Friday, December 3, 2010

Lunch Breaks

It's Friday, barely late enough to call it the afternoon, but it's about 12:30 and I'm enjoying a little blogging on my lunch break because I am confined to my cubicle. That, is a story within itself, but don't worry it's not because I'm in time-out. But, as I sit here, with my Martha Stewart sistema container of leftover Chinese food from my favorite little take out shop in town, I am pondering the Italians and their perfect "lunch break".

I must say, it is really difficult to even call what they do a lunch break, it's more like an afternoon break. It is fabulous. The leave their offices, typically housed in vintage buildings that are architecturally enticing, walk down their cobblestone street to the nearest piazza. Once reaching the piazza, where the space opens up and the sunlight streams in, they meet friends or family, or even business partners for a most perfect lunch break.
When the air is warm, the cafes and ristorantes offer outdoor seating where they crowd tables together under brightly colored awnings for the hungry customers to pile into. Italians then eat a lunch that rivals the American dinner in size. Starting with an antipasto, then a pasta, then a salad, followed by the lightest, yet most delicious tiramisu you have ever tasted. All of the wonderful food is enjoyed with a couple of glasses of rich, or fruity, or smooth, or dry, but always perfect, wine.

One can only imagine that with all of the eating and drinking done at lunch, the Italians would be a bit sleepy...I like to refer to it as the "lunchtime coma". So, these brilliant people who know so much about how to squeeze every ounce of joy out of life, take a nap. That's right, they TAKE. A. NAP! Businesses close for an hour or two in the afternoon to accommodate the "lunchtime coma" the Italians so wonderfully refer to as the siesta.

I'm guessing that by now, you're starting to agree with me. The Italians really do know how to take a lunch break. But, to make things just a bit better...and by that I mean INSANELY better. Right around 4:00, an hour or so after businesses have opened up again, these lovely, flamboyant, and altogether fabulous (in every aspect, but especially fabulous in regards to food, wine, and fashion) people go out for gelato.

I am most certain that all of my readers know what gelato is, but just in case...I'll explain. Gelato is rich, smooth, creamy ice cream. It is thicker than American ice cream and has more sugar and comes in the most exquisite flavors. When traveling in Italy, I always have the hardest time deciding what flavor I should try. You see, cups of gelato are teeny you have to choose wisely because there are only a few little bites in each serving! My favorite flavor is pistachio, but they also have caramel, nutella, strawberry, chocolate, lime, cappuccino, and just about anything else you could ever want. To further entice you, I've included a picture of the "lineup" at a typical gelateria.

Now, as my own lunch break is starting to come to a close, I am slightly envious of the Italians and their picture perfect lunch break. But, alas, my little container of Chinese food is now empty, as is my diet coke, and it seems it is time to get back to the grind. I'll leave you with this, from the girl who writes a blog that is "just frivolous" the Italians have frivolity down to an art.


Friday, November 12, 2010


Let's talk about Friday. Oh the best day perhaps of the entire work's a day of anticipation, a day of waiting, a day of planning. However, Friday also seems to be the longest day of the week. Tick-Tock... Tick-Tock... Tick-Tock... as you watch the clock ease slowly towards 5:00...

I find that I start my Fridays off with big plans. I always have a long to-do list, a lot of things to keep me busy and Friday seems to be the day that I can always complete my to-do list. And most often this daunting list is completed an hour or so before the end of the day.

What then, I ask, does one do from 4:00 to 5:00 as the weight of the work week is slowly being lifted off your shoulders. On Monday morning, an weight similar to that which Atlas bears is placed on your shoulders for you to carry until Friday at 5:00 when you can escape into the weekend. The perfect, quiet, personal weekend. Two days to take care of your own projects, to relax and be lazy; two days to get organized or make a total mess. Ahhhhh, two days...

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Seattle, what a wonderful city! You of course by now have deduced that my flight to Seattle wasn't the most pleasant but, it was worth it! We stepped off the plane in Seattle, to a brisk September evening. I actually had to put on a coat, something that a Southerner never has to do in the month of September! I must say, it was a fabulous feeling. The twinge of fall in the air, the crisp breeze on my face, pure perfection!
We picked up our car, and drove straight into downtown Seattle. I was a bit worried that we would not catch the 8:15 ferry to Bainbridge Island, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Seattle is quaint city that lacks the loads of cars jammed in the streets that a city like New York or Chicago is filled with. We drove easily onto the ferry where we met my dearest sister-in-law Alli. 
The Washington air has worked wonders for her! She had rosy cheeks and a big smile on her face. Oh how wonderful it was to see her! Over the past few years, she and I have had many wonderful bonding experience. She was a trooper and helped me paint our new house, nearly top to bottom with no complaint! How I miss her!
Our ferry ride was chilly, but beautiful. We stood near the back of the ferry and watched the Seattle skyline slowly shrink as we crossed the ice cold water to Bainbridge Island. The 30 minute ride was filled with hugs, laughter, and lots of warm smiles-making the six hour flight a mere memory. We arrived in Bainbridge and drove through the beautiful town to our home for the next few days. Our dear friends, the owners of Fletcher Bay Winery, generously offered their loft apartment and guest house for our weekend stay. 
We woke up early on Friday morning and Alli took us on a hike down to her favorite beach. Though this was not your typical beach with sand and seashells, it was a green, vibrant hike down to a wonderfully private and oh so quiet beach that offers a magnificent view (as you can see from the pictures. We spent the remainder of Friday exploring Bainbridge Island. We had coffee at a local bakery, window shopped, visited a park for views of the beautiful and enormous Mt. Rainier and had lunch at the local "hot spot", 122 Winslow. I had a bowl of mouth wateringly perfect clam chowder. According to one of their cooks, they make a fresh batch of chowder every day and speaking from experience, I'll tell you it was fantastic. 
A brief side note, for those of you just joining me on my blog, I am a bit of a foodie. I LOVE food of all types, I love traveling, I adore shopping and I find cooking to be the most relaxing activity. For those of you who have been reading, I'll also offer this, soups, chowders, and stews are some of my favorite types of food. So, you can imagine how superb this bowl of chowder was! 
We wandered around Bainbridge and as we wandered we learned more and more about this fantastic island. The locals are very environmentally aware. They aim to be green, and their town perfectly reflects this with its clean streets, and beautiful gardens. Simply put, this chic little island reminded me of Nantucket, with a hippie flair. It is more relaxed, and a lot less "up-ity" than the fabulous Nantucket and I absolutely adored it! We thoroughly enjoyed our day in Bainbridge. We ended the evening back at 122 Winslow for drinks. It was packed with locals. We were able to meet several of Alli's friends and try Winslows fabulous mini-corn dogs with "fire cracker" sauce. Don't worry, I'll be experimenting and trying to recreate this recipe! They were fabulous. All in all, day one was a success. Now, I have blogged away this afternoon, and so I must take a break. I'll be back soon with something new, exciting, and just frivolous. I've got so much more to tell!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Brief Lesson on Etiquette

To all of you Southern women out there who are familiar with the "bless her(or his) heart" expression then I'm quite sure you can appreciate where I'm going with this. I'm currently on an airplane 10,000 ft above the ground headed to Seattle, WA filled with "bless their hearts" types of people. That said, I'm not asking for sympathy but rather a brief moment of your time for a little etiquette lesson.

So here we go, for those of you out there who didn't have a charming Southern upbringing... take notes! When on an airplane I feel basic etiquette is most important so that you don't earn yourself any glares from your fellow passengers. The volume of your voice is very important. An airplane is a small space so there is no need to shout to your neighbor or tell stories to each other loudly enough for the people in front or behind you to hear. And my OH my you should never yell across the aisle to the guy who just purchased wifi to ask him to check the flight tracker to see where we are. Bless your heart, sir. If you want to know where we are use your laptop (the one you currently have on your tray table) to purchase your own wifi and check the status of our flight. Leave the nice man in his window seat with his headphones on alone...because he is enjoying his flight unlike the people around you because of your incessant shouting.

Next airplane lesson...never EVER drink too much. I don't mean too much water...I mean those cute little mini bottles. No one enjoys sitting next to someone who smells of New Orleans after Mardi Gras for 5 minutes, much less 6 hours! Now, I for one think that drinking plenty of fluids is important, despite the fact that you might have to ask your neighbor to stand often so that you may visit the restroom (you should periodically move around the aircraft during your you're really helping your neighbor stay healthy on their flight)just be sure that your are hydrating with plenty of nonalcoholic beverages.

Food...a sore subject on airplanes I feel. If you bring your own, which is just about your only option now, choose something bland so as not to draw negative attention to your meal. For instance the Chinese food with onions and garlic across the aisle from me and what smells like fried oysters in front of me are a bit obnoxious. Some people have strong reactions to smells and though the airline keeps seats stocked with little bags for those who can't handle the turbulence, your food should not be the reason why that little bag gets used.

Well I feel like after this little lesson I should at least tell you about my trip! My sister-in-law, Alli moved to Seattle briefly after Adam and I were married. We've been dying to visit. So we're taking advantage of this long weekend and jetting across the country to beautiful Washington. I've never visited Washington and I am thrilled at the chance to hop on a plane and head to a new fun place. I'm ready for cooler weather and mountains. I've packed a suitcase full of ever-classic cardigans and some of my fall favorites like my Banana Republic leather jacket that I called all over the country to find and my favorite skinny citizens oh fall! I am ready!

We're going to wine and dine, hike, tour, and shop, and I can't wait for the exploring to begin. We're staying with some family friends who own a vineyard and produce their own wine. I'm going to try and learn as much as I can about the process! Get ready for pictures, stories, and a couples of fun reads!

Have safe and happy long weekend and remember as you fly to your Ritzy vacation spots to be on your best never know when a Southern belle with a knack for etiquette is sitting in the seat beside you. Cheers!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cinnamon Heaven

Ahh this weekend! It was fabulous! A magnificent weekend with close friends and family to celebrate our beautiful nation! As I promised, I have provided a pictures of the most wonderful cinnamon roll in the universe, paired with a cup of surprisingly nice, but somewhat weak coffee. We ate breakfast at this, my favorite, cafe twice and had a cinnamon roll for "dessert" each time! We were even lucky enough to acquire an extra cinnamon roll on our last trip to The Cafe, as we were headed out of town on Monday. I must admit that not an hour into our journey, we had finished that fantastic little bun!

In my enthusiasm over the cinnamon roll, I've neglected to tell you about all of the other wonderful dishes as the restaurant we affectionately call "The Cafe". My personal favorite is the omelet. It is a "create your own" sort of set up where they provide you with a list of possible ingredients and you choose what you want. Adam, my husband, and I always have at least one omelet on our weekend getaways to St. Simons. I always get the same one! I love the usual ingredients: tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, and spinach. But, it is the final element that makes this omelet so great! I add crab!

Now, I'm sure you're shaking your head right now, not sure of how your feel about pairing crab with eggs. But, I assure you, it is pure goodness! The rich, buttery flavor of the crab makes this dish superb! The hint of onion and bell pepper add to the already excellent flavor of the crab, and the perfectly cooked spinach adds just a tiny bit of crunch to each mouth-watering bite. This most perfect combination of eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, bell peppers, spinach, and crab is good enough to eat every morning (or night)! I'm dying to try and recreate this fantastic meal in my own kitchen!

I'm sure you think based on what I've written so far, that I spend all my time this weekend eating breakfast! But, I did not! We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning and the whole family, husbands and boyfriends included, participated in the Sunshine Festival 5K. What a perfect run for a hot July day! And the best part of all is that it wasn't really that hot. We have been blessed with a cold front this July and the weather, up until yesterday, has been extraordinary! The weather on the 4th felt like early fall! Can you imagine, early July in Georgia with lows in the 70s. It's unheard of and particularly fabulous!

We spent our days this weekend lounging on the beach, playing in the ocean, and soaking up some rays. On Saturday afternoon, my best friend called with an offer we couldn't refuse! So, Adam and I met my dearest friend and her wonderful father at the airport where they took us on a fabulous helicopter ride around the islands. What a great way to spend an afternoon! The views of the marshes were stunning! The marsh grass this time of year is a stunning bright green and the canals that cut through it a dark, muddy gray creating a beautiful contrast. We flew over the beaches, the marinas, and the lighthouse. It was breathtaking. Oh what a perfect way to spend a weekend in Georgia!

Friday, July 2, 2010

And We're Off...

We’re on the way to the beach, for a much needed vacation. The South Carolina scenery is passing by quickly as we make our way to my favorite little island off the Georgia coast. We’ve been married nearly two months now and it has been absolute perfection. Our monogrammed towels and our new pots and pans have been tucked neatly into newly lined cabinets, and we have finally hung most of our artwork on our once bare walls. It is beginning to feel like home.

Our hydrangea that we didn’t even know we had has begun to bloom. I wish we had more. I’ve cut as many blooms as I can, without leaving the plant bare, and placed them in my favorite Waterford carafe on our dining room table. The blue flowers with the hint of purple match the color of the summer sky. Our new grass is happy, healthy, and growing like crazy! Our yard actually looks like a real front yard now, instead of the sea of pine straw that it once was. Oh, if you could see the brilliant green color just after a late afternoon thunderstorm, it’s electric.

At night, in our quaint little neighborhood, I can hear the crickets and the frogs and if I close my eyes, it feels like I’m back in my small hometown sitting on the top deck of my parents’ courtyard. I dream of how we will transform our unorganized, and slightly eclectic backyard at our new house into something elegant and inviting just like that pretty brick courtyard I grew up playing “Princess” on. Our little house, tucked on a quiet street has so much potential.

I realize, as I’m writing as we drive down I-26 towards I-95, that I’ve been daydreaming about the possibilities and forgotten completely about the adventure we’re embarking on. While visiting an island I’ve practically grown up on doesn’t sound adventurous, it is exciting and thrilling, which is adventurous enough for me! I love the little shops, the beautiful beach, and most of all, the fabulous food. You see, I’m a foodie. I love to eat, to cook, and to learn about food. So, while I’m anticipating some much needed sunbathing, I’m most excited about the restaurants and my favorite cookout of the whole year, The Fourth of July!

I’m ready for seafood and cheesecake, fabulous bloody marys and out-of-this-world appetizers. I’ve also been craving the most perfect cinnamon roll, that should be famous, but somehow, isn’t. At least it isn’t, yet! It is the most unbelievably wonderful mixture of cinnamon and sugar with a dripping glaze that has to be made of pure goodness. It melts in your mouth, hot out of the oven, and is only made more perfect by the cup of somewhat weak, diner-style coffee that accompanies it. So, tomorrow morning, after the annual 4th of July 5K, we will have to go and get one of these little pieces of heaven, perhaps as dessert after my crab and spinach omelet. I promise I’ll take a picture for you.

This weekend we’ll stop in my parent’s store, Low Country Walk, I must say it is my favorite site for antiquing, to see if we can find that perfect piece for our house. I write a blog for them as well, but I took a VERY long break before the wedding. So get ready, I’ll be adding to McIntosh Cottage’s blog in the coming weeks! Perhaps I’ll feature my newly found perfect piece, wish me luck on my search this weekend!
Though the crowds that will swarm the beach, the village, and the stores this weekend are not my favorite, I love that patriotic feeling I get when I’m in St. Simons, ready to celebrate the 4th. We’ll gather in the Georgia heat to cookout ocean-side and then clean up just in time to walk out on the beach and see the fireworks. From where we stand on East Beach you get three fireworks shows I you pay attention. If you look into the distance across the water you can see Jekyll Island’s fireworks and then if you glance down 
the beach you can see the bright fireworks light up the Sea Island sky.

I’m excited about three nights of fantastic food. The first two nights we’ll dine with friends and family at two local restaurants and then the third, and last night of our mini vacation we’ll cook out by the beach. And my favorite neighbor will inevitably introduce a stranger to the earth shatteringly good “red hot” with white bread and yellow mustard.

I’m ready for a weekend that is just relaxing, just wonderful, and just frivolous!