Thursday, December 10, 2009

Coastal Home Decor Provides A Taste Of Life By The Sea

The sights and the sounds of coastal life are what we tend to remember about life at the beach. The lifestyle at the beach is unlike life anywhere else. It's easy and laid back; things are not as hectic. Life at the beach is more casual and it shows in everything, include coastal home decorating. Beach home decor provides these feelings to your home anywhere in the world.

Coastal decor brings the beach right into your home. A room decorated in beach theme accents will help you relax and feel the sun in your face even on a stormy day. These home furnishings and decorating accents provide a transformation to your home giving it a feel that is super relaxing.

Perhaps it is the colors of this style of furnishings that makes it synonymous with coastal living. Maybe it is the sandy earth tones, and the marine greens, sky blues, and sun clad orange and yellows that just have a way of sending our minds back to lazy days in the summer. It seems to relax us and provide memories of the waves crashing on the shore and washing over our feet.

There are symbols of the coastal life that are prevalent in coastal decorating items. The shapes of palm trees and beach balls, pelicans and starfish all remind us that life can be easier. Things do not have to be so hurried and hectic. These furnishings all remind us of this.

Coastal decor has a distinctive style all of its own. The simple lines and sunny designs help these furnishings provide a peaceful setting to your home. No matter where you live,  You can make your home feel like the ocean is right out your back door. These decorating accents will have you looking outside to try to catch a glimpse of the waves hitting the shore, even if you live in the dessert or mountains.

Home furnishing companies offer many different decorating accents and furnishings that are reminiscent of coastal living. Small table lamps clad in seaside symbols are a popular decorating accent. Coastal lighting accessories are typically decorated with palm trees, seagulls, and seashells.

The old fisherman is a recognizable face that tends to be involved with coastal decorating accents. This old guy decked out in his rain gear or white uniform can be found with lamps, salt and pepper shakers, wall hangings and other accent items. This jolly old guy just seems to call you to return to the beach.

Coastal home decorating is a decorating theme that is symbolic of life near the ocean. The colors and lines of home furnishings and accessories will remind you of time spent at the shore. These accents contain images of items found at the beach, such as beach balls and palm trees. These beach home decor items can convert your home into a beachfront bungalow, no matter where you call home. The soothing colors will help to calm your spirit and relax you at the end of a trying day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Few Unique Ideas On Creating The Ideal Beach Decor


People often think that creating a coastal feel in their home is going to be too expensive to achieve. Think again. The stores today have wonderful items at a fraction of the costs due to the economy. These ideas will inspire you to not be afraid of decorating on a budget. You will turn your home into a beach bungalow before you know it.

Beach house style is never messy and never crowded. The atmosphere you want is inviting and friendly, relaxing and calming, Not frenzied or cluttered. The overall style should be crisp and clean.

The biggest tip to go by is to let nature's beauty inspire you in your design. There are so many things in nature we take for granted. Just think how lovely some seashells, beach colored walls and even palm trees placed strategically around your home would look.

Paint walls sea colors such as light corals, ocean greens, sky blues and natural colored palettes. In a bathroom you could really go for more of a deeper coral or pink to make it look amazing.

You should shy away from using window treatments if at all possible as it detracts from the light outside coming in. If you must have some coverage, go with sheer fabrics or blinds that have a coastal feel to them.

You can save on redoing or buying new furniture by making your own slip covers out of fabrics you think best suit your beach theme. If you aren't a sewing kind of person you can also find them in stores ready to go for a fraction of the cost of brand new furniture.

While out and about look for special things like starfish, beautiful shells, sea glass and more to add to your beach house hideaway. One of the best ideas for coastal decorating is to include tropical candles everywhere - even floating candles in the center of a crystal bowl surrounded by shells and pebbles would look very elegant.

Place a few stalks of bamboo around and make arrangements in corners or entryways. You can also find the perfect items to add to your design at antique malls and even local flea markets. Some of the best treasures have been found in these places.

Ideas for beach house decorating should not be confined just to the indoor areas, the outside needs to have that beach feel as well. Place nautical or beach inspired wreaths on the doors, have palm trees in planters on the porches and just do what you think says "beach" to you.

You can save even more money by making many of your own decorating items such as candle arrangements, flower arrangements, mosaics using sea glass or broken colored glass, shells, mirrors, even paintings. Let your imagination be your guide and you can't go wrong.

There are so many wonderful ideas to create the perfect coastal decor, but the thing to remember is to make sure it fits your style. Add nautical touches wherever you feel you want them and choose the design because you like it. Following these tips will help you along your way to magnificent beach house. Your friends will envy your home above all others. Good luck and happy decorating!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beach Theme Halloween

As Halloween nears, I thought I would share some cute, beach-theme Halloween Jack-O-Lantern ideas that I've come across.

This is a unique idea that is also so easy! A pumpkin snorkeler. The only carving you need to do is the mouth. The eyes are painted on. And yes, the snorkel fits in his mouth. Don't forget to sit him on top of a pair of flippers to complete the effect.

For this fish food chain Jack-O-Lantern, use the mouth cutout and attach it as the fish's tail. Use your imagination.  You can do just one great big fish or make a food chain like this one with varying sizes of pumpkins.

This picture didn't come out so well, but that is a shark design carving done on a fake craft pumpkin. When it comes to carving pumpkins, you don't have to do the boring triangle eyes/nose with crooked-teeth mouth any more. The possibilities are endless. Carve a palm tree silhouette, a sailboat or a beach umbrella. Use your imagination and you can have a "beachy" Halloween this year!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Adopt a Marine Creature


Adopting a marine animal is a fun and effective way to help marine conservation groups get the funding they need to protect these sea creatures. From manatees, sea turtles and seals to whales, sharks and dolphins, your donation in the form of an "adoption" can go a long way to towards preserving these beautiful creatures that live in our world's oceans. Adopt one for yourself or in the name of a loved one to protect these animals and their habitats. It makes a wonderful and thoughtful gift.

Sea Turtles
  • The Loggerhead Marinelife Center sea turtle hospital treats and releases 50 to 60 sea turtles and thousands of hatchlings each year. Your adoption directly supports this effort by providing the funding for medication, tank maintenance, food, and veterinary care.
  • At the Ocean Conservation Society, you can support the important research, conservation and protection of dolphins in Los Angeles coastal waters by “adopting” a bottlenose dolphin. By doing so, you can help build a better future for the dolphins living in our oceans. Learning more about these animals, the environment in which they live, and the threats they face will greatly increase their chances of survival.
  • Adopt a real manatee and help protect an endangered species. Funds from the Save the Manatee Club’s Adopt-A-Manatee program go toward efforts to help protect manatees and their habitat. Unlike other animal adoption programs, the manatees in their adoption programs are real, living manatees with known histories. You even have the opportunity of seeing your adopted manatee at one of three locations in Florida.
  • At the Marine Mammal Center, you can help buy fish and medicine for current patients and support their mission of rescuing and caring for seals, sea lions, dolphins and other marine mammals that need help. Donations also fund research into marine mammal diseases and education about the importance of ocean health.
Humpback Whales
  • Since 1987 the Whale Center of New England has provided an opportunity for lovers of whales to support their work by adopting a humpback whale from their study population. It is great to know your participation in the Adopt A Whale program provides vital financial support for the many programs of the Whale Center of New England, one of the oldest whale research groups in the world.
Whale Sharks
  • The Shark Research Institute invites you to join their exciting Whale Shark Study. This program enables you to adopt a whale shark, tagged by the Institute, for one year or for a lifetime. By adopting a shark you will help fund the Whale Shark Study, and receive information about your shark: when, where and by whom it was tagged. If your shark is re-sighted you will be notified where and when the re-sighting occurred.

Please consider supporting these organizations in their fight for cherished and endangered marine creatures. Your small donation can mean so much!

Brought to you by - Beach Decor

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Authentic Mojito Recipe


Where I live, it's still HOT. And I love to cool down with a nice cocktail on a Saturday afternoon.  One of my favorites is a classic mojito.  None of those contrived strawberry or other fruity version.  I'm talking back-to-hot-sweaty-sexy-Cuban basics. And I have got the best, the most original and authentic Mojito recipe around.

1 teaspoon powdered sugar
Juice from 1/2 lime
2 oz. white rum
2 ounces club soda
Lime wedges for garnish

Place the mint leaves into a tall mojito glass (often called a "collins" glass) and squeeze the juice from a 1/2 lime over it. Add the powdered sugar, then gently smash the mint into the lime juice and sugar with a muddler or back of a spoon. Add ice (I prefer crushed ice, but it can be harder to come by if you're making this at home) then add the rum and stir, and top off with the club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge from the remaining 1/2 lime.

Brought to you by - Beach Decor

Monday, September 21, 2009

Last Day of Summer

Today officially marks the last day of summer in the northern hemispere. It makes me kind of sad. Even though I live in Florida and we generally have summer temperatures well into October (even November sometimes) I always miss the laid back, fun "attitude" that comes with summer.

I miss going into stores and seeing whole aisles full of coconut scented sunscreen. Kids' bodyboards and sand pails are replaced with halloween costumes and candy. And even though it's still 90 degrees out where I live, forget about buying a new bathing suit or cute pair of shorts.

People seem to BBQ less. Summer vacations are over. School is back in session and autumn is on its way. But even though I love the fall and all the rich colors, inviting scents and homemade comfort food that it represents, I still want to revolt and keep that summer feeling going as long as I can.

You won't find plush turkeys or full-size decorative scarecrows at my house. No siree. I keep my tropical decor up all year round. I cook fresh seafood for as long as I can find it. I keep wearing my flip flops until my toes can't stand it anymore. And we keep going to the beach even if I have to wear a sweatshirt!

How do you keep your "summer attitude" going? I'd love to hear your comments. For other ideas check out

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Crab Quesadillas

I made the best dinner last night I have had in a long time. And I know I wasn't just biased because my husband, who ordinarily HATES my cooking, loved it too. I'm actually not a bad cook - my husband just likes everything very bland and extremely overcooked. That's how he was raised, what can I say?

But these crab quesadillas were to die for. I found a recipe online and made a few tweaks that I thought were sure to please my picky partner and voila! Not only were they decadent and delicious, they were so easy to make too. I wish I had taken a picture of the final product, but they smelled so good I just couldn't wait to eat them. Next time I make them, which will be very soon, I'll try to restrain myself long enough to snap a photo.

Crab Quesadillas


1 C. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
4 oz. Cream Cheese
6 oz. crab meat (canned or imitation works great also, just drain it)
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. orange juice
4 8-inch flour tortillas


1. Let cream cheese sit out until it is room temperature. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar, red pepper, green onion and orange juice. Mix together well.
2. Fold in crab meat gently.
3. Spread onto 1/2 of each of the four tortillas and fold over to make quesadilla.
4. Preheat pan on stovetop over medium heat (level 5 out of 10 on my stove).
5. Place quesadillas in dry pan (no olive oil, butter or cooking spray) and let the tortillas get brown and crispy - about 3-4 minutes. Flip over and brown other side another 3-4 minutes. You can cover the pan during this time to keep the heat in and help melt the cheese inside the quesadillas.
6. Use a knife or a pizza cutter to cut them into quarters and serve!

Notes: As a side dish, I grilled up some kabobs with fresh pinapple, chunks of the leftover red bell pepper, red onion, zucchini and yellow squash. So good! The sweet, juicy pineapple went really well with the cheesy and VERY rich quesadillas. For a nice complement, I suggest a semi-dry white wine. My favorite is Evolution #9 - a slightly sweet blended white that goes great with shellfish or anything spicy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Surf School and Family Beach Weekend

My family and I spent last weekend (and I mean ALL weekend) at the beach, which is not that unusual for us. What was unusual for South Florida was the great waves. Clean and glassy, my husband was in surfing heaven. And my son too. He's only 18 months old, but he wants to be just like his daddy and I'm sure that he will be surfing almost before he can swim. He was born to be a "boarder" as his dad calls it. Even his name, Dylan, loosely means "Son of the Waves" in Welsh.

We had a great time swimming, building sand castles. digging "pools" in the sand, and playing ring around the rosie with the beach umbrella. And skimboarding too. If you don't know, this is another boardsport where you run and jump on a lightweight board and ride the waves that break right on the shore. My husband loves this sport because he can still ride waves most of the year even when the surf is not great in Florida, which is most of the time.

Dylan was so cute. Daddy was standing with his skimboard watching for another good wave to come. So Dylan grabbed his little body board and went and stood right next to his dad to wait for his turn. I couldn't have asked for a more adorable picture! And when Daddy went running with his board toward the water, so did Dylan. He even threw it down and jumped on it like he was really ready to ride those waves!

Another of the coolest things I've seen in awhile was the surf school birthday party that was happening right down the beach from us. The Blue Water School of Surfing was there teaching about 10 little girls how to surf. And what a perfect day for it! There was this one girl, about 9 or 10 years old, who stood up on the board every single time. She looked like a complete natural and like she was having the time of her life. I admit, I was extremely jealous. I've always wanted to learn how to surf. My husband actually started teaching me a few years ago, but then I got pregnant with Dylan and, as they say, the rest is history. Perhaps I'll try again when Dylan gets a little older. Hey, maybe we can learn together!

If you want to check out surf lessons where you live, try The Surfing Site. They have the best directory of surf schools all over the world that I could find.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Coastal Christmas Style

Today is September 1st. Does that mean summer is officially over and Christmas is coming? Depends on where you live. Certainly in Florida it's not (where I live). But with school back in, summer vacations over and cooler temperatures on the way, I say it's never too soon to look ahead to the holiday season and the coastal style you can bring to your Christmas this year.

Now I know we have a whole fall season to get through before Christmas, but how can we possibly bring beach style to those holidays? A haunted sandcastle? A Thanksgiving clambake? Hardly. But I digress. So...

For a coastal twist on a classic star tree-topper why not switch to a starfish tree-topper? Beautiful, understated and unique, this will bring exciting seaside appeal to your Christmas tree.

But of course, you'll need some great beach-inspired ornaments to go along with your tree-topper. There are thousands of styles to choose from - classy to whimsical, natural to brightly colored. They come in all shapes and sizes too. It just depends on your personal style. There are seashell ornaments (of course). And colorful beach life rings. Or Surfing Santas. There are just too many to name. What's your favorite?

How about a coastal wreath and matching garland. Made of lifelike seaside foliage, twigs and seashells with twinkly lights, you'll think it is 80 degrees out on Christmas day, even if you don't live anywhere near the coast. You can hang the wreath on your door, window or over the fireplace, while placing the garland on your mantle or banister for a dramatic effect.

Replacing traditional stockings and tree skirts with seashore-themed variations is another great touch. Choose from aqua or blue hued skirts and stockings featuring fish, coral and seahorses or maybe opt for something brighter with pink flamingos and palm trees. No matter what, you can't go wrong.

For these and other great beach decorating ideas, check out - Beach Decor

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tilapia in Parchment Paper

This is one of my favorite fish recipes and my very own creation! I use tilapia because it is a nice mild, white fish and it's inexpensive. But any white flaky fish will work - like grouper or snapper. The recipe will be for one serving (because I usually just make it for myself), but go ahead and multiply it if you want to feed your family or guests. Just a note: My ingredient amounts are rough estimates as I just generally eyeball it. Use how much you like.


1 Tilapia filet (or any white fish filet)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Lemon juice (or 1 half lemon)
3 Tbsp. Dry white wine
1 small clove garlic, sliced thin
1/4 C. chopped fresh tomotos
1/4 C. sliced green pepper
1/4 C. sliced red onion
1/4 C. sliced yellow squash
1/4 C. sliced zucchini
1-2 small red potatoes
salt, pepper to taste


1. Pre-boil the red potatoes, skin on, until tender. Set aside.
2. On cookie sheet, lay out a piece of parchment paper about a foot and a half long. Put the bottom half on the cookie sheet and let the top half lay off the edge.
3. Place fish filet directly on bottom half of parchment paper (on cookie sheet). Leave room at the bottom and sides of the parchment paper to seal it closed.
4. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil.
5. Put all of the sliced garlic on top and around the fish. Drizzle lemon juice on top.
6. After you have sliced all of the vegetables (again, measurements are rough - use as much or as little veggies as you like), place them all on top and around fish.
7. Cut cooked red potatoes into quarters or bite size pieces and add to dish.
8. Drizzle the remaining Tbsp. olive oil on top of veggies.
9. Pour the 3 Tbsp. white wine on top.
10. Season entire dish to taste with salt and pepper.
11. Fold top half of parchment paper over top and roll up the edges all the way around to seal. (Sometimes I use staples to keep it closed).
12. Place cookie sheet in 350 degree oven and bake for about 30 minutes.
13. Be very careful when opening the parchment paper. I have gotten steam burns from this too many times to count! When you do have it open, the whole thing should just slide right out onto a plate.

Some notes: You can use any veggies you like. Broccoli, snap peas, carrots... whatever you like. Although I will say, the garlic, onions and pepper are what really give the meal it's flavor. Also, if you don't want to use potatoes, another good alternative is to place the entire dish on a bed of steamed rice. Or leave them both out and go carb free! This is one of my favorite home-cooked seafood dinners and it is also so healthy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Simple and Affordable Coastal Kitchen Accessory Ideas


You probably spend a lot of time in your kitchen, right? I know I do. Use some of these simple kitchen accents to turn the heart of your home into your very own seaside sanctuary!

We're not talking complete kitchen renovation here. Just a few decorative, yet functional, accessories to give your kitchen a "beach house" feel without breaking the bank.

Bamboo Cutting BoardI recommend starting with one or more of the 3 most important kitchen necessities to make the biggest impact on your room: the cutting board, kitchen towel set and salt & pepper shakers. These are the things that you will not only see the most, but also get the most use out of.

Tempered Glass Cutting BoardsCutting boards come in all shapes, sizes and designs. My favorites are the tempered glass cutting boards that you can leave out on your counter all the time for a dramatic decorative touch. You can also opt for wooden cutting boards made of artisan bamboo. With or without a shore-inspired design, bamboo accents definitely lend a tropical feel.

Stories of the Sea Kitchen TowelSometimes, our kitchen towels are the one thing in the room that are for display only. Whether you actually use them or not, they can be an eye-catching accent hanging from your oven or refrigerator. The theme choices are endless. From a flip flop or lobster motif to seashell and nautical designs, whatever your coastal kitchen inspiration is, you can definitely realize it with matching towels, pot holders and oven mitts. P.S. Get a coordinating kitchen apron to wear during your next clam bake!

Coastal Collage Salt & Pepper SetBy far, the most frequently used item in most kitchens are the salt & pepper shakers. Instead of stashing them out of sight in a cabinet somewhere, you can use them to decorate too! Keep your beach-themed S&P handy and on display on your stove, counter or dining room table. Lighthouses, palm trees, flamingos, blue crabs and more, you can find a design to highlight any coastal kitchen.

Now that you've considered the basics, feel free to add as many, or as few, other kitchen accessories as you'd like. From serving trays to spoon rests, canisters to coasters, the possibilities are endless in creating your very own coastal cottage kitchen. Turn your kitchen into your family's favorite room, for more reasons than just the food!

For these and other great beach decorating ideas, check out - Beach Decor

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

September 19, 2009 - International Coastal Cleanup Day

On September 19th, Ocean Conservancy is sponsoring the 24th Annual International Coastal Cleanup. The purpose is to encourage people "to remove trash and debris from the world's beaches and waterways, identify the sources of debris, and change the behaviors that cause marine debris in the first place."

You can enter your zip code to find a cleanup site near you. There are nearly 100 sites registered for the cleanup within 25 miles of my house. Or if you don't see the site you are looking for, you can propose a new site and organize your own cleanup. And they aren't just cleaning beaches and shorelines, but marinas, waterways and even underwater reefs!

I hope you check it out and spread the word. Let me know if you do attend one and send pictures!

Monday, April 20, 2009

8 Great Ideas for a Shabby Chic Surf Shack


For most surfers, the ocean is their "home away from home." If this is you, here are 8 tips to make your home feel like your "home away from home."

Surfboard Wall Rack1. Let's just get the obvious out of the way: Use your surfboard as decor! Mount a surfboard wall rack as not only a functional way to store your boards but also to add your personal flair to the room.

2. If you're artistic, paint giant crashing waves on your wall. You could even have them breaking overhead on the ceiling.

3. If you're not artistic, fake it. Use pre-pasted wall murals or borders to simulate the beach in your room. Wallpaper, murals and borders let you have so much creativity in the theme of your room. And most of them are not that sticky, impossible-to-remove wallpaper anymore. Many are simply peel-and-stick!

4. For a creative, and definitely laid-back touch, reupholster your dining room chairs with beach towels. Mix and match complementary designs and colors for the coolest dining room around.

5. You can use a small or medium sized beach ball in the corner of a room for a splash of color and creativity. But don't go overboard - one is enough. If you want to put it on a shelf, use a piece of tape to keep it from rolling off.

6. Recycle your old boards by turning them into furniture. Surfboards make great coffee tables or shelves and you can buy the wood and brackets kits to make the legs at most home improvement stores. Or, if you don't have the time, but do have the money, you can always cheat and buy a high-quality handcrafted wood surfboard coffee table.

Bamboo Shelf7. Add some natural appeal with some bamboo shelves to hold books, mementos from your surf trips, or all your favorite surf DVD's.

8. And last but not least, the quintessential piece of surf shack decor - the surfboard rug. These now come in all colors, sizes and price points so you'll be sure to find exactly what you're looking for. The most popular ones are the striped ones available in numerous colors to match your decor. If you're looking for something a little less traditional, surfboard rugs now come in a host of cool new designs.

It will never replace the ocean, but with these tips you can make your home your second favorite place to be.

For these and other great beach decorating ideas, check out - Beach Decor