who's the fairest in the land…

Today was an awesome Saturday! Mark and I hopped in the Volvo and crossed the border on our way to Fairhaven, Washington for a lovely afternoon of snooping and eating. It wasn’t a planned trip, so I only had my iphone for snapping pictures, so please forgive the grainy shots.

image courtesy Bellingham Online

This is the Three French Hens shop “a boutique for chicks” (you bet I made Mark come in…he hid in a corner pretending to work on his iphone). It’s typical of the amazing architecture everywhere you look in Fairhaven–a vintage bank housing a lovely clothing, jewelry and decor shop.

We happened upon the Dirty Dan Days festivities including a trout toss competition, cupcake eating contest and the Chukanut Chowder Cookoff. There were outdoor entertainers, musicians, and amazing food vendors. The smell wafting from the paella simmering in two massive pans was intoxicating!

Next we happened upon Drizzle Tasting Room–an amazing new tasting bar dedicated to olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt. There were lots of different creative flavours in each category and lots of fresh baguette to dip into my own little tester cups…yum! Owner, Ross Driscoll, filled me a bottle of lavender balsamic and another of a wonderfully fruity olive oil…can’t wait to use both in a salad with creamy goat cheese and carmelized onions!! The lavender balsamic vinegar will be perfect on a dessert of rich vanilla ice cream with roasted strawberries and almonds.

It’s a lovely little family affair at Drizzle. Ross’ wife, Dana, and their toddler daughter, Grace, were hard at work behind the desk (Grace’s hard work: Sitting on a stool chattering and charming the pants off customers). Ross explained that they were inspired to start their business when they lived amongst olive orchards in California and regularly tasted the amazing oils. When they moved back to Bellingham, they decided to pursue their creative vision and share their passion with lucky customers.

We visited Mambo Italiano Cafe for lunch, where we had a fresh salad of mixed greens and one of the best margherita pizzas I’ve ever eaten. It was a hand-tossed crust with a light sauce of freshly sauteed tomatoes mingled with fresh mozzarella and chopped basil and salty tomatoes! Worth a trip just for that!

What’s a perfect day with a cupcake and coffee? NOTHING!!! That’s why I insisted (read: whined until I got my way) on stopping by Katie’s Cupcakes. I know this post is full of superlatives and my hallmark exclamation marks, but there are no words to describe how amazing their strawberry cupcakes are. Chunks of fresh strawberries mixed with light moist cake and a heavenly whipped vanilla buttercream frosting–bliss. Again, definitely worth a return trip!!!

image courtesy Katie's Cupcakes

Wait a minute….I just realized that at every turn, everyone was super friendly! I’ll be back, fair Fairhaven!

it's a colourful life…

Before I started my home decor business, I used to spend hours in my kitchen, painting canvases. I would lose myself in the sheer joy of creating art. As can happen in life, I stopped making time for my “hobby” and started focusing on my business. That was three years ago, and since then, I haven’t touched my box of paints. All that changed today! I dusted of my brushes and headed to my friend’s art studio for a day of creativity.

Patty Ripley is a talented artist with years of experience and a collection of works that takes my breath away. I’m always delighted when she completes a new painting! Her natural ability to mix colours is unmatched in my opinion, and I jumped at the chance when she offered to tutor me in colour mixing.

It’s so good to play again! Patty and I are meeting regularly for creativity days of painting and photography!

what's new?…

I’ve been thinking about adding these Cobi Style and Steven & Chris products to the Nicole Jane Home collection, but I thought I’d better ask what you think first.Anything that you like? Anything that you don’t like? Please take a minute to fill out the poll–you can check off as many as you like.

tea please…

These are some of the cheerful little i-pot infuser tea pots I just added to the Nicole Jane Home website. I’m a big fan of loose-leaf tea, and I’m sure a lot of you are too. The little baskets in these pots is removable, so you can heat the pot with water in the microwave. I prefer boiled water myself, and I’m of the opinion that loose-leaf tea shouldn’t be rushed.

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