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Perfect for Valentine’s Day: Holly William’s Tribute to Life Long Love

If you are planning a pilgrimage to Nashville as I recommended the other day, try to catch a live broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry from the Ryman Auditorium. Over the last two years, thanks to mother/son frat weekends in Nashville, I have been there twice and am always completely blown away by the talent that gets crammed into two + hours. I’ve now heard Vince Gill, Lee Brice, Striking Matches, Charles Esten (Deacon Claybourne in the wildly popular t.v. show, Nashville), and my new favorite Holly Williams.

Having read Garden & Gun and Southern Living features on her, I knew a bit about Holly but had never pulled up any of her music. The granddaughter of Hank Williams and the daughter of Hank Williams, junior, she was born into Nashville royalty and slowly is making her own mark on the music scene, as well as the food and fashion scenes. This soon-to-be mom of two had me from the first chords of The Highway but literally moved me to tears with Waiting on June.

She describes the 60+ year love story of her maternal grandparents and how her grandfather was always waiting for her grandmother: first to fall in love and then marry him and finally to meet him in Heaven. With tears streaming uncontrollably down my face, I completely embarrassed my son as I recalled my grandparents’ marriages and considered my own.

With Valentine’s Day falling this weekend, let this song remind you of the beautiful life-long marriages that have blessed your own life. What a great time to celebrate how those couples taught you what love is. Holly Williams has been blessed with an amazing life and voice and has graced us with a piece of it. Take a listen and just try not to cry.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

salutationa&eFebruary 11, 2016

p.s. If you don’t have time to listen to the whole video, you can read the Waiting on June lyrics here.

Grace & Charm & Sweet Tea: A Pilgrimage to Draper James

Ever since our October feature on Lindsay Cowles’s painting framed by Inge Labuscagne for Reese Witherspoon’s flagship store, Draper James, I have been plotting my return to Music City. When the opportunity arose last month, the first stop was, of course, this blue and white striped storefront in the trendy 12South neighborhood. Even before you walk through the doors, the charm is palpable.

grace & charm at Draper James © The Gracious Posse

As soon as one of the delightful sales assistants spots you in the store, she introduces herself and asks if you would like a sweet tea. Of course you say yes.

sweet tea at Draper James © The Gracious PosseThe sugar and caffeine made the two hours that my niece and I spent examining every inch of the store fly by.

Draper James entrance view © The Gracious Possethat’s my new friend Molly on the phone behind the counter

Store Design

Nationally renowned interior designer Mark D. Sikes designed the traditional with a twist store. From moldings
bookshelf at Draper James © The Gracious Posse view to front at Draper James © The Gracious Posseto light fixtures
library light fixture © The Gracious Posse main counter chandelier © The Gracious Posseto comfortable seating,

dressing room upholstered bench © The Gracious Posse


rest area bench at Draper James © The Gracious Possethe store oozes gracious hospitality. The classic blue and white decor is as lovely as it is welcoming. I felt like I was visiting a dear friend who has the best taste.


Draper James’s classic lady-like styles feel current and are utterly delicious. The best part: all of the dresses have POCKETS!

dresses in dressing room © The Gracious PosseI was impressed with how well-made the clothing felt. Though it wasn’t all my style, enough was to ensure that I will become a regular customer through its on-line store.

Home Charm

Draper James celebrates Reese’s Southern roots through such iconic emblems as blue and white checks, magnolia blossoms and bows, as well as charming witticisms. You can take them home for your daily delight.

"life's too short ..." © The Gracious Possebless your heart framed © The Gracious Posse"life needs more cloth napkins" © The Gracious Posse"pretty please" © The Gracious Posse"Life's too short - use your silver everyday" © The Gracious Posse"life needs more sweet tea and sunshine" © The Gracious PosseDraper Blue enclosure cardsset of enclosure cards

I couldn’t resist bringing home a set of those enclosure cards for myself.

Time for a Pilgrimage

Nashville has become a major travel destination for so many reasons from music (country and otherwise) to food to shopping to good ol’ Southern hospitality. The hoteliers will tell you that Music City is the number one place for bachelorette parties; I’m not surprised. If you are looking for a girls’ getaway, put Nashville on your radar and include plenty of time for Draper James on your itinerary. Filled with grace, charm and sweet tea, you will leave feeling pretty as a picture.

pretty as a picture © The Gracious Posse photo op for Draper James fans

salutationa&eFebruary 9, 2016

Celebrating the Golden Anniversary of America’s Favorite Sports Holiday: the Super Bowl

America’s favorite annual sport event happens for the 50th time on Sunday, and it will no doubt be bigger than ever. The Super Bowl has come a long way since the Green Bay Packers lead by Bart Starr beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 in LA’s Memorial Coliseum on January 15, 1967. While football fans may have been excited for that first-ever AFC-NFC championship match-up, I am sure that not even the NFL could have imagined how their game would turn into the cultural institution and pseudo-national holiday that we celebrate this weekend.

2016 Super Bowl program cover

Making It Gold

In honor of this momentous occasion, I’m planning to kick our annual Super Bowl soiree up a notch. Starting with the invitation, I will be adding more than a touch of gold to our normally green and white event decor.

Super Bowl invitation

Even our annual BINGO cards feature the golden logo of this year’s edition.

2016 Super Bowl Bingo card @ The Gracious Posse

We’ve created 60 of them for you to use at your own party. Go ahead and download as many as you need by clicking on the card above or here. Gold Hershey’s Kisses will make great markers for the BINGO cards this year.

Add a Touch of Class to the Traditional Menu

Each year our Super Bowl menu includes foods that represent the teams who have made it to the big game. jBr is bringing Colorado Style Green Chile in honor of the Denver Broncos. For the Carolina Panther fans, I’ll be picking up some North Carolina-style pork barbeque from one of our local establishments, and before anyone asks, I am not going to worry about whether it is Eastern or Western North Carolina bbq.

Usually I will include a menu homage to the host city, as well. San Francisco is allegedly the host city for this game, and when I think San Francisco, I think of its world-renowned Chinatown, which makes me think of my Ginger Shrimp Potstickers. Levi Stadium, though, is 45 miles away from San Francisco in Santa Clara, so I haven’t yet committed to adding the Potstickers to Sunday’s menu. Hmmm – I wonder what tailgate-type food would pay homage to the heart of Silicon Valley where Santa Clara sits. 

If you are trying to figure out a way to class up your Super Bowl spread in honor of the 50th, Ellen suggests treating your crowd to Grilled Oysters Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse. This simple and elegant recipe from bJm requires advance preparation. Why not get the guys to shuck the oysters and wash the shells during the hours and hours of pre-game hype, while you make the flavored butter?

Grilled Oysters © The Gracious PosseThough you will smother the mollusks with large pats of butter, this appetizer is not too rich. When you lift the meat out of the triploid shell

close-up of oyster shell © The Gracious Posse[Triploids are the most commonly sold oyster on the market. Its large boat-like shell makes a gorgeous presentation and vessel for the appetizer]

most of the golden butter stays in the shell. Only the flavor slides into your mouth. For fans of oysters, this one is a sure winner.

Grilled Oysters
Yields 24
Write a review
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
6 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
6 min
  1. 10 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  2. 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  3. 2 tablespoons minced parsley leaves
  4. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  5. 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  6. 1 teaspoon minced fresh chives
  7. 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, optional
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  10. 24 shucked oysters, half of each shell reserved and washed
  11. Read more at:
  1. In a bowl combine all ingredients except the oysters and mix thoroughly to combine. Transfer butter mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and roll up to form a tight log and freeze until firm.
  2. Preheat a grill to high.
  3. Place the washed oyster shells on a baking sheet and top each shell with 1 oyster. Remove the butter from the freezer and unwrap. Slice the butter into 24 rounds and place 1 round on top of each oyster. Place the oysters on the preheated grill and cook until the oysters are just cooked through, curled around the edges and the butter is melted and bubbly, 4 to 6 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.
  5. Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 2006
The Gracious Posse

With neither of my favorite teams playing on Sunday, I am looking forward to enjoying all of other components that make the Super Bowl the best sporting event of the year. Food, games, entertainment and good company are all part of the winning combination that draws even the least interested to the television. How will you be celebrating this 50th Super Sunday?


February 4, 2016

2016 Super Bowl Bingo card @ The Gracious Posse

A Potting Sink That Takes Our Breath Away

You read that right! A potting sink at the Southern Living Idea House in Charlottesville

Southern Living Idea House © The Gracious Posse - 1

stopped us in our tracks. It’s not your average potting sink.

Southern Living Idea House potting sink © The Gracious Posse - 1

Fabricated locally by European Stone Concepts from Alberene soapstone, this sink sits in the covered slate breezeway between the main house and the garage. It rests upon a custom-built stand, also made in the Charlottesville area by Blanc Creatives. We think this sink represents the perfect blend of practicality and beauty.

Oh, how productive I could be puttering around this creation. So how do I rationalize purchasing such a treasure and integrating it into my home? I’ll channel Penelope Bianchi whom we quoted in A House is a Journey and accept that our home will never be truly finished.


February 2, 2016 

Welcome, February 2016!

Hello February 2016! With so much to do this month, we needed another day on the calendar to get it all done.

Richmond Ballet Gala

Ballet Gala invitation via Richmond Ballet

A Night in Verona celebrating Romeo and Juliet
Saturday, February 6th
Dover Hall Estate
more information here

50th Super Bowl


Sunday, February 7th
6:30 kickoff
Will it be the Broncos or the Panthers?

21st Annual Women & Wellness Forum SeriesWomen & Wellness 2016 invitation via Massey Cancer Center

featuring best selling author and breast cancer survivor, Elin Hilderbrand
Tuesday, February 9th
12:30 p.m.
The Jefferson Hotel
more information here

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras accessories from Pearl's Cupcake window © The Gracious Posse

Tuesday, February 9th
How will you celebrate Fat Tuesday?

Valentine’s Day

Valentine's homemade love cards © The Gracious Posse

Sunday, February 14 ♥


JDRF Gala 2016 invitation via Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Dance for a Cure • Don’t Stop Believing
Saturday, February 27th
The Jefferson Hotel
more information here

Leap Day!

Leap Day image © The Gracious Posse

Do you know anyone with a February 29th birthday?


January 29, 2016