Feeling Wanderlusty

I’m firmly afflicted with the travel bug again, much to my chagrin. I have consciously not traveled much since moving to Boulder because I want to put down roots, make friends,  know the area and etc., etc., etc. You know – actually LIVE somewhere. I’m committed to Colorado, and therefore it has been a year since I have been overseas. I’m starting to feel a little as though the metaphorical walls are closing in and I might have to hop on a plane without thinking it through clearly.

Truthfully, I shouldn’t travel right now. I don’t have the time or the money, and I’m blissfully happy in my life here. It’s not that I want to leave. It’s more that I want an adventure of relatively short duration, and then to happily come home again. I desperately want to visit a wonderful friend in Zurich, and I haven’t been to Europe in forever, and I also have started missing Oxford terribly so maybe I should stop in there on the way, and can I take a few weeks this summer to go live somewhere different just for a change of scenery? It’s such a good feeling to come home after the disconcerting-ness of living somewhere strange.


Of course, I also really want to go HERE:

Everest Base Camp. My current dream trip, which realistically will take a month to do properly. First, a week to fly somewhere relatively nearby and adjust to the time change (Hong Kong or Shanghai? Maybe get lucky and get into Bhutan?). I don’t want to have trouble sleeping from altitude and jet leg at the same time, and I know the altitude will get to me. Plus, if I’m going to fly halfway around the world, I’d like to see some of it. Then, about 14 days for the roundtrip trek to a place you can only get to under your own power. Isn’t that amazing? There are still places on this earth that one can literally only get to on foot. If you meet someone who has been to Everest Base Camp, they literally walked there for two weeks. I think that’s incredible. It is also going to change – there are already rescue helicopters that will take some charter flights up to Base Camp – but for now, it stays a special place.

I’ve already seen quite a bit of Kathmandu, and I predict that I won’t escape this trip without some bodily harm, so I’m happy to quickly hightail it out of Nepal as soon as the trek is over for some first world/first class pampering in Dubai. Then take the fabulous nonstop Dubai-Atlanta flight, stop in to see my dad and stepmom, then finally home to Denver. See? It’s all planned. I just need a free month and a generous allowance. But it WILL happen.

In the meantime . . . I’ve been thinking of throwing a proper Pimm’s and strawberries and cream party to bring a little Oxford to Colorado.

Tomayto Tomahto (with a very good Pimm's recipe)

If I don’t just hop on the BA Denver-London flight over Memorial Day weekend and then jaunt to Zurich.

Addendum: I just noticed that in my last post one month ago, I wrote that my wanderlust itch had been scratched. Well. Um. I guess mostly? I don’t want to LIVE anywhere new. For me, that’s progress.

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A Girl in the Garden Tea Party

I LOVE high tea. It makes me ridiculously happy. It is the girliest of parties, requiring floral teacups, pink jams, tiny sandwiches, and outstretched pinky fingers. It is also a great cocktail-type of party to throw, due to the aforementioned tiny sandwiches. Add some champagne and everyone will be as ridiculously happy as I am about tea parties.

There is even an entire book about tea parties, written by Susannah Blake, and I don’t know anything about it except that the cover looks gorgeous. I want to go to there.

A walled garden just begs for tea to be served within it, doesn’t it? A civilized table set amongst the wildness of ivy climbing the walls and flowers growing amok.

There is tea served in the garden in Kamala Nair’s new book, The Girl in the Garden, which arrives in bookstores June 15. And that’s all I’ll say – now you know there is a garden, and tea is poured within it, and you still know nothing about who drinks it or why. Plot twists, you are safe with me!

For book clubs or friends who just want an excuse to get together, a tea party at any time of day would be absolutely lovely. An evening tea party, with champagne and cupcakes, would be gorgeous; or go the traditional afternoon route for a bit of girly weekend fun.

A tea party is easy to put together, also. I quickly searched Martha Stewart and found the yummiest twists on the classics:

And then there are the obvious: cucumber and butter (or cream cheese, or mayonnaise) sandwich, egg salad sandwich, and chicken salad sandwich.


photo by: teenytinyturkey on flickr

For something fun to add to the sandwiches, any of these fancy potato chip appetizers would play on the typical overly fancy foods usually served at tea parties.

Don’t forget cakes or cones with clotted cream and a nice jam or two. You could make the scones (here is one of Martha’s recipes) or I personally feel fine about buying them, if you have a bakery near you that makes them.

Brew a little tea and you’re all set for a grownup tea party and The Girl in the Garden.

No Kitchen = No Fun

I have been pondering why I haven’t been writing here since I got to Oman. I haven’t particularly wanted to write. I have the strange sense that a part of me has been cut off and left in America, and I’ve somehow lost the dinner party part of my life without intending to.

At least it's pretty here

I hardly cook here. I love cooking for dinner parties because I love thinking about fancy recipes, who I will serve them to and in what atmosphere, and then actually making the fancy meal I’ve concocted in my head. I can’t do that here because I’m staying in someone else’s house, and it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to take over her kitchen. Unfortunately, domestic peace means limiting my cooking to heating up pasta sauce from a jar or making a quick stir-fry. I hate this reason, but it is what it is.

So, I’ve been thinking up ways to inspire myself without being able to actually create any of my ideas. I don’t know how to overcome this little problem except to come up with ways the ideas can be useful eventually.

A friend sent me a gorgeous meditation on creating for the sake of creating, and I highly recommend reading it for anyone who struggles with their creativity – which is all of us, right?  How to Steal Like an Artist

Luckily for me and my need for a purpose before I feel like coming up with fun dinner party ideas, my friend Kamala Nair is coming out with her debut novel, The Girl in the Garden, quite soon. I have already written about it here and here, as I’m sure you’ll all remember and I’m also sure you have all pre-ordered it so you can have it in your hot little hands earlier than than the non-pre-order slackers. Well done. You’re all bi-winning. [Oh what? Charlie Sheen jokes are already old? Nerds!] The Girl in the Garden will be in bookstores June 15, and will be positioned at the front of Barnes & Noble stores starting June 21, which is a VERY big deal, by the way! It will also be featured on the Bookishreadingclub.com site on the Starbucks Digital Network from 6/28-7/12. There won’t even be any books available by June 29! Aren’t you glad you pre-ordered?

Look at how gorgeous her website is: www.kamalanair.com

Parties simply must be thrown around the theme of her book! I’m going to be writing about some gorgeous ideas I have. Well, to be honest, this book is so evocative, parties can’t help but be gorgeous. Book clubs will particularly find these ideas useful, but anyone can use them – you don’t even need to tell your guests about the fictional inspiration if you don’t want to (but DO, because her book is really really good).

I am also getting excited about going to visit my dad and stepmom and stepbrothers soon, and having people to cook for and a kitchen to cook in! So expect some menus related to family home cooking, with a little gourmet thrown in of course.

So there you go. For the next month or so, look out for Girl in the Garden-themed recipes and party ideas. I can’t wait for you to all read it, and then you’ll really understand the ideas and all be desperate to throw gorgeous parties full of glamour and mystery and definitely some romance for good measure.

Winter White and Lace

I’m still loving the white table for winter…{here, and here}



Martha makes these gorgeously simple lace-covered candle holders, which would look so pretty with baby’s breath bouquets. She says to use rectangular doilies. Where does one find such a thing, I wonder? At a craft store, probably. Or definitely online. A little double-stick tape, and you’re all set with a table that has texture and depth, for not much money. Love it!

Vintage Car Inspiration

I loooooove this post on vintage cars that inspire wedding themes. The main thing they talk about are table design, actually, so it’s really worth a read for those of you love tablescape ideas as much as I do.



It’s a guest post on Snippet & Ink, by Ruby Press. Check them out, its a great website filled with quirky finds that are hard to find.

Holiday Table

This table is so simple, but it still SCREAMS holiday, and wintertime, and celebration! I love it.


Even if you don’t have all the red accent plates and placemats – I mean, seriously, you know I’d just throw down some nice matte red wrapping paper and call it a day – the napkin treatment is easy and really makes the holiday statement for you. You can get these little bells at any place with Christmas tree gear, and then all you need is some kitchen twine and a sprig off the Christmas tree or from outside.

So easy, and so festive.


If you don’t have kitchen twine, just use some ribbon instead. It’ll be even more colorful.


Throw some votives around the table, stick a few more sprigs of greenery in vases, and you’re all set!

I might use this design idea for a dinner party I’m giving my family between Christmas and New Year’s…


All photos from Restored Style, via The Sweetest Occasion. Restored Style bought most of the tableware at Pier One, so if you’re into this look exactly, check it out.

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