Decorating · Holiday · Travel

It is beginning to look scary out there

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This may be my favorite time of year.  Trees are showing of their brilliance with red and gold as leave change and fall.  The are leaf piles for jumping in, corn mazes to explore and pumpkins patches to mine.  Let’s not omit the apple orchards with their bounty of delicious apples.  The air is crisp and cool causing me to reach for a coat before leaving the house.

I love walking around the town looking at the Halloween decorations.  Ghosts and pumpkins decorate the lawns and doors lending a festive, if not haunting, sense to the air in anticipation of the Feast of Samhain (if you are Irish and like the Celtic version of the holiday), or Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve as we more traditionally think of the celebration.  It is the festival marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter.

Munchkins, ghosts and goblins will grace my front door on Halloween for a treat.  I love seeing the children attired in their festive costumes.  After the last visitor had received his or her treat, it is time for movie night.  For me that is my annual viewing of Halloween followed by the Fog.  Capping a wonderful night and leading to the celebration of All Saint’s Day.

Last year I spent the holiday in Ljubljana, Slovenia.  I arrived on October 31 to see a Halloween celebration in a country far away.  What was more surprising was the celebration of All Saints Day in what was once a communist country.  A national holiday, everything was closed in celebration.  Huge flower bouquets decorated the cemeteries in respect of those who passed.

In anticipation of the season, I’m heading to the pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin or two for decoration and carving.  Then it is time to find my receptive for stew in anticipation of a hearty Halloween dinner to be eaten in between receipt of visitors.

Family · Travel

The detour taken

I am truly my father’s daughter.  I realized that today as I took an unplanned detour on the way home. It was so like my Dad.

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It was a frequent weekend occurrence to end up in our Ford Ltd. station wagon exploring some back road in North Carolina.  Dad always had a destination in mind. Sometimes he would share other times we would find out when we arrived at the destination.  We might end up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, or an old family graveyard, or a country store reputed to have the best sugar-cured ham around.  Barbecue was another favorite destination.  It was an adventure.  It broke the routine.  It took us to the new and different.

Life is so busy these days.  It seems like every minute is planned and then there is the pull, just take that exit, see what is around the bend in the road . . . .  My inner adventure voice whispers to me, see what is around the corner that you don’t anticipate!  Explore that destination you saw in Southern Living or heard about last weekend.

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So today as I made my way home, I took that exit.  I silenced my inner voice that was listing everything that waited for me at home.  For two years I’d heard about this wonderful nursery/market somewhere near Orange.  I decided to find it.  The detour took me through beautiful rolling hills around Charlottesville with exquisite views of the Blue Ridge mountains.  I eventually found my destination with a bit of help from my gps and Iphone.   All told, it was an hour out of my life and worth every second.  I found myself thinking about fun stuff and not my to do list.  I enjoyed the scenery colorful and beautiful with the changing leaves. I found a whole new town with amazing antique stores.  I will be back there to explore  another day.

I made it to my destination and found this wonderful space tagged as a Virginia treasure.  There I found inspiration for fall decorating with pumpkins and gourds as well as the most wonderful lunch restaurant.  I opted for cider since I was driving but there was a wine option as well.

I tapped into my father’s wanderlust and sense of adventure.  There was something so fun about the journey, the detour and even more satisfying that it was a journey taken.  It was a break and restoration.  I tapped into a different part of me that needed to wake up from the nap it was taking.  Somehow I feel like I’m better for my detour, that I rejuvenated a part of me.

Exercise

Exercise

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Growing up my mother put me in ballet class at the tender age of four.  I loved that class.  It was a combination of ballet and tap and I could not wait until the next class.  I still have my first pair of ballet shoes.  From the age of four until thirteen, every week I danced and loved it, until I didn’t.  Do you have those regrets when you look back at things you did when you were a child?  I do.  When I look back I see a pattern of start and stop.   I rode horses and played tennis,  and danced, until I didn’t.  For a while it seems I was always moving on to the next thing until I circled back to an old favorite.

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Ballet and tennis somehow persisted through my start and stop pattern.  Riding tried to but there was the question of access to a horse which became a slightly more difficult question, but I digress.  I always seem to find my way back to ballet and tennis, albeit in slightly different form.  In college it was in the form of required physical education classes.  I served and danced my way through my required classes in absolute enjoyment feeling like I’d found an old friend. As an adult it is USTA and tennis leagues and tons of doubles matches and/or Pilates, barre, and yoga.  I guess old habits die hard as I continue to find enjoyment in the same plies I do at my barre today as I did at four.

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Is it the patterns we become accustomed to as a child that provide comfort as an adult?  I don’t know the answer to that question.  I do know, however, I have a barre in my house.  There are times when it gets used daily and then there are periods when it use sits there until, well, until it is needed again.

entertaining · Family · Gift Giving · Home

The Perfect Gift

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This post is credited to my sister from another mother also known as my cousin who is inspired as well as this amazing, cool, wonderful, person.

This past weekend I  enjoyed a long overdue girls weekend with my cousin.  We both have fall birthdays and decided it was time to catch up, lounge around, and play some tennis.  She arrived at my house with  a lovely birthday gift.  As she explained “her madness” behind the gift, I started smiling.  Per her usual brilliance, she hit this one out of the park.

My gift was a basket of her favorite things.  Absolutely brilliant!  She was sharing something of herself with me.  That alone brought this huge smile to my face.  She lives too far away and we keep up via text and phone and visits but this basket brought things into my everyday life that I will use after she’s gone home.  She is leaving something of herself behind and every time I pick up  something from the basket I’ll think of her and feel her with me.

I always struggle with gift giving.  I spend hours thinking of what that perfect gift is.  Cous knocked it out of the park making the answer to that question so simple.  Give something of yourself!  What a wonderful life lesson.

So the next time you need to find that special birthday, hostess, Christmas, house-warming or other gift, ask yourself – what are my favorite things?

So what was in the basket?  First, the basket itself is simply beautiful.  I’m filling it with reading material and it will sit beside my favorite chair.  Cousin’s favorite candle with the scent of dessert.  Books on Charleston!  Our common ancestors are from the Holy City and we’ve spent much time visiting there over the years.  The beach, the market, the food and fun.  What a wonderful addition and it will fit in with my reading basket.  Lotion and material for my pamper Sundays and last but not least, the purse light she knew I coveted!

P.S.  Everyone who has a tote or hobo bag should have one of the purse lights.  They are amazing and you can find stuff that otherwise hides from you in your bag.

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Family · Home · Travel

The Quadruped

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Are you a cat or a dog person?  I’m a dog gal.  No offense intended to cat lovers but I’m violently allergic to the little darlings so dogs are for me!

My first pet was a gift for my fifth birthday.  He was supposed to arrive in November but finally arrived in January, in the middle of a snow storm.  He was appropriately named Snowball.  I cherished Snowball.  He was the perfect companion and, upon returning home after my first semester of college, I was devastated  to learn Snowball was gone to Doggie Heaven.

For the first time in my memory, we were dogless. Even my Dad’s hunting dogs had gone to that great Dove field in the sky.  Fast forward to my second year of law school, another birthday, and Dad arrived bearing this wonderful, wiggling gift of a black and tan dachshund.  It was love at first sight.  Tippy saw me through the remainder of law school, the bar exam, and my first years of practice.  He was my constant companion.

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My current quadruped is Kenan.  She is a beautiful, miniature dachshund of the English cream, long-haired variety.  She loves a good cuddle and believes herself to be three times her actual size.  In otherwords, she is a typical dachshund.  A constant companion, she possesses the tenacity of the breed and with surgical skill immediately removes any squeaker from a toy.  She is a toy hound and is frequently found with the carcass of what was once a stuffed toy in her mouth.

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Did I mention that she is a frequent traveling companion?  She is an excellent flyer.  Never a peep from her while on Delta.  She enjoys a ride in her stroller around the market in Charleston or a walk in White Point Gardens near the Battery.  Even better is a run down the beach or playing tag with the waves, an evening walk around the neighborhood, or a Sunday hike.   She is a blessing in every sense of the word.

 

As for me, what is better than the joy of being loved by such a wonderful quadruped!

 

Food · Travel

Destination Beverly Hills

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I’ve never been to Southern California, so when selecting a destination for a long weekend, I decided it was time to explore California.  This was going to be a quick trip, leave on Friday morning and return Sunday night but a get away for fall break.  I love iconic hotels so I explored my options on booking.com and through Amex’s travel concierge.  I ended up at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It seemed perfect for my brief trip.  Built in 1912 and famous as a hotel of the stars, it had all the qualities I wanted for this vacation. A great pool, spa, yoga, and options for retail therapy.  What more could a girl want?

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I arrived Friday afternoon and was immediately checked into a gorgeous room.  Since I was starved, I dropped my bags and headed to the iconic Polo Lounge for lunch.  So many delicious options from which to select.  I ended up with a French 75 cocktail and the McCarthy chopped salad.  Thoroughly satiated, and tired from getting up at 4:30 AM, I headed up to my beautiful room and my favorite feature, the lounge chair on the private balcony. I happily curled up on the lounge for a bit of sun and the remainder of the book I’d started.

 

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Yoga was one of the reasons I’d chosen the Beverly Hills Hotel. Amy Rose offers yoga classes in the garden on Saturday mornings.  You need a reservation so I’d called early and reserved my mat and blocks.  It was a wonderful class.  The morning was cool, perfect for a workout.  Amy was excellent.  If I lived close, I’d be there every Saturday morning.  Even better, the hotel supplied everything I needed in the line of equipment so no need to pack and carry anything.  After yoga, I headed to the spa for a massage.  Complete indulgence and a wonderful way to conclude the morning.  I rounded out my Saturday with a bit of retail therapy.  The hotel has courtesy cars that I was happy to use to drop me off on Rodeo Drive.  The weather was beautiful.  I strolled  in and out of boutique after boutique browsing.  I scored a birthday gift for my wonderful cousin and new sunnies for me!

I ended my day with a delicious dinner at the hotel.  This time lobster tagliatelli, a glass of red wine, and chocolate soufflé.  Delicious!

Sunday was another beautiful day but a bit on the cool and foggy side to start.  I opted for a bit of a sleep in, after all it was a mini vacay!  I’d marked Sunday as lounge by the pool day.  I arrived around 10:30AM and opted for the hot tub as it was still on the cool side.  It quickly warmed up and I enjoyed a morning and lunch by the pool before time came to check out and head to LAX.

The hotel was amazing.  Everyone there went out of their way to make my stay wonderful.  My only regret?  I needed another day.  I’d planned a tour of homes but ran out of time!

Fashion · Travel

Packing for a long weekend

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I’m off for a long weekend in sunny California and trying to pack.  This weekend is for relaxation and nothing more.  I’m planning to read, sit by a pool, enjoy yoga, walking and good food so my packing philosophy is KIS or keep it simple!

I’m taking a swimsuit, cover up, yoga pants and top for lounging and tennis shoes for walking.  I’ve packed flats, jeans, and a tee-shirt for optional retail therapy or a walking tour. For evening, I’ve got a knit dress and a tank dress depending upon how formal or casual I want to be. I’m throwing in a navy cardigan that will match everything I’m taking for the just in case it is cold concern.

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I’ve got suede mules with two-inch heels  for dress.  The heels are just the perfect height for casual or to step it up a notch for evening.  In line with my KIS strategy, I’ve gone with a blue theme to permit me to mix and match and save on shoes, one pair of flats and the mules, both navy and both match everything I’m taking.

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I decided on a navy Evelyne bag which will slip into my carry-on tote for the plane.  I’m adding my Ipad, kindle, and pouch with charger and cords to the tote. Last thing into my tote is my cosmetic bag.

I’m off for my long weekend!