Rustic Elegance for Big Day

Creating a personalized countryside retreat at Cedar Springs Farm Event Venue

Couples and their guests will enjoy a truly personalized experience at Cedar Springs Farm Event Venue. The property has been in Dr. Joe Phillips’s family since 1911 when his grandfather purchased the property. When Phillips bought the property 1984, he restored the cabins and structures, creating the perfect countryside retreat for weddings and other events.

Dr. and Mrs. Joe Phillips have restored the property and made it the perfect place for weddings and other events.

Spanning 180 acres in all, there’s a cabin for the bride and bridesmaids to get ready, one for the groom and groomsmen, a large barn for the reception, a grassy area where they can put church pews for the ceremony and plenty of parking space in the adjacent field.

Each cabin is filled with charm and personal touches, including furniture Dr. Phillips made himself. Spring and fall are the most popular times to book the venue for a wedding, and it’s really a blank canvas for whatever couples want it to look like for their big day.

The venue is located at 784 Phillips Road in Lebanon, and you can see more photos of it at For information on booking, contact Penny Carroll at 615-330-9521.

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White Done Right

What you need to know before choosing white paint for your home

Each year when our Wilson Living wedding issue rolls around, you can find me doing the same thing. Shaking my head and wondering what I can share about home and design that’s relevant to weddings. One year, my column was on preserving mementos; last year, it was about readying your guest room for wedding guests.

However, this year’s topic became very clear to me when participating in Wilson Bank and Trust’s Southern Home and Garden Expo a few weeks ago: color.

Everyone wants to know about color.

What color is popular? Which colors are trendy? How do I choose the right paint color? Help, I chose the wrong paint color!

These are just a few of the color questions I heard during the weekend at the expo. In fact, this was my fifth year there, and I had more questions about color this year than any other year. But that suited me just fine because I love color, and I love to talk about color.

So how does this tie into the wedding issue? By examining the predominant color of weddings that also happens to be all the rage in interiors right now: white.

White sounds so simple and easy, and it can be, if you learn a bit about selecting it first. White is not just white. There are literally hundreds of shades of white. To choose the correct shade of white to use in your home, you must first understand the undertones of white.

There are five undertones of white, but here are the four most common:

  • Blue-white
  • True white
  • Off white
  • Cream or yellow-white

The fifth undertone of white is gray-white, which can actually appear greige. Whites with an undertone of gray are never a good choice for millwork or ceilings because they will appear dirty. Gray whites are an option best left for walls, and I’ll address that next. Simply know that when choosing white for a space, it will typically be found in one of the Top 4 categories.

If you are selecting a white for an existing space, you must first determine the undertones of the fixed elements of the space. What are fixed elements? Anything that is “fixed” in the space and cannot be easily moved or changed is a fixed element.

Examples of these would be wood flooring, tile flooring, stone countertops and carpet. Look to these elements to discern what whites and undertones already exist in them, and that is how you will choose the category of whites from which to select your paint color.

Once the undertone category has been selected, you must then compare and contrast whites in the category against the fixed elements in the space, and it should be very apparent which white to select. Comparing is best done against a true white, one with no discernable undertone. I use Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace BM OC-65 when comparing and contrasting whites.

If selecting a white color for millwork, ceilings or cabinets for a new build, it makes it a bit easier, but you should always select the fixed elements first before ever selecting paint colors.

But what about white walls? They are currently trending in every shelter magazine, all over Pinterest and on popular decorating websites and blogs. And personally, I think there is nothing as beautiful as white/greige backdrop with well-selected accessories that pop against it. But again, understanding the undertone of the white is key.

White walls should only be used in rooms with plenty of natural light. Using white in a space that does not have abundant natural light will make the room look dim and dirty, not light and bright.

Those beautiful images online and in magazines? They were professionally photographed by a photographer who specializes in interior photography, with an understanding of light and how to capture the shot to get the most appealing results.

That doesn’t mean the specified color does not work in that particular space but that you need to make sure you have adequate light to support white. I’ve only touched on color selection, but if you use these general guidelines, you should be able to get white….right!

If you still lack confidence, give me a call. I’ve been trained in color specification by the very best in the business, and I’d love to help you. The chart below gives examples of each of the categories I mention, and it’s easy to see the undertones as they are beside each other.

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Presidential Perspective

Experiencing country’s changing political climate first hand

The 2016 presidential election was undoubtedly the most tumultuous of my lifetime, so after receiving tickets to sit on the Capitol grounds with my high school classmate living in Northern Virginia, I booked my flights to Washington.

Stepping onto the DC Metro at Reagan International, I was greeted by typically irritated commuters along with the sights and smells of public transportation in a major city. Though born and raised in the South, my time living in New York City cemented the unspoken rules of mass transit — don’t speak to strangers, keep your head down and most importantly, don’t make eye contact.

I took my standing position in the corner when several large men stepped onto the train in full Texan regalia: three-piece suits, cowboy hats, shined boots and large Donald Trump buttons on their lapels. The typical train atmosphere of silence, screeching brakes and smartphone screens was filled with laughter and southern drawls as the Texans discussed with other supporters from throughout the South and Midwest about the various inauguration balls they were planning to attend.

The presence of these Republican Texans on a crowded Metro train packed with citizens of the District of Columbia, 90 percent of which voted for Hillary Clinton, was a microcosm for the entire inauguration weekend. Supporters of Mr. Trump had won the battle, and they were here to celebrate the victory.

Wandering through the National Mall, it was as if the entirety of the District had left town for the weekend, leaving a void to be filled by Republicans for the first time in nearly a decade. Vendors sold buttons and cheap scarfs, and the sidewalks were swarming with peoples of all kinds, each wearing a bright red hat reading “Make America Great Again.”

At 4:30 a.m. on the morning of the inauguration, my friend and I took the Metro into the city. During inauguration festivities, the DC Metropolitan area essentially closes for business, but the Metro was teeming with energy from Mr. Trump’s supporters from all around the country.

Arriving at our checkpoint at Union Station, we stood in line for the 6 a.m. opening of security, being conducted by the always-joyful Transportation Security Administration. We walked through metal detectors, had dogs sniff us and the officers even made us take our wallets and smartphone cases apart. Finally, we took our seats in the front row of Section 11 at 7:15 am to await President Trump’s Inauguration.

It was a typical January morning in Washington — cold and damp with a drizzling rain. There were no protestors here, just a sense of unity for all of those who had fought to secure Mr. Trump’s place in the White House. Many around us had volunteered hundreds of hours to the campaign in battleground states, so this victory was personal.

Soon enough, the choir began to sing “God Bless America,” and the ceremony began. It was filled with prayer and excitement, though a momentary speech by Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer brought boos and an uproarious chant of “Trump, Trump, Trump.” When Mr. Trump finally took the stage, the aura of unity in the crowd was unlike anything I had ever experienced, as the National Mall exploded in cheer and applause.

His inauguration day will be the only time in his presidency that President Trump will be surrounded by supporters in Washington, DC. By the next morning, many had returned home, and Washington began to erupt in a wildly different tone.

My friend and I knew the Women’s March had been scheduled for the next day, so we decided to take the Metro into the city. With no bright red caps in sight, we instead saw a wave of pink hats and picket signs — hundreds of thousands of angry Americans protesting everything from women’s rights to environmentalism and gun violence. No longer did the people gather to chant for the president, but instead, they began to say “No Trump, No KKK, no Fascist USA!” Pouring down the National Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, the protestors were never violent, but undoubtedly angry.

The 2017 presidential election was a turning point for the United States political sphere. The momentum that carried President Obama and the Democratic Party to victory in 2008 and 2012 could not be passed onto Mrs. Clinton, and President Trump stood ready to address the grievances of millions of Americans. Though time will tell of his ultimate success, his inauguration weekend proved his election is the most polarizing in decades.

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Telling Tales: How the Other Half Lives

Spring break is upon us! And the “us” I’m talking about is the collective group of parents who, yet again, did the unthinkable. As usual, our kids are going nowhere! A fact that you would think, by now, wouldn’t surprise them.

We are not spring breakers. But that’s ok. Because what we are, are spring cleaners!

So for the next two weeks while most other families are sunning and surfing, skiing and socializing, the Kane kids will be otherwise occupied.

Nothing makes me happier than spring cleaning. Out with the old, in with the new. Baseboards will shine, tupperware will be organized and all those socks will finally find their match. Who needs sand, surf and all you can eat shrimp buffets, when you can spend your days reorganizing closets?


And should you see my children at Walmart making a resupply run, don’t let them fool you, they love it just as much as I do!

That glazed look they might give you, is nothing more than a Pine-Sol stupor, because at our house we go old school. While “green” may be all the rage, unless it smells like over-powering chemicals burning a hole through your lungs, we don’t consider it clean.

Sure, we may not have those beachside photos or ski resort photo ops, but we make our own memories just the same. And just because we don’t choose to flaunt them on social media doesn’t make them any less fun. Because in my book, fun begins and ends with a toothbrush, a room filled with dirty grout and my two kids and I making it shine.

Of course, when the school doors reopen after break, our kids are always more excited than most to be back at school. Do I take it personally? Not a bit.

You see, growing up, I was one of those kids who always went to the beach for Spring Break. Gulf Shores was our family’s destination of choice. Dad would load us up, Mom would have sandwiches made for the 10-hour car ride and off we would go. My favorite stop along the way was Stuckey’s and Shoney’s. Once we got to the beach, my brother and I would build sand castles and play in the waves day in and day out. Day in and day out. Day in and day out!

Until we finally returned home burned to a crisp, sand within every crevice of our station wagon, and ready to murder each other.

It’s how the other half lives.

No thank you! I’ll take clean grout and matching socks any day.

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Telling Tales: But Boys Are Easier Than Girls

Every so often while in conversation with another mom or dad, one will say, “Be glad you have boys. At least you don’t have to worry about” fill in the blank. We are usually talking about teenage hormones, self-esteem or dating. I’m positive no one ever makes statements like that to minimize the effort, patience and sometimes obscene amounts of chocolate and unhealthy carbohydrates it takes to raise a boy.

Yes, teenage boys experience their fair share of hormones. The difference between boys and girls on the hormonal front? Where shall I begin? Clint Eastwood, UFC and ESPN has convinced our lads, and probably our lad’s dads, that to be tough, the showing of emotions is a “no-no.” Some days I feel like a computer antivirus trying to delete sexist spam that gets through their firewall. Sure, there are a few sports legends and movie stars that break outside of that box and shed a tear every now and then. But I’ll bet they didn’t show so much as an eye twitch as a 15-year-old boy with acne and no makeup to cover it up with.

This has been a tough one. As the mother of boys, there’s an expectation that I should be laid back about this. You know, because I have boys. If laid back means my husband and I talking to our boys about things that our parents never did — like explaining that consequences of bad behavior can be far more life changing than early parenthood OR waiting until WE feel our little Johnny Hormone is ready emotionally for dating then, yes, we are laid back. Keep in mind, that with all our effort, our boys may still do things they shouldn’t when it comes to dating — girls do too.

While it’s been said that men are simple creatures, teenage boys are not. They can be just as mysterious as their female counterparts. You know why? BECAUSE THEY WON’T TALK TO YOU ABOUT THEIR FEELINGS! This is the worst. As past president and volunteer social secretary of the Low Self Esteem Club, I’m probably hypersensitive to early warning signs of LSE… when it comes to women. But with boys, it’s totally different. Because even in 2015, girls are taught to express their feelings while boys are often (but not always) encouraged to suck it up. So, when boys feel bad, they don’t “talk it out.” Because to acknowledge “feelings” would be admitting weakness. Trying to teach my boys that it’s OK to talk things out isn’t always an easy task. It gets a lot of eye rolls when I start in on this topic.

Encouraging my sons through the awkward hormonal years, being strict about dating and making sure they know that it’s OK to be different is just as important to me as it is for you to teach your daughters to be empowered.

The truth is, I can’t be laid back about certain things. I want this boy to grow up into a wonderfully kind man who shows respect to all people. But shows the most respect to those living in his home.

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Homegrown Shopping

Watertown Mile Long Yard Sale celebrates three decades

What started out as a way to bring attention to local businesses and revenue to the city has now turned into one of the most popular events in the state, drawing nearly 20,000 visitors and more than 100 vendors from across the country. And on April 22, the Watertown Mile Long Yard Sale (MLYS) turns 30. That’s 30 years of bringing treasure seekers, young and old, to the city so many love to call home.

In 1987 (its inaugural year), the Watertown Mile Long Yard Sale included a few dozen vendors along a one-mile stretch of Main Street. This year, event coordinator and owner of Jim’s Antiques on the Square, Jim Amero, expects more than 130 vendors to set up shop along two miles of city streets.

As it turns out, Wilson Living has a close connection with the event. Co-founder Angel Kane’s mother-in-law, Nell Kane, along with Jackie Chitwood organized the very first MLYS in 1987.

With the spring sale just weeks away, Amero says everyone is preparing for what they hope will be the biggest MLYS to date.

“After being cooped up all winter, people can’t wait for the sale,” Amero says. “It’s a great excuse to get outside.”

From antiques, collectibles, furniture and dishware to fresh garden produce, homemade jams and jellies, there’s something for everyone. Perhaps even more interesting than the “treasures” are the people you will meet along the way.

“When you bring out thousands of shoppers and more than 100 vendors to an event, you are going to see some unique items and the stories behind them are even more unique,” Amero says.

With just a few vendor booths available for the upcoming spring sale, Amero is already fielding calls and taking reservations for the fall sale scheduled for Oct. 7. It might be a little hectic, but Amero wouldn’t have it any other way.

“The Mile-Long Yard Sale is great exposure for us. It’s a chance to introduce ourselves to new people. We don’t offer a put-on ‘come back again.’ We really want you to come back. And it’s another way to show our town off,” he says.

On April 22, as you stroll past vendors, you will be privy to incredible stories related to the individuals and the items they sell. While there’s no shortage of serious shoppers, most come to see the unusual and socialize. It is Americana at its best.

For more information, contact Amero at 615-237-1777 or visit

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Telling Tales: Wit & Wisdom

During the past three years, I’ve learned so many things about my dad. But two stand out the most.

One, it is essential to find humor in dark situations.

Two, nothing, AND I MEAN NOTHING, is more important than regular bowel movements. Besides talking about those bowel movements.

So it’s 6:45 Thursday morning. Coffee is ready, the Western Channel is playing “Gunsmoke” loud enough to shake my mother’s urn and Ralph is stalling.

This disease has taken him a bit further down the rabbit hole making changes to his routine upsetting. But today’s appointment at an area specialty center is essential. This evaluation will help determine if it’s safe for him to continue driving.

“Now why do I have to go to this appointment? I know how to drive! I drive all the time. In fact, the last time I took a driver’s test, they told me I never had to take it again. I was THAT good. I have a routine. This is screwing up my whole day. And I couldn’t sleep last night after you told me about this! I haven’t gone to the bathroom yet. And if I don’t have a BM — that’s a bowel movement, Becky — in the morning, I’ll get constipated.”

“I know what a BM is. Let’s not talk about that now,” I countered. “You have to go. They just have to make sure your reflexes are still sharp. And the insurance company needs to make sure it’s still safe for you to drive.”

“What insurance? I go there all the time. They love me. In fact, they said I have the best driving record of anyone. They said I can drive as long as I want. NO. QUESTIONS. ASKED!”

“This isn’t up to the insurance company dad. We need to make sure you are good to continue driving. You won’t have to take the test for another year.”

“What the hell do you mean? I have to take it again next year?! Let me call them. They aren’t going to jack me around and mess up my BM routine just because they need something to do. I’ll tell them. I don’t mind at all.”

“You have to go, Dad.”

“Why? My reflexes are great. They are just trying to squeeze money out of me. The jokes on them! I don’t have any money, dammit!”

“It’s because of your neuropathy, dad.”

“My what? I don’t have that. I don’t have any opathys!”

It’s now 7:20. Dad still hasn’t taken a shower or had a… whatever. If we leave right now, we’d still be late. I call and get the OK that we can be 30 minutes late. I’m sure they’ve dealt with situations like this. So now I have one hour and 10 minutes to make this happen.

Dad starts another stall tactic.

“Did I show the pictures Mikey sent?” Mikey being my big brother.

“No, I didn’t. I’ll look at them while you get ready to go. Hurry, Dad, we have to leave. Laura just texted and said she’s stuck in traffic.”

“Why would I care if she’s in traffic? Did you tell her what you’re making me do?”

“She’s meeting us there, so she’s well aware of the appointment.”

He finally retreats to his bathroom to get ready.

At 8:10 AM, he’s ready. I called the office again to tell them we would be later than 8:30. That’s when I get the news that we will have to reschedule his appointment.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! My sister and I have to go through this again in 14 days. We scheduled this appointment for three o’clock in the afternoon. This will make it easier for all of us. My sister and I will be able to work a half day before taking him, and dad won’t have to worry about his BMs getting off track.

When I tell dad that we’ve missed the appointment, he’s as happy as a clam. When I phone my sister and tell her we’ve missed it, she is pissed. She was on the elevator at the hospital where Dad’s appointment is scheduled.

“You tell him that I sat in traffic for an hour and 15 minutes to get to his appointment!”

So I did.

“Hold on. Dad, Laura said to tell you she sat in traffic for over an hour trying to get to your appointment. This has really upset her day.”

He takes the phone from me.

“Laura, hi honey, it’s Dad. You know when I go to Nashville, I take Lebanon Road. It’s stupid to take the interstate during rush hour. Don’t do that again. Love you, honey. Here’s your sister again.”

We’ve scheduled a new appointment, and to be safe until then we’re replacing fruits, vegetables and fiber of any kind with cheese and milk.

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Telling Tales: Doing What We Can

So this morning, much to the chagrin of my 14-year-old son, I was making chocolate protein balls — basically water, chocolate protein powder and almond butter. (No licking the bowl at our house anymore!)

The conversation went something like this:

Neill – (with a look of horror) “What are you making?”

Me – “Protein balls.” (also with a look of horror)

Neill – “Why? You’ve made it this far.”

Me – “Made it this far? What does that mean?”

Neill – “I mean you’ve lived this far already. Why start eating like this now?”

Why indeed?

The good thing about my chocolate balls is that when I put these babies in the fridge, no one, and I mean no one, steals one. (Yeah me!)

Hey, at least I’m trying.

Not the best motto to live by, but not the worst either.

I take my vitamins when I remember.

Go to kickboxing if I can fit it in between work and a ballgame.

Eat hummus and veggies at the office, so long as I don’t forget to pack my lunch.

And contemplate giving up soda, white bread and processed food at least three times each week.

Recently, a group of my 40-something friends has been on a serious health kick. Exercising together, eating super healthy, encouraging each other in a group called “Lean 13”.

The ladies group has their own messaging app and all day long are texting and encouraging each other with recipes, workout meet-ups and motivational memes.

Some days, I watch intently as my phone blows up with their messages and then I force myself to go work out with them. Other days, I turn off the group notifications because I’m sure they can somehow see me making a doughnut run while sipping on my full-fat caramel mocha latte.

This morning I turned the girls back on.

I took my vitamins, ran at the park and then made my protein balls. And being it’s a good day. I’m also contemplating not cracking open that cold sprite in the fridge.

Tomorrow, I may not be as good. And that’s OK. Because the next day I might be again.

As my wise 14-year-old said, I’ve made it this far. And I’m going to try my best to make it a little farther.

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Telling Tales: No More Leftovers

It’s no secret to my friends, family and anyone wandering the cleaning aisle of the local grocery that I don’t enjoy cleaning. I enjoy cooking, eating, reading, reading about eating and cooking and so on. I do not enjoy cleaning. It’s a necessary evil that can’t be avoided. While cleaning, the only time I stop complaining is when I’m gagging while cleaning my boys’ bathroom. (I will never understand how a man can be trained to hit a target at 1,000 yards away but hitting the space inside a toilet eludes him?)

It’s the time it takes to clean that bugs me most. When I go at it, I go at it with both barrels. (Just like when I doubled down on the freshmen 15 in college.) Everything gets cleaned and organized — even the toothpaste cap and pantry. There are times when someone “pops” over without notice or I agree to host a jewelry/cooking tool/clothing party when I must rush the cleaning process. This is what I call giving my home the “illusion of clean.” Don’t open a door, you might get hurt.

My youngest child is very much like his dad. Major Type A personality. He knows where his shoes are and probably yours. His room is always clean. He’s the child that’s with me when I lose my car keys, can’t find a pen or run out of gas (don’t ask!). When he shows me that my keys are hanging in the front door lock or points to a pen stuck behind my ear, there’s always a note of sarcasm in his gestures and a look in his eyes that say, “When I’m old enough, I’m putting you in a home.”

With three teenagers, we are always rushing. That being said, there are times when cleaning the refrigerator out gets overlooked… many, many times. So a few days ago, I decided it was time. Mostly, because I had run out of plastic storage containers and it was either buy more or clean out the fridge.

If it were a crime to purchase produce, take it home and let it sit in the back of the fridge until it changes colors and shrivels to half its normal size; I’d be serving a life sentence in prison.

After spending two hours throwing away, washing out and swearing that this will be the last time I ever wait this long to clean it out, the task was complete. It’s amazing how much brighter that interior light is when there’s not so much stuff crammed in. I don’t mean to brag, but it looked brand new.

A few minutes later, I heard my boys bound down the stairs most likely heading to the kitchen to get a snack. When the pantry door shut I knew the fridge was next on their quest for sustenance. Suddenly I heard my youngest scream out in a terrified voice, “WE’VE BEEN ROBBED! WE’VE BEEN ROBBED!” My husband and I ran into the kitchen where he was standing in front of the open fridge with a very confused look on his face.

When he saw me he said, “Where’s all the food?” I had the opportunity to tell him the truth. That this is the way a refrigerator is meant to look. But, that would mean I’d probably get that all too familiar look from him. So I did what I had to do.


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