The Southern Expat Communique: New York observations of a displaced belle


Make Your Holidays Happier (and Easier) with Pitt&Boots!

Hey everyone,

 

I’ve opened my very own Etsy shop: PittandBoots, and stocked it with two great ways to make your holiday season easier!

 

1. Let me make you a happy holiday wreath. I have this very wreath hanging on my front door, adorned with silver, spray painted berries from my yard. I’m happy to customize it for you if you let me know what you want!

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2. I would love to address your holiday cards (Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s, or your upcoming wedding or party invitations) and stick them in the mail for you. I can guarantee a 1-day turnaround. I’ll get them out the door quicker than you can say Jack Frost, Feliz Navidad, or Happy New Year! 

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What else should I list on my Etsy site? If you have suggestions, please send them my way!

 

Ho ho ho and xoxo,

 

Brooke-Augusta



Red letter days lead to exploration of word clouds

After a beautiful day in Little Rock, filled with friends, a milestone, puppy kisses, some amazing food, and remarkable conversation, I was too amped up to take a nap with my husband. As I sat down with Ken Burns’ account of Baseball, I set out to discover how to conjure a word cloud.

As luck would have it, Tagxedo (a very easy and fun to use website) populated the top of my search. I plugged in the ole Southern Expat website to populate the cloud with personalized phrases and words, and out popped the graphic below. How cool is that?! I’m simply charmed!

Tagxedo lets you opt out of using particular words, change the colours, pick your shape, and much more. I know this is going to be at least a minor obsession of mine. Speaking of, have y’all watched Legal Eagles in your adult life? Put that on your list too, friends.

To craft your own, go to tagxedo.com!

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tacos, potatoes, shortcakes, and more!

Well, this combo turned out nicely this week: homemade shrimp tacos, mashed Yukon gold potatoes, strawberry shortcake. Yummmm! Paired with a couple of Modelos, we were one happy couple! 

In case these dishes pique your interest, here are two recipes to get you started! 

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing 

1 packet dry ranch dressing mix (I prefer Hidden Valley)

1 c. mayonnaise 

2 Tbs. whole milk 

juice of 1/2 of 1 lime

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 c. chopped cilantro

1/4 c. salsa verde or tomatillo salsa

2-4 Tbs. Crystal hot sauce (or to taste)

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Refrigerate for an hour or more.

Terrific with salad, crudités, or as a dressing on spicy shrimp! 

 

Homemade Shortcakes*

*my favorite nickname

1/4 c. sugar

2 & 1/2 c. Bisquick® mix

1/2 c. milk

3 Tbs. butter or margarine, melted

In medium bowl, blend Bisquick, milk, 3 tablespoons sugar and the butter until soft dough forms. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. 

Top with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, butter, or warm honey…anything you care to pair with a delicious biscuity treat! 

 

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What can a Happiness Index teach us?

Alexa von Tobel is at it again. This time, she is helping us determine whether wealth is tantamount to happiness. What do we learn from her today? In short,

1.   Money doesn’t necessarily make you happy. Duh.

2.   The wealth gap in our country is extraordinary: the top 20% of the country earns 8 times as much as the bottom 20%.

3.   There exists something called the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index. By god, I think the Bhutanese are on to something by quantifying happiness as a kind of national commodity. Happy people are more productive, right?

Alright, kids, what are you going to do today to improve the GNH of your country, state, city, home? I might just schedule a field trip to Bhutan, Denmark, or Norway to learn from a happy example, you know? Let me know if you want to sign up! In the meantime, I am going to listen to some blues music (which I think is downright inspirational) and pick up a copy of The Geography of Bliss.

Have a beautiful day even if the sun isn’t shining above you!



The most practical article you’ll read all day…and why the TSA hates peanut butter….

I’ve come to love a website called LearnVest. When the company’s founder and CEO, Alexa von Tobel, visited my Junior League Financial Literacy meeting, I was hooked. Practical tools for working women who want to be debt free and more financially savvy? Sign me up!! I now am a devotee and an outright evangelist for Miss von Tobel’s wonderfully comprehensive website, designed to make women, well, better. I wait impatiently for her beautifully laid out, information-packed, daily emails (which take roughly 6 minutes to peruse if you’re really putting on your thinking cap) to populate my gmail inbox. Hey, you need a smart mid-morning read to go with that Lara bar, right?

I found today’s Learn Vest article  on smart packing especially helpful. I am a frequent traveller. From the time I was tiny, riding around Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and beyond, sitting in the back seat learning to read and playing the license plate game, to now, as I still travel (mostly fly) on at least a bi-monthly basis, trying to scare up resources for the non-profits I love to serve, I’ve been in planes, trains, and automobiles more than you can shake a stick at. This LV piece helps us avoid checked bag fees and offers some tips for fitting all of those “necessary” items in your teeeny bag.

Importantly, remember the TSA. They hate your peanut butter, so don’t even try to explain to them why it is a solid, possibly an emulsion if you want to get down to brass tacks. A kindly (and some may argue elderly) TSA agent told me about a year ago that my very special, unopened jar of Peanut Butter and Co. peanut butter was a liquid, or a gel, or possibly an aerosol, but certainly not a solid. I offered the scientific definition of a solid in rebuttal. The agent replied, “Ma’am, the TSA don’t much care about science. That peanut butter is going in the trash.” Duly noted, counselor.

As my dear friend and mentour, Dr. Antonio Lombeida, who once spent an entire weekend in Chicago armed only with the clothes on his back and what he had packed in a vintage, leather, doctor’s bag urges, “dress sharp, pack light.” Heed this advice, ladies; and, leave the peanut butter at home…after you read up on Learn Vest.



Why I’m the luckiest girl in the world…

There has been lots of change in my life in the last month to say the least. I have moved to Le Petite Roche, gotten hitched, seen an amazing country on my honeymoon (what up Belize!!), and started a new job. I had a birthday somewhere in there too, but I barely remember it. My head is nearly spinning but not literally.

In case you don’t know about the Clinton Foundation, my new employer, and all of the amazing things the foundation accomplishes each year, you should check it out! Please come visit the Clinton Presidential Center when you are in Little Rock, too. I can’t believe I get to work here every day! As you all know, I’m not a Cardinals fan, but WJC is. Our temporary exhibit on the Cardinals is great, and I’m looking forward to what we have coming up in the summer and fall!

In short, I’m delighted with my new life. P and I are loving our new (to us) Hillcrest home, getting to celebrate friends’ birthdays, cheering for the Travs, and randomly bumping into good people we know at the grocery and everywhere else. Now, just to find a car for me! Any recommendations? See y’all soon!

xo,

BAW



New Orleans = uh-mazing wedding photos xoxo

Hey everyone,

So, it looks like Pitt and I have survived our first 2 weeks of marriage. YAY! We wanted to share our wedding photos with you. Check em out, cherish them, order them, love them.

Love us!




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