l o v e l y t h i n g s


happy birthday patrick

My son turned 12 on April 12th.  We celebrated on the day, but finally came up with a day over the Easter holiday to have his party.  It was quite simple really with lunch, pool and football.  We had about 25 kids who were absolutely wonderful, mostly boys, but a few adorable (and brave) girls.  Patrick was born at the perfect time of year for someone who loves baseball.  So every party theme centers around the all American theme.  On the menu we had lemonade, hot dogs, chips, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, macaroni salad and the wedge salad, which was by far the most popular item. 


Happy Birthday Courtney

Happy birthday to my sweet niece Courtney!


Say it isn't so . . .

My kids informed me this may be the last year they will dye eggs. . . As much fun as it is to see my children mature and have so many interests, it's still a little sad when they think they have outgrown a family tradition.  I'm guessing an Easter egg hunt in the yard is out of the question.  Especially now that we no longer live on 2 acres...I mean people could SEE them!!  If you are enjoying this Easter tradition with your little ones...enjoy every minute, they go too fast! 


displaying family photos

For years I've cut out pages in magazines of how people display their family photos.  The new TRADhome magazine has a couple of wonderful features that shows just that.  I've always wondered...how many is too many?  Is there a right and wrong way to display them?  Are some rooms, like the dining room off limits?  This is how we have done it in our current home.  How do you display your treasured family photos?  I would love to hear.
Photos in my desk armoire.  I always think I'm going to change them from time to time, but then I get attached and just add a new one.
This is a built in at the top of our stairs. I had wanted this inset to be shelves where I could prop my various sized black and white photos.  We ended up with this...I'm not sure if this is the best use of space, but I tried a few other collections, like my McCoy pottery, but nothing has looked quite right.  The sizes are bit awkward and I'm not one to fill it with "stuff" from Homegoods or the like.  Everything has to have a story.  For a while I had all the pottery pieces my kids ever made.  My goodness there's a lot of it, thanks to the wonderful art programs at their former schools in CT.  The colors and shapes just gave me a headache. 
We hung the black and whites above the paneled walls in the staircase.

The good thing about moving is that it forces you to purge (I did way too much of that), sort (which helps you find and rediscover thing you forgot you had) and organize.  Over the years I've bought books that have to do with raising a young lady and a gentleman.  The yellow book my daughter and I found at the JFK terminal book store on our first visit back to New York a few months after we moved to California.  Our little controversy has to do with 2 pages in the book.  One says, "Limit your time in California."  The other, "Live in New York."  The truth is, I love both places.

Watching the ticker tape parade from my husbands office window at 100 Broadway.


A little Lilly....

Lilly Pulitzer Special Edition animal crackers  . . . at Walmart!  I love a little Lilly, I don't wear it, but the colors and patterns are so happy.  My twin sister and I wore it when we were young, this is a dress my daughter wore when she was 5.  My dear friend Hilary and her twin actually plan a girls trip every year for the annual Lilly sale in King of Prussia, PA.  I used to see Hilary at the school bus stop every afternoon and I always looked forward to seeing how she wore her Lilly.  Not all pink and green, she has great style and always knew how to add just the right amount.  She will definitely love the box...hopefully they have them in CT too !


Julia Baker + Paradise Valley, AZ

Julia Baker started her career as a statistician, but then following her passion and love for food, she moved to Paris and enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu.  She graduated first in her class and landed in Scottsdale, AZ.  Her shop is amazing and it's located in the new Intercontinental Hotel in Paradise Valley, AZ.    If you're ever in the Valley, you must check it out.  They said they would host book clubs...wouldn't that be fun?  There are so many great books that would be perfect for this setting.  And they serve chocolate martinis!


road trip. 5 days. 1, 235 miles.

When we started off on this little adventure my kids were calling this the "non-vacation"...seems everyone but me thought a week in Hawaii with a good book and a stack of magazines was just about what everyone was up for.  I mean it's not like we had just endured a New York winter...we live in Southern California.  With such low expectations, we had no where to go, but up.  And with a little bit of luck, we arrived in Phoenix while it was still warm just in time for a swim and a beautiful sunset.  The weather was perfect and we enjoyed a little resort time after all.  This put everyone in a good mood as we headed for the Grand Canyon.
But first, Phoenix.  My husband and I met 24 years ago when we both had just relocated to Phoenix.  I had just moved from Denver, and he from Providence.   We met in May and married in August.  We were introduced  through mutual friends I had known in college in Denver, but they were living in Rhode Island at the time.  It was sort of a long distance set-up.  The best part is that they then relocated to Phoenix and we all spent the next couple of years exploring the city and the state of Arizona.  So it comes as no surprise that the Valley of the Sun holds wonderful memories for us, not to mention my twin sister and her family live there as well.
Springtime in the desert is bursting with vibrant color.  My sister lives in Paradise Valley, AZ.  Land of beautiful resortsThey live in a small community of homes within the resort of Camelback Inn.  The homes have beautiful views of Camelback Mountain.  The mountain changes colors from sunrise to sunset and is breathtaking at dusk.  One of the best parts of living a stones throw to the resort is that you can walk to one of the best happy hours in the Valley.  In the winter and spring months the patio is where the action takes place.  There's comfortable seating arrangements, fireplaces, live music and amazing food...and this is every night of the week. 
During the heat of the summer, the happy hour moves indoors and I'm told this is the place to be during the heat.

We went for a quick walk from my sister's house and saw all this beauty.  This is the prettiest time of the year.

With camera in hand, I was noticing everything.  Like this cactus just winding through the limbs of the tree.
Bright orange, hot pink, vibrant yellow...

My sister looks out her kitchen window...a community spot...beyond is an amazing view of Camelback.

The Grand Canyon, South Rim is 225 miles from Phoenix.  As many photos as you've seen of the Grand Canyon...it still takes your breath away.

at dusk...

We made a reservation for the dining room at El Tovar on the way to the Grand Canyon.  It was built in 1905 and although the food was nothing special, the dining room was beautiful and we had a table right by a roaring fire.  The temperature was 33ยบ when we arrived.  The hotel has only 78 rooms and was completely booked.  So part of an adventure is going with the flow.  On the drive I checked for cancellations, but no luck...so we stayed at the newly renovated Yavapai Lodge.  This was a bit of an adventure at least for the kids.  We drove to our room, located in building 5.  Not the most attractive "lodge" type accommodations...but very clean and I think we may have been the first guests to stay in the newly remodeled rooms.  After dinner we thought why not watch a movie.  It took about 3 seconds to realize there will be no movie channel at this lodge.  So we all watched episodes of Glee and Friends on an ipad and this will probably be one of our best memories.
The next morning we woke up to snow!  We are a family that loves weather of all kinds so we could not have been happier.  My kids were being good sports here.  They were a little freaked out just looking over the rock wall into the canyon.  My son kept saying, "Why don't they have any fences?"
Our drive down to Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona.  We were at 8,000 feet.

Slide Rock at Oak Creek Canyon.  Can you tell I got a new camera?  The weather was not conducive to swimming, but perfect for skipping rocks.  Do you see it?

Bell Rock, Sedona...where we were engaged.

Home again...just in time for sunset.