Friday, May 29, 2015

A new chapter is here...

Hello sweet friends! It's certainly been a long time since I did a post! The last one I did was in September and I mentioned I was in a new chapter of my life. Well here it is.... My daughter whom many of you know (Melanie) has been working all year with her brothers and myself on a fashion accessory line of bracelets. 

For me, it's been wonderful helping with the designs. We have a private joke that I was "allowed" to design a few of them geared towards my love of vintage design and was given a "row" in the Etsy shop that would have a few bracelets I designed myself. While Melanie loves vintage styles too, and she approved, mine are more of a style that would be geared towards my girlfriends and would feature vintage images I love. I think my love of miniatures comes through in them too. Above in the photo is one of them, the pink vintage oven is something I've always adored and so I wanted to celebrate that era by making one wearable. Isn't that fun and unique?! And it's featured with white coral beads which to me, are somewhat like sweet little pearls. Perfect with Jeans and a T or a pretty pink vintage styled dress too!

Melanie's designs are inspired by the preppy/classic style she has always loved. She has many different designs she features , so I've shared some photos below. Here are her collection of Sea colors and images that are surrounded by beautiful natural stones in colors that are just so beautiful!

She has also created beautiful patterns for cuffs and bangles too!  I love this one below , it's appropriately named "Summer House" because it reminds her of a pattern she would use in her summer home. The cuffs and bangles are 24K antiqued gold plated and the tone of the gold has a vintage look I happen to love!

There are pretty white leather bracelets too with images that feature her brother Ryan's artwork and their love of nautical design... Wouldn't this be perfect for a summer clam bake? The red and white striped fabric on the side is dipped in salt water and it helps to have this unique distressed casual look!

And..... Of course it wouldn't be summer with a little red/white and blue! 

Melanie and her brothers have always been around horses and ridden since they were little. We've owned horses and I was a trainer and instructor for a long time when they were little. So their love of equestrian design is something they feature in the collections too. This snaffle bit bracelet below and gold polka dot combo is a favorite of mine. 

And of course.... everyone loves pink!!! Right? And if it's floral and gingham, ever better!

A summer collection needs a little whimsy, so we both came up with the idea to do "Picnic Bracelets". I've never seen anything on the market like these, and I just adore our idea.  Both Melanie and I love picnics and that was always reflected in my miniature sculpting days, and now I'm so happy we came up with a way to enjoy that idea in a bracelet! The lobsters and pink gingham are adorable together and such a conversation piece. And our custom printed picnic design I was in love with! Again, another fun conversation piece!

The boys and she helped create a beautiful Men's collection of bracelets also! These are so classic and simply styled but look perfect as a compliment to a watch or alone...

And anchors for summer, with navy blue and white wrapped cotton on the side...

They can be made in any color combination to coordinate with the perfect men's wear.

I happen to love this style on Men and think it's perfectly classic and preppy looking!

There are many more designs and styles in Hampton Ivy's Etsy shop, and I hope you love them 
all too!

They will be listed for sale later today and I'm so excited to share this for Melanie and the guys. They have worked so hard and I've enjoyed this new aspect and dive into fashion and style myself! If I sound passionate about it all, it's the Momma in me of course. I couldn't be prouder and I have to say, this idea of a family business is new for me, but I'm loving every minute of it and I'm excited to help with the designs ahead too! That is, if Mel still allows me a "row" in the shop :)

Thank you so much to my girlfriends and readers (one in the same) for always being so supportive and sweet to Mel and the boys and your support on facebook and instagram and the blog here has always been something I love about all of you!

I hope you have a great Summer and I hope to get back to blogging again more often! I always stop by everyone's blog and miss it, so it's a must do for me!  
Happy Summer!!

Hugs and love, Cynthia xo

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Season of Change

Hello friends! I hope this last week of Summer is finding you all ready for a cozy change of seasons! It's been so beautiful here all Summer and now it's transitioning into the prettiest Fall. What a beautiful time of year.

There are lots of changes going on here at the cottage too, all good ones. I first have to thank all my facebook friends , and followers here, for going to my daughters new facebook page and offering her words of encouragement and support! The kindness of friends is so appreciated and I love you all.
 If you aren't on facebook, I just wanted to let you know Melanie is starting an accessory and clothing company. It's in it's early stages and she just started some social media sites to connect with friends and future customers, so as a Mom I'm cheering from the bleachers and helping her along a little. Below I've added some links if you haven't followed her yet.  Her sites will be fun if you love the classic and preppy styles of fashion, and enjoy tips, tutorials and being kept in the know of what's new. She has big plans along with her brothers and myself for making "Hampton Ivy" a great place to browse and connect to. She's currently working on creating beautiful accessories and designing classic clothing with a modern and yet vintage feel. I'm a proud Momma that her education at FIT is already being put towards her future. It's an exciting time for her! Oh to be young again :)

I haven't had much time for minis this month as planned, but I'm hoping to fit that into my Fall also. I hope whatever you're doing this season it's bringing you lots of happy smiles and healthy blessings!

If you would like to follow Hampton Ivy and Melanie , here are the links: Facebook , Instagram , Blog , Pinterest

Happy Fall sweeties! Cynthia xox! 

Friday, September 5, 2014

It was a classic ,beautiful Summer ...

Hi everyone! Well my tech free Summer is coming to a close, it's time to get back to work and back to a schedule of some sort. I have to say, I recommend a break from technology once in a while because it gives you a chance to focus on your loved ones without interruption and it frees up so much time to get to your to-do list too! I still used the camera portion of my iphone all Summer though, so I popped into instagram a lot. :) It's the easiest place to save those memories!

The photos above are just a few from my magical Summer. Clambakes, beach days, dinner's by the waters edge, a little canning, farm stands visits, bbq's, shopping, and spending those days with family and friends is what made it such a beautiful , classic Long Island Summer. I hope you all had a wonderful Summer too! I'm looking forward to Fall and a few new creative outlets that have me super excited for the upcoming months! I'd love to hear how your Summer went too! And Happy almost Fall :) xox!

Hugs and Love, Cynthia 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Simplify Summer

Hi friends! I'm simplifying my Summer ....  but only with technology. Facebook, Blogging etc. are being put on the shelf to enjoy all that my favorite season has to offer. I'll be on Instagram though to keep all my memories in one place photo wise, so if you have an Instagram and would like to join me, head on over! I'm at: Cynthialaurensperin. 

While technology will take a back seat, I'm hoping to fill my summer with a long list of goals and to-dos..... So here it is:  I like to write things down so I'm more certain to fulfill each one. :)

* Visit with friends as much as possible is first... {Family is a given because they are home from college or they hang around more lol} * long evenings with dinner at the beach * leisurely shopping at local farmers markets and antiquing * spending nights starring at the stars on the patio * sunset dates with cocktails * evening boat ride buffets * North Fork wine country Vineyards * long village lunches * dinner alfresco tuscan style * clam bakes * long walks in the shade * shopping in the Hamptons * collecting sea shells and creating a few crafts with them * find a few fabulous page turning books to read on the deck * create new grilling recipes * make lots of berry pies * make homemade Jams and canning * yoga at our local beach * tend the garden * picnics in the cool shade * attempt kayaking * Dinner under the Brooklyn Bridge * visit NYC * ....  I think I've about covered it. Taking it slow, and lots of outdoor time is a must for everyone's spirit. I hope you enjoy yours and make memories that will last a lifetime!

Next summer I'll aim for Italy or Greece. :) 

I wish you all a wonderful Summer filled with blessings and good health!! 

Love, Cynthia xo 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Healthy Summer Lovin

My new love....Chia pudding. So good you'll think it's dessert!

I have to start this post with a huge thank you!! Thank you to everyone who purchased our newest issue of Mini-ologie, it means the world to us that you share in the joy of our miniature decorating magazine! From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! 

Now I'm fulfilling a promise to post about my dive into new health. As I've said before , I really thought I ate pretty healthy. But, in truth, I was consuming way too many meals with added sugar, eating too many packaged and non organic items and definitely not eating enough vegetables. My vegetables would (in the past) consist of a salad at lunch , and maybe one side veggy a day (if I was being good) with a packaged side dish of some sort and what I considered a healthy chicken cutlet with panko bread crumbs. I've come soooo far ;) And as a side effect I've lost weight I wanted , but most importantly my doctors say all my numbers have went down hugely! And in a quick 2-3 months too! I didn't think I had bad numbers till I went to my doctor (at the time) and wasn't feeling well all winter, he said he wanted to lower my cholesterol with medication because it was higher than it should be, and that that should do it. Well, needless to say, after hearing about how medication is thrown around these days, I ran home, made an appointment with a new doctor, and went to google like a crazy woman looking for a natural cure , and enough fear if converted to energy that would have lit up a small planet. 

Enjoying fresh flowers in the summer, right by the cooking area, remind me to stay natural and healthy while cooking.

The first thing I came across, sort of by accident, was when I actually googled something to the effect of "should I be scared?" .... Secretly hoping google would yell back and say "you're perfect, have no fear"!!!. Well, if you've done this before, you probably know what happened to me. Suddenly I had every disease known to man and didn't have much longer before I was in the hospital. So long story short, I felt I honestly had every symptom , of every thing. Ok , some of my symptoms WERE  because I wasn't internally perfect, but others, were fears run rampet. So after seeing many new doctors and finally finding one that asked me to consider changing the way I go about my day with food and exercise, I felt that was number one: The right way , an easy way, and most importantly the healthy way. So, I began my little journey. 

Lots of berries, coconut flakes, seeds and nuts, and deliciousness make breakfast sweet!

So back to google I went, but this time, with a new "entry" in that fabulous rectangle box that's replaced a library these days. What I came upon was actually a movie (documentary) that began my life changing habits. You might say it was there all the time , as most people I talked to have said "oh that movie?, yeah saw it years ago", but for me it was pretty new. Now this is very important to remember , I did not decide to convert everything in my life and join in some huge new movement (although lol, that's still a possible) but I took what I needed to hear and off I went to the organic vegetable isle with much more conviction and excited confidence. I'm talking about "Food Inc." I don't have time to tell you the whole movie, (you might have seen it, I think I'm the only one who didn't ) but if you need motivation or are looking to see something to help you change your ways, this is a good one. That one on Netflix, led me to a full rainy day of health and "food as medicine" documentaries. After that, it was Forks over Knives, Vegucated , and Food Matters. All amazing and eye opening. So I think it's proper to say that's where my change began. 

If someone had told me I could have pancakes every week or day for that matter, lol, I'd be right there! Now I can, just made a little differently :) Oat flour, banana, and almond flour does the trick. See my "Healthy Life" board on pinterest for the recipe!

Important side note: This blog is usually about my creative side, but like all woman , I have lots of sides. And after a few mentions of my new love of healthy eating and mentioning it here, I received so many emails asking what I "do" or "did". And since I'm one of the women who love to know myself, I decided to make a post specifically about it. Most importantly, I think it took me an entire month of full time work to weed out the wacky food diets and fads, to find what worked for me. So I wanted a place where if you're looking for advice, you won't be yelled at , or felt poisoned by eating bread or something new they come up with to write about this year and lead you to so much confusion you give up. That had happened to me too many times to count. Having said this, there ARE people who are learning they cannot eat gluten (or have allergies to foods) and their journeys will have to be slightly different. Only your doctor and nutritionist can help guide you in that direction if you have food issues as such.  

Planting my own vegetable garden was both rewarding and economically perfect for organic veggies!

So basically , for me, a couple days of watching the documentaries, then researching online for a food plan and recipes that took some of that advice, turned into 3 months later and I'm finally here. My skin has never felt so good and glowly, I have never felt so healthy and had so much energy, my weight is where I'm happy,  my doctor loves my numbers, so all is good. Finally, I get it :)!! 

It's really simple after all. Eat healthy, not too much, lots of veggies a day, organic, not too much meat (for me) , get lots of vitamin D, (the real way. I was very low), add some nuts and replace high glycemic foods with lower ones, stick with a whole foods diet, add some "super foods", and try yoga and exercise that gets you moving every day! 

Because I'm not a nutritionist (yet lol), I am not going to do a verbatim diet of what anyone should have daily, but because you've asked and I want everyone to feel as good as they can, I've given links to the ones I live by and cook by now. 

Lots of Italian Arugula and baby lettuce this week! 

The way that I came to my basic eating plan is, I used a little common sense mixed with a lot of research and weeding out fads. For instance, because I'm not allergic to bread, or gluten, or anything for that matter, I knew better than to cut them out. After all, my ancestors in the Mediterranean have been eating bread (not wonderbread lol - enriched white flours overly processed) for centuries and living till a ripe old age, for a very long time! So I'm not giving up bread darn it lol. Unless of course, I had to. And I knew while I didn't eat a lot of meat, that I wouldn't say no to it forever either. So after all my research, it seemed the "Mediterranean way" was going to be it. It would also have to include a few new "super foods" too. Like flax seeds, chia seeds, and wonderful ways of using coconut oil etc. ;) But that's because I love how I feel when I eat them, and what they do for me. Dr. Weil seemed to have the easiest to follow plan and advice. His version of the food chart worked perfectly for me. I'll leave the link here because even though I have the pyramid here (scroll down) , he goes into great detail about each section in the printable link... Then I've also studied Dan Buettner's Blue Zones. Which are a collection of studies that showed the diets and habits of places where a large (the largest actually) of centenarians live and live healthfully. Which, the Mediterranean diet fell into also. So that's how I came up with my own plan. 

All diets and food plans only work in conjunction with finding time to enjoy ourselves and take a little time each day to be at peace.

What I found and researched that was most important to me, was the amount of cookbooks and recipes on Pinterest etc, that provided delicious (and I mean hugely delicious) food ideas that I could eat often and love too. So after I knew how I wanted to eat, I filled in the blanks with yummy ideas. And trust me, there are a ton! 

Yes ice cream comes in many healthy forms! :)

If you want to see a collection of some of my favorite recipes I live by now, head over to the link on my side bar for my Pinterest account. My A Healthy Life board has so many great recipes and perfect motivation and it's another go-to of mine when I'm looking for something to cook or bake.

Even my miniatures lately have started reflecting my love of hearty breads, fruits and veggies! ;) 

I also take "regular" fabulous cookbooks, and just change a few ingredients if I have to... I love this cookbook below (and have adored the style of Ralph Lauren forever!) but I'll replace some white flours with hearty ones like sourdough, or seed and nutty flours. And because of all the new proven research that some of the healthy fats are good for us, I'll use those oils in place of some of the ones suggested in my older books. This book below is wonderful for many reasons, but I plan on some wonderful Clam Bakes this Summer, so it was just want I needed. Remember, "whole foods" made as much as possible from scratch and you'll be feeling so much healthier for it!

I bought a few vegan friendly cookbooks lately, I happen to love "Clean Eats" (below) and any cookbook with vegan choices. It's not because I'm a Vegan either, but because I want the "majority" of my choices to be plant based. So I need to keep up the interest with menus and learn fun and delicious ways to cook them. Having the organic garden right off the kitchen really helps, it's not huge, but you can pack a lot if greens into a small space when you want! Plus, that helps with organic prices too ;) 

"Clean eating" fits right in there with all the things I love to read about too! And keeping a "Food Journal" has helped me be accountable to my eating habits.

Here's a copy of the chart and link to Dr. Weil's site. I really love almost everything he has worked for and towards. And agree with 99% of it. But again, everything has to fit your own life ,like for me, I've found I can't eat too much Soy. (Without tmi, it messes with my estrogen in a negative way). So I have very little in my diet. Plus, I'm not not a tofu kinda girl either. So that worked out lol.

Here's another chart below that interestingly and simply , shows the habits of Dan Buettner's BlueZones and what the common factors (in the center of the circle) were that gave them longer lives that were lower in heart conditions and disease. If you get a chance, read about them with the link. I found it very interesting and fascinating!
And finally last but not least, here (below) is a quickly put together chart of what I like to eat. I love cooking and preparing meals from scratch, so that was already on my side, but as you can see, sometimes the best thing for me is a "quick" healthy meal. I'm not a fan of eating a big lunch, so personally I want as little time spent as possible on that and my choices reflect that. I like to make my own bread from scratch, but certainly a local baker can make my favorite bread (sourdough) and I would buy it there too. Btw, I read a lot of "anti-grain" books, pro-carb, against-carb, pro-protien, etc books...and after a lot of research  I found that sourdough bread was going to be my healthy bread of choice. Make sure any bread you buy is made from very few, all organic ingredients if you're buying it.

I wish I could say that organic isn't important, but it really is. And thankfully, finally, big chain stores are starting to realize we want what goes into our bodies to help them flourish, and not work against us. So I hope and pray we are on the verge of a big food revolution and this will become a more affordable norm.  In the meantime, I water my little garden, find local farmers markets, and cook like my Grandmother did way back when everything had 3-4 ingredients. And , I get my fanny up and moving as much as possible. And that my friends, is how I've decided it's best to roll. :)

My printable , very simple , food chart

One last note, my little chart above is again, put as simply as possible. Very basic. But one of the ways I vary things, and create interest is, I look up a fun way to make the "basics" when I have time. Meaning if it says: "Dinner: Chicken, veggies, and a new potato", I'll go to my Italian recipe box or Mediterranean cookbook, and look up a chicken and veggy dinner and cook it as they do in the book as long as it follows my way of eating. ** They say that people buy lots of clothes, and end up only wearing a few of those pieces in all different ways.  It's what we become accustom to..... That's how I feel about food and cooking. Considering "time" , I tend to make the same basics. Or eat a common lunch or breakfast a lot. But I change it up (from the basics in my chart above) when I want and just keep the idea somewhat the same. That's easiest for me and hopefully less time consuming. I've also found that months ago when I wasn't feeling good (which started this journey) and I took this change on, that keeping a food journal really helped! That way, when I ate something that made me feel good,  I could find it again and go back through my pages. That has been a wonderful way to keep everything in one place! Try it, I think you'll find it helps too!

So there you have it.....I hope I've helped those who emailed and even friends I've seen in person who've asked. Now it's all in one place :) Now it's on to a wonderful healthy Summer, I hope you all are having a great week! Thank you again for always being such wonderful friends!

Hugs and love, Cynthia xo