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Monday, April 28, 2014


My maternal grandfather died on my twelfth birthday (my grandmother had died a decade earlier) and as the family was going through his belongings they came across his razors. My grandfather, of course, was from a different, much earlier generation and so his razors were double-edged safety razors.   I was given these razors to play with – sans blades of course – because they were so old and “outdated.”

I had grown up in the era of watching Santa gliding over hills of snow on his modern, and "high-tech" Norelco electric shaver.  In addition, my father used an electric shaver, both of my brothers used electric shavers, and I was given an electric shaver when it became my turn to shave.  So for me, these old hand held DE safety razors seemed about as useless as a three-wheeled car.  As time went on, and I grew up, my grandfather’s razors were lost or, more likely, thrown out.  Now, a few decades later, I’m wishing I still had them.

While visiting cousins in Switzerland in the 1960's, my grandfather, a life long farmer, 
couldn't resist having his photo taken with these cows.

Over the last two years I’ve been toying with the idea of switching from my cartridge razor to a safety razor – years ago I had made the switch from the electric razor to the cartridge.  Because I never jump into these decisions quickly, that thought process lasted a while.  My usual routine is to maul things over in my head for a while until finally the times seems right.  That right time happened a couple months ago. 

Shortly after the first of the year, I began researching razors, brushes, blades, and shaving soaps, and two months ago I made the decision that I was going to make the switch.  I decided I would order the best “mid-range” items I could find, that way if it turned out not to be something I liked, I wouldn’t have made a huge investment.

My shaving mug is actually a lone coffee mug that belonged to my great-grandmother.

It turns out that there is a whole new resurgence in this more traditional shaving style going on now, and I was able to find what I felt were the appropriate items online and I ordered them.  While waiting for them to arrive, I watched several Youtube videos to learn the best ways and techniques to shave.  Finally when the products all arrived, I mustered up my courage and attempted my first shave.

I was amazed at how easy it was.  I learned things that I liked and things that I didn’t.  My first attempt was a bit clumsy – something I know will fix itself as I continued to do this – but not as bad as I had envisioned.  The fear of using this new type of blade proved to be unfounded and I had no problem approaching this the second time or anytime since.

I’m learning that I will want to try other shaving soaps, as I’m not certain I’m sold on the one I’m currently using.  I also know that I will eventually get a second brush with different hairs in case that might work better with the soap I already have.  These are all things that will work themselves out in time.  There are also problem areas on my face that I struggle with getting as smooth as I might, but as I experiment with additional products I‘m sure that this will resolve itself.  I also need to remind myself that I’m still in the practice and learning phase.

I have been shaving with my DE safety razor for over a month now, and I am very pleased with it.  The sad thing that keeps coming to mind is the loss of my grandfather’s razors.  Family traditions and connections to my ancestors are very important to me, and I can’t think of anything better than to be shaving with my grandfather’s razors.  Even though that isn’t a reality, a part me senses that he is with me in spirit as I explore this more traditional style of shaving.

Friday, April 25, 2014


Each year City Pages and their readers choose the “Best of the Twin Cities” winners in several categories, including, music, theater, restaurants, parks, dating spots, entertainment venues, clothing, coffee houses, and much, much more!  This is one of the most anticipated and coveted issues.

                                                                  (Photo from City Pages website)

This year, I’m delighted to say, City Pages chose Sven Raphael Schneider’s, Gentleman's Gazette, as the Best Twin Cities Blog.  (You may remember I featured Raphael and Gentleman’s Gazette on the blog last month when they debuted their Fort Belvedere line.) 

I must say I couldn’t be happier with this selection by City Pages.  Gentleman’s Gazette, a personal favorite of mine, is a top-notch blog, and extremely deserving of this honor.

Congratulations to Sven Raphael Schneider and his lovely wife Teresa, on Gentleman’s Gazette being chosen the best Twin Cities blog by City Pages.  The honor is well deserved.

Monday, April 21, 2014


My friends will tell you how much I love to entertain.  I love celebrating events and hosting Holiday dinners for them.  The other thing that they will tell you is how much they look forward to seeing my table at each of these dinners.  Apparently, I’ve become quite known for them.

Although I never started out to be know for them, they are something I enjoy doing.  Making the table look nice is just one way I can give back to my friends, and thank them for being in my life. 

Usually my tablescapes are fairly traditional, but every so often, they explode with color.  That is what happened this year for Easter.  As I’ve shared before I love color, and this year it seemed most appropriate.  Our weather has been getting increasingly warmer but we still get a blast of snow now and then.  While this is nothing like last winter, which saw a new round of snow every week through the first week of May, it does seem that all of us are ready for spring to finally be here and stay.  Thus the explosion of color! 

The focal point of the table this year was large, neon-pink bunny with a green bow tie (I added that detail), and the rest grew from there.  The dinner table and dessert table were alive in neon colors of pink, green, and blue, set against gold tablecloths.  The result was wonderful and fun!

Hosting dinners for my friends is a passion of mine, and making the table nice for them is one of my great pleasures.  It’s small thing I can do for the people in my life.

(Thank you to Jim Talarski and Deanna Hagg for also submitting photos for this post.)

In a happy, unplanned, turn of events, my Easter outfit matched my table this year.

What I wore for Easter:    
               Pink Shirt:  Vintage
               Green Vest:  Brooks Brothers
               Bow Tie:  Lex Stevens/Bow Tie Logic
               Khakis:  Vintage
               Shoes:  Bostonian Cordovan Cap Toe
               Socks:  Polo Ralph Lauren
               Watch: Timex
               Watch Band:  Brooks Brothers

Friday, April 18, 2014


Wearing the Brooks Brother Signature Tartan bow tie with just a touch of red for Good Friday!  The Triduum is in full swing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


A little peek at what's to come for Easter!!!

Monday, April 14, 2014


Easter will be here in just a few days and I am already thinkink about my diner table.  I host Easter dinner for my friends, and today I started getting out the dishes I’ll be using. 

This year’s choice is my collection of green Block Optic Depression Glass, which was grown from a few pieces that I inherited from my mother.  I love the beautiful green shade of this set, and it will be perfect for my table this year.

Friday, April 11, 2014


(In Honor Of Bow Tie Friday)

When most of us think of Allen Edmonds we tend to think of shoes, and rightly so, but they also carry a growing line of men’s clothing.   When I’m downtown, I like to stop into their store – conveniently located next door to Brooks Brothers – to check out their current offerings for shoes, clothes and accessories.

While I was there recently, this gem of a tie caught my eye and I loved it.  It was tied on a display and was the only tie in this pattern that they had, so I asked them if they would take it down and sell it to me.  They were wonderful about doing that and even steamed it for me to remove any possible wrinkles.  So in Honor of Bow Tie Friday, I thought I would share it with you.  I’ve already worn it a couple of times and I must say I still love it!

Allen Edmonds has always been known for their high quality shoes, and now, for me, they will also be known for this awesome bow tie.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Growing up in rural Iowa I inherited a number of qualities – a love for the environment, an understanding of tradition and community, and mostly a sense of family and longevity.  It’s an area that will hold up accomplishments that go back to the town’s founding families, while at same time casting “knowing” glances about that little incident involving your great-great-uncle seventy years ago.  For good or bad, family “legacies” are remembered forever.

My paternal great-great-grandfather Bernard White

My maternal great-great-grandmother Lux.

My maternal grandmother Kathryn (Katie) Heims Gadient 
and three of her younger siblings.

My paternal grandmother Virginia Ludwig White.

My paternal great-great-grandparents, Bernard White and Teresa Daer White.

Family has always been very important to me, and with that comes a love of genealogy.  I’ve always been fascinated with history and family heritage, and could often be found roaming through local cemeteries gathering information from weather worn and moss covered tombstones, always looking to discover that next treasured tidbit to be added to the family tree.

This photo and the title photo are of my maternal grandparents, 
George Gadient and Katie Heims Gadient, on thier wedding day.

My maternal great-grandparents, Peter Gadient and Mary Fuchs Gadient, 
on their wedding day . . .

. . . and here with their wedding party.

My maternal great-great-grandparents, Bernard Heims and Elizabeth Ekrott Heims.

My maternal grandmother, Kathryn (Katie) Heims Gadient.

My family immigrated to the United States 160-years ago from Germany, eventually settling in the newly forming town of Worthington, Iowa.  While this rural town has remained small over the years, my family is still a presence there today, and that sense of heritage is strong.

My paternal great-grandfather, John H. White.

My maternal great-great-grandmother Cacilia Bader Gadient.

My maternal grandmother Katie Gadient (seated left) holding my uncle.  
Seated center is her mother, my great-grandmother Mary Heims, 
with my great-great-grandmother Lux seated right.

My paternal grandfather Raymond J. White.

My paternal great-grandparents, John H. White and Mary Stoll White.

A few months ago, I was looking through a box of old family photos, some of which were starting to crack and tear, and decided to scan them so that they would be digitally preserved before deteriorating completely.  This genealogical trip down memory lane once again stirred that sense of heritage I felt as a youth roaming through those cemeteries, and that feeling of connectedness with family members long gone, many of whom I’ve never met, washed over me anew.

My paternal grandmother Virginia Ludwig White.

My paternal grandparents, Raymond J. White and Virginia Ludwig White, 
on their wedding day.

This one of my favorite photos of my maternal grandfather George Gadient (seated left).

My maternal grandmother, Katie Heims Gadient, with three of her younger siblings.

My paternal great-great-granparents, Theodore Ludwig and Margaret Hennes Ludiwg.

I credit my father for instilling in me that sense of heritage and family.  He would tell me stories of distant relatives long gone which sparked my desire to learn more. From that I developed a strong love of tradition and a great appreciation of lineage. 

My parents, Marion Gadient White and Cyril John White.

My parents on their wedding day . . .

. . . And seen here with their wedding party.

My father as a baby, seen here with my grandmother.

My mother and her two older brothers.

The whole is made up of its many parts, and for me it’s the same with family.  Through being connected to my ancestors I gain a new understanding and appreciation of who I am today, as I celebrate my family tree and the wonderful heritage I have been given.

Friday, April 4, 2014


When Mother Nature blessed us with a dusting of snow on April 1, it was a fun April Fool’s joke, but there is nothing funny about our weather today.  Overnight we received around 10 inches of snow here in Minneapolis.  Our warmer temperatures over the past few weeks gave us hope that this would be a “normal” winter as the mountains of snow melted away, but this morning we have a flashback to last year, which saw snow falling in the first week of May.

A dusting of snow on April 1, was a fun April Fool's joke . . .

. . . But there was nothing fun about the snow this morning.

Cars waiting to be dug out after the snow storm.

This is the time of year that we all remind ourselves that we live in Minnesota and shouldn’t be surprised by long winters.  Usually, this is easy to except, but this year saw excessively long sub-zero stretches, which makes the winter seem to drag out longer than usual.  This added new snow brings that back that feeling.

This was  the view outside my window this morning.

Snow covered trees line the streets today.

Digging out after the storm.

As children we grew up with the rhyme about “April Showers.”  What I didn’t realize at the time, is that they could also be April SNOW Showers.