Ugly Spot Studio: 2009

Boy, Do My Friends "Get" Me...

Last night, our group of friends had our annual Christmas party...three years in the making. We always draw names for Secret Santa and exchange. Year before last we did an Ugly Christmas Sweater party, last year we did a Christmas PJ party...this year, it was a little more low-key, there's lots of babies now!

Personal Confession: I am not the "greenest" person on Earth. I try to be, really, but I'm a little OCD about notes. Like To-Do lists, notes at work, etc...they have to be really nice and neat. If I scribble notes during a meeting, I will re-write them afterwards to be really nice and neat. I "might" rewrite some things 3 and 4 times. My co-workers all pick on my crumbled balls of notes. I pretty tech-saavy too, but for me, nothing can replace the act of writing something down. I really love it. I mean, I LOVE filling out forms...but I usually ask for two forms, one to fill out and the second to fill out neatly. I know, I'm sorry:) best friends know this and accept my quirks in love. 

This year, my friend, David Stanfield (a super talented designer by the way) drew my name. He gave me 3 totally awesome gifts:

1. A handmade/illustrated card by David Stanfield himself - super amazing! Picture to come soon. 

2. A beautiful apron from Anthropologie (my soul-store)
I've always wanted a cutsy apron, but never get the nerve to buy one for now I don't have to wear the Starbucks apron that my husband "kept" after he quit the land of Bucks.

3. This AMAZING journal - "Wreck This Journal " by Keri Smith -  I don't know how I didn't know about this before, but FREAKIN-A, this thing is sooo cute! It's truly going to be a challenge because it goes against everything I stand for with regards to neatness, but I accept the challenge!! There's a whole Flikr community behind this project - take a look

I am soo thrilled for Christmas - I love my friends so much and even more because they know me, accept my quirks and STILL love me for who I am:)

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from the Masanotti's

I absolutely love Christmas time! I'm not a huge fan of really cold weather, but I do love layering, coats and scarves, and those don't fit too well with warm cold weather it is...

Jay and I don't have kids yet, we have two precious beagle puppies, so those are our kids for now and I'm sure we will start some crazy traditions when we do have kids but until then, we decided to start some of our own "family" traditions. We've been married three years, so of course we've had the tradition of putting up our tree, decorating with christmas lights, etc...but this year, we wanted to be more intentional, so we made a list of things we would like to do in this Advent season before Christmas Day. 

As my closest friends know all too well, I am addicted to lists...its therapeutic for me:) So...Here is our christmas to-do list (in no particular order):

- make christmas sugar cookies
- listen to christmas music (starting with C.Kincaid's album)
- put up christmas tree
- visit christmastown @ McAdenville, NC
- hang mistletoe
- watch "Elf" & wrap christmas presents
- make hot chocolate & watch "Home Alone"
- go to a brunch with friends (jess)
- christmas present shopping
- joy explosion christmas party
- donate canned goods
- go see a christmas play
- take family christmas picture
- letterpress christmas cards
- mail christmas cards
- make a fancy christmas dinner
- put up a wreath
- go see a new christmas movie (or rent one)
- watch old "rudolf" and "frosty" cartoon movies
- cringle a friends yard
- make gingerbread men/women
- go tubing at SnowPark

Counting down from today, 18 days until Christmas:) Consider making a list of your own for fun things to helps this season be more fun and intentional and for me, helps me not stress out  with all the crazies running around! 

Happy holidays, friends!


Introducing Plain Jane Threads

Apparel & Accessories for the Discerning Baby

Drop by and shop the amazing, handmade designs of Jane Godshall. 


Saturday, November 14 2009

1035 Market Street
Fort Mill, SC 29708

Come stock up on baby clothes for him & her, baby kerchiefs, blankets and more as the Holidays draw near.

Custom Orders Available.

Want to learn how to sew??
Jane also offers classes for sewing, knitting and quilting. Sign-ups available on Saturday.

Please pass on this invitation to all your friends & family who appreciate quality baby fashion!
Hope to see you there!

Top 10 Favorites of Fall

Good morning! I've been working on this list since my birthday (back in September) so I apologize for the delay, but here it is, My Top 10 Favorites of Fall. Fall is my absolute favorite season of the year. A lot of people say because of the cold weather and the leaves falling from the trees, it's a depressing time, but for me, the colors of the leaves are gorgeous and the cold weather means that I can wear big sweaters and awesome coats:) Enjoy!

Top 10 Favorites:

10. My Birthday: I mean, my birthday is the first official day of fall, so how could I not LOVE it. This year was so special ...Jay, my wonderful parents and amazing friends surprised me with my very first letterpress. Super awesome!

 9. Pumpkin Spice & Cinnamon Dolce Lattes: I'm sorry, I'm all about supporting my local coffee shops, but there is NOTHING like a Starbucks latte. I'm not sure what makes theirs different but it just is...and I LOVE it:)

8. Theme Parties!! My friends and I love theme parties. For the last couple of years, we have had everything from "Black & Gold" to "Cowboys & Indians" to "Wedding Receptions for Jim & Pam on the Office" to baby showers that turn into CRAZiest of parties. 

7. Gamecock Football: Every year around the beginning of September, I get that feeling...that feeling that something amazing is about to begin...the cold, crisp air starts smelling a little like tailgating and I know, it is time for GAMECOCK football. Every year, we hope to be amazing...this year, we aren't pretty but so far, we've put up 6 wins against some pretty good teams. GO COCKS!

6. Fall Fashion = LOTS of Layering: Layering is one of my all time favorite things to do. I like to look down at my waist line and see at least two- three contrasting colors...weird, maybe...but awesome in my mind. I also love mixing and matching patterns, fabrics, etc...but only in my mind...not confident enough to do it yet for this picture from Anthropologie, I WISH I had the gumption to do this.

 5. More Fall Fashion = Big Coats and Fancy Scarves: The ironic thing about my obsession with coats is that I only have like 2 coats and one I have had since 9th grade...but no worries, it is getting replaced this year and here is what I'm eyeing at the moment from Old Navy...and this scarf from Anthropologie...yes please.

4. Fall Food = Bring on the Homemade Chili and Soups: Pumpkin Apple Bisque, Smoky Corn Chowder, Baked Potato Soup, My MOTHER & Chris Kincaid's Chili...these are a few of my favorite fall time soups. 

3. BABIES galore! 2009 was amazing for my proverbial family - we have added two very special ladies to our group, Magnolia Louise Godshall and Ethne Rain Calnin. One day, hopefully soon, Jay and I will be able to have kids of our own, but until then, we are working hard to be the best aunt and uncle to these precious babies...This fall, a new face was added to our Mr. Ames Emmanuel Kincaid. After 20 hours of labor, my dear friend, Rachael introduced us to this little man. It was my first witnessed home birth (the labor part, did NOT witness the actual birthing part) and it was spectacular. 

2. TWILIGHT: NEW MOON - I know, its a little crazy and I tried to avoid the madness for as long as I could. I broke down and read the books and have been hooked ever since. I go back and forth from Team Edward and Team Jacob, but November 20th can NOT come soon enough. Please and thank you.

1. The best thing about fall is....My Wedding Anniversary: Okay, you can stop gagging now:) But seriously, three years ago, on November 18th, I married the sweetest, most compassionate and amazing man I know...the best part...he loves this CRAZY girl despite her insanity. PLUS, I LOVED our wedding! If I could go back, I might do some things differently, but overall, it was the best day of my life and seeing those big ole' blues as I walked down the aisle is something I will NEVER forget.

I know, I owe you...

another blog post - its been a month to the day from my last post and I am so sorry. I wish I could be more diligent...I still owe you my favorite things of fall list and that will be posted tonight probably. 

Until then, I'll share this. GLEE is one of my favorite new shows! I love things that really make me laugh and this is definitely one of those things. Last night's episode was hilarious and showcased two of my favorite songs: Bust a Move and the Thong Song:) The latter bringing me back to my high school days. Here is a look at "Bust a Move" to get you going on this beautiful Thursday! (copyright:SONY/FOX)

One for the books...

Today, I turned 26 and if birthday parties could be representative of how that upcoming year will be, this one is definitely going to be one for the books:)

We celebrated this past Sunday. My Host-with-the-Most Husband, Jay, worked tirelessly to create a magical evening. He came up with an amazing menu and invited all the people I love the most in this world. He tried to hold me off (knowing that party planning, cooking and decorating are my heart's passions) for as long as he could, but luckily for me, on Saturday, he relinquished some of the duties to me...and OF COURSE, I went a little crazy. Here is the menu he picked out: Pumpkin Apple Bisque, Country Chili & Cornbread, Cowboy Espresso Ribs, Cilantro Cream Corn and Desserts by Surcee Cupcake Shop. AMAZING. 

I LOVE parties, but even more, I LOVE decorating for parties...I had a fun "craft day" on Saturday...making nametag bands for the mason jars, little food markers and painting chalkboard paint on this piece of wood for the menu. Take a look:

Another awesome thing about birthday parties are the gifts! I love gifts...getting them is awesome, but giving them is my favorite. I got some really amazing gifts this year...from cooking supplies, FRIENDS dvds, weekly organizers, pens and more...but the BEST gift of all was my new Letterpress machine!! Thank you to everyone who made this birthday the greatest ever. Meet my new friend: Adana, the Letterpress:) She and I will be hanging out A LOT.

Giddy Like A Little School Girl

I missed the VMA's but first thing this morning, I made sure I found this and I LOVE it! I think a New Moon party idea is brewing...have got to pull together the other Twilighters in my life to prepare...November cannot get here soon enough.

For those who love this as much as I do:

Last Summer Grill-Out

I didn't realize it until after it was over, but this weekend's cookout with our Charlotte "family", was the last one of the summer. School has started already, full speed...and this morning, the air was noticeably cooler...then to top it all off, Starbucks has brought back my fall-favorite, the Pumpkin-Spice Latte. Fall is coming soon and I for one, am super excited. It's truly my favorite time of year. In fact, I'll continue my annual fall celebration of the top 10 favs of fall in the next couple of weeks. So stay tuned for that:) 

Until then, there are some really exciting things coming up in the next few weeks. There are a whole slew of September birthdays...Nicole's, Kincaid's, April's, Danielle's and...MINE! Even though my birthday isn't until the 22nd, I start celebrating my "birthday month" starting tomorrow...September 1. Sorry, I just LOVE birthdays! 

Thinking about all the birthday celebrations, super fun beach trips (yay!) and school craziness, I think this cookout was the last of summer, 2009. With that being said, I really LOVE grilling out, I LOVE watching my husband (who is pleasantly OCD) work so hard to make the grill perfect, I LOVE setting the table-settings and preparing the mason jars for masanotti's summertime lemonade special, I LOVE Nicole's banana pudding, but most of all, I really LOVE that I have the greatest friends in the world to share it all with. It's a long way away from that little freckled-face (uglyspots) first-grader who never had real friends. Here are some of the highlights from this weekend, enjoy:

Close to My Heart

If you've known me for any length of time, whether in person or even through social avenues (facebook/twitter) you would have probably picked up on the fact that I LOVE hip hop. No, seriously, I really LOVE hip, culture, dance, whatever. In fact, every single Wednesday, I celebrate what I call "Hip Hop Hump Day". It actually started back in college when I worked for the Carolina Alumni Association. It was a weekly event where we had a hip hop radio station come play music on campus. The obsession was there before that, but it really grew from there.

My sweet husband and I are both pretty obsessed with hip hop. We saw "Stomp the Yard" in the movie theater 3 times AND bought the movie on DVD. One of our favorite documentaries is by David LaChapelle called "RIZE" introduces the world to the popular dance movement called "krumping"...seriously amazing stuff. I definitely can't "krump" or least not yet:) I have great ambitions to one day take a hip hop dance class and be AWESOME...hahahaha! Maybe not awesome, but at least be good.

Hip hop gets me through the day...or the week even...hip hop hump days usually turn into hip hop hump Thursday, Friday, etc. Okay, I'll stop now, just wanted to give you a little more insight into my soul...hip hop fits in perfectly with Anthropologie and Paper Crafts, right?!? Ha:)

I'll leave you with one of my favorite new the dance too- so catchy!


Busy-Bee Syndrome...

has attacked me for the last two months, but I THINK it might be wearing off. I really hope so, I'm ready to fact, there are 36 days before my official season of relaxation...Autumn. 

Summer has been way too intense with all the traveling Jay and I have done, coupled with a few design projects and topped off with a REALLY long To-Do list for the school I work for. I managed to make a HUGE dent in the To-Do list, so that is good...and all the traveling...starting the summer off with a trip to Atlanta, followed by an AMAZING time in NYC, Charleston and then a 7-day cruise to the Western Caribbean to wrap it all up. 

We had a great summer, but the busyness of it all has kept me from my passions....craft time, cooking crazy recipes, hosting themed-dinner parties and re-decorating. As Fall draws near, I am making it a goal to make more time for these things that I love so much. 

I always say that the inside of my soul looks like the inside of Anthropologie, and yet, its a crazy shame that I don't allow myself the time to indulge myself in paper crafts, design time or even taste-testing my latest culinary creations. Hopefully things will start to look up as the weather gets cooler, the leaves start changing colors and I can start wearing layers and cute coats!

Oh PS...and its a BIG PS, I have been distracted all day long with this newly released *New Moon* trailer, I am super excited for this movie in November...until then, I'll leave you with this so that you can obsess with me:)

While the Husband's Away...

...the wife will eat! For those who know me best, when Jay goes out of town, I tend to eat cereal for dinner. This past week, it was a mix between Special K with blueberries and Captain Crunch berries:) Well, while my husband is 4500 miles away in Argentina, I got pretty tired of the cereal. I went to the good ole' Harris Teeter to get inspired. I browsed each aisle hoping to get inspired by something amazing. A fun fact about me is that I could eat Mexican or Asian food every day of the week...could also probably eat my weight in chips/salsa or sushi, I've known to do that once...or twice. The vegetables in the produce section caught my eye almost immediately, so I picked up a little of this and a little of that to make a yummy stirfry. Asian was the choice tonight! What next...

I made my way through the cheese aisle successfully without grabbing anything...cheese is my weakness. (I can ALWAYS make an excuse and try to justify how brie goes with everything) But then I stopped for a moment with HT's fresh baked Olive & Herb Filone bread - AMAZING...but no, didn't quite match up with my Asian theme for the night. Finally, I arrived at the seafood section of the deli. They had the biggest scallops I have seen in awhile. I LOVE scallops, but not those little bay guys...those are pretty gross. So I picked up a half pound of scallops to finish off my meal. 

The scallops were easy. I just melted some butter in a skillet, sauteed some fresh garlic, then turned the heat up a bit to sear the scallops on both sides...about 2-3 minutes on each side. I was really excited with the garlicky crust that came about on each one. The veggies were easy to stirfry with just a touch of sesame oil and about a tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce. I was so excited about how yummy this meal was, I decided to share it. I LOVE cooking and trying new recipes and new things, so move aside cereal, I'm going to experiment again tonight...what to cook? Any suggestions??

Speaking of Weddings...

I loved my wedding! My husband and I will celebrate our three year anniversary this November. I find myself in the midst of wedding season, designing invitations to attending friends' weddings, I can't help but reminisce on my own. I really loved everything. That was actually my first wedding invitation design. Jay and I actually met on the internet so a lot of our family and friends were meeting for the first time at our wedding. We did a booklet invitation with a "How we met" section, Invite, Directions, Hotel Info, Reception, etc...

My obsession with wedding planning, decorating, catering, photography, design, etc. grows more and more day I will probably venture out to be a wedding
 day...until then Ill just continue to collect ideas and feed my healthy obsession:)

Most of you didn't know me when Jay and I got married, so here is a glimpse of our day. Photos by the amazing Amanda Zabrocki of Amanda Zabrocki Photography in Columbia, SC.

Let the Wedding Season Begin

I know...technically, the wedding season began a couple months ago, but for me, it is just starting to kick into full gear. To say I've been busy this summer is quite the understatement...working full-time - traveling to NYC, Charleston and the Western Caribbean - trying to squeeze in time for the things I love the most...invitation design, cooking & hosting parties and more.

This week I finished up these wedding itineraries for my dear friend, Mary Kluttz, and her son's upcoming nuptials. Their wedding theme focused on these adirondack chairs...the ultimate symbols of comfort and simplicity, leisure and relaxation - a great way to start off a wonderful marriage...colors are green and ivory. Enjoy!

America! Yay!

Happy 4th of July, friends!

We are going a wedding this afternoon, so we did our 4th celebration with friends last night with a cookout and a mean game of "America ball"...of which my husband is still trying to convince me is a REAL game.

So in continued celebration of the fourth, here are some of my favorite things found as I was browsing some brilliant recipe collections.

Hats off to the queen of entertaining, Martha Stewart

Inspiration for Today

I know, it has been an entire week without a post. I think that's blasphemy in the blogging world, but geez...I work at a K-8 school and we have 2 more weeks of classes left, so these last few weeks are insanely busy. I will try to be better. I have a few design pieces of my own I hope to post soon once they are finished.

I still manage to breeze through my *favorites* in the blogging world though and today, this caught my eye on Style Me Pretty

It's called Sunday Suppers and it is a wonderfully creative collaboration between Casey Solomon and Karen Mordechai from New York. Take a look at this amazing setup and visit their blog to learn more about what Sunday Suppers is all about. (all gorgeous photography by Karen Mordechai...super talented!)

For those who know me best, you know I am completely obsessed with fun dinner parties, cooking fun and delicious new recipes and in the spirit of planning my trip to NYC in June...I'm loving this...even though I will miss it by a month! Check out the details and tell me you aren't getting hungry just reading the menu for that day: 

Sunday July 19, 2009 
Morrocan Feast :: Featuring a Dessert Table by Amy Atlas (!!)


pan seared harissa brushed lemon sole filet, parsley and mint puree, lemon cilantro yogurt sauce

tajine w/chicken, preserved lemon and cracked olives 
coriander and feta polenta
roasted beet salad with fresh mint 

fig and sesame tart with orange cardamom cream
Yes, Please!!

Heading Out for the Long Weekend, Looking Forward to This...

This movie is going to be amazing:) So glad someone finally decided to step up and Spike Jonze is just the right person, I think.

National Stationary Show 2009...Best of the Best

A friend at work shared this little secret of awesome-ness with me earlier this year. Because of an event here in Charlotte, I couldn't make the trip to NYC for the National Stationary Show which is wrapping up today, but I am determined to make it up in 2010.

I've perused the many vendors that did make it this year, and there were some AMAZING pieces showcased from so many talented artists. I have a growing obsession with handcrafted invitations and even more so with letterpress...Here are my three favorites from the show:

Voted Best in Show this year: Kamal
(image via Design*Sponge)

I'm completely in LOVE with the reusable gift wrap and more amazing pieces from Chewing the Cud in San Francisco.

to wrap up my favorites from the show, here is a taste of the latest and greatest from SusyJack* in NYC

Enjoy these inspiring pieces and more featured at Design*Sponge!

Tea Party Invitations...Part Deux

I think after two orders for these specific invitations, I should officially name the collection, right? Maybe since they were first created for my friend, April, and her baby shower, I will name it the "Ethne Rain Collection" after her daughter, Ethne Rain Calnin. 

There it is...these tea party invitations are officially dubbed the Ethne Rain Collection. How fun is that! So, got an order for these invites, but changing the baby-terms to bridal. I think I have reached my limit on the handcrafting though...50 invitations is going to be the max for hand-making all the elements to this design. My poor hands look like they got in a slap fight with my x-acto knife...its all well worth it though to have that fun handcrafted look, right?!?

Enjoy the latest! Oh and ps...if you need any invitations for any event, please let me know...I do take orders and LOVE to do it. Email me here.

Step Aside Betty Crocker...

Introducing my new favorite cupcake baker: Nicole Godshall

Not only is she my favorite cupcake baker, she is one of my greatest friends...and hopefully with a little more practice, a lot more taste-testing sessions (yes, please!) and the "OK" nod from her hubby, she will be able to venture out into possibly opening a cupcake shop of her own in the neighborhood village. If you are in and around the Charlotte area and would like to place an order, contact Nicole here.

These aren't just your regular joe-shmoe cupcakes...she whips up these amazing concoctions from scratch that involve words like ganache and manages to look amazing in her apron (you know how i love aprons!)...Yesterday's experiment was the "Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache" recipe (via CupCakeBlog)

AMAZING...simply amazing...I was nearby sticking my finger in each of the bowls...taste-testing (it's my job...duh!) throughout the whole process. She even let me lick the spatula! I really hope she opens her own cupcake shop one day (soon!!) because I've already been hired as the Official Taste Tester...the OTT that is. Enjoy!

Alice in Wonderland Photoshoot

My friend, Bracken, is a wonderful painter/mixed-media artist here in Charlotte. She asked me to model in an "Alice in Wonderland"-themed photoshoot today. I am totally flattered that she would even think of me (refer to uglyspots story...)

Inspired by vintage clocks and antique mirrors, here is a sneak peek at the genius of my friend and her vision. She will chose a photo and then use it to create a mixed media painting. I can't wait to see the final product.

Thanks for the opportunity, Bracken!!

These are a few of my favorite things...

I'm actually in the middle of a couple invitation designs, so today I wanted to share one of my favorite things...APRONS. Step aside you feminists and woman activists...there is something quite empowering about cooking and creating culinary delights in the kitchen (um...hello TOP CHEF) and what better way to enjoy cooking than to be SUPER stylish and adorable at the same time.
My obsession with aprons is constantly fed by Anthropologie. They have truly made an art with the designs showcased in their store.

I know this is probably nothing new to most, but is such a great website for creatives. Check out some of these two aprons featured on there right now via Pamwares and Sassyapron. Enjoy!


My First 5K Race

The last time I tried to run more than 2 miles at one time, I passed out on the track in high school. Ha! No really...but the last 2 months, I've coached a "Girls on the Run" team at the school. If you don't know what GOTR is, you've GOT to check it out. In short, it is a program created by Molly Barker to educate girls in grades 3-8 on healthy living and self respect. 

Our group met every Tuesday and Thursday each week, learning great life-lessons specifically for girls... like how to stand up for yourself, how to see and respect the beauty of every girl, to not gossip, etc...each lesson involves running and training for the big end-of-the-season 5k race. 

Our race was this past Saturday and here is my lovely 5th grade running partner, Genna. We finished our 3.1 miles in 36 minutes. We had beautiful weather and my hula skirt didn't slow me down one bit...long story:)

Maybe I'll run another...soon!

Recipe of the Week

It all started at a little whole in the wall Chinese restaurant in Atlanta with a crazy group of friends. The Chinese. Luckily, our friend, Stephanie, was able to translate for us and we decided the best way to eat was to order 11 plates of different things and taste them all. Perfect plan! They had a HUGE lazy susan on the table, so the plates were set and feasting began on the turntables.

Out of the 11 plates, there was one in particular that was the overall favorite...Honey Walnut Shrimp.

That night of feasting-fun was a couple of months ago, but the dish remained in my mind. This week I decided to journey through the web to find a recipe that could give me that dish. I think I found one yesterday, so I made it last night for dinner. See below.

Here is the recipe (via


  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup mochiko (glutinous rice flour)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon canned sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil for frying


1. Stir together the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the walnuts. Boil for 2 minutes, then drain and place walnuts on a cookie sheet to dry.

2. Whip egg whites in a medium bowl until foamy. Stir in the mochiko until it has a pasty consistency. Heat the oil in a heavy deep skillet over medium-high heat. Dip shrimp into the mochiko batter, and then fry in the hot oil until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

3. In a medium serving bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, honey and sweetened condensed milk. Add shrimp and toss to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle the candied walnuts on top and serve.

Honey Walnut Green Beans and Fried Rice (compliments of Trader Joes) complimented the shrimp deliciously. I'll definitely add this recipe to my collection. I loved it! Let me know if you do too:)

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