The Beach in January – Part 1

In the world, there are three places that I consider home to me. Of course, Iowa is one, but oddly, I feel least at home here than the others. My second home is Paris, I’m a Parisian by choice. Something about the grey buildings, the scent of rot, and the delicious nibbles all over the place fill me with comfort (and delicious pastries.) That and the ever constant hope of running into Karl Lagerfeld. It will happen some day. It must happen! I bought an independently published book written by a fashion executive that tells where all the fashion elite dine and amuse themselves. I’ll find him. Mark my words, I’ll find him. My third home is Sarasota, Florida. I feel instantaneously at ease there. The  overabundance of palms, the ever-present sand lurking in the corners of every rooms, the smell of the sea, the laid back atmosphere, the inevitable kettle drum. All these things speak to me. And, should I have to choose one to make my permanent home, it would surely be Sarasota. We went in January for too few days and I miss it terribly. Every week, I look up real estate listings, but nothing that speaks to me ever agrees with my wallet and everything else is terrifying. Some day, I will find my beach house or I will build it. I’d prefer to find a bungalow from the early 20th Century, but I will accept a modern construction as long as it’s built on stilts. Something so lovely about those. Anyway, here are the photos from my time on the beach.

The gulls aren’t terrified of a thing. You can quite nearly pet them.

Midget and I on the beach.

This book amused me terribly. If you don’t understand why, I will show you the very first image that pops up when you type in “hairy bear” on Google.

And should you Google the following: “hairy bear in his red underwear,” you will find this:

The title is tongue-in-cheek, yes? I hope so.

I found this delicious tree that grows oranges and lemons and grapefruits. Can you imagine anything more marvelous? I truthfully cannot. Mixon’s wouldn’t ship it to me and I was absolutely devastated.

I’m doing my best to turn Midget into a fashionista. I think I’ll succeed. Jessica and I really need to get her into modeling before she becomes too old.

I plucked this ripe orange right off of a tree. I’ve never done that before, it was a very exciting experience for me. Citrus + theft = heaven. It was delicious.

Sarasota is not only a wonderful beach town, but it’s also quite cultural. St. Armand’s Circle is a wonderful shopping district. There is an amazing macaron shop, Le Macaron, that makes the most tasty basil macarons. I don’t get any other flavors. The chocolates are also excellent and they have a commercial Nespresso machine. I adore Nespresso. I don’t understand espresso snobs who turn up their noses. It’s often better than fancy shots. I own both a traditional espresso machine and a Nespresso machine and adore them both.

Simple elegance. My personal decorating style is Second Empire on the Gulf.

This will surely be my parenting style.

Alligators are beautiful, aren’t they? I love their scaly skin.

The Spanish moss grows in beautiful abundance. I’m obsessed with Spanish moss. I want to drape everything in it, and I recently read that it will adapt to Iowa’s climate. So, look out trees and fences and houses and everything!

The Farmers Market in mid-January. Luscious.

Many gorgeous animals attend the Market. Not only fantastically well-behaved dogs, but parrots, as well. I gag over the parrots, they ride around in baby carriages. Squeal.

We brunched at one of my (many) favorite places in Sarasota, C’est La Vie. It’s an authentic French bakery. I died the first time we went years ago. It’s like being in Paris, but you’re in Florida. If you know me, you know how much this excites me. It’s always busy and always delicious, but worth the wait.

Closeup of a stunning palm. I love them. My favorite tree in all the world.

Sea Grape seedlings. I harvested quite a number and a handful are still doing well.

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