“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


Your Front Door Tells the Tale


I LOVE that door. It tells a tale about who lives there. And look at the house number. I'd wreck should I pass and catch sight of that entrance! Imagine that door without color, say pale grey, even black. The house would absolutely not have the character you see. Your front door is your calling card. It's what sets the tone of the exterior look of your home. May I beg you to please not be afraid of color? I fully agree that a stained wooden door can be just as beautiful, I just suggest a very interesting door if you're going with stain. By interesting I mean not your standard paneled wooden door. In the above pic, the symmetrical urns and ball boxwoods are the perfect accoutrement for this setting. The door is to that house what a fantastic pair of Italian-made Manolo Blahnik shoes are to a woman's outfit. The urns are the purse.


Ahhhhh. Just look at that color. Yes, the striped awning is also awesome and I agree not likely to be on your front door. But, I want you to look at the neutral taupe color of the building paired with black as an accent. This is an example of a way to make a very neutral home pop. Imagine that door a basic black. Makes me sad to think of it.=) Oh. And look at "her" purse! Don't you just love the tall pots and lanky trees?


I took this photo in Ocean Springs. I was drawn to the bold orange. Look at the eyebrow above the door. So inviting.


I'm throwing this in for a good measure. My interior kitchen door is exactly this color, solely from me finding this picture. I simply had to have it. Not only does color go on your front door, it can make you smile each time you enter a room.


I readily agree that you're not likely to find this door, architecture, nor plants in the South. But I still wanted to share. This is what I'd refer to as an interesting door. I can see it stained a lovely pecan. For me, it would be that perfect shade of pink you see.


Even the shed door deserves color. The barn, the greenhouse, the outhouse? Paint the door! It's one of the least expensive things you can do and get the most bang for your buck. Be conscious of your front door and it's surroundings. Remember, it tells a tale and sets the tone for your home.


The Bathroom, Your Private Spa


I'll readily admit it. I've been CRAVING a claw footed tub for years. Now, another admission. I recently was given one! My friend called and had found one under a deck he was cleaning out. He said he somehow knew I'd want it. (The dude is psychic.)

Third admission. My very own claw footed tub is propped up out back under my shed. In my defense, I've only had it for a few months. It WILL grace my guest bath in coming days...well, maybe years. (I simply can't imagine giving up the Jacuzzi in the master.)

My first recollection of a claw footed beauty was in my uncle's home in McComb. He fully restored a 3 story mansion and the second floor bath had a tub that felt as big as a Mardi Gras float. It seemed to take light years for the thing to fill. But oh how I loved sinking into it. I distinctly remember my thought processes were that I could easily drown in water that deep.


The one above looks delish with the interior painted. You usually only see the exterior with color.


Just how amazing is that? Absolute sunshine. And notice the full length mirror propped up. I had trouble taking my eyes off the multi-ruffled shower curtain. Perfection, even to me, the non yellow lover.


She looks so relaxed. And I really want to smell what's in all those bottles.

Now, the meat of this post. You do not have to have a claw footed tub to have your very own "Calgontakemeaway" bathroom. But a few things are required. Bed, Bath, and Beyond is the place to start collecting. A bathtub tray is a must. Your pumice stone, peppermint foot scrub, and favorite body wash will set there nicely. Mine even has a book rest on it. A fat, fluffy towel to dry off with is a must. (Even if you have to hide that special one for yourself! You deserve it.) A terry cloth bath pillow will enhance your soak greatly. And above all, music. Iphones and Ipods make it readily available. First, the music is soothing, second it can drown out the sounds past the walls. Wait, I haven't even mentioned a candle! DO NOT get in your tub (clawfooted or not) without lighting a candle. Water, fire, music...the combination will soothe your soul.


A tufted ottoman, bamboo cabinet AND inviting art. Somehow I can only imagine a claw footed tub on the far right wall, just out of sight.

Our pace of life these days is stressful. We must make/take time to unwind. Start by making your bathroom your very own private spa.


Art Wall Joy

A fabulous new trend is the art wall. Some absolutely have no rhyme or reason, others are perfect symmetry. But the fun part is, you make up your own rules.
Take the picture below. Do you see a theme? Matching frames? No. But it's beautiful and arresting.


(via apartment34.blogspot.com)

Now, this one is exquisite. And notice the black frame in the center area. I'd be delighted to walk up and peruse for a few minutes. My mind would be racing as to why these prints were picked. I'd imagine stories of dear Aunt Nellie who studied art in Paris leaving the owners a couple of signed ones.


(via thecitysage.blogspot.com )

Then you have the OCD person who demands symmetry for survival. Mr. or Ms. Pottery Barn. They love this wall. It's still the fresh new look of an art wall, yet so modern and crisp. Also themed in framing, only black or white frames.


(via potterybarn.com)

Which do you prefer? Moi? I'm the flea market, anything goes, out of the attic junker. I love the oddity of nothing matching. I have a piece I picked up at a Paris flea market paired with something my elderly friend painted. And my art wall is one of the favorite places in my home. It's a definite conversation starter.


(via apartment34.blogspot.com)

Go on. Do yourself and art wall. It'll make your guts smile.


The Paris of South America

It's Buenos Aires, my friend.

south america

Obviously a cafe/coffee shop. Map on the wall? Oh yeah I'm a solid fan. My very own world map hangs in my bedroom. But I've never just studied a map of South America. My coolest trip "south" was to Venezuela. Maracaibo to be exact. The flight down was exciting to say the least. Some baseball team was returning from the World Series and from the looks of things they had won. I was on an airline that started with a Z and I'd never heard of it. I had a window seat just above the wing and it was the loudest flight of my existence. Propellers AND raucous baseball players are not a good mix. But oh the adventure. I found the country to have THE kindest people ever.

I seem to be all about travel these days. Come to think of it, when have I not been all about travel? And I'm hearing amazing things about the "Paris of South America". When they mentioned "tango in the streets" my eyebrows rose, this sly smile covered my face, and I was ready to hop a plane. Today. Even the word tango makes me smile. I envision a gorgeous slick-haired brunette with a circle skirt and a massive red flower low beside her bun. (Her bun of hair, people.) Let's not forget the black haired matador in the crisp white shirt saying T-A-N-G-O as they step it off.

I have dreamed of Argentina before. But I always thought should I get there it would be to some gorgeous ranch/spa situation where I rode horses. And there were exquisite cowboys. I never in my wildest dreams equated it with Paris?

In my quest of further torture, I discovered the area I'd hang out in is San Telmo. It's attractions include old churches (e.g. San Pedro Telmo), museums, antique stores and a semi-permanent antique fair (Feria de Antig├╝edades) in the main public square, Plaza Dorrego. Tango-related activities for both locals and tourists are in the area. Which translates to me "tango in the streets"! Here I go again repeating myself. Al fresco dining with live latino music and ah yes...those dancers.

Any mention of Paris always gets my undivided attention. (I sat at a table this very week in a planning session...where all the planning we did was how to get our buns back to Paris the quickest!) And all this mention of the South American Paris really piqued my interest.

I love Paris in the springtime. (The song rolls in my head.)

I'd love Buenos Aires in the springtime. (Still singing though the syllables don't fit.) Might not be Spring, but you can bet your bottom dollar I'll see it.





Hey loves'. As of late there has been so much hype surrounding Bali. And I do say hype in the positive of senses. The book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert has created an absolute travel boom. That said, I must mention the movie starring the exquisite Ms. Julia Roberts, though I prefer mentioning Javier Bardem (quite possibly the most beautiful male walking this planet).

bali man

I want THAT exact guy from THAT exact picture bringing me THAT exact platter to an outdoor table overlooking crashing waves. I have an adventure planned for October, but it's stateside. I'm craving an adventure that takes me far across multiple oceans.

bali man

Every picture of Bali I see screams tranquility. (I'm laughing at myself for using the words scream and tranquil in the same sentence.) Somehow I know there's an open-air-thatched-roof-huge-down-covered-egyptian-cotton-sheeted-bed room for me to sleep in. I want to wear cotton caftans and slide my feet on tiled surfaces to hear the scrape of my corn husk thingy slippers. A hammock hangs nearby with a small bell attached to ring for service. "I'll have a pineapple/mango smoothie", I hear myself request of the wait staff. All this with the soothing sound of breaking waves. Sigh.

After a relaxing day of nothing (meaning a massage, pedicure, book reading, facial, then hair mask) I'd dress for dinner and head to the market.

julia javier bali

THAT market with fat umbrellas and handmade baskets piled high. You knew I was going to say it. THAT man to lean on would complete this perfect picture in my mind. I'd stock up on spices to smuggle home and definitely swipe a menu.

What's life without a dream.

Today's dream? Bali.


No, I Didn't Go To Abu Dhabi



Tyler and I took one of our jaunts (as we usually do when I visit Houston) and there they were, six camels kneeling on the lawn. This one seemed to notice us before we entered the roped area.

The camels are there for the IMAX opening of "Secrets of the Silk Road", along with an exhibit at the Museum of Natural Science. The animals absolutely have personality. The one in the above pic followed us with his eyes as we approached the visitors area. We commented on his seeming interest.

It's been a perfect day. One on one time with my first born. And I didn't even have to go to Abu Dhabi to realize a dream of consorting with a camel.=)


Shiny Floors Anyone?


Until I found this picture, I had no idea that I LOVED shiny floors. This shot knocks my socks off. Look at those turquoise velvet chairs. Notice the softer version of turquoise on the wall reflected in the mirror? Or is that even a mirror? Ohhhhhh, I don't care. It's ALL flippin' gorgeous. Of course a hotel staff is what it would take to keep this spotless. And therein lies the answer. The Greenbriar.

No doubt, an extrovert imagined up this room.

So. I've decided. Oh yeah. I want shiny floors.


The Pool Boy

Can I somehow get across my LOVE of this picture??!! Ye Gads, the art above the bed. I love large bold artwork. The pure white down comforter, always my personal choice. Juicing things up with the bold pillows? Stops my heart. The oval table at the foot of the bed with a hat on it? Help me, Jesus! And all at water's edge? I'd not survive just a walk thru of this gorgeous abode. But wait! Is that the lady of the house beside the pool? HA! And she's hugged up to...the pool boy?

I shall close my mouth...well actually stop referencing the below image right here.


Oh wow. My mind is ONE FAT JUMBLED mess from having so much to tell all of you.

Went to Nashville to see my two youngest ducklings. My son is now lead guitarist for a new Christian band named Ryan Larkins (pictures to follow). I rode along with 3 girlfriends headed to a college reunion, not my alma mater. The band my son is in was opening for the reunion. I LOVED watching him play. He left the next day headed to a gig in another state. Hence giving Tay and I some quality time together. We shopped and simply hung out. We do that best...and love it.

Got home and 24 hours later headed to Houston. Cousin Amanda rode along for company as I made my last trek before the wedding of my eldest son. It was a whirlwind trip but necessary. Details and pictures of the wedding are surely to follow in May.

Returned on Wednesday evening late only to start an event early on Thursday for some 500. My dear friend and I collaborate on all things of this magnitude. It was a roaring success, due to an army of professionals.

Which brings me to today. A tired day, but one I am trying to rest up to leave yet again Tuesday. I am off to the Big Apple for several days. Yes, I understand your jealousy.=) Blogs from NYC are promised.

I return to load up and head to Texas for the wedding!. Am I now forgiven for not blogging as of late?

Judy, the box made me cry. You shall hear from me when life slows a tad. I love you.

Ok, back to the pool boy. Do enjoy that pic.=)


Fabulous Faces


Or should I say Fabulous Face With Fabulous Hat?

I want THAT hat for Easter. Those eyes or even lips would be ok too. Whatever. I'll take the nose.

Ok. I'll stop now.

God Reads My Blog

Disclaimer: To understand this blog, you must have read the previous post.

When I drove up last evening, someone was pushing a lawnmower in my yard. A pile had been raked and pine cones were piled. God obviously reads my blog.

My neighbor is elderly and her sitter is a friend of my family. She was working away in my yard when I pulled into the drive. My nephew was pushing the lawnmower working along side his grandmother, the sitter from next door. (And no, she does not read my blog. I'm not sure she's even familiar with the internet.)

Now, in all honesty, I was tired. I'd had a full day and my initial reaction was knowledge I had to get out there and help them. After all they were in MY yard, and I simply couldn't just sit inside and watch. (Even though I was completely tuckered out!) I changed quickly into my "yard" clothes and joined in. Within minutes, I was going full steam. I pulled all the unwanteds from my beds, raked straw to the places it belonged, rearranged patio furniture, swept the deck and hung a new wreath on the greenhouse. When I did lay my head down for the night, my yard had taken a new lease on life. And of course, that extended to other areas of my life. I put those pesky out of place things in their place, washed some clothes, generally took my living space to a happier place.

Here is where the knowledge that God reads my blog flooded me. I'd posted that very morning how I needed something to jump start my lagging spirits. I just didn't recognize it...right in my front yard. And it initially irked me. I REALLY did not want to work in the yard. I ABSOLUTELY did not feel like washing clothes. But after reading the state of my mind in my blog, God decided to give me a little push.

And it worked.

Thanks God.




How's this for another "honesty" post? I'm floundering a tad. And this pic is an easy way to show you. Yes, the sun is shining. Yep, I want to ride my bicycle. And uh huh, Tallulah is sticking close.

I just can't seem to smile genuinely just yet.=)

Ever noticed how when the stars aren't all aligned, other things pile up? By this time of year, my yard is a wonder garden to browse around in. (I guiltily admit I've not strawed a single bed yet, though there are gorgeous green shoots everywhere.) There is pine straw strewn all over my patio area. I didn't make my bed yesterday for heaven's sake! And OF COURSE someone came by and brought a friend and OF COURSE has bragged and bragged on my house and OF COURSE begged me to show them around.

Yet, here I sit in the coffee shop blogging about how I can't get it together. And I'm looking out the window at the most gorgeous day you could ever order directly from heaven. Why can't I simply walk to the washing machine and wash those clothes? What is my hold up on driving to the nursery, buying the straw and making my yard look as it's expected? Why can't I put that pile of stuff in the attic as it should have been done long ago?

No answer in sight. I only hope to right whatever this wrong is in my head and get on the ball.

You're welcomed to give me a shove, or some advice. Just be nice. I might cry.=)


The Promised Honesty

I promised honesty. Here you have it!

I have stayed on track with my eating!
I walked/jogged this morning my full 2.5 miles! (I did skip Monday and Tuesday, simply couldn't make it happen.)
All veggies and fruit. No bread or pasta. Or sugar.

Ummmmm. One ittle bitty slip up. I ate 5 m&ms. Pink and red ones from Valentine's Day. All remaining were thrown away.

The red button has my hand on it, it's half way pressed. I'm almost there. Feeling so much better about it. My phone started beeping with texts at an ungodly hour. I rolled over and pushed up my sleep mask for a peek at it. My dearest darling daughter (whose waking hour schedule is totally messed up from being in Ireland for 10 days) started texting me at 6:40 AM. Wakey Wakey-Eggs and Bakey!! I received a series of approximately 25 texts with instructions. Wake up! Put on your tennis shoes! Put on your ipod armband! Wedding May 1st! Skinny! Skinny!

Needless to say, she cracked me up. BUT, she did inspire me.

What inspires you? Got a suggestion for help with staying on track? I'd love to hear from all of you.


Marshmallow Willpower

Oh, The Temptation from Steve V on Vimeo.

The New Yorker ran a great story about self control. A professor placed children in a room, gave them a marshmallow with instructions to not eat it. And if they could wait until the professor returned they could have a second one. I so enjoyed the hilarious video filmed testing the theory.

I SO loved it.

Tea Towel Anyone?


I would SO hang this on my stove!


Houston, We Have A Problem

DISCLAIMER: When I come back tomorrow and read this, I'm going to be sorry I posted it. I'm in a blue funk and am sure to reveal details that are not for public knowledge. This post is aimed directly at myself...with a loaded, sawed-off shotgun. (That being my weapon of choice because it's the only one that I can think of to inflict extreme damage! After all I do live in south Mississippi.)

I'm desperately searching for that button. The imaginary bright red one in my head that I somehow PUSHED last July. How well I remember how easy it seemed. Were the stars aligned? Were all my neurons, electrons and protons firing in some perfect, specific order? Was it a book I read? Did I develop my fascination with Dr. Oz and he spurred me on? Did my wisdom or the health factor kick in?

I've no answer to any of the above asked questions. I only know they are burning a hole in my psyche and I NEED, WANT, am DESPERATE to figure it out.

You couldn't have paid me to touch a dessert. I was responsible for 4 major events that week of July. There were succulent, homemade desserts piled up. I didn't touch a crumb of bread. I wouldn't dream of a grain of rice crossing my lips. I was ON TRACK. I allowed myself all the fruit I could shovel in. Any amount of vegetables (honestly didn't matter how they were cooked) were never too many. And limited portions of protein. My nurse sister later informed me I was basically doing the South Beach Diet.

And I was getting up 6ish and walk/jogging no less than 5 days a week. You couldn't have paid me to consume something "bad". I was tracking everything that entered my mouth on my iphone. And it worked. I lost 28 pounds by November.

I live with Tallulah (my cat), no humans. Meaning I rarely cook unless entertaining. I learned to dine anywhere and stay RIGHT ON TRACK. People, it's what goes into our mouths. Yes, there are other factors that regulate our weight. But when it comes right down to it, it's how many times we bend those elbows!!! I learned to SNACK legally. McDonald's has a perfect lo-fat ice cream cone, 140 calories, or the yogurt parfait. Wendy's Junior frosty? About the same calorie count. I kept trail mix in my car (and quickly learned a handful with dried fruit in it absolutely CURBS hunger.) Mexican restaurant? Order the grilled veggies and a bit of grilled chicken. Fine dining? Have grilled fish and steamed veggies. Hungry while driving? Chili from Wendy's or salad from McDonalds. Cook every night? Veggies. Eat them first and as many as you can. Then add some protein.

I'm not saying this will work perfectly for you. But it did for me. Pounds melted away. I would talk to myself during my morning walk. Why would I want to kill the effects of my walk with some high calorie sweet? I'd have to walk twice the length to compensate. My mantra was NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS BEING THIN FEELS. Having someone say, "Wow, you have really lost!" boosted my confidence further. One dear friend even went so far as to say, "Stop now T. You're going to blow away." (Ummm, that would have to be a force worse than Katrina but I LOVED hearing it.=)

(My daughter Tayler and I did this most of this together. She stayed on track and hit a major goal. She looks amazing. PROUD does not begin to explain.)

NOW, I shall begin all my excuses. Thanksgiving came and I persevered. I did have some dessert, thinking it wouldn't be hard to just maintain. I really did ok. Then came the rain and cold. I missed several days walking because of rain. Then didn't want to get sick because our church production required me singing. And the downhill descent began. Christmas was a time of vacillating back and forth from "just have one Martha Washington" to "I simply can't pass up these dumplings". And it rained more. And got colder than I ever remember in MS.

I'm up 5# from my original 28# loss. (That's the info I'll regret sharing.) Houston, we have a problem. I CAN'T SEEM TO STOP.
3 days of last week were spent seeing just what all I could find to eat. My eyes scanned the horizon just LOOKING for a drive-thru that may interest me. I had Krispy Kreme doughnuts for God's sake. I ate as much pasta as I could without being violently ill. Rice? Give me a shovel. Someone please explain this to me??!! My son marries in mere weeks. You'd think of all the times in my life this would be tantamount? Why can't I get ahold of myself? Where'd that woman who was so proud of making her heart healthy go? I REALLY wanted to have 35# off for the wedding. At this rate, only a very sharp chef's knife could accomplish that goal.

OK, OK, OK. I walked/jogged this morning. And I talked to myself. It felt really good. The breeze was perfection. I changed shirts 4 times just trying to find my "inspiring" one. I didn't quite make the early walk, more a mid-morning one.

Hey. It's a start. Somehow, I've got to find that red button. Today I vow to log everything that enters my pie hole. ( I sincerely hate that vernacular but I'm sincerely overwrought so please allow me.) Next week, I will arise early for my morning sprint. I am returning to my fruit, veggies, limited protein plan. It worked before. Lord Jesus help me to see it working again, and SOON.

I never planned on this blog being a forum about weight loss, but if that's what it takes, so be it. Shall I let you know how I'm faring? I promise complete and total honesty to you. Thank you for your patience with my impatience (with myself). Here's hoping that sharing this with you with help me PUSH THAT BUTTON AGAIN.

I'm off to find some lunch. Legal lunch that is.


Quotable Quotes


Fabulous Faces


Never has there been an 80-something year old man as elegantly beautiful. The luck of the stars was with me recently as I was able to see him in concert at the Beau Rivage. I've obsessed (for lack of better word) over this gentleman for as long as I can remember. And to be frank, was terrified he would pass away before I got to see him in person. Whew!

We arrived only to find 4 people from our fair city also sitting on our row. We live 2 hours North, but the fact that it was people who had played important roles in helping shape the artistic lives of my children made it special. The middle school and high school band directors, along with the producer/director of our yearly high school musical all sat close.

Tony Bennett. Need I say more?

A Journey

If you are familiar with me via FB, twitter, Woodlawn Church, lunch partner, or a cousin, you are aware my daughter is in Ireland. How sweet it is for your child to love and do the things you've aspired to all your life.

The above video made my heart hurt. I'm ready for a new journey. I want to pack my bags and go. My favorite days on a journey are those when there are no plans. The times when I am wondering and absorbing the culture of another place, and more often than not another "time".

Watch (go full screen by all means) and let your mind wander to your next...journey.


Fabulous Faces

I love gloves, scarves, sweaters, boots (oh Lord I LOVE boots), tights, fur stoles, fur collared coats, velvet, hats, outdoor firepits, snow...you get the picture.


But I'm drowning in desire for Spring. Two birds have been killed with one stone on this blog post. Fabulous Faces and to-die-for Spring attire.

The most debonair Chuck Bass and the prissy Blair Waldorf epitomize my idea of Spring in the above image. I want floaty georgette, straw hats, bathing suits, convertible rides, linen shifts, sexy sandals and seer sucker suits on men. And I CAN'T WAIT! I want to entertain out back with the sun toasting me. I want frozen drinks with pineapple garnish. I want blooming anything anywhere!

Spring, oh Spring, you have teased me unmercifully for the last two days. Please come and stay awhile...


Fabulous Faces


The man has on an ascot. The Sartorialist would have a field day. This, in all fairness, cannot be billed as just a "Fabulous Face". Fabulous attire, fabulous hair, fabulous shoes, purely...fabulous. Classic perfection. And he and his attire would be perfect on this very day some what, 40-50 years later?


Been There...Wanna Go There

For lack of reason, I'm blaming it on the weather. I COULD walk out of my house (with a mere 20 minutes warning to pack) and just GO. Of course the stars would all have to align and money would have to bloom on my redbud out back.

I've ridden a gondola in Venice, Italy under this bridge:


...so I truly can't complain. But I've never walked on the Great Wall of China:


...which is a dream. I've hung out in the markets of Seoul, Korea:


...and loved shopping the market Iteawon. But I long to ride the Orient Express for endless days:


...having breakfast as the Alps go by. I've given Wrigley's gum to children in the Togo, Africa bush:


...and that gives me some perspective.

This blog has evolved into...well, it's tamped my wanderlust for now.

But I'm carrying my passport on my person just in case someone says, "Wanna go to...?"




They are a requirement for MY perfect room. I have on many occasions given absolute life to a room with "doing the bookcases". There is a site where you can buy leather books by the foot. Meaning you give them measurements of how much space you need to fill, the colors you prefer, and they ship you books. Me, I hit the local thrift stores and buy them in bulk for clients. Remove the tattered dust jackets and reveal lovely leather bound volumes. The arrival of the internet has made gorgeous sets of encyclopedias readily and inexpensively available.

Nothing cozies up a room and says "we live here" like books. In a perfect world, I'd add bookcases to my living room and a wall of them in my dining room. (Books would certainly share space with beautiful serving pieces in the dining room.)


Arrgghhh. This is MY perfect room. Bookcases (with books and tchotchkes), pink, a chaise lounge, bust, oil, fireplace and fresh flowers. Dang, I'm such a girlie girl. I LOVE the wallpapered back in the bookcases. (The only thing missing here is a chandelier and I'm just positive it's simply out of view!)

I'm amazed at how many times I have to inquire about books when working in a client's home. The answer is more often than not, "We have plenty. They are inside these cabinets." Get up now and go dig them out. Calling all books! Put your lamps on them. Fill a tray with them. Have some on each table surface in the room. By all means, do not leave them in the cabinet.

Fill up your bookcases.

Images via here




It's no secret I love pink. Hot pink? Whew. I've been asked what my dream kitchen would be. I think the above comes VERY close. I'm a chandelier girl. I love natural blinds. I love wooden flooring. I love glass front cabinets. I love stainless steel. I love butcher block on an island.

The thing I'd change? The countertops (AND the hardware AND the corbels). I'm not fond of the black along with the hot pink. What would I use instead? I honestly don't have an answer for that. I've seen concrete counters I loved, and grey would go grandly with the hot pink.

And since I'm in dream mode, I require this view from those double windows.

photos via here


Fabulous Faces

gordon ramsey Pictures, Images and Photos

Done. I'm officially admitting to having a MAJOR crush on him. Yup. Gordon Ramsey. Restaurateur Extraordinaire. 3 Michelin stars simultaneously.

I WILL visit his "Gordon Ramsey At The London" in NYC. (With a deep desire to lay eyes on him.) And "Maze by Gordon Ramsey" in Cape Town. Africa, that is. The likelihood of either materializing is non-existent.

Please allow me to dream.

Food Network Needs Toyia


My words were "I'm hungry. I think I want an egg sandwich." My baby sister left the room. She returned in a moment asking, "Does it have to be an egg sandwich?" I instantly answered "Not at all. Anything you find in there you are welcomed to fix." (Like my Southern slang?)

I heard pots and pans clanging and didn't give it another thought. In a matter of minutes, in she walked with 2 brimming plates. From a scarcely stocked kitchen...mine, she produced amazing results.

I'm told there is a show on Food Network where a chef knocks on your door and prepares a gourmet meal from whatever you have in your kitchen. She'd be a hit on that show.

She made salmon croquettes (from a can of salmon, egg, cornmeal, brown sugar) , roasted garlic potatoes, and edamame with sea salt. We dined sumptuously.

Food Network needs Toy.


The Hamptons, in Mississippi

When you're told it's going to snow, and you live in south Mississippi as I do, you just sorta smile and give a nonchalant "uh huh". As was the case yesterday evening. I was pleasantly surprised to see the flakes falling around midnight. The streetlight in front of my house provides perfect illumination. When I did retire for the evening, the deck just off my master bedroom was white. I hated that the snow decided to arrive during the night, and figured there would be some remnants when I awoke.

Six am brought heavy dripping sounds, and I simply didn't want to get up. I was hearing what I thought was the snow melting from my roof. I pulled my sleep mask on, and snuggled back in. Three hours later when I rolled over with that "ahhh, I've slept good it's time to get up I'm rested" feeling, I was astounded. Fat, fluffy flakes were still falling, it was a winter wonderland.


...a Mississippi snowgirl with camillias for eyes...

Any of you Yankees that are reading this HAVE to give me a break. I understand you get snow, many feet of it. Now I'm asking you to understand, we DON'T. Yes, we had a smattering last December, but nothing like we saw today. I donned my down coat, warm boots, gloves, hat and scarf and took off walking, twirling in the middle of the road.

My neighbor and dear friend, Fran Ginn invited me in for coffee and warm cinnamon rolls. And it was the start of one of those do-over days. One I wish I could miraculously just do over. Several sets of neighbors came by within minutes. The world was waking up and the falling snow had everyone out and moving. We repeatedly gravitated to a window to stare at the falling snow. I stayed a couple hours and as I was leaving, Fran invited me back for lunch.

I returned to a Barefoot Contessa setting smack dab in the middle of "the Hamptons" for lunch. Of course it all took place right here in lil' ole Columbia, in Fran's kitchen. Fran made Chicken and Rice soup while everyone else pitched in just like on Barefoot Contessa when she has "friends" for lunch. I chopped cilantro. Someone else sliced avacado. The table was set, cheese sliced, bread toasted, glasses filled with ice, then we sat down.

A table of six, all varied and different, yet such a comfortable air. We discussed how the neighborhood needs this sort of comraderie, and more often. We all laughed at our imagined "Hamptons" setting. And we marveled at the snow.

Lunch was an impromtu affair, soup quickly made, invites casually done. Yet made such an impression. Oh, and the snow. Just as snow in Mississippi is surreal, so is being in the Hamptons. Hey, give us a break.

We had snow. And "the Hamptons"...all in one day.


The Suit

Mr. Hamm and the Barcelona Chair are exquisite...

Years ago I read an article in my son's GQ concerning males wearing suits. To make a long story short, the gist of the entire story was that a man wearing a suit/sports coat gets different/better treatment. The author had scoffed at his Dad for years, the wearer of a suit, daily. I don't recall if it was a bet, or if GQ hired him for the story. He was to wear a suit every day for one month (save weekends) to determine how he was perceived and if he did get differential treatment. He kept a daily journal of each and every place he went. He'd always been the dressed down one, never losing the t-shirt and chinos after college. And had forever proclaimed he'd never be in a job situation that required him to dress in a "monkey suit" daily.

He was uncomfortable at first. But without fail, he was treated with utmost respect. He told of fast food places, fine dining, even department stores where he was always given a second glance. And were he perusing a menu board or waiting in line, he was without fail called upon first. The tone of voice with which he was addressed was respect.

Within the first week he became completely comfortable and fell in love with "the suit".

As did I. The man who walks into the restaurant at lunch. The guy grabbing breakfast. The one pumping fuel. If they have on a suit they get a second glance. And always a third. Funny how I've even driven around behind the car to read the tag. Just checking to see if the county is local.

Don't go getting all judgemental on me. It's the truth. A suit demands a second look as well as respect. Yes I am aware we live in a much more relaxed society. And I'm aware suits are not required in many situations. But if there is a question, or likelihood one would be correct, wear it.

Oh, and for a million more points, wear the cuff links too.



A car pulled up to the curb Christmas Day. I was tersely commanded, "Don't look!". Tallulah was being delivered, my gift from my daughter Tayler. Lulah, as she's now known, was a quivering mass. The hype surrounding her arrival was momentous. I later learned she had been rescued from behind Guadalajara, a local Mexican restaurant. Supposedly her Mother still lives there.

The day I put the hot-pink-diamond-collar-with-the-bell around her neck would have won me $10,000.00 on America's Funniest Home Videos. Had I owned a camcorder. She flipped, pawed, and climbed for two solid hours. An audition to Cirque de Soleil would have been a shoo-in. It was priceless. Tears poured I laughed so hard.

Each time I arrive home, she's peering out the French door. There is a large, circular, green, shag rug 3 feet inside the back door. She prisses to the rug and promptly rolls onto her back, legs into the air, for me to scratch her belly. She needs me.


6 am-ish, I shot straight up in bed at the crashing sound, and immediate pouring water. The above two dozen roses in the goldfish vase had been knocked over. And it was sitting on the vanity at the foot of my bed. Yes, water was pouring down the foot of my bed with a slight puddle on the blanket across the foot. (The blanket had Scotchguard as I easily swiped the water away. Oh, and the car is a dream I hope to realize one day, only in convertible form.) I righted the vase, the accident not being her fault totally. It was top heavy.

She's become an important part of my world. I can't imagine coming home and her not being here. Me not getting to scratch that sweet little belly.

She needs me.


I'm SO Ready For Spring


I'm an eternal optimist. And I'm having issues staying "up". The weather is killing me. If it's not raining, it's snowing OR in the 20's Farenheit. And I'm in Mississippi for God's sake!

I was on a roll. Walking every day and doing well watching what I ate. Yes, I realize this sounds like a cop-out, but it's NOT. It's too COLD to walk. And when I don't walk, I cheat. And don't give me this "awww...you have no idea what cold really is" speech. I could care less. I have warm Southern blood. I want warmth.

I'm SO ready for Spring. I want to garden. I want green shoots coming up. Never before has everything been so brown. (Another reason my walks are curtailed. My brown world is uninspiring these days.) And it's to be in the low 20's and 30's nightly for the entire next week. Not to mention snow predictions for Thursday and Friday.


The above pictures are of the garden featured in the blockbuster "It's Complicated". Oh yeah, I'm having a couple of raised beds this year. And I want a gravel walkway between. I have a lovely yard that shows off my hard work. I've walked it's dead, brown glory several times recently determining just where to place these new beds. They will contain those gorgeous tomato stakes too. No chintzy metal ones for me this year!

Until then, I'll continue wearing coats, hats, scarves and gloves. And dreaming. And cheating. And when Spring DOES get here, I'll post pictures of my raised beds. With fancy tomato stakes. Hopefully with green shoots everywhere.

Oh, and I'd be thrilled to have Mr. Baldwin too.

Again, I'm SO ready for Spring.


Fabulous Faces


I've decided I'm allowed to be cheesy if I so choose (cheesy being a word that always reminds me of my Italian pen pal to whom I once had to give the definition). So here goes, a new series of random posts called Fabulous Faces. And I also refuse to apologize if the posts heavily lean to the male species. Oh myyyyy...

Jon Hamm...leaves me speechless.


Eco-Friendly? Let's Just Try.

I stopped in my tracks and stared. The shopping cart was FULL. Overflowing. With bright kelly green reusable bags. In Columbia, Mississippi. In Wal-Mart. I was blown away. And convicted.

We seem to be inundated with information as of late about being "green". I'm aware, but for the most part it goes in the left ear and out the right. It feels expensive. i.e. "buying a green car". Even switching to eco friendly cleaning products takes time, effort and money. But we CAN do small things that have a massive impact.

According to the World Watch Institute, Americans throw away 100 BILLION PLASTICS BAGS PER YEAR. And according to EarthShare members of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), one plastic bag can take up to 1,000 YEARS to decompose.

In the past decade, governments around the globe have underscored the need to cut plastic bag usage:
San Francisco. In 2007, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to outlaw plastic grocery bags.
New York City. In 2008, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took aim at plastic bags, proposing a plan that requires stores to charge six cents per plastic bag used. All designed to reduce the use of plastic bags and increase the use of their reusable counterparts.
Ireland. In March 2002, Ireland instituted a tax of 15 cents per plastic bag, which has led to more than a 90 percent reduction in overall usage.
Africa. In 2007, Africa made a bold move, initiating a continent-wide ban on plastic bags, encouraging the use of reusable bags such as those made from burlap.
China. In 2008, the Chinese government made plans to ban free plastic bags in order to cut down on litter and pollution. The ban could also save the country as much as 37 million barrels of oil, used to produce the bags.

Wow. Africa is ahead of us in this?

Retailers have taken a stand also:
Ikea. In 2007, the home furnishings retailer began charging five cents per plastic bag to reduce consumption and encourage shoppers to use reusable bags. Proceeds from the plastic bags—estimated at $7 million—will be donated to EarthShare member, American Forests.
Target. Target recently partnered with popular magazines like People, to encourage shoppers to mail in their plastic Target bags in an effort to recycle them into reusable totes. Send your bags in before November 30, 2008 and receive a free Target Retote. (Bags are also available for sale.)
Wal-Mart. In 2008, Wal-Mart partnered with the EDF to cut down plastic bag usage by one-third by 2013. Through its reuse and recycling efforts, Wal-Mart expects to eliminate more than 135 million pounds of plastic waste globally.
Whole Foods. In early 2008 the organic food retailer stopped using plastic bags, encouraging shoppers to use reusable totes.

Last weekend while in Houston I purchased my reusable shopping bags. (They range from $.99-1.99.) I have right at 1,000,000 plastic Wal-Mart bags under my kitchen sink. And yes, I do reuse them. But from now on, I'm doing the reusable tote thing. I'm simply going to put them all into one tote and take them in the store with me. I'll look really cool, AND make God smile.

I'm just sure that He likes me helping keep His lovely creation eco-friendly. 1 Corinthians says "the Earth is the Lords...". Somehow I think He's offended at plastic bags lying around on His exquisite creation for 1,000 years...I can easily help change that.