Things I’m Digging – Men’s Addition

Things I’m Digging – Men’s Addition

2016 Men’s gift ideas

Hi you…. What a moon last night! It makes me smile to know we are all looking at the same one. The world feels smaller and the space between us a whole lot closer when you picture it that way.


I have been collecting some gift ideas … thought i’d share a few favorites.



 Did you know that Titanium is the best metal for beverage containers because it doesn’t produce any metal taste? It’s also one of the strongest metals and has a really manly and superhero-ish name. 




I just discovered this company because they kindly sent me a press release telling me about their super cool, fully weatherproof day pack that fits into your palm. Now that glove boxes are no longer storing maps, there is room for one (or more) of these for those unexpected stops to the farmers market or wherever.



There is nothing like perfectly fitted clothing to up your game from good to outstanding. I take most of my clothes to a seamstress who often makes suggestions I didn’t even think of. The end result are clothes that fit me exactly. This shirting company has literally mastered how to do it online. Forget going to Hong Kong to get your custom shirts – you can now get the same hand tailored fit, and luxurious fabrics from the comfort of your own home. Be sure to take a look at the 2016 Flannel Shirt Collection –  so comfy and cozy.



Simply fantastic products. A guy’s shower staple. 



Speaking of shower and bathroom products, the masculine packaging of this company will appeal to those Y chromosome bearing loves in your life.



Not everyone has a turntable (formerly known as a record player) but for those who do, this is a great gift. I love blank-of-the-month gifts, don’t you?  They are the gift that keeps on giving. What’s particularly fun about this record-of-the-month club is that each record comes with a poster based on the album and a cocktail recipe to match the vibe.



 A special gift but worth it. Other finishes available, as well as headphones too. 

Next post – fall fashion…. see you soon.





Giving Thanks and Turkey Day Around Here

Giving Thanks and Turkey Day Around Here

Thanksgiving 2015

Hi my loves. Over the past two weeks I've started and stopped 3 very different blog posts. Each one is timely – a super cute recently completed project, my latest fashion obsession and a gorgeous interiors trend I see emerging, but none more timely than a post on gratitude… So this post, for now, trumps the others. I promise not to get preachy on how easy it is to forget the little things that we can take for granted – a smile from a stranger, time carved out to exercise, your kids not having anything major going on, good genuine people surrounding you and the list goes on… But I will say that I am paying extra attention to these little things and allowing the goodness in the world that can easily go unnoticed, to really sink in.

So on this Thanksgiving, as I have for the past five, I would like to express my gratitude for your reading, encouraging and supporting me and FarmHouseUrban all these years. I so appreciate each and every one of you!

Happy Thanksgiving!



On to Thanksgiving and what we're up to! First off, Luke is home!  We are hosting our good friends who were one of the first families we met when we moved to California nine years ago. 

I know from previous posts on holiday entertaining that you, like me, enjoy festive table settings, so here is a round up of some that inspired my table this year and got me excited for more holiday dinners with friends and family. Salute!

Ina table - town and country

Ina Garten (aka Barefoot Contessa)










For more table setting inspiration, click here

Our Thanksgiving Table…





Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day weekend get-away ideas and gifts

Hi to you. So Valentine’s Day is a week away and as such, here are some ideas for the makings of a supremely romantic February 14th and beyond….


1. A Destination Not Too Far Away. Getting out of town to somewhere new and tucked away with your special person is so romantic — an unfamiliar environment to explore, hotel sheets and the anticipation of what awaits…

Brewery Gulch Inn, Mendocino, CA

A few weeks ago I got an email promotion for a Valentine's Day package at this charming inn in the coastal town of Mendocino. I'd never heard of it, but bookmarked it for a possible future weekend get-away. The promotion is sold out, but it did get the wheels turning to prompt me to write this post…



They've compiled a fantastic itinerary of activities in the area. Check it out here.

2. Love Songs. This is my playlist. Start playing this in the car on the way…

John Legend – All of Me 

Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight

Wings/Paul McCartney – Maybe I'm amazed

Journey – Faithfully

Oasis – Wonderwall

Bruno Mars – Just the way you are

Joe Cocker – You are so beautiful

George Michael – Father figure

Diana Ross & Lionel Richie – Endless Love (the theme song to the movie – also my first date ever)

Billy Joel – Just the way you are

Roberta Flack – Killing me softly (well, it's technically probably not a love song, but the melody is great. Lauren Hill and the Fugees did a remake and it's equally fantastic.)

Peter Gabriel – In your eyes

Marvin Gaye – Let's get it on

Michael Bolton singing the Percy Sledge song – When a man loves a woman

Barry White – You're my first, my last, my everything

The Rolling Stones – Wild Horses

Dido – Thank you


3. Small Tokens. It's the little things that count – or at least they should. Forget the red heart-shaped box. 

Chocolove XOXO  I'm addicted to them. As an added bonus, they also tuck a love note into each wrapper. Here are my three favorites (the first one is the #1 selling chocolate bar in the US)





Glassybaby. One of my Top Ten gifts to give and receive, these pretty votives come in every color of the rainbow. Below are the selected Valentine's Day offerings.





Eberjey - This line of affordable lingerie offers a beautiful selection of tasteful yet sexy pieces. 


4. Love Notes. A handwritten note or doodle from and to the one you love.  So much better than a text.



Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you get all the love and chocolate your heart desires!




Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth!

Happy Birthday USA!

As many Americans did this morning in their own hometowns, my daughter Lily and I attended our local 4th of July Parade. 

While every part of the country is unique and each parade reflects the local community, most 4th of July parades have the same basic elements. Here's how we roll in Northern California…

An official parade Grand Master…

Parade motorcycle

Fire trucks…


Fire truck

The High School Football team…

Parade - Redwood

A marching band…

G&L marching band

A couple a tanks…

Parade - tanks

The local art school…


We got into the spirit too at my little shop just down the street a few blocks…

FarmHouseUrban - 4th of July

Aren't mid-week holidays awesome?  Happy Fourth of July everyone!

It’s cookie time!

It’s cookie time!

The first cookie exchange party I attended was when my son (now 16) was in Kindergarten. This group of ladies took their cookies seriously! If delicious cookies presented Martha-style was not enough, the hostess decked out her castle-like house in over the top holiday decor creating a winter wonderland so beautiful it would make Ebeneezer Scrooge melt. Everyone brought a designated amount of cookies, allowing each guest to take home a equal amounts of everyone's contribution. The math involved must have been mind boggling! The best part of course, was coming home with a platter of the most divine holiday cookies. 

Moving from Seattle means I sadly no longer get to attend this event (actually no one does, the hostess moved to Florida…), but I got to thinking about it the other day and decided to ask a couple of my best baker girlfriends to contribute their favorite cookies to a virtual cookie party!

The first cookie on the table is from my friend Teri.  She is an extraordinary baker and I beg her constantly to grace the world with her talents and open a bakery!

Sugar Cookies topped with Frosting and Crushed Peppermint

Teri's sugar cookies
If you are interested in the recipe, please email me and I will get it from Teri!

The table from a cookie party that Teri attended:

Teri's cookie table

Next up is a cookie from my friend Vanessa who lives in Seattle and works for  If you are not familiar with this website – you will LOVE it.  One of my favorite things about it is that readers can share their photos of the recipes they've tried.  

Raspberry and Almond Shortbread Thumbprints

Raspberry almond shortbread cookies
I love anything with almond flavor, so I can't wait to try these! For the recipe and the page with the readers photos of their version of the above cookie, click here

I also wanted to share a program AllRecipes has organized called Cookies Across America:

'Join Allrecipes this December to “bake a difference.”Cookie lovers unite! Whether it’s baking and sharing cookies with the needy or donating cookie ingredients to a food bank, you can make a difference in your community this Christmas.

On December 10, 2011, join Allrecipes, Taste of Home magazine, and Nestlé®, as we spread a little Christmas cookie cheer across America. Here are a few ways to get involved.

Host a Cookie Exchange

If you love baking cookies and gathering with friends and family, this is the event for you. Take the pledge and join us, December 10, 2011, or set your own date during December, and have everyone bring a few dozen of their favorite holiday cookies. Make it a decorating party! Add icing and festive touches. 

Then wrap up your cookies for donation and give them to a local food pantry, emergency shelter, senior center, lunch program, or other community agency. Be sure to check first they accept food donations, and ask when they would like delivery.


Organize a Food Drive

Host a food drive that focuses on baking ingredients, then donate items to your local food bank. Open up the food drive to friends, family, and coworkers, along with school, church, and other groups.

Ingredients Most in Need:




Peanut Butter


White Sugar

Brown Sugar

Powdered Sugar


Baking Soda

Baking Powder


Where to Donate?


Food pantries, family shelters, senior centers

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

The Ronald McDonald House

 My contribution is a simple one, but sooo good.  


Classic Shortbread
FarmHouseUrban photos
Here's the recipe:
2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/4 t. coarse salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted, room temp butter
3/4 c. confectioner's sugar
1. Sift flour + salt into a bowl. Put butter into electric mixer w/ the paddle attachment/ Mix on med-high speed until fluffy (about 3-5 mins) scrapping the bowl occasionally. Gradually add sugar, beat until pale and fluffy (about 2 mins). Add flour mixture all at once; mix until just combined.
2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
3. Using plastic wrap, press dough into a buttered 10-inch fluted tart pan w/ a removeable bottom. With plastic wrap on dough, refrigerate 20 mins. Remove plastic wrap. Cut a round from center using a 2 1/4" cookie cutter; discard. Put cutter back in center. Cut dough into 8 wedges (I did 16) w/ a paring knife. Using a wooden skewer; prick all over at 1/4 inch intervals.
4. Bake until golden brown and firm in center; about 1 hour. Transfer to wire rack. Recut shortbread into wedges; let cool completely in pan. 

This recipe is from my all-time favorite cookie cookbook – 'Martha Stewart's Cookies'.
Martha stewarts cookies bookI love this book for two reasons:
1.  In the table of contents there is a photo of every single cookie in the book.
2. They are organized in chapters based on cookie texture; ie, crumbly and sandy (shortbread above), rich and dense, and crisp and crunchy, just to name a few.  

I hope you enjoy the cookies, and if you care to share in the recipe swap, email me a photo and recipe of your creation and I'll post it.

Thank you Teri and Vanessa! xo

Have a great Monday everyone!



Simple Greens

Simple Greens

I just discovered the most beautiful fresh holiday wreaths I have ever seen and wanted to quickly share the source with you!

The wreaths are made by Wintersteen Farms – a family run business on a 36-acre Douglas and Noble tree farm in Oregon.  The wreaths are $34.95 and come with a 2' piece of cream satin ribbon for hanging.


I just love the fullness and simple mix of greenery and pinecones. 

I found these wreaths on the blog Dreamy Whites.  Another wonderful new find!  By the looks of her blog, I think the above photo is from her home. Isn't it beautiful?

To place your order for Wintersteen Farms Wreaths click here.

Another wreath variety that I really like is dried.  I especially like that they're meant to be used year after year.  This year, I ordered these beautiful dried magnolia branch, pomegranate and twig wreaths for the store.  We have sold out of all but one!  

Here's a photo I looked hi an lo for and couldn't find for my last post on holiday decorating.  I just love the simplicity.  What do you think?  

Simple tree in wrapped pot

In the store, we have the sweetest little living pine trees.  They make great teacher and hostess gifts. All packaged and festive in burlap and velvet ribbon – they're ready to go! 



Still working on my list, how about you?

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