Hello it’s Weekend Meanderings time with Elizabeth and Juliet, and a chance to share some things that caught our attention this week!
Start a Garden!
I grew up in San Jose, in a pink room with ballerina wallpaper, but outside my bedroom window all summer were my dad’s green beans strung across the view! His big garden was just outside my window. Dad has always been passionate about gardening. He has his first garden at 18 months old, was in Future Farmers and 4H. His own dad grew up on a farm in Mt Ayr, Iowa. Thanks to my dad’s hobby, we learned to love eating all kind of veggies year round.
My dad had a greenhouse he built and a compost pile, which we called the worm bin. It kind of grossed me out as a kid, but I now realize he was composting before it was cool. I still love the smell of wet dirt, a scent that would waft through my bedroom each evening when my dad watered. As kids we were given small plants to tend and I loved visiting my own little pots in the greenhouse. I am so grateful to still have my dad helping me with the garden each year when we put in our vegetable garden. He inspires me so much and has rubbed off on my oldest son Jackson, who loves gardening and plants.
During the pandemic people began working in their yards for their sanity, and I agree there is nothing like a break gardening outside. Something about being out, with the bird songs, the scent of earth and flowers can calm you. It also keeps you fit. My dad is 82 and has the back of an ox because of it. While gardening, you crouch, twist and turn, lift a lot of heavy things and it keeps you flexible.
Tomatoes are one of the most rewarding and easiest things to grow here in California. You need to wait to put the plants in the ground when the evenings are turning warmer- usually late April or early May here in Northern Cal. I just put mine in Mother’s Day weekend. I recommend for vegetables, start with plants, as seeds need more time to start in small pots, be babied and nurtured.
If you have a space that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day, that is a good spot for a tomato garden. I was lucky to already have some garden beds on the south side of my home when we bought it. If you don’t have the space, you can start with pots and there are many ‘bush’ or patio type of tomatoes that grow the right sizes for porches and can produce a lot.
Make sure your soil is turned over well and before planting your tomatoes, pick off the bottom few limbs and plant it a few inches up the stalk. Tomatoes need a lot of water the first week and then after only a few times a week, unless they look saggy. Water in mornings and at the root of the plant, making a little pool around it. You can’t really irrigate a garden. You need to water by hand, as you have to not water until needed, or more when it’s getting warm.
Choose organic tomatoes, and make sure any fertilizer or food you use is organic and without pesticides. You want fertilizer made just for organic veggies. I also use no pesticides in my yard. That means I occasionally have to go pull a few weeds every week for 20 minutes or so. It’s worth it. Pesticides last forever in the ground and can harm the whole ecosystem. If you have yard people and they have tanks on their backs, with squirters, they are using pesticides. It runs off when the yard is watered, and affects the water system as well. When I have any things in my yard like white flies or something, I power spray them off with the hose or spray with a gentle soap to manage them.
You will love growing tomatoes and they become almost no maintenance after August. Starting in September I stop watering them and dry farm. They take on an even deeper flavor and keep producing! You will can get tomatoes until November here in California. Compare any yard tomato to a store bought and they aren’t the same species. They also make the best caprese ! If you are a gardener please share any tips or varieties in the comments. My favorite tomatoes are Early Girl, Sweet 100, Berkeley Tie-Dye and Brandywine, which is an heirloom. It’s nice to have a variety. Don’t forget to add some basil in that garden too!
Peaches and Tomato Caprese Salad
Since we are talking tomatoes, I just had to share my favorite dish when peach season is happening, which is now in California! Just tonight we made our first caprese with peaches of the season. Tomatoes are not at their peak yet, but the stores have some hot house versions you can use until next month.
There’s no secret to this recipe, but I do like the soft mozzarella ( not the kind you slice for lasagna), that is wrapped in plastic, rather than water. It has a better texture and holds the oils and juices better. Look for it by the fresh cheeses. I also love California olive oil, a little sprinkle of Maldon sea salt, and fresh pepper. The best basil is always from your own pots. I buy the plants that they have at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods and keep them near the kitchen, and also put one or two in the ground. They beat the bought basil that has been packed in a plastic box.
Max’s new Setu desk chair!
Remember this post a few weeks back about giving Max’s home office/guest room a spring refresh? I was thrilled with the peel and stick wallpaper and also the nice daybed from Wayfair. What I hated though was Max’s old office chair he got at an office supply warehouse place. It not only had the lines of a 70’s Buick, it was peeling like one and had gross faux leather and took up a LOT of space in the small room. He was committed to it though, as he spent like $199 on it!
Well, he’s been back in the office and has had a really great chair there, and he noticed after working in it all day, he has no leg or back pain like he gets in his current chair. He told me it was a Herman Miller design and I got excited. We went to go try it out at the Design Within Reach store in Palo Alto, and sat in every chair, but we both loved the Setu Chair with ribbon arms.
If you need back support, this is your chair. I love their description of the Setu:
Sit in Setu — The Setu Chair defines flexibility, moving with the user, with a clean aesthetic that suits nearly any home or office space. It’s no accident that this chair is designed for a healthy back – Setu is Sanskrit for “bridge” and borrowed from the yoga pose Setu Bandhasana, a strengthening backbend.Herman Miller
It weighs just 17 pounds and also won a certification for highest quality of lowest certification for low VOC furniture. I am thinking of now saving for one and I love the blue and white versions. His cost around $795, but if you think of the days, hours and years you are in an office chair, it’s worth the extra cost and some employers will contribute to the home office cost too.
Walking the Dish Loop at Stanford + lunch & Keplers
One of my favorite things to do on a weekend with mild weather is hike the Stanford Dish Loop Trail early and then follow up with lunch at Cafe Barrone in Menlo Park and a good browse at Kepler’s bookstore.
Last Sunday it was a beautiful day to hike. It’s about 4 miles total with a bit of uphill at the beginning. We like to go early as parking along Stanford Avenue can get full. You can get a fantastic view of the university and surrounding hills. Last Sunday we hiked with Jackson and his girlfriend and her family. This time they suggested a small detour at the end and we crossed Junipero Serra Rd and walked the rest of the trail through the pretty neighborhoods of Stanford. Some stunning and historic homes!
Cafe Barrone is an old school Silicon Valley hangout for students at Stanford and high tech peeps. We love it as you can grab a table and have a good spot to people watch. Families and dogs are all over along with students. The baked goods and breakfasts are fantastic and are worth the wait in line to order. Food usually comes fast. I can’t resist the chicken salad sandwich on raisin bread. We usually come with our kids and we all have to get their famous ‘Mocha Freeze’ shake that they’ve been serving since the 1970’s.
Kepler’s is my all-time favorite bookstore. They have an expansive selection of books in every genre. Always the have the latest in everything, and wonderful reviews written by hand by many books. They still sell magazines and great stationery and cards..Amazing kid’s section and a book club and many literary events and speakers. I never go home without something from here as I want this place to stay in business!! It’s one of the last remaining independent bookstores. They opened in 1955 and closed in 2005, but because of strong love from customers they are now reopened and run thanks to community support. Read their whole story here.
My friend Elaine’s new front of house refresh
My friend Elaine lives in the pretty Willow Glen area of San Jose and recently did a refresh of the front of her home. Elaine’s husband Todd is an architect, so this is a combination of Todd’s skills and experience with Elaine’s great taste.
They are still working on the landscape and some of the porch, but already I love how she choose an orange paint for the door, some lovely rope chairs that give it a fun modern vibe. Adore the mailbox, the lanterns and her doormat too.
The beautiful mix of shingles and boards make the house so pretty and unique.
This is before and after…
Elaine is an amazing entertainer and she’s going to be on a future blog with tips for us (I mean me really), on how she does it! Stay tuned..
Elaine’s front porch has good looking rope chairs from World Market from a past season. They no longer make that style, but they do make these Matteo Chairs and the price is nice for these which look expensive and can run in the thousands..
They also have these darling summer entertaining food covers in round and rectangle. I am going to get a few before they are gone..A stylish friend sent me the link to these!
I had planned to get a new pair of white jeans this summer and this week stopped into local boutique, Bella Rosa and after chatting with friendly women there about white denim they encouraged me to try some on. I’m not a fan of super high rise, and want comfort and a flattering look, especially on the leg. White jeans need to be of a thicker cotton and not tight looking (at least for my age). They brought me many different pairs, but I ended up loving the look and comfort of the ‘The Ditcher’ jeans by Mother. It’s my first pair of Mother jeans and they just kind of feel great on. I run between a 27 and 28 and bought these in 27, as they are slightly large. I have worn them several times and they stretch out very little, but are comfy! Since buying these I’ve heard from a few friends this issue their favorite brand!
You should stop by Bella Rosa if you are in Los Gatos. I was on the way to an appointment, but I plan to go back. I love the service, sweet people and a beautiful California chic collection of clothes!
If you aren’t nearby you can also find my white jeans here. Mother also carries this ankle fray pair (below left), that is their best seller and I might consider too. There is also this pair from Gap (below right), and these Citizens of Humanity and these by AGOLDE.
As a Californian I wear white jeans so much and I think getting a nice pair every year is a good investment for the closet. I need them to feel great so I want to wear everyday. I don’t save my white jeans, but wear them nonstop until they feel super comfy and broken in.
My puffy slides I bought back in February at H&M, you can find here and they also have these now and these at Anthro.
Other Things This Week…
Juliets’s wedding post! If you missed it, Juliet published the best wedding post with all the details of her step-son Kyle’s wedding in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It’s wonderfully done and what a beautiful wedding. I loved all the special touches and saved and pinned it all in case I ever get to help with a wedding for one of the sons! I loved the video so much I was bawling.. and I don’t even know them. A darling couple! Juliet is a pro at planning events and she loves to share how these things come off! I am learning from her all the time.
In other exciting news, our pal Annie opened her much anticipated online store You can find many cool curated things hand-picked by Annie herself!
I can hardly believe it, but this is our 16th Saturday of doing this and I have so enjoyed sharing these things that I wouldn’t otherwise. It forces me to sit down and blog it. I’ve loved getting to know Juliet and Elizabeth better- and many of you! To those new here, welcome! I hope to keep improving these little posts. Please feel free give feedback about the things you’d like to see more of, or less!
Well that’s my meanderings for this week now please go see what fun finds and ideas my friends Elizabeth and Juliet have for you..
PINECONES AND ACORNS
MAKE MINE A SPRITZER
Wishing you all a beautiful weekend.
Thank you for being here!
If you missed last week’s blog with some great baskets for outdoor plants, a wonderful lunch spot and shop in Woodside, an inspiring book about living well in your home by Melissa Penfold, and more you can read that post here.
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Pamela J. Harvey says
Just beautiful Kim! A bit of history for you. My Gr Gr uncle Dennis Martin came over on the covered wagon in 1843 2 years prior to the Ill fated Donner party. Dennis settled in what is now Stanford University. Mr. Stanford came along and acquired miles of property and built the University. It’s so beautiful in that area. Thank you for sharing the the simple quaintness and beauty that I grew up with over here in the Livermore Valley. The ancestors knew excellent growing and grazing land just like your handsome dad and his garden!
Wow what a story! On covered wagon. How wonderful and that area must have been even more beautiful before it was developed. It’s just the most lovely valley and perfect for growing things here. Aww thank you for sharing that! My dad will read this and will love hearing about your uncle!
Carol H. says
After a day in the garden my enthusiasm was put in check when in the shower I found a tick on the back of my neck. I know it’s nature, but I am so grossed and discouraged.
On a happier note, a use for all those cherry tomatoes. Sauté garlic in olive oil, add cherry tomatoes till they “pop”, add basil, serve over pasta. Freezes well.
I would love to see an entire post of your friends updated ranch. It is amazing.
Great post today!
Oh Carol so sorry! I would feel the same..I guess there is that occasionally garden hazard.I have had a few bites and stings. Thanks for this cherry tomato recipe. I will save it and try in the middle of summer when I have too many! Sounds delicious. I will see if Elaine will share more of her ranch home when we do a post of her tips. The indoors is lovely also. Have a good weekend!
I really enjoy your Saturday posts! Excellent! Thank you!
Hi Judie! Thanks so much. Have a great weekend!
Good morning, Kim! Where to start?! I can’t believe it’s been 16 weeks … we’re on a roll. You and Elizabeth really keep me on my toes and I appreciate you. Your dad … I love to hear you talk about him. What a sweet, lovely man with an interesting history. I love his love of gardening and your memories of the garden growing up. How lucky you are to have his guidance in the garden and life. Your raised beds look like they’re positioned similarly to mine. Although I think you get way more sun. I’m going to the nursery this weekend to fill our beds and tomatoes are the number one priority. Speaking of priorities … desk chairs. I’m showing Jim your information on Max’s new chair. I don’t think Jim’s going back to the office regularly … aside from his office on a plane … and he really needs to invest in a good chair. He’s had a lot of back problems. And the pretty chairs we’re suing int he office are the host chairs for our dining table. They look nice but aren’t idea. It’s time to make the investment in a good desk chair. Switching gears … Elaine’s exterior home refresh! Wow! I love it. It’s so clean and modern, and traditional all at the same time. I look forward to her future contribution on entertaining. Please, Elaine, bring us all your tips. No detail is too small! Thanks so much, Kim, for sharing my wedding planning post. It was so much fun to write (let’s be real, Melody wrote it for me) and I love sharing all her planning through processes. She and Kyle both did an amazing job and their guests enjoyed every minute. Some of us don’t ever want it to end. Ha ha. So excited for Annie and her new shop. Love the collage you made. And, backing up … those houses around Stanford … so charming. Loved seeing them on your stories and now a closer look here. That hike is so picturesque. Hope you have an amazing weekend, friend. xo
Hi Juliet! Good luck with the tomatoes! You have the most lovely beds. Those are may goals to have taller beds built someday! Well tell Jim to check this chair out and better yet go to one of the stores and sit in it! You can feel how great it is almost immediately compared with other chairs! Aww Elaine will appreciate that. I’ve been trying to get her to reveal her secrets forever, and she finally agreed! I think people will appreciate her real approach to good food and easy entertaining. Loved the wedding and what a cool idea to interview Kyle and Melody! Yes you would LOVE the homes at Stanford. Hope the weekend is great Juliet. xo
My husband has been growing tomatoes on the side of our house every year for at least the last fifteen years. Once you’ve had a homegrown, there is just no comparison to those sad specimens from the grocery store. Every year we seem to forget what our favorites were from the year before. A couple of years ago I made a note on my phone for the following year’s season. Two words: Better Boy (followed by many exclamation points). We also love the Sungold (like Sweet 100’s, but golden). Like you, a TJ’s basil plant is forever on our kitchen counter (with another plunked in the ground). I’m pretty sure we could live on caprese salad. We’ve even made our own mozzarella (albeit with mixed results–one batch we dubbed it “squeaky cheese”). Tomato season is about the only time we eat bacon, because, well, a BLT with a homegrown tomato is all I have to say about that. I have yet to try something called Tik Tok pasta that sounds wonderful: roast cherry tomatoes with a block of feta cheese in a 400-degree oven until the tomatoes burst and the cheese softens, then increase the temp to 450 until it’s all golden, then add some finely grated garlic, smash the tomatoes and stir in cooked pasta, creating a creamy sauce. Add your favorite protein if desired. I think it was a recipe that Annie shared on MLT some time ago???
I love your Meanderings! Such a treat with my coffee on a Saturday afternoon.
Hi Sarah, That’s a good idea to keep a record or garden journal of what works..I am going to look for Better Boy (easy one!) and Sungold. Love those yellow ones. I may have had them last year.. See I too need a journal! We make caprese and BLTs all the time in summer. Wow you guys are advanced trying your own mozzarella! Lol so funny about squeaky cheese. I will have to tell the hubs. Thank you for that Tik Tok pasta recipe. I will look for it and if Annie did it maybe I can find there. That has to be amazing! Thank you so much for the tips. Love this. Enjoy your weekend too!
I love everything about this post Kim ( you write so well) but especially the part about your dad and his love of gardening! He reminds me so much of my mum … I had many similar experiences growing up. Just love that Jackson had inherited your dads passion and I bet your dad does too! Can’t wait to try your peach, tomato and mozzarella salad …. Yum!
So great to see your friend Elaine’s house … it’s gorgeous. I just love how they’ve renovated the front and the orange door!!
Great white jeans too … I bought a similar pair from Boden a month or so ago.
Actually so many great things that I could go on until my comment is as long as your post lol
I really look forward to your Saturday Meanderings 💕 and to reading Juliet’s and Elizabeth’s posts too.
Thanks again for all your hard work and research!
Hope you’re having a great weekend.
Rosemary how nice your mum gardened too! Love to hear more about her. I thought Elaine’s home looked so great too. Boden is a great source for white jeans! I sometimes forget about them- and such nice quality. Thanks for your note! It just so sweet of you to comment.xo
Me again! Lol Just needed to add that I loved to read Pamela’s family history about Stanford and also your recommendations of places to eat and shop … I’m definitely making a note in case we ever make it there. On past visits we’ve just driven by but now I’m thinking we should stop and have a look around!
Isn’t that amazing? Yes you have to get to Stanford and Palo Alto is really a lovely spot!!
Kim, reading this post reminds me of sitting down with my favorite magazines. You have everything I love. Gardening(although it is not my strong suit), fashion, white jeans(love them), food, the salad looks scrumptious, travel, and books oh and before and afters! Elaine’s house does not even look like the same place, it is stunning and welcoming. I love walking, that is my favorite way to spend a few hours. Especially if I can eat a scrumptious,ptious sandwich at the end and them bowser for books! we are kindred spirits, you, I and Juliet. It is amazing how much we all have in common.
My favorite part of the post…your dad and your stories of growing up and gardening with him. How wonderful to have him so close to spend time with and for advice on gardening. My old yoga studio had a community garden and I loved weeding it, planting and harvesting.
Thank you for being a part of weekend meanderings! It has been so much fun getting to know both you and Juliet better and to learn from you both. Have a wonderful weekend Kim!
Elizabeth, what a nice thing to say.Wow we really sound so similar. One day you Juliet and I will have to meet up. I know thank you I am so lucky to have my dad help me and his influence on us all about growing good things! How fun your yoga studio had a little garden. Wow nice idea.
Thank you Elizabeth for creating this opportunity for us to do this. I am truly grateful! xo
Julie Topkis Nason says
Curious how the mother white jeans fit as I find the Jean version stretch a ton so I order down a size but white I usually order up a size. How do the weekend ditchers fit? Love to order!! Thank you. Enjoy your Sunday.
Julie, So they run slightly large in the Ditcher style I bought. I am usually a 27 and went with a 28, which feels nice. They don’t stretch out much and keep their shape, but are comfortable!
Hope that helps! xx
Sandr Sallin says
So many great ideas. My question is how do you get the soap in the ???? so you can spray the plants. I’ve read that Dawn is good but how? If only 20 minutes would make a difference in my weeding? Really enjoyed your post.
Thanks Sandra! I use a soap that is one cup of white vinegar with three cups of water and then add about half a teaspoon of dishwashing soap to help it stick to the plants. There are other easy natural garden pest sprays to make on this website..
Hope that helps.
LA CONTESSA says
SORRY I READ ON MY PHONE AND NOW HAVE FORGOTTEN MY QUESTIONS!
I cannot type of sit at computer for long time……….
Your DAD was so cute!
Oh I love hiss little photo. He looks the same I think! xo
Annie Diamond says
I was just going through your post, reading about your white jeans, clicking over to buy a pair (as one does), loving your garden and your friend’s new orange door, and bam….I see my shop! Thank you so much! You are such a good friend!
Oh my gosh Kim there are so many good ideas here! I LOVE your friend’s front door. Well her whole house looks fabulous. I have been on the hunt for white jeans. I have heard so many good things about Mother, but have not found a pair that is flattering on me yet maybe if I lost a few pounds. I need to find out what tomatoes do well for you. We have a great spot for tomatoes. I just have to get them planted!!