Happy Friday

Hi, everyone. 

Just a quick note to tell you all to have a great weekend. 

I have had a slog week at work.  You know, sometimes its crazy and sometimes its pretty easy and sometimes - its just a long, hard slog.  Well, y'all, I slogged this week. 

I have a pretty busy weekend, too, with appointments and errands and not more than a little fun scheduled. 

And then next week, well, next week is just going to be a doozy.  Keep your fingers crossed for me? 

Today I hope to catch the Royal Wedding.  It should be quite interesting!

So have a great weekend.  And I'll see you next week!

xoxo - Tonya
Image:  Infant Peony by Alison Claire Photography.


The Weekly Bean

Someone got his tail feathers all ruffled up!


Here's a close up.

I so love his little fuzzy butt!

The Corrections

This is my next book.

I'm kind of excited about it. Here's what Publisher's Weekly has to say about it:
If some authors are masters of suspense, others postmodern verbal acrobats, and still others complex-character pointillists, few excel in all three arenas. In his long-awaited third novel, Franzen does. Unlike his previous works, The 27th City (1988) and Strong Motion (1992), which tackled St. Louis and Boston, respectively, this one skips from city to city (New York; St. Jude; Philadelphia; Vilnius, Lithuania) as it follows the delamination of the Lambert family Alfred, once a rigid disciplinarian, flounders against Parkinson's-induced dementia; Enid, his loyal and embittered wife, lusts for the perfect Midwestern Christmas; Denise, their daughter, launches the hippest restaurant in Philly; and Gary, their oldest son, grapples with depression, while Chip, his brother, attempts to shore his eroding self-confidence by joining forces with a self-mocking, Eastern-Bloc politician. As in his other novels, Franzen blends these personal dramas with expert technical cartwheels and savage commentary on larger social issues, such as the imbecility of laissez-faire parenting and the farcical nature of U.S.-Third World relations. The result is a book made of equal parts fury and humor, one that takes a dry-eyed look at our culture, at our pains and insecurities, while offering hope that, occasionally at least, we can reach some kind of understanding. This is, simply, a masterpiece.
Masterpiece?!?!?  Well, I need to check this out!

This Charming House

Oh!  I'm in love with this rug and I have nowhere to put it in my house.

That sucks.

It makes me want to redecorate!

It's the Aegean-printed cotton mat from West Elm. 

Somebody cool go buy it and give it a home?  Please??


Wednesday - Run Away Without Leaving Home

I really would like to go to Rome this fall...

Oh wait - I AM going to Rome this fall.

Kind of a surprise overseas trip.  My head spins at the thought of Italian Leath-uh Handbags!!!
Image from here.

Random Pretty Man

Mark Ruffalo makes my heart go pitter pat....

This Charming Kitchen

Do you ever say to yourselves:

"Gee, I need a quick, easy, fool proof and incredibly impressive main dish for my dinner party!"

Well, darling readers - today's the lucky day!

This is my recipe for 'impressive pork chops'.  Really, I got it from Ellie Krieger but I've been taking all the credit for years now.  AND since I can't find a version of this recipe on line directly from her - the lawyer in me is going to say she abandoned this recipe and I took it over.

This explains to you why it isn't more professionally written - but here goes:


For Chops:

4 pork loin chops (although you can easily make this with one) anywhere from 3/4 to 1 inch thick
4 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons of freshly ground black peppercorns
2 tablespoons olive oil

For sauce:

1 cup red wine
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons melted salt free butter
2 tablespoons flour


Lightly salt the chops and then coat all sides of the chops in good dijon mustard.  On top of that, thickly coat the mustard in freshly ground black pepper.

Next, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot.  You're going to make gravy in this pan, so I recommend using a deep sided stainless steel skillet.

Place the chops in the hot oil and leave them alone - as in don't move them or mess with them.  Let them alone.  Let them cook for 5 to 6 minutes (depending on the thickness of your chops - a 1 inch chop needs about 6 minutes).  Then, flip them over and cook for an equal amount of time on the other side.  Again, you only need one flip here. 

Remove the chops to a plate and cover with foil and let them rest for 10 - 20 minutes.

Then, in your pan, add one cup of red wine and one cup of chicken stock.  Stir up all the brown bits from the bottom of our pan.  Reduce the heat to get a gentle simmer and reduce the sauce for 10 minutes or so.  Then you can serve the sauce as is - however, I make a little roux by using 2 tablespoons of melted butter and 2 tablespoons of flour.  After the sauce is reduced, add the roux and whisk until you have a smooth, thick, rich gravy.  Salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.

I usually serve this with roasted potatoes and carrots (cut up about a pound of carrots and a pound of new potatoes and place them on a sheet pan.  Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Toss it all together and roast at 450 degrees for 35 minutes or so).

The best thing about this is that if you put your vegetables in the oven at the same time you start your chops - it will all come out done at about the same time!

I also serve this with good rolls which I buy ready made at the Teeter and warm up in the same oven with the veggies.   It ends up being a very good, pretty low cal dinner in 45 minutes or less.

Charming Words

Rhap-so-dy [rap-suh-dee]

- noun

an ecstatic expression of feeling or enthusiasm
Image:  Rhapsody in Blue by Big Bean Photography.


Tuesday's Girl

"Creating a cultural icon out of someone who says 'I'm stupid, isn't it cute?' makes me want to throw daggers.  I want to say to them 'My grandma did not fight for what she fought for just so you can start telling women it's fun to be stupid'.  Saying that to young women, little girls, my daughter?  It's not OK."
Reese Witherspoon

Sara Smile

I love Joan Osborne's voice.

This is such a great cover.

This Charming Closet

I found these little flats to wear with my white capri jeans and other stuff.....

I think they're a little Chanel-y.  But without that pesky little Chanel price tag....


Happy Monday


Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a great Easter weekend.

I hung out with some friends and some Beans.  Unfortunately, I had to go into the office and do some work - but I feel so much better that things are done.  I'm really hoping that I'll be caught up by the end of the week.

Finn and Lola spent Friday at the spa and they are now both clean as whistles and ready for love.

I also spent a considerable amount of time on Saturday and Sunday being aggravated by a little Bean who wanted to go out and play in the sun.   Ah, well.  These are the burdens of my love for her!

I hope you all have a great week.  Thank you so much for stopping by.

xoxo Tonya
Image from here.

Angie Harmon Lives in Charlotte!


Did you know that Angie Harmon lives in Charlotte?

Well, she does.  They reported it on the front page of the paper - so it must be true.

Still, I didn't really believe she was going to 'live' here. 

And then I totally saw her shopping for groceries at the Teeter on Good Friday!

One doesn't often bump into celebrities in Charlotte, let alone in the frozen food section of the Teeter.

This was my total thought process:
OMG! It's Angie Harmon!

Be cool, Tonya.

I have to tweet!  I have to blog about this!
She looked at me and I smiled (while trying to play it cool) and then I scurried off to the wine section and called my best friend - like the uncool hillbilly that I really am.

After I calmed down, I was happy that I had a cartful of 'cool' groceries - fresh veggies, wine and flowers for my dinner party - as opposed to a 25lb bag of dog food and a big box of Kotex.  Not that she looked at my cart anyway - but still.  

I can report to you, darling readers, that she is very beautiful and very thin and her children were very well behaved.  All three of them.   She was wearing little or no makeup and dressed like all the other moms.  Nothing 'celebrity' her. 

And no one was bothering her, which made me happy and proud of Charlotte.

I hope she and her family will feel at home here.

Sunday Evening

View from the power walk!

The Bee Charmer Loves Paris

Image from here.


Happy Friday

Hi, everyone!

Have a lovely weekend and, for those who celebrate, a Happy Easter.

And I'll see you on Monday.
Image:  A Host of Golden Daffodils by Anna Julia.


The Weekly Bean

Since we had Finn baby pictures last week, I thought we'd do Lola's this week. 

I love these two together because in the first one she looks so cute and fat and innocent....

And in the second one, she gives her true little mouthy nature away! 

The fun thing about these pictures is the WORK I had to do to get them.  She was only about 3 months old and I could NOT get her away from Finn long enough to take a decent shot... And when he was with her, he was always trying to bite her and she was covered in Finn slobber. 

So, in this picture, she is sitting by the open patio door and he was on the other side, on the patio. 

The things we do for love, huh?

Random Pretty Man

So I got sucked into Burn Notice at some point last year.  The prettiness of Mr. Jeffrey Donovan certainly made it a lot easier. 

And this past weekend there was a Burn Notice marathon.

And I'm a sucker for the glasses and the scruff.

May Vogue

On this weekend's reading list....

This Charming House

We don't so much "gather rosebuds while we may" here at Chateau Bee Charmer.

We "borrow" them from the rosebushes in the common areas....

Is that so wrong?

In any event, the first buds of the year popped out last weekend and we are enjoying them in the living room.


Wednesday - Run Away Without Leaving Home


I want to go to Mississippi.  Or to Memphis and LOOK at the river.

Is that so wrong?
Image from here.

Hi, I'm Tonya. I Ruminate.

So I think I've told y'all before that I am a reformed worrier. 

Seriously, there was a time when I could have won the Olympic Gold Medal for Giant Slalom Worrying.  I was good at it, y'all.

But I hated it.  It made me miserable.  I wanted to change. 

So I set about teaching myself not to worry.  I got some help with it.  Now I don't worry.  And I've gotten really good at not worrying.   

But sometimes - sometimes - I worry.  Although worry is not really the word.  I don't so much worry as I ruminate.  I think there is a difference. 

Last Saturday, Lola almost got hit by a car and killed. 

Scared. Me. To. Death.

We were walking along the sidewalk.  Me, Lola, Finn.  Busy Street - lots of speeding traffic.  The lady across the street was sweeping her front porch and her husband was in the yard. 

The next thing I knew, the lady was screaming bloody murder and I look over there and their Westie had made a break from the house and was coming at us like a speeding bullet.  Right into oncoming traffic - going both ways. 

She was screaming.  I was screaming. 

And the next thing I knew, a car was whizzing by, laying on his horn because Lola was halfway out in the road, making a bee line for the Westie.  I jerked her back just in time. 

Maybe I'm being dramatic.  Maybe it wasn't that bad.  But it scared me.  It happened SO fast - as I suppose tragedies often do. 

But there was no tragedy.  The upshot of this story is that no dogs were injured.  The Bean is fine.  The wayward Westie was snatched up and got swatted on the butt with the broom on his way back into the house.  Finn barely looked up. 

But it's four days later and I'm still ruminating on what might have happened. Every time I look at her all I can think is of how quickly she could have been taken from me. 

This really bothers me. 

I mean, GOD BLESSED ME.  I reacted swiftly, I snatched her back to safety.  I should be rejoicing.  I should be on cloud nine. 

But I'm not.  I'm ruminating and feeling bad because something could have happened. 

Now in my defense, Finn and Lola are my weak spots.  I live in constant, unreasonable and ridiculous fear that something will happen to them. 

Once, in an effort to just stop it, I tried to imagine every ridiculous thing that might happen to them - just to jog myself out of it.  But there was nothing, not even alien invasion or stampeding zebras in Charlotte that I was willing to rule out.  That's how ridiculous I am.  If I'm willing to consider that aliens may invade and kill my corgis, you can imagine how frightening speeding cars can be.

So that's where I am.  Ruminating.  Focused in the wrong place, on the wrong things.  I feel like a failure.  I feel like a sinner.  I feel like God may think I'm ungrateful.  I have prayed about it, but somehow, I still find myself replaying the whole thing and feeling bad about it.  

Perhaps we can never really not worry about those we love most.  I don't have children, I have Finn and Lola and their health and well-being is my responsibility.  I just want them to be safe and well. 

Still, I don't want to ruminate like this.  It serves no purpose. 

So I keep trying to do better - even though I sometimes fall short.   

Please keep your fingers crossed for us.
Image from here.

A Little Extra William Faulkner

"Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed.  If people all over the world would do this.... it would change the earth."
William Faulkner
Image from here.

Charming Words

Con-fi-dent [kon-fi-duh nt]

- adjective

1.  having strong belief or full assurance

2.  sure of oneself; having no uncertainty about one's own abilities
Image from here.


Tuesday's Girl

"If all you have to offer is a look that is supposed to be appealing, then you are going to be paid attention to about a tenth as long as you would be if, when you speak, you are interesting."
Julia Roberts

Wichita Lineman

Don't you love Wichita Lineman?

*heavy sigh*

This Charming Closet

I really hate shopping for jewelry. 

I know.  I'm the only girl in the world for whom buying jewelry is a stressful situation.

I don't know what it is.  For some reason, jewelry is completely frivolous and I shouldn't spend money for it. 

Given my handbag budget, I'm sure y'all all find this position laughable. 

However, I never met a tiny, delicate little necklace that I didn't love. 

I picked this one up last week at Nordstrom.  I love how sweet it is, how tiny and I love the sentiment behind it. 


Happy Monday

Hi, everyone!

How was the weekend?

Ours was pretty good.  We did NOT get blown away by storms on Saturday, which was good.  Charlotte escaped most of the damage, which happened further east. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with those in East Carolina. 

We did enjoy the lazy, rainy Saturday and I cleaned the house and did the laundry and paid the bills and Lola followed me around and Finn sort or sat around and worried about the weather. 

It's funny that I've been such a worrier all my life and now I watch him worry and it just breaks my heart.  I wish he was less anxious, but he hates storms and that's just the way it is. 

Sunday was also pretty lazy, but we got lots of exercise and I went and got my toes done. 


In other news, my boss is back this week but 2 other lawyers in my firm are on vacation....


All I can say is that I hope they all suffer and miss me when I'm in Paris.  'Cause right now, I'm sucking air, y'all. 

But I have no court today, for which I'm very grateful and I have a little bit of court on Thursday which will be a good day to get out of the office - Thursday will go fast and then.....


Which leads us to the Easter weekend that's on the way.

I love Easter.  It's my favorite holiday.  I wish Christmas was more like Easter. 

So let's hope for a great week and thank you all for dropping by. 
Image:  Love Story by Amelia Kay Photography.

Saturday Morning

We did NOT get blown away by the storms that blew through!

But we were a little worried there for a few minutes.

The Bee Charmer Loves Paris

Image from here.


Happy Friday!


I want to say something deep but I got nuthin'!

I went out last night and had dinner and a couple of drinks with a friend, which is nice.

My boss is back next week - yeah!

And this weekend is supposed to be rainy and sort of crappy - which I'm actually happy about.  I'd like to have a rainy, snuggle down Saturday morning.  But I'm weird like that...

So have a great weekend!

And I'll see you on Monday.
Image:  Sunlit Tulips by Judy Stalus Photographs.


The Weekly Bean

Finn's baby picture...

In case you were asking yourselves "Just how did he get so rotten?"

And yes, he was that little.  And yes, he is lying on a Neiman Marcus baby blanket....

Random Pretty Man

I've been trying not to jump on the Ryan Reynolds bandwagon. 

'Cause I really don't think he's all that.....

But lately, I've come under the impression that perhaps I should rethink my position.


The Sheltering Sky

April's book from my New Years Resolution reading list is The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles.

I'm not sure how to characterize this book.  After I read it I went looking for something on the web that might help me come to grips with it.  I read a review by one guy and he said you can only say you 'like' this book if you're an asshole.

True.  And it made me laugh.

While I am not prepared to say that I liked the book, I am glad that I read it.  I certainly think it was worthwhile and in some ways I don't think I've stopped thinking about it since I finished it.

The short summary of the book is that it's about a married couple who go to Africa after World War II in an attempt to save their failing marriage.

The way I would summarize it is to say that it's sort of like reading about a married couple's voluntary journey into hell to look for a vacation home. 

And, you know, they just keep going. 

You want to scream "Turn around!  Go back to New York!  What in the hell are you doing????  You're rich Americans!  Hire a therapist!   Go to Paris or something!"

But they don't.

They go to Africa and then they just keep going and every time you think they've really bottomed out - well it just gets worse.

I mean, when they got to the hotel with no electricity, a dining room which smelled of human waste, bedbugs in the beds and rabbit stew with fur still on the rabbit, I really thought they'd go back.  But they decided it wasn't so bad and kept at it....

I also read something that said the last third of the book is the damnedest thing you'll ever read.

And it kinda was.

Suffice it to say that the husband doesn't fare well and then the wife just goes completely ape shit.  I still don't understand what this woman was doing, although I suppose one could say that she would rather have been insane than to be responsible for anything.  Or maybe she went insane because she couldn't NOT be responsible anymore?  Like I said, I'm still not sure.

Are y'all intrigued?  Don't you wanna read it?  

Anyway, I'm still mulling it over and I'd love to hear from anyone else out there with an idea about it.

Anyone?  It's time for you English majors to make yourselves heard!!

This Charming Face

I am a little bit hesitant to recommend beauty products here, because everyone is different.  But I thought it might be good to go ahead and mention this - for what it's worth.

I think that moisturizers are hard.  I have combination skin that tends toward the dry side (especially in the winter) and it's also super sensitive.  And once you hit 40 everything changes and all bets are off. 

When I went looking for a new night time moisturizer, I had already run through every over the counter thing out there -without success - but I still didn't want to pay an arm and a leg. 

I found the Silkcoat Balm by PCA Skin while comparing moisturizers on SkinCare RX and since this had a pretty low price point (by comparison) and good reviews,  I gave it a try. 

This stuff goes on thick and then sinks in  - but not completely.  It leaves sort of a film on your face but not in a gross way.  It's not greasy or sticky.

It doesn't smell bad, cause my eyes to swell shut, clog my pores or stain my pillow cases.  And it hydrates my skin wonderfully.  One jar lasted about 3 months and I found it especially nice after my facials or on particularly frigid days when I thought my skin needed a little more.

I have been really thrilled with it and I think its really worth the $36.  Before I started using this, my facialist (Hi! LA) told me my skin was dry when I showed up to have her work her magic.   But she's been much more pleased with it lately.

You may want to check it out if you think you need a heavier moisturizer at night.


Wednesday - Run Away Without Leaving Home

Here's the plan....

First - we win the lottery.

Then we run away and live on the Amalfi coast.

How's that?
Image from here.

This Charming Kitchen

This is a recipe that's been in my book for many years.  It's to be served at room temperature, it's light and it's perfect for a summer supper. 

You should give it a shot.

Roast Pork Calypso Style


Roast Pork

3 shallots, chopped
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 3/4-pound pork tenderloins


1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 bay leaves
3/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Fresh spinach leaves
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, sliced crosswise
Minced fresh parsley

Black Bean, Heart of Palm, and Corn Salad

1 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1 10-ounce package frozen corn, thawed, drained
1 7 1/2-ounce can hearts of palm, drained, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
2 large tomatoes, seeded, diced
1/2 red onion, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground coriander


For Roast Pork:

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Combine shallots, bay leaves, salt, allspice and ginger in small bowl.
Add generous amount of pepper. Rub mixture into pork.
Set on rack in roasting pan, Roast pork until thermometer inserted into centers registers 150°F., about 25-30 minutes. Cool slightly.

(Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Bring pork to room temperature before serving.)

For Sauce:

Combine first 6 ingredients in heavy small saucepan. Season with pepper. Simmer until slightly syrupy, about 10 minutes.
(Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

For Salad:

Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. (Salad can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Line platter with spinach. Mound black bean salad in center. Slice pork. Alternate pork and avocado slices around salad. Discard bay leaves from sauce and drizzle sauce over pork and avocado. Sprinkle with parsley.

Polka Dot Bake Shop

Charlotte Peeps!

Have you been over to buy your cupcakes at the Polka Dot Bake Shop?

If you haven't, what are you waiting for?


Tuesday's Girl

"Paris is always a good idea."
Audrey Hepburn

Midnight in Paris

Woody Allen's new movie is called Midnight in Paris.

Do you think I'd like it?

Me, too!

This Charming Handbag Addict

I looked at this last weekend.

Alas, it will never be mine.

But it sure is beautiful.

The Bamboo Leather Crossbody Bag - from Marc Jacobs.


Happy Monday


I hope everyone had a great weekend!

I had a full and wonderful weekend and I'm exhausted!  I really wanted to do nothing and see nobody - but I have so many darling friends and I just had to see all of them this weekend.  So I had a wonderful, fun weekend.  But I'm still exhausted! 

How's that for a problem?

And - and this is the kicker - I didn't really sleep very well.  I think it's residual stress.  I'm hoping it will dissipate a little as the week wears on - but it's really anybody's guess. 

So that's the deal. 

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and I hope that this week goes by fast.  Full of fun and busyness culminating in a beautiful next weekend.....

Thanks so much for stopping by.

xo - Tonya
Image from here

A Little Extra William Faulkner

"I believe that man will not merely endure.  He will prevail.  He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance."
William Faulkner
Image from here.

Sunday Evening

Lola Bean -

On her Sunday Evening Stroll alone with Mama....

The Bee Charmer Loves Paris

Image from here.


Happy Friday!

Hi, everyone!

My boss has been gone for two weeks and while I'm still alive, I'm physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.  That's ridiculous isn't it?  Well - be that as it may, its still true. 

I'm really looking forward to the weekend.  I'm hanging out with some friends and getting outside to enjoy the Beans and the sunshine.  And I'm sleeping in and reading.  And I'm super excited about all of it. 

So thanks for stopping by this week. 

Stay safe and warm and happy this weekend - which I fervently wish for you all - and I'll see you on Monday.

xo - Tonya
Image:  Blue Morning by Winter Blues.


The Weekly Bean

"Anyone who will barge into the room while you are on the commode is the boss of you.  And when you explain to them that you are on the commode and that they should leave, but they don't?  That's a high level boss."
Tina Fey - apropos of the Lola Bean

The Great Gatsby

My reading frenzy is ongoing here at Chateau Bee Charmer.  Sometime last week I got this URGE to re-read The Great Gatsby - so I did.

It's such a short read but I have to say that I have never just sat down and read it cover to cover in 2 days - but that is what I did this time. 

I was - as before - blown away and actually cried for a while over the last paragraph on Sunday morning.

This Charming Closet

As part of my continuing effort to be more accessorized, I hit up J. Crew last weekend with a bit of an agenda.

I emerged with the following:

The Mini-Crystal SuperNova necklace -

And the Silk Driving Scarf - in retro orange.

And I hate to have to say it - but NOW I gotta go buy some shoes.
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