Archives for category: celebrations

 I thought this was the cutest thing!  And that cutest thing made me think – so I’ll share.

 We did a surprise visit to an apartment complex – the college grad and I – on a whim today.  It was nice, but pricey, so we didn’t go beyond the leasing office.

But inside the leasing office, they had an “Earth Day” promotion going on.  No, I’m not going to go getting all “waste not want not” on you – but it did make me think.  They were giving away nice cloth totes (all the rage in the grocery stores these days) with the apartment logo, and a teeny tomato plant, ready to be nurtured, plus some pretty good tips on doing your part to save the environment.

So I’ll share some myself, because we all can use a little reminder now and again.  Here are some easy tips for creating your own, personal earth day celebration EVERYDAY compliments of DivineCaroline.com – check out Fifty Tips!  Easy – and earthly-thought-provoking.

Please remember to celebrate something everyday – and this week – give some thought to celebrating Mama Earth 🙂

PS – Earth Day 2011 is Friday, April 22nd, btw.  Think eco! 🙂

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I’ve explained just how rancidly Southern I am before.  If you missed it – here’s the Reader’s Digest Version:

  • One of my earliest ancestors disembarked from the first slave ship into the Colonies in early 16-somethings.
  • Her husband beat her here by a generation, and they both live on in infamy on a wall in Jamestown, not for being an interracial couple, but for having a child out of wedlock.  Pick your battles, I guess.
  • The rest of my family tree blew over with the wind shortly thereafter, landing in Virginia and South Carolina – nesting near the harbors, then migrating south. Never north, always south.
  • Here’s the kicker – the closer I get to the Mason-Dixon line, the more nosebleeds I get.  Living in North Carolina for a few years almost killed me.

Yep, I’m Southern through and through – and there ain’t nuthin I can do about it except accept the genes (graciously, of course) and move on.

So the genes release unbridled glee when  Garden & Gun arrives.  Don’t know Garden & Gun? Honey, you are missing a treat! The editorial content is always mesmerizing – no matter where you live.  Beautifully illustrated and scrumptuously written, there’s deep, dedicated love and understanding for all things Southern on every gorgeous page.

The latest edition boasts a feature that  makes me want drop right down and roll in pig slop – The Made in the South Awards 20 Craftsmen, Entrepreneurs and Artists who are making things right Amen, sistah!

 

Sharecroppers, Circuit Preachers, and Moonshiners – Oh My!

Yep, that’s my family line – so call me an expert on mastery of “makin sumpthin outta nuthin.”   A handmade quilt at Christmas, a lovely centerpiece crafted from dried grasses and the dried seed pods of a money plant found wild in the woods (yes, there is a money plant).

So thank you Garden and Gun, for unearthing the exquisite, natural craftsmanship of Low Country Originals, out of Bluffton, South Carolina.  OMG! Please don’t tell me you thought empty mussel shells were compost!  Low Country Originals crafts the lowly (and plentiful) bivalvia mollusca into awesome lighting accents for your home – just look!

Really – mussel shells step out of the shadows.  And when combined with rustic iron – artsy meets eco!  And if you’re thinking “yard art” here, try this on for size…

Celebrating genius from Low Country Originals today – so Southern, so unique, so personally perfect!

Please remember to celebrate something everyday (or in this case, celebrate when everyday steps it up a notch!)

Oh – and Garden & Gun c’monSubscribe.  🙂

Every year around this time I get questions about how to cook asparagus.  Don’t know why, just happens.

So to go on record for posterity and eternity, here are my thoughts on asparagus (and if you’re one of those people who turns up a nose, I ask you to think again).

Firstly and formostly (yes- spell check and I both know that’s not a word), forget right now that canned asparagus even exists.  Even if you’re having a dry spell on the fresh stuff, never, ever, ever turn to the can.  I think there are support groups available if you’re having trouble with this.

Buying

It’s true what they say about studying the tippy-tops of asparagus.  Look for tight, perky tops (and get your mind out of the gutter).  Wilted, gushy tops are the signal to step away.  You want tight and perky tops. Check?

Big ‘n Fat vs. Lean ‘n Mean

Big and fat usually = tough and fibrous.  But there is hope, and we’ll discuss that in a minute.  If they have perky tops and you’re asparagus ravenous, go ahead and purchase.  Details shortly.

Lean and mean = tender, crisp and easy to prepare (as long as they have – you guessed it – perky tops).

Prep

Fill a sink or a big bowl with fresh, cold water and dump in the asparagus.  Let it languorously soak for a good five minutes.  Drain and rinse.

For lean and mean stalks, simply snap off the tough bottom portion by holding stalk in one hand, grasping the bottom end between thumb and index finger, and bend until it pops off.  Asparagus is real smart.  It knows where to snap off at the tough part.  Amazing!

For big and fat stalks, you’re going to need to grab a sharp paring knife and pare down the stalk to the more tender park.  Then cut off the fibrous ends.

Roast or steam?

Big and fat = best for roasting

Lean and mean = best for steaming

So how?

Here are my favorite ingredients for cooking asparagus.  Funny thing – you can mix and match any of the below to make great asparagus.

  • Diced red and yellow bell peppers
  • Cavendar’s seasoning
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • butter
  • minced garlic
  • minced red onion

Roasting ideas for big and fat

  • Drizzle olive oil over the stalks and rub them around until entirely coated in a lite layer.  Place in a single layer in a Pyrex baking dish.  Sprinkle with Cavendars, roast 5-8 minutes at 350 degrees (please pre-heat the oven).  Test for fork tenderness.  Drizzle with lemon juice before serving.
  • Pour some olive oil in a big plastic bag.  Add minced garlic (the kind in the jar is fine), a pinch or two of Kosher salt, and some melted butter (that’s right – butter).  Dump in the asparagus – shake wildly – remove, layer in pan and proceed as above.

Steaming ideas for lean and mean

Lay asparagus spears in single layer of pyrex baking dish.  A cool way to do this is half and half – place half of the asparagus, cut end to the outside of the pan, and then meet on the other side with another row of asparagus, cut end out.  Seems to protect the tender young ends.

In a bottle (or something handy), mix 8 tbsp. of water with 3 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, pinch of kosher salt, and about 1/4 cup of minced red and yellow bell pepper.  When thoroughly mixed, pour over asparagus.  Seal dish with good quality plastic wrap.  Stick it in the microwave, and nuke for about 2.5 to 3 minutes on full power.  Allow to set for about 3 minutes, then carefully remove the wrap (there’s some mighty hot steam in there – don’t burn yourself).  Then serve either warm or at room temperature.

Leftovers?

Make a marinate of olive oil, cavendars, minced red onion and either some balsamic or red wine vinegar.  Marinate overnight and then chop up to use in a salad (yum!).

Celebrating Asparagus Aspirations today.

Please remember to Celebrate Something Everyday!

Hint/tip:  Looking for a neat-o and nifty dinner party favor?  Purchase some of these little cuties and mix about 1 tsp. Cavendars seasoning per favor into olive oil, fill and present – tasty and useful! 😉

Wedding ClipartYes wed-fans, it’s Wedding Day in the North Georgia Mountains!  Brooke and Trent say their vows and we’ll all celebrate their union at 6 pm this evening at Waters Mill.  Weather expected to be clear and in the low 80’s, skies blue – and of course I’ll have fabulous amateur photos available tomorrow!

Just to recap for those of you whole love wedding details …

  • Wedding colors of choice – pink and green, with a touch of zesty orange

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  • Venue – Outdoors at Waters Mill in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains

  • Reception – Indoors, buffet style, with dancing to follow.

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  • Honeymoon destination – An island off the coast of South Florida

Wedding Favors – LOTS! 

 

  • Beautifully packaged wedding fans for a cool breeze (this one’s so darned thoughtful and pretty!)

 

  • For the reception, more favors,  one at each place – with an engagement photo tucked insides for special memories!

So please join me in celebrating the wedding of Brooke and Trent today.  June 6, 2009. 6:00 pm.

And as always, please  remember to Celebrate Something Everyday!

PS – I’m babysitting their “son” during the festivities.  Hi Mom and Dad!

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Mr. Jackson Fallon Johnson Plott

They’re your best friends from college, your sorority sisters, your girlfriend since egg-stage,  or your soon-to-be sisters-in-law.   They’ve all agreed to be front and center during your wedding preps, and of course they’ll add the color pop to Your Big Day!

You need to do something for them to say “Thank You”.  But what? 

Tah Dah!  You guessed it!  I’ve got Ideas For You!  Let’s make up some Bridesmaids Welcome Bags and let’s make ’em Personal…

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Sure, you could go buy something cute and papery in the giftwrap aisle at Target, but why not find something that your Bridemaids can use during the festivities – and happily-ever-afterwards?  Here’s a good one:

This nifty, quilted tote bag is sturdy and roomy and couture-black – so it goes with everything!  Add the free personalization and voila!  It’s a Personal Start!

 

 You’re gonna love the next part: 

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Perfect for Pedicure Day, perfect for the beach, perfect for running errands, and perfectly personalized – add these cutest flips to the bag and oh look!  We’re starting to color-coordinate!

 

 First initial, last initial – and comfortable!  Slip these pink and black cuties into the bag and add a bottle of touch-up polish for nips and chips!

And while we’re thinking thoughtful-like, most fashionista bridesmaids bring some clothes and some shoes along for rehearsal dinners and wedding parties, right? And with new shoes we get what?  Little blisters!  Good answer!  So tuck one of these into each bag

Hugs & Kisses from Mr. and Mrs!  Little sweet pink bandaids, with the extra plus of  sweet “all-better” kisses for the boo-boo’s!  We’re on a roll!

While we’re talking about nips and chips and boo-boos, here’s another handy addition to our bag and you guessed it – personalized!

Hey!  Do I have spinach in my teeth?  Do you have a mirror I could borrow?  Well of course, right here in our new tote bag – and it’s personal too!

Tuck in an engagement photo, maybe some old college pics, or just tuck in one or two photos and add a disposable camera.  Then your bridesmaids can add their own memories!  (and yes, you can personalize these as well!)

 

(Psst – get the black one – we’re coordinating here, remember?)

Let’s top it all off with a personal favorite of mine, a monogrammed koozie!

Isn’t this fun?  And just think about all the occasions when your special friends will pull these out, use ’em, and think about the wonderful times, your perfect day, and your personal appreciation for their friendship!

Let’s wrap it all up now and yes, I’m sending you to the giftwrap aisle at Target.  Buy some hot pink tissue paper to line the bag and we’re “eau seau personally” done!

Celebrating thoughtful brides and lucky bridesmaids today!

Remember to Celebrate Something Everyday!

Beautiful brides photo at the top of the post courtesy of http://www.luminagephotography.com/  and used with their permission, since it’s copywrited – check it out! 😉

fourYou remember our friend Skippy and all the fun we had at the Fickle Pickle?  Well, she’s picked her wedding photographer from a long line of capable camera artists, and I must say the one she picked looks pretty darned outstanding!

It being just before lunch, the thing that caught my eye had to do with food – Oh the Beautiful Wedding Cakes!

Of course we get in touch with Pam of Paris Mountain Photography , and she agreed to share a few of her lucious photos with you! 

So as your Easter Treat from me (and Pam) – Enjoy the photos!   And have a super-great weekend!

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Now if you don’t have a good case of “yum” going on right now, I’m not real sure what to do with you – LOL!

Oh!  And if you’re loving the cakes as much as I do – of course you know that I’m going to have an exquisite little miniature wedding cake favor for you, tied with an organza bow and a Thank You tag – a special  little gift for your guests to carry home along with their memories of your wedding day … (click the pic if you like what you see!)

  

Celebrating beautiful photography and wedding cakes today!

Please remember to Celebrate Something Everyday!

File:Oak Park Montgomery postcard.jpg

Back in the day (which really wasn’t that far back actually), I somehow got “nudged” into being a shade-tree wedding director for a short spell.  And when I say short, I mean it – because I fairly quickly realized that I didn’t have the attention span nor the patience to deal with all the glorious minutia of planning  Life and Death Events.

I say “life and death” because, during my short wedding directress tenure, I watched normally sane people go from happy to completely psychotic in less than a second, over such consequential and truly weighty issues as the color of the melba toast as compared to the hue of the dip for the reception.  Oh my! (and don’t get me started on butter mints – pastel or brilliants for you?)

  The little kiss of spring weather today brought all this back to mind (as it does during the Dawn of Spring every year – so you probably can feel the impact of my decision NOT to become a wedding planner – kinda like – well, do you still have nightmares about showing up for an Econ 101 final naked?  I think you catch my drift).

 So on to my story.  Hang on – there’s a benefit here somewhere …

    Nancy and Kyle met in the choir at Forest Park Baptist, a small church I attended on a semi-regular basis (mostly during guilt-holidays such as Christmas and Easter).  They fell in love over green bean casserole during a sundry Wednesday Night Dinner in Fellowship Hall, and decided to marry. 

I’ve yet to figure out why, but they approached me to be their Wedding Director (and it was not like I knew what one did).  “Can you help us with our wedding?  You’ve always been such a good friend (oh really?) and we need a wedding director to help pull everything together, you know – the reception and stuff”

At that point in life I didn’t know you could charge for these services.  I just thought it was the Christian-bretheren thing to do.  So I said yes.

Duh.

 

Oak Park, established in 1886, first hosted a small zoo with monkeys, bears, deer and the like. Then came a swimming pool with dressing cabanas loaded with many frolicking 1940’s families. Then nothing, as it was closed after a fair-thinking federal-type judge ajudicated that the segregationist policy for swimming in the city pool (no people with more than a sunburn allowed) unfair.  So the forward-thinking leadership of Montgomery, Alabama did the best thing they could think of – they closed the park.  Tah Dah!  No park, no problem.

  

Reopened in 1965, the City made an apology of sorts by diving head-first into a gardening frenzy around the old oaks and ponds in the park.  The result was absolutely magnificent – with huge blooming azalea bushes in the spring, blooming beds of gorgeous color almost year-round.  Perfect little wedding venues everywhere!

Nancy always dreamed of getting married in the park.  And only of getting married in the park.  That park.  This spot.  Right here. Nowhere else, ever.

 

Needless to say, it rained – for the first time in months – on the wedding day.  The bride completely fell apart and disappeared while her Wedding Director (that would be moi) rushed up the street, decorations in arms, back to the church to establish an impromptu ceremony in the autere surrounds of God’s House at Forest Park Baptist.  Compliments of one of the bridesmaids, we procured voluminous cascades of potted ferns from the ceiling of a local “gay” bar, and arranged them tastefully atop Baptist hymnals on the alter for a “garden-like” backdrop. (Drawback – bar ferns smell bad).

The bride was “resurrected” for the ceremony, albeit it with puffy eyes, and the Wedding Director got everyone down the aisles properly (including the lone groomsman who insisted on wearing a bright crimson pocket fold – a fact we discovered only when the wedding picture proofs appeared).  Nancy and Kyle are still married to this very day.

So there’s a moral here – always have a Plan B.  If you’re smart, a Plan C and D would also be good if you’re planning to marry outside.

And – here we go with the point … The fine folks at the Weather Channel are providing a Wedding Weather tracking program just for you sharp and sassy brides (and family of brides and grooms and bridesmaids and anyone else who has a stake in an outdoor wedding, like a Wedding Director).  Sign up here …and follow along to your heart’s content until D-Day.

Oh!  And if you are planning a Wedding in the Park – you know I have just the right favors to add that exquisite little touch!  Look at these (and click the pic if you’re interested, of course):

Celebrating Wedding Weather today!

Please remember to Celebrate Something Everyday!

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