Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back to School...When One Door Closes, Another Door Opens!

When one door closes and another door opens. This phrase has several different meanings, but today for me, it symbolizes our summertime of lazy hazy (let's not forget rainy) days have come to an end and a new school year is upon us. This is bitter sweet for our little family. We have had a lovely summer...a busier one than we anticipated...but simply great! And, fun! And, now this Mom (after a summer of overindulging in lots of good food and vino), needs to get her hiney back in the gym! Bitter Sweet! In saying that, we will cherish our memories and are looking forward to hopefully an exciting new school year.

So, as I pack for our last little hurrah before the 2013-2014 school year begins, I think about what it must feel like for my little ones to end this fun filled summer and move onto a new academic year. New teachers, new classrooms, new classmates, new buildings, new carlines. More rules, more homework, more activities, more discipline...and pray for no drama or dare I say the "B" word (bullying)! No more playgrounds, no more lovey-dovey teachers (for one child), no more rest mats, no more stations. Maybe I am the one with the anxiety...not my children!

When I think back to when I was their age, I wonder...was I excited...was I nervous? How did my parents prepare me for a new school year and getting back to the books? Besides buying all the school supplies, back to school clothes, new shoes, new backpack, new lunch sack, etc, was I ever really mentally prepared? Or, do elementary age kids in even think this way?

Honestly, I think my Superboy is more excited about his new backpack than anything else! And, maybe that is how his little noggin works? At his young age, maybe the "little things" right now is what makes him happy? I have a whole playroom of Legos that possibly proves that!! And, for my little Mini Me of a daughter, she is just happy to have 3 of her close girlfriends in her class...she is the one with the not so lovey-dovey teacher! She cried (boo-hooed which then made me cry) after her last year's Class "End of the Year" Party because we had such a fantastic year. Thank heavens for girlfriends in her new class...and for me, thank heavens for their amazing moms!

But, as a Mom, I am excited for their new adventure, their new emotions and transitions, the friendships they will make, but still want to put something much heavier than a brick on their head! It just goes by so fast! After a week long vacation this summer with just Darling Husband, I came back to see Superboy looking an inch taller. How does that happen and where did all the food in the house go?

So, during this next week before the "First Day" arrives, the "mama" within me will be dishing out a few tidbits of advice and hope that it sinks in...just a little. I will pray daily for their well being, for their education, for their safety, for their teachers, for their classmates and friends and for a happy household when that long day at school is finally over. I will pray for the Moms who feel like taxi drivers from the 3-6:00 pm time period. I will pray that their Daddy comes home from a stress free day (50-50% chance). And, I will pray that the evening will be filled with love and joy and that sweet little prayers will be said and answered at bedtime.

I will hope to be the educator at home and to teach my children to be kind, thoughtful, patient, courteous, good communicators and overall...just good little people. I hope to teach them to look forward and up and not left and form their own little opinions. To not care so much about what others think, but to respect their way of life. In addition, to listen to others (especially their teachers), consider their feelings, make your own decisions and not be judgmental! To include everyone and not be cliquish. To make new friends, but keep the old ones. As a mom and a woman, I am constantly working on these attributes each and every day! Some easy...others a bit challenging. And finally, I hope to teach them to have school spirit!! We are paying for you better!!

Our children are only in our lives, under our roof, for a brief moment and it is our duty to make sure we, as parents, point them in the right direction. For one day, this will be when our door closes and another one opens for them. My parents still to this day give me helpful advice when I need it...most include parenting, relationships, household management, etc. Some advice I take...some I put in the recycle bin! But, I try to work every day to be the best parent, mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and child of the Lord that I can be. And, I learn every day from experiences that I go through, people I meet and new things that I learn. Some days good...others, not so much! And, it is such a pleasure when I learn something new from my children! Whether it be how to test my patience, how to braid a fishtail, how to swing a Samurai sword or the new way to do math...I thought there was only one way. Sometimes these little ones know more that I do when it comes to their homework...leaving me feeling not so smart! But, the best thing they teach me is how to be a better person!! (Tears are flowing!)

We will never have this time, this past summer, this first day of school, ever again...make the most of it! Make the most of this year! And, thank you to all the teachers and educators out there who have one of the toughest jobs in the world! God Bless You!!


Dixie Chic

* Feel free to share and pass on your best parenting tips for starting back to school...for the kids and the Moms!!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Two Kitchen's, One Roof, One Goal!!

As most of you know, we have a new restaurant in the area, Fisher's!! It is a great establishment and one that is needed...and wanted. It is located at Orange Beach Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama. There is a nice, white tablecloth restaurant upstairs and a more casual one (family-friendly), Fisher's Dockside as they call it, downstairs. We have dined at both and have had a great experience. Like any new restaurant, they are still working out the kinks, but overall the food and experience (lovely decor and views of the marina) have been enjoyable. Recently, we had the pleasure of attending an amazing (sold-out) event hosted there, and here is how it played out...

It was a Monday night. Just a simple date night for Darling Husband and myself. He arrives home from work (30 minutes after he had planned...standard). He is dressed in sport coat casual with hair a little disheveled from the stress of the day. He picks out a dress for me as I make the finishing touches, and we are ready to go!

Babysitter arrives. The departure is drama free. With a cocktail in hand, we start our drive to Orange Beach, Alabama. We have nice conversation on the ride over, with only one work call for my handsome date. The weather is nice and the sun is setting. No rain in the forecast...yet!

We arrive...15 minutes late as usual. We find a parking space and climb the stairs to our final destination. We are greeted by a handful of hostesses, only to be taken away by the one and only, charismatic, Johnny Fisher, who happens to be one of the owners (creators) of this new establishment. Johnny is an very talented local restaurateur, who is also behind the brilliance of The Gulf, The Hangout and the new LuLu's. We are very lucky to have he and his family in our area!!!

We are escorted away into the gorgeous dining room, decorated by the amazing, Melanie Martin, of Melanie's and MII at the Wharf, and are greeted once again by servers offering two yummy looking cocktails. Decisions, decisions...they both look heavenly! 

Darling Husband grabs the pinkish red one, called the July Julep (watermelon, mint infused bourbon and lemon bitters), and I grab the minty green one, called the Something Cool (vodka, cucumber juice, mint demerara syrup and tonic). After trying both, I knew we were in for a treat for the rest of the evening.

We go our separate ways for a bit, saying our hellos and having good small-talk among the other patrons. It's a good crowd! All the men dressed "beach-smart" and giving each other pats on the back, as the women check out each others attire and rave about the beauty of the furnishings. The ever-so charming, Beth Fisher (Johnny's equally talented and lovely wife), spots me out in the crowd. We hug as I rave about the restaurant once again, and she so humbly says how they are still working out the kinks, but gives me many thank yous!! She is whisked away, as we are shown to our table. 

To my surprise, as well as Darling Husband's, we are seated with a large group of our friends. We were expecting a single table to ourselves, but were excited about the company we were sharing this night with. Each of us spoke of the cocktails we had already devoured and took a look at the menu for the evening. 

There were ten items on the menu prepared by the amazing chef, Bill Briand who trained under Donald Link (Herbsaint, Cochon and Butcher). One appetizer, one soup, one salad, three entrees, three sides and one dessert. All fresh and local ingredients from farmers and fisheries in the area. Everyone was asking each other, even the foodies sitting across from us, "Do we have to choose?" Again, to our surprise, we were served all ten. Granted, for our large table of twelve, it was served family style, but each item was amazingly, but not surprisingly, delicious! Fried Oysters, Golden Tomato Gazpacho, Heirloom Squash Salad, New Orleans Style BBQ Gulf Shrimp, Grilled 5 Spice Swordfish and Brown Sugar BBQ, Roasted Mahi Mahi, Gulf Shrimp, Japanese Eggplant Dressing, Dirty Rice, Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad and if that is not enough, top it off with a Chilton County (is there any other kind) Peach Cobbler!!! And, each serving had a wine pairing. Needless to say, we all had a great evening...all plates clean and all glasses empty!

The evening ended with a performance by Willie Sugarcapps, which was perfect because our table was beginning to get a bit loud!! After a final glass of Champagne, Darling Husband and I were ready to hit the road. The evening was a success, and of course, it rained on our way home!

Fisher's motto on their Facebook is "Two Kitchens, One Roof, One Goal - To Make You Smile!" Well...I'm smiling!! If you haven't tried it...go!! If you have...make the trip back!! 

Check out pictures from the evening at Janie Long Photography on Facebook!!


Dixie Chic

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Where do we go now, Dixie Chic???

Over the past year, Darling Husband and I have been trying to decide what to do or where to go with this little "Dixie Chic" thing. It has been a busy year for me and I have missed writing (researching/exploring) and Darling Husband loves it when I write and create new things! He says my creative juices flow when I am "in that element"... and possibly that "element" flows into our meals, making them a little tastier!!

I am, however, happiest when I am creating new, and what I think, are lovely things! Whether it be a blogpost or a simple craft for my child. It may not be lovely to other's eyes and/or ears, but it is lovely in my heart!

In saying that, our thoughts were to maybe take "Dixie Chic" to the next level by creating a retail website or even open a retail location. Possibly a mobile truck...but too much travel without my family!! However, it takes a lot of time and effort, and that sometimes takes away those creative juices in my head. The stress behind it all, that is. And, to find a really good Store Manger is hard to come by (and, the process of balancing a checkbook - ugg!)

On top of that, there are a lot of nice retail locations in our area and I don't like to compete!! Not saying it may not happen someday...just not today!

So, we have decided to keep it simple one more year...or so!! And, to that, comes Social Media! What an amazing tool Social Media has become for so many who use it! Whether it be for business or is the new way to market ANYTHING!!

I read a great article today off of Jeff Bulla's Twitter blog titled "7 Marketing Trends You Should Not Ignore" proving that Social Media is the wave of the future for marketing any and all things. And, there are so many different ways to accomplish it...Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Vine, SnapChat, Slideshare...I can't keep up with all of them! Even Ebay and Etsy!! But, it has brought many people success, fame (not a fan, but look what happened to Justin Bieber) and even possibly for some, simply happiness!

And, that is what it does for me...pure happiness! I don't wish to seek fame or fortune, but a "like" here and there is great!! I do however, enjoy promoting businesses in the area, finding good recipes to share, learning about new products and, of course, being able to follow my friends and favorite designers in their everyday life! I have become a big lover of Instagram, Pinterest and starting to figure out Twitter a little more (trying to phase out of Facebook - too much drama, politics, etc!). And, actually becoming a little obsessed with the @RoyalBabyWatch on Twitter!!

But, my little blog is fun, and I enjoy reading others. I am amazed that I have over 1,500 "viewers"(according to my blog stats) and I will have to say that most of them came from posting on Facebook, and now Instagram! Yes, I started it anonymously, just to spark interest, and I think it may have worked. But, over the years, if you know me, I hope you have figured out who this "Dixie Chic" really is!! Let's see what happens!! Any thoughts?!?! 

Until the next post!! Have a great Sunday!!


Dixie Chic

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Where has the summer gone..let the RAIN (or Reign!) tell you!!!

Hello friends! It has been too long! For those of you who know me personally, you know that I have been pretty busy this past year. And, you know that I have longed for an easy, long, lazy summer! Well...that has not yet happened!! It has flown by! And, from what I hear, most of you agree!!

It has flown by, yes, but it has been a great one! Lots of fun last minute trips (thanks to Darling Husband's occupation, many trips are planned last minute, a bit frustrating to the planner...which is me), visits from friends and loved ones and most importantly, lots of down time with my little family of four! Making memories are what summers are all about, and unfortunately, lots of those memories this summer have included RAIN!!!

For example, the one trip we planned (last minute, of course) for just our little brood, IT RAINED!! Except for the day we checked-out, of course! Isn't that what the travel agent side of Mother Nature plans for us? Make sure it is pretty the day they leave so they can remember and make plans to return very soon!
My son is suddenly obsessed with family cook-outs that involve other families (most of which include several of his little counter-parts). For each one, IT RAINED!!
Each date night Darling Husband and I have planned so we can get out for a little adult conversation, I can get out of my LuLu Lemon for once and put on some heels, IT RAINED!!
Darling Husband, has had a crazy, busy summer with work (which is a good thing, so that Mommy can plan all those last minute get-a-ways). And, on days he can get away from the hustle and bustle, he likes to spend those days on our boat. But, every time, IT RAINED!!
And, for me, I am not one to have a scheduled babysitter during the summer days. But, of course on the days that I just need to get someone over to watch the munchkins (preferably someone young and cute, is what Superboy requires) so I can run to my favorite (mommy) stores in town, IT RAINED!! Thank God for my awesome Hunter Boots!!

So, on these days (even weeks) that we are stuck inside with the threat of a downpour, or the downpour itself, the kiddos and I have been doing lots of Summer Cleaning!!! And, the kids love it! They are finding all kids of "new things" they forgot they had!! They are simply amazed!! Mother Nature's wrath does have a good side to it! Who needs a Target, when you have an entire upstairs for free...they are cute little Minions!! 

And, what has Mommy been doing on these rainy days? Well, the weekly cleaning of the unruly closet (my daughter's closet is bigger than mine...she will appreciate that one day). Reading new books, trying new recipes (Darling Husband and I are on a health kick - no fried okra - boo!), re-decorating/re-arranging the house, posting on Instagram (love drama...just pictures) and of course, last minute trip planning!! So fun being a travel agent to places I have never been before and begging places to give us a table even though we should have booked it 6 weeks ago. But, very excited! And, of course, I have been obsessing over some online shopping! Shopbop continues to be my go-to place (love the Editor's Picks) but my new favorite is Intermix. I could buy everything on their website...if I were the Queen of England!!

Speaking of Royalty, who is not on Royal Baby Watch? I mean the pressure of this child, and he or she has not even been born yet. Yes, we all love Princess Kate, beauty, grace, charm, and married to a handsome Prince, to someday be a King. And, she seems to still be incredibly humble! But, after saying all of that, I could not imagine the world waiting on me to give birth! I have done it twice and loved every minute of it, but the second everyone left my room and it was just me and my little bambino looking up at me with those big blue eyes...nothing else in the world mattered!!! PURE BLISS and I wish the same for Princess Kate and her handsome Wills! May no one rain (or reign!) on their parade!! God Save The Queen!! 

Happy rest of the summer everyone!! Make the best of it!!


Dixie Chic