Downtown Sanford


It's easy to spend a day in downtown Sanford... Sandwiches from Magnolia Square Market, beer at The Willow Tree, coffee from Rabbitfoot Records (really good, -fresh- coffee at that plus they have a great selection of vinyl for sale), street art by Paint The Trail, colorful shops, eclectic locals, the marina, the park, live music, happy people... If I didn't have to work today you know where I'd be.

Hidden Gem: Thai Villa


Thai Villa  green curry (it's even better cold on the second day).   I'm craving it as I type...

For Sale


Beautiful blue Ralph Lauren Polo wool crew neck sweater... You can find more of my online sales here



Positive thought to start the day: 
How lucky am I to have such a beautiful family and so many amazing life friends?! 
I've been blessed with an abundance of wonderful people that surround me. 
That thought alone is enough to put anyone in a good mood. 

Flea Market


Yesterday: We opted not to roam too far from home and ended up at Flea World (followed by slices at Anthony's - excellent pizza). Like most Florida flea markets, Sanford's is full of in your face kitsch, which in it's own dysfunctional way is kind of charming. 

This time around we left with jalapeƱo stuffed olives, horseradish pickles, french burnt peanuts, green tomatoes and palm readings. According to Madam Kathrine's daughter (the locals will remember those commercials from when we were little) I have a lucrative business opportunity coming in October, I need to watch my blood pressure and a woman I know will deceive me... I'd love to go back for that Schwinn.

It Feels Like Fall


Tell me those aren't amazing boots... Thorogood's- $44.00 on Ebay (which is a great price). They would be perfect for today

I actually have my windows open (and my "Autumn Leaves" Yankee Candle lit and a cinnamon stick in my coffee).... It's Still September - open windows before mid October is unheard of in Florida. Crossing my fingers that this trend continues. 

On rainy Saturdays like this yard work is out of the question and I already cleaned the house which means we have an entire day open to enjoy... What to do??? Linda's Diner for Breakfast? A little Halloween shopping? Head over to the Willow Tree later for cold beer and a stroll down 1st? Maybe a quick road trip to Cassadaga (today is perfect for it)... So many possibilities. 

Banana Bread Bars With Brown Butter Frosting


You know how most banana bread recipes end up falling a little short? They smell amazing while baking and taste delicious hot out of the oven, right? But once the bread is cool it starts to taste like ... well... disappointment

Not this batch.

This is, hands down, the best banana bread (more like cake but not quite) that I've ever made/had. I know I've done well when the entire family goes back for seconds. Fair warning - make this when you have a full house so you're not tempted to eat it all. 

The recipe is as follows: 
Banana Bread Bars:
1-1/2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1-3/4 (3 or 4) ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Brown Butter Frosting:
1/2 c. butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. milk

1.  Heat oven to 375F.  Grease and flour 15x10-inch jelly roll pan.  For the bars, in a large bowl, beat together sugarsour creambutter, and eggs until creamy.  Blend in bananas and vanilla extract.  Add flourbaking sodasalt, and blend for 1 minute.  Stir in walnuts.

2.  Spread batter evenly into pan.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

3.  Meanwhile, for frosting, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until boiling.  Let the butter turn a delicate brown and remove from heat immediately.

*The only problem I encountered was having to add extra milk and extra vanilla to the browned butter / sugar mix. I didn't measure, just put enough of both in to bring it to a desirable taste and consistency. Other than that, this recipe is easy and delicious. A new family favorite!

*Recipe courtesy of Life's Simple Measures

Warped Speed


*Thrifted vintage cups and saucers

There are so many things I want to photograph, write about and make but there is no time. None. By the end of the day John and I are spent... I'm not saying this is a bad thing, it means our life is busy and full. I'm just saying that it would be nice to have some balance. Maybe equal parts of quite to match all of the crazy. 



He comes back tonight (been gone since Tuesday on a work trip to Raleigh). I don't like when he leaves. I'm stuck driving, cooking, cleaning and keeping the peace between 5 kids. I epitomize the frazzled mom look. I wanted the big family and I got it

Mostly, I don't like when he leaves because I miss waking up next to him. I miss his familiar warmth and scent and the way he latches on to me and says "five more minutes". Five more minutes of alone time together before the kids start to wake up and the cats let us know that it's time to eat. Five more minutes before the coffee starts to brew and the phone starts to ring. Five more minutes of alone time together before the life we created won't allow it.

(Currently both the dogs are camping out on the bedroom floor and the 12 year old is hogging the bed. It's nice but it's not the same.) 



It's time to go back. This is a need not a want.

This past week (like all the others) has flown by. 

This past week is the first time I looked in a mirror and thought "I look old". In the past I've noted that my reflection was overweight and frumpy. I can own those things. I can change those things... But age? Age is a different creature all together.  You can restrain age for a while but, eventually, it's going to get you... And there is nothing you can do to stop it. (Midlife crisis anyone?)

This past week I saw a flickr of what could be in regards to the business I've wanted to start for years. (If it was possible to procrastinate while procrastinating, I would).  Needless to say - I'm motivated. 

This past week I decided that there has to be some sort of balance between being a fashionista  (keeping my weight down / wearing nice clothes) and being a foodie. I'm making it my mission to find said balance and liveitbreatheitbeit (love to bake, love to cook, love to eat.... Love clothes.... Do not love the size I'm currently wearing. Most definitely do not love rotating the only 3 outfits that fit). 

This coming weekend = sleeping in with my guy, deep cleaning the house, shopping for (more) Halloween decorations (because the three big boxes I already have are not enough), Sunday afternoon football, possibly baking some oatmeal cookies and then riding my stationary bike for the next 90 minutes, possibly getting out at sunrise to take some photos. Cheers. 

Yard Sale Finds: Wooden Antiques


Hand carved praying Mexican monks and a solid wood desk. I paid a total of $3.00 for everything. **happy dancing**

Starting Today

I'll let you know how it goes. :)

Thrifted: Sisal Market Tote


I owned one of these in the 80's and used it (religiously) until I accidentally left it behind at a party (never be found or seen again). I've been searching Ebay and Etsy for something similar... There are many cute ones to choose from but they don't run cheap. I found this bag for right over $5.00 at a local community thrift. Leather straps and all... It's even the colors I wanted. 

So True

Morning walks, time with my kids, unexpected surprises (spotting a Barred Owl perched on a fence), the warmth and familiarity of walking through the side door and into your home, dogs and cats happily greeting you, morning showers, mid-day phone calls from old friends, the smell of dinner baking, kisses from the man you love when he gets home from work, the smell of clean sheets as you fall asleep... 

I feel blessed that I am aware enough to appreciate the little things that really aren't that little. 

September Soundtrack


September Soundtrack by Ann H. on Grooveshark

September 1st = dropping a small fortune at Yankee Candle on fall scents, crockpot dinners (even though it still feels like summer outside), seasonal decorations, mums on the doorstep, football games on the television echoing through the house, 30 days until the greatest month of the year (30 days until it looks like the Great Pumpkin went spastic in our home), 60 days until my birthday, 61 days until Halloween and roughly 91 days until us Southerners can walk outside in the morning and note a difference in the air. Finally.

Rainy Day, Pancakes and Celebrity Chef's


Heavy humidity followed by down pours is a Southern norm in late August. What do you do with a high energy 3 year old that does not want to be cooped up inside? You let him play in the rain (providing there's no lightening.). Catching rain drops in your mouth and jumping in puddles is a childhood right of passage. It's the simple things...

We are all full from Saturday morning pancakes (cinnamon, chocolate chip and apple). The upside: they were tasty and now the house smells good. The downside: I need to take a carb nap and it's only 11:00 am). 

Later today I will be holding a phone interview with Chef G. Garvin (of the Cooking Channel). He's doing an event here in town and his publicist approached me to write about it along with promoting  his cookbook and his "One Bite" foundation. I'm psyched because this guy is an actual "chef" that worked his way up and not just a celebrity spokesperson hosting a cooking show. Also, he knows an old friend of mine that does directing and camera work out in Los Angeles. I've been asked by my friend to say hello and advised not to tell the chef he looks like LL Cool J.... Which he does... Which I think is a compliment because LL is sexy... But according to my friend it's probably a bad idea. Hahaha... 



Simple things that make me happy:

time with the 3 year old
kick ass thrifted shoes
black bottom pie (recipe coming)
fall fast approaching
a relaxed week
Chinese takeout on rainy days
the "Fishermans's Blues" album
road trips with the 12 year old 
an extra day this weekend to go explore

Thrifted: Bass Mules


$10.00 (cheap for Bass) Via Ebay. I can't wait to wear them out. (The photo doesn't do them justice). 

Old Green Truck


Spotted by the little speedway near the beach. I bet this was a beauty back in the day (I want an old truck).



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Raw walnuts and fresh blackberries. 

Along with adequate water, sleep, sweating and a good topical E oil, I'm big into feeding my skin as a form of anti-aging. I find the most beautiful women, the ones that appear ageless,  develop their glow from the inside.




Downtown at sunset.

This coming weekend = breakfast food, Sunday morning Galaga battles (epic), trying new recipes from old cookbooks, yard sales, sunsets by the water, dog baths, homework and re-watching "You've Got Mail" (because Kathleen Kelly kicks ass and I want her wardrobe). 

PS- It's almost September which means fall which which means the best time of the year. 

Feeding The Ego


"Feed the soul not the ego". I read those words on an inspiration board yesterday and I'm not sure if I agree. I mean, in theory it sounds good. It sounds right. But in reality... (Closet binger, here).

Thriftted / Vintage Ralph Lauren


Vintage Ralph Lauren wool, plaid skirt - $4.00. (Wrinkly, in need of pressing but still pretty)

Originally, I bought this to sell but I can't part with it... It's perfect for fall. 
(Hi, my name is Ann and I'm a clothes hoarder) 



Friday / This:


*Back roads farm land / Instagram shot taken on our way home from the beach.

A few favorites from around the web...

This sweater (casual outfit) for the coming cold weather.
This wreath. The simplicity makes it perfect.
This recipe for tomato sauce (similar to the one my older Italian friend uses. Minus the celery.)
This cut .... Which I would totally try. Maybe keeping the length a few inches longer due to having an abnormally round face.
This song is stuck in my head.
This movie is my classic popcorn flick choice for the weekend.
This quote. Because.  

Thrifted: Fall Style / Teal Velvet Blazer


This piece is little rough around the edges but I like it that way. The color is a rich, dark teal, perfect for the Fall. You could pair this with just about any casual outfit. I paid $2.50 at The Salvation Army.

Now I have an overwhelming need to try my hand at making a peanut butter cake from scratch. If it's good I'll share the recipe.

Luna Llena


We managed to get away last night (if you have kids then you'll understand). I suggested taking in the super moon by the marina and he agreed. 

We ordered a Maragrita pizza from a little river walk shop and ate by the water. Grease dripping down our chins, chasing much needed paper napkins trying to escape with the breeze and people watching as we took in the sunset. 

The moonrise was the icing.



My daughter at the beach = happiness :)

It's 5:21 am and Pete Townshend is stuck in my head. I'm craving chicory coffee, fresh squeezed o.j. and French crullers but I don't want to get out of bed and go to the store. My beautiful boyfriend is sleeping next to me and my dogs are pacing in the next room... (I should probably go walk them.) 

I'm also thinking about where to view tonights super moon...

And when I can return to the beach.

And dieting so I can fit into all of my beautiful fall clothes.

I need coffee.

Beach Day


We left sunburnt, sleepy and coated with sand. We stopped for chocolate ice cream, a long standing ritual dating back to my youth, before taking the back roads home (which consists of beautiful Florida farm land).

It couldn't have been more perfect. 

Mental Clearing


The youngest and I will be leaving in about an hour to spend the day at the beach. Chairs, towels, sunscreen, umbrella, a fully charged cell (so I can take more Instagram shots than are necessary) the latest Vogue / Cosmo / Self, sandwiches, grapes, cookies, chips and lots of spring water are packed and ready to go. 

Trips to the ocean tend to center a person, something we both need as our already fast paced lives are about to gain even more momentum. 

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