Monday, March 26, 2012

Peach inspiration...

Our rose tree has started blooming again, putting out a gorgeous peach bloom here and there. I can't wait until it gets into full blooming mode and we have a whole bunch of these beauties. I snapped these photos over the weekend, as I thought a little bit of peach beauty might inspire and brighten everyone's Monday.
Wishing all of you a good start to the week...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Friday, March 23, 2012

A (not so little) housewarming gift...

A dear friend of mine just bought an old house in need of a little renovation. She's making quite a bit of headway judging from the photos she keeps sending me and I can hardly wait to see it all in person. As a little housewarming/congratulations gift, I'll be taking this wall art to her in a couple of months. It's made completely out of metal and I found it quite striking. The colors are perfect for my friend's home. I sent her a couple of photos to make sure she would approve (and leave a big enough space to hang it, as it is on the large side) and I got a big thumbs up. I'm so looking forward to delivering it to her and seeing her house.

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome, spring...

The first blooms of spring always make my heart sing.
~ S. Brown

The first day of spring is always something worth celebrating. Even if it's still chilly where you live, spring brings the assurance that sunny, warmer weather is near and with it, some gorgeous blooms. I love spring flowers ~ they seem a little more special than the summer ones, probably because they offer that sense of renewal with an air of delicacy. Tulips are my favorite spring flower, followed by lilacs.
Do you have a favorite spring flower?

I am linking to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound.

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Musings and moving...

As we prepare for moving back East, I am struck by how much I miss some things already. I already miss my somewhat quiet California life and the great Mexican food. I already miss living near the beach, in much the same way I still miss my great old house in the Carolinas. And while I'll be moving back to that wonderful house soon, I'm not very good at being in limbo. Trying to sort out a job, what to take, what to get rid of, coordinating a cross-country move with several dogs... it just makes my head spin.
As all of this whirls around in my mind, I realize I've been in a state of missing one thing or another for the last six years. For the first couple of years here, I missed my house and my friends and my old job terribly. As I made new friends and got settled, those feelings lessened, but never went completely away. And then when we were suddenly forced to move last summer after our landlord lost the house we'd rented for four years, we had to put quite a few things in storage as our new place is much smaller. One of the main things I've done without since then are my lovely dishes, most of which wound up in storage because there was simply no room. I was cleaning out photos the other day and came across these snapshots of my orphan tea cups and it made me miss them all the more. It probably sounds odd to say I miss things like pretty dishes, but there's a little more to it than that. It's really more that I miss having all the beautiful things I love in my life ~ people and possessions ~ in one place, where I can see them and talk with them and enjoy their company every day. Does that make sense?
It will be wonderful to live in a home we own again, to have enough room for everything and to really and truly settle in once and for all. If only I can get through the limbo period...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pretty tulips for a gloomy day...

A winter storm is headed our way, which means snow in the mountains and rain for us here at the coast. The chill has already settled in and the rain is on its way so I decided to combat the gloom by sharing these lovely pink tulips. Normally I enjoy the rain, but I have so much to do this weekend and the rain just makes me want to crawl under a blanket with a good book. I hope the weather is better where you are.
Wishing all of you a lovely weekend...

I am linking to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound.

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Easy meatballs and pasta...

I arrived home one night this week only to remember I had not given any thought to dinner, nor had I made it to the grocery store. That meant I had to hit the freezer and pantry for something worthwhile to eat. It was chilly, too, so I wanted something on the heartier side. I pulled out some hamburger, grabbed a box of fettuccine, a can of diced tomatoes and a jar of spaghetti sauce. I defrosted some hamburger quickly thanks to my awesome microwave defroster setting and set about making some meatballs. I could have just browned the hamburger and made spaghetti, I know, but I really wanted something a little different, with a fresher taste ~ not exactly easy when you're working from pantry and freezer staples. I envisioned some good meatballs with a little pasta and tomatoes and this is what I came up with. All of the measurements are approximations, as I just threw it together. Think of this more as a guide than an exact recipe. Oh, and if you think meatballs take forever, they don't. Dinner was cooked and eaten in under an hour. And it was quite good.

Easy Meatballs and Pasta
Serves 2-4, depending on portion sizes

3/4 to 1 pound of hamburger
1 egg
Seasoned bread crumbs – about 1/3 cup, or whatever you need to help hold everything together
1/2 cup or so shredded monterey jack cheese
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with your hands. Roll meatballs into desired size and place on a cooling rack set inside a baking sheet with sides that is sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until done. Be careful not to overcook the meatballs as they will dry out.

While the meatballs are baking, boil water for pasta and prepare the sauce. 

For the sauce, mix together one can of good petite diced tomatoes and a half jar or so of your preferred spaghetti sauce (or two cans of tomatoes and some tomato paste). Season with oregano and rosemary, if desired. Bring to a boil and then simmer. 

Once meatballs are cooked and pasta is drained, (I used fettuccine, but spaghetti would be fine), plate and serve hot. Great with a salad and some good crusty bread. 

Bon Appetit.

I am linking Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage.

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Beauty at the beach...

I have always loved the beach. The smell of the salty water, 
the wind in my face, the gentle roar of the waves ~ all combine to create a sense of peace and calm.
~ Anonymous

Emily ventured out with us to the beach a few days ago during a particularly warm day and had a wonderful time greeting everyone. Her favorite thing in the world is to meet new people. I brought my camera to snap a few photos of her (and the beach) and this one is my favorite. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's almost like she sees something we don't. An artist friend of mine saw this picture and wants to create a painting of it. Emily at my favorite beach ~ what a wonderful keepsake of California that would be.

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blooming fences...

It was a gorgeous weekend where I live ~ sunny and warm and just generally delightful, so we spent quite a bit of time outside. The blooms on the fence in our back yard have been going to town for about a week now, so I thought I would share their beauty with you. It's quite wonderful to see that gorgeous color directly outside my kitchen windows.
Wishing all of you a wonderful week...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Friday, March 9, 2012

Beauty in little things...

I was walking through my laundry room the other day not paying attention to much of anything when these pretty hangers caught my eye. I was suddenly struck by how lovely they were, just hanging there waiting for clothes. And then I remembered, again, how often it is the little things that make our worlds more lovely and pleasant. So I grabbed my camera and took a photo to share with all of you as a gentle reminder to stop and look around for beauty today.
If you're wondering where you can find pretty padded hangers like that very reasonably, I recommend TJ Maxx, Ross, HomeGoods ~ places like that. And since there are a few touches of pink, I'm linking to Pink Saturday. Stop by How Sweet the Sound for more pretty pinks.
Wishing all of you a lovely weekend...

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Soft and serene...

I love an inviting piece of furniture ~ something that makes you want to while away the hours relaxing in its beauty. These two finds do just that; they look so soft and serene. Bliss...
We have a winner in our giveaway ~ Patti from They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To won the drawing and is selecting her prize now. If you like old movies, do stop by her wonderful blog.
Wishing all of you a wonderfully serene end to the week...

Photos from Pinterest ~ click for source: Blue, Pink

Friday, March 2, 2012

Blissful afternoons on the porch...

Doesn't this little porch look like a slice of heaven? I love the colors ~ so light and airy and cheerful. And the gorgeous, abundant display of flowers is an indulgence all its own. After seeing this, I have a hundred little ideas swirling in my head about what I could do with my own sunroom when I move back East. I can just imagine lovely afternoons spent curled up on a daybed with my dogs and a good book... bliss.
To see more of this adorable cottage, click here to check out the entire slide show on Country Living.
Wishing everyone a lovely weekend...

Photo by Max Kim-Bee/Country Living