When my husband, Rob, and I moved to North Carolina, perched at the top of our to-do list was a trip to the coast. Coming from landlocked Utah, the closest ocean waves had been a 12-hour drive away in California. So when Rob had his first spring break in law school, we packed up our new puppy and headed to picture-perfect Nags Head. In March. We knew it wouldn’t be swimming weather, but had no idea that parkas and Wellies would be more appropriate than shorts and flip flops, and that virtually the entire town would be boarded up for the off-season. We spent our first night walking through Harris Teeter trying to choose a frozen pizza to heat up in our condo’s small kitchen — the ultimate foodie fail.
Two years ago I made a resolution. Not to lose weight or take up meditation, but something a little more doable, and way more fun. I resolved to start a wine journal.
This week I took a trip to Old Mill of Guilford in Oak Ridge to pick up some flour. Around Christmastime, a coworker suggested that the pancake mix from Old Guilford is a good local product to give someone for a gift. I’d heard of the Old Mill, seen some of the products at the Piedmont Farmers Market, but had never purchased any. I decided to do a little research about the Old Guilford Mill and see what everyone was raving about. There, you can find cornmeal, grits, flours (wheat, rice, and spelt), mixes for pancakes, hushpuppies (get the one with the onion — it’s amazing!), gingerbread, scones, muffins, and cookies.
Living in a state with grape-friendly soil and enterprising oenologists, we can consider ourselves lucky to have so many day trip-worthy wineries to choose from. And there are certain things that make a winery stand out in the ever-increasing crowd. Sometimes it's the scenic location, the cozy decor, the quality of its Riesling, or the tray full of dark chocolate chips free for the taking.
Sure, I love my group of girlfriends for all of the important reasons in life: their sincerity, kindness, senses of humor... I admire how driven they are in their careers, juggling motherhood and households and 1,000 other things. But, I would be remiss if I didn't mention one more little detail: I also admire how they manage their mini-empires with impeccable style. It's hard to miss, really. They always know what the current trends are, and their wardrobes and homes are a reflection of their unique personalities.
One of the first things I ever learned how to make was a biscuit (well, I'm sure there were at least eight of them, but you know what I mean). My grandmother let me peer over the counter as she sifted flour, cut up butter, and rolled her way across the counter.
This issue's adventure took me to Raleigh to shoot Escazu chocolates. The photographer and I met at the chocolate shop first, and then took some chocolates to the studio to shoot there. I try to come prepared to photo shoots as much as possible, working on mockups beforehand, bringing backdrops, and props, and scissors, and whatever other tools I think we might need. I had in my head this idea of stacking the chocolates on these cute plates from Williams Sonoma, and then doing a type treatment with the word LOVE really big, weaving the stack through the "O." I bought backdrops of different colors — striped ones, solid ones, table runners ... hoping that I'd find the winning combination.
The holidays are over. The ornaments and lights are packed up. The Christmas tree is at the curb. The Three Wise Men have gone home. Holiday hours have been discontinued and it's back to the weekly grindstone of work and school. My personal resolutions have been committed to memory (writing them down has never done me any good) and I have a few food resolutions tucked away, too.
If your New Year’s resolution is to be more stylish, then you definitely need to incorporate some of Johanna Ely’s designs into your jewelry box. Johanna is the proprietress behind Raleigh-based Good Girls Studio, the fabulous collection of treasures created from repurposed vintage jewelry. Ely's line ranges from simple sparkly rings to richly layered and texture-filled necklaces perfect for any tea party or social event. Ely’s designs are so fabulous I would wear them just doing the laundry!