kitchen envy


We've been cooking up a storm lately at the house, and preparing a big, yummy meal for friends has become one of my favorite things to do. I really love nothing more than sitting down with great food, wonderful friends, a glass of wine, and lively conversation. I've worn through my copy of Real Simple's cookbook, but my recent purchase of this incredible book (the recipes are ridiculously simple and seriously delicious) ensures that tasty feasts will never be in short supply:
 All of this cooking (and thinking about cooking) has infected me with a bit of kitchen envy, too. Not to say that our kitchen doesn't get the job done, but when I see photos of kitchens with yards of counter space, seemingly unlimited storage, and room for friends to gather, I turn an unsightly shade of green. Check out some images of kitchens I'm craving:

 (all kitchen images via)

the united states of movies


Just the coolest map ever that assigns each state its own signature flick. Click to enlarge if you're like me and have to squint to see this version.



A few nights ago, the roomies and I decided to carve pumpkins to decorate our cute front steps and make our house look a little more autumn-y. I ended up getting a little sidetracked and while their carvings turned out perfectly spooky and symmetrical, my pumpkin remained untouched. I planned to tackle my carving sometime this week but, shockingly, put it off until I realized that....and I will admit it....I am a terrible pumpkin carver. We're talking wasted an entire pumpkin (almost 2) last year because of carving mishaps terrible. So what to do with a cute little orange guy that needs some dressing up? A little inspiration from Could I Have That, some spare chalkboard paint lying around,  loads of free time, and viola....the no-carve jack-o-lantern. Take a peek at how it turned out!

Obviously, this is the first thing you will need. Make sure you wipe it down with a wet cloth to remove any dirt or other grody things sticking to it.

The second thing you need is chalkboard paint, available anywhere spray paint is sold. In my opinion, the best chalkboard paint out there. We used it for our vintage frame magnetic chalkboards and it has a really smooth, matte finish. You'll need to do at least two coats if you don't want the chalk to scratch through the paint. I did two coats and only had a tiny little piece chip off and let the orange pumpkin show through.

Chalkboard pumpkins are fun to do with a little helper, but I doubt you'll find one as cute as this! 

When the paint dries, go to town! I decided to write a fun little "BOO!" and might use the other side for a jack-o-lantern face. Two pumpkins in one!

 The best part is that these can stay inside and become part of any fall motif you might have going on. I picked up these roses today at Whole Foods because the color of the petals reminded me of the gorgeous fall leaves in Colorado & the sunset in Texas, and they smell just like the roses my Granny grew at The Farm. My mom gave me the vintage New Orleans decorative plate when I moved into my first house here, and it will always remind me of State Street and my first few years in the city. Throw in the pumpkin and you have the perfect complement to a fun little autumn arrangement!

it's really NOT beginning to feel a lot like christmas, but i'll give it a shot

We had our holiday leadership meeting this morning at work, where we talked about all sorts of top-secret plans for the loads fun surprises that Anthro rolls out this time of year. BUT I'm having kind of a hard time convincing myself to get into the spirit of the holiday season before I've even said goodbye to Halloween. Not to mention it's hovering around 85 degrees outside, and Santa doesn't do humidity. I will say though, that looking at pictures like this one makes me start remembering Christmases past, and this ultimately brings me that much closer to wanting to break out into a full-on Mariah Carey Christmas carol diva moment (those are the best kind, in case you didn't already know.)
Thanks, mom, for sending over the pic. Everyone got a good laugh at how excited we look to be hanging with the Sugar Plum Fairy herself. 

making chores chic


Check out this "Before and After" from Design*Sponge....and tell me you wouldn't be finding every excuse you could to do laundry or just to spend time in the laundry room. Eating meals accompanied by a spin-cycle soundtrack seems perfectly acceptable to me, as long as it's in a room that looks like this one does. Sadly, I don't think any amount of creativity or wallpaper could make our creepy, dingy, and downright terrifying basement look so polished, chic or inviting. So until I have a space like this to renovate, it looks like laundry will always come with a side of musty smells and strange noises.

barn houses, tree hotels, and "glamping"

A beautiful, light-filled barn house featured on Inhabitat, proving that green architecture can, in fact, be high design as well as inspired. Read a little more about this incredible building:
 Building reuse is often overshadowed by the long green shadow of new high performance architecture. But the intrinsic nature of repurposing and bringing second life to an otherwise discarded structure is a sustainable idea we can’t ignore, especially when it’s done as gracefully as this old barn redux in Belgium. Architect Rita Huys of Buro2 skillfully transformed this agricultural icon into a beautiful, modern dwelling known simply as The Barn House.

Also featured on Inhabit, Sweden's Treehotel, which nestles prefab high-design cabins high up in the branches. The Mirrorcube cabin is particularly beautiful, and at night it blends in seamlessly with the surrounding forest, reflecting the nighttime sky and the silhouettes of the trees.
How much do flights to Sweden cost these days?

And finally, a more attainable getaway location, The Martyn House in Ellijay, a small town in the North Georgia Mountains. Operated by JoAnn Antonelli and Rick Lucas, the Martyn House is a unique Bed and Breakfast and intimate event facility. Guests stay in luxury sleeping tents from India, and each tent is secluded, allowing guests the opportunity to experience nature. However, guests do not miss out on all the comforts of home because the experience allows glamorous camping; where luxury in the wild means fine linens and gourmet meals. Some call it Glam Camping, they call it Glamping. 

Each tent, in addition to the large bedroom, has its own private bath and covered veranda. Breakfast is served at the main house, which is an old 1930’s Farm House. Often, guests never leave the property. They may indulge in a bit of self-pampering with massages, morning yoga, walking the many trails around the property or just lounging in a hammock. Other guests may feel creative and take private art classes in photography or pottery.

All of this, coupled with the fact that The Martyn House is super affordable if you go with friends, the roomies and I are currently planning a springtime oh-so-chic getaway in the woods! 

mad men, you've done it again


Congratulations, Mad Men, you've capped off yet another incredible season with a storyline that was equal parts surprising, melancholy, and for the first time in a long time, purely and genuinely happy. Although Don and Megan's engagement (sorry to ruin it for any of you who haven't watched it yet...but it's been almost a week. I can't hold it in for much longer) was a bit of a shock, I will say that it is the first time I didn't feel a little icky when watching Don interact with a woman he's interested in. He seemed honest-to-goodness joyful, content, and sincere. Bravo to Jon Hamm for taking a character than can be so shameless in his conquests and infusing him with a change and a joy so believable, you could almost feel it coming through the TV. Here's looking forward to next season! 
(images via Rolling Stone "Inside 'Mad Men'"...check out the whole slide show!)

we all have brick walls


(image via)
This past year has come with plenty of brick walls (trying to finish my thesis with an uncooperative advisor and job hunting, to name a few) but it has taught me, just as this wonderful print points out, that the choice is mine. I could have wallowed in the difficulty of the situations, banging my head against the immovable brick wall while crying out mantras of "poor me", or instead: persevere until the wall began to crumble (that's not to say there weren't some tears along the way.) So next time you're faced with a nasty wall blocking your way, remember that with patience, hard work, and persistence, it will eventually collapse to reveal a new path.

how to look at mondrian


I recently came across a great article by James Elkins, entitled How to Look at Mondrian, which is less about art than it is about training your eyes to look more carefully and really notice the small details in everyday objects and images that pass in front of you. Being the art history nerd that I am, I love that Elkins uses Mondrian, known for his "basic" (which are, in fact, anything but basic) geometric compositions, to point out that even the most seemingly simple images contain vast amounts of revealing detail if we would only take a moment to stop and investigate.

Says Elkins: "What I have in mind is a series of lessons about how to use your eyes more concertedly, with more patience, than you might ordinarily do. It's about stopping, and taking the time to simply look, and keep looking, until the details of the world slowly reveal themselves. I especially love the strange feeling I get when I am staring at something, and suddenly I understand: the object has structure, it speaks to me. What was once a shimmer on the horizon becomes a specific kind of mirage, and it tells me about the shape of the air I am walking through. What was once a meaningless pattern on a moth's wing becomes a code, and it tells me how that moth looks to other moths. And paintings show me more each time I look; there is apparently no limit to what they can mean."

Here's to taking a pause every now and again to notice the little details.


present blessings


(The Mississippi River at sunset from The Fly...not bad for a Blackberry photo)  

"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; 
not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some."
Charles Dickens

My present blessings:
Watching the sunset over the Mississippi River with friends
Having someone who wants to take care of me, forever
A family that, despite distance, remains closer than ever 
Friends to make me laugh and bring joy into my life
Opportunities, big or small, for exploring and adventure
Health, happiness, and a roof over my head



Gratitude goes beyond the 'mine' and 'thine' and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. -Henri J.M. Nouwen

♥ ♥ ♥


fall is knocking


To say that the weather in New Orleans has been fantastic lately would be a huge understatement. I've been able to break out all of my favorite boots, cardigans, and scarves (so they're the lightweight ones, but still....scarves!) much earlier than I expected and I couldn't be happier. I love dressing for cooler weather, and since we only have a few months of it here, I plan to take full advantage. What makes all of this even better is that there was no weird transition period between sweltering heat and perfect fall temperatures and cool breezes. It went from miserable to blissful almost overnight, which I consider a miracle. A small one, yes, but still a miracle nonetheless. Here are a few little things that are getting me even more excited about my favorite season!

let's take a trip tuesday


Today I have the great pleasure & honor of being the featured guest blogger (!!!) for the adorable Mrs. Sarah Tucker's "Let's Take a Trip Tuesday" segment, featured every week on fairy tales are true.

Zip over to Sarah's world to read why New Orleans is so special to me, learn about some of my favorite spots, and see a few photographs I've taken of this place I love so much. While you're there, take some time to browse the rest of her blog. You'll quickly see why it is one of my absolute favorites and I check it religiously (not kidding around.) She has one of the most joyful spirits of anyone I've ever met, and it is so apparent even coming through the screen of a computer!

Thank you, Sarah, for being so sweet to include me in such a fun project! 

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez



One of the greatest advantages of life post-grad school is actually getting to read for fun. I have, and always will be, a voracious reader, but the hours upon hours of assigned reading during graduate school made the thought of reading one more sentence sound about as fun as a root canal. Now, however, I have nothing to memorize, learn, or commit to memory long enough to answer an on-the-spot question in class, and I can happily say I am very much enjoying my reunion with my old friends. 

Just finished: "How Did You Get This Number?" by Sloane Crosley
About to Begin: "The Conde Nast Traveler Book of Unforgettable Journeys: Great Writers on Great Places" 

What are some of you reading these days?

thanks, eleanor

This E. Roosevelt quote reaffirms my belief in the importance of continually moving forward, yet appreciating and respecting the past for what it has taught me. Don't look back and ponder what could have been, or regret things that cannot be changed. Instead, give the past a quick nod of 'thanks' for getting you to where you are, and keep on going.

the way i see it


Loving this quote, and wish it ends up on my Starbucks cup one day. Such a great reminder to let go of your preconceived notions, of your prejudices, and criticisms. If you remain closed to meeting new people, or even refuse to give those people you already know a fair shot, you might miss out on something great. People are surprising in the most wonderful ways, we just need to give them the opportunity to show it.