Friday Love 7.20.12

a little roundup of things that inspired me this week

An entire post devoted to summer cocktails? Let’s.

1. Vickie’s Gemini (or as I like to call it Vickie’s JimAndI)
The official 2012 Summer Drink of the Wise Women, my friend Vickie brought a carload of fresh grapefruit—that she then proceeded to squeeze all by herself—to our gathering at Primland in the mountains of Virginia. The cocktail is fresh, happy, delightful—and not just because it was the starting toast on a magical old friends mountain weekend. I especially love seeing the recipe in her handwriting. Feel free to transcribe it, but I love it just like this.

Vickie’s Gemini recipe

2. The Vacation
Courtesy of the oh-so-fabulous Maggie Mason on her Mighty Girl blog. (My love goes deep. She was the inspiration for 30 Days of Fun series last summer.) Kraken Rum and Coconut Water, so easy, so summery, so different!

3. Watermelon Daiquiri
I’m a little embarrassed to admit this because it seems so un-American. I’ve never been the biggest fan of watermelon. And then this summer, I bought a seedless watermelon to make Sarah Carey’s Watermelon and Tomato Salad and I fell in love. Now that I think of it, this is the third time this summer watermelon has appeared on my fridayloves. Hum.

Anyway, this Watermelon Daiquiri from The Maverick Southern Kitchens (of Charleston Restaurant Slightly North of Broad) looks fab! Don’t you agree?

4. Watermelon Crawl
While we have that big watermelon taking up an entire shelf in our refrigerator, how about another recipe or two? Watermelon Crawl features a healthy dose of moonshine, which is both (1) culturally, and (2) personally relevant. And while I admittedly haven’t tried either of these two, I am intrigued that Old Tom’s Patch Punch from PS 7 includes “a pinch of citric acid.” Wow. Both recipes via one of my new loves, The Local Palate.
(1) Isn’t moonshine everywhere these days?
(2) I am from Southwest Virginia.

5. Basil French 75
This gin, lemon, champagne (what’s not to love there?) cocktail comes from Martha Stewart. Just looking at the photo makes me feel like I’m reading on my big screen porch, cool drink in hand, lost with Cheryl Strayed on the Pacific Crest Trail, in Wild*.

Happy summer weekend to you!

*(Whew. Relieved I was able to work in one link to something other than cocktails.)


Friday Love

Everywhere I turned this morning, I found joy and inspiration. So I thought it might be fun to start a Friday feature that’s a rundown of the week’s great loves. (What a bonus that these all came to me this very day.)

1. Life’s Banquet
a new post by one of my favorite writers, John Blase, on thebeautifuldue: Just like that the front yard has gone cockamamie with spendor…

2. Kale and Eggs, (or Why You Should Start a Food Blog)
Pure loveliness and inspiration from Food Loves Writing. One read and you’ll never want to miss another post. (I don’t.) Here’s why: When you hear these voices, remind yourself that there is something about the creative process that often makes us hesitate, that makes us question and compare, that makes us think, no one will want to read this kale and eggs post or, I need to tell people how great my work is so that it can feel true.  (Writer Shannalee Mallon gives us all that AND a deliciously simple recipe for what else? Kale and Eggs. Yum.

3. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
(full disclosure: You find out at the end it is an ad for a cell phone. But believe me when i say that matters little. The video is remarkable.)

4. Happy that my sweet old cat loves his new bed.

5. Little Bit loving the sunshine on the porch eyeing me suspiciously.

6. Last weekend’s hike in the Virginia mountains. Glorious.

Happy Friday to you, and may your weekend be filled with lots that you love.


Personal commandment #1: Be me.

Do you believe, as I do, that a wonderful gift of age is the ability to embrace—and celebrate—the things that make us different? It’s something that’s on my mind as I watch my own daughter, now 19, move beyond that overwhelming teenage need to blend and belong. She is a little more Eliza each time she comes home from college.

I think back to a gathering of my lifelong friends, the Wise Women, when we met last Spring at Primland. There was a moment late Saturday night when I looked around the room and into those familiar faces and I thought: How I love these women. How I admire them. How surprised I am we are here, all these years later, such an eclectic group.

Amy, Julie, Lisa, Suzann, Vickie, Cathy, Sharon

You see, we seven have been friends for 50 years. We share a unique history, growing up together in the 60s and 70s in the rugged mountains of Southwest Virginia, remote, isolated even. It was quite a time.

We were quite a group.

You might expect that we Wise Women would, today, have a great deal in common. And we do. Time together reconnects those links and offers a powerful, centering force. But we have also grown into ourselves, each of us, and have become a rather diverse collection. These annual gatherings are a celebration of those differences; they are the moments in which I feel the most transparent, loved not in spite of but because of the ways I have Become Cathy in my South Carolina life.


Be Gretchen is the first commandment author Gretchen Rubin wrote for herself in her year-long quest for greater happiness. I found it to be such a profound concept I, too, put it at the top of my list. In doing so, I vowed to let go of some long-held (and constantly nagging) intentions in exchange for an honoring of those abilities and interests that come to me more naturally.

What a wildly liberating thought. How wonderful to release the burden of eternal expectation and to instead, simply acknowledge what is.

I will get organized; clean off my desk. I will launch a thousand good ideas into the world.

I will learn to love to run, dammit! I will stretch and strengthen with Pilates.

I will start less and finish more. I will have a little bit of everything, thank you.

When it comes to our Wise Women weekends—making reservations, planning meals, coordinating travel—I am not the friend tasked with “details,” you can be sure. But there’s no doubt I will drive up in a car loaded down with bag after bag of unsanctioned snacks, several knitting projects, a sketchbook or two, a stack of magazines, the last 10 books I’ve loved, a ridiculous assortment of outfits. And shoes. Always way too many shoes.

After all. How can a girl possibly know on Thursday what she is going to feel like wearing on Sunday?

Actually, we all take too many shoes. (We counted.)