Tag Archives: Florida

The Aristocrat: my first friend in Florida

On Saturday I launched a search for the best way to make friends in Miami (see my previous post linked below).

My family and I moved here from Dallas on New Year’s Day, 2012 and thus far I have made 2.5 new friends.

I met my first friend Mary in mid-February. After unpacking boxes and getting my three children settled in school I sat down and emailed the four friends of my friends whose addresses were given to me before I moved (did you follow that? Friend set-ups). I heard back from all but one.

With two of them I played a game of tag. We emailed back and forth until someone forgot we were playing. I am pretty sure it was not me. That left one potential new friend and honestly, I thought a 25% return for my email efforts was not so bad.

I get it. We are all busy and some people just don’t have any white space on their calendars. A dear friend from Dallas, who I vacationed with this summer said something like that: “You know Meredith, I have such a full, busy life, I don’t really want to make any new friends. I can barely keep up with those that I already have.” Why should these new girls work a stranger into their lives if they can barely make time for people they already know?

But Mary had her reasons. In fact, as soon as she read the name Sarah Brown, she said her fingers were flying with a reply (I love this story).

“Dear Meredith,

It was so good to hear from you. I would love to plan a get-together soon. What day will work for you? Sarah Brown was my very first friend at the University of Texas. I went to orientation without knowing a soul and Sarah was assigned the dorm room next to mine. She was from Dallas but seemed to know every Texan at the entire school and I was so thankful that she let me tag along with her for the weekend. When our freshman year began we pledged different sororities but always kept up. If I ever needed clarification on a Texas eccentricity, or really anything at all, Sarah was the first person I called. I would do anything for her.”

Well thank you Sarah. I thought that was a pretty awesome pay-it-forward twenty years after the fact!

We agreed to meet with the kids at Riviera Country Club on a Tuesday after school the next week. When I came home from our date I told my husband if anyone ever used the term aristocracy anymore I would call Mary an aristocrat!

The Junior League, University of Miami Art Board, TWO yacht clubs, never mind the golf club where we were sitting. Have you heard of the fancy resort in Key Largo that every U.S. President has visited? It is called Ocean Reef. Mary and her family are members there too! They take their beautiful 32 foot boat down for the day and sometimes spend the weekend in their condo in the Keys.

I hit the jack pot! Mary is a well of wonderful information, but it gets even better. She is SUPER NICE, but not in that sappy sweet sort-of way. Really nice which made me feel comfortable digging for information about Miami society.

She is also available. Not all the time, but enough. She works, has 2 young children and lots of family and friends in town. Mary and her husband both went to high school in the Gables… well look at me, I am already picking-up the local slang. “The Gables” is short for Coral Gables. Some would argue the Gables is the most beautiful suburb of Miami and I might agree, but I digress…

When I call, Mary always finds time to answer my questions. We have enjoyed dinner at a few Miami hotspots with Mary and her husband and spent a wonderful afternoon on Biscayne Bay with their entire family.

She lives close but our paths rarely cross. Our children go to different schools. If I was in a bind and my husband was out-of-town, I would be comfortable asking Mary or her husband for help. Just knowing that they are there feels nice.

Sometime before Christmas, when I get through my back-to-school to-do list, I will call Mary for a lunch date to hear about her typical Miamian’s summer, which means a summer not spent in Miami (they say it is too hot to stay here… we’ll save that topic for another day) and I know she will make it happen.

And when I am teaching and re-teaching my children the Golden Rule I will tell them the story of Sarah, Mary and me and remind them that you must always do unto others as you would have done unto you because you never know when you will need a recommendation for membership to one of the most exclusive yacht clubs in Florida every action causes a reaction and your simple kindness might brighten someone else’s life 20 years from now, and that is just well, super cool!
Key Biscayne Sand Bar

Cha Cha Cha is the perfect Summer cocktail

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After a 5-hour car ride with 5 kids to Clear Water, Florida my friend Dabney and I were ready for some “Mommy Juice.”

Luckily, we had stashed a new discovery from our great local liquor store Grove Liquors.

Cha Cha Cha Tequila

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With a hint of lemon and honey we thought Cha Cha Cha was great straight over ice and concluded it would be the perfect Summer cocktail. Simple and light on calories without the added mixer.

If that sounds too strong I’ve since tried it mixed with Fresca and that was very tasty and refreshing.

After a cocktail on the beach and a sunset pirate cruise we were all happy.

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If Mama ain’t happy then nobody’s happy, right?

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Ideas for Father’s Day- the time is now if you have to get a gift in the mail

I love to shop for greeting cards. I think I inherited that trait from my mom. Unlike, my mom’s however, my cards rarely get sent. I will diligently shop, find the perfect card for my sweetest friend, and then let her birthday pass because I never brought home a stamp, or let the card get lost under one of the stacks on my desk.

So, when I found the TREAT website I was thrilled! I can browse through a really cute selection of funny, heartfelt and sincere cards, write a personalized message, address and stamp a card without ever leaving my computer desk. Then TREAT will deliver the card on the day that I select. I pictured sitting down monthly and knocking out friends’ birthdays and holidays, without ever missing a birthday again! Well, that didn’t happen, but… it is awesome and I have used it when I remember to make the time to sit down in front of the website…

For Father’s Day I made a card for all the men in my life and included fun family photos! Check it out, you’ll love it. Just don’t wait too long. You need to allow about 5 days for delivery.

Source: treat.com via Meredith on Pinterest

Christmas 2011 was a bit hectic because we were moving on New Years Day. We had quite a few moving expenses so Vince and I decided not to buy each other presents. I ran into the Apple store on the way to 5:00 church on Christmas Eve and saw this small (but not cheap) wireless speaker that I knew Vince would love. So I through our deal out the window and bought the speaker. I was so glad because (1) Vince bought me a gift too and (2) he has used it everyday since!

The Jaw Bone Wireless Speaker

Source: jawbone.com via Meredith on Pinterest

A personalized insulated cup that will hold coffee for the drive to work or water around the house. Vince’s says #1 Dad. If he is ever feeling under appreciated… or just needs a little attention, he gets his Tervis Tumbler and makes sure we get the message.

Tervis Tumbler

Source: tervis.com via Meredith on Pinterest

A Garmin watch. I actually convinced our parents (both sets) to buy this for Vince for his birthday several years ago. He had not asked for it.. I’m not sure if he even knew what it was. But he has always loved to run and I was a new runner and learning about all of the “gadgets.” Even though we both use it, he still calls it “his watch.”

A Garmin Watch

This year Vince is getting a key ring breathalyzer. He has asked for one for years! When we got out we almost always take a cab or designate a driver, but I think he thought this would be good to have in his car, in case there is ever a question over that one beer…

A Breathalyzer Key Ring

Source: amazon.com via Meredith on Pinterest

What are you getting the men in your lives for Father’s Day? I still haven’t decided on a gift for my dad and the time is ticking…

The Night The Master Chef Came to Supper

It is a little intimidating when a Master Chef comes over for Sunday night supper.

And when I say Master Chef I do not use that term lightly. I’m talking about a man who has received the highest level of certification possible in American culinary arts AND who has been invited to compete in the Worldwide Culinary Olympics in Germany, with his team this October.

This, is exactly the perdicimant I found myself in Sunday night. Italian born Chef Salvatore Gisellu and his family drove 4 hours from his in-law’s home in Venice, Florida to visit my family. A cozy dinner where the kids could swim off some cooped-up energy seemed like the best way to welcome my beloved visitors.

“Chef” is definitely the best cook I know and I wanted to serve him a great meal that would make him happy but as I poured over my recipes I just couldn’t decide on the perfect menu.

Until it hit me! Chef loves his wife more than anything in this world and if I could make her HAPPY, then Chef would definitely be pleased. You see, Jeanne-Marie Gisellu is a “Vegan,” she does not eat anything made from animals, which means no meat/fish or dairy. With these restricted choices sometimes tastey dishes are hard to find on a night out so I knew a yummy meal could be greatly appreciated.

Never having cooked a Vegan meal before I wasn’t sure where to start, so I turned to my OTHER favorite chefs, Gina and Pat Neeley. Why, would I look to the King and Queen of Barbecue to cook a meal without meat? Because their cook book was on my kitchen counter. Convenience.

The Menu I decided upon was below and I was quite pleased. The meal ended with smiles on both Gisellus’ faces. Despite what the “feel good” experts say, for me that night wasn’t just about us all being together. I wanted my friend the Chef to enjoy a good meal with his family. I felt pretty good about the outcome.

The Five Bean Picnic Salad
Sweet and Salty Slaw “Veganized”
Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

**Find these recipes in the posts that follow with the same name as recipe title

Rib eye steak for the non-Vegans in the rooom, including our 5 kids

For the steak, I marinated in salt, pepper and Worstshire for about 4 hours, opting for simplicity rather than overdoing it as to not offend Chef’s tastebuds. We seared both sides of each steak in very hot olive oil on the stove top then cooked in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes to a nice medium or medium rare for a few).

Dessert:

Warm Vegan banana bread http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/breadsbakery/r/vegan_banana_bread_recipe.htm
Tofutti ice cream

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They like big butts, and I can not lie!

I really feel awful. Since the day I moved to Miami, Florida almost 4 months ago something has been nagging at me . I now feel like I might have let down some of my friends. They are really missing out. But today is the day… I don’t think it is too late for my advisory message.

You, with a Lovely Lady Hump LISTEN-UP!

Your people are waiting for you here in South Florida.

I mean, OH MY GOSH, BECKY, the bigger your cushion, the more people that are lookin’, and you need to get down here because your admirers are waiting.

Yes, even you with the Honky Tonk Badonkadonk, the Floridians know you’ve got it going on like Donky Kong and if you haven’t been to this beautiful part of the country you need to come. The junk in our trunk is glorified here. It is so refreshing to see real women with curves.

You can throw those A-line skirts to the waste side, and get ride of all the jeans with minimal pocket design you might have been wearing to cover-up that beautiful rump.

Come to Miami and shake that groove thang. The people of Miami CAN handle all your jelly!

We are waiting here for you to just wiggle it!

Exploring Our New Hood

our street

We’ve been working hard to get settled into our new home and learn our new school schedules, BUT I couldn’t pass up the chance to do a little exploring! I wanted to share the scene from my first two 4 mile runs from our new house we leased in Coconut Grove, Florida (2 miles out and back).