31 July 2010

Chilmark: So long

So long, MV. 2010 was filled with sing-a-longs with people who can really sing, a rescued lobster named Beyonce, wine at 11 am everyday, outdoor showers in the morning, bracing swims in the sea, a celebration and book signing of a published memoir, picking up seashells on the beach, arugula salads from Beetlebung Farm, cheese slices from Chilmark Store, several white bean sandwiches from The Galley, uncles, aunts, cousins getting to know one another again, and one ridiculous night of digging for buried treasure. See you in 2011.

29 July 2010

Chilmark: The Chilmark Store

This vintage Ford is regularly parked outside of the Chilmark Store. Love the Massachusetts plates and the Don't Mess With Texas bumper sticker. I'm gonna make friends with this guy.

Chilmark: Beetlebung Farm

There's a funny thing that happens all over MV, but mostly up-island. Farmers, flowers growers, pie makers, bread bakers will put out signs advertising their goods.
And instead of being greeting by a person, you're greeted by a tackle box or a rusty coffee can labeled with instructions on where to place the money for the goods you take and a thank you for patronizing their stand. It's an old-school honor system that wouldn't really work in, say, Dallas or LA.
The owners tell you what's appropriate and what's not and everyone abides by it.
This particular farm stand, Beetlebung Farm, named so because of an intersection in Chilmark called Beetlebung Corner, is where we go to get vegetables and bags of leafy, spicy arugula.

You can also pick your own flowers from the garden.
Grab a pair of scissors, clip away, and put the suggested toll in the box.

26 July 2010

Austin: Uchiko

Although I'm still on vacay, heading to Uchiko - Tyson Cole's new restaurant in Austin - is at the top of my list when I'm back in Texas. Here are a few shots of the new hot spot and some mouthwatering dishes.
The space was designed by architect Michael Hsu and if you've been to Cole's first Japanese restaurant, Uchi, you can see the similarities - the dark wood, clean lines, yet very nature-inspired interior.

21 July 2010

Edgartown: 3 places to know

Out of the five main hamlets on MV, Edgartown is surely the most refined, most WASP-y of them all. The neighborhoods are filled with white clapboard houses topped with widow's walks that date back to the late 1600s. Aside from Florbelle, Portobello Road is a must-stop for me simply because its offerings, while certainly vintage-tinged, are sophisticated and bring a little bit of "city" back into my life when the daily routine in Chilmark gets too, well, routine.
A little peek at what I find there: John Derian decoupage plates and trays
Loads of art and architecture books
A smattering of greeting cards
Lovely children's books
Silly and unusual things like this Jane Austen puzzle, below, in the upper corner
Of course, there's also The Black Dog which originated here. Not sold anywhere else so when people wear Black Dog togs you know that they've either been to MV - not the easiest place to get to - or they hang with someone who makes the trek here.
We always pick up a shirt for someone. It's important to buy a shirt with the year emblazoned on the back. The older your shirt - say 1974 - the more dedicated Islander you're considered. When I was pregnant with my kids - once in 2004, once in 2007 - I made sure to buy adult shirts for them with the year of their births on them. Instead cred when they come back up here as teens.
Espresso Love is the place I love to come for a latte. It used to be a restaurant called Savior Faire and a decade ago my husband and I had the best meal of our lives there and the most unbelievable salad called "Salad That The Chefs Eat" a kitchen sink concoction of greens, tomatoes, and chinese noodles topped with mashed potatoes. Sounds disgusting, but I swear it was delicious.
Like most of the places here, college kids run Espresso Love. When I leave a tip in the plastic tip jar - tip jars are at nearly every little place on the island - I like to read the names of the colleges they're attending which always include Colgate, Boston U, Amherst, Smith, Bennington. I'm still searching for the tip jar with Texas Tech, A&M, or UT scrawled on it.

20 July 2010

Edgartown: Florabelle

Edgartown, a quaint little down-island town about 20 minutes from Chilmark is where one of my favorite stores on the island is. Florabelle carries cotton voile tunics, skirts, dresses, and other assorted beach-y necessities.
I met the owner, Noni, during my first visit to MV a dozen years ago. I was on my way to dinner at the Beach Plum in Menemsha and stopped in her little hat shack outside the hotel. We became friends, were pregnant with our first children at the exact same time, and keep in touch with annual Christmas cards.
She's adept at mixing scented oils for custom-scented lotions, shampoos, and conditioners. Just tell her what you're looking for and your personality and she'll whip something up from a few of the hundreds of the oils she has on hand.
This year she has stocked Florabelle with Kerry Cassill robes, Matta dresses and tops, and Sea Bags.
Still trying to decide which one of these Cassill robes I want to bring home.

19 July 2010

Monday in Chilmark

Woke up to a blinding bright sun, but by 11 am it had given way to grey clouds. The sky opened up, the rain is pouring down and the entire seaside is chilly, windy, and wet.
On days when it's sunny our schedule is simple: Wake up, breakfast outside on the porch, a board game or two.
Most days I sit outside and watch my kids and their cousins play in the backyard. Then a lunch on the porch with things picked up from the Chilmark Store, where when shopping it's normal to run into Ted Danson or Meg Ryan getting a coffee, pizza, or some such.
My nephew Jasper comes to the island frequently, as he lives in Boston. He and his girlfriend both work with kids with learning differences so they're extremely patient. The perfect pair to engage in play with a 6 and 3 year.
Then it's down to the beach - our beach is called Stonewall Beach because, as the name implies, is covered in grey and white stones - for a few hours. Then back to the house for nap, some wine, and dinner preparations with everyone. Tonight Mother Joan - my mother-in-law - has 16 people at the house with the Connecticut side of the family on the island.
I think it's time for an afternoon snooze.

15 July 2010

Hello, Massachusetts

I just want to give fair warning that for the next couple weeks posts will be A. random and not so regular and B. not very Texas-focused. We're off to my dear mother-in-law's summer retreat tomorrow and I get to wake up to this every morning. I can't really even begin to tell you how important Chilmark, Massachusetts in July is to our family.
Ten years ago I was married on that lawn you're looking at. This is where my family was when my brother-in-law passed away two years ago. The same house that dear friends have come up to for ridiculously fun weekends filled with clambakes and assorted shenanigans. The same little seaside town that this Texas girl thought was so very foreign and strange, but has adored coming to for the past 12 Julys. Something always seems to happen when we're there. Sometimes good (meeting my in-laws for the first time, marriage, my kids), sometimes bad (Mr. H breaking his leg as a kid, Bo, bits of JFK Jrs plane washing up on that beach). Who knows what will come this year. Can't wait to find out.

Everywhere: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Once again a killer sale is happening when I'm out of town. Beginning tomorrow Nordstrom celebrates its anniversary by marking down new fall merchandise that's just been delivered to their stores. Through August 2 new collections from Rag & Bone, DKNY, True Religion, John Varvatos Star USA, BOSS Orange, and a ton of others will be on sale.
Check out these boots: Guess Revenge boots, $198.95, on sale through Aug 2 for $129; Sam Edelman Sutton boot, $299.95, on sale for $199; Stuart Weitzman Hammer boot, $595, but on sale for $349.
This Suzi Chin dress is regularly $148, on sale for $98; the Kenneth Cole Emcee Squared handbag is normally $298, but marked to $198 for the Anniversary Sale. Again, this is all new clothing and accessories for fall. You know you're dying for a new something for the upcoming season.

14 July 2010

Dripping Springs: Dripping Springs Vodka

Something else from Dripping Springs, Texas that's the complete opposite of Richard's Rainwater. Dripping Springs Vodka is about to be added to my bar alongside Tito's not only because it's Texas-made using mineral-rich Hill Country spring water, but because I drink more vodka sodas than anyone I know.
It's good enough that it won Gold and the Vodka Purity Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2008.
Click here to see a few of the DSV cocktail recipes I'm about to test. Purely for work purposes, of course.

13 July 2010

Dallas: CaritoCaro

CaritoCaro opens its doors the last week of July in the West Village. Next door to Paciugo, the boutique carries a slew of handbags, sandals, swim wear, and jewelry handmade in Latin America. Everything in store is made in super-small batches - of each design there will be only five - and 5% of the total profits will go back to programs that support those indigenous communities.
Can't wait to get one of these mochila handbags from Colombia. Vogue editor Lauren Santo Domingo collects this little gems, and last December everyone from Proenza Schouler, Missoni, and Phillip Lim create their own versions of mochila's for Miami's Mochila Project which benefitted the Wayuu tribeswomen who weave these bags.

12 July 2010

Austin/Houston: Show Ponies Pretty People

Years ago Annebet Duvall left Austin (and Houston) for NYC to intern for Nylon, and eventually work for Vogue, and the now defunct Jane, but she's still a Texas girl through and through. She's back here often for trunk shows for her line, Doucette Duvall, and today she sent me a link to a newish blog of hers, ShowPoniesPrettyPeople.
Duvall is also a talented stylist (see her fab portfolio here) and her new blog gives a sneak peek at her road trips, photo shoots, and the evolution of her eponymous line (hello, Barneys order!). It's an easy way to keep up with her because she's tripled-booked these days.
Photos courtesy of Doucette Duvall.

11 July 2010

Austin: Falling Whistles

There are so many amazing design companies that are socially conscious, many of them have founders who are from or live in Texas. Everyone from JADEtribe, GAIA for Women, TOMS, and Ashley Pittman are producing products made by people who are paid a fair wage or the merchandise benefits an organization.
The newest to be added to the list is Austin-based Falling Whistles. Sean Carasso founded FW after a visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo where he learned that small children who were too young to carry a gun were given a whistle to blow to alert the army of oncoming fighters.
100 percent of the proceeds of each whistle purchased from FW benefits children who've escaped from the ongoing war and Texans Erin Wasson and Beyonce are already donning their own Falling Whistle necklace.
Don't you want to help? Click here to read why we all should.