Family · Holiday

Mother’s Day

 

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I’ve been thinking about Mother’s Day a lot over the past few days.  I’ve always enjoyed a close relationship with my Mom.  She is fantastic.  She’s also not doing so well theses days.  On some days she knows me and other days, well, I try not to focus on those visits.  As I’ve been contemplating this Mother’s Day, I’ve reflected on all the gifts she’s bestowed on me.

Education, a keen sense of right and wrong, confidence in her own voice, the ability to love deeply, cherish family and friends, and a deep and abiding faith are those gifts.  I am also aware of those things that I hold special about her that she would wave away.  Her ability to laugh and enjoy the moment.  Her sense of fashion. When I look at pictures of her I see a beautiful and accomplished woman.  In today’s Me too environment, I am struck by the rich life she gave me by surrounding me with strong, independent women. Women who navigated the challenges of their time with panache.  These women passed along stories of successes and failure with chins held high and occasionally a few tears but always a sense of self.  While equality should be the standard in the work place, much work remains to be done.  This is something all women should remember.  Pay it forward and have the courage to reject that which should be rejected.

From my Mom and these women I’ve had the courage to try and fail, pick myself up and try again.  So tonight I raise a glass of wine and toast my Mom, Godmother, Grandmothers, Cousins, mentors, and friends and say thank you!  Thank you for bestowing upon me the ability to reach for the stars and pick myself up when my reach is not long enough.

To Mom!

Uncategorized

Is winter having a temper tantrum?

 

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This is Garden Week in Virginia.   For two weeks the state shines with gardens as the focus.  It is the right of passage that indicates spring is here.  Rain usually graces a day or two of Garden Week but warmer weather and sunshine are also part of the usual package.  Winter is not. Snow, freezing temperatures and generally cloudy days are not helping with the suggestion that it is spring.  I see glimpses.  The daffodils and crocuses are trying to show their colorful presences.  It feels like winter is simply unwilling to relinquish its grip – it is having a temper tantum saying NO, NO, NO, I will not go.  In light of this I have several reactions:

  1. beach pictures on Pinterest
  2. stalk the hot houses of the garden shops
  3. make a dinner of picnic food and spread a blanket out on the den floor for your “table”
  4. create a play list of summer songs

Suggestions?

Family · Travel

The Masters

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To any golf enthusiast The Masters or Augusta National is an event not to miss.  There is something magical about the place.  The sport of people watching is second only to the main attraction of golf.  I’ve been fortunate to score badges for several years and confess to loving the four days, rain or shine.

Masters etiquette is placed at a premium.  You arrive early in the morning, hopefully to warm but not too hot weather and an absence of rain. Parking is provided for thousands and you make your way through security.  Might I suggest that the guys in Georgia can give the guys at LaGuardia a lesson or two.   You are greeted as a valued guest with a Welcome to the Masters and Have a great day.  This is not simply a pro forma greeting but they mean it and you will.

Cameras and all digital devices are prohibited with the penalty being permanent loss of badges.  If only there were more places that had such a strict rule about digital devices!  Can I tell you how wonderful it is to be away from the attention demanding device?  I am always a bit sad about the absence of a camera.  The place is spectacular; not a flower petal or blade of grass out-of-place.  They are even known to move fully grown trees around – I mean the 100 foot kind.  Better yet, they provide everything you will need from banks of phones to make calls and carefully designed and placed seating for a day of watching the best of the best.

In a day and time where one can spend a fortune for a coke and bag of popcorn at the movies, The Masters is easy on the pocketbook. The best pimento cheese or egg salad sandwich you will ever eat will cost you all of $1.50 and a sausage or chicken biscuit for breakfast is similarly priced.

Packing for a visit is key.  It can be cool suggesting pants and it can be hot suggesting a golf style skirt.  You will want a pullover and sunglasses. I recommend a small bag for a bit of cash and the absolute minimum of essentials like lip gloss or a bit of sunscreen and eye drops.  The size of bags is restricted so it is time to embrace the minimalist approach.

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Go, chat, make some new friends and simply enjoy a beautiful place.

Food · Holiday · Home · Travel

Breakfast prep for a weekend get away

The fun in a weekend get away is not having to work while you are getting away.  At the same time you want to eat and eat well so what is the answer to the question?  I have two favorite make ahead breakfast items that I make, freeze and take with me.  Both are perfect for the guest who gets up early and the guest who sleeps in late.

Sausage muffins:

Take one pound hot Italian sausage (either pork or chicken will do) and fry it until it is done.  In a separate bowl empty two jars of Kraft Old English cheese.  Scoop the done sausage hot from the pan and pour over the cheese.  Let the heat of the cooked sausage melt the cheese as you stir the two together to combine the sausage and the cheese into a spread.

Take one package of English muffins and slice each muffin in half.  On a cookie sheet spread the sausage and cheese topping on top of half of an English muffin.  Pop tray of muffins into freezer and wait to serve.  When you are ready to serve, pop the now frozen muffin into the microwave or the oven to heat until bubbly.  In the microwave eat for about 30 seconds.

Mini frittata:

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Dice onions, green pepper, and tomatoes and sauté them in olive oil in a fry pan. Do the same for prosciutto.  Set vegetables and prosciutto aside.  In a bowl add six eggs, salt, half a teaspoon of lemon juice, and several dashes of hot sauce.  Whisk together. Add in half a coup of grated cheddar cheese and whisk again.   In a cupcake  pan, preferably a silicon one, add the vegetables and meat into each cup then pour the egg and cheese mixture over the vegetables.  The egg mixture should reach the top of each cup.  Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes.  Once done let cool.  Pop each mini frittata out and place in a ziplock bag.  Microwave to reheat when ready to serve.

Etiquette · Fashion · Uncategorized

White Jeans, Diamonds, and Pearls: Fashion Rules or Fashion Faux Pas?

IMG_0608Growing up my Mother and Grandmothers lived by a series of  fashion rules they considered inviolate.

1.  No white after Labor Day or before Easter.

2.  The same rule applied to patent leather.

3.  Do not mix navy and black.

4.  Pearls were to be worn during the day and diamonds at night.

5.  Purses matched shoes.

Most importantly, you dressed to go shopping, do lunch, or go to the grocery.  Lululemon, was a definite no in the eyes of my Mother and Grandmothers.  I’ll never forget my sophomore year of college.  Sent home by the infirmary with strep throat, I arrived in sweatpants and a UNC sweatshirt; the outfit of any self-respecting college student.  My mother was horrified.  When it was time to return to college my Dad intervened on my behalf as I attempted to leave for the drive back to Chapel Hill in sweats. Mom was distinctly offended by my tee-shirt and sweatpants.  She ultimately relented to my Father’s wisdom that I would only be seen walking from the car to my dorm room.  Somehow this wisdom ruled in my favor.

I routinely break rules 3, 4 and 5.  My go to earrings are diamond studs.  I wear them day and night along with a necklace made from my grandmother’s engagement ring.  So much for the rule of no daytime diamonds.  Diamond hoops are my fall back to my studs.

My mother gifted me with beautiful pearls that are also part of my daytime rotation.  Interestingly enough, I rarely wear pearls at an evening event.  Maybe that part of my fashion education took hold?  More likely, I have dressy earrings I prefer for evening events.

I love navy.  I think that may be a southern thing but prior to living in New York, navy was a wardrobe staple.  Then I moved to the City.  There is something special about living in New York.  After about six months, I noticed that my closet was full of black.  Then I found myself mixing navy and black.  I love the combination.  Maybe it fits me, southern with a love of the City sophistication?  If the Parisians and Coco can mix navy and black, it can’t be all that much of a fashion faux pas, can it?

I routinely rebel at being matchy, matchy.  I usually select my bag based on what I need for the day.  I grab a tote for work days and a smaller bag when the occasion permits.  My bag tends to be in the same color scheme of my outfit but rarely matches my 👠 (shoes).

The white and patent before Easter and after Labor Day, this is the one rule that I find to be unshakable.  I love white jeans.  I live in them, as appropriate, in the summer but come Labor Day, they get put away.  For those that might suggest there is an exception for warm climates, it does not fly. Have you ever been to Charleston?  This is home to the maternal side of my family and the white rule stands firm no matter how high the needle on the thermometer registers.  Somehow the white rule is the one that I still see as a faux pas. It was enforced by my sorority with the clear indication that one should know better.   In the end, I guess some rules are inviolate.

P.S.  Lululemon is a regular thing in my house.

Uncategorized

Daylight Savings Time? Does this mean spring is here?

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I’m grouchy.  Last week we “sprang forward” with daylight savings time and all I can think about is when we “fall back” and gain an hour.  I know daylight savings time has something to do with saving energy and an extra hour of daylight and supposedly began during WWI but why now?  I’m all for saving energy but there is something about waking up before the sun to get to work that makes me grouchy.   I think my Aunt has it correct, if I was meant to see sunrise, it would be scheduled later in the day. All week I’ve been sluggish.  I’ve felt off my game.  I don’t want to go to sleep at night and I definitely don’t want to get up in the morning.

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On the lighter, non grouchy, side of things, daylight saving  time usually means that spring is near.  You would not know that from the weather here in Virginia.  On Monday, we were blessed with inches of snow.  The rest of the week presented much like winter and it is not unusual to get a major snow event in March in the south.  Still, there is the hope of spring.  Poking their heads up through inches of snow on Monday were green leaves of crocuses.  Maybe, just maybe, spring is around the corner.

 

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I think I’m going to take a nap!

Fashion · Skin care · Travel

How to thrive when your bag takes a trip of its own!

 

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A good friend of mine always worries about the airline losing her bag.  I’ve never fully considered this until my most recent trip overseas.  On a trip that was jinxed from the start and when everything one might imagine going wrong does, what do you do when you finally sink down in a chair in your hotel room with  only your carry-on and a blizzard outside?

By the time I arrived at the hotel, I was exhausted.  I normally sleep on an overnight flight but sleep eluded me on this flight.  Then the re-booked connecting flights, the train, the weather and the new destination of London.  All I wanted was a hot bath and a change of clothes.  Of course the majority of my clothes were on a holiday of their own  – if only my bag could speak.

In my carry-on bag, I had basic essentials.  My makeup bag, brush, toiletries, a wrap I always include in case the flight is cold.  It always is. Things were not looking good for me.  While the idea of shopping for a new outfit is normally appealing, I’d been up for over twenty-four hours,  there was a blizzard outside, and evening was quickly approaching.  A quick word with the concierge and I was out the door to procure essentials.  Just down the block was a chain store.  I ducked into it delighted to find a clearance sale.  That might be interesting.  I grabbed a cotton tank, a long sleeve white tee, and a pair of leggings.

Next up was the pharmacy.  While I had the majority of my toiletries, I still needed a couple of things.  This was beginning to be fun.  I had no clue what one would find in  a London pharmacy in travel size containers.  I grabbed what I needed and journeyed on to one more store for socks.  I desperately wanted to get out of my shoes and socks to the point it was becoming an obsession with me.

Essentials procured, I was back to the hotel for a wonderful dinner and most importantly a hot bath.

Three days later, my bag finally arrived; a bit worse for the wear.

I am happy to say, I love my new purchases.  They were serendipitous and basic but they worked with what I had.  The tee and tank were wonderfully soft.   I was able to pair them with the sweater I had in my bag and the cardigan I’d worn on the plane.  I eventually broke down and purchased a beautiful sweater I saw as I made my way back to the hotel after a visit to the National Gallery.  I confess, I probably would have purchased the sweater regardless of my situation.  The greater point being, I added for relatively minimal expense a few basic items which enabled me to thrive with what I had.   Did I really need a checked bag or is a carry on all I truly needed?  Here is the secret I learned – I was fine with what I had.

I confess, that I was elated when I opened my bag to find all the things I’d packed.  No more washing things out overnight and leaving them to dry.  Oh the conflict- minimal versus comfort!  I know what I will have in my carry-on for the next flight.  I learn and adapt.

So my capsul wardrobe ended on consisting of :  black  cashmere  turtleneck, grey cardigan, grey poncho style sweater,  white long sleeve tee, white tank, black leggings, and jeans.  The  color scheme of black, grey, and white served me well.  I was able to mix and match for the occasion.

Reunited !

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