Kristy Woodson Harvey: Slightly South of Simple

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Kristy Woodson Harvey (here), who I am lucky enough to call a blog friend, is the author of design blog Design Chic and three novels (here):

Her blog is one of my favorites. I won't spend a lot of time on this because I know you all know it. As her newest work of fiction is just launching, she has been dedicating the blog lately to all things related to her books, like southern homes, reading spaces, etc. It's so worth following if you don't already:

But on to the newest book, Slightly South Of Simple:

It is the first book in her Peachtree Bluff series, and is the perfect summer read (or anytime read, really). It is southern fiction and women's fiction at its best. It features four unique and complex strong female characters - a mother and her three daughters - and the various people in their lives. There is drama, romance, scandal, love, and plenty of design in this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Kristy was kind enough to send me an advance copy, and I stayed up half the night the night I started it because it was really that good. 

Here is what Amazon says about it (and you can click over here to read other reviews):
From the next “major voice in Southern fiction” bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand) comes the first in an all-new series chronicling the journeys of three sisters and their mother—and a secret from their past that has the potential to tear them apart and reshape their very definition of what it means to be a family.  
Caroline Murphy swore she’d never set foot back in the small Southern town of Peachtree Bluff; she was a New York girl born and bred and the worst day of her life was when, in the wake of her father’s death, her mother selfishly forced her to move—during her senior year of high school, no less—back to that hick-infested rat trap where she'd spent her childhood summers. But now that her marriage to a New York high society heir has fallen apart in a very public, very embarrassing fashion, a pregnant Caroline decides to escape the gossipmongers with her nine-year-old daughter and head home to her mother, Ansley.
Ansley has always put her three daughters first, especially when she found out that her late husband, despite what he had always promised, left her with next to nothing. Now the proud owner of a charming waterfront design business and finally standing on her own two feet, Ansley welcomes Caroline and her brood back with open arms. But when her second daughter Sloane, whose military husband is overseas, and youngest daughter and successful actress Emerson join the fray, Ansley begins to feel like the piece of herself she had finally found might be slipping from her grasp. Even more discomfiting, when someone from her past reappears in Ansley's life, the secret she’s harbored from her daughters their entire lives might finally be forced into the open. Exploring the powerful bonds between sisters and mothers and daughters, this engaging novel is filled with Southern charm, emotional drama, and plenty of heart.
I won't spoil the ending for you, but I will say that if you like historical, southern, and female fiction, you'll love the novel (as do 100% of the reviewers an Amazon)

Thank you so much for the opportunity to post about your new book Kristy. You are a powerhouse my friend!!

50 Favorites for Friday

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Happy weekend everyone!

House Updates, Outdoor Furniture Ideas, and 35 Gorgeous Outdoor Pools

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

This might be the longest post I have ever written, and I am so glad to have time tonight and to reconnect with all of you.

I am opening my pool myself this year for the first time, which made me want to post about pools. I have this new commitment to learning how my house works. (For real, so stop laughing). I want to learn how to take care of the pool, how to fix the walls (correctly), how to change venting filters, how to use a caulk gun, etc. I have done many of those things before, but the key is I want to lean how to do them right and not risk making things worse every time I go to fix a problem. So I'm studying up, and learning that preparation and tools are everything.  And I guess practice, too.

Speaking of outdoors, I was in Lowes the other day. Well, I've actually been in Lowes every day as a part of my new goal to learn how to work my house (By the way, do you all know how many kinds of caulk there are!?! Way too many if you ask me). Anyway, I saw these pillows and thought they were nice. I am going to try to get the patio furniture out this weekend and then will reassess what pillows I might need, and I'm sure I'll need a few. Actually I think a few of these shots might be from Home Goods, but you get the idea:


I do know from experience that if you are going to buy outdoor items at Lowes, buy soon - it seems that they sell out every season before Memorial Day, at least in my experience. Which drives me absolutely crazy, but that's a rant for another day.

Oh, and I have an almost completed bathroom to show you! Here it is with paint - what a difference that makes:

I'm still waiting on the shower door and then I need a window shade and accessories. I usually use Smith & Noble for windows, but I recently learned that is a fraction of the cost, so I ordered samples there. Have any of you ever used them? I'm not a fan of the website so much, but for half price I can deal. I'm going to do a top down bottom up in either fabric (silver, silk maybe), or natural fiber. I want to use the top down feature to cover the view of the house in the back. It's definitely the least attractive view from our house because an older single woman lives alone there, and she can't really maintain the back of the home. But she's very sweet and doesn't complain about the teenagers being much too loud much too late at night in the summer, so it's all good.  

Moving on, I found this website the other day (Custom Cushions, here) that makes custom Sunbrella cushions. I have a long built in bench outside that I never got a pillow for, so I just ordered one here yesterday. They also do custom patio umbrellas and other bench, chaise, and throw pillows. It's a really fun website and not too expensive. How much fun would it be to design your own patio umbrellas!? I can't fully recommend them because I don't have the product yet, but I'll update as soon as I do.

Tonight we met my father and his wife for dinner to celebrate Ellie's birthday. It is a great restaurant, although dark and hard to get good photos in. But I wanted to share a few. Here is Ellie opening a dress from Beverly, and one of me with Dad:


And one of the teenager who desperately needs a haircut but refuses one just to spite his adoring mother. Maybe I'll tell him I like his hair long because it makes him look younger and makes his face look more like it did as a baby (it does). That should do it!

And one of Ellie modeling her new dress. Where oh where did the time go? (Oh, and she doesn't know it yet, but she will not be wearing that as a dress. Maybe as a tunic or beach cover up, but not alone).

Finally, for patio furniture, this is the best pricing I've seen in a long time. I've noticed that lighting prices are way down lately, too, but I don't really know why:

Ok, now onto the dream pools....

What I Love Wednesday: Stunning Staircases

A long time reader emailed me recently about a post I did years ago on staircases, and it made me think I should do another with some more recent images. I hope you enjoy, and keep those suggestions coming if there is something you'd like to see me post about!

Beautiful Outdoor Spaces

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It's tine! Time to haul the furniture back outside, open the pool, plant the flowers, pull the weeds.... Sounds like a lot doesn't it? It is, but worth every second. My house is never going to look like these, but I'm going to try to make it as close as possible this year. I'm opening the pool today and doing some yard clean up this weekend.  The trees and flowers are starting to bloom in the front - here's a quick look:

And here are 25 of my favorite outdoor spaces this spring:

Bathroom Update and Kitchen Love

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Our master bath is getting really close! We just need paint, baseboards, shower door, and decorating (mirrors, lighting, etc). Here is where we are today:

This is the new expanded shower with the mosaic tile. I can't wait to see the glass door installed tomorrow: 

I really like the vanities and hope the minimal storage helps us stay organized (and keeps us from accumulating too much junk):

And here are a couple of tile detail shots:

And the other thing I wanted to share today is some kitchens I love:

And here are a couple of really excellent sales that started this weekend:

Happy Monday everyone! See you tomorrow.