Thursday, December 22, 2011

Art , Dogs & a Baby

That's what's on my list for tomorrow--visit the Columbia Museum of Art and shop for the dogs at Pupcakes Pet Boutique with Jones.  Then, tomorrow night we'll indulge at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse for dinner with some close family friends, a December 23rd tradition, (or as my Dad calls it- Christmas Eve Eve).

image via here
I am dying to see the Hudson River School Painters Exhibit; just gonna pop Jones in his sling and expose him to some beautiful art.  Then, we'll venture to Pupcakes to get new collars and treats for the dogs for Christmas.

I am off of work and Jones is out of school, and I can't imagine a more perfect day.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Word for Wednesday


ejune: lacking knowledge or experience; uninformed

As in: a line from the NY Times' review of Joan Didion's A Year of Magical Thinking: "Hard sweet wisdom.  That 'hard sweet wisdom'-the literary critical phrase that once seemed strong- after experience feels jejune."

Read the entire book review here.  If you haven't read the book, you should.  It is an emotional and very visceral account of the grief the author feels following her husband's sudden death.  Not an overly sad or sentimental book, just a very real account of grief by a very smart and sad woman.

image via here
Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Wanderlust is an ever-present feeling in my gut.  As a result, and also because of my love for almost anything vintage, I have a fascination with old globes and maps.  San Francisco artist Wendy Gold turns vintage globes into works of art.
 My favorite:
image via here
image via here
Now...where shall we go?

Christmas Card

Merry Christmas!

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Holiday Movie Love

I have been searching for days for my copy of Love Actually.  I have the DVD case, just no DVD.  It has put a bit of a damper on my holiday spirit, I think.  It is by far my favorite Christmas movie, and I need to watch it.  So, I will be purchasing a new copy later today and watching it tonight.  Merry Christmas to me.  (and you!)

The flashcard scene is the best ever...

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Dangerous Method

I was a psych major, so I am a total dork for the theories and lives of Freud, Jung, Pavlov, Skinner, and a host of other influential, (and often off-their-rockers-crazy), scientists who studied the human brain and behavior.

This is on my short-list to see:

See the official website for A Dangerous Method (and a more risque trailer) here.

A Pretty Thing

Possibly the most stunningly beautiful man-made thing I have ever seen:

Kennedy Center Opera House Chandelier
Lobmeyr chandelier in Kennedy Center Opera House via here                    

I had the privilege of touring The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC a few years ago, and after experiencing this chandelier--and you truly must experience being in the room with it; it is huge and elegant and grand and the picture does not even do it justice--I swore I would come back for a show in the Opera House someday.

image via here

Anyone seen a show in The Kennedy Center Opera House?
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Horns and a Stand-Up Bass

I love horns-trumpet, sax, trombone.  I get it honestly, my father really only likes music that includes horns...he used to say of the rock 'n roll/pop that I listened to as an angsty teenager: "3 guitarists, a drummer and a singer does not a band make.  Where are the horns?!"  Of course, because I was an angsty teen, I rolled my eyes and tried not to sing along too loudly when he played his favorites with horns- mostly Motown and beach music like The Embers, The Four Tops, and The Four Seasons.

Lots of horns in this classic--beloved by my Dad (and me):

I also love a stand-up bass (aka cello).  One of my favorite REM songs includes an amazingly well-timed cello solo:...wait for it, it's at the end:

So, those things being said about my love of horns and stand-up-bass, here are a couple songs from new-to-me artists I was excited to come across on NPR's list of 5 Artists You Should Know in 2011.  Enjoy.

Of Monsters and Men:

J.D. McPherson: 

Any new music you're loving?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Very Crafty Christmas

I love the adrenaline and pressure of staying up late to finish holiday projects. I am a holy-horrible-procrastinator by nature, and I get it honestly: I vividly remember my mother staying up into the wee hours to complete sewing projects when I was a kid.  Here are some of the crafts that I am working on (or planning on working on by December 24th!) for the holidays:

image via here

1) Popsicle Memory Game- this one is actually already complete!  The printable pattern and instructions can be found here at a favorite blog, Eat, Drink, Chic.  This is a gift for my 4 year old nephew, Ben.  He is obsessed with anything sweet, popsicles especially.  I got a glass jar with screw-on lid from Hobby Lobby and decorated it with popsicle stickers.  I also Contact-papered the popsicles so they'll last longer.  Really cute, and easy.

image via here

2) Ribbon Wreath- Finished this last night!  Instructions and material list were found in the December 2011 Woman's Day magazine.  Don't have a great picture of the one I did with Candy Cane-striped red and white ribbon, but the one above was created using the same instructions, borrowed from here.  I am gifting this to my sister today.

image via here

3) A-Frame Tent- This is what I am most excited to make (and give) this year...this is for my almost-11-month-old son, Jones.  The complete step-by-step instructions I found here, on one of my favorite blogs, Cakies.  I always loved making temporary pillow-and-blanket forts as a kid, and I hope that he will appreciate this fun handmade tent for years to come.  My husband is handling the wooden frame and I will be sewing the fabric piece.  I ordered the vintage Sesame Street sheet below to make into the tent cover. 

images via here
Pictures to come of the finished product, (but don't expect them before December 25th!)

What are you making this holiday season?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Word for Wednesday


isyphean: a task or labor that is unavailing; endless; (of or pertaining to Sisyphus)

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus, was a hubristic (another great word) king whose ultimate punishment was having to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down before reaching the top and to repeat this throughout eternity.

As heard in this Bright Eyes song, Shell Games-one I have been listening to of late:

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische.

definition via here

Monday, November 21, 2011

Leafy Craft

The leaf mobile that I made and (James) hung in Jones' room:

I collected leaves from around the neighborhood--I tried to get different colors, types, sizes.  Then I "laminated" the leaves in Contact paper, punched a hole through each, and tied them to a large skinny stick with fishing line.
I got the inspiration from one of the Parenting magazines I've read recently (can't remember which one!)

It was super-simple, but gives Jones' room a cool, nature-y feel.  He loves to look at it, and someday I can tell him that we collected the leaves on our walks together during his first-ever Fall.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday's Thinking of Food (on a Friday)

So, as promised, here is a quick photo re-cap of the oh-so-amazing Harvest Dinner that we enjoyed at City Roots last week:
Shaking up an American Harvest Pineapple Basil (or sage--can't remember!) cocktail
American Harvest Organic Spirits

pretty fall tablescape by The Southern Greenie
dinner was in the City Roots greenhouse instead of the field due to cold & rain
me & the hubs
the delicious salad that I blogged about here; my husband's new "favorite salad"
local beef carpaccio with City Roots micro greens by Chef Ryan Whitaker of @116 Espresso & Wine Bar
Butterscotch Oatmeal cookie from Pink Magnolia- I am totally a simple-dessert-kinda-girl, and this was perfect

There was also a wonderful fish dish, created by Chef Steven Blitch of Tombo Grille, (which I sadly have no pictures of), but was awesome.  It was an awesome night-wonderful local food, great wines, we made some new friends, and we will be back. 

Random food news for the day: did you see that Congress protected pizza as a vegetable in school lunch?!  If this pisses you off as much as it does me, please take a moment to let your Congressmen and women  know.

And, finally, Jones and I will be at the Food Truck Rodeo at City Roots this evening--will you?! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Grammar Love

via here

New Favorite Salad

This is a preview of my full post coming Thursday about the City Roots Harvest Dinner that we attended last week.  It was ah-mazing.  If you are thinking of attending one in the future, do it.

the hubs exclaimed: "this is the best salad I've ever had." and meant it.
Seriously yummy salad consisting of City Roots micro-greens, local feta, thinly sliced radishes, and an amazing cumin vinaigrette, for which James swears he's going to call Chef Ryan at 116 Espresso & Wine Bar to get the recipe.

The bread was from Heather's Artisan Bakery and it was slathered with anchovy-butter (from Happy Cow Creamery) and topped with thinly sliced radishes.  Amaze.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jones- 9 Months Old!

Our baby is 9 months old!  Jones, I believe, is just not going to crawl, (in the conventional sense, anyway).  He can scoot, dive, roll, and pull his way around to get where he wants to go, but as for moving legs and arms in tandem while on all fours, it's not happening!  His unorthodox methods sure are cute and entertaining though.

What?  I may not crawl, but I strike a cute pose...

This past month we celebrated his first Halloween, where he dressed as a chicken and attended a fun Halloween party with plenty of other adorably-garbed baby friends.

Party fowl--a chicken, a penguin, and a duck
Ready to "trick or treat"
Jones is still a super laid-back baby and goes with the flow on most occasions, but he's getting more opinionated when it comes to certain things.  He has gotten very independent when it comes to feeding/eating, so I must give him his own spoon to hold while I feed him or else he'll grab the one I'm using before it can get to his mouth.  Because of this, I try to feed him mostly foods that he can pick up himself!  I am still making some of his baby food--organic applesauce, mashed sweet potatoes/banana--but mostly, he's eating what we eat.  He still loves peas and pretty much all fruits, but chicken (and soy "chicken") are his favorite things--behind Trader Joe's Organic Animal Crackers!

Notice dog, Peach, lurking beneath the high chair...the only reason my kitchen floor is ever "clean."

We're still working on waving, he can do it and will on occasion, but not consistently yet.  He claps all the time--unprompted, to get our attention, or when he's excited.  His smile melts my heart, and he smiles all the time...he has a sweet dimple and adorable teeth!  The top 4 teeth are all in the process of coming in and he has 3 teeth on the bottom.

SC State Fair-wonderment at its best

His favorite toys are anything that he can shake or bang together to make noise--blocks, rattles, balls, anything.  He also loves to grab the entire box/bin/basket of toys that are nearby and dump it--and then play with the box.  Looks to be a cheap Christmas around our parts--Jones will be content with cardboard boxes :)

Jones channeling his old man persona--the boy loves a hat (and so does momma)

Our sweet boy is growing so fast--pulling up on furniture and wanting to stand (with our assistance) all the time!  He is babbling constantly now, and though he hasn't said it directly to him yet, he says "DaDa" pretty often.

And, just to embarrass him someday, I leave you with this picture of his "rooster hair" that he woke up with one day this week.
Look closely--there's a nice spike at the crown :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Word (kinda) for Wednesday


xford comma: "The 'Oxford comma' is an optional comma before the word 'and' at the end of a list:
We sell books, videos, and magazines.
It's known as the Oxford comma because it was traditionally used by printers, readers, and editors at Oxford University Press.  Not all writers and publishers use it, but it can clarify the meaning of a sentence when the items in a list are not single words:
These items are available in black and white, red and yellow, and blue and green."
definition via here

So, it's not so much a word, but an actual thing...something I personally believe in and use implicitly. 

their eponymous first album, image via here

Oxford Comma is also the name of a song by Vampire Weekend, a band that has been around for a hot minute, but to whom I just started listening.  I am really loving their sound, especially the song Horchata, from their new album, Contra--it has been stuck in my head for days.

So, do you use the Oxford comma?  Do you like Vampire Weekend?
XO, Happy Wednesday!

Daily Drop Cap by Darren Booth, for Jessica Hische

Friday, November 4, 2011

Like Crazy

I really want to see this film. Read a review here first.

It won the Sundance Grand Jury prize.

The raw innocence and giddy love scenes get me every time.

The State also picked up the LA Times review of it here

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Bars & Brick-Layin'

I will never be called a "baker," I fear.  I love to bake, and I try things often, but honestly, I can mess up slice-and-bake cookies and brownies from a box.  (And do. Often).  But, I got these right:
Pumpkin Bars with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
I tried this recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Bars with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting for Jones' class Halloween party.  I'm not vegan, but since kids under age 1 shouldn't have milk and eggs, I tried this recipe.  I took my time, followed the directions, and somehow these bars turned out perfect.  The frosting is super-sweet and thick, and balances nicely with the dense pumpkin-spice bar.

Doesn't it feel really good to follow steps and make something that turns out exactly how you hope?
Makes me think me of my new favorite song: Lost In My Mind by The Head and the Heart.

Sometimes you just need to do some "brick-layin'" to keep your "hands gettin' filled."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Anticipating Saturday

Do you have plans for Saturday yet? If you live in Columbia and you said no to that, then you'd better start planning-there is so much to do! And the Fall weather that crept in last night will make a perfect backdrop for anything you choose!

Here's what the Hill family has planned:
Wesley Memorial UMC Neighborhood Fall Festival begins at 11 AM. FREE to attend and there will be live music by the Blue Iguanas Bluegrass Band, who are not only good, but very generous (they play the St. Lawrence Place Oyster Roast fundraiser every year at a very reasonable price).  There is also bouncy houses, a pumpkin patch, a fire truck, BBQ, and more!  We will be picking out our family pumpkin with Jones.  My sister, mom, and I took my nephew Ben to this a couple years ago and it was fun.

image via here

Next, we hope to attend the first-ever Carolina Green Fair in Finlay Park.  The event is going to be huge!  Live entertainment, local vendors and exhibitors, all showing easy ways for you and your family to make more sustainable choices.  The Free Times has an awesome publication detailing the entertainment, exhibitors, and containing a map of the event.  We hope to hear Lunch Money, a fun local children's band that will go on stage at 3:15.  We'll also make sure to stop by and see our friends from KD's Treehouse, and maybe catch The Blue Dogs at 2:30 too.
Admission is $5, or free if you bring 4 incandescent light bulbs to recycle.

Saturday night the hubs and I will be venturing out all by ourselves for dinner to celebrate his birthday, (which is today--happy birthday, James!)  He has not made up his mind on where we're going yet, but the ideas I've heard so far include Hunter Gatherer and Motor Supply; I'll let you know where we end up!  Afterward, we're meeting some friends at our favorite "Peach Pit After Dark-esque" spot: NiteCaps.  Here's to an adult night out!  (The babe is spending the night at my parents' house).

image of Motor Supply via here
image of Hunter Gatherer via here

The Nickelodeon is showing some pretty crazy stuff this weekend, and the SC State Fair is here through Sunday too. 
So, for real, plan your weekend already! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Word for Wednesday


etulant: moved to impatient irritation over a trifling annoyance

As in: Bill Compton's description of his newly-made vampire, Jessica: "She's petulant, dangerous, and scared."

image via here

I heard this word last night while watching our newest Netflix guilty pleasure, True Blood.  James is a long-time sci-fi/vampire/zombie- lover, but I started watching this show very reluctantly...and now I'm hooked.  It's addictively funny and clever. 

Biding our time until the final season of Entourage is released, and the next season of Californication--my other two Netflix guilty pleasures.  What shows do you watch--any recommendations?

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Squash and Beer

After reading my October Real Simple magazine last weekend, I decided to try a recipe.  If you know me, you know that I love to cook, but I'm not very good at, when I saw that this recipe essentially has only 3 ingredients, I knew I could do it: Parmesan- Roasted Acorn Squash.

image via here

Last night I was eating some leftover squash and added some of my homemade bleu cheese dressing and some pine nuts, and it was practically a meal. Yum!

It also paired nicely with a Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale.  And a fire in the chiminea.

image via here

Fun family plans this weekend--an engagement party for my sweet brother-in-law Drew and his fiance, Kaley tonight, then birthday party at my in-laws house tomorrow night, and a baby shower for a dear friend on Sunday afternoon!

What are you up to this fine fall weekend?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Jones- 8 Months

The past month has been so fun, as Jones has started "scooting" (not quite crawling) and showing his sweet personality more and more...but it has also been a little rough because he has been sick a lot.  In the past 6 weeks Jones had had his first 3 illnesses--they definitely took their toll on our poor boy, and the whole household, as no one slept very well!  But, knock on wood, he is feeling better and I hope it is a long while before he is sick again.

Last month we took Jones to the Outerbanks to attend our friends', Heidi & Tom's, wedding, and they had their precious little boy there too, "LT."  We all loved seeing the boys meet for the first time, and getting to hang out in a beautiful house on the beach together for a few days.

Jones found his first crush in the OBX- 5 year old Jules!
chubby, naked, and bald--does it get any cuter?!
baby loves to travel
Sweet, amazing, boy...he is grabbing onto things and trying to pull-up...can't quite do it yet, but he may just bypass crawling altogether.  He is really good at entertaining himself these days--loves to talk to himself and play with blocks and rattle toys.  He loves when mommy sings (go figure!) and any music--he bounces in time and smiles.

Loving every second!
Happy Thursday!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Attention Creative Geniuses

So, I admit, occasionally on this blog I have mentioned that I work for a small non-profit called St. Lawrence Place (SLP). Heck, I may have even shamelessly promoted one or two of our special events in the past...but this time, it's not shameless, I promise! This is really cool, y'all!  And you can get a really cool prize if you help us out!

Just a reminder--SLP provides support services, life skills, and transitional housing for homeless families with children in Columbia, SC.

We are looking to re-brand, and as a first step, we are in search of a new logo!  You can see the details on our website here.

The prize package includes:
image via here
  • Dinner for 8 at your home from Pawley's Front Porch Food Truck!  (have you eaten from the Pawley's Food Truck before--it is amazing!)  I had a BLT a couple Saturdays ago and it was heaven...Fried Green Tomatoes, Pimento Cheese, lots of bacon...mmmm.
  • Spirits and soft beverages to accompany dinner.
  • Serving pieces painted by teens and kids living at St. Lawrence Place, compliments of Mad Platter.  Mad Platter is awesome--they help SLP with numerous fundraisers and events for the kids throughout the year--much love.
  • Community-wide recognition, as SLP re-brands using your new artwork as our logo!!  You'll be famous!
So, are you interested?!  Know someone who would be great at this? Please pass it along.  Submissions due October 7th.  See details here.

And, now, I'm hungry...Pawley's Food Truck will be at the All Local Farmer's Market tomorrow morning...I think I'm gonna try the Mahi Mahi Tacos this time...

Happy Friday!