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chocolate excellence at mast brothers

August 29, 2014

Mast Brothers chocolate products pleasure in simple things

Have you tried Mast Brothers Chocolate? It is really something special. And, the excellence of this product extends to the packaging…it is truly a work of art! You know how I feel about package design! My first purchase of a Mast Brothers chocolate bar some years ago was actually motivated by the packaging. I really didn’t expect to be so wowed by the product!

display of chocolate at Mast Brothers in Brooklyn pleasure in simple things field trip

This display of chocolate bars at Mast Brothers Chocolate in Brooklyn reminds me of a museum installation!

For Friday field trip this week, I am taking you to the company’s flagship factory and store in Brooklyn, NY where these sophisticated chocolate products are created.

bags of cocoa at Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory pleasure in simple things

 Mast Brothers Chocolate Products pleasure in simple things

To get to Mast Brothers Chocolate from Connecticut, take Metro North into the city. From Grand Central Station, either walk or take the subway to Union Square. From there, an easy trip on the L to Bedford. The store is located in Williamsburg at 111 North Third Street, near the corner of Bedford and 3rd – the Brew Bar just a few feet away at 105A.

Mast Brothers Brew Bar in Brooklyn pleasure in simple things

This visit, I was particularly interested in the newly opened Brew Bar. Opening only a few weeks ago, the Brew Bar creates and serves chocolate beverages that are quite possibly the first of their kind. High quality cocoa nibs are brewed in water for 24 hours and used to create a drink with an essence of chocolate. On my first trip, I tried an iced variety.

Angela at Mast Brothers Brew Bar pleasure in simple things

Angela at Mast Brothers Chocolate Brew Bar in Brooklyn.

Servers Angela and Derrick were extremely accommodating on my visit and took time to explain the process used to create the drinks and the varieties of chocolate available. The beverage itself is the color of a tea and has a subtle chocolate fragrance and flavor. It is extremely unique…I enjoyed it. I am sure most patrons probably add sweetener – a simple syrup is offered – I drank mine unsweetened. The subtleness of the flavor really appealed to me – so much different than a milk-based chocolate drink like hot cocoa.

Mast Brothers Chocolate store pleasure in simple things

Rick and Michael Mast are extremely passionate about their work and it shows in everything they produce. If you would like to learn a little more about them and their business, click here for a video. (If you would like to visit, sign up in advance online for a 45 minute tour of the factory at the cost of $16. by using Eventbrite.)

outside of Mast Brothers store pleasure in simple things

Thanks so much for joining me on Friday field trip today for a little glimpse of Mast Brothers Chocolate in Brooklyn.

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

P.S. I purchase my Mast Brothers Chocolate locally at Whole Foods Market.

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seaside summer lunch

August 22, 2014

queens annes lace by the sea pleasure in simple things

In an attempt to squeeze every last sun-filled second out of summer, today I am taking some time to have lunch with a friend at the beach and you can join me for today’s Friday field trip.

 lighthouse pleasure in simple things

This is the time of year when I panic to think I haven’t truly appreciated my favorite season! Couldn’t I have done more summer ‘stuff?’  The season change already threatens with some cooler nights…one night has already been flannel worthy!  Shouldn’t I have taken more time to make s’mores, attend an outdoor concert, or float in a tube on Long Island Sound?  So, today I am fitting in some summer ‘stuff’ by having a lunch that truly celebrates summer in all its glory…

apiece of driftwood and Henry James quote pleasure in simple things

What do you think I am having for lunch?  Lobster roll?…Hamburger?  Nope!… Pizza!  Pizza may not sound much like typical summer food, but with fresh, seasonal, limited- time garden tomatoes, how can you beat this plum pie with pesto? So seasonal and so good!

a fresh tomato pie at the beach pleasure in simple things

And, for dessert…doesn’t this scream summer?

a ice cream cone at the beach pleasure in simple things

Hope you enjoyed our quick summer lunch.  Have a wonderful weekend!  I hope you will stop back on Tuesday when I continue to celebrate summer by sharing my top summer obsessions of 2014. :)

queens annes lace by the sea pleasure in simple things

Thank you for stopping by.  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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newport table (before & after)

August 15, 2014

pleasure sin simple things Annie Sloan coastal table

For Friday field trip today, I am sharing the before and after photos of a newly refurbished piece I named Newport.

When I first saw this table, I loved the way the sides came up and the detailed legs…isn’t it pretty? Of course, I wanted to ‘beachify’ it!

pleasure in simple things Newport table before

As I suspected, the finish gave me a little trouble. Looking at the color, I thought the finish may require a shellac coat before I painted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I tried to get by without one, but realized after the first coat of paint that I would need the shellac. No worries! I just put a coat of shellac right over the paint and continued with my business!

For this piece, I used French Linen, probably my very favorite Annie Sloan color. I just love the way a white wash looks over French Linen!

 pleasure in simple things after photo coastal table Annie Sloan french linen

Here were my steps in revamping this piece:
• Clean the piece
• Apply one coat of Annie Sloan Old White
• Apply (with a clean cloth) one coat of Zinsser shellac
• Apply two coats of Annie Sloan French Linen
• Add a white wash – a mixture of Annie Sloan Pure White and water (probably about 60   percent water) using a dry brush technique and then using a soft cloth to soften some areas
• Hand paint seahorses across the drawer fronts with Annie Sloan Graphite
• Apply one coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax
• Lightly distress
• Apply an additional coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax

I made sure that my brush strokes were visible as I applied the paint so that later they would show when I added the white wash to the piece.

pleasure in simple things Annie Sloan coastal table

I chose to keep the original hardware since I planned on painting a sea inspired design on the front and I didn’t want the hardware to distract from the design.

pleasure in simple things Annie Sloan french linen finish coastal table

I painted the seahorses freehand, but patterned them from a design I found online. After looking around the internet for something with a vintage feel, I found a great pattern on The Graphics Fairy and used it as a reference as I painted the images.

pleasure in simple things Annie Sloan coastal table seashores

I didn’t do a lot of distressing on this piece, but since I didn’t want the seashores to look newly painted, I gave them a sanding with some fine sandpaper until I got the worn look I wanted.

pleasure in simple things Annie Sloan coastal table

As a final detail, I added drawer liners cut from a sheet of paper I chose from the large selection at The Paper Source.

Newport is complete! What do you think?

pleasure in simple things coastal table Annie Sloan french linen NEWPORT

Thank you so much for stopping by for Friday field trip and sharing my table transformation!

Have a fabulous weekend, Jackie

Sharing at Jennifer RizzoFinding Silver PenniesMiss Mustard Seed, Craftberry Bush, and Shabby Nest.

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shopping coastal cool

August 8, 2014

pleasure in simple things field trip to Grace

For Friday field trip today, I am sharing a little eye candy from one of the best coastal lifestyle stores in Connecticut.

pleasure in simple things field trip to Grace

In addition to the best in home, personal, and gift wares, this store carries both Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint! The only shop in my state to sell both paints, Grace in the center of Niantic, is definitely a one-stop shop for everything beautifully coastal!

Pleasure in simple things jewlery at Grace

pleasure in simple things visits Grace in Niantic

pleasure in simple things visits Grace in Niantic

I definitely needed a ‘beachy’ fix today…I hope you agree!  It is such a great time of year and I am having trouble thinking about it ending!  I am having a really tough time seeing Halloween candy in stores already! :(  Walking into Grace is like walking into a warm salt water breeze! :)

pleasure in simple things visits Grace in Niantic

pleasure in simple things Friday field trip to Grace in Niantic

a shirt from Grace in Niantic pleasure in simple things

pleasure in simple things friday field trip to Grace in Niantic

Coastal cool friday field trip

My detailed nature always prompts me to make one final observation when I leave a location – at a restaurant this is always a trip to the ladies room – was as much thought put into the ladies room decor and amenities as in the rest of the restaurant?  In a shop, this test is in the way the purchases are presented to the customer…

package wrapping at Grace in Niantic

I think Grace has it covered nicely!

I hope you enjoyed Friday field trip to Grace in Niantic.  If you are in the area, be sure to visit…Niantic celebrates Main Street’s Bargains by the Bay Tent & Sidewalk Sale now through Sunday so this weekend would be the perfect time to plan a visit!

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

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august book giveaway!

August 1, 2014

pleasure in simple things giveaway book ocean fishes

Today’s Friday field trip will be announcing the July book giveaway winner and also the title for the August selection. Congratulations to Amy, winner of the July giveaway book Summertime.

The choice for this month’s giveaway book is one that I also happen to own and love. I grew up boating and fishing the waters of Long Island Sound, and over my lifetime have developed a great appreciation for the native fish of the area waters.

Ocean Fishes depicts the beauty of these fish in reproductions of detailed watercolor paintings by Connecticut native James Prosek.

I had the privilege to attend a showing of Prosek’s original artwork when it was on display at The Academy of National Sciences in Philadelphia in 2013. At that time, Prosek was honored with the Academy’s Gold Medal of Distinction in National History Art. My favorite painting on display in Philadelphia was a 15-foot life-size blue marlin…an incredible expression by the artist.

pleasure in simple things giveaway book ocean fishes

Dubbed “the Audubon of the fishing world” by The New York Times, Prosek is known for his detailed and arresting watercolor paintings.

This book is a great one for any lover of the sea and is perfect to add to a coastal library collection.  Just leave a comment to let me know you would like to be entered to win this wonderful book.

Instagram users, please read on! For August, let’s share our treasures from the sea…a sea creature, a smooth piece of sea glass or driftwood, a beautiful shell , an unusual rock…any coastal find will do! The summer is passing so quickly and there is still much scavenging to do! Use hashtag #pleasuregram to share your beach finds!

pleasure in simple things instagram august challenge

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

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lucky enough

July 18, 2014

flower at the beach

The beach is a special place. I always say, even on a bad weather day, it is beautiful at the beach…and, I pretty much feel the same way about summer in general.

umbrella at the beach pleasure in simple things

For Friday field trip today, I am sharing a few photos from a random day at the beach. On this particular day, a day when everyone at work was complaining about the weather, this is what it looked like at the beach throughout that day…

every day is good at the beach pleasure in simple things

rocks at the beach pleasure in simple things

My appreciation for the beach starting young…some of my best childhood memories revolve around the beach and water activities. When I reflect on these memories, it is no wonder the beach holds such a special place in my heart. Just the thought of an old-school orange life preserver puts a smile on my face! Some of these memories include:

  • Learning to swim (in the salt water)
  • Eating fresh caught shark brought home from my Dad’s fishing trip
  • Going clamming with my grandfather
  • A lifetime of collecting sea glass & other ocean treasures
  • Fishing on the boat with my siblings
  • Steering the boat for the very first time
  • Bringing home sea creatures in a plastic bucket
  • Buying a cardboard box of scary sand worms for bait
  • And, yes, even cleaning barnacles off the bottom of the boat with my dad!

Do you have some favorite beach memories from your childhood?

beach pleasure in simple things

After all, if you are lucky enough to be at the beach, you are lucky enough. :)

aaOcean House 010

 

Visiting the beach pleasure in simple things

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

P.S. I am so thrilled one of my summer photos was included in Martha Stewart’s My American Summer gallery posted on her website! Check out all the wonderful summer photos in the gallery by clicking here. If you are an Instagram user, please follow me and be sure to share your summer photos with the hashtag #pleasuregram.

Sharing at Craftberry Bush, Shabby Nest, and Coastal Charm.

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beauty by the sea

July 11, 2014

Ocean House RI front view pleasure in simple things

Come visit an iconic New England seaside resort located on the bluffs of Watch Hill, Rhode Island…today on Friday field trip!

Ocen House, RI pleasure in simple things

If you are a beach lover, Ocean House is the definitive beachside luxury that inspires at every turn…the kind of place dreams of made of…I am excited to share some photos of this ‘must see’ location with you for today’s field trip – especially for my friends that have never been to this area of the country.

Ocean House croquet pleasure in simple things

Ocean House pleasure in simple things

It really is impossible to include enough photos to give an accurate sense of the beauty of this destination and the incredible attention to detail displayed throughout the property. (I will post additional photos on my Facebook page to help!).

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

The resort originally opened in 1868 and was a widely recognized summer destination back in the 1800s. After welcoming guests for more than 136 years (and surviving the Great Hurricane of 1938), Ocean House was rebuilt replicating the original exterior design.   Isn’t it amazing?

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

One of only seventy-six hotels in the world to hold a Forbes Five Star rating, the Ocean House offers 49 spacious guest rooms, 15 extraordinary suites, and 6 gourmet and casual al fresco dining options.

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

Boasting a 650-foot private white sand beach and world-class amenities, Ocean House is the ultimate New England resort destination.

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed visiting this iconic New England spot with me today for Friday field trip. Have a fabulous weekend!

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple thingsRemember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Finding Silver Pennies and  Coastal Charm.

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patriotic tie-dye on the beach

July 4, 2014

patriotic tees pleasure in simple things diy

Happy Fourth my friends!  For Friday field trip today, I am taking you to the beach to show you my summer shirt creations made to wear to today’s neighborhood parade and party on the beach!

Tie-dye is the perfect beach craft – not only because it is fun, but because as a beach activity, there is very little mess or clean up.

Both experienced and first-time tie-dyers enjoy making their own patriotic creations!

If you want to hold your own patriotic tie-dye session, not much is needed to have a really fun time that produces some great results!

patriotic tie=dye pleasure in simple things

Patriotic Tie-Dye Supplies

  • 1 bottle Rit Liquid Dye (8 oz.) in navy blue
  • 1 bottle Rit Liquid Dye (8 oz.) in cherry red
  • Rubber bands
  • 2 cups salt
  • All cotton tee shirts
  • 2 plastic dish pails (each large enough to accommodate 3 gallons of water)
  • Rubber gloves to protect hands from dye (optional, but recommended)

The most economical way to purchase shirts is to choose (all cotton) shirts in multiple packs at a discount store.  But, you don’t necessarily need to purchase shirts – you can use some shirts or other articles you already own!  (It is fine to use a white shirt with writing…maybe a tie-dyed version of a shirt from your alma mater!)  Another option, if purchasing shirts is not in your budget, is to simply ask your guests to bring their own!

tie-dye on the beach pleasure in simple things

As everyone gets wrapped up in the excitement of the activity, it is inevitable at our house that one of the kids raids their sock or underwear drawer to add some extra articles of clothing to the mix…old pillowcases and sheets are also fair game!

beach tie-dye pleasure in simple things

First, be sure to wet the articles of clothing you intend to dye and wring out excess water in preparation for dyeing…this produces the best results.

The next step is to add tie-dyeing at the beach pleasure in simple thingsthe elastics.   The elastics prevent the dye from getting to the part of the shirt they are attached to, so be sure to make them tight!  There are so many variations of designs that can be created.  Even experienced tie-dyers come up with new designs… If you are at a loss for ideas, you can use an online resource to find suggestions for applying elastics for specific designs.  We like to just wing it and see what results!

After the shirts are prepared with the elastics, prepare the dye baths.  I prefer liquid dye and I use it double strength.  For each color, first dissolve 1 cup of salt (it helps better set the dye) in 3 gallons of hot water before mixing in an 8 oz. bottle of liquid dye.

tie-dye on the beach pleasure in simple things

As far as the actual dyeing, like Easter eggs, everyone comes up with their own favorite technique.  That may be leaving the entire piece in one color…it may be dipping various parts of the shirt in each color, etc.  Dip or submerge your shirt into the desired color(s) and have fun!  The longer the piece remains in the dye, the stronger the color.

patriotic tie-dye on the sand pleasure in simple things

When you are done, squeeze the excess dye from the finished product and rinse with cold water from the hose until the runoff runs clear.  Cold saltwater helps set the color, so we end the process by throwing the item into the ocean!

tie-dye at the beach pleasure in simple things

Now to remove the elastics…this is the best part!  Everyone loves pulling off the elastics after the dyeing process to proudly admire the final results!  And, every shirt looks so good…it is impossible to mess up a shirt – every one looks super!

You now have a tee in patriotic colors!  Enjoy!

After the shirt is dry, you can further embellish it with fabric paint – In the past, I have used silver metallic puffy fabric paint to add stars to a 4th of July tee.

tie-dye at the beach pleasure in simple things

Thanks for stopping by and I hope today’s field trip will inspire you to hold a tie-dying session of your own!

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

Sharing with Silver Pennies, Coastal Charm, and Sand & Sisal.

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visiting the st. augustine lighthouse

June 27, 2014

visiting the St. Augustine lighthouse pleasure in simple things

The latest issue of Coastal Living Magazine named St. Augustine, Florida in the top 5 for happiest seaside towns in America.

For today’s Friday field trip, I am taking you on a lighthouse visit – one of my happy places during a recent weekend visit to the “Nation’s Oldest City” in the Northeast part of Florida.

St. Augustine Lighthouse in Florida pleasure in simple things

Completed in 1874, after taking three years to build, the lighthouse is St. Augustine’s first and oldest surviving brick structure and rises 165 feet above sea level.

Staircase in St. Augustine lighthouse pleasure in simple things

Walking past the nine windows in the lighthouse provided beautiful panoramic views as I ascended the 8 flights of cast iron spiral stairs – a total of 219 steps.

St. Augustine lighthouse pleasure in simple things

This is what one of the windows looks like from the inside…now, check out some of the views to the outside!

view from lighthouse pleasure in simple things

A view of the keeper’s house from one of the St. Augustine lighthouse windows.

view from lighthouse window pleasure in simple things

view from St. Augustine lighthouse window pleasure in simple things

I was able to make it to the observation deck at the top of the lighthouse just before an impending lightning storm cut my visit short.

top of the St. Augustine lighthouse pleasure in simple things

Jackie at the top of the ST. Augustine lighthouse pleasure in simple things

The lightning storm was probably a good thing – no telling how many photos I would have taken if I was given the opportunity!

top of the St Augustine lighthouse pleasure in simple things

I hope you enjoyed sharing my visit to the St. Augustine lighthouse on today’s Friday field trip.  Thank you so much for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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the beekman boys’ fabulous tomato tart

June 20, 2014

pleasure in simple things tomato tart

You may already know of my infatuation with the Beekman Boys.  I had the good fortune to meet them at the Philadelphia Flower Show this past year and then, lucky enough to see them again at the Country Living Magazine Fair this past month.

I adore their dessert cookbook and now, I am equally enamored with their new vegetable cookbook. The first recipe I tried from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook was the tomato tart and it is definitely a winner!

beekman boys tomato tart recipe

I was so excited by the results; I decided to bring you into my kitchen for Friday field trip this week to share the recipe for this easy and delicious tomato tart.  Using heirloom tomatoes in a variety of sizes and colors helped my tarts resemble works of art!  Everyone should include this recipe in their summer repertoire as an elegant way to serve up the summer harvest!

I suggest purchasing some interesting varieties of tomatoes at your local farmer’s market (or use some from your own garden) and create this awesome tart making sure to include some of your favorite wine and favorite friends!

tomato tart recipe pleasure in simple things

Tomato Tart Recipe

Ingredients

  • Flour, for rolling the pastry
  • 1 sheet (about 8 oz.) frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed but still cold
  • 2 Tabs olive oil
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta, drained
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ pound assorted tomatoes, cored, cut into slices, and halved

Preheat oven to 425.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out pastry to a 10 x 15 inch rectangle and transfer it to the baking sheet.

With a paring knife, score a border 1 inch in from the edge all around the rectangle, cutting into, but not through, the dough.  With a fork, prick the dough inside the border all over (this will allow border to rise higher than the center that’s been pricked). Brush the center with 1 tablespoon oil.

In a large bowl, stir together ricotta, goat cheese, eggs, basil, ½ tsp salt, and pepper.  Spread mixture over the center of puff pastry sheet.  Top with tomatoes, overlapping slightly.  Sprinkle tomatoes with remaining ¼ tsp salt and remaining 1 Tab oil.

Bake 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is set.

This recipe is for one tart…I doubled it to make two and found it is almost easier to plan on making two when purchasing the ingredients (quantities of goat cheese, ricotta, and puff pastry – 2 sheets come in a box – were easier to purchase for two.)

making a tomato tart pleasure in simple things

Keep this recipe handy for when your garden tomatoes become abundant – it is a super way to celebrate your garden treasures!  If you are interested in more recipes for vegetables, there are many more great ones (and stunning photographs) in The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook.

The Beekman Boys at the Country Living Fair 2014 in Rhinebeck NY pleasure in simple things

Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge – ‘The Fabulous Beekman Boys’ – discussing the newly released The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook with me at the Country Living Magazine Fair 2014 in Rhinebeck, NY.

I think this recipe is the perfect one to start the summer!  Enjoy! 

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

P.S. My friend Phyllis planted a white variety of tomatoes in her garden this year…how cool would they look in this tart?

Sharing at Crafts a la Mode.

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