Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jane Pope Jewelry

In a recent issue of Garden & Gun magazine (don't be put off by the title - it's a fabulous magazine), southern jewelry designer Jane Pope was featured in a photo spread (pics above). I really like her designs - cool, modern shapes, yet they appear to be inspired by nature. For the longest time, I've been into silver, but when I saw some of her gold work, especially the rings, I was quite drawn to it. Not that I expect any Jane Pope jewelry under the tree this year, but it's lovely to look at nonetheless.
Photos courtesy of

Black Friday

Does anyone plan to hit the stores on Friday morning? I try to avoid shopping the Friday after Thanksgiving like the plague. But, I do know several brave souls (that's one term for it), who wake at the crack of dawn to score holiday discounts. Not me. I plan to be in bed, under the warm covers, hoping the kids don't get up early. So glad online shopping was invented!

Over the river and through the woods...

Safe travels to all of you hitting the roads or skys this Thanksgiving holiday! We're packing into the wagon and heading to my aunt's house, but just for the day. That reminds me, better take the travel DVD player for the kids (and my sanity).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sundance – Friends & Family Sale

I love the Sundance catalogue. The clothes, furniture, house wares, jewelry and accessories - it all evokes a certain "coolness" that is the American West. But, sometimes their prices are out of this world. Heck, if I’m going to pay that much for a table, Sundance founder Robert Redford better deliver it to my door himself!

Fortunately, they do have sales. From Nov. 25 to Dec. 1, you can receive up to 20 percent off your entire order. Just enter the word “Friend” when checking out. Looking for a fun, funky holiday gift? Visit Sundance online.
Images courtesy of

Spain - On the Road Again

I recently signed up for Gwyneth Paltrow’s e-newsletter “Goop.” It’s a mix of fashion, food, travel, and lifestyle commentary. I’ve been an on-again, off-again fan of Ms. Paltrow. But, recently I got hooked on her PBS series Spain – On the Road Again, featuring Paltrow, chef Mario Batali, food writer Mark Bittman, and Spanish actress Claudia Bassols. After watching this wonderful program and hearing her speak flawless Spanish, I found Ms. Paltrow engaging. There were times during the program where she seemed a little ill at ease. The other three seemed to have so much more energy. But, the food and the scenery were amazing. There’s also a cookbook to accompany the series. So, I offer this as another recommendation for the foodie and/or traveler in your life.
Photo courtesy of

The Downside of Facebook

I recently joined Facebook at the urging of family and friends. It's been fun catching up with old friends from high school and college. But, I've found there's a creepy side to Facebook. Within the last week, I've received "Friend Requests" from two random men, neither of whom I know. One was an Indian graduate student who added a note stating "Nice smile...", the other a married, middle-aged Frenchman, with no note. Ew. Needless to say, I hit the "Ignore" button on the requests and then blocked both from my profile. Has this happened to anyone else? I value my privacy and if this continues, I may shut down my Facebook page. You can avoid being hit on by creepy men by not frequenting bars or other places like that. But with the Web, they can end up in your living room! Scary.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm dreaming of a white kitchen...

Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm not crazy (to put it lightly) about my kitchen. We moved into our current house five years ago and while it's a great house, the kitchen is outdated and lacking in space. We did take down the sad, old wallpaper a few years ago and painted the walls apple green with bright white trim, giving it a much happier look. And, we relocated a chandelier over the kitchen table to spruce it up a bit. We have some original artwork on the walls too, in an effort to modernize. But, until we come up with the funds to take a sledge hammer to it, it will continue to annoy me. So, I continue to add images to my kitchen binder in hopes that some day we can renovate.

The first two photos above I spotted on Camilla at Home, a great blog for home design ideas. The third one is a divine kitchen I found on Marley & Lockyer's blog - another fabulous blog for home design inspiration. If anyone has seen the film, "Something's Gotta Give," with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson, that's the kitchen I want. I've read that that movie inspired many-a-kitchen, and it's easy to see why.

Cake Flour

There's a fabulous new little bakery in town with a focus on organic and natural ingredients: Cake Flour. Tasty little treats with an environmental focus. They're located in an up-and-coming area downtown that's earning a reputation for cool art galleries, shops and sustainable building practices. So, if you live in the 'Ville (Louisville, that is), check out Cake Flour.


I love handbags - can't get enough of them. From high end (my wonderful kate spade) to craftsy deals on etsy, a new purse always puts a smile on my face. Unfortunately, with the huge leather bags that are the style right now, they do a number on my back. I already have to lug kids and their gear around, so to add a bag that weighs 10 lbs. before you put anything into it, well, I just can't do it. Which brings me to one of my favorites, Vera Bradley. I love Vera purses, luggage, etc. Some may consider her items too preppy or matronly, but not me. The quilted fabric is light enough so that I can stuff all of my necessities in there, including an extra diaper or two. Plus, Vera's newer designs offer some updates to the traditional styles. I received the new catalogue the other day and I'm really taken with the Cafe Latte pattern. I made sure Hubby saw it, too. While I do need a large tote to fit my stuff and the kids', it's not nearly as cumbersome as other purses out there. And, I can just use one big bag now, rather than a purse and diaper bag. Yea!
Photo courtesy of the Vera Bradley Web site.

Gilligan & O'Malley PJs

I went to Target last Friday to get the kids some socks and tights to wear to my brother's wedding. But, I can never go to Target for just one thing. And, I made the mistake of passing the women's sleepwear section. So, now I'm loving my new Gilligan & O'Malley flannel lounge pants. They are soooo comfy! And, perfect as the holidays approach. I paired them with a soft white long-sleeve shirt. It was a great deal and I'm tempted to head back to buy another pair. Or, perhaps I should ask Santa. We'll see what happens!
Photo courtesy of

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wedding Bells

Congratulations to my dear brother and his lovely bride on their nuptuals yesterday. I'm so thrilled for them. It was a big family affair, so when I get photos, I'll be sure to post. Now they're off on their honeymoon and things are calming down a bit. Our daughter was a flower girl and she's so in love with the dress that she wore that she's playing in it right now.
Cheers to the happy couple!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

House Stalkers?

One of my favorite shows on HGTV is “House Hunters,” which follows real people as they tour potential homes to buy. But have you ever been enamored with a house – other than your own – that you find yourself, well, stalking? This show could be called “House Stalkers.”

We’ve all been there. You go out of your way to drive by that enchanting house, slowing down to take in all aspects of the structure. You may drive around the block so you can catch a second look. If you’ve done this, you may be a house stalker. Hey, it’s cool. In fact, the New York Times wrote an article about it over the summer. After reading it, I was glad to know it’s very common. Have any house stalker experiences to share?


After a long day and the kids finally in bed, Hubby and I caught part of the Paula Deen Thanksgiving special on the Food Network last night. I love me some Paula! I can’t decide what I like better: watching her prepare the food or watching her prepare the food in her fabulous kitchen. I covet her kitchen, and her entire home, for that matter. Last night, she prepared Turducken, which is a turkey stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken. A bit much, you think? Not at all! I’d love to attempt it, along with her recipe for sweet potato balls. They looked heavenly. Maybe I’ll try making the sweet potatoes before diving into a turducken. Given that I managed to burn my arm while making a simple apple pie a few weeks ago (don’t ask), that’s probably a good place to start.

Turducken - Gobble 'til you wobble!
Photo courtesy of

Fine Things - Part 2

If anyone has seen the film or the play "Six Degrees of Separation," you're familiar with the scene that discusses "a pot of jam." If you haven't seen the film, it's about a hussler/con man who poses as the son of Sidney Poitier, inserting himself in the lives of select wealthy families on the upper east side of Manhattan. Stockard Channing is wonderful as Ouisa Kitteridge. Anyway, one of the characters states that when rich people do something nice for you, you give them a pot of jam in return. That concept cracks me up. But when the young man sends the Kitteridges a "fancy pot of jam," they're in awe of the little item in its fancy, shiny wrapping. Not that I have wealthy Manhattanites on my Christmas list this year, but a pot of jam always makes for a nice gift. So, when your Harry & David or Williams-Sonoma catalogues arrive this year, consider a pot of jam or preserves. It's tasty on a scone or biscuit with a cup of tea. And it's so darn pretty!
Photo courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

Daphne Du Maurier

Has anyone read the works of Daphne Du Maurier? She was recently recommended to me by a reader and I'm planning to delve into some of her work after I finish David Sedaris's When You Are Engulfed in Flames (which, by the way, is a scream - check it out). Of course, she wrote Rebecca and The House on the Strand, as well as Jamaica Inn. I'm embarrassed to say that, even though I was an English major, I have not read her work. In fact, I didn't realize that her short story, The Birds, was the basis for the famous Hitchcock film. So, I really need to get to know Ms. Du Maurier. With all of the new options available in the literary world today, I often like to seek out older works that I haven't read yet. On vacation a few years ago, I purchased W. Somerset Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence and I recently finished his novel, The Razor's Edge. Love his work. I also saw the film adaptation of his novel The Painted Veil, starring Naomi Watts and Edward Norton. Magnificent.
So, if you're looking for the perfect holiday gift for the book lover in your life, consider returning to the classics. You won't be sorry.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fine Things - Part 1

There are some things in life that, I'm not sure why, I'm just drawn to, such as stationery. I love writing on good card stock with a lovely emblem sitting atop the page. It makes me smile. Years ago, I ordered stationery from Smythson of Bond Street. It was a gorgeous blue paper with a gold leaf symbol at the top. A bit expensive, so I used the cards sparingly. There are so many stationery options these days, but sometimes it's nice to return to an old favorite.

I'm also a fan of Southern Proper and their men's ties. I bought one for Hubby (red background with black lab, in honor of our dog King and our late pup, Chance). I adore the "beau" ties as well. Having attended many-a-Kentucky Derby, I can't tell you how much I like seeing the men donning their finest duds, including a festive bow tie and a seersucker suit. In the words of one of my favorite bloggers, Bunny Tomerlin, "That's good, shug." SP also has a great Web site and I like the story behind the "belles" of the business. Whether your're a guy or a gal, stop by for a browse. You'll be glad you did.
Image courtesy of Smythson of Bond Street .

The Nutcracker Ballet

My daughter is three, so she's ready to experience her first performance of "The Nutcracker." I'm planning to order tickets in the next couple of days and will invite my mother and mother-in-law to join in the festivities. This is a great program to get you in the holiday spirit, so if you have a professional ballet company in your town (or live near a city that does) and they are performing this timeless classic, be sure to go. I'd love to hear from others on what holiday performances, concerts, etc. are taking place in your area of the world and if you plan to attend. Please send details.

UK vs. UNC

Well, my Cats lost to UNC last least it wasn't the butt-whoopin' I thought it was going to be. I have hope for a better season. If I can just get past the VMI loss (What the?), I'll be okay.

You have to understand, I was at UK during the Pitino years: the Unforgetables, the NCAA champs. It was a beautiful time. So, to have a semi-winning football program and a struggling basketball program, well, in the words of a former classmate from Bardstown, "That ain't right."

Billy G., I have faith in you. Work 'em hard. I'll see you in Rupp in the near future.
Photo courtesy of University of Kentucky Web site

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Silas House

If you're looking for a good book to read, I highly recommend the works of Kentucky author Silas House. Over the summer, I read three of his novels: Clay's Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves and The Coal Tattoo. These novels follow the lives of the same eastern Kentucky family over several generations. His work is beautiful, tragic and eloquent. So often people who tell stories about this region of our country tend to look down upon its residents. But House shows the strength and grace of these people and while they face great adversity, there is great beauty in their lives as well.
I know it's hard to find time to read (Believe me, I'm a mother of a three-year old and 18-month old), but I'm glad I carved out time for these books. You come away feeling grateful you read them.
Photo Courtesy of

Holly Hill Inn

If you live in Kentucky or are planning a visit to our fine state, I encourage you to dine at the Holly Hill Inn in Midway. It's not too far from Lexington and a little less than an hour from Louisville. The setting is lovely and the food is to die for. Ouita and Chris Michel are the owners, as well as chef and sommilier, respectively. Not only is it a wonderful dining experience, but the Michels support local farmers, so you're helping the local economy in many ways when dining here. Hubby and I ate here during the summer with friends and I'm hoping to return during the holidays. Perhaps for a celebratory dinner when he finishes grad school in December? I'll toast to that!
Photo courtesy of Holly Hill Inn Web site

A Room of One's Own

In college I read Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own," and I think I've been searching for that space ever since. An antique writing table, in a quiet room in an old home, with a window overlooking a lovely garden. I don't have that right now, but perhaps someday. I currently have my cubicle at work and an office I share with my husband at home, which also serves as a guest room. And the computer set-up at home couldn't be more user un-friendly. So, someday, I hope to have a place that will serve as a creative dwelling place, thus the inspiration for my blog title. We could all use a place to dwell. A place to sit quietly and dream.
By the way, this is a photo of Ina Garten's office in her renovated barn. Love, love, love Ina. A word to my hubby - her new cookbook would make a great Christmas gift!
Photo courtesy of House Beautiful

Don't forget Thanksgiving

I love the holidays. Decorations, Christmas trees, lights, beautiful gift wrap, egg nog - it puts me in the best mood. But, I feel that each holiday deserves its time in the sun. I'm amazed at how early the stores began putting up their Christmas displays this year. Halloween and Christmas items share shelf space now. Poor Thanksgiving just gets lost in the shuffle. I've already seen homes decorated for Christmas and yesterday, when driving into work, I saw trees had arrived at one of the tree stand locales. Too much! So, as much as I love Christmas, I will wait to decorate until after our turkey and pumpkin pie are eaten and we've given thanks for our good fortune.