Dear sweet reader. It has been a devastating week here in Northern California. We have lost much of our beautiful, bountiful wine country to a wildfire that appeared virtually overnight and has already become the worst fire in California history. I don’t think the national news depicts even remotely the enormity of what we have lost and the fires are still not fully contained. Wildfire is not an accurate description, as it implies the location as being forests, or wooded remote areas. This is not the case! Thousands of homes are lost in family neighborhoods, perhaps just like yours. Many wineries have burned to the ground, entire vineyards are gone. A total of 300 square miles are currently on fire with the death toll at 40 and expected to rise as there are 200+ people unaccounted for. Where I live – about 40 miles from one of the largest and most destructive fires, the schools are closed because the smoke is so thick, ashes falling from the sky like snow flurries. We have been warned to stay inside due to highly unhealthy air quality. So, what to do and how to help? Naturally, the Red Cross is the best way to ensure funds get to the highest in need expeditiously, but you can also do something else… DRINK NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WINE! Raise a glass to the fires being put out soon and drink some more after that! If you’re looking for gift ideas – California wine. Double down.
So, I was putting a post together about a recent road trip I took along the California and Oregon coast (coming in next post) when I received an email from the home furnishings company Arhaus. It was my first introduction to this company, which is surprising because their collection is absolutely stunning! But even better, they are completely committed to the environment, wellness and giving back. This is not typical for the furniture industry as there are so many toxic materials used and shoddy manufacturing practices, especially with big box retailers. I was absolutely astonished to find out they use 100% organic materials for many of their pieces! AND they are partnering with the American Forest Foundation to plant 25,000 trees – one for each purchase during their sale. Given what has happened this week to not only my area, but the hurricanes that have devastated so many homes, and wildlife, I felt it timely to share this resource with you now. To read about their philanthropy click here.
As a sidenote, I always like to mention before I promote something, that every word you read on this blog is written by me, and all products I recommend I would purchase myself. I believe strongly in honesty, integrity and goodness and will only offer you products that are reflective of that.
I created the following two moodboards, because I couldn’t help myself. The collections are so inspiring, I just got carried away! I hope you like them too.
Well, at long last, I’m back. I didn’t intend to be away (from the blog) this long,… To back up chronologically, I took each of my kids to their colleges. First, Luke who asked me to help him spruce up the townhouse he’s rented for the past two years with a few fraternity brothers. I was extremely flattered by being asked, as it marked the first time one of my kids acknowledged that my repertoire went beyond making mac n cheese or what colors go together when sorting laundry. We take our glories wherever we can 🙂 After a week cleaning his place (wish they sold hazmat suits at the hardware store!) and crushing it with some incredible Craigslist furniture finds, I left him and DC feeling a sense of pride that exceeded well past any other design project I’d done prior.
Upon arriving home, I had a week to get Lily ready for her first year at University of Denver. If there ever is a time when the differences between the X and Y chromosomes are apparent (I know, I’m generalizing) it’s getting ready for college. Lily shipped nine enormous boxes of stuff plus the bag she took on the plane. I think it was a duffel bag, but it was the size and shape of an adult rhinoceros. Not to mention the 6 months in planning her room decor, which included Pinterest boards, numerous trips to Ikea, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Urban Outfitter. I spent almost a week in Denver getting her settled, and just exploring the town. All is going well, I’m happy to say.
When I came home and sat down to start thinking about what to post, there were a series of political and environmental catastrophes that, just left me with a feeling that whatever I could possibly say would feel trite or lacking empathy for the millions who were experiencing such utter anguish. So, now I’m back. I’ve missed you.
My summer in review: The halcyon days.
The above five photos are from a July 4th dinner party in St. Helena. The light, the setting among the grape vines, the mix of people and the incredible food made for a great night.
Along a dirt road, that blackberry had my name on it.
I don’t remember where this was actually, but I thought the daisies poking through the white picket fence were so pretty.
Running along the shores of Lake Washington in Seattle during my annual summer visit. This exact spot was where took my very first long run in high school. It’s still my favorite and my best.
Records are to Seattle what bacon is to eggs. They belong together. Growing up with Tower Records and all the smaller record shops along ‘The Ave’ in the 80’s that gradually disappeared, it was a welcome sight to walk into this Capitol Hill record shop.
A special day at the beach.
When the first peaches appear at the grocery store in early summer, I do an internal happy dance. There is no better breakfast than a perfectly ripe peach and summer berries. On to apples and pears!
Well howdy dreamers. What can I tell you? For one thing, I just ate way too much chocolate — even for me. It’s my one actuallyI have a huge problem and probably need an anon but admitting it is the first step, right? guilty pleasure so its all good. Other than that juicy tidbit, life has been in a blissful holding pattern for the past few weeks. Oh – here’s something – I stepped back into doing residential interior design for a project I couldn’t refuse… It’s in Cabo. On the beach. I know – check myself. I got to fly down to Mexico and stay at the property for a night. I dressed the part. I conjured a female Pablo Escobar-ish look which was way out of place among the college Spring Breakers and honeymooner couples on the plane. It also could have been that I was the only one traveling solo to Mexico. Or the tube of floorplans sticking out of my purse.
For most of my life I have had style icons. Women who I think epitomize an effortless, classic and timeless style while staying current and slightly edgy. I have several – see them here, but my numero uno, all-time favorite is Ali MacGraw.
She wore a beanie to the Academy Awards – no words.
Photo by REX USA (94679c) ALI MacGRAW – 1971
My favorite of her former beaus is Steve McQueen, so I started pinning photos of him too. What a couple.
So, I was beyond excited to receive the book “McQueen’s Motorcycles – Racing and Riding with the King of Cool” by Matt Stone from the publisher. Cool personified. If you have a motorcycle lover in your life, this book would make an excellent gift.
There is only one kind worth having in my opinion… I’m referring to the category of romantic love and within that, to the madly passionately in love variety. In contrast, the comfortable, play it safe kind of love is nice, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the other. The challenge with the former is that it comes with risk. The stakes are high because there is no greater vulnerability one can possess than opening your purest self to another in a romantic way. It’s a huge risk. The operative words in these two kinds of love: safe and risk. I’m not suggesting that the madly passionately in love be ‘risky’ or ‘unsafe’ – just the opposite. In order to let ones self get to the deepest feeling and connection with another human being – a connection of mind, body and soul – feeling safe with them and creating safety for them is essential. So why do we so often choose the coasting comfortable love? Because it’s the path of least resistance. It comes without the potential of hurt. Did you know that the opposite of love isn’t hate? It’s fear. When I learned that, it really opened my eyes and my awareness. The other element that makes the madly passionately in love, so incredibly wonderful is that you have little or no control when or with whom it will happen. But you do have to be 100% open to it appearing . It doesn’t develop in time with someone, or by aggressive (or passive aggressive) manipulation or jealous trapping. It comes innocently out of the blue and all of a sudden your world is magically different than it was the day before. This person is now within your cells and contained in every thought and vice versa. Cupid is elusive and he may never shoot his arrow in your direction, but if he does, embrace it and don’t look back, because there is no better love in the entire universe.
These photos represent to me, this kind of love and those little moments we don’t often pay much attention to but are the ones that matter the most.
Holding hands is actually beneficial to our heath. All kinds of good chemicals get released when we hold hands.
Sometimes a romantic gesture can convey more than any words.
I wish there was another word for this instead of spooning or cuddling, but TheBestFeelingInTheWorld seems a bit too long.
Having shared hobbies or interests that were established before but then become blended makes for the most fun experiences together. The role fun and laughter play in a passionate relationship can’t be underestimated.
I didn’t realize how much dancing with someone you love enhances your bond- whether it be on the dance floor or kitchen – things only get better after a night of dancing. By the way, this is David Bowie and his wife Iman.
Selfless gestures, care taking and those little moments in between the big ones. Those are the best.
Passion, romance and physical intimacy are vital for any love relationship. Without them it’s friendship.
Hi, and welcome! I’m so glad you landed here and I hope you find this to be a place you visit often.
I started this blog in 2008 as a way to chronicle the remodeling of our nondescript Northern California house into our dream home. While that did happen, so did a lot of other things - life and all the messy, glorious, complicated, wonderful things that go with it. As such, in early 2017 I decided to change the focus from the house itself to the life that happens inside.
My wish is that this blog provides beautiful inspiration, creative ideas, connections to other like-minded folks, as well as stylish products for your home, to wear and to give.