Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's NOT New Joisey

The week or so prior to Thanksgiving, folks around the office were asking me, "Soooo...what are your plans for the holiday?" (as if they actually cared.) My response was, "We're going to visit Sean's family in New Jersey." And I'm not kidding you - every single person expressed sadness and pity saying something like, "Oh you poor thing - it's going to be so cold! Is it snowing there yet? Oh, that's awful...New Jersey?...that's like the armpit of America, right?"
No, friends, it's not snowing there yet. I realize that my fellow Southerners believe every state above Kentucky is the Great White North (and they're kinda right about that). But you may be surprised to learn that their weather is very similar to ours here in Middle TN. New Jersey trades out the tornadoes for quite a bit more snow in the winter, but that's about it. The day after Thanksgiving I was jogging outside in a t-shirt.

Secondly, it's NOT "New Joisey." I know you enjoy dusting off your 1920's mobster accent, but not all residents of NJ are from Hoboken.  Yes, the folks in and around NYC (in North Jersey) carry the "Joisey" accent, but not the rest of the state. South Jersians have more of a Philadelphian/Delaware valley accent. Mind you, it's still a funny accent, but it's just not "Joisey."

And finally, what makes NJ the armpit of America? When did The Garden State get such a bad wrap? I'll be honest...the state of NJ wasn't on my radar until I met Sean's family, but I certainly didn't think it's residents carried the plague. I'm here to tell you, dear readers, that New Jersey is not all that gross. I can only speak for South Jersey (I hear North Jersey is a completely different place...)  South Jersey is spread out and rural for the most part. There are lots and LOTS of pine trees. We drive along winding highways, passing lots of land, trees and beautiful old homes. The shore is full of quaint Victorian-era coastal towns that remind me of Downtown Franklin.

I feel rather sorry for residents of NJ, having to bear their scarlett letter known as Snookie and all things Jersey Shore. Sure, the Snookies are around if you know where to look (and SO fun to watch), but there aren't enough Guidettes ruin the entire state.
Once Sean and I hit the lottery, we're going to buy a vacation home in Stone Harbor. Or maybe even the Utz house in Avalon. It's rather cute, don't you think? All 14,000 square feet of it...

And in case you're wondering what it looks like in NJ during Thanksgiving - it's just like the rest of the country. Turkey carcus, full plates, and dad falling asleep at the dining room table...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Five Years

Five years ago I stood here as a newlywed. Venice, Italy - the most magical place I've ever seen. I still can't believe we were here...

At the crack of November, weeks before Turkey Comas and Black Friday Fever set in amongst the rest of the country, Sean and I toast to a private celebration - our wedding anniversary. This date is a wonderful pause to the hustle and bustle of our suburbanite schedules, fall birthday celebrations and our annual Halloween party. And, it's the perfect excuse to treat ourselves to an expensive meal. He makes a reservation (which I think is adorable), and I try to remember to buy a card. He ALWAYS outshines me when it comes to the card. Sean can be very romantic when he wants to be, and his sweet words melt my heart.

We savor a slow meal together and say things like, "Can you believe it's been ___ years? Seems like just yesterday we were sharing our vows..." and "...do you want to have sex tomorrow night instead? Because I'm still really full from dinner..."

We went for fancy cocktails at The Patterson House this year. I guess "fancy cocktails" is an understatement - more like "Works of Art." This elusive establishment has made quite the name for itself in Music City, and we were excited to see what all the fuss was about. NO WONDER! The ambiance of the bar is executed perfectly - intimate without being claustrophobic, warm and inviting like an old English library balanced with elements of high glam and shimmer. It's a nod to the 1920's speakeasy without being kitschy at all. Our seats at the bar gave us a front row view into the craftsmanship of their stunning cocktails, and our tongues were equally impressed with the taste (Sean is still raving about his Bacon Old Fashioned). But don't just take my word for it:



Our evening wrapped with dinner at The Standard, and...let's just say we won't be going back. It was a total bust. The hummus and grilled bread from The Patterson House was more impressive than my filet at The Standard! But, a bad steak will never stop us from having a lovely date night. I was still making memories with my most favorite person in the whole world.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mini Post: Tablecloth Traditions

Even though I'm not hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year (Thank God), I still wanted to add a bit of festive holiday flair to the dining room. And here's what happened:

The table cloth you see was my Mimi's, and it was the backdrop for every holiday meal she and my Papa hosted throughout my childhood. I snatched it up last year and saved it from being sold in the estate sale. I absolutely LOVE the floral details, and I can't believe how well it blends with my modern tablescape pieces from Pier1.