Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Celebrations

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
What a wonderfully packed weekend with plenty to celebrate. There was a new engagement, the Passover seder, and Easter Sunday. 
My Saturday started off with last minute plans to celebrate the engagement of my dearest friend, my own maid of honor. I brought some goodies to her house to celebrate, including wedding magazines and champagne of course, because it's not brunch without champagne. We chatted about wedding stuff, about family, and fanned the fire alarm when making brunch got a little smokey. Don't worry, there weren't any casualties; the eggs, hash browns, and bacon all made it to our plates and in our bellies.
Later, it was time for the Passover seder. S's mom made the meal and we even enjoyed a bottle of red wine that we had for the wedding. We're sentimental like that. 
After, we met up with a group of friends at a brewery. My stomach hasn't taken a liking to beer ever since I cut down my gluten intake a year ago. So there I was, milking my one glass of Lambic Framboise all night. I'm not normally into sweet drinks, but this is godly. 
At some point throughout the night, the guys ended up in their own group and the girls (including myself) ended up in our own group. It was a bit of a funny transition; I could see the future in that moment. Typically we'll all be chatting, the girlfriends of all the guys get along great with the rest of them, but this time, the girls were in our own group, as if naturally we came out with just them. And I have to say, I liked it. It was refreshing from our usual giant group get together. The girls, lounging at a table in the dim lights, the guys, leaning on the bar top. 
Sunday was Easter, starting with breakfast with my dad, and dinner with my mom. The shops were all closed so my mom's plans for a feast were foiled. She made Plan B while I found the only liquor store open in our tiny little town for some wine. 
This weekend, we're planning and prepping for our little anniversary party. We have details for the party planned out including the menu, the drinks, the decor, the floral, and even the sleeping arrangements. Can you believe our one year of marriage is coming up on May 4th? I really can't. My only goal this past year was travel, and being that we visited the beach for a weekend a few times, visited a friend in Austin TX, went to Savannah GA for my birthday, and even went on our honeymoon to Argentina and Brazil, I'd say that we had a very successful year of travel. We have two bottles of wine from South America that we saved for this anniversary. One, a bottle of champagne from Brazil, and the other is a bottle of rose Malbec, perfect for a warm evening. 
I'm looking forward to toasting with friends to the next year of travel including Charlotte NC, Corning NY, Buffalo NY, Ft. Lauderdale for a bachelorette party weekend, and NYC for my cousins wedding! Not to mention, I hope to take some last minute weekend trips to NOLA (again!) and DC or Charleston SC to visit a dear friend. I guess you could say that I get bored if there isn't something to plan ahead for like a trip.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Beach House Getaway

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
This past weekend we took a little getaway with a friend to their beach house. In Florida, it's been sunny and breezy and the water is cool and refreshing after sitting in the sun. We started the weekend with the Saturday market near the beach house, indulging in cheese, bread, sugarcane juice, and of course, crepes. We kept it simple with sugar and butter crepes just like we had in Paris. We walked around the market and there were tons of tents and live music and plenty of seating too. 
After the market, we picked up some weekend beach house essentials like champagne and orange juice, Cape Cod chips, and cereal for easy breakfasts. We arrive at the house and the back wall was all windows, letting in lots of sunlight and a view of downtown across the bay. 
Their dock dipped right down into clear water, barely knee-deep. We shuffled through the water admiring the hermit crabs, horseshoe crabs, live starfish, and there were even jellyfish babies. 
We drank beers and mimosas and the sun stayed out well into dinner. We laid on the dock, looking up at the airplane clouds stretching across the sky toward the tiny airport across the water. There were gorgeous little sail boats that speckled the horizon, and para-sailers around the park's perimeter. The guys kayaked while we read our books. Being out all day in the sun tired us out and I was in bed shortly after 10 pm, waking to warm sunlight in what felt like an instant.  
Around the dock were coconut palm trees and plumeria trees just starting to bloom in spring. In the front of the house there were mango trees with small fruit forming. It's the kind of perfect oasis that people make plans to go to with their friends, and then life gets in the way and the weekend getaway is delayed and delayed. 
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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Week-end

Tuesday, April 08, 2014
This week, like most in Orlando, was fulfilling. We toasted with friends at a going away party with mint juleps and NOLA beer. We sipped sake over hot pots and ended the night with a walk home, full and sleepy. 
I accomplished four loads of laundry, and in between each I read a stack of magazines by the pool with sun block, phone calls with friends, and an icy cup of champagne. In the evening, I noticed the buds on an old orchid plant, sprouting just in time for spring.
And then there was the Sunday brunch of bagels, hummus, eggs, bacon, and sriracha potatoes, paired with mimosas and a friend. There was the hilarity of losing her car downtown, walking for an hour in the heat, and S coming to the rescue, just to find her car on the block we missed. After that, we decided we deserved another drink and found a gem; a wine room with no corkage fee, a bottle of a summery white wine, and a flatbread to share outside.
S + I experimented in the kitchen with a meaty sandwich of leftover steak, sliced thick on top of tuscan bread. I made an aioli sauce from scratch with eggs, garlic, lemon, Italian olive oil, and dill and parsley for color. On top of the aioli and the steak was a shallot slaw with roughly chopped parsley and dill, seasoned with lemon and grey sea salt. It was a mouthful of summer flavors and perfectly crunchy textures.
S surprised me with a clipping of gorgeous pinkish-red flowers from the neighborhood and our new bike rack hung up on the wall. Anchored and everything. And there's the first bloom of the season of our neighborhoods star jasmine. Just walking to my car in the morning, I catch the lingering of its perfume in the wind.
Our plants have been doing so well in this weather, with sun in the afternoons sandwiched by breezy nights and mornings, followed by cloudy days. There's new growth on our jasmine, money tree, and horseradish tree. Our orchids have sprouted little buds, and the pepper seeds are slowly reaching above the pot's rim.
Behind my bike, neatly hung up on the wall, is a gift from a friend. An aged map of Paris. It alludes to biking through the arrondissements of Paris, which I hope Erin finds time to do when she moves there for two months. Don't worry, I'm jealous too.
Spring is my favorite time of the year; no wonder we picked this time to marry last year.
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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Two Weekends

Thursday, April 03, 2014
In two weekends there was wine by the bottle and there was a fresh loaf of local bread. There was the perfect spot at the indoor market right by the patio with a view of a private rental: an engagement party. An intimate gathering so sweet it inspired us to host our own little anniversary party at home, celebrating one year of marriage, but mostly an excuse to have fun with our dearest friends all evening. That will be in May; could it be so soon already?
There was rainfall in the morning with sneezes and sniffles. My legs were propped up on the couch with TV show marathons and long Pinterest sessions. I snacked on pickles, eating them over the sink, and I drank tea by the gallons, the warmth soothing my throat. 
When the rain stopped there was fresh air, a cool breeze, and tons of sunshine. My cooped up body treasured the weekly visit to the farmer's market to see the plants for sale, the produce in season, and the pet goats that tagged along. 
After rain in springtime there are flowers and lush trees and floral scents that I can't appreciate with this stuffed nose. But the colors and their lightness when they sway in the wind is appreciated all the same. 
There are walks around our little downtown area with brick roads that remind me of Europe, aimless walkers that frustrate my quick steps, and pretty scenes that remind me to appreciate the little things in between it all. A hidden oil lamp next to a door that leads to where? Busy courtyards full of passerbys and luncheons. 
The lines of people with suitcases travelling not too far by train, and the soft horn of a train approaching. There are crowds that gather when the train roars near, and children and the train captain share a wave. 
The rose garden where we took some wedding photos last year is  just starting to bloom. 
And at home, afternoons and evenings are spent on the balcony with a book and exposed shoulders, hoping the sun will bleach out the sickness. 
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