Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Hovey Sisters

Did you catch one of my favorite bloggers in today’s New York Times Style section? Hollister Hovey, and her sister Porter, are featured in the article “The New Antiquarians,” about those who collect, wear and uphold what Hollister calls “the new vintage style.” This style is very Victorian, very W. Somerset Maugham, very Wes Anderson “Royal Tennenbaums.”

It’s fun to see what they collect, where they visit, what they wear. I like that they march to their own beat (even though there are many others sharing in their love of all things dark and Victorian, thus the focus of the article). Wouldn’t you love to have a play-date at their house?

By the way, Porter Hovey is lobbying for a coveted walk-on role in an episode on AMC’s “Mad Men.” Visit Hollister’s blog for information on how to vote.
Image of Hollister and Porter Hovey courtesy of NY Times.

Accessorize, accessorize

How darling is the Jonah dress from Lilly Pulitzer?

And how cute would it look with this rope knot bracelet from Vineyard Vines?

And paired with the Coral Me Crazy flats, also from Lilly?

"The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize." - Clairee Belcher, "Steel Magnolias"
Images courtesy of Vineyard Vines and Lilly Pulitzer

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The SEC: Party On

Tailgating at "The Grove," at Ole Miss. The University of Mississippi ranked third in the nation for top party schools. Go Rebels! Party on, SEC!

According to the Princeton Review’s 2009 survey of 122,000 college students, the nation’s top 20 party schools are:

1. Penn State University, State College, Pa.
2. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
3. University of Mississippi, University, Miss.
4. University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
5. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
6. West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va.
7. University of Texas, Austin, Texas
8. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.
9. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.
10. University of California-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.
11. University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.
12. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
13. Union College, Schenectady, N.Y.
14. Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.
15. DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.
16. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn.
17. Sewanee: The University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.
18. University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D.
19. Tulane University, New Orleans, La.
20. Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.

Hmmm, four of these colleges are in the Southeastern Conference. In fact, three SEC schools are in the top five. Whoa. While my alma mater – the University of Kentucky – didn’t make it, I’m sure it wasn’t for lack of trying. :)

Now that I’m a parent, I can see why college administrators hate lists like this. It's certainly not the picture you want to paint for prospective students' moms and dads. But, at the same time, as an alum, you kind of chuckle at the thought and think to yourself, "Oh, yeah. Good times."
Photo courtesy of ESPN U.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Need your opinion...

The Greenbrier

Blackberry Farm

The Homestead

In October, Hubby and I will celebrate our 10-year anniversary. I blogged about this a few months ago, talking about grandiose plans of Belize or some other exotic locale. Well, now that Hubby has a new job, his vacation time is limited. And, in rethinking some of our spending of late, so are our expenses.

So, in order to save costs we’re considering three resorts that are within driving distance. But, we also want a first-class experience. So, if any of you have been to these locales, please share your thoughts – would love to hear about it!

The Greenbrier (White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia) – Fine dining, outdoor activities (including a gun club and fly fishing for Hubby), spa, shopping, afternoon tea and more set amid the Allegheny Mountains.

Blackberry Farm (Walland, Tennessee) – Another luxury resort situated in the Great Smokey Mountains. Spa, Orvis-endorsed fly fishing, clay shooting, horseback riding, and fine dining.

The Homestead (Hot Springs, Virginia) – This grand hotel is located in the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia and boasts luxurious accommodations, golf, outdoor adventure, spa, and much more. It’s also well-known for its skiing. (The farthest away of the three, the Homestead likely won’t make the final cut, but maybe another time).
Images courtesy of The Greenbrier, Blackberry Farm and Homestead resort Web sites.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

One of my favorite novels from the last 10 years is The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffeneger. The plot is like nothing I had ever encoutered before. It was such an intriguing read and I found myself glued to the pages every night. It’s been a staple of many book clubs and it’s easy to see why when you are drawn into the story.

Well, last night I learned that the novel has been made into a film starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, two actors I really like. Yea! It’s scheduled for release August 14. I’m curious as to how they’re going to incorporate some of the time traveling aspects into the film (it’s not like "Back to the Future," believe me). The story is so beautiful – I hope the film does it justice.

Happy Friday! Hope everyone has a great weekend!
Images courtesy of Amazon and New Line Cinema.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Diana Krall

Did anyone catch Steve Inskeep’s interview with Diana Krall on NPR’s Morning Edition today? I love Diana Krall. I have several of her albums. In fact, I remember browsing at Joseph Beth Bookstore in 1995 or ’96 and coming across her CD. I had never heard of her before, but I gave it a listen and was hooked. It was a tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio. Now, whenever she releases a new album, Hubby always knows it would be a welcome stocking stuffer.

Krall just exudes cool; her music, her repertoire. She’s one cool lady. And, she’s married to one of Hubby’s favorites, Elvis Costello. That’s super cool. She’s also mom to twin two-year-old boys, which I think is pretty cool, too. Did I mention I think she’s cool?

Her latest album, Quiet Nights, is dedicated to Brazilian music, but with her quintessential twist on classic hits. I don’t think I can wait until Christmas to get this CD.
Image courtesy of

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Guilty pleasure: Tori and Dean

So, it’s summertime and not much is on the tube right now. Many of us are spending time outdoors in the evenings, at the pool, exercising, reading, etc. But, when the day is done and the kids are in bed, sometimes we flip on the TV, just to see if any good summer programming has popped up. There are some good ones (Yeah, True Blood fans, I’m talking to you!), but often it’s certainly not highbrow entertainment. Yet, we get sucked in anyway.

Case in point: Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood. When this show premiered a few seasons ago, I scoffed at the thought of another actor attempting a reality show in hopes of reviving a career. And, I was even more judgmental about the well-known fact that Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott had left their respective spouses for each other. So, I wasn’t going to watch a show about a couple of home wreckers, right? (I know, shame on me.)

Well, surprisingly, I got sucked in and watched it. And, I continue to watch it. And, even bigger surprise, I found myself actually liking Tori Spelling. She was up front about her money problems, her family issues and how she and her husband met. Maybe it’s because we’re the same age and have toddlers, or because I used to watch the original 90210 on a regular basis. Either way, there’s some entertainment value inside this brain candy.

So, I’ve admitted to my guilty pleasure. Sorry if I disappointed anyone with my fluff viewing choice, but there are some days that’s about all I can handle after a full day of work and giving the kids a bath.

That’s okay, I’ll own it. I like Tori & Dean!
Photo courtesy of Oxygen.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I survived!

I made it through my first hot yoga class last night! I didn’t pass out, nor did I throw up, so two major accomplishments there. :)

There were a few times, especially toward the end, when I felt a little dizzy and had to sit down. Two of my friends who came with me had the same experience. But, I was surprised at how I was able to handle some of the poses. I’m more flexible than I thought! You do come out of there looking like you’ve been in a swimming pool – I’ve never sweat so much in my life. But, I’m going to try it again to see if I can handle another session (plus, I bought a week pass, so I need to get my money’s worth!).

So, while my mind is on fitness and keeping in shape - and to not bore you to tears with my continuous dronings about yoga - thought I’d give a shout-out to Title 9. I love the Title 9 clothing line. This company has a great philosophy and I really like the fact that they feature real women in their catalogs, and include a little information about each one. Very inspiring. Images like the one above just make me want to donn one of their organic cotton tops and climb a mountain. Well, maybe wear the top, not so much climb the mountain.

Title 9 also carries “Life is Good” products, which always puts a smile on my face. So, check out Title 9 if you're looking for great workout gear.

It's Terrific Tuesday everyone - hope something puts a smile on your face today!
Image courtesy of Title 9.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Bummed to say that I didn't make it to Bikram on Saturday morning, because I got sidetracked when Little Man decided to get into the jar of Vaseline and apply it all over the bathroom and himself.

The kids were awake at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday and Hubby and I were trying to get just a few more minutes of sleep before starting the day. The kids were entertaining themselves in our daughter's room, or so we thought. Little Man came into our room and tried to grab my glasses, but I quickly shot up and caught him (he broke Hubby's glasses a few weeks ago, so I wasn't going to let that happen again!). When I put on my glasses, I couldn't see out of them - then I realized they were covered in Vaseline. Then I noticed Little Guy was covered in it, hair sticking straight up. I went into the bathroom and almost fell, because it was all over the floor, the countertop, the walls. All I could think was "How the heck do you remove Vaseline?? Vaseline is what you use to remove other things!!"

So, by the time we dealt with that, I was in great need of coffee and I only had the energy to sit at the kitchen table for a while. By this time, the yoga class was already underway. But, a girlfriend and I have committed to going to a class tonight, which will probably work out better anyway. I can drink plenty of water throughout the day and be better prepared for the experience that is hot yoga! No detours today! From the comments that readers have left about Bikram, it sounds amazing and has really kept folks in good shape. Can't wait!

As for other news this weekend - the weather was GORGEOUS in Kentucky! 70 degree temps in July. We took the kids to the zoo and spent as much time outside as possible. Last night we went to a cookout for a friend's birthday and it actually got chilly as we sat outside on their deck. Who would have thought?

Hope everyone had a great weekend. It's Monday - time to charge ahead!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hot Yoga

So, I’m taking my first Bikram yoga class tomorrow and I’m hoping I don’t have a stroke in the middle of it. It’s “hot” yoga where the temperature in the studio is quite high, in order to warm up your muscles and increase your heart rate for a cardio and strength workout. I’ve known a few people who’ve done it and just praise the benefits. In fact, a co-worker of mine has lost several pounds from practicing Bikram yoga and she looks amazing. She said she’s addicted to it!

A local hot yoga studio is having a special this month on classes, so I’m taking the plunge and trying my first class Saturday morning.

Have you ever tried Bikram or Hatha yoga? There’s also a regular Hatha class on Mondays and Wednesday in the building where I work, so I’m also considering trying that class as well. I would love to hear from folks who are into yoga or are trying yoga for the first time. Share your stories - let me know what you think!

It’s fabulous Friday, y’all – we made it through another week!
Image courtesy of Betsy's Hot Yoga Louisville

Thursday, July 16, 2009

'Barn Bags'

If you’re a fan of Garden & Gun magazine like I am (again, don’t turn your nose up at the name – it’s a fabulous publication), you may receive periodic “Talk of the South” e-mails featuring Southern happenings, art, food, etc. Today’s e-mail features designer travel and handbags from Oughton Limited, a company founded by equestrian and North Carolinian Daphne Markcrow. She designed the bags as a lighter-weight and more fashionable alternative to the tack trunks the horsey set drag with them to competitions and other equine-related events.

Well, I must say these bags are now on my wish list. Hubby, take note: either for our 10-year anniversary or for Christmas, one of these would be very much appreciated. I especially like the “Girth Purse” (not crazy about the name, but we won’t got there). What a fab bag for a Kentucky girl to sport at Keeneland this fall!
Images of Oughton Limited bags courtesy of Garden & Gun Magazine.

Lazy days on the porch

Wish I had a porch swing to lounge upon on lazy summer Saturdays, lemonade in hand. I just love the creaking sound a porch swing makes, when you rock it back and forth with your bare feet. It almost makes the muggy days in the Southeast somewhat bearable.
Image courtesy of Southern Living.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I used to be cool...or am I still cool? Was I ever cool?

Last summer, while attending a music festival, I purchased the above “I used to be cool” T-shirt. I bought one for my daughter, too, that stated “My mom used to be cool.” Not to put myself down, it’s just a fun way to mock my current lifestyle of mom, living in the ‘burbs. I don’t have a minivan, but I do drive a station wagon (although, it’s a sporty German car. Does that increase my cool factor a bit?)

Anyhow, I imagine we all feel this way from time to time. Remember those days in college? Staying up until all hours, doing God-knows-what and looking fabulous in the process? Now, many of us are 30-somethings, raising kids, working, paying mortgages, and in desperate need of a good nap. But, here’s hoping we still look fabulous in the process. In my case, it involves a little more under-eye concealer than before (hence the need for a good nap).

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so hard on myself and start sporting the “I will always be cool” T-shirt. Because, after I drop the kids off at daycare in the morning, I do rock out on the XM Radio a bit. And, this morning after leaving the parking garage, two construction workers gave me the “up and down” as I passed by. I should probably be annoyed or even offended by this, but on days when you’re feeling like an old mom past your prime, it kind of lifts your spirits. I guess it’s the little things that get you by from time to time. (Is that a sad comment? Hopefully I’m not the only one who feels this way.)

So, dear readers, may we always embrace our “cool” side and not let life get us down. Remember, we’re still cool. We may not always feel like it, but it’s there, not too far beneath the surface. We may just need to wake it up. Coolness needs a nap every now and then, too, you know. :)
Images courtesy of

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming

Hit the ground running this morning and can’t help but hum the “Just Keep Swimming,” tune from Finding Nemo.

I had to sit in on a meeting at 8 a.m. about a big project at the company. I’ve never been in a room with so much company brass before – a bit much for early on a Monday. Then, I went straight into a meeting with my technology clients. It’s so funny that I, the English major, serve as the company account rep for IT. When I first started working with that group, I used to feel like Heidi pulled away from the mountain, lost in the big city. But, now, I think I speak their language. The other day I even caught myself saying, “The functionality of the system…” What?? They’ve invaded my brain. Quickly, read some Yeats or Austen.

So, given that Monday has hit me like a mack truck, I had to post the image above. It makes me smile and places the focus on what’s really important. This was taken when Miss E. was just a few months old. She’s now 4 and such a big girl. Okay, everything is in perspective now. :)

Hope everyone is having a great Monday!

P.S. – I’ve been asked by a reader to post before & after pics of my kitchen, now that the cabinets are painted. I hope to do that in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Some dinner music...

Just finished making dinner for the kids, as I play the role of single mom this weekend. While they watched Toy Story 2 for the umptenth time (I know, I'm such a bad mom), I baked a chicken dish. So, to lift my spirits a bit, I played some Sam Cooke while cutting vegetables. I just love "Bring it on Home to Me." Gorgeous. gorgeous song. I also had to listen to some of the Garden State soundtrack and litte Peter Gabriel. To say my music tastes are diverse is an understatement. But, I guess when you grow up in a house where Motown and folk music are well revered, your music choices are likely to be eclectic, to say the least.

Sadly, I cannot make it to the Forecastle Festival tonight. Widespread Panic and the Black Crows are playing at the Belvedere in Louisville. Ugh. Last year we went and took in some cool tunes. I guess I'll have to count on next year.

By the way, if you happen to be in the area over the next month, be sure to catch Molly Rucks's exhibit at the Zephyr Gallery. She's our neighbor's daughter and is an amazing photographer (her photo is featured above). Since the gallery is close to where I work, I may head down there one day during lunch.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!
Molly Rucks photography courtesy of Zeyphy Gallery.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Charlie Mars - "Listen to the Darkside"

I'm feeling a little worn's been a long week. Hubby is traveling again. Wish I could go back to bed and veg out to Charlie Mars's "Listen to the Darkside." I'm liking this song a lot (yep, that's Mary Louise Parker in the video. Which reminds me, I need to catch up on the last episode of "Weeds.")

Happy Friday, everyone. We made it!
Image courtesy of

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cleaning with the Contessa

Has anyone tried Ina Garten’s new line of Barefoot Contessa hand soap, lotion, dish soap and other cleaning products? It's called “French Citrus,” a combination of lemon, lime and sweet orange scents. I bet her fabulous Hamptons kitchen smells like it!

Perfect for summer! This is a must-have for our kitchen.
Photo courtesy of Barefoot Contessa.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Guys in Blogland

In the few months that I’ve been blogging, I’ve discovered so many wonderful sites and bloggers out there. I love reading about what’s going on in your lives, your opinions about current events, and taking in the artistry that many of you showcase in photographs, arts and crafts, etc.

Most of the blogs I read happen to be penned by women. Nature of the beast I guess – similar interests attract similar readers. But as I travel deeper into blogland, I have landed upon a collection of blogs by male counterparts, many that have a fun take on preppy style, tradition, the South – all things I love. I really get a kick out of reading these, especially from a male point of view.

So, I’d like to give a shout-out to the guys among us who are producing really cool and entertaining commentary each day. If you haven’t come across them, check out a few of these blogs:

1001 Rules for My Unborn Son – Great advice from fathers to sons, many of which Mom can be proud of; cool pics, commentary and songs woven throughout.

A Continuous Lean – According to blog founder Michael Williams, this site chronicles “American things, good looking things, well designed things and all sorts of other things. Sometimes A Continuous Lean even talks about people and ideas. That’s it, keep it simple. More good, less bad.” Gotta love a description like that.

The Trad – Commentary on culture, style, and all things the “trad” man should strive toward.

The Social Primer – “Manners, Conversation, Style and Handling Your Liquor.” About says it all, doesn’t it?

Stuff White People Like – This one is a favorite, having been featured in the New York Times, on NPR and other traditional media, and has been developed into a book (what all bloggers hope to attain!). It’s a satiric commentary on what white people, or should I say a certain type of white person (You know who he's talking about - the well educated, liberal, eco-conscious posers who want to look and talk the part, but it's only lip service) that oozes with sarcastic musings. Funny stuff.

This is just a handful of the many great blogs out there written by our brothers in blogland. So, from your sister-blogger, cheers to you guys for your contributions!
Image courtesy of Brooks Brothers.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Brit Lit

When we had a layover in Baltimore on our way to the beach last month, I purchased a novel by British author Penny Vincenzi called An Absolute Scandal. It’s full of characters all intertwined by a common financial scandal (actually written prior to the Bernie Madoff ordeal). And while it’s reminiscent of a soap opera, I found it a good diversion at the end of each day. Sometimes you just need to get lost in a good book, no matter how “lit-light” it may be. I shouldn’t be so snobby when it comes to books (the cross English majors bear); I commend people who actually read, rather than just stare at a TV or computer screen for hours on end. Never apologize for your choice of reading!

Well, I’m hooked now on Vincenzi’s writing and went onto Amazon last night to order three used copies of some of her other titles. She’s written several novels and I purchased a series about the Lytton family. I tend to go through withdrawal after I finish a good book, so I'm always onto the next good find. I really need to do a book swap soon because the books are piling up around me. I could use one stack as another bed side table at this point! Perhaps I should frequent the library a bit more and save some cash, huh? Hubby would probably agree with that statement wholeheartedly.

By the way Pat Conroy fans, advance orders for his latest novel, South of Broad, are now being taken. It’s due for release on August 11.
Jacket cover image courtesy of

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy Monday!

We had a great time on the Fourth of July. Luckily, the rain held off for the neighborhood bike parade and the kids had a blast. After the parade, there were doughnuts, freezer pops and juice, so the kids were wired for sound well before noon! One of my favorite bloggers, Crafty Paper Girl, who also happens to be a neighbor, was there too, with her adorable family (check her site for additional pics of the parade).

So, now we're back from a three-day weekend and it's time to get into work-week groove. Hubby had to fly out early this morning to a meeting, but thankfully it won't be a long trip. I feel the need for more coffee, though. Well, off to refuel with more caffeine. Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

God Bless America

As Independence Day approaches, I have been thinking about the many blessings bestowed upon us as citizens of this great land. I, for one, feel very fotunate to live in the United States of America.

We'll be celebrating with a neighborhood bike parade for the kids that morning and then heading to my brother's house for a cookout in the afternoon. Across this great nation, grills will be sizzling, swimming pools will be full of frolicking children, watermelon will be eaten in great numbers and fireworks will dot the nighttime sky. I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July.

God bless America!
Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A special offer to my readers

I realize it’s the middle of summer and you’re more inclined to purchase flip flops than boots, but Alicia at Whooga Ugg boots has a great offer for readers of A Place to Dwell.

The Australian boot company (it’s winter there, after all) is offering $30 off the purchase of any Ugg boots between now and August 28. All you need to do is enter the promotional code JMWAPLACET in the shopping cart at check-out. Think of it as a "Christmas in July" sale!

If you do purchase a pair, let me know what you think. And, if you have any questions, give Alicia a shout at