Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Find: The Perfect Preppy Gift For A Man

I did it.....after years of trying, I think I finally found the perfect gift for my husband.  Every Christmas I come up with things he likes (mostly) and sometimes (occasionally) things he doesn't.  When he doesn't like something, he calls it a "satchel" gift.  It seems that when he was a lad, his parents thought it would be nice to get him a lovely leather satchel to take to school.  As Dear Husband says, even in a private school, it was enough to get beat up over.....

A couple of years ago, I found the most incredible leather golf ball/golf tee holder from Brooks Brothers.  I thought for sure he would like it, but it fell right into the satchel category, and I swore I would steer clear of anything "satchel-like" in the future.  But.....this year I came across something most definitely in that category that I felt sure he would like (because it also involved alcohol), so not only did I purchase it, I had it monogrammed....which meant it was not returnable.

Christmas morning came...he opened it....and he LOVED it.  Really, truly loved it!!!  He is still excited about it....and is planning where he will take it first.

What was this great gift?

A monogrammed travel bar!

He asked me how I had come up with this great idea, and I told him (in all honesty) that when we had checked into the Waldorf-Astoria this summer and he had come up to the front desk with his paper bag of travel "supplies" that I had decided he needed to reclaim his roots of tradition and elegance.  So, he has.....and he is so enthusiastic about it!

If you are interested, just Google "travel bar" and you will see that all kinds of companies carry them, for all kinds of prices.  The company I chose did free monogramming and their delivery time was great.  There is also a similar travel bar that is made just for martinis, but I thought that DH could put a shaker where one of the bottles would normally go....and he would be fine.  (He told me very excitedly last night that he had just come up with a marvelous idea, about putting a cocktail shaker where the bottle would normally go, and I congratulated him on his smart thinking!  We're going with HIS idea there!)

It is truly a "find" when a present is so well received.  Now I better start thinking about next year.....Don't know how I can top this!

Happy New Year!!!!  Enjoy your evening, but be careful......


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Traditional Thursday: Classic Exercises

Slacker.   If I had to chose one word to describe myself when it came to exercising, that's what I would choose.

I don't mean to be a slacker, but I am.  Once I start walking or working out in some fashion, I usually don't mind it too much....and often enjoy it.....but it's getting started that's the problem.  So, my New Year's Resolution (along with eating better) is not any particular amount of time to exercise, or any particular exercise to do.  It's just to be less of an exercise slacker.

When I lived in Atlanta, just after college, my best friend and I decided we had gained weight and needed to have a regular exercise regime, so we went to the Elaine Powers Figure Salon. (I remember that I had gone from 121 to 126 and was mortified!!  LOL....) I don't know if Elaine Powers even exists anymore, but it was quite popular in the 1970's and 80's.  As best as I can remember, it was somewhat like Curves is today.....a series of exercise stations that you did in a circuit.  What I definitely remember is that the first one in the circuit.....even in the early/mid 80's.....was one of those machine that you stood on (with the belt around your derriere) that shook the fat away. The one after that was a machine of rotating rollers that you leaned against, which I suppose was meant to massage the fat away..... I remember thinking at the time that I was surprised those things still existed, but Elaine Powers insisted that they worked!  (The other thing I remember about that experience is that they had my friend and me write down everything we ate for a week....and when we returned the following week, they reviewed our diet flaws with us.  They told me I had too many breads/desserts on my list and they told my friend (who is English) that there was too much alcohol on hers.  I said I would try to cut back and she told them, in all seriousness, that they would need to find another way for her to lose weight!!)

If you want to see more about exercise through the ages, check out the March of Time special on my favorite cable channel....Turner Classic Movies....It starts at 2pm on January 1st.  

What are YOUR New Year's Resolutions?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday: Extra Edition...Read All About It

Go as quickly as you can, and see The King's Speech.  It is perfection.....such an amazing film!!

Oh..... and a little bit of a bonus is the brief but lovely scene that Colin Firth has with Jennifer Ehle, who plays Geoffrey Rush's wife.  It is a reunion of Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennett of sorts, and I am so glad that they had just a tiny bit of onscreen time together.  Unfortunately, it's not in the trailer...(Another Pride and Prejudice star is also in The King's Speech.  Look for the scene where Lionel Logue auditions for Richard III.  The director/casting director is played by David Bamber, whose portrayal of the absolutely awful Mr. Collins was classic!)

Wonderful Wednesday: Feeling Good

Yesterday, I came across the cutest videos of Keenan Cahill, a sweet young man who has a HUGE following on YouTube.  It seems he loves to lip sync and has "covered" a lot of great music, gaining millions of followers!!  He has become so popular that the artists who originally recorded the songs have even made "guest appearances" in his videos.  One of these artists is Andy Grammer.

I didn't know Andy's work until yesterday, but I immediately fell in love with his song, Keep Your Head Up and went straight to Itunes and downloaded it.  Give it a listen....I bet you'll want to add it to your playlists, too!  (If you like the music of (Richmond's own) Jason Mraz, I think you will like Andy Grammer!!)

For more about Andy, and to see his video with Keenan, click here for his YouTube channel.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday Theme (Song)

Love, love, LOVE a good theme song.....and have several that fit many different aspects of my life.

As we approach the New Year and the resolutions that always come with that change, I want to share my latest theme song with you.  It's Jennifer Hudson's amazing new version of one of my all time favorites, Feeling Good.

Originally sung by Nina Simone and later covered by Michael Buble, Jennifer Hudson's oh-so-powerful version was recorded as part of her spokesperson campaign for Weight Watchers. (I am a Lifetime member from after having Older Daughter 19 years ago, but I have gone a bit astray and am working my way back to my goal weight with the WW online program.)  Jennifer's version of Feeling Good is a free download for those who do the online program or use the WW e-tools.  Here is the link.

If you want a little preview....check out this new WW promo.....Just go to the link and click on the video of the new commercial.

I couldn't find the commercial on YouTube yet, but I did find this little excerpt from what appears to be part of an interview, where she sings just a few bars.  It's enough....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Miss Betty Monday: Our Particular Tradition

My father passed away in December 1998, less than a week before Christmas.  Consequently it was a very sad time for my family....and Miss Betty and I decided we needed something to take our minds off the sadness.  So, we started something that became a post-Christmas tradition, which I follow to this day.  After Christmas, we had a multi-day viewing of the 1995 BBC version of  Pride and Prejudice.

It would be an understatement to say that this is my favorite version of P & P.  I saw it in 1995, bought it on video when it came out, then DVD, then Special Edition DVD, then Blu-Ray.....and, this year, I bought it through Itunes so I could watch it on my Ipad!  That is how I am viewing it this year and it is brilliant!!!!

So that you can join in Miss Betty's and my "particular tradition" (said in an Austen-like manner), here is a clip of some favorite scenes. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

What a joy....and since we are still in the 12 Days of Christmas, there is more joy to come!!

Our trip to Baltimore was so much fun.... Christmas Eve service at St. Leo's followed by dinner at Chiapparelli's.....and then home to get ready for Santa.  Unfortunately, by the next morning, the forecast had changed for the worst, and we realized we needed to get back to Richmond before the snow got bad.  My dear sister-in-law changed the plans in a blink of an eye and had the five o'clock Christmas dinner ready at 1:30pm!  We had the most delicious tenderloin, with all the trimmings and had a great day (partial day that is) together....and we had a safe trip back, with only the last half hour or so being bad driving conditions.

Here's a little re-cap video....and I must confess, the snow scenes are from the pre-Christmas snow.  There is a lot more on the ground this time, but I was too tired to go out and photograph it!

Ho, ho, ho..... Liz ("The Classic Preppy")

(Click here if you have difficulty viewing the HD version below: Classic Preppy on YouTube)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

 Christmas 1997

Ho, ho, ho.....and off we go!

Will be back online Sunday with a Christmas update.....

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

The Classic Preppy

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday: For The Preppy Man In Your Life

Here in Richmond we are so blessed to be the home of Peter-Blair....the most awesome men's store! Peter-Blair also has a tie company of their own, and their designs and ties are out of this world. Check out their website and their feature on CBS-6!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday Turn Around

I had some difficulty with my template/design you may see The Classic Preppy undergo a lot of changes in the next couple of days, while I make adjustments!

Thanks for your patience!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Manic Monday

More Miss Betty later this week....Today was our big day out in Williamsburg, but sadly one of our group was still sick, so two stayed behind and two went with me. We had tons of fun and ended the day at Binns, on Duke of Gloucester Street. Loved all their Christmas goodies.

Younger Daughter posed with this giraffe, since giraffes are a favorite of our sick family member. We hoped it would cheer her up...and we think it did!!  More soon....

The Classic Preppy

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Have Yourself A Preppy Little Christmas

Back in the early 80's, thanks to the Preppy Handbook, I acquired (from a select group of friends) the nickname "Bootsy." Another friend got the name "Chip," and I heard from Chip last night, saying that although he like Doris Day's Winter Wonderland, he had to say that he thought Silver Bells was her best Christmas number.

So, "Chip"....This is for you!  Have yourself a Preppy Little Christmas!  Love, "Bootsy"

Happy Christmas

Love, love, LOVE Doris Day!  Just downloaded her Christmas album from Itunes and find that this is one of my favorites!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Find

I am finding on this fabulous Friday that there is a horrible stomach virus going around.  My poor niece, who is staying with us, seems to have signs of it.....and many other friends are suffering with it, too.  Prayers for everyone's quick recovery!!

And now I find I am going to bed, to get a good night's sleep and build up my immune system!!

See you Monday.....


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Let It Snow, Part II

Ooh.....I have been so lazy today!  There is so much I should be doing, and I am not doing a thing!!  So, as soon as I finish this post, I am going to get up and do at least 15 minutes of cleaning.....It's a start....

I don't even have to worry about dinner tonight....Dear Husband came home early with all the supplies to make the yummy stew he prepares when it snows.  It's a recipe from the Charlotte Latin School's cookbook, Cooking With Class, which I have had for 20 of my favorite cookbooks ever.  (Ok, I don't cook that much, but I do appreciate a good cookbook! LOL)

I wasn't the only one who smelled the stew cooking and came to check it out!  Our little Lucy, who had just donned her pink puffy coat and was getting ready to brave the elements, came in, too.  These pictures aren't too clear, because I was far away when I took them....but I think she looks awfully cute!! (Lucy is half Shih-Tsu and half poodle....and "all" cuteness!)

Ok.....time to get to work!  Ciao for now...

Thursday Thoughts: Let It Snow!!

Well....there's nothing I can do about I might as well enjoy it!

This picture is from late summer 2009, before we re-did our landscaping (which is why the beds are almost empty!)....but you get the idea of what our backyard looks like from our bedroom/the upper terrace.

This is what it looks like now!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday: No Snow (Please)

Had to cram a lot into today....and the schedule was already packed full!  Why?? Because they are calling for quite a bit of snow tomorrow...and I am praying, hoping and counting on the forecast not being accurate.  Please!!!  Younger Daughter still has two exams and I know she doesn't want that hanging over her during the Christmas holiday.  Neither do I!!!!

In honor of the "S" word....a little something from Bing and Company....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday Traditions: What's On YOUR Christmas Tree?

Before I post, a birthday shout out to a special friend and sister....SFH.  Happy Birthday!  Have a great day!!.  And a quick shout out to my new friend from Georgia, LC...whom I met at a conference in DC.  LC just sent me a marvelous package and I will be writing to thank her personally....but since she reads The Classic Preppy, I thought I would start here!

Now, on to the post!......

Don't you love those Capital One Commercials...."What's In YOUR wallet?"  I think the Christmas ones (here's one on YouTube) are especially funny!

Going through some old Christmas pictures yesterday made me realize how many special things we have on our tree.....with some very special ornaments from trees of Christmases long, long ago!

Some of my most precious ornaments are these:

Probably my most precious, this sterling silver bell (above) engraved with our middle daughter's name and the date she came into the world.  Sadly, we lost her at birth, but the It's A Wonderful Life saying, "Whenever you hear a bell, somewhere an angel is getting his wings" thought always reminds me of Baby Frances.  There are lots of other children's ornaments on the tree, too.  Love, love, LOVE all the things that came home from pre-school/school through the years.  The picture below is of Older Daughter, age 2, as an angel!
Growing up in South Florida, I am rather partial to all things of that ilk, and have several flamingos, sea turtles, manatees, etc. floating around the tree!
 And the places we like to go (over and over and over).  One of my favorite ornaments in that category is this one from the 21 Club in New York.  Looks just like the outside!
 Another favorite place, which is now sadly closed, was Carpenter Brothers on Main Street in Greenville, SC.  I have two ornaments from there. (Miss Betty thought they were kind of tacky, but I didn't care.  Lunch at Carpenter Brothers Drugstore was always a real treat!!!)
There are other interesting ornaments on the tree that were gifts from friends through the years, and each year they bring back such sweet memories.  This wonderful woven fish was a gift from our dear friends, the Putnams.  Mr. and Mrs. Putnam are such lovely people and although I haven't seen them since Miss Betty died, I think of them often.  Mr. Putnam has had a very interesting life....His father was the famous publisher, George Putnam, and his step-mother was Amelia Earhart!
 Other favorites....such as my favorite Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street, are represented.
And many of Miss Betty's favorites hang proudly as well.  The butterfly and bird (below) are two of my favorite Miss Betty pieces.  If you look at the family picture (Christmas Eve 1970) at the bottom, you can see the bird on the tree, just to the right of my brother....(Please don't judge the hair....What can I say?  I was 11 and it was 1970!!  I do remember that navy dress with the crushed red leather trim, though.  Got that in a shop in South Carolina late that summer and couldn't wait for it to get cool enough in Florida to wear it!)

Now, tell me......What's on YOUR tree?

The Classic Preppy

Monday, December 13, 2010

Miss Betty Monday And The Party's Over (updated)

Miss Betty was absolutely marvelous at entertaining, and unlike yours truly, she almost always did all the food herself.  I am caterer-dependent, but I am completely upfront about it.  I always feel like it's comforting to my guests that they know they are not eating anything I have been responsible for in the kitchen....LOL

Much of our entertaining over Christmas is done in the library....
If I am doing a seated dinner, I will use many rooms, including the library. In this room I will often use Miss Betty's round card tables for the extra seating.  Although the main skirts are different, the top cloths are Miss Betty's original organdy cloths.....very delicate and difficult to iron, but always so pretty!  (The vintage pictures below are Christmas Eve 1972, when Miss Betty put the table top extenders on, set up the tables in our sunroom and had some dear friends for dinner.... ...)

While Miss Betty almost always had seated dinner parties for six to twelve people at home, we tend to entertain larger groups and so often use the dining room table for a cocktail buffet.  This was the set up for Party #4 this season (this past Saturday), a Christmas party for one of my husband's offices.  We used one of our favorite Richmond caterers (A Sharper Palate) and were so pleased with the outcome! 
One of the things A Sharper Palate does, which I love, is place a menu on the buffet table.  I have food allergies and it really helps me to know which offerings have shellfish in them, because you can't always tell (unless you taste....and then it's too late)!
Miss Betty was there in spirit as I set the table, because she and I had the same silver pattern, English King by Tiffany & Co.  Ours is all mixed together now, and I love using it....because there are so many wonderful memories attached to it!  I love mixing it with other silver, too, and often use it with my Reed and Barton Burgundy.  This belonged to my great aunt Helen, who was like a second grandmother to me.  She gave me her silver when I was married, and every time I use it, I think of her. (I will write about her sometime soon, because I know you will love her.  Aunt Helen was never married and lived in the historic family house until she passed away in 1999, a few months short of her 106th birthday. She was awesome!!)
Sunday afternoon after church, we turned things around and reset the table for tea! This set up brought back even more fond family memories, as I used my great-grandmother's tea set and my mother-in-law's punchbowl set. It was a marvelous afternoon with great friends, benefiting a very worthy non-profit.

The food was wonderful....and I actually made a couple of things to supplement the extras the caterer had brought the night before. (Miss Betty's Cucumber Tea Sandwiches and my Classic Preppy Sweet Tea Punch.*)  Although I don't have photos of the food, my additions must have been good, too, because they were almost all gone at the end of the afternoon!
The only thing that Miss Betty might not have approved of in all of this was that I used (very pretty) paper Christmas napkins. For the first three parties, it was all linen, but for parties #4 and #5, I had to opt for paper.....Just couldn't launder any more napkins and face the rest of the holiday season! LOL

Just have a little bit of clean-up left today and a trip to the post office to send the last of the family Christmas presents......

But look what we woke up to!!!!  Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!

* Miss Betty's Cucumber Tea Sandwiches:  Pepperidge Farm Thin White Bread, spread with Chive and Onion Cream Cheese.  Place four thin slices of a peeled cucumber on the bread, both slices of which are spread with the cream cheese.  Cut the crusts off and slice into rectangles.

* Classic Preppy Sweet Tea Punch:  Into a large punch bowl pour one two litre bottle of Canada Dry Ginger Ale, one two litre bottle of tea (the tea you find with the Coca-Cola products is what I use), and one can of pineapple juice.  Add ice (I use a pitcher full of small cubes....) and float slices of lemon on top!  For a more grown-up version of this punch, just substitute champagne for the ginger ale!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Weekend Wonders

You all know that I very rarely post over a weekend....and considering I have a party to host tonight and tomorrow, I should be preparing.....but...... I have to tell you about something I found last night that is just marvelous.....

One of my favorite Christmas songs is O Joyful Children.  Although it is sung beautifully by Placido Domingo, on the Three Tenors Christmas Album,  I was wondering who else had "covered" it, so I did an Itunes search.  I found it on this album by Kimberly Lord:

I listened to the samples of the other songs on the album and thought....hmmmmm.....they sound pretty good, too.....think I'll buy the whole album.  I did and listened to the whole thing before I went to sleep.  It was simply beautiful!!!

Since I was not familiar with the artist, I Googled her this morning and visited her website.  What an amazing story!  To read more about Kimberly click here.  To listen to a sample of her music, you can visit the link on her website.  In the meantime, click here to the opening of O Joyful Children!

What a wonderful Christmas gift!  Thank you, Kimberly!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Memories

Two years ago today, Miss Betty went to heaven.  She had been in the hospital for a month after having a stroke and breaking her hip, but they released her to come home on December 9th and she was able to be at home for 24 hours before she truly "went home."

In the late afternoon of the 9th, I was decorating the tree that would greet Miss Betty when the ambulance brought her back.  As I was putting the finishing touches on everything, this song came on the radio and the ambulance pulled up.   As the song played, I thought about turning it off, so it wouldn't become engraved in my mind as something that brought up a sad memory, but I didn't.  True enough, it has been a bit of a tearjerker in the past, but this Christmas season, all I can think of are all the happy memories that she created for our family over the years, and it fills me with joy!

Today, I thought I would share it with you....

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday: More Miss Betty

Miss Betty at two or three...
Better write about Miss Betty's birthday today, although the official day isn't until Sunday....
Starting tomorrow, we have five Christmas parties coming up, four of which we are hosting (but only two of those at the house).  It is going to be crazy busy.....but I have some fun ideas for next week, so promise you will hear more from me then.

In 2003 I wanted to do something special for Miss Betty's 80th birthday.  I knew it would be hard to get down to South Carolina on the actual day, so planned a special luncheon for her here in Virginia while she was visiting, just before.  My brother and I took her to Palladio, which she RAVED about....and I showered her with gifts in addition to that.  It was a grand time!

When Miss Betty got back to Greenville, I got a call from her one day.  The conversation went something like this:

How do you go about getting concert tickets?  Isn't that something you have to do "on the computer?"

Mom, I don't think any concert you would want to go to would be like that.  Is this a local thing or a tour of a classical Christmas show or something?

No....Rod Stewart is coming to Greenville and I want to go see him.

What?????? .....Miss Betty and Rod Stewart? ..... Yes!!! And she was determined...... She was going to go and take her friend and companion, Brenda.  Brenda and my friend, Judith Chapman (Gloria on The Young and the Restless), were Miss Betty's "other daughters," and to this day, I call both of them "Sis."

My sisters, Brenda and Judith
Brenda was happy to go see Rod, too, so I went online and got them the tickets.  Miss Betty wanted to be on the floor, but I convinced her that was too much for an 80 year old, so she settled for the first row of the elevated seats.  I started to think about how wonderful all this was and I wondered how I could make it even more wonderful for her...... On the day of the concert I called the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville, got their fax number and faxed Mr. Stewart a letter, introducing myself, and telling him that one of his biggest fans wanted nothing more for her 80th birthday than to see him in concert.  Hoping it would help that Miss Betty had a house not too far from Mr. Stewart's and that I thought they knew a person or two in common, I added that she had long admired him and the work he had done restoring his house in Palm Beach and I signed it with my sincerest thanks.

That evening, about 11:45pm, my phone rang.  It was Miss Betty.  She wanted to tell me all about the concert, which she had thoroughly loved (this concert centered around Stewart's first CD that focused on the oldies/big band music, mind you).

You aren't going to believe this!  I think Judy must have gotten in touch with him.....He called me out by name and dedicated a song to me!!!!!.  All the people in our section of the audience thought I was a celebrity! 

I explained to her what I had done and she thought it was great......She spent the next day calling all her friends, like an excited school girl to let them know how special and unique HER 80th had been.....topped off with the song dedication.  The only problem was, she couldn't remember which song he sang to her.....she was too excited.

The year after Miss Betty went to heaven, a marvelous picture appeared of Rod Stewart and his wife, crossing the street in Palm Beach.

 Photo courtesy

Although Miss Betty wasn't there to see it, in the background of the picture, there stood her dear friend with her daughter and granddaughter. (I wrote about this wonderful family last summer.) Somehow it just seemed fitting....

In the coming days and weeks I will write more about Miss Betty's encounters with other celebrities not only in Palm Beach, but also when she lived in New York and when she was travelling in Europe.  They range from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Cary Grant to Arnold Schwarzenneger, and all are interesting stories!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Miss Betty Monday

More on Miss Betty this week.....To do justice to this week's post, I have to find some pictures of  "Miss Betty through the years" to scan....and it might take me a day or two. 

Here's a little preview, though....

This week is a special one in our family in memory of Miss Betty.  Her birthday was December 12th and, sadly, when she passed away in 2008, it was just two days before her 85th birthday, on December 10th.   The upcoming post will focus on Miss Betty's 80th birthday.....

.....and it involved the Palladio restaurant (at the Barboursville Vineyard), which I wrote about last week, and..........

Wait for it.......

Mr. Rod Stewart!!

I kid you, not.....Miss Betty ROCKED her 80th!  More later this week....


Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Finds

Last night's party was a great success, and the best part is that we are now all set up for our two gatherings this weekend.  In for a penny, in for a pound.....Once we've cleaned and decorated, it's time to take advantage of the situation!!

Here's a little find via a friend from last night's party.... the Bodie Vineyard in Powhatan, Virginia.  My dear friend brought me a bottle of their wine last night, which is under my Christmas tree at present but may be opened soon!  It actually may be a Virginia Wine weekend here!....Saturday night we are going to a dinner party hosted by friends at one of Virginia's best restaurants, Palladio at the Barboursville Vineyard.  It is most definitely a "find."  According to Miss Betty, whom I took to Palladio for her 80th birthday (check back Monday for more on that!!),  it is one of the best restaurants in the country.....and she was pretty well-traveled.  If you ever get to the Charlottesville area, you need to go!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday

Arby's has made my Wednesday(s) simply wonderful!!  Love it.....

Dropped Younger Daughter at dance and hit the drive-thru.  Minutes later and only $9.99 out of pocket, we had a divine dinner at home waiting for us.  Rotisserie chicken (already cut into pieces....yay!!), green beans, carrots, potatoes and a muffin.  Tastes good and I don't have to cook.

But I do have to finish decorating the Christmas tree before tomorrow night's opening party.....