Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Steaz Iced Teaz Rocks the Canned Iced Tea Market

My favorite bottled/canned tea beverage brand changed this past year. I still enjoy the occasional Nantucket Nectars brand tea or half & half but now mostly enjoy the Steaz brand selection of teas.

I enjoy the fact that they have a less intrusive sweetness to their teas. They actually state on the cans that they are "lightly sweetened". Sugar, however, is still the second ingredient listed. The flavor I go for most often is the lime pomegranate white tea. I would rank all the flavors I have tried in the following order: 1. lime pomegranate, 2. blueberry pomegranate acai, 3. unsweetened lemon, 4. lemon, 5. mint, 6. peach.
Naturally they are available at Whole foods and other local whole foods stores. If you ask them, one of the crew at Whole Foods will pull a case of 12 for you, when they have them from the back. The usually keep them loose in an open refrigeration case near fresh baked good and prepared foods. Amazon has a case available for $19.30 that qualifies for free shipping. I think I pay around $1.40 a can at Whole Foods.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Discover Great Clifton Webb Film Series

Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell is the third and final film of the Belvedere series. The members of the retirement home steal the movie from Mr. Webb, who is no slouch. Despite few locations, the staging of the scenes with multiple characters is very engaging. This is another example of being unxepectdly being sucked in by a film airing on TCM.

Mr Belvedere Goes to College (1949) - Sorority house / 2nd film in the series

Friday, December 3, 2010

Visit From Christmas Trees Past

A fresh-cut tree with a woodland theme stays fresh with water from a plastic bucket placed in a faux bois flower pot.

Rabbits, though off topic, are good for Christmas too. One year I created a woodland setting inside of a built-in china cabinet. When the glass doors were closed, the woodland creatures appear to be looking over the festive room.

This large bottle brush style tree came from a stationary store. The glittery tree is retro and modern at the same time and requires no ornaments.

Rabbits again! I keep these German candy containers out - almost - year round. They look great with red and green.

I was not always a fan of the feather trees because of the lack of lights. However, I overcame the lack of lighted sparkle by adding all white and silver ornaments to shimmer by day in the natural winter light. By night, they shimmer in the candle light.

This slender artificial tree is a theme tree in the extreme. The tree is plastered with vintage Muppet ornaments and some new ones by Christopher Radko.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sadie and Jasper Play

Sadie and Jasper Play
Originally uploaded by Chadwick Land

Here is an example of how they are currently interacting with each other. Jasper is nine-weeks-old here.

Two Dachshunds Continue the Bonding Process

Sadie and Jasper watch and protect the top of the stairs.

My two darling dogs, one a puppy going on nine-weeks-old and one an adult going on four-years-old, continue with the ups and downs of becoming a two dog household. They are not best buddies yet but I can hope for that as the end result. Sadie plays with him but is not too rough even when he bites her with his sharp puppy teeth. These teeth snap and close shut like those of a baby alligator.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Jasper the Dachshund Puppy in the Pumpkin Patch

It was windy and cold outside, however, I managed to take a couple of cute shots. He is growing quickly and his older sister, Sadie, is teaching him a thing or two about taking her toys away.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Jasper as Count von Dracula

He wears the smallest vampire costume from the Martha Stewart Pets line available at PetSmart.

The costumes were on sale reduced down to 75% off their original price.

For the sale price of around $4.00, the costume was an inexpensive pet indulgence.

Jasper PLaying with Sadie's Toys

Jasper PLaying with Sadie's Toys
Originally uploaded by Chadwick Land

He prefers her toys over his own. While not surprising, the toy taking does stir up some minor drama between them. They soft toys do a good job of protecting one's hand from his razor-like babby dino teeth.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Product Pick for 2010

Remote Control Pumpkin Lights

Available from Williams-Sonoma (online and in stores). They are now on sale for $4.99 down from original price of $19.99. The remotes and the timers make these worth having for outside decor or hard to reach in-door decorations. With a push of the remote, you do not have to wrestle with candles or lighting a pumpkin each night. They are also safe and pose no fire risk like candles. The LED lights are surprisingly warm and can either flicker like a candle or cast a constant glow. To keep them from getting wet outside while illuminating your pumpkin or inside the head of a scarecrow, simply put them inside a Ziploc bag and you can protect your high tech, low investment effect.

Honorable mention:

Martha Stewart Pets available at PetSmart has a fun line of Halloween toys for your dog. One toy is actually two different toys because each one is reversible. They are no longer available online but sell in stores for around $5.00 each. Choices are: Ghost/Tombstone, Vampire/Bat, Witch/Cat.

Jasper likes the chewing the witches fleece nose and hair.

Jasper is His Name

I finally decided on a name for the new puppy. His chosen name is Jasper and it suits him well. A blank piece of paper was divided into three columns of potential names. However, despite all the choices the clear favorite, since seeing the puppy's photo with his eyes open and reinforced by our first meeting, was always Jasper. He will be seven weeks old on Saturday. During his first week home, he has definitely bonded to us and is fearless in his pursuit of fun and toys. Sadie nearly four years his elder definitely has not bonded to the under four pound bundle of cuteness. For now he is using the pee-pee pad when I can catch him and his separation anxiety is intense. I do see hope on the horizon in his relationship with Sadie.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Puppy Opens His Eyes

Is he ready for play or for a nap?

OK, my spots look like this on this side. I think those are sleepy eyes.
His new home is ready for him but he's still a few weeks away from coming home to meet his big sis. Will have to get some toys that are his very own to prevent conflict and jealousy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Puppy Arrives Late October

Sadie, my dachshund, missed her companion Spencer since his passing in August. We decided to take the leap and acquire another dachshund as a companion for Sadie. The new puppy will be Sadie's brother from a recent litter of her parents. We are already looking at the best options for the introduction of Sadie to her bother to minimize any behavioral or jealousy issues on Sadie's part. My hope is that she will help us care for him. My other hope is that he will be a bit more laid back than she is. I have a list of names going for potential names. The breeder named him Spats but will not be keeping that choice.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Spencer Memories

Spencer would sit patiently during Christmas time photo shoots. He would often strike a classic pose perfect for holiday cards. Note the perfect stance in the first photo and the classy bow tie in the second. He looks huge in these photos. Yesterday he weighed in at a mere five pounds. I will also note that when a vet tells you to put your cat or dog on a special diet it is worth the extra expense. Spencer had been on a special diet since November 2008 due to his kidney problem. The special diet bought us close to two years more of added companionship. I learned this lesson early on in my care of Spencer. When he was a two, he had a bladder infection that was most likely due to the high ash content of inexpensive dry cat foods. I switched over to a better brand and he was much improved.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Spencer 1993 - 2010

Today, I had to put down my Spencer. I had the pleasure of his company for over 17 years. He quickly deteriorated over the past week. I feel numb about his passing but am glad I was able to be with him as he took his last breath. I love him and will miss him meeting me at the door when I come home from work. Spencer, you were loyal and the time passed too quickly.

Monday, July 12, 2010

"I Am Love"

"I Am Love" is a welcomed relief between blockbusters. Current summer film season has not been one of the greatest when compared to past years. Comic book adaptations and sequels are more stale than usual. I would settle for day-old bread sequels verses ones not fit for croutons on a bland Cesar salad. Food, love and passion are the elements of this vivid Italian melodrama. American independent films often go for the bland looking and the tragic. Colors are on vibrant display and most beautifully worn by the films star. The director reminds us that film is a visual art that needs not rely on 3D (which can be wonderful) or cumbersome descriptive dialog. He chooses to show the audience the story rather than unravel it mater-of-fact like.

Review of music composed by John Adams used in film

T Meter Rating

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Reading on the Train, Pat Conroy, First post from iPad

Today is my first post composed while on board an MBTA train. I "just" missed my train and had to wait for 45 minutes for the next train to Boston. Thankfully, the heatwave that has enrobed the Northeast the entire week relented a touch and allowed a sea breeze to cool me on the raised concrete platform. I passed the time in the company of my second Pat Conroy novel (Beach Music) of the summer. Now arriving at the station. More to follow soon.

Line from Chapter Twenty-two: "The world was my subject and my hometown was the stimulant that drove me out to seek the world." Choice of "drove" definitely implies a complicated relationship with home. Have to read the book for more clues!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Coastal Design in Gloucester, Mass.

Photo Credit: Trent Bell for The New York Times. My Favorite Room!

Home & Garden
On Location: Coastal Design in Gloucester, Mass.
Published: June 2, 2010
An antiques dealer’s Massachusetts home that is anything but a standard-issue New England clapboard house.

"The 42-foot-long living room has a Moravian tile floor. The oil-on-canvas frieze that encircles the room is from a lodge in the Adirondacks. An Anglo-Indian chaise is upholstered with “guerande” velvet from Manuel Canovas."

My favorite room is the living room featured as photo three in the slide show.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tribute to Rue, The Sexy, Sassy Golden Girl

Above, two scenes in which Rue's comedic timing shines.

Rue McClanahan, Actress and Golden Girl, Dies at 76
Published: June 3, 2010
Ms. McClanahan, a screen and stage actor, helped make “The Golden Girls” a long-running television hit by playing the saucy Southern belle Blanche Devereaux.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Antique Coverless Book Bundles | Restoration Hardware

Yes, $29.00 for just one bundle of discarded and bound pulp fiction
Antique Coverless Book Bundles Restoration Hardware

First, these books are not antique (more like some bargain bin used bookstore finds of mostly 70s and 80s paperback editions). Second, they tore off the covers and added twine and want $29.00 for five stripped down editions. Third, this product is for someone who has lots of money, not lots of time and has no imagination. At first glance I thought they were simply store props to fill out a display in a rustic French or boatyard manner.

Groom-to-be pops the question at Whole Foods in Cambridge - Cambridge - Your Town - Boston.com

Groom-to-be pops the question at Whole Foods in Cambridge - Cambridge - Your Town - Boston.com

Posted using ShareThis

My old stomping grounds serves as a romantic backdrop for an engagement. Whole Foods loves free publicity.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

One Year Latter, The Blog Lives On

Today marks the first anniversary of my blog - it keeps on keeping on. I think I have been successful (for the most part) in keeping it positive and reporting on subjects that appeal to me, making my everyday life more fun filled and challenging my known interests. Challenges do not have to be rock climbing to be growth inducing. A recipe or home project can seem daunting until it is tackled and admired - not from afar - up close with dirty hands or aching muscles. Last year I posted an article about the success of blogs. Read below to see where this one fits. You will find this blog is one of the few and proud that survived the paperless world of online posting.

"According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled." NY Times 06/07/2009, Posted to Chadwickland 06/10/2009

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Green Lawn Safety

Opinionator: The Dandelion King
Published: April 20, 2010, NY Times
Wild, weedy lawns are greener, but can we consider them prettier, too?

I could not live with a lawn full of weeds but I do not use chemicals on my lawn. Some of the approaches I take are listed via a link at the end.


The site is very detailed and includes instructional videos. A variety of hand tools can be used to do manual weeding to get directly to the root of the problem. A Ball Weeder is a Victorian invention and good for weeds as is an Asparagus Knife.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Decor With Provenance, NY Times 3/10/10

Photo: Leigh Davis for The New York Times
Found objects add inexpensive (free) sculptural elements to a space or credenza. Remember to put felt pads on the bottom to prevent scratching.
Photo: Leigh Davis for The New York Times
A Homasote board from Lowe's ($20) decorated with postcards. Wall art includes both found/collected mementos, which are united together with color, uniformed placement, and a raw piece from the hardware store (Homasote).
Buying coordinated push pins will unify an eclectic collection.

Fashion & Style
Brooklyn Apartment: A D├ęcor With Provenance
Leigh Davis for The New York Times
Published: 20100310

Inside the Brooklyn one-bedroom that is a live-work space for the architects Robert Highsmith and Stefanie Brechuehler.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Big Fern Takes a Holiday / Have Clay Pot Will Travel

December 2009: Fern, a prehistoric plant, surrounded by 20th century lit.

This was Fern as she looked in December after being inside for a bit over a month. She does not look - sadly - this bold or robust now. Wintering in a warm, dry and less humid house did not suit her like the grand outdoors courtesy of my deck. However, she will be going back out there in a couple of weeks. I will post the after winter photo soon. It's the least I can do because I know she will be beyond last season's prime in no time at all. More on fern care.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More "Everyday Food" Success

Quick Chickpea Curry

A flavorful, protein rich alternative to a meat dinner option. May add more curry next time. I am also looking for canned chickpeas without salt added.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Backwoods Design From the Alabama Woods

Photo: Robert Rausch for The New York Times

Home & Garden

Backwoods Design and the Art of a Doo Nanny
Robert Rausch for The New York Times
Published: 20100407

A look at Butch Anthony’s home, part of an 80-acre compound in the Alabama woods, and his “micro” folk-art festival.
I like the crisp white walls and vaulted ceiling with the rustic fireplace and furniture.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Recent "Everyday Food" Ideas for Dinner

Lately I have enjoyed several of their veggie options or dishes not centered around meat. Here are the favorites hits from the last few weeks.

Eggs with Mushrooms and Spinach This dish was much more satisfying than I thought and was all I needed for dinner. The parchment cooking packets make plating a breeze.

Broccoli, Asparagus, Snap Peas in Parchment An excellent way to not overcook veggies (esp. Broccoli). Like this trio together very much.

And if you just have to add chicken to the meal. The mustered panko crusted chicken breast from the Whole Foods meat department satisfies . The crunch factor is there without the heaviness of traditional breadcrumbs. They also sell the rub/coating for those that wish to make there own. I oven fry these. Brown on top of the stove on both sides in some olive oil then place in preheated 375 degree oven 12 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness. They make them in-house and run (depending on special pricing promos) aroun 6.00 per pound (two breasts).

Friday, April 2, 2010

John Forsythe of TV's 'Dynasty' Dies

Arts / Television
John Forsythe, ‘Dynasty’ Actor, Dies
Published: April 3, 2010 NY Times
Mr. Forsythe starred in three television series, as Bentley Gregg on “Bachelor Father,” as the sexy telephone voice of Charlie in “Charlie’s Angels” and as Blake Carrington in “Dynasty.”

This was guilty TV viewing at its best and the classic gave us cat fights and the ultimate prime time bitch, Joan Collins. However, the center of the universe in the show's fictional take on the Colorado oil business was Blake Carrington (John Forsythe). Dynasty was the ultimate 80s night-time soap - forget Dallas despite a much longer run.

Spring Time and Easter Home Inspiration

My old living room had buttery yellow walls that provided a happy glow in the daytime and a pleasant warming feeling at night. Rabbits are Ebay finds. Re-productions of classic Germany candy containers. Now, I keep them out almost all year because they are both whimsical and a classic silhouette.

The rabbit sculpture is from the now closed Smith & Hawkins. Although, Target continues selling licensed products from the brand. Items include everything from pots, wreaths to doormats.

Having the plant/shelf stand in the corner and the books piled on the table, the room felt like a mini conservatory/library.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Crane Beach, Ibswich, MA

Crane Beach is my first beach of choice to take Sadie to for a dog walk. They have a nice large, clean area (turn left once on the beach) designated for off-leash dog walking and playing. Area is clearly marked with signs. Horses are not allowed in this area - so no danger of Sadie eating horse pooh. The beach and the dunes go on forever. Dogs are not allowed on the trails or in the dunes due to bird habitat and dune preservation. Window for dog walking on the beach is relatively short considering the duration is mostly during the harsh winter months. Time frame is from October through March. We mostly visit with Sadie in October and March. A nice pristine day such as last Saturday is an added bonus.

On the way home, we stopped off at Woodman's for some fried clams and refreshments. They have the best clams, which I usually enjoy. This time I went in a different direction and choose a delicious lobster roll and an order of homemade onion rings with ice tea to wash it down.

PS: If you live in Massachusetts, becoming a member of The Trustees of Reservations, which manages Crane Beach, is good for the environment and will enliven your weekends/holidays.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm Back

I have not been away physically but lost the blogging habit, bug or whatever you wish to call it. The weather here is a dream especially since it's just mid-March and we are experiencing a week of temperatures in the 60s and 70s. Sadie, my lovable dachshund, went for her first truly comfortable spring walk without the hindrance of wind or rain (two elements that she slightly detests). Last weekend I was under house arrest courtesy of the vengeful Mother Nature. Three days without a break we had flooding, high winds and sideways rain. Cranes Beach will call tomorrow for a long walk while monitoring the horse pooh situation. Sadie does not roll in it but she finds it a pleasing . . . snack. Unfortunately, the lack of winter socialization with other dogs has made her a bit cranky when meeting new dog. To be truthful, I know winter has made us all a tad and a smidgen cranky. Vitamin D we shall embrace your healthful kiss tomorrow, wearing an appropriate SPF - of course.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett

The Help has been at the back of my mind since it was released last summer. I picked up my copy a week ago and wonder why I waited. The book is told in first person from the perspective of there different characters - it works and flows smoothly. The period detail is just right, not forced or over powering. Stockett delivers entertainment, social reform and tension with a steady gait.

Check out, start account at Goodreads.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Dragonwyck", "Great Expectations", "To Each His Own" 1946 Films

I viewed all of these on different days and did not realize until posting that the trio of films is from 1946. The other common thread is that I had not planned to watch any of them but was conveniently in front of the TV when they played. There is a certain satisfaction in enjoying spontaneous TV viewing.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Take on Holiday Movie Season 2009

Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side.

There was an excellent mix of movies. But there was not a good new movie about Christmas this year. I did not wish to pay to be part of the disappointing 3D take on A Christmas Carol (2009). Of course, I have not seen everything but of the ones I have paid to see I would rank them as follows.
1. Avatar - changes how movies are made, thank God George Lucas did not write dialog to this sci-fi adventure.

2. Up in the Air - good "old fashioned" movie about relationships staring a real star.

3. The Blind Side - feels good long after it's over, Sandra is respectful of the region it takes place and of her real life character.

4. An Education - a refreshing take on both a period film (1960s) and on a coming of age story. Excellent cast.

5. The Fantastic Mr. Fox - animation was very witty, voice casting was excellent, despite all of that did not bond with characters.
6. It's Complicated - I enjoyed two other films (The Holiday and Something's Gotta Give)by the film's director more. Another case of a great cast with chemistry making a predictable formula work.

7. Sherlock Holmes - relies too much on action and end-of-the-world plot. Shame it did not use the characters better. Did not enjoy Holmes being a rolled-out-of-bed slob.

8. Nine - too many stars saying look at me. Both the stars and the musical numbers that happen outside of real time prevent you from giving a damn about anything other than a few eye candy moments. A movie about the movie making business should certianly be able to survive characters breaking out into song.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Acting Like George Clooney, "Up in the Air"

The Oscars
Being Clooney: Not as Easy as It Looks
Published: January 10, 2010, NY Times
"We all know he’s a movie star. But George Clooney happens to be an actor too."

It's a pleasure to watch this kind of excellence in movie-star acting. Sandra Bullock shines this way too when the material is better and more focused like 2009's The Blind Side and The Proposal. Movie star is not necessarily an empty status. It should not be confused with occasionally famous due to public streaking or random acts of witless insanity.

Deadline - U.S.A. is New Bogart Find, 1952

TCM aired this gem about the newspaper business as part of their December 2009 Star of the Month series. First film for Bogart after his Oscar winning role in The African Queen.

Bogie is the editor of a high standards paper that has just been sold to the competition, which has no intentions of continuing the brand. Compelling cast includes Chadwick Land favorite Ethel Barrymore (73 at the time). She plays a Katharine Graham type. Both Bogie and Barrymore were nearing the end of their careers but remained in top form here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pinched Orange Macaroons, Four Seasons Recipe

"This recipe, one of Martha's favorites, is courtesy of Patrick Lemble, executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons restaurant, in New York City." MSL, December 2009

My take: Not too many ingredients in this delightful treat which is always nice when creating a tasty, nicely textured cookie. Recipe calls for one pound of almond paste. Tubes and cans were not sold in a way to neatly accommodate this measurement. I had to buy three tubes of 7 ounce size Odense Almond Paste and put remaining 5 ounces in a sealed bag in the freezer. I did not wish to do the math to reduce the other ingredients to balance only 14 ounces of Almond paste. The recipe makes a big batch but the Almond Paste alone ($4.99 a tube x three) makes cookie an expensive luxury. I guess it makes sense they serve these at the Four Seasons New York.

Difference between marzipan and almond paste.

Tips: pay close attention to thickness and baking time. Texture - the right chewiness - is very important for the macaroons. Slightly chewy but not tough and binding to gum consistency in the mouth should be the goal of the finished product. Dough is sticky so dust rolling surface with powdered sugar. A dough cutter works better than a nice when dividing into individual cookies.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas Crafts MSL Snowman Treat Boxes

Above: A candle light close-up shows detail of two spun cotton birds alight on the brim and top of the snowman's custom made hat.
Here is a less attractive view as the white glass glitter is washed out by the camera flash.

The Snowman Treat Boxes were featured in the Martha Stewart Living December 2009 issue. I had no time to make them before Christmas so I spent a couple of afternoons making them after the holiday was over. This practice works best for me because a project like this requiring multiple steps and attention to detail would be rushed and the end results would be less stellar.
Some tips from my experience.
1.Take your time making the hats because you will be amazed by the end results. Make the smile a bit one sided for more personality.
2. Paint three coast of white paint over the round boxes used as the base.
3. Do not use white wool felt for the gloves since the color does not pop against the white glittered body.
4. Make at least a couple if you are going through the trouble of all the steps to make one.
5. The final step in assembling all the parts is the most fun.
6.Use good quality supplies like wool felt and glass glitter and your will be enjoying these for many years.
PS: They are too cute to give away. But if you must...only give away to someone who will appreciate all of your efforts .