Our pets are a part of our families – we affectionately call them “fur babies” for a reason. They make us laugh, turn bad days right around, and love unconditionally. When our good friends Chelsea and Spencer unexpectedly lost their pup Fitzgerald this fall, we were floored. He was a sweet puff ball and one of Doug and Huey’s spunkiest companions.
This Christmas I wanted to give the Whitesides something to capture Fitz as the happy, handsome little guy that we remember. We surprised them over dinner a couple of weeks ago, and now he’s sitting pretty by their fireplace and playing on the rainbow bridge.
I loved loosely sketching the little guy. I was feeling a bit reluctant to bust out the ink and Prismacolor pencils, but his hair was plenty fun to color!
How do you remember pets who have passed?
Traveling over Thanksgiving is becoming a tradition, and that’s absolutely fine with me! This year our warm weather respite was in Montego Bay, Jamaica at Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall. Neither of us had been to the Caribbean and after the mid-November snow dump I was looking forward to trading my bulky knits for sandals and swimsuits. Taking a week to unwind and unplug from work was a treat, but certainly a departure for both of us who are used to exploring far and wide on our vacations. Seriously, I think we were both a little stir crazy faced with a leisurely no agenda staycation.
Adults-only and all-inclusive is the way to go! During this offseason we encountered some overcast days and choppy surf that canceled our grotto excursion, but we read plenty, exercised our appetites, and soaked up the balmy weather.
The hospitality here was beyond measure…a pillow menu?! Our butlers remembered our tastes (even for Nacho Cheese Doritos in the mini bar- vacation food!) and everyone was so friendly. We had to laugh about our room service mishap when we were mistakenly given five margherita pizzas.
dolce far niente: the sweetness of doing nothing
These cabanas were one of my favorite spots to kick back and read. Even for being 7:30am early birds many of them were claimed by the time we made our way to the pools.
We loved our porch and this reading swing! There were a few passing rain showers during our stay so we could retreat to our balcony.
The Dressel Divers offered free scuba diving lessons. Overcoming my anxiety and distaste for mouth-breathing was worth it. I want to take a stab at diving certification back in the mitten state so we can explore on future vacations.
We met some awesome people during our stay who renewed our urge to travel and have memorable trips as much as possible. I don’t know that resorts are for us (at least not for a long time) because we are eager to explore and immerse ourselves into the environment, but it certainly was a beautiful stay. Since our return we’ve revisited Parts Unknown and No Reservations feeling inspired by Anthony Bourdain to travel wider, to eat authentic cuisine, and to do more things that scare us in the new year.
What is your favorite warm weather destination?
Posted in Life, Travel
Cream cheese and Feta. Need I say more? A couple of weeks ago I invited some friends over for Bloody Mary’s, Benefit Cosmetics goodie bags via Birchbox, and these tasty treats.
I was originally given this recipe by a friend, but I modified it a little bit!Late summer tomatoes were on the outs and baguettes were on sale! I love the creamy, slightly salty cheese base (thank you Lactaid) and the heirloom tomatoes! This came together quite easily with Neil’s help (he also made a mean Bloody Mary Mix). I think I could have eaten an entire platter.
Whipped Feta Bruschetta
Serves 5..or 1.
1 small package of feta (about 6oz)
1/3 package of cream cheese (let’s be honest, 2oz is not enough)
2/3 cup olive oil
2tbsp lemon juice (not that lemon bottle junk!)
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
2tbsp yellow onion
2tbsp balsamic vinegar
A few handfuls of cherry tomatoes
3tbsp julienned fresh basil leaves
20-25 baguette slices, toasted
Pulse the feta and cream cheese in a food processor or Vitamix until just combined. Add 1/3 cup of olive oil, lemon juice, 1/2tsp salt and 1/4tsp pepper and process until smooth.
Up to an hour before serving, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2tsp pepper. Add the tomatoes, stir gently, and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in basil.
To assemble, spread generously with the cheese mixture. Using a slotted spoon, place tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with extra basil and devour.