My love affair with the beach began while I was still in diapers. Born in Eastern North Carolina with a Dad who grew up spending summers frequenting Cherry Grove, Myrtle Beach and OD and a Mom who spent her childhood summers in pluff mud, salt marshes along Sullivan’s Island and Folly Beach, it was natural that I’d be whisked to the Atlantic Ocean before I could walk. So what do I pack for a day at the beach?
The chair is key. I love a good sand chair, one that is perfect to sit in the water with the tide. Umbrella and straw mat are other necessities. I typically grab a grass mat at the local beach store. They tend to cost around $3.00 and are great for lying on to sunbathe. They also serve as a place for the cooler, beach bag and other assorted items to avoid dumping everything in the sand. As gorgeous as the Carolina coast is with that sugar white sand, I try to avoid bringing it home with me.
Next up is a cooler packed with ice, drinks, sandwiches and a spray bottle of water. There is nothing better to cool off with than ice water. I love Evian but there are multiple options that include just a drugstore pump spray filled with water. I keep a bottle of Evian in the refrigerator so I always have one cold for tennis and the beach or pool.
My beach bag filled to the brim with all those things one needs – sunglasses, sunscreen, towels, goldfish, my kindle and my iPod. This year I’ve got a new beach bag, the Goyard Belharra. I am loving it. It is easy to stuff with everything I want for a day walking along the beach, reading in the sun, and swimming in the ocean. See my post from last summer for What’s in My Beach Bag.
I don’t believe that I’ve ever anticipated a summer as much as I anticipated this one. Snow in April was my undoing. I love all four seasons but I was ready for a spring that never quite seemed to arrive. This made me long for summer and it is here!
Hot days, warm nights, long walks on the beach and visits with family and friends are all on my schedule for this summer. The pace seems slower in the summer; time to enjoy life in a way I don’t seem to manage in the rest of the year.
I’m prepping for the summer. Here is my checklist:
- Mani/Pedi in preparation for flip flops and shorts
- A case of new tennis balls as I plan to spend hours on the court.
- 50 sunscreen – I’m serious about sunscreen. I go with 50 for most of the summer and titanium dioxide as an ingredient. I love to spend time in the sun either walking, playing tennis, or spending time on the beach or at the pool but I don’t want to risk skin cancer so it is time to lather on the sun screen.
- Sisley Lavender body scrub for the shower. Nothing like it to make you feel great post outing and make the bath smell wonderful.
- A visit to the bookstore and audible for beach reads. Audio books are a must as it is a drive to the coast.
- Review beach gear – suits, hat, and bag to see if new additions or replacements are required.
- Trip to the farmer’s market for fresh veggies!
What is on your summer prep checklist?
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.
Go, chat, make some new friends and simply enjoy a beautiful place.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 was 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.
Are you ready to take a trip back in time? Colonial Williamsburg is the restoration of the town of Williamsburg, pre Revolution. In other words, welcome to a living history museum set in the 18th century. You literally take a trip back in time. The buildings are restored and the docents are in period attire. If you’ve not been, I can recommend you visit.
I love visiting. Colonial Williamsburg operates multiple hotels on the property for visitors to enjoy. My favorite is th Williamsburg Inn. Every time I visit I feel like I’ve died and gone to pampering heaven. The rooms are beautiful, the service designed to make you feel like a princess, even the Queen has stayed there.
The Inn and the nearby Lodge are perfect for access to the historic area. What better for exercise than a walk or run around the historic district? Merchant’s Square is a fun stop for shopping and eating. The Cheese Shop is a must visit for a quick bite. The Fat Canary great for supper, although my personal favorite is the Blue Talon.
The Blue Talon restaurant is a French bistro within east walking distance to the Inn. Their mac-n-cheese is to die for and the garden salad the perfect accompaniment. The menu is replete with excellent choices and the wine menu is to die for. Added fun are the replays of The French Chef, Julia Child’s tv program. My favorite is that I can have a wonderful dinner and walk back to the Inn. The Inn also has a wonderful breakfast. Sunday brunch is legendary and don’t forget to grab a cocktail from the Restoration Bar or the patio bar, depending upon the weather.
No visit to CW would be complete without a visit to the spa. I always opt for a massage and leave time for the whirlpool and the steam room.
CW offers so much from golf and tennis to museums to history to shopping. There is something for everyone.
I love the period between Christmas and New Years. Christmas is festive and full of family and friends, food, gifts, visits, and parties. It is ending the year on a high note of fun and festivities and yes, endings. When I think of the New Year, I think of new beginnings, everything clean and white and sparkling with the potential for wonderful new adventures and excitement.
In addition to seeing family and friends, I enjoy the time between Christmas and the New Year as a time to clean. This past week, I cleaned out closets, organized and visited with friends. We reflected on the year and made plans for the new one extending that sense of anticipation of Christmas to the potential for new things in a new year.
I’m not much for resolutions but I love to dream and plan. The new year is like an open promise with only potential. So for the new year, I’m working on new dreams and making plans to see those dreams become a reality.
- Travel – Where to visit this year? I’m thinking of the Mediterranean and Scotland. Beaches and mountains sound balanced. I love visiting new places and experiencing new cultures. There is nothing better than being jolted out of your comfort zone by learning something new and what better way to expand your view than travel?
- Career – I’m looking forward to wrapping up existing projects and unleashing my creative juices on new ones.
- Romance – I’m ready for my lost knight in shinning armor to tap into his internal GPS and find his way to me. I’d be happy to meet him half way. Maybe my GPS needs a tune up?
- Friends and family – I’m looking forward to spending time with those close to me. Sharing and creating new memories.
- Fun – I am dreaming of a new year filled with fun. New people, new projects, lunches, dinners, decorating, shopping, museums – well you get the picture.
- Creativity – I have a creataive gene that needs to be exercised. Photographs, drawing, this blog, cooking, decorating and fashion are all things that I dabble in. I’m not certain what my new outlet for creative expression will be this year. I’d love to take a drawing or art history class. Hum, something to consider.
- Exercise – Walking, hiking, Pilates, yoga, barre – okay this one sounds more like a resolution so perhaps one resolution for the new year?
If I have one resolution for the new year, it is to embrace your dreams!
Happy New Year!
I’m not certain if I am an Anglophile or a Francophile but I am mesmerized by Paris and London. There is nothing like the lights of Paris or exploring the City. I can and have spent hours and lots of steps just walking and ducking in boutique after boutique at my leisure. December and Christmas is a wonderful time to explore. The red flocked Christmas trees, a glass of champagne at the Ritz, or sitting at a cafe for dinner it is a perfect way to spend a few days at this time of year.
There is something serendipitous about what you will find and where you find it. On my most recent trip I stayed at this wonderful boutique hotel in the triangle d’or. I arrived from Atlanta to Charles De Gaule at 6 in the morning and made my way to drop off my bags. It was snowing which added something special to the morning. I dropped off my bags and headed to the Museum of Decorative Arts for the Christian Dior exhibit. The exhibit was mobbed but entirely worth it. After lusting over Dior collections I made my way to a lovely cafe for the quintessential lunch of onion soup and much needed caffeine and then returned to my hotel for a nap. Once refreshed I headed out to explore the area around the hotel and an idea of dropping by the bar at the George the V.
The area is full of wonderful boutiques in addition to the known designers. On my previous trip I discovered Davidor, a wonderful jeweler originally from Florida and now in Paris and Hobbs, a store with the most beautiful cashmere and leather goods. The sweater I’d purchased previously from Hobbs remains a favorite. Snowing again, a wonderful shop with a display of scarves and sweaters caught my eye and in I went.
Crimson (8 Rue Marbeuf or https:// http://www.crimson-cashmere.com) is a wonderful store with the most beautiful items of cashmere and lambs wool made in Scotland. Scarves, gloves, ponchos and sweaters to die for available for both men and women. After trying on and selecting a beautiful purple cashmere sweater with the perfect twist on the classic crewneck design, I encountered this wonderful voice that simply could not have been from Paris. The owner, Linda, is a delightful lady originally from Texas exuding this amazing sense of style. She is as fun as her designs which are amazing. After a delightful interlude in the store, making new friends in Paris, purchasing the sweater and gloves, sharing a gold dustedchocolate covered marshmallow, and armed with her advice regarding pickpockets, I returned to my quest for a glass of champagne at George V. Thwarted by a full house and no room at the bar by everyone else that had the same idea and wanted out of the snow, I retraced my steps to a lovely cafe I’d seen and enjoyed a dinner of steak frites in traditional Parisian cafe style.
My trips to Paris have included other such wonderful discoveries from Dehilleran, a cookware store on steroids, to Christmas markets, pharmacies, and paper stores. A treasured souvenir carted home from Paris is a sheet of hand made paper framed in glass that hangs on my wall. The best part of Paris is simply finding something unexpected.