Slim Paley Daily #3

890A7910Wedding Anniversary Wednesday!

OK, so I know it’s not exactly a fun ‘share’ in the practical sense, but I’m going to indulge in a “Selfie” tonight

and share that it’s my

25th Wedding Anniversary today!!

That’s some Serious Silver!

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Dress; Les Habitudes

kitten heel shoes; Emma Hope

Hair; Hey, it was the 80′s

XOXOXOX

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Like everyone else across the country and no doubt caring people around the entire world, my heart is breaking for the families of all the sweet & gentle souls lost in the tragic incident in Connecticut last Friday. When something this unspeakable happens we instinctively search for comfort by looking for answers but come away with nothing. We have so much we want to say, but there are no words. Just our tears, aching hearts and prayers. I pray for the families and entire community of Newtown to find some strength and comfort in the massive outpouring of love we are sending and know they are profoundly not alone their mourning.

May the Universe hear our collective cry for more kindness, acceptance and love amongst us and may we all be listening as well.

That 70′s Post

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Slimmer, Paler, Slim Paley

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Me at 14 or 15 yrs. old

I was working in an art gallery/tea house on Sundays and I’m going to say this was taken at the end of a really long day.

(btw, why were all our photos so badly cropped in the 70′s? just wondering…)

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Today I’m taking a stroll, or rather a drive, back to the 70′s

to celebrate the release of my dear friend Rita Wilson’s brand new CD

Rita Wilson AM/FM

The album is a fab collection of Rita covering some of her favourite songs from the 60′s & 70′s.

You must get it- it’s fantastic!

and I’m SO not saying that because she’s my friend!

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Now we all know Rita as a super talented actor and producer, but I bet it might surprise you to learn she is also a really great singer.

 I know, right? (but I’ll let you in on a little secret- she bites her thumbnails. Quite a lot.)

  Don’t we all feel a little better now?!

 

Just check her version of “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues” out here;

Link:


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Rita WilsonPhoto Steven Sebring

..Rita’s song choices will resonate with anyone who grew up, or shall we say ‘passed through’ this era and I can guarantee you’ll be singing along with every song.

This is a definite ‘Embarrass Yourself in the Car’ CD.

Bring it on. Hell, hang some Pukka shells from your dashboard.

Will you ever see those people driving beside you again?  Chances are slim.

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I love the premise of the album;

The 60′s “AM” songs are the ones you listened to from the back of the car while your parents were driving;

songs filled with an innocence about what the future held in store for you.

As the 70′s arrived, you’ve shifted to the front seat. You’re driving and controlling the FM station now-and did we work those dials, ladies, or what??!

The  songs become more poignant, the message that love doesn’t always work out begins to resonate because, damn it, HE still hasn’t called…

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Slim Paley & friends

Me and my friends in the 70′s. Names will be omitted to spare the not-so-innocent :)

I’m on the far left. I always stuck my tongue out to cover my big bottom lip & overbite.

Man, I loved that long denim jeans skirt.

While we’re on the subject of the 70′s and driving …

I”ll share the story of my mom picking my friends and I up from school and us begging, as usual, to be driven past the house where several of the Cute Older Boys we  swooned over all lived together. The regular drill of course, for any of the ‘Normal’ parents was to drive slowly BY the house, usually throbbing with the bass of Led Zepplin or Pink Floyd, in hopes we might catch a glimpse of a truck being worked on in the drive, perhaps some corkscrew curls haloed in the blue glow of a TV through a open window…

No ‘Normal’ for my mom.

 She pulled INTO the driveway and started honking the horn.

Honestly, we were so traumatised that to this day I don’t remember exactly what happened after that.

Funny Mom.

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Watch Rita talking about her first album

HERE

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and then we’ll drive a little farther, shall we?

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Did you steal splashes from your Mom’s “Jean Nate’”?

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Did you cry because you were too puny to wear “Big Boy Lees” with the leather patch & have to suffer the humiliation of VINYL patch “Little Boy Lees” like me?

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Did you imagine you would look just like Christie Brinkley after a summer weekend of using

“Lemon Go Lightly”

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Lemon Go Lightly

only to go back to school on Monday with hair the actual COLOUR of a lemon??

Snap.

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Yardley Pot o' gloss

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Did you swoon over your first pot of Yardley’s “Pot O’ Gloss” and can’t you recall that delicious scent even now?

How many pots did you leave in your cut-offs and find melted to the pockets

and how in the hell did we forget so many incriminating things in our cut-offs when the actual pockets hung down longer than the shorts?!)

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Love's Baby Soft

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Remember what appears now (at least to me) the wildly inappropriate  “Love’s Baby Soft” ad.

Was that girl 9 or 19??  But we LOVED our “Love’s Baby Soft”!

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And may we have just a moment

Robert Plant

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Robert Plant

or two,

or three, for our Robert Plant posters??

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Robert Plant

Gosh..

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My favourite models were Lena Kansbod

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And Lisa Taylor

How iconic this photo became.  She just looked so…wonderfully American.

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Just like Rita!

Rita WilsonPhoto Steven Sebring

I think this song might be my favourite.

Seriously, how can lyrics about a telephone repair man be this romantic and beautiful??!

“And I need you more than want you…and I want you for all time…”  sigh.

Jimmy Webb, the composer of the song is playing the piano on this track-just gorgeous.

Link:


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Well, I certainly had fun putting this post together. I could have gone on and on.

Do you remember the 70′s as fondly as I do?

I might have to go for a ‘Part II’ in the near future…I mean we didn’t even touch on Disco!

Find “Rita Wilson AM/FM” on Amazon,  Barnes & Noble, and lots of other places.

It would make a great little Mother’s Day gift- have I ever steered you wrong?

and please, don’t forget I’m still in the damn contest so VOTE people! It’s ONE click HERE 


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Peace Out

xx

Green Gold

Ceylon teaSlim Paley photo

Fields of TEA, the most consumed beverage on the planet

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Being an Irish lass, what better day to post about my visit to the tea plantations of Sri Lanka than on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day?!

And ye of little faith, thinking I wasn’t going to post this week!

Why I was just getting settled back in, unpacking, battling jet lag and eating Coldstone’s ice cream at 5:00am in the morning.

You know, the usual…

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tea plantationsSlim Paley photo

Certainly one of the highlights of our trip was the time we spent along the Tea Trails.

Imagine falling into a Genie’s bottle of Hendrick’s gin and you’ll get some idea of the verdant atmosphere of this area.

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Did you notice the tiny church nestled at the top of the fields of tea? The most beautiful little church in the world, which I’m saving for another post.

Did I just mention gin and church in the same sentence? :(

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white teaSlim Paley photo

Who knew that all tea; English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Jasmine, Orange Pekoe, green, even white tea (which, seen above, is the healthiest tea of all) comes from the same tea plant?!

White tea is made from the silver tipped uppermost leaves with the barely perceptible hairs you see on the leaf above. For high quality teas no more than the top 3 leaves of the plant will be picked.

Various flavours such as “Earl Grey” are infused into the tea after the leaves have been processed by the tea factory. To Earl Grey for example, one of my favorites, bergamot is added, for Lady Grey, simply a lighter note of bergamot. For Jasmine tea the jasmine flower is added during the fermenting process, Green tea is unfermented and black tea is fermented for exactly 2 hours and 40 minutes, a minute less and the tea tastes soapy, a minute more and the leaves start to acquire a bitter taste.

And yes, that is the sound of my fingernails brushing against my lapel :)

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Slim Paley photo

Our journey to Hatton began from the most adorable train station, built in 1867 and located in the beautifully named town of Peradeniya.

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Train stations, Sri Lanka.

Whaaat?! that can’t be right! It’s definitely my laptop.

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We had booked ahead and managed to score seats in the “Super Luxury A/C Cabin”

…or so we thought…

Only to find our “First Class” carriage doing a shockingly good imitation of a sardine tin… Ahhnd whatever happened to that air conditioning??

The train immediately pulled out of the station and as the journey was supposedly to last 4 hours (I say supposedly as Time is a rather fluid concept in Sri Lanka) we were, needless to say, horrified. The entire situation was so messing with my ‘Meryl Streep getting off the train to glimpse Robert Redford in Africa’ fantasy. Different continent, and duffel bags rather than steamer trunks & fine china but really, that was beside the point. My upper lip began to get dewy. My hair continued to expand.

After much pushing, yelling, and jostling of body bag-sized backpacks, the conductor was able to insert his way into our car and inform all those passengers from a certain tour group from a country that shall remain nameless, that they simply had to disembark at the next station TOUT de SUITE.

EXCUSEZ MOI.

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A seat at last, and who needs air conditioning (which I abhor really) when you can throw open the window to a warm breeze and this kind of view?

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waterfalls, Sri Lanka

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travel Ceylon

Nuwara Eliya “The Little England of Sri Lanka”

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The tiny white spots you see in the photo below are the tea harvesters.

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Leaves are picked every 7 days. Each picker has their own zone and the rotating is very methodical. The bushes can live to be 135 yrs. old, are fertilized every 3 months and cut back every 4 years. One single branch is left uncut to stop the plant from going into shock. I’m going to try that with a few rose bushes next year and see if it makes a difference.

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Sri Lanka

The tea pickers are given housing by the tea plantations as well as electricity and good schooling for their children.

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A lady walking down the road, though this doesn’t look to be tea she is carrying

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We visited the Norwood Factory in Bogowantalawa where we were given a delightful tour by Andrew Taylor, a direct descendant of James Taylor, the first tea planter in Sri Lanka. Although the factory was not in production the day we visited we were able to take a nice quiet tour and receive Andrew’s undivided attention.

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freshly picked tea leavesSlim Paley photo

Here we begin with the freshly plucked leaves.

They must be moist enough to not break up when they are rolled between your palms.

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The freshly picked baskets of tea leaves are put into this elevator and brought up to the second floor of the factory

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Where they are spread out on these racks

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and dried for a very specific amount of time by these incredibly powerful fans

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Then lots of other crazy stuff happens.

What can I say- I lost some of my notes and was nervous about going up Adam’s Peak later that night- I was trying to preserve energy!

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I thought a few people might enjoy this sign :)

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I know that this machine shimmied and shook like crazy

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and I believe this one cut the leaves but don’t quote me

Towards the end of the process the leaves are put into a huge oven heated entirely by burning wood.

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I was rather taken with the Norwood Factory’s “5S System” which they’ve adopted from the Japanese.

I might add that the factory and all the machinery was immaculate.

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.tea country, Sri Lanka

3 stages of tea

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The entire process of taking the tea leaf from the bush to finished product is accomplished in a single day.

7 days a week. 365 days a year.

There is no down season in the tea world.

From every batch of tea, a small sample is sent to all the brokers in Sri Lanka representing purveyors from around the world, from Lipton’s to Fornum & Mason. Their agents will expertly inspect the quality of leaves for colour, consistency and taste and then bid on individual lots at auction every week. A tea taster can manage 800-1,000 tastings A DAY. Take that wine tasters.

So from the field to the bank for the tea producer is a 3 week turnaround. What a great business!

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Finally, our taste test lesson, which involved swilling, slurping, spitting and face making whilst we searched for hopefully a lack of any ‘foreign’ perfume or wood smoke, while trying to ascertain a fresh citrusy scent, slight tingle on the tip of our tongues, and a general feeling of well being.

In other words, we had great fun!

Lastly, just a couple more things to remember;

Authentic tea leaves from Sri Lanka should have the name “Dilmah” on the packaging.

In order to keep tea fresh you should remove it from cardboard boxes and store in metal tins. If tea is wrapped in Aluminum foil it will keep for 3 years as opposed to 18 months, at best, unwrapped.

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And how, being a child of a certain era, could I resist adding this??!

Tea For The Tillerman


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What young girl didn’t drink copious cups of tea listening to the Cat??!

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Slim Paley at tea plantation, Sri Lanka

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God Cat

Stop following me!

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The fine tea of the Norwood plantation ready to be sent around the world.

Of course this post has only barely brushed against the fascinating world of tea. There are a zillion books on the subject, one being “The Empire of Tea: The Remarkable History of the Plant That Took Over the World” by Alan & Iris Macfarlane.

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Slim Paley photo

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Wishing my Irish relatives and everyone that cares to celebrate A Very Happy St. Patrick’s Day

And for those of you in Ireland, Boston and New Orleans-take it easy on the green beer and “Kilt Lifters”!!

xoxo

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Friday Favourites (#22)

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Slim Paley photo

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Happy Friday Everyone!

 I hope you passed a pleasant week; picked a few pumpkins, enjoyed a walk beneath burnished leaves, perhaps sipped a steaming, cinnamon laced beverage in front of a crackling fire while your homemade squash soup simmered?

All is well here,  but I did learn a valuable lesson the hard way.  You know how “they” say you should always back up your computer on a regular basis? “They” are right! I was of the obviously deluded mindset that if you owned a Mac it was impossible to catch a virus and therefore I could be somewhat cavalier about backing up my ‘stuff” (and by ‘cavalier’ I mean not since 2009 )   I was happily working away on my kitchen computer, walked away for a few hours and came back to a black screen with the words “YOU MUST RESTART YOUR COMPUTER” written in every language you could think of.  Hmmm…I thought to myself in English, French, German and a smattering of Japanese. I guess I should restart my computer.

 No such luck.  A trip to the Mac store resulted in a diagnosis of hard drive fatality.

 So there you go. Learn from me People; back up your stuff!  I thought I would soothe my sorrows by treating myself to the new iphone. Wrong again. All sold out, unless of course I wanted black.  Like I need yet another thing to lose in the black hole that is pretty much every bag I own.

 So I did what any other self respecting person would do in that situation.

I bought new shoes :)

 Oh-like you wouldn’t have done the same thing.

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Slim Paley photo

My new favourite shoes

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Slim Paley photo

Roasting tomatoes in my kitchen fireplace in Sun Valley

Don’t you just love a good pile of firewood? It’s one of my favourite Fall/Winter things

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Slim Paley photo

I also went grocery shopping and discovered these delicious ‘New to Me’ grapes called Thomcords.  While they’re not quite as scrumptious and tart as Concord grapes, they’re pretty darn close and without all those pesky seeds. Try them. (Did I ever tell you that I once made a Concord grape pie from a Martha Stewart cookbook and de-seeded every single grape??  Is it ‘seeded’ or ‘de-seeded’? Anyway, it was fantastic even if I do say so myself, and I don’t even bake.)

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Speaking of baking, check out these ADORABLE pumpkin macaroons over on Yummy Mummy’s blog.

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Aren’t they the cutest?

Find the recipe here; YummyMummy.

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Another new favourite sweet;

Have you tried these? They’re strangely good.  They also come in Green Tea flavour, which I haven’t tried yet.

Nice to keep a bag in the car, by your bed, in your purse…

*available on Amazon

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Now we’ve satisfied our sweet tooth, a little tactile indulgence  for the home…

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Usually I’m of the “All White All the Time Towels” faith,

but lately I’m seriously coveting these beautifully patterned, luxuriously decadent towels from Fresco

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Made in the U.S. with 100 Turkish cotton

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And Lastly,

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People often ask me “Slim, if you could choose any photographer to photograph your home, who would it be?”

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Well, actually no one’s really ever asked me that,

I was just practicing…

But if they did, I would surely answer  “Oberto Gili”

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Oberto Gili

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You might recall seeing some of his images on my posts before.

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Slim Paley photo

His previous book is a classic must have.

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Slim Paley photo of Oberto Gili’s book  “Luxury of Space” in my living room

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I’m excited to share that Mr. Gili has a brand new book out this month;

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Oberto Gili; Home Sweet Home

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Pssst- Oberto! Are you feeling the love??

Call me.  I’ll make pasta :)

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Slim Paley photo

The last of my Japanese Anemones

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Happy Weekend  Everyone!

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Oh, PS; How much did I love seeing this image when I typed  “Slim Paley” into Google on my iPad?!!

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Perfect!

couldn’t stop laughing…again

xx

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