October 27, 2009

Follow the Leader

To be honest, I'm not the most creative person. I am definitely a left-brain thinker. Give me a big idea and I'll break it down into small parts to make it easier to accomplish. I am a list maker and my checkbook is always balanced to the penny. I sound like fun, huh?

Because of my lack of creativity, I tend to follow the creative ideas of others. Surely I'm not the only one like this. It's people like me who keep companies like Pottery Barn and J. Crew in business. Show me a great look in a catalog and I'm sold. Except that I often take the general idea and try to replicate it at a lower cost. That takes creativity, right?

Maybe not.

Below are a few things/ideas/people I have been following lately:

1. I was over at my friend Allison's for dinner recently and she showed me the cutest dishes she picked up at the dollar store. Yes, the dollar store!! She had four in green. I am now the proud owner of four in blue. I can't wait to make individual servings of mac & cheese or pizookie.

2. I get nearly all of my recipes from other people. You will rarely find me "throwing something together." I made what I thought was a really good recipe from The Pioneer Woman. Todd didn't seem to think so. I have learned he's not such a fan of squash (I think it's the texture). But thanks to PW, I bought and baked my very first acorn squash!

Photo from The Pioneer Woman

3. I'm currently working on our guest bedroom. I'm hoping to be done by the end of the year. While I've been pretty good at coming up with the look myself, I needed some help on one of the bare walls. I decided to fill it with picture frames in a pattern similar to what I found in Lonny.

I'm aware that I need to use the right side of my brain more. I tell myself that I use every ounce of my creativity daily. I'm required to be creative at work, and let me tell you, it can be tough. The right side of my brain is filled with music and ideas about music, but visually I often look to others for inspiration.

So now I'm curious. Where do you get your ideas? Who do you go to when you need help getting your creative juices flowing?

October 24, 2009

Lazy Autumn Day

Delicious autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird
I would fly about the earth seeking the
successive autumns.

-George Eliot

I can't think of anything better than a lazy, cozy Saturday at home on a fall day. My day has been filled with the best parts of autumn:

Waking up to warm pumpkin bread (made the night before) and a hot cup of hazlenut coffee.

Flipping through the latest Pottery Barn catalog, making note of my favorites for my Christmas wish list.

Enjoying a yummy lunch with my husband - creamy tomato soup and grilled cheese paninis.



The only thing that would make this day better? A long nap while my favorite guy watches football.


love fall.

Hope you're all enjoying a lovely autumn day!

October 21, 2009

Have You Met Lonny?

I jumped on the Domino train right as it was jumping off the tracks. My closest girlfriends all read Domino magazine for its great design tips and I would always love flipping through their copies when I was in their homes. When I finally decided I should just subscribe to the magazine myself, it went under.

It was probably the best for my budget anyway.

But just a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across the new online magazine Lonny. If you ask me, it picks up right where Domino left off. I know it's a bit of a bummer to not have the magazine in your hand to fold down corners, but all of the best parts of Domino and then some are in this magazine.

Here's a sample of what you will find:

Are you drooling yet? I know, one more thing to distract you at work, right?


October 16, 2009

Finally Friday

"I see the path, but I don't know where it leads.
Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel it."
-Rosalia de Castro

Photo by Yunhee Kim / Real Simple Magazine

It has been a long week and I'm stepping back and taking a long look at my life and the relationships around me. I've been feeling a bit homesick. I catch myself letting Nashville and all that it offers take the place of my family and although I'm happy and fulfilled here, there are times when I miss them like crazy. I miss hugging my little brother. I miss reading Teen magazine with my baby sister. I miss fighting with my other two sisters. Yes, I actually miss that.

So today my mind wanders and thinks about how I can get to Missouri more often. The path that leads home is right outside my door. I just need to take it.

Hope you get to spend the weekend with those you love most. Happy Friday.

October 13, 2009

A Surprise Reunion

So about that little surprise from my Grandpa...

First I need to give some background to explain why his surprise was such a surprise.

My grandparents (my mom's parents) divorced when I was 13. Their divorce was more difficult to accept than the divorce of my parents. They had been married 27 years and grandparents just don't divorce. I wasn't aware that they did. But they do. My grandpa remarried soon after to a woman named Tracy and my grandma moved to Denver.

Tracy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and passed away this past July. She was a wonderful woman and loved my grandpa well. She and my grandpa had been married 13 years, so her passing was extremely difficult on the entire family. What we never expected was for my grandma (who had not spoken to my grandpa in over a decade) to call my grandpa to give her condolences. We were blown away that she would call and be so caring. Honestly, it was a shock to everyone. I remember saying to my mom, "She called him?!"

Fast forward to last week. My grandpa and my younger sister Jamie decided to visit us on their way to our family reunion. I called my sister the morning they left only to find out that she wasn't able to make it. I was bummed for sure. Later that day I asked for our grandpa's cell number so I could check on him.

I called the number my sister sent and my grandma in Denver answered. I immediately said, "I'm sorry grandma, Jamie must have sent me the wrong number; I was trying to call grandpa's phone."

Her response: this IS grandpa's phone! Surprise!!! She had flown in to ride to the reunion with him.

I had not seen my grandparents together since I was barely a teenager and Todd and I just spent the best weekend with the two of them. I'm still a bit in shock a week later!

Now for the photos! The reunion took place near the most charming little town.


The local art gallery.


An adorable antiques store.



How about this bed & breakfast?


We had to drive through a mountain to get to my mom's hotel.


My family - reunited!

A lot of people are asking me if I think my grandparents will get back together, and honestly, I can't say. All I know is that I feel very blessed to have had the chance to spend time with the two of them together. It was by far the best birthday present I could have asked for.

October 11, 2009

Mother Knows Best

Todd and I traveled deep into the Tennessee mountains for a family reunion this weekend. We had such a great time. The leaves are just beginning to change, which made for a beautiful drive. The reunion took place in the cutest little town and I got the chance to see family I haven't seen in decades. Who would have thought family reunions could be so fun? We took lots of pictures, but right now they are all on Todd's iPhone and he is with the boys tailgating before the Titans game. I'll have those photos (and an update on the surprise from my grandpa) later this week.

After the reunion, my mom handed me a bag with another birthday gift. I love it. It's a cookbook written by Sara Foster of Foster's Market in Durham, North Carolina, titled Fresh Every Day - More Great Recipes from Foster's Market. I would make the trip to Durham just to go to Foster's. It's that good! Last time I visited I hinted that I would love one of Sara's cookbooks and lucky for me, my mom didn't forget that little hint! Isn't it great how mothers always pay attention to the little things you say? I probably wouldn't have bought this book on my own, even though I really wanted it. I guess you could say my mom knows me well.


It's full of great photos, which are the best part of the book if you ask me!


I think this recipe might be first on my list: Chunky Chicken Vegetable Minestrone. Yum!


I'll let you know how it turns out!

October 8, 2009

Big Apple

My family is visiting - my grandpa and my sister were supposed to come together, but my sister ended up not making it. My grandpa brought a surprise gift instead that I will blog about soon. It's a surprise to my mom as well, so my lips are sealed until it's revealed to her too. I'll say this, it is probably a once in a lifetime gift. But more on that later!

I took some time to sort through the dozens of photos Todd and I took in New York and I'm ready to share them with the world. I won't bore you with too many. Just a few fun ones.


We stayed at the beautiful New York Palace Hotel. I don't watch Gossip Girl, but apparently some of the characters "live" in this hotel and they actually shoot scenes for the show in the penthouse. Not too shabby!

After checking into our hotel we hit the town. First stop: Dean & Deluca for coffee and iced chai.


Our hotel was only a block from Rockefeller Center. I think if I were to go back I would love to stay in Greenwich Village or near Central Park, but for first time visitors, being near Rockefeller Center was very convenient.


We tried to see everything in the short time we were in the city.

Times Square:




Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village:


Ed Sullivan Theater:


Cafe Lalo (a great recommendation from my great friend Suz):


And one of my favorites (I say this sarcastically), the Statue of Liberty:


Do you see it? Didn't think so. We got up the nerve to ask someone to take a picture of the two of us. In front of the Statue of Liberty. I don't know about you, but if someone asked me to take a picture of them in front of the Statue of Liberty, I would assume they would want it in the picture as well. I guess I should have been more clear. The famous statue is behind my head. Yep.

At least we have this one!


That's our New York trip in a nutshell. We really had a great time. I would recommend visiting to anyone.

Just a tip - don't ask a local on the subway how to get to the Eiffel Tower (even when you really mean the Empire State Building). They might think you're crazy. I know. It happened to me! :)

October 5, 2009

Back to Reality

"The discovery of a new dish does more

for the happiness of mankind than
the discovery of a star."
- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin


I love traveling, I really do. I've been able to visit some pretty amazing places because of my job and New York tops the list. Todd and I definitely made the most of our trip and tried to fit in as much as we possibly could in 2.5 days. Because of that, I'm exhausted. I'll sort through the many, many pictures we took and post them soon.

One thing I did learn about NYC is that I couldn't possibly live there. I forget how much of a country girl I am until I take the girl out of the country. I had a blast in the city, but I couldn't help but smile this morning as I took in the rolling hills on my way to work. I fell in love with Nashville all over again.

Since I'm back in my own house and not eating out (although we did eat really well), I decided to make a light dinner. Thanks to Cooking Light, I only had to buy two ingredients to make dinner. That worked out well since I wasn't in the shopping or cooking mood, but I just couldn't eat out again. My clothes are angry at me for stretching them out the past few days! I had to make peace.

Grilled Chicken with Rustic Mustard

Recipe Here.

If you're really good, your chicken will turn out like this:


If you're me, it will look like this:


This recipe is a keeper. It's incredibly easy, tastes wonderful and the smell of rosemary will fill your whole house (well, it did mine because our grill was out of propane, so the Foreman was our only option).

I'll be back soon with photos from NYC!