Cozying Up to Winter–Maiden Lane Style

While I recognize that summer is a popular month among the throngs, I’ve always been a fan of fall and winter. Perhaps it’s the hunkering-down-with-a-steaming-mug-of-coffee aspect of a chilly morning…or the brew-a-pot-of-green-tea-and-do-some-serious-writing call of a blustery afternoon…or the light-a-roaring-fire solution to a snowy evening. Any way you look at it, the operative word is “cozy.” And cozy feels good.

At Maiden Lane, cozy comes in a variety of forms. From chunky, cabled cardigans to flowing, draping sweaters…from softer-than-soft scarves to silly socks that’ll make you smile…your solution to warmth can be found at this lively Nevada City, California boutique.

Stop by 307 Broad Street or visit to explore the many ways you can stay cozy this winter season.

Big Style in a Small Town

The historic town of Nevada City, California isn’t likely on anyone’s fashion radar, but it should be. Maiden Lane—located on Broad Street, the town’s main drag—carries the sort of merchandise you might expect to find in an exclusive boutique in LA or New York. Here you’ll find a stunning selection of clothing and accessories by A-listers such as Eileen Fisher, Blue Willi’s, Sympli, and Brighton.

In addition to fabulous clothing for both women and men, it’s the place to go for gorgeous coffee-table books and cookbooks…exotic soaps and teas…indulgent candies and scented candles…decorative pillows and designer purses.

Owners Bo and Stu Wolfson have elevated buying to an art form. They know their stuff well, and every item in their store is marked by outstanding quality and exquisite design. In anticipation of foul weather to come, they’ve laid in a supply of fun, funky, fashionable rain boots by Ilse Jacobsen, a Denmark-based design house. Never before have puddle-jumping and snowdrift-hurdling made such a fashion statement.

Each week throughout the holiday season, I’ll be featuring a new specialty item. If you live in the area, stop by the store located at 307 Broad Street in Nevada City. If you’re not close by, visit Maiden Lane’s website for an entertaining online shopping experience.

Charlie Brown for Congress

This afternoon we are hosting a fundraising house party for Charlie Brown, Democratic candidate for Congress. I’m not what you would call a politically active person, so my designated responsibility is food. My husband can quote Charlie’s track record if asked—all I know for sure is that he likes chocolate. (Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating my ignorance just a tad. It’s just that I’m married to a man who knows so much about so many things, and I’m in awe of that.)

I’m very excited about what will happen here today. A man who is committed to making a difference will speak to our friends…our neighbors…to share his beliefs, goals, and insights. I can only hope that my artichoke frittata does him justice.

California Fires

It’s back. With a vengeance. After a one-day reprieve on Friday—when it was actually possible to spend time outdoors and breathe deeply—the smoke has returned. The sky is no longer blue, and even though the sun is shining, the light is diffused by all the gunk in the air.

At present, 1781 fires are burning in the state of California—1450 of them contained. 558,738 acres have been destroyed so far.

Even though we’re dealing with the side effects of all the smoke, our Northern California town is not threatened. Many residents, however, are walking around in hardware-store masks, apparently unaware that the CDC says these are designed to block larger particles like sawdust, and are useless for smoke. But I think there must be some satisfaction in thinking that you’re doing something—anything—to protect yourself.

This is the view from our back deck in mid-afternoon on July 6:

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Northern California is choked with smoke today. The Department of Forestry is calling the fires the Lightning Series—the result of bizarre thunderstorms that have been moving through the region for the past few days. Thirty-four fires have been reported in the area where I live.

On Saturday, I watched in amazement from my driveway as dense black clouds obscured the sunlight. The thunder was deafening, but only a few drops of rain fell. If I hadn’t seen them on the windshield of the car, I probably would have missed them completely. It was an eerie feeling—à la Ray Bradbury meets Stephen King meets Mephistopheles.

Today, the sky is an eerie yellow-white color. On most days, when I drive over a nearby bridge that crosses Highway 49, I can see all the way to the Sierra. This morning, I could barely see the freeway below.