Family · Food · summer · Travel

Going Home, Charleston, SC

 

2D4B29C0-CA1C-48D7-93A1-BB41F2E27CBC

I’m on my way to the 47th annual family reunion in Charleston.  Every summer growing up we planned a visit to Charleston for my Mom’s family reunion.  Held on Sullivan’s Island, the family with all the cousins would gather for a vast lunch, sno cones, the beach, and lots of fun catching up.

As the ladies of the family were wonderful cooks, lunch was always a treat.  Ham, Charleston red rice, shrimp, fried chicken, potato salad, deviled eggs, coleslaw, and macaroni salad were among the traditional dishes found on the table.  The dessert table was not to be overlooked with poundcake, pies, and cookies.  Add in plenty of homemade sweet iced tea and good conversation and it was always a delightful day for all.

It’s been years since I’ve been able to attend but I’m headed there this year.  I’m so excited to be back in Charleston.  Flying in there was this sense that I was home.  From the plane I could see the marsh and the peninsula.  The humidity and heat enveloped me as I exited the plane bringing a large smile to my face.  This is the place I loved as a child.

With the passing of my grandparents, I opted for a reservation at Charleston Place Hotel. Located in the heart of downtown Charleston, it was ideally located for a walk to the battery and the waterfront parks, shopping on King Street, and a visit to the vegetable market.

King Street was always the place for a shopping expedition and continues to be the location for delightful boutiques.  I (re)discovered Ben Silvers and Sara Campbells.  A trip to Charleston would not be complete without a walk through the market to look at the sweetgrass baskets.  They are individual works of art and I always find creative uses for them at home.

Sullivans Island is a barrier island off of Charleston and home of Fort Moultrie, used in the Revolution.  White sand beaches and beautiful old homes mark it as a lovely location for a family gathering and a swim or day at the beach.

 

She crab soup, beautiful iron work, great food, and family, I’m going home!

Beach · Family · Food · summer

Egg Salad: Comfort Food

 

FFE3B77B-C56D-4E4C-BE2C-8CB984235B24

Growing up summer at the beach included egg salad sandwiches for lunch.  I have fond memories of Mom boiling eggs and turning them into deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches.  She knew they were a favorite we shared.  Egg salad, chips and a coke and lunch was served.  I have so many fond memories of those lunches.  White sandy beaches, heat, heat, humidity and fun.

Although I never thought about it, the egg salad seemed to be seasonal.  The sandwiches would start appearing after Easter and end sometime after Labor Day.  These days I look forward to my egg salad at the Masters.  There is something about their version of the egg salad sandwich that takes me back to Mom’s.  I’ve  been trying to decode their recipe for years now.  Today as I mixed my egg salad for sandwiches on the beach, I finally came close!

 

 

One dozen eggs – hard boiled and dumped into an ice bath to make pealing easy.

Peel eggs, slice and mash

Add salt and pepper to taste

Mix in 1/4 of mayo to start, add additional as needed.  I used lite mayo,

Add a tablespoon of mustard.  I used Frenches

Spread on bread of your choice and enjoy!

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!

45C2A58B-914B-400E-9EB0-B3A74C44E076

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

Family · Home · Organization · Uncategorized

Mom’s Rules

 

228fffd3-4e2e-44fd-a74b-3833e332d543

Last weekend I happened across one of those tv shows on organization.  I was intrigued.  I am always looking for tips to better organize my life; so I thought, why not?  I confess this particular show merely stressed me out.  In fairness there were good tips but I couldn’t get past the basic disaster of the house.  More than anything it made me think of my Mom.  I know there is the old saying that as you grow up you become your parent.  In this case, I think I’m proud of that.  My Mom had a beautiful home always perfectly maintained, her own business that she impeccably ran, as well as filling the role of mother and wife of fifty plus years.  In the days where women are supposed to have it all and do it all, she did and made it seem effortless.  It’s made me ask the question of how did she do it all?  It’s not like she was exhausted or gave up her own life.  She did do it all.  So how?  I think the secret is in the rules she imposed as I grew up.  So Mom’s rules –

  • Make your bed when you get out of it in the morning.  It only takes a second and it is done for the day.
  • Where is the item’s home?  It is easier to put [name whatever it is – laundry, dishes, books, paper] it in its proper place the first time rather than moving it multiple times.  Another variation on this rule is where does it live?  Everything should have its proper place and be put in it before you go to bed at night.
  • Hang up your towels.
  • Dirty laundry in the hamper.
  • Hang up your clothes when you take them off.
  • Fold the laundry as you take it out of the dryer.  It has less wrinkles that way.  For those things that you only partially dry, alter this rule to fold the laundry when dry.
  • Leave the room straight when you are finished for the day.  That means everything back where it came from with dishes in the dishwasher, blankets folded and put away, remotes in their proper place.
  • Deal with mail when you take it out of the mailbox.
  • Have a clean sink when you go up to bed or no dirty dishes in the sink.
  • If it does not fit or you never wear it, donate it to someone who can use it.

 

IMG_0338

These are the rules Mom imposed on our daily life.  It worked for her and it seems to work for me. Are there rules that you live by that permit you to organize your life?

Family · Food · Holiday

Thanksgiving Reflections

IMG_6782

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!  Family and friends gather to visit and give thanks, at least in my family.  This year I am going solo.  After changing jobs and moving, the usual family Thanksgiving seemed out of reach this year.

Growing up Thanksgiving was originally a trip to Charleston where my Grandmother cooked for twenty plus.  Turkey, ham, oysters, green bean casserole, rice and gravy,  dressing, squash, ambrosia, and apple pie were on the table.  I recall being taught how to polish silver and set the table as my contribution and wash the dishes after dinner.

Somewhere along the line we moved to Thanksgiving at my Mother’s.  We always attended a Moravian Love Feast on Wednesday night.  This was a community event with members of the church neighborhood participating.  The President’s proclamation was always read, coffee and a bun served, and there is one memorable sermon that I will always recall.  My Dad and I left the service under my Mother’s critical eye – as if we were both two.  The sermon used the refrain “over the river and through the woods”, unfortunately in my and my Dad’s opinion we went over the river one time too many.  Back home it was preparation for the big dinner the next day. Silver was polished, the table set, the turkey prepped.  The menu was similar to that in Charleston, after all my Mom learned from her Mom.  Ice box rolls and broccoli casserole were added at some point as an homage to my Dad’s side of the family and a coconut cream cake made an appearance.  Baked apples became part of the main course.  The family was slightly smaller and Mom served twelve to fifteen rather than twenty plus.

Then Thanksgiving came to my house.  Tradition is tradition. I’ve cooked for five and for twelve.  I have fried turkey and baked it in a bag.   The menu varies based on the number eating but is the one I learned from my Grandmother.   The silver is now handed down to me as is the china.  While I don’t have a Love Feast in my town, there is a community service that is reminiscent of those I attended growing up.

What I will always cherish is my family, gathered together for a few days.  The main dinner was delicious and fun.  Mom and Grandmom  were amazing cooks; but the turkey sandwich that followed our 2PM meal was as good, if not better, as it was with family.  It was at these gatherings that I learned about my Mom’s escapades growing up and how to cook.   I remain thankful for the many holidays with family who are now scattered near and far.

Happy Thanksgiving!  May your holiday be shared with those that love you.

Family · Holiday

Mother’s Day

 

60A1D9DE-845C-42B3-94CB-846EAC435492

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!

Family · Travel

The Masters

F5A32D70-750B-4FDC-9D57-F586C257C806

 

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.

67E2C160-75BB-4595-BA2C-B89FE9E72731

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