March, 2012

easter treats

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so.  i signed up to bring the treat for rush’s preschool class party yesterday.  what do we do first in this day and age, when faced with such a task?  why, head to pinterest and search whatever you are looking for, only to find a bevy of suitable options.  i found an adorable idea and set out to make it.  i would make these little bird nests with a cute peep and a few chocolate eggs too.  done!

i go about making this little recipe…it seems pretty simple.  melt the butter and marshmallows together, then stir in chow mein noodles and meld them into little nests, let cool, and then add the nest inhabitants.

i love how the recipe casually says, “oh yeah, coat your hands with cooking spray or shortening so they don’t stick to the mixture” – i did that and it worked for the first three seconds (generous estimate) i had my hands in that pot.  here’s what it looked like the rest of the time … on my fresh birthday manicure … !!

i don’t think that picture even begins to show the intricacies of these spiderwebs i was dealing with.  i mean, i don’t know if i did something wrong or what, but the concoction in my pot was superglue.  i could only manage to drop a few lumps of the stuff – no nest melding going on – onto parchment paper and then rbb came in behind me and quickly pressed a peep onto it.  i could barely even get my hands off of one to move onto the next!!!  what the HECK?!?!?!!?

i’m getting all hot and bothered remembering how frustrating it was.

anyway.  they turned out cute i suppose.

except the poor preschoolers could not break apart the CEMENTED together chow mein noodles…so they had to be broken up by kind teachers and parents.

sign.  it’s fashion over function for me even in the preschool treats arena.  i’ll never learn.


birthday fun

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man, there’s nothing like a birthday to make you feel good.  i had an excellent day yesterday as i turned 32…although they’re a little different these days in that instead of dashing off to meet friends for cocktails, i ran to my local costco because we were almost out of formula.  they do sell wine there i guess, so there is that.

i requested my birthday dinner be at our favorite fine mexican joint – jalisco.  they have the best queso and salsa in town and i LOVE their chicken & vegetable soup.  i mean, i even talk about it on my website bio.  what’s hilarious is that we are the “rush” party there.  our table is ready and this is what we hear: “rush!  we’re ready for you.”  love it.

i visited my birthday plaque that was put up in honor of my 30th (ah, such a young thing back then…).  thanks betsey :)

since my gift is a new rug for the living room (how’s that for a sign i’m getting old…), rbb got a few ‘day of’ gifts to thrill and delight…a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered to the front door and the cutest little cake.  she’s caramel…and so delish.

and cards, of course.  my favorite part…!  what cracked me up is that he handed me the paper bag that the cards came in…which i guess was his gift wrapping?  i found a starbucks card, two birthday cards and the receipt for the cards inside.  it was a nice touch.  maybe he wanted me to know that he was a full TWO days ahead in buying them.

oh and he thinks my name spelled “cali” is so much cooler :)

i tried to get a picture with the noodles to commemorate the day…but man, they are a tough crowd.  every take looked something like this:

maybe next year.

thanks to all my peeps for the happy birthday wishes!  they made this girl’s day.


…like a baby

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there are two surefire ways to see me cry.  and by the way can we all agree that motherhood requires one to constantly carry a hefty supply of handkerchiefs around?  i swear it’s like an emotional spigot turned on inside of me in that delivery room and i can’t find a way to righty-tighty it.

1) ask me to read love you forever.  OMG is this book a tearjerker.  i think it really hits mothers of boys.  testament to this fact is that while at a baby shower last summer, myself and another mother of two boys explained the premise of the book to a friend who was not familiar with it.  we both started crying just recounting the story.

i know, i know – it sounds kind of hokey but just read it.  you will fall too.  and of course, rush looooves to read it.  whenever he brings it to me, he says in his little 2-year-old voice that i just want to bottle up: “dis book make mommy cu-wyyyyyyyyy.” and then we read it and by the end i go silent (except for my sniffles), hoping he’ll be content just looking at the pictures.  i just can’t handle the boy getting old and the mom getting sick.  it has a 100% success rate on producing tears for me.

2) listen to amazing grace sung by children.  oh goodness.

yesterday was what our church calls “music sunday” where they have an unbelievable production with the choir and organ, a full orchestra and various children’s choirs singing amidst readings from the preacher instead of a normal service…they do one a little before christmas and another one right before easter.  here’s more or less what it looks like:

the service’s closer was “amazing grace” preceded by a bagpiper (i knew i was in for it when i heard the first notes) and joined by one of the children’s choirs.  i was a MESS.  the sound of their little voices is just so sweet and earnest, and then you got the words and tune…i am toast.  in all seriousness – God help me in a few years when rush and rinne are up there singing.  i think rbb might have to haul me out on a stretcher.


did you know?

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i am always learning new things.  isn’t that the great part of life?  you can never, ever know it all.  i thought i would share a few interesting pieces of information i’ve picked up since starting out on this venture, some of which was really news to me…

also, i’m going to add pictures from my pinterest “paper love” board.  these are all done by other talented designers!

– paper, notecards, correspondence, etc. – it is all called stationery.  see that “e” in there?  i, too, thought it was stationary.  like, forever.  and i used to do ok on spelling tests in grade school…but the “a” word means something that doesn’t move.  and i’m so stubborn that i saw “stationery” on several other people’s websites (before i knew) and thought…bless their hearts.  they don’t know how to spell stationary correctly and there it is right on the world wide web.

– when using first names on a birth announcement, holiday card or similar, you always list the wife’s name first.  for example:

callie and brandon burnette

the easy way to remember this is that you never separate a man from his name.  makes sense – it was his before it was mine!

– always, always, always order more invitations than you think you’ll need.  if i had a dollar for every time a frantic party host (or heaven forbid – bride!!) asked me to print five more ASAP…

– when to send out wedding invitations: did you send a save the date? let’s do a multiple choice answer.

YES – answer is 6-8 weeks.
NO – answer is 8-10 weeks.

always err on the side of longer and that way you have some wiggle room if you happen to need it.

this was more or less our wedding invitation!  a design by the fabulous and wonderful cheree berry.  OMG is she good.

– how early to send out party invites?  i have clients that have sent out invitations eight weeks before a party, down to two weeks (yikes!) before a party.  it’s really a personal preference…but i always shoot to have my own party invitations in the mail four-ish weeks before the event.  i feel like that hits the sweet spot – the date isn’t super crazy far in advance that you forget about it, but still gives your attendees a chance to reserve time for your shindig before other things come up.

– people always ask me when they should send out their birth announcements.  etiquette says anytime in the baby’s first six months is passable, but i say if you get them out in the first two to three months, you’re doing a-ok.  anything earlier than that is just showing off.  (i kid!  but really, it is an amazing feat.)

p.s. i love the name milly/millie for a little girl.  rbb vetoed. :(

– listing “no gifts” for parties – is it presumptuous to think that the guests would bring gifts?  i don’t think so.  but you can always put something cheeky like “your presence is the present!” or charitable like “gifts will be donated to the genesis shelter for women and children,” to let your guests know the deal.

– when sealing an envelope that is lined, just moisten the tip of the flap and seal…that way the recipient can easily open the envelope without ruining the beautiful liner!  don’t you hate when you don’t get to marvel in its beauty just because of how you had to open the envelope?

what do y’all think – did you already know all this? probably, because i know y’all are smart whippersnappers.  got any other questions – let me know!  maybe i’ll do something crazy and start a new series.  woah.

another calligraphy birth announcement

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would it be considered indulgent if i got my holiday cards addressed by a calligrapher this year?  or maybe just some bills?  i’m really considering it.  i’m just in the biggest calligraphy frame of mind!  it’s sooooo gorgeous and with no more wedding invitations and possibly no more birth announcements (waah!!!!  crossing my fingers rbb lets me get one more bambino in.  but with our luck it would be triplets.), i am at a loss for things i can get calligraphed.

thank goodness for clients that love a calligraphed birth announcement just as much as i do to get a little fix…check out this one i recently did for a sweet little gal born in the fall.

we flat printed the announcement on crane lettra paper and lined the beet colored envelopes in a sweet floral print – i just adore the mixture of the grandiose calligraphy with the simple repeating flower pattern…

in lieu of an intro line (i.e. “we are delighted to announce…”), the calligrapher did large, beautiful flourishes on the first letters of the baby’s name….love.

and how can these little girls not appreciate good calligraphy as much as their mamas with beautiful announcements welcoming them into the world!

oh!  that reminds me.  i need to show y’all how i framed rinne’s announcement – i’m quite taken with it.  coming soon.

and speaking of calligraphy, my friend claire just opened her own calligraphy shop in texas called clarigraphy – you should like them on facebook, i think. :)


atlanta staycation part II

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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!

sweet boy

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rush was so tired yesterday he didn’t even stir when i went into his room to wake him up from his nap.

moments like these make me almost forget that he defaced a stack of already calligraphed wedding invitation envelopes last week…


pi/pie day

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it is so fitting that rbb was born on national pi/e day.  reason #1 is that he is a pie guy.  no cupcakes, cookies or 7-layer-anything for this one.  an old fashioned cherry or apple pie makes him mighty happy – and he doesn’t even discriminate against store bought (collective sigh for not having to make pie crust from scratch).  reason #2 is that he is my favorite nerd in all the land, being a card-carrying one with a degree from georgia tech, and pi (yes that 3.14 mumbo jumbo that you may remember from 9th grade algebra)…well…it’s special to them.

he turns thirty-five today.  35!  it’s a big one.
rinne also turns half a year old today.  where does the time go…
happy birthday babe!  hope you find the root of pi using long division.  i know that would just make your day :)

atlanta staycation part I

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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.


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.

where the players play

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i am doing something that i’ve never done before this weekend.  myself and a handful of girlfriends are taking a staycation in atlanta.  we’re importing one gal from texas, one straddling the tennessee / georgia border (chattanooga) and one local will be fresh off the plane from nyc.  it amuses me to no end that we’re checking into a hotel maybe ten minutes from where i live!  i could not be more excited for some girl time, good food (and lots of it), shopping and just plain old FUN.  although fun has evolved a bit…now it’s more sleeping in / scott’s antique market and less northside tavern until last call / greasy spoon breakfast with a fountain coke.

i’ll report back…and who knows, maybe we’ll get crazy and need that fountain coke after all. :)