Friday, August 27, 2010

Passports Not Needed!!!!

It has been a true privilege to have met an incredible friend from Switzerland. As our friendship has developed over the past few months I've been learning as much as I can about her country and the culture there. My husband attended school in Germany and would take every opportunity to travel to Switzerland. He told me that it was one of the most beautiful countries he's ever seen (he's well traveled). After researching this wonderful place I can see what he was referring to. I'm helplessly in love with Switzerland. This week I'm going to tour through the countryside and invite all of you to join me.

Our first day we'll learn about the history that makes up this incredible country.

This is the flag of Switzerland. It's red with a white Greek cross in the center. It's one of the two square sovereign-state flags, the other being the flag of the Vatican City. The white cross has been used in the Old Swiss Confederacy since the 14th century, but the modern design of a white cross suspended in a square red field was introduced only after the end of the Napoleonic period, in 1815, and was introduced as official national flag in 1889.

There is a very unique and fascinating history behind the name of Switzerland. Did you know that Switzerland was first settled by Celtic tribes? One particular tribe named Helvetii. They migrated into Switzerland during the 2nd century BC. That's almost impossible to comprehend considering we come from such a young country. The Helvetti's were dominant in the area during the time the Roman empire ruled and stretched beyond them into Gaul. So the Roman name for Switzerland becomes Helvetia. That is why you see CH as the symbol for Switzerland. It stands for Confederatio Helvetica.

Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons. Each canton has its own constitution, own parliament, and own government and courts. However, there are differences between each individual cantons, particularly in terms of population and geographics. Also, there are two enclaves:
Büsingen belongs to Germany, Campione d'Italia belongs to Italy.

A Germanic tribe called, Alamanni, began occupying the area between the Rhine and Danube, northern Switzerland. The Alamanni brought the German language into Switzerland. There are four official languages in Switzerland: German, French, Italian, and Romanch. English is sort of an unofficial fifth language

I'm very intrigued with the history because I recently researched my family tree and found out that my great, great, great, great, great, grandfather came from Switzerland. He was born and raised in Bern. That is the furthest back I can go on my family tree. I would love to find out more. I wonder if my family originally came from the Alamanni tribe. Wouldn't that be interesting?

Speaking of interesting facts:

There are a lot of mountains in Switzerland, some of them harboring glaciers. The most famous mountain in Switzerland is the Matterhorn. I use to love riding the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland when I was girl.

Matterhorn ride at Disneyland California. Although a lot of fun but nothing compares to the real Matterhorn.

This is Lac Neuchatel. The largest lake in Switzerland is Lake Geneva or Lac Léman between Switzerland and France. However, Switzerland has many gorgeous lakes.

This is Lake Geneva aka: Lac Léman. It's breathtaking. This is a lake where I could really relax on a summer day.

Swiss chocolate is the BEST chocolate on earth. There isn't another country on the planet that produces anything better than Swiss chocolate.

A Vintage Daydream

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Historical Home Wednesday ~ Nine

Y'all, I'm posting Historical Home Wednesday by the skin of my teeth. Today it my intention to post early this morning. However, the electrical company decided to work on the power lines this afternoon and shut the power off to our entire neighborhood. Yes, in the middle of August in Houston! That means no A/C for nearly 5 hours. I was frustrated to say the least but it gave me a good excuse to do a little shopping (wink). It's nearly 10 pm and the house is just starting to become comfortable once again. How they lived without A/C years ago.....I do not know. One thing I'm positive is that God will only give us what we can handle. He knew I was not cut out for an era without power to dry and curl my hair and A/C to bask under. That's for sure.

Now that I'm done fuss'n I will get to my Historical Home Wednesday. I have chosen this house not because it's the most beautiful, not because it's surrounded by War Heroes or past Presidents, but because of the unique author who once resided here. There's another point of why this post is dear to my heart in which I'll reveal further down in my post. Today's Historical Home is on the Margaret Mitchell House.

Who is Margaret Mitchell? Well, have y'all ever heard of a little flick called, Gone with the Wind? Ms. Mitchell wrote it. I believe it's one of the most famous movies ever written. Margaret Mitchell was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She grew up around her family who had fought in the Civil War. Can you imagine the incredible stories she must have heard right from the sources mouth? I would love to be able to sit and listen to some of my ancestors recall the accounts of what they had seen during their time on this earth. The history!!! Speaking of history, she was related (cousin) to the infamous gunfighter Doc Holiday, who participated in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Margaret Mitchell never graduated from college. She had to withdraw during her freshman year to take care of the household after her mother's death (died of the flu). Remember, mosquitoes carried a lot of viruses and we did not have the type of vaccines we have available today. Ms. Mitchell supported herself by taking a job at the Atlanta Journal. She often wrote a weekly column for the Sunday's edition under the name of Peggy Mitchell. She was the first female columnist in the South's largest newspaper. Her very first professional assignment was to interview an Atlanta socialite.

Mitchell began writing Gone with the Wind after becoming bedridden with a broken ankle. The Margaret Mitchell house is where she was residing when she wrote her famous manuscript. Today tourist can visit the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum in Midtown Atlanta. A Gone with the Wind museum is located a few miles north of Atlanta, in Marietta, Georgia. It's referred to as "Scarlett On the Square."

Mitchell, a modest Atlanta newspaperwoman, gave her manuscript to editor Harold Latham, who was visiting Atlanta in 1935. He was scouting the South for promising writers. "Peggy" had a friend, Lois Cole, who worked for Latham and requested that she allow him to read her story. Mitchell gave her manuscript to her friend but changed her mind and asked for it back. But it was too late and Latham had already read and fell in love with it. He saw instant blockbuster and encouraged her to complete the story by sending an advance (check). Gone with the Wind was completed in March 1936.

The Margaret Mitchell house was actually an apartment building she and her husband, John Marsh, lived in during the time she wrote Gone with the Wind. She moved into unit No. 1 in 1925, when it was called Crescent Apartments. Her apartment is the only space that is restored to the original architectural features. The house remained an apartment building until 1978 and then became abandoned. In 1985, a group of preservationists restored the house and formed the Margaret Mitchell House.

However, in 1994, the house caught fire and was severely damaged. The Daimler-Benz, the German industrial group, purchased the property and restored the house back to the beautiful landmark we see today. THANK YOU DAIMLER-BENZ!!! I wish I could say that was the end to a wonderful gesture but the house caught fire again, forty days prior to its scheduled completion. The house, again, was restored and was opened to the public on May 17, 1997. It's become a famous tourist attraction for the city of Atlanta.

As much as most of us would like to romantically believe there's a real Tara, that would be false. Gone with the Wind was actually filmed in California at the Culvar Studios, in Los Angeles. Sorry to burst anyones bubble. The deep Southern plantation does not exist. It's a set built by DW Griffith's Tom Ince in 1916. And so it looks like a plantation home you've probably seen it in these movies without realizing it was Tara; the filming of King Kong (1931), filming of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball show (1957), and Spielberg's E.T.. When Scarlett O'Hara vows never to go hungry again, she's actually looking over a field in Calabasas, California.

Remember how I told you that I would share why this post is little close to my heart? Well, Clark Gable is a relative of mine. Yep! My grandfather is his first cousin. And my grandfather knew Clark and use to see him at family gatherings when they first moved to California. Not only did grandfather know Clark but they resembled each other. My grandpa is in his eighties but still looks dashing in his mustache, broad shoulders, and same slick back hair. It's now all grey but he still is very handsome.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I love Fox Hunt decor. It's so timeless and very regal. I was thinking of decorating my husband's study in Fox Hunt. I think it's very masculine. However, I'm also a big fan of Fox Hunt myself. It makes me think of dark woods, green plaids, leather chairs, and brass light fixtures.

I really like tapestry bags. I have a couple that I keep on hand for a quick weekend getaway. I'd love to get my hands on this adorable Fox Hunt bag.

I could see this adorable but chic pillow on a nice leather sofa or recliner.
I can almost hear the fireplace crackle as I type this. I love the cool weather. Fall is my favorite season. However, we don't have very many cool nights in Texas but we do get a few.

I want this brooch! I want this brooch! I have several wool coats and sweaters that would look fantastic with this little guy. Does anyone else love brooches?

Perfect for entertaining. I would make appetizers and a dip with this cute serving platter and bowl.

This is a cute little cartoon dated back to the 1930's. I think it's fun.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Historical Home Wednesday ~ Eight

For this Historical Home Wednesday I've chosen, Oatlands Plantation. Oatlands Plantation is located in Loudoun, Virginia. It was built by George Carter in 1798. What makes this house unique is that it's considered to be America's second oldest house. This American beauty was built on 3,400 acres of farmland. It started as a wheat farm, but soon after expanded to grains, sheep, vineyard, and a full scale saw mill.

George Carter was the first in his family to be born in the new United States, rather than under British colony of Virginia. He studied law at the University of Pennyslvania. He was a very wealthy farmer and enjoyed the fine arts. He was involved in politics, a Federalist, believing in the strong centralization of power in the federal government.

In 1897, the Carter family sold Oatlands Plantation to Stilson Hutchins. Stilson Hutchins was the founder of the Washington Post newspaper. However, although Mr. Hutchins purchased the home he never took residence there.

Hutchins sold the property to Mr. and Mrs. William Corcoran Eustis.

W.C. Eustis came from a wealthy and influential southern family. His family originally came from Massachusetts, however, they moved to New Orleans in early 19th century. William's grandfather became the first chief justice of the first Supreme Court of Louisiana. His mother was the only child of the wealthy financier and philanthropist William Wilson Corcoran of Washington, D.C.. William Eustis also studied law but never pursued a career. He spent his life chasing his true passions, horses and hunting. Oatlands gave him a base in Virginia to breed horses and host fox hunts.

Mrs. Edith Morton Eustis also came from a wealthy family. She was one of five daughters born to a self-made financier and politician Levi P. Morton. She belonged to high society, had good looks, intelligence, and was very educated. When she was only 28, she wrote a novel, Marion Manning. It was published in 1902.

Mrs. Eustis restored the gardens. Mrs. Eustis added boxwood-lined parterres to the terraces, statues, and beautiful rose garden. She even added a gorgeous reflecting pool. Today her hard work and green thumb can be enjoyed by all who visit the grounds.

After her death in 1964, her family donated the estate to the National Trust under the National Trust Community Investment Corporation. Oatlands was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1972.

Thanks y'all for taking my Historic Home Wednesday Tour. Have a wonderful week.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fashion Inspiration

I think Marlene Dietrich had a lot of style for her time. I wish that society would go back to that era where they really took a lot of pride in their appearance. Many people look sloppy these days. They call it casual but it's just plain sloppy to me. The other weekend my husband and I drove to a little authentic Mediterranean restaurant. As we were being seated the young hostess asked why we were so dressed up. I honestly didn't know what to say. We were dressed as in our daily attire (nothing fancy).

I do take pride in what I wear. I try to coordinate my outfits and I believe that accessories can really pull everything together. I often like to reflect back to the 20's and 30's for inspirations. I do not believe in keeping up with fads. I see so many women make that mistake. Often fads are intended to market towards younger women (teens and 20's) but in my opinion I believe women should stay away from them as they mature. There is a saying in France, "Elegance is the privilege of age." I don't understand why everyone in the United States is so fearful of growing older. I embrace each stage of my life and I'm comfortable in my skin. Elegance is the respect that a woman has for herself.

I'm dress extremely conservative and I admire wardrobes full of silk and cashmere. Here is a few ideas I put together from using Marlene Dietrich as my inspiration.