Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Okra, from seed to table

and into my mouth!

I totally neglected my okra research and harvested the pods a little late. I usually do my research not before, but during or maybe even after the fact. Oops... I like to learn by doing.

According to this article, okra is supposed to be harvested a few days after the bloom, when the pod is 2 to 3 inches. Who knew?  For some reason, I wanted them to get as big as they could!

They grow quickly, though. There will be more.

Apparently it was a little late for a two of my pods, which were tough to cut, and lacking the milky slimy sap that makes okra so good. I still ate them, a bit stringy, but i wasn't going to let my project go to waste. I did snip a tender young pod and it was delicious!

So here they are growing in action:
So bigger isn't always better
On the chopping block:
 Battered & fried in breadcrumbs, panko & garlic powder:
tiny serving, saving some for Hubbs tomorrow!
and the rest of my meal :)
A delicious salad & chicken parm  that Hubbs made this past  weekend.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Replies or not

Come on people. Send them in!
Meanwhile, who is this?

Mystery mail
I know you used a blue pen. I know you sent it on the 20th of September, and I know you live in the Piedmont Triad area.
Its really no big deal, as there are no assigned seating. I'd just like to be able to be a good host and say your date's name. These things happen. People see a stamped envelope and assume it's ready to mail. I've received a bunch that weren't sealed. Interesting.

On the other hand, I particularly enjoyed this one. Messages and doodles are very welcome.
Thanks, 'cuz
I am very excited. Can't believe its almost here. A sweet reunion of our dearests in the name of love and marriage!!

In preparation, I had a good friend over  Sunday and we crafted. Well, we had brunch and mimosas and hung out, but we got some work done. This will be a recurring event open to any and all volunteers. I'll feeeed you!
mimosas with Erin

Monday, September 27, 2010

An easy, economical, fun, DIY project that's pretty, too

Last week I crafted. A lot.  I made over twenty of these orange flowers, and I still may make more.
 They are super easy to make.  The secret ingredient?

 Coffee Filters!
 So here's how I made them:

  • 1 or 2 packs of coffee filters
  • sewing needle
  • thread
  • little puffy balls for the craft store, maybe cotton balls would work
  • Rit tangerine dye
  • Bucket
    • I started with several coffee filters. The less you use you will get a carnation effect, the more, sort of a weathered azalea. I'd probably use about 12 or so for each flower.
    • Thread the needle, loop it around a fuzzy craft ball a few times to make it secure,
    • Push the needle through the filters' open side, separating each layer
    • When you have your desired flower size, fasten with a fuzzy ball on the filters' flat ends, looping to secure.
    The first ones might be a little funky until you make more,  as you decide how you like them.

    Coloring them:
    • You can use spray paint or a dyebath. I was already dying other things orange, so I used the dye
    For a solid color flower, dunk.  Then hang to dry. This is there those little white balls come in handy , with the dunking and the hanging. For a creamsicle like effect I dunked a couple sides,  leaving some white. I twisted the layers when dry. For color on the petal edges, I dipped a foam brush in the dye and brushed the flower with it. They're very absorbent, but tough and not a one ripped.

    The one on the left is solid, and the middle one is merely kissed with color.

    They remind me of the Mobile Azalea Trail Maids:

    I used to watch these ladies every fourth of July parade in downtown Atl, spinning and twirling those parasols. They must have been sweating their petals off.
     So what to do with these after November?

    a mass piling on a shelf?

    or littering the mantel?

    feel free to take 'em home with you.

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    Bully Wears Glasses

    The time has come for my geriatric dog to rely on some spectacles. He's come to terms with it, though he shook them off at first and the lenses popped out. Luckily, I fixed them. Otherwise, Mama would have to go back to the Dollar Tree for the third time this week.
    "I'm not yet accustomed to my new spectacles."
    "Deesteengueeshed, no?"
    "Ta ta."

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    The Smilebooth

    Rent it and you can have pics just like this:
    The flash is so bright, you gotta wear shades.
      This entrepreneur with an Atlanta area code boasts a Smilebooth, which is a photobooth that takes professional pics sans photographer. The pics are a fun addition to an event, but I would not get it in place of a photographer, otherwise you'd have shots like these ONLY. You can rent it nationwide and in Canada. I have a few questions, Is there a button or is this automatically timed? Motion sensor?
     Its pretty fun to see what comes up, especially how many of these people have cocktails in hand. You can visit the site and order the pics as well.

    I just decided to make my own little back drop, provide props and see what happens.

    We have a photographer and his name is Nick Sanders. He won the NC photography group contest and I have liked what I have seen so far. I really wanted a person to capture those moments. Otherwise we'd have to pile every one in front of the Smile booth the whole night. I particularly LOVE this photo, via Oh, Darling! Photography. Check it out. I imagine they're singing "Don't stop believing," or "Sweet Child of Mine." You can tell by the fists.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Vendor Spotlight: Branch

    Branch: Sustainable design for living, three things of which I am a big fan.
    Our DIY bar calls for cups. And knowing me I don't want just any cups. I want those compostable cups made from corn. Its just one of those details that appealed to me (Review: no to a wedding gown, but yes to corn cups. Crazy, I know).
    Serving suggestion: Garnish your corn with mint & lemon.

    I pay small prices for a better world, I hope.

    Well, its super hard to find these in quantities less than 1000. But after striking out at office depot, I knew the internet was my only option. I came upon Branch, which in based in San Fran. Not only did they have 50 for $7, but they have so much other cool stuff. I've probably seen this company in my Dwell mags. The cups weren't cheap, but they were a better deal than bulk.

    The site says the people that make them in Taiwan are treated fairly. and Also: 

    These cold cups, lids, and straws look and feel a lot like their plastic counterparts, but with two big differences: they're made entirely from renewable resources. And they're fully biodegradable within a commercial composting facility. PLA cups, lids, and straws break down within 90-120 days in a commercial composting facility. (By comparison, standard plastic cups, which are made from nonrenewable petrochemicals, cannot be composted, and can take decades to break down.)These cups feature a green stripe that reads "Compostable - Made from Plants". This helps to convey your green message, and encourages people to dispose of these properly — in a compost bin.

    Funny, in a compost bin, that must be why my cup from three weeks ago is still chilling whole in that hole in the back yard. Maybe I should stir it a little.

    Branch has the coolest things for the home, and a registry to boot! I'd love to go into their retail store. On my list if I ever visit SF.

    Check our their furniture, kitchen stuff, rugs, and kids stuff.

    I am digging this rug, made of recycled leather belts:
    And this customizable mat:
    Shawn, Leilani, Shawlani I, Shawlani II, a bunny, and Bully?
     The bedding and furniture are on the "designer" price side, but like I say, good design will sell anything. The majority of the stuff is reasonable.

    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    Updates from the Whitmires:Vendors, meetings and lots of candy.

    Just met with my bartender and worked out the bar details. It is a full bar, by the way (and there are a lot of details).
    We've got a DJ!
    We have 47 attendees so far!
    And I have a load of candy. M&Ms with our names on them.
    Caterer is updated.
    Designer working on the floor plan.
    Crafting will happen soon for decor & favors.
    Compostable bar cups coming in the mail.

    I will have info on these lovely vendors soon!
    This is my new supply list:
    Jig saw
    fishing line
    crafty hands.

    any suggestions?

    Marriage on the other hand is  a compromise as always. I love my hubbs with all my heart but everyday is a lesson on how to live with each other. I am glad, though, that at least we have the marriage down solid.  The reception details are the only things we have to worry about. Then we will gather our family and friends together and celebrate love and marriage for its true meaning: not the wedding day, but each and every day after that!
    It sounds so backwards but feels so natural.
    I've always over thought everything.
    Like dessert before the meal.


    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    Happy Birthdays!

    A little late but still heart felt. Some very important women in our lives

    To Pam,my fellow atlien who I met after college.

    Can you tell its '04. We're wearing denim skirts to a club.
    When you meet someone for the first time and automatically click like you've known each other forever, its a beautiful thing.

    To Erin, my time friend from high school and beyond.

    We've been through years of changes and will always be. She's a doctor now, btw!

    and to Mama Whitmire, who really needs no intro!
    Shawn's sweet mama!

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Let's hear it for my boy!

    ....cause every time he pulls me close I just wanna yell, "Let's hear it for my boy! Lets hear it for my man!"

    Shawn did laundry yesterday and washed my clothes as per the instructions on the care tags like I've asked him to do! I love small triumphs in my marriage. This is probably asking a lot from a man.

    And, we've also been working on our DJ's playlist. Denise williams, G n R, Tom Petty, Outkast, Luda and Garth Brooks rocked the house this morning.
    Dexter the Kitty

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Mommy's in town!

    outside Maria's
    and my Manay Tina!

    This weekend my mommy came to NC. We just hung around, visited some shops, met with the caterer and went out to eat a lot! Also,the Hubbs and I met with a DJ.
     ...and had a Smith Street Diner HUGE biscuit. They were real fresh 'cause it was early. YUM. Obvs, I took this home because I could only eat half of mine. This was Shawn's.
    Bully wanted hugs.

    We had a little photoshoot in our back yard with our little pony.

    Seriously, this dog is gorgeous. Look at that sweet mouth.
    Picture perfect.

     Dinner with my moms, Hubbs, & Cousin Tina

    and my fortune was dead on:

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    A wife obsessed, and another video

    I think I am obsessed with my husband. I miss him while he's at work. A lot. I mean, I work a lot, too and have TONs of projects and a gym to ignore, so its not like I'm not busy. We have very different schedules at the moment.

    So I often miss him.

    And when we are together, I stare at him and tell him I love him constantly. I feel like this would annoy me, but he's very sweet.

    So I watch this video while I am home, waiting for him to get home from work,even though I should be sleeping:

    He's a little bit country, and I'm a little bit rock & roll. However, I love the twang he puts on a Beatles song. This was during his singer/songwriter days in Florida, around '99/2000.

    I love his reason for performing the song. Sweet 24 year old Shawn ;)

    He will be performing at the reception, but probably not this song. It's sad.

    Some noteworthy videos:

     So if you haven't heard by now, I want some choreographed dances at our reception. Let this be your gift to us....and, ooooh, it'll be a gift to the world, my friends! Instead of wedding parties, we want dance.

    Examine, Learn, and pick a gang: Shawn or me. WHo's it gonna be?

    Flash Mob style is awesome but they left out the gang fight!

    Learn the A-Town stop, the muscle, the Rockaway & the clap. So 2004!:

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    The Story of Alison & Luke


       Last Sunday, my friends married each other. It was a perfect day.

     Alison is beautiful, and made for a stunning bride.

    But she will always be herself!
    She was full of laughter all day, the most easygoing and happy bride I think I've ever known. 
    ... her friends and family gathered...
    The Groom's mama
    Her mama

     One last touch up before walking down the aisle...

    ...and so it begins!
    mama & bro
    'Luke & his mama
    Luke practically skipped, I swear!
    His baby Blues

    Father & Bride
    All smiles

    They were all smiles. I can imagine this was the happiest day of their lives, so far.
    Hammering the wine and love letter box that will someday pull them back together if they start to drift. Or get thirsty ;)
    Mr. and Mrs. !!!

    The details were perfect. So them!!
    Escort cards: an Alison & Leilani collaboration

    Some precious guests:

     This is what love looks like.
    and this, too ;)
    It was a perfect day. I was glad to spend it with them.