a whale of an obsession


By Janeane Pittman

I’ve recently had a bit of an obsession with whales when it comes to decor. There’s something about their large presence and how they’ve captivated my attention since a junior high field trip. Seeing God’s creation in the sea made me at peace and felt as though time stood still! It was like they were flying under water with such grace and ease. Capturing the essence of this powerful and graceful creature in art and accessories are plentiful these days – here are some of my favorites!



To create a design that incorporates a whale, try not to go overboard, (take this streamlined office with minimal furnishings and accessories, for example). The large statement sculpture of a white whale on the back wall creates a relaxed feeling without being too kitschy.


Pallet Whale Wooden Nautical Art Beach House Decor | Slippin Southern via Etsy | $189

Weathered pallet wood is just the type of piece that can bring the feeling of the sea into your home. If you want a smaller, softer approach, adding pillows with whale imagery to your bedding or sofa will add a bit of fun too!


Worth Your Whale Pillowcase Set | Modcloth | $29.99

Tabletop options like whale-shaped baskets and bookends add whimsy to any room. I can see these nestled in a shelving unit or in a grouping on a console.


Rope Whale Storage Basket | Dot & Bo | $67.99


Start to Fin Bookends | Modcloth | $54.99

Varied installations are great to do when done the right way, like with these whale tale hooks (below). Lined up in a mudroom on white paneled walls, it gives impact without being overly done. They also give functional art to the space that can be used everyday.



This coastal accessory can add so much to your home! I hope I have inspired you to add a little bit of whale whimsy to your space!

- Janeane



herb skinny salad: recipe trial from real girl’s kitchen


Summer is here and SoCal has no shortage of hot, plentiful sunshine! On a quest for some healthy and refreshing dishes, I happened upon this amazing salad recipe from Haylie Duff over at Real Girl’s Kitchen.

{Side note: I absolutely ADORE the Duff sisters… like, really really REALLY adore them}.

But you want to get to that recipe, ya? Onward!

This “Herb Skinny Salad” was featured in Haylie’s detox getaway away with the girls, and it was so unique, I had to give it a try {see the Real Girl’s Kitchen episode here}. So at family lunch this weekend, I decided to prep this salad to a) prove that my kitchen skills do in fact exist, and b) contribute a healthy, new dish to our recipe books. Overall, it was a piece of cake (mmmm… cake) and easily fed our hungry party of 6 with plenty to spare!

Bonus: It just so happens to be gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free {minus the lemon juice}, organic, vegetarian AND vegan – all at the same time {and add raw to that list if you opt out of using the toasted pine nuts}. Take that Whole Foods!!!


What you’ll need {for all ingredients, choose organic if you’d like}:

1 bunch romaine lettuce

5 thinly sliced radishes

1 thinly sliced carrot

1 thinly sliced cucumber

1/4 cup chopped green onions (or green garlic)

1/2 cup chopped mint

1/2 cup chopped dill

Handful of cherry tomatoes (in my case, 1 medium tomato)

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1 cubed avocado

1/2 squeezed lemon

drizzle of olive oil

sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper


First, rinse the romaine, tearing off the whitish ends near the root, and continue tearing the leaves with your hands to form the salad instead of using a knife {a tip from Haylie: this helps the edges not to turn brown}. Once the main body of greens are prepped, thinly slice up your radishes, carrot and add them in. Beautiful already!

Nook-and-Sea-Blog-Beach-Living-Food-Recipes-Cooking-Healthy-Easy-Salad-Vegetables-Veggies-Green-Vegan-Family-Avocado-Radish-Carrot-Romaine-Onion-Cucumber-Mint-Dill-Tomatoes-Pine-Nuts-Lemon-Juice-Salt-Pepper-Olive-Oil-Haylie-Duff-Inspired-Real-Girls-Kitchen-Hilary-Duff-7Continue by chopping your cucumbers {I cut mine in half first, then sliced the two halves at the same time to make them a little easier to eat}, green onions, tomatoes, and avocado. Luckily, I was able to find an avocado that was perfectly ripe – a tip to use at the grocery store is to pick off the brown nub at the top, and if it’s green underneath, the avocado inside is green and ready to show off {just remember to press softly to test for actual fruit ripeness – you may want to buy one a couple days before to ensure it’s good to go}.


Instead of using store-bought dressing, Haylie opts for a homemade version instead {which guarantees it’s free of any preservatives}! Using your dill, mint, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, drizzle of olive oil and a dash of coarse sea salt and pepper, you should have the perfect balance of flavor and texture. Add in the toasted pine nuts, and you’re ready to party!


As the summer sun was setting, the Herb Skinny Salad received rave reviews. For future batches, I would love to try using a little less dill, but everyone commented on just how delicious, simple, and unique the flavors were {not to mention how crazy healthy it is}! This is easily a year-round salad to accompany a large family meal or to enjoy as a dish all on its own!

Check out Haylie’s cookbook and blog, watch full episodes at Ora TV, and stay tuned for more recipe attempts from yours truly.

Wish me luck ; )










If you’ve ever had to make a big fork-in-the-road, planning-for-the-rest-of-your-life, no-turning-back decision in your life {which I’m sure most of us have}, then you understand just how exhausting, confusing, and sometimes seemingly quit-worthy the process can be. How do I know what the right choice is? Is option A a good pick? Is option B wrong? Are any of them wrong? Should I just pick one and try it out? What will happen if something doesn’t go right? Does that mean I’ve made a mistake?

Sometimes, you just want someone else to be driving.

Over the past few months, I’ve gone back and forth {maybe a hundred times} on a God-sized question lingering in my tiny little human brain, not stopping to realize that first and foremost, God has already chosen my path for me. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your path straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6) was my leading life verse in high school and college, yet somehow it didn’t seem to help me. Maybe I had become hardened, stubborn, and more “instinctual” like the rest of the world.

But I know that often what feels like “human instinct” is in fact, the Holy Spirit, working on God’s behalf to guide you through it all. Our Counselor. Our Decision-Maker.

Our Driver.

So I feel free. Happy, in God’s favor, and joyous that His decisions are mine too!

Be blessed my friends.






please welcome: janeane pittman

Hi everyone! I have very exciting news {drumroll please}! As you well know, Nook & Sea works with a team of fantastic contributors, and today, we welcome a fresh new face. Janeane Pittman of Janeane Pittman Interior Design in Huntington Beach. Janeane is coming onboard as Interior Design Contributor and I am stoked to introduce you to her amazing style, warm heart, and cheery, wonderful words. Take it away Janeane!


Often, I am asked what I do for a living and I have the pleasure of saying that I am an interior designer.  More likely than not, the response I get back is “FUN!”  After years of school and having hours of laboring under my belt, I sometimes did not feel that term that quite summed up my job.  It was not long though that I realized this is exactly what every one of my client’s needs to feel.  They need to have a fun time with the process of selecting what will go into their home.


I almost feel like an invader as I have been a Nook & Sea follower for a long time and now here I am writing an article introducing myself to the rest of you.  So, hello everyone, my name is Janeane Pittman and I am an interior designer (FUN)! : )  The essence of Nook & Sea has always been something I have admired.  Easy and breezy, uplifting, creative, and faith building are just some of the words I can quickly come up with.  These are qualities I have embraced in my life and they naturally spill over into my work as a designer.  


Designing a home is an extremely personal process.  You want to reflect your personality through style and have a space function to suit your lifestyle.  Finding that personal style is what I specialize in.  That is one of the biggest reasons my portfolio has so many different styles.  I am not here to take over your home, rather be a tool to make the most of what your hard earned money can purchase.  Janeane Pittman Interior Design offers services ranging from full service design to e-Design.  I want to make design accessible to people with both large and small projects.

To sum up what I personally love…color, lots of color, mixing patterns, art, statement wall treatments, always having at least one item in a room that makes people go “What?”, vintage, and incorporating heirloom pieces.  I also have a healthy obsession with bluebirds.  Well, I think the list could go on, but that might get a little boring.  I am so excited to be a part of Nook & Sea with Kristina as the new Interior Design Contributor.  I am looking forward to writing about design that you can hopefully use for your own home.

So, have FUN, and until next time, be blessed.





sail away: giving your plants a nautical touch


* This is a sponsored post which contains affiliate links

This summer’s hot fashion trend is nautical; the ocean has come to the catwalk and the high street. The theme is all about anchors and stripes, and it’s not confined to clothing! The look of the sea is fun for summer and if you are wearing your stripes for BBQ season why not add a touch of the sailor to your yard? Planters are a great way of bringing color to your outdoors, as well as an excellent growing environment for plants {see that cute whale planter here}.

Sea shells

One thing that is guaranteed to elicit feelings of the sea is a sea shell; most of us become fascinated from when we are children and we first pay a visit to the beach, or we are first told to listen to the “sea” in a conch. Planters come in a variety of shell representations from wooden planters adorned with them as decoration, to planters created in the shape of giant shells such as the conch.








Most people have taken a boat trip at some point during their lives, and the water based vessels play a major part in nautical planter design. From a simple wooden design to a metal version for optimum durability, they are a pretty funky yard accessory.  There are even galleon versions for Pirates of the Caribbean fans! 




This little guy is no longer available – but check out his concrete sailboat cousin here!


Let’s face it you can’t go to sea without an anchor, so what better way to bring the sea to you than with a few well-chosen anchor designs!










{and when in doubt… go with blue!}

Continuing on a Theme

Why not really embrace the ocean and complement your planters by expanding on the water and beach theme? Instead of edging your yard with wood or rocks, make use of the shells you collect at the beach (or buy a selection online), and use them to make your yard stand out; maybe a line of clam shells would be a good look. For a bit of fun, get yourself some flip flops and place them strategically through the yard; they make a real quirky footprint style feature.



The Dew of the Sea

To complete the nautical experience, rosemary is a great plant to grow (its name means “dew of the sea” in Latin)!  Trailing versions of the plant are especially appropriate for use in planters; adding a carpet of color to the landscape. Rosemary is also a very easy plant to cultivate; it requires very little water and is great for use in xeriscaping.  It is best grown in a sunny position.  You can visit Gaddys Indoor Plant Hire for more on this. Vertical growing varieties of the plant can be quite high and bushy; they are robust and can look good in a yard for several years.  They can be cut into shapes and hedges, and have often been used for topiary.









Rosemary can have pink or blue flowers, and the leaves have a multitude of colors and designs depending on the species of the plant.  It can be cultivated by clipping off a 4-6 inch long shoot, stripping off the bottom leaves, and planting the new shoot in soil; a great way of giving more color to your nautical and vintage themed planters and yard!

What’s your favorite look?

* This content is sponsored and Nook & Sea has received compensation in exchange for hosting. Opinions and styles has been influenced by me.



shop tour: taim boutique, laguna beach


Ahhhh Laguna Beach – how I love thee! Laid-back, seaside living with a touch of Santa Barbara chic (not to mention oodles and oodles of the most adorable, charming cottages EVER). Among all that goodness, a blue-shingled shop along S. Coast Highway and Cress Street – Taim Boutique. Two years ago I met Kendra Pearce, shop owner and stylist, at a CCOC event in Irvine (this one). During introductions, I’m pretty sure I grabbed her arm and gasped (HUUUUUUUUUUUH!) when she told me she was in the process of opening the store (being a shop owner has always been a huge dream…. so inspiration hit hard). We hit it off right away, and when store-time came around, we had a blast putting our heads together on decor ideas and just watching everything come to life. Two years later, Taim is bursting at the seams with gorgeous goods and I was much overdue for a visit. Read on for a Q&A with Kendra, and don’t forget to stop by and say hello!!


Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a Southern California girl, through and through, and it has definitely shaped my personal style. As a little girl, I would pour over my mom’s copies of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. When I was 15, I was signed as a model and got to see for myself how the fashion industry worked. After graduating from Chapman University with a degree in Business, I started working in retail. I worked my way up from the bottom and gained as much experience as possible knowing one day I would have my own store. It took a lot of time and hard work, but my dream finally came true in 2012 when I opened the doors of Taim Boutique.

Q: How did the idea for Taim come about? What is the meaning behind it’s name?

I have always loved fashion and creativity, but I’ve also loved helping and inspiring others. Working in retail I saw the potential for a different kind of store. Not radically different, but one with different values. True beauty comes from being comfortable in your skin (and clothes) and radiating confidence. Rather than just selling clothes, our mission is helping women feel beautiful and confident through clothing. That’s actually where the name came from, it’s based on the Irish Gaelic word for “I am.” I want women to say “I am beautiful” and really, truly believe it.


Q: What do you think best prepared you for opening your own boutique? 

A friend once told me, “If you want to own a restaurant, start by washing dishes in the kitchen.” As funny as that may sound, I completely agree. The best way to learn any business is to start at the bottom and work your way up. Not only that, but working for different companies both big and small. Understanding every aspect of your industry is vital to success. I worked every position in retail from stock assistant, sales associate, visual merchandiser, inventory control, manager, and even assisted the owner at a few boutiques. Had I not gained all of that experience, I wouldn’t have been as prepared as I was. About a year before I opened my store I felt as though I had hit a wall. I knew at that point I had grown as much as I was going to in the retail world and that the only way I could continue to grow and learn was to open my own store.



Q: What have been some of the best moments?

Is it corny to say everything? :) Every morning I wake up, remember how far I’ve come, and feel lucky that I get to do what I love every day. I don’t take a second of this for granted and I think that’s a great way to live your life.

Q: Some of the more challenging?

There are a lot of challenges to owning your own business. Nothing in life is guaranteed, so every day I come into the store prepared to fight. I’m always thinking about how I could make the store better, how I could gain new customers, and what do I need to let go of. Always learn and grow, never be satisfied with what you know.

Q: What are some of your secrets to standing out during tourist season? With the locals?

We try to focus on how real women wear clothes, and I think our inventory reflects that. My hope is that women see our mannequins and think ” that’s cute, I’d like to wear that” not “that would look cute on my daughter.” We carry the clothes you want to wear every day. The best compliment we have received is when our clients tell us that they wear the pieces they bought at Taim all the time.




Q: Where do you hope to be in 10 years?

Maybe we’ll have a second location or a webstore, but I really do love working with people and the more we expand, the more thinly I would have to spread myself. Honestly, I really just want the store to be successful and to continue to inspire women. And to be able to travel more. I love traveling so personally that’s my goal for the future!

Q: Any words of advice to those thinking of starting their own brick-and-mortar?

I have two pieces of advice. First, work in as many positions at as many different kinds of businesses as possible. Work for the big guys and the little guys. Understand what every employee does and why their role is important. And second, focus on one thing at a time. Too many small stores try to expand or open webstores too soon after opening their first brick and mortar. Focus on making the first shop successful and profitable.


Thanks to Kendra for letting us drop in!

Check out the Taim website and see the CCOC event at Taim here!




new beginnings


If there’s one good thing that comes from budgeting, it’s creativity. And as much as I love to support local nurseries, I just can’t support them EVERY DAY with my wallet to grow a jungle in my backyard  (although trust me, I desperately, DESPERATELY, want to). Every now and then on my walks, I stumble across the craziest stuff. This morning, a sizable branch of light green jade which I was able to make into three stalks, and a few weeks ago, a waist-high purple aeonium that was pulled from the community planter and left leaning against the wall like a lonely preschooler who just had their lunch money stolen (don’t worry, I saved it). Some might call it thievery, but I call it being resourceful where otherwise neglected and broken plants would be tossed into a gardening bag during maintenance day every Tuesday. And I won’t let that happen.


So, I turned to propagating (great post on this here at Needles + Leaves… I’m warning you, you will not leave this site for at least half an hour). Essentially, it’s the practice of growing plants, nominally succulents, by using their cuttings and taking parts of the plant to grow somewhere else! In three words, geeeeeeenius and cheap. Today is the first day I’ve begun the process for some new leaves, so I hope to show you their progress along the way. After snapping off a few fleshy leaves (note: they must make a clean break and be healthy), I set them over a shallow tray of soil and let them hang out in our kitchen bay-window that gets ample sunlight (but no direct sunlight, the heat is too much for young plants). As you may be able to tell from the photo above, there’s a few that are already well into the sprouting process, while the others are just starting out. In about a week, we should notice tiny, transparent pink roots forming at their tips – and that’s the start of something good! Once the plants grow further, the main leaf will eventually shrivel and die off, and new babies will be born! (Spritz them with water every few days to stay slightly hydrated). Burro’s Tail (the pebble-like leaves in the center of the photo above) do especially well with propagating, because it’s leaves fall off so easily – I’ve come across many fallen leaves in the pot that have already sprouted!

succulents-jars-vases-water-cuttings-stalks-propogating-growing-gardening-jadeWith the jade, I’ve let the thick stalks sit in water, which works to establish new growth. Once the roots begin to become more noticeable and likely to withstand being covered in soil, you can plant them. I’ve broken this one stalk into three because I’m greedy. (PS – the Mason jar you see in this photo is actually a Trader Joe’s marinara sauce container – they were hiding this two-fer in plain sight! Just take the label off, and you’ve got yourself a fancy vase)!

Have you ever tried propagating? Have a fab week!