Friday, December 8, 2017

A Childhood Michigan Ave memory

Happy weekend,

The holiday's are my favorite time of the year to decorate, bake and host gatherings. Also I love to visit my favorite boutique shops and see them decorated for the holidays. I went up to the OC for business the other day and after I visited Roger's Garden in Newport Beach. Gorgeous displays, abundant evergreens and the timing was just perfect to squeeze lunch in at the Farm House restaurant.

On the way home listing to Christmas music I began thinking of...

A favorite childhood memory.
 One of my family's Holiday traditions I looked forward to was when we would all pile in the country squire station wagon, remember those? Ours wasRed w/ wood paneled sides. We would drive from our small town about 50 miles to downtown Chicago to see the Holidays decorations along Michigan Ave. Everyone got all dressed up, my Mom and I usually wore velvet! She would wear her beautiful fur and I thought she was so elegant. We would stroll the sidewalks listing to the carolers and eyeing all the toys in the windows amongst magical displays till our feet just about froze. Then we'd go inside the stores for a little shopping. Eventually we would make our way through the crowds until we came to a holt, we would fall into the long line and I would take out my crinkled list and practice it until it was my turn to see Santa Clause. After the intense wait to see him, we went to a special place for dinner in the city.  If we were lucky, we would come out of the restaurant to see some Christmas snow falling. 

  I'm certain those traditions of the Michigan Ave. holiday windows inspired me years back when I had my own retail store. Every year I went all out to make my store windows displays magical. Spending hours cutting evergreen branches from my yard, listening to Holiday music and making my own rustic fresh wreaths and garlands. It was fun to be creative and I enjoyed preparing the window displays for my customers and all who passed by.


I still love to decorate with fresh greens here at home.  I can find most of what I like from our property.


Our Vintage Garden Folly is my favorite place to decorate for the holidays and special gatherings. 



Someday I dream of making this a working fireplace, wouldn't it be cozy?

On my Insta Gram feed I posted a little video yesterday with this decor.
It's 
xogailsmithpeterson.

I Hope your weekend finds you right smack dab in the Holiday season, singing Christmas carols, dancing in the kitchen with cookies in the oven and making new traditions & dreaming of ones you'll always cherish.

Happy Weekend!
xo,
Gail

Monday, December 4, 2017

French Farm house reveal update

Hello Holidays

How are you? My goodness December! Let's catch up!
 So I haven't been traveling...
 unless I can count multiple trips to pick up tile, materials or scout vintage furnishings as travel!

First to catch you up, I'm documenting the progress of the French Farm House renovation with frequent photos and videos on Instagram, if you haven't popped over yet, I would love you to follow along there. 
at
xogailsmithpeterson

This 7ft exterior custom made copper shroud was set in place on Saturday, it's a little jewelry for the fireplace chimney!


The exterior transformation from a horrible 70's Mediterranean to my vision of a French Farm house I imagined is giving me chills.

Lil back story...
Before we bought the property, I came here and sat on a rock down in the yard and studied the architecture and sketched my thoughts.  Despising almost everything about the houses floor plan, construction and style. 
 My husband said to me. "Don't look at the house. Think about everything that surrounds it, that's what I love". 
 It was that day, I imagined this french farm house. In my mind I had visualized the entire project done!
 I just needed my husbands approval. He really couldn't see my vision at that time,  but i feel he knew in his heart that I could do it. We work well together.. when I get my way!!! LOL

Friends it's been a renovation journey!


If you're inspired with the exterior changes then I can't wait to reveal the new interior spaces that are finishing up now.
This renovation truly is a labor of love, also French farm house firsts for me.
 I haven't had the privilege to visit the french country side to do my R&D.
 So I'm using all french feels I dream would be so and could utterly imagine...

I've been very focused on this renovation, it's my heart and my husbands, as well as I'm the GC with my Hubby. Every design decision is critical and my husband has a strict-NO changes policy with me!

With 2018 is in view, I'm looking forward to working with new clients for design & Real Estate.
Also I'm truly excited for 2018 to continue my development on more dream projects. I've learned so much and grown in many layers these last couple years, I believe that the more we know about ourselves the more we can grow our ways to share with others. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your visits and interaction with me.

I'm grateful for you,  Inspiring me with your heartfelt stories, blogs, beautiful IG accounts and social media.  

I hope your busy working on your dreams, 
utterly enjoying the moments & beauty that surrounds us all during this magical season.

I've missed you.... I hope you'll come by and follow me on IG. I will continue my blog of course!
IG is so fast for me to post from my iphone It's fun when I'm so stretched for time!

A beautiful week to you darlings,
Happy Holidays from me to you!
xo,
Gail

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Decades to reminisce

An anniversary... 
Today is a special day.
It marks two significant events.

Today is a heart full.

Our Silver wedding anniversary.
Recalling each year that passes, what do we realize about ourselves?
 I've grown in many ways as a women, wife and mother.
Though I still fee as if I was 20, how can that be?

The two of us are truly one, we are much alike in many ways 
but sooo very different too.
It's exception to the rule I suppose, but perhaps the secret ingredient too!

I follow my own path that's for sure, I am delighted with what I've found along the way. 

Today is also momentous as my youngest son begins his own journey as a freshman in college.
He moves into a blank dorm room, far from his core here at home. My Husband and son had quite the road trip together, a wonderful memory the'll cherish.
After all... a boy doesn't want his mom bringing him to freshman move in day!!!
I miss him dearly already.
As parents it's bittersweet right? We can't hang on to the child, we fill them with love so they never look far and at the same time we must embrace the adult they are becoming.

So here's a look back... seems like yesterday! 









Pale Pink is my favorite color, a natural for me to design my own pink girly dress.
Looking back it fun to think I wouldn't change a thing!

Hey friends I hope you enjoy this little peak with me!
I've been so busy I haven't had time to blog here lately.

 I am sharing renovation updates on the French farm house on my Insta
xogailsmithpeterson

Come over and follow me there, I miss you!
Love to all
xo
Gail

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A note to My Mom in the heavens

Happy Mother's Day 
To all the precious Mom's around the world you are LOVED by someone more than you know, 
You are MISSED by someone more than you know,
You are EVERYTHING to someone more than you know.

This was my MOM in her 20's.



She was the youngest sister of 5
Auntie to 12
Mother of 6
Nana to 3

My best friend, My biggest supporter, My everything.

Happy Mother's Day Mom, 
you're still the most beautiful women in my world.

Thank you for being an amazing, loving, caring & nurturing Nana to my boys, they so adored you.

I miss you dearly.
 I carry you in my heart. 
Forever
xo,
Gail



Friday, April 7, 2017

Today

Today is because of all the yesterdays.

How are you? 

I'm grateful. 

For many reasons, but first for the opportunity I had yesterday to be sitting in an audience at Oprah's Super Soul sessions.  Just saying extraordinary seems small!



I have been writing more to see my own words, even simple reminders and old school notes!

My posts have been spread apart, it's not an excuse just to be busy so I all I can say is I'm willing to do better for my blog friends.


I've been and still am quietly hush about the journey my life has taken recently, it's because honestly it's beyond words, I'll just say it!
I'm trying to find the best way to document this story of mine. So hang with me ok!

A dream is a promise our hearts make..



Our lemon grove has me busy harvesting for our local orders 2-3 times a week. 
I'm grateful for such a beautiful healthy grove and for the company of my bestie, Our Saint Bernard "Lincoln". We spend the early mornings here, he mostly naps as I tell him about the latest vintage finds or my design ideas!



My small town is waiting for me across the lake beyond these green trees, 
the road home has been epic and very long. 
I'll be sharing this journey with ya'll soon.

"Expect home to be everything, because it is".

I'm sharing on IG now too at
xogailsmithpeterson

A beautiful weekend to you!
xo,
Gail

Monday, March 20, 2017

Welcome Spring

*Welcome Spring*


Following a wet winter here in SoCal which we are grateful for,
 I look forward to a lush garden filled with blooms. 

It's beautiful to see all the dwarf stone fruit trees we planted last year filled with blossoms. 

 Fingers crossed the french lavender thrives this year, I think it was overwatered last year, so I replanted more in late fall.


This Lupine is beginning to bloom and get's to be about 8ft tall.
Planted by the previous owners. No scent, short blooming season & not too attractive the rest of year!


Heirloom roses are what I anticipate most in spring, I pruned them way back last month, I hope to have more blooms this year. 
This pic is from last years garden.


I Love Spring & I know she will be beautiful again this year. I have a dinner planned in the garden folly soon, I hope to have blooms from the garden for my arrangement.

A beautiful 1st Day of Spring to you Darlings.
xo,
Gail

I seem to post more on my IG feed, you know cause its new!  Come follow me over there!
at
xogailsmithpeterson

Monday, March 6, 2017

My first fixer upper - Before & After

Happy Monday Darlins,

Today I'm sharing my first fixer upper.

When I first married I moved into this 1940's California ranch style home near the beach. 
My husband had bought it years before and did some remodeling of his own!!!
(Burnt orange tile-avacado green appliances, brick & a conversation pit)

So the story is looong, the short backstory is....

A young women dreams of the opportunity to be apart of choosing her first home.
Well I didn't get that, SOOOO my trade off was.
 I agreed to love it, not list it!
 BUT, In exchange, I would get to do a complete design and renovation of the house with my style and incorporate the other structures and landscape.

We began with a tiny 125 sq. ft shed in the back yard. I wanted to make into a darling guest house and live in it during the renovation. We had a budget & I wanted to be hands on living on site!

Yes, it would be the three of us because we had just had our first baby.
 Our son was 6 weeks old and we began the demo of our new family home.

The stakes were high!
{This was my first everything}
My marriage
my baby
my renovation
my design project.
{ I had no design background or experience}
So no pressure right!



BEFORE

This was the front elevation.
LOOONg no height
Needed an entry
The awful driveway in front of the windows and house needed to go
 along with the iceplant & palm trees! 

My Design vision was clear from the start and inspired by homes in New England or the lake houses in the midwest.


AFTER

The driveway was removed, a lawn with magnolias, birch trees, evergreens, boxwoods & roses were added. I love fences, my husband and I made 5 different designs for fencing!


The Roofline was raised to add height to exterior elevation and gave the interior more architectural interest to the interior ceilings.


We finally had a lovely proper entrance with a porch to watch the sunset and decorate for the holidays!

A single level home with views to the beach.

My husband laid all the solid southern pine floors and did amazing wood work and moldings in the interior. The process with plans & etc took about a year or so. We also hooked up to city sewer. The house renovation took about a year and half to complete. The years following we did the other structures.
We did most of the finish work ourselves and landscaping. I scouted for all the interior vintage lighting & designed some custom furniture pieces.

This and all our projects are truly a labor of love.

We sold the home a few years to do something totally different.
We have some land now, just a few miles from this home and are renovating another huge project into our french farm house.

I hope you enjoyed my first fixer upper!

A beautiful day week to you.

Stop by and follow on my new IG feed!
It's 
xogailsmithpeterson

xo,
Gail



Saturday, February 25, 2017

Imperfect beauty

Happy Saturday Darlins,

Hope your enjoying the weekend!

 We are enjoying sunshine here in southern Ca, after the rains we so desperately needed.

Working on our renovation in the evenings and on weekends after all is normal for us!
 Living in it can be a bit much at times!
 It's all good, don't get me wrong I'm a grateful girl.

Incorporating Vintage pieces and old salvage is what I love to do from a design standpoint in all our projects. 
I have a storage container... or two filled with pieces I have been coveting for this french farm house & future projects.


Finding imperfect beauties like these makes my heart flutter and my cheeks blush!




I know I will use them, it's just where and when!

So if I can save your heart a bit...a little lesson to share with you is...
It's not the pieces that you bought and hang on to,
 it's the pieces you passed up and didn't get that you'll regret!!

The hunt is fun, but when you see it all come together that's the joy!

Hey I'm on IG - follow me there! 
my feed is
xogailsmithpeterson

A beautiful weekend to you,
xo,
Gail

Monday, February 13, 2017

Love

Sweetest Valentine's Day to you!

When it comes to celebrating Valentines Day isn't sweet how much fun it is? 
It's timeless, and for all ages.

I used to be obsessed for making my own Valentines. Over the years, I loved giving something I created with my own sentiments.

I love hanging these glitter hearts in the garden folly, I love to see them when light catches a sparkle.



A sweet "HappyValentines Day" with Love to you & yours,
xo,
Gail

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I'm blushing

Hello Darlins,

I'm blushing today...


This morning I woke to see our entry foyer featured
 on COUNTRY HOME MAGAZINE's
Instagram page. 


How lovely!
Thank you Country Home Magazine for a little sparkle on our home!


How's your new year so far?

I've been super focused with my new year agenda, lot's of beautiful things coming about!

Harvest season has began here at our family Lemon grove so that brings such love for the gardens, being outdoors and sharing our bounty with local markets.

Please join me over on instagram.
at
xogailsmithpeterson

A beautiful week to you,
xo,
Gail








Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Kitchen shelves get decked for Christmas

Merry Christmas Darlins,

FIVE more days
I hope your at the bottom of your list of TO DO's list!

Over here, we're ready & excited.
I plan on baking tomorrow.

When it comes to the holiday decorating I love to add some *Merry* to each space. 
Let's be real we spend a lot of time gathered in the kitchen so I feel it's a fun space to deck out...sparingly!


Memorable pieces

This silver snowman melts my heart..
I filled the bottom of his belly with cocoa & marshmallows or whipping creme in the top.
A little tradition this became... when my boys were toddlers.
 Together we sat at little table in our kitchen & had cocoa.

 Somewhere I have sweet pictures of those cherished moments!


Loving the simple decor when we come in the kitchen...



..remember when Evian did this limited edition bottle?

A beautiful week before Christmas to you....
xo,
Gail




Friday, December 16, 2016

Wellies

Hello Darlins,

So excited it's raining at this moment in Southern California!
We have been in a serious draught for years here... I think this will help!

How's your holidays?

Yesterday morning my husband had us waking to Carols at 6:30 am...
He must of been still happy about the short ribs I made the night before!

I love this time of year so much!

One more small package to mail.



Here's a peak at the new powder bath floor & custom door. 
A couple things that aren't complete....
Soon they will be finished for the reveal!

I'm sooo wearing my wellies today! 

A perfect rainy day schedule... finish my wrapping
 do some business
 &
 later this afternoon I'm meeting a friend to go to the cinema.

 Can't wait to wear a cozy sweater. sip a hot latte & study film!
Off to the post Office to stand in line!

I hope your day is a beautiful one!
xo,
me

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Noel inspired



Hi Darlins
While the festive days are Kringling by...
You might be snuggled by a warm fire, with a hot latte 
 &
 would enjoy a little throwback Thursday's inspiration
 from my
*Noel*
Pinterest board

Link below



Love to hear from you if you have a favorite!

A beautiful Holli * day to you!
xo,
Gail

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tips How to Cozy for Christmas

Hi Darlins,

Aligning with our Casual Loves Elegance everyday life & style..
Christmas is a time when I love to load up on cozy * comfy elements.

I thought I would share some insight of how you can do this anywhere!

 We live in Southern California...which is lovely!

 ...but personally, between you & me...
 my heart is in a cozy lake house in the midwest!
 Tall evergreens branches weighted with snow, a crackling fire in a real mason fireplace.
 Ice skates by the door, ready for when the lake is frozen deep enough to go on.

Those are the childhood memories I experienced & cherish especially during this time of year.

So how do we create that feeling in California or anywhere?
Here's some inspiration from my living room to yours....


No.1

Candle light

Nature - Animal images - Antlers - fur faux or real

Shiny elements - Reflect light like snow or ice

Silver * Gold * Pewter


No. 2

Cozy textures

Faux or real fur - Linen- Important element to add warmth to leather
In our living room here I used faux fur pillows, Belgium linen all with down inserts including the leather sofa, it is down.  

Sparkle - Glittery beads, crystal, rhinestones
Pillow in front has a hand beaded snowflake.


No. 3
Homemade
 Time is precious & so is a one of a kind element made by you, your children or someone you love.
I made these "A Winter Wish" little banners.
 Fun, creative & cost... a little love & time!

Flowers
Always fresh - bringing a scent to the air & reminding us that beauty surrounds us.
These are heirloom roses from my garden.


Most of all Christmas is in our hearts
 how we feel
 what we believe is in the spirit.
There isn't anything serious about decorating, be inspired by your dreams.
 Use what you have, what you love, most of all what makes you feel warm & cozy!

A beautiful winter day to you!

Follow on instagram now at
casualloveselegance

xo,
Gail

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas mantle - my DIY candle stands

Hello Darlins,

*20*days...

This time of year is so beautiful isn't it?
 I LOVE the decor, nature & pet photos that are being shared...
 A visual reminder how the spirit Christmas is everywhere.

This year our greens were placed on mantles, headboards, balconies etc.
I had full intention to add twinkle lights to everything,
 but instead this year ...

I want simple...
Loving the dark green natural look, without lights. 
They are so pretty I want to enjoy them simply for what they are... evergreens.

Here's the dining room fireplace mantle this Christmas.


Nothing is perfect... yet I don't think about perfect for anything. 
It's pretty enough!
 Everything is vintage.
 The Louis Philipe mirror is a treasure find & is turn of the century.

Nothing matches...I use what I love & that has purpose.



The warm simple glow of candles will offer soft & cozy light for dining.


These two white wood candle pedestals are tops of fence columns.
 a friend gave me some fence posts years ago,
 he said... I knew you would want these! 
He was right...
 I loved repurposing them for large candles, I use them indoor & outdoor all year.

Follow along on instagram too!
casualloveselegance

A beautiful cozy week & sending you wishes for all that's magical for you!
xo,
me

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Entry Foyer - a little christmas corner

Happy Holiday's Darlins,

The Holiday's are here.... I Love it!

I have begun decorating have you?
All the fresh garland & wreaths are placed.
I  don't know about you but.. when the garland is up it smells like Christmas to me!
It seems to bring the forest inside & everything seems so cozy.
mmmm Love* that!



In the entry foyer I have placed the new upholstered french vintage chair in the corner.
It's not it final location but the room it's going in is under construction!!



...this year I'm loving a teeny bit o red!


&
the boyzzz will like it!

Darling readers...
Thank you for the dearest comments you left for my family about the loss of Miss Chloe our Tibetan... we appreciate your kindness & prayers. Oh how we are missing her....
A beautiful day to you may it be more than you wish for!
xo,
Gail

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tibetan mastiff Chloe

Hello Darlins

With a broken heart I write this post today..
On the eve of Thanksgiving my family and I found ourselves having to say our final goodbye to our dearly loved & cherished Tibetan mastiff Miss Chloe.


12 -23-06  *  11- 23- 16
RIP

Tuesday evening my husband looked at her ears inside, uses some liquid ear cleaner on a cotton pad and rubbed her ears inside and found fresh blood. A flag for concern...
 On Wednesday at noon we took her into the vet for apt. to see why she had been pawing at her face over the last month near her eyes, it seemed something was irritating the area. She scratched so hard it was bleeding & it wouldn't heel over. We thought maybe she had something going on there. 

We thought we would probably be getting some antibiotics & a maybe an ear wash and we would bring her home.

Long story short...the vet did some tests and found our her red blood count was almost depleted & her blood wasn't coagulating. They gave us her samples & paperwork with a referral to a animal hospital for a specialist, they said go now...

 Bottom line the vet aid she couldn't be saved, she was bleeding internally. Her immune system was attacking itself.
  We asked if we could bring her back home for a few hours to be with her and let her be with Lincoln our Saint Bernard. We hoped he would sense something and maybe it will help him later. 
My oldest son lives out of state and it broke our heart to make that call....omg so extremely difficult give him the news and explain the situation.
He was an important part of her life too...This was his dog so much, he found the breeder and led the descioson in getting her from the beginning...

We skyped with him so he could see her as we gathered around on the floor with both dogs..
Later that evening we said goodbye....


The first time we saw her... getting her ready to come home with us.



Quiet & sweet




Late in the spring her thick winter coats gets ready to shed for summer.


She was a friend and mentor to our Lincoln, whom I believe showed him the ropes and gave him confidence... he is almost blind.


Tibetan Mastiffs are a unique breed.
 Chloe was noble
 she pranced like royalty
 walked like a model
 &
 proud, quiet and elegant

 She was amazing guardian...
 She knew her natural primitive role..
She guarded us, our friends, our property, Lincoln and our hearts.

She was so beautiful...one of a kind.


We will ring the bell for her this Christmas...

We miss her dearly we loved her immensely.

Sweet dreams we love you....Miss Chloe..
xo,
me