Labor Day begins the winding down of summer. I’ve come to think of Memorial Day and Labor Day as a set of spiffy bookends supporting the May to September romance we have with summer, the summer vacation, and vacation photos.
A summer vacation was not to be for me and Dave the Builder due to obligations, project deadlines, and ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (a tip of the hat to David Bowie) in our everyday life.
So it goes.
All good things come to those who wait to hit the holiday road in the fall. Fall will be here soon as will cooler temps, seasonal colors on parade, festivals and gumbo good times.
Grab a to-go pumpkin latte and call me a happy traveler.
A simple solution to alleviate vacation withdrawals is to live the moment vicariously through vacation photos delivered to my inbox from the merry band of traveling Millennials aka our son and his wife, nephew #1 and his darling family, and nephew #2 and his beloved.
Our son and daughter-in-law traveled to the United States for a twelve day trip to discover the sights, sounds, and highlights of the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore National Park, Badlands National Park, Aspen, Denver, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
They called one evening and while we were talking I heard the roar and rev of motorcycles.
Is that motorcycles I hear?
Yes it is.
Have you ever heard of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally?
Needless to say, it was quite a noisy conversation.
There would be more pictures, but the newest addition to their family, Dallas, chewed through both of their laptop charger cords.
Puppies gnaw and chew on cords, belts, purses, shoes, furniture.
A mother who bites her tongue and does not remind her son if the cords were not left on the floor for the puppy to get to in the first place you wouldn’t have this issue deserves a medal, or at the very least a vacation.
This weekend marks their first wedding anniversary. To mark the celebration, they are traveling to Minneapolis to dine in style, see Taylor Swift in concert, and shop for new and replacement electronics, chargers, and devices.
Speaking of weddings, the next round of vacation photos are from nephew #2 and his beloved’s trip to Bethesda, Maryland and Washington D.C. to attend a friend’s wedding and reception held at the Congressional Country Club.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier atArlington National Cemetery
The Korean War Veterans Memorial
Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Nephew #1 and his darling family make a Florida vacation a yearly event. Joined by our niece-in-law’s parents, sister, brother, their spouses, children, and a pair of aunts and uncles, the group travel by air and land to Perdido Key for a week of family fun in the sun.
Twelve adults and six kids (including two babies under one) require a lot of stuff. With a two day start, our nephew drove his loaded to the gills SUV from Missouri to Florida to meet the crew.
Sun, beach, water, sand, rinse and repeat floated everyone’s boat. The Places In The Home side of the family leans more towards the mountains and the west coast, but know well the appeal of the Florida Gulf Coast.
Nephew #2 and his beloved ended up having a two for the price of one vacation. The second part of their vacation found them on beach time in Orange Beach, Alabama.
Toes in the sand without a vacation care in the world until company arrives.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall- vacation photos place you in the moment and serve as a wish you were here postcard. As the sun sets on summer 2018, we hope you have a wonderful Labor Day holiday weekend.
As promised, here is part two of what I did on my summer statecation otherwise titled Vacation Observations and Treasures Show and Tell. My blogging routine is suffering from a case of the I’m ready for summer to be over and fall to get here slowdown blues. Taking time to hunt and gather images, ideas and inspiring notes of design and decorating interest for fall and home for the holidays sharing benefits both author and reader. It’s gonna be good!
Summer whispers into the ear of the normal day-to-day routine let’s blow this gig. You’ve got places to go, people to see, ideas to develop. Summer didn’t have to tell me twice it was time to book a five day statecation to the Shreveport/Bossier City area. Antiquing and vintage shopping is a big part of the vacation equation, and traveling by car makes it super easy to load that baby up with finds, treasures and home goods. My must shop list includes Dillard’s, Belk, Marshalls and T.J. Maxx. For good while we’re here measure I threw in a let’s stop by the new Whole Foods Market Shreveport. Try, try as I may to figure out what the whole Whole Foods hullabaloo is all about, I don’t get it. Take it away, Josh Baskin.
Perusing the East 70th Street retail and restaurant offerings, I noticed a peppering of construction crews and roll offs. Curiosity leads inquiring minds to need to know info. Look what’s coming to Shreveport.
Shreveport has hit the all things house that make a home jackpot. I am decorating and dining happy. Happy to
and beyond! I do love a good game of wordplay.
Our Home away from Home- Horseshoe Bossier City
One up way too early for a vacation day coffee call served up one what do you want to do today round table discussion. Antiquing it is. Wifi connected us to six shops of interest and roads to follow.
Treasures Show and Tell Observation #1
Change is the only constant in today’s antiques marketplace. When Dave and I were actively “in the biz,” the proprietor of the antique mall we were in required dealer inventory consist of at least 80% antiques with an allowance for 20% vintage collectibles. An antique by law is an item at least 100 years old. Vintage collectible refers to an item at least 50 years old. We advertised as an antiques shop, and the inventory reflected that. Assuming (you know what they say about assuming) all antique shops adhere to the same truth in advertising rule, when the sign says antiques I brake for antiques. On the other hand, if a shop’s name has the word or words curiosity, vintage, thrift, trading, collectibles, junque or consignment in it I know what’s in store. Out of the six antiques shops visited, only three fit the bill. Two featured vintage finds and curiosities, and one is nothing more but a shadow of its former antique mall glory.
Treasures Show and Tell Observation #2
It dawned on me after viewing booth after booth of painted pieces that I have an issue with the trend that in my opinion has stayed too long at the party. It’s a disgrace when an item is touted as an authentic painted piece picked and plucked from an old farmhouse, feed, hardware or general store when in truth it is fresh off the chalk paint, font and Pinterest bandwagon. Many an unsuspecting and trusting customer gets duped by this practice, and I think it is absolutely shameful. Buyer beware.
Good advice and odd artwork caught my attention.
Dave the Builder, always clever in his delivery, exclaimed for sale as in fore sale! upon the sighting of this Louis Vuitton golf bag.
Treasures Show and Tell Observation #3
I’m kicking myself for not buy this St Francis garden statue. The best time to buy an antique, collectible, vintage treasure or in the case concrete garden statue is when you see it.
Restaurant china creamers and syrup pitchers are my collecting thing, and when priced under $5 call these sold!
A small print and a steamboat saucer rounded out my big haul.
Treasures Show and Tell Observation #4
Small finds can make big impacts in the grand decorating and color scheme of things.
Our summer statecation is in the rear view mirror, and I’m already checking rates and availability for a quick late fall getaway. In the meantime it’s back to work, decorating ideas and the holidays are right around the corner plans. In blog housekeeping news, I am currently in the middle of attempting to migrate my existing site to a new and improved cPanel hosting platform. This, my friends, should be good. Technical blah, blah, blah but necessary to keep things up to speed. I’m about to lose my mind and my religion over this, but I’m determined to do this. If I don’t break the site, Places In The Home will be back up running and loading lightening fast next week. Have a lovely rest of the week.
Summer vacation let’s hit the holiday road getaway, treasure hunting, taste testing delicious cuisine, unplugging if only for a few days, reconnecting with Dave the Builder. It’s that summer vacation time of year again.
Antiques auctions are my thing. From start to sold, I love the workings of the antiques auction machine. Dave the Builder and I have clocked many an hour in old barns, metal buildings, old storefronts and convention halls in hope of acquiring antiques and vintage furniture and accessories up for auction. When live and in person isn’t in the bid cards, absentee bids are in order. One of my very favorite auction houses, Gallery Auctions, Inc. invites absentee bidding, offers quality merchandise and is known for superb customer service.
In the market for an antique bread or cutting board, I searched the listings with gotta have it success. I placed absentee bids on several boards to cover the spread, and was thrilled to receive the phone call that I won the bid I really, really wanted. The board is big, aged, perfectly worn and rich in patina and provenance. Score!
Attending the highly anticipated local estate sale recently held less than one block from the Places In The Home abode turned out to be a good decision. This particular estate sale was a treasure hunting must- one where quality meets quantity. The bamboo light fixture immediately caught my eye, piqued my interest and held my attention.
First day sale prices can send a wave of sticker shock throughout the antiques dealers, estate sale aficionados and interior design and decorating community. The word on the tree-lined street signaled high prices ahead. The price I was comfortable paying did not square with the sellers initial asking price. I told myself if it is meant to be it will be, and waited for the next day price negotiations. Holding firm with an offer does not always work out for the best, but in this case it did.
Dave the Builder rewired the fixture, applied two coats of gloss white lacquer spray paint and here we are. You’ll see this image again in a post I’m working on detailing more decor updates.
Horseshoe Bossier City Hotel and Casino
He said, “I need a vacation.” She said, “Can we go auctions, estate sales and antiques treasure hunting?”
Do we dare take a gamble on basing our vacation destination on past antiques inventory buying successes? I’m willing to roll the dice if you are, Dave. He said, “make the reservation.” She said, “win, lose or draw, I’m ready to go.”
The who, when, where and what anticipation of discovery is the common thread between vacation getaways and treasure hunting .
First stop on the treasure hunting train: Kings Antique Mall. The gotta have it list for our auctions, estate sales and antiques treasure hunting trips includes requests from clients as well as items for my personal collections. A hold tag on the two drawer chest dashed my hopes for ownership, but it gave me an idea for a piece already in inventory. Inspiration is everywhere.
I am always fascinated by the nouns of life and how we draw home decor inspiration from them. Violets remind me of my maternal grandmother, and memories drive the antiques business.
I almost overlooked this small violet adorned dish while shopping at Antique Shoppes at 1100 Barksdale, but luckily spied it sitting pretty atop a dusty shelf. It currently resides on my bedside table as a holder for my reading glasses.
Today’s A Most Fetching Friday is all about the summer vacation.
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.
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.
August was a busy month of celebrations and milestones around Places In The Home. Our son’s graduation from Louisiana State University, commencement ceremony and subsequent celebration(s) made for a busy first part of the month. When Dave the Builder suggested a regroup and recovery getaway for two I could not make reservations fast enough. I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate the not too far but far enough away from home travels to small Southern towns. These travel gems brimming with history, old houses, antiques and townsfolk who invite you to take in and be a part of the local flavor make a great weekend getaway destination perfect for recharging one’s battery.
St. John’s Episcopal Church – Washington, Louisiana
Our long and winding road travels (well, our straight line I-49 travels) placed us center stage among the small Southern towns of Washington, Scott and Lafayette, Louisiana. I learned a long time ago not to categorize our close to home jaunts as a non-vacation. Trust me, these just roll with the flow discovery excursions can pass a good time and pass for a real vacation.
Washington, Louisiana is as sleepy as it is Southern, a small town full of history from steamboat days gone by. Narrow streets shaded by mature oaks, magnolia trees, historical architecture, quintessential Southern homes ranging from the wow to the weathered, and an old high school full to the gills with antiques and vintage goodies seasons the local flavor.
Beauty does not always strike a pristine pose. This abandoned abode on a shaded street in a small Southern town piqued my interest, struck an architectural chord and became the subject of a subjective experience.
You know you love antiquing when the indoor temperature almost matches the oppressive outdoor temperature ( 95+ degrees). Note to self: antiquing in old buildings, warehouses, outdoors and in old high schools is an activity best enjoyed in the fall. On this particular Louisiana summer Saturday, the Old Antique School Mall was full of hot air and hot finds priced fairly and in shop or home ready condition. I didn’t have a clue what I was looking for, but something told me I would know it when, and if, I saw it.
Our visit to the school was timed just right for a super sale. I have been working on a kitchen gallery wall, and no respectable kitchen gallery wall is complete without the all important touch of copper.
I couldn’t resist the lidded copper pan and mold. Grand total: $10 for both.
There is no match for seeing a production show, concert or headliner in Las Vegas. There’s a reason why Las Vegas is known as the entertainment capital of the world. Over the years, we have been fortunate enough to have seen some of the best entertainers in the world perform on the stages of the infamous Las Vegas showrooms. Our entertainment selections for this trip fit the playbill, mixed the old with the new, paid tribute to a legendary group of lads, had us hearing voices, and rocked our Friday night in Vegas world.
Cher at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace
Cher at Caesars Palace~ then and now
My first time to see Cher live was in 1980. It was my first trip to Las Vegas, Caesars Palace and the infamous Circus Maximus showroom. Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world for a reason, and the best of the best performers and entertainers play Caesars for the same reason- it is the gold standard. The stages of the Vegas showrooms invented the celebrity A game of which Cher is a master player. This engagement at Caesars Palace was a production extravaganza of Cher’s Take Me Home tour. I was a wide eyed kid in the Vegas candy store on a sugar high of glamour, glitz, feathers, sequins, female impersonators and Bob Mackie creations custom made for a Vegas state of mind. It was gloriously flashy, dramatic with a capital D and exquisitely orchestrated by the incomparable entertaining brilliance that is Cher.
I saw Cher again at Caesars Palace in the Circus Maximus showroom the next year with the same enthusiasm and a new Cher convert, my brother. Cher’s “surprise guests” Bette Midler and Diana Ross completely fooled my brother. My mother and I knew the ladies were in fact female impersonators and informed my brother of it, but he was totally convinced we were out of our minds. He was amazed at their physical and theatrical likeness, and when he thought about it for awhile he again wasn’t quite convinced. Fast forward twenty seven years to a new entertainment venue at Caesars (my third time to The Colosseum aka the house of Celine, Dave’s first) and a curiosity to see if lightening would strike thrice. Dave and I were through the security monitors (another new aspect of Vegas) and seated quickly in our seats on the first mezzanine. Cher and company delivered like Domino’s! When she performed a medley of her greatest hits from her 1970s discography, the ones that in 1980 and 1981 were relatively new hits, Cher turned back time. Dave loved every minute of the show, lightening bolts and all. This was a great way to spend an evening in Vegas.
Mama Mia at Mandalay Bay
Kept the memories, lost the program. Thank goodness for Pinterest!
We Saturday night in Vegas different from most. The circus arena on steroids atmosphere of a Vegas Saturday night can be too much at times. It’s become the norm for us to see the 6:00 p.m. performance of Mama Mia at Mandalay Bay and have a late gourmet supper at In-N-Out. Stick with us, kids and we’ll take you to the best burger joint in Vegas! This is our ninth time to see Mama Mia, and while I like Mama Mia, Dave loves Mama Mia. For this trip we had front row seats A 16 and A 17. The lobby of the Mandalay Bay Theatre (presently the Michael Jackson ONE theatre) has an Art-Deco style reminiscent of vintage movie houses.
This photo of Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Before the show began we visited with two of the nicest ladies from Salt Lake City seated to our left and a local mom and her six year old daughter seated to our right. Meeting new people continues to be a part of the Vegas experience that pleases. Dave and I both agreed this particular performance was one of the best yet. It doesn’t take but a tweak here and a small change there to step up a performance. As it is with interior design and home decor, placing a new spin on an oldie but a goodie helps to keep things fresh and relevant.
We lip synced and kept time to the music throughout the entire show, and the Dancing Queens that we are surfaced during the finale. Along with most of the audience we were up out of our seats and dancing with the cast members to the feel good gotta love it songs of ABBA. If this is in fact our last time to see the show in Vegas it made for a great memory. It was indeed our last time to see Mama Mia! in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay.
Danny Gans at Mirage
In all the time we have been going to Vegas this would be our first time seeing Danny Gans (October 25, 1956 – May 1, 2009). I purchase discount entertainment vouchers and restaurant coupons to use on our trips, and one of the best outlets is the radio shopping show from local Las Vegas radio station, KSHP. I stream the show via the internet, purchase the vouchers and have the show mail them out to me. This particular trip the station was running a promo on one of their afternoon shows. I answered a trivia question correctly and scored two tickets seventh row center section to Danny Gans at the Mirage. The theatre was full to capacity, the vibe of the room and the audience was high energy and the laugh-o-meter was set to hilarious. We loved the band and the live music, and Danny Gans’ impression of Johnny Carson and his The Twelve Days of Christmas skit was fantastic. He sang Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open” and while his performance was good his band’s performance was great. I have to admit only a small percentage of the audience seemed to be familiar with Creed, but those that were gave him a standing ovation.
We left the theatre thoroughly entertained and ready to put the hurt on the Mirage in the gambling department. The Mirage was well armed for battle against us giving me the honor of being seven for seven in the “I can’t win a damn thing in this casino” category. Amazing how the Vegas night air and a volcano eruption can make things all better.
The Places In The Home gang loves this Beatles tribute show. We’ve seen this late afternoon show nineteen times based on the following criteria: the price is right, the 5:30 PM showtime is perfect and the entire performance is live. This is a fun show with lots of audience interaction. The four gentlemen who recreate musical magic bring the voices and songs of The Beatles to life with spot on accuracy, and did I mention the entire performance is live and very well done. The set list covers the hits of the Beatlemania, the band’s US invasion, Sgt. Pepper (see photos) and the Abbey Road phenomenon. Howard Arthur’s performance as John Lennon is amazing.
Sheryl Crow, James Blunt and Toots at Planet Hollywood:
It Was Just One of Those Vegas Nights
Toots is a Jamaican performer Sheryl Crow discovered and invited to tour with him. We had never heard of him so going in we had no opinion one way or another. Toots and band put on a great opening show incorporating the audience in the fun with sing-a-longs. The sweet soulful reggae spin he put on John Denver’s classic hit, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” was worth the price of admission. This sing-a-long finale ended his set on a high note, and the good mood kept concert goers happy as the crews were breaking down his set and getting James Blunt and Company in set up. More concert goers started to trickle into the theatre signaling the people watching part of my brain to get busy taking it all in. People, clothes, conversations, pairings- it all fascinates me. We humans are an interesting people. It was hard not to notice the large cameras, cranes, booms and cables being set up in and around the theatre. I commented to Dave it appeared some type of filming would be taking place during the evening. We learned the filming was for a feature showcase for A&E’S Private Sessions.
Sheryl Crow ~ Feels Like Home Cover. How’s that for staying on the all things that make a home topic?
I also noticed a couple to my left heavily making out. A girl in what I guess to be her mid 20’s and her mother are seated to my immediate left, and suffice it to say we are privy to this up close and way too personal floor show. The mind doesn’t kick in quick enough with the stop looking command when it is stunned. About the time I am turning away, busted! Make out man decides to strike up a conversation with me, the mom and her daughter. He tells us they have been married twenty five years, are empty nesters, and just want to, how did he put it? He and his lady love just want to “be all over a good time.” Is that what they call it now? Believe me, these two were all over something for sure. Their show within the show picked up steam as the night went on, and by the end of the night it was a free for all with a few added cast members. They were in ecstasy, if you get my drift. To put the cherry on top of the cake, about every five minutes this guy would scream out Sheryl (Sh-air-real) in a sort of New York/New Orleans blended accent. How many times do you think Dave had to hear me mimic this guy’s cry of Crow for the rest of our trip? All in all an excellent evening that far exceeded my expectations in the very best way. To date, this is the best time I have ever had at a concert in Vegas. We entered the venue at 7:10 p.m and walked out at 11:15 p.m rocked and ready for a Vegas Friday night turning into Saturday morning.
We Louisianians are a patient people. We are aware our neighbors to the North actually get to experience seasonal foliage and fall colors before mid to late November. Fall takes it time getting down to Louisiana, but when it does it stunningly shows its true colors along the bayou in perfect fall form. I’ve yet to find a better way to take it all in than to hit the road with camera in hand, Dave the Builder at the wheel, and the words from the song “Drive South” defining the moment.
Come on baby drive South With the one you love Come on baby drive South
You can be guaranteed if it’s late November the locals are asking, “Are the leaves in color on the bayou Ginkgo?”
This famous landmark Ginkgo tree has served as the picture perfect photo backdrop for generations of local residents. This picture does not do justice to just how beautiful these colors along the bayou really are.
Decades old iron bridge railing has aged gracefully through the years. Brick-lined streets, decorative ironwork and historical homes make a drive though the garden district a trip through time.
Further South down the road we go to another small town favorite, Lea’s Lunch Room.
Lea’s Lunch Room is known throughout the United States as the place for pie. It’s a standing game day tradition to stop at Lea’s for one of their famous ham sandwiches and a piece of pie on the way to Tiger Stadium. Recently Lea’s Lunchroom was listed in the USA TODAY Travel article “10 best: Delicious Pies around the South.” All that driving and photographing works up an appetite, and it is the best excuse I know of to order up a ham sandwich and a slice of coconut pie with sky high meringue to-go, of course.
On the road again…
The Mary McCoy Big House stands steeped in history on the Solomon Northup Trail. The story of Solomon Northup was the subject of the film, 12 Years a Slave. The Bayou Boeuf community and the parishes of Central Louisiana historically factor into the life of Solomon Northup. When I was in college at LSU I used the Mary McCoy Big House as my thirty minutes to home mile marker. Lots of history and beauty associated with this local landmark.
Click on image to enlarge
Like the leaves, the colors of the season are changing from browns and oranges to brighter reds and traditional greens. This much needed road trip was all the detour needed to help me collect my thoughts and take a breather before the next phase begins. December 1st signals the official Christmas season kick off.
Here we go!