Home Living

Life Down the Street

August 1, 2016
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Thanks to the help of my mother in law and some of the happiest movers I’ve ever met, Wilson and I have moved into our new home. Louise, thank you so much. You are a saint. 

As often noted, moving is one of the most stressful occasions you’ll experience in life, and this one was stressful, but not as much as our last one, where we packed up everything and moved across three states to a place we’d been to twice. #blessed #not

But moving is much like renovating a house — both are decisions you make because you conveniently forget just how mentally and physically taxing it is, glossing over the fact that, for all intents and purposes, you live like a complete crazy person for a matter of weeks, or months, or years, depending on the magnitude of said projects.

In our case, both the move and the renovation were relatively small in the grand scheme of things, thankfully so, but I did forget how annoying it is to be without things that keep your life going for weeks on end — like a washing machine, or a tv, or wireless.

We just got TV again after two weeks of being without, and here’s how that time lapse of no TV went:

Day 1: We are totally fine without TV. It’s so nice not having it, you know we turn that thing on for no reason sometimes.

Day 2: I really love having no tv, the peace and quiet is so soothing. I feel so relaxed.

Day 4: Let’s put on some music, I’ve got a really great indie playlist.

Day 6: Wilson, do you have any rap on your Spotify?

Day 9: Wilson, do we have a radio? Could you stream from your car?

Day 11: Birdie, why won’t you talk to me?

Day 12: Wait, what month is it? When is July 4th?

Day 14: Wilson, Birdie just responded to me!

You get the picture. I’d really love to think that I’m intellectually elevated enough that I don’t need to watch TV to be entertained, but I’ve been humbled by the realization that I’m like any other American — disappointingly and disgustingly addicted to television. If I watch Jeopardy, can I still be smart?

Anywho.

The house is coming along nicely — Wilson and I keep inviting people over so that we have a deadline to do things, otherwise we’d be living in squalor for an unacceptably long amount of time. This past weekend we hosted a BYOC party — bring your own chairs — because we don’t have any dining room chairs. #BYOC16 was a huge success, especially because one guest donated two chairs to our cause.

Here’s some sneak peeks of the living room and dining room — neither of which are completed, but progress is progress and it should be celebrated. Oh and also I haven’t posted in four weeks and am no longer considered a blogger. Which isn’t such a bad thing. 

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 My model brought her own props.

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I am really digging this little nook.

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 My new bowl from Cents and Sensibilities, a lovely antique and consignment store in Savannah.

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Recycled goodies from homes prior.

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Hide rug was on sale from Cotswold Marketplace in Charlotte.

When we moved in, one of the painters who was working on the upstairs asked me if it was a lion rug. No. 

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Dining room, modeled by Birdie.

That table was $250 from Craigslist, thanks to Wilson. You is kind, you is smart, you is important. 

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New sideboard from Clutter, a fantastic store in Savannah with a hodge podge of goodies just waiting for a new home. It’s the type of store that you start sneezing in immediately upon entering. Never trust any antique store if it doesn’t make you sneeze. 

Lamps were on sale from Number Four Eleven, another Savannah shop I’m obsessed with.

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I stole those leaves from a neighbor. Just some friendly pruning… Don’t mind me… 

So, what do you think? I think I need a drink. Stat. Who’s with me?

Home Living

House Update

June 28, 2016
on-the-dancefloor

Oh hello. It’s been a crazy four weeks since we last checked in. My conversations with Wilson now go like this:

Me: Wilson I got 10% off the sconces for the downstairs vanity.

Wilson: Awesome! How much were they?

Me: $300.

Wilson: No no no no. Anna you have to take those back.

Three weeks ago:

Me: I think brushed brass is going to be perfect for the master bath. I love it.

Wilson: Why can’t you just like chrome?

Me: Because I don’t.

Wilson: I’m getting very agitated.

Me: Why?

Wilson: Because you are so expensive.

A week later:

Me, on the way to work, calling Wilson: Wilson, what do you think if we wallpapered the dining room above the chair rail?

Wilson: What the hell? No. We already ordered the paint. Where are you getting these ideas from?

Me: My head.

Wilson: I’ve gotta call you back. You are so expensive.

And then, last night around 2:45 a.m.:

Me: WILSON! Did Craig [the contractor] call you back?

Wilson: zzzzzzzzzz

Me: WILSON!!!!!

Wilson: WHAT! WHAT’S WRONG?

Me: Did Craig call you back!?

Wilson: ANNA CALM DOWN. YES. GOSH .

As always, poor Wilson. Hehe. 

I’ve been the queen of decision making lately, which I’m quite proud of as that is not one of my strengths. Waffling for months over an infinitesimal detail, now that is my specialty. We’ve picked out almost everything — fixtures, tile, paint colors, etc. — for the remodel. I just can’t wait for everything to come together, because right now it looks like a royal mess. There is a saw horse (is that a thing? Am I making that up?)  where our bed should go, floor is missing from part of the hallway, oh and we JUST got walls. So we’ve got some work to do. And our original date of moving in July 1 has long gone out the window as I anticipated. We’ll be lucky if we get in here in a few weeks, let alone the end of the month. Oy.

Anywho, here’s a quick scroll down reno memory lane to get you up to speed on all the craziness that has been going on these past few weeks:

ugly-mirrors

Look! The ugly ass smoky mirrors are down from our master bathroom walls! The only problem is that they are sitting in our master bedroom. Note to self: sanitize that area where those mirrors are resting EXTREMELY WELL before moving in. Sick.

ugly-bathroom

The beginning of demo of the master bathroom. Goodbye nasty jacuzzi tub. No one will miss you.

nasty-toilet

THAT TOILET! Oy vey. Goodbye, so long, get the F outta my house.

guest-bathroom

Demo of guest bathroom. We moved the entrance wall quite a bit back so the bathroom will be smaller, but this way we can have two guest rooms. All about compromise.

guest-bedroom-wall

Initial construction of the wall that will make one oddly long room back into two guest bedrooms.

laundry-room

Before we demo’ed the laundry room. This tiny closet with room for only stackable washer dryer units will transform into a larger room with space for the washer and dryer to live happily side by side. Hallejuah. 

shower

Look! Beginnings of a master shower! This is Wilson’s piece de resistance with two shower heads. I’m a bit nervous he may never get out of the shower. Ever. And for those of you who know him well, you’ll know this is a legitimate concern. 

kitchen

And now moving downstairs…

The wall came down! There was this odd wall divider (that didn’t go all the way to the ceiling, strangely enough) on the jut out in the kitchen cabinets. Hims gone and I’m thrilled. And this is exactly the way the kitchen will look moving forward (or for as long as I can stand it) so get used to it people.

front-dining-room

The living room looking into the dining room — it’s truly amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do to a place. Like I said, this house had great bone structure initially, so she’s really coming along with some beautiful paint colors chosen by the ever-talented Addison Kon. More to come on those later… But in the meantime, check her stuff out. She’s fantastic.

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The dining room — we added that chair rail and painted the whole room — wall and trim — a creamy gray in semi-gloss. I’m obsessed. The chandelier is supposed to be hung later this week… It’s like Christmas in July…

dining-room

Pony tail game strong to quite strong.

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living-room

 The living room — nothing new in here but four can lights and new paint, and wow what a difference that made. I’m so excited to see how this space progresses.

And just because we’re in the midst of a semi-ridiculous renovation of our new house does not mean that Wilson and I have slowed our social pace down. Heavens no. Last weekend we went to a stunning wedding of some great friends and had a grand ol’ time:

on-the-dancefloor

dress / shoes

I scored this dress at a major major sale at The Poole Shop in Charlotte — if you are local, I’d highly recommend because they’ve got some really high-end pieces on uber sale. I’d never pay full price for this dress (it’s more than some people’s rent) but it was on sale on sale on sale.

At the wedding I was asked several times if I still write this blog, to which my response was, I don’t really know. Haha. I don’t have as much free time as I used to and often feel like the posts I do write are lackluster and uncreative — boooo — but I have to say, I was truly flattered that people even cared or remembered about dear ol’ SST. So, I’ll try to do better, and thank you to those who’ve asked where the hell I’ve been. Made me feel the warm and fuzzies. 

Home Living

And Just Like That…

May 24, 2016
home

We’re homeowners again. Woot!

Wilson and I have been working on an off-market sale of a gorgeous townhome on the same block as our current apartment for a few months now, and we just closed on the home last week.

Here’s the beauty in all of her little glory here:

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Isn’t she just the cutest?

Now of course all I have to show you are terrible cell phone pictures, but I promise I’ll do a better job of illustrating what a lovely home it is. She’s got beautiful bone structure. However, she needs some work. Don’t we all. 

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 Birdie and her lazy ass sit. 

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 Fashion by Wilson. 

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 The master. No we will not be leaving the purple walls. 

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 Look at that sweet little Bird. 

Wilson and I are starting a mini-renovation of the home this week that will last into July, which means it’ll probably extend into 2018. We all know how these things go. But we move in by July 1, which means I at least need some electricity and running water by then. After our last renovation, I really understood what the Jungle Book means with the whole Bare Necessities thing. Bear? Whatever you know what I mean. 

As far as the extent of the renovation, we’re gutting the two upstairs bathrooms and downstairs vanity, painting the house (besides the kitchen, don’t even get me started on that thing), putting up a wall to make one larger room into two smaller bedrooms, and redoing some of the light fixtures to give them a little refresh. Nowhere near the extent or stress — or gray hairs — of Dartmouth, but needless to say I’m sure I’ll be visiting the hairdresser more often to cover those that do appear. Noel get ready.

I’m excited to share this exciting, stressful, and rewarding journey with all 15 of my followers — writing is my therapy, as is a strong gin and tonic — but here’s the thing: I actually need your help. Sometimes my interior decor tastes stray to the tacky and I only realize this after it’s all done, so I need you to stop me if something looks awful. Ok? Ok. Good talk. 

I have a lot of mixed emotions about this project — mostly nerves about doing this again, but I am happy to be able to customize and decorate an actual home. I’ve loved living in our apartment, but I felt like I could only go so far with making it my own. Cheers to the many beers, tears and sneers this reno will inevitably cause. 

And it’s on to the next one…

How to Speak Southern

Mother’s Day Gifts for Under $100

May 3, 2016

This Sunday is a revered day on the holiday calendar — Mother’s Day. We should all tell our mothers every day how special they are to us (love you Mom!) but this day is particularly special so you have to do it up right for your forever #number1fan.

Here’s an array of items and prices to choose from to make sure your mum feels uber loved.

 

Mother's Day Gifts for Under $100

 

 

one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine

Also, number 1, 3 and 9 are all an extra 25% off  with the code GETSHOPPING. So what are you waiting for? Time to tell Ma just how fabulous she is.

Happy Tuesday!

How to Speak Southern

Easy Recipe: Parmesan Lemon Asparagus

April 14, 2016

This recipe is so easy I feel almost embarrassed sharing this, but I’m always surprised at the things that I share that resonate with people, so I figure I’ll put this out anyways. Parmesan Lemon Asparagus is a super easy mid-week side that you can whip up in a hurry and still feel fancy when you eat it. I’m all about some mid-week fanciness. With spring finally here and in full bloom, you can get fresh asparagus just about anywhere, too.

Parmesan Lemon Asparagus

1 bunch of fresh asparagus, washed and with the ends popped off

1 T of olive oil

1 tsp of kosher salt

1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper

1 whole fresh lemon — halve the lemon and remove the seeds, setting one half aside; slice the other half into four slices

4 T of grated Parmesan (none of the fake stuff please)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the bunch of asparagus and pop the ends off (very important, the ends of asparagus are gross and tough). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange on the foil.

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 Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, and Parmesan and toss to coat. Spread the asparagus in an even layer.

ingredients

asparagus 2

Squeeze reserved half of the lemon over the asparagus, and then arrange the four lemon slices on top. Pop in the oven and cook for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until the ends of the asparagus are slightly browned.

asparagus 3

Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!

finished product

Pairs very well with a bottle glass of Malbec.

Fashion and Beauty

Shopbop 25% Off Sale

April 5, 2016

Hi! Despite the heartbreaking loss of our beloved Tar Heels, Wilson and I are surviving. I’m surviving because I’m eating some particularly delicious oatmeal, Wilson is surviving by most likely having a nip or two before lunch. 

But do not despair fellow Tar Heel fans — Shopbop’s annual Friends and Family sale is here! 25% off almost everything with the promo code INTHEFAM.

Here’s some of my favorite things:

 

Shopbop Sale

 one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine / ten

There’s some really great stuff in this sale so poke around on your lunch break. You could find just what you need to brighten your spirits and your wardrobe.

How to Speak Southern

Let’s Catch Up

March 23, 2016
pool view

So it’s been a few weeks, hasn’t it? SST had some technical issues, and since I don’t know shit about the interworkings of the interweb things took awhile. My bad.

But we’re back now, everything’s good, and SST shouldn’t crash again anytime soon. Hopefully. 

Since it’s been a hot minute since we last spoke, I figured now is a good time to catch you up on my life. While I realize there are approximately five readers now that I’ve been offline for four weeks and hardly post anyways, just humor me. Yes Mom I’m talking to you. 

2016 has been a very kind year to the Jones family. Wilson and I have grown accustomed to Savannah, and have become quite fond of her quirks and idiosyncrasies. Because she does have many. 

This is my current situation, which has become another custom in our household (apologies for the crappy cell phone pics):

birdie in bed

Mother-daughter bonding time at its finest. As if Wilson and I weren’t already obsessed with this dog, our infatuation has taken on a new level of unhealthiness of late. Birdie is just a hop, skip and a week away from sleeping in our bed with her own Tempur-Pedic pillow.

half marathon

Wilson ran a 10k race recently and scored a personal record — he’s very speedy.

three of them

We also received a visit from my two most favorite people ever — my nieces. Here they are grilling Uncle Wilsie about the facts of life.

reecie

The funny thing about little people is that they rarely stop moving for a photo, and I often wonder how Anne Geddes got those babies to sit still for all of her photos, let alone wear flowers on their heads.

the edition

I went on an impromptu trip to Miami with some gal pals and we stayed at The Edition, which was uber swanky. This was one of the outdoor restaurants, which was entangled in a beautiful mess of bougainvillea.

la piagga2

This was taken on a leisurely afternoon at La Piaggia, which was a wonderful restaurant filled with chic people getting their Sunday Funday on. They were very serious about this activity. 

boats

I visited my Mom and Grandmother in Orange Beach, Alabama — yes Alabama has a beach, and a beautiful one at that — and this was one of the sunsets.

marg

Wilson and I have taken up a new hobby — drinking homemade margaritas. Recipe to come soon.

savannah morning

Birdie and I went on a sunrise tour of Savannah a few weeks ago and were very impressed with what we saw.

hi fans

Birdie would like to let all of her fans know that she misses them and is going to make me post pictures of her more often.

Happy Wednesday!

Home Living

Four Elements of the Perfect Vignette

February 12, 2016
tea set

If you’ve been with me for awhile now here on SST you are well versed in my love for organizing. Something about it gives me an almost palpable sense of satisfaction, and once you start, you can’t stop. Or I can’t, anyway. 

Organizing comes in handy especially when creating the perfect vignette. As a small collection of items arranged together, a vignette accomplishes a few things: 1) transforms a flat surface into something visually appealing; 2) allows you to display many different odds and ends that you’ve acquired over the years; and finally 3) offers endless opportunities to arrange, rearrange, and then arrange again, letting your inner OCD freak run wild with reckless abandon.

Vignettes are also super trendy right now, and everybody is droning on and on about a damn vignette. So we should too.

Here are my key elements to create the perfect vignette:

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 1. Balance. A vignette doesn’t need to be symmetrical — although I always gravitate towards symmetry in design — but the items that make up the vignette need to be cohesive. Cohesiveness makes for a beautiful arrangement/magazine-ready look. Here the items on the silver tray (yes Mom I know that needs to be polished) are arranged neatly between the two glass hurricanes, which happily flank the two hummingbird prints above. All items in this vignette sing the same song. I think they are singing a particularly invigorating rendition of Benny and the Jets.

tea set

 2. Levels. Imagine your vignette is a stadium and that each item needs to be able to see out (or in this case, be seen) from all levels, giving each piece the attention it’s due. Arrange the tallest/largest items in the back,and then layer in smaller items towards the front in an arrangement that creates harmony. Yes items can be harmonious. Work with me here. 

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3. Grouping. Choose a variety of different items and group together. Seems overly simplistic, but not all items should go together. Choose the ones that complement each other without one hogging all of the attention. Here we have an antler shed Wilson found, some magazines, a plate, a candle, some flowers and a large fake shell. I fumbled around with them for a bit until I arrived at an arrangement that suited me.

side table

 4. Stacking. Vignettes are all about the stack. Sorry the photo is a tad crooked. Stacking things on top of one another is one of my favorite ways to organize shit together, and it’s also a great way to create a tasteful vignette.

Et voilà. Now I know all of you just cannot wait to get home to use my extraordinarily useful advice in creating your very own vignettes, but first thing’s first: pour yourself a glass of wine. Interior design is always better with wine.

Actually, isn’t everything?

How to Speak Southern

A Great Hostess Gift — Soberdough

February 2, 2016
bread 1

This past weekend I did some pantry cleaning, which mostly means that I rummaged around in our tightly packed pantry, rearranged some boxes of crackers and bags of sugar, and threw away some old food. Our pantry was host to a slew of food neither Wilson nor I ever planned on actually eating, but just kept around in the event of a nuclear fall out. Like the can of chicken and rice soup Wilson and I have owned since before we were married. Never once were we actually going to pull out that can of soup and say, yes, I cannot wait to eat this for dinner! I’ve been craving this all day! No. Instead, we keep things like this particular can of soup because it seems like an adult thing to do, like using real dish towels and washing your wine glasses by hand. The end result of said pantry cleaning was achieving about three more square inches of storage and stacking things neatly on top of one another with their labels towards the front. Hello I’m  OCD and would be an excellent grocery store stock gal. 

Anywho, upon venturing into the back depths of the pantry — does this scare anyone else? like something could be living back there that’s going to grab my hand? — I discovered this little bag of goodness:

Rosemary2_grande

via

Behold this bag of Soberdough, the easiest, most delicious beer bread that comes in a bag. And it’s only $7.95. I received this as a thank you gift a few months ago and saved it for a time when I’d entertain. Seeing as I’m a shitty hostess and hardly ever entertain, this bag sat at the back of my pantry for months until last Sunday. This bread mix was also given with a neat little box mix for sea salt biscuits, but I read those directions and it involved a rolling pin so I decided I’d wait to make that when I actually own a rolling pin. I looked at the directions for this mix and there were only three, none of which involved a rolling pin or any kneading. Now we’re talking. 

Upon further investigation I discovered Soberdough is an awesome small biz started by an entrepreneurial mother-son duo. The bag comes with all of the dry ingredients needed to make the dough — all you have to add is a full bottle of beer to the mix, combine with your hands, and then scoop the dough into a baking pan. Bake that puppy at 375 degrees for 45 minutes and out comes the perfect loaf of delicious bread. I had the Rosemary mix, which was magnificent, especially when warm.

Wilson and I nibbled on this for a few days until Wilson decided he was “no-carb” for the rest of the week so I brought it in to work for my coworkers to enjoy (no I’m not normally that nice) and they gobbled it up too.

All in all, this bread mix is a huge hit and I’d highly recommend as a hostess gift, birthday gift, or if you just want some bread for yourself dammit, buy Soberdough. You won’t regret it.

Fashion and Beauty

My Cold Weather Kit

January 22, 2016

I really despise cold weather, I really do. Living in Savannah with its crazy hot temperatures and humidity so dense you could slice a piece of it and serve it for dessert doesn’t truly bother me. I’d much prefer extreme heat to extreme cold (except when I’m sleeping) and this current cold snap isn’t doing me a bit of good.

Besides it being cold as shit, the freezing temps really do a number on my skin. I have naturally dry skin and hair and it seems nothing I do ever really makes a big difference, but I have picked up a few tricks (below!) over the years to help. I suppose you could say I’m like a lizard, except with highlights. Dry hands warm heart? 

 

Cold Weather Kit

 

 one / two / three / four / five

This Beautycounter cleansing balm is ‘spensive, but awesome. A very moisturizing way to remove makeup without the chemicals.

As far as hand creams go, I have not found a single one that stays on after washing your hands. As a bit of a germophobe I wash my hands frequently, which does not bode well for cracking. Ow. But I do love this Burt’s Bees hand cream, which I wrote about some time ago. Even though it’s a pricey $13, I’m still working on the same tube from a few years ago, so it is well worth the money.

Aquaphor is a dream for dry people such as myself. I love this lip balm (and SPF 30!) and use the regular Aquaphor often. I apply it on my cuticles and lips, and some times I rub it on my arms too.

I am obsessed with this Fresh Sugar Lip Serum. I got a sample of it with a recent makeup purchase and now it’s the first thing I reach for when I get out of the shower. And all you need is a drop — it’s thick and moisturizing without being obnoxious and tasting gross. It is eye-rolling expensive ($36) so I haven’t purchased it yet, but am milking my sample for all its worth and plan on buying it when the sample is done.

And I’ve blabbed on and on about this Mario Badescu cream a billion times, but if you have dry skin on your face, this is your answer. Get involved. 

People, it’s cold. Stay inside, put this stuff on you so you won’t be dry, and then have some wine. Go forth and prosper.