A great new book with fresh ideas on kitchen renovations, our stay at the historic Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, easy chic shorts, a glamorous outdoor birthday bash, and chat about the Barbie movie..
Are you thinking of remodeling your kitchen or updating it? Before you go on Pinterest and see a million white perfect kitchens, you need to read Uncommon Kitchens by former House Beautiful editor, Sophie Donelson.
This book shows you how the heart of the home can be fun, different and not so generic. We don’t need to choose a white counter and a white backsplash!
There are so many options, but when you start the remodel process, we all tend to go with the safe options. The best for resale options. Forget that and create a home that feel authentically you. That’s what these people have done.. The advice in this book is new and fun.
A few photos from the book..
There’s something about a cluttered Downton Abbey style old kitchen that is so appealing to me.. Also lovely are the streamlined modern ones with fresh colors and rustic touches..
The book has excellent advice about getting out of the cookie cutter box called the kitchen and creating something totally different. None of the appliances and cabinets are set in stone and it is freeing to consider the possibilities. Many of these kitchen were remodels where the original kitchen was left intact and tweaked.. The interviews with the designers and owners give you so many lightbulb moments.. Like that kitchen choices are not irreversible there are many ways to change things up for a new look!
On My Radar Chic Shorts..
During summer I’m usually a sundress person, but with the elastic waist pull on short that is everywhere, many very chic looking, I have been spending a lot of this summer in shorts. They are just so comfy!
I especially love the ones in gauze material that require zero ironing like these from Madewell..now on sale..
One look I have been wearing a lot are the Rails Leighton short and top in cream ( I also have the top in black. I wear Medium.) I love these little tops which are supposedly cropped, but on my 5’4 frame they just work with mid-rise to high waist pants and shorts… They come in a variety of colors.
How cute is the same short and top in blue? The Hibiscus color with the long sleeve top is also so good. I bought these shorts in small as they run slightly big. The gauze is so good for hot weather and travel.
Short sets have been on my radar. I’m seeing them all over. Matching sets reminds me of the Slim Aarons’ pics from decades past. I’d add cute sandals and jewelry to these and wear them out for evening too.
I found more cute pull-on shorts at Target and most are no longer online, but these tan animal print shorts are and I love the big pockets. Very comfy..
By the way, my legs are not great, have cellulite, broken veins and lots of scars. I really stopped caring about them being perfect! You have to wear what feels good to you, but I think we’ve moved to a place where we don’t need to have 20 year old legs to wear shorts. Find a length and style that feels good to you.
For the pale legs, I can’t deal with the smell of self tanner, but have used the daily Jergens Daily one before for a little color. Juliet shared on our LIVE this week she uses the Loreal Glotion bronzer and so have I, which can just rub in like lotion and it gives a bit of a glow and blur which is nice if you feel you need color.
The Claremont Hotel
Have you stayed at the Claremont Hotel before? Last week Max and I were invited to a special birthday party for my friend Elizabeth. It was an evening soirée, so we stayed at a hotel as she lives more than an hours drive away. Both Juliet and Elizabeth live in Orinda, and they recommended the Claremont. I was excited to see this historic and beautiful hotel in person!
The area where the hotel is situated captures a stunning view of the San Francisco Bay and the skyline of San Francisco. The site with 13,000 acres was originally bought in the mid 19th century by William Thornburgh, who became wealthy from the Gold Rush and built a castle like home. A fire destroyed all the area, and it was sold it all to an investors who envisioned a luxury resort. Building was begun in 1906, and opened in time for 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Exposition.
The famous spa and tennis courts were added in later years, as well as a rail link called the Key Line, that ran out the back steps of the hotel over the Bay Bridge to San Francisco in 1939, which was removed with so many other rail lines in the late 50’s. More about the hotel history here and here. The hotel is now run by Fairmont and has great service and we thought the food was excellent too.
We booked a Deluxe Room, which was not inexpensive….Still when we checked in, our room faced a roof full of air conditioning units and a dark hillside. I called down and very politely asked for a change. The people at the desk asked if I’d be willing to throw down another $100 for a great room with a view, and I acquiesced. I figured I was already out a bit what’s another $100?
We wandered the grounds while that room was getting prepped.. We checked out the fantastic pool and health club, a cute snack spot and the main restaurant…It was an unusually hot day and the pool was full of families, many who belong to this as a club.
When we returned the kind lady at the desk gave us the key and to our surprise gave us the Tower Suite! That’s the top room which has it’s own rooftop patio… Big enough for a party. We couldn’t believe it! We were thrilled and then realized we had to scramble and get ready for the party.. I wore a vintage Trina Turk I’ve had and love.
In the morning we choose to order room service so we could spend more time in our very cool room. We watched the fog roll in and out with our coffee and the zillion dollar view of the Bay and SF skyline! The smoothies were excellent.
So the moral is I guess, always ask nicely for a better room? I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful historic hotel. If you can, ask for the Tower Suite because it may not be occupied like the night we were there.
If we had more time, we would have tried the spa and the restaurant. It’s a beautiful spot for a night away and exploring cool Berkeley. After checking out, we took a meander through the darling town. It’s been too long and I had forgotten about all the charming streets and ivy covered homes.
Our friend Elizabeth, who we call the Contessa, had a lovely outdoor garden dinner party for her 63rd birthday. It was in her favorite colors green, yellow and orange and guests and her tables were adorned in the color. Elizabeth and her husband Giampiero are the best hosts. More about it on my Instagram this week, and on Elizabeth’s blog with all the details- flowers, her beautiful dishes and linens and her opera photo op…. here!
Elizabeth in sequins with Giampiero..and her stunning table. Don’t you love the colors? Guys were instructed to wear boutonieres and ladies caftans.
I was excited Max got to meet Juliet’s husband Jim and Giampiero. So many lovely people it was an unforgettable night in true Contessa style!
I think as we get older the most fun may be to throw your own party. Take a cue from Elizabeth and style your own party, with your favorites colors, food, music and with those you love!
The Barbie Movie
Our weekend was so busy and fun and we rushed back to catch the Barbie movie as Jackson’s girlfriend Kristin bought us all tickets a few weeks prior. She asked us all to wear some pink and the guys complied too. Griffin was home for a few days so we all went along with her family. It was good people watching – many dressed in pink and I have not seen so many women at a movie in a long while.
One of the most entertaining parts of the film is seeing the sets which were built like a real Barbie doll house size and 23% smaller than ordinary furniture as Barbie’s dream house it. They did a fantastic job and there was no computer graphics which is hard to believe.
The message was a good one.. lots to think about. Some hilarious parts and Ryan Gosling was excellent as Ken. A part that stuck with me- Barbie ( Margot Robie) must leave her stilettos behind and wear Birkenstocks to journey to the real world.. and then its shocked to see it’s not run by women, but rather men. For Ken it’s a dream and he can’t wait to share the patriarchal world he finds with the other Kens. Yikes.
We still live in a patriarcial world. Men are most of the leaders of the world. Men are the reason for our wars and political strife. If women ran the world, I believe we’d be in a much better place. That’s what was on my brain when I went home that night. What is stopping us from running the world and why its it taking so long? Why are men in our own country trying to turn the clock back on everything?
I’m curious to hear your thoughts if you went.
Home of the week..
Finally more homes are up for sale and I had some time to peruse and this little gem in Carmel by the Sea is a dream. If I won the lotto, I’d buy this place in an instant. I love the beautiful windows, pretty kitchen and multiple patios and decks…
On Tuesday’s post, I joined my dear pal Annie of Most Lovely things for her Tartine Tuesday using California plums and apricots. My blog and recipe here– and Annie’s with strawberries and goat cheese here.
If you missed last weekend’s post, I shared, Slim Aarons’ beautiful photography, and choosing wallpaper for bedrooms.
Thanks for being here and have a lovely weekend!
Please visit my pals Elizabeth and Juliet’s blogs..
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