Monday, November 30, 2009

Discovering Kiehl’s

Kiehl’s has opened a small shop within a large department store in my town. According to a recent article in our local paper, this area has such a large number of online sales of the Kiehl’s brand, that after much research, the company decided to open a shop here. Not a store so much, but a "mini boutique," a little larger than your average beauty counter. It’s an interesting concept and when I saw it recently, it certainly stands out among the Clinique and Estee Lauder kiosks of the world.

But, here’s my confession: I’ve never tried any of the Kiehl’s products. Yes, I feel like the country mouse in saying that. It’s been around forever (apparently since 1851), it’s a favorite of celebrities, and many of the products have a reasonable price tag. So, where have I been??

I’m tempted now more than ever to jump on the Kiehl’s bandwagon, since apparently everyone and their brother in the tri-state area are buying this product. So, blogger friends, are any of you users of Kiehl’s products and, if so, what would you recommend? I’m always on the look-out for a good moisturizing lotion and I hear their Cream de Corps body cream is top notch. Or perhaps I should try the Heat Protective Silk-Straightening Cream, since I spend just about every morning straightening the wave out of my hair.

I’ve long been an Aveda fan, but I’m open to new products, so if anyone has opinions to share on the Kiehl’s line, would love to hear it!
Image courtesy of Kiehl's

Let the Frenzy Begin

And so it begins...the frenzy of the holidays is upon us. Are you ready?

I'm ordering our Christmas cards from Tiny Prints today (our scanner was on the fritz, so I'm behind the eight ball this year). They have the cutest designs and it's great how you can drop in the photos, change colors if needed and order matching return address labels. Oh-so-convenient!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We had a good time at Churchill Downs, although it's tough chasing a two-year-old throughout the suites at the racetrack. Probably not the best place for a child that age, although there were lots of little ones all over the place. Which explains the large number of mommies with wine in hand.

I enjoyed taking naps the last few days, seeing friends at a dinner party Saturday night and putting out the Christmas decorations (a few at least). Of course, the holidays are not complete without an appliance malfunction, so the plumber will be visiting our house today (pipes in the kitchen backing up - not good).

Enjoy your online shopping if you are partaking in Cyber Monday madness!
Image courtesy of Tiny Prints

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, and many of us will be gathering with family and friends to give thanks for our good fortune and enjoy delicious meals. As I look back on this last year, I have much for which to be grateful: a loving husband; beautiful, smart and healthy children; a nice home; a good job – the list goes on and on.

All of us know people, though, who have struggled this past year and they’ll be in our thoughts and prayers tomorrow. I think of our dear friend who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year at this time – he recently had a setback when he suffered a seizure. I often think of him, his wife and sons. I just hope that life will improve for them and this coming year will bring better health and a return to normalcy, as best as can be expected. I give thanks that he’s out of the hospital and will be spending Thanksgiving at home with his family.

Enjoy this special time with your loved ones, eat some turkey and pumpkin pie and get some rest. The Christmas season will hit us like a brick on Friday and we’ll need all of the strength we have to survive!

Image courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pretty Baubles

So, what do you think about the costume jewelry craze featuring large beads, faux pearls and such, tied with grosgrain ribbon? I’ve seen it everywhere, from J. Crew to Stella & Dot. In fact, when searching for a pair of jeans at Ann Taylor Loft (BTW, I FINALLY found a pair – for a petite girl who is fighting the pear shape, jean shopping is a miserable experience. But, that’s an entire blog entry unto itself.), I couldn’t resist buying a necklace that featured large green, glass baubles with a black ribbon. It’s pretty bold for me, so we’ll see if I chicken out and take it back. But, I tend to be a sucker for pretty, shiny things, hence the spontaneous purchase. Of course, once I buy into a fad, it's a guarantee that it has reached its peak and will soon die out.

But, that aside, I think it's fun during the holidays to break out jewelry and accessories that makes a statement. We decorate trees, why not decorate ourselves a little bit with the sparkles and the trinkles? (Yes, I'm channeling Eloise at the Plaza - been reading that to my daughter lately.) So, for Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday celebrations, will you be donning any bold baubles? If so, what are you wearing and how are you styling it?

Only one more day of work, kids. Can't wait for the long weekend.
Images courtesy of Ann Taylor Loft, J. Crew and Stella & Dot

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fitz & Frannie Giveaway

Looking for the perfect gift for the preppy gal in your life? How about a pair of earrings from Fitz & Frannie? How about two? Fitz & Frannie is running a special where you can buy two pair of earrings for $30 and receive free shipping. The code at check-out is PREPPY.

Then, beginning Nov. 27 – Black Friday – for every order of silk knot earrings placed through their Web site,, a free pair of earrings will be given away to a lucky winner each week. That gets me in the holiday spirit!

These earrings add a fun touch to any outfit, whether you’re donning the pink and green to top off your preppiest of outfits or sporting your school colors at the big game (Honey, I’ll take the blue & white in time for the next UK game, please!), the knots are a traditional “twist” on everyday jewelry.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Little Twinkle for the Holidays

With the holidays come parties, get-togethers and plenty of social occasions. It’s always fun to wear a festive outfit during these times to get in the spirit of the season and sparkle a bit. I want to find a new sweater that I can wear with slacks or a skirt during the holidays, but something that’s unique and not your run-of-the-mill holiday wear (nothing adorned with Santas, wreathes, bells, etc.).

Anthropologie has some great sweaters. And, of course, J. Crew is featuring a number of sequined cardigans, often paired with jeans or khakis to demonstrate how versatile you can be with the ‘bling.’ Sometimes I like their accessories even more than their actual clothes; just pair a fabulous beaded necklace with a solid color sweater, or a brooch that really pops, and that could make an outfit.

So, dear readers, what do you recommend for holiday attire this year? Any special retailers, outfits or other frocks/accessories you would recommend? Would love to hear about it!

It’s finally Friday, kids! Have fun this weekend. My big plans? I just hope to get a nap at some point.
Images courtesy of J.Crew, Anthropologie

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Divine Design

I’ve always been an Home & Garden Television (HGTV) and Food Network junkie. Some of the shows on those networks entrance me and I can’t break away. One of my favorite designers on HGTV is Candice Olsen from “Divine Design.” I’ve always said that if I ever win the lottery, I’m flying Candice, Chico and the entire crew down from Canada to decorate my house.

Anyhoo, we’re in the process of lining up some painting projects for our house, including our dining room. The dining room features wallpaper from when we purchased the house and while I’ve been able to live with it, it’s time to update. So, I started thinking about potential colors and I kept returning to robin’s egg blue. I love that color and I think combined with a crisp white trim, it could make for a gorgeous room. Then, in looking for inspiration online, I thought, “What would Candice do?” I came across a photo of a dining room make-over she performed and fell in love with it (see image above). The color scheme, the fabrics, the lighting – classic Candice.

So, any other HGTV junkies out there? What’s your favorite program?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Blog-i-versary

Today marks one year since I started my blog. I can still remember the great joy I felt when a reader left her first comment and said such kind words about my writing and subject matter. There were times I wondered if anyone was reading, if they liked what I was saying, if I was making any kind of impact in the world of blogging, knowing there are millions of blogs out there. But slowly, over time, more and more people left comments and became followers. I, too, discovered a number of wonderful blogs and bloggers out there, with great stories to share, beautiful imagery to project and humorous stories to brighten my day. I have found I have so much in common with people from all over the world, making the world seem a bit smaller, which is nice.

So, a huge thanks to all of you who return to read my little blog each day. Your kind words, encouragement, advice and general happy thoughts have made this blog what it is today. I hope you’ll continue to visit, as I will always check in on your blogs, and I will strive to make this a nice place to dwell for a few moments when you stop by.
Image courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

Monday, November 16, 2009

What's for Thanksgiving Dinner?

Hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is next Thursday. How did that happen? And, as usual, the Christmas holidays are sneaking up far too quickly. I've already seen two houses with Christmas trees displayed in their front windows, and as I was driving into work this morning, the downtown tree lot was setting up shop. Holy cow.

So, before we jump straight into the Christmas frenzy, let's savor next week's holiday and all it has to offer. It's a time to reflect on the year and give thanks for our many blessings. And, it's a time to eat ourselves into a food coma. Woo hoo!

So, dear friends in blog land, what are you doing this Thanksgiving? And, what is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? My favorite dish is my husband's oyster stuffing - delicious! But, this year we won't be cooking. Instead, we're dining at Churchill Downs and watching the races with members of our family. Churchill does an amazing Thanksgiving feast so we're going to dine on good food and then enjoy betting on the ponies. Hey, it's Kentucky. That's what many of us do. ;)
Image courtesy of Marth Stewart Living

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hostess Gifts

Yesterday I attended a Junior League general meeting at the home of a sustainer (AKA, long-time member). It was during lunch, so I was able to get away from the office for a bit and spend some time in yet another gorgeous home. As a thank-you to the hostess, the meeting planners provided her with a small gift. So, it got me thinking about what makes a good hostess gift, especially during the holidays. Then, when thumbing through the latest Pottery Barn catalog last night, I came across several good suggestions.

If you're bringing a bottle of wine, why not consider a decorative stopper to go with it? Pottery Barn's new serving sets with engraving add a nice touch to a buffet and table setting and are of heirloom quality. You may consider a personalized gift (if you have time to plan in advance), featuring the host or hostess's monogram, such as soaps or a lovely julep cup with flowers. (If bringing flowers, have them cut and already displayed in the julep cup or a vase, rather than a loose bouquet. That way, the hostess doesn't have to stop what she's doing to cut and arrange flowers.)
Images courtesy of Pottery Barn

P.S. - Thanks to everyone for your kind comments about our dog, King. It's comforting to know I have such supportive readers/blog friends out there.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Long Live the King

Our beloved dog, King, was put to sleep yesterday. He had been very sick and it was for the best. But, it made for a sad day.

King was full of energy - too much at times - he could wear us out! One of my favorite memories of him, though, was a time he was very still. I was home sick from work one day, lying on the couch and King stayed by my side the whole time. He was our protective pound dog and we'll miss him very much.

Long live the 'King.'

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Old School Gifts

As I was thinking about my own Christmas list yesterday, it provided the next entry for the “My Favorite Things” series on my blog. I’ve been in an old-school kind of mood lately, so for lack of a better title, here are some suggestions for the Old School Preppy in your life (I’m sure I’m leaving several items out, so for the die-hard preppies out there, feel free to expand upon my list).

  • Duck Boots – I could use a new pair of snow boots, but why not get something that’s good for the rain, too? I haven’t had a pair of L.L. Bean Duck Boots since college, so perhaps it’s time to bring back an old favorite. Shearling-lined definitely, but the boot or the gumshoe – what do you think?
  • A. Tierney Watch with grosgrain ribbon band – You can’t get much preppier than grosgrain. Wear it on your wrist with a pretty watch face and you’re sporting a classic, never-goes-out-of-style look. These days, with cell phones, Blackberries and such, watch sales are down. So, boost the economy old-school style with this timeless (ha, ha) favorite.
  • Aviator Sunglasses – I had a pair of Ray Ban military aviators in high school and college. Damn, wish I still had those bad boys. They’re back in style and I need (okay, want) to get a pair. Be it Ray Ban or the cool Ft. Knox shades available at J. Peterman, you can’t go wrong with this look.
  • Norwegian Sweater – I guess I should just include a link to the L.L. Bean catalog here and call it quits, as far as preppy clothing is concerned. I still have my gray and red Norwegian cardigan from the late 1980s. It has silver snowflake buttons. (Cheers to me, it still fits!) If you’re a guy, you’re in luck, the navy and white version is still available. I couldn’t locate a women’s version, so ladies, just order a size smaller.
  • Barbour Jackets – I gave the Barbour Liddesdale jacket to Hubby for our anniversary this year and he loves it. I love looking at it. It’s quilted moleskin with a tartan liner. These classic jackets will never go out of style. Barbour makes a gorgeous women’s line as well. Visit Barbour of England’s site directly or see what’s available through Orvis.

I’ll refrain from suggesting Bermuda bags, add-a-bead necklaces, shrimp rings/earrings and such. I have yet to see these items come back with gusto, but you never know!
Images courtesy of L.L. Bean, A. Tierney and Orvis.

Monday, November 9, 2009


When I was in college, I had a poster of Andre Agassi on my dorm room wall. That mane of hair, those soulful eyes - I had a huge crush on Agassi. I followed his career on and off. When he married Brooke Shields, I wasn’t thrilled, but like he was going to consult me on that. His career took a bad turn and then he had an incredible come-back. He divorced and married one of my favorite female tennis players, Steffi Graff and had kids. They became philanthropists, opened a school for disadvantaged youth and have made a huge impact on their community. Both he and Steffi remain, to this day, two of my favorite athletes.

Then, his autobiography, Open, came out. If you haven’t heard, there’s controversy over his revelation that he did crystal meth and lied about it to the ATP when a drug test came back positive. Knowing this, I made sure to sit down to watch his interview with “60 Minutes” last night. And you know what? I think I like him even more now.

He’s been very honest about the time he used drugs and the self-loathing that was involved with it. The interview was excellent, but not until Katie Couric brought up the reactions and comments that fellow tennis players have made, did he get emotional. She quoted Martina Navratilova who attacked Agassi for lying about the drug use and compared him to baseball player Roger Clemons, who used steroids and lied about it. Agassi was taking inhibiters, not enhancers, so he was in no way trying to improve his game. He was addicted, he was depressed and he didn’t care about his life or tennis anymore. During the interview, he asked that people see that and have a little compassion. I say, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Martina, you helped break up the marriage of one of your girlfriends and then got involved in a nasty palimony suit with said girlfriend. Who are you to call anyone out? (Don’t mess with my Andre, people.)

I’m sure there are people who disagree with my stance on this and will continue to criticize him for what he did. But I admire Andre Agassi, far more for what he has done off of the court than on it.
Image courtesy of

Friday, November 6, 2009

I Get a Kick Out of kate

Why should little girls have all the fun? These color block stockings from kate spade add a vibrant punch of color to an ordinary outfit. It's like playing dress-up, but for grown-ups!
Image courtesy of

Thursday, November 5, 2009

G&G - Thanks for Sticking It Out

I just received an e-mail from my favorite magazine, Garden & Gun. It was a letter from the president and publisher and I thought, "Here we go again, another one of my wonderful publications has bitten the dust.

Thankfully, that's not the case. G&G is, not folding, like other favorites Gourmet and Southern Accents. Although, due to cost cutting, there will not be an October/November issue. But, look for their holiday issue in late November if you're a subscriber (newstands early December). This magazine features some of the best writing in the business, exquisite photography and captures the flavor of the new South like no one else can.

While I'll miss my fall issue, I'm so glad you guys are sticking around.

Temptation - The Devil is a House

So, I'm on my way to taking the kids to preschool and then heading into work this morning. I stop at the Mommy Crackhouse (aka Starbuck's) and then as I'm passing one of my absolute favorite streets in town, I notice two small real estate signs pointing down the street. Now, I had just decided the night before that I needed to stop this silly pouting about my house and stay focused on the good in my life, on what I have, not what I want. Then, temptation hits again. So, what do I do? Turn around and head down that street.

I was familar with one of the houses - it's been for sale for a while and the asking price was recently dropped. It's a cute cottage, but a bit small for the price. And the other house? The clouds parted and angels began to sing (or maybe it was the devil dressed as an angel - he's been tempting me a lot lately). It's beautiful. Would be perfect for us. Very close to the kids' preschool and future kindergarten/grade school. And, of course, priced way out of our league. Sigh. Oh, well. A girl can dream.

Happy Thursday, everyone! The weekend will be here soon!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

House Envy

Ugh, having a bad case of house envy lately. Ever get in a funk where you seem to notice every single flaw with your own house? Meanwhile, everyone else seems to be remodeling or buying a new house (okay, maybe not at the moment) or redecorating? I know, it could be so much worse. I should be grateful I have a home and it's not being reclaimed by the bank. Sorry, just looking for people to join me for cocktails and "whine" at my pity party. :)

I have been feeling this way for a couple of weeks. Then, we went trick-or-treating and I caught glimpses of my neighbors' houses and it made me wish I could redecorate. Granted, I only saw entry halls, but they were quite beautiful. ;) Then, last night, I attended a Junior League meeting at the home of a long-time member. The hostess is the wife of a local politician who currently holds a fairly important position with state government. And, he has his eyes set on higher aspirations in Washington. So, anyhoo, I travel out to their newly-built house in a very wealthy enclave and I couldn't believe it. I've been in big homes, but this place was amazing. The details, the furniture, the beautiful couple and their new baby. Yeah, it made me want to throw up in my purse.

I don't want to be a bitter person; I want to enjoy my home. It's just hard right now. So much to do, yet so much debt to pay off! I have to keep telling myself that our time will come. There's a plan. Now, if God would only whisper it in my ear...
Image courtesy of Southern Living House Plans

Monday, November 2, 2009

The 'Favorite Things' List

I've already eaten three Tootsie rolls this morning...must get rid of the extra candy now! The kids were adorable on Halloween and had a blast. Photos to follow soon – I promise!

On to a new topic...every year, Oprah features her “Favorite Things” episode leading up to the holiday season. It’s a huge deal for retailers because if their item is featured, it’s a boon for their business. And, it’s a huge deal for audience members because they get really cool free stuff. Oh, how I would love to get a ticket to the “Favorite Things” show!

So, I’ve been thinking of starting my own favorite things list, now that we’re heading into November and Christmas is eight weeks away. That’s right, kids, eight weeks away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not skipping over Thanksgiving. I have plenty in store for that lovely holiday. But, there’s so much to prepare for with Christmas: so many goodies to make, gifts to buy, organizations to help. So, I’m going to feature a few items every few days that I think would make good gifts for this holiday season.

Gifts for the Foodie

For the person in your life who loves to cook or just loves to eat, drink and be merry, consider some of these gift options.

  • Blackberry Farm Cookbook – I’m dying to go to Blackberry Farm, but since I can’t afford a trip to this Tennessee jewel right now, the cookbook is a nice substitute.

  • Splendor in the Bluegrass Cookbook – Shameless plug for my local Junior League; I also recommend supporting your local JL or any charitable organization that is offering a great cookbook – you’re providing a gift and supporting a worthy cause.

  • Personalized Artichoke Hemp Apron – Perfect cover-up when in the kitchen baking a soufflé, roasting a lamb or sipping a glass of wine waiting for the timer to go off. I am especially fond of the personalization on this particular apron. :)

  • Outing to a local farmer’s market – If you like to cook, why not plan a special meal for the one you love made of items purchased from your local farmer’s market? In fact, make a date out of it. Enjoy perusing through the seasonal fruits, vegetables and meats (you may even pick up a new recipe while you’re there); talk to the farmers about what they grow and what they recommend; then pick up a bottle of vino at your favorite wine shop and head home to create your feast. A great date for a foodie!

  • Wine – A good bottle of wine in a pretty gift bag is a great gift for a foodie who imbibes from time to time. I am not a wine connoisseur. But, I know what I like and I know to ask for help when I need it. Some people are intimidated when entering a wine shop, but I’ve learned to walk right up to the owner and state my business: “Small dinner for four, I’m making a chicken dish, what wine should I serve?” I walk away with a great bottle of wine, often times for a reasonable price (expensive isn’t always the way to go). What would I recommend? For fun, try Yard Dog from Redheads Wine Studio, an Australian wine I came across at Whole Foods last holiday season. The local paper featured it as a good wine for the price and then Whole Food’s wine shop couldn’t keep it in stock! The red and the white are both good. Plus, the label makes me laugh. No, my reviews are not going to make Wine Spectator Magazine. I won’t lose sleep over it.

Images courtesy of Redheads Wine Studio and Williams Sonoma.