Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Beach Lover Design And Decorating Tips

There are few sounds as soothing as the waves crashing on the shore. If you live in a beach town, you get to wake up to this sound and everything that goes with it every day. If you live in the city, however, you can bring a little of the beach home with you by designing your home with a nautical theme.

When you are infusing your home's design with nautical touches, you can translate a beach theme literally, or you may simply pull your inspiration from sandy shores.

1. Select Colors

The color theme that you choose for your design will really define how your nautical theme translates into your home. If you want to create the feeling of wiggling your toes in the sand at sunset, neutral tans and pastel blues, pinks and yellows will set the tone. This muted color palette creates a relaxing, calm environment in your home. You can even paint your trim a pearly cream to add a little shimmer to the design. Accessories for this interior are easy, and your best ideas will come straight from the beach.

A clear, glass bowl of seashells or pillar candles in jars half filled with sand. Add a seascape painting to the wall, and drape soft, neutral colored throw blankets across the couch for comfort. Area rugs made of jute or sea grass are a nice detail for the floor, and you can finish the room off with a driftwood lamp.

You can also take your color palette and go in a completely different direction. For a shipshape interior design you can choose navy blue and crisp white. Use khaki as your neutral color, and heavy cotton fabrics like canvas for fabrics. For your flooring, a dark wood color is a nice complement, and you can use wide stripe blue and white patterns on your throw pillows.

Hang ocean photos in circular frames at regular intervals along the wall to mimic the idea of portholes, and add an occasional pop of bright yellow, green or red for accents. Add a brass lamp to your space, and your shipshape, nautical theme is complete.

2. Create an Eclectic Dining Room 

If you are adding a little nautical flavor to your dining room, you can create an eclectic room design in your nautical colors. Add a solid wood table to your room for dining, and then surround it with chairs that are similar but not matching. Tie them together by painting them all white, and use a navy blue and white print for your seat cushions. Add hurricane lamps to the center of your dining table, and you can even fill them with seashells or colored sand. Add coastal dinnerware with a shell or even embossed rope motif.

3. Bright Bold Colors in the Kitchen

When you want to bring a nautical look to your kitchen, think of your vacation at the beach. Add some shades to your windows to block the midday sun. Matchstick blinds are great for diffusing bright light without making a room too dark. Bring in some brightly colored wide stripes in bold colors in fabric selections. Look for wall art that has a nautical theme like boats, shells or lighthouses.

4. Beach Inspiration for your Living Area

As you turn your attention to your living room think of adding some beach wall art to add interest and depth to your walls. Bring in accessories that support your nautical theme like a beach lantern, seashells and candles. You can use a wicker trunk for your coffee table, and you can use it to store blankets and throws. Add an area rug with your sandy neutral, pale blues and greens to tie everything together.

5. All Hands On Deck in the Bedroom

To bring a nautical feeling to your bedroom use blue or red striped ticking for a fresh, crisp look. Add throw pillows in bold colors like yellow, green and white and go ahead and combine patterns like stripes and checks. A bold color canvas chair with contrasting piping set beneath a brass, floor lamp makes a cozy reading corner.

6. Create a Tropical Bathroom

To bring a beach aesthetic to your bathroom, use your palette of saturated, pastel colors, and add some fun, wall art with subjects like fish or birds. Add a shower curtain full of tropical flowers and a brightly colored bathmat.

Andrew Johnson is a speaker and contributing writer for and offers design advice about how to decorate with wood wall sculptures and metal wall sculptures.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Emerald Land, Sapphire Sea: You Must Head Off To Costa Rica

If you are a nature lover, then you need to visit Costa Rica. Nothing is comparable to the beautiful natural landscapes and landmarks that this country boasts. A lush, tropical paradise located in the heart of Central America holds the key to the vacation of your dreams. The beautiful land of Costa Rica is there for the discovering.

In Central America, Costa Rica nestles itself between Panama, Nicaragua, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean. If you've been looking for a place to take your family, Costa Rica will not let you down. A natural paradise with new adventures around every corner, Costa Rica is a lush and verdant vacation spot where you can sit back and relax, or take the adventure of a lifetime. Around a fourth of Costa Rica's land area is protected natural areas, keeping it protected from the touch of development and the logging industry. Raw, untouched Costa Rican rainforests are something that needs to be witnessed first hand, and all you need is a passport. Their beauty is unmatched and gives Costa Rica world renown.

Costa Rica's expansion of jungles houses Corcovado National Park, world-renowned by ecologists and animal lovers alike. National Geographic has called it "the most biologically intense place on Earth." Corcovado is the only place where you can see Costa Rica's four species of monkeys. It also is called home by numerous large, prowling cats like the ocelot, the puma, and the mighty jaguar, the endangered Harpy Eagle, anteaters, and sloths. Visiting Corcovado guarantees you will get up close and personal with some of most interesting animals on Earth. Grab your camping gear and spend a night under Corcovado's dense canopies.

Visit one of Costa Rica's many picturesque beaches or grab your surfboard and hit Pavones, the most famous surfing town in Costa Rica. Known for its perfect waves, Pavones has been frequented by both professional and recreational surfers alike. Even kids can take their boogie boards and experience some of Pavone's beautiful waves for themselves. Or, if you prefer more mellow aquatic activities, grab your snorkel or scuba gear and explore one of Costa Rica's coral reefs. If you're feeling very adventurous, grab your diving gear and head to Cocos Island, the Island of the Sharks. See schools of hammerheads and monstrous moray eels and brace yourself for the incoming adrenaline rush.

Arenal, Costa Rica's Adventure capital, will provide days and days of activities for you and your family to try out. If you're feeling brave, you can try bungee jumping, or if you want to experience a wilder, more untamed side of Costa Rica, try white water rafting. Go horseback riding along the water and witness some of Costa Rica's natural beauty. After that, relax all your muscles in a volcano heated hot spring and soak up the tropical sun.

Whatever you decide to do, Costa Rica is a beautiful place to escape to. With dense jungles and brilliantly blue waters, Costa Rica has something exciting for you and your family to experience. The beach is waiting for you in Costa Rica.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Celebrate Cinco De Mayo With A Perfect Margarita

Happy Cinco De Mayo! In honor of this strangely Americanized holiday, here's a great Margarita recipe. And not just for today - enjoy it all summer relaxing by the pool, out on the boat, or lounging at the beach. 

1 1/4 ounces Sauzas Commemorativo Tequila
1/2 ounce Presidente brandy
1/2 ounce Cointreau liqueur
4 ounces sour mix
Splash of lime juice

Pour all ingredients into a shaker glass with crushed ice.  Shake very well and serve in a salt rimmed margarita glass with some ice.