Saturday, April 30, 2011

If India Hicks and Lilly Pulitzer co-designed a hotel room...

Ready to move into this tropically-stylish yet still-elegantly modern room:

An India Hicks with dashes of Lilly Pulitzer kinda' hotel!

Two balconies facing the ocean makes this twice-as-nice to hang around

Your's-truly putting her Preppy self right on into the setting here....

...and not wanting to leave this spa-like bathroom either, ahh, so nice...

If the lifestyle design houses of India Hicks and Lilly Pulitzer designed a hotel room together I think that it may have turned out to be something akin to the wonderful room James and I stayed in at the Hyatt Resort in Key West...

We really enjoyed the vibe of this room with its two balconies looking out onto the harbor!

Our room was a combination of classic-elegant minimalism touched with a cool modern elan' such as India Hicks designs inspire while also dolloped with the casual fun tropical brights rendered in whimsical prints which is of course the long-standing styling mantra of Lilly Pulitzer.

What is pitch perfect for one island life styling may not be for another's...however, for the environs of Key West, this style combination was just utterly perfect!

Key Westie-Preppie...yes, there's Plenty of Prep around Key West

Key West stylin' can be so lovely and.... actually quite Preppy as well!

Darling cottages abound in Key West's historic district...ahh...

Lilly Pulitzer store across from our resort? Perfect for this Lilly P wearer

And being on a double-masted sailboat...a perfectly-Preppy day indeed!

The words "Key West" and "Preppy" are rarely used least in any sentence I've ever heard. Key West has a reputation for being a bit of a wild child: the rowdy black sheep rebellious teenager existing within the family of islands which sit off the east coast of the United States.

I traveled down there expecting a bit of wildness and was of course rewarded with seeing this as James and I strolled down into the historic district on our way to Blue Heaven, a famous funky-vibed restaurant. We happened upon The Conch Republic's parade complete with parading pirates, various men with less than a loincloth on, drunk people attempting to ride their bikes and one really great reggae' singer performing on a float. The transvestites were a dolled-up with some belting out songs in various bars along our routes. The tiny dogs being walked all around were better-dressed than most of the tourists and but of course, there were roosters everywhere. Oh, yes, the sightings of festively-funky Key West abounded.

But what surprised me more than all of that were the sightings of Pleasantly-Preppy Key Westy!

It started right off with espying a large Lilly Pulitzer store just across from our Hyatt Resort digs. Alright!!! Preppy Tropical Wear-a-rama... As well, there were many lovely other clothing and household decor' boutiques, upscale art studios, nice jewelry stores, European-fel cafe's, day spas and such to be found around town. Admittedly these more Preppy spots were tucked in amidst all the tacky-tourist shops, lingerie boutiques, tattoo and piercing places, loud bars and more guided-tours storefronts than you could shake a stick at but that they were to be actually found was a nice surprise to this ole' Preppy wandering around the historic area.

And speaking of historic, oh wow, the Key West classic-inspired architecture here is stunning!

Any cottage, pick a cottage....move me right on in.....

From the deep porches with their detailed scroll work, long-shuttered windows, some metal roofing here n' there, light colors, vibrant-hued flowered gardens, embellishments of old brick, weathered metalwork and vines stretching along columns, gates, fences and latticework- from the tiniest of cottages to expansive large houses and other grand buildings, any Preppy's heart would indeed skip a beat passing by these elegant yet not ostentatious places.

Other Preppy touches found around Key West included classic nautical artifacts, real-use boating items and inspired decor' as well as the actual sailboats themselves which gently bob in the harbors. Bicycles with large straw baskets on the front of them, large dogs, bouquets wrapped-up in paper with ribbon ties, pearls galore' and European coffee and pastries and on and on... such pretty bits of Preppy here and there and actually, almost everywhere.

What fun to espy touches of the Preppy lifestyling all around Key West- especially when one wasn't expecting it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Preppy Packing for the Keys...oops, one suitcase is one too many!

Oops! This Preppy has to pare-down her Florida Keys trip packing pronto!

Yes, even the jewelry gets pared down, sigh. The following photos are of some of the outfits gathered together from the limited space a roll-aboard and matching satchel allows for clothes n' shoes:

Bikini, coverup big-shirt, cute sandals, Hemingway book, room key...ready!

Another swimsuit with its coordinating sarong plus great bag n' sandals

Preppy-plaid swimsuit top paired with old comfy shorts n' Sperry flip-flops

Working RL Polo jean shorts with an Ann Taylor sweater-top n' pearls

Basic black soft knits with my fave Jones NY linen blouse-top

Khaki cargo-style travel skirt by Royal Robbins is soooo coool, ahh

Tropically-inspired dressing up dress for day into evening wearability! Various other look combinations and a few other clothing pieces aren't shown here but you get the idea....

Imagine my acute dismay when James informed me that um, we didn't have room for my suitcase this trip and I'd have to pack for 10 days in the Florida Keys using just my roll-aboard and its matching satchel bag....what????

I was literally all packed up and ready to go when he came inside from hitching up our kayak trailer to his truck after putting into the truck's back seat area various fishing, kayaking and snorkeling gear. I was shell shocked for a moment until I went down myself to the truck, looked inside and realized that, wow, even getting down to my two typical carry-on pieces I always fly with was going to be a spacial challenge. Drat!

Well, long story short, I DID manage to pare down to the barest of necessities for this trip, which aside from my fishing togs, have managed to be comfortable and casual-enough for the Keys while remaining a bit stylish all the same. Basically living-in swimsuits since we've been here has helped "stretch" my wardrobe for going out to eat and bummin' around places other than the beaches or pool areas.

Last year while spending a few weeks out in Hawaii, James told me that I was far too dressy which I was, yes, but I'm usually dressier-than-most anyway. I like dressing sue me ;) This trip I guess I'm casual-enough since I haven't heard any comments to the contrary, haha.

This not however the lightest I've ever packed for traveling...that honor goes to the long weekend James and I spent in London a couple of years ago where, yes indeed, in the still cold months of early spring I toted only a mid-sized backpack as my luggage! It worked out okay but that probably won't happen again. I DO like to wear more than two outfits heavily layered n' accessorized and have more than one pair of tall leather riding boots as footwear options. But as for the fitted trench coat paired with a soft scarf and thin leather gloves: those were teriffic!

Thankfully, here in the Florida Keys, a whole less layering is needed aside from bikini coverups.

And so five days down and five more to go and... I think I'll actually make-it outfit wise, wheh!

A Preppy in...Key Largo...

Preppy cover-ups (clothing n' a floral arbor) shield from Key Largo's sun

Preppy kayaking-action going on amidst the mangroved channels

Spotting a Preppy fishing off a tiny-key's shores accessed by kayak

A happy-Preppy snorkeler...hard to beat the super-clear waters here

...OR the finally lazing-away in a beachside hammock, ahhh...bliss....

There's trips, there's traveling, there's taking vacations and then there's taking an actual-vacation...which is what James and I have finally done, an actual-vacation.

We've vacated the premises of one island for the parameters of other islands further south of us packing very little aside from our snorkeling gear, fishing rods and kayaks. Nothing has been on the agenda at all so far except for "being in the water" and this has been total bliss!

The past two months of our work lives have been literally crazy... James has been doing his usual mostly away from home flying trips while I've been so busy with work projects and events that it's been a real challenge to not run my hours every week into overtime. About every night I don't have something else going on after work, I've come back home to do a little housework, help Dad out a bit, give Kanon a short walk or throw the ball with him and then have fallen into bed exhausted. Both James and I were literally running on our internal exhaust fumes.....

So our decision to choose an actual-vacation over our usual Spring Trip exploring a city or two around Europe was an easy one: it was time to rest, relax and renew our inner-batteries!

So....we've been out here in the Florida Keys...

This is definitely not, in general, a "Preppy Place" to be sure but it's been a lot of fun!

We're staying in Preppy places however: The Hilton Resort on Key Largo and the Hyatt Resort on Key West. This Hilton's been nicely understated yet is still elegant in a nature-vibed sort of way. The interiors here, exteriors and beaches plus pool are all clean-lined and simple and, despite a full-house over the Easter weekend, seem uncrowded and fairly quiet. Our room's kind of like being in a small bungalow: modern, light, breezy and expansive. We've enjoyed this stay here so much that we extended it by cancelling other reservations we had with an actual beach side cottage on another key. Tomorrow we're heading on to the Hyatt on Key West.

We've brought our Preppy activity-apparatuses with us by lugging our fishing gear, snorkeling stuff and kayaks down here on our kayak trailer. Preppy folks, as we all know, are sporty-folks. Yes, we'll sit around the pool a bit but we'll also soon being doing laps in it. Yes, we'll lay out on the beach for awhile but then we'll also head out to snorkel the rest of the afternoon away. Yes we'll lazily kayak through a mangrove swamp's channels but then of course we're also casting away with our fishing rods as well.

We've brought our Preppy appetites with us enjoying fresh seafood, fresh fruits and other simple dishes along with a drink or two. As usual, I'm more-prep food wise with my preference for plain, simple foods while James is the much more adventurous one trying all the spicy and unusual fare available out here on the keys. Last night we went to an upscale seafood buffet where I indulged in various fish, shrimp, crab dishes as well as ate probably way too many conch fritters than I should have then topped it all off with a key lime piece of pie. Today, after that big food-spree, I'm back to fruit n' more fruit and lots of water.

We've brought our Preppy clothes with us though actually very, very little of these with only bringing one roll-aboard piece of luggage apiece. The bulk of our attire is of course swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups and well-worn fishing togs. I've included one cute tropical-islandy long gauzy cotton festive-print dress for dining out on Key West and a lightweight button down shirt and khaki pants for James for the same occasion. Otherwise we've left the resort so far in Polo shirts, khaki walking shorts and our Sperry flip-flops and, funny enough, have been some of the neatest-looking tourists around. When we've actually left the premises here....

This is Day 5 of our 10-Day-Vacay.

We both feel that doing an actual-vacation like this was a great decision. It's kind of ironic that, while living out on a tiny, quiet island ourselves, we still lead very busy and high-pressured lives thus occasionally needing to vacate our own premises in order to get some rest n' relaxation. However, we do appreciate the times we can stand out in our yard and look off into a picturesque horizon after hopping out of our cars at the end of a long workday. We also appreciate the ability to kayak right off the yard as well as take long walks through our woods and putter around the garden a bit as well. Times out in our hammock by the marsh or sitting on one of the two porches are treasured too however...there's always things like housework, household projects, working on our computers, assorted chores, errands and such in the background which call out to us...but not here in the Florida Keys.

Here in the Keys we're relaxing to a degree that's just not possible on the island-back-home......

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Roses and roses... Outdoor, Indoor and a little bit o' Legacy

Roses greeting me on the steps as I return from a long day at work
Gosh, mother's roses are old-fashioned and sentimental
Gathering some of them up is a wonderful "pausing" in the early evening
Yes, indeed, do "stop and smell the roses" from time to time...
...then place them around the house for some indoor enjoyment as well.

Ah,'s really hard to dislike roses even after one has been nicked by the thorns of roses time after time after...time.

I have aways loved roses and have noticed them since I can remember but I never grew them myself until living in the first house of our early-married-life years back in North Carolina. James and I put in rose bushes there and had them potted into large containers as well gracing our patio in the back yard. Pretty and pretty darn profuse with their bloomings throughout the years, those rose bushes.

Out here on this island, I maintain my late mother's rose garden.

It's a tiny one and very casual. It's set at the base of our double stairs which leads up to the front door. It's backed by morning glory vines while lantana carpets its space and includes a simple pedestal birdbath sitting in the middle. It's quite lovely and reminds me of mother every day.

Since she planted everything in this little rose garden spot, I am determined to keep it exactly as it is...primarily red roses or red-orange roses with some light pink ones thrown in as well.

This week, after last week's drenching rains, it has decided to not only bloom but to BLOOM!

The photos above are ones I took early yesterday evening after coming in from work. Well, after coming in from orchestrating and mc'ing an in-store kids fashion show with 30 child models on a Saturday afternoon, wheh. This event was a lot of fun but also a big expansion of energy n' enthusiasm which afterwards definitely needed some inner-refueling and so I commenced my usual "spending time outside in the garden".

Soft, cool ocean breezes were catching the nose of our dog sitting out on the porch with me after we ambled about. These breezes drifted my way the scent of the nearby roses- catching me up within its deliciousness. Too heavenly to ignore! I plucked myself off my porch perch going to get the clippers out of my trusty wooden garden trug and then commenced to clip a few roses to bring inside and further enjoy.

Sometimes we do indeed need to literally, "stop and smell the roses," while sometimes as well someone actually does. "promise...a rose garden."

May your days ahead lend you roses or at the very least, a tinge of rose...through rose colored glasses.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Snapshots from a Southern Wedding...20 Years Ago

Here comes the bride...
Here poses her handsome Groom...
Here they are having so much fun at their wedding!
Here they are taking their wedding vows as the sun sets at 7:30 p.m.
Here's the BEST bridesmaids a bride could wish for!
Here's the partaking of a southern pound cake wedding cake, yum.
Here's confetti and streamers being tossed their way as they...
...take their leave by horse drawn carriage at midnight- 20 years ago today.

Later on today....since it's just turned midnight...much later on today I am taking James to a surprise-location for spending the day n' night near where we live for his anniversary gift. Lunch, dinner, a midnight-snack small picnic basket I've packed and just plain ole' relaxin'-around is on tap for celebrating our 20th Anniversary.

We jumped-the-gun on weeks in Paris and Hawaii last year which, in retrospect, was actually the year to do those trips since this spring's seen my back problems linger and it's very difficult for me to travel now least not fly for hours at a time. At the end of this month we're heading down to Key West for awhile so that'll be great but as for tomorrow, I thought that "playing laid-back tourist" around our cute historic downtown area would be a lot of fun and so little stress.

Hope you enjoyed these wedding pictures of us looking soooo young all those years ago.....such fun to pull them out again and have such wonderful memories of April 6th, 1991!

Monday, April 4, 2011

20 Years Ago...2 Preppies...One Wonderful Marriage

Here we old "married folks" happily out here on an island because...
...waaay back in 1989, two Southern Preppy History-geeks fell in love...
...and happily tied-the-knot on April 6th, 1991(now 20 years ago)...
...commencing on a life-journeying that was different from the "typical"...
...with never a dull moment from NC to UT to now an island offa' SC...

This Wednesday...20 years 7:30 p.m. in the evening...

...James and I were married!

It's hard to believe that 2 whole decades have already come-around within our married life at this point in time, wow. 22 years ago we met through, yes, our college's History Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta and six months later we were engaged. James popped the question just before my sorority's ball and so we had a candlelight ceremony right then n' there in the ballroom once all my sisters and their dates had finished arriving. What's it like to have a whole lotta' Chi Omega's engulf you with hugs and smiles and well-wishes and excited screams just after your girlfriend, er finance', blows out the candlelight's candle? Well, ask James ;) Half stayed on the ballroom floor surrounding me and the other half swarmed the table where James and some of the other guys sat in complete amazement in witnessing a traditional sorority-rite of passage usually reserved for enacting within our house on Sorority Row. However, it's not one a' those secret-things of fraternity/sorority life so it was fine to be doing this "right then, right there".

A year later, we had the proverbial "huge Southern wedding": white tie dress, a southern pound cake with rolled fondant icing, pearls galore', white roses n' tulips n' ivy n' all but....up in Milwaukee....due to family medical logistics for a parent and partly due to the fact that from my junior high days onwards, we had been living up North and loved our dear friends there too! Both James and my southern families attended and it was such a good time had by all.

We began our married life in Charlotte, NC as typical Preppy-Yuppies then happily decamped out to the mountainside of Park City, UT to be ski-bum/fly-fishing bums and now are back in these Lowcountry environs on an island off the coast of South a life I like to call Simple Yet Elegant, as in a refined drenched-in-Southern version of simple living. It's been a very interesting 20 years of marriage n' living n' lifestyling that's for sure!

We've carried our Southern Preppy penchants n' preferences which were born n' bred into us throughout our life journeying: both as a married couple and as singles. When I met James, I knew that we had a common bond and cultural-vernacular we both well understood.

We've been fortunate to have such a fun friendship with one another as well as a good marriage.

Here's to the previous 20 years and to 20 more years n' beyond.....James, you're the best!!!!!

Wishing my readers as well the experience of a wonderful relationship throughout the years :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Finally...a spot of Family-Zen-Time after so much "Busy"...ahh!

Combining some Zen-time with Family-time out on our island last night...
My-boys on the dock...can you find ole' Kanon amidst the tree fringe?
I toast this moment of beachy "just-being" with what's left of my wine

Busy is usually seen as "good" but sometimes busy is just, well, plain ole' busy.

Last month was far too busy than I would have liked it to have been that's for sure. In our post-modern, globalized and Internet-integrated world now everything's so interconnected that the proverbial Work Life Balance is truly difficult to seek maintaining actual balance within...

And I'm not complaining at all about this since so much of what makes my life, my family's life and probably your life too of course is a whole lotta' good and/or productive busy-ness. Last month I was overwhelmed with lots of good things going on: work, writing, volunteer work and charity gala's, church, times with friends, household organization projects, back rehab and wonderful yoga sessions, a weekend with my aunt and uncle out on another island etc etc. And there were also less-fun things going on as well, having to be dealt with also. March was BUSY!

However, one of the great lessons life has taught me along the journeying of it is that we can indeed pull-back, re-shift or just snatch some batches of "Zen-time" in the midst of all our busy days, weeks, months and years. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort and planning and other times, it simply is an awareness we tap into right-now and facilitate like.......yesterday evening.

Last night after coming home from work, James and I quickly changed our clothes to what we call our island-casual togs, put our dog in the truck with us and headed over to another side of this island to walk along the beach and watch the sunset drop behind the marsh and far tree line with a friend and his dog as well. We all had our glasses of wine in hand and lingered over those plus lingered within the warm breezes coming off the ocean water. Kanon and Cotton blissfully played and explored as only big ole' dogs can do as we humans chatted and walked along behind them. It was the calm-moment at the week's end that we all so very much needed.

Sometimes it feels like, whether out on an island or living within a big city or suburb, there are simply not enough times like these: these Zen-like moments of peace, calm and "just being" happening in our daily lives.

Since moving here into this lowcountry island environment taking on the very stressful duty of caregiving for my late mother and now helping out with my father n' running two households, I've actively tried to instill more of this "stillness" within my schedule, within our days being spent here but some months such as last month literally take me fully up into its busy swirl.

However, when the planned, unplanned or just-now-happening moments of blissful being DO happen, they are all the more delightful it seems when they haven't been happening much lately......

Here's hoping you too enjoy some "just being" times in the near future!