Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Serving the Perfect Cheese Board

I like to serve a cheese board at the end of a nice meal. I sometimes make a small dessert but I will always serve cheese and port. It amazes me how terrified a lot of people are of the cheese counter. It can be a bit overwhelming trying to pick just a few cheeses when faced with so many choices, so here are some tips for selecting a good variety of cheeses.

Select a mixture of hard and soft cheeses.

Select some blue cheeses. They are an acquired taste, I know, but once you learn to love them you will LOVE them.

Have one unusual cheese on your board.

A basic cheese board could include :

Goat Cheese

If you wanted to serve more varieties then you could add :

Port Salut

Once you become familiar with these cheeses and know which are your favorites then you can start experimenting at the cheese counter. Ask for a sample of something that looks interesting.

I like to display my cheeses on this.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cashmere Coat

On mild winter days my favorite coat/jacket is the cashmere Shere Sweater Coat by Lilly Pulitzer.

I have three plain ones in navy, black and coral plus a cabled one in beige.

The Shere sweater coat by Lilly Pulitzer is my classic recommendation of the day!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Decorating the walls

I'm sure you have a lot of fun choosing furniture and accessories for your home. I know I do.

However I always have a hard time finding artwork. It doesn't seem to matter if its original or mass produced, it just seems to take me a while to find the pieces that speak to me.

When I was building our country abode I found that since this is a second home that not only did I need to devote a lot of time and energy to the building process but I also needed to fully furnish it from scratch. That meant a lot of new artwork.

Here are some of my finds...

In my foyer I have a very large map of London that I found at Restoration Hardware. The color of the river exactly matches the silk curtains. A very lucky coincidence!

In my sons bedroom there is a gorgeous framed photo of a yacht from Ethan Allen.

In my daughters bedroom there are six framed antique pressed flowers that I found at Scotts Antique Market in Atlanta.

In our bedroom there are four pictures of birds (you can just see the edge of the fourth on the far wall of our bathroom)

I won't admit how long it took me but I actually made these myself. They are all cross stitched on linen...

Monday, January 23, 2012


Barbour has been quietly providing us with beautiful clothing since 1894.

Their coats and jackets are worn in London and in the countryside, by royalty and by those attending the Glastonbury festival.

When I lived in London it seemed to me that just about everyone we knew owned a waxed jacket from Barbour and judging by the picture of Kate Middleton wearing one I strongly suspect that they are just as popular today.

(Helen Mirren in The Queen)

I have a green Border Jacket which is over 20 years old and will probably last me at least another 20, but I would love to get another one in either black or navy.

Clothing is available in the US from the Barbour website ....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Downton Abbey

This show is brilliant!

Highclere Castle where this series is filmed is less than 20 miles from my parents house! I know whats on my to do list next time I visit.

Friday, January 20, 2012


I have been sorting through and reorganizing my closet this week.

Here are a few pictures of my newly organized handbags.

I got rid of a lot of boxes as well as a few old bags which meant that I had room for my LV Carryall, jewelry box and makeup bag.

Ahh, nothing says January better than a bit of closet cleaning :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cooks Illustrated

I have a lot of cookbooks.

Plus I love to get recipes from the internet.

I mean I really have a lot of cookbooks ... at both houses.

I promised myself I wouldn't buy any more.

Well ... unless Delia Smith or Ina Garten published a new one in which case I would need two copies one for each house.

I have been doing really well about not buying a new one. But just before Christmas we got a delivery from Amazon that contained this...

My husband had ordered it and it has fast become one of my absolute favorites.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Perfect Coffee Mug

This is the mug that we use for coffee at our lakehouse. It is the Tradition Mug by Alpico (available at Williams Sonoma) and is the perfect casual mug.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Valentines' Day Accessories

These are some red handbags and shoes that I just love...

Holly Clutch - Tiffany

Amanda Clutch - Tory Burch

Edie Purse - J Crew

Salvatore Ferragamo Pumps - Talia High Heel Peep Toe Platform

Salvatore Ferragamo Bombay Lace Bow Ballet Flats

Salvatore Ferragamo 'glory' Bow Trim Sandal

A Trio of red shoes by Ferragamo - These never go out of style, I have several pairs and I LOVE them!

Anything red is perfect for Valentines' Day but you can also be like Pippa Middleton and wear red accessories year round...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bottega Veneta Knot Clutch

I love bags (and shoes and clothes and jewelry ... but I really LOVE bags).

I have been wanting to get a nice clutch for a while but nothing was catching my attention.

Until finally there was a bag that started catching my attention over and over again...

I loved the satin version but I purchased the Nero Intreccio in black napa leather because I felt that I could use it for both day and evening events.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Top 10 Household Gadgets

These are the things that make my life easier...

In my opinion there is nothing better for vacuuming and cleaning hardwood or hard flooring. I even use it to vacuum my rugs!

Shark Vac Then Steam Mop.Opens in a new window

This makes clean up of accidental spills so easy.

Bissell® Titanium SpotBot® Pet.Opens in a new window

These range in price from $149 to $799 and make one cup of coffee at a time. My husband loves really strong coffee, I love medium drip, Nespresso may have saved our marriage!

4. Kitchen Aid Mixer

I like the professional series because it has a hand crank bowl lift. It fits easily on the counter and never needs to be moved. Besides being a thing of beauty it whips up meringue unbelievably fast.

5. LG Front Load Steam Washing Machine and Dryer

I have these at both of my houses. The set at the lake house are newer and a little more up to date in that the dryer also has a steam function. I have never used it! But ... the steam option on the washing machine ... I use this all the time. A lot of clothing that used to be sent to the dry cleaners is now cleaned by me using my LG machine.

We love to make smoothies, soups, sauces and frozen drinks in this amazing blender.

7. iPad

My husband and children all had laptops. Since we also have imac desk tops at each house then I really couldn't justify getting a laptop for myself. However as soon as the ipad came out I knew I had to have one! I LOVE it, I can use it for 90% of my computing needs and I love reading books on it.

8. iPhone 4s

I bought the iphone when it first came out and until now had never updated to a newer version. My husband got one and I admit to falling in love with siri and knew I had to have one too. I ended up buying one for my 14 year old daughter at the same time. My son is only 11 and I promised that he too could get an iphone once he is in high school which he is very excited about.

He has an LG Octane which is a very nice phone and he is very happy with it. Last week at a school event a 9 year old girl holding an iPhone 4s came up to him and asked him why he had "that piece of ****". And that my dears is exactly why I don't believe in buying him an iPhone! Just because you have the means please do not spoil you children. My children have a very nice lifestyle but they are appreciative of what we give them. My son still loves his phone and I appreciate that he has manners :-)

9. Sony Alarm Clock

This does everything except make your coffee in the morning!

10. Kindle Fire

This is what we gave our children for Christmas. There was no need to buy them iPads since they both have Apple laptops but I really wanted to get them electronic readers. I ordered these the day they came out, and they love them so much. Kindles are wonderful but this version is so much more...

Hope you see something on this list that you like. Trust me each one of these gadgets makes me happy every time I use them and I have not always been a girl who enjoys cleaning her hardwood floors!