Jul 31, 2009

Last Year

Just realized that this time last year I had just completed taking bar (ugh) and was about to get engaged in approximately an hour. Happy engagement anniversary to Hubs (do people celebrate that milestone?)!

Is Chivalry Dead? Part 1 of very, very, many

A googling of "elevator etiquette" reveals a multitude of articles and even a website devoted solely to elevator manners. So why do so many not know the proper rules of exiting the elevator? (exiting is just one of my many curmudgeonly beefs with elevator behavior- I may have a problem).

LADIES FIRST!!!! I mean really, who does not know this? Apparently a lot of people who ride the elevator. If you are blocking the exit in a super-crowded carriage, then exit first please, but otherwise stick to the rules. Among the ladies- let anyone older than you exit first. Its courteous and respectful.

Now violators of these rules are still the exception down here, but becoming increasingly common in my experience. I don't know if its transplants or if someone's mama just didn't raise them right. Either way, I am disheartened every time some 17 year old male shoves his way of an elevator before me.

I'm a little cranky- its been a long week ya'll.

What have I done??? Private Benjamin Edition

Oh Lord. I think I just made a grievous error. In a misplaced effort to lose the five pounds I have gained since my nuptials, (happy fat, my foot) I just spent too much of my well earned shopping money to sign up for Boot Camp. They told me to be at the park at 5:25 Monday morning. Oh dear. This is not good.

Have any of ya'll done boot camp before?

Jul 30, 2009

Dog Model Diet

This is my pup, Henry. Well, he's my family's pup technically, as he lives with my parents (we're not allowed to have dogs over 25 lbs at the condo. Henry is my 5th golden, I'm a big dog gal). Isn't he gorgeous? He was a rescue dog we got a the pound, and has the sweetest disposition ever. I adore him. Until last night that is.

Well, Henry has gained a few lbs since the above pic. This is perfectly fine, as when we adopted him he was skinny as a rail due to his time on the streets begging for milk bones for the poor. However, Henry is getting a bit corpulent now, much like his namesake Henry the Eighth. I am concerned that this will harm his future modeling career (he should be the new Bush's Baked Beans dog), so I decide he is long overdue for a walk and some quality time. I pick him up from my parents, for some exercise and a slumber party at the condo.

Henry and I are tromping along the Boulevard, admiring the lake, the beautiful homes, Henry is checking out some nice looking lady dogs.

We've gone a little over a mile and a half, when he decides to stop. He lays down, just off the side of the path (he is a very courteous pup), and refuses to move. He barely weighs less than I do, so there's not much I can do. I try pulling his leash, and end up dragging him about an inch while he grins at me. Panting happily, he is basically laughing at my attempts to get him moving. Finally I walk away from him. I feel awful and am praying that no one spots me abandoning my dog (just like his evil prior owners did to him, sob). He finally realizes I'm serious (ha! fooled you dog!) and leaps to his feet and trots after me. I reattach his leash and we're off! Slowly- I too am courteous.

We stroll along, when out of the blue he just plops down again!! He doesn't fall for the clever "I'm leaving without you" trick this time. Its getting dark, and I am ready to get home and clean the house (watch Top Chef Masters). I plop down in the grass next to him because I have no other alternative. People walking, running or even DRIVING by, stop and inquire if my dog or myself are okay, "Is anything wrong?" (Yes lady, I can't get my hundred pound golden retriever to move, and the championship round of Top Chef Masters is about to start, and I need to go home and clean the kitchen to keep up the pretense that I am the neat one in the relationship before Hubs gets home!). "No, everything is fine" I sweetly reply to all "I've just got a worn out puppy here" (lazy a-hole of a dog who is enjoying the attention).

This happens a couple more times, its almost ten and I am at my wits end. Then it dawns on me. Ha! We start walking on the road, instead of the trail. Possibly due to his life on the streets, Henry is excellent with avoiding cars. I know that my safety first dog will never lie down in the streets. We speed on home, and I immediately get him some cool water, in case he really is suffering from dehydration instead of a bad case of the stubborns. He takes one sip! One!!!

Oh, he wasn't tired or thirsty. He just figured out that if he laid down, he wouldn't have to exercise and I would pet him. I just hope old Henry the genius dog never imparts his wisdom to the Hubs. That could get dangerous.

Friday Night

Recipe for an awesome summer evening- sitting on the big rocker on the porch with Hubs, with an icy pitcher full of minty mojitos.

Jul 29, 2009

Dear Banana Republic

Dear BR,

As you know from my bi-annual suit purchase at your outlet stores, I truly despise spending money on work clothes. They're boring, repetitive, overly conservative, and yet I wear them every day. This is precisely the reason why I need new work clothes. So I'm headed to get a large diet lemonade at the Chick-fil-a at the mall, when I spy the most adorable work clothes in your window. Great job! Even better, you are having some sort of tie-in with my latest obsession, Mad Men. Although Sterling Cooper is probably the last place I would want to work, I definitely want like to look like the ladies who work there.

Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, I spend too much of my disposable income on fun clothes, which are pretty, flattering and possibly sexy. Not suits, or my standby sheath dresses. So please take pity on this poor working gal, and send me the following gratis. Thanks!

I love this look and think it would be really cute on me! Not sure about your styling choice of the brown belt with gray, but I am pretty traditional. Love the blazer too- so fun to pair with the multitude of black dresses I already own, mostly manufactured by you. I'm a loyal customer, see?

I am rapturous over this darling printed sheath, its stretches to add comfort, which is great because my body expands exponentially as the day progresses for some unknown reason. I like this with a black blazer or a colorful cardi on Fridays.

Ooooh, and this graphic dress is perfect for Fridays, PMS bloat, hangovers, or just general grumpiness.

And with tights and this wool swing jacket (which I can pair with more festive attire for my long-awaited weekends), I will be absolutely adorable!

This dress is far cuter in person, but I'm sure you recognize what I am referring to. This is a great transitional piece. Lightweight blazer for now, or cardi, then when it gets a bit chilly (not for a few months because I live in the south) the wool swing jacket!

Thanks Banana! Please send the patterned sheath and gray sheath and jacket in a petite size 6. I think everything else will be a great fit in a 4. I so appreciate this new work wardrobe! We'll be bff always.



*Updated to add:

BR you and I are no longer friends. Sorry. I trotted into your store happily sporting a coupon from the lovely Sarah at http://lifemoreexciting.blogspot.com/. 30%- whoohoo!

Until you have 4's in the styles I need 6's in. And 6's in the sizes I need 4's in. Is this because you have already shipped me my freebies in my desired sizes? Somehow I doubt it.

Furthermore- the gray suiting sheath dress. Um, if cleavage was acceptable at my work, I probably wouldn't be wearing a suit, okay? I know that I am quite endowed in the bosom area, but I get really frustrated when I am trying to buy some suitable clothes and I get full on decolletage! Its not evening wear! Arrghhhh!!

Okay, sorry for that rant. Just had to get that off my chest (which is apparently too big for BR's taste).


Does anyone with adult-acne prone skin have any sunscreen recommendations? I am anal retentive about 30+ SPF, especially on my face, but everything I try makes me break out in tiny little bumps. I'm currently using this, which I like.

However, I still break out every time! I've asked my dermo, but the stuff she gave me was $80 a bottle. Huh. I like to be outside a lot, lady. I drive a convertible. A little vial of liquid gold which I have to replace every week is not a solution to the problem of a few pimples. I mean, really?

Mad Men Style

Ahhh, I was so born in the wrong era. I have been very seriously preparing for the new season of Mad Men by watching (drooling over the clothes) all of the previous seasons on demand the past few weeks. The clothes! I want!

I seriously considered buying this one for Cotillion or for the Hubs' Brigade of the Mythical Realm of the Rhododendron Ball, but reconsidered when I realized its over $300.

This one is just perfect for swanning about the house, putting on canapes for your guest (maybe doing some vacuuming wearing heels and pearls, as well?).

I like the purple for a little sleek look- add some major eye makeup, some hoops and a charm bracelet or two and I am ready to go!

This outfit would be perfect for a Georgia game (in 1960). Or now?

All of these dresses are made by Suzy Perette (just google and you will find tons of awesome vintage dresses for sale). However, they all sell for $200 plus. Boo.

However, the other day I was rooting around the attic, and found a Suzy Perette dress!! (of my grandmother's) !!! I am trying it on later this week when I have a chance to fully investigate this discovery and head back to my parents. To be continued. . .

Jul 28, 2009

More Southern Living Love

The Hubs and I are planning on building our own home on some family land in a few years (when we can afford it hopefully). My house idea binder is already bursting at the seams, but one of my favorite things to do is visit the Southern Living idea houses.

The 2007 Florida idea house, (in Watersound, right next to my family's home in Watercolor) Tucker Bayou, was so fun to visit in person.

I also got to visit the Georgia 2007 idea house- Kousa Creek which uses a lot of the elements which are "musts" for my dream abode.; tin roof, combination of stone, shingles and wooden siding, shed dormers, and lots of outdoor living areas.

2008 was not a good year for idea houses and me, due to moving back to East Tennessee from Atlanta, taking the bar, getting engaged, and renovating the Hubs' condo.

However, it's 2009 and I am back. I am dying to go to Dahlonega to see Hemlock Springs. I like the exterior look, but am truly drooling over the interiors by Mallory Mathison.

Check out this elegant yet comfy couch- love the pillows and the accent along the bottom edge.

Combined with the fun bold print of the chairs- I'm in heaven!!!

I also love all the built-ins and architectural details. The combination of the grass cloth walls with white cabinets and stunning molding is especially yummy.

The dining room, with red (my absolute favorite color) accents is crisp and classic. I love the pass through to the kitchen, which is pleasing both practically , for entertaining and aesthetically.

I also love the built-in bookcases- the interior wall is the same material as the floor.

All images are courtesy of www.southernliving.com

Attention Pat Conroy fans!!!

Ya'll need to run out to the grocery store right this minute and pick up the August '09 Southern Living! I'm practically too excited to type, but there is an interview with Mr. Conroy, a tour guide for places in South of Broad, a review of the new book (very positive, but I think I need to read a less biased review considering that Southern Living has all this exclusive material, not that it will make a whit of difference in my devouring of this tome), and an excerpt of the book!!

The Hubs was cracking up as I ran to the couch, mag in hand, squealing like a piglet!

Jul 27, 2009

So the Hubs and I have found television common ground in the Food Network- although I normally refuse to watch any shows beyond Tyler Florence and Ina Garten (although I will watch old Paula Deen shows), we have become addicted to our Sunday night fix of The Next Food Network Star and Throwdown with Bobby Flay. I don't know if its because of the summertime television drought or what. Also, Hubs leaves Monday mornings because he works in North Carolina during the week, until he returns Thursday nights (he works from home on Fridays). This makes me stay up past my normal school night bedtime of 10:00 PM on Sundays.

Anyway, this is dangerous because we watch all this food late at night and become absolutely ravenous! Last night Bobby Flay was throwing down on some fish tacos that looked heavenly. I wanted some fired catfish tacos so bad last night I could have spit!

So today during lunch I headed to the Kroger to get some rice to bury my cell phone in (will explain later). Hubs wasn't feeling well (possibly too much fun with the guys on "Sunday-funday" is my diagnosis), so he's leaving for NC tomorrow (hurrah!). I started thinking about those fish tacos. However, do to never ending doc review, I have zero desire to fry fish tonight.

(I always get a hankering for my homemade fried chicken or fried pickles. Then afterwards my home smells like a KFC for a week, and I am cursing myself, vowing never to fry again)

So its this-

Along with some coleslaw mix binded with homemade citrus honey vinaigrette (probably will consist of rice vinegar, honey, lemon juice, and queso fresco to add some creaminess, maybe a little mayo), chopped avocado on a whole wheat tortilla (if I'm having frozen fried fish, I have to have a little health in there). Some Spanish brown rice, some refried beans, and we're set for dinner, Throwdown style. Yum.

Looking good catfish!

Updated to add- looks like training is a no-go tonight, as I will be stuck in the office. Luckily, the Hubs can make Rice a Roni and bake frozen fish. Good thing I went the convenience route, since eating dinner at midnight would really disturb my tummy.

Back Where I Come From. . .*

In the hills of East Tennessee we are super blessed with the natural playground. We grew up "lake rats"- having the Tennessee River, dammed into Ft. Loudon Lake, as it passes through Knoxville. We used to skip school in high school and head out on the lake. Not so clever when you get tossed in and head to 4th period soaking wet and sheepish, but still pretty fun.

Besides Ft. Loudon, 30 minutes away is my personal favorite, Norris Lake. Norris is a rock bottom lake, so the water is bright green and clear as a bell.

Its further up in the mountains so the only problem is walking from the water up to your lakehouse is quite a work out (you are ascending hundreds of feet).

Another more well known awesome aspect of East Tennessee is the Smoky Mountain National Park. I love to hike (although do not take advantage of the park nearly enough, boo to me). This is a pic of the Chimneys- there's actually giant holes int he rock that look (somewhat) like chimneys. You scramble up rock to this peak where the view is awesome. I'm usually super happy at the top, ostensibly for the incredible view, but also because I'm overjoyed that I am done hiking "up", and now just have the gravity-aided cruise down. Don't judge- the Chimneys is a tough hike, okay?

For an easier hike, try Abrams Falls. Its the first leg of one of the routes to Mt. Leconte. This was my favorite hike ever as a child, especially when its snowy. As ya'll fellow southerners know, snow is a rare, fleeting and mysterious thing here. However, its sticks and stays int he mountains, so we got to experience it some. The giant icicles, windy trail and snow on the ground made the perfect place for my friends and I to play either a) Narnia, b) Heidi or various other imaginary settings.

* For all of ya'll non-country fans, this is a quote from puka-shell-wearing, Renee Zellweger marrying, hometown boy, Kenny Chesney

P.S. I was supposed to go for a hike Sunday, and the lake all day Saturday. This did not happen. Why? Because I was in the office. All day on Sunday. Boo.

Although I guess I can't complain, considering as a transactional attorney who does real estate development, I'm lucky to be working at all. Whatever- I can still complain. Working on the weekend, in the summer, waaaahhhhh!

Jul 24, 2009

Wine and Shine

(Do they look like wine and cheese guys? Maybe not so much)
So apparently the guys are not as excited about wine part of wine and cheese as us ladies are. However, I was able to entice them with a far more sophisticated type of inebrient.

White Lightning, my friends. That's what you get for a wedding present when you're a born and raised East Tennessean. Seriously- an old family friend who originates from here: (Union County, Tennessee), beautifully wrapped 3 bottles of moonshine, one even with a commemorative wedding label. Hurrah!

There is actually no sarcasm contained in my above exclamation- I am genuinely excited about this gift. I do love me a tiny tipple of moonshine, every so often. I am from the city of Thunder Road, as noted by Yee-Haw Industries: So now, its wine, shine and cheese on the porch. Have a feeling it might get a little rowdy. Last time I mixed wine and shine and a porch I was hungover for a week. In college, when hangovers did not exist. This could be trouble.

(Hurrah! Moonshine!)
*Edited to Add- Don't be scared. I am not a raging redneck. I just have Appalachian tendencies.

Jul 23, 2009

Cheesy Weekend (not involving dance clubs or PCB)

Hmmmm, I know its Thursday, but I am dreaming of the weekend already (although I think I will have to work this weekend, boo). I'm also daydreaming thinking of (a) my fridge, (b) all the yummy pricey cheese currently residing in said fridge, and (3) how delish a glass (by glass I mean bottle) of wine will be with said cheese.

I think tomorrow night will probably result in an impromptu cheese and wine party. Hurrah!!

We will be having:

Cowgirl Creamery's Mt. Tam Triple Creme. My absolute favorite. So creamy, stinky, and amazing.

Humboldt Fog- a blue cheese from California. Its strong (so strong sometimes when a take too big of bite, I have a funny taste in my nose- yes, I realize that makes zero sense, but that's what it feels like), and so tasty.

And finally some Parrano- which is like the love child of a Parmesan and a Gouda. Trust me, a tasty combo indeed.

Time to call the gals for some w(h)ine and cheese on the porch- a perfect prelude to an excellent Friday night. Too bad I still have a day to go. Sigh.

I suspect that these ladies will attend:

Lou, AK, and me

Although one of those ladies has a baby, and one is knocked up, so might no be as interested in wine and soft cheeses as the rest of us.

Jul 22, 2009

Southern Lit Lust

As previously stated, I am an extreme bibliophile. I also love all things Southern. I have a fierce affinity to my homeland, and apart from a very miserable summer spent living in NYC (love to visit hate to live, especially on an intern's non-existent salary), and my time teaching school in Tanzania (whose food bore a striking resemblance to Southern food, unsurprising really), I have never lived outside the South.

So, I guess I like to read books about where I live. Not very cosmopolitan of me I suppose.

Anyway, I have the best birthday present ever this year (and unfortunately its not the Jessica Simpson dress. By the time the Hubs got around to looking at it it was sold out. Tragedy, indeed). However, this man is giving me an incredible present for my b-day.

Well played, Pat Conroy, for making sure that I would be awake for every minute of my 28th birthday reading away. (Hopefully, I will have good light that will not encourage squinting, since I'll be in my very late twenties and therefore need to start thinking wrinkles. )

In the meantime, to satisfy your Southern lit lust, please read this book:

It is so good. Really. I made Mama read it, and she e-mailed the author asking when her next book was coming out. I was a little embarrassed when my mama told me this, but Susan Rebecca White was very gracious, and seemed delighted as opposed to terrified at complete strangers e-mailing her. I guess when they are raving about your writing its not as frightening, or annoying as "Nigerians" asking for your bank account to store their millions.