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tomato time of year

July 26, 2016

pleasure in simple things pizza on the grill

Don’t you love fresh garden tomatoes?  They are THE best!

I thought today I would get you a little excited about using your grill to bring out the best of this glorious summer food!  How will I do this?  I am going to show you photos of my top two favorite ways to eat fresh garden tomatoes using the grill!

The first way is with cherry tomatoes.  The flavor of these little lovelies is so enhanced when heated!  Put some fresh picked ones in a shallow pan, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and fresh garden basil, and heat on a covered grill…so flavorful!

cherry tomatoes pleasure in simple things blog

The second, and very best way, to enjoy fresh tomatoes on the grill is in pizza!  And, grilled pizza is the best!  You don’t need to get fancy…the fresh tomatoes do all the work!  You can buy grocery store pizza dough and add whatever toppings hit your fancy.  Sometimes we just put tomatoes, olive oil and fresh garden basil and that’s it!

tomato pizza pleasure in simple things blog

Am I putting you in the mood to grill up some fresh garden tomatoes?  That is the goal!  And, eating your creation al fresco is a must! :)

I hope I have inspired you to come up with your own grilled tomato combinations!  Have fun with it!

Thanks for stopping by and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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girls night out

July 22, 2016

water station pleasure in simple things blog

Making Mason jar terrariums is a fun and easy summer activity.

For today’s Friday field trip, I am bringing you to an outdoor garden to share this activity on a stunningly gorgeous summer evening.  Cold drinks and interesting conversation are the perfect accompaniments for this fun outdoor get together.

terrarium garden workshop pleasure in simple things blog

Why not add this activity to your next summer soiree?  A very basic terrarium can be easily created with Mason jars, potting soil, charcoal, and decorative pebbles.  All the materials needed are easily purchased at a local dollar store or discount store.

Ball jar plants pleasure in simple things blog

To create the terrarium, a 1” layer of pebbles is added to the jar, followed by a thin layer of charcoal and 3” – 4” of potting soil.  From there, moss and/or small plants are added as well as any decorative items.  After a light watering, the terrarium is complete and the lid can be screwed on.

mason jar plants pleasure in simple things blog

Adding a decorative feature like a small mushroom or animal gives the terrarium some extra character.  (The owls used in these terrariums are actually beads that were attached to toothpicks.) Providing raffia to your guests to tie around the mouth of the jar of the finished terrarium is also a nice detail to include.

terrarium owl pleasure in simple things blog

As an option, cute little instruction cards can be created and printed on a home computer.  Instruct the new terrarium owners to mist the garden lightly occasionally and to remove the top for a while if too much moisture develops.

 pleasure in simple things blog

I hope I have inspired you to have a little terrarium building activity at your next get together  – the perfect way to spend a beautiful summer evening!

Ball jar decorations pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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corn on the cob butter

July 19, 2016

Delicious flavored corn butter pleasure in simple things blog

From pizza to fruit – everything finds its way to the grill at this time of year!

Today, I am sharing a really easy way to add some extra flavor to your grilled corn. It is as simple as adding a few ingredients to your butter!  By picking a few basil leaves from the garden and adding a little cheese, the traditional butter condiment can be instantly upgraded!

Corn butter pleasure in simple things blog

It doesn’t get any easier!

Recipe for flavored corn butter pleasure in simple things blog

I included a recipe for you here, but using a little imagination, you can create your own flavor combinations based on your garden or leftover ingredients in your fridge.  (A little cayenne and lime juice is another great combo!)

Easy flavored corn butter pleasure in simple things blog

I hope I have inspired you to create a flavored butter for your next grilling session!

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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surf’s up!

July 15, 2016

surfing heritage pleasure in simple things blog

I have shared some of my California trip from this past spring in previous Friday field trips.  Today, I am sharing the last – but certainly not least – of visited spots during my quick visit to the West Coast.

Today’s Friday field trip is to the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center in San Clemente, California.

shark attack surf board pleasure in simple things blog

Conducting some research on surfing history prior to my trip made the visit particularly interesting. I read the book Waterman:  The Life and Times of Duke Kahanamoku by David Davis and was fascinated with Hawaiian surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku. To find out that Duke’s boards were part of the center’s collection was exciting!

wooden surf boards pleasure in simple things blog

Duke was the first to be inducted into both the surfing and swimming Halls of Fame and is considered the “father of modern surfing.”  Being up close to Duke’s personal collection of surfboards – built in the day of wooden boards – was awesome!

Duke's wooden surfboard pleasure in simple things blog

These wooden works of art were magnificent to examine.  The Flying “V,” circa early 1920’s, made from a solid redwood plank and signed by the legend was my favorite!  It stands 9’ 4” and weighs 76 lbs.

 pleasure in simple things blog

This was one of Duke’s personal surfboards purchased from his estate in 1985 for $3,000.  Built in the mid-1930’s, standing 11’ 6” and weighing 80 lbs., it was made from redwood, mahogany and balsa.

Dick Metz, the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center founder, served as our tour guide the day of my visit.  A surfer from the age of eight, Dick helped inspire Bruce Brown’s landmark 1964 documentary surfing film The Endless Summer and surfing stories were in no short supply that morning!

SHCC pleasure in simple things blog

If you have any interest in the surfing culture, I strongly recommend the Pulitzer Prize winning book Barbarian Days:  A Surfing Life by William Finnegan.  (I read it on the plane ride home from California!)

Mahalo!

Thanks for stopping by!

Have a wonderful weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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bridesmaid proposal bags

July 12, 2016

vegan leather bridesmaid proposal bags pleasure in simple things blog

Today, brides-to-be don’t simply ask a few close friends to serve as their bridesmaids.  Rather, they create a whole “would you be my bridesmaid?” occasion to request their friends’ services.

The most popular way to do this seems to be a ‘bridal box.’  This is when a box is sent to each potential bridesmaid through the mail.  Inside each box is a gift chosen by the future bride, requesting each recipient serve as a bridesmaid.

unique bridal proposal bags pleasure in simple things blog

I thought; why not use a ‘bridal bag’ instead of a box!  A custom bag seems so much cooler than a box!

Working with the future bride and my favorite custom bag creator – Ralph & Martha – this is what we came up with! (You may remember Ralph & Martha from my anchor bag post – click here to see more on that.)

ralph and martha bridal proposal bags

The resulting custom creation was a vegan leather bag displaying each gal’s initial in metallic gold and a gilded tassel pull!  When completed, the bride enclosed little surprises inside each bag before distributing them.

tassels on bridesmaid proporal bag pleasure in simple things blog

We toyed with the idea of printing the text ‘would you be my bridesmaid?’ on a custom fabric for the lining, but decided against it.  Instead, the bride wrote an individual personal note to each potential bridesmaid and the lining fabric was used as an opportunity to give a hint of the wedding ceremony location.

fern bag pleasure in simple things blog

The same fern fabric used for the bag’s lining was used to create a surprise bag for the bride-to-be!

bride's bag pleasure in simple things blogI hope you are inspired to create, or help create, a bridesmaid proposal that is unique!

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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lunch in laguna

July 8, 2016

Looking at Bird Rock from the lookout point pleasure in simple things blog in Laguna Beach

Join me for Friday field trip as I take you on a little trip up Cliff Drive to Las Brisas – a restaurant with one of the most scenic views in Laguna Beach, California!

Las Brisas in Laguna pleasure in simple things blog

Las Brisas provides wonderful meals inspired by Mexico, and served with California freshness; using local ingredients.

view from Las Brisas pleasure in simple things blog

The food is wonderful, but coupled with the view from a window table, the experience can not be beat!  Of course, a Mexican inspired meal has to begin with a little fresh guacamole!

guac at Las Brisas in Laguna Beach pleasure in simple things blog

Even with a wonderful meal, for me, the focus was on the view!  And, after the meal, taking in the view outside the restaurant is definitely in order!

Lauguna Beach from Las Brisas restuarant pleasure in simple things blog

Within a few walking steps, a gazebo with a lookout spot provides a clear view of Bird Rock.

my view of Laguna pleasure in simple things blog

A great spot to enjoy a little daydreaming…

lookout point near Las Brisas in Laguna pleasure in simple things blog

And, to do a little bird watching.

great view of Laguna Beach pleasure in simple things blog

Have a wonderful weekend friends!  Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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99 cent diy table numbers

July 5, 2016

Wedding Table Number 99cent DIY pleasure in simple things blog

The cost of throwing parties, particularly weddings, has gotten crazy expensive.  The good news is that the little details that make events special can definitely be beautifully executed with very little cost.  Like my friend Phyllis says “it’s not what you have, but what you make of it.”

Wedding Table Number DIY pleasure in simple things blog at ocean

These easy DIY table numbers are made from 99 cent plastic – yes, plastic – Ikea photo frames!  You may need to spend a little more than 99 cents to create one if spray paint and paint pens aren’t part of your craft supply repertoire.  I happen to have both of these items on hand.

diy wedding table number process pleasure in simple things blog

You can choose a color spray paint that best matches your party décor, but choose one with a label indicating adhesion to plastic.  I like metallic paints because they add an air of elegance to the final product.

Wedding Table Number DIY with shells pleasure in simple things blog

Purchase one frame for each party table.  Unwrap each frame, removing the two acrylic plastic inserts and place them aside.  Spray the 2 pieces of the frame(s) completely with 2-3 light coats of paint, following the directions on the spray paint can.

Wedding Table Number DIY protective covering pleasure in simple things blog

While the paint is drying, you can add the desired table number to one of the 2 acrylic pieces using a white, (or whatever color you choose), paint pen.  Be sure to remove the protective plastic covering the acrylic before you begin.  If you aren’t comfortable drawing a number freehand, no worries!  Simply print out a number/type style you like from your home computer and trace it!  That is the beauty of the acrylic!  Once completed, you can put the second piece of acrylic carefully over the painted piece to protect it from scratching.

Wedding Table No DIY pleasure in simple things blog

Lastly, screw the bottom piece of the frame into the top section and slide in the acrylic pieces.

Wedding Table Number DIY floral pleasure in simple things blog

Beautiful, right?  These table numbers coordinate well with many different party themes and decors.  I hope I have inspired you to give them a try!  Of course, you can always use your painted frame to display a photo!

Wedding Table Number DIY close up pleasure in simple things blog

Note:  I used Rust-Oleum metallic spray paints in the colors – some photos are in pure gold and some in hammered rosemary.  The pure gold is a smooth finish.  The Rust-Oleum hammered metallics create a textured paint finish that you can see in my close-up photo above.

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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july book giveaway!

July 1, 2016

Pleasure in simple things giveaway book for July2016

I have really been loving the ‘designer’ toast craze!  Putting all kinds of great ingredients on a good piece of toasted bread just can’t be beat!  It is also a wonderful way to use favorite leftovers.

July 2016 giveaway book pleasure in simple things blog

Because of this, I decided to make the July giveaway book one that will inspire you to create your own yummy toasts!  The book is called Posh Toast with recipes by Emily Kydd and photography by Louise Hagger.  This book is sure to inspire some great toast creations.  Use one of the 70+ recipes in the book to create your toast, or be inspired to come up with your own!

PoshToast pleasure in simple things giveaway
Just leave a comment during the month of July to be entered into the drawing to win this great recipe book!

Thank you to everyone that entered to win the June book selection and congratulations to the winner, Diane S.  I know this book will come in handy for you Diane!  To read more about the book, Rising to the Occasion by Paul Dickson, click here.

avacado toasts pleasure in simple things giveaway

Instagram users, please read on!  Why don’t we share ‘posh toast’ photos for the month of July!  Share photos of the ingredients you use for your toast creations using hashtag #pleasuregram.  Can’t wait to get some new toast ideas!

Instagram Challenge July 2016

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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get out of jail free

June 28, 2016

 pleasure in simple things blog

Attending an event in Boston recently was exceptionally interesting because it was held in The Liberty Hotel, 215 Charles Street – the original site of the Charles Street Jail!

Liberty Hotel lobby pleasure in simple things blog

The hotel design retained much of the historic structure, including the famed rotunda.  For me, the rotunda, making up the hotel lobby, is the most fascinating part of the current structure.

prison decor at Liberty Hotel in Boston pleasure in simple things blog

The hotel did a fabulous job of staying on theme with the original use of the site, including names like ‘Alibi’  for a bar and ‘Clink’ for a private dining area.

prison details at Liberty Hotel pleasure in simple things blog

The Charles Street Jail, designed by architect Gridley James Fox Bryant and prison reformer Rev. Louis Dwight, was considered a model prison when it opened in 1851.  The building’s high windows and wealth of natural light were part of the reason, and the original 33 foot-high windows in the hotel’s lobby are breathtakingly unique.  The building is listed on both the state and national Registers of Historic Places.

LIberty Hotel in Boston MA pleasure in simple things blog

In the 1970’s, the facility had become overcrowded and was declared unfit for occupation.  The jail finally closed in 1991, and the adjacent Massachusetts General Hospital later acquired the property.  It was redesigned and reopened in the summer of 2007 as a 300-room luxury hotel.

Liberty Hotel in Boston pleasure in simple things blog

The hotel is also the site of the restaurant Scampo.  If you follow all the food and cooking shows, like I do, you probably have heard of its famed, James Beard Award-winning chef, Lydia Shire.  With Italian-inspired cuisine and a mozzarella bar, this restaurant has received many accolades, including the best Italian restaurant in Boston, as well as one of the best restaurants in the country.

Scampo in Boston Ma pleasure in simple things blog

I hope I have inspired you to make a visit to The Liberty Hotel on your next visit to Boston!

Scampo in Boston pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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laguna beach!

June 24, 2016

shoreline at Laguna Beach pleasure in simple things blog

I recently made my first visit to Laguna Beach!  It may have been a brief encounter, but it was a fabulous one!  I am sharing a few photos today on Friday field trip.

Laguna Beach pleasure in simple things blog

waves at Laguna BEach pleasure in simple things blog

I was in awe of this iconic beach and I had to be sure and document my visit with a few photos.  I hope they inspire you to take a trip to a beach – no matter how brief – on one of these marvelous summer days!

 Beach pleasure in simple things blog

I didn’t do any shopping that afternoon in Laguna, but I did bring back a valuable memento.  Holding the papers on my office desk is a smooth, pale gray, heart shaped stone that I have marked very carefully in white permanent marker with the letters L-A-G-U-N-A.

the Laguna Beach CA pleasure in simple things blog

It is a reminder that I will be back someday!

weather at Laguna Beach pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!

Have a wonderful weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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