Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Local Musicians

We love to support local musicians and try to see my son play when we can but many of his gigs are late in the evening. Recently, there have been free outdoor summer concerts throughout the cape, giving us a chance to sample the local music scene. It's a great opportunity to pack snacks and beverages, grab your chairs and spend time outdoors in the early evening without breaking the budget. A few Sundays ago, we enjoyed listening to  Sarah Swain, down at Aselton Park on the harbor. She's a local musician I've avoided for years -- the local press tends to get redundant in its talent features, limiting itself to the same names repeatedly. It becomes a turnoff to those of us who are always looking for something new, maybe a little closer to the edge of almost discovered, but not quite.

We've now had the good fortune to catch Sarah twice, back in May at a fundraiser and again in the park. Her praise and press is well-deserved. She delivers a thoughtful, heartfelt performance that will not disappoint. We're totally hooked on her -- she's just plain fun to listen to, and watching her two pre-school daughters run around at her concerts is a kick too. At the Aselton show, her brother-in-law accompanied her while his three kids (under three) cavorted or slept with Mom and Grandmom chasing.

The shows at the park are family affairs and it's entertaining to watch the audience while listening to the musicians. Sarah's tunes are originals and her interpretations of old favorites -- indie genre with lots of folk-rock blues, which Marty and I love. Her next show (she also plays with Randy and the Oak Trees) is this Thursday, July 29 at a fundraiser for Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, at a hundred bucks a pop. Or, for those of us with slim wallets, you can catch her again at Aselton  with Randy and the Oak Trees, Friday, August 6. And again for the fatter wallets -- the annual Hooker's Ball Saturday, August 14 in Chatham.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Carnival Shapewear

     Carnival (National Mill Industry) has been in the intimate apparel business since 1947, primarily as a manufacturer of bras and girdles. They stopped making girdles many years ago, but due to the increased popularity in shapewear of late, they have recently come out with a new line of seamless shapers. There are actually four styles to choose from – a mid-waist brief, a high waist brief, a mid-waist long leg, and a high waist long leg.

      I recently tried the 801 mid-waist brief. As with most shapewear apparel, the hardest part is getting them on. Once on, the first thing I noticed was how firm this was. Now the sizing is a little confusing. They list a Medium as a 28-30” waist, whereas most of our other manufacturers have a medium as 27-28”. Just keep that in mind when determining size. I definitely think if you are a ‘tweener, opt for the larger size. The rise was a little too high for me on this shaper, resulting in a little roll-over. I’m about 5’3” and I think this garment is best suited for someone a wee bit taller.  In terms of overall comfort, I would say this was about average for me. Remember, what is comfortable for me (the Silhouette Little X is hands-down my favorite control brief), may not be for you. In terms of shaping ability, the Carnival certainly did its job. Carnival touts  tummy panel, derriere shaping ability and back support as strong attributes, and I would agree.

       The 801 mid waist brief has a MSRP of $30.00. We sell it for $25.00.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

When You Pray...

 Move your feet.
~African Proverb

I started dancing with Katrina over 10 years ago, after I'd returned to the Cape. I felt lost here, it was very different from what I'd grown used to in Burlington, Vermont, but my time with Katrina helped heal the sadness I felt. Dancing with her taught me how much I love community, especially centered around the arts and culture. Call it my religion if you will. It sustains me as I believe it does many people. We all may like our alone time, but let's face it, like our canine friends, we are pack animals and social creatures.

I first met Khadija (her dancer name) one evening when she was still teaching classes out in Osterville at an old barn turned to "fitness" center. The space was wood-floored, vast and light-filled (although we danced at dusk). She no longer teaches in Osterville but she is still dancing and still teaching.

She is a petite woman, barely 5 feet tall, with titian-red hair and she is ageless. Back when I danced with her, our troupe used to perform once a month at the long-gone Prodigal Son Coffeehouse. More recently she has begun her monthly "Evenings in Egypt" at the Prodigal's successor, Island Merchant, now located around the corner on Main Street near its former Ocean Street site.

Marty and I finally made it to a show and dinner last Thursday evening and we were not disappointed (although next time we'll just order from the regular menu because there are a couple of Island dishes that we especially love). Katrina is as cerebral, yet classy, smooth and warm as she has always been when sharing her love of Egyptian culture and dance -- I believe she even had an Egyptian partner on the dance floor at one point. The Evenings in Egypt are always lots of fun, and a refreshing change from the usual entertainment here on the Cape.

In my almost twenty-year absence from the Cape, the dominant scene had developed into one of SUVs and trophy homes disguised as faux Cape Cod "cottages."

With Katrina though, I discovered that the creative, edgy underbelly Cape Cod of my bohemian youth was still here, it was just buried under the cliche.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Artful Food

After returning to Cape Cod from Vermont several years ago, I sorely missed my CSA and Farmer's Market. Thankfully, this loss has since been remedied with an abundance of small, and not so small farmer's markets. Cape Cod is generally late to every bandwagon, sometimes missing it altogether but fortunately, this was not one of them. The variety of local small-scale farmers and food artisans inspires me in the kitchen more than ever -- there's nothing like cooking with fresh and local, whether it's fish, cheese, grains, fruits or veggies.

I keep renewing Alice Waters' cookbook, The Art of Simple Food from the library, and while I rarely purchase cookbooks anymore, hers is another classic -- simple recipes and straightforward guidance -- that I want on my pantry bookshelf.

I'm hoping to catch some squid this summer and try her recipe for grilled squid, but in the meantime I've already made the cream scones, which are hands down the best basic scone recipe I have ever found (and I've tried many). I keep hoping it will cool down enough again so I can bake them this week. Until then, I'm dreaming of doing the Julie and Julia thing, only with Alice's book instead. Complicated cooking has never appealed to me, but the Art of Simple Food? Yeah, I can get on board with that.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Scargo Pottery

Scargo Pottery is a place I've driven by on 6A in Dennis since I was a kid. I'd never stopped there. I'd certainly read enough about the Holls, how the dad founded the Cape Cod Museum of Fine Art, how daughter Sarah is trying to revitalize the arts in downtown Hyannis (with some gorgeous work, including their sign, featured at the newly relocated Naked Oyster). We stop into her house/studio once in a while for some fresh air in the otherwise, at times, very stale Cape Cod art world. There's plenty of local info regarding Scargo, the CCMFA, as well as Harry Holl, his four daughters, and even their maternal grandfather who was the renowned sculptor, Arnold Geissbuhler.
Access to the grounds is via the road down to Scargo Lake Beach, with their drive winding off to the left, through scrubby pines and sandy soil. On a sultry July day, the studio was wide open for strolling as were the sculpture forested grounds. It's open daily year-round and is now on my wee but growing list of what excites me here on Cape Cod.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mimi Outsider

Marty and I have been exploring locally lately -- looking for the undiscovered treasures that we know are hidden (or just buried under hydrangeas), here on the cape. Last weekend we drove to Chatham, which although fa-fa, also has a rougher, fishier, native Cape Codder sort of edge to it, a throwback to an earlier more bohemian lifestyle here. We love the little airport we discovered there while biking one day --(it'd make a fantastic offbeat wedding site), and we always stop at Marion's Pie Shop for a citrus sweet roll (enormous and sweetly tart).

On a recent jaunt, we stumbled upon the best new gallery in the east end of town -- a place we'd almost missed if we hadn't walked a little further down the main drag...and so we came upon Mimi Outsider, a little gallery tucked behind and to the side of bigger, more mainstream galleries that are common here on the cape. And it turns out, Mimi's owner is Tracy Shields Erskine, married to the new owner of Hangar B, the intriguing eatery we cannot wait to try, located at the above-mentioned airport.

Hangar B may be another post though, this one's devoted to Tracy and the gallery she named in honor of her mother, who died of breast cancer last year. Mimi was what the Erskines' three year old son called his granny and outsider art is what Tracy promotes, including her own. She creates amazing collaged "paintings" from thousands of bits of paper -- images of the Pacific Coast Highway (she was a successful jewelry artist in Los Angeles before she returned to the Cape), and another of an old red "Chevy" truck parked in a field. Her jewelry mixes ribbons, chains, broken vintage pieces and more. Then there are her magnificent wreaths and other works made entirely of scallop shells -- a unique alternative to the usual wreaths you're apt to find.

Tracy also carries photography and mixed media pieces by other area artists, some using flotsam and jetsam washed ashore. Sustainability, individuality and simple, clever beauty is the name of the game in Tracy's shop and I am thrilled to find innovative shops such as hers on our provincial peninsula. Can't wait to try her hubby's place next!

(Scroll towards the bottom of the page links for Mimi Outsider's information).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hyannis Harbor

Hyannis Harbor is a favorite walking destination whenever we need to get away from work for a while. This time of year it’s very busy. It has a mix of boats, from personal craft, to island ferries, to tour boats, to fishing boats and draggers. Aselton Park sits in the front corner and hosts concerts and art shows. Here are a few pictures that Marty took:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Cultural Center of Cape Cod

The Cultural Center of Cape Cod, 307 Old Main Street in Yarmouth opened in 2007. The center is in a beautifully renovated former bank building.  It seems like we always gravitate there many Friday evenings for events and we’re never disappointed. Last night was the Cape Cod Waterworks exhibit and featured everything from paintings, to woven baskets, to jewelry. If you live here on Cape Cod or you’re just visiting, definitely check it out. Better yet, become a member and support this little jewel of a place. Here are some pictures from last night (click to enlarge):

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fourth of July Parade

Marty here. I usually find parades to be pretty boring, so I end up watching and photographing people watching the parade. Here are a few photos. Just click to enlarge:

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Kendra's one of our favorite artists -- her sunny smile says it all and today, Independence Day also happens to be her birthday. She was our friendly waitress who waited on us every time we stopped for breakfast at our favorite breakfast diner, The Nest. The owners closed up shop and moved west recently, unannounced to staff and customers. We found out the last time we stopped for breakfast and the doors were closed. Kendra and her coworkers found out when they went to work one day, doors closed, no one there!

But we both believe that when one door slams, another one blows open and such is the case for Kendra. She's able to focus more on creating and teaching classes, for which she's become very popular locally. She's such a friendly, giving, community-driven spirit, it's hard not to be drawn to her. Recently, she had an opening at the Selectmen's Gallery in West Barnstable, so naturally Marty and I had to show up to support her. We were not disappointed (and I got some amazing chocolate chip cookies to boot!). I love one of her favorite quotes:

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free"

I visited her home studio one day this past winter and watching her work in clay, my baker's hands were itching to dig in with her -- I was entranced with her process which is very free-form and uses her various gatherings from the natural world around us -- shells, rocks, grasses and more. One of her pieces is on my wish list for someday.  More here.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hanes Silk Reflections Pantyhose

The biggest pantyhose-related news of recent weeks was Walt Disney Company allowing it’s female employees the option of going bare-legged rather than wearing pantyhose with skirts or dresses. I have mixed feelings regarding these sorts of things. While I love being casual and dressing-down, how far do you go with it in the professional work environment? Does casual attire translate to a casual work attitude? Whatever happened to “dress for success?”  Perhaps nothing. When given the option, would those professional employees who take the little extra time to “dress up”, whether it’s hosiery, a suit and tie, polished shoes, whatever -have an edge (everything else being equal or near-equal) when it comes to career advancement? I would think so.
       There are still many women, young and old who wear pantyhose on a regular basis. One our better selling pantyhose and a Hanes “Best Seller” is Hanes Silk Reflections Style 716. These are non-control top (Style 717, another Hanes “Best Seller” is a control top) pantyhose and they come in a myriad of colors. This particular style has a reinforced toe for closed-toe footwear. The MSRP is $8.00. We sell them for $6.50 and always first-quality. Shopping for hosiery can be confusing, given the different toe styles (RT, SF, Toeless), sheerness (denier), sizing, and panty style (sheer-to-waist, control top, shaper top). If you have any questions, never hesitate to ask.