Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Southern Spotlight- Andrea Dean

Andrea and I are from the same small town in West Virginia.  Her dad was my history teacher in high school. Her mother was the dean of girls at my junior high.  Thanks to the miracles of social media, we actually reconnected and have gotten to know each other better through Pinterest.

Before I introduce you to Andrea I want to talk about her parents first. Her mother is more than beautiful. She has this elegance, style and grace about her that is a rarity in any woman. I've never seen her disheveled or looking undone. Andrea definitely takes after her mother. They both remind me of a classic French woman; they look good in everything and always know the right things to say.  Me and all the girls I know from home always felt comfortable going to Andrea's mom with our pubescent discoveries, complaints and woes. She is one of the kindest people I have ever met.  I'm convinced that Mrs. Dean has never had a bad hair day or has ever worn an uncoordinated outfit. Andrea's dad has passed but he, like Mrs. Dean was a staple in the school system for decades.

He was funny and charming and never forgot your name. Mr. Dean was a good teacher and he had a way making you feel comfortable in his class. I was never ashamed to ask questions or ask for additional help. He loved Andrea very much and would light up like a Christmas tree when someone mentioned her name.

My first memory of Andrea was during junior high. She would come to see her mom during the school day and had the coolest car; a green MG (young people should Google that to find out what an MG actually is). It was bright green and hard to miss but Andrea made it cool.

Take my word on this- you haven't really lived unless you have traveled to South Carolina with your older sister (in the middle of July with no A/C mind you) in an MG that had a rag top eternally stuck in the down position. Hot doesn't even begin to cover that experience. Misery also comes to mind. But that is a story for a different day.

It is my sincere pleasure to introduce to you, Miss Andrea Dean.

A picture from the now famous Witches Tea Party. Andrea's mother, Eyvonne is seated in the center.
 Andrea is on the left wearing the black gloves. 

Describe yourself in five words:

Animal lover, creative, artistic, southern, hostess. 

Describe your typical day to me and my readers.

A typical day for me starts a little later than most people. I work for a utility company in sales so I get up around 8:30, get ready and head to work.  I spend the day talking to customers and trying to resolve their issues.  I definitely encounter some odd characters but it makes the day more interesting.  Since my divorce and the passing of my father, my mom and I have decided to live together.  It works out well since I don’t like the idea of her living by herself.  We bought a house on the west side of Charleston, tucked in a charming little neighborhood where we live with our fur babies Coco and Maggie Mae.

Tell me and my readers about your adorable fur babies!

Coco is a 2 yr. old white Poodle and Maggie Mae is a 10 yr. old white Maltese.  They have such unique personalities.  Maggie is sweet yet independent and calm.  Coco is just a bundle of endless energy, never meets a stranger and thinks that absolutely everyone wants to kiss her!  Both of these girls have wardrobes and accessories to die for.  I feel that they contribute greatly to the positive energy of the house which I hope is always warm and inviting. 

Maggie Mae looks gorgeous with her necklace and pink bow. She's gorgeous!

Coco in one of her holiday ensembles. What a pretty baby.

Miss Coco again wearing her pajamas. Y'all, this dog is wearing pajamas!

Maggie Mae wearing a Christmas hat.

The beautiful girls relaxing and being fantastic. I love these dogs!

How do you describe a Southern Belle?

Andrea and her baby girl, Coco.

My mom and I have always enjoyed decorating and cooking…. when I was growing up Southern Living was practically a Bible at our house.  There is a distinction when you visit a southern home.  People are naturally warm and friendly and always want you to eat, drink and visit.  I think of a Southern Belle as the embodiment of that philosophy, someone who is full of grace, incredibly kind, beautiful inside and out, generous and hospitable with exquisite taste, culinary and baking skills.

Take a look at some of the beautiful tablescapes that Andrea and her mom have created. 

I feel that sense of hospitality and style is ingrained in me.  I believe that true southern style has a definite European influence yet it’s more relaxed and inviting. 

Andrea has great taste. There are so many wonderful pieces in this vignette.

How would you describe your decorating style?

I would describe my personal interior decorating style as having a French and Italian influence.  Although my garden is haphazard and overgrown like an English garden, with antique and modern roses amidst a mess of other randomly placed flowers and bushes.  My favorite color is pink so I try to incorporate that into the house and garden as much as possible while keeping it refined.  Since sitting on the porch, drinking iced tea and gossiping with friends is an almost daily activity in southern homes a well-appointed porch is a must. 

You love all things Halloween. At what age do you remember getting interested in the holiday and how did it happen?

As long as I can remember fall has been my favorite season, maybe because I was born in October or because it really is the start of the holiday season.  I have always loved the crispness of the air, the green of the trees morphing into burnt orange and yellow and all the tastes and smells of autumn.  So naturally I love Halloween.  I think of it as the holiday with no pressure.  It’s all about fun.  You don’t have to search for the perfect gift for all those on your list or prepare an elegant dinner to celebrate.  You just buy some candy and give it away! Perfect! 

I have spent a long time collecting what I consider elegant Halloween decorations.  Some of my favorite pieces are the bride and groom skeleton couple that perch on my mantle to oversee all of the festivities, the ghosts that burst through my upstairs windows and my three cackling sister witches brewing up a concoction in their glowing green cauldron. 

Several years ago, I decided that a Witches Tea Party would be the perfect way to celebrate my favorite holiday.  So, I put together a traditional tea party with tea sandwiches, cakes, and assorted goodies with a little bit of a twist.  The party was held in my front yard, started right before dusk and those who attended were requested to wear their favorite witch’s attire and bring a pumpkin for carving.  Each year the party has evolved into a better interpretation of the last and everyone really seems to have a great time. 

Here's a few pictures from Andrea's Witches Tea Party. Watch for an entire post in the month of October focused on this unique and fun event!

What is your favorite vacation spot and why?

Since the time between October and January is so hectic, my ideal vacation is to head to St. Thomas, USVI in January.  The water there is such a clear beautiful blue, it really energizes me to get through the rest of the winter. 

How do you keep your life in balance?

I don't have a set strategy. I just try to plan events and prepare what I can ahead of time. Of course nothing ever goes as smoothly as anticipated so I rely on help from my mom and friends. Somehow, we always get it together in the nick of time.

With warmth and love,

CEO- The House of Q’s
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