Monday, June 30, 2008

Hippy Chic

Tie-dye seems to be back in full force this season. Here's a few of my favorite picks of this trend.


This tie-dyed tube dress ($46) from LuxeVie. is similar to one I had been eyeing on, but they sold out before I could order one. I like the muted color palette and the price tag!

If I was a size 4 I might be tempted by this tie-dyed vintage Pucci slip ($365) from Poshvintage has several vintage slips that have been expertly dyed to give them new life in the "Posh Reconstructed" section.

My favorite dress designer, Diane von Furstenberg, has a tie-dyed dress this season ($395). Her wrap dresses are so flattering on curvy frames. I own a few of them. Also available in brown and pink from

These Converse tie-dye sneakers ($47) are pretty wild for me, but in the right mood I could see wearing them. Available from

Bathing Suit
I love the purple and blue color combination in this Lucky Brand jeans tie-dye bathing suit.($114) This same pattern is available in a couple different styles. Still available online from Bloomingdales but probably not for long.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I don't know if it's the country air at our lake house that makes food taste better or what, but we have been having some amazing meals. I just tried this recipe from the latest issue of O Magazine and it was fabulous! The blueberry BBQ sauce has the right sweetness and subtle kick to compliment pork.

Note: I didn't have any honey on hand so I substituted maple syrup and just a little bit of blackstrap molasses instead.

Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Barbecue Sauce


2 pints (5 to 6 cups) blueberries
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup ketchup
1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. dry mustard Meat:
2 one-pound pork tenderloins
Salt and freshly ground pepper

To make sauce: Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 45 minutes. Divide sauce between 2 bowls. Set aside.

To make meat: Preheat grill to medium. Season pork with salt and pepper. Sear, turning to cook all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Brush with half the barbecue sauce, turning frequently, until pork is thoroughly glazed, about 10 minutes more (a meat thermometer should read about 150°). Set aside and let rest 5 minutes. Carve crosswise; serve with remaining barbecue sauce.

While on the subject of blueberries, I thought I would also include my very favorite Blueberry Tart recipe from the cookbook Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. Quick and easy to make if you buy a pre-made pie crust instead of making your own.

Summer Bluberry Tart


Sweet pastry crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 tablespoon cold water

5 cups fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 Tbsp water

1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped (optional)

For the pastry crust:
Stir the flour and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and drop then into the flour. With your fingers, quickly rub the butter into the flour until it becomes crumbly, or cut in with a pastry cutter. Whisk together the egg yolk, lemon juice and 1 Tbsp water. Sprinkle the liquid over the crust mixture and continue to mix with your fingers until a dough ball forms. Be careful not to overwork the dough. If mixture is too dry, add up to one more tablespoon of water. On a floured board with a floured rolling pin, roll out dough into large circle. Gently lift into a 9-10 inch pie plate or tart tin. Trim the edges, patch any holes, and flute the crust. Chill for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of the crust and weigh it down with some dry rice or beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and carefully lift out the foil and beans or rice. Bake for 5 more minutes; then cool.

To make the filling, heat 2 cups blueberries, 2 Tbsp water and the sugar in a small saucepan. Crush a few berries with a spoon to relese some juice. When the berries have softened and become juicy, add the cornstarch mixture. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in one more cup of blueberries. Pour the berry mixture in to the pie shell. Top with the remaining 2 cups of blueberries. Cool for at least one hour. Serve plain or topped with fresh whipped cream.

Friday, June 27, 2008

B.Y.O.B. (Build Your Own Book)

For Christmas this year I decided to make a gift to give out. I asked my friends and family for their favorite recipes and then created a cookbook layout in Microsoft Word and uploaded that to one of the many build-your-own-book sites springing up to have it printed.

Cookbooks are only one possibility. My daughter is planning to publish her own children's story. Photo books are another great gift idea. Or, that great American novel! Here's a couple of these self-publishing websites that I recommend.

I used because I liked being able to use my own layout, print in color, and the various binding options they offer (hard cover, spiral bound, stapled). I decided to keep my design private, but you can offer your book for sale on this site as well. There is a whole connected e-commerce section. In the end my 45-page full-color cookbook cost about $15/each.


Another site to build your own book is Blurb has a downloadable tool for creating your own books. I like the selection of sizes and the high-quality printing this site offers. Friends have had good results with this site.

Another idea is to publish your own magazine. I was just reading about MagCloud on Photojojo. This site is really setup to sell your magazine, but would be a cool gift idea as well. The site is still in beta so currently publishing accounts are by invitation only. However, I would definitely keep an eye on this site as it develops.
I'd love to hear other experiences and projects out there building your own books.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oh the Places You'll Go...

I haven't posted for the last week because I was en route to our lake house in Quebec. This is the second time in 1 year that I've driven across the United States! Most of the drive is unbelievably boring, but between our two separate trips I've found a couple spots that are worth coming back to.

Bayfield, WI

I was sorry that we only had one evening in this little lakeside community on the shore of Lake Superior. This is the access point to the Apostle Islands with ferries and charter boats leaving regularly. The town has cute little Victorian houses, a nice little downtown with great restaurants and wares from local artisans. Nearby are fruit and flower farms where you can pick your own berries in the summer. There are performing art events all summer at the Big Top Chautauqua just outside town.

We stayed at the Winfield Inn, which is a nice inexpensive motel in walking distance to town. Comfy rooms have private patios or balcony with view of the lake and dogs are allowed. The motel has a really nice garden overlooking the lake.

There's a great candy and ice cream store in town with homemade peanut brittle and fudge. Gruenke's Inn and restaurant is supposed to be great although we didn't eat there. For breakfast I recommend The Egg Toss (but get there before 8am if you want some of their homemade pastries).

Yellowstone National Park

It probably goes without saying that this national park is worth seeing. However, I think it's worth reiterating that if you are within 100 miles of Yellowstone it's worth it to make a detour. We drove through Yellowstone on our 1st trek across the U.S. so had not planned to cut through it again. However, we made a last minute decision to make a side trip and were so glad we did.

Both times we have gotten up close views of herds of buffalos. This time a whole herd (with little calves) past all around our car. Our dog was barking wildly so we were ready for them to knock our car over! We saw a moose and a bald eagle too. This time we drove north through the Mammoth Hot Springs which are a very smelly, but beautiful geologic formation. Even spending only a few hours in the park each time I have been amazed. Note, dogs are allowed in the main areas of the park--within 100 feet of parking lots, roads, etc. They are not allowed on trails, boardwalks, or hot springs area (they might fall in).

Deadwood, South Dakota

We stopped in this little gold mining town on our 1st trip across the US to see Wild Bill's grave site and were struck by how picturesque the town was. The historic downtown has nicely restored brick buildings and the surrounding hills are beautiful. I found a great antique/everything store (wish I could remember the name!) on the way into town where we bought one of those cow head skeletons with horns that you see in pictures of the old west. We didn't stay overnight, but looks like there are a lot of cute places to stay in town.

Virginia City, NV

This little gold mining town outside Reno, NV is a nice diversion (especially for kids). Wooden sidewalks and restored buildings and lots of souvenir shops line the streets. There are a couple amazing candy shops with all kinds of old time candies that are hard to find like candy cigarettes and neco wafers. Grandma's Fudge has all kinds of different flavors of homemade fudge.

Hertz Neverlost GPS

We rented a car for this trip and it came with a GPS. I didn't think we would use it much, but it turned out to be the best thing ever. The feature we used the most was the built-in Yellow Pages that made it easy to search for restaurants, grocery stores, and coffee! You can type in the name of any popular chain (Starbucks, Whole Foods Market) and it will locate the nearest one to your location. Definitely made our trip smoother.

I recommend this chain restaurant for road food that is a step above fast food. Have to say we were sick of hamburgers by day two. So, some bbq rib's and corn was a welcome change. Not sure that I would seek it out as a destination, but was great compared to other roadside grub.

Our Route

Here's the route we took for this 2nd trip (blue bubbles indicate where we stopped each night. The first night was a short day because we left around 5pm). We did a good job this time around of breaking the trip into manageable chunks. Each day was about 8-9 hours of driving.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Just Like Old Times

Diner Mugs

I own a few of these cream colored old-fashioned diner mugs. They are heavy and substantial and feel good in your hand. I got mine at Sur La Table years ago, but they are also available online at and I'm sure other places as well. I wish I could find plates and bowls in the same style.

Hotel Silver

I've been wanting a set of vintage hotel silver flatware in mismatched patterns for a long time. Napa Style has this cool idea of silverware by the pound.($68 for 4 settings). These authentic vintage utensils date back to the ’ 20s and ’30s and are all silver-plated. Just picked up a set for our country house.

Mix it up

I just got a set of these recycled plastic confetti mixing bowls ($28). Brings me back to my 70's childhood. Stylish and eco-friendly. Available from

Monday, June 16, 2008

Anchor's Away

I have to say that I do like the nautical look. I actually own a pair of authentic U.S. navy wool pants and have had a few different nautical items over the years. Here's a few pieces that have caught my eye in this theme lately.

Giles & Brother

These nautical oval Anchor Earrings in silver ($88) from Giles & Brother are just edgy enough not to be overly cute. Available from

Red, White & Blue
I like the way these red accessories pop in this simple nautical look from Ravinstyle. I've been eyeing these Korkease sandals ($185) for some time and love the red patent version. The Cammie Hill Patent Day Tote ($485) is also very cool although I probably wouldn't shell out the money for it.

Sailor Pants

I like these sailor inspired stretch jeans from Rich & Skinny ($298). Available at
All Laced Up
I especially love sailor pants that lace up the back (like the real ones).
I like these cream faille sailor pants from Marc Jacobs (on sale for $123 at

Diver Watch

I love this all black 51-30 diver watch from Nixon ($450). These watches are designed for surfers, snorkelers and serious outdoorsy people, but I just love the way they look. Waterproof to 300m, I would probably only wear it in the shower.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Feminine Touch

Mirror, Mirror

I'm usually not a big fan of things that are pink or frilly, but have to say every once in awhile a dose of the feminine is nice. I love Venetian mirrors in bathrooms like this bathroom from Domino Magazine. I really like the contrast of the mirror and light pink walls with the modern sink and simple vanity.

There's a few sites on line to buy Venetian mirrors that I've seen: or the

Funny Girl

Also in Domino Magazine I really liked this idea of using this pink movie poster for Funny Girl in a girl's room. This room is feminine and soft without being overly fussy or sweet which I like.

This Funny Girl poster is available at ($55).


This White Devil's laundry bag ($56) reminds me of that old show Petticoat Junction where they throw their skirts over the edge of the water tower. Available from

They also make a shower curtain with the same ruffles and some super cute aprons.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Jamaica--Negril Highlights

Rock House

Perched on the edge of a cliff, the Rock House in Negril offers amazing views of the ocean and nearby cliff divers. We stayed in one of the individual stone huts with a private terrace overlooking the water and pretty much did not move from our deck chairs all day.

These rooms have private baths with outdoor showers. The bed faces the water with beautful views.
The Rock House has a great restaurant and bar which gets packed at night. The hotel offers several perches and ladders to access the water although it was a little bit scary when the water was choppy. There's also a nice pool for the more risk adverse.

Idle Awhile
We split our time in Negril between staying at a hotel on the beach and staying at the Rock House. I recommend this low-key boutique beach front hotel, Idle Awhile if you want to feel the sand between your toes. It's also easier to swim from the beach than jumping off the cliffs. There is a private beach area where you can stake out a chaise lounge for the day. The hotel guard keeps the peddlers away if you aren't interested. We kept our eyes peeled for the juice man every day.
The hotel has nice big rooms with a private terrace in a garden setting. When you stay at this hotel you get free access to the Couples Swept Away sport complex, although we were so lazy we did not take advantage of this perk.

Sips and Bites
Right next door to the Rock House in Negril was a little roadside restaurant with amazing food. Our taxi driver recommended this place and we were just sad we didn't find it sooner. Perhaps even better food than we had in some of the nicer restaurants this place was a great deal. I really loved the soursop juice here as well as the daily specials.

Patty Shack

Another great meal in Jamaica was to just stroll down the beach for a couple of pattys. I loved the curry chicken patty with flaky crust. Great meal for less than $2!


For a taste of Jamaica back home I really recommend SunTropics soursop juice. Also known as guanabana this juice tastes like pineapple, strawberry, and banana all rolled into one (with a little bit of citrus thrown in). Almost as good a fresh, this juice is not from concentrate and no high fructose corn syrup.

We were told in Jamaica that soursop is good for stomach ailments and parasites. I just like the taste of it.

I haven't tried this recipe, but it looks good and I may try it this summer:
Ginger Soursop Sorbet

3 cups frozen soursop pulp (available in asian markets), thawed
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Spiced Rum
3 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Process the soursop pulp in a blender or food processor. Pass through a sieve and return it ot the blender or food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and puree. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Swim with the Fishes

Psychedelic Koi

This koi t-shirt from Christian Audigier ($169) is a little bit more colorful and wild than stuff I usually wear, but love the design. Available at

Undercover Koi

Okay, so these cute blue and white koi briefs ($12) are technically for men, but I might just get them anyway. Available from

Upscale Koi

This Silver & 10K Koi pendant ($585) from Me & Ro is spectacular, albeit expensive! The Golden Fishes symbolize happiness, fertility and plentitude; and is one of the 8 Tibetan symbols of Good Fortune. It originated as a symbol of the two main sacred rivers in India, the Yamuna and the Ganges.

Casual Koi

I get tons of compliments when I wear my navy and orange Koi Vans. I bought them in the little boys department, but luckily they were large enough to fit me. Looks like they are still available directly from

Koi Decor

I bought this koi doormat ($14.99) from CostPlus a couple months ago and am still loving it. It shed straw quite a bit when we first got it, but is holding up well after a few months of use.
Koi Art
I love this Mystical Fish photograph ($25) by Michelle Wyse available on Etsy is a great source of art and jewelry in general. I need to dedicate a whole post to this site in the near future.

Every day is a Beach Day

Smell Like the Beach

I just bought a new fragrance from Bobbi Brown called "Beach" that smells like suntan lotion and the beach air. This is a great way to feel like you are on vacation every day. Designed with a combination of sand jasmine, sea spray and mandarin. You can find Bobbi Brown cosmetics and fragrance at Nordstrom.


I like the Clarins line of self-tanners. They produce a nice shade that's not too dark. I have both the body self-tanner and the version specficially for face. Available online at Sephora.

Hair Products

Bumble and Bumble's Coco de Creme line of hair products also smells like coco butter and suntan lotion. I use the shampoo and conditioner and love the way it makes my hair feel, but mostly I just love the smell.

I also like Bumble & Bumble's Surf Spray for styling. It's got medium hold and adds texture to wavy hair.

Color and Shimmer

Michael Kors leg shine is fragrance and shimmer all in one. Lightly tinted in a twist-up canister to roll on legs (like deoderant). Available at Sephora.