joy of nesting

joy of nesting
Shiree Hanson Segerstrom Design and Wellness for Women with Arthritis and Other Chronic Pain.

MEALS that MAKE a DIFFERENCE...Going Vegetarian

I made a life changing decision recently. It's probably nothing earth shattering in your book but in mine it's pretty significant. I recently reverted to vegetarianism. I still eat fish, particularly salmon, but have sworn off forever, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and turkey.

The dish above is a tomato, zucchini, and eggplant Tian.

I can't imagine what took me so long. I very seldom eat beef, pork, or lamb anyway. The reason for the change is ethical. I accidentally stumbled on a "film". You know the ones I'm referring too. No doubt you have heard of them but you've hesitated in "exposing yourself" to them because you know how horrible they are. I did the same thing. Didn't want to know. But now that I do, how could I possibly go back?

The dish above is a roasted garlic and chickpea burger on pita bread.

Enough said. You didn't come here for a lecture and I won't give you one. But what I will do is offer you some meatless inspiration. The recipes are all available at Saveur online magazine. Click on the link I have provided and enter vegetarian in the search bar at the top of the page. The recipes are amazing, making use of lots of wonderful herbs and spices. These recipes have an irresistible meatiness that even confirmed carnivores appreciate.

The dish above is a black bean burger with guacamole and tomato salsa.

Ellen DeGeneres' personal chef Roberto Martin has a new cook book out called "Vegan Menu's for Carnivores". I checked it out on my last trip to the book store and it looks amazing. Another great one is Deborah Madison's vegetarian cook book. It's considered to be one of the best ever written.

Baba Ghannouj above is an eggplant and tahini puree spread. I usually serve it with pita bread but any rustic bread would be yummy. I also love hummus which I frequently make for the delicious taste and high protein count. I serve it along side my Greek salads or with raw vegetables.

The veggie burger above is served with a wonderful, mixed bell pepper relish. I would substitute the roll with something healthier than the one pictured above.

Mushrooms give the vegetarian lasagna above it's meatiness. These are the kind of dishes that satisfy most palates.

The vegetarian chili above is quick and easy and has a lot of protein. I love mine topped with sharp cheddar, onion, tomato, and chopped cilantro. Beans, cheese, eggs, nuts and salmon are my new protein mainstays.

Rapini, Orchiette pasta, and goat cheese is a great pasta dish for a weekend lunch. Rapini is like broccoli rabe.

Do we Americans ever tire of pasta? I don't. This one has a lemony sauce and is served with grilled artichokes.

The transformation is easier if made gradually. For me it was easy because I gave up purchasing beef, pork, and lamb years ago. I would eat it at parties so as not to be different. I only purchased turkey and chicken.

You don't have to cook elaborate menus for everyday eating. Keep on hand two or three types of cheese, organic free range eggs, a variety of beans, and several types of nuts. My one concession is that I keep wild salmon in my freezer. I buy it on sale and have it baked or grilled three times a week. Some say you can have salmon every day but I would get bored with it.

Now that I've made the switch I swear I don't miss meat a bit.

The Garden Patio Simplified

Outdoor spaces fascinate me. I've been in love with the garden since I was old enough to walk. The greenery, the hard scape's, the overhangs: tamed and planned but still uncontrollable.

All photos from House Beautiful. Designer credits at the end of this post.

For all the fuss people make over interior design, I find garden design much more of a challenge. I can visualize a home I'm decorating but in the garden so much more comes into play such as issues of sun, rain, soil quality, elevation, appearance, suitability to the architecture and location.

The plants and items I've found to work in most patio settings are evergreen plants, iron furniture, cement fountains and statues, and a variety of pots like rolled rim clay pots, glazed ceramic pots, urns made from a mixture of cement and light weight fillers, iron trellis and etagere, and a nice collection of topiary and lanterns.

Plants I've had particularly good luck with are:

bay standards
ivy topiary
rosemary topiary
euonymous boxwood
olive topiary
creeping fig
star jasmine

The new water proof wickers are not only gorgeous but also hugely convenient. No moving furniture when the good weather goes south. I've had very good results with pillows in sun resistant fabrics too like the ones above.

Determine a general idea of your outdoor space before you begin planning. Is it casual, formal, what activities will take place there. Will it be a space mostly for you or for entertaining. Is your style contemporary, traditional, or country.

Next determine the exposure to hot and cold. If you are in a warmer climate, potted plants will be easier. But if you're like me and get a mixture of temperatures you'll need plants that are adaptable. I like putting in the furniture first, nothing too commercial or matchy matchy. Then I add the potted plants around the perimeter of the seating areas. Then I like to do the hanging plants and trellis. Lastly I add the accessories like lanterns, candelabra, and throw pillows and blankets.

I like to have at least one "signature" piece like the wicker daybed above. It could be a carved or iron daybed as well, but something that adds a custom look. Not cookie cutter like a catalog.

Patio's are an extension of your indoor living spaces so a bit of continuity should tie them together. My patio and garden will be hosting David's and my wedding and reception late September. Wish me luck.

Designers: Kathryn Ireland, Joe Nye, Fern Santini, Thom Filicia, Ty Larkins, Kristen Ewart. House Beautiful didn't provide photo credits for some of these images.


I have been helping returning clients and dear friends refresh their patio recently. High on a mountain top, they have the most spectacular views.

Urns, topiary, oversize lanterns, and hanging asparagus ferns will define the outdoor space. I loved the Moroccan feel of the pierced lanterns above. The white wood lanterns would be especially pretty in a seaside home.

These double ball topiary arrive so lush and green.  They are very adaptable and do well year round under cover. Plant in mild weather months. Lanterns Pottery Barn. Topiary 30 inches high, $56 plus shipping. Shiree Hanson Segerstrom.

Meanwhile, Back on the Patio...

I have been decorating and redecorating my patio for years. It's not that I like change, I've just never been able to get it "right".

It has been a difficult space. All windows, doors, and hewn wood beams. To add to the confusion there is that ugly etched cement I've been loathe to replace mainly because of the expense.

By now I have blogged about my patio at least six times. I think I am finally onto something special, at last.

I wanted a Moroccan motif and a lot of greenery. I wanted it to feel like an oasis. I didn't buy new furniture but I did re-purpose an iron daybed from the upper garden. I also ordered a ton of double ball ivy and rosemary triple ball topiary.

This is where I read, sip iced tea in the summer, take short naps on the weekends, and practice Yoga. It's a very healing place, and very quiet. And it smells good. Besides the scent roses and myrtle, I like to burn Votivo Honey Garden Incense. It has a nice way of lightly lingering for weeks after it's been burned.

Next up, concrete stain.

Rugs for a Dear Friend and Client

I received a call last week from returning clients who have become dear friends over the years. We had worked together seven or eight years before on several projects including their living room, dining room, master bedroom, media room/guest house, and sun room.

This time I was asked to find some beautiful area rugs for their rustic living room. Something that will coordinate with new hickory floors. The views are spectacular in this home.

We're also working on some new paint colors and patio decor. I am always so flattered when clients come back to do more work with me. Keeping life long friends and clients is something I cherish.

All rugs 100% wool, made in India. They come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. $1500 and up.

L'Heure Bleu...A few summer wares in our favorite beachy blue color

From years of retailing and store design my firm has gathered numerous, wonderful sources from near and far. I use these vendors over and over again for reliable products.
This chair and table set is smart and timeless, perfect for a sunroom, patio, even for a guest room if outfitted with a flokati liner. The blue tye-dyed rug is the perfect foil to it's casual, retro 70's vibe.

The coordinating tye-dye pillows and fab wicker chair create a soft and laid back feel.  The faded blue denim color is positively yummy. I would love this classic chair anywhere from living room to nursery. I can see it with a retro couch and oversize burl coffee table. Completely fab.

Love these frosted tumblers with the flax motif. Or is that cornflower. No matter, the design takes me to my childhood. I love it when great things come back around.

The industrial style table can be used in a number ways in a variety of different interiors. I love the metal finish and the criss cross support bars. I'm thinking console, desk, or extra work area for the office. Even garden table under a portico.

Beautiful handmade bench and matching table for a small hallway: a very organic seating option. All products available through Shiree Hanson Segerstrom, from one of my favorite, very reputable and eco-conscious vendors! If you are from California I hope you're basking in this beautiful summer we are having.

Happy Fourth of July and Happy Birthday to my son James "Christian" Segerstrom who turns 28 today. You are the light of my life dear Son!


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