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My Exciting First Trip To Laurel, Mississippi


August 15, 2017, posted by Gina – After months of trying to schedule a day trip to Laurel, Mississippi, home of Erin and Ben Napier of the HGTV Series Hometown, we were finally able to take to the road this past weekend.

The Mississippi landscape looked very familiar on our short trip until we arrived about 25 miles outside of Laurel. Suddenly, the land began to slightly roll, the trees somehow had a different look and there was more Kudzu than I think I have seen in a while. We drove right to downtown Laurel and at first sight you could see the rebirth of what was undoubtedly a wonderful, booming town. In many small Mississippi towns, the downtown area consists of one main strip that is cherished. Laurel is host to several brick laid streets and the famous criss-cross string lighting strung across the downtown buildings.

As we drove the streets looking for Lee’s Coffee and Tea, a few businesses caught our eye.  They looked so fresh, new and welcoming. We also loved the brick laid streets and lights as they seemed to bring so much life and charm to the area. 

Pretty soon we reached Lee’s Coffee and Tea where we were able to park right in front. The inset entrance seemed to bring you back years with the colorful tile right outside the door.


Inside Lee’s we initially thought the restaurant had been there for years but later found out they were the first to take a chance and locate in downtown which is said to have created a domino effect on the revitalization. I could not pass up the pimento cheese sandwich and in my mind white bread is the only choice for such. Mr. GDFC enjoyed a grilled chicken panini. We enjoyed every bite.

Turns out that Laurel Mercantile is right down the street from Lee’s, so we made our way there. We first saw the iconic building sign and the bright blue truck that we sometimes see Ben driving in the show. Mr. GDFC insisted I get in the photo with the truck. We turned the corner and were face to face with the store. Inside, we were given a proper Southern welcome and began perusing the goods.


Tew Pottery is located in Laurel and it seems to fit right in at the Mercantile. You know how I love anything blue and white!


I am sure it is not surprising that this section of table linens caught my eye.


This selection of quilts was so colorful and perfect. I have a love for anything that is hand made and wanted to take each one home with me.

This display of blue and white plates on the black background was so striking and creative. It goes to show that art comes in many forms. And speaking of paintings, this print from none other than Erin Napier made the trip back home with us. It as if it was done especially for my house that happens to be filled with blue and white.

Mr. GDFC spied this collection of family recipes from Laurel Mercantile. Many of the recipes have a short blurb about their origin or interesting facts. While some of these recipes are familiar, they have a bit of a different twist and sometimes that is all it takes to bring a recipe from so-so to fabulous!


Okra Magazine published its second edition and none other than Erin and Ben Napier were featured on the cover. The article that followed was very nice. I love Okra Magazine and will share more on it in another post.

The ladies working in the Mercantile quickly ascertained we were not locals which happens in small towns quite frequently. They were so nice to us and made sure to tell us all of the places we should visit. They gave us this cute list of things to see in Laurel.


We took to the streets, list in hand. This sign is evidence of the collaboration on the downtown area. It is a beacon of hope and progess.


We had seen Southern Antiques on the show and knew it was a must to see. It was filled with all types of treasures from home goods to artwork to clothing. It was a great store and we recommend you stop in if you find yourself in Laurel. Across the street from Southern Antiques was Patina and we could not stop to visit as time was working against us but it will be one of the first on our list on our return visit.


We wanted to see the neighborhoods that brought HGTV to the area or was it the Napiers? I can’t imagine anything prettier or more inviting than a tree lined street and they have their fair share of them. The streets were filled with large homes, cottage size homes and everything in between. They all seemed to blend beautifully. I suddenly could see why HGTV loved this town.
Even the local junior high school was beautiful.

Our time was short but we packed in as much as possible and loved every minute of it. Upon returning to our home we spoke with several friends who want to take the trip with us again and I am ready.

If you find yourself wanting to experience Laurel but don’t want to be rushed as we were, you might want to check out Wisteria Bed & Breakfast. I mean just based on the purple exterior, I want to stay there.

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Manners on Monday: Cell Phone Etiquette

August 14, 2017, posted by Gina – When my oldest son left for college I was a nervous wreck. I stood vigil by my cell phone because I was a worried Mom. I clearly remember one day going to lunch with a friend and placing my cell phone purposely on the table in case he should call. At the time, I saw nothing wrong with this. I was not talking on it and did not intend to take a call unless it was my son.

Fast forward to a few months ago and I read about how my act of placing the cell phone on the table was a rude behavior. It turns out that this truly irritates some people and in fact proper etiquette requires you to put your phone away and keep it on silent or vibrate mode.
To this day, I want to keep my cell phone where I can see it in case one of my children calls me in need. I am better than I was when our oldest went to college but I still have this need to be ever vigilant.

Now that I have learned my behavior was rude, I have changed my ways and keep my phone in my purse. On the other side of this situation, I truly don’t mind if someone places their phone on the table in the event of a call they need to accept. The only time I would get irritated would be if the person carried on a conversation.

As wonderful as cell phones are, they have certainly created some unwanted behavior. How about you? Do you keep your cell phone with you at all times? Would you place it on the table in a restaurant? Would this drive you insane? Are there other cell phone practices that make your hair stand on end?

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Fun Stuff on Friday: Natural Beauty

August 11, 2017, posted by Gina – Mother Nature is taking over the blog this week and sharing some of her marvels with you. Let’s take a look, shall we?

|   NO FEAR DEER    |
It’s not often you see deer without them scattering immediately. We took a drive out in the country and these two were unimpressed with our truck. They did not budge and even let us take their picture.

 

|    FEATHERED FRIENDS    |

Take a look at this snooty woodpecker! These regular, everyday birds just love my home and visit me very often. For anyone new here….I tried for years to attract hummingbirds with no success. I changed to a regular bird feeder and all types of feathered friends visit me daily.
This feeder sits outside one of our windows and as you can see the birds do not detect my presence and so I am able to see them up close and personal. For anyone interested in placing a bird feeder in your yard, this feeder is a Squirrel Buster Birdfeeder. It is such a joy to be able to watch these little creatures.

|    RAIN, RAIN, DON’T GO AWAY    |

Do you ever plant flowers or plants and think they really aren’t growing very much? Well, I think this quite frequently. Recently, we have had a lot of rain and our plants have loved every drop. Let’s look at a few before and after photos to see what a difference a few months makes in a garden.

PURPLE RAIN


These Sunpatiens were planted in early May. We had to “baby” these plants and even had the owner of the garden center look at them. He even called the grower. They just did not seem like they were going to make it. We had planted Sunpatiens the year before with none of this drama. Upon investigation, it was determined that I had the perfect growing environment for these plants. I was pretty sure I did but it never hurts for the experts to take a look. It was decided they just needed a little more time and some extra careful attention. I stood vigilant with these beauties and months later we are reaping the benefits. I am not sure I will have this kind of patience (ha ha) again but they sure are pretty.

CUTTING GARDEN


You may remember that in April I decided I wanted a cutting flower garden in my yard. I mapped out a plan and decided to give it a try. Some things made it and some things did not. I really felt like I had not made much progress that is until I saw these before and after photos. The true test will be next Spring to see how many of these flowers return.

JASMINE


This confederate jasmine has taken much longer than I thought to crawl its way along this trellis. I feel as if time is standing still in this area of my yard. Alas, in these before and after photos you can see some thicker growth. I finally can see the light. For the record, this vine is 3 years old for any of you considering growing one for yourself. Patience is a virtue…. right?

 

SUNFLOWERS

A few weeks ago, Mr. GDFC and I visited a fabulous sunflower field in Memphis, TN. I shared one of the photos on Instagram (if you aren’t following us on Instagram, please start today! CLICK HERE to check us out). I thought it would be nice for you to get a feel for how large this field actually is. In the first photo, we see the whole field and honestly this photo does not do it justice. In the second photo, we see these gorgeous flowers up-close. And finally, we see how many people were at this field with cameras in hand. It was quite a site to see.

Enjoy your weekend and enjoy some nature of your own. We will see you next week!

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Mood Board Monday

August 7, 2017, posted by Michelle – We are featuring two of our favorite things on this Mood Board Monday…Blue and White and Majolica…

1.English Blue Chintz Platter, chairish.com  |  2. Burleigh Blue Calico Pitcher, amara.com |   3. Antique Blue Willow Charger, chairish.com. |  4. Provence Cushioned Kitchen Mat, williamssonoma.com  |  5. Royal Delft Tulip Vase, luisaviaroma.com  |  6. English Blue and White Transferware, onekingslane.com  |  7. Chinese Vases, 1stdibs.com

 

1. Antique French Majolica Platter, La Belle Epoque Deco, etsy.com  |  2. Antique French Barbotine Asparagus Platter and Drainer, chairish.com  |  3. Antique French Artichoke and Asparagus plate, ginadiamondsflowerco*  |  4. Italian Majolica Squash Tureen, chairish.com
|  5. Portuguese Majolica Cabbage Bowl, chairish.com  |  6. Antique French Oyster Plates, ginadiamondsflowerco.com*

*To purchase the asparagus and artichoke plates or oyster plates or for more information, contact us HERE. 

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Manners on Monday: The One Upper

July 31, 2017, posted by Gina – I can’t believe today marks the last day of July and while it’s not the official end of summer, school will be starting in the first few weeks of August giving us that Fall feeling. And as this last day of July falls on a Monday, we’re talking about manners. The subject of this week’s manners post is one we all encounter from time to time so let’s get started.

The Seinfeld show had a humorous way of treating everyday experiences and it made us feel better. One of the episodes was about the “One Upper”. You know, the person who is better, smarter, richer, busier, healthier, happier or whatever than you or anyone else. In the episode, Jerry becomes more and more frustrated as the One Upper continues with their conversational dominance. No matter the topic, the One Upper topped his experience.

I am not sure about you but I will put up with this for a while but then my blood will start to boil just as Jerry’s did. How are we supposed to deal with a person that does this? First, we can find a way to walk away. Drinks always need refreshing, the powder room calls, the other line is ringing or whatever. I like to have some excuses prepared so I can get myself out of these situations in a nice way.

Turns out that these One Uppers are really not trying to make you feel bad. They are insecure and are trying to convince themselves that they are wonderful. They have low self-esteem and this is a way for them to make themselves feel better. While this makes me sad for them, it is not our duty to be their punching bag.

Next time you encounter a One Upper, take a deep breath and have your exit plan ready.

So, as we started this post off with Seinfeld’s humor about his annoying One Upper, we’ll end it with a funny video. If you’ve ever seen the Penelope character on Saturday Night Live, you know she’s the ultimate One Upper. “I invented air, so every time you breath you owe me ten cents.” Click THIS LINK to see it and have a laugh.

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A Very Versatile Arrangement

July 30, 2017, posted by Gina – This past week I worked on an arrangement that looked great in two totally different locations. I used it for a centerpiece on a super summery tablescape and again by itself on a console table. Let’s take a look at how I used this little versatile arrangement.

Here we see the arrangement on a glass topped wrought iron table cosied up between two lamps with burlap shades. The galvanized container used as a vessel for the arrangement seems right at home in this rustic environment.

Moving on to the second location…in this overhead view of the table, the arrangement is pleased as punch to be the centerpiece on this brightly colored tablescape.

Here is an up-close view of the arrangement on the table.

In this long view of the table you can see all of the elements that make it so colorful and inviting.

Can’t you just imagine yourself sitting right here?


We hope this brightly colored table inspires you to create a similar one for yourself. It is amazing how a few flowers can bring life to a room and transform a space.

Sources:

Galvanized vessel for flowers: Gina Diamond’s Flower Co.
Table runner: Home Goods
Flatware: Southern Living at Home
Monogrammed glasses: In Gina’s family for a LONG time.
Fringe Napkins: Gina’s personal collection
Dishes: Alexa by Southern Living

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Fun Stuff for Friday

July 28, 2017, posted by Gina – Happy Friday! After traveling the past few weekends, we will finally be staying home this weekend. I have been playing catch up since last weekend and have finally crossed the finish line, so I can enjoy my few days of relaxation. Son 1 may pay us a visit so I have a few recipes on deck. I was able to get the peach hand pie recipe that I mentioned in last week’s Friday post and will share it with you next week. You will want to try them as they are delicious! In the meantime, here are a few fun things that caught my attention this past week. Enjoy your weekend and we will see you on Monday!

|   RED SUNFLOWERS   |

This time of year, these bright red sunflowers start showing up. The color is very eye catching and rich. Would it surprise you if told you this sunflower does not naturally grow this red? They are dyed to be this vibrant color. I hope I have not burst your bubble. I tend to prefer naturally occurring colors when it comes to flowers but this red can’t be ignored. There truly are sunflowers that are classified as red but they tend to be more burnt orange or rust in reality. Some of these varieties include Moulin Rouge, Velvet Queen, Autumn Beauty and Floristan. As the Fall approaches, you will begin to see these more frequently as their colors more closely look like the deep oranges to burgundies we all enjoy using instead of this bright red.

 

|    ORGANIC PROTEIN BARS    |

I found these protein bars the other day at Sam’s and thought I would give them a try. I will admit that after I tried them I rushed back to get more. They have fewer calories (150) and sugar (5g) than most bars of this type, taste delicious and help you fill full. I am not sure of the organic benefit in a bar like this but a doctor developed these while looking for a healthier alternative to these kinds of energy bars. A perfect snack if you are on the run.

 

|   NEUTROGENA TO THE RESCUE    |

After washing and drying your face do you still find make up on your towel? How does that happen? In a quest to get my face squeaky clean, I chose these make up remover towelettes that will flat out get your mascara off. I follow this with the cleansing gel and there is not a trace of make up behind, leaving my face ready to accept my anti-wrinkle cream.

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Container Gardening 2 comments

July 27, 2017, posted by Gina -When you think about it, container gardening is essentially a combination of gardening and floral design. The same principles that apply in floral design are true for container gardening. Most of my container plants are usually leggy and just plain tired at this point in the summer. I just can’t help giving them a fresh look with new plants even though it is a bit of a challenge finding interesting and pretty plants in late summer. Let’s take a look at what I found at the garden center and how I put it together in my containers.
I took the old soil out of my container to make room for fresh, nutrient rich soil.
I like to use Miracle Grow Potting Mix as it is a combination of soil and fertilizers that help make your plants very happy.

In choosing my plant materials, I could not get the old adage of “thriller, filler and spiller” out of my mind. It’s funny but it really helps when selecting plants. I chose purple coneflower as my thriller, purple heart as my filler and blue haze as my spiller. I worked with an analogous color combination that I really like; pink, deep purple and blue.


I began with the purple coneflower, continued with the purple heart and finished with the blue haze. Once I had everything in the container as I liked it, I filled in with the soil.


And here is the finished container…


In total, I worked on 4 of these. Here are two that frame my steps leading to my patio:

Go ahead and freshen up your containers. It suddenly makes your whole garden look fresh again.

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Mood Board Monday 1 comment

July 24 2017, posted by Michelle – This week we’re in the mood for plaid and paisley…

1.Block Print Napkins, potterybarn.com  |  2. India Embroidered Table Runner, novica.com  |  3. Paisley Glass Bowl, overstock.com  | 4. Dunoon Lomond Mug, smithsofloughton.com         |  5. Gant Key West Paisley Tray, amara.com   |  6. Kim Salmela Pillow, onekingslane.com

 

1.Patchwork Plaid Lunch Bag, artsadd.com  |  2. Blue Lake House Plaid Table Runner, target.com  |  3. Newberry Picnic Basket, belk.com  |  4. Chilewich Plaid Placemat, barneys.com   |  5. Blue Plaid Coasters, surlatable.com  |  6. Kate Spade Prospect Park Placemat, macys.com 

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Fun Stuff for Friday

July 21, 2017, posted by Gina  – Here’s the round up for this week’s fun stuff post…

|  EASY UPDATE  |

Do you ever just “have” to do something different in a room? Somehow you feel like you need to make it look a little different without having to call contractors to your home. Well, that was me earlier this week. I got this bright idea that instead of a small rug in front of my laundry room sink, I wanted one for the whole room. I set out to At Home to rug shop and just look what came home with me. The rug you see here is so soft and I love the bit of personality it brings to a rather utilitarian spot in my home.

|  SOLAR LIGHTS  |

If you are like me, whenever you visit an At Home store you never come out with just the one thing you are looking for. On this trip, I was very happy to find these solar outdoor lights on their Flash Find Sale. I mean seriously, they are only $4.99 each! If you have a dark area in your yard that you wish had a little light then go to At Home now because these won’t last. I will confess that I purchased more than an average share of these. If you see a bright light in the sky, chances are it’s coming from my home. At the store near me, these were displayed just inside the front door.

 

|  SHOES!  |

Last week I shared the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale with you. My items arrived yesterday and true to form, everything fit perfectly. I wanted to show you these shoes I purchased. I have never seen this brand but let me assure you the bed of this shoe is cushioned very well and is unbelievably comfortable for a heel. The zipper on the back gives this shoe a bit of an edge which I think is fun. You do not have to unzip it to get into the shoe. So, while you may not need shoes, don’t forget that there are so many FALL things on sale now but it will end soon, so get shopping!

 

|  PEACH PIE  |

A friend of mine moved to a new house not too long ago and she has done a lot of work on it. So, it was time for her to let a few of us see all the wonderful things she has done. We started with a brunch that was just perfect for the hot day. A delicious salad with a French tarragon dressing and chicken salad (from me) were the main course. My friend made these absolutely delicious peach hand pies. Now let me say this, I really am not fond of fruit and most of the time will pass on a fruity dessert. Since there were just a few of us, I decided to “soldier on” and eat one of the pies. Thank goodness I did because these little pies are so good. I promise to get the recipe and share it with you before our wonderful summer peaches go away.

That’s all my fun stuff for this week. Here’s hoping you have a nice relaxing weekend or one that is filled with fun projects.

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