Friday, October 24, 2014

Family Photos

Last Saturday morning the whole family met up at a local park to take some pics. Our photographer Chris did an awesome job--thank you friend!






RD Style sweater (here) | Denizen from Levi's pull-on jeans (similar) | Merona scarf (similar) | Nine West booties (similar)



Can't believe it's been a whole year since our last session. Time flies!

Happy weekend, friends :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Miscellany {Home Improvement + Restaurant Review}


1. I really like blogging, promise.
 
2. So why'd I go off the grid for the better part of a month? Beats me. Actually no, that's not true--there's a very big reason why. (NO, not pregnant.) Basically during the month of September, I went through the funk to end all funks.
 
The catalyst? Boo Bear started mother's day out, meaning both my babies are both in school on the same two days every week. For the first time in five years, I have 11 total hours per week that are entirely my own. It's taken me a few weeks to get used to the quiet; being alone with my own thoughts; that vaguely empty, useless feeling.
 
I'm better now :)
 
3. First thing that helped me feel better: church. We love our church, and I have needed and appreciated the support I've gotten from my church family so much this past month. I love our hard-working staff; I love sitting next to my husband during Sunday school; I love being part of the preschool moms' group; I love helping my choir babies learn songs and motions for their fall musical; and I love worshipping with my choir family. We're so blessed to have such an amazing church home!
 
4. Second thing that has helped me feel better: fall break. I had both kiddos home with me all last week, and it was delicious. We slept in, ran errands, took Little Foot on a "big girl" shopping trip (complete with her first visit to a dressing room), turned their closets over from summer to winter, went to the Zoo, got our flu shots... Just kind of finished the last of the "settling in" from moving into the new house and starting school. I feel so much more prepared to send them off to school this week.
 
Nearly 3,000 animals at the Memphis Zoo; Little Foot wants a picture of this flower.
 
5. Third thing that has helped me feel better: home improvement projects. I painted Little Foot's room pink the day after we moved in; next on my list was the downstairs half bath. Here's how it looked when we first moved in:
 
 
Problem #1: Just outside the frame is the left wall, which was painted blood red. (You can just see a sliver of it at the very top of the photo.) So that had to go. Oh yeah, problem #2: the walls are coated in semi-gloss paint, meaning they had to be sanded before being repainted, otherwise the new paint would slide right off. Between sanding, taping, priming and painting, it took me about six hours over the course of two days. P.S. Every wall in the house is covered in semi-gloss paint.
 
End of Day #1. Color is Herbal Wash (SW 7739) cut to 50%, eggshell finish.
 
Done! I'm going for cleaner, more contemporary look in the main rooms, but I gave myself permission to go a little knick-knacky in small areas (e.g. half-bath, laundry room). These walls are covered with family photos and wedding mementos...love!
 
The other big project we tackled: finding a storage unit for my books and photo albums. Our new house is a bit lacking in built-in storage, so we figured we'd just buy a bookcase. Yeah, easier said than done. The main problem is my photos albums are 13-3/4" tall; the shelf height for most standard bookcases is 8"-12". After spending two weekends scouring every furniture store in Shelby Co. and coming up empty, we happened upon two discarded bookcases at the end of a neighbors' driveway. Now I'm not normally one to dumpster dive, but these were clean, solid-wood beauties with shelf heights of 16 inches. There was no way they weren't coming home with us!
 
Sweet hubby removing the old hardware and plastic base. My, he's handy!
 
After two days spent cleaning, sanding and painting, this is what we ended up with:
 
Paint color is Valspar's "Fired Earth" (6011-1). Perfection! (Side note: Each album holds 204 photos; I just started my thirty-fifth album. That's like 7,000 photos, dude.
 
Which brings me to my next project: painting the kitchen. I've lived with these glossy, light-yellow walls long enough--time to do something about them! After staring at paint swatches for days, I finally got brave and tested out two of my favorites.
 
On the left is Nantucket Dune (SW 7527); on the right is Urban Putty (SW 7532); both are cut to 50%. Notice the glare from the spotlight on the wall. That's shiny, dude.
 
And the winner is...Urban Putty! Can't wait to post pics after I'm done :)
 

5. Fourth (and final) thing that has helped me feel better: lunches with girlfriends! One hazard of the whole SAHM thing is that I'm rarely afforded a peaceful meal with adults, so I've really enjoyed spending time with friends on my "off days." Still kind of getting used to mid-day adult conversation, but I think my skills are improving :)
 
One of my favorite recent catch-up lunches: South of Beale with my girl Jessica!
 




We started off with drinks (Diet Coke for me, iced tea for her) and a bowl of their complimentary popcorn.

Dusted with just a touch of smoky/sweet seasoning, I personally found it a bit stale. But hey, it was free right?

Lunch was dynamite: grilled salmon with maple bacon braised Brussels sprouts.

While not quite as outstanding as the Brussels sprouts at Iris (the maple flavor was a bit lacking), these little green guys nonetheless confirmed that my love affair with all things "sprout" is here to stay.

Bottom line: Would I eat there again? In a South Main minute :)

South of Beale
361 S Main St
Memphis, TN 38103

South of Beale on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 11, 2014

POTO

One night last weekend my hubby and I snuck away for a rare evening out. Boo Bear, as per usual, got a little miffed once he realized that he wasn't invited. Sorry boo boo--mommy and daddy do get to have some alone time occasionally lol.
 

Once downtown we met up with this ridiculously good-looking couple.


(And took another photo of ourselves minus the clingy toddler.)

Loft dress (similar) | BR jacket (similar) | Simply Vera Vera Wang tights (similar) | Steve Madden wedges (similar)

After settling into our seats at The Majestic, we got crackin' on some appetizers.

Crispy crab cakes (left) and spinach and artichoke dip (right), Lord Almighty were they both fabulous.

My entrée was nothing to write home about, but dessert...now that was tah DIE for.

Behold the Majestic's signature dessert glasses. Your options (left to right): chocolate mousse, tiramisu, key lime pie, lemon cheesecake, strawberry shortcake and carrot cake. You can't go wrong, really--they're all wonderful.

After we'd sufficiently stuffed ourselves, we toddled on over to The Orpheum where The Phantom of the Opera was playing. POTO has always been one of my favorite shows, and I was so excited to finally see it with my sweetheart!


Okay so I gotta be honest...this was probably the weakest production of Phantom I'd ever seen. The actor portraying the title character was rather leaden in the angry/emotional scenes (think Russell Crowe in Les Mis), and they'd made some changes to the set that I didn't quite agree with. On a positive note, the actress portraying Christine had one of the loveliest soprano voices I'd ever heard.

Guess we'll just have to see the real thing on Broadway one day...right honey? ;)


Still such a fun night, been humming my favorite POTO tunes all week long! Hoping you're enjoying this deliciously drizzly fall evening as much as I am :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wiles-Smith Drug Store

Today, Memphis is losing (half of) an institution: Wiles-Smith Drug Store.


In business since 1944, this independently-owned pharmacy is currently run by Charlie Smith. Mr. Smith is retiring soon, and so after today Memphians will have to go elsewhere to get their prescriptions filled.


Happily, the adjoining soda fountain and lunch counter will remain open for another month or two. I think it's about time for a chocolate milkshake, don't you?



Notice the gentleman outside removing the painted window sign (which I assume referenced their pharmacy services). While I was at the counter, he carefully painted on a new sign promoting their still-open lunch counter.


Can I just say how much fun I had on this particular food adventure? For starters, I struck up a conversation with a total stranger sitting next to me. A recently-graduated music major, she shared with me all about trying to "make it" in the local music scene while I, in turn, yammered on about minoring in voice in college, singing in church, etc. It's like, how serendipitous is it that two 20-something music geeks would be sitting next to each other at a 70-year-old soda fountain in Midtown?

I also had the pleasure of running into a precious friend with whom I attend church. She was treating her family to lunch, and told me all about how she'd been coming here since before even Mr. Smith was co-owner--when it was just "Wiles Drugstore."

Just a classic Memphis moment, running into friends and strangers and bonding over good food. Speaking of which--here's our milkshake!

Served old-school in a metal cup, love it :)



The milkshake was scrumptious of course, but today I feel like the food isn't really the point. Today is about appreciating a by-gone era, about taking time to spotlight a real piece of Memphis history. By this time I finished my shake (12:15), the lunch area was crawling with people: young, old, businessmen, women with babies, all taking a moment to pay homage to a place that's been around since FDR was in office.

Mr. Smith himself, ringing up my order. Such a sweet man, obviously touched and a bit emotional from the outpouring of community support.

Bottom line: Would I eat here again? Sadly that won't be possible. But I urge every person reading this to please stop by soon and say goodbye to this humble--yet iconic--bit of Memphis history. I promise you won't regret it!

Wiles-Smith Drug Store
1635 Union Ave
Memphis, TN 38104

Wiles-Smith Drug Store on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Woman's Exchange Tea Room

Pardon the extended absence; internet's been down. Glad to be back blogging!
 
Last week I met my friend Laura for lunch at the Woman's Exchange tea room. Confession #1: Before that day I'd never heard of, seen or eaten at the Woman's Exchange. (Bad Memphian, bad!) Confession #2: Both Laura and I were child-free for the afternoon, so we were about twelve different kinds of giddy.
 
Located on Racine Street between Poplar and Walnut Grove, the Woman's Exchange is a rather unassuming little building on the outside...
 

But inside it's like you've died and gone to hand-smocked, home-made, weekend-at-grandma's heaven. Sweet volunteers in blue monogrammed aprons flutter around everywhere--clearing plates in the tea room, helping customers locate that perfect "something" in the infant and children's clothing section, and assisting customers with whatever else they might need.



After placing our orders (salad plate for me, vegetable plate for Laura), we settled into our seats and admired the action around us. About four minutes later (not even kidding, y'all--these women are amazing at what they do), our lunches arrived.

Half of my plate consisted of some of the ripest, sweetest fruit I'd ever tasted. The chicken salad tasted just like grandma's, the pimento cheese sandwiches were great (and I'm not generally a pimento cheese fan), and even the Jell-O salad rocked. It was like the 1950s on a plate--totally scrumptious.

My iced raspberry tea was delicious, too--didn't even need sweetener!

Laura's plate smelled heavenly. I traded my deviled egg for her cornbread, and I've got to say it was about the best dang cornbread I've ever eaten.

Peach cobbler for dessert. Oh Lordy, the peach cobbler. Even though it was a bit soupier than I was expecting, the crust was still crisp (how did they do that? how??) and the taste was just killer. A great finish to a wonderful meal.

Now for some of my favorite non-food-related bits...

These sweet volunteers are singing "Happy Birthday" to a 95-year-old woman who was being treated to lunch by her daughter (in green). It was precious to watch!

Their bright and airy sun room (filled to capacity when we arrived, dangit) would be about the world's most perfect bridal tea location.

After a lengthy gab fest in which Laura and I discovered that we're kindred spirits on so many levels, we stopped by the children's clothing section for a quick browse.



We also checked out their new gallery, featuring pieces from a variety of local artists.



I fell in love with this sheep painting. Gorgeous in person!

They also had this binder on a center table which included information on every artist featured in the gallery. Such a neat, personal touch!


The Woman's Exchange is open 10:00AM-4:00PM, Monday through Friday. From October to December, they're also open Saturdays from 10:00AM-2:00PM.

Bottom line: Would I eat there again? Absolutely. World's best "weekday lunch with a girlfriend" spot, found!

Woman's Exchange Tea Room
88 Racine
Memphis, TN 38111

Woman's Exchange Tea Room on Urbanspoon