Play & Work

7.31.2009

Right now I am here...
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Enjoying some much needed R&R with some of my best friends.
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I'm planning to relax for a few days and then get some work done on the condo while I'm down here. I know several of you have requested photos... but the contractor is still work. Hopefully in the next few weeks I'll have something to show.
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Have a great weekend and I will be back sometime next week!
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*photo via here

The View from Here

7.30.2009

I came across this amazing house in the country (in Meriwether Co, Georgia). What a great place to spend your days...
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*a-ma-zing detail on the ceiling



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DESIGN DETAILS:
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ARCHITECTURE
Summerour & Associates Architects
(404) 603-8585
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INTERIOR DESIGN
Summerour Interiors
(404) 603-8585
*via AH&L

wanting to fill my closet with...

7.28.2009

One of my favorite things about summer is being able to throw on a simple dress every day with a pair of sandals. I've been a fan of LuLus ever since being introduced to it last year and thought I would share with you some fun dresses that they have in stock right now.
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Sweet Lullaby Shift Dress

China Blossom Strapless Dress


Bee's Knees Summer Dress


Entourage Zipper Dress


And of course- a couple of pairs of sandals to wear with the dresses:

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The Big Heart of Birmingham

7.27.2009

Have you read this article on Birmingham in the latest issue of Garden & Gun? If not, here it is. It's long- but worth the read.
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The Big Heart of Birmingham
Why Alabama's biggest city is loaded with small-town charm
By Charles Gaines


If you lived in Birmingham in the 1950s, it was a glumly accepted fact that to get to heaven you were going to have to fly through Atlanta—probably with a four-hour layover. Compared with Atlanta (and the comparison was as irresistible as touching a sore tooth with your tongue), our airport, our hotels, our highways, and our restaurants all seemed pretty much third-world. And comparisons to smaller, slower Old South cities such as Charleston and Memphis were not much happier: In them we came off as brash and inelegant as Borat.
Then in the early sixties the city’s low-grade inferiority flu turned into a life-threatening pneumonia of shame—a feverish nightmare of fire hoses, police dogs, and the heartbreaking deaths of four young black girls that left my hometown with the national nickname of Bombingham. To more than a few of its residents it seemed that the city itself had been blown apart in the detonation of the 16th Street Baptist Church, and that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s eloquent “Letter from Birmingham Jail” was its eulogy.

But, as it happened, Birmingham has a tough talent for surviving near-fatal blows. The first was from a cholera epidemic that hit the city in 1873, only two years after its founding at the crossing of two railway lines in a valley surrounded by some of the southernmost ridges of the Appalachians. After barely pulling through the epidemic, Birmingham went to work trying to become a replica of its grubby namesake city in England. Aided by a natural abundance of coal, iron ore, and limestone, its production of steel and iron through the early 1900s so quickly grew it into the foremost industrial center of the South that it became known as the Magic City.

When the funds fueling that growth dried up during the Great Depression, Birmingham nearly expired again. Resuscitated this time by wartime demand for steel and the postwar building boom, the city went back to being a one-trick pony, doing nothing much more with itself than supplying that demand and grousing about having to fly through Atlanta. Even after the terrible chastening of the sixties, we remained an Okie from Muskogee kind of place, at the same time smugly parochial and envious of more cosmopolitan cities. Our air was foul with steel mill smog, our museum was so second-rate that I was curator of it for a year or two, and if you didn’t care for barbecue or fried catfish it was hard to find a decent meal—but by God, it was home.

Then in the seventies a sea change began for the Magic City. The leading wave of that change was the development of the University of Alabama at Birmingham into one of the best medical and research centers in the country. Other hospitals and medical businesses soon sprouted up around UAB, smart people moved into town to run and staff them, and suddenly (it seemed like overnight) Birmingham had a large, sophisticated, well-heeled international population to inform and color it. Major growth in banking and the service industries throughout the seventies further diversified the city’s steel economy and gestalt. New commercial buildings started to appear downtown for the first time since the 1920s. Art galleries and music clubs blossomed. Then in 1982 a young chef named Frank Stitt opened Highlands Bar and Grill, and the Birmingham renaissance had truly begun.

Like many Southerners, I unapologetically tend to attribute historic importance to food: What Stitt did with Highlands (and the three other fine restaurants he later bestowed on the city) was announce to Birminghamians with a megaphone that we were through sucking hind tit to Atlanta or anyplace else where food was concerned. More important, his elegant adaptation of local, down-home food, such as shrimp and grits, into high culinary art was a powerful metaphor for how we could, so to speak, have our community cake and eat it too.
In becoming one of the most livable and lovable cities in the nation, that is exactly what Birmingham has done: taken the best of the old life here (the inexorable friendliness, the lack of stress, the easy access to outdoor recreation, the quiet, leafy neighborhoods) and transformed it into something au courant, piquant, uncopyably delicious. The metropolitan area is now over one million people, but in many salubrious ways Birmingham still feels like a small city. Walking down 20th Street or waiting for a plane in the (now much improved) airport, it is hard not to run into someone you know or are kin to; in the middle of downtown there are at least four places where my dogs can take an undisturbed leak.

We now have one of the finest art museums in the country (with a permanent collection, by the way, twice the size of Atlanta’s), a shout-out civil rights museum and almost fifty art galleries. We have state-of-the-art performance and science centers; an excellent symphony orchestra; opera and ballet companies; world-class art, film, and music festivals; five live-performance theaters; and vibrant film and music scenes. We also have kick-ass gun and boat shows, turkey-calling competitions, NASCAR races at nearby Talladega, an utter city-wide mania for college football, and a museum housing the world’s largest collection of motorcycles.

In this city that has more green space per capita than any in the country, you can shoot a deer or catch a stringer of bass and crappie fifteen minutes out of town, then go to a Yo-Yo Ma concert that evening. For lunch that day you could eat some of the world’s best barbecue at Demetri’s or the Golden Rule or Dreamland, or fried chicken and field peas good enough to make you want to slap your mama at Niki’s West or the Irondale CafĂ©; then after Yo-Yo you could have a meal—at one of Frank Stitt’s restaurants, or the equally superb Hot and Hot Fish Club, or a half dozen (I counted them and I’m picky) other white-tablecloth restaurants in town—and a bottle of wine worth flying into town for from, say, Seoul, South Korea.
There may be other cities in the South where that particular yin and yang of good living, past and present, town and country, are so enjoyably mixed as they are now in Birmingham, but I don’t know of one. Yes, Charleston is still older and more refined, and Atlanta still has a bigger airport and more highways; but in Birmingham these days we don’t believe we have to fly through anywhere to get to heaven.

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*To read more of the article, go here. It lists all of my favorite restaurants as well as other great places to visit.

This Week I'm Loving...

7.24.2009

This casual purse (seen here).

These vintage aluminum cups (seen here).

These beautiful vintage oak floors laid in a Chevron pattern (seen here).
This face primer (seen here). I've had it for about a month now and love it!

One of my favorite recipes that I love to make (esp in the summer).... And recently I've been using nutter butter cookies instead of Nilla wafers (as seen on SL).

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

CH&H: Makeovers

7.22.2009

I've been enjoying many things on the Canadian House & Home site lately. So much eye candy. And was delighted to come across these before and afters. I just can't get enough of b&a's. Not sure why. Maybe it's because we can all see the potential to easily change something in our own house and the makeover photos are the inspiration that each of us needs!
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