Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Greenville, SC shout out!

We took a quick road trip last weekend to scenic Greenville, SC.  Why Greenville? We were on a (slightly frivolous) mission to visit the new All-American Cottage house tour before it closed!

Maybe you've seen pics of this charming house in the recent Southern Living magazine? It's a joint project between Southern Living mag and This Old House. The house will be featured in both July magazine issues, but the open house is almost over. One thing that makes this house unique, is that it uses 97% building materials made in the good ole USA! That's not typical on most new homes.

This house is considered a "cottage" as in "small size", but we think it's just the perfect size for most folks...even empty nesters like us. The house was charmingly decorated, and appealingly simple. We loved it!!! Check out a few pics below.

Living room above, including a colorful fireplace painting that I adored. 

Adjacent dining formal and informal seating...all in one!

Master bedroom was lovely in beige and gray. Check out the old sewing machines repurposed into flanking bedside tables.

Just a cute hall nook. Loved the bedspring/birdie sculpture thing and the chalkboard above. This photo would make a great Pinterest pin!

Cute kids room upstairs, using my favorite springy green color.

All finished off with a charming back porch and beautiful (real) plants. 

The house tour was worth the trip, since we're considering moving and downsizing. If you want to see more, check out the links below.

While we were in Greenville, we did the tourist thing and checked out as much of the town as possible.

OH MY!  What a fabulous downtown area they have. We dined outdoors repeatedly. It's a treat for us, and rarely just the right temp, wind speed, etc. to do that in our changeable Kansas weather. We tried to eat "local" food, including the ever-popular Southern favorite, pimiento cheese spread....YUM!!! This restaurant kicked it up a bit with some hot peppers.

We also visited the local Confederate Museum, surprisingly tucked into a small house. The exterior didn't hint at the treasure trove of interesting Civil War momentos and memoribilia crammed inside. 

Our eager tour guide, (who swore  he was a relative of Daniel Boone) couldn't let the tour end without letting Alan hold a real Confederate saber....that was a first, for sure.

This was a spur of the minute trip, so we looked up needlework shops when we got there. Thankfully, we found a great shop, Panda's Crossing, in nearby Mauldin. We dropped in to say hi and accidentally found a weekend Stitch Retreat.

The enthusiastic owner, Donna (above left) invited us to stay for dinner, and who doesn't love a good potluck?! YUM!!!

After dinner, we left the gals to stitch the night away, while we returned downtown for more fun on our last night in Greenville.

We had a great time (loved the house and loved Greenville), but it's always good to be home. Just like our famous Kansas gal-pal Dorothy said....there's no place like home!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ali (Kate) is 30!!!

Do you remember when you turned 30? I can't remember a thing! But I did have a fabulous time helping our daughter, Ali, celebrate her 30th this past weekend.

It was such a FUN weekend...too bad I almost forgot to take pics. I'm always the girl with the camera, talking friends into posing for a quick shot, coaxing smiles from a group, etc. So why did I forget to photograph this weekend? Only menopause knows for sure! Anyway....

We traveled the well-worn 3 hour route to KC early last Saturday morning. We had planned to meet Ali for lunch, and had to get there early to pick up her sis and brother-in-law (SURPRISE!) at the airport. Sarah and Jeff had flown in early from Chicago to surprise Ali for lunch and the big 30th party.

The gang was all smiles after we surprised Ali at a Kansas City hangout restaurant, Houlihan's. Birthday girl Ali (left), Jeff (middle) and little sis, Sarah (right).

Ali put us to work after lunch working on decorations for her Cinco de Mayo themed birthday party. Wasn't it convenient for her birthday to fall so close to this fun holiday, especially considering our family's addiction to Mexi-food?!  We made these giant crepe paper flowers to hang. My first one was a flop and required major floral repair, but I got the hang of it eventually.

Then we baked 90+ cupcakes...spiced Mexican chocolate, vanilla and vegan vanilla (believe it!). Being a pro food blogger, Ali was resistant to using cake mixes, but relented and added some flavorings. She insisted on making all homemade frostings and piping it on in true blogger fashion. I was in charge of sprinkles during this operation. (just haven't mastered the pastry bag thing yet). We didn't have room in her loft kitchen for dozens of cupcakes, so we put them to rest on her bed.

We had a great day spending time together talking, eating, relaxing, and just catching up. You'll have to believe me, though,  because I didn't take pics!

The next day we gathered at Quay Coffee, a charming coffeehouse conveniently located a floor below Ali's loft in the River Market area of KC. Ali loves to hang out at Quay, so it was the perfect location for an after-hours private party for 60+ of her best friends. You can see our cheerful paper flower balls in the window.

We schlepped aforementioned cupcakes to the party, where they were joined by 90 burritos (thanks, Cilantro restaurant), chips, salsa (we made a couple gallons of this, too), fresh fruit and a beautiful frozen margarita machine. Sadly, no PICS!

As the guests flowed in, we were happy to welcome one of our fam's best friends, Dr. Erin McGonigle (right). We've known Erin since our kids were youngsters hanging out at Twin Rivers pool in the summer, and Erin and Sarah have been best buds for years!  Erin is presently in KC doing her medical residency and, amazingly, had the weekend off and could share in the fun and food!

Erin also confessed to me that she has always secretly wanted to be pictured on the famous L*K blog (who knows why?), so this is our shout-out to the famous, talented, beautiful Dr. McG! She's going to take care of me when I'm old, which (some days) isn't far off.

Even though I don't have a bunch of party pics to show it, we had a WONDERFUL time celebrating Ali's birthday with crowds of her best friends in KC. Above pic is the whole fam (minus Ali's pup Henry), with smiling birthday girl Ali in the middle. 

How do I describe the beautiful, thoughtful, creative woman my daughter Ali has become at age 30? I don't have the words (or the room to express them here!), but you can check out her reflections on turning 30 on her blog at

Love you, sweet birthday girl!