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Summer time festivals are da bomb.  Here a some pics of the 2012 Rib Fest in my home town.  Wonder how many calories are represented?  Is BBQ having a moment, or is it just me?





What are your favorite BBQ spots when there isn’t a festival in sight?

New Orleans Landscape Painter–Mitchell Long

On a recent trip to New Orleans, on one of our walks back and forth through the French Quarter from the Soniat House to various points of calorie consumption, we stumbled upon the art of Mitchell Long, hanging from the fence on the back side of the St. Louis Cathedral.  After seeing a lot of formulaic (to be kind) art on the street, it was refreshing and striking to see local art that was original, lovely, and well conceived.

The paintings hanging from that fence were small and in the $50-$150 price range.  We bought one of the Falstaff Brewery that looks a lot like this:

Falstaff Brewery

I was very taken by Mr. Long’s paintings of kitchens.  One of the regrets of my trip is that I didn’t purchase the 3 studies of various kitchens.  They were intriguing to look at and affordable.  Why did I hesitate?  Some times the heat makes me lethargic–that’s my only excuse.

This work is available on his web site.

I could easily remedy this situation and go to Mr. Long’s etsy store or contact him via his web site.  We had a lovely conversation with him that day and he is very genial and personable.  It seems, like with many artists, that he does what he does because he has to.  He is prolific and not painfully self conscious about his work.

A lovely landscape of New Orleans


So, it doesn’t take a trip to New Orleans to bring a lovely bit of NOLA into your life.

Farrow & Ball Paint

British decorating style has always been one of my favorites.  I love the solid, timeless quality of the fabrics and the use of natural colors and products.  I think of stone walls, wide wood plank floors, open hearths, tweed, dogs, Wellies, fly fishing, horses….  A casual elegance permeates English decor.

Image via Nina Campbell

One of the most well edited choices in paint colors comes from Farrow & Ball, an English producer of fine paints.  While pricey, the colors are divine.  Maybe pick up a color wheel and get a match from your favorite brand at the local paint store?  I’ve splurged and used their product and have not been disappointed.  My current favorite colors include Down Pipe, Elephants Breath and Pink Ground.  Pink Ground looks like the inside of a seashell and changes beautifully with changing light.

Down Pipe Walls, All White Trim and Ceiling. Skimming Stone on the far walls.

The web site is full of inspiration.  You can get lost in the pictures and color combinations.  Lots of solid advice is given as well–this is not just a “buy our products” kind of sight, but educational as well.   Buying the sample pots is a sure fire way to make the right choice.  I have painted many canvas panels–9 x 12 is a good portable size– with the various colors to get a good idea.  Helps to move it around a room and catch the various light too.

I highly recommend purchasing one of their decorating books for reference.  There are so many combinations of colors that you may not have considered before and it is always nice to see your choice of pairings confirmed by the experts.


This is my favorite of the 3. Lots of amazing pictures.

A random tip I have for choosing paint colors is to check out the House Beautiful app for the iPad–500+ Favorite Paint Colors.  This is fun to play with even when you don’t have a project!


And really, how can you not like a company with this motto:


Inside the Kremlin

I was privileged to recently visit Russia and am mentally planning my next trip back.   Here are a few pictures from inside the grounds of the Kremlin in Moscow. “Kremlin” means citadel and this fortified area includes four palaces and four cathedrals enclosed by the Kremlin Wall.  This complex serves as the office of the President of Russia.

I, personally, was surprised by the cathedrals.  Notice the different types of crosses on top.

We were lucky to be able to visit before public hours—Thanks Indagare!

Heywood Wakefield

I’ve always loved the sleek, natural design of Heywood Wakefield furniture.

Chairs found on at AMBIANIC.

Heywood Wakefield set of six dining chairs Mid by AMBIANIC.

Heywood Wakefield Dining Table Mid Century Modern Gateleg Sculptural Vintage

Heywood Wakefield Table at AMBIANIC etsy store.

Beware when answering ads—Heywood Wakefield made a “colonial” type furniture during that time too. I thought I was going to see/purchase a sweet set like above, but found myself looking at the colonial variant.   It is not all created equal in my mind.

A Rainy Day in Petoskey

Northern Michigan is filled with delights–natural beauty, sophisticated food, friendly people.  Even a rainy day doesn’t spoil the fun!  I recently spent a rainy Saturday afternoon in Petoskey and barely scratched the surface of the fun shopping, dining, and strolling.

V2V Interior. The colors are inspiring.

We started things off at my favorite store in town, Vintage to Vogue (V2V as the locals know it).  Inventory flies off the shelves here, so it is always fun to stop by and see what is new.   Other great stores that we burned up our credit cards in included Robert Frost Shoes, Cutlers (for the most amazing housewares and cottage do-dads), Meyer Ace Hardware (truly an amazing assortment of everything and anything you might need), American Spoon Foods (did these guys invent dried cherries?) and the McLean & Eakin bookstore.

All of this shopping makes a gal hungry, and on this visit Julienne Tomato was like seeing a mirage–only one with hot soup and home made baked goods!

Zesty Tomatillo & Corn Soup–Nom Nom.

Bahaha! A sense of humor & good food! At Julienne Tomato

Other awesome lunch spots abound–Jesperson’s or Roast & Toast come to mind.  You may need to come back to sample them all–or spread your calories out and have pie at Jespersons and an afternoon pick me up of a fancy coffee drink at Roast & Toast.

Jesperson’s is the oldest family restaurant in MI.

They always say that if you don’t like the weather in northern Michigan, just wait a little while.  As our rainy day stretched into two, we were wondering about that.  On the third day the sun did shine and we were rewarded for our patience!

Another sunny day in Northern Michigan! I feel like a Tim Allen Pure Michigan commerical!

Walter Steiger

Saw these awesome heels in Paris.  Why did I debate so long?

Love the silhouette!

We were calling them “grown up shoes.”

More do-able?

These look like a better “price per wear” for me.

Walter Steiger.

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