a love letter to the fragrant South & the things i love.

Monday, March 30, 2015

'Garden & Gun' is my favorite living magazine. The articles written by fellow southerners always hit home for me and they get it. They just get it. A recent article listed 50 reasons we love the South now. Within that list was written a love letter to the fragrant South and nothing spoke more clear to me then this poem. It's the most romantic poem of the South that I have read and I am so thankful it was put into words so beautifully, it's almost become an anthem. I want to print this out and keep it forever.

A Love Letter to the Fragrant South

"Well, how are you Magnolia? Looking pretty as ever," my uncle always greeted a woman whose name he could not remember. "Magnolia" of course, speaks metaphoric volumes: It heralds the woman as the flower of the South, as mysterious and beautiful, her skin flawless; it acknowledges her fragrant allure. And that flower of the South knew full well that my uncle had no idea what her name was. 

Magnolia grandiflora, a true native. Does any other flower have quite the mystique? The California poppy, the Washington cherry, the Texas bluebonnet? Not a chance. They lack a perfumes strong as knockout drops, they lack the magnitude of the creamy tight buds that open into face-size blossoms of extravagant beauty, and they lack gravitas. At the first funeral I ever attended, a full-open magnolia blossom lay on the top of the gleaming, dark wood coffin. One was enough. 

When I lived for many years in California, the lost scents of the South haunted me most. Anytime I returned, I'd find myself outside after supper, listening to the screeching chorus of tree frogs and night birds, just breathing in the layers of sweet, dank, fecund air. To me, moonlight smells like honeysuckle. I am amazed when my scraggly daphne bush sends out heavenly blasts that no conjurer of scents ever came close to capturing in a bottle. Jasmine spreading around the front steps may be home for copperheads, but the narcotizing perfume rising to the porch compensates for that inconvenience. 

All this fragrance of jasmine, honeysuckle, daphne, gardenia, rose - our magical scents, yes, but the truest Eau de South, I must insist, remains the magnolia. On a summer night when I raise the window, the soft, waxy sweetness of the ethereal flowers suffuses the room. That's when I think, "Why live anywhere else, ever?"

- - - - I  shake my head at the disbelief of how much I adore these words. The rest of the article lists reasons as to why we love the South now. The ones that stuck out to me most and that I related to were : 

No. 06 : We Embrace The Past
  "My favorite thing about the South is that it never turns its back on its mistakes. Our history has some seriously rough edges but we don't file them down or sand them smooth. We live with them and move on. And that flavors every single aspect of Southern life. 

No. 18 : Our People Are Our Ambassadors
   "Sure, I like architecture, gardens, food, beaches, and blues. But the people are our ambassadors. When you meet 'the South' in the form of a person, you meet a storytelling, belly-laughing, back-slapping, authentic soul. Southerners are spontaneous and hospitable; they can throw a party on short notice, and yes, bring the houseguest. To distill it, it's the confidence and ease, humor and hospitality... heck, I hope they put that on my tombstone." - Charlotte Moss

No. 30 : The Most Colorful Roses Grow Here
     Technically, Confederate roses are members of the hibiscus genus, but this incongruously named cool girl of the Southern garden flaunts peony-like blooms that can change from snow white to hot pink in a single day. Regional folklore has it, the rose's once white - flowers soaked up the blood of dying Confederate soldiers, accounting for the color change.  

channeling jackie's greecian style.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Jackie, Jackie, Jackie where do I begin? I absolute love all of the photographs taken of Jackie when she was ever in Greece. This was mostly when she became Jackie Onassis having married Greek's Aristotle Onassis. 

She is a vision. Her color palettes of red orange and azure blue's are on point and I love that she goes back and forth between a perfectly tailored dress worn in Acropolis in front of the Parthenon and then hits the Greecian streets in slim cropped pants and knit shirts all topped off with her infamous silk hair scarves. Can I pull off a silk hair scarf? I just don't know. Do I even have the guts to find out? Not so sure, maybe I don't have the guts here in Santa Monica but I could feel a little bit more bold in Greece. 

brigitte bardot's capri style.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The first girl to pop into my head when I think of Capri, Italy is non other than Brigitte Bardot. Brigitte's style is cool, breezy, bright and I find her to be so much fun. Looking to her for beach looks, I leaning towards swim suits with a kelly green and an icy lilac pallet and for sure a straw hat. Brigitte pulls off all sorts of straw hats like no one else. I really truly wish I could own her straw hat in the photo of her playing cards.

She is just so cool and effortless and I love that about her.

time travel to europe.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

(Princess Grace Kelly & family on holiday in Greece)

(This is not photographed in Greece of Grace & Prince Rainier, though I'm taking pointers on Grace's sailing style for the cruise)

(on right : Lee Radziwill and son on holiday in Rome)

(Louis Armstrong & wife on holiday in Rome, Italy of 1959)

The countdown to our Mediterranean & Parisian holiday begins. We are currently six weeks & two days away from jet setting to Europe where we will land in Rome, Italy for a couple of days and nights exploring 'The Eternal City' while staying in a hotel. A few days after Rome, we will board a ship which will set sail on the Mediterranean waters taking us to the Bay of Naples, where we will venture to The Amalfi Coast and make way for Sorrento,Capri, Positano, Herculcneum, Pompeii, & Amalfi! 

From there we will sail to the Italian island of Malta known for it's Calypso Caves. After spending a day on the island, we will jump aboard the ship and sail the Mediterranean for a full day on none other than my birthday, May 7th! The thought of turning 26 out in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea eases the pain of growing older. I have no care in the world about the age of 26, for I know I will be feeling on top of the world! 

Following by birthday at sea, we will land in Greece where we will spend four to five days exploring Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes & Crete. I'm really looking forward to exploring Acropolis and being face to face with the ancient monuments & none other than the Parthenon. For years and years the Parthenon & the Colosseum have been on my bucketlist as they had always sparked my interest and I fell in love with their architecture and history having learned in all throughout college in all of my architecture and art history classes. These historic ruins are ever so fascinated and I feel that there is a bit of magic hiding within the Corinthian pillars as it is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece in the zenith of the Doric Order - now that's significant. 

Our final destination while aboard the ship is the most serene,Venice, Italy, 'Queen of the Adriatic Sea'. Though it will be the most expensive, I am so excited to feel the magic and romance in the air and glide through the city of water on gondolas and eat scoopfuls of gelato.

Cruise is over after Venice, but we can't leave just yet! How could we when we are so close, yet a plane ride far away from Paris! Zeke and I both have never been (actually we have never been to any of these places) and we have no idea when the next opportunity to explore Paris will be so we are taking advantage! Flights booked, a Parisian flat booked as well and we are ready to make way to Paris! We decided to for-go the idea of staying in a hotel and decided to get the full Parisian experience and rent out a local's flat that over looks the street markets and is a five minute walk from the Arc de Triomphe. I really truly want to channel that inner Parisian I know I can become ;) 

I really can't contain my excitement for this trip of a lifetime. Spending the whole month of May in France, Italy & Greece is truly a dream come true as cliche' as it sounds. I'm a tourist at heart, I seek adventure, I have the constant urge to travel and explore & I want to see the world and all the goodness & beauty and secrets it holds. I want to see with my eyes different cultures, take in different languages & learn, meet new people. This is my chance and I can't stop counting down. It's almost pure torture. Truly. 

The way that I view Europe is how I see it in photographs and films of the iconic muses I look to for fashion, poise & class. I love looking at photographs of these historic cities from the 30's - the 60's. It's so fascinated and so much beautiful style & culture from the outfits to the automobiles. If only we still dressed the same way & drove more artistic & classic cars then these pathetic insect-looking hybrids. It makes me lower & shake my head at just the thought of it. 

Everything was so chic then. I guess you could say we are reaching to a very chic time in the 21st century, but our chic has become more so of a vain and in your face chic. The classic chic of the early 20th century was effortless & simple. And I want to capture that essence while in Europe. Is that silly?

I know girls can understand this mind set. We love taking holidays, and we love the outfits we plan to go along with our travels. It's half the fun! Men will never understand, and I don't blame them. They just naturally are not built that way. Zeke claims we are only taking ONE piece of luggage. ONE. Come again? You mean, both you and I are going to say one traveling bag for a full month in Europe? Yes he says, and I'll have to repeat outfits. I laughed at the thought of it. More power to him if he thinks this is going to fly. I mean, it would make our lives much easier for the traveling aspect of it, but how can we possibly fit all of our luggage? He'll crack, you just wait. Im hoping, at least. 

So for this holiday of a life time, I want to channel my inner Grace, Jackie, Audrey & Brigitte. When I think of each muse, I think of a certain place in Europe that they loved to travel to or lived. When I think of Grace, I obviously think of the south of France, as that was her territory being Princess of Monaco & all. Though on my bucket list, we will unfortunately not make it to the south of France but I'm being very good about not complaining because I am already so fortunate to go to all of these places that I will be traveling to. I did find photos of her and her family on holiday in Athens, Greece as they were there for a wedding. She makes me want to by a chiffon head scarf, but I don't feel that I have the confidence to wear it. 

Either way, all of these photos are so perfect and beautiful in their own ways. With so much character, style and passion it's how I hope France, Italy & Greece will be face to face. 

spring time in los angeles.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring in Los Angeles has been feeling more like Summer. With temperatures in the high 80's almost hitting 90, its been quite a treat. Luckily, I was able to get off early from work on Friday and I had the whole weekend to enjoy and to finally relax.

Work has been tiring and trying the past couple of months. Lots of new changes have been made with our management and the pace and atmosphere of the working environment haven't been as fun and relaxed. It's been something that I am still adjusting too and every morning I need to wake up and start my day with a  positive pep-talk. My shifts start earlier and earlier day by day. Most mornings I have to be to work at 5 am and waking up at 4 am in the morning is brutal, absolutely brutal. I'm back to my old high school self with managing to take a coma nap every day because I am so wiped out. Waking up at 7 am is now considered sleeping in.

With that said, I was in dire need of a very relaxed weekend and I was granted just that. Zeke and I kept saying over and over again how we felt like we were on vacation. The weather was perfect, the summer hustle and bustle was out and about, we spent 3 days in a row soaking up the sun at the beaches in Malibu, drove up and down the Pacific Coast Highway with the windows down and having the ocean in view with the most incredible sunsets while taking in the scents of Los Angeles' Jasmine perfume. Zeke surfed most mornings while I read and took notes on the places to eat and explore in Europe which is coming up in about 6 more weeks.

We cooked at home, and ate out for dinner fulfilling our crave of shrimp cocktail and ice cream and we slept in knowing we had no important agenda to wake up to. Sunday we were blocked in and unable to make it to church due to the Los Angeles Marathon, whose finish line was literally right in front of our apartment. So we rolled out of bed and decided to be a part of this exciting achievement for all of these athletics, two of which are our good family friends Scott & Casey. Scott is trying to qualify for the Olympics so it was fun to stand on the curb of Ocean Avenue as all the runners pushed themselves to the finish line.  It was really exciting to see Scott & Casey run, not to mention all of the other athletes in the marathon. I had the biggest smile on my face the entire time cheering each runner. I had to clap and shout for every single one that walked by - I was completely floored with the momentum and energy and strength each one held and I found myself sort of getting emotional. When you witness the relief and pure joy on their faces when they see how close they are to the finish line, and knowing how much pain their bodies are in, it makes you want to just pick them up and carry them to the finish line. It was such a fun experience to be a part of. All of Santa Monica was in all sorts of celebration.

The whole weekend was such a blast and now I am back to the grind at work. Im just inching closer and closer to Europe. It's all I can ever think about and I am torturing myself as I count down the weeks. Everyone keeps saying how March is just flying by; well, I beg to differ.

Zeke's out of town right now in Vegas for a boys trip/golf tournament and so I am entertaining myself with countless Audrey Hepburn films like, "Roman Holiday" & "Paris When It Sizzles." Getting myself in the European mood! Let the countdown begin!

san francisco

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A weekend in February I made a trip out to San Francisco to see my best friends. What are the odds that out of us four girls, THREE all live in San Francisco and I am the sad lonely one in Los Angeles? When Zeke & I first moved out to Los Angeles I had a hard time with the fact that I was so close, yet so far away from them. Especially when I didn't have a job, and Zeke would go to work and I had nothing to do but explore my new home alone, I was beginning to feel extremely alone.

Honest to goodness, I had never felt that way, ever in my life. It was the strangest feeling and I was having a hard time. It was rare if I didn't cry on the phone to one of them. I was so sad that I began begging Zeke for a cat (even though I want one on the daily) but at that time, I needed someone or something to keep me company.

Though it's my fault, it has taken me A YEAR to finally fly myself out to San Francisco, not to mention I have never been before. Yes, I have been able to see all three here and there at random times when they've come into town or have gone home to orange county but it's been a couple of years since all four of us have been together at once and we missed/needed that. So it only made sense that I fly to them.

It was the best weekend I have had in a long time. I wasn't even interested in seeing the city and exploring like the tourist I usually love to be because I was just so caught up with how little time I had to spend it with my best friends. It was just like old times, we ate a ton, got extremely hyper, stayed up till 4am every night, hung out with the husbands (which were the boyfriends while in college) and snuggled and cooed over Honay Boy Sushi (Chelly's one year old boy Rockwell, who Im so in love with). That weekend was Rocky's birthday and I was so relieved to have been able to be a part of SOMETHING in that boys life. I was beginning to feel left out and worried he'd forget all about me.

The whole weekend was all fun and games until I had to leave for the airport. It was like college all over again with Nik moving to New York & Chels getting married. Now that I think back on it, it's pretty embarrassing, but we were in the moment. The four of us hugged and huddled in Nik's apartment just bawling while all the husbands (minus Zeke) sat in the room awkwardly watching/trying to act like they don't notice what's going on. Ha! They get it though, and they knew it was coming. Saying goodbye is so hard with them. They are like additional sisters to me and I know we will be this way throughout our whole lives. They mean that much to me.

That weekend was truly special and we have so many more girl's trips to look forward to in the near future. I'm thinking I should make a book for each one. I miss them all so much already - phone calls and group texts just don't do it justice.

new year, round two of los angeles.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

January seemed to be somewhat of a long month. It always is to me, but lately time has been flying by and thankfully January seemed to slow down a bit – that was until I looked at the date and realized it’s the first day of February. (And now we are in March!)

 My sister Katie flew into town for a girls getaway in Laguna Beach for the weekend with her college best friends. But before her trip started she came a few days early to visit Zeke and I, as she hasn’t been to our new apartment yet in Santa Monica since we’ve moved here, and she’s never been to Los Angeles, which makes everything ten times more exciting when I get to play tour guide and show her my favorite sites and homes, streets and roads, restaurants and such.

We went to dinner the night she flew in to my most favorite restaurant in Los Angeles, ‘Baby Blue BBQ’ in Venice. There are obvious reasons as to why it’s my favorite being that it’s a familiar taste of home in the south & the fact that their mac n’cheese makes me so happy when I consume it. Zeke and I discovered Baby Blues while watching ‘Dinners’ Drive-In’s & Dives’ on the Food Network and they did a spotlight on their Mac N’ Cheese and we were sold. Baby Blues passes the test because the chef and owner is from Texas – so I know it’s good BBQ. You can’t find BBQ here in California. Also, it’s in Venice, which is true to its past with its hippie vibe and grunginess which isn’t my style, though I appreciate it because they stick to the way Venice has been since the 60’s. I love that Baby Blues is a hole-in-the-wall. Makes me feel more comfortable and at home as most soul food, bbq joints and Cajun places are like that with lots of southern character & charm. And they play nothing but bluegrass jazz as well as Johnny Cash. It’s a nice place to escape too because most of Los Angeles is ritzy, lavish & expensive. It’s fun to explore and the interiors of the restaurants are always so incredible but the atmosphere is very snooty & trendy. So, you can see why I was really excited to take Katie here for dinner. Not to mention, I needed a good excuse to go so I could pop that BBQ shrimp drizzled with lime & remoulade in my mouth!

The next morning I drove her up to Malibu where we ate at the end of the Malibu Pier at ‘Malibu Farm.’ It’s very charming inside and has a quaint coastal feel. The food of course is all organic & such, as everything is in Los Angeles, but it’s delicious & you can't beat the view. You can sit either inside or you sit up top on deck outside and you overlook the ocean. You see nothing ahead of you but the sea and it’s incredible. I could go there alone and order breakfast and bring a book & just stay there all day. It’s very calming. I always stare into the depths of the ocean and wish I had a pair of goggles or glasses that had x-ray vision and you could see straight through the water, as deep as you’d wish to see & it would be in HD and you could view every living sea creature and know their whereabouts and see what’s really beneath you when you’re swimming in the water. I’d probably regret it and never step foot in the ocean again but it would be so incredible to see that.

Katie loved the Malibu Pier & Farm. She requested to go there after seeing a photo of mine during a previous brunch visit and she was saying how she wanted to live here, and wanted my life. It does seem appealing. On the outside it’s very dreamy, I do live in a very glamorous almost not realistic place – but I told her, it does seem appealing but it only brings so much happiness and only for a small amount of time. Soon enough the life that I’ll desire is the one she is living. With land, space, children, simplicity, hospitality & a life that is real and not fake. She agreed and knew she had it best, but the grass is always greener, isn’t it?

After brunch I drove her through Malibu, Pacific Palisades & Brentwood and gave her a tour of all the celebrity homes that I knew of consisting of Yolanda from ‘Housewives of Beverly Hills', Gwyneth Paltrow, Maria Shriver & Betty White. And Katie got to enjoy her first celebrity sighting, which was of Betty White. We had pulled the car over so that we could get out and walk the streets and see the homes better and sure enough, the moment we walked to Betty’s, she pulled into the driveway with her at-home nurse and took about 15 minutes to walk inside her front door. Katie was dying. I was kind of sad noticing how much older Betty looked in person. I mean, I’ve known she’s in her 90’s but they do her up right when on screen because in person, she looked so frail and fragile. It made me very sad. 

After the tour, we went shopping, of course on the Promenade – I don’t think there will be a day where I won’t step foot on that Promenade. I am now to the stages of cringing if I have to go there. Working on the Promenade has made that tourist attraction a place to dread and avoid and somehow, someway, I always find myself there.

We had only a short amount of time to hangout together because she had to head to Orange County to pick her friends up from the airport but it was time well spent and I loved every second being with my sister. I feel as though I don’t get to see my sisters too often as they are across the United States and home in the South where I seriously desire to be. Not a day goes by where my mind doesn’t go in that direction of longing to be near my family, and being a part of all the memories they make together that I miss out on. And not a day goes by where I don’t think of the South and the comfort it brings to me. Katie brought some of that comfort with her and it brought me ease. I love my sisters so much. 

That same weekend, Zeke and I attended a Ball-like Banquet for Forrest Lawn who Zeke partners with for work. Zeke told me it was going to be a ball and I needed a gown. A gown!? I don’t own anything close to a gown and he told me almost two days before the event, so I went shopping and honest to goodness there was nothing in store. It shocked me knowing that the Oscars are just a couple of weeks a way but I was scrambling to find something appropriate for this fancy occasion!

         Luckily, I found something last minute at Anthropologie that I knew I could return the next week and I was beginning to find myself excited to wear it. As of late, I’ve noticed that the older I get the less excited I am about dressing up, but I think its mostly because I am not in the best shape that I could or should be in and I’m very self conscious and I just don’t feel as though anything fits me as well and not to mention at the time I needed to get my hair colored and was pasty white. So I just was feeling really low about myself and sort of felt hopeless but I did the best I could with myself and for the state I was in, I don’t think I turned out so bad. 

         I wore this sleeveless faint metallic gold dress that hit mid-calf. The skirt of the dress was long with pleats and I adorned the dress with a white fur shrug worn around my shoulders and clasped it in place with a very large brooch clustered with gold and yellow stone jewels that my mom gave me. I wore my hair down and curled and wore my newest addition of jewelry – these J.Crew earrings that almost dangled long enough to my collar bones and to top off the ensemble, I wore my cream Sam Edelmen kitten heels that I wore with my wedding dress. I also brought my Grandma Jean with me, in spirit,  as I clung onto her white leather clutch with a gold metal clasp and I wore one of her chunky gold rings that has a ruby gemstone set in the center. I miss her a lot and I feel so thankful to have a few of her things that were once so special to her and they are now just as special to me.

 Zeke looked sharp with a bowtie and his glasses. I love when Zeke wears his glasses. There is something so sexy and manly about it in a non-nerdy way. His glasses are very dapper and adds so much charm to his appearance.

         While we were getting ready, I realized how excited I was beginning to get. I was beginning to feel like I was living in the 40’s or 50’s in Santa Monica, California – the golden age of Old Hollywood. Our bathroom and bedrooms windows were open, we could smell the sweet scent of the ocean and hear couples arguing from across the way in other apartments and I felt as though I was in Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window.’

         As we climbed into the car, I don’t know what got into Zeke but he turned the radio onto AM and we listened to classical symphony music the whole drive up to Pasadena, where we’d arrive at the historic Langham Hotel. As odd as this is – I had yet to drive on the freeway through downtown Los Angeles towards Pasadena and the freeway was the most beautiful freeway I have ever driven down. It was hilly, and there were lots of turns back and forth, and it started to get dark because the freeway started to become eloped with trees and lush shrubbery, and before you knew it we were going through tunnels; long tunnels that were paved on the inside with an art deco pattern in the concrete. I felt like we were in another world. The whole ambiance of the situation, our location, our attire, our background noise and surroundings were on point. I remembering smiling the whole drive and Zeke and I held hands the whole car ride up. 

 Once we arrived in Pasadena, I knew right then and there that if we have to stay in California for the next couple of years, then I want to move here. The neighborhood streets were so charming, with these beautiful white houses and picket fences and beautiful pedicured lawns. The streetlights were vintage looking like the 30’s and the streets were lined with these large trees that hovered over the pavement – reminded me of home in the South.

We arrived to the Hotel and unfortunately, it was so dark out that I really didn’t get a good look of the exterior and we were taken into a banquet hall of the hotel which was just mediocre, therefore the neighborhoods of Pasadena left a more lasting impression on me then the hotel. Zeke and his group at Precoa won an award. While he was on stage I couldn’t help but admire him and his hard work. He looked so handsome up on that stage, I was so in love with him that night.  He’s just so impressive to me. I adore him so much. The night was long – lots of awards and not so great food. We both were banking on the four course meal to hit it out of the ball park but all courses didn’t impress which left us both wanting to go through the In-N-Out drive-thru. Though we didn’t, we ended up dancing for five minutes which had me laughing on the floor. Zeke’s dance moves are like Bowser’s in Super Mario when you enter Bowser’s Castle and he frantically moves back and forth in such a stiff manner but still manages to bounce off the walls. That’s exactly what Zeke looks like and it makes me smile. The night was long that we may have danced for only five minutes and headed out back on the road for Santa Monica and went straight to bed. It was a night to remember. It was a romantic and enchanting night and it was something new and very much needed for the both of us. I’d do it again and again and again.

Then February rolled around and it was another busy month. I was able to see some close friends who flew in from New York for a two week trip in California, starting in Los Angles and driving their way up the coast to San Francisco. We managed to squeeze in a day trip to Disneyland and it was a total blast. Seeing my friend Chad again was so good for my soul and it was such a fun a youthful day with friends. 

Then Valentines Day weekend rolled around and we made it out of the house and went into the Malibu Canyon and went horseback riding. Zeke and I have been talking for a very long time about picking up horseback riding as a hobby. It has always sounded so appealing to me and I loved it even more than I knew I already would. And what a workout! I didn't know leisurely riding a horse would have you sore for days. It all makes sense to me why cowboys walked the way they did.... I was walking like that all weekend long and I looked ridiculous. I looked like I was riding an imaginary horse. Despite the pain, Zeke and I want to do it again and again. Summer will be a lot of fun. 


christmas in dixieland.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

There is no place I'd rather be, then home in Dixieland with my family. Nothing makes my heart happier. It was so good to be back home with everyone in the house we grew up in. Both of my sisters were there with their families and my mom prepared all of our favorites dishes, and fixings and pies for supper every night and during the days we would go visit our favorite local joints for bbq, gumbo & fried green tomato sandwiches.
I can't begin to tell you how much food we consumed. Zeke and I don't own a scale (well now we do due to the damage we did in Georgia) so we got a little curious since my parents have one and we did the worst thing imaginable - we stepped on that scale New Years Eve. I was floored. I was so floored that I started laughing because I didn't know what else to do. With that said, right now we are on a strict way of eating because we've got a cruise in two months that we want to be ready for.

Do I regret all the food we ate? Never. It was fried, it was hardy, it was made with love and it was just right. We did the usual stops to my 'Tara' - Barrington Hall and walked the grounds & gardens of the Plantation on Christmas day. I always have to visit and say hello to her. I never miss the chance to do so. Barrington has my whole heart.

My mom & I did the usual antique shopping and I always get lucky and find a piece of home to take back to California with me. My sisters and I stayed up very late in the night and made snacks and  just chatted & played games with our husbands and on occasion we'd sneak out and drive to Waffle House in the middle of the night like the old days.

I love being home with my parents. My favorite way to spend my time is in the company of my parents. I love being with them. They have the best stories and they make me laugh. My whole family does. I love every single one of them so much and this Christmas was so very special to me. Of course I cried in the airport on the way back, not to mention it was New Years Eve and I'm already always emotional on this holiday. Im horrible with change and New Years Eve is just another reminder of how fast time slips from you. Another year down and all I want to do is curl up in a ball and sob. Whenever I watch the ball drop on tv in Times Square I get emotional because I love watching all of the people gathered together, celebrating and embracing one another with love and unity - strangers or not. Then the tears keep rolling down my face. So - I'd rather just order a pizza, sit in my pajamas and watch a scary movie. But instead, I flew out of dixieland, the only home I'll ever really know, said goodbye to my family and made it back to Los Angeles just in time to watch the ball drop and I cried the entire night.

 I don't mean to end on such a sour note but though I was emotional and sad, I realize through it all how much my family and home mean to me. I am so very blessed.

this might tickle your fancy

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