Thursday, April 29, 2010

Beach House Style for the Apartment (mine, that is!)

Well, the apartment is taking shape, but  not anywhere close to being finished. I decided that I had to show you all some of the progress I am making.....

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a great store in Half Moon Bay called Abode, they carry way cool simple natural items, including quite a few local artisan hand-crafted interesting things.  Here's a few pics from the store!

Do you recognize the rocks?  I bought two out of this bowl - "I Love You" and the "Happiness" rock.  
Way too cute!

Could not resist these!  Alphabet Soup Letters, a bargain at only $6.00 each, all hand painted and stenciled on reclaimed pieces of plywood. Want to see what I did with mine?

Of course, I had to buy a C for Caron, and a T for Tom!  Like my pink seahorses and tropical fish? 

Found this sea shell and coral bright shower curtain at that DANGEROUS store, T.J. Maxx.  Trying to combine my stuff with Tom's stuff - quite a challenge, this shower curtain helped bring all of the combined towel colors together.

Another T.J. Maxx find - Tom had a good laugh, he thought it was pretty funny that the sign is pointing into San Francisco, and not towards the beach, I thought it was pretty clever to have it point into the shower. Duh! 

My little corner... I am hoping to have the starfish back on my website soon.  Our manufacturer has been out of stock for the longest time! (Candles purchased at Beach House Style last summer)

 Here's another cute recycled shell that would look great with  candles too - our small scallop bowls ($6.95) - here's a direct link!,-coastal-decorating,/Detail

(Sorry, had to throw in a little shameless self-promotion!)

Like I said, the apartment is a work in progress, but I am sure having fun discovering new stores and treasures here in the Bay Area!  Have a great Thursday and a great weekend - 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Scallop Skillet inspired by Chef Staffan Terje and Coastal Living Magazine!

Scallop Skillet with Bacon, Endamame, Basil and Creamy Grits (we skipped the grits!) 

So... since I have had all of this time  (ha ha ha) to be creative,  I am teaching myself to cook all over again.  And, you all will be happy to know that I am not half bad at it either!
I saved the March Issue of Coastal Living, just for the scallop recipes.  I have not really ever cooked anything with scallops, thought I would give it a whirl, as we are trying to eat healthy and eat more seafood.  If this turns out bad, oh well, lesson learned!  Thank goodness Tom is not a picky eater.....

Step one: Rip the recipe out of the magazine and head over to the local Safeway seafood counter for some advice.
Step two: Refer to the recipe at least 20 times before leaving the store and still forget stuff...

What you will need: 
5 slices of bacon (I used thick sliced)
2 lbs of sea scallops (the big ones)
3/4 tsp salt - divided
1/4 tsp black pepper - divided
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped sweet onion
2 garlic cloves
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup frozen edamame (soybean)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup grape tomatoes (I sliced mine in half, but you don't have to)
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

P.S. this recipe serves 8, I cut it in half for just us.  Still too much food, but I didn't want to ruin anything by trying to cut it even more.

Here's my best advice - follow the recipe exactly. Especially when cooking the scallops, they can easily be overcooked and become little rubber balls if you are not careful. I don't recommend a non-stick pan, it doesn't seem to work right. Also, have everything chopped, diced, measured and within reach so that you don't accidentally overcook any of this delish dish.

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving the drippings in the pan. Crumble bacon and set aside.

2. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Heat bacon drippings over medium heat until hot. Add scallops, 3 minutes on each side, then remove from the pan.

3. Add butter to the pan. Add onion and garlic, saute', stirring often, 2 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and edamame; cook 2 minutes or until crisp-tender, Add wine, and cook 30 seconds, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet.  Add bacon, salt, pepper and the grape tomatoes; cook stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until tomatoes soften.

4. Return scallops to the pan; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh basil.

Coastal Living served this with creamy grits, we simply made some nice linguine (saving calories) and arranged the linguine with the scallops on top.  I think it would be wonderful with couscous too.  We served it with some sugar snaps and mushrooms from our local farmer's market....

(sorry-difficult to get the photo just right!)

And while I am on the subject... we have a lot of pretty "scallop" merchandise on our site! Don't forget to check out all of the wonderful serving pieces - 

New on the site today!

Recycled Alabaster Scallop Shell Serving Bowl - 100% recycled with a swirling white water pattern

More food safe recycled glass - I love these small scallop bowls for collecting treasures too! 

How about this elegant serving piece? Scallop chip and dip all in one! Beautiful and manufactured by another one of my favorite companies concerned about sustainability - 

Big, bold bright - and absolutely perfect for this spring! Our Lime Green and Caribbean Blue Scallop pillow...

Thanks again for stopping by - have a great week and I will see you soon at the beach!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Earth Day at Caron's Beach House - Part 2

I have good news to report!  My big project of going to the beach at  Half Moon Bay to scoop up plastic and debris from the sand netted very little to pick up, only some tiny pieces, a knife handle, one rusty tin can bottom, and a magnetic plastic blue letter "R".   Here's my dad, my mom and Tom leading the way down the shore in front of the Ritz Carlton (isn't it beautiful??!!!) -

Fabulous sunny day for a beach walk and to look for tiny washed worn pieces of sea glass and pocketfuls of tiny periwinkle shells and delicate olive shells.

My mom and dad have been down visiting all this week, and staying at an RV resort right next to the Ritz. There is a great path that wanders down to the beach through the golf course, cement walkway and cement stairs down to the sand.  BTW, I am not a golfer, but could definitely learn how to be one on this incredible course that meanders all along the cliff and in front of the hotel. (or better yet, Tom could golf, and I could drink beer and drive the golf cart?)  You do not need to be a guest of the hotel, or a guest at the RV park to enjoy the beach, there is a free public parking lot at the top of the path for anyone to use.

If you go at low tide, or near low tide, there are tidepools galore to explore! Full of starfish, sea anemones, hermit crabs, live periwinkles, mussels and shells.

Big Green Anenome - they are all covered in gritty sand, it was hard to find one that was not!

Tons of Periwinkles (Black Turban Shells)!  These shells make great little houses for hermit crabs too!
 We managed to find some pretty (empty) shells lying in the tide line that did not have any live animals inside, and slipped them into our pockets.... 

Big orange starfish crunched into a crevice in the rocks - he's (she's?) probably feasting 
on anemones, mussels or the periwinkles.

Such a glorious dark shade of purple on this leather starfish.... we had such a great time scrambling all over the rocks to scout out the best pictures!

A sample of my stash! 

I think this describes perfectly our day on the beach!  I found this 18" diameter flat bamboo bowl at Ikea last week, it is a perfect display piece on my new dining room table for my favorite beach treasures......

Enjoy your Sunday - we are off on another adventure to take a walk in the sun 
on the Great Highway near the Cliff House in San Francisco! 

(PS  I found the "Happiness" rock in a cute boutique in Half Moon Bay... more on that later!)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day at Caron's Beach House - Part 1

When I started writing the business plan last spring (2009) for Caron's Beach House, it became so clear to me that I had to make Supporting our Future a critical part of my mission statement.  It's funny how this has really changed my outlook on simple every day life.  I have become a better recycler at home, a smarter cook with less processed foods/packaging,  a better garbage picker upper, I try very very hard not to drink bottled water and if I do, we re-use the bottles. The simplest change that I have made is that  I always take an extra bag with me to the beach to pick up plastic and other debris - nothing needs to end up in the swirling garbage dump in the middle of the Pacific.

So, here's what I did and what I wrote for the "Caron's Causes Page":  (the entire page)
Supporting our Future:
Caron’s Beach House has made a commitment to support various charitable organizations through your generous purchase of our products. This is a very significant part of our mission statement as a company; giving back to our communities, protecting our environment and supporting important humanitarian efforts for education, health care and well being. We are inviting our customers to join us. To further those efforts, Caron’s will be featuring a variety of beach house style décor products in which a potion of the proceeds will be donated to support our favorite organizations.
And this is how I ended that page after highlighting several of my favorite organizations - 
"Because living on the coast is our passion, we believe in thoroughly researching our products, striving to find sustainable home décor items, and to also work with manufacturers that also share our vision whenever possible. We also support beach cottage industry artists, and their artistry in our “Beach Finds” collection (check here often for new items!)
As part of the commitment to support our earth’s future and oceans’ health, Caron’s Beach House will also recycle, re-purpose, and re-use as much of our packaging material as we can (bubble-wrap, peanuts, cardboard) – don’t be surprised to find that your shipments might not be packed in a brand new box!"

And, I do stick to this philosophy. Some days it's a lot more work, but I feel so much better when I ship a box out to a customer and know that in some small way, I am helping the oceans.

Caron's SignatureTo celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day and as a way to support Ocean Conservancy.Org here's what we are doing:  The best part is that up until May 7 - all donations to Ocean Conservancy's Science program will be doubled! 

This year we will be donating 25% of the sale proceeds from your generous purchase of the hand-crafted iridescent glass reminders of the sea! 

Two colors available; purchase either the Sea Green, or the Marine Blue Starfish before May 2, 2010 and Caron's Beach House will donate 25% to Ocean Conservancy.Org - one of our favorite causes to support! 

This organization works tirelessly to bring awareness of our Oceans' plight  - they also have been the instigators of the largest volunteer effort, EVER.  Last September, 498,818 volunteers in over 100 countries picked up 7,446,130 pounds of trash.  

That's what I call amazing work!!  Please join me in supporting the continued effort of this great organization - take a look at their website, they can actually help you organize your own beach clean-up day!

I have some shipping to do - and then I am headed to Half Moon Bay with my extra bag to pick up plastic...Have a fabulous Earth Day!  Here's a few photos from HMB, last week's walk before the surf got me!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dining Alfresco on our Deck overlooking the San Francisco Bay

Brunch Dining Alfresco.. Delish Mixed Mushroom Frittata!
It's that time of year again, when we find any excuse possible to live outside in the sunshine and enjoy our view over the central part of San Francisco Bay. We are lucky enough to be able to walk with our coffee cups down to the farmer's market on Sunday mornings, here in our little community. Walking back, our arms and bags laden with fresh local produce, artisan cheese, hand-crafted olive oil...

Easy Ingredients:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
3 cups mixed mushrooms - doesn't matter what kind!
6 eggs
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil)

Put 2 tablespoons of the oil into a nonstick pan,  heat gently, then add the shallots,garlic, and basil. Saute gently for a few minutes until softened, but not browned.

Chop or slice mushrooms and add to the pan, saute for 4-5 minutes until they just start to brown, remove from heat.

Mix the eggs into a bowl with the parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Then carefully stir in the mushroom mixture, and the sun-dried tomatoes. Wipe the pan clean.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the clean skillet and pour your egg mixture back in. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until set on the bottom. Transfer to under a pre-heated broiler and cook for about 2-3 minutes until the top is nicely brown.  We love to top ours with a nice manchego or parmesan cheese, but it's all up to you!

The complete touch?  Mimosas served in our Caron's Beach House beautiful coastal martini glasses!

1/2 glass Champagne
2 barspoons of Grand Marnier
freshly squeezed orange juice to top off

Enjoy your next Sunday Brunch - would love to see some of your favorite brunch specialties!

Martini Glasses with Etched Schools of Fish!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Search for Beach Glass at Monterey Bay

Last Sunday (April 11) Tom and I packed our lunch - lovely leftover bbq'd chicken pizza - jumped in the car and headed down the coast for another adventure in beach glass collecting! Read a great blog the week before, giving me the idea for our latest Sunday drive. I highly recommend checking out this blog out if you are headed in the Monterey Bay, Carmel, Pacific Grove direction...wonderful advice about where to go and what do to.

I met the author of the Monterey Blog on Twitter (for Twitter fans - and she gave me some great advice about where to find sea glass in Monterey, especially helpful since we had no clue where to start.  Followed her directions and ended up at just where we needed to be. At the park across the street from McDonald's on Del Monte, south of Fisherman's Wharf!

Beautiful day, and the beach was littered with tons of sea glass, just waiting for us to scoop it up! It's a little hard to tell in the photo, but I was trying to show you how much glass was there, and how easy it was to find. Even if we had not found any glass, it was simply a great place to walk and enjoy the calm, mesmerizing sound of the gentle deep turquoise surf, sea birds, all while meeting other beachcombers out for a Sunday walk on the shore.

Here's just a few of my favorite pieces to show off!

Collection of all kinds of green pieces. I like the really pitted worn ones the best, and the light green pieces.

Amber and brown tones - love it when you can still feel and see the ridges from old bottles...

Wish I made jewelry!  Love love love my aqua and turquoise pieces of sea-tumbled glass

This cool rounded, cupped piece was Tom's big find for the day! Kind of an avocado-lime green, with little bubbles in the glass, about an inch in diameter, can't imagine what it might have come from..

This unique piece of sea glass was my favorite find! Looks like chicken wire
 embedded into an aqua chunk of glass; 
almost 2 inches long  x 1 inch at the widest section. 

I find it so interesting that every beach that I go to, I find different shapes, colors, textures....  
Would love to hear from you, what are some of your favorite haunts for sea glass? 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Beach Cottage Shopping - Join me at the Alameda Flea Market!

Step One - Convince the boyfriend that getting up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday to go flea market shopping is fun...(he must really like me)

Step Two - Layer on the clothes. Jeans, t-shirt, sweater, coat, scarf. Although we live in California it is not warm on this Easter Sunday. We are going to Alameda Naval Air Station in the middle of San Francisco Bay, and the wind is fierce!!! 

Step Three - program the GPS on the iphone and in the car.  No fun if we get lost!

I am so excited - have been planning this for the past few months, and have never been able to go.  The Alameda Flea Market is held only on the first Sunday of the month - rain or shine. 

A few things to note about this market: 

#1 Everything sold at the show must be at least twenty years old and there are no reproductions allowed. (great rule!)

#2 Largest antique and collectible show in Northern California

#3 over 800 vendors to see! 

Lots of painted furniture, shells, coral, shabby chic treasures, original art - a veritable feast of inspiration! Let me take you on a tour!  

Beach cottage painted furniture - love the yellows, greens, but especially the simple fun pieces she had to offer. Can you see the bright pink desk in the background?  Wouldn't that be a great piece for a girl's room? 

A little coastal, a little French Country.. abalone shells, shabby chic framed sailboat picture, 
hand made linen pillow. 
Love this whole vignette!

Blue Starfish in metal coffee pots. Dang - I think I gave away a really neat 
blue old campfire coffee pot like this.  What was I thinking?   
Can think of a lot of crazy storage ideas for those old tin bins...

Pretty. Want one. I am sure that I NEED one of these chandeliers.

Kicking myself for not buying this crazy, rusty, metal fish.  I am going to blame it on the cold weather.... my hands were absolutely freezing!! Had to buy coffee just for a hand warmer.

Hope you can see all of these antique - vintage style bottle with real seashells soldered on top.  Love these - also kicking myself for not buying.  I will definitely stock up on these next time I go in May.  
They will go on the Caron's Beach House website for sure.

This was the best one! Purplish large sea fan on top of an vintage vase. 

Beautiful pieces of white coral... this one was only $65.00.  At the widest part was about 12". 

More coral, sea biscuits, and more coral.  All displayed on top of an old desk with a deep green felt top.

Creamy white buffet ($560.00) and even more coral!  I went back to this booth at least three times. No, I didn't buy anything.  It is hard for me to buy these big chunks of real cora. Beautiful, but the thought of someone cutting 
them off of a reef is hard to swallow. 

Wish I had a good spot for a tiki bar in my apartment - wouldn't this just be a hoot at parties??  
Could see my pretty martini glasses on top!

So many coastal framed art pieces! This is just one example that I liked.

Beautiful, round white painted table.  This should now be in my apartment - I was really, really, extremely dumb for not buying table.  

This buffet should also be in my apartment - what was I thinking??  Beach Cottage perfect. I could display some of my shells, my cottage china... I took the artist's card home, maybe I had better call her?

More painted furniture in my favorite colors!  I really miss having my "brick and mortar"  store sometimes....

Not sure what this  huge ball of vines is made of, but they were really interesting!  Looked almost like twisted, dried up sea kelp.   Check out the  creamy yellowed cottage cupboard underneath...

Hand painted, tea-stainted vintage, French Country booth.  They had lovely lovely things - I wanted everything in the space!  

Lots of pretty garden art... too bad I don't have a garden anymore.  There's something so beautifully tranquil about having angels in the garden to watch over us.....

Hope you enjoyed! I had such a great time, and now I have a plan of attack for the next time I go. This time with a girlfriend, (Yay - Melissa will be here!)  a cart, coffee in a thermos, and lots of cash....

Helpful link: Alameda Flea Market Details

**The post was shared on 3.30.2011 for Good Life Wednesdays at

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