Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Drinks To Keep You Cool

I love Martha Stewart so I decided to share some great summer drinks that she has posted on her website. This weekend's celebration might be a good time to try some new recipes!




Serves 8
  • 3 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup white grape juice
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ice, for serving (optional)
  • Seltzer or sparkling wine, chilled
  • Patriotic fruit skewers, for garnish (optional)

Place blackberries, raspberries, simple syrup, grape juice, and lemon juice in the jar of a blender; puree until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve, discarding solids.

Fill 8 Collins glasses with ice, if using. Divide mixture evenly between glasses; top with seltzer or wine and serve immediately garnished with fruit skewers, if desired.






Serves 8

  • 4 oranges, 2 juiced, 2 halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1 bottle dry red wine, chilled
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups seltzer or club soda
  • Ice cubes, for serving

In a large pitcher, combine orange juice, sugar, and brandy; stir well to dissolve sugar. Add wine, orange slices, lemon slices, and seltzer; stir to combine. Fill glasses with ice before serving.








  • 3 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • Sugar, to taste

Put watermelon, strawberries, lime juice, ice, and sugar if desired into the pitcher of a blender, and blend for 15 seconds on high speed. (Always put the top on the container before processing.) Stop machine, and stir ingredients with a long wooden spoon. Blend for 15 seconds more on high speed.

After processing the watermelon, strawberries, lime juice, and ice, taste before adding sugar; you may not need any. For the star garnish, an adult can press a cookie cutter through the rind with the back of a wooden spoon.



Serves 2

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 8 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons superfine sugar
  • 8 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Seltzer water

Puree strawberries and 2 teaspoons sugar in a blender. Set out two glasses, and spoon 3 tablespoons of the resulting strawberry puree, 4 tablespoons sugar, and 4 tablespoons lemon juice into each glass. Stir the lemonade, and add ice. Top off the glasses with seltzer water. Add more sugar if desired.




And this great recipe from Sally Lee by the Sea:

The Red, White and Blue Margarita
Sugar the rim of a glass or a cup with red sugar. (You can do this by dipping the rim in lime juice and then in the sugar to make it stick). Make frozen margaritas - 2 oz tequila, 1/2 oz triple sec for each one, fill with sour mix and ice and blend. Split the frozen margarita into three cups. Blend one third with strawberries to make red. Pour it into the bottom of the glass. Layer another third (plain, white margarita) on top of the red. Then blend the final third with blueberries or just color with 1/2 oz of Blue Curacao and layer the blue on top. You now have a red, white and blue margarita! (This one is my own personal recipe).


Some of these recipes you do not need alcohol, so depending on your party and guests you can use different variations for all to enjoy!

P.S. Please stay safe and be responsible this 4th of July!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Amazing Little Artist Helping the Gulf Coast


I saw this at Coastal Living and it absolutely amazed me! First of all how amazing this little girls drawings and painting were, and second that this little girl has a heart of gold!

Below is the article from Coastal Living:


Recently, the Audobon Society received a letter. It read, "I am a decent drawer, and I was wondering if I could sell some bird paintings and give the profits to your organization." The writer was 11-year-old Olivia Bouler, who has since raised more than $110,000 for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill relief with the support of AOL Artists.

To read more about this inspiring story on CNN.com, click here!

Watching the coverage of the oil spill is so frustrating, it's wonderful to read about someone so young who got productive and really made a difference. What about you? Does Olivia motivate you to get out there and do something in support of the Gulf?

-Perry Del Favero, Editorial Intern


You need to see her beautiful pictures for yourself and learn about her story. It is so heart-warming to see how children understand what is going on and open up their minds and their hearts to do whatever they can. Children don't think about who's at fault and play the blame game, they see what is going on and the only thing that is on their minds is helping!

What a great story and I would love to learn more about others stories. If you have other great inspiration stories I would love to hear about them!

You can help Olivia by visiting the cnn page and reading about making donations and receiving one of Olivia's prints.




Monday, June 28, 2010

Green Thumb??


There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments. quote / saying by Janet Kilburn Phillips

I have always wanted a beautiful garden with paths and walkways throughout that open up into a little area to sit and read or just relax, and big lush flowers and plants with sculptures that peak around greenery. However, I am pretty sure the color of my thumb is NOT green!! As I strolled around my yard this weekend I was surprised by a few of my flowers that seemed to be flourishing! Others, well, not so much. The ideas in my head are always much more grand than they turn out to be, but for now I will have to live with what I am able to do.



I usually can't go wrong with Astilbe, and they seem to do really well in my shade garden.



I actually purchased my hydrangea bush from Springhill Nursery. It didn't do so well the first couple of years but for some reason this year it really took off! I was so excited because I was waiting to cut some flowers and put them inside and I think that this is the first year I will be able to do that!



The blooms are so beautiful in the soft pink and creams!



My lilies seem to do well anywhere I plant them. I even pulled some out a couple years ago and put them in our woods and they found root and bloomed!


My master gardener!



My fish that seems to stand the test of the elements. He literally swam last year when our area flooded and so did my garden!



I got my cat fisherman up north and I love him!! He sways in the breeze looking for fish!



My flower boxes have always seemed to flourish. I love these planters because they are the self-watering, I fill them up once a week and they slowly release water from the bottom!



However, not sure what is going on this year, my true gardening colors are coming out with this planter!



And of course the pathway that I have always wanted..........doesn't really go anywhere special unless you consider the dog area a dream!


For now, I enjoy sitting on my deck and looking art my garden while ideas around in my head as to what I could do, watching my birds and squirrels wonder from the bird feeder to their homes. One thing that I am quickly learning though is that gardens are definitely a work in progress!


Linking up to Fishtail Cottage


Modern Country Style

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happy Stormy Sunday!


It is another rainy/stormy day in Michigan.



photo by llyas Khan

I love watching the storms come in over Lake Michigan. It feels very surreal sometimes.



During stormy weather the lake is so amazing to watch......



From a distance!!




Happy Stormy Sunday!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Let's Eat!!

The 4th of July is next weekend and the past two weeks I have been helping you plan your 4th of July party with suggestions for invitations and ideas to help decorate. Well, now it is time to EAT!!! I love food, especially cookouts, so I have found a few recipe ideas for you to help you plan your cookout for next weeks celebration!



I love turkey burgers! They are easy and healthy and there are so many ways you can grill them! I gave you a simple recipe below from Martha Stewart, but check out other versions on her site!



Serves 4

1 1/2 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup finely greted Gryere cheese (motzarella works good too)
4 scallions thinly sliced
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove mined
Course salt and ground pepper
For Grates
Oil

Heat grill to high. In a medium bowl, use a fork to gently combine ground turkey with Gruyere, scallions, breadcrumbs, mustard, and garlic; season generously with salt and pepper. Gently form mixture into four 1-inch-thick patties.

Lightly oil grill. Place patties on hottest part of grill; sear until browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Move patties to cooler part of grill; continue grilling until cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes per side.

You will have to adjust recipe for how many people you are serving


I saw these hot dogs at Better Homes and Gardens and they looked so good! Using Dr. Pepper as an ingredient for the BBQ sauce!!

Ingredients

4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 12-oz. can Dr Pepper
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. ancho chili powder
1 tsp. finely ground white pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
8 hot dogs (1-lb. pkg.)
8 hot dog buns, split and toasted
Toppers: pickles, sliced jalapeƱo peppers, chopped onion (optional)

directions

1. For sauce, in medium saucepan cook and stir onion and garlic in hot butter over medium heat about 10 minutes until onions are tender. Add all ingredients except hot dogs, buns, and toppers. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Cook, uncovered, until sauce begins to thicken, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool sauce 10 minutes.

2. Puree sauce in pan with immersion blender, or transfer to a blender jar, cover, and blend until smooth.

3. Meanwhile, on charcoal grill cook hot dogs on rack directly over medium coals for 5 to 7 minutes or until heated through.(For gas grill, heat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Cook on grill rack over heat. Cover; grill as above.) Serve hot dogs on buns with toppers. Makes 8 hot dogs and 4 cups sauce.

  • Summer time means corn on the cob!!! Martha Stewart also had this great recipe!

Makes 16 pieces

4 ears shucked corn
1/2 lime
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Grill corn over high heat, turning until lightly blackened in places and kernels are just tender when pressed, about 12 minutes.

Cut each ear into 4 pieces. Transfer to a sturdy, medium-size paper bag and squeeze lime over corn. Sprinkle with chili powder and coarse salt. Close bag and shake to coat. Serve immediately from the bag or in a bowl.













  • A simple desert that everyone will love from Better Homes and Gardens!




    • Ingredients
    • 1 8-ounce carton vanilla low-fat yogurt
    • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 of an 8-ounce container frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
    • 3 cups fresh raspberries and/or cut-up fresh strawberries
    • 3 cups fresh blueberries

    directions

    1. In a large bowl, stir together yogurt and almond extract or vanilla. Fold in whipped topping.

    2. To serve, in six 12-ounce glasses or dessert dishes, alternate layers of the berries with layers of the yogurt mixture. Makes 6 servings.

    Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare parfaits as directed through Step 2. Cover and chill for up to 1 hour.





These are just a few great recipes that you can find on the sites I listed, or you can search for you own! Just remember to adjust the recipes for your number of people that are celebrating with you!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Choose Comfort!



I thought that this quote was perfect! That is so me. I love clothes and consider m
yself somewhat 'in style' but when it all comes down to it, I find myself choosing comfort over fashion. I love to wear anything cotton. I love the feel of cotton and the way it fits (I think I may sound like that commercial) My favorite article of clothing is the basic cotton t-shirt/tank top. I pair them with jeans, casual linen pants, dress black pants and even a cute little cotton skirt! However, t-shirts do not have be boring! Check out these great little items that will bring a smile to your face and make you feel so good!



I love shirts that sway and seem to flow. Victoria's Secret has
a variety of tanks and shirts to make you feel 'breezy'!


J. Crew has to be my favorite spot for cotton shirts! They are soft and so comfortable! I love thier henley's and tissue tees!



Another J.Crew item is this this beautiful maxi dress. These are great to wear in the summer becuase they are light weight and flowing. You can pair them with a cute cardigan for those cooler summer nights!



Abercrombie has some great tees that are dressed up a little with flowers or sequence which give that little bit of style with comfort!


So, wherever you go, whether it be work or out on the town, comfort can still mean style!






Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Five Favorites!

Cottage and Vine is doing a linky party on your 5 must-have beauty items! I love looking at other favorites, so I decided to post myself!



Bare Minerals Clear Radiance gives me that glow that is just subtle enough but in the right light my skin looks dewy and healthy! I can put it just on my cheek bones, under my eyebrows, sweep it across my decollete area and I have been mixing it with clear gloss to add a little shimmer to my lips! It is just an all-around great product!


Bobby Brown's Everything Mascara is such a great buy! It stays on, will not clump or smudge and it just looks great! I have tried so many mascaras and this one is by far the best!



Physicians Formula Felt-Tip eye marker in ultra black stays on my eye lids all day! It goes on smooth and lasts and lasts, even in humid Michigan summers!



La Roche-Posay sunscreen cream is my all time favorite facial cream for daytime. It protects again both UVA and UVB rays and it is so light that it does not clog my pores.



St Ives Cellulite Shield Body Lotion is a great lotion for everyday use. It is light and creamy and I have noticed a little difference in my skin as far as firmness goes. I love the smell, light and clean.


Those are my five favorite products, check out Cottage and Vine for more favorites and you can add yours as well!!



Check Out This Great Give Away!!!


Kamichia at Glass Float Junkie is giving away some of her beautiful glass fishing floats. She collects these treasures on the shores of Alaska and sells them at her etsy shop! Stop by her blog to read her stories and register to "Win Some Floats!'


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ode to White Paint

As I find my way through the blogging world and come across sites that share the same interests as I do such as the beach, decorating, summer, and my favorite.....white paint!!!! My husband thinks that I am crazy because anytime I buy an old piece of furniture or fix up hand-me-downs, I paint them white. So I have presented a few of my obsession-filled works!


This is a chest of drawers that was handed down to me from my grandparents. It was still in great shape but the wood stain was very dark.



This was given to me from my mom. They remodeled their kitchen and had no need for this hutch anymore so I took it and of course painted it white!



This window has special memories for me. It was a window from our old cottage. It was painted in dark green. Now it hangs in my bathroom and I just love the way it turned out!



I got this table at Lowe's unfinished.....so I finished it white!



My shelves that you saw earlier.



This was my mother-in-law's that she had stored in her basement. We needed a kitchen table so I was able to have this. It was a dark oak. I glued pine to the top of the table because I was unable to sand it enough for paint to stick. Sanded the rest of the table, painted it white and distressed it a little bit to give it that beachy feel!



When we moved into our house, all of the woodwork was that 1970's dark oak (not that there is anything wrong with that, but I wanted something a little brighter!) so I sanded and painted all our cupboards and trim white. It really brightened up the kitchen! Now to replace that nasty flouescent light above!



Another project that I did right away was painting the brown brick and brown mantel on our fireplace. It really gave the house that beach cottage feel. I love having a fire now because everything just glows and feels so cozy!



My biggest white-paint project that I tackled was last year. Our carpet became the spot for nasty pet smells and was just so dirty from two dogs and two cats that we ripped it up and painted the sub-flooring white. I had seen this before on a DIY show and thought, why the heck not. It was a big project and a mess!



Almost done!!



I came home one day and found this!!!!



Followed the trail............



I am so glad that he is comfortable!!!!!!
Luckily is was water-based paint and cleaned up pretty easy!



White paint is the greatest! I love the way everything feels and looks clean. Not sure what my next project is but I am sure that I will find something to drive my husband nuts!

Paint on DYIer's, Paint on!!!!!





Monday, June 21, 2010

Simple Curtains





A while back I was at Target and saw these great cotton napkins from their Shabby Chic line. I had to have them! However, the idea that came to mind was not to use them for dining (I have a four year old, pretty things don't stay that way too long around him) but rather to use them as cafe style curtains in my bathroom. So with a silver-colored rod and small metal drapery rings, I had my curtains!! They are great because I don't get a lot of sunlight through that window but still need a little privacy (it is the bathroom) and these worked perfect! The best part is that they are easy to change out without the price of new curtains. I can find cotton napkins almost anywhere and there are so many colors, designs and styles to choose from!




End result!!! (sorry the picture is so dark, still refining my photography skills :) )
























Above are beautiful handkerchiefs, napkins and linen towels from Isola Bella. This is a must see shop and check out her blog as well for other great ideas!

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