Merry Christmas!

This will be my last post for the year. We are taking a week off to spend with family and just enjoy some down time.

merry christmas

found on fromupnorth

Before I wish you a Merry Christmas, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to say thank you for your kindness this year. You have stopped me in stores, on the street, on Facebook and countless other places just to say that you enjoy reading this little blog and you will never know what that means to me. I spend a lot of time preparing posts and trying to share snippets of this wild adventure that Jeff and I are on so to hear that you actually like it is encouraging.

I pray that as the year draws to a close you will take a moment to look around you and cherish the ones who are dear to you…… and to remember, just for the sake of remembering all of the moments that touched you this year. The good, the bad and the ugly for they all work together to mold us into the people that we are and without the tough times we would forget that we need each other in this old world. I need you. My family and friends are my greatest blessings on earth. We sold our house and everything in it this year and many were horrified that I would do that… part with all of my STUFF but you see, it really is just stuff. Replaceable stuff. Not Grandmama’s buffet or Mama’s silver but the furniture, the do-dads, the extraneous baggage that we so carefully collect but that could be gone in the blink of an eye. This is a very weird message from an interior designer I guess but it is where I am. The only thing that I am not willing to let go of is…… you.

You make me laugh. You cry when I cry. You invite me to dinner or to place tennis or to share what God is showing you. You pray for me and are truly happy about our accomplishments.  That, my dear friends, is irreplaceable.

So as you travel on your merry way

From Decorateyoursmallspace

From Decorateyoursmallspace

remember the little things that made your year special. And share them. They bring smiles. They bring hope. They bring encouragement.

And let us never forget the Reason for the Season. He came that we might have life and have it abundantly.


Thank you Jesus.

Merry Christmas!

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A Super Fun Date Night

After all the wildness of the last month, Jeff planned a super fun date night for this week. We  went to Greenville to close on Mama’s house (my childhood home) Thursday morning. Now that’s a weird experience if you haven’t done it yet. So many different emotions are running through you simultaneously. Our sweet realtor is not only a childhood friend but now family since her nephew married our daughter. We spent many afternoons at 512 Forest Drive for cheerleader practice. I  could “see” all of  our school shoes kicked off and lined up by the door as I passed through the family  room. Looking into the living room for the last time memories of Christmas past flooded my mind like the year that I got the Shirley Temple wig and bike all at the same time. That must have been an amusing sight for the neighbors.  I could hear my Grandmother’s laugh as she and Mama cooked all manner of good things in the kitchen. I could hear the boom, boom, boom of the basketball next door as my neighbors/adopted brothers, Jimmy, Charlie and Bill, played adjacent to my bedroom window. On and on the memories came, how blessed I am that they were almost all good and sweet and cherished.

I am grateful that we have Mama close and that she is happily settled into her new assisted living home and I am grateful that the estate closing is behind us and we can look only forward now.

I am most grateful in this season of thanksgiving for my precious husband and best friend who always seems to know exactly what I need usually before I do. So on to the point of this post! He sort of kidnapped me after the closing and we headed off for a super fun date night!

First we went to see the incomparable, Terry Gilmore, for a massage at Auburn. That would have been enough right there! But no! He had reservations for us at the Auburn Hotel and Conference Center and the really cool part of it was that this was the night of the Auburn Christmas Parade AND the unveiling of the gingerbread village which I wrote about wanting to see here. How cool is that?


That’s still not all. There is a fabulous new restaurant in Auburn called The Depot. It is located downtown in…… wait for it….. the depot. haha

This is a picture during renovation.



The hostess station is especially clever.



The bar is made from the old heart pine boards that made up the platform.


You have to go!!!! The atmosphere is very cosmopolitan and the food is amazing.



We were seated in one of these cozy booths




and because we ate early to avoid the parade crowd we got to have a nice long chat with Richard, one of the owners. (on the right)


As nice as the people are and the atmosphere is, the real star of the show is the FOOD and boy, did it live up to our expectations.

The appetizer list includes about 6 different types of oysters. We went with the Rockafeller and thought we were in New Orleans.



We then moved on to the Rainbow Trout with pecans and maple roasted carrots. For a side we got the cauliflower and yukon potato au gratin.



I am glad that we split this so that I had room for dessert: Three chocolate filled beignets perfectly dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with an espresso sauce.


I didn’t share. Jeff got a fruit cobbler cooked in its own cast iron skillet and served with vanilla gelato.  Goooo!! You will be so glad that you did.

You can go to their web site for a sample menu and to see the Catch of The Day.


Thank you sweet Jeff!! You are the best. One day I am going to figure out how to surprise you…. but I don’t think it will include hiking and camping. Just sayin’.


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It’s Party Time

It's party time


I just had a conversation with my “hair gal” today about how people aren’t having as many Christmas parties as they used to. Remember when you couldn’t fit them all into the schedule? Maybe we just aren’t  popular. haha But TONIGHT….

It’s Party Time.


Everyone is bringing a heavy hors d’oeuvre so I hit Pinterest for some inspiration. What looks/sounds yummy to you?

I am always a sucker for a good cheese ball. This ones looks yummy and I love the touch of red for Christmas.



 This is elegant and would make a statement. My man eats olives by the gallon so he would love it.


I have served this before and it is always a hit! Hard to beat olive oil, Greek seasonings and feta with anything.


This sounds awesome and I know the fellas would like it…. hearty eats. Recipe here.



And this looks way above my pay scale but WOW… yes, PLEASE!





Now I’m hungry. See y’all on the flip side.


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Holiday Table Settings


Morris Middleton has been traveling again and I love it because he sends back the most amazing pictures. This one of Highclere Castle, better known to all as Downton Abbey, really made me smile. It’s almost that time y’all!

It made me smile because I have felt a lot like Mr. Bates this month as I have done holiday table settings after table-setting.




This was an early inspiration that I still love. Wish I had that fork and server.





First, it was just fun little villages for the delight of the littles on sideboards and such, like this one done at a cabin in Union Springs.

I am told that little Sam loves to add rocks and things to it as the month rolls on. That made me smile.



The dining table continued this mossy, woodsy scene. The place settings for this one are gorgeous hand thrown pottery plates by Earthborne.





But then things began to get a little more formal as place settings were added and silver came into play.

I can’t show you the finished product since these are for next year’s issues of magazines but I can show hints of what was to come.






This is where Mr. Bates comes into play. Notice John tweaking each setting? Every plate and charger was touched, visually measured and exactly placed. Every chair aligned. Every napkin fluffed.



Did you know that hem stitching on placemats are wonderful guides for placing silverware at the same level? Once we figured that out we didn’t have to search for Mr. Bates’ little measuring gizmo. This picture is pre-Mr. Bates’ inspection.





Talking about all these place settings reminds me to tell about a wonderful new restaurant that Jeff and I discover this week in Auburn.

Watch for my next post as I share about our fun date night from this past Thursday!

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Decking The Halls: One House At A Time

Last week was a fast blur as photo shoot dates changed hourly but we finished decking the halls: one house at a time.

I can’t share much with you and I really cannot stand that I have to wait a whole year to see these pictures but let me just say that you don’t want to miss the Christmas issue of Southern Lady Magazine next year. These photographers are Santa Claus to me as they deliver one great shot after another. Thank you John O’Hagan, Mac Jamieson, Stephanie Welbourne and Marcy Black Simpson. You are a dream to work with.

Here is a little sneak peek at what we have been up to for the past week. Oh, and NONE of these shots are by the above mentioned folks. LOL


[Read more…]

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NYC Christmas Windows 2015

We can’t leave the first week of December without talking about the NYC Christmas Windows.

There are many places in the world that become truly magical at Christmas with all the twinkling lights, piped in music and joy on people’s faces. One of my favorites is New York City. There is nothing quite like being snuggled up in a white horse drawn carriage for a clippedy clop through Central Park followed by tea at The Plaza and the Christmas Show with The Rockettes (which I have yet to see!).  And don’t forget attempting to ice skate at Rockefeller Center, you can always spot the Southerners. We are the ones grabbing everyone else and creating a domino fall!


NYC Christmas Windows




Like Texas, here it is go big or go home and I love it.


NYC Christmas Windows



Nothing does it for me like a million tiny white lights…. oh and tons of fresh greenery.





 I mean, who wraps their entire building like one big lovely package???




How about a little bling from the famous blue box?








So is the “grand” staircase tiny or is the diamond huge? hmmm  It could be either, right?


















What about you? Do you love the city or the country for Christmas? I love both!

Merry Christmas.

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Pantone Announces Color(s) Of The Year

Pantone has announced their color(s) of the year. That’s right, this year they selected a pairing of colors.



Seriously? Pink and blue? As a pairing? I can understand them separately, especially with the agate and geode trend that we are all loving, but together? As the colors of the year? I wasn’t willing to go that far.

This is all that I could think about:



Gender reveal.

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Things I love… Gingerbread Houses!

gingerbread houses


I love gingerbread houses.

Every year I get excited about this time because I know that The Hotel At Auburn’s  chef is preparing his amazing gingerbread village. It is always incredible. When Megan was little we tried a few times to make the ones that come in the little kit. Let’s just say no one would drive around the block to look at it. LOL


These guys are magicians!



I mean look at the detail!















That looks like a chex mix roof.




Chocolate “gingerbread”. Yum.


From DIY Network








I especially like this one since I think it might be the Grove Park Inn in Ashville…one of my favs.


All images are from Pinterest and most were unmarked. Please let me know if this is your work so that I can credit you.

What about you? Are you a baker extraordinaire? Show me your stuff.


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