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