Tag Archives: friends

Breakfast with my “Pedicure Girls”

A group of girlfriends used to gather monthly for pedicures, so I’ve always called our little group, “The Pedicure Girls.” It’s been a while since we’ve met regularly for pedicures, but we stay connected in each others lives, and I know they are always here for me if I need them. It’s such a sweet blessing to have long-term friends in my life!

One of our traditions is a gift exchange over breakfast. We debate every year over the “bring a gift for everyone” or “bring one gift for exchange.”

We finally agreed it makes the most sense to bring one gift to exchange, but inevitably one or two people bring something for everyone. It’s all good.

We had a lovely breakfast at Milo’s City Café. We all live in close-in Northeast, so we’re usually here or at Alameda Café.

I love Milo’s and since I’ve been on an Eggs Benedict kick since Easter, I’ve been working on perfecting their version with crab cakes. I ordered it once “as is,” and was disappointed to learn that it is served with Sauce Bearnaise.  Blech. Too heavy. So this time I ordered it with the traditional Hollandaise sauce, and it was DELIGHTFUL. Crab just needs lemon, right?

I love holiday traditions with my friends!


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Filed under Food

Naked Ladies, Unite!

Have you ever participated in a Naked Lady Party? My friends and I do one about once a year and it’s AWESOME. Some of my best wardrobe pieces have come from a Naked Lady Party. What is it, you ask? Do you really get naked together?

Not really…

Everyone brings their clothes (clean, in good condition!) and lays them on tables or hangs them on racks. We start off with the tables & racks being fairly organized, but it quickly devolves.

At the designated time, we all jump in and start “shopping.” I’ve never actually seen anyone get all the way naked, but there is a fair amount of communal trying on that happens!

It seems like it might be competitive, but in reality it’s a very supportive and sharing community event. I’ve had people hand me things saying, “This will look better on you than me!” and I’ve certainly done the same. As we try things on, there are 20 other women there to give feedback. “Does this jacket work for me?” It’s nice to know you can get an honest answer and feel supported.

I have several bags of clothes ready to take. Some are brand-new designer dresses with the tags still on them. I was offered them by a friend cleaning out her closet. The beauty of these dresses, along with the intact tags and designer labels, convinced me that I needed to own them. So when I tried them on I thought, “Oh yah, this is PERFECT!” But I’ve tried them on several times since then, and they just don’t work on my body! Drat for me, but I’m so happy to get to share them at the Naked Lady Party.

It’s so fun to see people delighted by your clothes that you don’t wear! So much more fun that anonymously donating them somewhere. The best part is, all the leftover clothes do get donated to SnowCap Community Charities. They provide food, clothing and other assistance to families who need it, and I’m delighted to support them.

April was even interviewed on a local news radio station about the Naked Lady Party. I think in this economy,  the Naked Lady Party model is making a lot of sense to more and more people. Especially in Portland, where we’re so conscious about not being wasteful.

Here’s the interview:

So how do you throw a Naked Lady Party of your own?

1. Find a venue that is big enough for tables and clothes racks, preferably with mirrors available. Decide how many people you want to invite, and if you want to make it open for friends-of-friends. This will help you determine how big of a venue you need.

2. Select a date that works for your planning team and the venue. We like doing it this time of year, because it’s the right time to clean out your closets and transition from warm weather to cold weather clothing. I’ve usually spent a weekend in October putting away all my summer things and getting out my winter clothes, so I just create a separate pile for things I’m not wearing any more.

3. Arrange for rentals of tables & racks if necessary. Some venues have these already. This year, we are using our friend David’s salon, The National Beauty. It’s a beautiful, chic space with actual dressing rooms and mirrors, but we have to bring in tables & racks.

4. Find a charity to whom you can donate all the leftover clothing. Preferably, they will come pick everything up at the end of the party – that saves you having to haul it!

5. Invite your friends! We send emails, talked to friends in person, and created an event on Facebook so our friends could easily share it with theirs.

6. Get there early to set up: it helps to start out as organized as possible. Decide in advance who is collecting the fee, and how that will work.

7. Have fun swapping clothes and enjoying the company of your friends!

Let me know if you organize your own Naked Lady Party, and what you like about it or what you’ve learned. And if you’re in Portland on Sunday, November 20, stop by our party! Here are the details.



Filed under Fashion

Spectacular BBQ sides

Do you get tired of the same old BBQ fare? Saying “no” to potato salad, we attended a lovely lunch at our friends cabin on Mt. Hood. They grilled pork tenderloin and shrimp skewers, which were both to die for. But I was really taken by the compilation of side dishes. They weren’t planned to go together, but they all worked beautifully.


kohlrabi & cucumber slices, dressed with flat-leaf parsley, red wine vinegar and good olive oil

Do you know kohlrabi? It looks funny. I asked my farmer about it one day a few years ago, and he said, “Peel it, slice it thin and dress it with red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. It will be your favorite thing!” He was right! It’s so yummy and crisp and refreshing. I usually add cucumber and flat leaf parsley, which is what I did yesterday. It’s equally good with lemon juice instead of vinegar – just citrusy, obviously. You can make it well ahead of time, but don’t dress it until it’s about to be served, as the acid starts breaking down the veggies. I’ve eaten it soggy the next day tossed on to a green salad, and it’s still good – but hardly crisp.

April brought her wonderful watermelon salad, which was completely devoured by everyone.


watermelon, feta and mint leaves, dressed with lime juice

It’s such a refreshing combination of flavors! The watermelon is crisp and sweet, the feta tangy and creamy, and the mint bright and green. Lime juiced brought it all together. The key for this kind of salad (in my opinion) is to chop the mint really fine. Mint can be a little woody, so small pieces make it work. April did it perfectly, of course!

Judith grilled the corn on the cob to perfection, and at Yashi’s suggestion, we dressed it with lime juice and our choice of chili powder or curry powder. I chose chili powder, and it was so delicious. What a great alternative to butter and salt! I have to say, I usually grill corn while it’s still in the husk, then peel it back and use the husk as a handle. But I just fell in love with the grill marks on corn. I may have to try a combination of our two techniques in the future.

Gwenn made a wheat berry salad that I need to get the recipe for. It’s so satisfying to bite into those meaty little kernels, especially combined with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, goat cheese and basil. (I think, hopefully she’ll leave the recipe for us in the comments!)


Wheat berry salad, and grilled corn with lime juice and chili powder

The kids were delighted with everything, and Otis the dog was delighted with Eric, who always seemed to be at the right height to share food.

Patiently waiting, singularly focused.

I love how all these dishes went together so beautifully. I like having interesting and delicious options for all the BBQs of summer coming up. I’d love to hear your favorites!



Filed under Family, Food