Monday, May 17, 2010

Lowcountry Dog... in the South, a Preppy Pup can also be a Marsh Mutt

South Carolina Lowcountry Preppy dogs... explore the marsh at low tide...
...enjoy expanses of grass where they can sun-snooze away...

...and plunk around in the ocean waters off of their own island's tiny beach.

Ah, the life of a South Carolina coastal Lowcountry dog is such the proverbial, "life of Riley" or, as in this case with us out here on this island, the life of Kanon!

Any good Prepster's loyal hound is always a bit on the spoiled side and yet not too spoiled or too prissy as that for the most part, Preppy dogs are big ole' sporty dogs quite used to tromping around outside in the midst of nature just like their owners. Here in South Carolina, we love our Boykin Spaniels, Carolina Yard Dogs and bird dogs of course but any ole' good-ole-dog will do. Just like those Good Ole' Boys... Yes, it's Southern and Preppy mixed with a bit of humor and a love of the great outdoors around this part of the South!

In The Official Preppy Handbook's section titled, "Prep On All Fours- The Proper Pet", the listed "preferred breeds" of Preppies are as follows: Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, English or Irish Setter, Old English Sheepdog, Newfoundland, Basset Hound, Pugs and then "also favored" are Brittany Spaniels and such. Our big dog is a Doberman who sports a very preppy dog collar complete with a fly-tie motif since he's in a household of fly fishers but of course. Kanon hasn't yet been around us as we've actually fly fished however he has gone kayaking, running all over the beach, sploshing away in the marsh, walking in the woods and now jumps right on into James' truck whenever the back door is open since he and his Daddy head out n' about quite often on adventures in what is now officially known as, "Kanon's Truck".

Kanon's canine buddies on the island are Cotton, Beau as in short for Beauregard as in short for General P.G.T Beauregard and tiny Tucker who gets right in there and plays with the big-dogs no problem. Even the dog names in the lowcountry go-Southern don't they? What's a Brandy or a Whiskey when you've got ole' old white haired Cotton teaching Kanon how to drag a fallen, dried-up palmetto frond around the yard as well as the southern dog sport of the tossing of pine cones? Haha. Actually, any good dog named after one's preferred-drink is an excellent lifestyle decision. In our house, if that were the case then James would name it Scotch and I'd name it, "any white wine, I don't care..." oh yeah... or Port since I like that as well but especially so apres' a good dinner while sitting by one's fireplace, ahh.

When we were living out on the mountainside of Park City, Utah in a miner's cottage being literal ski bums for awhile, I would have named any other dogs that came our way Port, Port Jr., Port III and so on with alla' my apres' ski lounging around, lol, however we just had our sweet Dobie-girl Duchess and her name fit her perfectly. As does Kanon's... though I must say that here in the still Rebel-yellin', still Antebellum Deep South, most folks think I'm saying, "Cannon" as in, those things the Confederates utilized during the War of Northern Aggression as my Grandmother called it. Um, I learned that it was a Civil War (i.e. internal national war) but whenever I brought that to her attention, she'd retort, "Darlin', there was nothing civil about it!" Oh well, old folks...can't change 'em eh? Anyway, spelling and explaining Kanon's name to people isn't a bother since, heck, with my name, I'm doing just that all the time anyway.

And so, it's the Life of Kanon out here... I took the top picture earlier this evening as he and I were walking around the yard and also checking out the kitchen garden after a good, long rain today. I really love this photo! I think it captures the beauty of this place as well as the beauty within Kanon's ever-interested state of being. Dad likes it so much that he's asked for me to get a large copy of this for him. This reminds me of the famous painting by Andrew Wyeth, "Christina's World". The second photo is of Kanon also this evening doing one of his very favorite activities: sunning n' sleeping away on the grass in the front part of our lower yard. And the third photo is of him in the ocean waters off of our island's small beach.

I'd say with confidence that Preppy Dogs, and Southern Lowcountry island dogs, are some of the luckiest, life-lovin' dogs around...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Any Outfit + Pearls ='s Preppified

This weekend's been a fun social one for sure and tomorrow holds yet two more shindigs. I just thought my readers would get a big smile outta' how I "Preppified" two outfits that normally wouldn't be all too obviously Preppy...

The first is this one from a trip to our local beach with a girlfriend on Friday afternoon. I added pearls as a quirky, tongue-in-cheek shot at Preppiness that I knew Ashley would get a big kick out of ;) I love this swimsuit because it's the perfect tanning, no shoulder straps kind of suit that has two bottom pieces to it and the more sportier one is what I wore that day, the green sport shorts. The plaid pattern of this swimsuit top is somewhat Preppy but the pearls definitely make it totally-preppy. And... a classic brimmed straw hat adds to this overall styling as well.

The second outfit was for a going-away deployment party for a Marine friend of ours which had a Western theme. I Prepped this outfit ensemble' by using a madras shirt I found in the Men's department of Belk that would coordinate with bluejeans and then of course adding my opera length strand of pearls, double-looped, at the collar line along with a wooden bead necklace. It was neat to go-Western earlier tonight since it has been a long time now from our western days when we lived out in Utah as literal ski bums and occasionally sported concho belts, cowboy boots and such.

And so, as we all well know... it's amazing how Prepped-out outfits can become when one adds some pearls into the ensembles isn't it?

And while we're on the subject... "Style" by Kate Spade

Another book that tends to pop up onto my bedside table quite regularly is actually one of a trio that I reference, and enjoy perusing through, again and again: Kate Spade's "Style" but also her "Manners" and "Entertaining" as well.

Produced so uber stylishly and classically, I really appreciate the thought and effort put into these slim but packed-with-ideas n' info. little tomes. The lightly sketchy, casual watercolor illustrations are nothing short of charming and how I really wish that I could paint in this manner towards some degree of success. I keep trying to capture this kind of water coloring vibe and maybe someday it'll finally gel within my seemingly futile efforts eh?

This is a set of books that one can quickly pick up and always find something inspiring or informative within their neatly categorized pages. The brightness of the illustrations along with the Tanka-like, almost poetic at times brief chunks of information set out on each page just makes this, for me, a great, really fun sporadic reading experience time after time.

My favorite pieces of Kate Spade within my wardrobe are: the very-early in her line's production boxy handbag that's a champagne-hued raw silk with black lining; a greatly loved small, squared vinyl and leather black backpack; the wonderful surprise my husband James brought back for me after one of his longer flying trips- a brown suede tie-wrap sketching journal complete with color pencils and a small silver pencil sharpener at the end of one of the suede ties. All of these are classics in their own right and much enjoyed.

Kate Spade brought back a sense of continental styling/casual-classic savvy into the realm of "things-Preppy" at a time when it needed it quite frankly. Her fresh vibe has been really appreciated throughout the years and paved the way, in my opinion, for Tory Burch and others to continue along this re-Preppying of society wherein anyone can enjoy a piece or two or well, the entire life styling of this if they so chose to do so. It's a welcome lifestyle tone of being sophisticated yet casually and practically rendered all the while not being snobby or overly posturing within its delivery and individual interpretation.

This three book set has traveled with me from homes in North Carolina, out on a mountainside in Utah and now out here to a tiny island off the coast of South Carolina... no matter where we live in the years to come, Kate Spade's style trilogy (as well as the ole' Preppy Handbook but of course) will move right along with me.

Here's to great lifestyle books that are perennial classics...never going out of style!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The best kind of Book Report... blogging on "The Well-Dressed Home" by Annette Tatum

Lately perched upon a growing stack of books on the top of my bedside table has been the recently published book, "The Well-Dressed Home" by Annette Tatum. The concept of this book is terrific as well as being very life-applicable however, it is the cleverly creative visual collages within this tome that keeps me returning to it again and again. This author could come arrange an idea bulletin board in my house any day!

Besides the various design categories being well thought out, adequately explained and accompanied by great photography, I really enjoy how Tatum then combines assorted design types to realistically address the many-layered, more complex style which people usually incorporate within their lives both as to their personal fashion and fashioning a lifestyle.

I found myself definitely camped within the "Classic" style category but also heavily influenced by "Couture" and "Romantic". I've always been what I call a Cottage-Girl however it's the English Countryside kind of cottage with emphasis on historical architecture, many-generational layering, close to nature indoor-outdoor use and a dash of sterling candelabra elegance mixed in with fly rods and wellie boots. Nothing's too precious at all as practical and pretty go hand-in-hand here. One of my aims is to live fully within whatever household environment I'm currently living in so there's plenty of well-lived items around our rooms and no off-limits areas reserved for company or only used for more formal entertaining. In fact, I think that we have out here probably one of the most-used (as in daily) dining rooms that I personally know of... it is a place to gather for meals, to spread out one's studies and research books within, sit with a mug of tea to watch the marsh tides from the oversized picture window and also hosts my makeshift antique tea cart watercoloring "art-studio" in a corner. If anyone has a similar dining room scenario, please post a comment about it: I'd love to hear it.

Currently we are living in the vacation/retirement island home that was very much my parent's visioning however, if (and when) I can fashion my own environment once again specifically to my and James' personal tastes, this book's sections on "Classic Couture" and "Classic Casual" are probably the closest rendering of the decor' style we'd enact for our lifestyle.

Over the years, I've noticed an obvious corollary between my fashion style, color tones and accessories and how I decorate my house. It has been really neat to see someone put together such a lovely book about just this...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happy Mother's Day this weekend to everyone....

For Mother's Day I'd... pick you a flower from my island rose garden...
I'd...bake you one of my mini-cakes and top it with fresh strawberries...

I'd... paint you a watercolor picture from my tiny tea-cart "art studio"...

I' you a tune from my grandfather's violin...

Heck, I'd even... catch you a trout from a mountain stream but... this year, I'll send you all these gifts-of-sentiment and appreciation virtually from my blog here...

Here's wishing my blog readers who are fantastic mothers and grandmothers, fun aunts and faithful big sisters a truly wonderful Mother's Day Weekend ahead!

For someone who is not a mother herself, at times it feels quite odd to be the literal "Matriarch" of my family. I'm the eldest female in our family with my mother and grandmothers and great aunt passed away, no aunts by-blood, no female cousins, no sisters and the nearest female in-line to me being my 9 year old niece. At 38 I unexpectedly and all-too-quickly become the female-head of our household and still now a few years later, this remains a designation and responsibility that can feel overwhelming at times. I have the utmost respect for mothers and mothering after taking this mantle upon my shoulders as our family matriarch and as the full time caregiver of both of my parents. Far less seriously, and far more "me" however is my dual-role of being a "fun aunt", oh yeah! In this I absolutely revel! I love my two nieces and three nephews... and never get tired of being around them.

There are a bevvy of women, especially here locally but also within my family and friends, who I look up to and who provide a big sister or casual-mothering type of relationship to me. Thank you to those of you out there who encourage, advise wisely, listen kindly and laugh loudly with me- I appreciate you more than you probably realize or will ever know.

So here's wishing that all mothering-women have a Happy Mother's Day this coming weekend! :)