Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering Those Who Gave Their All


Today, as we put our burgers on the barbeque...



Stick our beach umbrellas in the sand and lay out our towels...



And sit down to enjoy life with our family and friends, I hope we all take a moment to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 


Today, I will stop and pay tribute to the fallen, and be thankful for my own family...

   
Who proudly served their county and were the fortunate ones who came home to their loved ones!

To those who continue to put yourself in harm's way, thank you and godspeed!

Happy Memorial Day Everyone!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Mr. Tide

On May 30th, 1962 a certain handsome hubby came into the world. And in just a few weeks it will be 24 years since I took him off of the eligible bachelor list...sorry girls but he's all mine! Today he'll be pampered a little, showered with presents (even though he is the most difficult human on the planet to buy for), and he'll have his favorite cake...chocolate with chocolate icing! So Happy Birthday my sweet Mr. Tide aka Squishy (inside joke!), I hope you have a wonderful day, the kids and I love you more than words can express!


video

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Winning Ways and Crazy Days


Thank you everyone for your wonderfully supportive comments about my great week!  Your kindness only doubled my excitement and happiness for everything that has been going on around here!  Life has been so great this past week and to top it all off I won not one, but 2 great giveaways!  One was a magazine from down under and the other was a copy of the upcoming Holiday with Matthew Mead!  Does it get any better than that?!

And the crazy life I've been leading will continue for at least one more week.  Tomorrow my in-laws will be arriving to help us celebrate our son's high school graduation next week!  On Monday we'll be having a cookout at our house for some friends and family and then the big graduation day will be on Wednesday...so it will be non-stop action fun around here this holiday weekend and into next week!

Of course we cleaned for our special visitors from just a few days ago, but can someone please tell me the answer to the question of why, no matter how recently you've cleaned you still need to clean again when you have more company coming?!  I think you could clean all day everyday and still never be completely finished...UGH!  I visited The Biltmore last year and I walked away from it thinking...wow I should have been a Vanderbilt and lived during that era!  I love to entertain, I love coming up with the party ideas, but to have someone do all of the cleaning, cooking, and other preparations...that my friends would be the life!



Last weekend we bought a bunch of flowers, a lot of them were only $1 on clearance at Lowes, simply because they weren't blooming!!  The bargain hunter in me can be patient enough to wait for the blossoms to arrive, so we loaded up the car and brought home everything from azaleas to lantana.  But as you all know, those darn things don't plant themselves.  So today we will be finishing up the planting and pulling the yard and house together for the visit with my in-laws.



We also bought this huge hanging basket from a local Mennonite farm.  It's full of a variety of flowers, including these gorgeous pink petunias.



We get so much direct sun here all day long that I need flowers that can hold up to the heat.  Petunias will bloom until late fall in our part of the country, and with some watering they are happy clams at our house, providing beautiful color all summer long!



But after all of the yard work is done, I plan to kick back and take a few moments to enjoy a tall glass of iced tea and to read this magazine.  I won a copy of Home Beautiful from the talented and oh so nice A-M, who has the great blog The House That A-M Built.  Her gorgeous home was featured in this issue and she gave out several copies in a recent giveaway, one of which I was lucky enough to win!   I am completely addicted to home decorating magazines, but I especially love perusing mags from overseas!  They just give you a little different perspective that we can all use from time to time, and they make a great addition to my ever growing stack of magazines which are piled in every room of my house!





I'll take my favorite turquoise pillow out to the hammock, let the dogs out to have a run, and then settle in for a good scan of this gorgeous read!  If you click on the picture at the top of the post you'll see Mr. Quinn and Miss Kylee are all for this idea!  It seems that a good romp and a few yummy sticks make for some very contented doggies now that we have our yard all fenced in!



And just in case the breeze isn't quite right up the hill where the hammock sits, I might just wander down to our dock and pop open this bright blue beach umbrella and set up my lawn chair underneath it.



Hard work makes a person deserving of a little down time don't ya think?  And relaxing with a cold drink, some fresh fruit, a wonderful new magazine, along with some furry friends is my idea of shear bliss!

Don't forget that you can be a winner too, just click HERE to find out how you could win my latest giveaway!  And I hope all of you will find a little spot to relax and enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

There Is Beauty In The World


Hello there my bloggy friends, I've had the most amazing week and I just wanted to share a little bit of it with you all!  First of all I want to say thank you to everyone for your wonderful comments about my new lamp.  I love it, and I'm glad you all do too!  And to answer a few questions, it did come with the writing already on it...how perfect is that?!  And if you are looking for one at your local Target and can't find one, you can click on this link and buy it online!

Ok, now on to my week and the unbelievable thrill and excitement of it all!  As most of you know, I've been a freelance magazine writer for the past 12 years, working on a regional level.  Although Mr. Tide had encouraged me to try to write for some of the major national publications, I had never really pursued it, but all of that changed a few months ago!




A little thing called serendipity entered my life in the form of a wonderful woman by the name of Fifi O'Neill.  For those of you who have been living under a rock somewhere, or without the benefit of print media for forever...then you may not know that Fifi O'Neill is one of the most accomplished writers, stylists, and editors in the world of home decorating and design publishing!!!

I sent Fifi an email a few months ago inquiring about doing some freelance work for her wonderful magazine, Romantic Country.  When I sent the email, I wasn't really expecting a reply, Fifi is in the big leagues after all, and I'm still on the farm team.  But to my surprise and delight, she sent sent me the most kind and wonderful reply!  And it turns out that she and I both had written about the same home, my story was featured in a regional magazine and her story was in Country Living Magazine!  See what I mean about Fifi being in the big leagues?!

If you visit Fifi's beautiful blog, Chez Fifi, you'll be blown away, not only by the blog itself, but by the who's who list of publications that she has contributed to.  And as Editor in Chief of Romantic Country, a stylist, and a writer, she is a woman who is constantly on the move!  Along with her magazine work, she is currently working on a book and a TV show!




So why would a woman of such stature in the publishing world want to help out a little 'ole regional writer like myself?  Because she's Fifi O'Neill, and along with being a hugely talented career woman, she is also one of the kindest and most supportive people I've ever met!

She took the time to not only look at my scouting shots, but she submitted them to various magazines within Harris Publishing for approval, and 4 of the homes I submitted got picked up for national magazines!  As if that weren't enough to make me want to jump for joy, I will also be writing the accompanying stories!  Ok, for a freelance writer, this is like winning a pulitzer...at least it is for me!




Over the last few days, not only did I get to meet Fifi in person while she did several shoots in my area, but I also got to meet the super talented photographer she was working with, Dan Mayers.  I have been to photo shoots before, but this was a whole new world for me and I loved every minute of it!  Dan is a very well respected photographer with quite a portfolio of his own, if you go to his website you'll be blown away by his work as well!

Dan and Fifi are an amazing tour de force when they are working on a shoot.  Their creative talents, eye for composition, and knowledge was truly awe inspiring!  It was like watching a beautifully synchronized ballet as the two of them set up, discussed, and tweeked each shot.  




And don't even get me started on Dan's camera equipment...I was drooling at all of the cool stuff he had in his bag's' of tricks!    And he was so wonderful about giving me advice and hints on how to improve my own photos.  His work clearly intimidated the crap out of me...and the photos I took of the shoot today have to be some of the worst photos I think I've ever taken, except for those photos I took months ago when I had my white balance all messed up and didn't realize it!

It turns out that Dan and I had a connection of sorts too in this very small world.  Remember the book Waterside Cottages that I gave away a few weeks ago?!  Well that is one of Dan's books, and it has some of the most amazing photos.  So not only was I rubbing shoulders with one of the most respected women in the publishing world, but with one of the most accomplished photographers as well!




And speaking of intimidating, after the shoot on Wednesday, I had invited Dan, Fifi, and the homeowner, Diane, over for dinner at my house!  All week, before their arrival I kept saying to myself and my bad back..."what the heck are you thinking?!...inviting a woman from France to your house for dinner...what on earth will you fix?!"  But with some sage advice from a few friends...thanks Kate, Kim, Connie and my dear friend Traci (get a blog Traci!), I calmed down to only slightly freaked out.  Then when I met both Dan and Fifi in person and found out what fun, energetic, and truly down to earth people they were I was no longer worried and had a wonderful evening with everyone!




I do have to mention that Mr. Tide deserves so much credit for taking care of everything while my back has been out and if it weren't for him I would have gone completely insane trying to pull things together!  And my sister M and my beautiful niece Courtney for their help too!  Everything wasn't perfect, there were rooms where the doors were shut, the kitchen backsplash still wasn't installed, and there were plants that didn't get planted, but it was good food, good wine, and great company, so is there really anything more important than that?!  Even after 10 long, grueling days on the road, Dan and Fifi had us laughing the evening away regaling us with tales of their previous shoots, funny airline stories, and how baguettes can be turned into weapons.

This morning, I woke up and wondered if all of this had really happened!  Had I just spent the day before at a gorgeous waterfront cottage watching Fifi O'Neill and Dan Mayers working side by side?!  And had I spent the evening dining with the owner of that great house along with Dan, Fifi, Mr. Tide and my son Bugs?! 



Thankfully Dan took a picture of Fifi with my puny little camera so that I have proof that it wasn't all a dream!  That's Fifi standing in the sitting area off of my kitchen, looking beautiful even after 10 hours of hard work!  After a porch shoot this morning, Fifi and Dan headed back to their respective homes.  I hope Fifi had a wonderful flight and can relax a little bit over the long weekend before going great guns again next week!  And I hope Dan has a wonderful weekend celebrating the 2nd birthday of his darling twins!  




I could go on and on about what a wonderful experience this was for me and for each of the homeowners whose beautiful homes were chosen, but I think the photo above sums it up best!  When you meet fun, happy, gracious, kind people you are pleasantly reminded that...there is beauty in the world! 


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This Little Light of Mine


I've been looking for a new lamp for the sitting area off of my kitchen for months now.  The old stoneware crock lamp that I had was just not giving me the beachy vibe I was looking for and looked much better in my old house with more colonial colors.

Every time I stopped at a home goods, or when I would troll Pottery Barn or other websites, I would peruse the lamps but came up empty handed with nothing really striking my fancy.  Then, while wandering around Target the other day I hit pay dirt! 

There it was, a beautiful glass lamp in the most awesome shade of sea glass green...swoon!  There was only one left, and I made a mad dash for it like a six year old does for the last chair standing in a game of musical chairs.  Nobody was going to take my perfect lamp from me now that I had finally found it!  Of course no one was really even nearby, but if they had been I would have gone down fighting...and more importantly I would have won!



The shade they had sitting nearby just didn't do it justice, so I wandered back a few aisles to where the lampshades are sold and picked this square beauty.  I love the color and I like how the lamp is round but the shade is square!  I'm weird like that and like it when things don't really match, but instead compliment one another.



So here she is perched atop my shutter table in all of her No. 5, green sea glass, beachy glory!  She was worth the wait and this little light of mine is definitely going to shine around my house for a long time!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jamalamadingdong


The other day I was reading my friend Rene's great blog, Cottage and Vine where she did a post about making fresh strawberry preserves.  My son Bugs has been asking me to make some strawberry jam for the last several years and Rene's post inspired me to get crackin!

My mother always made several types of jam, including Strawberry Freezer Jam, each year, and it was a real treat for my kids whenever they had a sleepover to wake up to toast or english muffins with yummy strawberry jam slathered on top!  It has been a few years since I've made some, but the word on the street was that it was a very good year for strawberries, so I decided it was time to go pick a few!  

Strawberries, peaches, and grapes are just a few of the fruits grown that are often doused with herbicides and insecticides so I only buy organic varieties, which isn't easy in the rural area where I live.  But to my delight, many farmers told me that they didn't need to spray anything on this year's crop of strawberries and that was music to my ears!



I was supposed to go pick strawberries with my sister and niece on the day I hurt my back, so needless to say that didn't happen, but over the weekend I convinced Mr. Tide to take me for a short ride to one of our local Mennonite farms to see if we could find some.  Not only did we find strawberries (9 quarts to be exact) but we also came home with a truckload of flowers too!  So it was a very good day, even if I was made to walk very slowly or stay in the Durango by a certain handsome fellow!

Mr. Tide cut up all of the strawberries that evening and we've been munching on them morning noon and night ever since.  But today I wanted to get going on the jam so that the berries wouldn't over ripen, which makes for bad freezer jam!

If you've never made strawberry freezer jam, or any freezer jam for that matter, you really should, it's so easy and would be a great afternoon activity for you and your children if you still have little ones at home.  All you really need are some berries, a few Tablespoons of lemon juice, LOTS of sugar, some pectin ( I use Certo because it's what my mother and grandmother used), and some clean Ball Canning Jars and lids!



The recipe is even included in the box and it tells you how to make all sorts of jams and jellies...yum!



I like to use fresh lemon juice and I recently brought home that beautiful little glass juicer from my parent's house.  It worked like a champ after all of these years...and I just love the way it looks too!



I also used this lovely turquoise Pyrex bowl that belonged to my mother and my grandmother before her!  See what I mean about using lots of sugar?!  I think this really should be called strawberry hummingbird food, not strawberry freezer jam!



After a bit of berry mushing (done slowly so as not to re-injure my back), and lots of stirring, I now have 10 yummy jam filled jars!  Rene used much cuter labels than I did!  I bought these a few months ago knowing I would eventually be making jam, but her jar labels had a picture of her house on them...too cool!

Tomorrow, if I'm able to drive and Mr. Tide will let me, I plan to deliver a few of these jars filled with sweet strawberry goodness to some friends and neighbors!  Then when it's the dead of winter with not a strawberry in sight, they too can have a cup of tea and a biscuit with jam!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Frosted Trash Giveaway


Another day and my back is slowly healing.  I attribute that to all of the well wishes from around the world and to Mr. Tide who is a saint among men and has been doing nearly everything around here!  And thank you to everyone who played along with my 10 Things I Love post, it was great hearing about some of the things you all love or that we share in common!

I thought while I was on the mend I would have a lovely giveaway to thank all of you and to introduce you to jewelry artist and new friend Julie O'Brien.  I met Julie through my friend Susan whose beautiful house I showed you a little of in this post.  Susan has wonderful taste, so when she mentioned that her friend Julie made gorgeous jewelry from sea glass I knew I would love it, and of course I did!

When I went to take scouting shots of Julie's home for a magazine, I was treated to some of her talents and I took some photos of her great jewelry to share with all of you!  Julie doesn't have a website yet, but she just started a blog for her business called Frosted Trash.

Isn't that a great name, Frosted Trash?!  Julie's husband suggested it, and I'm so glad she decided to use it!  Since some people consider anything that washes up on a beach to be trash, it seemed very fitting.  Luckily for us, Julie knows these frosted bits of glass are far from trash, and she uses her "trash" to create pieces of jewelry you will want to wear day after day!



Julie creates gorgeous jewelry from the sea glass she finds in her own backyard along the banks of the Potomac River.  She even occasionally finds rare lavender glass like the pieces she has used in the earrings pictured above.  These lavender and sterling earrings with those beautiful freshwater pearls are on my wish list!


Julie's love of the water and her passion for jewelry making is evident in each of her wonderful pieces.  She often incorporates crystals, silver beads, and other interesting details along with the sea glass to make a one of a kind piece of wearable art!



She also combines complimentary colors like these pink and green earrings which I adore!



I love the rich green of the piece of sea glass she used in this beautiful necklace!



And who wouldn't want this gorgeous bracelet?!  Along with her own bracelet designs, Julie has also perfected a technique for making sea glass charms which will work with Trollbead bracelets!  You can click HERE to find out more about these unique sea glass charms!



More lavender glass makes this pendant perfect for the romantic in all of us!



These earrings feature sea glass in the most beautiful shade of aqua and are paired perfectly with matching blue crystals and delicate coin pearls!



Julie's sea glass is all homegrown so to speak.   Although it may have traveled the world before landing on her doorstep, she finds it while walking along the beach in front of the home she shares with her husband and two cats.  She never tumbles any of her glass, and instead relies on mother nature to provide her with materials and inspiration!



These cobalt blue earrings are highlighted by beautiful silver beads in the most delicate and feminine pattern.  I love how they really set off the dramatic blue of the sea glass!



And I think these earring are to die for!  Not only are they the perfect shade of turquoise, but they are so fun and unique looking, which is always what I want in any piece of jewelry!

So now for the fun part, here's how you can enter to win one of Julie's beautiful pieces of jewelry!  She has graciously offered to create a one of a kind aqua pendant especially for one lucky reader!  The pendant will feature aqua sea glass and will be similar to one of the pendants featured above...can you say gorgeous?!  Thank you Julie!

1.  For a chance to win just leave a comment telling me what your favorite color of sea glass is.

2.  For another chance to win become a follower of Low Tide High Style and leave another comment letting me know.  If you are already a follower, leave a comment letting me know and you'll also have a second chance to win!

3.  Tweet, Facebook, or Blog about this great giveaway and leave me a 3rd comment letting me know for another chance to win!

The Giveaway will be open until Monday, May 31st at Midnight PST!

And for more information on Julie's beautiful jewelry, be sure to visit her blog by clicking HERE, or you can email her at jobrien16475@gmail.com to get more information on pricing and to place an order!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

10 Things I Love


Thank you everyone for all of your well wishes!  I'm healing up, slowly but surely!  And I've tried to be a good girl and take it slow, but that's not easy for me these days.  There are so many things I want and "need" to get done, but I'm trying to listen to my body and not do too much.

While I was taking a little break from being on the computer, my dear friend Connie, from Hartwood Roses, sent me a blog award, thank you my friend!  Now you all know I'm not big on blog awards, because I can never decide who to pass them along to, and I never like to leave anyone out!  But I am big on my friend Connie, she's one of the dearest people I know and always thinking of others, so I decided to play along! 

I'm supposed to tell you about 10 things I love.  Now this would be an easy assignment if I could list 10,000 things I love, but to narrow it down to just 10 is nearly impossible.  So I've picked 10 things that popped in to my head right off the bat.  I'm sure I'll think of 10 million other things that I wish I had included once I hit the publish button, but for now these will have to do!

Of course first and foremost, and it goes without saying, I love my family more than life itself, they are everything to me!  And my puppies are part of my family!


 
I love walking barefooted through grass!



I love my friends, even those that are miles and miles away from me.  My friends make me happy and I love and treasure each of you!  Oh how I wish some of you weren't so far away!  (Sorry I don't have pictures of each and every one of you my dear friends!)



I love watching my dogs play!  They are so joyful and full of life when they are chasing each other and chewing on sticks!



I love fresh blueberries straight from the bush, and I can eat whole bowl fulls of them when they are in season!



I love when the sun sparkles on the water...


And I love the sound of crashing waves, it soothes the savage beast in me!



I love to travel!  I love to visit little towns and see the countryside, meet new people in foreign lands, and enjoy the wonderful differences unique to all of us!



I love the lemony scent of magnolia blossoms on a warm summer's night!  Or the smell of honeysuckle wafting through the air!



I love where I live, and being surrounded by the beauty of nature each and every day!



I love a beautiful sunset after a glorious day!



And last but not least, I love homemade brownies...all warm and gooey, with fresh strawberries and ice cream!



Thank you Connie for showing me some bloggy love!  Please be sure to visit her blog and see some of the beautiful roses that she loves by clicking HERE!

And to the rest of you, please feel free to join in and post 10 things that you love, or you can just leave a comment here letting me know a few of your favorite things!