Nov 14

A TASTE of the Good Life

So, if I were going to make a list of things that I would A) love to have but B) cannot (yet?) afford, having a professional chef and decorator would rank JUST below having a professional hairstylist move in and blowdry my hair on the daily. (I’m looking at you, HL.)  

Enter Taste by Sam, a new catering, design and event company by my friend Samantha Deitch that is bound and determined to show you that you don’t need to spend the big bucks to enjoy a taste of the good life. 

Sam does it all.  Catering.  Personal Chef-ing.  Organization.  Home Décor.  You name it?  Sam is on the job.  She’s just amazing. 

The next Martha Stewart?

Here’s the Q+DD on Sam:  After studying at the New York School of Interior Design in Manhattan, Samantha then went on to work for top designers in NYC and in Atlanta.  She has an immaculate sense of style and a great eye for putting together paint colors, furniture, and choosing artwork. The best part?  She’s geared specifically to a young professional crowd who like nice things but um, haven’t quite won the lottery…yet.  (I don’t know about you, but the phrase “champagne taste on a beer budget” sounds all too familiar to me.)  She’s also a self-taught chef with an outstanding talent for delivering fresh, smart, delicious menus.  Both Lindsay and I had her cater our bridal suites on our wedding day and not only did she deliver…but she DELIVERED.

Check out the menu she put together for me:

  • Assorted vegetable crudités with lemon-basil hummus and buttermilk-herb dressing
  • Shredded chicken salad with walnuts and golden raisins, whole grain toast points and lettuce cups for serving
  • Turkey, brie, romaine, tomato and honey mustard on Cibatta (this was a huge hit)
  • Penne pasta, sundried tomatoes, baby mozzarella, arugula
  • Grilled zucchini ribbons and baby greens with toasted hazelnuts, crumbled feta, and red wine lemon vinegarette
  • Roasted eggplant slices with balsamic reduction, goat cheese and pine nuts
  • Seasonal fresh fruit skewers
  • S’mores cookies 

Everything was outstanding.   There was literally something for everyone (she really took into account the whole “girl” part of the equation.  Nothing that made us feel gross or bloated and no garlic or onions in sight!)

And sometimes I still think about those s’mores cookies. 

(I miss you, s’mores cookies. Call me?)

So here’s when you need to call Sam:

For the home:

  • Professional décor advice for a room, a condo, or a whole house
  • Organizational needs
  • Home staging

For the kitchen:

  • Small to medium sized catering needs
  • Sending meals to friends (babies, shivahs, surgeries, etc)
  • Pretending like you cooked a homemade meal for your sweetie or family (don’t forget to destroy the evidence.)

Or, if you have a need that’s not quite covered here, give Sam a shout – I bet she’ll try and work something out for you.   

What I’m saying is this:  if she could get my roots straight and my ends bouncy with a round brush and a blowdryer, Sam would pretty much be the trifecta of luxury by my standards. 

But 2 of the 3 ain’t bad…

xx, L

Taste by Sam
Facebook: Click HERE.  (go ahead, “like” her.  I dare you)

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Categories: Deals + Steals,Entertaining,Organizing,Where we're Eating

Jan 27

Ahead of the Game: Let’s Talk Taxes…

Guess what I’ve already filed?? 

Yep, you guessed it…  My 2011 taxes.  Look who’s on the ball!  (It’s me, it’s me!)

For the past few years, I’ve taken my tax info down the street to HR Block, simply out of convenience, to have one of their employees quickly chew me up and spit me out.  “See ya’ next year!” they’d say with a smile as I wrote a large check for their data entry, and moseyed out confused as to why my fairly simple tax return was so expensive.  Not this year, readers.

THIS year, I changed it up.  I’m using a firm to prep my taxes who was highly recommended to me by blog regular + close friend, Loren S.  They don’t advertise – they rely on word of mouth.  (And, we like that!)  They’ve done such an excellent job with my taxes this year, and really handled me with care.  So, I want to help ‘em out a little.

siegel & siegel, p.c.

Siegel & Siegel, P.C. is a small, family-owned firm that was started in the 1950’s by Abe Siegel.  All three of Abe’s sons became CPAs and all worked there (and still do).  Josh Halpern, my new CPA (um, do I sound fancy pants or WHAT?!), is the newest addition to the group.  He started working there in 2007, and has been a CPA since 2009.  Josh is a Georgia Bulldog (which I didn’t hold against him), and an all-around really awesome guy.

Siegel & Siegel provides accounting and tax services for individuals and small businesses.  This includes compilations (another way of saying financial statements), as well as tax services.  Many of their business clients are service-oriented (doctor, lawyer, dentist, real estate), but they can also work on any small “closely-held” businesses.  Josh had no problem at all helping a little guy (girl) like me with my super-simple tax return, either.

Clients like Siegel & Siegel because of the personal attention they receive from the firm.  They don’t have young staff for partners to hand over their clients to “to be worked-up” and then passed back for a quick check-over and a signature.  They do the work themselves, and they each know their clients issues/ business versus having to find the staff person who worked on that client (larger firms are like this) to inquire about what is going on.  They do not bill solely based on time, so they are happy to take calls and respond to e-mails.  (Even I know that this is very old school – and I appreciate it.)  Siegel & Siegel considers itself to be a “vintage firm.”  The kind where you receive the personal attention you deserve.

Siegel & Siegel’s office is located in Sandy Springs near Roswell Road and Hammond, close to Breadwinner Cafe.  Give Josh a call.  He’s a great guy (I absolutely vouch for him), and he will very thoughtfully walk you through your taxes.  I sincerely appreciated the care with which he explained everything to me, and the speed at which he prepared my return.  If you’re looking for some tax help this year, I highly recommend Siegel & Siegel. 

P.S. Tell Josh that the Q+DD sent you!  We don’t get a kickback or anything (I can’t even imagine what it would be if we did…), but it would be nice to know that we were able to help out a really great, small business that we believe in!  :)

xx, L

Siegel & Siegel, P.C. – Josh Halpern
140 Hammond Drive
Atlanta, Georgia 30328
404.252.6667 ext. 106

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Categories: Organizing,Reminders,Vendors,What we're Doing

Feb 07

Fun with Finances!

You’ve got your own unique style, you’d never step foot into a chain restaurant, and a hair cut by a generic salon franchise?  Heaven forbid! You’re one in a million!  One of a kind!  They broke the mold when they made you, baby!

Now, why wouldn’t you want the same tailored attention when it comes to your taxes?

Lucky you…I have the answer!  Taxes with Tommy Ziff! If my darling EZ’s pops is your go-to guy when preparing for the tax man this year, you can rest easy knowing your W-2s are in Tom’s capable hands.

He’s been in the biz for over 35 years in the Atlanta area, his fees are affordable, he’s on the cutting edge of ever-changing tax laws and updates, and he’ll be around to answer any questions ALL year long…as opposed to the seasonal preparers. The best part?  Even with all his experience, you can expect Tommy to personally handle your taxes and not push you off to an assistant or associate. Plus, he’s the nicest guy in the whole world!

Contact Tom Ziff at  770-552-1197

Because, as they say, the only things that are certain are death, Nordstrom’s semi-annual sale…and taxes.

xx, L

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Categories: Deals + Steals,Organizing,PSAs,Reminders

Dec 23

Show off!

More organizing obsessions: Part of Renee’s prescription was to find a solution to deal with my jewelry and get it off the top of my dresser  where it was residing in a heap.

She suggested jewelry bureaus or perhaps a jewelry board so I immediately went to work researching.  I was getting very frustrated trying to find the perfect piece – something that fit my needs, style, AND my budget when I found…drumroll please

(Actually, luckily, owner Tiffany Huff found me.  How’s THAT for perfect timing?)

I love the idea of jewelry boards, but usually I find they’re are a little kitschy and D-I-Y for my taste.  Not these.  These are GORGEOUS and very chic.  Check it:

To die for, right?

These babies sell for a mere $60!
You can (and should) also purchase an earring mesh for $15 to go with it.

Now, I’m a total costume jewelry collector, so I’d need about 3 ArranGEMs to hold ALL of my jewelry…but I have all my favorite baubles on it and its incredibly functional and looks precious in my room!

The good news is – all those “statement necklaces” I collected over the last few seasons can now do double duty as wall art on these posh little pieces!


xx, L

ArranGEM by Tiffany Huff

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Categories: Gifts,Jewelry,Organizing

Dec 22

Peace by Piece (…by piece by piece by piece…)

I’ve decided that 2011 is going to be the year when I (finally) become an organized person.  Sure, I’ve always maintained that there’s a method to my madness, but the truth is – I spend an amazing amount of time looking for stuff in my 644 square foot condominium. (It’s like losing your lipstick in your tiny clutch purse.  HOW does that even happen?)

I hesitate to even call it a New Year’s Resolution because, for me, those usually fall by the wayside in Q1.   Fact: People forget about their NYRs somewhere between MLK and Groundhog Days. (Think I’m wrong?  Why don’t you take a poll of gym employees…)

The point is, I’m serious this time and I decided to call in a professional.  No, not A&E – it’s not “Hoarders” bad.  (I asked.)   I called in a professional organizer. I did some extensive research (ok, I sent one tweet and got the names of 4 POs in the Area and called all 4) and settled on Renée Kutner of Peace by Piece (Great name, right?) and in just 2.5 sessions, she changed. my. life.

Here’s the QDD on Renée: She’s a member of the NAPO – National Association of Professional Organizers (that’s a real thing!) and she’s a pint-sized organizational machine.  Click here for Renée‘s full bio, but suffice it to say, she’s got an amazing talent for identifying issues and bottlenecks and creating personalized systems for order that anyone can live with.

She came in for a 2 hour assessment of my home, my life, and my personality.  She not only looked at the artfully arranged chaos that is my condo, but asked me questions about my life, my routines, and my priorities. By the end of the session, she had determined that the greatest use of our time would be in my closet, drawers, and bathroom (ding ding ding!) while my kitchen was the lowest man on the priority totem pole (bingo!)  She made some furniture rearrangement suggestions and recommended that I lose one piece of furniture (a simple Ikea desk that I was using to collect junk) and purchase another:

photo courtesy of Home Decorators Collection

This gorgeous distressed buffet (that only took Greg 2 days to assemble for me…) which provides far more storage space.
We then scheduled 2  4-hour sessions (any longer than 4 hours, according to Renée, people start to burn out)

We removed every, single, solitary item from my closet and grouped them or purged them.  (Sidebar: I ended up with 8 garbage bags of items for Goodwill and 5 garbage bags of items I am going to attempt to sell on EBay.  It was unbelievably cathartic.) She really helped me to determine if I should keep or lose things and repeatedly assured me that I am, in fact, NOT a hoarder every time I asked …which was a lot. (Renée to me: “You’re not even a pack-rat!” …Whew.)  She then helped me to assemble all my clothes back in my closet in a way that made sense.  We repeated this process for my drawers and my bathroom and I just can’t tell you how streamlined this has made my morning routine.

Yes, the aesthetic piece of it is nice – I mean my closet went from this:

To this:

And my bathroom went from this:

To this:

but as Renée would tell you, it’s not about having a beautiful closet when she leaves, it’s about creating systems that will ensure that your closet STAYS that way. And now, a month after she left my house, I can tell you, it does pretty much look exactly the sameWhat she put in place for me really makes sense in my life! I’m totally a new woman.

Additionally, I didn’t need to purchase a bunch of new organizational pieces. Renée really made do with what I had, which is working great!  She did suggest a few things that I have absolutely LOVED such as the “Hinge-It” towel rack (my doors are much too high for a traditional over-the-door unit) among a few other pieces (a jewelry bureau, baskets for “incoming” and “outgoing” tasks…)

You can follow Renée on Facebook – she’s always posting great little tips! (Click here)

And register for her newsletter by clicking HERE.

I have to tell you – I think this was some of the best time and the best money I have ever spent!   It was liberating, empowering, and I can totally feel my chi flowing better already!

If you’re feeling overcluttered and overwhelmed, give her a call and get your life in order (one drawer at a time!)

xx, L

Renée Kutner, Chaos Advisor
Peace by Piece Organizing

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Categories: Organizing,PSAs,Tricks of the Trade,What we're Doing