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March, 2011

AUSTIN recap – part II

so yesterday we left off with full bellies on friday night, late…or at least late for a pregnant lady (midnight).  saturday morning we had breakfast at jen’s house and got started with our day.  first up – mani/pedis, one of my favorite pasttimes.  went with cajun shrimp on my toes.  now if march would just go out like a lamb and let me wear some sandals, we’d be all good.

then, it was of course time to eat again.  jen had picked out an amazing bbq joint, frankin barbeque, for us to grab lunch.  here is the line we were greeted with upon arriving at the restaurant at ELEVEN THIRTY.  i think the line starts building up around ten.  these folks are serious about their meat.

luckily they served drinks to the patient folks waiting in line.  after about two hours (!!), we finally made it inside…  franklin bbq was just recently in food + wine – so big time!!
he used to be in a trailer (we actually went there first) but is now in a real deal four-sided shop.  here’s the menu – not a whole lot, but what more do you need for a good texas meal?
here’s aaron franklin himself behind the counter, handling the goods.  this was when he suggested a big family style heap o’ meat – which we gladly took him up on.  he said he arrives at the restaurant at 3 a.m. every morning to watch the meat and get things going…wow.
and here it is.  pulled pork, brisket and sausage with potato salad, coleslaw and beans for sides.  (and a couple of brews – jealous)
i can’t tell you how quiet we all were upon digging into this feast – and how very rare that is for the five of us…
end result of my “plate”…no judgement.

 oh, and they sold out of meat maybe fifteen people after us in line…glad we got there early!

from there, we rolled ourselves back to the car and took our full bellies shopping on congress street.  lots of cute clothing stores, and one fabulous jewelry store, kendra scott. 
love love love her stuff.  i figure if oscar de la renta can choose her to exclusively outfit his runway models in jewelry, she’s good enough for me.  i had to get a little something…i mean, i had come all this way…  and i snapped a pic of my purchase and the packaging for you.  how cute is that koozie!  in calliespondence colors, no less.
there is live music absolutely everywhere in austin.
jen took us to a lookout point, where we could see the river that runs through austin and where all of the fancy schmancy homes are.
we went back to the homestead to rest for a while, then it was time for dinner.  i don’t know how we mustered up the gusto for another meal, but we did.  we went to this unbelievable sushi/japanese restaurant called uchiko
we sat outside and had drinks first!
this was not your typical sushi restaurant…they had some of the craziest stuff, but it was all delicious.  we ordered a duck dish that came in a covered glass pot filled with rosemary steam.  whaaaaat?  sounds odd, but it was AMAZING.  where was my camera then?!  here is the pork belly dish we shared – also fantastic.  see that “dirt” around it?  that’s crumbled up nuts with a little bit of sweetness added, and the orange is a carrot puree.  omg.
for dessert we had fried milk – huh?!  it was so good.  little nuggets filled with (i think?) sweetened condensed milk, then a milky-way-esque nougat topped with frozen ice milk and chocolate wafers to boot.  YUM!  here’s the only proof i have that it was not weird, just really good.
then it was off to the driskell hotel for a nightcap.
sunday morning we all got up and packed…and lamented how our time had gone too fast!  jen and dorothy took us to a great breakfast place - la cocina de consuelo.  they specialize in breakfast burritos, and you can pick from a whole list of ingredients.  oh – and they make all of their tortillas in house, so you know they’re good. 
of course you have to get a mexican coke to go with it.
jen agrees.
i got avocado, turkey bacon and cheese in mine.  de-lish. and the salsa will put hair on your chest.
and then we had to go to the airport to get on our flight back to atlanta!  we had such a great time and i can’t wait to come back again soon!!  jen and dorothy were such wonderful tour guides and i just loved seeing austin through their eyes.  it’s a great town – but make sure to go hungry. :)
xoxo

AUSTIN recap – part I

y’all.  austin is such a cool town.  cool in the way that makes you wish you shopped at vintage clothing stores, had more classic books on your nightstand table and listened to live music all the time so you can say you saw so-and-so way back when they played little dive bars in austin.  oh, and had an extra stomach so you can handle all of the amazing food the city has to offer…which we sampled a LOT of.  and i mean a lot.  you’ll see.

jen and carson (her 2 and 1/2 year old precious daughter) picked us up from the airport on thursday afternoon and we went straight to a lakefront watering hole to get a drink (in my case, non-alcoholic becks – mmm).  the scenery was gorgeous!

carson kept us all entertained.  y’all, she can really lay some crayon down on a coloring page.  and she’ll have you know she picked out that hat all by herself.

we dined on fried pickle spears with ranch dipping sauce…

and tickled…
and hid.
we got back to jen’s house and sat outside and caught up some more – and also realized that merrell and carson were dressed very similarly!  and please note the miniature skinny jeans and the patent ballet slippers.  i die.

that night, we got mexican food at a local hole in the wall (those are always the best!) and i was obviously overwhelmed with my delicious enchiladas because i have no pictures. 

friday morning, we saw jen’s sweet husband steven and carson off to houston for the weekend…and devoured kolaches (think pig in a blanket, but the entire hot dog - add cheese inside - love the genius who patented these for breakfast!!) and donuts from shipley’s.  was awesome.

and THEN – we were off to round top for the big antique market.  O-M-G.

i’ll just show you my camera roll, but there were SO many other amazing things i did not take pictures of.  i seriously wish i owned a u-haul truck, or at least a chester the molester van.

don’t mind the randomness on top, but how amazing is this daybed??  ahhhh obsessed.

this settee was right next door, and was screaming for some love.  i really wanted to give it some.
saw this and immediately thought of bon lemon.  amy – perfect for the shoppe, no?
do you guys love those old timey windows as much as me?  i really go weak in the knees for the old school lead glass and dream about replacing windows in our house with a few (never going to fly).  but this booth was overflowing with good ones.

see?

at the same booth, i found my friend heidi’s next birthday present.  a decanter in the shape of ohio.  hwm, perfect for pouring a little out for your homies back in the ‘nati.
this little table would have been perfect for rush’s toddler bedroom…and now that i look at it again, surely i could have carried this on the plane.  darn.
 best part – the price. 
this chair clearly needed a little lovin’ too, but i loved the lines of it.  it’s almost like it was singing a sad country song with that guitar just sitting there.
i didn’t catch this cute old man’s name, but he asked me what i was taking pictures for, and i told him my blog.  he then told me he “didn’t know nuthin’ about the email and the blogs” … but he was happy to be on mine.  so cute.  people in texas are way nice.

 these spoons were all $1 or $2.  i dream of having a cup full of vintage spoons for tea or coffee in my kitchen, just like merrell’s mom does…she picks them up all over the place and tries to find ones with her initial on it.  love that.  looked for some with “B” but they were really dusty and we were getting hungry.
how fab. 
perfect for the calliespondence office, no?  it was double sided shelves, too!
cool light fixtures.
then it was time to break for lunch!  what do you eat when you’re in a small town in texas?  barbeque of course - made by sweet church-going men.
mmmmm.  i got sliced chicken.
merrell tried the chopped beef.  it was her BIRTHDAY, too!!!  yea!
then it was back for more shopping, and i fell in love some more.  sigh.
this was the part where i bought stuff – and no pictures?!  sacre bleu!  well, i’ll tell you what i got.  a super cute breezy mexican shirt with turquoise/coral embroidery at the top that can double as maternity apparel.  bonus!  also, a vintage mink stole.  just what everybody needs when they visit texas in march.  it was a steal and i will show it to you guys when i get it (she’s getting spiffed up before i take ownership).
afterwards, it was time to hit royer’s for some pie.  it had been a whole hour and a half since we had last eaten.  it was eclectic…
very…
but man do they make some good pie.  and look at all of the choices!
i tried the buttermilk delight – buttermilk pie with chocolate chips and coconut.  it was great!
we drove back to austin with our sugar high, got showered and went to the hotel san jose for drinks.  what a cool place!  it’s in a little alcove, almost hidden, on congress street.  this is where you walk in from the street.
our lovely hostess, jen, and me.
the whole group!  top: jen, me, betsey.  bottom: dorothy and merrell.
from there, we hopped over to botticelli’s, a scrumptious italian place across the street.  when we arrived, there was an hour wait, but at one point we asked for a bread basket for the two pregnant ladies and we were sat immediately afterwards.  maybe the host had a pregnant wife or something…at any rate, we were grateful!  jen and dorothy’s adorable friend amy met us there, and regaled us with hilarious stories.  so fun!
we enjoyed the live music – which they had on a full on stage?!  fantastic!
the bartender made the pregos secret non-alcoholic drinks.  they were delish and we felt like we were just one of the normal gals enjoying a cocktail.  it’s not so pretty 7/8th of the way done but…you get the point.
we snapped a quick picture outside, and then it was off to bed for these cats.
more to come in part II!!  including a 2+ hour wait for BBQ.  but sooo worth it.
xoxo

our ‘hotel’ in austin

we are back from austin and had so much FUN!  i can’t wait to tell you all about it.  recap coming soon!

but today…i have long sung the praises of my friend jen dipasquale’s talent at her craft – interior design.  and there is no house that better shows off her fabulous taste than her own, which is where we stayed when we descended on TEXAS! 

just check this out.  she is uber good at what she does.

get ready for the most perfect kitchen evah.  and see that door handle to the left?  that’s a sliding door to the pantry with chalkboard paint on it so you can jot down grocery lists.  a-mazing.
master bedroom / bath
 guest room / bath
her sweet daughter carson’s nursery.  love everything about it!  and especially the little gal who rests her head here.

jen and steven came in and totally remodeled the house…

before:

after:

interior during remodel:

after:

what did i tell you – she’s impressive!  and the best part – she can do long distance design work!  email her if you’re interested, but i do have to let you know that she is the chair of an austin charity event in two weeks and will be super busy between now and then…but she will get back to you  :)

jen, thanks for putting us up and being such a wonderful hostess!

xoxo

austin, here we come

y’all, thank you so much for your sweet comments from yesterday’s post.  i am unbelievably blessed to have so many wonderful friends / readers / clients who are so incredibly sweet!!  thanks to everyone for your well wishes!  you made this chubby girl’s day.  mwah!

now. i cannot even tell you guys how excited i am about this weekend!  two girlfriends and i are austin bound later today, to visit our other two girlfriends who flew the atlanta coop out there and love it.  i am just thrilled to explore this city and spend time with these gals!!!  here’s what the loose line-up of events is, and most of it revolves around really good food, which of course is a pregnant girl’s DREAM.

roundtop antiques market.  they say it’s better than scott’s — !!!!  i can’t wait to check it out and bring home some new wares for the abode.  just hope i can keep my paws off the big stuff to avoid having to rent a u-haul for the ride back to georgia…

here’s what popped up when i googled images for roundtop.  dying already and i’m not even perusing these goods in person.  i’m in trouble.

faux game antlers, from texas?  there is something just so right about that.

chowing down at a famous pie place close to where roundtop is, called royers.  YUM. 

think i might try the buttermilk pie…very tejas.
live music downtown.

drinks (shirley temple, please) at the hotel san jose.

mexican food.  and lots of it.

rodeo.  yee haw! 

mani/pedi.  gotta keep up that new year’s resolution, right?  feelin’ some bright spring colors…

and – we’ll be in TEXAS, of course we’re going to eat some barbeque!!!!

lucky for me, this group has strict eating policies that accompany traveling.  every three hours.  and 40% of the group is knocked up, so may have to move it up to two and a half.

and who makes up this group of fellow revelers?  well, none other than the famous jen dipasquale of revival design will be putting us up (showing off her digs next week – you’ll die).  she has fabric samples waiting for me…giddy about seeing them and her!!!

how cute is she pregnant (on the right)?  this was a few years ago at her baby shower weekend in the mountains.  and i love to tell this story, so stop me if you’ve heard it, but jen met her texas native hubby on a plane flying back to atlanta from san diego, coming home from vising merrell and me when we lived out there. how fun is that?!
here’s a few more of the group heading out west, from the beach this past summer (humidity, hello!).  l-r: me, jen, merrell and betsey.  i’m digging betsey’s sassy pose.  and my can’t-be-more-wrinkled shirt.
and last but certainly not least, the lovely dorothy will also be showing us around.  so proud of dot – she is graduating from u. of texas’ acclaimed business school in may!  l-r: me, dorothy, jen, merrell.  and why am i always on the left?  what gives? 

these gals are so dear to me, and i cannot wait to spend the weekend with them!!  and with no babies around, in a fun town, it’s almost too good to be true.  the only thing missing will be the tequila from my margaritas.  but that won’t stop us from having a blast…see you next week with tales from the lone star state!
xoxo

life news

rush has some news for you all.  he wants everyone to know that he is a big other.  big other what i’m not sure, but hey – he’s 21 months old.  what do you expect?

mesmerized by elmo, aka the only time he will sit still long enough for me to take a picture

yes – it’s true, it’s not just the girl scout cookies settling in around my mid-section (ok maybe it is)…we will have a new addition to our family this fall!

i’ll go ahead and answer any questions you may have now to save us some time.  for i must go take a nap. (yeah right!  ha ha!  pregnant people with toddlers don’t get to spend time doing silly things like taking naps.)

- currently 14 weeks, due in mid-september, and yes, i am sure august is going to be hot as a mother, pun intended, and i will have cankles the size of a small melon.  each.

- we will not find out the gender.  we are those annoying people who don’t know the whole time and make you uncomfortably refer to the baby as an “it.”

- don’t worry about me not having any girl clothes if it is in fact a little chickadee.  i have been stocking up in the way of delicate petit bateau bubbles and kissy kissy outfits trimmed in pink just in case (all procured at the 1/2 off day of a local consignment sale – score).  one must not be caught unprepared when dressing a newborn baby girl receiving visitors.  pshaw!

- no weird cravings – what a letdown, right?  but i am a sight to behold with a full plate of food in front of me.  and i wonder why my doctor was surprised i had already gained like nine pounds…  damn girl scouts.

how great is it that in 2011, i get to send out a moving announcement, baby announcement AND holiday card.  best stationery year ever!

we’re excited!!  and i’m so glad to finally be able to share the happy news with all of y’all! :)

xoxo

some days…

…don’t you just want to be gwynnie?  i mean, could she be any more fantastic?  i’ll go ahead and answer that for you; no.

at the bottega veneta flagship store relaunch.  of course she’s somewhere super fab!
all for now.  big announcement manana!
xo

a wild friday night at whole foods

family traditions are the most fun.  growing up, we always did a family dinner on friday nights.  we usually went out, but there were times when one of the three of us was sick (i’m sure not often at all, right mom?) or it was raining or what have you…so we would get pizza from pero’s instead.  in my dad’s opinion, the best pizza in atlanta.  as of late, just by coincidence, my little family has been eating pizza on friday nights.  turns out our local whole foods has a fresh baked pizza special, just on fridays – $13.99 for a pizza baked in their special hearth (isn’t that what you call those fancy flame wielding clay ovens just for pizza?) with three toppings of your choice.  and it’s whole foods, so you know they have tons of fresh veggie options, along with free-range chicken and turkey sausage.  YUM.  we love it and get something different every week to mix it up. 

if i was a good blogger and had thought ahead about this post, i would have taken a picture of our pizza to show you.  it was actually one of our favorites so far…turkey sausage, roasted red peppers and broccoli.  but it looked a lot like one of these others from whole foods (not the rectangular one).

i usually go just with rush to grab the pie, but this past friday, rbb picked us up and we all traipsed in there together.  we went straight to the pizza station to place our order, then were ordered to come back in 15 minutes…so we trotted off to the produce department to pick up a few things.  and one thing you should know about me, i LOVE samples.  any kind of samples.  whatever it is, i will stop and try it.  and probably buy it.  so in the produce department this particular friday night, there was a huge display of a guy making what i thought were ordinary smoothies…oh no.  upon further inspection, these were not just any old regular smoothies!  they were made with whole apples (core, stem and all), cantaloupes with the seeds, kale, spinach, and other totally random ingredients that when mixed together, tasted sweet and smooth – no sign of any seeds or greens.  they were created using this vitamix blender.

have you guys heard of this??  apparently they have many, many disciples because in our 10 minutes being sold this product, no less than three people came up and unabashedly shared their intense devotion to the vitamix.  two were kind of granola-y and also talked about their food dehydrators…but one was a totally regular guy in his 40s, who had just stepped off the golf course and was most likley making a pit stop on the way home to get a few things for his wife.  he told us how said wife came home with the vitamix and he asked her “what in the world…what have you done?!”  (oh yeah the price tag is $450.  minor detail.)  …but now he adores it and thinks it was a great purchase, they use it all the time, the kids love it, it makes the best margaritas, etc., etc.   and let me just interject that whole foods is THE ONLY grocery store where you could find people to drop $450 on a BLENDER at the drop of a hat.  like, an impulse purchase of gum at the cash register.  i am not one of those people, but i must admit i was a little intrigued by all of this.  i even think rbb was, which is saying a lot. so i have a question for y’all – do you have a vitamix?  is it really all that?  should i get one?  is it truly the best thing ever and worth the price tag?  he said you can make soups (i looove soup), smoothies (great way to hide healthy green items for rush), DRINKS (fabulous!!!), baby food (sweet), sorbet (awesome – tried some) and tons of other things with it.  let me know and then maybe once this house is done draining all of our capital, we can just move on to household appliances like the vitamix.

another thing for y’all that i just found interesting, and this ‘healthy eating’ post about kale AND pizza at the same time seems like the right time to introduce it…have you heard of the ‘dirty dozen’ and the ‘clean fifteen?’  it refers to the twelve produce items you really should make an effort to buy organic, and the fifteen that you really shouldn’t worry about paying up for organic, as they receive a low amount of pesticides. i know since rush was born, i have been all into organic stuff, but it can seriously empty your wallet.  now i know what to spend my money on!  love it. 

darn, raspberries are on the dirty dozen…i bought a half-pint of organic ones at whole foods on friday at the bargain price of $4.99 and rush ate half of the carton in one sitting.  i nearly asked him if he knew how much each raspberry cost mama??  oh well – at least he eats fresh fruit, right?!
xoxo

five dollars well spent

when i was a wee gal of elementary school age, the hello kitty store at perimeter mall was the be-oh-em-be, bomb.  i went there every chance i got, and used all of my allowance money in stocking up these elaborate collections of kero-kero-keroppi and his buddies.  at birthday parties, you always knew you were getting a good gift if it was wrapped in the store’s signature cellophane wrap with branded tissue paper underneath.  but one of the best parts of visiting the store was that they had a grab bag section.  they had these folded over lunch bags that were sealed, and they just had a mysterious price on them…$3, $7, $10.  they were the most fun – and pretty often, i would take a chance and walk out the door with one.  the thrill of not knowing what gold was inside!

i had a similar reaction when i got an email from one of my favorite stationery companies, linda and harriett.  they do beautiful letterpress and have a signature calendar (currently 50% off – score!) that i’ve purchased for years and just adore. 

right now, they’re having a ‘craft bin’ special…years of overage, bundled up in a grab bag style, on sale for $5.  and here’s what you get for $5 – 100 (yes – one hundred) pieces of their stationery.   you don’t know what you’re getting, but you do know it will be fabulous, as all of their inventory is.  i wasted no time in ordering one, and it arrived yesterday.  **update: their craft bin product is sold out.  bummer.**
i am so excited – for a girl who loves a bargain AND letterpress stationery, i am in heaven.  tons of foldover cards, old calendars and wedding invitations that i can cut down to be gift tags…i am stoked. 
here’s how the package arrived…check out those cute pencils!!  they say ‘linda and harriett’ on them.  even a little note, for my big purchase.  love that.
just a few of the foldover notecards.  i have just the right envelopes for these guys!
i am going to have so much fun cutting these down to put on gifts!
in my opinion – a well spent fiver.  well, a ten spot with shipping, but still a great deal! 
have great weekends!!
xo

invitation pricing

while we’re on the subject of parties…for the longest time, i’ve been quoting all projects on a case by case basis, getting to know exactly what a client needs before providing a price.  and i’m glad to say i’m finally ‘with it’ enough to have concrete pricing done for flat printed party invitations!  flat printing, in my opinion, is wonderful for invitations because you can use as many colors as you wish, and they are always printed on 100 lb. paper so they’re nice and thick on their own.  i’ve been doing loads of baby shower, baptism, birthday party (big people as well as little), engagement party and bridesmaid luncheon invitations and i l-o-v-e it.  getting anything ready for a party is fun to me, so i get all into it and i’m sure my clients think i’m probably going to crash the soiree by the time we’re done.  maybe one day i will, i mean i have all of the info already (kidding!!!!).  alright, here is pricing for invitations! 

it’s more of a menu of options…feel free to mix and match as you please.

if your quantity is 5 through 20…
- flat printed invitation on 100 lb. paper (white or cream) with envelope color of your choice: $3/each
- add envelope liner: + $1/each
- add specialty paper: + $1/each
- add colored cardstock backer behind invitation: + $.50/each
- add ribbon detail: + $.50/each
- add stitching detail: + $.50/each
- add mini card: + $.50/each
- add wrap-around address labels: + $1/each
- add bookplates: + $.75 each

if your quantity is 21 through infinity…(ok not really infinity, but you get the drift)
- flat printed invitation on 100 lb. paper (white or cream) with envelope color of your choice: $2/each
- add envelope liner: + $1/each
- add specialty paper: + $.50 each
- add colored cardstock backer behind invitation: + $.50/each
- add ribbon detail: + $.50/each
- add stitching detail: + $.50/each
- add mini card: + $.50/each
- add wrap-around address labels: + $1/each
- add bookplates: + $.75 each

if you desire invitations printed with thermography or letterpress, i’ll be happy to give you a custom quote based on what you need! just shoot me an email.

happy party planning, y’all.
xoxo

my next party

i have been itching to throw a party lately.  our current residence is just really too small to have any sort of notable gathering, and of course the house won’t be camera ready for some time after we move in.  but i am taking notes for what i’ll do, mind you.  here’s the lowdown on a spring/summer soiree to be held sometime in the future, for a celebration currently unknown!

champagne bar with delicious elixers.  fo sho.

gotta have something for the pregos and the drivers.  berry lemonade with basil simple syrup should do the trick!

custom napkins to be set by the drinks. 

amazing flower arrangements.

boho chic summer party dress for the hostess, courtesy of tibi.

delicous bites.

a scrumptious (and nice to look at) dessert.

cigars for the men in attendance.

a little bit of outdoor seating (placed far away from the cigar stand, natch).

adorable favors to send everyone home on a sweet note.

fabulous invitations…duh!? (this one is from cheree berry.)

what do you think?  would you come? :) 

xo