Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nice Closet

Well, maybe we should call this a dressing room. A place for everything and everything in it's place!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Shack--any readers out there?

Have any of you heard of THE SHACK?

I've just started reading it. Now, don't spoil it for me if you've already read it, but I am curious as to your thoughts! Can you give me any insights without giving it all away?

I have completed the book and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It is a great work of fiction based on one man's spiritual journey.  I found it to be heartwarming and uplifting.  I definitely recommend it for those with (for lack of a better phrase) spiritual maturity.  I came away being reminded of just how powerful God's love is.  His love is humbling.     

Our book club reviewed The Shack as well.  I speak for all of them in saying that they all found it to be a winner.  If you have the time to view the author on YouTube, I highly recommend it.  Do this after you read the book.   Using the link above, start with part 4 (about 4 minutes into it) and work your way through the remaining clips (12 I think).  You will understand so many more subtleties of the book after hearing his story.   

One could truly spend hours on end discussing this book.  I'd enjoy doing just that, although my time doesn't permit me to do so.  If you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to discuss them.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Kitchen Part 1

Have I mentioned that I am in the process of completely remodeling a kitchen?

If you go back to two of my earlier post, you can see a sampling of my inspiration photos. Just click on "Lovely Kitchens" in my Lables section to the left.  

Here are a few more...  

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Ikea Experience and Ballard's Backroom

Why did I go to IKEA?
Well, I've always heard about the store on design shows, etc. I've flipped through the catalog a number of times. Basically, I was just curious and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Oh, gee! I had no idea!

I knew that the store covered several acres. I didn't know I'd need a map to get around! Glad I picked one up!   There are arrows pointing you in the direction to walk.  I felt as though If I wanted to go through the store in the opposite direction, I'd be called out--or run over by the side-ways rolling carts and hundreds of shoppers!
This store is simply overwhelming! It is TOO big to just "run in and take a look around". I started at the cafe. The food was actually half decent. (I say this still reeling from the food at Blackberry Farm. Crazy isn't it?) I knew from the size of the building, I needed some sort of nourishment. I had a vegetarian roll up (bean sprout, red peppers, in a flower tortilla) , some sort of Swiss chocolate covered almond toffee cake, and sparkling fruit juice.  Maybe $6?

If you are into sleek, funky, contemporary, not to mention somewhat temporary furniture--I suppose it's ok. It's just not for me. Maybe I should give it a second chance. One should visit first thing on a weekday morning.  IKEA on a Satruday--NOT a good idea.    
One more note:  I didn't take these pictures.  They are all Google.  How in the world could I take pictures?  I was too busy trying to remember where I parked and what side of the elevator do I get off of!  Ha!  If you want something from IKEA, use the catalog and pay the shipping.  

On a much more relaxing note, Ballard's  Backroom was visually delightful.  It was fun like their catalog.  I would say that they need more lighting.  It is a bit warehouse like.  

I was hoping that the majority of the store would be bargains galore.  Nope, most were full catalog price.  (Oddly, the website says that Ballard's Backroom does not sell catalog items.  Uh, what was all of that stuff then?)  They did have 15-25% off the last marked price.    

There were a couple of sections that were 75% off.   It was mainly monogramed items that had been returned.  Why is it that we think we may just luck up on our own monogram or that of someone we know in a pile of "mess-ups"?  

I do so wish that I had more time to just look around.  There are so many amazing shops that I didn't get to see.  I am going back!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shopping in Atlanta

I need your help folks!  I'm shopping in Atlanta this weekend--yipee!

I have a limited amount of time to make the rounds, so I want your advice.  If possible, I'd like for you to focus on the north half of the perimeter. When I'm going back with more time, we can focus on the other areas.  

So, what to you think--Ikea?  Ballard Designs Outlet--Ballard's Backroom, Mrs. Howard?  What are your top five "must -shop" stops?  You know, I'm always up for eye candy and better yet, a bargain!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Few Blackberry Pictures

(Above, the Farm House-our place, and The Barn--actually a dining room and a 125,000 bottle wine cellar!)

O.K., imagine this:  there's 4200 acres to enjoy, divided by 88 guest=so that's each of us individually having 47 acres of privacy!  How could you not relax and enjoy yourself?
Theses were taken by a member of our party--and party it was!

This is a view on the edge of the garden. If you so desired, a picnic could be delivered here--or anywhere on the property for that matter.   We never had a meal in the garden, but we did have a "tomato tasting", sampling some delicious heirloom varieties.  

Ahh, the farmhouse that we called home.  It was just delightful.  The structure is new, but made to look authentic to the region.  I thought it was almost perfect.  (My one complaint:  Do you really need 9 (yes, 9) televisions for a three bedroom farmhouse?  I don't think so.  I had actually read that in the earlier days of B.F., one must request a telephone or television.)  I shouldn't complain at all--the accomodations were great.  More on the interiors later! 

Did I mention just how delicious the food was? Here is a picture from our casual lunch. This is a BBQ in a mason jar. Isn't it cute? What I'll have to show you later was the tremendous spread that accompanied this little delight. Oh, the food was excellent!
So, what do you think so far?  Have any of you been?  Would you want to go?  You know, most of us Southern girls are "a little bit country"!  Leave me a comment and let me know what you'd like for me to tell you about the trip.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blackberry Bliss!

We had a marvelous time at Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN.  Our overall score, "5 stars".  

I thought it would be so easy to "review" the place, but it's not.  Imagine trying to critique a visit with a friend at their country home.  It feels strange to "judge".  We made friends with the people and the place.  We felt right at home!

The entire experience was just great.  The food was delicious, the acomodations sublime, and the service excellent.  

I have not downloaded my pictures yet.  I took so many, I'm afraid I'll overload the computer!  I'll post them a.s.a.p.  In the mean time, enjoy the pictures from the website.  

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Off to The Farm!

I've got to finnish packing, but I wanted to give you a few more glimpses of what's in store for us at Blackberry Farm.  

This is the new Farmhouse--our "home away from home" during our stay.   I'll be sure to take many photographs while I'm gone.  I want to give you all a visual review when I return.  

 I hope you all have a peaceful, relaxing and wonderful weekend! 

Goodness Gracious!

Gracious Style features some absolutely lovely monogramed dinnerware.   Also the pattern called Si Kiang is simply beautiful.  Who wouldn't just love this monogramed stemware?  Now, their prices aren't TJMaxx or Homegoods, but the sale prices aren't that bad.  We can be inspired though, can't we?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Anticipation!

O.K. folks, the countdown is on!  I'll be at Blackberry Farm before you know it.  

Don't you just relax simply by looking at this photograph?  Now what do I want to do while I'm there?  Eat, that's a given.  Spa, that's a given.  What about sporting clays and fly fishing? I want to get that hot and dirty or do I just want to relax?  

Here is a picture of the dining room in the main house.  From my understanding, you may dine here--family style for breakfast and lunch, or at The Barn-more like a restaurant (usually dinner).  I'm being told to fast for days before I go--HA!   The food is supposed to be EXCELLENT.  I believe that they organically grow most of the produce consumed there as well. 
I'm almost as excited by the interior design as I am about the food.  Did you know a design firm was created to cater to the resort?  You guessed it, Blackberry Design!  

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Latest Mad Men Episode

Any thoughts on the most recent episode?  
I've got an opinion and want to hear yours...

The Wedding

The weekend wedding was just lovely. I was surprised at how much I liked the intimacy of it all.  I wish I could describe to you just how sweet it really was.  The fact that it was so small allowed people the freedom to give numerous heart-felt toast at the luncheon reception.  I think there may have been a total of 65 people in attendance.  

My recommendation for all of you singles out there:  Go small for the wedding AND reception.  A few weeks later you can have a BIG PARTY.  

I think it just a shame that people focus so much on the WEDDING and not the MARRIAGE.  If people only thought about the marriage half as much as they do the color of the bridesmaids dresses and the punch--there might be happier couples all around!  (Don't get me wrong, I love all the fluff--the china, the silver, the flowers--but marriage is something you just don't mess around with.)

Cheers to all of you celebrating marital bliss.  Our friend Europafox just had an anniversary as did The Rauths.  Love is patient.  Love is kind...

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Wedding Weekend

This weekend we have a wonderful family wedding to attend.  I hope their marriage will be all the happy couple wishes!  It will be small and delightfully Southern!  (Photograph from the

I know that some of you are rather interested in weddings--and Southern one's in particular.  If you'd like, here's a link to a website highlighting absolutely beautiful weddings
The photography and creativity is amazing! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Taking Care of Yourself

Since I will be eating to my stomach's content on my trip to Blackberry Farm, I started thinking of my overall health.  This trip will be quite active--the horses, the tennis, the bike rides, etc.  At the same time, we will be sedentary as well--talking, talking, talking, sun rises, sun sets, star gazing, bond fires.  All this to say, we need to be aware of our health.  God only gave us one body, and we need to take care of it.  

For about a year now, I have tried to minimize my intake of high fructose corn syrup--which is in about everything you can imagine!  In addition to the "hfcs", I am trying to avoid any enriched flour.  I can't say I've given up sugar.  You know you need that for our Southern sweet tea and my coffee!

You may have heard of the book YOU:  THE OWNER'S MANUAL.  Well, the two main doctors are the authors of the book as well as primary contributors to the website  It's a fun, informative website if you haven't ever visited, check it out.  

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Wonderful Adventure Ahead

A "staycation", give me a break.
I'll have the real thing!

I will be having a little rest and relaxation at Blackberry Farm in the near future.  I am really looking forward to it.  Several of my dear girlfriends and I will be riding, fly fishing, the spa, and then seriously dining!  We are all so excited.  I'll take all of you "blog buddies" in spirit. Hopefully I can get some good photographs to share upon my return.  For the time being, you can all help me anticipate the big fun! 

Everything I have heard is that most everything is perfect at this resort.  Have any of you been and if so, what do you think?  Let me know your pros and cons.  Leave me a comment or email.