Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Let's continue the schmoopyness of living with the one you love, shall we?

Makes my heart happy!

In fact, I'd gladly display any of the artwork below, inspired by this song from the quirky Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.

{1, 2, 3, 4}

Alabama Arkansas I do love my Ma and Pa
Not the way that I do love you

Holy moly, me oh my, your the apple of my eye
Girl I've never loved one like you

Man o Man your my best friend I scream it to the nothingness
there ain't nothing that I need...

Home, let me come home
Home is whenever I'm with you
Home, yes I am home
Home is wherever I'm with you

Monday, December 5, 2011

You (my sweet husband)

Earlier today I walked outside to call you. I flipped open my phone and scrolled through a loooong list of recent calls before I got to your name. 

Why hadn't we talked on the phone in so long? 

Oh yeah... I smiled. 
We just spent the whooooole weekend together. Who needs a phone?  

At first this made me sad because it's now Monday and the weekend is over. 

Then it hit me. I get to see you tonight when I come home from work. And tomorrow, too. And the next day and the next until it's once again the weekend and I can set my phone aside and spend a little time with you.

This was a big revelation today. It made my heart swell. 

I just love living with you. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Butterfly Specimen Poster

I am not particularly drawn to butterflies and certainly avoid any clothing or accessories they find themselves fluttering on.

I am, however, attracted to this beautiful print from UO.

The paper appears vintage, as though recently ripped from an old textbook. My mom (who dislikes all butterfly decor) will probably be pained to read that I would love to frame and hang this print in my home. 

What do you think?

*I stand corrected. This bride happens to be wearing a lovely butterfly dress. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

San Francisco Guide: Good Eats

One of our favorite things to do when exploring a new city is discover the best local food.  We spent the week before our departure scouring blogs for tips on restaurants off the beaten path offering good eats at a decent price.

I can only remember one meal that didn't absolutely wow us. For your sake (and theirs), I've left that particular spot off our list.  Enjoy!

Pizzeria Delfina
We walked a mile and a half for this pizza.
Up and down each hill, we repeated "I sure hope this is worth it".  It was.
We kept it simple with a Margherita Pizza. The tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil need not boast of their freshness. Their strong individual flavors paired together made me oh so happy. But what really took it over the top was the unexpected extra virgin olive oil sitting above the sauce.

House of Nanking
We waited in line outside this Chinatown restaurant for a coveted spot inside their cozy dining area. And by cozy, I mean cramped. We heard from locals that there is always a line to get in. Eric requested the House of Nanking for the remainder of our trip and continues to do so when asked what he wants to for dinner at our home in Alabama. Ha! 
We both ordered the classic Chinese dish Sesame Chicken which, to our delight, came with sweet potato wedges and loads of white sticky rice. 

El Farolito
We rode the bus to the Mission district, past hordes of people and eclectic shops and nearly missed this particular burrito place among many others in the area. We ordered at the counter and helped ourselves to chips and a plethora of salsa selections while our burritos were rolled. 
I should mention that while I have a special affinity for Mexican food, I also have a special loathing for burritos. I never order them because it seems like each bite brings out only one boring ingredient. Bite of rice, bite of meat, bite of beans, bite of sour cream. No thank you. 

I set aside my disdain based on recommendations and selected the Al Pastor Super Burrito. Oh my.  Favorite meal of the trip hands down. Every bite packed a punch of flavors making me wish I had the stomach to actually finish the thing. Eric ordered a Chicken Super Burrito with guacamole and almost did.  

Nick's Crispy Tacos
We were wet from fog and starving by the time we reached Nick's Crispy Tacos, which operates as a taco stand by day and a creepy red themed bar by night. When the menu read "soft unless otherwise specified" we were thoroughly confused and prepared for disappointment. 
Luckily, we discovered Nicks way (any taco made crispy with guacamole and jack cheese).  Yes please! Crispy at Nick's means two soft shells with the outer shell lightly fried once stuffed.  Folks, I've gotta learn how to make these at home. We both agreed the chicken tacos were the best, topped with complimentary green salsa squeezed from a bottle. We also enjoyed the homemade chips loaded with fresh pico salsa. 

Theresa & Johnny's Comfort Food
After a world tour our bodies craved a comforting home-style brunch. The sign out front reading "just real good food", the walls lined with vintage posters and gadgets, the couple drinking milk shakes before noon and the waitress with a healthy girth and hearty smile all invited us to relax and enjoy. 
I took comfort in a plate sized (extra thin) pancake, bacon and crispy fried french toast.  I still have no idea what that slice of bread went through but, suffice it to say, it tasted amazing. Eric relaxed with a giant breakfast burrito and a bowl of fresh fruit. 

We surprisingly spent almost no more money on food than we do here in Birmingham and enjoyed each meal as much as the one before. 

Do you have a city food guide you'd like to share?  Feel free to link in the comments below. 

Also, can you tell who obsessed over taking food pics based on these shots?  Ha!

*Another SF post coming soon!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Eric and I recently spent our second anniversary on the west coast.

Being the well-balanced travel partners that we are, we stayed in both the city of San Francisco and the wide open spaces of Yosemite. It was the perfect kind of vacation, where each day brought a new and unexpected adventure and we were truly sad to say goodbye.   

This week, I'd love to share pictures and tips from our trip. 

We'll start with the breathtaking Yosemite (I may, or may not, have had a slight panic attack driving into the valley). Rock walls shoot up thousands of feet from the ground, wild life intermingle with visitors and the scenery is absolutely stunning. 

A brief summary: we slept in a canvas tent in Curry Village, rode bikes around the valley, explored Camp 4 and Yosemite Falls, hiked 4.8 miles up (at an elevation of 3200 ft) to Glacier Point and basically jogged all the way down for pizza, which became the staple meal of our stay. Anything with a smell was stored in the bear box outside our tent. My knees and hips have never hurt so bad and I have never slept so good.

We stayed in Yosemite Valley for two nights and crammed as much activity as possible into the one full day we were there. A hike up Glacier Point is a must for anyone wanting multiple viewpoints of the park including Half Dome and El Capitan.

I can't help but adore a husband who pushes me beyond my limits and encourages me to find beauty in the simplest things.

Have you visited Yosemite? Do tell... 

*San Francisco guide coming soon!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kneepad Tights

I already pine away for a wonderfully plain sweater with elbow patches and now, after browsing ASOS, I hope to also add a pair of painfully cute kneepad tights to my winter wardrobe. 

I'm curious: would you wear these tights? 

Have a lovely day!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pick Up the Phone

Today I am suited up with a scarf, boots and printed tights. It's quite cold outside and a strong case could be made that the end of the year is drawing near.

How pleased I was, then, to come across this article while defrosting in my office. 

The article documents what we already know: people simply don't call each other anymore. It's quite funny (and relatable) to read about typical reactions to the phone ringing. At first, a sense of dread that the person on other line is the bearer of bad news, only to be followed by an altogether different sense of dread that they merely want to talk, interrupting important time that could be spent doing other things. 

Funny. Relatable. But sad, too.   

Which brings me to the point of why reading this article on a cold October day makes me happy. As you may recall, I started out 2011 with a list of goals, written in a small notebook that successfully made the rounds of purses as the seasons changed. As the months passed, I shared a few of my goals here and took time to evaluate my progress. This article, however, forced me to take a hard look at one goal I've let slip by unnoticed. Digging into the pocket of my latest purse (a red saddle bag, in case you needed to visualize it), I grabbed the notebook and reluctantly flipped through the pages until I found it. 

Goal number 6: Learn to be a better friend. Take risks. Pick up the phone. 


Let me explain. It's not that I don't want to be a better friend. I most certainly do. But insecurities and laziness often get the best of me. This particular goal was written with purposeful intention. It's long been my desire to be the kind of woman who not only remembers birthdays and has cute parties at Christmastime, but also relates during hardships and rejoices during victories. Who is vulnerable enough to be herself and and relies on God to be better than herself for the sake of others. 

Who picks up the phone for crying out loud! 

I'll spare you the details of my insecurities and laziness to simply say this: I've got a lot of work to do. I'm so grateful to have the remainder of this year to focus on being a better friend. 

How are your 2011 goals coming along? Can you relate to this one in particular? I'd love to hear!

(yes, it's been a while. let's just skip the reasons why and dive back in, shall we?)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Music to My Ears

Eric and I attended an awesome concert this weekend to see John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives.

You can check out my review for Birmingham Box Set here.

*image via

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Sweet Touch

These accessories would lend a sweet touch to any outfit.

{bag from Urban Outfitters, hair band from Asos and belt from Mod Cloth}

Apparently, this non girly-girl is still drawn to pretty shades.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Flea Mall Find

Hooray for lampshades that update your living room lighting from this:

to this: 

for only $0.50! 

Thanks goes to the Bama Flea Mall with their rad finds and great prices.  The dent that made this price possible is hidden against the wall. 

Come across any great finds lately?  Do tell. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Minimalism: a Follow-up

This weekend was refreshing. 

Friday night, my sister announced her forthcoming peanut (due in March!) and we slept in to a near-embarrassing time Saturday morning. 

Only I'm not embarrassed. It was lovely.

Last month, I shared my desire to move towards a balanced, practical minimalism in my life. We dedicated a little of our weekend towards this goal, which made it all the more refreshing. 

Our progress:
1. We scoured our closets and drawers for clothes that are out of style, no longer fit or never see the light of day. They are now piled in a bag awaiting their delivery to the thrift store. 
2. We spent yesterday evening at the park with friends. Eric and Shaun ran while Bethany and I walked and chatted. It was already dark and a little spooky walking on the trail through the woods. The best part? There were hundreds of twinkling lighting bugs and it was all free!
3. I planned this week's meals around similar ingredients to make sure we utilize what's in our pantry and refrigerator before it goes bad. Because it's just the two of us, this can be a huge source of waste!
4. We (finally) organized our recycling. The three full garbage bags are ready to be dropped off and a pantry in our kitchen is now empty again. 

Are you moving towards a simpler life? 
I'd love to hear about your progress: tips, setbacks and successes!

*Image via Like the Dew
Appreciating beauty, instead of taking it for granted, is a wonderful way to embrace a simpler life. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cookie Dough Dip

It's Friday.

It's Friday and all I can muster at the end of that "sentence" is a period. In less than ten minutes (at quittin' time), I'll be way more enthused. Right now, I'm drained from a week of working.

Speaking of work, our office had a small get-together one night this week. To the sheer excitement of some and total disgust of others, I announced my contribution to be cookie dough dip. In case you are confused, like a few of my friends, let me explain:

Cookie dough dip = all the goodness of cookie dough (butter, brown sugar, vanilla, chocolate chips) - the egg + other goodness (cream cheese and cool whip). 

For the base recipe, visit Stephanie Cooks.

I made two batches.  The first batch was regular. I halved the second batch and added 2 tablespoons of cinnamon to one half (with no chocolate chips) and added 1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder, 1/4 cup peanut butter and 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips to the second half.

Serve with vanilla wafers, butter cookies or graham crackers.

*In case you were wondering: the naysayers apologized and ate their fair share of dip. He he.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Honey Lime Enchiladas

It's no secret that we eat Mexican food a few times a week.  

Once in a while it's nice to mix things up.  This dish, with it's sticky sweetness, did just the trick.  It's so different that at first we weren't sure if we liked it.  A few bites later and it was a hit.  Enjoy! 

Honey Lime Enchiladas
5 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
1 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (I used rotisserie chicken)
8 flour tortillas
2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded
16 ounces green enchilada sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream 

Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan.  Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1/2 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. 

Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream. Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.

*Recipe adapted from Stephanie Cooks
**My food photography skills are lacking. Ha!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A 20 x 200 Deal

For the next 35 hours only, Refinery 29 is offering an amazing deal on framed prints from 20 x 200.  We are trying to watch our spending, so I doubt I'll make a purchase.  My wish(ful thinking) list is below.  Enjoy!

I love each of these photos but I can't guarantee they'd all get wall time.  What is the disconnect between pictures that make me smile and those I would actually hang in my home?  I'm thinking of closing up this gap. 

What is your favorite 20 x 200 print?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wise Words

Last week a small portion of our worship team attended a conference in Virginia.  Located at a Hillsong church, Aussie accents abounded and the music touched both my emotions and my spirit.

We also had the unique privilege of learning from worship leader Darlene Zschech, who speaks with humility and grace.  There are still so many thoughts bouncing through my mind from the conference.

For now, I'll share favorite line of the weekend, spoken by Kevin Gerald:

Isn't this a beautiful concept? 

I instantly thought of my marriage but over the past week so many other areas of life come to mind.  Work, church, friendships, our apartment, my physical appearance and health.  

Am I allowing myself to long for something "better", all the while neglecting what I already have?  How can I, instead, facilitate growth?  

Does this resonate with you?  Why or why not?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Homemade Poptarts

Growing up my dad would make his grandmother's homemade biscuits nearly every Sunday morning.  Our trip to the beach was no exception.  Their buttery smell lured us from our heat and swim induced comas into the living room. Dropped by a spoon, they are oddly shaped and the perfect texture.

As is custom, my mom contributed to the tasty nostalgia with her mom's biscuit syrup.  It's simple and (despite what my husband might think) divine: karo syrup and bits of butter.

In appreciation of my folks' years of dedicated breakfast service (or maybe just because I felt like it) I brought homemade brown sugar-cinnamon and strawberry poptarts.  Prepared ahead and frozen, I coated them lightly with an egg and popped them in the oven for about 30 minutes.  

You can find the recipe at Smitten Kitchen

Don't be discouraged if it's tough to make on your first go.  Once I actually followed her "warm kitchen warning" it was pretty fool proof.  These poptarts are delicious and quite capable of stirring up a few memories of their own. 


*Picture (by my sister, De) of the brown sugar-cinnamon poptart. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Music to My Ears

I recently interviewed our good friend Carlos Pino for Birmingham Box Set.  

We chatted over chips and salsa about his life as a full-time musician in Birmingham.  It's an encouraging read for anyone seeking a career in a challenging industry. 

You can check it out here

{Photo by Thomas Diasio}

Have a lovely day.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Homemade Popsicles

Our family of ten (folks, siblings, hubby, brother-in-law and brother's girl) recently returned from the beach.  We stayed in a condo decorated outside of the sand-and-sea theme, complete with rooftop pools and a lake.

The lake provided its own entertainment with snapping turtles, birds that swam underwater and an 8-foot gator.  Before long we were quoting Troy and filling to-go boxes with our very own gator bait.  We also rented scooters and had a few successful runs on the boogie board. It was too fun! 

To ease the heat and encourage a little vacation indulgence, we made our own popsicles: creamsicle, root beer float and chocolate cream soda.  

They are surprisingly more tasty than you might think and simple to make! 

All you need
3 oz. Dixie cups
Ice cream
Popsicle sticks

Cut a small slit in each cup for easy tearing.  

Fill the bottom third of the cup with ice cream.  Slowly pour in the soda, allowing time for the fizz to go down, until it reaches two-thirds full.  Freeze for roughly 2 hours.  Fill with ice cream.  Freeze for 30 minutes.  Add popsicle stick and freeze until solid.  Remove cup and enjoy! 

*Recipe from Evil Chef Mom
**Picture (by my sister, De) includes the creamsicle and root beer float popsicles. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Music to My Ears

A few weeks ago, I spoke with Justin Townes Earle about his upcoming show here in Birmingham.  As you know, he is one of my favorites.

You can read the interview here.

Stay tuned this week for posts on recent decor finds, beach trips and pops (of the sicle and tart variety). 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bright Accents

Check out the new pops of color found at West Elm.

Also at West Elm - this piece reminds me of a recent craigslist find

I'm thinking a bright accent here and there would be a nice touch for our apartment this summer.  

What small changes do you make in decor throughout the seasons?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Practical Minimalism

My cousin, Rachel, recently started a blog documenting her journey to a less cluttered home.  Her goal is to get rid of one item every day and just like in real life, she's candid and funny.  You can read all about it here.

She's got me thinking:  I could get into a more simplified life.

While we are always in need of a good declutter in our apartment, we often overlook other areas where less goes a long way.

We stay busy and life passes us by.

Perhaps minimalism applies to more than just material possessions.  I'm inspired by Rachel's blog to look for ways to simplify our home and life.

Here's how I plan to get started:
1. Use less ingredients to make simpler meals.
2. Don't wash clothes as a default to folding.
3. Request an end to junk-mail that ends up in the trash.
4. Sit down and relax.  Enjoy moments of free-time.
5. Once in a while, pick up the phone.  Have a real conversation.
6. Save money.  Go outside and have fun for free.

How do you embrace practical minimalism in your everyday?

Friday, July 8, 2011


We're slowly learning to ask for wisdom and listen for guidance.  It takes humility to realize that He knows better than me.  It takes discernment to recognize His voice over the one in my head.  It takes faith to move in the direction He is calling me. It sure is a slow process. 

I'm so grateful that His promises are new every morning. 

Have a lovely morning (and weekend), my friends. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

In Print

We love Tennessee.

I recently wrote an article for Birmingham Magazine detailing a road trip through this beautiful state.  

It's published in the July issue and you may view it here

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer Book Club

As you know, I am a bookworm.

To this day, my cousin makes fun of me for climbing up our front yard tree for an afternoon read when she visited us over the summer. (Wait. She teases me for crocheting in that tree. Fortunately, I don't recall it quite that way, so let's just say I was reading.  Selective memory is a wonderful gift).

While living in Chattanooga, I would make a quick drive up the mountain and sit on the wall at Signal Point, engrossed in the latest read. The view beyond my book was breathtaking and the gentle breeze inspired me to stay a while.

Now, I'll snuggle up on the couch, the porch or next to my honey with eager eyes, scanning the page with anticipation for what happens next.

Ahhh, I still love a good book.
This summer I joined a book club small group through our church.  A group of women, gathered over good food and chatting the night away about plot, characters and life application is just what this bookworm needs. 

First up, we are reading Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.  I must admit, I finished it a tad early and cried myself to sleep - an absolutely beautiful story!

Do you have any suggestions for our next book?  I recently enjoyed The Help by Kathryn Stockett and can't wait for the movie in August.

Have a great weekend and a happy 4th!

*images: a view I'd love to read to; stacked schoolgirl books; our current read

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Our "New" TV Stand

As you may recall, Eric and I were on the hunt for a new TV stand back in February.  Being avid craigslist-ers, we were determined to find a well-priced beauty we could adopt from another family.

I am here to encourage you, friends.  Patience pays off.

Below is our original setup.

And here is our new setup in all it's glory. 

The details...

People actually paid us for our old TV and stand - $75 total. 

We were lucky to find an antique, refinished buffet table - $200 total.  

Do you revel in the benefits of craigslist?  You can reduce the amount of material items in your home, increase your savings and/or find pre-loved, quality-made items that won't break the bank.  Those are my excuses, anyway.
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