brunette lady in white dress with orange sleeves and embroidered flowers
Lydia Loves ~ My Favorite Picks for the Week!
  1. Embroidered Dip Dyed Dress ~ I love a really unique dress and couldn’t resist sharing this one with you. It is happy and vivid- and I love the unexpected colors and embroidery. This one is a winner- and I am loving the comeback of beautiful sleeves!
brunette lady in white dress with orange sleeves and embroidered flowers

2. Eyelet Tiered Dress – For something a little more casual and in a unique and beautiful color, try this eyelet dress. I love it with flats or a strappy sandal.

lady wearing mustard yellow eyelet dress on patio with blue wall

3. White Dress with Yellow Embroidery ~ This cute summer dress is on sale! I love the sleeves and how breezy and light the dress is. I think it looks best with sandals or a cute slide. You could keep the look neutral or even pair it with a bright colored purse to mix it up.

white short dress with puffy sleeves and yellow embroidery

4. Blue and White Stripe Midi Dress– This dress is gorgeous for spring and summer- and you really won’t believe the price! It’s a steal! They have several different colors if you prefer something other than blue stripes!

lady with long brown hair wearing blue and white stripe midi dress

5. Black and White Geometric Design Dress– This dress is a great choice if you prefer neutral colors but also like pattern. It will easily transition into fall, too! The price is under $30.00 right now. I love how you can add any color accessories to this dress to complete the outfit!

black-white-geometric-print-dress on model

6. Blue and White Summer Dress – This dress has a similar feel to it as the one above, but in more traditional patterns- and in blue and white! I love this one, too! It is easy to wear and could even double as a swim cover, if you like! This dress is currently priced around $26.00.

lady with blonde hair wearing blue and white summer dress

7. Mint Green Summer Dress– This dress comes in other colors, but I love this mint! What an easy outfit to toss on for the day! You could also easily add a jacket or sweater with it, if needed. Again, this one is under $30.00.

lady-wearing-summer-dress mint green

8. Blue and White Stripe Summer Dress ~ The most perfect summery dress in blue and white stripes! Easy, breezy, and beautiful! I love the dress paired with straw- or you could also add pops of color to it if you wanted. The price (under $20) makes it a bargain, and the style and pattern make it a classic favorite.

blue and white summer dress and straw bag

9. Orange Maxi Dress– I love the halter style top and the long, flowing skirt. This maxi dress is affordable and so chic! It is priced under $40.

orange maxi dress with white clutch bag

10. Red Flutter Sleeve Eyelet – If you are looking ahead to July 4th weekend and want a great top to pair with shorts, pants or a skirt…this one has you covered! It is spirited but can also be worn all summer. What a great color, too! I always like finding ways to show my love for red white and blue in the prettiest ways!

black model wearing red flutter sleeve top and blue and white gingham headband

11. Mini Straw Tote – This tote is perfect for summer days! The gingham scarf tie makes it stand out with personality and polish. This is the type of bag that I would buy and use for years because it is stylish and classic.

mini straw tote bag with blue and white gingham scarf

12. Blue and White Stripe Beach Bag ~ I love the shade of blue on this bag! It is so pretty and convenient for the pool and the beach. It is the classic Draper James blue stripe, and I love the look! What a great way to carry all of our things!

turquoise and white striped beach bag

I hope you find some fun summer ideas for your closet! I love sourcing these for you, and I also love hearing feedback on what you would like to see more or less of when I am sharing ideas. Shopping is one of my favorite past times, and it is fun to shop along with you!

Have a great week!

Cheers,

Lydia xo

This post contains affiliate links. By clicking on the links, I may make a small commission on the linked item. This will not affect your price or purchase. The commission is paid to me by the retailer to help support this blog which helps me continue to create new content for you all.

hero grill with shishkabobs
Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day gift ideas are always welcome because we know that it can be a little tricky to buy for the men we love. I wanted to pull together some ideas that may be helpful if you are short on ideas! Gift-giving is one of my favorite ways to show people that I care, and so I always love shopping and sharing!

  1. HERO Portable Grill – This grill has become perfect for our family as we venture out to the beach. The entire grill system gives you exactly what you need for a convenient way to pack up a grill and cook on the go. My husband is hard to buy for, and he loves this grill. It packs into a carry case and is great for year-round ideas such as tailgating, camping, lakeside, and beach life. It is great for serving a small group- and it is easy on clean up! It’s such a smart invention and has eco-friendly components. Can you tell I like it? 🙂
mini-portable-grill-with burgers
hero-portable-grill-carrier

2. Kentucky Bourbon Belt – A way to wear your bourbon without looking sloppy! :0

blue belt embroidered with kentucky bourbon names

3. Angel’s Envy Bourbon- This bourbon was recommended to me by a Nashville bartender several years ago and became my husband’s favorite right away. I take his word for it as he puts this on his wish list each year!

angels-envy-bourbon

4. Sweet Kaki’s Apple Pie ~ If you are local to GA (specifically Newnan and surrounding areas), you will want to go ahead and order 2 of these! Kaki sent me a pie to try several months ago, and I can’t stop thinking about how good it was. I love apple pie, and this one is a stunner. 🙂 Kaki is one to watch as she takes over apple pie lovers’ hearts one bite at a time! I ordered one for my dad, and I know he is going to be so happy about it!

blonde lady wearing a black shirt and an ecru apron with sweet kakis on it andholding apple pie

5. Caroline’s Cakes ~ Caroline’s Cakes is another idea for shipping something delicious for Father’s Day. The caramel cake is the signature cake, but they also have items ranging from pimento cheese to barbeque! This cake even made it onto Oprah’s Favorite Things!

7 layer caramel cake

6. Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit Father’s Day Box ~ Mmmm- this is such a great combo of favorites for Dads (and the whole family, really). Check out all of the delicious treats that are included and have it shipped right to your door!

3 biscuits with sausage bacon and pimento cheese

7. Tip Top Proper Cocktails ~ These little cans offer a big surprise in quality and taste! I was gifted a set of these cocktails in a can and loved each one. So portable and convenient- they are great for the beach, picnics, tailgating, by the pool, or even right at home. Chill and serve! They are a brilliant idea. Currently in the works to become available in several states and by ordering online- check to see if your state is one of the states that sells Tip Top. They are new on the scene and started in Atlanta, GA.

tip top proper cocktail can of manhattan

8. Sherwood Forest Golf Club Llama Caddies ~ If you are looking for an experience-based gift that can be used when travel feels safe to you again, check out Sherwood Forest Golf Club. Their llama caddies are all the rage! What a fun and unique experience to give and to remember!

llamas on golf course as caddies

9. Vineyard Vines Classic Plaid Button Down Shirt– The color of this shirt is called “Strawberry Blonde”. I love the soft pastels and the classic fit. If you prefer a more subdued look, VV has many different patterns and colors. I always love shopping at Vineyard Vines for my husband and my dad!

blue pink and white plaid vineyard vines shirt

10. Daddy’s Little Dress Shirts – This is one of the sweetest ideas I have seen in a while! Although it is technically not a gift “for” Dad, it is such a sentimental gift, that I wanted to include it in the Father’s Day Gift Guide. These adorable outfits are made by using men’s dress shirts that you would like to have made into an outfit for a child. So, choose a shirt that has been lovingly worn by Dad and have it transformed into a dress for a child. That is the sweetest! What a beautiful way to preserve a little bit of family history.

sleeping baby girl in dress and bloomers with headband and tulips

Well, I hope that a few of these ideas helped you choose something for the important men in your life. I hope it is a great day for the dads!!

Cheers,

Lydia xo

three blonde ladies standing in grass beside beach wearing pink and white dresses
Lydia Loves~ Favorite Fashion Finds and More
three blonde ladies standing in grass beside beach wearing pink and white dresses

Favorite finds from retailers are some of my favorite things to bring to you- especially as we have been trying to support our businesses across our country during this pandemic.

I have held off on posting my “Lydia Loves” selections lately- not because I don’t constantly find things I love, but because I am trying to decide on a better way to share them. I am hoping to have a great way to make it easy to share and to find them all in one place eventually. In the meantime, I was accepted to join Like to Know It and this will let me share items and be able to connect you right to them. I am excited to begin with Liketoknowit- and you can follow me on the app to see what I am sharing!

Here are some of my favorites for this week…

  1. White Maxi Dress with Floral Embroidery from Chic Wish – I am often asked about this maxi dress that I am wearing in the photo below (that’s me on the right), and so I wanted to let you know where to find it…you can also add in code “summer10” for 10 percent off!
two ladies wearing dresses standing on the grass besid palm trees and the beach

2. Boho Embroidered Dress by Chic Wish – I also love this easy going but so beautiful dress. You can dress it up or wear with sandals. It is so comfy! You can also add a belt if you would like to change up the silhouette.

lady wearing ecru dress with boho embroidered flowers with hands on her head

3. Summery Blue Striped Dress – how pretty is this classic sundress in blue stripes? I love the look and also how easy it is to layer a sweater over it for cooler spring days. And- it is on sale right now!

lady leaning on white wall wearing a summery blue stripe sundress with ruffle hem

4. Balloon Sleeve Organza Shirt I love white statement shirts and the versatility of them! This blouse stands out with its sleeves- and it is perfect to pair with everything from shorts to a midi skirt. I think it would look great with a pair of pink, or green, or blue, or yellow pants. It is an amazingly good price point, too!

lady in white pants and white organza shirt with polka dot sleeves

5. Daisy Tank ~ For a splurge, I love this top from Sea New York! It is actually on sale right now. I love the sleeve that hits in the most flattering way. The color is also so pretty without being overly sweet! It is a perfect shade of coral~

daisy eyelt tank with flutter sleeve on brown haired lady in jeans

6. Balloon Sleeved Romper– this romper is so cute and a perfect dressy-casual look. It is a little on the big side, so keep that in mind when ordering. I love the loose scrunchie holding the model’s hair and I also like this romper with a Twilly added to a ponytail. The romper also comes in yellow.

lady in black romper with balloon sleeves holding hat with hair in messy side bun with scrunchie

7. Aubrey Printed Scarf– this scarf is 2o” square and makes a great addition wrapped onto the handles of your favorite bag, tied onto one handle of a tote or purse, tied in your hair, or even around your wrist. I love the colors of this pink version and it also comes in other color ways. It’s an easy way to add a something new to your outfit, and it can be used again and again! P.S. It’s only $20!

square scarf in pink red green print with a border

8. Marimekko Dress– I am always a sucher for Marimekko, and this dress is so pretty and happy. It comes with a belt and so you can have 2 different looks. I love the soft colors with the bold flowers! It is a splurge-worthy, classic Marimekko look.

lady wearing dress with bold flower print in yellow pink and white

9. Nantucket Reds Tretorns– my daughter and I bought these last summer and we have loved them. I should say she has loved them more than she has let me love them lol! But, yes- an iconic Nantucket fabric symbolic of the island combined with an iconic tennis shoe can be too hard to resist! We bought ours at Murray’s Toggery on Nantucket, but you can purchase them right here, too!

nantucket-reds-tretorn-tennis-shoes

10. Floral Dress – this dress looks beautiful on and is available in a couple of sizes currently. It is on sale and so I wanted to share it with you in case it is just your size and just your look! I think it is such a great dress for summer dinners as we venture back out (hopefully!).

I hope that you love this first installation of my fashion finds as much as I love sharing them with you. It makes me want to go get dressed and go do something fun! Even if it’s only in the back yard!

Let me know what you would like to see more of in the fashion finds- here are a few questions that would be helpful to know as I find more things to share with you.

Do you like when I add in “splurge” pieces?

Would you like for me to include more accessories?

Would you like for me to gather ideas for the home and give you links to shop for them?

Thank you for being here and for being such a fun part of each day with me! Chat soon!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

table setting with orange and lance name place card
How to Create a Simple Table Setting

Creating a beautiful table setting is easy to learn! Here are some of my simple tips for making your tables look polished and party-ready…

table setting overhead shot with coral colored ranuncula flowers glasses with green stems and an orange in the center of plate with name Lance written on it

You can never go wrong with a crisp white tablecloth. I love the look of them~ and white makes it easy to build on creativity. Here I started with a white tablecloth and used dark, rattan, woven placemats to create a contrast. I had flowers left over from this charity event that I did, and so the flowers were my inspiration for the rest of the table. The peach and coral tones of the flowers were so pretty with white. I complemented those colors with green and brown.

coral peach orange ranunculas in two vases on table with white tablecloth

When you have cut flowers, you can arrange them in a variety of vases or containers. I like to mix and match metals and porcelain or pottery because of the different textures. In these photos, I used mini mint julep cups for the cut roses and ranunculus. I grouped several together to make a runner in the middle of the table. I wanted to add a little bit of organic greenery to the table with the cut flowers. I potted mint plants in textured white pottery and mingled the pots in with the fresh flowers…

mint planted in white pots with peach orange ranunculas in vases between the mint

If you prefer to keep the look crisp with the color popping off of the white tablecloth, you can instead use a clear vase or other clear container to put a larger bundle of cut flowers as the star of the table. The smaller julep cups spread down the table give the illusion of a grand centerpiece that tapers from middle to ends.

table with white table cloth brown placemats green stemmed glasses orange flowers and an orange with name on it

Either way, you have two beautiful options for a fantastic centerpiece. Which do you like better? The cut flowers or the flowers mixed with mint plants?

mint plants in white pots and orange flowers in vases alternating in center of table

Now that you have decided on your centerpiece, add dinner plates and salad plates to the placemats or chargers that you have set. A set of white plates is a safe and really useful investment. Here, I used a white dinner plate with a white salad plate trimmed in gold. To add in color and contrast, I used a patterned green napkin and vintage glasses with green stems. Simple flatware goes well with this table setting. I chose silver, but gold would also look great! I like to mix metals and liked how the silver flatware played off of the silver mint julep cups.

table setting with green napkin brown rattan place mat white and gold plates and orange flowers

There was also a little touch of silver on the center container of flowers. I actually used an ice bucket as a vase and filled the bucket with flowers in a really unstructured way. I love when flowers look a little bit askew. :). To me, that makes the table more inviting and comfortable rather than stuffy. (Don’t get me wrong, I also love a really formal place setting at the right time, too!)

clear ice bucket filled with orange flowers as centerpiece on table

The final step in this simple place setting is to add a name card for each place. If you saw my video of this tablescape on Instagram, then you saw that I suggested adding a Clementine orange as a nice touch to tie together the entire table. And, if you would like to take it a step further, add a name to the orange. To add the name, use a toothpick to make a small hole in the skin of the orange. Slide a piece of intentionally torn paper with a handwritten name on to a small twig of berries/buds. Place them on the toothpick and voila! Your table is set with thoughtful and beautiful touches. Enjoy!

table setting with orange and lance name place card

I hope you find these tips helpful. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments. below. Happy celebrating!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

chocolate butterscotch candy on red and white striped paper with red and white striped ribbon
Chocolate Peanut Butter Butterscotch Candy

Hello Friends,

I have been playing around with a few simple ingredients to make a butterscotch candy. This recipe uses simple ingredients that I hope you are able to find easily.

corn flakes sugar butterscotch chips chocolate chips peanut butter light corn syrup on counter
chocolate butterscotch candy on red and white striped paper with red and white striped ribbon

Chocolate Peanut Butter Butterscotch Candy

Lydia Menzies

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup Karo light corn syrup
  • 5 cups Corn Flakes cereal
  • 12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 12 oz. butterscotch chips

Instructions
 

  • In a large saucepan, heat sugar, peanut butter, and light corn syrup over medium heat until smooth.
  • Turn off heat and add in butterscotch chips. Stir continuously to melt the butterscotch into the warm mixture.
  • Add Corn Flakes, and mix to coat the cereal evenly.
  • Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spread mixture evenly on pan.
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees (F).
  • Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly on top of mixture and bake until chocolate chips begin to melt. This takes 15 minutes in my oven. Stay close and watch carefully so that the chocolate does not scorch.
  • When chocolate chips begin to melt and sides begin to bubble, remove from oven and spread chocolate evenly across candy.
  • Let set (about an hour) and then slice into pieces. Enjoy!
chocolate butterscotch candy on red and white striped paper with red and white striped ribbon

I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does! This recipe combines the old-fashioned recipe of Corn Flake Candy with butterscotch and chocolate. I literally could make this each week and my kids and husband wouldn’t get tired of it. Lol! I love adapting older recipes and making them a little bit new. If you have a recipe that you would like to share, please do! You can always email it to me. I will also share a video of this recipe on my Instagram.

For other simple candy recipes, you can also try one of these…

My Aunt’s Chocolate Pecan Candy

Quick Cracker Candy

Puppy Chow

If you prefer to pin for future reference…

chocolate butterscotch candy pin

Cheers,

Lydia xo

table set with white green lavender on porch with plants and a blue door
Windy O’Connor Art and Home Table Setting

Windy O’Connor is an artist that brings happiness and joy through her bold artwork. After you meet Windy in person, you will understand why! She is as vibrant and lovely as the art that she creates! Here is where you can find Windy O’Connor’s art.

windy-oconnor-artist-standing-in-front-of-work

Windy sent two of the table runners that she made using her artwork applied to fabric. I am fascinated by the patterns that she is able to create in her home line and loved seeing the design applied to items that can be used for everyday living. There was an Italian feel to this particular design, and so I set an outdoor table on our porch that became the perfect place to gather our family for dinner.

table setting with windy oconnor art table runner lavender and green dishes and italian water bottles

I like to add a solid white or ivory colored table cloth when I set a table using a pattern like the one on Windy’s vivid art work. She uses bold patterns and colors, and so I temper that with a calm solid. This also lets the artistic table runner be the star of the show.

table set with windy oconnor art table runner with white plates green lettuce salad plates with mug and gold flatware

You can see that I used Italian mugs from Vietri and then added a solid linen napkin (with a touch of French) to the table. The chargers are solid white and the green plates (from PKL Celler) have a lettuce leaf pattern on them. The stripes are the only other real pattern that I included on the table- and that was done sparingly so not to overwhelm the tablescape. It adds depth and interest without conflicting with the vibrant table runner.

table set with windy oconnor table runner linen napkin with fleur de lis striped mug and solid mug

Having a table linen as your jumping off point to styling a table is a great way to begin to visualize the entire experience that you want to create for your family and/or friends. Sometimes I surprise myself at where my mind goes when I start picturing the gathering that I am creating. It’s a little bit like traveling to me- you add in as many ways to evoke the feeling of a place and a time. Each gathering that you host has its own story and adventure- and no matter how many times you visit the same table, you have a different experience to enjoy each time.

table set with hand painted table runner in green brown lavender white with white green and lavender plates

I love the casual feel of outdoor table settings, don’t you? They feel casual but also really special. I think that is what makes them also give the feeling of a warm welcome~ because they are approachable while being out-of-the-ordinary.

table set with white green lavender on porch with plants and a blue door

Think of how you want your guests to feel like they can pull up a chair and pour themselves a glass of water or wine. They don’t have to wait to be asked or allowed- they just know they are welcome to relax and enjoy a slow pace for a minute. They can linger at the table and enjoy the people and the conversation while they enjoy a meal. Since we all have to eat, why not make it memorable?

brown italian chair with cane backing and seating with artistic table runner on the seat

One trick that I like to do if I am having a small crowd (1-3 people) and want the table to feel cozier is to fill the table space at one end. It is almost as though you create a little room at the end of the table and then create a beautiful “wall” around it. We are all so programmed to create a centerpiece (which is one of my favorite parts of a table), but also try moving the centerpiece down closer to the end of a longer table. This creates a homey, cozy feel and allows you to use taller pieces because no one needs to see over it.

tall white flowers in the middle of the table setting on the porch

You could serve food family style and have room at the other end of the table to place your serving dishes. I like the coziness of a larger table made smaller by using plants or items around your home that fit perfectly into a table scape.

table set with artistic painted runner white plates green leaf salad plate lavender mug and gold flatware

Being able to use your outside spaces or a space by a window is always an added bonus. Bringing nature into your home feels us with a happiness that spills over to our guests. Bring the outdoor colors inside with your table linens even if the weather is not perfect for outdoor dining.

table set with brown cane chair lavender green and white dishes and italian water bottles in wine carrier

But, if the weather allows, I say jump to it and enjoy those moments. There is no telling what stories are waiting for you to create with your family and friends.

close up photo of hand painted table runner with lavender mug on green and white plate

Cheers xo,

Lydia

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 slice being lifted out of pie

Easy Chocolate Chip Pie ~ A Family Favorite

Lydia Menzies

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Deep Dish Pie Shell
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 self-rising flour
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions
 

  • 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 being picked up from plate

Chocolate Pecan Candy Recipe

Lydia Menzies

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. coarsely chopped pecans (or 16 oz.)
  • 2 cups Ghirardelli chocolate chips (I use half semi-sweet and half milk chocolate chips)
  • 1 stick butter (½ cup)
  • 2 tsp 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