painting my sandals

spa ritual delight vegan nail varnish

oh dear, you did read that right!
this weekend, if you're broke and have nothing else to do,
 you might want to try and paint a pair of sandals.

i swear i have not lost my mind. 
i have always been fascinated with thrift, even as a child.  i'm not sure if that is normal or not,
but it's true.

i loved listening to stories about the great depression and how people made do.
larry's grandmother shared such interesting stories with me on what it was like to raise 4 babies in minnesota in the winter with cloth diapers.  can you imagine?

anyway this post is in the american spirit of use it up, wear it out or making it last.

yesterday i painted these faux snakeskin sandals a deep navy blue.
they were in the box waiting to be donated when it dawned on me that i wanted navy sandals for summer, so instead of going out and shopping for a pair, why not try painting them?

it was easy and took about 15 minutes.
all i needed was this ordinary craft type paint and a small paintbrush, i already had both. 

i just cleaned the shoes, painted them and watched them dry.

watching paint dry is so fun.

in real life they now look like navy blue linen.

i'm pretty happy with the results and i think i'll get a lot of wear out of them this summer.

have you ever done anything like this?
share if you have.

have a fabulous weekend my friends.



true blue

i'm not going to lie.
i have writers block.  since i don't consider myself a writer, i don't know what that means.

but honestly, i've been staring at this screen for like a half hour.
all these thoughts keep popping up in my mind that i should talk about but i can't get my fingers to type them.

things i should talk about...

this outfit
where i'm going in it.
how i've gotten my wardrobe pared down to within an inch of its life and how happy that makes me.
how anything that i own that is nice, larry bought me.

but instead i'm just going to wish you a wonderful day and urge you to enjoy it.


anthropologie blouse - gift from larry
seven for all mankind jeans - $35 (outlet)
navy kitten heels - $3


another reblooming orchid

morning light and a little coffee now and again seems to be the trick for getting my orchids to rebloom.

i brought this one inside b/c i thought the color would be perfect for easter.

sitting next to this old topiary ball  it looks pretty good.

joining jane and the gang for flowers in the house at

small but charming

looking forward to this fresh new day.



a mini rant

i knew when i told you guys i purchased this j. crew coat from ebay that someone would call me out on my ethics or lack thereof.  there are people who read my blog just for that purpose alone.  they are always there to point out my flaws.
and people i have tons of flaws.
  i am nowhere near perfect, just ask my family!
what you see on my blog is the good side of me.

i happen to be a vegan, big whoop.  that does not give me the right to run around blogland judging others who are not.  most of the blogs i read have nothing to do with being vegan.  i read them b/c i like them and they are nice people.  i read food blogs that are not vegan all the time.  i love them b/c they give me great ideas for recipes that i can make my own.  i read blogs that are all about frivolous fashion and decorating and i love them!

the fact that someone takes the time out of their day to send me emails and/or comments telling me i should be ashamed of myself just kills me because
 the computer they are typing on was most likely made in a sweatshop.

you can read about that here if you are interested.

anyway, i just had to vent. 
see you tomorrow with pictures of pretty flowers.

edited note:  this is the link that dani so kindly alerted me to.  i suggest everyone read it and feel pretty good about shopping j. crew.

j. crew social responsibilty practices


spicy tortilla gardein burger*

it's friday and the weekend is here.
i'm happy.

but i'm also (always) thinking about easy, yummy things to eat.
a spicy tortilla burger would be perfect.
i made these last weekend and they were a big hit.
maybe you'll like them too.

1 gardein veggie burger
1 tortilla
lettuce, tomato, avocado
small dice pickled jalapeno peppers
agave syrup

after you grill your veggie burger place it in one corner of the tortilla and drizzle agave on it in a light crisscross pattern.
put the diced jalapenos on top of that and then the rest of the toppings.
fold entire thing into quarters. 
it's the heat mixed with the sweet that does the trick.

*no animals were harmed making this burger.

enjoy your weekend and be kind b/c the alternative stinks.

j. crew icon trench review

when my friend miss doris found a burberry trench at the goodwill for $6, i was not only jealous i made up my mind that i'd find one too.  that was over 2 years ago.  maybe it's because i'm in southern california, but trench coats, let alone burberry, are few and far between in the second-hand market here.  when i lost weight, my london fog no longer fit, and i've been freezing my behind off since.

so after talking it over with a couple of j. crew experts, dani and tabitha, who both gave it a big thumbs up, i started looking at the j. crew icon trench.  at $298 before taxes and shipping it was way less than my elusive burberry.  we have a burberry outlet not far from us and even there they run upwards of $1200.
and since the j. crew icon trench, which is a "collection" piece, is reportedly made from the same japanese fabric that the burberry is, $300 seems quite the value.
i started scouring ebay everyday looking for one and came across one selling for $140 with free shipping.
i quickly purchased it and i'm glad i did.

i believe the coat fits true to size.  i would probably wear a size 2 in this but i did get a 4 b/c i wanted to be able to layer underneath it.


love the back vent and storm flap

it has quickly turned into my favorite coat.  it seems to go with everything i own.
the best part about it is how it makes whatever i have on look quite chic.

overall i am very impressed with the detailing, the quality of the fabric and the beautiful lining.  it fits true to size and i feel that the price honestly reflects the craftsmanship of the garment.
i think even at full price it would be worth it. 

ok, now go have a good day.


viking stove review

hello everyone.  i hope your weekend was nice.  ours was very wet and cold which was a nice change.
we need rain here!

i thought i'd do a little review of what if think of my overpriced,  no frills cooking machine, aka my viking range.

i have cooked professsionally on viking ranges so i was pretty familiar with them.  it is a powerful range, each burner has 15k btu's.  in comparison, the average range has 7k btu's per burner. for me the best part of a high btu range is the way it sears food really fast and evenly, giving great color to whatever you are making. 

my only complaint with the burners is that when you are on the lowest heat, an annoying clicking sound is made.  i'm guessing this is so you don't walk away thinking that whatever it is you are making is safe b/c you have it on low heat.  low heat on this range is still very hot.

another thing to consider is that you cannot use lightweight cookware on this range.  you need something heavy.  i use an old, heavy set of calphalon w/o teflon.

nice, heavy cookware and this range is a beautiful thing.

oh and one more thing, there is no built in timer or clock.  whatever, you'll get used to it.

i ordered a high shelf for my range.  that's the stainless steel backsplash and shelf.
i know a lot of people store their oils and spices up there but that is a mistake.
i think most people just style their photographs that way but that shelf is really a warming shelf.
when you get 2 or 3 of those burners going at once, that heat is quite hot and the shelf is designed to capture that heat.  it is intended to keep dishes and food warm up there while cooking.
that high heat will cook your oil and spices.

the convection oven is large and spacious. 
again, very powerful fans that cut 1/3 cooking/baking time off a recipe.
you have to get the hang of that too.  i swear the oven is almost as fast as the microwave.


this is the 24" stove i originally wanted.  so cute.
i thought it would be so perfect for my small kitchen.
i changed my mind when i found out that the burners were not sealed.
i'm a pretty messy cook and i need/love sealed burners.

there isn't much not to love about this range except things can burn quickly, there are no trendy gadgets (like timers) oh and the price.
this was the one splurge in our house renovation.
i believe with tax it was $5200.
almost 1/2 the entire cost of the kitchen renovation!

i would say that if you love to cook it's worth it.  if not, i think it would be a frustrating range to own.
anyone can get the hang of it though, it's just a question of whether you want to or not.

i hope you all have a spectacular monday b/c why not?!



from the scottish highlands

remember this skirt from yesterday?

as a few of you pointed out, it is actually a kilt.

i happen to have a very dear reader named alan in scotland.
he is a stylist for a major department store.  he is very keen on style and fashion, and i'm totally flattered that he reads my blog.

he is a real sweetheart and he has a friend ross that really knows his kilts. 
so he contacted me this morning with all kinds of information on my kilt.

first of all each scottish clan has its own kilt pattern.
you can identify each clan by the colors and pattern.

i believe my kilt is from the malcom clan.
each scottish surname belongs to a clan and all the clans have various tartans that identify them.. usually a modern/ ancient/ hunting and a dress tartan.  all of them can be completely different but specific to that clan.
  if i got any of this wrong, please forgive me but it's a little confusing!
and with a little more research he determined that the maker of my kilt is right there in the scottish highlands.

this is one of the reasons i love blogging.  i have the absolute best readers.  meeting people like you and alan and ross who take the time out of your day to pass on wonderful information, whether it is in regards to fashion, food, gardening or animal cruetly.  i say it all the time but you guys are the best.


this is one of the reasons why i love shopping 2nd hand.  you aren't just buying a garment, you are buying a bit of history. 

i think this is just fascinating that i found my kilt laying in a pile of clothing at a yard sale here in redlands.  it is indeed a small, amazing world we live in.

thank you alan for passing on such wonderful information to me.
and i promise to wear it on st. andrews day!

cheers everyone!



old school

they say that the clothing we wear speaks volumes about us.
if that is true, then this skirt is a textbook on my style.
all these years later the simplicity, ease and structure of a uniform has never left me.
  i lived in a similar skirt throughout my catholic school education.
and i'm telling you that i loved that uniform.
as we got older, most of the girls in my class began to rebel and hate the uniform, but not me.
on the rare free-dress day, i often wore my uniform in a reverse rebel sort of way.
that really showed them!

vintage mossbrook wool skirt - $2 yard sale find.
j. crew chambray
navy kitten heels - goodwill $3

i hope whatever you're wearing today says something nice about you.



cauliflower steaks with cauliflower puree*

 i almost didn't post this recipe because white food on a white plate just doesn't photograph well.  but halfway through eating it, i changed my mind because it is so dang good.  while the photo is not that great, the recipe sure makes up for it.

i got the original recipe from epicurious and after reading all the reviews, a lot of people were suggesting using almond milk as a substitute for the whole milk that the recipe called for.
i happened to have a small head of cauliflower in the refrigerator and i always have almond milk so i made it. 
only 3 ingredients - i love recipes like this.

i made a couple of other changes too.  if you want the original recipe you can find it here.

while the cauliflower was in the oven, i threw in a gardein chick'n scallopini patty to serve on the side.
it went so well with this dish and added an extra 14 grams of protein.

i would serve this dish for company, it's that good.

1 head of cauliflower
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup vegetable broth

slice the cauliflower down the middle and make 4 steaks.
reserve the rest of the cauliflower florets for the puree.
the size of cauliflower will determine how many steaks you get and how many florets are left for the puree.  use your best judgement.  i would say that a normal sized head will get 4 steaks so if you have a lot of florets left then increase the almond milk and vegetable broth respectively.
you really cannot go wrong estimating here.

set the cauliflower steaks on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
don't skip this step b/c this is drying the cauliflower out.
meanwhile cook the florets, almond milk and vegetable broth until soft and then puree in a blender.  if by chance the puree is too thin, return it to the sauce pan to simmer until it reduces a bit.
 set aside and keep warm.

after the cauliflower has dried out in the oven transfer it to a skillet with a small amount of vegetable oil and cook until tender and brown.

serve the steaks over the pureed cauliflower add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy.

*no animals were harmed making this dish.

and btw, this just saddened me this morning.
can't donald trumps sons think of anything better to do with their time and money?

today i'm grateful that i can choose to live simply, even when the world is complicated.


spring cleaning my diet

good morning!  did you have a nice weekend?  i did, it was totally unstructured and yet i got a lot done around here.
one of the things i did was spring clean my diet.

 it's fun to spring clean the house and garden but i think spring is a good time to deep clean the diet.  you know what i mean?  get rid of what's not working, what's old and crummy hiding in the fridge and pantry.
those gummy, sticky things that need to be tossed and replaced with fresh product. 
a kitchen is only as clean as the inside of the refrigerator you know.

so while we're at it, why not look at what's hiding in there that might not be good for you.
hmmm, bad habits that have a way of creeping into the house during long, cold days.
personally my pantry needed to be de-chipped.  how's yours looking?

a lot of you reading this have young children or have people that you love that still eat meat (i know i do) so you might want to read this and watch the 20/20 report that goes with it.  it is scary what they are putting into our food these days.
spring is such a great time to start something new like changing long held beliefs about what is considered a healthy diet.

and ladies and gentlemen, i hate to remind you that swimsuit season is right around the corner.
now's the time to start getting ready for that.

yesterday i emptied, scrubbed and polished the refrigerator and pantry until it sparkled.
and then we went to the farmers market and stocked up on...

beautiful lettuces
tiny purple tomatoes

let's all be a little extra gentle today.


fig marmalade gardein veggie burger*

have you ever had one of those days that you think you'll go crazy if you don't sink your teeth into something besides a salad or pasta? 

yesterday was that kind of day.

this is a gardein veggie burger, one of the best tasting veggie burgers i've ever had.  i recently discovered this new brand and i couldn't be happier.  pronounced gardeen, it's a combination of garden and protein.

 i combined the patty, with an old-fashioned fluffy white bun and hipstered it up by smearing it with homemade fig marmalade, fresh garden lettuces, sweet maui onions, chopped tomatoes and spicy mustard. 

*no animals were harmed making this burger.


$10 outfit challenge #8

well hello again.  today i'm here to show you another one of my favortie junk store finds.  this one was so dusty when i bought it, it made me sneeze when i picked it up.  it took 4 or 5 cold water rinses in the tub to get it clean enough to put through the washing machine.  it is navy blue raw silk with a silk lining.
  the collar is hand crocheted.

i imagine this would have been a dress that a lady would have worn to lunch, back when lunching was a verb.
my guess is that the dress is from the 60's or 70's.

to carry on its tradition i wore it to brunch.

navy silk dress (redlands thrift) - $4
navy tights (marshalls) - $1
navy kitten heels (goodwill) - $3

total - $8

choose love today.


problem solved

a couple of weeks ago, while cleaning the lanterns in the living room we broke the glass in one of the hurricane lanterns.  it just shattered.  i always dreaded cleaning these light fixtures b/c they were fragile and they always collected so much dust.  we looked everywhere for replacement hurricanes to no avail.
new fixtures were out of the question right now b/c they are not cheap and we are being extra frugal these days trying to get our mortgage paid off early.  then i remembered that this past summer we hung this pair of pendant lights (that i had gotten at an estate sale for $5) on the porch.  they looked really cute there but now we needed them indoors so larry switched them out.  they are taking a while to get used to as they are diminutive compared to the lanterns that were here but i like these a little better b/c they are more fitting for the room, the age of the house and the ceiling height.  larry was always hitting his head on the old ones.

 i wish all my problems were solved this easily.

have a beautiful week.  see you soon.


mrs. robinson

i love the film the graduate.  it's one of my all-time favorite movies.  did you know that mrs. robinson (anne bancroft) was 36 years old while playing mrs. robinson?  dustin hoffman was 30.  and did you know that supposedly mike nichols wanted doris day for the role of mrs. robinson and robert redford to play benjamin braddock.  that could have been interesting.

when i received this sweater for christmas, mrs. robinson was the first thing i thought of.
even though i'm not much like mrs. robinson (be quiet) i've always loved her in this film.

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