Friday, May 29, 2015

Coconut Curry Grilled Shrimp with Honey Lime Dipping Sauce

Hi! My name is Andrea but everyone calls me Drea.  I’m a Midwest mom of three wonderful children, married to my best friend and obsessed with my drowsy pug named Uniqua.  I’m a former special education instructor turned lifestyle blogger.  Vermilion Lane is my online journal of everything I love: cooking, fashion, family, crafts, interior design and more.  Today I'm sharing my own recipe creation, Coconut Curry Grilled Shrimp, inspired by the vibrant Caribbean islands. 

I just love the flavors of the Caribbean!  Whenever I try an amazing Caribbean dish I'm reminded of my wonderful honeymoon in Jamaica.  Where else do Asian, African and Native Caribbean-Indian spices blend so effortlessly? Caribbean cuisine is a global experience in and of itself! One of my favorite finds in Jamaica was high-quality curry. And boy do they curry just about everything from sautéed veggies to roasted goat, from "tip to tail", as they say.

Fresh coconut was another much loved treat on my trip.  I previously thought of coconut simply as an ingredient in old-fashioned dessert preparations such as custard pies, cookie bars and fruit gelatin.  My introduction to fresh shaved coconut meat in savory vegan dishes and poached fish in coconut milk was a beautiful culinary awakening.

When I returned home I began experimenting with these amazing flavors.  Ten years later I’m still cooking with curry and coconut with this delightful shrimp dish.  Unlike many heavily breaded coconut shrimp recipes, these are grilled; the result is wonderfully fresh.  The best part is a much cleaner taste and slimmer waist, my favorite food combination.  Enjoy!

Coconut Curry Grilled Shrimp with Honey Lime Dipping Sauce

2 pounds jumbo shrimp (peeled, deveined, tails on)
3 fresh lime juice (zest of 1 lime, 1 tablespoon lime juice reserved)
1 cup coconut milk
¼ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup honey
3 ¼ tablespoons spicy curry powder (¼ teaspoon reserved)
2 tablespoon green onions (finely chopped, 1 tablespoon reserved)
1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
1 teaspoon garlic (minced)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

  • (1) In a medium size mixing bowl, combine 3 tablespoons curry powder, garlic, coconut milk, 1 tablespoon green onions and 1 tablespoon lime juice.
  • (2) Add shrimp and stir to combine.
  • (3) Place plastic wrap over bowl, directly over shrimp to remove as much air as possible. (This will allow the marinade to penetrate the meat more efficiently.
  • (4) Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.
  • (5) While the shrimp is marinating begin the sauce so the flavors have time to marry.
  • (6) In a small mixing bowl, combine honey, remaining lime juice, zest of 1 lime, shredded coconut, cilantro, remaining 1 tablespoon green onions and ¼ teaspoon curry powder.

Drea shares her tips for making healthy meals 

at home more accessible:

This is a really great question, given how tempting unhealthy options can be for busy families like mine.  My best advice is also the simplest: Remove temptation! It’s so much easier than it sounds. Start with tossing out the junk and replace it with flavorful alternatives that will keep you satisfied and feeling incredible.

Stock your pantry with brain-boosting snacks like roasted chickpeas, nuts, dark chocolate and dried fruit.  Incorporate raw food into your main meals, too. Raw food is packed with nutrients and the best part is, it’s about as quick and easy as food prep gets.  Think tender shaved asparagus tossed in olive oil and vinegar, kale and pine nut slaw or cucumber and radish salad in a bright lemon vinaigrette. Pair these side dishes with seafood or pasta and you’ll be fit and fabulous in no time.

Bon appétit!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bloggers at Home: with London's Sarah Akwisombe

So it's unofficially London week on the blog!  On Monday I featured an interview with Jonas Almgren, CEO of London based online art dealer, Artfinder, who shared with us 3 great tips for selecting artwork for your home.  Now we're showcasing the home of London interior designer, Sarah Akwisombe!   I am loving the mod elements in Sarah's home design along with the balance achieved with her fantastic vintage accents.  Take a look.  I'm sure you'll enjoy this unique home tour as much as I did! 

I'm Sarah Akwisombe, I'm 29 and a double award winning blogger and interior stylist / designer from South London. My blog empowers people to take risks and try out statement style within their home.  I'm passionate about getting people to be a little more experimental and really develop their own unique style. 

I love bringing people's ideas to life. I believe that as an interior designer it's not about pushing your own style onto a client but instead taking their ideas and personality and turning it into the best, most exciting version.  I also just love the transformational side - having something that starts off a little lacklustre and becomes the most inviting room in the house. 

My favorite decor accessory at home has to be a vintage heron lamp that I found in a little pop-up antique shop in Barcelona when I was there once on vacation.  (see below) I've never seen anything quite like it.  Along with it being a really unique piece it's also got great memories attached to it. 

My decorating style is Modern eclectic.  I like to take really random and unique, one off pieces and mix them with affordable modern pieces.  I love statement colour and pattern, especially geometrics.  It's a real mix of quite urban influenced art and shape lines with more luxury finishes and materials.  It's a nice juxtaposition!

For inspiration, I often go to galleries, museums and antique shows to get design ideas from history and less obvious sources.  Colour inspiration can come from anywhere, especially when I travel or look at creatures from nature.  Instagram is my biggest source of online inspiration - you can look at one account, then another, then another.  It really is like falling down a rabbit hole of great visual imagery. 

My favourite place in my home is my living room.  It was one of the first rooms that we finished and it's totally 'me'. Dark walls, geometric monochrome wallpaper, retro teak furniture and loads of random little accessories.  It's really cozy and welcoming too so it's just nice to hang out in there! (see below)

Sarah's Akwisombe's real life decorating tips...

Firstly, create a watertight budget and allow 10-20% as things can quickly escalate.  When it comes to design scheme I've learnt to make sure I order fabric and paint samples as what you see online can often be so different in real life.  Also not to forget the little details - accessories, artwork and extra lighting can really give the space that wow factor.  Most importantly, go bold or go home. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Artist Spotlight with Artfinder CEO

Today I'm pleased to introduce an exciting segment featuring, a London-based online fine art vendor selling artwork from around the world.  This website has the most extensive collection of fine art, available for purchase globally including the United States.

This multi-part Artfinder collaboration will showcase 3 Artfinder artists over the course of this summer, who I've personally selected for the Interiors by Jacquin Artist Spotlight Series.  Today I'm interviewing two great members of the Artfinder team: Jonas Almgren, CEO and Liz Hipkins. 

An Interview with Jonas Almgren, Artfinder CEO

Jonas Almgren, Artfinder CEO photographed at an Artfinder event

Jacquin: Hi Jonas!  I'm excited about our collaboration and the opportunity to learn more about you and the Artfinder team.  What's your favorite thing about your job?

Jonas: Nothing beats hearing back from artists, to hear first hand what our efforts accomplish.  It's made me truly understand the challenges most artists face, and what a dramatic difference it can make for an artists when their art is validated through a sale.  Also, customer reviews can be great, as this one we recently received from a customer in Australia:

Jacquin: Show us your favorite contemporary work of art right now from Artfinder! 

Jonas: There are so many great artworks on Artfinder, and I see probably a dozen new works every day that I find exceptional.  I really like when an artwork surprises me, forces me to see something with new eyes, though exceptional technique can be very exciting too. 

Recently I've been paying attention to the abstracts by Richard Kuhn, a German artists that's been with Artfinder for quite a while.  He started out selling brilliant evocative portraits, but has recently ventured into large abstracts, that I find very compelling.

Photo of German artist Richard Kuhn at work.  

Richard Kuhn acrylic painting, unknown model, 2015

Jacquin: What's been the most exciting thing about your work so far?

Jonas: As with all startups, it's about building up something from nothing.  When we started out, we had a handful of artists and a few hundred artworks.  Now we are proud to say that thousands of artists have sold work through Artfinder, and the Artfinder Community includes artists from 95 countries. 

Gradually we hope to eliminate the "starving artist" syndrome as we enable more artists to live from selling art, while helping buyers find unique artworks that they often can't find anywhere else.

Jacquin: What does Artfinder have in store for the future?

Jonas: We're planning a massive US expansion this year, but we're also launching several new product features that, among other things, we will support interior decorators and architects with key tools to enhance their project processes.  We believe there are plenty of opportunities working directly with businesses and retailers, and this year we intend to give them our full attention. 

An Interview with Liz Hipkins, Artfinder Community & Events Manager

Jacquin: How did you train for you job with Artfinder?

Liz: Prior to working at Artfinder, I worked for 5 years at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, building out the Membership community and working on a very varied program of events.  Before this, my background was actually in music, studying it at university and working for an orchestra, basically submerging myself in the London Arts scene as much as physically possible! 

Jacquin: How did you come to be interested in art or fine art, specifically?

Liz: It is hard to say, my parents have always had a huge interest in culture, visiting historic places of interest, virtually every weekend.  I grew up in a very rural part of England and so it wasn’t really that easy to pop to galleries and exhibitions, but I always remember coming on a trip to London as a child and going to the National Gallery for the first time and being surrounded by amazing and admittedly very large artworks!  Since then I have always been interested in art and the wider art scene.

Jacquin: How does Artfinder promote its amazing artist? 

Liz: We promote our artists through our community events. We host Artfinder Pop-Ups which are still in there early days, but these involve displaying physical art by local Artfinder artists, alongside an interactive experience using touch screens which enable visitors to curate their own exhibitions to promote on to the venue walls. 

Artfinder Pop-Up Event featuring interactive screens, London

By hosting Pop-Ups, it enables Artfinder artists from all over the world to have their work included and enables us to promote thousands of artists, rather than just been limited by the size of the space.

Artfinder Pop-Up Event, London

Jacquin: Show us a work of art in your home?  Why did you choose it?

Liz: This is a work called ‘Baron Samedi’ by artist Jayne Evans, an artist based in the UK (see below).  This work was actually chosen by my boyfriend who saw it and instantly liked it, plus he has always been a fan of the Bond series.  It is an acrylic painting, which came framed, as it includes a striking red color again white and black, I wasn’t sure where we would hang it, but as it turned out it looks fantastic against our open brick fireplace, it provides a lovely contrast to look at. (see Liz's at-home artwork below)

Artwork by Jayne Evans hanging in the home of Artfinder's Events Manager, Liz Hipkins

There are several different layers to the work.  (see above) Jayne Evans actually took part in an artist demonstration at a recent Artfinder pop-up and it was quite incredible watching her processes and the painting evolve over the time.  She is also a lovely artist to speak with!

Jacquin: Where do you go for inspiration in London? 

Liz: We are very lucky in London that inspiration isn’t hard to find, with wonderful architecture and art around every corner.  I love walking along the river on the Southbank, especially at night when all of the lights are out in full.  With new buildings going up every month, the city landscape is every evolving which I just love.  (see below)

Tips for Selecting Artwork for Your Home:

  • (1) First and foremost you need to look for art that's inspirational and at some level reflects the personality of the owner.  With over 100,000 unique artworks to choose from, it's very much like a matching process.  The art you will fall in love with is out there, you just need to find it. It should be art you're happy to live with.
  • (2) Secondly, you need to consider the interaction with the environment.  What impact do you want the art to have on the room where it is placed?  Do you want to add colour, do you want to create sense of peace, maybe add some energy, or a fresh feeling of open water or green overgrowth?  It's easy to underestimate the tremendous impact art can have on a room, especially if the art is large.  Take advantage of it!
  • (3) Lastly, consider the practical aspects.  How do you want to hang it?  Do you want it framed, or perhaps a ready to hang unframed artwork with painted sides?  If it's a photography work, be careful with direct sunlight, as it will bleach the colours over time.  If you cover it with UV protective glass, consider how the glass will reflect light (but from lighting, and from windows).
If you're looking to add artwork to your space, Artfinder is THE place to search.  Honestly the best collection of original fine art I've seen available for sale on the Internet and it's so accessible.  Stay tuned as I showcase three Artfinder artists this Summer personally selected by me, Jacquin!  In the meantime, take a look at my earlier feature on Artfinder artist Sal Jones

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bloggers at Home: Nicole Regan

Today we have a great interview with Nicole Regan of the awesome Chicago blog Cedar & Rush!  I'm originally from Chicago, so I've been especially excited about this week's feature  You'll enjoy this cozy home tour along with Nicole's expert tips for a fun outing in Chicago!

Jacquin: Hi Nicole!  Thanks for this interview!  Please introduce yourself for the wonderful readers out there.

Nicole:  Hi there friends! I'm Nicole, the little lady behind the Chicago blog, Cedar & Rush. I am so excited to be a guest on Interiors by Jacquin today! I am also a social media consultant by day and have the most amazing husband, Sean, and little pup, Larry. Today's feature showcases my Chicago apartment downtown - but recently just moved 20 minutes outside the city. I hope you enjoy!

Jacquin: What's your favorite thing about blogging?

Nicole: The opportunity to collaborate with brilliant people and create exciting content. And someday I will be so happy I have this "personal journal" to share with my grandchildren someday!

Jacquin: How would you describe your personal style?

Nicole: Classic, preppy and bright.  When it comes to decorating, I love mixing modern with classic. We currently rent, but when we purchase our first home, I cannot wait to play up the space. Think vibrant colors and printed wallpaper.  

Jacquin: Who is your style icon?  What blogs or resources are your go-to for style inspiration? 

Nicole: It's a tie between Elin Kling and Miroslava Duma. I also read Sequins and Stripes every morning. She opened my eyes to the world of mixing prints and patterns. Huge game changer!

Jacquin: Tell us about your favorite fashion accessory?

Nicole: My favorite style accessories are my scarves from my husband, which there is a fun story behind.  Ever since we got married, he started a tradition of bringing back a scarf when he travels internationally for work.  He picks these out all by himself and I can't wait to sport them when I'm old and gray.

Jacquin: What is your favorite place, thing, or vignette in your bedroom? 

Nicole: I adore my Pottery Barn lucite lamps with Ikat shades (above).  And my West Elm orange lacquer tray adds such a great pop of color (below).  Classic silhouettes with modern materials. (More on the topic of ikat here.)

Jacquin: What would the perfect day be like for you?

Nicole: Kick off the day with a family coffee walk with my main squeezes, Sean (my husband!) and Larry (my little pup!). Lunch at a pub over IPA's.  A little bit of blogging and dinner alfresco with friends.  And always a boozy brunch the next morning.  Pineapple mimosas anyone?

And if you're wondering about this cute dog, that's Nicole and her husband's puppy, Larry, getting adventurous in their moving crates.  They're moving!  

Jacquin: I think a lot of people overlook Chicago as a getaway destination.  What is your favorite thing about Chicago and why should people visit (in a brief nutshell)? 

Nicole: The summer! (And it's almost here! Woohoo!) The beach, rooftop pools and patios. You can also find my Perfect 2 Day Chicago Itinerary I made for my friends here. It's the best mixture of everything the city has to offer!

Jacquin: Ok, last question Nicole!  And my favorite question yet... If you don't mind sharing with us, what are your favorite hot spots in Chicago?

Nicole of Cedar & Rush's Favorites in Chicago: 

  • My favorite boutiques in Chicago: P.O.S.H. and Classic Remix.
  • My Favorite casual dining in Chicago: Lux Bar. The Club Monaco and Truffle Fries are where it's at!
  • My favorite fine dining in Chicago: The newest one! I love trying the latest and greatest. 
And for the inside scoop on Memorial Day Sales, check out my roundup of Home & Fashion Sales this weekend including discount codes! Along with an awesome grilling tip! Click here:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Let's Talk About Stripes!

Let's talk about STRIPES!  Stripes are quite versatile, especially when paired with the right accessories. And you don't have to be limited to vertical stripes, either.  Stripes can read contemporary like in the Australian designer Greg Natale's room below, or look traditional and even nautical. Let's explore!

Greg Natale Design, The Design Chaser

I really enjoy the Bohemian look created with striped upholstery here along side these paisley patterned throw pillows (see below).  So eclectic!  Mixing patterns can be an adventurous undertaking, but most often worth the risk.  

Sydney apartment of interior designer Dominique Brammah, Photography Eve Wilson, The Design Files

Lucy Williams Interior Design Blog

Above we see an example of how stripes can create a more traditional feel in space.  These striped, slipcovered bar seats are the highlight of this room!  Definitely a great reminder not to forget about slipcovered seats as an option for your kitchen.  It allows you the ease of being able to toss them in the washer and dryer if any spills occur (or professional cleaning depending on your fabric).  I suggest having a second set of covers for while they are being washed, as well.  This kitchen has a fresh coastal feel that is just so welcoming!

Morocco home of designer Bruno Frisoni, Vogue

Thinking about horizontal stripes instead of vertical? Here's some great inspiration for you, both executed completely differently.  And don't miss that luxurious, sunken plunge-pool bath in the home of designer Bruno Frisoni.  See above and below. 

Home of Virginia photographer Katelyn James, House of Turquoise

Nichole Loiacono Design

Scandinavian Collectors

There are many ways you can add stripes to your space. Wall art is always a great idea, as it doesn't require any paint or DIY skills.  The room above features a gallery wall filled with striped wall art.  It's a more subtle approach to stripes, while still being impactful.  

I must admit, I often go for the bolder statement when it comes to interior design.  So I'm a huge fan of this wood-paneled accent wall (below) featuring an amazing, striped graphic geometric design.  Love it! 

Image via Pinterest

Domaine, Photography Skona Hem

Now that you've seen how stripes are inspiring me, show us how stripes have inspired you!  Share a photo of your striped accent wall or decor on Twitter and tag @JacquinMH.  I love seeing how you decorate!  

And if you're looking to add stripes to you home currently, you'll definitely want to check out these two great Home Depot tutorials on how to do-it-yourself.  

Reminder: Interiors by Jacquin is offering a Summer Special!! $150 off e-design services for a total of $200 per room through July 31, 2015.  Use the code "JacquinBlogDiscount" at the Interiors by Jacquin shop on Etsy.