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Sunday Socials: The Red Barn Round-Up 

This weekend I was catching up on some reading and I came upon an article in the May (told you I was caching up) issue of Country Living Magazine.  The article featured an event that stopped me in my tracks and got me thinking about a bygone area of "socials".  

The article was called, "The Red Barn Roundup" and celebrates the work of two friends in Nashville, TN.  Once a month during the spring to fall months, these ladies host a Sunday Social.  Each "social" is based around the idea that it's hard to see your family / friends these days.  Everyone has a thousand commitments and little time.  After coming to the conclusion that Sunday afternoon's seemed to be the only time that worked for most people, a concept was born.  A potluck party from 3pm - 6pm one Sunday a month.  

The Ladies of the Socials // Food is Plentiful & Delicious

Brainchild of Kathryn Johnson (red dress) and Allison Marusic (seen in the blue dress) who hosts the event at her fun "ranch-style" home, everyone is welcome - as long as you are the friend of a friend.  Otherwise, it's pretty much fair game.  The entire concept of great food, lively country music and friendly bonding is a huge draw for approx. 100 people each event.  The ladies try to keep things simple on themselves by doing evites, setting up the tables / chairs and arranging for the entertainment.  Happily, Nashville provides an endless supply of amazing musicians who get in on the fun as well.  The rest is up to the guests.  

Cabbage & Cilantro Slaw // Blueberry Crumb Pie

Initially, attendees weren't really bringing entree worthy dishes (a few too many chips & salsa) but, after some kind nudging by their hosts, the event has become a way for foodie friends to share their talent & let the food shine.  Because the event is staged as more of an open house - new food is constantly arriving as people come & go.  There is always something new to add to the ever changing table.  They never fear about running out --- someone is always going to show up in the last hour. 

Jacob and Molly Jones's Brussels-Sprout-and-Apple Salad // Nicole and Nick Mattingly's Cheddar-and-Herb Buttermilk Biscuits // Grant "Big Smokey" Johnson's BBQ Chicken Thighs

Another element the ladies take care of is the live entertainment.  The local Nashville music scene provides an endless source of great musicians.  And, while they are not paid --- tips are GREATLY appreciated.  Not to mention the opportunity to nosh on some great food.  There never seems to be a problem finding unique talent.

 I love this idea so much.  The thought of putting out a call for all your friends & family is such a great way to establish a sense of community.  It's a great way to stop & enjoy your life --- while having some great food.  What's not to love.  All credit to these amazing ladies & their forethought.  Now, how many chairs do I have? 

Article Courtesy of Country Living Magazine / Images via Cedric Angeles 


Craft: Decoupage Isn't Just For Granny's 

I used to think that the fine art of decoupage was for old granny types with hat boxes & hope chests.  But - today, the beautiful form of paper & paste is showing itself to be a very fun & stylish form of self expression. One of the best things about a little decoupage is how affordable it is & a great way of adding something interesting to your home or style --- without breaking the budget. 

One of the best ways to incorpate decoupage into your life is via home decor.  


1. Bins / Baskets --- take a plain plastic bin & add so much style by mixing up prints or color pallets.  I love these British designer Cath Kidtson organization bins with great floral motifs. 

2. Bottles & Vases --- take trip to the dollar store & turn plain glass bottles into glorious decorate vases.  This is probably a great place to start if you are new to crafting.  Very easy!

3. Furniture --- do you have an old dresser or hutch that could use some style?  Think about a combination of paint & paper.  I love the botanical motif on this updated dresser. 


1. Furniture --- much like the dresser above, I love the idea of updating a yard sale find with a really bold graphic or floral print.  Adds a great pop to your home. 

2. Dishes --- Turn all those mismatched plates & glasses into a great wall collection.  I love the idea of using a wide range of art & bringing them all together.  {Tip -- utilize your local library & make copies from all their great art books} 

3. Table Decorations --- are you hosting a party or family gathering?  No need to spend a fortune on table decorating.  Save up cans & decoupage them in all types of prints or colors.  A few wild flowers in each one look great.  EASY!

Do you have friends or family that are really hard to buy gifts for?  Maybe you want to make something?  Decoupage is the PERFECT answer.  A custom gift that doesn't cost a lot of money.  What could be more perfect? 

1. Candles / Vases -- another trip to the dollar store can really provide a wealth of options.  Maybe your friend loves flowers or the color orange?  A small collection of decorate items put together is a lovely way of saying you love & appreciate them.  

2. Hangers -- I really love this idea.  Hit up the local big box store for some wooden hangers.  Kind of plain & boring right?  Not once you add a beautiful print or maybe color series?  What person wouldn't love a special set of hangers for their very best? I know I would. 

3. Coasters / Trays -- I love this idea for a travel series.  Maybe you have some great pictures from your last vacation or you really love Paris  --- this works really well on glass or molded plastic.  Another great gift idea. 

The final  set of ideas revolves around home & office supplies.  These great products can really add up --- and if you are someone who likes to personalize their workspace (I DO) you can really break the bank.  Some of these easy ideas are big bang for the buck. 

1. Clipboard / Art Installation -- are you a fan of personal inspiration boards?  Who isn't? This idea allows you to spotlight important notes or imagery in a cohesive way.  One of my favorite images ever. 

2. Lunchbox -- This one is so cool.  I would never have thought about jazzing up a common lunchbox -- but, what a beautiful notion.  Treat yourself to something lovely for lunch --- even if there is only PB&J inside. 

3. Magnets -- This image is a little hard to tell but, these amazing & creative magnets are really pain stirring sticks.  Love this idea --- but, becareful at the paint department.  They might not love you cleaning them out. 

4. Tins / Boxes --- Are your paperclips or staples dumped into your office drawer?  Is your desk just a hot mess of supplies?  Get yourself some cheap containers (I tend to find great sizes & shapes in the travel section of my drugstore) and make yourself a collection of holders.  Keep all your little bits & bobs tidy --- not to mention, CUTE!

So, these are just a couple ideas for incorporating decoupage into your life.  It's a great way to express your personality without having to be TOO crafty.  Perfect for everyone.  

{HOW-TO: There are tons of tutorials & supply kits online.  But, I have to say --- when I need help with something like this, I turn to the maven.  Martha Stewart.  Her site has tons of helpful tips.  Here's a great start. Depending on which project you decide to start with -- your supplies will differ.  So, I will leave that to your own selection.}



Picture of the Day: Happy 4th of July

Wishing you all a lovely (and safe) 4th of July! Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Picture of the Day: Clarification 

Happy Friday! 


Reader's Request: Book Reviews 

I get emails from readers asking, 'what are you reading" all the time.  Sometimes they ask for recommendations on novels for the summer or maybe do I have some new cookbooks that I am loving?  So - as a reader's request, I put together a list of some of my most recent favorites.  These books cross all genres and I hope you find something that tempts your fancy. 

Up First.... The Kinfolk Table by Nathan Williams.  This beautiful book comes from the editors of the stunning magazine Kinfolk, which focusing on the art of entertaining.  This cookbook brings all those same esthetic and beauty in a way that is beautiful, uncomplicated, and inexpensive.  The book profiles 45 cooks and "tastemakers" --- these voices are what the home entertaining & cooking trend is built upon.  Personally, I want to move into this book & live.  Love it. 

The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes by Amy Thielen is the James Bead award winning book that speaks to my soul.  This beautiful American cookbook highlights and celebrates the amazing traditions of the Midwest with such charm and reverence.  Anyone from this area of the country will appreciate the take Amy has on home & hearth.  

Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini is a cookbook & backyard gardening and homesteading guide for women who want to grow food efficiently, cook season recipes, or even try foraging / camping and living off the land. Now, don't get me wrong -- I am not interested in moving off the grid and living by my wits --- NO.  I am however, interested in growing some of my own food and what can I do to live a more sustainable life.  This book gives you some very practical and interesting ideas.  Think of it as a good "resource guide". 

Scandinavian Cooking by Tina Nordstrom is a beautifully big book featuring some of the most tasty looking food I have seen in a long time. I have been a fan of Tina since watching her on PBS's New Scandinavian Cooking.  Her charming style has always been a draw.  This new book features simple recipes for home-style Scandinavian cuisine.  

My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz is a tour de force in French cooking. This beautiful book is 10 years in the making and showcases the amazing talents of food blogger Lebovitz. The book features how Parisians eat today and features lush photography taken around Paris and in David's Paris kitchen.  Truly lovely. I expect many awards to come for this beautiful cookbook.

Eat Make by Paul Lowe is a book I have mentioned before.  I am a long-time fan of blogger Sweet Paul (Paul Lowe) and was anxiously awaiting the publication of his first book, which features beautiful and tasty food as well as lovely home decorating.  Paul has managed to bring the lovely charm of his magazines and site into book form and it's one that I am thrilled to have on my shelf.  

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts by Jeni Britton-Bauer is the sophomore offering from local Columbus, Ohio food celebrity.  We are a town that loves & adores Jeni.  She has done amazing things for the city and her scoop shops are constantly packed with people indulging in her glorious treats.  As she expands her reach beyond the bounds of Ohio -- the country will learn the true joy of Jeni's work.  This book allows us to bring a small bit of that magic to our homes.  Another great offering. 

Handmade Gatherings by Ashley English is a beautiful book from an author that I find so interesting.  This book focuses on thoughtful, flavorful, festive communal dining. Her previous books have focused on Bee Keeping, Home Dairy, Pies and Keeping Chickens.  Talk about eclectic.  I love her style and point of view.  A bit self-sufficient and a bit country farm.  I would love to live somewhere between the two.  Until I can afford that glorious farm out east - I'll keep reading Ashley's books and dream. 

Bright Bazaar by Will Taylor spotlights a refreshing take on color from one of the world’s leading interiors bloggers, Will Taylor of Bright.Bazaar.  He is also West Elm’s "go-to blogger for color inspiration." Each color scheme begins with Will sharing his personal photographs and the memories that inspired each palette. As a person who is a bit afraid of decorating with color - this book gives me courage to take the plunge.  Maybe.  

Books on the Wishlist (To Be Published Later in 2014) 

The Kitchn Cookbook by Sara Kate Gillingham // Make It Ahead by Ina Garten //

A Kitchen in France by Mimi Thorisson // Jamie's Comfort Food by Jamie Oliver 

Inside the Test Kitchen by Tyler Florence // Fun with Washi by Jessica Okui //

A Simple Feast by Diana Yen // Little French Kitchen by Rachel Khoo 

Camille Styles Entertaining by Camile Styles // Sunday Suppers by Karen Mordechai // 

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi // Elements of Style by Erin Gates