Thursday, July 29, 2010

oh, does that come in...beige?

Recently while browsing the Luxury Portfolio of a local real estate company's website I was struck by an odd similarity in these not so humble abodes. I generally like to look at the properties in the $6million -$1million range. I tiptoe through the photos as if I were a guest in their opulent homes...careful not to touch a thing. These homes are decorated with absolute precision...every thing has it's place...every pillow is coordinated and every piece of tile hand selected. However, with the voluminous possibilities I was struck by something...I was struck with...beige. Nearly every room is light, airy, sparse, and...beige. As I looked after house with anticipated serendipity...there it was...if not every room, at least one...prerequisite beige room. Now, don't get me wrong. The idea of a light, airy...beige very appealing to me. But, as the owner of two dogs who have shed so much in their 6+ years of life that they could have duplicated themselves many times over, and the mother to a toddler...the thought of decorating with daring...risky...beige is pointedly foolish. So, as I went from one house to the next I deduced that these homes housed neither pets nor toddlers. But then...there it was...on a far wall. I could barely make out the images. The room was...beige. The sofa...beige. The lamps shaded in...beige. The tapestry...tonal beige. The walls...beige. And...the pastels on canvas...of their precious children...beige. As if to say...yes, we have two children...we love them enough to have them sit for a portrait, but we'd prefer they just...well, blend in. Picture after occasional "kid's" room with a splash of the lightest...palest blue or a creamier beige. Pools out back with not one strewn float...half drank Capri-Sun or wayward flip-flop. I often wonder, as this is not my first time to browse the homes of the privileged, who lives there, what are they like? Do they cook in their kitchens outfitted for the finest restaurant? Or do the cold...subway tiled walls tell a different story? Do they sit at TV trays on their beige sofas when their favorite shows are on? Do they stumble on the edge of the rug and spill their pinot noir sometimes? Do their children ever step on Cheez-it's...for fun? I ask these questions...knowing the answer. But do I? They are...after all..."For Sale". Are the occupants wanting something bigger? Are they wishing they hadn't bought so big in the first place...or are they wondering when the beige...travertine...carrera...and colorless tidal wave washed over them? My guess...they too are asking...where is the love...where are the kids...and...crap...did I just spill my wine? If you need a little...or a lot...of color infused in your life...check out these sites to get started with your color intervention...

image credits: RealtySouth

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

fantastic voyage...

Funny how something as simple as a "smell" can whisk you away on a another place...a memory...a first kiss...a hot summer day...or cold winter night. I am a very...well..."smelly" person. I don't actually smell...bad, but I am very in tune with my olfactory system. Mr. Smith (the husband) has always made fun of my obsession with smelling things. And, to properly get the full tilt of a scent I must get my face in it...I can't tell you the times I've tried to get him to smell something and actually touched his nose to the item as I was desperately coaxing him to take it in. I smell everything... food before I eat it, candles, linens, pillows, the list goes on and on. It's somewhat of a tic I suppose but one that serves a purpose...and therefore keeps me off the show Obsessed on TLC as it neither "haunts" me nor "preoccupies my mind" as Merriam Webster describes! It's just a quick thought that takes me away...for just a moment. I guess it all started with those know the ones...the scented ones you begged for as a child. I loved those things. I'm certain I may have even tasted them at some point which I'm sure didn't quite live up to the smell but I loved them nonetheless. In grade was the Trapper Keeper. That big plastic bound "keeper" of your notes...and er, progress reports. It had a scent that defined that time in my life...where with one whiff every day had the newness of "back to school". In college, my sorority house smelled of Summer Sorbet the entire 4 years I inhabited it. I still buy it (and it's hard to find). I buy it to remember the good ole days where the demands were...less demanding. Although...I do remember during sorority rush one house in particular smelled incredible. I asked many members of that sorority throughout my college days about the scent...none of whom would divulge their aromatic tendencies (guess you had to join for that secret). And what about perfume? I have quite a collection but I pick ones that remind me of specific things. While I love a floral scent...I typically want the reminiscence of something...Cashmere by Donna Karen reminds me of baby dolls...that's right, those soft plastic baby dolls. Lolita Lempicka reminds me of sweet pipe smoke...never smoked one but love the smell. Comptoir Vanille Coco reminds me of trying to achieve the perfect Hawaiian Tropic tan...Pink Sugar by Aquolina reminds me of my pregnancy (because it was the only perfume I could wear that didn't make me sick) and Bobbi Brown's beach reminds me of...well...the beach. Point is...I want the romance...the stoppage of time...the emotion...the trip. What takes your breath away? Is it the remembrance of high school, your first date, your garden, your home, a doll, hot towels from the dryer or...simple florals? Here is a list of my favorite scents...smells...and wafts... -Pomegranite Noir - Jo Malone (my current favorite) -Luxe Linen Candles - Aquiesse -Pipe smoke and Lolita Lempicka perfume -Tomatoes -Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil (according to Mr. Smith: "the best smell in the world") and Comptoir Vanille Coco -Burnt Marshmallows -The beach and Bobbi Brown's perfume...beach -Coffee -Woodwick Candles (for their combination, fireplace+scent) -Summer Sorbet - Aromatique -Fair food (think...sizzling onions, peppers, sausage...elephant ears and funnel cakes) -Old books -soft plastic baby dolls and Cashmere by Donna Karen -baby's breath (not the flowers...actual breath of my child...weird...I know) and many,many more... Now...take a deep breath...pack your suitcase...get your passport you go...on your own voyage! For proboscis perfection here are a few to check out... Jo Malone - Pish Posh Patchoulis -,out.htm Three Sheets, a linen shop - 2904 18th St South, Homewood, AL 35209 - Phone: 205-871-2337

Thursday, July 22, 2010

If you can't take the heat...

The hot July sun is definitely upon us...which got me thinking. My Great-Grandmother (Granny) never had air conditioning. She lived in South Alabama where the humidity is worn as an accessory and the air sticky as pine sap. How did she do it? Often while visiting her she donned a skirt and a long sleeve blouse...even in summer. I never remember her being hot or perspiring. And...she lived into her 90's. So my question is we need air condition or are we conditioned to the air? I can remember hot summer days spent playing in the yard at my nanny's as a child and eagerly awaiting my mom's arrival. I would bound to the car...jump in...huddle around the vents sucking up the refrigerated air as my mom and nanny talked about the day...letting the blast of air cool my pink shoulders and sweaty nose. At my Aunt's house I remember standing in front of a window unit in the front room letting the cold air blow over me like a jet engine. Was this part of the conditioning? Did my Granny ever do that? Or...was this my "conditioning"...that would someday leave me dependent on a non-sweltering climate? There Granny was, all put together, watching over her turtle soup (try it, it's good) in the kitchen...waiting to fill our bellies with all of it's goodness and not a thought in the world about being hot. With heat waves across New York recently I thought about the fact that many of the homes there don't have air conditioning either. Maybe a window unit in some but for the most part they generally don't have heat that is as oppressive as the South...until recent years. They are used to living without conditioned air but now...people were dying from the heat and here my Granny lived without it her entire life. So, is the, hotter? Is this global warming notion making it hotter Statistically speaking...yes. Last month was the hottest June ever recorded. While I love summer and...well...all things summer...white jeans, sandals, bathing suits, nautical stripes, tissue tees, etc...I don't like to sweat. I like my climate controlled. I like the enveloping chill of coming in from outdoors on hot summer days, but is our constant conditioning causing our heatwaves? On a greater spectrum, is it causing our global warming? What if no one had air conditioners? What if none of the pollution from those air conditioners used to run our controlled climates were in the air? Would it be cooler? Or would we just be used to the heat? We will never know and the "big picture" is, well...too big to the question remains...did we become so conditioned... that we can no longer take the heat? Granny...she could take the heat. I know this because, well...she stayed in the kitchen most days! Commander's Palace Turtle Soup 1¼ sticks unsalted butter ¾ cup all-purpose flour ⅓ pound turtle meat, medium dice ⅓ pound veal stew meat, medium dice ⅓ pound lean beef, medium dice 1 cup each minced celery, white onion, green bell pepper 1½ teaspoon garlic, minced 3 bay leaves 1 teaspoon oregano cup tomato puree 1 tablespoon hot sauce 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce ½ teaspoon black pepper 2 quarts beef stock 1 lemon, juiced 4 eggs, hard cooked and finely chopped 4 tablespoons spinach, chopped 4 tablespoons dry sherry Melt 1 stick of butter in a heavy saucepan. Add flour and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the roux is a light brown. Set aside. In a 10 quart saucepan, melt remaining butter and add turtle meat, veal and beef. Cook over high heat until meat is brown. Add celery, onions, garlic, bay leaves and oregano and cook until vegetables are transparent. Add tomato puree, hot sauce, Worcestershire and black pepper and simmer for 10 minutes. Add stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Add roux and cook over low heat, stirring until soup is smooth and thickened. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon, eggs, spinach and sherry. Remove from heat and serve. If desired, at the table add 1 teaspoon of sherry to each soup plate. Even good in the HEAT!

Monday, July 19, 2010

'pologie accepted...

There are very few stores that speak to me in such a way that makes me want to trade in my "stay-at-home mom" status like one in particular. With all it's bohemian trappings, delicate trends with a vintage flair, and one-stop shopping for everything from books to clothes, to plates...Anthropologie is a glorious escape from the department stores of my youth! No, I didn't just discover Anthropologie but it's a store I love...right down to the wood plank floors and burning candles that I thought deserved mentioning. Whether you're looking for an apron or a chair they've got it and you can generally bet that not everyone else in town will have it too. Their designs are as unique as the artists that design for of which is Sarah Ashley Longshore...a New Orleans artist and former school mate of mine. She designed a chair for Anthropologie that is so uber chic you will gladly stay seated all day. Her other works are sheer decadence! From her auspicious Audrey's..."Time Out" chairs made for a queen...or her in-your-face fun...She is definitely an artist to check out. She exudes the tres chic style which I crave and the austere exuberance of youth. Her stylings are a definition Anthropologie has captured so well in everything they do...and until I am able to satisfy my cravings...I guess I'll continue longing for their ease of timelessness...the Longshore chair...and every other item in the store! The Calandria Chair, at Anthropologie

Sarah Ashley Longshore in her Magazine Street Gallery

Image courtesy of

Take home a little Longshore for yourself and...all things Anthro at... See Miss Longshore's other works at...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Oh, blackwater...

Headed to the Queen City (Mississippi) for a bit of respite...think...lake time, cocktail time, playing kids time, and much needed catching up time with some great friends. With only a little more than 4 weeks of summer left I'm jamming everything I can into these next few weeks before our time is limited and the heat fades...although fading heat is a daydream at this point! So...throw on your cutoff shorts (you know you have them), flip flops, and an old concert tee...kick a little Doobie Brothers and hang with's what summer was made for! ...Mississippi moon won't ya keep on shinin' on me... Lake sign above available at:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Sno-ball's chance...

My obsession with the perfect piece of ice began many years ago...when the neighborhood I lived in was bordered by a Jr. Food Mart. They sold Slush Puppy's. Slush Puppy's with all their shiny little beads of ice drenched in your favorite flavor...which at the time included only a few...grape, cherry, and green apple. I loved those Puppy's...grape especially but it was then I suppose my obsession began. We eventually moved from that house and bid farewell to the Jr. Food Mart and sadly...the Pup's. Later, when I was older and could drive...I would drive to the only Hardee's in my hometown that had the little round, pellet type ice. The ice that with it's soft crunch made for the perfect cold drink. And a parking lot...ironically across from that Hardee' summer...opened a tiny little hut with a bright colored umbrella and picnic tables...Sno-Biz - Shaved Ice. I don't remember my first visit but I do remember the dizzying haze that floated across the black top parking lot as if the top layer was boiling in the afternoon sun. I remember a million flavors and not knowing what to could I pick? There were so many...and with names that weren't Tigers Blood...and Wedding Cake. And then there was the thin and piled high. It quickly became a favorite place and the flavors became familiar as I tried new things. Now, The hard part of any romance is when the one thing you love...goes away. As the season would have it, Sno-Biz only operated during the warm summer months and it was during a cold snap that I, well...fell out of love, or rather...forgot what I was in love with. Until...a fateful trip to Metairie, Louisiana...where amongst a few oaks sat a building without a flashy umbrella but offering something similar to my bygone love...Sno-balls. There I was a dizzying haze but this time...the name was a little different and so were the could I ever choose. And, what was the ice like? Was it soft or crunchy? I ordered a small and settled on old standby. I was in love all over again! But this time it was I learned the flavors of nectar...spearmint...and tart satsuma...the ice was fluffier, the flavors more vivid. Maybe it was my imagination, maybe the hot Louisiana sun, or...maybe I was just matter the reason for my swirling head and racing heart...there's just something special about summer love.

I took home a little sno ball to commemorate my new relationship...get one for yourself... Image Credit: Top image - "Open" by Patsy Blake - Available at Four Seasons Antiques and Art in Homewood, Alabama -

Friday, July 9, 2010

Despite my quest to not "look like a mom" (see This Little Piggy Went to Prada post), my den has become a virtual toy box. My beloved granny smith apple green walls, heavy triple crown picture molding, antique french provencal coffee table, and leather nail head sofa are now flanked with a pack-n-play and various other toys that have some how multiplied overnight it would seem. There's a push toy train parked in it's train shed that is the table that holds our silver...a music table in front of the antiqued scroll wrought iron firescreen...stacking rings, a tiny vacuum, lawnmower, and books from one end of the den to the other. How do I integrate these toys...stuff...etc. without feeling as if we are living in a toy store? While browsing in Rosemary Beach recently I came across the most amazing toy, basket. There it was all steely and french in it's demeanor...clean lines, yet distinctly appropriated for toys as the linen liner suggested. Unfortunately I have no place for this amazing find in my cottage-esque den as of yet but as soon as the train has left it's "shed" and the fat lady has the music table obscuring the fireplace and aforementioned screen...I will find a place for them and all of their perfection. And for Rodrigue Blue Dog will no longer glare down in dismay from his perch above the mantel but rather his words inscribed will become repositioned in meaning...We are Marching Again...yes we are...and without a strewn toy, stuff, or etc. in the way! Aidan Gray Industrial Wire Basket with Toy, Stuff and Ect. Liner Item Number: G84 SET Available at: Tracery Interiors - Aidan Gray Home -

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

the simple life

There is no place I enjoy more than the beach. The everyday life of sun, swimming, and lounging. I crave that laid back lifestyle and wonder if the simple life is better? While spending the 4th of July holiday weekend at the beach I came across an ad for the 30-A beach town...Seaside, that read...SEASIDE a beach town that embraces the luxury of simplicity. I've been going there for years and could never put my finger on what made it so perfect...was it the white picket fences, the tin roofs, the pastel drenched streets of scrub brush and oaks, the old time atmosphere, or the beach itself? And there it perfectly was luxurious with all it's offerings...yet so simple in it's roots. There is a symbiotic balance of life there...and up and down 30-A. A balance that requires a little linen, a little bathing suit, a little shell picking, a little mercury glass...a lot of lounging, a lot of sand, a lot of swimming, and a lot of sunscreen! I'm bound to find that balance here at home...away from the beach. A balance that won't include an everyday abundance of free time, sunshine, swimming, lounging, or picket fences. But...a balance nonetheless that is...well...luxuriously simple!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Are we there yet?

Well...we're not exactly the Montague's and the Capulet's family and my husband's family...the in-laws...are all going to the beach...together...for the 4th! Let it be known...laughter, confusion, fear, excitement, anger, love, and possibly tears could be had. Fireworks are certain...but hopefully in the sky! While pondering what the weekend might hold...I'm adrift with thoughts of...the pool, hot po-boys, seaside shopping, white jeans, nautical stripes, cocktails al fresco, sand, sun, my husband, my daughter, my mom, my dad, my sister, in-law's...after all...they are all pretty super! And well...when all is said and done...when the sparklers have sparkeled, the hot dogs are gone, and the white smoke hangs thick in the air...I'm pretty sure there will be no line drawn in, oily sand! Happy 4th of July!!! Photo courtesy of Life images
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