Country Living...Island Dreaming

March 31, 2016

Just Back with More to Come...

I guess I should have planned to post a few times while I was away so it wouldn't be so obvious I was out of town...


Last night we returned from a wonderful family road trip to Boston.  I will post more later today but I just wanted to check in to say hello.


More details to come, including our stay in "jail"!

How has your week been so far?


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March 25, 2016

Easy Chicken Teriyaki

With baseball season already in full swing, I am always looking for quick and easy ideas for dinner.  The other night I threw together a last minute Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry and my kids raved about it like I spent hours cooking.  Note to self...don't spend hours cooking anymore!  (Not like I really did before anyway...)

Easy Chicken Teriyaki - Calypso in the Country Blog

Ingredients:

Chicken Breast (cut into small pieces
Olive Oil
Frozen Vegetables - Stir Fry Blend (without sauce)
Bottled Teriyaki Sauce
Rice

Directions:

Heat up the olive oil in a large pan.
Add the chicken until cooked through, then remove it and set aside.
Add a little more oil and then the frozen vegetables.  (To help prevent the vegetables from becoming too soggy, you can rinse off any ice and dry them as much as possible before adding to the pan.)
After a few minutes, add back in the chicken along with about 1/2 the bottle of teriyaki sauce.
Cook until heated.
Serve over rice.

Organic Teriyaki Sauce

I recently started using this Wegman's store brand Organic Teriyaki Sauce.  It's actually quite good and it doesn't have any high fructose corn syrup or genetically modified soybeans like most brands.  It can be so hard to find healthier processed foods these days.

Easy Chicken Teriyaki Dinner Kids Will Love - Calypso in the Country Blog

I threw in a few leftover pineapple pieces on the side and we had a delicious and EASY dinner!  I think I will be adding this one to my dinner rotation for awhile.  It was definitely a hit!

Easy Chicken Teriyaki Recipe - Calypso in the Country Blog

What dinners do you have in your rotation?

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March 23, 2016

Book Review - Lies and Other Acts of Love

I was so excited when the lovely, Kristy Woodson Harvey offered to send me an advance copy of her new book, Lies and Other Acts of Love.  As a huge fan of her blog, Design Chic and her first novel, Dear Carolina, I couldn't wait to dive into her newest creation.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.
Book Review - Lies and Other Acts of Love

My original plan for reading Lies and Other Acts of Love was to take notes along the way so I could share as many thoughts and details with you as I could - without giving too much away, of course!  Well, the note-taking never happened because I found myself so caught up in the story that I just wanted to sit back and enjoy it.  I waited until I was finished reading to write down my thoughts along with a few cute quotes that I found entertaining (which are listed near the end of this post).

Here is a brief recap from the back cover:

Dear Carolina was praised as “Southern fiction at its best.”* Now author Kristy Woodson Harvey presents a new novel about what it really means to tell the truth . . .

After sixty years of marriage and five daughters, Lynn “Lovey” White knows that all of us, from time to time, need to use our little white lies.

Her granddaughter, Annabelle, on the other hand, is as truthful as they come. She always does the right thing—that is, until she dumps her hedge fund manager fiancé and marries a musician she has known for three days. After all, her grandparents, who fell in love at first sight, have shared a lifetime of happiness, even through her grandfather’s declining health.

But when Annabelle’s world starts to collapse around her, she discovers that nothing about her picture-perfect family is as it seems. And Lovey has to decide whether one more lie will make or break the ones she loves . . .

Book Review - Lies and Other Acts of Love


I know I love a book when I find myself thinking about it while I go about my daily routine.  These past few weeks have been crazy busy around here but I couldn't wait to set aside some quiet time to indulge myself in this charming story.

Kristy Woodson Harvey has a gift for creating memorable characters with strong personalities and dialogue.  You just can't prevent yourself from becoming emotionally involved in their lives and losing yourself in their world.  Not a bad place to lose yourself, considering her story takes place in a small southern town and focuses on family and the deep emotions of love and loss.  It's easy to fall in love with the characters and genuinely care what happens to them.

From the sassy best friend who isn't afraid to say what she thinks, to the grandmother who provides solid advice from many years of experience, these are people we all know in our own lives.  With the story being told from two perspectives; grandmother and granddaughter, you are able to get inside their heads to understand why each character made their decisions in life.  We are reminded that there is no perfect family and things aren't always what they seem.

The novel flowed beautifully from the very beginning, providing just the right number of twists and turns to keep you wondering throughout.  There was plenty of lighthearted humor and adorable analogies mixed in with the heavier emotional subject matter.  Even the end of the story was wrapped up perfectly, leaving you satisfied knowing the reasons behind the paths taken.

If you are starting your summer reading list, I highly recommend adding Lies and Other Acts of Love...I predict we will be spotting this book all over the beach!  And I predict that Kristy Woodson Harvey will continue to entertain us with her amazing writing for many years to come!


And now for a few of my favorite random quotes from the book:

"I rolled my eyes, realizing it was difficult to look haughty in a somewhat sheer linen cover-up and flip-flops with bows on them."

"Should you choose to accompany me, there will be snacks and a box set of all of James Taylor's hits"

"But as hard as I tried, the words were stuck like a hamster in a tube too small."

"The kid deserved a win."

Summer Reading List - Lies and Other Acts of Love


Lies and Other Acts of Love will be released on April 5, 2016 but you can pre-order the book now through the retailers listed on her website:  Kristywoodsonharvey.com or through my Amazon affiliate link - Lies and Other Acts of Love.

*Thanks again to Kristy Woodson Harvey for providing me with a copy of her book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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March 18, 2016

Coffee Table - Calypso Style

It's been awhile since I have done anything interesting with my coffee tables.  Just for fun, I thought I would join in on a Chairish Coffee Table Challenge.  If you are not familiar with Chairish.com, they are an online retailer where you can buy and sell vintage and used furniture.  They also carry tons of decor including vintage books and pieces you don't see everywhere.

I started with one of their antique coffee tables and found a few accessories to come up with an island inspired look...


Obviously, not everything is to scale in my picture but you get the idea.  These are pieces that would add a little island style into my home.  You can click on the links below to bring you to the actual items on their website.  

1.  Tray -Whitewashed Teak Carved Tray
2.  Vase - Huge Bulbous Hand Painted Vase
3.  Books - Art Books
4.  Shell - Natural Conch Shell
5.  Wood Box - Wooden Cane Box
6.  Coasters - Vintage Brass Anchor Coasters
7.  Orchid - from my home
8.  Glass Hurricane - Hurricane Candle Holder
9.  Coffee Table - Antique Wooden Coffee Table

By the way, I am not being compensated in any way to create this coffee table style board or to mention Chairish...just in case you were wondering.

When styling a coffee table I think it is important to consider a few things:
  • The colors and style of your room.
  • The seasons - because it's always fun to keep things fresh.
  • Things you love.  You want your room to reflect who you are.
As you might know from reading my blog, I love the Caribbean and try to incorporate a bit of island charm into my home without going too crazy.
Caribbean Inspired Mantel
Considering what my mantel looks like these days, this island inspired coffee table should fit right in with my family room decor.

My living room hasn't escaped my island touches either.  Here is one way I have styled my living room coffee table in the past.  This is actually where I got the idea to use the cane box and shells in my inspiration board above.

Bromeliad
You can see more of this post - HERE.

And you can see, my home office is filled with all kinds of island style as well...
You can see more - HERE

All this talk of islands is making me dream of a tropical vacation.  Too bad we don't have one planned ...and too bad it is supposed to snow here this weekend!  Ugh.

What items do you like to use
 on your coffee table?

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March 17, 2016

Throwback Thursday - Girls Weekend in Newport Rhode Island

I recently came across some photos from a (long time ago) girls weekend in Newport Rhode Island.  I just had to scan them into the computer and share them with you.  I am guessing they were taken the summer of 2002.

Lawn at Castle Hill - Newport Rhode Island
This is the view from one of my favorite places in Newport - the lawn at the Castle Hill Inn.  I remember sipping cocktails out here during many visits to Newport.  Such a beautiful spot!

Here I am during one of our sightseeing days and I still have that gingham dress...

Marble House
This is the entrance to the Marble House, one of the many "cottages" we toured.  Marble House was built for Alva and William Kissam Vanderbilt.  He actually gave her the house for her 39th birthday.  I don't remember getting anything like that for my 39th birthday.  I think my husband needs to step it up on the gifts.

Marble House - Newport Rhode Island
It blows my mind that these were summer homes, known as "cottages".  Not really what comes to mind when you think of the word 'cottage'!

Japanese Tea House -Newport Rhode Island
The Japanese Tea House sits on the back lawn of Marble House.  Quite a structure to have in your backyard.  All we have is a swing-set.

The Elms - Newport Rhode Island
This 'cottage' is called The Elms.  You can kind of tell from this photo that the grounds of this mansion were just spectacular.  How would you like a yard like that?

Newport is surrounded by water so a sunset cruise only made sense.
Newport Rhode Island
Such a wonderful viewpoint to see all the mansions.

Newport Bridge
Around the time I took this picture, I remember spilling my whole glass of champagne on my friend...good times.

Castle Hill Inn - Newport Rhode Island
This is the Castle Hill Inn I mentioned above.  As you can see, the lawn is filled with guests enjoying cocktails on the lawn at sunset.  

Newport Sunset
And a beautiful sunset to end the day.  

The next morning we actually visited my favorite Castle Hill Inn again.  This time instead of cocktails on the lawn, we had a lovely brunch.
Look how happy and relaxed I looked back then.  Not that I am not happy now, just less relaxed!

It was a little chilly that morning so we just took a few pictures before heading inside to dine.

The outside was filled anyway.  I guess these people didn't mind the chilly weather.  The mimosas probably helped!

A delicious brunch to end the trip.

View from the Castle Hill Inn - Newport Rhode Island
Thanks for reminiscing with me.  It's been way too long and I think I need to plan another trip back to Newport but with my family this time.  My kids are old enough to appreciate the architecture and they would definitely enjoy the Cliff Walk - (a 3.5 walkway along the back lawns of many of the mansions).

I can't find the rest of my photos (or maybe I didn't take any) but take my word for it that the town of Newport is the most charming little village filled with shops and incredible restaurants.  Each year the local restaurants compete in a clam chowder contest known as The Great Chowder Cook-Off.  For me, a trip to Newport is not complete without a few bowls of clam chowder!

Have you ever been to Newport Rhode Island?


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March 14, 2016

Still Searching for Counter Stools

I still haven't decided on counter stools.  I know it looks like I am the most indecisive person in the world (and the clumsiest, but I will get to that) but I just want to find the right stools for my kitchen!

For years, I dreamed of the look I wanted in my kitchen.  I have worked very hard choosing every item and so far I am very happy with all of my decisions.


As you can see above, I am still using two temporary wood stools.  They are functional for the kids to sit there but they don't go with my overall plan.

I feel like I am constantly online searching and gathering different options for my kitchen.  Take a look at some of my ideas below and feel free to let me know what you think!

By the way, some of the links to the stools below are 'affiliate links'.  Which means if you click over and purchase the stool, I will make a small percentage off the sale with no additional cost to you.

Let's start looking at the latest group of stools I gathered up!

I still like the idea of a backless stool so I can push it under the counter when not in use.  We currently have basic round wood ones but I like the idea of cushion...
Angeles Counter Stool from Dot and Bo - sponsored
(affiliate link)

I am also thinking it might be nice to swivel so a cushion and swivel might be a nice option...
Manchester Backless Stool from Frontgate - Calypso in the Country blog

I do like the white because the stools would stand out against the cherry island.

Then again, I could go with a white seat to get that look.  Many of you have commented in the past how you like a back on your counter stool...
Grand Concourse Stool from Dot and Bo - sponsored post - Calypso in the Country Blog
(affliliate link)

Not only does the one above have a back but it also has a nice metal footrest to put your feet on.  You just know my boys would manage to scuff up a wood footrest.

Doesn't this stool look luxurious though?
Leandra Counter Stool - from Dot and Bo - sponsored post
(affliliate link)

The one above might be too sophisticated for my family.  It does look comfy though!

This one actually fits our family's lifestyle a little better..,
Socrates Stool - Dot and Bo - sponsored post - Calypso in the Country blog
(affliliate link)

Yeah, you know those boys would be spinning away on that.

Or even this one which isn't as wide at the bottom...

Target Dakota Stool


If I am going to go with an industrial look, these might work as well...
Treighton Bar Stools from Dot and Bo - sponsored - Calypso in the Country blog
(affiliate link)

I like the way the tops are wood so you don't have to sit directly on cold metal.

But if I am going for wood and industrial, why not throw a back on and do something like this...
Eli High Back Stool from Dot and Bo - sponsored - Calypso in the Country blog
(affiliate link)

I have saved tons of inspiration photos of stools like this and they look really nice in my type of kitchen.  They also remind me of the "Fixer Upper Style" which I just love!  (Don't we all?!)

One of my original ideas for the counter stools involved something like this though...
Chicago Counter Stools from Dot and Bo - sponsored - Calypso in the Country blog
(affliliate link)

I have seen many variations of these chairs but the ones above swivel.  That might work well with my island since there will be three stools in a row.  

Whatever I choose, I really need to get moving on my decision.  These tiny-seated wooden things are just not cutting it for me with my morning tea routine.
Buffalo Checked Pajamas with Sur La Table Initial Mug - Calypso in the Country Blog

And on top of that - today I am having to stretch out to rest my knee.  

I would like to tell you a glamorous story of a knee injury while skiing but no, that is not the case.  Sure, we took the family to Vermont and skied all weekend.  The conditions were not ideal this time with slush on Friday, icy patches on Saturday and limited trails open.  But we all managed to ski our best on probably our last weekend up there for the season.  My husband and I congratulated ourselves for not getting any injuries....Then I went to feed Rosie this morning and tripped into the closet, smashing my knee into the corner of the wall.  Apparently, I am not as coordinated as I gave myself credit for - I can barely walk now...just fabulous.

But anyway, back to the counter stools.  With all these beautiful options out there I am having such a hard time deciding!  I guess with the way my knee feels now, I will have plenty of time to sit and decide!


What are your thoughts on these counter stools?

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March 6, 2016

Spring on the Deck

I know it's only March but I am already beginning to think how nice it will be to start using our deck again!  All these photos are from previous years but they are making me look forward to the warmer weather...

I can't wait to relax out there sipping a glass of wine...

Or to admire flowers I haven't yet killed...(Maybe this year I will develop a green thumb!)

Or to spend time with my darling Rosie out there...

It will be wonderful to dine alfresco...

And to start using the grill again...
I always picture a lovely scene like this when I think of grilling.

Yet, my husband always seems to remember these days...
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March 1, 2016

March 1st Table Setting on the Island

Happy first day of March everyone!
Hooray!

I guess the title sounds like I am on an island..a tropical island!  I wish!  Well, it is a gorgeous sunny day here so I will just imagine!  The weather certainly inspired me to set the island (in my kitchen) for spring!
Spring Table Setting

After all, this is my first spring since our kitchen renovation.  Why not celebrate?!!

Spring Kitchen

I set the island for two.  Who would like to join me?

Spring Table Setting

I pulled out the fruit plates which have been in storage since last year.  

Tulips for Spring

I bought the tulips almost a week ago.  They are still hanging in there but I think I will replace them soon...with more tulips!  Nothing says spring to me like tulips.

Spring Place Setting


Spring Decor in the Kitchen

Don't you love the way the blue sky is reflecting off the granite?  I even have the windows cracked open a bit!

Spring Table Setting

I have had these green houndstooth place mats forever.  The light green feels so fresh and springy to me.

Kitchen Island


Spring Vignette
I even set up a little spring vignette on the corner of my counter.

Decorating for Spring

Island decorated for spring

Ahh, I just love this time of year.

Spring Decor
Thanks for stopping by to see my First Day of March table setting!  Spring is officially THIS month!


What are you decorating on this first day of March?

I would love for you follow along so you don't miss a post!


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Spring Table Setting on the Island - Calypso in the Country blog






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