Country Living...Island Dreaming

July 30, 2013

Antigua on The Bachelorette

In case you missed last night's episode,
I will fill you in...

Des and her 3 remaining men 
headed to the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Antigua is part of the Leeward Islands
and is known as a popular sailing destination.
The island hosts the world famous Antigua Sailing Week each spring
which we were lucky enough to observe several years ago.
Antigua is also known for breathtaking beaches
and all-inclusive luxury resorts.

While on the island, Des stayed at

Now that's a view I wouldn't mind seeing everyday!

And as you might have guessed,
the hotel is offering 
How fun it would be to stay in one of these cute cottages!

It appeared that the men,
well at least Brooks,
stayed at the
St. James Club
Nice traditional island rooms!

Yeah, I could stay there too!

Too bad such a beautiful place could be the setting for so much sadness for Des.  Last night she had her heart broken (which was apparent in the previews so it's not like I am giving anything away!).  I thought the show spent way too much time focusing on the crying and the sad conversation.  Not only was the "break-up" difficult to watch but how heartbreaking for her that the whole thing was filmed for television!

Anyway, if you missed last night's episode, you will get another chance to view more Caribbean loveliness next Monday.  You can watch the saga unfold on the beautiful island of Antigua.  You know I will be watching!  If you need even more of an Antigua fix, head over to read about Jumby Bay where I stayed during part of my vacation in Antigua. We also stayed at Curtain Bluff, but for some reason, I never wrote about that...I will have to do that!

Did you watch the Bachelorette last night?
Have you been to Antigua?


July 29, 2013

Piano Decorating

You might remember a few months back,
we bought a used piano for my son.

Well, I finally got around to decorating it.
As you can see, this is what the piano looked like
in our living room the day it arrived.

I knew I wanted to add some tropical touches
so I started with the Caribbean map I bought years ago.
I recently had it framed at Michael's.

I swear I had them use no-glare glass,
but I see some glare here!

I bought this artificial coral on sale at Pottery Barn
about a month ago.

And this precious photo of my boys in a woven Pottery Barn frame
has made its rounds throughout my house over the years.

My old boss brought me back this wooden box
from Shanghai, China many years ago.

And there you have my new look...
well for now that is.
The Pier One lantern is standing
where a lamp will stand in the future.

I bought a beautiful glass one the other day at Marshall's
and while filling the base with shells,
I shattered the glass.
I think I will try something a little different next time around!

Anyway, this is the new look for now!

Once again, the before...

And the after...

I know, the bench is looking a little bare.
I still need to replace that nasty little cushion!

At least I am making some progress!

Any new vignettes around your home?
Did you even use the word "vignettes" before blogging?

Have a great week?

July 27, 2013

Friday Food Focus

So, let me tell you
it was not easy to find organic/Non-GMO food
that starts with the letter "H"".

I thought this would be one of those weeks where I tried something new
but was disappointed when I came home from the store with nothing.

Then I opened my fridge...
Oh yeah!
I forgot about my Honest Tea!

Honest carries a huge selection of teas and juices.  I originally discovered this brand when I was looking for bottled teas that were not too sweet and did not contain high fructose corn syrup.  The Mango Acai White Tea has become my favorite and only has 9 grams of sugar!  Have you ever looked at the sugar content of most bottled teas?  Shocking, I know!    This has become my favorite go-to tea when I am too lazy to brew my own iced tea.

Once again, if you want to follow along with my GMO-free journey
click below for past weeks.


And like I have said before, I am not being compensated in any way to mention these products each week.  I am just trying to make everyone aware that there are Non-GMO products out there worth buying!

What kind of tea do you drink?


July 24, 2013

Striped Rug

Rather than wait until my office is finished for a full reveal,
(It could take years!)
I thought I would take you along each step.

So... my Dash and Albert Trimaran Striped rug arrived today....

 And my gut feeling on this...
is No...(I think).

While I love the rug and the navy and cream color,
I think the stripes are a bit too stimulating for the room.
Each stripe is about 1 3/4" wide
so when you look at the rug, it seems to move.

Now, I didn't notice this movement
when I looked at the swatch in the store.
But in the full size,
I think it is a bit too distracting

Having said that, I have nothing else to look at in the room.
Unless you count my makeshift-prop-of-a-desk...

I guess when I add furniture, it will help to tone down the "movement",
but I just don't know.

Even if the room was filled with stuff,
when I look down as I enter the room
I will still see moving stripes....
Ugh!  I hate when I second guess myself!

What do you think?
Am I making too much of this?
Do I need to make a trip to the eye doctor?
Should I just wait for the desk and bookshelves to arrive?

Click HERE to find out how the room turned out!


July 19, 2013

Friday Food Focus

Happy Friday everyone!

This week in my ongoing attempt to go 
GMO free - A to Z
I will tell you about a brand that begins
with the letter "G".

Garden of Eatin makes organic taco shells...
and because corn is one of the most genetically modified foods
you can bet that these are the only taco shells I will purchase now!

And they taste just like other taco shells
so it's not like you will be missing out on anything...
well except the GMOs
and you don't want them!

I haven't tried any other Garden of Eatin products yet
but according to their website
they also carry a line of snacks and chips.

If you want to follow along with my GMO-free journey
click below for past weeks.

A  B C D E F

I want to send a thank you to Laurel from
The North End Loft
for promoting my Friday Food Focus.
She has gone organic too
and has been so supportive.
Go check out her lovely blog and say hello!

I hope you are staying cool where you live.
We are in the middle of a heatwave in the Northeast.
As you can see,
Rosie has managed to stay cool
by jumping in the sprinklers!

Enjoy your weekend!


July 18, 2013

Office Progress

Between all of our summer activities
and my indecisiveness,
I haven't finished my office yet.

As you might remember,
I have a plan:

But I wanted to make sure the layout would work for me.

As you can see, I put a fake desk in to mimic the size of the one that I think I am buying - (which is not the one in my collage above anymore).  Last week on my shopping trip, I had the chance to see the Dash and Albert rugs in person and came home and remeasured. I am glad I did because a 5 X 8 would have been too small.  The 6 X 9 will work perfectly!  (As you can see by the tape measures on the floor.)  The fake desk you see is 54" X 23" and although it looks a little small in this picture, I think that size will work since I am putting white shelves behind the desk (see the table runner on the floor behind the chair).  I think there will be a white slip covered chair in the right corner and that is as far as I will commit until I can see the actual furniture in the room.

So far I have ordered bookcases:
(There are 3 but only the center is shown below)

And the Dash and Albert rug!

Slowly but surely the room is coming along.


July 16, 2013

Country Shopping

There is a stretch of road between
Morristown and Bernardsville, New Jersey
known as "The Country Mile".

Last week I spent a couple hours shopping there.

Paradise, the Lilly Pulitzer signature store was having a sale.
I tried on a pile of pieces but only ended up buying a new iphone cover.

The Depot Gift Shop down the street had some beautiful treasures.
I made a few mental notes for future birthday and Christmas gifts.

They carry a huge selection of MacKenzie Childs ceramics.
I love those black and white checks.

The Dash and Albert rugs reminded me
I have to get moving on my office!

I am loving the Trimarin Stripe - navy and ivory
but it comes in 6 X 9 
and I was planning on buying a 5 X 8 for under my desk.
Maybe I need to remeasure!

I love how the stores in this area
are situated right alongside beautiful farmland.

Would you ever expect a store like this
 to be adjacent to that lovely pasture?

This has got to be the cutest building
for a J. Mclaughlin store!

J. Mclaughlin had some beautiful dresses
and if I had more time, I probably would have talked myself into
purchasing one of the maxi dresses I fell in love with.
I should have shopped with a friend
 so the peer pressure would have made me buy it!  LOL!

I guess I was in more of a browsing than buying mood that day!

And I didn't even have time to stop at
Greenbaum Interiors down the street
or Garden Cottage....
I am sure I would spend hours in those stores!

Do you have any unique shopping areas near you?

Linking to:
A Stroll thru Life - Inspire Me Tuesday


July 12, 2013

Friday Food Focus

It's Friday and around here that means
it's time to go
GMO free - A to Z!

Each week I highlight a food brand
that does not use GMO ingredients.
Today we will focus on the letter "F".

But before we do,
I thought you might want to read an interesting article
from the Prevention website:
This article supports my theory that GMO foods
are possibly the cause of so many allergies. 
Please read it and see what you think.

Anyway as I said,
the letter for today is "F".

Up until this point, I could just pull any product from my pantry and write a review since I already had been buying GMO free brands that started with the letters A through E.  This week, I had to go to the store and find a brand that started with the letter "F".  I discovered a company called Fantastic Whole Foods and I purchased a box of their Organic Whole Wheat Couscous.

I had been buying another brand of couscous up until now because I guess I never saw an organic one before.  As I have mentioned before, as much as I try - I do not buy strictly organic.  I would love to but realistically it can be expensive and sometimes the organic/non-GMO brands can be hard to find.  I shop mostly at a food store called Wegman's which has a large section dedicated to whole foods.  I also shop in a couple local health food stores in the area.  The closest Whole Foods Market is about an hour away so unfortunately, that store is a little out of reach for me.

Anyway, the other brand I have bought in the past includes premixed spice packets so all you have to do is bring the water and spice packet to a boil, add the couscous, remove from heat and you are done.  The Fantastic Food couscous is just as easy to cook, except it does not come with a spice packet.  I didn't think that far ahead when I made it so I just got creative with the ingredients I had on hand.

Yes, these ingredients probably look familiar to you if you read my old stand-by additions!  I chopped up some mango, cilantro and added some lime juice.  I was out of almonds but I think that would have made a nice addition.  The dish probably could have used some spices or something if used as a regular side dish but at the last minute I ended up grilling some garlicky chicken and placing it on top.  The flavors worked together and everyone was happy!

Here are two other times I have used similar ingredients:

For years I have been buying some organic foods - basically to avoid pesticides and the huge number of preservatives and colorings found in the typical processed foods.  It wasn't until recently that I started learning about Genetically Modified Foods that I have become VERY conscious about everything we put into our bodies.

I hope my weekly GMO free - A to Z list inspires 
you try some different foods too!

The list so far:

Just remember,
 organic products cannot contain any GMO ingredients
so basically the foods says "organic" or has the Non-GMO project seal, 
you can feel good about buying it!

What organic products have you tried?

July 9, 2013

Shore Events

After rubbing elbows with the Travel Channel cast last Tuesday,
we headed over to the Seaside Park borough hall
for our next event of the day!

And while Zac Brown and Bruce Springsteen music
rocked over the loudspeaker,
our own Jersey "rock-star" emerged from his vehicle!

No, it wasn't Jon Bon Jovi or Springsteen himself
but a rock-star in my mind...
Governor Chris Christie!

Now without getting all political on you
I gotta tell you - I love this guy!
Even if he wasn't Governor,
I would still want to have him over for dinner!

He is charming, funny, a great leader
and just what New Jersey needs to be
"Stronger than the Storm"!

And how awesome that he has a Summer Playlist!

After his speech was over,
he stopped and talked to every person who wanted to say hello.
I was totally gushing when I shook his hand
and he was so gracious to every person there!

My only regret is that I didn't have my picture taken with him.  I was too busy taking pictures of him with my kids who were almost as excited as I was.  My 9 year had taken a class trip to the state capitol this past spring and his class was able to tour the Governor's office.  My son was disappointed that he didn't get to see Governor Christie in person so you could imagine how thrilled he was to actually meet him!

Governor Christie's speech that day focused on rebuilding a stretch of Rt. 35 that was damaged in the storm. As always, he was straight to the point, funny, a bit sarcastic and as entertaining as ever!  He captured the attention of the crowd with his witty remarks and gave us all hope that that area of the shore is on it's way back.

Oh, and to mention Jon Bon Jovi one more time... did you hear that he donated $1,000,000 to the state's recovery fund for Superstorm Sandy?  Read about it here - Bon Jovi Teams up with Chris Christie for Sandy Relief.  Another Jersey guy I just love!

So overall, I would say we had a pretty exciting afternoon.
We followed it up with an evening on the boardwalk with the family.

The boardwalk is coming along and getting busier all the time.
I remember that Midway Steak House from when I was a kid.
My grandparents used to take us to the boardwalk for the day
and my grandfather couldn't leave before he stopped for a cheese steak there!
Such nice memories...

And in the distance you can see Casino Pier where the now famous
Jet Star Roller Coaster once stood.
It's wonderful to see the progress
they are making to rebuild that section of the boardwalk.

As the latest slogan says, we're
"Stronger than the Storm!"

Did you meet any "rock-stars" lately?


July 8, 2013

Travel Channel at the Shore

We spent 4th of July week at the Jersey Shore.

And one of the highlights of our week
included a visit from the Travel Channel!

Well, they didn't exactly visit 'us' personally,
but the crew was in Seaside Park
making over a playground...

Here is Anthony Melchiorri, between takes.
Anthony is the host of the Travel Channel show
Hotel Impossible.

I just recently stumbled upon this show on the Travel Channel
but I recognized Anthony right away
and I knew for sure it was him
when I heard his distinct voice.
I swear he has the exact same voice as Scott Baio!

Anyway, Anthony and his crew
arrived last Tuesday afternoon
to film the reveal of this bay-side playground.

I won't show you the full reveal
out of respect for the Travel Channel but
I am sure you will want to tune in
on August 12th at 10:00 p.m.!

Make sure you watch out for my smiling face in the background!
My kids and I were filmed a few times
so I am excited to see if our "scenes"
make it through the editing process!

It really was exciting to see the official reveal
unfold right in front of us.

A couple hours later I was able to meet Anthony and the designer, Blanche Garcia  (above left) at an event just down the street.  I always hate bothering famous people so I quickly complimented their work on the playground, took a picture with Anthony and my 7 year old and moved on.  I wish I had talked to Blanche more though because she was the one who designed the whole thing!  Then after reading her bio on the Travel Channel website, I was even more impressed with her work as a designer.  Not only is she a Jersey girl but she is a LEED specialist through the US Green Building Council.  Check out her website B Garcia Designs.  You might also recognize her from Season 6 of Design Star.

As you know, the Jersey Shore was devastated in Hurricane Sandy.  Last month I posted pictures of the areas that are still a wreck from the storm.  While things are nowhere close to being back to normal, the conditions are definitely improving.  I am thrilled that the Travel Channel filmed this episode.  Not only does it give the locals hope and incentive to keep plugging along, but it also shows the rest of the world that the shore is back in business and will be stronger than ever!

Remember to tune in to the Travel Channel
on August 12th at 10:00 p.m.!

Stop by tomorrow and I will tell you
about the other exciting event I attended that afternoon!


July 5, 2013

Friday after the Fourth

The 'extremely popular' Friday Food Focus 
will be returning next week...

This week, Rosie is just dropping in to say hello
and we hope you had a Happy 4th of July!

We are enjoying these finally sunny
and VERY hot days at the beach!

How was your 4th?


July 1, 2013

Flowers and Followers

I thought I would be late in reminding you how you can follow my blog.
Then I signed on my computer this morning 
and noticed that Google Reader was still working.

But who knows how long that will last
since today was supposed to be the end!

So, please remember to follow my blog
email (see side bar)
and of course - Bloglovin.

I would hate to lose touch with all you 
lovely readers!

In the meantime,
enjoy my lavender from the front yard.
It's at peak right now.
I have to dry some out 
to bring inside for a natural air freshener.

I just love this time of year!
(Except it is pouring rain at the moment)

Enjoy your week!

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