dressing the bird

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Yeah, the blog has taken a backseat to life’s happenings, and I miss it. Writing here is honestly a bit of a creative exercise, and exercise is always better when it’s a regular thing, wink wink.  

With Thanksgiving Day a week from tomorrow, thought it might be a good time for reentry by sharing my first published piece, Dressing the Bird. Never mind it’s a neighborhood publication, it feels good to have something I wrote actually in hard copy print, thank you Megan. We’re all about trying new things, putting yourself out there a little, and taking small risks. So, here we go, sharing with you my submission for Delaware Park Living magazine:

Dressing the Bird

First Thanksgiving dinner thirty-one November’s ago we brought to the table a partially frozen bird. Who knew you couldn’t make the Wednesday night bar rounds, sleep a few hours, wake up early, run the oldest foot race in America and do Thanksgiving dinner soup to nuts all in a few hours?
That was our first married holiday meal, and we invited guests. Mom showed up early afternoon and wondered why the turkey wasn’t in the oven and I really didn’t know why either. Simply jumped in with no experience and went to town. Can’t remember how I ever got dinner on the table and fed my people, yet it did happen, and it was memorable.
Now, three decades later, six kids, a new son-in-law, and we’ve got it down. There’s got to be two turkeys, (and now we cook them just fine), good old-fashioned bread stuffing, cooked cranberry sauce with cinnamon and orange, green beans, double amounts of mashed potatoes, candied yams with of course marshmallows on top, roasted Brussels sprouts, soft, buttery dinner rolls, triple amounts of scratch gravy, pumpkin, blueberry, and apple pies. When the kids were little I used to make them pick the berries, and froze them for our November and December holiday pies. Now I call the farm, order a flat or two, and freeze them in 6 to 8 cup zip-lock bags for pie on the ready. Crust has got be scratch, and only with butter, no white shortening in this kitchen, and that can be done early, and frozen before rolling out as well.
One turkey to carve and one to look at until dinner is done. The second bird is so we can send hearty leftovers home with family and friends and for sandwiches the next day. In the early years when Gourmet magazine was still a thing we jumped around with the stuffing, adding chestnuts, or weird things, always with complaints if there wasn’t old fashioned bread stuffing as well. Now we just go with the tried and true, cutting the crusts off of two or three loaves of Pepperidge Farm white and letting the bread dry on the countertop for a few days. In a pinch we’ve been known to throw it in the oven for the speedier version.
The only Thanksgiving dinner I didn’t cook in the last three plus decades was the year I was pregnant with our fourth child, it was her real due date on the big turkey day, and husband and I with our eldest son and our twins were invited for dinner at mom’s house. Walked the Turkey Trot that day, (no drinks the night before), me pushing a double stroller and husband pushing a single, and went for dinner. Second son Maxwell who was two then pushed back from the table after it was all over and declared, ‘I’m loaded’: we still laugh about that today. Helped with dishes that night, told husband it was time to go, left the three wee ones with the grandmom, went and birthed Sarah. Sarah is now turning twenty-six this Thanksgiving season, and we are forever grateful, and still serving basically the same meal.
This family of ours now depends on tradition, and the food that goes with it. They can come home and know the bird will be dressed with old-fashioned bread stuffing, and that there will be gravy and pie, and all the fixings. It’s a secure feeling, and we are thankful for the bounty of this beautiful land, and for the soulful and good feeling of coming to table and breaking bread with those we love.
Wishing you all a holiday season of honest food, and a full heart.
Every day dress, and dressing the bird. xoxo

everything takes longer

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tomato and roasted red pepper soup

Okay, so we’re desperately working on finishing professional plant-based cooking curriculum at Rouxbe, and it’s as expected in our world taking longer than what’s expected. We even paid extra for extra time to finish, a 30 day extension for $129.99 to be precise. As we have only 9 days left to finish, upload and send 28 graded activities, we’re most likely definitely looking at another extension for another chunk of cash. We’ve got life to tend to, the fall garden, the small business, and the family.

We’ve always been a non-traditional student. Night school non-matriculated courses at State University of New York at Buffalo served as our college introduction, and that entire process evolved over seven years, with an eighteen month old and twin newborns in the arms of my husband on graduation day.

This Professional Plant-Based Certification Course is intense. Designed as a six month foundational instruction in plant-based culinary arts, it focuses on the core techniques found in a plant-based kitchen. The course forces me to explore and practice a variety of recipes and flavors from around the world that I might never experience without having to leave my home. It’s all online, love that, and you receive ongoing chef instruction and support. I am consistently challenged to master technique, and those skills will now stay with me forever.

You might recall I was enrolled in the Rouxbe Professional Cook Certification, and that course took me longer to complete than the expected six-months as well. For us, everything seems to take longer, and that’s okay. A few of the lessons are repeated in the Plant-Based curriculum, such as knife skills and dicing practice, and I could upload my earlier work to move the process along. Thought about it, and then thought not. I’m here to learn, and get better, and by doing it again I’ll only get better. Doing things again and over and over to make a more pleasing, satisfying outcome, is the basic tenet of our every day dress lifestyle. It takes work, and it can take a long time, and like I said before we don’t always get it right.

simple cabbage soup with heat from cayenne

confetti quinoa salad – big hit with twenty-six year old daughter

While prepping plant-based soup and salad a few days ago I’m sure I swore and eye rolled a few times as plant things seem to take way longer to bring to table than throwing a tenderloin of any kind into a hot oven. Simple Cabbage Soup with scratch vegetable stock and Confetti Quinoa Salad with garlic fried quinoa will take every flat surface and probably every bowl and several pots and pans in your kitchen.

It’s a journey, and we’re definitely learning new things, and that’s kind of what life is all about anyways.

 

As for the what to wear where, we’re about adding some color to the rotation. If we’re doing new things in the kitchen why not add some new dimension to the wardrobe.

Every day dress all the time and why does everything always take longer than what we expect?

kitchen escapades

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Recently I threw salt and flour on a fruit pie. While it looked okay, it was a kosher salt granulated sugar mix-up, and a bad salt peach pie. Kind of like when you’ve got good stuff in your closet and you simply can’t put it together for the life of you to get yourself out the door, and you’ve just got to go. Cooking and baking have similar qualities to dressing, you assemble good ingredients, read and study if that’s your thing, and continually try to make it better.

We did manage to put together a pretty sweet carrot cake, nasturtiums are from the fall country garden and edible, and a nice little charcuterie thing.

 

Stretch home garden goal is to always have simple, fresh-cut flowers.

Love that you usually get three times a day plus to feed yourself and those you love, and oftentimes just as many times to wear different stuff if you do different things during the course of your day. As simple as that may be, we here love food, think about it when we’re not with it, and are constantly trying to get the what to wear where thing right for ourselves and those in our mix.

We’re constantly cooking and dressing, and it’s not always good. Here’s to the every new brand new day.

Happy Monday all.

xoxo

 

out for a while

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To cap off summer shenanigans, thank goodness as it’s been a long one, husband and I did a two-day getaway at The Red Horse Inn before hitting Greenville SC for Furman University family weekend.

we stopped at a small Amish store and bought ham off the bone, hot pepper cheese, a jar of mustard and mayonnaise and a loaf of bread

Hiking the foothills of the Blue Ride Mountains and making grilled ham and cheese sandwiches in the petite cabin kitchen were the activities, perfect. The new terrace of the main house was a great spot for a glass of wine or two.

denim shirt with wide legged navy pant

new season square toe lace up boot, a season or so ago bag

Yeah, we’ve been out for a while, and looking to get back in. Two life changes, a marriage and somewhat of an empty nest after sending youngest of six off to Providence College this fall and just gotta say the tank feels low. Things that got us going like writing, and cooking, and even dressing haven’t had the same pull. That’s a problem, as we named this site every day dress, not only to talk about clothes, but more about the idea of getting up, showing up, taking risks and putting yourself out there, and to perhaps help inspire a few women to do maybe a little of the same.

Simply putting this post up on this first day of October feels awkward, as we’ve fallen off the habit, kind of like the first day of school or the first day back at the gym after a too long hiatus. We know we like it, and that it’s good for us, it’s just that we’re out of the routine.

In talking with a client today she reminded me that research suggests it takes thirty days of regularly doing ‘a thing’ to make ‘a habit’. So here we are, with an awkward feeling post, hoping to get back to regularly writing, cooking, dressing.

All I can say is every day dress. xoxo

 

thirty one

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Woke up this morning, had some coffee, hit the gym, and made the bed. Thirty one years ago today and almost all of those days in between I’ve followed pretty much the same routine, although that specific day I married the man of my dreams, the love of my life.

I knew at first sight that he was the one, he thought I was way too young. Kind of positioned myself so he would notice. Notice he did: a bride at twenty-two, a mom at twenty-three; we’re still here, still loving.

Good habits and aligned values have helped us endure. Family first, lots of exercise, shared meals.

taller than my man, and wore Azzedine Alaïa for church ceremony

We created our wedding day and have created every day since. Even then I loved clothes, and made the wedding dress, and the dresses for five bridesmaids, and two flower girls. Sewing my clothing was a self-taught skill, a hobby, and a necessity back then. Crazy girl, yet crazy kind of got me here today, thankful. Still love clothes, yet finding I need less, and want better. Even so I’m often most comfortable in husbands shirt, rolled sleeves, and worn in blue jeans.

Sure we still love to dress up, and celebrate. We celebrated large for oldest daughter’s wedding a month or so ago, and felt it fitting to share photos of that day, on this day, as both days celebrate love.

Thirty one and more, and every day dress. xoxo

all photos | Sarah Bridgeman

Yes, I wrote this post on our thirty-first wedding anniversary day, yesterday. Sarah Bridgeman, our daughter’s wedding photographer, compiled over 1,700 photos for us, each one seemingly better than the last. As you can imagine it takes hours to sort through, and wanted to post some of her images here, as to us they are just so magical. We hope you too can feel the love. Thank you, Sarah. 

always a crumble

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The men in my life are out west fishing and doing man things, happy for them. Happy for me too as I’m basically home alone and not doing much.

Love them to infinity and beyond.

Even so every day stuff is always a crumble, kind of going and doing and making good things happen, kind of on the fly.

You know we’re all about what’s fresh and peaches are peak: sliced them up, added a little extra sweetness and butter is love and it was all beautiful and delicious, even if home alone.

xoxo

 

a simple garden

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Sure, there’s some yard and lawn help, yet no gardener; who really has a gardener these days? Having always wanted a garden, simply have had to dig in.

Three plus decades ago while in our very first home I sat driveway side for hours and hours and pulled bushels and bushels of established Pachysandra thinking it was a damn invasive weed. Felt pretty darn satisfied at day’s end with my efforts, yikes.

Now I plant tender roots of all kinds and patiently watch them grow.

not perfect yet perfect pears from husbands fruit orchard

It’s a good place when your head is down with hands in dirt. A garden of any kind feels safe and reassuring.

even on her wedding day we had watering to do

If you’ve been a follower here you know I’ve gone somewhat silent: oldest daughter married and youngest off to college: life changes. Trying to figure out a space in this spinning world, and what’s next.

homegrown kale, basil, tomatoes, thyme, blueberries

A simple garden is a good start.

what we’ve got going on now…

Every day dress, xoxo.

where we’re at

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late summer quick chicken with tomato garlic compote | all vegetables from farm share

2000 miles via auto and air and 8 states in 7 days and now we’re back in the studio and making dinner at home, woot woot.

today in the studio trying on plaid, these are size 6

love this look 

leopard and plaid denim and red pumps, yes please

I’ll be in the studio until the morning of September 11th, and for the record kind of all about these plaid denim pants.

Hoping everyone out there is hitting their stride with all new season stuff: back to school, back to work; and the world spins on….

molasses cookies with vanilla and sea salt caramel ice cream, why not, still summer, still living, this was desert for 3

kitchen goods | me

clothing items | Worth New York 

xoxo

fading summer

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We’ve been moving 5th child into university the past few days, and we’re all lingering about, hanging on, fading summer. She opted out of her dorm room last night, and we we’re three in a bed, priceless.

It’s been a summer for the record books, husband and I basically checked out of professional life for two straight months, (him, not so much, me, 100%), and late this afternoon we fly home.

dress | Worth New York

Tomorrow first thing I’m back into styling, and I’m going in cold. Simply gonna jump, no time for slow immersion, stunning new fall clothes arriving overnight air to studio, and late afternoon client appointments.

Thank you, Michele, for reaching out and inviting us to visit and reminding me how lucky we are to dress amazing women in beautiful clothing.

Every day dress, fading summer all around.

xoxo

the very best blur

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Two weeks ago Saturday oldest daughter was married and it was a very best day and the very best blur. Of course we have crystal clear memories, yet honestly it was all so magical and all so fast, kind of like all best days, leaving an indelible and permanent feeling of euphoria on the mind and in the soul.

Yes, it was a very best day: two families and the gods and the stars aligned. A singular new little family of two was formed, and our two respective families and friends grew exponentially.  Love all around.

To get to that day and place required each and everyone of us put forth our very best efforts. The team was immense, intimately intertwined, and planning started the very next breath after the giddy engagement, November 5th. If my math is right, it was exactly 40 weeks of planning and preparation, equal to what goes into a birth, which are my other best days, each one internally tattooed.

Proper ceremony was in the city, and beautiful reception in the country. Husband and I moved  ourselves into our summer house the last week of June and gardened our hearts out until the very morning of August 11th, it was heaven on earth.

Today is Monday and there are new beginnings happening all around us. Fifth child starting her collegiate sophomore year and sixth and youngest beginning her first. Oldest son soon to celebrate his third decade, and newlyweds moving from NYC to Boston next weekend.

Thankful for life, and all of its idiosyncrasies. Wishing everyone their very best blurs.

xoxo

professional photos | Sarah Bridgeman @ sarahbridgemanphoto.com

all others | iPhone

 

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