Sweet Summer Southern Tea Cakes

Sweet summer Southern tea cakes lead the topic of conversation on this particular June afternoon in the Places In The Home test kitchen.

Places In The Home defines tradition as collections, recipes, and/or generational practices from your past bringing about complete and utter joy deemed repeat worthy.


tra·di·tion \trə-ˈdi-shən\

a :  an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)

b :  a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable

2: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction


Summer has only been official for a hot minute, and the South is already experiencing oppressive heat. Frankly speaking, the only heat I’m remotely interested in on days better spent indoors is that of the oven.

Holds true for the cooks, bakers and heat haters in my family as the summertime tradition passed down in our family is a simple piece of advice- cook early, stay cool late.

However, I will make an exception when it comes to baking up a dozen or so sweet summer Southern tea cakes.


Back-Home Tea Cakes


½ cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

¼ cup milk



Cream shortening; gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well at medium speed of an electric mixer.  Add egg and vanilla; beat well.  Combine flour and baking powder; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, mixing well. Cover and chill 2 hours.  Work half of dough at a time, and store the remainder in refrigerator.

Roll dough to ¼-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.  Cut with a 2-inch cookie cutter; place on greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

Sprinkle with sugar. Cool.

Yields 3 dozen.

Mary Lou Adkins, Sulphur, LA.
Southern Living Magazine, July 1990

Here’s the aged index card recipe from which I’ve baked many a tea cake, and it means the world to me on many levels.

To me, tea cakes signify the simple, classic, and unpretentious taste of home.  I like to think that’s how I roll.

Giving into part craving, part memory driven tradition I baked up a couple dozen sweet summer Southern tea cakes working with a few recipe additions and adjustments.


Photo by Laura Adai

Sweet Summer Southern Tea Cakes


3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½  teaspoon salt

1  cup butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

fresh lemon zest


Preheat oven to 350°.  Combine flour, soda, and salt together and set aside.  In separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar.


Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add in vanilla extract, almond extract, and fresh lemon zest.


Beat together until combined.  Stir the dry ingredient mixture into creamed butter/sugar mixture.  Mix until all ingredients are blended together.


Divide dough in half; lightly dusting each half with flour. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper, and place in refrigerator allowing to chill for 1 hour.


Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough on lightly floured board to ¼ inch thickness.  Cut out in round shapes with cookie cutter or good old dependable jelly glass.


Place cut out tea cakes on parchment paper lined cookie sheet; bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly brown.

Makes 2 dozen.


If serving sweet summer Southern tea cakes for dinner is wrong I don’t want to be right.

Perhaps not the best example of a traditional dinner entree, but the combination of a summer evening coupled with a couple of sweet summer Southern tea cakes is very appetizing and oh, so summer.



Outdoor Living Decor

Life styled for outdoor living decor meets the needs and desires of those ready to take the party outside.

outdoor living decor

Lula & Georgia

We’ve covered the front-of-the-house curb appeal, now let’s take the party to the patio-porch-terrace-balcony-deck.


Country Living- Photography by Annie Schlechter


Luxe – Photography by Eric Piasecki

Grillin’ and chillin’ outdoor living is concept design with attitude requirements.


Elle Decor – Photography by Joshua McHugh

Creating a space around an attitude of relaxation and unwinding at home requires outdoor living features and accessories tailor-made to suit your lifestyle.


Southern Living – Photography by Patricia Lyons


Aesthetically pleasing outdoor lighting lights the night, afternoon, or evening for mood, task, and setting.


 Marissa Rodriguez

Layer lighting choices to create depth, contrast, and visual appeal.

Better Homes & Gardens 10-Count Warm White LED Ribbed Outdoor String Lights

Better Homes & Gardens 10-Count LED Ribbed Outdoor String Lights


4-in-1 Cage-Style Garden Torches, Set of 4

When it comes to outdoor citronella candles the jury seems to still be out on the verdict of whether they work or not.

candles in wrapped jars outside living

 Kelly Sikkema

Thermacell Mosquito Repeller products for mosquito control win the superior function over superior style case every time.


Ronald Langeveld

Speaking of function over style, how many of you remember using mosquito coils at the drive-in?

Drive-in theaters were on the way out by the late 70s when I was a teen, however, every now and then you would run across one fully operational.


My older cousin, a teen of the 60s, still got a big kick out of going to the drive-in on hot summer nights.

Her go-to mosquito control involved a trip to the snack bar to purchase a mosquito coil for dashboard placement and mosquito control.

Better Homes & Gardens Citronella, Blue Lavender, and Cedar

Better Homes & Gardens Citronella, Blue Lavender, and Cedar

If the repeller product is unsightly place out of sight in or behind planters.

Minka Textured Pot

Minka Textured Pot

Earthen-Ware-Terracotta-Vessel-Planter.-3-colors-available (1)

Earthen Ware Weathered Egyptian Terracotta Vessel/Planter

Reserve hurricanes, buckets, and jars filled with citronella votives and pillars for your viewing audience to see.


Black Wood Cutout Lantern with Rope Handle, 20″
Glitzhome 14.25″ Solar Powered Outdoor Lantern
Large Seagrass Candle Lantern

For a shell of a good look begin with a clear cylinder vase(s) of your size choice, add decorative craft shells and starfish, and drop in a pillar or LED flameless candle.


Libbey Clear Glass 8″ H Wide Cylinder Floral Vase

Better Homes & Gardens 6 White Flameless Flicker Outdoor LED Candle 2-Pack

Better Homes & Gardens 6″ White Flameless Flicker Outdoor LED Candle 2-Pack


Veranda – Photography by Lisa Romerein

Perhaps cozy is more associated with the fall into the winter season, but I like to think of it as the year-round hallmark of a relaxing ambiance.

Bryndle root fire pit

Bryndle Root Fire Pit

Solo Stove Mesa Tabletop Fire Pit with Stand

Solo Stove Mesa Tabletop Fire Pit with Stand

Round Concrete Natural Gas Fire Pit in Pewter

Round Concrete Natural Gas Fire Pit in Pewter


Round Hammered Wood Burning Fire Pit in Copper with Fire Tool

Round Hammered Wood Burning Fire Pit in Copper with Fire Tool

Classic black and white is always so chic, and according to trend spotters, this fabulous color combination is on-trend for the 2023 outdoor living decor season.


Outdoor Rugs

Hampton Outdoor Wood/Wicker Club Chair (Set of 2) by Christopher Knight Home

Hampton Outdoor Wood/Wicker Club Chair (Set of 2)

Tone-on-tone blended with texture and pattern advances the overall appearance to next level style.

Better Homes & Gardens Tarren 5-Piece Outdoor Conversation Set, Black

Better Homes & Gardens Tarren 5-Piece Outdoor Conversation Set, Black

Embrace your curves.

Dark Gray Rope Lorenzo Outdoor Swivel Chair

Dark Gray Rope Lorenzo Outdoor Swivel Chair

Outdoor French Bistro Chairs

Louna Outdoor French Bistro Chair (Set of 2) 

Scatter spot stools, stands, and ottomans about to serve comfort and purpose.

Sunny Club Black Wicker Outdoor Ottoman

Sunny Club Black Wicker Outdoor Ottoman

Hammered Finish Metal Garden Stool, Copper ColorHammered Finish Metal Garden Stool, Copper Color

Punched Metal Plant Stand

Punched Metal Plant Stand

Porto Striped IndoorOutdoor Filled Ottoman Gray Square Pouf

Porto Striped Indoor/Outdoor Filled Ottoman Gray Square Pouf

Look familiar?



Let the music play and the sunshine in.

Bose SoundLink Revolve Plus II Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Bose SoundLink Revolve Plus II Portable Bluetooth Speaker


Round Ivory Tufted Sun Face Indoor Outdoor Throw Pillow

Shades of seasonal colors in rays of sunshine hues add a touch of bright and cheery personality to the overall primary palette.


T.J. Maxx


Sanibel White Outdoor Chaise Lounge

Pink on the patio continues to be a house favorite.


Unique Loom Outdoor Trellis Area Rug
Nevis Palm Frond Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug – JONATHAN Y
Pink & White Beach Umbrella
Cabana Stripe Outdoor Throw Pillow DuraSeason Fabric™
Plushlines CH342 Multicolor Pillow
Women’s Farm Rio Green Slip On Flip Flop Sandals
The Novogratz Poolside Gossip Collection Priscilla Folding Chair (2-Pack)
Travelwant Wall and Railing Plastic Pots
Iron Outdoor Lantern Candle Holder
Ribbed Geometric Outdoor Stoneware Planter Pot Cherry Pink

Ellen Merchant Melamine Pitcher

Ellen Merchant Melamine Pitcher

Summer breezes usher in touches of tropical times, and for around $3.00 a pink with tropical green leaves swim float becomes a chic and festive centerpiece ring sitting pretty with a vase or planter full of seasonal floral or a themed ice bucket placed in the center.

tropical wim ring

Bluescape Pink Tropical Inflatable Swim Tube Pool Float

round galvanized tub

Better Homes & Gardens- Round Galvanized Tub

palm tree ice bucket

Pastimes Palm Tree Ice Bucket, 3 Quart


Fawn Concrete Planter with Drainage Holes

Fawn Concrete Planter with Drainage Holes

Among the many Southern sayings in my dad’s rotation was the infamous “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

Simple logic flanked by deep wisdom, folks.


This proven advice applies to the still popular choice of a clear beverage dispenser equipped with a spigot for displaying-holding-serving liquid refreshment to wet your whistle.

Pink Classic Outdoor Rolling Patio Cooler with Wheels and Handles

Pink Classic Outdoor Rolling Patio Cooler with Wheels and Handles

Speaks fluent ready, set, summer to me!


Social Cut

Chilling out with cool libation of the leaded or unleaded kind goes hand in hand with as the character Bick Benedict from the movie Giant puts it where we can sit and talk… and the breeze can get at us.


Glass Carafes

Converted vintage iron sewing machine stands and French marble-top baker’s tables serve style when used as an outdoor cocktail station.

French Cast Iron Marble Bakers Table

French Cast Iron Marble Baker’s Table

Carolina Chair and Table Vera Marble Top Bar Table

Vera 42 in. White/Black Standard Rectangle Marble Console Table

outdoor barware

Rene Lacquered Linen Matte Black Ice Bucket
Mila Oyster Bottle Opener
Better Homes & Gardens Acrylic Ribbed Short & Tall Tumblers Clear




Classic Gold Metal Console Table

Classic Gold Metal Console Table

Although the Classic 43 in. Gold Metal Console Table in gold is not an outdoor piece, it is a piece that I would definitely include in my outdoor living space for a focal point party presence.


You know—a take it outside for the event then bring it back inside afterwards piece.


Retro Yellow Outdoor Steel Glider

Chillasan Palm Trees Outdoor Hanging Chair And Cushion (1)

Chillasan Palm Trees Outdoor Hanging Chair And Cushion

Classic seating choices reply will attend to the outdoor living decor RSVP- retro style vibe party.


Bella Botanica Designs Inc.

Finding an exact piece eludes the hunt at times, and this is where in the style of decorating comes into play.

Farmhouse 2 Person Wicker Porch Swing - Dark Brown

Farmhouse 2 Person Wicker Porch Swing – Dark Brown


Blue Summer Hydrangea Square Decorative Throw Pillow 

Al fresco dining deliciously pairs with the spring-into-summer outdoor living package.


Scott Shrader – Introspective Magazine

Dedicated outdoor living kitchen areas range from state-of-the-art outdoor kitchens complete with elaborate designs and every creature comfort known to trend to a card table, galvanized beverage tub, and a hibachi grill.

Outdoor Gourmet 5-Burner Stone Island Grill

Outdoor Gourmet 5-Burner Stone Island Grill

Kamado Joe Classic III 18-Inch Ceramic Kamado Grill

Kamado Joe Classic III 18-Inch Ceramic Kamado Grill

Traeger Timberline Wood Pellet WiFi Grill Black

Traeger Timberline Wood Pellet WiFi Grill Black


7-ft. Stone Veneer 4 Burner Propane Gas Grill Island 

You’re the captain of the SS Whatever Floats Your Boat, and when the goal is to create a serene and stylish space, a harbor, if you will to relax, connect, refresh, and still the day into evening, there is no wrong way of achieving the goal.


White Woven Decorative Platter, 12″

Bamboo Food Cover

Woven Jute Tray

Mini Table Lamp with Shade 12.75″H – White Finished Traditional Style

Natural Brown Faux Wicker Barrel Lantern with LED Bulb, Medium

Woven Garden & Patio Storage Box – Hearth & Hand™ with Magnolia


Giannetti Home

Spending quality time outdoor living it up doesn’t necessarily involve spending scads and scads of money.

Great looks at good prices exist, my friends.


Cushioned Rattan Armchair

Safavieh Idola White Washed Dining Chairs (Set of 2)

Idola White Washed Dining Chairs (Set of 2)

Round Woven Vase

Round Woven Vase

Melamine plates and acrylic glassware color, texture, and pattern options have come a long way, baby.

Bamboo and Melamine Printed Salad Plate - Threshold™

Bamboo and Melamine Printed Salad Plate – Threshold™


Green Ombre Bamboo Cup
15-pack Food Friends Good Times Paper Napkins


Set of 6, Indoor or Outdoor Melamine Plates (9″-6 Piece Set, Toile de Jouy)

Classic patterns and on-trend favorites translate to Melamine serving pieces for the KISS-keep it summer simple-decoristas.


Pink Ball canning jars pair pretty with the summer salad season.


Serving salads in canning jars continues to be a KISS serving staple.

Ball 4pk 32oz Regular Mouth Quart Canning Jars Rose Vintage

Pimpernel Blue Italian Sandwich Tray
Yellow Leopard Print Small Oblong Melamine Serving Platter
Ball 4pk 32oz Regular Mouth Quart Canning Jars Rose Vintage


Cool sips, light bites, late suppers, and tasty sweet treats delightfully entice and satisfy the taste for a light nosh on a hot summer day into night.


Watermelon Agua Fresca Recipe

Tuscan Artichoke Salad

Tuscan Artichoke Salad Recipe


Strawberry Salsa Recipe

Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart Recipe

Summer is soon to be, and with its arrival comes the propensity to ready your outdoor spaces with spiffy summertime, and the outdoor livin’ is easy decor.


Watermelon Home Decor

Today’s watermelon home decor post is fresh with color, texture, and sweet summer themed inspiration.



Watermelon is the fruit of green, red, pink, white, orange, yellow colors, distinctive pattern lines, and delicious possibilities.


Funny how the unofficial official fruit of summer inspires the theme of watermelon home decor accessories, stylish accents of the season, delectable recipes and color palette choices.

garage landscape lanterns

 Eric Condron Interiors

Summer months welcome watermelon home decor in all varieties.

watermelon-paint-front-door (1)

Country Living – Photography by Brian Woodcock


Watermelon Doormat

watermelon-themed-home-decor-rugWatermelon Doormat

Hello Summer Fruits Doormat by Ashland®

Hello Summer Fruits Doormat by Ashland®

Hello summer indeed, watermelon seed.

Aqua Embossed Tin Post Box with Distressed Finish

Aqua Embossed Tin Post Box with Distressed Finish

Michael Healy Brass Dragonfly Door Knocker

Tin Post Box - 3R Studios

Tin Post Box – 3R Studios

Coventry Collection 2-Light Copper Patina Outdoor Wall Lantern Sconce

Coventry Collection 2-Light Copper Patina Outdoor Wall Lantern Sconce


Jameson 4-Light Aged Copper Outdoor Wall Lantern Sconce

Jameson 4-Light Aged Copper Outdoor Wall Lantern Sconce

Hoffman 1 Light Outdoor Lantern - Red

Hoffman 1 Light Outdoor Lantern – Red


Heart to Heart Radiance (Caladium) Live Plant in Pink and Green Foliage


Home Depot


Wicker Box Planters in Pink


Terracotta Square Woven Planter

Take decorating liberty with the core colors and improvise with what’s available to produce the desired result.


Gardener’s Select Madison Planter, Green Drip, 15″


Indoor Green Ombre Footed Small Ceramic Pot


Kate Spade Surprise Ginny Sandal

Packed Party Women's "One in a Melon" Earrings

Packed Party Women’s “One in a Melon” Earrings

Adult Beach Straw Crossbody Bag Watermelon

Fruit Straw Shoulder Bag

Fruit Straw Shoulder Bag


 Sam Allen Interiors

Inspiration is everywhere, and from first glance this image brought to mind  the colors of a ripe, delicious watermelon, and this is how blog post content ideas are born.


Although not in watermelon pattern, these perfectly paired accent chair cushions immediately draw the eye in with the fresh, crisp and bright apple-green material and white rope trim.

Romo’s Tulipa Coral1

Credit the accent pillow in Romo’s “Tulipa Coral”  fabric for taking this tiptoeing through the tulips palette to color perfection heights.


DIY Watermelon Umbrella

As it goes in the home décor and retail world we decorate and accessorize in, there’s times when the decorista must engage in decorative interpretation and in the style of implementation.

Abstract Rectangular Beveled Wall Mirror

Abstract Rectangular Beveled Wall Mirror

Texture and color on point trends watermelon home decor.


Ceramic Table Lamp With Shade


Beaded Front Watermelon Pillow


Decorative  Watermelons Outdoor Pillow Cover

Let’s be honest, watermelon home décor can be a tad too, let me see how to put this, tacky.

Well, it can.


Darla Polka Dots Loomed Accent Rug – Safavieh
Ocean’s Edge Braided Indoor/ Outdoor Area Rug
Plush Shag Rug – Room Essentials™
nuLOOM Kara Solid Shag Area Rug

Half Watermelon Modern Printed Red Lime 3 ft. 3 in. x 5 ft. Area Rug

Half Watermelon Modern Printed Red Lime 3 ft. 3 in. x 5 ft. Area Rug


Chic in the style of watermelon home décor pieces in color rich combinations of green, red, pink, white, yellow, and orange accent and accessorize please the eye and emulate the primary characteristics of the unofficial official fruit of summer.


Watermelon-Lime Sorbet


summer picnic watermelon beverage

Photo by Julia Ivanina on Unsplash

Doesn’t this spring into summer scene look refreshing?

watermelon popsicles summer

Watermelon Popsicles – Cooking Classy

Ninety plus degrees signs of summertime has hit the Deep South.

watermelon pool float summer

Photo by Marie Dehayes on Unsplash

 BigMouth Inc. Watermelon Round Pool Float

BigMouth Inc. Watermelon Round Pool Float

Fill up a watermelon inflatable pool with ice for a summery chic and fun beverage cooler.

BigMouth Inc. Watermelon Inflatable Pool

BigMouth Inc. Watermelon Inflatable Pool

Inflatable-sunning- pool-watermelon-pattern

Inflatable Sunning Pool in  Watermelon Pattern

Summer treats in watermelon flavor shine in the summer food and drink spotlight as a crowd pleasing source of refreshment.

Watermelon Catalina Picnic Basket

Watermelon Catalina Picnic Basket


Watermelon Placemat by Celebrate It™

Watermelon Placemat by Celebrate It™

Melamine Chip & Condiment Platter


Feta, Watermelon & Prosciutto Salad with Honey Vinaigrette

Feta, Watermelon & Prosciutto Salad with Honey Vinaigrette

William Roberts Ceramic Watermelon Bowls Set of 4


William Roberts Ceramic Watermelon Bowls Set of 4

Love this watermelon themed decked out in vibrant watermelon colors serving bowl.


Watermelon Serving Bowl



Watermelon Plastic Highball Glass

Watermelon Plastic Highball Glass


James Farmer – Photography by Emily Followill

Summer Fruit Ceramic Serving Pitcher

Summer Fruit Ceramic Serving Pitcher

Bordallo Pinheiro Watermelon Pitcher

Bordallo Pinheiro Watermelon Pitcher

Bordallo Pinheiro Watermelon Dinner Plate

Bordallo Pinheiro Watermelon Dinner Plate


The Sugartown watermelon  purchased this past weekend “produced” a sweet summer treat and a taste for sweet summer themed décor inspiration.


BHG – Photography Blaine Moats

Watermelon Sorbet


1 lime

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 cup frozen raspberries

12 ounces chopped watermelon (2 cups)


Finely shred 2 teaspoons peel from lime. Juice lime (2 tablespoons); set aside.

In a medium saucepan stir the sugar and water over medium heat until just simmering, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Remove from heat. Add raspberries and lime juice.

Stir to thaw.

Place raspberry mixture and watermelon in a food processor or blender. Cover and process or blend until smooth.  Press mixture through a fine-mesh sieve; discard seeds.  Stir in lime peel.

Transfer mixture to a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Cover; freeze until firm (4 to 24 hours). Transfer to a chilled bowl, breaking up if necessary.

Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until smooth and lightened in color. Return to dish.

Cover and freeze for 2 to 4 hours or until firm.

-Better Homes & Gardens


Galbraith & Paul


This watermelon printed midi skirt does not exactly qualify as home décor per se, however, it does make a summer chic style statement for spring into summer entertaining.

watermelon printed midi skirt

Watermelon Printed Midi Skirt

Summer fresh and pretty in pink!

Void of pattern, however, full of watermelon color.


Speaking of summer, the Sylvie Flamingo Watermelon Framed Canvas By Kendra Dandy Gold illustrates two iconic symbols of the season.

Sylvie Flamingo Watermelon Framed Canvas By Kendra Dandy Gold - DesignOvation

Sylvie Flamingo Watermelon Framed Canvas By Kendra Dandy Gold


 Melanie Morris Design


Barneby Gates Watermelon Wallpaper

red-dutch-laundry-room-door (1)

 Terracotta Studio


Any way you slice it, watermelon home decor accessories, refreshing treats and summer entertaining wares make for a unique, fun and summer festive addition to the party.

Love your style!

Fetching Friday: Family

Today’s Fetching Friday introduces family to family.  After all, followers, friends, and family are one in the same here at Places In The Home.


Late one night this week in a part exhausted-part heat overload-part what in the heck did I just do haze I did something to cause my pictures/download files to jump from recent to long time ago status.

The result is a blast from the past pictorial scroll.

Family means the world to me; the memories perhaps even more.

Scrolling from one founding generation to the latest you will meet the family.


Why is it that in almost every photo of my maternal great grandparents, regardless of how young they actually are in the photo, they look old?

Hard times I suppose physically aged them far too soon, but those hard times is what made these two forever young at heart and the absolute anchors of our family.

Mama and Papa were native Texans with all that that implies. God fearing, hard working folk of life loving character, I was fortunate enough to learn by their extraordinary example and to have them present in my life until my late teens.

He was full of life, innocent mischief, and a walking encyclopedia of facts and anecdotes of old Texas.

Mama Two (what I called her) was a force of calming nature small in stature and large in heart.


Mamaw never met a lake, creek, river, pond or fishin’ hole she didn’t love. Dead of summer in the South and the woman was stylishly decked out in long pants and long sleeves with a color-coordinated umbrella in hand.

Sunshine she loved, but skin cancer rays were persona non grata.

Many a family member, friend, and neighbor reaped the benefits of her late summer afternoon fishing sessions- a delicious treat we could bank on.

buddy-dar-billy (1)

Tomboy in a dress- that was the description my mother bestowed upon herself, never shy to climb a tree, barrel race, or fight the good fight when and if her baby brother (the precious and precocious blond boy to her left) needed assistance.


Daddy came from humble beginnings, and remained just that, humble, all of his life.

He moved mountains (or so we thought) for all he knew and loved, never met a stranger, and put his love of family as priority number one.


Parents to two who always knew how fortunate we were and are to call them Mama and Daddy, our house was the one all the friends wanted to be at, holiday central for family and friends who were/are family, and a place proud to call home.


“Everyone needs a house to live in, but a
supportive family is what builds a home.”

—Anthony Liccione


Dave the Builder joined the family in the early 80s and it’s been a party ever since.

Boudreauxs (1) (1) (1)

Our heart and soul, Jackson is the light of our lives.

Ollie comes in a close second.


Three generations of cousins, three times the love.


“The love in our family flows strong and deep,
leaving us memories to treasure and keep.”


Happy Friday, family!



Fun In The Sun Summer Reads

Summer reads take the imagine to a funny, thrilling, dramatic, mysterious, and relaxing destination, and that my friends is what the season is all about.


Photo by Link Hoang on Unsplash

Soak up the fun in the sun summer reads travel well to the beaches, lakes, pools, rest and relaxation escapes tailor-made for a beach bag packed with summer reads.


Photo by Niklas Ohlrogge on Unsplash

Big kids of a certain age remember the summer reading programs that emphasized reading is fundamental.

Reading is fundamental to recharge the imagination, soul, and natural curiosity.

Summer reads go hand in hand with a fun in the sun or shade read and recharge session.

summer-reads-selections (1)

Pack up a chic beach-pool-patio bag with summer essentials including a good read or two from this summer reads list.

The Pink Hotel: A Novel Hardcover by Liska Jaco

The Pink Hotel: A Novel Hardcover by Liska Jaco

New job negotiations often comes with perks as newlywed Keith Collins finds out.  He and his new bride, Kat, jump at the invite from the general manager of the iconic, opulent Pink Hotel to come for a luxurious stay as a bid to hire Keith.  Kit is perfectly content with small-town life, however, Keith’s quest for bright lights, big city life is enhanced by the glamourous  lily-scented lobby that makes him feel right at home.

Soon after the Collinses arrival sweeping wildfires, rolling blackouts, and brutal riots break out across the city. The Pink Hotel closes its doors to “outsiders,” confining guests, including Kat and Keith to the property where a disgruntled staff coupled with eccentric, ultra-wealthy, and dangerously idle guests brews many an issue.

The Pink Hotel exposes a tenuous class system, corrosive behaviors, greed, disaster, resentments, provocative attitudes, class jealously all while the city burns and true love is called into question.

Hurricane Girl A novel

Hurricane Girl – by Marcy Dermansky

Allison Brody is thirty-two year old ready to mix, mingle and make a new home on the East Coast after just managing to flee her movie producer boyfriend.

Money saved up from years of writing and waitressing, Allison buys a small house on the beach. As bad luck would have it, a Category 3 hurricane makes landfall, completely destroying her home and leaving her without digs at the present.

Gripping and provocative, Hurricane Girl walks a knife’s edge between comedy and horror, love and sex, violence and freedom all while celebrating the true joy found in a summer swim and a tasty turkey sandwich.

The Retreat - by Sarah Pearse

The Retreat – by Sarah Pearse

All may not be as stunning on this wellness retreat off the English coast getaway as first thought. Reaper’s Rock has a dark past and a present abounding with rumors of the island being cursed.

After a young woman is found dead below the yoga pavilion in what seems to be a tragic fall, Detective Elin Warner learns the victim wasn’t a guest–she wasn’t meant to be on the island at all.

Time uncovers more secrets, and when someone else drowns in a diving incident, Elin suspects murder. Whodunit and why target guests at this luxury resort is the questions Elin must find the answer to before the island’s history repeats itself.

French Braid - by Anne Tyler (Hardcover)

French Braid – by Anne Tyler

The Garretts take their first and last family vacation in the summer of 1959. They hardly ever venture beyond Baltimore, but in some ways they have never been farther apart. Mercy Garrett has trouble resisting her aspirations to be a painter. In 1959, less time keeping house for her husband, Robin, and pursuing a talent/career is the exception rather than the rule.  This alone has her asking do I dare?

Two teenage daughters, Alice and Lily, could not be more opposite of each other, and their younger brother David is intent on escaping his family’s orbit.

As the lives of each Garrett family member advances across decades, influences cast ripples of heartbreak, warmth, and hilarity through each generation.

With tremendous warmth and humor, French Braid illuminates the kindnesses and cruelties of our daily lives, the impossibility of breaking free from the bond of family love, and how close a family is to itself.


The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Belly believes everything good and magical happens between the months of June and August. Winter is simply the time where one count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad.

Belly has known Jeremiah and Conrad since her very first summer—they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.


Coming June 17

Every Summer After - by Carley Fortune (Paperback)

Every Summer After – by Carley Fortune

Magazine writer Persephone Fraser has to make a choice when she returns to the lake she grew up on, and to the man she thought she’d never have to live without, in this achingly nostalgic debut.  Feeling the force of the saying you can never go home again, Persephone suspects it all too true since she made the biggest mistake of her life. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends her summers in a stylish apartment in the city, going out with friends, and keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart.

One day she gets a call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek.  Inseparable over five summers, Percy and Sam had been inseparable.

Slowly their friendship turned into something more, before falling spectacularly apart. When Percy returns to the lake to attend Sam’s mother’s funeral, the connection is a strong and undeniable as always.

Percy must confront the decisions she’s made over the years and time spent punishing herself for them, in order to determine, once and for all, whether their love might be bigger than the biggest mistakes of their past.

One Italian Summer A Novel

One Italian Summer: A Novel

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mother, but her best friend.  She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone.  Their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime to Positano, the magical town where Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father, is now in question.

Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

Upon setting foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy immediately feels her mother’s spirit. Stunning scenery, blue waters, breathtaking cliffsides, welcoming locals, and delectable food delight both eye and heart helping to bring Katy out of the depths of loss and back to life.

Much to Katy’s surprise and happiness, Carol appears in the flesh- healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old.

How can this be?

Katy doesn’t understand how or what is happening, all she can focus on is somehow she has gotten her mother back.  Over the course of One Italian Summer Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her.

Carol is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be leaving Katy to reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.


Early buzz about these summer reads has me ready to dive into the pages.


Sweet Summer Trends

Memorial Day is in the rearview mirror, and the kickoff to outdoor living, pool and patio times-sweet summer trends starts in 3-2-1…


The Cottage Journal

Between lawn and garden this and whipping up holiday eats and treats that I found I spent a hunk, a hunk of burning love of the holiday watching movie trailers and sneak peeks from the soon to be released Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis.

Note to self: Add Burning Love by Elvis Presley to your Spotify summer grooves and tunes playlist.


Terrain Events

Like a really good movie trailer, drops of liquid sunshine, warm breezes and summer trends build home decor and entertaining anticipation.

Bravo, summer movie and summer trends blockbusters!

You’ve succeeded in guaranteeing I will be buying a ticket to the best outdoor show in town better known as summer.


Here’s a selection to get the beach ball rolling.

Sunburst Beach Ball

Sunburst Beach Ball

Chic Summer Retreats 

backyard-pool-furniture-poolside-summer-Photography by Staci Marengo1

Rue Magazine

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I will be flattering the heck out of chic and cozy in my summer space styling suggestions.

Better Homes & Gardens Willow Sage 2 Piece All-Weather Wicker Outdoor Canopy Chair and Ottoman Set, Beige

Better Homes & Gardens Willow Sage 2 Piece All-Weather Wicker Outdoor Canopy Chair and Ottoman Set, Beige

Ollie the Magnificent loves to spend time of the patio with his mama and papa, and for summer trends 2022 he’ll have his own patio pad.

Indoor Outdoor Rattan Pet Bed (2)

Indoor Outdoor Rattan Pet Bed

Rockin’ in the U.S.A.

Simply can’t get away from the vintage inspired grandmillineal-coastal grandmama style, and more importantly, why would you want to?

International Caravan Chelsea Resin Wicker Porch Rocker

Summer fresh.

Squeeze the Day Decorative Pillow

Squeeze the Day Decorative Pillow

Color kissed and pattern pleasing outdoor throw pillows prove both a preached and practiced way to update for the season.

International Caravan Chelsea Resin Wicker Porch Rocker white

International Caravan Chelsea Resin Wicker Porch Rocker

Natural fiber throw pillows naturally accentuate this undeniable summer fabric favorite.


Natural Fiber Outdoor Pillows

Light up those summer nights with the elegance of copper.

Tabletop Glass Torch Outdoor Lighting

H. Potter Tabletop Glass Torch Outdoor Lighting



Just hanging around.

Glam in gold candleholders housing classic pillars or LED flameless options light the way to lighting options that enhance summer ambiance.


Gold Hurricane Candle Holder
Bazaar 16 Inch Gold Hurricane

In the style of days gone by, this Candle by the Hour beeswax candle comes with presence and provenance.

From the details:

In 17th century America, coiled beeswax candles became a popular way for parents to monitor the time a gentleman spent courting their daughter.

Candle by the Hour Horizontal Candle

Candle by the Hour Horizontal Candle

Once the candle was lit, it burned at a measured rate. When the flame met the clip and went out, time was up! Candle by the Hour™ brings back this novel concept as a worry-free way to illuminate and decorate your home.

To use, just feed up to 3″ of the pliable eco-friendly beeswax coil through the clip and light the wick. The natural beeswax will melt at approximately 20 minutes per inch, providing up to an hour of light at a time.

Barbara King Illuminated Sandstone Seashell Collection summer

Barbara King Illuminated Sandstone Seashell Collection

Seashell style is summer style, and I love the offerings from the Barbara King Illuminated Seashell Collection.

Illuminating seashell sculpture

Barbara King Illuminated Sandstone Seashell Collection

Tablescape Escapes


Southern Home Magazine- Alcott Interiors -Photography by Emily Followill

As is the case of this summer perfect tablescape by Alcott Interiors  inspiration is everywhere.


Sunny Cottage Joy

Simple elegance makes a powerful style statement, and is rather simple to execute.

Clippings, stems, and blooms fresh from nature’s arts & crafts store (your yard) placed in a vase and allowed to fall and set in an organic way.

Serveware in vintage mismatched patterns rich in charm and character.

Garden statue pairings that capture the essence of the summer season.

Hungry Cranes Set of 2

Hungry Cranes Set of 2

Seasonal & Seasoning Lagniappe

Elderflower Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Elderflower Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Food is love, food is art, food is summer trends.

Rose Ice Cream

Rose Ice Cream from Salt & Lavender

clear tulip ice cream dish

Tulip Ice Cream Dish

Corn on the cob is a summer sides staple.

Corn Holders, Set of 4

Corn Holders, Set of 4

Dress up this summer delicacy with a set of these silver plate corn pick set.



A great summer soiree is only as good as the refreshing summertime beverages served.


Non-Alcoholic Sangria Recipe from The Kitchn

Acrylic and melamine tableware gives good style at a great price point.

outdoor drinkware

Bee & Willow™ Textured Highball Glass in Pink
Studio 3B™ Textured Highball Glass in Green
Destination Summer Vintage Embossed Highball Glass in Pink

4pk Acrylic Drinkware Set - Opalhouse™ designed with Jungalow™

4pk Acrylic Drinkware Set – Opalhouse™ designed with Jungalow™

Assorted Kelly Ventura Floral Insulated 16-Oz. Tumbler Cup - Set of Four

Assorted Kelly Ventura Floral Insulated 16-Oz. Tumbler Cup – Set of Four

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The Cottage Journal – Photography by Mark Lohman

Pink Kimono leaves pattern Melamine plates and green Tiki glasses invite stylish fun to the pretty in pink on the patio party.

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Kimona Leaves Outdoor Dinner Plates and Bowls Set of 8
Tiki Glasses- Set of 4

Summer trends toward ’tis the season for seasonal fare.

August Wren Oyster Platter

August Wren Oyster Platter

Casual defines the theme of the summer entertaining season just as casual means a host of ways to set a casual summer scene to many a host and hostess.

“It’s important how we feel in our homes,
because feeling good makes us more gracious.
And that makes it easier to welcome others
not only into our homes but into our lives.”

—Nate Berkus

Where one prefers to zhoosh up the look with the good stuff place settings and serveware, another prefers to lay down newspapers, set out paper goods, and let the good times lobster roll.

August Wren Dinner Plate

August Wren Dinner Plates

Summer is the season of beautiful settings, simple activities, and lovely thoughts.

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Marnie Moyle Hand Crafted Swing

What summer trends are coming in as favorites in your game of I Spy Summer?

Love your style!

Curling Up With A Good Summer Reading List

Summer is a prime time for curling up with a great book hot off a good summer reading list.


Reading evokes thought, enlightens the mind, enriches the soul, lifts the heart and takes one to treasured places and descriptive destinations in ways only the reader knows reading can.


Great for fun in the summer sun, porch sitting, or a cool peaceful spot in the shade, keeping company with a delightful-romantic-funny-mysterious selection from a good for summer reading list fills a few moments with imagination and inspiration while taking the reader on a literary summer vacation.

Such a Quiet Place - by Megan Miranda

Such a Quiet Place – by Megan Miranda

Suspense on a summer day will come your way with Such a Quiet Place, a tale of murder in Hollow’s Edge, a traditionally quiet and private neighborhood that is until the murder of Brandon and Fiona Truett.

Neighborhood resident Ruby Fletcher is convicted of the murder, and the fallout causes a ripple effect throughout the entire neighborhood.

With an overturned conviction, Ruby is back in Hollow’s Edge and the home she once shared with Harper Nash.  Now terrified by her former housemate, Harper is torn between fear and a sense of responsibility towards Ruby’s living situation.

Lies begin to surface in Hollow’s Edge about the night of the Truett’s murders.  Harper begins receiving threatening notes which leads her to know she must do everything she can to find the truth before the killer strikes again.

Shocking twists and turns keep the reader in suspense, and reading way past your bedtime.


It Happened One Summer – by Tessa Bailey

Piper Bellinger is a fashionable pseudo wild child with a loyal pack of  paparazzi constantly on her heels.  Too much champagne mixed with one wild and crazy Beverly Hills rooftop party lands Piper in jail much to her “what did I do?” angst and her stepfather’s chagrin.  Cut off from family and funds, Piper and her sister are sent to Westport, Washington to run their late father’s dive bar.

Enter sea captain Brendan, a tall drink of seawater who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills.  Determination drives her to strive to prove to her stepfather and the surly, sexy local she can, and will, make it.  In doing so, Piper reconnects with her past, begins to feel right at home in Westport, and crosses paths with Brendan in an opposites attract manner that captures her attention and her heart.

Tessa Bailey’s Schitt’s Creek-inspired rom-com brilliance combines romance and comedy with small beach-town coziness and tantalizing banter that immediately hooks and enchants the reader.


Goldenrod – by Maggie Smith

Powerful poems that celebrate both the beauty and messiness of life, Goldenrod pulls objects from everyday life-a hallway mirror, a rock found in her son’s pocket, a field of goldenrods at the side of the road to reveal the magic of the moment, the contours of daily life, and the beauty found in it all.

Honeysuckle Summer - (Sweet Magnolias Novel) by Sherryl Woods

Honeysuckle Summer – (Sweet Magnolias Novel) by Sherryl Woods

Courage is a beautiful thing, as Raylene Hammond finds out finding the courage to leave her abusive husband.  Despite being taken in by the Sweet Magnolias for safety and healing, trauma leaves her unable to leave the house.  When a terrible accident nearly occurs, due in part to her condition, Raylene realizes the time has come to seek help.

Support and encouragement from friends give Raylene the courage to set out on a journey to recovery.

Along the way, she meets an understanding  sheriff’s deputy, Carter Rollins, who becomes a supporter of her efforts. He’s even taken to bringing the outside world to her when she doesn’t feel ready to confront it.

A relationship between Raylene and Carter soon begins to bloom, and she must decide if she’s ready to move forward on this part of the journey or if it’s strictly a sweet summer romance.


Fox and I – by Catherine Raven

Catherine Raven receives her PhD in biology, and soon moves into an isolated cottage in Montana where she teaches remotely as well as leading field classes in Yellowstone National Park.

The only regular visitor Catherine has is a fox with whom she develops a friendship.

Pet owners get it, and can attest to the lessons in personal growth, coming to the realization we are never alone when we are connected to the natural world, and how loss can be transformed into meaning through nature, our surroundings, and relationships with animals.


Count the Ways – by Joyce Maynard

New York Times bestselling author Joyce Maynard pens a mesmerizing story of Eleanor and Cam from first meeting at a crafts fair in Vermont in the early 1970s to the joy of parenting three children, bitterness of tragedy, fallout from  infidelity, to truths through redemption.

Lessons in love, holding on and letting go of it fill the pages of Count the Ways is a beautiful, poignant, and deeply compassionate story of home, parenthood, love, and forgiveness.


Escape the routine of a summer day or evening by taking a break for one  with a great book selection from a good summer reading list.


Pretty In Pink On The Patio

Looks like we’re a go for summer fun in the sun fetes, celebrations, and gatherings sitting pretty in pink on the patio.


Summer colors radiate a luminous sense and feel of happiness and cheer.


The Frances Collection – One Kings Lane

Inspiration follows, and this is where the fun begins.

Cobbler’s Cove Hotel

Cobbler’s Cove Hotel

A pretty in pink on the patio outdoor space visually draws the eye and stunningly communicates come for the style, stay for the view.


McCann Design Group

Simplicity is the calling card of summer making it a sublime backdrop for mixing and mingling with friends and family in the good old summertime.


Lilith Chair & Ottoman





Business & Pleasure Co. The Premium Cabana




business-pleasure-co-the-premium-patio-umbrella-West-Elm (1)

Business & Pleasure Co. The Premium Umbrella

Business & Pleasure Co. The Premium Umbrella

Color your world in shades of pink in style and in the shade for summer.


HGTV – Tria Giovan

Warm summer days into summer evenings spent on the patio rejuvenate mind and body, serving as the optimum sit, sip, dine and dance in the moonlight opportunity to recharge your battery.


Ballard Designs

Cozy is the desired result of the summer experience, and is fetchingly achieved through tactile and visual details.


Sanibel Reclining Chaise

Lighting is an essential part of setting the mood and the tone of a space, and when nature flips the switch it’s magic.





Seems the iconic sign of summer lawn and garden kitschy chic may quite possibly be the pink lawn flamingo.


Invented in 1957 by American artist and sculptor Don Featherstone, the pink lawn flamingo continues to be synonymous with summer fun.


Midwest Living

Summer flower gardens grant the extra added bonus of fresh bouquets of color rich summer blooms.



Midwest Living

Mosquitoes can ruin that patio retreat vibe in no time.

citronella candle-pink-white-magnolia

Extra force against nature is required in the fight against mosquitoes.

We depend on our Thermacell lantern to light the night and kick mosquito butt, but pretty on the patio is not one of its qualities.


Gardenista – Photo by Justine Hand

I ordered (love curbside pickup!) two of these white flower citronella candles from Walmart at the beginning of pretty in pink on the patio season, and between the two working together our patio days into evening sitting sessions remain mosquito free.


The Cottage Journal – Photography by Mark Lohman
Styling by Sunday Hendrickson


Washington Old Schoolhouse Antique Mall

Wicker is a summer classic, and this vintage wicker chair is calling my name.


Better Homes & Gardens Palm Outdoor Toss Pillow

Pink and green palm anything captures the classic Palm Beach-Bay-Springs look of summer.


Rose Gingham Dream Indoor/Outdoor Throw Pillow

Currently catching my eye is the color, texture, and pattern trifecta of pink gingham, texture, and that timeless touch of black.


Hermosa Square Outdoor Throw Pillow, Black

Summer entertaining and patio decorating go hand in hand with setting a simple yet elegant summer inspired tablescape.


Southern Lady Magazine

On-trend decoristas have got this hot hostess style fashionista thing down pat.

Vintage Havana Harper

Vintage Havana Harper

Pink Flower Drop Earrings

Soft Flower Drop Earrings


Kate Spade New York Jaylee Slide Sandals

Pink portable waterproof wireless speakers let the sweet summer music play on the patio.

JBL Flip 5 Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

JBL Flip 5 Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

I’m not embarrassed to admit I strive to create a big look for little money.

Light Banana Leaves Removable Wallpaper

Light Banana Leaves Removable Wallpaper

An inexpensive pair of outdoor curtains embellished with trim, tassels, and tiebacks is a super chic way to zhuzh up your outdoor space.


Celebrating the moments of your outdoor living life with a cool refreshing beverage is always a good idea.

Summer Cobbler Cocktail

Southern Living


Popsicles and champagne come together to make Summer’s Sweetest Sparkling Sipper.


Rose Lemonade




Simple touches refresh and impress.

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Putting together pretty in pink on the patio place settings is a summer breeze.


Elaine Griffin Sea Island Garden Party – Photography by Julia Lynn

Acrylic and melamine tablewares give good style at a great price point.

Summer outdoor plates-glassware

Vintage Embossed Highball Glass in Pink
 Modern. Southern. Home.™ Set of 4 Lime Melamine Dinner Plates

Pink Round Placemats Celebrate It™, 4ct.

Pink Round Placemats Celebrate It™, 4ct.


Hobby Lobby

Roasted Beet & Blueberry Salad

Roasted Beet & Blueberry Salad


Cherry-Limeade Popsicles

Summer has arrived, and with it comes ample opportunities to kick your sandals off and enjoy a sunny afternoon into moonlit evening sitting pretty in pink on the patio.


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