Friday, April 30, 2010

Remember Field Day?

Picture of grandgirl trying to figure out her spot on a tug-o-war team

This week our firm has been celebrating Staff Appreciation Week with events happening every day. A Fashion Show, several game shows including Family Feud for a Cause and today we ended the week with a picnic in the park and lots of games. Today's games were inspired by a new television show called Minute to Win It. I haven't seen the show but watching today's activities inspired me to plan another family reunion.

You may recall that last Labor Day I organized a family reunion event at my house. We managed to have sleeping space for everyone though I did rent a room at a nearby hotel so that we had access to a pool for the weekend. It was a great event. We played a number of traditional games at our neighborhood park, but after watching some of today's games I'm going to be planning a whole new line up.

Some of today's games had crazy names, like Bobble Head, but they were all really fun. Like the one, that without using your hands, the contestant has to put Vaseline on the nose and "catch" 5 cotton balls. Once caught they have to be moved from one dish to another.

There were sorting games, puzzle games and shooting rubber band games. All games had to be completed in 60 seconds - talk about stress.

Being outside is perfect this time of year and a perfect time for a family field day. I hope these photos inspire a picnic.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Meg Adams Interior Designs

" I treated the room as though it was haute couture and the chandelier as that perfect necklace that adds that crowning touch." Meg Adams

A couple of posts back I mentioned that I volunteered with the 2010 ASO Decorator Show House. It was my sixth year volunteering as a docent and I have to say that I enjoy it more and more each year. One of my favorite Atlanta designers is Meg Adams of MA Interior Designs and if she designs any part of the show house, I do my best to volunteer in "her" room. I was thrilled this year when I saw her room. When you serve as a docent in the show house, volunteers quickly have to acquaint themselves with fast facts about the house and the room or area of assignment. Typically there are also prices lists and some information provided about some of the spectacular furnishings on display in the rooms. Most of the time on opening day the designers are present and on hand to greet guests and answer questions so I was disappointed when I arrived in the breakfast room and Meg wasn't there. Adjacent to my room was a hallway with a powder room that was designed by J.Hirsh Interior Design and it was really great to have the chance to speak with her. AMAZING - Janie put in a glass basin with lights! It's quite creative and beautiful.

Meg eventually showed up and after having time to visit with her and learning about how she created her room, I just had to share with my blogging friends. As a docent or a visitor to the show house - no photos allowed in the house. Well here is a confession - I TOOK THIS PICTURE! Meg told me that I had her permission and I would have taken a couple more but one of the volunteer coordinators kept pacing past our room and I didn't want to get in trouble!!

It's hard not to notice the chandelier in this room. It was Meg's inspiration and she dreamed it up. She wanted a turquoise chandelier but couldn't find one so she found the turquoise stones in the color she liked and ordered them from China. While waiting for the beads to arrive, she found someone in California who could string the beads to create the fixture. It is truly a one-of-a-kind. Once the fixture was complete, Meg began pulling together the pieces of the room. There were lovely touches of turquoise throughout the room, including a pair of parakeets that live in a beautiful antique bird cage!!!

If you get a chance to visit the house, you should. It is amazing this year. If you pass through the Breakfast Room and you see Meg, be sure to tell her that I sent you! Ask lots of questions...she is happy to help!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

30 Years

My dad built this gazebo especially for my wedding ceremony. I wish you could see my bouquet which was created around a 5 inch orchid one of my neighbors grew and asked me to carry as my wedding bouquet.

It's my wedding anniversary. I can hardly believe that it's been 30 years and through the years I think I've learned a lot. My husband and I are a great example of what happens when opposites attract.

Husband is from Beirut and grew up when the city was the "Paris of the Middle East." In his high-rise, he grew up with a full-time live in maid. I grew up with yard to be mowed and lots of chores to be done because my mom and dad both held down full-time jobs. That was back in the day when mothers did not work and in fact none of the women in my husband's family worked.

My husband is a Muslim and I'm a Christian. I probably don't have to tell you that neither of our families were happy about our decision to marry (this is an understatement). Our wedding was postponed for several months in the planning process while the families tried to cope (pleaded with us not to marry) with the idea of our union.

My husband grew up vacationing in Europe during the summer while I was on farms in middle Georgia picking blackberries, peaches, peas, butter beans and corn, followed by weeks of shelling, shucking and canning. He enjoyed sunbathing on the Mediterranean every day in the summer while I was working outside dodging copperheads, possums and gnats. In my husband's family, everyone attended exclusive private school with a day that generally included a formal luncheon. He also enjoyed a spending his summer break at their summer home with all the family enjoying lots of leisure time. We didn't have much leisure time at our house (okay, that's an understatement too. I hope my sister reads this post). I took my first babysitting job at the age of 11 and my first full-time job at 16. I've been working since then.

When I met dear husband and he said he was from Lebanon, I confess that I had to go to the map to find the little country. We were from such different worlds but over the years the differences have made us strong and we continue to learn so much from each other.

Here are some of the things my husband has taught me.

Be comfortable with who you are and enjoy the day. Through the years we made trips to Lebanon during the civil war. I've dodged shoot outs, survived a car bomb and passed through more checkpoints than I want to think about but through it all I observed an attitude of Que Sera, Sera. In fact it seemed that during our visits at night in the clubs and restaurants of Beirut, at least one time a night the establishment would actually play Doris Day and clientele would join in and sing, Que Sera, Sera. I REALLY like to worry but I try to sing this song when I'm most stressed. It helps.

Cherish your life and those around you. For 30 years my husband has brought me coffee in bed. He has focused on the small gifts that we share with one another. He lets his children know that they mean more to him than just about anything. His love extends to the rest of his family including his cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. In his family the extended family members are just as important as your immediate family - it's all the same ---family. Husband does a great job in making sure they all know that they are more important than all the external interference that consumes our busy lives.

Be happy and focus on it. My children are so different and I admit that when I grew up there were prescribed paths (expectations) and I grew up understanding these were necessary paths to take. I was not allowed to explore too much off the path. My husband was raised with a focus on finding your happiness. For me, when it came to raising children my concerns were often focused on "the path" with lots of panic and guilt when they took a misstep. I would always blame myself. My husband was more focused on helping the kids find their happy factor. When my first child was born my husband gave me a copy of Khalil Gibran's, The Prophet. Through the years I've gone back to read the chapter on raising children and it's helped me simmer down. Husband reminds me often to stop and take more time to sit with him on the porch.

Protocol and respect. I've loved every moment of exposure to formalities that were never a part of my life. So many of these formalities have helped me learn to respect myself and those around me. Two religions can live and work together with great respect. When it comes to religion I have enjoyed learning that my husband is also one of the children of Abraham. I remind myself that in so many ways we both go to the same church, we just sit on different pews. Our trips to the middle east have taught me the importance of finding the similarities that our faiths share (and there are many) rather than searching for the differences.

In some ways I think dear husband and I could "teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony."

Happy Anni, Hossy. I hope you read my blog today.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

My workplace joined with another company in Atlanta to create a LARGE community garden at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Our crew shoveled dirt the entire afternoon in order to create the planting beds. I may not be able to move in the morning but the community garden will be providing fresh produce to a large number of families in need in north Fulton county this summer. Happy day, dear Earth.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

ASO Decorator Show House & Gardens 2010

This year the Show House should underline AND GARDENS in the title. Wow! This is my sixth year of volunteering with the house and every year (well, almost every year) I say "this was the best house" and this year is no different. Later in the week I will tell you more about the room I was in and about my favorite designer Meg Adams of Meg Adams Interior Design, but today I want to tell you a little about the house and share some photos from the Greenhouse.One of the things I enjoy most the Show House is meeting the designers. Throughout the show many of the designers are on on hand to talk about their work and details of how they put the room together. Many will also share some of favorite places for resources. While there are incredible antiques used throughout the house, there are also custom made pieces that were designed to suit the style and spaces in the house. Unfortunately they don't allow pictures but most designers have postcards with professional pictures of their room available for the taking.

The cushions on the settee below are in a lavender crushed velvet. The tuft buttons are covered in a beautiful moss green.
I loved this lampshade

Don't you just love this succulent bath?

This year's house showcases the house, pool, cabana, greenhouse and over 4 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. There is even a mama duck at the lake who has just laid an egg. From the greenhouse patio you should be able to see her on the bank of the lake.

The house is currently owned by Arthur and Stephanie Blank. If you live in the Atlanta area make plans to visit this year's show, "Giverny." As I mentioned - no photos allowed in the house but I did take some pictures outside and in the greenhouse. Confession - with permission from my good friend Meg, I also took one picture in her room but that's another post. Hope you enjoyed these few scenes from the greenhouse.

Be sure to stop in to visit Rhoda and see some of the great treasures recently discovered on Rhoda's Thrifty Treasures

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wieskirche - A Rococo Masterpiece

Not far from Neuschwanstein Castle (or the original Disney Castle) is one of the most fantastic sites that I have ever seen. Keep in mind that I generally love rococo style and Wieskirche IS proclaimed to be the best example of rococo style in the world. Maybe I'm partial but I think it is true and here are just a few (I took a few dozen!!!!) photos so that you can decide for yourself. There is no way my little camera can showcase the beauty of this church in the meadow. Be sure to click on the photos to enjoy the magnificence.

Just one step inside and it was like walking into heaven

Every inch of the church was magnificent

Wieskirche is a must-see if you are traveling near Fussen to see the castles.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

German Souvenirs at Scott Antique Market

I just had to take a break from sharing travel pictures to tell you about the terrific souvenirs I found this weekend at Scott Antique Market. In case you aren't familiar with SAM, it's a very large once-a-month antique show in Atlanta and Columbus, OH. I live a few minutes away from the Atlanta location which is so convenient for me. I try to stop in every month just to poke around and this month I struck gold!

While in Germany, I fell in love with the lovely German Roemer wine glasses, but that's not all. I especially loved the beautiful white china used in restaurants in Bavaria. I did some shopping but refrained from buying glass items, mainly because I didn't want to deal with packing fragile items.

Well Saturday was my lucky day for finding international goods! For just $20 I bought (6) etched German Roemer wine glasses, (3) porcelain-handled Sheffield serving pieces (UK), (1) Rosenthal tea cup and saucer (Bavaria) and (1) Apilco Ramekin (France). Can you believe it! Just had to share photos of a few of the items.
Be sure to check out more treasured finds at Rhoda's Thifty Treasures. It's a great way to start your Monday!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rococo in Wurzburg

I'm a big fan of rococo style though I realize that it's not for everyone. Keeping in mind that fires during WWII destroyed Wurzburg, these wonderful structures were all rebuilt to showcase architectural artistry.
Doesn't it look like icing on a cake?

Okay, I confess. In our old house I used caulk to try to create designs on my walls. My scrolls were lovely but somehow it was odd to see scrollwork on the walls of a 70s built, split-level "working on a groovy thing" home!

Be sure to click to enlarge the photos to enjoy the details.

Just after I took these pictures a docent came after me. We missed the English tour so I didn't realize that I wasn't supposed to be taking photos in the Residenz.

But don't worry, I will be back with LOTS more pictures of the most amazing example of rococo style that you have ever seen!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Romantic Road

I have to admit that before we decided to go to Germany, I hadn't heard of the Romantic Road but discovering it made planning our trip very easy. On the RR website you will find it described as:

A trade route during the middle ages, Germany's Romantic Road still retains much of its medieval character. The road often winds through forgotten sections of countryside, connecting walled towns and picturesque villages. Travelers may enter a town through an arched gateway complete with guard towers. Inside, you will find gothic cathedrals, half-timbered fachwerk houses, beautiful historic hotels and often a medieval festival. Fairytale castles like Neuschwanstein and the Alps complete the charm.

The highway signs both on and off the Autobahn clearly mark the Romantic Strasse as you can see below.Back in the 1950s some travel agents worked to create this scenic trail to increase tourism and obviously, it worked. There are also great travel routes such as The Fairy Tale Road and the Bavarian Porcelain Route. If you are planning a trip to Germany I would recommend taking a look at some of the towns and stops included in these well-organized travel routes.We decided to begin our trip in Wurzburg. The interesting thing about this city is that during WWII, 90% of this city was completely destroyed. It was described as an inferno. Cleanup and rebuilding of the city was almost completely done by WOMEN! Most of the men were either dead or prisoners of war. With this in mind, here are some pictures of some of the sites of the city.

This must be the German equivalent of Cadbury's Creme Eggs

I loved the way every town decorated and celebrated Easter

I loved walking down the narrow streets and always discovering something at the end of the road or around the corner.

A view of the fortress from the old bridge. I won't show you the pictures my son took of me and my husband s-l-o-w-l-y walking up the path to the fortress. Let's put it this way, we need to exercise more!

Tomorrow I'd like to share some of the examples of rococo style. There were several great examples on this trip and Wurzburg was just the beginning.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

To Germany (a little France) and Back

We took our grandgirls on their spring break to visit my son (their dad) who has recently been relocated to Germany. In the next few posts I'll be sharing some of our travel highlights. My son and daughter-in-law now live in a small town called Weilerbach so our first day and night was spent there just resting and enjoying the neighborhood. I enjoyed stopping in at the local Barbarossa Backerei for coffee and pastry. I think this place was an upscale version of the Atlanta Bread Company but it was a great place for coffee and people watching.Our first travel day was to Strasbourg. It is just an hour and a half away from where my son and daughter-in-law are now living. They moved from Sumter, SC to Germany and while in Sumter they enjoyed taking weekend trips to Atlanta. Based on their new location, Paris is their new Atlanta! Can you imagine? We loved Strasbourg and though I have already shared some photos but I'd like to share a few more.

I was totally taken by the details on some of the half-timbered structures.

Don't you just love the painting on this building?

And there were LOTS of half-timbered structures.

It's hard to miss the Cathedral

The stained-glass was beautiful

But it bothered me to be in church and to be reminded to beware the pickpockets!

Signs of Easter were everywhere

I just loved this window display

We stopped in to enjoy some real hot chocolate. The milk chocolate was on a stick. To make the chocolate you had to pour warm milk over your milk chocolate stick and stir. Chocolate milk was never so rich and chocolaty good.

Tomorrow I'll share the start of our trip down the Romantic Road.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Quick Trip to France

We drove down to Strasbourg yesterday and had a wonderful day trip. Today we hit the Romantic Road for a few days. Be back soon.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Signs of Spring in Germany