A Most Fetching Friday: Blooming with Beauty

Today’s A Most Fetching Friday is features images blooming with beauty, style and inspiration.  I don’t believe anyone would fault us for stepping back if for only a brief moment to admire objects of beauty, n’est-ce pas?

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tulips

The Berry

Tara-Guerard-One-Kings-Lane

Inside a Picture-Perfect Summer Garden Party in Charleston perfectly styled by Tara Guérard for One Kings Lane.

JIllsorensenbungalow

Jill Sorensen 

BlackberryFarm_Kasler_EGD_065

Suzanne Kasler 

Halvorson Farmhouse, front porch cover try

A summer scene from Southern Living the magazine and the way of life.

coffee-table

Elle Decor

flowers-in-kitchen

Lauren Conrad on Pinterest

Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Philippians 4:8

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Summer In A Jar: Fig and Fresh Mint Vinaigrette

Well, it’s official.  I am slowly but surely becoming my grandmother- both of them.  These two Southern women of strong convictions and delicious confections knew from trial by fire through temperatures of hellacious measure how hot a kitchen could get in the dead of summer.

summer-fruit-bowl

Late lunch and evening meal menus played to cold salads of potato, macaroni, Louisiana seafood and leafy greens, fresh farm to market fruits and vegetables served at room temperature (the absolute best way to eat a homegrown tomato!), crispy cold fried chicken or bacon, roast beef or thin sliced ham prepared the morning before, canned pickles and chow chow spiked with bite and flavor.

blueberries

Even in these modern central air times, when the stove and double ovens are cooking and baking at full throttle in the good old summertime, things can get hot, hot, hot in the kitchen.  I learned from the best it’s not the temperature it’s served at but the taste and presentation upon the plate.

Fig and Fresh Mint Vinaigrette

My latest summer salad series recipe, Fig and Fresh Mint Vinaigrette, deliciously fits right in with the house salad rule for summer suppers.  The Dijon mustard, olive oil, Kosher salt and fine black pepper make a tasty base.  The complementing flavors of the fig preserves and fresh lemon juice brought on the zing, but two tablespoons of fresh mint chopped uber fine delivered a bright bite placing this vinaigrette in a whole new flavor category.  This vinaigrette is summer in a jar.  Simply fresh, simply delicious!

butter-lettuce

Note the vintage serving bowl I bought on our latest antiques treasure hunting trip.

summer-butter-salad1

Fig and Fresh Mint Vinaigrette

Ingredients

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 Tablespoons fig preserves

1½  Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

Kosher salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

 

Directions

Whisk lemon juice, Dijon mustard and lemon juice in a small bowl until blended.  Add olive oil and whisk until blended.  Stir in the fresh mint, Kosher salt and pepper.  To guarantee extra blended goodness pour vinaigrette into a small mason jar.  Screw on the lid good and tight and give it a good shake to combine.

enjoy-hydrangea

A Most Fetching Friday: Keeping Cool

Today’s A Most Fetching Friday serves as a friendly reminder of the importance of keeping cool in the intense summer heat. Our internet service failed to connect us to the world wide web this past Wednesday morning and as of this posting remains spotty.  Ugh!

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Work crews from AT&T have graced the Places In The Home compound with their skilled and professional presence over the last two days. Knowing the importance of staying hydrated and keeping cool in the fight against heat exhaustion, I keep a steady supply and variety of bottle waters on hand for the postman, landscape crews, and utility workers.

bottled-water

sunscreen

The heat is on in these intense summer days making it necessary for those who work and play outdoors to do what it takes to reduce the risks of associated with the unforgiving combination of heat and humidity.

cooling-towels

 

floppy-hat

 

One does want a hint of style.

 

keeping cool

 

fan

Keeping cool is key when working or playing outdoors in the summer. Stay cool, hydrated, sun protected and heat exhaustion educated in these fun in the summer sun months.

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Summer Entertaining Suggestions

As requested, today’s post is an updated version of a summer entertaining suggestion post from a couple of years ago. Good information is always worthy of repeating, and I am happy to share these suggestions new to the Places In The Home summer entertaining repertoire.  Summer officially arrives in two weeks with the summer solstice gift of extra daylight.  Talk about the ultimate summer entertaining hostess gift!  Invite vibrant color, easy entertaining tips, and fun home decor touches to the party and prepare to impress.

lantern luminaries

John Jacob Interiors

Summer nights frame the art of entertaining with a canvas of color and hosting ease.  For an evening under the stars, bring down the house lights and light the night with soft accent lighting.  A casual yet dramatic effect can be easily achieved by strategically placing lanterns or glass jar luminaries along a walkway.

lights-in-trees

House Beautiful

For extra ambiance wrap, hang, drape or string white twinkle string lights from trees, in shrubs and around columns.  Stunning!

 bamboo lantern

Bamboo Cloth Lantern

Tiki torches, table lamps on loan for the evening from your interior home decor, garden chandeliers, and decorative paper lanterns also make great options in the quest to create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere.

decorative-outdoor-lanterns

Pier 1 Imports

Considering a summer soirée diy project to light the summer night? Here’s several simple, effective, colorful and refreshing summer entertaining diy ideas.  Click on the link below each image to get the diy how-to scoop.

RECYCLED WINE BOTTLE TORCH

Recycled Wine Bottle Torch for Outdoor Use Only

DIY-ice-bucket

DIY Ice Buckets

The Ball Jar is a versatile party decor darling.

ball-jar

Light them up, fill them up, or chill them down.

ball-jar-purpleThis is my idea of a party 6 pack!

ball-jar-green

The vintage look fits right in with the KISS of summer- keep it summer simple.  Glass is slippery when wet and breakable to boot, so summer soirée with caution.

clay-pot

If you’ve hung out at Places In The Home in person or in readership, you are aware of my entertaining relationship with the clay flower pot.  Give me a reason to turn a flower pot into a serving piece and it is summer soirée party on.  I’ll never forget the look I got the first time I announced we were having pot brownies at our pot party to a co-hostess.  I don’t believe I have ever clarified something so quickly before or since.

Vidalia-onion

Anywho, clay flower pots are an inexpensive and summer appropriate alternative to traditional serving pieces.  Baked beans, barbecued wings, Creole seasoned french fries, baked Vidalia onions, summer sausage- all great “pot” options.

outdoor-tablecloth

Patio in Pink

An average patio table pops a pretty party look when topped with a stylish outdoor tablecloth and paired with chairs, cushions and outdoor pillows decked out in bright summer colors.

flamingo-pillow

Celebrate Local Life Together Flamingo Tufted Throw Pillow

Decoristas have long had a trusty trick up their sleeve.  Home decor and furnishings that work gorgeously inside our homes will rock an outdoor living space like a Led Zeppelin concert!

tablescape ideasvia

Love your inside dining chairs and know they will be  the key to pulling the entire outdoor tablescape together, but don’t want the chair legs to get dirty?

outdoor-table-setting

Architectural Digest

Why not wrap the bottom of each chair leg with clear plastic wrap?  It may be a tad time-consuming, but it will save time on the clean up end of the party.  Be as pre-party proactive as possible with certain tasks.  It’s a summer entertaining essential skill for the host and/or hostess to hone.

hello my name is

Hello, my name is summer.  With the very, very good points of summer outdoor living and summer entertaining comes the very real concern over controlling mosquitoes.  It is suggested that burning sage or rosemary repels mosquitoes.  The mosquito killing power is in the smoke so I’m thinking summer fire pit or campfire natural necessity.

mosquito_sage

Pure Wow

I like the point in the party when the food and drink has hit the spot, the music is summer smooth, the outdoor party life is kicking up a notch and the company and the conversation is hitting all the right notes.  Now comes summer relaxation party pail time.  I make up these party pails beforehand and add the chilled and cold items before handing them out.

fresh-rose-petals

I fill plastic beach pails from the dollar store with his or hers flip-flops, individual aluminum spray bottles filled with chilled homemade rose water (the guys love this stuff almost as much as the gals), cold cucumber slices in freezer bags and Burt’s Bees Cucumber & Sage facial cleansing towelettes (love the scent).  These always make a big splash.

Cucumber_Cleansing_Towelettes

Enjoy the colors and celebrations of the season.  What better excuse for throwing a stylish summer entertaining soirée!

A Most Fetching Friday: The Summer Vacation

Today’s A Most Fetching Friday is all about the summer vacation.

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Tourism thrives on it, houses are built to entertain around it, school teachers wait all school year long for it to get here, kids of all ages celebrate it, and memories made on the summer holiday road stay with us for a lifetime.

ff-Texas-hill-country

Texas Hill Country

ff-foyer-CL

Lake Keowee Lake House Cabin, South Carolina

Palm Springs Hotel

Summer In Color at The Saguaro Palm Springs

the summer vacation

Travel Quotes to Inspire Your Vacation Planning

What story will your summer vacation tell?

sea shells

Sanibel Island, Florida

Dave the Builder and I have been on a mini vacation for a little over a week.  Reality will soon call us back to our normal routine, but for now the pace has slowed and the summer vacation life is good.

luggage tag

Tagged for Travel

576px-Ambler's_Texaco_Gas_Station5

Get Your Kicks and Your Gas on Route 66

ff-tubing

Sunny Days and Cool Waters

Summer Sounds

Have a lovely weekend.

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A Most Fetching Friday: Coastal Sunrise Sunset

Today’s A Most Fetching Friday captures the majesty and serenity of the coastal sunrise sunset beautifully featured as the view of the day in “Coastal Living Magazine.”

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Do yourself a visual favor and view other fetching sunrise sunset images over on Coastal Living Magazine’s Facebook page.  Inspiration is everywhere!

Grand Isle, Louisiana

Grand Isle, Louisiana

coastal sunrise sunset

Monte Carlo, France

Isla Espiritu Santo, Mexico

Isla Espíritu Santo, Mexico

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Canada

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Canada

Maui, Hawaii

Maui, Hawaii

Belleair Beach, Florida1

Belleair Beach, Florida

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California

Strait of Juan de Fuca, Sequim, Washington

Strait of Juan de Fuca, Sequim, Washington

Inspiration is everywhere!

Love your style!

Coconut Poke Cake

Temperatures in Louisiana hit the 90° degrees in the shade mark today. Summer is in sight and the first holiday weekend of the season is coming up.  I guess now is about as good a time as any to shine the spotlight on an entertaining summer read and a delicious summer recipe.  Two things our dinner gang does not shy away from- discussion and dessert.  The Coincidence of Coconut Cake  and a request for coconut poke cake served up a delicious course of both.

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The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

My mother requested I make a coconut poke cake for our Mother’s Day brunch dessert.  She specifically wanted me to make a coconut poke cake from a recipe she eavesdropped on overheard two ladies discussing at the beauty shop. Trying to follow her not so committed to memory bits and pieces of recipe recall about drove me coconuts.  “They said something about poking holes and coconut.”  Gee thanks, Mother.

cake-on-a-plateGoogle supplied the general outline, but a couple of ingredients adjustments and culinary interpretation fined tuned the overall taste.  My mother was so pleased with how my coconut poke cake turned out she asked me to make another one for the next meeting of our dinner gang. My idea for choosing The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert as our required read was no coincidence at all.

coconut-poke-cake

Coconut Poke Cake

Ingredients

1 box white cake mix

1 cup coconut milk

3 large eggs

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons good vanilla

1 can (15 oz) Coco Lopez cream of coconut

2  8 oz frozen Cool Whip Extra Creamy whipped topping, thawed

1 8 oz package shredded coconut

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour the pan(s).  I like to use about 2 heaping tablespoons of the dry cake mix to flour my pan. You can use a rectangular pan, two round cake pans or a bundt pan.

Prepare cake mix substituting the coconut milk for the water and adding vanilla. Beat for 2-3 minutes on medium speed until all ingredients are well blended.

Pour cake batter into prepared cake pan(s). Bake according to package instructions. Remove cake from oven and while cake is still hot poke holes all over the top of the cake using a the handle of a wooden spoon.
Slowly pour the entire can of cream of coconut over the top of the cake. making sure the cream of coconut soaks into the holes.  Allow cake to cool completely. Generously frost top (and sides) with the extra creamy whipped topping and finish by topping the cake with the flaked coconut. Cover and keep refrigerated.

enjoy-hydrangea

Practicing Design Instinct and Inspiration

Photography is a lot like interior decorating in regards to working or not working with color.  Design instinct and inspiration guide the creative process. Light, forms, tone and balance optimize not only the shot but the space. Forgive my simplistic explanation, but plainly put, some photos only work in color and others only work in black and white.

simon&garfunkel

Simon & Garfunkel 

Since finding a renewed popularity complements of a current political campaign, the Simon & Garfunkel 1968 single “America” is once again on my playlist.  The impact of a great hook paired with powerful lyrics mirrors the impact of classic design coupled with an impressive decorating style.

Red-River-Candy-Co-watermarked-initials

While discovering “America” I rediscovered another Simon & Garfunkel favorite, “My Little Town.”  You may be wondering what possible connection there could be between a couple of Simon & Garfunkel songs and design and decorating.  Design instinct and inspiration, my friends. One never knows where one will find it.  I hit the streets of my little town photographing local landmarks.  Although photographed in color, a monochromatic color scheme captured aspects of the images that color failed to.

WSH-watermarked-initials

Photo editing, enhancements and touch-ups generate a refined result. It’s the same with decorating.  Editing, enhancements and touch-ups help to achieve a polished look.  Making pretty is an exercise in trial and error, correction and confidence.  Gorgeous isn’t always achieved right out of the gate.

design instinct

Going with your first design instinct, or at the very least a tweaked variation of it, proves visually successful more times than not.  I failed to practice what I preach with this chandelier.  I was convinced a pop of designer color over my first choice of painting the fixture white would put to rest any doubt my decorating choices were in a rut or unimaginative. Fan deck after fan deck, I could not get a peace about any other color choice other than white.  The lyrics from “My Little Town” kept running through my mind.

And after it rains
There’s a rainbow
And all of the colors are black
It’s not that the colors aren’t there
It’s just imagination they lack

The pieces of the color palette puzzle finally fit when I decided to go with my first instinct.  I remembered one of my standard decorating solutions- the color white never fails to make a classic statement. The color is there, and imagination is not lacking.  I showed decorating doubt the door and practiced my own brand of design instinct and inspiration.

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday: Grilled to Perfection Delicious Inspiration

Today’s Fetching Friday features grilled to perfection delicious inspiration for your outdoor living entertaining ideas pleasure.

fetch·ing

/ˈfeCHiNG/

adjective

adjective: fetching

attractive.

synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

salmon with creamed peas

Grilled Salmon with Dijon and Dill Creamed Pea Sauce

201208-HD-grilled-flatbreads-with-mushrooms-ricotta-and-herbs-201208-r-grilled-flatbreads-with-mushrooms-ricotta-and-herbs

Grilled Flatbreads with Mushrooms, Ricotta and Herbs

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Grilled Portofino Vegetable Antipasto

grilled-tandoori-chicken

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

grilled-shrimp-with-cranberry-salsa

 Grilled Shrimp with Fresh Cranberry Salsa

grilled-stone-fruit-almond-mascarpone-dip Grilled Stone Fruit with Almond Mascarpone Dip

enjoy-hydrangea