Monthly Archives: October 2013

Halloween for Scaredy Cats

Vintage black cat

I have never been a huge fan of Halloween. I’m not saying I didn’t participate in the festivities. I loved the costumes and the candy but I was never very big on the actual “trick or treat” aspect of the event. I have always had a pretty vivid imagination so I was able to completely freak myself out walking in the dark on Halloween night passing all of the other children in costume. Unfortunately I think I passed these feelings on to my own child.

Driving through my neighborhood last night after dark, I realized that at least half of the houses on my street had extensive Halloween decorations: spiderwebs, skeletons, pumpkins, ghosts…the works. It seems to me that people are decorating for Halloween as much as they are for Christmas. That just seems strange to me.

Cute vintage pumpkin child

I suppose that if Halloween decorations were more like this cute vintage pumpkin child, then maybe I would enjoy it more. But that does not seem to be the trend. Just going into a party store in the month of October is terrifying. Gone are the days of Little Bo Peep and cowboys.

Vintage Halloween costumes photo

So tonight I will celebrate Halloween as usual–with some reservation–welcoming the little ones in the neighborhood early then turning out the porch light at the first sign of the older kids. My daughter and I will be counting down the minutes to November 1st when Halloween has passed and the “good holidays” are ahead of us!

 

All images are from The Graphics Fairy.

 

Game Day Done Right: Road Trip to Ole Miss

Ole Miss Road Trip

Watch the video “Road trip to Ole Miss.” To watch the video on a pc, click here. If you are watching this on a mobile device, click here.

My daughter is a junior in high school so we are beginning to look at colleges. Two weekends ago my husband and I  took her and a friend back to our alma mater: Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi. We had not gone to a ball game in over twenty years and we were so excited to show off Ole Miss and to see friends and family.

Driving to Mississippi

Driving to Mississippi

Our 10-hour drive from Charleston  (really more like 14 hours when you include bathroom stops and meals) began on Thursday after school. We stopped outside of Atlanta for the night and got back on the road early Friday morning in order to make our 12 noon appointment for a campus tour.

The Lyceum, Ole Miss

The Lyceum, Ole Miss (Photo by M. K. Smith)

Several weeks ago one of my friends asked me if I really wanted my daughter to go to Ole Miss to college because if not, I should definitely not take her on a game day weekend.

I should probably have listened to her.

I’m not sure we could have arranged a better visit if we had been recruiters.

We arrived on campus just in time to make the academic fair where the girls had an opportunity to talk with representatives from various schools and programs. Next we took a tour of the campus and housing options. After a quick walk along Sorority Row and a brief tour of my sorority house, we found ourselves in the Grove, the heart of Ole Miss and its Game Day activities and one of the country’s top tailgating venues.

The Circle at Ole Miss Before Game Day

The Circle at Ole Miss Before Game Day (Photo by M. K. Smith)

Afterwards we left campus and gave the girls a quick overview of Oxford before heading over to Rowan Oak, the home of William Faulkner.

Rowan Oak, Home of William Faulkner, Oxford, Mississippi

Rowan Oak, Home of William Faulkner, Oxford, Mississippi (Photo by M. K. Smith)

The house and woods surrounding the site were favorites of ours while in school.

Front Parlor, Rowan Oak

Front Parlor, Rowan Oak (Photo by M. K. Smith)

Draft of "The Fable" by William Faulkner

Draft of “The Fable” by William Faulkner on the wall of back bedroom (Photo by M. K. Smith)

View from Rowan Oak second floor (Photo by M.K. Smith)

View from Rowan Oak second floor (Photo by M.K. Smith)

After our behind-the-scenes-tour of Rowan Oak, we headed south to the tiny town of Taylor for the best catfish around at Taylor Grocery.

Taylor, Mississippi (Photo by M.K. Smith)

Taylor, Mississippi (Photo by M.K. Smith)

Taylor Grocery (Photo by Amy Watson Smith)

Taylor Grocery (Photo by Amy Watson Smith)

Taylor Grocery (Photo by M.K. Smith)

Taylor Grocery (Photo by M.K. Smith)

The girls agree: "Eat or we both starve." (Photo by M.K. Smith)

The girls agree: “Eat or we both starve.” (Photo by M.K. Smith)

We headed into town early on Saturday even though kick off wasn’t until 6 pm. Parking is limited in Oxford and we had much to do that day.

The weather was perfect for football but a bit colder than these Charlestonians were used to. We needed supplies so we headed to one of Oxford’s most venerable establishments: Neilson’s Department Store on the square.

Ole Miss Rebel banners at Neilson's on Game day (Photo by Amy Watson Smith)

Ole Miss Rebel banners at Neilson’s on Game day (Photo by Amy Watson Smith)

We spent the next couple of hours wandering around the square stopping at some of our old favorites and many new shops.

Oxford Square (Photo by Amy Watson Smith)

Oxford Square (Photo by Amy Watson Smith)

The double-decker bus shuttles fans to the Grove on Game Days (Photo by M.K. Smith)

The double-decker bus shuttles fans from Oxford Square to the Grove on Game Days (Photo by M.K. Smith)

One of our favorite old haunts is Square Books, one of the country’s best independent bookstores.

Square Books (Photo by M.K. Smith)

Square Books (Photo by M.K. Smith)

After shopping and eating lunch on the square we made our way down to the Grove to participate in the time-honored tradition of tailgating with family and friends.

Ole Miss tailgating

Ole Miss tailgating

Tailgating tent complete with chandelier (Photo by M.K. Smith)

Tailgating tent complete with chandelier (Photo by M.K. Smith)

College friends

College friends

The girls with Colonel Reb, former Ole Miss mascot (Photo by M.K. Smith)

The girls with Colonel Reb, former Ole Miss mascot (Photo by M.K. Smith)

One of the best parts of our trip to Ole Miss was seeing our Mississippi cousins,

Cousins

Cousins

The walk to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium with the thousands of other Ole miss fans was so exciting.

Ole Miss band's pre-game show

Ole Miss band’s pre-game show

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

The game was thrilling!

Ole Miss vs. LSU, October 19, 2013

Ole Miss vs. LSU, October 19, 2013

Hotty Toddy! Do you know the cheerAre you ready?

Ole Miss Rebel fans

Ole Miss Rebel fans

Amazing game! Ole Miss 27- LSU 24 (Photo by Amy Watson Smith)

Amazing game! Ole Miss 27- LSU 24 (Photo by Amy Watson Smith)

Our ride back to Charleston began early the next morning. It was a long, long drive.

Driving through Alabama (Photo by M.K. Smith)

Driving through Alabama (Photo by M.K. Smith)

My friend was right about taking our daughter to Ole Miss on a Game Day. She was impressed. We have only started exploring her options so who knows where she will end up.

Just to be safe, maybe we should start looking into condos in Oxford…

 

Check out this video for more about Game Day at Ole Miss.

 

Fall is in the air…achoo

Fall is in the air…achoo.

Welcome to Charleston, South Carolina. Folks around here know that fall is nothing to sneeze at.

pumpkins

If you live in another part of the country you are probably wondering why I inserted the phrase “achoo.”

You probably associate autumn with leaves turning to flaming orange and yellow and red, crisp, sweet apples, a chill in the air, the smell of wood smoke…

apples

 

But if you live in Charleston or some other warm regions of the country, you know exactly to what I am referring. Achoo…scratch, scratch…ragweed.

I spent the better part of yesterday sneezing and scratching my face and arms and neck. It’s really tricky when the palms of your hands and the bottoms of your feet start itching but I have perfected my method of scratching without tickling. It is a fine balance, my friend.

I took an antihistamine which helped with the itching but, of course, made me groggy and more muddle-minded than usual. Looking at the pollen forecast for the rest of the week, I moaned. Yesterday was considered only moderately high. The next few days promise to be even worse. Tissues and antihistamine in hand, I went to bed last night determined to get in front of the itching and sneezing. I am happy to report that my plan has worked so far. I am virtually itch- and sneeze-free this morning! Apparently allergy management is much like pain management. You have to stay ahead of the pain/sneeze.

My daughter suffers from the same allergic reactions but not everyone in my household/family does. To these non-sufferers I suspect we seem somewhat weak in character. I probably react in a similar way with some of their ailments.

I suppose the saying is a good one to remember: never judge someone until you have walked a mile in their nose…I mean shoes.

Happy fall!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bee Smitten #1: The smell of autumn in a candle

I am so excited to begin sharing a few of my favorite things with you in this new column Bee Smitten. There are so many things on my list but I had to start somewhere.

Stag Candle Patch NYC

I am starting with my favorite candle for fall and winter: the Stag Candle by Patch NYC.

I love this candle because the aroma is very distinctive. It reminds me of being in the woods on an autumn afternoon the air crisp and clean with a note of fir trees and wood smoke lingering. I can almost hear the crunch of fallen leaves beneath my feet and taste the mulled apple cider right now.

I think that I selected this candle for my first pick because it represents several things for me. The first is that whenever I light it, I immediately feel warm, safe and cozy. Who doesn’t love that feeling?

This candle is also ideally suited to this time of year which is my favorite season. In Charleston we don’t get much of a fall, so this is a reminder of the times and places I have lived where leaves  turned brilliant shades of red and orange and there was a chill in the air.

Finally this candle is one that I can actually smell. Over the last few years I have begun to lose my sense of smell (connected to my allergies and all of the lovely year-long blooming things in this part of the world). Somehow this is one of the only aromatic candles that I can smell.

Patch NYC stag

 

Click this link to go to their website. They also carry several other scents and products but this one is my favorite. It would make a great gift for a man with the woodsy smell and stag image. It is also made in the USA.

out of hand shop window

For my local readers, visit Out of Hand in the Old Village, Mount Pleasant to find this candle as well as the other scents from Patch NYC.

What are the smells that you associate with fall? I’d love to hear from you.

 

Time to Simplify

Making Lemonade

Just to be perfectly clear, my blog is not actually about making lemonade. Nor is it about doing anything with lemons.

I thought that the title “Making Lemonade” was clever in that I am a glass-half-full kind of person and have a pretty optimistic outlook on life. I have discovered, however, that not everyone got it. They just thought it was about lemons.

I have had a few people ask me about the title over the last few months but then a relatively intelligent person saw me the other day and said, “Oh, right. You’re doing something with lemons now, aren’t you? I read about it somewhere.” Really?

So there it is–cleverness out the window. No punny titles. No literary references. No whimsy. Just plain and simple amywatsonsmith.com.

I have to admit that this is all a little b i t t e r s w e e t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bee Smitten: A Few of My Favorite Things

Bee Smitten: A Few of My Favorite Things

Bee Smitten is a new column on amywatsonsmith.com focusing on the beautiful things with which I am “smitten.” It is essentially a curated collection of things that are among my favorites–life simply would not be the same without these. It is meant to be for everyone who enjoys beautiful things, delicious food and great adventures, but it may be particularly useful for those of us who have little time to find these things on our own (busy bees) and who appreciate someone doing the filtering for us. Every week or so I will feature one of my favorite things.

The inspiration for this idea came from Miss Judy, my mother’s oldest and dearest friend. Miss Judy was a great Southern lady and style icon.

Judith Ann Entrican Kirkpatrick

Judith Ann Entrican Kirkpatrick

Notice I did not say fashion icon. Miss Judy was not concerned with fashion. She had a certain flair and confidence about her style. She might wear an inexpensive khaki a-line skirt, a crisp white blouse and loafers but then she would throw a Liberty of London scarf around her neck and look like a million bucks.

The truly wonderful thing about Miss Judy’s style, however, was that she always seemed to be able to find some unique item that one “simply could not live without.” And then she would buy dozens and share them with her friends. I’ll never forget the time she discovered a particular hair brush made in France. My mother received this gift with the statement that it was the best brush ever and Miss Judy just knew Mother was going to love it. It appeared to be a rather normal looking brush to me, but when I picked it up and ran the bristles through my hair, I realized she was right. It was an absolutely perfect brush. My mother and I both wept when the handle finally broke in two and we were not able to  use it anymore. Whether it was a luxurious hair brush, a pot of jam or a new book, Miss Judy always found the best things and shared them with her friends.

I have always loved the idea of finding something that I absolutely love and then letting my friends and loved ones in on the secret. It seems to transform an ordinary object into something precious. It is now imbued with so much more meaning–a dear friend has brought you into her world and shared something with you that she loves.

With this column, I hope to do the same thing with you–share some of the things I love most in the world with friends.