Products, People, Places and Things Representing the Best in Coastal Living

Products, People, Places and Things Representing the Best in Coastal Living.
Welcome to our blog "Coastal Creations & Design." We hope that you'll visit us often and read about our favorite coastal destinations, beach-inspired products, inviting seaside spaces, original artists works and people living the coastal lifestyle.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

" Sally Lee By the Sea" Unplugged: An interview With Marie Rhoades

This is the third in a series of Coastal Creations & Design "unplugged" interviews featuring seriously seaworthy coastal inspired authors and entrepreneurs. We are pleased to  include Marie Rhoades, author, entrepreneur and the creative mind behind the name "Sally Lee by the Sea" to the short list of  today's well-known Coastal Lifestyle gurus. She's become a major force in the world of coastal design and her name is often seen on Facebook and Twitter as well as other social media sites with her finger on the pulse of current design topics. So here goes...Sally Lee by the Sea!

Who is Sally Lee by the Sea? 

My name is Marie Rhoades and I've loved the ocean for as long as I can recall. Born and raised in the beautiful Napa Valley I recall many happy memories of spending time with family and friends on the California coast...Santa Cruz, Stinson Beach, Bodega Bay to name a few. As a child I daydreamed about living next to the ocean one day. I found a fellow ocean lover, and member of the US Navy, and married him in 1984.

How did it begin?

Sally Lee began evolving in 2008 after the passing of my mother, Sally, and my mother-in-law, Mona Lee. They unexpectedly left us within a week of each other. You've all heard the story about how death can make you wake up and smell the coffee? Well, this tragic event did. My husband and I decided to move to the ocean and live the simple life...Sally Lee was born. A company dedicated to the memory of our mothers.

Marie and David Rhoades
I've worked as a professional artist, hand-crafter, candle maker and retail store owner since 1994 so we decided to manufacture soy candles under the name Sally Lee Candles once we moved. Unfortunately the economy just wasn't right and sales lagged. David, my husband, mentioned Sally Lee "by the Sea" one day and we got to thinking what would it online gift store? a blog? a product line?

After some soul searching I discovered my heart was wanting to help others, to write, to paint and photograph the beauty of the ocean to share with others. Sally Lee by the Sea is a blog where I can share my gifts with the world.

What's the driving force, the passion behind your blog?

Since moving to the beach I've become a different person...A former type "A" personality who has become relaxed and now enjoys the little things in life. No more trying to impress others or rushing around so fast that I miss 'living'. My passion in life is to help others embrace this lifestyle, even if they don't live anywhere near the beach. It's an attitude, not a location.

We are pleased to report that we have recently teamed with some amazing blog sponsors which offer coastal products such as sea glass jewelry, seashell covered frames and mirrors, rustic beach signs, pillows, candle holders and so much more. Our sponsors are passionate about their businesses and we consider them to each be a part of the Sally Lee family.

What are your favorite products?

 There's no way I could choose a favorite product! If it's coastal, nautical or beachy then I love it!  Seashells used to decorate home accents or anything incorporated into a candle holder always make the top of my must-have lists. I love signs with quotes on them too...see, I really can't choose.

"Seashells used to decorate home accents always make the top of my must-have lists."

What is your favorite place?

My favorite place is the North Head Lighthouse; which is about 30 minutes south of our home. It majestically watches over the Pacific and always makes me feel rejuvenated after visiting. The scenery is awe-inspiring. The beach is a 3 minute drive from our house and getting some sand between my toes each day is always a favorite place to hang out.

North Head Lighthouse, Washington

How have you decorated your own home?

We fondly refer to our little piece of heaven as "Hummingbird Cottage", although not a cottage at all, it's a manufactured home on 1/3 of an acre.  We can hear the surf from our back deck as we are 1/2 mile from the surf (as the crow flies). It's been almost two years since we moved into our home near the sea, however we haven't rushed into our decorating...we are letting it evolve over time.

Interior walls have been painted in coastal tones of sand, aqua and sea glass blue. White sheer curtains magnify the light through the windows and blow elegantly in the coastal breeze. I'd have to say that my personal style is "ethnic eclectic" meaning you'll find rich tones of brown, red, green and gold used as accent colors. David traveled the world while in the Navy so we have some global treasures from displayed.

Our living room features a round glass table; which we re-painted and covered with sand dollars from our local beach. Our hordes of seashells have found new homes in baskets, glass bowls and shelves around the house.  Starfish adorn each window sill as well as dangle from various curtain rods. I love to use soft fabrics, overfilled pillows and a variety of textures throughout - Egyptian bath towels, down comforters on each bed, soft fleece throws on the couch and chairs. I want guests, as well as the residents, to be relaxed and cozy in our "cottage".

"Starfish adorn each window sill as well as dangle from various curtain rods."
What's next for Sally Lee by the Sea?

Sally Lee is currently working on adding more resources for our readers including a travel and leisure section; a section of informational and relaxing videos; recipes and even more craft and decor ideas.

And beyond?

A Sally Lee by the Sea book of coastal photography and quotes is a dream... other than that the sky is the limit!

Visit Marie Rhoades at "Sally Lee by the Sea" by clicking on the link.

Please visit our other "unplugged" interviews featuring Maya Nagel, creator and author of "Completely Coastal" and Caron White, creator and owner of Caron's Beach House and author of "Everything Coastal" and "Everything Coastal Style."

Live the Life you Love, Love the Life you Live!


  1. Very Nice Joe!

    Marie and I are good friends, and kindred beach girl spirits!

  2. Thank you for such a lovely feature! Sally Lee loves Coastal Creations & Design :O)

    Marie Rhoades
    Sally Lee by the Sea
    Celebrate Coastal Living with Sally Lee! Shopping. Decorating. Crafts. Travel.

  3. Very interesting and love the story behind your name. Wishing you all the best!

  4. This is a wonderful article Marie. I'm proud to be associated with you :)