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April, 2011

  1. Travel Gear – What Do You Wear? (Audience Participation Friday)

    April 25, 2011 by SavvyInTheCity


    Last week I had the pleasure of seeing my girlfriend Julia while on a business trip in the Big D (Detroit, that is).

    Julia lives super close to my company's Detroit-area regional office, not to mention it was her birthday, so seeing her was a must. She picked me up from the airport and we scooted off to dinner.

    While Julia and her fiance live in a cute suburb of Detroit (Northville), they wanted to take me somewhere with a little more character and flair — an area 10-minutes from their Northville home (downtown Plymouth). Plymouth is about 26 due west from the city center of Detroit, not far from Livonia or Farmington Hills.

    I hear Detroit Red Wings (hockey team) players are often spotted in Plymouth, and I can see why. The fun downtown area features restaurants, bars, art galleries and boutiques gallore (and not your Applebee's variety). See more about downtown Plymouth, Michigan, here. We hit up Ironwood Grill, which had a huge menu of better-than-average bar food (think from wings to thai chicken wraps) and a good beer selection. I especially enjoyed the spinach dip. We also stopped by the Box Bar, a bar/restaurant that is really more a bar than it is a restaurant because of its more than 300 global beers (and I love a good beer selection!). One downside to this place… no samples – per the management. It was so great seeing Julia!


    Julia! Can't wait to see you and Paddy get married in just a few months!!!


    Here I am in a typical travel outfit:

    – Cross-body purse that holds most anything I'd need on the road (Coach Kristin bag via eBay… still digging the fun but neutral/bold color – goes with almost anything)
    – Black slacks that are comfortable enough to fly in but versatile enough for a work function or a casual friend dinner. These are Limited via eBay.
    – Inexpensive black tank (probably from Old Navy for $5 or $6)
    – Some random assymetrical black and white striped sweater from Ross Dress for Less, an item that has become a staple with jeans, dresses and slacks alike
    Target danglies I picked up just before this trip for $6
    – (Not shown – my Dolce Vita for Target hemp-heeled gladiator sandals)
    – Total outfit not including handbag: $75

    So Julia had a great idea…. make "What do you wear when you travel?" our next AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION FRIDAY!

    You may have to compile your ideal travel outfit by saving photos from your favorite shops, or by digging through your recent trip photos for a good picture. Or you can always stage a little photo shoot and pretend you're traveling… I won't be picky. I'll give you some time. Send me your "Here's What I Wear When I Travel" photos by 10pm on Wednesday, May 4. E-mail That gives you a week and a half, my pretties.


  2. Woman Seeking a Handsome Bench

    April 19, 2011 by SavvyInTheCity

    With the weather turning warm in Atlanta, our big screened in porch is again turning into liveable space.

    We have a pretty sweet setup out there: an outdoor sectional, coffee table a few chairs… and astro turf. (Okay, maybe the astro turf isn't so sweet, but it will be eventually replaced with a slightly less abrasive looking material).

    As much as I enjoy our porch, I feel like it's missing something.

    Our outdoor space measures about 24 feet long by 11 feet wide. More seating would be nice, especially seating that would fit conveniently along one of the long sides of the porch… specifically a long bench or church pew.

    Dan and I have been combing Craigslist but haven't found "the one" just yet. Here's what I'm looking for:

    – 10-ish feet long
    – Sturdy construction
    – Stained wood or wood that could be easily sanded down and stained (or painted a fun color)
    – Initial investment of $200 or less (with the understanding that we'll have to spend more if we need to paint it)

    Something like this:


    If we did paint the bench (i.e., if we didn't find a stained one in good condition), here are some colors I would explore. One thing to keep in mind is that the flooring we're interested in is orangey/red (like a deep terra cotta), the porch trim is white and the exterior brick of the porch is light grey. I'm a big fan of the colors in the Martha Stewart Living paint collection by Home Depot.

    So fellow thrifters, if you see any benches like this on Craigslist or at one of our local antique markets, please holla at this girl!



    p.s. I'll also admit that I'm feeling empowered/inspired by the talented Kristen F. Davis (a designer/blogger who finds inexpensive furniture and home decor and gives it new life with paint, fabrics, hardware, etc.) Check out her blog here.

  3. Sandwich Secret – Decatur

    April 10, 2011 by SavvyInTheCity


    One of Decatur's best-kept secret lunch spots is Java Monkey (the coffee/wine joint on Church Street almost exactly across from the downtown MARTA station entrance and nextdoor to The Yogurt Tap).

    Nine times out of ten if I ask Dan, "what do you want for lunch?" his response an enthusiastic "JAVA MONKEY!"

    We always get the panini sandwiches and coleslaw. Dan and I both insist our choice sandwich is "the best."

    Dan's sandwich is the "Cranky" (turkey, cranberry sauce, mayo and spinach or mesclun). I order the "Bello" (proscuitto, honey, basil aoli, green apple slices and shredded cheddar cheese). We both take ours with coleslaw (green and purple cabbage with dressing on the side so you can put as much or as little as you'd like, and so that the coleslaw doesn't get soggy). Java Monkey's is one of my favorite slaws.

    A good-sized sandwich and veggie side will run you about $6.50. Other sides include a small salad or chips. (I know there are more side options… but I can't remember what they are…) Two lunches for $13 sure ain't bad, and it's nice to grab something a little out of the ordinary. Take that, Panera Bread! 


    The Cranky.

    The Bello sandwich.

    Yum yum.
    Java Monkey pros:
    – Affordable, tasty and good portion sizes (for breakfast and lunch offerings)
    – Can have a takeout order ready in 10 mins
    – Some of the best coffee in town
    – Outdoor/patio seating available
    – They serve wine and beer (!!!). Doing work over the weekend or at night is much better with a glass of wine than a cup of coffee. hehe.
    – Most tables are super small and bolted to the floor, so you can't pull tables together
    – Establishment seems pseudo-homeless friendly, so you may have to avoid sitting near someone who hasn't showered in errr… a while
    – Parking (which is a concern often in Downtown Decatur… however, a little walking is good for you!)
    Java Monkey
    425 Church St
    Decatur, GA 30030
    (404) 378-5002
    web site here (though there's not much to see right now; they're updating)
    City Search reviews here


  4. Gift Idea: Modern Pet Portrait

    April 5, 2011 by SavvyInTheCity


    Etsy ( is a treasure trove of unique gift ideas.

    So when I decided to have a custom pet portrait painted of our Rottweiler for my husband's birthday, I went their first to find a talented but affordable artist. I also didn't want an old world-style painting (think oil paintings of hunting dogs hung in dark smoking parlors). I wanted something a little more fresh and contemporary.

    Lucky for me, more than 5,000 results popped up when I searched Etsy for "custom pet portrait."



    This portrait was done by Shelly Bowler, whose Etsy shop is called Carriveau Craft. Check out her offerings here.

    I believe this size (12 x 16 stretched canvas) was $160 plus $10 shipping. This size fits in our built-in shelves. Shelly really impressed me with her attention to detail. She wanted to make sure she found the perfect photo of Roxxi to capture her personality, coloring, shape, etc. You'll see above that she did an excellent job! I'm also big on communication, and Shelly kept me posted throughout the painting process (about 2 and a half to 3 weeks).

    Happy birthday, Dan!!!!