Monday, January 30, 2017

Home: All Season Removable Weather Stripping Sealant (Removable Caulk)

All Season Removable Weather Stripping Sealant is available at hardware
and home improvement stores

When we lived in our last Southern California home, we changed all the windows to low-E, double-paned vinyl windows, and it was one of our best home investments. Not only did the new windows reduce the outside noise, but they were much more insulating than their predecessors.

One of the downsides of living in a historic home, however, is that we’re required to use period-appropriate architectural elements, which means that we have metal and wood-framed storm windows. The problem is that these windows don’t have a tight seal like vinyl windows do, and I could feel cold air coming in through the openings. On very cold days, even with the heater continuously running, we couldn’t keep our home warm.

In order to stay comfortable, we started covering the window joints with all season removable weather stripping sealant (removable caulk). We apply the sealant with a caulk gun when the weather turns cold (usually early December) and remove it in the late spring. It’s keeps out the cold air, provides us with reasonable heating bills and is quickly removed in case of an emergency. To me, removable caulk is an absolute necessity!

Noted added July 2017-DO NOT PURCHASE THIS DAP SEAL N PEEL PRODUCT. We have had a hard time removing this caulk from the windows. According to our research, this product has been discontinued due to similar customer complaints. We've called the Dap customer service line, and they sent us a caulk removal kit, but it hasn't helped much. While I will purchase a similar product this winter, I will never purchase this particular product again.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Style: Snakeskin Print

Jones New York coat, Equipment sweater, DL1961 jeans,
Zadig and Voltaire booties, Ray Ban sunglasses (similar),
Dior wallet (different color)

Even though I’m slightly fearful of snakes, I love a good snakeskin print. They’re so versatile and can be part of a classic look (I’d wear a black pencil skirt and pumps) or worn in an edgy manner.

Shown here with a long leather coat, black denim and booties, this sweater adds visual interest to the outfit. To add an unexpected element, I echoed the coat’s quilted leather by adding a colorful quilted leather wallet.

I love the star studs on these boots

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Cooking and Entertaining: Meatloaf

this isn't the prettiest picture of meatloaf, but it's delicious

Even though many of my friends think I have a sophisticated palate, I love comfort food.  Chicken pot pie, chili and meatloaf are some of my favorites, especially when it’s cold outside.

I’ve been making this meatloaf recipe for years, and it’s one of our family favorites. We love it the first night and and enjoy it even more in sandwiches the next day. Even though it goes against my general health beliefs, use the fattiest hamburger possible in this recipe. Most of the fat will render out, but the additional fat makes the meatloaf tender and juicy. Bon Appétit!

the ingredients

I like to combine the other ingredients before adding the hamburger

After placing the meatloaf into a baking dish, turn it out into a rimmed dish

cover with bacon

top with sauce

As you can see, most of the fat has rendered out. Oddly, I like the charred bacon on top


2 lb.  hamburger (Use the fattiest hamburger to make the meatloaf tender and taste better.)
1/2 C.  chopped onion
1/2 tsp.  chopped garlic
1/4 C.  chopped red, yellow, green or orange pepper
1/3 C.  oatmeal
2  eggs
1-1/2 tsp.  salt
1/2 tsp.  pepper
5 slices  bacon

Prepare the sauce and set aside. Mix the hamburger, onion, garlic, pepper, oatmeal, eggs, salt, pepper and half the sauce. Press into a loaf pan and turn out into another rimmed pan.  Top with bacon and then with sauce.  Bake at 400ºF for 60 minutes.


1 C.  catsup
2 Tbsp.  Dijon mustard
1-1/2 Tbsp.  brown sugar

Combine all ingredients.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Four Star Finds: Kiwi Suede and Nubuck Care Kit

For more information on this product, click here

When I visited New York City a few weeks ago, I knew that I was going to do a lot of walking, so I wore my most comfortable shoes, a pair of suede loafers. When planning what to wear, I didn’t think about the fact that New York City had snow on the ground, and that my loafers would gain a few stains that day.

Because they’re one of my favorite pairs of shoes, I wanted to make them look good again, so I pulled out the Kiwi Suede and Nubuck Care Kit purchased a week before. First I used the “eraser” to remove the stains and then the brush to clean up the nap. The effort paid off, and they look almost new. I was so excited with the results that I cleaned up all of my suede shoes that afternoon.

As always, I receive no compensation for endorsing this product.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Travel: Malaga, Spain

a view of the Mediterranean Sea taken on the path to the Alcazaba Palace

Malaga is a seaport city on the southern coast of Spain. One of the oldest cities in the world, it was ruled by the Moors and eventually conquered by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Malaga is also home to a Picasso Museum (there’s another in Barcelona) and the Alcazaba Palace (a palace/fortress).

We went to Malaga mostly because I wanted to take a day trip from there to Tangier, but it turned out to be a hidden gem. What stand outs about Malaga is the streets-some ordinary, but others were made of cobblestone, and some even granite and marble. If we had more time, we would have also visited the Castillo de Gibralfaro (a Moorish castle) and the Malaga Cathedral.

Malaga is a beautiful city, and I recommend stopping there if given the opportunity.

Since photography isn't allowed in the Picasso Museum,
we settled for a photo outside

The ice cream was delicious, but look how beautiful
the plaza stonework is!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Movie Reviews: “Hidden Figures” & "Moonlight"

   Hidden Figures
   Rated PG

Hidden Figures is based on the true story of three African American women (Kathryn Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson) who worked for NASA as “human computers” and helped launch John Glenn into orbit.

Often, I tend to think this type of movie emotionally manipulates the viewers, but perhaps because I was an engineer in the aerospace industry, I loved Hidden Figures. It was moving to see these American heroes break color and gender barriers while staying true to themselves. Though this film is for everyone, if I had a daughter, I would absolutely take her to see Hidden Figures!

   Rated R

Moonlight is a three-part story of Chiron’s childhood, adolescence and adulthood in Miami. Bullied by other children and having a drug-addicted, abusive mother, he finds guidance through Juan, a neighborhood drug dealer.

To me, a film can be entertaining, but is always thought-provoking, while a movie is can be thought-provoking, but is always entertaining. More of a film than a movie, I had a hard time relating to Chiron’s life, but appreciate how impressive Moonlight is. Well done, it merits the Golden Globe award for Best Drama Motion Picture.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Book Review: “Paris for One and Other Stories”

   Paris for One and Other Stories
   Jojo Moyes

Twenty-six year-old, risk-averse Nell has never gone away for the weekend with her boyfriend, Pete, let alone traveled to Paris. After Pete is delayed, she takes their scheduled train and ends up having the adventure of a lifetime.

Paris for One and Other Stories is a light, quick read. For those who've been to Paris, it’s a great way to reexperience Paris's magic, and for those who haven't, it's a perfect distraction for a cold, winter evening.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Home: Door Snakes (Door Draft Blockers)

For more information on the product shown above, click here

Since we’re in the coldest part of the year right now, I thought I’d write a few posts about some of the things we do to stay warm this season while living in a “historic home.” While a lot of people live in older homes, we are constrained from making modifications to the anything that is visible from the outside. Basically, this means we can’t change our existing windows or doors with anything other than historically accurate replacements, which are not as energy efficient as the vinyl windows we had in our former home.

On cold and windy days, I can sometimes feel cold air coming into the house underneath the exterior doors. When I mentioned this to a friend who grew up on the east coast, she suggested buying a door snake. Being a Californian, I didn’t know what it was, but soon learned that door snakes (also know as door draft blockers, draft dodgers or door pillows) are simply long, thin and often weighted pillows that are placed and the bottom of the door. And they make a huge difference keeping the cold air outside. Sometimes old ideas are the best and most effective!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Style: Faux Shearling

Karen Kane vest, T by Alexander Wang t-shirt (similar),
H & M pants (similar), Tom Ford sunglasses (different color),
Topshop necklace (similar), Reed Krakoff clutch (old),
Jimmy Choo shoes (similar)

Every now and then, I like to break out of my comfort zone and wear an outfit that isn’t typically “me.” This outfit meets that criteria for two reasons. First, I don’t usually wear vests, especially oversized ones, and secondly I rarely wear leather (or in this case, faux leather) pants. It was very fun, though, to experiment with a different look!

Most of the pieces I’m wearing I’ve had for quite a while. The faux leather pants, tee shirt, shoes and clutch are very old-they were all purchased about 4 years ago. The vest and necklace (a gift from a friend), are still available and bring modernity to the outfit. 

Because many of the pieces are older, I've included links to similar pieces.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Cooking and Entertaining: Mom’s Apple Cake

Yummy-my mom's apple cake

When I was a child, my mom was a great cook and baker, and I have many fond memories, many of which involve (or really revolve around) food. One of my childhood (and remaining to this day) favorites is my mom’s apple cake.

Similar to a bread pudding (minus the custard), this cake is filled with tart apples, barely held together with moist cake. Topped with ice cream, it’s perfect for dessert and eaten solo, it’s perfect for breakfast or a snack.

the ingredients

sift together the dry ingredients

Combine the wet and dry ingredients

add the apples

ready for the oven

ready to eat

Mom’s Apple Cake

2 C.  flour
1/4 tsp.  salt
2 tsp.  cinnamon
1 tsp.  baking soda
1 egg
3/4 C.  oil
2 C.  sugar
1 tsp.  vanilla  large 
4  green apples (Granny Smith), sliced
1 C.  walnuts, chopped (optional-I didn't add them this time)

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda.  In another bowl, beat eggs and oil until foamy.  Add sugar and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients.  Add sliced apples.  Pour into greased 9” x 13” pan.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Four Star Find: Kailijumei Official Flower Jelly Moisturizer Lipstick and Gloss

For more information on this product, click here

When I try a beauty product, it’s usually because I’ve read a few articles about or seen endorsements for the item. Every now and then, though, I lose the bubble and purchase things just because they appeal to me. Such was the case with this Kailijumei Official Flower Jelly Moisturizer Lipstick and Gloss. I just thought a clear lipstick/gloss with a dried flower and gold flakes inside was too cute and had to buy it.

I half expected to be disappointed by this product, but am gladly wrong. This clear lipstick/gloss interacts with your pH and leaves a subtle color, is moisturizing, has a pleasant fruity scent and (for the cherry on the top of the sundae) comes in beautiful packaging. And at less than $7, it’s also a great buy!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Travel: Seville, Spain

a view of the Seville Cathedral at night from our hotel

From Madrid, Kevin and I took the high speed-train to Sevilla, which, to me, is quintessential Spain-the climate, architecture and lifestyle are all what I expected. It’s a beautiful city, filled with friendly people, delicious food and wine and amazing historical attractions, which include an awe-inspiring cathedral, the Alcazar (royal palace), and a working bullfighting arena. If you have the opportunity to visit Seville, you’ll fall in love with this amazing city.

Christopher Columbus's tomb at the Seville Cathedral

the tile work at the Alcazar (royal palace) was amazing

a bullfighting ring

we went to a Flamenco show in Seville

Monday, January 2, 2017

Movie Reviews: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” "Why Him?" & "Fences"

Since we've seen so many great movies lately, I decided to write an extra movie review post.

   Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
   Rated PG-13

Taking place just before Star Wars, A New Hope (Episode 4), Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor work together with the Rebel Alliance to steal the plans for the Death Star, a weapon developed by Jyn’s father.

If you enjoyed any of the Star Wars films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the movie for you. Action-filled, entertaining and complete with a sassy droid who provides comic relief, seeing Rogue One is a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening.

   Why Him?
   Rated R

Loving, but overprotective dad Ned and his family travel to Northern California to spend time with their college-aged daughter, Stephanie, and her internet millionaire boyfriend Laird. Laird has good intentions, but absolutely no filter, and a rivalry ensues when Laird asks Ned for his permission to marry Stephanie.

Why Him? is not the type of movie I generally recommend on this blog-it’s rude, inappropriate, bawdy, and not a movie for children. It’s also hilarious and sweet. So if you’re prepared, and just want to be entertained, Why Him? is the movie for you!

   Rated PG-13

In 1950s Pittsburgh, sanitation worker Troy is a bitter husband and father because his professional baseball dreams were dashed due to segregation. Unfortunately, his stoic wife, Rose, and their teenaged son, Cory, suffer the brunt of his anger.

Dialog-heavy with limited sets, watching Fences feels like watching a play. And though the subject matter is heavy, the acting in this film is amazing, and I believe the actors will be recognized during award season. If you’re in the mood for a more substantial experience, Fences is an excellent choice.