Monday, December 29, 2008

CoCo Cat

You know how at the end of each episode of Inside the Actor's Studio the star being interviewed answers the same ten questions? One of them is, "What sound or noise do you love?" A friend of mine has the best answer ever for that question: the purring of a cat.

She says it's a lovely sound on several levels, not the least of which is that it exemplifies complete and utter contentment. 

This little stuffed cat, from Marjji's Etsy store, is a purr if I've ever seen one. I love the happy expression on his face, and his little button tag on his collar.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Transient Art 2

I found this photo on PostSecret (which, by the way, is one of my all-time favorite sites and an incredibly ingenius ongoing art/social experiment).

Make some art around your neighborhood and email it to me at caroline(at)bloomcreatives(dot)com. I'll feature all I receive here!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Married to the Sea

Married To The Sea

Very clever comics... Check them out.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Homemade Key Lime Pie

Copyright Bloom Creatives 2008. All rights reserved.

One of the easiest, most delicious desserts you can make is key lime pie. (By make I mean actually breaking out the mixer, not taking the box out of the freezer and letting it defrost.) 

Although not traditionally a holiday dish in most areas of the country, it is the perfect light finish to a heavy holiday meal: not to sweet, not too tart, airy and lovely. The semi-homemade version uses minimal ingredients - semi-homemade meaning using a ready-made graham cracker crust instead of making your own, but you are more than welcome to do that, too. Make sure that you use key lime juice, not regular lime juice. If you're ambitious you can squeeze the juice out of the itsy-bitsy limes yourself, but I would recommend using something like Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Juice instead.

1 9" pre-made graham cracker pie crust
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
3 egg yolks
1 pint heavy cream or creme fraiche
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 tsp sugar (optional)

Mix together condensed milk, key lime juice and egg yolks (discard whites). Pour mixture into pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Just prior to serving, whip heavy cream or creme fraiche in mixer. If you prefer sweeter cream, add vanilla and sugar. Top pie with whipped cream and serve.

Some notes: 
Technically, you do not have to bake this pie. The chemical reaction between the key lime juice and the egg yolks actually "cooks" the eggs, killing any salmonella, etc. However, I find that the short bake gives the pie a thicker consistency that I prefer.

Although my mother, the whipped cream purist, would wholeheartedly disagree, I would recommend sweetening the cream. Using the amounts of vanilla and sugar I have listed sweetens the cream just enough to offset the tartness of the lime custard, but is not sweet enough to be cloying.

There you go - a delicious, light end to a heavy holiday meal!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Transient Art

This is so wild...
Designers at ENESS created this art installation at Mount Buller in Victoria, Australia. Giant snowballs, projected light, creepy music and a Snowplow of Destruction. This is art for the sake of art distilled into its purest form - putting so much work into something, not only knowing that it will eventually be destroyed, but destroying it yourself. A dark metaphor for life.

Or maybe they are just boys who like to drive big trucks and break stuff.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Santa Cat

Photo copyright Bloom Creatives 2008. All Rights Reserved.

This is my pussycat, Riley. He is not the most cooperative model I've ever worked with, but at least he shows up on time and doesn't do coke in the dressing room.  He loves Christmas - or at least the wrapping paper - so I thought I'd get him in the Christmas spirit. That lasted all of five minutes, but it was long enough for me to get this shot!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Katie Holmes in NY Times Magazine

Don't get me wrong -- I still think she's a mind-controlled Stepford wife who is going to be very, very surprised when her ten-year contract is up and her "husband" is no longer jumping on couches over her.

But for now, I will give Katie Holmes props for this amazingly seductive photoshoot for the New York Times Magazine. 


One of my most favorite songs ever is "Run" by Snow Patrol...

Now Leona Lewis has released a beautiful cover of the song, which I think is just as haunting... Her actual video for this is on YouTube, but embedding was disabled.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

iPhone Skins...

Brandi Milne - Tea Party

I finally bought myself an iPhone! We are a Mac family in this house -- our grand total is now up to an iMac, a Mac Book, and iBook, two iPhones, an iPod Nano and various Mac accessories. We might singlehandedly be keeping Apple stock afloat.

Anyhoo, I've been looking for some covers for mine because I know what happens when I toss things into my purse. They become covered with scratches and lip gloss (not sure how that happens, as the cover is always on the lip gloss when I check. Evil lip gloss gnomes?). The ones they had at the Apple store were pretty generic, or made of florescent rubber -- neither of which were my style. There was a beautiful deep red faux croc skin one, but it was almost $60 and I won't pay that for faux anything.

I was checking out the other day at the suggestion of Kristy who Tweeted about it the other day. They had a link to Gelaskins, where I found tons of beautiful, original skins for my iPhone 3G!  Some designs are based on classic artworks, and some are by modern graphic designers. All are way cool. Here are some of my favorites:

Colin Tompson - Blue Willow

Sorsdahl - Spirit of Medicine Lake
Vincent Van Gogh - Almond Branches in Bloom

Monday, November 24, 2008


Butterflies Journal, $7.99 Peter Pauper Press

Yesterday was a weird day, that I'm still trying to make sense of...

Spent the beginning of the day on a plane, coming home from Memphis, where I was working all weekend. (That's another story...)

I came home to several checks for which I've been waiting, which was good, but one of them opened a big can of worms, was for far less than it should have been, and long story short, slapped me across the face with a professional - and personal, because when isn't it? - betrayal. 

I have felt like I've been on the verge of a cold all weekend, probably something I picked up on the plane.

My sister met with a medium at a party over the weekend, and got to speak with my beloved late grandmother, who had all sorts of interesting things to say! It was an experience that was sorely needed by my sister, who is going through a rough time right now. But it made me think of how much fun she would have had at my wedding, were she still with us, and how I wish things were easier for my sister.

Anyway, I'm feeling a little blah, and I hate feeling that way, because what do I really have to feel all that blah about? I have a career I love, a wonderful marriage (to a husband who picked me up at the airport with a grande pumpkin spice latte at the ready!), a healthy family, food on the table and some money in the bank. 

I write in my gratitude journal often - not every day like I want to, but I strive to do it more and more - and I find it to be the single most important way to remind me of how blessed I truly am. On the days that it seems like a struggle to find gratitude, it illuminates those things in life that are truly important - your family. Your friends. Shelter. The ability to breathe. It refocuses my mind on the good, the positives, and spins the negatives into gifts, too.

Try it! Five things for which you are grateful, each entry. See how much more important the "little" things actually become.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Icons - Jackie Kennedy

Came across some lovely pictures of Jackie Kennedy Onassis today...

Such beauty and grace...

But I bet she had a wicked sense of humor under her proper public facade.

Think she knew any good pirate jokes?

I bet she did.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Indigo Peacoat

Oh my holy I love this peacoat so much... This gorgeous piece is actually from Target's Go International line. $59.99! Since I live in Phoenix I have a limited period of time each year to wear coats, so each piece has to really make an impact. I love the deep indigo color and the soft velveteen fabric. It's a stylish alternative the plain black wool coat we all usually turn to in the winter.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Seattle Color

Photo Copyright Bloom Creatives 2008, All Rights Reserved.

I spent a long weekend in Seattle last week, staying in a lovely hotel within walking distance of a lot of wonderful Seattle sights. But having been to the city before and done the tourist thing - Space Needle, Pike's Place Market - and this time being there on business, I preferred to spend my down time on some details. This little garden was outside of my hotel. I loved the long, thin red leaves, which fell from a nearby tree.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Justin Timberlake on SNL

I find Justin Timberlake, the musician, to be mediocre at best. However, Justin Timberlake the comedic actor is hilarious, y'all. He really should give some serious consideration to hanging up that microphone and accepting a cast position on Saturday Night Live.

Last weekend he gave us this gem:

And who can forget holiday fave "Dick in a Box"?

And let's not forget The Barry Gibb Talk Show and Homelessville (a close relation to "Omeletteville", but far funnier).

So wuddaya say, JT? I won't buy your albums, but I'll definitely Tivo you every week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Beautiful Day: Ursula Graham Photography

All photos copyright Ursula Graham Photography 2008. All rights reserved.

This wonderful man decided to make an honest woman out of me last month (Wednesday is our one month anniversary!). We wed in Grayton Beach, Florida, right on the Gulf of Mexico. Mother Nature was kind and gifted us with gorgeous weather and what turned out to be the last warm days of the season.

Ursula Graham was our photographer. She came from Pensacola, two hours away, and stayed with us for eight hours - what a trooper! Her prices were incredibly reasonable -- she charged a third of what others of comparable quality in the area charge, for twice as much time.

My father walked me down the aisle -- more specifically, through the sand to the water where my groom awaited.

We made our promises to each other...

And we're married! Our officiant was Alison Hand, who I also highly recommend. Contact me for her info if you're interested in having a non-denominational, meaningful ceremony full of love. She's game for anything -- I put together our entire ceremony and she loved it.

These were our delicious wedding cupcakes. I had every intention of making the cupcakes myself, ha ha ha. All of a sudden it was two days before the wedding and I knew there was no way on Earth cupcakes were going to be made. Publix to the rescue! They are not fancy $5-a-pop cupcakes that some bakeries will charge, but they were absolutely delicious. My new mother-in-law topped them with fruit for us.

My parents live on the Choctawatchee Bay, and have this old swing by the water -- perfect for a bridal portrait.

My new husband and his mother share a moment after the ceremony.

A detail shot of our wedding rings and my bouquet - roses, rononculous and chrysanthemums from Fifty Flowers. I got a ridiculous amount of flowers -- enough to make three large bouquets for me and two bridesmaids, smaller bouquets for my mother and the mother of the groom, and 12 table arrangements -- for $300. I highly recommend this flower vendor!

A fun shot outside of our reception tent! Luckily the cars didn't mind waiting.

And we walked into the sunset, to live our happily ever after.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Change has come to America

On election night, I flew from my home in Phoenix to Seattle, and the flight took place in the midst of polls closing and the first real stats on what was happening on this incredibly historic evening.

I collected my luggage from baggage claim and hopped into the first cab I found, driven by a friendly Sihk man. He was just as excited as I to hear the latest news. He tuned his radio to the first station he could find, just as John McCain was broadcast giving his concession speech.

"What does that mean, 'concession'?" the cab driver asked me.

Through my tears of joy, I explained it to him.

"It means that McCain lost," I explained. "It means we have a new President, and it is Barack Obama."

And the man shrieked like a girl given a new puppy. He grabbed my hand, and I grabbed his back, and this stranger and I shared this historic moment of joy and hope in a cab (A Prius cab, first day on the road, fittingly).

I am a very spiritual person, although not religious. Despite this distinction, tonight, and for my nights to follow, I will remember the Obama family in my prayers (for lack of a better term), that this man continues to have the strength, dignity and fortitude to carry this new dawn of American leadership; for his wife, for the strength she will need to support her husband through the greatest trial of his lifetime; for his daughters, whose father was turned from "Daddy" to "Historical Icon" in the course of what seems to them to be the blink of an eye, but to us took hundreds of years. And finally, for the rest of us, to continue to blow these winds of change across our country, to remember that this fight is not over, that there are still many oppressed not just in other parts of the world, but on our own shores. That our children deserve the same change and progress that we've been blessed with in our lifetimes. That the American dream, despite seeming to have taken a breather, is still alive and well and always will be, but not without fighting for it each and every day.

Welcome back, America. It's so good to see you again.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope."

Friday, October 31, 2008


Photo copyright 2008 Bloom Creatives. All rights reserved.

I went to the grocery store yesterday.

There was a pimp walking the aisles.

I did a double-take, then just, "To each his own."

Then I thought, "Oh, it's Halloween, that explains it!"

Then I thought, "Oh wait, no, it's not Halloween yet. That's tomorrow." And I became concerned again.

Because the last thing one needs in one's local grocery store is a pimp.

But then the cashier at the checkout lane I used was dressed as the devil. Which could be a metaphor for something, I suppose. The dangers of high-fructose corn syrup? The ties between the global economy and the world food crisis?

A child saw her and said, "You're the devil."
"Don't I know it, kid," she replied.

I love Halloween.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I took this photo in Seaside, Florida a couple of weeks ago. This is the view of the Gulf of Mexico, looking west from the rooftop bar at a great little place called Bud & Ally's. 

They have excellent mint juleps, by the way.

And the sky couldn't have been more blue. Days like that are heaven. It didn't hurt that I had just gotten married two days earlier! The Beaches of South Walton are easily my favorite stretch of shoreline in the US...

Monday, October 27, 2008

If I was a princess..

...this would be my palace apartment. (Yes, royals have apartments. Each royal has their own suite of rooms in the palace. 'Tis quite grand. Look up info on Marie Antoinette's apartments. Fab.)

This is the Manhattan apartment of 22-year-old supermodel Jessica Stam.

Stam's humble abode was featured in the October issue of Elle Decor.

I love purple. Lovelovelovelovelove. A few homes ago I had a purple bedroom: lavender walls with a rich, dark eggplant duvet and lavender sheets, with dark wood furniture. My husband is not such a fan of purple, so we've compromised on light blue and brown for our bedroom -- masculine enough for him, feminine enough for me.

But oh, if I was a princess...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I asked her for Adidas and she bought me Zips

I was just peeking and dreaming of the new Stella McCartney line for Adidas -- peeking because it is gorgeous in a way athletic clothing rarely is, dreaming because it is rather pricey for stuff you're going to get sweaty, dirty and stinky and need to wash a million times. But isn't this tennis outfit to die for? I might actually take up tennis for the chance to wear something this amazing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How angels bathe

I know this is no great, secret discovery, but good god I love me some Dr Bronner's soap. Liquid please, preferably lavender, but I'm willing to try the new citrus orange.

Reasons why I love this soap:
It's good for me and the environment, certified USDA organic and Fair Trade, using ingredients 100% from nature, real nature, not "technically petroleum products are natural" kind of from nature.

It smells spectacular.

It works spectacularly. A little goes a long way, and it suds like crazy - many natural/organic soap products don't. It also doesn't dry out the skin, which is a big problem with many body washes - and a huge problem when you live in the desert like I do.

It can be used in a million different ways, apparently, although thus far I've only used it as a body wash. You can also use it as a laundry detergent, pet shampoo and all-purpose cleaner in different dilutions.

Why lavender? It is my husband's favorite scent (oh yeah, we got hitched! Ten days ago, yay us!) and one of my favorites, too. Scents greatly affect my mood, and since lavender is soothing and calming, and I prefer to bathe at night, this scent helps ease me into evening relaxation mode. (We wash our bedding in lavender for the same reason.) 

I used to only be able to find this in health food stores and Whole Foods, but it is becoming much more widely available due to the popularity of organic products. I now can find it in Target and my local chain grocery store - interestingly it is cheaper at the latter.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Slow-Cooked Cranberry Pork Roast

As a Taurus, one of my astrological traits is a love of all things sensual - especially food. Rich, delicious, flavorful dishes that fill the tummy, winter dishes that are usually shelved through the heat of sumer - I can not wait to start cooking these again once the weather starts to cool. Stews and roasts are a particular favorite, and a crock pot or slow cooker are the perfect way to guarantee moist, tender meats and perfectly seasoned veggies with little effort on your part.

One of my favorite slow cooker dinners is Cranberry Pork Roast. Served with red cabbage and brown rice, it is a fabulous dinner and enough to feed the whole family.

1 (3 to 4 lb) boneless pork loin roast
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c apple juice
2 apples, cored, peeled and coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Place roast in slow cooker; rub all over with the minced garlic. Add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours. Pork should be about 160° when fully cooked. Serve with rice.
Serves 4 to 6.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The woman I want to become

"I didn't really know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to become."

I feel like that every day. Or maybe more like, I don't know how to choose between all of the things I want to do, but I know the woman I want to become. Do I have to choose?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Photo: InStyle

Jane Krakowski is a dream on NBC's 30 Rock, but this amazing Versace dress is no slouch, either. The navy blue frock, which she wore to the 2008 Emmys, looked subdued from the front -- and then she turned around. Wow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Love, tweet love

I'm getting married in less than a month! While I'm not big on themes for weddings -- I was under the impression that "wedding" was a theme in and of itself -- I did decide early on that I wanted to use birds as an integral part of our decorating scheme.

Our wedding is small -- 40 guests -- and not overly formal, so a gardeny bird design is lovely for what we're planning. Plus, we are most definitely love birds  : )

My first purchase, and what really inspired it all, was our cake topper:

We are having key lime cupcakes, so ours will rest on top of the cupcake stand. I do love Ann Wood's birds, but the porcelain ones match our home design aesthetic better and we will be able to display them elsewhere after the wedding.

Photo: me! All rights reserved.
I handmade our invitations, using lovebirds as a header and a feather stamp on the back of the envelopes and on the response cards. (Please excuse the poor lighting of this photo; what appears to be yellow is actually a light cream textured cardstock.)

Photo: Martha Stewart
Our table settings will look very similar to this.  Ivory tablecloths, ivory china with gold rims, gold knives and forks, and double paper placemats on which I will stamp and pencil woodsy avian designs. The tables will further be decorated with votive candles and fresh dahlias arranged in blue Ball jars.

My dress is rather simple, so I wanted a dramatic necklace to set it off. I had this piece custom made by Morning Glory Designs on Etsy. The blue matches my beautiful sapphire engagement ring! My ladies will be gifted with garnet jewelry with delicate bird designs.

Photo: Rebecca Thuss
Inspired by this photo, I plan on having a mini tree (really just a nicely shaped branch) on our dessert table hung with lots of origami birds. I even found paper in our wedding colors: garnet with various shades of blue. I'll have tons of extras, so I will place one on each plate and make a garland with others.

I will probably have our flower children carry birds nests filled with petals.

A lovely way for two lovebirds to start their life together!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Here Is New York

Photo copyright Here Is New York


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Musicians on Sesame Street

Feist+Sesame Street monsters=genius.

I think it's so cool that they are still doing this. When I was a little girl I remember seeing Debbie Harry doing "One Way or Another" and chasing the double-headed monster around a table. I think about 15 years ago Melissa Etheridge performed "The Way I Do" but changed it to "The Letter U." 

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Image copyright Bloom Creatives 2008; All Rights Reserved.

I took this photo at the house next door to my parents', on the Choctawhatchee Bay in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. That tree is amazing -- the branches hang low, begging to be climbed, and it is positively dripping with Spanish moss. I believe it is a magnolia tree, but I've never visited in the spring to see it bloom. The swing has been there for as long as I've been coming, at least five years, but in person looks like it has been hanging for much, much longer. In the photo this scene looks so inviting; you want to sit on that swing sipping a mint julep, enjoying the shade of the tree and the breeze off the water, watching sight of the occasional porpoise swimming past.

In reality the swing would rot out from under you if you so much as looked at it the wrong way, and your mint julep would be overcome with opportunistic mosquitoes in a matter of seconds. There are porpoises, though. The dogs have no idea what to make of them, and run up and down the dock trying to figure it out.

There are a lot of beautiful things in this world. Sometimes your imagination creates the most beautiful of all.

Catching some sun

I live in one of the sunniest places in the US - Phoenix, Arizona. It seems crazy that solar energy is not utilized more in a place like this, but we're getting there.

Until the day our grid is powered by sunlight and wind, we can each capture a little bit of the sun to light our nights with these neat little sun jars.

Let the jar sit outside in a sunny spot all day. A little solar panel inside stores the sun's energy and powers an LED light. The frosted glass diffused the light and the jar emits a warm glow.

At $44 each, I don't think I'll be lining my driveway with these, but one or two would be lovely on an outdoor dinner table.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lovely little aprons

I love to cook, and I love wearing cute things, so it seems rather obv that I would love a cute apron, no? And yet I do not own one! This is shocking, considering the wealth of adorable pieces I've seen lately.


The Bella apron by Boojiboo

The Flirt apron by Perdoozy

I might even have to make one myself from a vintage pattern:

Vintage ruffled apron pattern from Strawberry Patches

I love the idea of wearing one of these while prepping a dinner party or holiday meal, while the guests and family all gather in the kitchen to socialize.