Thursday, May 28, 2009

Design Consultation

Well, I received my Mother’s Day present last night: a design consultation with Casey, an interior designer and old friend of Hubby’s family.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was nervous leading up to this, because I was worried that she would think I've made poor decorating choices and basically judge me based on the appearance of my home. (Can you say self-esteem issues?) But, due to young children in daycare and other financial commitments, updating our home has been a slow task. So, at least we’re moving forward.

Casey was so nice and had some great ideas for reconfiguring certain rooms, updates that could be made and so on. She’s going to share several resources with me, many that are low-cost, such as a woman who does upholstery in her home, as well a plantation shutter company that is very reasonable. She’s also going to share the names of several kitchen planners so we can start discussing options, such as cosmetic touches versus a complete overhaul.

So, next week she hopes to have an entire plan outlined for us and we can then decide what projects to tackle first. Yea!
Photo courtesy of Arhaus Furniture, Songbird Series

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Seaside Beach Towel

Okay, I’ve climbed down from yesterday’s soapbox and now I’m onto happier topics: beach towels! Yes, just as my blog states, it’s the little things that should make us happy. I don’t know what it is, but I like the look of colorful towels hanging from clothes lines behind beach houses, or strewn across the sand waiting for families to return from playing in the surf.

So, if you’re in the market for good beach towels, I highly recommend the Seaside Beach Towel from L.L. Bean. I purchased the lobster and fish designs last year and found them to be the BEST towels. They’re extra-long, so you’re legs aren’t hanging off of them in the sand (unless you’re just a really tall person), and they’re really absorbent. I ordered two more for this summer, so the sand dollar and sea turtle designs are in the mail.

Another reason I love beach towels is that they signify the return of warm weather, which means vacations and weekends at the pool. Yea!
Images courtesy of

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jon & Kate: It's time to move on

A word to Jon & Kate: pull the plug now. For the sake of your children, stop the farce and allow them to lead normal lives. The longer this continues, the more damage will be done to their self-esteem and sense of who they really are.

I only caught a glimpse of last night’s season premiere and quite frankly, didn’t have the stomach to watch it. With all of the media hype surrounding their supposed “marriage-in-peril,” I’m so over it.

And, as for you, TLC Network, have the courage to look beyond the ratings and see what has become of this family. Clearly, your network is favoring more sideshow-esque programming these days than your original intent of that as “The Learning Channel.” Well, if anything, we’re learning that a reality show is not the way to go (although, when, if ever, is it?).

So, Gosselins, my advice to you is to collect your final paycheck, put it in savings, turn off the cameras and let the healing begin.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Preppy Finds

I've discovered a lovely blogger at The Preppy Pink Whale and I must share her site with all of you. (Although many of you may already know about her, therefore I am appearing as if I'm totally behind the times.) Anyhoo, this is a great spot to find the latest collection of preppy finds. I'm loving the knotted earrings from Fitz and Frannie. Good price and can you go wrong? She also recently featured the ever-so-fabulous needlepoint flip flops from Tucker Blair. If you want to splurge a little on your summer flips, these are the ones to check out.

And, as we head into this Memorial Day weekend, let's give a huge thanks and God-bless to all of the men and women who have served, and given their lives, for the Red, White and Blue. I can't express enough gratitude for all they have done for us.

So, kids, enjoy your picnics, family get-togethers, pool parties and other activities this weekend. Talk to you on Monday!
Image courtesy of Fitz and Frannie

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Twitter Train

Did anyone catch the article in today's New York Times Style section about Twitter and the emerging role of Social Media specialists? More and more companies are turning to Twitter as a marketing tool to get their brand out to the masses and engage younger customers.

The first woman they profile works at a vineyard in Sonoma County as a "lifestyle correspondant," is paid $10,000 a month, lives in company-paid housing and blogs about wine. While the job is only for a 6-month stint, it's a pretty sweet set-up for temporary work.

So, I'm curious, how many of you are on Twitter? While I do have a Facebook page, I've yet to open a Twitter account. Although, next week I plan to attend a social media webinar, so perhaps after that, I'll be catching the Twitter train myself. Please share - would love to hear if you Twitter, or Tweet, or whatever the lingo is.

Happy Thursday, y'all - the holiday weekend is almost here!
Image courtesy of The New York Times

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Southern Architecture

I love older homes with architectural character, especially those with southern roots. Whether it’s a painted-brick and black-shuttered house in Louisville’s Highlands neighborhood, an antebellum manse in Natchez or a low-country tin-roof cottage in Savannah, these houses just call to me. There’s nothing more appealing than the thought of sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of one of these houses with a cool drink in your hand. Heaven, simply heaven.

So, for anyone who shares my love of southern dwellings, I recommend a couple of books.

In Kentucky, a well-known, Louisville-born architect named Stratton Hammon made a name for himself designing architectural jewels across the Commonwealth. From cottages to grand dames, these homes are pieces of art. Many are scattered about Louisville, in some of the older, tree-lined neighborhoods, such as Seneca Gardens, the Upland/Top Hill Road area and Cherokee Gardens. A book about his work, Kentucky Homes of Stratton Hammon, was published last year and features the amazing work he created during his time (he died in 1997).

A contemporary of Hammon’s whom I greatly admire is Timothy Winters. I’ve always said that if I win the lottery, Mr. Winters will design my home. He has a wonderful knack for capturing the beauty and character of older Louisville homes in a newly built design. He’s very much of the “new-old-house” school of thought.

If you love the residential architecture of Louisiana, check out The Louisiana Houses of A. Hays Town. Town, considered by many as the “premiere architect of the South,” died in 2005 at the age of 101. His designs are said to have inspired many southern architects over the years, leaving quite a legacy. His work, and the aforementioned book, are featured in the latest issue of Southern Living.

I am by no means an expert on architecture; I just love to pour over architectural and design books and dream. So, I would love to hear from readers on the types of architecture where you live, notable designers, etc.
Images courtesy of Butler Books and Amazon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My future home?

Have you entered the Southern Living dream home giveaway? There are four houses from which to choose and I love the Sugarberry Cottage in Beaufort, South Carolina. I think that's where I am meant to be.

So, if I win, dear readers, I'll invite y'all down for a low country crawfish boil and some cold Dixie beer on the front porch. How does that sound?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pretty in Plaid

So, I drank the literary Kool-Aid and purchased Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster. It seems that every other blog I read these days is featuring this book, so I ran out to Barnes & Noble the other evening to see what all the buzz was about.

I assumed this would be another chick-lit novel about the life of a preppy girl, just trying to make her way in the world. While the fare is somewhat light, Jen's biting commentary and acerbic wit makes this a fun read. It's a memoir dating from the 1970s (when Jen was about eight) to the present, with much commentary focused on fashion. For those of us who recall the many fashion dos and don'ts of 70s, 80s and 90s, along with music and pop culture references, I think you'll find this a delightful piece of escapism.

Jen Lancaster also has an amusing blog, jennsylvania, that's worth checking out.
Image courtesy of

Friday, May 15, 2009

Budget-friendly decor

I saw this budget-friendly design idea from Southern Living and thought it was so cute. Use a new metal trash can, a plywood topper and cover with fabric to create a stylish bedside table. You can also use the can itself to store sweaters or other clothing items during the off-season. How cool is that?

By the way, did anyone watch the season finale of "The Office?" The news about Jim and Pam was fabulous - loved that scene at the hospital. I'm sure Michael will have plenty of lame jokes about Pam's "baby daddy" next season. Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Let the Countdown Begin

Three weeks from this Friday, the fam and I will be leaving on a jet plane and heading to the Outer Banks. How excited am I? Hubby and I desparately need to get away and enjoy some "slow living." No agenda, no set plans; just getting up, eating breakfast, heading out to the beach, eating lunch, napping, more beach, cocktails, more eating, sleeping and the list goes on.

Ah, I can hear the ocean now...

So, dear readers, what are your plans for the summer? Any special getaways on the horizon?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Design Consultation

I saw this kitchen sink over at the Newlywed Diaries and just had to “borrow” the image. How fab is this sink from Kohler? This will definitely be filed in my kitchen idea book.

Speaking of ideas, for Mother’s Day, Hubby gave me a consultation with an interior decorator. This is something I’ve wanted for some time – a decorator to come into my home, provide her input on what could be done, offer tips, suggestions, etc. I just need to call her to schedule a time – I’m soooo looking forward to this!

But, I’m a little nervous, too, because I have this fear that she’ll judge my home, thus in a way, judge my taste. I know, irrational, huh? It’s just that we’re not wealthy people and therefore I’ve tried the best I can with what we have, but our home is far from a design showcase. I have the vision, it’s just hard to put it into place when the resources aren’t always available. I know, I shouldn’t complain, but I think we all have felt this way one time or another. So, rather than look at the glass half empty, I need to look at it half full and just be excited about this great gift that Hubby has given me. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Happy Wednesday everyone! (And, for any fellow “Lost” fans, tonight is the season finale. Enjoy!)
Photo courtesy of Kohler

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

'Awesome' Award

The oh-so-lovely Queen Bee Swain has honored me with the “Awesome Award.” You’re such a doll! So, I’ve been tagged to name seven awesome things about myself. Hmm, let’s dig a bit here.

1. I’m a mom to two amazing kids, ages four and two. There was a time that I never thought I could have children. I went through medical treatments, a miscarriage and we were even preparing for an adoption. Then, miraculously, I got pregnant. A couple of years later, it happened again. That’s pretty awesome.

2. I am married to the man of my dreams. A funny, intelligent and driven Southern Gent, Hubby is an incredible father, a great debater and can grill a mean hamburger! Don’t tell him this, but I even like the fact that he likes to enjoy a good stogie on the back porch now and then.

3. I write for a living. As an English major who ate my share of Ramin noodles and worked at a non-paid internship at the local PBS affiliate during college, who would have dreamed that I would now be working as a business writer and making a comfortable living at it?

4. When I worked for a performing arts organization years ago, I once had to drive actor Bruce McGill (best known as D-Day from “Animal House”) to a radio interview. He told me I had the straightest teeth he had ever seen. This coming from a Hollywood actor! I called my parents and thanked them for my years of orthodontics.

5. I spent a glorious 10 days in Ireland on my honeymoon – one of the most beautiful and magical places on earth. Going to the Aran Islands and standing on a cliff overlooking the ocean is a religious experience.

6. I have a skill for mimicking accents and impersonating people. It tends to bring a smile to someone’s face, and I like making people laugh.

7. I’m a Kentucky girl with a degree from the University of Kentucky – enough said.

I think if we can find the “awesomeness” in our everyday lives, that’s something special. So, I now bestow the “Awesome Award” to these fabulous bloggers:

A Bloomsbury Life

A Savannah Redtop

Fly Through My Window

Halfway House

Life with Lulu

Kentucky Mama

Sugar City Journal

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Little Man!

Happy 2nd birthday to my little man! Lots to celebrate this evening with presents, cake and family - can't wait!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The 'Lost' Cake

I’m a huge fan of “Lost.” I watch it every Wednesday and spend every Thursday deciphering episodes with my friends. Next week is the two-hour finale, so needless to say, I won’t be answering the phone that night and the kids will be in bed early.

Anyway, a friend of mine who is also a fan of Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes,” sent me a link to a blog hosted by Jorge Garcia, the actor who plays Hurley on “Lost.” On it he features photos of a special cake created by the Ace of Cakes team for the cast and crew of “Lost.” Love it!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Branding of a Family

Check out this article in today’s New York Times Style section about the Novogratz family of New York. They’re the focus of Bravo’s next reality series to launch in early 2010, and from what little I’ve learned so far, it could make for some interesting TV. Mom and Dad have model-good looks and renovate spaces throughout the city with fabulous modern décor, all-the-while raising seven kids (including two sets of twins). You know, a version of your own life, but on crack.

Anyway, like the “Real Housewives” series – which I’m ashamed to admit that I watch here and there, like a bad train wreck – I’ll likely tune in to the Novogratz’s show. Yes, there’s something a little creepy about turning your family into a brand of sorts, which the NY Times article addresses. Hey, then again, maybe my family should get in on the act – pitch a reality series, film our every move, with hopes of schlepping Coca-Cola, Pampers and other products to willing consumers. Ah, the American dream. Nah, I’ll stay away from that train wreck, thank you.
Photo courtesy of The New York Times

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dash & Albert

Has anyone ever purchased a rug from Dash & Albert? If so, would love to hear about it. They look super-cool online, but I’m just wondering about the quality. Apparently only one store in Louisville carries them, so I'd need to trot over there to see them in person. Would love to have one for my kitchen (to cover that awful green linoleum until we can put down different flooring).
Photo courtesy of

Monday, May 4, 2009

Kentucky Oaks 2009

Guy Fieri of the Food Network and I at the Oaks Day Brunch.

Visiting with my friend, Tiff, in the paddock area.

Hubby looking sharp at Churchill Downs on Oaks Day

Well, we had quite the weekend, starting Friday morning at the Kentucky Oaks Brunch. It was a fun event, featuring celebrity chef and Food Network star Guy Fieri (who was kind enough to pose for a photo with me), along with pastry chef Gale Gand and master mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, who made some tasty cocktails to get the festivities started.

The brunch featured food demonstrations by the chefs. Guy made an incredible cream cheese French toast and bourbon glazed pork chops. So, needless to say, we were stuffed to the gills with French toast, pork chops, omelets and cheese grits. And that was all at 9:30 a.m.! They closed the brunch with an auction, raising money for the Home of the Innocents, a great Louisville organization.

Then, we were off to the track to the Jockey Club Suites, where our host, and good friend of Hubby’s, treated us to a great day in style. Complimentary drinks, more food, and plenty of betting where on the agenda. Hubby hit a trifecta and a couple of exacta bets to make it a somewhat profitable day. After the Oaks, we met up with friends for dinner and then went home to see the kids (thanks Mom for babysitting!).

Derby Day was spent recuperating from Oaks, enjoying the races from the comfort of our home. We certainly didn’t have the winner – 50 to 1 odds, who saw that coming? If you bet on Mine That Bird, I’m sure your wallet is a little thicker today.

So, another Oaks and Derby have passed and the city is recovering from its hangover. Hope everyone had a great weekend!