Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Sharing

Hello everyone. Well we made it to Friday and yay for it being a three-day weekend for those of us here in the states. Some of us even have a full week off for schools. Californian schools get a 'winter recess' about now and it's nice. It would be even better if a series of storms weren't blowing in, but we'll try to make the best of it. We were going to head down to Santa Monica for a few days, but the weather forecast looks even worse for them, so we will stay closer to home and do a day trip to SF and possibly a small overnight to Carmel if we get some sun.

We did have a sunny Valentine's Day here and I took the opportunity to wear new suede flats I had bought a month ago. The pink color was something I did not have in my closet and I thought they would be great for spring. I paired it with a heart dress I found at a vintage shop a few years ago and  still love. For $7 this dress has been the best! The shoes, I will pair with my new fringy jeans and blouses for a ladylike vibe. Something about pink shoes just made me feel happy all day. I hope you all had a good Valentines.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to warmer days ahead. The few sunny days we had this week made me really get that spring feeling and the impetus to try a few new things and plan our summer  travel.

This week I have also been furiously researching ideas for my home remodel and fell in love with this home from the March Martha Stewart Living. To me, this is the perfect Northern California home, though it's owned by a record exec and his family and is in Southern Cal.

I'm crazy about the white and black and the wonderful windows. The photos were not on the Martha site yet, but get the magazine to see this whole home. I love every single bit...The brick porch, wood shelves, vintage music posters, simple kitchen and more...

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Shaking the Winter Doldrums With New Denim & Shoes

To me, this has been a dark beginning to the new year. With the election, the extreme weather -for us non-stop rain, and many days of darkness, I'm beyond ready for spring and some sunshine. I dragged myself out to shop a bit last week and bought some new Vince platform sneakers that are making everything look a little cooler and fresher. As much as I love my boots, I'm pretty sick of them by now. I don't believe I've worn anything except boots since October!

I have Vans, but they tend to get beat pretty quick. I wanted something casual, but a little more mod and could be dressed up. I wandered into the Vince at Stanford with my friend Jeanne and she showed me these new Wallace slide-ons she bought. I love the little platform on them yet they feel like sneakers.

As the Vince platforms sneakers were so comfy, I found a similar pair by Steve Madden in black, also cute and comfy and costs quite a bit less. Now I have both. I also splurged on this amazing sweater from All Saints. It's like butter. Super soft wool and thick and feels wonderful on. I also bought a long t-shirt dress there to wear with these sneakers as the weather warms. I am loving their quality and beautiful collectable pieces.

I try to add at least one good sweater a year to my rotation and remove one. This one is very me- oversized and I know I will wear it a million times.

Sorry for the lame kitchen photo, but with the weather this was about the only decent place to snap a picture. So here you have it..Me in me habitat, this is my California girl uniform pretty much daily in the winter!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Taking Part in The Women's March

Yesterday I took part in The Women's March in San Jose and it was one of those days I'll remember my whole life. I had never marched in a demonstration and I wondered how it would be with the masses and wet weather.  Honestly, I get a bit claustrophobic in crowds. Still, with everything going on in our country, I was not going to let that prevent me from being part of this historic movement, even if I passed out!

With my pal Bari and our signs before the march began.

Eight thirty in the morning, granola bars (are we moms or what?) pink scarves, jackets and bright lipstick at the ready, we boarded the light rail to San Jose City Hall. When we arrived the streets were already overwhelmed- think Disneyland at it's most packed, but with everyone wearing a knit pink hat. It was visual festival of pinks and brights.

My dear friend Aimee and her daughter a high school senior, Caroline did the march together.

Why was I there? I was there to support a more inclusive country that includes Muslims and Mexicans, and all immigrants. I believe our country has become the greatest because of the melting pot we are. I came to stand up against hate, which has had a resurgence since the election and has let people bring their prejudice front and center with no shame. I was there for women's rights- for the right to choose what happens with her own body- not be told by law, and against the misogyny that our president represents with his comments about women. I was there for the earth- I believe climate change is not a hoax and that science matters. I want a country that is greener and why on earth would we go back to coal and fossil fuels when we know it's bad for the earth and for those living near it? Those are just a few of my reasons.

My friends had similar concerns. So on we marched.

San Jose smartly decided to close down more streets to hold everyone so we could walk and find a spot without being jammed in. All told, 25,000 showed up! Crowds aside, by time we walked to City Hall we could not help, but feel an undeniable kinship with so many others. It was contagious.

Our friend Lindsay in pink.  She's a women's doctor at Valley Med and someone made all the doctors these cool pink caps. There were so many great knit caps too!

How funny is this? An accidental picture, but says a lot.

 Most everyone had a sign. The signs were inspiring, smart and sometimes pretty funny.

We waited on the street for about 45 minutes- chatting with those around us and taking pictures of posters and people. The tone was was encouraging and positive.  I really admired the older women. By that I mean ladies closer to seventies, eighties and beyond...

Awesome that they represented. Many had signs saying they had done this before like this lady. One grandmother was in her nineties and marching with four generations of women in her family!

Families were a huge part of this march and it was inspiring to see how parents are already teaching their young ones to care about the earth and the welfare of others!  The small ones with signs...

Cutie pies!

This little gal was my favorite. Her idea...

There were many, many mothers and daughters and also daughters marching in honor of their moms, like me.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Grace and Style of The Obama Family

I'm feeling sad and a little nostalgic this week thinking about the Obamas leaving the White House. Hard to believe this family will no longer be ours.  I just adore this family. They really did everything right by humbly working at making our nation better and it's First Family sympathetic and lovable.

Eight years went by in a heartbeat and those little girls turned into young ladies before our eyes. Watching them grow up held particular fascination for me as they are the same ages as my boys. I loved how the Obamas raised them with their grandma as live-in nanny. The closeness of this family was always in evidence. I feel like they tried their best to give these girls a normal upbringing. That can't have been easy as the girls spent half their childhoods in The White House, yet their public appearances were minimal.

Barack Obama has been one of the most lovable presidents ever. He truly wore his heart on his sleeve. He was a modern man in every sense of the word, able to shed tears as well as crack jokes, and related to the man on the street and the Queen with ease. That he cared greatly for our country and all of us, was never in doubt and the frustration he often felt was clearly visible though he never gave up his optimism and the things he believed in.

Michelle Obama, for her part, has been the most relatable and genuine First Ladies. Being a mom first and foremost was her priority and her pet projects naturally lead from that. The first White House vegetable garden ever was just one of her initiatives to get kids and families to eat healthier.

I loved the book and her idea this as it's something everyone can do to be healthier.

Changing the school lunches was another of her projects that was also sorely needed. I think she will be remembered as one of the most outspoken First Ladies we have ever had. She was a powerful public speaker and her speeches have been widely loved. She honestly seems like a lot of fun as well. In fact, both Michelle and Barack appear to have a great balance of light-heartedness which has made them immensely likable.

Mrs O has also been one of the most stylish First Ladies. She began with her own unique spin on clothes, mixing J Crew with designers and pairing disparate colors in a fresh way. She's a fearless wearer of prints as well as pretty solids.

 She looks wonderful in both, but the look she wore best were figure hugging shift dresses that harked back to Jackie Kennedy's signature. Their figures were actually similar and Mrs O has the 21st century toned arms to make hers look fresh.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Road Trips - Squaw Valley and Plump Jack Inn

We just returned from a 5 day trip to Lake Tahoe last week where we made Plump Jack Inn at Squaw Valley our base. It was the first time I've stayed right in the village and it was great not having to drive to ski each day. In fact we didn't use our car after we arrived, as everything was within walking distance or a quick shuttle ride away.

Plump Jack's rooms were lovely, well-equipped for skiers and felt roomy enough for my family of four. 

They had the brilliant idea of a including a great wicker tower of drawers in the room which was perfect for hats, gloves, scarves, goggles and all that. I'm also a huge fan of hooks in a hotel room which they happily had in a large amount.

The bathroom had a tower for towels and toiletries and was large. Our room felt very spacious and the beds are very good.

Convenient for skiers is the free breakfast buffet each morning which was yummy and included cooked eggs, potatoes and pancakes, fresh fruit and great tea, coffee and juices. I liked their famous homemade granola with yogurt. 

The hotel will store your skis downstairs which makes it very convenient and the ski hill is a four minute walk from the hotel. They also have their own ski rental shop in the hotel.

I liked this rack in the entry for all the wet clothes, helmets and boots, etc. Someone clearly thought about all the details here.

Max and Jackson getting ready to hit the slopes.

From our room you could see the tram and little skiers coming down the mountain. One day I stayed in and ordered lunch from room service. 

What a view!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas, The Year's End and All That...

Hi lovely friends. Sorry I haven't posted for a bit, but Christmas was nuts and I'm only now getting to sit for a bit and share. I hope you are all having good holidays.  This year we chose not to go away right after Christmas, but wait a week and it's been so calming having the quiet and the downtime to regroup after the chaos.

We had a lovely Christmas with my dad and also celebrated with dear friends two days before that. I miss my mom still so much and the holiday season really brings forward all those feelings that I push out of my mind most of the year to cope. Opening our beloved and ancient Betty Crocker Cooky Book with mom's writing all over was tough.

I have many ornaments my mom bought me over the years and cherish. This year I bought one I found at Anthropologie that she would have loved. It was a knit pair of bunny slippers. As a little girl I had bunny slippers and whenever I was cold, even as an adult, my mom would say, 'Where's your bunnies?' which meant slippers so I had to get that ornament in her honor.

This year we got a Victorian Fraser Fir tree which is a little sparser and more English looking. It was from Summerwinds Nursery and I have loved it. You can see our ornaments even better than a Noble Fir which I usually get. It's also less cumbersome and let's more light in the house, which I savor at this dark time of year. I'll be a bit sad to take it down. It's been my most favorite tree yet and has hardly dropped any needles!

We did the requisite baking - sugar cookies, biscotti and cornflake wreaths. This year I tried a new sugar cookie recipe that I clipped last year from The Mercury News Home Plates column. It is called Holm-Made Sugar Cookies after the family that submitted it and are famous enough for it they give the recipe along with cookie cutters as wedding favors! It has a mix of vanilla and almond which gives it a marzipan flavor I think. Recipe can be found here.

We had fun making more tags with an old rubber stamp we had and more vintage ribbon of my grandmothers like I mentioned in the last biscotti post.

I found some holiday cards with the Golden Gate bridge a while back and turned them into tags which looked nice on plain bags. I bought a load of these brown bags in different sizes this year and colored tissue. I just got creative with tags to make them more festive. They seem a lot greener and reusable than paper...though we did still use some wrap.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Biscotti for Christmas and Gift Tags

Like the rest of you I am sure, my days have been pretty hectic the past weeks and as soon as I'm up I hit the ground running trying to shop, decorate, make it to a few seasonal gatherings and all the little things that make up this crazy month!

Despite how busy the season gets some people always seem to find time to make a particular treat that they share. My neighbors make cranberry Christmas bread.  My dad and his mom always make something called yummy nuts which are amazing (some sort of holiday crack) and my aunt makes fudge. Biscotti has become a tradition in our house along with sugar cookies, meringues and cornflake wreaths. I like the biscotti for gifting as it lasts a long time and looks pretty packaged too.

The biscotti recipe from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook has been my go to and everyone seems to love the traditional anise/almond version.  This baking book is the holy grail and has everything in it, including chocolate versions and great baking tips. Might be a good gift for someone who likes to bake.

Biscotti isn't hard at all, you just need to have time to bake them twice. Once you give it a go, you can throw a batch together in a jiffy and they make a terrific holiday gift. Recipe can be found online here.

One of my favorite parts is the wrapping, and tag making. This year we are having fun making our own tags from pretty cards and calendars we collected all year tied up with vintage bric a brac ribbon that my grandma had. Love recycling and also using something vintage.