Thursday, January 31, 2013

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

February begins tomororw! Not sure what to get for your Valentine this year? Here are a few ideas to help you think outside the box of chocolates. Put down the iTunes gift card and personalize your holiday!

These edible oyster shells are as much a gift of art as they are a gift for the chocolate lover! $32.00 

Imagine making homemade lemon curd, lemonade, lemon-roasted chicken and many more recipes with this valentine that would be enjoyed for years to come! Williams-Sonoma $69.95

An embroidered necklace from Merriweather Council is beautiful, understated, and available in any color your Valentine would love! $40.00

The Art of Eating by M.K. Fisher

This collection of M.K. Fisher's writings would be enjoyed by any cook or foodie.
From,  $16.21

Lettuce Candle
Frisky Bumblebee is a local Nashville company. Their lettuce-scented candle will bring the delightful smell of the garden into your Valentine's cozy home! $21.50

Made from a recycled Kodak Brownie, this clock is the perfect gift for your favorite photographer! It would make a stunning addition to any desk or study. $79.00

Take the frost off of February mornings with this little luxury. $89.99 on

Another local Nashville company you can find on Etsy! Flavors like Porto+Cherokee Purple and Limoncello Strawberry will dazzle your palate. Perfect for someone looking for a little something extra to round out their Valentine's gift. $12.00

Choose a dock made from one of your Valentine's favorite books. I gave Greg one of these last year made from The Hobbit and it looks sleek and stylish on top of our console. It is a great conversation piece for the living room! $56.00

This board game is a delight! If it has been awhile since you and your Valentine enjoyed a board game night, this game will get you back in the habit! Paired with a home-cooked meal and a bottle of wine, this gift will be enjoyed time and time again. $44.65 on

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When a Warm Front Collides with a Cold Front...

Last year, when I still lived in Virginia, I could go over to my in-laws' house during a tornado "watch." I would do so at the drop of a hat. I am not brave (or foolish) in the face of severe weather.

Last night, we experienced our first tornado warning in Nashville. There was no basement. There were no wise parents. There was a lot of fear and adrenaline.

2:50am I wake up to the sound of an eerie, high-pitched humming sound in the distance.

2:51am I tap Greg until he is awake.

2:55am After consulting, Greg decides that the noise is in fact a tornado siren.

2:56am Greg debates aloud about whether we should move to the bathroom or the hallway, while I grow impatient with his deliberation.

2:57am We move to the hallway and close all the doors in the house.

3:05am We put on our running shoes. I start imagining having to walk over broken glass.

3:10am More sirens. I am wishing I had gone to the bathroom.

3:15am Greg remembers some good advice and we put on our bicycle helmets.

3:25am  After staring at each other's helmeted heads for 10 minutes, we remember that our bicycles are still outside.  Much speculation about the condition of our bikes.

3:30am Several attempts to call the brother, who is known to have slept through earthquakes, to make sure that Belmont has taken precautions.

3:35am More sirens. I think about an account of the London air raids that I read in a memoir recently.

3:40am Loud gusts of wind. I would like to revisit the idea of moving to Tennessee.

3:41am  Shameless finger-pointing at Greg for having to move to Tennessee.

3:50am All is ominously quiet. We consult the radar on and conclude that we are in the clear. We take off our helmets and shoes and start to get in bed.

3:55am The sirens resume. Helmets and shoes go back on.

4:05am Silence. Relief. Prayer.

4:10-5:00am Wait for adrenaline levels to lower so that we can fall asleep.

7:00am  Get up for work.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tips from a Novice Juicer

About a month ago, we bought a juicer. Before that, Greg and I had enjoyed the juice bar at Whole Foods during our weekly shopping trips. But those drinks cost us $5 a pop, and we were only getting the benefits once a week. So we decided to join to the home-juicing craze.

I should clarify that we are not juice fanatics. We have not done any kind of juice cleanse, and we have no such future plans. We make juice for breakfast every weekday morning, and sometimes we have juice as a snack or to supplement our dinner.

Here are five tips from a novice juicer:

1. Know what kind of juicer you want before you purchase.

We own a Breville Multi-Speed Juice Fountain, which is a centrifugal juicer. It makes excellent juice, but it does not juice leafy greens such as kale, spinach, cilantro, etc. Still, we felt that it was the best value. The five speeds make it easy to juice a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Clean-up is relatively easy, and the yield is very good. However, if you really want to be able to juice the leafy greens, you should look into another kind of juicer termed a "masticating" or "slow" juicer.

2. Lemongrass and ginger can brighten the flavor of your juices.

Especially when making vegetable-heavy juices, I recommend adding lemongrass or ginger for a bold flavor. Start with half a stalk of lemongrass. If you desire a stronger flavor, use the whole stalk. Be careful that a little bit of ginger goes a long way.

3. A daikon radish is still just a radish.

One of our failed experiments involved a daikon radish. The inspiration behind the creation was Banh Mi, the flavorful Vietnamese sandwiches. We concocted a juice of carrots, daikon radish, and lemongrass. In the end, it did not taste like Banh Mi, and instead just tasted like radish. Yuck!

4. Be wary of beets.

If you drink beet juice, you will have magenta lips and teeth! Beet juice should only be consumed if you can wash your mouth/brush your teeth immediately afterward. It is not a wise option if you are dashing to work. Also, raw beets have a distinctly earthy flavor, which is perhaps a nicer way to say that even just two beets will make your juice taste like dirt.

5. Strike a balance.

Using three ingredients will create a depth of flavor that you will not get by using only two things. Combining too many ingredients will result in a muddled flavor.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Grace: A Memoir

I don't know how or why it came to be, but I seem to be mainly interested in reading memoirs. To be sure, I still enjoy reading fiction, but I am most often reading a memoir. I have a section of our bookcase devoted to them. Most recently, I read Grace Coddington's memoir. Grace is the Creative Director of American Vogue, and her memoir is a glimpse into the dizzying world of fashion.

Born in Wales, Grace recalls that fashion magazines offered her an escape from her rather austere life as a teenager. She became a model and worked her way to the top of the industry.

When Grace began modeling, models were expected to bring their own accessories and props to photo shoots. They also had to style their own hair and make-up, as there were not yet stylists for fashion shoots. You will be amused by Grace's stories of dragging her enormous modeling bag around London.

Before The September Issue, I think that most of us were more familiar with Anna Wintour, Vogue's Editor-In-Chief, whose chilly personality was portrayed by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. But the 2009 documentary The September Issue made Grace Coddington a well-known celebrity. She has styled some of the most beautiful shoots in fashion history, and this memoir brightly illuminates her life and work.

One of my new favorite books!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Welcome! Thank you for visiting my new blog, And Then The Doorbell Rang.

My name is Leslie and I am so excited to share my new site with you. I got married this past June and moved to Nashville with my husband Greg. For more information about me, please visit the 'About Me' page.

What can you expect from this blog?

With friends to showcase their businesses/careers, people I admire, and small businesses to tell you about great products and services

Design Inspiration!
For planning a wedding, hosting all kinds of get-togethers, and making your lifestyle beautiful

Gift Guides!
For all occasions, always including local picks and small businesses

As we newlyweds cook for ourselves, our friends, and our families

Recommended Reading!
Reviews of books I'm reading, the blogs I obsess about, and other articles of interest.

My take!
Editorials about issues I care about, including current events, faith, education, speech-language pathology, sustainability, linguistics, feminist issues, etc.

and much, MUCH MORE!