Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Lots of good people have come from Oklahoma.  Baseball players Johnny Bench and Mickey Mantle.  Actor and director Ron Howard. Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller.  Actor Brad Pitt.  Basketball player Blake Griffin. Actor Chuck Norris.  Singer and performer Kristin Chenoweth.  Astronaut Shannon Lucid, and Humorist Will Rogers.  Not to mention Reba, Carrie, Garth, Vince, Toby, & Blake!  But in the world of the internet, perhaps there's no bigger jewel in Oklahoma's crown than Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman!

The Pioneer Woman was the very first blog I started reading about 8 years ago.  Our local paper did a story on her when she was coming out with her first cookbook, and after checking out her blog, just like many other people, I was quickly hooked.  Reading about a ranch family's life in the (familiar) country is fascinating, not to mention my appreciation of Ree's sense of humor, devotion to her friends and family, stunning photography, and the mouth-watering recipes that she shares.

The Pioneer Woman Mercantile (The Merc as Ree calls it) is in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, about two hours northeast of Oklahoma City, or one hour northwest of Tulsa.

It is a combination restaurant, deli, bakery, and retail store.  It opened a few months ago, around the first of November.  With the busy-ness of the holidays approaching, then the kids being out of school, then missing two Fridays once they were back due to bad weather, last Friday (Ray's day off) was our first chance to take a little road trip while they were at school and head up to check it out.   I took LOTS of pictures so you can take in every detail, so get ready for a photo heavy post!

Ree's family purchased the historic, over 100 year old building that is now The Mercantile 5 years ago (read her post about it and see all of the "before" photos here), and has worked to restore it and bring it back to it's original beauty.

Our hostess who helped entertain the crowd as they waited in line was a fount of information.  She said that Ree's next building project will be in her home town of Bartlesville, OK, and she actually owns land all over the country-even New York- and hopes for her shops to be as common as Starbucks one day!  And, she will start filming shows for London's Food Network division soon- I'll be anxious to see that for sure!

We started in the restaurant for lunch, and came off of our low carb diet for the day, so everything we ate was brown.  And it was totally ooey gooey scrumptious and worth it!!  We shared the spinach dip, I ordered the grilled cheese and Ray ordered the fried chicken sandwich.  Everything was very tasty, and we brought a good amount of the homemade potato chips home with us... they are super crunchy, perfectly salted, and totally addictive!

MAJOR heart eyes for that original painting on the brick wall, the engraved wood wall, the green counter, and the handsome guy!

The patriarch of the family, Chuck (in the denim shirt below), stopped in just as we were getting to the front of the restaurant line for lunch.  Ray spotted him as he visited with one of the hosts, laid his jacket and hat across a stool at a high-top table, then sat down and ate his order of chicken strips.  :)  I REALLY wanted Ray to say hi to him so I could get a pic of them together and visit for a moment, but he kindly restrained himself and let the man be.  I can only imagine what he thinks about the hysteria that The Merc has brought to his home town!  (I'm sure they're all good thoughts, the Pawhuska economy probably doesn't know what hit it!)

The first floor of the Merc houses the restaurant and kitchen, deli counter, and the retail shop.

The dishes and serving ware are to die for!

The gift wrap counter with the sweetest wrapping paper choices-

An example of Ree's sense of humor... Marie Antoinette salt and pepper shakers. Off with her head!  The two pieces are magnetic, the head holds salt and the body holds pepper.

My favorite design element- those fabulous chandeliers lined up all around the shop.

The second floor has views that overlook downtown and houses the bakery, candy counter, bakery kitchen, and lounge area.

One thing that stood out to me on our visit was the details.  It was apparent that every little thing was well thought out at the Merc.  This place was ripped down to the bare bones, except for leaving some of the early original features like the brick walls, tin ceilings, and wood floors, and completely rebuilt.  The "doggie bag" containers aren't just a styrofoam box, they're cute little cardboard boxes and tin trays with a lid.  The employees are separated and identified by color coded shirts- black and white gingham for the host/hostesses, red gingham for the restaurant servers, denim for the cooks/baristas, and black for the retail shop workers.  And it might sound silly, but I was even impressed that there were candles lit on the bathroom counter and normal tp holders with real toilet paper (instead of the industrial size dispensers and tissue thin rolls).  With the amount of people that visit the Merc each day, they must go through A LOT of toilet paper rolls!  And HOW CUTE IS THIS BATHROOM???

Here are a few things to consider if you'd like to visit the Merc some day:

*The Mercantile is THE destination for the day!  Don't be in a hurry and don't expect to walk right in and be served.  If you do eat in the restaurant, it's easy to spend 3-4 hours by the time you wait, eat, then shop and take in the rest of the building.

*I heard it through the grapevine that parking isn't really an issue, there's plenty around the Merc in the surrounding downtown area, but DON'T SPEED while you're in town!  The police officers have an eagle eye out on the speed limits!

*Weekends, work holidays, and days around the holidays are definitely busier than normal weekdays.  However, even at that, expect for there still to be a crowd any time you come.  We arrived on a Friday morning about 10:45, got in line for the restaurant right away, and waited about an hour until we were seated for lunch.  Larger groups may have a longer wait time, and wait times on the weekends are closer to 2 hours.  The earlier in the day you can arrive, the better.  The wait will be much shorter for breakfast.

*Speaking of waiting, our hostess encouraged me to let you all know that you WILL be standing in lines for long periods of time, outside, so dress accordingly.  Be prepared for the cold and the wind, and although you might be tempted to wear cute (uncomfortable) heels/shoes for that photo you're hoping to get with Ree, that's probably not the best choice for all of the standing and walking you'll be doing around the Merc.

*There is a deli/take out counter and bakery with counter service if you want to sample some things without waiting for and being seated at a table, but even those lines can get backed up at peak times.

*One last bit of advice, don't expect to see Ree.  I have several friends who have visited and happened to catch her there when they went, but in reality she is not there very often (and she's definitely not back in the kitchen cooking for everyone, as our hostess laughed and told us that's what a few people expected... ha!).  It might not be too uncommon to catch other members of the Drummond family there who stop in fairly often.  They generally are happy to visit with and take pictures with visitors.

If you visit The Merc and have some extra time around town, be sure to check out the list of nearby attractions while you're in the area.  I snapped this photo just as we were leaving town.  Even with the dead winter grasses, the land is stunning!

If you're not familiar with Ree's books, they're great!  I have several of her cookbooks and it's always fun to try a new recipe from them.

A few of her children's books: Charlie The Ranch Dog and Little Ree

So.... do you read The Pioneer Woman?  Do you have one of her cookbooks?  What's your favorite PW recipe (mine is the cinnamon rolls!)?  Come see us in Oklahoma sometime and visit The Merc!  And, check out some of my other favorite spots to visit in Oklahoma here.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017


I've been on the hunt for some new bar stools for quite a while. The ones I have currently were a Craigslist purchase that I planned to make over, but that never happened!  Our barstools are in the center of the living room/kitchen, so they come in handy for extra seating when we have guests.  Because of that, I'd like to find something that's really comfortable, so I'm looking for upholstered seats with a back.  I thought I'd share some of my favorites that I've come across in my search in case you're searching too!

bar stools, upholstered stools

This is the stool I've been leaning towards for a while, just because it matches my chairs.  Love the classic style.

But these have my heart too...pretty sure they would fit right in at my house!  TONS more patterns and colors available in this style, the black and white stripe caught my eye too!

Pretty linen with nailhead trim, these come in a set of two and are a bargain!

These just look like you could sit for hours!

A splurge, but oh so pretty.

For you neutral lovers, love the graphic punch the stripe adds.

Nice, affordable, upholstered tufted charcoal- comfortable and no need to obsess about stains.

Although an upholstered stool is cozy, I know it's not practical for many who want to ease of being able to wipe a stool clean quickly.   These would be great for families with small children, or anyone who gets nervous about spills!

wipable barstools, faux leather barstool, french bistro barstool

This is super stylish, and the faux leather is a nice alternative if you'd like a light color without having to worry about stains.  I like the quilted detail, also.

Faux leather and nailhead, a great mix for a more traditional, rustic, or modern style.  

This is a classic, extremely popular style.  I like the simple beauty of the wood, and this one has great reviews for quality.

LOVE this stool every time I see it in a design photo.  It comes in several colors, most often seen in blue, but I couldn't resist showing you the green!

I found several more modern styles that I have a crush on, even if they're not quite right for my home.

modern barstool, acrylic barstool, lucite and chrome barstool, ghost barstool

Lucite seats and chrome legs, beautiful.

Even though these aren't MY style, I think they're super sharp, and look comfortable!

A bar stool version of the always popular ghost chair.  

Although I'm shopping for barstools with a back, I came across these without a back that were too good not to share.  So many pretty new kitchens have large islands with room for stools to scoot all the way under the counter, and these would be perfect in that situation, or if you want a slimmer profile than a stool with a back would give.

upholstered backless barstools, metal barstools,

I couldn't resist the hide print on this one, love the pattern it adds to an otherwise neutral stool.  It's just printed microfiber fabric, though, so would clean up like a dream!

A more comfortable version of a basic saddle seat stool, with nice nailhead detail.

Another ghost version! 

A pretty style with darker colors, leather and easy to clean.

The backless version of the round back stool shown above.

These are classic, super popular, come in lots of colors, and you can't beat the price!

Which style is your favorite?  Do you have a barstool you absolutely love?  I'm leaving towards a simple upholstered stool, that I can make a slipcover for if I'd like to change the look from time to time.  This is my style inspiration photo- one of my favorite HGTV Magazine kitchens that I posted about here!

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Thursday, January 12, 2017


Hello friends, my heart is full after yesterday's post.  Thank you all so much for your sweet comments and joining in our celebration of our son.  I'm often hesitant to post many personal things here, but you all were such kind readers and I truly appreciate how your graciously receive those posts when I do.

Now, on to more decorating talk!  As Christmas comes to a close each season and a new year begins, I always look around and get the itch to see what I can change around the house.  Nothing major, just rearranging or switching accessories or adding a pop here and there.

Currently, I'm craving even more color and pattern!  You might think...how is that possible?  Actually, I do have a pretty neutral base in my home, with the accessories being the main source of color and pattern.

So, I've been toying with some ideas of how I could take things up another notch around the house, and I thought I'd share some of the inspiration that I'm mulling over in my head.

I blogged about this home last year, and I still am head over heels for it!

I won't go this far in my home, but this photo sure does make me happy, and I think there are some good takeaway ideas here.

If you are on Instagram, you know what I mean when I say that it is a huge source of inspiration for me (if you're not on it, you should be, so fun!  I'm here if you want to check it out.).  Other than ogling a constant feed of pretty decor, I've met some of the nicest people who I now call friends.

My friend Meredith is not a blogger, but her stunning home was featured this past year on The Glam Pad blog.  I get my dose of pretty from her Instagram feed, but you can see the formal and complete tour of her home here.  I just love how Meredith injects fun and color into her otherwise traditional home (and she sets some tables to die for!).

I can't get enough peeks of Laurie's fabulous home, either.  Another sweet friend who is not a blogger, but I'm dying for a full home tour!  In addition to her Instagram feed, Laurie has an Etsy shop filled with the most adorable things, if you're anything like me you'll want one (or two!) of every single thing!  And, her classic, feminine fashion posts always leave me drooling too!

Finally, the ultimate inspiration in preppy eye candy... The Greenbrier.  I just informed Ray that a visit here some day is on my bucket list!

A few themes I'm picking up on-
*more pattern in other areas than just pillows (lots of layers of patterns!)
*fun, colorful accessories
*more hot pink! (I think it's in every photo I chose)
*bold furniture choices (accent pieces)
*pretty wall treatments (bold paint color, graphic wall paper, etc.)

Do you get the itch for change with a new year, too?

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