DELRAY DELIGHTS


Early this week I was over on the East Coast of Florida and I had a chance to swing by downtown Delray Beach while there on business. I had seen "Linda Bean's Maine Lobster" before and read that it had amazing lobster rolls, so we stopped in for lunch. My husband isn't into shellfish, but he indulged me - being the great guy and good sport that he is - and I had the best lobster roll I've ever tasted! The roll was accompanied by their "kelpislaw", pickles and salt & vinegar chips. It really hit the mark.


Another draw along Delray's main drag - Atlantic Ave. - is prep clothing headquarters "The Snappy Turtle"


This place has been a celebrated spot for finding brightly colored, tropical clime casual clothing, accessories and gifts for a long time and is right up my alley. 



Very Palm Beach-y. Lots of gauzy tunics, monograms, and prep overload. 


Loved the accessories corner where you can buy just about anything monogrammed.




Entrance to the beach - I love natural arbors.


We saw a parrot with some beautiful lemony yellow tailfeathers just hanging out in the trees.
Delray Beach also has an arts district charmingly dubbed "The Pineapple Arts District".
I didn't get a chance to visit it this time, but will return soon to see more. If you haven't been to Delray Beach, I would definitely recommend a visit. It's a charming place to stay, chock-full of cute shops and good restaurants right on the Atlantic. Have you been?
Have a great weekend, everyone!

THE KEYS FOR RELAXATION


This is dining alfresco at Morada Bay Cafe, a great spot for lunch 
and even better for a sunset dinner. 

Last week I took a little trip down to my sister and brother-in-laws house in the Florida Keys (which is for sale here, btw). Islamorada to be exact.  Even though I've been living in Florida for 6 years now, I had yet to visit the infamous Keys.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time and was, once again, awed by the natural beauty of my adopted state, especially the water. Breathtaking! Here's my little synopsis and a few highlights. I may spread these out in a couple of posts.


Pretty nice view, right?


Fish tacos are a staple favorite of mine, so guess what I ordered?


this is the sister establishment of Morada Bay Cafe, Pierre's


I love how the outdoor tables are painted in such charming colors - right up my alley!
I can't decide which color combo I like best.




Old Florida style with a tin roof, hot pink shutters and periwinkle blue trim.


If you're ever in Islamorada, I would definitely recommend stopping in for ambience and a little refreshment


Find your place in the sun (or shade)!
Check it out here

TROPICAL ESCAPE FOR SALE


My stylish and creative sister and her husband have just renovated a home in the Florida Keys and it's now on the market!  If you're looking for a base in Islamorada where you can soak up the sun and spend your days on the water, then look no further!


The home has 2 separate levels with 2 apartments complete with their own kitchen and baths. Ideal for large family gatherings or as rentals.



You can keep a boat in the backyard on your own dock with canal access to the Ocean!


Lushly landscaped with palms and low-maintenance tropical foliage


Complete with beautiful acacia wood floors
Premium appliances, marble countertops, subway tiles and flooded with light!
Find out all the details here.

FLORIDA STYLE



via Gulf to Bay Sothebys




via Shorely Chic




via Palm Beach Sothebys


I hope that you had a nice weekend. I had a very nice one myself and was just thinking how blessed I feel to live in Florida. 
Moving here over 5 years ago was one of the best things I have ever done. 
We have a perfectly sunny, warm Winter and then, even in Summer, we experience cooler temperatures than many parts of the U.S.  I never grow tired of the lush vegetation, beautiful beaches and laid-back lifestyle. It's a place full of green and color year-round and being expressive with color in your dress and decorating is not frowned upon, so I fit in perfectly.
 It's definitely not a place where the chromaphobic mentality reigns! 
Viva Florida!

A PERSONAL RE-BOOT


I haven't been doing much of this lately, as things have been very busy work-wise.  When I do need a break and get an hour or two to re-boot, I like to head to the local beach with my trusty pink portable lounger.
The first Trader Joe's in Florida recently opened here, so I've become a regular as I love their selection and great values. I often come away with one of these to eat at the beach


Trader Joe's "Super Spinach" salad with carrot ginger dressing and a myriad of other raw goodies. I love their roasted sea weed, too. I enjoy every morsel, even when everyone else thinks I am crazy! Have you ever tried it? I say, don't knock it until you've tried it!


Then I will sit and listen to the waves and watch all of the tourists watch this



And I feel rejuvenated enough to go back at it for another day!
Enjoy your Wednesday.

PALM BEACH LOOK AT C. BELL


Even though I live across the state, on "the other coast" from Palm Beach, I still find the look perfectly charming and a'propos for the way I want to live. C. Bell is a great source for the PB look and I always enjoy the emails they send that are chock-full of their latest acquisitions.  
Like this great Pagoda-style glass panel cabinet OR


These matching end tables/ night stands OR


this colorful oil painting of a Scarlet Ibis with egg. (I have Ibis in my backyard all the time - they love to poke around in the grass looking for food)
All these great pieces can be found here - be sure to sign up for their mailing list while you're at it!

DUSK ON THE GULF COAST


This is just one of the many reasons I like living on the Florida coast....my view out the back of the house.
I hope that everyone has a great weekend with some opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and a little relaxation. I will see you back here on Monday!

SUNSET AND MOON RISING



Last night I took a walk at sunset with my camera. It was breathtaking. There's nothing like living near the water, especially here in Florida. On the front of the house, the sun was setting and on the back, the moon was rising. Even my lack of photographic skills don't completely kill the beauty of it. Very illustrative to me of life and the hope I have because of Easter and all that it represents to me personally. Even while the sun is setting, marking the death of the day, the moon is also rising simultaneously. God never leaves us without light and hope for the future. The seeming "end" of one thing always marks the beginning of something better. The best is always yet to be! Happy Easter! Have a wonderful weekend!

WEEKEND PLANS?

A little relaxing by the pool

Attack on the racks - a huge Lilly Pulitzer sale

A great local stationery shop with a myriad of choices for a paper junkie

More Lilly - definitely perfect for South Florida

A beautiful finish to the day

Here's a few photos from last weekend. I must admit that Winter in South Florida simply cannot be topped. Even when there's work to catch up on, it's great to spend a little time outside. Nothing like soaking up a little sun to energize me! I wish you all a warm, relaxing weekend. See you on Monday!

WINTER BLOOMS

These old fashioned David Austin roses are my favorite flowers. The multitude of petals and heady fragrance outshines any hybrid.

This particular rose is called "Abraham Darby" and is one of the prettiest, I think. This rose is a very old one and goes back to the 1800's.

A pot with geraniums and scaveola - not bad for a little Winter foliage, eh?

The petal count on these old roses is phenomenal!

They thrive in Winter here in Florida with all the sun and cooler nightime temps.

These hibiscus blooms are the size of a salad plate!

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am quite a fan of South Florida and love the climate, not to mention living a couple of miles off the Gulf of Mexico and the gorgeous Winter and Spring seasons here. One of the biggest perks has to be the beautiful trees, plants and flowers that bloom year-round. Having grown up with the harsh Winter climate of Michigan, I savor every luxury that living in the tropics affords. I just thought I'd share a few photos of some of my mom's roses and blooming plants around her pool that I took this week. It's always a treat when she cuts some roses for me and I can enjoy having them in a vase in my work space.

TIS THE SEASON.......

Illustration by Izak Zenou

......And I am not talking about the Holidays, just yet. I am talking about the "Season" here in South Florida, which is just beginning. Since we don't have beautiful turning leaves, cider mills or crisp nights, we are enjoying what we DO have. Temperatures below 85, stone crab season, a chance to wear a sweater (maybe!), the prospect of a beautiful Winter and the narrow escape from serious hurricane damage this year. Some year-round Floridians dread the season and love to complain about all the added traffic, crowds and snowbirds, but for me, it's a good thing. I look forward to the added liveliness, less humidity, Christmas lights on palm trees and never waking up to a cold and bleak landscape! The months between October and April are when year-round Floridians receive payoff for the steamy Summers (which I don't even mind). Here's to payoff season!

ANNECHOVIE PRODUCTS AT ZAZZLE

My sunshine quote apron

My Antique Porcelain Jar Stamp

My Courtney Barnes Chair Stamp

My Zazzle Gallery

I hope all of you had a relaxing Memorial Day Weekend! I had a nice weekend and got in a little pool time, enjoying the beautiful Florida weather and gorgeous breezes blowing through the palms. I can't believe it's nearly June already and so happy I can officially break out the white jeans without getting sideways glances. Now, it's back to work!

I am excited to announce that now, in addition to Etsy, I am selling some new products at Zazzle. So far, I am offering several different coffee mugs featuring my artwork, but also have created a mousepad and will be adding more items very soon, including US postage stamps with a couple of my most popular paintings. You can buy direct online and items ship within 24 hours! If you get a minute, hop over and check out my Zazzle gallery!

ALYS BEACH

Courtyards and all the white stucco make you feel like you are on an island in the tropics

A view of the village

A perfect outdoor setting for a little refreshment

The Fonville Press - the community coffee shop, gathering place and bookstore at Alys Beach

One of the beautiful pools at Alys Beach

The architecture is distinctively different from most other resort communities in Florida

These cobbled streets add to the quaint atmosphere that is Alys Beach

This is a great solution for a vacation home - the over sized banquette provides lots of room for extended family or friends that are staying together. Plus, it just looks charming!

A beautiful, serene bedroom in one of the vacation rentals

The perfect setting for an evening poolside soiree

Or, maybe this is even better? So hard to decide!

One of the modern, well-equipped kitchens in an Alys Beach vacation rental

This calming water feature would be soothing as you lay on a chaise and read

Another bright and well-appointed guest suite in one of the cottages. Love all the white!

Alys Beach is a relatively new resort community located in the beautiful Florida Panhandle. The beaches there are unparalleled in natural beauty. A few elements that set it apart from being just another high-end development are it's emphasis on sustainability, unique architecture and a sense of community. It was named for the matriarch of the town's founders and has a special quality of laid-back sophistication coupled with a family-friendly atmosphere. The architectural style is an eclectic blend of English, Antiguan and Guatemalan styles that comes together perfectly as the development's trademark and creates a crisp and distinctive silhouette against the azure skies. I have not stayed here yet, but have seen it in person and I can assure you that it is everything that it's "cracked up" to be. This would be the perfect place to rent a home for an extended family get-together or a reunion with friends. You have to go to the website to find out more for yourself and see all the beautiful images. Check it out right here.

Photos courtesy of Alys Beach website

IN MY OWN BACKYARD

The beautiful ceiling in the entrance of the Ringling Museum of Art

John Manners, Marquis of Granby by Joshua Reynolds - 1766 (photo courtesy of Ringling Museum of Art)

One of the museum's priceless treasures, La Sultana Rossa, by Titian - 1550's (photo courtesy of Ringling Museum of Art)

Here are I am on the loggia with a larger-than-life size urn. I could've taken this piece home with me. It would make for a very cool outdoor sculpture. The color is right up my alley as well!

One of the intricately carved, yet borderline gauche, architectural pieces that John Ringling imported or bought from auctions to furnish his museum and mansion, Ca D'Zan (or House of John).

This painting is not overly famous, yet you don't often seen Joseph pictured with the baby Jesus and I thought this had an especially nice quality to it. It was painted by Murillo in the 17th century. Unfortunately, I was very remiss and neglected my blogger's duty to take notes with some of my photos.I was too busy trying to obscure my camera from view of the museum police (btw, I DID NOT use a flash). For not labeling, I will certainly receive the "REMISS BLOGGER OF THE DAY" distinction.

A bust of me, before the chin implant and neck lipo. Actually, this is of Princess Anne.....

A very impressive portrait of Marie Antoinette in pastels by Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun! A truly amazing feat, considering this is about 10 feet in length and done entirely in chalks!(Please excuse my inferior, out-of-focus photography - not my strong suit!)

There is a large collection of Florentine and Venetian paintings here at the Ringling Museum of Art

One of the expansive marble loggias that line the inner courtyard


This tree was almost as impressive as any of the contents of the museum. These Banyan trees are native to Florida and their root systems are amazing. They grow to be absolutely massive.

An ornate verdigris iron doorway - I love the color against the pink of the building

A view of the inner courtyard. Apparently, circus magnate John Ringling (one of Sarasota's most famous residents) had so much excess cash, that he traveled to Europe and major auction houses looking for paintings, antiques and treasures that he could bring home to furnish his home and museum. He was a colorful fellow, to say the least. After seeing his bust at the museum, I would definitely have to term him a "Beefcake". He comes across as a wee bit narcissistic, but pretty generous at the same time. My theory is that he was extremely insecure and, as often is the mode of the nouveau-riche, spent his life flaunting his money in an effort to prove that he wasn't just a "Circus Guy". He did amass quite an impressive collection of art, antiques and architectural pieces.
The museum is home to several major works, including those of Rembrandt, Reynolds, El Greco, Gainsborough, Velazquez, Rubens and van Dyck. Not too shabby for a town the size of Sarasota. Mr. Ringling had quite a flair for the showy and dramatic, but how could you expect anything less from a guy who started a circus? He and his wife ended up totally broke and he bequeathed his estate to the State of Florida. The locals are certainly enriched because of it and the Museum is now the official art museum for the State of Florida. It makes for a great outing whether you live nearby or are in town visiting.
I have to say, most of the people lurking on stools in the galleries, guarding the paintings, were extremely courteous and didn't give you the evil eye, as is sometimes the case in museums. However, upon our exit, we did encounter a somewhat overzealous granny, who was so intent on getting our umbrella claim check before we could touch our umbrella, that she practically tackled us. She reminded me of one of those ladies who used to glare at me in a gift shop when I was a kid. The look said it all, "if you so much as touch ANYTHING, I will cut your little fingers off immediately!" Well, at least she is taking her job seriously, right? If you have a moment, take a look at the website here - there are even virtual tours to view.

The marble pieces are exquisite. This is one of many that stands under the covered portico surrounding the courtyard.

There are many beautiful fountains and sculptures on the grounds

Here is a more expansive view of the East Wing (on an uncharacteristically sunless Florida day)

More courtyard adornments

This is a (much smaller) replica of the famous Romulus and Remus statue that is the sacred symbol of Rome. The original is located in Italy. Is it just me, or do you find this a tad disturbing?? Two little guys nursing on a she-wolf?? Come on....Isn't ancient mythology weird? Inter species lactation? Very warped!!

The "Crown Jewel" of the Ringling Museum, the actual cast of Michelangelo's "David". This also happens to be the symbol for the City Of Sarasota, Florida.

SNAPS FROM THE WEEKEND

The alligator swimming not more than 15 feet outside my door. This guy was at least a 5 footer....

The beautiful tiled fountain and courtyard in "Morocco" at Epcot Disney

I thought this tea cup planter was so clever!

The gardens in "England" at Epcot. The most authentic looking part of Epcot, I think. Some of the other "countries" are way more staged looking. After all, it IS Disney.

I have been working very long hours lately, trying to complete some projects and get everything for my show done and shipped off. My eyes are tired and my hand is permanently poised as if still holding a paintbrush. With the pieces for the show finally sent, I decided to take a much-needed break and use a complimentary pass I was given to Disneyworld. I am not much for rides at this stage in life, but I did enjoy an absolutely gorgeous day outside at Epcot. Generally, I am not a big fan of amusement parks, crowds or tourist haunts, but I was surprised to find some beautiful gardens, a pretty authentic French chocolate croissant and a gorgeous Moroccan fountain. What did you do this weekend?

MY WEEKEND ON THE PERFECT PENINSULA

A feathery Australian Pine hanging over the bay - I can't believe how beautiful the water is..... It's been so fun learning all the names of the trees and plants here. So many interesting and gorgeous varieties!

Another depressing weekend in Florida with gloomy weather.....

Yes, yes, I know. I promise I am not trying to make anyone jealous. No, my life is hardly perfect and the weather here is not always sunny. Sometimes, even here in paradise, it gets stormy and things can be stressful. I don't take pictures when the skies are dark, tears are falling and I'm stressed with work and covered in paint (although that may be coming...stay tuned) However, I do believe in looking on the bright side and being thankful not only for the things that are going right, but also for the things that are difficult and painful, because even those trials can bring about good things. I am learning that acceptance, faith and gratitude are keys to peace. They make the disappointments and pain in life bearable and the sweet moments in life even that much sweeter. (Romans 8:28)

This weekend I had occasion to enjoy one of those happy times, taking some time out to celebrate a very special event in my family, my beloved baby sister's engagement! Lis is my spunky, adorable, funny, vivacious, smart, beautiful, sweet and energetic only sister. I am very protective of her (typical older sister) and it thrills me to see her so happy and contented. My new brother-to-be is a terrific guy who has proven, over time, to be such a consistent blessing, not only to my sister, but to our entire family. He is kind, reliable, honest, respectful, gentle, generous and loving. A man of integrity, a true rarity these days. They are so well suited to each other and bring out the best in one another, just as it should be. I am so happy for both of them and wish them a loving, peaceful and fulfilling life together. Congratulations - I love you guys!!

A SPRING STROLL AROUND ST. ARMANDS CIRCLE

St. Armand's Circle, Sarasota, FL. I don't know about you, but oftentimes I get so busy with work and life in general, that I forget to take time to enjoy the place I live and appreciate what the community has to offer. This past weekend I took a day off and spent a little time pretending to be a tourist in my own town. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. I thoroughly enjoyed having lunch with some great friends followed by a leisurely stroll around St. Armand's Circle, an outdoor shopping area with loads of little pastel hued boutiques, restaurants and galleries set around a picturesque central landscaped park on Lido Key. For a few hours, I felt like I was on vacation and got a much-needed recharging. After that, I spent a while at the bookstore, browsing to the accompaniment of some horribly out-of-tune Bluegrass performers. They could have made even a Tennessee granny want to pluck her chin whiskers out! Sad to say, I was strangely relieved when the lead performer started whistling the larger part of a couple of tunes. Well, needless to mention, I couldn't handle that for long. I seriously think bookstores should consider banning vocals. Anyone agree? A trip to the beach at sunset topped off my day and I went to bed thinking,"I need to do this more often!" Minus the bookstore bluegrass, of course!

A view of The Met - an upscale clothing store, day spa and salon.

One of the gorgeous flowering Orchid trees indigenous to the area.

I love all the potted palms and beautiful flowering plants everywhere.

The fountain in front of The Met

One of the many statues dotted around St. Armand's Circle

Another gorgeous flowering tree, the Tabebuia, or Gold Tree. I am a big botanical/horticultural nerd (from my parents dragging me to nurseries as a kid and my grandma, Lula, a HUGE gardening buff!)

Hemingway's Hideaway - a popular local eatery in shades of tropical sherbet.

Some of the many colorful French linens at Decor de France, a charming local boutique.

I love these quilted French table linens and the lime green iron baker's rack in the background.

Decor de France sells these colorful indoor/outdoor rugs that are great for porches and lanais.

A statue of Christopher Columbus. All of these beautiful statues ringing the circle that were once donated by circus magnate and former resident, John Ringling, have just recently been restored to their former glory.

The Columbia Restaurant's adjoining gift shop that features many unique and colorful pottery pieces imported from Spain.

I think this traditional ironwork partition between the restaurant and shop is a perfect place to display some of the gorgeous Spanish ceramics.

Is this colorfully tiled window full of eye candy or what? That urn is stunning - that color combination of the blue and yellow caught my eye. The prices on the ceramics are surprisingly reasonable.

The Columbia restaurant has had an outpost in Sarasota since the late 1950's. The food is amazing and it has a truly European atmosphere, especially with the outdoor bistro style tables. I am crazy about the chairs - just like those in Paris!

I absolutely love the clever incorporation of traditional Spanish tiles everywhere!

The Columbia Restaurant is a legendary Florida establishment. The first restaurant was opened by the Casimiro Hernandez family in Tampa in 1905. Since then, they have expanded to a family of 7 restaurants throughout the state. They are known for their authentic Spanish dishes and tapas. Another signature is their "1905 Salad" and the individual loaves of their paper-wrapped crusty warm bread. I could eat nothing but these two items and come away completely satisfied! It's truly a worthwhile place to visit with not only great food and ambiance, but outstanding and friendly service as well.
This is the recipe for the "1905 Salad", their signature salad. Once you taste it, you will be craving it for days....(I am a big Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice fan, 2 of the key ingredients in the dressing) so I was thrilled to find the recipe on their website. Thank you, Columbia for generously sharing this with the public!

1905 salad

Salad Ingredients

½ head iceberg lettuce

2 ripe tomatoes, cut in eighths

½ cup Swiss cheese, cut in julienne strips

½ cup ham, cut in julienne strips (or turkey or shrimp)

¼ cup green Spanish olives, pitted

2 teaspoons grated Romano cheese


Salad Dressing Ingredients

1/8 cup white wine vinegar

½ cup extra-virgin Spanish olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon oregano

2 teaspoons lemon juice


Preparation

Toss together all salad ingredients in a bowl, except Romano Cheese.

Mix garlic, oregano, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl.

Beat until smooth with a wire whisk.

Add olive oil, gradually beating to form an emulsion.

Stir in vinegar and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Add dressing to salad and toss well.

Add Romano Cheese and toss one more time. Serves 4.


(3 bottom photos courtesy of the Columbia website)

PIECES OF MY EXISTENCE

My favorite place - the beach

Today's post title is a bit of a facetious play on that often stereotypical "artist attitude" of psuedo-depth and melodrama. I am not the kind of artist who is either angst-ridden or feigns being so impossibly deep that an observer needs days to ponder my work and look for the hidden meaning. I am not ashamed to admit my work is not that profound nor do I have any desire to live a tortured, dark existence. To me, there is enough darkness, evil and sadness in the world already. I don't find any particular thrill in wallowing in it or trying to represent it in my work. I like happy. I like cheerful. I like vibrant. I like peaceful. I like good. I like to remember the sweet moments. Forget the bitter. Keep distance from the destructive. And I am not ashamed of it.
Call me shallow, but I generally paint things as they appear. A chair is a chair. A room is a room. Although all my subjects can represent far more than just how they appear on the surface, my goal is not to appear unduly complicated. So, in the spirit of simplicity and straightforwardness, I present a few snapshots of the things that surround me on a daily basis. We all know that people see things differently and associate what they see with deeper things based on their own particular outlook. That is why I so enjoy seeing other people's homes. The voyeuristic pleasure afforded by observing others' surroundings and living quarters is something that is a habit, a hobby and a true passion of mine. A person's "digs" are worth a thousand words. That is one of the things I enjoy most about being a part of the world-wide blogging community. My fellow bloggers have delighted me with allowing me see their homes and the homes of others. While I am still a shelter magazine addict, blogs offer a "meantime fix" that keeps me going until next month's issue arrives in my mailbox. So, here's to all of my beloved bloggers who have shared all this visual wealth and inspiration with me. Thank you!

A reproduction Chinese vase I bought a few years ago at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
I painted it last Summer and it's available as a print on my Etsy site.

An oil painting my mom did back in the 70's (after van Gogh).

Some cheesy little magnets I created that hold up my inspirational clippings
I repurposed my Metropolitan Museum of Art badge (top) and made it into a magnet!

Another oil painting of my mom's, done when I was about 4.

I painted this baker's rack periwinkle!

A portrait of my grandmother, Lulu Harwell, a Southern belle, painted in the 50's

My work area, in all it's glory! LOL

Some bougainvillea off the back of the house, stuck in a small vase.
Florida's lush vegetation is such a treat!

Part of my sunglass collection. (I know it looks like Elton John lives here)
(OK, so maybe I LIKE color a little.....)

A collection of Staffordshire figurines on an antique painted etagere
that my grandmother owned.

SATURDAY NIGHT * THE SIMPLE LIFE













You know, happiness is where you find it. Contrary to what a lot of people think, it has very little to do with money, prestige, status, fame, power or security. Sometimes it's just the simple things in life that are most priceless and pleasurable. Peace, the warmth of the sun, a salty perfumed breeze, the beauty of the snow white sand and turquoise water. Being with people who love you, treat you with kindness and accept you for who you are. An authentic, made-from-scratch burrito with some killer queso. All of it combined with watching the sun sink into the water. Those are MY kind of cheap thrills......so happy I live where I do!