Monday, November 29, 2010

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree in 22 Seconds

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We returned from Memphis yesterday, promptly bought our Christmas tree and decorated it with abandon. My children are not the patient types.

Matt loves to play around with the time lapse function on his camera and this was the perfect opportunity. Here is our family decorating the family tree in 22 seconds.

The actual decoration time was more like an hour and a half. We put the Christmas mix on our iPod and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I still need to decorate the rest of the house and put the boxes back in the attic, but at least we've got the big thing done.
I don't know about you, but I do not have a "themed" Christmas tree. I take great joy in the eclectic variety of our ornaments. Of course, my favorites are the ones my kids make . . . the glitter stars with their preschool photos inside. Priceless.
Now, I've got to get on the Christmas shopping. I've done some but there is much more to be done. But first things first. I've got to get my hair cut and colored tomorrow because while I love the color gray I do not like it in my hair. 

Best wishes to everyone as you embark on your holiday preparations. May our days be merry and bright!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Supper Club

Our supper club Saturday night was great fun. Of course, I was a little on edge and snapped at my loving and patient family (don't worry, I apologized) as we cleaned the house and prepared the food. I self-admittedly get a little tense when company comes. I'm not OCD, but you might think so on these occasions. Matt was so glad the house was looking nice, that he snapped some photos of our spiffed up crib.

Here's a candlelit view of the table. I hollowed out the big white pumpkin and placed a vase full of Trader Joe's flowers in the center.
"Aerial" view. Of course, I had not put out the napkins, silverware or glasses yet, but oh well.            

Here's a close-up of my pumpkin place card holders. I spray painted all my pumpkins and gourds gold a la Eddie Ross. I just grabbed some leaves from the yard and scribbled on the names with a sharpie, then cut a slit in the pumpkins

Side note: some of the little pumpkins on the table came from our own little pumpkin patch. Our house backs up to woods, so last year when we were done with our pumpkins, we simply tossed them over the fence thinking the deer could eat what was left. Well, apparently, some seeds took root and this year we got about 5 pumpkins off the vine. Pretty cool.
And on the menu, Rosemary Rib Roast. It was delicious. Probably a little more rare than I intended because my meat thermometer malfunctioned.
I typically don't have recipes on my blog because I don't usually cook anything that interesting, but I pull out all the stops for special occasions. My friend Becky forwarded this recipe to me. It's one she got out of Southern Living years ago and makes every Christmas. I loved how easy it was to prepare! Here it is . . . 
Rosemary Rib Roast
Have the butcher remove the chine bone, and then tie it back on--this will give you the flavor from the bone, but allow you to easily remove it for carving.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Stand: 50 minutes
Yield: Makes 8 servings

6  garlic cloves, pressed
2  teaspoons  salt
2  teaspoons  pepper
1  teaspoon  crushed rosemary
2  tablespoons  olive oil
1  (7-pound) 4-rib prime rib roast, chine bone removed
1  cup  sour cream
2  tablespoons  lemon juice
2  tablespoons  horseradish

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl; rub over roast. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Bake roast at 450° for 45 minutes on lower rack of oven. Reduce temperature to 350°, and bake roast 45 to 50 additional minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 145° (medium-rare) or 160° (medium). Let roast stand 20 minutes.

Combine sour cream, lemon juice, and horseradish; serve with roast.

That's it . . . easy peasy.
We're off to Memphis tomorrow to visit the cousins, aunt, uncle and grandparents. I'll be busy doing laundry and packing tonight. Some light reading I'll be taking along . . . 

And some not so light reading . . .
I'm more than halfway through this book and hope to finish it over the holiday. Some of the reader reviews on Amazon were less than favorable, but I'm actually enjoying it. Call me a contrarian.

Hope everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Note: Some of you asked if I got the chairs from Habitat. The answer is no. I haven't even had a chance to go back there. Secondly, I have put myself on a self-imposed chair diet. I have too many as it is. This could change next week.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I've done a little browsing here and there this week between other obligations. Here's what I found:

First, a set of four klismos-style chairs I spotted at the Habitat for Humanity store today for $50 each . . .
I loved the shape and thought they would be great around a round table. The problem? Three were side chairs and one had arms. Very strange. Anyway, while perusing blogs today, I ran across this photo from the Elle Decor Showhouse in San Francisco on Katiedid. Check out the dining room by Palmer Weiss (a designer I love): 
Don't these chairs look similar? You could lime the wood and possibly even add fabric to the wood backs for  a similar effect. What do you think?

My big find at the Habitat store was a $3 black cylinder shade for my $4.99 lamp. That's right, my entire lamp came in for a grand total of $8 and some change. Woo hoo!
I'm kind of digging the retro vibe of the lamp. Sorry, I took this at night, so the lighting is not good.

Earlier in the week, I spotted a pair of ceramic foo dogs at an antique mall for $30 for the pair. Thought that was a great deal. Some people don't like the foo, but I still do.
And this French mirror looked extremely familiar, and while I don't remember the exact price, I think it was pretty reasonable. These last two items were at the Winchester Antique Mall in Franklin.
And although this version is much smaller, I knew I had spotted this look recently both here and here.

Wishing you all a Happy Weekend. I'll be hosting our supper club tomorrow night and I'll try and remember to snap some pics of the finished table before dinner.

Sources: Katiedid

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


As some of you were kind enough to notice, my blog got a much needed makeover recently. I'm just thrilled with the design that Fabulous K Creative came up with. Hopefully, I can do my new look proud. Thanks for your sweet comments. In the spirit of self-improvement, I'll be sharing some small makeovers from my home in the coming posts.

Here's a little spruce I just gave to my dining room table . . . 
This is just the first stage in the table I'm trying to set for our supper club Saturday night. I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year so this is sort of my version. I just love the white or ghost pumpkins and they go better in my dining room. I also found some smaller pale orange (almost, dare I say, peach-colored) pumpkins and thought they'd be a nice contrast. I got the rust orange burlap at the fabric store, halved it with my friend Becky, then just frayed the edges to make a runner. I weaved some burlap ribbon through the middle and picked some nandina berries while they were still a nice rusty orange (before they turn red and I'll be picking them for Christmas).

I'm planning on adding more greenery and some gold-spray painted pumpkins and gold tapers. I'd also like to hollow out the big white pumpkin and use it as a vase for a floral arrangement. I was inspired by Eddie Ross' table setting in the most recent Lonny.
I'll keep you updated on my progress. If there is any.

In other makeover-related news, I had a strange thing happen to me today when I stopped by the Gas Lamp Antique Mall. After grabbing something at the Home Depot next door, I had about 30 minutes before having to pick up my son, so of course, I just had to shop. While perusing the aisles, a young guy approached me and proceeded to tell me he was a casting director. I immediately thought, "This is it. Finally my big break. He was obviously bowled over by my beauty and . . . " 

Okay, back to reality. But it did turn out to be a pretty cool conversation. He said he was casting for a home makeover show that will be airing on Oprah's new network. It's not being produced by her, but it will be on her network. Anyway, they're trying to find people with "over-the-top" decorating schemes to re-design their spaces. It's going to be called Design Rescue. Here's the flier he gave me:
Forgive the scribble at the top . . . that's Ulysses' contact information. He gave me his digits. I told him I had a blog and would let people know about this as well. So, if you know anyone who fits the bill, shoot him an email (at either of the email addresses I would imagine). Anyone tempted to "tacky" up their home just to get a makeover? I must admit that occurred to me, but I just couldn't go through with such a ruse! It sounds like a great opportunity for the right person though.

And last, but not least, if you're interested in doing a makeover of your own, I just noticed that One Kings Lane is hosting Lee Kleinhelter as one of its Tuesday Tastemaker Tag Sales at Twilight. Lee is the owner and creative force behind Pieces, a bastion of chic design finds in Atlanta.
I love her style. The sale starts at 9 p.m. eastern time, 8 p.m. central (my time). I will definitely be checking it out.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The $5 Lamp

I don't know about you, but nothing excites me more than finding a great bargain. It's like a grown-up treasure hunt. Such was the case a few days ago when I hit a local Goodwill shop trying to kill some time before picking up my daughter. I spotted it almost immediately. There, in the corner of the store, on the very top shelf, it sat. A very large ceramic Asian-inspired lamp. While it looked a rather garish yellow under the fluorescent lights of the store, I knew it was a gem. As a moth to the flame, I went straight for it. I plucked it off the shelf and started searching for the price. $4.99! Sold! I cradled it like a baby next to me as my son looked at some rather unfortunate cast-off toys.
Just as I hoped when I got it home, it's more of an acid-green/chartreuse color than a true yellow. I love it. 
I think it looks great in my living room/family room. I'm a sucker for color, if you couldn't tell. Now, I just need to find the perfect shade (this is just the shade that was on the smaller lamp that used to occupy that spot; it's too small and not the right color, plus I need a taller harp). 

Here are some options from Shades of Light . . . 
Black Paper Drum Shade
White Cylinder Shade

Black Bell Shade with Gold Lining
Linen Drum Shade
Black Lizagator Paper Shade
Of course, the lamp shade will end up costing almost ten times the cost of the lamp, but oh well. So, what do you think? A black shade or white? Drum, cylinder or bell? Too many options. I need help!

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Kind of Town

As Frank Sinatra sang, Chicago is my kind of town. Our trip started out on a great note, when the following email popped up on my phone just as we were boarding our plane in Nashville to depart for Chicago:

Good afternoon.

I came across your blog when a Google alert came to my inbox due to your mention of staying with us. We look forward to welcoming you to Chicago and as a gesture for mentioning us, I’d love to upgrade you to one of our suites and make sure your stay is comfortable and productive. I would also like to offer to have one of our concierge team reach out to you in advance of your arrival to assist with transportation, dinner reservations, directions to Jayson Home and Garden and that Warehouse sale (we can even help ship that sofa home for you!)

Safe travels and see you soon.

At first, I thought I was being punked, but when I realized it was real, I was beyond thrilled. The James Hotel upgraded us to a loft suite that looked like this:
And after a few email exchanges, they arranged dinner reservations for us that evening in the very busy David Burke's Primehouse in the hotel. Needless to say, our stay there was fabulous especially because of the exemplary customer service. That and the downtown location just two short blocks from Michigan Avenue shopping made it an ideal place to stay. The James definitely gets my recommendation if you're heading to the Windy City.

While Matt was in his course on Friday, I spent my day hitting the shops of the Magnificent Mile. I finally found a new handbag at Nordstrom Rack - it's like Nordstrom's version of TJ Maxx. Ah, heaven. On Saturday, we hit Jayson Home and Garden and some sights around Chicago. We didn't make the Warehouse Sale as the Jayson employees said it would take too long to get there without a car. While we could take a cab there, they weren't sure we could get one back to the hotel. The whole journey via public transportation could have taken an hour or more. It was just too daunting for us, so we decided it was not to be. We just satisfied ourselves with the shop itself. It was stunning . . . I could live there. Here are some shots from the shop and the rest of our day sightseeing.
 I was totally in my element.
 Awesome chinoiserie stool.
How cool is this serpentine sofa? Notice the chairs with the Kuba cloth.

Loved this navy blue velvet sofa from Lee Industries. Actually loved everything in the store. Matt made me pose. Can you see the "hurry up and take the photo so I don't look like an idiot" look on my face?

And here come the obligatory Chicago touristy shots . . .
 The other tourists are wondering, "Where did that girl get that fabulous purse?"
Seriously, I loved this "bean" sculpture, actually called "Cloud Gate" by British sculptor Anish Kapoor in Millennium Park. It was truly spectacular.

The long-armed photo. Always a keeper. 

The "El" train. We rode it once and felt very cool doing so. We're so hip. Okay, not so much.

And now a couple of Matt's arty photos . . . 
This was an art installment in our hotel lobby. Very cool. I'm thinking O'Hare's unclaimed luggage has to go somewhere.

We also had some fabulous meals at Sprout and Nightwood. We tried to be ultra hip and get a beverage at a modern-day speakeasy, but it turns out we're too old and lame to stand in line. We went back and got one at the hotel bar - The James cocktail is delicious. 

Hope you enjoyed your majorly abbreviated tour of Chicago. We had a blast and would love to go back when we have more time!

Sources: The James Hotel, YouTube, Sprout, Nightwood

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chicago Bound

Sorry for my absence over the past few days. I've been getting ready for a little weekend trip to Chicago with my husband who will be attending a continuing education course (don't know if I've ever mentioned it but my beloved is a dentist).  It will be so nice to get away for a few days. I love my children dearly, but I need a little mommy break.
I'm so excited, I hardly know what to do. We leave tomorrow, and I still need to pack. We'll be staying here . . .
The James Hotel. I don't know much about it. Can't even remember how I stumbled upon it. It looks much more modern than my style, but different is good. I don't care. I spy a bar!

I know I will be going here . . . 

And guess what I found when I went to their site . . . 
That's right, a warehouse sale while I'm in town. How fortuitous! Do you think I could fit a new sofa in my carry-on? I might need a bigger bag.

I will also be hitting this hard on Friday while Matt's in his class . . . 

I know we will be eating here . . . 

among other places. I haven't been to Chicago since high school when I was visiting colleges with my mom. We didn't exactly get to hit the city so I'm looking forward to experiencing all it has to offer. I'm a little stressed about what to wear because it will be pretty cold on Friday, and I'm sure I'll be hoofing it all the way. So, if you have any insider tips on shopping, sights, restaurants, etc., please let me know.

I'll be back with details on Monday!

Sources: Elle Decor, The James Hotel, Nightwood Restaurant, The Magnificent Mile