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I wish I had something valuable to say. Instead I will have to settle for noting how odd it is that cleaning up one’s house, I mean really going into the bowels of drawers and files and cabinets, brings out the worst in me and more $2 bills than I’d ever expected.  You’d think TJ would get more respect, but nickels and $2 bills aren’t really impressing me. Sure you wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Statute for Religious Freedom and founded the University of Virginia, etc., etc., but what have you done for me lately? $6 bucks? I can find $43 in loose change without even trying.

Can't explain it.

Can’t explain it.

He wears it well!

David Rohrer of WPA Bakery wears it well!

Julia Child didn’t become a famous cook until her 50’s. I didn’t become a t-shirt mogul until 51. There must be a book and movie and television show there somewhere. In all of the writing I’ve done, who knew that 3 words: Capital of the Confectionery, would make my day–or at least our latest Real Richmond Food Tours t-shirt. I’ve seen one disparaging remark on Twitter–from someone who mistakenly thinks the phrase is showing pride in the other phrase most associated with Richmond that makes my skin crawl every time I read a lazy travel writer’s take on our fair city. Poking fun at all of that is my favorite part of all this–not to mention showcasing (on the back) some of our favorite bakeries and sweet spots that we stop by or utilize on our tours.

We eat it up!

We eat it up!

Besides online, the shirts are available at shops and bakeries around Richmond, including Fountain Bookstore, Quirk Gallery, Pearl’s Cupcake Shoppe, Shyndigz, World of Mirth, Very Richmond and the gift shop at the Richmond Convention Center on 3rd St. Wear it with the proper amount of pride in pie and cupcakes and in Richmond for being worthy of attention for a baker’s dozen of 21st century reasons.

Good ole Mary S.

Good ole Mary S.

I walked up the backyard yesterday after a walk with a friend in the soft rain. I was already thinking of the next thing I had to do when I walked over the bridge over the gully kwai (not its real name) and had enough sense to pause and see the blooms where they were planted. I felt a calming and a brightening simultaneously. The leafed out Japanese maple was all the umbrella I needed from the rain sprinkling down and the pine straw path hushed my clodhopper footfalls. And then right at eye-level were these babies. Not babies at all, quite mature like myself, but planted by Mary and Stuart decades ago, exactly in the right place for me to get happier just then. I think I’ll go back out there right this second. Our yard is such that if I don’t get right out in it and wander around, I can miss the best of what those Shumates did back there.

Mary’s been gone for a year now, but those azaleas and the phlox and ajuga and vinca busting out all over keep her ever-present. Excuse me, while I go pay my respects to her plants.

 

 

 

I have a job where I walk through Richmond neighborhoods during the day and show off almost anything to unsuspecting folks. Friday I’ll be wandering The Fan in search of good food–not exactly a difficult task. Saturday I head to North Side to show off the eats available on MacArthur and Bellevue avenues. Don’t tell the restaurants, but as happy as I will be to introduce people to their joints, and as fun as it is that we’re starting the tour at my painter friend’s Sarah Master’s studio, I get absolutely giddy thinking about showing off backyard chickens in one generous person’s yard (almost legal, even) and then there’s the creme de la creme, alpacas in another woman’s backyard! In the city. I love this more than makes sense.

 

No eating alpacas on this food tour!

No eating alpacas on this food tour!

Tickets ($44.46) are available and must be purchased in advance here. I wonder how many restaurants on the tour are serving chicken? I do know we will answer the question, Which came first the chicken or the egg?

The egg doesn't come first on this tour.

The egg doesn’t come first on this tour.

Our visit to Little House Green Grocery will settle that!

 

 

When I heard that Hillary Clinton found comfort in watching a particular HGTV show real estate reality show, I don’t think I’d seen the show in question for more than a minute, so I didn’t quite get how it could be comforting. Now that my husband and I have recently purchased a fixer-upper house, I, too, take solace in watching Love It or List It. Those hosts get much more done in an hour than we do, so that part just makes me agitated. The solace comes from seeing how icky so many people’s houses are.

quite the denouement

quite the electrician

I’ve decided to start our own reality real estate show: Torch It or Trash It.

I can’t tell you all the quirky offerings that will be on this Friday, March 15th’s tour, RVA Ink: Imprint & Impact, that we’ll debut in Richmond’s Downtown Arts District 12:30-3:30 p.m., but I’m perfectly fine with dropping a few tidbits to entice you.

It’s all about cool, artsy things going on downtown and includes lunch at Pasture. We start at Ghostprint Gallery and meet the co-owner and tattoo artist extraordinaire, Thea Duskin. Tattoos welcomed, but not necessary! Then we head to Art 180 which does amazing things with kids and art, then pop into Big Secret, a biz that does wild laser cutting and engraving, then lunch, then head  to Richmond Times-Dispatch, Library of Virginia for a special look at old newspapers and end at the Valentine to see their RVA tattoo exhibit before it closes at the end of the month. Ink in many forms. Creativity everywhere we turn. And I haven’t even mentioned the murals!
Pasture is creativity we can eat!

Pasture is creativity we can eat!

It’s quirky and creative, so it would be so fun if you could come! I’ll be leading it. Here’s the link for  RVA Ink. Should be good weather Friday, unlike today!

 

 

So here’s the second installment of my Real Richmond gift guide from my Twitter feed. It’s a damned good list, if I do say so myself. I think it’s a good thing my children don’t follow me on any social media platforms.

Holiday Gift Guide #8 Gift certificate to a lovely #RVA B & B! Museum District B & B is near @VMFA. Maury Place &@gracemanorinn have pools!

Holiday Gift Guide #9 A membership in @falllinefarms for local-loving folks on your list. Year-round access to excess! http://ow.ly/fKTHB

Holiday Gift Guide #10 James River Park license plates for park-lovers on your list! #noDMVlinehttp://ow.ly/i/1bEls  http://ow.ly/fIa1y

Holiday Gift Guide #11 Burger bunch! Get gift certificates to@BelmontButchery @station2rva & @burgerbach for meat-lovers!

Holiday Gift Guide #12 Introduce someone to @relayfoods and give them the gift of local food & more time to themselves! http://ow.ly/fN2Tq

Holiday Gift Guide #13 French wine from @jemersonwine @Ellwoods@barrelthief + pass to French Film Festival @thebyrdrva http://ow.ly/fOAa8

Holiday Gift Guide #14 Nick’s on Broad sells the olive oil@StellasRichmond uses! Get chorizo and feta and other delicacies!

Holiday Gift Guide #15 Jewelry from Lynalise or Julia Dent at@bizarremarket at Chop Suey Books 

Holiday Gift Guide #16 #RVA =international! Gift certificates from  La Grotta Europa Stellas, Bistro Bobette, La Parisienne, etc. 

Holiday Gift Guide #17 @station2rva Get a Growler w/ purchase of $30 gift certificate. You don’t HAVE to give it away!

Holiday Gift Guide #18 Membership to @LewisGinter +tix to Gardenfest of Lights will put a shine to the whole year! #RVAhttp://ow.ly/gaHri

Holiday Gift Guide #19: beautiful baubles, pottery and other local#RVA delights at 43rd St. Gallery in Forest Hill.pic.twitter.com/3IXwWYMq

This is called cheating and I do it with a clean conscience since it is also multi-platform blah blah blah.

Here’s week 1 of my Holiday Gift Guide from my Real Richmond Twitter feed

It makes it awfully easy to participate in the Retail Merchants Association Think. Shop. Buy Local promo Saturday Dec. 8th, don’t you think? If you fill out the form at a participating retailer, you could win a $500 gift card from one of the afore-not-mentioned retailers.

Have fun and keep your sanity and your dollars in our community!

A recap of our gift guide:

Day 1 Holiday Gift Guide #1: #RVA books from @FountainBkstore or Chop Suey: First House; Come August, Come Freedom; Oregon Hill; Built by Blacks +

Day 2  Anything from @GearhartsRVA for the chocolate lover in your life! Caramels are my fave! #RVA

Day 3  #RVA ornaments (white or mirrored) from@modartifactsrva will glam up any tree! http://ow.ly/i/1b6HT 

 

Day 4 Chihuly tix from @VMFA (and treat yourself to a @wpabakery treat from Best Cafe!) #RVA #holiday

Day 5  Eliza Askin’s 2013 calendar. It’s a classic with some of our favorite spots in #RVA Find it @FountainBkstore

Day 6  Cool recycled bike gear even if you don’t bike! In @VMFA gift shop. Perfect for @richmond2015 http://ow.ly/i/1b6W9 

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Day 7  Holiday Gift Guide #7 Tix to #RVA theater! @firehouserva@henleystreetrva @virginiarep @richmondshakes From Madeline to Max, Will to Willy!

It will keep coming every day until Dec. 24th on Twitter.

and here is some of what I thought of it from an online piece for Richmond Magazine: Lincoln Premieres in RVA I’ll tell you more if you come on our Lincoln Legs: Brunch & Brushes with History tour tomorrow, Nov. 11th at 12:30 and we’ll brunch at LuLu’s in between following in Lincoln’s footsteps. I’ll also bring Dixie Donuts. I think Abe would approve. It is my dream to refight the Civil War using donuts, Dixie Donuts vs. Philly’s Federal Donuts. It is the only time I’d want the south to prevail. We’ll run Lincoln Legs again Nov. 25th, brunching at Arcadia then.

Lincoln is loved in VA

It certainly is a mistake for a food tour person to schedule a routine colonoscopy during Restaurant Week. What a waste, so to speak.

I will be focused on food prior to and immediately after the event, but not necessarily in ways that lend themselves to blogging. I do recall that when I drove my husband home from his procedure a year or so ago, he was understandably damned hungry and thirsty as he hadn’t eaten anything much for 24 hours. He seemed much more with-it than I had expected, but still knowing he was drowsy and just a tad loopy, the idea of a drive-in food find seemed just right until I got him home. Krispy Kreme was within sight and though we had sworn off such stuff for a year by that point, I happily drove up and ordered a half-dozen (god I hope it was only a half dozen) glazed and chocolate iced donuts and some chocolate milk for him. Not at all in his usual repertoire, but what the hey. He ate one or two on the way home and I likely accompanied him in that endeavor. Once home he went promptly to bed until morning. I lounged in the vicinity of the half-full donut box for the rest of the evening, indulging now and again–just a sliver–as my famously obese grandmother used to say and not mean. (We grandchildren were mean when we would bring her a sliver of pie or cake, knowing full well she wanted much more–and would get it one way or the other.)

Hypothetically eating, of course….

The next morning, my dear husband had no recollection of the donut trip and taste, so unable to do the math, he never knew just how many donuts I ate that night. Not sure where my amnesia came from, but it was as strong a case as his. Figuring that colonoscopies ought to be rare occasions for us, we figured we’d use the every ten year event to do a food blow-out (remember the SNL ad for Colon Blow?!), pardon the phrase and eat whatever the hell we want right after. Certainly not inclined to do that just before. It’s just a tad weird that I’m planning my post-procedure food fest already and since I don’t make anything easy for my husband, I’m already thinking about more glamorous donuts than Krispy Kremes…. I suppose he can do whatever he wants since it’s unlikely I’m going to remember a damned thing. And of course, it’s just the branding any food company would hope for: just the thing for post-invasive medical procedure!

I’m back!

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