I SPY: A Fish Tank

Sep 30, 2014

What did National Geographic call a 'Must see in THE WORLD'?  The Philip Johnson Glass House.  I now understand why!  You will soon agree too!

In 1949 Philip Johnson a famous American Architect built his private weekend retreat in New Canaan, CT.  A glass house set in 49 acres of beautiful nature.  As the Artist once said 'It works because the wallpaper is so handsome".  He sure is right!  It's a perfect backdrop.

Till the end of November 2014 they're hosting an exhibition by a Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya called 'Veil". Thick fog is released at set times around the glass house that creates a very MYSTICAL and totally unique experience.  I was lucky to be outside as the fog began to be released and then was inside the glass house while the fog covered the entire house and obscured your view looking out.  Cool right?

This PHENOMENAL minimalist structure is a National Historical Landmark.  The glass house is the apple of the eye on the property, but there are also other interesting structures built surrounding it.  It's an amazing portrayal of Modern architecture, with influences I noticed from Bauhaus, Cubism, and Frank Geary, that carries into the interior.

I suggest you take a guided walking tour of the grounds to understand the strategic placement and landscape of this property, otherwise things may seem odd at first.  But once told the analogy behind Philip Johnson's thinking you will understand how well thought out this project was.  Quite GENIUS.  The windows, placement of buildings, trees planted to mimic the window numbers, to the stone walls built to distract your eye and subconsciously allure you to look the other way at the view makes you realize everything was done for a reason.  Was Mr Johnson a control freak?  I think so!

He was also obsessed with circles and rectangles.  You will see the on going theme through out the property, such as the circular pool built across from the rectangular glass house, and the circular port windows at the back of the brick house.  This stark contrast is also noticeable within the interior.  It's a formula that works. Similar to the principles of Feng Shui that circles balance out the elements so the energy flows better and doesn't get stuck in the 90 degree angle corners of a rectangle.  Many structures were built for the design effect more so then practicality.  In his video he said 'The human body can conform.  If you like a beautiful chair, you will find a way to sit in it'.  TRUE!

Here are the other sites on the property that are of interest and had meaning.

Brick Guest House:

Da Monsta:

Ghost House:

Painting Gallery:

The Facade of the artist studio 'Under Earth' - 42 works of Art from Philip Johnson private collection.
Artist: Frank Stella

Artist: Andy Warhol  - Commissioned portrait of Philip Johnson

Sculpture Gallery:


Anything in particular catch your interest?  Could you live in a fish tank?  I could if it was similar to the Philip Johnson Glass House! I wish they would put this house up for rent on Airbnb.  How awesome would that be to be able to stay here for a weekend?  Would be such a TREAT.

The Glass House
199 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT 06840
T: 1866. 811. 4111

I SPY: An Ewok

Sep 29, 2014

How much is that doggy in the window?  WOOF, WOOF!  Last Spring my kids were desperate to have a dog, so we began our hunt.  My boys are big Star Wars nuts, so finding a dog that looked like an Ewok or Chewbacca was appropriate.  It wasn't easy but we found him!  EDDY.  My 3rd child, who looks like a lil' Ewok and without fail can never strut out the door without getting stopped. These are the top 8 questions I (his agent!) constantly get asked.  Would it be rude to tell people I don't have time to chat and direct them to the blog instead for answers?  TEMPTED!

Name: Eddy

Age: 1 year

Sex: Male

Breed: Shih Tzu

Color: Solid Red

Catherine Morgan
T: 607.786.3947

T: 914. 698.2468

His Bling:
Harness - http://www.alpenschatz.com/soft_leather_harnesses.htm
Leash - http://www.alpenschatz.com/leashes.htm

Look at that under bite smile!  Isn't he cute?  He knows it!

Do you have a Shih Tzu you brag about?  I don't blame you - they're great dogs!  If your looking to add a dog to your life, I highly recommend this breed.  They're a wonderful toy breed, with a goofy personality, hypo allergenic, not barkers, great with kids and not overly energetic.  Their hair is maintenance, and they need to be brushed especially if you keep their hair long.  However, if they have a puppy cut like Eddy little brushing is required, but then be prepared to be sending them to the groomers every 6 weeks for a trim.  It starts to add up.  I spend more money on getting Eddy's hair cut so often then I do on my own bi yearly hair cuts!  But thats my investment in keeping him cute and low maintenance.  He's worth it, don't you think?

I SPY: Lost My Title

Sep 26, 2014

MAMA can you wipe my butt?  No son it's time you learn to do it yourself!  This is what I've been dealing with in my house for the last week.  FUN.  Not really because instead I've become the Plumber.  My lil' guy was using so much toilet paper it kept clogging the toilet!  I was caught a few times with rubber gloves and disposable chopsticks pulling clumps of toilet paper out of the toilet bowl before I could proceed with the plunger!  EEWwww!

Can you believe for 10 years between my two boys I've been the official 'Butt Wiper' of the house?  What an awesome title I've earned!  But now I've decided to pull the plug.  Why? Because my lil' guy has started full day Kindergarten and I don't think his teacher would appreciate him screaming for help from the bathroom!  Besides how is he ever going to learn personal hygiene if I'm always doing it for him?  And what a bad mother I would be if I never taught my son the last leg of potty training?  The pressure was on!

I must admit I dragged this task out longer with him then my 1st son.  Why?  Because I'm anal and he's a thumb sucker.  Partially me also just being lazy because it wasn't such a big deal to run to the bathroom on call.  There's worst jobs I can think of!  And it was another thing to say goodbye to which I wasn't ready for because he's my BABY.

But push come to shove we did it.  Another milestone surpassed with flying colors.  No more skid marks in his under pants, and no more threats that he is going to have to carry a plunger to school!  Good job little man!  As a Mom it's also an accomplishment and check off the list.  But just like when you stop buying diapers, throw out the bottles, crib and stroller you realize that chapter is over and you will never go back.  SNIFF.  What do you call this feeling?  BITTERSWEET.  Your happy because once you've successfully potty trained your child it is something to celebrate, but on the flip side facing the reality that they're growing up way too fast is sad.

Well I've given myself a pep talk and for those in my shoes listen up.  CHEER UP…we still got our own butt to wipe!  When the day comes that we can't do that anymore then we have true reason to be sad.  RIGHT?  Always got to look on the bright side!  Have a BUTT-iful weekend!!!

I SPY: Tennessee

Sep 25, 2014


Do you love Elvis?  I do!  He inspired our dog and kid friendly adventure this summer through Tennessee.  My kids and Eddy's 1st road trip.  YEE HAW!

Publicity Photo: Jailhouse Rock @1957

1st stop: MEMPHIS
It's a sleepy town.  To be fair we were there last week of August, and in that area kids were already back in school so there wasn't a lot of action going on or tourist.  Luckily we only stayed for 2 days!


If you do nothing else, this is a MUST.  It's really cool to walk through the mansion and see where The King lived.  Each room is ornate and so stuck in the sixties.  The interior, from the glitz to the upholstered pleated ceilings and mirrored walls had me STONED!  At the entrance your given a iPad with headphones that gives you a narrated walk through so you can explore at your leisure.  Here is a peak of what you can look forward to.  Pity ELVIS bedroom was off limits.



Living Room
Parents Room

Dining Room
TV Room

Pool Room

Jungle Room
Lisa Marie 1st Play Set
Vernon's Office
Trophy Building
Costume Exhibit

Priscilla Presley's Wedding Gown

Meditation Garden

3765 Elvis Presley Boulevard
Memphis, TN 38116

Walk along and you'll find bars, food, music, nightlife and impressive street acrobats.

The home of NBA team Memphis Grizzlies.  Catch a game, watch a concert or show.

Guitar haven.  Factory tours available daily.

Gladys Knight was performing there while we were in town.


Hands down the best restaurant!  I wish they would open a place in NY!  Italian food with a southern flare, made only of the freshest ingredients.  Tapas sized plates served family style.  Seasonal menu that offers produce from their local farmers.  Industrial decor.  Loved the sporadic yellow chairs.  We pigged out and tried as much as we could!  Everything was super yummy.  If only we had an extra day to go back and try the rest of the menu. HA!

Crab Claws: Lemon, Parsley, Butter

Red Eye Pizza: Pork Belly, Egg, Fontina, Celery Leaf, Sugo
Compressed Watermelon: Heirloom Tomato, Peach, Onion, Basil, Ricotta Salata

Short Ribs: Buttermilk, Corn, Shitakes, Green Onion, Turnips
Carol's Delightful Smile: Oreo Crust, Malted Chocolate Mousse, Whoppers

The Beauregard: Graham Cracker Hazelnut Crust, Blueberry Curd, Orange Marmalade
Hog & Hominy
707 W. Brookhaven Circle
Memphis, TN 38117
T: (901) 207.7396

Located on a tree lined street closed to traffic.  Good place for lunch.  Basic pub grub.

Fish Tacos

95 S. Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
T: (901) 473.9573


We stayed at The Peabody hotel located in downtown Memphis.  Close walking location to many attractions.  A traditional hotel with live piano music in lobby bar nightly.  Best of all they're known for their daily Peabody Duck March open to the public.  This is a unique experience!  Sign your kids up to be honorary Duck Masters!  Their job entails helping the main Duck Master round up the ducks that are housed on the rooftop of the hotel in the Duck Palace.  They will escort the ducks across the rooftop into the elevators.  Once the elevator doors open in the lobby the ducks will walk along the red carpet into the lobby fountain.  This is a tradition they've been doing for close to 80 years.  There is a whole story behind how this started that you can read on their website.  You will get a kick out of just watching even if you don't participate in the duck march!  Only down - my kids wished the march was longer.

Another plus about this hotel is that they are pet friendly and have a gourmet room service menu offering dog food and treats.  Eddy approved!

The Peabody
149 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
T: (901) 529.4000

2nd stop: NASHVILLE
On the road again.  Three hour drive East from Memphis to Nashville.

Nashville is a hip town with a big music culture.  Much more happening then Memphis!  You hear live music everywhere along the streets coming from the open air cafes and bars.  It gave the city a very upbeat mood.  Also spotted some great graffiti around town.  Don't ya LOVE it?


Worth checking out all the music memorabilia even if your not a country music fan.  You may surprise yourself and leave a fan!  I found out Taylor Swift has an education center.  What?!  Yeah, thats what I thought to.  She's just a kid!

Missed this because we didn't plan in advance.  UGH.  Would've been fun to catch a show.  This is where so many of the famous country music stars made their first debut.  Maybe you will catch Taylor Swift there!

Photo Credit: www.fanpop.com

Great place to burn the kids energy and your own!  You can literally bounce off the walls!  I played dodgeball with the kids and realized after what a great cardio workout jumping on a trampoline is.  Why don't they have this at my gym?  I would actually be motivated to go then!

Sky High Sports
5270 Harding Place
Nashville, TN 37217
T: 1866. 701. 5867

Feels like your in Greece!  Amazing structure, park grounds and museum.  Great place to walk the dog, and have a picnic.

As seen on Duck Dynasty.  Now thats the way to do a bar crawl!


Beautiful campus.  Made my boys take a photo with sign.  Who knows - maybe one day they'll attend university there!


We saw Sinbad the comedian and his entourage there!  Not that it makes any difference, but just had to tell you!  HA.  It's a popular joint so make reservations before.  You have to try the award winning deep fried brownie a la mode topped with BACON.  How can anything with bacon be bad?  Muy bueno ya'll!

Piggy Mac - Smoked Pulled Pork, Gouda Cheese

Cajun Chicken & Waffles

Redneck Burrito -  Cherry Wood Pulled Pork, Baked Beans, BBQ slaw 

Deep Fried Brownie

Pucketts Grocery
500 Church Street
Nashville, TN 37219
T: (615) 770. 2722

Perfect place for breakfast, brunch or lunch with the kids.  You cook, they clean up - EASY!  We made omelets, grilled cheese sandwiches and pancakes.  Kids had a blast.  I want to get one of these tables in my kitchen!

P' Funky Griddle
2800 Bransford Avenue
Nashville, TN 37204
T: (615) 298. 2088

We stayed at a convention center hotel.  I didn't realize this when booking!  Turns out it was a nice, new hotel, with cozy library fire place lounge areas in lobby.  Good location, next door to Country Music Hall of Fame Museum and rooms had a good view over looking downtown.

Omni Nashville Hotel
250 Fifth Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
T: (615) 782.5300

Last leg.  About 3.5 hour drive from Nashville to Walland, TN.  All I heard in the back was ZZZZzzzz…including Eddy!  So much for good company BOYS!

We arrive at Blackberry Farm and can instantly notice driving into the property that this is the icing on the cake.  Our real reason to trek it to Tennessee!  My boys enjoyed Glamping so much at Paws Up in Montana last year (as I've previously posted) so we wanted to try something similar.  Blackberry Farm is not glamping perse, more upscale I think, with beautiful grounds set in the Smoky Mountains, and known for their culinary fare and wine.  But like Paws Up there are plenty of outdoor activities for the family. Great place to be spoilt and get some R&R!


The barn where you dine for dinner looks like a page out of a Restoration Hardware catalogue.

Their wine cellar holds approximately 195 thousand bottles of wine.  Got to walk down to basement to take a peek.  No fear of going dry there!

The food was scrumptious and innovative!  Menu changes daily.  Here are photos to make you HUNGRY.  Now you've just got to go taste it to believe it.

Blueberry Thyme Lemonade

Charchuterie & Cheese Plate - Everything made at Blackberry Farm

Poached eggs with Carolina gold rice

Seasonal Melon Salad

Slow cooked farm egg, Mushroom broth, Green Onions & Wood mushrooms

Fried Black Eye Peas

Caramelized Diver Scallops, Charred Zucchini Puree, Squash & Basil

Turbot, Caramelized Cauliflower, Spinach, Oyster Mushrooms & Ramp Bearnaise

One afternoon they held a BBQ cook out by the lake for lunch which was a pretty setting.  More yummy food, and old fashion fun for the kids such as apple bobbing, petting zoo, and face painting.


Luckily there were plenty of activities to help burn the bulge!  So many activities to do, but so little time.  This is what we were able to squeeze in.



Horse Riding


Rock Climbing


Crawfish Catching


Truffle Dogs

Working Farm

Not forgetting to mention - their KIDS CAMP with dinner and a movie while Mama disappeared to the SPA for a few hours was a blessing!

We stayed in their Song Sparrow cottage.  Cute and spacious.  The staff were super accommodating and really dog friendly.  They supplied dog bowls, HOME MADE dog treats, a toy, poop bags, and a bed for Eddy.  Yup, he got spoilt rotten too!

Blackberry Farm
1471 West Millers Cove Road
Walland, TN 37886
T: (865) 380.2260


It's 45 minutes away from Blackberry Farm.  When we exited the freeway at Pigeon Forge my lil' guy exclaimed 'Where are we? Clown town?' HA!  It felt that way because for at least a mile stretch before you reach Dollywood you drive along a strip thats set up like mini Vegas for kids. Mini amusement rides, grand prix, mini golf - you name it they had it all for kids entertainment.

But we were there for Dollywood and it was also a HOOT.  Besides the typical amusement park rides and water park they had everything Dolly Parton.  You'll find her old tour bus, Dolly museum that has her old costumes and wigs on display, and tells her life story, and a store to buy Dolly Parton look a like apparel.  I thought about buying something to wear for Halloween!  Would make a funny costume no?  But need to find the 40DD boobs first!!! HA.

2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
T: 1800. 365. 5996

Our 1st road trip successful.  PHEW!  Between Elvis, Dollywood, marching ducks, Blackberry Farm and all the eating it was enough to keep us city folks full.  Is this trip too country bumpkin for you?  C'mon gotta try something different every once in a while!
i * SPY CANDY. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.