Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

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Ashley River

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Camellias in bloom in February!

Camellias in bloom in February!

Some magic from Charleston!  These beauties were blooming back in February at Magnolia Plantation, and now in April, the azaleas are in full bloom.  I don’t know if I will ever stop being amazed at the beauty of Charleston.  There is this feeling of old historic stories at places like Magnolia, with whispers of melancholy in the trees.

Magnolia Plantation was founded in 1676, and is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry as well as the oldest public gardens in America. For sure, these gardens have seen some of the best and worst our country has gone through.  The Drayton family established Magnolia Plantation, developing great wealth through the cultivation of rice.  The gardens were developed in the early 19th century.  The owner at that time dedicated himself to the creation of the gardens for his wife, as a way to “create an earthly paradise in which my dear Julia may forever forget Philadelphia and her desire to return there.”  Although there are dark chapters of this beautiful place, it is one of America’s last large scale romantic garden.  On a February day, when my family back in Connecticut were digging out from the latest snowstorm, this place was like a piece of heaven!

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A little gator buddy catching some sun.

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Live oaks

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Isle of Palms Sunset

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Isle of Palms Pier

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This little guy followed me around for a bit before dipping his toes in.

Hello Lovelies!  Here are some outrageous pics from a recent sunset on Isle of Palms Beach.  It seems that just when I need the beach, the sun, the coast, I find myself there and it saves me.  All my peeps back in CT are blistering with the cold and unrelenting snow, and I feel terrible for them.  I want to just bundle everybody up and bring them here.  Truly, it was chilly this week, but only the tiniest bit difficult.  I know there’s a sunny day around the corner, with some 70 degree days here and there.  And there’s the beach.  No matter the weather, it’s there, like an old friend, waiting for me.

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This Is My First Rodeo

The Roti Rolls Truck with a buddy palm tree peeking through!

Charleston Food Truck Festival Scene

Roti Rolls Menu

Roti Rolls Menu

A new day has dawned on my food revolution.  No longer just a food truck lurker, I’m one of the converted.  And let me tell you, the Charleston Food Truck Festival DELIVERED.  It was one of those events that I had built up in my head to be the mecca for all things delicious, hipster and local.  And it was all of those things and more.

What I expected: some interesting mash-ups, updates, riffs on the ordinary.  What I didn’t expect, and got: outstanding, fresh, local deliciousness in the form of braised pork, grilled chicken, curried veg, pickled onions and crazy good Mexican corn.  Roti Rolls’ Porky’s Revenge and the Mother Clucker without the roti (curse you gluten) but piled on top of veggies.  Outta My Huevos’ Mexican Corn with crema, queso and a squeeze of lime.  All while surrounded by palm trees, 60 degree weather, great music and the cutest dogs around.  (Apparently this is a pet friendly event.)  My girls loved it, Mr. Coastal loved it and I am going to have to chase down every opportunity to get my hands on more of it all.

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Outta My Huevos Mexican Corn and old school Coke

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Roti Rolls Mother Clucker

If this is what Charleston dishes up in February, I like it.  I like it a lot.  I was recently asked if our family would stay in Charleston, since our big, crazy move this past year.  Looking around at the world as I know it now, that would be a great big YES!

What is it about food trucks?

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Since I was little, I’ve had a fascination for food that is coming from less than conventional sources.  It comes from my mother.  Rather, it comes from my curiosity about these foods that we were never allowed to eat!  I’m proud to tell you that my mom was the kind of foodie who was all about local, organic, home-cooking way before those were even things to aspire to.  My mom made the most amazing food for all of us: her four kids, a rotating cast of friends, and my dad.  She made her own sauce, canned her own veggies and jams, and baked like the dickens.  I wrote my senior essay about her tomato sauce and the way I could smell the deliciousness from around the corner as I walked home from school.  It wasn’t that my mom didn’t want us to develop cultured palates, far from it.  She was always introducing us to new tastes: cumin and curry and coconut, etc. (back in the 80’s in suburbia, that was edgy) It’s just that she wasn’t about to be experimenting with new venues.  Anytime I caught the scent of grilling meat from a roadside stand or carnival tent, I wanted in.  My mom would take me firmly off that path, making sure that she fed me wholesome, hearty food with love.  Don’t get me wrong, my mom was literally the BEST cook/baker/creative spirit anyone ever met.  It was my rebellious side that got me into street food.

So tomorrow, here in Charleston, my new home, there is, wait for it, a FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL.  Whaaat?  I mean I follow the twitter feeds, try to chase them down when I can, but they will all be there in one place with their illicit temptations.  How can a girl refuse that?  I’ll let you know how it goes, with pics to bring out your own inner dirty foodie.

Coastal, beachy vibe

Sandy feet.  Sun on my shoulders.  Woodsmoke and suntan lotion.  Light coming through the palms.  Big, huge ocean in front of me.  Salty warm air.  These are what I crave, and some of the reasons that drove me to find our home by the sea.  I look around me and literally every day say, I am so lucky to be here!  Look at the light, look at the trees, look at the sky!  There is an eternal optimism growing.  Can’t wait to see where it takes me!DSC_0496

Finding a Gravatar

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So here I am, thirty minutes in, scrolling through all my photos for one of me, just me.  Any other moms get this?  Every single one is of my girls and me, my husband and me, my Grammy and me; you get the idea.  Note to self: start taking more selfies.  This advice applies to photos and life in general.  This past month has been more about putting my own oxygen mask on before helping others around me.  First time in a long time that has been the case!

The pic I settled on was taken by my husband, and I remember telling him at the time: no, not one of me!  My hair is crazy, I’ve got a sunburn, and the wind is wild out here.  But he’s a love, he insisted and there: I’ve got a Gravatar!