DIY project:: sparkly pumpkins

It’s officially fall!!! I don’t know about everyone else, but I can feel it in the air in Georgia, and it’s glorious! I am quite enjoying the cooler weather, especially in the morning, and not getting sweaty walking 20 or 30 feet to my car after work. To help get into the fall spirit, I decided pumpkins needed to be purchased. Not real ones just yet since it is still September…. so plastic ones would have to do the trick. But I wanted something a bit less “pumpkiny” than these guys below. So, enter the spray paint.

I had the hardest time deciding on colors…. I must have spent 15 minutes staring at different bottles and color combinations at Michael’s. I ended up deciding on some super glittery spray in both gold and silver and got the “sparkling canyon” in satin to round out the metallics.

Craig was sweet and set out a big drop cloth for me to work on in the garage. I set them all out in groups so that I could divide them up among my 3 color choices. The large pumpkins were fairly easy to spray, but it was a bit difficult to control clumping where the spray rolled around to the bottom side of each pumpkin. The little mini pumpkins were almost impossible to cover! Every time I sprayed one, it would go flying across the drop cloth. I don’t know the best way to remedy that problem…. buy heavier pumpkins, I guess.

After a couple light coats on each  pumpkin, it was clear that the awesome glittery spray paint was just not cutting it for this job. The silver spray bottle got stuck in the “on” position and proceeded to just spray tons and tons of glitter everywhere…. everywhere except for the pumpkins. The gold did something similar. So it was on to Plan B with those sets…. this time, I went to Home Depot — and was AMAZED at the assortment of spray paint they have!! I chose non-glittery metallics in gold and silver to cover up the crazy, half-glittered pumpkins. These cans are great — easy to spray and they don’t stick like the others did.

And here’s the finished product! Lots of sparkly pumplins in various shapes and sizes… some a little more glittery than others, thanks to the first round of painting-gone-wrong. I tossed them (meaning I actually very carefully placed them so you can’t see the dried clumps of paint here and there) in a big glass bowl on our dining room table.

And then I accented them on each side with two of these guys!! Our family friend Leslie had gotten several of these gems at the local Dollar Tree in Arcadia, and I just loved them, so I had to get some of my own. Next time, I’ll stick to the pre-made glittery items. Happy Fall, y’all!

how to host a clothing swap party!

I was talking with my brother’s fiance and her friend a few weeks ago about how we have too many clothes that we feel like we never wear. I know, tough problem to have…. but we’re all guilty of buying things we think we love, and then wearing them once – or never. So we decided we should try a clothing swap party with our girlfriends to get rid of some of our old stuff and exchange for some new. Most of our clothes are still in great condition, so we thought it would be fun to trade items around with our friends. Haven’t been to or heard of such a party? Here’s a little how-to so you can do it with your friends!

What to do:
1. Decide who to invite. It sounds odd, but take size into consideration. You don’t want to invite a bunch of girls who are around the same size and then one person who is much different — that just wouldn’t be fair or fun for her.

2. Choose a date and send out an email or evite. I’d recommend giving at least 1-2 weeks notice so that everyone has time to go through their closets and pull pieces.

3. Be sure to include instructions on what you want them to do. Here are some guidelines:
* Please bring a minimum of 5 items, but you’re welcome to bring lots more! The more we have to swap, the more everyone will go home with!
* Be sure your items are clean and in good condition. (i.e. — don’t bring something super wrinkly that you had in the bottom of your closet.)
* You’ll get your name on a slip of paper for every item you bring, and that’s how many items you can swap for.
* Bring a shopping bag to take your goodies home in!

What to bring?? Everything! Clothes, jackets, shoes (new), belts, scarves, hats, bags, jewelry, bathing suit cover-ups….. and don’t forget about the winter or summer clothes that might be packed away!

4. If you want, ask guests to bring something to snack on or a bottle of wine to contribute for the party.

5. The day of the party, make sure to have some bedrooms clear and/or have a full-length mirror available for dressing room areas. For hanging clothes, we just hung them on curtain rods and the sides of furniture. You could also use hanging racks, tables, couches, etc. to set everything out on. We tried to separate items by type to make it easier to sort through, but that was a little difficult without lots of hanging racks.

6. When each person arrives, take a count of the number of items they’ve brought. Write their name on a slip of paper for each item brought — that’s how many pieces they’ll be able to swap for. (If you don’t want to be that formal and strict on the rules, you could also just let everyone shop like they’re in a store and pick whatever they’d like. This is what we ended up doing — we only had 5 people, so it worked well.)

7. At the end of the night, everyone can bag up their new items to take home. If the rest is to be donated to charity, then the host or a guest can bag up the leftovers to drop off at a donation center.

And that’s how it works! It was such a fun night. What girl doesn’t love shopping for free?? I think we all really enjoyed seeing our friends trying on pieces that we were tired of wearing, but still liked and didn’t want to just throw away or donate. I ended up with 2 great dresses and 4 silky tank tops that I can’t wait to wear! And I look forward to seeing some of my old clothes make their debuts on someone else — it’s nice to know they’re going to a good home!

And just for fun — the only boy allowed at the party::

a festive labor day weekend

Our Labor Day weekend was full of food, friends, and football. How surprising!

We spent time at several yummy eating establishments around the city — and one of our favorites was Roy’s Cheesesteaks, which is right down the street from our house. My friend Kristina’s husband is from Philly and gave the thumbs up on these guys, who are legit cheesesteak-makers — they apparently fly their bread in from Philly to make them extra authentic! You also might see them around Atlanta with their food truck, Champion Cheesesteaks. Definitely give them a try!

Friday night, I was invited to JCT Kitchen & Bar for a little celerbation of our friend Courtney, who just got engaged in Mexico the weekend before. I’m beyond excited for Courtney and Joey – they’re just so cute and in love! (He’d probably die if he read this, but it’s true.)

Saturday, we kicked off football season with the Auburn / Clemson game at the GA Dome. It was a LOOONG, HOT day, but it was fun to visit with our Auburn friends (and a few of us wives/girlfriends who were nice enough to don orange and navy for the day).

Sunday was filled with more eating…. brunch at Kaleidoscope (featured in my post Wednesday) and dinner at Orient Express. I share a deep love of hibachi and fried rice with our friend Renee, so we often drag Craig and Brian (her husband) there for dinner dates.  No photos taken, but I’m sure you can imagine.

Since we were filled to the brim after eating all around town the previous two days, we took the boat up to Lake Lanier to celebrate our Monday off. Andrew was our captain for the day. It was surprisingly not crowded for a holiday weekend — I guess we can thank the cloudy day and threat of storms for that. Good news for us — no rain all day!

restaurant review:: kaleidoscope

Over Labor Day weekend, we had brunch with a large group of friends at Kaleidoscope Bistro & Pub in the Brookhaven neighborhood of Atlanta. I’ve heard of Kaleidoscope for months and have really been wanting to try it, so I’m glad we had an excuse to be on that side of town!

Warning:: they don’t open until 12pm on Sundays (wish we’d realized that before driving all the way over there at 11:30am), and they can’t serve very important brunch staples like mimosas and bloody marys until 12:30pm, due to county-wide restrictions.

The popular dishes among the group were:
Grilled Cheese Fried Egg BLT (I got my eggs scrambled)
3 Little Pigs Biscuit Sandwich (yep — 3 kinds of piggy on one sandwich)
Crabcake Benedict
Kaleidoscope Burger (with pimiento cheese, chow chow, and pickles)

I loved the grilled cheese BLT — it was on a toasted croissant (my favorite way to have a sandwich) and came with the most amazing cheese grits. Craig got the burger and really liked it, although I don’t think the single patty was very big. We were little piggies and shared an order of the Baked Bacon Mac n Cheeseyum yum! It’s hard to go wrong with you’re combining cheese and bacon with… well, almost anything. Their mimosas were also delish and quite generous.

Everyone raved over their food, and the restaurant is huge (with an outdoor patio as well). I’m adding Kaleidoscope to my list of go-to places for brunch… I also want to check them out for dinner now, too.