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How to Speak Southern

How to Speak Southern

Hello and Barcelona

June 12, 2015


Well hello there! It’s certainly been awhile, hasn’t it? My bad. Let me dust the cobwebs off this blog for a second. I’m not going to say that I’ve been too busy for you guys because the truth is I’ve been both busy and lazy, but I have been busy. But never too busy for you. 

So. The initial reason for my blog abdication was that Wilson and I took a 10-day trip to Spain with our best friends. And, quite frankly, I’m surprised we came back.

Spain is the shit.

We considered ourselves uncultured Americans seasoned travelers as we globetrotted from Barcelona to Majorca to Sevilla. It was a whirlwind of a trip, and certainly the trip of a lifetime. Even though looking back 10 days is certainly not enough time to do Spain the justice she deserves, when we were there, it was as if time stood still. Nothing stood between us and Spain but getting another drink at the bar from a handsome Spanish bartender. Time moved leisurely, elegantly, and we sauntered around Spain as if we belonged. We most certainly did not belong. 

We were on Spain time, and it was truly spectacular. I am going to become a complete and annoying cliche when I wax poetic about Spain and traveling and how important it is to see this extremely gigantic world we live in, but screw it. Traveling is one of those things you must do. It gives you perspective. It humbles you. It makes you realize how absolutely and infinitesimally small you are in the grand scheme of life. You are teeny. Your problems don’t really matter. So move on. 

(I’m talking to myself here)

Not only was Spain spiritually enlightening, it was so much fun. We drank and ate to our hearts’ content. We woke up late and partied late. We really embraced siestas. Y’all, the Spanish do life right. They go to work around 9, take a break for breakfast at 10 (it’s in their constitution that every Spaniard can break for breakfast) then they have lunch, then they leave in the afternoon. Sometimes around 2PM. You know, for the siesta. Yes Spain’s unemployment rate is inching towards 40%, but that’s neither here nor there… 

They eat extraordinary amounts of salty, cured ham; they only cook with olive oil; they stroll around and look disapprovingly upon drunken American tourists; they spend lots of time with their families, eating meals that could last all night and move from location to location. Spaniards do life right. Us Americans have gotten it all wrong. Our Puritan values of early to bed and early to rise and work all day and night until you are so stressed you’re on a double dose of Xanax are so screwed up. Mr. Puritan, I want to smack you upside the head. You are really, really dumb. We should do as the Spanish do and start livin’ la vida loca every day and every night.

Who’s with me!?!

Oh Spain was so great. Going through these photos was similar to taking a bullet. But, the other thing that I haven’t mentioned already that traveling teaches you is appreciation. I was really, truly happy to be back on Southern, American soil when we returned. There’s just something about the South that creeps into your soul and stays there, reminding you that even if you leave it, it never leaves you.

Here’s a taste of our delicious time in Spain. Hope you enjoy.

architecture

 I loved the architecture of the city. Even though it’s a historic, old city, the streets are wide and clean, and there aren’t any skyscrapers. Reminded me of D.C. a little.

wilson and i at cafe emma

maggie and austin

 Our dear friends Austin and Maggie, the perfect travel companions.

view w la sagrada in back

 The view from our hotel. That is La Sagrada Familia in the distance, which has been under construction for quite some time.

panorama

 I figured out how to do a panorama on my phone. I’m about two years late on that. 

hungover breakfast

We thought we spoke excellent Spanish. Maggie ordered a bagel and cream cheese. This is what she was served. We ate it all. 

street view

bike lane

three amigos on beach

One afternoon we went down to the beach in Barcelona and drank rosé. It was magical.

rose on the beach

boys

Great tapas place.

how cute

The pictures I took at night were all from my cell phone so the quality isn’t as great, but how cute are they?

us two

bar selfie

Bar selfie.

deliciousness

This was the best paella I ate the whole trip. Mmm it was so delicious.

gaudi house up close

Gaudi!

blue lighting at la sagrada

This was inside of La Sagrada Familia, and the light was just amazing. It poured in through the stained glass windows and illuminated the cathedral in a wash of rainbow-colored light, reminding me of a kaleidoscope.

la sagrada four amigos

la sagrada

stained glass windows

Isn’t that just amazing?

stained glass 2

green yellow lighting

So beautiful.

christopher columbus church

I can’t remember the name of this one but we learned some history here. It was built for the people, by the people, and therefore is a lot less ornamental and gilded.

half zip mafia

My three amigos.

market

This was in one of the food markets in the city, which basically shit on every farmer’s market in the U.S. They don’t have “farm to table” specialties over there because everything actually is straight off the boat or from the farm.

more market

fish at market

Fish!

strange meats

This was totally gross but very interesting. On the bottom left in the container is a sheep’s brain. Above the brain and to the left are bull testicles. Um. In the middle is stomach from either a cow or a sheep. On the right is a tongue. YES A TONGUE. LOOK AT HOW BIG IT IS.

grains at the market

churros

We ate churros dipped in real chocolate. It was absurdly good and I will never eat another churro again because it will never taste as good as these did.

boat ride cliff

One day we chartered a sailboat to cruise the coast of the Costa Brava to see Spain from the Mediterranean side. It was so gorgeous, and I got so seasick. Holy crap I was so nauseous.

landscape from boat

from boat landscape from boat 2 little white house

12 century castle

austin and champs

magz and champs

We took our cava very seriously.

four amigos on a boat

so seasick

By this time I was holding onto Wilson for dear life. The high seas are not for me.

fishermans lunch2

Finally we docked and ate the most scrumptious “fisherman’s lunch.”

background

It is an understatement to say that I was sad when we left for Barcelona, but I had no idea what waited for me in Majorca, which ended up being the most amazing place in the world. I’ll share those photos next. Stay tuned…

How to Speak Southern

Investment Piece of the Month: OTB Fine Art and a Giveaway!

May 15, 2015

Happy Friday!

Today, in solidarity of my fellow women on the move — these women in particular are on the up and up I’ve partnered up with a baller company called Outside the Box Fine Art to bring y’all an awesome giveaway. Outside the Box Fine Art is a brilliantly designed service that makes collecting fine art interactive and accessible. I loveeee going to museums and looking at art, but I can embarrassingly honestly say that I’ve never been inside an art gallery. Actually I take that back. I went in one once with my parents when I was little in Charleston. Booyah I’m cultured. 

But I digress. The way Outside the Box Fine Art works is you join the membership, pay a yearly fee, and receive one piece of custom fine art each month. The pieces range from oil paintings to prints to sculptures, and vary in shape and size as well. As you may have guessed, this month’s Investment Piece of the Month is art. Something you will have forever, if you find yourself in the financial position to afford a piece of fine art, make sure it’s legit. Collecting beautiful pieces of art over time is so much fun — every piece comes with a story and a memory, and you can pass the pieces on to your children. If those lil ankle bitters are lucky. 

OutoftheBoxArt_Molly-9562

How cute are they!? Founders Mary Hull Palmer (left) and Molly McDowell (right) pose in celebration of their straight brill idea. Brill is short for brilliant. Get with it. 

Outside the Box_-160

The art is sourced from 10 Southern artists who work year-round to create unique pieces of art for OTB members.

Outside the Box_-47

OutoftheBoxArt_Molly-9624

And now for the part you’ve all been waiting for… the FREE STUFF! Enter the raffle below to get a chance to win a free Solar Etching on Paper created by Tom Nakashima (shown above, love those glasses boo) titled “Devil Came Down to GA.” And no the painting wasn’t named after me and my move to the peach state. The etching was created in 2014 and is worth $200! We so fancy. 

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Such a cool piece of art. Enter the raffle below to become its lucky owner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**The post was sponsored by Outside the Box Fine Art, but all ideas, writing, etc.etc. is my own.

How to Speak Southern

Vacate Your Life, Remember Why It’s Worth It

March 26, 2015

Wilson and I returned from Mexico earlier this week and what a fun time we had. As soon as we claimed our luggage in the Cancun airport and emerged into the warm, muggy Mexican sunshine, I knew our impulse purchase was a good decision. Our friendly driver poured us glasses of sweet Champagne and babbled in Spanglish to us as we drove to the hotel. I looked over at Wilson, who almost immediately drained his flute, grinning ear-to-ear as always.

We checked into the sprawling, open-air hotel and upon hearing the soothing roll of the Gulf of Mexico, we both began to breathe a little easier, a little deeper. Once we arranged our things in our suite – Wilson loves to unpack – we strolled to the pool, where we lounged and drank for the remainder of the day. That evening we dined al fresco on the water, noshing on fresh fish, sipping on a spicy red wine, laughing and clapping to the beautiful music of a mariachi band.

It was freaking amazing.

plunge pool

breakfast 2

The fact of the matter is, in today’s overstimulated, over-communicated world, it’s really important to unplug. Some days at work I only scratch one or two items off my long list of to-dos because of how distracted I get from all the beeping and buzzing and pinging that goes on with the forty million devices I have that let people contact me. I can only imagine how someone feels that is legitimately important. It’s super frustrating, but damn if this Mexican slice of heaven didn’t heal my electronic device wounds. It’s absolutely pathetic that it takes going out of the country to be able to really relax, but at least we did it. We pressed pause on our busy lives for a moment and made time for ourselves and each other, and it made all the difference.

morning espresso

pelican

Thinking back on the trip, the parts I am most struck by were the blinding rays of sunlight breaking through the sturdy palm trees, the sparkling cerulean waters of the Gulf, and the look in Wilson’s eyes after the second day – he was happy and peaceful, and it made my heart so very full. So sappy, I know. I was also struck by the steady flow of drinks we drank, — and the variety, we drank everything — but that’s another story for another day.

On our last day Wilson convinced me to do something other than lie on the beach and off we went on a snorkeling excursion to a barrier reef not even half a mile offshore. Once the boat came to a halt we snapped the snorkeling goggles to our faces and plunged into the inviting water. It’s easy to forget there is an entirely different world beneath all of that blue.

Brightly colored fish flitted past us as we ogled at the wildly beautiful forest of the ocean. I was stunned at how close the coral reef was to us – we were extra careful not to tread water vertically but instead float on our backs with our flippers up when we needed a break so as not to disturb the intricately constructed coral. Never before have I seen brain coral so large or orange. It was massive, the round coils curved perfectly together in a pattern so complex only nature could conjure it. Fan coral waved at us as we floated by, perfectly royal in its striking purple hue, and I gasped as a sea turtle elegantly paddled across the ocean floor, graceful and strong against the current.

A few times Wilson and I held hands as we kicked our flippers through the water, a bit out of character of us as we both get the icks from too much PDA. But it was terrifically romantic and sweet – one of those moments, the ones you never forget, the ones you pull out on a rainy (or argumentative) day to remember the good times.

water tree

beach high res

Like I said, this trip was freaking amazing.

So what is this verbose diatribe about, you might ask after reading a 681-word count blog post? I want to testify against the glorification of being busy, and testify for taking a moment to yourself. So often I catch myself proving to others – and to myself – that I am soooo busy and therefore that’s why I’m soooo fabulous and important and awesome and smart. I often validate myself based on my degree of busyness, telling myself that I am really worth something if my schedule is unbelievably full and ridiculous. Screw that.

This vacation taught me that I can validate myself with how I treat others, including how I treat myself. I’ve always had good self-esteem, but I think I am now broaching the subject of how to truly love myself, and thereby more fully loving the ones around me. It’s great fun learning how to do new things.

So in long, take some time for yourself. Whether it’s for four days in Mexico with your loving husband in tow or it’s going to a 55-minute yoga class or hell even chugging drinking a glass of wine that you love, be kind to that person inside of yourself. You just may be surprised at how good it feels.

How to Speak Southern

Those Early Mornings

February 19, 2015

For the fifth time in two weeks the volume on my phone was turned so low that I didn’t hear my alarm and slept past my 5:25AM wake up call to go to my barre class. I awoke to a grayishly lit sky, and knew immediately I had once again slept through my alarm as the sky is pitch-black at 5:25AM.

“This f&*(**(&)(&&**((( piece of shit is so (&*&*(^*(&^!!!!” And so on. 

Expletives continued to explode from my mouth as I lunged for my cell phone and threw it on the ground in a sleepy rage. I laid back down in bed, so upset with myself that not only had I missed my barre class ($15 each), but I missed my opportunity to exercise, and heaven forbid if I don’t exercise almost every day. I continued to curse at myself and finally sat up on the side of the bed. I couldn’t help myself when the tears started to fall. It wasn’t even 6:20AM.

I am a person who is dictated by rules. I have rules for when I go to bed to get enough sleep, rules for how I arrange things on a bookshelf to be stylish, rules for when I have to get to work to be a good employee, rules for how my hair must look to be pretty, rules for how much I am supposed to exercise to be healthy, rules for how many breaths to take to relieve my anxiety, rules for the jokes I make on this blog so as to make people laugh but not offend anyone. It’s fucking exhausting.

I wrote a blog post last year about how I wanted to stop making so many lists. As I write this I’m looking at the list of things I need to do at work tomorrow morning in addition to the list of things I want to accomplish over the weekend. I also have another mental list of errands to run on Saturday. We see how well that resolution worked out.

I am telling you this sob story for two reasons: 1) because I don’t ever want to seem like my life is perfect or that I know anything about anything and 2) it feels nice to get it out.

I also want to say that I am going to change, but I am an inherently type-A person to the bone, so I’m not sure I can completely change. But I am determined to tweak. At least a little.

I put more pressure on myself to be perfect than anyone else does. I am not influenced by super perfect models that have unimaginable bodies. I don’t see other businesswomen busting ass and feel pressured to measure up. Sure I’d like to be like all of these people, but this pressure is different because it comes from within. This pressure is self-inflicted in some sort of sick masochistic way. Ah yes — I am a perfectionist. And it’s fucking exhausting. And just saying it’s exhausting makes me feel better. So I’ll say it again.

IT’S FUCKING EXHAUSTING!

I’m feeling better already.

An aside: I normally don’t say the f word on SST because my parents read and my mother in law reads and my aunt reads and my mom’s friends read and my mom does not want me saying the f word on the internet, but it does provide a certain amount of impact and power that other words do not carry, so for this one post Mom please forgive me. I probably won’t do it again.

But here’s the thing that happened once I started to embarrassingly cry on the side of my bed at 6:15 in the morning — my dear Wilson got up, put his arm around me, and told me that everything was ok. His breath wreaked of sleep and his face was a bit greasy, but the warmth of his embrace was enough to warm a thousand hearts. He gently rubbed my shoulders and told me it was ok and not to worry. Wilson is one of the kindest, most empathetic people alive, and you’re lucky if you have him as a friend. I’m even luckier to have him as my husband.

And you know what, it was ok. The world did not stop spinning because I did not get up at 5:25AM like some idiotic exercise-crazed freak. War and famine did not break out because I wasn’t at work at my goal 7:55AM start time. Lives were not lost because I was a bit hurried that morning as I got ready. Everything was fine, everything was good, everything was ok.

So here’s my life tweak — everything is ok. Not everything is going to be ok or everything will be ok, everything is ok right in this moment, right this second. If your heart is still beating and your eyes are still seeing and your fingers are still touching, everything is ok.

These are deeply personal thoughts I’m bearing right now, but for some reason when I drain my emotions out on this blog it makes me feel lighter and therefore more sarcastic and funny moving forward. So here’s hoping I’ll be better tomorrow.

But for now, everything is ok and I’m getting some wine. Cya.

How to Speak Southern

Impulse Purchases Aren’t All Bad

February 11, 2015

It was a chilly, blustery day in the Lowcountry about a month and a half ago when Wilson asked, “Can we go to Mexico?” His skin was pale, his eyes were a grayer version than their normal hazel, and he looked tired. We’d been trivially tossing around the idea of a warm-weather long weekend somewhere tropical, but all of the sirens in my head said “you need to save for retirement!” and “no more credit card debt!” and “you could donate that money to charity instead!” and so I said no. No my dear Wilson, we cannot go to Mexico and spend time together and make memories because I am responsible and I say no.

A few more weeks went by, and I kept thinking of that trip to Mexico. I thought of Wilson and I basking in the Central American sun together, drinking tropical drinks, taking naps to our hearts’ content. Heavenly. I thought of us sleeping in late, drinking coffee on our porch overlooking the water, no decisions to make besides what’s our next drink?

Savannah was chilly and annoying. Life was getting a little heavy. I think Wilson and I have seasonal affected disorder.

And so I said f&ck it. Sorry Mom and Dad. 

I texted Wilson BOOK THE TRIP and within 10 minutes Wilson sent me the booking confirmation from the travel agent. Talk about motivated. 

In a little over a month we will be viva la vida in Messy Toe.

A brief aside: last year my sister and brother in law went on a trip to Mexico, and my parents, Wilson and I kept my two baby nieces. Yes, that’s correct, we had a 2 to 1 ratio of adults to children, and yet I still almost died. Those babies kicked my butt. To all you moms, cheers, I have no idea how you do it. Anywho, when asked where her parents were, my niece Ella Grace responded, “Mommy Daddy in Messy Toe.” So Wilson and I are very excited to be briefly vacationing in Messy Toe.

 

Zoetry Resorts Paraiso photo

via

Doesn’t it look lovely? We are staying at a resort south of Cancun, which doesn’t really mean anything to me but it sounds just fine. If you are looking for a moderately priced quick vacation spot, this may be the ticket. Since we haven’t visited yet I can’t give my formal stamp of approval, but I’ll let you know how it is as soon as I return. The reviews are fabulous.

Zoetry Resorts Paraiso

 via

Paraiso Room Plunge Pool

via

That is the plunge pool I will be plunging in. Oh look, they’ve already poured me a mimosa. How thoughtful. 

 Now, what shall my Messy Toe resort-wear look be?

Photo credit: Zoetry Wellness & Resorts

How to Speak Southern

Delicious Drink Tuesday

February 3, 2015

Over the weekend I dipped into a scrumptious tonic that I bought awhile back as a special treat to save for a special occasion. What was the occasion, you might ask? Well, it was a raging Saturday evening that included binge-watching Californication, — yes I know I’m six years behind on that show — making homemade quesadillas, and tying one on. Wilson and I are the best of drinking buds. 

Anywho, I was so excited that I finally dipped into this tonic because it truly was a special experience.

Friends, allow me to formally introduce you to Bittermilk. I featured Bittermilk on my guys’ gift guide in December, but now you two really have to meet. SST readers , meet Bittermilk — Bittermilk, meet SST.

You’re both welcome.

set up

Bittermilk is a line of handmade cocktail mixers made from real ingredients and bottled by hand. Side note — isn’t a bit ridiculous that you have to specifically say something is made from real ingredients because otherwise it most likely does not include real ingredients? WTF. Sorry, soap box. But for real, this mixer is the shit.

The best part about Bittermilk? All I did was fill my mule mug with some ice, and mix equal parts vodka, club soda, and Bittermilk. And then a lil’ more vod. Garnish with a lime and bam! You’ve got yourself a drink good enough for a fancy occasion.

bittermilk

 Nothing says a southern Savannah Saturday like a strong cocktail and a good porch session.

mah drink

 The tonic that I bought is the Charred Grapefruit Tonic, which tastes a little similar to a Moscow Mule but, in my opinion, better. Those damn Moscow Mules are so trendy these days that I’m glad to be done with them.

long view

 So, if you are looking for something to elevate a regular ol’ day, try BittermilkBut really, any day with homemade quesadillas is anything but regular. 

How to Speak Southern

Inspiration

January 23, 2015

It’s Friday. Thank God.

Something about this January gray business has really just pulled me down into a weird kinda funk. I’m sick of cloudy skies, I don’t want to wear jeans anymore, and I want to order an iced coffee because it’s hawt outside, dammit.

I have been terribly whiney — and wine-y — lately. How very annoying of me.

So I decided to do something about it. I decided I needed to get out, explore my beautiful city, and get inspired. Turns out, it was just what I needed.

I turned to my trusted partner in crime, the ever-relevant mimosa, and set out to turn my frown upside down. Don’t forget, Savannah has no open container laws. That’s inspiration in itself. Maybe it was the champs, maybe it was the sun, but whatever it was it did the trick. Here’s some photos from my adventure.

companion

When in doubt, champagne helps. Look at my pretty blackberry floaters… 

fountain

 So pretty.

lafayette

horse

 Some of the photos turned out a bizarre tinge of blue for some reason. I believe that is what you call operator error. 

iron door

 Savannah is full of intricate wrought-iron. Look at the acorns!

iron

pretty

 My favorite.

crown

 A crown in a tree. I’m sure this has some of significance, so I shall ask Mr. Google.

secret garden

 Doesn’t this remind you of the Secret Garden?

fave house

 This is where I live. I’ve secretly made millions of dollars through this blog and bought this house. Not. But that’d be pretty neat, eh?

As far as I’m concerned, anywhere where you can walk around with a mimosa at 1PM in the afternoon by yourself and not be judged is an inspiring place indeed.

Hope everyone has an inspired day.

How to Speak Southern

Why Savannah is the Best

December 8, 2014

If this doesn’t make you laugh, then I really can’t do anything for you.

Craigslist ad

 

Courtesy of my friend Carrie. Job well done my friend. 

Happy Monday! I feel like that’s an oxymoron.

How to Speak Southern

In Vino Veritas

October 29, 2014

So last week we closed on our house. Our beautiful little house now belongs to someone else. Wilson spent 20 minutes on the phone tonight telling me all of the things that he had done to wrap up the closing and all I could think was, geez. It’s really over.

house at christmas

 One of my favorite pictures of our old house. Hose and all. 

My life has been moving so fast lately that I haven’t taken a moment to press pause and understand what’s around me. I’m writing this in my same bed, under my same sheets, resting against my same pillow – but everything in my life is so different. It’s so weird.

Life is happening. Life is changing. I am changing. These past six months have felt like this exhilarating and amazing rat race in which 50% of the time I am smiling and screaming with delight but the other 50% of the time I’m scared as $^@& and wondering when someone will notice that I have no clue what I’m doing. Wew it feels good to say that.

Does this sound like some sort of bad Nickelback song? What if I’ve missed my calling as their songwriter…

IMG_3272

Wilson and I closed on our first house as a married couple. I keep repeating it to let it sink in. I asked him the other day if he was sad about it and he said: “No, I’m ok with it. We had a talk and she understands. She’s someone else’s now.” Someone else’s place to find solace, someone else’s to find happiness – to find comfort, to find sorrow, to find joy. Someone else’s house to make memories in.

Maybe these are the lyrics to a bad country song now. I’m not sure. I’m thinking Brad Paisley, or someone else equally as awful.

IMG_3248

When Wilson first bought that house and told me his grand plans of renovation, I thought he had lost his marbles. And honestly, the whole idea was a bit crazy and very risky. But once again, Wilson pulled through. That house not only bonded us together in the way that creating something from scratch will do, but it also showed me the kind of person he is. Strong, persistent, trusting, and patient. The kind of person I want to be.

bathtub fixtures

I haven’t bared myself on SST in a while, oopsies. Wilson said once that often my best writing is when I’m serious, which of course I hate because I much prefer to make people laugh. But the truth is powerful so we’ll go with that for tonight. My biggest fear is morphing into some awful blogger mutant who talks incessantly about pumpkin spice lattes and photographs outrageously expensive $6 macaroons and posts them on Instagram, so I’ll try to stay away from that. But I’m still going to post about J.Crew sales, they just make me so excited.

I still haven’t quite figured out how Silver Spoon Taste comes to life in Savannah, but I’m working on it. Thank you for reading and supporting me, you are the best. I will take flight soon.

How to Speak Southern

In My Mind I’m Gone to Jackson

August 21, 2014

As a born and raised Southerner, I’ve never been overly obsessed with any area in our fine country besides the U.S. I loveeeeee to travel, but I really love the South. Except I cannot get Jackson off of my mind. Here’s some more photos from our amazing trip this past weekend.

photo 5

8

photo 3

What a crappy view.

photo 4

photo 7

 My little golfer.

7

9

10

 Trees.

11 Mountains.

Tomorrow is fryyyyyday.