One thing I love about the women in my life: they are flat capable. My mama, my sisters, my assistant (slash rockstar), my dearest friends; all of them manage the “life juggle” with aplomb. Example: my niece has been cooking with confidence in her mom’s too-big high heels since she was a wee lass. Just hobbling around adding a pinch of this, a dash of that, pretending she’s 35.
Here’s the layman’s version of “woman camp” . . . things you should know that will allow you admission into the exclusive sorority of get-’er-done-girls:
Know how to sit in a childlike position and shell peas. Hum a little, swat some ‘skeetos, talk to your sisters on the phone (or in person, if you’re lucky), and shell some peas for the chef de cuisine of the evening.
Didn’t your Daddy teach you? You can’t roll around in life (no pun) without knowing…there won’t always be a dude by your side to change a tire.
Embrace the art of conversation. Ask people about themselves, then sit back and listen to them ramble! It will be much sweeter music to their ears than your droning on and on about your unruly eyebrows. When you pause just long enough to listen, you learn the most amazing things about the folks around you.
Master the grill. Don’t let it be the strict domain of your ex-beau; quel shame! Everything tastes better with a tinge of “blackened”.
Go makeupless. I know, I know- Heidi Klum can without frightening people . . . but give your skin and yourself a break! It won’t kill you to go au naturel for a day or two, esp. leading up to a Cat-on-a-Hot-Tin-Roof summer. Be capable of letting your hair hang down.
Capable girls still value the handwritten word. Pick up a pen- any color will do. Getchoo some paper- it can be a legal pad for all I care (gasp- the paper snob turns on a dime!) and just write. Reach out to friends in need, those who are hurting, folks who are healing – or just anyone you know who needs a pick-me-up. I relish the sight of my dear friend Carrie Sue’s letters tucked among the pile of bills. Her frenetic (but altogether lovely) handwriting on the outer envelope makes me dash for the letter opener . . . because I know that within lies either a.) hilarious notations and commentary on some ridiculous SkyMall Magazine tear-out OR a meaningful and nearly poetic epistle of sorts.
What do you adore about the women in your life? Tell ‘em.
I want to take a calligraphy class. I don’t want to do the calligraphy for my clients- I just want to expand on my penmanship and astound the recipients of my thank-you notes. I want to be like Laura Hooper:
I want to learn to surf. I don’t want to be a surfer per se, I just want to surf, on occasion, just because I live in Charleston. Because I can! Because it’s great exercise, and I’m secretly from the late 1950s and wanna run around with a longboard in a vintage maillot drinking malt milkshakes and staying out after midnight.
I want to go whole hog Apple. Ditch all of my PC things and scrap the aggressive productivity cramp that is Windows anything and just swipe the ole plastic for a fresh Macbook and all the fixins. Buuut- I do want mine to be buh-ling like this one:
Myth: I want to try a Pilates Reformer class. Truth? I want to have a Pilates body sans any of the hard work or expense. So there you go.
I need a fab little herb garden. Scratch that: just a window sill of a few fresh things? Basil for my Giada-inspired meals. Peppery tarragon when called for . . . fresh mint for sweet tea. Sorta like this:
I want to move our little family to Argentina for a summer. Just poke around the countryside and happen upon a debonair polo tourney like this one:
So there it is. Whimsical secret wishes from the heart.
The first Memorial Day (formerly known as Decoration Day) was first observed right here in little old Charleston in what is now Hampton Park, on the Peninsula. What a day to think about life, to take a deep breath and be thankful for those who have served and continue to serve our country tirelessly, preserving the freedoms we so often take for granted.
In honor of Memorial Day and the unspoken understanding that its celebration marks the real start of summer, I thought I’d ruminate on the ultimate summer picnic and all its possible trimmings. Here’s a recipe for a great one:
Pick a landing spot with great shade and inspiring roots (pun intended), like our own Boone Hall Plantation.
Grab the perfect ground cover- like a vintage quilt.
Pack a photo-worthy picnic basket, like this darling one above.
Don’t forget the staple: homemade pimiento cheeses sammies.
Watermelon wedges? Yes, please.
Wouldn’t be a picnic without sweet tea, the quintessential quencher. Don’t EVEN fight me on sweet vs. unsweet. A Southern femme won’t even hear of the latter!
Built NY teamed up with French Bull to make these puh-resh wine cooler bags. Drop in your favorite chilled white, and voilà.
Will this be you?
Or maybe this?
If you’re lucky and just stick to your Charleston front yard for your picnic, you may get a visit from Mr. Koolie, our local 1950s ice cream truck. The unmistakable vintage “ding ding ding” brings kids running barefoot from football fields away. Love it.
Happy Memorial Day!