Fall Planters…Finished!

The weather has been wonderful (and very un Ohio-like) with bright blue skies and warm fall days. The garden and produce markets are overflowing with gourds and pumpkins and inspiration for me to revisit my fall planters–see blog post here.

I’ve been scouring Pinterest for ideas and adding them to my Fall Planter Ideas page.  I found so many beautiful ideas for my urns (as did many of you, from your comments – I’m so glad!) but there was one picture that really stood out to me.

I love the planters with the pretty yellow mums and although I wanted to stay away from stacking pumpkins yet again this year, I thought using the metal obelisks filled with colorful gourds and pumpkins was so unique. This picture appears to be at some sort of public place (if you look closely there are museum style directional signs and railings) and their planters and obelisks are huge but I figured I would give it a try on a bit of a smaller scale.

Off I went in search of the perfect metal obelisks. Luckily, I didn’t have to go far. Graf Growers, one of the best garden stores in town, is mere minutes away from my home, and they had these pretty obelisks sitting in the back of one of their greenhouses as if they were just waiting for me!

Obelisks

Obelisks

Bird Detail

Bird Detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I liked these because they were not too tall–about 3 feet high. I thought the twisted wrought iron was a little different and might make it easier to balance my pumpkins and gourds inside. I also love the sweet little birds – what a nice detail!

My next step was to buy the gourds, pumpkins and two 12″ mums. Luckily, Grafs also has a large supply of those so I could get everything in one place. I gathered up what I thought was a ton of gourds in a box and off I went to start my urn masterpiece…

My big box of gourds. I thought this would be more than enough. Was I wrong...

My big box of gourds. I thought this would be more than enough. Was I wrong…

First, I planted the mums in my urns:

The empty urn

The empty urn

I chose plants that have not yet flowered so that I could get some longevity out of them. The flowers will be bright yellow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, I began stacking my pumpkins and gourds. I started with the larger ones on the bottom and built up from there, only to find that what I thought was my huge selection of gourds was not even enough to fill up the obelisks half way! Back I went to get more pumpkins and gourds…

Ooops. Definitely need some more supplies!

Ooops. Definitely need some more supplies!

With more gourds and pumpkins at the ready, I began stacking again. It was sort of like a puzzle. Even my 3 year old son got into the action.

My pumpkin puzzle

My pumpkin puzzle

My last step was to lift the obelisk up and place it in the center of the urn, on top of the mum. It took a little work to get it centered and well placed so that it was deep enough in that it didn’t fall down. It was at this point that I realized it would have been easier to place the obelisk in the urn before I placed all the pumpkins and gourds, because they were heavy! Live and learn, I guess…

And finally, the finished product. My Fall Planter problem solved? What do you think?

 

The Fall Planter completed! Now we just need the yellow mums to bloom!

The Fall Planter completed! Now we just need the yellow mums to bloom!

View from the front

View from the front

Both planters from the side

Both planters from the side

Leopard Love – My Hunt for the Perfect Leopard Print Flats

Leopard Love...my hunt for the perfect pair of leopard print flats

Tory Burch Reva Flats

My worn out Tory Burch Reva Flats

These are the ones. The ones that started it all–my love for leopard print. They are sad and worn out now but when I found them at a Tory Burch outlet about 5 years ago, they called to me. The price was great, they fit perfectly, and looked good with so many things in my closet because they add a stylish punch without being too wild.

As you can see, they are well worn–a shadow of their former stylish selves. These babies have gone to dinners, school festivals, vacations, baby showers, luncheons, outside to get the mail (got to look good going to the mailbox, right?) and caught in countless rainstorms. But, alas, with all of that wearing, they are scuffed and tired. They look so bad, I finally had a friend kindly tell me that it was time to replace them. That was about two years ago and I have been on the hunt ever since.

My first thought was that I would just buy the same pair again but when I started looking for them, I found that Tory Burch stopped making this exact style.

Here are a few nice options I’ve found along with some ideas from Pinterest about how and what to wear with leopard print shoes. And for even more Leopard Love, check out my Pinterest page. Meanwhile, I am still on the hunt. So far, nothing matches the fit and comfort of those first Tory Burch Reva flats. Tory–please! Bring them back!

 

Tory Burch Leopard Print Reva Flats

Tory Burch now makes these leopard print Reva flats. They are very cute and I liked them a lot. Unfortunately,  I have terrible feet and when I tried them on they were just not a good fit for me.

 

J. Crew Nora Leopard Print Flats

My next try was the Nora leopard print flats from J.Crew. J.Crew has an assortment of great leopard print shoes-from heels to loafers. I ordered these on the web site and ended up sending them back a couple times for the right size, but once I got the right fit, they were perfect. They are very sweet, comfortable and look great. These are the closest replacements I’ve found to my original pair.

 

Chloe Scalloped Leopard-Print Calf Hair Ballerina Flat

My latest find are these Chloe flats. I have been wearing them non-stop. I love this scalloped design and have bought them in other colors because they are like wearing slippers. They look great but are definitely an investment price-wise. You don’t want to get caught in a rain storm in these babies!

 

Steve Madden Elusionl

These Steve Madden flats are a perfect example of great style for less money. I found these online and have not tried them on but the price is great ($79.00) and I love the cut out D’Orsay style design. Very cute option!

 

Pinterest Outfit Inspiration

Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamt of incorporating leopard into my wardrobe. Now, I almost consider it a neutral.  All it takes is a little inspiration and where better to find that than Pinterest? Happy hunting!

Leopard Outfit Inspiration

Image via Polyvore.com

Image via WhippedStyle

Image via WhippedStyle

What Are You Waiting For?

 So many of you probably didn’t notice but I didn’t post last week. When I started this blog, I told myself I would post once a week and I have stuck to it so well. Except for last week. I was busy, but in a good way busy. I went on a girls trip with a bunch of friends that I grew up with. I’ve known some of these girls since we were 4 and 5 years old. We all have small children and it was an absolute miracle that most of us could make the trip.

We came from all over–Colorado, Boston, Charleston, Cleveland–and it was fun. Like pee in your pants laughing most of the time fun. It was hard to get away (a NASA shuttle launch might be less complicated than the list of logistics I left my parents and baby-sitters before I left) but so worth it. Being with friends that you have known all your life and having all the pieces fit together so easily is a gift and something that really hit me while I was there with them. When you have great opportunities that build you up, make you a better person and make you happy–like spending time with lifelong friends–don’t pass them by.

So when this image popped up on my Instagram feed the other day, it really struck me.

Image via

Image via Lara Casey Shop

I think it was the simple white paper and pretty gold lettering that first caught my eye but it is what it says that has stuck with me. Damn right. I should go do them.  What am I waiting for? Long pause…um…I think I’m not sure of the things that I’ve always wanted to do. I honestly don’t know what my “them’ is. Going back to school, starting my own business, doing a triathlon?

I do know that the thing I do–my them–has got to be something creative. I’ve been reading a lot and following blogs and Instagrams of people who are considered “Creatives,” a buzz word for artists, writers and designers who work in creative fields. Many of them show their own Inspiration Boards–a collage of images and ideas — and advocate for other Creatives to build an Inspiration Board to kick start a project or get inspired.

So I figured what better way to get started making my list of things I’ve always wanted to do than an Inspiration Board? So here goes…Let the magic begin!

 


Inspiration Board

This is just a selection of what I gathered digitally for my Inspiration Board. For more images, visit my Pinterest Board. Want to create your own Inspiration Board? I found this great article on The Decorista about How to Create Stylish & Successsful Vision Board and hope to create a non-digital version for my office that I can look at everyday. You can bet the print above will be on there (I just purchased it from the Lara Casey Shop!) For a collection of images of beautiful Inspiration Boards, click here.

Fall Outdoor Decor & My Urn Problem

Its that time of year when summer is almost over and I am trying to squeeze out every little bit of it–except for my garden. By this time, I have given up. The summer heat and humidity has taken its toll on my sad attempt at gardening and my tired, dry and worn out flowers and plants are clinging to the last bit of their short lives. The saddest of the sad, though, are our garden urns–2 in the front of the house and 2 in the back:

These are the front urns. The flowers in them looked so bad I just took then out and replaced them with these artificial (I know, the horror!) boxwood spheres

These are the front urns. They prominently flank our front entrance and can really make a statement (either good or bad, depending on how they look!) The flowers in them did look so bad I just took them out and replaced them with these artificial (I know, the horror!) boxwood spheres

This is what the urns in the backyard look like. Same as the front but filled with nearly dead flowers. I'm embarrassed to be showing these. They look like something from Grey Gardens.

This is what the urns in the backyard look like. They are the same as the front but filled with nearly dead flowers. I’m embarrassed to be showing these–they look like something from Grey Gardens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, the urns are beautiful. They came with the house when we bought it and guessing from some of the other touches around the the house and and in the garden, they are antique and very special. The problem really is me. Nothing I do in them seems to do them justice, especially this time of year. As we turn the corner to labor day, I struggle with what to put in these urns. I hate to plant more flowers because the weather can turn cold so fast here. I also don’t want to leave them empty. It gives the house and yard such a sad feeling.

So, what to do?

Enter Pinterest.

Ideas come flooding in.

Of course, I start (totally unrealistically) here:

Image via Houzz

Image via Houzz

I know. Gorgeous. I want this more than anything in my urns. However, this would absolutely not work for a few reasons:

1. We do not live in the South where this type of container could flourish

2. My attempt at this would not end up looking anything like this photo, and

3. I would kill this mother in a few short weeks

Instead, the last couple of years I have done a simple, pumpkin stacking kind of thing inspired by these photos I found on Pinterest. I liked their simplicity and style and they lasted forever with no maintenance. They actually looked pretty cute.

Image via MomDesigner

Image via MomDesigner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After two years of pumpkin stacking though, I feel like I need to do something different. I culled a bunch of ideas that I thought I would feature here and then in a few weeks, I’ll share what I finally end up with. I pinned these because they were pretty but didn’t look too complicated to put together or to maintain. You can view all of my fall planter pins on my Pinterest board, here. I’d love your input. Let me know what you think about these ideas and also what you do with your containers in the fall. I’d love to know! Happy pumpkin stacking!

Image via Stone Gable

Image via Stone Gable. This is one of my new favorite blogs. She has beautiful ideas.

 

Image via

Image via HomeBunch. They have got some great fall decor ideas on this site!

Image via

Image via Craftberry Bush

Image via

Image via eabdesigns

Image via

Image via HomeEdit

 

 

Endless Summer

Image via LookUp Quotes

Every summer as the season comes to a close, I experience a summer sadness.  It’s not anything as serious as depression, but certainly a malaise. As our trip home to Ohio edges ever closer, a little bit of greyness starts clouding my head and my heart. About a week ago, when I felt that greyness creeping in, I began to think just how silly it was. How foolish to be missing something that isn’t even over yet? Missing the beach while you are sitting on it? Duh.

It got me thinking–just what about summer is it that I love so much? Of course, everyone loves action packed summer days, beautiful starry nights, bike rides, beach sand, swimming…I could go on and on. But there is something else for me. I have almost a different personality or persona–happier, more relaxed, carefree and fun. I’ll call her Summer Beth, and I definitely like her better than that more stressed out, uptight Rest of the Year Beth.

So, I decided this year, Summer Beth needs to have a talk with Rest of the Year Beth because Summer Beth doesn’t need go away. Even after summer has waned and the cold, crisp days of fall have set in, Rest of the Year Beth needs to remember–that greyness can’t creep in if the warm summer thoughts, relaxed attitude and especially the memories are there to keep it out. After all, as the ultimate Queen of Summer, Lilly Pulitzer, once said, “Its always summer somewhere.” Yep–in my heart and mind.

How to Build a Bar (when you really don’t have space to build a bar)

Building a Bar (when you really don't have spar to build a bar)

Building a Bar (when you really don’t have space to build a bar)

As you’ve probably guessed from the short time I’ve been writing this blog, I’m a girl who likes to have a glass of wine now and again. I’m not much of a cocktail drinker (although I love the way they look–so crisp, so refreshing!), but I do love to entertain. And of course, one of the key elements of any cocktail party, no matter the size or occasion, is a well stocked bar. Unfortunately, not every home has the space or budget to build a custom made bar like you see in magazines.  How do you build a bar in a room where you really don’t have space to build a bar? What, you say, is the answer to this earth shattering question? The bar table, of course!

In our home, the main living area is next to the kitchen. It is tight space with a seating area, coffee table and the all important (but well hidden) toy basket. It flows right into the dining room so there is a dining table nestled in there as well. Needless to say, I don’t have much room. What I do have is a small (46 inches to be exact) open wall in between a window and a sliding glass door. So, off I went to hunt for the perfect bar table and art work that could fill up the wall space above it. I found these beauties:

Building A Bar

The spoils of my search  – bar table and wall art

I love this table because it is so simple. It is compact, has two good sized drawers, and the top is a tray that comes off. The best thing about the table is this map hidden under the glass on the tray top.

ACK MAP

The best part of my bar table – the ACK map hidden underneath!

The sea fan art is from artist Karen Robertson. I have looked at and loved her sea fans forever so I waited and waited for one of Horchow.com’s great sales and got this at a great price. I just love it.

Then it was time to build the bar. My first stop was to Target where I found a great rattan tray (World Market now has this one, similar). Especially when you are working with many items in a small space–in this case, bottles, glasses, and various other bar accoutrement–organizing it into defined areas helps so it doesn’t look jumbled and messy.  I grouped all of the liquor bottles in the rattan tray and added essentials like an ice bucket and a cocktail shaker in smaller, compact sizes to save space.

Grouping bottles together on a rattan tray helps keep the small space looking organized and neat

Grouping bottles together on a rattan tray helps keep the small space looking organized and neat

Since I’m not a hard alcohol drinker, I rely on my husband to fill in here. He knows his stuff and mixes a mean cocktail. He’s one of those guys who orders an after dinner drink you have never heard of but it could burn your nose hairs off when it comes. His bottle selection for our bar table is:

  • Mount Gay gin (great for summer gin & tonics)
  • Bombay Sapphire gin
  • Pimm’s (to make a Pimm’s No 1 – a delicious lemonade cocktail famously served at Wimbleton. Click here for the history and recipes)
  • Belvedere Vodka (for the Belvedere martini)
  • Laphroaig Whiskey
  • Oban Whiskey
  • Armanac
  • Calvados (this is one of those nose burners)
  • Gentleman’s Jack
  • Gosling’s Diet Ginger Beer (to make Dark & Stormy’s)

When hosting a smaller group of people, I love to add a few fun extras like this Fever Tree tonic. They are just a bit more special and decorative than the grocery store variety and I’ve been told they taste great too.

After the liquor, its time to add glasses, and plenty of them, not only because you end up using them but because they look pretty and decorative when you are not using them. I like to include a variety of types and sizes, from wine glasses to my new favorite roadie cups.

Nantucket Roadie Cups from RoadieCup.com

Nantucket Roadie Cups from RoadieCup.com

Don’t forget these beautiful copper mugs for Dark & Stormy’s.  I added some cute party straws for a pretty little color punch.

Copper mugs

Copper mugs are a nice touch for a Dark & Stormy

I was under the impression that one size tumbler glass would suffice but I was emphatically told by my husband that certain drinks require very specific glassware. I never mind a good shopping quest so for the past few years, I have been on a mission to find the perfect Highball and Old Fashioned glasses. When I finally found the perfect ones from Juliska, I knew I had to have them monogrammed:

Monogrammed glasses

Monogrammed High Ball & Old Fashioned glasses from Juliska

And finally, the last little details–cute cocktail napkins, an opener, cocktail picks and a wine bottle coaster.

Little Details

Little Details – Ikat napkins, cocktail picks…

And with that, one of life’s burning questions solved – who would have thought a 42″ x 24″ table could do so much?

Bar Table

Bar Table

A peek inside

A peek inside