Saturday, August 16, 2008


In addition to my love of literature, cuisine, photography and gardening, I also have a passion for art. I'm not an artist but I love looking at art. My dream is to fill my home up with original artwork by various artists, the way it's some girl's dream to go on a shopping spree in Beverly Hills.

I have the honor of being acquainted with an artist. He's actually the "art guy" for our screen printer (oh by the way, I work in specialty advertising/promotional marketing...check out my
website and blog if you like!) and he's an amazing artist. His name is Mark and he works/lives in Cow Town (that's Fort Worth to all of you non-DFW residents). I've been lucky to receive as a gift one of his paintings, the Audrey and I've got my eye on a few other paintings of his. I asked Mark yesterday to send me some pics of what he's been up to most recently and once I saw the paintings, I knew I had to share.

Most of Mark's paintings are Untitled but he emailed to say that he has given them "relative titles" so that if any of you out there are interested in them, you could give him a call and talk to him about it. Ready to check out the eye candy? Here goes...

The Dripping Rose: Acrylic on Canvas, 24"x48

Green-Yellow-White Abstract: Acrylic on Canvas, 24"x48"

Gothic Abstract: Acrylic on Canvas, 24"x48"

Audrey: Acrylic on Canvas, 24"x48"

The Abstract Pair (2 Canvases): Acrylic on Canvas, 24"x48" each

Tree: Acrylic on Canvas, 36"x48"

Blue: Acrylic on Canvas, 36"x48"

Stripes: Acrylic on Canvas, 30"x40"

Red: Acrylic on Canvas, 48"x72" (unsure on actual size)

Orange Drip: Acrylic on Canvas, 18"x24"

Skull: Acrylic on Canvas, 18"x24"

Red Abstract Small: Acrylic on Canvas, 14"x18"

Wow! I love his art...the feelings I have for each are amazing. Being able to put some body's art into a physical and mental interpretation is out of this world, especially when we all have a unique experience with each piece. And while I may love one particular piece, you may hate it but I think we could agree that you were charged by some emotion/feeling to come to your own conclusion.

I love the Skull and while I'm sure many would raise an eyebrow at this statement, there's just something alluring and captivating about it. See? You might not have that same thought about it!

I'd love to hear what your thoughts are about his work, and I'm sure Mark would love it as well! And if you are interested to see if your favorite is available for sale, let me know! I'll be posting his number shortly...Mark IM'd it to me and I had to shut down my computer and of course forgot to write it down!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


This is my husband's all-time favorite recipe that I make. There's nothing like a fresh garden-flavor, cold soup on a HOT (we're talking 106 people) day.


Roughly chop the veggies into 1-inch cubes.

Put each veggie separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not over process since you want to see each veggie in the soup...we're not shooting for pureed baby food here.

After each veggie is processed, combine them in a large bowl. Seriously, you could eat this as a delicious veggie-filled salsa at this point, I would add lots of chopped jalapeno, a few tablespoons of lemon juice and some salt and pepper...but I think we'll continue on with the gazpacho.

Add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. Although I actually like it room temperature.

MMMM....I topped mine with cubes of avocado and I also like to put a few dashes of Tabasco in mine to give it a kick (although fresh jalapeno would be better in my opinion). Ooh...I would have loved some chopped cilantro as well!

(from The Barefoot Contessa by Ina Garten)

2 hothouse cucumbers, halved and seeded, but not peeled
3 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
8 plum tomatoes
2 red onions
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups tomato juice (NOT tomato cocktail!)
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Roughly chop the veggies into 1 inch cubes. Put each veggie separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not over process!

After each veggie is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer the gazpacho sits, the more flavors will develop.
PS: This makes A LOT of soup. Serves 8 to 10.

PSS: Want a super fancy looking and delicious appetizer for a crowd? Buy extra hothouse cucumbers, peel them, cut them into 2 inch sections. Core the cukes (but don't go through both ends!) then fill with the gazpacho. Top with a parsley leaf, a few sprigs of chives, or a cilantro leaf! It makes little individual soup bowls that can be sipped and then the cuke bowl can be eaten!

PSSS: Want another fun way to serve the gazpacho as a first coarse to a summer meal or alone as a light dinner? Just cut the tops off of bell peppers then seed them. Fill with the soup and maybe top with a dollop of sour cream and a few sprigs of cilantro! I think getting a variety of bell peppers would look beautiful together. Oh and this would be GREAT for a baby shower or wedding shower!!

Whew! I'm worn out with all that typing. Now get out of your seat and go make some soup!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Near and Dear

Anyone that's close to me (probably I could count them on one hand) knows that I LOVE to read. Not only do I love to read, I love to learn. It's not uncommon for me to have books all over the house in each room so that if I pause for a moment, I can pick up a book and have my nose in it. It's also not uncommon for my husband to come home to find me reading, oh let's say, his art appreciation text book from college. He'll raise an eyebrow with a bemused smile and teasingly ask me "Reading my art book today, huh?".

Anyhow, I love to read was my point. With that said, I thought it would be fun (I realize that I'm going out on a limb thinking that you would think it's fun but understand that deep down I know it's just me enjoying it) to share with you the books I am reading within the month. And without further ado, I present my current love...The Pillars of The Earth by Ken Follett.

Now, I have to admit that I almost didn't read it once I started reading the Author's Notes. I'm sure you are, perhaps, thinking to yourself, who actually reads that? Well, I do and I will literally read everything from the inside jacket covers, the Library of Congress catalog part of the book and so on and so forth...I apparently have an infatuation with words.

On to the book. The reason I ALMOST didn't read past the Author's page was because right there in black and white, the author states that he is an atheist and that didn't go over to well with me since I have a growing personal relationship with Christ. I mulled this over and decided that no harm was done in reading it and if I didn't like it, I could put it down.

Well, I couldn't put it down. It was the most beautifully written story that I have read in a very long time. The book is about 1000 pages long and I couldn't bear to rip myself away from it's intricate story lines, characters and the visual images that will rest in my heart after reading this book.

The book is about the lives of 12th century inhabitants of a village called Kingsbridge, a dying town with only a monastery barely keeping things going. Several main characters join in on the building of the most beautiful cathedral the world has ever seen. Because of this one cathedral comes treachery, adultery, perjury, murder, battles, malice, and the list could go on and on.

Literally from the first moment I picked up the book until I finished it, there was never a dull moment. There was so much going on yet every part of it felt personal, like I could feel their pain, their love, their raging wars, everything. I despised the antagonists (there were many) and couldn't wait for their demise. The protagonists (I know that there is typically one leading protagonist in a story but this has many as well) made my heart swell when they won their various victories, I was downcast (what a great word!) when they lost their personal battles and in the end, well, I don't want to say anymore.

I loved this book and, honestly, I wanted to know every minute of what went on in their lives. I was overcome by sorrow when I read the last sentence of the book because I didn't want it to end.

This definitely gets 5 stars from me and if you have read this book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it!!

I just started reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I had tried to read this a few years ago but constantly found myself distracted with it so I'm ready to begin with a clear mind.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sweet Dreams

My husband and child have a fondness for taking naps together. I can't get Lawyer to take a nap otherwise but the Sand Man gently pushes them into dreamland the minute Jason and Lawyer curl up together.

Ah, I love this child. No matter how much he grows and how old he gets, he still has a sweet, tender baby-ness to him when he sleeps.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

All Play and No Work

Since having moved into over twice the space that we previously were living in, it's been so much fun to invent a space and just as tedious to figure out how to decorate it. So that's why I'm enlisting your help.

Here is my son's playroom. I DREAMED of a space for him for so long. We lived in a 1500 square foot house that had 3 bedrooms. While the master bedroom was quite large, the two other bedrooms didn't feel much bigger than closet spaces to me. And I had an office occupying one of the bedrooms. Needless to say there was no available space for my son to call his own.

And then we bought this house. Oh, how I love this house for so many reasons. The added bonus of getting so much extra space (all 3300 square feet of it) was a dream come true. But then reality hits you that not only do you have more space to feel free in but you also have that much more space to decorate, fill up, what-have-you.

I love Lawyer's playroom. My mom and I immediately pulled up the carpet and installed a laminate wood flooring from Ikea (since, let's be honest...a playroom, a little boy and, quite possibly, some paint, was not going to be kind to cream-colored carpet). Then the most beautiful shade of blue was painted in the room and Jason and I were building some Ikea shelves to house all the toys Lawyer has accumulated in his short life span. My pictures suck, as far as keeping the colors uniform in all of them, I was hurrying along and I've been sick. But I can say the picture above is true to the actual wall color.
While I'm loving that we have the basics taken care of, I'm really wanting to add the details to make it go from predictable to praise-worthy. Any suggestions? I know that we will be putting in halogen-spots throughout the room to make it feel light and open but other than that, I'm at a loss. I also think crown molding would look really nice.

The closet is a pretty good size and that's where his gazillion costumes are (boys love to be pirates and superheros as much as girls like to be fairies and princesses!) and games and puzzles...but it needs just as much work.

Let me know what you would do!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I Caught You A Delicious Bass...

Actually, it was salmon. And well, I didn't really catch it. Okay it was a quote from Napoleon Dynamite.

Anyhow, I made a super yummy and quick meal for lunch that is one of my favorites. It's called Roasted Salmon with Lemon Relish and it's from the Martha Stewart Everyday Food Cookbook. The cookbook is awesome for quick, healthy and very delicious meals for the mom who's always on the go and it's very good for newcomers to cooking...the recipes are concise and well-written with a picture of the end product, a feature that typically makes or breaks a cookbook for most people new to the culinary world.

Enjoy the recipe and let me know if you make it and how it turned out!

Roasted Salmon with Lemon Relish
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup raisins
Slivered zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 to 3/4 cup boiling water
4 skinless salmon fillets (6 oz. each)
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 ounces baby spinach (about 5 cups, loosely packed

1 Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spread the pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in the oven, tossing occasionally, until lightly golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the sheet, and reserve.

2 Meanwhile, place the raisins and lemon zest in a small heat-proof bowl; cover with boiling water. Set aside.

3 Place the salmon fillets on the baking sheet used in step 1; season with salt and pepper. Roast until the salmon is opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, drain and discard the liquid from the raisins and lemon zest. Return the raisins and zest to the bowl; add the lemon juice, pine nuts, parsley, and oil. Season with salt and pepper; stir to combine.

5 Dividing evenly, make a bed of spinach on each of 4 plates. Place a salmon fillet on the spinach; spoon lemon relish over the top.

Serves 4; Prep Time: 25 minutes; Total Time: 25 minutes

Making Lemon Slivers: Use a vegetable peeler to peel the yellow part of the lemon skin into long strips (if you get the white part - the pith - you are peeling too deep...this part is very bitter and you don't want it!), before you juice the lemon. Then thinly slice into slivers.

PS: The relish would be great on grilled chicken or steamed broccoli!

Friday, August 1, 2008


I've got so much that I want to post about and lately, not enough time!! This next month will be crazy since Lawyer will be out of school. His "Hantie" will be here tonight and stay through part of next week. Then we'll be back at the beach the last two weeks of August and come home just in time for school, baseball, and, fingers crossed, martial arts to start.

Our little 3 year old is probably not unlike most 3 year olds, however, he's got a will so strong that nobody can break it. I love his fierce, strong-willed nature and would NEVER want to change that about him. A lot of people see that sort of behavior as defiant, un-moldable and out of control. I, however, love that he has a spirit and a passion for life, even at 3 years old. These are the characteristics that make a like-able, self-sufficient and successful leader, which this world needs more of. I would never try to control him to stamp out this personality of his.

Our biggest obstacle is getting him to cooperate and have respect for others (part of a 3 year oold strong-willed nature, for sure) so we are hoping to get him involved in Tae Kwon Do down the street. I've heard so many great things about martial arts, especially with children that seem difficult. Lawyer just needs an outlet...his little mind and body just can't contain and control all his zest for life. So instead of suppressing his character, I'm hoping to funnel it up and give him direction. I think that he'll for sure learn self-control, respect and be more focused.

Anyone out there have their kids in martial arts? I would love to hear how it helped (or hurt) your kids!!

In other news, I'm going to be cooking up some great food so be on the look-out for Poached Salmon with Spinach, Lemon and Raisins (might not sound good but it is OH so delicious and very easy to make!), a deconstructed guacamole called Avocado Salad and I might throw in an Apple Galette, Watermelon Margarita and maybe some homemade pizza!!

I also need some ideas to help me decorate some rooms in my house so be sure to let me know your ideas when I post some pictures of rooms in our house! I have an overall taste and basic furnishings, it's just those finishing touches (excuse this, but I call it clutter and crap that has no function but to collect dust) that I'm really needing to make the rooms go from "has potential" to "wow!".

Can't wait to start posting!