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Thanksgiving, Southern Belle Style

20 Nov

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.  For me, it is all about being with close friends and family, enjoying the people you love and feeding them well.  I grew up in the kitchens of some amazing cooks, and these women shaped me.  I learned that women can be beautiful and smart and capable all while whippin up the best Sweet Potato Pie you’ll ever eat, in heels, with their finest Sunday dress on, all while laughing and telling stories.

I also attribute my love for football and strong men on Thanksgiving.  In all my years, I have seen the most spirited debates over football, politics and racing on this holiday.  We got to callin it The Great Debate – the time these men spend in the living room, drinking their scotch or beer, eating all the yummy snacks sent out of the kitchen, timed perfectly of course.

For this Southern Belle, my Thanksgiving menu is about memories, legacy and a little adventure.  Here’s what I am cookin up this week.  Each recipe will be showcased here, and I will be available Wednesday from noon to 5pm MST, Thursday from 8am to 2pm MST, via Twitter, Facebook or Skype for last minute ideas, tips and tricks!

Food is Love!  JB

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Love Your Windows! Treat them Properly.

19 Nov

Let’s talk about windows.  Bright, happy, glorious windows.  If we’re honest I think most people will admit that they don’t give their windows due attention.   I want to provide some inspiration, as well as some great tips and tricks on hanging your fabrics correctly.  I have to admit that when I walk into a room, anywhere, I look at the window treatments… how they’re hung, the type of fabric{s} used, colors, etc.  Here are some favorites…

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is hanging their hardware either too low or too close together.  How many of you have hung your hardware, just relieved that it’s level, only to hang your fabrics and find there’s a gap on either side of the window?  Admit it… it’s happened.  Window treatments are one of the simplest ways to maximize your wall height.  Hanging your hardware just a minute below your ceiling creates a dramatic effect that elongates an abbreviated wall.  Hang it at the perfect width {approx 3″ outside the window frame} and you create the illusion that your window is wider than it truly is, as well as utilize all that wonderful natural light.

A few tricks of the trade:

1.  The remnant section at your favorite fabric store can be your best friend.  If I can sew, anyone can!

2.  Please, please do not hang a 7′ fabric on a 9′ length!  Your fabric should touch the floor… pooling is optional.

3.  Your hardware need not be ornate.  Do stay consistent with scale and substance.

Make it Beautiful! ~ JB

Think Outside The Box For Gift Giving This Holiday Season… #giftgivingideas

16 Nov

I am the worst at remembering birthdays and anniversaries (even my own…my husband teases me every year) and all those other events in my friend’s and families lives that I kick myself for not remembering. (I have found a new system I think will finally work, and I will report back.) This time of year is when I am able to finally redeem myself. I may not get the cards in the mail on time if at all, but I do my very best to get Christmas presents mailed before the deadline.

My favorite part of this process is finding that perfect gift for each of my family members and friends who inspire and support me throughout the year. For my sister, I try to send sweet treats, a little something fun and something just for her to pamper herself. She is a single mom and works very hard every day to raise my two wonderful nephews. For my friends, I try to think about what they like, what makes them laugh and what they might love. These picks do not have to be expensive.

This year, I will be sending Louisiana Hot Nuts, JW Chocolate Chip Cookies, fresh bread for my nephews, JW Signature Sugar Britches Sugar Scrub for my sister and friends, along with a little something special for each one of them. Some of the personal gifts will make them laugh and others I hope they will have for a long time…a little reminder of their family who has a geographic location that allows them to drive to Canada if they so choose.  So when thinking about what to give, mail or share, take a little time to think outside the box this year. In this age of email, Twitter, Facebook and other electronic media, receiving a box or letter in the mail is a wonderful treat. And it’s the discovering of what’s in the box that is the most fun. The gift below is one of the items my husband will give me this year. He just doesn’t know it yet. 😉 Thank you, honey, for the modern wind chimes. He is so awesome!

Ateenan Aamu Chimes

Ateenan Aamu Chimes - $45

Big Hug…WH

Make Thanksgiving Pretty!

13 Nov

I love decorating for the holidays.  Thanksgiving and its rich color wheel make me so happy… it’s a great time to pull out the china, your best linens, the family crystal and dazzle your guests.  This year, everyone in my house will be gone Thanksgiving week, so we put up our Christmas tree on the 6th {Gasp!} and I will not apologize for it.  That being said, if you’re home this Thanksgiving, give it its due attention. Here’s some fab and fun ideas that won’t break the bank!

I think that every holiday is an opportunity to show your family and friends how talented and clever you are.  Candied apples as dessert or sweet M&M gifts are lovely ways to offer an unexpected sweet treat.  A centerpiece of family members {photos} who aren’t able to join you is a beautiful way to include them as well as promote conversation.  Candles are a staple, and always a sure fire {no pun intended} way to warm a tablescape.  Make it beautiful & delicious and inspire your guests!

Food is love!

JB

Dandelions Everywhere, and all I can think about is purchasing a high powered fan. #itsasouthernthing

12 Nov

The visual presentation from FlipFlipMeHeidi is amazing. Take a second to go through the blog. I just can’t get over the dandelion ceiling. How fun and creative. Enjoy.

regine ramseier dandy-2.jpg

regine ramseier dandy-4.jpg

101 in 1001

7 Nov

A few weeks ago I was introduced to a photography blog of a friend of a friend.  While the photographer’s work was lovely, something else on her site caught my attention.  She’d made a list of 101 things she wanted to achieve in 1001 days.  They were quirky and fun, personal and tenacious. It inspired me.

When I shared this with Wendy, we decided to do the same.  We have a ways to go, but want to share what we have thus far.  We also want to encourage you to make your own list.  This is different from a bucket list in that this is specific, time oriented and takes deliberate effort.  It may be personal, or professional, or a combination of the two… but it’s yours.  Some of these are ours specifically, and some are mutual goals.

1. Know enough about fishing to enter a fishing tournament.
2. Hike the Pacific Coast Trail. – JW
3. Publish a cookbook with a friend. 😉 – JW
4. Swim with the stingray in the Cayman Islands with my kids.
5. Learn how to ski well {this is ALL Wendy, but I will go and watch!}
6. Jump out of a plane with my husband and my kids and having a parachute would be fun also.
7. Learn to kayak and go river rafting. – JW
8. Do a hike-in camp for a week in the Colorado mountains with the family and friends.
9. Go to Madrono Ranch Hog School. – JW
10. NRA Colorado Elk Hunt and Women’s Gun Camp. – JW
11. Do the Texas Water Safari. – JW
12. Do a cross country bike ride.
13. Put something together about starting a business doing something that brings me joy and is focused on what I love doing. – JW
14. Hit 1,000,000 followers on Twitter. – JW
15. Create a unique and profitable retail collection. – JW
16. Publish our story. – JW
17. Eat the best pizza in Italy w my family and Wendy & her family. – JW
18. Spend two weeks in Bali. – JW
19. Hike through South America, learning about their food and indigenous culture.
20. Climb Machu Pichu – JW
21. Go on a weekend shopping spree in NYC – JW 1 year anniversary!
22. Take a two week pastry class in France with Wendy. – JW
23. Cook w Paula Deen on the Food Network – JW
24. Create a seminar/speaking event for women where we talk, teach, motivate and challenge them to pick a girlfriend and start fulfilling their dreams – JW
25. Outsell the ad space on our blog. – JW
26. Sign a sponsorship deal with Vitamin Water.

We will keep you posted on our progress, and if you’re keeping tabs, you will see this list grow in the coming weeks.  Our 1001 days end on August 1, 2014.  It may seem like a long time from now, but Wendy and I met 1278 days ago and it would take me weeks, perhaps months, to share all that we have experienced, accomplished, witnessed and survived in that time.  Time is precious… what will you do with yours?

Wonderful Women doing Wonderful Things…

1 Nov

We love a good story about wonderful women doing wonderful things and The Caramel Jar is just one of those stories. Not only is this story inspiring from a motivational standpoint, but it might be a great gift idea for Christmas. Find your joy…put it in a jar…and make others happy every day…

Enjoy the sweetness of life!

Big Hug…W

#Dear Santa: Birch Box

30 Oct

I am a product junkie.  I know I’m getting older, and as a lifelong sunshine lover, I am fighting some, uh, smile lines. 😉  But I am not going to age without a fight!  I am all about finding the best, most effective, yummiest, smartest products to keep my face/hair/body amazing and healthy.  Yesterday I found a FUN company that offers you the ability to play with a product {try it long enough to determine its value} for such a fab value that you owe it not only to yourself, but also to your BFF.  And maybe your mother and sister{s}.  Trust me; they’ll thank you.

Each month, a fab box will arrive at your door with a handful of new products.  Yes, delivered to your door.  Here’s the link… go… do it…. right now.  What are you waiting for?!  Birch Box!

My grandmother was right when she said “Always wear lipstick and curl your eyelashes… it makes everything else less important.”

xo ~ JB

Spinach Salad with Fresh Strawberries and Bacon… #ItsWhatsForDinner

30 Oct

This is a wonderful fallback salad when you are not sure what to have for dinner. I used organic spinach leaves, freshly cooked bacon and sliced strawberries. The finishing touch was a drizzle of Basil Olive Oil and Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar. So yummy with the salty and sweet flavors and gone in seconds. I did have to share a few times with the hubby, but I didn’t mind too much. Anytime I can get him to eat something other than a burger, I have won the battle!

Food is Love…Big Hug…W

A Chat Over Tea…It’s Good For The Soul #itsasouthernthing

29 Oct

As I travel and browse with girlfriends on shopping trips and sightseeing, I am always looking for that item I can not live without. Over the years, I have found some very interesting objects that have become a part of our family.  And though my husband swears we could have lived without many, I know he is mistaken.  On my recent trip to Door County, Wisconsin, with my new friend, Angela, and my youngest son, we stopped by a little consignment shop in Sturgeon Bay, right across from the Madison Avenue Wine Shop.

This little store is like many I have visited all over the country with a little of this and that, but mainly most of the items were left overs from a life or a move or a garage clean out. I always look and try to take the time to walk through the entire store, because you never know what you are going to find. A few years ago, in a store much like this one, I found an extensive collection of really old records and purchased all of them. At the time I really did not know what I was going to do with these records.  Fast forward 15 years, and with my father-in-law and my family over tea one night and after dinner, we pulled out the records. I was not aware that he knew most of the artists. We sat for almost two hours and listened to music he had enjoyed in his younger years. He knew all the words, so we laughed and he sang, and I was grateful for that purchase.

In these little thrift stores and antique shops I continue my search, and this store in Sturgeon Bay was just like all the others. I was ready to leave when something caught my eye. It was behind a few pots and pans and had my name written all over it. One of my favorite things to do is to have people over, so we can eat, visit and just enjoy time passing in each other’s company. Having tea or coffee is part of that ritual, so the silver sugar/creamer set with the matching tray was a good find for me to continue these rituals. And at under $5, I was even happier.

And a few days later, on this beautiful Saturday morning, my husband and I enjoyed a cup of tea with some banana muffins. We ate, laughed and planned our day. I enjoyed our time together even more, because we were together.  But most of all, because we were eating muffins from my mother-in-law’s china, which reminds us of her every day, and enjoying another great find from one of those little stores. A find that someone may have loved and enjoyed before us. Everyone should have things they love surrounding them, and I think this little item will a part of that love for many years to come.  My husband…he tolerates the prettiness and tries not to make it dirty.  Me…I am constantly reminding him to wash his hands and not be rough with the pretty things. We make a good team.

Do you have something you have found in an unexpected place that brings you joy or makes you smile? If so, we would love to hear about. Share the name and the address of the store where you found it. I may visit.  😉

Joy is contagious…share your joy today…

Big Hug…W