.         L i f e         .         S t y l e         .         B e a c h         .          G a r d e n         .         F l a v o r         .         H o m e      .

Friday, April 30, 2010

Fantastic Hats and Mint Julep Recipe!

I love hats and there are so few opportunities to really wear a hat in the United States that the lucky ladies who wear them to the Kentucky Derby must know how lucky they are. 

I'm not talking nubby knits here. I'm talking about larger, colorful, millinery hats. The sort I'd like to wear to the derby someday. The sort that english ladies wear to weddings. And by the way, I wouldn't mind going to one of those either.

Here are some of the fantastic displays from the 2009 Derby:

Love this flower girl look. 

Her friend on the other line is like "I'm over here! I'm wearing a big hat!"

I don't know what to say. Was the photographer trying to be funny?

 Truly lovely I dare say. She is my hat hero.

So pretty and lady like. 

If her horse just lost, at least she has a pretty hat. 

I feel sorry for big bird. Nevertheless, I think she looks fantastic!

Brooke looking fabulous as usual. 

My goodness I do just love hats and I find even the loudest ones wonderful because you should never wear a hat that has more character than you do...and these ladies are characters!

On that note, why not go and whip up a mint julep for you and your hatty friends!? Since I am  a northern girl who only wishes she were southern I had to turn to a fellow northerner for this recipe. If you have a better (more authentic one) please to share! I know some of you southern ladies are reading this!
Martha's Mint Julep (because Martha Stewart is my default. Secret's out.)

1 Teaspoon Sugar 
1 Teaspoon Water
8 Fresh mint leaves plus sprigs for garnish
1 cup crushed ice
2 2/3 ounces (1/3cup) bourbon

Stir together sugar and water in a mint julep cup (or 8 oz glass) until sugar dissolves. Add mint and muddle gently using a muddler or a wooden spoon. Fill with crushed iced and add bourbon. Stir until outside of cup is frosted. Garnish with mint sprigs. 

Mark my post. Next year I am having a Derby party and serving Juleps! If you are having one please post about it!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sunshine and Napkin Ties

The rain has cleared and I could go for a cross-legged tea party right about now. 

"Self: Long flowing ribbon napkin ties. Remember that."
Photo found here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pretty Candy Poppers!

I love these darling little poppers featured on style me pretty today. Imagine them as a favor at a wedding, a shower, a graduation, and girls night in! The possibilities are pretty and endless...

For a how to, go here. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April Showers

It's been raining on and off for days and the closest thing I have to rain boots are an I.O.U. left over from Christmas. Tomorrow my black patent flats will once again, save the rainy day.

photo from a fabulous farm wedding at once wed

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weekly Bunch: Daffodils

A bunch of weekend flowers and a throwback to my college poetry class for you. A piece of one of my favorite poems...
photo by tiny petals

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Excerpt from "I wandered Lonely as a Cloud
by William Wordsworth

May your weekend be full of dancing, wandering, and daffodils!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Job Description: Noble Character a Must

Spring has brought me many things that have kept me very busy and away from the computer.

Here are six things I have been up to lately...

1. Snipping scrapbook paper which will soon be part of a garland for my S.I.L's bridal shower...

2. Helping turtles cross the road.

3. Creating lovely centerpieces with one of Philadelphia's most talented floral designers...

The opportunity I have had to work with Ilonka is truly a God send. I feel so blessed to be able to work with such a talented team of people!

4. Choosing a fabric to cover these lovely things with....

Matt's grandparents were downsizing so they gave me these...I'm thinking something floral, botanical, or birdy...the cane style reminds me of a trellis or cage.

5. Decorating the back of the toilet.

Please don't think it's gross. When you live with in an already fully furnished in-law apartment inspired by Nanny there is not much room to decorate!

6. Trying to be a Proverbs 31 Wife.

Our Easter Picture-I'm not exactly "clothed in purple"but it will do.

I don't know why, but this chapter of the Bible has really been on me recently. I came upon it last week and have read it every day since. I will save my life story for another day, but I will tell you a bit of my story right now and hopefully keep it short:

Since we moved to Pennsylvania God has given me a plenitude of time to be creative and do things I enjoy. Simply put, I am a stay at home wife who dabbles in free lance event planning and floral design, art, blogging and anything else that can bring in a little extra cash. With my "spare" time, I have been able to pursue dreams that have until now only been wispy visions. I have been able to let out creativity that has been caged in the corporate world for years. I have been blessed to spend time with family members I wouldn't get to see as often otherwise since the move. I have enjoyed my coffee in the morning----leisurely gazing out the window before beginning my self motivated daily to do list.

Can you believe, that with all this blessing and beauty in my life, I dared to grumble when my husband asked me to iron his shirt for the next day? That I complained "I may as well be paid to be your personal secretary!" when he asks me to find a bill or tax file? It's awful...but I did.

What I have only just recently begun to realize that while I am not the one bringing home the bacon (what I make is more like a single Lima bean), I am blessed with countless opportunities that I wouldn't have if I were working full time. Why shouldn't I then share those joys---share my time---with my husband and help him out a bit? Even if I was working 10 hour days like Matt, I'm realizing that loving each other is a lot less about having an even task list...and a lot more about not keeping track.

For those of you who haven't read Proverbs 31 the later part of the chapter is about a wife of Noble Character...and all the things that make her so. Given it's written in a biblical context so you kind of have to think of the of B.C. context like an way later A.D. context. 

Basically, She works hard. She gets up early. She's frugal and efficient. She's not just sitting around eating biblical bon bons. She is using her opportunities to the best of her ability. She is wise, intelligent, gracious, good and quite the opposite of the fragile woman that comes to mind when someone says "house wife".

The passage starts out "A wife of noble character, who can find?" The question infers that she is difficult to find. And she is. 

I wish I could say you can find her here.
For now I'm going to try to be her like it's my job because, it kind of is.

So, please excuse me if I don't push this list to ten. I have important work to do!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Perfectly Neutral

I have to admit, when I was a bride, I wanted to be the only one wearing white.

I wanted to stand out.

I felt I had the right, to be the only one in white.

And since it was December, everyone obeyed the "no white after labor day" and "no white at weddings" combination rule...my princessy wish came true.

After seeing the Washington wedding below however (via Style Me Pretty), I have to confess that white is such a lovely non-color...why not spread it all around? 

When done right, all white is all right. It's also downright gorgeous.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


For the key that makes a house home. 

We found a lovely house....I was enthralled. elated. enthused. 

And then I got a knot in my stomach that told me we'd run out of storage space 5 minutes after we moved in and the knot won't go away.

For two days I tried to make it work out in my head. I'll get rid of things. I'll be super efficient. We'll simplify! But trying to make a house work...just because you want a house so badly is kind or like settling a guy you know isn't right for you just because you want a boyfriend or settling on a wedding dress so you just have it already and can move on to the flowers. 

When it comes to men, and wedding dresses, and houses you should never never just settle. Well, I guess you have to settle with houses, but you know what I mean.

I try to keep it simple. I try not to be a hoarder. But I need to be honest with myself: I am a bit of a magpie. I don't reduce as much as I do reuse and recycle. So I have boxes and boxes of craft stuff and found items that I just might use someday. And I do use them....so they are part of the package deal....

I. Need. Closets.

Oh where are you perfect home!?

P.S. I found the photo above on a lovely website and saved it, or I thought I did, and now it can't be found. Please let me know if you know who took the pretty photograph. She certainly deserves the credit.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Soft Angles

I love this inviting solution to an attic master or guest bedroom. It adds so much flair to a hard to fill space! The jean jacket however, needs to go.

Photo Via Country Living

P.S How cute are those lampshades...are they peacock feathers!?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Virtual Nesting: Turquoise Dining Room

Yesterday afternoon after having another round of house hunt, Matt watched the masters as I jumped around in the Internet looking at dining room tables, couches, decorative mirrors and whatever nesting "stream of consciousness" lead me to. 

After a while I looked up and noticed Matt watching me...and he clearly had been quite some time. "Mm Hm. MMMMMM HM." He said giving me a sly eye and then went back to watch Tiger digging himself into another ditch. 

I can't help doing what he calls "Virtual Nesting" while we are doing this whole house search thing. After living in Boston Shoebox and our fully furnished in law suite currently, we have next to no furniture. When we move into our new place, I want to know what I want and where to find it so our new home can unfold in a pop up book sort of way. Of course that would be way too easy and way to expensive but but googling for vintage bakers racks is way more fun than watching Golf on Television, so I have my vice and my husband has his.

Along with furniture, paint swatches have also been receiving a lot of attention from me. Right now I am trying to decided if Turquoise is a fabulous color for a dining room---or too bright and too cold and too, too.

Here are some if the images that are helping me mull it over. 

Wait. Before you take a peak I want to say a word about Turquoise and loving the home you live in.

I know Turquoise is the pantone color for 2010. I know that next year it will be "so last year". I  also know that I love blue. Any shade of it---and Turquoise is probably my favorite shade and that's what makes me want to smack it up there on a white wall. Design trends are a fun way to update your home, but when it really comes down to it you have to live with what you love!

Photos from the ever inspiring House of Turquoise

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What makes a soulful home?

Matt and I went house hunting this past weekend and I'll tell you that I thought I would be the picky one. I wasn't. I was wowed by white kitchens, walk in closets and and pleasant rooms...mean while he was standing by seeming unimpressed. My husband is the ever practical one, keeping track of things like money and re-sale value, but when I asked what he thought about the homes he said:

"They are ok I guess....it's just that I fee like they have no soul."

My love, they have no soul because we don't live there yet.

photo via Mary Ruffle 

We were looking at recently built town homes. They were not totally without character...but I suppose that they were lacking the echo that is left behind in older homes by owners past. I love that about older homes...they are full of enchantment....

But so are white sparkly new kitchens. 

Oh, new vs. old. It's quite a dilema. Your stuff might get soaked in the basement with that stone foundation in this old house, but with the new you know your neighbors are sitting at 8pm watching TV in a living room that looks just like yours a la Truman show. I don't know which is scarier.

Regardless, I have a hunch that it's a lot more than the age of the foundation that makes a house a soulful home. Here are somethings that I think help make a home soulful whether it's built in 1900 or 1999.

*Use. Inviting people over, having a party, dancing in the living room, enjoying a romantic evening in. Creating adventures inside the home. Making the home a destination.

*Show and tell. Where'd you go, what did you do, who did you meet, who do you know? Some decorators diss decorating personal photos. Ok. Good for them. Personally, I like having evidence around of all the people and places I love. I guess you could go overboard...but it's your home so you can if you want too!

*Bring the outside in. Fresh flowers. Sand in a bowl. A Pile of Rocks. A twig or two. Nature makes us feel so good when we are out, why not bring it in?

*These are a few of my favorite things. Write a list of things you love (I love lists). Then, walk around the house. Are those things there? If you love skiing...why not hang some vintage skis in the hall? If you love pink, how 'bout a display of framed pink fabrics in your powder room? You get the gist. Sure we'd all like have a spontaneously personal and beautiful home...but sometimes the business gets in the way. A list helps you make something you want to do---happen!

*Books. Open. Closed. Stacked. Piled. Layered. Lots of them.

*Original art. By you. By a friend. By a child. By a lady in the thrift shop. Art is soul baby.

*Laughter. Enjoy your home and all that is in it.

So...what else????

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Cup Cake Next Door

Cupcakes are the girl next door of deserts. They are pretty without trying. And what happens when that pretty without trying girl next door puts on a gorgeous dress? 

She becomes what they call, a knock out. 

Thus I bring you The Cupcake Wrapper Co. 
Based out of Australia, these cute little cup cake wraps are available for purchase in the USA via Bake It Pretty (which is also a fantastic resource!)

They keep your cup cakes pretty----but not too pretty to eat! 

A lovely addition to your shower or wedding, don't you think?

What do you want to do?

From Cloud Nine Design

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Celebration!

photo from Braborne Farm

It's 75 degrees, and all of nature is celebrating spring! 

I too have begun to "celebrate". Out with the old and in with thew new. I've washed my linens, shaken out my rugs, begun to put away sweaters and boots, picked some daffodils.....

Our windows and doors are wide open to let in the light and fresh air.

I love how in fall, we prepare for winter by closing up. We curl up on couches. Storm shield our windows. Cover ourselves in layers and layers.

In spring, everything is open and free.

What do you do to celebrate spring?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Free Easter Printables and Templates!

Easter Tags from Tracy Porter...

Bunny Garland template from
Martha Stewart...

Handmade Stuffed Easter Bunny from Twig and Thistle...

Easter Treat Labels from Pumpkin Petunia...

Have a Joyful Easter!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Target, you're all right.

I know everyone and their mother in blog land has a confession to make, but so do I and it's a good way to start a blog entry so here I go:

I have a confession to make:
I don't really love Target. I don't even like it that much.

Gasp! I know. How could I dismiss all that cute trendy stuff on the cheap?

Naturally I do really like it when I find a surprisingly cute jacket for $24.00, or inexpensive make-up brushes, or need gift wrap last minute. But on the whole, the smell of their candle isle permeates the whole store and makes me ill and most clothes I ever buy there fall apart after a second washing. Hey, I might even take the ratty clothes but that candle smell just gets to me!

Despite the fact I have reserved Target trips for sunscreen and toilet paper purchases, I went there this morning to check out the Liberty of London line to see how Target treated something I do love and I was more than pleasantly surprised.

I found most of the Liberty Print clothes adorable and I bet you would too....

And even if you aren't up for wearing a punchy print, perhaps your purse would welcome a new wallet....

Or your bathroom a bright (unscented thank you) candle?

Away from the Liberty section, I happy to find these really pretty soap pumps that look like those old fashioned soda jars! (Side note: Wouldn't it be so cute to buy all all three and keep them by your kitchen sink. One for hands soap, one for dish soap and one for lotion? Too bad I personally do not have $40.00 to spend on soap dispensers. If you do, go for it! Live my soap dispenser dream!)

If I were pregnant I would probably be wearing one of these fun springy numbers to my Easter Sunday service (so much cuter in person!)...

And, for my (rare) night out on the town I am willing to pay $16.99 for a ruffly mini skirt that may not last forever---but hey neither will my 29 year old legs!

So, this all being said, maybe Target isn't so bad after all. If they only they could get every Perfumer in France to work on that candle isle! Next time you are in Target, take a deep breath. I'm pretty sure you'll smell what I mean.
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