Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Modern Mother's Guide to Life...

I'm away right now traveling and I can't wait to get back and share what I've been up to...

In the meantime, please pop on over to a wonderful blog that I'm crazy about, Modern Mother's Holy Grail. Elizabeth is an Aussie mom and wife as well as a fashion and beauty writer and stylist. She's funny and wise and each post is just brilliant. Busy moms will love her, "How to fake a perfect life," approach to cooking, looking swell and being a fab parent. In fact I loved her blog so much I read her entire archive in a sitting and I wait anxiously for her next post.

Gushing aside, it really is good stuff. It's what I want to read right now. So when I was asked by Elizabeth to  answer some questions for her modern mother post, I was hugely thrilled!  You can read my favorite fashion things and a few mom tips and more on her blog here.

Some examples of her posts are below. You can see all the treats in store for you over there...

Images and text: Modern Mother's Holy Grail.

You can also follow me on Instagram to see my latest travel photos and where I am!

Until then, I'll see you over at Elizabeth's blog!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer House Tips

It's that time again to get the home spruced up for the summer. Finally things have slowed down and I can give my house a bit of love. I recently found this a piece of art which had such a fun California vibe for my son's room.

Once I got it home  I decided to keep it for our living room. It made me happy to look at it. (And let's be honest was it really going to be appreciated in the boy cave? Probably not!)  The bright colors made me want to change everything.

  I ditched my curtains, moved the furniture, and gave my beast of a ficus tree a haircut  (I honestly had never even thought I could do that) and a new locale- away from my window. Now I have more window, more light and a another spot to read.

I love it and we are using that room nonstop now to enjoy the sun and just hang out. That's huge for a living room, which often goes unused in most homes.

That change up inspired me get the lead out, so to speak, in the main front room. First up was new counter stools for the kitchen. My friend Wendy, a decorator, has had some comfy counter chairs around her island for 4 years which get a ton of wear and still look new. So you know what? I copied her! They are all weather wicker from Pier 1, and I love them. Comfy and you can even hose them off.  Let's hope it never comes to that...However, with all the men here in this house it's a possibility!

 In the purging mode, I got rid of my kitchen nook table and chairs.  Why do I need three places to eat in a my home?  My home is modestly sized. Crazy. Now my main room has so much room. It's bright, open and the house feels huge. We can eat at the bar or the dining table. We are actually using the dining room instead of it gathering dust and enjoying it. Less is more! I am finding this is really the key to so much. Try it..

Sorry throws are kind of sloppy here- no staging done prior! 

 Isn't this dining room amazing? It's one of Jeffery Bilhuber's creations. I'll have to do another post on him. All his rooms are beautiful, but inviting!

 I wanted to share Jeffery Bilhuber's tips for your Summer Home from Vogue.

 Jeffrey Bilhuber's top tips to get your summer house in shape:

Clear colors- like pink, chartreuse and daffodil yellow say summer.

Create as much openness and air as possible. Push furniture against walls, keep floors bare.

Simplify. Edit your belonging, put things away, clear tabletops.

( I restyled my living room shelves for summer.)

Bring in flowers - hydrangeas and roses from the garden. ( I clipped a branch from a tropical tree on the top photo.)

Add smells- a big bowl of lemons or summer fruits: tuberose or sea-scented candles.

Diane Keaton's Wallace Neff Home via Architectural Digest.

For the living room mantle, I used two blue glass jars, favorite old books and driftwood we found and a Restoration Hardware candle.

If you have children, relax about their stuff. Swimsuits, balls, flippers, surfboards are fantastic to have around.

This Pottery Barn coat rack generously holds a ton of suits, towels and more for my pool area.

Use workhorse furniture and fabrics Add white slipcovers for summer freshness.

This white cotton duck fabric couch from Pottery Barn has been with us almost 10 years now. Washable and still holding up. Creamy white and brown accents is my color scheme in the front room.
  Black cats do not help with the maintenance, but do add a cozy vibe!! :)

Put up a bulletin board where you can build a collage of memories: drawings, paintings, photographs and seashells.

I found this bamboo and linen bulletin board at Aaron Brothers Art Supply. 

A few tips of my own...

Add striped cotton or natural fiber rugs like seagrass or jute. They feel wonderful under bare feet and are low maintenance.

Bring your inside furniture out when entertaining. It's okay to drag out lightweight chairs and couches, rugs to make your outdoor space more inviting and comfy.

Sunset Magazine

 I love adding my favorite piles of throws and colorful pillows to my chaise lounges and chairs. As long as you don't leave them for an extended time, they are fine and so much more comfy than outdoor pillows.

Bright or cozy throws are wonderful to protect your indoor furniture from little grubby bare feet. I want my kids to relax and when they pile on my couches with pals in wet swim suits, my upholstery is protected.  I leave baskets of them next to the couch as well as on it. (Throw pillows also protect the arms of the couches by being a buffer from nacho cheese paws if you get my drift.)

 I love these Pottery Barn cable knit throws. Like a soft sweater.

Bring Stripes In for a Summery Nautical Feel. Even on dark pieces they lighten things up.

Add wicker and woven pieces to your indoors. Just adding a bit of a natural look will give you a lighter feel. I love the look of a woven chair around a dining table. They look fresh and they invite you to linger and relax at the dining table. They are also easier care. Everyone has them now, so check them out as an indoor option! I am hoping to do something similar in my dining room.

via Cote de Texas

  Baskets look great as bar trays or to hold magazines. Baskets keep you looking organized even if you're not.

They also look good hung from the wall with plants. The natural color of them looks so summery.

I love the addition of ivy everywhere in summer months!

Change out the towels in your bathrooms to brights and lights. Add a fern, ivy or other plant to give the bath a bit of green. I love this garden stool from my grandmother in my bath and found this dhurrie rug to match. I like the bright yellow and sea glass blue mix in here.

Remove all the winter bedding. Wash everything and let it dry in the sun before you tuck it away. Then  cover all the beds in white sheets and cotton blankets and a fun throw in a pattern or sherbet  shade. I just changed everyone to white sheets and duvets and have cotton throws like this one on top.

 I like adding summer postcards or maps to my kid's bulletin boards and clear away the clutter from school. My son Griffin's board below...

Display summer books, framed photos of favorite summer vacations, or shell collections. I like having a photo album of past holidays or a pretty bowl with photos to browse through. This is a great time to keep things light and bright and store away your usual accessories and photos.

Make sure your entry or mudroom isn't still loaded with coats and boots. It just evokes summer to have woven bags, caps and straw hats hung from hooks. Baskets for flip-flops and espadrilles look wonderful as well!

Change out your art. I love a vintage summer photo blown up. You find a something that says summer to you. A souvenir of a past holiday, like a print or a book may be wonderful as well displayed. I love this egret print and it's white tones so I just moved this from a bedroom to my family room.

Have fun to staging your home a bit. You are doing it for yourself. You have to look at it every day and be there. 
 Surround yourself with what you love!

For more inspiration, I started a Pinterest board called California Style and it's got some gorgeous examples of light and bright and natural homes I'm in love with.

 Enjoy the summertime.


Images property of northerncalstyle unless noted.

Friday, June 14, 2013

My Summertime Bucket List

My youngest son and his friends are making Summer Bucket Lists and it's very sweet. I love the happy start of Summer and all it's possibilities just swirling about in my head... Ah, the potential of it! I thought I'd make my own Summer list.. I'd love to hear some of yours as well!

On my list. . .

Getting my toes pretty and wearing my sandals everywhere I can..Don't you love these retro Salt-water sandals? I don't know about you, but growing up in 1970's California this is all we wore. Colors were either  red, navy, white or brown. No toe protection for flying feet and yes many a toe were skinned.

Biking as many places as I can around town. Getting misted by a nearby sprinkler adds bonus points! Already biked to lunch with the sons to our town's hot dog and malt shop. :)

Love to look as cute as Garance Dore above photo by her Habitually Chic boyfriend.

Many bike trips to the library and lots of lazy afternoons reading with a glass of ice tea on the patio.

Repeat this daily! Let this be your Summer mantra.

Don't forget to smell the lavender and all the other lovelies blooming. Fill your home. Right now I've got a whole bouquet of gardenia next to my bed courtesy of my pal Jen's garden and it's heaven. Making dried lavender sachets tied with ribbon is a fun a activity for the kids as well.

Beach days! 

         One word: naps!

At least one road trip is in my future. I make playlists for each of my trips so I can relive my vacation  when I hear the songs again! So fun.

 Pack up my "dream car" this white Defender and head out.. Yes I suppose a Defender is a thing not a moment, so forget I said that. . . 
Hey did I mention I like the ones with the snorkels? 

I will consume as much mint, basil, figs and watermelon as humanly possible.

                               Alfresco baby!

Pup tents under the stars...Or in the garage a few hours later..."Mom, we heard noises."

I hope to get to two of my favorite Northern California spots- Pinecrest Lake and Lake Tahoe. I love being with the mountains, the smell of the pine trees and time with my whole family.

Still looking for my dream hat that covers enough, looks stylish and doesn't look like Darth Vader...(You know what I'm talking about? Some scary sun visors out there!)

Picnics and croquet! Croquet tournaments -even better.

Badminton! Net or not...

Poolside with a hat and book. A little shade would be nice. My husband laughs because my optimal temperature is 79 and I would prefer it to stay that as much as possible. Thank you so much.

A little romance? Just saying..Isn't this the cutest? 

At least one boat ride across a lake. .  Did I mention I do have a tiny fear of boats?
I think I can do very small lakes however.

                             Beach walks!

I'd love to have a retro pool party!

Let's have guys in white shoes and mint jackets, girls with big hair loud prints...That Tequila song playing in the background. This is so my childhood. Anyone still got a cool swim cap? :D

  Okay sorry off track here..,but the umbrellas really were cute weren't they? (Slim Aarons' photos)

I need to watch some of my favorite chick flicks again like, "It's Complicated."

And I'll be thrilled if any of my men here at home will watch the original, "A Room With A View," with me. I am still enchanted by this movie after 25 years with it's fantastic characters, and views of Italy and England. Based on the E.M. Forester novel it's a great Summer read as well.

Best movie kiss ever.

A young Helena Bonham Carter and Maggie Smith before she became the dowager of Downton.

Travels to new places near and far.

Exploring the parks of the world..

or appreciating stuffed Eiffel Towers while wearing chocolate crepes

Trains, planes and automobiles! I love the romance of travel.

Let's do this!

Now tell me all about your Summer bucket lists! 


Images northerncal style and from my Pinterest boards Summer and Alfresco.