Happy Friday

Have a great weekend everybody!

Stay cool.

And I'll see you on Monday.

Image:  Pink Dahlia by Stephanie Poteet Photography.


The Weekly Bean

Little baby velvet ears....

Starting to turn gray!

A Passage to India

July's book on the New Year's Resolution reading list is A Passage to India.

Ah - what can I say?

I loved it.

Especially coming on the heels of Under the Volcano - which tried so hard to convey Mexico (and to me, cumbersomely, achingly so) - Forster conveyed India without effort and I think that's what makes him so brilliant.

A Passage to India - like all Forster's books, is about manners and customs and the social boundaries that pull people us together (through nationality, social status and gender) and tear us apart.

On it's surface this book is so easy but it's themes are complex and universal.  Somehow, you learn a deep lesson without ever having known you were being instructed.

This Charming House

I am excited to report new throw pillows in the sun room. 

The Allegra Hicks Flower Pillows from West Elm.  

And I'm so excited about them!

They couldn't be more perfect if I thought them up myself and they don't cost an arm and a leg.


Wednesday - Run Away Without Leaving Home

Image:  Purple Skies by ApacheAtomica.

Out and About in Charlotte

One of the chapters in my favorite book, Creating a Charmed Life, is entitled 'Practice the Vacation Principle' and it encourages us to be tourists in our own town and in our own lives.  The author feels that when we do this, even the lackluster aspects of living day to day can seem life part of an amazing journey.

I've really been trying to do this this summer.  For one thing I think there is some truth to it and for another thing I've been so absolutely worn out from work that I'm kind of willing to try anything.

And you know what?

It's working.

This past weekend, I visited Wing Haven, a local garden located in one of Charlotte's oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods, Myers Park.  The house was built in the 1920's and the owner, Elizabeth Clarkson, constructed this garden that eventually covered 3 acres.  Now it is a beautiful oasis and bird sanctuary on one of Charlotte's most beautiful residential streets.

It was a joy from start to finish.

All in all, a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning.

If your local to Charlotte or visiting for the weekend (I'm lookin'at you, O.K.) it's a lovely way to spend an hour. 

This Charming Kitchen

I bought a new colander at Ikea this weekend. 

I know, calm down, it's too much excitement to take on a Wednesday afternoon.  You'll all have to take pills. 

But -

I'm excited about it.  I have one that dates 'pre-divorce' and I bought it at the Teeter and really, the only reason I took it with me was because I think he wanted it.....  And I wasn't above a little bitterness at the time.  I figure if the only thing I took out of spite was a cheap colander, he made out pretty well.


Last weekend when I made the bolognaise, as I was draining the pasta in my too small and too shallow colander - I thought "You need to ask for a nice colander for Christmas".

And then on Sunday I went to Ikea and I found this one. 

Huge, deep, heavy, well made - $14.95. 

That, my friends, is a blessing when you least expect one. 


Tuesday's Girl

"I want you to listen to me. 

I'm going to say something very important, and I want you to remember it for the rest of your life.....  

Nobody hates Saks."
Annette Bening as Sylvie Fowler in The Women

Out and About in Charlotte

In celebration of restaurant week, my darling friend and I had dinner at Luce - uptown in the Hearst Plaza.

Loved it.

Gorgeous, intimate dining room.

Impeccable service.

Perfect French Martinis (my personal downfall).

Delicious, gorgeous food.  I wanted to put my face down in my dessert and lick the plate clean. 

Don't worry - I refrained - but it took self discipline.

My Baby Don't Tolerate

Love Lyle Lovett.

Love to hear him do this song. 

And he really kicks ass.

This Charming Closet

The new J. Crew fall stuff is coming out.

And I don't know if I'm going to be able to pull off this sweater....

But I love it.


Happy Monday


I hope you all had a great weekend!

Mine was good.  Full of summery endeavors.

You know -



Dog walking.

Heat stroke. 

I jest - only not really.  It's too hot to live. 

I busied myself by reading "Gone with the Wind" and thanking God that at least I don't have to wear hoop skirts and assist Dr. Meade at the hospital nursing all the wounded and worrying about the Yankees.....

In other news, my Aunt called me on Sunday to thank me for encouraging her to sign up for her bank's online bill pay.  Apparently, the bank rewards it's online bankers by running a contest every month and 5 lucky winners win $500. 

And my Aunt and Uncle won this month!  They have no idea how they're going to spend all that money.  They're still aglow from having won something. 

So if you're not doing online bill pay - which I can't imagine, but still - go out and sign up!

And let's try to stay cool this week, huh?

xo - Tonya
Image:  Wildflower No. 1 by Tracey Capone Photography.

Renaissance Bee Charmer

Y'all!  I'm like a TOTAL photographer and I didn't even know it!

I took this photo (on a wild ass trip to Belmont) and my darling friend Sarah has seen fit to frame it and display it in her living room! 

Can you believe it?  Neither can I!  Who knew that an iPhone and an instagram app would turn me into an artiste?  She let me sign the mat and everything! 

She also demanded I blog about it - otherwise I would not be tooting my own horn..... 

Anyway - I love that she loves this photo enough to display it in her home.  And let this be a lesson to us all that beautiful, affordable, meaningful art doesn't need to be expensive or fancy.  It might just come from two friends having a good time exploring a neighboring town with a little, tiny hunk of Apple technology....

Sunday Morning

What could be more summery and Southern than a long, white picket fence? 

The Bee Charmer Loves Paris

Image:  Lauduree by Rebecca Plotnick.


Happy Friday


Happy Friday, everybody!

I don't like to brag but I'm going to Ikea this weekend!

I'll know y'all are all jealous!  Well deal with it!

Stay cool.

And I'll see you on Monday.
Image:  Bicycle by Raceytay.


The Weekly Bean

Is it over yet?

Under the Volcano

So I'm back with another of my New Year's Resolution books.

This one just about did me in.  Let me just tell y'all that I've wanted to read this book since I was in Law School and have never been able to find it.  I will also tell you that I started reading it at the beginning of May and have just now finished white knucking my way through it.

I would like to say that I at least found this mostly worthwhile at the end, but I can't really even say that.  It was a bear.  Dense, wandering and (I thought) boring. 

I actually just said "Fuck it.  I'm not reading this anymore." on more than one occasion but then I just couldn't admit defeat. 

The blurbs will tell you that this is what it's about:

Geoffrey Firmin, a former British consul, has come to Quauhnahuac, Mexico. His debilitating malaise is drinking, an activity that has overshadowed his life. On the most fateful day of the consul's life—the Day of the Dead, 1938—his wife, Yvonne, arrives in Quauhnahuac, inspired by a vision of life together away from Mexico and the circumstances that have driven their relationship to the brink of collapse. She is determined to rescue Firmin and their failing marriage, but her mission is further complicated by the presence of Hugh, the consul's half brother, and Jacques, a childhood friend. The events of this one significant day unfold against an unforgettable backdrop of a Mexico at once magical and diabolical.
Under the Volcano remains one of literature's most powerful and lyrical statements on the human condition, and a brilliant portrayal of one man's constant struggle against the elemental forces that threaten to destroy him.
What I think is that this was a brutal portrait of what it means to be an active alcoholic.  I mean, it really pulls no punches and I kept reminding myself that in 1938 there probably wasn't much treatment for alcoholism and that made it all the more tragic and maddening. 

Firmin is drinking.  He's wasted.  Literally and figuratively.   He has (for the past year) blamed most of his drinking on the fact that Yvonne has left him.  But really it's just an excuse.  Because when she comes back we see that the only thing he really loves is alcohol.  She is his reason, his excuse, his justification for drinking and the drink is his only true love.  He isn't likeable or even all that pitiable.  He has no desire to stop what he's doing.  I think maybe if he'd wanted to stop I may have felt a little for him but I'm kind of glad that he didn't.  I like that Lowery pulled no punches with it. 

Watching Firmin's destruction (and Yvonne's) was difficult.  It was a tragedy in exceedingly slow motion.  At several points in the book Firmin says something to the effect of "My GOD this is the longest day of my life!"  And I had to agree with him.  It was excruciating.

The book itself is long, dense and meandering.  It jumps back and forth and there are some things that I don't know if they really happened or if Firmin just hallucinated them in his drunken stupor.  I also wanted to enjoy the description of Mexico but I didn't.  I just found it all to be too much. 

Several criticisms have suggested that the book deserves multiple readings before one is able to truly glean it's greatness but the thought of reading this again just makes me tired.  Maybe one day I'll be able to go back to it. 

What kept me going is that often, in the middle of what I thought was just a never ending, stream of consciousness, drunken drift, Lowery would throw in a sentence or a paragraph of just staggering beauty and truth.  Finding these little tidbits kept me going.  And for them, I am truly glad I read this book.  

Suffice it to say that this was my least favorite of the books on this year's reading list.  But it wasn't without it's benefits.  I'm still thinking about it, which is more than I can say for a lot of books. 

This Charming Closet

My new color.

Metro Chic at Sephora by OPI


Wednesday - Run Away Without Leaving Home

Image:  Seaside by Racetay.

This Charming Kitchen

This weekend I made the Barefoot Contessa's Bolognese sauce and I was not disappointed!

Y'all - this is the recipe I've been looking for.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before but my ex, The Love Maker, was Sicilian.  So I developed a kind of paranoia about sauce.  He had me convinced that since I was of Non-Mediterranean descent I would never understand or be able to prepare proper sauce.

Yes.  He was that kind of asshole but we're over it - but then there it is.


For years I've been looking for a simple, easy, flavorful sauce but all the 'official' Italian recipes were cook all day affairs - and that has it's place but sometimes you just want some sauce already.

This just blew me out of the water.  It comes together in 45 minutes or so and I could not have been happier with the way it turned out.  And, you know, Ina is just as non-Mediterranean as I am so I felt safe with her.

Here's the recipe:

2 TB good olive oil, plus extra to cook pasta
1 pound lean ground sirloin
4 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 TB dried oregano
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 ¼ cups dry red wine, divided
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
2 TB tomato paste
Kosher salt & black pepper
¾ pound dried pasta, such as orecchiette or (small shells)
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12 inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, crumbling the meat until the meat is no longer pink and has started to brown. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 ½ teaspoons pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.

Finish the sauce while the pasta cooks. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining ¼ cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and ½ cup Parmesan and toss well. Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

(Recipe from How Easy is That? by Ina Garten)
I made it exactly to the recipe.  I was able to find the San Marzano tomatoes at the Teeter and I used a nice Cabernet Sauvinon in the sauce.   Also, I added the 1/2 cup of Parmesan to the sauce at the same time I added the nutmeg, basil, cream and remaining wine.  I did find it just a *tad* salty so I think the next time I make it I may just go with 1/2 tablespoon of salt in the sauce.  But other than that it was wonderful.

Charming Words

Bon-ho-mie [bon-uh-mee]

- noun

frank and simple goodheartedness; a good-natured manner; friendliness; geniality
Image:  When I'm With You by Honeytree.


Tuesday's Girl

"People say that you're going the wrong way when it's simply a way of your own."
Angelina Jolie

Out and About in Charlotte

I took this at Slate over the weekend.  It's such a fun little place to poke around in.


This is the song that I listen to all summer.

It reminds me of long days at the beach, and the heat, and freckles and cocoa butter and salt.

This Charming House

I thought I'd give you a little peek at the powder room, now that it's been painted.

It's not as purple as I'd hoped but the paint definitely has the purple-y gray taupe thing I was going for. 

The room is not anywhere near finished but I did hang the recently framed Cy Twombly poster (purchased last summer and hitherto hiding in an upstairs closet waiting for inspiration). 

Also, this room is impossible for me to take decent pictures of.  There is just NO good way. 


Happy Monday

Here's what happened here this weekend:  Summer.

On Saturday morning we woke up and it was cool and dark and quiet.  I gray day threatening rain. 

Finn and Lola were supposed to go to the spa but they didn't wanna go and I didn't wanna take them.  So we cancelled, made coffee, took a walk and then curled up in the bed to spend the morning with a snuggly blanket and a good book.  A most excellent decision. 

I ran a few errands in the afternoon and picked up the house a bit but then it was back to snoozy Beans and the couch and a blanket and another book (my book club book) which was read from cover to cover over 4 hours. 

Sunday was beautiful and we cooked and ate and read and napped and blogged and read and walked and read some more.  Lazy.  Without stress.  Lovely.  What summer should be.

I've got a bit of Court this week and some fun dates with friends. 

I hope you all have a great week.

xo - Tonya
Image from here.

Sunday Afternoon

Sunday afternoon on my patio. 

2 Beans, sunshine, a good book and several hundred dollars worth of Apple paraphernalia. 

Charlotte Restaurant Week

It's Restaurant Week here in the Q.C.  and I'm trying a couple of new places.

For those of you who don't know what Restaurant Week is, its a twice yearly event that lasts for a week and many local restaurants participate.  You generally get three courses for $30 so it's a great deal - especially at some of the pricier places. 

I'm eating at Luce Ristorante on Wednesday and New South Kitchen on Thursday.

I love restaurant week and I've gotten to try a lot of new places this way over the years.  I'll let you know how this goes.  I'm excited to try both of these joints!

The Must Haves


My new thing.

It may be a bigger problem than the Nutella at this point.

The Bee Charmer Loves Paris

I even like the word Paris.
Image from here.


Happy Friday


Our heat broke - did you know that?  It is no longer officially too hot to live and it's supposed to be pleasant this weekend.  The Beans are going to the spa and I've got a little dinner party workin'.

Life is good!

So have a wonderful, wonderful weekend.

And I'll see you on Monday.

xo - Tonya
Image from here.


The Weekly Bean

I was in the kitchen.

She was hanging out in the dining room watching me.

Because that's her job....

This Charming Kitchen

I've been feeling rather Southern lately - whatever the hell that means - so I picked up a couple of Southern cookbooks on Amazon. 

I got Katie Lee's cookbook - The Comfort Table - because she's from West Virginia and on my charming reader O.K.'s recommendation.

And I also picked up Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen because Sara's from North Carolina and because I read a very good review of it.

And it's got a chapter on Grits, a chapter on Pigs and a chapter on Cornbread and biscuits... so it sounds promising....

They just came in the mail so I haven't had an opportunity to try anything out yet.  But I'm hoping soon.

Stay tuned for recipe reviews in the future.

This Charming House

So - in my continuing effort to 'green it up' around Chateau Bee Charmer, I've been a hold out in the furniture cleaning department.

For a couple of years now, I've been using Method products for everything else, but in keeping with my West Virginia upbringing I've stubbornly clung to my Lemon Pledge.  I used it.  My Mom uses it.  My Grandmothers used it.

And I know, I know, I know..... EVERYBODY says it's horrible for your furniture but I was used to it.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I ran out of Lemon Pledge and I finally decided to bite the bullet and try the Method stuff. 

And you know what?


I totally can't believe it because I was totally not planning to love it.  In fact, I kept the receipt from Target so I could take it back. 

But it really works and it smells like Almonds, which is nice.

So if you're looking for a more environmentally friendly way to dust your furniture, try it out.


Wednesday - Run Away Without Leaving Home

Still dying to run away and become a beach bum.....

It's getting sort of ridiculous.   There is nothing more miserable than not wanting to be where you are.  I'm really trying to get over myself. 

But I want to be a beach slug.  And soon.

Image:  The Sweet Escape by Honeytree.

Random Pretty Man


It's Mr. Mark Harmon!

In his NCIS baseball hat..... 

Have I mentioned how much I love it when you can see the collar of the undershirt peeking out?


Out and About in Charlotte

Last weekend my friend and I headed over to dinner on North Davidson street or NoDa if you live in Charlotte.

This is where Charlotte gets it's 'artsy' on... in a wild bohemian way.  Or whatever that passes for in Charlotte. 

I mean, Jesus graffiti is 'edgy', right? 

And then dinner and bear at Cabo Fish Taco....

Fun place - but the guac sucks.  Just so ya know.

Charming Words

Tin-tin-nab-u-la-tion [tin-ti-nab-yuh-ley-shuhn]

- noun

the ringing or sound of bells
Image:  Can You Hear Me by Raceytay.


Tuesday's Girl

"If the apocalypse comes, beep me."
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

Alive and Kicking

The funny thing about 80's music is that I wasn't a huge fan back in the day....

Now I sort of crave it and I don't know why!

It seems I'm usually a few decades behind.

This Charming House

My dream rug has arrived!

This is what I've wanted in my kitchen for as long as I've had this kitchen - but I've never been able to find one in captivity! 

But my happy place, Crate and Barrel, has come through for me again!

It's the Olin rug. 



Happy Monday


I hope everyone had a great weekend.

I had an OK weekend.  Saturday was fine.  Sunday was rough.  Friday kinda sucked. 

*heavy sigh*

I suppose one shouldn't expect to always be happy and content, huh?

I took Friday off because I am sucking air at work right now.  I am really miserable.  And it's not my office or my job it's just..... my joooobbbbbb......

I'm sure that doesn't make any sense. 

Basically, I get to a point (about once a year) where I just need to walk away and not think about being a lawyer for one full week.  I also need to lie on a beach while I do this and it helps if a certain amount of vodka is involved.  I'm doing this in about a month but until then, I just have to muddle through.  But I'm telling you all right now, its not easy for me.  And I don't know how to make it better. 

Back to Friday, though. 

I took the day off and had grand plans and then on Thursday night my left eye started to bother me and by bed time it was a full blown mess. 

It hurt and watered all night - so I didn't sleep - and then for most of the day Friday is hurt and watered and would not tolerate any light. 

So no contacts, no makeup, no reading, no TV, no nuthin'. 

I Googled 'eye infections' and there are three types:  Pink Eye - which I ruled out due the absence of itching and mucous-y discharge and styes which I've had on and off for my whole life and know what for. 

That left the third kind - which fit all my symptoms - and the all knowing internet said that basically all one could do for it was apply hot compresses.  So I did that.  I lay in the dark like a vampire all day Friday and put hot compresses on my left eye.  By late afternoon it was much better....

But so much for my 'fun Friday'. 

And Sunday I just had my regular general nervous tension that comes on from time to time and makes me miserable. 

Is it weird that I just want a dark, dreary, rainy weekend?  I think the neverending sunshine is driving me crazy!

So anyway - I have court this morning and I'm trying not to dread it, but I am.  I don't know why, either.  I've been a lawyer for ever.  I go to court at least once a week.  You'd think I'd get over it at some point but I'm still waiting for that.  I don't think it will ever happen.

I'm gonna take my book and hope for the best.

xo - Tonya
Image:  Samaras by Honeytree.
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