The Bar Cart

I wasn't looking for a bar cart. I was looking at vintage tablecloths at an estate sale earlier this summer that happened to be piled a mile high on the bar cart. Another shopper had unloaded the piles of linens and was giving the cart a test drive. And I kicked myself for not noticing it.

And then she decided it wasn't for her.

It's hard to be cool at estate sales when you see someone put an item back you want. I had zero cool and no shame. The cart was mine and for a song. 

Bar carts have been the super trendy item to buy the last couple of years but they're not something I ever thought I needed or had a place for. But this little cutie with it's warm wood and simple lines felt like it could multi-task as a plant stand and that was the ticket for me. And I could easily wheel it outside if I needed it to serve around the pool.

Parked in front of a window that gets pretty morning sun near our back door, its where I do my summer gardening now. Once July rolls around, all bets are off for me working in the yard. Good luck lavender! Hang in there pentas! I'll see you in October when it cools off. Like outside gardening, puttering with the plants in the morning is contemplative and rewarding.

I gathered some plants I had on hand along with a few other fun garden elements. Pretty bottles and green and gold bohemian juice glasses to catch the light and hold clippings. A vintage plant sprayer (obsessed with this). Beach pebbles found on our recent vacation to Cape Cod. Vintage Japanese pruning shears. And of course a cute blue tooth speaker. The plants seem to thrive with a daily dose of Lucinda Williams and Lyle Lovett. 

It's got me thinking which flowering plants that normally grow outside, might grow well inside. I'm giving geraniums a try because they seem pretty tolerant and are so summery.  I'm hoping this one grows long and leggy with big blooms that spill over the side of the cart. We get tons of natural light in our house so I'm feeling optimistic. If you have any tips for growing flowering plants indoors, do share.

Would you Buy a Mattress Online?

There are three things that I know I would never consider buying online: a swimsuit, jeans and a mattress.
But then an opportunity comes along and I learned I just might have been wrong. 

 

This happened recently when the nice people at GelFoam Bed reached out to me and asked if I would like to receive and review one of their mattresses. As long as I've been blogging I've never done a sponsored post or accepted gifts to review. I'm not against it, it's just that the timing wasn't right. 

We are due to update a few things in our master bedroom. I'm on the lookout for new bedside tables (which are taking far too long to find) and new wall mounted lamps. And coincidentally, our high end fancy schmancy mattress was starting to lose it's firmness. We were just starting to have the conversation about replacing it when I heard from the people at GelFoam Bed. We were plenty skeptical about a mattress being delivered that we hadn't tried out. My husband and I are pretty picky and a good night's sleep is non-negotiable so the mattress is very important. 

We've slept on gel foam mattresses on vacation and loved them so we were willing to give it a try knowing we could return it if it didn't work out for us. Here were our choices:

We chose the 12" Miranda Medium Plush because we wanted a plush mattress with excellent support. 

Bingo, it's exactly that. 

Each mattress is made to order and arrives compressed and rolled up in a box for shipping. I think this is genius and my boys were fascinated with the unpacking process.

                                 We used a knife.  House full of men, you know we used a knife.

                                 We used a knife.  House full of men, you know we used a knife.

That part about clearing the area is no joke. The mattress starts to decompress immediately and it's really fun to watch. We placed it right on top of our existing foundation.

That part about clearing the area is no joke. The mattress starts to decompress immediately and it's really fun to watch. We placed it right on top of our existing foundation.

Within 5 minutes, my husband was in love. At that point the mattress was still decompressing and I thought it might be too soft but the packing material says it actually takes it a couple of days to fully decompress so I was going to wait and see. 

Ya know what?  I love it too!!  We've had it about a month now and for some of that time we've been on vacation. I gotta tell ya, I really missed it when we were traveling and it was great to come home to. It's definitely a keeper.

There are a couple of things that are different between this GelFoam Bed and our previous mattress, a Simmons Beauty Rest Pillow Top. The Simmons has reinforced sides, the GelFoam does not, so if you're sitting on the side you notice it's a bit softer. Also the Simmons was a couple of inches thicker than this mattress because of the pillow top. It's not really a big deal to me and I don't mind that the mattress sits just a bit lower. It's not unsightly at all.

Choosing the right mattress takes time and is very subjective. If you're thinking of replacing yours consider looking at a GelFoam Bed. Believe me, I know you might never even think of buying a mattress online that you've never tried out. GelFoam Beds come with a 100 night risk free guarantee. That's pretty cool right? 

If you're interested, GelFoam Beds is offering my readers a coupon worth $50 off your purchase. Just use code "curiousdetails" when you check out for the savings.

I'm happy to answer any questions you might have if you'd like more information regarding our GelFoam Bed mattress.

 

 

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. 

Enter to Win a Weekend Getaway to The Vintage Round Top!

Recognize this beautiful room? It's the famous day bed at The Vintage Round Top located in Round Top, Texas.

Would you love to spend a weekend lazing atop that dreamy day bed? Yea you would!

To celebrate the many blessings of the past year, I'm hosting a giveaway on Instagram in collaboration with The Vintage Round Top.

Photo: Laura Morsman

Photo: Laura Morsman

You could win a two night stay in their 1450 Fourteen-Fifty Cottage for up to six guests (a $950 value)

To enter, you must follow both Curious Details and The Vintage Round Top on Instagram and tag two friends on the Instagram post.

A winner will be chosen at random and will be announced on Sunday evening April 17, 2016.

Good luck and head over to Instagram to start tagging your friends for a chance to win!

**Restrictions apply: High Season (March-May and Sept-Nov., Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's are excluded)

Our Home Featured in Better Homes and Gardens April 2016

It's finally here!
A year ago the fabulous team from Better Homes and Gardens paid us a visit to shoot a few rooms in our house for their spring garden issue.  Photographed by Brian McWeeney and produced and styled by one of the best in the business, Janna Lufkin.  The team, headed up by Shelley Caldwell of BH&G,  pulled together a story that's true to me and my style and how we live in and enjoy our home.

I am so grateful to them for this wonderful opportunity to be featured in the April 2016 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. 

Photo: Brian McWeeney

 

My personal style is a mix of custom pieces, vintage and fine art, personal collections and flea market finds. As beach lovers, our dream house would be a cottage by the sea with a killer view. Our reality is that we live in a typical builder house in the middle of suburbia. However, we live with the things that bring us delight and create an atmosphere that suits our home and lifestyle which keeps it from feeling anything but typical. That's also a philosophy I share with my design clients. 

Photo: Brian McWeeney

 

The white slipcovers seen in the article are custom from LS Slipcovers in Houston, TX. I'm so in love with those slips. I know they're not for everyone and I get asked all the time how I live with white sofas and 16 year old twin boys. The truth is they're probably the cleanest thing in my house because the covers can be washed. Yes, they get Cheetos smashed into them and dirty puppy paw prints. But they come out of the washer looking brand new and smelling like Heaven. I couldn't do that with my old upholstered sofa's. Read more about the slipcovers here.

Art plays a big part in my personal style. Antique botanical charts, pressed botanicals, and coastal paintings (some by me) mix with bead board walls to create the light and airy cottage look we love.  Also included is the beautiful work of my dear friend,  fine art photographer and mixed media artist Lori Vrba of Chapel Hill, NC.

The Messenger by Lori Vrba

 

Don't afraid to mix and layer your art.

In fact, don't be afraid of anything when it comes to decorating. Fear holds so many people hostage from simply enjoying their homes. Fear wastes so much time! I think fear is a decorating epidemic. I've worked with so many clients that are absolutely terrified of making a mistake or a choice that they stay frozen and never make any progress. They're worried about trends, or rules or what their mother-in-law might think. I want to give you permission to have fun with your home. Don't take it all so seriously. Have a little fun playing in your house. 

I approach decorating my own home like I would a styling job. Adding and editing as I go. Not everything works all the time. It's a process and I'm never done. And that's ok! I allow myself mistakes and time to enjoy the hunt for new things. I hope the story inspires you to live with the things you love and bring you delight as well.

*You'll have to be a BH&G subscriber to enjoy this feature as it's not included in the newsstand version. You can also purchase a digital version of the magazine through their app in the itunes store. As much as I love to hold a copy of the magazine, I really enjoy the digital version as well for zooming in on details.

 

 

Raw Honeycomb and Fruit Appetizer

I love simple beautiful food. This simple and easy to prepare appetizer is perfect for your spring time Easter brunch or breakfast table.  

                                                        Raw Honeycomb and Fruit Appetizer

The star of this appetizer show is the raw honeycomb. I picked mine up at Leftovers Antiques in Brenham. Did you know they carry beautiful epicurean goods as well as antiques? You can also find raw honeycomb in nicer grocery stores or order online.

Grab a pretty plate or cheeseboard and add:

Raw honeycomb
Fresh berries
Goat cheese crumbles
Slivered Almonds
Fresh Mint

Serve this sweet springtime goodness on your favorite sliced bread (I used ciabatta here) or crackers.  It's also perfect for breakfast with your favorite biscuits.

Customize this sweet appetizer to your liking and keep it simple. It's really the perfect bite!

 

 

Welcome to the new Curious Details!

Hello friends! This new site has been a long time coming. I'm so excited to finally be able to share it!

I hope you find it easy to navigate and easy on the eyes.  My goal was to create a fresh and simple site to house my portfolio, connect with potential clients and blog a little when time allows. The Squarespace platform seemed well suited to that so that's where we are now.

There may be a few little kinks here and there but I think for the most part we're ready for liftoff! Please let me know if you run into any issues during your visit. One issue Squarespace is sorting out for us is adding Pin It buttons on my blog images. If you see something you'd like to Pin on the blog you'll have to add it from your browser's Pin It button for now.

My sidekick in creating the new site is the talented Haylei Smith of Crowley, Louisiana.  Her graphic design skills can be seen on every page of the site from the custom logo to the new business e-mail she set up for me.  Haylei has been a God send.  I have no patience with technology and even less time to birth a new site.  We worked together via e-mail, text, phone and even Face Time to get things just right. Haylei made this so easy for me. Thank you Haylei for tolerating all my ridiculous questions and mini-meltdowns. You are so talented and my offer of adopting you still stands.

Spring time feels like the perfect time to launch a new site. Round Top is coming up very soon. I've got new work to share and a big big surprise in the next month or so!!  If I'm not blogging, you can connect with me via Facebook and Instagram to read all the latest. Hope to see you there!

 

The Other Side of The Camera

What an exciting week around here.

I never thought I would say this, but our house was photographed last week for

Better Homes & Gardens.

I know!!! It felt like a dream.

I'll be sure to keep you posted when the issue is out and share many more details closer to that time.

It was a huge thrill and a very humbling experience to see our home through the eyes of the BH&G team. 

A great take away from this that I would love to pass on to you is to always Always ALWAYS be true to your own unique style. That's what makes your home, and the world, a much more interesting place. 

Fifty Shades of Blush and Bashful

It's true that you never forget your first love. 

When it came to boys, I was lucky enough to marry my first true love and we're living happily ever after. I'm a lucky girl.

But when it comes to color, well..me and pink dated a very long time then broke up. I felt like I was the one that gave and gave and gave. Sacrificing my dignity for those pink laminate counter tops in our first home 25 years ago.

The custom floral chintz bedding with cabbage roses the size of my head. The mauve dust ruffle. I hear the kids are calling it 'Marsala' these days. Ha!...rookies.

The soft pink teflon skillet that cooked the perfect scrambled eggs on the weekends. Oh yes...I know that was all my idea, but pink, you quickly turned ugly and cold. I know I held on too long, but I needed you. I was young and didn't know better. You were everything to me. 

When the babies came I just couldn't handle your fiery heat any longer and we said goodbye.  I thought that would finally be the end of us.

But recently, on a cold gray winter day somewhere in a deep dark dusty rose corner of my heart, old feelings began to stir. It was an urge that led me to the dim and dingy corners of cheap thrift stores to fill bag after bag with books in every shade of blush and bashful I could find, just to get a little taste of you. I lied to the cashiers, telling them all those pink books were for a school project. Oh, the thrill of hiding you in the back of my car....I haven't felt this alive in years! 

I justified going back to you with thoughts like "It's just this one room. Just for a little while. It won't hurt anyone, especially if I add some brass and new pillows. I deserve it."

"I want my color senses to feel alive in the way only you can make it happen, pink!"

And now we're back together. It feels so right, pink. You're my hot and steamy little Valentine to myself. My foolish color folly. 

Now, shut up and kiss me!

January Paperwhites and Fern

Isn't it funny how as soon as we put away the Christmas decorations we start thinking about Spring? 

We live too fast. 

It's winter...let's enjoy that! (says the southern girl who has never shoveled snow in her life). Texas has had some really cold and gray days and I'm fighting the gray with green. 

Ferns, paperwhites, lavender, boxwoods; anything green that I can easily plant or snip and bring inside is fair game. 

I've had really good luck growing these three ferns inside: plumosa, maidenhair and boston.

They've done well in low light and I've supplemented their water with a good misting weekly.   

Paperwhites are the easiest thing I've ever grown. They're so forgiving. And, I hereby decree they're not just for the holidays, so there!  I keep it simple by growing them in a container with gravel or rocks and keep them watered. That's it.

I bought quite a few at Christmas and have been planting them a few at a time. I'll miss them when they're gone.

Have fun planting bulbs in ironstone, teacups, mason jars; anything that holds water.

After they bloom you can stake them up with bamboo skewers and string. I love how simple they are to care for and their sweet smell. They do like to drink a lot of water so

check them daily.

Tell me......What's your secret weapon for fighting the gray days of winter? 

New Discoveries

Before we dive headfirst into the holiday season, I'm going to take it a day at a time and try really hard to be present to the day at hand.  I want to enjoy the shifting light of autumn, the cooler temps, try a new recipe and cozy up the house with a few layers and textures of the season. For me, keeping it simple is the key to enjoying the holidays. 

Mantel peeping.  Mine for fall.

I've seen some beautiful finds online recently so I thought it would be fun to share them.

This coastal 

quilt

by Brooklyn designer Emily Fisher uses satellite imagery and nautical maps with a combination of traditional quilting and appliqué. So unique!

These copper metallic trays from

Layla Grace

would be beautiful to anchor a Thanksgiving table or buffet.

From

Hedgehouse

, these bedrolls are a cross between a mattress and a pouf. These would be perfect for movie night or sleepovers and would be a huge improvement from the blow up mattress. I love the heather and charcoal fabric.

And to support your Instagram habit, check out the beautiful feed of interior stylist and decorator  

Marie Olsson Nylander

  I love her style; fingers crossed that one day she'll write a book. 

And finally, this

Indoor S'mores

recipe is perfect for my grandmothers iron skillet. I've added this recipe along with a few more yummy iron skillet recipes to my

Pinterest

board that I would like to try this fall. 

Cheers to a great week ahead!

The Getaway featured in House Beautiful

Any chance you've read the current Oct. issue of House Beautiful magazine? As I was running boys through their after school schedule, a quick glance had me noticing two things; the color purple and the pretty arched doors on the kitchen pantry in this home. 

But when I slowed down enough to read the article, I was completely surprised to learn that this is not a primary residence but instead a "getaway" apartment for a mother of four. 

Photographs Miki Duisterhof

"It's true. She and her husband have a beautiful house with French antiques right down the road, and that's where they live, raise kids, and entertain together.  This is just something she wanted - a feminine getaway where she can have parties, drink wine, and watch movies with her girlfriends.  She uses it as guest quarters when family comes to town.  And she loves to read; she'll stop by for a quiet hour or two after car pool."  

The homeowner is not pictured or interviewed and I desperately wish she had been. I would love to know what inspired her to create such a haven. 

I would imagine there are a lot of people that find this excessive feminine folly. 

I think it's  wonderful.

I completely understand that not everyone can afford the luxury of a second home just down the street. Myself included. However, creating a private retreat within your home when space allows can feel luxurious, even if it's only a 10x10 spare room or a corner of your master bedroom. 

In our home, my office is my one room girly getaway much like the first garage apartment I lived in. White, spare and on some days a hot mess. But when I close the doors to drown out the sound of major league baseball blaring from the next room it feels like a luxurious retreat where I can decompress and relax by myself or with friends.  I often steal more chairs from around the house and can accommodate a girl party of 4 comfortably if I want. 

My own getaway "The Girl Room"

So, what do YOU think? If money were no object would you create a getaway home? Do you have a place in your home to getaway from kids and enjoy hobbies or decompress?

To see the rest of the slideshow click

here

. To read the article in it's entirety pick up the October issue of House Beautiful.  I'd love to know what you think.

Shop Where You Sleep at The Vintage Round Top

My dear friends, Paige and Smoot Hull of

The Vintage Round Top

, have created a unique shopping experience for guests of their Round Top, Texas vacation cottage and are inviting you to Shop Where You Sleep.

Just off the kitchen, this primitive armoire holds a small sampling of vintage and repurposed accessories, RVT hand poured candles, and artisan soaps which can be purchased on the spot by following the instructions provided on the little clipboard just inside the door.

Paige has thoughtfully stocked the cabinet with everything you need to make your selection, wrap it up and carry it home safely. It couldn't be easier or more fun to indulge in a special memento from your trip to the country. Wouldn't it be fun to take home an ironstone pitcher for your kitchen table as a souvenir? Or a unique Swiss Army pillow? 

The candles are hand poured into darling old mason jars. And the soaps are completely natural and packaged in handmade artisan paper. 

Paige will be updating the cabinet regularly so if you see something in this post it might be gone soon so be sure to check out their

online store

as well. Also, the cottage is available for rent during the holidays so pop over to check availability for Christmas or Thanksgiving in the country. 

Round Top, Old Glory Antiques, Leftovers Antiques and A Blog Post The Size of Texas

So... I may have gotten a little snap happy with my camera yesterday, but Texans don't show restraint very well when it comes to Round Top and Antiques Week. The shows are starting earlier and the entire event has grown with every season. It's overwhelming, even for locals, so if this is your first time to visit, go easy on yourself.  It's Big. And a big show deserves a big blog post.  

I know everyone has their way to experience Round Top, but I think it's a good idea to keep your options open.  Visit a field or a show you've never been to.  I promise you there's more to see this time around than ever before. 

Before I show you some of the pics I took in Round Top, I want to share a couple of outstanding antiques shops I photographed recently that have been prepared especially for show time. They're close to Round Top, easy to find and so very good.

Shop owner Holly Kuhn opens Old Glory Antiques in Burton, Texas, twice a year during Antiques Week. Burton is just 9 miles from Round Top..practically next door!  For this show she's filled the shop (a former Texas dance hall) with fresh Americana country antiques and accessories.  The shop will be open from Sept. 26-Oct 4.

Another favorite shop that you absolutely MUST see is Leftovers Antiques in Brenham, Texas. Shop owners Ed Fulkerson and Michael Breddin have creatively re-imagined parts of the store into "Lake Leftovers" for fall. I love that this store looks different every single time I'm there.  They never rest!! It's cozy, warm and packed with inspiration.

Michael and Ed know their antiques and have a passion for traveling to bring the absolute best of European and American treasures back to the store. I know it's hard to believe but these images reflect only a small part of their vast retail store.

Ready to hit the fields? Grab your walking shoes!

Twice a year, the tiny Texas town of Round Top (population 90) becomes the destination for weekend antique’s warriors and serious collectors that make the pilgrimage to the now legendary antique shows that line the rolling hills of Texas State Highway 237 halfway between Austin and Houston.

The biannual antiques fair known as Round Top Antique Week is traditionally held the first full weekend of April and October of every year, although trading  begins up to three weeks in advance as dealers begin to arrive earlier and shows continue to expand with new venues being opened every year. 

What began over 30 years ago as one show in the Round Top Rifle Association Hall now includes shows in Round Top, Warrenton, Carmine, Burton and Shelby, Texas, and includes more than 2,500 dealers spread across Fayette County. 

Tens of thousands of shoppers endure the unpredictable Texas weather, heat and dust to experience the shows. And when I say “shows” I mean dealers set up in some of the most creative booths; one could easily find themselves shopping in a barn, a dance hall, a cow pasture, a tent, a field, a grocery story or a vintage air stream travel trailer. That’s what makes Round Top one of a kind.

SDS Designs zinc, copper and wood top tables.  They're happy to customize to any size.

One of my personal favorite stops is Clutter down the road in Warrenton . The styling is fun and the space is filled with the weird and wonderful. Mostly wonderful.

Next to Clutter is ex-cess.  Architectural salvage and funky finds.

 Random goodness from the fields. 

There really is so much to see. Isn't it fun? Are you emptying your piggy banks? looking in the couch cushions for loose change? are you desperate to just  GET THERE for goodness sake? You've got plenty of time.  Things are just getting kicked off and this is really just a peek of what's out there. The Show Daily is a great resource to help you plan your trip. It lists all the show dates and locations.

The big show at Marburger Farm opens Sept 30-Oct 4. Those tents are up right now and are being filled with gorgeous antiques, industrial trends, art and textiles. 

We are so proud of this show and the world wide exposure it's come to know. Enjoy the country atmosphere, eat some good food and be inspired by dealers and artists who live out their passion in the green fields of Texas. That's what it's all about. 

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!

Manready Mercantile

Every summer the boys and I like to plan a day  of fun in Houston discovering new places.   One of our favorite stops this year was the new Manready Mercantile in The Heights.

I first heard about Manready Mercantile on Instagram and loved what I saw.  Since we're raising a couple of men I wanted them to experience firsthand some unique manly goods in a creative and fun atmosphere.  They loved it, and for just a minute it made me wish I was a guy because if I was, I would have know I had found the store for me. I loved the store styling. Manready Mercantile is a lifestyle store with a vintage, outdoorsy atmosphere. They're well stocked with leather goods, accessories, clothing, candles and apothecary style personal care lines for men. Made in the USA and local.

With the motto "Work Hard Live Well", owner and Texas original, Travis Weaver opened his flagship store here in Houston just a few months ago. I love his story.  

Travis started his business with $20 and a lot of guts. He sold his signature brand of candles at craft fairs and flea markets and eventually online.  With approx 70 retailers now carrying his candle line (including One Kings Lane and Whole Foods) and a successful website, a storefront was the next natural step. 

I think what I'm most excited about is that I now have a place to pick up Christmas gifts for the men.  I think guys are hard to buy for, but I saw so many beautiful things I would love to gift. Beautiful leather key chains, vintage tools and pocket knives, hip t-shirts. 

It's perfect!

Of course we couldn't leave without picking up a few things. A new calendar with a vintage look, a leather wrapped mason jar for coffee or tea, and beautiful card decks.  

Ladies, Manready Mercantile often hosts social hours with complimentary cocktails for "man sitting" while you shop your favorite stores on 19th street in the historic Heights.  There's good stuff there!

                    Manready Mercantile    321 B W. 19th Street     Houston, TX

In the Good Old Summer Time

I've collected seashells for many years. Hard core, head down, ignore my family and friends and wander off for hours alone by the waters edge, kind of collecting. 

California, Mexico, Florida, Louisiana, The Outer Banks, Massachusetts, Connecticut and even a few lakes, rivers and streams. There always a souvenir that finds its way back home. 

I try to edit myself sometimes because it starts to look a little nuts. But that just makes me sad because I love to look at these and remember the epic day of shelling with my best friend on remote Portsmouth Island in the Outer Banks. 

Or the day my boys built a fire on the beach at sunset on Cape San Blas. 

Or the first year of our marriage living in New England and seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time. 

Or a day in Sanibel when there were so many shells you could hear them tumble in the surf.

Or finding big perfect sand dollars on the dunes on Shell Island and packing them so carefully so they would make the trip home. 

Or the early morning in Monterey we scooped up shells and sea glass with the colander from the rental house in the freezing Pacific. 

Or the time my husband jumped from a perfectly good boat into the clear blue water where we'd just seen a shark to retrieve a big perfect whelk shell for me on our 25th anniversary on Anna Maria Island. Now that's true love.

So, it's time to practice what I preach and live with what I love.  I love seashells.

A Weekend at The Vintage Round Top

Sometimes you've just got to get away.

I packed my family up last weekend and we did just that with a quick getaway to

The Vintage Round Top

in Round Top, Texas. 

Paige and Smoot Hull, owners of

The Vintage Round Top

, were recently featured in

Country Living Magazine

and I was honored to assist on that shoot.  But what a treat to experience this cottage in a more personal way; to relax into the quiet countryside and enjoy this beautifully renovated vacation home that provided every single thing we needed for the weekend.  

Even though I was there to just  r e l a x,  I couldn't resist photographing some of my favorite details of the cottage to share with you.   

I miss you

That daybed and I are new BFF's.  While my guys watched sports I was lounging there ...ignoring them :)  It's the perfect spot to crash after a day of sightseeing around Round Top and La Grange.

Of course,  Round Top is the place to be during the excitement of Antiques Week, but if you haven't experienced the area away from the shows you're missing out.  The shows are wonderful, but there's no way to take in the charm of the area because of the crowds and traffic. 

Driving down country roads at your own pace, taking in the sunsets, eating ice cream and pie and pulling over to talk to cows .... that's what we do. 

The Round Top Chamber of Commerce

website offers a nice list of events to help plan your trip.  There are often festivals, art shows and markets on the weekend so be sure to check.

I just heard that the cottage is available for the upcoming Mother's Day Weekend! For reservations at The Vintage Round Top, click

here

.  And when you go...hug the daybed for me.