From the Kitchen Counter…

Home Design, Travel, Vintage, Antiques, Flea Markets, Home Renovation, Crockery and Dishes of any sort–writing, wandering and wondering…. I write about them all.

Category: travel

Of Toilets, Towels and Toaster Strudel …inspiration can come in some unlikely places!

View from: my living room sofa – where I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time of late.

So…. I have been laid up for over a week with an angry sciatic nerve screaming at me louder than a politician’s denial of inappropriate groping. (Geez…did these guys miss that fundamental Kindergarten lesson – “keep your hands to yourself.”??) The culprit for my screaming back I’m sure is the toilet I heaved singlehandedly out of the bathroom of my newest project house because I was too impatient to wait for my big burly crew to arrive.

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Fire Emergency Kit 101 – White Wine for Spritzers is essential.

View From the Patio Weds. Eve:Image 7

Mood Reading: ZZZ’s (now that the embers are out, sleeping much better : ) 

So, there we were on a hot, sultry Wednesday evening this week, preparing dinner as usual with the news on in the background. With temps in the 100’s all week – no air conditioning and humidity hanging thicker than molasses in the normally arid desert, I was more concerned with my now-sticky linen blouse and less-then-alluring hairdo than any forces of nature. As I mindlessly washed the arugula at the kitchen sink, (and dreamed of the downpour that Read the rest of this entry »

As I was saying….

View from the Tuscan Countryside: image As I was saying, (see last blog post), sometimes the things unplanned are the most memorable on a trip like this.  Case in point…we set out this morning to go rent the car that we planned to have for three days of touring through the Tuscan countryside ala Thelma and Louise sans (hopefully) the final cliff scene. Read the rest of this entry »

Sip… Schlep, Sip some more…repeat. Touring Italy (traveling anything but light!)

View from Ponte Vecchio – Florence, Italy: image

Writing this from Siena hotel room – requisite glass of wine within reach, recent acquisitions safe and in one piece.  We’ve been eating, shopping, gawking and sipping our way through Italy. imageSeems ages ago since we were in Venice but it’s only been a week – we’ve covered a lot of ground (and water) in that time. One thing Elaine and I have learned on this trip…virtually every time we have deviated from our oh-so-planned-ahead-itinerary, or happened on a serendipitous conversation with a local, it has led us to a fascinating adventure that can’t be found in Rick Steve’s pages or any other guide book. Read the rest of this entry »

Out of Paris by the Skin of Our Teeth (and with a few Euros left!) Hello Venizia!

View coming into Venice by Water taxi:



Mood Reading:  Not enough z’s to even register!

4:30 came awfully quick this morning.  Elaine and I spent our last night in Paris dining outside at a imagelovely little cafe near Isle St. Louis.  We chatted over chilled Sancerre with one of the locals about the magic and marvels of his beloved City of lights and then flanuered past Notre Dame around 11:30 pm.  The streets alive with tourists, residents, and endless energy – we came across a delightful couple from NYC who had just landed and stopped long enough to share some stories, give our limited but solicited perspective of what to see (their first visit) and share some bawdy guffaws and good natured laughs as only Americans can in an otherwise discreetly soft-spoken civilized city.  Got back to the hotel around midnite and realized we had only a little over 4  hours to pack our flea market finds (EGADS!! We’re only four days in and already using the expandable feature on our suitcases), sleep, phoof our hair, and start it  all over again in a different country! Read the rest of this entry »

Taking Manhattan By Storm – uh…wait…The Storm That Took Manhattan

View from my niece’s skyscraper office in New York City:

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Mood Reading: ZZZZ’s (slept like a rock last night – still jet lagged so went to bed early and woke up late – after 3 cups of coffee – I’m almost back to my perky little self)


The weather forecast for New York City last week said “cloudy – chance of showers – and clearing by the end of the week”, so when photomy flight from Reno touched down last Tuesday, I wasn’t worried. I’d packed my brolly, had 2 pairs of knee high boots with me and when I got off the plane, the light drizzle was a welcome relief after the Nevada drought I’d just left. Little did I know… I should have packed a snorkel (as my friend Cathy suggested.)

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On the Trail – Sometimes the Wildlife is the Least of Your Problems

View From the Hiking Trail:

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Mood Reading:  ZZZ’s (I know it’s just a piddly hour difference – but this daylight savings thing is kicking my butt.  (I hate waking up when it’s dark – and often just don’t!)

There are two kinds of people in this world:  dog-lovers and everyone copy 3

It’s not that I don’t like those in the latter category, on the contrary. I Read the rest of this entry »

From My Kitchen Counter to Yours…

View From The Kitchen Counter:


Mood Reading: ZZZZ (Slept well last night – in the mountains)

So…Another year has passed.  Here it is, already the day after Xmas (Boxing Day as it’s known in some parts) and I woke up this morning thinking …wait, what happened? Did Christmas come and go already?  ButUnknown I’m still digesting my Yuletide pudding… wait — I have another bottle of nog that’s yet to be opened!  And what about those last minute little stocking stuffers I’ve stashed somewhere, hmmm, surely they’re around here somewhere… Read the rest of this entry »

Deb and Di’s Fabulous, Frenzied, French, “Non we’re not sisters…” Tour Part II

View From Saint-Michel:

DSCN3443 3

Mood Reading:  ZZZZ’s (unfortunately back into my daily routine, all too soon)

We landed in Paris on Sunday afternoon – the two of us hauling roller bags,  bulging carry-ons and every electrical hair appliance ever invented. Between us we had to buy 2 electrical conversion kits and borrow several converter plugs just to accommodate our morning blonde ritual.  Never mind, land we did, prepared to take the city by storm.  Our strategy was to hit DSCN3475the ground running… no naps, not even 20 winks. Dump the bags in the hotel, grab a double espresso and keep moving to fend off the jet lag or we knew we’d be toast. For the most part, we were successful.  We checked in, scoped out the electrical sockets in the room, (we all have our priorities) and within an hour of arrival were strolling along St. Germaine in search of some much needed caffeine.  Read the rest of this entry »

Deb and Di’s Fabulous, Frenzied, French “Non, we’re not sisters…” Tour

View From the Left Bank (Paris):



Mood Reading:  ZZZ’s (have been sleeping okay considering it’s been a week–but I’m still experiencing occasional wakefulness at 2 am.  I’m hoping the added pounds aren’t as stubborn as the jet lag!)

*Note: This is the first in what could be several installments.  

I promise it won’t be your dry, average, Fodor-esque travel log – Rick Steve has seemingly cornered that market in Biblical proportions. But what his thoroughly researched travel guide lacks, we have made up for via this uniquely ‘blonde’ IMG_5190perspective of two otherwise demure (ahem) middle aged females blazing the continent with hairdryers, curling irons, an extensive array of requisite electrical converters, roller bags the weight of VW bugs,  carry-on’s the size of a small ottomans, and every cosmetic and beauty potion known to man in tow. If IMG_5189you’re looking for the no fuss, wash and wear, low maintenance guide to international travel, you’re definitely on the wrong page. This is the mega watt, hair vs humidity, “of-course-we-can-cram-it-all-in you-can-sleep-when-you’re-dead” version of FRANCE ON 100 EUROS A DAY (as long as we can hit the ATM 3 more times before sundown and the bank doesn’t freeze our account….) Read the rest of this entry »