Sunday, January 20, 2013

Case Study 125: "The Summer Citrus Cupcake"

Guys... I'm officially over winter. 

I knew it would happen soon enough - the charm of a errant snowstorm would reel me in enough to announce a love affair with the cold. But there's been no skiing yet this January, and quite frankly, I need a tan. Now, I summer hard and well, and what I've learned in my time is that every good summer girl needs an accomplice. I like to call these my "summer sisters" and for the past few years, I've been dealt a very strong hand.

She and I had rekindled our friendship at a Beach Boys concert, and as far as I'm concerned that in itself is the basis of everything. We kept in touch throughout the winter, but once June rolled around, the spark was lit. 

We went to polo matches. We lied in the grass and drank Dark n' Stormies until the horses went home. We went to Block Island. We drank mudslides and had serious dance parties at Yellow Kittens. We ate hot dogs at all hours of the days, went on a magical late night swim amongst bioluminescents and went skinny dipping at 2AM skinny in Sachem Pond. We celebrated New Years Eve with homemade pinatas and took over an island with 200 of our closest friends we just hadn't met yet.

I remember one fourth of July weekend, when we convened under the arbor behind a grey stone house. We threw back a few, and cut through the hedges lined with blue hydrangea as the sun melted over the Long Island Sound and the night turned blue. Twenty of us, in our best summer Nantucket reds, eyelet whites and gingham blues, trekked past ponds and manors, drinks in hand, down the winding Connecticut roads toward the shores of Tokeneke Club. 

There were candlelit cabanas, Seabreezes and fireworks at every angle across the water to New York. There was a seven piece soul band, and now barefoot, we twisted and shouted until no brow was dry against the American flags along the front of the dancefloor. 

The next night we hit the water and strung our boats together like a barrel of monkeys for hours in the misty night, until we sped back to the house to make pizzas with whatever we could get our hands on. We danced to 90s rap hits on marble countertops and drove vintage motorbikes across the lawn at three o'clock in the morning.  

Summer is like a spark to the ridiculously spontaneous - those people who light up like fireflies when the hot sun goes down. And those long summer night talks that happen - the happy ones, the sad ones and the hundreds of talks about men - are memorialized in a way that seems almost eternal. That's the thing about summer sisters. They cement a time and a place in your memory that carries us through the remaining cold damp months of the year. 

Tonight we'll set out on the town to celebrate. And though it's the middle of winter, there will be margaritas, plenty of summer spirit and these creamsicle cupcakes with blood orange-vanilla buttercream and candied blood oranges on top

Happy happy birthday, to my summer sister Z. I am so lucky that our paths brought us together again, and I'm fortunate to call such a loyal woman, filled with incredible drive and values, my friend. To continued success and balance, my dear. To more life conversations and real talk, to romantic Greenwich dinners and to many many more nights of mayhem in every month of every year.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Case Study 124: "The Winter Baby Shower Cupcake"

There are so many things they never tell you about growing up. But that didn't stop me from wondering...

I had a great childhood. It was a lot of riding bikes until dark up and down the southwestern Connecticut hills. In the summers we'd live on pool decks, listening to our boombox and swinging high on the swim club swings. In the winters we'd build snowforts and sneak into town after dark, when the streets were white and the tiny clock on Main Street was the only thing that lit our way to go sledding down the elementary school's hills. My youth was idyllic and romantic in every way...but the minute I turned eighteen, I was ready to go.

Give me red lipstick and martini bars. Give me Italy and a corner office. Give me all night dance parties on great lawns and let me kiss a lot of boys.

Well I'm there now, and if I had to recap the past ten years of adulthood, I'd say they've been pretty great. Lots of adventures and lipstick, men kissed and cocktails drank. There have been graduations and moves and even a bunch of weddings. All of those things I knew would eventually come along. It's just, well, nobody prepared me for how utterly amazing and surreal life becomes when your people start making....people.

I was lucky enough to have at least one nephew as a primer before this started - albeit one very high set bar of a primer. But then, as my friends have grown up, more babies have rolled in. I got two at once, with blue eyes and sweet hearts; then there was a little lady, born with crazy hair, chunky legs and the exact spirit of her mother at eleven years old, when I met her.

Yesterday we celebrated the (very) soon birthday of my first New Yorker baby friend. There were lots of mimosas, MetroCard rattles and laughs about the nuances of raising babies in modern times and in the city. There were strawberry-stuffed vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and little baby penguins and icebergs on top to welcome this sweet winter child. But in the end, it wasn't any different my other friends' baby showers because it was all about love. About love, about wonder and awe and about how that all comes together when people make PEOPLE (will this ever not be mind-blowing?).

I can't wait meet this new tiny friend and see how see or he grows. I've had the fortune of watching my friend hit some big milestones, but I really really can't wait to see how she grows as a mother, a wife and mostly, just in life. Because while our time on earth is amazing feat, there's no denying that the miracle of life is even more miraculous in itself.