Sunday, March 31, 2013



I miss saying that word.  I miss the way it blooms in my mouth, the way it rests on my ear.  Brother.  I miss the thrill that rushes to my heart to hear the word, to hear the voice of the person that the word represents.  Brother.
It does not seem accidental that the anniversary of Paul’s death falls within the Easter season.  Easter has always been a treasured time with my family.  It reminds me of my mother, who would stay up all night hand-painting our Easter baskets, filling them with paper grass (not plastic) and our favorite treats: Cadbury crème eggs, marshmallow peeps, and eggums-we always had to have eggums.  My mother, who would hard boil 8 dozen eggs so that we could each have 2 dozen to dye.  My mother, who is always smiling, always forgiving, and whose un-shatterable faith makes her the strongest woman I know.

And it reminds me of my father, who was a numerical genius with an important job, a stressful job.  But he read the Bible every morning while tying his tie, dawned a seer-sucker suit on Easter Sunday, and whistled while lightheartedly hiding the Easter eggs after church.  My father, who remained humble and kind and lively, despite his secret knowledge of a limited earthly life.

And it reminds me of my siblings, my dear siblings who humored me by still hunting eggs when they were well into their teens, probably even their twenties.  They taught me how to be normal after losing my father when I was 14.  They pushed me and shaped me and taught me who my father was, who I needed to be.
My two sisters and I speak our own language; I hold them so dear.  One confident, brilliant sister, and one tender, intuitive sister, both equally darling.
And my brother.  My brother never made anything about himself.  He wanted to know about you-your dreams, your loves, your losses.  And he never forgot.  If you mentioned in passing that you liked a band, you could bet that a burned copy of their CD would be in your mailbox by the end of the week. His chicken-scratch handwriting would be the only clue as to whom it was from.  He was thoughtful.

I remember when I was in sixth grade he bought us a pair of matching Airwalks.  I was and still am a huge dork, and I think he thought those shoes would help me be cooler.  And I remember how he would play Radiohead's "High and Dry" on repeat and hum along while driving me to meet my friends at the movies when I was 15.  He did not have to try; he was effortlessly lovable.

For a few years he made my sisters and I stand in the freezing cold from 8am-8pm ringing the bell for the Salvation Army during the holidays.  He (jokingly, but also seriously) wouldn’t let us sit down: he demanded us in costume and dancing or singing for the full 12 hours, and we had to rotate bathroom breaks.  It makes me laugh just thinking about him in his “Skinny Santa” outfit, one of my favorite memories.  He was so funny.  He was witty and smart and always laughing. He could spend $5 at the jukebox and only play “Toxic” on repeat, and somehow everyone in the bar would be in love with him after listening to that singular Britney Spears tune a million times.  
He could turn a family argument into a hilarious, treasured memory.  He rarely became angry, and he never held a grudge.  And he was a great dancer.  He took turns with each of us at weddings, twirling us fast and hardly having enough breath to laugh. 

He was always taking turns with us and our mother, taking care of us.  He not only moved me in and out of college four times, custom fit my dorm room bed with a twin-size headboard, and escorted me for deb balls and countless father-daughter events, but he took care of me emotionally, too.  He took every opportunity to tell me how much he loved me, how proud he was of me.  He could do anything.
This to me is the moral of Easter: to be a brother.  To put yourself last, even if you suffer, to be kind and gentle and to forgive, to help others forgive themselves, to cherish the ones you love and love the less fortunate, the bitter, and the jaded, to practice selflessness and to be a servant. 
I can still see him helping Joey paint our den, humming and occasionally asking for help: “Hey Lala, come hold this…”.  And I can still hear his voice on the phone, each time always greeting me in a goofy, high-pitched voice: “Well hello there, little Laura Ann Daly!” This hole in my heart is indescribably painful, but I can find peace practicing the lessons that Paul taught me.  And I can find peace knowing that God is proud of the short, but powerful, life that my brother lived.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fabulous Friday 3.29.13

This Friday is fabulous because it's Easter weekend!  I hope you have your Sunday dress picked out, complete with glamourous jewels and head-wear!  Oh, if only I could be as fetching as Audrey Hepburn this Sunday.....
Happy Easter!

image via Pinterest

Did you know that I now have a tumblr?  Obsessed.  Check it out here!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bakery-Style Sugar Cookies

My mother has always make the best iced sugar cookies.  They are soft and buttery, and the icing is sweet and smooth.  They are that traditional bakery style, with the poured icing.  But I'm telling you, these bad boys are tastier than anything I've bought from a bakery. And a perk of making them can decorate however you like!


Cream 1 Cup of butter and add 1 Cup of sugar slowly.  Add 2 eggs, 1 Tablespoon milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Cream well.  Add 3 cups flour and 3 teaspoons baking powder.  Chill for 10 minutes.  Roll and cut into desired shapes.  Bake for 8-12 minutes on 350 degrees.

Poured Fondant Icing

Combine 4.5 ounces water and 2 Tablespoons cornsyrup in large pan.  Add 6 cups powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon almond flavoring.  Stir over low heat until well mixed and just warm.  Add coloring and spoon over cookies. 

The icing makes quite a bit, so you can divide it into smaller bowls and use food coloring for different colors.  If the icing starts to harden, pop the bowl into the microwave for 5 seconds.  Here I used all sorts of fun sprinkles, and used a store-bought white icing tube to pipe lines.  The bunny whiskers are painted on with a tiny brush using black food coloring.  You could also use a toothpick.

WARNING: These bad boys will not last long.  You may want to stake out a good hiding spot for these guys....

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

DIY Shower Banner

Last weekend I helped my mother host a shower for a good friend of hers.  The decorations were really beautiful.
I loved this silver flower basket with hydrangeas, baby's breath, and a purple and white striped silk bow.  So elegant!

 My mother's treasured "Wedding Couple," antiques she brought back from England.

I love the idea of a homemade banner for any type of celebration.  It feels so special!
There are a lot of steps to making one, but it's not at all difficult!  The secret is variety-small paper flowers, big pom poms, & medium tassels on the sides, all in different tissue papers. Here's how to do it (I made this one day after school, so please pardon my messy classroom!):

Step 1: Print out your letters in the size/font that you prefer.  Using carbon copy paper, trace them onto matboard, found at any craft store in the framing section (I don't recommend poster board as it curls up with the glue).  If you don't want them to glitter the letters, you can use regular paper of any color!
2. Paint the front of the letters the same color of the glitter you will be using in case anything shows through.
3. Using Mod Podge or Elmer's and a brush, cover the letters with glue and glitter (glass glitter is the prettiest, but a bit more expensive).
4. Shake of the glitter and glue the letters onto a tissue paper of your choosing.  Then, cut around the letters.  You may need an exacto to get into the curved corners.

Next, measure out your ribbon according to where the piece will hang.  The piece we hung it on was 6 feet, so I made by ribbon 9 feet to have some extra on the end and to give it a little sag.  Line your letters up along the ribbon and attache with hot glue or masking tape to back.

Step 5: Cut a strip of tissue paper that is approx 7 inches x 12 inches.  Accordion fold it.
Step 6: Trim the edges into a semi-circle.
Step 7: Cut a long piece of ribbon, at least 3-4 feet and tie around the center.  Do not tie it at the very end of the ribbon, let one side be long and the other somewhere between 6-12 inches.  Tie small knots in the ribbon for extra texture.
Step 8: Open up tissue and glue ends together to form a circle.

Step 9: Layer 4-5 sheets of a contrasting tissue paper.  You can try more than that if you're gutsy!  Cut the stack in half, so you have two stacks of paper approximately 12 inches x 20 inches.  According fold into 1-1.5" sections.
Step 10:  Tie a ribbon around the center, repeating step 7 above.  Open circularly first, then separate the layers.

Step 11: Layer a couple of sheets of paper and cut down the center as in Step 9 above.  Stack your two piles on top of each other.  Fold in half long-ways and cut towards the fold, leaving about an inch along the fold.
Step 12: When you open the stack up, it should like like this!
Step 13: Each tassel uses 1 sheet of paper.  Take one sheet, fold it in half, then fold it in half again to look like the image here.
Step 14: Fold the sheet in half the opposite way, so the fringe is all hanging down.  Then take a corner along the center and fold it down to make a triangle.
Step 15: Continue to fold around the triangle.
Step 16: Punch a hold in the top and using the same method above, tie a ribbon through the hole.

 Then, go ahead and assemble the sides.  Lay out the pieces so the are different heights.  Gather all the ribbons up at the top and them tie together.  Keep the side pieces separate from the lettered piece until you are installing on-site.  This way, you have flexibility with the length of the banner.

And voila!  A beautiful banner!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Lately, I am loving the color mustard in interiors!  It's feels fresh, but with just the right amount of vintage style.  In some cases, it even serves as a great neutral.
Absolutely loving the mustard accessories, especially that gorgeous duvet!  And come on with those black herringbone floors.... 

Via PinkPeony Blog
A seriously awesome mustard hex wall here.  So jelli.

Via Traditional Home

Via Traditional Home
While these curtains are a bit on the "yellow mustard" rather than "spicy brown" side, I just love how they pop against the black and white in the room.  And they also compliment all of the gold accessories beautifully.

Mustard island in the kitchen...gorge.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Floral Frocks

Easter is right around the corner, and here in the South finding the right dress can be quite an affair...
I remember growing up how my mother would search for the perfect dress for each of us.  It had to be bright or a pastel...don't even say the words Navy or heaven forbid the "B" word...Black.
With the huge floral trend this year, finding that perfect frock is no problem! 
I am that totally in love with the green botanical with the peplum below, but the strapless rose print is closer to my go-to silhouette. Pair that bad boy with a cardigan with sparkly buttons and you've got yourself a killer Easter outfit!

Yellow Monet with Blue Trim from Modcloth // Pink Pinwheel Dress with criss-cross back from Anthropologie // Floral Botanical with Peplum and Cut-Out Back from H&M // Leondra Dress with Mint Julep Floral with Seer-Sucker Bow from Lilly Pulitzer // Halter Print Chiffon Maxi from Nordstrom // Rose Print Floral Lantern Strapless from TopShop // Mini Floral Double Ruffle Strapless Karmen Dress from Kate Spade

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fabulous Friday 3.22.13

Why is this Friday Fabulous??  Because it's my Spring Break!  Will I be doing something glamorous like lying on the beach in an exotic location...........?
No. But I do plan on priming and painting some trim around the house that is a weird color ivory, sewing a roman shade for our second guest bedroom in anticipation of a very special house guest, and taking a large mirror that I pried off our bathroom wall and having it cut down to put on top of a vanity table.  Exciting, no?  Oh, and also, I will probably cook a lot and bake some adorable cookies for our new neighbors.

Don't be jealous, people....

{image here}
I finally found a place where I can gawk at every single Valentino haute couture dress at the same time!  Eeeek!  Show Studio has tons of other designers too, and tons of photography from the runway.
And check out Iced Coffee & Peonies  (two of my  favorite things, for sure!) for a true dose of southern charm and LOTS of monogrammed trinkets!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Studio Swag

I came across these amazing paintings of ice cream pops years ago and then lost track of them.  I was so excited to come across them again!  I have been thinking of copy-cating this amazing artist, Joel Penkman on a large-scale for a painting in our kitchen.

 See more of this artist's great work here.
I am also in love with these amazing, large-scale paintings by artist Pamela Michelle Johnson.  I am seriously swooning of these hostess cupcakes.  And the chocolate bunnies are just in time for Easter!!  Check our her website to see the actual dimensions on these guys...they're really big!
And here's a local Birmingham-based artist, Jayne Morgan.  I do not know Jayne, just seen her work around town, and think it is so fun and great!  Aren't these honey bears great?  More of her work here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Geometric Jewels

Lately I have been loving geometric baubles.  They are so rocker-chic and a really fun way to add some edge to a simple outfit.  I often think of those pyramid studs on black leather, but I'm loving them on a more subtle nude or camel right now.  Here are my top picks!
 I am totally in love with the "King Tut" ring-that alabaster-like pyramid on top is to die for!
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Obsessed: Inside Awnings

Lately, I am loving everything about awnings...the stripes, the scallops, the tassels.  You usually see these guys outside.
But I have to tell you, I'm obsessed with the idea of bringing them indoors as well.
How divine is this?!?!  Gorgeous fabric paired with amazing tassels.
 While the window treatment here is not three-dimensional, it still has the awning/tent vibe.  And the white molding on the tomato red wall lends itself to the theme as well. So much fun!
 I love everything above this image.  The awning-style canopy, the kiwi grasscloth walls, the greek key bedding...perfection!
I love the idea of using this theme in a children's room as a canopy.  Kind of takes on a glamourous circus theme.
So fun and whimsical.  If I only I had 12 foot ceilings so I could have one like this black and white beauty in my own home!
1 / 2/ 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Monday, March 18, 2013

New Centerpiece

I was very saddened when my beautiful gold taffita and velvet polka dot tablecloth bit the dust at the our New Year's Eve party (apparantly, taffeta is highly flammable...). After taking some time to mourn, I've decided it's time to reconfigure my dining room tablescape.  I have always loved a nature-inspired look, and of course, I'm keen on metallics...
Fantastic golden branch

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fabulous Friday

What's fabulous this week?  The weather!!
 This weekend, we hope to: 1. Waterproof our deck, 2. Host a wedding shower, and 3. Clean up our yard
Yes, that's me, just lounging in some really amazing swimwear...........JK.

But seriously, last weekend a friend hosted a fundraising party at his house for our upcoming event, the Paul Meyers Memorial Golf Tournament. The weather has FINALLY warmed up, and we played cornhole and washers!  Here's my husband, mid-toss...
We have always loved this bean bag toss game, and playing it got me really excited for Spring because I love, love, LOVE me some lawn games!
Check out these awesome cornhole sets you have customized!
You can even order custom print bags. SO FUN!  Wouldn't these be great for a wedding or engagment party?
Happy weekending everyone!
Window shopping on this great paper store's website: Sugar Paper.
Following this new pinterest account and wishing I was in Savannah for the big day: Savannah St. Patrick's Day.