≡ Menu
Plan a Mother-Daughter Trip to Nashville thumbnail

Plan a Mother-Daughter Trip to Nashville

I received a very sweet gift for Mother’s Day from my daughter. She planned a trip to Nashville for the two of us on her two off days and… off we went.

nashville mural

A Pun-Filled Trip

This trip was priceless. We laughed, we learned and we lounged. We had a pun time together. Yep, it was a pun-filled trip. We looked for puns along the way and laughed at our own silliness.

We ate at a “hole in the wall,”

hole in the wall

chose “knot” to skip the garlic knots at a local pizzeria,

garlic knot

five points pizza
and found a spoon rest that said, “rest in grease,” that cracked us up.  The discovery of a sound machine with a snoring-shih-tzu as a lullaby kept us giggling long past our bedtime.

Really Entertaining Tours

We learned a bit of Nashville history during a fabulous walking tour where we found out exactly “who let the dogs out” and enjoyed great rooftop views from along Broadway Street.

acme feed and seed view to broadway

Cumberland River in Nashville
Our tour guide was named Ryan and he did a great job representing Nashville, as well as Really Entertaining Tours who employed him. Cute and appropriate name !

Really Entertaining Tours

Cute and appropriate tour guide.

Capital Building
Nashville, the capital city of Tennessee is where “Old Glory” got her name. Great timing on Ryan’s part to share this story just before Independence Day. You’ll have to book a walking tour to find out the story, though. I’m no spoiler! And…. it’s not near as much fun to Google it!

A Bowl Full of Sin

Five Daughters Nashville
After a rough, hot day of shopping on 12th Avenue, we stopped in and made ourselves eat a donut sundae at Five Daughters. It’s a tough life and yes, someone has to eat a sundae on Wednesday, so we volunteered. The shoppe could have been a bit cooler. HVAC may have needed servicing or perhaps it was the body heat of all the patrons who LOVE this place! Yes, the bowl was made out of a donut. I’ve never had ice cream with a donut before. It seems like a sin that would damn me to Hell where my ice cream would melt, but hey, there was a strawberry!

Nashville Murals

Just in case you haven’t noticed there’s a new watermark on Heart for Dixie’s photos. I have a new photographer. She is most creative and does a fantastic job. We had such fun working together. I found her prices very affordable if you need a photographer. I highly recommend her. Her name is Amy and she is also my daughter.

Amy Renee Photography
It’s funny to photograph her in front of a painting that she could paint herself. Art is her thang!

There are so many murals around town. We made it to several, but truly didn’t scratch the surface. I had no idea that Nashville was so artsy! Other than music, of course.


Sweet Home Draper James

And then, my daughter named Amy, took me to the sweetest, most charming, southern boutique that my biscuit-of-a-butt has ever entered. We dared to grace the floors of  Draper James. The one and only store in Nashville that Reese Witherspoon ever got gussied up in! It’s a store for people who love the south! It’s a store imagined and created by none other than “Melanie Carmichael”! I didn’t want to leave. Yep, they had me at, “Would you like a sweet tea while you shop?”

dj sweet tea

That would be a “YES, pretty please!”

They told us that the interior of the store is a copy of Reese’s home. Fresh, airy, blue, white and filled with charm of every nature. Charm of the “sweetie pie” kind and of the “belly achin” kind. They are all concocted in the same southern kitchen, you know.

Every southern table has a few books scattered for devouring and a bowl of fruit to contemplate.

Stand tall, all you southern boys! Sunflowers are your example to follow. Face the Son, and don’t forget that you know better! You know how to bring sunshine into the life of a southern woman. Come home with wildflowers, laughter, and a little sugar.

hello sugar

draper james

And when in doubt about the hard questions of life…. ask…

But, sometimes when quoting Dolly, the saying “Do as I say, not as I do,” is more appropriate. Dolly also says that you’d be “surprised how much it costs to look this cheap!” Reese never looked cheap a day in her life.

dj gingham dress

cherries on top

Tell Me Something Good

tell me somethin good
So…. let me tell you something good. Nashville is fun. Fizu, I’d plan a trip with your daughter. And don’t forget what Winston Churchill said, “The most beautiful sound in the world is the voice of an educated southern woman.” I could listen to my daughter talk all day long. Especially when she ends the conversation with, “Happy Momma’s Day!”

Thank you, Sweetie Pie!

amy dj shopping bag
Wishing and Wanting thumbnail

Wishing and Wanting

“Momma, I want this outfit sooooooooo-0oooo bad,” I exclaimed on a shopping trip at about the age of 13. We were shopping for new school clothes, but not in our usual stores. We happened into Aland’s, a boutique shop in Eastwood Mall, of Birmingham, AL.  I knew the second we opened the door that this would be one of those “wishing and wanting” kind of shopping days.  [click to continue…]

Cruising the Cuisine of New Orleans thumbnail

Cruising the Cuisine of New Orleans

If you are near New Orleans anytime soon, these are the food stops that 007 and I recommend for a true taste of southern tradition.  And, in addition to great cuisine, the World War II Museum at the corner of Magazine and Andrew Higgins will ignite your hunger for history, as you relive the lives of real soldiers during the war that changed our lives forever. Tom Hanks does an excellent job of giving us a fresh appreciation for our freedom in the movie, “Beyond All Boundaries.” Don’t miss it!

After our trip to New Orleans, we downloaded the “Band of Brothers” series from both Europe and the Pacific when we got home. If by chance, you’ve missed these HBO series, please take your next opportunity to watch.

Our first night in New Orleans, we found ourselves at the historic and architecturally opulent setting of Brennan’s Restaurant. A tradition that dates back to pre-Edgar Degas days, rich in French art and American history, Brennan’s restaurant offers a modern look into the past. I’m a romantic at heart, and marrying the present with the past is a favorite hobby.

Dinner at Brennan’s


Two terrific cuts of meat, seared tableside, with mushrooms and a delicious gravy, Steak Diane is like having dinner and a show all at one time.

flaming steak diane at Brennan's

None of the chefs who flambéd at our tableside confessed to singed eyebrows or 9-1-1 calls, but the theatrics were nothing short of broadway-worthy.

And the results were both beautiful and delicious.

Baked Alaska

The Baked Alaska was like none we’d experienced – even off the coast of the “Last Frontier” state.

Lunch at Lilette

Lilette Wedding Soup

While 007 conferenced at our hotel, I ventured out to the Garden District for a little antique shopping. After a full morning of sticker shock, I happened into a delightful shop where the owner and I had a delightful conversation about antiques, New Orleans and the Garden District in particular. He recommended that I “luncheon at Lilette”, just a few blocks from his shop. It was a beautiful and sunny day and I took my seat in the cozy courtyard beside the restaurant. I enjoyed their Italian Wedding Soup and a trio of delicious homemade ice creams.


Lilette Ice Cream Trio

The combination of peach, salted caramel and vanilla ice creams served with sugar cookies, melted in my mouth much easier than any cobbler I’ve ever picked at after a heavy meal. It was the perfect combination for lunch.

Dinner with Three Muses

007 made reservations at this fun establishment on Frenchmen Street for inspiration and memories. The three muses entertaining here are food, music and spirits. There’s no tragedy or kinship to gods boasted here, but the music is legendary and in our case, the smoked tomato bruschetta was worth singing about!

Bruschetta with Goat Cheesemusic of three muses

Frenchmen Street is what some might call the kinder, gentler version of Bourbon Street. And I would agree. You can hear some great music without all the debauchery and thousand pints of urine flowing through the gutters.

Dinner at Emeril’s Delmonico

After a day of shopping in the Garden District, 007 and I began a not-so-clandestine operation of finding Emeril’s Delmonico Restaurant. We were not disappointed. The restaurant has undergone a beautiful historic renovation and is a sumptuous setting for a once-in-a-lifetime dinner.

We were escorted into the building by a polite gentleman, and seated at the chef’s table. While we were not blessed with the booming sound of Emeril’s voice, hollering, “Bam!”, we sure wanted to shout it ourselves after each course.

wild boar meatballs

First course was a trio of Wild Boar Meatballs, seated on a bed of eggplant and sprinkled with toasted almonds. The layer of pecorino romano cheese on top was delicate and oh so yummy!

Then we shared a Grilled Alabama Peach Salad, which was the special salad of the day. Just how lucky were we to experience a salad with our very own Chilton County peaches on that particular day in New Orleans, LA?

grilled alabama peach salad


The next course was equally divine and so southern that I could almost hear my nanny shouting through the screen door “Come on and fix yer plate fore it gets cold.”

butter soaked cornbread

They called this little skillet of heaven, “Butter-soaked Cornbread.” And it lived up to its name.

I ordered a New York Strip and 007 had filet mignon. We then shared another signature dish of Emeril’s.  Macaroni and Cheese.

3 cheese macaroniI am not a typical mac-n-cheese lover. It was never one of my comfort foods as a child. My kids loved it, but not the homemade kind. They always preferred the little blue box with the powdered cheese and milk. I’ve imagined them saying grace something like Kevin McAllister in “Home Alone,”

Bless this highly nutritious microwavable macaroni and cheese dinner and the people who sold it on sale. Amen.

Now, I would pray, “Bless this somewhat nutritious ‘easy-baked-oven’ side dish using three real cheeses and Emeril Lagasse who sold it full price. It was truly worth all 700 pennies. Amen.”


Mercy, Incognito thumbnail

Mercy, Incognito

On this “Thoughtful Thursday,” I’d like to share a few wise words from Solomon. In the book of 1 Kings 3:16-27, we hear the story of two prostitutes who bring a child to the king for a judgement. We see mercy as the core judgment.

1 Kings 3:16-27

16 Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. 18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.

19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. 20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”

22 The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.”

But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.

23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”

24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king.25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”

26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”

But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”

27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”

Story Highlights

First, the king allowed two prostitutes into his court without judging their sin.

Second, he allowed them to argue their case in front of Him.

Then, he repeated their case to them, and ask for a sword. Next, he gave an order and waited for their replies.

Solomon’s Wisdom

He was granted wisdom from the Lord in previous verses because he had asked for it. God granted him wisdom because he asked for that above all other things. He asked for this so that he could be fair to God’s people. I love that he recognized that these were God’s people, not his subjects solely. His desire was not for personal gain. He didn’t want fame as the most popular king of all time, or riches, or even to live long. His desire was to govern God’s people the way God wanted them governed.

A Mother’s Worst Nightmare

My heart broke for the real mother of the child in question. Here they were in front of the king who determined who lived and who died, and the judgment was death to the innocent. For just a second, she had to wish she’d never brought the matter to his attention. Instead, she was willing to give her child over to a woman who had not only accidentally killed her own son, but stolen a living child from another mother. How selfish! How evil that woman was! Then, her true heart is revealed when she is willing for the child to die, to keep his mother from having him. At this point, I’m imagining the innocent baby lying in a basket before the king. There is sacrifice on the line here. One woman will sacrifice her son. The other will sacrifice a child for the sake of what… Jealousy? Being right? Hatred of the woman with the living child?

Two Prostitutes

Then, I think about the women. Both live in unhappy circumstances. I can’t imagine that either woman planned on growing up to be a prostitute. Then they find themselves pregnant. With a client’s’ baby? Single mother in a culture that stoned women for things for like this. And the second woman, whose son is dead, must have been suffering from postpartum depression! Not an excuse, but definitely a factor in today’s world. It also occurs to me that this is a bastard baby, likely to be scorned for the rest of his life in this culture. So, in that culture, possibly by any other judge, all three could have been put to death.  So why was Solomon able to judge this situation so wisely?

Foreshadowing of Jesus

Could it be a foreshadowing of Jesus’ birth and future sacrifice? Is this an example to us of what real love and sacrifice looks like? Among Solomon’s descendants there would be another mother who would sacrifice her son for the sake of the whole world. He too, would be an innocent “baby”, conceived by the Holy Spirit, with an unwed woman. He too, would be punctured with a sword, but brought to life so that past, present and future offspring could live. He would be a future King.

Mercy, Incognito

All three (women and baby) were God’s people. Solomon must have realized on some level that God loved all of them regardless of their circumstances. He isn’t looking at their sin, only the case before him. Mercy, incognito. Grace, under wraps.

Life’s Application

And finally, the application I gleaned from these verses has to do with the sword. Solomon asked for a sword. A sword to divide the child in half. Thank goodness it didn’t come to that! But, it struck me, metaphorically, that the judge’s first inclination was to reach for a sword. What is the word of God? When we daily put on the armor of God (Eph 6: 16-18) we are to take up the sword of the Spirit. What if all judges used this sword in their cases? What if we used it ourselves in daily life? Could we also give mercy, incognito? Could we offer grace, underwraps? All for the sake of future generations knowing that there is a judge who judges fairly. There is a KING who only wants the very best for HIS kingdom. There is a KING who sacrifices for the love of mankind.

The wisdom of Solomon can be found at Heart for Dixie. Click To Tweet
{ 1 comment }
How to Turn a Casserole into a Delightful Gumbo thumbnail

How to Turn a Casserole into a Delightful Gumbo

Okra. Some say it’s slimy, some say it’s the best fried vegetable on any southern table. I would have to agree with the latter. However, I have found a different recipe that is a cross between country and creole. Continue reading to transform a casserole into seafood gumbo. [click to continue…]

Fairhope’s Creative Force is Out for ArtWalk thumbnail

Fairhope’s Creative Force is Out for ArtWalk

During the recent Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, one of the event planners commented, “A city is only as good as its creative force.” As I think about tomorrow night’s artwalk here in Fairhope, I couldn’t agree more. One of the things I love so much about living in Fairhope, is its’ creative force. [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }
La Petite Grocery in New Orleans thumbnail

La Petite Grocery in New Orleans

During a recent trip to New Orleans, 007, Princess Van Gogh and I had the pleasure of having lunch at La Petite Grocery. At first you might think we’d had lunch in a grocery store. Let me assure you, it is a restaurant you will not want to miss on your next trip to the Big Easy. [click to continue…]

I Got to Hold Chewbacca! thumbnail

I Got to Hold Chewbacca!

I am not lazy. But, I did go slothing last weekend.

I am a bit slow and very laid back. But, I’ve never hung upside down for hours.

Regardless, I’ve joked for years that a sloth is my spirit animal. I’ve not taken any quiz or test to confirm this, it is just what I’ve said for as long as I can remember. [click to continue…]

Phenomenal Treats in New Orleans thumbnail

Phenomenal Treats in New Orleans

On a recent trip to New Orleans, 007, Princess Van Gogh and I had the pleasure of hanging out in some the city’s most famous haunts. We were guests of an art auction where our dinners were included; so we took the opportunity to splurge on phenomenal treats, lunches, desserts and cocktails throughout the Big Easy. You can read about the rest of the trip here. [click to continue…]

Shop Local at First Friday Artwalk thumbnail

Shop Local at First Friday Artwalk

Shop Local

Keeping small businesses busy and supporting local families, is a passion for 007 and I. We love the town of Fairhope and whenever possible we will stop in to a family-owned business long before we stop at a big box store. That is what these “First Friday” posts are all about. Supporting local merchants. The top story this month begins at a local art gallery. [click to continue…]