Monday, December 23, 2013

Shop Downton Abbey

I'm sure I'm not the only one who is excited about the new season of Downton Abbey airing on Jan. 5, 2013.  How does Julian Fellowes, the writer of this series, manage to capture and hold our attention?  Fellowes explains that his writing method involves subjecting a couple of characters per series to a very difficult situation and you get the emotions that come out of these traumas.

While we are eagerly awaiting the show to air, we can satisfy our hunger for Downton Abbey by shopping!  The Downton Abbey products range from jewelry and Christmas ornaments, to plum pudding and cosmetics.

Shop Downton Abbey

Cost Plus World Market has a lovely array of Downton Abbey products.

Plum Pudding

Tea set

Wrapping Paper


So brew a pot of tea or pour yourself some claret and prepare to see what happens next to Lady Mary, Anna and Bates, and all the rest of the Downton Abbey inhabitants.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Favorite Christmas Movies

Each year at Christmas time, I eagerly await the showing of "The Man Who Came to Dinner" on the Turner Classic Movie channel.  This 1942 comedy is a classic.

Monty Whoolly plays Sheridan Whiteside, a famous radio personality who is on a cross-country lecturing tour.  His secretary Maggie, played by Bette Davis, arranges for him to dine at the home of a prominent Ohio family.  Sheridan slips on the icy entrance of the Stanley's home and injures his hip.  He is forced to recuperate in their home, and that is when the hilarity starts.

Sheridan takes over the whole house, and everyone in it.  He has to broadcast his yearly Christmas Special from the Stanley's home.  He makes expensive long distant phone calls, he receives a crate of penguins as a gift, and invites convicts from the local prison to lunch. And all the while, he threatens to sue the Stanely's for his injury if they complain about any of his actions.

Meanwhile, Maggie falls in love with the Bert Jefferson (Richard Travis), the local newspaper man.  Sheridan catches wind of this and tries to break it up by calling in the beautiful Miss Lorraine Sheldon played by Ann Sheridan.  He has no intention of training a new secretary.

The screenplay by Juilius and Philip G. Epstein is based on the 1939 play by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.  The dialogue is so fast paced and filled with references of that time, that you have to watch the movie a couple of times to catch everything.

Maggie is so upset by Sheridan's interference in her love life that she quits.  Sheridan realizes that he has gone too far this time and asks for help from his friend Banjo (played  by Jimmy Durante).

They trap Lorraine in a sarcophagus, one of many unusual Christmas gifts that have arrived for Sheridan.  Banjo takes off to Nova Scotia with it, promising to send it back filled with fish for Sheridan.
Maggie and Bert get back together.  Sheridan's hip heals and he is just leaving the Stanley's home, when he slips on the way out and inures himself again!
The End

Monday, December 2, 2013

Morning Necessities!

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I'm not a morning person so I need a couple of things to entice me to get out of bed. Dunkin Donuts coffee is the number one reason for me.  Fresh orange juice, some yummy biscotti, and fruit help too.  And since it is finally getting cooler for us here in sunny Southern California, some warm jammies and slippers are a must.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Loving the Joseph Eichler Home!

It is amazing to me that houses designed in post-World War II still look so modern.  I love the open plan and glass walls that invite the outdoors inside.

Joseph Eichler was very proud of the homes he built and you can tell that by a statement he made in the 1960's:
"There are other builders who efficiently produce well-built houses and sell at a fair profit.  The purchaser of one of these will get a good value.  We believe our houses go beyond this because much more thought and care go into them.  Nothing is spent for frills or gimmicks.  Beauty is achieved by the architect's skill in designing details, his blend of materials and proper proportions, and above all, the exercise of good taste.  In short, we produce a work of art that has gained international reputation."
- from the book "Design for Living Eichler Homes" by Jerry Ditto and Lanning Stern

Eichler homes were built for average families, but they have a custom-designed appearance.  They look  like this because the award winning architects who designed them also designed for individual clients.

Not exactly the tract homes they through together now!

There are real estate firms who specialize in selling Eichler houses.  I have fun looking at all the beautiful homes for sale!  Socalmodern is one of these firms.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sometimes around the holidays I get nostalgic for those retro recipes I ate when I was a kid.  The sweet potatoes with the mini marshmallows, the classic green bean casserole, and that jelled cranberry sauce that you plop out of the can.

It's comforting to taste those flavors and remember my childhood.

It seems like many of those recipes started with some Campbell's soup.
So here's a Campbell's recipe for

Day After Thanksgiving Casserole

4 cups stuffing, prepared
2 cups cranberry sauce
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1/3 cup milk
4 cups cubed cooked turkey
1 can (2.8 ounces) French fried onions (1 1/3 cups)

Spoon the stuffing into a 3-quart shallow baking dish.  Spoon the cranberry sauce over the stuffing.

Stir the soup, milk and turkey in a large bowl.  Spoon the soup mixture over the cranberry sauce.  Cover the baking dish.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 45 minutes or until  the mixture is hot and bubbling.

Top with the onions  Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

So embrace your forgotten inner child and enjoy a retro Thanksgiving dish!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Am I Blue?

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After I put this collection together I thought of that old song "Am I Blue" written by Hoagy Carmichael.  There is a scene in the classic film "To Have and Have Not", where Lauren Bacall and Hoagy Carmichael sing this song while Humphrey Bogart looks on.  It's a short scene, but I love the way they sing together:

Am I blue, am I blue
Ain't these tears in my eyes tellin you
How can you ask me am I blue
Why, wouldn't you be too
If each plan with your man
Done fell through