Happy Independence Day! I hope everyone is staying cool and enjoying their celebrations. I’ve just returned from a trip to Great Britain where I visited some amazing estates and gardens. The trip provided a much needed refill for the old creativity tank, but I’m glad to be back on home ground.
When traveling I do a lot of reflecting. It’s really one of the few times when my attention isn’t pulled in 100 directions so there’s space in my mind for thoughts other than “What’s next?” Maybe it’s because it is July 4th or because I was in a foreign country, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I appreciate most here in the U.S. On my flight home I came up with a list of 10 things that I find inspiring about this country.
- Thomas Jefferson and Monticello
- Our National Parks System
- American farmers
- George Washington and Mt. Vernon
- Arlington National Cemetery
- American ingenuity and the free market system
- Freedom of speech
- PBS and NPR
- American armed services
- Bluegrass music
- American cuisine (I adore fresh blackberry cobbler and homemade ice cream)
- Garrison Keillor
What do you find inspirational about the United States?
I’m out of town this week so I asked my digital manager Mary Ellen Pyle to write this guest blog about a Girls Night Out at the Garden Home Retreat.
When Allen goes out of town everyone in the office breathes a collective sigh. Not that we don’t love the guy, it’s just nice to have him out of the way sometimes so we can get things done. Brilliant as he is, he’s not one for detail work and there’s a lot of that around here. Last week we shipped Allen off to Merry Olde England where he is visiting a few estate gardens in Norfolk and Suffolk. He’s sure to return full of new ideas he wants to try out.
Before Allen left he set the ladies up with a Girls Night Out at the Garden Home Retreat. The theme was red wine and chocolate. He gave us some tips for dressing up the space without expending a lot of energy. After all, Girls Night Out is about having a good time without a whole lot of effort.
Girl’s Night Out Sangria
- 1 bottle red wine (Pinot Noir works well)
- 1/4 cup Cointreau liqueur
- 1/4 cup limonata
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 thin orange slices, cut in half
- 1/2 peach or other seasonal fruit, cut in thin wedges
- 1/2 bottle Mountain Valley Sparkling Water or to taste (1 liter bottle)
Combine all ingredients in a covered container and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or serve over ice.
Sur La Table La Rochere Glassware
Mountain Valley Water