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Tuesday, April 27, 2021


Every once in a while I have several "little" things I want to share with you but they're not necessarily enough for a full blog post, so I jumble them all together for my "A Few Things" random topics post!  Today I'm sharing a bit of decorating with an easy centerpiece, a bit of travel with a quick trip to North Carolina last week, some family updates and some recents features I've been honored with.  

We recently hosted a casual lunch and I wanted the table to look nice without being too fussy. I didn't have any fresh flowers on hand for a centerpiece, but I had some flats of flowers outside waiting to be planted! (You might remember that I kinda took a page from the same playbook for my Easter Table.)

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Cabbage Leaf Serving Bowl  ||  Stand- vintage  ||  Blue Gingham Runner

It couldn't have been easier to plop a few of them- still in their plastic containers- into a large serving bowl, then I filled in all empty spots with moss to cover the pots.  This would be a fun idea for a Mother's Day centerpiece too, then after the meal add the plants back to their flat and send them home with Mom! 
I didn't take any photos of the table but I just added some candles to the sides of the centerpiece and by the time I got all of the dishes on the table it looked great!

Last week Ray and I made a quick last minute trip to North Carolina for a personal engagement, but we had a little bit of free time around that commitment.  I've never been to NC before, other than probably passing through on trips through the years, and we were both totally smitten!  We flew in to Raleigh/Durham and were primarily in the towns of Chapel Hill and Greensboro.  We couldn't get enough of the thick, towering trees and beautiful homes.  

A quick online hotel search landed us with a gem!  We stayed in Chapel Hill at the Rizzo Center, a Destination by Hyatt location which is part of the World of Hyatt Hotels.  

This was actually a conference center/hotel combo on the grounds of the historic DuBose family estate, later given to the University of North Carolina.   It's a few miles away from the actual campus, but serves as the perfect retreat and meeting location.  I imagine it's full of alumni at various times of the year when big events on the campus are going on, but it's fully open to the public as well.  The conference center/hotel is shown here (the family home is behind where I was standing to take the photo.)

The back side is a wonderful outdoor area with comfortable seating areas, a gorgeous pool, and firepit.  

A full fitness center is also available located just off of this area. 

For about the same price as the local Courtyard or similar hotels, we thought this had a really nice resort-like feel!  Our stay also included a full hot breakfast buffet in another area of the hotel with its own outdoor patio seating available, spotless well appointed rooms, as well as nice little amenities like free cans of soda, bottles of juice, ice cream, and popcorn at the front lobby.  Oh, and there were many ice machines, water bottle fill stations, sitting areas, and even free laundry available on each floor.  They seemed to think of everything!

I know this is a super specific travel recommendation, but if we were within closer driving distance this would definitely be a regular weekend getaway spot for us!  So, I thought any of you who might be semi-close or traveling to the area for some reason might enjoy this spot to stay.  

Fair warning... I'm about to overload you with photos but everything was so beautiful there I couldn't quit snapping (although the photos can't quite capture the reality)!  

This is the DuBose House (above photo is actually the back of the home, the front is below) which has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I believe it now serves as a dining space for various events.  

The grounds and gardens that surround the home couldn't be more lovely.  They are open to freely meander and enjoy each nook and cranny.  

I think we hit the timing just right, the azaleas were blooming everywhere and they were stunning!  I can't imagine the work that went into creating these gardens. 

We had a little bit of time to poke around town and enjoyed discovering the Carolina North Forest with it's variety of hiking trails.   I seriously couldn't get enough of the trees!

I realized later that we were actually there on Earth Day.  There's nothing like being in the middle of it to make you try to fully appreciate God's marvelous creation! 

We also drove around the campus of Duke University.  Beautiful!  We scavenged a souvenir by picking up a runaway baseball that had rolled down the street outside of one of the practice fields, our son who enjoys baseball will get a kick out of that!  

I even stopped by a fabric warehouse that I spotted on the highway while driving from Chapel Hill to Greensboro.  If we had more time I definitely would have searched out more, I'm sure there are great fabric and furniture outlets everywhere!  

We were only there long enough to eat a few meals and always ate breakfast at the hotel, so we didn't get to sample many local restaurants.  We had a few quick meals on the road while we were there, but in Chapel Hill we found Italian Pizzeria III and ate there twice! It's not fancy but is apparent that it's a favorite with the locals and students, the owners were super friendly and seemed to know most everyone that came in.  We had a dinner (Ray had Chicken Fettuccini and I had Manicotti, two thumbs up on both!) and the next day we picked up 2 of their Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches for lunch our our way to the airport.  Delish!  I'm going to be wishing I could get one of those sandwiches here in Oklahoma! Bordering the UNC campus, Franklin Street is packed with atmosphere and local restaurants, I'm sure you couldn't go wrong with most of them!

A few fun family things lately-

The university my son attends canceled Spring Break this year in an effort to keep the students from traveling in and out, so one of my best friends (who also has a college age son with no SB) decided we should do a girls only Ski Trip!  

Our daughters are the same age and have been best friends since they were 3, and we had such a great time in one of our favorite spots- and theirs too- Red River NM.  We did a family ski trip with them 4 years ago, and while we missed the guys this time it was so much fun with just the girls!  I only wiped out once, so I'll consider that a success!  :)

My friend brought some cookies for the girls- aren't they the cutest?  "I know I ski like a girl- try to keep up!"

Easter!  It was a perfect, beautiful day to celebrate our Lord's Resurrection.  

Caleb's Suit  ||  Emily's Dress  ||  My dress and shoes are past season, but this is a cute similar dress!  ||  My Earrings

We normally host Easter at our house, but this year we moved our celebration out to my sister's new property.  Didn't she set a pretty outdoor table for our meal?  We love every chance we get to visit, just wish we were able to more often!

My daughter is a Senior and we've hit the home stretch for allllllll of the Senior activities!  The next few weeks are crazy.  Her SR Prom was last weekend, she went with a group of friends and they had a great time.  She's actually also going to another neighboring school prom soon with more friends.  Since they missed out on all of this last year I guess we're making up for it!  (I told her I was fine with that plan but I wasn't buying 2 dresses- ha!  Thanks to our sweet friend who loaned this one to us for prom #1!)

She can smile pretty but don't be fooled... this is how she really feels when Mom suggests cute photo poses!  🤣

Graduation gown try-on... quite the ensemble, right?  She had just come in from basketball practice.  We'll do better on graduation day and even break out the steamer, ha! 

I'm honored to have one of my photos featured in the current (April '21) issue of HGTV Magazine!  They were doing a story on mixing and matching patterns and included my living room from last year's Spring Tour as an example.  Even after the request is made and details are sent back and forth, I never actually believe a feature will actually happen until I'm holding it in print in my hands!  Such a fun blessing and I'm grateful! 

I'm approaching my 10th Anniversary of blogging (!!) this year, and am so glad for all of online friends I've made along the way- fellow bloggers as well as readers!  I've known Janet for many of those years, have been privileged to meet her in person at a conference, and am always inspired by her lovely home and beautiful photography.  I'm so excited to have a tour of my home featured on her blog Shabby Fufu!

This post grew much longer than I intended, but here's the last thing!  I'm thrilled to have been named a Better Homes and Gardens Stylemaker for the 7th year!  I've only been able to attend the event in person once due to scheduling conflicts and last year it was obviously canceled, but this year it's back- virtually- and I'm looking forward to following along with the sessions!  It's always interesting to see what is up and coming in food, design, gardening, and homemaking.  And there's one HUGE benefit of a virtual event FOR YOU this year, you can join in on some of the sessions too!  Visit the Stylemaker page for the date, time, and more details (I believe it's free for you!). 

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  1. I am so happy that your trip to NC was amazing! I live in Raleigh and you hit some of the best spots in our state.....I do forget about how many trees we have until we have out of state guests and they point it out. As you were driving up and down I-40 between Chapel Hill and Greensboro, you did miss one great treasure....the Replacements Ltd, is a warehouse with over 11 million pieces of china, silver, crystal, etc and can be seen from the interstate. Many folks across the country go online to purchase missing items from their own set of china. You can also sell your items to Replacements. I love to visit their showroom and meander through looking for a great piece of Blue and White or another Spode Christmas piece...maybe next time you can stop in. Or check out their website at

    1. Oh rats! I actually noticed a billboard for Replacements Ltd. but didn't realize it was right there! I could have definitely used a stop there! I didn't research places to go very well before we went. I guess we'll have to go back some day... ha! (with an extra suitcase!)

  2. Congratulations Jen on your BHG recognition and not surprised! you are definitely one of my favorite bloggers!! I try so to emulate your decorating style!!

  3. Jen I have so enjoyed being one of your many satisfied subscribers over most of your blogging years. I enjoy your style and envy your many talents. We have a great deal in common, one of being fellow Oklahomans. Congratulations on your accomplishments. So proud and happy for you.

    1. Thank you so much, Kathy. That's so very nice! Thank you for being here over the years!

  4. I'm so happy that you got to visit NC in the spring! We live in Greensboro, and it's so pretty this time of year. Thanks also for the hotel and parks recommendations. We'll have to check them out!


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