The Ideal Thanksgiving Kitchen Tools For The Meal I Don’t Have To Cook This Year


This Thanksgiving I’m not cooking. And I’m thankful. In past years I’ve gone to town with various menus. This year both kids will be elsewhere, and my husband and I, as we did in 2014, are going out to eat. Let us hope the food is better this time.

As we enjoy the lacuna, for one must grace quiet moments with their own Big Words, I’ve been wondering, what might be the ideal set of Thanksgiving kitchen tools? If one were to start from scratch? Let’s define ideal as a) suited to function b) no more than needed but as good-looking as possible, and, c) as often as possible on sale right now from familiar retailers.

Here’st what I came up with.

  • Roasting pans that work on the stove top This inexpensive old school version just might do the trick. I’d have to see if the turkey sits high enough to allow for actual roasting. (I like to make pan gravy with a roux and giblet broth, and I don’t fuss too much about separating out the fat etc. That’s how Mom always did it. Worcestershire sauce the secret ingredient.) Or this pan, on deep sale at Macy’s, is a step up.
  • Baking pans with a lip . Brussels sprouts are prone to rolling onto the oven floor. (Oh, by the way, have you discovered parchment paper? To line the pan? So much better than aluminum foil.)
  • Ceramic pie pans. These are so pretty, in multiple colors with a fluted edge, I bought a similar pair once in a rush and appreciate every instance when they escape the Baking Cupboard. O sad bakeware in a non-baking kitchen!
  • While our Thanksgiving is highly oven-intensive, I do need two largish stove-top pots. One for boiling potatoes and one for boiling pearl onions before they are baked in cream sauce. These aren’t All-Clad tasks. You want a pot big enough, sturdy, but not so heavy you have to call in reinforcements to lift it. I have never found anything better than good old Revere Ware. The company still exists, but they no longer make their copper-bottomed beauties. eBay remembers. I really want this one, it’s bigger than the one I have. But I use mine, oh, every other day?
  • Which reminds me, I need a very small All-Clad saucepan (on sale at Sur la Table) for roux (similar but fancier and also on sale) (which reminds me I use a small Le Creuset baking dish for baking onions bathed in said roux. Nobody ever eats very many creamed onions. The old cast iron enamelware is no longer available in an au gratin. Once again, eBay to the rescue. I’ve owned mine, that mottle thing at top, for 40 years.)
  • Of course everything needs cutting. Cooking would be so easy if food just cut itself. I think I could make do with just a chef’s knife, paring knife, a carving knife and fork, and a knife sharpener. Of course, if I had TWO chef’s knives, clan teamwork would be so much more efficient. I call dibs on this one. But Sur La Table has a lot of good knives on sale.
  • I have to have a potato masher. Potatoes resist their fate. Sur La Table designed their own, with a nylon head. Target offers the OXO Smooth Grips.
  • I cherish my Earlywood sauté tool. For poking at hot things. I got one in 2014. I was subsequently given one of their ladles by a friend, which I also love. Perfect paired with Le Creuset – that enamel doesn’t like metal spoons. Were I buying now, I’d get the Trifecta. And probably a whole bundle of spoons.
  • I don’t need a rolling pin, since I buy frozen pie crusts, but garlic mashed potatoes in large volume demand a garlic smasher.
  • Finally, I’ve loved this set of glass bowls with lids, to be used both for mixing and for storage once your family pushes their chairs back from the table and confesses – they cannot, simply cannot, eat another bite. And when, the next morning, to put in the microwave when everyone wakes up hungry.

What do you think? Yay? Nay? How would your list differ?


Links may generate commissions. I’ve tried to pick items that can be delivered before Thanksgiving. For free shipping at Earlywood Designs use this code: This1onUs. Sur la Table has free shipping, a 65% cookware sale, and guaranteed delivery for Thanksgiving for 2 more days. Target has free shipping and returns, and in-store pickup for a lot of stuff.


Your Emergency Response Is Your Mirror, Or, Saturday Morning at 7:50am

Let’s see, today is Saturday, right? So, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, four days since the US election. You all may be elated, you may be in mourning, maybe angry, maybe trying to calm down. You’ve been bombarded by news about this event and by other people’s difficult feelings about it.

So today I am not going to discuss America’s election directly.


When you are 60 you develop a certain capacity for self-observation. As though your blood and guts and feelings shrink away from the racing neurons of thought, leaving space. I’ve been observing my reaction to the events of November 8th and I’ve learned something about myself. Maybe you’ve done the same.

From the time I woke up in the middle of the night to check the results until maybe some time yesterday afternoon I felt kind of like I did on 9/11. Don’t get all wound up, I’m not saying the events were the same, but my feelings were. Apocalyptic.

However on 9/11 it was clear to me that I had no agency. I didn’t cause it, I couldn’t fix it. I planted a red, white and blue flower bed, finding comfort in the fact that for a brief while we all wanted to wave the flag. And then, what with children at home and a job in an office, I moved on.

This time I feel that I can have an impact. And that changes everything.

It was so fascinating guys, at least for anyone who is a student of the processes of self. My first impulse was to analyze. I didn’t cry, or mourn. I wanted numbers. I needed a data-driven picture in my mind of what had happened. Who, where, why? I read on Twitter, and in the media, voraciously.

But concurrently, I had to speak out to able to comprehend. Almost as though my words precede my understanding. Again on Twitter. My fingers were flying. Apparently I think by talking. Who knew? Oh, yeah, you guys.

Finally, I needed to know what I was going to do. Action also makes me feel better in times of emergency. I needed a plan, and the plan needed me to tack a conceptual model on the virtual wall. So I did, over here. Only go read that if you feel as I do about this election, otherwise it’s going to make you mad and/or tired.

So, this is a lot of talking about the fairly inconsequential emotional and cognitive responses of a newly-old white lady with financial resources living in a liberal enclave of the United States. Not, perhaps, of universal value.

But you, you are of value. You and how you respond to these events, and your feelings about these events, and most importantly, your understanding of your feelings about these events, you matter.

One more piece of self-analysis, that I won’t do here but think about a lot. What are the emotional underpinnings of my political beliefs? Not this candidate, or that policy, but how do my deep convictions about human nature guide my opinions? I ask you the same question about yourself.

I feel sure that ignorance is bad, clarity is good. Even experiences of great pain, as long as they aren’t so bad that you shut down, bring us clarity. Pay some attention to what you feel, and don’t take the easy answer for why. Examine. Deconstruct. And, then, if you have time and space in your life, act.

On to the weekend. My best affection to all of you.

A Review Of Leota Dresses, Made In New York City, Perfect For The Working Woman


Ilana” dress in “Argyle” print c/o Leota || MaxMara wool and cashmere camel coat (similar) || Stuart Weitzman kitten heels (suede in multiple colors) || Georg Jensen Mobius strip bracelet from my maternal grandmother (yes the house makes more than household goods) || Birthstone necklace from Rachel Jackson || Bottega Veneta crossbody bag

A couple of months ago, as I stood in the checkout line at Whole Foods, vaguely annoyed for no good reason (it happens), I was cheered by a few passers-by. Across our Silicon Valley landscape of All Pants All The Time, suddenly, a flock of jersey dresses. Several young women so attired, moving with a purpose, through the sliding glass doors and past the peaches, in numbers that might indicate a trend.


“Huh,” I thought. And then paid for my groceries. Maybe I was making dal for dinner. I don’t remember.


Not too long thereafter I got an email from a company I’d never heard of, asking me to review their dresses on the blog. You guessed it, jersey!

Made by a small business called Leota, run by a woman. All products sewn in Brooklyn. I don’t often do reviews of gifted product, but, we’ve talked about women’s work wardrobes before here and this seemed relevant. Besides, my daughter in medical school loves to wear dresses under her white jacket, and she thought these were beautiful.

Above, I’m in Leota’s “Ilana” dress in “Argyle.” Below, my daughter’s also in the Ilana, but with a different print. These dresses work across all ages. The fabric isn’t quite as heavy as my Tory Burch, but it’s by no means flimsy, and it hangs really well.


Ilana dress in French Braid print c/o Leota Dresses || Apple watch c/o doting mother and stepfather || Topshop sandals (now available in crinkle gold for such a good price)

Leota helps you find a work “uniform” by allowing you to find colors, prints and silhouettes that you can stick with.

  • You can search by print. I wanted something that came in my usual blue/purple/pink palette. I tried a green dress first, yikes, no! Good to experiment, good to abandon the bad direction;).
  • Or by silhouette. Full-figure, maternity, cap sleeves, maxi, and so on. This seems a very easy way to grow a whole component of a simple work wardrobe.

Leota does need to revamp their website. Loads slowly, scrolls poorly, suboptimal photo display. But the dresses are lovely in person.


New prints arrive  regularly, which is both good and bad. Act fast, the design you like now may be gone tomorrow.

Finding a work uniform doesn’t solve everything, as we have seen recently but won’t discuss now. (Come find me on Twitter if you want to talk or just hear me try to sort this all out.) Women face challenges in the workplace, as we have also seen recently but still won’t discuss now. However, a good dress can help us get out the door. Navigate the commute. Reduce the list of intractable problems once when we arrive.

Sometimes we just have to get going. One foot in front of the next.


And sometimes we can give ourselves a moment to stop and imagine. Keep on dreaming my friends.


Even better, keep on doing. A salute to all the women who work, at home, in offices, in laboratories, on the roads, in the fields, growing our opportunities every day. To say nothing of the opportunities for our daughters. Surely on that we can agree.


Photos of me courtesy my tripod. Photos of my daughter, credit to Kellie Satterfield. Thanks Kellie!

Leota sent dresses to me and my daughter for this review. I also asked them to compensate the young medical student who took my daughter’s photos, and they very graciously agreed. Links to Leota will not generate commissions. Links to other retailers may.







On The Edge Of A Boom


Where do you sit – on the edge of a wave, on the crest, sliding down the back as the height passes, or down in the trough? What on earth am I talking about? Your relationship to population booms and busts. Where do you sit?

Just recently I read The Girls, by Emma Cline. It’s a story of a teenager who becomes part of a group that resembles the cult led by Charles Manson. Very well written, well enough that I wished it had told a longer story. I was brought back quite sharply to my teenage years.

And yet not quite.

In 1969 the protagonist is 14. I was 13 then. Above, I’ve posted a picture I drew in 1970 of me and some friends . When asked to dress up, I still chose Alice in Wonderland. No hot pants, no flag tees. Far too young in attitude to hop in someone’s bus and join a cult.

I had a similar experience watching Mad Men. Sally Draper, people have calculated, was  born in 1954. Your humble writer, who is talking an awful lot about herself we must admit, was born in 1956.

Let’s move to the second person.

The baby boom began in 1946 and lasted until 1964. We, the second half, are occasionally called “Generation Jones.” When one is born in the later stages of a boom, one watches. One sees history but does not actually join in. Sure, one visits Haight Ashbury in 1971, but only to say hi to someone’s older brother. One notices that nobody seems to be tidying up the way our mom does. That there don’t seem to be enough places to sit and one cannot understand why. Because we’re 15, not 20.

America had another population boom since the 1950s, the “Baby Boomlet” of the late 80s and 90s. I wonder what this wave will bring, and what artists will do with its thrashings in retrospect? And I wonder about the experience of those born just after, or just before.

The future makes more of us than lessons. We boil down into excellent entertainment. I’ve just watched an Amazon series called Good Girls Revolt. So commercial, as opposed to artistic, that you do wonder why any of the actresses agreed to take their clothes off. Oh well. I digress. It was fun enough.

We have all seen our youth lacquered by television productions, right? Sure, our hair was long in the 60s and early 70s. But it didn’t hang that precisely. Women with waves were tying weights to the end of their ringlets, we lacked styling tools. TV does not celebrate our mistakes.

Or, for the most part, the experience of us younger or older than the interesting wave. That’s OK. Sitting on the observation deck does allow us to keep some secrets.

So, not to belabor the question, where do you sit in relation to population booms? And does that position affect you?

Links may generate commissions





Surprisingly Full Of Energy, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:17am

For superstitious reasons I hesitate to tell you, but, this past week I’ve had a burst of energy. I almost don’t know what to do! Except use a rare exclamation mark in a blog post.

Does this happen to you?

I used to buzz at a high frequency all the time. Until I’d collapse, spent, for a day on the sofa reading magazines, (remember magazines?) watching television, and eating snacks. All at once.

But the past couple of years I’ve been decidedly tired. In 2015, 6 months of hormonally-driven health problems left me prone way more often than reasonable. In 2016, of course, my mother’s transition from her shared house in Santa Barbara with my stepfather to a nearby memory care facility, the problems in that process, exhausted me.

But suddenly I’m bubbling again. I am prepared for this to pass, to re-tire, if you will. But, today, in this moment, I’m thinking enthusiastically . As one does.

First, why the new energy? Possibilities:

  • Less worry about Mom
  • Change in my diet, from red meat-intensive to primarily chicken, fish, and vegetables
  • Aiming for (and achieving more often) two yoga classes and three 30 minute walks a week
  • No more midday TV on the sofa. TV stills my metabolism better than even martinis,
  • Hewing to my alcohol moderation program, if not perfectly, consistently over time

Probably the ubiquitous All Of The Above, but I also think thank the visit to friends in Austin, and the comments here last Saturday. Hearing other lives, other approaches. The voice of community quiets self talk, clearing space for that small happy impulse to action. Like stop-action movies of plants flowering.

Second, what to do, especially since this may pass?

  • Plan for the holidays. Not cooking for Thanksgiving, but, planning all kinds of decor for Christmas. Hoping to avoid too much shedding greenery.
  • Focus on the blog. As always, I want balance, between fashion and home, monetized and not, images and writing, humor and sentiment. Christmas frenzy can make that difficult.
  • Get out the vote.
  • Try in general to operate without feeling like I have to urge myself forward. Move instead with natural momentum. This seems revolutionary.

Here’s what I’m not doing: any extra cleaning or decluttering. I know some might hit the closets, clearing out old photos, finding the stuff bag for an Aerobed. Not me. Although, now that I think of it, maybe I’ll get there too.

Have a wonderful weekend, one and all around.

And For Your Friday Amusement, Special Blue Nile Discounts Just For Privilege Readers

The week is winding down. Or done. You’re at your desk, hearing the sound of the customer service people gathering for an in-office happy hour. You’re 30 years older than all of them. You’ll go, it’s what leaders do, but you take a moment to clear your mind with retail recreation.

Or the week is winding down. Or done. You’re on your sofa, children fed, bathed and in bed with your dear one reading them stories. You’ll go in to sing lullabies in a minute, but you’re just browsing. Almost without thought.

And lo and behold, a couple of Blue Nile discount codes just for Privilege readers. Oh best beloved, as Mr. Kipling would say.

20% off Regularly Priced Gemstone Jewelry: Code || PRIVILEGEGEMS2016

Save 40% on Select jewelry + Free Shipping on Every Order!: Code || PRIVILEGESECRET2016

10% off Regularly Priced Jewelry Code || PRIVILEGEHARVEST2016

Some exclusions apply, such as loose diamonds, a few designers, build your own engagement ring, etc. But that does leave a lot to play with for you ever-so-deserving buddies. Enjoy.

Links may generate commissions


Can A Mother And Her Daughter Wear The Same Sequined Skirt?


You already know the answer to the headlined question.

Back in 2012 I bought a sequined skirt at All Saints. I wore it to the office holiday party with a black cotton button-front shirt, black Louboutins (these days you might prefer the pointy-toed version), dark red nails, gold bangles, and a family diamond-embellished cuff (I think this modern one’s similar in feeling). I colored my hair in those days.


There are lots of sequin options this year, if you’d like to follow suit.

Sequined Skirts For Mother And Daughter (scroll right)

I wore the skirt again that Christmas night, with a white Anne Fontaine shirt and seriously tacky sparkle platform slingbacks. My husband and I (he was then still my Significant Other,) were having room service dinner at the San Francisco St. Regis. In that setting I was OK with the glitter and legs.

All Saints skirt, Anne Fontane blouse, 9 West shoes

But this year the skirt got too short. Nothing much changed except my attitude. I doubt fingers would point, but I’d feel less than spectacular and you should feel full-on spectacular in sequins.

Anyway, here’s how I balanced the skirt, in 2012.

Accessories For Mama (scroll right)

This year I gave the skirt to my daughter. Then I asked her to toss her ponytail in the middle of the messy in-use kitchen. They are so tolerant sometimes, our grown kids.


She’s wearing a tee and boots from All Saints. My husband and I had taken her shopping and splurged. I love her rocker look, especially since she’s actually a medical school student. If she wants a straight-up pretty outfit going forward, I think she can find a satin tee and sandals for not too much money.

And What The Daughter Wore, Or Might Wear (scroll right)

When I posted the shot of the pony toss on Instagram, several commenters  (including Materfamilias) suggested a blog post about the different ways a 50+-year old and a 29-year old might wear the same skirt. Thanks for the suggestion and here you go:

  • Mother – tailored shirt || Daughter – animal tee or tank
  • Mother – matte top || Daughter – grunge or shiny top
  • Mother – pumps and slingbacks || Daughter – ankle boots with cut-out heels, or strappy satin sandals
  • Mother – updo, or long and straightened || Daughter – however she dang well pleases

The mother tempers stretch and sequins with matte structure, the daughter augments with shine and skin.

I should add, in this era when we seem to be throwing off outdated expectations of how women over 40 and 50 and 60 ought to dress, far be it for me to enforce formulas. I’m giving you my own particular High-WASP-moved-to-Northern-California wardrobe calculus. Balance in all things. So when a certain piece of clothing starts to feel exceedingly body-focused, you should feel free to lay it down. Alternatively, double down and don it with a silver bodysuit and lucite-heeled boots. Room for everything.

Links may generate commissions


Have You Ever Wondered What Austin Is Like?


I’m just back from from my first trip ever to Austin, Texas. I’d happily go again. I was visiting two of my college roommates. Such a pleasure. They picked me up at the airport on Thursday night, took me to dinner here, then housed me, then fed me some more. In short, whole hog hospitality.

Oh, and showed me the city. Friday morning we walked around and over Lady Bird Lake. Gorgeous weather.


Then we went to lunch at Zocalo, for Tex Mex. Here’s the exterior of the restaurant – which seems, despite the ordinariness of the image, to capture something of the city. Rangy greens, outdoor tables, a comfortable relationship with parking lots.


And the interior – again, Austin. Modern, with evidence of craft. Very chipper.


Then off we went to see outdoor sights. Here’s Barton Springs. Please do keep Austin weird, if you can. Weird, comfy, and beautiful. Up in the parking lot someone was playing the guitar and singing, others were advocating conservation and signatures. Down in the water, floating. Swimming in the natural pool open to all. Pretty girls in bikinis and tattoos chatting.


And we were off to see the view from Mount Bonnell. Californians may not think this place is actually a mountain but they would be silly to so note. Vistas are all.


Then out to dinner again. This time at Laundrette. Note the matchbook font below. Austin’s distinctive lettering helped characterize the city for me. You see this one a lot too.


I commenced my dinner with a Wild Honey cocktail. Mezcal, honey, lemon, chili tincture. Delicious.


Saturday morning, we went out on Lake Lady Bird again, this time in a motor boat. Damn I love a water jaunt. Ray Bans forever.


You can drive your boat up and down the lake, touring shore buildings. Turns out billionaires build really artistic and interesting boat houses.


But Austin still has some older and more ramshackle affairs. You can easily imagine living there. At least I could. At least in October.


We ate one more lunch. Look at that tree. Austin wins at trees. And does pretty dang well at food too. This place, Vinaigrette, served top notch salads. Hit the spot.


My friends and I turned 60 this year. So did some of their other friends. Apparently, they had attended a traditional group lunch to celebrate, everyone in a necklace like this. I tried it on. Was offered the chance to bring it home, even. Was honored, but also worried that the dangling clanging might alarm security at the airport.


Just I was ferried to the airport, my friend’s cat chased a lizard into her house. Imagine three 60-year old women organizing to chase said lizard back out the door. A broom, my bad advice, other good advice, team work, and there went the lizard – with a flourish of its long tall tail.

Doing my best to keep Austin weird. And to enthusiastically endorse. It’s a city worth visiting on a vacation and one to embrace if life brings you there to live.

Oh, and just in case you you do go, my friends recommend the following hotels:

For restaurants, I’d recommend every one of the places I mention above.

No links will generate commissions









Wondering What Sixty Is, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:10am Central Time

I’ve had the occasion these past few days to see old friends.

As I’ve told them, I’m researching. They both had their 60th birthdays earlier this year, and I want to benchmark our age. I find myself asking them all kinds of questions. “What is your dream of the future? In that future where will you live?” “Are you ready for grandchildren?” “What is the hardest thing you have gone through to date? Do any effects linger?” “Do you have beauty secrets?” “How about Botox or injectables?” “What percentage of your day is spent content? How much disturbed, or blissful?” “Do you get tired more easily these days?”

We discuss lady clothes, and what to wear to a tea. I simply want to know, what ought I to expect of myself? To understand myself in context, and to understand them more fully, in the short time we’re spending together. One of the good things about old friends is that they aren’t surprised by your personality.

Maybe I should ask you guys the same questions. How about now?

That was a little abrupt. But, again, old friends aren’t surprised. I am interested in your answers – at your age – if you are so inclined. I think we have millions of resources on the stages of a child’s life, and very few on the ways adults age.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Picking Up A Few Household Items That Just Might Help Prepare For Guests Who Just Might Be Coming For Holidays

We’ve been feathering the nest, a tad. I know nobody wants to talk holidays yet, so I won’t mention Thanksgiving, or Hanukah, or Christmas. We’re safe as far as Diwali, since I don’t celebrate it, although these days I see its lights around town more often.

How about we call today Investing In Our Hospitality Infrastructure? Guests, no matter when or why, are expected.

Cooking Gizmo With Loads Of Promise

For example, we’re now the owners of an Instant Pot. I’m kind of embarrassed, as though I didn’t know late night television ads are bunk. We bought it because I wanted a rice cooker with a stainless steel lining. But the next thing I knew we were cooking up broth, steaming salmon, and stewing oxtail. Bada bing, pressure cooking! Totally not sure how that happened but it is a quick and less messy way to make dinner.

Key benefit: You can sauté whatever you want to soupify or stew or steam, in the same stainless steel insert you’ll use for subsequent slow cooking and pressure cooking and steaming.  I rejoice at one pot less to clean.

Extra Sleeping Facilities

You don’t need a new Aerobed? With that wonderful self-pump? So nobody has to sleep on the sofa? Well, maybe you don’t. But we did. Walked into Costco, walked out with this. Even has a headboard.

If I’d researched, we might have gone for a pillow-top, but I think our guests will forgive.

Nestling Apparatus

While we were in Costco I impulsively grabbed a faux sherpa throw, to replace our old one that had degraded into a web of red threads and chenille yarn. Now, although I’m deeply snuggled into the sofa, I am beginning to worry about Aggressive Fluff Particle Release. We shall see.

Again, with a little research, I might have realized that throws these days, like scarves, have reached a whole new level of artistry. Look at these in merino from Sferra. OH MY GOSH those colors. Drink them or cuddle them, which? Or this one in alpaca?  (I guess crystals would be too much? In another life?) Or this Missoni? Now that’s a quick way to update a Pottery Barn living room.

Thematic Hand Wiping

I also recently ordered 6 embroidered guest towels from a local San Francisco store. Behold the abundance at Samuel Scheurer Linens. So High WASP. Here’s where I give up the It’s Not About The holidays charade. Reindeer give it away. (They have throws too, by the way.)

Just One More Thing And I’m Done

Finally, if we’re surrendering to holiday prep, maybe it’s time for a nice box to store teabags. Simple. Functional. And the kind of extra I’m looking for this year.

I hope none of this has raised anyone’s adrenaline level. Nobody’s inadequacy gauge ticked up, even a little bit. My list is full of stuff you don’t need. But I remember vowing last year and the year before to prepare in advance, in a way that deepens my happiness. To continue to rebuild Christmas after my divorce.

And yes, it was 10 years ago that I spent that first Noël without my children. I should put it behind me. Things get better, and, perhaps, request grace notes.

Links may generate commissions. Samuel Scheurer  link is not monetized, they are a local business that I highly, highly recommend you visit if you come to San Francisco some day.



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