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frittata with kale/shallot/creme fraiche

avocado/tomato/egg on gluten free toast drizzled with olive oil/s+p

lox/cream cheese/fresh dill on whole wheat sourdough

mini gluten free pancakes

fruit salad with lime/honey/mint dressing

gluten free cherry almond muffins

homemade cheese danish

blackberry and sage cooler

pear mimosa’s

 i did another small catering gig this past weekend… a brunch for a group of gal’s learning some new beauty tricks from annie of skin owl. this time, i was welcomed into a lovely kitchen and given the reigns to start cooking! somehow, i managed to get it all done by myself. everyone loved it and kate, the hostess, has already been contacting me about more gigs through her and friends. wowza! never, ever did i see this coming? i mean, i really only started seriously cooking, meaning a lot, a few years ago when i moved into the house i am in now. mostly, because i have the counter space and a dishwasher.  i am pretty sure i have gained like 10 pounds since living here.

 i started recording cooking shows on the dvr( my le cordon blue) around the same time that i worked on last year’s season of  Food Network Star.   i was in charge of helping the contestants with their personal wardrobe, maintaining and choosing outfits. i also was in charge of rounding up all the aprons…and if you have ever worked in a kitchen you know how bad those aprons can smell.

 i was backstage during all those challenges and could smell all the cooking while the contestants are competing for their life dream.  i don’t think i even knew it at the time…but i may have been inspired.  i was also generally bitching because the hours were brutal. 14 to 16 hour days…sometimes 6 days a week.  i went to NYC for two weeks at the end of the season and got to roam around the food network studios and even had to pick up Bobby Flay and Michael Symon’s Iron Chef shirts from the office (not to mention all the food networks chefs i got to meet!!! or my photo shoot with bobby, thanks to my friends and his personal stylist).  i found this…quite exciting, more so than many of my hollywood experiences!  one day, i brought in some homemade banana bread with chocolate and butterscotch chips. while getting the contestants dressed for an elimination, they snacked on the bread and one of them commented that i should be a baker. something about that compliment encouraged me. if someone who has worked really hard to get to where they are and is on a tv show competing to have their own cooking show…well, i can’t be horrible at this?

right after the show, i flew from NYC to europe. while in italy, i did a lot of cooking in our little kitchen at the farm house. i gained more confidence after being able to make some pretty decent things using a really small amount of basic ingredients, italian ingredients.  i use to be envious of my friend amy, who could open up a fridge and make anything from nothing.  i feel like i’ve got some of that now! i came home and have been cooking ever since.

the point is, i guess,this whole thing has already manifested into something i wasn’t expecting or searching for really. i enjoy it, and still it is generally unintentional.   my dad sent me a book in the mail yesterday on how to start your own catering business.


my friend, rebecca, had her baby on friday! last night was their first night at home as a family.  i wanted to shower them with food, as all new parents should be. after some contemplating i came up with BLD: breakfast. lunch. and dinner…in a box!

i tried to put some of rebecca’s favorite things in there like bresaola ( she is kosher and it is the one cured meat she can eat), bread, carmel corn, pasta, pellegrino,  ice cream(since, she wanted lots of that during her pregnancy), and a cucumber/tomato salad i made once and she always talks about it! for greg…well, he got beer and food…what more could he want?!! i dropped it off in front of their door and drove off, but not before they called me back and i got to spend a little time with them and the new baby. there is something so magnificent about a brand new baby in the room.  i have already teared up like 3 times(once at the hospital) at the sight of these dear friends as new parents.

BREAKFAST : granola and milk. greek gods honey yogurt ( my friend turned me onto this and it is so damn good!)

LUNCH:  bresaola/arugula/whole grain mustard/olive oil/s+p on fresh baguette

DINNER: pesto/ pea/ parmesan bow tie pasta

cucumber/tomato/red onion/feta salad

DESSERT: ice cream/chocolate sauce/ slivered almonds

EXTRAS: carmel corn/pellegrino/and beer!

i took an old box, cut off the top (with a not so straight line!) and stenciled “BLD BOX” on the front!

i also opened up the trader joe’s ice cream and ate some before i gave it to them. therefore, i had to stop and buy a new tub on the way to their house! hahaha!  hey, it’s summer and i am craving ice cream!

they loved the box and currently had no food in the fridge…perfect timing!

my friends seem to have become such an important part of my blog over the last few months! stacy and allan were kind enough to let me come into their humble abode and photograph it for the second edition of curiosity spaces.

stacy is an artist and a writer, while allan is a comedian, actor, and writer…they live in Hollywood, CA.i spent the afternoon sipping on coffee and taking photos, wylie and steven played, and stacy shared stories behind all the different art, knick knacks, and even the rituals she has before starting a piece. i remember before i ever even met stacy, my friend kate brought me to her house to feed her cat. i was in awe of her art and i felt i wanted to know this person. really, i was kind of jealous of how talented she was. in a good way.  the first time we did meet… we bonded with creativity, sensitivity, and our similar experiences of moving to alabama in our adolescence.  i love her genuine nature, empathy, intelligence, and talent. we always have these deep hearted conversations about life, art, family, and love and always leave each other with a little bit of a kick in our step!

i have been to their house lots, but i have never REALLY looked at the little things floating around in stacy’s studio.  i love how organized her inspiration wall is, the paint chips she has selvaged in a tin lid, how beautiful paint can be in a smuckers jar.  she has many things inspired by her late father and his work as a scientist or his stamp collection or the photo of him with his mentor.  it made me feel like he was always with her in that room. i have no doubt he is.  i love the hair in jars and the homemade cat bed made from cardboard– and her drawing from the artist don nace, poem from friend britta kallevang, postcard from gordon lish, paintings by her dear friends amanda faulkner-barrett and kate purdy, and how proud and inspired they all make her.  i love the huge homemade pillow on their bed and the random 1980’s magazine photo of a family.   i couldn’t narrow the photos down. i never can.  a few months ago, their bedroom ceiling caved in so they had to move their bed into the dining room. the bed ended up staying and they each took a bedroom for a studio. allan has a few photos in the post as well.

there were so many unique and interesting pieces and if i asked, each one had a story behind it. curiosity. not just to me, but to stacy. i like it when people are proud of the things in their house because of the story. maybe someone gave it to you,maybe someone made it for you. maybe the story behind how you acquired it brings back memories, makes you smile, or maybe it even makes you sad. maybe it just makes you feel something. a home is a personal and intimate experience.  it is the place you feel the most comfortable to be yourself…it is safe, at least it should be. photographing stacy’s home and especially studio, felt as though it was her safe place. a place for herself to cherish, inspire, and create.  the process inspired me and provoked my own thoughts realizing that home is where i am the most uninhibited in my own abilities. it allows me to even write this post, afraid of no judgement.

stacy has recently started her blog, revisinglonliness. she looks for art everyday and documents beautiful words that sink right down to your soul.  i highly suggest you follow it! she has also done a lovely post about her experience of having someone photograph her house.  they kind of go hand in hand now!

Stacy Elaine Dacheux spent half her childhood outside Boston, getting beat on by tough girls. The other half was spent outside Birmingham, getting beat on by Southern Baptists. She currently lives in Los Angeles, where she gets beat on by life. As a visual artist, she translates handwritten letters into abstract paintings, a collection of which will be traveling to Massachusetts in September. She was a finalist for the Italo Calvino Prize in fiction and an article she co-wrote was noted in The New Yorker‘s “Book Bench.” Past publications include: BUST Magazine, Flavorpill Productions, and Artillery: Killer Text on Art.

one of my best friends’ here in LA is about to give birth any minute!!! literally…and she may have already. we are waiting to hear the word!

a few weeks ago we took some pictures of her belly.

i find  the womb mystifying and more than beautiful…but magical.  the fact that our bodies are so complex and capable of creating another living being has always boggled my mind! rebeccca, has looked so beautiful throughout her pregnancy, i wanted to capture it!

many of my family and friends back east have had oodles of children, but i never get to go the baby showers… or the hospital… or see the belly grow.  rebecca, is my first really good friend in LA to have  a baby and i can actually be in involved. i have loved watching that belly get bigger, her radiance, and excitement. i am excited to meet this little one. i am  excited for my friends and their new chapter. and we would have put her husband in that last picture…but he was at work! i made that sign for their wedding…boom!

let me just take this opportunity on a food post to rant.

life sure is funny…isn’t it? about a month ago i decided that i was really ready to leave LA.  i clearly hinted around to it on the blog, but i never wanted to come out and actually say it until i was completely ready.  something just felt done here. like, put a fork in me! i would drive around and still do, reminicising about the past ten years living here, the people i have met, the things i have accomplished or haven’t. and although i was sad at the idea of saying goodbye, it also feels very right. true, so to speak.  i feel full. i feel like i can say i gave it ten years… ten whole years of my life! i had a dream when i was a little girl to to move to LA…bright lights, big city.  and by golly, i did it! sometimes, i still feel like the 22 year old girl who moved here. sometimes, i feel like the old hag, single, living in a big city. i fear nothing will change if i stay. i fear it is a impossible to leave.

now, i dream and i want to drive on country roads. i want to be simple. i want to feel simple. i want out of this hollywood jungle.  i want to meet some guy whose priorities are not to be famous, rich, or important.  (not to say that is every guy in LA…but). most of all, i am ready for some NEW experiences.  of course, i would love for my life to be like a romantic comedy, and i move and i meet this guy who can cut wood with an axe and maybe he wears a cowboy hat, but honestly, when i imagine moving i imagine me, just me figuring something out. because i don’t think i have yet to figure out what i want to be when i grow up.

this is so cliche, but when i read eat pray love i was soooo ready to have my eat pray love moment. 6 months later i went to europe with a friend. i went to europe again last year, but it sure is expensive,and the trips were not a year’s worth of soul searching, ending in love. i don’t know how i would move to europe with no money, a dog, and a cat.  if you read my blog or you know me, you know i have a major amount of wanderlust.  now, does this stem from constantly trying to escape LA…or is that just who i have become? when i first spoke with my parents about my recent desire to move…my dad suggested i be a nomad, going off to try different places. i suppose his suggestion and approval of such an idea sparked something in me.  a few weeks ago i started daydreaming about being a nomad…maybe living in a camper driving around with wylie and lola. stopping off in different places around the country, seeing people i know, finding odd jobs to make money, and blogging about it.  i have said it before, but i am the happiest when traveling…free.  maybe it is escapism…maybe it is just me. maybe i would move to a small town and just itch for the big city. maybe i would move to a different city and just itch for a farm.  maybe this is my lot in life and my curse…wanderlust. and therefore my curse with love.  maybe, my dream of being simple is just that, a dream. maybe it will be the hardest thing to accomplish, because essentially i don’t know that i am, simple. i am not just a blueberry or a lemon. more like the ricotta leftover from the cheese.

i knew that when i felt in my heart it was time to go, something would road block me or force me to make a hard decision. i knew things would start picking up with work and opportunities, i would find a contentment of happiness,  or i would finally meet a guy in LA i actually wanted to date.  no dude here…but the opportunities have kept me mighty busy and will until the end of august.  now, this is great! right? yes, it is…but the ambitious part of me is afraid i won’t be able to walk away. or is this just a high point…will september roll around and it is back to the same struggles? i was talking with one of the loves of my life, donna, last night and she complimented me with being multi-talented. which is great, amazing! i love that! but i also have my foot in like 6 different doors…i don’t know which one i want or if i want any of them and it kind of drives me crazy. perhaps, the core of my desire to find simplicity. wardrobe has been my career for 10 years now, but i am not inspired anymore.  i started the necklace thing, and although i get a million compliments, the craft fairs haven’t really been a success…i need to take around to boutiques, but then all these other opportunities seems to take precedence over that. like traveling, wardrobe jobs(where i actually make the most money), catering gigs (which kind of came out of nowhere), party planning, picture taking, searching for a new medium, constantly in need of cleaning my house and car,  and the blog. the blog…where it all comes together.  it seems the blog has become my own personal journal…and journey.  hence, even this post. i mean, do people really want to read this shit? i don’t know, but i suppose it feels better to sometimes type it out and send it out there with no real idea of where it goes, who reads it, and what they think.

but i feel good despite my confusion on what it is i am suppose to do or be or where. a bit stressed at uncertainty, but good. i am riding the waves. for the first time in a long time, i feel like the world is my oyster again.

i guess my ranting kind of works out for this post because i have nothing really to say about gluten free blueberry and lemon ricotta muffins, except that i just wanted to make them!

2 cups of almond flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1/8 cup of coconut oil, melted

1/8 cup of ricotta

1/4 cup of honey

2 tbsp of sugar

1 cup of blueberries

zest and juice of one lemon

preheat the oven to 350degrees.

combine dry ingredients in a bowl. combine wet ingredients in a mixer. slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet. scoop into a muffin tin ( i use an ice cream scoop). bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top!

photo courtesy of zach lipp

photo courtesy of zach lipp

phew…my first “professional” catering gig(& second party in a week) accomplished! after the last week i am so incredibly exhausted…i felt like i was hungover all day yesterday.  it was all totally worth the two 12+ hour days i put in, the nerves of “will the food be good?”, and the few moments i completely questioned what the hell i was doing! i couldn’t have done it without my dear friend stacy!!!! she offered her services, for free mind you, and was so gracious and fun the whole time! i am not sure i would have carried all that shit up and down stairs for someone, but she did it! seriously, she was so awesome and just did what needed to be done and i didn’t have to tell her or micromanage or anything!!!!! my friend zach even popped over the morning of the party and ran some errands for me and came back to my extremely hot house and peeled and devained a whole lot of shrimp!!! i mean, what incredibly amazing friends i have!

a few months back my friend donna asked me to do the food for her and her friend lex’s birthday party, see here.  the sheer fact that donna thought i could pull it off gave me the confidence to actually try it! that party was a success and i loved doing it.  then a few months after that, a lovely lady named annie (always love a fellow annie), emailed me and asked if i would be interested in doing her party. she wanted something creative, not a general run of the mill caterer. annie owns a skincare line called skin owl and she was planning a first birthday party for her great business! i explained i was not that professional, but she took the chance on me and i could not be more appreciative and honored!

 i came up with a few ways to theme the menu, but the one annie liked the best was incorporating ingredients that are beneficial for the skin. she picked one ingredient from each dish and gave me an excerpt of info. i made place cards for each dish with the info so people can interact and learn something about the food they are eating.  annie’s main products right now are based off argan oil, lavender, geranium, and sage. so, we added three drinks with syrups infused with these ingredients.

the party turned out amazing! i was so nervous about getting the food out on time, about it tasting good, and everything else that could go wrong. the night went incredibly smooth, everyone was so happy and full of compliments (especially annie! which means the world!) people even made a point to leave tips for us. i mean, i never even thought about asking!

photos above courtesy of zach lipp

photos above  courtesy of me

the menu:

sweet potato quesadillas with black bean, feta, and green onion on whole wheat tortillas

chipotle lime shrimp skewers

grilled cheese and tomato soup

mango, avacado, red onion, cilantro and lime lettuce boats

curry deviled eggs with turmeric

cucumber sandwiches with feta, sun dried tomatoes, and olives

white bean sage/ lemon dip with root chips

strawberry shortcake with honey lemon cream

chocolate chip mint cookies with milk

chocolate covered berries

blackberry sage cooler

rose geranium mojito

lavender spritzer

photos above courtesy of zach lipp

i can’t thank enough donna, annie, stacy, zach and all my other supportive  and encouraging friends ( you know who you are)!!!!

i am not sure where i am going with all of this…but i am just going!!!

my dear friends stacy and allan are getting married at the beginning of august. they are such wonderful people and generous friends and are always helping me out, especially with wylie and lola! i wanted to do something special for them to celebrate their big day and to say thank you. something where they could be surprised, feel pampered, and relax. plus, i do love throwing a party!

originally, the party i catered last night was suppose to be the day after stacy and allan’s (turns out that would have been kind of a nightmare!!!!!) knowing i would be mostly cooking for  last night’s gig, i decided to try and find a menu that would alleviate too much cooking and food in my fridge. hot dogs and hamburgers seemed the easiest. i have had this 1970’s vintage ketchup and mustard set i have been wanting to use forever… and there the circus theme was born! i started a pinterest board and didn’t have trouble finding lots of amazing images. i was hoping to create more of a carnival theme, ya know the tv show, but sometimes with a budget and time, you get what you get. i think it turned out pretty sweet and more on the kitschy side! i was only able to get a few detail shots of the food, but you get the idea!

we found some pre bagged popcorn at costco. bought donut holes and displayed them in individual red striped bags. circus peanuts, lollipops, and a cotton candy machine to complete the sugar! i loved walking around seeing people eating cotton candy off a paper cone! score!  one of their friend’s also brought cake pops, which were great for the theme and tasty!!!

for the savory side, i found these hamburger and hot dog foil wrappers on etsy. at first, i was scared it was cheesy…but people loved it and it kept everything warm so we could cook in batches! never even thought about the useful side of it! we put chips in french fry containers and corn dogs and mozzarella sticks in red check food boats. i couldn’t help but to make at least one thing, so i did pioneer woman’s chipotle pork and made my own cilantro slaw! i also did a quick little condiment bar, of course, using the ketchup and mustard bottles complete with pickles, relish, tomatoes, and onions. oddly enough i forgot to put out the cheese, but i did whip up some mayos: tarragon and garlic mayo, sriracha mayo, secret sauce (thousand island), and sriracha ketchup! drinks we kept simple, but we did find mexican coke in bottles at costco, of all places.

let me say i could not  have pulled this party off if it wasn’t for the help of kate and her husband sean, and stacy’s good friends, paige and mollie! kate did the majority of the food shopping with me and she was a maniac with the decorations. everyone was just so incredibly helpful with decorating, setting up, helping me grill and cook, preparing the bar, cleaning up, and even doing dishes! i never expected such amazing help!!!!!! all around it was such a supportive effort!

kate and i thought up the brilliant idea of creating a circus tent out of streamers on the back porch. i really thought this would be so easy, turns out, it is time consuming! kate manned that bitch and made it look perfect with only about 5 hours of her time. maybe more! throughout the week i made some pinwheels out of big scraps of paper i have had forever sitting in my craft cabinet.  kate and sean had lots of stuff leftover from their wedding, like tablecloths and chalkboards, that we were able to use around the party for signs,etc. i am completely obsessed with giant balloons…i just think they are so fun for pictures! we could only fit 3 in the car after being blown up, but  totally worth it! sean brought his sound system for a dance party,and oh did we have one!!!

i think my favorite part though, was the homemade photo booth! again, using tablecloths from kate’s wedding, we draped them from some c-stands that the two own from their green screen kit.  i wanted to make it look like a curtain so, we layered it up. kate then decided she wanted to hand paint stripes down the center and add some texture! we had lots of fun the night before, while kate painted stripes, i held the paint can, and sean made mustaches! needless to say we had a lot of stupid laughs. i bought a bunch of costumes on amazon and kate suggested using the vintage leather suitcase i bought at goodwill months ago. such a perfect use for the thing! i gathered things from my wardrobe kit and personal collection and threw em in.  we set the camera up on a tripod and a timer.  i think my favorite costumes were the lion and horse head, and the pink turban!  last but not least, paige brought a piñata. i especially love the photos of stacy and allan at the end…especially the one of stacy. it is just so her!

love all you people!!!

well, folks…i found a little bit of cooking inspiration.  maybe it was the shoveling of food into my mouth in florida that did the trick or that i let myself watch some of the food network. (i had been limiting myself as it makes me want to eat, like all the time). i came home  from my trip and actually missed cooking.  i have like 5 different projects going on and my mind is diving in and out of each one. i think these little treats i have coming up for you were my way of escaping from the tasks i didn’t really want to do… like vaccuming.

i am hosting a huge party tonight for some friends of mine that are getting married. next week, i have my first (paid) catering gig…where i am actually making all the food! wowza!!!!! pretty cool, as it kind of just happened. i am really excited about all of it and nervous!  i guess food is just on my mind, and i wanted to cook to get back in the zone to prepare for the duties ahead.  it felt good to be in the kitchen. it felt good to be cooking healthy too.

summer time makes me crave shrimp. i have to admit though, i feel a little sketch about shrimp. definitely, don’t buy farm raised as they are infested with antibiotics, growth hormones or animal byproducts. yikes! wild caught from mexico is a little iffy as well.  wild caught from the US is your best bet.  if you want some really good info about your best bet, read this!

i also got to use the first harvest of a zucchini from my garden in this dish! herbs from the garden as well!

RECIPE: for 1-2 servings

1/2 lb shrimp (devained, tails or no tails)

drizzle of olive oil

1/2 -1 cup of quinoa

1 zucchini

1/4 cup of red onion

1/4 cup of feta cheese

1 tbsp fresh dill

1 tbsp fresh parsley

zest and juice of one lemon

salt and pepper

clean your shrimp and  cover in olive oil and salt and pepper. either grill on skewers or roast at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

slice zucchini and red onion and sauté with olive oil, salt and pepper until soft.

boil your quinoa.

dice parsley and dill.

zest and juice the lemon

combine all ingredients with the feta cheese.

serve hot or cold!

while on vacation last week, i went for a hike with my brother in topsail state park.  these kinds of adventures are best done with my bro as he is a conservation biologist. he works for the state of washington and is forever curious (clearly, my new favorite word, thanks to donna) of land and its beauty, diversity, and preservation. he then documents all of this through his camera and lense.  essentially, my brother hikes through untouched areas (no paths mind you) discovering areas of land with a unique diversity of species of plants. much like the one at topsail state park.  here is a description of what his job entails “Classify, inventory, and work to protect Washington’s rare and unique ecological systems; developing methods to assess the ecological integrity of Washington’s ecosystems”

  if the opportunity arrises to scope out any sort of natural vegetation in a new area, joe is there. i often try and make the point to tag along, but rarely get my ass out of bed. this time, we went in the evening.  the place smelled like pine, fire, and the south ( whatever that is).  joe knew exactly what he wanted to find on the map and i followed his lead. we were looking for a lake, a prairie, and then the beach.  at one point joe points to some brush off the path explaining his job would be to hack his way through in search of unique areas. definitely, not following the yellow brick road. i think this to be pretty cool…and brave. i also think i will generally stick to the path, considering i took home  a tick with me. as much as i love being in nature, i still prefer the comfortability of safety. baby steps.

as we are walking along and joe is giving me a lesson on digital photography, the air becomes so muggy and i immediately start pouring sweat.  i voice my uncomfortable state of being, and he explains there must be a water source nearby.  even though i could have done without all the bugs at that moment, it was pretty neat to feel the transformation.  once we get to the beach, the breeze starts to cool me down, but then we gotta hike back to the car. by the time we get there, i felt like i had just gotten out of a bikram class.   i am not use to humidity anymore, as uncomfortable as it can be, i admit kind of like it.

as much as i appreciate the vegetation and land, i am also thinking about the southern culture.  this muggy, hot, and intriguing area of the US.  my creepy fantasies of the history and culture begin to immerse. i try to imagine living in the south before air conditioning. yikes! i suddenly have the desire to drive around in search of small southern towns looking for abandoned houses and treasures. oh, the wanderlust.

once we get to the beach, after discussing beach lavender, lichen, sand dunes, the native people, and bugs joe reminds me of the sadness of all the resorts and hotels on either side of the land we are standing on.  the natural state of the beach is beautiful untouched by human construction, and then i feel guilty, because i like staying in a house situated right in front of the beach. i guess without people like joe to recognize the sacred being of land, we wouldn’t have state parks or preservations at all. so, thank god for them !

you can check out my brother’s work here.

  last week i spent the days with my family in destin, florida, located on the gulf of mexico, better known as the emerald coast. i could just sit on this beach forever! my family has been vacationing here since 1988. in a way, it is one of the few things that is still familiar to my childhood.  i haven’t lived in the house i grew up in since i was 15 and all my childhood toys/memorbilia are packed away in boxes in my parents basement and 3rd house since my childhood home. needless to say, something familiar is comforting. when we moved to alabama when i was 15, destin was just that much closer. it is a big hot spot for southern residents and occasionally the midwesterners.  there are lots of southern accents floating around the area…just something else to bring back memories.

spending the week in destin brought back this nostalgic sense of all the family trips we have taken there over the years. driving past the different resorts and houses we have stayed at and picking up on all the things that, to me, are reminiscent of this, (technically) island. the sand is like flour and sugar mixed together and is soft and supple on your feet. the water, a salty,crystal emerald green.  i have been to the beaches of cancun, hawaii, a few caribbean islands, croatia, barcelona, italy, and west coast beaches of california, washington, and oregon…none of which have yet to compare to destin. it is simple and lovely, and clearly holds a soft spot in my heart.  the sand dunes are covered in sea oats (for some reason i love that name, sea oats) and the water so clear you can see the little fishes biting your feet. more often than not you encounter jellyfish (with an occasional sting), sand crabs, mole crabs, dolphins, mussels burying their way back in the sand on the shore, sand dollars, a plethora of sea shells, and once i found a sharks tooth that i covet.

destin, is also the one place i will get in the water feeling comfortable. i will sit on a beach anyday, but to actually get in the water i want to be sure i am not stepping on stingrays or being swarmed by sharks (ha!!). the water is clear enough here that i am brave enough to do it. this week we were lucky  to have  a few days of calm waves so that i could float in the water, as i have a thing for floating in pools. sometimes on a raft, sometimes just my body. what a view to see emerald waves bouncing up and down in an endless landscape. i love the feeling of getting out of the ocean…as though i have just gotten a massage, to sit down and open up a book while basking in the sun.  i read then again by diane keaton per a recommendation of my friend stacy. it couldn’t have been a more perfect fit for feeding my soul.  if you like diane keaton, annie hall, or typical self deprivation…it is a good read. occasionally, i bust out the headphones and take a walk on the seashore contemplating my lifetimes goals, the past, and the future. tamer animals by other lives was pretty much on repeat. i love these moments when i all i can see is the beauty in my faults and my triumphs inspired by the words and music of others. somehow, the beach always evokes this for me.

the day after we arrived, so did tropical storm debby.  we were all getting a bit nervous as no one could say which way she was gonna go. if she decided to head west, we were screwed for the week…and 15 people in one house can get small real fast. we spent the day reading, eating, playing on iPads, watching the weather channel, doing puzzles ( a traditional beach pass time in our family), and sitting outside watching the clouds roll by. although, i complained the whole day about the possibility of spending a week in rain, it was quite beautiful.  the next morning i woke up and to my surprise, the sun as well. the clouds continued to roll through, but no rain, and the sun strongly made her presence here and there.  we managed to get our suits on and head to the beach.  i also managed to not put sunscreen on my legs because i thought, clouds=no legs hurt for 3 days.

the rest of the week was perfect. due to the hot and dry jet stream sweeping the country, tropical storm debby was pushed east…and the rest of florida was swamped with water. how were we so lucky? the humidity was fairly low, the wind strong, and hardly a cloud in the sky. we mostly stayed around the house going back and forth from the beach to the pool and eating in between.  we all tooked turns cooking to alleviate my dad from doing all the work (he is the cook in the family). we made it out to dinner only twice, hard with so many people and kids, once to my dad’s favorite and the classic local restaurant  the back porch. we always feast on crab claws and amberjack.  i didn’t take many pictures of the food, as i was too busy stuffing my face.  throughout the week we ate homemade nachos, fish tacos, mango and sticky rice, pizza, pasta,oven fried pickles, grilled cheese, cake batter milkshakes…you know, just to name a few indulgences.

there are plenty of things to do in the area…shopping at alvin’s island which has now taken over the area…(i prefer the original store that i spent hours at as a kid) and the san destin outlet malls ( i always hit the jcrew!). there is big kahuna water park (no, thanks) and who knows what else now a days. we hardly leave the house. the area is swamped with resort after resort with fishing, golfing, tennis, boating…and everything else a beach offers.  one evening my brother and i went to topsail state park…that is a post to come!!! a fun little adventure.

i have 8 nieces and nephews, and one on the way. angela, my sister’s oldest was spending a month with her other grandparents, so, she sadly wasn’t with us. the rest of the kids are just the cutest. sometimes i can’t believe how many babies are in our family now…none of which are mine. ha! i am always biased to the youngest though, and this time it was violet. elleanor, a close second as the pretty little princess. i can’t get over how big jake, the oldest grand child, has gotten. sure makes auntie bix (what they call me)seem  super old! they each have their own cuteness that makes me smile. they really do grow up so fast!

 i am so lucky to have such a huge, amazing, loving, and giving family. i think my favorite thing about us all is our collective humor. i love the way my sisters snicker, and how goofy my brother can be.  my dad is the ring leader of the jokes and i can say we all get it from him.  we laugh at the stupidest of things, making fun of each other along the way.  poor mom, she gets it the worst…but she has such a good sense of humor about herself, not to mention her intellectual capacity and amazing choices in sunglasses! addie and dave chime right in with the craziness and laughter…a pre-req for anyone who might want to join the fam. i love my family a whole lot.

Destin on Dwellable