Saturday, December 5, 2015

Holiday Time -- Wrapping Things Up

It seems every year I get closer and closer to easy street, which is quite fulfilling amidst the chaos that is the holidays

This year, my gift wrapping is sparsely sweet and more effortless than ever. Brown kraft paper, any kind of twine (neutral or colored), and a stamped initial in lieu of a label or tag. Can add a sprig of lavender or festive greenery, if desired. Bonus -- works for any holiday you could possibly celebrate.

Happy Season! 

more simple gifting here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving -- Simple Is The New Complicated

Getting in the mood for Thanksgiving and keeping things simple, as usual. As a creature of habit and tradition on this one, the word simplicity rises to a whole other level. I remain a don't fix it if it 'aint broke fangirl.

Nearly last-minute marketing -- check. 
Always the same menu -- check. 
Just pick up the table and carry it outside if it's warm out -- check. 

Wishing all a wonderful one. Take a peek at these posts for thoughts on setting the mood… setting the table… and, hopefully, not setting anything on fire. Happy Thanksgiving! 

last year's thanksgiving was my favorite
beloved thanksgiving fare on repeat
a most delicious holiday cider
getting in the thanksgiving mood
prettiest tableware
more table inspo

Monday, November 2, 2015

In The Kitchen -- Just Olive Oil + Salt

I've been keeping things pretty lax in the kitchen lately. The solar vortex in California this year might have a little something to do with it. 

Here are a couple of easy snacks I've been cooking up that use only two added ingredients -- olive oil (extra virgin) and salt (kosher or sea). One dish is reflective of our endless caliente summer… and the other is just pretending to be fall. Both offer a good helping of health-bolstering olive oil, which makes for good all around.

They go like this…


Sautee stovetop in a pan (I like cast iron) at high heat for about ten or so minutes (they should get soft and really charred) using just a touch of olive oil and salt. Devour with a little care as it's said that one out of every ten will be spicy hot. And it's truuuue. 


Separate the seeds from the pumpkin goop, rinse them well, then let them dry out on a baking sheet (even overnight). To roast, just drizzle with olive oil and salt, and stick them in a 300 degree pre-heated oven for about forty minutes or so, depending on how toasty you like them. Then munch.

{find more foodie posts here}

Monday, September 14, 2015

'Aint No Cure For The Summertime Blues...

Sun time, swim time, beach time, mini-travels time (Ojai, Palm Desert, La Jolla, Tomales Bay, Petaluma, San Francisco), and a perfect chunk of doing-nothing time. It was a good one. Ready now for things to cool down and ease into fall. See ya next year, summer...  

{sand dunes / tomales bay}

{tomales bakery}

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dressing Room -- Classic Tee + Jeans

I've spent most of my adult life wearing dresses and any version of this I can pull off. That, and what might be construed as schmatas I like to throw on in various forms all over the place. But, for whatever reason, I've been donning more fitted pants lately. I'm sure I'll be back to the flowy comfy of my regular wear soon enough, it's just too engrained in me. In the meantime, I can be found sporting little tops (un-waivering preference still sleeveless or near sleeveless) and slimmer fit jeans than my usual fave worn-in 501s

Nothing too novel going on here -- just some timeless simplicity, and a little borrowing of classic Frenchie influence via stripes... 

been loving these 504s.
and also a pair of these jeans that i grabbed on sale here

Getting out of flip flops when you live near the beach can take effort, but I managed to get myself into this pair of shoes with the perfect open toe, that I picked up here.

Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Little Things -- Backyard Chicken Envy

Lately, it seems I'm as likely to encounter a chicken in a friend's backyard as I am to find a dog on their couch. And I'm feeling a little envious. I, too, long to have continuous hen parties in the backyard... be gifted daily with colorful swag... and always have something to cook up when I'm feeling too lazy to go to the market. Someday...

Monday, March 9, 2015

New York, New York

At the beginning of the year, we had a unique opportunity to grab a NYC trip with the kiddos. Getting out there had been in the queue for a long while, so when fully-furnished, top floor digs overlooking Central Park landed in our lap, the deal was sealed. We quickly traded mid-eighty degree So Cal weather (in January!) for mid-twenties. And we couldn't have been happier...

holy view, batman

Almost everyone we knew out there was feeling affected by the brutal weather, but for whatever reason, the cold just didn't bother us. My Cali kids didn't complain even once. So either it's in their blood... or we packed really well. We also armed ourselves with Airborne each day and managed to fend off getting whatever was going around the whole time we were in town.

Since it was the kids' first real time to NYC (older babe did have a pre-memory infant visit), we padded it mostly with some good tried-and-true. Our five day trip was made all the more eventful by snow, sun, rain, hail, and freeze. We had it all. Oh, NYC in the winter. 

Where things took us...

swapped sand for snow in central park

indulged in frozen hot chocolates at serendipity

did a little ironing

took on midtown rain to see the empire state building

Brooklyn had really only taken off after I'd already moved out of NYC. I consider my good friend, Karla, to be one of the original bold voyagers (before it was cool) to seek out more space in the burrows (Atlantic Ave between 3rd and 4th, anyone?). The rest of us clung to Manhattan.

So on this trip, I was eager to go check out Williamsburg. We chose the snowiest day and made the trek out, soaking up some hipster neighborhood culture first and then hitting Bakeri, a spot I'd been swooning over for months from afar. This sweet little place just oozes charm, and with kids content going back and forth between sips of hot chocolate inside and snowballs out back, I seriously could have holed up there happily the entire rest of the day...

i'm moving in

On a different day, we ventured downtown for a huge group lunch with close pals followed by a little strolling around the icy West Village and Soho streets.

passed by buvette and stuck my head in.
hoping to grab a bite there next trip

hidden downstairs

old stomping ground glory

Other adventures included Museum of Natural History, multiple Shake Shacks pit stops, Matilda on Broadway, more dinners and hang time with family and friends, and a throw back breakfast at my old regular corner diner, Pier 72...

All in all, we managed to fit in quite a lot despite the added slow motion of kids on foot and major weather happening. We would have loved another couple of days for things like The High Line, which got the rain boot on our last day (sorry, hubby).

Back soon, NYC... 

top photo: our view on a sunny, clear (but freezing) day

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Found -- Let There Be LuMee

Cheers to the pal who sees a void... fills it... and causes an outright stir.

Enter the LuMee.

Al is a longtime professional photographer who has spent his life lighting and securing the perfect photo. When selfies and facetiming took over the world, he immediately recognized that neither worked very well (or at all) at night or in otherwise badly lit situations. So he created a lighting device -- a phone case resembling a makeup mirror -- that makes it possible to take great reverse facing photos anytime/anywhere, while also providing a little extra perfect lighting magic so you'll always look your best self(ie). 


You can grab a LuMee here... and enter code Lumee10 for 10% off your purchase. Then join the growing mass of enlightened selfie takers who no longer dream of snapping without it.

{more found posts here}

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Musing -- The Shelf Life Of Books

Recently, we were looking to clear out some extra space in our house. One of the endeavors was tackling the bookcase and weeding out what could go into storage and what could go -- away. It was fun taking a little ride down my reading memory lane. I can literally remember the things I was going through, my particular interests, or what I was setting out to accomplish at the time, by the books I was gobbling up.

On the shelves --  

A few books from my childhood, such as Six Plays by Henrik Ibsen featuring A Doll's House (yes, this was the type of thing I loved reading as a kid). I was very fixated on dialogue, which propelled me to write little things for extra credit, such as Ronny And Julie, a modern day Romeo And Juliet that I turned in in the third grade. Other faves from kidhood that I got to pass on to my own kiddos -- Florence Nightengale, Born Free, and a collection of poetry called Hailstones And Halibut Bones (that my son chose to recite from for a class assignment last year, sigh). I also managed to bestow them with an oddly well preserved pop-up book of knock knock jokes that I can still quote from (Knock Knock -- Who's there? -- Toucan -- Toucan who? -- Toucan live as cheaply as one)...

Weighty (actually, bicep heavy) required reading from college. Milton, Dostoevsky, Chaucer, Shakespeare (obvious English major here)... Post-college, the classics continued to invade voluntarily with Therese Raquin by Emile Zola, Salinger's Franny and Zooey, and Madame Bovary among the tops. Inspiration for the craft of writing itself and screenwriting also took up some shelf real estate, starting with Strunk and White The Elements Of Style...

Then there were the happened-upon books that I would grab up. Something on a favorite artist like Egon Schiele, or a collection of drawings by Pontormo, or a well-worn how-to book on speaking French that I would flip through every so often in an attempt to justify the four years I studied it unsuccessfully in college...

Of course, every girl needs a trusty Self-Help section, and mine sprouted during my single NYC days. The Seat Of The Soul by Gary Zukov, A Traveling Companion by Joseph Conrad, Chopra's Perfect Health, Creative Visualization and Living In the Light both by Shatki Gawain, all crescendoing to Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl. I still consider all of these the real deal. Invaluable at any stage of life. 

My most recent collected books (not counting cookbooks) have been for the most part non-fiction. (I've heard this happens. At some point, you only want the facts.) For me, it's been autobiographies and biographies in the realm of Julia Child My Life In France, Tina Fey Bossypants, A House In The Sky by hostage survivor Amanda Lindhout (an incredible story but I can't say that I recommend it as it left me feeling traumatized for months), as well as books of essays by various writers...

Almost all of these books that I have held onto (literally and literally, as I still like holding onto a book and turning pages the old-fashioned way), I've decided I have no intention of parting with for anything more than a temporary stint in storage. I can recall certain take-aways from each one (will share a few gems later), and sometimes can even feel re-inspired just by looking at certain covers. 

"If you read a book and get even one thing out of it, it was worth reading." -- my father

Go forth and read!

photo snapped on a visit to wonderful bart's books in ojai