Friday, April 30, 2010

as american as...

today i am grateful for...

making my first(successful) apple pie!

pie 1

momma branch schooled me a little in pie-making 101. we were short on time so we improvised with store-bought crust, but that isn't too terrible is it? and i'm sure you won't scoff too heartily at my wonky lattice work...

pie 3

i played T.I for my mom while we peeled and sliced apples. nothin' like a little atlanta hip hop to set the pie-making mood ;) it feels good to be back in the ATL.

pie 2

i love simple recipes! i can't wait to try out more this spring and summer. if y'all have any suggestions, i am all ears!

*easiest recipe ever*
3 winesap apples(or any other baking apples you like)
1/4 cup of flour
1 cup of sugar
6 pats of butter
store-bought pie crust

directions for momma branch's easy peasy apple pie...

*preheat oven to bake(or to 350 degrees).
*while the oven is heating up, and you're preparing the pie, remove the pie crusts from the freezer and let thaw.

1. peel and cut apples( a paring knife works best) into thin slices( i cut each slice to be about the size of chicklet gum, but you don't have to be super precise).
2. in a mixing bowl, combine the apples, sugar, and flour. mix thoroughly.
3. spoon filling into one of the pie crusts. pat down evenly with the back of the spoon.
4. with the 2nd pie crust take a butter knife and cut 1/2 inch strips from the softened crust.
5. i ended up placing three strips lengthwise across the top of the apple pie.
6. next i took strips and began weaving them over and under the lengthwise strips. this builds the foundation for the latticework.
7. fill in with remaining strips as needed.
8. dot the pie with the 6 pats of butter.
9.(this is optional) but i dusted the entire pie liberally with a cinnamon and sugar mix.
10. bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. this worked best for our oven. check on your pie after 30, just to be safe.

*serve with vanilla bean icecream.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

sweet georgia brown...

oh georgia, girl, you have been a warm welcome and an old sweet song since we came home. i feel like i am being re-acquainted with a long lost friend.

azalea 2

i have been enjoying lots of nature walks with my mother-in-law, husband and my mother around all the lovely little streets. folks smile and wave as we stroll on by, even if they have never seen us before. we've been greeted with warm air and some nice thunderstorms too.


dogwood tree

we came back just in time to catch the last gasp of the dogwoods.

azalea row


we don't have cherry blossoms in these here parts, but we do have some mighty fine azaleas.

today we went to ed's grandfather's house and devoured our fair share of tangy pulled pork, salty collard greens, and buttermilk biscuits. and of course, sweet tea and peach cobbler. pop even let me play in his basement and "relieve" him of some old, rusty hardware hooks, nails, burlap and the like.

carrollton drug company

azalea vase

this old medicine jar made its way home with us as well.

potted plants

brown bottle

tomorrow my mother is going to teach me about gardening. she even already potted a little chamomile for me. i hope her green thumb is part of my genetic makeup. we shall see...

i must say, it feels pretty good to be a georgia peach again.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

bon voyage...

statue of liberty 1

tonight was our last night in the big apple, and my heart definitely hurts.

nyc 1

nyc 2

we said our final goodbyes to the city as we rode the staten island ferry.

statue of liberty 2

we finally got a little closer to our nation's leading lady of liberty. and saw the sun set behind her.

nyc 3

the city's skyline. i can't believe so many buildings and people can fit on that tiny little island.

bye nyc

goodbye emerald city. i will miss you. and all of the wonderful people who get to call you home.

Monday, April 19, 2010

i will miss y'all most of all...

today and i will always be grateful for...

saipua 2

last night my closest friends gathered at madam geneva for a final farewell for ed and me. i really do believe the old adage, "if you can count your good friends you have on one hand, then consider yourself lucky". well then last night i needed at least 5 other free hands! we sipped pimms cups, gimlets, ellisons, and various other delicious gin-infused spirits while laughing and gossiping the night away. and then we capped the revelry off with an ungodly amount of french fries at pommes frites.

saipua 3

i didn't take any photos of the night, what was i thinking?! the night was perfect. a very special speech was made. beautiful smiling faces were aplenty. an abundance of gorgeous flowers speckled the room. very dear cards and books were given. there was a healthy showing of glittery sequins, bows, and party dresses. hilarious friends belted out showtunes with gusto on the streets of new york.

saipua 1

peter hale cooney III. chelsea rose cook. corrie wright pellerin. lauren weinerth. haylie b. waring. savannah wyatt. amy emerson merrick. john gardner. mary ping. madeleine alder-cossitt and anton hansson. abby hasler. jamie freed. blake lewis. max shimizu-jones. sarah meyer. mandy kordal. lauren demith. brendan coleman. nick derosa. i will miss y'all so much. new york has been a real wild ride, but none of it would have been half as special if it weren't for having each and every one of you in my life. thank you for making me love new york. i will always be grateful for the times we shared in the big apple. and i promise, i will be sure to write...

*all flowers shown were styled by amy merrick at saipua.
**thank you jamie jean freed for organzing our bon voyage. you totally nailed it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

it is only a paper moon...

source: only a paper moon flickr

i've been hankerin' to throw a paper moon themed party. this type of prop styling had quite a long stretch! as early as the victorian era up until the 1940s, folks were hamming it up while perched on a theatrical moon. hmmm, maybe a 26th birthday party theme? i loves me a good themed party.
lauren weinerth...

lo stache

happy birthday my sweet lo'. this is a belated bday post, but better late than never. here is why i am so glad you were born.

1. you are one of my funniest friends. you and corrie make me laugh til i cry. whether it is your comedic timing, your writing, your ability to improv, or your impersonations, you always keep me in stitches!
2. you are one of the most loyal people i know, a quality i value most in friends. you are there for your friends through thick and thin.
3. you are so dang thoughtful and you always put others needs and feelings before your own. always.
4. you have the biggest heart. you love your friends and family so fearlessly and so endlessly.
5. if the "glad game" could have a grand prize winner, it would be you. there is no silver lining that you can't find.
6. you are so good with kids and you will be the best mom one day. i will always remember the time i tagged along on a nannying gig of yours, and wanted to cry at how utterly perfect you were with little children.
7. if everyone could be as forgiving as you, the world would be a better place.
8. vanity and cynicism are not in your vernacular. not at all.
9. you wake up and love life. you don't sit still, and you don't take any day for granted. you seek out joy.
10. when i think of the quote, "dance as though no one is watching you. sing as though no can hear you. love as though you have never been hurt before. live as though heaven is on earth." it makes me think of you.
11. you graciously and proudly read "the archipelago of kisses" by jeffrey mcdaniel at my wedding ceremony, with such gusto and charm, even though it was a saucy poem that elicited many gasps and snickers amongst the guests ;)
12. you are the embodiment of the word "lovely".
13. when you read books, you really read books. you highlight, bookmark, earmark, make notes in the margin, and place tabs on the pages. you really become a part of the worlds you read about.
14. your organization skills are what people write books about. your daily planner is like the holy grail of time management.
15. great rack, great legs.

i am going to miss you so much miss lo. i'm sorry i never took you up on our bikram yoga class. i'm so glad you forgive my lousy tour guiding. you are one of the funniest, kindest, most magnanimous people i have ever met. i am so pleased to know you and call you a friend.
and i am so glad you were born.
flowery branch...

dear brooklyn botanical garden,

botanical gardens

i've loved having you as my neighbor. i am definitely going to miss you and our short lived romance.


lilacs 2

your patches of lilac and hyacinths knocked my socks off. their smell is so delicious, and i wish i could take you back to georgia with me.


hey mom, look, WISTERIA! as a child we played the wisteria game, aka "who can spot the wisteria first" game.

corrie petals

flower petals
corrie had fun playing with nature's confetti.

cherry blossom canopy

but cherry blossom row...

cherry blossom row

man oh man, what a beauty!

cherry blossoms 1

curtains of pink powder puffs interlocked over our heads.

cherry blossoms 4

so thank you, little garden, for providing us with a magical place to play. so much beauty in one place, it makes my heart swell. i wish i could keep you.

ginny and corrie

i promise i'll keep in touch.
love always,
ginnybranch stelling

Thursday, April 15, 2010

coney island...

today i am grateful for...

pallin' around brooklyn with one of my best friends corrie pellerin! i love my corrie girl, and having her in town for my last week in nyc is soooo sweet. we ventured out to coney island( my "brilliant" idea) only to find out... the rides won't be open to the public until tomorrow! i know i have made the disclaimer that i am the most hopeless tour guide, and i firmly stand by it. thankfully coney island has plenty of charm even in its semi-closed state.

coney island 3

all i wanted was to ride the dang ferris wheel. i need to get on this dang wheel. it is legendary!

coney island 5

hello handsome. i love you.

coney island 6

coney island 7

i love my corrie girl.

coney island 2

coney island 9

shoot the freak.

coney island 10

coney island 13

suggestion noted.
coney island 14

we took the bait.

i am thankful i have so many forgiving people in my life, who don't seem to mind my absent-minded tour guiding. eeps. but it was a gorgeous day with lots of laughs and colorful sights. i wanted to hijack all the hand-painted signs and sniff out the sideshow freaks. i was tempted by the cotton candy and candy apples. in the end it was lots of laughs, nathan hotdogs, and ice cream cones. yum. and oh yeah, my best friend is in town. did i mention i'm so happy she's here?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

the simple life...

bradford pear blossom 2

my last day of work was friday and now i am prepping for our move to georgia. i am genuinely looking forward to life slowing down and all of the other lovely southern comforts of home! indulge my while i rattle off my simple goals for this summer.

bradford pear blossom 1

this summer i hope to...

1. plant chamomile or feverfew.
2. perfect an apple pie and blackberry pie recipe(my husband's favorite).
3. take long walks around my new neighborhood, preferably with my mother.
4. have a summer movie night in a backyard, with a home-made theater screen (bed sheets tacked down with ropes).
5. actually catch fireflies in mason jars.
6. learn how to set up a grill and use a charcoal chimney.
7. be pulled on a tube behind a speed boat on a lake.
8. visit my 102 year old grandmother weekly... she will be within walking distance of our new apartment :)
9. make homemade icecream and bread at least once!
1o. take more polaroid pictures. thank you the-impossible-project.
11. volunteer at a local farmstand or farm, hopefully love is love farm...
12. finish drawing everyone's lovely photos emailed to me. i have NOT forgotten, the move has thrown a wrench into my timeline :)
13. start using cloth napkins more and less paper towels.
14. read more! i am compiling a master summer reading list, and am open to suggestions and recommendations!
15. be in the love business. one way or another.

**oh and learn how to drive. i have been avoiding it for nearly 26 years. i am petrified of driving.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

easter finery...

today i am grateful for...


chelsea and mollie pola 1

chelsea hair

josh and murphy

emily and paul pola

ginny and chelsea

easter bonnets. day dresses. heart sunglasses. dyed easter eggs. plucked wildflowers in bottles. polaroid cameras. board games. guitar strummin'. brooklyn camaraderie. cherry blossoms. daffodils. forsythia. bare legs. freckles. couples in love. children laughin' and dogs runnin'. mimosas. picnic blankets. barbecue grillin'.

today was the best easter i have ever had. i love my friends. simple and perfect. i hope y'all had a wonderful easter too!
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