Kitchenette Restaurant in Manhattan

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My girls and I love this breakfast place Kitchenette, in Manhattan. Not only do they have great food but I LOVE the decorating-so adorable!! There are two locations-one on Chambers Street and one on Amsterdam Avenue, uptown. Try it next time you are there!

The Painted Room/Architectural Color Consultation

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I absolutely love my friend’s website. I knew her years ago in Washington DC and it is funny that we have both ended up in design-we both had a real love and interest in it even amidst all of the diapers and runny noses!

The first picture illustrates how a burst of a great color can really change a room,it is Ben Moore “Sea Reflections” 1664. The second photo is just a lovely milky soft brown-called Ben Moore “Weimaraner”. Of course!

She posts beautiful photos on Facebook and has a wonderful website for her company:
The Painted Room/Architectural Color Consultation.Check it out!

Great College Graduate Gift Idea!!

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My friend’s husband just wrote this fantastic book-great to give any recent college graduate.You can purchase it on Amazon. Here are some of the topics David covers:

Only about 50% of today’s college graduates are working in jobs that require a college degree. How do you make sure your college investment pays off?

Can you imagine landing a great job after college? To succeed in today’s tough job market you must know what works—and what doesn’t.

Learn from 30 recent college graduates who overcame obstacles to start careers they’re proud of. This book gives students, new grads, and their parents:

–Inspiration. What will it feel like when your job search is successful?
–Practical action steps. Each chapter is loaded with tactics you can apply immediately. Beat Applicant Tracking Systems, learn shortcuts to building a job search network, and nail your next Skype interview.
–Access to critical resources: Save hours of searching. Everything you need to jump-start and sustain a successful job search is right here.

Massachusetts Historical Society

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Known for spending lavishly on books, wine and, above all else, his beloved Monticello, Jefferson left his heirs under a small mountain of debt when he died on July 4, 1826. His daughter, Martha Randolph, was forced to sell the estate, which had already entered the early stages of decay due to years of neglect. In 1836, it was bought by Uriah Levy, a real estate speculator who was the first Jewish American to serve an entire career as a commissioned Navy officer; he and his nephew, Jefferson Monroe Levy, are largely responsible for its restoration and preservation. The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, a nonprofit organization, purchased the property in 1923 and continues to operate it as a museum and educational institution.
In the meantime,Jefferson’s granddaughter Ellen Randolph married Joseph Coolidge in 1825 and moved to Boston-bringing with her the papers that she inherited.This is why the Massachusetts Historical Society has even more of Jefferson’s private papers than Monticello itself!
The Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts at the Massachusetts Historical Society is the largest collection of private papers kept by the third president of the United States (the Library of Congress holds the majority of Jefferson’s public papers). In 1898 Jefferson’s great-grandson(Ellen’s son), Thomas Jefferson Coolidge (1831-1920) of Boston, presented a large number of Jefferson papers to the MHS. This material included correspondence (nearly 8,800 pages of both incoming correspondence and Jefferson’s retained copies of outgoing correspondence), manuscript volumes including his Garden and Farm Books–the records of Monticello and his other properties–almanacs, accounts, law treatises, and the manuscript volume listing the books in Jefferson’s personal library. Later Jefferson and Coolidge descendants added to the collection, which includes more than 400 of Jefferson’s architectural drawings. The MHS also holds a manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence written by Jefferson, an 1893 gift from Mr. and Mrs. Arthur C. Washburn.

The History of Bridge

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I started playing Bridge about 2 years ago. I have A LOT to learn-it is clear! I was curious about the origin of bridge as a game and this is what I found out:

The origin of playing cards was in China, where paper was invented, dates back to around the year 1120. Originally, cards were used for fortune telling and gambling. Cards were introduced into Italy and Spain around 1370, probably coming from Egypt. Tarot cards, used for fortune telling, were introduced in Italy in 1440.

In 1432, Saint Bernardo warned the “Faithful” that cards were invented by the Devil, later picked up by the English Puritans — often regarded a “The Devil’s Picture Book”. By 1495, Henry VII issued a Decree forbidding his servants from playing cards except during the Christmas Holiday.

Later, Elizabeth the First levied a tax on the manufacture of playing cards, which generated significant revenues for the Crown. By the era of Queen Anne, card playing was in full swing. Men preferred Piquet, women loved Ombre, while the Clergy and Country Squires played Whist. Have you ever wondered why the Ace of Spades looks so distinctive? Well, it was the official stamp of certification to indicate that the proper English tax was paid on that deck of cards (the Stamp Office kept the only stock of pre-stamped Aces of Spades) — the card manufacturers were forbidden to produce that Ace. This tax hung around all the way onto 1960, yet the unique look of the Ace of Spades still is found on most decks.

By 1860, Europeans as well as Americans accepted card rank naming convention, markings on the faces that declared their values.

Some believe that the 12 Honors of the deck refer to the 12 signs of the Zodiac or the 12 months of the year. They say the two colors (Red and Black) refer to the Solstice and Equinox phases. They see the four Suits as the four Seasons, the entire pack of 52 cards representing the 52 weeks of the year, and the 13 cards in each Suit being the same as the weeks in each quarter of the year (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall).

Bridge was derived from Russian Whist, called was called Biritch, meaning an announcer (players “announce or herald” their auction). Books on Whist date back to the mid-1700’s. The first book was written by none other than Edmond Hoyle, titled Short Treatise.

Eventually, the French began using ordinary stencils, which could be cheaply produced. Thus, the cost-effective French cards were widely used in England and the United States. For some time, the designations on the “face cards” varied, but when the French accepted Napoleon as their leader, they reinstated the notion of the King and Queen. However, Napoleon didn’t care for their medieval look, believing they should be “archaeologically correct”. So an artist was assigned to design authentic costumes on the cards. But Napoleon’s cards weren’t liked by the masses so the medieval cards resurfaced.

The first President of the United States, George Washington, enjoyed Bridge. In fact, he enjoyed small wagers on the game, apparently to make it more exciting.

In 1857, the English began playing Whist in a “duplicate” method to eliminate most of the luck associated with the deal of the cards. In 1883, American’s began playing inner-club matches.

In 1891, a duplicate tray was invented, used to hold the cards separately so players could replay the identical cards. The idea was to eliminate chance and provide a true test of skill. The boards were originally called the Kalamazoo tray.

Early accounts indicate that in 1903, some of the British civil servants stationed in India created a method of bidding the trump suit, coined “auction bridge.” A later account dates auction bridge back to 1894, with Turkish or Russian origin from Plevna during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878.

By 1893, Bridge was introduced in New York, using formal rules that were recently printed by Henry Barbey.

Then in 1925, the American multi-millionaire Harold Vanderbilt, introduced exciting scoring bonuses in Bridge (while on a cruise ship). With this change, auction Bridge became known as “contract bridge”.

In 1931, Ely Culbertson wrote the number one and two book seller of any book, titled “The Culbertson Summary and the Blue Book”.

By the late 1400’s, Suits began to appear on cards (the Suits — Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs are know as the French National Suits) — the first three Suits are presumably adapted from the German Leaves, Hearts and Hawk Bells. Over the next 200 years, the Suits became standardized. Due to the intricate designs on the “face” cards, the cost to purchase playing cards was originally quite expensive (due to the hand painting) although that didn’t keep the “commoners” from using them. Demand by the populous led to mass production using a technique using the woodcut. The card designs were carved on woodblocks, then inked and printed on paper. These papers were then glued to blank card stock. Around the mid-1400’s, the French incorporated suit signs and flat silhouettes in only black and red colors.

Incidentally, a regular deck of playing cards are 8.9cm long x 6.3cm wide. But since Bridge players hold 13 cards, the Bridge deck is 8.8cm long x 5.7cm wide.

Saratoga Springs, New York

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Saratoga Springs is a nice little getaway for the weekend. It is only 3 hours from both NYC and Boston and boasts a very nice town with loads of restaurants,fun shops,a historic battlefield,renowned performing arts and natural spring spas. They also have world class horse racing on the racetrack and in addition to racing host many horse shows-the Saratoga Classic is one of the biggest and takes place in May. Saratoga also has one of the oldest carousels in the United States.It is from 1910 and was restored(after almost going to the auction block-it was saved by some citizens in Saratoga) and put in Historic Congress Park in 2002. There are many old Victorian houses along tree-lined streets to gander at and if you are college hunting Skidmore College has a beautiful campus there as well!

Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania

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A friend just went to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA (1/2 hour away from Philadelphia) and sent me these pictures. I have been there as well years ago and the gardens are incredible. Here is some history:

Exquisite flowers, majestic trees, dazzling fountains, extravagant conservatory, starlit theatre, thunderous organ—all describe the magic of Longwood Gardens, a horticultural showstopper where the gardening arts are encased in classic forms and enhanced by modern technology. Many generations helped create Longwood Gardens, but one individual—Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954), industrialist, conservationist, farmer, designer, impresario, and philanthropist—made the most enduring contribution.
Pierre du Pont was the great-grandson of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont (1771-1834), who arrived from France in 1800 and founded the E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company gunpowder works. Pierre turned the family business into a corporate empire in the early 20th century and used his resulting fortune to develop the Longwood property.
More than 200 years earlier, the land had been inhabited by the native Lenni Lenape tribe who hunted, fished, and farmed the productive wilderness. In 1700, a Quaker family named Peirce purchased the property from William Penn and soon established a working farm. Joshua and Samuel Peirce began planting an arboretum on the farm in 1798. The farm was purchased in 1906 by Pierre du Pont so he could preserve the trees, and from 1907 until the 1930s Mr. du Pont created most of what is enjoyed today. In 1946, the Gardens were turned over to a foundation set up by Mr. du Pont. After his death in 1954 Longwood’s first director was hired. Since that time Longwood Gardens has matured into a magnificent horticultural showplace filled with countless opportunities for enjoyment and learning.
Longwood owes its present-day success to the Peirces, who actively pursued a Quaker interest in natural history. By 1850, the site was known as one of the finest collections of trees in the nation, and one of the first public parks, and its aesthetic qualities were as important as its botanical significance.