Flooding Susie’s Inbox

June 25, 2009

Current Obsession

Filed under: Houses, Southern Stuff — sashyjane @ 9:18 am

When I was in middle school, the entire 8th grade took a field trip to Cumberland Island as part of our Georgia History curriculum.  It was one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever been to and I can’t believe that I’ve never been back.

In addition to the wild horses roaming free, one of the most captivating parts of the island is the Dungeness ruins.  0406_GA_3375CumberlandIsland_S

Here’s what Wikipedia (so take it with a grain of salt) has to say about the ruins:

Revolutionary War hero Nathaniel Greene purchased land on the island in 1783 to harvest live oaks for ship building. Wood from the island was used to build the USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides”. Greene died in 1786. His wife, Catherine, remarried Phineas Miller ten years later, and they built a huge, four-story tabby mansion on top of an Indian shell mound. She named it Dungeness after Oglethorpe’s hunting lodge. The mansion, with 6-foot (1.8 m) thick walls at the base, featured four chimneys and 16 fireplaces, and was surround by 12 acres (49,000 m2) of gardens. Dungeness was the scene of many special social galas where statesmen and military leaders enjoyed the Millers’ hospitality. When the island was briefly occupied during the War of 1812, the British used Dungeness as their headquarters.

Records show that in 1846, there were 36 white people and 400 enslaved people. The plantation economy was dealt a deathblow with the U.S. Civil War, and Dungeness deteriorated and the family moved away. Dungeness burned down in 1866.

In the 1880s Thomas M. Carnegie, brother of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie,and his wife bought land on Cumberland for a winter retreat, and in 1884, began building a mansion on the site of Dungeness, though he never lived to see its completion. His wife, Lucy, and 9 children, however, continued to live on the island, and named their mansion Dungeness after the Greene’s. Dungeness was a 59 room Scottish castle. They also built pools, a golf course, and 40 smaller buildings to house the 200 servants that worked at the mansion. The last time Dungeness was used before it burned in 1959 was for the 1929 wedding of a Carnegie daughter. It is thought that the 1959 fire was started by a disgruntled poacher who had been shot in the leg by a caretaker weeks before. Today, the ruins of the mansion remain on the southern end of the island. The Carnegies owned 90% of the island.

Have you ever seen Great Expectations (the one with Gweneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke)? The once grand home that sits in disrepair reminds me so much of Dungeness.


It’s easy to see why the magical and tragic look of the ruins was so fascinating to an imaginative 8th grader and I think my love for Dungeness may have sparked my ongoing interest in all things tragically beautiful.  I’ve since been drawn to Eudora Welty books, deteriorating barns and buildings and most recently, Grey Gardens.


What about you? Are you fascinated by the tragically beautiful?


June 24, 2009

Trinidad- part of the story

Filed under: Jesus — sashyjane @ 10:57 am

I don’t know when I’ll get enough time to sit down and really write out all I want to tell you about Trinidad but I did want to share a few pictures and a brief recap.

We arrived in Port of Spain, Trinidad on Sunday night and were taken to our compound where we settled in and rested for our first day of clinic.

the compound

Monday morning, we set up a clinic in a nearby community center and I was assigned to work in the eye clinic.  I gave eye exams and fitted patients for glasses.  It’s an incredibly rewarding feeling to hand someone a pair of glasses and have them be able to see clearly from them.


Before I left, a friend of mine told me that the people of Trinidad were some of the nicest people he’d ever encountered.  I wasn’t let down.  Truly every person who stepped through that clinic was sweet, gracious and grateful.  I had a blast just talking to them about their lives, their experiences and their families. It’s surprising to learn that Trinidad has an average of 600 murders every year and that kidnapping is a big problem when you meet such kind souls.


Tuesday, I worked in the eye clinic again and quickly learned that it was a popular place! Almost every patient who came through the doors wanted to have their vision screened.


According to my sister, I should have had the flash on while taking these pictures and they wouldn’t have been so blurry.  Hindsight’s 20/20.

Wednesday was a little different, we were at the same clinic site but I was on the Evangelism team.  After the patients had been triaged and treated by a doctor, they were taken out to talk with somebody on the “e-team.”  We sat the patients down and explained why we were doing this clinic- because we love Jesus and Jesus loves people.  Once the Gospel was presented, conversation just flowed naturally and many of the people had great questions and wanted  to investigate further.


Most of the people we talked to were Hindu.  We later learned that the bright, colorful flags in front of many of the houses represented the different dieties they prayed to.


Thursday, we went to a new clinic site and I was back in the eye clinic.


Friday, I was assigned to Children’s ministry where I met these gorgeous children.  I had a really hard time not packing them up in my suitcase!




IMG_0750Nicolai.  This was my absolute favorite child.  He was so sweet, smart, funny and such a little gentleman!


We played Uno…


We played “football”…


We “skipped” rope…


and most importantly, we shared the love of Jesus with these precious children.  (I took pictures of one of us surrounded by children explaining these cute Gospel bracelets but I tragically deleted a day and a half worth of pictures when putting them on my computer.) Thanks to Recuva.com, my pictures were recovered!!!


You can see the bracelet below (Black= sinful hearts, Red= blood of Jesus shed to cover our sins, White= Jesus washed our sins away, Green= we begin to grow and learn about God and how to follow and love Him, Gold= the streets of heaven that we’ll one day walk- the bracelet below is a little out of order… the gold should be after the green)


Saturday, we traveled to the mountains for a hike to the waterfall…


followed by a trip to Maracas Bay for a swim.


There, I bought some souveniers for my family and prayer partners


and soaked up as much of the beautiful scenery as I could.


Sunday, several of us sadly boarded the airplane back to Atlanta and left the rest of the team there to hold more clinics and share Christ with more Trinis this week.

It was an absolutely incredible trip and I couldn’t have asked for any more provision from the Lord.  He provided and protected in more ways that I ever thought possible and I look forward to the rest of the team returning Sunday so I can hear all about what else He was doing in this country full of beauty and sadness.

June 22, 2009

I’m home!

Filed under: Jesus — sashyjane @ 9:47 am

After a simply amazing week,  I arrived safely home last night.  It was super hard to leave (most of the team was staying for another week) and I have so much to tell you all but I left my memory card with all the pictures at my parents’ house and I have tons to catch up on at work so a full report will have to wait a bit.  Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.  The Lord is doing a mighty work in that country and it was absolutely incredible to be a part of it.

June 13, 2009

Bon Voyage!

Filed under: Jesus — sashyjane @ 8:48 pm

I’m headed off to Trinidad first thing in the morning for a weeklong medical mission trip! I’ll be joining a large team of talented medical professionals in serving the hurting and poor people of Trinidad by offering free medical care in traveling clinics.  We’ll care for their ailments, play with their children and share the love of Christ with them.  I fully expect to be blown away by the people I meet, the things I see and the lessons I learn.

I’m ashamed to admit that before this trip, I had no idea where Trinidad was! If you’re interested, it’s just off the coast of Venezuela in the Atlantic.


My generous sister, Susie, is letting me borrow her sweet camera so I’ll be back next Monday with tons of (hopefully) gorgeous images of the lush, tropical terrain.


Here’s a little peek at some of what I’ll be seeing.

Maracas Bay Beach, Trinidad, October 2007



Of course we’ll see the sadder side of Trinidad as well…


I look forward to finding out and sharing with you all what the Lord is doing in this beautiful but hurting island.  Stay tuned…

June 11, 2009

Color Me Crisp Apple Green

Filed under: Uncategorized — sashyjane @ 10:38 am

I wish I could say I love a good, tart, crisp green apple but unless that apple is dipped in chocolate or baked in a pie, it’s probably not going to turn my head.  However, I do love that clear, bright hue of a Granny Smith and it never fails to stop me on a dime.

Martha Wedding Cake

Martha Bouquet 1


martha bout

Wedding invites

Martha Thank you bags

Alvina dress

Alvina Valenta dress

Jim Hjelm Occassions


WS linens

Jessie Steele Apron

crewcuts sweater


Target rainbootsjewelbasket_2055_495820706


Storage BoxesIMG_0129


amanda nisbit

amanda nisbet2






sweet pea coat

1. – 6. Martha Stewart, 7. – 8. Alvina Valenta, 9. Jim Hjelm Occasions, 10. Kitchenaid, 11. Williams-Sonoma, 12. Jessie Steele, 13. -14. CrewCuts by JCrew, 15. Target, 16. Peridot Cocktail Ring from Jewelry Basket, 16. Peridot studs from Overstock[dot]com, 17. Storage Boxes from Organize[dot]com, 18. Empty Planters in my own office, 19.  Apple Green Stripes by Benjamin Moore, 20. – 22. Amanda Nisbet, 23. Heidi Fielder, 24. Phoebe Howard, 25. Palmer Weiss, 26. Etsy, 27. Dawanda Pea Coat– why doesn’t this come in adult sizes?!

June 9, 2009

Be Our Guest (cue singing candlesticks and teapots)

Filed under: Entertaining, Southern Stuff — sashyjane @ 9:56 am

While hospitality is often synonymous with the South, you don’t have to hail from Jackson, Savannah, Charleston or Richmond to be a gracious host or hostess. Good hospitality is little more than making those around you comfortable, particularly when they are guests in your home. As Emily Post put it, “… if the enthusiasm of your [the host or hostess] welcome springs from innate friendliness- from joy in furthering the delight of good fellowship beneath your own roof- you need have little doubt that those who have accepted your hospitality once will eagerly look forward to doing it again and again.”

One might argue that there is no place for traditional etiquette in modern society. Although today’s manners are more situational, tailored to particular circumstances and the expectations of those around us, they remain a combination of common sense, generosity of spirit and a few have been, they rest on the same bedrock principles: respect, consideration and honesty.

Graciousness is also a large part of mannerly behavior. We all know the gracious host or hostess who has the uncanny ability to handle situations with grace and flexibility. The mark of a gracious person is his or her ability to put people at ease and spare them any embarrassment or discomfort- the very backbone of Southern hospitality!

How can these concepts be put into practicality? Making friends or guests feel like they matter is key. For example, if you’re having overnight guests, make sure their room is as comfortable and welcoming as possible by providing good quality towels and linens, stationery, toiletries, maps or guidebooks for the area (if they plan to sightsee or tour nearby), bottled water, slippers, a comfy robe, a luggage rack and closet space. By going the extra mile, your guests will feel taken care of and special and you will have done your part to play the gracious hostess. More great guest room ideas.

4-09_Compliments*Photo courtesy of marthastewart[dot]com

Good hospitality doesn’t end with overnight guests. Guests for lunch, dinner, cocktails or just a short visit over coffee should be treated with the same measure of care and thought. Offering guests something to drink after you’ve invited them in, taking their coat or bag and placing it in the coat closet or across a bed, inviting them to take a seat and paying close attention to what your guest is saying are all great ways to make someone feel thought-for and valued. Keep your house ready for surprise guests by keeping it clean and inviting. Pick up fresh flowers once a week, keep clean linens on hand and keep an eye out for bargains on guest towels and soaps.

Don’t be intimidated to entertain! You needn’t shy away from having guests because you are unsure about the rules of etiquette. All it takes to be a good hostess exuding Southern hospitality is a little forethought and effort. However, if you’d like to brush up on your etiquette, get some great advice from the iconic Post family. emilypost[dot]com

Originally published at VeryVera[dot]com.

June 8, 2009

Reminders of home

Filed under: Books, Food, Southern Stuff — sashyjane @ 1:43 pm

For as far back as I can remember, Mama and Grandmama (and every other woman in my family) have all subscribed to Southern Living. Each month, Mama would flip through the magazine and tear out all of the delicious sounding recipes for classic Southern dishes and modern twists on the classics as well as helpful hints for around the house. She has a huge notebook stuffed full of recipes for fresh creamed corn, hummingbird cake, barbequed ribs and chicken casserole just to name a few. When Southern Living published their All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, I think Mama was one of the first to order a copy.

Southern Living Cookbook

Contained in the book’s nineteen chapters are 1,250 recipes for pros, beginner cooks and everybody in between. Each recipe has been throughly tested by the Southern Living kitchens and split into categories like Quick, Make Ahead, Freeze It and Family Favorite. You can easily decide what to make that evenly by glancing over the prep and cook times as well as the complete nutritional analysis of each dish.

Try out Southern classics with a twist like Cheesy Grits Bread, Mac and Texas Cheeses with Roasted Chiles, Smoked Turkey Tetrazzini and Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake. Learn to make special occasion recipes like Holiday Beef Tenderloin, Molasses-Coffee Glazed Ham, Chocolate Truffle Cake, Caramel-Coconut-Pecan Cheesecake Bars and Bistro Grill Chicken Pizza.Picking up ingredients at the grocery store is a snap using the simplified ingredient lists helping you determine what to buy and how to shop.

Each chapter begins with basic tips, guides and tools to help you get started. Familiarize yourself with different cuts of beef, herbs, spices, knives, cooking terminology and more. Take the guesswork out of cooking by consulting the timetables and charts. No more undercooked pork and overcooked fish! Be sure to check out the party and entertaining section. And guys- there’s a huge chapter full of sizzling favorites from the grill.

For the past forty years, Southern Living has prided itself in, “delivering definitive Southern cuisine to its readers, making it one of the most trusted recipe sources in the country that reaches over 16 million readers monthly.” With that kind of history, you know the information contained between the covers of this cookbook is culinary gold.

Originally published at VeryVera[dot]com.

June 5, 2009

Southern Summer Menu

Filed under: Food, Southern Stuff — sashyjane @ 8:51 am

Southern food is easy to recognize. It’s packed with flavor, full of fresh ingredients and prepared with love. Enjoy the bounty of the farmer’s markets this  summer and try your hand at some Southern classics. Below you’ll find the recipes for a typical Southern supper. I can almost hear the crickets chirping…

Deviled Eggs
Collard Greens
Hoppin’ John
Pan Fried Pork Chops
Peach Cobbler a la mode

Deviled Eggs
6 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
¼ c. mayonnaise
1 ½ T. sweet pickle relish
1 t. yellow mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Sliced sweet pickles

Halve eggs lengthwise and scoop out yolks. Be careful not to tear whites. Place yolks in a small bowl. Mash yolks with a fork until crumbly and add mayonnaise, pickle relish and mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fill the whites with the yolk mixture and sprinkle with paprika. Garnish with sliced pickles and pimentos. Serve on a Deviled Egg Plate with pickled asparagus and okra.

4 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped
2 c. cornmeal
1 c. all purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
2 t. salt
4 eggs
2 c. milk

Fry bacon in a heavy cast iron skillet and place on paper towel. Keep bacon grease in pan and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Whisk in milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until combined. Fold in chopped bacon. Pour batter into the cast iron skillet used to fry bacon. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

Collard Greens
½ lb smoked meat (ham hocks, turkey neck bones, etc)
1 bunch collard greens
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1 T. red pepper flakes
1 T. bacon grease

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add ham hocks, salt, pepper, garlic powder, seasoning salt and hot sauce. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 1 hour. Wash and stem collard greens. Rough chop into ½ -1 inch wide strips. Place collards in pot and add bacon grease. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. Season to taste and serve with pepper vinegar.

Hoppin John (Black Eyed Peas with Stewed Tomatoes)
1 lb. dried black eyed peas
2-3 large whole, peeled tomatoes
¼ c. sugar
2 T. bacon grease
1 med onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 ham hock
2 qts. Water or chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Cover the peas in about 2 inches of water let soak overnight. Crush the tomatoes into a saucepan and add the sugar and about ½ c. chicken stock. Cook over medium low heat, being careful not to burn. Cook until liquid has evaporated and tomatoes are thick, about 30 minutes. In a large pot over medium heat, add the bacon grease, onion, garlic and ham hock. Cook until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the soaked peas and remaining chicken stock and cook, covered, until the peas are tender, about 20 minutes. Add some water if you need a little more liquid. Remove ham hock and fold in the tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over white rice.

Main Dish:
Pan Fried Pork Chops
4-6 bone-in pork chops
1 ½ c. all purpose flour
¾ c. vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
¼ c. or less water
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and pat dry the pork chops. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Flour the pork chops lightly and place in the hot oil. Sear for about 1 minute on each side to brown. Remove from skillet and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil. Put the chops back in the skillet and add chopped onion and garlic. Add water and cover. Steam the chops for about 20 minutes or until done.

Peach Cobbler
1 stick butter
1 c. milk
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 lb. chopped fresh or frozen peaches
Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter. In a large casserole, add all ingredients except the peaches. Mix just until moist. Mixture will be lumpy. Pour peaches on top and distribute evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Works well with any fresh or frozen berry or fruit.

Originally published on VeryVera [dot] com.

June 4, 2009

The Ideal Southern Hostess

Filed under: Entertaining, Southern Stuff — sashyjane @ 11:34 am

Hospitality is just as synonymous with the South as sweet tea itself.  What makes Southerners such great hostesses? Can someone be taught the art of making guests feel comfortable and welcome? Why not? Martha Stewart’s created an entire empire on that very idea.  However, you don’t have to hand-carve miniature busts of your guests from chocolate to impress them.  All it takes is a little extra effort and some beautiful entertaining staples.

Being a fantastic cook is not integral to being a good host or hostess (although it doesn’t hurt!)  Your guests will be thrilled with simple dish when it’s presented to them in an irresistible fashion.  For example, before your guests arrive, fill a cut glass or crystal bowl with assorted nuts or candies for an easy special touch.  A cut glass bowl is a super versatile and beautiful accessory to have on hand for floating candles or camellia blooms or for housing small floral arrangements as well.  The facets and bevels sparkle beautifully in candlelight and heighten the sophistication of a room even when empty on the coffee table. While you can’t go wrong with a classic maker like Lenox or Tiffany, gorgeous replicas can be found at discount retailers like Marshall’s and TJ Maxx for a fraction of the cost. Lenox.com

crystal bowl

Once your guests have arrived, offer them a glass of iced tea, lemonade or your own signature drink. But for heaven’s sake, don’t, under any circumstances, pour out of a plastic pitcher! A simple glass pitcher with clean lines will work for any occasion no matter how casual or formal. If your party is a bit more formal, a cut glass or crystal pitcher will fit beautifully but an ornate piece isn’t necessary. A monogrammed pitcher will always be in style and even makes a great wedding gift.  williams-sonoma.com


You’d be hard-pressed to find a good Southern hostess worth her weight in sugar who didn’t have a deviled egg plate in her china cabinet. The egg-shaped indentions keep the Southern delicacy from slipping and the center of the plate is perfect for pickled okra, asparagus, sweet pickles or sliced olives. Use the plate at Easter to display colorful eggs.  You can find beautiful cut glass or bone china varieties at antique shops on EBay at great prices.   surlatable.com

egg plate

You absolutely cannot go wrong when serving your guests on a silver platter or tray.  Everything from tea sandwiches to beef tenderloin looks simply stunning when presented on polished silver.  Good quality silver probably isn’t something you’d want to rush out and buy.  A silver collection can take years to acquire whether the pieces are given as wedding gifts, handed down from generation to generation or picked up along the way at antique shops and estate sales.  If you so desire, Reed & Barton offers a gorgeous variety of styles from modern to traditional. reedandbarton.com


It would be a pity to present your meal on sparkling silver and crystal but serve it with a large kitchen spoon or plastic utensil.  Choose serving utensils that complement or match your flatware and china.  It isn’t necessary to use only sterling silver spoons and meat forks; decorative or whimsical pieces make a nice accent to the table and can enhance the ambiance.  These fun pieces by Lenox are great for a spring or summer party. macys.com

serving pieces

In that same vein, to serve guests on paper or plastic plates wouldn’t be deplorable but nothing beats a gorgeous place setting.  You don’t necessarily need bone china to impress your guests; a versatile good-quality set of dishes will serve you nicely.  A solid color or simple design can be dressed up or down with chargers, complementary linens, accent plates and by mixing and matching different patterns.  Martha Stewart makes great everyday china that’s timeless and versatile. macys.com

martha china

However, if you love the look and feel of fine china, you can never go wrong with a basic pattern that’s bound to stand the test of time. macys.com

lenox china

For dessert, serve your pound cake, layer cake, cookies or brownies on a decorative cake plate. Whether porcelain, silver or glass, a cake stand adds height, drama and sophistication to a buffet or centerpiece.  Stack a few of varying sizes on top of on another for a tiered effect or serve a cheese ball at the coffee table before dinner. A pretty cake plate is easy to find at discount retailers like Marshall’s or TJ Maxx but the detail found in this Williams-Sonoma cake stand will have your guests talking. williams-sonoma.com

cake plate

Post originally published at VeryVera[dot]com.

June 2, 2009

Color Me Candy Apple Red

Filed under: Uncategorized — sashyjane @ 4:39 pm

About a year and a half ago, I began a quest for Candy Apple Red lipstick.  Thus far, my search has been fruitless (pardon the corny pun.) I’ve tried tube after tube only to be disappointed by the too pink, too purple, too orange, too light, not shiny results.  I want that true red, super shiny, lacquered finish kind of lipstick you see in old movies. However, in my internet search, I can’t even find an example of the classic Hollywood look I’m going for!  These two are semi-close:



So, until I find my perfect shade of Candy Apple Red lipstick, I’ve taken comfort in these pictures that are so sweet, they’ll keep your dentist in business.


opi in big apple redglenladaleclutchbcbg shoegapsandalsnina shoerud cuff


at dress

at loft dress


target tricyclevespa

deco breeze fan

pb glass cabinet

neiman marcus sofa

an 2

amanda nisbet


1. DKNY Red Delicious Women, 2. Nina by Nina Ricci, 3. OPI in Big Apple Red, 4. Glenladale Clutch (via Aldo), 5. BCBG, 6. Gap, 7. Nina, 8. Rud Cuff (via Aldo), 9. Fay Cullen, 10. Ann Taylor, 11. Ann Taylor Loft, 12. Etsy, 13. Tricycle (via Target), 14. Vespa, 15. Deco Breeze Fan (via organize.com), 16. Pottery Barn, 17. Neiman Marcus, 18. Amanda Nisbet, 19. Amanda Nisbet, 20. Country Living

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