Posted by: shrewspeaks | June 29, 2010

Gulf Coast Benefit Meet-up

Great cause…casual great music…byob and byod (donation).

RSVP in the comments with number in your party.

Posted by: Jennifer A (Bread and Putter) | October 13, 2008

Better Late Than Never

Okay, I promised more food posts about our Newport trip and now seems like a good time to start. Before Shrewbie tells us more about the Brown-Eyed Girl Incident, I will tell you about the lunch we had that day. Shrew & Maven were eager to show us a little joint on the pier near our hotel they found, but unfortunately it was not open for lunch – only dinner. There was a gentleman working there getting ready for the evening, I suppose, and we asked him for a recommendation for lunch on the water. He pointed us in the direction of a place called The Pier and said he couldn’t vouch for the food, but the view was almost as good as his.

Hmmm. Not the best recommendation, but we were all starving and needed something to sop up that celebratory champagne we had already started on in the room. We wandered through the very unglamorous wharf and made our way to the restaurant. The view was decent.

The service? Not so good. We would continue to experience a lot of slow service in Newport – not sure if that is just the way it is in Newport, or if we were just in the wrong places at the wrong times. But, I was happy anyway. It was a gorgeous sunny day and I was sitting outside enjoying it by the sea with Karen & Renae, and our finally-met-in-person friends, Rosie & Dawn.

As I mentioned in my Valley Victuals post, Dawn definitely had the best pick of this meal with the Kobe beef sliders.

The rest of us had issues. I chose the grilled salmon club sandwich.

It sounded like a good idea, but the execution was just wrong. Who puts a club sandwich on a roll? I was expecting thin slices of toast. The bacon was a nice touch, but the big roll overwhelmed the salmon and made the whole thing hard to eat. I did like the fries though.

Rosie & Renae both had the burger. Rosie’s was okay, but Renae’s was way undercooked for how she ordered it and it took a very long time to get it back.

Karen had this chicken ceasar salad and though it looked pretty good…

…she said the chicken was very dry.

Not an auspicious start to the gourmet portion of our tour. But not to worry. Dinner would totally make up for that!

Posted by: shrewspeaks | October 2, 2008

Please excuse the delay…

I was asked to work on a video of my images from Newport for Operation Smile’s Live Auction this year.  They mean to show this before bidding opens on the item to entice people to bid higher.  So here it is…

Posted by: shrewspeaks | September 30, 2008

Where were we? Oh Yeah…Newport!

Tuesday Night. Attendance 100%.  Agenda: Booze Cruise aboard the Rum Runner

Okay, so that isn’t the Rum Runner.  Nor is this young man, but it was fun taking pictures of all these water taxis…

Meanwhile…back in the VIP Lounge…

Tomorrow…The Saga of Brown Eyed Gals.

Posted by: Jennifer A (Bread and Putter) | September 16, 2008

The Mysterious Case of the Shutter Schmuck

If you were preparing for a fun photo expedition with friends, what would you do?  Here is a tip.  Don’t do what I, jenfera, did.

From Newport

The picture above was taken on Tuesday of the big Newport trip, the very first picture I took with my digital camera of the trip. Guess what happened immediately after that? My batteries died. Did I have another set of batteries ready to go with me? Nope.

You see, I am a big fan of lithium batteries. They last a really, really long time. So long, that one might easily forget that batteries are something you need to think about. It wasn’t that big of a deal though. A little later that day, I found a little shop selling batteries and settled for some suspicious looking loose unpackaged alkaline double-A’s. Soon after, I was happily shooting away.

And I was happy! There are beautiful sights to be seen in Newport, and we were lucky to have gorgeous weather to enjoy it all. I couldn’t help myself but take lots of pictures all that evening. The next morning we headed to a mansion, where I happily took plenty of pictures all around the grounds.

After the tour, we headed out for more photo ops on the Cliff Walk. We started at the Forty Steps…

…where, after taking that picture, my camera promptly told me that my memory card was full. Did I have another memory card with me??


I spent most of our walking time re-saving a few pictures at lower resolution so I could squeeze in a few more. That got tedious fast. By lunch time, I was shooting with the camera on my phone.

Did I mention that I also toted along my big 35mm SLR? I sure did! And it even had a fresh battery in it. You know what I forgot? Color film. I had one sad old roll of black & white rolling around in my camera bag. But Newport is so beautiful, and I couldn’t see missing out on the gorgeous blue skies and blue waters all around us with black & white.

So, we searched for a new memory card. My digital camera is a Sony, and Sonys use a special memory card called the Memory Stick Pro. It is not as common as cards like the SD or XD, so when I ran into CVS before dinner? They didn’t have it. They had some different Sony card that looked to be a different size and shape than mine. I went across the street to Radio Shack. They were fresh out of Memory Stick Pro, but they might have some by Friday!

I know what you are thinking. Why didn’t you just offload the pictures on to your laptop when you got back to the room? Guess what else I didn’t bring? Yep. My laptop. The USB cord so that I could have perhaps downloaded onto Shrewbie or Maven’s laptop? Don’t be silly. Like I am going to remember that?

My dinner photos would have to be camera phone pictures.

Ugh! What is that???

The next morning, we managed to find a little camera shop on the other end of town. There, I found out that my Memory Stick Pro is obsolete! Who knew? But, all was not lost. The new thing – Memory Stick Pro Duo (or something like that) is available with a special adapter for use in older cameras. (My camera is an ancient 3 years old now.) The nice gentleman in the store even let me try it in my camera before I bought it to make sure it worked. Yay! I was snapping away again on our walking history tour with 1 gig of memory. And, I grabbed a roll of 35mm while I was there.

So, I made it through the rest of the trip with the sketchy batteries and the huge new memory card, but I really felt like I should at least take a few 35mm pictures since I bothered to take it with me. On the last day, I loaded up the film and took a few seconds before figuring out why I couldn’t set up my shot by staring at the hard, black plastic back cover of the camera. Right! No LCD screen. I peered through the actual viewfinder and took a few decent shots, and I was happy I chose color.

Well, I knew for sure I was happy I chose color after I got the film developed at Costco when I got home and had them make a CD for me. But still, I could have done better with these pictures. We took another walk on the Cliff Walk and I brought just the camera, not my bag. So, I didn’t have my polarizing filter which could have really made the sky pop in a shot like this.

And what is that schmootz in the middle of the sky? I think my regular filter could have used a good cleaning.

So, the moral of the story is – don’t be a shutter schmuck! Now that I have made my confessions, my next post will be sure to be about happier things – like all the great food we ate in Newport.

Posted by: shrewspeaks | September 13, 2008

Calling on Jenfera and MusicMaven

Ladies, I am off on vacation for two weeks.  I hopefully will be able to see the internet, post comments and send emails.  But I KNOW I won’t be able to post.


So while I am gone… post away here all about Your Newport experiences! 



Posted by: shrewspeaks | September 12, 2008

Ring My Bell

Sorry Everyone…work emergency…couldn’t post much.  But please enjoy this very shiny bell as a peace offering.

Posted by: shrewspeaks | September 11, 2008

Welcome to Nirvana…

Posted by: shrewspeaks | September 9, 2008

Monday Mansion Day

Mrs. Maven and I had received a calling card from The Mrs. Astor, indicating that upon our arrival to Newport, we were immediately placed on the 400 list.  A social achievement indeed expected but none the less thrilling by being formalized.  As such members of  The 400, we were invited to one of The Astor’s evening soirees.  Per custom, we decided to call on The Astor’s Monday afternoon.

We thought it would be horridly untoward to appear and have the chance that our stomachs may emit a growl for hunger, so we thought it best to stop and have a local dish at a little Italian cafe, The Firehouse Pizza.  This bohemian haunt is a converted firehouse as you can see from the doors.

It was a bustle with other tourists and local sets of the artistic persuasion.  A place much more likely to be frequented by the likes of Alva Vanderbilt (that little minx) than of the Astors, but you all know how Mrs. Maven and I are cut of the daring cloth.

After, what I can only characterize as mediocre fare, (you can’t give a Joisey gal anything less than the very best pizza), we headed to The Astors.


Beechwood is known for the simplicity and elegance of design.  Mrs. Maven and I believe The Mrs. Astor says that because she can’t put Beechwood up against the Vanderbuilt’s Breakers which is stunning beyond compare.  However, with the proper perspective Beechwood is lovely.

As we entered, Mrs. Maven took the Vanderbuilt approach and marched right into the main room.  She completely unnerved the front door attendent.  The little fellow scrmbbled to his feet, the clacking of his heeled shoes echoing through the marble entrance while he urgently yelled, “Ma’am, Ma’am!  You must wait.  Ma’am I’ll get the door.”  Mrs. Maven just smiledgraceously as he caught up to her.  But I believe I saw a devilish spark in her eyes as he left us in the ante room.

The Mrs. Astor was unavailble to meet with us, but her son inlaw, somebody Roosevelt took upon himself to show us around Beechwood.

Here is The Lady herself in the background with the roses named after her in the fore.

I must say one of the lovelier rooms, modeled after the bourgeois solons of Paris is this little wedgewood blue sitting room.

Delightfuly airy, don’t you think?

We were met in the ballroom by a very rude man.  I can’t recall his name, Mrs. Maven perhaps you can remember dear what his name was?  All I know is he spoke ill of the impressionist artist movement that I am so fond of.  When I asked him directly on the subject, he spoke some non-sense about the kodak boxes.  An obvious charleton and cad.  Unfortantly, as a result of this distasteful discourse, I happened to not notice the settings on my camera obscura and missed much of the ground floor.

Here is one image of the ballroom that I tried, unsuccessfully, to recover in the darkroom.

Upstairs we were treated to a glimpse of one of The Astor’s daughter’s gowns for this evening.  I must remeber to tell Alva to steer away from sea green tonight.

Finally, we brought through the kitchen…can you belive the audacity!

We walked the grounds down to the cliffwalk behind…

So as we left the Teahouse Folly…we diecided to drop by our old friends the Vanderbuilt’s and have afternoon tea.

Posted by: shrewspeaks | September 6, 2008

This Goes out to Jackie B – Part 2

After a spot of breakfast, MusicMaven and I packed up her spiffy rent-a-Kia, and headed up to Gooseberry Beach.  This is a private beach along Ocean Drive that is open to the public.  It was spectacular.

Little children were running into the water…

…and out of their suits.

The beach is a near perfect cove style beach…(click on the images for full size)

On either side of the cove, stand local cottages…

Ya…rough life.

Many were diving and boating in the cove…

We stayed there for a few hours soaking up the sun and atmosphere.  It was all bliss…until MusicMaven took one look at me and said “Okay we have to leave…you are red, REALLY red.”

So we headed back to SGDT Homebase for a little munch and rest before heading out to find some drinks and lobster.  We found a tiny place called H2O right on the water that had music and a lobster boil.

Besides the perfect lobster and bubbly, the sunset views form our seats were spectacular.

After dinner, we walked along the harbor walk while the sun continued to set…

Finally, we made it back home…I was good and sauced from sun and booze and MusicMaven wanted to hear the Beatles…

So the concert began…

I sang Beatles

and sang

then we moved into Otis

And a natural shift…

which naturally lead to…

and concluded with the unusual…

Poor MusicMaven, I hope I didn’t permanently damage her ears or traumatized her forever!

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