Friday, September 28, 2012

A Week from Today . . .

. . . Husband is taking me to New York City for my birthday!  YEEHAW!!!!

I have requested to go here on Saturday for 1.5 hours. Uninterrupted.

photo via

If you have never been to ABC Carpet & Home, it's kinda like how I picture heaven. Six floors of sofas covered in luscious designer fabrics, quirky chairs in wild custom painted finishes, hand embroidered pillows from around the world in every corner, pendant lights that would just make your kitchen scream "come bake under my bulbs!", bedding in more colors than your 96 count Crayola box, books and accessories that your bookshelves and coffee tables at home will fight over, a corner full of one-of-a-kind jewelry that you just have to try on because it would be rude not to, handmade dishes in divine colors, crystal goblets with yummy patterns and hand sewn linens that make you want to get married and register every year (sorry Husband!) and finally, a restaurant to relax in and mull over what one item, on each floor, you just have to come home with.

Let me just show you:

Walton Tufted Sofa

Coral Bamboo Pendant

Linen and Velvet Stencil Pillow

Soup Home Fyn Bedding Bundle - White & Natural

Shallow Floral Tray

Antique Heart Necklace

Seven days seems so far away . . .

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Quest for a Scent

I'm on the quest for a new perfume. I used to wear Escape by Calvin Klein. I think I am finished with that scent. It reminds me of college and design school and dating. Now I feel like my life is so different - I'm married, I'm living in PA, making a new life for Husband and me and with that I believe it's time to move on with my perfume!

I'm sure all the men who just read that paragraph are wondering what is so difficult about this that it warrants a blog post? A scent for a woman is very important. It becomes part of her. People know her by it. Her husband or boyfriend or partner associates the smell with her. It sticks to her clothing, her sheets, her car seat.  It's on her sweaters, her hair and her bathrobe. It's her. It's important.

With that now said, you will understand when I tell you that I've sprayed about a million perfumes on myself during this quest! I've only liked two enough to get samples of and bring home: Chanel Mademoiselle and Chanel Noir. I've been switching them - wearing one every other day just to see if Husband A) notices and B) says something. To my surprise he did both!

He loves the Noir. I love it too. Can I commit to it?

To throw a wrench in it all, my friend K came into town this week. She sprayed Chloe on and then I started to love that! But, that scent is perfect for her and it reminds me of her so I don't know if it's perfect for me. . . I have to find one that will remind me of me.

Oh, the decisions! I think I'll keep spraying for awhile but I best give myself a decision date to make this happen or it never will and I'll be wearing samples for the rest of my life. Maybe October 6th should be my decision day.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Unique Coffee Tables

I love coffee tables. They say a lot about a person. Are they neat and organized with all their magazines in a stack? Do they like to entertain - are there wine stains on their wood adding patina? Is this an antique from their family - what's the story behind it - what color was it when they got it?

Coffee tables are also a great place to add some "punch" or "funk" to a room. A traditional style room with a splash of a contemporary coffee table is so much more interesting on the eye and can lighten the heaviness of a traditional look. A chunky industrial coffee table like this, in an all white seaside family room adds just that bit of interest instead of keeping with the white theme. In a small space, grouping smaller tables together like these, to give the affect of a larger one is also fun and practical if you need to pull them aside for extra seating.

You don't have to spend an arm and a leg to find a coffee table with some interest. Many retail stores have a wide variety you just have to be bold - try something different and not what you saw at your neighbors or on the catalog cover. You can also get lots of fun tables from local artist in your area, antique shops or Etsy. Look around if you want something totally unique. Below are 5 very different coffee tables. Which one would add some punch to your room?

Wistera : Spanish Travertine Top Coffee Table : $1.199.00

World Market : Cala Hammered Coffee Table : $299.99

Etsy : Rustic Crate Coffee Table : $340.00

CB2 : Peekaboo Clear Coffee Table : $279.00

Peter W. Gilory : Custom Coffee Table : call for price

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chocolate Face

Husband and I are very excited. We have our first house guest (who is not related!) coming this week. She's a dear friend of ours from Phoenix and we're so excited to see her. We have written everything down that we want to show her, every place we want to take her and every restaurant we want to eat at with her in our new hometown, Lancaster, PA.  We're going to be very busy.  I hope she's prepared!

What I am most excited about is our trip to The Hotel Hershey in Hershey, PA.  It's a gorgeous hotel that sits on a hill overlooking the town. Milton Hershey built it during the depression to keep unemployment at 0% in Hershey at that time.  He was a very fascinating man. Now, I don't think he's the one who opened the spa at the hotel but whomever it was, was a genius! My friend and I are heading off to the Spa and we are both getting chocolate facials.  How fabulous does that sound? A facial you can lick your lips about!  I'll report back for sure.

The Hotel Hershey
Image via

This is what I'll look like during the chocolate facial and I won't even care!
Image via

Speaking of faces . . . my nephew, Mr. P (age 3) called me a "Chicken Face" on FaceTime Wednesday night. Hilarious!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thinking about Papa Tom

Today is my Papa Tom's birthday. I love thinking about people on their birthdays. It doesn't matter to me if they live here or in Heaven. Birthdays are special days and it's fun to remember others and to be remembered (don't forget - October 6th)!!

The funny thing about my Papa Tom is that the year he died, I met his shorter, more latin self: Husband.

It's crazy how similar they are!

Let me show you:

  • Both born and raised in small towns in northern parts of their states
  • Both baptized Catholic
  • Both are only children
  • Both vote Republican (most of the time!)
  • Both eat sardines
  • Both love chow-chow
  • Both frequent Jewish delis
  • Both eat at Arby's & KFC & love every bite of it
  • Both wear hats
  • Both wear cowboy boots
  • Both are fisherman
  • Both enjoy baseball games
  • Both love Ireland although neither have been
  • Both debate about anything
  • Both finish crossword puzzles
  • Both define any word you give them
  • Both are avid readers
  • Both know how to ballroom dance
  • Both married fabulous women!

I think Papa Tom may have had a little help in me meeting Husband.  Don't ya think?

Design with Meaning - Part 1

My cousin and I have been talking recently about how our generation (30 somethings) is a "throw away" generation. We don't buy to keep. We buy to have right now. Our homes are all looking the same. Everyone has the same "stuff" that we got at the same store that we saw on the same internet site. Hand-me-downs from our parents and keepsakes from our grandparents are tossed aside. We would rather sell them and make a few bucks then freshen them up and make them work for our homes.

This is sad.

When Husband and I moved, I made sure our home was "us".  It said something about us. It spoke to us. It felt good to work in, play in, cook in and relax in. It felt like us. I designed with meaning.

One of my biggest goals was to make sure Husband liked the decor in our bedroom.  It's his space as much as it is mine and the poor man does not need to be draped in flowers every night (well, neither do I to be honest). So, I made sure our bedroom was masculine enough for him with just the right amount of feminnity to make it sing.  I made this happen by choosing to hang important pieces on our walls. Wanna see?

Wedding Wall
We had the most fabulous Holly Wilmeth as our photographer for our wedding.  She doesn't do a lot of weddings and I loved that about her because our pictures don't look like traditional wedding photographs.  We took some of her photos and mixed them with our framed wedding invitation (great wedding gift!) and some fabulous hand painted sketches of me in my bridal ensemble done by my dear friend and super fab veil designer, Francesca Bianco. She worked for many years as Saks Fifth Avenue's veil designer and designed Vera Wang's veil. The best part about her though, is her. She has fabulous stories from her life, is a gourmet baker and sends notes with rosemary sealed in the envelope. I want to hug her right now just thinking about her. We took her sketches and had them framed at The Studio in Phoenix, AZ. They always do a perfect job and they're quite fun to work with too! Take a look.

Wall O' Wedding

Collection of coordinating frame

My favorite wedding photo:
The back of us listening to Dad's toast

Another favorite

Hand painted wedding sketch by Francesca Bianco

Our Other Walls

My folk's gave us this fabulous mirror that hung in their home for years. It's an antique. I had it refinished to fit our motif.  It's a lovely reminder of home and quite useful when I'm picking earrings in the morning!

Antique mirror - refinished from my parent's home

Isn't the detail superb?

Husband gave me these for Valentine's Day three years ago. They are first edition pages by architect, Owen Jones from his book, The Grammar of Ornament. They are fabulous ornamental and design motifs the architect found on his travels and through his studies.  Husband picked one out that reminded him of himself and one that reminded him of me. He's so romantic. I had them framed by The Studio of course!

So happy together



On each side of our bed, I hung something that means something special to each of us indivdualy.

Old family photos: Mora, New Mexico

Rose by Leonard Bianco
A wedding gift I treasure
given to us by friends I treasure

And lastly, as you walk to our bedroom, in the hallway, you see this.  My father sung the Irish Blessing at our wedding. He sung his own rendition of it and had it written out for us as a wedding gift.  It is one of my fondest memories of my wedding. He even got through it without a tear! Nice going, Dad.

The Irish Blessing by Dad

Love the Irish flair!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Our Fall Patio

The rain stopped long enough for me to snap a few photos of our newly planted patio! We are just loving it! Thanks again Perfect Pots for all your help!  

Once we had the pots all planted, we wanted to show our excitement for our first Pennsylvania Fall so we headed out to a local garden and picked up these fun pumpkins and gourds to go along with our new flowers and plants. They all look so happy together!

The back door - mums are still waiting to bloom.
Penny, our pup is at the window!

A fun collection of flowers and pumpkins.

The orange pot I HAD TO HAVE!

A table for two with a view.

The view from the table.

Here are a couple of close-up pictures of what is in the pots.

Peppers & pansies!
The mum is still waiting for it to get a bit cooler to open.


Peppers, cabbage, flowering vines O' my!

So, come on over.  We're serving wine on the patio tonight: rain or shine!

SMALL PRINT: once the mums bloom, I'll post some more pictures so you can see the pots in all their colorful glory!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Personal Picture Wallpaper

Pictures of family and friends and special places are so important to have surround you.  Husband and I just moved 2500 miles away from our family, and we've discovered having pictures or tokens around that remind us of our family is lovely.

I found this wallpaper online from Le Souk. It would be so fun to wrap around one wall in your entry or fill your entire powder bathroom!  I can see it already.

The best part is that you can hang your own photos or your own decor and make it yours!

Le Souk wallpaper

Le Souk wallpaper up close

Go here to check out more of the wallpaper from Le Souk!

Yesterday, I  found this picture of my nephew that would totally have to go up on my wall!

Mr. P 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Perfect Pots

We have outdoor pots from our move that have been sitting on our patio since we got to Pennsylvania over a month ago.  They look cute out there but they sure would look cuter with plants in them!!

Coming from Arizona, I had no idea what to pot when or even the names of the plants I've seen around town. We plant succulents where I come from and high flower season is Fall!  Not so much in Pennsylvania.

So, I found this really great garden center in Yelp called Perfect Pots just outside of the city of Lancaster. It said all they do was plant pots. So, I threw two of my empty pots in the car and off we went.

This is what I found!

Cabbage and kale for Fall planting

Grasses for Fall planting

Fall pre-potted arrangement.
Look at that darling little pumpkin peeking out of the corner!

This pot wasn't even in full bloom yet and I was drooling over it!
Aren't the little peppers so cool?
 And the color of the pot: to-die-for!

Wouldn't this be so beautiful to see through your kitchen window every morning?

What a fun hostess gift this would be?

So, now you know why I fell in love with the place.  And, if you could have met Laura (owner) and Wendy (super-fab employee) you would have fallen in love with this place too.  They were so great to work with, very helpful and super fast! If there was a contest for fastest flower planter - these girls would win!

After I dropped 2 planters off with them on Friday, I drove home and picked up all my other pots and drove back to drop those off too. They worked with me and we put some fabulous things together. It isn't quite finished yet because I couldn't make up my mind on something (shocker!!). I promise you tomorrow I will show you what my patio now looks like. You'll want to be invited over to our house for drinks outside once you see this!

PS. You can link here to their Facebook page. It's open to the public.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Celebrating Grandma Lori

Tomorrow would be my Grandma Lori's 90th birthday.  It's the first time September 15th has come around since she passed away on March 3rd.

Oh, how we all miss her!

I will say, Grandma would not be happy with me if she knew I was crying over her today. She would say, "Meggy Dear*, now go fix yourself up! Let's go shopping, and get Chinese food for lunch and celebrate!"

So, I'm not going to cry about her today. I'm going shopping and finding some good Chinese food for lunch!

*She always called me "Meggy Dear" and she said it in this certain voice that I can just hear in my ears every time I think about her.

But before I put my lipstick on and head out, here's a few of my favorite things about Grandma Lori:

  • She graduated from St. Mary's College and majored in home economics
  • She danced the polka (especially well with my grandfather, Papa Tom)
  • She cooked every Thanksgiving dinner for 17 people in a kitchen the size of a postage stamp
  • She taught home economics at an all girls catholic high school
  • She loved margaritas
  • She had impeccable manners
  • She reupholstered her own sofa
  • She laughed a lot
  • She laughed so hard sometimes she made noises!
  • She sewed her daughter's homecoming dress
  • She sewed my prom dress
  • She cheated at Rummikub
  • She knew every rule of etiquette Emily Post's ever wrote
  • She wore a fabulous red jacket with a black velvet collar
  • She planted red geraniums 
  • She opened an antique shop, Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe in Pinetop, Arizona
  • She decorated wedding cakes
  • She ate sweet and sour pork at chinese restaurants
  • She had 3 wonderful children whom she loved very much
  • She had 9 grandchildren whom she called "Scallywags"
  • She cursed at another driver when she had 2 of the grandchildren in her car 
  • She never lived that down
  • She laughed a lot - did I mention that already?
  • She could never find her purse
  • She loved lipstick and perfume
  • She wore beautiful pajamas
  • She made a mean meatloaf

I've got my lipstick on now so I'm heading out. I love you, Grandma. Happy birthday!

Eleanor Barbara Barany Gilroy
on her wedding day
November 17, 1945

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Have you ever been out shopping or at the movies or dinner and some person next you just blurts out this really nice compliment to you? At first you are startled and you think, me?  Are your talkin' to me? (always said in your best De Niro voice) Then you get kind of shy about it and then you finally remember that you should thank this new best friend standing next you. And after it's all said and done you walk away feeling like a million bucks.

The compliment can be as simple as: I like your nail polish. You start thinking - oh, look at me, I'm good at picking nail colors! I should never have second guessed myself about this red. I knew I liked it.

Or it could be: your outfit is so great. You start thinking - oh, I'm cute today and I didn't even try. Maybe this is my new go-to outfit. The next week you wear the same thing to an event and you think, I look good today! It changes how you feel about yourself.

It's kind of amazing isn't it?  One person says one little thing to you and your whole day, maybe even week changes. It's not only you who changes but the people around you begin to change. You are happier, you feel more confident and then you start sharing that confidence with other people. You begin to compliment them and the cycle keeps going.

One of my very best friends is the best "Complimentor" I know. We'll be out anywhere and she'll find something she likes about whomever is waiting on our table, handing us our movie tickets or refilling our coffee.

Love your hat!

Great necklace on you!

Perfect lipstick color for Fall!

It's amazing! She's world class! She does it every time I'm with her. The cool thing to watch is people's responses to her compliments. Some get shy, some take it as a welcome sign to chat, some just say thank you and smile really big. You know though, that every single one of those people took what she said to heart. They all heard her and the rest of their day was changed. Now that is cool.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


When you pray to God for surprises, this is what you get!  

Ellie, age 4

I received this note today from my niece, Ellie. She is 4. She bought this "Best Friend" necklace with the tickets she won at Chuck-E-Cheese. Really, is there a better surprise than this in your mailbox? I dare you to think of one. See, you can't.

I love this necklace. I also really love the little girl who sent it to me.  

Thanks for the surprise!