. At Walmart. For $20. My local Walmart of woe (which has actually been remodeled and it’s pretty nice and it doesn’t have that awful smell anymore, so I guess I have to stop calling it the Walmart of woe) doesn’t carry the Norma Kamali line, so I ordered it from (If you click that link, it will take you to the dress in black.)

It’s fabulous. The jersey material is nice and heavy. The design is slimming. And I love it.  (It fits pretty true to size  – I’m a size 10 and I ordered a Medium.) At $20, I may just order another one.

I would take a picture of me in it, but Emma took the digital camera to Ireland, so I’m camera-less.

It comes in olive as well (but if there’s one color I can’t wear, it’s olive.  People ask me if I’m feeling alright, because it makes me look queasy.)

Note: Walmart’s Web site is a little confusing, because they show different colors of the same style as completely different items, rather than showing you the color options on one page. I think they need to fix that.

Here’s what the dress looks like on the model in olive (not sure what that bump is on her hip, but I don’t get that bump on my hip when I wear it):




Filed under Things I Recommend (for what it's worth)

The music that was missing

I recently realized that something was missing from my life.


Not piano music that I play, or church music that I sing. I have plenty of both of those kinds of music.

No, the music that was missing was the music that I like to listen to.  Since I stopped driving to work (almost four years ago), I don’t spend very much time in the car.  So I stopped bothering to put CD’s in the CD player. I just turned on the radio. And since the kids are frequently watching TV when we’re at home (okay, did I just really admit that? What I meant to say was that since the kids are frequently listening to educational CDs on the CD player), I can’t really turn on the CD player as frequently as I’d like to.

But I realized that I was missing my music.

I know, what you’re saying.  “Um, they have these things called iPods now.” And I know that would be the obvious thing to do. But somehow more urgent expenditures keep arising – like a new starter for the car, or a new tire for the car, or a new taillight cover for the car…you get the drift.

So I decided that I’m going to listen to music whenever I’m in the car, even if I only get to hear two songs at a time. And it’s making me really happy. Really. Happy.

Here’s what’s in my CD player right now:

1. Bruce Springsteen…”We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions”.  If I were going to be stranded on a desert island, I would take this CD.

2. Rod Stewart, “As Time Goes By: The Great American Songbook, Volume II”.  It makes me laugh when he sings, “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” with Cher. Great old songs, with Rod Stewart’s distinctive voice.

3. Lucinda Williams…”Little Honey”. Just got this and haven’t listened to the whole thing yet.  If it’s half as good as “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”, I’ll be happy.

4. Toby Keith…”Unleashed”. I just like the song “Beer For My Horses.”

5. John Rutter…Gloria: The Sacred Music of John Rutter”.  I know, and you thought the Rod Stewart one was dorky.

6. Emmylou Harris…”All I Intended to Be”.  Love Emmylou, but this one is new and I haven’t listened to the whole thing yet.

What’s in your car’s CD player?


Filed under Gratitude, Things I Recommend (for what it's worth), Uncategorized

I’m not feeling pampered

I love everything about Pampered Chef products except the experience of buying them. (I just heard a loud “click” created by all of the men closing this post. That’s okay, I’ll try to make the next post about sports. Or not.)

To clarify, I like the Pampered Chef party part a lot. (I think I’ll say “party part” again, because it made me giggle.) It’s just the actual ordering part that is awful.

As background, I got an email from my college friend Tijen letting me know that she was having a Pampered Chef party, and giving me a link to the Web site, so that if I wanted to order anything, she would get credit for it. Having hosted a Pampered Chef party before, I know that the hostess prizes are quite nice, so I wanted to help her out. Plus, my Pampered Chef salesperson “retired” a few years ago, so I had a lot of pent-up demand.

I surfed the site, and decided what I wanted:

Best garlic press ever

Best garlic press ever

Handy egg slicer

Handy egg slicer

Collapsible bowls

Collapsible bowls

Family-sized pitcher

Family-sized pitcher

Chip clips ("Twixits")

Chip clips ("Twixits")

(This was a challenge in itself, as it’s impossible to figure out how the products are classified. Why is a family-sized pitcher that you put in the refrigerator classified as “Outdoor”? Why is the egg slicer in “Cutting Edge” instead of “Kitchenware?”)

So anyway, after much confusion about what to do, how to order, how to navigate the site, I placed my order. Only to find out that apparently I didn’t navigate the site “correctly”, because it never asked me for Tijen’s name, so she wouldn’t get credit for it.  Teresa, the very nice and helpful independent rep that Tijen is working with, told me that the only solution was to cancel the order. So I went to the Web site, and THERE’S NO WAY TO DO THAT.  So I took the next step and called customer service, and the very nice recorded message told me that “the wait time exceeds 30 minutes.” No problem, it was evening, I figured I’d just call back today. Good thinking, because today the message told me that the wait time to speak with a customer service rep exceeded two hours. Yes, two hours. 

So I finally talked to Teresa, the helpful independent rep, and she told me that even if I got through to a customer service rep, there is NO WAY for them to credit Tijen with the order after it’s been placed.  So I had to place another order with Teresa, and when the first order arrives on Monday, I have to call Pampered Chef and tell them I don’t want the order, and to come and pick it up.  So guess what I’ll be doing Monday afternoon? That’s right, sitting on hold (easy to do with a speakerphone, but still.)

Hello, Pampered Chef? I love your products. And I love cooking. But I can go to a very nice specialty cooking store a mile from my house and get very similar products at very similar prices. So you’d better get your systems and your customer service into the 21st Century, or I’m afraid you’re going to be SOL.

P.S. Tijen, if you’re reading this, I’m not trying to make you feel bad. It’s still worth it for you get the credit.


Filed under Cooking, Current Events, Things I Recommend (for what it's worth)

My favorite knives


I find that a good knife makes cooking a whole lot easier and more enjoyable.  A friend was asking me today if I had a favorite knife, and it reminded me how much I love my Global Knife that my friend Martha got me as a wedding gift.  Global brand knives have sand in the handle, so they’re perfectly weighted.  I only use two knives – a paring knife that my mom bought for me years ago (which never needs to be sharpened) and my Global knife, which is the larger of the two pictured here:

Don’t put them in the dishwasher, as it dulls them.

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I’ve fallen for Yak Trax


(Disclaimer: this is not our back yard.)

I used to get irritated with my mother over her fear of falling on the ice.  This was when I was much younger.  I don’t know at what point along the way it happened, but I’m now terrified of falling on the ice.  This probably has something to do with the fact that I seem to know more and more people my age who have fallen and broken bones, including my nine-months-younger-than me cousin Margaret, who fell on the ice and broke her wrist last week (an injury that the doctor explained was “common in middle-aged women.” Which hurt more than the broken wrist.)

I can’t remember where I first heard of Yak Trax, but I’ve had them in the back of my mind for a while, and then one of my colleagues told me that she got them for her mother, and they’re wonderful. So I bought some today, and have ordered them for various family members.  (Note to any guys reading:  Don’t buy them as a Christmas gift. That would be worse than a toaster.)  They seem great so far, and I wanted to pass them along.

The website is difficult to navigate, but I recommend ordering them on-line. They’re available at Sportmart as well, but they’re more expensive, and the two Sportmarts I went to were sold out of most sizes, as they’ve become very popular.

The only problem is that Yak Trax sounds like Moose Tracks, and that makes me want to eat ice cream. Not something I need right now, given all of the Christmas cookies I’ve eaten…

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My new jammies

I bought new pajamas and a fleecy robe from Victoria’s Secret. I love, love, love them. The only problem is that now I never want to get dressed. I could just live in these 24 hours a day, because they’re so comfortable.

Here’s the robe (although this isn’t what I look like in it):


Here’s the link to the robe:

Here’s the link to the pajamas:

(Sorry for the long URL. Couldn’t get the tiny url to work.)

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Just in time for Christmas shopping

My college friend Kim (the friend who hosted the girls’ reunion weekend), has a daughter, Megan, who makes beautiful jewelry. She’s just launched her site on, and I want everyone to know about it.  I’ll put a permanent link up, but also wanted to do a blog post.  Here’s the direct link to her site:

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