Sunday Morning Coffee – Volume 7

Sunday Morning Coffee February
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Today I am pleased to share with you Sunday Morning Coffee. This is a place to share, learn, explain, dream, and have fun.

Thanks for joining me for Sunday morning coffee. Today I am sharing my weekly thoughts about decor, crafts, and recipes and why I love to entertain. This month we are Living Beautifully!

A Little Bit About Me

There is a reason why I love to entertain.

My 100 Year Old Home Backyard Party

I get asked all of the time, “Why do you throw so many parties?”.

There is a simple answer.

I was a meeting and event planner for over twenty years.

In case you are wondering what a “meeting and event planner” is, I created and planned sales meetings, board meetings, incentive trips, and large conferences for groups from 25 – 10,000 people.

Which makes a dinner for 100 a piece of cake.

And dinner for 8 in my back yard a no-brainer.

Host a Backyard Tailgate Party

I have been to Hawaii over 90 times. Sadly almost all of them were for work. I had a client for over twenty years that had multiple divisions that took groups of about 250 to Hawaii multiple times a year. I went on every one of them. But I spent all of my time working!

So if you want to know anything about Hawaii hotels you now know who to ask. Especially if you want to know the size of a ballroom or who has the best catering. Haha.

Seriously though, I have planned the most incredible theme parties, amazing formal dinners, concerts with name entertainment, and more.

So … building an outdoor room in my backyard with hanging greenery and lighting is not hard to do. At least when you compare it to planning a Beatlemania theme party for 400.

I could write a book about all the crazy things I experienced when I was an event planner!

Let me see … I was in Hawaii when a 7.1 earthquake hit, with the epicenter less than two miles away. It was very scary and we were stuck at the hotel with no power and no ballroom and a non-working filter in the pool which meant it was closed. That was a very difficult time trying to entertain and hold group dinners for 250 people …

I had a group of 150 on a plane bound for London. Unfortunately, when we took off at LAX we blew five tires. That caused an emergency landing in Dallas and canceled flights for everyone. Somehow we (I mean I) managed to get everyone on flights the next day …

I was in Mexico with a group of 200 and we were really excited about the brand new hotel our group was going to enjoy. The hotel was a bit short on rooms so I checked out of my room that day to make sure we had enough rooms for our guests. At 11:30 pm the hotel said they had one room left for me, one of the Grand Suites. I was thrilled. What they didn’t mention is that the room had no doorknob or keycard entry on the hotel room door, no electricity in the bathroom, no drapes, no phone, no internet, or TV. They found a key for me to use, but the next morning I discovered there was no way to open the door to get out. So I climbed over the balcony (on the 10th floor) to get into the next room.

Just a typical day as an event planner.

dinner party on the beach

I remember spending hours upon hours with a couple who arrived in Hawaii without their luggage. Apparently, they lost their luggage tag receipts (this was years ago when we actually had luggage tag receipts) and I spent days on the phone with the airlines trying to track down their luggage. It was sad because they literally spent the entire incentive trip being absolutely miserable. Two weeks after the trip was over I got a call from one of the executives telling me that the couple had actually left their luggage in their living room at home.

I am not sure how you get all the way to Hawaii thinking you had checked your luggage when you didn’t. Seriously?

Event planning is a challenge of logistics. You can’t control the weather or earthquakes or absentminded people. But for over twenty years I loved the creativity and ability to create once in a lifetime experiences for all of my clients. I also met Cheryl Crow, Glenn Fry, Rod Stewart, Jim Belushi, and my all-time favorite, Kenny Loggins.

This might help explain why I love hosting our Christmas party for 250 friends and family every year (ok, except for last year) and still make all of the food. Or why I can throw together a dinner party for 8 in a few hours.

I really enjoy “creating the party” such as hanging lights.

Hanging the Lights

And building outdoor dining rooms. I love arranging flowers, making place cards and menus, planning the menu and cooking the meal.

Setting Up the Dining Area

I love entertaining and I can’t wait until we can start throwing dinner parties for our friends again! For now, I will be planning more parties for our family.

Entertaining in Your Backyard

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Around Our Home

In the Backyard

If you asked me which room in our home is my favorite, and the backyard was an option, then I just might pick our back yard.

It’s a perfect space for relaxing, playing sports, entertaining, and more.

When it comes to entertaining, this is by far my favorite place to have a party.

We have made so many changes in our backyard since we moved here 23 years ago. Just so you know, we did not do these at once. We have slowly tackled projects year after year.

We expanded the family room and built the covered porch. It has a wood burning fireplace (and heaters in the ceiling) and we love it.

We added the brick patio which is made of vintage bricks that were part of a heater chimney vent that went from our basement up three floors. We discovered this chimney when we did our remodel and it was a not-so-good surprise.

We added some beautiful Arhaus furniture on our back patio and a gorgeous table and chairs under our covered porch from Arhaus.

We also added an Outdoor Kitchen!

You know how much I love to cook and I love preparing dinner for our family out here.

Our outdoor kitchen includes an island with a sink, ice maker, a refrigerator, and seating too. We also added a DCS Gas Barbecue, a Green Egg, and an outdoor stove top burner.

We added a pool in the back part of the yard about 15 years ago.

We had a Sport Court for paddle tennis and basketball behind the pool for years. (Dave and his family built it a gazillion years ago … he grew up in his house.) About ten years ago my two volleyball players (Dave and Michael) added 150 tons of sand to the court. So it is now a sand volleyball court with lights and music. You can only imagine how much fun it is!

One Project Left in the Backyard

We have one project left to do. We have a Carriage House in our backyard. Many years ago the horse and carriage would pull up, the carriage would get dropped off inside, and the horses would leave out the back. There are two huge sliding doors on the front and back of the Carriage House that still remain.

We are going to redo the inside of this space and make it more useful. This will be happening next month. I cannot wait.

A Tip for Your Home

  • If you think about my theme this month, Living Beautifully, it is all about ways to make your home comfortable and beautiful. I know a lot of you are dealing with snow and zero temperatures right now. But it’s never too early to start thinking about outdoor spaces and how to utilize them for outdoor living.

I spent a lot of time last fall coming up with new outdoor spaces for entertaining.

I moved tables around, cleared the area behind the Carriage House, and hosted our first dinner party out there.

Is there an area that you can use for a special dinner in your yard? Start thinking now so you can include this in any spring cleaning or planting projects.

Reflections on the Week

It’s Valentine’s Day and I have spent an entire month sharing a lot of ideas for you to enjoy today. This past week was no exception.

My Favorite Things

In the Craft Room

The DIY Mommy

Looking for a unique gift idea or home decor item? This sweet DIY pampas grass arrangement makes a lovely and unique gift. Use a variety of pink and natural coloured grasses to make this soft, textured bouquet.

Happy Happy Nester
This easy DIY Flower Wall Hanging is easy to create with faux flowers. Decorate your bedroom wall with it for Spring.

Accounts I Love to Follow on Instagram

Rachel @ The Ponds Farmhouse

Courtney @ Tuft and Trim

Michele @ Vintage Home Designs

Brooke @ Plank and Pillow

Christiane @ Fraulein on Cottage

Three Things I Love for Under $50

Ok, so they may not be cheap but these cake stands are my favorite. I can use them for everything and they look great anywhere.

Good Things From Martha

Freeze a Burst of Flavor

Even when it is freezing outside, it’s a great idea to make some fun ice cubes.

Head on over to one of my favorite Good Things by Martha Stewart.

My Favorite Comments on the Blog

Valentine's Day Table Decorations Pink Obmre

Delanie: I have never seen or even imagined a table as gorgeous as this one!! This is the pinnacle, the quintessential, the ultimate in beautiful! I want to run out, in my pajamas, and buy every flower in every shade of pink to white I can find! My dining room is done in blue and, oh my, wouldn’t that tablescape look gorgeous in there! Of course, that would look gorgeous anywhere! I am running through my China, glassware, linen inventory in my mind to see if I have enough to replicate your exquisiteness on my table. Thank you for being so talented and inspirational!

Leslie: Delanie! Oh my gosh. This is the sweetest comment ever. thank you and I am so happy you like my “ombre” table. I can’t wait to see it in blue!

Linda: I can’t wait until it gets warm enough to entertain outside! We have lights crisscrossed over a brick patio also and it makes it magical. I love your posts and I try to emulate what you do. You inspire me to want to try new things. It lifts my spirits! Thank you.

Leslie: Thank you so much Linda. I love to entertain and I cannot wait until the weather warms up a bit to start creating dinners in our backyard. I think it’s going to be a fun summer for entertaining!

One Healthy Tip

Walk Don’t Run

We are at the beach this weekend and one of my favorite things to do while we are here is walk on the beach!

I love to take long power walks but I often get sidelined with finding sea glass. But that’s a good thing.

Seriously, we all need to get outside and walk more. You don’t need to run. Jut walk. Set a goal. And just walk.

Reel Life vs. Real Life

Fruit Stained Lemon Tart Recipe

Things you see on blogs and social media are often not as they appear. Our houses are never as clean as they seem and sometimes the things we share just aren’t the real story.

So guess what I shared this week that wasn’t as it appeared?

Remember the Citrus Stained Tart that I made this week? I shared a brilliant concept that you put fresh fruit on top of the tart to “stain” and flavor the top.

This tart started out as a Bruleed Citrus Tart. I intended to make a pretty tart with fresh fruit on top. But the pictures with the fruit on top didn’t look great and I didn’t want to share them. My tart did not turn out as I had hoped.

Citrus Stained Lemon Tart Recipe

In my frustration, I pulled off all of the fruit and threw it in the sink. I then was left with a Citrus Stained Lemon tart.

Wait … a Citrus Stained Tart? How cool is that?

So I kind of presented it as if that’s what I was planning to do all along.

I call that being flexible … and perhaps a bit lucky.

Sadly, I have lots more to share next week …

What’s Ahead

I have so many fun ideas to share next week, now that Valentine’s Day is behind us. I have some very fun uses for Apothecary Jars, a Spring Tour of our Waco Kitchen, a treasured family recipe, a DIY on how to make Paper Flowers, and tips on how to take photos of your home with youtr35mm camera!

Links to the Items Shown in This Post

Catch up on Sunday Morning Coffee

Pin the image below to your decor boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!

February Sunday Morning Coffee

For more real-time updates, follow me on Instagram @My100YearOldHome

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  1. I was introduced to your blog by my daughter a few months ago and absolutely LOVE it. I follow you on Instagram and love to see your posts and stories each day – they bring a bit of escape to a cold winter and days that run together while we are still pretty confined to our homes.
    Thank you for the beautiful escape each day!

    1. Wow, thank you so much Shannon for reaching out and for your kind comments. I am so happy that you enjoy what I share and that it brings you a little warmth and sunshine each day!

  2. Dear Leslie,
    Another great Sunday morning coffee with you. Loved the luggage left in the living room story.
    Read with great interest you comments about putting a dinner for 8 together in a few hours. I know you are so capable of doing so, but would very much appreciate you sharing your ideas, tips, menus and actual recipes for doing so with those of us not quite so talented. Perhaps this could be the theme of a future Sunday morning or other blog post. Please consider it.
    Barbara O’Connell

  3. An enjoyable post as always. I love looking at the areas of your yard. It has the feeling of everything I love about California. We lived there in the early 70’s, traveled there many times and then spent winters in La Quinta for over twenty years. It has always felt like my true home. Very excited to see the new carriage house remodel. Such a fun project. Really like your outdoor kitchen. We replaced our old deck with a multilevel deck several years ago and I yearned for a section added with a kitchen, but it really was pointless. We barely cook out now, entertain seldom compared to the past. Things change so much when you get older, we have many fond memories of the busy years of family and parties.

    1. Thank you so much Jillian for reaching out! It makes me happy that what I share brings you fond memories of your time in California. Stay tuned, the carriage house remodel is going to be amazing!

  4. Another great blog, Leslie. You being an event planner explains a lot. That was a perfect job for you. Thank you for everything you share with us. You are truly amazing and inspiring. Happy V Day!

    1. Thank you so much Miche! My previous career definitely was good preparation for my current career! Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!

  5. Leslie, what a great blog. I love the story about the balcony. You have done so much. I live in Mexico now, but I am from Los Angeles and worked for the City of Bellflower and Norwalk for 15 years. So I did a lot of city wide events. I wish I would have known you back then, you have such great ideas. But instead of entertaining City Mayor´s and politicians now I dedicate my time to my family and friends. So I will defitnitely use your ideas. Thank you for sharing and love everything you do!

    1. Thank you for reaching out to me Cindy! It is, indeed a small world out there! It makes me so happy to know that you enjoy my udeas and what I share. I have so many amazing things planned for this year!

  6. I loved your stories of your event planning days….what a dream job (most of the time, right?)!! You, no doubt, were really good at your job!! I enjoy all of your posts, but particularly enjoyed today’s.

    1. Thank you Debbie. Yes, you are right, it was an amazing job, most of the time! 😳 I appreciate that you reached out to me and that you enjoyed today’s blog post. Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much Kathy! I am loving these Sunday Morning Coffee posts. It’s nice to share a little bit about me!

  7. You sure had an interesting career and love hearing stories most of us would not even think went along with your job. It must be more relaxing and fun to be on your own turf, planning your own events now. It is cold here in NY as winter finally showed up before we forgot how to deal with it so I am enjoying some inside time to organize and clean.

  8. Ha – I knew we had so much in common! I was an international trade event manager for years and a corporate event planner since I was in my 20s! Those are great stories – fortunately I never had to climb out a 10-story window! And I’ll say it again – I LOVE that tablescape! Another beautiful week of inspiration Leslie – thanks so much!

    1. What a small world Barbara! I am still over the moon about the ombre tablescape this week 😍 Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

  9. I so enjoyed the coffee talk this morning. So glad you take the time to share with us. Looking forward to more fun 😊

  10. I just love everything you that comes out of that super creative brain of yours😁💕. I can’t wait to be inspired by you this week and I’m especially looking forward to the tips on photographing our homes with a 35mm! Thank you Leslie!!!💕💕💕

    1. Oh my gosh, thank you so much Janine! I so very much appreciate that you reached and and for you thoughtful and kind comment. See you this week!

  11. Love your ideas! I love to cook and entertain as well! How about sharing some of your “Go-to favorite recipes?” For small AND large gatherings…. your go-to ones!
    We recently converted our Garage into our Outdoor space . It SO great! We used “special Antique furniture pieces” that we inherited from our parents ( some heirlooms are over 100 years old. It feels like a “part of them “ are with us when we use the space!

  12. Hello Leslie,
    I’m new to your blog…I have to say, you have such class! also a beautiful elegant home. I love all of your ideas.

  13. Leslie, Your blog is so phenomenal that I might as well throw out every cook book, décor magazines, craft books, and stop watching HGTV and other Home Improvement shows altogether. It’ll be like decluttering my mind and house. I’ll just come on here to be entertained, inspired, and razzle dazzled. I just can’t believe how amazing this blog is that you have created.

    1. Oh my gosh Mary, this is the sweetest comment I have ever received! I am so happy that you enjoy what I have to share and are entertained inspired and razzle dazzled! 😊 I have so many amazing things planned for this year, so you found me at just the right time! I very much appreciate that you reached out to me with your thoughtful and kind comments. Have a wonderful week!

  14. Always a good read, fun, inspiring and interest. I’m really looking forward to the photography tips. I treated myself to a new camera a few years ago and haven’t used it as much as I had hoped but I’ve been taking it on hikes and practicing.

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