September 30, 2010

le fete de l’imagination: Truman Capote


Today we’re celebrating the birth of a very eccentric southern fellow (is there any other kind?). Mr. Truman Capote (born Truman Streckfus Persons) was a New Orleans native who grew up hopping all over the south, staying with assorted relatives and kinfolk. His childhood self inspired the character of Dill in friend Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. He is best known for his nonfiction novel In Cold Blood as well as the story whose film  made Audrey Hepburn an icon (Breakfast at Tiffany’s). He also hosted the first ever “Black & White Ball” at the Plaza Hotel in New York… now a legendary event.
To set the scene for our little make-believe soiree…

apalachicola house
{the place: Apalachicola, Fl…the quaintest of southern hamlets}

gourmet01  {the fare: rustic earthy flavors perfect for fall}

birdcake{the cake: sinfully sweet}

Recently Updated2{the loot: a classic toggle coat and scarf for those nippy nights & a stylish pencil sharpener for his desk}

truman capote quote

pencil photo

I’m sure if Mr. Capote (who would be 86) were still with us, he’d be just as bizarre as he ever was…and I mean that as a compliment because  in the south, it’s what we aspire to be! Happy Birthday Truman Capote! You won’t be forgotten.

September 29, 2010

Southern Eats: Eastland Cafe

eastland cafe exterior.bmpNashville, Tennessee is one of those cities you can visit over and over again and never run out of fun things to do. I don’t get there as often as I’d like, but I will be headed that way in a couple of weeks and already have one spot on my “must visit” list. Eastland Cafe (located at 97 Chapel Ave.) is a quaint bistro serving up what appears to be southern fare with a twist.

foodphoto_duckbreast{duck breast}

 foodphoto_brulee{goat cheese brulee with local honey}

 foodphoto_chicken {pecan crusted chicken}

If these images don’t have you drooling, the restaurant also has a daily happy hour when you can get wonderful menu choices at ridiculously low prices. It isn’t pictured on the site, but the menu also includes “Chicken & waffles with Benton’s bacon syrup.” I don’t even fully understand what that means, but I’d like two of them. Below is a segment from a locally produced PBS show called Live Green Tennessee that features Eastland Cafe Chef Hal Holden-Bache sharing some tips about food preservation. The on-air personality happens to be my momma (she’s a local celeb!).

Have any of you lovely readers heard of or visited the Eastland Cafe? I’m dying to taste all the delicious dishes! My Nashville weekend is going to be jam-packed, but I just can’t not stop by this spot for a bite or two. Do you have any other Nashville favorites that you’d like to share with me? I might be able to squeeze them in as well!

September 28, 2010

Homestyle: What’s Yours?

{not my home}
One subject that is constantly in the back of my mind is the decor style of my home. I’m drawn to design magazines like flies to sugar…I pour over them, tearing out sheets and images for inspiration. I have a reasonably good eye as far as choosing things that are interesting and relatively tasteful. But I have the hardest time putting it all together. I want to have a style. I want someone to be able to walk into my house and feel that there is a rhyme and reason to it. Not just that I collected a bunk of odd stuff and displayed it…
cracker barrel {…like this}
There was a running joke while I was growing up that my mom decorated her house like Cracker Barrel. It wasn’t her fault. She has great style and a very good eye for putting things together, but de-cluttering is not our family strong suit…although we both agree that we’ve come a LONG way!
When it comes to home decor, bringing it all together is where I tend to struggle. Finding the exact right furniture, perfect window treatments and decorative knick knacks can be challenging. Below is a really good example of the kind of room I would love! Sure, there’s a lot going on here (how do they ever keep it dust-free?), but I like all the odds and ends. The problem is that even though it gives off an air of random placement, I feel like every item was probably carefully arranged. I have trouble with this careful placement.

I’m going to try and come up with a description of my style…maybe this will help me move forward with a bit more focus. Something like “Curated Cottage” or “Thrifty Elegance” …Do you have a better handle on your home’s decor style? I’d love to hear all about it!

September 27, 2010

Odds & Ends

st. john's wort uncle tim

Today’s post is a mixed bag of sorts, so hopefully you’ll stick with it! First, so as not to keep you in suspense any longer…the winner of the custom made Diana Warner necklace! (I did the selection via random generator and I can’t tell you how nervous I was before I clicked the button! I truly wish I had a necklace for every single one of you!)

southernbelle screen shot diana warner winner Microsoft Excel - Book1  [Compatibility Mode] 9272010 31249 PM.bmp

Yes, Miss Rusty Belle, that’s right! You won! Email me and we’ll hash out the details! Congratulations!

Secondly, I’ve been given a kind award by Miss Carol the Gardener! Such nice words for my humble blog.


Thirdly, I’ve been given a sweet award by that lovely Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong over at How I Met your Father!

versatile blogger award 2

The rules of the award dictate that I share 7 things about myself, so I decided to share the last 7 books I’ve read…creative, no?

lastnightatchateaumarmont 1. Last Night at Chateau Marmont: A Novel by Lauren Weisberger

secret lives of baba segi's wives 2. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives: A Novel by Lola Shoneyin

Serendipitycover_000 3. Serendipity: A Novel by Louise Shaffer

book of joe 4. The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper

uncharted-territori 5. Uncharted TerriTORI by Tori Spelling

My%20Fair%20Lazy%20jacket_grid-4x2 6. My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict’s Attempt to Discover If Not Being a Dumb A$$ is the New Black; Or, A Culture-Up Manifesto by Jen Lancaster

english_american_cov338 7. The English American by Alison Larkin

I have to say all were pretty good…3 stars out of 5 except for #7 which I gave 4/5. None life changing or anything, but enjoyable reads. I always like to know what people are reading, especially when it’s something good that I might like to give a try! So tell me, what’s the last great book you read?


{Think I should have passed these awards on to some other fine blogs? Never fear! I’ve got an upcoming post pegged for awards I’m giving out!}

September 24, 2010

A Random Roundup…16 Sweet Questions

I’m playing catch up a little bit with today’s post. I really love being tagged by other bloggers to answer questions and things, but because I plan my posts by the week, I don’t always get a chance to respond as quickly as blog etiquette would require. Two fantastic ladies have pegged me to answer 8 questions of their choosing!

First, the fun and feisty Candace at Mi Chiamo

1_UW__ballerina_15700r 1. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up and are you living that dream? an artist or ballerina…neither of which is on my yearly w-2!

2. Do you have a Bucket List?  If so, what is the one thing on that list left to fulfill that means the most to you? do a cartwheel…seriously, I’ve never done one

paris from pompidou 2 3. What is the best thing you ever ate? a cheese omelet on the roof of the Pompidou museum, overlooking Paris

b-day cupcakes from rach 4. What is your most memorable birthday? the most recent one…my friend Rachel had cupcakes delivered to my work! xoxo

5. Who was your best friend when you were a child and are you still friends? I always had a different bestie, but I hold all the friends I’ve made thru the years close to my heart, even if we aren’t in touch

6. What was the best piece of advice your Mother ever gave you? keep yourself open to any opportunity that comes along

7. If you had a child today, what would you name him/her? something good and southern…just found an ancestor of mine named Izadora, what do you think?


{my sweet great-grandpa and moi}

8. Tell me about one of your favorite family holiday traditions - any holiday you choose. Having a huge Christmas breakfast at my great-grandparents’ house at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning. While I was growing up, I didn’t always love waking up that early and having to leave all my toys, but what I wouldn’t give now to experience it again.

Now, 8 more questions from my new friend, the sweet and sassy Carol –The Gardener

1. Is there any one thing in life you still long to do? make a career out of blogging/writing, spend a month traveling

2. What makes you sad? missing people I love

3.  When you think back over your life so far...what is the one perfect day that stands out in your mind? just any random day spent going to yard sales, spending time with bffs, great food and conversation

4. Who is your favorite person to be with? I have so many favorites, I could never choose just one!

5. Do you keep or tell secrets? I’ve kept a few crucial ones over the years

Lullalby-of-BroadwayAd 6. What kind of music do you listen to the most? contemporary Christian, Broadway showtunes

7. Eggs and bacon or French toast and waffles? yes please!

8. If you had one idea to share with the world what would it be? Oh I have so many ideas…sometimes I worry this little blog will explode!

I’m not going to tag anyone individually for these questions! If you’d like to share your answers to any of them with us, feel free to do so in a comment!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

September 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to a Southern Gent!


Ray Charles would be 80 years old today. He remains my grandfather’s favorite musician of all time. A day just wasn’t complete if we didn’t listen to Brother Ray. My Pa Richard has every record, every cassette tape, every cd, every dvd that Ray ever released. I knew all the words to “Hit the Road, Jack” by the time I was five years old. I asked him once why he loved Ray Charles so much. My pa told me it was because he could relate to him. He explained to me that Ray had grown up dirt poor…with obstacles to overcome. My pa said that “Ray Charles was a good southern fellow who loved his Mama” and that he’d be pretty willing to bet Ray was a a democrat as well. Being southern and a democrat ranked a person pretty high in my grandpa’s book.

I’m sharing this video of Ray Charles singing my favorite of his songs…with his pal Willie Nelson. Willie is a character and has a certain appeal, but when Ray opens his mouth to sing, it’s like the words have new life. I’m glad I was exposed to music like this from an early age and I know I’ll always think of my pa when I hear a Ray Charles song. Happy Birthday Ray!

September 22, 2010

Simply a Southern Belle: Grandmother Putman


I got the sweetest email the other day and wanted to share it with you. My great-aunt recently visited this blog for the first time and shared with me some stories about my dad's grandmother who I never got a chance to meet. Southern to the very core, Belle was her middle name! Apparently Ms. Martha Belle (Jameson) Putman was quite a lady. I have always heard infamous stories about her formal dinners…tables set with exquisite china and silver, a mandatory water glass for each person, relish trays, etc. Oh how I wish I could have been present at one of those!

My aunt describes her this way:

"She did not aspire to be rich and famous, but she did desire to live in a genteel manner, a gracious manner, a southern manner...She loved hats, was never without her gloves and always had a handkerchief in her purse...she loved having a beautiful table, good food and was a very gracious woman...perfectly coiffed and dressed."

I wish I could have known her. I'm sure we would have had much to discuss!

Is there anyone in your family that you never got a chance to meet, but wish you had?

September 21, 2010

Book Bundle DIY a’ la Restoration Hardware

rest hard book bundle 2

There are certain stores that I frequently visit because the style of their wares blends seamlessly with the style of my home, and I can easily picture most anything on the display shelves meshing with my own collection (Pier1, Target, Crate & Barrel). Then there are stores that I love to peruse, but the complete night and day difference between their styles and mine  makes me feel like it would be impossible to integrate anything without doing a complete overhaul on my home decor. For instance, I love shabby chic, but I think my whole house would have to be done up in shabby chic decor for it to work. Since I am not willing to scrap everything and start fresh with new furniture, window treatments & the whole shebang, shabby chic is not the style for me.

rest hard book bundle 3 
This is the feeling I always get when I visit Restoration Hardware. The style is so particular, so specific, that I think it would be hard to work any of it into my current furnishings and not look really wacky. Plus, most of it is way above this shopper’s price point. While in the RH store in New York, I saw these little book bundles that really intrigued me. For $29 you can own a random assortment of “antique” books having had their covers ripped off and bound with twine.
rest hard book bundle
Or for less than $5, you can get some bargain bin paperbacks, rip them apart and tie them together yourself with a piece of kitchen twine. My local used bookstore has a Free bin outside. I mean, is this what we’ve come to? Is the need to add style to your home via random looking items (tchotchkes) so great that we would spend good money on something like this? And if you’re thinking that it might be a cool grab bag of genuine antique books…think again. The stack I saw in person contained a Dean Koontz novel!
door knobs
I’m not trying to hate or anything. If you love these, more power to you! I have a glass doorknob sitting on a table in my home. Maybe this seems wacky to you. And we all have our own likes and dislikes.  I just can’t stay silent when there’s a more affordable method available to us. Wouldn’t you rather spend $29 on a great coffee table book that you can actually read?
Please weigh in…I really love hearing your take on things like this!

September 20, 2010

Old South New Fashion

gwtw white dress

During New York Fashion week, I’m usually glued to my computer, obsessively viewing all the newest images from the shows, but with all the other things going lately, I sort of missed that boat. Oh well, I’ll have until Spring to catch up on the latest trends and styles. In perusing briefly, I did manage to see one Mr. Oscar de la Renta’s Spring Ready to Wear collection and I couldn’t help but think that he’s been watching my favorite film for inspiration.

gwtw black dress

Maybe it is because all things GWTW are so engrained in my subconscious that I see it everywhere I go. But surely y’all see some similarities here, right? 

gwtw green dress

{Scarlett’s green dress…updated for a garden party or gala}

gwtw ladies

{taffeta galore…can’t you just hear it rustling?}

gwtw red dress

{netting, and tulle, and beading, oh my!}

gwtw wedding dress

{appliqué, flower motifs, poufy sleeves}

Is this too much of a stretch or do you see it too? What other movie fashions do you dream of adding to your closet?

Also, I wanted to wish my sweet Me-me (a southern grandma) a very happy Birthday today!

meme birthday old scan

{me at 6 months…her cakes says “29 again”}


{a couple years ago on a fun beach trip}

September 18, 2010

Lunch for a Princess


While visiting New York recently, I wanted to surprise my mom with a special lunch at a very historic location. Thankfully, NY Restaurant week was still in full swing and we were able to dine for a reduced price. It was everything we hoped it would be and then some. She was completely surprised and I know we will cherish this memory for a long time.

DSC01324{the logo emblazoned on the ground outside}

DSC01291{the dining room complete with museum-worthy Russian artwork}


DSC01297  {our menu}



After we oohed and aaahed our way through the meal, we visited the ladies room. Riding the elevator back to the main floor, we accidentally ended up in one of the banquet rooms. We took this opportunity to investigate some more, and thank goodness we did. This was the highlight of the adventure!

  DSC01301 {chandelier}



DSC01309{this gorgeous tree is probably 20 feet tall, maybe more}


DSC01311{the eggs on the tree were all different designs and colors…stunning}

DSC01315  DSC01317{this bear is probably 12 feet tall at least}

DSC01318{yes those are goldfish swimming inside that giant bear}


Can you imagine having your wedding reception at a place like this? I was definitely eyeing the silver with the lovely monogram…No, I didn’t put a fork in my purse! I promise. However, I do regret not buying an apron with the initials RTR stitched on it. I can just see myself whipping up a batch of borscht! Well now we have a good reason to return!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!