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  • Celebrating beauty in everyday living

    The World Is a Great Mirror

    Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

    The world is a mirror. I always say that whenever something in life goes off the rails, first thing to do is look in the mirror. I say that. Sometimes it takes a while to get to it… but the answer is always there.

    The world is a mirror… Thomas Dreier

    This Thomas Dreier quote was among the “150 Love Notes” I found the other day at stylish Wendy Foster in Los Olivos (CA). All 150 are  different and with charming, vintage-y illustrations and borders. A picture of an old-timey sewing machine as the caption “You are sew perfect.” A pink sheep says “Love you baaaad.”

    150 Love Notes – Sugarboo Designs

    Their maker is Sugarboo Designs, based in Roswell, Georgia, and they make all sorts of lovely handcrafted slightly rustic-chic-granny sorts of things for the home. Great gifts, too.

    Sugarboo Designs

    Anyway we were having houseguests for the weekend, His Grace’s old Army buddies and their wives, and I thought these notes would be fun to incorporate into the place cards at dinner the first night. For each guest I put a note in an envelope with his or her name on the envelope. After the first course, we went around the table and read them in turn. Some were serious, and some were funny. I randomly chose them, but it was interesting to see how each somehow suited its recipient.

    Sunflower tablesetting Rancho La Zaca

    Our sunflowers are blooming and we are all about sunflowers at the moment. Here’s another table, similar.

    Sunflower table setting Rancho La Zaca

    And one more…

    Sunflowers on the table at Rancho La Zaca

    Now I’ll leave you to look in the mirror. You look great, by the way. Don’t let anybody tell you different. And remember, joy is the best make-up. Anne Lamott said that. Love her.

    I’m traveling for a few weeks … but I’ll see you on Instagram in the meantime.

    More sunflowers, these painted from a photo a friend sent from North Carolina:

    Sunflowers at the Mayo Farm, near Tarboro, North Carolina. Oil on canvas by Frances Schultz

    Posted in Art, Photography & Culture, Blog, Entertaining, Humor, Insight & Inspiration, Little Life Enhancers | 19 comments

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    Get Saucy! Brilliant Olive-Caper-Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette for Fish or Chicken

    Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
    Get Saucy! Brilliant Olive-Caper-Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette for Fish or Chicken

    "Brilliant" is a strong talk for a simple sauce and not used lightly. I definitely don't use the sauce lightly. I double the recipe and eat the leftover with a spoon.  Olives, capers, her...

    Posted in Blog, Entertaining, Food & Recipes | 5 comments

    Start the New School Year With “The Alchemist”

    Friday, August 22nd, 2014
    Start the New School Year With “The Alchemist”

    "When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too," says the boy to the sun, in Paul Coelho's The Alchemist. If I could teach children anything, it would be tha...

    Posted in Blog, Humor, Insight & Inspiration | 12 comments

    Tea Towels Make Great Gifts (We Love These Lily O’s)

    Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
    Tea Towels Make Great Gifts (We Love These Lily O’s)

    As we are still in high season for hostess gifts, it is especially thoughtful to give things  people actually want. Tea towels are always useful, and a fresh, pretty one is always we...

    Posted in Adventure & Travel, Blog, Entertaining, Little Life Enhancers, Sketches, Paintings & Projects | 12 comments

    Postcard From Italy No. 3–A Cathedral and a Nap in Siena

    Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
    Postcard From Italy No. 3–A Cathedral and a Nap in Siena

     Notes from travels earlier this summer... You may recall from Postcard No. 1, (here) or Postcard No. 2, (here) that my dear husband is happy to travel in Italy #aslongaswedon'tha...

    Posted in Adventure & Travel, Art, Photography & Culture, Blog, Decoration & Design | 22 comments