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Talk of the Weekend #4

Talk of the House Talk of the Weekend

Can you believe we are already halfway through this end of summer month?!  August is always a roller coaster ride of emotions for me, and this one has been no exception.  With the string of St. Simons Island posts taking over the blog lately, I feel like we need to catch up with each other!  So let’s start at the beginning of the month…

Normally, school does not start until August around here, so the roller coaster of emotions begins with the excitement of a new school year offset by the loss of summer freedom.  Since our academic year began in July, the roller coaster ride started a little early.

top of classroom cabinet

Sunday, August 3rd was my birthday and our wedding anniversary.  I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a cake with caramel or chocolate frosting.  (Such a tough decision!)  So my husband made the executive decision in favor of the caramel cake.:)He used a different frosting recipe than the one he has used in the past, but it only made enough frosting to do between the layers and the top. I had a brilliant idea to make a chocolate frosting for the sides.

birthday cake

It sounded like a good plan, but it actually wasn’t that great.  As daughter said, The chocolate with the cake is good.  The caramel with the cake is good…but the chocolate frosting with the caramel.. not so good.  So much for starting a new food fad! LOL  I will say the caramel frosting was absolutely delicious! (We’ll just need to double the recipe again the next time we make it.)

On the Monday after my birthday, my sweet friends at work surprised me with this in our break room:

chocolate pound cakeMy cake baking friend makes THE most delicious cakes! (She is also the friend with the divine potato soup recipe.:))  This chocolate pound cake with the tunnel of chocolate frosting (like yummy fudge) is probably one of her most requested cakes, and we devoured it at work. It is her top secret recipe so I am afraid I cannot share it with you. Darn it.  My dip making friend made my favorite olive dip.  It is delicious with Tostitos scoops.  I can share that recipe with you:

Talk of the House Olive Dip recipe


Later that same week, I got all excited about an email from one of Jan Karon’s publishers.  She told me the tour dates have been set for the new Mitford book tour AND she will be coming to Atlanta!:)

Here are the dates and locations:

9/2    Birmingham, AL: Alabama Booksmith @ The Cathedral Church of the Advent @ 6:30 PM

9/3    Lexington, KY: Joseph Beth Booksellers @ 7:00 PM

9/4    Dallas, TX: Authors Live! @ Highalnd Park United Methodist Church @ 7:00 PM

9/5   Wichita, KS: Watermark Books @ St. James Episcopal Church @ 6:00 PM

9/6   Atlanta, GA: Georgia Center for the Book with A Cappella Books @ Holy Trinity Parish, Decatur @  7:00 PM

9/7   Raleigh, NC: Quail Ridge Books @ 7:00 PM

9/10 Lynchburg, VA: LifeWay Christian Store @ 6:00 PM

9/11  Richmond, VA: Fountain Bookstore @ St. Paul’s Episcopal Church @ 7:00 PM

9/14  Blowing Rock, NC: Fifth Annual Mitford Homecoming @ Chetola Resort @ 2:00 PM

Click  here for details about each event.  The Atlanta book signing is co-sponsored by The Georgia Center for the Book and A Cappella Books, and that wonderful bookstore is making it possible for us to order signed copies of Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good even if we cannot attend the event.  Click here for more information.

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon

I don’t know if we will be able to make the Atlanta date,:(so I am thinking perhaps we could do the very last one in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.  It will be at the Chetola Resort.

Chetola resort in Blowing Rock

We have driven past the beautiful lake and up to the inn a few times, but we have never stayed there.  They are currently offering a special for the weekend of the Jan Karon Meet and Greet.  You can find more information about it here. It sounds like a great package! (We probably need to call very soon because I am sure they will go fast – especially there.)

While we are on the subject of Jan Karon, I want to stop right here to discuss the Barbara Hinske books. I had a reader send me an email saying that she was not happy with the first book due to all the offensive language in it.  I had to agree with her, but I thought perhaps I was alone and  just being old fashioned in my reading preferences when I read the first one.  I think my children would think nothing of the language…not sure if that is good or not.  When I started reading the books, it was with the recommendation that the books were going to be similar to the Jan Karon books, so the large amount of bad language in the first one kind of threw me for a loop. I have asked writers before about why they have to put that in their books, and the usual answer is “to make their characters authentic.”  I get it, but for many people, bad language is a turnoff and keeps them from being entertained by the story.  I guess a writer really needs to know their targeted audience. What appeals to some does not necessarily appeal to other readers. So I am just telling you this in case you find the language offensive and are considering reading the books.  Her second and newest book is much better than the first and did not have much “bad” language in it at all. I loved the plot in both books, and it definitely draws you in. Phew!  Got all that?

book giveaway

Okay, so now to the winner of the books and the Amazon gift card.  The winning number was this one:

17and it belonged to this comment:

giveaway winner

Congratulations Arlene!  I will be getting in touch with you to send you your prize.  Thank you to all of you who left your comments on the St. Simons Island posts.  I still have one more to share with you, but I think I will save that one for next summer.  I have something a little different for you for next week.:)

So where were we? Oh yes, the August roller coaster.  Well, our daughter’s birthday was the Sunday after mine. Her boyfriend came for the weekend, and at daughter’s request, we had a quiche lunch for one of her celebrations. (Another girly Sunday meal.)

quiche birthday lunch

 The birthday banner is one I made years ago for her 16th birthday, (a random-acts-of-kindness party that you can read all about here) and the table runner is a roll of polka dot paper from Paper Source.

happy birthday bannerNo homemade cake for her special day…She wanted petit fours from a local bakery. (She also says that one day she wants them for her wedding in place of a traditional cake!)

birthday candlesWe spent that rainy afternoon seeing this delightful movie:

the Hundred Foot Journey moviesource

I LOVED it! Best movie I have seen in a very long time.  And if you haven’t been to see it then get off this blog post, and go see it right now.:) It is precious…a feast for the eyes topped off with something sweet for your heart.  Here is the trailer…

the hundred foot

The movie is based on this novel, that I am just going to have to read now.

the hundred foot journey novel

The Hundred-Foot Journey

A week or so ago One Kings Lane had a sale of many of the props from the movie. (The sale is now over.:()  If I had seen the movie before the time of this shopping event, I know I would have tried to purchase that green bicycle.

shopping the hundred  foot

Additionally, the movie has inspired Le Cordon Bleu to offer classes that recreate dishes from The Hundred Foot Journey. Click here to find out more if you are interested.

bleu ribbon kitchen cooking

Our middle son’s birthday was last Wednesday, but he was still working in Atlanta, so we will have to celebrate his when he returns home next weekend.

And now let’s talk about a low point in this roller coaster ride of August.  On Thursday we all learned of the very sad death of Robin Williams.   He has always been one of my favorite actors who had such talent and heart. How awful that depression can take you to such dark places in life that death seems to be the only answer.  But I don’t want to dwell on that dark part of his life.  He was so much more than that. I want to remember him for all the smiles and laughter he brought to millions of people, and I think our President expressed the sentiments of so many in his condolences:

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most — from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.”

It was the role of bangarang Peter Pan that was my favorite of all of his roles.  I loved Hook and have watched it over and over through the years.  How could you not love that movie with Williams’ hilarious and heart tugging lines, Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell, a gang of rowdy but endearing 10 year old boys, Dustin Hoffman as a pirate, Maggie Smith as an all-grown-up and grandmotherly Wendy, an amazing musical score, and a beautiful old home set in London (at Christmas no less!)?

I have always said that adults should appreciate the movie more than children, and I ran across this article that supports that view as well.  If you are a fan of Hook, you will enjoy reading the article.  And if you haven’t seen the movie, watch it next weekend on Netflix and then go read the article.  It says everything I could have said about the movie and more (minus the loving Granny Wendy’s house part.:))

Robin Williams would have wanted us to find our “happy thoughts,” so while we are loving houses and Neverland, I have a nursery for you to see.

Elle T. Neverland   photo by Melody Melikian Photography 

This Neverland nursery is the brilliant work of the talented designers at Elle T. in California.  Their attention to detail is unbelievable.  All the references to Peter Pan are amazing…the pirate ship, the map, the treasure chest, the tick tock clock, the bottle of pixie dust, the blocks with a “second star to the right,” (and a framed quote about it) a model of London’s Big Ben, dresser knobs with maps inside, and old copies of Peter Pan books.  They have other nurseries in their portfolio, so I hope you will take a look around their website.

pixie dust   photo by Melody Melikian Photography 

It has been a long time since we have needed a nursery in our home.  We moved our “baby” off to her junior year in college this weekend, and I will tell you more about that this week.  (More of the  roller coaster of emotions!)

And now I feel we have caught up on almost everything from this roller coaster month (except for one dinner I want to share with you next weekend.) I am at almost 1900 words in the word count for this post, and I need to stop!  Hope you have had a good weekend.  I will leave you with fond memories of Robin Williams and some scenes from Hook.


Find your happy thoughts.

Until next time…

a signature

Martha - August 17, 2014 - 8:16 pm

You did cover a lot in this post!
August is a crazy busy month for you… Happy birthday and anniversary! The cake looked great, what a wonderful husband you have. I was sure you were going to say the chocolate and caramel were divine, but sometimes too much of good thing is just too much.Your daughter’s birthday meal looked delicious. Your August is like my May, lots of birthdays,anniversaries, graduations and of course….Mother’s Day.
I look forward to seeing the movie…although it will probably be when it is out on DVD.
Yes, I did! I thought for sure that would be a great combo for the cake…maybe it was just too rich. I think your May is probably more demanding than our August since you throw in graduation and Mother’s Day with everything else. I don’t think I could handle one more thing in this month!
Definitely watch The Hundred Foot Journey!

Mickey - August 17, 2014 - 8:18 pm

Hi Kelly….I sure enjoy reading your blog. Just wanted to say my wedding anniversary is also August 3rd, we just celebrated our 40th. The time sure does fly, it doesn’t seem possible. I start back to school in 1 week so I am savoring those last few days although I am always ready to see the children. Have a great week. P.S. I see the movie “You’ve Got Mail” is on shortly, that might be my Sunday evening….one of my favs!! Loved the tour of St. Simons!!! Mickey
Congratulations on your wedding anniversary too! We are not quite at 40 years (but if you count the 10 years we dated, we would be getting close!) Enjoy your last week of summer freedom. Can’t believe we have almost been back a month! You’ve Got Mail is a good movie to put you in the mood for fall.
Glad you liked all the St. Simons posts, and I hope your school year starts wonderfully!

Design Chic - August 17, 2014 - 8:42 pm

My parents both have birthdays and an anniversary in August, so today we celebrated their 62nd anniversary and 88th and 89th Birthdays…a busy month for us too! I think I may have liked your caramel/chocolate icing – two of my favorites! We saw the Hundred Foot Journey last weekend and like you, my husband and I agreed that it was by far the best movie we’ve seen in a long, long time. Wishing you a great start to your week!
Your August is as busy as ours. I forgot to mention we have a nephew and a niece that also have August birthdays! Happy birthday wishes to your parents and a congratulations on their amazing 62nd wedding anniversary. Wow! Good to hear another recommendation for the movie. I think we may go to see it again. (I liked it that much!) I hope you are having a good week!

Louvina - August 17, 2014 - 8:53 pm

What a nice way ( a new post from you) to end a very wonderful weekend with family and friends celebrating 50 years of marriage! Everything was lovely— 20 for an Italian Lunch only 2 miles from our home and then back to our lake house for a reproduced wedding cake with our 50 year old topper plus a pineapple punch! And a gift of 2 weeks at Beech Mt. the last 2 weeks of October which is near Boone and Blowing Rock!! Now seeing you are going there one month before and a new Mitford book! My! I love the green bicycle– and was just thinking how nice one would look parked by our white picket fence! You are so inspiring and such a role model to all of us to have lovely family gatherings. And now my husband’s gift to me— to go this week and find a beach home to buy!! I am so flying high!!! Mercy! My cup runneth over! :)
CONGRATULATIONS on your 50 years of wedded bliss!! It sounds like your celebration was perfect. 2 weeks at Beech Mountain would have been gift enough, but “go find a beach home!!!” OMG. Boy am I jealous!!!! I hope you find one that is everything you want it to be.
Congratulations again girl!

maria - August 17, 2014 - 9:02 pm

What month so far! I think chocolate + caramel cake sounds delish. I, too, am a fan of Hook. What are your thoughts on Finding Neverland? I loved it. Hope you have a great week!!
Finding Neverland was good to me but oh sooo very sad. I loved the music. It was gorgeous!
I hope you are having a wonderful week Maria.

Gail - August 17, 2014 - 9:08 pm

Hi Kelly: So loved this blog! Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary belated! I am sooo very jealous that you might be going to Blowing Rock to see Jan but thank you for posting the dates for her book tour. It just so happens I will be in Raleigh on the 7th. I hope to be able to see her and perhaps get her to autograph the book I have yet to purchase:-) What a treat! Loved your daughter’s birthday dinner. Gives me inspiration for my upcoming granddaughter’s birthday. Perhaps I need to ask her what she would like:-) Your husband is a treasure even though the cake was a bit of a disappointment but it certainly had all my favorite elements in it…carmel and chocolate. Can’t believe you started the school year in July…seems like I just read the blog that said you couldn’t wait for your vacation to start. Where does time go??? Anyway, thank you for such a delightful blog! And thank you for the tip about the movie. Will try to go soon!….Blessings!
You are the lucky one to be in Raleigh and able to go to the Jan Karon book signing event! So glad you liked the b-day dinner. Yes, we went back to school in July…middle of the summer in my mind! Thank you for the kind comments about the blog and the birthday and anniversary wishes. I hope you do get to see the movie. It was a good one!

Arlene@Nanaland - August 17, 2014 - 9:20 pm

First, I am so excited to be the winner of your give away Kelly! Second, Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary. I always love seeing your house decorated for celebrations. Third…we LOVE Hook, here at our house and fourth, I just read a wonderful children’s book, The MIraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. We have had a sad week here in Nanaland with the diagnosis of our three year old grandson as autistic, then some dear friends lost their 18 year old son over the weekend. So just reading your blog lifted my spirits and made me forget about the stresses here for a while. Love you and your blog!!
Congratulations Arlene! With all the sadness you have had lately, I am glad there was a bright spot of good news for you. :) I looked up the book you recommended. It is by the author of Because of Winn Dixie, and sounds like it would be a wonderful story (that brings on the tears.) Thanks for the recommendation! I am going to look for it in our school library.
I hope your week has started out good.

Joan - August 17, 2014 - 9:42 pm

You always give me a lift when I see your post in the InBox. It
is one that is Never deleted until read and looked over in detail. And this time, as usual, you didn’t disappoint. Thank you for being sensitive to what we might not want to read in the way of offensive language. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Jan
Karon’s books are wonderfully written, well thought out plots,
and nary a word that could not be recommended to others.
And speaking of Jan, thank you for keeping us abreast of the schedule for her new book.
And Happy belated Birthday from a fellow August girl. Blessings,
as Always.
I am glad that the blog posts give you a lift Joan. Happy birthday wishes to you as well for your August birthday! We should all just have a big b-day party together…with lots of caramel cake. :)

Dawn - August 17, 2014 - 9:55 pm

Great post, Kelly! Exactly what I wanted to read on a Sunday night as I gear up for a full week. We had meetings last week Monday and Tuesday and started school Thursday. I helped my sister move this weekend and now I am wrapping up my school work to start my week off up to date. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in your next post! Let me know if you ever get the super secret chocolate cake recipe! 😉
Sounds like you are in full swing with school and everything else Dawn! Hope this week is going well for you. I will definitely share if I get that super secret recipe. :)

Jennifer - August 17, 2014 - 10:09 pm

Thank you for this post, Kelly. Now I have two movies (haven’t seen Hook),and a book(love Jan Karon)to look forward to. Happy Birthday to you, your daughter and your son. You clearly know how to celebrate life!
Well good! You better get busy on your book and movies then Jennifer. :) Thank you for the birthday wishes. I hope you are having a great week!

Kayleigh Harkins O'Neal - August 17, 2014 - 10:54 pm

Happy belated birthday, Kelly!! I’m very jealous of the chocolate pound cake – I know it was delicious. Your blog makes me miss home and everyone at The Chapel. I’m with your daughter and the petit fours too…so delicious! Loved your post and tribute to Robin Williams as well.
Hi Kayleigh!!! So good to hear from you. Yes, you do know that delicious chocolate cake AND those bakery petit fours! It was all very good, and I wish we could have had you here to share it all with you. I hope you are enjoying your new home and your new job. We miss you!

Linderhof - August 17, 2014 - 11:50 pm

A delightful post. Oh, and if you google Pillsbury Bake Off Tunnel of Fudge Cake, you might find the “secret recipe”. I think it may have been one of the first (if not the first) Pillsbury Bake Off Winner.
Thanks for the recommendation on the recipe. I am thinking that her cake would be a chocolate pound cake with the icing being the one I make for my Texas cake. I will see if the Tunnel of Fudge has ingredients like that combination.

Debra - August 18, 2014 - 12:45 am

First off, Belated wishes to you Kelly on your Birthday and Anniversary. Wishes to your beautiful daughter too. Oh, birthdays. I just celebrated my 59th the end of July. Ouch! Need to take in this upcoming year before the big 60! I liked your daughter’s choice of quiche and petites. Love quiche for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Yummy! So nice to see a few family moments and such good sports they are! Will need to get out to see this movie maybe, since I opted out on the Diane Keaton, And so It Goes. Oh, Robin. Such a treasure. I loved him in Birdcage and Mrs. Doubtfire.

Thank you for all the birthday and anniversary wishes, Debra! Belated happy birthday wishes to you as well! I will be catching up with you in a few years. :) I really loved the movie, and I hope you get to go see it.

Lori Lucas - August 18, 2014 - 1:19 am

I think the cake is lovely to look at, and sounds delish. I’m sure I could have “forced” myself to eat a slice…or two. Caramel cake and icing is my all time fave tho. We also let our “children” (all grown) decide what they want for birthday dinner. No one has ever requested quiche, but it sounds great! My school starts this week. Let the madness begin! Lori Lucas
I love caramel cake too…not butterscotch flavored caramel…the real stuff.:) The quiche dinner was a good and easy one..much easier than our middle child’s request for the Carraba’s copycat Chicken Bryan with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes. I hope your week has started off well with a low level of madness. LOL

Paula B. - August 18, 2014 - 10:09 am

Wonderful post, Kelly. As always! Happy (belated) Birthday and Anniversary, hope you enjoyed that celebratory weekend. I was thinking it was brilliant to add the chocolate frosted sides to the cake, not as good as it sounds, I guess. Your daughter had a birthday and a return to her junior year, ah, the marching on of time. Scary, how fast it goes. Robin Williams, such a tragedy – what a gifted actor who left us so many memorable performances. He will be missed by so many of us. And, I’d say you are back in the swing of things now, at school. Oh, my. We are getting the most out of our August even though things start to get busy for my husband before school actually starts in September. (He’s the Athletic Director of our high school.) We have our wedding anniversary this month, too, as well as a birthday. Yay, for cake and celebrations. Also, have a baby shower that I am baking for this morning. First to be born in the next generation of our family. Sweet! I hope things are settling down a little for you and that you have a nice long relaxing weekend coming up for Labor Day. I saw the Hundred Foot movie and loved it. Cried, too! Have a great week!
Thank you Paula – for liking the post AND for the birthday and anniversary wishes.:) I thought the idea for the mixed frostings was a good one…perhaps it needed a different kind of chocolate – dark maybe? I might just have to experiment with that one! Your August sounds like a busy one too, and if your husband is the athletic director, then your fall will be super busy! Wasn’t the Hundred Foot Journey just wonderful?! I cried too…in a good way. :)
Hope your week is off to a great start.

Scribbler Unfocused - August 18, 2014 - 10:25 am

I really enjoyed your post! Happy belated Birthday to you and the Leos in the family! (Mine was Aug. 1)
A belated happy birthday wish to you on your August 1st birthday! I think all of us Leos are taking over the world! LOL
Glad you enjoyed the post. Have a great week!

cindy hattersley - August 18, 2014 - 10:59 am

Love the addition of the jalapenos to the olive dip! Yum I am pinning this one!!
If you like olives, you will love this Cindy! I am the only one in our house who eats them, so the dip at work was a BIG treat!

classic • casual • home - August 18, 2014 - 11:13 am

Robin Williams’ death hit me hard, too. So talented and so sad that he was in that much anguish. We have the same 8/3 anniversary! Happy belated birthday!
Happy belated anniversary to you! And thank you for my birthday wishes. Robin Williams will be dearly missed. What a tragic end to a life that gave so much joy and laughter.

Shirley@Housepitality Designs - August 18, 2014 - 4:21 pm

Happy Birthday wishes to you and your daughter… the combination of the caramel and chocolate really does sound great….so nice of hubby to make that for you…and Happy Anniversary to you too!…and I believe the entire world is grieving the loss of Robin Williams…he was such a great talent and truly had the gift to make us laugh…
Thank you Shirley! My husband is always a good cake baker – better than me for sure. I agree that the world is grieving over the loss of a super talented soul. So sad.

Leslie Anne @ Fairhope Supply Co. - August 18, 2014 - 8:48 pm

Wow . . . who says there’s nothing going on in August hasn’t been to your house! We are taking our oldest to college in two days. Sigh. So goes August.
You said it! Good luck with getting your oldest settled in for college. It took us the better part of two days, but the room is finally finished. Hallelujah!

Mimi - August 18, 2014 - 11:21 pm

I so enjoy your “Talk of the Weekend” posts as they are always so “newsy” as my grandma used to say. :-) What a wonderful husband and such sweet friends to make those delicious treats for your birthday! And what a terrific mama you are to prepare such a great meal for your daughter’s birthday.

We are big “Hook” fans in our house too. In fact, the day Robin Williams died, my son came running out to the kitchen as soon as I got home from school to ask if I’d heard the news. :-( He was such an amazing, versatile performer who touched so many lives with his many talents.

Hopefully the rollercoaster of emotions will slow down soon. Have a wonderful rest of the week!
I am glad you like the random news in the Talk of the Weekend posts. Yep, my husband is a keeper, and my sweet friends are good cooks. :)
I think we need to start a Hook fan club. When I think of Robin Williams I think of him in his role as Peter Pan…not a bad way to remember someone.
The rollercoaster of emotions still has two more stops before the end of the month. Look for them in another weekend post. :)

Tessa - August 19, 2014 - 8:25 am

That movie looks soooooo good. I might have to see it tomorrow to take my mind off of my empty house. It will be the first time in 12 years that one of my little people isn’t alongside me during the school day. :( xo, Tessa
Hi Tessa! The movie is wonderful wonderful. You will love it! It will make you want to cook up a storm….which will keep you busy until your guys return home from school. So I think seeing it is a great idea for you. :)

Garden, Home and Party - August 19, 2014 - 9:03 am

I’ve been so behind this month with answering my must read blog sites, sorry.
Where to begin…I’m so surprised to hear that there are schools in the country that begin in July and, as I remember, don’t get out for summer until June (is this correct?). I hope the roller coaster has leveled out and you’re enjoying a sweet sail into fall! The language in the book…I understand offense, but I tend to be tolerant if the the book is well written and enjoyable in every other sense. Language for me is easier to tolerate than violence.
Happy Birthday, my dad’s birthday was August 4th and while he’s been gone for many years, I always think of him on the 4th. The cake looks amazing, I would have caramel and chocolate would be a dreamy combo. I’m glad you shared the olive dip recipe. I’m a big fan of tapenade and will definitely try this.
I hope you enjoy these last few weeks of summer. I’m eager to read the Jan Karon book, you’ll have to share with us the signing and surrounds.
Don’t apologize Karen. I have not had time to read blogs, so you are doing much better than I am! Yes we go back in July and get out right at Memorial Day. Their goal for starting so early is to be able to have final exams for the first semester right at Christmas break, so that the students don’t have to be tested after the holidays on material from before it. Kind of crazy I think.
I agree with you about being able to tolerate language more so than violence. I especially cannot handle violence towards women in anything. It really bothers me.
I am so sorry that your father is no longer with you, and I hope you remember him with sweet memories on his special day.
Definitely make that dip…so easy and SO good!

Susan - August 19, 2014 - 2:16 pm

Oh, Kelly, this was a lovely post! I was entertained by the variety and quality (as always). Thank you for your tribute to Robin Williams -nicely done :) Sending happy thoughts your way~
Oh there is definitely lots of variety here! I went all over the place in that post. LOL Thank you for reading and commenting. Hope you are having a good week.

L J - August 19, 2014 - 10:17 pm

Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary–though belatedly. I think Robin Williams was a special kind of genius–comedic and a very caring human–so special and he’ll be sorely missed by many of his friends and of course, his family.
On a different note I share the same birthdate with your daughter. That would be only the month and day–unfortunately not the same year or even the same decade :-} So please wish her a belated Happy Birthday from me and I do wish her many many more. BTW I too love petit fours-an excellent choice!
Lastly, I hope you are able to make the Jan Karon weekend event. I can’t as I’m in CA but I can look forward to your report.
Thank you so much for the birthday and anniversary wishes! I agree about Robin Williams. He was truly so special. Happy belated birthday to you! I wish our daughter could have shared some of the petit fours with you. :) I am afraid our schedules don’t work with seeing Ms. Karon on this book tour. I am crossing my fingers that there will be another book and another book tour in the future.

Pamela - August 20, 2014 - 9:39 pm

Hubby and I will have our 44th Anniversary and as empty nesters we take our summer vacation in September it’s great no crowds and rates our low

Pamela in WV
Happy anniversary to you and your husband! How lucky for you to get to celebrate without all the crowds. :) We might have to move our trips in the future to Sept. to do the same.:)

Jayne - August 20, 2014 - 9:40 pm

Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary!!! Boy, August is just full of celebration for y’all! January is like that for us.
You did cover a lot in this post! I loved to see your family in the pictures. I hope your school year is going well for you so far. You have such sweet teacher friends. They are the best, aren’t they? Hope the roller coaster slows down soon for you. Enjoy the ride!
Thank you Jayne! I don’t know if I could take a January like our August. That would be right on the heels of the Christmas holidays…quite exhausting! Yes, my teacher friends are great. :)

Vicki Crowe - September 12, 2014 - 12:17 pm

I got to meet Jan Karon when she came to Birmingham. It was wonderful! She is so genuine and warm- and will shake everyones hand and is not camera shy. A real Southern gem!
OMG how lucky you were Vicki!! So jealous here. I know you enjoyed that evening, and I do wish I could have been there too. Hopefully there will be another book tour in the future (when I am retired!)

St. Simons Island – the Houses

home exteriorHouses, yes houses!  I wanted to get in one more quick post so that you could have another chance to enter the giveaway before midnight.  The last two posts had homes that were “over the top.”  The ones I want to show you today look much more like family homes.  (I actually like these better.:))  The one above happens to be for sale, and the real estate listing is here.

The next few are actually very large – and not quite as “cottage-y” as I like, but they are pretty nevertheless.

tan houseWe took a drive late one afternoon to look at some of the houses on the island.  These homes are not beachfront homes, but many of them are just one block over from the beach.

yellow houseSome are older and remodeled while some are new construction.  So there is no rhyme or reason to the ones that I am showing you except that I like them.:)

gray house St. Simons Island

I did not get to photograph this next one, but I wanted you to see this adorable rental.  It has such a wonderful kitchen and dining area!

rental on St. Simons


Blue seems to be a popular color for decorating on St. Simons, and there were quite a number of homes painted bright blue on the island.  I guess that’s only fitting with their close proximity to the ocean.

blue house with white trim St. Simons Island

blue house St. Simons IslandThe most common color scheme I saw was brown with blue, and I really liked the homes that wore that combination. This next one is also available as a vacation rental here. Isn’t it cute??

East Beach Cottage St. Simons Island

When we were on the island a year or so ago, I remember them working on this one. So it has recently been remodeled, and it is also available as a vacation rental home. The information is here.

shingled cottage St. Simons IslandOf all the homes we saw, my favorite was this one – with its clever sailboat cut out shutters.:)

brown house with blue shutters St. Simons IslandAnd that is all of the homes I photographed in our little drive around the island.  Don’t forget that there is a giveaway going on right now for two wonderful autographed books by Barbara Hinske and a $25 gift card.

book giveaway

The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only until Thursday, August 14, 2014.  It will close at midnight Eastern Time on the 14th. The winner will be announced/notified on Sunday, August 17, 2014.  To enter, just leave a comment on any of the St. Simons Island posts that publish between 8/7/14 and 8/14/14.  You may enter on any or all of the posts, but you may only enter once per post please.  Good luck!  We are off to move our daughter back to college tomorrow, so wish us good luck as well.:)

Until next time…

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Sherry - August 14, 2014 - 9:12 pm

I just love all of these houses! Excellent pictures Kelly! And, thank you for the giveaway! I would like some good reads.

karinm - August 14, 2014 - 9:27 pm

Love the houses!

Libby - August 14, 2014 - 9:32 pm

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all the posts on St. Simons Island. Looking forward to being there next weekend to celebrate my Mom’s 85th birthday! I love that place!

Kari - August 14, 2014 - 9:45 pm

I absolutely love the white home with black shutters!

Susan - August 14, 2014 - 9:53 pm

I have enjoyed your posts on St. Simons Island. It’s always interesting to see a place through the eyes of another.

Kathy - August 14, 2014 - 10:00 pm

I could walk a little way to get to the beach if I were staying in any of these pretty houses. The first one reminds me of Father of the Bride….but everything is reminding me of Father of the Bride.

Gracia @ Gracious Offering - August 14, 2014 - 10:03 pm

Really enjoyed all the posts on St. Simmons Island! How fun would it be to design and decorate one of these beach houses! Love all the cottage details and woodwork too. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us!

Martha - August 14, 2014 - 10:05 pm

I love these houses! The white trim on them looks so crisp and clean and the picket fences on most of them add to the charm.

Darla - August 14, 2014 - 10:06 pm

How fun to see all these beachy places. We need to check out St. Simon’s island.

Katherine Casey - August 14, 2014 - 10:06 pm

I would love to be entered in the drawing. We visited St. Simons a couple years ago when our daughter was in school nearby. A lovely place. Would love to return again some day and rent one of these beautiful homes. Thanks so much for sharing. Blessings…..

Sharon - August 14, 2014 - 10:14 pm

I like the brown with blue combination also. All of the homes are charming. Love your post.

Katrina - August 14, 2014 - 10:27 pm

Oh what sweet dreams I will have after seeing all of these beautiful houses! I just love how you always visit places with oh so pretty houses!!!! Thanks for always taking us along for the ride.

Dawn - August 14, 2014 - 10:28 pm


I wouldn’t have thought I’d like the brown and blue until I saw your photos. It’s really cute. Thanks for sharing them with us!

Leslie Anne @ Fairhope Supply Co. - August 14, 2014 - 10:35 pm

The cottage style is popular here too, along the Alabama Gulf Coast, so I can see any of these homes being right here with me! Porches and detail trim like the sailboat shutters are so important to bring a personalized look to your home.

You chose some great houses to photograph and share.

Thanks for the series on St. Simons, and have fun at school next week!

Joan Sommerfield - August 14, 2014 - 10:54 pm

Kelly, There is not one house that I would Not want to visit.
Some of these remind me of my Grandmother’s home on the lake in Michigan. Especially the brown one with white trim. All of them though, so inviting. Again, your photos just pull us in.
Thanks again for helping us to armchair travel. Blessings to you and your family.

Lynne - August 14, 2014 - 10:54 pm

Thank you for the posts on this island. I had never heard of it before but now it’s on the list of places I want to go. I love seeing all the different type of houses but the ones in this post are my favorite.

Lindy James - August 14, 2014 - 11:14 pm

Loved all the homes posted on today’s blog but especially liked the first one which reminded me of “The Father of the Bride” house and the one with the sailboat cut out shutters. Will have to include St. Simons island along with Tybee as definite places to visit. Take care, Lindy

Louvina - August 14, 2014 - 11:23 pm

These homes are all so lovely! What a wonderful way to enjoy these summer days! I really like the picket fences, lovely plants and the shutters. You can almost feel the warm breezes and salt air. I visited Merritt Island yesterday and got to tour a wonderful FL retired couple’s home– makes one wish we could all live near the coast and be on the beach in a snap!!

L J - August 14, 2014 - 11:33 pm

All the homes are lovely, but as for me the first home captured my attention. I guess it’s because I like symmetry. Of course it’s also painted in traditional white w/black shutters. Yet I could live in any or all. Thanks for the show, Kelly.

Nancy - August 14, 2014 - 11:48 pm

I had never considered a brown and blue combination for a home’s exterior!
I really like it. Thank you for introducing us to so many different places to visit in the South. While I have been to some of them, you found interesting sights there I totally missed. I would love to win the Amazon gift card since I love to read.

Sheena - August 15, 2014 - 12:03 am

Hi Kelly,
Like you, these family homes are my favorite. They just exude charm! I could happily move into any one of these houses.

Thanks for the opportunity to win these books. Take care!

Lisa K - August 15, 2014 - 12:37 am

I’ve loved your posts about St.Simons Island. A vacation there would be wonderful! My favorites are the blue & white cottages.

Megan - August 15, 2014 - 7:25 am

Hi Kelly,
The interior of the rental unit has the look that I would love to have in my own home – so calming and beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Cheri - August 15, 2014 - 8:17 am

some more pretty houses, thanks Kelly. I love the wide entrance steps on house #3 and I love the combination of brown and blue, I have used it.

Debra - August 15, 2014 - 9:16 am

Kelly, that first home is quite a compound. I could set up camp for the whole summer in just the guest house. Pool, beach and bike rides to investigate the island. :) I especially like the house that you said you saw before on a previous trip. I checked out the link and love the decorator sketches. Oh so pretty! Thank you Kelly for a beautiful Friday morning wake up. I, like many here, love your blog and appreciate your shares. Hope you have a nice weekend.


Marianne in Mo. - August 15, 2014 - 11:28 am

A wonderful home town feel is what I get from this post! Reminds me of my childhood, those carefree days we no longer seem to have. Living in proximity to the protests going on here, it was nice to see a peaceful scene instead of the negativity on our local situation. What the world is seeing of us is a VERY small part in an isolated area, and I for one hate what it is doing to our image. I feel horrified at what caused it and hope justice is done.
Thank you for these images!

Andrea - August 15, 2014 - 12:12 pm

I have completely enjoyed this pretty tour of St. Simons… glad to know that I am not the only one who takes pictures of houses on vacation (whew!). These homes are just lovely and I think I would move right in to the last home pictured….I adore the outside!!!! Thanks so much for the lovely tour. St. Simons is now on my must visit list!!!!!

Garden, Home and Party - August 15, 2014 - 12:20 pm

I like the more cottage style homes but I confess, some of these larger homes are beautiful. I love the architecture most of them share and wouldn’t a 3-story house be great for storage and plenty of bedrooms!
Enjoy your weekend and thank you so much for listing me as a “blog friend” on your blog roll. I’m honored. :-)

Shirley@Housepitality Designs - August 15, 2014 - 12:20 pm

I so love the homes on St. Simons Island…we have friends who live on the island with a gorgeous view of the marsh…I swoon every time I drive down the roads of St. Simons looking at all of the gorgeous homes both large and small….

Debbie - August 15, 2014 - 5:26 pm

Kelly, thanks for the great pictures and info about St. Simons Island. I’m thinking it might make for a great holiday destination for our family. Some of us live here in NC and some live in Florida. St. Simons looks about in the middle. Thanks for yet another great series of posts!!

Theresa in Nebraska - August 15, 2014 - 8:08 pm

My dream white kitchen! Beautiful houses!

Monika - August 15, 2014 - 9:21 pm

Thanks, Kelly, for another wonderful virtual tour.

Kathie Illges - November 28, 2014 - 5:08 pm

Please sign me up this is Wonderful Kathleen Rivers and I raised our girls together in Columbus Ga.

St. Simons Island – The Villas at Coast Cottages and an Idea House

villas at coast cottagesAre you ready to see more beautiful places on St.Simons Island?  They are certainly not difficult to find there.:) In our last post, we were wandering through Coast Cottages looking at all the charming places there.  Today, I want to walk just a little further and enjoy the homes that are located right beside all the cottages.  That is where you will find…

 The Villas at Coast Cottages...

The Villas Coast CottagesI am not normally a fan of condominiums or anything other than “stand alone” homes, but these are the exception.  I even like the exteriors with their painted siding and uniquely designed porch railing.

Villas St. Simons

A number of the units are available for rent for your vacation.  Would you like to see the interiors of a few of them?  Here is the living area in the Live Oak villa.  It was the original model home there.

Live Oak Villa living area Coast

And here is one of the bedrooms in it.

Live Oak Villa bedroom Coast Cottages

Another unit is the Cypress Villa.

Cypress Villa

I am thinking these 2 photos show the same room at two different times.

villa at Coast Cottages

And here is the living room in Cypress.

Cypress Villa living

Another pretty one for you to see is the Camellia villa.

Here is the exterior.

Camellia Villa exterior Coast

Check out the view from its rooftop deck!

Camellia Villa rooftop

And take a peek inside.

Camellia Villa sitting

Camellia Villa map and

I found some photos from another unit at The Villas at Coast Cottages, but I could not find a name for it.  I really think these from the “no name villa” are my favorite ones.:)See what you think.

villa living

villa kitchen and living


Now, I have one other place for us to talk about. You have probably seen it before.

Do you remember this house?

Coastal Living idea House on St. Simons

It was the 2003 Coastal Living Idea House located on St. Simons Island, and it is at the end of the street where The Villas at Coast Cottages are.  You know that view out the back has to be gorgeous.:) Here is a view of the house from the beach.

Idea House from the

Just in case you don’t remember it from way back in 2003, here are a couple of  photos of it from Coastal Living magazine. The ceilings in all of the rooms were amazing.

Coastal Living idea house

Coastal Living idea house

Do you ever wonder what happens to those idea houses after the tours are finished?  I do.  So I did a little research to see what became of this one on St. Simons, and although it is not a complete history, here is what I learned…

I do not know what became of it immediately after the tours closed, but it was actually on the rental market for a number of years.  Wouldn’t you love to be able to stay in an idea house?!  Here are some photos from one of the rental agencies that previously handled it.  These really showcase the extraordinary ceilings.

Idea House great

Idea House dining and living

Idea house bedroom St.

In October, 2009 it went up for auction along with two of the Coast Cottage villas.  There was some information about the auction here.  I do not know if it sold at the auction, but it did go into foreclosure in the spring of 2011.  It sold almost 2 years later in the spring of 2013 for $1,600,000.  I found some photographs of the listing for its sale.  The empty rooms are kind of sad to me when you consider how beautifully decorated they once were.  Here is the great room from above as it appeared on Zillow.


Here is the kitchen and dining area.  (Something about it reminds me of the empty Shop Around the Corner in You’ve Got Mail.)

Idea house

Idea house kitchen

This is the bedroom with the blue ceiling.

idea house for sale

Maybe I should not think of it as sad rooms.  Perhaps the better way is to look at it as… potential.  Because we know that this space with its lovely cabinetry…

can become this space.

Idea House laundry

And this porch and deck…

porch and

can become this fabulous place.:)

Idea house

Potential…a much more optimistic way of looking at things. Right?

I hope you have enjoyed all the places from Coast Cottages…the homes, the villas, and the Idea House.  I have a few more things to share with you from St. Simons (hope you are not tired of the island by now.:()  Don’t forget that there is a giveaway going on right now for two wonderful autographed books by Barbara Hinske and a $25 gift card.

book giveaway

The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only until Thursday, August 14, 2014 at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be announced/notified on Sunday, August 17, 2014.  To enter, just leave a comment on any of the St. Simons Island posts that publish between 8/7/14 and 8/14/14.  You may enter on any or all of the posts, but you may only enter once per post please.  Good luck!

Until next time…

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Jeanne Bell - August 12, 2014 - 9:59 pm

Thank you for another great visit. I love to imagine being in all these great places. It is sad to see the idea house empty…wonder what it looks like with the new owners?
Have a great week.

Design Chic - August 12, 2014 - 10:12 pm

I love St Simons and what wonderful places to see. Like you, I think the unnamed one is my favorite. I think the idea house looks sad now too – amazing what the furnishings for a place can do…hoping someone buys it soon!!

Darla - August 12, 2014 - 10:14 pm

Thanks for doing these posts. We’re always looking for a new interesting place to visit!

Andrea - August 12, 2014 - 10:17 pm

Another great tour for sure! Thank you so much. I absolutely love a Coastal Living house. I was lucky enough to tour the one in Rosemary Beach that Erik Powell designed…… I read on her instagram that the folks that bought it redesigned one of my favorite rooms in the house…..sad. but like you mentioned….to each his own…potential. Thanks for the great tour!

Martha - August 12, 2014 - 10:17 pm

LOVELY! I like these condos,very light & airy. Maybe whoever bought the idea home will see your post and let us see what they have done, it is a beautiful house even when it is empty.

Grand Pam - August 12, 2014 - 10:17 pm

Thank you for sharing places and homes that I would never see without you. Love all your post.

Jackie Layton - August 12, 2014 - 10:32 pm

So sad about the foreclosure. I like your attitude though about the potential. It is beautiful.

The first home you shared is absolutely adorable. I may even try to rearrange my family room like one of the pictures your shared.

Love your post today. Thanks so much for sharing!

Mickey - August 12, 2014 - 10:42 pm

Thanks for another great tour. We go to Hilton Head every summer but I would like to investigate St Simons. Hope you are enjoying your week! Mickey

Molly - August 12, 2014 - 10:50 pm

Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures. I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and have been hooked ever since!!!! It’s my new late night escape.

Dianne - August 12, 2014 - 10:58 pm

You’re killing me Kelly! Too much eye candy!

Louvina - August 12, 2014 - 11:52 pm

I never get tired of seeing and learning about the coastal areas and the beautiful houses and cottages. I am so glad that one of your readers mentioned Sue Monk Kidd’s book The Mermaid Chair which I finally got to read while on my mini vacation and relating the imaginary outer banks island setting in her book with St. Simons. Now I want to start Eugenia Price’s trilogy you told about in the last post. I read her book Maria with the setting in St. Augustine– love her writing style.

donna - August 13, 2014 - 6:43 am

Love that whole area and especially love looking at gorgeous homes! I could happily live in any one of those homes!

Debbie Jacobs - August 13, 2014 - 7:39 am

Thank you for shaing your post on my favorite island. I had toured the Idea House and the Coastal Living 2003 house. I loved seeing the pictures and the memories!

Amy O'Quinn - August 13, 2014 - 8:39 am

How lovely! I especially liked the Cypress Villa living room, and I pinned that image immediately. :) I don’t remember this particular idea house, but I did enjoy seeing the pics you posted. And yes, I agree, POTENTIAL! Thanks for sharing.

Shelley - August 13, 2014 - 8:44 am

What a magical place. wouldn’t it be wonderful to summer there. I never tire of your tours-you have such a great eye and know just what to share with us! Thanks for all the hard work you put into these tours!

Terri - August 13, 2014 - 8:58 am

Now I am even more excited about my upcoming road trip with my dear friend…. we will be in that area and your posts has given us some MAJOR ideas!! :) …. Beautiful!!!!!

Garden, Home and Party - August 13, 2014 - 9:02 am

The St. Simons “condo” project is so architecturally attractive and in such a great location I believe I could be persuaded to reconsider a condo! The thing that strikes me on the rental places is how nicely they are all decorated. I generally don’t think of rental places as having such great design. Often they appear that they received the leftovers where furnishings were concerned. :-)
The idea house was sure pretty. I’m happy to hear it finally sold.

Laura Ingalls Gunn - August 13, 2014 - 9:09 am

St. Simons is definitely on my bucket list.

Fun fact~ I just had lunch with Barbara Hinske yesterday and she is truly a lovely and delightful woman. What talent!

Cheri - August 13, 2014 - 9:32 am

Those roof top decks with ocean views are something to swoon for. Just looking at them makes me feel relaxed. Maybe that is the type of picture I should put in front of my desk….hmm.

Anne Barr - August 13, 2014 - 11:41 am

This spot is gorgeous, just what us cold Northerners would appreciate in the early Spring 2015

Kathy - August 13, 2014 - 11:54 am

OMGoodness! I love, love, love these beach house posts. They are my favorites! It is like taking a mini vacation! Thank you!!!

Debra - August 13, 2014 - 12:05 pm

I’ll take the Camellia villa, thank you. I am loving that dresser with the blue drawers. Ugh! Oh, and I’m with you Kelly, I like the “No name Villa” too. Well, excuse me while I go organize an estate sale, buy more wicker and start anew. Maybe then I could feel like I am on vacation everyday? Thank you Kelly for my “Morning dreaming” moment…


Vicki - August 13, 2014 - 1:41 pm

Those villas are pretty. Love how they’re decorated with a little personality.

Oh goodness, that would be so fun to stay in an idea house. That is neat that you researched what happened to it. I agree, it has potential, now, and the lovely inspiration of what it was. I’d like to visit it, even empty, it’s still fabulous!

GramiePamie - August 13, 2014 - 2:00 pm

The furnishings obviously change the appearance of the rooms, but I think the LIGHT does nearly as much! What a contrast, the brightness with the dismal, shadowy photos. Let the light shine!!

Eva Murdock - August 13, 2014 - 2:09 pm

it has been years since visiting St. Simons. Loved the church and actually went inside and toured. Love, love your blog and your reading recommendations.Enjoyed seeing all the beach houses.

Nancy Peeples - August 13, 2014 - 3:54 pm

What a beautiful place! Thanks for the chance to win these books!

Katrina - August 13, 2014 - 4:25 pm

Sign me up! I LOVE all of these houses and their gorgeous rooms!

Libby Maddux - August 13, 2014 - 6:31 pm

Love all the posts about St. Simons. Having grown up in Brunswick, it seems like home. In fact, we are headed there next weekend to celebrate my Mom s 85 birthday. Thank you for the awesome give away!

Dawn - August 13, 2014 - 6:49 pm


Thank you for another wonderful trip to the beautiful St. Simons. The photos are all very inspirational and I never tire of homes, cottages, rentals etc. built by the water. I love the deck on the Idea house. So pretty all decorated and so much potential sitting empty as well.

Lindy James - August 13, 2014 - 7:49 pm

I agree with you about living in only “stand alone” homes but since we have been looking for a second place on the California coast for awhile, a condo sounds better and better because of less maintenance on the outside. I do love The Villlas at Coast Cottages and might have to switch from the West to East Coast! Thanks again for another great post, take care, Lindy

Megan - August 13, 2014 - 8:45 pm

Hi Kelly,
How sad that the Coastal Living home went into foreclosure. I’m surprised that they don’t do a big contest, similar to the HGTV Dream Homes. I would certainly enter to win!! I do think that the St. Simons cottages are so beautiful – yet another place that I would love to visit! Thanks for all of the information on a lovely vacation area that I may not have heard of otherwise :)

Sharon - August 13, 2014 - 9:27 pm

Thanks for sharing more lovely cottages/beach houses. I love the gray siding with white trim combination.

Bev S. - August 13, 2014 - 10:21 pm

Thank you for posting these pictures….It’s nice to be able to “travel” by looking at your blog!!! And it saves me a WHOLE lot of money!!! –Bev S.

Julia G. - August 14, 2014 - 8:57 am

So love these posts! My husband is actually reading these and we are planning another trip for next anniversary1

classic casual home - August 14, 2014 - 1:08 pm

I would love to win!!! Great give away. I really want to go to ST. Simons Island!

Julie - August 14, 2014 - 2:46 pm

Love these villas!! Beautiful inside and out…especially the unique pool/spa that’s included!! Adding a return trip to St. Simon’s Island, and a stay here to my bucket list. :)

Faye - August 14, 2014 - 9:20 pm

Kelly, I write this from a cottage I’m visiting on Tybee Island, a trip that was inspired by your posts in April. This has been a great place to visit, and nearby St. Simons Island sounds great too. I hope to get there on a future trip. Thanks so much for your ideas on coastal destinations.

Will - August 14, 2014 - 9:28 pm

Would love to win.

Shirley@Housepitality Designs - August 15, 2014 - 12:23 pm

A gorgeous island with so many gorgeous homes and getaways!

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