Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Eco-friendly Vintage Chic

I admit, I am not the most faithful tree-hugger, eco-friendly, Earth-conscious girl around, but I have been recycling since as long as I can remember, I use "Green" cleaning products, I rarely use plastic grocery bags, and cringe when I see Hummers. I have also just recently made some new efforts to be more Earth-conscious...first, my husband and I started composting when we moved to our new house. It is really easy and not nearly as smelly or gross as I had once thought.

Image via here

We registered for and received this pretty little pail from Crate & Barrel which we keep in the kitchen for food scraps. Every other day or so, one of us then takes the pail outside to dump onto the compost pile, which is housed in a wooden box with a lid that the hubs built. Turn the compost pile with a shovel and keep it moist and then voila, you have usable compost for your garden--and you've kept food waste from the landfill! Sweet.

My other exciting, slightly more vintage-chic, green development has been not using paper napkins or disposable cutlery or drinkware either. I love to entertain and have done quite a bit already in our new home-- a couple wedding showers for some friends of ours, James' 24th birthday this past Sunday evening...(that's right, my husband is only 24; I am a proud cradle-robber).

I have begun using cute appetizer plates and cloth napkins, as well as real glasses and silverware for all parties. Some people question my decision to do so, thinking I am silly to create such work for myself washing the dishes and napkins after the party-goers have long gone home. But, I take a simple pleasure in knowing that I have kept so much disposable plastic and paper out of the landfill, not to mention saved money too. And the stylish statement conveyed by the vintage mixed with modern plates and cloth napkins= very eco-chic!

I was inspired to write this post when I came across these amazing cloth napkins made from re-purposed vintage sheets on Etsy:

Image via here

LOVE these napkins!

My newest eco-friendly venture is going to be to get a rain barrel. Good Magazine, one of my favorite things to find in my mailbox, introduced me to the concept in this article. Here's the Smith & Hawken collapsible rain barrel mentioned in the Good article...I'm adding it to my Christmas wish list:

Image via here

If you have never read or never even heard of Good magazine, you should look into getting a subscription.

Image via here

You can subscribe for $10, $20 or $50...whatever level you can afford, and 100% of your subscription amount is donated to GlobalGiving. GlobalGiving funds hundreds of grassroots projects around the world, impacting education, health care, and human rights. How amazing is that!?

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Treats

Yes, it is a super-dreary day outside in Columbia, but as I've said before, I love dreary days during the fall. It means an after-work run where I hardly notice the sweat beacause of the cool mist, and a fire in the fireplace when I get home.

Here are some more things I'm looking forward to in Columbia this week: (can you tell it's already been that kind of week, where you have to look forward to things just to get through it?!)

1. Hunter-Gatherer. Love this place...they brew their own beer and have some of the best, affordable pizzas/burgers/salads in Columbia. I will be eating there after seeing Beeswax at The Nick on Thursday evening, and you can count on a post re-hashing that experience by the weekend.

The dingo displayed in the H-G...

(Picture via here)

2. All-local Farmer's Market. Now in it's new permanent home at 711 Whaley Street, this event takes place every Saturday morning from 9-12. Breakfast is served, all kinds of goodies are sold--edible and non-edible--and a community-feel is always shared. Can't wait to get some more homemade bread from Heather's Artisan Bakery, out of West Columbia, SC.

3. Halloween. My nephew is going as Elmo; precious as he is dressed in plain clothes, he is even more adorable when red and furry. I am going to go "trick-or-treating" with him early, then go to a Halloween party where I will be dressed as Rachel Zoe, and my husband--if he gets off work in time--will be dressed as Brad Goreski, Rachel's assistant. The procrastinator that I am, I have yet to create our costumes, but I know mine will include a blonde wig, lots of chunky jewelry, and large sunglasses. James' costume will include short-shorts, (James has cute legs, and can pull these off as Brad does), a bow-tie, and large-framed black glasses. Of course, pictures to come in a future post.

Happy Tuesday! What are you looking forward to in the coming weeks--I'd love to know!?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Musings for a Monday

Things I'm looking forward to in Columbia in the coming weeks:
1. Beeswax at The Nickelodeon
Show opens Wednesday, October 28th and runs through November 3rd.

Image via here

2. The Governor's Cup 8K Race on Saturday, November 7th...well, let's just say I'm not really looking forward to the run so much as seeing my sweet cousin who's coming up from Beaufort to run it with me. I am so out of shape right now, and have not been training as I should be; I will probably only be able to run 1/2 of the 5-mile race, but I do vow to finish!

Me, (#325), running the Heart & Sole 5-miler in May 2009...I actually trained for that one.

3. Harmony School's 4th Annual Oyster Roast and Silent Auction Fundraiser on November 7th.
My sister and I plan to go to this event to learn a bit more about Harmony, as well as for the food, beer, and entertainment--which includes:
Danielle Howle, Reggae Infinity, David & Ryan’s Steel Drum Band and John & Chuck (from The Project) along with hot steamed oysters, chilled beer and wine and warm, homemade chili.
Tickets are $30/person. Click here for more details.

Image via here

4. Ansel Adams and Cleve Gray exhibits at Columbia Museum of Art...I didn't make it last weekend, but I will get there...

Things I am loving right now:

This amazing scarf
Image via here

Glee, the new show that comes on Fox on Wednesdays at 9 PM. I am obsessed with the "mash-ups" and have downloaded them to my Ipod. If you don't know what a "mash-up" is, you need to start watching. You can watch full episodes on-line really should.

Image via here

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Granville's and Jack-o-lanterns and a good cause, oh my!

My Saturday night was an out-of-Columbia experience, except I was in Columbia. I went to my friend, Frenchie's new loft apartment at GranDevine, on the corner of Maple and Devine Streets, for Prosecco and catch-up-convo first. We nibbled on homemade pimento cheese from Simply Savory and I oohed and aahhed over her amazing new digs. The apartment is so chic and big-city; I love it! Exposed brick in every room, loft-high ceilings, large open-concept kitchen/den/dining room...super-big windows. I'm jealous.

We walked down the street to Granville's for dinner; (one of the main things I miss about living in a big city is being able to walk to so many cool places; just another reason the GranDevine feels so big-city!). The ambience of Granville's is simple and the lighting was just right for a Fall Saturday night dinner. We had a nice table in the corner and could hear each other talk without over-hearing the conversations of those aorund us.

The menu had a lot of things that looked good to me--a lot of appetizers that included cheese in some form, which is my biggest vice. The menu was nicely rounded, but didn't have so many things so as to make the patron overwhelmed with choices. I ordered a salad made up of romaine, butter beans, avocado, cheese, and a yummy vinagerette as well as Trout Provencal, which was a perfect, light entree for Fall. Frenchie had the soup du jour-French Onion- and the special Brasied Spare Ribs; I think she enjoyed hers as much as I did mine. We split a bottle of Prosecco and a dessert-a chocolate souffle, which was divine.

Loved Granville's and will go back soon; and everything is very reasonably priced, which is always nice! After dinner we walked back down the street to Nightcaps, one of my favorites spot for a drink in Columbia--not an overly-young crowd, and no fighting for parking, not to mention Matt and Shannon, the newlywed bartenders are pretty amazing!

On Sunday afternoon James and I went to help my sister carve pumpkins. Cat carved an Elmo pumpkin for Ben, since that is what he is going to be for Halloween this year. I think it turned out great!

And James carved us a scary pumpkin that will eventually have one of those mini-pumpkins halfway in its mouth, to make it look as if the larger one is eating the smaller. Quaint, honey.

To put on your calendar:

Just bought my tickets for this sure-to-be-amazing event at Rosso, that will benefit an even more amazing cause, Camp Burnt Gin:

Click here to order tickets for this event on Sunday, November 8th at 6:30 pm. BTW--I adore Rosso...their pizzas are amazing, and I am a pizza-whore, I should know. They have $7 pizzas and a $5 wine tasting from 5-6 pm on should check it out.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkins, chili, and pretty things

So, this past Saturday was one of my favorties on was jam-packed with fun Columbia events as well as shopping, playing with my nephew and eating great food with a great friend...what else is there? Plus, the weather was rainy and chilly--perfect for fall events.

We started the day at the Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church on Heyward Street for their Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch. (We had originally planned to go to a different pumpkin patch, but this one boasted a band and jump houses for the kids...who could resist?!)

Benjamin, my 2-year old nephew, loved every minute of it--he picked up every pumpkin he could muster, and some he couldn't--he danced all by himself to the music, (don't you just love the audacity of toddlers!), and he wooed the little old ladies selling baked goods.

Ben, channeling Michael Jackson here...

After picking out several fine pumpkins, my sister, Ben, James, my mom and I left the Fall Festival to do a little shopping of the Aunt Ba-Ba variety...Devine Street. I had to go to HandPicked, as they had pashminas on sale for $11 each! I am a complete sucker for a scarf/wrap and wear one almost every day during the fall and winter--I purchased 2 at HandPicked, royal blue and silver. Then we headed into Pupcakes to say hello to Blue and Prada and picked up some treats for our children, Peach and Abby. Ben loved playing with the dog toys!

Stopped in The Bohemian and snapped a pic of this amazing coat...I die...

Then stopped in Just the Thing and glimpsed this awesome turqouise bracelet...Christmas is coming...

After some shopping, the rest of the crew went home for toddler lunch and nap, and James and I headed to 5 Points for the 23rd Annual Group Therapy Chili Cook-off. Such a treat! Not only were there plenty of cheap and tasty chilis to try, but live music, beer, and people-watching too! And all the proceeds from this year's event went to Camp Kemo--I just love a fun event for a great cause!

As much as I wanted my favorite chili of the day to be made by a husband-wife team or the really-country-didn't-spend-money-on-a-frou-frou-sign-or-condiments team, my ultimate favorite chili ended up having been made by Pawley's Front Porch. It had black beans and pintos and a really nice and kind of different they had mini jalapeno corn muffins to go with it.

After we stuffed ourselves with chili, we went home for a lazy afternoon before I headed out for dinner at Granville's. I'll post my review of dinner later.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The September Issue...(in October)

via here

I saw The September Issue at The Nickelodeon Wednesday evening; it was a packed house.* If you have even the slightest interest in fashion, I highly recommend this film. The relationship between Anna Wintour, the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, whom this documentary is mostly about, and her Creative Director, Grace Coddington, is entertaining to watch. And at times difficult to watch.

I couldn't help but keep thinking that it was similar to the relationship that Rachel Zoe and Taylor Jacobson have...or me and my boss for that matter. (Not because my boss is bitchy, because she is not, but because she and I have very different opinions at times and very different ways of dealing with things, but somehow we balance eachother and it works). This movie highlights the not-so-pretty but very real inner workings of a great team.

In other news, I am so excited about the weather change in Columbia--it is finally cooler and I have to admit that I love the dreary days. Overcast and cool makes me yearn for a fire in the fireplace and dogs to cuddle with on the sofa. It also makes for a much more enjoyable run when it's below 70 degrees outside.

Here's what I'm excited about this weekend:

Going to pick out pumpkins with my 2-year old nephew at the Trenholm Road United Methodist Church pumpkin patch. We did this last year as well, but Ben was just starting to walk and was a little unsteady...he fell and hit his head on a's to hoping that I'm not such an irresponsible aunt this year.

Haven't been to this event in years, but I am so excited for it tomorrow! 11AM-7PM.
Click here for more details.

Dinner at the brand-new restaurant Granville's on Devine Street in Columbia Saturday night, and catching up with a friend I haven't seen in a while. Here's what The Columbia Foodie had to say about this new small bites spot...My review to come in the next blog.

On Sunday I hope to go the Columbia Museum of Art with the hubs to see Cleve Gray

and Ansel Adams exhibits. images via here

And then, school work completed by a fire with dogs at my feet...sounds like an amazing fall weekend in Columbia.

*Unfortunately, The September Issue is no longer playing at The Nick, but put it in your Netflix queue.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

shouldn't we leave money out of it?

So, thus far I have left politics alone in this blog, and I do intend to continue to keep it light-hearted...but any of you who know me well know that I have a very definite political opinion about most things. I am a social worker, and I teach a policy class at USC...I believe that everyone should make it a point to be involved and knowledgeable about the political process and the policies that our law-makers enact on our behalf. It is also our duty as American citizens to educate our politicians and elected officials about issues that are important to your representatives!

{If you are bored now and not one for soap-boxes, please just keep reading...there are pictures and pieces of my frivolous mind after the next paragraph, I promise :) }

Here's what crossed my mind today as I read this. Can't we just leave money out of politics altogether? Now, I am not a complete idiot, I know that politicians have to make a living, and I also know that making sweeping reforms about campaign expenditures probably won't happen any time soon, but let me be idealistic for a moment. How amazing would it be if our politicians and candidates for offices such as mayor, governor, senator, representative, and yes, even President, ran on the validity of their own arguments and opinions, not on the amount of money they could raise from corporations and wealthy donors?
Is it that far-fetched of an idea? People will be elected into office based on their merits and not their fundraising capabilities...hmmm. Maybe someday that will be reality.

On a much lighter note, here are some other things I've been thinking about today:

The Season finale of The Rachel Zoe Project that was on Bravo last night...that show is totally my TV guilty pleasure. Totally bananas! PS--James and I may go as Rachel and Roger for Halloween, or he may go as Brad...I will def. post pics!
via here

These adorable hand-felted acorns by truLuxe on etsy that I want to buy for my nephew for Christmas...a bit odd as a present, but the kid adores acorns...he calls the tops of them "little hats" and puts them on his head--so cute! via here

This amazing J. Crew "jeweled garland bracelet" that I have been not-so-subtly asking my husband to get me for our 1-year anniversary coming up next month...hint, hint honey... via here

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Nick- one of my favorite spots in Columbia

If you have never been to The Nickelodeon theater, I challenge you to go soon. It will be moving to a new location, (the old Fox Theater on Main St.) next year, so you have limited time to catch a flick in the quaint spot where it currently resides. It is a non-profit movie theater that brings to town movies that we would never get to see elsewhere in Columbia, for instance the movie I saw last night: World's Greatest Dad.
This movie by writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait--(think the crazy dude with the weird voice from One Crazy Summer)--debuted at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and stars Robin Williams.

I really enjoyed the film. It is a super-dark comedy and there are moments when you love and hate almost every character in it. Williams is brilliant in his role; I can't think of anyone who could have played his character better.

My favorite scene is a bit reminiscent of my favorite scene from The Graduate, when Dustin Hoffman's character plunges underwater and Simon & Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence begins playing...except in this movie Robin Williams' character plunges into the water to the tune of Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie...the quintessential "man being re-born by water" bit. Different types of baptism in each movie, but love it just the same.

My favorite quote from the movie is when Williams' character acts as narrator and states something to the effect of: "The only thing worse than being alone is being surrounded by people that make you feel alone." Go see this movie, it's at The Nick until Thursday, October 8th.

Back to The Nick--it has been around since 1979 and is the only non-profit theater in South Carolina. They have 2 film screenings each evening and an additional matinee 3 days a week. They typically run a film for 1 week, with Opening Nights occuring on Wednesdays. The ticket prices are very reasonable at $7.50 general admission in the evening and $6.50 matinee, and they offer student and senior discounts of $1 off. You can also become a Member of the Nickelodeon for $30/year, as I did, and pay only $5.50 for a ticket.

A couple girlfriends and I have started going to see almost every movie they screen and eating at Which Wich right across the street before the movie. It's a great, affordable night out with the girls in Columbia, and you can feel good about supporting the arts in Columbia as well.

In short, the Nick is a gem and I can't wait to see the new theater in 2010!

Image credits here and here

Monday, October 5, 2009

new brunch spot in Columbia...not where you think

So, yes: Ruby Tuesday's now has Sunday brunch, and it's really good. I usually try to frequent local spots and not chains, but my parents have an unfettered affection for the RT and love the bartenders there who know them and have their drinks waiting when they walk in....far be it for me, a poor social worker to turn down a free meal, so I accompany my parents pretty often for a mid-week dinner at the bar.

On one of my most recent visits there, we were given coupons for BOGO Sunday brunch, which just started the end of August. We resisted for a bit, but finally gave it a try and it was well worth it!

Any meal ordered from the Brunch menu includes 4 "courses": freshly made, warm biscuits (all you can eat...they are awesome), a yogurt/fruit/granola parfait (equally yummy), then your main course, and warm cookies to end. Way too much food for one person to eat, so then you have a late afternoon leftover lunch for later :).

I ordered the Avocado and Bacon Quesadilla, which also includes scrambled eggs and cheese, served with a side of sour cream and salsa. My hubs ordered the Eggs Benedict Trio, which includes one each mini steak, chicken, and crab cake Benedicts. We both enjoyed our main dishes, but my favorite part is the biscuits and yogurt parfait. (Of course, I got mine with no fruit b/c I do not like fruit in weird forms*).

And the Mimosa's made from Mumm champagne aren't bad either!