Thursday, July 24, 2014

Georgia On My Mind

I'm such a sucker for personality when I took this test some time ago
I was surprised to find that I'd fit in well if I decided to live in Georgia!

So when the opportunity recently presented itself to accompany my best friend, Kristie,
 on a weekend getaway to the Dogwood City, I was thrilled! 
Kristie's mission was to catch a Braves game at Turner field, before its 2017 closing,
and mine was to check a trip to the world's largest aquarium off of my bucket list. 
While we were certainly successful in executing both missions, even scoring an impromptu and complimentary behind the scenes tour of the world's largest fish tank at the Georgia Aquarium,
our time spent in Atlanta was so much more charming than either of us ever expected!

While I've found that hotels offer the usual creature comforts most travelers
expect and appreciate, there's always something so much more appealing about
vacation rentals (I'm such a fan of this site). 
I love the privacy and convenience vacation rentals offer....
Full kitchens for prepping breakfast or dinner, quiet neighborhoods to explore,
 and much closer proximity to hidden gems in restaurants and shopping... 
So when I found this perfect bungalow near Piedmont Park in Midtown, we booked and prepped for our exploration of Atlanta.

I could go on and on about the vast differences between Texas and the rest of the "Deep South,"
but the truth remains, that although I've called Texas my home all my life, I've never really spent a whole lot of time in other Southern states...Ironic as my favorite read is Southern Living magazine!

When we arrived and realized we'd booked a perfect location in the historic and trendy
Virginia Highlands neighborhood, Kristie and I were elated!
I've always had a soft spot for craftsman style homes, with their trademark wrap-around porches, hardwood flooring, wainscoting and bead boarding details, and traditional Americana design aesthetic; but folks, the homes in the Virginia Highlands neighborhood had me salivating and oohing and awing from behind the wheel as we drove past row after row of gorgeous homes!

While I could have spent hours ogling the incredible architectural specimen around me, both my good Southern upbringing and the teachings of my sorority handbook demanded decorum and more ladylike responses to the homes of my dreams.
Naturally, I rationalized, the best option was to share a few of the homes with you! 

All of the homes were built from 1914-1930,
and the smallest of these seemingly quaint homes features a 1700 sq. ft. floor plan, not too shabby!
So in all of our driving and subdued oohing and awing, I picked up a flyer for one particular cottage, that really struck my fancy....
This little beauty.

I decided that immediately upon my return home I'd learn all I could about this little house and report back to you....
She sure doesn't disappoint!

Now I'm sure I'm either breaking some cardinal rule of  real estate or just offering free advertising for a clueless homeowner and real estate agent, but I'm certain it would be a moral sin not to share a few photos of the inside of this lovely little bungalow, she's perfect, and if I had the extra $800k laying around, she'd be mine!
What a gorgeous start to our house tour, loving the cabinets raised to the ceiling, this was an update of the 2008 renovation.
 That farmhouse sink. Swoon.
Adore the traditional Southern breakfast nook.
Beautiful formal dining room, so large it dwarfs the standard rug and table.
 And boxed beams?! Be still my heart!
Lovely craftsman built ins featuring a small bar and wine refrigerator
 LOVE that original fireplace, especially the white bricks.
French doors in the bedroom, always a great idea.
 While I'm not a fan of using a singular color throughout an entire household, I must admit the soft sage shade selected does adapt beautifully, from room to room.
Lovely tiling.
 Such a gorgeous screened in porch.
 I guess I could live with this view.
Even the shed is adorable.

So there you have it friends, one of Atlanta's latest and greatest on the real estate market.
I can't speak enough to the beauty of Atlanta, from the food to the antiquing to the history and grandeur, its a city I can't wait to visit again!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Inspired: Favorite International Chefs and Shows

I love watching cooking shows of all kinds!
But lately I've found that the majority of my favorite cooking shows are all international.
While I certainly have a few favorite recipes from Alton, and Ina, and Martha, I'm so inspired by the varied ingredients, farm-fresh options, and simple and delicious techniques adopted by international chefs. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Celebrate Summer's Bounty

 Do you grow your own vegetables?
While I'd love to keep a garden that looks like this (from the film Its Complicated),
The reality is I have a menagerie of front-porch potted varieties including
Meyer lemons, Serrano and jalapeno peppers,
standard and cherry tomatoes and basil galore!
While it may not be much, my tiny makeshift garden is mine,
and I love enjoying the fruits
of my labor! 
Though I could wax poetic on the vast differences between my sun-ripened tomatoes and store-bought varieties, I'll spare you the details and instead direct you to my newest favorite recipe.
Divine in its simplicity,
I'm positively obsessed with this seasonal treat:
Open-faced. Tomato. Sandwiches.
Need I say more?!
While I'm not even sure that I'm providing you with a recipe,
trust that I have nothing less than your very finest feasting interest in mind.
Here's how to do it:
First, toast a baguette or ciabatta bread
 (you're looking for a nice crisp crust and a lightly toasted interior)
*Note, if you're a garlic fan like I am, rub the bread with a clove of fresh garlic before toasting
Then, slice a garden fresh tomato and rinse a small handful of fresh basil leaves
 (if you don't grow tomatoes or basil, get some at your farmer's market!) 
*Note that technically any tomato or basil will work, but remember that we're after the utmost in freshness, and bland grocery store tomatoes and herbs simply will not do!
After your bread is well toasted, spread with a generous slathering of mayo
(think of this as the necessary creamy binding to bring your sandwich together),
then layer fresh basil leaves and slices of tomato, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and freshly ground pepper and coarse or flake sea salt.
There are so many variations on this basic recipe--equally as good with hearty slices of fresh mozzarella or substituting oven-roasted cherry tomatoes...the possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Obsession: Antique Military Cots

Originally designed with functionality, portability, and convenience in mind, camp beds and military cots are now the perfect accessory for any farmhouse chic abode!
While their original purpose certainly isn't lost on me,
 I simply can't get over how wonderfully chic these little cots are!  
The simplicity in their design lends itself to perfect inclusion into a variety of design styles, contemporary, traditional, southwestern, farmhouse and industrial.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Life Through The Instagram Lens

 While glossy photos with DSLR cameras are standard form for sharing moments captured and memories made during trips taken, when on vacation these days I find myself reaching for my trusty smart phone more and more.  My phone is often the perfect way to chronicle just about anything that strikes my fancy, and is certainly more portable and convenient than my bulky Canon.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

"3 Things I Learned While My Plane Crashed"

I'm such a big fan of TED talks, they're immensely inspirational and always so thought provoking. 
So when I happened upon a brief 5 minute talk by Hudson River plane landing survivor Ric Elias, I marveled at the simple lessons he shared following his traumatic experience. 
With almost 5 million views, its no wonder Elias' message has resonated with so many.

Though the Hudson River plane landing is far from news, Elias' message about lessons learned is certainly timeless.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Old Glory In Design

As we brace ourselves for the unavoidable sweltering summer ahead,
I find myself so comforted in the pleasures that late spring brings...
the lagging pace of longer days, the sweet green perfume of newly-cut grass,
drippy ice cream cones, the rhythmic hum of cicadas at dusk,
and of course the familiar sight of Old Glory, herself!