Friday, March 30, 2012

Easter Basket Treats...Happy Friday

Hello! Happy Friday! I hope that you had a great week, I am sure that like mine you were busy. Life is like that sometimes. I never did find my Excel spreadsheet and had to start over, my dog was under the weather and had an emergency trip to the vet ( will post about that another day) but I did get my locks highlighted and cut! And am busy planning a few trips...Paris and Scotland are in the works.

 I am excited by the prospect of a weekend planting my pots with some beautiful lavender and geraniums and perhaps some sweet potato vines, and thinking of yummy treats to bake for Easter.

As I was perusing the grocery store the other afternoon and seeing all of the jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and Peeps I was wondering which kind of Easter candy was your favorite?

When you were small and unwrapped the cellophane from your basket and peered into the grass what did you hope to find? Whopper Eggs, jelly beans, Reese's peanut butter eggs, marshmallow eggs, Peeps?

A beautifully wrapped chocolate rabbit or perhaps a marshmallow cream egg?

Or a Cadbury Creame Egg?

Peeps! Chicks or bunnies?

Jelly Beans or speckled eggs?

I hope my friends that you have a fabulous weekend! Enjoy your family and friends.

Thank you to my new followers and to my blog supporters, I appreciate your kind comments and your visits!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Be a Paris Muse... Win a Carla Coulson Portrait Shoot

As I was doing my daily blog reading a few days ago,  I came across a wonderful give away at Vicki Archer's blog, French Essence. I am sure that many of you are familiar with Vicki, she is an author extraordinaire and purveyor all all things French.

In addition to her wonderful books, French Essence, and My Life is France Vicki shares her life and  favorite things about France, the French, fashion, scents, foods, art and so much more. Both of Vicki's books are filled with stunning photos that were taken by photographer Carla Coulson.

Book images from the French Essence Blog

Carla's "day job"is as a fashion photographer, writer and photographer of three books of her own, Chasing a Dream, Paris Tango, and Italian Joy;  and writes the blog Carla Loves Photography and Paris, and Italy and Life. She is an unbelievably talented lady and has begun a new venture.

via Pinterest

She writes, "It was whilst photographing fashion that I first witnessed the incredible transformation of a woman. A model would arrive, looking just like the girl next door and within hours, with the help of an incredible hair and make-up artist she was transformed into a butterfly. She would finish on the pages of a magazine with a beauty that seemed impossible. Women have the conception that these models are ‘extraordinary’ and I have learnt that they are just like us." (From Carla Love Photography and Paris, and Italy and Life on March 27, 2012).

To celebrate her new adventure Carla is offering all women the opportunity to look like a model in a magazine! The give away is a double shoot at her studio in the Lancaster Hotel in Paris or a shoot in Sydney, Australia. You could enjoy a wonderful day with makeup artist and hair dresser with your mother, your sister, best friend, your daughter or your granddaughter, which ever you chose. Or perhaps you would just like a day to yourself being pampered and styled into the best you that you can be... or a Paris Muse.

 If you visit her blog at this LINK, and follow the directions you could win the shoot! Let us know if you do!

Personally, I think it would be a lot of fun to do a photo shoot with my sister's or my mother, especially in Paris, what a trip to remember.

via Pinterest

I hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Meet an Austen, Quizilla and Me!

I have heard it said that as you get older time passes more quickly, I am not sure about that but I do know that usually on Wednesdays I am already counting the days to the weekend and I am hoping the next two days go by faster. I mean really who doesn't like the weekend, two days where your time is your own, you do not have to accomplish anything if you do not want to, you can relax and put aside work for a bit of time, you can stay up late, sleep in...should I go on?

Today, because I am trying to put my mind off the fact that I lost five days of work on an Excel spreadsheet which seems to have disappeared into computer oblivion, a bit like a sock in the dryer, but much more important;  I thought it would be fun to visit a new blog. I discovered this one a few days ago and I love it!

The blog is called, Emma Adaptations and is solely devoted to TV, film, and other adaptations of Emma by Jane Austen. My favorite part of the blog is this  QUIZ where you answer different questions to see just which Jane Austen heroine you are. After answering the questions as truthfully as I could here are my results.

My results: "You are Marianne Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are impulsive, romantic, impatient, and perhaps a bit too brutally honest. You enjoy romantic poetry and novels, and play the pianoforte beautifully. To boot, your singing voice is captivating. You feel deeply, and love passionately."

OK, for those of you that read my blog and have not met me in person, I would say that the above description is pretty accurate, except for the fact that I have never played the pianoforte, I did play the organ and the piano for a bit but I was not a big fan of either. As far as singing, I sing to myself and I would not really go so far as to say my voice is captivating but is passable. I am impulsive, romantic and my family would say impatient.
If you try this quiz and are looking for more, such as "Which female character are you from Downton Abbey?"

 Or "Which Chocolate dessert are you?" you can go over to Quizilla and join in the time wasting fun.

As for me, I am off to work to redo all of my hard work on my Excel spreadsheet. I hope that you have a great day and would love for you to take the quiz and let me know Which Jane Austen Character are you?

A side note: If you would like to know a bit more about me, I have used my limited computer knowledge to discover that "pages" are separate entries on a blog,  now have an About Me page.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Champ d 'Or For Sale

Are you having a good week so far? I was dragging yesterday, today though I know will be a better day because  I am taking a break to get my highlights touched up ( OK I am getting the grey covered up) and thinking of a new style but will have to decide in the moment. That always lifts my spirits! What about you, does a trip to the salon give your spirit a life?

Many of my blog friends or blogs that I read are having a tough time selling their homes. I know their pain because in 2006 before the market crash we put our house on the market in Florida, 18 months later we were still waiting for it to sell and were living in our new place. I won't go into the details and tell you about the stress but I will tell you that I had a lot less stress than the owners of the Champ d'Or.

Have you seen or heard about Champ d'Or? I have seen this house in a few newspapers lately,  it is going up for auction soon because it has been up for sale for a eight  years and they have not had any luck selling it. Personally, I am not sure they can just blame the economy.

The house was inspired by the Vaux le Vicomte, if you know it, Vaux le Vicomte was built for Nicholas Fouquet, the superintendent of finances for Louis XIV, outside of Paris and was the inspiration for Versailles.  Having visited Vaux  le Vicomte I really do not see the similarities but perhaps the architect took some creative licenses.

Champ d'Or is a 34,000 square foot house that is definitely one of a kind; it is located in Hickory Creek about 15 minutes from the Dallas Fort Worth Airport on roughly 112 acres.  The owners spent five years building their dream home, making each room to their specifications:  a two story master closet that is designed to look like the Chanel boutique in Paris, including a replica of Coco Chanel's famous staircase; a hall of mirrors ball room inspired by Versailles; and a tea room designed after New York City's Tavern on the Green to name just a few. Oddly before the last workman left the site the owners decided the house was too big for them and the put it on the market.


It has been on the market for the last eight years from $78-$38 million. The owners are tired of waiting for the house to sell so they listed  the house with Concierge Auctions and the bidding starts with a reserve of $10.3 million!

Chanel Boutique inspired closet

Ball room inspired by The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles
What do you think of this house? Personally, I think it is a little over the top but hey, "to each his own". I do think that the new owners who ever they are better have a lot of extra cash because it has been mentioned that this house requires a full time staff of four, and the taxes are quite high, not to mention the utilities!  But I guess if you have to ask about those things than you cannot afford it. I hope the house finally sells for the owners, it is very stressful to have a house on the market for so long, especially one that has been referred to as, "the best little teardown in Texas."

I hope you have a great Tuesday! I know I will!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Welcome Monday! Spring Break Ideas

Welcome Monday!!! I had to say it with a little enthusiasm because I feel like I am dragging today, I think it's the weather,  It is hot, hot hot, than cold, cold , cold! Is is Spring? Summer? Who knows?

I do know that my many of my friends and family are on Spring Break, doesn't that sound fun? Are you on Spring break? If so are you going anywhere fun? I am not on Spring Break myself but it did get my mind racing, if I was where would I like to be? What sort of adventure would I like to go on?

Would I be at a resort and relaxing at the pool?

Or would I be in the city?

Taking in a few shows?

Taking a trip to Paris?

Or would I just stay home and tackle a few projects? I am not too sure which sounds the best, perhaps a combination?

Do tell what are you up to this week? If you are relaxing on the beach with a pile of books and magazines and a box of bon bons tell us so that we can feel as if we are there with you! If you are walking along the Seine in Paris after sipping a chocolat chaud and snacking on a few macaroons I definitely want to hear about that. And of course if you are at home working as I am I want to hear about that too?

I hope that you have a fabulous week!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sights of Rome: La Scala Santa

As I mentioned my sister is going on her first trip to Rome this year and we have been talking about "must see" places, the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps and the Trevi fountain are just a few of the places that are on the schedule. On of the places that I suggested, is the La Scala Santa.

Do you know them? The Scala Santca or the Holy Stairs are one of the most important relics of the Catholic Church, they are the stairs believed to have been climbed by Jesus on his way to trial before Pontious Pilate. The stairs, according to legend were brought to Rome in the 4th Century by St. Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. For centuries, the Scala Santa had attracted Christian Pilgrims from around the world who wished to honor the Passion of Jesus, or just to have some of their sins absolved.

I  have been to Rome many times, with friends, with my husband and once as a chaperon to 20 boys from an all boys school in Chicago who had never been outside the country (that story we will save for another day), and in all the times I have visited Rome I have only been here once. I had been in Rome with my husband on that trip and he was working, so my friend who lived in Rome and I and her friend (who was on a pilgrimage) visited here. I had heard of it but honestly I had no idea what to expect.

What I did not expect was the "stairway to heaven" ( or that is what it felt like because I was delirious with pain), 28 MARBLE stairs, encased in wood that you MUST climb on your KNEES, let me reiterate, you climb them on your knees while saying a prayer on each step.  Now, that probably would not be so bad if you could go at your own pace. But you are at the mercy of the people in front of you which in my case were apparently some VERY DEVOUT pilgrims or something because after the 25 minutes on  my knees on warped marble I had only made it up 7 stairs. I have to be honest, by that point I was just praying that I did not pass out from the pain and fall backwards and hurt some faithful pilgrims. There is an official set of prayers, you can find them here, just in case you want to say them while you are visiting.

If you do not climb them on your knees you cannot go on the stairs, you can climb the stairs erected on either side and look down upon them and see the beautiful relics at the top.


The stairs lead to the Scanta Sanctorum (Holy of Holies), the personal chapel of the early Popes in the Lateran palace, also known as the chapel of St. Lawrence.

All joking aside, I am a Catholic and this is a very sacred, moving and beautiful place. I think it is a great place to visit when traveling to Rome, especially if you want to see something other than the norm.

All images from here. For further information, hours and pricing check this LINK.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What a find(s)! Paintings and Triple Chocolate Kettle Corn

From Etsy

First, let me begin by saying THANK YOU! I received so many beautiful and heartfelt comments and emails yesterday about my blog Anniversary. I am humbled by your kindness and your compliments. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Recently, this still life painting sold at a Massachusetts auction house for $190,000.00! What is significant about this piece of news is that the owner of this painting purchased it 18 months ago at his local South Carolina Goodwill for $3.00.  Leroy, a former antiques dealer had been perusing his local Goodwill and noticed the frame of this painting. When he got it home he thought perhaps it may be worth a bit more, so her researched similar still life's on eBay and decided he could sell it for $100.00.  His daughter- in- law had other ideas so she took it to the Antiques Roadshow and they recognized it as a 1650 Flemish painting and gave a conservative estimate of $30,000. It turns out that they were all wrong because on March 2, 2012 at auction the painting sold for $190,00!

Can you imagine one of your treasures turning out to be a Flemish work of art? Or perhaps the work of Ansel Adams? That was a story that took the art world by storm in 2010.  Rick Norsigian,  an artist/construction worker purchased the negatives 10 years ago at a garage sale, after a few years he hired an art investigator to gather information about the negatives. They were finally authenticated and valued at $200 million dollars! 
I have never found anything that turned out to be a Masterpiece but I have found a few treasures and they grace the walls and shelves of my own home. I love perusing antique shops for landscape paintings, old books and my newest obsession...transfer ware.

Tell me, what do you like to look for at the flea markets, antique stores, auctions and thrift shops. Have you found some wonderful treasures like me? Do tell, I am all ears and would love to hear all about them.

Also, if you are looking for a fun chocolate treat come over to my other blog Once Upon A Chocolate Life and recipe for Triple Chocolate Kettle Corn.

I hope that you have a fabulous week!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy Anniversary to ME or should I say Pine Cones and Acorns Blog!

I am so excited because today (or it was when I started writing ) is my One Year Blog Anniversary! Frankly, I cannot believe that I have found the time or the things to write about not only here at Pines Cones and Acorns but also at my other blog Once Upon a Chocolate Life.

I would like to thank all of the people that come to read my musings about life, travels, chocolate, art, and any other things that are on my mind that day.

my pup

my chocolate

my travels

 I have said before that I started reading blogs about 2006 and way back then purchased the book Blogging for Dummies but I just could not wrap my mind around the fact that someone might be interested in reading whatever I wrote, and at that point in time I had not idea what I might write or think of a name.
Finally I got up the nerve to register on Blogger in 2008 and every once in awhile I would go on and change the name of the blog or contemplate what I might write.

 Then I would buy a few more books on how to name your blog, and capture an audience. All the while I was reading and savoring the adventures I took everyday while perusing other blogs. I was in awe that these people could write and photograph such treasures everyday.

Image Pine Cones and Arcrns
In 2011 I guess I reached the tipping point as they say, it was now or never and I was not getting any younger, so I posted my first post. It was simple really,  a photo of a pub in Ireland and a greeting for St. Patricks Day and that is I how I ended up here, one year later.

As they say, "a journey of a thousand steps begins with one." From that one little post my world was changed, and then I then got one follower, Jeanne from Collage of Life.  I am telling you on that day it was as if I had won the lottery. Jeanne is a beautiful lady, both inside and out. Her adventures, her spirit,  her friendship, her four blogs and her comments kept me inspired and nurtured me. I send a big hug to you Jeanne and giant THANK YOU for being my first follower and for being the first person to put me on their blog roll!

From there I met Di at Yonks, as we were both really starting only a month apart it was great to learn and grow together. I was in awe of her wonderful photography, and always felt as if I was going along on her adventures to the auctions. Her friendship and her encouragement kept me plodding along, and also opened my blog world up to so many new people.

It is funny, as I sit here and write I am blessed by the friendship and encouragement of so many wonderful ladies. I feel as if clicking on the "magic" blog rolls of so many admired blogs I found some talented ladies who have become actual friends.

Many of the wonderful people came from Pamela Terry's blog From the House of Edward, if you do not know Pamela you must go and visit. She is the "mother" of Edward a beautiful white dog and her blog and stories transport you around the world, into dreams, celebrating holidays and on many other journeys. Pamela is a beautiful interior designer and writer from the South,  where she lives with Edward and Apple and her husband the Songwriter. Her blog is like stepping into a museum/library/curiosity shoppe. She "knows" everyone in blog land is a continual source of amusement and inspiration.

From Pamela's blog roll, I me the unbelievably talented, and beautiful lady,  Anita at Castles Crowns and Cottages. When you visit Castles Crowns and Cottages it is like stepping into an enchanted dream. Anita's writing, art and her beautiful spirit have taken me to such amazing places. In each post her words, music and images transport you, and give you a few minutes of bliss and beauty. They take you away from the mundane tasks of life and bring joy. Anita has become a wonderful friend to me outside of our blogs, and she has "introduced me to two other beautiful souls. Irina at Witty and Wise and Suzanne at Privet and Holly, the written word to these two ladies is like magic, their talent and kindness knows no bounds. I promise if you like great writing, and wonderful people these blogs are for you.

My diverse reading habits have also introduced me to Debra  of Acquired Objects; Debra's knowledge, and blog friendship is inspiring. I love learning about tapestry, textiles, fabrics, trim of course following along as she built her beautiful barn studio. If you are interested in antique textiles you must visit Debra, her knowledge and stock is mind boggeling and it is as if you are stepping back in time when you see her beautiful items.

Speaking of building,  I cannot recall how I found Tina at The Enchanted Home but when I set eyes on the building of her dream home I was hooked. Tina has been building for the last four years what looks like an English manor or perhaps a "cottage" the likes of which the Vanderbilt's, the Astor's and the Carnegie's built out in Newport, Rhode Island. The house and the craftsmanship are unforgettable, from the Limestone entrance, to the parquet floors, to the mantles from France and the wire fronted cabinets from England, each design item is carefully thought out and it makes for a stunning home. What is most notable, is Tina herself, she is kind, funny, honest and a wonderful friend, we share a great love for Ralph Lauren, red licorice, and Swedish fish, not to mention great design and now a fabulous online store!

Pamela's diverse blog roll also lead me to friends of the furry kind. Through her I met Hamish the Westie and I followed along on his adventures in the Scottish Highlands until he suddenly passed away. I have to tell you that I sobbed when I read that. I felt as if I lost a member of my own family. Hamish has gone on to a better place and his owner Gail, acquired a rambunctious little pup called, Bertie at Bouncing Bertie. The other furry friend that I follow religiously is Wilf the Pon. Wilf and his brother Digby (who also passed away) have moved from Scotland, to Umbria to France and their owners highlight life in an old farmhouse in the south of France. Angus and "the font" keep readers abreast of Wilfs time left here on earth, he has cancer, diabetes's, is blind and maybe deaf but his zest for life is contagious, not to mention that Angus is such a beautiful and philosophical writer.

Image Angus from Wilf the Pon

Before I write War and Peace let me just say this, on any given day I can sit at my computer and be transported to the deck of a sailboat in Cardiff, Wales with my friend Di, walk along the streets in England and in the future Vietnam with Jeanne, go onto trips to other worlds with Irina, Anita and Suzanne, learn about beautiful textiles with Debra, build and decorate an English country Manor house with my dear friend Tina, learn about fabulous gardens and the Bloomsbury Group with Sunday Taylor, all the while sipping my favorite hot chocolate.

I am in awe of their talent and continue to be surprised at the wonderful blog and fonts of knowledge that I have discovered this year.

Thank you for coming to visit me and for inspiring me on a daily basis. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday, enjoy the rest of your weekend.

All images my own, except the blog headers from their respective blogs.