Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lighthearted Farmhouse

I am loving this "farm house" featured recently in Veranda (one of the best house magazines out there).  Designed by the 20th-century Atlanta architect James Means, it's a 1960s take on a Colonial-era farmhouse, but it's also a sophisticated fusion of reclaimed materials, singular furnishings, and some lighthearted touches.

 Enjoy these last hours of 2014.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tried and True Equestrian Decor

With the Christmas rush behind us, the winter months bring solace, free time, and ample opportunity to start or complete some of those projects that get pushed to the side during the busier spring, summer and fall months. My project is finishing up a rearranged guest bedroom and starting, almost from scratch, my living room.  More on that later.  While I am not opting for "equestrian decor" in either of these spaces, the look never fades.  Want to add some sparkle to your own house this winter with this timeless look?  Here are some ideas.....
Love this fixture which could go in so many places. This would never go out of style.  See it here.

Love these simple bookends too.  See them here.

These stirrup napkin rings from Ralph Lauren will make any table sparkle.  See them here.

Another version, if you prefer leather. See them here.

A horse bit throw is an easy way to add some equestrian elegance to a bedroom, den, or living room.  See this one here.

Here's another one.  See it here.

Pottery Barn is offering a few equestrian-themed accents for the home. See it here.

I adore this equestrian-inspired table.  See it here.

This stirrup lamp is by the same designer, Barry Dixon, who has a home in the Virginia Hunt Country.  See it here.

 Have you been inspired to decorate yet? Hope so.  Enjoy these waning days of 2014.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Let's Go Shopping

If Santa flushed you with cash, you are in luck!  There are some great sales going on right now.  Here are a few of my picks.....

Lilly Horsebit Necklace
Who knew Lilly went equestrian?  See it here.

Animal Pillows
I adore these animal pillows. The penguin is sold out but the others are available now and are an extra 25% off.  See them hereThe backs of the pillows are tartan.

New Year's Eve Top
This would make a great top to wear for a festive New Year's Eve.  See it here.

Horse Earrings
These will go with everything casual.  Love these!  see them here.

Pearl Cuff Bracelet
This one is also an extra 25% off the sale price. See it here.

As my mother used to say, "the more you shop, the more you save.."  Right?

2014 - The Highs and the Lows

As 2014 comes to an end it's time to reflect on what seemed like a very short year.  I can't believe we are almost to 2015.  Let's take a look at how it sorted out.

Losing My Dad
This was definitely the low. In mid-February, he left this world for a better place, of course in the middle of a huge snowstorm.  He was ready to leave us and I am certain we will meet again.  Au revoir.

Mid-December Trip to Blowing Rock
I just blogged about this.  Cannot wait to go back.

Annual Trip to the US Open
Another highlight was my annual trip to NYC with my great friend Jess to see the US Open. We managed to see the best tennis we've seen yet - Cilic, Berdych and others.  It was a great two days not to mention some good shopping down in the Village.

The Cabin
Hubby is happy, enough said!

We finished off a frustrating year on a high note and Alfie ended up being the reserve champion Adult horse in our region even though we did not start showing until late summer.  Cannot wait to start the 2015 season.

The Addition of Little Lola
I am so thrilled to have this little mare as part of our family. Cannot wait to start showing her in 2015.  Stay tuned!

Hoping that you had more highs in 2014 than lows and all the best for a wonderful new year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Have Yourself a Merry Little Midcentury Christmas

You know what they say, if you hold onto something long enough it will come back in style.  Well, maybe....

(all photos are from Pinterest)
Have a wonderful Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

C is for Caring

As the holidays are upon us, there are so many people out there who are not having a "Merry Christmas." Keep these people in mind, they need the most from us right now, those of us who are not in crisis mode, and an extra touch, a thank you, an email, text or call, would help those in need a lot in these days when the lonely days and nights are especially lonely, during the holidays.

To my friend up north, who is going through a really bad time.....

To someone in North Carolina who may not make it through Christmas....

To my friend in Virginia who recently lost a brother....

To those who are worried about jobs, bank accounts, elderly family members .......... Christmas is a time when we should care the most.  My dear father was the most generous person I've ever known.  He told me always that it is better to give than to receive and if you give, it comes back to you tenfold.  Hug your loved ones today.  Give a little extra to the Salvation Army kettle, write one more check at year end and do something nice for someone in need.

Monday, December 22, 2014

B is for Blowing Rock

We just returned from a four-day trip to one of my favorite places on the planet, Blowing Rock.  I've blogged about this idyllic spot before but even in winter, it holds a place near and dear to my heart and it always will.

We splurged and spent one night at Westglow, recently named the 7th best destination spa in the world. The house was built by the painter Elliott Daingerfield and it will not disappoint.  It is worth a trip, and the restaurant is fabulous. See my earlier post on Westglow here.
 Most people travel to Blowing Rock in summer where it rarely gets above 80 degrees and I believe the record temperature of all time is either 88 or 90 degrees (can you believe it) but I hate crowds so I prefer the off-season. The town was decorated, it was lively, the restaurants full but you could still get in and the stores were full of goodies (we did a lot of shopping). Blowing Rock is surrounded by parks, hiking trails and ski resorts but alas no skiing this year (the arm saga) so we walked.

We spent two nights at Gideon Ridge and I must say it's my favorite place to stay, so much charm and rustic atmosphere.  The owners could not have been nicer and I know we'll be back here.  The restaurant there is very good too.
We had drinks at Chetola on Saturday.  I just love Blowing Rock.  Sometimes the best places in life are in your own backyard.  Enjoy these last few days before Christmas. 

A is for Arc'teryx

Named for ARCHAEOPTERYX LITHOGRAPHICA, the first reptile to develop the feather for flight, freeing itself from the constraints of the horizontal world. Arc'teryx is just the best outdoor clothing line there is, period. At least I think so.  A few years ago it was hard to find (I discovered it while skiing in Canada where supreme warmth is really needed) but now it is becoming more mainstream here in the U.S. There is an Arc'teryx store opening in downtown Washington, D.C.

One of my favorites is this jacket.  I bought one for my husband a few years ago and he loved it so much he bought me one last Christmas. I use this to run in, ride in, to layer when it's really cold and it is the most comfortable jacket I own. It comes in four colors and there is also a vest (which is the vest I wear almost all of the time).

It also comes in a hoody.

Their long coats are fabulous, lightweight, warm and functional.  Loving this one too.

 If you are skier, runner, hiker, rider, or just love being in the great outdoors and prefer to be warm and fashionable then you should check out this brand.  Hoping there is some Arc'teryx under my tree this year.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Seabiscuit Memorbilia Auction

If you love Seabiscuit then you'll want to take a look at the online auction going on now at  

Auction of “The Seabiscuit Collection of Chris Lowe” Coincides with the Upcoming 75th Anniversary of the Beloved Thoroughbred’s History-Making 1940 Santa Anita Handicap Victory
New York, NY (Dec. 17, 2014) – Seabiscuit jockey Red Pollard’s race-worn saddle, which he wore upon the back of the famed champion racehorse and cultural icon who captivated the nation during the Great Depression and whose improbable story was immortalized in book and film, is among the rare Seabiscuit memorabilia being offered as part of the Vintage Sports 2014 Catalog Auction, which closes Jan. 16, 2015. Pollard had gifted the saddle after Seabiscuit's historic 1940 Santa Anita Handicap victory -- the last ever race for the legendary thoroughbred. 
“The Seabiscuit Collection of Chris Lowe,”  which is being auctioned by, also features a glass-encased presentation case containing two Seabiscuit horseshoes, one of which he wore when he beat Triple Crown winner War Admiral in their 1938 winner-take-all match race – considered the greatest horse race in history – the other from his historic 1940 Santa Anita Handicap win, earning the title of the world’s leading money winner of his day.
The auction at boasts more than 150 Seabiscuit items, including original race programs, signed photos and etchings, oil paintings, advertising material, artwork, rare books, prints, and glass and chinaware.
“Chris Lowe’s collection is quite possibly the largest in the world. It is rare to be presented with an opportunity to own such treasures symbolizing triumph, resilience and a blaze-of-glory finish,” said Jacqueline Cooper, president of the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the historic preservation of Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, CA., the home and final resting place of the champion racehorse.
“There have been countless racehorses throughout the ages, but few, if any, have captured the imagination and inspired an entire nation, and continue to do so, like Seabiscuit,” said Chris Lowe. “I feel this is the right time, especially given the 75th anniversary of his greatest win, to let others enjoy and treasure the memory of this great horse.”
“Seabiscuit was one of a kind, and there will never be another like him. Perhaps the singular representation of the Depression-era underdog, his rags-to-riches story thrilled two generations: his own, and our modern one, with the publication of Lauren Hillenbrand’s best-selling book in 2002 and the subsequent film,” said Josh Evans, founder and chairman of “Chris Lowe has perfectly preserved the memory of Seabiscuit with this collection, and with the 75th anniversary of Seabiscuit’s Santa Anita Handicap victory upon us, there’s no better time to showcase it to the world.”
Highlights from The Seabiscuit Collection of Chris Lowe” include, among other things:
  • Red Pollard’s Seabiscuit Saddle (Reserve: $5,000)
  • Seabiscuit Race-Worn Horseshoes from War Admiral Match Race and Santa Anita Handicap (Reserve: $3,000)
  • Unprecedented Seabiscuit Associated Press Wire Photos (Reserve: $1,000)
  • Huge Seabiscuit Ephemera and MemorabiliaCollection (Reserve: $500)
  • Unique Limited Edition Signed Print (Reserve: $500)
  • J. Pollard on Seabiscuit Signed Photo (Reserve: $500)
  • 1938 Seabiscuit vs. War Admira Program (Reserve: $500)
  • Collection of Seabiscuit Programs (Reserve: $500)
  • “The Admiral vs. The Biscuit” by Geoffrey Smith (Reserve: $1,000)
In addition to the one-of-a-kind Seabiscuit collection, the Vintage Sports 2014 Catalog Auction features an array of other remarkable horse racing collectibles and more than $1 million in other spectacular sports memorabilia.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Notes From Christmas Past

This will be my first Christmas without my father.  While I've spent the majority of my holidays in recent years with my husband's family (my family came for Thanksgiving), I have many memories of Christmas, growing up in North Carolina.  We did not "overdo" the holiday, our gifts were not extravagant, but I always knew there was love in my household. How lucky am I? I'll likely never have a Christmas again in my hometown, but there are some special memories that will remain forever, nonetheless.

My mother would take us to Old Salem (like a small Williamsburg) where the Moravian tradition of the candle tea still goes on.  You go to a church service, mostly music, where you are given a candle, a Moravian Bun and a mug of coffee.  The tradition continues today. The aroma of the coffee, the buns, the beeswax candles burning, was intoxicating.

My father would take me and my sisters as children downtown to an old grocery store called W.G. White's where candy was sold in large bins, by the pound. He'd buy us large bags of hard candy during the holidays.  The store is still there but now it's called Ronnie's Country Store.  It looks almost the same now as it did then.

One of our close family friends had this incredible cocktail party every year on Christmas Eve for 200 of their closest friends.  My friend's father was in politics so he had many friends. I've never to this day been to a party quite like this and sadly, her father passed away a few years ago and the tradition has died.  You wore your holiday cocktail attire (no one ever dared to dress down which would be wonderful today).  Their house was incredible (one of their houses was in House Beautiful when it was built in the 1960's), decorated to the nines.  Waiters in white coats served you drinks and food from silver trays.  People stayed for hours, it was that much fun, even on Christmas Eve.

My father took us downtown to the Christmas parade.  I don't know if they still have one or when the parade was held, but I remember bundling up to go see the parade with him as a little girl.
One year my parents went to a party and we found all the presents in the trunk of my dad's car.  You can run but you cannot hide. We were naughty little girls that year but Santa still came.  Cherish your memories with your loved ones. One day they will be only memories.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Equestrian Holiday Gift Guide, Part Two

It's still not too late to order online but the clock is ticking.  So everything I am picking out today can be found online.  I did most of my shopping this year from my armchair.

I love these reversible place mats from Horse Country here in Virginia.  See them here.

This fox plate is so adorable and very reasonably priced.  See it here.

This snafle bit log holder (or for magazines) will make anyone's home look chic for sure. See it here.
I love this techno-riding top from Kerrits and bought it for someone I know who runs a barn.  It's better in person.  See it here.

And I love this scarf....See it here.

Better make your UPS man a big box of cookies. Happy holidays!
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