Archive for the ‘little luxuries’ category

From My Grand Bahama Garden: Tomato Bounty

March 11, 2012

I posted about my Warm Winter Garden just a few weeks ago when everything was still green and ripening. Just had to post a pic of this platter of lusciousness now that we’re harvesting ripe red tomatoes and having a good time adding these beauties into omelets, sandwiches, and of course, salads, but mostly just enjoying their bright freshness simple and plain with a hint of salt and pepper. And some of the green ones might get turned into Fried Green Tomatoes. (I do love that movie. And especially the book.)

Nothing like a homegrown tomato for ramping up your appreciation of how va-va-voom life is. There’s something about their vibrant red-ness that acts like a natural can’t-miss-it 4-way Stop sign for pausing and noticing all the wonder that abounds when you look for it. What gladness is growing is your paradise? Whatever and wherever it is — enjoy!

Goldilocks Season

November 4, 2011

We entering into Goldilocks Season on Grand Bahama. The weather is not too hot, not too cold … it’s juuuuust right. It’s the kind of weather that makes you say “aaaahh” and draws your eye extra-much to every bright yellow bit of tropical bliss … … from cerasee bush medicine growing along the garden wall … … to fresh guava in the kitchen … … to more yellow elder (the national flower of The Bahamas) …

… to the way the sun bathes the palm fronds in warmth while a woodpecker taps his tat-a-tat-tat tune …… a soft light glowing on everything … ripening the sea grapes

  

photo by Caitlin Farrington

… renewed gratitude alighting in our hearts, and reminding us of so many golden days … giving thanks for the not-too-hot, hot-too-cold glories of November in The Bahamas! (And to how marvelous it is when the weather matches your mood … here’s to the glow of your internal paradise keeping you warm if you’re bouncing back from that too-cold-too-soon snow storm up north, or still waiting for a touch of fall—like we’ve been doing during the high humidity the past couple of months! Here’s to paying attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle shifts of season and keeping a weathered eye on the blessings that abound everywhere.) Tra-la.

Heartsong Haiku

August 20, 2011

simple island joys
dance brightly in lush greenness
nature’s love abloom

Shades of Blue Bliss: Water Inspiration

December 10, 2010

Blue Bliss: Water Inspiration 8821 © christine matthäi

Artist Photographer Christine Matthäi has created an alluring and intriguing series of images inspired by the changing shades of blue and blissful reflections of what surrounds and supports us most—water.  Her travels to Grand Bahama Island and watching the wind and waves create motion, reflecting the sunlight on our gorgeous clear sapphire seas, is certainly part of her ongoing inspiration and fascination with water—that life-giving source vital to us all. Take a look at these modern, contemporary art works:

Blue Bliss: Water Inspiration 9589 © christine matthäi

Blue Bliss: Water Inspiration 8789 © christine matthäi

Blue Bliss: Water Inspiration 9587 © christine matthäi

Blue Bliss: Water Inspiration 9592 © christine matthäi

Blue.Bliss.Water.Inspiration.8908

Blue Bliss: Water Inspiration 8908 © christine matthäi

If you are interested in prints for your home or office, write to the artist at christinematthai (at) mac (dot) com and note the image number in the caption.

Or take a look at all Christine Matthäi’s gorgeous contemporary portfolios by clicking here.

I am fortunate to call Christine a friend, and am posting this because I admire her incredible talent and brilliant work. As with all things I enthuse about here, it’s simply because I enjoy it and like to make the world a brighter place by sharing the good stuff!

That said, I DO have a vested interest in my husband’s printing company—Freeport Advertising & Printing—a Grand Bahama-owned full service printing and graphic design business here since 1973. If you would like to win a big beautiful 24″ x 36″ inch, fomecore-mounted print of one of Christine Matthai’s images (your choice of the ones shown above), just click here to subscribe to their free Printer At Work newsletter. You can see a sample issue by clicking on the Printer At Work button on the bottom left side of the screen. The newsletter is a quick read, with great tips on marketing, design, technology, and ways to save money and  increase business sales. It comes out every two weeks, so you won’t be getting tons of email or anything. There are even a couple fun cartoons in each edition. (And of course, your email address is safe with us and will be kept private.)

Okay, that’s it. If you’re already a subscriber or have an account at FreeportAdvertising.com, you’re already entered and eligible to win. Subscribe by January 1, 2011 to be eligible to win the print. A random entry will be drawn by over-caffeinated gerbils, or some objective technological wizardry, and the winner announced the following week.

If you want to leave a comment here letting me know you’ve subscribed, or which print is your favorite, or just to jump in and say the water’s fine, that would be wonderful, but is completely up to you.

And if you need some last-minute Christmas cards printed, or little notepads with people’s names on them as thoughtful gifts, I know just the place! (that was the last commercial plug–but aren’t imprinted personal things so cool?—okay that was it, really … I get on a roll and can think up all kinds of fun goodies to print!)

Enjoy the blue bliss of water that surrounds our wonder-filled island and makes us all fortunate in business … in beauty … in life … each and every day. In gratitude for the time and tides—Paula.

It's about the water. It's always about the water. Southern shore of Grand Bahama Island.

 

 

 

 

 

From Boots to Banana Bay in One Beautiful Day

December 9, 2010

You only get a handful of occasions to really justify wearing winter boots on Grand Bahama Island.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Unseasonably low temps in the upper 30s kicked off the day. Clear and a couple degrees warmer than our U.S. neighbor, Florida, (just 68 miles to the west), but still nippy for those of us more accustomed to the kind of warmth and humidity that keeps air conditioners running all through the summer and early fall.

But by mid-afternoon, the thermostat had buoyed up to what I like to call “Goldilocks” weather … not too hot, not too cold …. it’s juuuust right.

I picked up my daughter and her friends from school and decided we would savor this sumptuous high-blue sky, silky-sunshine, and flat-calm, low tide afternoon at a casual beachfront restaurant called Banana Bay. It’s a laidback, delightful place where boots are seldom seen, and shoes in general are quite optional …

We claimed a spot overlooking the wide beach, put in an order for some burgers and salads that the attentive staff cooked while the kiddos explored the eddies and sandbars that emerge at low tide …

… all sorts of shells and sea patterns, sea weed and driftwood glisten …

… a sturdy hammock slung between two palms becomes an imaginary high-seas swaying ship with some help from youthful imaginations …

and then the magic of the low-slanting rays of late afternoon sun start to glow …

bathing everything in a golden winter warmth …

glowing everywhere …

with a dazzling finale!

If you’re reading this from somewhere that’s seen more than your fair share of snow already … I do heartily apologize.

But I just had to capture the soft enchantment of this best-of-both-worlds kind of day. Boots and Beach. A taste of two winter paradises in one.

And if you are in the midst of a snowy winter wonderland type of paradise, please make a snow angel for me. I love snow angels. They’re best friends with the sand angels and mermaid angels that live here by the sea.

Enjoy the wonders of wherever you are. Tra-la.

From My Grand Bahama Garden …

August 27, 2010

It’s hot and humid here on the island in August, but when you’ve got beauties like these growing on a tree in the back yard, you start to appreciate whatever makes lush tropical abundance conditions possible!  These avocado pears (I had never heard them called “pears” until I moved to The Bahamas, but it’s apt — they are pear shaped!) means there’s guacamole ahead this weekend and slices of creamy rich pear-adise in my salads! Trees make me swoon anyway, but trees that bear treats … they bliss me out almost beyond words. Yes, happily, I am easily impressed and amused with the natural wonders of our world. Enjoy whatever slices of green goodness surround you this summer in your own bit of paradise …

A Different Kind of Conch

May 31, 2010

This isn’t about the kind of conch (pronounced “konk”) we find all around The Bahamas. This is not about that staple of island life (and a staple that’s so popular—but not necessarily so prevalent these days—that it may well need some common sense seasonal protection to bring it back to a state of plentifulness, but that’s another story!). No, this is not about the beautiful pink-lipped mild conch that lives in the grassy sea banks of The Bahamas and tastes great in conch salad, fritters, or pounded thin, battered and fried into cracked conch (can you tell it’s around lunchtime as I type this?) …

This is about conch as a verb.  Something I just discovered thanks to The Art of Eating Magazine.

This amazing independent print magazine (that celebrates all the best in food and wine with in-depth articles about the people, places, traditions, growers, and artisans who produce the freshest and most flavorful fare) introduced me to the term “conch” as it applies to the the fine art of making chocolate ….

Yes. Chocolate! And not just any chocolate. Some of the finest chocolate produced anywhere: Taza Chocolate (where a debate on whether to conch or not conch the chocolate is appropos and just a normal part of chocolate-making lingo!).

What I learned reading the Art of Eating article in Salon.com (click here) is that in chocolate-making “conching” refers to a process by which chocolate’s texture can be smoothed. The original conching machine (developed in 1874) was used to give creamy smoothness to the gritty raw chocolate beans, tempering it for taste and texture. The original chocolate conching machine was shaped like a seashell, and the name still refers to the chocolate mixture smoothing process that happens in the final stages of any chocolate making.

In the true artistry of chocolate purists who craft from bean to bar, Taza Chocolate is unique because they do not conch. They roast, winnow, grind, temper, and mold their chocolate by hand. And they use only authentic Oaxacan stone mills (instead of steel machine mills) to grind their organic cacao beans on a slightly imperfect surface, which allows small small particles of unrefined cacao to pop with intense uncompromised flavor in the finished chocolate, and to give their bars a distinct granular texture.

Chocolate. I love it all. Conched or not conched. And I’m so happy to know that Taza Chocolate exists, and to learn that something sea-inspired is a part of chocolate making history.

And as is the case with all the good things I blog about here, I’m not selling anything—I’m just having fun sharing some of the inspiring stuff that makes life a little more full of wonder and joy—and handcrafted all organic-ingredient chocolate is right up there near the top of that Sweet Life list.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go in search of my copy of one of my most favorite all-time movies: Chocolat! (I’m wondering if there’s a conching machine or grinder anywhere in the background that I didn’t notice before … and even if there isn’t, I just love Johnny Depp in this, don’t you?!)

Indulge! (And share a note about your favorite chocolate-lovin’ treats!)


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