Monday, November 28, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Hey there, friends! Happy Monday! Thanksgiving is over and it's back to the grind today. It's always hard to come back to work after a nice break and wouldn't you know it's pouring down rain here in Atlanta. As if the rain wasn't enough, it's predicted we will see snow by tonight. Can you believe that? Snow, in November, in the South? Crazy.

Anyway, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and a chance to reflect on the people, places and things you are thankful for. The husband and I returned to Atlanta last night and I quickly unpacked the suitcase to prep for my next trip. I am heading to the West Coast in the morning and I'm sure I will have some fun adventures to share when I return. But, before I get to that, there's still some pretty awesome tales to share from my holiday weekend back home. I hope to post on that soon but today I'm busy at work prepping for my trip so you will have to stay tuned...

Before I go, I wanted to tell you...if you don't have a pair of rain boots, you MUST get some. My sweet Mama gave me a pair for Christmas two years ago and I have really enjoyed them. They are pretty much the only bright spot on a rainy day! Here's a quick pic of mine.

Have a great week and stay warm!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Happy Thanksgiving It Was!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful day full of thankfulness, blessings and fellowship. The husband and I spent our Thanksgiving back home with my family and it was indeed full of all of the above. We had a classic Southern Thanksgiving meal which consisted of turkey, dressing, collard greens (with smoked turkey neck for amazing flavor!), sweet potato souffle, seven layer salad, homemade cranberry sauce, and rolls. For dessert, homemade pumpkin pie and apple pie with fresh whipped cream. My mom and I worked as a team, which I love, and together with laughter and wine, we prepared the most delicious Thanksgiving meal. My mom set a beautiful seasonal table, perfect for our intimate dinner. I wish I had snapped a picture but after all of our hard work, I totally forgot. Just in case you missed it in the last post, here's another pic of my Famous Sweet Potato Souffle (again, I can't take credit for the recipe! It's a family recipe, but I'm happy to share). I made it twice this week...once for the husband's office and again tonight for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Oh, here's a quick OOTD (Outfit of the Day). This was taken just before hitting the road this morning. I wanted to be comfortable, plus...we keep things casual around here!

I like to call this my Charlie Brown dress! Dress found at a local boutique, black turtle neck by Target, leggings by Nordstrom Rack, boots by Matisse, hoop earrings by H&M, necklace by Charlotte Rouse, watch by Michael Kors, phone case by Kate Spade.

Tonight, my heart is full of thankfulness, gratefulness and love. We are all so blessed to live in this great country and enjoy the freedoms that our brave servicemen and women fight for each day. Regardless of what you want, be thankful for what you have...and remember to ALWAYS give thanks.
Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

Monday, November 21, 2011

What a Weekend!

Hello friends! Another weekend has come and gone. But this weekend was extra special. My sweet parents were in town and we had a ball! Of course, our time together went by entirely too fast but the best part is, I will see them again for Thanksgiving and I can hardly wait! Our weekend was full of laughing out loud, catching up, trips to the mall, favorite restaurants, and of course Wholefoods. I just adore them so much! And with Thanksgiving in a few short days, there will be more of it to come! 

After my parents left this evening, I didn't have time to be sad, like I usually am, because my Sweet Potato Souffle was requested at the husband's office Thanksgiving Feast tomorrow. Ok, so he might have signed up to bring it but still, it's pretty famous and delicious...if I do say so myself! I can't take full credit for it as it is a family recipe but I have managed to master it and am now expected to make it every Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, that's ok because I love making it and love seeing my family enjoy it even more! Here's a picture of tonight's souffle. I only wish you could smell it! 

If you would like the recipe, drop me an email and I will be sure to share it with you. 

Wishing you all a Happy, Happy Thanksgiving! 
Eat, Drink and Be Social! Cheers!

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's Friday + My First OOTD!

Hi everyone and Happy Friday! I couldn't be more excited for the weekend...we have some very awesome guests coming to visit us. I'm just hoping we can pack everything in to one short weekend! Well, it's Friday and you know what that means...I'm giddy! I've only been in the blogger world for a few short months but I quickly learned about OOTD (Outfit of the Day), which I instantly loved! I love fun outfits, especially for Fridays so here's a peak at what I'm sporting today.

Easy black cotton dress by New York and Company, black tights by Target, funky scarf by Steve Madden, brown boots by Jacobie, cropped denim jacket by Rampage, watch by Michael Kors and phone case by Kate Spade. Easy, breezy outfit for a Friday. What do you think?

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and don't forget to get a two for one at Starbucks between 2 and 5pm. Your bestie or sweetie will love you for it!
Cheers! :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Wait is Over!

Well my friends, the holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving is one week from today, which is just wild. Where did the time go? Colder weather always gets me in the mood for fun lattes and Starbucks is totally capitalizing on that! The infamous red cups have been back for a few weeks now but in true Starbucks fashion, that's not all! As part of Starbucks' "Let's Merry" campaign, today through November 20th from 2-5pm (come on, you knew there would be a's Starbucks!), when you buy one holiday drink, you get one free. Yay! Choose from Peppermint Mocha or the new Skinny Peppermint Mocha, Caramel BrulĂ©e Latte, Gingerbread Latte or the long-time favorite, the Eggnog Latte. All great choices! So what are you waiting for? Make plans to grab a friend and enjoy some holiday cheer!

Photo via Starbucks
Which one will you choose? Oh and who wants to meet me at Starbucks? :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stepping Outside the Perimeter

Wow...I can't believe it's Tuesday already. Where does the time go? It seems like the weekends just fly by so quickly these days! The husband and I had a fantastic weekend that consisted of new discoveries and time spent with some very dear friends. This weekend our adventure started in Roswell, my husband's hometown. For those of you who are not familiar with Atlanta, let me give you a quick run down of how the city is laid out...we have what's called ITP, which stands for Inside the Perimeter and OTP, which stands for Outside of the Perimeter. The city of Atlanta has an interstate that is one big circle around the city and it serves as the perimeter, dividing the city and the "burbs." Most people that live ITP don't like to spend much time OTP because to us, you might as well pack a lunch to go OTP and the folks that live OTP refer to ITP as going into the "city." It's really quite funny! So, now that you just got a quick lesson in geography, Roswell is OTP, but it really has a lot to offer. A few weeks ago, we purchased a groupon for an art gallery on the Roswell square. We had a beautiful print of one of our favorite beaches that we wanted to get framed. It was finished and ready for us to pick up. We started at the gallery and took a stroll down the ever so quaint Canton street and stumbled upon the Salt Factory. This English style pub was really crowded for a late afternoon and we could see why. It is so inviting! Lucky for us, there were two window bar seats that looked out onto the street. Perfect! After looking at the menu and tossing around some snack ideas, we decided on the Thai Style Braised Beef Short Ribs. They were delicious and oh-so tender. The Thai peanut sauce coupled with the Thai style veggies served as the perfect complement to this savory appetitzer. I snapped a quick pic for you before digging in...

As we were enjoying the short ribs, we looked out to the shop across the street. My husband mentioned it used to be an old antique shop so we decided to take a closer look and check out the new tenants.

Much to our delight, it's now the most amazing provisions shop called Roswell Provisions. It offers bakery items, a meats case, a cheese case, wines for all budgets, custom made olive oils, french style herbs, honey, etc. We were in heaven! We spent at least 30 minutes with Kevin, the sommelier on staff, who is super down to earth and extremely knowledgable. We also spent some time chatting with Cyril, the owner of the shop, who is a chef and opened this place just six weeks ago. He's passionate about food and it really transcends to his business. I just love that! The ambiance is so intoxicating and so authentically European, I thought for a second...if I close my eyes really tight, I might just convince myself I'm standing in a cozy grocery store somewhere in France!

We ended up picking out a few bottles of wine with Kevin's help and some garlic infused olive oil, recommended by Cyril. I had to rein myself in because I really wanted some cured meats, some cheeses and a pastry! Mostly everything in the shop is made or grown locally. How great is that? As if this place wasn't already awesome enough, we learned that you can bring your olive oil bottle back for a refill for three bucks less than the cost of a new bottle. My heart melted!

We could have spent hours in this place but we had places to be and friends to visit. I'm hoping next time we will have more time to spend in this little OTP jewel.

Sometimes it's worth it to take a little jaunt outside your own perimeter. There are treasures around every just have to be willing to explore them. I am so glad we did!

Check out the Salt Factory and Roswell Provisions on Facebook!

Friday, November 11, 2011

1 1 . 1 1 . 1 1 + Friday Randomness!

Well my friends, Friday is finally here! Today is not just any Friday, it's 11.11.11, AND it's Veteran's Day. How cool is that? I'd like to thank every single Veteran out there for fighting for my freedom. Be sure to thank a Veteran today when you are out and about. Please don't take them for granted!

In true Friday fashion, I'm giddy and therefore, here's some randomness for you as we head into the weekend.

What I'm loving this week...
Sally Hanson Nail Growth Miracle in Gorgeous Grape. I picked up this polish at CVS and it only set me back a few bucks. A total steal and perfect for fall! Don't you think?

Faux Fur Vest compliments of Piperlime. If you haven't ordered from Piperlime, you need to! They have free shipping and free returns. You can't beat that! Weighing in at less than $100, I thought this was a staple for any fall wardrobe and totally worth the splurge. And, thanks to a big sale this week, I have another package on the way from Piperlime...stay tuned! (Shhhh...Don't tell the husband!)

Photo Credit:

And lastly...Is anyone else highly offended that Bravo is calling The Real Housewives of Atlanta "Southern Belles?" Are you kidding me? I will admit that I'm guilty of following all of the Housewives series (with the exception of New Jersey...I have the draw the line somewhere). But, as a homegrown Georgia Peach from Savannah, GA, I can tell you, without a doubt, there are NO "Belles" on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Period. End of Discussion. Agreed?

Ummm...No. No Southern Belles here.
Photo Credit: Bravo TV

Have a great weekend, everyone, and don't forget to thank a Veteran today!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

From Whence You Came...

Congratulations to Blake Shelton for being named Male Entertainer of the Year at last night's CMA Awards! I had the opportunity to meet Blake and open for him at the North Georgia State Fair back in 2004. At the time, I had no idea that this nice, tall, talented vocalist would rise to stardom in just a few short years. It was an honor to meet and share the same stage with Mr. Blake Shelton!

Here's a pic of me with Blake in September of 2004...before Miranda! ;)

Congratulations to Blake and his lovely wife, Miranda, on two very big wins at the CMA Awards! Very Cool!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Weekend Escape

Last weekend the husband and I took a quick weekend road trip to the North Carolina mountains with a few great friends. It was just what the doctor ordered after a long, strenuous work week. Telling you this trip was relaxing would be an understatement!

The mountain house was majestic, remote (no cell phone service!) and absolutely beautiful. There was more than enough room for everyone to spread out and do whatever they wanted. It was a total recharge. On Saturday, we hiked part of the Appalachian Trail, had a picnic lunch and admired the beautiful nature surrounding us. Afterwards, we returned to the house for naps, chats and canoe rides.

That evening we sampled wines and cheeses, grilled out, and shared stories. For dessert, we indulged in smores by the fire. Let me just tell you that I haven't had a smore since I was in the single digits! I forgot how delicious they are! It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Sunday morning, we woke up slowly, enjoyed a big breakfast and spent the rest of the day outside on the lake. It was a peaceful, quiet afternoon. Thinking about returning to the real world was a sobering thought but, we were thankful for the opportunity to escape the city for a few days.
Here are a few pics for you...

View from our bedroom window

Early morning fog on the lake

View from Waya Bald

Another view...I love how the sun is shining in this one

One more view...

Me, amidst God's beautiful mountains!
With my Favorite Guy!

Yours Truly!

What a great weekend! We returned home feeling so refreshed. Thanks to everyone who helped plan the trip. I hope to go back very soon!

What do you do to recharge?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lost Art Form, Old School or Both? Please Advise.

Hi Friends! I really hope y'all will give me some feedback on this because it's something that is totally perplexing to me. I absolutely adore handwritten notes. I love to receive them and I especially love sending them. There's nothing like a little note to brighten someone's day. I just love it! I know this is because of my upbringing. It's one of those lessons my beautiful mother instilled in me at a very young age. I developed a passion for writing early on and I can remember asking/begging for stationary and good, solid writing pens for Christmas and birthdays. I also remember my very first copy of Emily Post. It was given to me by a family friend and I treasured it for many years until it was ruined in a flood at my first apartment in Atlanta.Very unfortunate, but, I soon replaced it and also added the Emily Post Weddings Edition to my collection when I got engaged. You can only imagine how estatic I was to learn that the Emily Post Institute was set to release the 18th Edition Emily Post this fall, focusing on manners in a new world. I preordered it from Amazon as soon as I could and it finally arrived last week. I know, I'm a self-proclaimed nerd. I was so happy to receive it!

After receiving the newest edition, I started thinking about handwritten notes and made a mental list of ones I needed to send in the upcoming weeks. Then it occured to me that I have sent four wedding gifts in the last year and have received only one thank you note in return. And that's not counting ones from years past along with housewarming gifts, baby get the point. It's a little disappointing. It's not just that I work hard for my money and want others to appreciate the gifts I send, but it's also a reflection of my gift selection. Did I pick something they love or will use often? Having been a bride myself, I usually stick to the registry but even so, I remember receiving gifts that I adored or gifts that I knew would make my married life easier. For example, my red tea kettle that I love and use often or one of the many cookbooks that have made my life easier when it comes time for menu planning! Sure, I have grown to accept that people don't send handwritten notes for the sake of saying "hello" or "I'm thinking about you," like I enjoy doing, and that's okay. But thank you notes? And I mean handwritten notes, NOT emails.

So I guess it boils down to this... Are people just too busy to write thank you notes anymore? Do I hold people to too high of standards for expecting a handwritten note? Are they just rude for not sending one? Or, are handwritten thank you notes a lost art form and becoming a thing of the past? Call me a Southern Belle or Old School but in my world, handwritten notes are the best, most treasured form of communication.

What are your thoughts?

Disclaimer: I, in no way, consider myself the end-all, be-all when it comes to manners. I am not perfect...I have been late on sending a note once or twice in my life.  However, I really try to take other's feelings into consideration and be polite at all times...because that's how I was raised. And yes, I am aware that not everyone was raised like I was. Thanks, Mama! :) 

Feel free to leave your comments below!