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Not Ready for Granny Panties
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Changes in Latitude

forty-1-north-is-situated

By: Chrysa Smith

I’m at 41 North. It’s the upscale nautical, boutique hotel right in the wharf in Newport, Rhode Island. And (like they say at McDonald’s) I’m loving it.

We’ve been to Newport before. And we always enjoy coming back. If you haven’t been, do. What a quaint shore town—home to the Tennis Hall of Fame, various yachting events and rows of mansions from the Gilded Age.

Besides being pampered, one of the things I enjoy is learning about the lives of the extraordinarily wealthy. (Well, I also enjoy learning about the mob, the early church and people from exotic lands). Maybe it’s because it’s so extravagant, it’s hard to believe. Maybe it’s that it’s the only time I’ll step foot into such magnificent residences. But I know it has something to do with being nosey and curious about the lives of people I’ve either read about or learned about in the history books.KirbyPerkins_RoughPoint_A11

Yesterday we went to RoughPoint. It was the summer home of Doris Duke—a tobacco heiress. Of course, we’ve been to the Vanderbilt and Aston homes, and while this one was different, even with it’s Louis XIV furnishings and Renoir in the bedroom, one thing always strikes me—loneliness and tragedy.

Maybe there’s something about the lives of the rich and famous because on all these tours, there have been multiple marriages, untimely deaths, lonely children and the need to close oneself off from those around them. Tall Privet hedges and stately gates let you know to stay clear, And to me, it’s sad. Instead of enjoying privilege, and I suspect they did with their lavish parties, there was so much time protecting their ‘stuff’, that it eventually caught up with them. In fact, at one point (well, partly due to new gov’t taxes and a changing world), the mansions were abandoned and fell into disarray. Luckily, the Newport Preservation Society and various foundations took on the enormous job of restoring and maintaining these for the public to enjoy.

Today I head home to my house in the burbs (with the neighbors who don’t mow their lawn regularly), my doggies (who have been known to leave remnants of their owning the house), my son (who tickles my funny bone on a regular basis), to streams of young men, many who’ve been friends with my son since early childhood (and still come to visit), my backyard flowering pots and my grocery shopping list. And I think I will be extremely grateful that I’m able to take a trip, enjoy some nice lodging and food and sightseeing. And visit Newport from a distance. I will never live a life or in a mansion like these folks did—and that’s quite alright by me.

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The Woman’s Book of Dirty Words–Coming Soon!

By: Mary Fran Bontempo

DirtyWordsCoverWell, it’s been a labor of love (and sweat, and tears), but it’s finished! The next book in the Not Ready for Granny Panties series, titled The Woman’s Book of Dirty Words, will be published this summer! In fact, the e-book will be available even sooner. See what it’s all about below. Stayed tuned for the publication date and check out this fabulous video below by NRFGP own amazing illustrator, Pat Achilles! (Am I using too many exclamation points?!!! I’m really excited!!!!!!)

The Woman’s Book of Dirty Words

We women talk—a lot. Yet, the words that take others to their happy place often make us miserable. Words like “vacation,” “dinner,” and “holidays” can leave us breathing into a paper bag with our head between our knees. It doesn’t have to be that way. Join Mary Fran Bontempo and redefine the “dirty words” that make women cringe. You’ll laugh, learn, make some changes and trim your “dirty words” list down to size!

 

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Which Sex and the City Character Are You?

By: Mary Fran Bontempo

I really should get over it. But the truth is, I can’t get enough of the adventures of Carrie Bradshaw and friends from the 1998-2004 HBO hit Sex and the City. While I never saw the originals, which I’m certain would have made me gasp and blush, the edited version of the series that seems to be on at some point every day has me hooked. Sex and the City is to me what Seinfeld is to my husband, Dave. He knows every episode and line spouted by Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer and I can say the same about Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha.

Each of the gals has her own unique personality. Check out the quiz below to see which Sex and the City character you’re most like. Happy Friday!

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A Summer Sweet Treat

By: Chrysa Smith

My friend Cleta is a woman of discriminating taste—in home fashion, couture, culinary undertakings and of course—friends. So, it took me by a bit of surprise that she recommended a trip up to the outer limits of Ottsville, PA. Ottsville? Yes, Ottsville.

Now if you know Ottsville, sorry to say, there ain’t much there. Some nurseries, pretty scenery, the entrance to the state park. But I do know that the Rolling Pin Bakery is up there, as is the Ottsville Farmer’s Market. And both have connections to fresh, local food. So, I travelled Rt. 412 to discover for myself, what Cleta had described to be the best ice cream this side of Nashville.

Now, while sweets are generally my friend, ice cream rarely calls my name. But the recommendation came so strongly, I had to at least give it a sample. And what did I discover? OMG! It truly is incredible.

owowcow http://www.owowcow.com/, yep, that’s the name, is a small batch, family-owned ice cream business that produces it’s unique flavor concoctions in small batches—5 liter batches to be exact. That’s about the size of a robust pound cake—and the shop’s freezer displays two dozen tempting varieties—-all made with locally grown ingredients from area farms. They’re part of the growing number of small businesses started in Bucks County, to help keep local dairies and other farms farming. At the shop, if you care to know, they even list the names of the farms where eggs, milk, mint, fruit came from; how much butter fat is in the ice cream (but trust me, it’s better if you don’t know and part of what makes it so creamy good).

Choose from flavors like Honey Lavender, Tahitian, Indonesian and Madagascar Vanillas, Tiramisu (where the espresso flavor tastes like you just brewed it), Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip (like an Almond Joy bar in icy form). There are fruit flavors, combos, pints and ice cream cakes. And all without a reproduceable recipe. Yep, according to Bless, the owner’s daughter, her dad John Fezzuoglio, is a man of discriminating tastes—–so much so in fact, that he has a knack for layering delicious flavors, thus creating some truly unique products. But as each batch of milk and cream have different taste subtleties, what John may add to each batch will have subtleties—-all in a quest for great taste with wholesome ingredients.

So, while summer is gearing up, I pass down Cleta’s advice. Head on up to owowcow for some sweet summer licks. And when summer takes its leave, no worries. Bless tells me they are open year round with some special treats for the fall—Pumpkin Spice, Pumpkin Ale and Sweet Potato varieties.

owowcow is on Rt. 412, in the brick shopping center directly across from the Rt. 532 entrance through Nockamixon State Park. Now also open on Rt. 413 in Wrightstown and in Lambertville.

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Uptown Funk–A Hump Day Video!

By: Mary Fran Bontempo

So, I was going to write a truly brilliant original post for today and then I went onto You Tube and watched Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk, after which I thought:

1. Is anyone cooler than Bruno Mars?
2. Is there a cooler song out right now?
3. What would I want to see on this site–some blather from me or an awesome video from Bruno Mars?

Clearly, there was no contest. Enjoy this crazy hot video and just try to get Uptown Funk out of your head today. “Don’t believe me, just watch!” Happy Hump Day!
 

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It’s Quiz Time–What’s Your Passion?

Wedding season is not over at the Bontempo house, so original writing from me will be in short supply for the next few weeks. Until then, enjoy whatever I can find that looks fun and interesting and thank Chrysa Smith for coming up with original thoughts! The quiz below is fun and told me that my passion is communication. Very true, so perhaps there’s something to this one. I’ll be back in the saddle with more original posts soon. Thanks for reading!

–Mary Fran

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A Most Unlikely Dear Abby


By: Chrysa Smith

dogwritingLet’s see. Hmm. How can I describe my husband? Well, he’s tall with deep blue  eyes and salt and pepper hair. Not skinny, not heavy, he’s got a solid build with nice strong arms, long, muscular legs and slightly ruddy complexion. People used to say (years ago) that he resembled Matthew Perry. He did, sort of, back when he was a few pounds lighter, a few hair shades darker.

He rarely dresses up in more than a nice pair of khakis and could be described as a business man—through and through. To have a conversation with him, you’d need to discuss the latest business environment, sports news or politics. Yes, I said politics. In fact, you might not get to discuss that at all with him. Rather, you would receive a lecture regarding his rather conservative views. Take them or leave them.

Now, it doesn’t always seem obvious, but he’s got the soul of a puppy dog. Often, he can come across maybe a little brash, a little annoyed by the latest burden placed on the small business these days. More than a bit annoyed at the state of political affairs in our country. But he comes at this honestly. Part of his independent spirit comes from an extremely independent type of upbringing. No doting, no coddling. Not an ooh and aah, love you to pieces type of background. But pass a needy person on the street, deal with an employee who’s struggling financially, need something done in your house —he’s the man.

Don’t come to him with sappy sentiment and deep emotional dramatics—you’ll only be disappointed. But fold your laundry? Make your tea? Rub your back? wash the floor? Mow the lawn? Grill? Well, he’s there. Why do I tell you these things? Because as much as you know someone, others seem to know them in a different way. And at times, a most unlikely way. So I had to chuckle when this last week, he received calls for advice on business and marriage. Marriage? I’m sorry I missed that one. He probably glazed over and turned mute. He’s no Abby Van Buren—at least to me. But apparently he is to others. And it’s nice to know that, even though his emotional side is not open for public display, it’s there. Because there are those times when even a clean floor and a hot cup of tea aren’t enough.