Friday, August 29, 2014


Welcome to Foodie Friday!

I hope your week has been going well. I can't believe it's Labor Day weekend already! Things are always so hectic. Running to the store for those last minute items to finish the school supply list, and for some of us slipping away for a couple of final vacation days before the temps take that crisp dip.

Thinking ahead to cooler days reminds me of the delicious crispy apples that are always so plentiful in the Fall. I love baking anything apple. Do you remember that terrific smell of something apple baking in the oven when you came home from school? It's so delightful!

Good ole' Betty Crocker has a Caramel-Glazed Apple Bread recipe that's really delish. Drizzling the top of the bread with a Caramel-Glaze makes it even more scrumptious!

This bread is so moist and has such a wonderful apple and cinnamon flavor. The caramel glaze adds just enough sweetness to the top of the bread. This makes a great treat for the kids when they come through the door from a long day at school!

Give the recipe a try and let us know what you think.

TLB wishes all of our friends a wonderful safe Labor Day weekend!


*****John F. Kennedy--

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


GOOD MORNING and WELCOME to Thursday my friends,

I'm sure you are thinking TLB on Thursday? Well, I wanted to share some news with you!

TLB is adding a new blog post published only on Thursdays called........


As I browsed the internet over the past year since starting my blog, I realized there is so much talent out there in social media that we never get exposed to. It's time consuming for us to surf the internet and who has the time? 

I find it exciting and exhilarating to find beautiful things. I'm fascinated with the creators of such beauty and admire their talents. Sometimes they inspire an inner creativity in me that's been stuffed away for years, and sometimes it's just nice to admire from afar their talents. 

Lately as I have been surfing, it came to me, wouldn't it be awesome to share some of the talent and beauty I am finding in social media land with all of you. So as not to overload you, I chose Thursday for my new post. It will include everything from highlighting talented bloggers, artists, and decorators, to discovering websites featuring unique finds for the home.....all unfolding each week with a new discovery.

So I WELCOME you to the first HOT OFF THE PRESS----TLB's DIVINE FIND----
featuring the talented designer EDDIE ROSS! 

 A couple tidbits about Eddie......He started his profession in the culinary field, has worked as Sr.Style Editor at Martha Stewart Living, and is currently in design studio and creative marketing consultancy.

I hope you enjoy today's post about the talented Eddie Ross!

Wishing you a colorful day!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Welcome to Wednesday! 

Here we are in the middle of the week already! Do you have any plans for the Labor Day weekend? I think hubby and I will end up doing some day trips that we have been trying to squeeze in while the weather is good.

We made a trip to the farm stand, the Farmer's Market and a jaunt into our local field, while our daughter was in town. I picked up a bouquet of beautiful Sunflowers and Zinnias and cut some fresh goldenrod, Queen Anne's Lace and Catails. While arranging the bouquet, I realized that a purchase I had made a couple of weeks ago was a beautiful compliment to the flowers.

While visiting in WNY, I stopped by Ellen j Goods Antiques & Vintage store in Medina and bought a vintage tray. The colors in the tray complimented the sunflower bouquet perfectly, hence the Fall vignette was created!


While we are on the subject of Fall.........I'd like to introduce you to a great Foodie blogger, Megan at Country Cleaver. 

I've tried many of Megan's recipes, you may remember the Loaded Baked Potato Salad that I featured a while back? My new favorite is her Mini Plum and Peach Bourbon Cobblers. How Fall is that? 

I am attaching a link to Megan's blog for you so that you can start enjoying her delicious recipes too!

Wishing you a beautiful day!


***Thanks for stopping by TLB today........see you on Foodie Friday!

Monday, August 25, 2014


Good Morning Monday!

I hope you all had a great weekend. Our middle daughter flew in for a visit so we had a busy and relaxing few days!

In today's blog I'm featuring a style that I've been admiring for quite some time. I love the idea of combining natural elements of the outdoors with the elegance of colorful rich fabrics and shiny crystal pieces. There are so many interpretations and names for this style in today's media, but since I've never been one to be a follower, I prefer to call my vision, Refined Rustic.

My photo shoot actually took place near my side yard where my husband stacks our firewood! In years past I've always wanted the wood stacked out the line of sight from the house. But, with the trends of weddings and parties being held in rustic barns and beautiful meadows, I thought why not take advantage of my yard by incorporating the wood and lawn into my first Fall 2014 photo shoot as my backdrop. 

I scoured my entertainment closet and grabbed the perfect piece of decorator fabric. The colors in the fabric are brilliant Autumn shades of red, gold and green, perfect for my tablescape base to build from. Underneath this layer (the actual foundation) is a burlap tablecloth.

Rustic chargers topped with a gold leaf patterned plate, golden linen colored salad plate, and red linen napkin with beaded napkin ring, complete the place setting.

I chose a coppery gold candelabra draped with crystal teardrops and whimsy crystal beaded strands for the center of the table, which added just the right sparkle. Adding more crystal by placing Waterford goblets at each placesetting took the sparkle to a new level! Scattering fall colored leaves and apples around the centerpiece gives the entire table a comfortable fall feel.

It's that time of year when our thoughts begin to turn to Fall and our decor. What do you think of my Refined Rustic tablescape? Can you see yourself setting your table this fall with a little woodsy/natural feel and the sparkle of crystal?

We'd love to hear your thoughts. See you on Wednesday!


***Thanks for stopping by and sharing your day with us! 

Friday, August 22, 2014


Welcome to Foodie Friday!

I'm always searching for quick, easy and delicious recipes. When I found the recipe for today's blog I couldn't wait to try it. It's titled Simple Roasted Tomato Sauce.....and that's exactly what it is, simple!

I love finding base recipes like this that can be used multiple ways. Let's face it, most of us like fast and easy especially during our hectic week days, add in nutritious and it's a winner!

The ingredients are simple and the preparation I have your attention yet?

Let's get started-

1. Place  5-6 pounds of medium or small tomatoes, stem removed on a 1-inch lip cookie sheet
**Add 1 medium head of garlic, peeled ( I chopped mine, but you can leave it as cloves if you wish.)
**Drizzle 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil over the top of the tomatoes.
**Then sprinkle 1/2 cup fresh torn basil leaves over top.
**Sprinkle kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper over tops of tomatoes.

2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F, and bake for 4 hours or until tomatoes are soft and bursting.

3. Allow to cool then pour into a blender in batches. Pulse 
2-3 times then blend for 1 minute or until desired chunkiness. 
Pour into quart jar or pour into freezer bags and freeze flat. Will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week or 4 months in freezer.

I wish I had used this method of roasting tomatoes when my daughters were young. I also love the idea of no added sugar. The roasting process brings such a sweet taste to the tomatoes there is no need to add anything else!

Dinner last night was so easy and delicious, Simple Roasted Tomato Sauce over whole wheat Fusilli pasta and kale salad. Yes, it was a hubby approved!

Here are a few ideas on how to use the sauce:

* Add milk or half and half to make tomato soup.
* Add meatballs
* Add sauteed ground beef to make a Bolognese type sauce
* Great for dipping into garlic bread
* Add Parmesan
* Use as a base and add lots of veggies for a chunky sauce

Use your imagination and fit the sauce into your own "family food style!" 

Don't forget to add this delish recipe to your quick dinner menu......

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!


P.S.   I'd like to WELCOME all of our new friends that found us when we were featured on Kris's blog, Junk Chic Cottage, last Saturday.  SPOTLIGHT: LIFE BEHIND THE BLOGGER

 Don't forget to stop by The Lavender Bouquet on Facebook where each week we feature a PINTEREST PICK OF THE WEEK AND share other great ideas not found on the blog!

***Original recipe may be found at  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


 Good Morning Wednesday My Friends!

I just spent some time with family for a few days and took shameless advantage of photographing my sister's flower gardens. She has such a green thumb. Everything looks so beautiful I had to snap a few photos to share with you!


My sister and brother-in-law have completely restored their home back to its original state both inside and outside. I love the cobblestone that wraps the entire lower level of the home with the contrast of the siding and shutters.

My sister made vignettes using red and orange pops of color in the evergreens, lantern and wreath on the door. What a beautiful greeting as you walk up the steps. You can see that by adding just a hint of color your eye catches every object in the vignette. (below)

Along her walkway you will find many different perennials that provide bursts of color throughout the Summer and Fall.

Smaller vignettes are scattered around her yard.

I thought this window box (below) was quite unique. She added a Pepper plant and a Basil plant just outside her door for easy clipping!

There is a beautiful cobblestone fence that surrounds her side yard. (below) It was built with the original house and has a small trenched potting area on top. This year my sister planted Lantana for the first time in this area and it's really thriving! She has tried petunias and other plant varieties, but nothing has produced constant color like the Lantana.

Take a look at how beautiful it is......

I hope you all enjoyed the garden tour at my sister's home today. Last year I featured my Mother's beautiful gardens, and this year my sister's. Can you see the green thumb pattern I was born in to? How about you? Do you like to garden? Share your story with us.

Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday!


***See you on Foodie Friday!!

Monday, August 18, 2014


Good Morning Monday!

I hope you all had a great weekend. We drove to our oldest daughter's and spent a couple of days. We celebrated her birthday before she relocates with her new job. She was able to get tickets for her Dad and I to go to a Steelers/Buffalo pre-season game. My husband's a big Steelers fan and we were both raised in the Buffalo area, so it was a doubly great evening! Beautiful temps, gorgeous sunset over the stadium and that river view was outstanding!

Today's blog is all about our upstairs bathroom renovation. There are so many DIY'ers out in blogland I thought I would share our BEFORE and AFTER photos of one of the upstairs bathrooms with you. As you will see it clearly was in need of updating when we bought the home.

The house is 16 years old. We've never purchased a home that was older than 5 years, so this was a new challenge for me. Of course it had great bones......but the colors had to go.

Here's a peek into what we faced. Our house was filled with colorful toilets, dark formica countertops and lots of surprises! The collage shows a side-by-side comparison BEFORE & AFTER the bathroom was completed.

Here's what we changed:

1.Trim and Ceiling-Benjamin Moore Ceiling and Trim Super White 02 (trim is gloss)
2. Wall-Benjamin Moore-AC 25 Harbor Gray
3. Shower Curtain-Restoration Hardware
4. Bath mats-Restoration Hardware
5. Countertop & Sink combo-Home Depot-Lamtech Stock Marble Vanity top white
6. Moen faucets
7. New lighting fixture
8. White American Standard toilet
9. Aqua blue ceramic tile floor edge around bath perimeter and aqua tub spray painted  white by Miracle Method.
10. Painted existing cabinet white and added new hardware.

We were quite pleased with the outcome and quite honestly are really glad the aqua/turquoise is gone!

Do you have any projects like these on your horizon? It's such fun to share ideas---feel free to share yours with us!

Have a wonderful day!


Linking up to Before and After Wednesday--

Sunday, August 17, 2014



I'd like to share some good news with all of you! The Lavender Bouquet has been featured in the SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT: Life Behind the Blogger, hosted by Kris from JUNK CHIC COTTAGE blog-- and Susan from MUST LOVE JUNK blog- 

To read the article click on the link below:

Being a newbie I am so grateful to both Kris and Susan for their help in introducing me to so many new friends and I will always be grateful for those of you that have found me along the way  and have been with me for the past year!


Friday, August 15, 2014


Good Morning Friends and Welcome to Foodie Friday at TLB!

I love the Summer because of the bountiful harvest of fresh fruits and veggies. Our Saturday Farmer's Market is full of everything that looks so beautiful and fresh I want to buy a little of everything .This week our bag was filled with zucchini, beets, mushrooms, and peaches. Can you guess which one will be used in the blog today?

I found this recipe for Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread that I have been dying to bake. I love lemon and zucchini and the idea of them both together sounded so delish!

The recipe calls for one large loaf. The first time I baked the recipe I followed it exactly and baked one loaf. My oven tends to bake more quickly than others, so this time I decided to try baking 4 small loaves and using the rest of the batter for muffins. Personally, I liked the results better and my family did too. And it made for easy travel on the plane to NY for my family visit!

The glaze is such a nice sweet/tart add to the bread. It really compliments the taste of the yummy bread. By the way, it was hubby approved before I made it for my family.

Many thanks to Stone Gable blog for this delicious recipe:

Whether you have your own garden, shop the Farmer's Market or head to the local grocery store, don't forget to take advantage of all of the fresh bounty available in August. It's so delicious!

Wishing my oldest daughter a wonderful BIRTHDAY and all of my TLB friends a delicious weekend!


****See you on Monday for our Bathroom Renovation!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Are you having guests for the Summer?  What do you do to prepare your home for their visit?There are several things I do starting with the bedroom designated as the "guest" room.

I have a specific linen closet shelf filled with guest room sheets, towels, blankets and toiletries. This makes a handy go to when having last minute guests. It's my preference to launder the sheets and towels the day of their arrival, so everything smells fresh and inviting as they climb into bed.

The nightstand has the usual light, alarm clock, hand cream and magazines for both genders for a little light reading.

On the guest bathroom counter I have a unique hand woven sweet grass basket from Savannah filled with high end hotel samples of shampoo, conditioner, shower gels and bar soaps. I also include Tylenol, small sized styling gels, small tubes of toothpaste, razors, and hairspray. This gives guests the opportunity to chose the scents or brands they prefer.

To "welcome" them to our home and the area that we live in I find that it's a nice touch to leave a gift basket on their bed. Filling the basket with local foodie gifts give them a little taste of the state you live in. Many times I use these great New Jersey foodie items:

1. FunniBonz BBQ Sauce

2. Frank's Pickled Peppers & Salsa

3. First Field Ketchup (featured on Martha Stewart)

4. And always a few homemade cookies from my own kitchen!

What do you do for your guests? We'd love to hear from you. Share your ideas with us.....

Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday!


***Thanks for stopping by! See you on Friday!

Monday, August 11, 2014


Good Morning Friends,

As a young mom I very rarely had "me" time. My husband's job involved extensive travel, and early on in our marriage, when he didn't travel he headed to evening classes for his MBA. In essence I was the designated CEO of the household. My days were chocked full of children, their schedules, managing a household, PTO meetings, teaching CCD, volunteering at school and over the years coordinating 13 relocations!

Quite honestly, life wasn't about me, it was about our children and that's what my husband and I both wanted.  Today it's common place for women to take time for themselves even if it is just a simple mani/pedi or a trip to the gym. I think it's terrific and provides more balance for a mom. Personal time for anyone is healthy. And everyone deserves to be pampered a bit!

Speaking of being pampered--- Last year my youngest daughter treated me to a wonderful facial by Kathy at the Waldorf Astoria in downtown Chicago. Much to my delight she booked a day this year where we both got a little pampering...such great mother/daughter fun!

She treated me to a Silk Peel with a Facial. WOW---can I just say I am one lucky Mom! If you aren't familiar with a Silk Peel (which I was not) the process actually exfoliates with patient-specific solutions to your skin. You can feel the movement of the wand across your face all while the remnants of the exfoliation are deposited into a container for disposal. (sounds yucky-feels wonderful) My skin has never felt so clean and silky. And when you look in the mirror you can see how much brighter your skin is by removing all of the surface "stuff" that clogs pores and doesn't allow your skin to glow.Then she applied a Peptide treatment to help stimulate collagen and elastin. I left feeling refreshed and my skin was no longer dull but glowing.

I love how my relationships have changed with each of our daughters. The moments we have together are precious and I always feel I'd like more time, but it's how we spend our time together that matters. For me, it's simply being with them in their worlds, meeting their friends, going to places they frequent, getting to know them in the world that they live on a daily basis. To quote my husband, "Children may grow up and move across the country, but that umbilical cord can stretch a long way!"

I'll leave you with the final "fun" moment we had with our daughter.....we took her dog to the doggie beach in Chicago. Here's a glimpse of his precious little face after swimming his way back to shore.....he was one happy guy!

Wishing you a wonderful day! 

If you are lucky enough to live close enough to your child give them a BIG hug and tell them how lucky you are that God blessed you with such a precious gift! Maybe you could slip in that a little spa day would be great too!! :)


***Thanks for stopping by TLB!!

Friday, August 8, 2014


Well it's Foodie Friday and I've got a great Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe for you made with some pretty healthy ingredients; whole wheat flour and coconut oil! 

I don't know many people that don't like a great tasting chocolate chip cookie so I thought I'd share the recipe with all of you....especially because they are so yummy! (I even served these to our friends this past weekend and they received the TIM stamp of approval!!)

They would be great for an after school snack for the kids or in their school lunch for a bit of a sweet treat OR a late night snack for mom and dad!

I think my little great nephew, JM would love them with a glass of cold milk....hint, hint, hint, for my niece to make them!!

I followed the directions as printed with my first batch, but had to adjust my oven down to 350 degrees instead as they were too dark on the bottoms. The rest were perfect with the heat reduction.

Everything else worked out famously! Now grab your ingredients and go make your family happy!!

Here is link to the recipe--many thanks to Jennifer Rizzo:

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!


****Thanks so much for stopping by. See you on Monday!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Summers in our house are for family and fun! We like to visit each of our daughters for a little "catch-up" time, giving us a little taste of their world. Usually the trips end up with some local sight seeing or attending local events, and dining at some pretty interesting places.

Our youngest lives in Chicago. There is never a lack of what to do while when visiting her. She found a great festival this year called the Randolph Market Festival. It's a large parking lot and building full of Antiques, Vintage wares, jewelry and Decorator finds.

There are several other markets on the calender for the remainder of the year including a Holiday Market in December too. You may find more info at:

We had a great time browsing the booths of beautiful treasures!

First photo left--Treasures and Trash from Mendota, IL
 I LOVED the farm table, but it wouldn't fit in my suitcase!

Photo #3 Chicago Salvage
My daughter loved this bar made from salvaged wood and steel. The cute guy in the back doesn't go with it though! :)
When I was young we had a sofa with this type of nylon fabric in red. It wasn't sectional but it was nearly the same fabric!

We browsed the market with Dinky Donuts (the tiniest little light donuts ever!!) and a cup of coffee.

Who remembers this era!! I believe we had those cups when we were growing up!

I thought this was so Kris from Junk Chic Cottage! Kris you would have LOVED this!!

In my mind I was trying to find a way to take this back to NJ with me on the plane!!

My daughter and I LOVE these frames. They can be found on ETSY! (Sorry I lost her card..darn!)

I love these fashions! So very classic and chic! My aunt taught me how to sew right around this year. 

What a cute little glamper! LOVE the colors! 

Hubby and youngest daughter--

We stopped for lunch at the famous and fun Ed Debevic's! Burgers and fries, dancing on the bar countertop, sarcasm and always lots of laughs! Another great family memory created!

Hope you enjoyed our trip to the Randolph Market Festival. There's so much more than I photographed it's a must see. Although we didn't buy anything, it certainly was a delightful morning in Chicago with the best part being with our daughter!!

Have a wonderful weekend! Why not check the local calendars in your area for fun Market Fairs to attend. It's a great time of year to be outside and enjoy these lovely days!


***Thanks for stopping by everyone and especially to my new friends from Chicago Catherine and Stephenie!! See you on Monday!

Monday, August 4, 2014


Good Morning Monday!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We enjoyed the company of our southern friends. It's always good catching up with old friends and this is the first time they have ventured to our northern home. 

Dinner, dinner what's for dinner? How many times have you asked yourself that question? The grill is wonderful and I love to grill everything, but sometimes I like a nice cold salad! I've been having a lot of fun trying new summer salad recipes. 

Today's blog recipe is Chicken Caprese Tortellini Salad. It can be served for lunch of dinner. We had it for dinner with fresh fruit.....such an easy meal packed full of protein! Yes, it was hubby approved!

Look how delish this looks and it's best served the 2nd day!
You may find the recipe here:

The next time you need a go to recipe on a hot summer day, give this recipe a try!

Have a beautiful SUMMER day!


***Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 1, 2014


Good Morning my friends! 

Today's blog is a bit different than most. I believe we all have times in our lives where we are afraid to take that step into the unknown.... grab your coffee cup, and join me as I tell you about my experience.

When I first started blogging it was never my intention to write about my personal side, however, I soon realized that it was important to portray in words who I am, what I love, and how much my family means to me.

A few weeks ago I applied for tickets to THE MEREDITH VIERIA SHOW and received admittance for two. I was so excited because this was the taping for her very first show. Meredith Vieira is a strong, intelligent woman that isn't afraid to voice her opinion, but is also sensitive and approachable. Qualitites that I personally find appealing.

I asked my friend if she could come along, but unfortunately (or fortunately for her financially), she had a real estate closing that day. I decided that I was not going to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity and went to NYC myself.

I was so excited and a bit nervous. I've been into the city many times, but always with family or friends. I got up early, 5:00 a.m. for a 7:00 train departure. My husband drove me to the train station. I purchased my round trip ticket and my adventure began!

While sitting on the train a wonderful lady sat next to me. I was reviewing my walking maps taking me from NY Penn to the NBC Experience store where we all were to meet. She saw what I was reading and told me she worked in the building for a law firm. She said, "let's walk together." I thought, wow, I just hit the jackpot. This lady walks this route which takes about 30 minutes, every day rain, snow or shine. How lucky could I be?

When we arrived I bought her a coffee, we chatted for a moment, I thanked her,she went her way to work and I went mine. What a lovely beginning to my day! I was so early because I didn't know what to expect. My daughter's laugh at me, but it's a trait of mine they have become accustomed to. 

I waited in line for quite some time. I chatted with so many wonderful ladies and even some younger girls that were my daughter's ages. It was great and helped pass the time. I realized after talking to many of these ladies, that they love doing these show circuits. They had been to Rachel Ray, The Chew, Katie Couric, and Dr. Oz, just to name a few. They were seasoned and I was ready and willing to listen as to how this deal worked!!

We were divided into groups and given a color coded Audience landyard to wear around our necks. Mine was purple.

After waiting for another hour or so in a holding area we were escorted into the stage/audience area. It was warm, inviting and very comfortable. She even has a chair that actually came from her own living room that her doggies chewed on a bit! 

The show was a fantastic first show and I feel privileged to have been a part of it. I believe Meredith Vieria will have no problem soaring with her daytime ratings. She is not only a beautiful woman on the outside, but her show exudes her authentic personality, warm, inviting and funny. She has an interesting way of connecting people through her heartfelt wish to bring us "real life" connections.

Walking back to the train station for my trip home, the hustle and bustle of NYC was around me. I felt a sense of personal accomplishment and of fulfillment. 

I will leave you with my thoughts for the day:

I am only 6 months younger than Meredith Vieria and look at what a big step she is taking........kind of makes my solo trip to NYC minor. But I came to the realization that no matter how old you are you should never be afraid to take that step into the unknown. It's a big world out there and there is so much to learn and experience both good and bad. If we don't take that step, we will never know what we could have been!


Wishing you all an exciting new day!!


***Thanks so much for stopping by. Do you have a life experience you would like to share with us? Please feel free to leave a comment.....we love to hear from you!