After a scheduling mix-up last Monday, we wound up crashing at Paula Deen's place the last night of our trip...
Paula rents the house out through Mermaid Cottages whenever she's not using it, and since no one else had rented it that day, we were able to squeeze in last minute.
While "Real Life Paula" may not have been there during our stay, "Life-Sized Cardboard Paula" was there to keep us on our toes...
I can't tell you how many times I came around the corner and jumped because I forgot about "her"!
(Kevin's Mom and Paula, sporting similar colors)
If I wasn't so exhausted by the time we stayed at her place, I probably could have had a lot of fun with "her".
How hilarious would it have been to set "her" in front of a window for passers-by to trip out on?
The kitchen was small, but pretty, and it had everything a cook would need to get the job done...
Check out the faux finish she used on the maple cabinetry...
Wanna paint your kitchen cabinets, but don't wanna paint the inside of your cabinet doors?
The inside of Paula's are still the original maple finish and they looked just fine...
We came home with a whole bunch of Paula Deen spices, snacks and sauces (all of her guests get them, along with an autographed cookbook).
We still have yet to try any of them (Hi. My name's Layla and I have an aversion to cooking.), but the peanut butter barbeque sauce does sound intriguing.
And since we didn't cook in Paula's kitchen while we were there (how messed up is that?), we also didn't use her dining room...
Her living room was super comfy to hang out in though...
If I wasn't already hitched, I would've married that incredible, old wooden lamp in the corner.
(There's metal around the top of the base- it was incredible. I should've snapped a closer pic of it!)
We slept upstairs, in Paula's guest bedroom...
It's really hard for me to sleep soundly in hotels, but staying in someone's home is never a problem.
I slept like a baby in that scrumpdillyious bed.
Kevin's parents slept in Paula's room...
Both bedrooms have balconies off of them.
There's nothing like a balcony off a bedroom to bring out your inner Rapunzel and make you feel like a Princess!
I spent some time skimming through one of Paula's cookbooks out there...
Her Baked Garlic Grits recipe almost made me want to cook...
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
2 cup regular grits
8 ounces grated, sharp white cheddar cheese
4 large eggs, beaten
16 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
6 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 4-quart casserole dish.
Bring the broth, salt, pepper, & garlic powder to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan.
Stir in the grits & whisk until completely mixed.
Reduce the heat to low & let simmer until the grits are thick. (About 8 to 10 minutes.)
Add the cubed cheddar & milk and stir.
Gradually stir in the the eggs & butter, stirring until all are mixed.
Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
Sprinkle top with the white cheddar & bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until set.
...but I think I'll stick to eating, and leave the cooking to the professionals.
Paula's house is three stories high, and to get from floor to floor, you can travel by stairs, or by elevator...
Can you imagine having an elevator in your house?
Although semi-terrifying, there was something super cool about going from Floor 1 to Floor 3 without having to burn one single calorie.
(Note: I'm buying a pair of running shoes today, and hopefully by this time next year, I'll be more fond of burning calories than storing them.)
Big thanks to Diane from Mermaid Cottages for squeezin' us in to Paula's place last minute- and to Paula and her family for sharing their home with all of us!
If you're interested in visiting "Y'all Come Inn", you can find rental information HERE.
In music news, Kevin's band finally decided which label they're gonna sign with, so he's in full-on writing mode right now.
And while he'd love to escape to a remote location to write his music and lyrics, he's set up a little work station here at the house instead.
Like the rest of our completely un-renovated, un-decorated master bedroom, his little area is far from fancy.
Just a folding table, a piece of fabric left over from our Nest magazine shoot, and one of our dining room chairs.
(His gold record and framed Billboard chart (he made it to #11!) serve as motivation while he writes. And before you get unnecessarily grossed out at what's in those plastic bottles, Kevin re-uses his Diet/Caffeine Free Mountain Dew bottles to put Crystal Light Fruit Punch in. He's addicted to the stuff, and often has two or three bottles going at a time!)
They say that music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life- so where he creates it isn't as important as what he's creating, right?
(That's what we keep telling ourselves anyway.)
Back in the day, he and his band spent a few years touring the world...
But after taking the past five years off, he's ready to give it another whirl.
Who knows what'll happen this time around.
He just feels blessed to be able to record another album again.
They'll start recording it in May, and the label would like to release it sometime in September.
Somewhere in between the end of the recording process, and the beginning of his first tour promoting the new record, we're turning our keys over to our trusty house-sitters, and we'll be (temporarily) moving to Tybee Island, GA.
We're going to redesign this old place from top to bottom...
It's called "Enlisted Men's Mess Hall", and it was built in the 1920's.
My new friend Diane (who owns the place) asked if I'd be interested in taking on the job. Of course I said YES, YES, YES before she could even finish asking me.
By the time we get to Tybee, it'll be all cleaned out and everything will have been freshened up with new paint. We're gonna keep the re-do as "green" as possible, so we plan to use No/Low VOC paints and lots of "previously loved" furniture and accessories throughout.
I'm also gonna be on the lookout for some great (inexpensive) Southern, and/or coastal-themed artwork to spruce up the place. (If anyone has any recommendations- please drop me a line at LaylaPalmer@aol.com!)
To make things even more interesting, Kev and I are going to live in the cottage during the redesign process. And since the place will be completely empty when we get there, the first item on our shopping list will more than likely be a bed.
I say "more than likely" because A) we're not opposed to roughing it in sleeping bags on the floor for a few days, and B) If we find other must-have pieces of furniture before we find a bed, so be it.
We're just gonna have fun and let fate take the reins on this one!
Of course we're gonna do lots of bloggin' & vloggin' while we're there, so be prepared for a gazillion late night/early morning posts featuring yours truly agonizing over what color to use here, and what furniture to use there.
Oh yeah- I'm sure there will be lots more dancing and embarrassing outtakes to document while we're there too.
Have a happy, healthy, Springy week, and I hope you'll join us for the redesign adventure this Summer!
The Mess Hall sits right behind John Cougar Mellencamp's house.
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