Friday, May 30, 2014

TGIF: Thank Goodness I Found Flamingos


Photo by Christian Sperka

Flamingos are having a moment right now...and why not, really? The most unashamed beautiful pink color and legs for days! They are the cool, pretty girls of the birds. I recently got to see the new Flamingo Lagoon at the Nashville Zoo and the flamingos are so colorful and elegant. So of course, no wonder they are the inspiration for many designs now. Alison and I had fun finding our favorite flamingo items on Pinterest this week inspired by the exhibit at the zoo. If you are in Nashville, stop by and say hello to our pink friends. 
-Laurie & Alison & The Nashville Zoo

Skirts & Mobiles

Artwork & Bikini Bottoms

Scarves & Ties

Stationery & Storage



Thursday, May 29, 2014

For the Bride-to-Be



Wedding season is upon us (does it ever really go away?) and for those of you who are brides-to-be or know someone who is, you know it's fun to gather sweet findings for your big day...but why not invest in things that will go beyond the biggest day of your life? If you wear a pretty bracelet, get in your eight glasses of water in a pretty bottle, have a signature clutch for a party won't you be reminded of your wedding when you use these mementos again? I think yes. 
-Laurie



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer Festival Fun: The Chelsea Music Festival


Last summer while in NYC I had the pleasure of volunteering with the Chelsea Music Festival (CMF). The hubs even joined me! CMF's slogan is Hear | Taste | See. The trifecta the everyone loves right?! Me especially. This June 6-14th festival combines music, food and visual arts at their events and I promise there is something for the whole family. There are two family/kid oriented events on the 7th and the 14th. And this year CMF celebrates Germany and Brazil!

Some of my images from CMF 2013 Event

 

I will miss hearing works of Strauss, Villa-Lobos and Bach performed by renowned musicians from across the globe, eating food from menus created and prepared by top chefs, and enjoying art from artists I would more than likely never been exposed to. However, I am enjoying volunteering from afar this year and imagining what the festival will be like as I learn about details every day.

If you all haven't noticed, I'm all over a good festival. Just two weekends ago I was lugging my camera gear all over downtown Knoxville volunteering/documenting the International Biscuit Festival. And a good festival with tasty food...you know I'm there! So, I hope I am building credibility with you all and you now understand that if you are in NYC or considering a trip soon that the Chelsea Music Festival is the place to be.

Be sure to check CMF's website for event details and ticket information. I've been working on some coupons lately too for some pretty sweet deals for all you festival goers.

Get out there people!

-Alison



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Summer Lemonade


We hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! As the unofficial kickoff to summer, the weekend is always reminiscent of days by the water, grilled goodness and refreshing cold drinks. This year, it was all of those things and really got me in the spirit of summer. I personally love the change of seasons and after a really cold winter here in Tennessee and a beautiful spring (that was brutal on our allergies), I'm ready for blue waters, hot days and tasty lemonade. 
My mom and I made three different kinds of lemonade for our Memorial Day poolside cook out. We have two easy versions and one that requires a little more effort but is so fresh, it's worth it! 

Easy Pineapple Lemonade
Lemonade mix of choice-follow directions for the entire container and make in a big pitcher
Pineapple juice-add in pineapple juice of choice and mix well. 

Strawberry Mint-Basil Lemonade & Watermelon Mint-Basil Lemonade
Easy Version:
Bed Bath & Beyond Fruit Infusion Pitcher is an easy way to "steep" any sort of fruit or herb into your water, lemonade or tea. We put our basil, mint and strawberries in the infuser and simply added in Crystal Light. 

Fresh Version:
Juice 7 lemons in a citrus juicer. Make simple syrup by bringing 2 cups water and 2.5 cups sugar to a boil and let cool. Pour lemon juice and 1 cup cold water in a pitcher, then add in simple syrup. Cut up 5 cups of fresh watermelon and 1/4 cup water then blend, making 3 cups of blended watermelon. Add blend to the lemonade mix and chill. 
To make with strawberries, use same amount as watermelon.
To infuse basil and mint, either steep loose leaves in the liquid or use a Water Flavor Infuser Ball from Bed Bath & Beyond.

-Laurie








Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Thanks



I wonder if there are certain generations that truly understand the importance of this holiday...I also wonder if you have to reach a certain age in your life to be truly thankful for this day. Not because it creates a three day weekend or because it is the unofficial start of summer but because of the reason this day exists. Because of those who were drafted, because of those who volunteered, because of those who missed their family members for weeks or even years, for those who will never see their family members again, for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. It is for those Americans that I am enjoying my Memorial Day and the freedom to do whatever I want today.

We hope you enjoy your Memorial Day! And we encourage you to remember those who we celebrate.

Photos from the Mountain Home National Cemetery in Johnson City, TN

-Alison & Laurie













Give your soldier a squeeze today if you can. If not, call them like I will.

To our family's Marine. We are thankful and proud of all of your hard work. And we can't wait to see you back in your Charleston with your bride!

You're my favorite youngest brother.

Friday, May 23, 2014

TGIF: Thank Goodness I Found Vintage Summer




Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer. While spring has been beautiful (though not the allergies!), I'm ready for long summer days by the water. I'm dreaming of sun-washed technicolor shores from decades ago when the bikini bottoms were a little higher, the surf boards a little more colorful and Coney Island was the place to be. Hopefully our latest pins have you jump-starting your long weekend into a great summer.
-Laurie & Alison

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Entertaining Spring

Floral Fiesta Plates | Papel Picado Banner | Floral Fiesta Bunting | Canape Flags 

Paper Placemats | Glitter Serving Sets | Gladiolus Flower from Fifty Flowers | Oh Joy! Paper Cups 


Finally the weather has evened out to warm, pleasant outdoor party weather! I'm loving everything bright and cheerful with beautiful, feminine lines for a fun lunch with friends. Shop Sweet Lulu, Shopbymonika and Oh Joy! for Target have the best party supplies for this time of year. I just used these plates and pennants for my mom's birthday party last weekend. I love the shape and the artistic florals. I'm sure many of you are planning Memorial Day picnics and lunches for the upcoming long weekend-make sure you have plenty of color to launch us from spring into summer!
-Laurie

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Retro Beach: Get your swim on!


This upcoming three day weekend has got me thinking about getting a little sun and that means swimsuits. Ah!! I know. We all dread it just a little bit. Remember, we are all beautiful and there is no one perfect shape.


Now that we are feeling more positive lets look at some of the fun retro styles we are seeing on the racks this year! I love it. I have a ruched, vintage hot pink number that Laurie helped me pick out a few years ago and I am so glad I got it. Not only is it super cute but I can say it is a bit over 3 years old and it is still a classic look. If you are like me you don't get in the mood to buy swimsuits every year. At all. So, here are some classic looks with fun comparisons to what you would have seen in the 50s and 60s. I love that this style has come back around. Check our pinterest page to see these and other vintage beach finds.


1954 Vogue and 2014 Anthropologie Lookbook




-Alison

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tasty Grillin Tuesday


As Memorial Day weekend is drawing near...so is the grilling season! I am so pumped. So pumped.

And I don't know about you guys but as the season changes I find I am having to teach myself how to cook with fresher ingredients again. The easiest way for me to get back into the warmer cooking days is to fire up that metal, outdoor oven.

On this first Tasty Grillin Tuesday Series (how many in the series? I dunno. Just go with me.) I want to encourage you to throw as many things as will fit on that grill once you get it good and hot. Don't be wasteful with that charcoal. Yesterday I threw almost the entire contents of my refrigerator on and we will have meals for days. And hardly any prep time!

We used all natural Cowboy brand charcoal for the first time...works pretty well. It got a little cool a little too fast. Maybe you have to use more than regular charcoal.

If you are new to grilling, just remember to pile the coals together tightly, let the lighter fluid soak in a bit if you are using any, after the coals are white hot and spread out a bit for even heat/larger cooking areas throw your grillers on! Meat thermometers are always a good investment no matter your expertise. Also, charcoal chimneys are supposed to be really helpful. 


My first meal off of this one grilling session: turkey burgers, steamed broccoli and sweet corn. The broccoli was a first for me. Treat the foil pouch like you would a pot: add a little water and salt to your chopped broccoli, seal and toss on the grill. By the time our burgers were done, so was the broccoli! Start your corn about 5-10 minutes sooner than your meat (total cook time 15-20 for the corn).



My second meal is my lunch today: lettuce and kale from our garden, veggies from the kabobs, multi-color quinoa that I cooked while eating dinner from the grill, and 1/4 of one of the chicken breasts. To top it all off is my favorite dressing from Zoe's Kitchen!

Be sure to check back in next Tuesday for another meal idea from this one night of grilling!

Happy Grilling!

-Alison

Friday, May 16, 2014

Thank Goodness I Found: Hemlock



It is a bit of a dreary, cool spring day. The freshness of Pantone's Hemlock brightens my Friday! From food to clothes to nature. This color is quite lovely. Be sure to check out our TGIF Pinterest board as there are some other stunning images focused on this wonderful shade. We hope this happy color brings even more cheer to you on this fantastic Friday!

-Alison & Laurie


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Modern Boho




Crisp, cool, earthy, simple. Modernized bohemian style has become a little more polished, with smaller details like this beautiful necklace. A flowy clean dress that makes you feel beautiful, like you could toss aside your shoes and run barefoot through grass with this frock on. Modernized feathers are beautiful in non-traditional colors and Archipelago has mixed up a once hippy scent with other scents to work nicely with patchouli.
-Laurie

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Getaway to Evins Mill



If you are looking for a quick respite from the ever-busy world, unplugging and enjoying time with those you are with, head to Evins Mill in Smithville, Tennessee. It was a short drive from our area but felt like we were tucked away in the mountains. Evins Mill is a cabin-like bed and breakfast. The accommodations were cozy and our cabin overlooked a stream. When we stepped outside we could hear the spillway from the old mill, which created the perfectly peaceful environment for yoga in the mornings. We hiked to the waterfall and splashed around, played Trivial Pursuit, ate delicious food and spent time with family. It was so nice to just get away from so many things. No TV, no phone, no distractions. 
-Laurie


The Mill



Wooded cabins



Carmac Falls
Photos by Russell Montgomery


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: 2014 Southern Food Writing Conference and International Biscuit Festival

Images found on IBF site

One of the yummiest festivals I know will be taking place this week/weekend in Knoxville. For five years this festival has celebrated an essential item on all Southern menus: the biscuit. Every fluffy, buttery bite has created a stir in the food world above and, always, below the Mason Dixon line. The International Biscuit Festival celebrates that little morsel of goodness.

Southern-style restaurants are popping up in almost every major city and Southern chefs are finding themselves working in cities like New York and San Francisco...the love we have for food down here is spreading to all. A huge part of the festival this weekend is the Southern Food Writing Conference that begins on Thursday. Well-known foodies from near and far will participate. Check out the video from last year's conference below to get a better idea. I really, really wish I could go to the conference.




Be sure to check out the speaker line-up for the conference. Pretty amazing. Not only will you hear from fantastic food writers, you will also hear from renown chefs. A meal at Blackberry Farm is one of the many reasons you should attend. 

If you are like me and only available for the weekend check the schedule of events for the many activities you can enjoy. Including a biscuit tasting, Blackberry Farm Biscuit Brunch, the Mr. and Miss Biscuit Pageant (oh yeah! think hilarity not swimsuit competition) and an evening with Tyler Florence among many other fantastic sights and tastes. 

I hope to see you there this weekend!

-Alison

Friday, May 9, 2014

Thank Goodness I Found: Summer Retreats

A: Highway 101   L: Martha's Vineyard

Laurie and I are dreaming about where we would love to find ourselves this summer. And we love finding new places via Pinterest. Here are a few places we hope to see one day if we don't make it this summer.

Happy Friday everyone!
-Alison and Laurie

A: Arcadia Beach  L: Hotel del Coronado

A: Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe  L: Flathead Lake, Montana 

L: Charleston, SC  A: San Francisco 

L: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley - Universal 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Favorite Destinations, Alison



As summer approaches and my family welcomes the last summer while remaining on somewhat of a "school schedule" all I can think is vacation and some of my favorite places. I figure travel or getting away must be on your mind as well. And maybe you aren't sure how far from home you are willing to stray or where you should spend your time. Let me give you a few ideas. I would love to re-live my travels with you.

In no particular order:

Portland, Maine and surrounding Coastal Towns


We were lucky enough to have great friends marry in this state and give us a reason to go during the perfect time of year, Fall. I have always wanted to pick my own apple in a Maine orchard. To me that is quintessential Fall. It was amazing. The weather was crisp and clear, the apples plentiful, the colors were amazing. And Portland has a ton to offer. We visited an art gallery or two, enjoyed walking the neighborhoods and of course the food was quite tasty. A lobster roll on the pier in Portland was the perfect end to our trip. Now to go back for their blueberry season!

Savannah, GA


Again, we travel for weddings. Savannah was another wedding destination and on July 4th! We caught a particularly cool weekend and enjoyed every minute of it. The mossy squares are perfect for a rest in the shade and the food is so wonderful. It is also home to Savannah College of Art and Design and lends the city to hosting a great artistic community. I love how walkable the historic downtown area is. We were even able to eat at a resturant you may have seen in one of my favorite movies, Something to Talk About! I would love to go back for another visit. I didn't get to the water while we were there...that would be fun too.

Seattle, WA


I was able to visit the Pacific Northwest one summer after living with family in the Western US and really loved it. The Public Market has the most incredible flowers at the most incredible prices...I wanted to load up for the drive home so bad. I was able to eat fresh seafood and enjoy a little city life while we were there. We were able to snag a hotel a little ways from downtown (but walkable) with a great rooftop view of the city. If it hadn't been almost 7 years since my visit I would tell you exactly where I went. The aquarium was so awesome. If you are in to that sort of thing. After watching movies like The Cove, I'm not sure I am any more. But (!) great city with a ton to offer.

Carmel, CA

I'm sorry the quality is a little poor...7 years ago digital point and shoots aren't the best.

Again, about 7 years ago I discovered this village-like coastal town for the wealthy. I was not (and still am not) in the right tax bracket to stay in this town but the Inn we stayed in was so quaint and cute, the shops and restaurants seemed near perfect and the coastal climate was something I had only seen in movies. These trees were my favorite. I had never really seen trees on a coastline before (aside from palm trees of course). Carmel was also my first cold beach encounter. Even if you don't stay the night in this town you must visit it. Take a drive on highway 1 and stop off for a bite and a view.

Three European cities that might not be on your list that should be:

Salzburg, Austria


I loved, loved this town and this country. The people are very friendly, the food is tasty, the history is rich, you can find all things Sound of Music, and this is a livable city with a lot to offer. I was able to quickly learn my way around and find a few favorite shops to visit more than once. More than in any other city I was actually able to relax and soak in the culture as well.

Sienna, Italy


My attraction to this city is similar to what I love about Salzburg. Sienna doesn't have the hustle and bustle that Rome or Florence have. This lovely little square is a great place for people to gather. The culture is rich, just as in other larger cities, and it is in Tuscany so you really can't complain.

Pompeii, Italy


This incredibly preserved piece of history should be on everyones bucket list. Laurie and I were both able to see a lot of what Italy has to offer and I am so glad! The landscape of Pompeii is the greenest green you have ever seen. I can't even express what it is like to see the amazing pieces of history housed in Pompeii. So, I'm going to stop there.

I hope you are able to invest in new experiences this summer. Seeing new places or learning new things always trumps the hot new electronic or newest it item for your wardrobe. Decide how you want to spend your money and know there is a destination for any tax bracket waiting for you.

-Alison
 

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