Old Venice Pizza Co. in Tupelo, Mississippi, has turned into one of our go-to places for a good and quick lunch. Dear Husband will say, “I’m thinking pizza,” and we’ll head on out to hit the pizza/hot food/salad bar buffet, washed down with draft Blue Moon — and grab a nice melty soft cookie on the way out. (Thank you to whoever puts the cookies on a tiered server up high, under the buffet’s warming lights. Genius!) Thumbs-up all the way around. But you know a restaurant’s ladies’ room is just as important as the menu and the service — to me, anyway. And Old Venice in Tupelo passes inspection. I especially like the way the graceful branches of the dried flower arrangement echoed the intricate swirls of the wall decor. Probably whoever figured out the warm-cookie thing took care of this detail, too. And usually I manage to keep myself out of the shot but I wanted you to see my favorite purse. Younger Daughter gave it to me for Mother’s Day a couple of years ago, and I carry it practically every day from April through August. I love this purse! I can cram everything I need in it and it never gets full. It’s comfortable, and I get compliments on it all the time. In fact, one time in Mufreesboro, Tennessee, I left my husband to do some business while I wandered around the square, shopping and browsing trying to support the local economy. When he tried to follow me several minutes later, he correctly identified a store that seemed to be one I’d be interested in — who could resist those adorable sundresses in the window? — and went in inquiring about his wife. “Oh, she was the one with the cute green purse, right?” said the sales clerk. Right! Clean pretty bathrooms and cute green purses — what else does a woman need? Oh, yes — good pizza. Go to http://www.oldvenice.com/ to learn more.
Another item on the December to-do list marked off: Switching handbags for fall’s orange to winter’s red. Listen, for me this marks a major style accomplishment. If only I were one of those fashionable women who coordinate bags with outfits — the kind for whom it’s second nature to reach for new purses whenever they change clothes. But, no. Please don’t get me wrong. I love handbags. Who doesn’t? I head for the purse section of any store and always have a wish list of new ones I can’t live without — even if 99 percent of those remain on the list instead of in my closet. But it’s fun to look! However, because of general laziness and fear that I will leave my glasses at the bottom of a purse and never find them again, I stick to the basics and carry one bag a season, with occasional forays into a small messenger bag for hands-free shopping and a compact clutch for the (rare) times husband and I eat out somewhere that does not serve free chips and salsa before dinner. This spring and summer, I had a beautiful green bag younger daughter gave me for Mother’s Day and I only gave it up for orange a couple months ago. But the orange purse is starting the clash with all the reds and greens this holiday season, so I changed to this three-year-old soft red bag — one of my favorites because it has a cell-phone pocket that my cell phone actually stays in, thereby cutting the search for a ringing phone by at least a couple minutes.