Shhhhhh — Happy Birthday to me.

A full week traveling between Connecticut and New York, business and pleasure. But first I began with a photo session with the very talented Tom Lialios of Sono Creative Media in Norwalk, CT. Four wardrobe changes later–and about 300 photos to consider–we finished with some of the best press shots that have ever been taken of me/us. It could be that the schnauzer was so into it that it was scary. Violet was perfect when it came time to pose, looking at the camera and holding still. I, however, loved having the opportunity to capture her young age, as puppies grow so quickly. As you know, it is very hard to photograph kids and pets, so having Tom there with his magic touch made the process easy and simple. The results are amazing, and I lead off this blog with one of my favorite. Want to see more? Visit me on facebook to view the album. And if you want some great photos taken of you and the one you love, check-out Tom’s web site; more information about Tom and all his creative services that he offers. He is MAR approved!

Tuesday Violet was back to the vet for her final shot, and while she was there she got weighed and I’m proud to say she hit 8lbs. Yup, she is growing, and I have the photos to prove it. While I was there I also noticed she lost three baby teeth–this is normal for a 19-week old puppy, and soon her big girl teeth will begin to show; till then she looks like a jack-o-lantern.

After getting that shot in the puppy ass, we went to Rosebrook Gardens, packed up some toys and headed to New York as Wednesday was my birthday and we wanted to be in the city for the calibration. Barbara and Paul rose to the occasion by jump-starting MAR-fest with dinner plans at Ze Café on 52rd and 1st in the Sutton Place neighborhood. A French-Italian spot with American touches, Ze Café comes from a husband-and-wife florist team who moved their flower shop around the corner and transformed the old space – a converted carriage house–into an earthy, elegant dining room filled with reclaimed wood dating back to the 1800s. Lined with topiaries on each side, I was in heaven as I took it all in.

The perfect night as the Chief David brought over a special birthday dessert platter to share. I’ve never been fond of “Happy Birthday” being sung to me in a restaurant; so this dessert came quietly – Perfect, I say. (Thanks to our waitress Cher for keeping mum!) The best part, this night put me in the mood for my upcoming Paris trip next month. (No worries: more about that in my blog to come.)

I finished this busy week with many birthday lunches and dinners with some of my dearest New York and Connecticut friends. Yes, I did some work, too, finishing my “Fine Living Smart Times” to submit to the Fine Living Network, and two new articles. That said, I even had time to go to Home Depot (or “Home Desperate” I call it–not because I’m implying anything about the store, but because I’m always desperate for something when I go there!) I found 2 gallon Dwarf English Boxwood for $14.98; such a deal and so worth the trip. One never knows what you can find there and I always encourage you to learn and discover the selection they have. With a good eye, you can find the deals.

Truth be told, I can never have too many Boxwood in my garden as each year I either need to replace some or expand into new areas– the Boxwood add great texture and are of course the foundation of a four-season garden (now where have you heard that before?)

This morning I’m working in the garden, then doing a quick change and driving to the city to visit a friend at the St. Regis recovering from surgery. We love you, Lisa, and congratulations on beginning such a successful recovery. Oh, and while I’m there I’ll make sure I introduce Violet to Central Park now that she has all her shots. This should be both fun and interesting.