Tuesday, January 28, 2014


SNOOOOOW!  It's about time that we were rewarded for all this cold with a little white stuff :)  It's not a lot of snow, but it's just enough to make for pretty pictures.

So without further adieu, let me take you through my day!

10:00 am - Ombre' finally made it to Chattanooga!

1:00pm - Snow in the parking lot. After a successful trip to Armando's.

2:30pm - Still at work, more ombre'.

5:30pm - Driving home. The benefit of staying at work is empty roads.

6:00pm - Snow in the driveway!

Animal tracks, my place feels like a zoo sometimes.

I can't bring myself to lock my shed.  Bunnies need a place to stay warm too.

Doesn't it look so pretty now that it is painted?

This rhododendron is cold, but should be ok.

There will not be a bonfire tonight.

My front yard.  I am a little sad the pond decided to thaw out yesterday.

I know the roads are going to be horrible tomorrow, but I'm enjoying the snow while I can. :)

Update 1/29/14:  Here is what the pond looked like this morning on my way to work.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014 garden plans & seed sales

When it comes to gardening there is always a to do list.  And it seems like the more time you spend working in the garden, the longer the list gets.  The good thing is that when you work in the garden, you can physically see the results.  My yard has come so far since I've moved in, and I can't wait to take it to the next level.

 Here are my garden plans for 2014:

  1. Fertilize EVERYTHING.  A friend boards horses, and my parents have a truck.  I have no excuses.  The 'to fertilize' list includes, but is not limited to: my rose, the boxwoods, the rhododendron, the azalea, and the hydrangeas. (roses, boxwoods, holly, & magnolia 3/11/14, lots left to do)
  2. Make a map of my house & garden for the blog.
  3. Install lattice for my Confederate Jasmine to climb. (completed 3/16/14)
  4. Plant a rose. Probably Buff Beauty. (If they're sold out by the time I try to order I will hunt you down.) (ship date 4/7/14)
  5. Plant morning glories around a tree.
  6. Build at least 2 window boxes.
  7. Plant impatiens in my tree stumps.
  8. Plant goosenecks by the new day lily bed.
  9. Design & plant in the beds around my foundation. 
  10. Grow things from seed as much as possible. Basil, purple coneflower, black eyed susans, moon flower, morning glories, foxgloves, there are SO MANY SEEDS, and it's so much cheaper than buying plants!
  11. Experiment with cuttings (wild azelea, mock orange, etc?)
  12. Clear ivy in at least 2 more sections of yard.
  13. Plant more bulbs. (gladioli & fresia 3/15/14)
I'm dreaming big.

Part of why I'm dreaming big is because its cold outside and you can't do anything in the garden other than dream.  More importantly January is a big garden sale month, and I'm a sucker for a sale.  There are seed sales and plant sales, and tool sales, and it just makes me happy.  Some companies like Park Seed hold your plants until the spring when it's safe to start planting in your area.    I've been drooling over the Park Seed catalog (up to 60% off in January) , as well as the Burpee catalog & rareseeds.com. Now that I've got my wish list, I'm going to make a stop at a local nursery to see what I can get from them, then I'll place my online orders.

Come on spring!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

(Re)Discover Chattanooga - 1885 Grill

The best part of moving back to Chattanooga has been the food.  I know I keep saying this, but the selection, the diversity, and the quality of the food in Chattanooga is light years ahead of what 18 year old me remembers.

One of the newer restaurants in Chattanooga is 1885 Grill in St. Elmo.  The sign out front says 'Southern Coastal', and after spending 10 years in South Carolina, this made me happy.  I didn't learn to eat seafood until I left Chattanooga, and the idea of Shrimp & Grits made me feel warm & fuzzy inside.

I went to 1885 last weekend for a girls night/reunion, and it turned out to be a perfect choice.  Our waiter set a casual tone, and we were comfortable taking our time and catching up.  We started with drinks, and I tried the Catalina Wine Mixer (Prichards Rye Whiskey, fresh ginger, lemon and Cabernet). It was a really intriguing combination, and when our server said the bartender has never been known to make a bad drink, I went for it.

Catalina Wine Mixer

It comes out all layered and pretty (which I appreciate) but is a little tart to drink out of a straw without mixing first.  Once it's mixed, it was really good.  I don't use ginger a lot, but I feel like I should.  The drink wasn't overly wine-y or too heavy on the whiskey; the ginger and the lemon really balanced it out. 

The executive chef at 1885 is Charlie Loomis, and I absolutely love it that our waiter named him when he was explaining the daily specials.  It means a lot when a chef puts his name on something, and when the people around him are excited and proud of the work he puts out.  Which brings me to dinner, which was surprisingly not Shrimp and Grits.

Dinner was one of the Chef's Specials for the night: lamb over mashed potatoes, green beans, roasted tomatoes and a hearty sauce that I am at a loss for words to describe. When I asked the waiter to help me choose between the special and the shrimp & grits, he recommended the special, since I can always come back for shrimp & grits.  (And come back I shall)  I won't tease you by describing all of the goodness on my plate bite by bite, but I will tell you that the waiter offered to get me a knife for the lamb, but promised I wouldn't need it.  He was right, I barely needed a butter knife.  I rarely eat lamb, and this special was a treat.

The rest of the table seemed to enjoy their meals as well.  The Chef's Special Kale Salad went over really well, as did the macaroni & cheese.  The steaks were well recieved as well.  The one note on the steaks was that the initial reaction is that the portion is small, but with the sides included, the portions were right.  No one left our table hungry, I can say that for sure.

What I think I like best about 1885 is its location and atmosphere.  I really like that it is in St. Elmo and not downtown.  I enjoy going somewhere different, and I imagine people who work downtown don't always want to go back downtown after work or on the weekend.  Its a low key kind of place that seems to focus on quality, and the staff - from the chefs to the waiters - are proud of the food they put out.  It's a relaxing atmosphere that serves good food.  And the kind of place I can see myself going back to.

1885 Grill:
3914 St. Elmo Avenue
Chattanooga Tn  37409 

  • Monday–Friday: 4pm – 10pm
  • Saturday: 11am – 10pm
  • Sunday: 11am – 3pm
website  |  Facebook  |  @1885Grill  |  instagram
1885 Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

garden bloggers bloom day - january 2014

Happy Bloom Day!

Today is Garden Blogger's Bloom Day over at May Dreams Gardens.  On the 15th of each month, Carol encourages bloggers all over the world to post pictures of what is blooming in their gardens.  I have been an off and on participant for about 2 years, and it it one of my 2014 goals to be more consistent. (Looking back, I've never done bloom day in the fall.  I'll take that as a reminder I need to plant things that bloom later.)

Today marks the beginning of her 8th year documenting her blooms, and while I am no where near 84 posts, this is my 15th Bloom Day post, and my 12th post from my new house.  These posts really are helpful to me as I plan out my gardens, striving towards having something in bloom year round. I hope it helps give you an idea of some of the plants that do well in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee, and if you're curious about what actually blooms in January (since I don't have much of anything blooming right now) make a stop over at Carol's blog to see the full list of participating in Bloom Day.  Most of them have much more blooming in their yards than I do :)  

First up are the buds, and then we'll get to the blooms/berries.  Last January I had blooms on my Hellebores, and this year I'm just starting to get new growth.  The blooms will follow soon.

Hellebore growth
Last year was unusually mild, and this winter can't seem to make up its mind.  We've gone from mild to frigid, back to mild, and now cold.  This azalea has been confused, and I hope the red new growth makes it through the rest of our cold snaps.

My iphone photography skills leave much to be desired.
There is also new leaf growth on my rhododendron.

Rhododendron leaf buds

I really hope this isn't too premature, because this bush is really starting to recover from drought damage incurred before I moved in.  Apparently there was severe die back, and the bush has come back to about a third of its previous size. My first year here it had one bloom, and last spring it had about a dozen blooms.  With any luck, I was hoping it will be covered in blooms this year.

The other plants that are confused are the irises, I don't remember them coming up quite this soon.  They've never bloomed, so I'm hoping that the change will be good for them, but I'm not holding my breath.

Iris sprouting
Right on time are the Dwarf Nandinas and my Spirea.  The Nandina is still covered in berries, and the Spirea is starting to show buds.  I know we have some cold days ahead, but spring is in sight!


Dwarf Nandina
I saved the best picture for last, as the red berries are the most colorful thing in the garden right now.  Spring can't get here soon enough!

January 2013

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I started 2014 with a few goals for my house.  Specifically my kitchen.  I'm happy to say that I got the ball rolling this weekend.

When I first moved in to my house, my kitchen was a beige-y flesh tone.  The walls, the cabinets, the trim -  everything thing looked like dried out calamine lotion.   Good for hiding dirt (maybe??), but less than appealing.  The first thing I did before I moved in was paint the trim white and the walls an almost white yellow.

What a difference some paint makes.

Painting the walls was a huge improvement, and I left the cabinets for another day.  This past Saturday was that day.  I have never painted cabinets, but believe it or not, it wasn't that bad.  I ended up painting more than I planned, so I'm happy.  I'm just lacking the final coat of paint on the doors to finish the first cabinet!

Before - calamine cabinets.
So far.

The ultimate January goal is to paint cabinets, and install a pull-out trash can.  I'll have to move my refrigerator to paint, and the bonus project is to get some new line and connect my ice maker.  Do you know how long it's been since I've had a working ice maker???  At least 4 apartments, and almost 5 years ago.  I CAN'T WAIT!  It's going to be like having a new kitchen.

The February goal is to install floor to ceiling bookcases on the wall opposite my sink.  I took some measurements this weekend, and the bookcases I picked out from Ikea are going to work.  I found a nice tutorial online, so I'm going to add molding to make the bookcases look more like built-ins..  This is a rough sketch of what the wall will look like when I'm done.

Like I said, rough sketch.

This is where is pretty much what it looks like normally (with some curtains), so again, this will be a big improvement.

Photo taken a month after I moved in.

Friday, January 3, 2014

cheers to 2014!

Welcome to 2014.  We have survived the holidays and made it to another year.  Cheers to us!

My holidays were fun.  The tradition of Christmas Eve at my house (aka the old homeplace) continued, and more friends than normal were home for the holidays.  The group is rarely together at the same time, and it's a blast when we can hang out.  It's been a solid 2 weeks of hanging out with people I don't see enough of, and I loved every minute of it.

I also got Chromecast for Christmas, and its been great.  My tv is new, but my laptop is not, so they don't communicate directly.  My plan is to get a computer with a TV tuner & Microsoft Media Center eventually, but I traveled in 2013, sooo yeah.  Now with Chromecast I can stream from my laptop, or a few certain apps on my phone.   If ESPN would work on it's streaming quality, life would be amazing.

Speaking of amazing...I want this year to be amazing.  I don't usually post resolutions, I just give the year a general theme that has ended up sticking and carrying over to the next year.  2011 was (Re)Discover Chattanooga, 2012 was the year of my house, and last year was #travel2013.   All of these are things I want to continue doing in 2014.  I haven't come up with a theme yet but here are some the things I want to accomplish this year:

  1. Work on my house.  I did a decent amount of work on the inside of my house before I moved in, but once I moved in, my focus turned to the outside.  The immediate goal is to work on my kitchen, but I would also like to decorate my living room and paint my bathroom this year.
  2. Plant flowers.  You know, the ones that bloom and come back year after year.  I've mulched and prepped beds all around my house, and this year I want to actually put things in them.
  3. Post for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day every month.  This is the one group posting 'thing' that I have done, and hate that I got all slack for most of this year.  2014 I will be back, so prepare yourselves for at least one garden post a month.
  4. Loose another 25 pounds.  I am trying to get in better shape without compromising the things that make me happy, or doing things that make me miserable.  That means I eat and drink too much when I hang out with friends, and I never run.  In 2013 I was able to stick to those rules and loose 25 pounds, here's to doing that again :)
So yeah, the only things that stick out as a theme right now are super cheesey...things like Just Do It, Get 'er Done, or Live Life to its Fullest.  I can't handle any of those things, but when the right theme presents itself, I'll let you know.  In the meantime, tell me about your resolutions/goals/plans for 2014, hopefully I'll be inspired!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

#travel2013 - clemson for christmas

My last trip of 2013 was to Clemson, not actually for Christmas, but for the Backstreets Christmas Party.


There were some new faces, and a lot of old faces too.

The party was wonderful, and I spent the next day with friends enjoying a beautiful day in Clemson.

I miss this place and these people.

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