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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Little Pink Houses

I just returned from my Bahama cruise and wanted to share a few pics with you. I thought the architect on Nassau was very similar to what you find in New Orleans and Charleston except the islands have beautiful turquoise water.




Our tour guide took us to the Atlantis Hotel, a beautiful structure on a white Caribbean beach.




I actually got to spend some time in Charleston on the morning of our return where I found my new favorite lunch spot--Firehouse subs. I highly recommend the Italian. My friend's daughter, Amber, lives on James Island while attending the College of Charleston.

I absolutely love the city of Charleston. It reminds me a lot of New Orleans. Growing up, I spent summers visiting my aunt and cousins in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, about 25 minutes from Biloxi and an hour from New Orleans.  I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time in New Orleans.

I grew up in southern Maryland and I miss seeing the water and going fishing on the weekends. I especially miss seeing the boats everywhere. The ex-husband and I owned a boat we kept at Solomon's Island Marina. Here is a pic of my now-grown daughter having a wonderful time.


I could so live on James Island and am jealous that Amber lives only about 15 minutes from Folly Beach. We rented a house on the ocean there when my son graduated from USC. You just couldn't beat this view.


Here is my son on the pier at Folly. We walked to it from the beach a few nights at sunset to take in the incredible scenery.


Here, my niece and I are cutting up after a long day of sun on Folly beach while we steam some crabs:


Oh, good times! Our tour guide on Nassau had that wonderful island accent and, for the first time, I rode in a limo. What do your think of this ceiling carpet? I never did make it to my prom in 1980!


Here are few pics of the Island of Freeport. My friends tell me it is very similar to Miami, so I can add that to my "gotta-do" list.




My beautiful friend is from the Dominica Republic and she keeps promising me a trip to paradise. Demaris, my bags can be packed on a minute notice!

I especially loved the beach on Freeport. I need at least two full days of this:


Well, here's to dreaming of little pink houses and turquoise waters. Gee, isn't February over yet?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Going Bananas

I have always been in the habit of tossing my overripe bananas in the freezer and then baking banana bread when I had a stash. My freezer was kind of going bananas when I found this recipe for banana cake with cream cheese frosting on pinterest. I didn't have nuts for the top but it was great without them.


My version doesn't look so pretty but it was delicious! I recommend this recipe for its ease and yumminess. I made this for my small group Bible study last week and the ladies loved it. Don't get lazy and use the canned cream cheese frosting. This is the real deal and took less than 2 minutes to make. It also ups the flavor factor.

I have also been trying to serve alternative healthy snacks, too. I picked up some strawberries and clementines on sale and then just tossed them with whatever I had in the cupboard for an on-the-fly fruit salad. In this case, it was just coconut and raisins. It contains no sugar or sugar substitute. The trick to its deliciousness was letting it sit in the fridge for a day and allowing the natural sweetness of the coconut and raisins to sweeten the berries.


It is a bit of a challenge to think of something to serve people each week that is quick, not costly, or bad for you. I abhor supermarket, packaged sweets because they are loaded with preservatives and all sorts of junk that I wouldn't even feed my dogs! 

At least if we are going to eat something sweet, I know the ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Not a bunch of gums and extracts I can't pronounce. Besides, have you ever had a leftover supermarket cupcake or cake? You can eat that stuff, like 30 days later (I know, but I did. LOL!) It is indestructible. All I can say is, that can't be good!

I have shared before that I am on a journey of learning and understanding where our modern-day food is coming from. In this light, I recommend  Heritage Radio Network. I found this fun source through an organization called the Greenhorns, a group of under 40 farmers. There are so many excellent programs you can choose from. I am a bit of a cheese whore, so I have been listening to Cutting the Curd, hosted by Anne Saxelby. Enjoying myself immensely. 

Last night I listened to a program on the adulterated olive oil market. I highly recommend you check out the site and listen to this program because this is just one more area the U.S. consumer is getting ripped off on. And I'll leave you with this little tidbit, did you know there are more than 700 varieties of olives? Me neither! Seems like olives are a bit like wine--regions, varities, and production have a lot to do with the finished project. Sometimes a little education can go a long way, just have fun with it.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Playing House

I needed a break from the computer and wanted to just nest, cuz baby it's cold outside! I baked a chicken, had some sour dough bread with real butter and marmalade jam, and downed some wine. 




Before that though, I played house. I hung up my Tender Hearts $6 tangerine curtains.


The color is awesome. When they are drawn closed and the sun is at its zenith, the space actually glows a beautiful orange. It's like tangible sunshine.


If you have followed me at all, you know that I am infatuated with the turquoise and blue combo. I had painted the opposite wall blue.


It is just the wrong blue.  I am going to repaint it a toned down turquoise like that shown in the vase. I also have turquoise in my new painting:


My dining area and my living room run together, and I like how the blue and orange play throughout, but as you can see in this shot, my sideboard blue is not turquoise but similar to the color of my accent wall.


So I may just have to paint it turquoise, too. It is a challenge to mix the blues just as it is a challenge to mix the traditional with the modern, but that is what most of us have to do with our inherited pieces, such as my dining set. Still, I think the juxtaposition of styles in a home give it the look of acquired timelessness, which I love, and a sense of warmth and comfort. In these two photos (sorry, one is very blurry) you can see what I mean:



I love changing it up and am very happy with the tangerine curtains. I was going to opt for sail cloth drapes, but with the addition of this unexpected find, I'll just tone down the colors by recovering the dining chairs in painter's canvas. So....I'm off this morning to buy some drop cloth.  Hope you all have a good weekend, and don't forget the child inside and play a little house this weekend. After all, baby it's cold outside!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

You're All Late for Tea!

The baby was just born last night and the second issue is now safely swaddled onto issuu.com. Whew! Delivery is always a little messy, but no satisfaction quite equals seeing your creative baby born on the web.

I hope you will check out the latest edition that is a takeoff on Alice in Wonderland and the Matrix. Fun stuff.

Now that I am finished with this issue, I have about a million things to do: create the website, set up email subscribes and notices, learn that (dang) SEO, contact my contributors, etc. It's all good. It's usually in the administrative-management process that I start forming the next issue in my head. I also want to work on those home projects of mine that have been cooling on ice. Nothing like recovering dining room chairs and stripping a coffee table to clear away any cobwebs on say, links and embed code.

Anyway, if any of you have used WordPress for a standalone web, I would love to hear about your experiences and what you think of it. Actually, let me know of any good or bad experiences you have had building a standalone site with templates.

And to all of you who have encouraged and supported me in launching the magazine, I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Decorating!

Ugh! I am a few days behind on uploading the second issue of Royal Diadem Magazine because of some unexpected distractions during the holidays. I am in that sweet and agonizing last stage of almost giving birth--exquisite and painful all at the same time. It also doesn't help that my paying job has been pretty busy since Tuesday. It is time this momma took a creative break. Check out these fantastic Polish Posters I stumbled upon via printmag.com:




Amazing visual design. I am feeling better already. Was stunned to discover that this bold piece is actually a textile:


Pretty fantastic, huh? This alphabet is by Alexander Girard, also via printmag.com. On the home front, I was listlessly clicking through scads of gorgeous pics just wanting something to grab my attention, but all of you web/print people are like me, scrambling after the holidays to get the new stuff posted!

Any hoo, who knew it would be stamp art that caught my tired eye.


Different, no? Perusing Pinterest, I found this industrial graphic sign. Mixed with the tangerine and sophisticated decor, it kinda stopped my heart for a beat or two:

 via pintrest.com

Pretty stunning! And speaking of tangerine and needing a break, I stopped by my local thrift shop during  lunch today (told you I needed a break). I couldn't believe that I found two pairs of tangerine drapes for the living room for just $6--go me!  It kills me that I can't do ANYTHING with them until I finish the mag though. I have furniture to strip, a website to build, and cruise to go on, oh, and and some bottles to spray paint. That is when I am not at work.

Anticipation is one of the best parts of  the creative process, though. Gets me all tingly. I usually can't wait to see how my ideas turn out, but they will just have to keep on ice until the right time. Still, I want to play house!


I love Christmas, but the minute the tree is down and the Christmas lights grow cold, I get restless to redecorate. It's like a disease, ya'll. I cannot help myself.  Anyway, happy New Year!