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    A Touch of Spring

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

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    Springtime is here! Much as we enjoy the cooler days and the comforts they bring, there is something to be said about these perpetual days of sunshine and beauty. Before living in southern California, I'm hard pressed to remember any other place with such amazing weather. The rain falls while you sleep, the days are crisp and bright, the skies are the most gorgeous shade of blue, and thanks to the rain, the grass is the lushest green. Is it any wonder the days are longer? Everyone wants to be outdoors enjoying nature's bounty.

    Springtime makes everything feel fresh and renewed. On a personal note, it really motivates me to simplify; purging the uncessary, and cleaning house and home. The windows are open most of the day, which always perks us up, and foods and spirits are lighter. It's not just our imigination. Spring really does revitalize every part of us.

    It also brings my favorite palate into play when decorating: green and cream. I don't think there are any other colors as versatile or as pretty (but that's just my humble opinion).

    We'll be celebrating Easter elsewhere this year so I've kept our decorating to a bare minimum. Our front door wreath is simple: green berry sprays and cream hydrangeas. Inside the children's "Easter bunny" is donning a new ribbon in grosgrain to compliment the white hyacinth and hydrangea arrangement.

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    I'm going to be honest: bare bones decorating is my cup of tea. More focus is on my family and enjoying our days together. Christmas is our decorating bonanza, and I do love it, but smaller, simpler touches for the rest of the year keep us focused on the meaning behind our celebrations. I like pretty as much as the next person, but really, who has the time to do it all? Holidays will come and go, but this time with family, my children in particular, is precious and fleeting. I don't want to miss a moment.

    Do you have any tips to quick, simple decorating?

    All About Class

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    Freshman

    Yesterday Madeline registered for her High School classes. Be still my heart.

    We've been discussing summer school for a while; trying to decide which class she could take to get a few credits out of the way. Her Freshman curriculum, on the other hand, we had little information on until it was released last week. Mandatory classes aside, the biggest discussion revolved around her electives. There were quite a few options, and after weighing the pro's and con's with her Father, she ultimately chose some very challenging classes. Challenging, yet rewarding. Never let it be said that my daughter shy's away from anything. She's very excited by her selections: Chinese I, Intro to Personal Finance, and Computer Programming. I'm a little amazed by her fearlessness. Goodness knows I'd never make it in those classes.

    I love seeing Madeline flourish. She's been slowly blossoming from a bright child into an even brighter young woman. She has a quiet confidence, accepting the unknown with a certain grace that is well beyond her years. She's always been a little bit of a mini-adult, but I'm glad she finds the fun in her education and in the high school years ahead. Football and lacrosse games, dances, classes...she is growing more excited as the months slip by. She's already planning for Summer conditioning for cross country in the Fall. Following one of her passions into a bigger arena is something Madeline has been waiting for, and knowing her, she'll do brilliantly at everything she's chosen to be a part of next year.

    Until we're there, however, I'll hold onto her last picture as an 8th grader at the Great Race. For a few more months, she's still my middle schooler.

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    Shaking Up St. Patrick's Day

    Monday, March 17, 2014

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    We started off this St. Patrick's Day with a bang, or rather, a large shake. It's true that we experienced an earthquake this morning, but everyone and everything is right as rain. Perhaps it's due to our blessed Irish luck? The fact that we'd already donned our festive greens? In any case, most of us are at home as we continue to enjoy our three day weekend. Jackson and I are enjoying a few lazy Monday moments, while Madeline is at school for her History with Honors project on rights and responsibilities. It's all very impressive and we're so proud of her!

    I hope you all have a lovely day filled with luck and love, be you Irish or not. Cheers!

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    Happy Mardi Gras!

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

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    From our very own King and Queen.

    We wish we could be uptown with everyone, parading and watching Rex and Zulu. Next year we plan to be home with each and every one of you revellers! Be safe, stay warm, have fun, and laissez les bon temps rouler, mes amis!

    The New Southern Living?

    Friday, February 28, 2014

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    The first time I leafed through a Southern Living magazine I was 6. My mother had her stash secreted away in a side table in our living room and I was a busybody going through each and every one. Beacuse I'd never seen anything dedicate so much room to bold floral patterns in yellow and blue the memory is pretty vivid. There was a yellow and blue kitchen, a yellow and blue master suite, a yellow and blue sunroom~it went on and on. As I was still very much in the tomboy stage of my life, the publication didn't click with me right away. But when it did, I considered it a true rite of passage for this Southern girl.

    Southern Living used to operate by a very simple formula: every issue would feature homes in the South and explained what made them so quintessentially Southern. Page after beautiful page the articles would touch upon the homeowner and what inspired them, the designer, the design esthetics. Coveted gardening tips were shared with aplomb. Lessons on proper etiquette and smatterings of very Southern recipes were included in each issue as well. It enlightened me to Southern commonalities as well as the more unique aspects of the region. It was hard not to fall in love. I imagine it was why my mother was a devoted reader as well.

    For better or for worse, Southern Living has been changing with the times. What used to be strictly about the traditional Southern house and home has expanded to travel locations, spotlighting Southern celebrities, a much larger food section, and in the most recent year or two, fashion. This is just a little of what they've begun to include in their monthly issues. A part of me thinks the magazine is trying to compete with other Southern publications such as Southern Lady and Garden & Gun (though it's still very much apples and oranges).

    What's wrong with this? Technically, nothing. They want to stay current and explore Southern culture in more depth, and there's certainly a good argument for the direction the magazine is taking. But for me, a faithful reader for well over two decades, the sheen of what made Southern Living so special has begun to fade. I know I'm not alone. Many friends have been commenting on the direction Southern Living has been taking lately and we're all on the fence. My mother, on the other hand, has just plain given it up. She doesn't understand what has become of what was once her favorite magazine.

    Being from Louisiana, I love learning more about my home and the surrounding states. Picking up on new artisans, ways to improve the home more economically, delightful new recipes~all of this is fine and good. But it all seems so much now. Considering its size, there seems to be too much between the covers. It feels like a completely different magazine and maybe, that's because it is.

    In the March 2014 issue (which spurred this post), the magazine dedicated a fourth of its content to "Southern style". It was a cute special edition and I liked a little of what I saw, but it felt like it could have been a separate issue. And if you're considering branching out so boldly, why not use someone on the cover everyone would immideately associate with the South? Dolly Parton, Reese Witherspoon, even Jennifer Lawrence would have been a better choice. I know, I know. There is the availability issue and Hayden Panettiere is in "Nashville". But really? While I'm sure Hayden is lovely, she's from New York. It's one of my favorite cities in the world, but the last time I checked New York City was still well above the Mason-Dixon.

    It wasn't my intention to pour out my feelings about something as small as this, but after the latest issue I felt pressed to write... something. Anything. Since it's been a part of my life for such a long time and a constant no matter where I've lived, there is definitely sentimental attachment. Perhaps I'm having a hard time letting go of what it was, and what it's becoming. I can't say I'd read it now if I was picking it up for the first time. After all, it was the simplicity of the original Southern Living formula that really pulled me in. I'm not ready to stop reading~far from it. It's still one of my favorite reads after the children are asleep, and it keeps me connected to home. I just hope they don't try too much too quickly. There's definitely something to the adage of "if it's not broke, don't fix it".

    And I hope Southern Living takes that to heart.