Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Window Shopping

Just the other day, as I was heading Westward to good old familiar Wal-Mart, I stumbled upon this jem of a shopping area. I had no idea such a wondrous world of shopping awaited me just over hills and through the cacti? from my house! I almost could not believe what I had discovered. It was as if I were a modern day Ponce de Lion, but instead of searching for the fountain of youth I had found the mecca of all shopping districts!

Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, William & Sanoma, St. John, Tiffany's, Papyrus...Oh MY!

Up, up and away I go on the outside escalator. Hello! I cannot begin to express how beautiful this place is and how conducive the spectacular weather is to outdoor shopping! Oh, how I wish I had someone to share in all the oooooos and ahhhhhhhhs with me!

The courtyards are like mini citrus groves. Huge fragrant ripe lemons are clinging to the branches. Even if you do not buy anything here, you can at least enjoy the view and the lush amenities.

I came to an abrupt stop as I peered into the Tiffany's window. That icy Tiffany blue is simply celestial and paired with that opalescent white, breathtaking! Add a little glitz and glam radiating off those sparkling diamonds, YIKES take me now!

Hold it right there.... sorry for all the intense reflections in the window. I would have taken the photo from inside, naturally to avoid that intense glare, but the armed guard looming at the front door was a bit intimidating. I do not know what it is that makes this tree look so different. It is as though they grouped the balls together in clumps and nestled them into the branches. Mental Note: Do this to my tree next year! Who knew you could reinvent decorating the proverbial Christmas tree? Oh, how this adds to the temptation to open another storefront! I want to merchandise my life away!
Can you stand it!? As if the front window is not enough, look at these tiny snip it windows with little mini winter wonderland vignettes. The scale is so incredibly small and the detail is remarkable, simply captivating.
Yes, this delicate tree sprouting up from the Tiffany blue bound book is made of nothing but paper! Simple, modest, recycled, re purposed paper paired with priceless, rare, chandelier diamond earrings......I did not know you could capture an oxymoron in an image?

Okay, I must step away from the Tiffany's window, I have been drooling too long. But look what is just around the corner! ANTHROPOLOGIE!!! I am stunned that the only Anthropologies store in Tucson is a stones throw from my house. Let me reiterate......I wish I had someone to share this with!!!!!

LOOk at their advent of sorts "count down" window display! LOVE IT! My dream job would be were my good friend Liz and I went to work everyday inventing visual merchandising for Anthropologie. Maybe I will add that to my Christmas wish list.......Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is a job with Anthropologie...oh yeah, and by the way, could you relocate Liz's husband and his job to Tucson, AZ. That's all Santa, Thanks!

Oh, and before the day was through, I had to swing by and stalk the ladies at The Grey House antique store. My jaw hit the floor as I picked up this little number refurbished from an old French mail sack! I no sooner held it, twirlled it around & test drove it on my shoulder, that a mother and her daughter came in and scooped it up! Damn, why didn't I buy it? It makes me covet it even more! Dear Santa.....can you add that purse to my list too?

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Blog Worthy Birthday!

This past week I celebrated my ___-ish (feel free to fill in the blank) Birthday! I awaited the day with some anxiety A: getting older, not always a joyous occasion and B: Will anyone remember? I was so far away from home, family and friends....... Is out of sight, out of mind?

Surprise!!! Happy Birthday!!!
The day began with a delightful call from one of my dearest friends, "The Parkers", wishing me many wishes and to tell me that I was in their thoughts! LOVE THEM! The rest of the day the calls just kept on rolling! Mom & Dad, Hubby, the Vanns, Tif, Wanda...... the bestest of the bestest! I truly felt humbled by each call, especially during this time of the year so close to Christmas.
As if the calls were not enough, the doorbell began to ring! What could it be? WOW, that is all I can say! I have never received flowers from 1-800-flowers before, and I must say I have always been a bit sceptical as to their results, but question no more! These tulips were and still are (many days later) FABULOUS! Wanda, you could not have chosen a more breathtaking bouquet! These were the healthiest looking tulips I have ever worked with! Not a single stem has faltered! Perfection!

As impressive as those flowers are, I could not wait to tear into the next few boxes! Oh, my, goodness! Gotta leave it to the Vanns! Only they could find a one-of-a-kind mirror such as this! I have the perfect place for it in my new "studio"! You both are so incredibly thoughtful and always seem to find the most perfect and personal gifts! I love all the 3-D images and "found things" jetting out all over! Cute, cute, CUTE!

The jaw dropping punches kept on rolling when I unwrapped this next present.....
Are you sitting down?
Hang tight to your tinsel,
A drum roll Please!

Parker's you have outdone yourselves! It truly is too much, but I am glad you did! For those of you who are unaware, for almost eight years of my existence in North Carolina I owned a store "Elizabelles" and in it I created many memories and steadfast friendships, which have remained close to my heart. Now, not only do I have the memories vividly stored in my mind and sole, I know own them in tangible living color!
When I first opened the box I literally did not know what to think. It sounds silly, but I had to put it down and walk away for a moment, because I felt so overwhelmed and so undeserving of such a gift as this. The attention to detail remarkable! Every emotion and memory is forever documented by a few brush stokes. It speaks only of love. The proper words cannot express to you how deeply touched I am by this gift. It means everything to me! Thank you.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Barbara Parker's Fail Proof Mini Muffins!

A dear friend of mine, Barbara Parker, who is not only one of the hardest working women I know, she also has an impeccable fashion sense, a beautifully decorated home, and oh yeah, a culinary whiz! I would say she is the Martha correction, Paula Deen of North Carolina! Not only are her recipes wonderful, they are practical (hence I dubbed her "Paula" not "Martha"). So, the other week my husband had cooked dinner for a friend and we needed one more thing to complete the dish, Hmmmmmm let me call Barbara and get her to die for muffin recipe!

Barbara's Muffins
2 Sticks of Butter
8 oz. Sour Cream
2 Cups of Self Rising Flour
*Mix ingredients in mixer (WARNING: VERY STICKY! you have not done anything wrong!)
Fill muffin pan about 3/4 full with batter, @ 375 bake 10 minutes until light brown.
With that said, you can easily alter the recipe and add shredded Parmesan, cheddar, etc. When she told me that, I remembered years ago when I was attending the Atlanta Gift Market, I went into a showroom that served mini cheese muffins stuffed with olives! Loved them! They had always left a lasting impression on my pallet so why not try and recreate them? Here goes:

First, we bought this yummy cheese wheel at Sam's Club. WARNING: may be a little intense for the average joe, but not for these Texans!

Next, I dipped into my husband's secret stash of stuffed olives. He loves any kind of olive stuffed with anything! How kind he was to sacrifice his habanero stuffed olives for this experiment.

Mixing the batter by hand is not impossible but necessary because the mixer and the beaters were still MIA in the abyss of boxes in the garage. I dabbed a bit of dough in the very bottom of the muffin cup, then placed the olive, finally topping it off with another dollop of dough.

Well, we forgot to take a photo of the end product, but trust me they were TO DIE FOR, especially hot out of the oven! The recipe is idiot proof and easily adaptable to fit your taste.......SOLD! They really are wonderfully delicious, light flaky and perfect for any holiday party.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My (Not so Big) Sis Comes To Visit!

What? I have only been here a few weeks and already I have family coming to visit! I didn't even have time to develop symptoms of being homesick! What a surprise! My sister and friends flew in to attend the Tempe Art Festival and what a beautiful day we spent together.
Dogs are truly and integral part of people's lifestyles around these parts. They are everywhere you look and are gladly welcomed just about anywhere. These little guys are hard at work modeling their owner's doggie hat creations. A bit strange, but none the less cute!

More dogs! I think I might could saddle up one of those and go for a ride!

LOOK! It is a beautiful caramel brown version of my precious Vergel!

What tantalizing delectables! It is a diabetics worst dream! Who knew you could sell cheesecake on a stick? Yummmm! Maybe they had to supply such provisions only to appease the men holding all of the women's purchases. What simple minded fools, men were lapping these goodies up on every street corner!

If I could have made one purchase it would be the following:

Oh, My, GOODNESS! I LOVE IT! The very talented artist is, Kari Von Wening and everything you see she has single handed fabricated out of metal and hand painted! Wow! My photos do not do these metal sculptures justice, they are extremely intricate and Huge! That heart is to die for, so industrial! I can just see it hanging in an ultra modern, "Domino-esq" style, minimal apartment in New York City! Ahhhhh, my alter mod ego could be unleashed if only I had a small place to live in New York, I digress...... Anyway, the artwork is fabulous and so is the artist. Do you not just love the dresses? If you get the chance visit her website for more fabulous inspiration!

Kari Von Wening's studio is located:
1691 Beverly Drive
Pasadena, CA 91104

Monday, December 6, 2010

Field Trip!

So, what a great diversion it was from the looming task of unpacking, to go on our first field trip into the big city of Tucson! Sure we needed to go to the grocery store for food, but first lets feed that shopaholics addiction to "Stuff"! Immediately I thought of the perfect place, "The Grey House" located on Grant and Country Club Road.

I know now what a meth addict must feel like, itching for a hit because after being smothered by my own stuff back at the house I needed something, anything to be a catalyst of inspiration to perpetuate me through my own design dilemmas.
Hurry, park the car I am dieing to get out and explore! LOVE IT already!!!! At the front door we are greeted with a spectacular re purposed old gold frame revamped into a chalkboard! Hmmmm...... I know I have a similar chalkboard back at the house (where I do not know) but I think that this is the beginning of the creative spark I was looking for to get me through the unpacking process. When I find mine, I will hang in near the kitchen door to greet all my new friends! Yes, I am aware I have none so far, but perhaps my dear friends back home in NC will come for a visit! Soon!

Heaven! Love it all and I have not even stepped inside the front door yet! I am still on the front porch!!!! Okay, I spy with my creative eye that precious antique frenchy scale down there on the floor! Do you see it? It is sitting on the basket. How wonderful it would be to have it on my kitchen table for Christmas with one side loaded with small wrapped packages labeled "NICE" and the other side loaded down with coal (like the fake chocolate kind you put in children's stockings) and wrap it with "NAUGHTY"!!! I have Christmas retail on the brain!

One step inside and it is simply celestial! The 40 something inch tall Santos figurine is TO DIE FOR!!!! How hip is Tucson I ask you? The prices here are soooooooo reasonable!

One look around and I want to ditch everything (well maybe the words should be re purpose everything) and start all over! Maybe since it is a new beginning for me I should change the look of my house altogether? Not drastically, but just a little different, a bit altered, just something fresh and new!

Okay, can I just say that this place is best described as follows: Ballard Design magazine and Charles Faudree (my favorite French inspired interior designer) had a child and its name is "The Grey House"!

Everything here is so chic! I LOVE these frenchy chairs and yes........ they are covered in a lavender velvet zebra print! Yikes they are so hip and on par with the lavender trend this season. They would be oh so fabulous in a bedroom or bathroom!!! Maybe even mixed in with the seating at your dining table! Maybe my dining table? Ymmmmm!

Oh ...... my goodness......... that Italian chandelier lamp is spectacular! How wonderful would it be in my living room!!!!!!!

The punches just keep on rolling! I could have spent hours here, especially had Shane not been sitting in the car. I think I left the engine running and the windows rolled down for him so he should be good to go for a few more minutes of browsing.

Wow, what a fabulous place! The ladies that are the owners were so nice and welcoming, Stacey, Lynn and Wendy thank you for a much needed inspirational day out and thank you for your smiling new faces!

The Grey House Antiques and Home Decor

Mon - Sat 10am - 5pm

2301 N. Country Club Road

(520) 325-0400