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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Holiday · Skin care · Travel

Pamper me Sunday taken to the Greenbrier!

Did I ever need Pamper Sunday.  Last week was one of those weeks that wouldn’t stop.  Saturday I spent the morning cleaning out the basement.  By noon, I was covered in grime but had the basement sorted into trash and charity with the Christmas decorations finally put away.  Mission accomplished!

A good friend and I had long planned for a girl’s day at the spa at the Greenbrier.  As I stood there in the basement covered in yuck,  all I could think about was my long-awaited day at the spa.  The Greenbrier is located in an area rich with mineral springs and is famous for  its spa as well as the bunker.  A short drive this morning and I was looking at the great white hotel decorated by Dorothy Draper and Carlton Varney.  After a wonderful lunch at Drapers in the hotel, we headed to the spa.

Note about Drapers.  It is wonderful.  Famous for its sweet southern ice tea and chicken salad, the ice cream counter will make you drool.  I opted for a BLT with a delicious tomato. That is a miracle given it is the middle of winter.  I passed on dessert and we headed to the spa.

The first hour of our experience was spent in the relaxation room.  There I began to let the toils of the week evaporate.  Next up, a sulphur bath from the springs, then followed a scotch spray that reminded me of a water massage and finally a Swedish massage.  Now I was relaxed.  Back to the relaxation room where I quickly found my comfort zone in a lounge chair with a soft blanket and I was in my happy place.

Despite the fact that the day was a rainy, grey, winter day, it IMG_0267was perfect.  Time with friends and a wonderful visit to the Greenbrier.  I think I’m ready to face Monday!  I’m also plotting my next trip to the Greenbrier.

Fashion · Organization

What is your “It” bag?

IMG_0574Sex and the City made certain bags cult classics, if they weren’t already.  The Birkin and the Kelly are certainly “it” bags but I’m asking a more nuanced question here.  What makes a bag or a style of bag your own personal go to bag?  Confession time, I’m something of a bag connoisseur.  I love handbags and have since I was around three years old and was gifted a Chanel inspired bag as part of my Easter ensemble.  I loved that bag and cried and cried when I discovered my Mom “gifted” it to a younger child years later.

I have many lovely handbags but I find that, time and time again, I return to a particular type.  My personal “it” style is an unstructured tote.  The Louis Vuitton Neverfull and the Goyard St. Louis fit the profile perfectly and are the bags I return to daily.  This style is perfect for the “dump”.  In addition to wallet, phone and keys, it holds files, an iPad or laptop, leggings for after work yoga or Pilates or barre class and about anything else I think I’ll need between the time I leave for work and return home.  This style also makes a perfect carry-on bag.  I can’t count the number of times my St. Louis has been stuffed under the seat in front of me on an air plane.

While the unstructured tote is my go to bag of choice, I also have a soft spot for a hobo style bag and a bucket bag.  Goyard’s fidji / hobo bag is a favorite.  Smaller than the St. Louis or the Neverfull, the hobo bag is slightly smaller but still holds everything I might need sans laptop and has the added advantage of a zipper.

Next on my list of favorite bag styles is the bucket bag.  Celine’s cabas /tote is in my bag rotation.  The bucket bag is deep and the chief flaw is its depth.  It is easy for an item to fall to the bottom and get lost but it has the same advantages of an unstructured tote.  It is another “dump” bag.

Do you see the common characteristics?  My personal “it” style bag needs to be:

  • light because I’m going to stuff it;
  • discrete; and
  • able to accommodate the dump because I’m going to fill it with everything I need for a day in my life.

So what are the characteristics that make a bag your own personal “it” bag?

Fashion

The Capsule Wardrobe

I keep hearing about creating a capsule wardrobe.  As I understand it, the idea is to embrace minimalism and concentrate on quality pieces that work together to make fabulous outfits.  I love the concept but confess that I’m having trouble with the execution.

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This fall I promised myself that I was limiting my purchases to items that met two criteria.  The first criteria was that they were basics and quality such that they would stand the test of time.  The second criteria required that any item must work with things already in my closet.  This worked well.  I walked away from some lovely items knowing that I already had similar ones in my closet or that they would not stand the test of time.  The unintended effects were great as in money in my bank account and the re-discovery of items that I loved but were no longer being worn, like my favorite black cashmere sweater.  I’ve had a ton of fun mixing old, forgotten, favorites in with new pieces. I tend towards dimple pieces that I can accessorize with simple pieces of jewelry or a scarf.   I am sold on the concept of fewer quality pieces that stand the test of time.  I also realized that my favorite pieces seem to be those that I found in January at the clearance sales at Saks and Bergdorf’s.  What is better than finding a treasure at 75% off.

In thinking about spring, I’m now trying to decide what direction to take my capsule wardrobe.  For the winter it is somewhat easy, I lean towards  pieces in neutral tones of black, navy, red, and gray.  Cashmere is a favorite and add in jeans and leggings and I’m done.  Booties, boots, and ballet flats are a must for me.

So what for the spring and summer?  I tend to be slightly more casual in the summer than the winter.  I’m thinking white denim and J McLaughlin’s Catalina cloth?  Regardless, I’m embracing the less is more and staying  with black, white, blue and red and maybe pink and yellow or orange for the spring and summer!  Cotton replaces cashmere, otherwise, stay tuned.