Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Emily & Henry!

Today, June 30, is the birthday of two famous people - of course, many famous people were born on this day, but I'm think of only two. They're an unlikely pair - an English writer who died young after catching a cold at her brother's funeral and an American inventor who revolutionized the workforce and made reliable automobiles affordable to the masses. Can you guess? The latter, of course, is Henry Ford. The former may be a bit trickier, so here's a hint: Heathcliff. Just the name is swoonsome, isn't it? And he sprang from the creative mind of Emily Bronte.

Bronte was born in 1918, the middle of the three Bronte sisters. She is best remembered for her brilliant novel, Wuthering Heights. It's been quite a few years since I've read WH or watched the classic film version with the unforgettable Laurence Olivier, but I think it's time to revisit one or both! If you've seen the movie, but not read the novel - or vice versa - be warned, the endings are quite different. And what would Emily think of the Hollywood ending? Possibly not much!

Fifteen years after Emily's death, Henry Ford was born just outside Detroit, Michigan. He became a household name with the introduction of the Model T in 1908. Just ten years later, half of all cars in America were Model T's. My husband and I spotted this antique Ford last winter. It's not a Model T, but it's certainly from Henry's era.

And, if these colors are authentic (well, the chartreuse is doubtful) this was made after Ford's famous directive that customers could have any color they liked, as long as it was black. Ford's innovations didn't stop at the drawing board, he initiated a 40 hour workweek and minimum wages, and was quite the visionary. His interests included plastics, engineered wood, airplanes, and ethanol (Ford's first ethanol-powered car was produced in 1942!). And like most famous creative-types, he had his quirks as well. I mean, who else would want a test tube containing Thomas Edison's last breath?

So happy birthday to Emily & Henry - and thanks for the entertainment and transportation. And you can celebrate in your own way by driving your hybrid Fusion to your local bookshop and purchasing Wuthering Heights - it will make a great read for the upcoming holiday weekend!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

And the CSN Giveaway Goes to . . .

Thanks to the great folks at CSN for sponsoring this fun giveaway! And thanks to all who entered. I enjoyed reading the many ways you would use the Le Creuset bakers! And for those who didn't win - remember you can still purchase these at CSN's

And now the moment we've all been waiting for: the winner, chosen by, is Jennifer M - you can check out her blog Mommy 2 Monkeys here. Congratulations Jennifer! Maybe we'll see your baked ziti in the new dishes on your blog!

Thanks again and stop by over the next few days for a chat about napkins and table settings!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Whites

Today, with triple digit heat, these white blooms were like a cool oasis (especially when viewed from indoors!).

I'm thinking about planting more 'whites' next year!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Picture yourself in Philadelphia in 1787

You're a delegate to the Federalist Convention and you're debating the content of what will become our Constitution. You've been there over a month already; it's hot, crowded, expensive. It seems that the convention will certainly last through the summer and perhaps well into autumn. Indeed, creating a new government is not for the faint of heart.

Fast forward to today . . . we know the result of the Constitutional Convention and much has been written about the convention itself. Additionally, many details are available online. Wikipedia has an excellent timeline, for those who like to see history in an organized way. And we can also access a day-by-day record of the convention. Madison's notes on the debates are available online at the Yale Law Library. Click here to see what happened on a particular date.

I was interested to read the notes from today (June 26) - among other topics, the delegates discussed term lengths for congress (aka the 2nd branch) and salary options. What if they had agreed to two year terms instead of six? Or if Dr. Franklin had persuaded the group to pay congress no salary? If you'd like to know what happens next - check out Madison's notes. I'm going to skip ahead . . .

The painting is Independence Hall by Ferdinand Richardt, 1858-1863, White House Collection.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Guess Who's Killing My Fern?

The Finches, that's who! Yes, Mr. & Mrs. House Finch, of the Long Island Finches, have set up housekeeping in one of our hanging ferns and are starting a family. Last season, they summered in a different location on our property and had a sad encounter with a King snake. The resulting death of their little ones has made them a bit wary, and consequently, we don't have the heart to interfere with their little home this season . . . and as the mother-to-be gets very upset if we touch the fern that houses her nest we've been neglecting it as evidenced by its lackluster appearance!

It looks like all will end well this year, however, as the happy couple now have five eggs and are eagerly awaiting the arrivals.

And by the way, if you live in the eastern half of the US and have house finches in your neighborhood, they are also part of the Long Island clan. Did you know that seventy years ago there were no house finches in the eastern part of the country? In 1940, some from California were released on Long Island and within fifty years they had spread across the eastern US and southern Canada - with their numbers in the millions. If you'd like to read more about the House Finch and how its spread affected other birds, check out this article.

So, stay tuned for progress updates over the next few weeks. And since we'll be watching these little birds, you might like this poem about bird watching from Robert Service:

The Bird Watcher

In Wall Street once a potent power,
And now a multi-millionaire
Alone within a shady bower
In clothes his valet would not wear,
He watches bird wings bright the air.

The man who mighty mergers planned,
And oil and coal kinglike controlled,
With field-glasses in failing hand
Spies downy nestlings five days old,
With joy he could not buy for gold.

Aye, even childlike is his glee;
But how he crisps with hate and dread
And shakes a clawlike fist to see
A kestrel hover overhead:
Though he would never shoot it dead.

Although his cook afar doth forage
For food to woo his appetite,
The old man lives on milk and porridge
And now it is his last delight
At eve if one lone linnet lingers.
To pick crushed almonds from his fingers.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mandy's House is Pink and Green

Okay, so it's not really Mandy's house that's pink and green - it's my fabulous Mandevilla! Ever since I grew hyacinth beans a few years ago, I've been hooked on vines. They're easy, showy, and fun to watch because they grow so quickly.

And it's not too late to add one to your summer garden . . . so check them out the next time you're at your local garden shop! I'd love to know your favorite plant this summer . . . perhaps it's a mandevilla of another color?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

If Only Our Neighborhood Had One of These . . .

No, it's not the Drive-in Liquor store that interests me - it's the customers. Today I had to shoo away three deer who had nudged through my kitchen garden barriers and were leisurely munching. Actually shoo away is not exactly accurate; I spotted them while brushing my teeth and ran onto the upstairs porch - toothbrush in hand - to throw a pair of flip-flops at them. Not my most graceful, dignified moment!

If only we had a drive-in liquor store to occupy them . . . I'm sure they'd choose a little Southern Comfort over my cucumbers! And I could be a little more Grace Kelly and a little less fish wife . . .

AP Photo, taken in Medicine Bow, Wyoming

Monday, June 21, 2010

What?! Another Giveaway! Le Creuset, you say?

Today is the first day of summer and the longest day of the year (as in the most hours of sunlight . . . not as in the day when everything goes wrong and you can't wait for it to be over, or as in the epic WWII movie The Longest Day!). And what better way to celebrate Midsummer than with Giveaways!

The Caro-Nan giveaway ended last night and the lucky winner (chosen by is Paula Michele! Congratulations!

And the good news is that I'm hosting another giveaway that starts right now! It's from the nice people at CSN. CSN's 200+ stores have everything you need, so whether you're in the market for indoor or outdoor lights, small appliances, or baby items, check them out. Our giveaway this week is from their cookware site and it's something I know you'll love:
A set of Le Creuset stoneware baking dishes! The larger dish is 10.5" x 7" and the smaller is 7" x 5" - perfect for summer meals. I'm imagining the larger one piled high with grilled corn on the cob!

These are available in many of Le Creuset's yummy colors: Caribbean, Dijon, Cobalt, White, Cherry, Kiwi . . . etc. Check out their site to find your perfect color!

The Giveaway Nitty-Gritty - The Giveaway ends at midnight June 28 and is open to readers in the US and Canada. To enter, simply leave a comment telling me how you would use these fabulous bakers.

For additional entries, do one or both of the following and leave a comment accordingly (the comments will serve as your entries).
  • Blog about this giveaway, with a link to this post
  • Follow this blog (if you're already following, leave a comment to let me know you want to enter)
The winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 29. Good luck!

Disclosure: I have received no compensation or merchandise from CSN.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pass the Salad, Comrade

Look what's in our fridge this weekend! It's a truly nostalgic food - one that Jane and Michael Stern call "preeminently modern" in their classic cookbook of bygone foods, Square Meals. It's jiggly, almost foolproof, and comes in fabulous colors that are not-found-in-nature. Have you guessed? It's Jell-O! Actually it's not plain Jell-O . . . it's a congealed salad. Yes, that staple of '60s suburbia. This particular salad was prepared by my mom for years and I still love it - and I think you will, too.

I'm adding this to my list of foods that are really tricky to photograph; Jell-O has nudged soup from the top of the list! But, you can get an idea of how colorful this salad is - and also don't miss my grandmother's Fire King bowl - what better dish for a congealed salad?

The really funny thing about this salad is its name: Russian Salad. Of course, calling this a salad is a stretch - it's not a salad in the fresh, crispy, lightly prepared sense. But, it is a salad in the 'wouldn't be perfect as a main course' sense. Actually, we like it as a cool, summer dessert. And why is it called Russian Salad? Who knows? The Cold War apparently held a fascination with cooks - just look at the recipes from the '50s and '60s that have nothing to do with real Russian food: Russian Dressing, Russian Tea (of course this is made with space-age Tang!), and this salad.

If you'd to try this sweet, fruity, retro salad - here's the recipe:

Russian Salad

1 small pkg. lime Jell-O
3/4 cup boiling water
1 pkg. (3 oz. ) cream cheese
14 marshmallows, cut into small pieces
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, with juice
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup mayonnaise (light mayo is fine)
3/4 to 1 cup diced bananas
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

Combine Jell-O, boiling water, cream cheese, and marshmallows over low heat and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool. In a small bowl, toss bananas with lemon juice, set aside. Add pineapple, milk, and mayonnaise to Jell-O mixture, mix well. Fold in bananas and nuts. Chill.


Friday, June 18, 2010

The Ice Cube Cometh!

And ice doesn't just come in cubes these days - look at these fun shapes!

How cute are these Gin & Titonic ice cubes? The tray makes one iceberg for each ship, so no guest will feel left out . . . or, as bartender, you can mix them up any way you like. Would you prefer three icebergs or two ships in your White Russian?

And how about these ice kabobs? I'd love to find one of these in a tall glass of lemonade or iced tea!

And finally, the ice jewels! Serve these with carrot juice if you're feeling punny. You can find these clever ice trays, and more, here. I think the ice kabobs are my favorite! And if you're going for a Mad Men feel for your summer parties, you'll need a retro ice tray, like this one from Vermont Country Store:
And an ice bucket! How about this lovely monogrammed one from Williams-Sonoma?
So don't underestimate the importance of ice in your summer drinks! And remember, Aristotle and Sir Francis Bacon believed warm water freezes faster than cold. Were they right? Click here to find out before you fill that ice tray!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I'd like to introduce Sharon

I know you'll like her - she's a real rose. She's also the perfect guest - knows just when to appear and always leaves long before you're tired of her.

Sharon has a long and interesting history, too; she's the inspiration for poems and novels and songs. She's rather modest though, so if you want to know more, check out her Wikipedia page. And finally, she's quite photogenic as you can see. I snapped this photo of her this morning and think it captures her loveliness. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June's Not Just for Weddings!

It's also Iced Tea Month!

Wow - a whole month devoted to that wonderful, refreshing drink. There's a great line in 'Steel Magnolias' about iced tea - Dolly Parton's character (remember her, the hairdresser?) calls it the House Wine of the South. I loved that because it's really true. In the South we love our iced tea, and we drink it year round. It's hard for Southerners visiting other parts of the country in the off-season because you can't get a glass of brewed tea - you can get Snapple, but not tea.

So, how do you make a great pitcher of iced tea? The same exact way you make a good cup of hot tea - bring cold water to a boil, add your tea (leaves or bags), and steep. Most iced teas steep for 3 to 5 minutes, but you can experiment. Once the tea is brewed, add cool water until it's the desired strength. (Note about the photos: the tea in the pitcher above appears really strong, but is actually perfect. Tea appears much darker in photographs - at least in mine - so water it down a bit if you're going to take pics - that's what I did with the tea in the glasses.)

Here are my tips for perfect iced tea:
  • don't add ice or refrigerate until the tea has cooled (it may make the tea cloudy)
  • choose your tea carefully, many teas that are delish hot are not delish iced
  • keeping in mind the previous point, if your favorite flavored tea doesn't work well iced, try brewing it with half black tea - the result may be perfect!
  • for basic tea made with tea bags, my favorite is Luzianne (that's also what they serve at Bojangles which has legendary iced tea, albeit very sweet!)
  • if your tea is cloudy, add a little boiling water
And that brings up the Iced Tea Spoon - or as it's properly known, the Iced Beverage Spoon. Whenever I teach a dining etiquette course, questions inevitably arise about the Iced Tea Spoon. Here's what you need to know about it:
  • when setting the table, it goes on the outer right
  • once used, it cannot be placed on the table (this rule applies to any piece of flatware, of course!)
  • it remains on the table as long as the beverage does - normally throughout the meal
  • the problem that arises frequently is that as the table is cleared, there is nothing on which to place the iced beverage spoon (for example, during the dessert course . . . and you can't enjoy that lemon chess pie without a nice glass of tea!) - the correct place for the spoon in this situation is in the glass - it may seem a bit awkward, but it's preferable to leaving a tea stain on your hostess' lovely tablecloth
And that's iced tea in a nutshell. Perhaps another time we can talk about sun tea, and sweet tea, and tea with mint . . . and your favorite ways to make iced tea! And, if you're feeling crafty you can also celebrate Iced Tea Month by making your own Iced Tea candle (directions here). Isn't it amazing? I think on a hot day, you might be temporarily fooled by this!

So as we quickly move into summer, try to keep a pitcher of iced tea close at hand! You won't be sorry . . . and I'm off to have a glass now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Caro-Nan Giveaway - The Second Basket

So this is Day Two of my "I Can't Believe It's Been a Year" giveaway. See this post for details or to enter. Perhaps you didn't enter yesterday because the turtle bag is not your thing? Well, here's the second basket purse - it has the classic Caro-Nan buildings on the lid.

Caro-Nan traveled to different cities and personalized the baskets by painting the names of local landmarks and shops (including, of course, the shop that carried Caro-Nan!) and this one has a particularly detailed painting. This one features the Bonnet Shop and Book Nook - perhaps one of you will know these shops and tell us the city!

This one also has a bit of damage as seen here. I would still carry this as a handbag, but you could also find decorative uses for it - you'll see the hastily arranged plants to give you an idea. (Not to worry - the red fabric interior is well protected!)

One other thing that is really special about this Caro-Nan is the mirror inside the lid - and the original owner's name on an address label. Isn't that sweet?

Again, thanks to all of you who visited my blog over the past year and especially to those who commented and e-mailed. And good luck to all of you who enter - I'll e-mail the winner with details about the condition of both baskets so you can make an informed choice!

Stop by tomorrow for a chat about Iced Tea Month and that pesky iced beverage spoon!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The "I can't believe it's been a year" Giveaway!

Today is my blogoversary - or, more accurately, the anniversary of this blog! To celebrate the first twelve months of blogging bliss, I'm having a giveaway. I thought the most appropriate giveaway would be something that really had a connection to my blog - the most obvious thing would be cheese straws, but I know you can make your own, so . . . I'm going with the second logical choice. The search item that brings the most visitors to my blog is also what inspires the most e-mails. And that item is: Caro-Nan Bags!

Since blogging about them last August (click here to read that post), I've gotten at least one e-mail each week from someone who likes them, loves them, remembers them, wants them . . . or all of the above. This enthusiasm was catching and I confess I've added a few Caro-Nans to my closet since then!

So, to say thanks to all the friendly bloggers and blog-readers who welcomed me and my blog, I'm giving away a Caro-Nan Basket Purse! I've also found out a few things about Caro-Nan during the past year and I'll share those with you later in the week. The giveaway winner will have a choice between two bags - the first is shown today and the second will make its debut on this blog tomorrow.

The Details:
  • The giveaway ends on Sunday, June 20 and the winner will be announced on Monday.
  • To enter just leave a comment telling me which posts, or types of post, you liked most this year.
  • You can also have a second entry if you're a follower - leave a comment to let me know.
  • If you don't have a blog or profile with an e-mail address, please leave your contact e-mail info in your comment, or send it to me via email, so I can contact you if you win.
  • Contest is open to those with US or Canadian mailing addresses.

Finally, please keep in mind the age of Caro-Nan bags - they're 40+ years old and have the wear expected from a well-loved, vintage item.

Good luck!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Find Your Blueberry Thrill!

I'm feeling blue this weekend - not sad, just in a blueberry mood. If you're not yet in a blueberry mood, read on . . .

Check out this hand-dyed yarn from The Plucky Knitter. If I could knit, I would make something yummy with this - it's called 'Blueberry Queen' and really captures the essence of blueberries.

But, perhaps we should move on to real berries. Is it blueberry season where you live? It's just beginning here and I discovered that NC is the fourth largest blueberry producer - this tasty fact is from the NC Blueberry Council (who knew we had a BC?). And as you might guess, we also have a blueberry festival to celebrate this fabulous fruit. And, of course, every good food festival deserves a queen - here's Pamela Ann Norris, the NC Blueberry Queen from 1973. I wonder where she is now - is she in a blueberry mood?

To find a blueberry festival close to you, check out the list here. I was surprised at the number of cities that celebrate the little blueberry - some even take their festivals to another level - like the town of Stony Plain in Alberta that combines blueberries with bluegrass for a three day event. You'll also find parades, pageants, cook-offs, and, of course, lots of delicious blueberries!

What did I do with my blueberries this weekend? Besides eating them by the handful and on salads and cereal, I made some tasty muffins. I like this recipe because the muffins are moist, but not too sweet.

You'll need two bowls, and here's what you do:

In a medium bowl mix the wet ingredients:
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup safflower or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
In large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of one orange or lemon
With large spatula, toss 1 1/2 to 2 cups blueberries in flour mixture. Gently add wet ingredients. Stir only until mixed. Fill a 12-muffin pan with mixture (I use baking papers because they're easy; if baking directly in muffin pan, you'll need to butter and flour the pan.). Bake at 375 for 20 min. or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

I know you'll like these muffins - they're great for breakfast and they only take minutes to make. (If you're using frozen berries, don't thaw them because they'll leave blue streaks in the batter - also you'll need to increase the baking time just a bit.)

So, I hope you're feeling a little blue now, too. I'd love to hear your favorite recipe for blueberries . . . and, stop by tomorrow for a special announcement! I'm off to have a muffin . . .

Friday, June 11, 2010

What's cheery on the porch on a summer evening?

Here's a hint - they're round with a cheery soft glow:

You're guessing lights? Correct! Seven or eight years ago we decided to put lights around the perimeter of the ceiling of our upstairs porch. We bought some really cute dragonfly lights from Smith & Hawken (don't you miss them?) and used them for several years.

When they too rusty and tatty to use, we purchased some outdoor lights with small, round globes - these were festive, but fragile - and after losing several globes each year to breakage we decided to toss those at the end of last season.

So this year we were unsure what to do and I happened to see these strings of paper lanterns at Target. They're larger than the lights we've used previously and this led us to hang them lower with the shades visible from the street. We're very pleased with the effect and hope they last for several seasons.

If you need some great lighting on your patio, porch, garden, or deck - check out the selection at Target. They're sure to have a style that suits you - flower pots, old-fashioned globes, paper shades (like ours or in bright party colors), lanterns . . . and hurry, so you can enjoy them all summer!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Even Educated Fleas Love Him! Happy Birthday, Cole!

June 9 is a red letter day for American music - it's the birthday of composer-lyricist Cole Porter! I'm a big fan of the Great American Songbook and Cole Porter is one of my favorite composers. His lyrics are so clever, and as my husband likes to joke - his slaw's not bad, either!

Here's a snippet from one of his many hits: 'Every Time We Say Goodbye'

When you're near
There's such an air
of Spring about it
I can hear a lark somewhere
Begin to sing about it
There's no love song finer
But how strange the change
From major to minor
Every time we say goodbye

Of course, reading the lyrics doesn't really show the brilliance of the song, but Rod Stewart does a nice version on his 'The Great American Songbook' album. The Ella Fitzgerald songbook series also features several of Porter's greats, including 'Easy to Love'. And any singer who performs standards includes one or more of Porter's works - and then, we can't forget 'Kiss Me, Kate' the highly entertaining musical based on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew - the point of all this being, you don't have to look far or listen long to hear a little Cole Porter.

And when you're in New York, you can enjoy Cole Porter in a more intimate manner by having a drink within reach of his piano; the Steinway permanently resides in the lobby of the Waldorf=Astoria.* You can gaze at the piano while thinking of the intricate rhymes in 'You're the Top' - after all, who else could smoothly combine references to all these in one song: Mahatma Gandhi, Napoleon Brandy, Louvre Museum, Colosseum, Waldorf salad, Berlin ballad, Mae West's shoulder . . .

And here's the perfect birthday cake to go with the piano - it's from Jean Marie's Pattisserie in Great Neck, NY. I haven't visited Jean Marie's, or Great Neck for that matter, but a friend tells me their Napoleons are heavenly, so I'm sure the piano cake is quite yummy! Mr. Porter would probably compose a quick ditty about it!

Finally, if you're in the mood for a little YouTube, check out this wonderful rendition of 'You're the Top' as sung by Diana Rigg.

Or this original recording of Cole Porter himself from 1934:

Happy Birthday, Mr. Porter, and thanks for the songs!

*not a typo, the - has been replaced with the = , perhaps to stop people saying, "meet me at the hyphen"!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Good-bye, old friend! No, actually, au revoir . . .

The old friend in this case is not a person, but rather an article of clothing. In fact, it's my favorite gardening shirt . . . and today was its last hurrah. I've been working day and night on a project that's progressing much too slowly and today I decided to take a short gardening break and enjoy the lovely mild weather. (Isn't that just the way with the garden? When you have lots of time to garden the weather is brutally cold or hot or wet, but on days when you shouldn't even think about the garden the weather is perfect!)

So today I had to admit that this shirt is just too worn and I'm a little sad because it's the best thing ever to wear while gardening. It's perfect under my gardening apron; it's soft as only a laundered-hundreds-of-times cotton shirt can be; the long sleeves protect my arms from scratches, bugs, and the sun (sadly, it's not so much the cancer threat that worries me as more freckles!).

And thinking of the history of this shirt, I am reminded of a few nostalgic things:

  • the years when my husband wore a suit every day (of course, this was originally his shirt)
  • the time when Abercrombie and Fitch really was a Gentleman's Outfitter and their catalogs didn't require plain, brown wrappers
  • the years when we still had a good local tailor who would turn collars and cuffs for less than $10! (and yes, these were turned before I inherited the shirt)

And one final tribute to this well-made garment - after years and years of use, it still has all the original buttons!

So what's next for this ripped and torn shirt? The fabric is so friendly, or, as they say in textiles, it has a great hand - so I'm turning it into a pillow for the hammock! I'll let you know how it turns out . . . in the meantime I'll be breaking in a new shirt from my husband's Old Shirt Collection. If only I could find a good use for those early '90s military-stripe ties!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Can't wait for the new season of Mad Men?

Do you have July 25 circled on your calendar? I do, because that's when the new season of Mad Men premieres! But, what's a fan to do until then? Mad Men Yourself, of course!

That's what I've done and now I'm popping over to your house for a nice cup of tea and a long chat about Season 3! How do you like my new red purse? I'm thinking of it as an authentic Kelly bag. But, back to Mad Men, if you're a fan of the show, you must check out the Mad Men site on AMC. And even if you're not a fan (which must mean you've yet to watch the show!), you'll enjoy exploring the '60s side of your personality with the Mad Men Yourself feature.

And if you'd like a little Don Draper for your desk, get in line to purchase the Barbie Mad Men collection that goes on sale in July. You'll need to be a big fan of the show and of Barbie for these - they're $75 each . . . and in the world of Mad Men that could buy quite a few drinks, not to mention smokes!

So, don't worry, July 25 will be here before you know it! Think of the interim as an opportunity to rewatch Season 3 - I know it's on the top of my Netflix list. And now I'm back in my Mad Men mode, but this time in formal attire for a night on the town (no wild encounters in the coat check closet, though . . .).

See you in July!
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