April 30, 2010

The meadow ‘s in the bloom

scenic south -- ky derby winner '49

I can’t consider myself a respectable southern blogger if I don’t at least acknowledge the event taking place this weekend…you know the one…with the horses? I’ve never been to a horse race, let alone the Kentucky Derby. I rode horses sometimes when I was younger and I always wanted to wear a black velvet riding hat and feed the horses carrots…even then my two great loves were evident (fashion & food). But since there is much tradition steeped in this race, I wanted to at least mention it and share these neat old photos I found in a little magazine called Scenic South (produced and distributed in the mid-century  by the Standard Oil Co. and graciously shared with me by my sweet uncle)

  scenic south -- derby in progress

Are any of you lovelies attending the Derby? I was trying to find a place in my town that serves Derby Pie, but am not having much luck. I’ll be yard sale-ing it up tomorrow morning with one of my favorite partners in crime, but maybe tomorrow afternoon, I’ll have a chance to make this delicious looking bread pudding, courtesy of the Kitchen Belle over at Kitchen Belleicious. I have lots of mint growing on my little back-porch garden…juleps anyone?

April 29, 2010

Fresh + local = Yippee!

sparta farm with truck - ayla

Saturday May 1, 201o is the opening day of the Market Square Farmers’ Market in Knoxville, TN. In its 7th season, this market takes place every Saturday from 9-2 (until fall) on Market Square in the downtown area. There is just something very neat about strolling around on the square, chatting with vendors, sampling delicious wares and taking lots of wonderful items home with you. All the items for sale are grown or produced locally in this region and the vendors are so helpful and friendly. I’ve never gotten anything that wasn’t a great find.


If you don’t live in the Knoxville area, but are interested in finding a farmers’ market or produce stand near you, check out Local Harvest, a site that lets you search for locally grown wares in your town, state or region.

fresh veggies

Another fabulous site to check out is Home Grown…where you can connect with folks who are doing some great things. From straw bale gardening to beekeeping, this site offers a wealth of information on lots of topics and projects. I love supporting local growers, artisans, bakers, etc. These sites are a good way to get in touch with some of each!

{top image courtesy my sweet cousin & photographer extraordinaire, Ayla W.}

April 28, 2010

Le fete de l’imagination: Harper Lee

Southern Belle Simple is going to have a new regular feature….le fete de l’imagination. It roughly translates to “the imaginary party” and will be a pretend celebration of sorts for the birthday of a special southern belle or beau. I want to honor the lives of some important folks and this seemed like a good way to do that.
harper lee photo 
There is no better person to celebrate for the premiere of this feature than Ms. Harper Lee. Not only is she the author of my all-time favorite book To Kill a Mockingbird, she is a true daughter of the south and must be celebrated accordingly. She was born Nelle Harper Lee on April 28, 1926. Ms. Lee grew up in Monroeville, Alabama and has always said that she based the fictional Macomb in her novel on her own hometown. If you haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird, you need to stop reading this blog and go get a copy! 
front porch harper lee country living

So what kind of party should we have for Ms. Harper Lee? I think we should receive our guests on the front porch and serve them lemonade upon their arrival. We can chat for a bit before moving into the back yard…to this precious greenhouse that has been transformed into a beautiful sitting room.


We’ll make sure our guest of honor has the prime spot smack dab in the middle of this comfy couch and then we can all gather around for the celebration. She’ll probably regale us with stories of her adventures growing up in the south, moving to New York, traveling with Truman Capote and how it felt to become a published author of one of the most-loved books of all time. 

We will enjoy a simple salad and cold fried chicken with linen dish towels spread over our laps for napkins. Then for the piece de resistance,  assorted fruit pies freshly baked and cooled on a windowsill. Miss Harper (we’re more familiar now) can open her gifts of a new journal (the perfect gift for any writer) and a sharp new passport cover. Rosewater hand cream and an antique brooch will make her feel equally celebrated. I hope she loves her gifts! 

harper lee.bmp

Is there anything special you’d like to bring to the party?

Easy Chalkboard DIY Message Board

1 room schoolhouse 

Maybe it is because of all the fantastic teachers I have had through the years, or maybe it is because I was kind of a nerd, but I always loved school. I loved being in a classroom, sitting in neat rows, watching my teacher write on the chalkboard in perfectly slanted cursive letters. I loved being chosen to come up and write a sentence on the board. In the mid-1800s, these humble pieces of slate made it possible for one-room schoolhouses across the country to more efficiently cater to a greater number of students because everyone could see what the teacher wrote on the board. 

chalkboard paint and mirror

Not too long ago, chalkboards were slowly phased out of our classrooms, replaced by the ubiquitous whiteboards that are used today. In high school we had grayboards that could supposedly be written on with any type of implement but they were just awful. How I missed the chalkboards of my youth. I'm sure you could guess my excitement when chalkboard paint hit the market. Oddly enough, I've seen tons of chalkboard paint projects and never actually tried any of it myself. Until now! The best part is you don't have to be a DIY or crafting expert to use it. 

Thanks to a great school friend and her wonderful blog, I was inspired to do a little project of my own with chalkboard paint and I'm pretty happy with the results.
 chalkboard mirror

I inherited this mirror several years ago and it was actually in the “donate” pile when I started thinking maybe I could give it new life as a chalkboard. I see them in kitchens all the time and it is such a good idea…for a message board, grocery list keeper or just somewhere to doodle while the meat defrosts.

mirror collage

The hardest part was taping off the frame so it didn’t get painted. I notched strips of blue painter’s tape so they could easily form an oval shape and adhere strips of newsprint. A couple thin coats of paint later and it was done. The instructions say to rub a piece of chalk over the painted area to prime it before writing anything.

chalkboard with message
{my inaugural message}
I used the spray paint version and it worked really well. It says it will work on most surfaces and I was not sure how it would be on the glass, but it covered it just fine. I don’t want to go crazy and chalkboard paint everything, but for this little spot…it was a perfect choice!

April 26, 2010

A few good sites…

Happy Monday Everyone! Today's post was supposed to be about food, but I got a little sidetracked and thought I would share some of the sites that I've been enjoying.

Old Faves:

OldskoolVegasBed1 Apartment Therapy- Even if you don't live in an apartment, this site is packed to the brim with ideas, tips, products and solutions for all your home design dilemmas. I like to go on here and look at house tours of folks whose homes have approximately the same square footage as mine just to see how they deal with the space (or lack thereof) differently using furniture placement, floor plans, etc.

Better After- This fun blog scans the web for all sorts of furniture and room re-dos. If you have a piece of furniture that needs a lift, I guarantee you will find inspiration on this blog. It reminds me that a coat of paint can make a world of difference, whatever statement you are hoping to make. And most of the re-dos are done by ordinary (i.e. non-professional) people so if they can do it, so can we!

Eating Well- I love this site because it offers a huge range of recipes and meals that work with all sorts of dieting eating methods. If you are looking for low-carb, you can filter the search results that way or if you want something that can be made quickly, that can be a search as well. The images make the food look really pretty and appetizing, but it seems totally user-friendly and easy (even for beginner cooks).

New Finds:

What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear?- I'm a huge fan of Glee and guidance counselor Emma's style is so uniquely tailored to her character's personality. My bff works for Juicy Couture in LA and he was telling me that many of her fashions come from that brand. Even if you've never seen the show, this blog offers some great fashion ideas and makes seemingly old-fashioned looks fresh and new.

yellow 9 west wedges    6pm- This site is the discount sister to Zappos and when I stumbled across it, I fell in love! There are some great shoes here and for awesome prices. One drawback is that unlike Zappos, there is a shipping charge, but it is a flat rate no matter how many pairs you order. Sizes are a bit more limited, but the selection is still really good. I found the last pair I ordered from 6pm on a competitor's site for about $30 more.

The Inside Source- This site is produced by Ebay and I've really enjoyed reading some of the articles here. Ebay can be sort of a daunting place with so many things to sort through and The Inside Source makes it easier to hone in on what you're looking for. From hot trends to creative gift ideas, interesting interviews to inspiring interiors, this site is definitely one to see.

Do you have any daily reads that you think the world needs to know about? Please share!

April 23, 2010

Slow food

meat counter selection As the granddaughter of a butcher, I’ve always eaten meat. I am not squeamish about cooking it either, but I do have a few stand-by methods and I rarely stray from them. My favorite meat to cook is roast (beef) because I throw that sucker in the Crock Pot and all the work is done for me. I love coming home to the smell of dinner and all I have to do is put it on a plate. I rarely attempt long, detailed recipes and usually like to fix dishes with 5 or fewer ingredients.

My roast recipe isn't really a recipe at all. Sort of just a method. All you really need is the meat and a liquid. I skip potatoes/ carrots because of the starch factor but you can use them if you choose. Step 1: Scour your grocer's meat counter for discounted cuts of meat. I usually look for a beef rump or shoulder, but you can do eye-of-round or shank as well. You don't have to buy discounted meat, but I'm a bargain shopper so this is what I do. Step 2: Take it home, carve off some of the fat, and toss it in your slow cooker. Step 3: The fun part...my standard liquid is balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing. I like the Kroger brand, but you can use whatever you like. Other dressings that will work: Italian, red wine vinegar, olive oil and vinegar...Anything that is oil based. I just pour in enough to where the meat is half covered by liquid, but not submerged or anything. Step 4: Turn on the slow cooker and let it sit. The low setting is preferable because the meat will be more tender that way, and about 6 or so hours is plenty of time for it to cook, give or take an hour.

fully-cooked-pot-roast   {not my roast, but a good facsimile}

When I made roast for dinner last night, I used this exact method (i.e. 1 roast, some balsamic dressing and nothing else). When I made it last week (I told you it was my standard go-to), I used 1 roast, balsamic dressing and a jar of roasted red peppers. The red pepper brine cut some of the oil of the dressing and it was good, too. While this method is not earth-shattering by any means, it is practically no fail. With all the other things that take our attention during the day, isn’t it nice to have something that can sort of tend to itself?

Any other slow cooker cooks out there? Hellooooo? Have a wonderful weekend everybody!

April 22, 2010

Making it personal

apricotcard_win99_xl  A person’s name is such an interesting thing. We all have one. Many of us share the same ones and others are totally unique and different. Some of us love our names (yours truly…not to sound braggy, but I do!) and some (it makes me sad to say) hate them. If you really don’t like your name, you can even have it legally changed. As a person who likes her name, I’ve always been drawn to things I could personalize. From pencils to beach towels, key chains to umbrellas, sweatshirts to underwear…seeing my name embroidered (or even painted) on something always makes me smile. Throughout history the monogram has been used to signify social standing, royalty, identity and allegiance. Though few of us have a dire need for this type of formal identification (not to alienate my three royal readers), it is still a fun way to personalize something which might otherwise be considered mundane.

There is a neat company out there providing some lovely products and all of them can be personalized. If you haven’t heard of ThirtyOne Gifts, you’re about to. I wasn’t familiar with ThirtyOne until Santa brought me some awesome personalized stationery a few years ago. There is nothing I love more than cute cards and envelopes and these had my name written all over them (yay, puns!). Apparently Santa (aka my mom) had gotten in touch with our sweet cousin Jan who is a ThirtyOne representative. Jan told me that she was attracted to the company because it is faith-based (the name comes from Proverbs 31) and was started by Cindy Monroe, a true southern belle who grew her business literally from the basement up. It all began in the basement of Cindy’s home near Chattanooga, TN and now the company has grown to include representatives across the nation.

Screen Captures{all adorable product images captured from Thirty-One website}

Besides stationery, ThirtyOne offers all sorts of precious bags, purses, backpacks and totes which you can personalize with fabric, lettering and colors. My favorite thing about the products is that you can choose from lots of different fonts and over 25 colors of thread. I’m not being paid to talk about this, I just think it is a neat company and I like the stuff. I can think of all sorts of occasions when a personalized gift would be just perfect. It is sort of nice to be able to get something either for yourself or a friend and know that it is unique to the person.

Remember how popular paint pens were in the 90s? When I joined my sorority in college, I paint-penned my letters on anything that wasn’t moving! ThirtyOne Gifts sort of takes me back to those days, except this stuff is much classier than that plastic laundry basket I painted way back when.

April 21, 2010

These are Keepers!

 book stack  

I visit my local library at least twice a week (sometimes more) to pick up the latest books, magazines, films and cds for my reading/viewing/listening pleasure. It’s sort of like shopping without spending any money! I was perusing the 'new books' shelf this week and three little gems caught my eye. I know it has been said "don't judge a book by its cover," but those of you who agree with that quote probably haven't laid eyes on these volumes. And I promise I didn’t just grab them because they are all green (my favorite color!).

I sat down and skimmed through all of them last night and they are definitely going on the list of books to add to my permanent collection. Unlike a fiction story which you might read once and then return, these babies will provide oodles of advice and wisdom that (I think) you'd want to refer to over and over. Even though my local library's generous book check-out period is three weeks, these are books that I would want to keep on my shelf for years to come. 

mrs. meyer's book
First is Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Home. You probably recognize her name from her extensive line of cleaning products. I’ve never used any of her products before, but after looking through this book, I think I might have to try them. Anybody who raises 9 kids and still has as much energy to devote to the art of cleaning is a hero to me. My favorite of her tips is to wipe up spilled toothpaste and rub over your bathroom faucets to make them really gleam!

simple country living wisdom
Next, Simple Country Wisdom from the publishers of Country Living magazine. Even if you don’t feel like reading, be sure to expect the beautiful images that Country Living is famous for. There are so many great tips and tricks in here…including all you ever needed to know about seasoning new cast iron skillets and refurbishing them even when they seem past their prime. 

homemade living, canning
Finally, Canning & Preserving is a gorgeous book from Ashley English of design*sponge fame. It makes the canning process seem so do-able, even without lots of fancy equipment. The failed graphic designer in me is oh so jealous of the talented folks who put this book together…it is a wonderful introduction to the world of “putting up.” My favorite section offers a description of jam, jelly, marmalade, etc. and what each is and how they differ.

These books get my stamp of approval! Do any of you already have one (or all) of these in your collection?

April 19, 2010

Share some food, y’all!

104_0309 Growing up in a small town in the south provided me with a true sense of community. And there's nothing better than members of a community coming together to help each other out when things are tough as well as to celebrate joyous occasions. Since food is always at the center of any good gathering, the potluck was born. The term potluck comes from the idea that you might have to whip something up at the last minute for a surprise guest, serving him the "luck of the pot." I think this concept has many names, but in the south, the most common ones are a potluck or a covered dish supper. Whether an annual community event, a local fundraiser or just a bunch or friends having a good time, I have never been to a bad potluck. Its inevitable that two (or three) people will bring the same dish, but the great thing about this is that you can try the same dish, fixed three completely different ways. Many a beloved recipe has been passed around across the potluck table.

DSC00548Food, Inc. is a new documentary by filmmaker Robert Kenner which gives an in-depth look into the ins and outs of the food industry. The film is being shown in a special broadcast on Wednesday April 21, 2010 at 9pm on PBS as part of the 23rd season of Point of View (American television's longest-running independent documentary series). It is important to have a dialogue about issues such as this and documentaries are great at getting those types of dialogues started. 

In honor of the film's premiere, PBS is encouraging viewers to host their very own Food, Inc. potluck and viewing parties. The film will be available streaming from here April 22-29. If you are interested in hosting a party, get the details here. Or just check out the PBS website for some great potluck dish recipes, pictures, and chances to win prizes!!!!! Even if you don't host a potluck, the film is sure to be informative (although they warn that some scenes are less than appetizing so you might not want to actually watch it while you are eating).

It seems like there are some dishes that always make an appearance at a potluck (green bean casserole, anybody?), but I love to discover something brand new to try. I have a couple of standard dishes that I always make and take. One of these is Paula Deen's Tennessee Caviar (yes, I changed the name to reflect my state). It is super easy and doesn't require extreme temperatures. My other is a cheesy corn casserole. All you do (isn't that a typical southern way to start instructions!) is mix a couple cans of drained sweet corn with equal parts shredded cheese and mayo (like a cup or 2), stir it together and bake in a casserole dish. I didn't say it was health-food, but it improves my mental health. You can sprinkle green olives on top if you like!

Ok, I need to know. What are your go-to potluck dishes? Please share all of your fabulous recipes (if they aren't a family secret) and if you just go to Kroger and buy a pie, share that too!

April 16, 2010

Friday & Feeling Good

sparta farm - ayla

One of my favorite things to do when I was a little girl was spend the night with my Granny and Pa on their farm. I'd wake up to the smell of biscuits and gravy, sausage, bacon and my utmost all- time favorite, cheesy eggs. 

I'm sure my Granny had been up for hours before I ever made an appearance at the table. How anybody could ever wake up with all of that goodness awaiting him and be in a bad mood is hard to understand, but sometimes I was out of sorts first thing in the morning. My granny had a perfectly reasonable explanation  for this...that it was possible for the nighttime to put someone in a less-than-great mood (maybe because of a bad dream or fitful sleep or whatever). 

She would rub my back and say "now, just make those ol’ bad feelings go away" and then I'd eat a biscuit or three with homemade blackberry jelly and everything would be better.

pink flower 2 - ayla   

There are times now when I wake up from a nightmare or a bad night's sleep and experience those "ol' bad feelings" again, but I know they don't last long. I feel so lucky to have known the wisdom of several generations of my family and wisdom is something that is always with us even when the folks who imparted it are gone. In these parts, spring is serving up a lot of beauty right now and I hope that is the case where you are too! Either way, I wanted to share a few images that filled me with nothing but good feelings and I wish the same for you! Have a wonderful weekend y'all!

pink flower - ayla

 daffodils 2 - ayla
{all the incredible photos on this post are courtesy of my talented cousin Ayla who generously allows me to copy and paste from her portfolio to my heart’s desire!}

April 15, 2010

The Dix House, Before & After

Ormond_Beach_Dix_House02My family has vacationed at the same place since before I was born. Ormond Beach, Florida is a lovely little town just north of Daytona where things move at a nice slow pace, the weather is gorgeous and the restaurants serve up food that is to-die-for. Having spent so much time in those parts, I really feel like it is  a home away from home. My mom (should I refer to her as Southern Belle Momma?) and I love to explore all the nooks and crannies of Ormond Beach and a recent trip was no exception.

Ormond_Beach_Dix_House01 We ventured out from the hotel pool deck for the afternoon and stumbled upon the Dix House. Located at 178 N. Beach Street in Ormond Beach, Florida, the house is a sight to behold. It was built in the late 1800s by Colonel Dix (not much info available on this gent) for his two sisters. The house is a stunning two-story with seven bedrooms (each with a private bath) and an elevator.


Maybe I should say it was probably stunning in its heyday, but after over 100 years of wear and tear (and hurricanes!), the lovely house fell into disrepair. While a huge part of me loves the house’s before in a wonderfully eccentric  Grey Gardens way, the house’s happily ever after leaves it in a much more beautiful state. Added to the National Historic Register in 1989, the Dix House has been completely renovated and is now for sale. What a wonderful bed and breakfast it would make! Below is the Dix House as it looks today. My favorite feature is the front porch (top and bottom) and the white trim really pops against the blue of the siding. Everything is freshly painted and neatly manicured. It doesn’t hurt that sun is sort of casting a spotlight on the house in this photo.

{the Dix House}DSC00568

{A detached garage/guest house in the back of the main residence}DSC00569

{the front door}


{Southern Belle Momma on the porch swing}DSC00571

{glorious oak trees dripping with Spanish moss in the front yard and view of the inter-coastal waterway}


It seems like many people don’t think of Florida as truly being ‘the south.’ Maybe this is because so many folks from other places end up living there. The Dix House reminds me that Florida has a rich heritage as a southern state and I hope that if you spend any time there, please take a moment to venture off the beaten path. And if any of you are interested in purchasing the Dix House, I would be oh so happy to occupy one of those seven bedrooms for ya! It’s the least I can do.

April 14, 2010

Through the grapevine

This is an arrangement that I put together last night. (The fancy camera trick of making everything look fuzzy is to camouflage my cluttered kitchen, but you probably got that). I was inspired by the idea below, from last month's Southern Living Magazine.


I thought it would be fun to make an arrangement in a bowl so I pulled out my trifle bowl and got to work. I'm pretty happy with how my tulips turned out...even though my grapevine twigs didn't quite cooperate as nicely as the one's in the SL photo. 

April 12, 2010

A paragon of strength & rectitude

dixie carter             I was very sad to hear of the recent passing of Ms. Dixie Carter, but I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate a lady who is the epitome of a southern belle and in a way provided inspiration for this little blog’s very existence. Known by so many for her role on Designing Women, Ms. Carter's Julia Sugarbaker is something of an icon in her own right. Julia was never at a loss for words and her delivery of those now infamous "tell it like it is" speeches was just priceless. Some friends of mine who work with the public have a running joke: "Don't make me go all Julia Sugarbaker on you" when the need arises for someone to be put in his/her place.

As a child, I watched Designing Women with my parents when it first aired, but most of the jokes and innuendo were over my head. It wasn't until later that I was able to fully appreciate the story and characters from an adult perspective. Before Designing Women, the only shows I had ever seen featuring characters from the south were the Dukes of Hazzard, The Waltons and the Beverly Hillbillies. I think what stood out about DW was how the south served as another character on the show, but one to be celebrated instead of mocked or pitied. 

I will admit that I mostly pretended to be Suzanne...with all the tiaras, a maid and her very own pig. But there have been some moments when I channeled Julia...thinking to myself how would Julia Sugarbaker respond to this situation? Obviously all humans are flawed and since characters are human too (even make-believe ones), Julia Sugarbaker had her foibles as well. Yes, she often put her foot in her mouth. Yes, she had a tendency to speak out of turn. Yes, to some she might have been seen as brash, pushy, unyielding and stubborn. But she was fiercely loyal to those she loved, including her beloved south. She stood up for what was right, even when it might have been unpopular and she wasn't afraid to get in someone's face if necessary.

Now you might be thinking that I'm letting Julia Sugarbaker overshadow the real person here, Ms. Dixie Carter. But I have to think that Miss Dixie couldn't have played Julia so well had she not ultimately possessed similar qualities. Born in McLemoresville, TN, she attended the University of Tennessee (my alma mater) as well as Rhodes College in Memphis. She raised two beautiful daughters (who both made an appearance on Designing Women) and spent the last twenty-five years married to Hal Holbrook (a one-of-a-kind southern gentleman).

I recently read Delta Burke's 1998 autobiography and in it she talks about a falling out that took place between some members of the Designing Women cast around the time of show's downfall. I can't tell you how happy I was to see pictures of the cast reunited (and seemingly reconciled) at an event in 2006. designing women cast reunited

These southern ladies made quite an impact on me and I believe that it is in part because of women like Dixie Carter that people from the south feel proud to be so. Julia Sugarbaker once said that “here in the south, we don’t lock up our crazy people. We put them on the porch for all to see.” Dixie Carter will be greatly missed, but her sass and charm will live on in the ones who knew and loved her. And the great thing about creating such a wonderful character is that while Miss Dixie has left this earth, the immortality of Julia Sugarbaker is a given…for there will always be things to stand for and people who need to be told ‘what’s what.’

April 9, 2010

Aprons away!

 momma carolyn pre-bumpit do1

{my dad, age 1 with his sweet southern momma in her cutie-pie apron…that hair-do was achieved without the aid of a bump-it…I’m impressed}

I am the proud owner of three very cute aprons. That being said, they were all gifts and I probably wouldn't have bought them for myself otherwise. I was never opposed to wearing an apron while cooking, but it didn't seem like something I thought to be necessary either. I'm not really sure why the apron went out of fashion, but from its heyday in the 1950s and 60s, the frilly, pretty style most typically seen worn by tv housewives, fell  into decline.

creative stuff and random As we are now turning back to handmade things, items of substance that aren't mass produced, the apron has made something of a come-back. I found these adorable options on Amazon (designs by Now Designs, DII, and Jessie Steele), but I know Etsy has a plethora to choose from as well. Some of these are almost too cute to wear because I know I would be spilling and slopping food all over them, but if you are a neater cook than I, they might be perfect. Even if you can't get used to the idea of an apron, it adds a certain cozy warmth to a kitchen just to have one hanging on a hook.

Before I knew what I was missing, I cooked sans-apron, but now that I've had one, I don't think I would go back. It is so easy to run home for lunch and throw it on over my work ensemble while I whip up a little déjeuner. And there’s something about an apron that makes me feel like a ‘real’ cook! Do you have a favorite apron that magically transforms you into Julia Child? Are you anti-apron, but thinking about changing your mind? Please share!

April 8, 2010

I love Paris in the springtime

1_standout-staircases(1){Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard}

There's a certain special something that happens when one makes a grand entrance. Whether it is to some elegant soiree where all eyes in the place turn towards you or just to your own cozy house, where your faithful pup (or sweetie) is waiting to lick you (or ask how your day went). I heard someone quoted as saying that a lady (or gentleman) should always wear a jacket or wrap as to have something to remove upon entering a party.  

104_0390 I've been thinking a lot lately about Paris and one thing that struck me when I was there was how smartly the French dress just to slosh around the city. Whereas we might run out to get coffee and a newspaper in our baggiest sweats and/or pajamas (no judgment!), you'd never see that done a' la Français. I love to walk by the cafes and see all the folks in sharp overcoats, elegant scarves and beautifully tailored clothing enjoying themselves and each other's company.

On my most recent trip to Paris (three years ago), I was walking along the street, going in and out of little shops and just taking in the sights. The sun was shining, but it was raining at the same time. I remember thinking to myself, even the rain in Paris is better! While it never feels fun to slog to the post office or the library on a rainy day at home (the frizz factor, the clumsy factor, the frustration...need I go on?), somehow in Paris, it was simply magical. Maybe I'm bordering on overkill here (sorry!), but it gave me a new perspective.

This week, I arrived home from a wonderful trip to the beach where the skies were sunny and blue and the temperature never got below seventy degrees. What better way to bring myself back to reality but a rainy day slogging to and from work. What would I have worn had I spent this rainy today in Paris? These glorious Hunter boots for one thing. I could keep myself (including my frizz-prone tendrils) dry under the hood of this adorable olive-green slicker. If it were only barely sprinkling, I’d definitely include this pale yellow parasol (y’all knew I was bringing back the parasol, right?). And finally, after a day of errands (and maybe a macaroon or three), I would make my grand entrance for whatever festivities the evening might have in store by pulling off my sensible coat to reveal a less-than-sensible coral frock with just the right amount of flounce. I am picturing it now and somehow this is making this blustery day just  a little bit  more bearable… a paris party

{links to dressbootsjacketparasol}

Where and how do you picture yourself when your current surroundings are less than peachy? Or do you love a rainy day (and night)?

April 5, 2010

A Beachy Easter

Easter has always been a one of my favorite times of celebration, both for the spiritual significance and the wonderful family memories we have made through the years. My first Easter was a sunrise service which I'm sure I slept through, but nevertheless, it remains a very special day and a favorite holiday as well. Any time you have a tradition, the meaning behind it is mostly because it feels familiar. Something that you look forward to each year because you know that it will be a good time shared by those you love and hold dear. This year, for the first time, my family spent Easter away from home...at the beach. While this was a change (and change can be tough), it proved to be a good change that I know we will always remember. Even if this was just a one-time thing, I will always cherish our memories doing something different, but still being together as a family. Since I was at the beach, we had our Easter service on the pool deck of our hotel and then went and enjoyed a delicious brunch (words cannot describe the food, but I will attempt it in an upcoming post). But anyway, because of our circumstances, there was no need for a traditional Easter outfit. Anyway, if I had been back home celebrating in a more traditional way (i.e. attending church and then a big lunch with the family), I might have put together an outfit much like the one here. Granted, the clutch is Halston and the shoes are Louboutin so it is definitely more of a fantasy outfit (as in fantasy price), but I love the lilac dress with the coral scarf. This color combination is a good one for spring and the gold jewelry keeps it updated. I'm sure the shoes are incredibly uncomfortable, but they are cute as can be and it's my fantasy...so there. 
{images via Polyvore}