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Sea2Be Ocean-Themed Photography of Julie Forbes

My sister Julie is a wonderful photographer, a passion she pursues as a hobby. I admire her talent and ability to capture the peaceful and tranquil essence of the sea using various filters and freeze frame techniques. Below are some of my personal favorite beach scenes from her vast portfolio. Since I have a fondness for lighthouses, the shadow of one is especially intriguing to me. And I find the Degas-like blurred images of beach bathers fascinating. You can see more of Julie’s work on Instagram. 



Parchment Baked Salmon

image of parchment baked salmonSalmon baked in parchment is quick, easy and above all, the best way to steam in flavor. This recipe lends itself to improvisation, but my vegetables of choice are always asparagus and mushrooms (I prefer oyster and cremini.) Thin slices of lemons, crushed pepper and a sprinkling of herb d’provence are a must. And of course, really good extra virgin olive oil. I prefer lemon infused olive oil from my friends at True Olive Connection in Santa Cruz. Here’s how:

  1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place salmon fillet with skin side down in the middle of the paper; drizzle with some olive oil.  Layer with vegetables and lemon slices and sprinkle with crushed pepper and seasonings of choice.
  3. Fold edges of parchment paper over the fish several times to seal into an airtight packet. 
  4. Place in 400 degree F preheated oven and bake until fish is pink and flakes to the touch, about 20-25 minutes.

To serve, cut open and remove paper and slice. Careful, it’s steamy. Serve with a buttery chardonnay. My local favorite is Storrs.

Note: To learn how to choose sustainable salmon options please visit The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.

Mermaid Sea Salt Bath Sachets

image of sachets decorated with seaweedIn Santa Cruz, California the ocean is usually cold year round. Since I always enjoy a good salty soak, especially in my antique claw foot tub, I found a way to experience the healing properties of the ocean indoors. I discovered a recipe for a seaweed rich mineral bath in 100 Organic Skin Care Recipescourtesy of Santa Cruz aromatherapist Jessica Ress. I mixed up a batch of bath salts and then filled sachet bags I had printed with images of my pressed seaweed. Here’s how you can do it yourself.


Place salt in large glass bowl. Fold in the lavender buds, spearmint and seaweeds. Add the drops of essential oil. Mix well.  IMG_3695


Make a sachet  filled with the salt mixture and toss in the tub. Loose salts can be stored in a sealed jar for up to 6 months. Note: I chose to decorate my linen sachet bags with images from my SeaweedArt pressings. You can use whatever image you choose.

Tie the opening of the linen sachet with the attached string. Immerse the sachet, and your yourself, into the tub and soak for 20 minutes. Shower afterward to rinse off the excreted toxins. Contents of the sachet are good for one bath and the bag can be refilled and reused many times.


Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos


Although I make this dish year round, this is football food at it’s finest– tasty, healthy and easy to make. Fix it and forget it and you won’t miss any of the game.


  • 2- cups salsa (my favorite is a local Santa Cruz brand, Roberto’s pico de gallo)
  • 2- tablespoons chili powder
  • 2- tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2- tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1- 2 1/2 pound boneless pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
  • Corn or flour tortillas

In slow cooker combine the salsa, chili powder, oregano, cocoa and 1 tsp. of salt (I like coarse salts like kosher or sea.) Add the pork and turn to coat. Cook covered on high for 4-5 hours or low 7-8 hours. You will know it is done when the meat is tender and pulls apart easily.

Before serving, heat tortillas and keep warm. Shred pork with two forks and stir up the juices. Pile on tortillas and serve with sour cream, cilantro, lime, some avocado, shredded cheese and extra salsa. (And beer.) Makes great leftovers too!

Battle of the Sea Lions

Watch as these two Santa Cruz Sea lions battle it out to see who gets to sleep on the dock.

Imagine a Pollution Free Ocean

I came across the Seabin Project on Indiegogo and was so impressed I simply had to share. They have come up with a way to clean marinas with an automated marina rubbish collector. What a fantastic invention to help clean up our oceans and rid them of plastic pollution and marine debris. There are only 10 days left to fully fund this project. Click here to donate now.

Seagull Munching a Sea Star

SeagullI have a passion for seagulls. I see them as the symbol of freedom and the serenity of being at the beach. I captured this photo while taking a sunset walk with my husband, Bill to the Santa Cruz Lighthouse  Point. A sea star dinner. Yum.

Announcing SeaweedBotanicalArt Shop

Botanical BottlesI recently decided to return to a hobby that had been dormant for the last several years. When my children were small, I had a large flower and herb garden and my girls and I used to press flowers and then decorate bottles and other glassware with our creations. Pressed flower art was the stepping stone to my passion for pressed seaweed collages and therefore the birth of  SeaweedArt. I find the pastime very therapeutic, satisfying and huge stress reliever. These bottles are available for individual sale on Etsy and this new cool online shopping store, Sello.

A Visit to Andrew Molera State Park

Our German exchange student, Ramona, who spent the school year with us last year, is visiting us again for the month of July. She wanted to go to Big Sur because it is so famous for its majestic beauty. Before we hit the trails of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, we stopped first along the way at Andrew Molera State Park. In the 23 years that I have lived in Santa Cruz, I have never been. I cannot believe I have been living all this time without having experienced this hidden jewel.

Such a peaceful, relaxing setting! We walked the one mile trail to the beach where the Big Sur river meets the ocean forming a fresh water lagoon. The water was crisp, clear and refreshing. And the views were spectacular! I highly recommend it!

Sea-Inspired Glass Bottles Decorated with Seashells


colored glass bottles decorated with seashells

Colored glass soap dispensers decorated with seashells.

SeaweedArt has something new!!! I’m so excited about these wonderful sea-inspired, “beachy” bottled  created from found objects- seashells, sea stars, sand dollars and seaweed. Available now on Etsy. These are unique, one-a-kind gifts.

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