Monday, July 22, 2013

The Dirty Grapefruit:

"The Dirty Grapefruit"

      Over the weekend, my friend Tony and I got creative in the kitchen mixing cool and refreshing cocktails. I mentioned to him that I had an abundance of fresh mint in my backyard garden as well as a handful of rosy pink grapefruits and told him we both should brainstorm on what to use them for. Tony came up with the genius idea of adding tart balsamic vinegar to a cocktail recipe and the end result was nothing less than utterly delicious! Since the gorgeous ruby grapefruit color became a bit muddy with the addition of balsamic vinegar, we decided to affectionately call this recipe, "the dirty grapefruit." What I love most about this cocktail is that the flavor balances between sugary sweet coupled with dark and mysterious notes. Truly a drink that will please any crowd no matter their taste buds! 

I've been obsessed with the bright shade of pink found on the inside of these grapefruits that I purchased from Walmart, who says you can't get beautiful produce on a budget?

Magic Ingredients:
-Juice of 4 grapefruits
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-2 tablespoons sugar
-12 mint leaves
-2 tablespoons water
-2 shots of vodka
(serves two)

Just some of the mint trimmings from my garden, I have so much
I don't know what to do with it all.

Getting Started:
1: In a small sauce pan, mix 1 tablespoon of sugar, balsamic vinegar, and 1/3 of the grapefruit juice. Simmer the syrup mixture over low heat until the sugar has dissolved and allow to cool.
2: While the syrup is on the stove, muddle the remaining sugar, mint leaves, and a splash of water in a small dish and set aside until you are ready to mix your drinks.
3: Fill two serving cups to the brim with ice and divide the grapefruit balsamic syrup between the two, top each glass with a serving of the remaining grapefruit juice, and finish with the muddled mint water.
4: Garnish your cocktail with a straw and all the trimmings and you are ready to serve!

      Settling down in my small but quaint garden underneath the Santa Cruz sun has got to be one of the best ways to enjoy a cold beverage and soak up the heat. How do you enjoy summer cocktails?


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Garden Bouquets:

Trimmings from my garden including some freshly ripened peppers and green zebra tomatoes. 

      With summer in full swing I love taking advantage of all the fresh seasonal blooms sprouting in my garden. Creating arrangements with whatever is overgrown in my yard is a simple task that brings me a lot of joy and also a bit of bright foliage into my home. For these rustic centerpieces I plucked a few stems of calendula, pink and apricot carnations, echinacea, pink daisies, and royal purple heliotrope. Calendulas are one of my favorite flowers to grow because the plants produce lots of blooms which are great for cutting and displaying in vases and the petals are also edible and look lovely on salads and wedges of goat cheese. Another favorite flower would be heliotrope from my newly aquired plant, the purple cloud like flowers evoke the subtle fragrance of vanilla and licorice which perfume my entire home! 

Carnations make for an excellent cutting flower, lots of blooms to enjoy!

Daisies look even more adorable in a soft shade of girlish pink.

Repurposing an old pasta jar as a vase.

A small collection of vases, two are vintage and the skull is an old vodka bottle.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Living Room Essentials:

Living Room Essentials

Living Room Essentials by nsaich on Polyvore

       I adore the eclectic comfy vibe this curated living room creates. If I had my way, my own living room would look strikingly similar to this image! I already possess a few of the essentials that I listed, including a  chocolate brown leather couch that is perfect for sinking into with a good book and reading with a scented candle near by. I also display my growing collection of rocks and geodes (via Gem Show) on my bookcase and coffee table for visual effect. Fresh picked florals from my garden make things feel more inviting and a deck of cards adds an element of fun! For me, the holy grail would be to own the striped rug (one day right?!). Until then, I will bask in the virtual idea of interior design bliss. What are some things that you consider living room essentials?


Gems & Jewels

Ankle bracelet constructed with a wire wrapped shark tooth, pearls, amethyst, and apatite stones.

      For the second installment of Gems & Jewels (view the first here) I wanted to showcase some of my latest creations. I always get so much enjoyment out of working with natural elements like shark teeth, amethyst, and tourmalated quartz to put together different sparkly earrings or necklaces. I especially loved the shark tooth ankle bracelet paired with all those lovely tattoos as a backdrop! Which is your favorite piece?

Tourmalated quartz and pyrite stones suspended on silver chain.

Tourmalated quartz is a gem that can never be created synthetically. I love that each piece is unique and different.

The quartz points in this necklace have been treated with titanium to
create that metallic tone. I thought that the finish of faceted pyrite and hematite chips paired well with the quartz.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

My life is like a recurring birthday, it's full of cake:

     Last month it was my friend Bella's birthday and in my typical fashion, I celebrated by baking a cake! Bella's little brother, Jonas, helped me with the process and I'm so glad he was around because I truly couldn't have done it without him. Last year I made Bella an elegant four layer pink ombre cake that I decorated with fresh elements from my garden (seen here). This year she wanted a blue cake so I decided to go in a completely different direction from last year's frilly girlishness. I knew I was baking for a crowd so instead of stacking many cakes (labor intensive) I baked two cakes in large casserole dishes for a more casual and easy to serve vibe. After frosting the cakes with a home made icing, I layered fresh fruits and used chocolate covered sunflower seeds to spell out the birthday girl's name! Thank you again Jonas for being a great sous chef, I think the cake ended up being pretty stellar:


Monday, July 8, 2013

Retreat Recap: Fort Bragg

This cow seemed genuinely ticked off that I managed to interrupt such a serene moment while taking in the ocean view. 

      Just the last few images from my quick trip to Fort Bragg. To recap, I saw some amazing hand crafted jewelry at the Sea Glass Museum, scavenged for chunks of sea glass at Glass Beach, enjoyed lovely floral arrangements at The Country Inn, and even saw a few stray cows on the drive home along the coast! Of course now that I am home for good, I am dreaming of where my next voyage will take me!

I only recently learned how to wire wrap sea glass and other objects
 but this necklace gives me so much inspiration for future pieces of jewelry.

The blooms were grown right on the property of The Country Inn,
I also happen to have the same vase!

In this image, you can see how much glass covers the beach shore.

A view while on the golden gate bridge.

You can follow me on Instagram at!

Coloring while out to a fancy dinner, something I learned from my dad. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sea Glass Museum:

A rainbow array of sea glass.

      I mentioned recently in this post that I loved taking home bits of sea glass as free souvenirs from my small trip to Fort Bragg. Another city attraction I loved was the Sea Glass Museum which is run by Captain Cass (yes, a real captain!) and admittance is completely free and donations are much appreciated. The building is filled to the brim with display cases featuring a rainbow array of frosted sea glass, books loaded with information and photos, and gorgeous handmade jewelry. Given the chance, I might have stayed to gaze at the jewels of glass all day!

While the beaches of Fort Bragg were being utilized as dump sites,
they would routinely burn the beaches because the trash was not
being carried away to the ocean. This process created mottled
pieces of one of a kind fire glass as seen above!

This aqua color reminds me of the ocean where these treasures were found.

Yellow is one of my favorite colors of sea glass to find along with lavender.

Black see glass looks a lot like stones or rocks but when held to the light you can see thru it!
(After re-examining a piece of dark black glass I found I discovered it was actually red!)

Soft pink shades can be difficult to find, sometimes this color can be created in clear glass when it reacts with the sunlight! 

I would feel lucky to find a big circular piece of a blue bottle one day!