Spice to Table...

I've been spending a lot of time exploring and eating in Inman Park recently. One of my new fave restaurants is Spice to Table -- an Indian patisserie. I've already eaten there three times. The restaurant is owned and operated by Asha Gomez, best known for her critically acclaimed restaurant Cardamom Hill, which closed its doors. I never had a chance to eat there, so I was delighted that she opened this spot  with another on the way at the Krog Street Market (more on the market coming soon).

Let's take a look.

{welcome to spice to table located in the Studioplex lofts}

 {no dinner yet, but might be soon}

 {cute planted bicycle is a nice welcoming touch)

The interior space is small, but well appointed. Open, yet cozy with lots of natural light streaming in from every direction. It's refreshing to see a loft space look homey with richly painted blue walls and an eclectic collection of traditional/shabby chic type furnishings.

Windows separate two rooms.

You can choose to dine at one of the communal tables littered with Indian spices and cookbooks...

Or, grab an intimate table for two.

Food is served cafeteria style.

In fact, you will find Asha behind the counter on most days.

What to order? My hands down fave is the beautifully presented potato kati atop a bed of chickpeas finished off with a piece of flatbread. This dish is a regular menu item although they change up the beans occasionally.

{robin's egg blue tin plates available at Star Provisions}

Another favorite is a vegetable stew in a light ginger broth served with flatbread. I recommend ordering a samosa pocket -- either potato and peas or curried chicken. They are both delicious.

The roasted veggies make for a nice side.

The menu also features meat dishes. For dessert, try Amma's spiced carrot cake or head over to Jeni's at the Krog Street Market for ice cream.

Open Monday - Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. I highly recommend it.

Cheap & easy grocery store floral designs...

We recently hosted our annual neighborhood oyster roast. The weather didn't cooperate, so we improvised by moving the party inside. The roast became an oyster raw bar thanks to our friends at Cakes & Ale who quickly sourced some tasty oysters from Montauk, NY. Good news: C&A is opening a new restaurant -- Bread & Butterfly -- in Inman Park next summer. Yay!

I'll talk about hosting a backyard oyster roast in another post (you can check out my oyster roast Pinterest board). With the holiday season upon us, I want to show you how to throw together some quick and easy floral arrangements using grocery store flowers and greenery from your yard.

For these arrangements, I spent less than $15 -- one small bunch of blue hydrangea, one bunch of lime green mums and one 5-stem bunch of gerber daisies. From my yard, fatsia blooms and pieris.

Although fatsia is grown primarily for its green foliage, don't overlook the flowers. They bloom in the fall, and they are ripe for the picking in my yard right now (Southeast). I think they add texture and interest to floral arrangements.

Don't know if you have any in your landscape? It looks like…

Here they are mixed with hydrangea and tulips on my Thanksgiving table last year...

A similar arrangement I made for the party. Follow my tutorial on how to arrange one.

On to the smaller arrangements. It's no secret, I love using chive frog cubes. They add pizazz to any surface they sit on as singles or in groups.

Lay out your materials before you get started. Notice you only need a small sprig of hydrangea for each cube. This is enough for 10.

From there, the possibilities are endless.

Bold and modern...

Or, more on the rustic side…

 {sea foam cube -- one of my fave colors}

Mix with votives when the sun goes down…

I've also been using my chive bubble milk vases. A sweet addition to my powder room.

There you have it. I hope this gives you some good ideas for how to stock up your inventory and repertoire for the holiday season. And, don't forget, a filled frog cube is sure to put a smile on your hostess/host's face.

Where'd you go, bluemopheads...

A rip off of from one of my favorite books. Get it? I thought I'd come back today because it is bluemophead's two-year anniversary!

Here's my mia story + pics:

Chapter 1: Diary of a tennis tournament mom. In late July, My son's 10U tennis team went to the state finals in Macon, GA. Major nail biter. Three brutally hot days in Macon. Lots of sweat and really bad hair days. The team was robbed and lost by one measly point. Major disappointment, but the kids took second place with grace and poise. The parents and coaches couldn't have been any prouder.

Chapter 2: Sea Island bliss. Stopped at Sea Island on the way home from Macon for a short respite. More details to come.

{We actually stayed at the beach club, but popped into the cloister lobby for cookies and lemonade in the afternoons.}


{Cloister grounds -- so pretty}

Chapter 3: School starts. Everyone's happy, especially me. Yay!

Chapter 4: Puppy love. We welcomed with love our adorable new puppy "Rory." Named by my son after Rory McIlroy. She's a girl, but we all liked the name. It's unisex, e.g., Rory Kennedy.

 {Welcome home Rory!}

 {Rory's brother George lives down the street. They are BFFs.}

{It's best to let sleeping dogs lie.}

{Puppies are a lot of work. They get really dirty.}

Chapter 4: Daycation at the Four Seasons. After much scheduling difficulty expertly handled by Elizabeth F., some Decatur moms and I went to the Four Seasons for a long overdue beginning-of-the-school-year celebration. Some were getting braced for fall break staycations with their charming children.

                                                  {Between services relaxation room.}

While I was getting ready for...

Chapter 5: Rosemary Beach bliss. We spent another delightful fall break week in Rosemary Beach eating, drinking visiting with other Decatur families and getting my tennis game back on.

{Ahhhh -- sunset on 30A. Love.}

Chapter 6: The three plagues. The Jewish high holiday season is not a good time of year for me. As some of you may recall, I tore my ACL playing tennis last year on Rosh Hashanah. First plague. This year, I came down with shingles on Yom Kippur. After working my butt off rehabbing my knee, I couldn't play the one match I was scheduled to play during the ALTA fall season. Second plague. Our house was infested with fruit flies, because I left some apples out for too long after Rosh Hashanah. Some home remedies if this should happen to you. Apple cider vinegar works wonders. Third plague. The week before the USTA season training begins, I break my finger playing football with my son. The orthopedist says it's "a fairly significant injury." Best case scenario, I'll be in a splint for 6 weeks. Worst case, surgery. Divine intervention or shiksa curse? I believe it's a curse.

Footnote: Shingles is not just for old people. I've talked to people who have had them in their teens, 20s, 30s and 40s. Get up to speed on the symptoms, and get the vaccine if you can.

The End.

P.S. I'll be back very soon. In the meantime, you can find me most days on instagram.

Stitch Fix: the final chapter

Last week, I received my August fix. My July fix came while I was out of town. I had to hastily try on items and return them ASAP before getting stuck with the fix. It was probably my best fix, but I returned everything anyway.

Let's take a look at the latest…

1) Market & Spruce "Twain" twisted neckline slub knit shirt ($48).
A flattering neckline on me. The fabric is thin, which would warrant a cami underneath for most people unless you want to layer it under something. The fabric is a cotton/poly blend. Hand wash = high maintenance. It's a bit boxy too --something I specifically advised against. More than once might I add. Returned.

{notice high/low hem and seam down the middle}

2) Olive & Oak "Mulliken" raglan striped knit shirt ($48).
Where to start? I'll start with the positive. The fabric is super soft and comfy. Nice price point. It is, however, striped. Notice that the collar and sleeve stripes are gray -- not my best color. If you're into stripes, you can find this top in aqua/poppy for the same price at Bloomingdales. The fabric is really yummy! I might buy it just to lounge around in at the beach.

{high/low hem}

3) Splendid "Gerald" striped boat neck tee ($88).
Stripes. 50/50% cotton/poly blend. Yuck. I would never pay $88 for a T-shirt, especially one that is not 100% cotton. Enough said. Returned.

P.S. I saw a cute (100% cotton) Splendid vintage coastal tee at Bloomingdales.

4) Collective Concepts "Gina" geo print dress ($78).
This dress is really cute. I was pretty excited about it until I tried it on. The fabric is a cotton/poly blend -- not super comfy. Although it hit me a few inches above the knee -- something I specifically asked for in my profile -- it made me look really thick around the middle. Not flattering. This dress might work for someone petite, flat-chested, skinny and younger. Not for me. Returned.

5) Kut From The Kloth "Katherine" high rise boot cut jeans ($68).
You can buy a very similar, if not the same jeans by the name "Natalie" at Nordstrom for $89. I actually own a few pairs of Kut jeans that I bought there. They are stylish, comfy and have a bit of stretch. These jeans fit me well except they are too long. And, I don't care for the button-flap back on the front and back pockets. If I wanted another pair of Kuts, I'd buy them at Nordstrom where I can get free alterations. Returned.

{tiny button-top flap on the right pocket}

{back pockets. notice the "natalie" tag}

To say I'm disappointed with Stitch Fix is an understatement. Here's what gets to me most. A note from my stylist Kaley:

"I took a peak at your fabulous blog (she got that part right) and Fix feedback."

Note to Kaley: If you had actually read my blog posts on my first and second fixes and my fix feedback, you would know by now that I don't care for horizontal stripes and that gray totally washes me out. And, fyi, I like to wear natural fibers.

It is time to nix Stitch Fix. So long. Farewell.

I'll have to continue to count on Birchbox for my monthly mailbox bliss.

In other fashion news…

Are you wondering if you have to put your white jeans away after Labor Day? I'm personally in the camp that says no to white denim, sandals and bags after the end-of-summer holiday -- unless you're going to a resort. Belle from Capitol Hill Style shows how to rock your white jeans year round. I highly recommend checking out Belle's blog. Her entertaining mission statement (especially for you Washingtonians):

People say that Washington, D.C. is like Hollywood, but for ugly people. But these detractors have never tried to maintain their appearance while living in a city built on a swamp, where the workdays start at dawn, the salaries are minuscule and the cobblestones eat stilettos for breakfast.
Anyone can be beautiful in Southern California. In the nation’s capital, looking your best is practically a full-time job.
Capitol Hill Style seeks to inspire the women who work on Capitol Hill (or in any professional environment) to strive for excellence in their career and their closet.  No matter the pay grade or the weather, we must not surrender our sense of style.  Fight for your right to be successful and fabulous.
Will you be sporting white denim after Labor Day?

Book Shelf: Tiny Beautiful Things

I rarely read a book twice, but Cheryl Strayed's Tiny Beautiful Things has made it to my bedside table twice. It's now part of my permanent collection. Cheryl is best know for her national bestseller Wild -- a book I mentioned in my very first blog post.

I never would have stumbled upon Tiny Beautiful Things if a friend hadn't loaned it to me a few years ago. The same friend sent me a nymag article this summer that talks about the book gaining popularity mostly among women as a self-help book.

Tiny Beautiful Things is a compilation of letters Strayed wrote as an advice columnist under the pen name "Sugar" for the literary web site The Rumpus. Cheryl wrote the column for a year unpaid and had no prior experience. Yet she wrote each response with the perfect balance of authority -- mostly using stories from her own life -- and compassion. The subjects run the gamut from dysfunctional relationships, romance, sex, substance abuse, death and more. Each is so beautifully written. In an interview she said she considers them literary essays. They are in my opinion.

I enjoyed the book so much that I suggested it for one of my three book clubs. Everyone loved it. In addition to catching up on our lives and critiquing my latest Stitch Fix, we actually used an interview with the author to guide our discussion. The book contains many of Strayed's famous quotes. My fave is actually her interview response when asked "how can we all be better to each other?" Cheryl said that's it's important not to absorb other people's bad behavior -- jealousy, pettiness, being weird and acting distant. "If this were summed up on a bumper sticker," she said, "it would read: Don't own other people's crap." My new mantra.

As always, we drank lots of wine and presecco, and snacked on these delicious s'mores macaron prepared with love by Elizabeth F.


I highly recommend Tiny Beautiful Things. If, for nothing else, it will make you feel better about your life.

I need something good to read. What do you recommend from your summer reading list?

Daisy's garden...

In April we said good bye to our beloved yellow lab "Daisy." She brought us so much love, joy and energy for over 13 1/2 years. It was a very, very sad time. We miss her more than words can describe. But, we are so thankful she was happy and healthy for so long. To honor her life, we decided to plant a memory garden.

Before I move on to the garden, a few words about Daisy. Besides being the best dog in the world, she had many talents, one of which was gardening. When she was a puppy, she liked to help me in the garden. She was an early adopter of drip irrigation. Who needs soaker hoses when you can bite hundreds of tiny holes into a regular garden hose? Those hoses could be used as sprinklers too. Or, she often up cycled them for chew toys. Daisy had a sixth sense when it came to special hard-to-find flowers and plants -- the ones I spent hours sourcing and traveling outside the city to get. She loved to frolic around ripping the plastic pots to shreds. As soon as I turned my back, she would have one of the plants in her mouth manically shaking it. I knew what she was thinking: "go ahead, try to catch me if you can" -- her favorite game. That of course was impossible because she was extremely agile and fast as lightening.

Daisy liked to help me do the dishes any chance she could. She took care of any remnants of food on plates in the dish washer. And she took counter surfing to a new level. In her youth, she could actually jump up on top of the counter. No exaggeration. Retrieving was another one of her talents. She would fetch things and bring them right back and then run away begging you to chase her. Tennis balls and dog toys were way too boring and inexpensive. When left to her own devices either at the park or on the beach, she would steal just about anything she knew was valuable. This included, but not be limited to: shoes, cell phones, keys, wallets, other people's picnic lunches and articles of clothing that she usually dragged through mud. Or, really disgusting things like trash, dead fish and other animal carcases. Although, she would swim from here to eternity to retrieve her cool kong and bring it right back for more. She made some frenemies at the dog park earning the nick name "Crazy Daisy." It was hard to hold a grudge for long. She was too cute and loving.

Moving on to the garden. When we renovated our house several years ago, our backyard was leveled leaving us with a clean slate for landscaping. I decided to go with a green and white color scheme -- something I've always wanted to try. Here are some of my favorites.

{coneflower 'meringue' my new all-time fave}

{coneflower 'white swan'}

{coneflower 'white double delight'}

Of course, there are lots and lots of daisies!

{shasta daisy}

{shasta 'crazy' daisy}

{shasta daisy 'aglaia'}

Here are a few in a frog cube

{lab garden ornament from the etsy shop Garden Copper Art}

{heart-shaped memory stone from etsy shop Memories to Stone}

You can see more garden pics on my Pinterest board.

Daisy's garden reminds us every day of what a wonderful dog she was and how lucky we were to have had her. I have no doubt she is wagging her tail in doggy heaven wishing she could dig up each and every one of those plants.

Daisy a few weeks before she left us on our way home from Wag-A-Lot -- her home away from home.

So many happy memories.

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