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Monday, December 29, 2008

Waiting on the New Year

Sometimes I find myself fighting post-Christmas letdown. All the build-up, the decorations we JUST put up, presents can it be over so fast?!

So, in case you're in need of a little pick-me-up, too, here's a gorgeous image from J.Crew Collections. Drink in the prettiness!

Maybe if it gets to 70% off, I can buy the skirt for next year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

May your holidays bring peace, like in this earlier and simpler time.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More family houses

My brother-and-sister-in-law's beautiful house in Atlanta, where we spent Thanksgiving this year.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Blackberry Farm

I had the extreme good fortune to spend last weekend at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. Beautiful scenery, amazing food and top-notch service.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rum-Raisin Carrot Cake

I made this yesterday for my friend Angie's birthday, and it came out great, if I do say so! I mixed and matched a couple of recipes and made some of my own additions...hopefully I can remember everything I did!

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
3 cups grated peeled carrots (4-5 large carrots)
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts
3/4 cup raisins, soaked in 1 cup dark rum for at least 30 minutes (reserve rum)

Cream Cheese Frosting
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
One stick of softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 box confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar

For cake:Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper; tap out excess flour. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in applesauce until blended. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, walnuts and ginger. Gently mix in drained raisins. Divide batter between prepared pans.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks. Peel off waxed paper; poke holes in cakes with a toothpick, drizzle reserved rum equally over each cake. Cool completely before frosting.

For frosting: In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, confectioners' sugar and brown sugar. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, beat on medium speed until well combined and fluffy, about 10 minutes or until smooth. Spread the frosting between cake layers and all over cake. Decorate with walnut halves if desired.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Christmas List, Part 1

I'm starting my Christmas are a few of my wants and needs:

A personalized
necklace by Lisa Leonard (want)

This bunny-soft pullover from Northface, in cream. (want?)

And a gift card from Williams-Sonoma so I can replace all my awful-looking baking sheets and muffin pans. (need)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Michelle Obama

No matter your politics, we can all agree that Michelle Obama is bringing great style to the Whitehouse! Here are some stellar looks:

She's not afraid of color: orange is gorgeous and current.

This is my favorite! I love the chic black tee with feminine skirt.

Another winner with bright color

A dressier look: belted and beautiful!

Monday, November 3, 2008

wallpaper love

Love this chic chandelier design.....
and what a great way to add interest to a stairway wall!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Alexa's Bedroom

Some fun ideas for my young friend Alexa's new bedroom. She wants some pink, which I've given her with that gorgeous pillow. I would also paint at least one wall that same shocking shade. The metallic silver and mirrored finishes look great with that bright color. I'd add a zebra rug and a vintage dresser.

(Email me for sources)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tres chic table lamp

I'm lamp shopping for the console table in my den, and found this on Great looking! Not cheap, but you can get free shipping. Nice mix of modern and traditional and would work in any decor. Probably too expensive for me since I need two!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Heart of the Bride

Check out this beautiful jewelry from Heart of the Bride. All pieces are handmade from magazines by women in Uganda. All proceeds go to orphaned children in Africa. Prices are beyond reasonable! What a Christmas gift idea!
Thanks to for the reference.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tory Burch on ebay

Check out this cute Tory Burch trench on ebay. Could be a great deal for somebody!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

potato pancakes

Lots of times when I'm asked what my favorite food is, I can't think of the ultimate. I like so MUCH food it's hard to narrow it down. But the other day I had an epiphany: potato pancakes! My inspiration stems from the fact that I have twice made mashed potatoes recently for the explicit purpose of having leftovers to turn into these delicious gems, and my kids have eaten up every last bit! And neither of them likes potato pancakes! Coincidence? I think not! It's a conspiracy to keep me from my favorite comfort food. So, very soon, I will be making a whole pot of potatoes for the sole purpose of glorious 'cakes!

My recipe is haphazard; no measuring involved. Just take the cold leftover mash, add an egg, a small handful of flour, maybe onion powder and salt and pepper. Mix with a fork -- the dough shouldn't be too dry, but dry enough to clump together a bit. Drop into hot oil in a skillet (I use olive oil to try and be healthy, but I guess we are talking about fried mashed potatoes, so who cares!). Brown on both sides and sprinkle with a little more salt. Bliss!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Grocery Bags

Here's my public service message for the week: Please use recyclable bags when you shop! I'm trying hard to do this. I carry about 4 of them in my car and most of the time forget to bring them in, but yesterday I remembered at Kroger. The bagboys still look at you kind of strangely, but if we all do this it will become the norm.

When we were in Australia back in 2005, you had to bring your own bags -- none available at all -- and bag your own groceries. We could cut out the bagboy salaries and get that money back to the consumer, no?

Okay, I'm off my high-horse now!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

L.A. Haven

My sister's gorgeous little house in the Hollywood Hills. Lucky girl!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oh Please!

I'm sorry, but are these not total "Mom jeans?" And they're from Urban Outfitters!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Well not so much

Easy like Sunday morning, originally uploaded by neloqua.

okay, never mind the fire, it's turned out more like this weather!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cool Weather!

It's feeling a little like Fall in East Tennessee. Might even be cool enough this weekend for one of these, and a glass of red wine - yay!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


In my humble opinion, the award for best cake in all of Knoxville goes to Magpies. I've tried the new cupcake places in West Knox and they're good, but not as good as the all-butter ones in the Old City! And as you can see, they make spectacular celebration cakes.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Current favorite shade of blue!

Love this ottoman at Anthropologie!
Posted by Picasa

Best Banana Bread

This is from the fabulous Orangette blog by Molly. I've made this 4 times now in the last month or so. Yum! Hope you give it a try!

Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumble Topping
Adapted from Orangette, Bakesale Betty and Bon Appétit, September 2008

For bread:1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
2 large eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup water
For topping:2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 ½ Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar (light brown works fine)
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 9- x 5-inch metal loaf pan. (Alternatively, you can spray the pan lightly with cooking spray and then line it with parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the sides. That’s what I did, and it made it very easy to remove the finished bread from the pan; I just grabbed the parchment and lifted). In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the banana, eggs, oil, honey, and water. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir well. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.In a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients. Sprinkle them evenly over the batter.Bake the bread until a tester inserted into its center comes out clean, about 1 hour, give or take a little. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then carefully remove the bread from the pan, taking care not to dislodge the topping. Cool completely before slicing.Yield: 1 loaf

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Archived restaurant reviews-Amerigo's

Sharing some reviews from my former blog. This one is from November 26, 2007:
I took a friend to the new "Amerigo's" last week for her birthday lunch. It is a high-end Italian spot, with other locations including Nashville and Memphis.The service was attentive, though our waiter was very impressed with himself and very young to have such a high opinion of his abilities. He did a good job but got a bit too involved in the conversation for my taste, not to mention marketing his own up and coming business when he had a chance.Amerigo's has a nice wine list, with a couple reasonably-priced bottles that quickly escalated to pricey picks like Cakebread.I have to absolutely RAVE about our appetizer: cheese fritters that are out of this world! I had questioned our waiter about them, thinking they might be a fancy version of good-ole frozen mozzarella sticks, but not to worry. These are hush puppy-like in texture, with a mixture of melty cheese inside, served on a plate with both a marinara and creamy dijon-style sauce. The one order contained six fritters, so we each got two and that was more than enough. You MUST try them! Apparently they have garnered mention in Bon Appetit, and I can see why.My entree was not as impressive. I tried the chicken and spinach canneloni. I loved the fresh pasta and the creamy sauce, but the filling was a bit overcooked. My two friends both really liked their pasta though, so perhaps mine was an anomaly.We shared the obligatory birthday dessert; a warm apple/pecan confection with ice cream, which was really sweet and really rich. I liked it but it was maybe a tad too sugary.I will definitely go back for dinner. The atmosphere is very warm and soothing, and the food seems to be compelling enough for a second visit

Archived restaurant reviews-Lakeside Tavern

Review #2 is from November 30, 2007:
Went for a post-party snack last night. Enjoyed the atmosphere in the bar, which has a huge, beautifully lit Christmas tree. Enjoyed a really nice Coppola claret -- I've never been disappointed by a Coppola! My friend and I shared the "wedge," which I've never been a huge fan of, but it was nice and crisp with a good blue cheese dressing and some bacon sprinkles. We also shared the ahi tuna appetizer, which they serve on a bed of fried wontons with wasabi. It was perfectly seared and the wasabi had just the right amount of spice (for me that means quite spicy!). Our 12-year-old friend had a cup of clam chowder that she only half-finished, and I'm not sure if that was due to the quality of the chowder or the capacity of the 12-year-old, so the jury remains out on that one. I can recommend Lakeside, but it always drives me insane that the first "signature dish" they list on the menu is chicken fingers! That is just SO Knoxville!

Favorite Places

Favorite Places, originally uploaded by lizzytishblog.

I never tire of Pawleys Island. This is one of the private piers on the marsh side.

dining room

I wanted to share with you my very red dining room. It needs very few enhancements to make it Christmasy!