The Home as Sanctuary

World events being what they are today, your home should be a haven that nurtures your soul and restores your spirit! Restful and serene interiors that reflect nature and incorporate the beauty of organic materials are the hallmark of a restorative home. Lucious silk, fine cotton, textural linen, the warmth of wood and the earthiness of stone are a few tactile choices that awaken the sense of touch and sight, creating the home as sanctuary.

Please click on photo to veiw larger image of this restfull and nurturing  master bedroom; deep, rich colors with silk drapery and bedding. Sumptious!

Enjoy beautifully scented candles, fresh, fragrant flowers and perhaps create a “memories” potpourri filled with shells collected on seaside vacations; flowers, recieved as gifts that you have dried; saved champagne and wine corks from life’s celebrations or other special objects that evoke fond memories! Caress the sense of smell!

Comforting sounds such as recordings of wind chimes or bird song and soft music playing in the background along with the laughter of family and friends imbue a feeling of peace and contentment.

Hand crafted bowls filled with sumptious fruits or vegetables give you a renewed appreciation of nature’s bounty!

Family heirlooms, collected treasures and old books are wonderful for those contemplative moments.

Choose soft color palettes to impart a calming ambiance or darker, richer colors to embrace and cocoon. Color is very personal, you should choose those that make you feel peaceful and happy, then wrap yourself in them!

This step is crucial! Clear out clutter and do some “spring” cleaning. Remove anything that has a negative vibe. It’s great, cheap therapy and will create a positive, happy energy in your home!

Finally, immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of art and objects that speak to you in a special way; wheather a fabulous flea market find or priceless antique, these are the elements that create the home as sanctuary!  Till next time, remember to “Live Life with Joy, Wonder and Style”! Clay

 

December 14, 2014 at 1:49 pm Leave a comment

Healthy, Hearty “Sausage” Eggs Benedict—-Yumm-O Comfort Food!

Dennis and I woke to a gloomy, rainy day  here in Central Florida this morning. Although we do enjoy an occasional rainy day,  we felt we  needed some comfort food ! Since we are trying to live a more health promoting lifestyle, and eggs Benedict  is one of our favorite comfort foods, we came up with this healthy alternative.

Ingredients needed to serve 2 :

4 large eggs from cage free raised hens fed a vegetarian diet with no hormones or antibiotics.

4 whole wheat English muffins, split

4 Vegetarian sausage patties

For the Hollandaise sauce:

Mayo made with extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon – halved

salt (optional- we don’t add salt)

Black pepper to taste, freshly ground

1/4 c. water

1/4 c. low fat Greek yogurt

1/8 to 1/4 tsp garlic powder , or to taste

1/8 to 1/4 tsp turmeric; just enough to turn the “Hollandaise”sauce yellow.

For the garnish:

Parsley or fresh chives, chopped

Paprika

 

Make the mock “Hollandaise” sauce:

Combine the following with a whisk, in a microwave proof container, we use a 2 cup measuring cup

– 3/4 cup EVOO mayo

-juice of 1/2 lemon

-salt (optional)

-1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

-1/8 to 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, or to taste

-1/8 to 1/4 tsp. turmeric, just enough to make the sauce yellow

-1/4 cup water

-1/4 cup low fat Greek Yogurt

Place in microwave and heat gently

 

Toast 2 split English muffins; spread tops with a thin layer of EVOO mayo, keep warm

Cook the 4 vege sausage patties according to oven baked directions on package ( we find that microwaving the patties makes them tough) , keep patties warm

Poach the 4 eggs; leave yolks runny or done to your taste

-Top muffins with sausage patties, eggs  and then the sauce; sprinkle with chopped parsley or chives and a little paprika.

Yumm-O ! A healthy, hearty and happy comfort food breakfast!

Till next time,

Clay  and DennisSausage eggs benedict

 

 

 

 

 

November 9, 2014 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

5 EASY DECOTATING IDEAS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO BRING MORE POSTIVE, HAPPY AND HEALTHY ENERGY INTO YOUR HOME!

flowersThese 5 easy and affordable decorating ideas will bring more positive, happy and healthy energy into your home today!

# 1-  Physically clean your home, then cleanse the energy of your spaces by burning scented candles or incense;

The best essential oil scents, used alone or in combination are :

  • White or Clary Sage
  • Sweet grass
  • Cedar
  • Lemon
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Geranium 

After both cleansing processes are done, de-clutter and organize your rooms. This is one of the very best things you can do for yourself and your family to instantly lift your spirits  and invite more positive energy into your home.

#2- Bring nature inside with fresh flowers . Create an arrangement of cut fresh flowers (these are readily available and affordable at most grocery stores today). Place on your cocktail table or side table in your living area or on the dresser or night stand in your bedroom. I find the process of arranging the flowers to be very meditative and restful.

#3- Home fragrance. Fill your home with pleasant, memory evoking fragrances using scented room sprays, candles, potpourri or incense. When I smell the scent of roses or gardenias, I immediately think of my mother and happy childhood days; she always had a rose garden and several gardenia bushes so we always had bowls of gardenia blooms and/ or arrangements of roses throughout the house.

#4- Change your Lighting. Replace strategic light bulbs with “natural”, “full spectrum” or LED bulbs to bring the feeling of sunlight into your rooms. Up Lights on interior plants and trees also brighten those dark corners and spaces.

#5- Place a bowl of lemons or artfully arranged fresh fruit on your kitchen counter; a pleasure to behold and a flavorful and healthy addition to your menus and recipes!

I have taken my own advice and have cleaned, de-cluttered and organized my studio, which I’ve been meaning to do for months. I feel soooo much better and now it is a pleasure to walk into the space; like a breath of fresh air!

I hope you have enjoyed these 5 decorating ideas to bring more positive, happy and healthy energy into your home! I encourage you to try one or more of these today!!

Clay

 

August 25, 2014 at 5:01 pm Leave a comment

Interior Design Trend Alert! Luscious Coral and Turquoise!

Luscious coral and turquoise are current haute colors in our design world and look so very fabulous together! Orange, popular for a few seasons now, has evolved into coral, a blend of pink  and orange; a beautiful color that combines with almost any other color in the spectrum including, but not limited to, turquoise.

  My color inspirations come from many sources including the fashion runway ( current interior design color trends usually begin on the fashion runway! ) You can also draw your color inspirations  from travel (one of my favorites!), nature, art, a farmer’s market and so much more!

Colors in Nature

Colors in Nature

  • Coral combined with turquoise creats an exotic and tropical ambience.
  •  Black and white punched up with coral makes a bold, graphic statement!
  • Sophisticated and glamorous – coral and gray.
  • Combine coral with shades of citrus green ; very fashion forward!
  • Purple plays with coral to create an exotic , global vibe—– I love it!

Yellow, many shades of blue, red and even pink are other colors that you could combine with coral to create your own personal and delectable color statement!

Thank you for joining me here to see my latest Interior Design Color Trend Alert highlighting Luscious Coral and Turquoise ! I hope you have enjoyed this post! Stay tuned for more! Clay

Dolce and Gabana Fashion Colors

Dolce and Gabbana Fashion Colors

 

July 1, 2014 at 8:07 pm Leave a comment

Trend Alert! Nail-head Trim Details !

Nail-head trim details are experiencing new-found popularity in the interior design world! Nail-head trim is showing up on accent furniture, chairs, barstools, beds, tables, picture frames and more. Nickel, bronze, brass or black they add a definitive touch to whatever they grace!

limed oak table with nickel nail head detailing

Side table with nickel nail-head accents

Faux leather chest with nail-head detailing

Did you know? Nail head trim dates back to the era between 1560 and 1643 when the French Country style was first introduced during the reign of Louis XIII and has remained popular ever since.

I have pictured here some examples of  furnishings and accents featuring nail-head trim details.
All items shown are available through Clay Stephens Lifestyles. Please contact us for pricing and more info at claystephens@cfl.rr.com

storage cube HaFu 090-427

Nail-head trim adorns storage cube stool

Hekm dinging chair with nailhead trim

Nail-head detailing on dining chair

I hope you have enjoyed this brief trend alert on the popularity of nail-head trim! (more…)

April 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm Leave a comment

April in Paris! Sites, Sounds and Fabulous Food!

Sainte Chappelle, Paris

Sainte Chappelle, Paris

April in Paris ! I was fortunate enough to visit Paris in April and enjoy the amazing sights, sounds and fabulous food  in this  vibrant, exciting city ! April is a luscious time of year to visit Paris; masses of tulips, cherry blossoms, daffodils and apple blossoms abound  in the gardens and parks.

Although our visit was somewhat short, we saw many of the beautiful, historic sites in the heart of Paris, including the Louvre; Musee d’ Orsay on the Seine;the chill bump inducing, awe-inspiring stained glass windows of the Sainte Chappelle; Notre Dame; the Arc de Triomphe, and of course the Eiffel Tower.

On one of our many strolls through the streets of Paris, we discovered a friendly and accommodating, quaint restaurant  that served some amazing food including onion soup. I could not get their recipe, but my friend Rose, who was born and raised in France, gave me hers and it is very similar to the soup we were served at this quaint restaurantI am not sure, but I think the restaurant was the Cafe de la Bourse. I know it was one of the restaurants where we had a wonderful experience and great food!

Rose’s French Onion Soup, or as she says “Soup a L’Oignon” .

4 or 5 large white onions , sliced thinly.

1/2 cup butter

1 Tablespoon sugar

6 cups beef stock, preferably home-made

1/4 cup good cognac

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

6 rounds of

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

toasted French bread. Butter both sides after toasting

Grated Gruyère Cheese, about 2 cups

Cook sliced onions in butter in a large saucepan, with the sugar; cook very slowly, stirring constantly with a  wooden spoon until golden brown. Add stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook , covered, about one hour.

Just before serving, add cognac and spoon into earthenware bowls over toasted French bread rounds. Top with lots of grated Gruyère cheese and melt under the broiler.

This serves about 4 as an appetizer.

Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

April 3, 2014 at 4:33 pm Leave a comment

4 Health Enhancing Spices you should be adding to your Recipes!

spicesI add these 4 Health Enhancing Spices to my recipes as often as I can.

1Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. I add it to rice and chicken dishes, sprinkle it in soups and combine in my salad dressing recipes.

2– Cinnamon helps regulate your blood sugar and is a great antioxidant. I sprinkle a little in my coffee in the mornings; tastes great and is good for you, too! Cinnamon also combines well with Turmeric and Cumin in many savory dishes, but you only need a touch!

3– Cumin enhances immunity and increases metabolism. I love Cumin added to guacamole, my yellow rice and chicken recipe and almost any pork dish. Its great in Chili, too!

4Garlic has many great health enhancing benefits; It acts as an anti-inflammatory and has great cardiovascular benefits, just to name a few. Garlic is easy to incorporate into most savory dishes. OK, so I just can’t cook without garlic ! I use it in almost all recipes where I use onion ( another great health enhancing bulb!).

You should use these only as seasonings, not as high dose supplements! As with anything, herbs and spices included, there are side effects in high doses. As my mother used to say ” Everything in moderation!”.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and will try incorporating these 4  Health Enhancing Spices into your own recipes!

March 30, 2014 at 8:17 pm Leave a comment

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