Saturday, June 13, 2015

June, June

June has slipped up on me! Granted, there has been so much going on. Last weekend the second Sanjanwala sister was married! Their set up was so beautiful - on the groom's family land in Pickens.

It doesn't hurt my feelings one bit that the reception food was Indian.

Sital and Kiger stayed with us over that weekend and we headed to our favorite brunch spot, La Finestra, the next morning. It never disappoints. We are all infatuated with their certain Bean Fruit road made specifically for them. We all ended up with bags to take home.

Now, beach week has begun! That REALLY snuck up on me. Right now I'm typing from this precious cottage that I found online. It's a block away from Ocean Springs' downtown, so we walked to everything last night. Shortly we'll be walking to TatoNut for donuts!

Paul and I dream daily about what it would be like if we could add on a screen porch. We were in heaven sitting out here yesterday evening!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Wedding Bells

Months and months of planning came down to this weekend - Sital finally got married! We've been talking to each other about plans and details every day for so long. It's hard to believe it's finally over. My calves are sore, I'm tired, our house is dirty, but I wouldn't change a thing.

Festivities started Friday morning with a mendhi ceremony where all of Sital's close female friends and family members received henna. Each design was freehanded and completely different!

Sital had her's applied the night before and it took six hours. It's customary for them to write the groom's name somewhere on in her design. Kiger had to find his name on her on their wedding night!

That night we held their wedding eve bash at our house and had so much fun. I'm sorry I don't have any pictures. Since there is no wedding party and they knew they would already have rehearsed the ceremony, they wanted a party for all of their family and out of town guests. We were happy to throw it for them with the help of Kiger's mom!

Bright and early the next day Sital and the female side of her family used our home as their spot to get ready. Kiger and Sital had their first look in our backyard and it was so sweet seeing Paul leading him out there with his eyes closed.

Just before the ceremony. 

After a few wardrobe changes. We had such a great time. So good to see my best friends, especially since we are spread out all over the country - Denver, Nashville, Orlando and Oxford.

Today we tried to take it easy, but we are working to finish up the next magazine. We send it off the the printer next week!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Has it been raining a lot where you are? I feel like it has been constant rain the past couple weeks and we're about to get slammed with another week of rain. April showers bring May flowers, right?

Another thing about April - it's packed with things to do. I've taught my first social media course for the season at the college where I work for their community enrichment series (a three hour night course), we've had tons of community events and we're slowly but surely working on some house projects.

One of our favorite events of the month - First Thursday in the neighborhood.

Every week this room develops further and further. Last week we mounted a floating shelf out of a cool plank I found in our garage shop from years past. We'll have a blog about that project soon!

We've also rearranged our dining room a bit to accommodate our new retro dining set that I bought off eBay. Those chairs are some of my favorite pieces in this house.

We have a new Thai place in the neighborhood about a mile from our house called Surin. I can't quit the Super Crunch Roll (top). 

It's also officially sandal season. I ordered these sandals online from Target and they're so comfortable.

The backyard is in full bloom. Look at the azalea bushes next to the garage!

Our friend Julia (above) is one of the meteorologists for the local NBC affiliate and last night we got to go watch them as the 6 o'clock news ran from the weather center. Paul loves seeing the behind-the-scenes of productions, so he was in heaven learning about all the different aspects of filming and making a news package. Where we were sitting was probably five feet off camera and it's a little nerve wracking to think that one wrong camera move and you could be on air!

Last night was another concert series in the streets of Fondren. So much fun to see all our friends and neighbors out enjoying a cool spring evening. Our friends Craig and Lori have started a popsicle cart that they take around to events and pop-up in the neighborhood during the week next to the Capri. Their avocado pop is probably my favorite at this point.

Hope you guys have a great rest of the weekend!

Monday, March 16, 2015

How I Got A $6,400 Mid-Century Sofa For Less Than $500

We're nearing the one year mark on owning our home which means for almost a year now, our front living room has been empty (see progress pictures here). We've had other projects we wanted to work on and, honestly, I couldn't find what I wanted. Where we live, it's hard to find mid-century modern furniture without paying a royal fortune (and that's when you can find it).

Step forward to last week. I went into one of the home decor consignment stores I visit from time to time and lamented to the ladies in the store that I still couldn't find a good sofa. One of them told me they'd seen one recently posted by another store, but it had been a few weeks and, oh, it was orange. "BUT THAT'S WHAT I WANT," I said and furiously looked it up on my phone. 

And I died a little bit on the inside because this was the photo posted:

Let me tell you, your mind will do irrational things when you want something. I was on a mission. I envisioned someone swooping in right before I could get there. I went out to my car and gave them a call. The sofa was STILL THERE and currently going for $560. That night, I showed Paul the photos and he liked it. I went the next day to look at it, haggled with them and bought the sofa for $485. I was pretty happy with myself.

I started searching online because I knew this was an incredible piece. This is what I found:

Oh, you know, a refurbished and reupholstered version for $6,400 online. Ours, to our knowledge, has the original fabric.

Here was another similar model we found:

I couldn't have been more proud of this purchase.

And the cat approves.

Can't wait to show you how the front room is finally shaping up!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lousiana Girl Trip

How time flies! I can't believe it's already been a week since this trip ended. Every spring my mom, sister, aunt, cousin and I go on a trip on some sort. It started as our spring break trips when we were in school and we've gone everywhere - from the mountains of North Carolina to Disney in Orlando. For about ten to fifteen of those years, my mom has been saying she wanted to tour the Tabasco factory in South Lousiana. This year, that came true.

In true McNeil fashion, the early morning start began with Bloody Mary's. We got a kick out of mom trying to mix them on a bumpy interstate.

After lunch in Ponchatoula, we made our way to Carville, home of the country's former leprosarium. If you've ever read the book In the Sanctuary of Outcasts, you'll know what we're talking about. This place was very interesting.

There was even a room where you could pull "files" on patients and learn about how the disease had affected them.

But, the main portion of our trip was spent in New Iberia. This is one of the places you could stay on the property where we stayed.

This was actually where we stayed. We were skeptical when we pulled in, but it ended up being great. It was right on Bayou Teche!

New Iberia has some gorgeous homes downtown.

Ah, Tabasco land. Mom was really excited. To be honest, there wasn't much to photograph of the actual factory, but the grounds were very pretty. (Mom has some great info on her blog about the trip!)

Also on Avery Island was Jungle Gardens, land conserved by the family, which included all kinds of themed areas. This house held a Buddah from 1100 AD.

After that, we all needed a sandwich... fast. We were all getting hangry and turned into a diner with a packed parking lot (usually a good sign). They had good poboys that you could get a half of, but double the meat. Here's mom's overstuffed oyster poboy.

We also toured a rice mill in town and the start of the show had to be the factory cat. She knew how to get what she wanted.

While a the rice mill, the tour guide told us about crawfish fields and what to look for. On the way back home, we stopped to see what they were all about. 

And no trip through Baton Rouge is complete without a trip to Trader Joe's. My pantry was very happy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Just wanted to pop in for a quick hello! Things have been so busy lately, including finally wrapping up our next magazine and I've been having to work weekends lately. But, our weird Mississippi weather has been giving us a few glimpses of spring.

Like these beautiful buttercups that are EVERYWHERE in our yard. It's been fun to see things start to show up in random places.

A (semi) quiet moment I captured the other day while Paul was watching the Stevie Wonder tribute concert. Loving this book right now!

Until next time!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Progress: Hall Art Update

Happy Sunday! I'm really glad it's a three day weekend. It's been a pretty busy week for me work-wise, so it's nice to have some time off. Not to mention, we're getting a new refrigerator delivered on Monday. Yay!

Just wanted to tell you about a small project we just completed that makes me smile every time I walk by it. Over Christmas we painted our two hallways. On the "guest" side of the house, the walls have been patched multiple times and it shows. At some point, we are probably are going to have to re-do the sheetrock in this space. Paul was kind of bummed about how it looked despite our best attempts to smooth it, which did help. I told him not to worry, I'd arrange art in such a way that you wouldn't even notice. 

We have art that still needs to be hung and I especially wanted to feature our friends' prints that they make of maps featuring Jackson neighborhoods. So far they've done two - Fondren and Midtown - which I grabbed white frames for at Michael's. 

In the middle, I took an old art piece that we didn't want to use and painted the frame. I saw a project on Pinterest for gilded corners and wanted to do something similar. In her project, she painted painter's tape, but I just marked the frame and painted directly on it. It took probably four coats, but I like how it turned out. Over a year or so ago I bought this old map of Jackson from the 40s, but I haven't known what to do with it. I painted the back of some art paper and mounted it. Voila!


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