It’s time I get honest with you: I don’t like carving pumpkins. I love picking out pumpkins. And I love roasting up a pan of pumpkin seeds and eating pumpkin-flavored sweets. But that whole part in between where you have to wade through pounds of pumpkin goop and struggle with a knife trying to stick to a pattern that you know full well isn’t going to turn out the way you want it to? Yeah I hate that stuff. So this year, I decided to change up my Halloween decor with a different “gourd” idea: Painted pumpkins. In lieu of carving up a Jack O’Lantern for my stoop, I put down the knife and reached for a paintbrush. These colorful, modern and whimsical pumpkins are less of a mess to craft and harder to mess up.

Y'all, I am tired. I wanted to come back from my trip to Chicago with lots of great stories and tons of pictures. Instead, all I have is a collection of blisters, a few pairs of shorts caked with mud (I need to get on the laundry, I know) and a dozen or so snapshots from my Instagram account ( @formalfringe, follow me there and on Twitter!). Still, my trip to the Lollapalooza music festival was an absolute blast! There was great food, great sights and way too many amazing bands. My favorites were Delta Spirit, White Rabbits, FUN. and Jack White (you might know him as one half of The White Stripes). If you like live music and you ever get the chance, go. Until then, live vicariously through my terrible (sorry!) iPhone photos.

April was a whirlwind for me. I've been traveling a ton, thanks mainly to a work event in Miami and Southwest's cheap fares to Austin, Texas. I wanted to catch up and share some of the things that I've been seeing, doing and eating. I spent a weekend in Austin, Texas visiting up with some great friends from college. They played wonderful hosts, showing us around the city and introducing us to some of the best that Austin has to offer. I left Texas with tons of inspiration and ideas for hip summer entertaining. I had some amazing beer... Shiner Ruby Redbird really is the perfect summer brew. It's got flavors of Texas Ruby Red grapefruit and ginger. I found some when I got back home to Atlanta, so look around your local grocery store and see if you can find this diamond for your next summer party. ...and some amazing barbeque... This here is Rudy's. It's a local chain, and  the one I went to in Austin was curiously attached to a gas station. I immediately knew it was eaither going to be terrible, or the best thing I've ever tasted. I'm very pleased to say it was the latter. The thing I loved most about Rudy's was how everything at the restaurant—from the plain picnic tables to the "plates" of torn butcher paper—fit the atmosphere of a down home backyard BBQ. Oh, and they do barbeque right at Ruby's, giving you half a loaf of plain white bread and all the pickles you can eat.