My entire life, I've looked up to Ina. No last name needed; you know who I'm referring to. She's my queen, my role model, my everything. Everyday I ask myself WWID?
So when I heard about this coastal grandmother trend on TikTok, modeled after the aesthetic of Nancy Meyers movies like Something's Gotta Give and everything that Ina's about, I knew I had to try it.
Coastal grandmother is a mindset and a lifestyle. It's wearing light linen and cotton all the time and making a roast chicken with ingredients from a farmers' market. It's always having fresh-cut flowers around and sipping on chilled white wine on the patio overlooking a body of water. It's cultivating cozy, casual, classic vibes.
That all sounded like a dream, so I decided to set one day aside to follow the coastal grandmother lifestyle. Here were the rules I set for myself:
Dress like you're ready for a day out in the garden.
Only use good vanilla.
Always say yes to dessert.
Ask the butcher/cheesemonger/barista what they recommend—they are the expert.
Always have fresh-cut flowers on the table.
Never apologize for things that aren't your fault.
My day went as follows:
I woke up at 8 a.m. For me, that's sleeping in a little, but not enough to waste the sunshine. A coastal grandmother, or CG as I will now call her, would never.
I got dressed in garden-ready chic: light knit top, green denim pants, cotton button down, and boots. I also pulled my hair back with a scarf in a very mid-2000's way, something I hadn't done since probably fifth grade, but I liked it.
At my local coffee shop I ordered a barista-recommended pain au chocolate and a hot chai latte. "What kind of milk?" the barista asked. "Just regular," I said. A coastal grandmother would never deny herself the pleasure of dairy, even if she is lactose insensitive. When they called my name, the drink accidentally came out iced, but I waved it off and said it was "totally fine." A CG would never mind.
It only felt right to enjoy my breakfast while admiring a body of water. I made the trek to the East River and plopped down on a bench. Only in New York can I enjoy glorious sunbeams of light coming through a magnificent bridge and sparkling off a river—and then look to my right to see a sanitation center. Not exactly CG vibes, but I rolled with it.
I made the short walk back toward my apartment and stumbled upon a farmers' market. I mean, I knew it was there, but happening across it feels more CG. I browsed the piles of vegetables and herbs and picked out the most beautiful ones. But then I was suddenly shocked back into my millennial body: I had no cash, no way to pay for the produce. A CG would always keep cash on her for this reason, or to treat herself to an ice cream cone when she heard the jingle of a nearby truck.
I walked home defeated, but bought fresh flowers from a grocery store to cheer myself up. Then I changed clothes and went for a walk to clear my mind and enjoy the weather, something a CG would never shut up about. I walked to Randall's Island, which was blooming with flowers. I really tried to enjoy them while listening to a CG playlist on Spotify (it's basically the soundtrack to The Parent Trap).
Next was my biggest challenge of the day: making dinner. It had to be casual, yet beautiful, effortless, yet impressive. I flipped through Ina's cookbooks in my collection for inspiration. I landed on fresh ricotta toast with herb-y snap peas, a tomato tart with goat cheese, and honey-whipped cream and blackberries for dessert. I also made myself a cocktail with bourbon, lemon juice, and maple syrup. And by a cocktail, I mean three cocktails. Because cooking is so much more fun when you're tipsy.
And because I'm a CG for the day, it only felt right to eat dinner outside. I packed it all up into a cooler, along with linen napkins and real silverware, and walked to Central Park. I set up a blanket, brought out actual glassware, poured myself some wine, and sat in bliss listening to music and slowly enjoying my spread of food.
Honestly, living like a CG was just about making decisions for me and only me. If I wanted a croissant, I got a croissant. It didn't matter if it was a "healthy" breakfast choice. If I wanted to waste the day away walking around town, I did that, because I'm retired and have all the time in the world. If I wanted to get tipsy while cooking dinner and listening to music, I did that. Nobody else's opinions mattered. I did everything for myself. It was the best day ever and I should do it more often.
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