September 27, 2012

Birthday Breakfast in Bed

Our sweet friend little C, son of bestie P, recently celebrated his big 1-0 birthday.  It's amazing how time flies, it feels like just only yesterday little C was just a small 5 year old getting ready for kindergarten.  It's hard to believe we have already known him this long.  Little C is the kind of kid that is helpful, kind, full of spunk and good spirit and always willing to lend a helping hand.  He's a good egg, that little C. 
To help little C celebrate his big day, I put together Birthday Weekend Breakfast in Bed bags for little C and his brother C.  I figured bestie P would only get a little break (and possibly be able to sleep in) if BOTH boys had a breakfast prepared.  So ... we delivered two brown sacks complete with a full breakfast of goodies. 
Using Avery full sheet sticker paper, I printed out oversized festive stickers on my color printer.  The stickers give instructions to the littles to place the bag by their bed and enjoy the contents in the morning.  The best part ... the empty bag serves as a trash collector too.  Less mess for mom!
Inside the bag, the littles found a banana, some mini donuts packaged up and milk.  Hershey makes milk boxes that do not require refrigeration until after they are opened.  I added a chocolate straw (why didn't they have those when I was a kid?) that flavors the milk like cookies and cream.  How fun is that! 
The banana was all decked out with a riddle sticker.  "What did one birthday banana say to the other?"  Answer ... nothing.  Bananas don't talk.  Remember, I'm dealing with 10 year old humor here. 

According to bestie P, little C enjoyed his fabulous breakfast in bed.  So much, he stole the donuts from his brothers bag!  This idea is going in the "must remember to do again" file. 
Here's to breakfast in bed, happy birthdays and leisurely weekends!

September 26, 2012

My new obsession: Queen of Heart Antiques

Years ago, bestie M from over at One Little Bird inquired if I had ever been to Queen of Heart Antique Mall.  Sadly, it's right by my house and I have never, ever, ever stopped in.  I'm so ashamed. In my head, I had envisioned a moth ball scented, dusty old antique mall full of things I have no need for; you know ... Precious Moment figurines, old plates and albums and furniture (while nice) I don't have a place for.  Boy was I wrong!  The name is actually Queen of Hearts Antiques and Interiors.  Ah ha!  That made all the difference and is a suitable title for this store. 

Recently, on a quest for Annie Sloan chalk paint, I finally made my long overdue treck to the store.  I could just kick myself for waiting so long!  Not only did I score some AS chalk paint, but I left with a few other little doo dads too. 

There's tons of finds, old and new, that will just charm you!  Here's a few of my fave finds that I snapped pics of (while shopping with an arm load of cutie paper goods!)

This booth was chock full of adorable, rustic painted frames. And, check out these stacked wreathes - they are just darling!

How cute is this little pumpkin made from a piece of raw wood? Makes me more than ready to finish all of my home decor swap outs for fall!

I am just smitten with this display.  The bell cloche is full of rustic, decorative orbs.  I may need to try this!  There was no shortage of decorative vignettes to inspire!

Needless to say, this spot will be on my frequent rotation to make sure I don't miss a thing!


September 24, 2012

It's Pumpkin Time

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Back from a restful week at the beach ... heavy sigh, I guess all good things do have to come to an end!

Now that we are back, it definitely feels like a delayed close to summer and fall is in the air.  As part of that, fall tennis is in high gear.  As those ALTA Betty's in Atlanta tennis know, home matches mean food duty.  As the host team, it's your responsibility to provide some delish treats, cold water and bevvies for the two teams that are playing.  To kick off our season, I was assigned "chip and dip".  I did my tennis duty and brought a yummy Greek veggie dip and pita chips.  But ... I just had more hospitality that needed direction. 

So, I tried my hand at making tennis ball chocolate Oreo cookies.  You know, those cute choco melts in a form (available at Michael's) that cover an already tasy Oreo with even tastier choco bark.  I know you have seen them all over our dear fave pinterest.  Well, trouble is that I was using Wilton melts that were mint flavored and they already had a beige tint.  When I added the yellow food color gel ...well, they turned a lovely peach.  So, I added more and just went with it!  Orange was the color it was.     

So ... now that my yellow tennis balls turned orange, it was time for plan B. Festive, all be it a bit premature, it felt like pumpkins were in order. And Plan B took form. I barked orders (literally I'm pretty sure) to ask Dear Hubs to head back to the nearest grocery to pick up some green pre-made frosting in a tube (no time to spare) and a bag of pretzels. Voila! Pumpkins. They couldn't have been cuter!

To make these, I melted a bag of Wilton candy melts (mint) in the microwave.  Just a minute will do it.  I added food coloring to find the "perfect orange" (forget that this was originally supposed to be yellow!).  I piped a blog of green frosting at the top and then drew the green frosting down a bit to look like a leaf.  I affixed a pretzel stick piece onto the green blob.  So easy and just so darn cute!

So, morale of the story ... sometimes Plan B works out!  These pumpkins might be making a repeat visit this fall!  Pumpkin time - let's go!


September 19, 2012

Shopping Around Savannah

I fell in love with the coastal empire town of Savannah years ago.  I've made repeat trips m.a.n.y. times for everything from St. Patrick's celebrations to shopping excursions to get aways with besties.  I just love this town.  Thanks to some rainy showers that moved through town yesterday, Zsa Zsa and I headed out to catch my fave stops in Savannah and stock up on any and all goodies that were new and must haves! 

Thanks to the many trips and recs of faves from my sweet bestie M who is a tasteful decorator and shopping aficianato ... I've got a list a mile long that makes Dear Hubs sweat at the thought that I am on the hunt for some retail therapy in Savannah!

First stop ... Broughton Street.  We hit the mainstains and a few newer finds like 24e, DC2 and our mainstay Paris Market.  Lordy be, I just love Paris Market

From the minute you walk in, it's a wonder for the senses.  Beautiful chandy's hang throughout the store, gorge antiques, curiousities and collectibles as far as the eye can see and candles to no end!

I was especially smitten with the bebe department this time.  The cute display of oversized toadstools and a little village just drew me in.  I left with a vintage looking alphabet poster for the babe's bathroom.  And, I may have to go back for a set of the Kitchen Papers for kids that I spotted....

The minute we headed down the stairs to the basement showroom, Zsa Zsa announced (because she was down first) "don't come over here because I know you will buy these...".  She was correct.  These oversized tins, wrapped in burlap with the numerals 1-3 were a must have!  Score for me .. .set of 3 that will find a home in either my laundry, basement or any of a thousand spots at home!

This shell sculpture was a sure fire looker.  With a price tag of two thousand ... it might stay behind. 

The little sweets shop was as cute as pie (as always).  We did without this time, but goodness it's so stinkin' charming it draws you in!  There are so many curiousities here I could spend hours!

After a few purchases ... we headed to a few other stops.  Then, thanks to some rain and less than comfy shoes, we gave up our prime parking spot for a spot closer to our next locale.  We hit up a few little antique shops with no fab finds to report and then made our way to No. Four Eleven and One Fish Two Fish.  Yep, those are among the top finds in town. 
The sweetest gal, Courtland (love her name) was beyond helpful at No. Four Eleven.  The shop is darling and known all around for their beautiful monogram services.  Well, that's only part of the story.  Their linens are divine and their trinkets are adorable.  I was crushing everything in sight - from an orange chevron frame to a stack of monogrammed linens.  Of course I didn't leave empty handed ... no, no.  I scored a Linea's Lights candle that I've oogled over since buying my first in Cali months back.  A Sea Salt scent scored for me today.  Dear Courtland was darling enough to intro me to a few new scents she had hiding in the back as well, and was such a peach she gave me a deal on those, too!  That gal has a new friend from Atlanta now.  Check out this oyster mirror, I'm smitten!

And last, but not least ... we stopped just down the way at One Fish Two Fish.  Bestie M introed this one to my shopping rolodex years back and it's been a mainstay since.  Not to mention, it's received many mentions in every juicy southern mag I read!  I toured this store many, many times oogling the quatrafoil tables, great frames and the beautes in the jewlry case.  I may be back for that bee bangle!

On our way home, we stopped for Paula's signature coffee (a fave of Zsa Zsa and Dear Hubs) and a stash of Paula's magazines ... hey, that's quality southern reading! 
Last stop ... Belk back in HHI.  Zsa Zsa needed to pop in for a shirt for Dear Ole' Dad and I just couldn't resist the Lily P section.  Who knew that LILY was at Belk?  I scored a sweet pair of shorts, my first shorts purchase in over ten years.  They are just cuties and I can't wait to wear them.

So, rainy days beware ... you are perfectly primed for some retail therapy! 

September 18, 2012

Seafood Delights

We woke this morning to find the rainy day that every weather tracking device we own had claimed would happen.  Yep, it's a rainy beach day.  After a slow start to the morning, Zsa Zsa and I left the crew and headed to Savannah to hit some of my fave shops (more on that later). 

It was a miracle that we didn't stop for Paula's fried chicken on the way home, instead we opted to wait for dinner with everyone.  That was a great call.  Our selection ... Hudson's on the Docks on Hilton Head.  It was pretty much as good as everything we had heard AND THEN SOME!

We walked in starving and left more full than I have been in a long time.  Shortly after our arrival (and greeting from darling waiter, Chance), the libations were flowing and the rents were sucking down their share of raw oysters.  Fried green tomato appetizers were my contribution for the starving brood.  Good choices all around! 


We poured over our menus like we were deciding the fate of something as serious as National Security only to ensure we ordered the perfect meal.  It was a series of Neptune Platters (that's the mother load of all things seafood), crab cakes, flounder and a lovely chicken tender kiddo meal for the babe.

We ate mounds of hush puppies and a trove of seafood only to almost die when sweet waiter Chance asked if we saved room for dessert .... gasp, no.  I seriously don't know the last time I have been this full!  We couldn't get home fast enough for me to slide out of my Lily P palazo pants and into my "turkey pants" (aka yoga pants).

A good time, good food and good fun had by all!  Here's looking forward to tomorrow!


September 16, 2012

Beach Baby

Saturday, we loaded up the car with enough stuff to move to a foreign nation for a few months.  No lie.  I know traveling with the little tot means carrying "stuff" for every situation, but lordy be ... this is some STUFF.  Two diva dogs, one tot and enough fixins' to stay for a long time.  That just might be the case!

A short drive later, and a shockingly swimmingly good experience with the gypsy tag alongs ... and we were in South Carolina at Hilton Head Island.  As a child, we vacationed here for years with Zsa Zsa and Dear Ole Dad.  Instantly as we came across the bridge, the old memories of the gold fish pond at the Mariner's Resort, the onion ring loaf at Damon's, the ice cream cones after mini golf and all sorts of related things came rushing back. 

This is the start of my beach chapter with my sweet Baby B.  Strategically (I'm nothing if not strategic), we waited until after the summer rush AND waited until we knew that Baby B was old enough and big enough that he would enjoy the experience.  At 14 months ... I'm convinced we timed it right!  We have a house here for the week.  Beachfront, big enough for an army and with our own pool.  We love it.  Since we knew it would be fun and "a first", Dear Hubs and I invited both sets of grands to join us.  Lala even made it down for a day or two here at the beginning. 

We played, we collected shells, we played some more, we watched waves, we splashed in waves and did just about everything possible to get ourselves completely sandy!  It took just a few split seconds at the beginning to get Baby B comfy with his giant sandbox!  Moments later, he was laughing and enjoying every minute of it.  Of course, two sets of doting grands, a sweet Auntie Lala and Dear Hubs and I were just all grins watching this little tot giggle, splash and enjoy every minute of it!


After hours at the beach, the tot ate like he had never seen food before.  Someone clearly worked up an appetite.  We ended the day with a bike ride and a low country boil.  Yep, I'd put this one in the success column!  He's definitely a beach babe!  Here's to blue skies and big fun this week - cheers y'all!  xoxo

September 14, 2012

Back for S'more

Ah ... the fall is upon us.  Well, I can't be too excited - things don't technically cool off around these parts for a few more weeks.  But, on with it already!

I mentioned over here that Baby B started school.  Perhaps that is a grand statement given that he only attends one day a week, and it's for a few hours when he does ... but ... again ... on with it already!  Here he is all decked out in his Cali finest (Vanns and a bowling style shirt) before heading off to school.
This boy is a total flirt and a complete charmer when adults are around.  But, you put him in front of other littles and he, well ... clams right up.  He's used to being the only little and likes it just that way.  So, the first week or two of school caused a bit of a camotion around these parts.  Let's simplify the story by saying he did NOT want anything to do with school and cried his precious little eyes out in attempt to get his way and go home.  Ms. T, K and L were so patient and sweet as honey to give some extra care and make Baby B feel welcome.  They even suggested sending him a few times the first week or two just so he acclimated.

Well, their plan worked.  And just a short few visits later, Baby B is a hit on the preschool playground.  He laughs, giggles and comes home with a school report of "cheerful" and "happy" each time!  We will certainly take that!

To thank these sweet teachers for their extra help and to celebrate the fact we (finally) made it through a full school day without a meltdown, I packaged up these sweet treats and sent them along with Baby B back for another day.

 That's right ... just as the label suggests ... each little box was full of an individual s'more kit that was a sure hit!

I printed labels and punched them with an oversize round punch.  The round was affixed to a square of patterned paper.  Burlap ribbon wrapped the box (from Michaels).  Inside, paper shreds lined the bottom and kept the s'more supplies in place.  To ensure they stayed fresh - I wrapped the marshmellows and crackers in plastic favor bags that I had on hand (always!).
Dear Hubs and Nanny McD thought I'd lost my mind for doing this, but I was just so darn appreciative of the sweetness these ladies showed that I thought a s'more was in order!
Happy Friday, ya'll!

September 13, 2012

I Heart Sevenly

Today, I'm sporting a super cute fitted chocolate brown V-neck t-shirt with my flared jeans and a khaki little jacket.  Yes, of course, I'm still wearing heels with it ... let's not be crazy.  It's casual, but thanks to the new dress code at work (so that we look and feel more like a "cool" technology company), it's totally appropriate.  The tee has a large swirly script phrase on the front that says "Live Life". 

While stylish, it's even better than that.  This tee was purchased and just arrived this week from an amazing company called Sevenly.  Each week, Sevenly offers a different t-shirt design to support a cause for people in need around the globe.  For seven days (get it), the tees are available and the proceeds are donated back to the cause.  The purpose is to drive awareness for the charity, do social good and provide financial support for the worthy causes that might otherwise go unnoticed.   

My tee supported an organization in China focused on saving the lives of baby girls that are at risk of being killed or abandandoned due to the cruel laws that limit the number of children a family may have.  I couldn't be prouder to have the chance to support this cause.

Now, I follow Sevenly on social media and their website.  I'm sure this is just the start of a very thoughtful addiction to new tees AND helping others!  Proud of Sevenly and the great works they do for social good around the globe!


September 12, 2012

Sunday Supper

Yes, this is post #2 this week devoted to the delish food and drinks I consumed last weekend! On Sunday evening, as we were winding down our weekend festivities, the fam came over for a casual Sunday Supper. We try to do this most weeks. It gives Zsa Zsa, Dear Ole' Dad and Lala a chance to catch up with us AND most importantly, dote all over their prized baby B.

This weekend, I was so excited about my take home Holeman and Fitch ciabatta that i almost called that dinner! Instead, I made an easy dish of Hilton Head shrimp, big salad, the notorious bread with herb des provence butter and a lovely honeycomb almond cake for dessert! And every ounce of stuffed you may feel from reading that pales in comparison to how full we all were after dinner!

Whenever possible, that means not "too hot" or "too humid" as defined by Dear Hubs or "too cold" as defined by Zsa Zsa, we try to dine outside.  The table is casually set and we balance the meal somewhere between Thanksgiving fancy and fend for yourself Lord of the Flies.  I was pleased as punch that the table, recently painted for it's final (Lord willing) face lift, was dry in time for dinner!  The newly painted chalkboard table welcomed everyone with a "Bon Appetit y'all" written on both sides of the table.

The darling "sweet" and "water" tags were a birthday gift from Lala and were on backorder for two long months.  This was the first time I had to show them off.  I just love them.  Once again, Ballard Designs came up with a cute little thing I just had to have!

The much discussed "bread" was slightly toasted and sliced.  Served with a homemade spread it was just divine!  To make the butter, I softened a stick of salted butter and added a heaping dose of Herbes des Provence (French blend herbs) and a big pinch of kosher salt.  The result was just lovely.

Besides the bread, I tried to stay true to a gluten free meal.  Lala has a wheat allergy that was just recently diagnosed so I always try to accomidate when we can.  I always look for a reason to break out my Williams Sonoma honey comb pan, so this was as good of an excuse as any! 
This cake was simply great and totally gluten free!  Who knew that there are regular cake mixes now on the cake aisle that are gluten free.  Exciting stuff for Lala!  I took a gluten free yellow cake mix, stirred in about 1/2 cup of ground, toasted almonds and a dash of almond extract.  The cake turned out moist and yummy.  Topped with a honey glaze made of Savannah Bee Company honey, light brown sugar and butter ... yummy just got even better!

cheers to Sunday Supper, y'all!

September 10, 2012

Dine Around the ATL

It was another big weekend around these parts.  Upon an (on-time) arrival back in the ATL from a day trip to Houston, I scooted north to meet dear bestie S at a fab spot in Buckhead called STG Trattoria.  It was her pre-birthday celebration and so she picked a fave (that she raves about) as our go to spot. 

The minute I walked into this unassuming spot, I just new I was in love.  The wine list is extensive and affordable.  The decor is rich and oozing of industrial elegance with old world charm.  The food is to.die.for.

The extensive list of small plates had us drooling.  We dined on fresh bruschetta, delish chicken sausage with salted watermelon and a field pea salad.  I sure do love small plate sharing!  The wine selections (both) were fab and completely affordable.  We trusted our server to wine (literally) and dine us.  She did an amazing job!  This wine, by Home Grown vineyards, is a Cali delight.  The wine was a rich but subtle pinot noir and the cork sports a cute little quote.  According to the waitress there are 5-10 different ones.  No, we did not try to collect them all in one night!

Next stop ... Saturday.  After a fun time celebrating the impending arrival of twins for college friend S and her beau K, Dear Hubs and I stopped off at our fave Holeman and Fitch.  This speak easy, prohibition style spot is a go to fave due to their awesome vibe and delish cocktails.  Dear Hubs is entrawled by the extensive collection of whiskey, rye and bourbon.  I swear ... that man never raves about anything food or drink related, but he raves here!  In addition to the cocktails, I could live on their fresh breads and lovely boutique cheeses.  Yum.  We dined on literally half the menu; from homemade hot dogs to pork belly buns ... every bite was perfectly scrumptious!  I even talked our sweet waiter, Pumps (yes, nickname) into letting me buy a loaf for Sunday Supper!

They print (and library stamp) their menu daily.  The cocktail card changes seasonally, so it is secured to cardboard with a laminating pocket cover.  I totally need to remember this for a rustic and fun menu card at parties!

My dashing date ... Dear Hubs

Between these two big nights out, two tennis matches, fun with baby B, a workout or two, home projects and such this weekend flew by.  After Sunday Supper with the fam around 9pm, I think I zoned out and actually fell asleep on the couch (watching a re-run of Golden Girls) out of pure exhaustion!  I think I felt about like our sweet Sheila, who I caught napping on Dear Hub's tennies this weekend.  Seriously ... how tired do you have to be to sleep on his big, ole' shoes!

Cheers to Monday!  Here we go again!