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March 5th, 2015

The Vendue, Art Hotel, Historic Charleston, South Carolina, Artist in Residence, Fred Jamar, The Rooftop, Restaurant, Charleston’s French Quarter

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Discovering Charleston at our own pace.  Walking, dining, shopping and being just tourists is not a bad thing.  I had being told that The Vendue’s Rooftop Bar offers great drinks and one such drink is the Lavender Martini. And, no we did not try it….maybe next time.  What we did find is that this boutique hotel is the only hotel in Historic Charleston that is considered an Art Hotel.  There are exhibits and even an Artist in Residence Program.  The art is for sale.  In the next photo if you can see it up close, the sculpture is made out of watches.

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The Vendue is located in Charleston’s French Quarter at 19 Vendue Range and 26 Vendue Range.  Yes, 2 properties one in front of the other.  Tel. 843-577-7970  Website?  http://www.thevendue.com There are 45 rooms at 19 Vendue Range and 39 guests rooms at 26 Vendue Range.  These were warehouse buildings that date to 1780.  The restaurant called The Drawing Room is elegant with the beautiful chandeliers that are seen all over Charleston.

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Having a few drinks and then curious to see the art housed at The Vendue, we were invited to walk and admire the artwork.

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This particular sculpture is made out of bullets.

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Across the street the art exhibits continued.

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Meet Fred Jamar, who at present and for months has been the Artist in Residence at The Vendue.

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The photo above was taken by my cousin Maru….Fred graciously let us take photos.  The one on the botton is from one of his paintings of Frat Houses on George St..  Oil on Canvas.

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He is a Belgian Artist and will be the first one to tell you that his life has been a journey of discovery.  He has been many things and has enjoyed them all.   A very interesting life but he says that if he had to do it all over again…a painter always, he would have been.

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To visit the studio or commission an oil painting you may call 843-762-5770 or email fredjamar@bellsouth.net.  His website is http://www.fredpaintings.com.  To buy a painting call or visit RLS on Queen St., Tel. 843-805-8052. Website http://www.rlsart.com.

Discovering Charleston….will continue later.

March 4th, 2015

Charleston Cooks!, Cooking Classes, Maverick Southern Kitchens, Retail Shop, A Kitchen, Charleston, South Carolina, Learn, Share, Enjoy!!

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Charleston in bloom.  I want to see it.  I guess I will have to go back.

“A good Cook is the peculiar gift of the gods.  He must be a perfect creature from the brain to the palate, from the palate to the finger’s end.”  walter savage landor

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I found myself participating….oh yes, getting my hands dirty, in a cooking class.  Charleston Cooks! is located at 194 East Bay St. Tel. 843-722-1212.  Website?  http://www.charlestoncooks.com Charleston Cooks! is a retail shop and a kitchen, where you can learn, share and enjoy.  There were going to be 9 amateurs participating in a One Pot Wonder Cooking Class.

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One pot recipes are perfect for a large group of guests.  Take them to someone’s house as a gift.  Or, prepare them ahead of time when there are not enough hours in the day to labor in the kitchen.  Using fresh ingredients, easy recipes, and awesome seasonings.  They work all the time.

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Haley Gunther was our Chef and Josh was her Assistant.  They were so gracious in welcoming us to their kitchen.  They showed us tricks of the trade….I thought I knew some of them, but to tell you the truth I felt like a novice.

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Haley encouraged us to read the recipes in front of us completely. There have been some classes where a new recipe was invented….you know, a little bit of this and too much of that.  Tasting is very important.

The 9 of us gathered were from Hilton Head, Australia but living in New York, North Carolina, Delaware, and I believe Alabama.  We quickly became friends with a common bond…cooking!

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On the table Cream Cheese Apricot Jalapeno Jam and crostini.  A little tasting before the class started.

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We were going to be making 5 recipes.  Cajun Jambalaya, Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole, Prosciutto and Spinach Lasagna, Chicken Country Captain, and for a sweet ending….a Raspberry Whipped Triffle.  Needless to say, I am not posting those recipes at this time, but if you are interested let me know and post by post I will write them for you.

The mother and daughter team was split with the mother making the Triffle.

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Her daughter and I were in charge of the Prosciutto and Spinach Lasagna.  It turned out so well.  Loved the prosciutto addition to the lasagna.

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And look how pretty it turned out.

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The Australians were having a ball….with Haley keeping a good watch on them…lol.  They were responsible for the Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole.  It seemed that both loved to cook but he mentioned that cooking at the end of the day was so relaxing for him.

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Two pots with different groups cooking.

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On the left the Chicken Country Captain was being prepared and on the right the Cajun Jambalaya was taking shape.

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Chicken Country Captain

Chicken Country Captain

Cajun Jambalaya

Cajun Jambalaya

Each of our plates looked beautiful.  It’s all about Yum and our recipes turned out Yummy!  Perfectly paired with Maverick Wines.

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When we arrived the table was a blank canvass.  We did not know each other.  In a few hours we learned and cooked a meal and then we sat down to eat and chat.  Pretty soon we knew about the ones that behives are a pastime, the others that love to travel, and the husband that mentioned to the Australians if they would be interested in seeing the destroyer….his wife gave him that look that said “what are you thinking!”  Really, a destroyer on vacation?  Anyway, laughter, and a good time are always priceless!!  Thanks Haley and Josh!!!!  Until next time.

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For more information on cooking classes, please visit http://www.charlestoncooks.com/charleston/classes.

March 3rd, 2015

Charleston Eats, Slightly North of Broad Street, S.N.O.B., Charleston, South Carolina…Chef’s Table, Eclectic Lowcountry Bistro, Historic Charleston, BB&T Charleston Wine & Food Festival, March 4-8,”Charleston Dishes Delicious”

Historic Charleston

Historic Charleston

Charleston, S.C., is a good place to get “stuck” when your flight is canceled.  I did not know I was going back to Charleston so quickly.  How lucky, right?

So many restaurants have opened in Charleston since last year.  It’s like you don’t know which one to choose….and then, everyone that has been to Charleston will tell you where to go, what to eat….don’t forget this or that.  I am doing the same thing.

On my book there are 5 “ingredients” to a good restaurant:  Culinary Competence, Quality of Ingredients, Ambiance, Service, and Price.  Which means you want the best chefs or cooks, depending how you want to call yourselves, fresh ingredients, ambiance conducive to conversation, personal service and a good price.  I found S.N.O.B.

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Slightly North Of Broad, or, S.N.O.B., is located at 192 East Bay Street.  Tel. 843-723-3424  Website?  http://www.mavericksouthernkitchens.com/slightlynorthofbroad.  This restaurant is owned by the Maverick Southern Kitchen Group, with other restaurants such as High Cotton in Greenville, and Charleston, Old Village Post House in Mount Pleasant, and Charleston Cooks!  They have gluten free menus available!!

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I arrived at 11:50 a.m.  I thought I would be the first one there.  Oh, no.  The dining room was full.  Then, I was told that there was a seat available at the Chef’s Table.  Are you kidding?…another lucky day.  The dining room is an extension of the kitchen.  The Chef’s Table is long and seats 6 guests.  To my left there were 2 gentlemen, and to my right a couple who knew the Executive Chef, and another guest.

The corn bread was warm and came in a sweet grass basket.  Perfect addition to my soup.

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Checking out what everyone was having I noticed the huge portion of moist meatloaf.  But, I wanted something different like their Curried Chickpea Soup with Cabbage and Currants.  Totally delish, well seasoned and comforting.

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I am always on a culinary journey.  The blending of flavors get my tastebuds doing that je ne sais quai.  Originally, I was going to order the fried chicken livers on grits…..then, my question was:  What is your signature dish?  No hesitation; the Maverick Shrimp & Grits.  That did it.  A signature dish that everyone comes to enjoy.  I wanted it.

The gentleman on my left said to me that his hotel had said S.N.O.B. had the best shrimp and grits.  So, check out my plate….shrimp, home sausage, country ham, freshy tomatoes, green onions, garlic and Geechie Boy yellow grits.

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Geechie Boy Yellow Grits are ground in historic mills in Edisto Island, S.C…..Local!!

No dessert was necessary, I was totally satisfied……the gentleman at the end of the table…I believe his name was George was having a coconut ice cream, which he said was the best.  He visits S.N.O.B. at least 3 times per week.  He considers their cooking one of the best anywhere by far.  That’s a local’s review for you.

Guilty…..the reason I was not having dessert is because I was going to a cooking class next door at Charleston Cooks in about an hour and a half.  Yikes…

Note:  The BB & T Charleston Wine & Food Festival is March 4th until the 8th…this coming week-end.  It is in its 10th year.  It celebrates Lowcountry Cuisine with James Beard Award winning chefs from around the country, as well as the region’s best.  Please check http://www.charlestonwineandfood.com.

When is Spring getting here???

February 22nd, 2015

Destination? Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Winter at The Delaware Beaches, R & R, Southern Delaware, Sussex County, Like it in the Summer, Love it in the Winter

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I don’t have to wonder why people head out to the Delaware Beaches in the winter.  The DE beaches are just a few hours from major cities…visitors come to relax, unwind; the beach is a state of mind.

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In Downtown Rehoboth Beach, there were plenty of visitors walking, shopping and eating the Boardwalk Grub….33 degrees at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, 2/21/15.  I did say shopping, right?  We take tax free shopping in Delaware for granted.

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Never too cold to eat candy from Candy Kitchen.

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Thrasher’s always has a waiting line.  Crispy fries, a bit of salt and a lot of apple cider vinegar.

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A stop to Fisher’s Popcorn….I am taking some of that delicious popcorn to my cousins this week.  Love the new caramel with crab seasoning dusting.  They are going to be hooked, that’s for sure.  I even bought a small container for home to see if it would last for the Oscars tonight.  Sadly to report, it did not.

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Dolles was open, as well.

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Silver Lake is a freshwater lake and one of the 3 in Rehoboth Beach that is closer to an ocean than any other freshwater lake in the U.S.  Very scenic and a bird sanctuary, as well.  On Saturday, it was quiet and still.

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Color!!

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So, if you are thinking about a little get-away….we are here!!

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February 21st, 2015

Shop Local, Sugar Scrubs, “Duck” Tape Bows, Lolipops….Young Entrepeneurs, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware Beaches, Pamper Your Skin with Locally made Sugar Scrubs!!

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Cold, winter, bitter, snowy…..pamper your skin now during the winter, sugar scrubs, locally made by young girls promise to leave your skin so soft…..Oh, pure luxury!!

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In my neighborhood these young girls are busy year round.  During the hot summer weather, they are out there with their lemonade stand.  People do stop.  Nothing better than a cold glass of lemonade at reasonable prices.

So, I was flagged down by one of the youngest….We have sugar scrubs she said.  How much, I asked?  She said $1.  I told them I would take 2.  She yelled at her sister….”bring mine too”.  I gave them $1.00 tip.

I had to keep on going, there was a car behind me.

Once I got home I grabbed Addy and told her we were going for a walk….it was snowing.

They were still there attending to Andrew, another customer.

Andrew bought one of their “duck” or “duct” tape bows, same thing, right?….Awesome he said.

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So I wanted to know more.  From the photo you can see their set-up.  The display, so appealing and very visible.

I asked them what was the name of their company.  Savannah & Sawyer the oldest one said.  But, she is not here.  So, who are you?  She said Sawyer.  The other name of the company is LH….they did not seem to mind that they sold the same thing.

I was told that the scrub needed to be applied with my hands in a circular motion.  And, that I needed to rinse it off.  I hope so…great, love it!!

The “duck” or “duct” tape bows were .50, the sugar scrub was 1.00, and the lollipops were .15.

They also told Andrew and I that the person behind me did not stop.  Andrew told them that they were not going to get everyone….it’s the nature of the business.

These girls are showing us that it is never to early to start a business.  They were so friendly, knew their product well, and had a great sense of marketing….32 degrees…why not scrub?

Have a good one!!

February 20th, 2015

March in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Women & Wine, Dinner, Fundraising for Polycystic Kidney Disease, (PKD), Lupo di Mare, Thursday, March 19th, Delaware Beaches Have a Big Heart

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When women get together there is always a party atmosphere.  It is going to be beautiful in March in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  This frozen “situation” will be gone soon.  Women & Wine is a monthly dinner event that takes place at Lupo di Mare at 247 Rehoboth Avenue.  It is very well attended…Women, wine, a creative Italian 4-course meal, paired with wines, of course..a fun evening indeed.  The best part?  For a good cause….please read on.

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The Delaware Chapter of the PKD Foundation is excited to announce a Women & Wine Dinner for PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) on Thursday, March 19th.  It will start at 6:30 p.m.  The cost is $39 plus gratuity.  Lupo di Mare will make a donation of $5 for each guest in attendance to the PKD Foundation for research into a treatment and cure for PKD.

There will also be raffle prizes donated by area businesses to help raise funds in order to put an end to PKD!!

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PKD is the second most common genetic disorder in which cysts enlarge in and on both kidneys eventually leading to kidney failure.  At present, there is no treatment or cure.  Dialysis or a kidney transplant is the only lifesaving option.  Approximately 1 in 500 or 1,900 Delawareans may be affected by PKD.  For more information about the PKD Foundation and PKD, please visit http://www.pkdcure.org.

When my friend Rosalie Corbett, who is a volunteer for the DE Chapter of PKD sent me an email to see if I would post the information for this fundraising event, I was more than happy to do it.  And when she signed her email as “Living in HOPE” that said it all.  That’s what we all want…Hope!  We never want to lose that.

So, with the help of our amazing community at the Delaware Beaches…Let’s fill all 65 seats!!

For reservations, please contact Alexis Schreiber at 302-226-2240 or Alexis@sodelconcepts.com.

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Note:  I’ll post a reminder as the date gets closer, making sure to let you know what their menu will be, but you will not be disappointed.

February 19th, 2015

Shop Local, Carla’s Rosaries, Puerto Rico, Handmade Rosaries, Jewelry, Bracelets, Ventana al Mar, Mercado Urbano (Urban Market), First Sunday of each Month, Condado, La Isla del Encanto, Save the Date: Sunday, March 1st

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I am praying that it gets a little warmer at the Delaware Beaches…..but I remember well a couple of weeks ago when visiting Puerto Rico we went to the Mercado Urbano or Urban Market that takes place at Ventana al Mar (Window to the Sea) on Ashford Avenue in Condado the first Sunday of every month.  A popular place to be in order to get up close and personal with many local artists….and taste that delicious Puertorican food.

The rosaries did attract our attention.  They were beautiful.  Meet the artist behind Carla’s Rosaries and bracelets…Carla.  Very friendly and most accommodating.  So many of us asking questions…could you add this other medal or replace this one for that one.  With a smile on her face she obliged.

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Carla’s Rosaries are sold in Puerto Rico at Carla’s Sweets in Guaynabo and at Carla’s Sweets cart at Plaza Las Americas in Hato Rey.  Please visit http://www.carlasrosaries.com.  Tel. 787-792-9777  You can find Carla’s Rosaries on Facebook, as well.  Please note that Carla’s Rosaries can be purchased online.

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Carla is also the baker behind Carla’s Sweets.  So successful in San Juan.  I will have to try them next time, but in the meantime you may visit http://www.carlassweets.com.  Shop online, shipping available.

Carla’s Rosaries and bracelets are made with semi-precious stones.  The metals are not silver, but alloy and pewter.  With time the rosaries will take a “vintage” look.  With a bit of care they can last you a lifetime.

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Please open http://www.carlasrosaries.com, to read about her story.  At times when a door closes, another opens.  It was pretty much the case for her.  Going through a difficult time in her life, she went to a family retreat.  She stated that during the retreat she felt anxious….a couple acknowledged the fact that praying had changed their lives.  Carla started to cry.  Some began to pray for her and gave her a Rosary, blessed by the Virgin of Medugorje.  They also gave her the novena of the Divine Mercy, which is supposed to be prayed at 3:00 p.m.  Her story is passionate, she is devout of the Divine Mercy, very spiritual, and very much at peace.

Carla wanted to wear a rosary, not in a traditional way.  She loves accessories….so Carla’s Rosaries began.  Carla’s Rosaries can be worn in a traditional way, or you can wear them like a scarf…worn like that by Carla on the above photos.

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The Mercardo Urbano or Urban Market will be at Ventana al Mar on Sunday, March 1st, and you can be sure that Carla’s Rosaries and bracelets will be making a statement like they usually do.

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Note:  You may have your rosary blessed.

February 17th, 2015

Walk MS 2015, Taylor DeMario, Miss Delaware World, Multiple Sclerosis, Delaware, Walk MS Events, Fundraising…Miss World America Pageant, “Beauty with A Purpose”

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42 years ago, Miss World’s Chairwoman, Julia Morley, created a new theme for Miss World, Beauty With A Purpose, making the Miss World crown the symbol for fundraising, inviting the contestants and license holders from each country to help aid projects in their own countries.  2015 marks the first time in over 30 years that the Miss World Organization has welcomed state titleholders in the United States.

Meet and congratulate Taylor DeMario who is the first Miss Delaware World since 1994!!

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Taylor was crowned on Sunday, January 18, 2015 at World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington.  She will move on to represent Delaware at the Miss World America Pageant in July, 2015 in Washington, D.C., where the national winner will represent America at the 65th Annual Miss World, the largest and most prestigious international pageant, representing Beauty with A Purpose.

Taylor DeMario is the Marketing/Investment Team Coordinator for EagleView Capital, the Wealth Management Division of First Savings Bank.  Taylor’s reign will focus on aiding Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  The news of a family member being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis influenced Taylor to help other families dealing with this condition.  With more than 1,500 known cases of MS in Delaware, Taylor states that Delaware has one of the highest occurrence rates in the nation.  In recent years she has been able to raise nearly $23,000 for the MS Society.  Taylor features her fund raising awareness efforts at http://www.taylordemario.com.

Last year I had the opportunity to meet Taylor at Chicks for Charity Southern Delaware, a monthly fundraising event in Lewes, Delaware.  Her inside and outside beauty was enhanced on that evening when she explained her personal crusade to help those afflicted with MS, something she knows so well, since a loved one has this debilitating disease.

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That prompted my friend, Jody, and I to form a group called Beach Babes and participate on the Walk MS last spring.  Once again, Taylor tells me that she will be at all of the Delaware MS Walks taking place this spring.

Walk MS Wilmington Riverfront on 4/11.

Walk MS Historic Dover on 4/18

Walk MS Newark at Buffalo Wild Wings on 5/5

Walk MS at Baywood Greens on 5/29

Walk MS at Heritage Shores on 5/29

Beach Babes joined plenty of those, including Taylor, fundraising for MS at Baywood Greens.  We had so much fun and the weather was gorgeous.  The setting was beautiful.

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To know more about these events and to join or form your own group like we did, please visit http://www.nationalmssociety.org/chapters/ded.

So, how about it….a challenge?

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