November 30, 2011

November Round-up


On this last day of the month, I wanted to share a little list of things I’m thankful for…since I didn’t manage to do it each day (but I’ve enjoyed the ones of you who did!).

I’m thankful for…
  • my new job…even though it’s keeping me very busy and blogging has gotten pushed down a bit on the to-do list
  • my dogs…even when I come home to find chewed up feminine hygiene products and bath tissue (thankfully unused!)
  • my family…even when some of them drive me the tiniest bit crazy (love you all though)
  • my sweet southern beau…who tells me it’s ok to eat another piece of pie AND always takes out the garbage (what a keeper!)
  • my energy level which is improving as I introduce more and more healthy foods into my diet
  • the love and friendship of all my blog/twitter/Facebook/Blissdom buddies…you make my days brighter
Now are we ready for December and the excitement it brings? I guess come tomorrow, we’ll find out!

November 18, 2011

Design*Sponge Event & Giveaway

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Earlier this week I traveled across the state to Nashville for an event I just couldn’t miss. After the much-anticipated release of her first book, Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge has been doing a book tour and the West Elm store in Nashville was one of the stops on her agenda.


Not only was I able to meet Grace (who is tiny in real life) and get a copy of the book signed, I attended a special pre-book signing event where we were able to complete a fun little craft from the book.  I took my mom along for the adventure and we had a blast.

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Here Grace, Amy A. (left) and others ham it up for the camera. We were all encouraged to take silly pictures in front of that bright backdrop and they should be posted on the Design*Sponge Facebook page. I’m going to do another post detailing the craft, but you might be wondering about the giveaway.

I had pre-ordered my copy of the Design*Sponge book as soon as I heard about it, but a signed book was included with each ticket to the event so I asked Grace to sign the extra copy for me to give away to one of you. She wrote a sweet note inside for the SBS reader who wins. 


Design*Sponge at Home Giveaway:

1 entry per person for a chance to win a copy of the book signed by author & D*S creator Grace Bonney. You can leave a comment here OR comment on the Southern Belle Simple Facebook page OR tweet me @sthrnbellesimpl. It’s that easy. The giveaway will be open through midnight on Thanksgiving and I’ll announce the winner on Friday November 25. Good luck to everybody!

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Happy Friday!

November 15, 2011

147 Years After the Burning of Atlanta

I don’t remember the first time I saw Gone with the Wind as a child nor all the subsequent viewings thereafter (there were many), but I vaguely remember the first time I saw it after learning that many aspects of the story’s setting and background happenings had really taken place once upon a time.

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Probably the scene which had the most impact on me as a child was the burning of Atlanta by Sherman and his men. I’d be on the edge of my seat watching as Rhett tried to coax that poor horse, with Scarlett’s shawl over its eyes, through the depot as the flames leapt around them. Even though I knew they’d make it, I always watched as if anything could happen.

You might wonder why I’m mentioning this today. On November 15, 1864 General William Sherman and his men left the scorched ruins of Atlanta and began their march to the sea. To be clear, I’m no Civil War scholar…just your average southern girl with a blog celebrating life in the south. Those were dark times in our nation’s history…not the first, not the last, but  they helped shape what the south was to become, some good and some not so good. I like President Herbert Hoover’s quote in which he states “the supreme purpose of history is a better world.”

Thankfully the fair city of Atlanta rebuilt. It’s home to Coca-Cola, the Braves and Julia Sugarbaker…to me, it doesn’t get much better than that.

November 14, 2011

Fall Fun in the South

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It was one of those perfect fall weekends with just enough productivity to make you feel accomplished, but also enough frivolity to give your mind, body and spirit a little refresh.

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Friday evening I enjoyed dinner with my brother in which he kept me utterly entertained with his colorful commentary on religion, politics and other current events. It’s so strange for me, having always seen him as my ‘little brother,’ to think of him as a grown-up, but I’m so proud of the grown-up he has become.  He’ll be graduating from college in a few weeks and my family is looking forward to celebrating the event.

Saturday morning I ran some errands and then met my sweet friend Hannah B. (from Secrets of a Belle) for lunch and an estate sale. For someone like me who comes from a family of hoarders collectors, it’s safe to say I probably visited my first estate sale in utero…but Miss H was more of a novice. Have no fear though….she got right in and found several treasures that I hope she’ll feature on her fabulous blog sometime. My finds were a couple random kitchen items, including a vintage FireKing relish dish (like the one pictured, which is available on Etsy). 


Sunday, the southern beau & I enjoyed a fun day together which started with a ‘Dixie biscuit’ {see below} and ended with watching a silly 90s movie on Netflix. All in all, it was a great weekend. 


I hope yours was fun too. As always, I’d love to hear about your adventures, so fill me in either here in the comments, on the SBS Facebook page or @sthrnbellesimpl on Twitter. Sorry for the lack of posts lately….after 7 years working at the University of Tennessee (my alma mater), I just started a new job with a public relations firm and I’m still getting settled into my routine.

Happy Monday friends!

November 8, 2011

Anti-Recipes: Lentil & Spinach Chowder


Soup is my favorite thing to enjoy for dinner after a long day, especially when the weather gets a little chilly. The only problem with soup & blogs is that some folks don’t think it makes very pretty pictures…but I promise what this chowder lacks in beauty, it makes up for it in taste. It’s really easy and can be altered to fit your preferences (which is how I cook everything…recipe, schmecipe).

The Anti-Recipe:

  • 3 cups dried lentils
  • tomato sauce (I used a batch of my roasted tomato sauce which had been frozen, but you could use readymade from a jar just as easily)
  • 1 serving sized bottle of store-bought green juice (mine was cucumber, celery, lemon & spinach)
  • handful of pasta (I used quinoa pasta for the first time and it was yummy!)
  • 1 Vidalia onion (or some other type) quartered
  • fresh spinach (3 or so cups)

Cook the lentils according to the package, but use the green juice instead of water. If you need to add some water, that’s fine. As they get tender, stir in the tomato sauce and onion. Simmer this for a bit and add the pasta (if you like). Just make sure there is enough liquid to cook the pasta and the beans unless you really like to chew. Season it up to your liking and when everything is the consistency you want, ladle it out into bowls over fresh spinach leaves. The heat from the soup wilts the spinach and makes for a really good taste.

{Fyi: I came up with this soup from things I had on hand…that’s the beauty of soup. Be brave with your cooking my friends…who knows when an experiment gone-right will become your favorite dish!}

November 7, 2011

Southern Traditions: Napkin Rings

I ran across this little treasure while thrifting recently with my momma and I wanted to share. Miller’s was an iconic southern department store with flagship locations in Chattanooga and Knoxville, TN…both of which were established in the early 1900s.
The box alone is a blast from the past, but the napkin rings inside are simply precious. They probably weren’t expensive, but I’d like to think they made a sweet wedding present or housewarming gift for a local belle.
I’m guessing they are from the 50s or 60s, but they could be newer. It’s so strange how the simple act of using a cloth napkin makes a meal feel so much more special. And dressing up my cloth napkins with a little something shiny only adds to that special experience.
What ideas do you have to make regular old weekday meals feel a bit fancier?

November 1, 2011

That Thorns have Roses


November means Thanksgiving and all the wonderful food and celebrating that comes along with it. I want to spend some time this month thinking about what it means to be truly thankful. Even the words “be thankful” can sound trite, but not so when there is genuine feeling and meaning behind them. I have a dear friend who posts a thankful list on Facebook each day…just 2 or 3 things from that day she is thankful for. It’s not a huge thing, but it certainly makes me smile and always reminds me there are things we can see as blessings, especially where we least expect them.

Will you join me in looking for things to be thankful for this month? Who knows…maybe we’ll making being thankful a year-round activity!

{image 1 via, image 2 without text via}