Country Living...Island Dreaming

June 27, 2014

I've Been Tagged

Today I am going to answer some questions sent to me from one of my favorite bloggers, Amanda from Dixie Delights.

And we are off...

1.  Are you named after someone?  
I don't think so.  Supposedly my name choices were Kimberly or Shelley.  And no, Shelley is not short for anything although I always wished it was short for Michelle.  It just seems more formal than just Shelley.

2.  When was the last time you cried?  
Well, I can be pretty sentimental and will tear up over almost anything especially if it has something to do with my kids.  So, to answer the question, probably about a week ago...

3.  Do you have kiddos?
Yes, two boys who I love more than words can describe!

4.  If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?
Of course!  If I answered no to that one, I think I would have some serious work to do on myself!

5.  Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I love dark chocolate and cannot keep any in the house or else I will continue to nibble on it until it is gone!  I also watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette every season! 

6.  Do you like handwriting?
Yes!  I still save handwritten notes from close friends and family members.  I also make sure my kids write out thank you letters for everything.

7.  What is your favorite cereal?
I don't know if I actually have a favorite, but I frequently eat oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins for breakfast.

8.  What's the first thing you notice about people?
Smile, eyes...

9.  What's the color of your eyes?
Hazel but I swear they were brown when I was younger.

10.  Scary movie or happy endings?
Absolutely, without question - happy endings!!  I can't even watch scary movies.  I still have scenes from Amityville Horror and The Omen permanently burnt into my memory from watching them when I was younger.  I just can't handle horror!

11.  Favorite TV shows?
Ok, so I am such a loser on this one because I really don't watch much TV anymore.  I don't even know any current shows (well except The Bachelor and Bachelorette which makes me look like even more of a loser! - LOL).  My favorites of all time are Seinfeld, Rules of Engagement, October Road and Friends and of course the old decorating shows on HGTV!
12.  Summer or Winter?
Summer, Summer Summer!  Although I do like a change of seasons and a small dose of winter to make me appreciate the warm weather even more!

13.  Hugs or kisses?
Hugs in general but both from my family.

14.  Do you have a special talent?
I wish!  Well, I guess you could count my almost flawless ability to read people.  I have rarely been wrong!

15.  Where were you born?
New Jersey - and I still live here!

16.  What are your hobbies?
Traveling, reading, decorating, blogging/writing, cooking, walking, skiing, bike riding with the kids...
17.  Do you have any pets?
Yes, my darling golden retriever, Rosie!
18.  Favorite movie?
Oh, there are just so many of them depending on my mood!  As silly as it is, I would have to say my top favorite is Only You.  Whenever I come across it on TV, I will sit and watch it to the end every time!

19.  What color is your car?
Silver.  In fact this is the 3rd silver car in a row I have owned.  Much easier to keep clean (or at least appear clean!)

20.  What do you want to be when you grow up?
I can honestly say I am content where I am right now.  As long as my family is happy and healthy, I am thankful for everything I have in life.  I love my blogging hobby and I do plan on writing a book someday.  I have had a story knocking around in my head for the last twenty years or so...I just hope I can pull it off!

Now here is the part where I tag 6 bloggers to answer the same questions.  I choose the following:

Carolyn at The Vintage Mulberry
Courtney at Golden Boys and Me
Kris at Driven by Decor
Laurel at The North End Loft
Traci at Coastalpines
Vel at Life and Home at 2102

This is just for fun and my feelings will not be hurt if anyone does not want to participate.  I think I have blown off a few of these in the past myself!

Here are a couple question tags that I have participated in in the past - 10 Questions and , A to Z.  (I chose a different favorite movie this time so apparently I am indecisive on that question!)

Thanks everyone and have a great weekend!


June 25, 2014

A Few Links that Make Me Happy

After spending a couple days at the beach, my house is a wreck and I am digging out from a pile of laundry!  While I sort through the sandy mess, I thought I would share a few links that make me happy...

Since keeping my kids healthy is so important to me, I was thrilled to read that at least one school is heading in the right direction:
Click here - Fairfield Living

I need to show this short clip to my kids

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to take the kids to my favorite beach from my childhood  - Beach Haven, NJ on Long Beach Island...

And if you want to see more examples of some beautiful Jersey Shore beaches, click here - - Beautiful Beaches You Won't Believe are in NJ

Have a great day!


June 21, 2014

Happy 1st Day of Summer!

Happy First Day of Summer!

(Grand Cayman 2009)

Enjoy your day!

June 19, 2014

Jacqueline Kennedy Inspired Table Setting

Today, we are celebrating Jacqueline Kennedy's style
 with a table setting in her honor...

Jacqueline Kennedy Inspired Table Setting
Jackie Kennedy was known for wearing black and white so I used those colors in my table setting.

Pearl Napkin Rings- Jackie Kennedy Style

"Pearls are always appropriate."  - Jacqueline Kennedy

Pearl Napkin Rings - Jackie Kennedy Style
Since most of the time you would see her wearing pearls. I used some for napkin rings.  (These are just cheap bracelets from Five Below).

Black and White Place Setting  - Jackie Kennedy Inspired
And many times did you see photographs of her wearing stripes? 

White Peony - One of Jackie Kennedy's Favorite Flowers
One of Jacqueline Kennedy's favorite flowers were white peonies.  I wish I had some real ones but these are artificial ones from Michael's.

Jackie Kennedy Inspired Table Setting
I thought about using a white table cloth but I like the way the wood shows under the table settings.

Plus, the wood reminds me of the Presidential Yacht The Honey Fitz which was the nick name for John F. Kennedy's maternal grandfather.  I was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon on the Honey Fitz at a corporate event many years ago in New York City!  A once in a lifetime opportunity and I didn't bring a camera!

Black and White Table Setting - Jackie Kennedy Style

Preserved Boxwood centerpiece
Boxwoods are very common on the White House lawn so it seemed fitting to use my preserved one for the centerpiece.  

Black and White Formal Table - Jackie Style

Jackie Kennedy Inspired
Jackie Kennedy was a dog lover so I guess it was only appropriate for my Rosie to photo-bomb these last two pictures!

Sources to get the "Jackie look":
I have provided sources below for your convenience.  Please note that this post contains some affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking my links at no additional cost to you.  

Pearl bracelet - (Five Below) but these faux pearl bracelets are cute and inexpensive!
Placemats - (Homegoods) but I think I like these black and white striped placemats even better!  And these striped placemats with more black could work too!
Faux Peony - (Michaels') but this Peony bouquet would be nice in a vase too!
Boxwood - (Homegoods) and this set of preserved boxwoods would also be pretty!
Black Napkins - (Homegoods) and these black cotton napkins are also a good deal!
Crystal - (Noritake but I've had them for so long, I can't remember the name of the pattern!  These Mikasa wine glasses have a similar look and this Mikasa stemware pattern is pretty too!
China - (Royal Doulton-Provence Noir - discontinued unfortunately) but I could picture Jackie liking this simple and elegant black and white china though! 

Thanks for stopping by to view my interpretation
of a Jacqueline Kennedy table setting!

Enjoy your day!
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!

For more Jacqueline Kennedy inspiration, stop by:

Also linking to:

June 17, 2014

My Kitchen From Every Angle

I have mentioned way too many times how I plan to renovate my kitchen.  But as many of you have probably found in your own homes, you start with one area and it snowballs into a whole lot more.

Take for instance this view of my kitchen...
Sure, I would love to upgrade the cabinets and flooring...

But if you look again,
you might notice a few more things that could use a change...
1.  The worn out oak fireplace mantel needs to be either painted or replaced.
2.  That valance has always looked like someone who cut their bangs too short!
3.  I have always hated the transition from the tile to the old nasty carpeting.  I would love to have continuous flooring in both rooms.
4.  While the peninsula may look nice, we have a big extended family and would love an island to make entertaining easier.
5.  The garbage can...I need that thing to be tucked away somewhere.

Now for the view from my dining room...
 Sure, the space is open and flows well...

This window has always driven me insane!!
It's too high and I have never loved the way the window treatments hang.
I went against my gut when I ordered these custom
 and have never been happy with the style.

I actually like this angle...
Except for the fact
that we never upgraded our oven and microwave to stainless steel
when we did the rest of the kitchen...procrastination!

Here is the view from the back hall...
And what do you notice first?
That garbage can!!!

Here is a view from the table area.  
See how that peninsula cuts off the room?

Oh that peninsula...

Here is a top view of the space.
The work triangle is very efficient
and the room gets a lot of sunlight so I can't complain about everything.

But I can complain 
about how the sunlight has discolored the cabinets.
Look at the side of these.
They are green.  Not loving that...

So basically, I have done nothing so far.
I have a list of things I would love to change
but I am just overwhelmed with the idea of renovating this whole space.

For some reason I keep talking and posting about this plan so maybe I can get myself moving on this.  I think I want white cabinets, an island, a better window and possibly wood flooring... Click over to my Pinterest Kitchen Board to see some examples...a lot of examples!  There are just so many decisions to make, so much money to spend and I am really afraid of making a mistake.  

Decorating paralysis has struck...


June 15, 2014

Father's Day Table Setting

Since we woke up to a beautiful morning, I decided to set the deck table for our Father's Day breakfast!

 Although we are a family of four, we have six chairs so I added two settings to make the table look finished! (My kids were annoyed by this!)

Masculine Place Setting with Plaid Napkins - great look for Father's Day
I have had these napkins forever but I thought they added the perfect masculine touch!

Preserved Boxwood - a simple centerpiece
This preserved boxwood from Homegoods shows up all over my house!

Outdoor table setting for Father's Day
Originally, the table was simple with just browns, creams and black.

Outdoor Shell Pillow
But my son insisted I put the new pillows out even though they added some blue into the mix.

Ideas for outdoor dining - masculine table setting for Dad
 I have to admit, they do brighten it up and they make sitting at the table more comfortable!

Patio furniture and umbrella - outdoor table setting ideas
 We couldn't ask for better weather today!

Grays and tans on the deck
Even my photo-bombing doggie enjoyed sniffing the fresh morning air!

Outdoor Father's Day Table Setting
We'll probably sit out here again for dinner tonight.

rFather's Day Table Setting on the Deck - Breakfast for Dad!

I have listed some sources below if you would like to purchase similar pieces... Please note that this post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Dishes - Mikasa Italian Countryside - (available here)
Glasses - Williams Sonoma Picardie Glass Tumblers
Rattan Chargers - Pier One but these are very similar
Preserved Boxwood - Homegoods (similar) (similar)

What are your plans for Father's Day?
I would love for you follow along so you don't miss a post!

Linking to:

June 11, 2014

A Simple Blogging Tip

First of all,
I am embarrassed to admit it took me so long to figure this out!

But here goes:

First, I need you to think about this question:

When you receive a comment on your blog, do you also receive an email with that comment?

If that answer is "Yes", you can stop reading this post now!  You know what you are doing and you already know how to respond the "easy way."  Thanks for stopping by!  

If your answer is "No", continue reading for an easier way to respond to blog comments...(along with a bonus tip for all you "No Reply" bloggers out there!)

For years, I would go into my "comment" section, read the comment, click over to the person's email and then go into my email screen to send them a response or I just clicked over to their blog from the comment screen and commented on one of their recent posts.

Do you know how much time that wasted?!!

Do you ever notice how when some bloggers email you back, your original comment is embedded in their email?  Their email response back to you will say something like:

"On Tue, May 6, 2014 at 11:29 AM, Calypso in the Country wrote:
Calypso in the Country has left a new comment on your post....

Shelley, you are awesome!  

(LOL - well, you get the idea!)

I used to wonder how people did this.  

Well, with a simple change, I made my whole life easier...

Here is what you can do if you also want to respond more efficiently:

Click on the Blogger Dashboard
Mobile and Email
Comment Notification - make sure your email shows in the box!

Now you can respond directly from your email page!  What a time saver - right?  This can also be super helpful when you are in line at the grocery store and want to respond to a few comments while you are waiting!

Of course, this tip won't work if the person who commented is a "no reply blogger"...ugh.

So here is a bonus tip...

If by some chance you areNo-Reply Blogger, you can make life easier for bloggers responding to your comments.

Maybe you don't mind if you don't get an email back but when I leave a comment somewhere I think it's always nice to be acknowledged.

All you have to do is add your email to your profile...

Please note, these directions are for those of you who use Blogger.  Everyone else is on your own!  I am no computer expert!

Click into your Dashboard.

Edit Profile

Under "Privacy" where it says, "Show my email address" - CHECK THE BOX!
Under "Identity", make sure your email is shown.
Hit Save and you are done!

See how easy that was!  And I am sure you will be so happy when you start getting responses from all those lovely comments you have left on blogs!

Did you find these tips helpful?

Or maybe you already knew this...
which means I am not really making your life easier.
In fact, I just made your life harder
because you wasted the last few minutes reading this post!
Oh well, enjoy your day anyway!

Linking to:

June 6, 2014

New Bar Stools

A couple months ago,
I mentioned I was bar stool shopping - (see Deciding on Barstools.)

Well, after too much debating, 
the other day I decided on a whim
to buy these linen, tufted Safavieh Addo Bar Stools
from the  Bed Bath and Beyond website.
(Yes, without seeing them in person.)
Then I panicked and called to cancel them the very next day.  
But the customer service representative wasn't sure
if they could be stopped in time...

Needless to say, they are fast shippers!
(And there was no way I could hide my purchase from my husband
with these crazy boxes!)

Luckily, when I put them next to my pub table,
I loved them!

 They look great and are very sturdy
 and comfortable!

They even have a metal footrest!  
I love this because with my family, 
you know they would be scuffed up in no time!

I am so glad I don't have to return them!

Not that I would be able to reuse those boxes...
I only had to stop those crazy kids
when they started beating the boxes with golf clubs...

Are you happy with any recent online purchases?

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