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top 6 summer obsessions 2014

August 26, 2014

Pleasure in simple things 2014 summer obsessions

Here in Connecticut, we are not experiencing the usual hot August days this year and I have been trying to fit in as many painting projects as I can before the weather turns cool. So, I have been posting quite a few painting projects. Today, I am posting something a little different…I am sharing my top summer obsessions.

So sit back with a cup of coffee or cold drink and enjoy…hopefully, after you read this, you will be inspired to share some of your summer obsessions with me! ;)

THE BEACH  Of course, the beach will always be my number 1 summer obsession (and, clearly, this obsession is not limited to the summer!) This summer, I got the chance to visit a new beach. Although very briefly, I had the opportunity to visit St. Augustine, Florida – named one of America’s Happiest Seaside Towns by Coastal Living Magazine  When visiting a new area, checking out the local beach is always on the top of my list!  In St. Augustine, I even got the chance to visit a lighthouse!

Summer obsessions 2014 pleasure in simple things St. Augustine, FL

Oh, while I am on the subject of beaches, I must include my favorite float/beach toy this summer. Have you seen the cool pool floats at Urban Outfitters? They were a must-have this summer. Definitely obsession worthy. The donut is my favorite…I’ll take mine with sprinkles, thank you very much!

TATTOO BRACELETS   Bracelets are probably my favorite piece of jewelry. The trouble with wearing them, particularly in the summer, is that they get caught on everything! My hands are just too busy working, painting, crafting, etc. to wear a bracelet without it snagging and breaking. This summer, I came up with the perfect solution! These metallic temporary tattoos are a great alternative to a traditional bracelet and look so pretty on a tanned body! This cool arm or (insert name of body part here) candy from lulu dk is a great way to add a little bling to the ‘bod’ and a must have for the summer!

TOP CHEF DUELS  This summer another food show was added to my TV viewing schedule…Top Chef Duels on Bravo! I love watching all the Top Chefs and this show is a win-win since Top Chefs compete against one another. Also, it happens to be hosted by two of my favs – Curtis Stone and Gail Simmons.

Meeting Curtis , Gail, and many of the Top Chefs (including one of my very favorites – Richard Blais) and getting the chance to TASTE THEIR FOOD helped make my summer complete! Aaaah, the beauty of living close to NYC! Clear the couch Wednesdays at 10:00…gotta love me some Top Chefs!

pleasure in simple things summer obsession 2014 painting with Annie Sloan

ANNIE SLOAN CHALK PAINT  Painting has always been a part of my life…pretty much, you name it and I’ve painted it! And, the summer is always a great time to paint furniture since it can be done outdoors. This summer, I did tons of experimenting with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I was late to the game on getting started with this paint, but I think I have made up for it this summer – from accessories to furniture, I have been having a fun time with it. The little to no prep required with this paint affords so much more time for the ‘fun’ part of painting furniture – different finishes and detail painting! I have to beat the clock with furniture painting in the good weather since I really don’t enjoy it as much indoors.

FROZEN TREATS  Something frozen is always part of my summer treat repertoire! This summer, I did some experimentation with ice pops using the plastic sleeves that are now available for purchase – just the fact that the frozen treat is in the plastic sleeve makes it taste better! But, my top frozen obsession this summer isn’t made by me.

pleasure in simple things coconut lemongrass sorbet  summer obsession 2014

It is produced by a gourmet food store in Fairfield, Connecticut and is a store-made sorbet. My flavor of choice? Coconut lemongrass! O.M.G. I can eat a single serving (isn’t a pint a single serving?) plain or, at the serving suggestion of my friend Phyllis, enhanced with fruit. Either way, it is a big time winner!

Runners up in the food and beverage obsessions for me are watermelon water and (an every year summer obsession) fresh tomato pizza.

SPECIALTY STRAWS  Summer is all about frozen drinks and what could be more fun than a cool straw to add to them?! I get involved with a lot of party planning and my current obsession for any occasion is specialty straws! I like using them for every summer party!

a beach straw pleasure in simple things summer obsession 2014

Some applications include: the name of a school for a graduation party, Mr. & Mrs. for a casual beach wedding, a new baby’s name or all the possible choices a new baby will be named, etc. A party accessory that can easily be adapted to any theme and so much fun! They are really great for summer frozen drinks or for a signature drink created for a party. And, such a fun takeaway! Order the word(s) of your choice from Krazy Straws and add some extra fun to your summer soiree!

So there you go…the things I have been obsessed with this summer! There are still some summer days remaining and some time left to add a few more obsessions to my list. Do you have any contenders? Do tell!

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

The photo of the metallic tattoos is from the lulu dk website…I had a heck of a time trying to photograph my own arm! ;)

Sharing with Crafts a la Mode, Craftberry Bush, Shabby NestFinding Silver Pennies, Coastal Charm, and Sand & Sisal.


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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spring obsessions

March 11, 2014

spring 2014 obsessions

We are in the home stretch!  Spring is almost here!

Here are some of the top things I am ‘jonesing for’ as we start the new season!

keil jamespatrick



Even though I already own Kiel James Patrick, there are always plenty of  beautiful nautical-inspired items to add to my collection…for spring, I really want this ‘go with anything’ bracelet!  Anchors away! (photo from the KJP website)


I am totally obsessed with branches during the spring…after the long, snowy winter, I crave any nature I can bring into the house!  They don’t even have to be flowering branches…any branch will do..the bigger, the better…they just look so beautiful indoors!  (Of course flowering branches are always lovely too…I start forcing flowering branches in February.)  I took the photo here on Yale University’s campus, so I didn’t actually pick these – but aren’t they gorgeous!



Okay, if you aren’t already obsessed with these Ray-Ban aviator flash lenses, you certainly should be!  They come in plenty of yummy colors and are the coolest!  (photo from the Ray-Ban website)


decorated eggs


Does it seems strange to see eggs on my list of obsessions?  It is not the actual eggs I am obsessed with…it is the decorating!  I start in February and continue until Easter and beyond!  It is good that eggs are on the less expensive side considering the amount I go through!  It doesn’t stop there…after Easter, I use the leftover pieces of colored egg shells to make mosaics!  Obsessed!


anthro candle

I become obsessed with a lot of the merchandise at Anthropologie – particularly the home goods.  For spring, these little beauties are the obsession of the season – sooo casual chic!  The beauty of the Anthro candle is that the container is always so awesome, that even when the candle is gone, the container finds a new use and lives on!  The Illume land & sky candle is totally gorgeous and the scents are addicting! (photo from the Anthropologie website)



essiemintcandyapplenail polishThe color mint is everywhere this spring…my favorite though, is in nail polish.  I think Essie’s mint candy apple is the perfect fun spring shade and is an easy way to add mint to my spring wardrobe with a very small investment!  (photo from Essie’s website)



Ben & Jerry's salted caramel ice cream



Like me, I am sure most of the country is obsessed with Ben & Jerry’s core ice creams flavors …how has this not been invented earlier?  My biggest obsession is the salted caramel flavor.  Other flavors include That’s My Jam, Hazed & Confused, and Peanut Butter Fudge.  (photo from Ben & Jerry’s website)


Yes, I am totally obsessed with white jeans…actually, it is not just a spring time obsession…I am obsessed with them pretty much any time of year!  I am currently obsessed with a pair offered by  J. Crew  J. Crew white jeanssince they offer a great tall size that accommodates my long legs nicely! :)  Can’t wait to pair them with a pastel sweater or with nautical stripe flats! (photo from the J. Crew website)

Right now, anyone that knows me is reading this and thinking my obsession with Harry Connick, Jr. is definitely not limited to the spring.  You are right…I am now, and always have been, obsessed with Harry.  I have seen him in person more times than any other entertainer…I have been in the front row of many concerts, holiday special tapings, and even his Broadway performance – sitting closer to the stage than Jill (if you are a Harry fan, you know Jill is his wife’s name)…BUT, NEVER until now, have I ever watched American Idol!  What power you have over me Harry! ;)  I am so happy that so many people in America are now discovering what I have always known about Harry…he is the coolest!  (photo from the American Idol website)

Harry Connick, Jr.

So there you have it…a few of my spring obsessions…what are yours?

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

Sharing at Coastal Charm,  Common Ground, and The Shabby Nest.


club monaco arrives

September 27, 2013

club monaco

Are you an outlet shopper?  We have a couple of big outlet centers here in Connecticut.  I don’t visit them very often, but on my last outlet trip, I was on a mission…

merchandise at Club Monaco

On a mission to check out the new Club Monaco!  The first one in Connecticut!  So, for the benefit of all my Connecticut friends, today’s Friday field trip is to the Club Monaco store in Clinton.

dresses from Club Monaco

Well, since I was there…I really needed to try on a few things, didn’t I? Love the oversized dressing room!

Club Monaco is headquartered in New York City with over 69 stores in North America, in addition to several other countries.  (Originally a Canadian company, Club Monaco is now owned and operated by Polo Ralph Lauren.)  I have been to Club Monaco stores in New York, but my favorite location is the Philadelphia store…and I love shopping there with my college-aged daughter since the store offers a discount to college students!

Club Monaco studio store in CT

It was at the Philadelphia store that one of my favorite sales associates gave me the heads-up on the new Connecticut location.

The Club Monaco style represents “a distinctly urban-casual point of view, best defined as a sophisticated play of opposites: mixing vintage with new, hard with soft and eclectic with minimal.”

Club Monaco in CT

I’m so excited to have the store in Connecticut…and, to have the opportunity to buy some great things at a discount!

Club Monaco in CT

If you live nearby, check it out.  Thanks for joining me today for Friday field trip.

New Club Monaco in CT

Here in Connecticut, one weather reporter said “Saturday will be the best day of the year.”  Looking forward to it…Hope you are looking forward to some good weather or something fun this weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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visiting brimfield

September 6, 2013

Brimfield Antinque and Collectibles Shows

What’s better than socializing with friends?  Socializing with friends while shopping!  In this case, at the Brimfield Antique and Collectibles Shows in Brimfield, Massachusetts…this week’s Friday field trip.

My day with friends was really more about talking and sharing, but there was plenty of inspiration thrown in!  And, with over 75 acres to persue, we also got in some serious exercise.

Brimfield is the largest outdoor antique show in New England with over 5,000 dealers and runs three times a year (May, July and September) for a six day period.  Especially for those that may not live in New England, I thought you might enjoy joining me by sharing some of my favorites this year at Brimfield.  The beauty of Brimfield is that everyone has their own favorite items…here are some of mine…

candle at Brimfield

I really loved this large, distressed white frame…I had so many imagined uses for it!

frame at Brimfield

My grandmother had one of these telephone benches, but it sure didn’t look like this!

telephone table

In LOVE with these pendants created from old ledger pages…

pendants at Brimfield


white pumpkins at Brimfield

fish print at Brimfield

Brimfield treasure

A Brimfield Treasure

A Brimfield Treasure

A Brimfield treasure

I always thought I would like to create a sea glass fireplace surround…this one is so beautiful and inspires me to think about other possibilities…

A Brimfield Treasure

One of the vendors thought this was a cute arrangement of the letters offered for sale…how about this for a Wednesday in the office?

It's Hump Day!

I hope you enjoyed today’s peek at Brimfield for this week’s Friday field trip.  I will post some additional photos on my facebook page over the weekend.

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

Sharing with The Tablescaper.


diy nautical necklace

July 30, 2013

diy nautical necklace

I have never made any jewelry.  When I see some of the beautiful beads in the craft store, I am tempted to make something.  The thing is, it seems when you add the price of all the items needed to make a piece, it can be much less expensive to buy something already made!  Some day I plan on experimenting with jewelry making with my sea glass collection, but today I want to tell you about a necklace I created for less than $5!

A while back, I ripped a photo of a necklace I really liked from a magazine…it had a nautical feel to it since it was made from rope.  But, at $215., it was way beyond my accessories budget…actually, I don’t even have an accessories budget!  So, $215. more than my budget!

diy necklace collage

I was able to create the same look as the necklace in the magazine with a piece of rope from the marine store (less than $2.) and some Plasti Dip I had left over from my seafood fork project.  I got a little fancy and bought a bracelet clasp and some wire to use as an attachment and the total for supplies still came out under $5.

The best part is that I love the necklace!  I thought I would wear it with t-shirts, but I really like the way it looks with my gray and white striped long t-shirt dress…so perfect!  All I did was to knot the rope and dip it in Plasti Dip.  The necklace I saw had a red accent, but I decided to use blue since I had some blue Plasti Dip on hand.  I liked the look of two coats of Plasti Dip, but you can easily add more coats if you want the colored area to have a thicker look.

diy necklace

When you buy the rope at the marine store, it is best to get the exact length you want, because they will burn the edges for you to prevent it from unraveling.  There are plenty of different rope options to choose from and the cost is calculated per yard.  I thought the craft store would have some type of clamp to use as a fastener, but I couldn’t find one large enough to fit the diameter of the rope so I crafted a fastener out of a bracelet fastener.  Maybe a jewelry supply store would have something different or, another fastening option would be to tie or fuse the two ends together – slipping the necklace over your head.

So, that is a simple way to create a nautical feel necklace!  I think knotted napkin rings dipped in Plasti Dip would be another great variation on this project.  Plasti Dip can be tinted any color, so there are plenty of color options…have fun with it!

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

Sharing at Elizabeth & Co. and Silver Pennies.

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handcrafted fabric tableware

May 3, 2013

handmade coasters with sea glass

I recently fell in love with the handcrafted fabric placemats, coasters, and table runners created by artisan Eileen Duffy.  For Friday field trip this week, we are taking a trip to Eileen’s studio.

Now living in Connecticut and commuting into New York City, Eileen can be found selling her wares at upscale farmer’s markets in Connecticut on the weekends.

photo of handcrafted fabric coasters

closeup of handcrafted coaster

A former Ralph Lauren designer, and more recently the designer of her own handbag collection, Eileen has decided to focus on creating her table accessories while she continues her fashion and prop styling work in the city.

handcrafted table runner

Can you guess which ones are my favorite?

handcrafted fabric coasters with starfish

Eileen seeks out really cool textiles from a variety of sources to create her beautiful, and surprisingly affordable, handcrafted table accessories.

handcrafted fabric coasters

Some of her fabrics feature some really great flower photography.

handcrafted fabric coasters

handcrafted fabric tableware

In the photo below, you can see one of Eileen’s inspirational ‘mood boards’ hanging in the studio.

handcrafted fabric tableware

If you live in Connecticut, or are close enough to visit on a weekend, Eileen can be found at The Dudley Farm Farmers’ Market in Guilford.  It is a great place to purchase local and organic seasonal produce and handmade crafts.  The market sits on ten acres of sheep pasture and gardens filled with flowers and heirloom vegetables.  Check the Dudley Farm website for the current time schedule and directions.

handcrafted table runner

I hope you enjoyed today’s Friday field trip to Eileen Duffy’s studio to see some of her handcrafted fabric coaster, placemat, and table runner creations.  Thanks for letting us take a peek Eileen!

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

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

I am sharing at The Tablescaper, The Shabby Nest, Craftionary, Little Red House, and Craftberry Bush.