The Soul of Southern Style

  I traveled home this weekend for a wedding—back to my first home. The muggy, slow, deeply Southern one. Walking into my mama’s house has always been a cathartic experience. The same smell, the same comfy couch, the same bedroom from my childhood.

  After living on the West Coast for more than a year now, traveling home often offers even more of a stark contrast between the two worlds. There just is something definite and specific about Southern style. And no matter how long I spend away from it, I still gobble up Southern Living each month (which my mom, of course, bought me a subscription to for my birthday).

In a few words, Southern style is….

  • Delicate

photo 1 (2)My mama’s hydrangeas become her centerpiece every summer.

  • Nostalgic

photo 2 (2)There has always been a nostalgic meaning to the artwork on our walls. This is a painting of the New Orleans, purchased by my grandmother. It’s probably worth pennies but I think to my parents, it’s priceless.

photo 3 (2)My grandfather was a bottler in my hometown’s Coca-Cola factory. As you can imagine, we were never allowed to bring any Pepsi products into the house. It was the law. Coca-Cola memorabilia holds a special place in our den.

photo 4Books from my mama’s childhood are displayed on her mantle. (I grew up reading Eight Cousins over and over again, kind of developing a secret crush on Uncle Alec.)

  • Graceful

photo 3 (3)Growing up, there was always that one room that was mainly just for looks and really not for actual living. Our living room was (and is) a “do not touch” room and I think because of that, it has always held a certain graceful mystery to me. My mama’s piano is in this room and often times, the only noise that would come out of it would be the tinkling music as she practiced for Sunday’s offertory hymn.

  • Religious

photo 5 I was raised in the absolute buckle of the Bible belt, so this is not really surprising. Crosses have always played a role in decor, like this one on my parent’s side door.

  • Hospitable

photo 1 (3)You really wouldn’t expect Southern style to convey anything less.

photo 2 (3)It welcomes you in, offers you some cold sweet tea and tries to get you to stay awhile. Pull up a chair…you’re my daddy’s new best friend and my mama will inevitably bake you something

No matter how long I’m away, home always remains home. I may love an Eames chair but Southern style (deep Southern style) will always be near and dear to my heart.

Valencia Street and other San Francisco Oddities

San Francisco is full of quirky streets, nooks and crannies filled with delicious oddities. One of my favorite streets is Valencia, partly because it’s a mere few steps from my front door but mostly because it houses some of my favorite shops.

I’ve shared  how I’m a big supporter of buying local and thanks to companies like Six Doors, it’s really easy. Still, there’s something wonderful about taking a stroll down a colorful street, dipping in and out of shops, finding inspiration in window displays and fanciful corners.

As I strolled down Valencia last weekend, I snapped a few pictures of my favorite shops and their goods that I’m currently drooling over. Perhaps it will inspire you like it did me.

Acia Sign

One of my favorite stores, Acacia, has small bits that make great gifts and a lovely line of linens.

Acia table

An example of their dynamic table arrangements. It’s simple, uncluttered, fresh.

Acia Rugs

Love their rugs!











Paxton Gate is a San Francisco institution and for good reason.

Paxton flowers

They have tons of quirky treasures (like stuffed gerbils dressed in Victorian clothing) but are known for their many botanical-related goods. Are you drooling over this table display?

Paxton soaps

They also carry some of my favorite soaps. (I wish you could smell these through your screen)













Ah, Aldea. How I love you.

adela bedroom

Their mixture of classic, retro and bohemian is PERFECT.

adlea home

For example, this display. I’m using this as inspiration for a current living room project.











betabrand sign

I did want to mention one clothing store. Betabrand, a crowdsourced clothing company, is in a league of its own.


You get to pose with this fishman and his grill. Obviously Betabrand is where you need to buy all your pants.

betabrand pants

Maybe you need Virgin Mary pants. (YES you do)










So how about it? Are you inspired to take a stroll down the quirky streets in your neighborhood?
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July Finds: 5 Under $25 (the patriotic edition)

Just kidding! This is not actually a patriotic-themed post. You’re likely picturing flag wreaths, blue and red food trays or something with stars. While I love America and am as patriotic as the next person (I made a flag cake), this month’s frugal finds are not themed. Instead, I focused on finding fresh pieces for summer.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces for July—all fresh and fun pieces for under $25.

Urban Outfitters

Such a sweet, whimsical little planter that’s small enough to fit in a corner or on your countertop.

Urban Outfitters, $19.00


myBlueMeadow’s Etsy shop has a great range of organic towels that are fresh and light. These are my current favorites.

Esty, $22.90


Oh Anthro, you are a quirky, lovely maven. This clock is just fun. It reminds me of Alice in Wonderland and it comes in a few bright colors. It’s also making a new home on my bedside table.

Anthropologie, $24.00


I’m picturing this as my new catch-all bin for mail. As an added bonus for you San Francisco natives, SixDoors will deliver this to you same-day. Not in the area? They’ll ship. Easy peasy.

SixDoors (A&G Merch), $19.00


What I love about these planters are easy they work for spaces of any size. As a city dweller, I don’t have a yard or flower box. But I can surely hang these up.

West Elm, $19.99-24.99

What’s your favorite 5 under $25 find? Did you make a flag cake too? Let’s bond in the comments section below.


Crowdsourcing Jambalaya

If you’re from the deep South, the land of bayous and Gulf waters, at some point you’ll make a roux.  Now a roux is a tricky thing. It can easily burn and ruin and make you feel like you missed the class that everyone else took on how to be a good Southern cook.

The first time I made a roux (in an attempt to make my first out-of-the-box gumbo) it turned into play dough.  Lovely! Fast-forward a few years and I’ve managed to make a roux without disaster. Still, there’s always been a hesitance in making (from scratch) the Cajun dishes that I grew up with. That roux incident, ya’ll.

But last week, the engineer and I attended a potluck in the spirit of the World Cup. Each guest was asked to bring a dish that reflected their home roots. I instantly thought of Jambalaya, a comfort dish that brings back memories of Cindy B.’s kitchen. Not wanting another play dough from roux incident, I turned to Facebook and my Southern friends for their favorite, no-fail Jambalaya recipes and Lawd, did they deliver.

May I present “Eric’s Mississippi Jambalaya” courtesy of a fellow Southerner from my hometown. I tweaked the recipe a bit and the result is an easy, spicy dish with just a bit of kick.

Here’s what you’ll need for this dish:

  • 1 pound of Andouille Sausage (you can easily substitute with chicken or shrimp)
  • 6-7 cups of parboiled rice
  • 2 cans of Stewed Tomatoes
  • 1 Yellow Onion Chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper Chopped
  • 1 bunch of Celery Chopped
  • 1 bunch of Green Onions Chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 8 cups of Chicken Broth
  • 4 cups of Water
  • 2 tablespoons of Cajun Seasoning (I used Tony Chachere’s)
  • 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Tabasco Sauce (more or less, depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Pepper
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons of Garlic Powder
  • 3 Bay Leaves
photo 3 (2)

Onions, celery, bell peppers. Otherwise known as the “holy trinity” in cajun/creole cooking.

photo 1 (2)

The secret ingredients to a great Jambalaya: Tony Chachere’s, Tabasco, Bay Leaves.

Start by heating a bit of olive oil or butter in a large pot (I used my dutch oven) and add the sausage. After browning the sausage, transfer it to a plate. Using the same pot, add the celery and bell pepper, cooking for two minutes. Add the onion, green onions and garlic, cooking until the veggies soften. Next, add the sausage to the veggies, along with the chicken broth, tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil and cook on medium for 15 minutes. Add the bay leaves, sauces and seasonings and cook for another 15 minutes. Finally, add rice, bring to a boil, and simmer on low. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is done and has absorbed some of the liquid.

photo 2 (2)

Enjoy with a big hunk of French Bread!

And that’s it! No play dough roux, just a spicy, sassy dish for your next potluck.



Let’s Talk Local and SixDoors Scrumptiousness

The thing about living in the world’s tech hub is that common tasks have gotten a lot easier thanks to ingenuity. Case in point—Good Eggs. I have mentioned this service before but it’s an incredibly easy way to buy local, organic produce, meat and dairy and have it delivered to your doorstep.  Or TaskRabbit, an app that allows you to find people to help with an errand. (The Engineer even used Taskrabbit to help with logistics the day he popped the question). It seriously doesn’t get any easier than that.

When it comes to gift giving there is (thank you Lawd) an app for that. It’s called SixDoors and it allows you to find goods from local vendors. Even better, many of the goods they feature have same day delivery for San Francisco.

I love that they offer a carefully curated cornucopia of delightfulness—from jewelry to clothes to some yummy noshes. So without further ado, I would love to share a few of my current favorite gift ideas from SixDoors.

  •  For your quirky friend with on-point taste

You probably didn’t realize you needed a paper mache bull head until you saw this. Now you know you need it.

*A&G Merch, $269

  • For brunch with the girls

I’m not very good at knowing which cheeses should be paired together. I just know that I really love cheese. This gift is perfect because you know you’re getting great (local) cheeses that compliment one another.

* La Fromagerie, $30

  • For your intimidating coworker’s dinner party

Perfect for summer and perfect for your hard to impress coworker.

*OliveThis OliveThat Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, $17.99

  • For your man friend

Nothing says “I know you’re a man and capable of building/fixing things” like this toolkit that comes in a canvas roll. I’m betting it’ll make him feel like the early 20th century mountain man he always wanted to be.

* A&G Merch Toolkit, $59

  • For your mom friend

Because tantrums are a daily part of her life.

* Tantrum Tote, $16

  • For your BFF

If your BFF lives in San Francisco, chances are she wears a scarf 300 days out of the year, so why not gift this beautiful raw silk number?

* The Workshop Residence Scarf, $180

  • For you!

Up your cocktail ring game with this lovely accessory. You deserve it!

* Ruby, $70

Modernica Factory Sale Recap (or when a six hour drive is totally worth it)

Last weekend, we took a road trip to LA in the name of mid-century modern goodness.  I mentioned in this post about the greatness that is Modernica’s once a year factory sale.  For anyone who loves this style of furniture and lives in the area (or, you know, at the other end of the state), it is absolutely worth the visit.  Plus (and this is a big plus in our book), most of the furniture is at least half off from the regular price. Who can beat that deal?

Before we left, the engineer and I made a game plan—we were in the market for two lights and a set of planters that I had been eyeing for a year. Anything else we found would be a bonus.


Check out the new neon color line for the Case Study chairs. I’m looking for a way to incorporate neon pink into my kitchen.

Now, I’m a fan of Ikea just as much as the next person but I have to admit that it feels nice to know that I have a few pieces that can grow up with me and perhaps be handed down to my children one day.


These planters were half off and we snagged the last white one. I plan on filling it with succulents and putting an Aloe plant in the black one.


For anyone who is a fan of the Case Study fiberglass chairs, you can see the chairs being made onsite. It’s a really fascinating process.

Here are the two lights we found for the kitchen and entryway. Lights are my personal “put a bird on it.” I just want to put one of these lights in every room in my house.

Here are the two lights we found for the kitchen and entryway. Lights are my personal “put a bird on it.” I just want to put one of these lights in every room of my house.

Taking a break from deal hunting. I’m sitting in the Papa Bear Chair, which I’ve been in love with for the past two years. But when you live in an apartment, you only have so much space. One day….one day this chair will be in my home.

So we ended up with new lighting, a new home for indoor plants (that I can hopefully keep alive), and a little sun thanks to a quick trip to the beach. All in all, a successful weekend. Until next year, Modernica!


June Finds: 5 Outdoor Pieces Under $25

Are you melting right now from the heat? San Francisco’s summer is officially crazy and the weather is back up to the 80’s. I realize that in my former homes of Austin and Oman, 80 degrees is called fall. Still, here warm weather makes people a little nuts. Guys walk down the street shirtless wearing cargo shorts. Girls fish out their sundresses usually only worn once a year…and everyone melts at night because no one has an AC.

The weather has inspired me to think about how I would decorate an outdoor space if I had one (porch, rooftop, veranda…I’m not picky). So I present to you my 5 favorite décor pieces for an outdoor space, all under $25.

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 5.46.52 PM

(1. Chevron Glassware, 4 for $19.99, West Elm 2.Stackable Eco Cube, $25.00, eGardenStudio 3.Vintage Chimes, $20.00, Anthropologie 4. Trinton Hurricane, $14.00, Adlea 5.Lacquer Tray, $24.00, West Elm)

I will happily come and join you in your outdoor retreat (I’ll bring sangria).