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terrain holiday 2017

November 21, 2017

lighted wreath wall

Typically, this is the week everyone starts thinking about holiday shopping.

lighted balls Terrain

fir trees at Terrain

I have definitely started thinking about it myself and I have visited a few of my favorite stores.  Because I am such a visual person, I don’t really enjoy internet shopping.  I like to see the merchandise and enjoy how it is styled and displayed.  And, I certainly appreciate a beautifully and creatively wrapped purchase over a box left at my doorstep!

lighted tree Terrain

building a zinc village

As a homage to brick and mortar stores, this week I am sharing a few photos from my favorites this holiday season.

greens for the holidays at Terrain

Holiday Magic at Terrain

Today, some photos from my favorite home and garden store – Terrain.  For overall holiday décor, Terrain is hard to beat!  A visit to the Westport store is a sure way to put your holiday spirit into overdrive as well as inspire your holiday décor!

Terrain Holiday

holiday plant at Terrain Westport

Thanks for stopping by!

Holiday tree with red bulbs

Remember to take pleasure in simple things and have a blessed Thanksgiving!   xo Jackie

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holiday cookies

November 17, 2017

Holiday cookies cookbook

2017 has been a good year for cookbooks.  There have been a wide variety of new books published.  This selection includes cookbooks by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Zac Posen – as well as cookbooks by famous chefs like Bobby Flay, Wylie Dufresne, Jacques Pepin and Richard Blais.

But, for recipes to use for holiday gifting, I have a favorite cookbook release this year and I would like to share the title with you today on Friday field trip.

holiday baking

The book?  Holiday Cookies:  Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season by Elisabet der Nederlanden.  With some intriguing new dessert recipes accompanied by fabulous photos, I am really enamored with this book!  Can you tell why based on the few photos here?!

holiday cookie trees

The holidays are a time when most people succumb to food temptations and I am no different!  For me, it is definitely a new sweet that will do me in! On Thanksgiving it is all about Eileen’s lemon meringue pie…as far as Christmas is concerned?  You never know!

new holiday cookbook

Because baking is my favorite, I add some new recipes to my holiday repertoire each year – adding some new treats to include with my old standbys!  Making something new to gift to others is a special part of my holiday routine.  This year, the new recipes I try are definitely coming out of Nederlanden’s book!

holiday pinwheel cookies

I can’t wait to share my creations with you on future Friday field trips!

Browse through some of this year’s new cookbooks at your local library!   I hope you are inspired to try at least one new dessert recipe this holiday season! ;)

antique cookie cutters

Thanks for stopping by!

Have a fabulous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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diy basil infused salt gift

November 14, 2017

packaging diy basil infused salt gift

Before the first frost, what do you do with the last of the basil from your garden?  Do you make batches of pesto to freeze?  Have you ever thought about making some basil infused salt?

I recently had the good fortune to stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Florida.  The Ritz on Amelia Island has a fabulous selection of infused salts for sale.  Trying some of the salts from their collection, and watching the kitchen staff demonstrate how it is made, inspired me to use my ‘last of the season’ basil to make some of my own infused salt!

basil infused salt holiday gift diy

Basil salt makes the perfect seasoning for a tomato and fresh mozzarella salad when the basil from the garden has long gone…and, when packaged, it makes a great holiday gift as well!

It is super simple to create a basil infused salt!

making infused herbal salt

First, I pulsed ½ cup kosher salt and ½ cup packed basil leaves together in the food processor.  I dried this mixture by spreading it on a baking sheet in a 225-degree oven (tossing it every 15 minutes) for about 40 minutes – until dry.

After letting it cool, I pulsed the mixture one last time to make the salt extra fine.  Of course, you can control the coarseness by the number of pulses used.

salt tube trio diy

For packaging, I used some glass tubes I had purchased for another DIY.  I think three tubes tied together are a great way to package the salt as a gift.  If you try making some other herbed salt flavors, you can even package three different flavors of salt to gift as a trio!  If you would rather use a more conventional container, small Weck jars or glass spice jars would also look super cute!

I hope I have inspired you to use some herbs from your garden to create some infused salt!

homemade gift salt

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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amelia island beach memories

November 10, 2017

Ritz Carlton Amelia Island Beach

Here in Connecticut, the weather has turned cold.  Thoughts of fall are being replaced by winter and holiday preparations…Christmas decorations are on display everywhere!

The beach at The Ritz Amelia Island

I think it is the perfect day to take a glimpse of some warmer days that are not that far behind us!  Don’t you miss that feeling of sand between your toes?

tables amelia island

For today’s Friday field trip, a few photos of the beach taken during my recent stay at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida.

umbrella on the beach amelia island

Enjoy!

walkway Amelia Island

Thanks for stopping by!

Have a fabulous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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amsterdam green dresser redo

November 7, 2017

ferns on dresser drawer

Annie Sloan Amsterdam Green.  I have been so eager to paint a piece of furniture with this color Chalk Paint!

I got my chance on a recent dresser renovation.  My color choice was inspired by the Ikea Strandkrypa floral patterned duvet cover.

The dresser is part of a guest room décor project of mine.  The bed in the room is covered with the Strandkrypa comforter  – giving me a botanical/gardeny vibe inspiration for the room.

Ikea comforter inspiration

When I came up with my plan for the room, I wrote down my ‘dream’ dresser dimensions for future reference and hoped to find a cast-off dresser in the future.  It was only about 3 weeks later that a sturdy wooden dresser out on a curb, ready for the trash pickup, would catch my eye and end up matching my measurements almost exactly!  Unreal!  And, when I asked the homeowner if it was okay to take the item from his front yard, he proceeded to load it into my car!  When does that ever happen?  Perfect dimensions AND no heavy lifting?!

before and after dresser Annie Sloan Amersterdam Green

I wanted the room where the dresser would reside to have a gardeny vibe, inspired by the bedding.  I  had already refinished an heirloom bedside table for the same room – now my mission was to redo my new- found, no cost discovery!  (To see the side table before and after, click here.)

Amerstdam green Annie Sloan dresser

I thought bin pulls would be perfect to replace the old drawer handles.  The only reasonably priced ones I was able to find were in a silver tone.  Since the ones I found were perfect, except for the finish, I just sprayed them with Rustoleum spray paint (in hammered bronze).

dresser drawers Amsterdam Green Annie Sloan

Though I was tempted to sand and stain the top of the piece, I knew the owner would rather a solid color piece, so I resisted the temptation!  If I was redoing it for myself, I would have stained the top in a darker color stain – like a Minwax dark walnut – but, for this client, a light distressing and simple whitewash was all the piece needed…A pretty straight forward painting project.

fern stencils on dresser drawers

I sealed the piece first, since experience has taught me old stains can bleed through and I wanted a true Amsterdam Green.  Then, I painted the piece with two coats of the Amersterdam Green.  For the white wash, I used Annie Sloan Old White thinned with water – about 60% water.  I painted on the wash and quickly rubbed it down with some cheesecloth to give it an old, weathered look.  I let the paint set a few days, before giving it a coat of clear wax.  I later added an extra coat of clear wax.  Lastly, I added the new pulls.

white birch drawer liner

Since I always try to add some interesting details, I came up with a couple for this dresser.  I stenciled some ferns, using the same Amsterdam Green, on the sides of two of the drawers for an unexpected surprise and also added some birch bark looking paper as drawer liner.

Complete!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing my latest painting project!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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giraffe love

November 3, 2017

close up giraffee at White Oak

I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity recently to visit White Oak Conservation in Northwest Florida.  White Oak is one of the world’s premiere wildlife breeding, education, and training facilities.  This wildlife conservation facility spans 13,000 acres of pine and hardwood forest and wetlands.  Its mission is to save endangered wildlife and habitats through sustainable conservation breeding, education, and responsible land stewardship.

giraffees at White Oak

Founded in 1982, White Oak leads professional efforts to improve veterinary care, develop holistic animal management techniques, and better understand the biology of critically endangered species.

As you can tell by the photos in my post today for Friday field trip, my favorite part of my visit to White Oak was the opportunity to be ‘up close and personal’ with a group of giraffes!  That, and getting together with a fabulous group of people, made my afternoon at White Oak one I will never forget!

close up of giraffee face

I also had the chance to see rhinoceros, cheetahs (including baby cheetahs!), and antelope as well as a brief sighting of some okapi (a beautiful and rare giraffe relative).

2 giraffees at White Oak

Founded in 1982, White Oak is well known in the conservation and zoo communities and leads professional efforts to improve veterinary care, develop holistic animal management techniques, and better understand the biology of critically endangered species.

I hope today’s post may inspire you to visit your local zoo!  A shout out to White Oak and to all the friends that shared the amazing afternoon visit with me!

feeding a giraffee at White OakThanks for stopping by!

Have a fabulous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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november book giveaway!

October 31, 2017

november 2017 giveaway pleasure in simple things

November’s giveaway is not actually a book!  I saw this adorable succulent calendar for 2018 and, since the end of November is near the end of the year, why not substitute a calendar for a book!

A comment will earn you a chance to win this cute standing calendar – perfect for a desk or an end table!  The winner will be chosen at random at the end of November.  Good luck!

succulent calendar pleasure in simple things blog

Congratulations to Mari, winner of last month’s book selection The Misfortune of Marion Palm by Emily Culliton.  (Click here to read more about this book.)  I know you will enjoy this read Mari!

Instagram readers, please read on for this month’s challenge!

november 2017 instagram challenge
Since November is such a great time to contemplate all that we are grateful for, let’s share!  Use hashtag #pleasuregram to share photos of things you are grateful for…it can be anything from the blessing of your family to a quiet moment of solitude on a beach…

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you are having a wonderful Halloween evening!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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fall by the sea velvet pumpkins

October 27, 2017

white velvet fall by the sea pumpkins

I thought I would leave you with one last velvet pumpkin post for this year.  If you have been inspired to try making some velvet pumpkins, I want to suggest you experiment with stems.  Yes, the real pumpkin stems are so beautiful (and my favorites), but changing up the stems can create a different vibe for your homemade creations.

teal velvet and driftwood pumpkin fall by the sea

For today’s Friday field trip, I am demonstrating this by sharing a few of my seaside pumpkins.  By simply changing up the stems, it is possible to create a beachy vibe with your velvet pumpkins.

fall by the sea pumpkin trio

Just as I save pumpkin stems, I also save pieces of driftwood that I think will make great pumpkin stems come fall.

white velvets fall by the sea pumpkins

Driftwood stems are much more challenging to collect than real pumpkin stems, since the shapes are so varied and not all pieces will translate well as pumpkin stems.

fall by the sea velvet pumpkins on shells

My favorite driftwood stem this year is on this light sea green pumpkin – isn’t it perfect?!  The driftwood stems usually are chunkier, just by nature of the driftwood – but, the shape of this piece looks like an authentic pumpkin stem shape!  I love it!

fall by the sea aqua velvet pumpkin

Sea themed velvet pumpkins look great in a home displayed in a cluster with sea glass and some Spanish moss.  Adding ribbons, twine, seashells, pearls, etc. to the pumpkin can help convey your vibe…have fun with it!

fall by the sea gray velvet pumpkin

I hope I have inspired you to try making a velvet pumpkin in a sea themed color with a driftwood stem!

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with The Inspiration Gallery at  Taryn Whiteaker. :)

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marbleizing baby boos

October 24, 2017

diy marbleizing pumpkins

The best part of October is getting creative with pumpkin decorating!  And, there are so many ways to do so!

Today, I just wanted to take a moment to share the simple technique for creating a marbleized pumpkin.  I thought most people had tried this technique by now, but if you haven’t – you need to!

A marbleized pumpkin is super easy to create.

baby boo and diy green marble

The only materials needed are some warm water, a bottle of nail polish, and a disposable container large enough to accommodate the pumpkin you are planning to marbleize.

I use a disposable container to make clean-up quick and easy and to avoid damage to a regular dish or bowl.  For mini pumpkins, a disposable foil lasagna pan is perfect.

Fill the container with warm water.  Drizzle some of the nail polish over the surface of the water by pouring it in a thin stream in an irregular pattern.  Not much is needed.

marbleizing pumpkin processHold a pumpkin by the stem and dip it into the water.  The nail polish will adhere to the pumpkin in an irregular pattern.  Twist the pumpkin while in the water to create varying patterns.  If you are not understanding how this could work, don’t worry!  After trying it with one pumpkin, you will experience an ‘aha’ moment.  After that one try, you may well be addicted to the process and its many possible outcomes!

some diy marbleized pumpkins

I like to use white pumpkins with a nail polish that coordinates with my décor.  The green I used on these pumpkins creates a look that looks great in my dining room amid my ferns!

Of course, dark colors look the most dramatic.  And, you can use more than one color on a single pumpkin if you’d like.

I hope I have inspired you to try marbleizing a pumpkin!

white baby boo green marbleizing

P.S.  There is a video in my Instagram feed and on my Facebook page if you’d like to see the green marbleized pumpkin creating in process!

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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jeni’s ice cream

October 20, 2017

flight of ice cream at Jenis in Columbus

I have eaten a lot of ice cream in my day and I thought I had a couple favorite spots that couldn’t be beat. That is, until my recent trip to Ohio!

I found the ice cream by which all other ice creams should be measured! This super flavorful and perfectly textured dessert is sold at Jeni’s scoop shops throughout Ohio (and select other states). OMG. It is truly amazing!

Jeni's scoop shop in Columbus, Ohio

I was visiting the motherland…all Jeni’s ice creams are handcrafted in the production kitchen in Columbus, Ohio. Talking to locals about the ice cream, we actually even found someone who planned their wedding colors around a Jeni’s ice cream flavor! (If you are curious, that flavor was brambleberry crisp.)

What flavors did I try? On my visits to Jeni’s while in Columbus, I ordered a ‘flight’ of half scoops – 3 half scoops served in a dish. This way I could try 3 different flavors per visit.

On one of my two trips to Jeni’s while in Ohio, cream puff was my favorite flavor of the three!

close up Jenis ice cream German village

Cream puff is a salty-sweet custard vanilla reminiscent of the filling inside old world cream puffs. Jeni was inspired by the massive cream puffs served in the 100 year old Ohio restaurant, Schmidts when she created this yummy flavor!

flight of ice cream at Jenis

My second flavor choice was salted peanut butter with chocolate flecks. This is the perfect flavor for anyone that loves peanut butter and chocolate together. Originally named ‘The Buckeye State,’ this regular flavor is made with salted ground roasted peanuts and rich chopped dark chocolate.

My third flavor choice was brown butter almond brittle. Made with a sticky almond toffee candy crushed into butter cream ice-cream, this flavor is inspired by Krokan – a Norwegian toffee-like treat.

finishing a flight of ice cream at Jenis

In flight number 2, on my second visit to Jeni’s, the sweet cream biscuits and peach jam was my favorite flavor! Buttermilk ice-cream, crumbled shortcake biscuits and swirls of sweet-tart jam made from Georgia peaches made this flavor over-the-top delicious!

I also tried wild berry lavender – a berry flavor of pulverized black currants scented with sweet orange and lavender essential oils. Because of my love for lavender, I found this flavor very unique and tasty!

wildberry lavendar ice cream at Jenis Ohio

Lastly, I tried sun-popped corn. This flavor is made with organic popcorn kernels popped by the sun in kettles in the New York Hudson Valley. It truly tastes like a bowl of freshly popped popcorn!

Jeni’s is consistently adding new flavors – both temporary and standards, so there are always interesting flavors to try – like sweet potato éclair or super moon (blue violet and vanilla marshmallow swirled together)!

standard flavor at Jenis

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams was founded in 2002 by Jeni Britton Bauer using whole ingredients with dairy from grass pastured cows and no synthetic flavorings or dyes. Jeni is a James Beard Award-winning author of two cookbooks and her New York Times best-seller Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has been dubbed the “homemade-ice-cream making Bible” by the Wall Street Journal with more than 100,000 copies in print!

sample spoons at Jenis ice cream in Ohio

Used sample tasting spoons at Jeni’s scoop shop in Columbus, Ohio

Guess what? If your mouth is watering and you wish you could try Jeni’s ice cream – you can! Jeni’s is available online as well as in select markets! If you don’t have a shop near you, I strongly recommend you order some at least once in your life – especially if you are an ice cream lover!

on Jenis scoop shop wall in Columbus

Thanks for stopping by! I hope I have inspired you to make or try a new flavor of ice cream!

Have a wonderful weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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