Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sweetgrass Lowcountry Weddings by Charmayne

Lovely, refreshing, and visually stunning are just a few of the descriptions a Charleston Lowcountry wedding evokes. It's a gracious location rich in tradition, perfect for that very special day and, of course, holds the allure of that sweet, slow, southern feel of the sea island culture.

A popular trend for the past few years that does not appear to be going away anytime soon has been to add a bit of unique, local flair to your wedding with Sweetgrass Baskets. Include locally crafted, handmade Sweetgrass Baskets to your tables, and as lovely favors for your guests to keep. Delightful as a ring bearer tray, flower girl basket or as beautiful holders for your table flowers, sweetgrass baskets make for an authentic Lowcountry experience and cherished remembrance.

Handmade Sweetgrass Palmetto Roses by Charmayne Nezz Art LLC
"Tradition holds that during the War Between the States, 
Southern Ladies would give their true love a palmetto rose 
to keep them safe from harm and like her love for him, was everlasting. 
Today the Palmetto Rose is still a keepsake symbolizing everlasting love."

Charmayne Nesbitt is one of the very talented "basket ladies" who has been sewing baskets in the Lowcountry tradition, preserving the history and educating about the art of sweetgrass basketry. Since she sewed her very first basket, Charmayne has honed her craft and has become sought after for her careful detail and polished finish of her work.

Photo: Handmade Old Fashioned Sweetgrass Basket by Charmayne Nezz Art LLC
Charmayne will help you to set the right mood with her wedding packages including table baskets, flower holders, Palmetto Roses, and wedding keepsakes. Of course, she will be happy to work with you to customize the perfect package for your special day!

"Also called the Everlasting Rose or the Charleston Love Rose, 
the Sweetgrass Palmetto Rose makes a lovely and lasting bouquet 
and adorned on the groom and groomsmen, they are fabulous boutonnieres."

Photo: Handmade wedding favor by Charmayne Nezz Art LLC
"Coiled basketry is one of the oldest African crafts in America, 
appearing in South Carolina during the late 17th century." 

Each of Charmayne's pieces is made by her hand with all the care and love that comes with preserving a piece of history.

Photo: Handmade by Charmayne Nezz Art LLC

For inquiries/orders, please call 843-412-0567 or 843-336-4383 or email Charmayne at and visit her website at .

Handmade with care requires time, and some orders may require a 30-60 day notice.

You can visit her basket stand in Mount Pleasant located at the intersection of 2966 Hwy 17 N. and Muhlenbergia Drive. (Front entrance to Gregorie Ferry Landing Apartments)

Photo: Nezz Art LLC

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Anne Neilson Fine Art

I just spent two cups of morning coffee looking at the very beautiful artwork of Anne Neilson of Anne Neilson Fine Art in Charlotte. I think that's a morning well spent. We all love pretty don't we?

This image belongs to and is of Anne Neilson's original artwork called "A Greater Joy."
For more information, click to go to her website

She shares her inspirations and stories that create her art. This image is of the cover of Strokes of Compassion.
This image belongs to and is of Anne Neilson's art book called "Strokes of Compassion." 
For more information, click to go to her website
She has several gorgeous art books and is making beautiful journals which will be due out very soon but can be pre-ordered on her website. She has four different images, but this one is my favorite.

This image belongs to and is of Anne Neilson's art journal called "Light of My Presence Journal."
For more information, click to go to her website 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Garden Inspirations by Charlotte Moss

This book because we all love pretty gardens and pretty books.

Expected publication: April 28th, 2015 by Rizzoli (first published April 14th, 2015)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Let's make this recipe for what seems to be a delightfully refreshing cocktail from the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits



1  1/2 cups Tequila
1 cup citrus juice (mixture of freshly squeezed lime, orange, lemon & tangerine juices)
3/4 cup (or more) soda water
Ice cubes

1.  Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher and stir.
2.  Pour into cocktail glasses and serve over ice.

Photo from

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey ... @kristywharvey #BookReview

Dear Carolina is an ambitious first book for a young Author indeed, and a book well done. Two mothers different by circumstance, holding space for each other with similar heart, one a biological mother, the other the adoptive mother each tell a love story to their child. This young author has written a story of families coming together in support of each other; it's a story of pain, heartbreak, renewals and love. Written in beautiful southern voice, it is lyrical.

"You can never have too many people who love you." 
~Khaki from Dear Carolina by @kristywharvey 

There have been times when I've been asked to read an advance copy and give an honest review but find myself uninterested in the story or writing. In those rare times, I'll simply decline to publish the review; this time was quite different. Immediately taken with this story from the very first few pages, I found myself wishing I could keep reading instead of working.

 The strength of the women, the richness of the characters traveling this story is beautiful, and it's lovely and it's brave. It is a book well worth reading for the writing and the story.

"But I knew right well, 
watching the moon rise that night, 
that no matter what them smart scholars say, 
love is the hardest equation." 
~Jodi from Dear Carolina by @kristywharvey 

I enjoyed Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey. I'd recommend to anyone who believes family doesn't just mean blood relations. Tweet this

About the Author
"Kristy Woodson Harvey holds a degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s in English from East Carolina University. She writes about interior design and loves connecting with readers. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three-year-old son. Dear Carolina is her first novel."

There's more
You can learn more about Kristy and her work as an Author and a Designer by visiting her website where you can also pre-order Dear Carolina that is set to release May 5, 2015. As well, all the usual places including Barnes & Noble and Amazon, but if you are so inclined, I suggest purchasing at and supporting a local independent bookstore in your neighborhood.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Get it now!

Follow this blog by adding your email address to the entry in the right column where it says "Get Beach Walking in the Desert delivered to your Inbox!" I will never see your email address. It will only be used to send you an email each time I post a new blog.

Whiskey Tales, South x southwest 
reading, writing, and lifestyle. 
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Friday, February 27, 2015

Cowgirl Dirt cosmetics has a new product ... #MakeUp

Cowgirl Dirt cosmetics has a new product ... It's Under Eye Highlight Concealer, and it neutralizes the dark area under your eye while highlighting the eye at the same time ... and it's on SALE today! Check it out under concealers at

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Warby Parker ... Fashion Eyeglasses and Do Good Philanthropy

I don't typically write about fashion items, but I do like to write about companies I think are doing something important and are moving beyond the traditional business models.

Warby Parker is a designer eyewear company that has created an alternative to the dominant higher priced eyewear company.

According to Warby Parker's website "The eyewear industry is dominated by a single company that has been able to keep prices artificially high while reaping huge profits from consumers who have no other options."

I wish I had learned this before I picked up my newest prescription glasses. A lower price and lofty ambition would have swayed me to consider their designs.

They have also created a business model that includes giving back to those in need. I like when companies try.

They say, "Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, which means that 15% of the world’s population cannot effectively learn or work. To help address this problem, Warby Parker partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need."

Well, I like that idea, and I am commending their work. Not only is it good for those in need but it's just good business to push the companies name out to the public as a leader. Their Do Good program is a good thing! Watch the video too, you'll learn why this outreach builds economies. It's short but powerful. Seven hundred million people the world over have limited or no access to glasses.

You should check out their blog too. They write about writing like this post about "five-word memoir titles", parades, parties, books, and music ... I like that!! I do and I like it because they aren't hawking their wares in every post. In a world that is increasingly commercialized and where intense competition forces businesses to constantly be in sales mode, it's refreshing to see something different such as this older post about the musician Beck. They are sharing a bit of their soul. Yes, it leads to sales but at least your happy getting there. It's real business, and it's fun.

Now take a look for yourself at the great looking prescription eyewear, starting at just $95.00 and take advantage of their Home Try-On program.

They've got a lot going on!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Review of Out With the Tide by Lola Faye Arnold ... @arnold_lola

I just finished the last page of Out With the Tide by a new author Lola Faye Arnold. I picked up this book because I liked the title and the cover art, a book set in parts of South Carolina familiar to me. The place a story resides in is important to me and I was pleased with the author's choices. I was also pleasantly surprised when one of her characters, though only with a brief part hailed from Albuquerque, New Mexico, another place familiar to me.

I don't often use the word nice when writing about a book I've read, but I will, in this case, it was a nice story.  Wordy and perhaps a bit overdone, it was nice; it was sweet ... until the end, when I was caught off guard. You see I didn't expect much from the ending because I found the middle of the book to be drawn out with just too many words and no clear understanding of where the story was going or why I should be interested.  There were elements I would have wanted to know more about such as the main character's capacity for the supernatural and there were other elements such as the constant mind talk that I could not have cared less about but only because there was too much of it. I skimmed through large sections of the book sticking with it just to see how it played out and if there would be a point.  I wanted to like this book.

It was the end that told the story and perhaps will be the beginning of a sequel for this author to pursue. That one last chapter made reading the book worthwhile and gave me the impression that this author might be one to watch.

Follow the author at @arnold_lola and on Goodreads. Out with the Tide can be purchased on Amazon

Friday, February 20, 2015

Where dreams go ...

She ran down the steps and out to the front yard. She knew he would come to her eventually. She looked every way to see where he was, maybe he went 'round back, maybe he wanted to play hide and seek. Hopefully, he had brought a surprise for her and maybe today would be the day that she got to spend time with him.  Maybe today she would sit in his lap and he would tell her how much he loved her and when he would be home forever. She thought she saw him. He was wearing a trench coat and a hat and he brought a friend who was dressed just the same.

But it wasn't him; these men looked somber. She saw her mama open the front door and talk to the men. She didn't feel good when she saw her mama touch her throat and look over at where she was standing. She could tell mama was sad and so she ran, ran all the way around the side of the house, behind the swing set and further into the bushes that led to her secret hiding spot and she cried. She cried because she knew. She cried because she would have to live in a world where Daddy's didn't come home, where men in trench coats came and took dreams away.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Getting caught up

I wrote several book chapters this weekend and last night so please forgive my lack of posting the Monday Mull and What’s for Dinner.

I'm putting the work into showing up on the page but will do my best to continue to post to this blog as well.  I was on a roll and really accomplished much more than I thought I would. I still don’t have a title, but I know it will present itself when the time is right. I’ll keep you updated.

I'll have a review up in the next week or so on my current read and I have a post planned for my good friend in Florida who is not only a published author, but who also runs a not for profit where she works with therapy horses. I’m so proud to know her and the work she does for those who have challenges.

Let’s see, I should be receiving Kristy Woodson Harvey’s new book Dear Carolina in the next week or so to read and review and let’s not forget that Karen White has her newest book, The Sound of Glass being released May 12th. Set in Beaufort, SC I am sure this will be deeply felt lowcountry story of family secrets revealed. Also, Laura Childs has a new Tea Shop Murder Mystery out on May 5th titled Ming Tea Murder. I'm looking forward to reading what mischief Theo and Drayton are getting into.  

That should wrap it up for now, I'm heading back to the page.

Image from

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Perfection of an Imperfect Life

I think I remember a few things from my earliest years when we all lived in a second floor walk-up apartment on a huge street across from a huge post office that had the most amazing length of steps up to the front doors that shined a gold patina.  I remember being small sitting in a big rocking chair in my parent’s room at the back of the house, warm from the heat of the air coming through the open window that looked out on what I thought was the biggest and most beautiful tree in the world. Even as a small girl, I just couldn’t reconcile looking out the front windows of the house and seeing a busy street with cars and a constant barrage of students walking from the subway station to the high school where they were students and the view from the back of the house of the biggest and most beautiful tree.  I liked the back of the house better.
On that day as I remember I watched dust particles float in a stream of sunshine that cascaded through the leaves of my tree. I was convinced that those floaters were angels coming to talk with me about the adventures I’d take and the places I’d go. My sisters and brothers were older than me so I spent a lot of time by myself while my mother  worked, or napped or read or did anything that would have meant not being involved with me right then and there but that’s how mothers were in those days they say. My imagination became my best friend right and I conjured Susan, my imaginary friend.  All the adults would say I had a great imagination but no one really wanted me to imagine. I found that out later when for the mere attention of family I stuffed that imagination right down my throat. I would start all my sentences with ‘imagine if’ until one day while walking down the street to buy some penny candies at Minnie’s, my sister told me to stop saying that ‘cause what you imagine can’t come true and I couldn’t hang around her and her friends if I was always imagining ‘cause I was embarrassing her.  So I stopped. I stopped sharing my imagination and I started living for others, and sometimes I got angry at my sister for handing me the tool that I used to start construction on my own personal mini prison where  I kept my ideas and my dreams and my visions all to myself.
Eventually I built the walls and stairwells that led to several floors of extra rooms, hidden rooms and yea, shameful rooms of my prison. It no longer just contained my hidden imagination, my creativity, my desire to vision the story. It eventually contained every imperfection of my life.  Thus was my world of many years. There was the settling for a career that suited my family followed by a multitude of unfulfilled jobs, failed relationships, failed marriages, an inability to settle myself and all of those imperfections finding a special place in the many rooms in my prison.
 I heard said life is a circle, we just keep running around that quarter mile and it ends up being that everything that you start out being is everything that you will eventually be anyway, and the imperfections are only pretty little gems that give you a good shine kinda like the gold patina that was on the doors to the huge library across from my childhood home. It’s even okay to build prisons, we all do in one way or another ‘cause truly we all become imperfect once we forget who we were meant to be but we can remember again, we can put the for sale sign on that prison real estate, and just keep the shine.

Then I imagined that it was perfectly acceptable to be imperfect so I was.

Photo from

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What's for Dinner - Mississippi Pot Roast

Mississippi Pot Roast

1  2-3lb beef roast
1  packet of dry Ranch dressing mix
1  packet of dry Au Jus mix
1  stick of butter 
4-6  Peperonchini peppers (basically a whole banana pepper or mild pepper out of the jar)

Place roast in crock pot. Dump everything on top. Put on lid and let cook for 6-8 hours on low. DO NOT ADD WATER. 

A hearty dinner with a side of mashed garlic potatoes and a loaded fresh salad.

Photo from

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday Mull

On Friday I had an unexpected conversation with my ‘boss’ who seems to only look for the negative.  I’m pretty sure he just doesn’t like me. That’s the impression I’ve had since I first met him. I’m just too old to tolerate the nonsense that goes on in corporations. They are like giant high schools chuck full of all the famous characters from those days including the jocks, the cheerleaders, the cool kids, the nerds, and the bullies. You can guess where my boss fits.  In a bare short time I will be eligible for social security if it’s still around and I can’t imagine myself listening to the prattle of a man half my age that has no people skills whatsoever until the time I could retire. It’s time for me to move on … I just need to figure out where to go. Focus … Focus!

I watched the super bowl on Sunday at my sister’s home; well I munched on the goodies, flitted about, chatted with the ladies and was basically bored by the actual game being played. I did love that Budweiser commercial with the Clydesdale's. Just not a sports fan.

The snow came again Sunday night into Monday and this time with a vengeance. Awake in the dark of morning as usual, I took Cody dog out for his constitutional. The snow reached his stomach. He wasn’t pleased and neither was I.

Schools were closed and my boy spent just about all of the day moving snow. First he worked on our driveway, walkway and area around the post box. He then proceeded to help the woman across the road. He was exhausted when in mid afternoon he was still moving snow and the flakes started to fall again. It’s still very messy out there and I doubt it will be any better tomorrow.

I can’t wait for the cold and snow to be gone. I’m much more a sun and fun type. I didn’t bother checking but I would imagine Punxsutawney Phil proclaimed another six weeks of winter. I did however light candles for Imbolc (St. Brigid’s Day or Candlemas) to mark the season’s change of light. Meanwhile I’ll keep dreaming of seashells and flip flops, sun and sand.

It’s a night to stay at home in comfort and warmth with a good book or blog, maybe I’ll write a bit more, maybe I’ll just pray for focus.

© Beachwalkermari 2015

E-Readers vs. Print Books - Which is the better choice?

I just read an interesting article about the efficiency of an E-Reader vs. a Print Book and although I like to think of myself as doing my best to be careful of the environment I had never thought about which method of reading is more eco-friendly.

I have books in both forms and generally, if it is a book written by a favorite author, I will purchase the print book. Often with favorite authors I like to have a signed copy. If it is a new author or one that I don't read the works of very often, I will purchase it through my Kindle.

How do you like to read? Take a moment to review the info-graphic below and you can read the full article by Custom Made on their blog. Share your thoughts in the comments.

P.S I did a bit of reading about Custom Made because I hadn't heard of them before and I found that one of the things they stand for is quite dear to my heart; U.S Made Goods. "Custom Made wants to bring craftspeople to shoppers, betting on consumer interest for U.S. made goods built by trade professionals."  I like companies that want to 'change the rules!'

Friday, January 30, 2015

Jackson's Pond, Texas by Teddy Jones

I wasn’t expecting much from this book, I had never heard of the author and hadn’t seen any reviews for it but I was quite surprised at the pleasantness of the writing and the sweetness of the story. Told through the viewpoint of the various characters, we follow Willa from a young girl through to her twilight years and we learn how a life well lived could be in this Texas town where the pond is a metaphor for Willa’s aging.

I read this book on a Kindle so I didn’t have the book in hand to easily chart my progress and except for seeing the percentage read, wasn’t acknowledging how quickly I was moving through the story. When I unknowingly reached the last chapter I felt a momentum building in the story, something very specific but I don’t want to add what could be a spoiler so I won’t elaborate and I was anxious to see where it was going and then I unknowingly reached the last page and boom, it was over. I was so surprised I actually went back through the Kindle, a tedious affair, and re-read the last chapter wanting to know if I had missed something. I guess I did miss something because it was indeed the end and I didn’t get it. It was sudden and unexpected.

I really did think this was a delightful story and would recommend it to others simply because it is a delightful story with likeable characters and filled with honest feelings but also because perhaps you’ll see what I missed and enjoy it all the more.

Teddy Jones is the author of five other books including her latest Well Tended released in 2014. Teddy's books can be purchased at Amazon and at all the usual places including B&N, however I hope you will support small business and shop a local independent bookstore such as Blue Bicycle in Charleston, Bookwork’s in Albuquerque  or one right in your neighborhood. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

LAST DAY>New Cream Eye Shadow colors & containers! 15% off today at Cowgirl Dirt cosmetics!

New Cream Eye Shadow colors and containers!

15% off today !

Copyright © *2014 Cowgirl Dirt, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What's for dinner .... New Mexico Frito Pie

From the New Mexico Beef Council recipe file. This is a favorite New Mexico meal, very yummy. This is made with New Mexico red chile which if you've never used it before will find it simple enough to make but you may or may not be able to find the dry ingredient in a store near you so you can order it online at Diaz FarmsMade in New Mexico or Chimayo Chile Bros.. I like Chimayo Dried Red Chile best. I had never heard of Frito Pie before I lived in New Mexico but I quickly became a fan. You'll find that kids will love it too. 
If you aren't familiar with New Mexican Cuisine, read this wiki.
New Mexico Frito Pie

Serves 8 people

2 cup(s) pinto beans, picked through and rinsed
6 cup(s) water
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1 pound(s) ground beef (96% lean)
1 small onion
1 large clove garlic chopped
2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
16 ounce(s) Red Chile puree (see recipe here)
16 ounce(s) can of beef broth
2 tablespoon(s) flour
2 tablespoon(s) butter
Side dish
Bag of Fritos (or crushed corn chips)
diced tomato
shredded lettuce
shredded cheese

Beans: In a Crock Pot add 6 cups of water, salt and beans. Cook beans on high for approximately 6 hours.

1. When beans are almost done, heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, onions and garlic.
2. Saute’ until onions are clear.
3. Heat butter and flour until browned, combine with onions and garlic. Add 
chile and broth. Let simmer for ~20 minutes.
4. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat add ground beef; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into small crumbles and stirring occasionally. Pour off drippings and add to chile mixture and let continue to simmer.
5. When the beans are done add the chile mixture.
6. To serve, sprinkle Fritos in the bottom of a bowl, add chile beans, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and shredded cheese and Enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Mull

The snow is falling. It looks like a white out from my window and it’s cold. I can feel the cold seeping through spaces that should have been insulated if this old house had been better cared for over the years. Schools will be closed tomorrow, I already received the call. The weather dude is saying it’s going to be a huge storm and the view out the window makes it seem he’ll be right. Cody dog with his south x southwest roots doesn’t like the snow. He’s made that clear so I’ll have to keep a place cleared on a grassy area.

My boy passed out at school this morning and I had to pick him up from the nurse’s office. That was before the snow started to fall. It’s about the blood you know. Every time he has a class that is covering a biology topic and they discuss blood, he passes out. It’s not the first time. Over the years I’d say he’s passed out three or four times and always when blood was involved. He’s not planning for a medical career.

I have a job that pays the bills and when I returned from picking up my son my phone rang and it was my ‘boss,’ the guy that has taken to calling me (I work from a home office) more than he should. Always seeming to want to know something but doesn’t quite ask what he wants to know. So I stumble around the conversations throwing out bits of information about what I’m working on and its success. I wish I could retire but I have a boy and a dog to support.

Today Pen-L Publishing is having a .99 cent sale on new books now until February 14. I purchased Washed in the Water Tales from the South by Nancy Hartney.

Washed in the Water: Tales from the South offers vignettes of folks living the best they know how as they reach out for redemption. Set between 1950 and 1980, each tale stares at an individual as unique as the humid landscape of the South. Hard lives, daily survival, and lessons about getting on with the business of living reverberate among the characters.
I also caught up with a young new author over the weekend, Kristy Woodson Harvey. I wrote a blog post introducing her upcoming book yesterday. Dear Carolina will be released in the spring.

I picked up Out with the Tide by Lola Faye Arnold, also a new author. A line in the notes mentions it's a love story and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’d say a love story is appropriate.

I’ll be finishing up Jackson Pond, Texas by Teddy Jones in the next day or so and will have a review posted soon. I like this book much more than I expected.

That closes out my Monday Mull, the weather will keep me in most of this week and I’ll spend that time when I'm not working with a good book and a good drink. I hope your week‘s weather will be much more enjoyable.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

New Author, New Read ~ Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey

I'm looking forward to receiving an advance copy of Dear Carolina, a book due to release in the spring by new author Kristy Woodson Harvey. This young new author seems to be carving a path for herself ambitiously writing her first book and making her mark by designing home spaces and collaborating with her mama on their blog at Design Chic.

The story sounds to be a heartwarming tale of family and motherly love and I'm happy I'll have an opportunity to review the book and subsequently interview the author.
"Frances “Khaki” Mason has it all: a thriving interior design career, a loving husband and son, homes in North Carolina and Manhattan—everything except the second child she has always wanted. Jodi, her husband’s nineteen-year-old cousin, is fresh out of rehab, pregnant, and alone. Although the two women couldn’t seem more different, they forge a lifelong connection as Khaki reaches out to Jodi, encouraging her to have her baby. But as Jodi struggles to be the mother she knows her daughter deserves, she will ask Khaki the ultimate favor…
Written to baby Carolina, by both her birth mother and her adoptive one, this is a story that proves that life circumstances shape us but don’t define us—and that families aren’t born, they’re made… 

"Dear Carolina is Southern fiction at its best. 
Lovely and lyrical, with the strong voices of the two female narrators 
taking us deep into the heart of what being a mother is about. 
It shows us that love is not without sacrifice, 
and there’s little in life that doesn’t go down easier 
with a spoonful of jam. 
Beautifully written."
New York Times bestselling author Eileen Goudge

Kristy's book can be pre-ordered at Amazon and at all the usual places including B&N, however I hope you will support small business and shop a local independent bookstore such as Blue Bicycle in Charleston , Bookwork’s in Albuquerque  or one right in your neighborhood.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Long Time Gone by Karen White

“{Bootsie} just smiled and told me to wait until I become a mother,
and then I will understand that my real destiny
will be decided by those not yet born.”

Karen White’s recent book A Long Time Gone resonated with me and I found myself  connecting deeply with the characters choices to leave their family though perhaps not in the exact way that the characters did but somewhere deep within the nature of the continuous need to keep moving.

"you can never catch the ghosts you chase"
“When Vivien Walker left her home in the Mississippi Delta, she swore never to go back, as generations of the women in her family had. But in the spring, nine years to the day since she’d left, that’s exactly what happens—Vivien returns, fleeing from a broken marriage and her lost dreams for children.What she hopes to find is solace with “Bootsie,” her dear grandmother who raised her, a Walker woman with a knack for making everything all right. But instead she finds that her grandmother has died and that her estranged mother is drifting further away from her memories. Now Vivien is forced into the unexpected role of caretaker, challenging her personal quest to find the girl she herself once was.But for Vivien things change in ways she cannot imagine when a violent storm reveals the remains of a long-dead woman buried near the Walker home, not far from the cypress swamp that is soon to give up its ghosts. Vivien knows there is now only one way to rediscover herself—by uncovering the secrets of her family and breaking the cycle of loss that has haunted her them for generations.” ~  From the Karen White website

I was easily lost in this story that I found to be both heartwarming and satisfying. I found myself marveling at the author’s ability to keep straight the storyline of this multi-generational story and was delighted with the beautiful writing and several quotable lines.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the uncovering of family secrets and guarded hearts in a well told story.

White is a prolific writer of what she terms “grit lit,” southern women’s fiction and her next novel The Sound of Glass, her nineteenth will be released in May 2015.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What's for Dinner ... Southern Soul Brunswick Stew

One of my absolute favorites! When I lived in Charleston I would always order Brunswick Stew if it were on the menu. This recipe came from Garden & Gun by way of Southern Soul Barbeque in St. Simons, GA ... comfort food!

Don't be afraid to make this meal serving 15 - 18 because if freezes well.

Southern Soul Brunswick Stew
Yield: 15–18 servings

½ lb. salted butter
3 cups (2 large) finely diced sweet onions
2 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. sea salt
¼ cup high-quality Worcestershire sauce
½ cup North Carolina vinegar barbecue sauce (make ahead)
1 cup sweet mustard-based barbecue sauce
3 lbs. meat (preferably smoked) ... pork, chicken or your choice
2 quarts crushed fresh tomatoes or high-quality canned tomatoes
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh tomatoes
1 quart fresh shucked sweet yellow or white corn (frozen in a pinch)
1 quart fresh baby butter beans (frozen in a pinch)
2 quarts homemade chicken stock
10 - 15 shakes of Texas Pete Hot Sauce or your favorite hot sauce (optional, taste first)

In a good-size cast-iron Dutch oven or stockpot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add diced onions, then garlic, and sweat until translucent, about 15 minutes. Stir in cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, and Worcestershire. Simmer for 6–8 minutes, then add barbecue sauces and meat to the pot (you want to completely cover the meat with the sauces), and cook for another 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, corn, and beans, stir in chicken stock, and let it all simmer for a few hours over medium heat, adding more stock to thin if needed.

Serve it with some corn bread or biscuits!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Mull

It was a quiet weekend, mostly spent tucked inside my home where it was warm. I had totally forgotten about freezing rain having lived in more accommodating weather most recently. The whole area woke Saturday morning to walkways, driveways and streets covered in glistening ice so much so that major interstate roads were closed for long distances. 
Walking Cody dog was certainly an adventure, not so much for Cody who seemed to know just how to navigate over the ice. He did seem to realize that he should just take care of business and get back inside where it was warmer and where breakfast awaited him. Watching the television was pretty interesting with news stations showing clips of cars just sliding around the roads only stopping when they crashed into something.
Since there was no way I was going to go out in the weather I just did all the normal chores most people do when they are home. In between I helped my boy with his essay for school. He had to create an argument as to why the literary canon should be modified to include modern works, more women authors and multi-cultural authors. Of course being the teenager that my boy is, he couldn't help but ‘zing’ his school’s curriculum and I had to help him understand that in doing so he took the chance that his teacher would be offended and perhaps give a lesser grade. Not fully convinced I was right, he still found ways to insert his opinion. That’s my boy! The final product was really quite good and I am very proud of him. Secretly, I’m pleased as pie that he inserted his opinion about how students should be given a choice in literary reading. J

Sunday was much of the same, cold weather and bad road conditions continued and so it became another comfort day at home. I got to spend a lot of time hanging out with my boy. He showed me some very funny YouTube videos and we spent most of our time just laughing. He taught me hip hop moves and I looked ridiculous trying them out but we had the best time and lots of laughter. Laughing is a good thing and when you get a chance to laugh with your teenager, then life is certainly good. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hey DF, let me tell you ...

This morning I was writing a note to a friend of mine who is thinking about visiting Sullivan's Island in SC and she asked me about restaurants on the island. After rereading the note, it dawned on me that I could post my answer (slightly altered to hide her identity) right here for everyone else who is considering a trip. You really don't have to leave the country to get that sultry island feel.

Hey 'DF,'
I love how you get so prepared for your visits to the lowcountry. Sullivan’s Island is such a sweet place. If someone asked me what my favorite beach of all time is, I’d have to say Sullivan’s. To answer your question about restaurants though I’d have to start with Dunleavy’s Pub, the locals love Dunleavy's Pub for quick, tasty lunches. This was a ‘go to’ for my boy and me when we just wanted a good lunch while we were on the island. Across the street is Poe’s Tavern named for Edgar Allen Poe. There are a few interesting stories of Poe’s time on the island. They have great burgers; my favorite is the Annabelle Lee. It’s a Charleston style crab cake on top the burger with a Remoulade sauce. Don’t expect to eat for the rest of the day after that. My other fave is their fish tacos, light, so, so fresh and very tasty. The atmosphere in the evening is delightful, usually crowded; get there early for a seat on the patio. A bit down from Dunleavy’s is a wonderful coffee house / bakery called CafĂ© Medley where my boy and I would stop for coffee (Hot Cocoa for him) and a muffin before heading down to the beach to hunt shells in the early morning. You’ll see lots of locals here getting their morning fix. Sullivan’s Restaurant is also a good choice as is Home Town BBQ among others that you’ll find just driving up and down Middle Street and over Breach Inlet to Isle of Palms, another adventure for you to take.
There are a few new restaurants on SI that I haven’t tried but so many people have told me are great. The Obstinate Daughter has gotten great reviews and the items pictured on their website look wonderful.  Salt is also new and I’ve heard mixed reviews but mostly good and I’ve heard they have a nice Happy Hour. You’ll have to report back if you go to either.
While you are visiting the island, take in a bit of history and check out the Lighthouse, and Fort Moultrie. Rent a bike at Sealand Adventure Sports and get intimate with the island neighborhoods and of course the beach which is the star attraction. Sunset is a spectacular time of day with a cocktail and friends. There is still a bit of sultry wildness to Sullivan’s Island, a place to put down the technology and just relax in the breeze.

PS Check out the Facebook page called Glimpses of Charleston for a daily fix of beautiful photos of the Holy City. The picture here is of my boy some years back on SI hunting treasures.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Mornings poem

the dark morning sky -

pushing its gems

in a fight to win over

the aura of city light

- shimmers

© Beachwalkermari 2008- 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lowcountry ... photo by @charlestonmag

Beautiful! Makes me dream of hazy warmth

Book Review ... New Orleans Mourning (Skip Langdon #1) by Julie Smith

New Orleans Mourning (Skip Langdon #1)

“When the smiling King of Carnival is killed at Mardi Gras, policewoman Skip Langdon is on the case. She knows the upper-crust family of the victim and that it hides more than its share of glittering skeletons. But nothing could prepare her for the tangled web of clues and ancient secrets that would mean danger for her--and doom for the St. Amants...."

The basic story is a fairly good one however following the POV was at times tiresome. I had chose to read this book thinking I might be interested in the series because it is set in New Orleans however descent the basic story, I was completely turned off by the abrupt ending. I felt that so much more could have been done with this story. Characters could have been developed more and certainly a more satisfying ending could have been constructed. Fairly early in the reading I considered putting it down but I continued on hoping for … something!