It’s time for weekend meander.. with my pals Elizabeth and Juliet! On this post, a book all about finding French Joie, a chic woven tote, rattan hurricanes and the cutest inexpensive sandals you need for summer.
How was your week? We have had some really lovely weather. I’ve been paddling around barefoot in the yard and putting in some new plants and flowers. I feel positively euphoric after this long dark winter. I finally got some pretty plants for the front porch and I asked Instagram pals what survives hot weather… This spot get so much heat in the afternoon. Thanks to everyone’s suggestions, I ended up with these fabulous geraniums that were at my local OSH.
I was advised to try marigolds, succulents, dianthus, lobelia, sunpatiens, and lavender. Our garden center had such slim pickings though geraniums were all I could find. They were huge and lovely, so I hope they will survive. I also put in some kangaroo paws and another hummingbird favorites like yarrow in a few pots on the porch. I love seeing the porch with flowers and birds!
Guys, I have to be totally honest, my beautiful California native front yard was looking like an abandoned lot after all the rains. We do NOT use poisons or weed killers, so it was quite the train wreck. I found a wonderful garden guy who is helping me and Max maintain it, but it’s been a rough patch. It’s finally looking a bit normal, but it’s been a battle. I had no idea al this rain could wreak havoc.
Next week I will start my tomatoes in the garden, so if you were waiting for the right time, my gardener dad says next week we should be good one to begin digging for us garden peeps here in California! So start getting your beds ready.
What is it about the French? All I have to do is read a few paragraphs about how they live and I can feel my blood pressure lower.
Last week I ordered the new book Joie, by Ajiri Aki. I follow her Instagram and was reading a bit about the book on Vogue. I clicked over to read the book sample and was hooked. It’s a lovely book, filled with little encouragements to take some cues from the French and live a less fraught, less hurried life with the goal of finding the ‘joie’ in all the little things.
Ajiri is so fun and relatable. She’s an American of Nigerian descent who grew up in Texas, and spent time in New York before landing in Paris where she married a German and is raising her darling kids. Many things in this book remind us to slow down and stop rushing through life! This book also made me laugh. I loved her story of getting baguettes for the French parents at the super marche instead of a bakery (to their horror), and also wondering why people had so much time to hang out and socialize, when there was work to do. So American!
My takeaway from this book is to stop stressing about everything. Take more time for loafing and smelling the flowers. It’s good for the soul. We have no chill here. The tips on beauty.. the French love themselves as they are.. wrinkles and flaws included.. We need to wear less makeup, let hair dry naturally, dress to appreciate the bodies we have and feel good in our own skin! We Americans try too hard and it shows. Frankly, I’m ready to try try the French method. Check back if I start looking like a street person in a few months… just kidding! Let’s all try and be more French shall we?
This book would be a lovely gift for Mother’s Day or a friend. You can buy it here and follow Ajiri here on Instagram and where she sells her French tabletop treasures at Madame de la Maison. She will be in the Bay Area next weekend signing books- in Oakland at Sweet July and at SF’s Hudson Grace, if you’d like to meet her. More on that here.
Speaking of France…. Max and I are going to try and throw together a trip in early summer there. We had a trip planned last fall, but Max and his entire team was laid off where he worked and we were sort of unsure about going as he had to interview for other positions. He began a new job in January and we are hoping to do the trip we had planned to Paris and Loire Valley…
I am mentioning because I am wondering if anyone has recommendations for towns or hotels they like in those spots? We stayed in an apartment in Paris years ago, but have not been to the Loire region! You guys always know the best places and have great tips, so thank you for anything you have!
On my radar
I was inspired by the Joie book and went and bought myself some flowers for the week and this little yellow bunch ( sorry I don’t know name) for $5.99 from Trader Joes of course, made me feel so happy and still are each time I walk into my office!
I have had the hurricane I used as a vase here for a long time. The closest I could find that was a decent price was this at Wayfair. It would be pretty with a candle in it when not being used as a vase, or even as a utensils and spoon holder on a kitchen counter.
Jeffery Campbell makes fun shoes and his take on the Gucci sandal in rubber is really cute for $44 and in four colors, I can’t decide which to get! It’s the perfect little shoe to tuck in a bag for a getaway, for poolside, or with a pretty pedicure and white jeans…without the Gucci price. Anthro has all four colors. Shop all his cool shoes here.
I was at the mall last weekend and saw this uber cute tote. I thought it was a Valentino with it’s puckered look, but it’s actually an AllSaints and I love the two tones and that it has both shoulder straps and handles. This might be my new go to bag for the warmer months. More color variations here.
I know I shared this H&M dress last week and I was excited to already get to wear it. I had it on all day Friday and it’s super comfy. It may be my favorite little day dress in the closet right now. I am going to order a black or pink version before it sells out..like the blue stripe has already. I bought a Medium and I am 5’4 and 138 pounds. The sewing and material are very nice and the sleeves make this a more expensive looking piece, but what a great grab and go everyday dress!
Keep Tahoe Blue- the history behind it
Max forwarded me this terrific article on the history of the Keep Tahoe Blue stickers and the foundation and history behind it. Did you know back in the 50’s they proposed a high speed freeway ringing the lake, housing for 500,000, and a bridge over Emerald Bay? Once they realized the clarity of our mountain lake was vulnerable – science and those in the community got together. What they have built and protected is impressive. Read the fascinating history here.. and you can follow @KeepTahoeBlue .
Japan Travel & Packing
If you missed it, I had fun this week sharing a guest post on travel to Japan, by my dear friend Jeanne Chan, who just came back. She has been there before and knows what to pack, where to go and shop, and most important, some of the tricks and tips for travel there.
Did you know that Japan really has no public trash cans and that you have to bring your own towel or hanky for the bathrooms? So many interesting things.. Read Jeanne’s travelogue and good travel tips here.
And if you have a getaway to Mexico don’t miss Juliet’s post last week on what to pack here!
On last weekend’s post, I shared thoughts on Earth Day, a new Ethos stores, the perfect spring and summer sandal, an empowering book, a charming San Diego beach house, and thoughts on the Brooke Shield’s documentary.
Have a beautiful weekend,
Please visit my pals Elizabeth and Juliet’s blogs..
MAKE MINE A SPRITZER
PINECONES AND ACORNS
If you’d like to get an email when I publish, please subscribe to the blog here for a post in your inbox a few times a month and every Saturday for Weekend Meanderings.
Some links will generate a small commission here, which helps make this blog possible. Thanks so much for your support!
Hi Kim, check out instagram account Pretty Pink Tulips. Elizabeth just got back from Paris and has mentioned where she stayed in Paris. And few other things to do.
Thanks so much Rita! I so appreciate it!
Mary Ann Pickett says
What a wonderful book! I’m going to order it. Love those flip flops, too.
Interesting about Japan. I was there years ago…only to Tokyo. Would love to go back.
Take care, Kim!
Mary Ann, I think you’d love it! I thought you may have been to Japan! xo
La contessa says
Years ago I stayed at a charming hotel in Paris let me see if I kept in a file!
You will LOVE THAT TRIP TO THE CHATEAU COUNTRY!
I did that with my boyfriend in my early 20’s !
We drove around in an old car starts with a P and slept in Hay lofts!
Do the guided tours you will learn much more.
The Europeans know how to LIVE!
In the early 1990’s we paid for plastic bags at the grocery stores!So everyone kept them and brought them back to re*use!NO WASTE!
Elizabeth, See if you can find your Paris spot! Did you really do the Loire with a boyfriend? How wonderful. I agree I dig going on a few tours while traveling. Wow Europeans were really ahead with the recycling and waste even back then.. xo
Hi Kim, I enjoy reading your blog. We must live in the same area. I enjoy seeing places to visit that are local to me; yet I’ve never visited. As for flowers, try Half Moon Bay Nursery. I was the a couple of weeks ago and they had lots to choose from. They also had marigolds. They had several varieties of tomatoes. When you’re done drive into HMB and go to the Benito House for a sandwich. Sit in the sun and enjoy the live music. (Music on the weekends.)
Hi Rachel! Yes I live in the South Bay.. Thank you! I haven’t been to Half Moon Bay Nursery for a long time and I forget how great it is. I think I have been to the Benito House too… What a fun idea for a day out. I love that!
My husband and I are signed up with Loire Brakes for a farmhouse stay and electric bike ride through the Loire Valley. We are going in September and we’re really looking forward to it! Check it out.
Then we will go to our petite maison in Provence, as we do every year. I just love the mindset and joie de vivre of the French!
A la prochaine!
Kathleen, That sounds really fun. I am off to check it out. I wonder if we have enough time.. It looks like they are one week excursions? Provence is so wonderful too! Merci beaucoup!x
Judith Magee says
The French do know how to live. When we bought our house there, we just had to have two hour lunch breaks as no where was open! It was wonderful, it really made us slow down. I love the fact that most shops still close on a Sunday! It’s so civilised.
We tend to stick to Brittany, last time I visited the Loire region I was badly bitten by mosquitoes walking by a r river early one evening, make sure you take some insect repellent!
Love the shoes, I hope Anthropology here has some! And I”ve ordered the book, you can never have too much inspiration on how to live a la françaises!
Judith, I love that you had to change to the two hour lunch, but I bet it was a nice thing! Agree Sunday closed is a nice way of making people gather and do other things on Sundays besides errands. Brittany is on my list. I have been ass far as Mont St Michel and Normandy..and down in Antibes and Provence.. I never thought about the mosquitos… good tip! I hope you enjoy the book!
Martha Foss says
Loved the H and M dress— of course the blue and white is sold out! It’s so cute. I loved your friends information about Japan. We were there for about 18 hours in between flights, but not enough to really get out and really see much if anything. It’s definitely a place we want to go to and spend some time. You will have a wonderful time in France.
Martha, I am wondering if they will restock the dress? Shoot. It is so perfectly easy I think I will get the back too.. I hope you get to get back to Japan! xx
Kim, maybe Gray ( State of Gray) can advise you regarding the Loire. She was on a ‘Galavant’ excursion and that group always stay in beautiful locations. Definitely on my bucket list to visit France again, so mulling over itineraries for 2024/ 25. ( just no where near Summer Olympics ! )
Also in the plans is another trip to San Francisco and beyond. You have previously provided great walking tours in SF you’ve done with Max. A slow driving trip appeals, down from coastal BC , sometime later on , when long haul flights to UK and Europe lose their appeal for these older travellers 🧳.
Hi Cath! Thanks I had forgotten Gray might have went. She’s been traveling a lot. Oh yes good time to plan next year, and maybe not near Olympic time..
If you get to SF let me know if you need recommendations. I like the idea of a drive down from BC! So much to see and you must stop near my husband’s hometown of Trinidad – a darling historic whaling port near Eureka. It’s the cutest town ever. xo Oh I hear you about those long flights!
It’s time! Oh my gosh … next week?! I’m caught off guard … will you ask your dad if I wait another week, is it ok – or a catastrophe?! You’re going to love geraniums. We’ve had great luck with them … they seem to do well in the heat and bloom continually through summer and fall. Same with lavender. And marigolds, I’m told, planted around tomatoes, will protect them from pests. I sound like I know what I’m talking about but I don’t. That linen-blend dress looks great on you … I love it. And I’m 100% in on doing things the French way … in fact, I’m letting my hair air dry right now. Ajiri Aki’s life sounds fascinating and I love this book already. Speaking of visiting France, I visited the Loire Valley in the 90’s and toured all the chateaus and I highly recommend. Magnifique! The champagne region is also amazing … and touring the caves (lots of WWII history) is fascinating. We’re really enjoying the warmer weather over here as well … I guess it’s cooling off next week but it’s been a wonderful shift after our never-ending winter. xo
Juliet, don’t worry you have time for the tomatoes… A few more weeks is good! Yes I tried marigolds in the garden once too! My dad recommends them.. The air drying thing.. I’m loving it with the hotter weather. How nice you have been to Loire.. I know we need to go. I’m down for champagne region too. So happy for the sun… xo
We stayed at the Hotel St. Jacques in the Latin Quarter in Paris, and highly recommend. It is right next door to the Sorbonne (so, all those lovely students milling about) and within walking distance of Notre Dame. The movie Charade was filmed next door.
I want to thank you for your blog. I’ve been subscribed for a while now, and am always excited when it shows up in my inbox, as you seem to enjoy all the things I do. (I was an interior designer for twenty years, and am a writer.) I live in Benicia, and if you were closer, I’d invite you for a lively lunch!
Keep up the good work.
Hi Cyndi! Thank you so much for the recommendation! I really appreciate it. I’ve always wanted to see the Sorbonne too. Love Charade! Wow thank you for the sweet words about the blog. That means so much.
Wonderful writing and you were in design too.. I bet we would have a lot to chat about! Maybe we will have to meet up someday! xo
Carol Heartfelt Whimsies says
I’m loving your blogposts! They are all so full of great info and pretty photos! It’s like having a pen pal who shares her best finds! Thank you!
Carol you are so kind! Thanks you made my day. xo
Hi Kim another wonderful blog post full of great tips and info. I was a little behind on reading and just caught up with last week’s post. Oh my your Dad’s new kitty Herbie is adorable! I love his name and hope he and your Dad are adjusting well. I bet he will be very happy there. I am so happy for you that you get to travel to France soon – how wonderful! I have never been to Europe – our dream trip to Italy was derailed by Covid but Hoping to get there next year. I bet the geraniums will love your front porch – my grandmother had a way with them and had several varieties. Enjoy this beautiful weather we are having – so nice to have the sun again!
Hi Michele! Thanks about Herb! He’s coming along.. You should go to Italy! You would love it and I have some great places and hotels if you need recommendations. Italy is sos easy by train and I think one of the less expensive countries too..But so wonderful.
I know hope the geraniums thrive out there! Enjoy the weather. So good isn’t it? x
Your geraniums and yellow flowers indoors look beautiful! I love geraniums, they are so hardy and you can over winter them!
As for the yellow flowers, they are a wonderful pick me up for rainy and sunny days! They look like such a happy color.
I planted 1 tomato plant, 8 peppers(for my husband), 2 white potatoes, and 12 sweet potatoes, as well as herbs. As I mentioned in my post, the deer are eating the sweet potatoes. I hope they leave at least 1 plant alone so that I can have a few measly sweet potatoes.
Love the H&M dress on you! It is a great go to day dress!
I love Paris and the Loire Valley! What are your plans for the Loire Valley? I’ve been to several to the Chateaux and would be happy to share a few favorites.
I too bought Joie! Mine arrived a few days ago. And I loved her interview! I could not agree more about letting go of the make-up, hair, etc. Not only do we try too hard, we set unrealistic expectations for looks on ourselves and the women in our lives. Social media does not help either.
I’ve never been to Japan and cannot wait to read the post. It sounds fascinating.
Have a beautiful and wonderful weekend. Enjoy the sun and spring weather!
Elizabeth, I love Joie. So true about how we set unrealistic expectations for other women by trying too hard to be perfect! Social media is also part of the problem.. Gosh I am so sorry about the deer. Sounds like you have a good start to the garden. Who knew these pesky deer could be so damaging!
I hope you are having a lovely week with your mom… Yes let me know what you think of Jeanne’s Japan post! xo
Linda Salazar says
Our library had the Joie book so I have it on hold. (I usually spend my $ on interior design books lol) Sounds like something I should read right now!
Cute dress, I still have a few pieces from the H&M J.P. & Baker collaboration that I purchased years ago. I thought the quality wasn’t bad. Last year I purchased an off the shoulder navy blue and white striped blouse from Target. It’s one of my favorite Summer tops!
Now that my tennis elbow is finally healing from my weed pulling marathon I am hoping to get outside again tomorrow, will definitely have to pace myself when it comes to the weeds! We were at the nursery today and seeing all the pretty plants was very motivating.
Linda, Good idea to get it from the library! Yep I think this is a nicely made piece from H&M! Love the off the shoulder blouses! Gosh I also have tennis elbow – and WEEDS! Not a good combo. Hopefully we can distract ourselves with pretty plants once we manage the weeds. xo
Linda Salazar says
I found some good exercises on YouTube for the tennis elbow. Although I did not do them consistently every day, they did seem to help. Also a PT on YT said to try and sleep with your arm straight if you are a back sleeper since having it on your chest in a bent position can aggravate it. I assume yours is from actually playing tennis and not pulling weeds? Or maybe both!
Linda thank you! I am trying the videos and the sleeping idea.. Yes mine is from typing on the computer and tennis- both bad! xo
I recommend La Dilecta B&B Amboise. http://www.ladilecta.com/?fbclid=PAAaZiyeF14Au_Fhpc9bh5tBoNO7PGl5kz5bUiZSEpU50cHE7arBUgztVHKbU
Incredible hosts and a beautiful B and B. It will be the best accommodation of the trip.
Annie thank you so much! You are so kind. Going to check it out now. xo
Francesca B says
Wonderful post thank you! I went to the Loire Valley years ago with my best friend, before husbands and children so thirty plus years ago, and we had bicycles and got seriously lost and at one point ended up on the motorway ! Crazy times but the area is incredible. Happy week !
Francesca, How wonderful to go with a friend! That sounds like a fun memory.. I always love getting lost places. It makes for the best stories.
Have a lovely week too. x
Hi Kim! Love the sound of the book! I definitely need to learn to chill more in life! I have been using a line of French skincare products for the past 9 months or so, and I love them! (I shared two of them in this week’s blog post.) You always share the best casual chic clothes — wish that was the vibe here in Maine. It is mostly just casual, haha! Have a great week!
Molly like don’t we all? More chill.. that’s my goal. Okay will get over to your blog and read about the French skincare! xx
Annie Diamond says
Kim, I am intrigued by that book, you know how much we love France! Love your dress! You are so cute!
And you front porch pots look amazing!!
Thank you Annie! It’s a fun book. I hope my plants survive! xo
The Geraniums you purchased are beautiful, it looks like you selected purple. I love purple, I don’t recall ever seeing purple geranium’s. We had two huge hanging geraniums for twenty five years. In fact my Mr. Gardener won awards because they were so beautiful. Unfortunately because we could not transport them any longer to cooler climate they did not survive. It was a very sad day when we could not save them. As a general rule they do not like intense heat. A plant you may want to consider in the future is “vinca” they usually can thrive in the heat. You probably know all this. Just trying to be helpful.
Love the yellow flowers you purchased at Trader Joe’s.
Love the way Joie book was created, just a fabulous way of living and being. If I see you on the national news I will know you took the a la natural look too far. 😊 I relate to all of it. All a lady needs is a little blush and some colorful lipstick. De stressing is a healthy thing to do. My saying that I try to live by, “too blessed to be stressed.” Easier said than done.
You look darling, so relaxed in the blue and white striped dress.
Be safe and have a wonderful week.
Your pist are the BEST! I always feel inspired after reading your post. I too am an advocate for slowing down and bringing back pretty into our lives with simple pleasures. I think I need to get this book. We stayed two weeks in Parisian the 7 th through Paris Perfect Apartments. It was a beautiful apartment and we got to do all the sight seeing and experience the French lifestyle. Each evening we’d get cheese fruit and baguettes and sit at the dining table and talk about our day and look at each others pictures we took. It was a dream trip. You look adorable in your blue dress. I love your style so relaxed and California! Those yellow flowers are definitely happy flowers💛🌼. Geraniums are wonderful plants for the heat. My Grandpa grew them and Grandma always had a few cut flowers in a small case in her kitchen window. I always remember thinking how pretty that looked. Thank you for your beautiful inspiration Kim! 😘🌼💛
Thanks Kathy! You inspire me also with your uplifting posts on Insta and am so glad we connected.. I stayed in a Paris apartment back in 2007 and it night have been the same company! How wonderful you did that..Great memories! I think everyone should. SO funny may grandma was a huge geranium fan and always had them and little vases in her kitchen window too! xo
Karen L. says
I wanted to let you know I LOVED the Rails
dresses you wrote about a couple weeks ago. I
tried on several at Nordstrom Mission Viejo and
bought two! Also, I purchased the white
Madewell kick-out jean (which is on backorder)
in petite because they were too long, even at
5’7 tall. Super cute.
Keep the recommendations coming! I love your
blog for classic fashion advice and of course everything Northern California which I dearly miss. Ok, I’ll stop saying that over and over, ha. Have a great rest of your week!
Oh-l am loving the All Saints purse suggestion. I have their leather jacket which I wore all over London and Paris last year.
Karen so glad the Rails dresses worked out! I love mine too… Wow can’t believe the Madewell jean is so long! Wonder what they were thinking? Good to know. Thanks for reporting back! I know I am ordering the AllSaints bag too..I bet that jacket looked fab. They have some beautiful things. Aw thank you Karen for the kind words. Glad us Northern Cal gals have similar taste. That is sort of my goal! xo
I am so late to the party reading this. I must check out that book. We are hoping to travel in the fall if Steve’s ankle heels. So interesting about the keep tahoe blue…you look adorable in that dress from H&M!!