About Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain's Wife

Sometimes he's here, sometimes he's not. What. Ever. I''m married to a tug boat captain who travels the world, while I stay home, waiting and shopping. I'm the mom of a wonderful son we refer to as Angel Boy. I have a background in education, marketing, advertising, and public relations. I've been in a few films, helped my surfer husband with a surf-related radio show, owned a couple small businesses, and co-directed a non-profit organization. I'm and editor and proofreader . I love seashells and rocks, gardening and baking, Hello Kitty, Chanel, and anything sparkly or leopard print. I've been a veg since 1971 and an ardent animal activist.

Book Review: Drowning by Jassy de Jong

book review cover

With my broken toe limiting all sorts of athletic activity, I cracked open my e-reader ‘cos I accepted a request to review an advance copy of Drowning by Jassy de Jong.

Hand to heart, I didn’t stop reading until I finished it at 1:30 a.m.

That’s how much I enjoyed reading Drowning by Jassy de Jong.

I admit to a certain amount of anxiety about the setting — a lodge in South Africa  –because I didn’t want to discover that I’d be immersed in a sub-plot about hunting, but I was relieved and SO pleased that the characters (and the author) are advocates for conserving and protecting animals from poachers. Yay and double yay!

Drowning won me over with an intriguing story, great dialogue, and an ending that left me wanting more.

Don’t you love it when you turn that final page and wish it went on and on because you’ve become emotionally invested in the characters?

Me too!

Here’s a short description to whet your appetite:

Erin Mitchel doesn’t remember drowning, or how a mysterious, brilliant and handsome stranger saved her life. Forgotten, too, is her bleak marriage to an abusive husband. Now, stranded indefinitely at the luxurious Leopard Rock Resort with her impossibly irresistible savior, she’s faced with a dilemma: remain faithful to a man she vowed to love forever or give in to wild lustful desires in the steamy heat of South Africa.

Author Jassy de Jong was inspired to write her first novel, Random Violence, after getting hijacked at gunpoint in her own driveway. She has written several other thrillers including Stolen Lives and The Place for Fallen Horses. De Jong also edits a hair and beauty magazine. She lives in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg with her partner Dion, two horses and two cats.”

One more thing…Most reviews never address the nuts and bolts of publishing, but I’d like to offer kudos the proofreaders and editors for doing such a great job. With a discerning eye like mine, I’m always the one who can pick out spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors — I’m happy to report this book seemed to be error-free!

RATING: Drowning by Jassy de Jong 5 Louboutins out of 5. 

louboutin

Amazon: http://amzn.to/10jRnom

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1xwZLPm

Astor+Blue: http://bit.ly/1u8LJk5

 

 

Quest Protein Chips: Review

proteinchips2What if I told you about a crunchy snack that provides 21 protein grams, 5 grams total carbs, gluten/soy free, AND most importantly, tastes DELICIOUS?

Oh, and each bag has only 120 calories!

What would you say about that?

The nice people at Quest Nutrition sent me a box of Quest Protein Chips to sample and review.

Not a bad job, right?

The box included three varieties: Sea Salt, BBQ, and Cheddar & Sour Cream.

I shared some of the bags with a few friends for their review, too.proteinchipsa

We all agreed that they’re yummy and guilt-free.

In order of favorites, this is our collective opinion:

1. BBQ
2. Cheddar & Sour Cream
3. Sea Salt

All alone or with a dip like hummus, these chips are clearly a hit!proteinchips1

proteinchip6l#crunchclean

Sad Seashell Sunday

sad seashell faceWithout my tugboat man.

He’s STILL not home — possibly not until the endif October or beginning of November, which means he’ll have been gone nearly two months.

Sheesh. Instead of gone girl, he’s my gone guy.

My yesterday was accident-prone; chock full of injuries.

Alll in separate events, I broke the third toe on my right foot, a toe I’ve broken several times before, sprained my left wrist, the same one I broke last year, cut my left hand, and poked my right arm with the tip of a nasty agave, which feels like being stabbed with a hot knife. :(

Nothing major and at least it all seems to be balanced —  both sides equally wounded.

So it looks like I’m taking it easy today. Cleaning out drawers, organizing, and listening to Sinatra and Ella.

BTW, I’d like to extend an enthusiastic “HELLO, friends!” to my readers from the far reaches of the globe — I guess you could say the entire universe  –  from Kansas to Sao Paolo to Colchester to Mountain View(!) to Saint-jean-d’angely, Poitou-Charentes, and India, Pakistan, South Africa, Texas, Brazil, Sweden, Australia, tons of you guys from Canadaxoxo, Fiji, Czech Republic, Germany (danke!), Bosnia, Hungary, and Indonesia, just about every state in the United States, along with a special “hollz beeyotches!” to y’all from my home state of Cali.

UPDATE: Chinwags and Tittle-Tattles frowned and shook her perfectly manicured finger at me for failing to give proper mention to my many lovely, tea drinking, special readers from the UK, the United Kingdom, my brilliant British buddies. Now y’all MUST visit her blog and let her know that I’ve righted the unintentional  wrong!

And that’s just today! What a small world, don’t know how I’ll fit y’all in but here goes:

********** Welcome to Casa de Enchanted Seashells *********

Just in case you really didn’t believe me that our home is saturated with seashells, join me on a tour, starting at the foyer.

Come on it! (But take your shoes off first.)

shelldecor2

The mirror took a long time to get exactly right, but it’s one of my best projects.

Now we’re on the first level.

shell decor1

Hmm, pics a bit wonky, I’ll fix ‘em right now.

Nothing here but the formal living room that no one ever uses.
Heading up the stairs, seashells lead the way.

I love my DIY Seashell Bouquet, don’t you?

shelldecor3

 The personal princess spa with seashells lining the walls,
because of course.

bathroom1Close up of the one and only princess mermaid bench.
Tugboat man crafted the bench and I embellished.

flowery mermaid bench

OK, that’s enough. I need my privacy, y’all!

Cleaning leads me to thinking about my mom — we loved to clean together, and she LOVED Old Blue Eyes, and even saw him in person when she was a young teen.

If she were alive, she’d be 100 years old in 2015.

She could sing along (just to annoy me) to all of his tunes; before she died, she especially loved “It Was a Very Good Year”

But I loves me some Ella. “A Sunday Kind of Love”

 

Here’s hoping you enjoy a happy and accident-free Sunday.

 

Squished, Smashed, Squeezed, and Flattened

Wonder why I’m thinking about these?

Guess who had a mammogram?

In addition to my October theme, Healthy Living, it’s also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Let’s all be aware of our breasts, OK?

We all know it’s a chore and a pain, but do it anyway, OK?

After putting my clothes back on, I exited the exam room to a hearty round of applause from the lovely group of technicians at Imaging Healthcare Specialists in Encinitas.

Here’s my pink reward for successfully taking a bunch of nudie shots in very uncomfortable positions…

It’s a scarf or a handkerchief and I know it’s a bit wrinkly –  the OCD in me wanted to iron it before I snapped a pic, but the lazy part of me won this round and said, “Just do it.” So I did.

pinkscarf

 

Confession: I’m Addicted to Wheat Grass

gardenoflifewheatgrass2I’m not REALLY addicted, I was being hyperbolic — what I really mean is that I love wheat grass and greens of all kinds.

I love the fresh green fragrance; I love the way it tastes; I love the grassiness of it, I love the color, and I love the feeling that it’s happily dancing in my body with all of its gorgeous greenness infusing my cells with energy and light.

Garden of Life’s Raw 100% Organic Young Wheatgrass Juice Powder — is SO GOOD.

A shot of freshly pressed grass is a great pick-me-up on one of my marathon shopping days — the kind of endurance shopping that calls for stamina and more of a lift than caffeine provides —  but THIS is superior on a daily basis.

Always great in a smoothie, but I also love it mixed with water for workouts. It’s perfectly yummy in my Hello Kitty/Yale water bottle.

I know lots of people scrunch up their faces and think it tastes yucky, but I swear it doesn’t and the more you drink it, the more you’ll love it.

Here’s a tip: Eating a slice of freshly cut orange after you drink wheat grass helps just like a squeeze of lime helps with shots of tequila, I guess :)

Garden of Life

Peeking Into My Past. Throwback Thursday

wolfiesabsdsuA peek into my past.

Poetically:

Revealing the year is something I’m not gonna do…
The shoes MIGHT be a clue,
But II’ll only divulge it’s SDSU.

That’s me — yes, it is — with Beowulf and Sabrina. Sabrina (best Border Collie EVER)  is sitting under my chair and my part-wolf, part Malamute rescue puppy — I rescued him when he was three weeks old and bottle fed him, bringing him everywhere in a front pack baby carrier.

He’s a year old here — circa “I’m not gonna tell ya” — and needed my attention.

Yes, they both sat there like well behaved children when I walked up to the podium for my diploma.

 

#SDSU #Throwback Thursday #rescue #allaboutme #TBT

A Delicious Threesome of Marukan Vinegars

marukan1This beautiful box containing a variety of Marukan vinegars was waiting for me when I came home from the dentist today. (Just a routine cleaning  — no pain, yay, just fresh and shiny teeth!)
marukan2

How can you not be impressed with a company that’s been around since 1649?

Because of its super high quality, I had always used Marukan Rice Vinegar – the plain kind or seasoned — for sushi rice, but I had never tried the Yuzu Ponzu, soy dressing with yuzu citrus.sushi22014-01-05 18.19.11

Heck, I didn’t know what yuzu was…it’s  a fruit similar in size to a grapefruit; Its juice is tart like that of a lemon, but has a tangy undertone.

I made a delicious Vinaigrette with the Yuzu Ponzu and extra virgin olive oil, little freshly ground pink Himalayan salt, pepper, and a pinch of ground chili powder. (optional)

The Yuzu Ponzu is a delicious marinade for tofu, too.

I combined all three vinegars in this Daikon Radish Salad.

daikonradish1Shred about two cups of daikon radish and rinse several times with cold water and squeeze dry. Shred a couple of carrots and add.

In another bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of plain rice vinegar, seasoned rice vinegar, and the yuzu ponzu.
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 3/4 teaspoons white sesame seeds (toasted)

Whisk all the ingredients, pour over daikon and carrots. Gently toss, cover, and refrigerate.

Check out more recipes at http://www.marukan-usa.com

#marukan

 

Tormenting Husbands is FUN

When my tugboat man goes out to sea, communication is limited to email and cell phone, and even that depends upon what part of the world he’s in. Sometimes, there’s no cell at all and I’ll only occasionally receive a call from the vessel’s sat phone. And sometimes the boat’s computer stops functioning and I don’t get email. And that’s when I start to worry.

Since he’s a fairly quick learner after twenty-plus years of training,  he tries to call or email at least once a day, the obligatory “I’m still alive” type of thing. Read more about that HERE (if you don’t call, I think you’re dead, and that’s why I’m getting a pair of Loubies)

Every so often I attempt to spice things up and venture beyond the boring…here’s a verbatim transcript of pretty much every call,

“Hi, honey, what’s up? How are you today, did anything break down, is the car OK, anything come in the mail for me, anything I need to deal with, what’s the surf like, and oh, by the way, I miss you.”

it’s  a definite struggle to maintain that thread of mystery and personality in a three-minute call or a few words tapped in black on a sterile white background.

A lot of the time, one or both of us’ll say, “I got nothing else” and the other will say “I got nothing, too” and then my tugboat man’ll end with “Lock and load” which is our secret code for “don’t forget to turn the security alarm on before you go to bed.” always ending with “Love you” and “Love you, too”

So far, this this time he’s been away for about thirty days —  he’ll HOPEFULLY be home before Thanksgiving, which totally sucks ‘cos I thought he was gonna be home by Halloween. Nature of the biz and all that.

To try to inject a little fun into our convo yesterday when he called, I asked him if he was sitting down ‘cos I had something really serious and important to tell him:

“You might want to sit down ‘cos I gotta tell you something that might shock you and I don’t want you to faint.”

(It was a total set-up.)

He gets this super cute, super serious tone in his voice,

“What is it. Is everything OK?”

And then I hit him with the shocker:

“I washed the car today”

Maybe y’all don’t get how earth shattering that news is, but you have to trust me that it could cause hub’s heart rate to skyrocket and blood pressure to explode.

In shock.

I don’t like to spend the $$$ or the time to take it to a car wash and I don’t EVER wash it — I mean EVER — but there I was in the driveway with a bucket of soapy water and a hose.

With neighbors watching in case hub needed witnesses to this miraculous event.

He laughed so hard it was totally worth it to wash that stupid car.

And then there was more.

“Are you sitting down?”

“Yes.”

“For reals? Where are you?”

“In the wheelhouse, but we’re tied up at the dock right now.”

“‘Cos there’s more.”

[Pause]

“I went to a gas station and filled the tank with gas.”

“Oh. My. Gawd. Stop the presses. Was it running on fumes? Had you depleted the Reserve tank like you usually do?”

“Nope, I had about a quarter tank, but I drove by a gas station with cheap gas, and thought it’d be a good idea to take advantage of it.”

“Shocked, huh? Speechless?”

“I’m more shocked that you actually thought to fill it up before you were stranded and  forced to call triple A; that’s the part that’s boggling my mind. But good job! You go, girl! I’m proud of you!”

And that’s how we keep our love alive around here, or in other words, how we torment our husband and have a little gentle fun at his expense.

Just another day in the life of Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man…

 

 

 

YUMMY Chocolate + Black Beans + Beets Brownies

plus

http-www-cocoavia-com

http-www-cocoavia-com

and

wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons

wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons

equals

chocolate cakeplate

Now, don’t you all go rolling your eyes at me.

I used to be a teacher and I still have eyes in the back of my head.

I can see you.

Before you make all those gaggy sounds and scrunch up your face (you know who I’m talking to!), I implore you to TRY these very tasty and UBER healthy brownies.

Well, not all that healthy ‘cos of the sugar and chocy chips, but cocoa beans grow on a tree, so that makes them a plant — therefore sort of a veggie or a fruit. So, healthy, right?

Don’t be all judge-y and shake your head.

TRY them for me, OK?

Black Bean + Beet Brownies

  • 1 can or 3/4 cup cooked black beans (unsalted or rinse well)
  • 2 tablespoons – 1/4 cup unsalted cooked beets or finely shredded raw beets (Yes, BEETS!)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, or olive oil(I always use a bit less)
  • 2 eggs *see below for vegan substitution*
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar ( I’ve tried brown sugar and I’ve tried agave, not sure what’s better, kind of a personal taste thing)
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso or leftover cold coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Top with Best Baking Hack Ever frosting (click for recipe)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan. In a blender or food processor, puree the beans and beets with the oil. Add the eggs, cocoa, sugar, coffee, and vanilla. Melt half the chocolate chips and add to the blender. Blend on medium-high until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the blender and pulse until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining chocolate. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until the surface looks somewhat matte around the edges and still a bit shiny in the middle, about 20 minutes. Let cool at least fifteen minutes before eating. My family thinks they taste better the longer they sit in order for any “beany” texture to dissipate.

Best Baking Hack Ever

bakinghack1 bakinghack2 bakinghack3


Wanna go vegan? 

  • 1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
  • 3 Tbsp. Water

With food processor, spice grinder, or old school mortar and pestle, grind the chia seeds into a meal. Mix the water and ground chia seed meal in a small bowl. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or so, or until it takes on a gloppy texture similar to raw egg yolk.

Making Long Term Relationships Work

October theme: Healthy Living: healthy relationships
*This is a sponsored post*

love couple at the train stationAs those of you who read Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife know, the traveling required for my husband’s job has me going from a sassy single girl to a coupled up married woman at the drop of a hat.

It’s a bit of a unique situation those of you with other types of careers might not be able to relate to in your own relationships.

However, recent studies show that could change.

The Wall Street Journal says that business travel is something that we can expect to see increase in the coming years. Face-to-face interactions have proven to produce better results between companies than those utilizing technology for other forms of correspondence. Video chatting, social media, and other options have become popular alternatives to traveling over the years.

So it seems that no matter what color your spouse’s collar, many new couples could find themselves needing to rework their relationships to fit the lifestyles of a traveling significant other. How can you go about doing so successfully? Take a few tips from someone who has been making it work for years.

Let Them Relax

When dealing with the responsibilities of the household alone, you have to be more independent on a day-to-day basis. However, there will always be things that come up that you need your spouse for.

While it’s perfectly okay to keep a list of tasks you need completed, don’t bombard them with it on their first day back. Think about how annoyed you would be after working hard only to be reminded of added responsibilities the second you thought you could relax. Wait a day or so and let them recuperate. You don’t have to try and do everything yourself, but give them time to rest before bringing up how badly the kitchen needs to be painted.

Make Your Time Together Count

The less time that you spend together, the more important it is to make the time you do share special. While you may feel complacent just sitting around with one another, try and work in at least one activity when your spouse is feeling up for it. Even if it’s just for a few hours, trying out a new restaurant or even something adventurous like indoor rock climbing can be a great bonding experience.

Of course with a sporadic schedule, it’s difficult for intimacy to be spontaneous, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. With a little planning, you can come up with ideas to make you time together even more memorable. Introducing adult products and toys are a great way to add some spice to your sex life or just make the moment that much more special/fun, according to adam&eve. With the help of a sexy massage kit or a bottle of warming lube, you’ll certainly be able to send your partner back to work with a smile on their face.

Communication is Key

There are ways that technology can help you stay close when you’re apart. When your spouse is traveling, though, it’s not as easy for them to pop on Skype as it is for someone with a desk job. That’s why it’s important to figure out your expectations ahead of time.

An article by Forbes indicated that some travel-heavy relationships face difficulties when the person doesn’t disclose the details of their trip. That includes their itinerary, who they will be traveling with, and other information.

It’s all too easy for jealousy to rear its ugly head when there are people of the opposite sex traveling with one another. However, you can avoid insecurities by being open. If you trust them, and you’re both honest with each other, it will make the transition easier on you both.

Be completely honest about what you need for reassurance. Do you want to be able to talk at least once a day? Do you want them to let you know if they’re going out for drinks? Setting standards for situations like these ahead of time will help you avoid heartache down the road.

Your relationship doesn’t have to suffer because of a change in schedule. If you really love one another, you can make it work. Keep yourself busy while they’re away, and cherish your time together when they’re home. It can be hard, but I promise it will make you appreciate one another more. It will lead to a stronger and happier relationship in the long run.

 

 

 

*At times, I’m compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites, and various other topics, as well being compensated for the occasional sponsored post. Even though I may receive compensation for posts or advertisements, I always give my honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party in question.