restaurant review:: bantam + biddy

Have you heard of Bantam + Biddy in Atlanta? I hadn’t either, until last month when I read in a food mag that they were one of the best places in the country to get rotisserie chicken. Sort of random, but when my brother chose B +B for his birthday dinner this weekend, I was excited to check out this new chicken restaurant in Ansley Mall. I found out that it’s co-owned by the guy who founded Yeah! Burger, which is a favorite of mine. B+B is a pretty casual place that features lots of classic southern food (and many of the menu items are gluten free). It’s fairly small inside, but has a nice patio.


When we got there, we were told that Sunday is Fried Chicken Night — yeah! And they sell Sublime Donuts? Double yeah!

And there were tiny cherry pies for dessert. How cute!

We started with the Poutine and Pimiento Cheese appetizers. The Pimiento Cheese was a pretty big letdown… it was essentially some shredded cheese dumped into a bowl with pimientos. I’m hoping maybe it was a bad batch, because any southern-inspired restaurant should know how to make good Pimiento Cheese. The Poutine, however, was a big hit. The dish consisted of duck fat fries covered in Amish cheese curds and gravy. Heart attack in a bowl, but so good.

I had good intentions of trying the dish they’re apparently known for — the rotisserie chicken — but who can resist fried chicken? 3 of the 4 of us got the Sunday Special with 2 sides. I chose mac n cheese and collards (a special side for the night). I LOVED the mac, and the collards were ok (they could have used some more spice). The fried chicken was also pretty yummy — they give you 3 large pieces of white and dark meat, which is more than enough for one meal. I also recommend their sweet tea — sweet enough, but it doesn’t taste like you’re drinking a cup of sugar.


For dessert, I tried the mini cherry pie, and we also got a couple Dulce de Leche Sublime Donuts. The pie would have been a lot better had it been heated… but the cherries inside were quite yummy. And it was cute.

B+B also has breakfast and lunch, both of which I’m excited to come back for. They offer biscuit sandwiches, chicken and waffles, and donut holes, to name a few, for breakfast.

It makes me so happy that my brother and his fiance live so close by so that we can celebrate all of life’s occasions together. Happy 27th birthday, Drew! We love you bunches!

making a wooden headboard for $60

We’ve been in our house for almost 3 years now, and our most-used guest room (the other serves mostly as my jewelry storage area for Stella & Dot) has been left unfinished this entire time. We have a great king-size bed in there, but the room is not much bigger than the bed…. so it doesn’t leave much space for a bed frame. I’ve been eyeing the DIY wooden headboards for some time now, so we finally had a weekend with time to spare recently and jumped on the chance to make the guest room more complete.

I’d found several inspiration photos on Pinterest, and thanks to my favorite bloggers Young House Love and their new DIY book, we had a great starting point. Also, Craig is quite handy and loves to build things, so I gave him my general idea and let him work his magic. Here’s an inspiration photo from YHL’s book. I love the weathered and worn look of the boards.


First, we measured the width of the bed to determine how wide we wanted the headboard to stick out. We decided to keep it at the same width of the bed, given that there’s not more than a couple feet of wall space on each side. We also measured for height — it was sort of a guess, so we just measured to about where we wanted the headboard to hit on the wall and figured out how many 1×6 boards would be needed). 


With measurements complete,  Craig drew up a sketch to plan out how many boards and other materials would be needed. We planned to have wooden braces along the back for support, as well as legs to stand the headboard up (vs. hanging it on the wall because it would be so heavy).

Materials purchased:
6 – 1×6 boards
3 – 1×4 boards 
stain –Dark Walnut Wood Finish by Minwax
(Craig had plenty of screws on hand)


Next up, a trip to Home Depot!


Craig examined every board to make sure they weren’t warped or cracked (see below). I supervised and approved boards for their general appearance. 

Craig’s tailgate makes a great table for cutting wood. He trimmed each board to fit the determined width of the headboard, and I helped by standing on the them while he cut.


Once cut, he lined them up between 2 levels to make sure everything was even before securing with the smaller wooden braces.


He also added a brace connecting the 2 legs for more stability.


Then he sanded… 

Once it was smooth, we distressed the boards with bags of screws, a hammer, and anything else sharp we could find to bang against them. I’m sure our neighbors appreciated that.

And then we stained! I wanted a deep, dark stain, and this is the same one YHL used in their book (referenced above).


This is after one coat of stain was applied. We waited about 10 minutes and then wiped the boards down with a cloth to remove any excess stain. I was worried that the distressing we did wasn’t going to show up, but once the stain seeped into all the little grooves and dents, the “worn” look magically appeared! I LOVE IT!!


We left the headboard in the garage to dry for a solid week because it was raining so much that we weren’t sure how well it would dry. Last weekend, we hauled it upstairs (that sucker is heavy!) and when we set it down, realized that the top and bottom were still not completely dry. Drat!! 


It was too much work to carry the headboard upstairs, so we just put it in place and pulled the mattress away from the wall until it’s completely dry. To make it extra secure, Craig attached metal rings on the backside (1 on each end) to loop over screws in the wall.



And the finished product….
I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out — and it cost right at $60! I don’t think we would have ever found a sturdy, well-made (and not 1970s-ish) king-size headboard for anywhere close to that. I love the warmth is brings to the room, and the white/yellow/grey color scheme of the bedding really pops against it.



And for reference, a little before and after shot::

restaurant review:: west egg

Last weekend was nowhere near my first visit to West Egg, but I haven’t been there in quite a while, so I thought I’d give them a shout out. They’re located in West Midtown (Atlanta), and I think they’re easily one of the most packed-out brunch spots on any given weekend. We met a few friends to celebrate one of their birthdays last Saturday, and as usual, there was a wait, but it’s worth it.


There are SO many delicious options that it’s hard to make a decision. I chose the Peachtree Plate, which is basically an assortment of several basic breakfast items, but waaaaay better. Think pimiento cheese grits, eggs any way (I asked for cheese on mine), a big fluffy biscuit, fried green tomatoes, and candied bacon. YUM! Craig got the bacon and pimiento cheese omelet (sense a trend among us?) and he was very happy about the large amount of chopped bacon included. The one thing I wasn’t thrilled with — mimosas are $6/glass, and as you can see, they’re tiny. I think that’s their way of moving customers out quickly due to the never-ending crowd waiting to be seated.


In other news…
The challah french toast is pretty yummy. And I like the fried green tomato blt a lot better than eating them sans sandwich, as seen above.
West Egg serves breakfast all day, and they serve “Brinner” on Sunday nights (the brunch menu is extended through the evening). Lastly, I didn’t have any with brunch, but they also have amazing Coca Cola cupcakes!

sparkle + stones + color — Stella & Dot’s new collection highlights

Stella & Dot’s Spring 2013 Collection is here, and it’s my favorite yet! I feel like I say that every time, but it’s always true. Our design team continues to blow me away with each new collection. It’s so exciting to work for a company that is always on trend and ahead of the game. Want to view the entire line in our new look book? Click here!

This season’s Wanderlust collection was inspired by a modern take on the southwest and luxe boho. The palette includes lots of mixed metals, desert pinks, oranges, and soft red. One of the things I love most about these pieces is that they are mostly handmade — hand strung, hand-hammered, hand-threaded, and it takes hours and hours for a single piece to be completed.

One of my top favorite new statement necklaces for 2013 is the Fiona Bib Necklace. The ivory color with gold trim is so very versatile — I can’t wait to pair it with several prints already in my closet. And I really like the little bits of sparkle here and there for added glam, without making it too dressy for daytime wear.


The Fiona Earrings are a great way to get the look of the Bib Necklace for less. These will be a wardrobe staple year-round!

How amazing is this mixed metal necklace? Not only is it easy to pair with so many pieces you may already have due to the various metals used, but it can also be worn long or doubled! The coolest part? The Mesa is made up of 4,000+ beads!

The classic Garden Party collection is inspired by a vintage signature S&D style and celebrates our bold and joyful heritage. I love the color and whimsy of these pieces — they’re very Palm Beach. They make me wish I had a big pool and backyard with a garden so I could throw a cocktail party and wear these beauties!

French for ‘pretty’, the Jolie necklace is a joyful style with easy to wear appeal. In one of the key colors of the season, kelly green, this necklace  pairs beautifully with both solids and prints and is a great transitional piece going into the warmer months.  It can be worn short or longer. At only $79, it’s a steal for a big, bold necklace.


I have been so excited about these colorful enamel bangles since I saw a sneak peek weeks ago… and I could not believe they’re only $19 each! Stack them for a fun, layered look or wear them with other gold bangles.

The Kimberly Necklace is so different from anything I’ve seen in our line before. The lattice structure of this 60s-inspired piece is so interesting, and it’s nice to have a statement necklace that elongates the frame rather than just focusing on the neckline. Love the matching earrings, too!


These Seychelles Earrings come in the gorgeous, deep blue/turquoise combo as well as pink. The teardrop chandeliers feature beading and hand-painted enamel — perfect for any spring soiree!


The Super Natural Stones collection showcases the essence and natural beauty of semi-precious stones. Pieces come in three versatile palettes (blues, pinks, and naturals), and they offer a nice range of understated designs.

Turquoise is here in an abundance this spring, and I couldn’t be happier! How fab is this Mary Margaret Ring? It’s entirely hand-crafted in India from a single, hand cut turquoise magnesite stone. Comes in sizes 5-9.

mary-margaret_39These turquoise earrings are the newest addition to the hugely popular Serenity Stone Drop Earrings — we debuted them in jade last year, and they were a top seller of mine. These dyed jade stones are also hand-cut and sure to be a big hit!

The Sanibel Chandeliers are lightweight and elegant — I like that the light color palette makes them feel really airy, even though they’re made with stones. They feature a unique selection of genuine stones (semi-precious labradorite, aqua chalcedony and rutillated glass) in an organic cluster that will shimmer day or night.

The Sanibel Pendant is probably our most versatile piece in the new line! It’s a reversible pendant that can also be worn long or short with an S-hook. One side is semi-precious labradorite (a little dark and moody) and the other side is aqua faceted glass (light and airy like the earrings above).


The Foundation Bracelet is a unique, brightly-colored bracelet that comes in raspberry and lime.  These bracelets are a great addition to any arm party. It’s the perfect way to support a wonderful cause while looking stylish!

Last, but definitely not least, is the Eden Bangle. I love the hand-hammered look on the bangle, and the pave pyramid tips add a tailored, casual vibe to your look. It’s super cute paired with the Gilded Arrow Bangle, Eden Studs, and Valor Pendant Necklace.


quick lamp revamp

It’s time for a little more color in our house. First victim? The silver lamp on the side table in our living room. The method? Spray paint, of course. This little guy is nice and all, but rather boring.

I started off by removing the shade, bulb, and top parts of the lamp (sorry — don’t know the technical terms for those). I used painter’s tape to cover the top of the fixture as well as the beginning of the cord, and Craig had the bright idea to put the rest of the cord in a plastic bag to protect it from the spray. Be sure to wipe down whatever you’re painting first — otherwise you may end up with lots of dust particles or dirt underneath the paint.


I spent about 30 minutes standing in front of the spray paint selection at Home Depot deciding on just the right shade of blue/green. I decided on Lagoon in a Satin finish by Rust-Oleum. Last time I spray painted something, I made the mistake of doing it inside the garage with very little ventilation… not smart. So this time, I set up my spray paint area on the tailgate of Craig’s truck. I think the lamp dried a lot more quickly this way as well.


After about 3 light coats, I took it inside the garage to cure overnight.


Here’s the finished product! I really enjoy the colorful bulb peeking out from the top of the lamp. The color is just enough to add a pop to the room without being overbearing, since the rest of the room is fairly neutral.




With that success under my belt, I’m hunting for something else to get my hands/spray paint cans on!

It’s finished! Final Basement Projects

Drumroll, please…. the basement project is officially finished!! Craig has worked so hard to complete this big project, and the end result is immensely better — even though the basement was pretty great to being with. For Craig, the most exciting part of the basement remodel was the new bar area. For me, it was opening up the room by knocking out a wall.

Before, the blank wall behind the counter had a wooden dresser mirror hung on it as a faux bar shelf. Craig started by taking that down and ripping the drywall out. He ordered custom cabinets to go on the lower half of the wall and planned to have a large mirror and glass shelves installed on the top half.

He then framed out where he wanted the mirror to go with cedar boards, and then continued to fill in the wall to the right of the mirror with cedar.



Then, the fun part…. a big cork wall! We thought we had collected a lot of corks over the years, but it turns out that we didn’t have nearly enough to finish even half of one side. So we’ve been taking cork donations from friends and family for the past month, and now we’re a little over half way done! Part of the wall on the left side is still empty, so we painted it with leftover chalkboard paint so that it’s usable until completed.


When we were in NYC this summer, we saw a cool wine rack at a restaurant and used it as inspiration for our bar. Craig drilled 3 holes in each cedar board down the center of the wall to hold a total of 6 bottles. Now we can display our favorite wine bottles… like ones with Coco’s picture on them!

Over the years, I’ve written notes on corks from special occasions in hopes that we’d be able to somehow display them one day — we have them from our anniversaries, NYE, etc. and now they are mixed into our cork wall. Can you spot any?

After a couple mishaps with the glass company, the mirror and shelves were finally installed and the bar was completed just in time for our New Year’s Eve party!




I don’t have process photos, but Craig also built a desk and a bookshelf for my Stella & Dot business.It’s still a work in progress regarding set-up, but it’s so pretty and spacious!


One of the last projects on the list was building a small table for the patio to go with the new turquoise chairs we found recently.

Craig used 4×4 posts for the legs, 2×4 boards for the frame, and 1×6 boards for the top (as well as brackets underneath to make it more sturdy). Once completed, he sanded it to remove any splinters and rough spots. We still need to stain it, but it’s a great addition to our patio!




all wrapped up

While perusing Pinterest last week, I was inspired to finally bite the bullet and organize my overflowing wrapping paper storage. I have had the same under-the-bed storage container since college, and while it served me well, it’s just not big enough anymore… or easy to see anything other than the top layer of paper that’s store inside. I debated just buying a standing plastic container that would hold my many rolls of paper, but I didn’t have a great solution for everything else…. bags, boxes, ribbon, and more. I really liked the look of the Elfa systems from the Container Store, and after seeing how much a couple bloggers were able to store on one closet door, I was sold.

The photo below was my main inspiration for what to buy when I went to Container Store last weekend. 

Here is what I purchased to create my gift wrapping storage station:
  • 77-3/4″ Mounted Standard
  • Set of 2 Residential Overdoor Hooks
  • 3 Deep Baskets
  • 2 Shallow Baskets
  • 1 Media Rack

This is my my faithful old plastic container and my not-so-organizd collection of gift wrapping supplies. I set everything out on our pool table (which is in the basement bedroom where I decided to hang my new wrapping paper rack) to get a better idea of what I needed to throw away or keep.

I then stacked everything in piles…. paper, ribbon, boxes, tissue paper, holiday bags, regular bags, and gift tags. (And a couple random peacock feathers from a home decor project.)


Next, we hung the rack. You can opt to either drill into the door or use their removable overdoor hooks, and I liked being able to have more flexibility with with the hooks in case I want to move the rack upstairs one day. The baskets snap into place very easily… it took less than 10 minutes to put this all together.

At the top, I started with the ribbon lined up in 2 shallow baskets so it would be easy to get out when needed. I decided to organize everything with holiday items down the right side so I don’t have to pick through reindeer paper 10 months out of the year.

I filled the first deep basket mostly with tissue paper, because I have a lot of it. I feel like I was always buying it at Target because I could never find what I needed in my old container… so no more excuses to buy colorful paper now! On the right, I popped in holiday treat bags and gift card holders.  I also learned that I have a lot of gift bags I never noticed… so those filled the 2nd deep basket. Festive holiday bags and tags on the right and everything else on the left.

The 3rd deep basket at the bottom was reserved for the star of my favorite, the wrapping paper. I used a media rack about halfway up from that to hold the paper in place. I was worried there wouldn’t be enough room for my extensive collection, but after tossing a few old rolls that were smashed and/or too small to wrap anything, I ended up with plenty of room to spare.

Here’s the finished product! I decided to store all boxes in the closet, as several of them were too large to fit in the baskets, and they’re not very pretty anyway. I’m so excited to have this new system in place and be a little more organized and intentional about what I’m using, so as not to feel like I’m constantly buying more wrapping supplies that I don’t need. And it’s so colorful and pretty! I can’t wait to wrap some gifts!