The Start of Something New

It is a joy to be back and I am so glad you are here. The last year has been a whirlwind — from relocating to New Orleans and experiencing an all natural home birth to redefining who I am and what I want to share with you. In between there have been a few Saints football games, a steak or two, a fun day at the zoo, warm meals at beautiful places with friends, my first Mardi Gras, and visits from loved ones that have meant the world.

There is a new addition to the McLean family and he is already 11 weeks old. I can not believe how quickly this sweet boy is changing and developing. Baby Grayer and I recently had an outing at the Crescent City Farmers Market. This was our first time to market in New Orleans and it was definitely not our last. The beauty that surrounded us filled me with an urge to replenish and renew; get back to the things I love that have been put on the back-burner.

A few special treats for the belly and home follow — wild fresh cut flowers to dress up the table, in-season produce to satisfy the palate, homemade candies to dream about and more. This is just the beginning of something fresh and interesting I hope to bring to you.

crescent city flowers

Flowers from White Oaks Farm in Metairie LA

crescent city farmers market

Baby Grayer at the White Oaks flower stand

pink fuzzy flowers

bunch of colorful flowers

wild flowers

cartons of fruit

Hundreds of Peaches

shrimp on ice

Raw Shrimp

lollipops of all shapes

Baby Grayer and the sweets

scallion cucumber and green peppers

Lots of Green

veggie and seasoning

Yellow Squash and Thai Basil

farm tomatoes

Tomatoes

spicy veggie

Jalapeno

life is a peach

Peaches

colorful floral display

Wild Flower Bunch

I aspire to bring you a new perspective in refreshing, fun feel-positive topics. If there is something you would like to see more about, please drop a comment or send an email to cate.a.mclean@gmail.com. So nice to see you again!

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Playful Party Look

Playful Party Look
Summer soirees are hot right now – from birthday to poolside parties and graduations, (oh my!) Here are some playful pieces I found. Once I am through the cleanse, maybe I will treat myself to something special on this list. Which is your favorite steal and why?

Stretch shoes
vincecamuto.com

Charm necklace
leifshop.com

Scarve
lemlem.com

Linda Farrow Luxe logo sunglasses
$575 – brownsfashion.com

Jane Iredale
janeiredale.com

Gift Ideas for Guys

1. For the go-go-go guy who has everything, warm his mornings with an eco cup from the KeepCup Store. They are customizable, so you can use his favorite colors.

2. The Brawny Men out there will get a kick out of this knit cap and face warmer from Fab.com, which comes with a bendable mustache!

3. Book a hotel one short hour away, gas up the guzzler and go have some alone time!

4. If your beaux is all business, Ten Over 6 has a leather card holder that will be the gift De LaVie.

KimpoCard_BlackPearl_1024x10245. Hidden hint gift from one of my favorite boutiques:

Man: “This smells nice.”

Man 2/Woman: “Isn’t that great, honey?! I thought you could throw it in your gym bag.”

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6. I’m sorry (clear throat), what was that? Affordable cashmere?! Thanks UNIQLO.

7. Nothing says holiday more than a festively plaid scarf. This one from Sid Mashburn is truly “A fresh interpretation of old standards.” (For the slightly obsessed, it’s cashmere, too.)

8. For the traveling man (by bus or plane, not in a 1961, Ricky Nelson sorta-way) English Muffin Shop has creatively colorful prints on beautiful papers, perfect for his office. The hubs gifted me with a calendar designed by Bess Callard last year and I was impressed by the quality of print and attention to detail. You won’t be disappointed!
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9. A pair of funky cuff links in smooth porcelain are an easy conversation starter.

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10. If your amore is artistic, get him a Kraft cover sketchbook with acid free paper. He will picture you in his mind each time he uses it.

11. If you can rock the polka dots, why can’t he?

   

12. If he’s not afraid of color, these slim fit khakis are a stand-out. A little more reserved? Don’t fret, there are multiple shades available.

13. Anything off of the New York Times Bestsellers List.

14. Take him out dancing in Cole Haan’s twist on the classic cap-toe shoe. For an extra dash of individuality, swap out the black laces for blue.

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15. Has he been naughty? Hopefully not, but this Christmas Coal Candy from Sprinkle Bakes is sure to spark a chuckle or two. Gather up a small bag and drop it into the toe of his stocking on Christmas Eve!

Lunch and Shopping in Downtown Sarasota: Posh on Palm

Restaurant on Palm

Posh on Palm is now open for eats! Owners Mark and Susie Holt have reorganized the inside of the chic boutique to now boast a kitchen, coffee/dessert bar and vintage inspired seating area where you can lunch-eon. I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with a fellow blogger there and needless to say, the vegetable quiche and the company were divine.

Lunch Counter

Meet Mark, who was merrily taking orders at the counter.

We arrived just in time for fresh home-brewed, bottomless iced tea with our lunch. (And a larger than life portion of moist and spicy, nutless carrot cake for after. If it makes it that long. Wink.)

Lunch-eon area

Post-lunch, we continued to indulge – only this time on the antiqued, whimsical boutique offerings. Posh has a variety of interesting, pretty conversation pieces you can pick up and touch, smell and enjoy. It’s an experience…

Couch of White

Wall Hangings

These sparkling, shimmering letters would make a great decoration in a little girl’s bedroom or on a living room bookshelf. Much to our dismay, they were all out of “M’s.”

Display

Pretty Things

Dresser Knobs

My eyes are on these glass knobs for a dresser I’m re-painting (more on that later.) For now, if you are in downtown Sarasota, Florida and looking for a sweet spot, Posh on Palm takes the cake. Who doesn’t adore eating and shopping?!

Posh is located in a Grand Hotel one block off the Bayfront at 33 South Palm Avenue.

Problems Finding A Swimsuit?

Using my most discerning eye, I clumsily grab what equates to a giant mound of bathing suits to try-on. Padding! (So I don’t look flat). One piece! (To cover up my belly, which used to be flat.) Two piece, striped, string, elastic, fuschia and flowers everywhere.

As I grapple with my final selections for the dreaded dressing room, I can’t help but feel a sense of hopelessness. This can’t be good. I drag my feet toward the fitting room thinking to myself, “more caffeine before this venture might have been a good idea.” Stranded and shivering in the dressing room at a random department store, I ask myself WHY is it so impossibly difficult to find a swimsuit?

Maybe it’s that extra portion of casserole I had at my mother’s or maybe it’s just the logistics of the fitting room, but something’s amiss. “Yikes, it’s bright in here! Can a girl get some assistance? And can someone please just turn the air conditioning down a little?” Then I simply leave (after dressing again, of course), half putting things back onto the hangers due to my discouragement.

Ladies, we have all been there before, right? Well, I have a winning suggestion; a brilliant solution to this annual conundrum.

Her name is Karla Colletto and she has a supreme eye in bathing suit design. The sales girl at Juno & Jove in Sarasota, Florida told me all Karla Colletto swimsuits are “cut to order,” which means there is no fabric wasted, making them friendly to the earth (bonus). It also means they’re available in limited quantities so while you are soaking up the sun, you don’t have to worry about someone showing up in your bathing suit (double bonus). Goodbye, designer-which-shall-remain-nameless swimsuit on the athletic blonde in the exact same color as mine!

If you didn’t think it was going to be a triple decker, you were mistaken. Bonus number three: the stretchy fabric in this swimsuit is a dream; it perks me up where I was once flat and the vibrant color makes me feel like a million bucks. So much so, that I leave with not one, but two Karla Colletto’s. They cover where I need it most in the back and hug my curves.

Me and my Karla Colletto

Don’t forget your sunscreen and hat, dollies!

Now picture yourself on a perfectly sunny day, lying on a sandy island, sipping an iced tea feeling confident, comfortable and sexy without a cover-up (even if, like me, you’re sucking in a little). It’s all completely possible.

Juno & Jove is located at 1425 First Street within the Whole Foods Centre in Sarasota, Florida. For a look at the current collection, check out JunoAndJove.com. The Turquoise Plunge is one of my favorites.

Don’t forget to check out the sizing chart and call for help if you need it (I work as a consultant for Juno & Jove and can assure you they give expert style advice, although this is not a sponsored post).

Calling all Kitchen Dorks

To all the Kitchen Dorks out there that share my immense love for all things “baking” and “mini,” I have a treat for you.

Twin-Mini-Apple Pies, homemade in Kitchen a la Cate, in matching red, 5-inch Emilie Henry Cerise ceramic pie dishes from Sur La Table (pronounced sur la tob).

Don’t let them fool you. These “mini” pies lasted four long romantic dessert sessions with the hubs. Although there was no whipped cream involved, there was vanilla bean ice cream and barrels of sugar (I may have gone a little over-board with the sugar)!

If you haven’t heard of Sur La Table and you are a kitchen dork, you must visit their website pronto.

They have an awesome gift guide, for starters. But they also have an amazing brick-and-mortar location in Pineapple Square (sounds delicious, doesn’t it?) in downtown Sarasota, Florida, where I have been known to be seen.

A few weeks back, I hit up an amazing sale on Halloween goodies. Check out this spooky, sparkly, haunted house that I picked up for a small, sweet price.

More on Sur La Table later! Where is your fave kitchen store, fellow dorkies?!

iPod, AKA, Vixen Gets Fixed

Shopping makes me feel connected with personal expression, creativity, color and imagination. Even when I’m broke! I know a lot of ladies out there who agree with me on that (my husband doesn’t mind it either: talk about a match made in heaven.)

Last Sunday I was very concerned about my iPod (Vixen) as she seemed to be “feeling sick.” Now I consider myself pretty good at consoling babies when they’re cranking, or helping a friend through a crisis, but I don’t know where to begin with this tiny little electronic. She’s brilliant, really. She holds the power to make me dance, sing, feel sexy, run (almost unheard of for me), love, laugh and cry. So you can imagine how distraught I was at the thought that Vixen could be sick! I made an appointment at the Apple Store and took a windows-down road trip to Tampa with Kev.

Back to the shopping…I have been all over the place to outlets, the big apple, Boston. I have never seen anything like the International Plaza and Bay Street in Tampa, Florida. It is breathtaking, really. The mecca of my shopping experience. I am talking Kate Spade, Crate and Barrel, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Williams and Sonoma (and more). I was in heaven. I love vintage and boutique fashion, too, but there’s something very satisfying about being in a place chocked to the brim with all the brands you love, advertisements, the whole bit.

Thank goodness for Ashley at the Apple Store because it turns out Vixen just needed to be restored. She’s been working like a charm ever since.

Did I mention I was broke? That didn’t stop us from indulging in a delicious dinner and hitting up a fabu bar called The Pub. The beer selections are outrageous. They even had Old Speckled Hen Ale on tap…a fave of ours which we fell in love with at Baba Louie’s in the Berkshires. It is so smooth and creamy with hints of caramel and butterscotch. (On a side note, we’ll be eating pasta and butter for a week, ha ha.)

It was completely worth it. Although those killer heels from Bebe are still sitting on the shelf.

A girl can dream, right…