Using the ‘good stuff’.  Something I’ve been pondering for quite a while.  Let me clarify that I am not referring to any sort of illegal substance or even to the ‘good stuff’ referred to in the 2002 Kenny Chesney song!  No, no, my friends.  I’m referring to the ‘good stuff’ most Southern brides are showered with before marriage.  China, silver, crystal, serving pieces, linens, etc.

This post does have a little bit of back story that I’ll give…

It would shock a lot of you to know that before getting married, I actually tried to dig in my heels a little bit about what all ‘nice’ things William and I registered for.  I know not everyone is raised in a small town, but I was.  I, thankfully, was smart enough to listen to my mother and mother-in-law and their less than subtle urgings that while I may not want eight place settings of china now, I sure as heck wasn’t going to want to pay for it later on.  (I have actually had several soon-to-be brides approach me with this same question in the past few years and I have told them the same thing I was told.  William and I were blessed to have countless friends and family members wanting to buy us gifts for our wedding.  There have been so many times since I’ve gotten married that I have thought to myself, well, hey!  I’m so glad I registered for that after all!  So, while you do not need three sets of towels when you’re first starting out, register for them anyway.  You’ll either get them, or you won’t.  If you’re like me, three years down the road, you’ll be thankful you can swap out a set when the washing machine eats four of your towels and you still don’t have the money to go buy a full new set yourself.  So thank you, again, to all who bought us towels for wedding gifts!!!  I digress…)

So, while I started our engagement saying that I was not going to be like my mother or mother-in-law with all of their dishes and serving pieces…well…open mouth, insert foot. Five years later, I think I may actually be worse! 🙂  At some point and time “Momma knows best” just started repeating in my brain over and over again and I just went with it.  Bring on the countless china patterns (formal, everyday AND Christmas), silverware out my ears, crystal and glassware everywhere I look, and the list goes on and on.

Now, this is where I disagree with most Southern ladies.  You get all of this stuff, and then what do you do with it?  NOTHING.  Which, I understand that to most of the rest of the world who sees this Southern tradition, that big ole ‘NOTHING’ is exactly their point when they choose NOT to have all of this ‘stuff’.  I’m not here to debate which category of folk is right or wrong.  What I am here to debate is, if we’re going to have all of this ‘good stuff’, WHY DON’T WE USE IT!?  This is something that I was determined to change in our own lives once William and I got married, and I’ve taken a particular charge to change since we moved to Portland.  The added “I’m hauling all of this stuff all the way across the country and praying none of it breaks” pressure doubled my guilty conscience!

A few months back, I stumbled upon this blog post entitled ‘Use your good stuff’.  This lady, with amazing taste I might add, articulated what I had been pondering for quite some time!  She talks about going to estate sales and finding all of these treasures that were NEVER used.  She reached a point when she thought to herself, “Is this what people are going to say at my estate sale!?”  She began using, for example, a very expensive and personal vase her husband had given her for their 2nd Christmas together, and while someone may pick it up one day at her estate sale and notice its scratches and a chip or two, they’ll know that it was a loved treasure rather than something that stood collecting dust.

I’ve been thinking over the past few months on ways to use my ‘good stuff’ without making my guests feel uncomfortable or making dinner too ‘stuffy’.  I know it is not for everyone, but for someone who really enjoys making a beautiful tablescape, why does it always have to be so formal?  I think I’m making some progress, starting with dinner for two when it’s just William and I.  I’m using our casual wooden chargers I bought at Crate and Barrel and I use my serving pieces that go with my ‘Everyday’ dishes almost every night.  We’re using my cloth napkins and he sets the table for me each night.  (yes, this means I wash and iron napkins a lot)  I figure, if William and I are comfortable with what we’re doing, that’s the first step in making others feel that way as well.

I have no moral to this story, and I have no actual “end outcome”.  But don’t be surprised if you’re at our house for dinner and my table is fully set.  (and yes, I have been told by multiple people that when I have children all of this will go out the window, but both mine and William’s mothers did a pretty dern good job of sitting us down on real plates every night for dinner so I will give it my all!)  I am always aiming to make others feel at home in my house, but this is my own little social experiement I’m running lately.  Why does the use of our ‘good stuff’ have to be tied to a “special occasion”?  Why can’t we use what we have for “everyday occasions”?  Dinner with my husband is my time when I get his undivided attention.  No phones, no TV, no distractions.  Why can’t I bring my best to the table as well?  (and yes, all kinds of puns and metephors intended)  🙂

100 Perfect Pairings

100 Perfect Pairings

One of my bests out here in Portland, Casey, struck gold on one of my new favorite cookbooks of all time.  I just had to share.  There are some classic Southern goodies that I can’t bring myself to trump, however, this is seriously one of the best cookbooks I own now!  100 Perfect Pairings by Jill Silverman Hough.  There are actually two separate cookbooks: one for main dishes and one for small bites.  Both cookbooks have healthy and easy recipes that explore the pairings between wine and food.  In the last few weeks, I’ve been cooking a few of them every night and literally only one hasn’t been a complete hit.

I’m not a knowledgable wine drinker, which is a huge reason I like this cookbook.  You don’t have to be!  She points out in the introduction of her book that you don’t have to understand everything about food and/or wine to make a beautiful and wonderfully paired meal–just a few key things are good to know!

In classic OCD Sally style, I’ve been making scrupulous notes in the book on each recipe I’ve cooked.  Any changes I would make next go around, what we ate the main dish with, which bottle of wine we tried, etc.  I feel a little ‘Julie and Julia’ if I’m quite honest with myself, but I am thoroughly enjoying it!  It definitely helps that my purchase of these books has coincided with William finishing up school so he has actually been at home at night to help me finish off dinner and sit down with me at the dining table for dinner.   He’s been so great about asking questions about the meal and spending time talking about the wine pairing.  It has been such a fun little adventure!

I know Pinterest is a wonderful depository for new recipes, but if you’re like me and still like a physical cookbook in your hand (or if you’re even more like me and get really overwhelmed by Pinterest sometimes), I strongly encourage this cookbook.  It has been the best $15.00 investment I’ve made in quite some time!

Happy Cooking!

In exactly seven days, I will be leaving with my amazing husband with TWO degrees to run away to Palm Springs for the weekend.  That’s right.  William is basically done with his Masters degree.  He still has to attend class for another month, however, he has completed his thesis paper, art show, final oral defense, everything!  I. am. so. proud.  (not to mention happy beyond belief that this part of our life is behind us!)  My work has topped the charts with stress lately so we decided a get away was in order.

To celebrate our returning to normal life, we booked ourselves a room at The Ace Hotel for Mother’s Day weekend!  I’ve been getting advice from amazing friends on where to go and what to eat and we have a tentative schedule, though all I really want to do is lay by the pool, soak up a lot of sunshine, hold William’s hand, and have a few of these “adult sno cones” everyone keeps telling me about!

The Ace Hotel- Palm Springs, CA

The Ace Hotel- Palm Springs, CA

Amazing pool scene at The Ace!

Amazing pool scene at The Ace!

Take me to the desert!

Take me to the desert!

On Saturday morning, I’m going to take a free yoga class that is offered to guests of the hotel.  Can’t pass up free yoga!  Sunday morning, I’m going to be in the pool taking water aerobics.  Yes, water aerobics.  Also included with the cost of our room.  Not passing up the opportunity!  AND Sunday afternoon, I’ve booked William and I Couples’ Massage Lessons!  We’re planning on going to some amazing restaurants recommended by one of my best friends, Heather.

Palm Springs is quite the happening place these days.  I’m glad I’ll have William on my arm!  This JCREW-clad lady might not quite fit in, but hey, I bought a big floppy hat from Urban Outfitters (an experience which, might I mention, made me feel SO old) that is pretty cool if I don’t say so myself.

7. Days. And. Counting.

 

 

So this is the problem with blogs.  It’s like what our mothers told us when Facebook came out.  “Once you put something on the Internet, you can never get it back”.  Well that’s what I did.  I went and talked all about my favorite movies.  And what did I do?  I LEFT OUT MY FAVORITE ONE!!!!

So, to pay homage to the greatest movie of all time, and to punish myself for omitting it, it shall have its own post.  Ladies and gentlemen (since I know you care…) my all time favorite movie:

DirtyDancing3-lgDIRTY DANCING

Gosh, what a great movie.  I hope I get to dance with Patrick Swayze in Heaven one day.  That would be amazing.  I have the soundtrack on vinyl.  I dance to it while I’m cleaning.  William walked in one day to me dancing around with the duster to the record player on full volume.  He said he could hear it at the street.  Oops.

That’s all I have for you.  I would like to apologize to Baby for ‘putting her in a corner’ and forgetting her.  To make up for it, I watched and danced to movie last night.  🙂

Do y’all have movies that you watch over and over again?  I certainly do.  I, sadly, take it to the extreme.  For example, as I am writing this blog post, I am watching one of my favorites for the second time, this evening.  So sad.  I just cannot help myself.  They are my go-to’s.  I am sure that someone would disagree or tell me they aren’t worth watching once much less three thousand times, but frankly I don’t care.  They make my heart so happy.

So here they are, in no particular order, because I couldn’t begin to rank them if it meant my life:

  1. Sabrina
  2. Steel Magnolias
  3. You’ve Got Mail
  4. My Fair Lady
  5. Jumpin’ Jack Flash

As far as Sabrina goes, the 1995 version with Harrison Ford is my favorite.  I do love the 1954 rendition with Audrey Hepburn, but I fell in love with Harrison Ford as Linus Larrabee when I was about 7 and it was over for me!  (I will be honest, for as much of an old-timer as I am, it does frighten me a bit that in this scenario I prefer Harrison Ford to Humphrey Bogart.  YIKES!  What is wrong with me?!)

Steel Magnolias.  In my opinion, it is the quintessential Southern movie.  Gosh I love it.  So, so much I love it.  So many wonderful lines from it.  My favorite has to be, “Well, you know what they say: if you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!”

If you know me at all, you know that I would give my left arm and leg to BE Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail.  The first time The Shop Around the Corner comes on the screen my heart just melts.  Every time.  It is my dream to own my own children’s books store.  I will say, I do not miss hearing that AOL dial tone each time I sign into my email.  Ha!

Hands down my favorite Audrey Hepburn movie.  My Fair Lady.  Fantastic.  BEYOND fantastic.  A movie AND a musical?!  I do not think it gets any better than that.  Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins gets me every time.  I love him.

And last, but certainly not least.  My hidden gem.  Jumpin’ Jack Flash.  This one I got from my mother who also loves this movie.  It came out the same year that I was born and I watch it at least 10 times a year.  I am quite certain that this is one of those movies that has more sentimental value than anything.  I’ve asked friends to watch it with me in the past and their love for it has not equaled mine.  Sadly, it makes me question their sense of judgement.  Who doesn’t love Whoopi with corn rows, yellow high tops, and a cheesy KGB plot?!

In case you were wondering, it’s Sabrina that I’m now watching for the second time this evening.  William just came in from class and I refuse to tell him this is round two because he’ll turn it off.  First go around though, he knows better than to turn them off.  Shhh…don’t tell him!

I’m about the most inconsistent blogger ever.  I can attribute my inconsistency to a lot of things, most of which I am ok with taking priority over a blog.  Some I am not.  I have realized my trouble is I have no real purpose in blogging.  I am not documenting a child’s life, I’m not promoting a business, I’m not altering the course of history in any way.  I’m just writing when I have something to write, which, for my OCD nature, purposeless writing often becomes more frustrating than it is rewarding.

Alas, the other side of my OCD nature kicks in that reminds myself that I do not like things to go unfinished.  The main reason that while watching ‘You’ve Got Mail’ for the 3,021st time last night I picked up a cross stitching project I’ve had going for about two years to keep my hands busy.  I take the cake for being the most complex while simultaneously uncomplex creature God ever set his mind to.

There is a blog that I read that posted an update the other day.  Its first since October.  I was elated.  I love reading her blog posts.  I am now realizing that I, too, have not posted since October of last year. So much has happened since October.  We are five months closer to William finishing graduate school (he finishes in May or June…I should know, but I cannot remember).  We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at home in Texas with our families.  I went Christmas crazy on our house again.  No glitter though, William vetoes all Christmas decor with glitter.  We had company staying with us for the first 16 days of 2013.  And most recently, we’ve bought a new car and we’re headed to LA in 9 short days!

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Our new wheels! 2013 Toyota Rav4!

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Here she is from the front!

And here she is from the back!

And here she is from the back!

I am so thankful we were able to buy this car!!  We have had one car since moving to Portland and it has been very tough.  I know that a HUGE part of the US population lives as a one car household, however, when you grow up in the South in cities that are not bike/walking friendly, you’re really used to having your own set of wheels.

My sweet husband is such a trooper.  I drive at least three days a week for my job so there was no question who was getting the car when we consolidated to one before moving to Portland.  He diligently rode his bike all year last year in the rain and cold.  So glad he’s not going to have to do that any longer!

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In nine short days, we’re headed to L.A.!  This will be my first visit to CA that I can remember!! Apparently I went when I was a young child, but that doesn’t count because I don’t remember it! William and our dear friend, Eric Trine, are having a show together (read about it here) at Poketo in downtown LA.  I’m taking a few extra days off and Heather (Eric’s wife, aka one of my favorite people on this Earth) is going to show me all of the awesome places in L.A.!!

So much happening in our little life.  I have a craft project nearing completion that I hope to be able to share soon.  I’m pretty proud of it, not going to lie.  Other than that, life is the same here at Dixieland Delight!

#housedivided #whompdown #RTR

This past weekend, William and I flew to Austin for the wedding of two very special people.  How special you might ask?  Well we missed the Alabama/Mississippi State game for the first time in YEARS!  So, very special.  🙂

We were all dressed up in our wedding attire so no jerseys, face tats, shakers or cowbells to be seen between the two of us.  However, I did find a way to let us have a little school spirit during the reception.  #housedivided  Momentary pause to say that these koozies were replaced right after the game by the AMAZING koozies the bride and groom had as favors at the reception.  Seriously, I’ve never seen a more awesome wedding favor in my life.

Jay B & Priscilla’s wedding koozies!

I will say, while I’m thrilled my team won (Roll Tide), I am also sad that this year William’s team lost. MSU is doing AWESOME this year and I hope they are able to finish out the season strong.  For William’s sake, it was probably best we could only check the updates on the game from our phones as he would not have been too happy in front of a TV.

This weekend, we both have big games ahead of us.  MSU takes on A&M and we take on LSU.  Glad we’re past our one day a year when we’re enemies because both our teams need the Bryant’s support this weekend to pull out W’s!!

Roll Tide Roll!  Go Dawgs!