home + life



a room with a loo: simple art ideas for your water closet

NookAndSea-Bathroom-Art-Mat-Board-British-Flag-Rustic-Simple-Wash-Room-Sink-Floor-LampWhen we first moved into the apartment, I had this grand idea to land some vintage-style signs for the bathroom (like so). Of course, I already have way to many accessories laying around the house, so this idea got stuffed under the rug (that is – until I find “the one” – which I’m pretty sure I discovered up in Oak Glen last fall, but tossed it aside for a jar of apple butter). Going the alternate route, printables and easy DIY projects have become the talk of the town (or, at least, the internet). Some of my picks:


A colorful and contemporary selection for the kids (or grown up’s) in your home, these posters are easy to order and simple to set with professional mat boards. Group them in your bathroom for a refreshing reminder on washroom etiquette. You may never forget to brush your teeth again.


This oar + signage combo is smart and crafty (I would have used an old spigot knob instead of the flower to hang it though, but I love the arrangement)! You can make your own wood sign and hunt up other beachy treasures at your local flea market or antique shop. Other ideas: drape a piece of rope end-to-end along a pegged shelf and hot glue starfish and other shells to it for a hint of seaside bliss.


If you love working with your hands (and don’t mind the smell of stinky spray paint), a combination of empty turquoise, navy and grey frames is perfect for larger spaces. We actually have a family of these above our bed, and they’re such a neat element to showcase over the usual family portraits. Try hanging beach glass or seashells from the top with string and place near your mirror, or use an old window pane with starfish. You’ll be smiling every morning!

Do you have any art displayed in your bathroom? Happy Tuesday!

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hello there

NookAndSea-Blog-Southern-California-Beach-Ray-Bans-Sunglasses-Sand-Waves-Ocean-Seaside-InstagramLong time no post! I can assure you that I am alive and well. Life, as it seems, can get pretty busy; and there’s also the realization that sometimes, I just need to chill and do absolutely nothing. Bloggers: you understand that the act of maintaining a blog is, (rather unknowingly at first), a serious dedication. Taking time away from the site has always been hard; and even more difficult given the gentle urging to produce when there is a sudden lull in your content. But working days, quiet nights and weeks of an inbox with hardly anything in it is just what I needed.

Now enough of the sappy crap! I need to catch you up on life :)

NookAndSea-Blog-Marshmallow-Puffs-Crescent-Rolls-Easter-Recipe-Side-Dish-Simple-Easy-Holiday-Quick-Bake-Dough-Triangle-Cinnamon-Sugar-Cookie-Sheet-PinterestI saw this recipe for Resurrection Rolls on Pinterest last year and planned to make them in the fall – turns out it was perfect for Easter, so I attempted to make them one night. They were supposed to look like this:

Eat-At-Allies-Resurrection-Rolls-Crescent-Marshmallow-Puffs-Easter-Childrens-Kids-Activity-Bible-Recipe-BakingBut they turned out like this:

NookAndSea-Blog-Easter-Entertaining-Resurrection-Rolls-Marshmallow-Puffs-Crescent-Dough-Recipe-BakeI had a good laugh – at least they were super simple (with absolutely no measuring involved) and downright DELICIOUS! I had three or four right out of the oven… typical.

In other fun news, the hubby and I received a tiny new member of the family!



Madison is a rescue dog originally taken in by a friend, and has since made her way permanently to our home. She’s a 9-year old terrier mix with a lot of puppy-spunk and is a total blast to have around. We take her down to the harbor and on some seriously long walks (I even cancelled my gym membership!) and the adjustment to having a four-legged friend has been thankfully very easy. We just looooove herrrrr (and she kicks our butt into shape)!

NookAndSea-Blog-Beach-Sea-Ocean-Water-Waves-Shore-Seaside-Orange-County-SandThe weather has been absolutely beautiful, and we finally had our first official spring beach day this weekend. My goal for the summer is to get down to the sand as often as possible (last year was pretty lousy and I’m hoping to make that up)!

That’s it for now, thanks for reading friends. I promise to be back sooner than three weeks ;)

Happy Spring!




sweetness! whipped cream phyllo bites with sugared mint and raspberries

The months of entertaining outdoors are upon us and we (Nick & Aleah) are giddy with excitement! For us, spring and summer months mean dining al fresco with our loved ones, whipping up fresh seasonal cocktails and experimenting with new desserts and refreshing bites. It also means entertaining to our hearts’ content and wowing {we hope!} our guests at our own celebrations and client events with tasty ideas that are true to the season and will make them say yum. Today’s recipe is oh-so simple – a key ingredient in successful entertaining. Check it out:

phyllo raspberries
whipped cream {fresh is best!} | sugared mint {damped mint leaves with water and roll in sugar – let dry and harden on a baking rack} | fresh raspberries | phyllo cups

Layer the whipped cream in a phyllo cup and top with raspberries and a hardened sugared mint leaf (That’s it! We told you this was super easy)!

What refreshing springtime bites are on your mind?

Photos and DIY: Valley & Co.




spring style inspiration: taking the maxi dress from casual to chic


Hey, Nook & Sea readers! I (Sara) am always trying to get the most wear out of the pieces in my closet and love finding creative new ways to wear old things. One of my favorite challenges is taking a look from casual to dressy with just a simple change or two. For the first look, I took a comfy, casual maxi dress of mine and dressed it down with some neutral accessories and a fun necklace. You could even tie up a plain white T-shirt over it or throw on a long cardigan to keep the casual look as well.


For a more refined look, I just added my favorite white button-down (J. Crew), and a more classic accessory to make it a look I could wear to work or out to dinner with friends. I evened it out with some flat sandals, but any shoes could work!


There are definitely lots of ways to play around with maxi dresses, so I encourage you to get creative as we head into spring and summer. Have fun – and happy spring time!

Sara B

Outfit Details: Dress – Heavenly Couture | Necklace and Chain Bracelet – ILY Couture | Brown Belt – Forever 21 | Wedges – Target | White Button Down – J. Crew | Sandals – T.J. Maxx | Chain Necklace – Forever 21 | Sunglasses and Watch – Target




the ultimate fantasy house swap: one fine stay


I remember the first time I watched The Holiday. Seeing Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet trade lives and submerge themselves in each other’s homes seemed like the ultimate vacationers fantasy. We’re always so curious about how other people live and imagine what it’s like to walk in their shoes. Celebrity or not, this curiosity is finally being cured by one amazing idea that breaks down the barrier between fantasy and reality. One Fine Stay, the self-titled “unhotel” service, coordinates traveler’s stays in private homes while the owners are out of town (yup – awesome). Think you’d rather play it safe at a friend’s place instead? Think again – these aren’t your average apartments.






Based in the UK, One Fine Stay’s unique draw doesn’t stop there. Each home is easy to book and serviced like a normal hotel: spick-and-span upon arrival, decked out with fancy toiletries, with an optional maid service (if you so desire) and even a personal suggestion of local activities from the homeowners themselves. It gives you the chance to experience their world, and create your own memories.


And with an exclusive collection of private homes in NYC, your choice of Uptown, Downtown or Brooklyn are not the only options at your fingertips. How many bedrooms would you like? Would you prefer an elevator? Garden? Tumble dryer? Private cinema? A place for kids? Iron included? Check out a map of the local area, peek at features of the home and flip through availability all in one place. Amenity choices are easily searchable and the list of unique properties is constantly stretching to accommodate more fabulous “unhotel” options. If it were up to me – this is how I’d like to travel!


Have you picked out your next NYC stop yet? (Here’s mine)!

1 East 8th Street, East Village

2 3rd Street, Carroll Gardens

York Avenue, Upper East Side

West 28th Street, Chelsea

Judge Street, Williamsburg

6 The Bowery, NoHo

East 95th Street, Upper East Side

Hudson Park, Tribeca






sea mates


Although born and raised in Southern California, I (Jillian) ended my time on the island of Oahu just shy of 6 years; the same amount of time I spent in any one California city. “Hey, this is Jill…my friend from Hawaii”, is now the standard introduction I am subject to (awkwardly enough, another way I’m categorized off the island is by the lack of grace I exude when taking off a wetsuit – having learned to surf in 84 degree weather, my ease is lost in anything more than a t-shirt and two-piece).

What possessed me to leave behind the warmth and transparency of Hawaii’s ocean is far more than the promise of a new beginning. During the summer of 2009, I received my first taste of a completely new world. Floating on board an eighty-foot Phinisi traveling off the Western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, the Mentawai Islands is a reality which I have yet to wholly let go of.

That summer I spent 12 days breathing in the distinct smells of a tattered third-world country devastated by numerous earthquakes and record-breaking tsunamis. But amongst the chaos, I spent those days melting into a culture which I am now determined to call my home. I’ve left behind what most people consider to be paradise – temporarily trading my bikini for a wetsuit – all for the surety that my next step won’t leave me awkwardly peeling off neoprene. The awaiting adventure, beginning in just a few short months, will lead me toward a new paradise – Bali, Indonesia.

As the travels begin, I humbly invite you to become my sea mates; accompanying me across the oceans and into dynamic cultures which will surely strike your every sense. For if you cannot wake up to a salt-sprayed morning you can join me here and we will roam the world together.

I’ll be SEA-ing you.




in case you missed it: a review of OC’s best french toast

NookAndSea-Cappuccino-Cup-Foam-Bonjour-Cafe-And-Bistro-Dana-Point-California-Dining-Coastal-Beach-Breakfast-French-ToastI like breakfast (and when I say “breakfast”, I mostly mean french toast). So when I had the chance to dig into some seriously tasty bites at Bonjour Cafe in DP, I did. Check out my review of Le French Toast en Brioche at the Clever blog – with the claim of being the best french toast dish in Orange County.

P.S. – Yes, this is a latte. Why spoil the glory of the french toast now? ;) Head on over!