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.
My first memories of tennis were watching Chris Evert on TV. My Mom and I always loved how feminine she was compared to most players of the day with her bows, pretty dresses and hoop earrings.
|Tracey Austin 1980s in a pinafore dress. Love the pom-pom socks! We all had those.|
|Vitas Gerulaitis, was a wonderful player. The white Nike’s with blue swoosh are classics.|
When I was 7 we moved to a very suburban track home neighborhood, that had a little tennis club within walking distance. Dunnett’s Tennis Club, sadly no longer exists and was inexplicably bull-dozed to make more parking for an a rental car office. The little club will always live in my mind as a special place. My Mom walked me over there when I was in fourth grade, to sign me up for lessons. My tennis pro was named Bonnie and I adored her. I remember buying her a mug with her name and a rose on it. For my classes, my grandmother sewed me two custom tennis dresses, that I helped design. One was a white swing dress with blue and red piping and ruffled pants to match. The other was a white pique halter style with crossed racquets on the collars. I still have one of these somewhere.
I loved everything about tennis and being at the tennis club. Even at age 9, I remember the exciting people who seemed to belong there. There were dreamy boys who drove MG Midgets and green Triumph TR7 convertibles and glamourous ladies in elegant tennis ensembles. I drank it all in. This was not my reality. We were a middle class family, who played tennis at the local park and who did not belong to clubs. Something about this lifestyle was then and still now so appealing to me.
|Borg in graphics.|
I continued off and on with my tennis. When I went to high school, my friend Monica convinced me to go out for the school team. We did and loved it and I’m so grateful she talked me into it. High school was the early 80s and the age of Swedish hunk Bjorn Borg, (who adorned my teen-age walls), Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, McEnroe, and so many other amazing players who dominated the game. When I look back to those times, they all look so clean-cut and preppy. I love the whites and stripes and sweaters that they all wore. The headbands,sweatbands, jackets and sweaters were their colorful accessories to the still mainly white wardrobes. I still admire those styles!
|Conners and Gerulaitus. Love his sweater and white shorts. What a funny and amazing guy Vitus was. After finally beating Conners after a 16 match losing streak, he famously said, “Nobody beats Vitus Geralaitus 17 times in a row!”|
Today, whites are almost nonexistent on the courts! Today players sport brights in clothes and shoes. I am the first to like bright colors, but there is something about the formality and tradition of the whites that I miss. It made tennis seem a little more gentile than other sports and it was one of its great appeals. I love that they could dress like ladies and gentlemen, but still be some the greatest athletes in the world. In honor of the past champions, here’s a small gallery to inspire you, whether you play tennis or not.
|Borg and Conners.|
|Bring back the tennis cardigan! Virginia Wade with the Queen, Wimbledon 1977.
Her sweater was monogrammed.
|Arthur Ashe, gentleman and American legend. Wimbledon, 1975.|
|Margaret Court 1970s. An Australian mom who quit tennis to have kids and came back.
She had won more titles than any other woman.
|Bjorn Borg 1976. Loving the pukka shell necklace too.|
|Borg after defeating McEnroe, 1980 at his fifth Wimbledon title.|
|Pretzel and cherry gumdrop heart arrows.|
We have a few traditions we do here on Valentines Day. Usually, the day starts out with some kind of heart shaped breakfast. The kids get little packages on their plates. It’s usually something small like some See’s Candy. (See’s by the way, is the best chocolates and a California Valentine is not compete without a trip to the famous black and white stores! If you grew up here, you know what I mean.) I like to also get them a card with some money and a small fun gift like socks or a book. This tradition comes from my Mom, who always had little gifts for us kids at the breakfast table.
When the kids get home from school, we usually make a fun dinner together to surprise Dad. Some years we have set a picnic in front of the fire. Other times we moved the whole table by the fire. We light votives, make heart themed decor for the table and house. The last few years we have made a pork loin and a couple years we had swiss fondue. One thing we always do is make chocolate covered strawberries. So easy and they look beautiful for dessert . Champagne and sparkling cider in flutes is also mandatory! I love getting the boys helping in this too.
Later in the week, my husband Max and I will do a date night. Those first few years we did go out on Valentines night, but with the crowds, it never seemed special. For that reason, we choose to spend the holiday with our boys and it has been really sweet. We were engaged on Valentine’s Day 1996. That day is also special because our niece, Veronica was born on that day. After a getting engaged at a romantic dinner, we drove to the hospital to see our little niece. This year she will be sweet 16!
|Griffin, my fourth grader working on his Valentine cards.|
|Some cute foam stickers.|
|We cut cello bags in half, added a super ball, and stapled a card on top. So easy!|
With Valentine’s Day a few days away, I have been on Pinterest gathering ideas for cards. If you haven’t been on there yet, let me just say it’s wonderful, but also a huge time vacuum! It’s an online pin board where you can gather all you love on virtual bulletin boards. The images you pin can link back to where they originally came from if you need more than the photo. A few of my fun boards are food, home, curb appeal, kid’s crafts, places, and quotes. I love being inspired by all that is pinned by others and also like being able to pin images and ideas I find myself on the web. Also, so fun to get lost in all the gorgeous pictures. I have to warn you, it takes a little digging on the site to get the hang of it, but worth it.
While searching for Valentine ideas, I have been overwhelmed by the beauty of red I have been coming across. I am becoming a huge fan of the color. I’m hoping to get some red in my wardrobe for Spring and into my home too…
|High Street Market. Loving anything bamboo inspired now!|
Just picked up this Organizing magazine, a special edition of Martha Stewart Living. The word love does not begin to describe what I feel about this book. It actually is a kind of hard copy version of all the best organizing tips and new ones from the queen of perfection. I have been falling asleep to this tome every night and grabbing it and gobbling up all the gorgeous photos and ideas every free second I have.
|The cover- from my phone. No images were available at her website.|
|My favorite is this blue pantry. Loving this sick.|
In my feeble attempt to replicate this, I ran out to Macy’s where they carry the Martha pantry products. Some good things (no pun there), to be found there that are used in the book. Also, and contain yourselves neat and paper freaks, Martha’s newest line of pretty labels and folders are now available at Staples see here. The chalkboard paint labels seen on the glass jars here, are my favorite.
|From the book, a fabulous entry.|