Happy Day after Thanksgiving.  I am sitting in the quiet of my house recovering from too much turkey and a VERY late night with family.  Yesterday was a wonderful day, and I am blessed beyond measure, but I am happy for a moment of quiet.  Rather than featuring a "Black Friday Shopping Guide" today, I thought I would take a moment to take a little "inventory" of life.  I saw this list several months ago on Sydney's blog, and thought it was a perfect way to memorialize otherwise fleeting times and thoughts.  

Making: nothing right now.  I just finished several house projects in anticipation of Thanksgiving, and I'm sure some Christmas DIYs will be coming soon.
Cooking: nothing.  I'm recovering from an overload of Thanksgiving treats.  When I end the boycott, I envision new, healthy dishes featuring our greens from Black Hog Farm.
Drinking: blonde coffee with a little skim milk.  
Reading: Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen (my least favorite of her novels.)  About to start Dan Brown's Inferno.
Wanting: a sectional for our Florida room, a new washer and dryer, and a few cozy rugs.
Looking: forward to picking out our Christmas tree!
Playing: O Holy Night by Faith Hill- on repeat all month.
Sewing: curtains for our living room.  Though, I'm more providing the encouragement to my sweet momma as she does the actual labor of sewing.  
Wishing: for life to slow down.  Also, for HeroMe to be successful, exciting, and something Josh continues to enjoy.
Enjoying: Saturday mornings on the couch with Josh, drinking coffee, talking about nothing and everything.
Waiting: for the A/C and Heater repair man.  Our house is COLD upstairs!
Liking: living so close to most of our family.  (Missing our Chapel Hill counterparts though.)
Wondering: what it will be like to wake up in my own bed, in my own house on Christmas morning.
Loving: Mac's new "haircut."  He looks so cute with short ears.  
Hoping: for a satisfying, challenging job.
Marveling: at how small changes in decor can make a house feel totally different.
Needing: manchego cheese, crusty bread and castlevetrano olives...always.
Smelling: a frasier fir candle.  This time of year I can burn them without shame!
Wearing: leggings, boots, and a flowy shirt as often as possible while the weather is chilly.
Noticing: the light shimmering on the pool behind me.
Knowing: that nothing makes me happier than a quiet night on the couch with Josh.
Feeling: stuffed, tired, and so content.
Thinking: about the to do list for our house that is always running in my head.
Bookmarking: favorite quotes.
Wrapping: baby gifts for so many friends and their sweet little ones.
Giggling: at SNL, How I Met Your Mother, and anytime I am with Reagan.
Feeling: peaceful, happy, blessed.

Happy Weekend, Friends.



happy thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving.  I'm off to finish my desserts and laugh with cousins as we fry oysters and shrimp for our pre-Thanksgiving feast.  Wishing you a day of family & friends, turkey, and lots of time to reflect on the things for which you are thankful.  



favorite things: winter white

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I adore winter white.  There is something so chic and clean about the look, and winter white is often more forgiving and wearable than the stark white tones of summer months.  Winter white is great on its own or as a neutral base in your outfit.

Pair your white ensemble with a nude shoe to keep the look soft and classic a la Kate Middleton. Adding a pop of gold is a great way to finish the look, but keep your jewels simple so you don't detract from an overall effortless feel.   If all white isn't the look for you, try a piece with contrasting trim like this adorable coat. Most importantly though: wear the right undergarments.  White is never a good choice for wearing under white.  Always go with a nude tone that is as close as possible to your skin tone.  

Do you have a favorite winter white outfit or piece?  How do you style it?

I'm linking up with Annie & Morgan again today!



My Thanksgiving Picks

Just in case you need some last minute inspiration in the kitchen, I thought I would share my Thanksgiving day menu picks.  We are celebrating with my extended family so there will be between 40 and 50 people at my parents' house on Thursday.  Everyone is assigned to bring a few dishes to share, and I can't wait to have everyone together.  

This year, Josh and I are assigned to make bread and two desserts.  I will definitely be making these popovers, and this pumpkin spice cake.  At my dad's request, I am also planning to try my hand at this fancy version of pecan pie.

I'm also looking forward to fried turkey, cranberry orange sauce, roasted brussels sprouts with apples, and a sweet potato and pomegranate salad.  We'll round out the menu with some squash casserole, green beans, and a chocolate mocha pie.  
My mouth is watering as I think about it!

What's on your menu this Thursday?  Will you celebrate with a big group or keep it small and intimate? 



thought for the week: grateful

Happy Thanksgiving week!  Despite long lines at the grocery store and an ever growing to-do list, I am so excited for Thanksgiving.  I can't wait for the family to be together, friends to come back to town and delicious popovers and cranberry sauce to adorn the table.  Even better though is an entire day devoted to being grateful.  It is so easy to get caught up in the madness of consumerism, a cycle of dissatisfaction, or just living life without realizing how blessed we are in each moment.  

At church this weekend, the minister said something that really struck me.  He said everyday in this country, we have opportunities and blessings that other people cannot even fathom.  We have food, shelter, education, and the opportunity to better our situation- every. single. day.  When I stop for a moment to let that sink in, I am struck by how much I take for granted.  As I prepare for this Thanksgiving week and the impending Christmas season, I want to remember to be grateful.  Not just thankful for the big things or the easy things, but grateful for the little things, the annoying things, and the "blessings" that each day brings.    

adapted from source

Anything in particular you are grateful for this week?  



happy friday

Happy Friday!  Josh is home from China, (more on that later) and we have a BUSY, BUSY weekend ahead.  We are catching up with friends for dinner, trying out a new "secret" speak-easy, painting the dining room, hanging pictures, getting ready for Thanksgiving guests, finalizing recipes for Turkey day, and celebrating one sweet baby's baptism.  Oh, and Josh is hoping to "switch" the office and guest room upstairs.  Not sure how far we will get down the list before jet-lag takes over, but we are going to try our best.  

Do you have any big weekend plans?  Am I the only one crazy enough to feel like I need to do a test run of recipes before serving them on Thanksgiving?!  Head on over if you want to try my pecan pie or pumpkin spice cake this weekend...



X Bench Makeover

Remember waaaay back when I told you about some of my favorite blogs in this post?  Just in case you've forgotten, I want to re-introduce you to Becky's blog, Cup Half Full.  Becky has an incredible eye for design, AND she is fearless about her DIY projects.  While I always look to Becky's blog for inspiration, I can't claim to have followed through with too many DIY projects.  A few months ago, however, she posted an X-bench makeover tutorial that I knew I had to try. 

sources: benches // spray paint // fabric

After pumping myself up, finding fabric, and driving to every Target in town to find the benches, I got to work.  I have to say I am pretty happy with the way they turned out.  Be sure to check out Becky's blog for more great design ideas.  
I think an Ikea Rast makeover is next on my list!  

What do you think?  Are you brave enough to DIY?  



favorite things: thanksgiving table

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This Thanksgiving, I am leaning towards rustic + glamour.  I think wooden serving pieces and natural elements are perfect for this time of year, especially when paired with beautiful flower arrangements and golden touches. {Hello golden flatware!!}  Then throw in an unexpected textile {like these green ikat placements} to keep everyone on their toes.  Last, stemless wine glasses are a MUST.  They're the perfect height for passing stuffing, and they can serve double duty as serving pieces for soup and some desserts.  

What are your Thanksgiving plans?  Do you have a particular theme in mind for your table?

I'm excited to be linking up with Annie + Morgan for Wishlist Wednesday again today.  


the new ann elliott

Here she is- shiny, sparkly, and new.  I am so excited to reveal the newly updated Ann Elliott.  I think the layout is just perfect, and I'm in love with the simple yet sophisticated look.  I hope the new "post series" links on the sidebar will make it easier to find posts on your favorite topics, the pinterest hover button will make it easier to save things you like for later, and the instagram feed will offer a few more sneak peeks into life that don't make it onto the blog.  

I also can't say enough wonderful things about Suzana, the designer, creator, and owner of This Girl Design.  It was a pleasure working with her, and I would highly recommend checking out her Etsy shop if you are interested in giving your own blog a facelift.  She was quick, efficient, and so, so helpful with all of my questions about the design and installation process.  She not only customized the design and installed the template in a matter of minutes, she also made updates and quick fixes almost as quickly as I could send her an email. AND, it's your lucky day!  Suzana is offering a $10 discount on products in her Etsy shop starting today with the code "HOHOHOLIDAYS" at check-out.  Head on over to her shop and see all of her adorable templates and services.

As always, thanks for stopping by.  I'm excited about these changes at Ann Elliott, and I'm thankful for all of you who read, comment, and keep coming back for more.  

PS: I wasn't compensated for this post, and I paid for my blog template.  Just wanted to share a wonderful small business!




Happy Friday, Friends!  I hope this week has been full of blessings, and the weekend brings an abundance of whatever you desire: rest, fun, energy, etc.  The weekend around here is shaping up to be a busy one as it's the last weekend until January without holiday festivities, family, travel, or some other activity to keep us occupied.  And don't even get me started on the Christmas shopping that needs to be done.  I'm already feeling desperately behind.  All the same, I love this time of year, and I am happiest being busy, so I think I'll just embrace the chaos and try to remember to stop and smell the {peonies?!}

Do you have any fun weekend plans?  Or will you be relaxing in preparation for the upcoming weeks? Either way, be nice to people, breathe deeply, and enjoy.  



hunter's alley

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Have y'all heard about Hunter's Alley?  It's a new site "for design lovers," launched by the founder of One King's Lane.  They feature tons of unique and vintage items, and they even offer a service for selling your own items- for free.  I've only spent a little time on the site, but it's already one of my favorites.  You can shop by category, including decor, art, jewelry, lighting, and books to name a few.  You can also just see what's new under their heading "the latest."  Hurry to check it out- inventory changes often.  Someone snag this clutch and these chairs before they are gone!

Happy Hunting!


favorite things: back to basics

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This week, I'm craving basics.  It's so easy to get caught up in the bold, bright, or trendy items, but without the basics, the fun pieces just don't seem to work.  I have heard nothing but rave reviews about these leggings, I would die to own those two tone shoes, the black pumps have just the right oomph with the calf-hair, and I have been searching high and low for the perfect white tunic that isn't too sheer.  Basics aren't just for clothing either.  I have used Caudalie products in the past, and I loved them.  They are pricey, but worth the sticker shock for smooth, firm, and soft skin.  It's amazing how a few basics can make all the difference. 

Any basics you are wishing for this week?

Linking up with Annie and Morgan for Wishlist Wednesday.  Check out what others around the blogosphere have on their wishlists this week.



easy spaghetti sauce spruce up

Looking for a quick, easy meal for a weeknight?  Look no further than an old standby...spaghetti.  I must admit, I debated sharing this as a recipe, since most of the hard work is done for you by the good people at Newman's Own, Ragu, etc.  In the end though, I thought you all needed to know about this super easy way to make store bough spaghetti sauce a little more special.  All you need are a few quick additions to the sauce, and you have a meal that tastes homemade.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Spaghetti Sauce Spruce Up
Recipe can be adapted or changed to your taste!

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbs. chopped garlic
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 jar tomato and basil spaghetti sauce
  • 1 Tbs. Italian seasoning
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste  
  • *Don't forget your favorite spaghetti noodle and parmesan cheese...I use whole wheat, extra thin noodles and shaved parmesan cheese.

  1. Cook ground beef in a nonstick skillet.  (No cooking oil or spray necessary)
  2. After beef is fully cooked, transfer to a plate lined with several paper towels to absorb grease.  Set aside.  
  3. Wipe out the pan and add olive oil and garlic.  Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, until garlic is aromatic.   Add chopped tomatoes and saute 1 minute more.
  4. Add jar of store bought tomato sauce and mix well.  Add Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.  
  5. Just before serving, add several handfuls of spinach.  Stir spinach into sauce until spinach is incorporated and has just begun to wilt.  
  6. Top cooked noodles with sauce and parmesan cheese.


thought for the week: different worlds

Last Thursday, I stopped to get a tank of gas.  Now you should know that getting gas is literally my least favorite chore.  It always seems like such a waste of time to me to have to stop for those few minutes.  Admittedly, being stuck on the side of the road without gas is a bigger waste...such a struggle, I know.  Anyway, my attitude towards stopping for gas usually means that as soon as the gas nozzle is pumping, I am trying to find some other way to be productive while I wait.  This could be cleaning out my purse, replying to an email (inside the car- no gas fumes and cell phones for me), etc.  On Thursday, however, I just stood by the gas pump and looked around at the people filling up their cars. 

As I was standing there, I was struck by the diversity of the cars, people, outfits, and attitudes.  Though having a car is not universal, the universality of stopping to get gas struck me.  There was a business man in a fancy sports car and suit, a trucker, an older woman in an even older cadillac, a teenager pumping gas into the family mini van, and a mother trying to fill up with three kids yelling in the back seat.  It was a perfect snapshot of diversity, and it didn't matter who they were or what car they drove, each person had to stop and fill their gas tanks before moving on with their lives.  Ironically, this scene was not an anomaly, but in the past I have been too distracted to notice the diversity of people at the gas pumps next to me. 

While I can't claim to have introduced myself to a stranger at the gas station, or really to have even made eye contact, it did make me think about the variety of people surrounding me daily.  It's so easy to get caught up in my tiny tiny circle of friends, family, and neighbors and forget that the world is a big, BIG place full of people with unique views and ideas.  I did get a small taste of this lesson during law school, but the commonality of being students diminished some of the "diversity"of our views to a more manageable and comfortable level.

Though naturally an extroverted "people person," my deepest friendships are with a cherished few.  My goal this week is to internalize the concept that  "every person  is a new door to a different world," and extend this to my daily interactions.  The true challenge, however, is finding the ability to "go through the door" to experience new perspectives and in the best cases, new friendships.  Though this concept certainly pushes me beyond my comfort zone, in the end our diverse backgrounds and views are what makes life interesting.    

Happy Monday.



Happy Friday, Loves!  It's been one of those weeks around here.  You know the kind where you just can't seem to catch up on life?  In a way it's a blessing to have so much going on, but in other ways I just want to do some laundry, unload the dishwasher, and finally finish "changing" our closets for the season.  There is a very real part of me that can't feel settled when my life is disorganized.  

So here's to a weekend of getting organized.  I am making my list, drinking my coffee, and excited to take a few deep breaths.  Maybe I'll even finally choose that paint color for our dining room...

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


sale, sale, sale

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Just in case you haven't heard, Shopbop is having a 30% off sale.  The sale started yesterday, and it goes through tomorrow, so I thought I would make things easy on you and share my picks.  Hurry on over and scoop up these deals while they last.  Maybe grab yourself an early Christmas present or two. I definitely have my eye on those Rebecca Minkoff heels, that blazer, and those perfect PJs...

AND, because one is never enough:

Happy Shopping!


favorite things: greens, golds, and browns

sweater with elbow patches // ring // bag // necklace // piggy bank
It's no secret that green is my very favorite color.  Throw in a little brown and gold and I am sold.  The combination of all three colors makes me love this necklace for fall, and you could wear it well into the holiday season with the touches of emerald green.  And, how adorable is this piggy bank?  What a perfect way to save my pennies for that purchase that I would only make "when pigs fly."  

Linking up with Annie and Morgan.  What "favorite things" are you wishing for this week?



homemade chicken pad thai

You know how every know and then a craving hits that can't be satisfied with an imitation?  Like when all you want is a coke and all you can find is a diet coke or coke zero...nothing good can come of it.  That is usually how I feel about most things in life.  I like the real deal and avoid diet, low cal, fat-free, etc. at all costs.  UNTIL, I found this low-cal version of chicken pad thai from the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook.  I avoided making this for a long time thinking it could never measure up to "real pad thai."  Luckily for me, I was wrong.  It is delicious, low in calories, and totally satisfied my craving for thai food.  
Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Chicken Pad Thai
Original Recipe from The Flat Belly Diet Cookbook


  • 4 oz. flat rice noodles (I used noodles found at Publix)
  • 4 Tbs. low sodium ketchup
  • 1 Tbs. fish sauce ( I omitted this as I couldn't bring myself to buy something call "fish sauce")
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. peanut oil (divided)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2 inch long strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used my trusty pre-chopped garlic)
  • 3 scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 C. bean sprouts
  • 1/2 C. unsalted peanuts, finely chopped
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles according to package directions.
  2. Combine the ketchup, fish sauce, and sugar in a small bowl.  Heat 1 tsp. of the peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the egg and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes or until set.  Transfer egg to a bowl and reserve.
  3. Return the skillet to the stove top and heat the remaining 2 tsp. oil.  Add the chicken and cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes or until lightly browned and cooke through.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer.  Stir in the noodles and cooke for 1 minute longer or until hot.  Add the ketchup mixture and cook, tossing for 1 minute.  Stir in scallions and reserved egg and remove from heat.
  4. Divide among 4 plates, garnishing each with 1/4 C. bean sprouts and sprinkling with peanuts.  Serve with lime wedges if desired.


thought for the week: purging


In talking with my sister-in-law, the term "purge"comes up often when we talk about spaces in our homes:  closets, bookshelves, drawers, etc.  The word is easy to use, but the practice is more difficult.  When it comes down to it, letting go of things is not always the easiest task.  Sometimes we hold onto an object for sentimental reasons.  Sometimes we can't part with something for fear that we will need it again as soon as we say goodbye.  Whatever the reason, "purging" is one of those things simultaneously desired and dreaded.  

I think this quote sums up an attitude that makes the process a little easier.  Keep only those things that are useful or beautiful.  Useful to me means an object is actually used (and appreciated when used means it will never leave me.) Beautiful is obviously a personal opinion, but beauty is also the fun part. A bright painting from your artistic days?  A unique chair that you found at a garage sale?  The shoes you spent too much money on to ever wear outside your house?  
If you know they are beautiful, keep them.  Know what beauty means for you and embrace it.  

The very best part of the entire process, however?  
Once it is done, there is more room to appreciate the things that survived the cut.  
Life often feels less overwhelming when our spaces and possessions are less cluttered.  

Do you have a part of your home that needs to be "purged?"  
Or do you have something you keep in your life because you know it to be beautiful?  
I'd love to hear from you.  

Happy Monday.


november + links


Is anyone else feeling a little shell-shocked that it is already November?  It shouldn't be too much of a surprise, considering the slightly cooler air, loads of trick-or-treaters last night, and the fact that I don't feel even slightly guilty burning my frasier fir candle every day.  Nonetheless, this November snuck up sooner than usual and with much less warning.

In other news, this weekend is the annual Florida v. Georgia football game.  It's a rivalry that pits family members and neighbors against one another, and it is always fun to observe the traditions and superstitions of each team.  (I may or may not have been wearing at least one blue article of clothing every day this week.) We have come home for the game several times over the years, but now that we actually live here, we are excited to partake in more of the festivities.  From oyster roasts, to concerts, to tailgating, to braving rainy skies to watch the game, I can't promise the Gators will prevail, but I can promise a good time.  

AND, just in case you aren't interested in watching the big game, here are a few fun links to keep you occupied this weekend: 

Happy Friday, Loves.  Welcome, November.  Go Gators.