Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Coastal Home Decor Items for the Bathroom and Bedroom

I love decorating in a coastal style and a beach cottage style here in my home. I do like some "nautical" items but frankly, I consider nautical and coastal two different things. Here in Pennsylvania often times it is hard to find beach items for my home so every time we are down at our beach house at the Jersey Shore, I go on a shopping spree and bring items back up to PA. and vice versa.

Today, I wanted to share some of my favorite bathroom and bedroom coastal home decor items with all of you that I have here in my own home or down at our beach house. All of these items are what I call "affordable" home decor items.

First up, this beautiful framed "Blessings by the Sand and the Sea" wall art (picture) that I have hanging in our master bedroom. I just love this piece...it is framed in a wooden off-white rustic frame and matted under glass. It is about 15" by 20" in size and I just love it for its simplicity.

Next is the Hydrangea and sea shells framed and matted print that I made. I bought a cross stitch kit and spent 4 months stitching the design onto canvas and then took it in to a local framing shop and had it double matted and framed under glass. I have this hanging in our master bedroom too on another wall. Overall it, it measures about 14" wide by 20" high.

I love this next piece that is hanging in our one hallway leading to the bedrooms. Total cost was $20.00. I bought 4 white shadow box frames and filled them up with photos from various vacations we have taken to the beach. Often times our family members are with us on these trips so I got to show off many of them too. I took some genuine star fish and glued them onto the front of the shadow boxes and then laid a few seashells on the top edges. These sea shell accents turned it into a nice coastal piece. I picked up the shadow boxes at A.C. Moore's for $5.00 each and then used a 10% off coupon. The sea shells I already had on hand. It is a narrow hallway so I couldn't get a proper photo of how nice it really looks hanging on the wall.

Next is the white shadow box hanging in one of our guest bedrooms. I wanted to show off some of our best sea shells that we have collected over the years. I bought the shadow box at a flea market for $1.00. I brought it home and painted it white and then placed my shells into the cubby holes.  People like to pick up the shells and look at them when they visit us.

In one of my guest bathrooms I have a sea shell themed fabric shower curtain with matching sea shell shower curtain hooks. I picked up the shower curtain about 2 years ago at Kmart on clearance for $5.00 and the shower hooks for $5.00 for a total cost of $10.00. It is a beautiful shower curtain and I just love it!

In that same guest bathroom I have a wooden peg shelf in a coastal theme with 4 large wooden pegs so that my guests can hang up their wet bath towels. I love the variety of sea shells and sea birds that are within the print that decorates it. I picked this up on one of our trips down to the Jersey Shore for $10.00 a few years ago. It is very sturdy and can hold thick & heavy bath towels with no problem!

When you walk into the master bathroom there is a small wall space right above the entry door into the bathroom. I bought an arrow shaped wall hanging that says "Seaside Delightful Days!" on it for $10.00. I thought it looked too plain so I glued a beautiful real star fish on the left side and think it looks beautiful now!

Finally, on one of my smaller sized walls in the master bedroom I have another framed cross stitch picture that I did about 2 years ago. It measures 11" by 14" in size and is matted & framed under glass. I bought a cross stitch kit and the design features a star fish and 4 different sea shells with some sea grass. I had it framed in a vanilla colored wooden frame. On the side of that I have 2 resin square shaped wall plaques. One says "Sun Sand Surf" and the other one says "Sail Sand and Sea". Each one measures 5" square and they make the perfect little accents.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will show you some more coastal decor items that I have in my home and some of our coastal landscaping projects that we have recently completed. Do you like to decorate in a coastal or beach theme?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Reuben Cuban Panini Recipe

I am a little late with this post! August was National Panini Month and that means warm toasty bread, melting cheese and limitless filling options...Mmm! This year, celebrate with a warm and crisp recipe for Reuben Cuban Panini's courtesy of IMUSA. This incredibly delicious Panini is sure to be a favorite among family & friends, and only takes five minutes to cook! It's the perfect dish for those crazy days and the BEST way to celebrate this delicious food holiday.

Reuben Cuban Panini Recipe

½ lb. roasted pork
½ lb. ham
4 oz. swiss cheese
2 ½ cups sauerkraut
5 Tbsp bottled thousand island dressing
Hotdog buns

Preheat your IMUSA Panini Maker. In the meantime cut hotdog buns all the way through you have two separate pieces. Divide pork evenly on one half of bread. Spread ½ cup sauerkraut on top of each slice of pork. Evenly disperse the ham and cheese on top of the sauerkraut and top with the bun.

Place sandwiches on the IMUSA Panini Press and gently press down, making sure that the sandwiches don't move. Toast for about 3 minutes, or until cheese is fully melted. Remove and open each sandwich and generously spread a spoonful of thousand island dressing.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Grilled Bell Pepper Salad Recipe

We are now well into September and we are still harvesting fresh bell peppers from our garden. This year we had such a great crop of them and I have been really busy using them all up before the cold weather sets in. Just last weekend I made a batch of stuffed green peppers and my family loved them. Since then, I have been on the hunt for more bell pepper recipes and luckily for me, this recipe hit my email box just in the nick of time.

The recipe and photo is courtesy of: Paulding & Company, a full catering kitchen based in San Francisco boasting vast opportunities for bonding and excitement founded by mother-daughter duo Tracy and Terry Paulding.

Peppers, the wonderful vitamin-c packed vegetables, are at peak right now! The Grilled Bell Pepper Salad is a delicious, yet healthy dish with-tons of flavor! The recipe will yield approximately 4 servings.

Grilled Bell Pepper Salad Recipe

▪ ½ lb sweet red and green bell peppers
▪ 1 ½ Tbs. olive oil
▪ 1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
▪ ½ tsp. ground cumin
▪ 1 tsp. minced flat-leaf parsley
▪ salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Roast the bell peppers by placing them on a rack of a broiler or on the grill, while turning them slowly until they are completely charred. When done, place them in a paper or plastic bag and leave them to sweat for 15 minutes. Peel the skin off with your fingers or a sharp paring knife.

Cut the peppers into ½ inch strips lengthwise and place them on a glass salad bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour the marinade over the peppers. Cover with plastic wrap, let sit for 1 hour, then stir and serve.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pollo Borracho Chicken Recipe

Hispanic Heritage Month (beginning September 15th) is the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras & Nicaragua) and what better way to celebrate than with a FIESTA?

This recipe is courtesy of IMUSA - leader in Hispanic cookware.

Pollo Borracho Chicken Recipe

1 (4-pound) frying chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thickly
3 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup tequila
1 cup Spanish olives, drained

Preheat oven to 375°F. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and oregano. In the jumbo cooker, heat olive oil and brown chicken pieces on all sides. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Reduce heat, add onion and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves, wine, tequila, and olives. Return chicken to the pan, cover, and cook in the oven until tender and browned, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove and serve.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

Fall is here. School is back in session, the trees are once again changing colors and, of course, that means Halloween isn'’t far behind. While a little extra sugar consumption may be unavoidable during this time of the year, between the crisp caramel apples and Halloween candy hitting the shelves, it doesn'’t mean you have to overload on the salt as well.

As people start packing their summer clothes away and digging for their warm sweaters, it’s the perfect time to change up your recipes for seasonal, heartwarming fare. LoSalt, a reduced sodium salt with 66 percent less sodium than regular table, sea and rock salts, can be used to add a healthy kick.

“LoSalt offers a positive step toward helping consumers lower the sodium value of recipes without losing taste,” said Jo-Ann Heslin, registered dietician and nutritionist and author of 29 consumer wellness and nutrition books.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

Recipe from LoSalt by Bryony, author of the Recipe Yum blog
Serves 2-3

Wondering what to do with the left over pumpkins after Halloween? Make use of the seeds by turning them into a delicious snack. They taste just like popcorn, only much healthier, and are great for movie nibbles.

· Pumpkin
· LoSalt (to taste)


1. Cut the top off the pumpkin.
2. Scoop out all the innards and separate the pulp from the seeds.
3. Put the seeds in a sieve and wash them clean with water.
4. Wrap the seeds in paper towels to dry them off.
5. Put the seeds in an oven proof tray and sprinkle with LoSalt to taste.
6. Cook under the grill for about five minutes, or until they start to brown.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

First Day of School - Almost Wordless Wednesday

It is hard to believe but Summer is officially starting to wind down around here and many of us are starting to prepare for Fall. This past Summer has been a busy one for us in getting things ready for the Princess to start Kindergarten and for my daughter Jenelle's wedding which was last weekend. Sigh, I need a vacation from it all.

Anyway, it has been awhile since I've done an "Almost" Wordless Wednesday post and now is the time to get back into the habit again.

This week I am featuring a photograph that I took of my grand daughter on her first day of school. She entered Kindergarten two weeks ago and is attending all-day in an advanced class. She is as smart as a whip!!!

We are very fortunate that we only live 5 minutes away and had the pleasure of being there that morning as she waited for the school bus for the first time. Once she got on...I cried a few tears and I could barely see her sitting in those big seats on the school bus!!!

So far, school is going well although it has been a big adjustment on us all since we occasionally help take her to school and/or pick her up from the bus stop. After all of these years, I am enjoying having a little one around and attending school. Just glad...I don't have to do it on a daily basis! LOL

Well, there you have it! A photo of Princess Gia on her first day of school. Enjoy!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Out of Shape? Get Off the Couch With These Tips

While you don’t need Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arms to stay fit and healthy, there is no question that becoming a couch potato victim will negatively impact your health. According to Celebrity Fitness Expert Dr. Raj, a nationally recognized Double Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon at the Beverly Hills Orthopedic Institute, engaging in a few simple exercises can greatly prevent injury or the need for future surgery.

“It is a misnomer that joint replacement is primarily reserved for overworked athletes,” says Dr. Raj. “Many patients are in need of surgery down the road due to great lengths of inactivity, such as spending years behind a desk.”

Below are Dr. Raj’s simple exercise tips for staying fit:

- Don’t Forget to Stretch: Each morning when you rise and shine, there is a reason why your first inclination is to stretch before rolling out of bed. “Stretching not only lengthens muscles, it improves circulation which helps to release toxins,” says Dr. Raj. “To prevent injury, stretch both before and after physical activity.”

- Walk Whenever Possible: Believe it or not, walking each day will keep the doctor away. The 10,000 steps campaign suggests that a daily count of thousands of paces has various long-term health benefits. “While walking alone isn’t going to win any body building competitions, 20 minutes of daily walking is the single best thing you can do for your health,” adds Dr. Raj.

- Take the Stairs: Rather than riding the escalator or elevator, climb up the stairs. Walking up a flight of stairs strengthens the heart and lungs and burns calories as well. Even as little as one flight of stairs is better than no movement at all.

- Hit the Green: Weight bearing exercises (including golf) are the key to building bone mass which has been proved to postpone osteoporosis and arthritis. From swinging those clubs to walking between holes, a day out on the golf course is good for both body and mind.

- Workout, From the Couch: Those who have weak knees and are prone to injury can avoid putting excess pressure on the knees by exercising from their seat. “Alternating leg lifts from a seated position provide a continuous range of motion,” says Dr. Raj. “Seated jacks, which are literally jumping jacks while sitting down, are another great way to get the body moving.”

About Dr. Raj:  Dr. Raj is a Double Board Certified (American and Canadian) Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in hip, knee, and joint replacements, arthritis pain, sports injuries, fractures and alternative, conservative, and surgical options for any joint, bone or muscle pain. Dr. Raj has been featured on The Doctors, SPIKE TV, NBC, CBS, Martha Stewart Living Radio, Beverly Hills Times and has been named “Best of LA” by KCAL 9 as well we making America’s Top Orthopedics List in 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011. He is best known as an ABC News Medical Consultant, a health expert for The Globe, and a health expert for The National Examiner, and has quickly become the go-to-doctor in the media for not only Orthopedic-based topics, but for general medical issues alike, including: injury prevention, US healthcare, weight gain and weight loss, drug abuse and more. With clients ranging from celebrities to renowned athletes, Dr. Raj has completed 4,000 Orthopedic Surgical Cases and works with over 500 patients a month with his team at the Beverly Hills Orthopedic Institute. For more information, please visit http://www.drhipandknee.com/

Monday, September 1, 2014

5 Easy-to-Make Cocktail Recipes for Your Next Party

We love getting together with friends and family to host little cocktail parties here at our home. When it comes to cocktails, we like all kinds of different ones. As long as they are easy-to-prepare, they are usually on our menu.

Today I have 5 easy-to-make cocktail recipes to share with all of you courtesy of the great folks over at Ketel One Vodka.

Ketel One Vodka recommends to toast the end of summer with simple, flavorful drinks that do not require much effort. For those that want to keep it to the bare minimum, drink Ketel One neat or on the rocks and enjoy the crisp flavors that are the result of the Nolet Family’s hard work to create the best tasting vodka.


1 ½ oz. Ketel One Oranje®
1 ½ oz. fresh orange juice
1 ½ oz. cranberry juice

Build in a rocks glass over ice. Stir. Garnish with an orange wedge.


1.5 oz. Ketel One Oranje
.75 oz. Aperol
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. fresh orange juice
.25 oz. honey

Combine first five ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with Prosecco. Garnish with a lemon wheel.


1.5 oz. Ketel One Citroen
3 slices cucumber (seedless)
.5 oz. fresh lime juice
Ginger beer

Combine first three ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with a cucumber slice.


1 oz. Ketel One Vodka
.5 oz. Pimms No. 1
1 dash Angostura bitters
3 cucumber slices
Lemon-lime soda

Place two cucumber slices at the bottom of a Collins glass. Top with ice. Add Ketel One Vodka, Pimms No. 1 and Angostura bitters. Top with lemon-lime soda. Stir. Garnish with remaining cucumber slice.


1.5 oz. Ketel One Citroen
.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
.5 oz. simple syrup
Club soda

Build in a Collins glass over ice. Top with club soda. Stir. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

Disclaimer: The recipes and photos are courtesy of Ketel One Vodka. You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly.