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egg-actly that time of year

February 20, 2018

succulent eggs in natural elements

Yes, you guessed it, I have begun dyeing eggs!  With the start of Lent and an early Easter this year, I couldn’t resist starting some egg decorating!  We had a few inches of snow this past weekend, so I prepared by stopping at the grocery store and buying a dozen white eggs.  Then, while it was snowing, I watched the British Baking Show and emptied out the inside of 12 eggs to prepare them for decorating!

egg dyeing collage

How do I empty them?  I use a needle to gently place a hole in both sides of the egg – one hole a little larger than the other.  Then, I blow into the smaller of the holes to empty the contents of the egg.  The most important part of this procedure is to puncture the yolk of the egg!  Otherwise, the inside of the egg just will not come out!  How is this accomplished?  Using a needle or any long, thin object, to push it into the larger hole several times.  Piercing the yolk is what helps the contents to flow out when you start blowing!

cactus easter egg in a basket

I am careful not to get any of the raw egg in my mouth and I wash the outside of the eggs with soapy warm water and rinse thoroughly.  I stand them back into the egg carton overnight to drain any water still left inside.  Once decorated, with no insides to go bad, the eggs will last forever!

For the maiden voyage of egg decorating, I decided to paint a few with succulents.  I know, succulents are so 2001, but I have been working on a terrarium community service project and I have succulents on the brain!  I decided to use 3 eggs.  I dyed them a taupe color using paste food coloring.  For my dye, I use ½ cup boiling water, 1 teaspoon white vinegar, and some food coloring.  This color will serve as the backdrop for my succulents.

stages of painting easter eggs

I added very simplistic painted designs – since I applied the designs with cottons swabs and toothpicks – with acrylic paint.  It is hard to get too detailed without a proper paint brush!   I used the same few colors on all 3 eggs to give them a continuity.  My first decorated eggs of the year are complete – a trio of succulents!

succulent on taupe easter egg

So, the egg games have begun!  I hope I have inspired you to think about your egg designs this year!

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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beauty in the details

February 16, 2018

Four Seasons Orlando Hall Light

Beauty is in the details.  If this is true, I must see an infinite amount of beauty!  I can get really obsessed with details.  This is especially true when I enter new surroundings.

Capa ceiling light Orlando

For example, every time I visit a hotel, I get caught up in some aspect of its esthetic.  At The Breakers in Palm Beach, it was the staff uniforms – I thought they were amazing – every employee wears a uniform and they are fabulous!  The gals have beautiful Lilly Pulitzer outfits!  I ended up spending my first visit to the Breakers doing an analysis of all the employee’s outfits!

Lighting Four Seasons lights

For today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing my obsession at the Four Seasons in Orlando – lighting!  I have already shared the most magnificent fixture on the property (click here to see), today I am sharing a little glimpse of the rest of the hotel lighting.

Four Seasons Orlando Spa Lighting

Light fixture in the entrance to the spa at the Four Seasons Orlando.

I hope you found these photos inspiring.  Maybe they are motivating you to revamp some of your own fixtures?  Replacing an old fixture can give your space an instant refresh!

ceiling lights Four Seasons Orlando

Thanks for stopping by!

lighting at Four Seasons Orlando

A chandelier in a restroom at the Four Seasons Orlando.

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

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have a heart

February 13, 2018

heart cookie cutter salad

It’s easy to get into the Galentine’s or Valentine’s Day spirit simply by using a heart shaped cookie cutter on something edible!  Transform something ordinary into something extraordinary with a simple cut!

watermelon and mozzarella salad valentine

You have seen me use a cookie cutter on Valentine’s Day before…remember the Valentine stuffed French toast The lavender shortbreads?  Or, even the bird seed for the bird feeder?

Well, today I am taking my Fancy Watermelon Salad (click here for original recipe) and transforming it for Valentine’s Day, simply by cutting the watermelon rounds into hearts!  Easy, right?

watermelon salad trio

I hope I have inspired you to use a heart cookie cutter this Valentine’s Day!  What will you use it on?

Enjoy!

tasty watermelon valentine

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, xo Jackie

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anna rifle’s flagship store!

February 9, 2018

flowers at Anna Rifle

If you follow this blog, you may already know that I have a real love for paper products!  I still believe strongly in hand written thank you notes, as well as notes of condolence.  Especially in this age of technology, with rushed emails and hurried texts – who doesn’t appreciate receiving a personal note in the mail?  What better way is there to convey a heartfelt message?

rifle pins

Because of this love for hand written messages, I also have a love for great paper products.  When I think of my favorite paper product artists, a couple instantly come to mind.  On the top of this list is graphic designer Anna Rifle Bond.

anna rifle lotion love

Anna Rifle Winter Park meeting

Anna ‘taking a meeting’ at Rifle Paper Co. in Winter Park.

On today’s Friday field trip, I am thrilled to share photos from a recent visit to the place where Anna Rifle Bond and her husband Nathan started their company, Rifle Paper, in 2008.  This spot in Winter Park, Florida is also home to their flagship store.

anna rifle table in Winter Park

Anna Rifle tote bags

I developed an appreciation for Anna’s designs when she started her partnership with Anthropologie, early in her company’s 10-year career.

long table at Anna Rifle

Anna Rifle for Mast Chocolate

(To see more on Mast Chocolate, click here to see Friday field trip to Mast)

Feminine and colorful, with a little whimsy, Anna’s designs appear on a lot more than just paper!  Beyond calendars and cards, some of the items that showcase Anna’s quaint designs include phone covers, candles, wallpaper, books, candy wrappers, and sneakers.  Quite a repertoire from what began as designing posters for her husband’s band and wedding invites for her friends!

Anna Rifle books

pretty Anna Rifle pins

I hope you enjoyed today’s Friday field trip.  Thanks for stopping by!

Winter Park Rifle Paper Co.

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

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going nuts

February 6, 2018

making rosemary spiced nuts

I try to incorporate nuts into my diet as much as I can.  I always add them to my salad and try to snack on them as a substitute for something less nutritious.  Over the years, I have made many variations of seasoned nuts to serve as an appetizer or as part of a cheese tray.

I had no snacks for last Sunday’s epic television viewing night – the Justin Timberlake concert and then the This is Us episode, so I decided to jazz up some walnuts to snack on.tv collage from Superbowl nightI came up with this recipe for rosemary walnuts using ingredients I had on hand.  I love rosemary.  Using dried rosemary on my walnuts made it possible to add the rosemary flavor without running to the store for fresh herbs.  (The one little sprig of fresh rosemary I had that you see in the photos was saved to use in the recipe I made next!)  This snack was prepared in 20 minutes and tasted (and smelled) wonderful when eaten warm.  I don’t ever eat much salt, but most people do – that’s the reason I put the range of salt!  I also tried not to use more butter than I needed – starting with less and adding just enough to cover the nuts!

rosemary nut spices

Rosemary Walnutsrosemary nuts as a snack

  • 4-6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 Tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups walnut halves

Melt butter in a large saucepan.  Remove from heat and add seasonings.  Add walnuts and toss gently, coating well.  Place on a large shallow baking tray n a single layer.  (I lined the tray with parchment paper for easy clean up.)  Bake at 325 degrees until richly brown – about 10 to 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.

I know; eliminating the butter would make this recipe totally guilt-free!  But, I decided to get a little decadent for the big concert.  I may try substituting something a little more healthful for the butter next time – maybe sunflower oil.

rosemary nuts in a bowl

The point of this recipe is to show you that it is easy to create some seasoned nuts using dried herbs you have on hand.  I may have recipes for herbed nuts that I like more than this one, but this one did the trick when I wanted something quick without going to the store!

I hope you are inspired to try this recipe or to create your own variation.

close up of herbed rosemary nuts

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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february book giveaway!

January 30, 2018

2 giveaway books for Feburary

Since tomorrow is the end of January, it is time for the February giveaway!  We all know February is a big month for love – Valentine’s Day certainly helps put a focus on all things romantic.  And, I have to say, I am thrilled with the growing popularity of Galentine’s Day because I think love in all forms should be celebrated!  Believe me, I know the motivation of the retail industry for jumping on the Galentine’s Day bandwagon was probably for profit (not necessarily to use February 13th to celebrate female friendships), but regardless of the motivation, the acknowledgement of Galentine’s Day is a positive one!  (Thanks Parks & Rec!)

I remember one Valentine’s Day when I was young, my dad gave his three daughter’s iced sugar cookies with a romantic message – I think they said ‘sweetheart’ or ‘lover’ or something similar, spelled out in candy icing.  My mom got angry, telling my dad it was inappropriate for a father to give a romantic gift meant for a sweetheart to his daughters.  But, hey…why not?  We were way too young at the time for boyfriends and we were tickled to be acknowledged on Valentine’s Day by our dad!

Maybe remembering that incident is why I always enjoyed showing my children a little extra love on Valentine’s Day when they were young – I always included a note in a lunch box or surprised them with a favorite sweet to celebrate how very much I loved them.

So, in the spirit of celebrating all kinds of love, I thought the February giveaway would celebrate the most important love of all – love of self!  After all, if we don’t love ourselves, how can we expect to share love with others!

giveaway books on bookshelf

With that in mind, the giveaway includes two books to promote self awareness.  They are 1,001 Ways to Live in the Moment by Barbara Ann Kipfer and Whatever You Are, Be a Good One by Lisa Congdon.  The winner of the February giveaway, chosen at random, will win both books!  Be sure to leave a comment to be entered to win.

Congratulations to Tracy, winner of the January giveaway.  Tracy, your name was chosen at random as winner of the giveaway – I hope you enjoy your win!  (To see more, click here.)  Thank you to everyone who entered to win.

Instagram users, please read on!  In the spirit of love, for our monthly challenge, let’s share sightings of hearts in nature…it is amazing how many are out there!  Use hashtag #pleasuregram on every photo you post of a heart you see in nature during the month of February.

February 2018 Instagram Challenge

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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snow place like home

January 19, 2018

lone snowman

The best part of a collection is enjoying it!  My friend Phyllis has the cutest miniature snowman collection that she displays in her windowsill at this time of year.

window sill magic

The gorgeous, snowy view from out her kitchen window is supplemented by a variety of little snow people – all in miniature.  Noticing this little collection is sure to provoke a smile!

trio of snowmen

Today on Friday field trip, I am sharing a few of the little snowmen I enjoyed last time I visited my dear friend – hoping to add a smile to your face as you start the weekend!

window sill buddies

Do you have a collection that puts a smile on your face when you notice it during your daily routine?

window sill buddies talking

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

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word for the year 2018

January 2, 2018

2018

Do you have a word for the year?   I don’t feel a need to have one every year, although I usually have a yearly focus.  For 2018 I have a clear focus, but I find it impossible to find a single word to represent it!

I have some very major schedule changes I want to accomplish in 2018.  I wondered how that could be represented in a single word.  Maybe overhaul?  Revamp?  Redesign?  Not very sexy!  How about something a little more subtle…like shift, change, or redesign?  My 2018 goals just don’t seem to fit into a single word!

I DO think I can represent an attitude for the year with a quote…one of my favorites from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

I think I will leave you with this quote and forget about a single word for 2018.

emerson new year quoteI hope your 2018 fulfills all your dreams!

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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holiday 2017 at grace

December 15, 2017

holiday wrap by Grace in Niantic

For Friday field trip today, a visit to one more of my favorite stores for holiday shopping!

feather ornaments

holiday bird

throw selection at Grace in NianticHave a little virtual shopping trip with a few photos from this holiday season at Grace in Niantic, Connecticut.

holiday at Grace

holiday packages at Grace

holiday cutting board at Grace

Enjoy!

happy place mugs

buddah head at Grace

throws at Grace

Hope your holiday preparations are coming along!  Thanks for stopping by!

Have a fabulous weekend, Jackie

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green tea holiday bark

December 8, 2017

close up candy bark

I mentioned in a previous post that I found a great recipe book for trying some new food gifts this year.  Today, on Friday field trip, I am taking you into my kitchen to check out the first one I chose to make.  The recipe I tried is candy bark from the new recipe book Holiday Cookies:  Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season by Elisabet der Nederlanden.  (For more on this book, click here.)

I couldn’t wait to make this!  I have friends that love green tea and I was sure the bark would look festive with green from the tea and red from freeze dried berries.

piece of candy bark

As it turned out, the recipe did not disappoint!  It looks super festive and tastes great.  I do have a few tips if you decide to make this for giving.

First, green tea powder can be super expensive – shop wisely!  I found some at HomeGoods in the food section for a great price!  You can also probably find it as a teabag.  Just be sure to check the label on whatever you purchase and be sure green tea is the only ingredient.  I found the freeze dried berries at a great price at Target in the section where trail mix and nuts are sold.

collage making candy bark

As far as preparation – do not let the dark chocolate layer get too cold before layering the green tea mixture on top!  What I found out is that the green tea layer does not adhere to the chocolate if it is too cold – as soon as the chocolate is firm, spread the green tea layer on top.  Also, work quickly to add the ingredients to the green tea layer because it sets up quickly!

christmas candy bark

This candy was so easy to put together and so quick to make!  Now, it just needs a cute package for gifting!

gift package of candy bark

Thanks for stopping by today!  I hope you are inspired to make a food gift of your own.  I have a couple more new recipes I want to try before Christmas!

last of candy bark

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

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