joy of nesting

joy of nesting
California designer Shiree Hanson Segerstrom's weekly tips for decorating, gardening, and stylish living

BE STILL MY HEART...a Romantic Little Primer for Valentines' Everywhere























Being a Libra (and a designing one at that) I naturally love doing romantic things to show my mate how much I care. From heart shaped scones, to cheese cake, to Champagne, to chocolate here are some romantic ideas to help you plan ahead. Valentine's Day will be here in a few short weeks.

Serve him his tea or coffee in bed on a breakfast tray. Remember men like to be pampered too. If he feel silly at first, trust me he will learn to appreciate special treatment like this and may become more thoughtful with you in the process.



















Make her Joy of Nesting's Red Bell Pepper Soup. It isn't as hard as it sounds. Wash and cut in half ten to twelve red bell peppers and scoop out seeds and excess membrane. Char round side up under the broiler till quite burnt all over. Don't leave in too long because you'll lose a lot of the flesh if you do.

Place in two plastic bags, twist the top so the steam doesn't escape and let cool about thirty minutes. Slip the skins off. Allow ten to fifteen minutes for the skins. It is the only messy, time consuming part. Place in a blender and puree till smooth.

Pour pepper puree into a large soup pot. Add vegetable or chicken broth till desired consistency (about 1/3 cup), add four tablespoons butter, and cumin, salt, and pepper to taste. Simmer about ten minutes.

Serve with grated sharp Cheddar cheese, finely chopped white onion, and a little sour cream or
Greek plain yogurt. You won't believe how delicious this is. Red bell peppers are high in vitamin C and anti-oxidants.
























Espresso with steamed milk is ever so festive out of pretty white and red cups. I love Illy espresso. Just breaking out the espresso machine and going to the extra effort will make you both feel special.



















Heart shaped scones are so delicious when served with Chantilly or clotted cream and strawberry jam. I like the buttermilk scone recipe from the old Sunset Cookbook of Favorite Recipes II. Scones and cream are a British favorite. I first had them years ago with my family in Stratford-Upon-Avon (Shakespeare's birth place) and have never forgotten it.























Brownies, need I say more. I make mine with high quality chocolate and lots of coarsely chopped walnuts. I want to try them some day with finely diced dried cherries.

























http://www.marthastewart.com/340256/strawberries-and-cream-cheesecake













Try this great strawberry cheesecake from Martha Stewart. The strawberries are baked and this intensifies the flavors. Click on the link next to it for the recipe.
 























Decorating for Valentine's Day is easy if you have a few red accessories. In small quantities, red actually works very well with a number of different color schemes. It's especially beautiful with green, blue, black, and gray. Above, it looks smashing against my mercury lamp, mercury jar and pink, red, and white roses.























Perfect gift ideas for her: a red Cross pen, red velvet jewelry box, and a Waterford perfume bottle.























Pink Champagne to add a little effervescence to your evening. Stay tuned for more of my Valentine's Day post to come.

Beauty Regime for Skin Care














There is no one easy way to really beautiful skin. It requires a multitude of efforts like nutrition and supplements, water, exercise, exfoliation, cleansing and protecting, stress management, sufficient sleep, topical treatments to help turn over collagen, and anti-oxidants to fight the damages of free radicals.

 














At fifty four years old I know exactly how to keep my skin looking and feeling good but I'm always interested in new information. I've read books and articles about skin care including several by Dr. Nicholas Perricone and I've abbreviated and adapted some of those philosophies into my lifestyle. When I don't follow the rules, my skin doesn't look as good. I've written this so it will be easy for you to read. Here is what I do to get my skin in shape...

Exercise- 6 days a week. 25 minutes aerobics daily and alternating Yoga and weights.

Water-48 oz. filtered water

Favorite breakfast-Greek yogurt thinned with organic milk, topped with 1 oz. toasted walnuts, tsp honey, and golden raisins



















Favorite lunch-My 10" salad plate salad with one whole fruit, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, lemon juice and olive oil.

Favorite dinner- 4 oz. salmon, roasted or sauteed veggie and quinoa salad with kalamata olives, lemon juice, cucumber, red onion and olive oil

Snack- iced coffee with 2% milk and apple with almond butter and extra sea salt

Grocery list- tons of organic fruits, vegetables, and salad blends. Wild salmon and other wild caught fish. Ezekiel English muffins. Beans and nuts. High quality grains like Quinoa.


















Exfoliation- I'm a scrubber. Nothing makes your skin look so good as exfoliating every other day. Protect it afterward with a good quality moisturizer or sunscreen from a reputable health food store. There are a lot of chemicals in products on the market today.

Sleep- eight to nine hours to mend body and spirit. A twenty minute rest period in the middle of your work day is incredibly refreshing.

Supplements- Daily Extra Energy multi vitamin; Salmon oil Omega 3; Calcium with vitamin D.

Stress management- mostly I just try being philosophical about things (thank you Nana for teaching me this) but also taking time to do things I enjoy. Treating myself like I'm worth the effort.




Cleansing and protecting- I always take off my eye makeup but I don't have the patience to cleanse and moisturize. Unless I'm doing a regime of Retin A I skip it. It's obviously better to include these steps though.

Best Foods- blueberries, salmon, red bell peppers, olive oil, spinach, Greek yogurt. Any foods that are dense with nutrients and anti-oxidants. Don't skimp on the fat. Your skin and mood needs it.























Topical treatments- products with anti-oxidants like vitamin C and Retin A are the most effective skin care products you can buy. Retin A requires a prescription and it's about $60 a tube. It is a drying agent originally created for acne but it was found to improve cellular turnover, imperative for healthier looking skin. You use it on freshly cleansed, completely dry skin. It only takes a pea size dab for your entire face so the tube lasts about six months.  You use it every other day and within a week or two usually your skin will start to peel. Once the peeling is done fresh, new skin is exposed. One warning, Retin A makes your skin sensitive to sun light so you should always wear sunscreen, preferably from a reputable health food store as many sunscreens have PABA and other harmful ingredients.

Fats- like olive oil, walnuts, salmon, and avocados are very important for your skin and mood. I don't skimp on fat for calorie control. Fats also have another important role, especially in women. Fat in foods triggers satisfaction and keeps us from overeating. I never eat margarine. It's not even a food.

Fresh is best- shop the produce section. If you're feeding your family from boxes or cans you're getting a lot of chemicals and wasted calories. The more produce the better.

Meat subsitutes- I've been using eggplant and mushrooms in place of meat in pastas. My vegetarian lasagna was really good with them. Toasted walnuts with sauteed onions adds a satisfying meaty flavor. To get my protein I go to eggs, nuts, fish, and dairy.

Working these into your own lifestyle all at once will be a lot. Take baby steps but once you make the commitment, don't go back. You are worth it.

With love and good intention, Shiree'

How Green is Your Garden...Snapshots from warmer days

 


















Going through old photos I found some images of my garden. Greenery makes me feel good. I miss it in the winter months.

The cold came on late this year but it came with a vengeance. Everything outside will be quite dreary for awhile. Here is a little tour from warmer weather days. I hope it lifts your spirits. Enjoy.

























































































































































































































































































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