Friday, December 31, 2010

Atlanta: the IKEA experience.

I had only been to IKEA once, on a really fun on-the-whim day trip with Eric back in college. The trip changed me. Really - the showrooms helped me see how function and design come together beautifully. Ever since I got a house of my own, I'd been pining to get some things from IKEA, especially when it came to organization. With Beth and Brad in Atlanta, this was the perfect excuse. 

IKEA in itself is an experience. You come in, park underground in an airport like setting, go up the escalators and are greeted with blue and yellow, young cute families, and the smell of meatballs. We stopped and got beverages (icee for me, coffee for Beth and Jake), grabbed our yellow bag, tape measure, and list, and headed up the escalator to the Showroom. 
The showrooms were phenomenal. I mean, it is one thing to ooh and ahh at the catalog and website pictures, but to pretend to live in these organized, fabulous spaces was another. Having planned a kitchen renovation, I had a special interest in the kitchen areas (and sort of wish we had done the counter depth french door fridge - anyone know anything about IKEA appliances?). 

After wandering, dreaming, and drooling, we hit the market place. This is where the real game plan had to go in place. I was armed with a list of items and tried to not stray. We ended up getting most of what we set out to, and only added a few things to the list - like these dog hooks for the leashes. Aren't they hysterical? We got two in red:
Of the things we got, most was for the kitchen. We did get a lot of frames for a gallery wall project in the front room, baskets for under my side board, and a canvas print I love for the office:
We ended up spending 3 hours in IKEA - well worth it in my mind. It was so much fun, especially being there with Beth and getting to just chat and act normal with her, like old times.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Atlanta: the food.

Over the past few days, Jake and I went down to Atlanta to visit our college friends Beth and Brad. They both just graduated from law school, have fabulous jobs, and live in a total hipster neighborhood in Atlanta. Safe to say, they are living the married dream. It was so fun to get to run around with them, even if only for a few days. 

We ate at some great places while we were down there. 

1) On the first night, we went to a little Southwest/Mexican place called Tijuana Garage. It was down the street in Inman Park/Little Five Points. B&B recommended the tacos, so I got a Carne Asada taco and a Philly Cheesesteak taco, plus rice and black beans. They were awesome tacos and there were so many options, I could easily have returned many times to pick new choices. The vibe was really relaxed but upscale and they had trivia going while we were there. 

2) On the second day for lunch we went to the famous Varsity diner. When we got there, I saw the huge number of highschoolers piling off four buses in the parking lot and felt nervous about how long it would take. Little did I know that a) this place is HUGE and b) they are extremely efficient. We walked in, got in the express lane (by accident - and it was nerve wracking because you have to be on your game with money out and order on the tip of your tongue - sort of like fast food jump rope), got our food and sat down in less than five minutes. I got a cheese burger and fries, Jake got the #2, which was a chili cheese burger, fries, and a chili dog. I can see why they are famous - straight forward diner fare, lots of ambiance, and a fun experience. Excuse the iphone pics - I didn't want to be "THAT" girl with a camera in the restaurant.

3) The second night for dinner we went to Savage Pizza in Little Five Points. As you may remember, I consider myself to be a pizza connoisseur. This pizza did not disappoint. There was a comic theme - so cool, very down to earth crowd, and an array of pizza creations on the menu that sounded good. Ultimately we chose to build our own - pepperoni and jalapeno if you care. We chose the spicy red sauce - if you love spicy things, I would definitely get this sauce. Also, shared some breadsticks with B&B. I recommend those wholeheartedly. Loved this place. 

4) The third day for lunch we went to a place called Front Page News, also in Inman Park/Little Five Points. It is a New Orleans style restaurant. At this point, we were so stuffed from days of eating that I probably didn't enjoy the meal as I should. We had fried pickles (always in good form), and then I had a patty melt. I can say that the red beans and rice were top notch - I got them as a side and was glad I did. I can see this being a great place to go out to eat because there were so many options on the menu, as to please a lot of people. It also had a really cool bar area that was heated and made indoor for the winter, which I thought would be a lot of fun for a night out. 

So there you have my gastric tour of Atlanta. I believe in eating local and eating well when I travel - can you tell?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas place-setting.

I have a slight obsession with plates - well, dishes in general. For Christmas, my brother got me the Martha Stewart Festive Plaid bowls I have been eying. Such a good brother!

The day after Christmas, I went to Macy's and got the salad plates and a white with red rim Martha plate to complete the look. I set it all up and added in some William-Sonoma Christmas napkins and my Goodwill Christmas mugs I found in August:
And - for emphasis, I placed it all on my stained, nasty kitchen countertops, in front of the nice paneling in our kitchen and on top of our granny cabinets. Because I must document them all before they get gutted out!!

I'll be boxing this all up for next Christmas - can't wait to use them!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas.

It seems that a lot of people think that Christmas ends on December 25th. Our radio station reverted back to "regular" music today, no one greets you with "Merry Christmas," and people get back to their regular lives. And yet Christmas hasn't ended - it has only begun! 

The twelve days of Christmas refer to the days from the birth of Jesus to the arrival of the wise men at the manger. I got a nativity set for Christmas this year and thought about putting it away for next year before deciding that it was actually pretty appropriate to set it up on Christmas day. Here it is - 
 And if you notice, the wise men are in the corner. They haven't made it yet:
I love my nativity set! It is hand painted wood. Thanks, mom!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas.

Today, I am thankful for family to surround myself with. Both the family I was born into, and the family I married into. I'm thankful for a sweet husband who I can share Christmas break with, doing a lot of nothing and loving it. I'm thankful that he gets to live out his dream of being a doctor. I'm thankful for our sweet animals who make our lives that much better (even if it means waking us up before we want to during said Christmas break). I'm also thankful, believe it or not, for a budget that has forced us to remember that Christmas isn't about spending money, but about being with the ones you love. 

Merry Christmas!
 And, since you can't exactly take a cat to the park for photos, Merry Christmas from Tyson too:


Friday, December 24, 2010

Follow up to Make this: Italian Sausage and Potato Pizza

A few weeks ago, Jake and I tried our hands at a potato pizza. The original link, found here, has all the deets, but I didn't include a picture so I'm back for round two. 

We made this pizza again the other night and it was just as delicious. A few tips:
1) We made ours with canned, diced fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic and herbs. I drained the juice but not enough, which made the dough really soggy. If you use diced tomatoes, drain completely and mash the tomatoes in the can instead of on the pizza

2) Slice the potatoes thin enough so they cook. Brush with olive oil. 

3) Italian sausage really makes the difference. We used regular breakfast sausage this time and it was ok but italian was so much better.

4) Load the top of the pizza with spices. We used italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. 

And now, for photo evidence. By the way - in protest of the lack of new kitchen, I will continue to post blurry, dark photos until we get our new kitchen. 

The ingredients: sliced potatoes, fresh mozzarella, sausage, tomatoes, and garlic

The final product: 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Trip to IKEA.

Since Memphis doesn't have an IKEA, my future trip to Atlanta is going to have to include a trip to the land of build-it-yourself, meatballs, and cheap accessories. In anticipation of this blessed event, I've put together a bit of a list for myself, as to not go overboard. I've been browser-window shopping for a while now and wanted to share some of the things I'd like to scope out:
1. A set of two Norrtorp shelves for above my cute farmhouse style sideboard, which resides in the transitionary area between the den and kitchen. 
2. Several things here - the magnetic spice holders are a must (any ideas on how to label them in a cute way?), and you better believe these adorable red and white tins are making their way to my kitchen.
3. I've been longing for the #1 most stereotypical thing in any IKEA kitchen - the bar with the S-hooks that holds, among other things, little white ceramic pots. I plan to get three or so of these bars - two for under the cabinets on one wall, and one to go under the shelves (see #1). I'd like to grow herbs in the white pots. 
4. You better believe I'm going to stop and eat some swedish meatballs. Those things are GOOD. 
5. I've been lusting after these cupcake handtowels for a while now and I do hope to make them mine. 
6. The question is... Orange or Black? In our office (see sidebar), we've got tan walls, lots of wood and black accents, an orange futon, and orange/turquoise/lime as the pops of color. Safe with black, or fun with orange?

$179 -

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$40 -

$10 -


Friday, December 17, 2010

Ode to Kate Spade.

Recently, my friend Hilary blogged about her love of Kate Spade. It brought up reminders of kate spade's cool factor in middle school/high school - you weren't anyone unless you carried a ks purse. When I started looking at china for our wedding registry, I discovered ks has other beauties - dishes included. What I love most about kate spade is the use of bright color. I love bright colors - especially I love her use of oranges, pinks, and greens (my favorites). 

I put together a little mashup of my favorite kate spade things lately. I especially love:
1. this lovely dotted purse
2. the jeweled bracelet
3. correspondence cards - nothing like a good post mailed note
4. the purple/red/bow/large tote -ness of this bag
5. these super cute pieces of china, which is my favorite of her products

elyse top
$195 -
Kate Spade sweaters »

head in the sand melinda
$425 -
Leather handbag »

barrow street anabel
$245 -
Kate spade tote »

a shining light
$48 -
Printed bracelets »

idiom notecards
$30 -


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