April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding

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You’d have to be living under a rock to have missed the frenzy of coverage surrounding the nuptials taking place today…leading up to the blessed event, I watched the wonderful classic film, Royal Wedding, to set the mood.

Photos from Royal Wedding - Windows Internet Explorer 4282011 15242 PM

Released in 1951, it stars Fred Astaire & Jane Powell, a quirky brother/sister dance act who have traveled to London to perform for the wedding of then-Princess Elizabeth. It’s a fun romp of song and dance.

Photos from Royal Wedding - Windows Internet Explorer 4282011 15254 PM

I’m not attending any wedding viewing parties, but if I were, surely these hats, modeled by the southern momma and me would be good choices?


Since I know most folks are completely preoccupied with the wedding, I wanted to keep this post short. I’ll leave you with this…

kate quotes wedding

Many happy returns to the royal couple and hope those of you who pulled all-nighters can grab a nap! Happy Friday folks!

{movie stills via imdb.com}

April 28, 2011

Heavy Hearts in Dixie

harper lee scout pic

Today’s post was supposed to be a celebration of the birth of Ms. Harper Lee, but in light of the recent destruction from storms that ripped through her home state of Alabama, I thought this was a bit more appropriate. All our thoughts and prayers are with the folks dealing with the aftermath, in Alabama and elsewhere.


{Please feel free to use my graphic to show the precious people of Alabama we’re in their corner}

April 27, 2011

Anti-Recipe: Low Tech Apps


Remember that movie Mermaids where Cher was the mom and she served her daughters nothing to eat but hors d’oeuvres all the time? I could never figure out why Winona Ryder got so upset when Cher cut her sandwich into a star shape…it seemed fun to me!

I don’t usually bother with appetizers when dining at home, but I sampled some tasty treats at an event recently that may have changed my opinion. Served by Nashville-based catering company, The Chef & I, these one-bite wonders kept us coming back for more.


Here’s the anti-recipe:

  • Rounds of crusty Italian-style bread…this loaf had a garlic flavor
  • goat cheese
  • blackberry preserves (look for local, it’s always best!)

Something about the tartness of the goat cheese and the sweetness of the blackberries made this the perfect combination. I’ll definitely be whipping some up for a snack soon. And if you’re in Middle Tennessee and need a caterer, check out The Chef & I…the I refers to Miss Erica, a fabulous lady with a personality and a half! If this tells you anything about how fun she is, when I was worried about having less than great breath after eating them, Erica said eating goat cheese was like drinking vodka….no detectable smell. I’m still not sure about that one!

Happy Hump Day lovebugs!

April 26, 2011

Sweet Trees

One of the things I miss most about my great-grandpa is his vast knowledge of nature, especially trees. Whenever I had to do a leaf-identification project for science class, he was my right-hand man. I guess I have trees on the brain because they have affected my day a little…after a big storm moved through my neighborhood last night, many folks (including yours truly) have been without power.


Even though this is a minor inconvenience, I’m saddest about seeing gorgeous old trees like this come to such an end. To think something could grow for fifty or sixty years and then be uprooted in a matter of minutes just doesn’t seem right.


Instead of focusing on the tree debris, I wanted to share this gorgeous specimen (which I have learned is a red Horse Chestnut, thanks to a handy online tree guide). I took these pictures exactly 1 year ago and never got around to posting them here on the blog.


The red Horse Chestnut is a hybrid between the Red Buckeye and the Common Horse Chestnut. I think it’s gorgeous and I hope this one has a long happy life.

Be safe if storms are moving through your area! Happy Tuesday friends!

April 25, 2011

Being Mannerly


I’ve always been what you might call an etiquette junkie. When I was growing up, I found a volume on our shelves called Charlotte Ford’s Book of Modern Manners. It gave me many hours of amusement as I read and re-read it, vowing to be well-versed in the world of mannerly behavior. Had I been invited to meet foreign dignitaries at age 13, I would have known just what color gloves were appropriate to wear.

turquoise wood-1

I’ve since added other tomes to my collection, including several by Emily Post, Miss Manners and the queen of gentility herself, Ms. Amy Vanderbilt. I love her thoughts on things and find her attitude so refreshing, even though this particular book was published in 1957. I guess good manners don’t go out of style.

As much as I love this area of knowledge, its seems too often we value adherence to the rules of manners over simply treating people well. I think about the scene in To Kill a Mockingbird when Scout’s friend Walter Cunningham joins the Finch family for lunch and wants to cover his entire plate with molasses. Scout knows this just isn’t done, but it’s a chance for her father to teach her about breaking rules to do what is right, in this case, make a guest feel comfortable in your home. I think this is what Miss Amy means when she says “our particular circumstances may permit us to omit them somewhat.” Don’t you know as a Vanderbilt, she saw her share of “chi-chi?” Love that expression!

Happy Monday friends!

April 21, 2011

Hippity Hoppity Chocolate Covered Peeps


Even though Easter means so much more to me than bunnies and chocolate, I wanted to share an easy project I did involving both. I’m not anti-bunnies or anti-chocolate, but they have little to do with the real reason for the holiday.


After having fun dipping pink marshmallows in chocolate back in February, I thought why not try it with Peeps? Everybody in the blogosphere is using Peeps these days for all sorts of crafty DIY projects and I did not want to be left out. (Just google “DIY Chocolate covered Peeps” if you don’t believe me!).


I’m not a fan of the candy melts for dipping because they have all that partially hydrogenated oil…so instead I just use regular chocolate chips. I added a tiny bit of canola oil to them and microwaved on low for 3 minutes, stirring at 1 minute intervals. After dipping, I set my bunnies out to cool on a wire rack and then transferred them to the fridge wrapped in wax paper.


You can dip the chicks too, but my local Dollar General only had bunnies so I went with it. If you’d rather do a color other than chocolate, use white chocolate chips and a bit of food coloring. You know I like to keep things easy! This project was completed in about half an hour, so don’t feel intimidated…give it a try! Happy Thursday!

April 20, 2011

Let’s Hear it for Volunteers!

TN Postcard

Today is Volunteer Recognition Day and since my home state of Tennessee is known for its volunteer spirit, I wanted to honor all the folks out there, in Tennessee and elsewhere who volunteer their time to make a difference in the lives of others.

I’m only recently getting a better understanding of how valuable my time is to me, and while it might sometimes be easier to write a check (even a small one), I feel volunteering my time makes a greater impact. Do you volunteer anywhere in your community?

April 19, 2011

Southern Living Weddings, a review


The lovely Elspeth from Southern Living Magazine contacted me recently and was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy of Southern Living’s new style guidebook, Southern Living Weddings, to review. I spent most of a weekend car trip reading it and am ready to give my opinion. In a word, beautiful!

As always, Southern Living has its finger on the pulse of everything current, chic and stylish but still with distinct southern flair. My friend Chelsea got married last August and her bouquet looked very similar to this one featured in the book (David Austin Roses).


My favorite real wedding from the book was that of Caroline Estopinal, whose backyard reception was inspired by the one from Father of the Bride starring Steve Martin. Instead of renting china, Caroline and her mom scoured thrift stores and rummage sales collecting assorted patterns of antique china. This was an homage to her grandmother who loved dishes.


{photo credit}

Caroline’s cake was another favorite of mine, frosted in an irregular pattern like how she imagines it would have looked had her grandmother decorated it. Such a sweet, sweet tribute!

I’m not planning a wedding anytime soon, but this book will be a wonderful addition to anyone planning a wedding or just daydreaming about someday. I’ve already dog-eared several of its pages for inspiration and I’m sure I will refer to it again. The cover price is $11.99, but it’s worth every penny. Let me know if you pick up a copy and what you think of it! You won’t be disappointed, but act fast because it’s only on shelves until Friday the 22nd!

April 18, 2011

Monday Mishmash


It was one of those truly lovely weekends…when time moves a little slower and the calendar is packed to the brim with activities you wish would last forever. I whipped up a batch of my great-aunt Geneva’s famous fruit salad (to be featured in a future anti-recipe post!)


I attended a special banquet honoring members of my college sorority (I volunteer as an advisor and it has been oh so rewarding). After the lunch, each alum was gifted a centerpiece…gorgeous southern hydrangeas, white roses and daisies.


Egg-shaped Reese’s pieces in perfect pastel colors fill my great-grandmother’s prized carnival glass candy dish. Try walking by without popping one or two in your mouth!


A single rose in the most breathtaking shade of coral…isn’t it amazing how color can speak to us?


Finally, a brass tray I found at a church rummage sale for $4…there’s nothing better than rummaging with a best friend! You might recognize those birdies from a previous post….one special reader picked them up for me as a birthday surprise! So sweet…or should I say tweet?

Happy Monday Friends!

April 12, 2011

National Grilled Cheese Day


Nothing goes better with tomato soup than grilled cheese sandwiches. Once a childhood favorite, this perfect combination of melty goodness is now a respectable menu option for sophisticated adults. Since adopting a vegan lifestyle in 2012, cheese hasn't been something I've eaten very much of...so I must say I won't be celebrating grilled cheese day this year as I have in the past. That doesn't mean I won't cheer you on as you enjoy some yummy, cheesy splendor.


This image has made the blog rounds, but I just love the simplicity of serving this at any gathering. It’s all about presentation, you know. Do you have any fabulous grilled cheese recipe secrets?
{first image via the fabulous blog With Style & Grace}

April 11, 2011

April: National Poetry Month


I just learned April is National Poetry Month and this is really fitting because today I requested a copy of my favorite book of poems via the free swap feature on goodreads.com.

If you aren’t familiar with goodreads, you should check it out. It’s a wonderful site to keep track of what great book you happen to be reading or what you would like to read next. There’s also a way to make a wish list and if anything on your list becomes available, you can have it for free if you pay the sender’s postage.

My favorite poems in this book are in the section “Poems that Tell a Story.” I used to spend lots of time at my grandparents’ house, reading their copy of the book over and over, acting the poems out and illustrating them in little notebooks and journals.

The book was published in 1936 and includes over 575 poems…there is definitely a verse for any occasion that might arise. Poems are one of those things people seem to be intimidated by, especially when they don’t rhyme (gasp!), but this volume is a wonderful collection and a neat slice of history.


For more lovely stanzas and verses, hop over to Deep South Magazine to see a list of poetry in celebration of this month. Do you have a favorite poem or two? I’d love to know what they are!

April 8, 2011

Gimme some sugar


It’s Friday and we’re all ready for the weekend (aren’t we?) so in lieu of piling one more thing on top of your already overworked mind, I’m keeping today’s post short and sweet.

Hope you have a chance to love on somebody this weekend…even if that somebody is yourself! Happy Friday sweet cheeks!

April 7, 2011

Pink & Green Thursday: Spring Blooms

bloom where you're planted

I’ve always loved this quote, but I never knew it came from a song. I’m sharing the rest of the lyrics and hope they’ll make you smile too!


Bloom, bloom, bloom where you're planted.
You will find your way.
Bloom, bloom, bloom where you're planted.
You will have your day.


Look at the flowers, look at them growing,
They never worry, they never work.
Look at the way our Father clothes them,
Each with beauty all its own.
Each with beauty all its own.


Some plant the seeds that others will water,
But in all things, God gives the growth.
Come let Him garden the flowers within you,
Come and discover some you've never known.
Come and discover some you've never known.


Look at the love that lies deep within you,
Let yourself be! Let yourself be!
Look at the gifts you have been given.
Let them go free! Let them go free!
Let them go free! Let them go free!


Happy Thursday my friends! Is everyone having a good week?

p.s. I’m linking up with Miss Trish for today’s post!

{all images via SBS}

April 6, 2011

SBS Bookshelf: Gone

This month marks the 150-year commemorative of the Civil War and according to renowned Civil War historian Shelby Foote, we can’t truly understand our nation unless we first understand this event in our history. I’m not as knowledgeable as I’d like to be, but this book might be a good place to start.


Gone: A Photographic Plea for Preservation combines Foote’s short story “Pillar of Fire” with the hauntingly gorgeous images of Nell Dickerson, noted photographer and daughter of Mississippi cotton farmers. Dickerson began exploring abandoned antebellum homes and documenting them after Foote, her cousin-in-law, encouraged her to do so. The book is about the photographer’s passion for buildings long neglected and forgotten.

Available on Amazon or directly from the artist, Gone is sure to be a great addition to the library of any Civil War buffs or just folks who are interested in architecture and images of the past. Dickerson’s book tour includes stops in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee. I can’t wait to get a copy of my very own. I only wish it were an audiobook so I could be lulled to sleep by the gentle cadence of Mr. Shelby Foote’s southern drawl. Thankfully my southern beau does a wonderful impression.

April 5, 2011

Anti-Recipe: Turkey Meatloaf


I’m on somewhat of a turkey kick right now, but I don’t mean in a Thanksgiving sort of way. To be perfectly honest, I usually skip Thanksgiving turkey in favor of ham. Thanksgiving turkey can be so dry and boring. I know turkey is healthy (especially as alternative to red meat) and I have cooked with it from time to time, but don’t always think to buy it. Then I recently tried one of Hardee’s new turkey burgers and it was delish.

I decided to make a turkey meatloaf over the weekend, since I had a pound of ground turkey and meatloaf is such an easy dish. The image is not my turkey meatloaf, but it looks pretty similar.


Turkey Meatloaf

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cups assorted broken crackers/bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper
  • minced garlic (your preference on amount)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (I use frozen because it’s easier…already chopped)

Mix ingredients well. (Optional: Cover mixture and refrigerate for about an hour…this helps the crackers soften up and absorb the flavors.) Transfer mixture to a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and spread sauce (recipe below) on top. Put back in oven and bake for another 25 minutes.


  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 T Sriracha Chili sauce
  • 2 T honey

When I made turkey chili awhile back, the southern beau didn’t even realize it wasn’t ground beef. It’s a good way to sneak in something a bit healthier without a drastic change. I’m not advocating lying, but if you have picky eaters it might work. For a quicker recipe, form the turkey into meatballs and bake them in a muffin tin.  Just make sure the internal temp of the meat reaches 160 degrees.

{image: via Gourmet.com}

Hope you’re having a lovely day!

April 1, 2011

Friday Flashback: Vintage Atlanta

scenic south -- atlanta


tlanta is a city I think I’d love living in. Thankfully, I have family (and friends) in those parts and get to visit every now and then. I’ve got some some exciting Atlanta-related events coming up in the next few months and I can’t wait to share them here on the blog. No, I’m not moving…but I do have some fun visits planned. Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

[image via Scenic South Magazine 1961, Drop Cap via]