I'm always on the prowl for home décor inspiration. Since I'm moving house this weekend, I finally have a valid reason to consider some new purchases. This mash up is a bit Palm Beach and a bit Austin. Though too eclectic for one room, dispersed throughout the house it just might do.
I picked up "White Girl Problems" because I thought it would be a cheeky read. Initially though I found it even too vapid for me. Yes, I do realize that's the point. After taking a hiatus from the book, I realized I had to give it another go. I actually thoroughly enjoyed it when I gave it a second chance. I appreciated it for what it was, a lighthearted tip toe through life via the lens of a privileged white girl. Perhaps you have to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate Babe Walker's humor.
Have you read "White Girl Problems"? If so, what did you think? Do tell!
My next pick for Blogger Book Club is my idea of the quintessential summer read, "I Take You" by Eliza Kennedy. I'm trying not devour it, as it's a story line I quite want to savor.
"Meet Lily Wilder: New Yorker, lawyer extraordinaire, blushing bride. And totally incapable of being faithful to one man.Lily’s fiancé Will is a brilliant, handsome archaeologist. Lily is sassy, impulsive, fond of a good drink (or five) and has no business getting married. Lily likes Will, but does she love him? Will loves Lily, but does he know her? As the wedding approaches, Lily’s nights—and mornings, and afternoons—of booze, laughter and questionable decisions become a growing reminder that the happiest day of her life might turn out to be her worst mistake yet. Unapologetically sexy with the ribald humor of Bridesmaids, this joyously provocative debut introduces a self-assured protagonist you won’t soon forget."
As always you'll have two full months to read "I Take You", then we'll discuss on August 31st. Use the hashtag #bloggerbookclub if you're reading along.
Aside from the atrocious heat and the cluster you know what of the TV festival, the time we spent actually exploring a bit of Austin was pretty sublime. We ended up getting up close an personal with the South Congress neighborhood. My friend booked our hotel just off of South Congress, which was the ideal neighborhood, aside from the fact that our first few days in Austin were spent trekking across the river for all of the TV festival hoopla.
THE HIGHLIGHT REEL
GourdoughsOur second night in Austin happened to coincide with national donut day, so we strolled over to Gordough's for literally THE best donut I have ever had in my life. Picture this: a maple glazed donut toped with bacon. Yes, bacon. They have multiple locations, but we hit up their airstream off South Congress. Apparently at their downtown location they serve fried chicken and creamed corn atop your donut along with variety of other INSANE (in the very best of ways) flavor combinations.
Casey's SnowballsThe sweltering Austin heat necessitated a snow cone break while strolling on South Congress. I obviously had to go with the Cotton Candy flavored snow cone. But I kept intending to venture back to try something more novel from their vast array of options.
Jo's CoffeeTheir iced turbo coffee is TDF. Plus they have an Instagram worthy mural and live music on the regular. Oh and you can smoke there. They actually sell cigarettes there. Does anyone else not find that odd? I forgot to mention that Austin is apparently a smokers paradise. Jo's Coffee, I love you so much!
The Driskill Hotel Multiple sources said this was the place to hit up for a nightcap. Do not listen to these sources as the hotel bar was no where I'd want to be for a drink anytime of day or night. But the café was quite charming for brunch, what with it's old school southern décor and ambience. Plus their omelet was quite palatable.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar Along with my donut from Gordough's, my burger from Hopdoddy's was one of my culinary highlights while in Austin. I really dug this place.
South Congress Café Multiple sources assured me this was the place to brunch on South Congress. I was just not impressed. Perhaps I ordered wrong. I went the omelet route, as I tend to do. Their carrot cake French toast was probably beyond amazing.
Guero's Taco Bar Y'all, I was really disappointed in this place. I wanted authentic "Tex Mex" while in Austin. So I asked around and many sources seemed to concur that this was available everywhere. Guero's was conveniently located on South Congress, was packed every time we walked by, so it seemed like an obvious choice. To be honest I think we might have fared better at a food truck. The tacos (their specialty) were lackluster and the margaritas were ho-hum at best. I mentioned this to a friend who had also visited Austin for the first time earlier in the year and apparently she had a similar experience. I'm just so perplexed as to what Tex Mex actually entails. Because the straight up Mexican food we have here in Washington is superb, and we're about as far away from the Mexican border as possible.
Aside from not having write home worthy Tex Mex, I was also rather disappointed to leave Austin without having their BBQ. Franklin's was the place apparently. But it requires a lengthy wait and a car. As we didn't have our own ride or an abundance of time, Franklin's not to be had. Oh and then there was the fact that my friend is a vegetarian, so obviously BBQ was of zero importance to her. Upon my return to Washington, lo and behold I found out there was a Franklin's outpost at the airport. I suppose all this means I still have reasons to venture back to Austin. Hopefully this return trip will occur sooner rather than later.
June's installment of "Behind the Scenes" highlights Natasha of A Squad Bake Shop in Savannah, GA. Natasha and I met way back in 7th grade in Washington State. We were classmates through all of middle school and high school. Cut to 7ish years ago and it turns out that unbeknownst to either of us we both ended up moving to Savannah, GA. A mutual friend in Savannah realized that we were both from the same part of Washington State and the rest is history. We reconnected across the country from where we first met. Such a small world moment.
Natasha opened A Squad Bake Shop in 2014. They specialize in wedding cakes and fine desserts focusing on everything local and lovely.
Collects Memories. I live in a 1000 square foot home with my husband, two sons, two dogs and almost no closet space. There is barely enough room for our dishes, let alone a shelf of tchotchkes, plus I hate dusting.
Admires HUSTLE. I have been a small business owner twice over in Savannah, GA. I respect and admire anyone who can earn their living on their own terms.
Daydreams Baking apprenticeship in the French countryside.
Guilty Pleasures Pizza, but like, good pizza, ya know? I barely eat gluten (annoying), as it hurts my guts. But about once a month, Nathan (my husband) and I will walk down to The Florence and I will murder their margarita pizza.
Weekend Pursuits As I am in my last weekend of wedding season, hopefully not a lot. Here’s what I hope Saturday looks like, lazy morning, sipping coffee, head to the farmers market, go to the pool, cook food and drink rose with friends, laugh with the boys.
Libation of Choice Gosh, its pretty rare when I will turn down a gin and tonic.
Coffee or Tea Coffee with cream. NO SUGAR
Favorite Book To Kill a Mockingbird. I have read it a million times and have loved it a million times.
Where I’d Rather Be I rather like where I am at, right now, but I COULD be on a boat. With a breeze. And a gin and tonic.
Lipstick or Gloss of the Moment Neither. Dr. Hauschka lip care stick!! The perfect amount of shine, and it smells so good!!
Nail Polish du Jour Can’t wear it on my hands because I work with food. Clear on my toes because it makes me feel beachy.
Scent My kids say I smell like frosting. All the time. I like to think I smell like lavender and patchouli.
Style Icon Jane Birkin and Francoise Hardy. I love that their style is effortless and sexy with really simple pieces.
Can’t Leave the House Without Sadly, my phone. It is my brain.
Pending Vacation Headed to the west coast in just a couple of weeks, to take the boys through northern Cali and Oregon before heading up to Ferndale, WA to see grandparents and to go to our 20th high school reunion. DC at the end of the summer. And maybe something tropical for Christmas….
Social Media of ChoiceInstagram. I am a visual person.
Crushing On SeeSAW (See Savannah Art Walls) Their collaboration with Bison Jack, this past spring, projected poems onto the side of a building downtown and through a porthole of a vacant retail space. It was thoughtful, interesting to look at, and it really gathered community. It made people stop in their tracks to gawk. It was really incredible.
There you have it! Now if you need a brilliant baker in Savannah you know just who to call. Do follow A Squad Bake Shop on Instagram for jealousy inducing photos that will make you covet Natasha's life.
At the beginning of June I jetted off to Austin for a whirlwind five days. Oh what a time. When Charles Dickens wrote "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times", he very well could have been describing my trip to Austin. Even though I lived in Savannah for a number of years, I never made it further left than Arkansas. So when my friend Marisa, who I haven't seen in a whopping 14ish years, told me she was headed to Austin, I jumped at the chance to meet up with her there. She lives in NJ, so not only was it a fairly central locale for the two of us to meet, but we were also going to Austin for a very monumental reason. THE Gilmore Girls reunion.
Cue "Where You Lead"...
The TV festival that hosted the Gilmore Girls reunion was disorganized at best. With the festival being in its 4th year and the fact that it takes place in a city that throws festivals left and right, you'd think it would have its act together. But alas that was not be the case. It of course didn't help matters that the festival required its attendees to stand in line outside in the sweltering heat for hours prior to each screening and panel. As my friend declared and I concur, "the hot humid weather brought out my Irish blood and boiled it". But despite the weather and organization of said festival working against us, we managed to have a few unexpected organic moments that made the trip all worthwhile.
The first moment occurred after we registered for the festival and the elevator door opened to the hotel lobby. Who stood before us but Ms. Patty from Gilmore Girls.
The next day, after standing in line for hours to attend a Bunheads panel, we were informed the theater was at capacity and we wouldn't be allowed in. But that only meant we were first in line to see Sutton Foster and Kelly Bishop walk into the theater for the panel. Fortunately we got perfect seats for a screening of the finale of Younger and post screening conversation with Sutton Foster at the Alamo theater. The Alamo theater is perfection. They serve bottomless popcorn and you can order alcohol, which they deliver to your seat! Another impromptu moment occurred while eating a snow cone on the side of South Congress Street and spotting Ben Savage. He is the spitting image of his brother Fred, who I crushed on for years. That evening we decided to walk to Hotel San Jose where they were screening an episode of Friday Night Lights outside. As this was a show neither my friend or I had seen, we were ambivalent at best about the screening. But luckily fate intervened and we decided to check it out. Lo and behold Hep Alien, Lane's band on Gilmore Girls, ended up holding an impromptu show prior to the screening. We ended up being in the perfect location to have the "band" walk right by us. Jackson spottings at the show were plentiful as well. He graciously mingled with the crowd. Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of Gilmore Girls and Bunheads, was also in attendance at the Hep Alien show along with Sutton Foster.
The next day, Gilmore Girls reunion day, found us waking up at the ungodly hour of 6am to get in line for "coffee talk" with Amy Sherman-Palladino. While waiting in line, who doth appear but Luke himself. He was utterly adorable in his middle ageness. Hordes of girls were swarming and fawning all over him. He was having quite the rock star moment greeting his gaggle of fans. While my friend grabbed a smoke on a remote part of the hotel balcony while taking a break from STILL waiting in line for the Amy talk, we unexpectedly befriended Zach (Todd Lowe). Zach played Lane's husband and bandmate on Gilmore Girls. Zach was trying to escape the maddening crowd and have a smoke as well. The poor guy clearly had a late night and forgot to take his sunglasses out on the balcony, so I loaned him mine. Once again back in line to hear Amy speak STILL, I encountered Rickie (Wilson Cruz) from My So Called Life. I had quite the fan girl moment. I rambled on about how much I adored the show and even wrote letters of protest over its cancellation. He was really lovely about my gushing. Finally after waiting literally hours we got into the hour long "Coffee with Amy" panel. The hour went by WAY too quickly. But Amy was perfection, as expected.
After a much needed nap back at the hotel came another ungodly wait for hours in the sweltering heat. This time the line was to finally gain entry to the theater hosting the Gilmore Girls reunion. This redhead does not do well standing in line in 95 degree heat for hours on end. I literally thought I might perish. Some people actually came quite close to doing so. At least two women passed out due to heatstroke and ambulances had to be called. Instead of passing out water to those of us in line, they apparently thought it would be "cute" to pass out Pop Tarts. FINALLY we were let into the theater for the moment we all had been waiting for. The two hours went by entirely too quickly and we were unfortunately left thinking, "that was it?". But at least we withstood heatstroke and sunburn to prove we bore witness to 15 year reunion of The Gilmore Girls.
This video was filmed during a macaron class last I attended last month at Paris Eastside in Seattle. How gorgeous are my pink macarons with rose petals? The class was lovely and I would so take it again. Next time though I'd bring along a gaggle of girlfriends to make it even more of a good time. It's the perfect venue for a Birthday party or bridal shower. The champs flow at the end of class and you get a few macarons to take home as a memento. Even if you, like me, aren't much of a baker, you'll still thoroughly enjoy the experience.