Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Finn and Lola and I hope you all have a joyous and wonderful holiday season.

We'll be back sometime next week.

xoxo - Tonya
Image:  Welsh Corgi Christmas Carols by Jenny Creates.


Wednesday - Run Away Without Leaving Home

I have had a fairly ambivalent relationship with the ocean for the past few years.  I know it's there, but I haven't longed for it.....

But since August I've been longing for it - desperately!  I need to go back.
Image:  Path to the Sea by Megan Rhodes.

Random Pretty Man

I'm still not over it....

Maybe we should just have "Paul Newman Day" here at The Bee Charmer....

And I have to tell you that it kind of pisses me off that he looks so damn sexy, even with a cigarette - which I really and truly find repugnant under ALL OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES....

Thirty Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

My friend, Sarah, linked to this the other day and I love it!!! Go here and read it!

Such truly good words to make us aware of so many mental habits that really just get in our way.  
Image:  Stop In the Name of Love by Catay.


Tuesday's Girl

"I can't imagine a duller fate than being the best dressed woman in reality.  When I want to do something I don't pause to contemplate whether I'm exquisitely gowned.  I want to live, not pose!"
Carole Lombard

Last Christmas

Ah - Christmas songs from the 80's!

George!  ALL THAT FABULOUS HAIR!!!!!  And you know, he was so cute when he was trying to play it straight.  Although I will have to say that even my 17 year old, naive, hillbilly little self didn't believe it.  

However, nothing says "Joyeux Noel" like WHAM!

This Charming Face

At some point over the last few years I have become a "NARS" girl.

I am really not sure how this came about.  I'm sure it had something to do with the "Orgasm" blush craze of a few years back.  The irony of it is that the allegedly universally flattering "Orgasm" blush doesn't really do that much for my skin - the peachiness sort of blends in with the red hair and the freckles and I feel like a creamscicle.  So I go with the "Deep Throat". 

Ah - who comes up with these names?

But I am not here to talk about blush or about lipstick or about concealer or about lip gloss - all of which I wear and all of which also come from NARS. 

I am here to talk about the foundation I've been searching for for years that I have finally found at the NARS counter - the NARS Sheer Glow. 

Y'all, I love this stuff. It gives me the coverage I need without making me look like a Geisha, it doesn't smell funny and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg, at least in the world of makeup counter foundation. 

I was driven to try it by my annual "It's my birthday, I'm not getting any younger, try to look OK to make myself feel better" kick.  I went to Makeup Alley to read the recommendations before heading over to Nordstrom to get some and the most cogent and convincing review I read was written by a 43 year old MAN. 

Is this what's going on out there now?  Are men wearing foundation and actually writing reviews about it?  Geeze I've been out of the game too long.....

But I digress.....

Anyway if you're looking for a good foundation (or want to try a new line in general) you may want to head to the NARS counter.  I universally like their products for cost, ease of application, staying power and color. 


Happy Monday

Hello friends!

How was the weekend? 

Ours was busy and fun. 

I'm a little bit sad that our current weather isn't more wintery.    It's Christmas and it seems like it ought to be a little more blustery. 

On the other hand, I'm loving the mild temperatures and the sunshine.  So I'm trying to just be thankful and happy for what I do have and not think about what I don't have. 

Isn't that the secret to life? 

I can tell you, though, that Friday evening was gray and rainy and after I came home and walked the dogs I laid down under a snuggly blanket and took a little nap.  There is something that is just do delicious about being snuggled down for a warm nap when its cold and rainy outside, isn't there?  And I was thankful for that delicious feeling and thankful for my warm home. 

On Saturday I went to look at art (FUN!) and finished up the last of my Christmas shopping. 

Ok - I'm not totally done.  I've got a couple of little things left to do.  Isn't that always the way it goes?  There is always some last minute something, something that you have to do at Christmas.  And then it's over in 30 minutes. 

On Sunday I went up to help my darling friends with their new house.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, The New Mr. and Mrs. Barr have a new house!!!  They are in the 'still hunting for things packed in boxes' phase and anxiously awaiting the delivery of enormous amounts of furniture but it still looks FABULOUS.  And the previous owners left the most glorious plantation shutters and striped silk roman shades.  It's window treatment heaven even without furniture.

And then I came home to the Beans and cleaned our house like a crazy woman.  And did a little more decking of our little halls.  Oh - and laundry.  I did the laundry.

I'm not sure what work is going to look like this week.  Civil court is pretty much shut down until after the New Year so I'm hoping for lazy, quiet, catch up time.  We'll see how it goes. 

So thanks for stopping by!

xoxo- Tonya
Image by me.

Out and About in Winston-Salem

On Saturday, my friend Sarah and I drove over to Winston-Salem to see a couple of really cool things...

First, we were happy to see the Modern Masters exhibit which is currently on display at the Reynolda House. 

Let me just tell you - it was extremely cool and I was in heaven.

First, they had three works by Franz Kline, my new art crush.  AND they had a Helen Frankenthaler.  Gorgeous.  AND they had several works by Robert Motherwell - who was once married to Helen Frankenthaler.  AND they had a piece by Esteban Vicente - it was very Rothko-esque and it was so gorgeous I could have just died...

Then we toured the Reyolda House which was the home of RJ Reynolds and his family.  It was also gorgeous.  A quintessential Southern house.  What you can learn from it is that if you lived in the deep South way back when, it was ALL ABOUT the screened porch and cross ventilation.  Although the house is gorgeous it is also very livable.

It's funny that I walked or ran across the Reynolda House grounds almost every single day when I was in law school - Wake Forest's campus adjoins (and was once a part of) the estate grounds - and this was only the second time I have actually been IN the house. 


If you are in North Carolina this exhibit is definitely worth the trip.  It runs through December 31. 

The Bee Charmer Loves Paris

Image:  Shop Window in Paris by Anna Kiper.


Happy Friday

Did y'all know that cardinals, in addition to being bright, beautiful, festive and otherwise Christmas-y, are also the official state bird of West Virginia? 

Well, if you didn't you do now!

With that little nugget of knowledge, Finn, Lola and I will wish you a happy weekend!

We are celebrating Finn's birthday this weekend and doing some other stuff - which I believe may include a nap or two.

So have a great weekend.  And we'll see you on Monday.

xoxox- Tonya
Image:  Christmas Cardinal by Ara133Photography.


The Weekly Bean

On Saturday this little baby boy will be 10 years old!!!

Happy Birthday, Butterbean.

The Crying of Lot 49

So, as I said a couple of weeks ago, I totally wussed out and refused to read Blood Meridian

Instead, I gave it to my father, who likes westerns, and he read it and has now pronounced it awful.  But then again, he couldn't stop talking about it, either.....

Instead of reading Blood Meridian, I read The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon, which is also on Time's list.

Here's what Time had to say about it:
Summoned to serve as executor for the will of her ultra-rich former lover, Oedipa Maas is led into the mystery of Trystero, a shadowy band of, of — of what exactly? They have operated for centuries, connecting the dispossesed, the discontented and the strung out by way of their secret underground postal system, a network that may also serve other ends. As she wanders through California in the mid-1960′s, trying to unravel their secret, Oedipa senses for the first time a larger, weirder universe of the disinherited, a scampering, fugitive reality just beneath the placid surface of what she thinks she knows. With its slapstick paranoia and its heartbreaking metaphysical soliloquies, Lot 49 takes place in the tragicomic universe that is instantly recognizable as Pynchon-land. Is it also a mystery novel? Absolutely, so long as you remember that the mystery here is the one at the heart of everything.
I liked this book - sorta....  

I'm not sure I'm deep enough to have fully comprehended everything that was going on but it was an enjoyable read.  It was weird, strange....  I don't know. 

HOWEVER, if you are a fan of Buckaroo Banzai (which I totally happen to be) you will recognize the origins of that movie in this book.  Methinks W.D. Richter is a Pynchon fan.

This Charming Closet

A couple of weekends ago when I was in Raleigh with my friend Sarah I saw a faux fur pullover at a boutique and I was smitten!

I didn't buy it because I didn't think I'd be brave enough to wear it and it was too expensive to buy and not wear.

But now I can't stop thinking about it and in my search for it on the internet I found this one - and I like it even better!

I still don't like the price tag, though and I KNOW I won't have the guts to wear it much.  I want to be glamorous but I'm really not so glamorous - you know?  Maybe I could swing it in New York but it's a little excessive for the Carolina League.

Still - a girl can lust......


Wednesday - Run Away Without Leaving Home

Image:  Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina.


I have spent most of my adult life feeling like a failure and a fraud.

There.  I said it.

I think maybe lots of people feel this as they are growing into adulthood.  Becoming themselves.

I have been becoming myself for a long, long time.  Still am, I suppose.

A couple of weeks ago, on the day before my birthday, I had a brief moment of - I don't know - clarity?

I was sitting in my car, at a red light, on the way home from work, flipping through some paperwork and I looked over to see a driver in another car looking in at me.

And for that little moment, I saw myself in another way.  For that brief moment, I felt like I had finally, finally become the woman I had dreamed of being when I was a little girl.

A grown up.  Driving a real car.  Living in a real city.  With a good education and a real job.  Wearing good perfume and real diamond earrings (tiny, but real, a gift from my Mom).

I didn't feel like a fake or a fraud or a failure.  I felt like a grownup.  I felt like - myself.

I hope she sticks around for a while.
Image:  She Was Free by Love Wish.

A Little Extra Christmas Spirit

"Christmas is doing a little extra something for someone."
Charles M. Schulz
Image from here.


Tuesday's Girl

"A woman has got to be able to say, and not feel guilty, 'Who am I, and what do I want out of life?'   She mustn't feel selfish and neurotic if she wants goals or her own, outside of husband and children."
Betty Friedan

The Christmas Song

I love Nat King Cole - for a long, long time.

This Charming Handbag Addict

Oh, my goodness.

I do so love a big, honkin' Coach purse.....

I hope Santa brings this one to my house.....


Happy Monday

Happy Monday, everyone!

That's all I've got today.....  weekend overload!

Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo - Tonya
Image:  Ornaments by Melasha.

The Bee Charmer Loves Key West

I am so excited for Christmas and I'm actually enjoying the cooler weather....

But I would SOOOOO love to go to Key West for New Years.
Image:  Key West, Florida by Photography by Kay.


Happy Friday

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

My parents are visiting and we're going to try to stay out of trouble and finish up our Christmas shopping. 

Stay safe and warm!

xoxo- Tonya
Image:  Gumnut Bells by Photography by Anita.


The Weekly Bean

I'm so in love with them.....

Finn has been a little 'not himself' for the past few weeks.  I was worried that his teeth were bothering him so he and I went to the vet yesterday.

It's not his teeth.

It's his back - my greatest fear realized. 

The vet didn't think it was too much to be concerned about.  Since he seems to want to rest she wants me to let him rest and she has given us something to manage his pain and inflammation.  She wants him to get mostly rest for the next 2 to 4 weeks (so no stairs, no frapping and very short walks) and then we'll have another look. 

Although I don't think this is that bad, please keep us and him in your prayers.  He's such a good little baby boy and I want him to be with me for a very long time. 

The Glass Castle

Our book club's latest book was The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

Here's what Amazon has to say about it:
Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
It seemed to me that everyone had already read this book but I had not and I was hesitant to do so.  You see, I grew up in Welch, West Virginia, (the dismal West Virginia mining town) where a large portion of this book is set and Rose Mary Walls was a teacher at my elementary school when I was in the second or third grade.  And I sort of expected a hatchet job.

It was weird reading about the town where I grew up.  About the streets and the stores that I knew or knew of.  The Miss Katona who was Jeannette's high school guidance counselor was my high school guidance counselor, too.

While I did not know the Walls children (who were too much older than me to have been my contemporaries) I did know of Rose Mary.  What I remember about her was how filthy she was.  Although everyone in West Virginia is sort of some level of 'poor', there is a certain level of poor that is remarkable and the Walls family is on that level.  I remember being sort of mesmerized by Rose Mary because I couldn't understand how a teacher could be so dirty, her clothes stained and tattered - she smelled.  I also remember her because she painted beautiful murals on the walls of our elementary school and I couldn't understand how someone with so much talent could be so poor.

Now having read the book, I have to say that I do not share Jeannette Walls' affection or generosity for her parents.  I cannot believe that these people took such poor care of their children while justifying their actions as teaching and growth opportunities.  They allowed their children to go hungry, to be molested, to be in danger, to be cold and unclean - all of which was unnecessary.  I lived in West Virginia back then - when coal was booming.  If Rex Walls wasn't working it's because he was a stomp down, sorry drunk.

I was very moved and inspired by Ms. Walls tenacity and the fervor that she and her siblings exhibited in order to escape the dismal life that their parents provided them.  But I cannot join her in feeling any sort of compassion or softness for her parents.  Shame on them.

This Charming House

I am in LOVE with the new Silver Foil LOVE print from Made by Girl!

I hope Santa brings me one for Christmas!!!


Wednesday - Run Away Without Leaving Home

Image via Tiffany & Co.

Random Pretty Man

I sat down to do the Random Pretty Man post and the only pretty man I could think of was Paul Newman.

I said to myself: 'Tonya, you really should move on....'

And then I sat there for a moment and could not think of a single, compelling reason not to have Paul back.

So here he is, girlfriends! 

*Note:  The Bee Charmer does not approve of the smoking.  Although she would snog him, anyway.

This Charming Kitchen

The book club ladies came over this week.

We had The Barefoot Contessa's Grown Up Mac & Cheese!

Here's the deal:


  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi (see Note)
  • 1 quart milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated (2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well. (I don't do this.  There are 2 schools of thought concerning oil in pasta and I completely disagree with Ina on this one. FYI.)
  • Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
  • Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
Note: To make ahead, put the macaroni and cheese in the baking dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake. Put the tomatoes and bread crumbs on top and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes.

This was really easy to make and I assembled it the night before so all I had to do was bake it before the ladies arrived.  And they ate it all up!


Tuesday's Girl

"Making a charmed and happy home is a noble endeavor."
Deborah Needleman

Bath Time for Puppy Dogs!

This is my dream dog!

Isn't he baby????

This Charming House

The downstairs tree!

Ornament of joy on the upstairs tree

The end of my birthday flowers....

New tray from Furbish!


Happy Monday


How was the weekend?

I have to tell you, my birthday extravaganza is kicking my ass! 

Between that, my job, the Beans and Christmas - well, I've just about had it!!

Therefore, you'll forgive me if this post is short.  Like - corgi short. 

Suffice it to say that my office is in order, my house is clean, my Beans are snoozy and my body is tired.  You know with the eating and the celebrating and the extravaganza and all.

Whew.  Being 36 again is hard work.

xoxo - Tonya
Image:  Festive Cones by The Gingham Owl.

Saturday Afternoon

We roadtripped to Raleigh for Happy Hollerdays at Furbish


The Bee Charmer Loves Paris

Image:  Snow Heart by Magalerie.


Happy Friday

Hi, everyone!

Have a happy weekend!
xoxo - Tonya
Image:  Bookmark by First Light Photography.


The Weekly Bean

We're in the Christmas spirit!

We got nicer antlers this year. 

Happy Birthday!


It's my birthday!

I'm 36 again!!!!
Image from here.

Blood Meridian

November's book on my New Year's reading list was Blood Meridian. 

And I tried. 

I read 4 chapters. 

But I couldn't do it.  Or more appropriately, I didn't want to. 

You see, I just don't want to read about evil.  I know that it exists in the world.  But I didn't want to read this book. 

So I put it down. 

Maybe later. 

This Charming Closet

These jeans were my one and only Black Friday on-line purchase. 

My friend, Sarah blogged about the Gap Always Skinny Jeans last year and I am sorry to say that I didn't believe her.  Well, the weekend before Christmas I had a little come to Jesus meeting with myself and decided to quit being so fuddy.  And I went to the mall to buy some skinny jeans that I would actually wear.  And since Gap jeans fit me best I started there (and their 30% off sale that day really helped). 

These things are great.  They are flattering and comfortable when they should be neither.  I don't know how it works, but it does. 
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