Beach · Books · summer

Summer Beach Reads

It’s that time of year again!  With Memorial Day as the unofficial start of summer I think of the beach, pool, and nights playing tennis.  I also think of what I’m going to load to my kindle or iPod to “read” at the beach or pool.  These are some of my recent favorite reads!

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Kristy W. Harvey is my new favorite author.  If you like Alice Monroe or Dorothy Benton Frank, you will love Harvey.  Her Peachtree Bluff trilogy is can’t put down.  I love the mix of the southern beach town with a hint of New York City thrown into the mix.  The story of strong women facing and overcoming the challenges in their lives.  Run, don’t walk to grab these for your beach bag.

 

 

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I devoured the Discovery of Witches trilogy.  It was different, fun, compelling and historical – even for someone who doesn’t run to stories of vampires, witches and demons.  This is the latest.  It is Marcus’ story and it does not disappoint.  All my favorite characters are back in the mix, Diana, Matthew, Baldwin but the focus is on Marcus as Matthew’s son and his upcoming marriage.

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If you enjoy that WWII suspense, espionage book, this and the Alice Network are books for you  I “read” (listened) to both with the audible versions.  I highly recommend the audible version for a long car trip (say to the beach!).  The Alice Network is set in occupied France while the Huntress takes a slightly different turn moving back and forth between post war Boston, post war Austria, and the Eastern front.  Both feature the work of brave women in the war.  The Huntress takes an unusual turn by featuring a woman as a sought after Nazi war criminal.

 

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If you’ve not found the Maisie Dobbs series yet, now is the time. The series began with Maisie in WWI and we’ve now progressed to WWII and the London blitz.  The latest, The American Agent, provides wonderful insight into the beginning of WWII and America’s take on a new world war.

 

More recommendations to come!  I think this is going to be a huge reading summer.

Organization · Travel

The art of packing; the packing cube and the pouch

How do you pack?  That seems like such an easy question.  You throw clothes and toiletries into a bag and go.  It’s not that easy, especially if you are flying and have to contend with TSA.  Enter the packing cube.

 

I’ve become obsessed with the packing cube and the pouch.  It lets me organize, especially small things like cords and chargers for easy access.  I’ve got one cube for glasses, contacts, lens solution and the like.  Another I use for a small dryer, hair towel, flat iron, and brushes.

For cords and chargers, I opt for a small pouch that zips.  Intimates go in a bridal satin pouch.  I have a set of three monogrammed that I purchased from Leontine linens.  The large one is for workout clothes, the medium for intimates, and the small one for belts and scarves.

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The best thing about this system is that with everything in a cube or pouch it all stacks neatly into my carry on bag.

Ready, set, GO!

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Decorating · entertaining · Home · interior design

Garden Week – Virginia

Have I mentioned that I LOVE garden week?  Begun in 1927 to save trees planted at Monticello, every April, for two weeks people open their private homes and gardens through out the state.  What a wonderful fundraiser and treat!  You get to peak inside beautiful homes and gardens for a sneak peak at something beautiful.  Even better, are the floral arrangements done by the local garden clubs.

I always try to make it to the local homes on tour.  Over the years, I’ve discovered entire neighborhoods, homes, and gardens I never knew existed.  I’ve gotten ideas for decorating my home and stolen suggestions for floral arrangements.  One of my favorite arrangements was in a mud room and used hunter rain boots.  It was incredible.

 

humm . . .

 

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I love seeing creativity in action.  Detail and the unexpected are always on display.  How much fun finding the unexpected, like a pair of Hunter boots as a vase!  Then there  is the inspiration factor, it makes me want to spring clean, plant and prepare my porch for use.

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Beach · Fashion · Food · interior design · Travel

Charleston, South Carolina

 

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Growing up Charleston was my second home.  My Mom’s family lives there and has for generations.  So when Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, or the summer rolled around, I’d find myself in a car headed to Charleston.  There is something special about the low country.  It is like this warm familiar embrace.  A feeling of peace envelopes me when I find myself in Charleston.

One thing I love to do is wander the streets below Broad.  The architecture is spectacular and the secret gardens that peek out from behind iron gates make you want to grab a cocktail and enjoy.

 

Recently I ventured back for the day and enjoyed the Charleston Sympathy Orchestra Design House followed by lunch and shopping on King Street.

The design house was wonderful.  A typical Charleston single house renovated as a fund-raiser.  I walked away with so many ideas.  Next was lunch on the river at Fleet Landing. The food was delicious , location amazing, but service – not so much.  My tip is to call ahead for reservations or pick one of the other fabulous restaurants in downtown Charleston.  There are many.  A long time family favorite is Poogan’s Porch.  Try the crab cakes!

King Street is and has been the center of shopping for generations.  In addition to Louis Vuitton, Talbots, Kate Spade and the usual luxury stops, you can find wonderful boutiques.  This time I discovered Gretchen Scott and J McLaughlin.  If you find yourself in need of a snack while you shop, check out the French Chocolate Cafe on Society Street (think King and Society).

There is so much to do in Charleston. Take a stroll through White Point Gardens and along the Battery.  Jump into a car and make your way to one of the many beaches on Folly, Isle of Palms, Sullivans, Seabrook, or Kiawah Islands.

Etiquette · Travel

The Masters

 

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What a delightful weekend at Augusta National.  I’m not a golfer but my Dad was and he instilled in me a love of watching the game played.  I was fortunate to be his guest at the tournament for several years.  There was something special about those days sitting in Amen Corner chatting with him as the players played through.

The Masters is unlike any other golf tournament.  Etiquette is the name of the game.  Everyone is on their best behavior which extends to creating a delightful experience for all.  The first thing to know is that on tournament days there is a no device policy (that includes cameras).  That means you are off the grid.  How wonderful to unplug for a time.  If you must make a call, AT-n-T has a bank of phones for your convenience.

 The course is beautiful.  Set on the grounds of an old nursery the trees and flowers are exquisite.  This year the azaleas had peaked and bloomed in time for the first Women’s amateur.  How exciting to see the women on the course!  I love to walk the front part of the course and then sit on one of the holes on the back to watch everyone lay through.  That way I get my steps in and enjoy my egg salad and pimento cheese sandwiches for lunch.

Have you heard of the food?  Where can you get lunch for under $5.00?  Seriously the egg salad and pimento cheese sandwiches are $1.50.  Tea, lemonade, coke or beer are the beverages of choice.  Cookies, ice cream sandwiches, chips and other snacks are available to curb the munchies.

 

 

 

 

 

Family · Holiday · summer · Travel

The Homestead

Do you ever need that weekend away to simply relax?  I do! I love that over night or long weekend when you get away from home, sleep in, and simply enjoy some needed peace and quite.  The Homestead, also now known as the Omni Homestead, is one of my favorite places for a quick trip away to recharge.

Nestled in the Virginia mountains, it has been there in one form or another since 1766.  Known for the hot springs in the area it was a place to “take the waters” – and you still can!

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The rooms are beautiful, the people phenomenal and the food a gourmand’s delight.  And, oh, did I mention the spa?  You can hike, swim or ski, depending on the season, golf, enjoy zip lining, falconry, hiking, or, my personal favorite, curl up with a book or a deck of cards in the library or on the front porch.  Then there is the great hall where you can enjoy the fire places.  I’ve enjoyed many an afternoon playing cards – yes, I mean playing with an actual deck of cards – with my Mom and enjoying a refreshment.

The spa is excellent; the garden pool, adult only, features a lovely heated pool and hot tub along with one of the original hot springs.  The aqua thermal suite is the perfect place for an afternoon and then a massage.  There is also a gym, indoor pool, and, in the warm weather, a family pool with a lazy river.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the food.  It is spectacular.  I feel like I roll away when I leave the table.  The breakfast buffet leaves nothing to the imagination.  Dinner options do not disappoint.  The wedge salad at Jefferson’s is a favorite.  I’ve eaten in the dining room, formal, Jefferson’s, casual, room service, and Sam Sneeds.  Each meal was to die for.

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makeup and skin care · Travel

Skin Care and Travel? What’s your regime?

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With TSA limitations and a desire to carry on my makeup, I’m always looking for travel sizes, plastic tubes and a way to keep up my skin care.  I tend towards dehydration when I travel.  My skin seems thirsty and craves moisturizer.  I continue to try to slim down what I use but when I pack, it seems like everything and the kitchen sink.

What do I use?  My everyday routine is the same and I try for simple.  Sunday’s routine is my pamper routine and a bit more complex.  My Monday through Saturday routine begins with the basics

  • Serum – I use the Chanel’s sublimage serum.  I’ve used Chanel since I was in my twenties.  My skin is sensitive to many ingredients and, in particular, some of the more natural ones. That’s unfortunate but rather than feeling like I’ve had a chemical burn and running for meds, I’ll opt for things that work for me.
  • Moisturizer –  My go to is Chanel’s le lift.  Recently I’ve tried La Prairie’s Cavier for night.  It is wonderful but a bit heavy for me.
  • Eye cream – This is an everyday, morning and night, must for me.  Carmen impressed upon me early on the importance of using an eye cream.  I’ve tried many, including Le Mer and Chanel’s but my  “go to” here is the La Prairie.
  • Gel cleanser  – I opt for the Chanel sublimage at night. I love the cleanser and it removes eye makeup easily.
  • Weezie’s towels  – I love the navy towels that are perfect for removing makeup.  Plus, they are fun with the eyelashes embroidered on them.29100D90-9BCE-4510-A45A-1342FFC74408
  • Toner – I follow cleanser with toner.
  • Vitamin E gel – I love the Jo Malone vitamin e gel for my cuticles and hands, especially in the winter.
  • Body lotion –  I’ve used a range from Creme de corp to Jo Maone’s body creme.  I’m not picky here.  I confess that is because I’ve yet to find my “holy grail” of lotion.  It is fun to continue to look.

When I travel, I focus on serum, moisturizer, eye creme and cleanser.  I tend to use whatever the hotel provides for hands and feet.  I also carry Chanel’s handcream in my tote.  Carmen, at BG, is wonderful to me.  She is always up for travel size samples to get me through TSA and travels.  Thanks to her I can keep up my regime even when I’m on the go.