BACKGROUND I graduated from college at the end of my first marriage and with two small daughters. I worked as a paralegal and dabbled in Real Estate and Retail to pay the bills. It was then that I realized that I was much better at staging homes than selling them. In college, I took classes in Poetry and Art History as free-electives and found my true passions lie in cooking and creativity. While my years working as a paralegal didn’t provide me with any sort of satisfaction or a pension, they did provide me with a wealth of knowledge and experience.
FAMILY One day while working as a disillusioned, underpaid paralegal, I received an invitation for a High School Reunion Get Together and reconnected with the sweetest, kindest, cutest boy I knew in High School. It was instantaneous. Like time never passed. He lived a mile away with his two boys unbeknownst to both of us we lived a mile apart for about ten years! Further down a long, bumpy road, some therapy (more like lots of therapy) in a state of blissful ignorance, we got married and added to the mix my two daughters, who were teenagers at the time, his two teenage boys, one dog, one cat and all of our combined stuff, physical and otherwise, to a rented townhouse where our youngest could finish High School. After that, we packed up our menagerie and moved to Manahawkin New Jersey. A place that held many happy memories for us. John spent many summers on Long Beach Island, New Jersey with his grandparents who retired there. The area that we now call home is known for its’ beautiful beaches, endless summer sunsets, and a laid back casual lifestyle. It seemed like the perfect place to plant some new roots.
FINDING MY WAY I longer work as a paralegal. I’m still trying to figure it all out. A catch-phrase that I borrowed from a Real Estate Sales Seminar I attended, “Designing a life that you love” has become my guide. So I am teaching myself photography, started this lifestyle blog, I am a recipe tester for a great chef, that I found out of the blue, by chance. The best things in life always seem to be unplanned. My beloved Maltese, Chloe, has passed so now it’s just my cat that I inherited when my youngest daughter, Alli, snuck him in the house when he was a kitten. She has since moved on and flew out of the nest. Our youngest son, a handsome lifeguard ( I may be partial) is the youngest and the last bird to fly out of the nest. Leaving me to once again figure it all out.
WHAT I LEARNED SO FAR I have a house full of things that I love, I find pure joy in cooking and entertaining for friends and family but mostly for my husband John who tirelessly provides me with his opinions on new recipes, helps me turn my decorating ideas and designs into reality and always keeps my feet planted firmly in the ground. I hope that through this blog that you find some useful information as we share recipes and ideas, and celebrate the little things that make us happy, fulfilled, and satisfied.
COOKING and ENTERTAINING Unable to afford dinners out, I hosted LOTS of dinner parties and parties for friends and family. I taught myself to cook by watching my Father, Uncles, Aunts, my Grandmother, an Italian immigrant, and my cousins (accomplished chefs themselves) in the kitchen. I grew vegetables and herbs in the backyard as they did. I studied and practiced what I learned from watching cooking shows on Public Television and cookbooks like “Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook”, Julia Child’s “The Way to Cook” and Marcella Hazan’s, “Classic Italian Cooking” and “Joy of Cooking”. I always wanted to go to culinary school and travel but at the time I figured if I couldn’t travel to France and Italy, I could go there by cooking. This journey led to my love of collecting cookbooks and trying to improve my cooking skills.
MY PHILOSOPHY when cooking for family and friends we simply are not just performing another dreaded “chore” that we must check off our daily “to do” list. We are bonding with one another while creating memories and traditions. When we share the tactile sensations of preparing and handling food, igniting our senses with tastes and smells and expressing our creativity with food, we are instead, nourishing our hearts and our souls. It adds joy to our lives. Cooking does not have to be complicated nor does it require special training or hard to find, expensive ingredients. Growing up, cooking dinner was a daily ritual in our home. Setting the table, enjoying a simple meal and the animated discussions that took place at the dinner table are my most treasured childhood memories and my happiest times when my children were growing up. I hope that you find a recipe you like and make some memories of your own.
MY TOP TEN LIST
MY PHILOSOPHY “YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE RICH IN ORDER TO LIVE RICHLY” Designing a life that you love and creating a home that is truly your sanctuary is what this site is all about.
- THE BEACH
- ENTERTAINING CONVERSATION
- DISH COLLECTION
- VINTAGE COOKBOOKS
SOME THINGS TO KNOW:
- My house during the summer months is a.k.a. Bennett’s B&B…not really but it should be.;
- I have collections of vintage jewelry, dishes, silver serving pieces, cookbooks, and kitchen gadgets. I can’t seem to get enough;
- I am a history buff and lover of historical architecture;
- I arrange my cabinets like I am stocking the shelves at my past retail job. Old habits die hard.