Easter holds many dear memories for me. My brother Peter and I, would dye eggs with our parents and have a hunt at home on Easter morning. When we were very small our grandmother also started doing a special hunt for us. On Easter day there would be a note attached to her front door with a list of candy to find. It was signed by the Easter Bunny with a bunny print (her cat’s paw), next to the signature! We usually would run to the backyard at that point and proceed to go nuts looking for Peeps and chocolate bunnies in flowers and bushes while our aunt, uncle, mom and dad gave hints. I was horrible at this hunt and my younger brother Pete of course was always finding my candies before I got to them!
Grandma also served along with that hunt, a ham dinner, on pretty pastel tablecloths and napkins which she sewed herself and changed the color of each Easter. The topper to this all was a bunny cake she made with coconut topping and jelly bean face that she took the time to cut from sheet cakes. We are so lucky to still have my grandma with us and this year she will be 96!
One of grandma’s Easter tablecloths in the backyard of my last house. This was Easter a few years ago. with my mom, grandma, sister-in-law Line, and niece Veronica.
After I got married and had my own family, I wanted to continue the tradition of these Easters with my own kids. I don’t do a ham dinner though. I much prefer brunch and my husband Max makes a baked French toast dish that everyone loves and now expects! We have the same kind of hunt as my grandma did. Usually my kids have enjoyed this hunt with their cousins when my brother’s family comes. My parents are always there of course. My grandmother still enjoys attending and bringing the bunny cake! Here is a photo of the boys with her last year.
Grandma Jody and boys with the bunny cake. She dyes coconut pink for the ears.
My boys are 10 and 13, but still get into dyeing eggs. Griffin even did them at age one with a little brush we let use on his high-chair. The last few years we have been doing the Martha Stewart marbleized eggs, which makes them so beautiful! It’s pretty easy too. We don’t poke a hole in eggs though. This year we will do it with their two grandmas visiting from Eureka on Saturday.
Last year. My boys look so different now!
Our finished eggs.
Opening their baskets last year. I just love creating baskets each year and finding all the fun things to go in them. Last year they each got a wallet from the Vans’ store, a book, swim trunks and other small things.
Griffin always appreciates a rabbit! Loved this knit guy I found last year.
I found a small spot to hang my personal mood board above my desk in our spare bedroom. I also make a small one in my closet with fashion inspirations. I love having a place to post images, cards and and other lovely things that bring the feel of a season. For the Pinterest addicts, like myself, it’s much the same, only larger and more personal!
A few shots of the large board above my desk. Love the cards from my kids and hubby.
|Chance inspiration board via Habitually Chic|
|Gene Meyer’s desk.|
|Tone on Tone Antiques|
|My favorite! Blogger Slim Paley’s summer mood board. slimpaley.com|
Happy Spring! Can’t believe it’s the first day already! I don’t know why, but it seems each time another Spring comes I am seeing so many buds and blooms that I never did before! I love how each little living thing finds a way to regenerate again. Marvelous and lovely! We have a huge wisteria bordering our garage and it was cut back quite severely in the Fall. I was worried since it looks like a marled and twisted dead wood, but low and behold, a sign of life! A beautiful tiny cone of lavender color was hanging yesterday along with, if you look closely, a ton of little green buds. I am blown away by nature. How amazing she is!
I thought this would also be a fun time to show you a few pictures of one of my favorite places in Los Gatos, Bunches. In my Spring house style post, I showed a picture of a cute wood box filled with ivy on my mantel from there. I’m crazy about this flower shop!
The people who work there are so helpful and nice. Bunches always has something unique and different. I recently asked them to make me something for a friend who had surgery and they made such a pretty, modern bouquet. They use unexpected combinations!
Bunches has a multitude of beautiful pots and vases. Whenever my home needs something fresh, I can always find a pot to inspire me. Sometimes I like to buy ivys to add to it. Other times I am in the mood for potted flowers. Right now, I really love all the forced branches that they are selling. Those say Spring so well and look fresh in a large vase or bucket!
Bunches holds a special place in my heart. When my youngest son was in preschool, we used to stop and see their duck Pete, after we grabbed pizza from across the street. Petey, is actually a girl and yes, lives in the shop. You can see her sleeping, or in her corner eating. She can talk a lot and is quite cute! On this day we visited, the owner let my son hold her!
Beautiful pots out for St Patrick’s Day and Spring. They totally embrace the seasons and have unique items to help you bring the feeling into your home too.
Baby soft, locally knit scarves that are the most delicious colors for sale.
I just happened to look back at my past posts yesterday and realized that today is the one year mark of writing this blog. I almost can’t believe it. It seems a year can’t have gone by so fast!
It’s been so fun and rewarding to do this. I love sharing my ideas, photos and thoughts with you all. I am learning so much from this blog. I am truly thrilled each time a comment appears. I know it’s not easy to leave a comment on these things. There are so many of you who stop by and visit without commenting and I thank you so much. I know you are out there! The visits show in my stats of over 6,000 visits recorded on my small blog.
The one thing I never expected from writing this blog is the friendship and kindness I have received from other bloggers. I feel like I have made a truly special new circle of friends from all over the world. It’s been so fun to get to know all these great people that I would never had a chance to otherwise. I am also thankful for the generosity of one beautiful and sweet lady, Adrienne Shubin, of The Rich Life on a Budget. She was an early friend and put me on her blogroll, which helped so much. If you haven’t stopped by her lovely blog, one of my very favorites, you should. Four other ladies who I am so grateful to for their kind links to me are Design in my View , Sara’s House, Thyme2Be, and I Just Want to Say.. They are amazing women with so much to share on their very different blogs. Thanks also to Jennifer Scott, of the The Daily Connoisseur, whose mention of my French related posts brought a lot of friends here.
|Adrienne’s lovely blog. http://therichlifeonabudget.blogspot.com/|
Thanks most of all to all my Facebook pals who took the time to click over and read. Thanks to my family ( my mom and aunts, and cousins) and dear friends who support and comments made me believe what I am doing is worth something! I love you guys! Lastly, but not least to my husband, who gave me the idea to do this in the first place. His belief in me and support make it all possible.
Happy St Patty’s Day everyone! Hope you are enjoying your Saturday and doing something fun! This week Winter finally decided to come to Northern California and boy are we getting it. The rain and wind is coldest yet this year! Finally am getting to wear my rain boots my husband bought me for Christmas!
|I love the way my painted brick looks with this brown and white bird print and wooden box. We recently painted it and I am really enjoying how much lighter my house feels.|
This year’s crazy warm weather has got everything blooming in my yard. I’m loving the sun and buds and baby birds chirping every morning. It all makes me in the mood to brighten up the house with some pops of color.
I still am not sure what kind of tree this is, but I love it’s white-pink flowers.
My husband hates the mess in the pool.
|I found this butterfly tray at Pier 1, and added yellow accents to my entry.|
|Here’s my $7 Trader Joe’s Christmas topiary in a crackled green-yellow pot. Still doing well and worth every penny!|
|I found this wooden box and ivy at Bunches, a florist I adore in town who always has something new and fresh.|
|I reorganized my library shelves by color and it feels new!|
|One of our older Christmas cards of my sons on the beach, which I framed.|
|My husband brought this tea pot back from China for me. It’s so pretty I put it on my shelves.|
|More lighter and brighter accents..|
|The living room mantel with some of my older books with green colors.|
|A burlap pillow I bought at my favorite store Fiori’s before they closed in January. I should change to something lighter than the fur throw, but the cats love it!|
|Another favorite photo framed.|
|My grandmother gave me two of these garden stools from her 1960’s furnished model home. One is outside, for drinks, by the pool. This one is cheering up a corner in the dining room with some of my favorite books.|
|My dining runner flipped to black stripe side. My dear friend Jen gave me this darling crown and I added some hydrangeas to my votive holders.|
|Another picture I love with birds.|
|A zebra print pillow that I added to an ottoman in the entry. Great for purses and coats. I stacked these colorful astronomical prints from my grandma’s house above.|
|My latest find from the DeAnza flea market. I couldn’t resist. This sign is perfect for this area! It points right to the two bear pits we call boy’s rooms here!|
|Our bedroom. A few months ago I added this Josie Kalamakari yellow & aqua quilt from Pottery Barn and a felt yellow pillow from Nordstrom Rack.|
|I moved this butterfly print in here from the mantel and it picks up the yellow, gold and grey colors in our room.|
|My Max framed on a rare weekend together in Sonoma.|
|Love these bowls from Anthropologie to hold jewelry and baubles.|
|One of my most favorite things. These are rocks and things that are heart-shaped that my boys have found for me on beach trips and hikes through the years.|
|My bedside 🙂|
|Books I’m trying find time to read!|
|Another favorite thing. A watercolor bought in Paris, on our first family trip that needs reframing.|
|I removed a top off this blue urn from Homegoods and added hydrangeas from the yard that needed cutting.|
| I order this striped rug for $49 from Pottery Barn. I think
stripes look so fresh now. Love this for cold feet in the bathroom floor.
|Look what I got at Trader Joes for $4.00!! This is Spring in a pail and it smells divine.|
|My Jackson doing swing kung-fu on Pismo Beach.|
Last week was break for our boys from school- or as many people call it here, ski week. That is because most families take off to hit the slopes. We have had an unusually mild winter here in Northern Cal and the snow hasn’t been too good up in the mountains, so we decided to road trip down South.
We had not been to California’s central coast in some time. We thought it would be fun to see Pismo and Avila Beaches and check out San Louis Obispo, and the college for my engineer wannna be, Jackson. He is 13, but starting high school next year wanted to check out California Polytechnical at San Louis Obispo’s famous engineering school.
|Mission San Miguel.|
My youngest, Griffin, is in 4th grade this year, and in California that means studying the California history and missions. Usually, you study California history all year and are assigned a mission to make a model of near the end. It’s always fun to visit your mission if you can.
|One of the murals inside.|
|Griffin chose San Miguel. San Miguel is pretty close, just a few hours south near Paso Robles, and a little gem in the chain of 21 missions. It was on our way down, so it was a perfect stop for us.|
It was about an hour and half drive to San Miguel from the South Bay. The small town and mission are literally just off highway 101. The town in quite cute and has it’s original storefronts still up from long ago. There is even an espresso stop/bakery that was converted from an old filling station and also a little pizza place we stopped for lunch.
After our stop, we headed down to Pismo Beach. Pismo, for those who aren’t familiar, is one of the few beaches left in United States, and the only one in California, that you can drive onto. It’s got lots of dunes and goes for miles.
It’s pretty uncrowded and the beaches are wide open. We stayed at a place called Sandcastle Inn, right on the beach. It’s small, but wonderful hotel with a cozy fireplace lobby. The staff there was nicer than The Four Seasons and that is not an exaggeration. We paid a great price for a roomy suite with a sitting area and dining room and a huge patio right over the beach.
|View from our suite.|
The make your own (disaster) waffles in the breakfast room was quite popular with the men, all three of mine. The boys also appreciated the swings right on the sand. The contest was to see who can lunge the farthest and embed glass in your foot at the same time! ( Right?) The beach was very nice and we found tons of sand-dollars. We liked the home-made cookies in the afternoon too. The tea and coffee all day in the sunny breakfast room with fireplace was a homey touch.
We also drove to Avila Beach, right up the road about 5 minutes. Avila is newly redone and has a darling little beachfront with lots of new shops and restaurants. They have a charming small waterfront.
It also has a pier with a cute restaurant, The Olde Port Inn, at the end where you can see the fish swim under you as you eat. We never did get to eat there, they were closed. Hopefully next time!
|Doesn’t this place look cute? At the end of the pier in Avila Beach.|
Avila and Pismo are both great beaches to learn to boogie board or surf on because of their shallow break. They are many hotels right on the Avila waterfront that provide boogie boards. They are also adjacent to ocean front restaurants and it makes for an easy getaway weekend with a family.
I don’t know about you, but I am never a huge fan of beach restaurants. They are always over-priced and not the best and even sometimes grubby. However, on this trip we ran across a real find, Ventana Grill, in Pismo. It’s gorgeous, glass-walled and modern and situated over the sea. It looks pricey, but it so reasonable, food so fresh and service so good, we went two nights. One thing they serve everyone is their homemade tortillas with cinnamon butter. How good does that sound? Ventana Grill calls its food coastal fusion. Whatever it is it’s delicious. Lovely and wish we had one here. Don’t miss this if you are down that way! They have a kids’ menu too.
|Ventana Grill and their great view of the Pacific.|
Pismo is an older town, but it still has a charm seen especially in remnants of it’s heyday as a vacation destination. There are so many adorable streets leading down to the many beaches. I kept thinking how cool it would be to buy one of those original beach shacks as a getaway.
|A cute beach shack.|
Clearly, a lot of people already had. I’m a sucker for the shingled ones and copious French doors. Pismo Beach is easy to get to and is a ten minute drive or so to San Louis Obispo.
|On a hike in Pismo.|
San Louis Obispo, is a small college town about 10 minutes inland. I didn’t know much about SLO, as people call it, except that it has been voted, the happiest place in America to live. After visiting, I can clearly see why.
|The town of San Louis Obispo. via google images.|
This town is so pretty, nestled between the sea and the hills. My favorite part of the charming downtown is all the outdoor restaurants, which abound here. A river runs through it and many restaurants line the river. This is a large downtown, but it feels small. There are so many unique shops besides Pottery Barn and some large chains. I especially like the area near the San Louis Obispo Mission, which we also visited.
|Grif in front of San Louis Obispo Mission.|
There is a very cool outdoor Mexican cantina across from the mission. They also have a Cornish pasties shop, a fantastic coffee roasting spot, and some one-of-a-kind shops right in this vicinity. At one of these Griffin, my shopper son, bought this cute sign for his room.
On the way home, we took the famous Highway 1 home. We came down on 101, a quick 3 hours drive to Pismo area from the Bay Area. For a change we drove Highway 1 along the Pacific the whole way and it was long. A LOT longer. I had forgotten. For a break, we took a quick stop in another charming spot, Cambria. Cambria is a darling spot with a lovely ocean path among cypress trees. There are many cute accommodations here! It’s the perfect spot to stay if you are visiting Hearst Castle. Hearst Castle, former home to William Randolph Hearst, is a landmark worth visiting and deserves a full day for sure. In San Simeon there is also an elephant seals nesting area right off the highway. It’s been improved lately and there is now a terrific viewing spot. Don’t miss it. There are very few spot in the world to see these amazing creatures!
|Elephant seals. The best viewing time in Jan-March.|
|Some views of Ragged Point.|
Not far past Hearst Castle we stumbled upon my favorite find of the trip, Ragged Point Inn and Restaurant. This piece of heaven on earth, came just about lunch time and so we sat outdoors and had lunch among hummingbirds and butterflies. Honestly, it was the prettiest patch of land above the ocean I have ever seen. You can also stay at this nirvana too.
|Lunch among the butterflies.|
After the kids explored the resort and gift shop, we hit their cappuccino bar (they also have a take-out lunch place), and continued on our way North. Here, you are at the beginning of Big Sur, which stretches a very long way, almost 90 miles from San Simeon to Carmel. The trip is scenic, but I don’t think it gets really beautiful until you hit Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, where a waterfall hits the ocean, about an hour South of Carmel.
|View from Highway 1.|
Big Sur is probably one of my most favorite spots on this earth and if you haven’t seen it, you need to add it to the bucket list! There are lodges, retreats, restaurants, and art galleries that are amazing. The camping and state parks are probably the best in California. You get the mix of redwood forest, ocean and rolling oak covered hills. There is something so romantic about this empty wind-swept landscape that makes me feel like I’m worlds away from everything.
|Bixby Bridge on Highway 1 in Big Sur.|
|Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford. Her simple hair, dress and makeup were beyond pretty.|
Is it just me, or were the Academy Awards just boring tonight? I think part of the blame has to rest on the fact that very few good movies were released last year. It seemed like they were hurting for real stars tonight. I mean, why is Jennifer Lopez a presenter and in the front row? This isn’t the Grammy Awards!
No offense to Jennifer, but I can think of a lot of actors I’d rather see.
Well, on to the fashion. My favorites were Michelle Williams and her dark tangerine dress, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Tom Ford getup with cape. Penelope Cruz was beautiful too.
A few of the highlights for you. First, some ugly I’m afraid. Not loving..
Sandra Bullock’s dress. The top was baggy. Also, her severe pony just showcased her botox and fillers. She really would look younger without it all.
|Sandra. This dress was prettier from the back, boring in front.|
|Has Angelina Jolie never worn a dress with a slit before?
You don’t need to stick your leg out like Wonder Woman all night.
|Viola Davis. I don’t like her new lighter hair with the green, nor the green eyeshadow.|
|Rooney Mara. I liked her gauzy dress for a young woman.
She was sans accessories and is a bit of a snot in interviews.
Now a bit of color..
|Presenter Louise Roe looked very Downton Abby.
I liked this unique look and her hair.
|Penelope Cruz’s hair and makeup was so pretty.|
|Melissa McCarthy -love this girl. She looked so pretty in this color too.|
|Jessica Chastain. Like the colors on her, but not sure about the dress.
It was ill-fitting and cut into her.
|Meryl looked great I thought, not old or frumpy.
The gold was great on her skin and hair.
|Stacey Keibler lovely in gold. I’m not loving this side swept hair many ladies had.
It looks strange and bit artificial.
|Michelle Williams was just darling in orange-red Louis Vuitton.|
|Tina Fey looked great in this peplum style blue gown and
a pretty bun in her hair.
|Kelly Osborne needs to lose the lavender hair.|
|Jane Seymour in red. Always love Jane.|
|Natalie Portman in Dior is perfect!
|Berenice Bejo, a bit frumpy. Not loving her hair and she’s a beautiful girl.|
|Penelope Ann Miller. Something about this is making her look old.
The hair is very scary.
|Young Anna Faris looks like a 50 year old in this dress and hair.|
|Rose Byrne, on the other hand, looked chic in black sequins and almost the same hairdo.|
I love Michael Kors and his very American, but glamorous sportswear. He is a funny guy too. I recently found an interview with him I had torn out from Allure in 2005. It’s great advice and so true still! I posted it on my inspiration board and I thought I’d share it with you. I’ve included some of my favorite images of Jackie Kennedy Onassis and her sister, who Kors says is a big inspiration to him.