Christmas Jubilee

Last week I took a little break from my natural disaster magnet of a concrete jungle and went on a shopping trip with my mother, Teresa (not of nun fame). I flew to Atlanta Thursday morning, then we drove about 5 1/2 hours to Mobile, AL — my birthplace AND the home of the Christmas Jubilee, a magical and marvelous shopping event. The Christmas Jubilee happens every year, though we haven’t been since 1999 (right before my family moved to Atlanta). It’s put on by Mobile’s Junior League (in a part of the country where things like Junior Leagues still matter), and dozens of vendors attend from all over Mobile, the Southeastern region, and even the country.

It’s a holiday gift market, so it definitely has its share of boutiques and monogramming stations.  However, there are also booths from better known companies (like Belk ad Books-a-Million), and plenty of gourmet foods and beverages.  (In fact, we ate breakfast at the hotel that morning and then didn’t eat again until dinner that night — we had so many pretzel-dip samples we just weren’t hungry).  We had a ton of girly-shopping fun, but I took hardly any pictures… of course (let’s just say that the amount of fun I had was inversely proportionate to the number of pictures I took).

But I did take a few…

We loved this upside Christmas tree.  So small space friendly.

Teresa really loved these.

Ok, I did, too.  But only in an embracing-my-inner-soccer-mom kind of way.

But I LOVED these U.S. state hand towels (that’s Alabama to you folks who may not be familiar with your state shapes).

It’s no secret that I love state shaped things, but combine that with chevron or houndstooth fabrics and you have my heart (this goes on my future projects list).

I also loved this Christmas tree ornament:

More than the actual ornament, I loved the method used to create it.  The idea of alternating felt squares stacked upon each other is so clever to me (and it’s another idea added to my future projects list, of course).

There’s no shortage of houndstooth in Alabama… but that has more to do with the football team and less to do with sharp style choices (you can imagine my inner struggle as a child of two Tennessee graduates who happens to LOVE houndstooth, especially the black and white variety).

I spoke of the monogramming booths with an air of mockery, but honestly, I got in on the action, too (monogramming fever is contagious, y’all — especially if you’re south of the Mason-Dixon).

I’ve been wanting a Coke can coozie for a while anyway, but this turquoise seersucker one really spoke to me.  Not to mention, the lovely ladies at this particular booth were willing to work with my quasi-feminist demands of a hyphenated last name monogram (they had to custom make it on their computer because a template didn’t exist).

Here’s the end result:

I was pleased as punch.  Or more accurately, Diet Coke.  Specifically, a can of it.

(Ok, I’ll stop.)

All in all, the jubilee was great… I’d share more pic and details, but then I’d be divulging a lot of my Christmas gift secrets, and this wouldn’t be wise (most of my fam reads this blog).

However, we did have a lot of FANTASTIC seafood — something I’ve missed since moving from Mobile (and everyone knows — or should know — that Alabama Gulf seafood is the best).  We ate at the Original Oyster House and Blue Gill Restaurant, both on the causeway, and both beloved by locals and tourists alike.

I didn’t do a lot of food photography, but I did manage to get a picture of this slice of Key lime pie:

It was gone within  a minute of taking this picture.  Sooo good.

We also ventured forth from the typical tourist magnets and visited an oldie but a goodie, Neighbor’s Seafood Restaurant, allll the way out in the Tilman’s Corner neighborhood of Mobile (so basically, the country).  Of course, tourists would know nothing about this place because it’s next to nothing, but we knew about because we used to live about fifteen minutes away from it.

Again, no pics.  Sorry.  But trust me, sooo excellent.  In fact, we think it is the best seafood in all of Mobile (which is a pretty high compliment, because as small as Mobile is, it has a plethora of fantastic cuisine).  

Oh, but the fun wasn’t just limited to just shopping and shrimp.  I was with Teresa, after all, and she was in rare form.  Have I mentioned that she has lived in Savannah, Charleston, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Birminghham, Mobile, and Atlanta?  Needless to say, her accent is like a sampler platter of all of these cities, and with that comes some marvelous phrases that are just part of the Teresa vocabulary and vernacular.  Here are just a few of my faves (all spelling errors are on purpose and done in an effort to more accurately reflect Teresa’s pronunciation):

“I haven’t the foggiest.”  (Translation: “I don’t know.”)

“Hotter’n Hadeeez.”  (Translation: “Uncomfortably warm.”)

“Madder’n Hey-ul.”  (Translation:  “Quite angry.”)

“Breetches.”  (Translation: “Pants.”)

(She thinks I’m making fun of her when I point these things out, but I truly do it out of love.  I really do think my mother is fantastic.  I know you do, too.)

After even more shopping, we drove back to Atlanta Saturday afternoon.  I spent all day Sunday with my fam, then flew back to NYC that night.  After a bus ride, a train ride with two transfers, and a half mile walk, I finally got home to my sweet little doggies (oh, and Josh :)  Glad to be home, but a little sad to be above the Mason-dixon once more.

In other news, my dad took my spent, lifeless shell of a computer to the Geek Squad at Best Buy, where they deemed it beyond repair (this wasn’t exactly news, but I needed to officially hear the announcement to come to terms with my loss and get some closure).  In a gesture of early Christmas gift mercy, my extremely generous parents bought me a new laptop (even they know that an iPad and two smartphones does not a computer make).  Oh, and it’s fancy.  Like Windows 8 fancy.  I’m still learning how to navigate within this newest version of Windows, but I’m pretty impressed so far.

Here’s hoping a new computer in my life means me keeping up with this blog a bit more.

It is the holiday season after all, and oh do I have plans.

Stay tuned!

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