The Oscar’s 2016-Will it be Oscar Gold for DiCaprio and Winslet?



Have you seen Leonardo DiCaprio’s film The Revenant yet?  If you have will you please fill me in on whether or not this film is just too long and then your left disappointed?  He doesn’t die in this one too?!  We all know how the film Titanic turned out so waiting for the end was invenitable-although Kate Winslet’s character Rose could of moved over on that floating piece of wood and saved the poor man’s life!  Seriously she was selfish.

Oh man am I excited about the Oscar’s this year (like I am every year!).  First off, Kate Winslet is up for Best Supporting Actress in Steve Jobs and her castmate Leo DiCaprio is up for Best Actor in Alejandro Gonzalez´ Iñárritu’s film The Revenant.  I love these two actors.  You just know they get the best picks of movie scripts and you hope they choose the ones that stay with you!

Right now on cable, you can pre order the film for small potatoes and I think I will or hiring a babysitter might be in order!  I’ve got to see this film. Set in the wilderness  of 1823, a legendary frontiersman and fur trapper Hugh Glass portrayed by DiCaprio sustains injuries from a brutal bear attack and is left behind for dead by his own hunting team.  His quest for survival and redemption is worth the 156 minutes the film plays.

I loved watching DiCaprio’s character Jack in the film Titanic but haven’t personally enjoyed him in many other films so waiting for The Revenant I hope will be money well spent!


A Blockbuster!

I remember when I first saw Titanic; I thought “this guy is going to be a mega star” and then we all waited to see what he would do next.  He was ironically not nominated for Best Actor in 1998 but Kate Winslet was for Best Actress for Titanic, a huge snub in my opinion.

And back to his favorite counterpart, Kate Winslet.  Her acting is what I consider the best of her generation, not being compared to the incomproable Cate Blachett-two differen’t actresses with similar ranges but the Great Cate played Queen Elizabeth and I don’t think anyone else could of done that. Our Kate with a “K” stands alone strong in portraying complicated, passionate female roles.  I just love watching what she’ll do next and this year is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for the film, Steve Jobs.  I haven’t seen this film in its entirety (I fell asleep!) yet but so far have enjoyed the dynamo change Kate took on to play the productive marketing girl to Michael Fassbender’s Steve Jobs.

Kate and Leo both won the Golden Globe this year for their respective roles which the wider audience say is indicative of winning the Oscar, but not always.  We will see but I’m sure considering the contenders based on the trailer for Steve Jobs she might be walking home with the Oscar statuette and the world will be waiting to see if the two Titanic stars reunite for a brief hello.  Didn’t 1997 when the film came out seem so long ago?  I know.  Enjoy the Oscars this Sunday if you partake.  I will be glued to the tube this Sunday on ABC at 8:30 pm eastern standard time.  By the way who are you rooting for??  Last note, my husband only entertains me briefly while watching the Oscars each year; not wanting to dampen my spirits, he can remain close-mouthed for only so long before he begins to tell me how insincere all of these celebrities seem.  If only Tom Hanks could save the day……..




Paris, Salads, and the Sweet Life



I’m loving these chairs by Serena & Lily-they were inspired by the classic 1930’s European bistro chair.  I’ve seen and sat in these pretty chairs in Paris and have to say they are VERY comfortable.  In Serena’s Spring 2016 catalog, the editors explain that the chairs are made of sustainable rattan and then are bent into shape in the French tradition.  Doesn’t that sound lovely?  What more is there to say?

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With my brother Jay, enjoying the delights in Paris.  The Bistro Chair.  Paris, France.

I love well-constructed furniture and I love good design and beautiful things which I believe give us all hope in life.  Who doesn’t love going away on vacation and finding that your hotel has crisp, white sheets, and art work above the headboard that speaks to the area your visiting.  You might not stay long in your planned destination; like myself in Paris, I was there to catch the sights for only one week!  After a long day of walking and exploring the city, I was destined to hit the sheets and start all over the next day.  I will never forget that trip or the food!



Moving onto sheets and beautiful bedding is my specialty.  I have an eye for choosing bedding that soothes and calms but almost always has flowers, my first loves.  Here the simple arrangement of floral’s brings a serenity (no pun) to this girls’ room and the pattern repeated on the walls unifies the arrangement.  I just love the light blue quilt which softens the room even more.  I would sleep peacefully with my little girl in here!

With St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching, I wanted to include the color green in my palette this year-which will be a bold move for me because I play it safe with neutrals.  I’ll start with pillows.  I like to update my entire house if it’s in the budget and I’ll follow according to the holiday.  I’d also like to include a healthier, greener version of a recipe that includes one of my favorite green ingredients, the precious avocado.  It’s packed with vitamins so go ahead, gush and forget about how those Brussels Sprouts tasted when you were a kid!






In a large bowl, whisk together:

1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper until combined.  Add the leaves of 1 lb Brussels Sprouts, 1 thinly sliced avocado, 1 thinly sliced Braeburn apple,  1/2 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds, and 1 oz thinly shaved Parmesan cheese.  Toss to combine.  Makes 4 servings.

Even if your in a bad place right now or your feeling disgruntled in some way, go out, buy these ingredients and try it-try something new.  Make your mark.  The sweet life is just around the corner, I promise.

Our Backyard Rennovation, Next Please!


Okay I had no idea what was involved when I moved into my second house!  I wish I had a crystal ball and could tell you that when we came back to our first house together that it would of been clean, well-kept, and organized but that was certainly not the case.  To make matters worse and we take full responsibility for this, the trees on our property had fallen ill.  The photo of my brother and husband shows one poplar tree to the right of them.  That was one of many that were taken down to protect our house and the street of cars behind us!

Back in 2009 I gave birth to twin girls so much of my time was spent gazing into their eyes and then bottles, more bottles and more diaper changes.  I don’t think I noticed the trees or much less cared.  A fence was installed months after this photo was taken shortly before the birth of our daughters.

This photo shows the backyard with ivy removed off of the fence.  It was overgrown and taking over both sides of the fence.  Large divots and holes permeated our once lush backyard.  I was devastated to bring my now four year old daughters back to their birth home so I began charting a course of tree therapy!  I cleared the brush, tore down the ivy and bought seven green arborvitae to line the fence with.  I love evergreen so this was a no brainer, but I should of done more research because had I done that I would of found that they grow very little over time!  No privacy fence for us anytime soon.  I wanted to hear less noise from the road we live on and see less traffic so moving onto Plan B was essential!


Little by little changes were made


Coming together

Next, Patrick moved two tall arborvitaes and dug them up and moved them to the backyard.  He was not so happy with me but once he placed them in the hole and covered the hole with Miracle Grow and healthy new soil, we were in good shape!  I always feel better when I fertilize plants of any kind!

Next project: We dug out a rectangular area for our girls’ swing set, cut timber logs and brought in bags and bags of recycled tire mulch (not cheap!) to complete the look.  Next, the elephant in the room needed to be addressed-the dreaded Poplar Tree that was keeping me up at night during dramatic storms.


I had no doubt in my nind that the tree just off center in our backyard needed to come down but I never knew how bad the tree had rotted out.  The tree guys told me it had 10 feet of rot so with dramatics installed (people were watching from both sides of our house, the back, the front), the removal of the tree process began.

I didn’t think I’d get emotional but never the less I did.  A part of history was coming down and with it memories of the shade we use to have when my daughters were just infants was gone.  I knew right then I would replace it with my favorite tree variety-the spruce.  Here is my emotional video-the audio is muffled in the beginning but wait, you just might laugh!!



The California Privet.  Hardy.


With the addition of two California Privet’s (so low maintenance!) and a couple of winter spruce’s (unfortunately I do not have any great aerial photos of my new backyard!) my backyard reno is complete!  Thank you to I Tree Servcies, my husand Patrick and all the friends and family who’ve played here!

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A clean slate.  Happy to play here again.


















Dressing the Dream, HGTV’s Dream Home and What I Learned from my Mother’s Decorating

Here’s what I know about decorating-I know what I like when I see it and when that’s the case I BUY IT!  Usually when I see a house, I either like it or I don’t right away as well and this was the case with the HGTV home-it was a solid YES for me because it reminded me of my childhood home growing up on the Eastern Shore, much smaller in scale of course but with some of the same details that make a house a home!  That’s just what Nancy did for me when she decorated our 1950’s Cape Cod; she and my very talented Grandfather Harold gutted out cabinets, painted them white and added hand sewn upholstered sofas and my Grandfather’s wingback chair and a wall-size needlepoint piece of art and voila’ you have the makings of a dream home.

If you like anything to do with home décor, architecture, I’ll mostly be talking about that here and my family’s involvement and their loves and likes.  For example, you might find my six year old daughter Audrey rearranging a room and Sophie her twin, doing the same.  They might be twins but as forecasted they have very different interests and that’s reflected in their rooms.  A move is on the horizon for us so for all intentions and purposes I’m pulling all of my tears from my favorite home décor magazines and will begin designing our dream home (with Patrick of course!) early next year.

MY INSPIRATION FOR DECORTING HAS ALWAYS BEEN FROM MY MOTHER NANCY.  My Grandfather was a carpenter and builder and a gardener so naturally I picked up all those traits (at least I’d like to think I did!).


Love the open floor plan and BLUE accents!

Ethan Allen dressed the HGTV 2015 Dream Home and they did an awesome job!  My mother always use to say “if you can afford Ethan Allen you’re in good shape.”  Now that tide is turning and EA is becoming more affordable, having to keep up with the other high end turned affordable home décor companies.

HIGH REZ Hallway

The Light of the Ceiling and the Dark Floors add Depth

I don’t know why this particular photo of this spectacular house does it for me but I love long hallways and an open floor plan.  It’s something we didn’t have in our Cape so adding this dimension brings the family in and together and keeps the conversation flowing which is what I like.  More family and friends please!  Did I mention the exposed timber in the ceiling will be in my next house?  Can anyone say crack open the fireplace and let’s play board games!

Girls Room

A Perfect Room for my Girls!


I’ve been fortunate to work on photo shoots in my lifetime and what I’ve learned is that they try to make all of the elements go together and the model (me) is a bonus!  One of my favorite shoots was for the Orient Express where I modeled with a pal of mine Will Rosser in a suite at the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michael’s, Maryland.  I remember how crisp everything looked in the room just like here: (if I can scan that photo I will post it on my next blog)


All photos


The bench as seen here in the eat-in kitchen is brilliant-the fabric casual and I’m sure it’s a slipcovered piece which if you have kids like me, your going to want to throw it in the laundry.  Another great look and it’s classic is the subway tiled backsplash!  Crisp in white, it’s never out of style and plays off of the espresso colored bar stools.  There is so much more I could say about this Dream Home but won’t here for now due to lack of time.

Growing up on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, I lived just blocks away from a sandy beach, certainly not Martha’s Vineyard where the HGTV Dream Home was cast; my mother created the perfect little Cape Cod with all it’s finishes, including the white picket fence that bordered my favorite spruce trees.  Thanks Mom a million times over for inspiring me and making our little Cape a Beautiful Home!


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My Favorite Person and Favorite Decorator

Your Pets and Unconditional Love, Setting Realistic Boundaries is Love


It’s true when the author and animal rights activist Temple Grandin in her book Animals Make us Human said, “When people are suffering mentally, they want to feel better-they want to stop having bad emotions and start having good emotions. That’s the right goal with animals, too.”

For Valentine’s Day this year I decided to celebrate the life of my pet Belle, our almost 12 year old cocker spaniel.  She’ll turn 12 on March 4th and the more time I spend with her, the more I love her.  This also rings true with my beloved husband Patrick.  It truly is unconditional love.  If it’s not, isn’t it time to analyze that relationship and figure out whether it should go forward.  It’s interesting an animal doesn’t have that choice.  They are stuck with us aren’t they?  I try to make my dogs environment special and pawsitively stimulating……..:)

That brilliant author Temple Grandin also elaborated on this very true principle:

“My theory is that the environment animals live in should activate their positive emotions as much as possible, and not activate their negative emotions any more than necessary.  If we get the animal’s emotions right, we will have fewer problem behaviors.”  Boy if most humans learned how to live and love this way.

She goes on in Chapter 2 “A Dog’s Life” to show the direct similarities in parenting your dog and children. I love what she says here and we can all learn from this:

“Dog owners need to be the leader the same way parents do. Good parents set limits and teach their kids how to behave nicely, and that’s exactly what dogs need, too.  Dogs have to learn good manners and their owners have to teach them.  When dogs don’t have good human parents, they get crazy and out of control and take over the house the same way an undisciplined, spoiled child gets crazy and out of control and takes over the house.”

Often times do you feel like your love life with your beloved spouse is suffering or your children are out of control?  (I can totally relate to that one!).  Setting realistic limits and boundaries with all of them can make you happy and will set the tone for your relationship going forward.  If not and we live life unconsciously walking around in a depressed daze, resentment and bitterness happen to take root; we know love can’t grow under those conditions.

Have you ever taken a walk with your dog, not for you but for them?  Ever see how they react when you do that-they look happy, refreshed, and I know for my dog, she seems to smile after a good long walk.  She received love and I did too!  What a wonderful thing!

I wish you tenderness in this journey with your families and children and pets if that’s what you want, especially on this Valentine’s Day that just happen to make it on our American calendar and will remain so.  It reminds us early in the calendar year to be cognizant of our loved ones!   Animals really do make us human.