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all about INA

i am sure i’m not alone in this but…i have been long obsessed with ina garten, the barefoot contessa.  i don’t really know when it started, but i venture to guess it coincided with the span of time in my 20s when i was throwing wedding showers and bachelorette weekends round the clock and needed to figure out how to feed these people, and somewhat well.  i really think my girlfriends and i all taught ourselves to cook based on her instruction.  back in the mid-2000s, the food network was just gaining mainstream popularity and the barefoot contessa show was always, in my opinion, leagues above the rest.  everything about it is perfection – a beautiful estate in the hamptons, a host who is equal parts relaxed and sophisticated, scrumptious food that is not too intimidating for any person to make, sensible hostess tips and have you SEEN her gardens where she cuts herbs and flowers??

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i mean, amazing.  and how could i forget her sweet jeffrey, who always says the dish he’s currently eating is “the best he’s ever had.”  what’s not to love!  my adoration with ina runs so deep that my girlfriends cooked only ina recipes at my baby shower, just because they knew i would love that (i have the sweetest gal pals).

so when i was trolling her website to see when her next book tour was (must’ve been a slow day), i saw that she had an atlanta date on the calendar and freaked.  she has never come to atlanta!!  i immediately emailed my friend betsey (fellow ina worshipper) with the subject line of  ”OOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  and that’s the shorthand version.  sometimes you just have to find ways to get your excitement across.  in the body of the email was approximately one thousand more exclamation points and capital letters and general heartbeat racing.  betsey notes that she is coming to the cobb energy arts centre, where her boss has connections.  she tells me thus and goes to see what she can do.  well…a day or two later, i get an email forwarded back to me WITH MY SAME SUBJECT LINE.  only it’s my email to betsey, forwarded to her boss (a 60-something year old man), forwarded to the general manager of the cobb energy arts centre, some 3-4 responses between him and her boss, and then forwarded back to betsey.  i am sure both of those men have never in their lives had an email subject line like that pop up in their inbox.  i was only slightly mortified… it was, after all, in the name of INA!  betsey was able to secure a block of tickets in the 2nd row (!!!!).  fabulous, as ina would say.

betsey planned the cutest preparty on her patio around the fire pit with wine, prosecco and ina dishes galore.  i made her jalapeno cheddar crackers and they are always a crowd pleaser!  my favorite part about them is that you can make the dough and either freeze or refrigerate it and then just bake it when you need to.  and they are SO good!

Menu_Article1i am kicking myself because i took nary a photograph at the preparty…i was just so excited!!  so many fun girlfriends, nibbles, aperitifs and stories to hear.  we departed for the theater, got a cocktail (we felt like that’s what ina would have wanted), slipped into our seats and listened with rapt attention to ina herself.  it was FANTASTIC.

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she started out by telling the story how she came to own the barefoot contessa specialty food store in the hamptons.  she didn’t know quite what she wanted to do after her gig in washington, and was cruising the business classifieds in the times when she came across the listing for the barefoot contessa store.  she and jeffrey went to visit it the next day, and submitted an offer.  she expected to negotiate back and forth a bit, but the woman called her the next day and said, “i accept your offer.”  ina said she went, “oh sh*t!”  there was about a month overlap of the former owner showing her how things run in the store, and then she was on her own, the thursday before memorial day weekend.  jeffrey counted up how much money she had made and then calculated it times the number of days they’re open minus their costs and said hmm…i don’t know if this is going to work?  the next day, friday before the long weekend, she said that when the store closed at 10 p.m., they did not have an ounce of anything left in the store at all.   absolutely everything had been wiped out and sold.  and they didn’t know what to do for the rest of the weekend!  the next morning, jeffrey heard about a good bakery in a nearby neighborhood – so he went there 1st thing in the morning and bought EVERYTHING THEY HAD.  and then did the same thing sunday and monday :)  she said the owners of that bakery probably had a great weekend at the beach!

i think she was exactly the way she is on her tv show – which she talked about a good bit.  she said that when the food network first called her to say that they were interested in having her do a tv show, she said “lose my number!”  she said she didn’t think she could do it.  her friend martha (you know…stewart) was doing it at the time, and she thought there was just no way that she was capable of doing that.  they kept coming back to her with higher offers and she said “no, no – this is not a negotiation – i just flat out am not interested!”  but then they sent her a tape of nigella lawson’s show which was filmed in her house in london, very casual, in a narrative style…and she liked it.  what she didn’t know is that the food network had already hired all of the producers from nigella’s show to come and film ina’s show.  then they basically told her they were going to do 13 episodes, they would start filming in a month and after that they could talk more.  i mean, what would we have done if they had not persevered????  i shudder to think.

some interested tidbits she shared:

- all of the food that she makes on the tv show is eaten by the crew after they’re done shooting.  she said she’s a little bit insulted if they don’t all dive in with silverware immediately!  oh, and they have professional dishwashers in the show crew.  but she says she is the dishwasher in her own house!

- before the show was filmed in her barn, it was literally in her kitchen.  jeffrey would move upstairs for 6-8 weeks at a time while they filmed a season (she said he’s a saint!) – but then they bought an adjacent property and built the barn.

- when she was thinking about what to do with her life after her government job (before she got into the food business), jeffrey told her to think about what she really loves to do….and do that.  don’t worry about the money, but just do what you really enjoy doing.  and be the best you can at that thing.  she thought about something with food because she loved cooking for her friends over the years.

- she used to cook really complicated 6-page julia child recipes, until she and jeffrey went to dinner at a single man’s house (she joked that they originally planned to eat beforehand because they thought it was going to be terrible) and he served freshly baked bread and a roasted filet of beef tenderloin, and it was all so simple…but so elegant.  she said that man had no idea what an impact he had on her, but it changed the way she thought about cooking forever.

- when asked about encountering celebrities in east hampton and through business, she said that they were always very nice (she specifically mentioned steven spielberg) and did not want any special favors, like not having to wait in line.  she heard someone say something once that it’s not how you treat the celebrity…it’s how you treat the person at the table next to them.

- she used to have a vegetable garden, but all of the veggies were getting eaten by animals!  so she transitioned it to a flower cutting garden.

- she knew she needed to do something different when someone asked her for a pound of chicken salad and she wanted to cry.  she took a year off (i presume this was when she sold the food store) and she said she was dreadfully bored.  she would make herself go to her office every morning at 9 a.m. and organize her checkbook or make a grocery list, and one of those would hopefully take all morning.  one time when jeffrey was leaving (he works at yale monday-friday every week), she was lamenting how she had nothing to do that week…nothing at all!  jeffrey said, “well surely you have something…?” she said “well, i have a manicure on wednesday but that’s it!”  i love her.  it was then that she decided to write her 1st cookbook.

- she has another cookbook coming out next year, and the general vision is still being worked on.  there will be a vanilla and maple cream of wheat recipe though!

- her favorite hostess gift to give is a box of fran’s caramels covered in chocolate.  totes ordering some of those stat.

- she uses all white dishes – she thinks they look the best.  (i actually registered for all white serving dishes based on this nugget i picked up from ina over the years – they really do look good and are so easy to match)

ok, so she took q&as from the audience and all i have to say is WOW, some people really have a broad range of what they think a good, legitimate question is.  but you know – even though we snickered through a couple, if she thought the question was bizarre, you couldn’t tell one bit.  my friend margaret and i actually stood in line to ask questions, but they closed the q&a session three people before us.  bummer!  i was going to say something about how we’re fixing to (how southern – might as well lay it on thick, right) renovate our kitchen* and i’m having a hard time convincing my husband that we NEED a viking range.**  we’ve been at odds over it, so i said that i would come here and let you settle it – so tell me ina, is it worth the splurge?

* did i tell you that we are gutting our kitchen?  yeah.  look for posts on that coming up!

** let me just clarify that unless it cost $1, rbb would never approve a viking range.  i have a hard time convincing him that a lamp should cost more than a 20 spot.

all in all, she is exactly what you would expect.  warm, funny, smart, and you pretty much want to be her bff.  or at least her niece or something.  at the end of the show, she signed a few cookbooks and then waved goodbye.  it was a wonderful evening!  after so many years of adoring ina, it was such a thrill to be there with my girls.

ina friends1st row: betsey, amy, cassie, shannon, me – 2nd row: laura, anne, ann (betsey’s stepmom), jane (betsey’s mother-in-law) – 3rd row: jeff and betsey’s family friend

also there, but not pictured: merrell, meredith, sally, margaret, annie, amanda (aka dixie delights) and anna.

SUCH a fun crowd!!  i want to do the whole night over again.  you know what was most inspirational to me – ina is in her mid 60s and at the top of her game.  life is long (if you’re lucky) and it’s never too late to follow a new dream or change courses.  just find out what you enjoy, do that, and do the very best you can.   fabulous advice, ina.

xoxo

 

 

holiday card pop up shop – thursday, september 12th

ok, so the news i’ve been soooo excited to share is that there will be a calliespondence holiday card pop-up shop on thursday, september 12th at kayce hughes atlanta on the westside!!  YAY!!  it will be the very first time i’ve done something like this and i could not be more thrilled to be doing it at kayce hughes.  her new atlanta store just opened in the spring, and it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the calliespondence worldwide HQ so it’s keeping it all local.  plus, i have loved her clothes forever.

exhibit A (2010 holiday card): rush wore one of her john johns…

rush 2010

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exhibit B (rinne’s 8 month photo session): the most adorable “day dress”

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exhibit C (rinne’s 1st birthday party): kayce hughes “sunsuit”

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i also recently got this purse for rinne – i mean HOW adorable.  i can’t resist things such as this!

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and so many great finds in their fall collection for holiday card photos!!  i love this look for rinne…

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i wish rush were just a little smaller, i could squeeze him into this!

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and this for me…

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oh wait – hold the phone.  i am SO doing this.  y’all know i live and die for mother/daughter matching outfits!

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SO – what can you do at this here pop up shop?!  well, you can see all of the 2013 holiday card choices AND liners AND envelope colors AND gift tags, what fun!  we’ll be debuting all of our new 2013 holiday designs at this soiree, so you will get the first peek and the first chance to place an order during the early bird special period.  (for newcomers, calliespondence runs an early bird special every september – if you place your order {i.e. put down a $100 deposit and loosely decide what you might want for your card – or not!  we’re flexible and can also wait until you get your photo later in the fall.} before september 30th, you receive 25 FREE cards with your order!)  oh – and there will most certainly be a FREE GIFT for those that come to the pop-up shop to place their orders!  additional deets on that and holiday cards in general to come.  for now, just mark this little outing in your datebook!

kayce hughes party invite final

as you can see on the invitation, there will be two times of day that you can come….from 10-2 or from 5-8.  there will be snacks, things to sip on (libations from 5-8!), beautiful clothes and accessories to peruse and lots o’ cards to check out.  i’ll be there the whole day, and i hope you’ll pop in to say hello!

xoxo

 

storm chasers

some girlfriends and i planned the most delightful evening last night…  meet at the annie griffin collection warehouse sale, then take it down to the westside to hit up the grand opening of the kayce hughes store, and have a fun dinner afterwards at one of the spots close by.

it started out pretty well at the annie griffin sale at their office in peachtree hills – i am IN LOVE with nearly everything that they have designed.  so many fun patterns!  great details and lines!  fab colors!  it’s as if someone in my head had a clothing line.  i’m only sad i haven’t known of it before now!

annie griffin warehouse salei picked up this dress, and can’t wait to wear it – i love items that can easily be dressed up or down (and BONUS are sans waistband – i like my meals).

IMG_7030_grandewe all adored this dress. however, after betsey (she of tall and slender build) tried it on, we were like….oh.  that’s how it’s supposed to look.  still love it though.

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soon it was time to mosey on to kayce hughes.  i was a little miffed because in a brief moment with no kids in the car where i could blast my music, i could barely get any actual tunes on the radio.  tornado warnings, severe weather watches and those super long beeps was all there was.  i listened for the areas affected and they were all north of where we were.  good to go!

the kayce hughes store is to die…divine things for little ones and big, too.

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600308_10151551638288075_509185925_nthe storm rolled in while we were there and it was most definitely angry.  rinne had to have the most adorable pair of ric-rac trimmed pique shorts, and right after i purchased them, the power went out.  but that did not deter us!  we simply refilled our wine glasses and got right back to shopping.

photo-190 copy 2i wish i had a picture of amy making her purchase, giving the sales associate her c.c. number by candlelight.

and what a bummer – since the power was out in the entire complex, no dinner!!!  we walked out to the parking deck and saw several fire rescue people running about…  and took a picture to capture the torrential downpour going on behind us (even though you can’t see it).

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as we walked further into the parking garage, we saw the reason for the commotion…people were stuck in the elevator!!!!

photo-190hopefully spidey and the other guys got them loose.  #yikes

rain check on that dinner, ladies.

xoxo

an eventful dinner out

last thursday, i acted like i was “with it” living in the city of atlanta…i wore a dress, put on mascara and went to dinner at the new watershed.  i first hit up a friend’s happy hour entitled “one last hoo-rah before this baby comes out my hoo-hah” (hilarious, right?) but that’s a totally different blog post.  my friends betsey, amy and i met for dinner at the new hot spot around town, located ONE BLOCK AWAY from the condo i used to live in (and still own, but that’s yet another blog post).  one friggin’ block!  why couldn’t this have happened when i was single, childless or at least still resided there!  anyway.  it is most fabulous.  you must go.

the bar was happening…to say the very least.

we got a smattering of small plates and dessert and everything was lick your plate good.  we sat outside at a corner table, overlooking the hustle and bustle of peachtree street.  about 15 or 20 minutes after we had sat down, a woman wearing a cute white shirt and sassy black shorts came out with a hostess, looked at the sky and proclaimed that it was “going to rain in 30 minutes.”  we commented that that was odd, as there was not a cloud in the sky…but moved right along.  she and her party ended up sitting at the table behind us.  over the course of our dinner, we kept hearing glasses break and drinks spilling…all coming from the table with the impending rainstorm woman.  i still don’t know what was going on back there.  we all left at the same time and betsey said to the woman on the way out, “you sure did get a lot of drinks spilled on you!!”  she turned, laughed and turned back around.

y’all, i never forget a face.  i may forget a name, how many months old my children are, how far along i am when i’m pregnant, that we need cat litter, that rbb’s shirts need to be picked up at the dry cleaner.  but i never forget a face.  and right then, i knew who she was – kathryn stockett, author of “the help,” aka the blockbuster novel from summer of 2010 and the ensuing movie in the summer of 2011.

i quietly alerted betsey and amy, they thought it was cool, then proceeded into the restroom on their way out while i went straight to the valet.  and stood next to the woman totally and completely alone.  no one around, not even a valet guy.  i gave myself a little pep talk (why?  why so hard?  just a regular person!) and said, “excuse me…but are you kathryn stockett??”  she touched my arm and said “why yes, yes i am!  what’s your name?”  i told her my name was callie, and that i just LOVED the book, loved the movie, thought she was so talented, it was an honor to meet her.  she was completely gracious and polite, and was so glad i enjoyed it.

i don’t know if i’ve told you this yet, but i happen to be the least cool person in the universe.  i get star-struck very, very, like embarrassingly very, easily. and because i’m totally nervous meeting even the most d-list of people, i end up saying things that goes through my head that should not come out my mouth.  things like:  ”yeah, i totally thought that was you, i remember reading somewhere or maybe i was watching something, don’t know, anyway it was about the movie and they mentioned you were going to be in it, then when your scene came up at the junior league meeting, i was like, oh!  that’s the author, i recognize her from the book jacket, and here you are that’s so neeeeeat!”

and this is when she covered up her license plate number after the valet brought up her car.

no really, she was ever the polite southern lady and replied that the movie involved a lot of her friends and her daughter played the young skeeter…and her mom was in it…that it was just so much fun to make.  and then we talked about how it was such a nice night to eat dinner outside.  and then she touched my arm again (she’s a toucher), said it was nice to meet me and i repeated the “i bow down” verbiage from above when the valet brought up her ride.

they totally need to get a more speedy valet company to protect their patrons from crazies like me, right?!

it really was a thrill to meet her. btw, owen wilson and vince vaughn are filming a movie in atlanta right now.  don’t you wonder what nonsense i would spout at them if spotted?!  good grief.
xoxo

thursday tidbits

how is it already thursday??  i am not ok with these weeks flying by.  at any rate, it’s time for thursday tidbits!  get excited.

y’all….today is the day.  trina turk for banana republic is revealed!  what do you think??  i love it, although some of the prints seem like i saw them already…maybe 5 years ago??

we have been busy bees during wedding season 2012, and still have some to go with fall and winter brides!  what fun.  one of my favorites featured gold edges on super thick crane lettra stock…i mean, how gorge.

surely i am not the only mom who has hundreds – yes, hundreds – of these type pictures on their iphone?

somehow you can turn on the camera when the phone is locked.  i cannot figure out how to do this, but really need to ask my three-year-old how it works.

last night i dined at the optimist, the westside’s coolest new place.  it was delightful and the meal was only outdone by the company!  i was with my blog friends (who are also real life friends), dixie delights and the buncolator gals (aka amanda and catherine/lindsay, respectively).  we always have such a blast when we get together, and i tell you there is not one pause in the conversation between the four of us!  i should have gotten a picture of all of us.  next time, girls!

alright, time to get some work done. i forgot how much i love babies that take morning naps…and summer camps for three year olds :)

xoxo

pickin’ berries

talk about farm to table…we literally accomplished that last week!  there is something so simple and provincial about picking your own berries, and i’ve been wanting to do it for some time now.  my friend shannon and i drove down to southern belle farms last week on a gorgeous may day and stocked up on the ripe little suckers.

this entire basket (don’t let looks deceive you…it is an overflowing gallon!) was $10, and a whopping $1 for the re-useable plastic bucket.  we had a blast filling it up!

although not all of us picked berries to take home…

some just enjoyed the view.

this sweet little strawberry came dressed and ready for the occasion.

we followed amanda @ dixie delight’s good advice on bringing a blanket and a picnic lunch, which we followed up with $3 cups of homemade strawberry ice cream.  it was delish!

they have farm animals too – this is really not a good picture, but there are baby goats in the back.  OMG they were so cute!

we had to depart soon after this because rush broke into the “oinker’s palace” or something like that…surely meant for a PIG and not for a little boy.  i don’t think there was a hog in that corral but i wasn’t about to stick around to find out.

all in all, a great day trip – only a 45 minute drive from the city.  we’re going back for blueberries and blackberries!  but now…i’m off to have strawberries and yogurt for a snack.  again. 

xoxo

wednesday errands, high to low

rbb and i are so very lucky, because both sides of grandparents are here in town and love to take care of our children.  YAY!  in fact, my sweet mom has a standing date for a little r+r action every wednesday, allowing me to run errands untethered.  it is awesome, to say the least.  i can accomplish so much without having to do the usual drill of: gather cart, bring to car, put rush in cart, insert rinne in bjorn…  and if they don’t have shopping carts, they are dead to me.  until wednesdays, that is!

this past wednesday, i had a list full of places to hit.  i definitely save up my home decor errands for wednesday, because we all know what a whirling dervish 2-year-old boy would do to a nice shop.  i first jetted off to a shop recommended to me by our family friend, kate, who is in the home decor business.  i’m looking for grasscloth to cover my office walls with (i am SO EXCITED about it!) and while jen is sending me samples as well, i wanted to see what was available locally.  off to webb marsteller i went.  what a GORGEOUS store, housed in the peachtree hills galleries.

i loved so many of their vignettes.
i also salivated over these paintings…
and couldn’t resist taking home this little vase for my “green shelf” on my bookcases.
i picked up some grasscloth samples too – OMG they had a million different ones to choose from.
the samples and vase came in these bags – are they not beautiful?!  i’m kind of obsessed with them.

so there you have my high-fallutin’ errand.  now it’s time to slum it!  a new goodwill just opened by my house in the old sam flax space that i’ve been wanting to check out, since i was sure that it was squeaky clean and pristine – even though i don’t mind getting a little dirty in the name of a good deal.  but boy was i right on the clean part – could have eaten off the floor in there.

gah, look how terrible the parking job on the green car is…  who would leave their car like that.  (sorry silver car!)

i never shop for myself at goodwill, just the kids.  it’s like a year-round consignment sale with much better hours.  everything they have in the kids section is $2.92.  i have scored some awesome stuff there – for instance, yesterday i picked up a brand new (tags still on!) ralph lauren shirt for rush and a patagonia fleece for rinne (that she can wear in about 6 years…whatever).

i love to browse the book section too – all children’s book are $1.50 and adult hardbacks are $2.50.  i found lots of color-appropriate hardbacks for my bookshelves!  but check out all of the kid’s books…

i had to laugh at the jeans section.  just like a boutique :)

i also always have hopes of landing a superstar score in the furniture department, but have yet to.  oh well.  plenty more wednesdays for that!!
xoxo

atlanta staycation part II

where was i?  oh yes, saturday morning. terrible hangover.  y’all.  coming from a person who has been either pregnant or nursing the past year plus and not been privy to a bad hangy in quite some time….this just knocked. me. out.  i woke up with the typical symptoms that i used to know all too well in my 20s…super thirsty, no sudden movements please, scratchy throat, splitting headache.  and we had brunch reservations at 10:30.  after i peeled off my outfit from the night before and took off the prior day’s face of makeup…ew…we got dressed and all downed some aleve before setting out to brunch.  thank you betsey for coming prepared!

by the way, want to know something funny?  no matter how overserved i am, i ALWAYS, and i mean always, take out my contacts.  how bizarre is that.  it’s ingrained in me like breathing or something.

anyway.  on to empire state south!  if you haven’t been here yet, you simply must go.  it is just downright fabulous.  it’s a hugh acheson restaurant and sister restaurant to five and ten in athens, which is the original downright fabulous destination.

they have a bocce ball court to busy yourself on while you wait for a table.  by the way, this is in the heart of midtown atlanta which is quite a rare place to spot a bocce ball court…

i needed a lot of this.

and this.

and why not try this too for good measure.

everything we had was just delicious.  although i’m surprised we actually ingested food after being so busy laughing uncontrollably at jen’s tale of when she and steven showed up for a couple’s massage in the buff on a trip to turks and caicos.  it turned out it was sort of an “active” massage and not the typical lay-under-a-towel deal.  OMG, the visuals were hysterical.

and we even had a little celeb sighting, if you watch top chef?  i don’t, but i know plenty of people do.  hugh showed up.  at his own restaurant, imagine that!  merrell has actually interviewed him before (she writes for a magazine in chattanooga) so she went up to say hi.  and we are such dorks that we took a picture.  can’t you just see him saying “um…really?  cause i can totally see you taking that picture over there.”

after we finished up and i had another dose of painkillers, we headed down to scott’s.  i was in such a bad way that i really didn’t take any pictures…i just followed jen around like a lap dog, i think literally wanting to see through her eyes (and therefore great taste!).

i did find this but then jen reminded me that i needed to spend my money on things for the house and not fur coats.  damn.

do you see those little cutouts for the arms?  it was almost like a short cape.  so fab!  but alas, we parted ways.

after a long nap back at the hotel – quite a luxury for three moms of small children – we got gussied up and went to the livingston for cocktails and apps before dinner.

much to our delight, there was a prom going on at the fox theatre across the street.  while we were waiting for margaret and jen to pick us up for dinner, look what we saw…

a full on LCD-lit pumpkin horse-drawn carriage carrying prom-goers.  i love atlanta.

then it was off to chow down at wisteria in inman park.  it’s a great spot for an intimate dinner – and everything on the menu is good.  merrell and i went split-sies and got the salmon and beef tenderloin – our own little surf n’ turf!  it was fantastic.

me and margaret at dinner.

betsey, jen and merrell on the other side.

we were all beat, so we just called it an early night and went straight to bed after dinner.  typical wedding weekend behavior.  blow it out on friday and pay for it saturday…

sunday we hit up cafe jonah in the old buckhead village for brunch.  this is the new restaurant from jenny levison of souper jenny fame.  i had not been before and i was AMAZED!  everything was delectable and so cutely displayed…

…and this was only half of the food.  there was also a coffee/tea self-serve bar, a bakery case, and a hot bar with quiche, frittata and oatmeal + toppings!  YUM.  it was all soooo good.  the most intriguing part is that there’s no set price for the brunch.  you pay what you think it’s worth (suggested price is $20) and part of whatever you pay goes to charity.  i just love that!

we took a group picture and then it was time to bid adieu…

what a fun weekend with some of my favorite peeps.  ’til next time, girls!
xoxo

atlanta staycation part I

well, the atlanta staycation was a huge success…if “success” means one ginormous hangover, several house items procured amongst a fun shopping day at scott’s, scores of delicious calories ingested and all in all had a BALL catching up with some of my favorite gal pals.

jen flew in from texas and was whisked from the airport straight to carver’s.  now, if you didn’t know what waited inside for you at carver’s, you might pass this establishment thinking it was an uninhabited shack on the side of the road from the days of old.

but no…just look at this goodness inside those doors!  i got a veggie plate – mac & cheese, green beans, squash casserole, black eyed peas and a delicacy whose scientific name is “cheesy bread.”

don’t even think about getting something other than sweet tea.

after we undid the top button on our pants (oh, just me?), we rolled ourselves out and it was time to get down to business and do a little home shopping.  first stop after merrell joined the party – lewis & sheron.  a fabric wonderland, and jen reigns supreme in this place.  she is seriously like a celeb sighting for the lower floor employees (as she should be!).

then on to bungalow classic, which is kind of like heaven.  have you been?  you should.  here, i’ll make it easy.

it’s pretty frigging amazing.  rinne already thinks so.

i drooled over my future chairs, got a fabric sample for them and we hit the road to check into the hotel.  i’ve always been curious about hotel indigo in midtown…

it’s right across the street from the fox theatre and next to the georgian terrace / livingston restaurant.  super cute, although the bathroom was a wee bit tiny.  but who can complain with such a fun view down peachtree street?

we grabbed betsey, fresh off a flight from nyc, and all high-tailed it to ecco, a mediterranean-inspired resto in midtown just a few blocks from the hotel.

we sat down and immediately ordered the house specialty – fried goat cheese balls drizzled with honey and sprinkled with black pepper.  OH. EM. GEE.  they are so good.
oh and there was wine.  copious amounts of wine.  but i’ll get to that later…
we had such a blast at dinner, i cannot even tell you!  i think everyone was so excited to be together and we just lived it up.  the conversation was hilarious and we might have turned a few heads we were laughing so hard (um…and loud) at times.
margaret and merrell having a deep conversation.
happy betsey and jen googling something very important, i am sure.

we had so much fun that we closed the place down.  now i know some people say that but really….they were locking up as we were leaving.  the valet was all but gone and i think a little shocked that these late night revelers had the keys to a volvo station wagon.

to the right.

and to the left.

whoops.

i wonder if our waiter was in the s*$@house because he hammed it up with us while everyone else was working.  he was awesome and we loved him!

after all that fun, we still had not had enough, so back to the hotel for … actually, i don’t know why we went there, if just to decide that turning in was for the birds.  well, and we got jealous of the folks who had turned up the burnett’s vodka and left the remnants in the elevator.

we also saw that there was absolutely zero going on at the hotel bar.  and we had wanted to get good use out of our 10% discount!!

we walked across the street to a place called churchill grounds for a nightcap that we really needed.  i’m sure we kind of looked like a commercial for moms gone wild.  thank goodness there is no visual evidence of this outing.  all i can tell you is that the next day, i felt like absolute and total hell.  i get a little queasy just thinking about saturday morning.

but that didn’t stop us from a full day of being about town and heading down to scott’s!
more to come…going to get some water.  i really think i might still be a smidge hungover.
xoxo

come and get it

around these parts, dinner doesn’t make itself.  i don’t know about you, but there is always at least one day a week (if not…four) that i look at the clock which says 5:00 p.m. and think, “well shoot. what in the world am i going to make for dinner!?” my saving grace as of late has been a new business that just blossomed a hop, skip and a jump away from where i live, and it’s called – come and get it.

from my understanding, come and get it is run by two friends here in atlanta who are pretty talented in the kitchen.  they make large quantities of lasagnas, soups, veggie sides, breads, desserts, etc. and keep them stocked in a freezer in brookwood hills, which is open from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. every day.  the convenience cannot be beat – you drive down a little path, see the open garage, check out what’s in the freezer, write down what you took and leave a check.  i mean, how cute is that.  i love an honor system.  here’s what the freezer looks like…

now people, this is not your average frozen dinner.  these are things like ina garten’s turkey sausage lasagna…confetti quinoa…spinach chicken burger patties.  everything is made with fresh ingredients and it is DELISH!  we have tried the chicken and mushroom crepes, turkey lasagna, chicken & wild rice casserole and vegetarian taco pie.  YUM!  it was all scrumptious and at $15 a pop – i couldn’t even buy the ingredients for the dishes, not to mention spend the time to cook said items.  the soups and veggies are even less than that at $9 and $12, respectively.  
here’s a picture of the (well done…i love crispy cheese) chicken and mushroom crepes.  mmm.
i try to keep at least one of their concoctions in my freezer at all times…i mean, all you need is to defrost that sucker, toss it in the oven, throw together a salad and voila – dinner is served!  
to get on their listserve, email them.  they will send you all of the particulars (exact location, etc.), as well as a current menu of the dishes they offer, since some are seasonal.  and they aim to please – they do deliveries to the brookhaven / dunwoody area once a week (to your door!!!!), and will also open the freezer earlier than 3:00 p.m. if you need for them to.  i mean, let’s hear it for a flexible, customer-centric small business with a great product that makes life easier!     
come and get it indeed.  i sure am!
xoxo

and p.s. after you’ve picked up your meals to go, take a spin through the neighborhood…brookwood hills is my favorite in the whole city.  when rbb and i play the “where would you live if we won the lottery?” game, my answer is so predictable…and you’ll see why!