Category Archives: Tips

If you “only” had $1,000…

Million Dollar Decorating Podcast

“If you only had $1,000 to furnish and decorate your empty home,
how would you spend it?” (James Swan, Million Dollar Decorating Podcast)

That is the last question interior designer James Swan asks each guest he interviews on his podcast Million Dollar Decorating.

And I have answered it differently in my head after each podcast episode I’ve listened to!

Everyday my answer changes.  Continue reading

Finding Style in a Stetson

Evans in a Stetson circa 1963

My Papa wore a Stetson.

I never found it odd or out of place when I was a child or a teenager, even though he was the only person I knew that wore one.

A middle school friend, upon meeting him for the first time, asked,

“Is your Grandpa a cowboy?”

“Yes,” I replied.

James, in his Stetson,  Mary and Kay Horse Picture 1961

From left to right: Mary (my mama) on her horse “Sally,” Papa, and Kay (my aunt) on her horse “Sleepy.”


Now, he wasn’t a cowboy as historic standards dictate. He didn’t wrangle cattle for a living or take part in westward expansion. But, he was a cowboy and he had style—not the kind that wore a five piece suit or fancy watch, but the kind that would win all your money in a poker game and proceed to tell you all the moves you SHOULD have made.

Papa at Christmas

Christmastime at home in the early 1960’s.

The kind, as a product of the Great Depression, that carried an obscene amount of cash in one pocket and a gun in the other. The kind that went to Sunday School and “Training Union,” read The Daily Bread, and cooked supper for us every evening.

James Evans on Western Day in his Stetson

Papa on his way to church.

The kind that worked hard everyday of his life AND made time to be at every volleyball and softball practice I ever had. I knew he was there because I could see his hat in the crowd.
He taught me not to have fear; it was okay to get scared, but fear was different.

He wasn’t perfect. Sometimes we’d get into massive arguments over a wide range of things, including the use of the word “awesome” (which he despised for no particular reason) and the pronunciation of “taco” (which he pronounced with a long “a”). However, I never feared our disagreements would last the night. It would be over, and things would be the same again.

That was the greatest part about his style- his sameness.  He treated everyone the same, whether you were Dolly Parton or a stranger.

“Why would I treat someone any differently? He puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like me.”

Me in Papa's Stetson

And that’s me, wearing my Papa’s Stetson, in 1984.

Papa died in 1999 at the age of 85. But, even though he’s been gone for more than 15 years, he is as present in my life as ever.

I hear his voice, I use his card tricks, and when life’s troubles seem unending– I pretend I’m putting on his Stetson and I have no fear.

A lot of time and money is spent on “style;” finding our own, dressing our homes in it, and maintaining it in public.

I needed to be reminded that all of that time is not wasted or petty if I remember that our real style is who we are… it’s how we treat each other… and it’s how we react to challenges.

My Papa, James “Red” Evans, Jr., had unforgettable style.

He wore a Stetson, was scared of no one, and lived a life that still inspires me today.




*This month’s issue of Garden & Gun names “50 Perfect Southern Things.” The Stetson is number eleven and it warmed my heart to see it again.

A Baby Shower of Pink, Toile, & Love


Close up of cookies

Mina and I met in middle school.  I knew we’d be best friends when, in 8th grade,  we both agreed that the best way to present our archeology assignment to the class was to rap it.

Not that I hear the term “Carbon-14 Dating” often, but when I do… I smile.   Continue reading

Friday Favorite: Nordstrom

Simple and beautiful. You can't go wrong with white flowers.

Simple and beautiful. You can’t go wrong with white flowers.

“There hasn’t been more gracious of a host than Nordstrom was at their Opening Gala.” Those were the first words out of my mother’s mouth when asked about her experience at Wednesday night’s gala in Jacksonville, FL.

Continue reading

Throwing a Party

Keep some elements consistent, but vary your heights.

Keep some elements consistent, but vary your heights.

I had the privilege of styling a party for someone that is not related to me! It was quite an honor to be asked by a family that I not only love, but that I hold in high esteem.  Ms. Holly and my girlfriend Heidi are a mother-daughter team that are not only smart, but beautiful.  I wanted to make sure their event, Ethan and Lindsay’s Rehearsal Dinner, was exactly what they envisioned.  Continue reading

Friday Favorite: Parker Kennedy Living

Many designers say they start by treating the floor, walls, or ceiling. Don't neglect them! ~from the  PKL portfolio and featured in Atlanta Homes

Many designers say they start by treating the floor, walls, or ceiling. Don’t neglect them! ~from the
PKL portfolio and featured in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles

Details are not just details. Details are what MAKE a design. If a room doesn’t have an interesting touch or two, it’s boring. Continue reading