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Better ingredients, better technique, better results.

My name is Margot and I am a self-taught cook and decorator.  Actually, I started out wanting to write and illustrate children's books, but opted for a career in telecommunications with big corporate America.

Yeah, that translates.

Art finds a way, though.

For me, food and cooking was always from scratch.  While my friends were all scarfing down fat-free and sugar-free, I wouldn't open a jar or a can.  For the most part, I still don't. 

I strive to cook with natural, seasonal foods and treat them with respect. Through trial and error, I've perfected my cooking methods to render the most out of the ingredients I use.  When I would give out my recipe, I always got the same comment.  "It just wasn't like yours."  Then I finaly learned it was my personal techniques that made the difference in the dish. 

So here is what I wasn't writing down, along with my seasonal take on what we cook and eat and the stuff we make and do.  Just don't look at the mess in the kitchen.


Home Now


When I was young and single, I would tell my mother (otherwise known as Nan) that if I ever got married, I would probably run away (like she and my Dad did).  

Nan:  Fine

Me: I don't really want a wedding, I just want to be married.

Nan: Fine.  We'll give you the money.

So when Chris and I were planning on getting married, my Dad, not being privy to that conversation with my mother, offered to pay for our wedding. It seemed silly at our age, but I was his oldest daughter, and he adored my husband.  Two mortgages between us.

The crash of 2008 hit both of us pretty hard.  I had just sold my beloved house in Branford, and moved in with Chris.  All part of the plan to eventually consolidate into a single house.  Our Dream House.

Two days after I closed out my house sale and moved in with him, he got laid off from his job in the marine industry.  Good thing one of us was working.  One mortgage between us.  That very week was the big banking crash.

Two months later, I got laid off from my job.  Still one mortgage.

Now what.

Having pulled all of my equity out of both California and now Branford at the right time I had a pretty big lump of cash.  Having purchased his house in 2002, Chris had some benefit from the housing run up, and he had a pretty good equity position as well.  We could still do it, and come out mortage free.

Six months and 75 house showing later (Chris had by now given up looking and let me cull the herd), I call his mobile phone.  He was on his way to get Grace the Girl for the weekend.

Me:  You need to get over here and see this.

Chris:  Where are you?

Me:  I'm sitting on an empty foundation looking at Chamard Vineyard.  Stop home and get my checkbook.

We gave the builder a deposit on the spot.

It was going to be almosts perfect.  Not a ranch, but we could still get a great room with a fireplace in the right spot, our own bathrooms, and a view.

What it didn't have was a porch included in the plan.  Or the price.

So, our plans ended up being what my mother and I had always talked about.  We didn't want a wedding, we wanted a porch.

We got a porch for a wedding present.  Thank you, Daddy, we love you and miss you!




Moving back

I've lived in more than 20 houses and when I was finished renovating and re-decorating, it was time to move to another one.  After decades of moving farther and farther from the Shoreline, my journey back here began as one of familial duty and obligation.  I soothed my California grief by buying an enormous single family house in New England.  By myself.

What was I thinking?

You should have seen the driveway . . . steep, narrow, and twisted.  This picture was taken from the road. 

Connecticut:  2635 Square Feet  $600,000

But the house was perfect for entertaining and close to my family. 

Connecticut:  The Martini Room with one of three fireplaces and 11 rooms in the house

It also seemed cheap, compared to California: 

Newport Beach:  1810 square feet.  $1,090,000

Newport Beach:  Great Room (there were only two rooms on the lower level)

Newport Beach:  Living and Dining (the other room on the lower level)

It seemed an easy decision. . .

My mom was battling cancer, and after only six weeks of living here, I lost the reason I had returned. Now I had a deeper grief to get through.   I had my own home grown therapy:  cooking, decorating, projects, holidays, all involving enormous amounts of energy. 

And then it happened.  The one thing I had wanted all my life and had pretty much given up on. 


Don't tell the Universe your plans

I was single for decades. 

I got married for the first time after moving back to The Shoreline when I was in my fifties.  When I met my husband I told my sister,

"He's cute, but I'm not going to marry him." 

Lesson learned, don't tell the Universe your plans. 

The reality is, I finally woke up and learned what is really meaningful in life.  When it came to men, I had spent most of my single life being interested in what was unavailable to me.

And not interested in what was available to me. 

And working in corporate America because somebody had to pay the mortage (not the other way around.)

Until Chris. 

He's my boy now.  I say boy because he is considerably younger than me. Technically, I don't qualify as a cougar, that's more like 15 or 20 years, but he's almost 10 years younger than me. 

He put up with me keeping him at arms length for nearly a year, and to this day I am grateful for that.  He would say I fell in love with his daughter (aka Grace The Girl) first, and he would be near to the truth. The fact is I struggled trying to figure out what he could have done to cause a woman to walk away from being a family with the two of them.

Then I realized it wasn't him.  

And I could made the same mistake myself.

But I didn't.

Once I figured out I could have a little family of my own, it was hook, line and sinker.