Thursday, March 31, 2011

Martha Hall Foose

I found my next must-have cookbook: A Southerly Course, by Martha Hall Foose.

This is Mississippi Delta-native Foose’s second cookbook, and from what critics are saying, a wonderful follow-up to her successful Screen Doors and Sweet Tea.

Foose has an acclaimed background, as noted in her bio, available on Octavia Books’ website:

Martha Hall Foose is the James Beard Award–winning author of the bestselling cookbook Screen Doors & Sweet Tea. Born and raised in Mississippi, she attended the famed pastry school École Lenôtre in France. She returned to Mississippi and opened Bottletree Bakery—a Southern institution in Oxford—and later, with her husband, Mockingbird Bakery in Greenwood. The former executive chef of the Viking Cooking School, Martha was a food stylist for the movie “The Help,” based on the bestselling novel of the same name. She makes her home on her family’s farm in Tchula, Mississippi, with her husband and their son.

Food stylist for "The Help" - how cool is that?? (Actually, I 'm probably the only person in the northern hemisphere who hasn't read “The Help." My mom has promised to lend it to me.) And, this is one of several references I’ve seen lately to the Viking Cooking School. Have you seen this place featured in other blogs, such as Urban Grace or Kendall Boggs (who, by the way, is friends with Ms. Martha)? My gosh, what a place! For foodies looking to take a cooking class, to those wanting to browse their in-house gift shop, Viking appears to be the Valhalla for cooks.

Anyhoo, back to Martha Hall Foose. She also was featured in the most recent issue of Garden & Gun, which is what got this whole cookbook-lust started for me in the first place. Check out the article about her, her family and the farm they live on in Mississippi. Life is good down on the farm.

Hmm, I think I need to take a food tour of the South. I may come home 20 pounds heavier and in need of a visit to the cardiologist, but it would be worth it, right? Who’s with me?
Images from and Octavia Books.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Circus is Coming to Town

It's not everyday that you see an elephant walking down the street, much less several elephants and a number of show ponies. So, I couldn't resist taking photos of the animal parade that marched by my office today. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has come to town and some of the larger animals paraded through downtown from the train station to the arena where they'll perform.

Sometimes it saddens me to see such big, beautiful animals relegated to life in a circus or the zoo, instead of roaming free in the savannah. I do struggle with this, especially when my kids want to go see them. But, I was in awe of the sight today. They are amazing creatures to behold.

One day closer to the weekend, folks. Hang in there.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Amy Sedaris

Today Amy Sedaris turns 50, so I must send birthday wishes to one of the funniest women on earth. No, we're not friends, in fact she doesn't know I'm alive. And, no, I'm not stalking her. But, I adore her sense of humor - as well as that of her brother, David Sedaris - so I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to give a shout-out to crazy-Ms.-Amy today.

Amy Sedaris's humor isn't for everybody, but for those of us with a slightly bent outlook on life, she's our prom queen. She's had a number of bit roles in mainstream television and film, from Carrie's editor on "Sex and the City" to Deb in "Elf," as well as the voice of Cinderella in "Shrek the Third." For those of us more familiar with her comedy-on-the-fringe style, she'll forever be Jerri Blank from "Strangers with Candy." Such a bizarre character that brought tears of laughter to my eyes.

I also own her "cooking and entertaining" book, "I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence." Her latest book is called "Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People."

More than 8 out of 10 households have at least 4 out of 5 family members engaging in at least 2 out of 3 crafts 87% of the time. A staggering 98% of this group are homosexual men.
       -"Simple Times"

As David Letterman described her:

What you have to understand about this lovely woman is, in addition to being a fine actress and a wonderful comedienne, she's peculiar.... You have to keep that in mind because she's like -- and joyfully, gladfully -- different from everybody else walking around on the planet. That's what makes her special. That's why we embrace her. But, you know. She's not hooked up right."

And, if you visit her website, you'll see why:

She really wanted some Vicodin one Christmas Eve. Upon walking out of her apartment on a search for it, she ran into a woman on crutches--who took her up to her apartment and gave her Vicodin. Amy calls it the "Miracle on Christopher Street."

She wants to make a sitcom out of 'Night Mother, where the daughter tries to kill herself a different way in every episode.

Things that make Amy laugh: People falling down, monkeys, seeing mushrooms or toadstools, men in fur, skin disorders, people crying while driving.

Yes, I'm a fan. No, you shouldn't be alarmed. If you're a fan, too, then you're smiling and nodding throughout this post. You get it.

Happy Birthday, Amy. Wish I could be a fly on the wall at that party.
Photos from and IMBD

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wreaths: Yes or No?

The latest issue of Garden & Gun arrived this weekend, yet again full of wonderful essays and photographs. Author and founder of G&G, Julia Reed, wrote about door wreaths and yard art in this issue. According to her, wreaths should only be hung on your front door during the Christmas season. Hmmm. What are your thoughts on this? I've seen some beautiful spring and fall wreaths and I think the right one can make a beautiful adornment to a front entry.

But, is it considered gauche? Not that what Julia says is the end-all-be-all, but I'm just curious.

She is right, though, about promptly removing one's holiday wreath once the season is over. There's a house down the street from us that still has a large evergreen wreath hanging to the left of the front door, with two red and silver ornaments attached to it. As I was walking with a couple of girlfriends last week, one of them said, "Would it be bad if I ran up there and took it down?" Yeah, you probably don't want to do that, but it certainly is tempting. :)

As soon as I can get a link to the article, I'll share it with you so you can read Ms. Reed's comments for yourself. Or buy the latest issue and let me know what you think.

Happy Monday, everyone!

A major shout-out to my Kentucky Wildcats for their win over North Carolina yesterday. We're going to the Final Four!!

Coach Calipari and DeAndre Liggins celebrating UK's win last night.

If you saw my posting from earlier this morning, I decided to alter it a bit. I sounded like an ungracious winner and I didn't mean to come off that way. My words were not directed toward UNC fans, but toward some unhappy University of Louisville fans who joined us last evening. They were being spoil-sports, clearly unhappy that their little team didn't make it very far in the tournament, and therefore felt the need to make snide comments about UK. Don't ruin the fun for the rest of us, guys.
Images from Martha Stewart Living, j-a-girl blog and

Friday, March 25, 2011

Squirrely Thoughts

While walking in our neighborhood the other night, we came across a dead squirrel along the side of the road. We told the kids to avoid it as we approached. Both of them were somewhat distressed over the discovery.

Our three-year old son asked, “Did he kill himself?”

Trying not to laugh too hard, Hubby and I told our son it was likely an accident. Meanwhile visions are running through our minds of a distraught squirrel throwing himself in front of a car yelling, “Nuts! Nuts! Is that all there is??”

A little while later, our son sees two squirrels chasing each other and he asks, “Do you think they know their friend is dead?”

Folks, I can’t make this stuff up.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends. We have a soccer game, birthday party and Sunday school volunteer duties, among other craziness this weekend. But I plan to take it all in stride because our new mattress is being delivered this afternoon. Comfort is on its way – holla!

And, best of luck to my Kentucky Wildcats against Ohio State tonight - bring it, guys!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


"I've been through it all, baby, I'm mother courage.”

- Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor
1932 - 2011
Photo from, via Google Images

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring is Here: Time to Dig in the Dirt

Welcome to my garden...okay, it's really Martha Stewart's, but a girl can dream, eh?

It’s officially spring and we now have temperatures in the 80s. Shew! It’s going to a cool down a bit late this week though. Thank goodness, because I just planted some pansies and those flowers can’t take a heat wave.

I've been so ready for this weather. It’s good for the soul. Unfortunately, it does a number on my sinuses, since I live in Allergytown, U.S.A. Oh, well. I've learned to stock up on Clariton and Nasanex and go about my day.
 Watering can from Terrain

I recently spent some time at a local nursery, shopping for flowers and new containers for our front porch. I have found that in the last few years, I could spend as much time in a nursery as I do in a bookstore. I love pouring over the many flowers and plants, the clay pots and planters, the quirky yard art. You name it. I’ll probably be that old lady in a big hat and my garden clogs someday, sitting on my little garden stool, planting flowers. Wait, I’m already that lady.
Abbey sun hat, also from Terrain 

I love English gardens, so I hope I can create that look at various locations in our yard. I recently ordered bulbs from a school fundraiser and I can't wait to plan them, adding some color and dimension to our outdoor space. Our lawn is another story, though. It really needs some TLC. Here’s hoping Hubby can get on that in the coming days.

I love this clay pot, also from Terrain. A few of these placed outside, with greenery draping over the sides, would add a lovely look to one's home.  

So, friends, have you done any spring planting lately? If so, what will your yard be showcasing this spring?
Images from Martha Stewart Living and Terrain

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sewanee Decreases Tuition

The University of the South - Sewanee

Did anyone hear the story on “All Things Considered” Thursday about The University of the South – Sewanee – and its radical move to actually lower its tuition next year by 10 percent?

I call this radical because, as we all know, college tuition increases on a regular basis. In fact, the statistic used in the story is that college tuition has grown at twice the rate of inflation. And while Hubby and I have 529 savings plans for our kids, when I begin thinking of what college will cost in the next 10 to 15 years, it makes my head spin. I have to quickly think of something else to avoid having a panic attack.

I thought it was a great move on Sewanee’s part. One of the most prestigious schools in the South, if not the country, Sewanee saw the need to make the school more affordable and accessible. Over the last few years, the school has been losing students to the University of Georgia, a public university with a much lower price tag, yet still a good institution from which to earn your degree. Perhaps more prestige is associated with Sewanee, but if you can get a great education without being nearly as overwhelmed with high fees and student loans  especially in this day and age which would you choose?

What are your thoughts on the cost of a college education? Do you think other schools will follow Sewanee’s lead? Or are we going to see tuition increase over time until it’s out of reach for many and only available to the privileged few?

To read Sewanee's statement on the price decrease, visit their website.
Image from

A Chance Encounter

As someone who loves the classic striped boatneck shirt, I was so glad to stumble upon the new retail site, Chance. Chance is the brainchild of Julia Leach, former creative director at kate spade, and she was recently featured in Tomboy Style, another fabulous blog. (If you haven’t stopped by there yet, do so, stat.)

Julia Leach

The signature piece of clothing at Chance is the striped boatneck:

From there, Leach has built a line of clothing that evokes lazy days at the beach, soaking up the sun. The casual clothing line is simple, classic and relaxed. Throw on a soft cotton top, a pair of khaki shorts, espadrilles and grab your canvas bag for a trip into town for oysters and beer after a day at the beach.
Shew, I really need a vacation. And a striped shirt in every color available.

These beach towels feature such words "RESERVED," "SPF 10,000," "LA PLAGE," and "LA PLACINE." Love that!
So, if you’re shopping for spring break or planning for summer, stop by Chance to browse.
(And for my blog buddy, Tiffany, over at “Holiday,” if you worked with Julia during your days at ks, please share the scoop. She seems ultra cool.)
Images from Chris Shimpan for Tomboy Style and Chance

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Erin Go Bragh!


Well, the festivities will be in full-force today. On the way to school and work this morning, I saw the tents up at the many Irish pubs in anticipation of large crowds. It's going to be sunny and 72 degrees today, plus three Kentucky basketball teams are playing in the first round of the NCAA tournament. This town is going to be crazy on St. Paddy's Day, kids.

In honor of this day, thought I'd share a couple of pics from when we visited Ireland in 1999. Such a magical place - I so hope to go back one day.
Here we are at Kylemore Abbey in County Galway. So young, so very blond. (I really overdid it on the highlights that year.)
Hubby stopping for a photo (and a stogie) with an Irish gent and his pup on the Aran Islands.

Will you be wearin' the green today and enjoying a pint or two? If you do, enjoy yourself and be safe.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life with Kids

"Kids are definitely the boss of you. Anyone who will barge into the room while you are on the commode is the boss of you. And when you explain to them that you're on the commode and that they should leave but they don't? That's a high-level boss."

- Tina Fey on life with 5-year-old daughter, Alice


Monday, March 14, 2011

India Hicks

This is India Hicks, taking one of her kids to school. She lives on an island in the Bahamas with her main man, David Flint Wood, and their four children. Tan and lean, Ms. Hicks hops about the island with her brood of tow-headed kids, while also penning books and overseeing a line of beauty products. India, will you adopt my family and me?

For those of you who may not know Ms. Hicks, she's the daughter of interior decorater David Hicks, and Pamela Hicks, daughter to the Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma. She was a bridesmaid in Charles and Diana's wedding many years ago - Prince Charles is her godfather.

With the approaching nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Ms. Hicks posted this photo on her blog. I got a kick out of it.

Images courtesy of

St. Pat's Parade + Zombies = Darn Good Time

So, here we are, waiting for the St. Patrick’s Day parade to begin on Saturday. And, I’m sure you’re asking, “What the???”

What do you get when 40-something men brainstorm during the last couple of months while drinking beer and watching football at the local pub? The Louisville Irish Marching Zombies, or LIMZ.
Before you think they’ve completely lost their minds – and some have – you have to be familiar with another event in Louisville: the Zombie Walk. Each year, a few thousand people gather for a half-mile Zombie stroll in the Highlands neighborhood, which culminates in one big Zombie party afterward. Not sure how it started (although, “Night of the Living Dead” was filmed here), and I probably don’t want to know, but apparently it gets larger each year. And, now with the popularity of the AMC series “Walking Dead” and other films, zombies are everywhere, including the local St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
The guys rented a trailer, Hubby had T-shirts and a banner made, several folks wore ghoulish make-up and they even had my dad make a recording that played on a loop throughout the event – a very “Citizens, take cover!” type of message. The kids and I opted out of the makeup, but we did wear the shirts and plenty of other green paraphernalia.

When I first heard the idea, I thought, “Everyone is going to think this is beyond lame and totally inappropriate!” But, the crowd loved it. I’m sure it raised an eyebrow or two among the members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, then again, it’s likely they were too drunk to care by the time they saw our float. And, as long as we were throwing green beads to the crowd, everyone was happy.

We're still waiting to find out if our float won any awards - perhaps Most Creative New Entry? Or Best Use of Make-Up? How about Best Irish Undead?
As we head toward the actual St. Patrick’s Day and another day of full-on Hooley activity, it'll be quite the celebration around these parts. Not only will the local Irish pubs be hopping, but my Kentucky Wildcats play in the first round of the NCAA tournament against Princeton, while the University of Louisville Cardinals play Morehead State. Good luck finding a space near the TVs at the bars during those games.

Have a great week, everyone!

Not to focus on all things light, the tragic events unfolding in Japan have weighed on my mind a great deal. We're collecting donations at work to give to the American Red Cross's tsunami relief fund and there are many other worthy organizations - The Red Cross, Salvation Army, International Medical Corps., Global Giving  to name a few - that are working to help the survivors of the tsunami. If you're seeking ways to help, visit these organizations' websites or do a search online.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Irish Hooley Weekend

Tomorrow is the St. Patrick's Day parade in Louisville and Hubby and his friends have entered a float this year. Oh, boy. Yeah, we're all getting into the act, donning our Irish green and riding along. Even the kids. Here's hoping we have good weather. I'll just be glad that after tomorrow, the flatbed trailer for the parade will no longer be in my backyard.

In other news, my Kentucky Wildcats (because, you know, they're mine), play Ole Miss today in the SEC Tournament. GO CATS!!! I get so jazzed during March Madness - can't wait for Bracket Sunday!

So, we're gearing up for a Kentucky-Irish Hooley* weekend, by hitting the fish fry tonight and the parade tomorrow. What are you doing this weekend?

*A "hooley" is a traditional evening of Irish music and dance.
Image from University of Kentucky Athletic Gear site

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Serena & Lily

I received the latest catalog from Serena & Lily the other day and was pleasantly surprised to see they've expanded their collection from furniture and bedding for infants and children, to overall decor for the home, including a new line of upholstery.

I'm a huge fan of combining shades of green with black and white, so I am loving this headboard in the Black Gardenia print.

And, I've decided that I really need a "chakki" and a couple of "poufs" for my home. A chakki (above) is a cross between an ottoman and a stool. Love the look of this blue and white one, as well as the coral one in the bedroom below. The bedding in this room is fabulous, too.


Like chakkis, poufs are a great alternative to a traditional ottomon, adding some style and whimsy to a space. And, they're great for those of us with little kids who have a habit of rushing toward sharp edges at full-force. :)

The catalog, as well as the website, also feature room makeovers in the homes of business founders Serena Dugan (above left) and Lily Kanter. Be sure to stop by the website for a peek. Well done, ladies. I really like your new line.
Images from

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

Tomorrow we will fast. Today we will feast!

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone! I've already enjoyed a piece of King Cake this morning - let the sugar rush begin! I didn't find the baby in the cake this year, so I'm not "King for the Day." But, it's delicious anyway.  I'll have to scout-out some crawfish etouffee at some point today, too.

Look at this image from Bourbon Street. Can you imagine? There was a time I would have loved this scene, but now, no thanks. There will be no crazy partying-like-we-live-in-New-Orleans tonight.

Instead, we'll be gathering at church for a potluck dinner and preparing for Ash Wednesday. Our daughter was talking about Ash Wednesday last night and how her class,  along with the rest of the school, will receive ashes during Mass. Miss E. asked if the ashes would ever come off. I assured her that they would, but Lord only knows what was going through her head when it was described to her!

For Lent, I'm abstaining from chocolate and soft drinks (I know, I should stay away from the latter at all times, but it's a weakness). So, I plan to chow-down on the Samoas this evening. In addition to "giving up" something, we're also "doing," by forming small prayer groups throughout our parish, and meeting once a week during Lent. I'm looking forward to getting to know other parishoners and talking about my faith, something that I don't do nearly enough.

Lent also means Fish Fry Fridays, the St. Patrick's Day parade this coming weekend (Hubby and friends have entered a float -  there are boxes with hundreds of green-beaded necklaces in our entry hall.), and preparation for Easter. Hard to believe we're heading into this time of year.

Any big plans for Fat Tuesday? If you observe Lent, what will you be doing this year?
Images from costumzee and Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Fashion 'It' Girl

This weekend's New York Times featured actress and fashion "It" girl, Blake Lively, highlighting her appearances during fashion week, and her introduction as the new face of Chanel's Mademoiselle handbag ad campaign.
Blake Lively wearing Chanel at Le Grenouille

For those of you who watch Lively on "Gossip Girl" (I admit, I have tuned in a time or two), you're aware of how fashion-forward the show is and how Lively's character, as well as that of her buddy Blair (played by Leighton Meister), are always wearing the latest and greatest frocks. So, it's nice to see that Lively also has the same sense of style off-screen (I guess I would, too, if Chanel were throwing clothes my way).

Leighton Meester and Blake Livley in a scene from "Gossip Girl"

Blake Lively with Anna Wintour (sit up straight, Anna!)

Love your style, Blake!

Hope everyone had a great weekend. My Kentucky Wildcats won their last game of the regular season, beating Tennessee at Tennessee. Take that, Bruce Pearl. This gives us a "bye" going into the SEC tournament. Woo, hoo! And so, March Madness begins as productivity at offices across the country declines.

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras - don't forget to pick up a King Cake!
Images from the New York Times

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring, Courtesy of Talbots and Julianne Moore

Love, LOVE the frocks that Julianne Moore is wearing in the latest ad campaign for Talbot’s. The Grace Kelly-and-Audrey-Hepburn-inspired designs, paired with Ms. Moore's beautiful features make these some of my favorite looks for spring.

Is it just me, or does Julianne look like Lindsey Lohan in the above photo?

Dear Talbots, I'll take one of each, please.

So, kids, any big plans for the weekend? We’re recovering from our birthday girl’s activities, which were quite fun, but a lot to squeeze in on a school/work day. Between treats with her class yesterday afternoon and dinner, cake and ice cream with family, she was over the moon. The big reveal of her new Pinkalicious bike was a hit. It blew her away! Unfortunately, it’s supposed to rain all weekend. Bummer. She’ll just have to play with her new doll in the meantime. :)

Happy Weekend, folks!
All images from Talbots