Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We're Obsessed!

I wasn't born with long, full lashes. I was born with really short, thin lashes. And I've always wanted long full lashes. Even mascara doesn't do much to help.

But let me tell you about our new At Home TN obsession!! I had seen a commercial for the Maybelline Falsies on TV and I went to Target to get some. I have been using the Maybelline Colossal and it worked good, so I thought I'd try this.

Images from Maybelline

It is quite wonderful!!

by: Nikki

Friday, July 16, 2010

An Outdoor Affair

Celebrate summer with an outdoor dinner party complete with a locally inspired menu and eco-friendly decor. This is all about your own personal touch—pick flowers from the garden, reuse decorations and enjoy all that Tennessee has to offer!
Text Stephanie Alexander, event planner| PHOTOGRAPHY Summer Harris Hancock

Recently I had the pleasure of hosting several friends for an evening on our patio.
The weather was absolutely wonderful, and that’s no small feat here in Nashville in summer! I wanted to throw a party on my patio and eat out under the sky, eventually getting to watch the fireflies and stars after the sun set.

Garlic and Red Wine Pork Tenderloin Medallions
Warm Goat Cheese and Apple Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
Josh’s Signature Roasted Potatoes and Onions
Assorted Mini Pies

Setting the Scene
I made this party as eco-friendly as possible, and encourage At Home Tennessee readers to entertain this way as well! Some simple steps are all you need to turn your next event into a green one.
First, keep the décor minimal. I gathered roses from my friend Julie’s yard, arranged them in assorted bud vases and scattered those around my tables. Julie’s roses come in a variety of colors, so I grouped them in similar shades and used those in clusters on the tables. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a friend with a fabulous garden, no fear! You can easily go to your local farmers’ market and pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers to use for your party. Try to stay local to keep the party green.
Also, incorporate lots of candlelight. Candles help add visual depth to a party and at nighttime, they really create an enchanting ambience. I have an assortment of glass cylindrical vases that I use for events and weddings. My collection includes short vases, tall and deep vases, square vases, glass bowls, and the list could go on and on. Whenever I have a party, I go through what I have on hand and develop my décor around those items. This time, I used two extra large vases and floated a trio of candles in each of these. They lined the entrance to my back patio. In addition, across my stone wall I placed several large cylindrical vases with large white pillar candles in them. In between these candles I added multiple small votives with tea lights. On the tables I placed small cylindrical vases with floating candles, along with small votives. I also positioned tiki torches around the perimeter of my patio, which not only added some warm glow but also helped repel the mosquitoes. Anytime you entertain outdoors in the spring or summer utilize tiki torches that have been filled with a citronella-based oil. The last thing you want is for your guests to be bothered by mosquitoes and bugs all night! You want them to enjoy the party and focus on the food (not swatting bugs).
Once the candles and flowers were on the tables, I added the linens and place settings. I used white ceramic plates for the table, along with chocolate brown and tan linen napkins. In addition, at each place setting I placed a menu card.
To go with an assortment of homemade desserts (recipes to follow), I also served ice cream from a locally owned and operated business to keep with the “eco-friendly” theme. I purchased individual ice cream cups from the Nashville-based Purity Dairy. If you want to serve a local item as well think about your locally-owned ice cream shop, or pick up treats from an individually owned bakery. Not only will you be buying local, but you’ll save yourself some time in the kitchen!

Green Party Tips
1. Use seed packets at place settings. They make a cute addition to your table, and guests will have a fun favor to take home.
2. Ask your guests to take home the floral centerpieces and enjoy them in their own houses.
3. Use organic fruits and vegetables from local farmers’ markets.
4. To create a visual impact but not leave a huge environmental impact, use candles, paper lanterns, tiki torches and natural light.
5. Include seasonal foods in the menu to highlight locally-grown products.
6. Buy organic meat from a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). To find one in your area, go localharvest.org.
7. Utilize items you already have for the décor—for example, I used vases from other events, or you can borrow from friends and keep decorations to a minimum.
8. Utilize natural elements in your décor such as burlap, wood, candlelight, etc.
9. Use floral clippings from your friends and neighbors. With a little research, you may find out that your good friend has some amazing hydrangea bushes that need clipping or another friend might have a fabulous rose garden she’s willing to share.

For Do it Yourself Decor like these "Drink Me" Straws and the recipe for the Summertime Strawberry Mini pies (and more!) get the July issue of At Home TN out now!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

You Are What You Eat

Since our July issue was all about going green, we asked our writer Mandi to try to go green (or greener). Here is what she came up with!!

You Are What You Eat
At Home Tennessee writer Mandi Gaskin takes on the challenge of saving the Earth by asking the question “What’s for Dinner?” Text Mandi Gaskin, PHOTOGRAPHY courtesy of Bmofoto.net

I am a good girl. I recycle, I change out my light bulbs to energy-saving fluorescents, I even carpool with annoying people (you know who you are) in order to cut down on pollution. So when the editors of At Home Tennessee asked me to single-handedly save the Earth (ok, I may be exaggerating a little) I thought I had it in the biodegradable bag.
But after one trip to the grocery store on my normal shopping routine I knew I was in trouble. Taking on this new eco challenge forced me to take a closer look at the impact my food was having on the Earth, and it wasn’t pretty. Seeing the mounds of meat, fruits and vegetables available all year long at any given grocery store used to conjure thoughts like, “God Bless America: Land of the Free, Home of Convenience” but were now causing a slight wave of guilt and overindulgence. Were strawberries really meant to be eaten in December? Should we be eating chicken at every single meal? And are my bell peppers supposed to be the size of my firstborn child? I knew my conscience was trying to tell me something, so on the way home I did what any normal American would do—I attempted to snuff my inner voice with hormone-ridden chicken strips. And when those crispy fried animal parts didn’t subside my nagging guilt, I knew it was time to make a change.
I know what you’re thinking; you think I am about to tell you that I gave up all meat and dairy, moved to a commune and am now growing my very own tomatoes. But you are severely underestimating my innate laziness. You see, I want to save the earth, but I don’t necessarily want to work to do this. So I found myself in a whole new challenging predicament. How can I save the planet and still have time to watch the Real Housewives? So the next day, while Teresa and Danielle are tearing out each other’s weave, I go online and ask Google how I can be a better consumer in the world which I am trying to save. And the answers actually surprised me. Sure, there were the extremist websites that preached giving up your skillet for a diet made up of raw food (no thanks) or fencing your backyard to make room for Wilbur (call me a coward, but I prefer not to look my dinner in the eye before turning him into, well, dinner). But there were also very reasonable options to leaving a smaller footprint on the environment when it comes to dining, and it can basically be summed up in two words: farmers’ market. In supporting local farmers through these venues we are not only able to cut down on the global effects of shipping bulk products; we can also bring back humane treatment of the animals we eat and restore the balance in the food chain that has been lost in the mass consumerism that makes up this great country. I liked the idea that I could buy all my favorite foods minus the guilt, but I was still hesitant about the cost and more importantly, my time. So on Monday, we loaded up some empty coolers and made our way down to the local Farmers’ Market in Nashville where I found a scene that was absolutely delightful. There were droves of people from all walks of life shopping with their families, talking to the vendors and picking out fresh-from-the-farm cuisine. Sure, it wasn’t the air-conditioned, fluorescent world of my previous grocery trips. It was hot, and there were flies in abundance, but I was able to shake the hands and speak to the folks who had taken the time to carefully grow the vegetables or humanely slaughter the meat on their farms that I was responsible for feeding to my family. Not to mention all without heavily impacting the earth with pesticides or transportation emissions or breaking the budget. And best of all? I made it home just in time for the Real Housewives.
Find a local farmers’ market near you at localharvest.org, certifiedhumane.org or eatwellguide.org.

When Mandi is not writing she is busy being a mom to the cutest little boy on the planet and perfecting her skill as a Professional Nag to her husband, Ashley. You can follow her on her blog, freedingo.blogspot.com and be sure to check back monthly for her columns in At Home Tennessee.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We're Obsessed!

For July, we went totally green... green as in eco-friendly, that is. From finance to decorating, fashion to beauty, we learned all about going green so you can too! Make sure to pick up our latest issue to see how it is easy to be green.

Here are some of our favorite green products!

ecoSkin dress

LaVanila's Vanilla Lavender Body Butter

Tees for Change inspirational tees are made from super soft bamboo and organic cotton. Buy a tee and Tees for Change plants a tree!

Frieda and Nellie's "Austin, Texas" Bracelet
All bracelets are one of a kind and made from 100% cotton knotted friendship bracelet and vintage pieces.

Joy Fabiano Ortensia clutch