Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Little Home Improvement Project - Door Hardware

Of all the places I've been and enjoyed, I absolutely without a doubt LOVE being at home more than anywhere else. I've taken great strides in creating a peaceful, comfortable and inviting space for myself and those who grace me with their presence. I'm constantly tweaking things along the way to ensure that home continues to feel like home.

For a while now, I've been contemplating changing the door hardware through my home. I had grown tired of the "builder's special" shiny goldish hardware and wanted something that would update my decor. I knew all the things I didn't want...anything finished with brass, nickel, or bronze and absolutely nothing frilly...I wanted something a bit warm--a slight take-off from the finishes just described.

Last week, I was out shopping for ribbon, scoops, and small picture frames, when I got sidetracked (as usual) and noticed door hinges in a finish that was similar to what I thought I wanted. I rushed to the display and managed to find only 50, leaving me short of the total number I needed, but I was determined to make this happen. In the midst of all my excitement, I didn't notice that the things were $1, yes, ONE DOLLAR!!! I think I momentarily blacked out. The wonderful assistant at the checkout called another location and had them hold a stash for me. I was soooooooooo excited that I was finally going to update my door hardware--didn't have a door knob in sight, but hey, it was going to work out. I arrived home and immediately rushed to the laptop to search for door knobs and door stops and found everything I needed at It then occurred to me that I needed hinges for the exterior doors (which are larger than those for internal doors), so I ordered them from Both offered extremely fast shipping and I couldn't be more pleased with their products and service. Below, you can see the difference between the interior and exterior hinge.
Now about the missing door knobs...
Isn't it just lovely??
Here's a closer look:
I'm done with all the interior doors and door stops, but haven't found hardware inspiration for the exterior doors just yet. I'm a very patient girl, so waiting for just the right hardware won't be an issue. I really love the look of the Antique Pewter finish. It's casting a very warm effect throughout my home--not too nickely and not too bronzey. Here's a sneak peek at my mostly finished project.
If you're contemplating updating your door hardware, don't be afraid to do it yourself--it's quick and easy, and the results are so rewarding.

Back to surfing for exterior door hardware. Any suggestions on great websites or brick-n-mortar stores with fab hardware??

Sheila Denise

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Curt's Bounty

Well, I think I've managed to turn my brother Curt into a behind-the-scenes blog monster. Now that he's actually reading my blog, his not-so-gentle nudging to convince me to include more of him in my posts has officially begun. Out of the blue, he sent me a few photos of the fruits and peppers of his labor from the country (Mother's). In efforts to be a wonderful little sister, I'm devoting this entire post to him and only him. Curt, this one's for you.

Hot Peppers:
He really does have a green thumb...wish I did.

Sheila Denise

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Egg Salad TSE Style

The other day, I found myself really craving an egg salad sandwich for lunch. I can't remember the last time I had egg salad, but the urge was incredibly strong. Since I keep boiled eggs in the fridge regularly, I was able to quench my craving quickly. Below is my recipe:

TSE's Egg Salad

2 eggs
A big plop of mayo (or plain Greek yogurt if you wanna be healthy)
A little squirt of yellow or Dijon mustard
A HUGE squeeze of Heinz Hot Relish (NOT Hot Dog Relish, see pic below)
salt & pepper to taste

Cut eggs in half and scoop out the yolk and set aside in bowl. Mash the yolk and combine with mayo, mustard & relish. Chop the egg whites into chunks and add to yolk mixture. Add salt & pepper to taste. Serve on bread of choice or in a scooped out tomato.
As I took this shot, it occurred to me that I eat a sandwich the SAME way each time. I start with the pointed end of the bottom of the sandwich. I know, I know...I'm a big time OCD'er.
Here's the relish I used: Sheila Denise

Friday, July 16, 2010

The BEST Find at Goodwill!!

I just HAD to rush home to share my latest Goodwill find with you!! I was minding my own business, dropping off a few items at Goodwill and before I knew it, I was in the retail side of the store. Not sure how it happened, because I don't remember making the decision to go inside, PLUS, it was not on my "errands" list. Well, anyway, there I was so I decided to make the most of it. I wandered around picking things up and putting them back, that is until I focused my peepers on this beauty:

She's brand new and YES it was WHOPPING $2.92 (in case you can't read the nearly wiped off numbers)!!! These bowls retail for $30 on Amazon. I am sooo proud of myself and very excited to be able to keep a bowl frozen at all times. I'm ready to experiment with TONS of different flavors this summer. Endless frozen I come!!

Sheila Denise

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Upcoming Guest Blogger - Dining in London & Prague

I'm so happy to announce that in a few weeks, you'll be hearing from my BBFF (boy best friend forever) Chuck is currently on holiday and has agreed to photograph his dining experiences while away. Hopefully, this information will be helpful when/if you find yourself in the area.

Here's a sneak peek:


Bar Boulud @ Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park


I can't wait for Chuck to come back and share his experiences. Heck, I should have said yes when he asked me to join him on this trip. *sigh*

Sheila Denise

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Great Cupcake Smackdown - A Broke Socialite Production

This entry is being written on the heels of a 2 hour coma . Who knew that eating cupcakes could be so exhausting? I hope my overindulgence doesn’t interfere with my little bit of writing skills.

I am honored to have had the pleasure of attending The Great Cupcake Smackdown, hosted by The Broke Socialite and Events By Canvas. The shindig was held at the lovely Bradford’s on Bishop. Now there's one thing you should know, Mrs. TBS throws a mean par-tay. We had music courtesy of DJ Mark of Sirrah Soundz, mocktails, provided by Chef Rob's Caribbean Cafe, and Vitamin Water representatives were in attendance as well, with lots of Vitamin Water Zero. Claire of LeahandMark was the event's official photographer. Each contestant offered two cupcakes – Red Velvet and their Freestyle choice. There were 10 contestants, so y’al that’s 20 cupcakes if you ate one of each!! I didn’t eat 20, but even tasting that many was quite a task. I had grand intentions of taking photos, but after the second cupcake, I quickly realized that trying to be a photographer was impeding my progress. I pathetically took only two photos, so I won’t even bother to post them. I do apologize and hope you understand.

Here’s a partial list of the wonderful contestants (I still can’t think clearly right now—will complete the list after the coma has passed, later this week):

Black Tie Barbeque

Cupcake Love Bakery

Daisy's Desserts

Holly’s Cupcake Shop

Little Cake Bakery

Pink Cupcake Dreams

Sassy Girl Pies & More

Simply Sweet & More

Sweet Dreams by Weems

Sweet Justice

Based on the endless Twitter and Facebook chatter for the past several weeks, I knew this would be a big event, but this thing was HUGEMONGOUS!!! When I arrived, the parking lot was flooded with vehicles, so, many of us utilized the “desperation parking” method and parked wherever we could (I think we were semi-legal in doing so). I entered the reception area was given my little voting card, walked into the competition area and nearly FAINTED! There were cupcakes EVERYWHERE and TONS of them! The aromas nearly made me swoon. I had to pinch myself—had I died and gone to HEAVEN?? Not quite, I made it to Heaven about four cupcakes into the taste testing. By the time I was done, I was downright in sugar misery (in a good way), but Lord I needed some real food to counteract the abundance of sugar running through my veins, so glutton me, had a late lunch, went furniture shopping and arrived home just in time to pass out into a sugar-laden stupor.

As I mentioned there were 20 cupcakes to taste and these were the rules of engagement:

~Each contestant prepared a Red Velvet cupcake and a second “freestyle” cupcake. All judges and attendees tasted both.

~After tasting both offerings from each chef, we (the people) and the guest judges voted and selected the winners.

~Contestants also performed demonstrations.

Congratulations to the winners!!!

Peoples' Choice (Red Velvet) by Little Cake Bakery

Judges' Choice (Red Velvet) by Pink Cupcake Dreams

Peoples' Choice Freestyle (Better Than Sex) by Pink Cupcake Dreams

Judges' Choice Freestyle (Marie Antoinette) by Little Cake Bakery

The Great Cupcake Smackdown was an undeniable HIT and the beauty of the entire event was the sportsmanship, graciousness, and true labor of love shown by each of the contestants. It couldn’t have been an easy task to prepare so many delectable treats for us, making it readily apparent that they LOVE what they do. I’d like to tip my hat to each of you. Please take the opportunity to support these great businesses—sponsors included. You won’t be disappointed. I certainly wasn’t.

Sheila Denise

Saturday, July 10, 2010

An Evening at The Fred with Boz Scaggs

If you’re of my generation (60’s baby) or the generation prior, you likely know exactly who Boz Scaggs is. If you’re younger than me, you need to do a little research to gain a little insight on this fantastical singer/strummer.

After hearing that one of my all time favorite “Boys of the 70’s” was coming to The Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater (The Fred) in Peachtree City on July 10, I knew that NOTHING would stop me from seeing this performance. With the threat of thunderstorms, I ignored every weather report that might have suggested that I stay at home. I was determined to see him no matter what. Riley (Big Sis) and I arrived at 6:30, swooped into the perfect parking spot with the intent of waiting for the gates to open at 7. Well, DOWN CAME THE RAIN!!! We realized that we didn’t remember to bring a rain poncho, so we sped to Wal-Mart for our protective rain gear. When we returned, the gates were open and we were on our way.

Boz’s music is a combination of rock, pop, jazz, blues, soul and everything in between. We were fortunate enough to hear a little something from each genre for a little over an hour and a half on Saturday night. He sang a range of favorites, including “JoJo”, “Lido Shuffle” and my two favoritest hits, “Lowdown” and “Look What You’ve Done To Me” (from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack). I would have been completely happy just hearing those four cuts, but Mr. Scaggs came to perform and man oh man DID HE!!! I felt like it was at a flashback concert, waving my flameless candle and swaying to the music.

A few songs into the set, Monet, his dancing-harmonizing-sang-your-butt-off side kick gave us a performance of a lifetime by wowing us with her rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s “Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About” with a little bit of Al Green flair thrown in near the end. Please don’t take sidekick the wrong way…back-up singer just doesn’t suffice in this instance, because THIS GIRL CAN BLOW!!! For a moment it seemed that this was her concert!!

The entire cast was outstanding—after teasing us and pretending the show was over, we were thrilled when they returned to the stage and had a downright JAM SESSION for an additional 15-20 minutes. It was unbelievable!! Each musician had the opportunity to show us their stuff and it was quite impressive. “Lend Me a Dime” was the final song of the night. Oh, I forgot to tell y’all that he even sang two songs that he wrote during the time he lived in Macon.

Now back to the rain--it stopped shortly before the show began at 8 and not another drop was to be seen for the remainder of the evening. It was destined that we would enjoy the concert rain-free. A perfect evening--great weather, wonderful venue, and a take-you-back-to-the-70’s from the gut performance by Boz Scaggs (and crew). Time well spent.

Sheila Denise

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pound Cake

If you don't know who The Pioneer Woman is, stop right now (I don't mind waiting, but you gotta promise to come back), click here and go to her blog. If you DO know who she is, you know she a BIG KICK ASS deal!! I'm attempting to live up to a small piece of The Pioneer Woman's hype! I'll openly share that I have a few foodie/cooking/do-it-all kinda idols and Mrs. Ree is in my top five. I absolutely love EVERYTHING about her and if you're being introduced to her via this humble little entry, you're going to love her too.

I was stalking her blog, as I often do and saw her Perfect Pound Cake recipe. I bookmarked it and forgot about it, until yesterday. So in my best attempt to do Mrs. Ree proud, I decided to bake it. First of all, it's a very simple recipe; however, I've made messes of simpler things, so I was kinda sorta holding my breath the entire process. Boy oh boy was this worth getting all worked up about!! This cake is DELICIOUS!!! I'm actually munching on a warm hunk of it as I'm typing this. I tweeted and facebooked to my friends that I had cut it while it was still hot.

Now I've got to get back to my cake. My work here is done. You've been introduced to a superwoman and her super cake while providing me the opportunity to be just a teeny bit like Mrs. Ree. You can thank me later (cash, shoes, food and Delta miles accepted).

It's okay, go on back to The Pioneer Woman's know you want to.

NOTE: The only thing I did differently was use this flavoring instead of the Imitation Butter Flavor in the original recipe.

Sheila Denise

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What a Great Week for Thrifting!!

Disclaimer: This is a pic heavy post.

We're a family of thrifting. It all started with my brother, Curt. Many years ago, we all became jealous of his fantastic Goodwill/Salvation Army/"wherever" finds and the obsession began for us all. This boy even "found" a Big Green Egg that someone had dumped--it served us EXTREMELY well for years in Mother's backyard until he busted it into a gazillion pieces while trimming tree limbs a few weeks ago. We're really going to miss that smoker. Did I get off track already?? Okay, I'm back.

I am so very exited to share with y'all all the treasures we discovered during Father's Day week. There are quite a few so I'll jump right in.

After a lovely Father's Day "linner" (lunch-dinner) with the gang at in Griffin, we decided to drop by Goodwill. Now I really should have been driving to Mother's, but I couldn't resist the call of thrifting. So off we went all 7 of us, including MiniMe (3 year old great niece and first girl in the family since me), and we managed to purchase a few things.

The first (and best) deal is a 58 x 58 table for Nephew #2 (aka My Son/Reggie). He has been searching/waiting for the "perfect" dining table (his mother, Riley, has been teasing him for months claiming that she was gifting him with her current dining room furniture, but that hasn't quite happened yet--and it doesn't need to now!!).
Since I'm a junkie for dishes, kitchen gadgets, antique-ish items, I rushed to the homewares section and the first thing I spotted was this:
This stainless steel fish poacher was only $6!! It's missing the rack, but I can envision so many more uses for it without the rack. A beautifully roasted pork loin with all the trimmings, a nice serving of root veggies and herbs just waiting to be devoured or a pan filled with just-grilled meats. I could go on and on about my new treasure, but I have more goodies to share.

Next I found this stainless steel tray/boat. I'll use it for cookies, nuts, tea lights display (with sand or salt), after dinner mints, etc. Well worth the $2 investment.
Speaking of cookies, I picked up a set of tins for 69 cents. Just the perfect size for a few dozen treats making them oh so easy to transport. I'm actually using the square one to transport sushi and spring rolls to an outdoor concert this weekend.
My friend, Smiley Eats, loves vintage bowls, so I was happy to find something for him as well. A whopping 65 cents (I think)!!!
My final find was the cutest little pitcher, which I'll use for syrup. Isn't it adorable?
MiniMe discovered a Tonka fire truck, a Winnie the Pooh almost as large as she is, and a bracelet that she selected all by herself. So now, I'm on a roll for more finds during my visit with Mother in the country. We took a little trip to Dublin on Monday, so I just HAD to go to Goodwill and immediately scooped up the following items:
Desk lamp - $4
Cabinet hardware - 29 cents - 99 cents
I wasn't quite done, so I drove to Vidalia on Tuesday and stumbled upon these beauties for 69 cents!!! I already own a dozen so I decided to get them for Riley (my sister). Knowing how much I paid for mine (at a discount), I was simply giddy with delight to have found these!! When I checked out, I discovered the darn things were HALF OFF y'all!!! These bowls were 34.5 cents each!!! An absolute steal for $1.48 total!!
Now of course, on my way back to Atlanta, I made a stop at the newest Goodwill in Macon. I was determined that I wouldn't leave empty handed. An Amco stainless steel napkin holder for $1. This will be very useful for patio dining.
I just returned from donating a few items at the Stockbridge Goodwill and I'm now the proud owner of these mini brulee dishes and the perfect little holder for homemade popsicles.

Thank you for allowing me to shove a bunch of pictures down your throat while sharing my little treasures. Next time you're looking for something unique without breaking the bank, don't overlook thrift shops, consignment shops, garage sales, estate sales, and everything in between. You may be surprised by the things you'll discover.

Sheila Denise

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Spring Rolls TSE Style

I've been on a sushi-ish kinda kick for the past few weeks and while scratching that itch, I also stumbled upon some really good spring rolls. I'm sure they're referred to as some other kinda roll as well; however, for today's purpose, I'm calling them spring rolls. The wrappers used to make them are rice wrappers and they're very fragile discs (or squares), that you wet to make them pliable.

Lunch today was sushi from Publix--made while I waited. As as I was enjoying my sushi and praying that the top of my head wouldn't blow off with each bite (I'm an idiot for wasabi) , I decided that dinner would be spring rolls.
I knew that I wanted to include shrimp, Phillips Lump Crab, rice noodles, mango and basil. The more I thought about it the more fillings I wanted to include, so I ended up with the previous five ingredients as well as bean sprouts, jicama and arugula. Now I'm pretty sure arugula is waaaaaay outta place in this scenario, but I didn't have any "regular" greens.

This was my first attempt at making spring rolls and I knew I needed to shut off all outside interference--I was about to get down to business and needed to focus. Turns out I was so darn focused that I left out the rice noodles. After I stood back and admired my not-so-great wrapping work, I looked over on the other counter and saw the noodles!! What's a girl to do?? When the noodles are left out, you use them as a landing strip for the spring rolls, that's what!
I also made a quick peanut sauce with smooth peanut butter (with honey), Sriracha sauce, soy sauce and mango nectar. It's as yummy as it is simple.
The entire process was not as scary as I'd thought and overall, I'm pretty pleased with my first attempt, but as many of us, I want to perfect my rolling skills. These things have more wrinkles than the wrinkly-est Shar Pei. Is there anyone out there who wants to take me under his/her wing before I take a syringe of Botox to these suckers? Anyone???

Sheila Denise

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July in the Country

On Friday night, I was still undecided regarding what to do for the holiday weekend, but at midnight-thirty I made the decision to spend the holiday weekend in the country. I grew up in Glenwood and Mother still lives there. So, I was up at 6AM on Saturday, packing and swearing because I wanted to sleep in, but the thought of leaving Atlanta (and interstate highways) behind for a few days was quite appealing and I was suddenly in the mood for my little road trip to "The Wood" as I call it.

I took a little detour along the way to get a couple of boxes of peaches for Big Brother Curt, who lives in Savannah and just might possibly love peaches more than I do. Well, my plan was to go to Lane Southern Orchards in Fort Valley, but Curt suggested I shorten my trip by dropping by the Macon Farmers Market, shaving a few miles off my trip (and to get the peaches to him faster). A visit to ANY farmers market is an exciting thing for me. As a bumpkin who grew up on "home grown" foods, I'm always thrilled to meet and talk with the vendors who actually grow their supply. My first stop was Michelle's for tomatoes...OMG how I love REAL tomatoes. I'll likely eat so many this summer that I'll be sick of them until next summer. Across from Michelle's was Cameron's who had beautiful, fragrant peaches and freshly picked UNSHELLED purple-hull peas. The story on the peas is quite short...Mother REFUSES to accept peas that are already shelled--she needs to shell them herself and at 81, let's just say she gets what she wants. I'll add with glee that she doesn't expect us to pitch in with the shelling, so we have a win-win situation. The thought of watermelon crossed my mind, but I decided to hold out to get a few from "the man at the light" in Glenwood (the light is the BIG intersection in "town" with our only traffic light). Now it's back on the road to the country and before I know it, I'm greeted by the familiar sights of home.

When I walk into the kitchen, the mixer is on the counter and I spotted a recipe for a Lemon Meringue Cake. Yippee!!! Curt's planning to bake a cake!! The ingredients list led me to believe that it would be absolutely divine...

...and it was. As a matter of fact, it was cheek puckering hyper-lemony goodness. It was so good that I'm proud to admit that I "stole" the recipe. I am definitely making this bad boy (after I lose 20 pounds) or when the lemon craving takes over--whichever comes first.

I walked around the backyard, eating a homemade popsicle (the healthiest thing of the weekend--strawberries, vanilla Greek yogurt a bit of sugar and lime juice) and admiring nature and Curt's various plants, ranging from purple and green hot peppers to peaches to okra. Here are a few photos of my little outing.

There's an unwritten code while in "The Wood" that simply states there is no such thing as being on a diet or eating when you're hungry. In the country, you eat because you can and that's exactly what I do each time--this visit was no different. I'm a little ill just thinking about all food I've inhaled since Saturday, so I won't give y'all a rundown. I'll simply post a few shots of Sunday afternoon's chowing.

"Real" Tomatoes, Grilled Asparagus & Pasta Salad:

Purple Hull Peas & Butterbeans with Okra (both with TONS of cured pork--please don't ask):

Grilled Corn & Pork Chops (I became a little engrossed in conversation, but the chops were still fabu):

Fried Okra & Hoe Cakes:

I enjoyed my holiday in the country with family and friends and I'm very pleased with my last minute decision. Escaping the city really does a mind and body good (well okay maybe not the body). The diet starts (again) right after another piece of cake.

I hope you had a safe and enjoyable holiday!!

Sheila Denise