Sunday, January 31, 2021

More Fun Finds

 Here are some fun finds this snowy Sunday in January.  

Love this Lilly velour top. Perfect for lounging at home right now.

I'm in love with this Jean Jacket - look at the details on the cuff and collar. Because we'll likely be at home for another six months, slum in style.

For you bargain hunters out there who are planning to party like it's 1999 once we can safely do so, take a look at this skirt, available only in large sizes. Pair it with a back turtleneck and you're all set.  This reminds me of the old Jenna Lyons' J Crew.

Are these not the cutest slip on sneakers?

Toile instead?

Cutest Valentine's Door Hanger ever.

Love these Nike pants, pandemic-perfect.  Just do it.

Nike is my favorite brand for running clothes but I also live in this stuff. Love this color, perfect for spring and for Valentine's Day.

We could all use a little Lilly right now.  Love this!

More Lilly!  Love this one too.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Friday Finds

 It's going to a cold one this weekend, a good time to stay indoors and stitch, do a little early spring cleaning or binge on Netflix.

I want spring to arrive so badly that I have bunnies on the brain. Love these bunnies from Pottery Barn.  If you want them for the spring you might want to order now. Shipping these days can be that slow.

And this adorable door mat:

Cutest towels ever. And not for the kids.

Can't I find somewhere to put this vintage rug?

Or this runner for the stairs?

Since we can't go to Paris right now, maybe stitch it?

Love these vintage Spode plates:

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Winter Memories - Alberta

We're in a deep freeze here in Virginia for the next week but after all it's late January and we should all be staying home anyway.  I am reminded fondly of our winter trips to Alberta, likely my favorite spot in winter.  

There is nothing more beautiful in winter than the Canadian Rockies and we have this trip down to an art form after making many northern treks as our first visit was in 2002.  We've tweaked on the itinerary quite a bit but this is how it now goes....

Fly into Calgary

Rent car and drive northwest to Banff, about 1 1/2 hours.

Spent a night in Banff.  The town of Banff is charming, full of shops, hotels and restaurants.  You can easily spend more than a day here but we've done it so many times. Our favorite gallery is Canada House and we bought many paintings here (all Canadian artists). 

Drive to Lake Louise, about a 45 minute drive west.

Spend time skiing at the Lake. Have stayed at the Chateau Lake Louise and the Post Hotel but we prefer the Chateau.  This is a view of the hotel from the lake side which is obviously frozen over in winter.  That's the ski hill behind it, it's about a 10 minute drive from the hotel and shuttle buses leave every half hour. Fabulous skiing, so large you need a map.  It can take 10 minutes at full speed to ski all the way down the front run.  Many slopes are groomed. The place is like a zoo in summer but very calm and quiet in the winter. You can cross country ski, take horse sleigh rides, go snow shoeing or just take quiet walks from the hotel.  And the inside is lovely.

Our next trip we are adding a night at Emerald Lake, not far from Lake Louise and also a trip to Jasper to stay at the Fairmont property there. We've stayed in Jasper before.  We visited Emerald Lake last time we were in Canada but we did not stay there.  By the time you get to Jasper I believe you are in British Columbia. You pass the Icefields on the way up but they are often closed in winter. The roads can get treacherous. But it is a sight to see in winter.

Some added notes - the weather in Alberta can be very cold but it's a dry cold.  Dress appropriately.  We have all the gear by now.  Arcteryx is by far the warmest.  We don't take our skis with us to Canada as you can rent very high quality skis there. It's not worth the trouble to bring them with you.  There is much to do at the Chateau if you don't ski.  Consider Canada.  We just adore it!  Missing it now but hoping by late February 2022, I'll be skiing on the "hill" as they call it in Lake Louise.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Derby Days - The Watch Has Begun

I know it's only January but the Derby watch has begun at my house.   Honestly, the best part of the Derby are the months leading up to the Derby and maybe the race will go on in May this year!   We can hope can't we?   Bob Baffert once said in an interview that this was his favorite part too.  And since most of us are still staying home, what else is there to do?  There should be at least one race every weekend from now on until the spring.  Watch Fox Sports or the Racing Channels for the races.

It's still early but there is a very clear front runner.  This colt is elegant, well-bred, owned by an Arab Sheik and has the hottest young trainer (Brad Cox) too.  What else does he need?

Essential Quality is expected to make his 2021 debut on February 15th at The Fairgrounds. The gray Tapit colt is expected to win the Eclipse Award for top two-year old as American Pharaoh did when he was two.  Did I mention he's undefeated and has two Grade 1's under his belt already?

Another one to watch is Fire at Will.  He has taken an odd path so far, but it seemed to work for Barbaro (remember him?) and Animal Kingdom, both Derby winners. He won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) but also won on the dirt at Saratoga.  He's not regally bred like Essential Quality but he's on the radar for sure.

Life is Good gets my vote for the best named horse in the Derby hunt so far. He's Baffert-trained and we'll hope he makes it to the Derby - Baffert should have him bubble-wrapped after losing a handful to injury before the Triple Crown got underway in 2020.  He's has a lot going for him - he's trained by the most successful Triple Crown trainer ever, he's out of the hottest stallion on the planet and he sounds a lot like Authentic.  Mike Smith is also aboard.  He won a G3 race in early January. Watch this one!

Medina Spirit will have the best rags-to-riches story line if he makes it to the winner's circle in May.  He's in Baffert's barn (so he must see something he really likes in this guy) but he was a $35,000 bargain buy and made a real run at Life is Good in early January.  In Baffert's early days he trained Real Quiet (remember him?) who was a $17,000 bargain buy.   Life does have a way of repeating itself.

Another West Coast horse to watch is The Great One.  He's trained by Doug O'Neill and is royally bred (Nyquist) and recently romped the field by 14 lengths on January 23rd

Steve Asmussen has a contender too in Jackie's Warrior who is also an Eclipse Award finalist for top two-year-old.  He is one fast colt who won two G1s last year but was beaten in his last start.  If he continues to improve he'll be a force to reckon with come early May.

Stay tuned.......

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Jumping Back In

2020 was a year full of surprises but not in a good way.  We could not have seen this pandemic coming unless you were Dr. Fauci or the CDC. But the year didn't start well even before "pandemic" became a new addition to our daily vocabulary. In January 2020, I had a bad fall at a horse show that put me out of commission for a bit, both mentally and physically.  When you age these falls make mental notes on your brain, in addition to the cuts, bruises, and separated shoulders.  When I finally recovered physically to ride again, the mental part was still not quite there but we managed and the horse took good care of the Adult Amateur one time before the pandemic shut us down in early March.

With all good intentions I was ready to show again in very early July when things opened back up here in Virginia until a reckless driver took my truck off the road forever (an accident I was lucky to walk away from unscathed, at least physically). No truck, no trailer to take horse to horse shows.  This went on until August when a new truck arrived. By then the horse was in work, I was riding and trying to keep it all together.  A few blips happened - a few horse shows I had to work at so I could not show and then we were into early September.

Another blip. Horse became lame. Horse did not improve. Horse was sent to trainer and to the horse show vet. After a three and half month repair job - horse was out of work until December and it took a bit to get the mare running again. So here we are in 2021, just starting to show again after only two shows in 2020.  Talk about jumping back in. We are jumping back in.  We have done two shows now - one unrated and at a lower level and we started back with the big boys last weekend showing at a level we had not seen in over 18 months. We still have a ways to go but I am of the ilk that you "just do it."  So we just starting doing it. And we'll do it again next weekend if this pandemic behaves itself. It won't be pretty the first few shows but we'll get there....

This is a very old photo - my very first horse show - I think was 8 - and we won that day!  Never looked back. That is my younger sister to my left.  

This is Madison enjoying her 2020 down time. She's clipped now - tanned, rested and ready for 2021.


Monday, January 25, 2021

It's Almost Easter

Once we reach Valentine's Day it's almost Easter.  Well, maybe not quite Easter, but I don't need an excuse to pull out the rabbits and wait for spring.   I love anything with rabbits and just start pulling out the rabbit stuff and use it until May. Rabbit door hanger.  Check.  Rabbit dishes (several sets).  Check.  Rabbit napkins. Check.  Multiple needlepoint rabbits. Check.  Rabbits for my dining room table. Check.

You can start your own rabbit, I mean Easter collection with this really cute Twig Rabbit.

You can never have too many rabbit plates. These toile ones are calling my name.

Bunny for the garden room.

Bunny cocktail napkins.

More bunny cocktail napkins.

Toile bunny candle.

Toile dish.

More bunny cocktail napkins.

Bunny plates, an entire set...

Love these bunny plates.  They may need to come and live with me!

Bunnies Rule!

Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Saturday List - January Version

The January blues are here - cold weather, a raging pandemic, not enough vaccines, many people out of work and suffering.  But we have a new administration so there's hope that the vaccines will be rolled out eventually, people will see some relief soon from Washington and spring will arrive eventually.....

1) Current Read   Paris 1919  by Margaret MacMillan

Woodrow Wilson's birthplace is a mere 30 minutes from the farm so this book is timely and interesting and has won many accolades.  And this era in our history is almost forgotten and never studied.

“The history of the 1919 Paris peace talks following World War I is a blueprint of the political and social upheavals bedeviling the planet now. . . . A wealth of colorful detail and a concentration on the strange characters many of these statesmen were keep [MacMillan’s] narrative lively.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“MacMillan’s book reminds us of the main lesson learned at such a high cost in Paris in 1919: Peace is not something that can be imposed at the conference table. It can grow only from the hearts of people.”
—Los Angeles Times

“Beautifully written, full of judgment and wisdom, Paris 1919 is a pleasure to read and vibrates with the passions of the early twentieth century and of ours.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
2) Currently Stitching 
Almost finished with this lovely canvas from Lycette.  A pillow for my bedroom.
3) Neflix Recommendation   Mank
One of the best movies I have seen in a long time and what a shame you can't see this one in a movie theater environment. Incredibly done, Oscar buzz for sure. The story of the writer Herman Mankiewicz's time in LA writing Citizen Kane.   I now have to watch Citizen Kane again.  Treat yourself!

4) Equine Product Recommendation  Snacks Fifth Avenchew
Alfie and Madison have sugar issues so they can't get full sugar treats now.  Snacks Fifth Avenchew makes low sugar horse treats that they can enjoy. Perfect for shows (for Madison anyway) but they also make a full sugar version. Cutest horse treats ever!
5) Recipe Recommendation  One-Pot Gingery Chicken and Rice With Peanut Sauce
Here is a recipe for one from Bon Appetite that we'll enjoy next week. Easy, perfect for cold weather nights.

6) Whatever Else I am in love with Jill Biden's coat, worn to her inaugural party this week but we could hardly see it in the dark. Who knew our new first lady had so much style?  Here's what designer Gabriela Hearst has to say about it.....

The message of Unity is the main inspiration for the creation of the Ensemble. Unity makes strength and it is needed for the road ahead. The blooming symbol to represent this message are the federal flowers from every state and territory of the United States of America. The flowers are embroidered into the cashmere coat on the hem line in an organic pattern that rises organically on the side’s seams. On the dress, the embroidery is placed on the silk organza neckline and arms. The body of the dress is constructed in silk wool cady. The Delaware flower is positioned at the heart level of The First Lady, from there, all the other flowers branch out. The pieces were made entirely in New York City. The Embroidery and Coat were crafted in the garment district and the dress was assembled at the in-house studio. Each flower took approximately two - four hours to embroider. Careful placements and color selections were carefully studied for weeks. Inside of the coat, representing the lifelong calling and service of Dr. Biden as an educator is a hand embroidery of the lining with a quote from Founding Father Benjamin Franklin.

“Tell me and I forget. Team me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”

The materials used were existing available fabrics to minimize the impact on the environment. It was extremely important to showcase the ability of the knowledgeable and masterful handcraft available in our Nation.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Friday Musings

It's been a whirlwind of a week, and luckily no more drama in Washington. It's going to be a cold weekend so nice time to stay indoors.  NFL playoffs. Check. Netflix.  Check. Stitch.  Check.

Love these new needlepoint canvases, ornaments possibly:

Love this vintage needlepoint rug runner on Etsy:

Want Leontine Linens without the big price tag?   Try these also from Etsy:

And don't forget to watch The Pegasus Cup Saturday starting at 4:30 pm EST on NBC Sports.  It's one of the richest horse races in the world and I am pulling for this boy, Code of Honor:

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