Thursday, May 31, 2012

Daisy Bouquet and Other Pleasures

I picked these wild daisies just a few steps from my condo.  

I think daisies look "happy".

I love them photographed against a black background to make them pop.

Some new fouta guest towels in the powder room.  

Collection of sea treasures on a silver tray.

What makes you smile today?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Hydration

Staying hydrated on hot summer days is very important.  Sugary and alcoholic drinks are often more appealing than plain old H2O.  

Make water more enticing by adding a bit of flavor and color.  A few sprigs of mint, a slice of citrus or cucumber, a berry or two will transform a humble glass of aqua into a refreshingly delicious thirst quencher.

Keep the fruit and flavors in a pitcher and just replenish the water in the pitcher during the day.  You only need to think about this once a day and you'll have a beautiful drink waiting for you whenever you open the refrigerator door.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day That Felt Like Labor Day

It wasn't cool weather that made it feel like Labor Day, it was laboring and organizing that made our weekend work.  Hubby was on call so that meant we were at home all weekend.  

We decided to refinish the outdoor furniture, not because it is great stuff but because it stores so well.  The chairs form one nice stack in the basement and the table folds and fits against a wall in the garage during the winter.  So we sanded, stained and sealed and - 

-voila!  Almost good as new!  

I do like my little bistro set but it isn't really big enough for two people.  I had Sunday breakfast al fresco while hubby made rounds.

I got ambitious and went through some boxes in the storage room.  The result is trash, Craigslist and Purple Heart donations.  Feels good to purge and free up some space.  

The deck plants are looking really healthy despite 90 degree temperatures. 
Did you do projects or plant over the weekend?  Do you eat outside several times a week? 

Have a good week.  

Friday, May 25, 2012


Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer.  Pools open, boats are buzzing around the lake, families are having picnics. 

Let's not forget it is all about those who have served to keep us free.

See you on Tuesday

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Havaianas Espadrilles

It was just brought to my attention that Havaianas makes espadrilles.  I have several pair of the Havaianas flip flips. The espadrilles look comfy and I love the pink/orange color combo.

A rainbow of colors for men and women.  
Have you seen these or purchased a pair?  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cool Breakfast: Refrigerator Oats

Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfast foods.  A steamy hot bowl of oatmeal, sweetened with maple syrup and topped with fresh blueberries and walnuts is a great start on a cold morning.  BUT, not so appealing on a hot summer morning.  

Refrigerator oats or muesli is a cool way to get your oats and fruit and not "sweat it".  

There are lots of recipes for this concoction but here is a simple way to prepare the oats.
The night before, place 1/3 to 1/2 cup of rolled oats (not the quick or steel cut) into a bowl.  Add an equal amount of yogurt.  I used plain Greek yogurt, use what you like or what you have.  To that, add some liquid, 1/4 - 1/2 cup depending on how "soupy" you want your oats.  I used skim milk but you can use orange juice, coconut water, or apple juice.  Use your imagination.  That's it.  BUT you can add chia seeds or milled flax seeds or toasted wheat germ if you like.  Mix it up and cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.  Easy right?

Next morning, time to be creative.  Sweeten the mix with white or brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, pomegranate molasses or the sweetener of your choice. Top your oats with fruit and nuts or whatever you like or have on hand.  I used raspberries, sliced almonds, coconut and pomegranate seeds.  That's it.  Cool and healthy and satisfying.  All the prep is done the night before.  You could easily put this in a container to take to work and have a satisfying breakfast at your desk. 

Here are some additions to consider:
  • apple juice for liquid, grated apple and walnuts
  • Nutella for a sweetener and sliced bananas
  • honey for sweetener, sliced peaches and almonds
  • orange juice for liquid, mango and pistachios
What flavors would you try?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sweet Inspiration

My sweet tooth is craving macarons.
I found lots of macaron inspired products so I guess I'm not the only one with a  macaron passion.

Macaron Inspired

How about an iPhone cover displaying colorful macarons?  Pliadesigns $38

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Musings

What a glorious weekend we had in Michigan, perfect for all the spring tasks.  The deck got a scrubbing and sealing.  

We had our first al fresco dinner. 

After visits to two Farmers Markets, most of my planters are filled with annuals and herbs.  I decided on a coral and purple theme this year.  There are so many flowers to choose from and quite a few plants with purple and variegated leaves as well.  

The plants look pint-sized and fragile right now but in a few weeks they should fill in nicely.

I found a few miniature false cypress to place on my plant etagere.

Here is the pouf I got for my birthday.  The knitted quality adds lots of texture to the room and the color is a bit more muted than what this photo portrays.  I love the way it works so nicely with this vase from Anthropologie.

Have a wonderful start to your week!

Friday, May 18, 2012


Now that I am relaxed, it's time to go home.

photo D. Flanagan

How was your week?  Are you ready for the weekend?  Any big plans?

I'll be heading back to Michigan from Elbow Cay, Bahamas.  This week was a mix of relaxation and recreation combined with house maintenance and upkeep.   Looks like I'll be going home to sunnier weather than what it has been in the Bahamas lately. 

See you on Monday.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Do You Need a Fouta?

A fouta is a cotton, machine washable towel originally used in saunas in Mediterranean countries like Tunia and Turkey.  Foutas are light weight, 72 x 40 inches, and become softer and more absorbent with each washing.  They have evolved as more of a lifestyle essential than a towel.  

A fouta is an absorbent towel for for bath or beach.  

Use a foutas as you would a pashmina, for a shawl or blanket on a plane.

photo D. Flanagan
Use a foutas for a beach chair.

photo D. Flanagan
Impromptu tablecloth on a table or for a picnic in a park or on the beach.

Guest towel size 20 x 28.  Besides a great towel in the powder room, these towels could be used as placemats, dish towels or on top of a dresser.  

I have just discovered foutas.  I use mine on a plane, and at the beach as a sarong or towel.  These would make an excellent gift and are a great travel companion with multiple uses.

You can purchase on line here or here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Summer Drink: Cilantro Negroni

On hot day, a sweet drink isn't as refreshing as something a bit more tart or dry.  I really like the taste of Campari, a bitter orange aperitif.  In this drink, cilantro is muddled with some sugar and club soda gives the drink some fizz and dilutes the 21% alcohol content of the Campari.  Be generous with the cilantro, it is very subtle in this drink.  

photo by D. Flanagan

Muddle 3 cilantro sprigs with 1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar and 1 orange wedge in a glass.  Add 2 oz Campari and ice.  Add 4 oz club soda.  Stir.  Makes 1

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Soap Stones

Why am I showing you a photo of stones?

Actually these are not stones.  This is soap made to look like stones.  

These are Arghand soaps made from blends of oils that are extracted from hand harvested plants that grow naturally in Afghanistan.  

These raw materials have been used for centuries to protect and nurture skin.  Can you just imagine the fragrance of soap made with almond oil, grapefruit seed extract, pomegranate seed oil and coconut seed oil?  No preservatives or unnatural ingredients are used in the production of the soap.  

The soaps are made to look like river stones by hand-forming, adding natural dyes and then hand-milling and polishing.  

Sarah Chayes, the founder of Arghand, left her journalism career with NPR in 2002 to remain in Afghanistan and help rebuild the country.  Chayes had the idea of taking the glorious and abundant produce of Afghanistan and creating 100% natural body and bath products for export.   Arghand's goal is to create a viable economic alternative to the opium production, the major industry in Afghanistan.  100% of the profits from Arghand are returned to the cooperative in Kandahar.  

Beside soap, other body oils, balms, and lotions are available.  Click here to shop the site or find retailers.   Click here to read some of the press that Arghand has garnered. 

I really like the idea of supporting this endeavor.  I think I'll order some soap for myself and some to give as gifts.  I've read that the Essence of Rose face cream is fantastic so I may have to try that as well.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Perfect Weekend

I hope you had a fabulous weekend and a happy Mother's Day for all you moms.

Friday night this was the view as hubby and I had drinks and dinner.

Aren't these the sweetest sea urchin earrings?  Hubby found these for me on Etsy.  

The weather was perfect for bike rides, beach walks and reading around the pool.  

Have a great Monday everyone!

Friday, May 11, 2012

It's My Birthday...

...and I'm headed to Elbow Cay, Bahamas.  

Hope Town Harbour, photo by me

My idea of celebration?  A good book and this beach.  

Have a good weekend.  See you on Monday.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Indoor Gardens

Indoor alternatives for gardening.

Geodesic Terrarium $295 Restoration Hardware

Windowsill herb garden $30 Plow and Hearth

Shiitake Mushroom Log $29.95 Williams-Sonoma

Terrarium Cactus Garden $35 Terrain

Living Wall Pocket  Wooly Pocket


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