Sunday, August 30, 2009

Vacation: Hawaiian Honeymoon!

Lovely and handsome readers, I will be away from you for 2 weeks as Mr. Southern and I head out for our belated honeymoon.

We were married last November in St. Thomas with our closest friends and family. Given that St. Thomas was a lovely destination in and of itself- and that we wanted to spend as much time with friends and family as possible- we decided to delay our honeymoon.

So, here's where we're headed first!
And then off to Kauai for a bit more peace and quiet.

Spouting Horn

And we'll end in Maui.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Provencal Win from Cote de Texas

Villa Texas Lavender Farm (via CDT)

I'm thrilled to let y'all know that my Lavender goodies have arrived! For those who missed it, I won Cote de Texas' Lavender Market giveaway (the Atlantans must be lucky, given Terry's recent win too!)
I fell in love with the shop when I saw it on Joni's blog and am thrilled to pieces to have won. I mean, how can you not love them when this is one of their featured pictures?
You can be a winner as well- Joni is offering readers a discount of 15% with the code: COTETX7.

A few lavender inspiration photos to take you into the weekend.


Lavender-edged gravel path

Lavender Row

Have a beautiful weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday: Making the Most of Your Talents

Something a little different today...

Machu Picchu Flikr: magnusvk

This past Sunday at our church was "Youth Sunday," which, as we learned, was a worship service led by high schoolers. In addition to making me feel quite old, these folks challenged me to think about "trust" in new ways.

Many of us likely recall the following parable... but I'd like to offer a refresher and humbly challenge you... regardless of your religious persuasion... to take another look at the final message and consider... are you maximining your talents?

Excerpts from Matthew 25:13-30

Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

Chrysler Building via Wikipedia

The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

Taj Mahal Flikr: voobie

After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’

The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!'


The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

Harry Winston

Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

“But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

Oscar de la Renta via Fabsugar

To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.

Barbara Barry via JLC Studio Blogspot

To use an overused phrase, "what would you accomploish if you weren't afraid to fail?"

Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel

I am tremendously risk-averse, but haven't really thought of that as running contrary to the charge to make the most of the gifts that I've been given. That puts it in a whole new perspective...


Monday, August 24, 2009

Light up the Night

Ahh- was the weather this weekend not pure perfection!? The mornings were cool, the evenings were cool, the days were warm. It was pure heaven. We have put our yard projects on hold in preparation for our upcoming honeymoon to Hawaii (sorry- you may hear about it a lot this week- I am just so excited!) but I found mini projects just for an excuse to be outside.

Unfortunately, the welts on my ankles are a sure sign that the mosquitos are still around- but for a moment, let's pretend we have a festive evening gather with no mosquitos. We have a beautiful weeping willow tree in the back yard and, once I get it trimmed, I'd love to incorporate some sort of lights.

While many cultures celebrate light, or the breaking of darkness, I am drawn to the Asian tradition of hanging lanterns.

Lanterns via Nikdaum

East Promenade Chinoise Garden via Hagoody Flikr

OK, these might be a little much for our backyard. Here's one that still uses a lot of lights- but see how it illuminates the pathway below?

Garden of Lights-Flikr

Below, another Asian photo- I love how the lanterns weave from tree to tree.

Here are some Eastern influences into the Western world. I love the simplicity of the white against the brown of the trunk and green of the leaves.

Gaiam Shoji Lanterns

And the lights at night...

Some other lantern options... much less Asian influence but still quite pretty.

Sara Kaye Represents

via Absolutely Beautiful Things

Casa Heur
If possible, please enjoy some time outdoors!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another Bay City: A Visit to St. Petersburg

Followers and Readers, I apologize for my nearly nonexistant comments on blogs this week! I have been in St. Petersburg, Florida for work. As I've mentioned, I do have the opportunity to travel to some pretty cool places (IMHO). While I've heard some disparaging comments about St. Pete, I happen to love it.

If you're wondering about the name- it does have ties to St. Petersburg Russia (birthplace of Peter Demens, who built the railway)- as well as Detroit, Michigan (home of General John Williams, who envisioned the city as a resort town). Baseball became quite significant to the city in 1914, when the St. Louis Browns moved their Spring Training to the city. In the early 20s, St. Pete was recognized as a great vacation spot, allowing for the growth of the hotel industry. The crash in 1929 created tough economic times in 1930s. In the next decade, growth returned with the War and US Coast Guard Station. St. Petersburg became a retirement desination area beginning in the 1960s, and continues to be known as a retiree spot today.

I tend to stay on the bay side (as the hotel there fits within my travel budget). And, how can you NOT have a great day when it starts out with a run along the bay (or beach), with the sun shining, a breeze blowing, and beautiful boats to view?

Within walking distance of my hotel is Central Avenue and restaurant row (I think that's what it's called).

Bella Brava

Central Ave, St.

Apologies for my terrible picture quality- but note the second-level spaces. The architectural style varies a good bit and some spots are prettier than others- but this is exactly the type of small-town place in which I'd love to live. I can envision a great apartment with fabulous deck space and the convenience of popping in to various restaurants for dinner.

There are several other great spots along the water. Below is Frescos, but I think it may be closed?

It helps that there is a lot of greenspace surrounding the downtown area.

Little parks galore...

Spa beach (on the bay side)

Realty Photos

St. Pete also has numerous museums, including Salvador Dali Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, and the Florida International Museum.

Speaking of art, St. Petersburg has fantastic architecture with a vast array of styles. To me, it also serves as a reminder that there IS history in Florida with several buildings included in the US National Registrar of Historical Places.

Check out this cool building- public restrooms near the marina!

Of course, there is some "modern" architecture. I adore the mediterranean(?) influence here.

St. Petersburg, FL : St Petersburg Yahct Club Downtown Waterfront

city data

Mediterranean Revival Snell Arcade built during the "roaring 20s"

Historic Vinoy Hotel (now a Marriott property)

Dennis Hotel

Art Deco (you might even think you're on the East Coast of Florida in South Beach.... )

Similarly, there are numerous housing archictural styles, ranging from Arts and Crafts, Georgian, to Spanish/Mediterranean.

I love all the bungalows ...

FL Architect Fan

Though these are pretty nice too... and for sale!

This one is a bit of a surprise, here! Love it.

FL Architect Fan

And of course, we can't forget the stadium.

Tropicana Field

Women's Running Magazine is hosting its first St. Petersburg Women's Half Marathon and 5K this November- benefiting (at least in part) Team in Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I've participated in the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco for several years and think I'd like to give this one a shot.