Desert Vibes

Desert Vibes

Hi you… I have been considering what to write about and while I actually have a list of topics, I’m lacking the passion/creativity to make them interesting. It’s not for any reason other than I’ve been focused on other things this week – all, I’m happy to say are exciting and wonderful – and will share one of them tomorrow on Insta!!! It’s just that it’s hard for me to switch gears creatively – to go from one headspace to another. Maybe that’s the way it is for everyone? Anyway, I recently finished reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. It was extremely inspiring and I highly recommend it. The biggest take away, especially being a believer in “the universe” and those unbelievable coincidences that just ‘happen’ – is that not only do they happen with people and relationships, but they also happen with ideas. Her belief (and now mine too) is that creativity, great ideas and boundless ways to express them are floating around us at all times just waiting until they find a ready and willing host who will take the ball and run with it… If you already believe this to be true with people as I do, doesn’t it makes perfect sense that the same rules apply to ideas?  Something for you to ponder while I take you with me to the desert…

xo

s

I don’t know why I have such a craving to go on a road trip to Joshua Tree and the Mojave Desert, but I do. I wonder if it’s because I have always lived on a coast and near mountains and/or the ocean. I can’t imagine not. As such, long flat savannas are a curious thing. And all those Dr. Seuss-ish plants. It’s been building for the past 6 months or so. There have been a few evenings where I have almost gone for it. Right then and there. Merely letting myself experience what being daring and free feels like for the first time in my entire life was half the thrill. That’s what being an empty nester for a few months will do to you – lol. You become the 20 year old self that you never were. This road trip is realistically not going to happen for a couple of months, but when it does, it will hopefully be something like this….

Driving through the Mojave Desert

Ghost house in the desert

Joshua Tree

 

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Tassels, PomPoms and Other NYC Musings

Tassels, PomPoms and Other NYC Musings

Hi you. I just got home from several days back East. First to say goodbye to my grandparents who are 94 & 95. I don’t like saying that’s the reason, but that’s the real reason. My grandmother asked  me to come right away, because they both had taken a sharp downturn over the past week… Despite my grandmother’s age, I’m not ready for her to go. I don’t know if there is a way to prepare, but every time I think about it, I get so emotional. Needless to say, the first few days of the trip were tough. I got to spend one night in Washington with Luke and his girlfriend, which was absolutely wonderful. We went to Le Diplomate, which I had been to once before for brunch. It’s a typical french bistro – lively, tightly packed, good food and all around a fun dining spot. On Thursday, I took the train from Union Station to Penn Station which is one of my favorite things to do. I love whizzing through parts of the country I would probably not otherwise see. The train was due to arrive in NYC late – 9:25pm to be exact. During the train ride I developed a serious craving for jewish food from Russ & Daughters Cafe. Matzoh ball soup and a bagel with lox and whitefish (not to be confused with whitefish salad) just like my grandfather made me for breakfast on Saturday mornings when I spent the night at their apartment, which was pretty much all the time. Anyway, Russ & Daughter’s was near my hotel and since I was alone and had been there before, I knew there wouldn’t be a ‘scene’ AT ALL. By the time the train rolled into the station, I was ravenous and it was 9:35pm. The restaurant closed at 10:00pm! OJ Simpson had nothing on me. I raced to get a taxi, but when I told the driver I was going across town, he said “No way can we make it. Too much traffic.” UGH! It all turned out fine, as there was a little Italian place nearby that was perfect. I did get my Russ & Daughter’s fix the next day. SO good!

xo

s

So, this was a sort of work trip, sort of not. The work stuff was to meet with some new vendors for the store mixed with a little R & D. It was a visual and inspirational vitamin pill to say the least. I took with me a few things to share with you. In no particular order, here you go:

Having grown up on the UES, I have no memories of going downtown – ever. It was as if it was a completely different city. So when I worked for a nyc based company a couple of years ago and stayed in Soho, my mind was blown at how vastly different it was than the part of the city I knew. Since most of my workwas downtown this time too, I decided to go way downtown and take in all the Village, Soho and the LES had to offer. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend the hotel – hipsterish and too young (omg, I can’t believe I just said that), but this one (that was nearby) I’ll consider next time.

The Ludlow Hotel Lobby

The Ludlow Hotel - Guest Room

The Ludlow Hotel - Bathroom

The Ludlow Hotel - Bathroom

LES

Coffee shop - LES

Coffee shop - LES

The above two photos are from the hipster coffee shop where I got my tea every morning. Why yes, they have a turntable?! How did you know?

This mostly men’s shop does an amazing job merchandising their products. I’m trying to observe and learn as much as I can about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to displays, merchandising, etc. This store had me at the window.

Birkencrocs

So, Birkenstocks and Crocs had a baby. Birkencroc? Seriously though, I do like these. Settle down. As an alternative to flip flops.

Balthazar Bakery

Balthazar Bakery

I just couldn’t resist. I’m trying to cut way back on sweets, because people say sugar is bad for you, but I say moderation is okay.

I fell hard for these bags made in Columbia. It seems that tassels and pompoms are embellishing just about everything from clothing (bags, scarves) to home decor (throws, pillows). I love the look. I did end up getting a bag, but surprisingly it doesn’t have tassels or pompoms – lol! I’ll put it on Insta in the next few days.

Greg Lauren

Greg Lauren

Greg Lauren

Greg Lauren

Another trend spotted on the streets of New York is patched denim. None done better than this newly discovered designer (out of my price range, but for inspiration:)) For better images and the whole collection, click here.

 

 

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The Oregon Coast and a Weekend of Beach Towns

The Oregon Coast and a Weekend of Beach Towns

Hello to you. It’s been a busy week with work projects as well as loading new products onto my shop site!!! Yes! Finally! Please stay tuned! The collection of home furnishings, accessories, vintage pieces and clothing is really exciting and I think you will love it.

Thankful for a nice, calm week and hope, wherever you are, you have that too.

xo

s

Some posts are harder to write than others. This is one….so rather than say much, I think I will just share with you, photos of the most beautiful weekend ever.

An after breakfast walk on the way to the beach and we found this amazing place for freshly caught and packaged fish. They ship too.

I didn’t photoshop the other people out of this picture. We really had the beach all to ourselves.

He wanted no part of his friends. So bugged.

Base camp for the weekend while we explored the nearby beaches and towns.

If cabins in the woods are your idea of romantic, this is your place.

This is the hot tub, which we had all to ourselves. Thank goodness, because we didn’t bring bathing suits.

The owners of the property have whimsical – and sometimes sort of odd – statues and signs throughout the woods that surround the cabins. This one was so sweet, I had to take a photo!

Absolutely no filters on any of these photos.

We popped into this place to take a look around since it’s considered to be one of the top 10 golf courses in the world, and ended up staying for lunch and massages.

This guy followed us as we walked through the golf course with one of our french fries he took from our lunch.

For info on the romantic cabin in the woods, click here.

For info on the super fancy golf resort, click here.

 

 

 

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True North:  Seattle Style

True North: Seattle Style

Hello sweet people. I just got back. As always it was a wonderful trip. Mostly a girlfriend lovefest, as I have friendships there that span 15 to 35 years. When I moved to California 10 years ago, I left Seattle without hesitation. Didn’t look back…. except for one thing – those gals. Over the course of the week+, we spent time both one on one and sometimes in groups – memories of our young mommy years made us laugh at the things we took sooo seriously way back when, or reflected for a moment to express sadness or gratitude for the curveballs of life that have affected us all. It’s both a comfort and blessing to have these ladies by my side and me to there’s. That’s my biggest takeaway from the trip – to cherish the special people in your life. 

It’s a one foot in front of the other kind of week. Hope yours is great wherever you are…

xo

s

Despite gracious offers to stay with friends, I always rent a short term vacation place when I’m in Seattle. The alone time, ability to keep my own hours, eat what and when I want, etc is how I recharge. In all the years of spending a chunk of the summer there, I’ve only had one semi-negative experience and that was due to the neighbors below keeping nocturnal hours. Being an incredibly light sleeper, I made a note to self – never to stay in a duplex or similar situation. Ideally, a small cottage close to or in my former neighborhood is where I’m happiest. As long as it’s clean, I really don’t have any other requirements. Well, this year the bar has been raised. Behold.

Ironed sheets – really? Dark chocolate, cheese & crackers, coffee and half and half waiting for me – seriously? I was in total heaven,

Moving on to my favorite dish ALL-STAR… There are favorite dishes and there are Shut The Front Door and put the Do Not Disturb sign out favorites. This is the case with what I’m about to share with you. Welcome to Ba Bar.I discovered this gem a couple of summers ago when the place we rented was around the corner. It’s open for breakfast – think Vietnamese coffee and an almond croissant (it’s Vietnamese thus the French influenced breakfast offerings). We ended up eating there just about every day. Since it’s open until 4AM, it’s great for those Dinner #2 situations or when you are out late and starving and want a great sit-down meal. There are two locations and a third coming soon, but I highly recommend you only go to the Capital Hill one.

Best dish at Ba Bar Seattle

I grew up on Queen Anne Hill, home to many movie and TV show filmings, but also home to one – if not THE – most famous and photographed outlooks in Seattle. I used to ride my bike there with my dog running along many a day growing up. Whole lotta memories came flooding back… whoa. Anyway, on a whim I decided to go back on the night of the full moon. If you’re in Seattle and into views 🙂 check out Kerry Park.

Full moon view from Kerry Park, Seattle

The last place I want to share with you is a newly opened lunch and dinner restaurant and the spot of an absolutely decadent afternoon spent with a girlfriend. I know I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover – or rather – a restaurant by it’s interiors, but I do!!! This place had me at hello. I highly recommend Harry’s Fine Foods.

Harry''s Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

Harry's Fine Foods, Seattle

This cake was so delicious. I ate most of it we shared it.

*On an administrative note* if you were a subscriber to FarmHouseUrban and no longer receive posts conveniently delivered to your inbox – I’m so sorry! All previous subscribers were lost when we changed blog platforms and seem to be unretrievable. I sincerely hope you will resubscribe! For those new to the blog, thank you! If you like what you see (and if you made it down here, that’s a good sign :)), I would love you to subscribe so you can receive posts as soon as they are published. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What to do if you have 24 hours in Palo Alto

What to do if you have 24 hours in Palo Alto

Hi to you… I hope this week has been a good one. Mother’s Day is this Sunday, so I’d like to wish all of the mother’s out there a very happy day. When my kids were little, I used to say that my greatest wish on Mother’s Day was to spend it not having to change diapers, load or unload anything, or be beholden to any sort of schedule. No gifts please. No dinner or brunch reservations thank you. Just one day void of responsibility. Now that the kids are older, I still don’t want gifts, just their time, Hearing them tell stories about their lives, what they listen to, read, watch, find interesting and are passionate about. It’s ever-changing at their ages. That’s all I want for Mother’s Day.

xo

Serena

Recently, I spent a day in Palo Alto and realized how fun it can be to put on visitor glasses in an area close to home. The drive from Marin County (where I live) to Silicon Valley is about an hour or more on a lite traffic day, and hours if there’s a problem. So, usually when I need to go down there for a short amount of time it’s sort of a major hassle. When the situation presented itself that I would have an entire day in Palo Alto with no set schedule, I decided to embrace it. Here’s what I did, all of which I recommend:

I started the morning here. First, let me say that I’m not a coffee drinker. I’ve been a tea drinker for the past 15 years or so, mostly because it’s not good for my skin and it jacks me up waaay too much. That said, I have heard such rave reviews from so many coffee aficionado friends, that I had to give it a try. They make each cup of brewed coffee (no frothy drinks) individually. Asking what roast level, intensity, etc you prefer. It was kind of exciting. Like wizards making tinctures only its baristas making coffee.There are locations all over the Bay Area and a couple in DC. I highly recommend trying their coffee. It was outstanding. Now I’m good for another 15 years.

Phil Coffee in Palo Alto

Next I went on a run around the Stanford dish. What is the Stanford dish? Find out here. So, I have mixed reviews on running this because it’s 75% up hill then, of course, down hill and the grade is pretty steep in places. If you like that much variation in a 5ish mile run, then you will enjoy it. On the positive side, the views are amazing! The other issue I had was the wild life. I saw them from a long way away and assumed they’d move over.

Stanford Dish running path

They did not.

I had to run all the way out in the field around them, then I got scared one was a bull.

Next, I had a few hours of work and sometimes Starbucks just doesn’t cut it (no offense Starbuck’s! Actually, that’s where I’m writing this now :)). But being in the heart of Silicon Valley, I knew there had to be someplace out of the box and incubator-ish, And, there sure was. This place.

HanaHaus in Palo Alto - exterior

From the street, you walk through a courtyard which is has work station seating if you like to do your work outside.

HanaHaus Palo Alto - interior Blue Bottle coffee shop

Inside, there is a nice coffee and snack bar. And this cool floor!

And this mural!

HanaHaus - interior work space

And this is the work space. There is a small hourly fee for using this part of the space which is where I was. There is ample public space to work too (no fee) in the coffee shop area.

For lunch, I wanted to go someplace within walking distance so I could go back above work space to work after. So I met a friend for a quick salad here.

After I finished working, I took a walk down the street to look at a gift idea I had in mind for Luke at this toy store for Millenials. He’s got an internship this summer in South San Francisco and the company provides bus transportation to and from for it’s Marin employees. It’s about 3/4 of a mile from our house to the bus and we have more people than cars, soooo I’m anticipating the potential situation and had the idea to get Luke this…

These are electric skateboards. I thought it was a brilliant idea at the time, as Luke rides his regular skateboard all around his college campus and SF when he’s home. NOT happening! These things go 25+ mph. I think a bike is in order.

While I didn’t stay in Palo Alto for dinner on this particular day, I do have a place that I love, I went several years ago and have wanted to go back. It’s the sister restaurant of Kokkari in San Francisco which is one of my all-time favorite places especially if you are looking for a romantic place with delicious Greek cuisine and sharable dishes. The Palo Alto location – equally delicious and romantic – you can find here.

That’s it for my tips – if you have any Palo Alto favorites to add, please leave them in the comments so everyone can see them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Holidays From Our House to Yours

Happy Holidays From Our House to Yours

Our home in it’s holiday finest
Hi to you. I hope your holidays are filled with joy, peace and of course, lots of love.
xoxo
serena

 

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