Let’s get something straight.
Where I grew up, there was one single defining standard of fine cuisine and gourmet fare. It was the kind of place that you would get in the car and drive two and a half hours for…because let’s be honest, there wasn’t one any closer than that. The kind of place reserved only for the most special of milestone occasions, like prom dress shopping or state basketball tournaments when your team made the cut.
I was 17 years old before I ever even set foot in an Olive Garden. Dressing for the occasion, I wore my best sweater-over-blue-jean-shirt combo and packed my brown Aigner hand-me-down purse with Dr. Pepper lip smacker and wintergreen gum. In the restaurant, I couldn’t stop staring at all the faux stone wall treatment and the super-sized bottles of merlot on the shelves. It was the very epitome of all things classy. And then when we sat down….napkins! Not paper ones mind you, but real honest to goodness fabric ones. Made from cotton and everything! And trust me if I thought I was in heaven then, just you wait until they brought out the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake for dessert. Amen!!
So how is it that yesterday, as the words “Olive Garden” rolled out of my mouth and hung there in a giant speech bubble right in front of me, I had to fight the urge to clap my hands over my mouth and melt, puddle style, into the tan leather seats of the Mini? We had just wrapped up a shoot with the oh- so worldly and sophisticated Miss d.d Nickel and were looking for a place to grab a late lunch/early dinner (linner, if you will) when the question came up: Hey, where could we go for some really good Italian? And right then before I could do anything, I had said it and there it was. Olive Garden. The ole OG. My head was still spinning from my own home grown-ness and my face was turning the brightest shade of raspberry cheesecake red, when DD simply said: “Sure….I love that place.”
Sure…I love that place.
And just like that, it was ok for me to be me again. Homegrown and all. Because deep down part of me still considers the Olive Garden to be the highest form of fine cuisine. :) d.d. you could’ve laughed at me, could’ve made me feel small. But you didn’t. So thank you for sharing my love for the simple things like white chocolate raspberry cheesecake, and for not serving me up a big ole slice of humble pie!
And speaking of being totally and completely humbled, let me also just say thank you to you…to all of you… who shared your lives and amazing stories with us in our “What are you thankful for” contest. We were completely and utterly blown away by everything you said, and we are so lucky to have friends like you. Good friends. Smart friends. Friends who know what counts and tell it like it is.
There was absolutely no way we were ever going to be able to pick our favorite, so we enlisted the help of one of our best friends, Miss Shyla-la-la (who we are especially thankful will be coming down to spend Thanksgiving with us next week!!), to choose her favorite. After much deliberation and thought, this is what she had to say:
“I read through them all and they all really put a lot of time and effort into it, but it was this short simple one that stood out. Everyone who contributed gave it their all and I am positive it made many people sit down and count (or simply remember) their blessings… but I felt this one encapsulated it all. :)”
From KRISTINE: I am thankful for the little moments in life that we often miss – but namely for the times when I don’t miss them.
So Kristine, you are the lucky winner of either your Thanksgiving Turkey or a Restoration Hardsware gift card. Shoot us an email at email@example.com and let us know your pick!!
And speaking of feasts, just go ahead and feast your eyes on this little sneaky peek of what’s to come!