about me

2014 year in review : hello 2015

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why hello!  happy new year!  i know y’all think i have all but abandoned this blog.  and that is partly true.  life was in a perpetual rush hour for a bit there, what with feeling ENORMOUS and exhausted, having a newborn and working on holiday cards.  i have been taking it majorly easy since the holiday card craziness died down and it’s been fab!  i’ve been thinking about this blog and missing it.  i’m hoping to pop in more in 2015, and definitely make good on some blog promises (um hello, the finished kitchen is a year old and i have yet to photograph it still!  ridiculous!).  but to get caught up…  here’s what went down in 2014.


bask in the glory of what is a newly renovated kitchen – and the departure of the workmen!  not that i didn’t love them.  because we were homies.  lots of meals cooked in, and moving back into our new spaces oh so carefully…  you know, like when you really contemplate how your baking pans should be organized (loaf pan up front?  how about bundt?  nah, that goes at the back since i’ve never used it and all.  but would i use it more if it were up front…?).


positive pregnancy test.  proceed to immediately, if not sooner, feel like death warmed over and “show.”  am instantly wearing maternity pants…and kind of loving it.  oh and here’s how i broke the news to rbb…  on one of our friday night pizzas.  in my head, he comes home hungry and i say “oh!  pizza is reheating in the oven, why don’t you serve it up for everyone.”  in real life, his plane was delayed and i had to feed the kids so there was no resemblance of a 3 by the time he saw it.  #fail


turn 34.  wait a minute, i’m merely one year younger than carrie in that sex and the city episode where she turns 35 and no one shows up for her birthday and she has to pay for her own cake.  how can that be?  the mid-30s sure came up quick.  am working on a lot of small business logos and love it.  i absolutely adore helping other entrepreneur mamas.


amazingly, our first trip to the ER for stitches.  of course, it occurs the night before we leave for a spring break beach trip… isn’t that just the way? (see chin below)


muffins for moms…my favorite day of preschool. i always cry.

IMG_5938dear friend dorothy gets married on daufuskie island (which is gorgeous and completely unspoiled).  will have to feature that soon; we did the save the dates and programs together.


rush turns 5.  what?!  aside from this, we basically live at the pool.


we begin transforming the nursery into a big girl room/nursery for rinne and the new baby… goodbye yellow and chalkboard wall!  nice knowing ya.

IMG_6225and my college girls and i took to lake oconee for a reunion trip.  why have i never been there?  it’s just an hour and some down the road and so pretty!


beach trip to fripp island.  i guess this is our last year going in august since rush starts kindergarten next year!

rush and rinne at beach - august 2014SEPT:

rinne turns 3.  she wants a party, and she wants nemo cupcakes.  buy nemo cupcake toppers from etsy and serve them on cupcakes at a small neighborhood bbq we hosted two weeks before her birthday…call it a day.  4 will have to be legit though.


countdown to baby is on.  i am SO BIG that people everywhere are amazed.  no one thinks i will make it to my scheduled c-section at 39 weeks – which i did, thankyouverymuch.  as i walk out of shake shack (omg the custards) 4 days before my scheduled c, a lady says to me: “you havin’ a BIG OL’ BOY.”  i say you know what?  i think so too.

photo-202 copy 6well well well, we had a big ol’ GIRL!

photo-202 copy 2NOV:

baby snuggles and holiday cards.  that is literally all that happened. (and my mom came to help me, a lot – thanks mom!)


still cranking on holiday cards.  squeal with excitement on the day that i ship off boxes of “cheers” and “merry christmas” tags to all three kayce hughes stores!!!!!  i never could have even dreamed that up.

photo-202 copy 5manage to step away from holiday cards and feeding round the clock to take rinne to the nutcracker at the fox theatre for the first time – which i’ve only been looking forward to since the day she was born.  we had a ball. photo-202 copy 32014 – you were good to us!  i can’t wait to see what 2015 brings.  i hope to keep the blog more updated, but have been a lot more active on instagram (@calliespondence) lately.  i do have some fun parties, weddings and house before/afters to show you…so i’ll be back soon i hope!

best of everything to you and yours in 2015, and thanks for your support in 2014!!


err in the direction of kindness

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greetings, folks!  i’ve been taking an obvious blog sabbatical.  because of THIS:


can you even believe that bump is only fourteen weeks old in this picture??? y’all – the 3rd baby is not messing around. i have been showing since i peed on the stick and basically in maternity clothes since then too.  i tried to do the whole rubber-band-around-the-button-thing and then decided not to be a hero, and promptly started wearing full-fledged maternity pants.  much better.  anyway, we are all elated / scared / excited / scared.  and i apologize for going MIA, but i have been feeling just awful.  anytime that 2nd trimester golden age wants to kick in, i am ready!!!!

this past weekend, a gaggle of girlfriends and i celebrated the wedding of our very good friend, dorothy, on daufuskie island, SC!  it was a blast and SO beautiful.  full blog post to come, as i did many of the paper items.  here is a quick picture of us on the way to the rehearsal dinner. (l-r: amy, dorothy aka THE BRIDE, betsey, me and jen)

photo-197p.s. i love that green dress – i bought it from a v. stylish neighbor & friend who had used it as a maternity dress of sorts too.  it’s a generously cut DVF!  love that diane.

we all arrived on daufuskie on thursday; betsey and i driving together from atlanta and catching the 6:30 ferry from hilton head.  i pictured us completely wind-blown and maybe a little damp from the surf during the ferry ride, but turns out ferries have come a long way – we sat in an air-conditioned room with cushioned seats!  who knew.  we were shown to our golf cart and started on our trek to our house, a simple 20 minute golf cart ride away…  except for a plethora of roundabouts, forks, windy roads, is that a median or do we veer left?  that kind of thing.  this sweet, sweet old man saw that we were lost and asked where we were headed – we told him our address and he said, “ah – i’m going that direction.  follow me – where i turn right, you turn left!”  so we did.  and we got to the point where he was supposed to turn right, and he said “you know – it’s kind of tricky back there.  i’ll just take you all the way.”  how kind of him to take time out of his night to show two gals on their way.  i think he is a perfect example of george saunders’ commencement address — have you read this??  you must.  it is so good.  i want to “err in the direction of kindness.”  and watch out for monkey poop.  rush has recently made the proclamation that when we reach the age of 100, we will all shrink back into babies.  maybe he’s not all wrong; babies are generally pretty loving and kind.  here it is:


George Saunders convocation speech, Syracuse University, 2013.

Down through the ages, a traditional form has evolved for this type of speech, which is: Some old fart, his best years behind him, who, over the course of his life, has made a series of dreadful mistakes (that would be me), gives heartfelt advice to a group of shining, energetic young people, with all of their best years ahead of them (that would be you).

And I intend to respect that tradition.

Now, one useful thing you can do with an old person, in addition to borrowing money from them, or asking them to do one of their old-time “dances,” so you can watch, while laughing, is ask: “Looking back, what do you regret?” And they’ll tell you. Sometimes, as you know, they’ll tell you even if you haven’t asked. Sometimes, even when you’ve specifically requested they not tell you, they’ll tell you.

So: What do I regret? Being poor from time to time? Not really. Working terrible jobs, like “knuckle-puller in a slaughterhouse?” (And don’t even ASK what that entails.) No. I don’t regret that. Skinny-dipping in a river in Sumatra, a little buzzed, and looking up and seeing like 300 monkeys sitting on a pipeline, pooping down into the river, the river in which I was swimming, with my mouth open, naked? And getting deathly ill afterwards, and staying sick for the next seven months? Not so much. Do I regret the occasional humiliation? Like once, playing hockey in front of a big crowd, including this girl I really liked, I somehow managed, while falling and emitting this weird whooping noise, to score on my own goalie, while also sending my stick flying into the crowd, nearly hitting that girl? No. I don’t even regret that.

But here’s something I do regret:

In seventh grade, this new kid joined our class. In the interest of confidentiality, her Convocation Speech name will be “ELLEN.” ELLEN was small, shy. She wore these blue cat’s-eye glasses that, at the time, only old ladies wore. When nervous, which was pretty much always, she had a habit of taking a strand of hair into her mouth and chewing on it.

So she came to our school and our neighborhood, and was mostly ignored, occasionally teased (“Your hair taste good?” — that sort of thing). I could see this hurt her. I still remember the way she’d look after such an insult: eyes cast down, a little gut-kicked, as if, having just been reminded of her place in things, she was trying, as much as possible, to disappear. After awhile she’d drift away, hair-strand still in her mouth. At home, I imagined, after school, her mother would say, you know: “How was your day, sweetie?” and she’d say, “Oh, fine.” And her mother would say, “Making any friends?” and she’d go, “Sure, lots.”

Sometimes I’d see her hanging around alone in her front yard, as if afraid to leave it.

And then — they moved. That was it. No tragedy, no big final hazing.

One day she was there, next day she wasn’t.

End of story.

Now, why do I regret that? Why, forty-two years later, am I still thinking about it? Relative to most of the other kids, I was actually pretty nice to her. I never said an unkind word to her. In fact, I sometimes even (mildly) defended her.

But still. It bothers me.

So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it:

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded . . . sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.

Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?

Those who were kindest to you, I bet.

It’s a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.

Now, the million-dollar question: What’s our problem? Why aren’t we kinder?

Here’s what I think:

Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somehow Darwinian. These are: (1) we’re central to the universe (that is, our personal story is the main and most interesting story, the only story, really); (2) we’re separate from the universe (there’s US and then, out there, all that other junk – dogs and swing-sets, and the State of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people), and (3) we’re permanent (death is real, o.k., sure – for you, but not for me).

Now, we don’t really believe these things – intellectually we know better – but we believe them viscerally, and live by them, and they cause us to prioritize our own needs over the needs of others, even though what we really want, in our hearts, is to be less selfish, more aware of what’s actually happening in the present moment, more open, and more loving.

So, the second million-dollar question: How might we DO this? How might we become more loving, more open, less selfish, more present, less delusional, etc., etc?

Well, yes, good question.

Unfortunately, I only have three minutes left.

So let me just say this. There are ways. You already know that because, in your life, there have been High Kindness periods and Low Kindness periods, and you know what inclined you toward the former and away from the latter. Education is good; immersing ourselves in a work of art: good; prayer is good; meditation’s good; a frank talk with a dear friend; establishing ourselves in some kind of spiritual tradition — recognizing that there have been countless really smart people before us who have asked these same questions and left behind answers for us.

Because kindness, it turns out, is hard — it starts out all rainbows and puppy dogs, and expands to include . . . well, everything.

One thing in our favor: some of this “becoming kinder” happens naturally, with age. It might be a simple matter of attrition: as we get older, we come to see how useless it is to be selfish — how illogical, really. We come to love other people and are thereby counter-instructed in our own centrality. We get our butts kicked by real life, and people come to our defense, and help us, and we learn that we’re not separate, and don’t want to be. We see people near and dear to us dropping away, and are gradually convinced that maybe we too will drop away (someday, a long time from now). Most people, as they age, become less selfish and more loving. I think this is true. The great Syracuse poet, Hayden Carruth, said, in a poem written near the end of his life, that he was “mostly Love, now.”

And so, a prediction, and my heartfelt wish for you: as you get older, your self will diminish and you will grow in love. YOU will gradually be replaced by LOVE. If you have kids, that will be a huge moment in your process of self-diminishment. You really won’t care what happens to YOU, as long as they benefit. That’s one reason your parents are so proud and happy today. One of their fondest dreams has come true: you have accomplished something difficult and tangible that has enlarged you as a person and will make your life better, from here on in, forever.

Congratulations, by the way.

When young, we’re anxious — understandably — to find out if we’ve got what it takes. Can we succeed? Can we build a viable life for ourselves? But you — in particular you, of this generation — may have noticed a certain cyclical quality to ambition. You do well in high-school, in hopes of getting into a good college, so you can do well in the good college, in the hopes of getting a good job, so you can do well in the good job so you can . . .

And this is actually O.K. If we’re going to become kinder, that process has to include taking ourselves seriously — as doers, as accomplishers, as dreamers. We have to do that, to be our best selves.

Still, accomplishment is unreliable. “Succeeding,” whatever that might mean to you, is hard, and the need to do so constantly renews itself (success is like a mountain that keeps growing ahead of you as you hike it), and there’s the very real danger that “succeeding” will take up your whole life, while the big questions go untended.

So, quick, end-of-speech advice: Since, according to me, your life is going to be a gradual process of becoming kinder and more loving: Hurry up. Speed it along. Start right now. There’s a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really: selfishness. But there’s also a cure. So be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf — seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life.

Do all the other things, the ambitious things — travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop) – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality — your soul, if you will — is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Teresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.

And someday, in 80 years, when you’re 100, and I’m 134, and we’re both so kind and loving we’re nearly unbearable, drop me a line, let me know how your life has been. I hope you will say: It has been so wonderful.

Congratulations, Class of 2013.

I wish you great happiness, all the luck in the world, and a beautiful summer.


hoping to not be as much of a stranger; i’ve missed y’all!



here we go again

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tomorrow marks the first saturday of college football season.  to that i say, 1) hurray! and 2) too soon…too soon.  i am uncertain if my heart is ready to do this all over again.  it was just a mere 8ish months ago when the game which shall never be watched again occurred…you know.  don’t make me say it.  it’s hard not to get your hopes up once more, but if you do – you’re crushed when your ranking tumbles and (at least me) watch each game in a nervous frenzy, groaning at each error your team makes.  i think that’s why drinking and football were introduced to each other – to ease the pain of the inevitable mistakes and blown defensive strategies.

ALAS – i will still proudly don my red pants, hold my vodka tonic close and sidle right up to the tv at 8 p.m. when it’s time to get this thing going.  #lovemydawgs


lewis grizzard was a columnist who wrote about southern things and sometimes, the georgia bulldogs.  this is timely and wonderful :)


To my Son, if I ever have one:

Kid, I am writing this on September 3, 1984. I have just returned from Athens, where I spent Saturday watching the University of Georgia, your old dad’s alma matter, play football against Clemson.

While the events of the day were still fresh on my mind, I wanted to recount them so if you are ever born, you can read this and perhaps be able to share one of the great moments in your father’s life.

Saturday was a wonderful day on the Georgia campus.

We are talking blue, cloudless sky, a gentle breeze and a temperature suggesting summer’s end and autumn’s approach.

I said the blessing before we had lunch. I thanked the Lord for three things: fried chicken, potato salad and for the fact he had allowed me the privilege of being a Bulldog.

“And , Dear Lord,” I prayed, “bless all those not as fortunate as I.”

Imagine my son, 82,000 people, most whom were garbed in red, gathered together gazing down on a lush valley of hedge and grass where soon historic sporting combat would be launched.

Clemson was ranked number 2 in the nation, and Georgia, feared too young to compete with the veterans from beyond the river, could only dream, the smart money said, of emerging three hours hence victorious.

They had us 20-6 at the half, son. A man sitting in front of me said, “I just hope we don’t get embarrassed.”

My boy, I had never seen such a thing as came to pass in the second half. Todd Williams threw one long and high, and Herman Archie caught it in the end zone, and it was now 20-13.

Georgia got the ball again and scored again, and it was now 20-20, and my mouth was dry, and my hands were shaking, and this Clemson fan who had been running his mouth the whole ballgame suddenly shut his fat face.

Son, we got ahead 23-20, and the ground trembled and shook, and many were taken by fainting spells.

Clemson’s kicker, Donald Igwebuike, tied it 23-23 and this sacred place became the center of the universe.

Only seconds were left when Georgia’s kicker, Kevin Butler, stood poised in concentration. The ball rushed toward him, and it was placed upon the tee a heartbeat before his right foot launched it heavenward.

A lifetime later, the officials threw their arms aloft. From 60 yards away, Kevin Butler had been true, and Georgia led and would win 26-23.

I hugged perfect strangers and kissed a fat lady on the mouth. Grown men wept. Lightening flashed. Thunder rolled. Stars fell, and joy swept through, fetched by a hurricane of unleashed emotions.

When Georgia beat Alabama 18-17 in 1965, it was a staggering victory. When we came back against Georgia Tech and won 29-28 in 1978, the Chapel bell rang all night. When we beat Florida 26-21 in the last seconds in 1980, we called it a miracle. And when we beat Notre Dame 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl that same year for the national championship, a woman pulled up her skirt and showed the world the Bulldog she had sewn on her underbritches.

But Saturday may have been even better than any of those.

Saturday in Athens was a religious experience.

I give this to you, son. Read it and re-read it, and keep it next to your heart. And when people want to know how you wound up with the name “Kevin” let them read it, and then they will know.

– Lewis Grizzard



anchors away

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the jig is up.

my well-thought out plan of small, minuscule, basically non-existent parties for rush’s birthday went as far as it could go.  somewhere between 3 and 4 he realized, hey – we’re always going to other peoples’ birthday parties doing something fun…and giving them cool presents…and eating a bunch of cake!  what the HECK?!  so off to the bouncehouse we went for my little man’s 4th birthday party.  my intention with this soiree was to make it SO NOT a big deal.  i planned it for a weekday (don’t want to impede any weekend plans!  no big deal if you can’t make it!) from 4:00 – 6:00 (i am always looking for something to do with the kids between those hours and thought maybe another harried mom would find solace in an activity then too – and have the kids’ dinner taken care of!).  we held it at the sort of ghetto bouncy place around the corner from our house and i bought a ‘package’ full of drinks, tickets and plasticware.  we invited his preschool class and a handful of other kids we see regularly with playdates – i.e., HIS friends.  (this is going to be tough for me because i naturally want to invite all of my friends.)

so this is the plan going in – simple.  ultra simple.  and then i found vintage lighthouse stamps on etsy.  rush LOVES lighthouses.

lighthouse stamps

from then, it was decided.  classic red and navy nautical, with emphasis on lighthouses.  so naturally, an invitation in similar fashion had to follow…


lighthouse invitation

in the etsy shop here.

and we had to have summer floral arrangements, in silver bowls.  i mean how many times do you turn four anyway?


this was actually the simplest floral arrangement ever – hydrangeas from the yard stuck into green floral foam, in two sort of matching silver bowls that i purchased for $5 each at my church’s flea market.  

i found this wooden lighthouse in an antique shop in florida last summer, and it was the perfect centerpiece.  it usually sits in rush’s room.

lighthousefood was easy – annie’s cheddar bunnies, chick-fil-a nuggets and a little fruit kabob.  the skewers, plates and napkins all came from target!

IMG_3459the cake…i LOVE my cake girl.  katie from sweet peeps always does a bang up job!  i sent her the invitation and she created this coordinating beaut.



loved the little sailor’s knot detail.

lighthouse cakei wasn’t going to do favors, but then i found the most adorable red striped bags…

favor 1

inside there were fish stickers, a whale lollipop and some little sea creatures that grow when you put them in water.


i think the birthday boy was a teensy bit excited about his party.

excited muchhis sister was stoked about jumping…


his little friends are all so sweet.


all FOUR (sniff) candles were blown out handily…

blowing out the candles


and just like that, another year ticks by.  i’ve been seeing all of the photos on facebook of back to school cuteness, but really getting hit hard by the kids going off to college.  those kids were little just yesterday, it can’t be time for that yet!  it’s unbelievable how fast this parenting thing goes.  this article made me ugly cry last night just thinking about what’s to come.  our house may be a complete disaster with toys and books strewn every whichway 90% (ok ok, 100%) of the time but i know i’ll miss the mess and noise when it’s gone.

but sometime between now and when rush heads off to college, we have GOT to figure out how to take a decent family photo.

burnette famone of these days…



frippin out

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man – sorry to be such a stranger!  all is well, just a lot going on here.  we went to the beach for a week at the end of july, and there was a lot of busyness leading up to that getting orders out the door…and then tending to the new ones that piled up while i was away.  BUT i did not want to let too much time lapse before i forgot what the heck we did while we were at the beach – so here i am!

i really wanted to title this post “the frippin’ burnettes,” but it just doesn’t have the right ring to it.  the houses in fripp island, SC all have mailboxes with the name of the house on it, or the name of the family who owns it.  a lot of them are boring and straightforward (“jones”), but then a lot of them are clever.  my favorite was “the frippin’ freemans” – i mean, is that perfect or what!  i can tell that the freemans and i would get along famously.

we had a great eventful, and at the same time, lazy week.  we hit the beach every day around 10 with a packed lunch, and then sometimes did double duty at the pool later. the kids were WORN OUT, but loved the water and sand and waves.



there are deer everywhere.  and they are sweet.


what i love about fripp is how quiet it is…  we found a pretty remote beach access and went there every day to set up camp.  it was perfect.

photo-194 copy 2

with it being so quiet, there is still a lot to do!  we found a pier where the kids delighted in watching crabs run around and fisherman catching their bounty.


we also had lazy mornings with coffee on the porch…


and post-dinner treats (dark chocolate covered banana).


we ventured into beaufort (the mainland town where all of the commerce is) twice – once for dinner/g. store run halfway through the week (we ate at wren – i love this place and everything was TDF) and then again on the way out of town.  both times we hit up lowcountry market – such a cool place!  they have a fixed goods takeaway bar (we bought a divine tomato/onion pie, a peach crisp and lots of yummy sugar cookies in the shapes of sealife that the kids adored), lunch service (the burger….OMG) and a produce market (really just a few things – but their tomatoes were the delicious straight-from-the-farm kind).  oh and did i mention THE DECOR.

photo-194 copyit was all awesome, top to bottom, and i highly recommend you stop in if you’re ever in the area!  i also recommend you house-stalk the beautiful antebellum homes in downtown beaufort by the water…what i could do with this boxwood garden.  i mean really.

photo-194i also finished a book on the way down to the beach.  this happens like once a year, so it is to be celebrated.  but the book i finished was so touching and interesting and well-written, i must pass it along.  disclaimer: this review will be much more interesting to you if you are familiar with the real housewives of NYC.  it’s carole radziwill’s memoir that she wrote after her husband (son of the ultra fabulous lee radziwill, jackie o’s sister), JFK jr. and his lovely bride, carolyn (who was her BFF) all passed away the same summer.  it really is an amazing story of carole’s childhood in a blue-collar upstate NY town and how she ended up a princess…  i was about 3/4ths done with it when i got to the really sad part right when we hit macon and stopped for lunch.  i am sure the people dining at fresh air bbq think that rbb is one mean SOB, because my eyes were so so red and puffy.  i wanted to wear my sunglasses but that would have been so odd.  you feel overdressed wearing a t-shirt in this place.

photo-194 copy 3i am hoping to be back tomorrow or monday with a long overdue birthday party post :)

good to be back!


glory, glory

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soooo…in case you are not a member of the human race and somehow did not hear or see the outcome of the Georgia vs. Alabama SEC championship game on saturday night, we lost.  in a stunning, most gut-wrenching, get-your-hopes-way-up-and-then-dash-them kind of way.  in the last minute and eight seconds of the game trailing by 4, we took the ball 80 yards down the field but needed 85 to win.  as i was marveling out loud at aaron murray’s prowess in making that many good, fair and long passes in that short amount of time, jumping up and down and giving rush high fives, telling him his mama’s team might be playing in the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!!  just imagine!!  …i heard rbb say softly, “that was the game.”  i think, what in the heck is that crazy man talking about.  and then alabama started celebrating and it was, in a word…


and then my heart broke into a million pieces all over my living room floor.

i know that’s dramatic. but that is truly what it felt like.  i think brin said it best when she said that she had long-term breakups that hurt less than that game.  i know it’s just a game.  i know it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of life.  but man, it would have been such a good story.  and i LOVE a good story.  i was totally unprepared for how emotional i was going to be following the game.  i mean y’all, i felt like that sad blob in the paxil (or lexapro?) commercial for days.  kind of like all of the people in this picture (real, live georgia fans following the game.)

i think this photo actually captures the cycle of emotions pretty well…you start out being angry (man on left).  ticked off.  wronged.  it might consist of inner thoughts in all caps, “IT WAS OUR TURN, DAMNIT!”  then, extreme sadness (head in hands) over how things transpired.  you had ’em.  you really did.  the what ifs creep in…  the two pointer, the missed penalty on murray’s hit, the tipped last pass. why, oh why, couldn’t one of those things be different.  then a state of childlike innocence and optimism (young boy): “well, there’s always next year.  maybe lightning will strike twice. murray will be back, after all.”  and then you check your phone to see who just texted you – because life, it goes on.

but it is so hard on my heart to see big, burly, tough guys who left so much sweat and toil on that field reduced to…this.  can someone pass me a tissue?!

i love this quote:

Why do sports hold so much power? Not because they’re life and death — they’re not. But they make us feel life and death, in all its messy glory, in all its numbing agony. I felt all those things Saturday night, and so did those 75,000 people in the Georgia Dome, and so did all those millions watching and listening, even those who didn’t care who won and lost, but were screaming at the end because the game made them feel.

it’s from this article shared by one of my facebook friends.  that game, if nothing else, made you feel something.  but i still can’t help but wish that for me and the rest of the bulldogs, it was elation.

maybe that kid is right.  there is always next year.



hootenanny 2012

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we had our college girl’s reunion trip this past weekend and if it’s any indication that i couldn’t seem to bang out a post until wednesday…you can imagine how good of a time we had.  the premise of the trip was that it’s been 10 years since we graduated.  OMG we are old!  it’s a bit disturbing how quickly those 10 years have gone by…and man, they have been action packed!  we left 17 collective children behind to come on the trip.  crazy!  it was so great to regroup and relive old times with all twelve (12!!) girls…and make plenty of new memories too.  fripp was the perfect backdrop – it felt like we were the only people on the island, and for a group this lively – that’s not a bad thing!

merrell and i rolled into town late thursday and abbie greeted us friday morning (after sleeping in and coffee on the widow’s walk overlooking the ocean – ahhh) with summer berry bellinis.

we headed into town (n.b. “town” is BEAUFORT!  only my fave small town with the most fabulous downtown manses, including the house from “the big chill.”  which we did, in fact, stalk.) for brunch and champagne buzz art buying (good idea).  it’s ok though, they are by the local artist eric longo who i love.  i bought a painting from him when i was in town in 2010, and couldn’t wait to go back for more.

did i mention the party favors – sorority t-shirts and koozies?  how awesome is that.  now i won’t feel like a total has-been wearing a XO/PM tumble & fall t-shirt from 1999 with holes in it.

we hit the beach for a late sunning session and waited on the other girls, then enjoyed a delicious dinner that abbie made and got into the cups a little bit…no surprise there!  jenny regaled us with the most AMAZING video she compiled of pictures from college, along with what we’ve been up to since – it brought the house down!  i can’t wait to get my own copy so i can watch it and die laughing (and cry) all the time.  a late night dance party on the widow’s walk ensued afterwards.  it was so dark up there that we had to bring a flashlight and work it into all of our moves.  the whole thing was a little fuzzy, so this picture captures it perfectly…

here is a good example of how we roll: the girl in the middle is pregnant with her 3rd child.  here she is breaking it down at approximately 1 o’clock a.m.

saturday morning came pretty quick and shermosas were made for all (champagne and orange sherbet).  this serving was noted as being an “opportunity.”

we all donned our new t-shirts with pajama pants, grabbed our cocktails and headed out for a golf cart cruise.  stephanie had an extra good time!

it was all fun and games until one of the golf carts ran out of juice…

and we had to be towed back to the house.  womp womp.

then it was time to hit the beach.  we sat out there for hours chatting away…subject matters were most entertaining!

we went back in to take another golf cart cruise and whaddayaknow…  same golf cart ran out of juice.  this time we were close enough to push, and had fun doing it!

we got ready for dinner and caught the sunset up on the the widow’s walk.

some things never change :)

and we were off to beaufort for a fantastic dinner at wren.

our waiter loved us…no, hated us…no i’m pretty sure he loved us.  i think.

we even saw a self-proclaimed maid marion just strolling down the street.  although after she walked away, kanda mentioned she was more like a fairy godmother.

love love love these girls.

i was thinking about something after i got home, how we’ve all left our mark in the last 10 years since we walked under the arch (finally!) on u. of georgia’s north campus.  it never even came up, as this group of girls is as modest as they are fun, which is really saying something.  but i know through the grapevine how accomplished all of these girls are!  we’ve got a partner at a law firm, BFDs in the mortgage/accounting world, a talented interior designer, lab/pharma sales dynamos, a teacher enriching the lives of middle schoolers, an emmy-nominated tv news producer, a magazine writer, a nurse practitioner, a film location scout (MRM, we missed you) and a political campaign manager!  i mean – pretty bad ass, if i do say.  i am so proud to be friends with these gals, and it seems that the constant in all of our lives is our friendship and how much we care about each other, even if we don’t all see one another all that often.  hopefully that will change as this beach trip changes from “blue moon” to “annual!”  life’s too short not to see the people you love.  and oh how i love each and every one of these girls!!

and ulysses s. grant.

(inside joke…sorry)


party for two

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billie, who you met the other day, was really supposed to be at least a month older than rinne.  but as luck would have it, billie was tardy for the party and rinne was a scheduled c-section kind of a gal, making her entrance a tad early at 39 weeks, so their birthdays are exactly two weeks apart.  how about that!  it’s not very often that your very close friend who is married to your husband’s very close friend has a same gender baby within two weeks of your own.  right?  these two are destined to be bffs, clearly.

here they are in their first month of life.  rinne had a great tan! (i.e. touch of jaundice)

brin said this double stroller ride was a flash forward 16 years.  billie’s in the driver’s seat, because she is a little bit older you know.

as the girls approached their 1st birthday, brin and i tossed around the idea of throwing a little party with just our mutual friends and immediate family to celebrate the twins, er, friends.  this was a good thing for me because i am a person that needs party parameters. my nature is to invite everybody – old friends, new friends, distant neighbors, people i run into at the grocery store.  so keeping it to folks who knew both billie and rinne worked well and kept it somewhat small – plus i had someone to bear the burden of the party planning with.  that’s another thing – i get real into things being a detail oriented person, and before you know it, i’m rewrapping bubble containers with coordinating colored paper and losing sleep because i can’t find the perfect cocktail napkins.  it is truly best for me to throw tiny, family-only parties for the kids…the stress level is kept way, way down and i don’t drive myself crazy.  so this may be the last birthday party you see of mine for a good long while :)

so!  we ended up hosting a pool party at brin’s clubhouse on a sunny august day, and i believe a good time was had by all.  we chose a lavender and red color palette…  i loved that it was kinda sorta girly, but not totally in your face.  plus i hadn’t seen it done all that much, which is always a selling point for me.  we really had the colors be the theme, which made it super easy when choosing all of the party accouterments…

i know this great little place to get invitations.

available in the etsy shop here.

don’t forget about the stamps!  you’ll never catch me using a liberty bell.  well, maybe if i throw an old school independence day party in shades of brown.

we fashioned simple matching thank you notes in the same palette.

now, the party!  it’s kind of a long story but… through a trade organization that her dad is a part of, brin can score free items from certain local companies who accept trades.  through her dad’s generous offer to let us use his account (bad idea tom! i think he’s trade bankrupt now), we were able to score some pretty awesome, but also pretty random gratis items…

exhibit a: an enormous 30 foot balloon arch with red and purple balloons.

the best part was the drive-by ballooning of the set-up people.  they stormed in with this ridiculous tower of balloons and set it up in less than 60 seconds, dropped a couple of balloon bouquets by the door and then peaced out.  craziest thing.  it sat over the dessert table, which featured cupcakes and ruffle smash cakes courtesy of sweet peeps.  the coke crates were leftover from brin’s wedding in 2009 – those things come in handy, i tell you!

here’s another reason why i can’t throw a party again anytime soon – i got totally spoiled by having a caterer.  the food was procured through the trade organization, and it was waaaaay too easy.  the gentlemen blew in, set up the food, lit some bunsen burners and were out.  i am a little concerned with their business model however, because they gave us enough food to feed hundreds.  omg.  i can’t even tell you how many honey bbq meatballs the burnettes polished off that next week.

we offered a range of drinks…juice boxes and water bottles located on the floor for little hands’ easy reach, and up top, spiked strawberry-basil punch, mango tea and a variety of brews.  i grabbed some books from my red shelf to prop the punch dispenser on.  if i had been really on my game, i would have grabbed from the purple shelf – alas.

there were bubbles for the kids, i know they appreciated the red polka dot wrap instead of the garish one that comes on the bottle.

and the favors.  btw, aren’t these little vases with a clip for a card so cute?  they are vintage, courtesy of brin.

i whipped up a little notepad – grey chevron for the gents, lavender chevron for the ladies – for the kids in attendance that said “from the playroom of {child’s name}.”  we tied them to “1” cookies from cookie creations with red and white baker’s twine.

i’m thinking about offering these in the etsy shop.  hmm.  stay tuned for that, they really do make great gifts and favors!

what i love is that there was a child there named will smith, whose favor happened to be on top…  my friend brooke said she thought it was all famous people names so she poked around hoping to find lady gaga :)

the cake smash event was sort of…anti-climactic. not much cake eating?!  more wary finger pokes than anything else.

it was such a great day to celebrate our girls…

can’t wait to watch these two grow up together!

p.s. speaking of lovely ladies having birthdays – happy birthday to my mom, catherine shockley, who rinne is named after!!!

celebrating who was to become known as rinne

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remember when i was pregnant…like a year ago?  i do.  pretty sure my back recalls too, and the skin on my stomach definitely does.  well, a few of my sweet friends insisted on throwing me a little sprinkle to celebrate the upcoming bambino, by way of a perfectly perfect “toes and tea” party!  anyone who knows me knows i L-O-V-E my tea.  all kinds!  i do not discriminate on type, oh no.  chai, earl grey, english breakfast, roobios, mate, green, peppermint…i could go on all day.  the saddest thing about being a stay-at-home-working-mama is that i have had to move on to the hard stuff (coffee) after years of a love affair with tea and only tea, but oh man, we had some good times.  hot tea and i reunite when i’m sick or want something hot before bed (aveda tea…try it…fan-freaking-tastic).

the uber stylish hostesses (jen, brin, shannon and betsey) hit it out of the park with the invitation…

i loved the wrap around patterned band!

here i am as i walked out the door to the par-tay.  i was HUGE.  for the record, i fielded comments such as “wow – you must be ready to go ANY DAY!!!!” from approximately 6 months on. was awesome.

the party was nothing short of wonderful!  i have the sweetest, most thoughtful friends…they included all of my favorite things, and who doesn’t love a pedicure amongst pals.

they served ina’s rosemary cashews…

jalapeno-spring onion dip (not for the faint of heart!)…

beautiful macarons and flowers…

shannon’s famous cupcakes.  boy, are they good.

and a TEA station complete with vintage teacups.  i mean, are you kidding me.  tres magnifique!

spike-able punch, white wine and prosecco was also available.

the favors were perfect, of course.  a handful of individually wrapped teabags and a tea strainer.  i mean…these girls think of everything!

of course the hostess gifts (goodies from anthropologie) had to match the party.

and it KILLS me that i did not think to get a picture of all of the guests!  kills me.  i only thought about it once everyone had cleared out, post-pedi.  here are shannon, me and merrell at the very end.

such a fun day – i felt so loved!


rinne’s six (or…eight) month photo session

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poor second children.  i had rush’s photo sessions scheduled like clockwork – newborn, 6 month, 1 year…and little rinne finally got her six month photos taken when she was over eight months old.  eh, she’ll never know, right?!  when i finally got around to scheduling it, i immediately thought of abbey from dylan blue photography.  we’ve had several sessions with her before and i just love her work.  (you can see samples on our 2009 holiday card and our 2010 holiday card, as well as birth announcements here and here).  what’s even better, is her amazing bedside manners…which are duly needed when you’re working with small children.  i always feel so bad when they act up or won’t cooperate, but abbey makes you feel so at ease and like it’s no big thing – which is exactly how you want to be made to feel when your little tyrants, errr, rugrats, fuss and carry on in front of the camera (or anytime, really).

we did the session at our house in front of the blooming hydrangeas.  i just adore what she was able to capture…

rinne’s dress was scored at sweet repeats, a local consignment store.  it’s vintage pears & bears / kayce hughes (who is a follower of this blog, ahem.  gotta keep it in the family!).  i fall pretty hard for anything with ric-rac on it.
adore this one of her being held up like a big girl by my mom (whom she is named after).
i love this wild woman one too.
and that is the dining room wallpaper!  y’all, i am so close to being able to do a blog reveal in there.  just need to get the curtains done and a mirror hung.  
of course we had to get some of her crazy older brother!
n.b. the stains on the back of his shorts…that’s how he rolls.
he loves to “kiss the little head.”
abbey indulged me and shot a new photograph for the “about” section of the website – which is about to undergo a huge revamping, y’all.  GET excited.
it’s full of color which i love…very me.  i have never gotten the neutral memo, ever in my whole life.  oh, and there’s my drybar hair!  sooo much cooler than my regular hair.  
abbey did a fabulous job, once again.  thank you friend!