Friday, August 30, 2013

A Summer Beach Fire

Nothing quite like a beach fire on a warm summer night.

Roasting marshmallows as the sun drops into the sea behind the Olympic Mountains...

(pics taken July 2013 - Harper-Southworth Area, Kitsap Peninsula, Washington State)

Here's to a lovely Labor Day weekend to all of our beach friends.  We'll be on the Northern California Coast this weekend staying in the Keeper's Cottage at Point Arena Lighthouse! Watch our Instagram feed for pics - 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Ballard Annex - Oyster House

The Ballard Annex Oyster House was recommended to us by several friends, so we thought we had better check it out on our annual Pacific Northwest trip this summer. We've been to the Walrus and Carpenter (also in Ballard) a few times, but it's always so crowded and the wait is pretty long.  We were glad to find one more unique place to go for fresh local oysters and seafood!  (Walrus and Carpenter story)

Right on Ballard Ave. in the middle of unique shops and fun trendy restaurants, you can't miss it.

Especially with their cleverly worded sign-board outside!

Allison leading the way...looking a little "crabby"  (She just loves her picture taken; NOT)

Tom is in Heaven! The Ballard Annex had (s) a complete selection of locally sourced Pacific Northwest oysters; Hamma Hammas, Quilcene's, tiny Olympias...

I loved the artwork, and cool nautical rope decor throughout the restaurant. So much fun!   Can you see the snow-capped Olympic Mountains in the background behind the octopus tentacles and "captured" ships?  Love the school house lighting fixtures too!

I am thinking that this taught rope look would make fabulous "pickets" on a stairwell - 

Did I mention that Tom was in Oyster Heaven? $1.50 Happy Hour Oysters!  Not to mention the really delish cocktails...  (It was 92 degrees in the shade and we were more than ready for cold drinks) As you all know, I don't eat the oysters, but Allison and  I did order the "bubbles"!

Allison was quite the trooper and did try a few oysters - (way more than me!)

 From the look on her face, I don't think she's decided if she's oyster fan or not. Tom is still trying to convince her...

Trying to remember, but I think this was only Tom's first round Hamma Hammas (Hood Canal Oysters) and the Maritime IPA.  He was a happy boyfriend.  It was the least that I could do after  dragging him to the Fremont Flea Market on a 90 degree plus Sunday in Seattle. (more on that later!)

Yep, I know that we will be back.  Any of our Seattle friends want to join us?

Monday, August 26, 2013

California Jewels from the Sea

Sometimes there are just no words to describe such perfect beauty and delicacy.  And to think that these beauties just wash up on the beach - wow!  Any time I feel overwhelmed and stressed, a walk on the beach with these gorgeous natural blue, green, and purple iridescent shells makes those stresses seem so inconsequential.

Thought you all might enjoy!  These are right off my handy, dandy phone camera, I never leave home without it in my pocket.

  Here's to Mondays!

P.S. These are not edited pics  - our shells are really this pretty!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

San Francisco Ocean Beach Break

Welcome to the weekend!

Relax, take time out for a walk along the shore with someone you love... or enjoy a solitary walk scooping up sea glass or tiny shells.  Let the sound of the waves and seabirds wash over you - such a perfect way to recharge your batteries for next weeks' battles.   Amazing what the ocean will do for your soul!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Solitary Soul - Photographic Love Notes of New England Coastal Life

Meet my ocean friend Sandra Goroff.  She has published a new book of her collected works of photography on the New England Coast, coming out this fall.  Sandra was gracious enough to share her work and a few of her images with me.  Enjoy!

After thirty years of promoting other people and other people's books, it is fun to be able to share news of my own book of photography -- SOLITARY SOUL -- which is coming out this fall.

Like you, I am drawn to the ocean; I love everything about it and have found myself living near it in almost every house, apartment and condo that i have ever rented or owned. Here in New England, we are blessed with gorgeous coastlines from lovely little Rhode Island to the dramatic shores of Maine, where i spent many beloved and memorable summers.

I come from a family of artists; my mother painted up to the time of her death at age 95. I cannot remember a time when I didn't paint or draw. My love of photography came a little later though i found myself framing images of things, people and places in my mind from way back.

I am especially taken with and interested in light -- the way it changes -- the way it reflects onto the water. When I summered in Maine, I sat on the deck overlooking the marsh watching tidal changes, fog and cloud formations.  Here in New England we have is a saying, "if you don't like the weather, stick around a little bit." Our weather literally changes by the hour.

SOLITARY SOUL is a love note of sorts -- a slender collection of photographs --almost all from New England and many taken by the ocean in the various places I adore. Among the more memorable shots are ones of a small girl -- still in her pajamas -- walking in the fog on Wells Beach in Maine. I spotted her from a distance and ran as fast and as quietly as I could to get my shot.

Another shows a charming older man in a three piece suit and hat on a beach boardwalk. He is dressed in his Sunday best on a hot July day  -- perfectly and serenely posed as if he had been waiting for me to take his picture.

These places and people take on a special meaning to me -- I form relationships with them over time through the photographs I have taken. I say in the introduction to SOLITARY SOUL, "I am my most honest behind the camera because these images tell my story too."  The ocean is part of my story too.

For more about Sandra Goroff's photographic journey and where to pre-order her new book, Solitary Soul, check out her page on, and her excellent write up in Publisher's Weekly, "Boston Publicist Turns Author".

Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

5 Summer Fresh Cocktails for the Patio

It's almost Friday night, right?

Got to thinking, what fun concoction can I whip up easily with what I already have in my fridge? Strawberries, basil, mint, lemon, cantaloupes, fresh peaches, ripe mangoes - ambrosia just waiting for a few ice cubes and a beautiful cocktail glass!

Here's a few summer cocktail recipes to try out this weekend!  I love this time of year - my kitchen is full of farmer's market fresh veggies, herbs and summer fruit...

1.  Fresh Strawberry-Basil Mojito
Sort of like a traditional mojito, using basil leaves rather than mint. Mint would work too, if you are not a fan of basil.  Personally, I have both growing on my deck. Recipe is for 1 cocktail.

  • 2 Basil Leaves - sliced
  • 3 strawberries - sliced
  • 1.5 oz light rum
  • 1 oz. simply syrup or agave nectar
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • club soda and ice
Muddle basil leaves and strawberries with syrup at the bottom of the glass.  Add the liquid ingredients, give a quick stir and add ice.  Looks so yummy and refreshing!

2. Mango Mint Dacquiri

  • ice
  • 1/2 cup freshly cut mango (frozen will work too)
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 3 sprigs mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
Whirl all ingredients in your blender until smooth, garnish with a slice of lime and a fresh mint leaf.

3. Skinny Cantaloupe Sorbet Cocktail
Looks super easy, and could be made with any fresh summer fruit - peaches, honeydew melons, maybe blackberries or strawberries too!

  • 1.5 oz. Lemon Smirnoff Sorbet Light (this sounds fabulous - BevMo?)
  • 2 oz. pureed cantaloupe melon
  • .5 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • .25 ounce agave nectar (or simple syrup)

Shake all ingredients in a cold cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
4. Make Ahead Raspberry Margaritas
(source  for images and recipe -

What a great idea!  Make these ahead of time to just pull out of your freezer at a moments notice!
  • 1 small container of raspberries
  • 1 12 oz. can of frozen limeade concentrate
  • 1 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup triple sec
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3-5 cups of ice
  • lime slices and salt for serving

  1. Place raspberries in a blender and process until smooth. Pour mixture through a mesh strainer over a small bowl to remove seeds and return the raspberry puree to the blender. Add limeade concentrate, tequila, triple sec and lime juice and blend until smooth. Add ice until the blender is full, and again blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into small mason jars, screw on lids and freeze.
  3. When you’re ready to serve, remove the margaritas from the freezer. Add a lime slice and serve!

5. Grown Up Popsicles
How perfect are these?  Pretty cocktail glasses, fruity Popsicles and really good Prosecco!

Gotta Run - have to find some Popsicles!

P.S.  I have a few ideas for the glasses too...