The General Muir

Yesterday, my husband and I got a sneak preview of the new restaurant, bakery and deli – The General Muir – at Emory Point.

Opening today, The General Muir is a loving tribute to the New York Jewish deli honoring traditional favorites – pastrami is cured and smoked in house and bagels are boiled and hand rolled -- and much more. The menu will focus primarily on fresh ingredients and simple preparations.

Our friends Jennifer and Ben Johnson -- West Egg Cafe owners – and chef Todd Ginsberg saw the opportunity to open a much-needed slice of New York (with a twist) in Atlanta. The restaurant is named for the U.S. refugee transport ship that brought Jennifer’s mother and grandparents, Holocaust survivors, to New York following World War II. Old family photos abound inside the restaurant. Love that.

Our breakfast was delish. I chose the “Avenue A” from a menu of open faced bagels. It arrived on a small breadboard with nova, cream cheese, avocado, grapefruit, cucumber and dill. Yum!

My husband ordered the “The General” – two eggs, two slices of pastrami and latkes with applesauce and sour cream. He dug in too quickly for me take a pic. For dessert (not something I usually order with breakfast, but who cares) -- a slice of  chocolate babka with a generous schmear of butter and dusting of orange zest. It comes as no surprise that I fell asleep on the couch later that afternoon.

As their postcard says: “Love is like butter, it’s good with bread.”

The space itself is amazing. My photos don't do it justice, so you’ll have to go see for yourself.

Open for breakfast, lunch and brunch. Dinner with a full bar await liquor license.

Check it out!

I feel bad about my neck

Seriously, I do feel bad about my neck, as well as my 11's, marionette lines, saggy boobs and muffin top. Getting old sucks.

Last year I hosted my book club to discuss I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron. I had already read the book several years before, but felt it was time for a refresher, especially after I saw this YouTube video: 

Light bulb moment: Wouldn’t it be fun to ask everyone to bring a scarf, discuss the book and then practice scarf tying? Yes, it was fun. And, several glasses of prosecco made it even more the merrier.

For those of you who haven’t read the book, it’s a witty commentary on women and aging. Nora doesn’t mince words. She cuts right to the chase. That’s what I love most about her. Examples:
  • I feel bad about my neck.
  • I’m sorry to report that I have a mustache.
  • I would like to be in shape. Every time I get into shape, something breaks.
  • I hate that I need reading glasses. 
One section of the book lists “What I wish I’d known.” Some that resonated with me:
  • If the shoe doesn’t fit in the shoe store, it’s never going to fit.
  • The reason you’re waking up in the middle of the night is the second glass of wine. 

  • Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty-five.
  • At the age of 55 you will get a saggy roll just above your waist even if you are painfully thin. This saggy roll … will be especially visible from the back and will force you to reevaluate half the clothes in your closet, especially the white shirts. 
Yikes! I’ve had this roll since after the birth of my first child. I hope the A-line continues to pop in and out of vogue.

So here’s what I wish I had known: Slathering your body with baby oil and using a foil-covered record album cover to reflect sun onto your face would accelerate the aging process exponentially and possibly cause skin cancer. Good news: Sunscreen has come a long way since I was a foolish adolescent. Bad news: The damage has already been done.

What do you wish you had known? 

Where's your favorite place to buy scarves? Boden for me, of course!

p.s. Along the same lines, Girls Lena Dunham recently signed a $3.7 million contract with Random House for her memoir Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned. Can’t wait! Is Lena the "floating generation's" Nora?

What's on your vanity?

I'm a minimalist when it comes to makeup and other beauty products. I don't sit at a pretty dressing table to primp and admire myself like this:

My beauty regimen takes place standing at my bathroom vanity. I like uncluttered spaces, so all of my stuff is stashed away in cabinets and drawers. If my husband were to show up early from work one day and announce "pack your bags we're going to Jamaica," I would grab these five items -- in addition to my thongs and string bikinis, of course -- in a jiff.

My love affair with Mason Pearson brushes began in high school. My first brush stood the test of time from high school into young adulthood when my dog chewed it up. I've had my current brush for more than 10 years. My medium-bore bristle and nylon junior retails for $125. Is it worth it? Every penny.

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Second is my Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System. The Mia retails for $119. Good deals abound online and at some department stores. I bought mine at Dr. Q Cosmetics. Clarisonic has a wide range of products at different price points, including cleansers and serums. The Mia came with the gentle hydro cleanser, but I switched back to Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser, which I've been using for years. Available at most drug and grocery stores, it is cheap and dermatologist recommended. Added bonus: It can be used to eliminate lice!

Our household could not survive without Aquaphor Healing Ointment. The product tag line says it all:
It soothes. It protects. It helps heal. You might say it works wonders.
Trust me when I say it does. I use it for cuts, rashes, chapped lips, cuticle cream, eye makeup remover, moisturizer for dry hands and much more. Again, this is an inexpensive product and widely available. Go get some if you don't already have it.

On the more indulgent side, I love L'Occitane shea butter hand and foot creams. My sister got me hooked on them, and I've been addicted ever since. The company has three storefronts here in Atlanta if you want to peek in and enjoy a small slice of Southern of France. L'Occitane products make great gifts. Beautiful packaging too. Not cheap, but worth it.

Last, but not least, Moroccanoil hair products. My stylist Heather who I've been seeing for 12 years recommended it. My hair looks like a Brillo pad in heat and humidity. If you have this problem, get some. The oil eliminates frizz, conditions and speeds styling time. A 3.4 oz. bottle retails for $43. Not super cheap, but it lasts and works.

Do tell, what's on your top five?

21 day organization challenge

Not surprisingly, my 30-minute-a-day cleaning regimen is not going well. I am transitioning to getting my house organized. It's a good thing Holiday Sparkle has already planned it out for me. Love this.

In addition to the plan, there is a check list to keep you honest.

I have checked numbers 6-7 off my list. This weekend, I plan to tackle the basement, which is a huge undertaking. Could take weeks.

If you have garage organizing on your list, hop on over to Simplified Bee for a Monkey Bars Garage Storage Systems giveaway and discount.

Have a good weekend!

How to raise self-reliant children

Would you allow your 9-year-old to ride public transit solo?

Flashback to 2008. Remember Lenore Skenazy who wrote an article in the New York Sun about letting her 9-year-old take the NYC subway by himself – and the public and media backlash that followed? Today, Skenazy writes the blog Free-Range kids (How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children without Going Nuts with Worry). She also wrote a book under the same title Free Range Kids.

A friend recently turned me on to the blog, and I’m loving what she has to say. Skenazy contends that children will never grow up or encounter choice or gain independence if parents attempt to shield them from every possible danger or difficultly in their everyday lives. I agree.

Raising self-reliant kids is no easy task. I sure wish I had the magic formula to make it happen, but I do have a few go-to books and other resources to help guide me along the way.

My all-time favorite parenting book is Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children by Wendy Mogel. A clinical psychologist and parenting expert, Mogel helps parents learn how to turn their children’s worst traits into their greatest attributes. The teachings are relevant to all faiths, so you certainly don’t have to be Jewish to reap its benefits.

I’ve also read her latest book Blessing of a B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers. My copy is already dog-eared, and I’m sure it will sit on my bedside table soon.

The New York Times has an interesting parenting blog about kids at all ages and stages: Motherlode: Adventures in Parenting. A former NYC prosecutor, lead blogger KJ Dell’Antoinia has been writing about the personal, cultural and political aspects of family life for a decade. Read Lisa Belkin’s review of Blessing of a B Minus on Motherlode. Lisa now writes for the blog HuffPost Parents -- another good resource.

Back to my original question. Would you let your 9-year-old loose on the subway? I wouldn’t. Even though I rode public transit at that age – usually with friends or siblings – in Washington, DC. My answer might be different if I lived in a city with comprehensive public transit. 

I was a free-range kid as were most of my contemporaries. Not every kid on the team got a trophy. My parents were not at every game and every school event. Most kids I knew had some sort of paid job by age 11 -- babysitting, yard work, paper routes. There were no arranged play dates. If you wanted to play you went to the playground or walked down the street and knocked on someone's door. When and why did this all change?

Fact is, I don’t know many kids ages 10 and under, including my own, who can "work out" matters without a parent, teacher, coach or other adult at bay ready to swoop in and work it out for them. If this continues, what's gonna happen when our kids go to college. Wendy Mogel notes in Blessing of a B Minus that college deans refer to kids who have been overprotected as "teacups" and those who have been fried by over scheduling "crispies." 

If something doesn’t give, I’m scared that our kids won’t be able to cope when we finally do set them free. Are you?

Share your thoughts in comments.

Michelle Obama's ball gown

What did you all think about Michelle's red Jason Wu gown and her new do? Hate to say it, but I wasn't crazy about the dress. 

Loved the Jimmy Choo red patent pumps!

The jury is still out on the do. See discussion on Out Went The Light about possible hair weave. I thought she was way too made up, especially at the inauguration ceremony.

Here she is in 2009.  Much better in my opinion, but you know I'm partial to white.


Red or white? You tell me.

Freedom Riders and MLK

Readers, on this very special day in American history, I'm proud to feature my first guest blogger.

Hi! I’m Maureen’s son Morgan. I would like to dedicate today’s post to MLK. So here it is. I’d like first to mention the Freedom Riders. One was John Lewis who is now in the US House of Representative. In fact I met him before in D.C. and Atlanta. He showed me pictures of MLK on the March on Washington. Now back to MLK. John Lewis was a great leader but the biggest leader was MLK. He had a dream that all black boys and girls and white boys and girls would come together as friends. That’s the most important thing I remembered from his speech. 

Selma-Montgomery March: Martin Luther King leading march from Selma to Montgomery to protest lack of voting rights for African Americans. Beside King is John Lewis, Reverend Jesse Douglas, James Forman and Ralph Abernathy. March 1965. (Photo Credit: Steve Schapiro/Corbis)    

President John F. Kennedy proposed legislation that redefined civil rights in America. This proposal --which protected citizens from discrimination regardless of their race, religion, gender or national origin--- laid the foundation for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Photo: President John F Kennedy in the White House with leaders of the civil rights 'March on Washington' (right to left) Roy Wilkins (1910-1981), Walter Reuther (1907-1970), Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973), John F Kennedy, A Philip Randolph, Rabbi Joachim Prinz, John Lewis, Martin Luther King and Whitney Young. (Getty Images)

President Obama presents Rep. John Lewis with the 2010 Medal of Freedom.

On this occasion, Rep. Lewis said:

“If someone had told me that one day I would be standing in the White House and an African-American president would be presenting me the Medal of Freedom I would say, ‘Are you crazy? Are you out of your mind?’” Lewis said. “It’s just an impossible dream.”

Very Classy winner!

Drum roll please, the winner of Derek Blasberg's book Very Classy is lucky number 3 Leslie J. Congrats Leslie!

True Random Number Generator  3Powered by RANDOM.ORG

A few tidbits for you Downton Abbey fans:

Interesting article in Today Health about Lady Edith -- this generation's Jan Brady -- having "middle child syndrome." I'm a middle child and consider myself a peacemaker. Anyone else a middle?

Coming soon, Lady Mary, Michelle Dockery will star along side Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore in the thriller Non-Stop.

Vanity Fair featured these images of Michelle by fashion illustrator David Downton. Love them!

Enjoy tonight's episode.

Golden Globes flops

My loyal reader Elizabeth suggested I open up a discussion about the worst dressed stars at the Golden Globes. Don't get me wrong about Jennifer Lawrence. I loved her dress from floor to waist. Something went awry up top. Too bad.

This roundup was hard as there were more duds than classy, elegant styles on the carpet. Here are my top 5 picks for worst dressed:

Helena Bonham Carter is always a mess. Why would things be any different this year? That lips clutch is ridiculous.

I love Jessica Chastain and thought her award for Best Actress for her role in Zero Dark Thirty was well deserved. Unfortunately, her stylist did her wrong. If looks could kill -- the lady's expression behind her says it all.

I love Lena Dunham too. And, she so deserved her awards for Girls. Her pixie cut was cute, but her plum dress was hideous. Lena, hire a new stylist before next year. She is destined to be on the red carpet for years to come.

Hally Barry is so pretty and has such a hot bod. What was up with her dress?

The bottom of the barrel: Lucy Lui. WTF? I don't know what else to say.

Interesting that my fave Anne Hathaway was not on most of the best dressed lists. Critics thought she played it too safe. Less is always more in my opinion, especially when you have such a pretty face.

Who were your best and worst picks?  Post in comments below.

Odds and ends

Who watched the Golden Globes Sunday? It was a hard choice, but I watched Downton Abbey instead. Poor Lady Edith. Is she destined to be a spinster? Who was the prettier bride? Same head piece and veil, I hate to admit that Edith looked a smidge better. What do you think?


Speaking of frocks, I scoured the Web for Golden Globes news and photos. Anne Hathaway got my vote for best dressed. She looked stunning in her glittering white Chanel gown and adorable pixie cut. Head to toe perfection.

anne hathaway golden globes
anne hathaway golden globes

The new "it girl" Jennifer Lawrence was considered best dressed by many in red-hot Dior, but I wasn't crazy about the top. Did anyone else think the bra seams were too pointy -- like they were yearning for a few tassels at the tips?


Jennifer was brilliant in Silver Linings Playbook. Plus Bradley Cooper is a hotty. A must see. According to Vanity Fair, she's the world's "most desirable woman."

Moving on to a totally different topic. The Cookie Studio in Decatur is offering free cookie decorating weekday afternoons in January from 3-5:00 pm -- an excellent after-school outing for you and your little darlings. Their cookies are delish and a percentage of sales proceeds go to the Atlanta Day Shelter for Women.

My son's masterpiece:

Finally, tomorrow is the last day to enter my Very Classy book giveaway. Comments from readers outside Atlanta are welcome. I will ship anywhere in the states. I promise it's a good read.

Will the sun finally come out tomorrow? I was seriously tempted to buy a SAD lamp.

Have a great weekend!

Mod revival

Mod gone wrong

I’m usually way behind the fashion curve. Is Mod style back in vogue? I couldn’t help but notice it got a big nod in the January issues of Matchbook and Lonny. So, I decided to do some digging.

First stop, Headline: “One of the biggest (spring 2013) runway trends was an ode to Sixties Mod with bold, graphic patterns and retro shapes.” Was I right, or was I right? I'll leave the spring lines to someone who knows something about fashion like Slim Paley (love her blog!) and focus on Mod history.

The Mod movement short for ‘modernist’ that originated in 1960's London was not just a fashion or a type of pop music but a lifestyle. The movement eventually made its way around to America, which I'll have to cover in a later post.

Mod style was generally characterized by very bold and bright fashions. The cuts were usually ultra-short and sleeveless. Miniskirts, jumpers, shift dresses, patent rain trench coats, patent leather go-go boots and tights were all the rage. 

Mod makeup was huge. Big, dramatic eyes were the ultimate fashion, day or night. Lips were usually left bare so that all the focus could be put on them. Layers of black mascara and eyeliner were applied all the way around the eye for major impact.

Hair was short often bobbed and stick straight. Thick bangs and pixie cuts were also in.

Let’s take a look.
Matchbook's January issue greets the New Year with a 15 page Mod-inspired photo shoot spread.

Pinch, Lash, Smidgen Flat by Modcloth. Adorable!

The Lonny Jan./Feb. issue opens to a two-page spread a "Mod, Mod World" inspired by 60's style icon Edie Sedgwick.


Mark Jacobs at New York Fashion Week 2013.

Oscar de la Renta long tassel clip-on earrings.


1965 "girl of the year" and Andy Warhol "it girl" Edie Sedgwick

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The Face of 1966 Leslie Lawson "Twiggy"

Mod hairstyle goddess Peggy Moffitt

Modeling her signature Vidal Sassoon "Five Point" Haircut.
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Love this!

Fashion designer Mary Quant  is credited with inventing the mini skirt, hot pants and patterned leggings.

Special edition Mary Quant Mini Cooper. She named the short skirt "mini" after her favorite car.

Postage stamp in her honor (2008)

My favorite Mod. I love Audrey's look in How to Steel a Million. Of course I love her any way.




Mod Men

"King of Carnaby Street" John Stephen

John Stephen was one of the most important male fashion figures in the 1960's. He was the first to offer clothing to the mass market at affordable prices. By 1967 he operated a chain of 15 shops in central London. His stores were frequented by pop stars, which also added to his success. The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who and Small faces were all sporting his clothes.
John Stephen and Mary Quant (1966).

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards shopping at John Stephen's (1965).




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Cool Cat David Bowie

My favorite summer nail polish color OPI "Mod About You."

Hope you enjoyed this walk down Mod lane. Mod revival: fab or flop? What do you think? I think it's a gas! 
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