Monday, June 16, 2014

Dreaming of Hawaii

I'm sorry for the brief hiatus there. I was just taking a little time to exhale and enjoy being with my kids without the school schedule for a bit. 

It was ever so nice to be a little checked out.

 Now I'm getting ready for my upcoming trip to Hawaii.

We are off to the Big Island, our favorite.
You forget about Hawaii when you haven't been for a while, but it's all coming back to me,  prepping  for this. 

It's the sounds of birds and palms trees in the wind, the smell of the flowers, and the sound of soft ukelele music everywhere you go that enchants as soon as you land.

Don't forget the tropical fruits, tropical drinks, and macadamia nuts! I love them in pancakes, on my fish, in the cookies and by the handful. I will probably eat pineapple until my mouth is sore and drink way too much Pog, (passion, orange, guava drink, the soda of Hawaii.)

Hiking, snorkeling, boogie boarding, biking and exploring are high on our list.

Personally, I'm thrilled to have several good books I've begun and time to read them!

Packing is always on my mind with vacations.
I've already given some serious thought to my holiday wardrobe.

Is a pineapple considered an accessory? :D

That post coming next.

In the meantime, I'm still contemplating a few new additions to the old vacation favorites I've dug out  of the closet gallows. 

I love rediscovering old dresses and pieces you would only venture to wear on holidays and finding new ways to wear them.

I'm trying out using longer printed blouses as a new beach cover-ups and skirts as strapless dresses. It's pretty fun once you start playing dress-up and see what you can do.

After I mix and match and come up with a core group of fresh feeling outfits, I donate or resell the left behinds.

 I then decide what is missing and add those along with a couple of whimsical pieces for a tropical trip.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorites I found while shopping for a summer getaway.

In love with this retro one-piece Coach.

Coach just got into swim and their current collection is just gorgeous!

Love these Tory Burch sandals. For a splurge, wouldn't these be fun for Hawaii?

A little wink with your sundresses, and a nod to the islands.

Tropical prints were big this year so it's been easy finding fun pieces to take.
 Tahari's tropical collection was pretty and this silk top from it just got marked down.
The colors are beautiful.
I think this would be flattering on almost everyone and I like the ability to dress this up with a soft skirt or make it casual with a cute pair of colored shorts. 

I also need to add one more dress to take along and am obsessed with Madewell right now and especially this cotton maxi dress. My mother always likes white for holidays and a white dress does have that Gatsby feel. Everyone should have a white dress in their vacation wardrobe.

Okay and one more thing... I need a wow accessory like cocktail ring or fab earrings for special dinners out.. 

The colors in these J Crew earrings are very Hawaiian and funny enough they are Polynesian Stone earrings.  They remind me of the sea corals and water.

I'll be back with a packing list for those going tropical later this week.

Tell me do you pack a lot or a little on an island getaway? Any travel tips for the Big Island?

Have a great week!


Images via Pinterest and more sources on my Pinterest board- Dreaming Of Hawaii.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Why Every Woman Needs A Della Dress

Well we are officially on summertime here in out house and it feels great. After a crazy last week with all sorts of school events, we are now in our happy place here, with our only requirement is to relax. You can feel the collective sigh of relief!

Last afternoon I worked grad night preview at our high school. Sophomore parents had fun being security while the public is invited to walk through the grad night display before the festivities start. 

Chatting with another mom I worked with, we marveled at all the great dresses on the mom's of graduates who walked through. Truly, I thought, this is the year of the dress, as I cannot remember a time where I have seen more well-dressed ladies. That is not always the case. We attributed it to the return of the dress. There are so many pretty choices out there now, and they are transformative. Slip one on with a feminine flat sandal and a clutch, and you are pulled together, chic and impeccable. 

On that note, I have to share my favorite garment I own right now, A Della Dress! It is all those things I want a dress to be, easy, comfortable, light and stylish. I simply throw it on with my favorite sandal and I am off. No thinking is required and I have a polished look. As they skim the body, not grab it, I need no Spanx or any of that nonsense. When I don't know what to wear to a lunch or dinner or just running errands on a warm day, I can go with it and feel stylish and cool.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you may remember I wrote of A Della Dress before.  Andrea the designer, is based in Pacific Palisades and the dresses are all designed and made in California.  I love that!! So rare.  I like her simple philosophy of just 3 designs.. A shift, a sheath, and a shirtdress. It's brilliant and who doesn't look good in one or all of these?

Here's my newest dress, a sheath, in my garden. 

I wore this to my lunch with some lovely blog buddies at Bumble in Los Altos. Love that restaurant and I recently wrote about it. I was nervous about what to wear, lunching these fashionable ladies, Jody, Jennifer and Elizabeth, with me (nice closed eyes), but having my new dress to wear was so great.  

They are wonderful kind and fun women. (Don't they look fabulous?)

I am wearing my Ivanka Trump sandals (on sale now) and an older tote I am crazy about from Banana Republic (similar one here) that goes with everything, especially nice with this dress.

The fabric I picked was from Andrea's summer 2014 fabric collection.
It's from her lightweight cotton twill group that is called 'A Hike in L.A.'  Isn't that cute?
I choose the Los Lionnes print, and I am loving having yellow in my wardrobe. 

It was hard to choose which dress.

 I loved this Greek key print too ....

This dress felt very Jackie Kennedy to me. Adored the neutral colors.

Some of the pretty choices.

The cotton ticking stripes were very comfy and soft.
( Testing them out here in my boy's bath.)

Then there were also the Beach Party fabrics ...

These pretties are 100% yarn died linen.

Don't you love the tags?

The workmanship and details in these made in California dresses are impressive.
The buttons are always unique and striking.

I believe this is a vintage button on the back of my dress.

Look how Andrea added a little hook to hang the dress. She is swims and wanted to be able to  take it with her to the gym, hang it and just toss it on after a workout! Brilliant.

Now that is California living!

The buttonholes and beautiful sewing on a shirtdress here.

No annoying tags to stick out.

I ask you, do you own a dress with finished seams inside?

I know how much work this is as my grandmother was a seamstress, and this is a hallmark of a quality dress, but rarely found in today's world.

In the end I chose chose the sheath with the pockets (crazy for them) and printed twill.

I will be wearing this for many years as it glides over me, I don't need to stress if I gain a few pounds, or indulge on a holiday.

This is coming with me to Hawaii in a few weeks and will be partaking in as many macadamia nuts and tropical drinks as I am able to!!

Here's designer and owner, Andrea, visiting me a few weeks ago on one of her jaunts up here in Northern Cal to see some of her retailers.. Adored her coat dress.

If you are interested in purchasing A Della Dress, or knowing more, you can click on my sidebar ad.

Right now if you use the NORCAL code you can get free shipping!

Check out the photos of A Della Dress in Action that customers have sent to her in their dresses when you visit her site. It shows many creative ways of styling these dresses.

Here's Andrea on a recent trip to Palm Springs in the shirtdress from her summer collection in the Westridge cotton twill. I love how she added the booties with it. She has great style!

I am obsessed with the return of the dress and the ease and simplicity it adds to life!

What about you? Are you a fan of dresses or just rediscovering them again?

Happy June!


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June: Getting the Backyard Ready for Action!

I just am shocked it's June already.
How the holy heck did that happen so fast?

Today I drove down the street to find a mess of tree trimmer's trucks and a giant wood chipper in my front.. The neighbors decided to remove most of the trees in their yard, or what is left of them after building a huge home that takes up most of their lot!

Those chipper machines always give me anxiety. I hate the horrible noise, the extreme dust in the air and every animal in my house was cowering under something..Poor guys. Also some pretty trees that we can see and give some shade are now gone. Hmmm. I have no say in this, but trees are one of those things I really love and hate seeing removed...

A view from my garden gate... 

 This house is about 45 years old and the yard was landscaped about 20+ years ago.

We have a funky pool that has a lap pool attached that wraps around the yard. 
It was originally built for a family that also had two boys and they played water polo and swam.

When we bought this home 5 years ago the  right half of the backyard was all shaded by a huge Monterey Pine. The tree was the neighbor's behind us and 2 years ago it too was taken out because it was dying.

 That changed up the whole yard environment as there were many shade loving ferns and others who went into shock... Many have come back, but some still haven't.

It's been challenge to find the right plants! I am my own landscaper for now as we are on the start-up budget, so I have been using the hit and miss method, coupled with child labor.

Try it friends! It's good for them too. :D

Teenage boys can be pretty competent diggers if you pay them.. 

You may need to micro-manage a bit.

This back area behind the pool was allowed to die when the past owners moved up to their newly remodeled home Los Altos and put this on the market. They didn't know the drip was off. To fix it up to sell, I believe they replaced the back area with agapanthus. 

To me that is a business park flower. It's pretty generic. The flowers come up once a year for a couple weeks. That's it. Taking them out is like removing a huge underground octopus- not easy. 

Slowly I've been replacing them with French and English lavender, rosemary, and California perennials that looks pretty and tolerate hot and dry, like sage and yarrow.

I would eventually love to have the whole pool have lavender hanging over it with a combination of some trailing vines and creeping fig along the fence. 

There are some lovely old roses that still survive along the back too.

Want to see a backyard to die for? Check out my friend Elizabeth's roses and yard in Orinda on her blog the Vintage Henhouse. She recreated her yard into an Italian villa's garden!

I love this very old Cecil Brunner that covers our garden gate.

My dad kindly came by to help get my garden beds turned over and he planted tomatoes and cucumbers and green beans for me..

There is nothing better than green beans from the garden or a home grown tomato!

 Already they are doing well thanks to the warm weather and good soil he added.

The time spent tending the backyard is so relaxing. Here 's my neighborhood buddy, Luke the cat who hangs with me. 

I love how he shimmies under the garden gate like a little rabbit to come in..

This is him grabbing some rays while I water. The guy can nap anywhere. 
He especially digs the pool lounge chairs! He knows a good thing.

I'm excited for all the lovely tomatoes and the caprese we will make.
 Last year I got tomatoes until November. Crazy!

Currently the garden is covered in dust. Grr those blowers. The tree people have blown it all neatly about to other corners of the world..i.e. my place.  Our town is about to possibly enact an ordinance against blowers and I hope it passes. It seems there is no day morning or night that they are not going around here. The air pollution is also terrible from them and they blow heavy metals from the ground  into the air as well. Okay sorry done ranting.

I got a new table and chairs for alfresco dinners.
 I am hoping this will motivate me to entertain more often.

 I love these chairs from Pier 1. 

So comfy. light, stackable and I can use inside as well if I need to.

Here it is set for Mother's Day Dinner.

My eldest found a way to string the cute battery operated twinkle lights I bought at Restoration Hardware at Christmas around the umbrella pole and along the top. 

I love it and the lights have timers.

I just wanted to make it a little more fun and funky out here.
 The table was a great steal as well for a $179 dollars.
Looks like neither is on the website anymore, but stores may still have the table and chairs.

I am so inspired by my friend the sweet Tamera Beardsley, and all of her gorgeous home, but especially so this post with her succulents and outdoor areas. 

I tried to step it up a bit this season and make my outdoor area as pretty.

I like these dark urns I found at Home Depot. I wanted stone, but they are quite pricey..

These looked better than the light colored faux stone.

 A little more dramatic I thought for a mix of succulents.

I think they came out pretty cute. 

Trader Joes has good prices on these little guys and so does Home Depot.

 I snatch up a few each time I'm out.

Gosh I am loving succulents more and more.

They are beautiful for inside as well and so easy to keep alive!! 

 I was thrilled when this former strawberry pot flourished as a succulent apartment.

Some of these cuttings I just snipped off and stuck in the soil here.

They are super to tuck into pots in the corners as well, like I did here with some begonias.

This olive tree from my friend Jen is at least 6 years old!  Love it so much.

My other favorites that grow well here are hydrangeas.

Jasmine I adore and also star jasmine we have on another fence. 

My husband hates the smell of these.

I would love to add some of those outdoor striped curtains around these French doors. I think  they would be so cute and cabana like.

With a pool, the one thing I am loving is this row of hooks from Pottery Barn that my friend Wendy gave me last summer. They have been brilliant for out here and we hang a ton of wet towels, goggles and swimsuits on it.

It's still looking great after a year of sun and salt water.

The little blue bucket was a find from a little antique shop in Soquel. 
They had bought a mass of these old blue enamel milk pails found in Belgium.
For $20 it's cute for the rest of the pool toys, flip-flops and diving toys.

It could be useful filled with ice to hold wine, champagne, or soda pops for outdoor parties too.

Please share with me your yard loves/ideas for summer!

I'm trying to get mine more inviting, so I can use it as another room during the summer.

I leave you with this last pic from the yard. 
We held my grandmas's 96th birthday party here last weekend and it was a lot of fun.

Love this goofy little pic with my dad and the boys. 
 My grandma's face is the best.
She's such a cutie.

Enjoy June everyone!

x Kim