Recent styling work for Country Living Magazine

Ahhhh, sweet summer how I love you. Mosquitos and all.
The minute the boys walk in the back door from the last day of school, after the last final exam, may be my favorite day of the year. We did it! another school year in the books and we're ready for the sweet reward of sleeping in, swimming and spontaneous road trips.

In my mind it looks like this recent Country Living cover I styled from the May 2016 issue
 

                                                    Photographed by Annie Schlechter

A porch, a pony and a killer view. We shot this on location at The Prairie  in  Round Top, Texas, which was the perfect backdrop for the talented cover designer Andrew Howard. Classic wicker, blue and white pillows, the perfect little antique tea cart (thank you Kuhl Linscomb) and painted wood tile flooring.

That's Rooster the horse that lives down the road who came to visit on the day we shot. He's a big ol' retired rodeo horse that likes to munch on flowers so imagine us trying to distract him to get the shot before all the flowers disappeared. He was such a good boy and anytime we have a horse on set is a very good day for me. 

Stylist Tip: The pink flowers on the coffee table aren't flowers but blooms from a crepe myrtle tree.  They're one of my favorite stems to cut and bring inside and are plentiful during Texas summers. 

In the June 2016 issue of Country Living  is a sweet feature of the playhouse Houston designer Bailey McCarthy built for her daughter, Grace. The McCarthy's replicated the Texas dance hall Gruene Hall at their farm in Bellville. 

                                                      Photographed by Buff Strickland

You can see more of this feature in the current issue and click here to see more images.
Spending the day with these little cuties sure made me miss little voices and watching Grace belt out tunes from Frozen brought back memories of the shows my sister and I would put on. Anyone else big fans of The Partridge Family?

                                               Photograph by Buff Strickland

Stylist Tip: Old fashioned root beer floats are so delicious and simple to make. We used Mug Rootbeer (no caffeine!) 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, lots of whipped cream and a cherry on top. Tasty and super cute in vintage mugs from HASbins, the popup shop of my assistant and her partners. Chill the mugs before you make these to keep the floats nice and cold.

I hope summer is good to you and that you get in lots of porch sittin' and ice cream eating and magazine reading. 

Lake Tejas Summer 2014

I see that summer is winding down in more northern states.  Here in Texas we have another month or more. But we are feeling the shift in our schedules as school is back in full swing.  Ouch. Momma is not so much a morning person and high school starts too early.  At least the

American Academy of Pediatrics

has my back on this issue.

Summer break was full of vacation, work, rest, excitement, sleeping in, late night Sonic runs for milkshakes. And a little boredom. Just like it's suppose to be. 

No matter where we venture off to, our summer tradition of spending a day with family at  our favorite east Texas swimming hole,

Lake Tejas

, will always be the boys most favorite day of the summer. They are so happy here. 

(grainy pics courtesy of my iphone and a waterproof case)

It's exactly this charming and always feels about 15 degrees cooler than the concrete jungle. Bring a sandwich, rent a tube and float out to the middle of the lake and watch the show off the high dive. The older kids show off a bit for the young ones and the teenage boys talk smack as they're working up their courage to jump from 20 feet off the tower.  My boys learned to do backflips, watermelons and flying squirrels here as I floated below them holding my breath. It's so fun!

Lake Tejas is special to us as my father in law was a lifeguard here growing up.  It's a place we've all enjoyed through the generations and it's great to be able to share it with our boys. 

I hope your summer brought you happy memories and special days. Happy Labor Day weekend!

Summer Break

A solid month of summer has passed and it appears I took an unintended blogging vacation. I do have lots to catch you up on. The new

slip covers

are finished and I'm looking forward to sharing those with you.  There's always new work and collaborations.

And family life.  We just returned from a 10 day, 8 state road trip to North Carolina and Tennessee to visit dear family friends and enjoyed some much needed time away in the great outdoors. I get so much inspiration from nature and I love summer styling more than any other season. 

Before we left for vacation I pulled together some of my favorite summer styling elements to come home to; vintage bottles, coral and flea market art mixed with succulents in zinc pots. 

The light blue from the painting, the reflection of light from the bottles and the texture from the coral are the perfect feel of summer to me. It's my version of a little zen garden that gets moved around, added to and loved on all summer long.  A small space is all that's needed to bring a little summer inside. Hope you're enjoying your summer break!

Summer Style

I had the pleasure of sharing the home of my best friend, Lori Vrba, in the recent summer issue of Souvenir. Lori, a film photographer and mixed media artist, lives in a beautiful home filled with kids, dogs and rooms that reflect her enthusiasm for collecting, as well as making, beautiful art.

















"Virtue" by Lori Vrba

To read Lori's interview and see more of her recent kitchen remodel, visit Souvenir Magazine to purchase the recent issue which also includes wonderful features on travel, entertaining and delicious summer recipes.

Souvenir Summer 2013

I'm especially excited to have contributed a story in this issue of Souvenir that features the work space and home of my dear lifelong friend and fine art photographer, Lori Vrba, who lives in Chapel Hill, NC.  
Lori recently completed a major remodel of her kitchen and laundry room. I know you'll want to see  more of this beautiful project that Lori collaborated on with local designer Nata Bozymsky and custom furniture and cabinet maker Mike Dulude, along with her unique and creative approach to her own personal style.  




Click here to purchase a digital copy which you can enjoy on your computer or ipad all ad free! For now, Souvenir is not available in stores, but you can order a print copy which you will treasure as they are of beautiful quality.

Souvenir Magazine Summer Issue 2013

The summer issue of Souvenir Magazine is now available.  Here's the beautiful cover:



I'm especially excited to have contributed a story in this issue featuring the work space and home of my dear lifelong friend and fine art photographer, Lori Vrba, who lives in Chapel Hill, NC.  
Lori recently completed a major remodel of her kitchen and laundry room. I know you'll want to see  more of this beautiful project that Lori collaborated on with local designer Nata Bozymsky and custom furniture and cabinet maker Mike Dulude, along with her unique and creative approach to her own personal style.  



Click here to purchase a digital copy which you can enjoy on your computer or ipad all ad free! For now, Souvenir is not available in stores, but you can order a print copy which you will treasure as they are of beautiful quality.

Souvenir Summer Issue

The new summer issue of Souvenir will be available Monday July 15.  I love seeing the sneak peeks. It's going to be another beautiful issue!


Photo:  Amanda Marshall


Photo:  Sylvia Fountaine

Souvenir is an online magazine available in digital format or you may order a print copy (for now, it's not available in stores). Visit the website and sign up to be notified when the current issue is available and follow Souvenir on Facebook to see all the latest news and photos.
This issue is really exciting for me because I contributed a story that features my dear lifelong friend, Lori Vrba's beautiful home. I know you'll love it and be inspired by her gorgeous artful life and personal style. Now go sign up!

Mid Summer Meltdown

Have you had yours yet? Seems no matter how firmly we've set our best intentions toward summer break, it's inevitable. Mine happened yesterday. Looking back, I can say it began when one of my boys ran out back with a bb gun during a lovely afternoon pool party with friends to shoot a wasp that was scaring the girls. My wise friend attempted to reassure me it was "a boy thing", but to me it was just stupid. That was followed with a series of "teenage brain" induced bad choices that just wore. me. down. 
And I don't wear down that easily. I'm good at ignoring them. Don't judge, it's allowed at this age (mine - not theirs.) I also get plenty of "me" time. Yesterday's "me" time was spent submerged wondering just how long I could hold my breath without resurfacing, because THEY were up there.


We've had a lovely vacation in Florida. Then a loooong 4th of July weekend together. We're solidly into our summer routine. 


I love summer with my kids and really look forward to it. It's been a total blessing to be able to slow down and just be with them every summer of their lives. We get into a groove of sleeping late and finding easy ways to pass the time. They love to read, play outside until dark with their friends and are really funny, loving, interesting people.
But..if you're a mom home most of the summer with your kids, then you know there's gonna be one or two of THOSE days. 

Here are a few simple little things in my tool kit this summer I thought I would share with you just in case you're running out of breath and need to come up for air, too.

This nice stack of bestsellers is my most recent haul of books from the thrift store.  With paperbacks averaging $15.00 a piece and my boys flying through a book a week, it really adds up. I love coming home with a great bag of books for less than the retail price of one. 
Bossypants by Tina Fey has been my laugh out loud favorite and I'm usually a cynic when I read that books are "laugh out loud funny".  This one is.



Before you head off for some me time I recommend a relaxing shower with Dr. Bronner's Lavender Pure Castile Soap. It's magic. Says so right on the bottle.  I get mine at Target.  A "relaxing fragrance for tired and stressed-out souls", you can enjoy the strong old fashioned lavender scent lathered up on your lady parts or drink it straight from the bottle.  Your call.  

natural products... body care

Because it's too hot to do much cooking our panini press has been getting a workout. It's one of those kitchen gadgets that's worth the space it's going to take up in your cabinet. Lucky for me, my family is happy with a nice hot sandwich for dinner. Sliced sourdough bread, a rotisserie chicken, baby spinach, havarti cheese and don't forget the pesto sauce which elevates it to fancypants sandwich. My press is like this one:

Cuisinart™ Griddler™ with Removable Plates
And although my boys don't know that a fly swat is the better choice for wasp killing, they do know how to operate this kitchen gadget and can make their own sandwich. Score!

We spend a lot of time outside and we love to have our music out there with us. This summer we're enjoying our ipod playlists and Pandora on this Rocketfish Outdoor Wireless Speaker.


Angle
I love that it actually works and can handle high volumes without distortion enabling me to block out the sound of my kids arguing over whose turn it is to pick up dog poop out of the yard.

Speaking of Pandora, I recently discovered bad to the bone blues singer Susan Tedeschi. I realize taste in music is subjective, but if you're a mom in the middle of a summer meltdown and want to be reminded of your deep abiding love of your child then give this beautiful song a listen. I will have it on repeat next week while my boys are away at camp swinging on the death rope and holding each other underwater for too long right in front of the lifeguard who's texting her BFF about her next body piercing. 
I know I'll be missing their sweet faces and bad body odor.

Lord Protect My Child



Abalone and Air Plants



Perfect for a small desk top garden, air plants (Tillandsia) require only indirect light and the occasional misting. Relying on nutrients and moisture found in the air, no soil is needed to grow these miniatures from the bromeliad family. I tucked mine into an abalone shell and surrounded them with even smaller shells. These were found locally at Buchanan's Plants in The Heights.

Recollection ~ Summer Mantel Styling

A new look for my summer mantel.  Repetition in design is easy on the eyes especially with these pretty botanical specimens, shells and books.

I especially love this mantel display and the sweet stories it tells. The  vintage botanicals were collected by a North Carolina naturalist on travels with her husband. My husband collected the whelk shells for me in shark infested waters (ok, a couple of small sharks)  on a recent anniversary vacation and to me, they're more precious than diamonds. (Hands off ladies, he's mine!) 

The vintage books were saved from the dumpster at his office. Can you believe someone threw them away? 

Because things change often around here I'm not framing the botanicals for now. If you've got some unframed art that you want to get up on the wall, try Poster Tack for good temporary hold without damaging your paint or walls. 

Le Bain

When this week of school supply shopping, sleepovers and last minute summer celebrations ends, I am taking the longest bubble bath...in the middle of the day.







I'm a long time fan of Cote Bastide and Tokyo Milk bath products and my husband finally noticed and has been supporting my healthy addiction.  In addition to the quality of the product, I love the vintage style bottles which can be reused or repurposed or just look pretty in the bath cabinet. 
Just a few more days........


My Boys. They Fly

A repurposed paper weight and abandoned desk clock hold moments frozen in time from a summer's day at the lake.


Leaps of faith and feats of bravery from  12 year old boys .


The third generation to free fall twenty feet from a high diving board that has been sunk into a lake bed for over 50 years. Their grandfather was one of the original lifeguards. Climb, jump, swim, repeat. 


Even mid air, their personalities are evident and true. Two different varieties of bravery.

A disposable waterproof camera and a mom floating in an inner tube. Art is everywhere.

Cool Rooms

It's so hot here in Houston our faces are melting off.  These easy breezy interiors are pretty enough to take one's mind off the triple digit temps for a while:

                                                                Source: johanna-vintage.blogspot.pt via Curious Details on Pinterest


                                                          Source: finderskeepersmarketinc.blogspot.com via Curious Details on Pinterest


                                                        Source: desdemventana.blogspot.com via Curious Details on Pinterest


                                                           Source: bohemianhomes.tumblr.com via Curious Details on Pinterest


                                                                       Source: mllelou.blog10.fc2.com via Curious Details on Pinterest


                                                             Source: fromscandinaviawithlove.com via Curious Details on Pinterest


                                                                   Source: batixa.tumblr.com via Curious Details on Pinterest





































































































                                                                     Source: loveyourcasablog.com via Curious Details on Pinterest



































                                                              Source: slugandsquirrel.blogspot.com via Curious Details on Pinterest

Love the art in the above image from The Slug and The Squirrel. It feels perfect for summer and looks like a fun and easy art project.

Contrast

I think one of the reasons we love vintage is the contrast it provides..are you with me? This collection of tarnished pewter is an interesting contrast to bright colorful summer citrus, lillies and white ironstone.
Nothing dull about that!