Down Home Hip

Howdy, there! In celebration of my vacation in Nashville, TN, I’m bringing you my idea of one hot southern cook-out.

1. Sweet Tea and Icy Lemonade. The cooler of Corona and Budweiser is a given, but these sweet refreshments will keep you hydrated and smiling. Keep drinks cool and easy to pour in a recycled glass jug with spout like this one from Pottery Barn. *Tulip Tip: make a tray of ice cubes with mint leaves frozen inside for that sweet tea. The leaves will look great floating around!

Decorator's Drink Dispenser, $79

2. A nice crock-pot full of Spicy Pulled Pork like Pioneer Woman’s Recipe and a pretty pair of wooden tongs with which to pile it on your plate! These magnetic tongs are available at MoMA’s gift shop!

Pulled Pork Photo Courtesy of Pioneer Woman | Tongs, $50, MoMA

3. Home-made buttery bread. I will let this recipe say it all. Before clicking that link, you’ll need a tissue because you’ll definite drool a little.

4. Ribs are another given, but it’s the healthy stuff I’m going to advocate here. Some simple, sharp skewers for grilled veggies and a durable serving bowl to pass around the table (also looks pretty while it’s on the table) are a must to keep a balanced plate.

Calvia Serving Bowl, $48 |

5. Extra seating. I love the idea of using hay bales for additional seating. Pick up a few rectangular bales from a local farm (a truck is essential if you mind hay in your trunk!). Drape festive, brightly-colored southwestern blankets on each bale. These lightweight blankets below are affordable and pretty. If you’re going for a more neutral setting, try these in a larger size so you’ll only need one to stretch across a few bales – then wash and use it on your bed.

Serape Blankets, Photo by Natasha Wong of Dirty Boots Images, Blankets $30 at Amazon | Eco Wool Blankets, $198 at Garnet Hill

6. An intriguing, hand-made invitation to your shindig! I love this Etsy shop’s version below.  If you’re creative and resourceful, design your own using free downloadable fonts from and a free image of wood or bark by doing a stock photo search on – you guessed it – Google! Even if you don’t have Photoshop, you can do this in MS Paint or even MS Word.

Backyard Invitation, $17 for printable file | Seller: Flipawoo

7. More finishing touches include a groovin’ country, southern rock, and bluegrass playlist.  Make sure the dancin’ tunes aren’t scheduled to play during dinner. If you’re lucky to have a ‘Pick Your Own’ wildflower shop/garden in your neck of the woods, collect colorful flowers and place them in mason jars to brighten the table(s). Spice those up with some of those snarly branches I mentioned in my Desirable Dozen post. Hang up some exposed bulb string lights for a summer-y touch. Bring out red, white, and blue pop-sicles for an icy dessert. Place handfuls of sparklers in more mason jars for after the sun goes down. Last, but not least – invite someone who plays the guitar. No singing required, but it’s a nice backdrop to late night conversations. And heck, if those beers are running low, the vocals might make an appearance.


Something old, something new..

I’m enthusiastically announcing the addition of two new categories to the blog: ‘Very Vintage‘ and ‘The Antique Cowgirl‘.  I will happily explain a) why they are separate but equally fabulous categories and b) the naming in just a moment, but for now, be excited with me!  This is very intriguing (to me and also to you!) for two reasons:

Reason #1: Thrift shops, vintage boutiques, and antique stores/auctions are the best places to find truly one-of-a-kind items for reasonable prices.  They have personality and allure, adding impact to any space. These finds also have no limits. Keep them as they are after a gentle dusting or re-vamp them with a fresh coat of paint (furniture!), a little paper mache (frames!), or a fun new upholstery fabric (seating!). We turned a $5 chair into a beautiful new piece with a re-upholstered seat and a fun paint color, total $18.50 (including the chair, spray paint, foam, and fabric). You can, too, and so much more.

Reason #2: I love history. I love furniture. I love furniture with history. There is nothing more wonderful than hearing a story behind a piece of furniture you’ve just complimented. “Thank you, I found them in the rubble of a gutted building in Savannah while we were road-tripping in the summer of ’78. It was pouring rain, but I insisted we load them into the back seat. They barely fit, but we were determined, and we brought them home and well, how perfect are they for this room?” Furthermore, I love adding to the history by giving a piece new life, if needed of course… a new chapter.

These are similar in that they both hail from the past, but there are too many differences to count, so they don’t have to share a room. The most straightforward reason: “vintage”, as I’m approaching it, signifies thrifty, retro, and re-workable. “Antique”, again – as I make the rules here, will cover equally old and historical pieces, but they’ll typically carry a higher price tag and are considered “investments”. Persian rugs, original paintings, ornate frames, furniture, and basically anything we’d only find by *ahem* antique-ing falls here.

Why Very Vintage and The Antique Cowgirl?

Very Vintage’s name is inspired by my adoration of alliteration, simply put. Stop, yes, that’s the true reason. I know. I’m really deep here.  I’d love to add a “Valuable” and a “Vivacious” in there, but it would be too long, and really who am I kidding? I’m the vivacious one here, not the name.

The Antique Cowgirl is my alter-ego. I’m putting my Annie Oakley twist on an urban profession.  Many of the best antique stores in Pennsylvania are nestled in old and refurbished barns, in the rural suburbs. Additionally, conveniently, the really fun collections include rare farm tools, reclaimed wood, re-purposed lanterns and jars, horse shoes, and hardware. I wouldn’t think of antique-ing without my signature cowgirl boots on and a love for rustic accents, thus, when in the country, do as the cowgirls. Antique in boots.

Happy Saturday.