Sara Godwin

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Best-Kept Birding Secret in the United States

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Savvy Traveler Blog

This migratory green jay shows off  brilliant plumage This migratory green jay shows off brilliant plumage Green jay from another  angle in McAllen, Texas Green jay from another angle in McAllen, Texas Chachalacas scurry along Birdwatching Center at Bentsen -Rio Grande McAllen, Texas Chachalacas scurry along Birdwatching Center at Bentsen -Rio Grande McAllen, Texas A Great Kiskadee , once known as the Kiskadee Flycatcher, snatches insects out of the air and small fish out of water. A Great Kiskadee , once known as the Kiskadee Flycatcher, snatches insects out of the air and small fish out of water. Buff-bellied hummingbirds are found, nowhere else in the continental United States. Buff-bellied hummingbirds are found, nowhere else in the continental United States.

Southwest Texas is an edgy sort of place, located on the edges of Mexico and the U.S., along the edge of the Rio Grande, at the edge of land and water,  just 70 miles west of the Gulf Coast, at the southern edge of the continent.  Here,  Mexican, Tejano, and Anglo cultures, English and Spanish, swirl and blend into a melange best known as Tex-Mex. This cultural potpourri makes for great food — think chimichangas, carne asada, and horchata. Here, fertile river delta irrigated farmland bumps up against native thorn…

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Fashion Forward Fall Fun: Donna Karan & Saks 5th Avenue

In Baby Boomers, New York, San Francisco, Travel, Uncategorized, Women's Travel on October 3, 2013 at 7:45 pm

The invitation offered a champagne lunch with a peek/pique preview of Donna Karan’s Fall Collection at Saks 5th Avenue in San Francisco.  We turned up right on time, taking seats in the front row, “we” being myself, my friend who lived in Paris for many years,  and her ’14 going on 20′ daughter,  tall, slim, beautiful, and bilingual.


Flutes of champagne appeared on silver trays , as did bite-sized beef sliders,  remoulade  rounds,  vegetarian wraps, and similar dainties.  I attend a lot of events that provide what used to be called hors d’oeuvres ( a friend of mine translates that as ‘hours of work’) in lieu of the complications of a sit-down meal. I know there are many considerations that go into catering for an unknown quantity of people you don’t know whose tastes/food issues/allergies one cannot know, but I do wish that  the criteria for the selection of the menu included ‘easy to eat in public.’  The ladies who lunch — and go to fashion shows — bonded over wry grimaces while fishing bits and crumbs out of their fashionably-attired laps.


The Fall Collection was notable for elegant dresses and a series of mix-and-match pieces in New York colors — black and a rich dark brown.  Karan doesn’t sketch; she drapes.  Her designs are realized as she wraps fabric around a fitting model to get the line she likes.  The goal is to make the client look taller and slimmer without heavy construction or foundations.  Many of the dresses were elaborately draped to minimize the midriff, waist,  and hips, with a long fluid line leading to a swaying asymmetrical hem.  Her ‘cold shoulder’ top is as well-bred and sexy as a woman who drops her eyes demurely on meeting  an interested glance; the moderator pointed out that shoulders do not generally gain weight in an unbecoming manner.  DK’s body pants are carefully seamed both for a slim line and for comfort.  Indeed,  comfortable would be a fair description of  most of the pieces despite the fact that fashion and comfort have a long tradition of not being seen in the same room at the same time.   Lambskin collars framed the face and  turtlenecks covered the neck in a manner that would have delighted Nora Ephron — her last book was titled ‘I Hate My Neck’.


Favorite pieces included a lambskin three-quarter length coat with a fur-lined hood — the lamb treated to look like a gorgeous fur, leather from the shoulder through the torso, with a six-inch edging of the same fur-look at the hem.   The look is rich, luxurious fur; the reality is politically correct.

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The show lasted an hour and ended on a high note: a showing of vintage celebrity red carpet dresses.  The Paris contingent yearned for a magnificent burgundy-colored silk gown with a sweeping half-train while the teen longed for a cream-colored leather dress decorated with a silver floral pattern that on closer inspection turned out to be made of 3-inch safety pins.

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The photos here are all the work of the teen — Alessandra Rio, working her first assignment.  To see the 2013 Donna Karan Fall Collection,  please go the Donna Karan website at:

Little Luxuries and Simple Pleasures: Happy Winter Solstice

In Uncategorized on December 22, 2012 at 3:45 pm

It’s cold, it’s wet, and the wind is wild.  Time to stay indoors where it’s warm, dry, and comfortable.  This post wishes to address the comfortable part in particular, and the fact that it can be really hard to crawl out of a cosy bed and face getting dressed in the cold and dark.  One way to make it easier is to have some things to look forward to. Try these:

1. Put your clothes out the night before so you don’t stand shivering in front of the closet, all rumpled and grumpy, trying to decide what to wear.  Take those clothes and toss them in the dryer, and turn it on for five minutes. If getting dressed means wearing a suit or a skirt, toss in your socks, T-shirt, and underwear . What you want is the stuff that touches your skin.

2. Turn on the coffee maker and make a couple of cups of hot water. When it’s done burbling, take one cup and make your coffee or tea.  Take the other cup, and pour it over a clean washcloth.  If it’s steaming, breathe in the steam until the washcloth feels hot, but not scalding. Press the washcloth against your face.  It will shock you how good it feels.

3. Brush your teeth, then your hair. (Don’t worry about what your hair looks like; you’re going to pull a watch cap over it anyway.)  By now, the tea has cooled to potable, so take your first sip. Again, it’s startling how good it tastes.

4.  Here’s the best part: Grab your stuff out of the dryer, and step into toasty  clothes.  The day looks brighter immediately.

5. Have a healthy breakfast you can put together quickly.  If you  make a batch of  hard-boiled eggs Sunday night, you have the breakfast basics for a week. In the morning, you can make a couple of pieces of hot, buttered toast, but I prefer English muffins or crumpets with orange marmalade or lemon curd. It’s one more thing to look forward to. Keep some fruits or vegetables that don’t require preparation in the refrigerator: Tangerines, grapes, pre-sliced jicama, celery sticks, baby carrots, grape, cherry, or pear tomatoes, or shelled edamame (soy beans). Add a small glass of milk, and, of course, your tea or coffee. It’s the ideal breakfast: It tastes good,  it’s filling, it looks pretty on the plate, and you feel smugly virtuous for having had a healthy breakfast.  Smugly virtuous is by no means a bad way to start the day.

There’s one more lovely little luxury my husband arranged when he built our house.  He routed one of the heating ducts into the coat closet.  Pulling on a warm coat, hat, and gloves makes going outside into the cold feel like not such a bad idea.  If you have heated seats in the car, turn the seats and the heater on.  It is both a simple  pleasure and a  great  luxury to be warm when it’s cold outside.

Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year.  From here on out the days will get longer and brighter — and that’s a good thing to look forward to, too.  Happy Winter Solstice!