Monday, November 26, 2012

Good Things and More..

Thanksgiving weekend is over and so fast! I really savor these long holiday weekends and all the down time! Our Thanksgiving dinner was fun and we so enjoyed seeing our family and spending time with them all. My dad made us turkey breasts this year instead of the whole turkey and they were amazing. So good. All the sides seemed to be okay and the green beans above were a hit I think. The recipe was from one of those William-Sonoma leaflets they hand out each year at Thanksgiving. I've had it many years and decided to try this. It's basically browned butter with shallots, mushrooms and then tossed with the green beans then add toasted walnuts. I got so lucky finding these very fresh ones last Sunday at our town's farmers's market. The dish wouldn't have been as good without fresh beans. Finding organic ones, fresh, in November was totally luck... I love anything with walnuts of course being a Northern Cal girl.

Everyone provided wonderful wine and drinks and pies and rolls and so many good things. We had a huge feast. I wanted to include a pic of us all, but it was so hilarious, it could easily be included in one of those bad family photo books. My dear husband thought he'd do a auto-shot from a low chair, well needless to say it appears as though a bug took it and we are all legs, with a few heads. :{

The boys commandeered their own table. Cousins always have so much fun together.

My darling niece Veronica! She had the cutest dress with a leather skirt on.

I never have done Black Friday shopping, but was considering dashing out to see what I was missing when my youngest son, Griffin wanted to try making bear cookies from a recipe he saw. I figured it was probably a mob scene, so we stayed in and made these cute guys.

They're pretty easy. The recipe calls for refrigerator sugar cookie dough mixed with one cup of oatmeal. I used the healthier dough from Immaculate Baking Company because I hate the million ingredients on the usual brand. After you mix the two together, you freeze for 10 minutes and then roll different sized balls for the torso, head, arms, legs, ears and nose. Mini-chocolate chips are needed for the eyes and belly button. You then bake them at 350 degrees for about 14 minutes.

Griffin asked his friend Abby to help and they managed to make all of these themselves! They are quite the little bakers. I have to say the bears are yummy and not too sweet. With the Immaculate dough and the oatmeal, they are sort of healthy almost.

In other holiday news, (Yikes, I'm not ready), we got our tree! I know I can't believe it either. I am usually the kind that needs to ease into the next holiday. Thanks to a tip from my friend Jen we popped over to Whole Foods and checked out their $39.00 Noble Firs. We now have a gorgeous 7 foot tree!  Jen and I both love Nobles and here in Northern Cal, you have to buy them at a tree lot. They are usually grown only in the Pacific Northwest. Around here most folks get Douglas Firs. You can get Dougies at tree farms all around. I  however, have always preferred the firmer and more spare branches of the Noble. Usually they run closer to $75 and up. Right now all the Whole Foods 6-7 foot Nobles are that cheap.  So we got it early, putting it in water until next week when I can get my decorating mojo in gear for coming tide.


And last, but not at all least, some fun news. I was given two awards. One, the Sunshine Award, by sweet Adrienne, of The Rich Life on a Budget. Adrienne, is one of the nicest and most inspiring bloggers out there. She always makes me want to live smarter, greener and have the best life possible while not forgetting about what really makes life rich, as her aptly titled blog will attest! Please stop by and check her out. 

The other was the Leibster Award from the stylish Heather of stylemindchic. Another very cool person, Heather is a psychologist who shares her passion for life, travel and style. You will love escaping to her blog! Thank you so much Heather. I am very flattered to be chosen.

The rules of the Liebster award are to share 11 things about yourself and pass the award to two other, "Up and coming," bloggers. One of the requirements of winning the Sunshine award is answering questions given by the awarder. I think I'll answer Adrienne's and hopefully that will count for both.

Okay here goes Adrienne, I'll do my best.

1) What’s your favorite scent and how long have you been wearing it? 
I love Dolce and Gabbana's The One and have worn it for a few years. I also love Michael Kors' solid perfume for Summer. It has a gleam to it and is a little musky. It reminds me of Summers  when I was young.

2) Do you prefer city living or the country life? 

I live in a smallish town of a large suburb. I love that we can bike to almost everything or walk to coffee or the grocery store. We are surrounded by beautiful mountains that are full of trails so it feels like the country a lot, plus you run into everyone you know. I just love that small town feeling and being close to nature. That said, I like nothing better than a day in San Francisco and love wandering big cities on vacation. 

3) Lipstick, lip gloss or chapstick? 

Used to love lipstick only. Now that I'm over 45 it's lip gloss only. It's more youthful and lipstick tends to age most women. I hate sticky gloss though. Laura Mercier and Bobbie Brown make the best glosses I think.

4) If you could have a chef, a housekeeper, a driver or a masseuse at your service 24 hours a day, which would you choose? 

The housekeeper hands down! With three men, there is no end of stuff to do here and I like my home tidy. Also, I could cook all I like and someone else could do the dishes. I think that's my most hated household chore. 

5) Where do you do most of your shopping for clothes: online, malls, discount stores (like Ross), boutiques, thrift and consignment shops, or outlets? 

Well, I do like to try to buy from local merchants in my town. I love having them here and I would hate to lose them by buying at only chains. I especially dislike the mall and would never go if I can buy it in  town. I do shop at discount and department stores too. I'd love to do more thrift and consignment shopping. It's so much better for the earth and smarter.

6) What is one food that you can’t stand the taste of? 

I'm not a meat eater and never have been.

 7) What’s the last movie you saw in a theatre? 

We just took our boys to see, Wreck it Ralph, a very cute movie about a video game character who jumps out of his game into another. It's really original and fun. We also just saw Skyfall, the latest Bond movie and I loved that. Fantastic. Argo, is another must see that I just watched. I'm dying to see Anna Karenina. Just need to find someone to go with me!

8) Drugstore or high-end designer makeup? 

Both! The drugstore makeup is such great quality now you'd be crazy not to. I still have to buy high-end foundation though to get a color pale enough to match my skin. A little high, a little low. It's all about finding what works for you I think. 

9) If you won a round-trip ticket for two to any destination in the world, where would you go and who would you take? 

Wow, tough one. I think I'd love to go back to Rome with my husband. We just love that city.

10) Real “old fashion” books made with paper or electronic reads?

Paper all the way! I just love a bound book, and bookstores. I'd be sad to see that go away. I love having the book after it's read on a shelf too. Thinking I may reread it someday and just seeing it there makes me happy. Browsing through bookstores or libraries is one of the greatest joys to me. You can't do that with Kindles!

And I would like to nominate a few blogs that I recently found and personally adore that have under 200 followers for the Sunshine Award. Each are blogs which are all very different and unique! Love to hear their answers to the questions above also.

Ryzenberg On

The Silver Bunny

The Good Life

Please don't feel any pressure to "do" your award. It's completely optional. It's fun to get to know more about everyone though!

Have a great week!

Kim :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Thoughts..

Thanksgiving is very special to me because my family is all together and that doesn't happen more than once or twice a year. I am so happy to have my parents, brother's family, aunt & uncle, and my 95 year old grandmother all here! I have to make three separate tables, so I've been pulling them together. Here's two of them.

I found these mums and I thought they looked great in these tortoiseshell glasses, I used burlaps and will add more twigs and leaves tomorrow.. Our white table has walnuts, our rustic turkey and little dried corns, and apples. Still getting these just so...

Thanksgiving this year has been somewhat bittersweet for me. I am so thankful to have all my family with me and at my home, but also been a little sad since someone in my family has been unwell. This person has been through a lot and I am an optimist, but still I get sad knowing all they must endure. It's always on the forefront of my mind.

Yesterday I was beginning to work on my Thanksgiving tables for 14 and just feeling a bit low. I just can't get as excited as I usually do about it this year. I took a break to go out and grab the mail and this was on my porch:

I just couldn't believe it. This adorable sign is just like one I love at William-Sonoma, only this one was made by my friend Sue. She even included a little twine and chalk attached. I am so impressed she made this! It's even cuter than the WS one. I think she knew I've been sad lately and how sweet was this? I just felt like this was a message from the universe to be happy and thankful. Sue, if you are reading this, I am so thankful for you. I am blessed to have so many dear friends that have been in my life for so long. I am truly thankful for all of them. And sometimes it's the little efforts that friends do that make all the difference...

I am also thankful for all of you dear readers and my fellow bloggers who are so wonderfully supportive. I thank you for all the comments and feedback! I know some of you stop by and don't or can't comment, but I know you are out there. Your faithfulness to this blog is unbelievable to me. 

I am truly thankful for you all! Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you are in this world.



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bakelite Beauties!

I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful weekend before the Thanksgiving week. I just wanted to share these amazing creations I came across last week at a holiday boutique. The design team is a mother and daughter who are amazingly talented at repurposing antique bakelite buttons into the most lovely things. Bakelite, if you aren't familiar, is an early forerunner of plastic used in the early part of the last century. It's highly collectable and comes in many gorgeous hues. They happen to be having a trunk show this weekend in San Jose. If you love unique and one of a kind pieces, as I do, they have it.  I own the darling necklace above which includes a 1940s round button and a vintage Cracker jack prize dog! I love it!

Look at some of what they create:

 These button bracelets bring back memories of hours spent in my grandmother's button boxes. Each button is so different and beautiful!

Loved this necklace with the tulip button and this multi chain one below.

They also use pieces from vintage games like Monopoly. Some of these feature chance cards, dice, and wooden houses from the game.

More use of unique buttons from the 1940s.

This bracelet was one of my faves. The photos don't do it justice.

 How cute is this? Especially love the shoes and ring for necklace.

More lovelies..

Vintage Tinker Toy pieces!

If you want to stop by their trunk show today or tomorrow the address is :
1008 Lincoln Avenue, San Jose, California 95125
(Corner of Lincoln and Coe)

There are lots of other vendors also there. It's called Unique Affair Boutique
(Hours 9a.m.- 6p.m.)

Her email if you are out of the area and love bakelite and their wonderful creations is


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Things That Matter

I've been away awhile and there's so much to catch up on! How did it become Thanksgiving next week already? Ahh, November.. We've had family birthdays and school holidays and so much going on. Then with hosting Thanksgiving next week, another son's birthday the week after and-  hello holiday season, I try not to freak. Sometimes I dream of driving to the beach with turkey sandwiches, like one of my friends did once...Just kidding mom!

Remember that post I did on Nate Berkus and his book, "The Things that Matter?" I promised I'd share the things that matter to me, in my home as well.  As I was taking these photos I realized there are so many things that make our home feel uniquely ours. Looking at all of our mementos brings back so many good times. I love that. Our home is our nest and it couldn't be without all these special things.

 It's so important to think of your home as a nest. It can't just look good it has to be cozy, warm and make your family want to be there. It is not a weigh station between activities. If you eat out more than in and always have your coffee at Starbucks instead of your home, you need to seriously think about making your home a place you want to be. Find the spots in your home that are sunny, warm and comfy. Have your coffee there, read, and invite your family to do the same. Use all the spaces in your home. There's no point in having a sterile, fancy living room. Fill it with objects you love, pillows and live in it!

They say children do not thrive in cluttered environments and I truly believe that. I like the clutter in our home to be put away every night. I do make my kids make their beds and pick up things in their rooms also. It doesn't always happen, but it goes towards making a more enjoyable home for all of us. My kids love being at home and that's what matters to me.


Some of the things that matter in our home below. I guess you could say my most favorite items are from trips and also the pictures from those trips. I can relive those getaways when I see them. 

I usually like to write below the year and location. I saw this at someone's home once and I thought it was so charming I vowed to do that when I had my own family and traveled.

Love making photo albums of trips when I have time...

Painted postcards are one thing I always bring home with me from trips. 

I have many and try to use them as bookmarks or display them on my bulletin boards.

I collect driftwood, shells and coral from beach trips. I love this particular piece above and can't help dreaming it may have been a part of a ship long ago, washed ashore.

We have shells in jars, bowls all over the house. I only like ones we find ourselves, not bought.

Coral makes great bookends. This piece we found on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Also love souvenirs from trips like this pitcher from one of our favorite pizzeria in Rome. They serve the wine in these jugs and it makes me happy just to remember the fun we had there.

A bill from the restaurant below in the kitchen. I love framing menus or special receipts or tickets.


These prints were bought on our last trip to Maui. I knew they would be perfect in our pool bath/changing room.

I bought this watercolor on the street in Paris. I think it was 25 Euros. One of my most favorite things.

This tray was the one special thing we bought on a trip to Florence. It now lives on my husband's night table.

These astronomical prints are from my grandmother's house. I pondered them growing up and still do.

I'm lucky to have many special things from her that she has passed down to me over the years.

I also was the recipient of her garden stools. One has developed a real patina and it got even more distressed when we had it outside for a while. It's twin below, is in perfect shape. Like them both equally as they are.

Globes have always held a fascination for me and so for many years I have collected them.


Old school globes with outdated countries like above one are so cool!

 I still adore this typewriter I bought so many years ago for five dollars. It's from the early 1900s and still works!

Old family photos are so dear to me. This one is of my grandfather, Richard Marek, with his mother and grandmother . I just love their clothes and the inside out umbrella!

We are also the lucky caretakers of many hand-whittled wooden animals that were the creation of my husband's great-grandfather from Kentucky. We treasure these little things like the cat below.

And it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the turkey. The rustic and almost primitive quality is what I like most about them.

 This real cast iron iron was used by my grandmother's grandma to iron clothes when they were small. As a child I was able to use it to play house and iron dolls clothes. Recently, my grandmother gave me it. It's the perfect bookend for my cookbook collection in the kitchen. It means so much to me that it was actually used by my great-great grandmother and probably  her mother too.

 Now notes from my kids are my most treasured. I have boxes full, but I try to leave some out...

This one gets me inspired when I really don't want to cook another family meal. I made a photocopy so the original wouldn't get soiled. My youngest made this in kinder.

"My mom can mak (make) good food."  Love that kid. The hearts get me.

There's something wonderful about books. I love them everywhere possible. Just the thought of spending time rereading each (someday!) makes me happy inside. Sorry, I'll never be a kindle convert.

 My home is made complete with those gifts handcrafted by my kids. Loving all the "rustic," ceramic pieces my fifth grader is prolifically producing for me now! Just this week the high schooler proudly made me a cutting board so pretty I'm afraid to damage it. He spent weeks picking the wood, designing and making it.  It holds a place of pride in my kitchen and will forever..

Now one more thing that really makes this place our nest... cats! How can you not relax with a soft buddy always available for cuddle time?

What things matter to you and make your house your home?


All photos Northerncalstyle.