Tuesday's Girl

"I don't take my life seriously, but I do take what I do - in my life - seriously."
Audrey Hepburn
Image:  Audrey Hepburn by Cecil Beaton, 1960.

Pretzel Logic

It's my birthday this week.

And I want Steely Dan.

And you know, Michael McDonald was my first celebrity rock star boyfriend.

My New Hero

I want to be Christene Barberich when I grow up. 

I read about her here

This Charming Closet

So here's the new baby!  The Stratford Stevie by Kate Spade.

I know I spoke last week about the bag at Kenneth Cole, but when I went to visit it in the store on Black Friday, I didn't so much love it.  I was a little disheartened about the whole thing. 

So I came home and sat down to surf the web.  I thought to myself:  What I really would love to have is a Stevie bag in black leather.... I wonder if Kate Spade makes one? 

Now, I have a Stevie bag from last spring and I love, love, love it.  It's a great size and it's slouchy enough to be slouchy but it still has some structure to it. 

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Kate Spade not only had one, but it was also on clearance!  And then there was that helpful little coupon code. 

And it is my birthday this week.

How could I not?


Happy Monday


How was the holiday?  Does anyone still fit in her pants?  I for one have been one with my big girl pants for the past 72 hours or so.  

One reason for this is, obviously, the holiday.  

But the other reason is that yesterday marked the official kickoff of my Birthday Extravaganza!!!!

Yes, charming readers, this week is my birthday - Wednesday to be exact.  And part of the happiness is that I get to wear my big girl pants and eat a lot.

Now, I've spent the majority of my life being a little bitter about my birthday.   

First of all, my sister, who is three years younger than I am, had her birthday on November 17.  "So what?" you may ask.  

Well, when you're 8 and she is 5 there is no amount of grown up logic which can adequately explain why you are older and yet her birthday comes before yours.  

I had to sit through her birthday parties and birthday presents every year and had to wait for my presents and party and the whole damn thing was just too unfair for me to bear.  

Then, as I got older and got over that whole thing, I began to become angry that my birthday was often eclipsed by the Thanksgiving holiday.  For a long time I didn't get birthday cakes, just Thanksgiving related baked goods that were "for" my birthday.  You know, pumpkin rolls and all that.  

Well, I wanted chocolate cake, damn it.   

And when I was in college and law school, my birthday often happened to be a day when papers were due or final exams were scheduled.  

Again with the me and the unfair and the bitter.  

So a few years ago, I decided to take back my birthday and I decided that a little self-aggrandizement on the occasion of my birth would not be a bad thing.  So now I don't have a birthday so much as I have a whole week of birthday.  Hence, the extravaganza.   

It's really not that bad.  It's more of a state of mind, really.  But for the next 6 days, I am taking bubble baths every night.  I've scheduled a massage.  And a birthday dinner.  I get to eat all the fig newtons I want, with impunity.  I am not leaving the house on Tuesday night because NCIS is on.  I got a new bag and some other new stuff - which I will post about later this week.    I'm using every excuse at my disposal to see every possible friend this week.  And come Saturday, I will get to sleep as long as I want.  

Now that's a birthday!  

You'll see a few of my other birthday wishes on the blog this week.  So don't be surprised.  

I am also doing my dead level best to think up something profound to say on the occasion of my birthday but so far I haven't had much luck.  I still have a couple of days so maybe some wisdom will come to me before then.  

In the meantime, I do have Court today (sort of a bummer) but I suppose I can't have everything.

And before I go today I want to thank y'all for stopping by.  I really appreciate it so much and I'm happy to be able to share some time with you each week. 

Image:  Elegance by Levans Photography.

This Charming Kitchen

I thought a lot about what I wanted to make for Thanksgiving this year and the answer, my friends, was wild mushroom risotto. 

I used to have this recipe for it that I loved but said recipe was contained in a cookbook that technically belonged to my ex and in the heat of my grief at our breakup, I did not have the presence of mind to steal it....

*heavy sigh*

Over the years, I've searched for another one and now I have found it.  This is originally from Bon Appetit, but if anybody ever asks me from here on out, I am swearing that I made it up.

  • 9 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (although I only used about 5 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh wild mushrooms (such as porcini, hen of the woods, chanterelle, or stemmed shiitake) (I used shiitake and portobello).  I cut mine into manageable pieces.
  • 7 cups (about) low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1 1/4 cups arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup white vermouth (I skipped the vermouth and used 1/2 cup of the white - but you can live your bliss)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese plus a little extra on top [optional]
  • melt 2 tablespoons of butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat - although I only used about 1 tablespoons of butter here.  Add 1/4 of mushrooms and sprinkle with salt.  Saute mushrooms until tender and beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes.  Transfer mushrooms to medium bowl  Working in 3 more batches, repeat, adding more butter until all mushrooms are cooked.  And do this, OK?  Don't just lump them all in there and cook them at the same time.  You want one layer at a time.  Otherwise, they'll steam and get mushy instead of saute and cook the way you want them to.
  • In the meantime, bring 7 cups chicken broth to simmer in large medium saucepan; keep warm
  • Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat (I use my dutch oven for this)
  • Add leak to butter and olive oil and saute until tender
  • Add rice and increase heat to medium.  Stir until edges of rice begin to look translucent, about 3-4 minutes
  • Add wine/vermouth and stir until liquid is absorbed
  • Add broth by ladle-full and stir until almost all broth is absorbed.  
  • Continue adding broth by ladle, waiting until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more
  • When rice is halfway cooked, about 10 minutes, stir in sauteed mushrooms
  • Continue adding broth by ladle, stirring until broth is absorbed before adding more until rice is tender but still firm to bite and risotto is creamy, about 10 more minutes
  • Stir in 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
The key to good risotto is to be patient and not try to skip ahead and also to stir it constantly.  You also must serve it immediately!  It will not keep!  It's like a morning glory - you must enjoy it immediately and fully because it will not survive the day.

This makes a very warm and hearty meal with good crusty bread.  Be like the French and have your salad afterward. 
Image and recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit.

Sunday Morning

Finn's favorite time of year!

I Had A Moment

This month's Vogue "It Girl" is model Britt Maren. 

She's 20 years old and her thighs are as big around as my forearm....

Still, as I looked at the pictures of her while I got my toes done, her cute cute cute hair made me want to chop all mine off again and bleach it out.

Then I remembered this.   And my better angels prevailed.

That night, I danced around my bedroom to Tom Petty and wildly slung my long, strawberry blond hair around. 

I was so glad it isn't short anymore....

Black Friday

I was pretty good on Black Friday.  And I didn't buy any Christmas presents.  I'm not ready for all that yet.

Baby steps....

I did pick up a couple of things on line, though.

First, I got a Flip video camera from Amazon.

I've been thinking about getting one for about 8 months and when I saw that they were going to be on sale for $99, I decided to go for it.

Y'all can all look forward to a few Bean videos in the future....

And then I got a couple of things from Talbots because all their accessories were on sale at 50% off.

First, I got these three-quarter length gloves:

I've been looking at them since August or something.

And then I got this, a faux fur neck tube... that's right, I said faux fur....

I'll admit, the faux fur neck tube is a little bit excessive for the Carolina League, but I get sick of the same old, same old.  I want a little glamour in the New Year.

And I had $25 in appreciation dividends so it ended up being $49.

Not bad for leather, silk lined gloves and a faux fur neck tube.

The Bee Charmer Loves Paris

"When we came back to Paris it was clear and cold and lovely. The city had accommodated itself to winter (...) there were braziers outside of many of the good cafes so that you could keep warm on the terraces (...) on the streets the winter light was beautiful. Now you were accustomed to see the bare trees against the sky and you walked on the fresh-washed gravel paths through the Luxembourg gardens in the clear sharp wind."
Ernest Hemingway
Image:  Rainy French Streets by Lost Wonderland.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a lovely, lovely holiday! 

xo - Tonya

Image:  Pumpkin Harvest by The Little Prints.


Wednesday - Run Away Without Leaving Home

Image:  First Snow on Maple by Lucy Snowe Photography.

Feeling Thankful

Of course, this time of year, we all take a moment to consider that for which we are thankful.

Although I thank God for all these things every day, I thought I'd take a moment to tell y'all what I'm particularly thankful for, both today and everyday -
  • My family and my darling friends
  • My precious, precious Beans 
  • My home
  • My health
  • My job and my health insurance
  • Dr. I - who saved my life
  • The moon and all the stars
Now, having said this, I am also particularly thankful for some not so big stuff and I try to be thankful for as many teeny tiny things as possible.  These include -
  • The hot water in the the hot water heater
  • A full pot of coffee every morning
  • My bed, my sheets, my pillows and my coverlet - I am the most thankful-for-my-bed person you'll ever meet
  • My lightbulbs (seriously, I'm very thankful for them)
  • Clean towels in my closet
  • A full tank of gas in the car
  • My blanket - it's actually a comforter from J.C. Penney that I bought when I was in law school and I love it
  • fig newtons in the cupboard
I hope everyone will take a moment and give thanks for all the good things in your life - both the big things and the little things.  It is by focusing on what we have that we find happiness.

xo - Tonya
Image:  Heart Strings by Moonlight Photography.

This Charming Kitchen

In honor of Thanksgiving, I'm posting 'my' recipe for Pumpkin Walnut bread. 

And when I say 'my' I mean it's originally from Bon Appetit.....  But I make it every year so I'm claiming some amount of ownership here. 

In any event, here it is:


2 cups all purpose flour (I use White Lily)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (leave it out overnight for best results)
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature (again, leave them out overnight)
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts


  • Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325 degrees Farenheit
  •  Butter 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan
  • Sift first 7 ingredients into medium bowl
  • Using electric or stand mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light
  • Gradually beat in 3/4 cup sugar.
  • Beat in eggs one at a time
  • Beat in pumpkin, lemon peel and vanilla
  • Whisk sour cream and milk in small bowl
  • Beat flour mixture and sour cream mixtures alternately into batter in 2 additions each
  • Fold in nuts
  • Transfer batter to pan; smooth top
  • Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar
Bake bread until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Turn out onto rack and cool.

And now I'm gonna sound a little bit like Ina Garten but this is really important:  Buy good stuff (as in don't use old spices and baking powder) and make sure your butter and eggs are at room temperature.  It makes an enormous difference!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

xo - Tonya

Charming Words

Pen-sive [pen-siv]

- adjective

1.  dreamily or wistfully thoughtful

2.  expressing or revealing thoughtfulness, usually marked by some sadness.
Image:  Chihuahua in a Cape by Lucy Snowe Photography.


Tuesday's Girl

"You have to know how to use the accident, how to recognize it, how to control it, and ways to eliminate it so that the whole surface looks felt and born all at once."
Helen Frankenthaler

On Gratitude

"No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night."
Elie Wiesel
Image:  The Way Home by Racetay.

I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)

A little John Mayer for Tuesday...

This Charming Closet

Y'all are going to find this hard to believe but here it is:  I NEED another black bag.


My problem is this:  I have two black bags right now.  One is kinda fancy and one is kinda plain and I need something sort of funky for those in between times.  But as we know, I'm a lawyer, so we can't get too funky.

This is the Off the Cuff Satchel from Kenneth Cole and I'm sort of in love with it. 

Honestly, I saw a picture of Reese Witherspoon carrying a Chloe satchel that looked kind of similar to it and since I can't afford Chloe, this seems like a nice alternative.  I think I'm gonna head over to the Kenneth Cole store and visit it in person on Black Friday.....

Maybe they'll be a deal?


Happy Monday

What a lovely weekend.  I have to say that I did everything I wanted to which probably doesn't amount to a whole lot of interesting, but it was perfect for me.

Can I tell y'all that I'm sort of enjoying the shorter days?  Most people don't, but I'm a napper and the early darkness allows you to nap more happily starting at around 4:30!  I took naps on Saturday and Sunday and I was quite happy about it.

Sunday morning was taken up with coffee, Bean walks and making bread for the office.  We made a loaf of pumpkin walnut bread and a loaf of sweet potato- zucchini bread.   My office should be happy with me!

And the laundry got done and the groceries got bought and the dry cleaning got picked up and the car got washed.  My whole list was checked off!  Yay!

I know, I know. 

Sometimes my life is boring. 

But you know, not everything worthwhile is a laugh a minute.  Sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other and get it done.

All in all, it was a pretty relaxing weekend.

And you know what the best thing is about this week?  That's right!

Two. Day. Work. Week. 

Oh, you know and Thanksgiving and all that.....
Image:  Heart My Book by Sarah Moldovan.

Random Pretty Man

You know, we all have a lot to be thankful for this week.

And what could we be more thankful for than a pretty, pretty man?

Let us give thanks for Mark Harmon....

Sunday Afternoon

Have you seen our screen door? 

Mama bought it for us so we can come in and out the back door but the bugs stay out. 

Sometimes, we just stick our snoots out to see what's going on.....

The Bee Charmer Loves Paris

Image:  Le Seine For Two by Chelsea Victoria Photography.


Happy Friday!

OK, people.

Here it is.

I'm letting you know right now that I am PRAYING for a cold, rainy, nasty weekend next week.

I need a weekend off.

Really, according to the weather forecast, it's only supposed to rain on Thursday - which is fine.  I just want one rainy day where I can stay in and putter.  Just one. 

The endless Carolina sunshine is wearing me out!

I know, I may be weird, but so be it.  

As for this weekend, I've made it a lazy one and I'm really excited about it.

I got nuthin'! I'm just going to see what happens - which is kind of exciting in a way. 

So have a great weekend.

And I'll see you on Monday.
Image:  Red Mod Hat by Monique Larroux Photography.

A Little Extra Pretty for the Weekend

Image:  Untitled V by Cy Twombly.

On Living

"Not truth, but faith, it is that keeps the world alive."
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Image:  She's So Lovely by Marianne LoMonico.


The Weekly Bean

Here's a shot of Mr. Snaggle Tooth....

Alternatively, he's telling his friends that he got it knocked out in a bar fight or got hit in the mouth playing hockey.....

He believes that these are plausible explanations, given his Welsh heritage. 

His ability to eat, however, is not in any way diminished, lest y'all worry about his ability to maintain his weight.....

Random Pretty Man

My best friend and I have two lists as we get older:  Men who are aging well and men who aren't.

Some men, Rob Lowe being the best example, seem to get more and more good looking the older they get.  Mr. Lowe was too pretty when he was younger (in my opinion) but a few lines have made him much more - I don't know - substantial....

Others (who shall remain nameless) are put in the other category and most often pronounced "jowl-y". 

But this post is not about Rob Lowe or the jowly.

This post is about Mr. Jon Seda.

Now, I remember Jon from Homicide: Life on the Street - like 15 years ago.  At the time, he just looked, I don't know - stupid.

So imagine my surprise when his hot self popped up in The Pacific.

Y'all, I said 'WHO is that?' and then I Googled it and then I said 'Jon Seda?!?!?  Really?!?!?  He looks that GOOD?!?!? Dadgum!!'

So now I'm in love with him....

I hope I am aging as well as he is.

Elliott Erwitt's Paris

I've been thinking that there are just not enough books about Paris in my house. 

I think I need this one.

This Charming Closet

I have to say that I spend a lot of time looking at wallets.

You know, I have this purse fetish which applies not only to purses, but also to the stuff that goes in them - including wallets.

I know, I know.... I've tried rehab.  It didn't work.

I cannot specifically account for the handbag portion of my problem - I've just always loved them.

The wallet part, however, can be traced to a single source:  Charlie's Angels.

Yep.  There was this one episode where Kelly reached into her bag and did not pull out her .38 snub nosed revolver, but instead pulled this perfect little tan, french purse wallet out of her bag.  It was so perfect and organized and elegant and I wanted it.... 

I still do.

The problem is that I find most available wallets to be inelegant.  Coach, Kate Spade - even Louis Vuitton.  They're big and fat and heavy and zippered (I'm sorry if you like zippers, but they make my eyes twitch). Blech! 

So I was happy to see these darling and very elegant wallets from Tiffany.

In Tiffany Blue Leather:

Or, if you've got a few spare (more than a few, actually) bucks, you can get it in Red Glazed Crocodile:



Wednesday - Run Away Without Leaving Home

Image:  Maple en Grille by Kwest Studio 8.

Corgi Flop!

You corgi peeps out there have almost certainly seen this.

And y'all can watch it again.

The non-corgi peeps really need to see the corgi flop.

Remember, we don't love them because they're aerodynamic.

On Grace

"Grace is available for each of us everyday - our spiritual daily bread - but we've got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart and not worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow."
Sarah Ban Breathnach
Image:  Graceful by Shannon Leigh Studios Photography.

Charming Words

Equanimity [ee-kwuh-nim-i-tee]

- noun

mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium
Image:  Pinky Novak by Lucy Snowe Photography.


Tuesday's Girl

"My life didn't please me, so I created my life."
Coco Chanel

Just Like Heaven

This is one of my favorite songs of my whole life.

I still listen to it twice a week.

In 1987 I took my grandma and we went to the mall and I bought Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me on cassette.  In Bluefield, West Virgina. 

*heavy sigh* 

I have it in my head that Robert Smith was cool back then as opposed to now when he just looks bloated and sweaty and sad and his hair has fallen down. 

But he looked kind of bad back then, too, didn't he. 

Bless his heart. 

This Charming House

I love this desk - featured in the March issue of Lonny Magazine.

I thought:

'Oh, it's so cool.  It's white lacquer.  It's probably soooooo expensive.' 

But it's not....

I mean it is cool and it is white lacquer but it's from Z Gallerie and it only costs $449....

And if you prefer the espresso it's only $399. 

I wish I had room for it in my office. 


Happy Monday


I hope everyone had a great weekend. 

I had a fun one - social and productive. 

Saturday I got all my errands done, including a new passport picture (mine is fixin' to expire).  I generally hate to have my picture made - and it's horrible - but I'm glad it's done. 

Saturday night I had a date.  He's very nice. 

Sunday I puttered in the house and then saw a movie with my friend.  Morning Glory - which was not as cute as I wanted it to be.  Boo!  But it was OK and I saw the trailer for the new Johnny Depp/Angelina Jolie movie, which made me happy. 

Johnny, that is. 

Can I just tell y'all that Angelina Jolie is so freakin' beautiful that it just pisses me off.  I mean really.  I could just smack her. 

But Johnny is dreamy. 

I have a full week coming up.  I'm seeing my darling, charming, wonderful friend, L.A., tonight.  In addition to being my friend, she is also my facialist and I LOVE her.  And so does my skin. 

I have a date on Wednesday - another eHarmony set up and a different guy.  I feel so Mary Tyler Moore about the whole thing.  And let me tell you, this dating stuff is taking up a lot of my time.  I am enjoying it all this time, though, which I think is probably progress.  For a long, long time I just didn't want to date but I am sort of looking forward to it. 

And then I've got some other stuff later in the week - I think, anyway. 

So let's have a great week!
Image:  Paper and Fire by Abby Blaine.

Rejected eHarmony Match of the Week

This week I was matched with "Torvald". 

He enjoys hiking, skiing and all sports to which he is invited -

His picture is of himself in front of an Alp. 

I thought:
I once met a man with a sense of adventure, he was dressed to thrill wherever he went -
He said 'Let's make love on a mountain top, under the stars on a big, hard rock'.

And I said
'In these shoes?' 
'I don't think so.'
Song Lyrics:  In These Shoes by Kirstie MacColl.
Image:  Secret by Elle Moss.

A Little Extra Pretty To Start Off the Week

Image:  By the Sea, Jasper Johns, 1961.

Sunday Morning

The stripping of beds on laundry day results in a tidy pile of linen waiting to go into the wash.

Said tidy pile of linen creates an irresistible urge for two Beans to dive in, wrestle around and frap through the house until the linen is strewn all through the room.  

They're not the least bit sorry about it, either.  

In fact, this one is quite proud of her penchant for making trouble and messes.  And more than happy to pose for pictures amid the carnage.


Happy Friday!

Is there anything happier than red shoes?

No.  The answer is no.

But we're not here to talk about cute shoes, even though it's my favorite subject.

Happy Friday!

I am happy happy happy for the weekend.  This week has been incredibly long, yet incredibly fast.  I'm not sure how that happens, but there you go. 

I have a date this weekend - not all the eHarmony matches are rejects, ya know.  This is a second date and he seems nice.  That's all I've got for you on him. 

I am also having lunch with my darling friend on Sunday and then we're going to see Morning Glory - because I need fluffy romantic fluffiness and it is my belief that this movie will fit the bill. 

And I have errands to run and a house to tidy up - the never ending chores of home ownership! 

So have a nice weekend.  Clean the house.  See a movie.  Tell your friends you love them. 

And I'll see you on Monday. 
Image:  Red Shoes by Sharon Catherine Photography.

A Little Extra Pretty for the Weekend

Image:  Untitled 2450 by Mark Rothko.


If you haven't already downloaded Sara Bareilles, what are you waiting for?

And if you have, then you'll still enjoy this.

Have a great weekend!!


The Weekly Bean

Helping Mama with her law home work.....

He was born to supervise....

He's just really, really sad that none of it was edible or particularly appetizing....

A Wrinkle in Time

Have you read this?

I think I was about 10 the first time I read 'A Wrinkle in Time' and when I think about it, the Murray's house is the house that I grew up in and their yard was our yard.

I can't separate this book from my own memories of my childhood.

It's sort of like I mind melded with it.  Which is sort of odd, maybe?  Or maybe that's what children do when they imagine and dream...  just sort of mash it all together into one memory.

In any event, I read it again the other day.  It didn't take me very long - which is also not my memory of childhood.  I remember this being a "big" book at the time.  It seemed a little daunting to me then.  So when I picked it up this time, I was surprised that it really is a children's book.  But it's still a great book.

And I enjoyed it just as much this time as I did the first time.
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