Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dinner at Jolie's

My sister and I were invited for dinner at Jolie's house Thursday night. You may remember Jolie as the woman who throws fabulous Christmas parties. She graduated from high school with my sister and because of her connection with my sister,  Jolie has invited me to a few of her parties. Now we have become friends too.

I have to admit I was a little nervous about attending this dinner as Jolie very recently lost her sister Lori to cancer. I thought it might be uncomfortable. Let's just say I am the world's worst at comforting people who are grieving.

I remember Lori as a joyful, positive person who brought music to Jolie's parties. She was a gifted pianist and I always enjoyed listening to Lori's inhouse concerts at the holidays. Lori had many talented friends who entertained at Jolie's parties.

The above photo of Lori and my sister was taken in December 2011 at Jolie's Christmas party.

Well, the evening was actually amazing. Jolie, who said she wasn't on her game, certainly was very much on her game. She prepared an absolutely fantastic meal. It was beyond delicious and something I could not achieve on my very best cooking day.

We started with a mixed green salad with feta cheese and there was also fruit salad. Of course, I had both. In fact, I ate everything offered to me!

Then we had pecan encrusted chicken breasts. I am not sure what the sauce was but it was not a heavy cream sauce, It was deliciously light. We also had harvest grains, green beans and garlic bread.

Here's a closer look at the chicken. The dishes were so pretty too. Jolie thinks serving family style is not that pretty but I do.

My sister and I brought some Easter Petit Fours from la Patisserie bakery for dessert. Aren't they cute?

Jolie made cream puffs and she made the whipped cream immediately before serving them. They were so fresh and yummy. I had one but I clearly could have eaten more. I want these at my next party. Jolie sent us home with some of these beauties.

I should have mentioned that when we entered the house we were greeted by this little guy. Meet Buddy. He is a funny little guy. At first, we could not even look at him. If we did, he would run away. He was so frightened. It didn't take long before we gained his trust and he was sleeping at our feet.

Buddy was fostered by Jolie and her daughter Casey and then he went on to what was thought to be his forever home. The forever family had to give him up and now he is back with Jolie. He sleeps on Casey's bed at night, chews and steals her socks, rips up the bathroom rug and pesters his older brother, English Mastiff Morgan who is at least 8 times his size.

Despite his quirks, Buddy is a sweet, young dog and he is happy now. He has only been back a few weeks but he has settled in nicely.

Casey loves her puppy. She may act like he annoys her but you can tell when you seem them together that they love each other.

While Buddy was sitting in Casey's lap, my sister commented that she wondered if Buddy could fit in Casey's bag.

Casey brought out a bigger bag and sure enough Buddy fit in it and seemed to like it.  Don't worry no dogs were harmed  during this exercise.

We ended the evening with some chocolat. Casey made us a hot chocolate not unlike the drinking chocolate you find in patisseries in France. It was that good.

We had a wonderful evening. We had interesting conversations, we reminisced and we hatched some plans for the future. 

Thank you to Jolie, Casey, Morgan and Buddy. My sister and I had a delightful evening!

Monday, March 25, 2013

A vintage clothing auction

About three weeks ago, I received an email from Ryan Auctions announcing their next vintage clothing and textile auction. I checked out some of their online photos and I cleared my schedule.
the auction was today.

The object of my desire was a French folding screen. I've been looking for an antique fabric screen for a while but they're either too big or not my style. This one was smaller and definitely my style.
It had beautiful fabric front and back and beveled glass. It was perfect.

Someone had left a bid of $475. so I was already out of the bidding before it ever really started. I couldn't justify spending that much money on it. It ended up going for $525. It was beautiful and it went home with someone else. I was very disappointed.

I met some very nice ladies at the auction. We ended up sitting together and chatting. Jen has a store in Haverhill and she also sells on Ebay and Etsy. She is a blogger too.

Jana travelled all the way from Nantucket and it was her first auction. Jen was a pro at auctions so she was coaching Jana.

Paula works for Home Goods. She travelled about an hour to the auction.  She bought the dress in the photo above. It was really lovely and an excellent choice. I hope she has a wonderful event to wear it to. She is tall and blonde and I am sure she will look gorgeous in it.  She made some very nice selections in the items she bid on. She purchased a few vintage beaded evening bags, perfume bottles, a piano shawl, opera glasses and another lovely dress.

Jana bid on some vintage Hungarian peasant tops. The embroidery was phenomenal on them. She said she would not be denied! She won the bid. 6 lovely tops went home with her.

I thought this set was really pretty but I did not bid on it.  Two men were bidding on all sterling silver dresser sets. I think they won them all.

Of course I bid on these little beauties and I was the high bidder! These will look great on my bookshelf.

There were lots filled with hats, some interesting and some just plain ugly.
I, too, bid on evening bags. This one was a favorite but I didn't bid on it. I will show you the ones I bought later. I ended up with two vintage evening bags. Who knew I was a collector?
In addition to the cameras and vintage evening bags, I left the auction with a ladies linen coat, a French footstool, a vintage suitcase, and one very unique tea strainer. I will post photos of all of them in a future post.
Guess what brought in the highest bid at the auction? You'll never guess, It was an old leather football uniform. The winning bid? $2,100.
If you love vintage fashion or just unique items from the past, I encourage you to check out an auction. Bidding can really get the heart rate up. Does that count as exercise?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

F. Scott Fitzgerald was right

So I have been continuing with my random acts and I love seeing the reactions of people when they receive a simple gesture of kindness. F. Scott Fitzgerald said it perfectly.

Since my last post I did a few more of the 26 acts. Again I was waiting until an opportunity presented itself. I read a story that really touched me and there it was my opportunity to help a perfect stranger.

I read online about Brandy Jones, a woman who had a fire in her apartment building in Manchester, New Hampshire. On February 5th, she was in the shower when smoke filled her apartment. She got out of the shower and immediately tried to find her pets. She grabbed her dog Sadie and put the leash on her and got out of the building. Sadie, a 2 year old pit bull mix, was so panicked she slipped her collar and was off and running. Sadie was nowhere to be found for days and then there were some sightings. Brandy searched for her even during the blizzard which was a few days later.

Brandy lost everything in the fire,her home, all her belongings. 3 cats, a bird, and a hamster. There were some sightings of Sadie and volunteers continued to search for her. Then the most devastating of news, Sadie's body was found in the wreckage of the building. She had apparently run back into the building and into the fire. The sighting were not of Sadie. She had been killed in the fire.

I cried when I read about Sadie and Brandy. The paper said donations of clothing and gift cards were being accepted so I sent a Target gift card to her along with a handwritten note. There is a fund in Sadie's name as well. I hope my gift card brought a smile to Brandy's face, she certainly deserves it. Act #6.

I was at the gas station the other day and the weather was just miserable, cold and rainy. It was a full service station so I didn't have to pump my own gas. The attendant works all hours of the day and in the worst of weather conditions and always greets me with a smile. He is such a positive sweet man. So when I paid for the gas I gave him a Dunkin Donuts gift card so he could get himself something warm to drink. He was thrilled and it was so nice to see the smile I brought to his face. Act #7.

On Twitter, I follow a woman named Nicole Martin who writes a tea blog called Tea for Me Please. She tweeted about an organization called Kiva and she said she made a loan to a tea farmer. Kiva gives loans to people all over the world by collecting donations. It is a cool concept. They were having a free trial and the other Kiva members donated money so new members would join. So I loaned Percy $25. It went to his bathroom fund and didn't cost me anything. When I joined Kiva I selected Nicole's team so Nicole was awarded another $25 and she made a loan to a second tea farmer since that is her interest.

I checked out all the possible borrowers and  I decided to pick a loan recipient who needed a house loan.  After all, I work as a mortgage originator so housing is my thing.  I looked at all the housing loan possibilities. I wanted to find someone who had an achievable goal. There was a person who was at 37% of his goal. So meet Percy, he lives in Peru. He needs to build a bathroom in his house. I was able to donate $25 towards the $675. he needs. And how cool is that? His name is Percy! My little Percy cat would be proud. Act #8

The last act of the week was at a Starbucks in Reading, MA. I had 5 gift cards of $5 each. I wanted to hand them out but there was always a line of more than 5 people. I want to make people happy not tick them off.

I ordered my drink and suddenly just 3 people in line. 3 men of different ages. I said to each one, " I am buying your coffee today" as I handed them the card. They were shocked. Then they smiled and the last guy said, "You really don't have to". I said, "I know but I want to".  He had the biggest smile on his face as I walked past him and out the door. Mission accomplished. Act #9

What an adrenaline rush! I get such a high from each one of these acts.  After I complete the 26 acts I will continue my acts of kindness for sure! And if you want to be kind and donate to Brandy or Sadie's fund please email me and I will send you the info.


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