How to have a dinner party in your 20s (on the cheap)

When you don’t have a yard or a grill or the budget to get some filet mignon but you love entertaining, here’s a guide to have a dinner party with some friends!

Set the table:
Tablecloths (that you purchased last summer from Home Goods because you love linens) make everything fancy and fancy, well she doesn’t let me down.
Pick some flowers (gardenias in this case) from your garden!  Those are free!
Menu:
Pick a dish that people wouldn’t think to make for themselves but is still easy and delicious.  I chose chicken piccata.  I used Giada’s recipe but also considered Ina’s.  Ina’s had more ingredients, so I went with the cheaper (and a little easier) option.
For the sides, I went with a salad and olive oil/lemon/basil pasta.  The salad takes a full minute to make, and the pasta is a light summer treat (which I first had at the beach with the Lady).
The trick is to make it all about your main dish because you don’t have time (after work when your stomach is growling) to have 3 top-notch dishes, just focus on one.
Also, have wine.  People love wine.

Dessert:
Every dinner party has to have dessert.  When it’s summer time, cobblers are a good option, especially Pioneer Woman’s blackberry cobbler.  Frozen fruit is cheaper too!
Her cobbler is a hit every time!
Make sure to invite hungry and fun friends over and you will have a great night!
It’s almost like we’re real adults.  Almost.

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Because I’m an old Southern woman and we’re supposed to wear funny looking hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt.

This past Saturday was the Annual Garden Tour
of the American Hydrangea Society,
which means that hydrangeas are in bloom
and Atlanta is looking great.

I only made it to a few homes on the tour,
but there were some neat gardens
(In the last one, TV shows are filmed here,
as well as anUsher music video)

It’s a big weekend for my mom,
so I thought I would highlight how beautifully
her garden is blooming right now
The neighborhood girls play fairies here.
Precious.
And then there are a few touches
from my mom’s sweet friends
to honor her mother and her sister
because my mom’s side of the family knows their flowers
(as well the answer to any trivia question)

It’s A Good Thing

Saturday morning my friend Hannah (who loves Martha and named her blog after her!) and I went to see Martha Stewart speak at Home Depot.  Now that her show is no longer on air, she is promoting her paint, carpet, Christmas trees and decorations, curtain rods, and I’m sure other projects that she sells at Home Depot.

We were in the first 100 in line, so we received an autograph (which was more like a copy of one), a subscription to her magazine (this is what I wanted), and a $5 Home Depot gift card!
There were some Marthas in Training.  Too cute!
Martha and her #2, Kevin, showed pictures of their houses and discussed their style.  They discussed types of rugs and how far to the wall area rugs vs. regular rugs should go.  One tip: When sitting in a dinner table, when you pull your chair out to get up, all four legs should be on the rug.  Also, all legs of furniture should all be either on or off the rug.

Martha was actually pretty funny.  She would engage with the audience and she would say oh you can definitely do this, to which Kevin replied, “Well of course you think so, you’re Martha Stewart.”

She did have some Marthaisms.  When describing one house of hers, she said, “This is my house.  Guest house.  Well really it’s where I keep my books.  It’s my library house.”

Because we all have a house just for books.  When telling Sloan this story, we discussed how we have a bookcase for books now.  Maybe a library room later in life.  Nope, we’d be find with a wall for books within a room.

Though I’d move in with her if she asked.  I’ve always loved her Bedford house.  Stables and homemade cider.  I’d never leave.

I love these decorations.
I like how the picks on this one are heavily concentrated at the top and trickle down the wreath.  All of her trees are lit for Christmas.

This is her cappuccino maker that President and Secretary of State Clinton came over to use one day.

After discussing her pictures and doing some crafts, which I thought were tacky, she started taking questions, but I had to head out early.  It was a fun morning with the women and gays of Atlanta!

And now it’s the middle of September?

1. This is old news, but if you didn’t see it on Monday, my boy Andy Murray won his first grand slam!  Not to mention he already won gold at the Olympics this year.

It was a long, long match into five sets, but he did it!
Hopefully now he has the money to pay for a haircut.

2. On another sports note that is even older news, we did it!  We beat Missouri by 21 points, and learned again that Jarvis Jones is a beast!
3. On Labor Day, Alison and I intended to go hiking, but the forecast showed rain, so we decided to go to a museum.  I’ll count this as my cultural event for the month!

We went to the Bodies Exhibit at Atlantic Station.  I’m pretty sure this exhibit has been there for six years, but I had yet to go.
The biggest thing I learned was that using weights helps your muscles and your bones.  I had no idea about the second part.  Also, did you know that you are born with almost 200 bones but as an adult, you only have 120 or so?

The only time we couldn’t really take it was the skin of an entire body laid out like a rug.

I did ok during the fetus exhibit, but at the end when the baby looked like a baby and not a tadpole, I couldn’t stop thinking, this is someone’s child that they lost.

Then, there were the lungs.  If you are healthy, your lungs look like granite.  If you smoke, they look like coal.  Absolutely disgusting.

The entire exhibit was fascinating.  It was a little expensive at $24 for only taking us an hour to go through and we read every sign, but the learning and ability to get that close to science and the cost for the preparation they had to do made it worth it.  The curators of the exhibit did a great job.  (Katie, have you been?)

4. On a completely different note from above, I saw this on Pinterest and laughed and thought of my bacon lovers, Sloan and the Lady.
5. In the South, being 25 and single isn’t as common as you would think.  I love my friends married and not married, but this might be my life right now!  :)

Now, I think I’ll all caught up on my blogging!

Happy weekend!

Serenbe

Kacina and Jason came to town to visit Jamie so while the boys played golf, us girls took a little trip to Serenbe, which is southwest of the airport.

What a cute little self-sustaining town!  They even have a general store.  Sadly, the Olesons were out of town.
We went to brunch at the Hil.  All of the food is locally grown.

The food was delicious.  Jamie ordered us cinnamon rolls and carrot bread.  The icing on the cinnamon rolls tasted like pure cream.

I had a frittata with squash, zucchini, potatoes, feta, bacon, and tomatoes.  We also ordered mimosas because we are ladies who brunch.
The meal was delicious.  The cinnamon rolls were my favorite part.

We then were lifted by a crane out of there and walked around the shops.
I thought this was funny
There was a house sponsored by Bosch and Ballards that we toured for free.  It wasn’t my style, but I liked some pieces and got some ideas.

Love the collection of artwork here but don’t love the drapes cut off halfway above the ground.They had the valances through out the house, but I liked it best in the bathroom so you can still get natural light in when you’re putting on make-up.
This mirror is great and I hadn’t though of using it for a bathroom.
This was above the mantle.  I love the little sheep statue on the rock.
The fabric hanging behind the beds was neat but then the window treatment would have to be very basic.

We toured another house down the street that didn’t have any furniture, but I liked the layout much better.
This winding staircase went four flights.
I loved the wrap around porch complete with fans.
The house across the street looked just like the house from Sleepless in Seattle.
We opted not to see the HGTV greenhouse.

If Target was closer, I could live there.  I of course would have to get some of these
It was a great day with my best girls!

Who am I? I’m Jean Valjean

I love musicals, but I’ve mostly seen the ones that are the Rodgers & Hammerstein type.

Last week I went with the girls to see Les Misérables at the Fox.
Wow.  It was superb.  Jean Valjean hit the notes perfectly.  His voice was so good.

The rest of the cast was good too, though I may have preferred “I dreamed a dream” to sound like Susan Boyle or Lea Michele on Glee.

This is now one of my favorite shows.  I loved it all and had a good night with the girls.

Vegging Out

I went to Pike’s this weekend to start growing some herbs and vegetables for the summer.  I later went to Lowe’s because Pike’s didn’t have cilantro, and turns out Lowe’s is half off all herbs and vegetables right now.  So go to Lowe’s (or Home Depot), but at least Pike’s vegetables are certified organic so I guess I have that going for me, which is nice.

I came home with
Rosemary
Thyme
Green peppers
Tomatos
Basil
Mint
Cilantro

They are now in pots in the backyard hopefully getting lots of sunlight
This will be great for cooking, and eating a wonderful tomato basil sandwich in a few months.

For now, I can enjoy the mint in my tea on a spring afternoon!