Friday, August 11, 2017

On the Homefront: Heading for Home!

From SecretNYC

Now that my sister is well on the way to recovery, very early Saturday morning I will be leaving New York and making the return drive home to Georgia.  I should get back by Sunday, barring any unforeseen circumstances.  I will be away from my blog for a while, as once I get home I will spend the next week getting caught up on sadly neglected chores.  Then my two brothers will be coming down to Georgia the following weekend so that we can all go to a nearby prime viewing site for the upcoming eclipse.  After that I should be back to blogging again, so I will see you then!
             

Thursday, August 10, 2017

This 'n That Thursdays: Buy Your Very Own Lighthouse!

Minneapolis Shoal Light (Michigan)

Do you love lighthouses?  Have you ever wanted to own one yourself?  Well, you may just be able to make your wish come true!  The federal government is auctioning off six out-of-commission lighthouses, ranging in price from $10,000 to $27,000, and the bidding so far has been slow.  One is located in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay, and the other five are in Michigan.  The lighthouses all sit on concrete bases, are surrounded by water, and are only accessible by boat.  They are being sold "as is" and will need quite a bit of renovation to make them habitable.  However, at those prices, someone who has always dreamed of owning a lighthouse and who is handy and resourceful just may be able to create the perfect aquatic getaway from one of these little "diamonds in the rough"!

Craighill Channel Lower Range Front Light Station (Maryland)

Don't wait too long to decide, though, as the bidding for the lighthouse shown at the top of the page closes in just a few days, while the one shown directly above is off the market in mid-September.  End of bidding for the rest is to be determined, which means they could become unavailable at any time, so get your bid in quickly if you are determined to buy!

Poe Reef Lighthouse (Michigan)

Detroit River Lighthouse (Michigan)

Lansing Shoal Light (Michigan)

Fourteen Foot Shoal Light (Michigan)

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Happy (light)house hunting!
                

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wish List Wednesdays: Shades of Rust at Coldwater Creek

From National Park Service

The colors of autumn are slowly beginning to creep into apparel options as the end of summer approaches (although never fast enough for me!).  Two of my favorite hues, olive and rust, are a little easier to find right now, especially the former.  I concentrated on the latter at Coldwater Creek, and found a few top layers that I would not mind owning:

1) Optic Art Sweater ($129.95) - I love the loose, flowing fit and raglan kimono sleeves of this cotton/acrylic/wool blend sweater, as well as the artfully arranged color blocks of warm-colored stripes.


2) Mixed Tones Sweater in Blue Multi ($89.95-99.95) - denim blue and rust, like the stripes in this sweater, are colors that are made for each other in my opinion, and this soft marled-yarn pullover in a cotton blend would be perfect with jeans.


3) Owl About You Tunic (on sale for $59.95-69.95) - this rayon challis tunic with the cute owl print has me thinking it is time to add these adorable avians to my wardrobe ASAP!


Autumn and its associated warm muted color palette can't come quickly enough as far as I am concerned!
             

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Weekend Wardrobe: Accessories for Elegantly Exotic 4x4 Wradrobe


Last week's elegant and exotic 4x4 wardrobe featuring the colorful tiger print top just cries out for bold accessories.  Let's start with the jewelry, as I went a bit wild with the tiger theme here!

Clockwise from top left: jtopolski Tiger Pendant Necklace in Gold; Forzieri Kenzo Mini Tiger Earrings in Gold; Amanda Rose Blue Tigers Eye Bracelets; Forzieri Kenzo Gold Plated Tiger Necklace; Forzieri Kenzo Mini Tiger Bracelet in Gold; Scully and Scully Halcyon Days Tiger Push On Bangle in Black.


Three scarves featuring tiger prints and a bright blue one complement this wardrobe well:

Clockwise from top left: Hermès Tyger Tyger Silk Twill Scarf in Blue/Green/Light Red; Bows-N-Ties Women's Scarf in Azure Blue; vibrantscarves Tiger Print Chiffon Scarf; Coggles Kenzo Oversize Tiger Bandana in Blue.

A bright marigold yellow bag adds a splash of bright color while the other three neutral-colored bags coordinate with everything in this collection of apparel:

Clockwise from top left: Michael Kors Studio Mercer Medium Leather Messenger Bag in Marigold Yellow/Gold; Coach Smooth Leather Phone Crossbody Bag in Light Gold/Black; Gilt Botkier Bowery Leather Tote in Chalk; Tory Burch Block-T Mini Leather Satchel in Black.

All four of the featured colors for the 4x4 wardrobe are represented in the selected shoes:

Clockwise from top left: Rialto Celina Wedge Heels in Marigold Suedette; Softspots Neima Slingback Heels in White; SΓΆfft 'Altessa' Pumps in Black/Black Leather; Marc Fisher LTD 'Sunny' Half d'Orsay Flats in Cobalt Suede.

As an added bonus, a warm coat for fall in the right color scheme (but different feline print!) just happens to be available:

House of Fraser Biba Leopard Abstract 60s Style Faux Fur Coat

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By the way, if tigers are your favorite felid, check out the new arrivals at J. Crew featuring tiger prints here.  The coming week will be very busy for me as I prepare for my trip back to Georgia, so I will probably not to be posting. I may also have to take the following week off as I catch up with all the chores at home that have been neglected in my absence (I have two month's worth of mowing to look forward to upon my return!).  I will be back here as soon as possible, so take it easy during these dog days of summer and I will return when I can!
               

Friday, August 4, 2017

Foodie Fridays: My Sister's Guacamole

From Agave

When it comes to making guacamole, I prefer the minimalist approach, which means I simply mash up some avocados and add nothing else!  My sister prefers a more complicated concoction (a variation of the guacamole recipe here) which she made for us one weekend, and I have to admit that it is very good.  If you are looking for a tasty guacamole recipe similar to something you would find in a Mexican restaurant, give this one a try.  The best thing about this dish is that it can sit in the fridge, well covered, for up to a day and still taste pretty good, which is more than I can say for just plain mashed avocados!

My Sister's Guacamole

3 avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/2 C. minced onion
3 T. minced cilantro
1 Roma tomato, seeded and finely diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 T. minced jalapeΓ±o pepper (optional but highly recommended)

In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt (make it as smooth or chunky as you like).  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate for at least one hour for best flavor, but can be served immediately.  Serves 4.
             

Thursday, August 3, 2017

This 'n That Thursdays: I Love Lists!

From Gruntled Employees

I have mentioned in a past post that I love online quizzes, but now I have another confession to make - I love online lists!  I especially like the ones that tell you what to choose based on your personality traits.  I don't always agree with them, but I do enjoy reading about what I am supposed to like and deciding if the list is correct in my case.  Below are four lists that you too may find interesting if you are a list-lover like me:


1) Best Workouts for You Based on Your Personality - find out the best type of exercise for you if you are easily bored, a Type A, analytical, an over thinker, introverted, or an extrovert.  I think the best fit for me would be the solo introvert option, since I do tend to be self-motivated and not especially interested in belonging to a gym.


2) How to Know (and Shop for) Your Fashion Personality - four main style personalities are listed (expressive, romantic, classic, and relaxed), as well as the types of preferred apparel and even a number of best sources for each style of clothing.  No doubt about it, the relaxed style personality describes me perfectly!

From Homesthetics

3) What Interior Style Best Suits Your Personality - ten personalities are described in four words, and one particular design style is ascribed to each personality.  For this list, it is possible to have more than one design personality, and in fact you are told that this is normal, so I was not surprised to find my own characteristics in four different categories.  I am modern, contemporary, Scandinavian, and minimal when it comes to interior design, a look that I think is exemplified in the image above.

Elizabeth Taylor as Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
(from Margaret Perry).

4) 8 Shakespeare Plays You Need to Read, Based on Your Favorite Movie - this is certainly one of the most unique lists that I found!  Eight different movies are linked to eight different Shakespeare plays, and you choose the play you would enjoy most based upon which of these movies is your favorite.  I now have another confession to make - I have never been a fan of most playwrights, and Shakespeare in particular.  I find his plays to be dated and out of touch with our modern times.  However, I have to admit that, if I must choose one, it would probably be The Taming of the Shrew, despite the rather annoyingly condescending attitude concerning women, just because it is funny and Katherina does have her moments before she is forced to acquiesce to convention.  I did like the associated movie Moonstruck (1987), but of the movies on the list I would have to say my favorite is the comedy Practical Magic (1998), and I know I find the associated tragedy MacBeth to be a depressing play, so I do not think this list really worked for me.

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Check out these lists if you have a little spare time, and see how well they work for you!
                

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wish List Wednesdays: I'm Feeling Crabby Today!

From Wikimedia Commons

This is a particularly busy week for me, as I continue to take my sister to various doctor appointments while preparing for my departure at the end of next week.  My crazy schedule has put me in the mood for something crabby today, and I've found a few crustacean-themed items that are just perfect!  For some reason I am drawn to orange crab dΓ©cor and apparel lately.  Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh is alleged to have said that "Orange is the color of insanity"?  I suppose that may explain a lot!  Nevertheless, here are my most recent crabby finds:

1) Wimberly Inc. Aqua Crab Cuff Bracelet ($44) - this crab is gold, not orange, but that's close enough, and I love the aqua color of this cuff bracelet!


2) Cottage & Bungalow Orange Crab Beach Tote ($119) - now these crabs are an honest-to-goodness orange color!  This durable and generously-sized cotton canvas bag has leather handles and a contrasting striped cotton interior lining with three storage pockets.  It is also available in a navy and red color option.


3) Bed Bath & Beyond Bungalow Flooring Crab Hooked Accent Runner ($70.99) - a durable indoor 52x22-inch runner with an anti-fade finish and slip-resistant neoprene backer, plus a vibrant orange crab print!


4) Woodard & Charles 8-inch Crab Plates (set of four on sale for $21.99) - the sale price makes these cute crab design stoneware salad plates an especially appealing purchase, and I really like the blue rim detail.


If you are also having a crabby sort of day, perhaps one of these decapod delights will pique your fancy!
             

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Weekend Wardrobe: Elegantly Exotic 4x4 Wardrobe for Global Tiger Day


In honor of Global Tiger Day, I decided to create an elegantly exotic 4x4 wardrobe featuring this majestic felid for my weekly post.  Unfortunately, the apparel inspiration for this collection, the wildly tropical tiger-themed Biba Jungle Print Volume Tie Detail Shirt, recently sold out.  However, I loved the colors I pulled from this top for my wardrobe color scheme:


So I decided to stick with this choice even if it can no longer be purchased.  The pants in the same design are available, so at least the jungle print is still represented in this collection!

If I could manage to find this shirt somewhere, here is how I would start the first set of four:

Clockwise from top left: Biba Jungle Print Volume Tie Detail Shirt (no longer available); Hobbs London Jasmina Cardigan in Colbalt Blue; Biba Jungle Print Slouch Trousers; Yumi Palazzo Pants in Blue.

The second set of four emphasizes the tiger gold color from the shirt:

Clockwise from top left: Hobbs London Chrissie Blouse in Gold Multi; White Stuff Chalki Cardi in Yellow; Theory Sleeveless Silk Blouse in Black; Hobbs London Celina Pants in Black.

Gold pants with top options in black and white round out the third set of four:

Clockwise from top left: Gerard Darel Cybille Blouse in White; J. Crew Cotton Caryn Cardigan in Black; Theory Sleeveless Silk Blouse in White; Hobbs London Louise Pants in Gold Yellow.

And the last set of four adds more of the bright cobalt blue as well as white, plus it brings in a pretty summer dress with an exotic look:

Clockwise from top left: Phase Eight Betty Cuff Detail Blouse in Blue; Stefanel Cotton Crepe Cardigan in White; Karen Millen Blue Palm Print Dress; Reiss Myla Slim-LegTrousers in Off White.

The complete 4x4 wardrobe comes together quite well, I think:


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If I were an elegant and exotic type, I would be quite happy owning this collection!  Most of these pieces could even transition into fall.  Next week I will add some accessories, and I look forward to seeking out tiger-themed items!
             

Friday, July 28, 2017

Foodie Fridays: Low-Carb Indian Vegetable Samosas


I did not think I would be posting a recipe while out of town, but my sister and I have similar dietary restrictions and we both love Indian food.  When we watched the two Indian cuisine-themed movies I mentioned in an earlier post, we both got a craving for samosas, those delicious fried pastries so popular as appetizers at Indian restaurants.  I searched the internet for a low-carb version that would satisfy both of our food restrictions, and found a recipe for Low-Carb Indian Vegetable Samosas.  My sister insisted that I had to make some for her before I left, so I am posting the result here.  There are several steps involved which take a little time, but these samosas are not difficult to make and the almond flour-cheese dough is really easy to use (even easier than a wheat flour dough). My sister made a cucumber raita to serve with the samosas (see the Bon AppΓ©tit recipe she used below), but a good chutney would also work well.  I would recommend waiting for cooler weather before making these as they must be baked, but then I am just not a warm weather person and dislike cooking anything in the summer!

Low-Carb Indian Vegetable Samosas

1 T. butter or ghee (I used sunflower oil)
6 oz. (about 1 1/2 to 2 C.) finely chopped cauliflower
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1 T. minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1/8 tsp. red chili flakes (or to taste)
1/4 C. minced fresh cilantro
3/4 C. super fine almond flour
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
8 oz. finely shredded part skim mozzarella

Melt the butter in a preheated large skillet over medium heat.  Add the cauliflower and onion.  Sprinkle with the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and start to brown.  Stir in the fresh ginger and cook for 30 seconds before stirring in the coriander, garam masala, cumin, cumin seeds, and chili flakes.  Cook for 1-2 minutes to toast the spices.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.  Taste for seasonings and set aside.


Set up a double boiler (I used a Pyrex mixing bowl over a saucepan of water).  Bring the water to a simmer over high heat and then set the heat to low.  Add the almond flour, cumin, salt, and mozzarella to the top part of the double boiler.  Stir together and place the bowl over the simmering water.  Hold the bowl with an oven mitt and stir the mixture constantly over the simmering water until the cheese melts and forms a dough (this could take a little time, maybe about 7-8 minutes depending upon the size of the bowl and the heat distribution).

Turn the dough out onto a large rectangle of parchment paper and knead a few times to thoroughly combine the dough ingredients.  Shape the dough into a thick rectangle and place another large sheet of parchment paper over.  Roll the dough out into an 8x16-inch rectangle.

Cut the dough rectangle in half lengthwise, and then in half-crosswise.  Each of the four resulting pieces can then be cut in half crosswise to create a total of eight dough squares.  Spoon about 1 T. of filling in the center of each square (you may have some filling left over).  Fold the squares on the diagonal to form triangular pastries.  Pinch the edges securely to close.  Place one of the parchment rectangles used to roll out the dough onto a baking sheet, and top the parchment with the samosas.

Prick each samosa with a fork for steam release.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown (time will vary so start checking on them after about 10 minutes).  Makes 8 samosas.


If you want to make the cucumber raita we had, here is the recipe my sister used:

Traditional Indian Raita

1/2 C. plain Greek yogurt
1/2 C. finely diced English cucumber
2 T. minced fresh cilantro
1 T. minced green onion
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cumin

Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  Chill the raita, covered, until ready to serve.  Makes 1 cup.
             

Thursday, July 27, 2017

This 'n That Thursdays: Christmas in July, Log Cabin Style!

From Download Wallpaper

The weather has temporarily cooled off here in New York, but not until after we suffered through some thoroughly miserable hot and humid days.  Since my sister only has one room air conditioner, in her bedroom, we spent the majority of our time cooped up in that room, so I am relieved to finally be able to spend more time outdoors!

The hot weather has me longing for cooler temperatures, which got me to thinking about log cabins in the mountains.  Log cabins always make me think of winter snow, which makes me think of Christmas, so naturally I decided to do a post about Christmas in July (that's how my brain works, anyway).  Enjoy these wintery Yuletide images as a temporary visual relief from unpleasantly hot summer temperatures, because you know that when the colder weather finally does arrive we will be longing for the dog days of summer again!

From Adorable Home

Just a few festive additions turn this log cabin's red-framed front door into a welcoming Christmas-themed entry.

From DesignCorner

A decorated mantel and coffee table plus some holiday throw pillows are all that are needed to bring Christmas cheer to the living room.

From Country Living

Once again, a few simple additions turn this cabin dining room into a festive holiday space.

From Country Living

From the same log cabin as the dining room directly above, this kitchen with its green island and red-and-green chairs only required some Christmas baskets and a tiny faux pine tree in a large glass jar to create a holiday ambience.

From Design Flavour

The simplest holiday dΓ©cor yet - a simple string of twinkle lights add the Yuletide touch to this attic bedroom.

From LoversIQ Design

This unique and rustic log cabin bathroom vanity gets all gussied up for Christmas with elaborate evergreen garland around the mirror and a pinecone garland gracing the window.

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How nice to have a break from summer's heat while dreaming of the upcoming winter holiday season, even if it is only a virtual and temporary relief!
             

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wish List Wednesdays: Pier 1 Daisy the Fox Salad Plate


Well, Pier 1 has done it again!  The minute I saw the Daisy the Fox Salad Plate ($8.95 each) I knew that as soon as I get home I will have to order several in anticipation of fall.  The porcelain plate with scalloped edges has just the right autumnal hues, and how could I resist that cute fox?  Similar salad plates are available with a squirrel and a jack rabbit design, but for me Daisy the Fox is the one (although I do wish they would add a hedgehog design as well)!
             

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Weekend Wardrobe: Accessories for Passion for Prints 4x4 Casual Work Wardrobe


It's time to add some accessories to this 4x4 casual work wardrobe featuring fun print tops from last week.  Let's start with some attractive but comfortable shoes:

Clockwise from top left: Everlane The Modern Loafer in Camel; Dr. Scholl's Lauri Slip-Resistant Slip-On Flats in Black; SoftWalk 'Haddley' Mary Jane Flats in Navy Leather; Bandolino Women's Presho Casual Slip-On Loafers in Black.

Some stylish but functional handbags are next on the list of accessories:

Clockwise from top left: Tory Burch Robinson Pebbled Leather Crossbody Bag in  Bark Brown/Gold; Cole Haan Emery Flap Crossbody Bag in Deep Lake/Ocean; MICHAEL Michael Kors 'Mercer' Clutch in Black; Cuyana Classic Leather Zipper Tote in Black (also available in Caramel, which would complement the pencil skirt).

Now to add some discreet bling with jewelry options which emphasize both the travel and nature themes of this wardrobe:

Clockwise from top left: AvanteGardeDesign Bordered Planet Earth Pendant Necklace; Uncommon Goods World Links Necklace in Silver; Kabana Sterling Silver Animal Bracelet (no longer available - similar bracelet here); Giani Bernini Tree of Life Pendant Necklace in Sterling Silver; Oliver Bonas Silver Flying Bird in Ring Necklace; Bling Jewelry Island Flower Cuff Bracelet.

I found some truly unique and lovely scarves to accent the wardrobe's nature theme:

Clockwise from top left: Cyberoptix Crashing Waves Scarf in Ice on Teal Blue; Aspinal of London Owl in the City Silk Scarf in Monochrome Pure Silk; Witchery Spliced Animal Scarf; Moomin Product Gallery Lasessor Sukellus Silk Scarf in Light Blue.

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This wardrobe would be so much fun to wear that I think I would actually look forward going to work every morning!  I will try to do one more wardrobe post before I leave New York for home in August, but I may get busy transporting my sister to various follow-up doctor visits between now and then so I can't guarantee anything.  Hopefully I will be posting again soon!