It's Dad's Turn! Father's Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day has come and gone, so now it's on to Father's Day. 

Isn't it just the best to see the man you love being fatherly in any capacity? There's a pillow at my grandparent's house that says, "Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a DAD."  Our baby's not here yet, but my husband earned a Father's Day gift this year by spending last Saturday bathing my three (three!!) sheepdogs (sheepdogs!!) in a tub he fashioned out of Tupperware storage.

Join me as I once again scour the Internet for ideas on what to get the men I love oh-so-much!

Start out with cute free Father's Day printables... because we know it's all about presentation.
free father's day printables from amanda's parties to go blog

And a few more Father's Day printables here from giverslog blog and here from celebrations at home blog.

And for some of my personal top picks:

{ Where can I find...}

1. Stanley 3-in-1 Tripod LED Flashlight, $23.95 on Amazon.com
2. Cobalt blue BBQ grill, $19.00 on West Elm
3. Rag and Bone boater belt, $115 on Barney's.com
4. Age Your Own Whiskey Kit,  $150 on Binny's.com (via RealSimple magazine)
5. "Forever Family" map with heart, $22.00 on Etsy.com

For more, check out Rachel Zoe's always fashionable ideas:
the zoe report


Summer Salad and Sandwiches Recipes

Thanks to an addiction to Pinterest and a husband who says my cooking is tasty (bless his heart), I have been on a roll lately making summer salads and gathering recipes to try as the thermostat continues to climb. The following recipes I've either tried, want to try, or am sharing because they look gorgeous in pictures.

Recipes and sources linked below each picture.
chilled vegetable salad from southern living magazine 

hummus and avocado toasts with roasted tomato
watermelon sandwich on swanky::chic::fete blog

mozzarella, tomato, and avacado salad.

 If you want more, check out this great New York Times article, "101 Salads for the Season."


Give Mama Some Love

Shopping for my own mother inspired this post...  gift ideas for Mother's Day!

{Where can I find... }


Pretty Little Nurseries.

Ah, so I am thrilled to announce that there is going to be a huge new joie in my life! The husband and I are expecting our first child in September and we are over the moon. And since this blog is a reflection of whatever my obsession-of-the-moment may be, it only makes sense to dedicate this post to baby boudoirs!

In my current role of incubator second trimester mom-to-be, I have little knowledge of what it's like to have a child. I do know enough to realize that most of the nurseries in this post are:

1. Look-don't-touch,
2. Completely superfluous,
3. Gorgeous for glossy pages, but
4. NOT realistic.

Still, I've enjoyed them and I'm hoping anyone that comes across this blog may as well.

It's French, it's aqua... ergo, I love.
So simple yet pretty, and just switch the pink bedding with blue and you're ready for a little fella!

Smooth, clean lines
The "my kid can already read" Nursery

I love, love, love iron cribs

Cobblestone bedding
Framed Shel Silverstien poems... love this concept!

Clean lines, graphic prints

Admittedly, the smiley pup drew me to this one first.

And it's always fun to take a peek at celebrity nurseries...
Jewel, rustic nursery

Brooke Burke, harlequin boy/girl
Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez... Part II. (Is it wrong to envy a two-year-old?)
Ricky Martin nursery, ah-ma-zing.
Jessica Alba pink with sconces
Ali Landry, vintage fashion prints on the wall

Unnamed- and very blessed-  child from Orange County, CA


The Free Fun Continues

More freebies to share! These are some of my personal tried-and-true favorites.

Free fonts:
My absolute favorite site for free fonts is dafont. These fonts are amazing and add so much to a document or a project. I've found they work better on in Apple iWork's Pages rather than Microsoft Word, but most of them translate just fine. Here's a few of I use a lot:
Another great site for free fonts is on this blog:

Free Graphics:
Free flourishes can be found here.
 Free paper patterns:
Free weekly planner templates:
Free monogram (love it because you can customize the colors and letter):



Oh You Fancy, Huh: LIFE Magazine's Best Fashion Photos

Maybe because this day has started off rainy and dreary... but this list from LIFE Magazine just did something great to my psyche this morning.

See the entire list here.

Have a beautiful day!


A "Downton Abbey"-Inspired Post

Downton Abbey is back for Season 2 and I am absolutely thrilled. For this history nerd/hopeless romantic/Anglophile living in Alabama, the show is one of my top all-time favorites.

So, here is a little English home and garden eye-candy.... in honor of my favorite fictional hour of the week.

Let's start with the "power houses." 
 (Literally, that's what they are called). 
Their purpose was to be so grandiose that no one would question the wealth and importance of their residents. 

1. First up, Hampton Court-- a favorite of Henry VIII.
2. Holkham Hall is called "one of England's finest examples of the Palladian revival style of architecture." Built by the Earl of Leicester in the 18th century. 

3. Burghley House- Elizabeth I was quite keen on this one.

Love period movies? You'll recognize these next manor houses....
4. Mr. Darcy lives here! Chatsworth House... or, Pemberley in 2005's Pride and Prejudice.

5.  ... my first Darcy was Colin Firth, however, so this is what I see when I read (and read, and re-read) Pride and Prejudice. Lyme Park.
6.  The setting of Brideshead Revisited, Castle Howard was started in 1699 ... and took over 100 years to complete.

7. The inspiration for this post! Highclere Castle, also known as Downton Abbey.*

* Little fun trivia I learned while creating this post, Andrew Lloyd Weber wanted to purchase this house from the Carnarvon family-- the owners since the 1600's-- to house his art collection. Lord Carnarvon says it's staying in the family.

Three more, because they're easy on the eyes.

8.  The Castle of Mey. More Gothic in style than the above listed (can't you imagine the drawbridge over the moat?) A favorite of the Queen Mother... love her.

9. Longleat (which happens to be the only one on the list I've visited in person.) Home to the "UK's #1 Safari and Adventure Park," too!

10. Last, but certainly not least: Blenheim Palace, home of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

This house in particular has had lots of media exposure including the filming of Harry Potter (see the list here)...
And as a backdrop for the lovely Kate in 2004.

Want one? This one can be yours for £12 million pounds.

Further fun reading:

The 50 Best Stately Homes according to the Independent.co.uk

Top 11 Stately Homes in England

And how sad is this? A memorial to the lost houses of England.