Friday, May 27, 2011


It's said that a picture speaks a thousand words. It stills a moment in time and allows others to emotionally connect with the event.

excitement. joy. laughter.  
fear. anger. despair.  
hope. faith. peace.  

And then there is reality.  A panoramic, 360 degree view that makes your heart race and leaves you speechless.

The recent tornado damage in our state moves me to tears. I can't imagine the heartache of families who lost their loved ones, homes and livelihood.  When an opportunity arose for Eric and I to join our church in a day trip to Tuscaloosa, we were eager to help.  It was a great privilege to work alongside 18 other volunteers and clear debris in Ms. Beverly's yard. 

Seeing the devastation in person was truly life changing. The historic neighborhood, once shaded by beautiful trees, now bakes in the sun, illuminating the quiet chaos of a desolate street. Ms. Beverly survived the storm in a tiny hallway, while her bedroom was sucked away, the top floor seemingly disappeared and her entire home was littered with insulation. 

It was only by the grace of God.

Ms. Beverly's home was destroyed by fire just five years ago. She rebuilt then and says she will rebuild again. I was struck by her smile as she discussed such things; her hope for the future, her faith in God's goodness, her peace despite the pain. And I pray that her peace remains. 

*all photos of our time in Tuscaloosa by Kevin Johnson.
**for opportunities to help, please visit Hands on Birmingham or contact your local church.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

In-store Inspiration

When Eric and I last visited Chattanooga, we stopped at a local shop to kill time before meeting up with our friends.  The jars hanging right inside the front door were so enchanting. Upon breaking my gaze, I raced out to the truck for our camera and snapped a quick picture.  

I so appreciate in-store inspiration, don't you?  It doesn't always lead to an in-store purchase, but it certainly gets my creativity flowing.  

I can't wait to try out my own version of this simple beauty.

What in-store decor inspires you?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mexican Pizza

It's no secret: we love Mexican food and we love pizza. Are you surprised that we also love Mexican food on pizza?! I didn't think so.  

Last week, we threw together a new regular, courtesy of Annie's Eats. The black bean sauce makes this unique and flavorful. You can find the original recipe here. Our version and (sad) pics are below.  Enjoy!

Mexican Pizza
Your favorite pizza crust
8 oz (or 1/2 can) black beans, rinsed and drained
8 oz tomato sauce
1 chipotle pepper, in adobe sauce
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 TBSP water
6 oz shredded Mexican cheese
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/3 cup tomato, seeded and diced
1/3 cup frozen corn
4 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven as directed for crust. 

In food processor combine black beans, tomato sauce, chipotle pepper, cumin, paprika and cayenne. Puree until ground into a sauce.  Add 2 TBSP of water and puree for 1 additional minute.

Spread black bean sauce over crust.  Top evenly with cheese, jalapeno, tomato, corn, salt and pepper.  Bake as directed. Top with fresh cilantro.  Eat up!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Life Test

Listen to a challenging message and read straightforward scripture.  

I am so moved to evaluate my life and make certain I am growing in Him. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Retro Recover

Quite a while back, I was perusing the thrift store with my mother-in-law in Nashville. We were headed out when  I spotted a footstool against the front wall. With beautiful retro legs and a price tag of $5, I couldn't pass it up!

Once home, I deemed the cushion wide enough to pass for extra seating in our living room and placed it right in front of the fireplace.

And there it sat. And sat. 

Until my mom and I found the perfect velvet fabric on clearance and went to work.  I will admit, she completed most of this project and where you see a flaw, it was likely done by me.  

love how it turned out.  
That almost ugly pink with those brass-foot legs. Swoon! 

Side note: we picked up the side table at a dumpster in Chattanooga.  Eric was at first mortified, but later sawed off the tabs on the middle shelf to make room for temporary record storage.  I'd love to paint it but can't decide on a color.  Any suggestions?  

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Green Beans

Last night, Eric requested Chicken Picatta for dinner. It's a quick, easy and scrumptious dish from Macaroni and Cheesecake. We needed a few sides and settled on the reliable combination of green beans and corn. We opted for fresh green beans and frozen corn, and folks, I will never return to the can.

The corn cooks up in 5 minutes and tastes like it was just sliced from the cob. The only seasoning required is salt, pepper and a little Smart Balance.

The green beans, oh, the green beans! I'm no stranger to fresh green beans, but, thanks to a suggestion from a friend, we spiced up our usual routine and I'd love to share it with you.

Roasted Green Beans
Fresh green beans
Olive oil
Sea salt
Red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese (grated)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix to coat evenly.  Spread green beans onto a large cookie sheet and discard excess oil. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping beans over halfway through cooking time.

Oh my!  Do you have any easy go-to sides?
Feel free to share your recipe or a link in the comments.

**image via.  I am the worst at remembering to take pictures.  Remember this goal?  Still working on that.  The green beans above most closely resemble ours.  Unfortunately, ours are all gone.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

All the Pretty Rooms

a bedroom, via under the sycamore

Our schedule has calmed down greatly over the past two weeks.  It's been so nice to be at home with my hubby, enjoying our rooms.  

Aren't the rooms above pretty and inspiring?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Yesterday, I came across this picture on Nesting Place.

I have no room for a bench or an actual entryway, but I would make good use of that colorful quilt (and those pillows, that green paint and that plant, too). I'm now planning a thrift store quilt-hunting trip as I simply cannot afford one otherwise.  

How do you add punches of color to your home?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fun for a Girl or a Boy

Last Monday, Eric and I took off work to enjoy my birthday.  After eating dinner at Chuy's, we stopped by Urban Outfitters to check out their sale rack. Apparently, no one told them it was my birthday because I didn't find a single thing.  Eric, however, found a sweater, a vinyl record and this:

It's a Stylophone Retro Pocket Synthesizer (although whose pocket it will fit in, I'm not sure).  Originally produced in the late 60's as a toy, the stylophone eventually found it's way into recording studios as an instrument of sorts.  It's seen such use in recent years by The Raconteurs and The Greenhornes

History aside, this guy is fun.  

And if you know a guy, chances are he'll have fun with it, too.  We found it on sale for $9.99 at UO.  You can also purchase one for $18.99 on Amazon

Below are a few other items making a resurgence:

Instant cameras (available here; image via).

Nesting dolls (available here).

Snail Mail (available anywhere, image via).

I need to work on that last one... 

Happy Monday!

Friday, May 13, 2011

In Print

Today, I am excited to share my first article, published in the May issue of Birmingham Magazine.

You might recognize the couple above as Paula and Kellen Coldiron 
(of Two Ellie and Kellen Jacob Photography, respectively).

We had the pleasure of hiring them as our wedding photographers and I have since been inspired by pictures of their precious home on Paula's blog.  When given the opportunity to write, I knew the Coldiron family would make a perfect first story.

Without further ado: you may view the article here.  

**You can purchase a copy of the magazine at Books-A-Million or Barnes & Noble locations in the Birmingham area. For a full tour of Paula's home, visit her upload on Houzz
**May I also encourage you to check out Birmingham Box Set?  Way cool music reviews and interviews coming soon! You can read my first interview here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Take Small Steps

It's been some time since I shared one of my 2011 goals.  I realize it's already May and posting on resolutions is the thing of four months ago.  To keep you interested, today's goal will include a report of how it's going so far.  Be sure to read on because this one is exciting!

Goal number 5: Research and act on career opportunities.  Take small steps.

Sounds boring and predictable so far, right?  Let me explain.

As a somewhat newlywed (approaching 2 years) and a somewhat recent college graduate (4 years - okay, not so recent), I am enjoying time with my husband and growth in my career.  If you know me personally, you are probably aware that I don't work a dream job.  I am content and glad to contribute to our income.

There is, however, something I've wanted for quite some time now.  To be a mom.  To have a chubby baby with Eric that we can cuddle with and watch grow into a toddler, kid, teen and one day - a young adult.  In fact, if nature allows, I'll happily have a few of them.  

We're not ready to have kids yet (sorry Mema!) but when the times comes, I want to stay at home. I trust that God has his hand on our marriage and future family and, if we use wisdom, he will help us realize this dream.

What does this have to do with my career?  Everything.

In college, I tossed around the idea of being a Journalism major.  I was a book worm growing up (summer days spent reading in a tree, anyone?) and thought writing would be a perfect extension of my passion.  Then I got scared.  What if I couldn't find a job or make good money?  So I took business courses instead, graduated and found a great job.

The longing to write was still there and a little over a year ago, my sweet husband encouraged me to start a blog.  It's been a wonderful journey.

As I pondered my goals for 2011, my mind focused in on "take small steps." This made everything sound easier.  I want to write.  There are local magazines in Birmingham.  Small step: send an email to a local magazine editor.

I did.  She was so gracious to meet me for coffee, offer advice and an opportunity to work as a freelance writer for her magazine.  It's silly I know, but I could cry.  As I type this, a beautiful picture runs through my head.  Me, doing what I love: taking care of our home, spending time with husband and our little munchkins, and writing.  Writing!  I hope and pray that this small step leads to big opportunities so that I can one day stay at home, contribute to our income and challenge my mind.

Tomorrow, I'll share my first published article with you.

Are you (or do you want to be) a stay-at-home mom?  How do you (or will you) make it work?  Do you think it's an absurd desire in this day and age?  I'd love to hear! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Music to My Ears

I have a couple of exciting announcements to share with you this week!

First up: I  recently joined the writers of the music blog Birmingham Box Set. It is an extension of Birmingham Magazine and includes concert reviews, music news and interviews.  As you know, I love going to concerts with my hubby.  He and I are proving to be a great team in coming up with good questions - I certainly couldn't do it without him.  

Saturday afternoon, I talked with Jack Oblivian, a Memphis-based garage rock musician.  He was friendly, humble and pretty funny too.    

{photo via Chicago Reader}

My first interview is up on the blog today.  
You can check it out here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I [heart] AL

As you know, many in our region lost their homes and loved ones in the tornadoes that ravaged the southeast last week.  The stories pouring forth each day contain both the heartbreaking and the miraculous.

As relief efforts begin, thousands are rallying together to provide necessities to those in need.  Local churches are collecting donations and volunteers are collecting debris.  It is truly touching.  

A sweet college student in our church, Susannah, is donating all proceeds from her Etsy shop to tornado relief efforts. Go to I Love Little Buddies to make a purchase. 

Check out the shops below for more opportunities to support tornado victims.

I love the quote printed on the necklace above.  

It is my hope that through donations of goods, services and time, we will all show kindness to our neighbors who are in need.  We are praying for all those affected and look forward to serving them in any way we can.

**edit: after a comment below from my blogger friend at Mo-Pie Please, I must share an all encompassing website listing opportunities to help. Please take time to look at Shelter for the South and then take action! 
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