Sometimes it’s more fun to color outside the lines!

Why is it so hard to color in the lines all of the time? Sometimes it’s just too much to bear and ya just have to scribble in a wild color all over the page…and that is exactly what I did over the long holiday weekend.

Did anyone else wake up this morning feeling like a big fat baby back rib?

Let me illustrate…Friday night…chocolate chocolate chocolate…Saturday…too many boiled peanuts to count while out on the lake followed by hot dogs, corn on the cob, Cajun baked beans and blue cheese cold slaw punctuated with vinegar pie and fresh berries…Sunday….pork chops, mashed potatoes and lemon berry cake which I made and sampled a significant amount of batter from the bowl…and for the grand finale…..July 4th….breakfast began with homemade french toast,,,,club wrap with bacon-served with french fries..more boiled peanuts….and another cookout with buffalo chicken dip, homemade cheese biscuits, ribs, baked beans, slaw and fresh watermelow…did I mention a lot of wine, vodka sodas and a few beers? Oh my…I so wish I hadn’t written this out. *This post brought to you by Tums!

Feeling a little guilty, not to mention a little pressure on my stomach, I was anxious to get to hot yoga this afternoon to sweat it out. Did I mention that those ribs and boiled peanuts were much more delightful going in than coming out. OUCH…my body is protesting my irreverent behavior.

Note to self…color in the lines next holiday.

Celebrate July 4th!

Happy July 4th friends! Though I wish we were at the beach…alas…we are settled in to enjoy our little “retreat” aka-our home. we have a packed weekend with time on the lake, dinner with friends, a fireworks viewing party and a little time at the club pool. What are you doing? Any fun 4th traditions?

A Dog-on Good Time

I woke Woo from a post party nap for the photo. All this action makes him exhausted.

Is there anything more powerful than the love of a dog?  It’s a love so deep that I am not sure we humans even understand. I first came to whitness this love in an odd place. While living in Southern France there was a homeless man who often found shelter on my doorstep.  He had a shepard looking dog and they greeted me in the morning as I headed out to school. Actually the pup greeted me…the man slept. It always intrigued me that this dog was so loyal. He was always right there. Not fenced in. Not tied. No leash. Just loyal. Hanging out with his master.

Back in February I read “A Dog’s Purpose” by Bruce Cameron. See original post: https://commingle.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/purpose/ I knew the moment I finished the book that this would be my book club selection. We have lots of animal lovers and we all live on the same street so often see each other while out strolling our pups.

Wheels turning. A theme. Here goes…In honor of “A Dog’s Purpose”, we had HOTDOGS for dinner…bone shaped sugar cookies for dessert and for party favors each guest received a cute little bag of treats (a doggie bag) to take home to their furry friends!  Oh…and Woo spent the day at the spa getting a new “doO” for the Par-T!

Thanks “Court” friends for a dog-on good time!

Spring Has Sprung

Time to come out of hibernation. The birds are chirping a little more brightly and yellow bells are announcing Spring is here! So happy to see fresh asparagus, strawberries and sugar snap peas lining the shelves in the produce section.

In honor of Spring I made a yummy, low fat, good for you appetizer for our supper club cook out. I made it up this afternoon in three shakes of a jiffy!

AG’s Happy Spring Dip
8 oz plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 pack of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
Mix together…and presto a delish dip for all of the fresh Spring veggies.

Enjoy!

everything old can be new again!

I have always been a bit obsessed with things that are old, things that have served another purpose…things that have a story to tell. And I am a firm believer that everything in my home should be beautiful and should reflect our lifestyle. If I don’t love it and it doesn’t work for us…it’s outta here! If you have journeyed through our home renovation, you know what I mean…from rusted bird-cage lighting in the kitchen to an 1800’s pine mantel in my living room, I love old things.

It seems like a natural progression to move from the antique stores to Goodwill. Yep. That’s right. Goodwill. There I said it. I have become a Goodwill shopper (Inspired by my historical preservationist friend RCR!). I’d like to say that this new hobby came out of necessity. But it didn’t. It’s more about the quest, the history, the thrill of the hunt! I could go to pottery barn to buy a lamp (and I have and probably will again), but how fun to find a lamp or a painting or other accessory at Goodwill. There’s a story for sure!

Yesterday, I didn’t set out to find these amazing  pottery bowls, because Lord knows…I don’t need another bowl (I probably have a hundred!) But I just couldn’t resist. They look so fab with my Vietri brown and black pottery. AND they were perfect for the Gumbo I served for last night’s cold rainy get together with friends.

So here they are!   I purchased all four for $6.50. They are handmade and include the potter’s stamp. I’ll have to ask my friend E.F.  if they are “fine” pottery! Why in the world would someone part with these?

Regardless, their loss is certainly my gain. These little darlings are fabulous. Won’t you join me for a bowl of soup?

And if you think I was clever enough to dream up shopping at Goodwill and Craig’s list for home decor…I am flattered but you are mistaken. I have become a blog junkie for several design inspiring blogs including Apartment Therapy http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ and Mr. Goodwill Hunting  http://mrgoodwillhunting.blogspot.com/

I’m Back!

Stress: Some people indulge on chocolate and high carb foods. Some people avoid food all together. Some manically exercise. As for me…I become paralyzed. Like a deer in headlights. Stress has a crazy effect on me. I become completely one tracked. I can’t move. Creativity Zapped.

That’s what happened this fall. The imaginitive spirit inside me was temporarily frozen. Between the final details on our house, a speaking engagement in Singapore, a major project at work and the other family demands that the holidays brings, the stress was overwhelming. I had to let something go.

Each day, it became harder and harder to find the creativity to keep up this blog and try something new. And one night, as I sat down to write, C. said,”please spend time with me. Surely I am more important than your blog.” Imagine the pain in my heart. Of course C. is most important. So at that moment I walked away from blogging and told myself I wouldn’t return until I felt the “muse”.

I’M BACK!!!!  Holidays OVER.      House FINISHED.    Work Project LAUNCHED.

I’ve missed you friends. Give me a few days…and I’ll soon have my creative groove back!

Baby Ruth

The news spread like wild-fire among our group of friends. How could it be true that Ruthie was diagnosed with breast cancer?  There must be a mistake. Ruthie is one of the most vibrant, healthy people that we know. And how could this happen, just a few weeks before her wedding? We all quickly had a reality check-breast cancer does not discriminate.

Young, old, rich, poor, tall, short, fat, skinny….breast cancer knows not a difference.

Ruthie has faced the diagnosis with bravest of outlooks and the determination to win – to beat this horrible monster. And she is winning. Though it goes without saying there have been some hard days along the way, her optimism and outlook on life is inspiring.

We joined together to support her in the Race for the Cure. This year over 5700 people gathered at Flour Field in Greenville to show our support for the efforts to reach a cure for breast cancer. Women are 100 times more likely to have breast cancer than men and the survival rate is fairly good depending on the type of breast cancer. Each year the work that is done to support the cancer research bring us closer and closer to a cure.

I feel blessed to have participated in such an impactful event. The spirit and energy at the event was awe-inspiring. Men and women, young and old, gathered together to make a phenomenal difference in the lives of generations to come.

To my friend Ruthie- You are beating this disease. You are a hero to me. Go Baby Ruth!

Blushing Bride

Another shower on the horizon…perfect opportunity to try my hand at cupcakes. I found a chocolate chip cupcake with a marshmallow like icing recipe that was perfect. I followed the directions precisely. For some reason the batter was really runny…this could be disastrous. I had publix on stand-by. Luckily the cakes and the icing turned out great. It wasn’t my favorite recipe-but the cupcakes were precious and quite frankly just as cute as the $3 versions! I topped them with these cute little brides and grooms. They were a perfect centerpiece for our celebration.

All American Day

Have you ever thought about how weird it is that we have a national holiday to celebrate how hard we work? Only Americans would think to celebrate our hard work! Whatever…I am not complaining. I needed this long weekend.

C and I decided to spend our labor day weekend celebrating all things American. American to the core…it was hard to think of something new and different for this day. A little morning shopping, lunch by the pool with friends, cooking some bbq for a Tuesday party and a baseball game complete with hot dogs and cracker jacks. We met up with friends and enjoyed an evening minor league baseball game. I even watched the game rather than gabbing and gobbling peanuts. It was a close one- down to the last inning. The baseball excitement truly reminded me of 8th grade position as the team statistician!  Man I loved that…I was the only girl who got to travel with the team! Fun times. I don’t think I had a boyfriend on the team…but I sure did love the attention. Alas…those stories for another time.

Normally, I get bored after a few innings…then my stomach hurts from the junk food, so we sneak out early. But not tonight. For the first time…EVER…we stayed for the entire game and even for the fireworks to round out the evening. The weather had a crisp feel to it. No doubt the perfect night to celebrate all things American…including our LABOR!

Semi-homemade

There is a trend here. VERY busy. Little time for extras. Welcome to the rat race. It’s so frustrating not to have the time I need to do all that I have on my agenda. This week we planned a surprise party for a very, very special friend. Our friend has a had a really hard year and really deserves a special time and celebration in her honor. And in my book, nothing is more fun than a birthday celebration…no matter how many candles are on the cake.

When we began the planning, I had big plans to make a gourmet cake. I even purchased a birthday cake cook book. I had narrowed the recipes down to either a carrot cake or an elvis cake (chocolate and peanut butter). The only problem with my little plan was time. Let’s be real here- Putting in 10 hour days at the office, squeezing in a work out here and there and trying to make the final decisions on our construction project, has left me with very little time. I have learned a thing or two in my yoga practice…and number one is….taking care of number one…ME. I knew that baking a cake was out of the question.  Must keep my sanity in tact!

So I had to be creative. I needed something special. Not your average grocery store cake with happy birthday scribbled on the top. Unfortunately, my time only yielded a birthday store cake. So I stopped by and ordered a chocolate cake with a smooth white icing. Nothing else on it. No colored icing…no ugly icing flowers, no confetti, no scribbled writing. Just plain white. Then I purchased some BEAUTIFUL bright cheerful sunflowers that all but screamed Happy Birthday. I cut the sunflowers and put them carefully on the top to create a truly cheerful cake. Placed on a pedestal…the cake was marvelous!  No one could believe it was a grocery store cake. It looked like a gourmet treat from a fab bakery!

Sometimes, we just need to figure out how to maximize the hours and minutes we have rather than become discouraged by the lack of time to do all that we want to do.

Happy Birthday KT!