Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Etsy Does Equine

I have never shopped off Etsy (the Internet site where you can buy all kinds of things, vintage or handmade) but I hear many good things about it.  So I decided to see what it's all about.  Yes, there are some cool things but you have to wade through a lot of  "stuff."  Here are some of the more interesting things that I found this evening.

You can have a custom made "ribbon quilt" made from your horse show ribbons.  Instead of throwing them out (which is what eventually happens when you reach a critical mass), have them made into a lovely quilt.  This one used 132 8" ribbons and 20 rosettes. This person charges $750 (which sounds reasonable to me) and she ships it to you once completed. 

If you don't have 130-some ribbons sitting around the house, what about this really interesting customized rocking horse and jump?  This one is called "Sasha" and was made for a grand daughter who jumps her own horse. Grandpa must have deep pockets as this one will set you back a mere $3500.00.  Pretty cool for the little equestrian who probably has everything.

This I fell in love with and if I was not trying to get rid of all my extra "stuff" I would likely have this sent. This vintage horse show poster is small, about 8 x 10 and is only $21 plus shipping.  Isn't it cool that shows used to create stuff like this? 

Lastly, I found this vintage Horse Veterinary Ad 18" Linen Throw Pillow (now that is a handfull!).  This is a very reasonable $30 and if I had a place for this, I would order this one right away!  This would go great in my mudroom (where I just ordered two pillows for a lot more money, but oh well).  I guess I should have checked out Etsy earlier.

If you have not seen it, check it out and just search under "horse" and all kinds of things come up.  Weed through it all and you'll be surprised what's there.  I love a bargain and I love the unusual.  Happy shopping!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Give Thanks to our Furry Friends

Reflective morning.  Wanted to give thanks to all of our furry friends, with paws and hooves.  How would life be without these wonderful creatures in our lives?

This is Greta. We picked her up on the side of the road 12 years ago.  She is the Princess - won't use the cat door. 

This is Charlotte, Carver's sister.  Carver died in 2010 very unexpectedly.  Charlotte is the sweetest cat on the planet.  Loves to eat. 

Truman is my buddy.  He sits with me when I work, follows me around the house. Is just the best cat.  He came from the pound and has had some health issues in 2011. 

Mosby came off the farm when she was a kitten.  She is the cutest cat on the planet and loves to sit like a rabbit with her front legs straight out in front of her (I call it her "full frontal rabbit"). 

We cannot forget our larger furry friends.  You all know Miss Sega by now.  She is just too special for words.  At 18 she is still going, but she has her good days and bad ones.  Every day with her from this point forward is a gift.

April is Sega's daughter.  She is like a giant dog, wants to be petted, kissed and hugged.  She decided to eat my boots last night while I pulled her mane.  Never a dull moment with her around.

And last but certainly not least, there is Alfie, the only man in the barn.  He is a sweet one, very quirky, but his heart is in the right place. And those movie star looks never get old.

(David Bell photo)

Give all of your furry friends a hug today! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012


We took a short skiing vacation this week, to a place without cell phone service.  What a great relief it was to spend a few days untethered to a smart phone!

I am going a bit off topic today, hoping that my post will entice some readers to put down their smart phones and read.  Knowing that most people never open a book anymore, nevertheless a literary book, well, let's say my hopes are really up there.   About 10 years ago I taught in the journalism school at a large university and I am astounded that NO ONE EVER READ A BOOK.  Can't imagine what it is like today, almost 10 years later.  What a shame.  People don't know what they are missing.

My very favorite author of all time is Somerset Maugham, called "Willie" by those who knew him.  Willie would have been 138 years old this past week.  He was a very famous English playwright who happened to become a great author but was not nearly as well known in his day as a writer.  He was probably the greatest playwright of his day in London.  He lived well on the French Riveria.  His best known books are Of Human Bondage and The Razor's Edge.  The Razor's Edge is my favorite book and the movie with Tyronne Power is worth seeing over and over again.

In 1947 he created the Somerset Maugham Award, awarded to the best British writer under 35 for a work of fiction published in the past year.  Winners included such writers are Kinglsey Amis, Martin Amis and Thom Gunn.  Writer George Orwell said that Maugham was "the modern writer who has influenced me the most."  He is very "dark" and does not have much faith in the character of most humans.  He died in 1965.

Friday, January 20, 2012

LL Bean Bootmobile

I am a big fan of the LL Bean boots, but this may be taking it a bit too far. 

For its 100th anniversary, the Maine-based company created this mobile advertising gimmick and put it on the road to promote the fact that these boots are indeed back in fashion (for some of us they never went out of style) and to get the word out about their centennial.

Well, the idea worked for Oscar Meyer...

Happy Friday and TGIF!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


One of my favorite restaurants anywhere is Zynodoa in Staunton, Virginia.  If you happen to be in the Shenandoah Valley and want a really great meal this is the place.

The unique name is from "The Legend of Zynodoa" which describes the origins of "Shenandoah" which was derived from the Indian legend of Zynodoa, a brave whose life of strength and courage and his appreciation of beauty resulted in having a river and a valley named for him.

The restaurant is downtown in Stauton, one of the best little towns in the Valley.  Southern Living  calls it "the perfect place to base any exploration in the valley."  See http://www.visitstaunton.com/ for more information on this great town, worth exploring!

The food is simply superb. We dined over New Year's, a six course tasting menu with wine pairings and experienced:

Golden Trout with tossed greens and roasted peanut vinaigrette
Smokey butternut puree with house-cured pancetta and creme fraiche
Hen of the woods and oyster mushrooms with mirco frisee and crispy onion straws
Scallop, oyster and crab cajun gumbo
Angus beet short rib and winter vegetables "pot au feu"
Sweet bay laurel and whiskey tiramisu and apple cider reduction

Chef James Harris will make you think you are in New York, Charleston, or other location known for its top restaurants.  You'll never believe you are in tiny Staunton.  He came out of the Inn at Little Washington in nothern Virginia so he knows what good is, the bar is set very high.

The interior is just as nice.  Very comfortable, ecletic, not too big, not loud.  

I am not a "foodie" and rarely get excited about dining out, but this one is worth the trip and I promise you you'll have a memorable meal.  And like many fine dining establishments, Zynodoa offers food from local Virginia farms, dairies, purveyors, vineyards and breweries.  The menu changes with the seasons.  Come see the best of the South in Staunton!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Unfortunate News About McLain Ward

(Palm Beach Daily News Photo)

Really unfortunate news coming out of Wellington, FL for our beloved rider Grand Prix rider extrodinaire, McLain Ward.  McLain suffered an injury yesterday during a fall and is reported to have broken his knee and went into surgery once being transported to a near-by hospital.  Needless to say this is a serious injury and could easily influence his ability to ride in the London Olympics.  In any event, let's hope for a very speedy and non-eventful recovery.   And Sapphire was put back in work again after an injury in early 2011. The timing could not be worse. But let's hope he recovers 100 percent.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Lawn Jockey, Part 2

One of my most popular posts has been the May 2011 story about Lawn Jockeys.  I thought I would update it, with some interesting photos and tidbits. 

If you read the earlier history about Lawn Jockeys, then you know that there are two types, Jocko (like the one below) and the taller Cavalier jockeys. The old ones are rare and expensive.  This is an old Jocko currently for sale on Ebay.

The Cavalier jockeys are much harder to find and very expensive (typically thousands of dollars).  Here are two currently for sale on Ebay:

Reproduction Cavaliers made of concrete are easy to find and you can get one for less than $100 painted.  I bought one last year in Virginia.  Love the sideburns.

Here are some old post cards which predominantly display jockeys.  This first one is from Williamsburg, VA in the 1930's.

This one is also from Virginia, Charlottesville I believe, not sure of exact date, possibly 1950's.  You can barely make out the jockey in front of the white wall near the driveway.

Here is an advertisement from 1947 for Four Roses Whiskey. How politically incorrect is this?

And you can even find Jocko bookends:

And Jockos and Cavaliers were so much a part of popular culture at some point that they even made blazer buttons!

Sometimes we take for granted how much culture has changed and we can't begin to imagine what was "in" so long ago and how we just forget or we let things be forgotten since they were from an earlier time.  This is why history and especially oral history is so important.  

Starburst Mirrors

I'm searching for a gold starburst mirror to go over a console in my bedroom.  Need to spice up the room a bit, update it, and the ideal diameter is 24-25 inches. Here are a few that I found so far. Which one do you like the best?

Worlds Away

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Danny and Ron's Rescue

There are some truly remarkable people out there, thank goodness. Ron Danta and Danny Robertshaw are two of those special ones.  Their incredibly successful "Danny and Ron's Rescue" has saved and found homes for over 3500 dogs (and counting).  All of the photos and paintings today came off their web site http://www.dannyandronsrescue.com/).  They also have a very good Facebook page. 

Danny and Ron are well known in the horse world and use their many contacts to find homes for the dogs, to transport them and to help raise needed funds.  Their 2012 calendar is wonderful (I got one for Christmas from a good friend).  These can be purchased through their web site and the money raised goes to the charity.

In 2008, Danny and Ron were recognized by the ASPCA for their good work for our furry friends:

Their mission:

Within the heart of every stray lies the simple desire to be LOVED!
Rescue Abused, Abandoned, and Starving Dogs, Many With No Future Or Hope For A Happy Life.
Educate the Public About the Importance of Spaying, Neutering, Housing, and Caring for Dogs.
Provide Medical Help For Those Who Cannot Afford To Care for Their Pets.
Stop Dog Fighting, Puppy Mills, Abuse and Cruelty.
Provide Help To Other Shelters or Rescues In Need.
Rehabilitate Dogs With Loving Care and Give Them The Opportunity of a New Home and Life

Here are some of the adorable faces you'll currently find on their web site:

Here are some photos of current animals that need a home.  Anyone need a new puppy?????

And artist Stephen Filarsky sells some of his work and donates part of the proceeds to the rescue. Here are some samples of what can be bought for $100.  Love these!  There are more paintings on the web site. 

Isn't it refreshing to know that there people out there like Danny and Ron helping the animals?  Thank goodness for them!  Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Eternal Erno Lazlo

You might be thinking "what does skin treatment" have to do with living the country lifestyle? My answer, "everything!"  When you spend as much time outdoors as I do, in all kinds of weather, treating your aging skin is vitally important; the elements can wreak havoc.

No one knew this better than Erno Lazlo.  Erno Laszlo products have been the secret of beauty icons from the Golden Age of Hollywood through today. Many famous ladies of the twentieth century, like Jackie Kennedy, Ava Garder, Audrey Hepburn, and Greta Garbo made Erno Laszlo part of their ritual. Hungarian-born Dermatologist Dr. Erno Laszlo developed his first products in 1927. Ahead of his time, he was first to produce sunscreen, skincare programs for teens and men, and pH balanced products.

Erno Laszlo was a medical doctor who, more or less, fell into dermatology after the notoriety he gained for improving the complexion of  Princess Stéphanie of Belgium, who suffered severe emotional distress and even humiliation due to the state of her skin.  Thus, Dr. Laszlo was a "celebrity doctor" long before they were a dime-a-dozen.  His clientele also included the Duchess of Windsor, Gloria Vanderbilt, Doris Duke, Lillian Gish, Paulette Goddard, and Marilyn Monroe, whose Laszlo beauty products were on the bedside table next to her death bed.

In the late 1940s, the Erno Laszlo Institute had over 3,000 clients, not one of whom bought their way in because Laszlo products were not for sale to non-members.  In order to be a member you had to be recommended - by at least two people - and each consultation was $75.00.  This was a lot of money back then.

Lazlo opened an office on Fifth Avenue in NYC in 1939.  As his fame increased, so did his client list which also included (by the 1960's) Truman Capote, Grace Kelly, Yul Brenner, and Hubert de Givenchy among others.  In 1966, Lazlo entered the retail market with partner Chesebrough-Ponds which later bought the company.  The company has changed hands several times since then but in 2011 the RBS Special Opportunities Fund managed by RBS Equity Finance backed Charles Denton in the acquisition of the company.

Lazlo must have been an interesting character.  He asked about his cleints' personal lives and refused to continue treating them if they failed to follow his advice.  He told Jackie Kennedy not to put any more oil or cream on her face and told Ava Gardner (in the above right photo) that she was lying about following his instructions. 

His products are legendary and many a boyfriend has commented about the black Sea Mud Soap in their girlfriends' bathrooms over the years.  There is only one!

This is great stuff and there is nothing else like it on the market today.  They have a very good Facebook page for additional information. You can buy the products on-line at Nordstrom's and other finer stores.  Are you a convert?

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