by adwells on December 4, 2013
I‘m a pretty excitable person, as anyone that knows me can probably attest, but two of the things that get me the most excited is writing for new publications and good things happening in Jackson, Mississippi. Combine those two and I’m on Cloud Nine.
Such is the case today. I’m thrilled to have my first piece published at Deep South Magazine on The Apothecary at Brent’s Drugs. Check it out here for a little history lesson in the ties that bind classic cocktails and soda fountains and swing by when you’re in Jackson!
by adwells on August 29, 2013
But, I have to say that the past year has been so full and we have felt so blessed by this little bundle that entered our world last year. Jeremiah has such a sweet little demeanor and I swear he’s the cutest thing you’ll ever see. He has stolen our hearts in a big way.
To celebrate, we had family and friends that are like family over for a “Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog” party, throwing it back to the old Three Dog Night song. We had a blast celebrating this sweet little life that’s sure to blossom into a big one. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for our little man in the years to come. Now, for a few pics…
by adwells on August 15, 2013
Check out my story on gorgeous and super fun Steamboat Springs today on My Scoop. Then, go ahead and book a plane ticket and get your tails up there!
by adwells on August 13, 2013
In the wintertime, those of us who live in the South often steal away to the likes of Colorado to hit the slopes. Many often enjoy a last snowy hoorah during Spring Break before enduring the sweltering Southern heat. But those wise Coloradoans know something we may not: summertime is the Centennial state’s best-kept secret. In fact, it’s often said about Colorado, “Come for the winter, stay for the summer.” Take it from me, Colorado is pure heaven in the summer.
For the past five days I had the pleasure of enjoying quintessential summertime in the Centennial state with a handful of other writers and bloggers. If you enjoy the wild outdoors and a little adrenaline rush, head to the Rockies for relief from the humid summer heat and a pretty rocking good time. Whether it’s hiking, fishing, biking, rafting, or just enjoying some breathtaking views, Colorado has much to offer this time of year.
While there, not only did I get to meet some really great folks, but I….
…took a dip at Strawberry Park Hot Springs – nature’s very own hot tub tucked away in the mountains, surrounded by the most gorgeous slopes and Aspen trees.
…hiked the Flat Tops and enjoyed showstopping views (in a lightning storm no less!).
…had an AMAZING breakfast (this coming from a non-breakfast lover – it was that good!) at The Paramount in Steamboat Springs.
…hung out with Bobby Brown the Bull at the Steamboat Pro Rodeo. Obviously mine was the tamest of acts.
…drank wine on plush leather sofas while bowling at The Foundry in Winter Park. My kind of bowling alley!
…biked downhill with our super patient guide Connor at Trestle Bike Park School. I have to say, I felt like I should have left with some sort of badge of honor. It was hard work, but quite the adrenaline rush!
Colorado didn’t disappoint, to say the least – I’m back home with sore muscles and broadened horizons! So if outdoor adventure in not only tolerable, but pleasant temps is up your alley, hightail it to this little slice of heaven!
by adwells on July 15, 2013
I came home from a little vacation to a copy of Portico‘s Jackson Now issue in my mailbox. I love this city. Make no mistake, it’s a city with its own problems, but its a city full of people that are passionate about their community and this place they love. I was glad to contribute to this issue (which is always one of my favorites) by writing a story on “Placemakers,” a handful of those in Jackson that have a passion for refurbishing old houses. If you’re local, pick up a copy at bookstores around the city. If you’re not, get a subscription here.
by adwells on July 12, 2013
Today, head over to Elembee Blog where I’ve guest posted for her Across the USA series, talking all about why you should come to Mississippi. Thanks, Lisa, for letting me be a part of your fun, fun series!
by adwells on July 8, 2013
Some of my favorite stories to write are those of risk takers. You know the type, the no-holds-barred, guns-a-blazing type. I admire them, which makes my job as a writer a whole heck of a lot more interesting. Whether they’re living their lifelong dream of opening a restaurant, launching a new business, gutting a century old home, or something else, they usually have a good story to tell.
For this month’s Mississippi Magazine, I got to write the story of Virden & Elle Hargrove, who launched Asher Riley, a clothing company started by two Mississippi natives now living in Birmingham. With kids to support and a life to live, they still went out on a limb and opened up Virden’s dream company complete with prepster-style belts and ties. Check them out.
Who are your favorite risk takers?
by adwells on June 27, 2013
I just finished reading The Little Way of Ruthie Leming for book club (more on that later) and it really got me thinking. There’s just something about being at home, wherever that may be, around “your people.” Those ties with family and friends that are like family really bind and often we don’t realize quite how much.
Like the author of the book, Rod Dreher, I often have such a desire to go and explore and see what’s out there in this big, big world. But, also like Dreher, as an adult I’ve realized how much sweet little Mississippi holds that I couldn’t understand until now. It holds memories and people that have known me since I was towheaded and two feet tall. There’s really something to be said for that.
I want to see the world. This desire, it’s something, I believe, that you’re either born with or you aren’t. I hope my kids have it. I want them to explore, learn and get to know people who are unlike them. And then, I hope, as they grow and experience new places and people, they appreciate their home and heritage. I hope they realize how great this place truly is, because it’s my belief that it’s hard if it’s all you’ve ever known.
I love the South. It’s history is flawed, it’s heat is sweltering, the bugs are big, but despite all that, it really is a glorious place. I’m glad that my kids will know their grandparents, run barefoot with cousins with Mississippi mud between their toes, graduate with friends they started Kindergarten with and hopefully develop ties, like mine, that are unbreakable.
I remember one of those old school framed cross-stitched quotes that my mom had hanging on the wall of the house I grew up in, “No matter where you may roam, the best part is coming home.”
by adwells on April 17, 2013
People LOVE New Orleans. I mean, really, really, love New Orleans. For some reason, I’ve always struggled with understanding that. My husband kept telling me I just wasn’t seeing what New Orleans really had to offer (as most know, Bourbon Street ain’t it, y’all), so in recent years, he’s made it his mission to make me one of those people. You know, those crazy “New Orleans is the greatest thing since way before sliced bread” people.
Now, I must admit, I’ve started coming around over the years. This past weekend, we took our first weekend away since our sweet baby boy was born and hightailed it to the Big Easy.
A little disclaimer, we’ve both been on a kind of ridiculous diet that has been working, but leaving us feeling a little deprived. So, in the spirit of New Orleans (aka eating and drinking to your heart’s content), we derailed the diet for a weekend of celebrating. While I love crawfish and seafood, other traditional cajun dishes like red beans and rice and jambalaya, I can pretty much take or leave, so we tried a bevy of other non-Cajun places.
Our first stop was Coquette on Magazine Street. Here, we tried to be good. And let me tell you, being good has never tasted so good. We split the Beef Tartare and the BBQ Pork Lettuce Wraps. The Beef Tartare was quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever tasted. No lie. Except for maybe the chicory ice cream we had the next day, but we’ll get to that.
We walked around Magazine and then the Quarter for a while. French Quarter Fest was this weekend, so the city was bubbling, to say the least. I do (and have) love the furniture stores, antique shops, and art galleries. You can find whatever it is you’re looking for.
We stumbled across the Idea Factory, the quirkiest little shop with the funniest yet most intricate woodworkings, like these clocks.
I’ve always wanted a piece of art purchased off the fence at Jackson Square, where you can find some amazing art at great deals among the not so great pieces. I fell in love with a drawing/etching of St. Louis Cathedral by artist Greg Giegucz. It became my early birthday present and I cannot wait to get it framed and hung.
That night, we took a cab over to Bywater in the Ninth Ward and proceeded to fall in love. After the urging of a couple of friends to try out Bacchanal Wine, we did and were head over heels. You walk in and someone helps you pick out the perfect bottle of wine. You can also grab some of the most delicious cheeses from their refrigerator. Walk out back to the patio where you can order food and listen to live jazz. They’ll even grill you some bread to go with the amazing (I cannot stress how amazing) cheese. The atmosphere here is easy and fun and the food, wine, and oh yeah – the cheese – is great. Did I mention that?
Saturday morning, after a literal run to Cafe Du Monde, we had a friend’s wedding in the French Quarter, which was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve been to. Simple and fun reigned – in the spirit of the city.
The reception was in a private apartment overlooking the Quarter. If you know me or have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I’m a sucker for good interior design. Make that “undesigned” interior design and I’m all over it. My mouth hit the floor when I walked in this apartment. Crisp white walls with some of the most gorgeous art I’ve ever seen. I was in heaven (in New Orleans, oddly enough). I only wish I had taken more photos. I was in awe, though, and soaking it all in. No time for photos. I’m pitiful.
After the wedding, we tried out Cure, on Freret Street. The Pimm’s cup is great, but may not hold a candle to the bacon wrapped, goat cheese stuffed dates. Delish.
We then made our way to Magazine Street for dinner at La Petite Grocery. While dinner was fabulous, dessert is what shone here. We indulged (I mean indulged) in the chocolate cake with homemade Chicory ice cream. That ice cream was the nectar of the gods, y’all. That is no lie.
The next day, we met my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, recent New Orleans residents (read her blog here) for lunch at Cochon Butcher. If you like good meat, this is your place. I had the turkey sandwich, but had a bite of the Cubano (which was so much better!). They also introduced us to a real deal New Orleans snowball from Hansen’s. I got the chocolate cream with a dab of marshmallow on top. If you go to Hansen’s, stop by the great used bookstore next door, too! I bought a book about Zelda Fitzgerald that I can’t wait to devour.
You’re growing on me, Big Easy. I’m starting to see what the fuss is all about. New Orleans didn’t disappoint – definitely not my tastebuds, but maybe my waistline. But it was SO worth it!
by adwells on March 6, 2013
I’m thrilled to have written the cover story for the March issue of Portico Jackson. I’ve been a longtime admirer of Kathy Thibodeaux of Ballet Magnificat!, and hearing her story of faith and following firsthand was really inspiring. If we all would only go out on a limb follow our calling, I can only imagine what the world would be like. Kathy & her husband Keith have made their mark on the world of ballet all around the world and for a greater purpose.
Also for this issue, I wrote a story on the home of a great couple (and friends!)- Jonathan & Gretchen Shull. Their house is a cozy midcentury modern (usually an oxymoron, but not so in this case!) home just around the corner from us. The ins and outs of the renovations are accompanied by a neat little story about the architect.
So pick up a copy or subscribe. What are you waiting for?
by adwells on March 4, 2013
The March/April issue of Mississippi Magazine is home to a story I wrote on Mississippi native and designer who is taking the fashion world by storm, Brooke Atwood. I had the pleasure of meeting Brooke over the Christmas holiday to sit down and talk fashion and how she has gotten where she is today. She is one of those people who is just effortlessly cool and I can only hope to be just a tiny bit like that when I grow up (one day).
by adwells on December 21, 2012
We have an elf, you know, an elf who goes by the name of Bob that reports to Santa each night. He moves around every night (that is if mom and dad aren’t super forgetful) and he can’t be touched or he’ll “lose his magic.” (Who came up with this drama?)
This year, Ry is 8. I’m fully aware that it’s probably the very last Christmas season where she is all about this Santa business, and by default, this Elf business. I kind of had a hunch that she may be onto us and the whole Bob charade, but we’ll get to that.
These girls. They keep me in stitches with their little personalities. The other day after school Ry ran into her room to change out of her uniform and comes out looking like this…
The socks on her hands were my favorite part by far.
So she proceeds to move around the house while instructing me to take pictures and baby sister to “look surprised like you didn’t know where I was going to be in the morning.”
Good gracious I love her. I was convinced the jig was up after this little display, but I was wrong.
The next morning, Bob had perched himself on top of a clock by where the girls hang their backpacks each day. Ry was grabbing hers and Bob catapulted to the tile below. That’s when I knew she is still a firm believer in the Elfin Magic. She backed up in a panic, fell to her knees, scooped up the dog and melted down in her signature drama queen fashion. She.Was.Hysterical. Convinced she had killed the elf and that Charlie was sure to gobble him up.
Being the awesome, and apparently super sympathetic mom that I am, through “I’m laughing so hard I’m crying” tears, I grabbed up my phone to snap a photo to document the moment. Then I assured her, if Bob can fly to the North Pole every night a little knock to the noggin won’t hurt him. And sure enough, he returned.
More fun elf drama – here.
by adwells on December 14, 2012
I’m alive. Blogging often takes the back burner whenever life happens and holy moly, is life happening. That whole going from two to three kids thing isn’t for the faint of heart. So between my babies, my (thankfully) influx of work, and chipping away at a home renovation in this ever-evolving house, life is full, to say the least.
I hope this Christmas season is fun and full for you and yours. Thought I’d pop in with a little stocking stuffer post. I really think shopping for stuffers is better than the big stuff. As a kid (and, who am I kidding, as an adult) I always loved dumping out my stocking for a peek at the contents. So fun. So if you’re stuck on what to stuff, here are a few ideas.
FOR THE KIDDOS:
1. My kids love art and you’d think simple little paintbrushes were made of gold. Can’t beat the price on this set of 20.
2. Popsicles are the nectar of childhood, in my opinion. Make your own (healthier) options with this popsicle mold. Ordered this for my kids today. P’s having her tonsils out the week after Christmas, so it will get put to good use immediately.
3. Let the little ones paint their own toys and give them a chance to get creative with this DIY top & yoyo kit.
4. I kind of want these for myself (much like all of Anthropologie’s kid gifts). Shadow puppets found here.
5. I love a wooden toy (I’m sure you couldn’t tell) and these little handpainted peek-a-boo Waldorf toys are adorable.
FOR A MAN’S MAN:
I’m married to a manly man and I really like finding manly stuff for him. So, if you have your own manly man, take note.
1. Any Southern gentleman knows the importance of a handwritten thank you note – there’s nothing unmanly about it. I love this men’s stationery, complete with “letterpress vintage manly motifs.”
2. Movember, anyone? Grab some stache balm. I grabbed some moustache wax for my handlebar-mustached dad. Shh! Don’t tell.
3. He can utilize that manly stationery and make it all the more special with disposable Varsity fountain pens.
4. This ain’t your mama’s chocolate bar. For the love of bacon, stuff this in his stocking (not mine!).
5. Shaving has become a classy little thing to do. Grab a straight razor for your man from The Art of Shaving.
Here’s my run down for all you guys out there that need some help. You really can’t go wrong with these.
1. Bath balms. I.love.a.bath. It’s my me-time, my only alone time and I savor it. For all of you locals, these are from Musee, which is based in Gluckstadt. These suckers smell divine.
2. For any mom, anything with her kids’ names on them is a win. This necklace is sweet without being cheesy (like those stick figure bumper stickers that come to mind.)
3. This infinity scarf can be dressed up or down and I’m loving that color!
4. One of my favorite scents. She’ll smell good without smelling like she bathed in perfume. This is the perfect clean-smelling crisp scent.
5. I have raved about Lush’s Dream Cream for some time now. That’s because it really is dreamy. And creamy. And I can’t live without it.
by adwells on November 9, 2012
A short little post for your Friday…
When I think of the word “game room,” visions of anything pretty sure aren’t dancing in my head. Gross green pool tables and weird and funky smells are what I think of. But check this out…
I lost my breath for a few minutes when I saw this. It’s part of the Coastal Living Ultimate Beach House by designer Erika Powell. Check out more details on her blog.
by adwells on October 22, 2012
October, like always, has been good to me. We’ve stayed close to home all month, which has been pretty nice. This week and weekend was full of painting pumpkins, roller skating, eating at a gas station (and it was super good, I kid you not!), the pumpkin patch, and baby Jeremiah’s baptism. My cup really runneth over. A few scenes from October:
I have to explain this one. This is that gas station meal I mentioned at Heart & Soul Diner in Brandon, Miss. My husband swore to me it was the best softshell crab sandwich he’d ever had, and he was right. In the Shell station on Hwy. 80!
And it all ended with us finally getting around to starting the second season of Downton last night. Which was just kind of the icing on the cake. Happy October!
by adwells on October 11, 2012
Tis’ the season for warm colors, warm food and cozying up. Etsy’s all over that. My faves for Fall.
1. Flower Bracelet 2. Knitted Mohair Cowl in Fern Green 3. 60s vintage winter white coat 4. Felted wool slippers 5. Ceramic coffee mug in amber 6. Hardwood Bowl 7. Waxed canvas carryall 8. Crochet throw in cornmeal yellow
Happy Fall, Y’all!
by adwells on October 9, 2012
This is a little late, but I realized that I never shared pics from Ry’s birthday party. I’ve always had a thing for the 50s and well, she’s always had a thing for Elvis. So when she said she wanted to have an Elvis party and have everybody wear “those skirts with poodles,” I couldn’t help but excitedly blurt out, “I’ve waited my whole life for this!” I’m kidding. Maybe…ok, not really. This was really fun because Ry was full of very specific ideas, so we got to plan it all together, which makes it that much more special.
Here are a few photos of our Elvis bash:
by adwells on October 5, 2012
Congrats to Molly Griffin for winning The Lovely Bee giveaway! Molly – email me your address – amanda(at)amandadovewells.com. Congrats!
by adwells on October 4, 2012
It’s so easy to get pretty overwhelmed when you move into a house that you have big plans for. Sometimes I feel like my brain is going to explode because of all the plans I have for this place (and Pinterest doesn’t help at all). So, in an effort to not totally blow our budget or my sanity, I’m tackling one room at a time… starting with the first one you see when you walk in – the foyer.
I wish I had a before photo of when we first moved in. The foyer was a shade reminiscent of Country Blue. When we moved in, we pretty quickly painted it “Antique White” by Valspar, which is the white we used throughout much of the house.
I waffled back and forth about what to do with the walls to add a little interest. I was thinking a stencil, but decided to go with simple stripes instead on an accent wall and save the stenciling for our half bath (another project – my head really may explode!)
I measured the wall and divided it up evenly. Then, I marked lines up one side of the largest wall of the foyer (where the table sits). This is where a laser level came in to save the day. Originally, I thought I would just make marks and connect them with painter’s tape, but that proved to be pretty tricky. The laser level made the job a cinch.
The white was going to stay my “background” color, so the key was to put the tape outside of the lines that I would paint. The stripes will look like different sizes, but once the paint comes off, they’ll be even if you measured correctly.
Then, I took Valspar’s “Homestead Resort Parlor Taupe” paint and painted inside the bigger sections. I was going for subtle stripes, so I found a color just a few shades darker than our white. Another key to remember is to peel the tape off before the paint dries, as soon as your done with that stripe. Two coats did the trick for me and then a careful peeling to ensure crisp lines. Love the outcome!
So one little task down, now I have a new light fixture ordered and am working on some new art work for above the table and new lampshades (not to mention, we’re saving up for warm hardwood floors instead of the cold tile, so picture that if you can!). Stay tuned!
by adwells on October 1, 2012
It’s no secret that I have a
obsession love of paper, so when sweet-as-pie Laurel Donahoo launched her new line of stationery and notecards, The Lovely Bee, I couldn’t be more excited for her and for us consumers who love all things handmade and pretty. You came to the blog on a good day – Laurel has graciously decided to give one reader a pack of eight assorted, handmade Mississippi notecards.
But first, a little Q&A with the lovely Laurel…
Where did you get the idea to start The Lovely Bee?
I started making stationery years and years ago. I used to just sell it to my friends and my parents’ friends as a way to make just a little extra spending money. It’s always been something that I loved doing but finding time to do it got more and more difficult. So a few months ago I just decided, “You know what? This is something I love to do, and something I’m passionate about. I need to make more time for this.” So I rearranged my life just a little bit, and now I actually have a good amount of time that I can use solely for The Lovely Bee stationery!
What made you take the leap and launch The Lovely Bee?
I remember my mama telling me one time, “One way to know you’ve found “the one” is when, whenever y’all are apart, you’re constantly wondering what he’s doing and where he is.” Not only did I find that little tidbit to be helpful in the world of love, but I think it also comes in handy when talking about work! Since I’ve worked full-time since I graduated college, I always had the thought in the back of my mind of “What if I could really focus in on my stationery and make something happen with that?” Last year for my birthday, my sweet friend Kristen Ley gave me a book called The Handmade Marketplace and encouraged me to find more time to create and sell the notecards she knew I so enjoyed making. Then, my sister-in-law opened a store (Arco Avenue) and told me that if I ever wanted to sell my stationery there, she’d be happy to make that happen. After a lot of thought, prayer, and hard work, I finally got to a point in my life where my next step was clear. The Lovely Bee needed and deserved more time and attention!
Where does the name come from?
When I was trying to come up with a good name for the business I was so passionate about, I thought, “Why not take something else I’m passionate about and use that as a launch pad for the name of the business?” Ever since I took a four-month extended work vacation in Oxford, England back in 2007, bees have completely fascinated me. While in Oxford, my travel buddy and I visited the beautiful Oxford Botanical Gardens on what was apparently “bee day.” Bees were everywhere in this garden, floating from bright flower to bright flower, just minding their own business. I became fascinated just watching them. It also so happened that I had just finished my favorite book of all time, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, which also gave me an appreciation for those little guys. (Another reason this book is so special to me is because, without even knowing it, my mother had been reading the same book back here in Mississippi at the same time I was!) Anyway, to make a long story short, that’s where the “bee” comes from in the name. I just like the word “lovely” and they sounded good together, so I went with it. On the logo, it was my mama’s suggestion to put a laurel wreath around the bee, since Laurel happens to be my name. It just seemed appropriate!
What sets your products apart?
The Lovely Bee stationery is a work of art! Every single card is one of a kind, so you won’t ever find any two that are exactly alike! The embellishment on each card is hand-painted, hand-cut, and hand-mounted. Some of the envelopes are even hand-lined! I put a lot of time into making a product that is different from anything else out there. And I’m always open to feedback and constructive criticism, so if you have some ideas for me, send them my way!
Tell me about the process of creating the stationery itself.
It’s a rather long process, but a fun one! Once I’ve got my cards folded and stamped on the back with The Lovely Bee logo, I’m ready to get rolling on the fun part! I paint a piece of paper with whatever design I’m feeling at the time. Once the design is dry, I flip the paper over and begin tracing which cut-outs I want out of the painted pattern. (I usually try to get several different cut-outs from the same pattern to keep from getting boring!) I then mount the cut-outs onto a contrasting paper to give them a little bit of a border. Then the design goes onto the card, is paired with an envelope, and is packaged! Voila!
What can people expect to come soon from The Lovely Bee?
An Etsy store! I’ve been working on one, but getting everything together takes a while. I’m hoping to have my Etsy store launched in the next few days, with new merchandise continually being added! I’m also working on an exclusive design for Arco Avenue using their colors, as well as some monogram stationery (which will be something totally new for me) for a dear friend who gave me very specific instructions! You can keep up with what I’m working on (plus other things that catch my eye) at The Lovely Bee!
Where can people go to purchase products?
The Lovely Bee products can currently only be purchased at Arco Avenue in The Township in Ridgeland, Mississippi, but as soon as my Etsy store is up and running, that will also be an option.
And finally, tell me briefly about yourself.
I’ve lived in Madison County, Mississippi my whole life. I’m married to my very best friend in the whole wide world, and we have three of the most hilarious dogs ever. Delta and Dover are our twin beagles and Ringo is our (larger than expected) rescue pup. I love dining at local restaurants, great furniture, nail polish, (keeping great furniture and nail polish away from each other, learned after a painful lesson!), coffee, Christmas, cooking, Mississippi State, a great party, and of course, writing letters on handmade stationery. I try to remember to count my blessings every single day and to not sweat the small stuff (because worrying is never a good thing!)
To enter the Lovely Bee giveaway, simply “like” The Lovely Bee on Facebook and leave a comment on this post telling what your favorite thing about Mississippi happens to
bee be. Or, if you’ve never been here, tell me what you imagine it would be! This giveaway will close at noon Central on Thursday, October 4. A winner will be chosen at random and posted on Friday! Good luck!