Saturday, May 26, 2012

Red, White and Blue Coastal Styling

I was instantly drawn to this vignette discovered while collecting  images for one of my nautical boards on Pinterest.  Just imagining the story of these collected treasures!  Well loved pieces picked on a long awaited overseas journey;  an antique painted red table found in Paris antique store, blue coral found hidden in a tiny shop along the seaside in France. Of course the black lacquered bench discovered while exploring flea markets in London had to come home for a new purpose with pretty blue linen fabric.  The royal blue and white pillows pillows add just the right touch.

Classic, clean nautical style without being obvious.  Perfect.

Notice the book that they are reading - "Fifty Places to Fly From Before You Die"... must be planning their next adventure!

Have a great Saturday everyone!  We are off to Livermore, California to do a little wine tasting.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy 75th Birthday Golden Gate Bridge!

Pretty exciting weekend here in San Francisco - the 75th Birthday celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge!   Lots of speeches, all kinds of parties, music and a fireworks display on Sunday night.  

For me, the Golden Gate Bridge represents so many things; romance, adventure, beauty, great times with my kids,  and fun days with Tom.

For our Friday blog post, I thought I would share some of my favorite images of the Golden Gate that I have captured in the last few years after moving here from the Pacific Northwest.  It is a never ending source of inspiration for my camera.  Enjoy!

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!  Hope there is sunshine and beach walks on your agenda, I know there is on mine.  

(P.S.  We did find Copper River Salmon at Whole Foods - can't wait to  savor tomorrow night!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On the Hunt for Copper River Salmon

Just can't take the Northwest girl out of me , or the "Portland" out of Tom!  We are craving Copper River Salmon , and have just a small window of time to find it and grill it up - it's only available the last two weeks in May.  

Sort of a big deal in Seattle, with the first delivery chronicled in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, The Seattle Times and of course on the local news stations.  It's quite the event and party!  (images courtesy of the Seattle PI)

We eagerly await it every spring - but are having a tough time finding a source in Northern California.  Not giving up yet, it's Tom's birthday wish....

The thing about Copper River salmon is; it's so delish that you don't want to do too much to it when preparing.   It doesn't need a whole lot of extra "umph",  and is so darn scrumptious absolutely naked with a little lemon-dill butter and a fabulous Chardonnay.

I did find this Avocado, Tomato and Mango recipe though at, and thought I would give it a whirl once I find the salmon!  This is the season for avocados and mangoes here in San Francisco, plenty are available at local farmers markets and grocery stores, even if the Copper River Salmon is a little elusive.

Simple Ingredients:
3 Fresh California Avocados, peeled and diced
6 cup tomato, chopped (I think it would be fun to use yellow and red cherry tomatoes)
3 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
¾ cup red onion, finely chopped
6 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. salt, divided
3 Tbsp. olive oil
6-oz wild Copper River salmon fillets
¾ tsp. black pepper, freshly ground

Combine the avocado, tomato, mango, onion, lime juice, cilantro, and about a third of the salt in a bowl.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the salmon with the remaining salt and pepper. Add to the skillet, skin side up and cook until nicely browned, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until skin is crisp and the salmon is still slightly translucent in the center, about 4 minutes longer. (see - no extra spices needed!)
Spoon the avocado mixture over the salmon and serve.
Serving Suggestion: Serve on a bed of baby arugula or spring mix salad.

Serving Options:
For appetizer or tapas portion, cut salad ingredients into small dice to complement a 2 oz. portion of salmon. Plate as directed.
For bruschetta, toast sturdy slices of baguette (brush with olive oil for a richer taste), top with a 1 oz. portion of salmon and garnish with a tablespoon of (finely diced) salad.
And then I need the perfect dinnerware to serve it on.... I confess;  I am also craving the "Fresh Fish Collection" from Vietri.   
And I might need some cute fish wine glasses for the Alpha Omega Chardonnay.  
This is our absolute favorite white wine from Napa,  with no comparison to anything else that we have found.  It's a little on the expensive side, but so worth it for a special occasion.  I think I can find a bottle that I have hidden someplace.... after all it is Tom's birthday!
Would Fish Silverware be too much?
Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The World is Your Oyster!

This is so true!   

I treasure my found "pearls" every single day... love, a sunrise, summer wildflowers, beach walks, shells in my pockets, a good book, new music, good wine (I do live in California!), a new recipe to try, discovering an art gallery,  exploring an antique store - the list goes on.  My life has always been about peeking inside the rough, bumpy shell to find the pearls that I might miss if I didn't slow down once in a while.  Amazing how much happier I am when I remember to just enjoy those simple things.

My most prized pearls?
1. My funny, loving children.
2. Tom.
3. Our families.
4. Friends. My life is so incredibly blessed to be touched by such a rich circle of incredibly talented, funny, interesting and smart, wise people that I am lucky enough to call friends.

Have a great weekend, and remember to relish your pearls too.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

beach ...a book of treasure

This is a blog post that is long overdue.  I am incredibly embarrassed to confess how long overdue.

Two years ago (2010), Tom and I ventured down to Santa Cruz for our first ever Sea Glass Festival on the boardwalk.   While looking through all of the beautiful sea glass jewelry and coastal art, we stumbled upon Josie Iselin and her array of original art photography and artbooks that she has created by gathering treasures from the sand. Many times identifying the stunning beauty found in nature and on our coasts, seeing what most of us would just look beyond.

What passion she has for life beside the sea!  We connected almost immediately.  Comparing notes about local beaches, sea glass and the fascination with shells, I found a kindred spirit in Josie.  Recognized a new friends and fellow beachgirl in about a minute and a half!

"The beach affords us a place to breathe more slowly; there is an immense calm that rests solidly in my heart when I am there.  Stresses fade to the background as I wander and pick up a stone, its weight and texture - its' "stone-ness" - is a communicator of this calm; it is a talisman for this place of serenity.  Many call it "beachcombing" - I call it "the slow meander"."   From "beach.. a book of treasure"

Josie is not only an artist, she's an author giving life to her images and a peek into her journeys to the coast.  Turning  every  page in "beach" is like discovering a new delight in poetry and imagery.  I have savored this book for those days when I need a brain "reset", turning the pages slowly - admiring the details that Josie has captured by examining the tiny minutia of shore life captured on her flatbed scanner.

"When I think of roaming the sandy beaches I know, my feet tingle as I imagine the initial trudge through the soft sand give way to the easier walking near the water: I visualize finding a spot to rest; the warm sand filters through my fingers as I gaze out to the sparkling ocean, children running or digging nearby; wild with happiness."  From "beach...a book of treasure"

At the time, Caron's Beach House was just in its' infancy, I was thirsty to meet other beachcombers like me.  While we stood at her booth at the Sea Glass Festival, I decided to be brave; asked Josie if we could come over and see her studio.   So one rainy San Francisco Saturday morning, she invited us over for coffee, and we explored her art-beach world for a wonderful few hours.  My biggest regret is that I had broken my regular camera just the week before....

Can you get a glimpse of what inspires Josie?

Treasures hidden in an old iron desk, just waiting for their turn on the scanner... shells, sea pods, starfish, stones with interesting shapes, pieces of kelp.  All kinds of flotsam and jetsom!

Seaweed and kelp samples that Josie is preparing for future art pieces and a book idea that she has... who knew how beautiful sea plants really are?  Brilliant reds, purples and greens all gathered from our local Northern California beaches.

An interesting bowl of stones - can you see the swirls of white, gray and bits of blue?  On the scanner, these become amazing sea sculptures! 

Just had to show you her work space (love the kid drawings!)  with her prized scanner.  Truly fascinating how Josie can spend hours arranging and rearranging her beach finds on the glass to create one of a kind art prints - capturing those subtle nuances and colors that most of us miss.

If you are interested, Josie Iselin's books can be found on my "Beach-Reads" page at Liberty Bay Books for ordering online, or you can also try your local independent bookstore.   These fine art photography books  make wonderful gifts for your beach combing and sea glass friends!  

When we visited her studio, she was finishing up the work for "Sea Glass Hearts".  Sea Glass friends had donated so many beautiful examples of found sea glass hearts; love how the book turned out.

I did bring a gift.  Who knows, maybe one day these pieces of my beachcombing collection will become famous in one of Josie's books?

Have a great Thursday everyone!

**images for the "beach.." book used from Josie
Iselins' website.**  

If you sign up for Josie's newsletter or "like" her Facebook page, you might even get to meet her when she stops by your next local sea glass festival!  These shots were taken last year (2011) in Santa Cruz when Josie was a featured speaker.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Beside the Sea Tablescapes

 I am soooo excited about our new collection of table linens and pillows from Low Country Linens, that I just have to share.    
There's just something so special about putting together a brunch, lunch or dinner party beside the sea!   I love those times with my family (and with Tom!) when we can linger around a lovely table, enjoy scrumptious food, good wine, but especially each other's stories and company.

Look how creative Low Country Linens has been with combining not only coastal motifs, but also modern and zebra designs mixed with the beachy themed napkins and placemats to create something very unique!   The possibilities are unlimited; mix in shells, vintage candlesticks, silver accents, your favorite china and glassware.  Maybe a model sailboat?  Or a beautiful piece of driftwood?  

Personally, I am a sucker for vintage cocktail glasses, and think that something from my collection would look particularly beautiful!

Now to only  decide which pieces I need order first for myself.... the red coral napkins, the white coral table runner, the white starfish placemats?   Do I go with a coastal theme or a summer nautical table design?   Hmmmmm....

P.S.  These are all made in America - love supporting our small business artists!

Relax and Live at the Beach Every Day of the Year!

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