Travel Adventures


October 5, 2010

My oldest daughter is a competitive Irish Dancer and this past year we have had the chance to travel all over the southern region of the USA for competitions. We love the travel (especially when we go by car), we love the adventure of meeting a new city, and OF COURSE we love to try new restaurants.

This past weekend we had the opportunity to visit Pittsburgh and I have to say, I LOVED it. From the moment we left our home, until the moment we left the city, we found this trip to be full of good surprises!

If you love architecture, you will love this city. Interesting building, bridges, and churches make Pittsburgh Architecture worth the trip. The neighborhoods and homes were so charming and filled to the brim with cute restaurants and individually owned store fronts. The city is a leader in revitalization when it comes to cleaning up environmental damage and they have made great strides in turning around their water landscape.

Highlights of our trip:

  • Lunch with my best friends parents at their lovely home
  • Dinner at Point Brugge, a Belgium restaurant serving the most delicious mussels and frittes.
  • Ice Cream at Klavons, a yesteryear joint filled with penny candy and retro decor.
  • Parking at the Duquesne Incline and seeing a birds-eye view of the city.
  • Celebrating the competition with good friends.
  • Gaby winning her competition!

Some of my favorite pictures using my daughter’s point and shoot Canon SD780 in Pittsburgh:

Menagerie at Middleton

January 4, 2010

2009 December Vacation Adventures
Postcard No. 2 - Menagerie at Middleton Place
The visit to Middleton Place in South Carolina was a feast for the eyes. I was especially enthralled by the Menagerie available for our enjoyment. The “barnyard” was full of delight and surprise including a ram who acted more like a dog…running up to the fence to collect affection.

The Perfect Weekend

November 27, 2009

At dusk our caravan rounded the last corner before arriving at our Alpine Lake weekend girls retreat. “I MUST STOP”, I yelled as I slammed on the brakes and jumped out of the van. As I ran to the trunk to get my camera I swung around to face one of the most beautiful sunsets of my lifetime.
When I think back on that moment, I realize that the words I screamed when stopping to see the sunset, could appropriately be directed toward me. During this busy time of year it is challenging for me to carve time for myself. In the midst of the holiday season, a challenging year for our business, the launching of a new business, and the fall activity schedule for the girls, I was in desperate need of a forced “STOP”.

On the first weekend of November, I walked for 3 1/2 miles around the lake, I took a 3 hour nap, and I danced and laughed with girlfriends. I spent an hour taking photos, I watched two movies, I ate well and I rested. The gift of taking this time turned out to be a scrumptious recipe for rejuvenation and relaxation. It was the perfect weekend.

8 days

June 25, 2009


For the next 8 days I will be completely UNPLUGGED. It is one of our favorite vacations…I’ll tell you more about it when we return. Here is the best part…Mama will not have a cell phone, a television, a computer, or a phone….YIPEEEEE!!!!! ADIOS…see you in eight days.

P.S. Tee Too (Tasha) and Magpie are in excellent hands….

Edison’s Winter Estate Pt. 2

April 16, 2009

When I tour any home, I am pretty much out of my mind to spy the kitchen and pantry. Turn of the century homes have similar characteristics that teach us a lot about the way many families lived. I notice that most kitchens are separate from the main living area and often connected to the dining room. For wealthier families who had cooks and housekeepers, it was a way to keep the living spaces separate from the workspaces. Edison’s winter home was designed this way.

Below is a picture of Edison’s dining room. Notice the lighting fixtures shown in both rooms. They are individually styled brass electroliers which were patented and manufactured exclusively for the Edison Company. The pictures don’t do them justice…they are BEAUTIES.
Simple decorating is used adding lovely mahogany antiques (shipped by boat) and a crisp white paint on the walls. It is beautiful yet neutral considering the views of beautiful outdoor gardens and porches.
A swinging door off the dining room opened to a three room kitchen. The first room housed a sink as well as some storage. I imagine all dishes were washed here…closer to the butlers pantry and out of the way of cooking. The second room was a butlers pantry and the third room housed the stove and icebox. I can imagine this space worked well for multiple staff members working in the space.




Even though the Edison winter home is simple and certainly not oversized, I get a total sense that it served the needs of the family who lived there. My favorite design mantras comes from this philosophy…“Design your home/living space for how you live” and “don’t have a lot of unused space in your home”.

To read Part 1 of Edison’s Winter Estate click HERE.

Edison’s Winter Estate Home Pt. 1

April 14, 2009


I visited the Thomas Edison/Henry Ford winter estates last week and fell in love with each of them for different reasons. Edison designed his winter home, Seminole Lodge, in Ft. Myers, Florida with Architect Alden Frink of Boston. It was constructed in Maine in pieces and shipped down to the Ft. Myers coast for assembly on site.

No bones about it…I am ADDICTED to turn of the century (1800’s-1900’s) architecture and interior design. I love the utilitarian design, the separation of spaces (including the kitchen) and the design details that support the “how we live” concept in design. Take for example the main living space in the Edison Winter Estate. It is divided into several sections…the library, the sitting room, and dining room…all of which were lived in based on their lifestyle.

So well thought out, the writing desk in the library faces the 14 foot porch which faces the river. As letter writing was so integral during this time period, can you imagine a more beautiful view. *Note the setee facing the same direction.
Seeing the porch and it’s surroundings gives a deeper appreciation for the views from the library and living room.

Beautifully contrasted with the dark wood furniture, this bookcase, behind the writing desk was the most special feature in the room.
I MELT over multiple seating areas in a room.
Multiple chairs are strewn throughout the room and a beautiful grand piano sits in the corner. Each show that conversation and music were highly regarded in the Edison family.
It is simply impossible to view this room without an understand of the intention behind the design. Simply stated, this was a living area. Can you even imagine the conversations and entertaining that occurred in this space?

To see a peek at the dining room and kitchen click HERE.
Enjoy some pictures of Mina’s Moonlight Garden HERE.


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