Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sea and Sky

I was reading a post from A Cup of Jo ( and learned about this fabulous hair product for summer: John Masters Organics Sea Mist Sea Salt Spray with Lavender. In the description it reads, "Now every day can be a day at the beach." If you're not with the sea, what better way to bring it to you!To spray in my hair the fullness I would get from splashing in seawater daily? Right up my alley! And the idea is compatible with the tomboy in me; wash and spray, hop on the bicycle, and let your summer spirit soar! Plus, the lavender acts as an anti-inflammatory and normalizes your scalp condition, so I think it'll help my pool-water-saturated skin to cope. 
You can get the spray through It's about $15 for a 9-oz bottle. And I like that J.M. is committed to partnering with local farmers. (How's that for a free ad, folks!)  :)

As part of my seasonal obsession with all things coastal, I made this sofa pillow for my shop. I had to have one for my porch, too. It cheers me up every time I come home to my non-coastal house. 

Dreaming of seaside living (and missing it so much), I'll share with you these views of the gorgeous west coast of Finland.

Can't you practically feel the warmth and the coolness mixing on the smooth boulder, or the hot grains of sand in your footprints? Do you hear the seagulls and the lapping of the water? 

I squint at the sun's sparkle off the blue and fill my lungs with the energy of the salty breeze. 
Ahhh... this is living.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fun in the Sun in Kefalonia, Greece

While exploring the Greek island of Kefalonia, we booked a day with a group of thirty to take a ride in a glass-bottom boat.

The wildlife (fish and corals) in these parts didn't turn out particularly impressive, so the glass-bottom boat experience wasn't the highlight. But we ended up packing more fun in that one day than I'd had for as long as I could remember. 

Our sun-kissed Greek captain entertained us with his countless stories of the islands. He yelled at us to put the cameras away when the dolphins came. Pointing to the side of his head he said, "Live in the moment. Put the memories in here." He kept reminding us to lather on the sunscreen (and yet a few ignored his wisdom and went home with lobster-red faces).

                                                                                                        fish hatchery

We threw the anchor down in gorgeous spots to go swimming and snorkeling in the crystal-clear, cool water.
I was not going to have any part of the snorkeling mask (as the thought felt suffocating), but, getting swooped into the fun, I suddenly turned brave and did it!

Off the shore of an island strip, the captain and his first mate anchored the boat and we waded in (with water to our waste) to set up day camp. An open tent was raised for preparing food. We strung up a rope to connect to the anchor line and played water volleyball. Amazing what you're capable of when you ignore your lack of skill!

Captain's orders: anyone that fancied a meal was going to help prepare it. So we "washed" the tomatoes and cucumbers in a tub of seawater and cut them into chunks and the wheel of feta (the size of a tire rim) crumbled under a few good whacks. Meanwhile, the captain grilled the chicken. Plastic cupfuls of white wine were passed around and there was plenty of fresh cold water to drink.

Simple yet divine. Doesn't everything taste better in fresh air!       

The crew mixed up a batch of mud from the cliff and we all grew years younger!

On the boat ride back the lot of us seafaring friends lived it up with some karaoke, everyone joining in for the chorus parts! 

I'll not soon forget that carefree, salt-air, sunny day!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Savoring Summertime with Raparperipiirakka

It brings a smile to my lips to think of the sweet things of summer. 

Here's How to Make a Rhubarb Treat With Your Favorite Toddler:

 these stalks clearly pass the taste test 
 measure the dry ingredients

 add sour cream
 and melted butter

spread the blob onto a pan lined with parchment paper 

 cut rhubarb stalks

 and place them in the pan

this is the best part!
then bake

and be so glad you did!

    RAPARPERIPIIRAKKA (Finnish Rhubarb Pie)

 3 stalks rhubarb, washed and peeled
1and 2/3 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 C sugar
1and 1/3 C sour cream
1/3 C butter or margarine, melted

Mix dry ingredients first, then add wet ingredients.
Mix quickly with a wooden spoon. (It's ok to have a few lumps)
Spread onto an oven pan or cookie sheet with edges, lined with parchment paper.
Cut rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces and place on batter.
Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 400 F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
(Note: ovens vary, so check periodically)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

New York, New York

New York City  has always held a fascination for me. It's one of those places we can't possibly judge solely based on an evening spent at a Mets game and/or on Broadway (though those things surely qualify as great New York moments!) , nor can we entirely rely on other people's opinions of the subway. And a lot of the city's fame, whether good or bad, true or false, comes from TV shows and films depicting life in the melting pot of all melting pots with varying degrees of believability.
Maybe mine's a romantic view, but there's a certain allure New York has with an outsider like me. 
Certainly diverse with its five boroughs and the multimillion people count (over 8,244,000 combined, with Brooklyn and Queens leading the numbers), this mecca of Starbucks, Gray's Papaya hot dogs, and crazy taxi rides delivers a package not easily found anywhere else in the world. 

Take the accents. "How to talk like a New Yorker" means more than dropping the -r and adding the -aw or -ah. My first time in Manhattan, our group's orientation included teaching us how to say "in New York you can park your car with a quarter" with the inaudible r in place. But there are definite differences in the pronunciation and attitude of speech between Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island, as evidenced by people like Robert de Niro and Fran Drescher (as "Nanny"), to name a couple of obvious examples. 

One of my fondest memories of  New York City -Manhattan, to be exact- is the first date with the guy who's now my husband. I had flown across the Atlantic and was excited, overwhelmed, and jet-lagged. Crossing the streets laden with insane traffic gave him an excuse for his suave move to hold hands. We bought real New York pizza and rode an elevator up to the roof of a highrise to eat it. The pale light from the full moon, casting a yellowish glare off a suit-of-armor in the corner,  convinced me to snuggle up close to my guy. Win-win. :)
And a great view of the City at night.

While a nanny for a few weeks on Long Island, I saw a different side of  New York. Daily walks to the beach and a screened-in porch-like room to myself in the upstairs of the cedar shake shingled house made me want to write a book about it in The Great Gatsby style.

Nora Ephron, the brilliant author and director of some of my favorite movies, passed away this week. She will be missed. Here's a link to an essay she wrote. As I was reading it, my mind kept flooding with SO many comments (about her insights on love, moving, memories, and life in general), but for now you could read her words to gain one woman's perspective for a piece of life as a New Yorker.

I'm ready to experience New York all over again! How about you? Have you been?