Friday, January 29, 2010

Hostess with the Mostess

Four of my very best girlfriends are coming into town this weekend and I'm so excited! We all met at graduate school in Charlottesville. Given my "career slowdown" in the last couple of years, I joke that I spent $100k to find best friends and a husband (Mr. Southern and I also met at UVA). But I digress.

Of course, I am most happy about seeing the girls. However, I also LOVE to entertain and host, so I am going all out trying to get the house together. Unfortunately, there are some projects that just won't be completed, but I'm working on all the "little" things! You've all probably seen the list of what a guest room needs, but here's my take on it....

Bedside Carafe. I love these and think every room should have one. I was thrilled to find mine at a Simon Pearce store on sale, but these are all great options.

Tuvalu Carafe with etched glass, $38

CB2 Cora Carafe, $9.95

My Sparrow Handblown Carafe, set of 3, $67

Flowers on the bedside table...

via Country Living

Reading materials and a bedside lamp

A luggage rack would be helpful...

Frontgate Leather Luggage Rack, $149

Great linens (bedding and bath) is a no-brainer.

via Fine Linens

It's not just about thread count... While Overstock and Smartbargains have great deals on bedding, I prefer other sites (BeddingStyle is one). I like to know the brand names so I have a better sense of the actual sheets that I'm getting. I have found I really like Pottery Barn's as well!

For the bath, I like to leave out mini soaps so guests can have a fresh bar (I don't know why, but I get skeeved out by using soap that someone else has used).

I've not ordered from here, but The Soap Guy seems to have a great selection- 60 handmade 1-ounce bars for $41.95 in flavors like Cafe Mocha, Banana Coconut, Plumeria Aloe, and Vanilla Oatmeal.

Or try this sampler from Caswell-Massey, for $80.
And I couldn't leave out Claus Porto, one of the best bar soaps ever. Touch of Europe mini 5-pack from $24.

The best thing about Caswell-Massey and Claus Porto- no animal testing!

Of course, I also like to have out other essentials, like lotions, a spare toothbrush, hair dryer, etc.

After a restful slumber, I love to serve a great breakfast. Hot coffee (with cream and sugar), orange juice, and options other than cold cereal.

via Cooking Light

Hope y'all have a lovely weekend!!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Awards! and 10 Things Game

I have been honored with two awards recently and wanted to say thank you. Blayne at This Photographer's Life (In Search of Style). You may have met Blayne through Holly's introduction. I honestly can't even remember when I first starting reading Blayne but am always inspired by her fantastic photography and fabulous homes she features.

The rules for The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity & creativity inspire others in the blog world. Here are the rules for accepting this award:

put the logo on your blog or within your post
pass the award on to 12 bloggers
link the nominees in your post
let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog
share the love and link to the person who sent you this award

I give this to:

A little while back, Rita of A Refocused Life gave me the Happy 101 award.

For the blogger willing to participate in the
Happy 101 Award,
please accept, share your list of ten things that make you happy, and
pass the award on to those you want to honor.

I also thank Short Southern Momma, a super cute gal with great ideas, for my Best Blog Award.

And yesterday, I was tagged by Lesley at The Bright Life to give 10 Things I can't Live Without.

So I am combining this into one post!

Here are my 10 things that either make me happy or I can't live without (because I think the two are similar!):

1. Truffles. Not the chocolate variety, but those lovely earthy mushrooms. I've never bought a real truffle but I do adore truffle oil and truffle-infused things, like honey. When dining out, if I ever spy something made with truffles, I will order it. The end.

2. My morning coffee. With cream. Preferably something cinnamon, coconut, or caramel flavored. MMMM. Love coffee. At night, love coffee for a totally different reason- it puts me to sleep. Weird, I know (but I think linked to those with ADD, which would explain a lot).

Mug shown from Tuvalu Home

3. Great bedding. As you've no doubt noticed, I travel a good bit for my job. I am picky about hotels largely because of the sheet factor. One of the best things about the luxe hotels is the sheet quality. Great sheets and a lovely down pillow = a very happy Emmie.

4. The beach. I need to see or hear or smell water (preferably salt) with some regularity. I would love to join the Beach Girl Bloggers (as I call them... you know, those fabulous designers down in Florida) and live tucked away at the beach.

5. Savon de Marseille soap. I don't know if this is a good thing, but I use this admittedly to wash my face most evenings. Even if I use a face soap, I'll end up using this to get rid of the last traces of makeup. Plus, you never need a cheesy soap dispenser.

Photo from Vickery.

6. Wine. So let's file this as a thing that makes me happy rather than something that I can't live without so I don't sound like a total wino. Love discovering new wines and one of my favorite getaways with Mr. Southern is when we visit wine country in California. We've done it nearly every year for the past 4 years.
7. Food... or rather cooking. Love to cook and the more frou-frou the better. One of the best ways to spend an afternoon is whipping up a feast... for 2 or 10. (with wine in hand, of course).

from Martha Stewart's Cooking School

8. My furkids. You know I couldn't NOT include them. And we'll put family and friends in this as well, but I figured people couldn't be on the list, but dogs could. :-)

9. Gardening. I may not be the most gifted in the green thumb department, but I adore being outdoors and playing in the dirt. And when I can reap the rewards of my labor- all the better!!

10. You! I have had so much fun in this whole Blogging world- I really appreciate the relationships I've made and look forward to getting to know you better.

PS- I am terrible at giving the awards, so if I don't list you but you'd like to be listed, email me and I will get you in! :-) emmie2008 at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Georgia On My Mind

While I applauded Southern Living's blatant disregard of the New Year "eat healthy" on their January cover (see 35 Comfort Foods), I was admittedly disappointed in the Best of the South Rewards.
OK, I guess I can see the number one attraction with Georgia's Aquarium- a "pet project" of Bernie Marcus (co-founder of The Home Depot). While I'm not sure how I feel about aquariums and zoos (rescuing animals is one thing... holding them in captivity.... ), I will say that the aquarium is a pretty impressive site. After all, is it the world's largest aquarium.

From there, the list covers many of the usual suspects: Stone Mountain Park, The Coca-Cola Museum (yes, they are great marketers and the building is a tribute to their marketing, but really??), Underground Atlanta, and an Atlanta Braves baseball game. Given the list was for Georgia and not Atlanta, I had wished a few others made the list, like something in Savannah,

via I love Inns
via Vanishing South Georgia (a great blog!)

Jekyll Island,
Jekyll Island Club via Gateway to the Golden Isles

or even Helen...

...but maybe they are not considered attractions? Now I know that there are myriad other great attractions in Georgia than the ones I've listed, but those were first to mind.

In any event, I'd like to start highlighting some of the little "finds" I've discovered in Georgia and include independent shops, restaurants, and other businesses along the way.

Additionally, I have several girlfriends coming into town this weekend and so am thinking about all the options of things to do right here in Atlanta. I'd love to hear any suggestions you may have!

Here's to discovering your own special attraction!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

For the Love of Lemons

Last summer, Mr. Southern requested we plant a Meyer Lemon tree. Given that we live in the Northern part of Georgia, we planted the tree in a large container, preparing for the inevitable chill when we'd have to take it indoors. We watched with excitement as our little green globes slowly grew.

At long last, the lemons turned yellow (I was so excited I neglected to take a photo!) and we carefully snipped them from the bush. I've bought Meyer Lemons at the store before but was not prepared for the fragant, floral-almost, scent of the lemons' exterior.

I quickly looked up a recipe for lemon curd to make before I headed out (ironically) to Florida last week. I ran out of time to make the lemon buttercreme frosting I had intended, but the lemon curd was divine. Sadly, we have no starts of lemons right now but the plant probably needs some more sun, which will come soon! and some warmth (though it is in the bay window of our basement).

Florida, no offense to my California friends, is my go-to source for citrus and it was so appropriate that I was off to Orlando so shortly after I fell all over again for my Meyer Lemon. (though I must note that Meyer Lemons are more commonly found in Southern California). This has been a tough season for Florida Citrus fruits- the several below-freezing temperatures have threatened the crops several times already this year. Farmers currently are surveying the damage though it appears it has not reached catastrophic levels.

Given my recent voyage to the Sunshine state and my ripening of Meyer lemons, I bring you my citrus-inspired round-up. May it bring some cheer to your Monday!

I would not ordinarily select a scent based nearly exclusively on citrus. However, after inhaling the Meyer Lemon's skin, I'm tempted to give Demeter's option a try. Available at numerous online sources.

If this seems too much, perhaps give Fresh's Sugar-Lemon line a try.

Add a little zest to the bath with Spongelle's Infused buffer, available here.


Perhaps your kitchen could use a little brightening with some Italian Pottery? I stumbled upon Tranquility Alley and just love the vast array of home decor and furniture items they carry. Below is the Majolica large wall plate ($629).

Elsewhere in the home, add a squeeze of color with a citrus-shaded throw, as seen in this room by Remodlista.

Or a bright yellow and orange little pillow number, found at Amazon (!!??) by

Perhaps some cheery art...


from FreshLine

We'll end with a little "nightcap." How about this Charbay Meyer Lemon vodka? Available for about $35, but I'm thinking I may try my own..

Have a great start to the week! No travel this week so I will be much better about posting!