Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Journey Continues, Food for the Soul

March 16, 2013

After a restful slumber I awoke to the warmth of the morning sun streaming through my windows.  I've always loved the look of sunbeams.  For some reason it reminds me of how I used to wake up when I was a kid during summer vacation when the days were mine and adventures were plentiful.  This morning was like that.  The sun was beaming, I owned the promise of the day to make of it what I wished.  What I wished at that moment was..... TO EAT!!  I was starved and I knew the perfect spot to satisfy my morning hunger.  Come with me, let me show you my favorite diner.............

Take a step back in time, listen to some music at the table top jukebox while you look at their amazing menu of homemade specialties.  It's extensive.

Eating alone?  I was, I was eating blissfully alone and enjoyed my morning paper here, at this not-so-old-fashioned counter........

You can't go wrong, it's all comfort food and it's all comfort at The Parthenon Diner in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

The Parthenon is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and they offer a full service bar. 
I haven' t tried lunch or dinner but I'm told that they are just as skilled at the midday and evening meals as they are at serving up a hearty breakfast.  The prices are good and the food is delicious!!

The Parthenon is a real Gem!  It was the perfect start to what turned out to be a perfect day.

Stay tuned as my journey continues.... the best is yet to come!!

+Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro
+My Baked Stuffed Life

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Journey Continues, Warm Welcomes....

March 15, 2013

After traversing in and out of three different states, I finally came upon my final destination in Old Saybrook, CT.  The Saybrook Point Inn & Marina, located on Long Island Sound, came into view.  Signs for their signature restaurant, Fresh Salt, and award winning spa, Sanno, offered the warm welcome I needed and sparked visions of the heaven-like experiences still yet to come.  I was so ready for this.......

You might say that I'm a "frequent flyer" with SPI.  I've travelled to this very spot several times and I always look forward to it.  They'd renovated since my last trip and the babbling brook was a new addition.  I loved it.  It offered a quiet nook of serenity, some place to go and enjoy a bit of peace.  I indulged myself several times during my stay....

Homey rocking chairs offer yet another inviting space for much needed solitude or quiet conversation should you have a travelling companion.

Check in was easy, as always, and "Bobby", a bellman who's been with SPI for years, didn't allow me to lift a finger.  He showed me to my room, explained how to avail myself of every amenity and left my room quietly with a smile on his endearing face.  I became very fond of Bobby during my stay as he and other staff members took care of my every need.  He's a keeper!!

In years past I'd always made sure to get a room with a waterview.  While it's lovely, for my purposes it is not worth the added cost.  I'm usually not in my room during the day and when I return it's dark and there is essentially no view.  So this time I reserved a room without a view.  It was just as spacious, just as comfortable, and still has the fireplace that has become so necessary to me during my stays here.

A welcoming gift was left in the room for me!!  How nice!!

Well folks, so far The Journey has been a long one so it's time to relax with a cocktail.  A quick call to the front desk and Bobby soon arrives with a bucket full of ice.  Knowingly he offers a fire and I'm quick to accept.  As the warm glow fills the room I take a deep breath, sigh heavily, and wonder why it's been so long since my last visit......

Goodnight my friends, stay tuned as The Journey continues..........

+Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro
+My Baked Stuffed Life

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Journey Continues, Permission Required

March 15, 2013 
The Journey, continued.........

I kissed my Dad goodbye at IKEA and I was back on the road to continue my journey.  I wasn't alone.  Siri was with me.  I pressed her call button and she promptly responded "How can I help you Princess?".  Yes, she call's me Princess.  Why not?  Somebody has to!

Siri is a great travelling companion and the only.... uhhh.... "person" who is allowed to take this journey with me.  She's very low maintenance and she is always willing to accommodate a change in plans on a second's notice.  I kind of like messing with her too--I call it the "Siri Games".  She'll tell me to take a right and I'll take a left, she'll tell me to get on the highway and I won't, stuff like that.  Yea, that's me, a diehard rebel and I get the added bonus of finding new places and exploring new routes without the slightest chance of getting lost.  Yep, I love Siri, she's a good one to have around.

I'm not sure how long I'd been driving (no clock watching on "The Journey", it's a rule) when  a cute little antique shop came into view.  I passed it by as I normally would because usually I have three kids and a husband in the car with me.  In my head I had the standard thought process going on ".... geez, that looks interesting, I wonder what's inside?....".  Then I remembered, I'm on "The Journey" and the plan is that I do what I want when I want so I pulled over to the side of the road, gave myself permission to enjoy "The Journey",  and safely turned the car around and I'm so glad that I did........

The sign was inviting as were the little treasures I found outside............

It only got better once I got inside.  This chair was screaming my name!!!!  I didn't buy it but I probably should have...........

Then there was this other chair, very shabby-chic-retro-kind-of-old-hollywoodish don't you think?

Some cute little girlie-doo-daddy things..........

The greatest find of them all was this little cutie pie, what shall we name her?.............

I know!!!  We'll call her Siri!!!

Once again, a successful round of the "Siri Games"!!  I have no idea where I was (that's part of the fun)--Rhode Island?-- and I probably couldn't find my way back there if my life depended on it but I enjoyed this little place while I was there.

Stay tuned as The Journey continues............

+Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro
+My Baked Stuffed Life

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Journey 2013

Day 1
Friday, March 15, 2013

Like most people, I had a life before I had a family.  I did what I wanted, when I wanted to do it.  I slept in.  I ate out or ate in, I went to clubs, or not.  I slept in.  I travelled spontaneously or according to a master plan.  I slept in.  I had adventures.  Did I mention that I slept in?  I had responsibilities and family obligations but they weren't nearly as financially demanding or all-consuming as they are now.  Life was different--not nearly as rewarding in the grand scheme but it was definitely different. 

I'm a grown-up now.  I have a husband and three great kids.  I've got a 10lb dog who thinks he's human and a house that is impossible to keep clean due to the aforementioned three great kids.  Last but certainly not least is the all-important demanding job to go along with that american dream.

Somewhere along the way I forgot how to catch my breath so I hatched a plan whereby mommy takes a little breather, BY HERSELF, at least once a year.  By "little breather" I mean a journey of self care.  That journey has taken a variety of forms throughout the years and it's taken me to various destinations but the general theme remains the same.  I take care of myself, I do what I want to do and it's all about me.  It sounds simple enough but it's not as easy as you think.  You kind of have to get reaquainted with yourself again.  It can be hard to remember what it is exactly that YOU like to do.  You have to remind yourself that you only have to eat breakfast/lunch/dinner if YOU want to--and you can have dessert first because you don't have to worry about setting a good example--no one is watching your every move.  Break out the Fruit Loops folks, it's time to party!!

First stop-- IKEA with Dad.....

I don't get to see my Dad often enough so I incorporated him into my plan.  It was perfect, I got to go to IKEA, something I never get to do, and my Dad got christened at the same time!!  This was his first time!!  Not only was it his first time at IKEA but it was also his first time witnessing the oddities of my photography fetish.  He was perplexed.... giggle.....

"Whisky Business"

I bet you will never figure out what this next one is.  You'll have to email me to find out..........

No trip to IKEA is complete without some deep appreciation for space saving kitchen design.....

Uuuuuhhhhh, you had to be there to appreciate this..........

It was a great way to start my journey and a great time spent with one of my favorite people--my Dad.  Stay tuned for more tales from the road as my journey continues............

+Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro
+My Baked Stuffed Life

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Birthday Tales from the Front--Soma Style

  1. so·ma  

    An intoxicating drink prepared from a plant and used in Vedic ritual, believed to be the drink of the gods.
Gal pals are the best and mine are better than most.  Every day is special with them but they made my birthday extra special.  Juggling work, kid schedules and daily struggles keeps us all busy but they made time in their lives to help me celebrate my special day.  

Soma in Beverly, MA was the ideal place to embark on our own "Vedic ritual" ............

The culinary deities shined down on us and delighted us in the form of fresh greens, roasted pears, cranberries, goat cheese and candied nuts........

Once our tastebuds were tantalized, the sea gods rained down with freshly grilled shrimp tacos.  Pure joy, I assure you.......

Great friends, a happy little birthday glow and an ecclectic food frenzy-- life was good and then they showered me with thoughtfulness........

My favorite vodka, chocolate, a little bit of bling and yoga!!  It does NOT get any better than that or.....
does it?  Oh no they didn't!!!!!

Oooooooooooh yeaaaaaaaa baby, they suuuuuure did!  Happy Birthday to me!!  I have the best friends ever!

Amen Sistas!! Amen!!

+Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro
+My Baked Stuffed Life

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Not Old Just Older, Reflections of a Birthday

It's March 5, 2013 and today is my birthday.

Birthdays are a sensitive subject to a lot of people and, at times, they have been for me.  Not lately though.  A few years back I was discussing the topic of age and aging with a friend and I said to him that I was feeling like an old lady.  He replied in musician-speak (the act of quoting songs to illustrate a point).  He said "not old, just older".  "Just Older" is the title of a Bon Jovi song and the nutshell version is that you need to be comfortable in your own skin.  Be comfortable, choose happiness.  As I've said so many times before, it's all in how you look at it.  There is something very special about each and every age, and each and every stage.  In youth you lack wisdom and experience but what you do have is the absolute time of your life just learning about life.  Those experiences, that learning, will ultimately give you wisdom.  Wisdom thru pain, wisdom through joy.  Pause..... take time to reflect on that, I know you're doing it anyway.  I'll wait......

As you get older you may give up some aspects of your youth but you've hopefully gained the wisdom through experience that will allow you to more fully enjoy moments in time, or to cherish people and experiences in ways you may have overlooked in youth.

I'm not old, just older.  I think I have reached a point in my life where I get it.  I have a keen sense of what's important.  Family and friends are important.  I don't sweat the small stuff and I'm comfortable in knowing that I'm not smarter than a fifth grader!  I have the best parents a girl could ask for and a brother that I absolutely adore.

I have a supportive husband and the most beautiful children in the world.  I'm blessed and I thank God every day for the people in my life.  I may not have chosen my family but I wouldn't trade them for the world.

Friends.  Friends are my chosen family.  Friends are the people that you have in your life by choice and I have some of the best.

 I have some friends that I may only get a chance to talk to a few times a year but when I do we pick up where we left off. 

I have other friends that I see every day-- my gym buddies, my cooking cohorts, my party pals-- I love them dearly and they hold special places in my heart.  They have my back and I have theirs.  There is nothing I wouldn' t do for them and I know they feel the same.  They are support when I need it and they are the sources of full-on belly laughter.  They are real and I love them.

It's March 5, 2013 and today is my birthday.  Today my family treated me like a queen.  Today my friends made it known how important I am to them.  My heart is warm and I feel so special.  Honestly I don't know what to say.  Thank you doesn't seem to be enough but it's all I can muster.  Thank you, thank you all so very, very much.

+Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro
+My Baked Stuffed Life