August 31, 2009

Busy as a bee

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. Life has gotten so busy lately. I filled out an application for a new apartment I'm moving into with a new roommate. It was a long search for a place and a rather frustrating process, but I think the new place will be great and a lot of fun. It is in a charming little town, not far from where I live now. I'm looking forward to moving at the end of the month.

I had a dance performance this weekend also, which was very fun. My group was asked to perform at a Broadway Night and we did jazz to "All that Jazz" and I choreographed a tap dance to "42nd Street". We had some fun costumes complete with sparkly gold top hats and sequined feather headbands (think flapper style). All went well!

I also got to see the space shuttle launch. It was amazing! The bf and I drove to Port Canaveral for the midnight launch and the sides of the road were just packed with people. I am really glad we saw it. It was worth the drive and staying up late.

Today's mission is to figure out what to bring to my work potluck on Wednesday. We have potlucks every few months and I'm running out of my signature items to bring. I've brought everything from spinach dip to pasta salads.
What do you make for your work potlucks?

Have a lovely evening and I'll be back to regular posting this week :)

August 25, 2009

Take a seat

Who knew Etsy had such fun chairs? :)






I will gladly take a load off on any of these!

August 21, 2009

Thanks!

Thanks to the ladies who have given me the following awards:


Splash Award - "The Splash Award is given to alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive and inspiring blogs" - from The Preppy Princess


Premium Meme Award from Princess Freckles
I am to list seven personality traits.
1. Optimistic
2. Thoughtful
3. Creative
4. Loving
5. Energetic
6. Happy
7. Driven

Thanks again for making my day!
Happy Friday to all!

August 20, 2009

An inside look at Tucker Blair

Hi Taylor. Welcome to The Pink Tutu! We are all looking forward to learning a little more about you and Tucker Blair. Let’s get started.

The Pink Tutu: If you would, share with us again about your personal story, background and what gave you the idea for the business and business name. Why needlepoint?

Taylor Llewellyn: I always had a love for needlepoint belts but the cost of buying through brick and mortal stores was prohibitive. I felt like if I could make the same quality products and cut out the middleman (retail stores) I would have a great business model – so far it’s playing out how we had hoped! I decided on needlepoint because I felt like it was an underserved niche with not as much competition as some of the other products in this category.

TPT: Can you tell me a little about the overall process of producing needlepoint items starting at the beginning with design ideas and going through production?

TL: We have a team of designers that I work closely with in the design process. We are always working on new ideas and what you see on the website is just what we feel is the best based on requests from our customers. After the design phase our concepts are handstitched by our production source and then distributed directly to customers through our web only sales platform.

TPT: How long does the design and production process take?

TL: The process really depends on the product – from belts to fobs to flops.

TPT: Tucker Blair’s motto is Classically Casual, which perfectly suits the items. The pictures of those wearing Tucker Blair on the Web site look like all-American, wholesome people, living life to the fullest who are exactly that — Classically Casual. Is this the type of people Tucker Blair appeals to?

TL: Absolutely, we realize Tucker Blair isn’t a mainstream product and that is by design to a certain extent. Within that group that Tucker Blair appeals to, we aim to create products with a range of themes, colors and interests to suit the times and events of the collective customer market.

TPT: What’s it like in the office? I imagine a very fun and creative atmosphere. How many are on your team?

TL: It’s awesome. We try to buck convention wherever possible. Right now we have a handful of people on the TB team carrying out the functions of warehouse fulfillment, PR, design and then we have about 50 college reps. And of course our production source.

TPT: My favorite items are the starfish belt, polka dot headbands and the crab flip flops. What are your personal favorite Tucker Blair products and what items do you wear?

TL: I really like the Nautical Flag belt – the burnt orange color is really vibrant, which I like. We also have some new stuff in production that I’m pretty fired up about.

TPT: Can you describe your everyday style for us?

TL: Sure, Top siders, seersucker shorts, a ten-year-old Tee Shirt from the LandHo on Cape Cod, and maybe an Orinda country club hat. My wardrobe hasn’t evolved much since college! I also regularly work in my Nantucket Reds, some worn-in polos, and a new pair of Bonobos shorts I got this summer.

TPT: I see that needlepoint dog collars will be available soon. My family dog is a black lab that would look adorable in one! Are there any other new designs in the works for the fall launch?

TL: Oh yeah, we’re launching a handful of collars, a handful of children’s belts, and about a dozen more needlepoint belts. And a few other things that we’re keeping under wraps for now.

TPT: Where do the inspirations for designs come from?

TL: The things we all wish we were doing while we’re at work.

TPT: Can you tell us a little about the custom design process? Do customers choose the colors and design? Also, customers may not know, but monograms are now available. Tell us a little about that.

TL: The custom design process allows for the customer to have anything they want put in to one of our great products – it lends itself to a lot of individualism and creativity. The monograms are a great way to specialize any of our traditional TB products and really make it your own.

TPT: What are the best-selling items?

TL: Sailing Belt, Nautical Flag belt, and all the flops.

TPT: As an online only business, in what ways do you reach out to customers and get the Tucker Blair name out there? Twitter, blogs, Facebook?

TL: Some of the traditional stuff you’ve just named and then some other ways. Lets just say we have to be really creative with our marketing dollars.

TPT: Tucker Blair’s policy is one that is very admirable, with the focus on the customer getting the value. What made you decide to do that and has it made a big difference?

TL: It has a made a huge difference. It shows a true commitment to the customer and allows us to bring products to the market at prices that haven’t ever been seen for these types of products. As our team brainstormed ways we could be really competitive we kept coming back to the online only model and it’s been a great move.

TPT: You are very upfront and available to customers whether on the phone of through email and really strive to make the experience better. Has it been very worthwhile to be so involved? Any great stories to share along this line?

TL: The overarching theme is that if you obsess about your customers and go out of your way to please them it will pay off in droves in the future. And we try to do this with every single customer that shops TB!

TPT: Your story is one that many can relate to. Being stuck in an office or cubicle and dreaming of days on the water or at the beach. What advice do you have to encourage everyone to reach out and make dreams happen?

TL: Hahhah, for me it was a no brainer starting my own thing, but that’s just because of my personality. It’s hard and definitely not for everyone. All I can say is that to me working on a Sunday is no different than working on a Tuesday – and I think if you can find a work place where you feel that way you’re doing that right thing.

Thanks again for talking with me Taylor. I wish you and Tucker Blair much success and happy days!

August 19, 2009

Wedding fun

I'm back from a wonderful wedding weekend! Chateau Elan was gorgeous. The weekend kicked off with the bridesmaid luncheon at the Swan Coach House, which was delicious. We had an assortment of muffins, chicken salad in heart shaped timbale cups, a frozen fruit salad, cheese straws and a chocolate meringue mousse in the shape of a swan for dessert. Yum! After that we got mani/pedis and headed to the rehearsal. We used our lovely ribbon bouquets for that. The rehearsal dinner was held in the Cask room. It was beautiful! There was low lighting with twinkling lights and candles set around the room and a slideshow was playing with pictures of E and J growing up. The food was delicious and it was a great time.

The wedding day was just as perfect as it could be and the bride loved every minute. We spent the day sipping mimosas and getting ready. We did pictures out in the vineyards, which was a great spot. The ceremony flew by and soon we were dancing the night away in the ballroom. The food at the reception was very good as well and a fabulous time was had by all.


Rehearsal Dinner in the Cask room

Bride and Groom

They're married!

Cutting the cake

Bubbles sendoff


I just love weddings and had a wonderful time being a bridesmaid. It really is special to see a friend you've known since preschool experience the happiest day of her life! Congrats to them both!

August 13, 2009

My best friend's wedding

Chateau Elan

My childhood best friend is getting married this weekend! I am headed home to fulfill my bridesmaid duties and looking forward to it. Tomorrow we are having a bridesmaid luncheon at the Swan Coach House in Atlanta and then having our nails done before the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Saturday will be spent getting ready and then the wedding that night. This is all taking place at Chateau Elan, a gorgeous winery, inn, spa and golf destination. It's going to be wonderful!

I have known my friend since we were 3 years old. We were best friends all through preschool, elementary school and high school and I am so excited for her big day. What a special time to see someone you've grown up with get married.

Congratulations Elizabeth and Joey!

August 10, 2009

Ame & Lulu — Love at first sight

I have had the pleasure of visiting the Ame & Lulu booth at past PGA Merchandise Shows and have always walked away with a smile on my face and visions of brightly-colored, preppy golf gear dancing through my mind. I love that Ame & Lulu embodies the female golfer — powerful, active, and dressed to a "tee" in none other than perfectly pink matching golf gear and accessories. What more could a golf girl want?

Ame & Lulu found its beginnings when Amye Kurson was on a mission to find a fun and trendy, yet still sophisticated, set of head covers. After ending the search empty-handed, Kurson set out to design and develop her own brand of stylish sports accessories and Ame & Lulu was born. The company entered the market in 2003 and all products are hand-made in the United States. Items include golf shoe bags, golf belts, head covers, ball holders, racquet covers, tennis tote bags, duffle bags, cosmetic bags, yoga bags and much more. The best part — all items are available in coordinating patterns and monogramming is an option.

I was given the honor of testing out the golf belt. Besides the fact that it is adorable, the golf belt was pretty handy on the course as well. The belt has a spot where three tees can be inserted. When I'm out playing, many times after teeing off I'll throw my tee in my pocket. Well, problem is, the tee is dirty. Now, thanks to the belt I can keep my pockets clean and my waistline happy with a stylish accessory. The belts are one size fits all and come in many cute patterns. Mine (shown below) is Medallion. It truly is nice not worrying about the tee and just slipping it back in it's happy spot. Cheers to many fun and colorful rounds to come!





Golf belts $25

3-Ball Holder $32 (Tucket)
The perfect pouch to attach to your bag. Organized and cute!

Head Covers $74 (Rope)
Keep your clubs happy.

Keychain $12 (Resort)
Hang on to that lucky tee!
Shoe Bag $44 (Cabo)
The carrier of your pink golf shoes.


Whether your favorite sport is golf, tennis or yoga, be sure to check out Ame & Lulu for coordinating accessories. You'll be the envy of everyone on the course!

August 6, 2009

Summertime in Northern Michigan

Here are some pictures from my time up north. I must say it was freezing! This southern girl is not used to the cold weather, but it was actually refreshing—if only I had brought warmer clothes :)

We arrived in Traverse City on a Friday and headed straight to Arcadia Bluffs for some golf. The girls (myself, J. and the boy's mom) rode in carts and hit a few shots here and there. The golf course was beautiful and reminded me of Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. There was even a bagpipe player and you could hear the music as you made your way around. It felt like we were in Scotland. After the round, we went to a drive-in movie theater. It was so fun! We got popcorn and candy and settled in to watch part of Ice Age (we were late) and part of Harry Potter (got too tired and went home). The next day we lounged around the house and played badminton and other games. It was nice to relax.

Sunday we headed to Mackinac Island. Along the way we stopped at Bay Harbor for lunch. It was such a cute town right on the water with a lot of sailboats and yachts and charming shops and cafes. After making our way to Mackinac City we hopped on the ferry and headed to the island.

Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club

Knocking one into Lake Michigan

Lunch in Bay Harbor

View of the Grand Hotel from the ferry

Mackinac Island is beautiful. The downtown area has two streets lined with quaint little shops, restaurants, bed and breakfasts and fudge shops. About every three stores is a fudge shop. Everything is Victorian style and the streets are filled with bike riders and horse and carriages - no cars are allowed.

After arriving we all jumped on a horse and carriage and headed to the Grand Hotel. We spent the afternoon exploring our rooms and the rest of the hotel until it was time for dinner.



All dressed up for dinner! At the hotel you must be in evening attire - dresses for the ladies and jackets and ties for the men - by 6. The hotel has a fabulous dining room where you enjoy a five course meal. It was delicious! The signature dessert is the Grand Pecan Ball - an ice cream ball rolled in pecans sitting on a bed of hot fudge. Yum! After dinner we danced the night away to big band music.

Aren't the flowers gorgeous? The red geranium is the signature flower and was in a lot of the hotel decor.

Monday we spent the day wandering through the shops, tasting fudge and biking around the island. The island is about eight miles around and we had fun biking and stopping to see the sights. We also went to high tea, which I loved.


The Jockey Club - cute restaurant at the hotel


Outside the hotel


Above is the room J. and I shared. It was so cute and everything was covered in purple violets. The boy's room was decorated in white and blue toile with lots of wicker. Their parents stayed in one of the named rooms and it was gorgeous as well. The decor at the hotel is just wild and so fun. There are bright colors everywhere and lots of stripes and fun, crazy patterns. It's very summery.

The last night we took a carriage out to The Woods - a restaurant that actually is out in the woods. It is Bavarian style and the decor was that of a hunting lodge. There was even an old-fashioned bowling lane that we played on.

Fun decor and great food!

The hotel is known for having the largest front porch in the world. It was fun sitting out there and spending time in the rocking chairs.

One last glimpse of the island before getting on the ferry to head home.


Goodbye Mackinac Island, I hope to come back soon!

August 5, 2009

Catching up . . .

I am back from a wonderful vacation in Traverse City and Mackinac Island! I have lots of great pictures to share and will get those up in a day or so. The Grand Hotel was absolutely beautiful, as well as Mackinac Island. It was like going back in time to the Victorian era. Just imagine horse and carriages making their way through the streets, the smell of fudge shops, charming Victorian-style houses, bright colored flowers, summery decor . . . oh how I loved it. I can't wait to share it with all of you, but today you will find me:

- Trying to catch up on everyone's posts/comments
- Enjoying a delicious spinach, beet, goat cheese and grilled chicken salad with vanilla balsamic dressing for my favorite boy's birthday lunch
- Drinking lots of iced tea so as not to fall asleep at work (late flight last night)
- Wearing pink Lilly to keep me in a cheery mood
- Uploading lots of vacation photos and wishing I was still there
- Smiling about fun things in the mail - Lilly golf skort I purchased from Hopsy and a really fun item for an upcoming product review
- Writing a member profile for the next Junior League newsletter
- Attending a 3-hour dance practice tonight
- Finding time to watch So You Think You Can Dance (probably won't have time until tomorrow - thank goodness for DVR)
- Celebrating my wonderful boyfriend's birthday!!!

Happy happy birthday to my favorite! You are the sweetest, most fun, smartest, handsome, kind, loving, did I mention cutest, wonderful person I know. Lots of birthday love to you!!

*Vacation recap and photos to come . . .

August 4, 2009

Makin' Mud Pies

Mississippi Mud Cupcakes - myrecipes.com (Southern Living Aug. 2007)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (10.5-oz.) bag miniature marshmallows
  • chocolate icing

Preparation

1. Place pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet.

2. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.

3. Microwave 1 cup butter and semisweet chocolate in a large microwave-safe glass bowl at HIGH 1 minute or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.

4. Whisk sugar and next 5 ingredients into chocolate mixture. Spoon batter evenly into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.

5. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until puffed. Sprinkle evenly with 2 cups miniature marshmallows, and bake 5 more minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, and cool cupcakes in muffin pans 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans, and place on wire rack. Drizzle warm cakes evenly with 1 1/4 cups chocolate frosting and sprinkle with toasted pecans. Reserve remaining 3/4 cup frosting for another use.

Plus . . .


(Wild Peony Hunter Wellingtons found at JCrew.com)

. . . make an enjoyable afternoon of making real mud pies then eating the edible version ;)
Oh, to be a kid again.

August 3, 2009

Summery sips


I saw this recipe in the July issue of Coastal Living and just had to share. Doesn't it sound perfect for a warm summer's night? I plan on making it soon.

Peach Sangria
* Makes 8 cups

1 bottle white wine
1 cup peach schnapps
1/2 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
2 nectarines, sliced
1 cup green or red grapes, whole or sliced

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Cover and chill at least two hours or overnight. Stir before serving. **They recommend adding frozen grapes. Sounds delish!

Enjoy!
 
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