Friday, January 30, 2009

Weekend Getaway

No, we’re not escaping to a warm beach, but we are going to watch my Kentucky Wildcats play the South Carolina Gamecocks this Saturday in Lexington. Hubby and I, along with another couple, are breaking away for an overnight stay. We’re looking forward to good basketball, fine dining, a stiff drink or two and hanging out with good friends. We may need to pay a visit to some of my old college haunts, including Lynagh’s Pub. Oh, those were the days!

Have a good weekend everyone!
Image courtesy of

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ode to a Southern Architect

In the recent issue of Garden & Gun magazine, there's a wonderful profile of Southern architect, Bobby McAlpine. I was taken with his approach and technique when it comes to designing a home. He's very true to his southern roots, yet doesn't adhere to the myth of the plantation homes of the old South. His designs have a earthiness about them, as if they're rooted to the land on which they are built.

The house he designed in the photo above may not remind one of a typical Southern dwelling, and perhaps that's what I like about it. It fits beautifully in its Alabama setting, yet reminds you of something you'd find in the Cotswolds of England.
Photo by Joe Pugliese, courtesy of Garden & Gun Magazine


Okay, the weather is really getting to me, so I need to think of warm places and pretty things – both good diversions. I came across these dresses (J. Crew, Milly and Ann Taylor) that evoke warm summer parties, with cold drinks and hot jazz playing in the background. Mmmm. I can see it now...
Photos courtesy of J.Crew, Saks Fifth Avenue and Ann Taylor.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Iceman Cometh

The region is covered in ice, branches and trees are falling everywhere. I pray that our electricity remains on. Looks like we're all staying home today, because it's too dangerous to get out on the roads.

Again, I am so ready for spring.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snow Day - the Real Deal

Well, it snowed overnight and into today, with several inches on the ground and sleet continuing to come down. The kids' daycare/preschool was closed, so I stayed home with the kids while Hubby braved the roads and went into work. We'll likely switch places tomorrow, if school is closed again. Hubby really wanted a good snow (I know, crazy), and he sure got it.

In the meantime, just had to share a couple of things that were delivered to the house yesterday. Since my daughter, E., is all about dresses, I took advantage of the online sale at Chez Ami and got her the cutest jumper (see above) and tights. Some of their items are 50 percent off, so take advantage if you can. I should have tried to score something in my son's size. Perhaps I'll see what boys' items are marked down. Also arriving yesterday was a guilty pleasure from Amazon: Social Climbing by Beth Dunn. I had read about this book on several blogs and thought I'd check it out. It's an easy, fun read. I had been tackling heavy novels for the last few months, so I thought I would indulge in some brain candy during these long winter days.
I'm so ready for spring.
Image courtesy of Chez Ami by Patsy Aiken

Monday, January 26, 2009

They grow so fast

My husband and I were looking through some photos last night and came across these pics we had taken in the fall of 2007. Donna Wolford, a local photographer, conducted the session and we were so happy with her work. I can’t believe how big the kids have gotten within the last year. Our daughter will be four in March and our son will be two in May. Where does the time go?
Photos by Donna Wolford Photography

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Valentine's Day and Southern Proper

Valentine’s Day is approaching and I’m thinking of getting Hubby a necktie from Southern Proper. I’ve written about SP in the past - great neckties and bow ties, and a fun website. I bought Hubby an SP tie a few months ago, featuring a black lab (in honor of our dog King, as well as our late, beloved Chance). On Valentine’s Day, we’re going out to dinner with another couple. The husband is someone whom Hubby often goes fly fishing with and now he joins him for clay shooting outings. So, I thought it would be fitting to get Hubby the shotgun tie, as a nod to this new hobby.

Now, if we can just score tickets to the Derby this year, I'll get him the mint julep tie!


This year, Hubby and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage. We’re considering different get-away spots to mark the occasion, and during these cold winter months our thoughts turn to exotic locales, such as Belize. If any of you have been there, I’d love to get your thoughts on it. Like? Dislike? Hubby is an avid fly fisherman, so he’s dying to try the fishing down there. I’m just looking for a quiet, warm place by the beach in which to escape the hustle and bustle.

While our anniversary is actually in October, we may have to celebrate during the summer, so that one of the grandmothers can watch the kids (both are teachers, therefore available during the summer months).

On our honeymoon, we traveled to Ireland and it was a wonderful adventure. We hope to visit again some day, but maybe when the kids are older. I’m a little nervous about going too far away while they’re so young. Another dream vacation of ours is South Africa, but that may have to wait for our 20th anniversary. Hopefully by then the economy will have recovered!

So, readers, any suggestions on a good anniversary locale?
Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A note from Jenna and Barbara

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal published a letter from Jenna and Barbara Bush to Malia and Sasha Obama. If you didn’t have a chance to read it, do. Whatever your politics may be, you'll likely find it touching. I certainly couldn’t imagine living in that fish bowl. So, to all of those who have lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, including the newest residents, God bless you for your service to our country and good luck.
Image of Jenna and Barbara Bush courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The 'Not So Big House'

I’ve long been a fan of architect and author Sarah Susanka and her concept of creating the “not so big house.” In response to the giant McMansions that have invaded the American landscape over the years, Susanka has championed smaller homes with greater functionality and charm – she urges people to “build better, not bigger.” She has written several books on the topic. I own Creating the Not So Big House, which offers great ideas on how to make the best use of space in your home.

Susanka has had such an impact on modern architecture that "BUILDER Magazine" is going to honor her for being one of the 30 most notable innovators to have influenced the housing industry within the past 30 years.

Now, I’m not criticizing people who have big homes, but rather the homes that are thousands of square feet, with little character and only two people living in the dwelling - that’s what I can’t tolerate. Those homes consume so much energy, space and do little to enrich the areas in which they are built. I admire older homes or homes that are built in the more traditional style, especially if you build a home in a more established neighborhood (kudos to those folks keeping with tradition). Susanka’s style leans towards Craftsman, while I’m drawn to Colonial and Federal style homes. That’s why I’m also fan of the magazine “New Old House.” But, I think you can incorporate Susanka’s theories into any style home.

Cheers to Sarah Susanka!
Image courtesy of

Monday, January 19, 2009

Snowy Day

I took a day off from work today, since the kids' daycare is closed for the MLK holiday. It snowed last night as well, so the kiddos and I may get outside to throw some snow balls around and maybe try out the sleds they got for Christmas. Of course, I'd much rather sit by the fire and watch the snow from indoors. But, given this is the first major snow of the season, the kids need to get out and enjoy it for a while. We'll also have to get King, our dog, outside for some fun in the snow.

Thanks to those who recommended some good books now that I've finished "Beach Music" by Pat Conroy. After meeting with some girlfriends for lunch yesterday, I stopped by the bookstore on the way home. I purchased "Engleby" by Sebastian Faulks and "The Water is Wide" by Conroy (guess I'm on a Conroy kick). I started "Engleby" last night, which is set at a university in England. I'll keep you posted on whether or not you should add it to your must-read list.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bicycling Blogs

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m getting serious about purchasing a new bicycle this year, perhaps even in the next few weeks. I’m not looking to compete in races or join clubs where you have to sport the cool gear. I just want to be more active, perhaps tote the little ones behind me (in proper safety seats and gear, of course) and enjoy the scenery. Hubby and I visited a local bike shop near our offices a couple of weeks ago and found some potential wheels. The shop also sells refurbished bikes, so we’re considering buying one used and one new and then getting child seats so we can go on family rides. But, I’m also looking forward to solo rides where I can just get away for a little bit, cruise through the neighborhoods and enjoy some “me” time.

Meanwhile, in my online search for helpful hints for the newbie to the bicycling world, I came across two wonderful blogs: Riding Pretty and Old Bike Blog. Both focus on “slow rides” and refurbishing old bikes. Both are enjoyable to read and have great tips for those who love the “townie” style bikes and those who like to restore old bikes. Enjoy the ride!
Photo courtesy of

What I'm reading

I’m almost finished reading Beach Music by beloved southern author Pat Conroy. While it's close to 700 pages, I find it so hard to put down, as I'm glued to the book each night after the kids have gone to bed.

Now, I warn you that it’s not an easy read, and by that I mean the subject matter can be graphic and difficult to swallow at times. The book covers such topics as the Vietnam War, the Holocaust, suicide, mental illness, cancer and much more. After all, this is the author who brought us The Prince of Tides, The Lords of Discipline and The Great Santini, among other titles, so I knew it wasn’t going to be chick-lit. And, while the subject matter is heavy, I’m so glad I delved into this tome and I look forward to possibly finishing it this evening.

If you're a Pat Conroy fan, I learned that in August of 2009, his latest novel, South of Broad, will be published. So, that will be a definite must-have for this avid reader. If you have any suggestions for a good book, please pass them my way. During these cold winter months, when I can’t get out for a walk in the evening, I love to get lost in a good book.
Image courtesy of

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Eliza B.

This morning as I was rummaging through my closet for a very warm sweater, dreading the thought of going out into 19 degree weather, I came across my Eliza B flip flops from last summer. They made me smile and long for warmer days (if you haven’t been able to tell yet, I do not like the cold. At all.). Last year, I ordered the macreme flip flops in black with a tan sole and apple green ribbon. I wore them quite often. Great for trips to the pool.

So, since I hadn’t visited Eliza B in a while, I ventured to her Web site. Some cute new options are available. Stop by if you have some time.
Images courtesy of

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cannelle et vanille

One of my favorite bloggers, Lobster and Swan, recently recommended another great blog: cannelle et vanille. What a beautiful site! The recipes, photography, daily entries - it’s a feast for the eyes. Be sure to visit the lovely cannelle et vanille.
Photo courtesy of cannelle et vanille.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cheers to Kate

Congrats to Kate Winslet for her Golden Globe wins last night. I don't often write about Hollywood, actors, actresses and all of the hype that surrounds that world. But, I have been a longtime fan of Kate Winslet and I was so glad to see her recognized for her amazing work.
Photo courtesy of the

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hail to the SEC

So glad to see the Florida Gators won the BSC championship last night. Although I’m a true blue Kentucky Wildcat through and through, I was happy that an SEC team won. I understand there was a lot of trash talk out west about which team deserved the number one ranking, but I don’t think any other conference is as tough as the SEC. You can argue with me if you like, and heck, I would like to see the University of Southern California take on Florida. But, I don’t think they would win. Yeah, I’m a biased southern girl.

Now, onto my true love, Kentucky basketball. I’ll be cheering on the Cats against the Vandy Commodores tomorrow. Go Big Blue!

Have a good weekend everyone!
Images courtesy of University of Florida, Univ. of Kentucky Web sites.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Aveda Lip Tint

I am a big fan of Aveda. Not only do their products produce great results for your hair and skin, but they’re eco-friendly and the company has a huge environmental focus and commitment to sustainability. For years I’ve used their shampoos, conditioners and make-up. One of my new favorites is Aveda Lip Tint in Apricot. Just a little color for running out the door and it has SPF.
Photo courtesy of

Longing for the beach

I woke up to cold temperatures and snow flurries this morning. It made me long for the beach. We’ve been vacationing in the Outer Banks off the coast of North Carolina for several years now and I’m hoping we can manage a trip there this summer. My father-in-law and his wife usually treat us (and the whole clan of siblings, step-siblings, spouses and kids) to an end-of-summer trip to their mountain home in Blowing Rock, N.C., so that may be our vacation this year, depending on how well we keep our finances in tune. But, there’s also talk about going to their place at Leitchfield Beach in South Carolina for 2009. I’ve never been there, so it may make for a nice change.

Anyway, sending warm thoughts to all of you today!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

‘A Bloomsbury Life’ blog

I was checking out my daily blogs this morning and through a couple of clicks, came across a fabulous find called “A Bloomsbury Life.” Above is a pic of the blogger’s entryway – love that door and wallpaper. Although the blogger, Lisa, lives in Los Angeles, her home has a definite British influence. I’ll have to add this to my Delightful Reads links. Cheers to ‘A Bloomsbury Life!’

Monday, January 5, 2009

Island Living

I was paging through my latest issue of Cookie Magazine last night (great publication for parents, by the way, oozing style and substance) and came across a profile of India Hicks. She’s a designer, artist, TV host, mother of four, daughter of legendary interior designer David Hicks, goddaughter to Prince Charles (she was an attendant in his wedding to Princess Diana), and the list goes on and on. She lives this lush life on a small Bahamian island, in addition to a home in London and other locales. The photos of her and her tan, athletic brood living the island life made me long for warm breezes and the beach. Above is an image from her home. I just love that chair.
Photo courtesy of Domino

Friday, January 2, 2009

A toast to those making resolutions

Cheers to all of the joggers I saw this morning. It appears that New Year's resolutions are taking shape and more power to those of you who woke up extra early to exercise in 30 degree weather. As for me, I raised my Starbucks coffee to toast those healthy folks I passed on the road, as I was heading into the office in my warm car.

I'll get there. I promise.