Goin’ Coastal

An easy coastal themed tabletop perfect for relaxed summer entertaining
Filed Under > "Hostess with the Mostest"

With the first day of summer officially come and gone I’m focused on soaking up every bit that summer has to offer. Which for me means easy, relaxed dinners alfresco.

Typically in summer with the heat being what it is I like to keep the meals light, which usually means seafood. Grilled fish, shrimp skewers, and in today’s case white wine and garlic clams. And with seafood typically on the menu my summer table decor tend to lean in the coastal direction. Think blues, whites, and natural fabrics mixed in with no fuss accents. Which is exactly what I’m sharing today.

If you asked me to pick a favorite from this setting, I couldn’t. I honestly want every single piece. The updated take on spongeware by Mark D. Sikes mixes perfectly with my favorite blue and white stripes and coastal inspired melamine accents like these $5 dipping dishes and the bread board. And the rattan accents in the form of placemats, glassware and place card holders add that relaxed feeling that is summer.

And continuing on the theme of relaxed, our no-iron linen napkins are an absolute must for entertainers of all levels. They’re not too fussy and YES no-iron means no-iron. So you can wash them time and time again and they’ll be ready to go from the dryer straight to the table.

Lastly, I rounded everything out with ivory acrylic flatware in the shape of bamboo, melamine wine coasters, cobalt blue hibiscus VIETRI bud vases filled with tulips, and sea-salt citronella candles to keep the bugs away. And I pulled out my bamboo folding chairs. I ordered two sets of these years ago and I’m so glad I did. I love having them at the ready for extra guests or any extra seating needs. I really do use them all the time!

Jumping back to the flatware real quick; these stopped me in my tracks when I first spied them. I had wanted the traditional brown bamboo flatware for ages, but had never pulled the trigger and I’m so glad I didn’t because the ivory is STUNNING! Plus it goes with absolutely everything. I did say I couldn’t play favorites, but if I was pushed it would be these!

So that’s it friends. A relaxed summer tabletop ready for all those long summer nights ahead. Enjoy! Truly, MKR

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Photography: Rustic White Interiors

Oven-Baked Rosemary Parmesan French Fries

using frozen, yes frozen fries, I put a new mouth-watering spin on a favorite
Filed Under > Appetizers & Sides

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for about a year now, because that’s about how long I’ve been making this super easy spin on homemade french-fries.

Using a mix of frozen (yes frozen) sweet potato and regular fries I’ve combined olive oil, garlic, fresh Parmesan cheese and rosemary for a new take on an old classic.

I discovered this combo while vacationing last summer on 30A. We had this big, beautiful kitchen to cook in and had the urge to whip up burgers and all the sides. But without frying or wanting to take the time to cut up the potatoes and soak them I opted for high quality, organic frozen fries (I prefer this brand).

While the fries roast in the oven, per the bags directions, finely chop up a a few sprigs of rosemary and shred about a cup of fresh Parmesan cheese, then set to the side. Next, combine 4-5 cloves of diced garlic to about 1/2 cup – a cup of olive oil on the stovetop and cook until warm. You want to try not to cook olive oil on too high of a temp as that’s when possible carcinogenic toxins can occur.

Anyway, once the fries are done drizzle the garlic-olive oil concoction over the fries and top them immediately with freshly grated Parmesan & rosemary. The result, mouth-watering french fries that transported me to a seat at the bar of my very favorite gastro pub. Trust me, everyone was a fan. Not only of the taste, but also of how easy they were to make.

And while I’ve been loving these as an easy summer side to burgers, this would also be fun for a “fancy” steak night at home, or if you’re trying to be healthier pair them with a great summer salad. And if you’re hosting a party, think about rolling parchment into a funnel shape and filling it with fries. Literally the possibilities are endless. Enjoy! Truly, MKR

Photography: Rustic White Interiors

A Return to The Cloister at Sea Island

Spending a few days in The Golden Isles
Filed Under > Everyday
The Golden Isles via Waiting on Martha

Recently I had the immense pleasure of speaking at my fifth Southern Coterie Conference. And as much as I look forward to those three days all year, I equally look forward to the few days after the conference has ended when the hubs and I disconnect at one of our favorite places, The Cloister at Sea Island.

While we’ve been to The Cloister at Sea Island now more times than I can remember, this time there were so many new surprises in store I felt I needed to update my last travel post from a few years prior.

First things first, for those of you unfamiliar with the magical place called Sea Island, Sea Island is part of an area called The Golden Isles. The Golden Isles is comprised of St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island, Little St. Simons and Brunswick nestled on the Georgia coast. Its name, The Golden Isles, seems to get its reputation from their rays of warm sunshine and mossy trees envelope you the minute you enter into the low country.

An easy drive from Atlanta, the Golden Isles offers an easy getaway from everyday life in the city, and you’d be hard-pressed to be anything but relaxed along its pristine beaches, award wining golf courses and miles of sprawling marshlands. No matter how many times I’ve driven over that causeway, the minute I cross my whole body seems to relax, and I let out a huge sigh almost as if I was holding my breath. It’s pure heaven.

When staying in The Golden Isles there’s really only two ways to go when it comes to accommodations; The Cloister or The Lodge. The Cloiste at Sea Island, is a legendary luxury hotel renowned for its utmost sophisticated elegance.  Seeped in stunning Mediterranean-inspired architecture, the hotel features grounds full of lush gardens, every amenity one could possibly desire, and the most fantastic fine dining. But perhaps most noteworthy, are The Cloister‘s luxurious suites that offer spectacular views over the marshes, begging guests to bask in the low country in all its glory, all while enveloping them in utmost comfort and privacy. 

The Lodge on St. Simons Island, recognized as a #1 resort in the mainland U.S by. Conde Nast Traveler.  The Lodge is definitely my happy place, especially at sun set when the skies turn pink and we sit sipping a cocktail on the sprawling porch overlooking the 18th hole and causeway, while being serenaded by a set of bagpipes.  Yes bagpipes! It’s nothing short of magical, and the perfect way to start, and end any vacation.

The hubs of course loves The Lodge for a completely different reason…the golf. Not only are the golf courses some of the top rated in the world, Sea Island just unveiled a 17,000 sq. ft. golf performance center. This addition is just one of many enhancements that are part of The Lodge’s $30 million dollar makeover that also includes an enhanced putting green, pool, pool house and new golf course cottages. I took a quick tour of one, and they are completely stunning.

Each time I find myself at The Cloister, I wonder if I’ll ever tire of coming back to Sea Island. Then I look around, smell the salt air, and I’m quickly reminded why I always keep coming back for more. Truly, MKR

Photography: Kathryn McCrary

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