Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Horse Wreaths

Don't we all love wreaths?  You'll love these, straight from an Etsy store called "Horse Wreaths" no less. Enjoy!

Shop until you drop here.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Favorite Gifts for Fall

When I think of Fall, I think of fox hunting, parties outside in the crisp fall air, cubbing season, the fall indoor horse shows and making that one last month or two outside count before you retire to indoors for the cold winter ahead.

Here are some of my favorite gifts, to give and receive, this time of year.  This fox stationary from L.V. Harkness in Kentucky is divine.  See it here.

These horse shoe cards are from the same store, made by The Printery.  Who does not love to have a stash of fine paper in their desk drawer?  See it here.

I love these cocktail napkins too.  Also from L.V. Harkness.  See them here

Candles are always a great gift and Nest is one of my favorites. This is a great one for fall:

This fox towel would be a great present for the fox hunter friends in your world. In Virginia they are plentiful.

Enjoy this lovely fall day!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Susan Shaw Jewelry

I discovered this line of jewelry a few years ago at a shop in Blowing Rock, NC and have been a fan ever since.  The line is lovely, very good quality, holds up well, for a reasonable price. What's not to like?

Not Just An Omnivore's Dilemma, It's Everyone's Dilemma

Every now and then I get up on my soapbox and speak to the masses.  This is one of those times.  Where I live in Virginia, we have not any significant rainfall for three months and there is no rain in the coming forecast for the next 10 days.  My fields are totally bare, trees are dying, I am feeding my horses hay in the fields which is unheard of for me this time of year when pastures are typically lush.  The fields look now like they should late February.  It's going to be a very long and hard winter for sure. Hay prices are skyrocketing.  I am afraid that my well might run dry if I use much water.

Luckily, I don't use a lot of water with 3-4 horses, no kids, I run the dishwasher maybe once a week, 1-2 loads of laundry a week.  But my use of water isn't really the issue.  The issue that has not been talked about much is how we Americans eat.  You can drive a Prius and ride a bike but until we all start paying attention to the immense energy consumption that it takes to create our food and the huge amount of water it takes to produce small amounts of our food, many parts of America will look like drought-ridden California and parts of Virginia.  We cannot sustain it on any level.

Here's something I pulled from Wikipedia about Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma:

He's talking about how we eat "organic"

Pollan finds that while a one-pound box of California-produced organic lettuce contains 80 food calories, it requires 4,600 calories of fossil fuel to process and ship to the East Coast. He adds that the figure would be only “about 4 percent higher if the salad were grown conventionally.” It’s hard to dispute Pollan’s assessment of large-scale organic agriculture: it’s “floating on a sinking sea of petroleum.”

Did you know that it takes 80 gallons of water to produce ONE POUND of hamburger meat?  If everyone who eats beef switched to chicken, it would be like taking 26 million cars off the road!

My point is that REAL environmentalists need to do more than walk and bike and just walk the talk.  We have to start paying attention to how we use our precious resources as well as our carbon footprint.  One day, maybe not in my lifetime, but in the not too distant future, wars will be fought over water.  How is California and the West going to survive without water?  Do you really think that just because you shop at Whole Foods and are eating "organic" that you are really making a difference when it comes to our environment?   I personally think not.  There is is whole lot more to this story.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Sucker for Silverware

It's time to start thinking about fall entertaining.  I am ready to set a new table after being outside most of the summer. I love setting a table and you need a good flatware set or two or three or better yet a set of silver that's been handed down over generations. We'll start though with a good set of stainless.   I love it as you can put it in the dishwasher and a good set will last decades. Don't go too cheap - it won't last.  Here are that I love:

This is from Horchow and reminds me of an old Tiffany pattern:

You can buy it here.

Here's another classic style:

You can find it here.

And I love this pattern by Juliska:

This is a Ralph Lauren pattern:

Bamboo is one of my favorites:

And this is just wonderful.  Expensive, but it will set a lovely table. Horse and Hound has this pattern made by Vagabond House.

Happy Monday! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Mellon's Upperville Farm is For Sale in Virginia

Got a cool $70M to spare?  If you do, you might want to consider touring the late Paul and Bunny Mellon estate in Upperville, Virginia.  It can be yours for $70M.  It's about an hour (without the dreadful traffic) from DC but you'll need a Downton Abbey-type staff to keep this place up.  The Mellons did not live in the Georgian manor house, it housed art, so you'll need to update the mansion.

A mile-long airstrip for the Lear:

You'll have one of the best views in Virginia:

All in, 2000 acres, a 10,000-square-foot Georgian mansion, a working dairy, two stables with 43 stalls, barns, more than 20 cottages, and extensive gardens.

Want to learn more?  Check out this one-of-a-kind estate here.  Maybe Larry (as in Ellison) is looking for a hunt country abode?

It's a Black and Gray Kind of Day

I'm still stuck on fall fashions this week and can't decide if I like the new "slouchy casual" look that companies like J Crew are promoting. I like my sweats, don't get me wrong, but I also like tailored outfits in fine fabrics, like Armani.  Less can be more but I don't want to look like I just got out of bed all of the time.  One dress I have my eye on is this one from Trina Turk, I'm a big fan.  You can order it here.  I'd put a big chunky silver necklace on with this or maybe just big earrings.  I like the black and gray look. It's dreary outside right now (but still no badly needed rain), so these picks fit the day.........

Do you like the new "Van" look that J Crew and also Tory Burch is promoting?  It must be popular as these are already sold out on Tory's web site.  You can still buy them in silver if you hurry.

I am still trying to get used to the "booty look."  I know it's in, but I am still trying to get there.  I do like these from Nine West.  You can find them here.

Also love this wool scarf from Kate Spade.  The pink adds a little bit of punch don't you think?

Hope your day progresses beyond gray and black.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Great Horse Battleship

Some of the great racehorses that came out of America did not race in the Triple Crown.  The somewhat unknown, Battleship was one of those.  He was the son of Man o' War, a small colt, just 15'1 and he is the only horse to have won both the American Grand National and the British Grand National steeplechase races.  Born in 1927, he made 55 starts, 24 wins, 10 placings. He entered the US Racing Hall of Fame in 1969. He began racing on the flat and changed to the jumps in 1933. Retired to stud in the US after the Grand National in 1938, he sired only 58 foals. He died in 1958 at 31.

Competing for his first owner through age four, he won ten of his twenty-two starts on the flat. An injury kept him out of competition for a year, and at the end of 1931 Walter Salmon sold Battleship to Marion DuPont Scott for $12,000. A member of the prominent and wealthy DuPonts of chemical manufacturing, DuPont had begun developing her Montpelier estate in Orange, Virginia, into what became one of the leading horse-training centers in the United States at the time. She developed a race course there that is still used each November, The Montpelier Races. Her brother developed the area around Fair Hill, Maryland.

Ms. DuPont had Battleship trained for steeplechase racing and entered his first competition in 1933. The horse showed promise, winning three of his four races that season. Then, in 1934, he won the American Grand National, the most prestigious steeplechase race in the U.S. at the time. Gentleman jockey Carroll K. Bassett rode Battleship in most of his major U.S. victories. Bassett was also an accomplished artist and sculpted a small bronze bust of Battleship in 1934.  Here is a horse made by Bassett.  Pretty good? You can learn more about this here.

In July 1936, Battleship was sent to England, where trainer Reginald "Reg" Hobbs began to prepare the horse, on the mend with a bowed tendon, for the 1937 Grand National. Battleship won several races in 1936 and 1937, but some critics remained unimpressed saying he "did not look like a stayer".
Hobbs was also convinced that Battleship was not ready for the Grand National in March 1937. He continued training and racing in England, winning five of his thirteen races and was entered into the 1938 Grand National. His competition in the 1938 race included Royal Mail winner of the 1937 Grand National, Royal Danieli, and Workman. Battleship beat Royal Danieli to win the race in a photo finish, completing the race in 9 minutes, 27 seconds. He was ridden by the young Bruce Hobbs who was the youngest rider to win the race at 17.  Battleship was also a stallion, unusual for a race like the National.  There have been only two winners and none since Battleship.

Here's a link to a video about his great win at Aintree.

In June 1938, Battleship returned to the U.S.

Following his 1938 Grand National victory, Battleship retired to stand at stud at DuPont's Montpelier estate.  Notably, he sired War Battle and Shipboard, steeplechase champions in 1947 and 1956 respectively, plus Sea Legs, winner of the 1952 American Grand National. He also sired the stakes winners Cap-A-Pie, Eolus, Floating Isle, Mighty Mo, Navigate, Navy Gun, Tide Rips, and Westport Point.

You can see Battleship's grave at Montpelier, a fitting place for such a fine champion not far from the main house once owned by James and Dolly Madison.  Retired racehorses also live on the estate, as was stipulated in DuPont's will.

Don't you love a great story? Battleship the movie?  Why not?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall Favorites

I'm pleased to say that we're coming back, maybe not in full force, but when time allows, Horse Country Chic will blog.  I've missed it and I may have to get up an hour earlier every day to make this happen. Please be patient while we try to fit it all in.  There's much to catch up on but we'll start with fall fashions.  It's nippy at night, the horses are off night turnout and I think we can bring out the new fall clothes.  Maybe? I don't love fall like I do summer but here are a few picks from our end of the world.....

I bought a wrap dress when I was in New York a few weeks ago.  This is so retro but I simply love it and wore it very recently. So versatile, made of silk, can go almost year round.  And no I am not copying Kate!  This is not the one I bought but I know there will be more of these in my future.

 coat fetish did not go away.  Unfortunately.  There are two at J Crew that I adore.  There's just no room in coat closet for any more!  But somehow we'll find a way...

My love for Tory has not decreased either.  This one is the perfect size.
 And she's doing horses again this fall!

I tried this one on and loved it. It has leather arm patches and trim.  Very equestrian-like too! 

There's much more out there for fall, but at least this is a start.  Glad to be back but we'll be slower this time around. Less is always more.  Right?

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