Thursday, July 15, 2010

Moving On

I am now blogging over at An Independent Guinevere. Please come visit. I miss you . . .

Monday, May 31, 2010

Southern Flowers

Magnolia - Nikon D40 with 55mm lens

How I would love to have dahlias and peonies growing in my yard. Alas, Florida is not a friendly place for such blooms. But since Mother Nature is quite fair, she lets me have magnolias and gardenias, instead.

Gardenia - Nikon D40 with 55mm lens

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Weekly Challenge - I've Got The Blues

Blue Water - Nikon D40 with 55mm lens

Blue is my favorite color. That's saying a lot, considering my all-consuming love for colors of every shade. For blue to make it to the top is pretty impressive. And there is no blue I love more than the color of the Gulf of Mexico. It's actually a range of shades, from turquoise to cerulean.

I could stare at it forever. Often times, I do.

Go on over to Inspiration Avenue and check out the other amazing submissions.

Friday, May 28, 2010

My Guru

One of My Favorites - Sony Cybershot

Since my current location is at sea-level, I am unable to shout my new discovery from the mountaintops. I actually can't even see any mountaintops from here. So the internet is going to have to be my mountaintop as I shout to the world that I have found my guru. I have found someone amazing and brilliant that I think everyone should know about.

Ashley Ambirge from The Middle Finger Project is not just writing about a fearless, original life, she's living it. And she makes us all believe we can do it, too. Her posts are funny, wise, realistic and heart-felt. Ashley really wants us to find our own potential. She knows the secret: that when people are happy and productive, the world is a better place.

When I first started reading her blog a week or two ago I just kept thinking, over and over, "Yes! She gets it!" She has this incredible ability to make her readers feel as though she's talking directly to them.

I could go on and on, but I wouldn't do it justice. Just head over to her site and start reading. I'm tellin' you, it'll change your life. It's changed mine.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Weekly Challenge - Melange

Melange - Nikon D40 with 55mm lens

I love this challenge because it takes me out of my comfort zone. I prefer not jumble things up, but that's exactly what was called for. At first, I didn't like this flower combination. But the longer I sit with it, the more I come around.

Click over to Inspiration Avenue and check out the other submissions.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lists: Music Lyrics

Purple Hydrangea - Nikon D40 with 55 mm lens

I love music. I could spend days explaining why and how much I love music. To list all my favorite lyrics would probably break the internet, so I'll just put up a few here. And they are not in any particular order.

Guinevere by Eli Young Band: written by Mike Eli, James Young and Scooter Caruso
For as much as she's stumbled, she's runnin'
For as much as she runs she's still here
Always hoping to find something quicker than heaven
To make the damage of her days disappear

It's In The Way That You Use It by Eric Clapton: written by Eric Clapton and Robbie Robertson
Nobody's right until somebody's wrong
Nobody's weak until somebody's strong
No one gets lucky till luck comes along
Nobody's lonely till somebody's gone

Half My Mistakes by Gary Allan: written by Radney Foster and Bobby Houck
Half my mistakes I made because I was moving too quickly
Half them were made because my heart was moving too slow
Nobody can tell you a damn thing if you ain't listening
Oh and half my mistakes I've made cause I couldn't let go

The Old Days Are Gone by Gary Jules: written by Gary Jules
In the old days we had it all figured out
The old days are gone, hallelujah . . .
In the old days your somewheres were chosen for you
The old days are gone, hallelujah

I Believe In Something by Mark Aaron Canty written by Mark Aaron Canty
I believe in something
But I don't know what it is
Never much on miracles
But I've never needed one like this
The only life I'll ever live
Has been more take than it's been give

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Weekly Challenge - Architecture

Ringling Museum Courtyard - Nikon D40 with 55 mm lens

One of my most very favorite buildings in the world. I first saw it when I was seventeen years old. And now, seventeen years later, I still visit it once a year. And I am still in awe.

Head on over to Inspiration Avenue and check out all the fantastic submissions.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Where Have I Been? Alas, Nowhere Special. . .

Gulf of Mexico, May 15, 2010 - Sony Cybershot

Did you all know SilverBluePearl is my third blog? The first two didn't turn out so hot and, when I couldn't post consistently, I just deleted them. The classic "if I can't do it perfectly why bother at all" attitude. Well, I finally learned my lesson. No more deleting blogs just because I can't post to them. Life gets crazy and some times we can't get to our blogs. That's okay. I always come back eventually. Sometimes with pretty pictures.

Sorry I've been gone so long, friends. I'll try to pop in more frequently from now on.

**Note: I took the photo above about twenty minutes ago. Where I am is far from the oil spill, but our beautiful Gulf is hurting. Click this link to see how you can help: (Link via my friend Toni)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

It's A Blog Party!

Pink 'n White - Nikon D40 with 55 mm lens

We're having a party over at Inspiration Avenue! Tutorials is our theme, and the only thing I can write that makes any sense is recipes. I'm more of a hands-on, right-there-with-you kind of teacher. But recipes, now those I can write. So here is one of my absolute favorites: Tuesday Pasta.

Invariably, I always end up making this pasta on Tuesday nights, though I never actually plan it that way. It is easy, delicious and even good for you. How's that for a yummy weeknight dinner?

Tuesday Night Pasta

1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, rinsed and dried
1 tub of fresh mozzarella balls (small size)- (I like Bel Gioioso Ciliegine) at room temperature
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb small pasta (farfalle, rotini, penne, etc.)
handful fresh basil, torn or chopped
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Start the sauce when you add the pasta to the boiling water.
2. Pour oil into large saucepan over medium heat.
3. Chop garlic and add to pan. Keep an eye on oil so it sizzles nicely but does not smoke and garlic does not burn. Cook for two minutes.
4. Add whole tomatoes, basil and salt and pepper to pan. Cook just until the tomato skins start to split.
5. Toss sauce, pasta and mozzarella in serving dish. Serve immediately.

Serves 2 generously.

- Don't use fridge-cold mozzarella: it won't melt into the sauce if it is too cold.
- All measurements are approximate. Some prefer less garlic or more cheese (me! me!). Adjust to your taste.
- I like the pasta to be roughly the same size as the tomatoes and mozzarella, but this is also delicious with spaghetti or angel hair.
- If you can't find fresh mozzarella balls you can use a large hunk, just chop it into pieces roughly the size of the tomatoes.

I hope you try this recipe; I think you'll love it! If you have any questions I'll answer them in the comments! Now come on over to the party!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lists: Things That Make Me Happy

Soft Hydrangea - Sony Cybershot

This regular posting thing is going well, don't you think?

Life is chaos right now, again, so here goes a simple list.

Things That Make Me Happy

1. Chocolate in almost any form.
2. Colors - all of them.
3. Music - everything from jazz to country to hard rock.
4. Natural light - the best light for taking photographs.
5. Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.
6. Shopping - and oh, how my wallet wishes it didn't.
7. My nephew's giggles.
8. Flowers in abundance.
9. Making lists of things that make me happy.

There are many more, of course, but I'll keep it short and sweet for now.

What makes you happy?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Inspiration Avenue: My Town

Ringling House, Sarasota, FL - Nikon D40 with 55mm lens

My town is Sarasota, Florida. There are a thousand reasons why I love this town so much. One of them is the proximity to art and history. Above is the John and Mabel Ringling house, built in the 1920s. It is gorgeous and well-preserved and was a gift to the city of Sarasota from the Ringling estate. I try to go at least once a year just to soak up all that history. I love that my town makes preserving this beautiful old mansion a priority.

What do you love about your town?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lists: Oscar Moments

Mom's Orchid - Nikon D40 with 55 mm lens

Oscar mania! Here are my 5 favorite moments from Sunday's Oscars. And yes, I stayed up to watch the WHOLE thing. I probably should have just DVR'd it and zipped through the entire telecast in an hour.

1. Sandra Bullock: It's about damn time! I have long been a fan of Sandra, especially her dramatic roles. Her acceptance speech was perfection: gracious, funny and quick.

2. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin: Come on, they were funny. If we can't have Billy Crystal, these two are the next best thing.

3. Neil Patrick Harris: The magic of NPH is his subtle facial expressions and he used them beautifully in that opening number.

4. Kathryn Bigelow: Twice, in two different speeches, she made a point of thanking the troops. She's awesome forever in my book.

5. Meryl Streep: Classy, cool and gorgeous. Elegance in the face of many jokes. And God love her, not an ounce of Botox anywhere. That is how women should age. I'm lookin' at you, Nicole Kidman.

So who watched, and what did you think?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Art Auction for Angel Faces Charity

(click image for larger view)

Roses, roses, roses. Shakespeare really knew what he was talking about. I am offering the fine art print above as part of the Inspiration Avenue art auction for the Angel Faces Retreats. The auction begins Sunday March 7 and wraps up Sunday March 14.

This 8x10 fine art print is just the right size for that little nook or small spot of bare wall. Professionally printed with metallic finish. If you love roses you must have this print!

Bidding starts at $5.00 dollars, all bids in whole dollars, $1.00 increments. Only bids in US dollars will be counted. You must leave an email address in order to receive a PayPal invoice. The winner will be notified Sunday March 14th via email and will have 72 hours to make payment. If payment is not made within 72 hours the next highest bidder will be notified. Make your bid at the Inspiration Avenue site.

This print will be sent without watermark in a protective sleeve and rigid mailer via First Class US Postal Mail.

Please head to Inspiration Avenue to see all the other beautiful offerings from the team. Lovely art for a very worthy cause. Come on. You know you want to.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Inspiration Avenue Charity Art Auction

(click for larger version)

Inspiration Avenue is having a Charity Auction on March 7, 2010. We're hoping to raise money for Angel Faces, a truly magical project.

Please stop by Inspiration Avenue on Sunday to see all the gorgeous goodies we will have listed. I know you'll find something lovely, and you'll be helping a very worth cause. What's better than that?

The poster above was created by the amazing Maggie. Go check out her site, it's incredible.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lists: Favorite Words

Blue Sky and Palm Trees - Nikon D40 with 55mm lens

Last week was a mess, so there was no list post. This week's list is totally random. Some of these words I like because of their meaning, others because the sound nice or look pretty. Like I said, random. Here goes (in no particular order):

:: Hypotenuse
:: Serendipity
:: Believe
:: Hope
:: Cherish
:: Lavender
:: Awesome
:: Bodacious
:: Lugubrious
:: Zaftig
:: Create
:: Wisdom
:: Stupendous
:: Fantastic
:: Wily
:: Moxie
:: Breadth
:: Azure
:: Seraphim
:: Tangent
:: Quicksilver
:: Aubergine
:: Esoteric
:: The 'F' word (sorry, but it really is one of my favorite words - I use it often)
:: Phenomenal
:: Solemnity
:: Ghost
:: Fortitude
:: Power

What are your favorite words?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekly Challenge - Purple

Purple Orchid - Nikon D40 with 55 mm lens

Well, I missed this week's list post on Tuesday, but at least I finally did a challenge. Woohoo for mediocre blog posting! Sorry, guys. Real life gets in the way of my online life. My online life is way more fun.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lists: Desserts

Cheesecake Cups - Sony Cybershot

Here is one of my favorite lists of all time. Because I'm a girl who loves her sweets.

1. Brownies: Nothing better than Ghirardelli double chocolate brownies. These are best right out of the oven, so the chocolate chips are still melty.

2. Homemade chocolate chip cookies: I recently switched to Alice's recipe, after using the Toll House one for twenty years. This new one blows Toll House away. Warm chocolate chip cookies are a basic food group in my house.

3. Apple crisp: Must be made with Pink Lady apples, and Ina Garten's recipe. Will not last more than two days, even though it's huge. Trust me.

4. Blackberry cobbler: I use jarred blackberries from Cracker Barrel and a simple, almost plain topping I found online fifteen years ago. Heaven.

5. Cheesecake cups: Simple and delicious. See the photo above. I use jarred cherries from Cracker Barrel. Their country store has some awesome foodstuffs. And the key to the lightness of the cheesecake here is to beat the cream cheese and egg mixture for at least five minutes.

So what sort of sugarplum sweet dance in your dreams?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lists: Guitar Gods

Look At That Blue - Nikon D40 with 55mm lens

I am a music lover. I can't play an instrument or sing to save my life, but I've got good ears and I love a blistering guitar solo. So here's my list of Guitar Gods, in order of worship.

1. Eric Clapton - The greatest guitar player ever. His solo on the original version of "Layla" pretty much says it all. Slowhand is a virtuoso, made even more interesting my his willingness to try new styles, while always paying tribute to the blues he loves most.

2. Eddie Van Halen - Come on, I was an impressionable little music fan in the 80's. Of course I am going to pick him! The things he can do with a guitar will blow your mind.
Favorite song: Jump

3. Vince Gill - If you're not a fan of country music you might not even recognize this artist. If you are I don't need to tell you why he's amazing. I have all his CDs (from back when we still bought CDs). What he does with a guitar is complex, but he makes it look so easy.
Favorite Song: Tryin' To Get Over You

4. Jimi Hendrix - He may not have invented the electric guitar, but he showed everybody else how to play it. He was the original innovator. Who knows what he would have done, had his demons not conquered him.

5. Pete Townsend - I certainly don't like every song The Who ever recorded. But the guitar in "Baba O'Reilly" (better known as "Teenage Wasteland") is practically supernatural. Add in Keith Moon's lunatic drums and you've got a virtually perfect rock song.
Favorite Song: Baba O'Riley

6. Stevie Ray Vaughn - I am no expert on Texas boogie-rock, but I love damn near everything this man recorded in his short career. "The House Is Rockin" might be the single most fun song I've ever heard.
Favorite Song: Pride and Joy

So tell me I'm wrong, or tell me I'm right. Let's talk about music, kids.

(Click the Favorite Song titles to hear some of the greatest guitar ever played.)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Things I Love

Rubens Gallery, Ringling Museum - Nikon D40 with 55mm lens

Oh how I love an art museum. The wood, the art, the quiet, the cool - did I mention the art? This is the Peter Paul Ruebens gallery at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL. Those paintings on the wall are gigantic. And 500 years old. How does something that large survive that long? I really can't wrap my head around it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

List: Things On My Desk

Colorful Roses - Nikon D40 with 55 mm lens

I have to confess, I secretly love reading about or seeing things on people's desks. I like to see how others create their space, what they use to inspire them, if they are totally utilitarian or incorporate more whimsy. I think I'm a little of both. So here is what's on my desk (In no particular order):

1. Cordless keyboard and mouse, 24" monitor, HP printer, Altec Lansing computer speakers.
2. Bright pink and blue sticky notes, lined index cards, pink, blue and purple binder clips.
3. Two retractable ball point pens and teal, fuchsia and lavender Sharpies.
4. Blue iPod Nano.
5. Alarm clock, Aveeno lotion, bottle of water (my desk is right next to my bed, so it also functions as a nightstand).
6. Calculator, double-sided tape, stapler.
7. A 2GB flash drive and a card-reader for my camera memory cards.
7. "Balance", my word of the year, handwritten on an index card.
8. A small metal sign that says CREATE.

So who wants to share what's on their desk?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sunshine Award

Birthday Roses - Nikon D40 with 55 mm lens

Sharon from Mana Moon is at it again! She has awarded me the delightful Sunshine Award. And then a few hours later I got a note from Shel of Pics by Shel that she also named me in her award. I don't know what I did to be so lucky to be awarded twice, but I hope I can live up to it!


I can't tell you how much I love getting emails about these awards. It's the little things that count, people.

So here's my list for the Sunshine Award.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gone To The Birds

Breakfast with the Pelicans - Sony Cybershot

Since the pelicans are still hanging around, I thought I'd post more photos. Because what's more fun than pelicans?

Apparently the water is so cold the fish are basically stunned motionless, so the pelicans just sit on the surface scooping them up. Then don't even need to dive for them, like they usually do. Lazy pelicans. Soon to be fat pelicans at the rate they're going.

If you click on the photos to enlarge you can seem them gobbling up the fish. Funny birds.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Glowing Orchid - Nikon D40 with 55 mm lens

I am shamelessly borrowing an idea from Hula Seventy wherein I will make a list every week until January 2011. Because I love to make lists. Not useful to-do lists, but things like Top 5 All-Time Guitar Gods. (Being a music fan, you'll see that list soon.) These lists may be funny, or serious, or silly, or anything in between. This is going to be fun.

I'll start things off with something simple: Favorite Colors (because I love color like a baby loves her mama.) In no particular order:

1. Intense magenta: regal and noble.
2. Shimmery pale pink: the perfect shade of eyeshadow.
3. Chocolate: excellent home decorating shade
4. Eggplant purple: a little goes a long way
5. Bright White: it makes all colors look better (I know white isn't technically a color, but hey, it's my list)
6. Metallic candy-apple red: nothing sexier.
7. Deep midnight blue: the color of secrets.

Look for my lists every Tuesday!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Inspiration Avenue: Mystique

Foggy Pelicans, January 22, 2009 - Sony Cybershot

Here on the west coast of Florida we rarely get fog during the day. But due to the current cold water, warm air circumstance, a giant bank of sea fog rolled in off the Gulf yesterday. These pelicans didn't seem to mind, though.

Don't you think Foggy Pelican sounds like the name of a great old British pub? Maybe I watch too many movies.

Please stop by Inspiration Avenue and see the amazing work being submitted for the Weekly Challenge.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

Winter Palms - Nikon D40 with 55mm lens

"Where ever you go, go with all your heart."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Inspiration Avenue: Pocket Full of Sunshine

Sunshine Bench - Nikon D40 with 55mm lens

I love sunshine. I live in Florida, so it's kind of a requirement. Naturally, I was very excited for this week's challenge. One of my favorite things about natural light is the way it filters through trees. I especially like the "pockets" on the ferns behind this bench, under that banyan tree.

Head on over to Inspiration Avenue and check out those fantastic submissions.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Amazing Friends: Plumrose Lane

"Remembrance" blog background from Plumrose Lane

My incredible, magical, talented friend Sharon (of Mana Moon Studios) has a new venture and I am so excited to tell you about it. You already know she creates some of the most gorgeous jewelry around. Now she's taking that creativity to the world of graphic design. Just look at that extraordinary blog background up there! Her new project is Plumrose Lane. (I love that name!) There's a blog here and an Etsy shop here.

This is "Rose Garden", my personal favorite.

So please go visit Plumrose Lane. Not only is Sharon an amazing artist, she's also one of the nicest people I've ever known. And if that's not reason enough to go buy some blog banners, I don't know what is!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Inspiration Avenue Weekly Challenge: Wonderland

Ancient Pier, Gulf of Mexico - Nikon D40 with 55 mm lens

Since I don't have an underwater camera, I can't show you a photo of my wonderland. But I can get close. The Gulf of Mexico is a magical wonderland. I have lived near its coast all my life. In the spring and summer my idea of a perfect day is grabbing my mask and heading to the beach. I don't snorkel, I just hold my breath and dive for shells, sand dollars and to watch the fish. On occasion, there might even be a curious manatee about.

I am not one for sunbathing, too passive. I like to be swimming, feeling that warm, silky water, the gentle waves, watching dolphins far in the distance, too far out for me to reach. But that's okay. Often times the dolphins are not far from sharks, and I'm not that adventurous. But I do love to watch the dolphins jump high out of the water, racing after their elusive lunch. The Gulf of Mexico is quite a wonderland, indeed.
* * * * *
Please visit Inspiration Avenue to see the beautiful submissions.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Year

Mabel's Rose Garden, 12/2009 - Nikon D40 with 55 mm lens

Here we are at the beginning of a new year and I feel like "putting a few things down on paper", something I used to say before blogs entered the world.

What I Learned In 2009

:: I learned, actually I remembered, that I should always trust myself. Somewhere along the way I stopped trusting my opinion and my judgement. I was looking to others I deemed smarter or more experienced for answers, ideas, opinions. I stopped thinking my opinions and feelings had worth because surely someone else must know more than I do. I'm just a small-town girl from nowhere. What do I know? But, I figured out that every time I listened to my own inner voice, not only was the decision better for me and felt more like my own truth, but situations and problems worked out better. Which leads into my next lesson. . .

:: I have to live my life for myself, according to my own plans and dreams. There is no shortage of people in my life (and I'm sure this is the same for most of you) telling me what to do. Most of them mean well, and I appreciate sound advice as much as the next girl. But this is my journey. I have to do what makes sense for me, and what speaks to my values and ideals, not anyone else's. This was a very hard lesson to learn because I am a good daughter, friend, employee, and I like to make people happy. But when I started sacrificing my own identity, I knew it had to stop.

:: I also learned that if someone is rude, nasty, mean, arrogant, spiteful, argumentative or negative, it really has nothing to do with me. I once thought that I had done something to trigger this behavior, or that it was incumbent upon me to change their attitude. Both are wrong. People behave as they do for a thousand reasons, and while I try to be compassionate for whatever that individual is going through, I don't have to pick it up and carry it. It's their load, not mine.

:: Eight hours of sleep per night is mandatory. Whatever else in the world has to wait, it can wait. Eight hours makes such a difference in my energy, mood, health.

What I Hope For 2010

:: I hope to be a bit lighter. I tend to take things far too seriously and sink into deep, heavy thoughts, often times getting lost. I'd like to laugh more.

:: I would like to finally start a yoga/meditation practice. I think it would make such a difference in my chaotic, racing-90 mph-mind. I crave calm.

:: I hope I can leave everyone I meet with a smile. It seems like such a small thing, but I appreciate when someone does it for me. I'd like to do that for others.

:: I hope that I can give up the food guilt and just eat what I love and love what I eat. Food and I have a complicated relationship going back ages (me and every other woman, it seems). But at almost 34 years old I'm just tired of it all. Eating fresh, good-quality food and paying attention to what I eat seems to be the answer. I want to give that a try.

I am borrowing this quote my friend Tee posted which seems to sum it up for me: "There will always be people who don't, won't get it - what you're doing, what you're saying, what you're believing in. Politely push those throngs to the side and make room for the ones who do. Waste no more time on wishing."