Wednesday, August 29, 2012

School Run Style !

It's that time again! We are back at school. I don't know how it got here so quick. One minute I was planning all the things I would do over Summer and then, it was over! Another year has begun and each of my guys is in a new transition. The oldest, Jackson has begun high school and Griffin, our baby is in his last year of elementary, fifth grade! The thought of leaving our sweet elementary school just about kills me. It has been our home for nine years now, and my days revolved around the drop-off and pick-up, which I always enjoyed. I really love the interaction with the other moms and dads and catching up on what is happening at the school. In the beginning those years seemed long and now, flying by too fast. My fifth grader is out the door on some kind of wheeled vehicle and doesn't want me to pick up either! I should be proud of the independence of this little guy who wanted me to stay for Kindergarten "Just a few weeks, mom." He told me on the first day this year, after finding his class line," I'm good mom, you can go." Sniff..

Anyhow, just in time for start of the school year, a bit of mom style for you. I am always fascinated with all the photos of celebrity moms at school pick-up. I love to see if they got it together or not. I think the British mums have beat the Americans hands down at school style. Maybe it's because British already have more standards expected about how to dress for school, so parents follow suit. I used to try to look like I made some kind of effort when I dropped off, but at pick-up for sure. I do care about what I pick up my child in (when allowed by him!) I don't want to be a slob, but also don't want to look like I tried too hard...Also nothing too, well, I have seen a few moms who look like they are going to a cocktail party after! At our school the moms are pretty granola, but in a stylish way. Some are. There is a fine balance! See below photos snapped at the school yard. 

Do you feel like this at school pick-up? This is Elle Macpherson. She makes this look adorable...

Elle Macpherson leads the chic mamas in leather pants! 

Elle in the rain. 

Elle again looking effortlessly cool. Love the hair too. I am probably like the mom in the jeans and baggy grey sweater in the background. That school crossing guard is like, "Would you freakin' celebrities just get the heck out of the road!"

 Elle makes workout clothes look good. She must have had some stuff done to her face right? She's the same age as I am. :(

Lucky Magazine advises moms to resist wearing the Uggs to school and get a uniform of sorts. They say throw on your jeans, or leggings, (bra or not!), a blazer or stylish coat or jacket on top and ballet flats. Sounds like a good plan to me. You can still get back in time to finish your cappuccino and look chic!

Kate Winslet. (I think her kids are going to American school though.)

Kate looks chic, but real.
Claudia Schiffer wears something more like we would in Northern Cal.

Though she dresses casually it's accessorized well. Great bangle and bag.

Another pretty look on Claudia. Don't you love the uniforms at English schools?

How much do you hate her? (Just kidding!)
This would be more doable with flats. Can't see wearing heels to school pick-up.

Claudia Schiffer and Elle kissing hello. Jeez, Elle has the body of a teenage girl. I thought she was Schiffer's kid or something in this. At school drop-off.

For a reality check, let's see some American mom's on the school run shall we?  :)

Sarah Jessica Parker walks her son to school on a wet day.

We were usually like this on the way to elementary! An older photo of her on the run.

Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany with their brood.

Jennifer Garner

Jen may need to step it up a bit..Love her though.

Julianne Moore and her mini-me.

 Gwyneth's  cool glasses that make up for her morning hair.

Gwen Stefani with her son Kingston. Guess rockstars are always dressing like one. Poor Kingston.

What do you think about school pick-up? Does it matter what a mother wears?

Wishing you all a good school year!

Images:, NYtimes,, denimblog,, Harper's Bazaar, Just Jared, celebsource, fameflynet pictures, Celebrity pictures, IvyDawned-flickr,

Friday, August 17, 2012

Behind the Redwood Curtain II

I'm finally getting to Part II of our trip up to the top of California, Humboldt County. If you read Part I,  you got to see all the primeval Redwood forests and more we visited. This part is all about where we stay and other fun landmarks...

This yard is part of the amazing Redwood retreat we get to call home when we are in Humboldt visiting Max's family. This house belongs to Marguerite, or Muffy as she's known. She's Max's step-mom and like a mom and grandma to us all. Max's dad died many years ago and they bought this home together. She welcomes us all to stay at here at this resort that she calls home and be spoiled. Included in this group besides our four is Max's sister Amara, her husband Brian and Max's mom Fay, who lives in nearby Eureka. We all takeover Marguerite's home and she lets us run amok! 

As you can tell her home is beloved by many. Including dogs like Josie and Bella who love to pay fetch a million times and relax...

Marguerite in her custom designed gourmet kitchen, where she is always cooking up amazing food.

We all pitch in and assist with some fabulous meals she makes. We hang out on her bar and have our morning tea and coffee while she cooks us up stuff like this:

The day before we left she made a new blueberry scone recipe from Cook's Illustrated here. I have never seen scones made this way and wow!

Did I mention she got the berries from her backyard? Arcata, where she lives has the perfect climate for growing berries.  To say it's lush, is an understatement!

Behind this tangle of vines and roses, there is an old growth redwood tree trunk that was supposed to be made into a hot tub by Max's Dad before he died. It's back there somewhere.

If you forget to trim for a bit, things can get a bit Amazonian...Nothing a few grandsons can't fix. Yes, they are happy to use machetes! Oh yes, it's all very safe they kept telling me.

           Guess we won't be playing ping-pong today. When vines attack!

Hey look what we unearthed...

There is just so much loveliness in this yard. Plus fruit! 

Marguerite and I like to hang out on the patio and look at recipe books. We were loving this recipe here in a cookbook we found at Los Gatos's Happy Dragon thrift shop. So sorry I don't have the original credit, but you can zoom in on this... Doesn't it look yummy?

Everyone else likes to just relax out while the sun shines. She lives in Sunnybrae, a part of Arcata that is a bit more inland and gets more sun than most parts up there.

Petting large dogs who think they are puppies...

Max and his mom, Fay.

Max's sis Amara and Grif.

We cook some more.

                                                    Piano by Griffin.

                                                 Dishes by Josie! ;P

I just love Marguerite's cooking library she has which is adjacent to the kitchen. Love to have that someday. It's fun to browse all her books!

Her home is filled with things from her travels. I love her shell collection from many of her dive trips around the world with Max's dad.

She also has souvenirs from trips to so many far-flung locations. Her most recent was Myanmar and Cambodia with her boyfriend Bill. Did I mention she's a high school teacher too? She just won an award last year for all she does to help students in need. She also founded the Vance Cafe in Eureka last year a non-profit place to help special needs kids get work experience. I don't know how she does it all!

Anyway, no trip to Muffy's would be complete without shopping and Amara and I were anxious to get to a Humboldt institution, Holly Yashi. This store is so fun. They have gorgeous jewelry made on site in their workrooms. They also sell lovely home decor and accessories and greet you with an espresso drink at the door if you wish. They had me at cappuccino!  Do not miss this stop if you are up here!

The men were happy with the coffee and some kind of yummy Beligian cookies and spread they sell called called Biscoff. We all bought a jar of the spread.
 Sooo good!

       There were all kinds of darling shops in downtown Arcata like this garden stop, Eden.

My personal favorite is The Garden Gate. I could spend days in here. The selection of merchandise is clearly chosen by someone with fantastic taste. From garden tools and pots to divine umbrellas, books, toys and jewelry, and handbags -it's all covetable!

I want these cups!    

And this book about Normandy!  

I have an umbrella obsession and finding full size beautifully made ones like these is rare.

Some folks found the yard furniture section near the books..


Arcata also boasts some deeply groovy shops...

Unfortunately, Funk Shui was closed when I was there! It could have been an experience. :)

Arcata is just cute with bits like this roundabout with tiles and pretty plants.


                                           And speaking of cute, I thought this was quite...

And no trip would be complete to this area without a stop at Los Bagels. With locations in both Eureka and Arcata, this landmark produces some of the best bagels you have ever had. The slug, (looking like you would presume), is one of their signature bagels. They also serve Larrupin sauce which is another Humboldt specialty, a kind of mustardy spread. I personally like the Eureka location below. The art inside is quite fun.

While Arcata is a evolving and hopping college town with a main square, Eureka is a small version of San Francisco, with it's hills and Victorian lined downtown. It's very charming and fun to wander through. I always like to check out the resale store HollyGoLightly. It's got the cutest selection of vintage dresses. Eureka below.


I hate heading home. I really like the slower pace of this whole area. It's a bit like being in another space/time continuum.

On the way back down 101, you'll encounter many burl shops along the way. They can do anything with those logs. Check out this burl (the knotty growth of a tree) fountain. Watch out Bellagio!

How about a nice surfing bear for your beach house? Just to make the neighbors jealous? :)

                                               There's an awful lot of these too.

Here's to hoping what's behind the Redwood Curtain stays that way.  The less discovered, the better!



All photos property of Northern California Style 2012.