Monday, February 1, 2016

"Owl" Always Be Your Valentine: Italian Style

Valentine's Day is a few weeks away, but I've already got my tablescape set to the theme of love...as we celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary this past weekend!!

I know it may sound goofy, but I started out with the theme of owls(I love owls) for my table. The centerpiece was a couple of owls -or lovebirds - sitting together, surrounded by chocolate hearts and a candle.
More hearts and a lace tablecloth also were a part of the setting. 
The paper plates and napkins were just so adorable and matched the other table decor.
I put out some past Valentine's Day mugs we had sitting around to partake of some tea or coffee with our meal. I recently purchased the heart-covered teapot at T.J. Maxx. (Thought is was too adorable to pass up!)
My hubby also had gotten a sweet bouquet of flowers for me on this special day.
When the shades were drawn and candles were lit, it become a romantic dinner for two!
Now, my hubby and I had discussed going out for our anniversary dinner, but due to the cold weather and not wanting to spend extra money at this time, we decided to eat in. Years ago, we would have different culture/foreign themed dinners. One we hadn't done before was the Italian theme. After discussing how we could make a romantic themed evening out of this, my hubby purchased some Italian wine.
I had never tried an international wine before. 
Cheers!!
We also decided to go all out and make our own homemade pizza!
It was SO delicious! The photo above was prior to baking. The photo below(a bit fuzzy) was after baking.
For dessert - Gelato in two flavors: Southern Butter Pecan and Roman Raspberry. Yummy!!!
After the wonderful, romantic meal, we watched the romantic comedy "Letters to Juliet". Both hubby and I liked it a lot, especially since there were no raunchy sex scenes - Just a decent romance story. And it went well with our "Italian" theme, as the movie took place in Italy. (I would love to visit beautifulItaly some day!)
What a perfect evening it was!!
Simple, yet fun!!
As Valentine's Day approaches, I will continue to leave this tablesetting display up to keep that romantic atmosphere alive!!
Hope you all are able to enjoy your Valentine's Day with those you love, whether they are family, friends, or your significant other!!
   Ann 
“Better joy in a cottage than sorrow in a palace” 
Spanish Proverb
Linking over to these blog parties:

The Scoop @ Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Amaze Me Monday @ Dwellings
Make It Pretty Monday @ The Dedicated House
Inspiration Monday Party @ I Should Be Mopping the Floor
The Inspiration Board Link Party @ Homework
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday Coastal Charm
Tuesdays With a Twist @  Stone Cottage Adventures 
Be Inspired Party Elizabeth & Co
Clever Chicks Blog Hop @ The Chicken Chick
Wake Up Wednesday @ Sew Crafty Angel
A Morning Cup of Joe @ The Cottage Market
Freedom Friday @ My Turn for Us
Flaunt It Friday @ Chic on a Shoestring 
Creativity Unleashed @ Shaken Together Life
Creative Collection Link Party @ Classy Clutter, and Blooming Homestead           
   

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

My Ten Favorite Romantic Movies


Every year at this is time, I start to get all mushy and romantic. 

Not just because Valentine's Day is less than a month away! But the hubby and my wedding anniversary is January 31st, as well.(It will be our 29th)
All the romantic cards, candy, and gifts are on display in stores, reminding everyone that romance is in the air!
The hubby and I often watch movies together and he knows how much of a hopeless romantic I am, so he will often sit through one of my favorites with me, as a gesture of his love. (Honestly, he kind of enjoys the same movies I do, even some of the mushy romantic ones! I know, I'm blessed!)
Below are some of my favorites:

10. The Princesses Bride: The story is a classic tale of love and adventure as the beautiful Buttercup, engaged to the odious Prince Humperdinck, is kidnapped and held against her will in order to start a war, It is up to Westley (her childhood beau, now returned as the Dread Pirate Roberts) to save her. Lots of adventure, romance, and comedy in this easygoing, uncomplicated movie, with a happy ending, of course!(1987)
I love the quirky style of this movie! Definitely a fairytale, surrounded in a land of kings, princesses, knights, thieves, and unique creatures.
9.  O'Pioneers!: Alexandra Bergson (Jessica Lange) inherits the family farm and struggles to carve a home and a fortune from the windswept prairie. Along the way, she forfeits her one chance for love, but never forgets the teenager who stirred her heart. He (David Strathairn) returns 15 years later and rekindles within Alexandra a long-buried dream and newfound desire. (1992)
In all honesty, I haven't watched this movie yet. I just saw the previews and being a fan of "pioneer" period movies, I think I would love it! Definitely on my "must see" list!
8. Letters to Juliet: While visiting Verona, Italy, with her busy fiancé, a young woman named Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) visits a wall where the heartbroken leave notes to Shakespeare's tragic heroine, Juliet Capulet. Finding one such letter from 1957, Sophie decides to write to its now elderly author, Claire (Vanessa Redgrave). Inspired by Sophie's actions, Claire sets out to find her long-lost lover, accompanied by her disapproving grandson (Christopher Egan) and Sophie.(2010)
This also was a "must see" for me. I was drawn to the trailer of this movie, due to it's location (Italy), one of the most romantic countries ever! Also, the plot of the story is very intriguing - finding an old, long ago love!
7. The Sound of Music: A tuneful, heartwarming story, it is based on the real life story of the Von Trapp Family singers, one of the world's best-known concert groups in the era immediately preceding World War II. Julie Andrews plays the role of Maria, the tomboyish postulant at an Austrian abbey who becomes a governess in the home of a widowed naval captain with seven children, and brings a new love of life and music into the home.(1965)
This is, of course, an old classic that I have watched from the days of my childhood at least 1,000 times! I love the decency of the romance that ensues (a rare thing in any movie). Just good, clean, romance, with a happy ending, as well.
6. Pride and Prejudice: In this adaptation of Jane Austen's beloved novel, Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley) lives with her mother, father and sisters in the English countryside. As the eldest, she faces mounting pressure from her parents to marry. When the outspoken Elizabeth is introduced to the handsome and upper-class Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen), sparks fly. Although there is obvious chemistry between the two, Darcy's overly reserved nature threatens the fledgling relationship.(2005)

The setting of this drama takes place in the Country in Turn-of-the-19th-Century England. I love stories that take place in this era! Though it is a little difficult to follow, with their proper English accents, the storyline has lots of twists and turns, making it a worthwhile one to watch!
5. The Vow: Paige (Rachel McAdams) and Leo (Channing Tatum) are happily married newlyweds, but their idyllic life together suddenly shatters when a car accident leaves her in a coma. When Paige awakes, she has severe memory loss and doesn't know Leo. She also has a confusing relationship with her parents (Sam Neill, Jessica Lange) and still harbors feelings for a former fiance (Scott Speedman). Despite these difficult obstacles, Leo is determined to renew their bond and rebuild their marriage.(2012)
This is one of those movies that will pull at your heartstrings. It is one full of hope, as we watch this couple struggle through their great loss and the husband's commitment to the vows he made to his wife. Might be a good one to have tissues nearby.
4. Anne of Green Gables: Things begin badly between our heroes. Gilbert Blythe admires Anne (Megan Follows) when she arrives at their one-room schoolhouse; he calls her Carrots; she smashes a slate over his head. This set in motion a whole course of standoffs and shenanigans which, after many years, finally end as they should—with mutual understanding and respect. Throughout their teenage and young adult years they flirt and grow in friendship, and Gilbert even proposes, but is rejected. When he becomes deathly ill, though, Anne realizes her true feelings for him and re-considers her decision. When Green Gables partially burns down, Gilbert asks Anne to “marry me now.” And so they FINALLY get married. Gilbert goes to war and is MIA, so Anne travels far and wide to find him in the midst of World War I. Once reunited, Anne and Gilbert return to Green Gables for a visit where it all started with their new adopted child in hand. They begin their long life together planning to have a family and a life full of imagination.(series:1985-2000)
This Canadian movie-series has been a favorite for many years. I love the characters, beautiful setting, and storyline that includes some comedy, friendship stories, family, and of course, romance.
3. Nights in Rodanthe: When Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane) arrives at the coastal town of Rodanthe, N.C., her life is in chaos. There, she hopes to sort through the trouble surrounding her, while tending a friend's inn for the weekend. The only guest at the inn is Dr. Paul Flanner (Richard Gere), a man tormented by a crisis of conscience. As a storm approaches the coast, Paul and Adrienne find comfort and a life-changing romance.(2008)

I seem to be drawn to movies with Diane Lane - I really enjoy her as an actor! And Richard Gere...well, what can I say!?! I also love the setting of this movie. We actually took a vacation along the Outerbanks of N.C. and got to see the unique house where the movie was filmed. This does have a twist at the end of the movie that I actually didn't like, but Oh, well. You can't always have a perfect ending.
2. Under the Tuscan Sun: Frances Mayes (Diane Lane) discovers that her life is turned upside down. In an attempt to bring her out of a deep depression, her best friend, Patti (Sandra Oh), encourages Frances to take a tour of Italy. During the trip, the new divorcée impulsively decides to purchase a rural Tuscan villa and struggles to start her life anew amid colorful local characters, including the handsome Marcello (Raoul Bova). Many side romance stories develop in this book-based movie, set in romantic Italy.(2003)
From the first time I saw this movie, I knew it was going to be a favorite! I mean, seriously! A story of romance in Italy!? Yes, it starts out a bit of a downer, but keep watching. You won't be sorry!
1. The Notebook: In a nursing home, resident Duke reads a romance story for Mrs. Hamilton, an old woman who has senile dementia with memory loss. The story takes place in 1940s South Carolina, mill worker Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) and rich girl Allie (Rachel McAdams) are desperately in love. But her parents don't approve. When Noah goes off to serve in World War II, it seems to mark the end of their love affair. In the interim, Allie becomes involved with another man (James Marsden). But when Noah returns to their small town years later, on the cusp of Allie's marriage, it soon becomes clear that their romance is anything but over. As the story progresses and as the daily realities of present day occur, the reason why Duke feels the need to tell Ms. Hamilton the story and what he hopes she gets out of it become more and more evident. A very moving story of lasting love and commitment.(2004)
My all-time favorite romantic movie! For years I would have told anyone who asked that "Under the Tuscan Sun" was it! But, watching this movie changed that! Another tear-jerker, for sure! But so worth it!!! A real classic that I'm sure will be popular for many years to come!
   Ann 
“Better joy in a cottage than sorrow in a palace” 
Spanish Proverb
Linking over to these blog parties:
Creative Collection Link Party @ Classy Clutter, and Blooming Homestead           
   

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What's In My Closet: Winter Is Here!

Yep! I can officially say winter is here in the Midwest in all of it's {freezing, icy, windblown, snow-covered} splendour!!
We actually had it pretty good for awhile, as autumn seemed to hang on throughout all of November and December. I think we had one snowfall where the snow actually stuck to the ground.
But, we knew the warmspell would not last forever. And, boy oh boy, were we right!
This past week hit us hard with blizzard-like white-outs and below freezing temps.

Time to pull out the oversized sweaters, winter boots, gloves, hats, and scarves ~ and don't forget the long underwear! :) I recently stopped working and am a full-time homemaker and care-giver for my mom. So, as you will notice, my outfits are more casual.
I really love plaid flannel! This basic black and white checked top, over a black turtle neck sweater, with stretch jeans and my basic black boots are a comfortable and stylish combo.

 Gray is also a color I am drawn to. This sweat out fit came from TJ Maxx. A warm top with appliqued desgn is layered over a long white tank. The sweat pants are two-toned, gray in the front and black in the back.

Combined with my striped leg-warmers and combat boots, I'm sure to keep warm this winter!

 I also love this necklace with beading and southwest silver pieces.

 A close-up of the sweat pants shows the cable design on the front panel of the pants, which is an added favorite.


Here is a close-up of my boots, showing the upper flap turned down. I can also lace it all the way up, if I choose.


Another find at TJ Maxx was this cute "Life is Good" Sweatshirt. Combined with stretch jeans and my black suede booties, I am sure to stay cozy on cold winter days.

A close-up reveals the design on the front of the sweatshirt. I am a big fan of Life is Good brand merchandise and what it stands for. Click on the icon below.

 I am wearing another "Life is Good" long-sleeve tee under the sweatshirt, also purchased at TJ Maxx.

I have had my suede black booties for several years. I love wearing them with my thick fuzzy socks.
I love just wearing my fuzzy socks around the house, too.


I also wanted to share a cute pink scarf, gray and white pompm hat, and gray "fingerless" mittens that I like with this outfit. Today, it was 9 degrees out and snowing. In this weather, you can never have enough of these items!

Most of my outfits have been casual. This sweater and skirt is one that is a little dressier. 

 The sweater is made of the softest yarn I have ever felt. The skirt feels like thick wool, but softer, without the itchy feel. I also am wearing a striped scarf with matching hat and gloves.

A slit in the back allows me more movement. The sweater also is hooded.

 I recently got a great deal on these two-tone books(End of the season sale) at Carsons.http://www.carsons.com/

Hope you all are staying warm and cozy, no matter where you live and what weather you are having!! 
Have a blessed winter!!
 Ann 
“Better joy in a cottage than sorrow in a palace” 
Spanish Proverb
Linking over to these blog parties: