Country Living...Island Dreaming

November 30, 2010

The Off Season

We spent this past weekend at the Jersey Shore before my inlaws closed up the house for the winter.  I thought the kids would be bored without going to the beach but they actually loved it.

Lucky Leo's arcade in Seaside Heights was open.

I couldn't get them away from all the video games.

It was so quiet and peaceful there without all the summer people.  And luckily Snooki and the gang were nowhere to be found...

But we did find some beautiful swans in the bay.

We got pretty close trying to feed them.

Then the seagulls swarmed in and it was like a scene out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

We had to back up a little because when the bread ran out, the swans still wanted more!

And that was about all the excitement we had at the beach!Overall, it was a nice, peaceful weekend but with the winter still ahead of us, I am already longing for the days of relaxing on the beach in the hot sun! 

Have you had any experiences visiting any beach towns in the off season?


November 29, 2010

From Eternity to Eternity

I have been wearing Eternity perfume by Calvin Klein for about 20 years.  Although, I don't wear perfume everyday anymore (trying to stay as natural as possible), I still like to smell nice when I go out.  I just recently finished my last bottle of Eternity and then went through my occasional phase of wanting to try something new. 

Usually, this need to try a new scent hits me right after I have been to an island.  I come home with some wonderful smelling lotions from the hotel, use them up right away and then start looking for perfume to re-create that great vacation feeling.
I loved this mango scented moisturizer from the Regent Palms.

I've tried a few mango, coconut, and other island inspired lotions and perfumes...

And this alluring 'Beachy' by Lilly Pulitzer which had so much promise...adorable bottle and really did smell like I spent the day at the beach!

Since I did just run out of Eternity, it was a great time to experiment with new perfumes again.  I was back and forth to the perfume counters for weeks.  I really wanted to find my new signature scent.

I even broke out all the ones I've tried in the past for a second chance.  I have collected quite a few as gifts and I just feel guilty getting rid of them.  I even tried some essential oils to go more organic...but I still really wanted to be capture that beachy vibe.  As much as I loved them all, I still didn't feel like I found "The One"...

Then last week, I am at this party talking to a group of people and I say to one of the women, "You smell so great, what perfume are you wearing?"  And wouldn't you know it, she is wearing ETERNITY!  Even though it smelled a little different on someone else, I did still love it and knew right then and there that my search was over. 

I guess it was meant to be! 
And off to Sephora I went!

So much for trying to capture that vacation feeling in a bottle!

Do you have a favorite scent that you just can't give up? 


November 22, 2010

Master Bath in Progress

Yes, another room in my house that is in progress.  It will probably stay this way for a while because there is nothing really wrong with it, just some things that could use some freshening up...

Gee, that orchid looks familiar...shocking that it's still alive!  I do love my plantation shutters, though.

The water closet. The walls in the bathroom are Amsterdam by Benjamin Moore.  

I love these prints from Bermuda artist, Diana Amos.

Some beachy accents.  

Here is where the problems begin...I would love to change the tile and the shower doors.

Each side of the bathroom has these awful mirrors that meet in the corner.  What a 'great' builder feature!  Such a huge project to rip them out and do something else.  I just can't deal with this now...

Maybe I will just stare at this orchid for awhile to make the design issues go away...

At least for now, I like the color and the calm feeling of the bathroom.  Too many other projects to tackle first....

November 17, 2010

Kinda Coastal Master Bedroom

Our Master Bedroom is still a work in progress but I am definitely leaning towards a coastal feel in here.  I would LOVE to rip out the carpet and put dark hardwood floors in here...unfortunately, my husband will never agree to that!

I am still thinking about replacing the picture over the bed.  (It just looks a little wimpy.)  The bed is from the Ethan Allen British Classics colletion.  I like the way it brings in a little Caribbean feel.  Also, the bench is from Ballard Designs - a long time ago.

The throw pillows are from Pottery Barn a couple years ago.

The chair - Ethan Allen, the dressers from Durham Furniture and the paint - Benjamin Moore, Linen White.

Of course we have to have a TV in here, where else can I relax with Nate or HGTV?  The plant hides the wires you might see when walking into the room.

And here I am, hiding more wires.

The curtains are from Country Curtains and I think the roman shades are Hunter Douglas.

I would like to replace this ceiling fan with something, maybe another fan with a more tropical look.  I love our tray ceiling though.  I have seen people put beadboard on these and love the look.  I am sure my  husband will not go for that..(see a trend here?)

See how great the fan could look with a different ceiling? 
(This is from the Regent Palms in Turks and Caicos.)

The entrance to the master bath where to beachy look continues...

November 16, 2010

Grand Cayman with Kids

Three years in a row, 
we have traveled to the island of Grand Cayman
 for our annual family vacation. 

Pier at Rum Point

Grand Cayman is a fabulous island for kids for the following reasons:

Easy Access - For us, Grand Cayman is a direct flight from Newark, NJ.  (Kids are much less cranky if they don't have to wait around in airports)

Condos - There are so many to rent right on Seven Mile Beach (We all get to have a little space - and you can't beat the location!)

And you can't beat the convenience of your own refrigerator and freezer...

Seven Mile Beach - Need I say more?  And it is right outside our door (no lugging beach junk a long distance)

3rd Floor at the Avalon.

View from the 2nd Floor at the Avalon.

Great Restaurants - Most restaurants are kid friendly and kids can take part in fish feedings and other entertainment.

Of course, if you go to Coconut Joe's, you may have to put up with the occasional chicken at lunch!  My kids loved this...
(I did not).

The kids loved the parrots in some of the restaurants.

Rum Point -
Our annual drive to the other side of the island promises an enjoyable day filled with water sports, lunch and laying on the hammocks!

Kid friendly attractions - Of course, there is the famous Stingray City which is pretty amazing!  We haven't taken the kids there yet but my husband and I visited several years ago.  There is also the famous town of "Hell" which is an area of some interesting rock formations and a little tourist trap of a gift shop with a funny guy dressed like the devil.  There is also...

(This place has gotten a bit overpriced and needs to be taken care of a little better...but the kids love it!)

The kids loved climbing around in the caves and they loved when the parrot pooped on my husband's head!

This picture was taken at the now closed Butterfly Farm but apparently the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is a wonderful place to visit and they have a Blue Iguana!

Atlantis Submarines provides real submarine rides and glass bottom boat tours.  We chose the glass bottom boat tour which was cheaper, less scary and safer (according to me).  We ended up being the only family so we had our own private tour!

Healthcare - Grand Cayman has "real" hospitals, doctors, etc - unlike some of the other islands we have been to where a witch doctor rides up on a donkey...(Great for a hypochondriac like myself - While traveling I always wonder what would happen if I came down with appendicitis or something!)

Low crime rate - Always a concern for me, especially when my husband likes to get the ground floor unit so we can walk out to the sand!

View from a ground floor unit at The Avalon. 
(I just noticed I have a lot of window view pictures on here!)

Did I mention Seven Mile Beach?!!!...I really need to start planning next year's trip...

Have you been to Grand Cayman?  
Where do you take your family?

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November 13, 2010

Beach Inspired Guest Bath

In our house, we don't have a real powder room for guests, just a full bathroom that all of our guests use.  I was so sick of all the boring builder fixtures so I changed a few things...

I replaced the huge wall size mirror with a framed one and I had the electrician install sconces on either side.

We put in plantation shutters and changed the shower door from a shiny brass one to this brushed nickel.
(When I say "we", I mean we had someone do husband is not into diy projects!)

The paint is Benjamin Moore - Saybrook Sage.  It reminds me of the grasses on the sand dunes at the Jersey Shore.

Here are some beachy accents.

We replaced the faucets with brushed nickel.

Here is another view of the sink.

I am not happy with the floor or the cabinets but I have managed to work with them for now.

This is a photo I took of the sand dunes in Seaside Park, NJ.

We also had crown molding installed.  (not pictured).

There are a few things I would still love to do as soon as my husband agrees.  I want to change the toilet to a white one instead of off-white, rip out the shiny white tile floor and put in travertine or something like that and I would love to change the cabinets to a white beadboard or something besides the oak.  With that, I would change the counter to granite. 

So, I guess this is a work in progress.  Someday we'll get there!

Click below to see the changes that have been made since this post!
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