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This is my curated homage to opulent living that is seldom about money, yet is rich in spades. This collection of discovery is an itinerary for those who believe that life is elevated when an array of small joys are thoughtfully strung together.

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pleasure taken seriously

how to make a moscow mule, moscow mule copper mug, Make Your Own Moscow Mule

Make Your Own Moscow Mule

12/22/2013

The Moscow Mule is the “It” cocktail of the moment. It was created in the early 1940s but has recently enjoyed a surge in popularity. I personally have been averaging 1.9 Moscow Mules a week since Halloween. Made with vodka, ginger beer and lime, the Moscow Mule makes for one delightfully refreshing cocktail.

As if that wasn’t enough, bars and restaurants serve the Mule in the most fetching shiny copper mug. I admit to being tempted on more than one occasion to take the mug home with me as a souvenir, and apparently I’m not alone. According to the Wall Street Journal, mule-mug theft is becoming a national epidemic. Bars and restaurants are having a hard time meeting the demand for the drink because they keep coming up short on the drink’s signature copper mug. Read More

how to saber a bottle of champagne

How to Saber a Bottle of Champagne

12/20/2013

There are only four holiday shopping days left, but there are eleven days to learn how to win friends and influence people by sabering a bottle of Champagne on New Year’s Eve. What exactly, say you, does it mean to saber a bottle of champagne?  Well, when one sabers a bottle of Champagne, one doesn’t use a corkscrew like a mere mortal, but instead quite ceremoniously severs the top off the bottle like Napoleon was known to do after a victory. “Champagne! In victory one deserves it; in defeat one needs it,” the vertically challenged emperor would often proclaim.

And why would one want to do this, you ask? Because it’s a very impressive party trick, and quite frankly, there is often great pleasure in being completely and unapologetically ostentatious. Now on to the sabering. Read More

how to Fully Enjoy a Pomegranate, how to seed a pomegranate, pomegranate, pomegranate cocktail

How to Fully Enjoy a Pomegranate

12/08/2013

My fingers and lips are deliciously stained from pomegranate seeds. The taste of a pomegranate seed bursting in your mouth is like none other, but there’s so much more to appreciate. We mortals have been in awe of the pomegranate since the beginning of time. Pomegranates were the chosen fruit of the ancient gods, and even gets a few shout-outs in the Torah, the Quran and the Bible. Then there was that time when Hades lured Persephone to the dark underworld with a just few pomegranate seeds. Yep, it was that serious.

Even better, pomegranate juice is the fifth strongest antioxidant after baking chocolate, elderberry, Red Delicious apples and Granny Smith apples. This super dose of antioxidants helps to fight free radicals that accelerate signs of aging. Pomegranates also have anti-inflammatory properties that could protect against inflammatory conditions such as the dreaded acne.

The only downside to pomegranates is that they aren’t the easiest of fruits to eat. Until now. This easy-peasy method of seeding a pomegranate will have its sinfully delicious juice running down your chin before you can say “Lordhavemercy!”

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Bathing with Swedish Dream Sea Salt Soap, Swedish Dream Sea Salt Soap

The Swedish Dream Sea Salt Soap Experience

09/04/2013

My friend, AJ thinks it’s a total waste to spend money on a luxury hotel when on vacation.

“You’re going to spend the majority of the time away from the hotel, sightseeing and the like, why bother?”

Why bother? Because, I explained to my dear friend, luxury hotels, those worth their salt, transform the most mundane of activities like bathing and sleeping into divine experiences. Luxury hotels, with their high-end toiletries, exquisite bedding and plush terry cloth robes (I’m talking to you, Four Seasons), provide indulgences that elegantly round out a vacation. But who’s to say you can’t indulge even when at home? Which brings me to Swedish Dream Sea Salt Soap by Kala Style. Read More

home

On ‘normal life’

09/04/2013

“Not that she didn’t enjoy the holidays: but she always felt—and it was, perhaps, the measure of her peculiar happiness—a little relieved when they were over. Her normal life pleased her so well that she was half afraid to step out of its frame in case one day she should find herself unable to get back.”

~ Jan Struther, Mrs. Miniver

[Photo: Jeanloup Sieff, 1960s]

giving up paper towels, going paper towel-less, going paper towel-free, getting rid of paper towels

The Pomp + Circumstance of Giving Up Paper Towels

08/14/2013

I waited until the Baby Kittens’ appetizers had arrived and The Mister had a drink in his hand before proposing what I had been contemplating for some time now. I knew that I would need The Mister’s full support in order to pull this off. As he sipped his drink, I took his free hand into my own and said:

“Baby, I think we need a change. A lifestyle change.”

Read More

benefits of brewing coffee with a french press, benefits of a french press, advantages of a french press, bodum french press, How to Brew Coffee with a French Press

Benefits of Brewing Coffee with a French Press (87% More Delightful)

08/03/2013

I was pulling into the parking garage at my office when I realized that I had forgotten to turn off the coffee maker. It’s 14 years old–a wedding present–and not one of those fancy models with an automatic shut-off. I made a mental note to swing home at lunch time to turn it off, but as it turned out, the coffee maker didn’t cross my mind again until I arrived home nine hours later. I could smell the charred pot as I walked in the door.

I turned off the coffee maker, tossed it in the trash and resisted the urge to head back out to buy the Le Creuset French Press. I’ve romanced the idea of starting my mornings with it and a vase of fresh hydrangeas nearby. Instead, I got practical and read consumer reviews in search of my ideal French press. But first, here’s why I decided to buy a French press instead of a traditional coffee maker.

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swan coach house, atlanta history center, atlanta history, architecture, atlanta architecture

Local Tourist: Swan Coach House

07/20/2013

It has taken me 14 years to make it to the Swan Coach House. The historic home’s graceful facade and manicured gardens have caught my eye on many occasions while driving past it since first moving to Atlanta years ago. A lingering case of writer’s block  would finally lead me to the Swan House. The neo-classical manse and rolling grounds is the inspiration behind a web serial I’ve been trying to eek out. After hopelessly staring at a blank computer screen, I packed my camera and headed out in search of motivation.

The Swan Coach House and its 28 acres is one of the most photographed landmarks in Atlanta. Renown architect, Philip Trammell Shutze designed the home for Edward Iman and his family in 1928. The Inmans were heirs to a cotton brokerage fortune, and the Swan House was to be a retirement home–a downsize (gasp!) from their current home in the Inman Park neighborhood of Atlanta.

My pulse quickened and I got a little goosebumply as I stood facing the front facade while the terraced gardens and stone fountain tumbled down the hillside around me.
Read More

cacao1

Cacao + Lavender Tea for Your Insides and Outsides

07/16/2013

My sister, Maggie, eats them by the handful. She and her husband live in a quaint lakeside town in Mexico where they buy them at a farmer’s market. A couple of weeks ago, a pound of them arrived from Maggie at my doorstep. It’s taken me as many weeks to research and ponder how I might make the most of these deliciously fragrant cacao beans.

For the indoctrinated, the cacao bean is used to make the world’s favorite food–chocolate. And actually, it’s a nut, not a bean, which makes it the most widely eaten nut and #1 cash crop in the world. “Cacao” is also one of the world’s oldest words–about 15,000 years old. Cacao beans were first cultivated by the Ancient Mayans, and then taken to western Europe by Cortez. It was there that cacao was given its slang name, “cocoa.”

So what’s the fuss? Why is the cacao bean considered a super food?

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DIY mud wash for hair, how to make mud wash for hair

DIY Mud Wash for Hair: The Remix

07/04/2013

Sometimes you have to get a little dirty to come clean. As is the case with this new remix to my original DIY Mud Wash for Hair recipe. This version still uses bentonite clay as the base, and aloe vera juice for moisture, but introduces some new ingredients that I’ve been playing with.

I’ve been using this recipe consistently for nearly a month now, and without a doubt it is the best cleanser I’ve ever used. With every use, my hair and scalp have felt uber clean, without being stripped. The tresses were so soft, that I skipped conditioning all together. My curls stayed springy and required much less moisturizing through the week.

The videos below (originally posted to Instagram) walk through the steps of the recipe. I’ve also included the full written recipe and instructions. Read More

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