Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Florida Keys: a more sophisticated approach

Vogue ( <-- LOVE) has also been traveling to the Florida Keys lately! Check our their guide for suggestions on hotels and luxurious experiences. Maybe you'll add some of their suggestions to your itinerary?

Weekend Recap

Vietnam Memorial

Friday night we decided to BBQ some burgers in honor of arguably the most popular barbequing weekend of the year. We took our deliciously seasoned patties, creamy avacado, juicy tomatoes, and sweet onions to the grilling area of our apartment complex. There are about 10 grills there and all were going full blast. Families, friends, and strangers were gathered around to cook their wide selection of meats. No two people were cooking the same thing! There were hot dogs, ribs, marinated chicken breasts, chicken wings, smoked pork (which I almost stole, almost), hamburgers, and veggies. The smells coming off the grills were intoxicating.

Here's one of my favorite burger recipies:

You'll need:
Hamburger meat (beef, turkey or black bean)
avacado slices
tomatoe slices
grilled sweet vidalia onions
english muffin
olive oil
salt and pepper

First season the meat with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let it rest while you cut up the avacado, onions, and tomatoes. Grill the hamburgers and onions. When they are halfway done throw the english muffins on to toast. Once cooked to your preferred doneness assemble the sandwich, adding more salt and pepper and a bit of mayo. Enjoy!

World War II Memorial

Saturday we went memorial hopping to honor those who faught for us. We were not the only ones, the crouds of tourists were thick. Rolling Thunder was also in full swing. Veterans and active duty soliders have such a special place in my heart so it was touching to see so many paying their respects.

Sunday we had my favorite meal of the week: brunch. Monday we also had brunch, why not?

How was your weekend? Any stories to tell?
Lincoln Memorial

Can you see the swarms of people?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Ahh, a holiday weekend! Don't you love having an extra day off of work? One of the most lovely ladies I know is on her way to visit me! We have a full weekend planned of laying by the pool, having cold beers, BBQing - wait that doesn't sound too busy that sounds relaxing! ;)

What are you doing? Any Memorial Day traditions?


For those of you needing a little reading this afternoon: I don't know much about children but I'm loving Cup of Jo's tips for traveling with a baby. Thanks Joanna for your ever insightful advice and discussions.

Have a great weekend all!

Shoe Love: Rainbows

Available here and here

Rainbow Sandals are every Floridian and college kids’ footwear staple. The more you wear them the more they conform to your foot and the softer the leather gets. I’ve had mine for almost 10 years now and they have never failed me: game days, beach days, trips to the grocery, going to class, and commuting to work. I love these flip flops!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Key Lime Pie

Being inspired by Key West, I thought about sharing a recipe for conch fritters here but instead decided to focus on what is important: dessert.

Oh Key Lime pie, with your tart, tangy, smooth center, graham cracker crust and whip cream topping... I love you. And yes, I think I will have another peice you crazy bastard.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wardrobe: Key West Express

Roxy swim suit, Victoria's Secret cover up, Essie nail polish, JCrew sandals, JCrew hat, Foley + Corinna bag, Fijifilm Instax instant film camera
If you are going to be bar hopping, swimming, boating, touring, and shopping then you need to go prepared: sandals that strap to your feet, a bag that you don't have to carry, a hat so you don't worry about your hair, and an instant film camera to capture those ridiculous moments.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Destination: Spring Break in Key West

The hot sun warms your skin and melts your half-drunk Strawberry Daiquiri. You don’t mind as you are bellied up to the bar busy chatting with the middle aged biker, who is here with his Harley Davidson biker group, on one side and 21 19 year old spring breaker from Michigan on the other. Behind you a group of mature ladies play cards and laugh loudly as the pitchers of Sangria are passed around. Cheese Burgers in Paradise is being played by a cover band that had a little too much fun back in the 60’s but is still going strong. Hours go by but it feels like just minutes and the crowd around you becomes thicker, drunker, and more convivial. It’s time for you to order a drink for the road and see what other bars have to offer.

It’s only 2pm. And you are just getting started. Welcome to Spring Break in Key West.

Key West is a funny little island when in the wee months of spring, snow bird tourists, spring breakers, and a kinky local culture come together in an anything goes party-‘til-the-sun-comes-up atmosphere.


We could only stay for a day, as with many of our quick weekend trips. We were coming from Ft. Myer’s, Florida and took the Key West Express  down that morning. As we walked off the gangplank and onto dry land, a breeze of fresh salty air rushed by. After taking a deep breath, we decided to immediately get sustenance. I don’t do well when I’m hungry. Or tired (I slept on the boat on the way down). After a little exploring, we ended up choosing a classy establishment over the grab-n-go conch fritter and hot dog stands.

Although if you have not had conch fritters before you must try them! They are a local specialty. Conch is a mollusk that is abundant around the islands. In the Florida Keys’ early history the residents were known as Conchs. And on April 23, 1982 the Conch Republic was formed through a mock secession in response to a traffic check point on US 1. The check point was established to search vehicles for drugs and illegal refugees (Key West is only 90 miles from Cuba). The check point severely hurt tourism, the island’s main industry. After the secession, the road block was removed. Since then the Conch Republic has used similar tactics to protest other political and social issues.


The restaurantwe chose, Bagatelle, was situated in a traditional Key West style architectural home. We sat on the expansive second level porch which was not only breezy but fantastic for people watching on Duval Street. As usual I had difficulty deciding between the entrĂ©es but one thing was for certain, an ice cold beer needed to be in my hand. A.S.A.P. The pork tacos seemed intriguing and I'm glad I went with them as I still think about their slightly smoky, ripped texture, tangy pickled onions and soft corn tortillas. Nom Nom!

We then strolled down Duval Street watching the revelers and locals mix almost seamlessly. The culture of the locals maintains a free-spirited Caribbean island vibe and a wicked sense of humor. The island has been used for many different industries since its “discovery” by Christopher Columbus who was looking for the Fountain of Youth. In the 20th century, Key West was used to smuggle rum into Florida during Prohibition. Its economy was badly hurt by the Great Depression. And around 1950 shrimp fishing became a huge industry. In fact, that is how G-man’s grandfather made a living.


There is a lot to do in Key West and the Florida Keys in general. It merits a longer stay if you have the time. The fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, kayaking, golfing, beaches, shopping, and art galleries will no doubt keep you entertained without keeping you too busy. Check out The Florida Keys tourism website for details.

As the sun started setting, our time in Key West ended; we boarded the Key West Express and gazed at sail boats lazily float through the island communities. Then we watched the sun set completely un-obscured over the bright blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. What a treat coming from Manhattan where you rarely see the horizon! I passed out again on the boat ride back to Ft. Myers like a baby in a car seat after a long day at the zoo.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Funday

So, how was your weekend? Busy? Relaxing?

I hung out with these guys.

Ate this.

Drank this.

... And I was on another beach re-burning my skin.

I also went to my cousin's 13th birthday party. You know what 13 year olds want for their birthday? Money and... money. And for their parents not to embarrass them in front of their friends.

This week we will switch gears and travel to Key West, Florida. An island community with beaches, revelers, and cheeseburgers, it might seem completely random when we have spent so much time in the 19th century. However, in 1982 Key West seceded from the U.S. and created the Conch Republic.

Stay tuned for another adventure!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Shoe Love

Paloma Barcelo Sandals

I've got summery vacations on my mind as I'm leaving Clearwater and headed to Palm Beach today (I have a hard life...). I must to go see how the beaches compare! Aren't these babies lovely? They could go dressy and casual. Perfect for throwing in the weekender for that relaxing beach get-away! Don't you love how the New Yorker in me chose black sandals for the beach?...

*PS - Thanks so much to my lovely followers! I have so much fun writing this blog and I'm happy to share it with like minded people. I hope my travels and musings inspire your daily lives and attitudes. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bring Back Civil War Facial Hair!


The men of 19th century America were wildly expirimental with their facial hair styles and Civil War facial hair has become a cult phenomenon. Here are some great examples and blogs who document these fine gentlemen:

Smithsonian's top 24 Vote for your favorite! It's amazing. I bet some of these guys were real lady killers.
Civil War facial hair
Mustaches of the 19th century

Maj. Gen. Alpheus Williams via

Favorite Civil War Era Movies

As you may know, many people are quite obsessed with the Civil War. Not only are there daily reenactments, books written, memorabilia collected, and stories told, but Hollywood got in on the action too. Over the years it has developed and perpetuated our sensibilities towards the war. While these films range in age, style, and point of view they still speak to our love of adventure and nostalgia for the past today.

My top five Civil War era movies:

1. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
2. Glory
3. Gone with the Wind
4. Gettysburg
5. Cold Mountain

I must say that I have not seen Cold Mountain, however many insisted on its inclusion. So let me know what you think! Do you have a favorite Civil War era movie?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Catching Up

So it's already Wednesday and I'm just now getting to my Monday post... do you ever have weeks like that? I have been super busy catching up with many of my dear friends while I am in town visiting. It’s amazing how the moments get booked up so quickly even though nothing has been planned in advance. It seems there can never be enough time to spend with loved ones. 

And I have to say, there is nothing better than sitting in a chair at the beach with powdery-white sand in between your toes while overlooking crystal clear blue water. Top it off with a drink in hand and good friends around, telling stories until our stomachs hurt from laughing while waiting for the sun to set. Something about the beach is healing and fulfilling to my soul, even if the sun is not so good for my ivory skin...
This week I’ll continue our Civil War exploration! There is so much left to discover!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Exploring Bourbon

Although the Union ended up defeating the Confederacy there are some things about the South that we still enjoy - like bourbon.

Bourbon aka whiskey is a type of distilled alcohol made from grain mash. Yummy. All whiskey is made from a combination of rye, malted rye, barley, malted barley, wheat, and corn. Some are also made with molasses. Bourbon is different than her Scottish (scotch) and Irish (whiskey) cousins as she is made with at least 51% corn mash. Because of this bourbon is also known as corn whiskey (the names are so clever).

It tastes like corn syrup and alcohol. It is usually too sweet for my palate but many people prefer it to a strong smokey scotch. Popular brand name bourbon include: Maker's Mark, Jim Beam, and Wild Turkey - all from Kentucky. One of my favorites is Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey from Tuthilltown Spirits. Although sweet it has a slightly nutty/vanilla flavor to round it out. I, in fact, enjoy all of their whiskeys even though they are made in the North...

Whiskey is distilled then aged in oak barrels. American corn whiskey, by law, must be aged in new barrels every time. This seems wasteful but coincidentally Irish whiskey must be made in old barrels. So the American makers sell their barrels to the Irish makers and everyone's happy.

Now that you have had a nice little history lesson, here is a fun bourbon cocktail to try.

Custer's Last Stand

You'll need:
1/2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounces grenadine
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
3 dashes bitters
Shot glass
Whiskey glass

Pour all ingredients into the shaker. Then add the ice after the ingredients so that it does not water down your beverage. Shake, pour and serve.

*Although the infamous Custer's Last Stand (formally known as the Battle of Little Bighorn) took place about ten years after the Civil War, General George A. Custer was quite active during the Civil War and participated in the Battle of Gettysburg. So this counts!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Shoe Love

Alexander Wang booties
Unfortunately I lost some of my posts for the end of the week due to the blogger outage. So while I catch up here is some shoe love!

These military inspired booties are not combat ready but will bring a contemporary masculine balance to your light and airy spring and summer wardrobes. I would pair them with skinny jeans, cropped slacks, or flowing skirts.
IWhat are you doing this weekend? I am traveling yet again, this time I won’t be in the mountains of Harper’s Ferry but on the white sandy beaches of Clearwater, Florida.
Do you have any travel plans?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wardrobe: Civil War Inspired

In attempts to be inspired by Civil War Era fashion it is difficult not to address the elephant in the room: women's lack of rights during the 19th century. I won't get too deep into the 19th century view point on women. I'll just get fired up. Basically we have the Cult of Domesticity. The notion that a woman's place is in the home. As the delicate sex it is in her nature to be quiet and moral. She should only worry herself with organizing parties and hosting guests of her husband. Women should not be concerned with matters outside the home, especially politics. In fact it might hurt them to do so... blah blah blah.
There were some efforts by women to gain equal rights in the mid 19th century and although women were not considered in the fight of equality for all men, I think it certainly got the wheels turning.

That being said, women's fashion of that time wasn't necessary my taste either. However what happened to fashion as an industry is very influential to how we think about clothing today.

An interesting little fact we learned on our tour of Harper's Ferry (important sight for the Abolisionists' and famous for John Brown's ill fated attempt at a slave rebellion), is that standardized sizing of ready-made clothing came about through the Civil War. Previous to that the wealthy had their clothes taylored to their exact measurements and the less well off made their own or bought used items. This includes shoes, hats, gloves, and other accessories. Some ready-made clothing was produced but was so ill fitting that they were known as "slops". Data was collected from the troops and used to create standardized sizes so that clothing, shoes, and hats could be mass produced.

This profoundly influenced the way we interact with clothing now. Ready-made items are cheaper to produce and the main source for dressing most if not all Americans. Plus shopping as a past-time would arguably not exist.

So here is my Civil War inspired ensemble for today's publicly and politically participating female.

*Custom made clothing still exists today and is known as Couture but that is a story for another posting.
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