chocolate chip pie slice being lifted out of pie
Easy Chocolate Chip Pie ~ A Family Favorite

Hands down, this recipe is one of the easiest and most-requested desserts I have ever made! My mom made this for us when we were kids, and then it became my signature dessert when I was a teenager. Lol- I would make it all the time! When I went to college, I continued to make it for my college friends- and then on and on. Here I am with teenagers myself, and I am still making it! The good news is that kids can easily learn to make it, too!

chocolate chip pie with a slice cut out of it on a pie server

Chocolate Chip Pie Recipe

Ingredients

1 Deep Dish Pie Shell

1 egg

1 cup sugar

1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup self-rising flour

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2- 1 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS~

Melt butter.

Add slightly beaten egg.

Add flour, sugar, chocolate chips, and pecans.

Pour into unbaked deep-dish pie shell.

Bake at 325 degrees (F) for 50-60 minutes.

Remove from oven and let set.

Serve as is or enjoy with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup!

chocolate chip pie slice on white plate with ice cream and chocolate sauce

A few notes…

I put a sheet pan under the pie while it cooks to catch any over spill.

I once tried using 2 regular pie shells instead of one deep-dish pie shell. The pie was thin and not as good as when you use a deep-dish.

I check the pie at 50 mins. and then decide if it needs more minutes added to it. Because our ovens all cook differently, be sure to check it at 50 mins. to decide.

chocolate chip pie slice being lifted out of pie

I hope you love it! Pin it for later to save it…

chocolate chip pie recipe cover

Cheers xo,

Lydia

blonde lady wearing sweater closing blue door in front of a house
Row Row Row Your Boat ~ Cara Brown Style

When Cara Brown gets inspiration for something new, you know it is going to be good! Cara has such a way with developing one-of-a-kind items…and her new sweaters are no exception. They are just another example of her creative genius!

blonde lady wearing sweater closing blue door in front of a house

Cara’s latest creation is a collection of cashmere sweaters that feature vintage silk scarves reimagined in the most beautiful way. The scarves are carefully designed to mesh with the sweater to create a unique piece of clothing.

blonde lady with white jeans and sweater standing in front of palm tree on front porch
Please excuse the insane amount of pollen that has suddenly fallen from the trees!

Look carefully at the bottom right of my sweater and you can see the words, “Row your boat” hand-embroidered. I love the combination of whimsy and sophistication! And the sleeves on this sweater are fabulous! They hit perfectly and have such pretty understated details. And, let’s talk about the back detail…

lady in white jeas and gray sweater holding green plant in white container

Hand embroidery is also on the back of my sweater for an added thoughtful detail. “Life is but a dream” completes the feel that Cara is expressing in this collection.

white jeans and back of sweater that reads life is but a dream

The cashmere sweater is so warm and cozy for fall, winter, and early spring- and it will be perfect for summer nights at the beach. I can’t wait to wear as often as I can and mix it up from casual to dressier.

blonde lady in nautical sweater standing in front of greenery

Trusting Cara with the details is part of the fun! You never know from design to design where you will find her small touches. I especially love how Cara adds part of the silk scarves to the elbows of the sweater- and each sweater is done in a completely different way. As another offering, Cara has the option to customize your embroidered message. If you prefer having something in particular, just let her know!

blonde lady in white jeans and sweater with red boat steering wheel

If you love really special, one-of-a-kind items to wear and enjoy, you will fall in love with these sweaters! You may also remember how much I enjoy wearing Cara’s necklaces- go here – Cara Brown Designs Necklaces – to see her creative side expressed through jewelry.

blonde lady at blue front door

Look at this gorgeous one! I love the great-looking scarf that Cara used- there is nothing as luxe as silk and cashmere together! There are so many beautiful choices – and the possibilities and combinations of style, fit and colors feel endless.

ivory cashmere sweater with silk scarf front

Even on days when life may not feel like an absolute dream, Cara turns that boat around for you when you slip her luxury sweater over your head! Instant mindset shift! It reminds you to keep rowing!

You can contact Cara through Instagram or her website Cara Brown Designs.

gray sweater detail on sleeve and back

Cheers xo,

Lydia

Valentine Barbie Heart Shaped Wreath by Parker Kennedy Living
Lydia Loves ~ A Special Edition for Valentine’s Day

Here are my “Six Picks” for the week- I have loved finding several unique and beautiful ideas to share with you in time for Valentine’s Day!

  1. Cuddle + Kind Dolls~ for years, I have loved gifting Cuddle and Kind to children and newborns. I love the personalities of each doll, and I love the mission of the company. They are heirloom-quality dolls, hand-crafted, and full of cuteness! Visit their site to see all of the different animals.
cuddle and kind fawn stuffed animal dolls

2. Sweet Bella’s Cookies Holiday Shop ~ Martha, of Sweet Bella’s, offers holiday cookies that are so fun and beautiful. They can be shipped or picked-up locally (Atlanta, GA or Columbus, GA). Martha is so talented! I love her selection of Valentine cookies!

valentine cookies by sweet bella

3. Condor Chocolate– Condor is an authentic chocolate destination in Athens, GA. I love their hot chocolate gift sets, their chocolate sauce, their baked goods, and their candy! Their drinking chocolate is something to sip, too! You can order from their online shop.

condor chocolate bar with georgia pecans

4. Valentine Barbie Wreath by Parker Kennedy Living ~ I’ve never seen a Valentine quite like this! Lance of Parker Kennedy Living outdid himself on this gorgeous heart-shaped Barbie Valentine’s Day wreath. His signature wreath style adorned with vintage jewelry ready for gifting. I would love it if the wreath would, “Be Mine”! What a fun and whimsical way to celebrate February and all through the year. Love and Barbie are never out of season, right?

Valentine Barbie Heart Shaped Wreath by Parker Kennedy Living

5. Dixie Designs Valentine Cards and Invitations ~ Dixie Designs has you covered for Valentine cards, invitations, multi-card sets, and more! There are so many beautiful and/or cute designs, you may have a hard time choosing! I love them all! Here is an example- stop by their shop linked above to see the full collection of designs.

dixie designs dalmatian valentines day card

6. Pretentious Glass Handblown Bourbon or Beer Glasses– These glasses make great gifts for the hard-to-buy-for-guy! I love the unique shapes and I also like the glasses that look like they are leaning or wobbling. Don’t let the name of the company fool you- that is tongue-in-cheek! I have bought these for my husband and love their quality and style.

pretentious glass bourbon leaning glass

I hope you find some fun gift ideas in this list! The last Lydia Loves edition had several ideas for Valentine’s Day, too! Be sure to check the always-growing list of gift ideas and fun finds in Lydia Loves. Thanks, Friends!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

cara-brown-designs-horse-brass-necklaces
Cara Brown Designs ~ Necklaces ~ Special Sale

Horse Brass and “Found Objects” made into hand-beaded necklaces are Cara Brown’s signature style- and we have a special sale on both for friends of The Party Wagon!

cara-brown-designs-horse-brass-necklaces

Cara’s necklaces are hand-crafted after she selects the perfect brass pieces from England. Cara is very choosy when it comes to the brass that she considers for her jewelry. Her selections are based on age, condition, and the story behind each piece.

cara brown horse brass necklaces with colored beads in green red gray

To complement the brass, Cara sources beads and stones that show-off the beautiful horse brass pieces and hand-knots the pieces together. Each one is owning and wearing a mini work of art with historical significance. If you love mixing antique with a modern twist like I do, you will love the look of these necklaces…

cara brown horse brass necklaces with hearts

I have a horse brass necklace that has a sun-shape in the middle- I love all of the different designs that Cara Brown finds. I am literally stopped everywhere I go and asked about my necklace. They are unique and fascinating- in addition to elevating every outfit you wear. My horse brass necklace is the best and easiest necklace I have owned.

cara brown horse brass necklaces and found objects letter r

If you prefer a different size and look other than the horse brass necklace, Cara Brown also has a line that she creates from antique objects that she finds. Cara’s creative eye is always drawn to the most interesting pieces. From the clean lines of the “R” necklace above to the intricate details of owls, mini aquariums, barrettes, and charms…

cara brown horse brass and found objects necklaces with owl

One of the most charming pieces in this collection that Cara created for us, is the miniature aquarium seen below on the far right…

cara brown found object necklaces and horse brass necklace

Here is a close-up view of that aquarium. What a cool piece of jewelry!

cara brown designs found objects necklace mini fish aquarium

The necklaces below have such gorgeous bead details to go along with the antique baubles.

cara brown designs found objects necklaces the party wagon

More found objects hand-beaded by Cara…all of these are included in the special sale for friends of The Party Wagon. They are available on a first come, first served basis. Each necklace is a one-of-a-kind.

cara brown designs found objects necklaces with barrette

For my friends who see me quite often, they know I wear my horse brass necklace most everywhere I go. I have enjoyed it so much, and I especially love how it pulls an outfit together. When I don’t have it on, I put it in a bowl to use it as a display accessory in our home. It doesn’t deserve to be in a drawer. 🙂 I travel with it all of the time and enjoy telling people the story of Cara Brown and her creative talents.

cara brown designs horse brass necklace charleston map

To be very transparent, I love being able to share the sale with you all because I have tried out and loved Cara’s necklaces. Cara gifted me the necklace (above) in July, and I have enjoyed wearing it constantly over the past 7 months. When I find something I love, I love sharing it with you all. I suggested to Cara this idea of offering the half-price sale to you because of my genuine love of her craftsmanship and art. This is a collaboration between Cara and me to share her work, and I am not being paid any part of the purchase price when you purchase through me. It is simply my way of thanking Cara for such a wonderful gift and of sharing an opportunity for you.

cara brown necklaces on lydia menzies of the party wagon in charleston sc

Cara’s necklaces retail for around $800. She is offering a special sale price to us for $397.50 on the necklaces shown in the photos above. Please leave me a comment or send me an email at lydiamenzies at hotmail dot com if you would like to purchase. I am happy to answer any questions you have. You can also read more about Cara Brown on my site. You can find her online shop at Cara Brown Designs.

loving cup champagne holder in brass on bar cart
Using Loving Cups to Decorate Your Home

Not too long ago, Parker Kennedy Living hosted a live video on Instagram to share how to make floral arrangements using flowers, greenery, and citrus. I videoed the lesson and took photos while Lance and David worked on creating the arrangements. So many people fell in love with the loving cup that he used on his cocktail table shown below…

loving cup trophy cup with flowers

After receiving so many comments and messages asking to know more about the “trophy cup” and how to find one, I suggested to PKL that we host another video sharing more about vintage and antique loving cups. They have a wonderful history, and they can be used for gorgeous displays in your home.

loving cups filled with flowers top view

While Lance and David headed to Saudi Arabia to work on a design project, I headed to antique shops and scoured for loving cups. I found so many beautiful options, and really enjoyed the hunt. I also developed a new appreciation for those who find antique treasures for a living- it is fun but also tiring! Lol! I was surprised at how exhausted I felt after searching in several large antique shops- but, at the end of the day, you realize how you just spent your entire day walking!

loving cups on mantle with tulips

I was pretty excited about my haul after a week of hunting, and I couldn’t wait to show Lance. We had decided we would share how lovely they look grouped together and on their own. We had a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and ages of loving cups- and it was so much fun to put all of this together to share with all of you!

loving cup champagne holder in brass on bar cart

Originally, I was focused on finding loving cups that were the size of the one that Lance and David have on their cocktail table. I quickly realized that it was going to be harder to find that exact look. I am glad that I shifted my focus, because finding the smaller versions proved to be really fun. I loved reading the engraving on each one! My absolute favorite said, “Girl of the Year 1967”.

loving cups grouped with orchids and roses

I also really loved finding a silver ice bucket with two handles that offered the same look and feel of a loving cup. It looks beautiful paired with a bronzed loving cup filled with roses…

loving cup ice bucket with champagne

Loving cups have a long history of being used for special occasions, and they symbolize unity. With two handles typically placed on each side of the cup, the loving cups represent a union of marriage. The couple would each drink from the cup to signify the union of marriage. Throughout history, loving cups were held in high esteem as they were passed down from generation to generation in families.

loving cups used for decorating your home and valentines day

Because of the special meaning of loving cups, the shape also became a universally used shape for trophies. Finding antique trophies and awards was a treat- I could imagine the life each one had touched along the way and appreciated how special it was to the recipient at one time. It made me want to keep them all and give them a place of honor in my home. 🙂 The trophy cup below on the right became one of my favorites…

loving cups trophy cup filled with flowers

As you can see, Lance and I used cut tulips (I found the tulips at Trader Joe’s) for the loving cups- but we also potted mini plants inside of the loving cups. Lance brought moss to use to cover the soil and to give the floral arrangement a polished, finished look.

loving cups planted with orchids

In the live video that we did, we shared how to style a champagne bar cart. We added fruit, appetizers, and cookies to go along with the champagne. We discussed cheeses that pair well with champagne- along with smoked salmon.

loving cup with roses on bar cart

Below, you can see the small trophy that we used for the tulips- I think that would make such a unique bud vase for a desk, powder room, or other small space. It adds character and is a conversation starter, for sure!

loving cup trophy with tulips and press for champagne button

Lance added the tea towel to the cart, and I love how it finishes off the bar cart display. Such a simple detail can add so much- just like adding a bow to the top of a package.

loving cup styled on champagne bar cart

Originally, I had not intended to keep the large brass loving cup champagne bucket- but after using it, I couldn’t give it up! I have loved it ever since and I have used it over and over. I often add plants to it when I need it for something other than an ice bucket.

loving cup large champagne bucket brass

Below, you can see a closer view of the inscription from the champagne company. It is a beautiful piece, as they all are. I love having the large and small versions of loving cups placed around our home. I hope you have also found some interesting ways to use them in your home, too.

loving cups grouped on bar cart with raspberries and mint

For more photos and ideas on setting up a champagne brunch and tea serving cart, see the sister post to this one. I kept going with ideas after Lance and I finished this set-up. I would love to know what you think of loving cups/trophy cups!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

chocolate pecan candy three heart platter
Chocolate Pecan Candy- My Aunt’s Recipe

My aunt and uncle had a huge pecan tree in their yard- which was always nice for those of us who love pecans! Even better, my aunt would take those pecans and make a really simple but delicious pecan candy for us.

chocolate pecan candy my aunts recipe
chocolate pecan candy on heart platter

My kids and their cousins always loved climbing the tree, picking the pecans, and using the fancy rolling pecan picker that completely fascinated them. We all loved it that the kids would enjoy playing outside and picking what felt like a million pecans! The payment for their work was often chocolate pecan candy.

chocolate pecan candy three heart platter

This recipe is easy and makes a perfect candy for gifting or for serving. I hope you enjoy this simple treat that my aunt always made for us!

Chocolate Pecan Candy Recipe

1 lb. (16 oz.) coarsely chopped pecans

2 cups of Ghirardelli chocolate chips (I use half semi-sweet and half milk chocolate chips)

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

2 teaspoons vegetable oil (optional)

Coarse Sea Salt

Instructions:

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Spread pecan pieces evenly across baking sheet.

Slice butter and add pats of butter scattered around the pecans.

Heat oven to 250 degrees (F).

Place pecans and butter in oven and toast for 5 minutes.

Using a spatula, turn pecans and the melted butter, being sure to coat the pecans.

Bake for 5 minutes and then carefully stir pecans, turning them so that they are evenly toasted.

Repeat this step until pecans are toasted- this takes about 20 minutes total. Watch pecans carefully, as ovens vary, and remember to turn the pecans every 5 minutes.

After pecans are toasted, remove from oven and let cool.

After pecans have cooled enough to handle, melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. I typically melt chocolate chips for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted and smooth.

(Optional step) If you prefer, add 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to the melted chocolate and stir until well mixed. The oil helps the chocolate have a smoother finish, but I usually leave out this step.

Stir toasted pecans and melted chocolate together in bowl and mix until pecans are well-coated.

Using a tablespoon, spoon out individual servings of the pecan mixture onto waxed paper.

Sprinkle salt onto the candy. I usually leave some unsalted for those who prefer no salt (such as my children).

Let set.

Transfer to a serving dish or box/bag for gifting.

So simple and so tasty!

I hope you enoy!

chocolate pecan candy being picked up from plate

ENJOY!

Cheers xo,

Lydia