Gordon, Wisconsin Population 176

Forrest Road

 I announced to a group of ladies at a dinner party that I was beyond excited to go to Wisconsin for vacation.

 I would be unplugging, away from news, tv, phone calls, work.

The kids had to play outside and create their own fun.

Declan by window

Make forts, swim, take walks, play in the forest.

I was amazed when one of the women said, “why would you want to do that?”

The thought of being so remote and having an electronic free zone seemed horrific to her.

 I’ll tell you why I was so excited.

Doc Shot

I had no idea what was going on in the world other than my own world.

I enjoyed talking to my family face to face instead of texting.

sunset feet

Each night I got to watch the sun set.

I enjoyed daily four mile walks with my sisters and Mom.

Wild Roses

We discovered wildflowers, followed animal tracks, walked through the woods, heard a symphony of bird songs.

We waved to and were waved back by every person who passed us.

They slowed down to 20 mph to let us pass (try that one in Los Angeles).

We saw a bear.

We made wonderful nightly meals and all sat down as a family to eat.

We drank some awesome wine.

We drank even more awesome beer.

Beer Chair

We saw more eagles than crows.

We saw more deer than people.

My 6-year-old now knows how to kyack.

Caroline Kayak

My daughter learned to fish.

We played for  hours in water  so clear you can see your feet and all the fish swimming around.

Clear Water

We drank tap water from the faucet.

It’s ice-cold, delicious and clean!

I did some canoeing.

Canoe

I listened to big, loud Midwest thunderstorms at night.

Powerful and majestic and perfect for sleeping.

View of Lake

When we woke up we made huge pots of coffee and sat on the screened in porch, surrounded by old pine trees and an amazing view of the lake and slowly embraced the day.

We went to a Lumber Jack show.

 I learned a lot about logging  and I got to see some super cute Lumber Jack’s.

Lumberjack

We ate at a local joint for a Friday Night Fish Fry,we drank beer, ate cheese curds, played Pac-Man (yup, the original version was still in working order).

Long Branch

No flash or frills, no one was dressed up, it was real, delicious and down home fun.

cheese curds

I felt American.

I know it sounds corny, but there were American flags all over the place and it wasn’t because of the 4th Holiday it was because the people of the small town communities we visited love their country.

It’s nice to be around and especially after the controversial verdict that has our nation divided and up in arms.

   I almost cried when I ate an iced chocolate raised donut because it was that good.

We played family charades and ate popcorn.

The sound of the Loons on the lake, eerie and beautiful.

I love the fact each year I can count on nothing changing.

Cabin Wall

The creak when you hit the second stair on the way down, the sauce pan that was struck by lighting, the elephant foot stool, the pheasant taxidermy on the mantle, the fireplace made from stones from the near by St. Croix river, the old faded map of Wisconsin, the porch swing.

They will all still be there, unchanged when we return.

Lighting Sauce Pan

Wisconsin Map

The memories I had as a kid will be the same memories my daughter will have.

Carrie 1972

 Carrie 1972

Caroline On Dock

Caroline 2013

It’s so nice that there is a place that stands still in time.

Gordon Forest

Standing still is not a bad thing.

Darbie & Sunny

I came home with a clear mind and a full heart.

Gordon

I whole heartily recommend going away to a place Like Gordon, Wisconsin.

Population 176.

And now I hope you understand why.

xoxo Carrie

Packing for the North Woods

Wisconsin MapI am counting the days before we head out of town for our annual trip to Wisconsin.

It’s a slice of heaven and the biggest decision of the day is whether we should have white or rose wine.

Brule river

I am starting a packing list and here are some things I won’t leave home without!

This tote is the bomb, you can turn it into a cooler, you can cram all your carry on stuff inside it, sturdy, with a lifetime warranty.  It’s the best.  If there is a rainy day we will drive an hour into Duluth and hit the store.

Duluth Pack Tote

Buy it here: Duluth Pack

My favorite pant of late is Current Elliott’s, “The Buddy Trouser” in Army Camo. I love the tapered leg and the Chino style.  The cotton is so soft and light weight that they work in the heat and keep me covered at night when the mosquitos come out to feast on my ankles.

currentelliott-army-army-camouflage-cotton-pants-product-1-7397352-919681397_large_card

Buy them here: Bloomingdale’s

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I am a sucker for some stripes.

My old and dearly loved St. James Sailor Shirt will be coming along again this year.

It’s old, a bit frayed, and gets better with each wash.

Perfect to throw on with shorts, jeans, skirts, sweats or over a swimming suit.

I’ve been known to wear it for days…..thank god we are amongst family.

st-james-shirt

Buy it here: St. James

Muriel Brandolini is a major style crush for me.

Her interiors and personal style are divine and I’ve been following her for years.

So a while back when I heard she was making hats, I had to run out and get one.  It shades the whole face which I love.  Personally I love a little tan, but I hate wrinkles more so it’s sun block city and the hat helps.

 I can’t find them in the stores anymore, but they pop up on Ebay every now and again.

Muriel Brandolini

 I bring a bunch of long Cover Up’s, my adult version of a onsie.   I sleep in them, canoe, cook and cocktail in my cover up’s. Here’s a super cute one I just got from J Crew.

Nili Lotan Beach Cover Up

Buy it here: J Crew

When I was last in Nantucket I bought a pair of these clogs from Brooke Boothe’s Nantucket Monogram.  My clogs are black with a hot pink monogram.  I can walk for miles in them they are so comfy, I throw them on like slippers. They are already in my suitcase.

Monogrammed Clogs

Buy them here: Nantucket Monogram

Make up usually does not come out of the case (unless we are doing a family Christmas Card) while I am in Wisconsin.  I do however, throw on some Rodin Lip Balm.  It provides a hint of tint and a great, long-lasting sheen.  It’s moisturizing too.

Rodin Lip Gloss

Buy it here: Barney’s

Gordon Porch Swing

A good read is a must, so I am taking my Book Group pick “The Interestings” on this trip.  I like to read printed hardcover books even though they take up packing space, it’s a must.  I like to read on the big porch swing, air breezing through the screened in porch.  It’s great, after a long day of swimming especially before dusk.

The Interestings

Buy it here: Amazon

Cousin forrest walk

We love to take long daily nature hikes through the forest and we’ll stop to eat wild blueberries, search for animal tracks (and occasionally run into some animals), look at all the beautiful wild flowers. It’s fun to do a little amateur birding on the walks and there happens to be an abundance of Bald Eagles.  Seeing one up close with binoculars is a sight to behold.  It’s also pretty cool to be lay down on the dock and watch them circle above.

LL Bean Field Binoculars

Buy them here: LL Bean

Birds of North America Book

Buy it here: Barnes and Noble

I also like to bring some of my favorite recipes.  One of the most fun things about the trip is cooking with my sisters. We sip (or chug if the kids are making us batty) wine, crank the music and grab some cooking utensils which we use as microphones while we prepare the evening meal.

I will be bringing recipes from my worn and torn Barefoot Contessa, Zuni Cafe, Mozza, and Sunday Suppers at Luques cookbooks.

Summer Salads

And board games!

Scrabble and a deck of cards are coming in my bag.  Jenny is bringing Mastermind and my Mom is bringing some oldies but goodies.  I also like a big, complicated jigsaw puzzle that we can work on all week long.

scrabble

I am so looking forward to unplugging in one of the country’s most beautiful places. Where nature thrives, firefly’s glow and my family reunites every year and creates memories for the next generation.

Northwoods Here we Come!

xoxo Carrie

Photos: www.123rf.com,  National Geographicwww.scrabble.com, all the others are from me.

Packing for the Desert

la_quinta

We are heading to the Desert for the long weekend and I can’t wait.

The Desert restores me and I always come back to Los Angeles relaxed, refreshed and calm (unless traffic is a bitch coming back).

Here are a few of the things I’m packing.

This Ikea bag is perfect for throwing towels, goggles, sunscreen, snacks, you name it.

It’s a big one and holds everything our family needs poolside.

Ikea Spana Bag

Buy it here: www.ikea.com

The Tom Ford’s have come and gone, but the Ray Ban Aviator has been my go to shades for over 20 years now.

I have my college sorority sister Helaine to thank for introducing me to this style.

They’ll be traveling with me.

Ray Ban Aviator

Buy them here: www.ray-ban.com

I just got this Lemlem cover up from J. Crew and it will be perfect for throwing on when we head to the pool.

J Crew Cover Up

Buy it here: J Crew

I plan on lounging all day poolside with a big stack of  fashion and trashy gossip magazines.

To redeem myself a tad, I am also packing the latest book our book group is reading, “The Tenth of December” by George Saunders.

10th of December

By it here: Amazon

The desert gets cold at night so I am bringing my favorite shawl from Viriginia Johnson to keep warm when the sun goes down.

shawl-camel-multi-tomato-wrap-A-060-387-TO_1024x1024

Buy it here: www.virginiajohnson.com

I love Scrabble and I am hoping to get my husband to play a game or two with me.

Scrabble

Buy it here: www.hasbro.com

The most important things I am bringing with me are my family.

Adam and Caroline

They make life fun.

Not to be forgotten,  Mr. P is along for the ride, he’s a fan of the Desert too.

Mr. P

It just wouldn’t be the same without him.

Have a great weekend everyone!

xoxo Carrie

Decorate Your Cake and Eat It Too

Cake Mix Out Front

This past Monday was a holiday, so I needed an activity that would appeal to a 5 and 10-year-old.

My niece Sophia had spent the previous night with us and was going to spend the following day so I needed something to keep both girls entertained.  Much to Caroline’s chagrin, she was not going to be playing my ” My Little Pony”  and “Squinkies” all day with Cousin Soph.

Candy Counter at Cake Mix

I decided to take the girls to Duff’s Cake Mix.

Duff”s Cake Mix is the brain child of Duff  Goldman, star of Food Network’s ” Ace of Cakes” and owner of Charm City Bakery.

 It was a blast and it was a hit not only with the girls but with me too.

Fondant Station

The place was super clean, the staff  VERY helpful and friendly.

Which is quite a feat when you have children jacked up on sugar running around.

Coffee

There was great rock ‘n roll  music playing that actually made me want to dance instead of taking a Tylenol. More importantly for a bleary eyed Mom, a great cappuccino made with Intelligentsia Coffee.

Cake Mix Graffiti

So here’s the deal.

Pick a cake flavor and decide on a cake or cupcakes to decorate.

Icing

Then decide on butter cream or fondant to cover the cake and as well as the color for the outside of the cake.

Caroline & Icing

You get to pick two toppings, two bags of icing, and a fondant to decorate with.

There is a station  set up with brushes, molds, cutters, and all sorts of tools to create your cake masterpiece.

Decorating Tools

Cookie Cutter

You can get as much or little help as you want from the staff.

Duff himself was helping kids smooth out their butter cream, very cool!

Here are the finished products.

Sophia &CarolineCarrie's Cake

The best part?

Eating the cake.

 It was quite delicious!.

xoxo

Carrie

A Night Out on the Farm

I love my  visits to the midwest, especially during the summer.

Last night we went out to my favorite haunt when I am visiting my sister.

It’s called Heritage Prairie Farm and we went for Mike’s Wood Burning Oven Pizza night.  The ingredients are all plucked from the farm and local food artisans.  The pizza oven is set up outside in back of the little farm stand.  You sit on picnic tables mere feet from an adorable Burrow, Goats and Corn.  Once you place your order you head on into the farm stand for beverages.  That night the signature drink was fresh honey, mint, lemonade and vodka, served in Mason Jars (of course). We loved the pizza so much that were eating off our children’s plates, when the tears started we realized it was in our best interest to order another pizza. We ordered a simple margarita for the kids (the mozzarella made just a few miles away), 4 cheese pizza with homemade bacon,  fresh spinach with a white garlic sauce and pepperoni, and a sausage/bacon/wild mushroom pizza.

We ate so fast I forgot to snap a shot of the pizzas when they arrived at the table.

Luckily, I got this before the plate was empty.

If you don’t want to sit at a picnic table to enjoy pizza and cocktails, you can cozy up to this spot.

Perfect for wine drinking and sunset watching.


My Favorite Goat

The kids ran around and danced to The Stones, played with the animals and picked apples off the tree.  While they were working off their steam I ventured(cocktail in hand) into the market for a little damage. I love their home-grown products and I love to support the farm.  Win-Win.  I gathered bags of freshly milled whole grain wheat, buckwheat and organic popcorn.  Jars of homemade pickles and pickled beets.  And a ton of honey….Rosemary, Lavender, Cocoa and Plain.  I bought flights of honey for hostess gifts.

The lovely Ladies of Heritage Prairie Farm

Despite the drought that has devastated the midwest, they had fresh corn for sale along with a variety of other organically grown vegetables.

Mozzarella that was used for our pizza and for sale in the shop

Part of my Haul

The Farm also offers the venue up for weddings and events.  They have cooking classes, a Saturday Farmer’s Market, and year round Farm Dinners that are based on seasonal crops.  Next time, I am scheduling my trip around a Farm Dinner!

Sun setting and stomaches full, we headed on home.

Thanks Heritage Prairie Farms for another great experience!

xoxo Carrie

Decorating A Cabin

Photo: www.decorology.blogspot.com

When I married Adam he promised to love me in sickness and in health, etc… the one promise I will not let him forget is that we will one day own a cabin, on a lake, preferably in my favorite state of Wisconsin where I am now.

Photo: My view out the window.

I’m in the North Woods of Wisconsin, in an unincorporated town off of County Road Y. It’s 9:45 and the sun hasn’t set.

The sky is a golden orange.  I’m sipping wine and dreaming of decorating my own cabin one day.

Photo: calfinder.com

Photo: Elle Decor

Photo: www.deptoftheinteriordc.blogspot.com

Photo: slytastic.wordpress.com

Photo: Elle Decor

Photo: House Beautiful

Photo: www.kitchenisms.com

 

www.kitchenisms.com

Photo: Elle Decor

Photo: www.harvestfurniture.blogspot.com

Photo: Sunset On White Fish Lake

So I’ll keep dreaming of my cabin, in the meantime I will enjoy the heaven I am in right now.

xoxo Carrie