Breakfast / Brunch,  stories

We Are Our Choices

Do you ever long for a get away weekend, one of these “escape from it all” trips?  The kind that allows you to pause for a few days, take inventory of your life, celebrate your gifts and put your worries to rest?  And where would you go??

I took such an escape a week ago.  Life was crashing all around and I just decided to take off!  Fortunate for me, I have a very dear friend who lives in the most charming country home, lovingly furnished through the years with treasured finds, handmade furniture, curtains and needlework.

Through the years, I would joke with Martha  that I was going to run away and spend a few days locked away in her home.  It’s that comforting, like being in another place and time.  A life that while required hard work, was also simple and seemingly uncomplicated.

I traveled light on this trip, leaving behind all unnecessary baggage including guilt, perfection, regrets, stuffy routines and people pleasing!  I never realized how light and free I felt!!

Martha and I walked together each day, chatting about life and planning our next meal.  Martha like to shop for our meals each day.  I thought how much I enjoyed doing this and then how busy my days were to actually implement this routine.

On my first morning, I woke to hear Martha softly moving in the kitchen.  Her graceful and gentle mannerisms mirror her years of training and performing ballet.  While I was making the espresso, Martha was preparing one of her favorite country brunch entrees.

As informal, non-recipes go, I watched Martha dip her egg bread in beaten egg (was that cinnamon I spotted?) and fry up each slice puffy and golden.  She then sandwiched two prepared french toasts with a slathering of soften cream cheese,  preserves and sliced strawberries.  The heat from the french toast was enough to gently warm the cheese and strawberries.

The weather was hot and humid as you can see from my photos, the heat seemed to make it difficult to take a decent picture, especially since I’m so not a knowledgeable photographer!

Inside, Martha’s dining room….notice the ballet barre, she teaches private ballet lessons in her home….

All good things must come to an end they say but the memories and good feelings I experienced were tucked into my suitcase and brought back home with me.  There are some baggage that’s worth carrying with you!



I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.


  • betsyb

    Ahhhh. It was so relaxing just reading and seeing your country adventure Linda! I’m so with you on escaping into simpler living and grounding yourself. That French toast brunch dish looks so yummy and Martha’s lovely home looks like a little slice of heaven on earth. 🙂

  • Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen

    The thing about trips like these.. is we seem to take something home with us each time. I know you’ll be making that brunch one day and perhaps planning a few more meals one day at a time. At least, I hope your life slows down enough that you can do so. Your friend sounds absolutely lovely. Oh.. and I LOVE her kitchen!! xx Smidge

  • Hotly Spiced

    How lovely. The home is beautiful and I love the way she’s furnished it with a bit of this and a bit of that but it all comes together. Love the way you didn’t pack any excess baggage but brought pack some wonderful treasures. Great post Linda xx

    • spicegirlfla

      Oh mascarpone would be perfect. I’m always grabbing one at the store instead of cream cheese. I like the lightness and flavor. Along ricotta so that I can whip up cannoli filling!

  • Kristy

    We do the same thing Linda. In fact we took off multiple times this summer for these same reasons. Getting away, being on the road, staying with good friends or just exploring out on our own always brings me back to what’s really important. What really matters. The rest of it all seems to fall away. I’m so glad you got away and to such a beautiful and peaceful place. I know the exact feeling you are describing. One particular weekend getaway to see friends this summer was the same for me. Their home just felt inviting, comfortable, peaceful and so unbelievably welcoming – just like home. And we’re all about FT this year! We may just have to give this one a shot! Hugs to you. I just adore you Linda.

    • spicegirlfla

      Kristy, you are so special, I adore you too! Women have so many challenges to face, internally and externally as we navigate through life, family and relationships. I have empathy with my friends and know it takes inner strength and a positive outlook – which we all have, but sometimes forget – to get through. I enjoy being with friends that are older (and wiser) than me, as well as the youthful, fun spirited woman (like you) to keep me feeling like I’m 35!

  • Judy@Savoring Today

    “leaving behind all unnecessary baggage including guilt, perfection, regrets, stuffy routines and people pleasing” … that would definitely make your step and your heart lighter for travel. Martha’s home looks so comforting, inviting, and peaceful. It would seem she is as well, what a good friend to walk and chat with. Glad to hear you could get away … so good to refresh. 🙂

    • spicegirlfla

      Thank you Judy. Packing light and returning refreshed and ready to tackle all that comes my way was exactly my plan and exactly what happened. We all do need a bit of renewal every now and then!

  • Liz

    Everything everyone else said – lovely, serene home … But, what struck me was the title of your post: “We Are Our Choices”. I say that all the time : ) !!

    Since childhood, I had a vision of my home in a mountain forest. I had a poster that had the look and feel of where I wanted to be and I had an idea that I refined as I got older about how I wanted to live my life. That strong vision helped guide my choices especially one very distinct choice. A week before I was leaving “the city” to explore various places, i.e. taking a kind of leap of faith that all would work out – I received a job offer, out of the blue…for a company I knew and more money than I’d ever made.

    I wavered. I could continue in the city for a few years and really fill the coffers.

    I turned down the offer and kept to my vision. I live in the mountains, in 8 acres of “forest” and work in a home office doing work I love. I am my choices and they are right for me.

    You have made a lot of choices recently. I hope that when the dust settles, they are either right for you or that you regroup and make new ones. The other thing I say a lot is “know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em”. Can be tough, especially in the transition.

    Peace and Love to you as you transition, Linda!

    • spicegirlfla

      Liz, thank you for sharing this. I could imagine how you would waver at that job offer but so glad you stayed with your vision. I’ve peeked in on you every now and then and have always felt you live such a wonderful life. Your photos of your home and surroundings are so very calming and to be so close to nature as you are is what I love. Your food too, the way you prepare and present always brings a smile to my face and hunger to my belly!

      I’ve always believed in the choices we make and have made some good and not soo good- at least I try to correct those quickly! If I could find that way to work from home….doing what I love…would be ideal for me and something I’m staying focused on.

      Thanks always for your support, encouraging comments! hugs!

  • ChgoJohn

    Sorry to read, Lynda, that you had a ‘bad spell’, so to speak, but am very happy that you have a place to go, a retreat, to refresh your spirit. Martha’s home & friendship sound perfect! Well, with that many rocking chairs, how could it not be? There’s something intrinsically calming about sitting in a good, old fashioned rocker. Whether it was the rockers, Martha herself, or just getting away, it sounds like you’ve returned recharged. I’m happy for you.

    • spicegirlfla

      She does have a lot of rockers now that I think about it! I didn’t even take photos of her front porch with a few rockerts there and a hanging swing!! I’m really fine, didn’t mean to make this post sound like I’m a total mess 🙂 Thanks for your kind words John.

  • Geni

    I, too, feel calmer just from reading this post. So thank you so much for writing this. This is the very best part of blogging;’ writing and reading what really matters to you. I hope you are finding your way through this challenging time.

    If you ever need a “make me a little crazier” vacation, please feel free to stop by my place in Sunny So. Cal. With the big Golden that insists on sniffing any crotch in the vicinity and two teenagers, we are the anti-Martha retreat. I would love to visit Martha as well even though I don’t know here. Maybe she should run it as a B&B in addition to teaching her ballet lessons. Glad you got cared for and had a time and place to unwind. Take care sweetie.

    • spicegirlfla

      Oh Geni, yes there are two kinds of vacations and I know for sure hanging out with YOU would be a blast! Don’t worry, I know it wouldn’t actually be in YOUR home since you don’t like sleepover guests!! (I do remember that one!)

      Martha has two mixed breed Goldens – both are not crotch sniffers come to think of it!

      Thanks always for your kind words Geni. I’m glad you felt a bit calmer too from my post 🙂

  • Juliana

    Such a precious place Linda…I love the pictures and the description that you give…indeed it is very peaceful.It is so nice that you have place to escape when needed…so you can reflect and unwind…
    Take care of yourself and I hope things get better for you 🙂

  • Eva

    What a lovely get away; and so fortunate to have a friend who so generously gives her place and time. We’re fortunate to have our cabin on the lake.

  • cecilia g

    I agree with everyone.. that cottage is gorgeous, so much light and peace and beauty in there. The indoor out door living is ME!! Would she mind terribly if i put the kitchen shot on my pinterest board that i am collating for the new garden cottage that we are building! inspiring! c

  • Sawsan @chef in disguise

    Sorry that things have been rough Linda but I am glad you had a chance to get away and set your priorities right.
    it is so easy to get caught up in the mad race life seems to be turning into lately
    You are lucky to have such a wonderful friend with a house that seems to come from another place in time…a much more peaceful one

    • spicegirlfla

      Thank you Sawsan. I’m truly blessed in having her friendship. Not only does she have a wonderful place to retreat to, she’s also a friend who listens and understands so well; I could chat with her for hours on end!

  • Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    What a perfect weekend Linda. Free indeed. You know you had me mesmerized by your description of your friend’s cozy environment “treasured finds, handmade furniture, curtains and needlework” – but it wasn’t until I saw her golden retriever that I fully melted ;-). Love everything about this post – including your wise title.

    • spicegirlfla

      Thank you Kelly, I’m glad I could share how I felt to others. That is Brownie in the photo and she has another one, Dexter. Watching them around the house, just seems to fit in the decor of her home. Somehow seeing my chihauhaus running around there just wouldn’t fit!

  • Claire

    I can see from you words and photos how good the trip was, to leave the unwanted baggage behind and just relax and chat with a good friend. We all need those days. Lovely to take home th epositive baggage!

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