About Me

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I was motivated to start a blog by reading all the wonderful talented individual's who have blogs out there. So, I want to make this blog about everyone who reads it. My family and God always comes first in my life. I want to share my experiences and in turn, hope to get feedback and ideas from you. I love unique things, I adore anything that sparkles (not over the top though) I love decorating, cooking, gardening, photography and shopping. My number one passion is photography! To me it becomes more than a picture, it can become a piece of art, or a beautiful memory. Decorating, though I am not a professional, and don't claim to be, has been a part of my life since I was very young, and just love searching and shopping for new ideas and incorporate the old, such as Mid-Century Modern and Hollywood Regency with contemporary. Living close to the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, and being of Hispanic heritage, I love cooking Mexican food, and love to share my authentic recipes. Though I live in Florida, my heart is in the desert southwest, and hope that my family and I will return there very soon…keep your fingers crossed that my prayers are answered SOON!!!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hass Avocados...


In 2002, the tree to which every Hass Avocado in the world can trace its lineage finally succumbed to root rot at the ripe old age of 76. Her offspring account for 95 percent of the avocados grown in California, and the fruit of her labor resulted in one of the state's most important industries. Yet, despite speculation to the contrary, nobody knows what variety of seed produced the original Hass Mother Tree.

The tree began life as lucky-find; a simple seed planted by A.R. Rideout of Whittier. Rideout, an innovator and pioneer in avocados, was always searching for new varieties and tended to plant whatever seeds he could find, often along streets or in neighbors' yards.

In the late 1920s, Mr. Rudolph Hass, a postman, purchased the seedling tree from Rideout, and planted it in his new orchard. He planned to graft another variety on it, but when repeated grafts didn't take he planned to cut the tree down. Fortunately for avocado lovers everywhere, Hass's children talked him out of it. They preferred the taste of the tree's fruit to that of the Fuerte, the predominant variety and industry standard in those days.

Since the quality was high and the tree gave a good yield, Hass named the variety after himself and took out a patent in 1935. That same year, he signed an agreement with Harold Brokaw, a Whittier nurseryman, to grow and promote the Hass Avocados. They would split the gross income: 25 percent for Hass and 75 percent for Brokaw.

Brokaw began to propagate the rough, black Hass exclusively and promote it in favor of the standard varieties of the day. It made sense. The Hass was a far better bearer than the Fuerte and it matured at a different time of year. Because of the seasonal advantage, Brokaw was successful to the point of yearly sellouts of his nursery crops.

The patent expired in 1952, the same year Rudolph Hass died. But by then, the bumpy black avocado that bore his name was rapidly gaining in popularity on the smooth green Fuerte. Consumers preferred its richer, nuttier taste, while grocers favored it for its durability and longer shelf life. Today, the Hass accounts for about 80 percent of all avocados eaten worldwide and generates more than $1 billion a year in revenues in the United States alone.

The tree that launched an avocado revolution lived out her days in suburban La Habra Heights. Harold Brokaw's nephew Hank nursed her through more than a decade, trying to save her from root fungus. Hank lost the fight in 2002, and the tree's wood is currently in storage in a Ventura nursery awaiting the decision on a fitting commemoration of the original Hass Mother Tree.
Reference: http://www.avocado.org/the-hass-avocado-a-california-native/

Below are some pictures of my Hass Avocado tree on the south side of my property. We purchased our home 16 years ago and each and every year we would get hundreds of sweet beautiful avocados.  We would have so many, I would give them to the neighbors, friends and even family up north and still had more than I could use in a year's time.  Last year was the first year we didn't get a one.  Due to the freezing weather of last winter, we did not even get a single blossom.  Well, that has changed this year.  There are thousands of blossoms, and come late summer, my tree should be full again.  Of course our favorite is fresh guacamole, but I use them in so many different recipes, and it's so nice to just go out to the tree pick a few and in about a week they are perfect for use.  So many people in this area of Florida have what we call "Florida Avocados".  They are larger, the skin smoother and very moist inside, not even close to the true flavor of a Hass avocado. 

Here is a family recipe for our guacamole.  It's different than most I've seen, but it is seriously delicious.

In a Molcajete (Mortar and Pestle) mix the following:

2 Hass avocados
1 medium size Cubanelle Chili Pepper (char the chili under the broiler or on a hot skillet and remove the skin) small dice
1 tsp. Hellman's mayonnaise (yes, mayo)

1 Tbs. fresh finely chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp. fresh finely chopped garlic
1/2 Tbs. Lawry's Season Salt
1/2 tsp. Adobo
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tomato diced for topping

Mexican Molcajete this is identical to the one my Father bought me almost 30 years ago while visiting him in Los Angeles and still looks new. 
Take all the ingredients and mix thoroughly in the Molcajete, but not too smooth, you want texture.  If you do not have a Molcajete, use a food processor.  Top with the fresh chopped tomato.    Put a seed of one the avocados in the middle of the guacamole as not to turn brown until serving.

This is basically what my guacamole looks like when finished.  I do not put lime in mine, but do use it as a garnish.  Also, many people like onion in their guacamole, I do not.  I want to focus more on the flavor of the avocado, not the onion.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Aquamarine...Tropical Summer, no matter where you live...

When I think of the color “aquamarine” the first thing that comes to mind is Hawaii or the Bahamas.  The color of the water, there is no color that can describe it better in my mind.
The other day, my daughter and I walked through Z- Gallery and right off, there was aquamarine everywhere.  I took some pictures with my cell, so they are a little blurry, but it was totally inspirational.  My main living area (great-room) is desert colors, with as much mirrored and/or “Hollywood Regency Style” as I can without going over the top, I don't like clutter and am totally passionate about everything having its place, and along with that, is a touch of Hawaiian style.  No designer would say that is a “style”, but it’s mine and I love the two together.   But I love bright beautiful tropical colors, and in my relax room, three walls are painted in Ralph Lauren Regent Metallics in a chocolate brown with gold hints of metallic, and one pure white wall.   With all white no fuss contemporary furniture, clean lines as to ensure it’s not over cluttered.  So my accent colors are aquamarine and orchid green, or what some call honeydew.  I wanted this room for my computer room, photography room, and as I’ve said to have a place to go and relax…these colors are just that, so relaxing.   So a few new pieces in aquamarine wouldn’t hurt, right?  One of my future post, I wanted to do on this room, because I think it is so important for all of us to have a room we can go to and just escape after a long day at work, and have time to do our nails, watch TV, do a little blogging, or do nothing at all but just “RELAX”.  So, to me the color of the aquamarine, gives me that calm feeling as though I am just sitting on a beautiful beach and enjoying the water, sand and sun.
Most photographs were found through Bing or actual store website

Z Gallery - International Plaza, Tampa, Florida

Z Gallery - International Plaza, Tampa, Florida

Trina's signature Palm Springs Block print on a vinyl cosmetic case is perfect for home or travel
I just recently ordered the Aqua one....excited!

Trina Turk - Aqua Parker Cuff

Trina Turk Aqua Laurel Cuff
Trina Turk Shanghai Ring

Beautiful "Blue Hawaiian Martini"  with white orchids -  Recipe below
Bukhara Aquamarine Pillow - From Z Gallery

Casablanca Lantern in Aquamarine - Z Gallery

Everglades Round Tray in Aquamarine - Z Gallery

Faux Aquamarine Coral - Z Gallery

Franco - Pecchioli Contemporary Aquamarine Bathroom Tile

Everglade Square Tray - Z Gallery

Frosted Aquamarine Sea Life Etched Martini Glasses
Seahorse Cocktail Shaker - too cute!

Who doesn't love our Florida Manatee!

Murano glass Chandelier - in Aquamarine

Aquamarine Glass Dish - I collect these in all shapes and colors some with embedded glitter with display lighting behind

Palmer Stool in Aquamarine - so pretty in person, Z Gallery

Strongylodon Macrobotrys "The Jade Vine" Found in  Tropical Rain Forest

Who wouldn't want to be here???

Blue Hawaiian Martini:  An old favorite.  Conjure up a Waikiki happy hour anywhere!
 1 oz. Light Rum 1 oz Blue Curacao 2 oz Pineapple Juice 1 oz Cream of Coconut, now sit back under a palm tree, feel the warm tropical breezes, and enjoy!!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Taco Bus...St. Petersburg, FL and an Evening at the Beach...

I know you're thinking what is a "Taco Bus"?  Well, it's a small yellow (truck) bus, that serves the best authentic Mexican food I've had since eating in those little whole in the wall places in Los Angeles.  The food is so authentic and beyond delicious, For moment, I forgot I was in Florida and was out west again.  The original Taco Bus is located in Tampa, and has been a gathering place for those who desire the honest taste of Mexico.  Now, another one has opened up in St. Petersburg, right across the Bay on Central Avenue.  So, for those of you that live in the Tampa Bay area, I would highly recommend you stopping by.  For us, it's about a 30 minute drive, but so worth it...matter of fact, we went on Saturday before heading off to Tampa, and again, yesterday while my daughter and I were out doing some shopping.  This place is fabulous!!!  Besides their food being so fantastic, the drinks are so authentic such a the Pina Agua Fresca I had and the Coca Cola Mexicana in the bottle that my daughter had...there are many others as well.  After standing in line, you order at the "bus" and you can either take it to go, or there is enough seating, some outside under the umbrellas or inside which is all opened to the fresh Florida breezes!

Left click to enlarge photos
My sweet daughter with my Agua Fresca

A view from the side
A view of some of the outdoor tables and the "opened air inside"

                                                 Long long lines, but so worth the wait

After a trip to the Taco Bus for a late lunch - early dinner, my daughter and I went to HomeGoods to look at some summer items for the back yard, and since I had my camera with me, we decided to go to the beach to watch the sunset.  It was a perfect Florida day, temperatures in the mid 70's, very low humidity, and not a cloud in the sky.  As we got to the beach there was the usual warm breezes coming off the Gulf Coast.   Love watching the children run along the shoreline chasing the dolphin.  It made for a wonderful end to a great day together.