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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

shopping in Peru

Yes, we were on a mission, but I managed to work in a little shopping.  It is astounding to contemplate the contrast that is Peru, as well as that of other developing nations.  My first foray into shopping was in Chimbote, where—accompanied by Big, another member of our team, and a Peruvian translator, I ventured into the city’s main market.  We were hoping to find juice drinks for the carnival we had planned for the children.

IMG_0795Acres of goods in the Chimbote mercado.

IMG_0796 Fresh cuts of goat hang alongside gym shorts.

IMG_0797Varieties of corn and grains, such as quinoa, from the mountain farms.  Prices are in soles.

IMG_0798Varieties of green beans.IMG_0809Corn, chiles, limes.

IMG_0800 Mermaid juice bottles.

IMG_0799At last, a vendor who has the 200 juice bottles we need.

IMG_0808 Black corn and red, blue, or yellow potatoes.

Our group had two doctors and two nurses who worked from sun up to sun down each day in the indigent hospital.  Although they dealt with many run-of-the-mill ailments and diagnoses, they also faced diseases and traumas never seen in the United States.  The intricacies of the Peruvian health care system defy comprehension.  For instance, when hospital patients receive a prescription—even for medicine they must take while hospitalized—they are responsible for obtaining the medicine from a pharmacy and having it brought in to the hospital to be dispensed by a nurse.  So, here we are at a nearby pharmacy,  purchasing various prescriptions and buying diapers for some of the children in the pediatric unit.

IMG_0814 At the Pharmacy; that’s Big on the right.

My next shopping expedition was taking some high school girls shopping for school supplies.  School starts March 1.  Our destination was Plaza Vea, a modern shopping venue that opened a little more than a month ago.  As you can see from the photo, middle class Chimboteans are loving it.  It will undoubtedly mean the loss of smaller mom-and-pop bodegas and tiendas. 


IMG_0861 Inca Kola, the drink of Peru.  Tastes like bubble gum; owned by—who else?—Coca-Cola.

IMG_0855The bakery counter featured an array of tortes.

My final shopping adventure was at the Indian Market in the Mira Flores neighborhood of Lima.  Somewhat like a vast outdoor mall, the Indian Market is the place to shop for traditional Peruvian handcrafts as well as for jewelry, silver, and works by local artists.

IMG_1041 Fine wool scarves for co-workers.

IMG_1043Pink and green for my preppy readers.

IMG_1061  The Mister and I bought a couple of things for ourselves, one being this alpaca blanket, which we are using as a throw in the family room.  High quality alpaca and baby alpaca are similar in quality to Scottish cashmere.  It is not quite as soft, but it does not pill.  It is quite silky, making it perfect for scarves, as well.IMG_1070 Unfortunately my photography skills are lacking, but another favorite find are these coasters.  Handpainted glass backed with wood, they are really much more elegant than they look here.

My final purchase was Peruvian coffee, dark and rich.  Next time, though, I think I’ll be doing a lot of Christmas shopping at the Indian market.  In the meantime, I’ll be watching the Olympics under my alpaca blanket!


  1. It seems as Walmarts (and the like) really are taking over the entire world.

  2. I just discovered your blog, and have read every post! Love your home.


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