Monday, September 2, 2013

Good-bye Summer . . .

Labor Day marks the end of summer for me, so the day seems bittersweet. 
No more lazy days sleeping late, lingering over cups of coffee and reading the paper, or sitting in the hammock reading a book.  No more afternoons at the pool or warm evenings on the back deck looking at the lightning bugs and stars.
The first hint of autumn is in the air, the days already seem shorter,
and the bustle of life picks up. 
"We had mighty good weather as a general thing, & nothing ever happened to us at all."
 - Mark Twain  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Beach Art - Ikki Matsumoto

One of my favorite illustrators is Ikki Matsumoto, an artist who I associate with Sanibel Island, one of my favorite beach destinations.

Ikki was born in Tokyo, Japan, but moved to the US as a young man to study art at the University of Cincinnati under the noted wildlife artist, Charley Harper.  After getting married, he moved to Sanibel Island, FL and opened a gallery with his work.  His popularity grew and he enjoyed wide success with his original art, prints, calendars, and illustrations for books.  He is especially known for his charming line illustrations that appear in the latest edition of The Joy of Cooking

My favorite pieces of art from Ikki are his illustrations of various shore birds.  I especially like his long-legged herons and egrets that are camouflaged by reeds and other tall grasses.  I also love his drawings of the little sandpipers and sanderlings - I can just picture them running along the shore, darting in and out of the waves.
I like the sense of humor and fun that's reflected in his work.
Original art and prints, as well as more information about Ikki, can be accessed at:

Friday, June 28, 2013

Beach Music: Trip Around the Sun


So for this Beach Music post I had to go with the obvious choice; Mr. Jimmy Buffett.  He may seem like a "brand" now, but I remember when he started his career and was the musician of choice for kids living in Ohio who dreamed of sunny days and far-away beaches.  He sang about pirates and sailors and getting away from it all.  I particularly liked his album "A1A" which included a fold-out cover with a map of the overseas highway that ran from Miami to Key West.  (ahhh . . . album cover designs - a lost art form that kids who download music will never know)   After a very snowy Ohio winter, I finally made my way to Key West and bicycled by the house where he had lived and written many of his songs.   It's not for nothing that his Greatest Hits CD is called "Songs You Know By Heart". 

I'm also a fan of his CD "License to Chill" which features duets with some of Country Music's biggest stars.  Although I'm not a big country music fan, I really enjoy the songs on the CD and it includes one of my favorite songs, Trip Around the Sun, his duet with Martina McBride.

Playing Trip Around the Sun has become a tradition for birthday's around our house.  The song's lyrics contain some good advice, so I'm closing with the video and the lyrics - Enjoy!

Hear 'em singing happy birthday
Better think about the wish I make
This year gone by
Ain't been a piece of cake.

 Every day's a revolution
Pull it together and it comes undone
Just one more candle and a trip around the sun.

 I'm just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning
And it's good to know it's out of my control.
If there's one thing that I've learned from all this living
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go.

 No you never see it coming,
Always wind up wondering where it went.
 Only time will tell
If it was time well spent.

 It's another revelation,
 Celebrating what I should have done
With these souvenirs of my trip around the sun.

 I'm just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning
And it's good to know it's out of my control.
If there's one thing I have learned from all this living
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go.

 Yes I'll make a resolution
That I'll never make another one.

 Just enjoy this ride on my
Trip around the sun.
Just enjoy this ride
On my trip around the sun...
Trip around the sun

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

My Dad . . . .
My dad could fly a jet . . . and cradle a baby in his arms,
My dad liked riding a motorcycle . . . and reading me bedtime stories,
My dad could cast a fishing line . . . and teach me how to tie my shoes,
My dad could navigate by the stars . . . and help me catch fireflies,
My dad could identify trees, birds, and rocks . . . and liked to take me on walks through the woods,
My dad attended church . . . and liked lazy days at the beach,
My dad expected the best of us . . . but was never afraid to show us his love.

Miss you Dad!  I loved those days at the beach with you.  (photo is either Hampton Beach, NH or Jones Beach, Long Island, NY) 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Beaches of the California Coast

Because I live on the east coast, most of my posts are about the beautiful beaches along the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico.  But I have fond memories of the California coast and I hope to get back there someday.  My last visit to California was so long ago that my pictures are film, rather than digital, but now that Instagram is popular they actually look "hip" again. 

We started our trip in San Francisco and then took California Highway #1 south to L.A.  The scenery is spectacular and I hope to get back with a good camera, so I can do it justice. 

I love Japanese Gardens and the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is one of the most beautiful I've seen.   Legend has it that the Fortune Cookie was invented in this Tea Garden!

Driving south from San Francisco leads to Monterey and the famous 17-Mile Drive, which hugs the coast and provides the most dramatic scenery of the trip. Some of the classic "post-card" shots of California are taken along this stretch of beach. 

At the end of the 17-Mile Drive is the charming "village" of Carmel.  This little storybook town has wonderful shops, galleries, and restaurants.  We particularly liked a little toy store called Thinker Toys.  There are many wonderful places to stay, but I loved our hotel, La Playa, which featured lush gardens and landscaping.  It was built as a mansion in 1904 by a Norwegian-born artist for his bride, a daughter of the chocolate-famed Ghiradelli family, and was later converted to a luxury hotel. 

Many of the town's residents had wonderful gardens and window boxes.  I liked this 4th-of-July themed display!
Our next stop was the beautiful city of Santa Barbara.  It looks like classic California with a wide sandy beach, swaying palm trees, and the blue Pacific Ocean.   We stayed at the Santa Barbara Inn, a boutique hotel which featured Michel Richard's famous restaurant, Citronelle. 
We then drove to Los Angeles . . . . which of course has wonderful and famous beaches . . . . but I will leave that for another post!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day always marks the beginning of summer for me, and all the wonderful things that come with it, including trips to the beach!  Yes, I know the official first day of summer is June 21, but in my mind Memorial Day starts the season . . .

As a child, that meant a count-down to the end of school, the opening of the pool, sleeping-in, late-nights eating ice-cream, looking at stars, fresh lemonade, flowers in my Mom's garden, and reading on our screened-in porch.

This was posted on a friend's facebook page (from a group called the Homeschool Divas).  I may have to print it out and see how many I can check-off before summer ends!

(And I find it humorous that #1 is "Go to the Beach")!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Products I Love


Every once in a while I run across a product I like so much that I just have to share.  I found these soaps at Richmond's Bizarre Bazaar and they smell just like the beach!  When I closed my eyes and took a "whiff" I immediately smelled sunscreen, salty air, and warm sand; I could even feel the ocean breeze and hear the call of the gulls. 

Bizarre Bazaar features all kinds of wonderful boutique products, but the soap from Ocean Soaps etc. was my pick of the day (although I have to admit I enjoyed the samples from the Wine Slushy-Maker too).  Ocean Soaps etc. are artisan handcrafted shea butter soaps and lotions.  They feature many scents, but "Beach Bum" was by far my favorite, and apparently many other people felt the same way as they were almost sold out by the end of the day. 

So here's a "Shout-out" to Pat & Bob Younce of Ocean Soaps etc.  - thanks for bringing a little of the beach to Richmond!   They can be accessed at or email:        

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lilly Pulitzer - A Colorful Life

Designer Lilly Pulitzer died in Palm Beach, Florida today, Sunday, April 7, 2013.  I was a fan of her bright, colorful prints which incorporated some of my favorite motifs -- flamingos, hibiscus, and palm trees.  A Lilly fabric was sure to mix colors in bold ways that somehow always worked:  Lime green and pink, turquoise and yellow, magentas, purples and blues.  Her products always seemed "happy" to me and brought a smile to my face, whether it was a classic Lilly dress, stationery, or a Tervis Tumbler. 

A link to a previous post I did about Lilly can be found here:
Good-bye Lilly - thanks for making the world a more colorful place.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Coastal Style

Oh, look what came in the email!  (from Pottery Barn)  I'm ready to decorate my beach house!  Oh wait, I don't have a beach house.  Hmmm . . . must be time for another of my fantasy escape posts.  The trouble is, I'm not sure where my beach house should be. . .  The outer banks of North Carolina?  Florida?  Out on the Pacific Rim in northern California?  Perhaps a classic Cape Cod in Hingham, Mass.?   That sounds good - I can just see it now, perched on a rocky New England shore.  Grey shingles, black shutters, a white picket fence, and blue hydrangas tumbling over the garden gate. 

Inside, it will be pure comfort - couches to sink into, soft throws, pillows, down comforters . . .
        Candles and shell accessories . . . . the scent of lemon-verbena . . .


Monday, March 18, 2013

I feel like I need to send a big "Thank You" to all the people who read my blog.  I'm often surprised to receive beach-themed gifts at holidays and I've enjoyed the books, candles, bumper stickers and refrigerator magnets I've gotten this past year.  (Yes, Yankee Candle makes a Sun & Sand candle that really does smell like the beach!)

I'm also surprised when someone mentions my blog or has a suggestion for a post.  Sometimes I don't know who's out there reading my reflections, or maybe just enjoying the photography.  (thanks to Pinterest, when I can't use my own pictures.)  Who knew this was a good place to visit for a little break in the middle of a busy workday?   But now I know that there are many of you who like to take little fantasy trips to the coast or remember lazy days by the beach from vacations past. 

One of the suggestions I've gotten for a post is Beach Music.  Wow, what a great topic, but it could cover several posts.  There are so many genres:  some people think Beach Music is Carolina Beach Music, which is an R&B sound from the 50s and 60s.  For those who love to Shag, it's definitely the soundtrack for your vacation.   (and if you don't know what shagging is, well, it's a type of swing dancing popular in Virginia and North & South Carolina.) 

For others, Beach Music means the Beach Boys or Jimmy Buffett and at some point I'll give them each a post, as they've been favorites of mine at various points in my life.

But for many, Reggae is the sound of the islands.   Reggae is easily recognized by its offbeat rhythms.  The accents on the second and fourth beat in each bar, with the drum's emphasis on the third beat creates a unique sense of phrasing.  All I know is that when people hear a reggae song, they almost always start to sway or move their head with the rhythm.  So for now, I'll leave you with sounds of Mr. Bob Marley -- enjoy!  (and I love the animation in this video too!)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

More Snow on the East Coast

Just when I thought Spring was close, Mother Nature dumped a big, wet, heavy snow on us!  I just had to share this photo from my Pinterest Board.  Too cute!  (and yes, I'd rather be making a "sandman" instead of a snowman! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ready for some sun!

I realize I haven't posted at all in February.  We have had a month of grey, rainy days here on the east coast and I haven't been feeling very "beachy". 

So I'll take a few moments to step back in time to remember the years I lived in Florida and how lovely February was in the southern latitudes.  Spring arrives early in south Florida . . . and seeing all the beautiful red strawberries in the grocery stores reminds me of the fact that they are at their peak in places like Plant City or Homestead.  Most people just think of Homestead as just a "jumping off" point for the Keys, but it's also home to some great little "pick-your-own" berry farms, roadside stands, and all kinds of fresh citrus. 

The hibiscus come into full bloom with a dazzling array of colors as warm breezes start to blow through.  Talk turns to baseball as the teams report to their various spring training cities.  T-shirts and flip-flops are pulled out from the closets in anticipation of warm days on the beach and lazy afternoons at the pool.  I'm ready . . . how about you?  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Why the Beach Makes Us Happy"


Why the Beach Makes Us Happy . . .

If you have a chance to pick up Coastal Living magazine’s February issue, they have an interesting story about “Why the beach makes us happy”.  You may be thinking, “well duh, of course . . . you’re on vacation, you’re off work, you’re with your family, etc.” and all that is true.  But the article also goes into some research about why the beach brings happiness, which is fairly interesting.  For instance, the color blue is shown to produce feelings of security and relaxation.  Research on acoustics finds that humans find most pleasant those sounds that have predictable wave patterns, soft volumes and harmonic frequencies at regular intervals – all characteristics of the ocean’s rhythms.  The article also looks at the importance of tactile senses (sand, salt air) and also the human ability to store memories of happy times, which also brings a sense of satisfaction. 

 It’s pretty fascinating “stuff” from one of my favorite magazines. 


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring