Archives For TRAVEL

Blue-Gray Vertical Siding Paired with a Citrus Green Shutter and Creamy Trim

I have some new photos of Sarah’s new front steps and paint job to show off tomorrow, but before I do that I thought I would share some more cottage inspiration from our vacation to Seaside and Watercolor Florida (some of which I used for inspiration for her new front steps). So without further ado here is some more summer cottage inspiration. I think the one above is my favorite. The subtle blue-gray paired with the bright citrus green is really striking.

Cottage Towers

Yellow tower

Tower w/ balcony

Tower w/ balcony

4 Story Tower

Aqua Tower

Roof Trellis/Arbor

Seaside is famous for its new urbanist style and planning. Part of this plan included detailed guidelines for the houses. The guidelines actually encouraged interesting designs including the use of towers. These are a few of my favorites, but they are all over the small town.


Yellow Cottage w/ Lime Green Shutters

Olive Green Cottage w/ Rasberry Shutters

Two Story Screen Porch w/ gray-blue paint scheme

Symmetrical Cottage Porch w/ blue and white paint

Nicest Carport Ever used as a Covered Patio

Screened-in Porch w/ Lush Landscape

These porches are so PRETTY! I can’t get enough of them! Of course I am bad about actually sitting on our nice porch. I think I need to make it more of a priority to sit on our porch swing.

I will leave you with this last one, another one of my favorites for its more rustic design.

Nicely Detailed Screened-in Porch w/ yellow and green paint scheme and corrugated metal roof

For more cottage inspiration click here.

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Beautiful Street in Seaside Florida

I just remembered that I had never posted up the cottage pictures that I took while on vacation of Seaside and Watercolor Florida. So in honor of summer I thought some lovely beach cottages were in order. Enjoy and stay cool!

Bright Blue Cottage

Love the Balcony & Woodwork

Yellow Cottage w/ Red Shutters

Mint Green Cottage

Pumpkin Colored Cottage

Beautiful Round Porch

Large Cottage w/ Cupola & Balcony

Yellow Cottage w/ Picket Fence and Porch

3 Story Yellow Tower

2 Story Screen Porch

Melon Colored Cottage

Towers of Seaside in distance with native plantings in foreground

I hope everyone has a lovely relaxed summer weekend.


On our vacation one of the things that really caught my eye were some amazing exterior paint color schemes. So today I thought I would show you a couple of my favorites. Typically you would adjust these colors based on your climate. For example these colors are in full Florida sun, so in a cooler grayer climate you would tone them down accordinglt. I have listed the closest Pantone color for reference.

Color Scheme 1: Aqua w/ Cream Trim

Color Scheme 1 comes from the unit where we stayed.  The aqua color was really appealing with the cream trim, but what made it a little more unique was the dark blue (not quite navy) shutters and a hint of bright yellow (on the railings). There was also a slightly brighter cooler blue on the porch ceilings. Another interesting detail to note on this unit is the use of shutter panels to create privacy and hide elements that are not as attractive. They use these quite often down here to good effect.

Color Scheme 2: Yellow House w/ White Trim

Color Scheme 2 comes from a lovely cottage with a side porch. They yellow paint scheme is very friendly. The olive green shutters look nice against the yellow and again offer privacy from the street. The side porch was very popular in Savannah and Charleston back in the day. Here they have left it quite open and used a mix of gray, metallic and red accents.

Gotta run but I will be back later this week with some more color schemes.

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We had a lovely vacation on the Florida panhandle, but this morning was pretty painful, after a week off and an hour time change (okay, I will stop complaining now). I have a ton of pictures to go through but I thought I would start out with a few of my favorites from our trip. Seaside and Water Color Inn & Resort are filled with lovely white beaches with lots of picturesque cottages, all beautifully planned out in “perfect” little communities (Seaside was where they filmed “The Truman Show” after all) . I was ready to move in (except for the prices and that you are in the middle of nowhere). The kids had a great time making sandcastles, “swimming” (I mean floating around the pool on inner-tubes), fishing and kayaking.

Sam's Drawing of Our Trip including swimming pools, fish, a crab and him wearing goggles

I will be back later this week with some cottage pictures, details and paint colors to inspire.

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2008 Holiday Card

I can’t believe Christmas is less than a week away! So much to do, but I can’t wait to celebrate the holiday with the kids.

This Christmas Card from 2008 was probably our most elaborate. It involved buying a dirndl  for my pregnant belly and lederhosen for Mr. S.  It was inspired by Sam’s Halloween costume (Alpine boy) and our trips to Germany around the holidays.

The picture itself involved using a white backdrop and adding the entire scene behind us using Photoshop, which meant LOTS of work for Mr. S. So Although we did enjoy the outcome we have decided that we should stick to using our Living Room for the foreseeable future. I think my favorite part is our cats Spike and Spot driving the Isetta (which is a tiny BMW in case you were wondering).

Alpine Sam from 2008 was the inspiration

As a side note I have to mention that if you ever have the chance to go to Europe (especially Germany, Austria & Alsace France ) right before Christmas and hang out in the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) do it! It is so lovely! It is everything that Christmas should feel like. There are outdoor markets that sell all sorts of things from lovely ornaments and crafts to tacky Christmas presents. Perhaps the best part is the Glühwein (hot mulled wine) and the sugared almonds. There are also lots of festive decorations, often in beautiful historic squares. Suddenly you don’t feel so cold sipping the Gluhwein while all bundled up! Ahhh….I wish I was there now.

Collage from our 2005 Trip to Munich

*To see all of our holiday cards click here.

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Where is this exotic location? It happens to be Turk and Caicos (pictures via Why am I showing you this lovely beach you ask? Well because our double stroller spent at least 2 days there last week. It looks lovely, wish I had been there with it! I had to look up on a map where Turks and Caicos was (and how to spell it).

I know that this is totally off subject but it has been one of those really frustrating days, so I have decided to tell the tale of our stroller and one of bureaucracies (yes you US Airways!) that is currently wasting my time and breaking my stuff.  Our stroller has clearly been having more fun then we have!

Stroller in question in front of the Art Institute in Chicago

On our return flight from Chicago we gate checked our stroller (which means that they put a flimsy tag on it and you drop it off right before you get on the plane). The nice thing about this is that they should theoretically bring the stroller right back to you as soon as you get off the plane, so you can put heavy children and stuff back into it. We have gate checked our stroller quite a few times now and it has always been easy and convenient (plus you don’t have to pay for it as a “checked bag”). So as we were dropping it off before getting on the plane with several other strollers, I did not worry about it. However as soon as we landed and it wasn’t there (while all of the other strollers were) I knew that this was a PROBLEM. By this time, we were at about 10 hours of travel between driving, returning the rental car, taking bus from rental car to airport, checking in at the airport, checking bags, going through security with heavy stroller and 2 children, waiting for late plane, getting on plane and getting off plane. So we waited, and waited. Then Mr. S left the gateway because the flight attendant assured him that all of the gate checked items were back up. Then the person working the counter at the gate told us that he shouldn’t have done that. She escorted him back to the gateway, but then they both returned quickly thereafter since they needed to get the plane ready for its next trip to Boston. She assured us that it must have gone down to checked baggage and we should wait there. By this point my 2 little ones were barely holding on and getting hungry fast.

We headed down to baggage and picked up our 2 checked bags which of course were sitting there. No sign of the stroller! We each took a turn walking the area to check and see if it was there. Nope! And of course this means that we would have to go to the dreaded lost baggage desk. I have had lost baggage before and am familiar with the attitude of most of the employees there and cringe at the thought.

The first thing you are always told is that you should go and wait some more, it doesn’t matter how long you were already waiting, it is NEVER long enough. I go in and explain that our gate checked stroller is missing and she told me that I should NOT have gotten off the gateway and it was my fault. I explained that Mr. S. was kicked out of the gateway because they were preparing for another flight was not good enough! She finally relented and called the gate. Sure enough she spoke to the same woman we had talked to. She reported good news, the stroller is on its way down to baggage. Just keep checking ALL of the carosels. hmmm…. Hungry kids and closing food kiosk, quick feed them hotdogs. Of course the girl working the hotdog counter says that she is getting ready to close (in 15 minutes) so she isn’t sure she can sell me the hotdogs rolling on the machine. Finally she hands over the over priced hotdogs. Sam eats it gladly, Maisie eats the bun.

We are now at 11+ hours and just want to get home. We still have to take everything to the parking garage (without the stroller), Mr. S. has to work in the morning and it is getting late. After another half hour or so I go back into the Office of Lost Baggage. Again, they tell me to WAIT some more. I plead! I say look I’ve got 2 small kids, the stroller is clearly not here. Can someone please drop it off tomorrow?! They finally relent. I fill out the paperwork, which takes another 10 minutes.

We head with all of our stuff back to the car and head home. The next day I keep expecting to receive a call saying that the stroller is on its way to our house. No call! Try calling Philly lost baggage office. They don’t pick up (of course). Wait another day. Nothing! At this point I figure some airport worker is enjoying our nice expensive double stroller. Finally I receive a call from Arizona (where US Airways central lost baggage office is located). Sure enough it is still missing. They will keep me “informed”. hmmm….

Strangely I get a call Thanksgiving morning at 8 am. The stroller is still lost, they thought they would update me.  So at this point I’ve got my formed filled out to claim it as lost (and by some miracle managed to find the receipt for the stroller). A few more days go by and I get a “blocked” call on my cell phone. I don’t normally answer those kinds of calls but for some reason I decide to pick up. There is woman with a strange accent and a bad connection. I almost hang up, but then she says something about a bike? or wheelchair?. I finally figure out that she works at the Turks and Caicos airport and they have my stroller (yes the one on a direct flight from Chicago to Philly). She somehow found my phone number (but not my address or name). After a lot of confusion she says that she will send it on a flight from their to Charlotte and Charlotte to Philadelphia and I should pick it up that night. Mr. S. is doubtful that it will be at the airport. I decide it is worth a shot, so after dinner we head over to the airport. Mr. S. goes and checks. No luck, but the ladies working at the Lost Baggage Office thought it was a pretty funny story.

Again I assume it is lost, floating from US Air flight to US Air flight, never to be seen again. But then, I receive another call from the Bahamas (slightly closer but still not in the country). This time it is a message, but Hope from the Bahamas is letting me know that they have my stroller and I should come and pick it up. Really? Are they going to fly me there? I try calling, but of course nobody answers (I am pretty convinced that no one at US Air ever picks up their phone, they only call you back at random times). So I leave a message with the Central Baggage Office giving them all of the pertinent info and asking them to follow up. This office is suppose to call you back within 2 hours. Of course they don’t! The next day (almost 24 hours later) I get a call from Central checking in to see if I ever got my stroller. WHAT! Why did I leave a long, detailed message for them the day before. I was annoyed! I called them back and of course got the dreaded voicemail again! I left the same message in a much meaner tone, asking them to do their job and try and get this figured out. Later that day I actually got a call back and sure enough they had talked to Hope in the Bahamas and they would be sending my stroller via Fed Ex to my house, I guess they no longer trusted their own services! They were going to get back to me with the Fed Ex number and delivery date (of course they didn’t).

This morning the doorbell rings and it is Fed Ex with my stroller! The stroller bag is wrapped in the flimsiest clear plastic bag I have ever seen with several holes in it. My stroller bag also has several holes in it. The stroller is amazingly mostly intact, but beat to hell with one of the plastic wheel protectors broken. Errrr…..

So I call Central again today, and of course get the dreaded voicemail. I let them know that it is here but damaged and I ask them what I need to do to claim the damage. That was several hours ago, still no call back. The saga continues….


I am a lover of pattern, particularly when it involves carving and casting. So I was really excited to see the small exhibit at the Art Institute of “Fragments of Chicago’s Past”. There were some beautiful fragments (unfortunately of mostly demolished buildings), many by Louis Sullivan, Alder and Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright studied under Sullivan, and I have always been partial to Sullivan. I put this collage together of some of my favorite patterns. I also included some beautifully carved Early American chests. This makes me want to start designing patterns again.

Sam studying the pointillism painting "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" by Seurat

And of course our trip would not be complete without a stop at “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat (now picture Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). We also considered asking to tour the house where Cameron lived (which is currently on the market).

I could have spent all day there, but alas the kids became quite restless after an hour or so. The collections were amazing and surprisingly diverse and I definitely recommend a stop if you are ever in the area.

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Chicago Part 1

November 22, 2011 — Leave a comment

We are back from our latest adventure! We spent a little time in Chicago at the end of last week and then headed to Iowa for a family wedding. We had a good time, although I am still recovering and our stroller is lost somewhere at the Philadelphia airport (Why oh why does US Airways always loose our stuff!). I am very thankful that it is a short week!  I thought I would share a few pictures from our trip. I also have some pictures of interesting architectural details from the Art Institute which I will post up separately.

As usual we ate well (a very high priority when we travel)! We tried deep dish pizza at Geno’s East (one of the original places). The kids loved it because you can draw on the walls and furniture. Who knew graffiti could be such a good luck? We also ate Chicago style hot dogs and at the opposite end of the spectrum, we had dinner at Frontera Grill  (thanks Dad!), Rick Bayless’s famous Mexican restaurant. The meal at Frontera Grill did not disappoint; even the kids loved it! However I don’t think I will be trying to recreate deep dish pizza or Chicago style hot dogs any time soon.

We also went to Millennium Park and checked out the Jay Pritzker Pavillion, the Crown Fountain (the water was turned off) and “the bean” (technically called the Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor ) which is really amazing. Sam was an especially big fan! The weather was quite cold, so we didn’t do quite as much sightseeing as we might have otherwise. Fortunately the Art Institute of Chicago is right next door so we decided to spend some time there (more to come later).

I hope everyone is enjoying their short week and travels safely!

P.S. If anyone sees a blue double stroller in a large black bag at the Philly airport, please let me know!

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Piersphone Fountain at one of the local art museums. I love how playful she is! (unfortunately I can't make out the artist's name on the plaque)

Charleston feels so lush (at least the few times I have been there), I’m sure part of that is due to the mild climate, humid weather and frequent thunderstorms that keep the plants looking full and lovely. The warm client also allows for some annuals to be almost perennials and for tropical plants to thrive (and I do LOVE  tropical plants). Below are some of the beautiful window boxes I saw along with some nice stunning vines growing up the fences and buildings. Where possible I tried to list the name of the plants (most of which can be grown as annuals in more northern climates). If you know the name of any of the unknown plants, please let me know. Enjoy!

Window Boxes

Planter Box placed on a fence planted with: purple coleus (possibly 'apocalypse'),red geraniums & red gerbera daisies

Window Box planted with lime green sweet potato vine (var. Marguerite), 2 varieties of coleus (purple and red), caladium and white impatiens

Series of window boxes planted with purple petunias, lime green sweet potato vine & unknown variegated grassy plant

Window Box planted with lime green sweet potato vine, 2 varieties of coleus, white impatiens, Purple Heat (Tradescantia pallida) and unknown green and yellow plant


Bittersweet climbing the masonry (apparently these cling quite strongly to walls ). These also require a male plant nearby.

Cardinal Vine Gentally climbing an old iron fence. Typically an annual (although oftern reseed). Also known as the Hummingbird Vine.

P.S. Here are the link to my other Charleston posts about ironwork and woodwork and dining.


Stunning Door! Makes me want to paint my front door. I also love the detailed coffered ceiling and lantern.

I love good architectural detail and Charleston is a beautiful place to see some! Below is some nice eye candy from our trip. Charleston has quite a bit of nice ironwork, but I was surprised by the amount of Victorian trim and fretwork. I think of the houses being more federal and traditional in style but quite enjoyed some of the Victorian trim. I took these photos while strolling through the residential areas south of Broad. I think I will do a separate post on some of the beautiful window boxes and gardens.

Stunning Ironwork

Ironwork Gate with a Federal Entry with some Victorian Brackets. I quite like the touch of blue on the ceiling. I also like the checkerboard marble landing. It is quite British looking.

Ironwork Gate with Amazing Brownstone Spiral Stairs. Look at the perfectly manicured ivy on the steps.

Stunning Iron & Copper Gate. Another example of the checkerboard marble landing.

Stunning Iron Lamp!

Victorian Woodwork

Victorian Fretwork in a Daisy Pattern. I want to copy this somewhere on my house. After all daisies are my favorite!

Amazing Painted Wood Victorian Gate

Another Beautiful Painted Wood Victorian Gate (from the same house as above)

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