Friday, October 31, 2014

ISLAND HOPPING


I feel like I just put my shorts away (actually, I did) as it dipped slightly below freezing here last night, part of me wants to hop on a plane and head off to the Hawaiian Islands, sip a Mai Tai and work on my tan, while the other part of me can't wait to put up the Christmas trees!!  Whether you like it or not, hold your noses, it's time to dive into the holiday mania, folks!  Just think, January 1st you'll slouch back in your sofa and think, "wow, it seems like just yesterday it was Halloween!" So even if you feel like slapping the masks off the snotty children coughing and sneezing their way up to your front door this evening, embrace this time because it will be gone before you know it!  Even though many retailers started to bombard us with Christmas teases well before the kiddos went back to school, it's time to focus on the tinsel and trees, and even closer, GOBBLE GOBBLE, is Thanksgiving!  If your house is anything like ours, holiday festivities or not, everyone gathers in the kitchen, the heart and soul of most of our homes.  One way to control the crowd AND add extra square footage (no matter what size kitchen..usually) is to add an island.  In fact, I've been all about the islands lately, especially in our home.  In an otherwise large kitchen with less than optimal counter prep space, I decided to add an island that would serve multiple purposes; storage, extra prep area and eating/standing/socializing.  The key to placing a good island, by the way, is creating a space where guests can interact with the cook, but not DISRUPT his or her flow. Because I love mixing mediums and styles, I decided to go for a more modern, stainless steel island in our almost hundred year old farmhouse.  Kitchen supply stores (now quite trendy) sell prep islands starting at $400+.  Ikea's even gotten into the Island action and sells various designs starting at $399.  Crate & Barrel also has one I fell in love with ($750 after delivery), but determined to save a little holiday shopping cash, I hopped on ebay and found the same prep island I almost purchased at a kitchen supply store for $550 for $159 with free shipping.  As the holidays roll in, I can sit back at my island, sip a Mai Tai and enjoy watching the festivities!
***One thing most kitchen supply stores warn, if you choose to go that direction, is the items are typically designed for working commercial kitchens, so finishes are not perfect.  Quite honestly, I love that, because it means I can scratch and ding to my hearts content without wanting to kill myself!