Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My (Birth) Day

Thank you all very much for the sweet notes, calls and texts that you sent yesterday. I had a wonderful birthday! I spent the day doing one of my favorite things, decorating for Christmas in my pajamas. About 11:00 am I got dressed and ran a few errands to grab things I realized I needed for decorating. The house is far from complete, but I did get a good amount accomplished. While running errands, I couldn't help but swing through Starbucks and purchase a birthday cake pop--of course it was pink!

My mom got stuck out of town due to weather, but we had celebrated with dinner last Wednesday, so I wasn't terribly bummed. Bryan left work a little early and surprised me with five kinds of chocolate and wine. He knows how to treat a birthday girl right! We also celebrated my birthday in Stuttgart with his family last Friday night. My gifts from him were a sewing machine and serger. I mentioned many months ago that I would really like to learn how to sew and own a sewing machine at some point. Little did I know that I would be teaching myself this winter! I know these might not be thrilling gifts to a lot of people, but I am extremely excited just thinking about all of the the creations I can produce!

Bryan and I went to IronWood Grill with a small group of friends, where I had a wedding cake martini and salmon with mango salsa. I asked the waitress for a fun drink and wondered if I could get a birthday martini instead of a wedding cake martini. Her blank stare and quick no would have been much better received had she just made up something and said yes. Can't a girl want to be festive?

I racked up on jewels, with my mom giving me a monogrammed West Avenue necklace from Max & Chloe and Dr. Ash giving me a sparkly rhinestone necklace. Love them both!

Bryan snapped this picture of me while I was getting out my lip gloss before we left for dinner. It is really the only good picture of the dress I purchased from Sosie.

That's all I've got for ya, so have a Happy Hump Day!

Childhood Memories + Books

As a child growing up, I was an avid reader. Sitting by the fire, sipping a hot cup of tea or cocoa and reading a good book was a normal way to spend winter and Christmas holiday evenings. It was also a special time of year when the four of us would read books aloud to each other. With the weather turning cold, I cannot help but think of a few of my favorites, The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis.

I am sure most of you have either heard of this series because of the books or the movies that have recently been produced. They really are the greatest. Even if you have seen some of the movies, I think that at least the first one is worth reading as a family together this holiday season.

What triggered my thoughts on these was a picture of Turkish Delight that I saw on Pinterest. For those of you unfamiliar with these books, Turkish Delight was Edmund's favorite treat that helped him to be lured by the white witch. When Emily and I went to Turkey four years ago we bought some solely for this reason. I love these books, where there is good versus evil in a mystical land, only a few steps away in a wardrobe.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Birthday

As much as I normally celebrate all month long, I really kept pretty calm this year. But, today is finally the day that I turn the big 28!! Bryan and I have dinner planned with close friends, but that is pretty much all that is on my schedule so far. Birthday cake? I hope it looks like this one. ;)

I will forever be my Daddy's little girl and birthday girl, too. He has always told me that I am the best birthday gift he has ever received. Though he is a half-way around the world, I know we are celebrating together in spirit. Happy Birthday to him, too!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Recap

Happy Monday! After the past few days of craziness, I am finally able to sit down, have a cup of coffee and post the pictures from the past week. I'll try to share only the good ones so you don't have to go through pages of them.

Tuesday was the Fall Bash that Bryan and I hosted in our home. Twenty people, including a baby, all squeezed in to eat gumbo and drink sangria. The appetizer table was jam-packed with delicious treats, and the vast amount of bread pudding and Dr. Ash's cream cheese-filled snicker doodle cookies made everyone forget about the chocolate chip pumpkin pie that I had made on the counter. That was quite fine with me, and was taken to the farm for Thanksgiving. Caramel pears were the gifts that I sent with everyone as they left, and they have all gotten rave reviews via text messages.

Thanksgiving Day was spent at the farm with my immediate family and a few friends. Normally there are around 30 people, but everyone decided to go out of town or do something out of the ordinary this year, so there wasn't the normal crew of folks. Em's best friend, Ashley, came since Arkansas is a lot closer to Texas than it is to Georgia. Nick and Nicole, who are from Michigan experienced their first Thanksgiving in Arkansas, too. I do not think that anyone left the table hungry.

Bryan, Nick, Nicole and I went to Stuttgart on Thanksgiving night so the boys would be able to duck hunt all weekend. Emily and Ashley came on Friday in time to watch the Arkansas vs. LSU game at Quacker Jack, the Lanier's duck club.

I will not bore you with all of the weekend's details, but we walked through the Wings Over the Prairie Festival, spent a small fortune at Mack's Prairie Wings and ate lots of yummy food. The best part was that the guys were able to have a really good hunt on Saturday morning. I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday, too! I'm off to decorate for Christmas!

Shimmer + Sparkle

Happy Monday, lovelies! Hopefully everyone has recovered from their comatose state after being stuffed from turkey and all of the fixings throughout the holiday weekend. This time of year is always the busiest for us, with duck season in full swing we are gone most weekends. Throw in two upcoming weddings plus the holiday parties and we really will never be home! After Thanksgiving everything seems to spin fast and the next thing you know we will be in the middle of January. Speaking of celebrating a new year, I am willing to be that most of you already have made plans for New Year's Eve. Bryan and I are toying with a couple of ideas with friends, but hopefully we will come to a final decision within the next few days. I simply adore dressing up and sipping on cocktails. Nothing says "Let's Party" to me like a fancy dress. Glitter and metallics really are everywhere, so find your sequin dress and get ready to shimmer and sparkle on New Year's Eve!  

Are you seeing anything that you just can't live without? My favorite is this gold dress by Vince that is on the bottom left.
Shimmer + Sparkle


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy: a mixed drink, usually including alcohol, that is served hot. Hot toddies (such as mulled cider) are traditionally drunk before going to bed, or in wet or cold weather. (I chose to leave out the last sentence from Wikipedia...something about hot toddies and alcohol causing dehydration.)

My husband is the king of making hot toddies for me when I am feeling a little down from the cold weather. He always lets the tea steep the right amount of time, adds the perfect amounts of honey, orange and a little something to make me breathe fire. There are so many variations to make these drinks and you really can add just about anything, but I found two that sounded extra tasty to me.

Hot Toddy #1

4 slices of red apple

3 cinnamon sticks
3 slices of orange
2 cloves
16 oz simple syrup (equal part sugar dissolved in water)
16 oz bourbon whiskey

Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and put over low heat. Slowly bring up to a simmer to infuse the bourbon, and keep over low heat for 5-7 minutes until the fragrance of the mixture becomes more apparent. Serve warm.

Serves 4; Cook time 15 minutes.

Hot Toddy #2
hot tea
1. Drizzle a tsp. of honey around the inside of the glass
2. Squeeze a little citrus (raspberry blood orange)
3. Pour in a shot (or two) of any good spicy brandy (or rum or whiskey)
4. Fill the remainder of the glass with fresh brewed hot tea

Cinnamon stick for garnish; leave in to infuse.

Friday, November 25, 2011


I am a firm believer in celebrating one holiday at a time. I do not pull out any Christmas decorations or start listening to any holiday music until after Thanksgiving. Quite honestly, I try not to even start until after my birthday, on the 29th, but this year I might start decorating before Tuesday.

Last Friday night, Dr. Ash and I attended Jingle Bells and Cocktails: A Night of Glitz, Glamour, and Gourmet, the preview party for our local holiday house, Mistletoe Fair. Since it didn't start until 7:00 pm, we were starving and made a mad dash to the food line first. Delicious, heavy hors d'ouvres were served, along with wine, beer and cocktails. My plate consisted of a variety of dips--crawfish, spinach and artichoke, and quesadillas from the quesadilla buffet line. Everything was yummy! I tried the pomegranate wine and the green apple wine. I thought both were fun and festive for the holidays. We browsed the booths, making Christmas purchases at a few and stocking up on easy soup mixes. I cannot believe that I did not get one single picture! Bryan snapped this one of us after the party.

Outfit: Fifteen-Twenty blouse, Amrita Singh earrings, Steve Madden leopard heels, Tibi cropped pants, assortment of bracelets and vintage watches


Speaking of mistletoe, do any of you decorate with it? I grew up with there always being mistletoe somewhere in the house during the Christmas holidays. My daddy (now Bryan) would take a gun and shoot it out of a tree. Throughout the years I have used it in many different ways over doorways around the house. Here are some pretty images of it from Pinterest.

Be sure to catch your sweetie underneath it!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day!  I am thankful for all of you lovely friends that I have met throughout the course of having this blog. I hope you all have a very wonderful day, full of food, fun and family!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Sparkly Sparkle

I am seeing glitter everywhere right now. From Miu Miu heels to tips on fingernails, there is plenty of shimmer for us all to share! I am dying to post some sparkly dresses for the holidays, but I am refraining from doing that until after tomorrow. Are any of you wearing something a little glimmery tomorrow? As of now, I have no idea what I am going to wear. If I get a chance today I will post pictures from our party last night, but I have a feeling I might be cooking all day. Enjoy some pretty glitz and glam this morning!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Maxi Skirts

In the beginning, my mind was a bit leery about the whole maxi skirt trend. Not necessarily the jersey type that can be worn in the spring and summer, but the fancy chiffon skirts. I do not know what I was thinking, because I now cannot get enough of them. Wear them with ballet slippers during the day, stacked high heels at night or tights and boots to keep warm. They are utterly feminine and perfect to wear for multiple occasions.

One great thing about these skirts, is that a plethora of them can be found with a reasonable price tag attached. There are lots of beautiful ones at Topshop, Asos, Lulu's, Sosie, Dillards and many other places. One of my favorites is the waterfall skirt on the bottom left. I have a hunch that Santa might put a similar olive green one under the tree for me.
Maxi Skirts

Don't you find them beautiful? If you only want to purchase one, go with the staple black skirt. Yet, there are such a multitude of pretty options that one of each color would be gladly accepted in my closet! Macy's has a lovely gold foil maxi skirt that would be perfect for upcoming holiday parties, but it would not save to my collage. 

Maxi Skirts 2