Sunday, December 30, 2012

Go Glam for New Year's Eve!

Well it's almost here, 2013. I actually love the cleaning-up, starting fresh, and looking forward to a new year of fun trips to plan, new places to see, books to read and home projects to start! 

Tomorrow we will celebrate with a crew of friends and our families on this mainly adult holiday. It's a wonderful to be with all our kids, who are tweens and teens now. They do crazy exploding poppers, confetti and fun games. The adults dress up (okay, the women mainly) and sometimes we don crowns and party hats!

The dress and hair above is my idea of chic for New Years. The high bun, red nails and a fabulous necklace are perfect!

 How chic is this table?  You can do so much with a mix of black, cream, silver and perhaps some mercury glass to this mix. The Whimsy Decor blog has so many cute ideas for a New Year's gathering.

If you haven't got a thing to wear, raid your closet. Anything lace, satin, diamond or furry is fair game!  Perfectly done red or dark lips and nails will add a bit of elegance.

New Year's Eve makes me dream of romantic dressed up evenings....

The English Patient

 If you can't get out, rent a movie that makes you swoon!

I love this casual pony tail with multiple necklaces. Do this with a black tee and skinny pants and your set for a less formal evening.

Even more relaxed is a messy bun, fabulous fancy earrings and a chunky sweater!

It's all about the glitter really. If you happen to own a sparkly jacket you're set.

I personally think every girl should have one. They're great with jeans and a tank too.

Gold pieces, the bigger the better are very in...Work your gold if you don't own sequins.

I'm loving gold heeled shoes right now and these too.

Gold and black piled on the arm or gold with a simple black dress.


This clutch is to die for!

How about clipping brooches in your hair? Or turn a fascinator around a low bun.

I noticed gold sequin skirts were in abundance at Target today..Talk about a fun piece.  For $19 you can add some glam to a sweatshirt or sweater!

Go glam darlings! Life is short. Why not be fabulous? Even if it's on your own couch!

Happiest New Year to you all!!



Inspired Design

Images and sources on my Pinterest Boards unless noted.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Hello friends. I know I've been gone for a bit and I feel I've really dropped the ball on blogging this month. I had so many great posts ideas, but never got a second to get them out. Things were crazy with school and Christmas and then my dear mother was in the hospital for a surgery five days last week. That took priority over everything and Christmas fell by the wayside. Thankfully, she is now home and healthy and that is the greatest gift this year. Besides that, the shooting has put a little cloud on everything this season for us all. While I'm determined to do some things to make a difference, I am trying to find those special moments with my family and friends. 

 I realized December has been so manic I haven't barely enjoyed my tree...or our special keepsakes! Tomorrow, I am sitting in my living room and putting my feet up.  I will take it all in.. Like my old Father Christmas, above.

The bells made for me by my talented friend Sue..

Our Christmas photos of years gone by...I love seeing photos from Christmas's past at others homes too.

Cherished ornaments like this otter from the Monterey Bay Aquarium bought by a little boy.

I'll get another look at all the adorable cards we have been lucky to receive.

 I just love the California snowman my youngest made at school! Get it?

We wrapped the last presents today and we delivered our bags of cookies for our neighbors.

The kid's trees came out so cute as did their peppermint pinwheels.

Made my Christmas lasagna for tomorrow too!

While we are at it, I had to show you how darling some people decorate! Look below at my friend Sue's kitchen table..

My friend Kim's dining room...

And my friend Leasa's mantel...

These women so inspire me. I love how creative each one was using found and bought objects to make their homes festive and stylish.

I'm going to take a week or so to just be with my family and get offline. Before I leave, I want to share this little gift, a wonderful show about the rituals of the season. I couldn't imagine a Christmas without watching Rick Steves' European Christmas. If you're a PBS viewer, you may be familiar, as it's played a lot this time of year. Let me tell you, it warms the heart. I know it sounds corny, but I cry at the end every time. My family is crazy about it too. Watch it with those you love. It really does bring the true meaning of Christmas in focus. It's about the traditions and not the gifts. We could all use a little more of that and a little less black Fridays in our world in my opinion. You can see it here.

 Thank you so to all the readers and fellow bloggers from California and all over the world who regularly stop by this blog. I am truly grateful for your comments and notes and just for reading and being here. 

I wish you all peace, joy and happiness.



All images northern cal style. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Safer America for Our Children..

These past few days have just been so sad. I didn't write a planned post because right now everything else  just seems so superficial. The school shooting in Newtown has shaken me to the core as a mother and an American. I realized that I had to speak out when I realized our country puts the right to own arms over the basic safety of my own children. This is my way of trying to help. Feel free to click off if you don't agree or care to read more. It's  just my hope to make my children safer in America..

 It's wrong to keep turning a blind eye to how much the gun lobby or NRA bully this country. I can hug my kids tighter, but the best thing we can do for our children is change the gun laws in this country. If we want to make a difference, each one of us has to do something toward that goal.

If you care as much as I do about making this change, then let's do it. You know what inspires me?

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead.

 One problem in this country is people are too afraid to speak out and step on another's toes. Many I know, agree that guns are too available, but won't say it out loud. I know this to be true in my own town.  I learned it firsthand recently. Just this week in fact, a gun shop was set to open nearby two schools and a park and close to most of our homes. Myself and a few others wrote responses on our local online paper saying we objected to the location and also a gun shop so near our neighborhoods. This was about 4 days before Friday's tragedy, and we were piled on in the comment section by a ton of men, pro-gun NRA readers. So many folks objected to this shop, but very few had the guts to say so.

  I think the basic problem is we are all too cowed by the NRA to say we think that the second amendment is not a "right. " It was something that was written long ago. Our forefathers did not intend for each and every family to own deadly weapons. If  anything those homes with guns are less safe and a gun in it ends more often than not in tragedyA gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used in a criminal, unintentional or suicide-related shooting than for self-defense shooting. People were horrified by the number of deaths in the September 11th attacks, but that same year a nearly equal number of children were killed in their own homes by private guns in our United States. The pro-gun shop people stated unequivocally how having guns made things safer. I disagree. I'd be okay with the NRA if they were just for safe and responsible ownership of hunting guns and the like. However, they have overturned so many laws designed to make our streets safer. They are extreme and believe any weapon is okay.

So what can we do?

-First of all, speak out and don't be afraid to express that the huge amount of guns in our country needs to be rectified. The more we talk, share and discuss our thoughts, the more others will listen and join the conversation.

-Let's stop thinking responsible gun ownership can make the proliferation of weapons in our world okay. I appreciate those who keep their guns locked and safe and it's good background checks are done. Yet, there is no way to vet the sanity of every person wanting to buy a gun. Yes, let's make it harder to buy, but let's make less guns in this country a goal. 

-Stop deluding ourselves that it's the mental health system that has failed. Look, everyone agrees the mentally ill should not have weapons, but what about autism and other disorders as this young man had? The last time I checked autism was a broad spectrum and not classified as, "insane." There are so many highly functioning people and children with this that there is no way to single at risk folks out.  As a matter of fact many who snap are not recognized as mentally impaired at all until after.

-Getting guns out of our homes is huge. We need to start weapon buy-back programs as Oakland just had. They are successful and they get people motivated to rid themselves of guns

-Gun culture needs to be de-glamorized. Guns should not be routinely accepted as a male accessory in nearly every action movie. Let's make guns the new cigarettes- something, low-brow, distasteful and shameful.. That might help. Remember those old smoking ads from the 70s? Public service announcements with gun horror stories.. What about giving tougher ratings to movies with extreme gun violence?.. The same goes for video games.

-Mothers, women and parents need to mobilize in their own neighborhoods and communities speaking out against guns and gun shows.  MADD, (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), was started by a mom and other women and is one of the most successful grassroots organizations ever. They are responsible for raising the nation wide drinking age to 21 in 1984, and much other impactful legislation. Can we start Mothers Against Guns?

-Those who use guns for hunting and sport should prove capability and need to keep a license updated just like a driver does... Personally, I'm opposed to hunting, but I'm trying to meet in the middle here..

- Assault weapons and guns that carry large rounds of ammunition should be banned outright. These are weapons of war and should be only used by the military.

- Ban the purchase of weapons online, where guns are only a click away.

-Join the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence by clicking here.  The NRA claims 4.3 million members, the Brady Campaign has 50,000. We need to help this foundation with donations, support and you can like it on Facebook here.

These are just a few things we can do in our own communities. Please share with me other ideas to remove guns in our country and keep our children safe. We owe them that. 

After the horrific shooting deaths of 16 children in Dunblane Scotland in 1996, the United Kingdom promptly passed a ban on all private ownership of handguns. Historic and hunting guns are all that is allowed now. They did it, we can too.

Thank you for breading. I know it's not my usual post.  I just had to try to do something in the name of the little children who had their lives taken from them on Friday.

 I'll never forget their names.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Swedish-Californian Christmas Style!

Do you ever visit someone's home and get so inspired you want to go home and redo everything? I do!  Last week it happened at my friend Catrin's new home. We met through tennis and she was gracious enough to host our tennis team for a Christmas brunch. I was excited to see what she has done since moving into this beautiful hillside home. 

 Immediately, I was enchanted with her very Scandinavian style and her holiday look. Catrin is from Sweden and has been living here and in the U.K. for several years.  Her home reminded of my Norwegian sister-in-law Line's home and her similar clean and bright decor. 

Love her dining area! Catrin's simple red spread looks elegant and unfussy. Perfect for brunch. If you haven't had yummy saffron buns before, they are a traditional Swedish food eaten on December 13, Santa Lucia Day. If you are lucky enough to have someone bake you homemade ones they are a treat! Catrin's on the center plate below. You don't see them in too many bakeries here. I found a recipe and more details about St Lucia Day here.


One thing I love about Catrin's home is the natural light and abundance of windows. With lovely views of the hills you feel like you are in a grown-up tree house. The dark wood floors, white walls, bare windows and absence of clutter is refreshing. How great are those white painted chairs with a Marimekko print cushions? I like how she uses them with a dark wood table.

This is a home that is family friendly, cozy with a calm feel. There are neutrals and pops of color. Christmas looks great in here. Red and white is more traditional for Christmas in Scandinavia, not so much the red and green as here. 

How is it Europeans always have these wonderful Christmas trees that look just cut from the forest? Catrin's was no exception with it's bushy not triangular shape. Paired with the Scandinavian tradition of less ornaments, her tree looks sweet and not over-done like so many trees here. I wanted to run right home and stash half my ornaments away!

A nod to their homeland on the sofa...

And a scattering of these fellas around...

Candles in the window is another tradition.

Besides her darling Christmas decor, and the whole house, I also was envious of Catrin's home organization. Look at this set-up in her entry. She designed this to hold 80 shoes in the tall cabinet! Each child (she has 3!) has their own cubby and storage space. It makes her home kid friendly yet modern and clean. This was built for her by California Closets. 

This island was the center of her living space. It has wonderfully durable metal counter. The lamp makes the light warm and the sides of this island is equipped with refrigerator drawers! Genius. Which brings me to  another part of her house we all loved, the pantry!

Through the archway behind her kitchen there was previously a washer and dryer. She took that out, added shelves for all her things, cookbooks and wine included. She even glammed it up with a skylight and pendant lights!

The view from her front door...

The path back down to our cars... Just love the Northern California oak covered hills.

Thanks Catrin for allowing me to invade your space! I can't tell you how inspired I was when I left.

I hope you enjoyed it too!