Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I wouldn't be short on counter space if...

...this were my kitchen.  Beautiful.  Big.  Bright.  Love.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Did I mention that I am obsessed with Christmas?  As soon as the first fall-y feeling day rolls around each year, I begin to get excited about the holidays.  I love Halloween and Thanksgiving as well but I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that getting to those holidays means I'm just that much closer to Christmas!  We've got house guests (Scotland in da house!) for two weeks in November so I'm trying to make sure I get a jump start on things around here.  That, and it gives me an excuse (and I"ll take any excuse these days) to think about something other than work.

Yesterday, I bought these gift tags on Etsy (with my name instead, obvi).

I thought they were really cute BUT little did I know that my little purchase won me the title of FOEC when I got an email from their creator, Anne.  What the heck is FOEC, you ask?  Well, only Anne's FIRST OFFICIAL ETSY CUSTOMER!!! 

Not only did I get that honor but Anne doubled my order and will do so for any label orders I make in the future!!  Seriously, I have the worst luck but this just made my day!  And I bet it made hers too since she had her first sale (I'm still waiting on my first sale but this makes up for it!).  Anyway, Anne's got lots of great other things so check out her Etsy shop here

I'm already planning my next purchase.  It's between these items right now...

Tuesday Tip: Get a Silpat

Maybe I was the only person I know living in the dark ages but we got a silpat for our wedding but before then I'd never even heard of one.  Have ya'll?

It's a professional baking mat.  It doesn't allow anything to stick to it (believe me, if anyone could make it stick, I could) and it heats evenly.  Ours fits the size of our cookie sheet so we roast veggies on it, make cookies on it...the opportunities are endless.  And they aren't cost prohibitive.  It'd be a good gift to give someone if you know they don't have one and they like to cook.  The image above is from one they sell at Sur la Table.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Today would have been my Mom's birthday.  Not a day goes by that I don't miss her but it is especially hard on this day. 

I finished reading The Secret Life of Bees just the other day and it couldn't have been  more timely given what this day means to me.  If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.  I"m adding the movie to my Netflix queue asap.  Anyway, without giving too much away, the story is about a young white girl and how she and her black housekeeper escape an abusive father and a jail sentence, respectively.  They flee to Tiburon, SC and live with a household of black sisters who are also beekeepers.  The little girl lost her mother when she was young and is trying to do everything she can to connect with her mother - despite the fact her father repeatedly told her that her mother didn't love her and that she left her.  It does to me have an upbeat and enlightening ending just so you don't think I'm all doom and gloom!  My favorite quote from the book was this:

You have to find a mother inside yourself.  We all do.  Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside.

It's true.  No matter how many people are around you that love you and support you, you have to first love yourself.  I hope one day I can have children and bestow on them all the love my mom gave my brother and I.  In the meantime, with the memory of my own mother strong, I need to find a mother inside of myself.

Even more timely, my sweet mother in law sent me an email today with this poem attached (she had no idea it was my Mom's birthday):

Mother-In-Law’s Prayer
Teach me to speak or to hold my tongue

when silence is divine

Help me, I pray, to understand

this newfound child of mine.
Keep me from taking bitter sides

or adding angry flames.

Teach me to leave them both alone

like children at their games.

Teach me to be a friend in deed

whose smile they’re glad to share.

Never too near yet never too far

this is my humble prayer.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Garden and Gun Featured Designer: Rachel Halvorson

This was the last of my favorites from Garden and Gun's Southern Designer Spotlight article.  Rachel Halvorson aka Rachel McAdams - don't they look alike?!

This Rachel has mad decorating skills - I love the unexpectedness of her work.  I've been reading her blog, Nest Egg, and love it. 

This was one of the photos from Garden and Gun and she is standing in front of a custom bar she created for a client.  Awesomeness.

She made that light fixture!

And this swing!

These next images all come from the same room but are various shots.  I love the horse image and how it is divided among the three canvases.


Doesn't that dresser gone changing table fit perfectly in that nook?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Blast from the past

Yesterday I was reminded of three things that I hadn't thought about in AGES since I was much, much younger.  It is funny how things happen in threes, isn't it?

First, I was reading Jamie's blog and saw her post about bajas.  Do you remember those?  My brother and I begged my Dad to buy us one when we were visiting Cherokee, NC and I think we were them every day for one winter.  They were so itchy...why did we think they were so cool?!

Then, later that evening, my husband and I were looking through the Netflix instant stream on the tv and were having trouble agreeing on a movie (par for the course).  We both got to Center Stage and were so excited about it.  I forgot how good (and cheesy!) that movie was.  The weirdest thing was how old everything looked all of a sudden - it was like I was watching a movie from the 70's or something.  Still love it!  If you haven't seen it, watch it!

And then, right before I was hitting the sack, I got an email from my friend Reeves who reminded me of this French rap song that we used to listen on repeat when we were in high school (on mixed tapes obvi).  Her sister had a French exchange student who told Reeves about this song.  If you haven't heard it, you should listen to it that good or is it just that it brings back memories?!

Have you been reminded of anything lately from your past that you had forgotten all about?

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pesto, pesto, pesto!

My friend Ailsa has a blog that makes me hungry every time I read it.  The other day she did a post about almond pesto and it reminded me that I better hurry up and use up some of the last of my summer basil.

Ailsa recipe for almond pesto sounds delicious but since I had some pine nuts on hand, I decided to use a standby recipe that I got from my coworker, cook and mom extroidinaire, Diana.

Easy peasy and great for a quick weeknight supper.  It's also in the freezes beautifully section of the cookbook.  :)

Gather and clean the fresh basil.  For about five-six cups of fresh pasta, I used about 2 cups of fresh basil.
I also peeled three cloves of garlic. 

Toast the pinenuts until they release the oils.  I had a big batch so I only used about a cup for this recipe and then froze the rest.

I added the basil and the garlic to the blender along with the toasted pinenuts and about a cup of grated parmesan cheese.  (Actually, I used pecorino romano because that is what I had on hand.)

Once everything is pulsed up together, slowly pour in olive oil and continue blending.  Stop adding olive oil when the pesto reaches a soft looking consistency.

I refrigerated this overnight so that the next day all I had to do was blacken some chicken, heat up some green peas and cook the pasta.  I like to use the rotini kind or something with ridges to help the pesto stick to the pasta.  Serve with a little extra parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Beer Brine Pork Chops

My husband is the king of marinades.  I'm a creature of habit when it comes to quick and easy week night meals.  Pork chops are a staple of ours but I always tend to go with some kind of asian-y type marinade.  He concocted this beer brine marinade.  I have to admit...I was skeptical at first but it was so good!

Here's what he did:

Marinate pork chops in the following (we used a ziplock bag for ease of clean up):
1 beer (we used Samuel Adams Octoberfest but a good strout would also be good)
whole pepper corns
dried or fresh rosemary

Make sure that you push all of the air out of the bag when you put it in the brine. 

Note: We used thinner pork chops - if you have thicker, this dish would be even better!!

The trick to this is to allow the brine to set in.  We marinated this the night before and then it was easy prep for the weeknight dinner.

Remove the pork chops from the fridge about an hour or so before to get the chill off.  Pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel and re-season with salt, pepper, sugar, and rosemary.

Grill to preferred temperature and serve!  We had ours with rosemary roast potatoes and grilled asparatus.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Garden and Gun Featured Designer: O'Brien and Muse

Out of Richmond, VA so we're practically neighbors!  I wasn't wowed out of my mind with their designs however, with that said, if one room in my house looked like this, I'd be a happy girl!  I do think they are all extremely tasteful and very livable which is a good trademark to have.

rug+coffee table=awesomeness

big fan of the light fixture and chair shape

want the following: industrial island and stools, sink and plate rack

love open shelving and the unexpected touch of leather in the kitchen chairs

greatness = light fixture, book display, color of walls, and well, a fireplace in general just makes me happy

Another great fireplace with an awesome mantel...I just want to curl up in this room with a good book.

Clean, white, beautiful. 

Okay, here's a prime example of what I was talking about in the beginning of this post.  There is nothing over the top about this in terms of uniqueness but it is so traditionally elegant and so livable.

I love a chair in a bathroom.  Especially one with such fantastic shape and fabric.

Wood beams, a comfy couch and great coffee table styling.  Yes.

You had me at the zebra rug.  But when you threw in that (what is that thing?!) ottoman, it was love.

Tuesday Tip: Clean out VHS Tapes

I've been thinking about this for a long time but haven't been able to bring myself to do it.  I was reading Better Homes and Gardens on my last car trip and they had a quote from

"If you no longer own a VCR, get rid of those VHS tapes.  Donate or dispose of them ( will take 20 pounds of your technotrash for $7 plus shipping).  Replace favorite titles on DVD."

Ugh.  I have boxes and boxes of my favorite movies on VHS tapes taking up valuable landscape in my basement and no VCR to play them on.  I shudder to think of how much money I spent on those over the years.  But, the time has come.  I need to get 'em outta here. 

I don't think I necessarily agree iwth the part that calls for replacing favorite titles on DVD.  I'll probably just use Netflix if I want to see them - that'll really decrease the clutter.

Am I the only one who is still desperately clinging to their old VHS tapes??

Image via

Monday, September 13, 2010

Garden and Gun Featured Designer: Melissa Rufty

My friend Amanda is one of the most stylish and trendy people I know.  She is also one of the most generous.  She's always bringing me little gifts because they make her think of me.  A few weeks ago she brought me my first issue of Garden and Gun Magazine.  Love. 

They did a spread recently on new Southern designers and I loved looking through their portfolios.  I thought I'd share with you a few of the designers over the next few posts. 

Melissa Rufty of MMR Interiors is our of New Orleans and I am obsessed with her designs.  Check them out.

This was one of the rooms featured in the Garden and Gun issue.  As they pointed out, it is awesome how she took such modern prints that are on the setee (and how about that corner setee, btw) and mixed it with the old portraits.  As you'll see below, she uses portraits a lot in her designs.  I love mixing antiques and traditional pieces that are passed down to me from my family with more modern pieces.  No wonder I love her.  The other thing that I think I love most about her is her fearless use of color.  Keep going...

Bold wallpaper in a tight space only makes the hallway more of a feature than just a plain old hallway.  I love the two light fixtures that she also uses to dress up the space.

Another portrait, another corner setee.  Love the position of the artwork but it is that little lucite table that is really doing it for me in this picture.  I'm in the market for one if anyone has any good suggestions.  I want it to be pedestal and sturdy.  Am thinking bed side tables maybe...

I adore the furniture in this room.  The found chair is so unqiue and I love how the portrait colors pick up that fantastic rug.  The rest of the furniture is neutral but their shapes give them visual interest.

Not only did she go bold with the wall color choice here but check it - it is so high gloss that it reflects.  And she didn't shy away from color in the rest of the room.  Bright pink and yellow and bold graphics.  And she still manages to use a bright rug.  Amazing that instead of looking over the top, it makes me want to move right in.

She's got a thing for shaped, fabric covered headboards and bold graphics in bedrooms.  I prefer it in the twin guest bedrooms that are a few pictures later.  (Do you see the leopard print rug?  Beautiful.)

More color.  Don't know which I like more:
1. the lime green and white fabric on that chair
2. the blue velvet sofa
3. that stunning coffee table

Here are the twin beds I was talking about.  Love the wallpaper and the shape and color of those headboards.  And how about that lamp? 

More awesome twin beds.  This time the fabric headboards are forgone.  Bold graphic fabric adds drama and height to the room.  I want those black and white pillows. 

Heeeey.  Somebody else likes animal print on their dining room chairs too!

Really?  A patent leather bench with an antique looking table.  Yes!!!
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