Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

Here are a few things that I'm digging lately...

Trader Joe's Candy Cane Green Tea (Decaf) - Apparently when this tea was first introduced in 2009, it sold out in record time. But, it's back and there's plenty to spare. And, at $1.99, you can't beat it. It’s goodness in a cup, y’all.


Old Try is the Southern-inspired brainchild of Marianna and Micah Whitson, printmakers who celebrate the soul of the South through their business. The print above is on my Christmas list. Lord knows my kids hear me say it enough, so it might as well be hanging on the wall at this point.

Each southern state, including my beloved Kentucky, is featured, in addition to other musings associated with life below the Mason Dixon Line. The longitude and latitude of said line is captured in a print as well. May have to ask Santa for this one, too.

Christmas came early for this gal last Friday when I ventured to a favorite shop, Celebrations, and picked out the green and yellow agate necklace I've long wanted, designed by the gals at W&M Custom Jewelry. (Sorry, not the best photo in the world, but you get the idea.)

I know, shame on me for not waiting for a wrapped gift under the tree, but with several holiday parties and get-togethers approaching, I wanted a fun piece of jewelry to wear hither and thither this season. So, Hubby acquiesced.

A friend of ours recommended the music of King's Daughters and Sons, and gave us their CD over the Thanksgiving holiday. His wife described the sound as “mello-Sunday-afternoon music," which is perfect for my drive home after a crazy day.

Good tunes, but I'm not crazy about their name - it sounds like a hospital that I often pass on I-64 near Frankfort, Ky. Just sayin'.

College Basketball
The number one men’s basketball team in the country: the Kentucky Wildcats. ‘Nuff said.

So, these are a few of my favorite things (cue Julie Andrews). What are you digging these days?

Oh, and a P.S. for Santa,

I would LOVE to have this box pleat skirt from Ann Mashburn, paired with the white boyfriend shirt or one of the many gingham options.

Seriously, Santa, if you have time to drop by Ms. Mashburn's store in Atlanta on Christmas Eve, see if you can throw some frocks in the sleigh before heading to Louisville.

Please and thank you.

Images from Trader Joe's, Old Try, King's Daughters and Sons, Ann Mashburn and necklace image property of A Place to Dwell blog

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Swagger Wagon - Anthem for the Van Rollers

After my recent experience with the Jaguar-turned-mini-van saga, a co-worker of mine sent me this video, courtesy of the folks at Toyota. This is hilarious.

So, for those of you out there driving a "swagger wagon," holla!
Video from Toyota, via YouTube

Monday, November 28, 2011

Start with Turkey, End with Zombies

On Thanksgiving morning, I embarked on a morning run through the neighborhood. Other than folks letting their dogs out to do their business, I encountered no other runners or joggers. I was really surprised that I was the only turkey trotter out and about. Perhaps most folks were preparing their Thanksgiving feasts, or smart enough to stay in bed an extra hour. Oh, well, I enjoyed the quiet along my route and smiled at the thought of having the next few days off.

I, for one, didn’t get up at the crack of dawn on Black Friday to shop. I don’t play that game. Do you? Miss E. and I did head out later in the afternoon while the boys went to the barber. I supported some local merchants and avoided being crushed or pepper sprayed by the hoards of humanity. It was a good day.

So, after a few days of parties, play dates and overeating, as well as three days in a row of running (woo hoo!), I ended the weekend by watching the finale (or mid-season finale as they kept hyping it) of “The Walking Dead.” Shew, that was quite the episode, wasn’t it?

Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes in AMC's "The Walking Dead," killing the zombies in last night's episode. 

Hubby has been a fan of the “Dead” since last season, but I didn’t start watching it until recently. I became a regular viewer once I realized that the lead character, Rick Grimes, is played by Andrew Lincoln from the film “Love Actually."

Andrew Lincoln's character, Mark, declares his love for Keira Knightley's character in "Love Actually." Sigh.

Yes, it was Lincoln who drew me in, but the storyline and those crazy zombies kept me coming back for more. Anyhoo, last night’s episode was shocking and sad. Anyone see that coming? The second half of the season begins in February.

Hope you had a great weekend, friends. It’s hard to get back into the swing of things, especially when it’s cold and rainy like it is here. But, I only have three weeks left until Christmas vacation, so that keeps me forging ahead.

♪ It’s the most wonderful time of the year…♪

Images from, IMBD and AMC.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving and Small Business Saturday

Happiest of Thanksgivings to my friends in Bloggerland, and to your families as well. I hope you enjoy a day full of laughter, love, good food and a nap or two. We all have so much for which to be thankful this year. And for those of you going through trying times this holiday season, please know that we are thankful for you and wish you the very best. 

For you brave souls who venture out for Black Friday, best of luck to you. I'll be snuggled warm in bed while you're getting great deals for the holidays. Although, have you noticed how much earlier stores are bumping up Black Friday? Many retail outlets are starting the madness on Thanksgiving night, which I think is wrong, wrong, wrong. Give your employees a chance to enjoy the holiday with their families! I mean, do we really need to score a new iPad or game station at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, as opposed to 5 a.m. the next morning?

One of many wonderful items available at The Urban Farmhouse Market, a new gift shop in Louisville.

I've heard that there's a movement to label the Saturday after Thanksgiving "Small Business Saturday," to encourage people to patronize local "mom and pop" shops. I think this a FABULOUS idea. I always find the most wonderful items at such places. In fact, there's a new shop in town that I can't wait to visit, The Urban Farmhouse Market.

It's across the street from my son's preschool and every day I pass by looking longingly at their beautiful store window. I hope to drop by on Small Business Saturday, and if you have similar shops in your town, consider doing the same. Shop local! (Whether branding this day picks up steam or not, I still like the idea.)

Should I awake from my food coma and have the urge to blog over the weekend, I will do so. If not, again, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and I'll chat with you on Monday!
Images from Style Blueprint Louisville and The Urban Farmhouse Market

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

'Turkey for Me, Turkey for You'

My kids are already in the holiday spirit, can’t you tell?

On the way to school this morning, Adam Sandler’s “The Thanksgiving Song” came on the radio. I laughed and started singing along while my daughter looked at me as if I had three heads. When I pulled into the school driveway to drop her off, Miss E. said, “Mommy, turn down the radio; the kids will think you’re crazy.”

So, it’s official. I’m the crazy turkey lady. And my 6-year old is already trying to prevent me from embarrassing her in front of her classmates. Oh, darling girl, this is only the beginning of embarrassing parent moments. Bwaa haaa haa!

“Turkey for me, Turkey for you…”
Image property of A Place to Dwell blog

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Latest Archipelago Purchase

Another busy weekend, but full of fun activities. While the kids were participating in their martial arts class on Saturday, I ran out to find one of my favorite Archipelogo candles, Mahogany Wood. Couldn't find it at the store where I purchased it last year, so went to another boutique across the street, Dandelion. Such a great shop. While they didn't have that particular scent, they did carry a new one called Parfum Noir.
So, I purchased it, committed some earrings to memory should Hubby need any Christmas gift suggestions, and was on my way.

I love lighting a new candle and letting the scent drift throughout my house. What is your favorite candle? Is there one you especially like for the holiday season?

Happy Monday, friends. Thanksgiving is Thursday, which means a short work week. Woo hoo!
Image from Archipelago

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Follow the Woody

Yeah, today’s headline made me giggle too, but stay with me.

Recently, the Garden & Gun Club hosted an event the Keene Mansion in nearby Lexington in honor of Keeneland Race Course’s 75th anniversary. While Hubby and I are G&G members, alas, we didn’t make the event. But, apparently the famous “woody bar” was on hand.

The custom-designed teardrop camper, which was converted into a bar, travels throughout the country appearing at special events. This contraptions is so cool! I think I want the woody bar at my 40th birthday party. Although, there’s PLENTY of time before we’ll be celebrating that milestone. Plenty of time.

Actually, the woody bar will be auctioned off for charity in December, so it may become a permanent fixture at someone’s home rather than making road trips. But, it’s raising funds for a worthy cause, so it’s all good.

To learn more about this bar-on-wheels, visit And for photos from the G&G gathering at Keeneland, click here.
Photo by Jennifer Robers, Garden & Gun Magazine

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Let Me Tell You a Funny Story...

Yesterday, I had to take my wagon in for its 75,000-mile service check, as well as have my driver’s side window repaired, because the open/close mechanism is broken (always fun when trying to swipe my card when entering and leaving the parking garage at work.)

So, normally the dealership offers me a ride to work in their shuttle. But, every great once in a while, I get a loaner. Yesterday, they gave me a loaner: A brand, spanking-new Jaguar.

Part of me was über-excited to drive such a kick-ass car, but the other part of me was terrified because it was raining and that would be my luck to wreck not only a loaner-car, but a Jaguar.

They gave me mini-tutorial to figure out how to start the thing– you push a button – and how to put the vehicle into drive or reverse – you turn a dial. When I cranked up the heat, the vents suddenly appeared from a secret hiding place. The electronics on this car were unbelievable. So, I pulled ever-so-gingerly out of the lot into traffic. I probably looked like an old biddy, but I wasn’t going to risk anything in this car. By the time I got to work, though, I thought, “Yeah, I could live like this.”

Then, in the afternoon, I get a call from Bob at the dealership saying the service department is so backed up, they haven’t even had a chance to look at my car. Would I be okay with taking the Jag home for the night? Uh, let me think about that – yes.

As I climb into the car to leave work for the day, I can’t figure out how to put it in reverse. The dial is not popping up like it did earlier in the day. What did I do wrong? Is there a special button or voice command to correct this? Finally, I call Bob and tell him my dilemma. He gets the guys at the Jag service department on the phone. Apparently, that’s a very bad sign and will require the car be towed. I ask Bob if he’s kidding. No, he’s not.

A little while later, Enterprise Car Rental is picking me up. Meanwhile, they’re sending a tow truck to pick up the Jag. I get to Enterprise and they set me up in a Dodge Grand Caravan. Yes, folks, I started my day in a Jaguar and ended it in a minivan.

Seriously, though, I have to say that I really like the Dodge. The kids were so excited to go to school in the “new” van and said they want to keep it. Actually, Mom wants to keep it, too. I love sitting a little more elevated (my wagon is very low to the ground) and the spaciousness is a fabulous thing. The kids kept saying “We have our own seats! We don’t have to sit right next to each other! We have an aisle to walk through!”

I once said I would never drive a minivan. But, now that I’ve driven the kids around in one and enjoyed the view from above, I actually like it. I think I want one now. It'll be a while, but we'll see.
Images from Consumer Car Report and The Car Connection

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kelsey and Justin at the Marin Corps Ball

You're a stand-up guy, Mr. Timberlake. Very cool.

In case you didn't hear, Justin Timberlake was invited to the Marine Corps ball by Corporal Kelsey DeSantis. He provides a recap of the event on his website. Be sure to read his account - he was clearly moved by the evening's festivities.
Image from

Monday, November 14, 2011

I'll Take These Heels, Thank You

You're so pretty. Want to come live in my closet?

Did everyone have a good weekend? I can't believe how many activities we packed into a 48-hour period, but we managed to do it somehow.

I've kept up the running routine, but I'm paying for my Sunday run. I took some hills pretty hard and didn't stretch enough pre and post-run. Dumb me. So, I'm paying for it today. With the way my legs and feet are aching, I certainly wouldn't be able to rock a fab pair of heels, like the Kate Spades above. I looked in my closet this morning and decided, "Loafers it is!" But, given enough rest, I could easily slip those babies on (size 7, ahem).

Did everyone have a good weekend? And, as the holidays approach, do you have something like these pretty lil' shoes on your wish list? If so, what is it?
Image from Kate Spade

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mother Runner

As I’ve mentioned more than once, I’m slowly trying to build a regular running routine. Some of you may ask, “Still? You’ve been saying this FOREVER, lady.” Yeah, I know. I get started, then I fall off the wagon dealing with all-things life. But, I keep coming back to it. I want to be healthier, I want to increase my fitness activity, I want more energy, I want to build muscle tone and I want to wear cute running outfits.

So, when I’m tired after a long day at work and ready to call it quits after giving my kids a bath or helping with homework, I’ve had to force myself to get on the treadmill. And once I do, I feel great. I crank up the music and run. It’s just keeping the excuses not to exercise at bay. It’s easy to talk yourself out of exercising, be it early in the morning (“One more hour of sleep, please!”) or in the evening (“I just want to crawl into bed!”).

Granted, I would prefer running outside, but now that Daylight Savings Time has ended, I have to reserve my outdoor runs for weekends. Bummer, I know. But, at least I’m getting a smoother run on the treadmill.

So, as I take another crack at a regular running routine, I went looking for inspiration. I found a book called “Run Like a Mother.” Then, I learned there’s a blog and Facebook page, “Another Mother Runner,” produced by the authors of the book. I am loving these sites right now and plan to order the book. And, I can’t get my hands on this T-shirt fast enough:

Oh, yeah, I need this for runnin’ in the 'hood.

For those of you who exercise regularly, be it running, aerobics, cycling, swimming – you name it – are there blogs, books or websites that you turn to for motivation? If so, what are they and why are they your go-to sites?

And, thanks again for indulging me in my recent rants. I appreciate the feedback I received from everyone. It's Friday, dear friends. We made it.
Images from

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Addendum to Yesterday's Rant

Late last night, Penn State football Joe Paterno was fired, as was university president Graham Spanier.


And to you students who took to the streets, destroying property while decrying the firing of both men, namely the coach, shame on you. Let's talk in a few years when you become parents. You'll see the world in a completely different light.

I think public relations professional Susan Young's commentary on the events at Penn State says it all. Kudos to you Ms. Young, who said, "One final observation: Football does not trump the safety of children or any human being—ever."

Image from the Patriot News

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Here Comes My Soapbox...

Alright, there are some events taking place in the news of late that are weighing on my mind or just plain bugging me. So, I’m going to take a brief moment to pull out the ol’ soapbox and offer up a brief rant. Thanks for indulging me.

Penn State Coach Joe Paterno: Glad you have decided to retire. It’s time to go. Whether or not you knew of only the one incident involving piece-of-trash assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, in my opinion, you didn’t bird dog it enough. It’s definitely time to step down amid this ugly time at Penn State.

I may take some heat from the Penn State faithful on this, but there’s a time to support your football program and there’s a time to take a moral stand and do the right thing. So, fans, do the right thing. (And this is coming from a diehard University of Kentucky fan who adores her team. Believe me, had this happened at my alma mater, I’d be leading the charge for heads to roll.)

As for you Sandusky, there’s a special place in hell waiting for you. Had that been one of my children you assaulted, you would be glad to be in police custody. Because I would have made sure they never found the body. Just sayin.’

To the Duggar family: While I do value the sanctity of life, please stop. You’re having your 20th child. Jim Bob, back away from your wife.

And, to all of the Kardashians: Please go away. While I don’t watch your show, you’ve unfortunately seeped into every mainstream media outlet and I can’t escape any mention of you. You’re famous for being famous, nothing else, and I’m tired of seeing Kim and the entire family in my face 24/7. GO AWAY NOW.

Okay, I’ll put the soapbox away. We now return to regularly scheduled blogging.
Image from

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Random Thanksgiving Thoughts

Did you vote today? Our gubernatorial election, among other state/local races, is today. I stopped by the elementary school in our neighborhood and cast my vote, behind the woman in line with her pug dog. Really, lady?

After that, I made a quick stop by Fresh Market to pick up a bag of cinnamon pinecones to be placed in a decorative bowl in our foyer. I love the smell of these pinecones and I was so excited that Fresh Market featured them again season. They carry a very harvest-into-holiday smell. You know what I mean.

I also placed our order for Thanksgiving. Yes, friends, we’re having a Turducken for the big day. If you’ve seen Paula Deen’s Thanksgiving special, you’re familiar with it. If not, here’s the 411: it’s a boneless duck breast, stuffed inside a boneless chicken breast, stuffed inside a turkey breast. Herb stuffing and Andouille sausage are layered throughout. Hubby also will make his grandmother’s oyster stuffing recipe. Jealous?
If you're looking for a Thanksgiving-themed centerpiece, consider one of these decorative turkeys, available at Cartwheels in Louisville (the owner is a former classmate of mine).

So, for those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving in the good ole’ US of A, what’s on your menu this year? Will you be hosting? Heading out of town? For many of us, it will involve eating ourselves into a food coma and falling asleep in front of the football game on TV. Ah, the holidays!
Images from Fresh Market and Cartwheels Paper & Gifts

Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Review: 'Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner'

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a representative for the author, Diane Meier, asking me to review Meier’s latest release, “Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.” If you’ve read my blog long enough, you may recall the review I did last year of Meier’s delightful Season of Second Chances. She has now released a collection of short stories and I was more than happy to get a fist look at her latest release. 

Quick aside: My husband and I are both English majors. He has always said that the short story is his favorite genre. I, on the other hand, like to get lost in a big, fat novel. But, I recall a professor in college saying that the short story is the most difficult to write. It must draw the reader in, say as much as possible, and then close, all the while keeping the reader engaged. While some may say a novel is tough to write – and most certainly is – a writer can continue a novel for a very long time without having to wrap it up quickly and concisely. It takes a special talent to write a good short story.

That being said, I think Meier did an excellent job in telling each story, drawing you into the moment, giving you glimpse into the characters and then closing the narrative at the right time. Yes, I would have liked some of the stories to last longer, but perhaps that’s what Meier accomplished. She coaxed me in and left me wanting more.

“Breakfast” finds a group of New York magazine creatives on a photo shoot in a small town. I enjoyed the witty, sometimes catty and colorful, commentary of the “sophisticates” stuck in a Midwestern town. The variety of conversations, the push and pull among characters and the collective dislike of one troublesome outsider impacting the fold, made this story an engrossing read.

The reunion of childhood acquaintances occurs in “Lunch.” Of the three stories, this one was my favorite. I won’t give too much away, but it does illustrate how some things change, some stay the same; some people evolve, while others don’t, and unfortunately, years of experience doesn’t always result in enlightenment.

“Dinner” focuses on another group of artists, writers and “creative types,” dining at an inn. Quick-witted banter and observations of the world are batted among this group. Meier said this story is an homage to My Dinner with Andre, and that comes across through Meier’s delicious words, full of intellectual statements and questions.

If you’re looking for a smart read, I highly recommend this collection from Diane Meier. If you add it to your book club line-up, make sure your hors d-oeuvres and bottle of wine are top notch.

Last night, I finished the novel "Sarah's Key." Tragic, sad and haunting, it was a tough read emotionally. It will drain you. But, it was wonderfully written and I did make it through to the end. I plan to write about it in a future post.
Image from Amazon

Friday, November 4, 2011

Give Thanksgiving Its Due

Courtesy of my brother.

I totally agree. I must have my turkey and dressing on Nov. 24 before turning my mind toward Christmas. Of course, I'll start pulling out the Christmas decorations and playing my "Charlie Brown Christmas" CD on Nov. 25. But, not before then. I will wait!

It's Friday, friends. Can I have an AMEN?
Image from the Bare Knuckled Pundit

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Screened Porch

I love my house. We’ve been there for close to 15 months and while there is still plenty to do with decorating, new roof, etc., we’re very happy there. But, the one thing I really miss about our old house (besides our fantastic neighbors) is our screened porch.

We spent about three of the four seasons on that porch. It was wonderful to open the French doors off the kitchen and let gatherings flow into the porch area. Maybe, someday, we’ll build a similar porch onto our current home. Hey, the Power Ball Lottery is up to $245 million (I haven't checked yet if we won - I'll keep you posted). That could certainly build a kick-ass porch.
Anyhoo, what got me thinking about our old porch was the November issue of Southern Living, which featured a wonderful porch addition to a historic Mississippi home. It’s not only a screened porch, but it’s an extended living space of the house, complete with outdoor kitchen, fireplaces and other amenities.

The owners host their Thanksgiving dinners there  each year. What a great place to gather with family and friends.

What’s your favorite room in your house?
Images from Southern Living Magazine

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Goodbye Halloween, Hello November

The kids and their friends loading up on candy at our neighbor's house.

Batman proudly showing off his loot.

Batman and Little Red Riding Hood enjoying the Halloween festivities.

Another Halloween has passed. Little Red Riding Hood, Batman and their friends had a ball sprinting from house to house, loading up on treats. Ugh, I need to get this candy out of my house, pronto. We're heading into the holiday food slide. If I'm not careful, I'll be eating my way into the new year.

Hard to believe it's November. Thanksgiving is about three weeks away! I'm sure we're all looking forward to a few days off. And, of course, plenty of food.

How was your Halloween? Did lots of ghosts and goblins come to visit?
Images property of JMW A Place to Dwell blog