The Yummy List


All content copyright 2009 by Holly Gleason. Web design by Lauren Carelli.

May 2009

Dave Marsh’s “Kick Out The Jams,” Pink Moon,  Vineyard Vines Ts & How I Married My Mother

365 Meyer Lemon Sorbet          Whole Foods

It isn’t just smooth and cold like sorbet is supposed to be, it’s tart. Tongue-spanking tart without having that metallic citric acid after-wang. As a palate cleanser, it’s perfection. As a tummy settler, it’s industrial strength. As a bit of escape on a tedious afternoon, a pick-me-up quick me-up snack or just the sort of refreshing end to a heavy dinner that lightens the meal-load, this is an intensely lemon blast that gets the job done.

Miss Trish of Capri Red Leather Starfish Thong Sandals          Target

The mythic sandals favored by Jackie Kennedy - and sold in their high end form at the ultimate temple of shoes Jeffrey NY - Miss Trish of Capri has always been endemic of haute chic whimsy. Now with a line for Target, the magic can go to the pieds of discerning shoppers. A variety of styles that includes thin gold sandals with lions, a flower-on-the-toe-thing lime patent one band or platform cork wedges with pink sparkling lady bugs, there is something no matter your feet.

The red leather classic flip flop, though, may be the most universal - and sophisticated of the line. A deep Breton red, the gold starfish has texture and heft and flats above the foot like some washed in sea creature. Large enough to register, flat enough metal to avoid accusations of bling, this is that touch of insouciance that makes jeans and a white shirt more, a sundress playful and even a business suit just a hunt surprising. All for $29.99 (when the real thing starts at $350!)

“Forgiveness is the scent of violets on the sole of the shoe that crushed it.”

Out of every painful thing, lessons emerge, compassion rises, understanding deepens. Sometimes we get to see the vulnerability and fragility of others in a way that makes them even more beautiful. Disappointment embraced like dried roses - something delicate, to be handled with loving care - lets us heal, marvel at how we’ve grown. If we can see that in whatever has happened, there is a whole new dimension awaiting - and it’s one of welcome and wonder, kind of like the smell of violets pressed beneath a shoe.

Trattoria Sole                Sunset Dr @ U.S. 1, Coral Gables, FL

The tables spill onto the sidewalk in a shopping district right off US 1. Surely, this is just one more adequate overpriced Miami meal. And then the bread arrives. Fresh, hot, crisp and light - with good olive oil and a red pepper tapenade. It tears to the teeth, then almost melts on your tongue. It is in that moment that you realize: this isn’t a tourist trap, but a sneaky little great restaurant.

Rigatoni with the unlikely combination of roasted pumpkin, sage, pancetta and onions in a creamy all-spice sauce or the stuffed pasta filled with pears and Gorgonzola served in a sage butter sauce with walnuts twist traditional Italian, while they also offer the freshest fish grilled and served with an aromatic olive oil and lemon dressing, an uptown veal marsala with robiola cheese and a classic chicken paillard with diced tomatoes and capers. Decadently minimal in the number of ingredients, absolutely indulgent in terms of the quality of what goes into the preparation.

Museum of Modern Russian Art          Minneapolis, MN

The art itself is bold. Well-executed. Compelling by the very strength of expression. And then you realize: much of this is not about what it was meant to be. Though America discounts Soviet Art as politic and propaganda, there is harrowing truth and virtual rebellion on the canvas. Three strong milk women laugh in a field - solid working stock, you think, and yet the guide explains they are most likely laughing at the expense of a government official, quite possibly about the size of his endowment.

That is the through the looking glass aspect of Russian art of the 20th century: they often show deadly accurate images, yet what they capture is a deeper reality. The working women - because the men have all perished in the wars. The stark modern buildings that eclipse a more human way of life, erected in homage to modernity and the state with little humanity imbued to accommodate the people whose sacrifice creates the temples to progress.

“The Last Outlaw”     Ethan Hawke          Rolling Stone April 2009     (Lil Way

Beyond the controversy over the did-it-or-didn’t-the snark-down-between Kris Kristofferson and a mainstream country star happened, this is a well-turned profile of a true American renaissance man. Poet, prophet - as his “Pilgrim 33” outlines - but also activist, actor, Rhodes Scholar, helicopter pilot, man’s man and fighter in every sense of the word.

And it’s not just in praise of the glory of being one’s own man. Hawke examines the price of having convictions, standing for something that matters, the stakes and fickleness of fame and the risk of growth in a world where most just turn to the sun and fight to stay there. Reflective, thoughtful and ultimately, inspiring.

Lindsey Lohan’s E-Harmony Profile

Just when famous people couldn’t seen any more pompous of indulged, here comes America’s favorite young train wreck with a twinkle in her eye - and a willingness to own some of the foibles, skewer the legendary craziness that’s probably a creation and be - above all - human with a sense of humor. For anyone who’s bad day has become more than the occasional cruddy bout of 24 hours that just sucked in the definition of who they are, this is hope and the laughing all the way perspective that’ll help you weather that bad news travels fast marginalization that is so hard to overcome.

Townes          Steve Earle     

Sometimes the student embraces the master, coaxing nuance from what was given. So it is that Steve Earle takes on the canon of the legendary Townes Van Zandt - whom Earle proclaimed “is the best damn songwriter in the world, and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that” in Tower Pulse in 1985 - for a tough, but always tender.

He takes on some of obvious - “To Live Is To Fly,” “Pancho & Lefty, “White Freight Liner Blues” - as well as reduxing the complicated “Mr Mudd & Mr Gold,” the first song a teenaged (and reportedly runaway) Earle ever played to the mercurial songwriter. But it is one the more obscure and haorrowing songs like “Marie,” :Lungs,” “Loretta” that the broken-winged genius of the sinewy man emerges. These are not songs of heroes, but losers with dignity to go with their self-awareness.

Nowhere is there more willingness to see, to know, to be the pillar of courage in a beat-down world. Earle with a voice battered by living, recklessness and an uncompromising sense of self understands - and in his throat, these songs become self-evident, even for those for whom the barebones; almost Zen lyrics and Japanese brush-stroke lean melodies elude.

Pink moon

In April when the moon turns full, it is deemed the Full Pink Moon - making me, and people like me, impossibly giddy. So called for the wild phlox that marks the spring’s first flowers - and casts a pink growth across the fields it inhabits, it is a tangible reminder of what’s to come.

All called the Full Fish Moon, because this is the moon that sends the shad upstream to be what birds and bees do, I maintain that poetry trumps husbandry. And so, while fully disclosing, I cling to the solitary notion that it is a Full Pink Moon, through and through.

How Lincoln Learned To Read     Daniel Wolff

Subtutled Twelve Great Americans and the Educations that Made Them, Daniel Wolff offers an engaging examination in the forces beyond the linear classroom and traditional teaching techniques that shaped some of the most dynamic people to live in this nation. Whether it was Elvis’ fascination with movie soundtracks, Ben Franklin’s addiction to books and learning or Sojourner Truth’s recognition of the brutal realities of slave life and being black after emancipation, each’s passion led them to new ways of thinking that shaped the nation - and Wolff does a dynamic job anchoring significant phases of history while exploring his specific subjects growth as thinking beings and cultural paradigms.

W.E.B. DuBois, George Washington, Abigail Adams and (my personal favorite) Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, a Pelute Indian who opened a reservation school to teach/reinforce the native customs along with the traditional English curriculum “white schools” were using to eradicate the Indian way. It will catch you up in the way commitment can create monumental personal - and cultural - reads. A must for “Smart Summer Reading.”

Rub-Out Dry Cleaner  (for hair)          Ojon

Spray on, let sit. Finger tossle through your air. No added weight. No heavy build-up. A little bit of texture, but ultimately hair that feels fresh and looks clean. For those moments when you can’t quite get the hair done,  get caught in too much smoke, didn’t realize it was so wind-whipped: three or four blasts leaves you looking salon fresh and ready for whatever lies before.

A Crisis of Craft          Little Steven Address, South by Southwest

Leave it to the Gypsy Biker/Social Activist/Sometime Soprano to say what nobody wants to hear about the state of the music business. While the status quo-tidians cling to the reasons why it’s eroding, too many are missing the real point: music has stopped being something compelling, something soul-branding, something that incites a good time or marks a moment forever.

And Miami/Little Steven Van Zandt pops one pointblank, right between the eyes. In a speech from this year’s South By Southwest where he makes it simple: the acts people still talk about - the Beatles, the Stones - spent years in crappy bars, playing covers so people would dance, drink, maybe get lucky. Then their first 3, 4, 5 albums were heavily laced with covers - meaning Lennon/McCartney, Jagger/Richards, the Davies boys, Buffalo Springfield, et al, knew the very best of pop, soul, blues, even country from the inside out before they started playing their own songs.  They knew their instruments, they knew structure, they knew what got people moving… and they internalized that entire cannon before they sruck out to blaze even more potent kinds of music.

Now it’s the quick kill. Get a hit. Get it out. Move on. Marketing is music… or what the music has for a foundation. Looking to most albums, ask yourself “Why?” or “What is this supposed to mean to me? My life?” In a world of revved up jingles - certainly the fodder of 99 downloadability - how many recordings are worth half a tank of gas? Have any enduring quality to them? Speak to more than getting laid or acting big time? 

Read this and weep. Then tack. Adjust your course. Make a difference. The results are inevitable.

Hemingway Special          Park Hyatt, Chicago

The ultimate grown-up evoke the sun sliding beyond the end of the world in Key West cocktail. Not quite bitter, but anything but sticky or sweet. 10 Cane Rum, Luxardo Maraschino Liquer, Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters, fresh lime and grapefruit juice.

Cocktail shaker. Ice. Swirl til cold. Strain. Rocks - or added sugar is irrelevant. Grown up. A bleeding sunset strewn across salt air and a definite exhale for a long - or even just lazy - day.

Sleeping under the window

Zelda doesn’t like sleeping in the big, big bed. It’s too much work getting in and out of - and sometimes she dreams and falls out. She needed a reasonable alternative, a place brittle spaniel bones won’t shatter. So we built a blanket fort under a window in my bedroom, where the stars pour in, the moon bathes us and the sunshine wakes us slowly as it turns the sky from black to grey to warm to day.

To sleep beneath the window isn’t to camp out, but it still somehow aligns you with the rhythms and rotations of celestial routings. To sleep on the floor is a different kind of grounded. To dig into blankets and quilts and comforters and pillows is to be a kid again, and also to create a nest that’s nurturing in a bohemian sort of way. Maybe not for every night, but every once in a while, sleeping under a window brings you into phrase with the way the evening goes round and round into the day.

Homemade Sin          Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN   May 7

Blazing rock & roll with a twang and a drawl and a few gunblast chords, caterwauling vocalists and the entire realm of post-punk Southern explosion rock-country. On one mic: Dan Baird, trigger singer frontman of the Georgia Satellites who raved and brayed and wrote the bar-room classic “Leep Your Hands To Yourself” and bandmate Mauro Magellan. On the other, Jason & the Scorcher alum thrashing electric guitarist Warner Hodges, who can shred as well as bale - and the additional thump and shift of Fabulous Yahoo/Billy Joe Shaver vet Keith Christopher.
This is not intellectual. It’s primal, thrusting, quick, down and dirty, It evokes that blast furnace verve of the Faces, rurals up the Ramones and Replacements and remembers the redemptive lift of quick punch rawk music. Not quite punk, yet anything but arena bloat, there’s a reason Tom Petty embraced the Satellites and the Scorchers equaled the possibilities for the Southeast in the glory days of Southern California’s Lone Justice, Blasters, Los Lobos and perhaps even X. Strip it back, down and come on out.

Long Sleeve Cotton T’s  Vineyard Vines

If the caterpillar was going to spin you a cocoon, it would be a Vineyard Vines long sleeve t-shirt. The softest combed cotton, they are thick enough to make you feel covered, soft enough to leave you feeling cozy and clean enough cut to make what oughta be a sloppy day staple seem neat and fresh. In a rainbow of pastels and stripes, this is “uniform wear” all year long.

Unexpected Companions

I walked into the breakfast room, exhausted and talked out… and there the bohemian country star was… I was sitting in a coffee shop, choking back tears, looked up… and there was my old friend and lover of old dogs and heartsick girls. 

They’re just there, and they’re open and willing and take you to places conversationally you might never dream - and open up worlds you’d not think of.

To be open to who may show up. To know the universe puts the people you need in your path  when it’s time. To not fear being out there alone (not that I ever do). Mostly the relish these happenstance intersections you couldn’t create if you tried!

Trusting the Stars

There are horoscopic carnies, who cast bland generalities about fortune and romance - and it’s one-size-fits-all-demi-prophecy. And then there are the rare individuals who truly can read the skies. Bridgett Walther is the very best of the best of those… a cartographer of lives as cast by the gravitational pull of planets, stars and the universe.

And anyone I’ve ever sent to this site will attest: Bridgett - who’s completing an astrology book for Penguin - is uncanny. To have a sense of what’s to come, how not to get rocked by what’s a given - or even how now to get caught up in the jagged snags life, this is the only place you’ll ever need to go.

“Kick Out The Jams”          Dave Marsh on SIRIUS Radio

Dave Marsh is smart, feisty and opinionated. His take on the world, music and artists is informed by his hardcore liberal politics, his unfailing belief in what music should mean and the reasons songs and records matter. An editor of Creem in its glory days and a longtime Rolling Stone editor/writer and tastemaker, this is a scrappy show that’s long on passion and willing to explore the reasons for how records got made, artists evolved and people evolve.

Plan on being exposed to stuff you’ve never heard… listen to Marsh talk to myriad guests who are as diverse as they are engaging… getting invested in Marsh’s take on how it is and how it should be. Better than talk-radio at pushing one’s buttons, catalyzing thought and self-examination and serving up a heaping helping of roots, rock, blues, soul, songwriters and even country, this is radio’s full-potential exploded on satellite radio where the conventional realities don’t apply.

Netty Pot  

It’s sinus season - which means antihistamines and decongestants if you’re lucky, antibiotics if you’re not, all further eroding your body’s ability to withstand the strain of our environment. The Netty pot - often a ceramic fired shrunken watering pot - is an Ayurveda alternative treatment that involves flushing one’s nasal passages with saline solution to wash away germs and irritants, irrigate tissue and generally clean up the ick.

Position the spout in one nostril, tilt head back and to the side, let the warm water flow up, throw and out the other side. Feel the gunk loosen and your sinuses release with relief. Not a miracle, but wow.

Mercury in Retrograde          Paula Froelich 

A flashy, trashy, big fun writ larger summer read from the girl who brings The New York Post’s vaunted Page 6 gossip column to life , Mercury in Retrograde captures the horoscope-addicted Penelope Mercury - just fired from her job at a New York daily paper - and her two friends whose lives have also suddenly hit unforeseen dead-ends with spot-on here-it-is/how-it-is detail.

Quick moving, a sparkling narrative voice and the bond of friendship against soon-to-be-ex-husbands, parents who don’t understand and editors who’ve missed the point. Name-checking the hippest places and reveling in what it means to be young, affluent enough and on the lam in New York 

Amuse bouche

That little appetite-whetter from the chef that says both “thank you for dining with us” and “wait’ll you see what else we have in store for you.” A terrific gesture; a delicious tease. The mark of a certain kind of restaurant that is anything but stuffy or pretentious, just a joy to enjoy.

White Lies for Black Times          Ben Harper   Relentless 7

A jangling mish-mash of swampy funk, raw-boned blues, hints of country and drop the testicles rock & roll, cred guitar/songwriter Ben Harper finds his combustive match with the erstwhile Relentless 7 who serve it up hot’n'churning. “Lay There and Hate Me” takes late-70s Stones brazenness to protest “Never love a woman who loves the blues” and proclaims “I feel like a high-priced concubine,” while the thrust and prod “Number without a Name” is all swagger and “The Word Suicide” is a quiet consideration of the ramifications of the notion that “love is a lonely room.”

The guitar work etches the muscular melodics, while the drums crash with a precision that heightens the brutality of the beats. With rolling pianos and a sense that music can breathe and throb, there’s the yard stomp’n'tag indictment “Why Must You Always Dress in Black,” while the downstroke, up-jerked “Keep It Together (So I Can Fall Apart)” clicks with the breakdown inherent to true overload. With an intensity of intention, Ben Harper brings his patched musicality to a focused boil and holds it there… the result is lean rock & roll you can bank on.

H Flip Bracelet     Hermes

You have to push the halves slightly together and then turn the H to release the clasp. In gold - or silver. Enameled in a variety of bold colors, jet black, variances of beige and a gradiated series of pastels. Whatever mood you wish to strike, it most likely exists - be it lavender, lime, ballerina pink, lipstick red or Tffany blue. 

I like to say the “H” is for “Holly;” but it can be “Heaven” or “Honey” or “Help.” Your call.


The lightning flashes, the wind howls, the thunder rumbles like giants bowling up above. To listen to the rain pummel the roof, assault the windows, to fall against the trees is to understand how powerful nature truly is. It is also to gain a sense of those parts of your soul that rage in ways that defy explanation: like a storm, they just are - and they move through in their own time.

To sit and listen, to be with a storm while it gusts and glories can be to venture to places deep inside. Try it. You won’t be disappointed, only amazed at how what’s inside is so much like what’s outside.

Monkey Mirror          4 Seasons Bar, Beverly Hills

Taking up large portions of the walls, these mirrors are hand-painted simian whimsy. Old-school in their execution and suggesting the literal metaphorics of “Monkey Business,” the Monkey Mirror in the front and main cocktail lounges create an atmosphere of elevation, while also suggesting a place that is bey9ond the obvious, the literal or the by-the-book.

There is elegance to the thrown back wall-covering. But there’s also a sense of not taking the exclusive cocktail lounge too seriously. In that vibe-busting reality, the Monkey Mirror is an escape, an evocation and a reason to smile.

“Protect, Protect”          Jenny Holzer, Whitney Museum of Art, New York    thru May

Using words, phrases, prose, Jenny Holzer has created an art that is portent and provocative. Forewarnings of the haggard future to come, her “Truism” and “Survival” series of works offer nagging realities, hypocracies and conflicts in our culture in a fairly unadorned presentation that was all punch. To view the words: “Die fast and quiet when they interrogate you or live so long that they are ashamed to hurt you anymore.” is to consider the reality of what and how we do what we do in the name of freedom, while much of what’s offered up veers closer to personal treasons.

A contemporary of Cindy Sherman, Holzer’s ability to make words lean into her personal perspectives is every bit as challenging as the best editorial writing. But where the Op/Ed page string together supporting facts, these installations open the realm of inner doubt and moral grounding.

Quiet Nights          Diane Krall

This is a quiet storm, merging standards from the American Songbook, the Bee Gees’ “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” and true bossa nova clssics. Working with arranger Claus Ogerman and bossa nova royalty Antonio Carlos Jobim - who also dueted with  Frank Sinatra - the minimalist jazz pianist/vocalist conjures a mood that settles and stirs on her latest. A sultry, sexy album, it’s the low-light erotic charge of Brazil that’s pure seduction and slow burn.

The longing evoked in “Every Time We Say Good-Bye” and “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry” is tempered by the want of the title track, the Spanish language “Este Seu Oihar” and the ether “You’re My Thrill.” A make-out record for adults who know that want can be the subtlest of moments. 

Drew Barrymore profile     W April

A grown-up Barrymore, who first charmed America as Gertie the baby sister in “ET,” considers the path of her life, the there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-and-resolve-go-I overlap with Little Edie Bouvier - cousin of Jackie Kennedy Onassis and daughter of the reclusive society doyenne Big Edie Bouvier, who lived in a sprawling but  collapsing 18-room Hamptons mansion that was over-run by cats and raccoons. Privilege plays a part - as does the pressure of an overbearing parent and the free-spirited bohemianism of both Barrymore and Little Edie.

Considering the realities of growing up, how it shaped her and who she is now as a successful producer, this is a profile in courage - as well as Glamazon gone good. To view the famous as more than just vapid or boring, this is a wonderful place to consider the positive of how it can be. 
Bonus: “Grey Gardens”     HBO
     Jessica Lang joins Barrymore for the HBO film about the eccentric mother/daughter living in squalor in one of the nation’s most elite communities. A bit Glass Menagerie, a touch Tender Is The Night, a dash Miss Havisham and a blast of Lolita without Humbert Humbert, “Grey Gardens” brings nuance to the extremes of mental illness, devastation, the ravages of time and the elements on even great wealth beauty. Riveting to see the dynamics between the Oscar winner and the spite. Seek it out.

The return of Flower Mart

What was once a yellow and Kelly green florist/greenhouse that had served South Nashville for over two decades, but closed due to rising rent and shrinking patronage has returned. New owners maintain the commitment to top notch plants, best quality herbs, geraniums and planters, but just as importantly, they seem committed to maintaining the relationships with their customers. Flower Mart was always a neighborhood business - and so it returns in the best sense of small business serving a specific community! If only this resurrection can be the future of modern commerce.

Pure Meditation Audio CD          Pema Chodron

Relax. Quiet your mind. People who meditate make it seem to easy. Buddhist nun and leading teacher Pema Chodron scoffs at that, lessens the pressure by delineating her own struggles to find peace and silence between one’s ears and deep in the soul. Step by step, she guides listeners into the land of mediation, helps push back distraction and find acceptance in flawed practice.

For anyone for whom the world moves too fast and is too busy, this is the go-to stress-easer that requires little and deserves much.

“From Asbury Park To The Promised Land”          Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The poet of the working class… the rogue romeo with “all the redemption I can offer is beneath this dirty hood”… the rocker who can not stop… the man who brought dignity to the unseen and potency to anyone willing to dream against the odds. For the first time ever - and spanning the entirety of his life - Bruce Springsteen’s creative arc and musical evolution is documented at Cleveland, Ohio’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

With early performance posters, lyric notebooks, stage clothes, the much vaunted blonde Telecaster, performance clippings and the table at which he writes (covered with the detritus of his life, from bills to letters to the spiral notebooks he fills with his words). Plenty of pictures and stations to hear the journey in Springsteen’s own voice, this is a testament to the common man making an impossible reality come to be - and for anyone who thinks achieving is beyond them, this is the tangible evidence of what singular vision, willingness to continue on and embodying truths most people miss can create.

Zelda’s Gets in the Car All By Herself

She forgot she was old - and had dyspepsia. Zelda, the 16 _ year old Wonderspaniel, approached the back seat, collected, gathered and jumped up onto the Mexican blanket that marks “Zelda’s Backstage Lounge.” Realizing once she was up there that she’d done something she “can’t” do, the Hot Blond with the Will to Be began shaking. After all, her one hip is slightly worn out, she’s weak from whatever is going on with her kidneys and she can’t really see; yet somehow Zelda found the reserves to jump up and get there. We should all age so gracefully.

Baking Soda for Stubborn Stains

The baking dish had been used to slow roast brussell sprouts, and the balsamic vinegar reduction had plenty of time to bond to the side of the ceramic pan. Soaking didn’t work. Lemon didn’t work. To scratch the enamel would be to render the cookware unusable - and so, what? Especially since the pottery base absorbs chemicals like a sponge.

A thick paste of baking soda applied to the baked on area dissolves, then scrubs away the baked on mess. For those last traces that won’t budge, leaving the baking soda right on does the work - and then rinsing/wiping away leaves you with a pristine bit of cookware. An old wives’ trick, it really works.

When I Married My Mother          Jo Maeder

An aging mother, a high-flying career, the moment when one realizes they truly are middle-aged. Jo Maeder was a high-flying voice-over talent and big-time Hot AC/Top 40 disc jockey on the air in New York City - having been the Madame on Miami’s hottest radio stations. Suddenly, the priorities shift, the life implodes and doing the right thing becomes tantamount:: taking of an eccentric aging woman who brought you into the world.

With a wildly compassionate - especially to self - voice, Jo Maeder exhibits the sense of humor that makes her a live wire in the quick thinking world of personality radio, bubt also the better selves we all hope we embody. A culture clash for the sophisticated city girl in a world of slower moving, not all that jet-set North Carolinians is its own foil - and to that end, what we cling to as a matter of definition is both laughter-inducing and self-challenging. For Baby Boomer babies growing up, caring for an aged parent is the final frontier on our way to adulthood, and Maeder pitches a tent we can all find solace, acceptance and encouragement under. A genius read, but a life-affirming story.

Carmelite Candle               Cire Trudon                        

It is the scent of ivy climbing old stone walls covered with moss. Definitely green, absolutely fertile, certainly stoic enough to face a cold, damp climb. There is something calming and inspiring about the subtle scent of Carmelite, not quite holy - yet truly evocative of a cloistered place where tranquility emanates and one can face their inner struggles with a foundation of more than their churning desires.

Any time I need to quiet my mind, bring on something from far inside, create at a level devoid of crassness, the Carmelite has been the answer. Light it. Let it burn. Wait. All will emerge. Every single time. Long burning, the fragrance hangs in the air long after the fire has been extinguished.

Key West Fabrics Factory’s final days

It is a nondescript brick building two blocks off Duval - and it has the distinct smell of  salt air and old fabric sizing. But Key West Fabrics is a last stand of the old school notion of hand-screening all cotton material, often in whimsical prints or bold tropical tableaus.

This isn’t the bad Hawaiian shirts of mall origin, these are vibrant Birds of Paradise turned in lime green, lemon yellow and bubble gum pink, baby, cornflower and French blue toile that is the streets of the Keys, varied white vintage renderings of the sun against lipstick red and conch chambered prints in sea green and cerulean that stop time.

Key West Fabrics is going out of business. The company who originally did Lilly Pulitzer’s silk-screening her haute-society casual wear is soon to be no longer - and as a last hurrah everything is priced to go to people who get it: 9, 19 and 29 dollars for beautifully cut trench coats with seersucker lining, long tiered shopper skirts, various length pants and little sundresses that beg for lunch at the pool or on the veranda. Not for everyone perhaps, but how can a fun lover or woman of high spirits miss this last chance opportunity for such unique American style.

“Do It For The Band: The Girls of the Sunset Strip”          VH-1

You know the joke: what do you call a musician without a girlfriend? Homeless! And this rockumentary examines not just the girls who supported the hair bands that became Guns N Roses, Warrant, Poison, Motley Crue et al, but the impact the ego-charged promise of being “the girl with the band” ultimately fails to deliver on. It is here and now, me-my-more-hardcore party down and move on truth of the deal - even in the case of the “Cherry Pie” video vixen who ultimately married the Warrant lead singer with no foundation and a jagged divorce imminent. 

One girl went on to become a preacher, another’s a suburban housewife. All look haggard for the miles spent and the nights burned at both ends. Are they happy? Did it matter? Was the journey worth it? Watch and decide. Certainly the smiles painted on have their own facade that supplies the answers. But for anyone ever caught up in the full-tilt fantasy of sex, drugs and rock & roll, this is the most honest depiction of just how little it really means in the end. Fascinating.

“Better Is The Enemy of Good.”
    —French Saying

The idea it can be improved. As an inveterate perfectionist whose only self-defense is to just “let it go” and not work things to death, this is empiric knowledge, a bottomless chute down into the spark, the whew and the essence will most certainly be ground to nothing.

Rosanne Cash once uttered the magical refrain: “There’s no passion in perfection.” Machining an all I’s dotted, all T’s crossed matrix of following the rules guarantees something that clings to the conventional wisdom and is completely bankrupt of heart, of good in the fullest sense. It is a crime we do not have to submit to, but of the discipline it takes to recognize “good” as the bridge to the wonder.

Camp Shirt      Lilly Pulitzer

Just like what the counselors wore - only closer to the body and a bit more enhancing. Not just good girl who could be persuaded, but a woman in charge of her destiny, who knows how to get things done and still be alluring doing it. With rolled mid-arm sleeves, buttons that can be unbuttoned in a fetching way and darts, this is the summer uniform that doesn’t try and brings home the second glances.


What the bees line their hives with to keep germs from attacking that turbo-growth food known as honey. When a sinus infection couldn’t be treated due to an adverse reaction to the Christian death antibiotic I’d been prescribed, someone suggested this as the bridge alternative - until my body cleared out. Holistic, yet “seriously means business,” the propolis dried it up, cleaned it up and seemed to reinforce my flagging immune system.

Is this a miracle cure? I’m not sure. But this is a get on it early and whip the crud before it’s truly destructive option that can eradicate the need for modern pharmaceuticals? Most likely. Which is the best alternative of them all.

Songs Nobody’s Heard

It was on my voice mail… just a chunk of what was being born… from a dear friend, a local hero, a sweet soul… that captured a shard of creation in a jar in all its shiny newness. It was an MP-3 in the middle of the night… from a great writer who too many hadn’t discovered… about mortality, humanity, reckoning, relinquishing and wonder… It was a first demo from an emerging artist that was pure kinetics… shot through with social call-to-reason… and a multi-culti-beat that sizzled. It was a guitar vocal… from a true man… of a song I’d co-written… about the way life and love just happens… that made me understand how much the same we all yearn.

Knowing that no one knows. It’s my little secret. A touch of the voyeur, a burst of “oh, wow.”
We all get to have our own brand of little discoveries, major treasures and absolute trusts. To nurture, to embrace and, ultimately, to honor with the truth. 

English Toffee          Trader Joes

The toffee is impossibly buttery, rich, yet crunchy to the bite. It isn’t that stale chew that is more hard tack or beef jerky - and the clean munch under your molars is just the first part. Covered in milk chocolate and rolled in more toffee, it hits your mouth and makes the taste sensors respond to the salty caramel of the toffee, the melting richness of the chocolate and the way the textures and flavors merge and contrast. Or else they put crack in the toffee… which could be. Certainly, the pound I bought didn’t make it a full week at my house!

Upside Down Triangle

It doesn’t seem like much. Until you’re into your second minute of holding it - and feeling the stretch. Then it suddenly occurs to you: things are happening! Spread your feet wider than your hips - frankly as far as you can and maintain your balance. With feet facing forward and in parallel, slowly lean forward from the waist, maybne holding parallel to the floor with your body for a few moments to feel the strength and power of your hips and core… and then keep going, all the way down.

Rhubarb Mimosas          Café Margot, E. Nashville

Rhubarb simple syrup liberally poured into a champagne flute, then topped with dry champagne creates a light, fresh, slightly tart take on the overbaked brunch classic. With the strawberry-evoking rhubarb smoothed out pulp, this is a treat that isn’t cloying nor parasol-evoking cocktailage. For the essence of summer in an advanced beginning grown-up beverage, the Rhubarb Mimosa is genius.