“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” - Coco Chanel


New Year's Gift for Moi

Ever wanted something desperately, but it came to mind only sporadically? Fall, a year ago, I posted a blog about a weekend at the lake. (My original blogging started here at thebottletree.blogspot then I migrated to MySpace for a time. I plan to one day repost all my blogs, including the lake weekend one to this sight.) On that long weekend away, a chef friend cooked us a meal to die for. Tenderloin was served on a bed of polenta. He cooked the loin in a tajine. I fell in love, partly with the chef, partly with the tajine. We also dined on butternut squash soup and had Bosch poached pears for dessert.

I have since drooled over tajines online and at The Kitchen Table, my favorite gourmet kitchen store. I could never justify buying one. While perusing design blogs this very day, I ran across a kitchen with a shelf lined up with tagines. My intent to own one was instantly renewed. There it was, sitting on the top shelf at T.J. Maxx begging to go home with me. I promptly adopted it.

I am now the proud owner of a tajine, my first Moroccan dish/pot. Be sweet and you just may be invited to dine with me when I break it in.

Hellooooo 2009!!!


There are no words to express my desperate desire to view the Sydney Opera House with my very own naked eye. But doing so when the New Year rolled in? I fear I'd not survive the emotional upheaval. Can you believe that across the world it's already the New Year?! (Australia is one of 2 of the 7 major continents I've not visited, oh but I will...=)

Maybe I'll shoot for viewing that fireworks display when 2010 rolls in. Ahhhh...that thought soothes my raging wanderlust.=)

Needs No Introduction

Here's to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them.
But the only thing you can't do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world...are the ones who do.


My Holiday

Christmas Eve


Christmas Eve at my home was a fun filled outdoor evening of karaoke with family and friends. (Thank you, Karaoke Queen Crystal). The firepit was blazing and tons of candles were burning. Red pillars in lanterns were strategically placed. Red Table runners with fat white snowflakes graced the small dining tables. Messages on my chalkboards welcomed all and wished them excellent holidays. (If I’ve not mentioned it, I absolutely love chalkboards, in all forms. I have a 4 foot tall, extremely obese Italian chef who holds a chalkboard on a dowel, a 2.5 foot standing pig with a chef hat that also holds a chalkboard, there is a small board beside my backdoor, and another hanging in my kitchen. The first time my pal Lori visited after I purchased Giovanni, the obese Italian, she introduced herself and said she thought he was a grand choice for a husband.)

It monsooned before our evening was over, effectively dousing the firepit. But my oversized garage did exactly as I'd imagined, allowing the party to continue while rain poured. My first visit to this house brought immediate thoughts of “I can have 100 people under here for a party!”. (No, there was not 100 people here.) There is definitely something ethereal about being outside listening to rain while candles glow.

My largest pot, a white enamel “gumbo”, was full of Cabbage ‘N Beef soup. My large tea dispenser sat beside a container filled with ice and a scoop. It was basically “help yourself” which made for an easy, enjoyable evening for me. The dessert table was laden and it can safely be said that all had a grand time.

My neighborhood is extremely quiet, just not this Christmas Eve. Husband and wife travel nurses live to the East and to the West is an elderly woman who is a night owl. Behind me is the grandmother of the female travel nurse. As Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston songs were belted, I was glad that most of the neighbors were celebrating elsewhere. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree all the way to Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer was performed. And although I am part of a family of incredible singers, there were some pretty funny renditions to be heard.

Love flowed freely. Hugs were contagious. Gratefulness for the holiday spirit was felt. Simply put, a perfect Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day
Traditionally, I cook an oversize breakfast casserole that is brimming with eggs, sausage, and cheese. My eyes popped open well before 7, and I somehow knew I didn’t have the sausage. After inspecting the freezer, I got my keys. My hope was to find a service station that carried a few groceries. I learned years ago to let the brood sleep in. They are lightyears past the early presents ritual, so I cook and take my time setting a table that makes my guts smile. Back to the sausage...I was delighted to find Winn Dixie shining brightly. I meandered around collecting special things for our morning meal, Orange/Banana/Strawberry Juice, my missing sausage, and fat cinnamon rolls. Soon the casserole and cinnamon rolls were in the oven, bacon sizzled, and pancakes were slowcooking on the griddle. I sliced oranges to garnish our glasses and got out the new holiday mini pancake griddle. It features Santa, a tree, a gingerbread man, and a snowman. Every one got a full size pancake with a mini holiday on atop it. We dined sumptuously.

Until this year, it never dawned on me that one of our rituals is actually now a tradition. We finish up a slow, late breakfast, then go to different corners of the house to finish wrapping. The wrapping has become as significant as the gifts. Tyler visits the Museum of Modern Art for his paper. Last year was origami atop the gifts. This year there was holly and sticks, subway maps, and metallic bronze tissue for wrapping. I personally love attaching ornaments of significance to the ribbons. It’s a lazy, no rush day for us, so presents aren’t had until lunch or after.

I racked up this year! Crate & Barrel goodies from Tyler always means smiles. A pink old fashioned Schwinn 10 speed from Tay was a definite hit...And vintage dishes from Tyren were perfect. We love giving the old as well as the new. And books are a big plus.

Christmas Day was another one of those “live over” days. May there be many more in my lifetime.


It's Here...


Doesn't this tree look lovely yet simple? I just may be tempted to do something of this sort next year. I literally put finishing touches on my tree this very morning. I "mess" with it the entire time it's up.

There is a big pot of holiday soup on my stove, and I sent out several text messages inviting family and friends to drop by for a bowl of soup. It's impromptu, but feels good. I will pop biscuits in the oven, stack bowls beside the stove, blare Christmas music, and simply enjoy the season.

I'm told our cool snap with be gone tomorrow. So it's a warm Christmas Eve and Day for us. But that will in no way diminish the love of family and holiday at my house. Family will arrive from Houston, and hopefully there will be a pile of people around the firepit Christmas Eve.

May your world be happy and bright this glorious Christmas.


The Oh-So-Popular Roland


The most fun of this season has been the reaction to my front door Christmas decor. I have been asked repeatedly to post Roland's picture. Here he is frolicking in the snow! He nor I can believe our luck with the winter wonderland we experienced last week. As talked about here, Rudolph's cousin has been a hit at my house.

Do tell me what you think.=)

The Impossible Happened

(my beloved bottletree)

We had 8-10 inches of snow. Yes, in southern Mississippi. Last week it was 73 degrees Farenheit Tuesday, frigid air and SNOW on Thursday.

Dear patient friends, December is busier for me than a peg leg man in a forrest fire. (Like that one? I can hear my Daddy say it then hee haw at himself. LOL.)

But last Thursday was one of those "live-over" days. It is stamped in my memory forevermore. I awoke to heavy snow fall with the ground already white at 6.30am. We were warned the day before, but without any hope it would actually happen. I jumped up to check if there were any flakes at all falling and got a massive shock. It snowed hard, continually for 6 hours. I have never in my lifetime experienced snowfall like that. Woke up Friday again to a winter wonderland.


This is my backyard by 9am. The rest of the day was spent with my family. I found I love sitting on a trash can lid and being pulled by my nephew Chandler behind his 4 wheeler at quite a clip. I returned the favor for him. Imagine that.=) The day was simply...over the top.

Funny thing is the almanac says we'll have snow again next week. I am officially adopting my Pawpaw's love and deep belief in the Farmer's Almanac.


Mama Duck Is Happy


My computer is in the shop (again), so I borrowed Boo's. (He doesn't know, I lifted it while he was sleeping.=) The last couple weeks I've worked the hours of the 6 digit earning executive (without the 6 digits). The internet in my house is on the blink (AT&T assures me it will be righted today). In spite of all of the above, life is grand.

All my little ducks were here for 4 whole days. We did the things that I crave while they are in far reaching states. We dined sumptuously at The Back Door, schlepped around Hattiesburg, went to Starbucks, had Christmas at Nanna's, and just hung out at the house (certain lamps aglow, candles burning, holiday music on...that perfect way I like my house to feel). We had sparkling juice in beautiful glasses with pomegranate floating in it and the girls wrapped gifts that would win the prize in contests. We watched Christmas movies, cooked (I cleaned) and simply enjoyed each other.

What more should the holidays be?


Stay Out of Mississippi Jeff Foxworthy!!!

The day was perfect for it. So much so that I'm quite sure I never remember having decorated with it quite so cold. I had on a scarf, hat and fingerless gloves. A large mug of hot chocolate was ever close. The wind howled and blew my ribbon into the road. My Ipod blared Holiday music and I worked diligently, red nose and all. If there is such a thing, I felt snow in the air, right here in South Mississippi. I'm well aware that was wishful thinking.

My silver tinsel wreaths are wrapped in clear lights and have "green...apple green...green" ribbon on them. (That's exactly what my sister Tara calls the color. It's hilarious.) The sparkly lighted wreaths are on each window of the house. I found full garland made of silver tinsel last year after the season, at a grand price. My door is garlanded with the gorgeous, full sparkly tinsel and accented yet again with clear lights and the bold green apple metallic ribbon.

The kicker is, my front exterior door has a deer head on it. One with large horns. I know, I know. I'm afraid my boys will wreck when they see it! He was being discarded by a client so I carted him home, absolutely cracking myself up. Roland, Rudolph's cousin, wears a large, sparkly green apple ribbon around his neck proudly. I'm just extremely nervous that should Jeff Foxworthy come through town for some reason I may end up on some reality show boasting "Most Elegant Redneck Holiday Decor"!

I grew up in family of hunters. My Dad took me once, brought me home and promptly informed my Mother I was a "bulldozer" in the woods. That oh so manly sport known as hunting has never made sense to me. My brother in law supplies me with delicious venison sausage. And that's about the extent of my exposure to hunting. My boys have never been remotely interested in it.

So, having Roland on my door is quite comical. Oddly enough, he looks amazing! My entire crew will be here this weekend and I'm looking so forward to their reactions.

Do drive by. Roland will make you smile.=)