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outside the color palette?

April 4, 2014

pansies

For Friday field trip today, I am adding the first accessory to my newly decorated painted guest room.

pansy planting supplies

I hadn’t really planned to redo any rooms upstairs.  Honest.  But, one of the bedrooms desperately needed painting and that (of course) started the whole ball rolling!  That, my friends, is not the surprising part since it doesn’t usually take much to get me going in the redecorating direction!  The surprising part?  My new room color isn’t part of my usual color palette!

The color palette I created for my downstairs rooms from a photo I took of an oyster shell.  I color matched my paint colors to the colors I took from the photo.

The color palette I created for my downstairs rooms from a photo I took of an oyster shell. I color matched my paint colors to the colors I took from the photo.

I agonized over paint swatches for a good month – finally deciding on a color called ‘shortbread’ from the Martha Stewart Living paint line at Home Depot.

As a yellow/gold tone – it was a departure from my usual coastal colors. Once the room was cleaned and painted (even though my free time should really have been devoted to tax preparation!) I decided to use my limited funds on a bed frame and bedding so the room could be utilized as a guest room right away.  The rest I can complete a little at a time when the mood (or funds) are right.

guest room collage
I chose a bed frame in a gray/brown (driftwood looking) color from Ikea and proceeded to stalk all the home stores for bedding.  I decided on a gray textured spread at Home Goods and picked out some contrasting pillows – limiting myself to just two.  I also picked up a sheet set in a color that looked surprisingly similar to the color of the shortbread paint.  Basics completed!  Ready for guests!

pansy spoon

Now, for my first official accessory for the new room, I am planting some pansies in a beautiful gold tone chippy planter that I found at Anthropologie.  The pot cost me $8 and I picked up some pansies at Home Depot – my first accessory cost under $15 and I love it!

pansies in anthro pot

spring time pansies

You know – now that I really look at that room – the shortbread paint could easily be called marsh grass or coastal twilight…don’t you think?  ;)

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Little Red House, Craftberry Bush, Coastal Charm, and Mona’s Picturesque.

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visiting anthro home office

March 21, 2014

Urban Outfitters Headquarters

I checked one off the list!  The ‘places I need to visit in Philly’ list…I visited the Anthropologie Headquarters!

Sign for Urban Outfitter Headquarters

Actually -  the Urban Outfitters home office.  Urban Outfitters is the parent company for Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain, and BHLDN.  So, for today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing a few photos of the public areas I visited at the headquarters located at Philadelphia’s Naval Shipyard.  The Navy Yard is a collection of historic buildings (and battleships!) on the waterfront and open daily for public visitation.  It is easily accessible by shuttle just a few miles from the center of the city.  Though it is now closed for any naval activities, the 1,200 acre business campus sits on what was once the country’s very first naval shipyard!

Urban Outfitters offices

The creative and inspiring atmosphere (with great food) inside the Urban home office makes every visitor wish they were an employee!  You can see in this photo, just like in the stores – dogs are welcome!  In the Anthro building, I actually saw a dog watching a TV as he sat in his little dog bed next to his owner’s desk!  (True story!  And, he was watching a show about dogs!)

Dogs allowed at Urban Outfitters corporate

Some of the historic Navy Yard artifacts are clearly embraced in the decor:

Naval decor at Urban Outfitters Corporate
There are two wonderful places to have lunch – both are open to the public.

lunch menu at Urban Outfitters corporate

lunch table at Urban Outfitters corporate

Yup, it is called The Navy Yard for a reason…I don’t know of any other lunch spots with a battleship view!

View from Urban Outfitters corporate

One wall makes for an impromptu museum:

Hallway Urban Outfitters corporate

Like the stores, unique and inspiring surroundings are everywhere:

Urban Outfitters Corporate

Urban Outfitters Corporate

If you look closely at this photo, you may spot the employee exercise area on the upper floor.

Urban Outfitters Headquarters in Philadelphia, PA

And here is my prime destination…Building No. 10…

Anthropologie headquarters in Philadelphia, PA
The building containing the Anthropologie headquarters…I won’t show you the inside since it is not open to the public, but I will say that I was NOT disappointed!  Oh, and here is an example of one of the many daily happenings while walking by one of the company buildings…the beginnings of a photo shoot:

photo session at Urban Outfitters

I hope you enjoyed sharing some photos of the areas open to the public at the Urban Outfitters home office…and, if you should find yourself in Philly sometime – check it out!  Because, like the stores, the home office is unique, fun, and inspiring!

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

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top 5 from philly flower show 2014

March 14, 2014

Philly Flower Show 2014

The Philadelphia Flower Show had an amazing theme this year…ARTiculture!

I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the longest-running and largest indoor flower show!

With so much to see, the show was overwhelming. What makes the show special is in the way each attendee has a unique visit – each person sees the show from their own perspective…in this way, the show is a very personal experience.

As a way to share this personal experience with you on Friday field trip this week, I am sharing my personal top 5 from the Philadelphia Flower Show 2014.

THEME. I loved the art theme this year! ARTiculture! Working in collaboration with Philadelphia museums and the local art world made the Flower Show theme the best in years! The art influences were everywhere…but this display, in my estimation, integrated the theme perfectly!

Philly  Flower Show Display

Philly Flower Show canvas

Even food was treated as art in this amazing display:

food at Philly Flower Show

DEMONSTRATION. The lectures and demonstrations offered at the Flower Show are always a high point for me…learning anything new is always fun and I enjoy watching the variety of demonstrations offered on the show schedule.

This year, while attending an evening sponsored by Philadelphia Magazine, I met the talented artist Denise Fike. Denise provided guests with their own fashion portraits…what a fun demonstration and a cool way to incorporate the theme of the show!

Artist Denise Fike at Philly Flower Show

FRIENDS. One great aspect of an annual show is to visit people you have met year after year. I had three in particular that I really enjoyed catching up with in the retail section of the show.

One was Michelle Masters…she creates this

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beautiful topiary art…

Michele Masters topiary art

I was happy to have the opportunity to stock up on my notecards and to purchase a few great gifts. ;)

Michele Masters

I also had the chance to spend some time with Jill Schwartz. As owner of Elements, she creates some really awesome jewelry…you may have seen some of her unique pieces in Anthropologie.

Elements by Jill Schwartz

Jill Schwartz necklace

If you are a flower lover and have not seen the products from Chive you are definitely missing something great! It is so inspiring to see all their products ‘up close and personal’ at the flower show each year and to say ‘hi’ to the friendly staff. I love using their products for big events and small parties…they have wonderful pieces to use as favors and as centerpieces.

Chive Flower vases

SCULPTURE. Each year, I am intrigued by some type of sculpture at the show. Of course, everyone attending was mesmerized by the entrance of the show, where masses of flowers were put together and displayed in a ‘frame.’ I found a couple more I enjoyed.

The paper flower sculptures in the hallways leading to the main rooms were awesome and gave any of us dappling in paper flower construction a whole new level of inspiration!

paper sculpture

paper sculpture

paper sculpture

paper sculpture

As a typography lover, I enjoyed this sculpture in the Convention Center hallway.

Typography sculpture

GARDEN INSPIRATION. Admittedly, much of my day was spent oohing and aahing the amazing varieties of flowers on display. It’s great to be inspired to find something to incorporate into my own garden. This year, that inspiration was the witch hazel. As a winter bloomer, I know it would be a lovely way to add some color to the snow next year! My own state (Connecticut) is the witch hazel capital and was the first to harvest and market it for its medicinal purposes…surprisingly, I have not already included it in my garden! This is how it looks in bloom.

witch hazel

That is my little glimpse into the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show. Hope you enjoyed this week’s Friday field trip!

Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend, Jackie

Sharing at Mona’s Picturesque, Crafts a la Mode, and The Tablescaper.

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‘eggs’traordinary

March 7, 2014

molded hard boiled egg
Inspired by the playful works of art in Japanese character bento boxes, Williams-Sonoma sells a product that changes the shape of a hard-boiled egg!  I was fascinated with the idea of this product when I spotted it at the store…and, with Easter quickly approaching, I knew I had to try it out!  I am sharing the adorable results with you on today’s Friday field trip.

Following the easy directions on the box of the Egg-Design Molds, I set out to create a heart, a star, a rabbit, and a bear from some hard boiled eggs.

molding a hard boiled egg
My true interest was in the rabbit (for Easter), but I also wanted to test the star to use for deviled eggs later this summer – very patriotic for our 4th of July party on the beach!

star shaped molded eggs
Creating these eggs was really easy.  I just followed the simple directions on the box.  Basically:

  1. Cook 4 extra-large eggs
  2. Dip one egg in a bowl of ice water, then peel off the shell
  3. Place egg in a mold
  4. Set in ice water
  5. Repeat for the other 3 eggs
  6. After 10 minutes, remove from molds

Egg Design Molds

Aren’t these sure to be a hit at the ‘kids’ table on Easter?

molded bunny egg

These molds can be purchased on sale online here.  Three sets would make a dozen eggs at a time – or, a half dozen star shaped deviled (half) eggs.

Since I tested my deviled eggs, I included the recipe.  I am not a big mayo fan, so my version cuts the mayo with sour cream.  Enjoy!

deviled eggs recipe

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with Silver Pennies, Little Red House, and Crafts a la Mode.

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a valentine delivery

February 14, 2014

flowers in a teapot

This year is my favorite Valentine’s Day.

For Friday field trip today I am sharing the reason why.

I don’t have any big dinner plans…I didn’t receive a romantic gift…

I was given the opportunity to create and deliver fresh flower arrangements to residents of senior living facilities in my hometown.

Flowers for nursing home

The arrangements were created by some of the members of my garden club.  With some basic flower choices from a local wholesaler and some miscellaneous containers collected by members, arrangements were lovingly put together one night this week.

The gals got together – clippers and gloves in hand – enjoying conversation and indulging in refreshments homemade by some of the members.

There is such a joy in giving Valentines to people that may not otherwise receive them, and although I did not personally know any of the residents receiving the gifts of flowers, strong connections to all the nursing facilities visited made the impact of the gesture very real to me.

Nursing home on Valentine's Day

If you belong to a garden club, consider adding this activity to your calendar for next year  :)…if you don’t belong to a garden club, think about inviting a group of friends over next February for a special Valentine activity.  Cute containers can be collected all year at yard sales or from flower arrangements you receive.  (Just remember to keep the arrangements small since there is usually limited space in resident rooms.  Also, call the residence in advance to find out about any special needs.)

quote about senior citizens

Thank you for stopping by.  Have a wonderful evening.  Here is my Valentine gift to you…the best  ‘set the mood’ songs of all time!  Enjoy!

Here in the Northeast we are again getting blanketed with snow.  Luckily, the Valentine’s Day arrangements have all been safely delivered. :)

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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super bowl 2014 review

February 7, 2014

NYC for pre Super Bowl

For Friday field trip today I am sharing a few photos from my trip into New York City last weekend to celebrate Super Bowl XLVIII.  Also, I am including some links to my favorite Super Bowl moments – none of which are clips of the actual game!

Macys Super Bowl 2014 NFL shop

This year, the pregame frenzy associated with the Super Bowl was amped up in our area…for the very first time,  the Super Bowl was played in the Northeast – my part of the country – hosted by New York and New Jersey.  So, of course I couldn’t resist checking out all the excitement associated with this nationally recognized sporting event and cultural phenomenon we call “the Super Bowl.”

Super Bowl pregame craziness 2014

No, I didn’t attend the game – I traveled into New York City to check out all the pregame craziness!  And, craziness there was!

Craziness was witnessed from the time I got onto the train in Connecticut heading to New York City, where people were popping opening bottles of champagne at 9:45am – drinking to celebrate their favorite team’s anticipated win the following day!

Super Bowl Boulevard in NYC 2014

New York City Super Bowl 2014

And in New York City, Times Square hadn’t seen such action since New Year’s Eve…where the entire area from 34th to 44th was turned into ‘Super Bowl Boulevard’ celebrating all things football.  The week-long schedule of events culminated on Saturday with contests, freebies, interactive booths, visiting NFL players signing autographs for the crowd, and a photo ‘op’ with the Vince Lombardi trophy (stand in line to get a photo with a hunk of metal shaped as a football…I don’t think so!).  

Vince Lombardi trophy in NYC

There was a time when I would watch the Super Bowl every year.  Not to watch the game, mind you.  I couldn’t miss the commercials!  Or, the halftime show.  Now the commercials are all available on YouTube before the game is even played…and, the halftime show is just as accessible online after the big contest.  This eliminates any reason for me to actually tune in to see ‘the big game.’

Fox Sports in NYC Super Bowl 2014

And if you were wondering, no…the ‘Puppy Love’ commercial was not my favorite commercial.  I like an ad that uses a little humor, is cleverly done, and best uses talent that makes sense in promoting the product.  These were my top three favorites in no particular order:

 Top Super Bowl 2014 Commercial Ellen

Top Super Bowl 2014 Commercial Tim,

Top Super Bowl 2014 Commercial Anna

There was also one commercial that was notable and worth watching…it starred the 10 year old Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis (who was gifted a Maserati for her role in this ad)…awesome job and wonderful photography.  You can see the Superbowl XLVIII Maserati commercial here.

NYC Pepsi Ad Super Bowl 2014

As for the halftime show – this year, the Bruno Mars concert was definitely worth a watch in real time  – Congrats to Pepsi and Bruno for an awesome halftime performance!  No wardrobe malfunctions or gimmicks here…just straight up talent and a wonderful display of showmanship: 

Some Bruno Mars Super Bowl performance highlights are here.

A real cool part of being in New York City Saturday pregame – aside from all the energy surrounding me – as I battled the crowds to get back to Grand Central Station to head home, I was able to watch the Super Bowl inspired contest results determining what colors would light the Empire State Building.  

Empire State building prior to Super Bowl 2014

All week prior to the ‘big game’, the colors illuminating the building were determined by tweeting NFL fans.  Each night, the colors (I have admitted I am color obsessed, so this was right up my alley.)  displayed on the building were determined by the largest number of tweeting fans…orange and blue if Broncos fans tweeted the most…blue and green if Seahawks fans tweeted the most.  

Here is the closing ceremony light show for the Seahawks:

You can see the Empire State Building Super Bowl XLVIII Light Show here.

So that’s my Super Bowl 2014 review…hope you enjoyed it…if you expected game highlights, sorry…that’s not my thing.  I only enjoy watching football games where I know the people playing. ;)  Not that I would mind knowing Eric Decker personally!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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sweet scones

January 24, 2014

scones

I think it is a natural instinct to have the urge to prepare food when the weather is cold.  With the temperature dipping into the single digits, and 10 inches of snow freshly fallen here in Connecticut, it is no wonder this instinct has kicked in!

photo of scone recipe

The result of this urge today are some freshly baked scones.   A friend gave me the recipe for these particular scones, written on a brown paper bag, well over twenty years ago.  I call these ‘the sweet scones.’  So, for Friday field trip today. we are taking a trip back to twenty years ago as I share the recipe given to me by my friend Kathy.

cutting scones

scones with sweet glaze

The scones after adding the sweet glaze.

With a sugar glaze, these scones are sweeter than the ones I typically make.  Other than adjusting the cooking time for my oven, I haven’t changed this recipe a bit over the years… and, the result is still as delicious as when I first tasted these scones at a regular get-together of friends.

recipe for scones with sweet glaze

They are wonderful to bake for some friends stopping by because they are very quick to prepare – give them a try!

Thanks so much for stopping by to share.  Have a fabulous weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things,  Jackie

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persian cotton candy

January 17, 2014

Persian cotton candy

I am excited for Friday field trip today to share a dessert from another culture.  For Valentine’s Day this year I can serve a dessert that I find new and exciting… So, move over chocolate… this year I am serving Persian cotton candy! 

Persian cotton candy

I enjoy exploring other cultures and having a friend from the Middle East helps me learn about foods from that part of the world.  Remember that wonderful Persian Love Cake I made last year?   

My latest food introduction was a Middle Eastern dessert that compares with our cotton candy.  It is made from sugar like the American variety, but also contains shortening, flour, and cardamom and has a very delicate flavor.

Persian Cotton Candy

Interesting, isn’t it?

Because it is sold in a box, the challenge is to find a pretty way to serve it to guests.  It is very soft and separates into strands easily.  I found out from my friend that it is often packed into a glass to give the candy a shape and it can be served with nuts.

Since pistachios are so often used in Middle Eastern cuisine, I decided to use some chopped pistachios as a garnish for my cotton candy dessert.

Persian cotton candy

And, on one of my presentations, I could not resist adding a pool of honey.  I know – the ingredient is mostly sugar, so why add honey?  But, it tastes really good!

I hope you enjoyed exploring another culture with me as I tried Persian Cotton Candy. 

Persian cotton candy

Thank you so much for stopping by.  Have a really wonderful weekend.

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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2014 word for the year

January 10, 2014

2014 word of the yearfood for the soul

I hadn’t planned on assigning a word of the year for 2014.  I had seen many others choose one and I wasn’t particularly motivated to choose one for myself.  I toyed with the idea of using the word renewal …but, I decided against it; thinking it sounded like such a cliche…and how could I possibly use a word like that for the entire year…the idea made me think of the movie Groundhog Day. 

Okay, I thought…no word for the year.

Then I met a friend for lunch that I hadn’t seen for a while.  One of those friends that you can just jump right into a conversation the second you get together…start right where you left off with no hesitation.

meaning of friendship

So today’s Friday field trip ends up being the short journey I took to discover my word for the year.

It didn’t happen right when we devoured the artisan cheese plate…

artisan cheeseplate

Or even as I ate my local greens salad….

local greens salad

It wasn’t until sometime during my banana cream pie with sweet potato sorbet and pecans as I reached over to try my friend’s chocolate hazelnut budino, and spooned into the caramel at the bottom of the glass, that it really hit me…

My word for the year… Friendship.

It had to be Friendship.

Because the true nourishment that afternoon did not come from the food…the true nourishment came from a friendship…two friends connecting in a special way that only friends can.

food at Le Farm

In the words of Marcel Proust “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” 

Even when I think of my wonderful family relationships, it is the friendships that make them special.

So for 2014, I want to acknowledge all the friendships that make my soul blossom…reconnect with some old friends… get together with some I don’t see as often as I would like…schedule regular family get-togethers…let those that I do see know how much they mean to me…

For it is truly the people in my life that give it meaning.

In the words of Henry David Thoreau “The language of friendship is not words but meanings.”

I value and acknowledge my friendships with a special focus this year and I look forward to creating some new friendships. :)

favorite friend quote

Thank you so much for stopping by. 

Have a wonderful weekend, Jackie

P.S. The photos in this post were taken at the wonderful restaurant Le Farm in Westport, Connecticut…a “must try” if you live in the area or plan on visiting.

Sharing at Craftberry Bush and Finding Silver Pennies.

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christmas sweets

December 20, 2013

Italian Christmas cookies

Only a few days until Christmas and I haven’t even started my baking!

With this year’s work schedule, I haven’t had time for any of my usual holiday preparations.

Friday field trip this week is a kitchen visit as I fit in a little late night baking session to make the top priority holiday cookie.  I am referring to the one most requested by my family – the “Italian” cookie. 

Italian Christmas cookies

My recipe comes from an old Italian woman many years ago.  She was very ‘old world’ so I have always thought this recipe must be very authentic and I have never altered it.

And, I always stay true to the original recipe and use margarine, even though I never use it in any other baking. 

Holiday cookies

I am sharing the recipe with you here.  (I topped mine with white non-pareils.)

Italian cookie recipe

So now I have the favorite cookie baked and ready for Christmas Eve.  If I can’t squeeze in any other holiday baking, at least I have the most important baking done!  I hope you have time to bake some of your favorite holiday sweets!

Are you thinking these cookies aren’t very consistent with my woodland theme this year?  Don’t worry, I got that covered…maple crème brulees, ice cream ‘pinecones’ and fireplace s’mores should fit the bill…don’t you think?

Christmas cookies

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Remember to take pleasure in simple things,  Jackie

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