Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Going into Hibernation

Do you know someone (maybe you) who just really hates the winter? The shorter hours of sunshine, the chill, usually gloomier skies…they usually do something to our moods if we don't get some sunshine in. I understand it completely, but I don't get depressed and dread winter. I love the chill and the sweaters, fires and coziness. However, I have a friend who we think has seasonal affective disorder (yes, a real thing). Oh Joy had a post about it recently and as we were in the mountains a couple of weekends ago, I got to thinking about animals that hibernate. I would love to have a hibernation week where all I do is sleep in, stay in my house and indulge in books and movies. Alas, I am not a bear. However, if I was, I would hibernate like this:



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Adorable Halloween Treats




The pinspiration abundance of Halloween treats are so fun to look at. They are even more fun to experience, as I did this past weekend at a laid-back girls' night. We watched Hocus Pocus and giggled and ate mummy-dogs, clementine pumpkins, Reese's brooms, graveyard pudding…I love this time of year! My bestie since birth, Whitney, outdid herself on these awesome treats. Take note! -Laurie





Monday, October 28, 2013

40's Makeup Inspiration



Alison loves to have a wedding to be a part of on the first weekend of November. Last year, it was mine and this year it is her new sister-in-law. I remember her wanting to go for a classic, chic 40s look for my wedding. This year she wanted me to give her some ideas and inspiration for a look fit for Hollywood's golden elite.

1. Have a beautiful airbrushed foundation for that creamy alabaster affect. To do so, use a liquid foundation by applying it with a blending sponge like the Beautyblender. Then, apply a matte foundation, making sure to moisturize first so that you have a smooth finish. 
2. Contour your face before putting on blush, or rouge as the late Grace Kelly would surely say. With bronzer, contour right underneath your cheekbone, just slightly below where your blush would normally go. Use a small brush in a sweeping motion from (typically) the bottom of your earlobe out. Obviously bone structure is completely different on everyone, so you have to find that defining bone and the, define it. 
3. Using the same type of motion, from your temple to the apple of your cheek, apply a rosy blush. These 40s ladies really understood the power of a beautifully flushed face. 
4. Thicker, groomed brows were the norm on the beauties of the golden age. All you need to do is clean up stray hairs, make sure there is an obvious arch and keep it clean. 
5. Dramatic eyes were what drew the leading men into the grasp of gutsy leading ladies. Sweep on a shimmering light gold, like Blonde's Gold pigment from Mac from eyelid to brow, and right underneath your lower lids to open up the eyes more. Using a neutral brown, like Mac's Cork shadow just dabbed onto the lid. Pick a shimmery dark gray or even black like Black Tied from Mac to darken the crease of your eye. I usually start in the outside corner of my lid, sweep in and smudge into my eye crease for a smoky nude effect. I used this trio on my wedding day and still even use it on a daily basis. With Alison's skin tone, I think this would work really well on her too. 
6. Big, bold lashes are where it's at. What Hollywood beauty didn't have major lashes you bat constantly? First, use a liquid liner and create a cat eye, even if it's tiny. Just wing out slightly from where you normally end your eyeliner, then continue on the lower lash line, lining all the way to the inside of the eye. Then curl those lashes, even if they are short. Alison has some long lashes, so as long as she curls them, they will be vavavoom. My trick to curling lashes is to heat up the curler with hot water, wipe it off and immediately curl at the base of the lashes, then in the middle and then a final a little squeeze on the ends. Top off with some awesome mascara that won't move, like L'Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tube Technology in Blackest Black. 
7. Top it off with the cherry on top. Red red red lips. Who didn't  have red lips in Hollywood in the 40s? I know Alison has a killer Mac red she used at my wedding. I did too, which I actually paired down a bit with some other lipsticks, but wearing this red is such a glam power punch. However, if she wanted to go with something moodier but equally elegant, Fresh Moroccan looks enticing as well. 
-Laurie


Friday, October 25, 2013

TGIF:Thank Goodness I Found...



…Fall Fashion PINspiration

Check out the pins Alison and I have on our TGIF board for fall fashion inspiration. It has gotten much cooler this week and the leaves are a lot more vibrant now. I can’t wait for a crisp weekend of breezes and sunshine, cleaning, socializing, organizing and simply winding down. What are your plans this weekend? Which look is your favorite? Leave us a comment below!
-Laurie





Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pumpkinfest 2013 - Must Attend Event

Thank you Google Images for this 2011 Pumpkinfest Image

Pumpkinfest in Downtown Franklin, Tenn. is my favorite downtown Franklin street festival. It is during one of the best times of year, there are great costumes to observe (on animals and humans), there is a chili cook-off and if you are really on top of your game there is fantastic Christmas shopping thanks to the wonderful artisans participating in the craft fair.

The Heritage Foundation provides this event to the public every year. They are a great organization to support. The Foundation has helped with more preservation projects than one could list. One of the projects they worked on in the recent years is the Historic Franklin Theater that now plays a vital role in the life of downtown Franklin.

The festival will take place on Main Street near the five points from 10am-6pm this Saturday, October 26! The festival is free as well as parking. Unless you know someone who lives on Main street and can park in their driveway there is really no secret to finding parking. Maybe go early. Speaking of Main street take a walk down through the Historic homes and marvel at their beauty. They will probably have all of their Halloween decorations up and if so, they are fantastic. (Side-note: this is a great place to trick-or-treat.) If you would (and you should) like to participate in the judging of the chili cook-off the tickets are $10 for 12 samples of chili from 11am-3pm.

Enjoy the free entertainment all day and buy me something while you are there! You may even bump into Laurie!

-Alison

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Skull Art



As Halloween approaches, I feel like it is perfectly fine for me to admit that I love skulls. I think they are beautiful and earthy, each one unique of course, with its own history. Skulls have become a fashion and home accessory cool factor-whether it is as a rocker style, or a little bit of unexpected graphic pop with an otherwise chic look. Sure, skulls get more popular this time of year in skeleton form for Halloween. I have pieces of one buried in my flower bed for a graveyard affect (complete with styrofoam tombstones, yes), a black sparkly one under a cloche and would gladly add more to my decor if I had them. If you get past that creepy factor, they are just so cool. 
So, in case you are looking for a cool skull art print for your home or simply to use as a chic Halloween decoration, look no further than Warhol, Van Gogh and Cezanne. They saw the beauty in a skull as well, and totally thought they were cool. I bet if we asked Cezanne he would say most definitely!
-Laurie







Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Chili Cook-Off Planning and Winning Chili




I am in the midst of putting together a chili competition for the third year in a row where I work. Once it is all over, I will be sharing all my fun graphics on the blog. It is not too terribly complicated to put together a cook-off. I secured six secret judges from our staff and started a month out with sign ups for the competition, complete with a flaming skull (oh yeah) and anonymous competitors. The competitors have to bring their best game-revealing how hot the chili is and the meat it contains (because some people may not want to unknowingly eat lamb or bison). We have a coveted homemade trophy that moves from victor to victor. Competition gets a little fierce!

Here are my tips for creating a winning chili competition:
1. Have amazing graphics that people will repeatedly recognize and love. 
2. Make sure competitors are top secret-that makes them want to try harder.
3. Have a tray with tiny sample cups for your, again, secret judges that contains just a taste and pallet cleansers like apples or crackers.
4. Have a cool trophy or winning incentive.
5. Hype up the competition throughout your party, making sure everyone knows they are part of the voting. Encourage tasting and voting for a "people's choice" award. 

-Laurie


Now that you know what to do and how to host you need a recipe to wow the crowd! When I entered the McQuain family I gained a husband with a beloved chili recipe. He makes this chili about 2-3 times every Fall/Winter and we enjoy it for weeks (as does any dinner guest in the span of a few days). You can put this in the "freezes beautifully" section of your cookbook (Steel Magnolia reference #432...I hope you have watched it by now). And it is always best a day or two after you make it. Make sure you have some yummy cheddar or jack cheese on hand and some cornbread or crackers. A little sour cream and Fritos never hurt anyone either. 

Chili by a man named Ed:

  1. 2lbs hot Italian sausage, 3lbs lean hamburger meat, 1/4 c red wine -- Brown the meat with the wine, stirring to break up the bigger pieces. If you are watching your fat content, you can drain the fat off after browning the meat...we do most of the time. 
  2. 2 large yellow onions chopped, 1 package fresh white mushrooms sliced, 8 hot green chilis sliced, 6 15oz cans stewed tomatoes, 1 bulb of garlic chopped (about 10 cloves), 2 6oz cans tomato paste, 2 15oz cans tomato sauce, {rinse and drain all beans} 2 cans red kidney beans, 2 15oz cans pinto beans, 3 15oz cans black beans, 3/4 c brown sugar, 1/4 c fresh parsley chopped, 2 tbs oregano, 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes, 4 tbs chili powder, 1 tbs black ground pepper, 1 tbs salt, 4 tbs cumin -- Add all the remaining ingredients to the meat, working as you go. No need to pre-chop...cook over a low heat for at least one hour. You can always cook longer. 

-Alison

Monday, October 21, 2013

Prime Hiking Season - Ramsey Cascade



Fall is the perfect time of year to hike and since the Smoky Mountains are just around the corner from our little neighborhood we have been known to hike a time or two. This past Saturday we found ourselves huffing and puffing up to Ramsey Cascades. And I do mean huffing and puffing. While it was quite tough the scenery was well worth it. Enjoy this little escape on your Monday morning. 


Virgin forest means really big trees!









These steps look so lovely and helpful...then you keep walking up step after step and you might start to think they are ugly.





Following our hike we made our annual trip to Carver's Apple Orchard for a few Fall must-haves. If you are ever in the area it is a fun little stop for sure! 










-Alison

Friday, October 18, 2013

Happy Fall Friday


Happy Friday! May you have a beautifully crisp, apple-pumpkin-cider-cozy-sweater-boot-filled weekend. My family is headed to Alison's neck of the woods to the Smoky Mountains. What are you up to this weekend?
-Laurie

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Urban Nashville Wedding: Graves + Fransen




I had the complete joy of recently celebrating the nuptials of Paper Pearl's very own Lauren Graves last month at Sambuca in The Gulch in Nashville.

We feature wedding designs, photography and tips from time to time and today I want to remind any brides-to-be out there to not toss the idea of a small urban wedding. Lauren and Tony's wedding was as classy as it gets and such a treat for the small group that was able to gather. Sambuca has a loft space you can rent complete with a glass wall that opens onto a balcony for one of the best views the downtown skyline and clean, modern furniture and accessories allowing for a great look with minimal decor. There was really just no need for decorations. Throw a few candles on the tables and a small bud vase here and there...you are set! The lighting was so perfect and moody. Everything about this space is intimate and romantic. Don't even get me started on the food. Just amazing.

Thoughts:
  • With a smaller space you will have to have a small guest list. This is so difficult but can be worth it (especially if your are on a budget). 
  • Because you have a smaller guest list you are able to splurge on other items like food and maybe even bar items if you are interested. Or even better...fancier stationary or photography! :-)
  • If you are on a budget consider having your event on a weeknight. 
  • Think urban. There are plenty of hotels for out of town guests nearby, plenty of walk-able activities/sites and there is easier access to public transportation.  

The best wishes and congratulations to Lauren and Tony! Paper Pearl loves you!!

-Alison






She was so stunning.




Yes, this happened. Don't worry. Lauren got some too. 


I mean...so classy.

Oh, we had fun. Yes we did!
 

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