Thursday, April 29, 2010

Trailer Trad Hall of Fame: My Favorite Russian

I am kicking off my first edition of Trailer Trad Hall of Fame with a purely selfish nomination. She has been called the greatest female tennis player never to win a grand slam title. That is enough to gain her entry right there. Her name is Elena Dementieva, the most beautiful Russian tennis player that you’ve never heard of.

Why does she deserve to be nominated to the Trailer Trad Hall of Fame? Her statuesque blond beauty certainly helps but it’s her quirkiness that makes her trailer trad. She’s very traditional – but in the Russian sense. Her biggest tennis goal was not to win a major, but to bring home the singles gold for Russia in the 2008 Summer Olympics, which she did. While most of the other hotties on tour are cashing in with huge conglomerate sponsorships, residing in Monaco and training in the U.S., Elena remains fiercely patriotic to Mother Russia by living in Moscow and by obtaining few Western endorsement contracts (compared to Maria Sharapova, at least).

WTA Star Ana Ivanovich

She had been somewhat of a hard-luck story on tour for a few years even though she stayed in the top ten. Few on tour can match Elena’s strokes or her physical gifts but she had a nasty habit of choking away matches. This became even worse when, after recovering from a shoulder injury, she changed her service motion which caused her problems on her serve. ‘Train wreck’ is probably more accurate to describe those crucial moments in matches when she would double-fault after double-fault. At times, she would look up to her mother/coach for support (she’s so traditionally Russian, she remains a momma’s girl into her late twenties. –Disconcerting, but traditional). Some commentators would roll their eyes at whether she had what it took to win at majors.

That changed at Wimbledon in 2009 where she fronted for one of Wimbledon’s major sponsors, Evian bottled water. –What a bargain that was for Evian considering how well she performed against Serena Williams in the semi-finals and how, um, healthy she looked in her white tennis togs. In one of the most spectacular WTA matches in years according to many, Dementieva played brilliantly but came up a hair short losing to Serena 6-7, 7-5, 8-6. She remains one of the few players who can match the Williams’ power stroke for stroke and seems set to have a very successful year on tour in 2010.

To honor Elena Dementieva, one of the great players and also one of the nicest people on tour, I advocate a new holiday – Wimblefest!

It combines the elegance, tradition and athleticism of Elena at Wimbledon With plenty of beer served by blond waitresses in festive dirndls

Resulting in …. Voila! You’re very welcome. As Charles Dickens might say,”God Bless Elena Dementieva and Merry Wimblefest Everyone!”

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

School House Design (reshown)

You could call it ‘Econo-Mission.’ I sometimes refer to it as ‘school house’ design. It is that utilitarian design found in schools, universities, libraries and offices in the late 19th Century up to the Mid-20th Century. Picture your Grandfather’s prep school football coach’s office in 1938.

My favorite examples have clean lines yet are well built of oak or other hard woods. I find that it is a good substitute for Arts and Crafts or Mission furniture that, while beautiful, has become rare and very expensive in the last two decades.

School House is very practical because it was built by skilled American craftsmen. Much of it was made here in North Carolina but it was also made in many other states like Indiana and Michigan. Because it’s so solid it can be heavily used and abused.

These furnishing can be used in many different ways in many different rooms of your house. It goes with sporting antiques like old team pictures and rustic furnishings like antique fishing gear really well but it can also be paired with country furniture like a dining room table. It even goes well with industrial interior design like old drafting tables and hung antique engineering blueprints.This look has been popular with the big names in retail furnishings for a while now. However, with a little looking, you can get a real antique piece with patina and history for less than what you’d pay buying from a catalogue. Also, the school house antique piece will he made out of real American hardwoods, not made in China out of who knows what kind of young wood.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dr. Woods Peppermint Castile Soap

When the zombies attack and everybody’s heading for the hills, Whole Paycheck (my term for that granola supermarket with Prius’ and Suburus filling the parking lot) is not the first place that I would rush to. However, there is one product there that will be bartered along with cordwood and genetically unaltered vegetable seeds. That product is Dr. Woods Peppermint Castile Soap.

This stuff makes a Swiss Army knife seem impractical. I have washed my hair with it, my face with it, put it in a pump and used it as hand soap and washed my clothes with it. In addition, you can wash your dishes with it. You can even wash off your vegetables with it. It is reasonably priced and lasts for a long time. It is perfect for camping or to have on hand at the weekend cottage. It epitomizes WASPy practicality and, boy, your buttondowns will smell better than ever!