Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tour of Home :: Part 1 : Living Room

Here are some before and after snap shots of our living room (with commentary, of course) -
**Disclaimer - none of our rooms are completely finished. Work in progress :)

:: Before ::

:: After ::

As previously mentioned, we repainted all of the walls in our house (and ceilings too!).
The wall color shown is Benjamin Moore's Paris Rain. We got all
our paint from our friendly neighborhood Rosing Paint Center. They matched
colors and were super friendly and easy to work with!

Our map collection is in the to be completed stage - next up is this map of the Carribean...
at the request of my husband who's pretty much obsessed with sand and water. The
map on the left is of Italy and is actually sold as a sheet of wrapping paper. I purchased it, bought
a frame from Ikea, and now it's a wall piece. World map was a gift from the brother.
Desk from Lofty Ideas in Augusta, GA.

Couches were Jamie's from college. We tried several different layouts, but,
at my sister's suggestion, wound up like this. I'm satisfied. Rug and t.v.
stand both from Ikea. And that's the Oprah Show on the t.v.

This painting was a wedding gift from a dear friend of my family, Lynwood Hall. He
also did the flowers at our wedding! He's extremely talented, and this particular painting
is of a trail around the lake at High Hampton in Cashiers, N.C. (where we met Lynwood).
I had it hung somewhere else, but changed my mind, so it'll be hung here soon!
Champagne bottle lamp was one my mom had gotten made.

I decided to go with yellows in the living area. This particular pillow was a free gift,
from the amazingly talented designer friend of mine, Jessica Duncan.
I told her my plan, and she just happened to have this pillow case in the trunk of her car!
Guess that's how designers roll. The other pillows came from Pottery Barn and Ikea.

My older sister, Jennifer, has great taste, knows what will go best where, and has
learned pretty well how to stretch a dollar. She came in after I'd had most
everything in place, and just completed the look. I call her my finisher. She brought
some live plants, which scare me a little. But so far, we're a month in, and I haven't killed any!

**If you're looking for someone to be your finisher, I've got lots of talented friends.
One in particular just started her own business doing just this, and you can check out more details
and entertaining design posts and home ideas on Tyler's blog here.

This trunk came from another antique store in Augusta (they've got some great ones downtown), and
little sister, Robin Anne, bought this for my birthday. I think it's pretty much perfect
as a coffee table, considering the space we have to work with.

Since we've been on the house hunt, Jamie has been talking about wanting a "man" chair. While this
wasn't exactly what he had in mind, we got this for a steal guessed Augusta
antique store. It's a little worn, but for the price we paid, it's perfect for now. I bought an ottoman from
Home Goods to give him a spot to prop up his feet. The leathers don't exactly match, but it was cheap,and I just
threw a blanket over it (and put it away when we have company!) Side table is from another Augusta antique
store. Lamp base is from Ikea. Shade from Target. Mirrored window I got custom made years ago.
Sidenote: We do intend to stain our front door. Just hasn't happened yet!

My sister and brother-in-law live in Carrollton, GA, which happens to be the hometown of Steve Penley.
They're friends (in fact, my twin nieces are the same age as one of his children, and for their birthday
one year, they each got a beautiful Penley canvas of their own), and when my sister ran by to
grab us a print, he whipped this up real quick. We were super excited to have our first Penley!

This piece is one of the most traditional pieces in our home, but I love it. Originally we it thought it
it was a hunt board, but realized it was something else I can't remember the name of. And we got it from
Lofty Ideas in Augusta for a steal! Great storage and beautiful wood. The cane stool tucked below
was a wedding gift from our dearest family friends, the Goldsmiths.

Thus ends the tour of our living room, and all of my commentary. It's really the most complete room in the house, but I'm working to get the others together soon. So more pics to come.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Coming soon.... of the house! I promise.

It's still in the process of coming together, but most of the rooms are as complete as they're going to be for now. First up - before and afters of the living room!

Monday, February 22, 2010

funny (+ so, so sad at the same time)

Cartoon by Mike Luckovich - February 21st cartoon for the AJC

Friday, February 19, 2010

my brother liked it.... he went and put a ring on it!

That's brother's engaged! It's been a whirlwind of fun, but that's how Andy Allen rolls.
pictured above is the first meeting of the parents!

For those of you who don't know him, my brother is a catch. Sharp, motivated, pretty good looking (if I do say so myself), and the brother of three sisters. I mean, after all of these years of dealing with the women in our house, he's going to make Betsy a great husband!

Quick recap: Andy's always been the adventurer of the family. While we all like to travel and see the world, the rest of us really enjoy coming back to our safe havens all within a few hundred miles of each other. Not Andy.

Andy spent two and a half years in the tiny town of Tinjdad, Morocco where he served in the Peace Corps working as a small business developer.

Then he went on to get his International Masters of Business at the University of South Carolina, during which he spent 9 months doing an internship in France (6 months spent in Paris).

Finally, he decided to take his foreign services exam, passed with flying colors, got his background check approved, and joined the foreign services. In November, he found out they were sending him to.....MADAGASCAR! (I like to move it, move it - video clip below.)

After moving to D.C. last June, he met Betsy Isom about a month later. And the two have been inseparable ever since. Given the future logistics, they started talking serious about a month ago, and turns out they want to get married! Yaaaay!

One catch: I haven't even met her yet! My mom, dad, and younger sister, Robin Anne are the only ones to have met her - and love her - so far. However, March 5-6, they are scheduled to spend a weekend down south with one of the closest, loudest, and largest families - us, of course!

Then I'll have lots of pics to send of me with the bride- and groom-to-be. God is good!

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. - Proverbs 31:10

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

God Gave Me You

This is my song for my husband, especially during this season -

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. - James 1:17

Dave Barnes: God Gave Me You :: If you've never checked out his music, you should. Now. My personal faves - On A Night Like This, Until You, Nothing Fancy, Your Love Will Never Change, 10,000 Children, More Than A Man (and the list goes on).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Real Simple

Real Simple is hands down my favorite magazine out there. Do I enjoy celebrity gossip? Sure. Will I pick up a PEOPLE every now and then while I'm in line at the grocery? Definitely. (Sidenote: PEOPLE is my favorite "entertainment" magazine.)

But Real Simple is my fav. I love ideas for my home. I like tips for the best way to get a stain out of my white shirt. I enjoy new recipes. The layout is easy and entertaining. And I just flat out love the design. It's clean. Sharp. And....simple.

My mother-in-law gave me two magazine subscriptions for Christmas! One for Real Simply (my first issue came yesterday!!) and one for Southern Living. There's nothing better than getting mail, so getting my favorite magazine in the mail? Great day!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Domestic Part I: Homemade Energy Bars

I'm a blog surfer. I read my friends blogs. Then I check out their blog roll and click on their friends' blogs. And so on. I like to call it "researching" (although my husband calls it stalking). However, I feel that if you put information on the internet, folks, it's fair game. And sometimes I walk away with ideas for my home. Or a restaurant review. The latest cheap deals in the ATL. Or just the latest happenings in the life of a friend who's moved away.

Sometimes my "research" is purely for entertainment. But sometimes I find something useful. Which is what I found when I checked out my friend (well, technically acquaintance...I mean we've only met once, but we have lots of mutual friends and we really should be friends ourselves!), Nicole Lane, and her family blog. From what I know, Nicole is a rockstar of a mom, wife, and cook. You should definitely peruse her blog for entertaining kid stories (her twins are two) and great recipes for anything from mac n' cheese to homemade deodorant. Yes, I said deodorant. I'm telling you!

Anyhow, this weekend I had grand plans of being domestic x2. But, that's where the two different parts come into play, cause I only got to one. Nicole's Energy Bars. I made the clif bar version and have shared the recipe below, including notes from Nicole (in red) and/or me (in green).

Clif Bars

1/4 cups rice krispies
1 cup quick-cooking oats
3 T ground flaxseed meal
- healthy of course, but if cost is a concern and you don't want to buy unnecessary ingredients, feel free to leave it out
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- Nicole uses whole foods brand, made with 70% cacao, and has the main ingredient of chocolate liquor vs. sugar
- I don't live anywhere near a whole foods, so I just bought the Ghiradelli kind, but might not again, due to costs.
1/4 cup sliced almonds
- toasted, if possible
1/4 cup raw honey
- don't be intimidated by the fact that it says "raw" honey. You probably wouldn't be, but I was and first bought a $10 12 oz. jar of raw honey from Fresh Market. But I found a $5.99 16 oz. jar at Kroger!
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 t vanilla extract
a few dashes of sea salt
In a large bowl, mix the rice krispies, oats, flaxseed, craisins, chocolate chips, and almonds.
In a pot, heat the honey, then add the peanut butter, vanilla, and salt, stirring constantly until melted.
Pour honey mixture over the cereal mixture and mix well.
- If you're making a large batch, it might be best to mix in two separate large bowls to make it a bit easier.
Let it sit for a few minutes until it stiffens, then press it into an 8x8 or 9x9 pan.
Cut into bars.
- Mixture is fairly crumbly, so Nicole wraps them individually in aluminum foil. She buys the individual reynolds wrappers and cuts these in half. One bar in each sheet, and form again if the bar has crumbled once wrapped.
Place in large ziploc bag and put in fridge.

Funny story? As I was reading this I realized that somehow I missed the part about pressing the mixture into a pan. No wonder mine were really, really crumbly as I was trying to form them in my hands!

I did the recipe x4, and turned out with plenty of bars to last the two of us probably two weeks.

Anyhow, mine turned out decent (and will hopefully look better when I follow all the directions next time). And they taste really yummy. Jamie and I are both breakfast people, but these will work great when we've got to take something on the road. And I plan on bringing one to work every day for my afternoon snack (I can't make it without some sort of snack between lunch and dinner!).

You can also check out Nicole's blog for a recipe for Lara Bars as well.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I almost don't want to tell any Atlanta people about this place, because it's already got plenty of business ('s always packed!). But in the interest of boasting on our new 'hood, I'm revealing the secret.

Their tag line? a good place to be.

And good it is. Jamie and I ventured over one Sunday afternoon just to see what the buzz was about. We didn't eat, nor did we stay long. But we took the tour, chatted with a super friendly waiter, and were in awe. So, we decided to take an almost official visit this past Friday night. No food yet (that will come), but we did get a drink and soaked it all in.

My list of the top things that intrigued us -
1 - Indoor, full-sized bocce court.
2 - Darts, pool, shuffleboard.
3 - Beautiful interior walls made of wood planks.
4 - Food. (Even if I haven't tasted it yet, it sure does sound + smell good.)
5 - TV's. (J and I propped up at the bar to watch the Hawks game.)
6 - Vast beer, cocktail, and wine menu.
7 - Friendly staff.
8 - About 2 miles from our home.
9 - Housed in the White Provisions building, which is b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l! (The retail building, that is)
10 - No sign on the door. It's just a big wooden door.

You can read various blog reviews here. here. and here. Oh, and here too.

bocce ball

(that apparently come with your choice b/t
10 different dipping sauces. have i mentioned
that i love dipping sauces?!)




[Photo credits all belonging to someone else!]

Monday, February 1, 2010


Super exciting news, people!

Francine Rivers, who is my absolute favorite author in the world and who I've blogged about before here, has a new book coming out in March 2010! Her first full-length novel since 2003 (um...and since I've read all of her others at least twice, I have been waiting and waiting for this moment!). It's called Her Mother's Hope. And even better news....there's a second one to follow. Hooraaaaah!

I've included the trailer below. I mean, I've never even heard of a trailer for a book before, but anything to quench some of my excitement will do!

love it/hate it

About a month ago, I finally decided that after three years dentist-free it was time for me to make the dreaded trip. I wasn't purposefully avoiding my teeth, you've just got to understand that I lived in a much smaller town growing up. And so I had the same dentist, Dr., optometrist, allergist, etc. all my life. And they also happened to be family friends, so all was good. Then I moved to the big city, and put a few things off. I'm not good with change.

Well, let's just say that the visit went as I expected it. Not super great. I mean, I'm a twice a day tooth-brusher, but I have had some major commitment problems when it comes to flossing. So, I've had to make a few trips back to get some things filled. And they scared me bad enough (with horror stories and with the $$$ it takes to repair any damage) to encourage me to start flossing. I even bought mouth wash.

And I'm loving most of it. My teeth are extra clean and slimy feeling. I feel assured that I won't be needing any more fillings for a while. And I even think my overall breath is better. :)

But what I don't like is the fact that since flossing reduces any type of swelling that can occur in the gums, I now have a teeny, tiny space in between the upper portion of my two front teeth. And I swear it looks like I have a piece of pepper stuck there.

But, alas, I think the good outweighs the bad. However, if you see me around, go ahead and make a mental note - that's not pepper stuck in my two front teeth, it's just me taking care of 'em.