All About Annabel

Annabel (aka Hot Mess) is a food blogger and public relations professional in Charleston, S.C. Her blog, Hot Mess, chronicles her personal kitchen adventures and restaurant reviews from the Charleston area and Jacksonville, Fla. From time to time she throws in a personal essay or two. She believes there are two rooms in which you should always experiment, one of which is the kitchen.

Annabel believes simple pleasures have the capability to anchor us in the present moment, which is why you should never pass up a good cup of coffee, chocolate chip cookie or a kiss. She loves to cook, tries to be as good of a gardener as her green-thumbed mamma and goes weak in the knees for a pair of kick-ass pumps. A natural-born giggler, you are sure to laugh, too, reading her adventures in the kitchen, about town and everywhere in between.

Fun Facts

  • Born in Pinehurst, NC, grew up in Jacksonville, FL and happily live in Charleston, SC.
  • Graduated from the College of Charleston with a B.A. in French and a minor in business administration.
  • I love to read! (Send me book recommendations)
  • Natural blond, no, really
  • I love trivia (O'Malley's on Tuesdays, Mellow Mushroom on Sundays, Yo Burrito on Thursdays...)
  • First thing I ever cooked was beef stew in a cottage on the Scottish Highlands (cue bagpipe music)
  • I am a decent baker but a better savory cook.

The Whole Truth (inspired by Whole Living magazine)
  • My Beauty Secret: I moisturize twice a day and I don't wear foundation; I wear translucent mineral powder. They don't make foundation pale enough for my complexion!
  • What Shocks Most People About Me: I'm a registered member of the "red team."
  • When I Was 16 I Thought: Probably not very kind thoughts about my body.   
  • I Felt At Home With Myself When...: It's a daily conscious decision to accept myself for whom I am. It gets easier with time. Someone close to me told me, "Comparison is the death of happiness." He's so right.
  • I Don't Take Kindly Being Told How To: Do anything! I'm stubbornly independent! I have gotten better at accepting and asking for help.
  • What Makes Me Truly Happy: It changes from day to day, but I really love making food that other people like, spending a low key night in with my beau and dancing the night away with my best friends.
  • The Oddest Thing I Ever Bought: I have an addiction to buying plants. I love lush, green things; its a southern woman thing.
  • The Household Chore I Secretly Like: Cleaning countertops and making things shine.
  • I Always Remember To: Send thank you notes.
  • The Movie I Have to Watch, Even If I Turn It On Midway Through: The Hangover, Bride Wars, any Harry Potter movie, A Few Good Men, Gladiator, the Patriot
  • Book That Changed My Life: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Coffee or Tea: Coffee in the morning, iced tea otherwise
  • If I Could Do One Thing Professionally: Own my own eatery.
  • Guiltiest Pleasure: Eating ice cream right out of the carton. 

A Few of My Favorite Things

  • Cookbooks: The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, Cooking From the Farmers' Market, Fresh Flavor Fast
  • Books: French Dirt, Outliers, Eat Pray Love, Anna Karenina, A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man
  • Color: Orange (if you see a blond girl with an orange Apple computer with a matching orange soft case and orange iPhone, it is probably me.)
  • Cuisines: Modern American, French, Indian, Thai, Japanese
  • Plants: Annabelle hydrangea (duh), peonies, all herbs, tea olives, gardenias, jasmine, honeysuckle, tomatoes, aloe
  • Foods: I am a total egg slut (love 'em poached!), French macaroons (preferably from La Durée), mango lassi, sushi, barbecue, salads (I am a rabbit)
  • Adult Beverages: Long Island Ice Teas, Malbec wines, gin and tonics, bourbon, rosé champagne, Bramblette (from the Belmont in Charleston)
  • Places: Charleston, SC, New York, NY, San Francisco, St. Malo, France, London, Paris, Scotland
  • Charleston Restaurants: Mustard Seed, Charleston's Café, Closed For Business, Amen Street, Carolina's, The Square Onion, Charleston Street Hero Banh Mi & Vietnamese Tacos

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