Friday, June 9, 2017

Good Finds- Summer Edition

Happy Friday! We are having some crazy weather here in California. It's raining in June! I'm loving it, but I feel for all the graduates today and the end of year picnics that were planned. I honestly can count on one hand all the times it rained in summer as a lifelong Californian. I remember one time my mom let us run outside in our bathing suits during a July rain. This is very unusual though for us and reminds me of the summer of 1973 when I spent time in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin with my favorite auntie and cousins. 

So after the last post about less shopping, here I am talking about shopping again! However these are ideas for summer events and gifts one might need to get. Everyone seems to be in the summer mood here already. Many friends have already taken off on vacations while others are hosting grad parties. or invited to them. There are a few good things I stumbled across in the last week or so I thought I'd share...

Cost Plus is hitting it out of the park nowadays with so much of their merchandise. I went for potato chips (I didn't need those either), and came home with two blouses, a scarf and some other goodies.
 I cannot resist a feminine cotton blouse for summer, and I find them much more flattering and cool than any t-shirt. I've been coveting the whole Chloe collection, but unless I come into some money, I won't be spending that kind of money on a summer blouse, so enter Cost Plus!

The racks of pretty cover-ups, caftans and blouses had me as soon as I walked into my local store.  I zeroed in on the white blouses and the quality was quite nice. I also found a scarf in aqua and a packable hat for travel. If you cannot get to your local one they have most of the styles online here too.

 Here I am with one of them on. (Look away from the cat beds and terrible carpet please.)

I really like the quality and look of this Lila top. There are also dresses, wraps and ponchos. Most of these are around the $30ish price range which seems fair and adds a bit of Bohemian vibe to the summer closet!

Are you going to any grad parties or summer gatherings? I love these special edition bottles of  Chandon for gifts. Super cute even just to have on your summer bar counter! I think it's only in stores, so grab some before they are out. I bought a few to bring to barbecues.

You can pair a bottle with one of these darling tea towels that are summer-themed...

I bought the popsicle one, but thought these posh pup version, below are adorable too.


Just some of the tea towels at Cost Plus below. Many have that Anthropologie vibe at half or less of the cost. Just saying.. 


I like their new woven placemats and napkins and table linens for summertime. 


If you are giving a gift card or money this season, I love these little raffia wallets from J Crew to tuck them into. I bought a pineapple and a flamingo one for some gift cards. There are also striped ones and colorful leather ones that hook on a bag. 

 


Are you a house guest at someone's home this summer? The Picnic is a lovely idea for a hostess gift. It's beautifully illustrated and full of great ideas for picnics and makeshift summer feasts. There are games, recipes and cool things to try plus the book is just so pretty and makes me dream about picnics, which is almost as good as the real thing. It would also make a sweet engagement present.


Love this book!!


We are fortunate to be invited to two weddings this year and the wedding gift can be tricky. However, my new favorite store Hudson Grace in Palo Alto at Town & Country Shopping Center is just the place to go for this. They sell the most basic and beautiful housewares and also a few luxuries. I bought one of their perfect white round bowls, which I am using for salads and everything. I'm obsessed with it.


 I like to keep it on the counter with citrus or other fruits.


I also am in love with their Tart Kumquat dish soap which smells divine.


Hudson Grace was started by two friends. He was in design at Gap and she for Williams-Sonoma. Their collection is the practical yet beautiful pieces you want in your home- gorgeous white dishes and serveware, luxe linen napkins, big wooden bowls, beeswax candles and rustic serving planks. It's just what you would imagine a California home to have -unfussy modern things. It's a great store to choose a wedding gift. I'd love to collect these well designed pieces like this and purge the rest of the jumble I own someday.









     














There are other Hudson Grace stores in Montecito, Marin, San Francisco and Brentwood. You can read more about the founders, Monelle Totah and Gary McNatton and their own homes and style here.

Happy weekend to you all!


Kim

Friday, June 2, 2017

Classic Style- Hand It Down, Dress It Up, Wear it Out





I often think there are too many choices in life today  Life hasn't been made better, but just messier. We struggle to for quality, but the quantity of life, and an abundance of things, like clothes, often prevent us from living the life we want. Classic Style by Kate Schelter is a guide to life as well as style and aims to set us straight in a world filled with too much spending, shopping and indecision. The author's reverence for simplicity in our closets and regard for what is old, beat, handed down, thrifted, found and treasured is something I personally love.

Kate Schelter is an artist and has had spins as a Vogue photographer, celebrity stylist, and a brand consultant. This book is her little guide to life and it had me at the sub-title: 'Hand it down, Dress it up, Wear it out.' That is all I believe in a nutshell about clothes, style and spending!



Kate shows us the current culture's obsession with new, shopping as a hobby and continuous consumption does not translate into style, but rather a messy life and wasted money. A beautiful life isn't something you get with a credit card, but curated over time. Kate helps us appreciate the greatest hits from our pasts- like Vans, Vaurnets and Top-siders and as well as family heirlooms. In this view, classics never look old, and when they do wear, they get even cooler. 

Classic Style will have you shopping your closet for past favorites, and coveting hand-me-downs again. Kate is practical as well as chic and reminds one that style cannot be had with the latest, newest and most expensive looks. Chic comes from your personal mix of old and new and sometimes McGyvered clothes. It's all part of what creates real style, something that will not only make you look and feel good, but bring a calm to your life. Cultivate a look, a uniform and stick to it with daily injections of quirkiness and fun via little additions and tweaks.

Kate advocates for less and making firm decisions. Closets overflowing are a distraction from life's more important and wonderful things you could be doing. You should love what you have and wear it all, but have less. Quality items are worth spending on. Treasure those things you have kept and wear them often, wear them out. 

An original watercolor by Kate from her site.

Some of my own closet treasures are hand-me-downs. My grandfather's lime green golf sweater, my mother's 1960's leopard corduroy tote and my father's Coast Guard tunic are all items I wore and treasured over the years. I have a cameo necklace from a grandmother that is an Avon piece from the 1970s. It's not worth anything, but sentimental value, yet it's beautiful and people always remark on it.. My mother's wedding and anniversary rings are stacked on my right finger and keep her in my heart always. My tiny diamond earrings, a five year anniversary present from my husband when we were young, are precious to me and will always be my preferred, over my larger and more expensive ones. These kind of the things give you a look all your own and tell your story too.

What you add to that mix should be things you find along the way- from your travels, from vintage stores, from happenstance and serendipity. Reading this will retrain your shopping brain.  Reuse, modify, shop your own closet and second-hand stores. The most lovely finds are the items no one else has and already exist. Expensive and new does not equal stylish. 

The best message of this book? Frugality is cool and you already have all that you need.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Celebrating 100 Years - My Grandma Jody


May 24 was the 100th birthday of my precious grandma Jody! After a week of celebrating with family and friends, she's about over it, but I am still thrilled that she made it to this milestone. Everyone always asks about her, so I thought I'd share some pictures here and also a little bit about her long life.


It still amazes me that she was born when most people still used horse and buggy. She has seen so much- the beginning all modern innovations happened during her lifetime- the car, the phone, television, radio, refrigeration, the computer and much more. She remembers them all. She even has recollections of sitting on her front porch when they heard Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic from New York to Paris in 1927!



Josephine Mary Eaton Fleming was born in Walla Walla, Washington in 1917. Her childhood was spent in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, where her father was a cement contractor and built the town pool, where she learned her love of swimming. Sadly, the depression hit and the cement jobs went away. To make ends meet, her father Cody and mother Edith joined other family members as migrant fruit packers all up and down the West Coast. They would travel from Washington where they'd pack apples and pears, to the Bay Area with it's abundant apricots, down to the Inland Empire, where they'd pack iceberg lettuce. Grandmother went to high schools in Oregon, San Jose and El Centro, California. It was a hard life, though quite lucrative for the depression. They only owned what could fit in a car and rented the same homes each year as they traveled the fruit circuit. 

  
 Grandma's yearbook. She's the middle left and in the group photo, third row down, second from right.
 

One stabilizing factor and bright light in her life was her own grandmother, Mary Eaton, her father's mother. She lived on Lake Chelan, Washington and doted on Josie, as she like to call her. She attended some high school in Lake Chelan and spent many hours swimming on the lake, sneaking into boat houses, and learning to sew from her grandmother. 

She also learned a lifetime of good eating habits from her grandmother as her grandfather was a diabetic who was diagnosed before insulin was invented. Healthy foods and grains were something she used even back then to keep her husband healthy. They grew their own vegetables, canned and ate from the giant sauerkraut barrel that was in the yard.  Her grandma would put a hot water bottle in her bed on nights when it was cold, and she treated her to little things like her favorite jars of Pimento Cheese spread, when no money was to be had for extras like that.


Grandma right with her mother Edith and my dad, Ray. Isn't this coat chic?


One of my favorite photos of my grandparents on a swing in the 1940s.

Grandma married my grandfather Ray in 1937, when she was 20, the same year the Golden Gate Bridge opened. He like so many in this area, was in the fruit business, having his own market stand and was later in sales in the orange juice industry which brought them to Fullerton in Southern California. They lived for a time in a cute Spanish Mediterranean home where my dad, Ray Jr, remembers going to school barefoot on warm days (no one made sandals for children in the early 1940s), and watching Disneyland get built in nearby Anaheim. They moved back to San Jose just before it opened and he never got to go.

I love my Grandma and Aunt Wendy's Easter bonnets here around 1950.

A family road trip to Yellowstone around 1955-56. Grandmother always wore dresses and never wore pants until the mid 1970s. I remember the exact day she came over in a pantsuit. It was a big deal!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Spring Break in Scottsdale!

After a cold and wet winter, we planned this year's family spring break to somewhere warm and sunny- Arizona! Scottsdale has been our choice for a few breaks as it's just under two hours by plane from San Jose Airport. This year the boy's school breaks coincided with Max's 50th birthday, so it worked out perfectly as a little treat for him too.



The highlight of our Scottsdale trips have always been the hikes as we love the beauty of blooming cactus and desert flowers. This time we chose to stay at The Four Seasons at Troon North as it's right at the base of the mountains and close to one of our favorite hikes, McDowell Preserve.  Nestled between beautiful hills with the the most amazing plants and flowers, the resort feels like a sanctuary and the hummingbirds and wild baby bunnies add to the feeling.

Something about being in the Sonoran desert was peaceful and super relaxing and what we all needed- the kids time away from school, to just chill and for all of us to be together a bit. 


I could not take enough pictures each morning and evening of the flowers and views.

The adobe style architecture was cool too.




As with any Four Seasons, details and service are their strong points and everything at this resort was lovely. 





Our Casita room was spacious enough for the four of us with a fireplace, a deck with pretty views of the mountains and a spacious bathroom. What I especially dig at The Four Seasons are the huge closets where you can pile in everyone's luggage and unpack on the open shelves. So nice not to trip over your things (and giant teenage boy shoes.)


Loved our deck for morning coffee and bird-watching.






Thursday, April 27, 2017

My Spring Favorites From Nordstrom


Nordstrom has been sending me many updates about their spring and summer essentials. There are so many cute new things it's easy to want everything. Fortunately, I just did a major spring cleaning and that included my closet. I donated and sold back 7 bags of clothes and shoes. In that process I did a good survey of what I really need for spring and summer and do not want to add anything unless it is something that is missing or needed replacing. I love the streamline and less cluttered feel of my closet and want it to stay that way!

 Looking at all the lovely offerings from Nordstrom this spring, I found some pieces that will update my warm weather clothes I already own like white jeans, striped pull-overs, my Stan Smith Sneakers, nicer T-shirts, floaty tops and leather sandals. 


Here's what I think are some of the prettiest offering from the Nordstrom Spring looks and what I am considering adding to get me through spring and summer...





I love a little fringe and this Vince Camuto Ulla Woven Tote and it's 40% off now.


On my last trip into Nordstrom, next to the tote was this another fringetastic option..

I tried on these Michael Kors Shaw Espadrilles  and they were super comfy.  They come in a denim color too. The perfect shoe to run out the door in and light enough to pack for travel. 




Another option in the espadrille department that I like are these Tory Burch leather trimmed ones. Just a very cute design. Love these with white jeans.



Gentle Souls 'Break My Heart' sandals have been on my radar for a while and now that I have a summer trip to Italy planned, I am going to splurge on these. I need a comfy sandal that has a good soul and these are top rated for comfort as well as style. I plan to pack just these, some cute sneakers and a pair of flip flops for the few weeks I am gone. Hoping these could transition from day to evening.





This Hinge cotton and linen bomber jacket is a nice lightweight jacket for warmer weather. An update on the jean jacket perhaps.



I also have been noticing a lot of these floaty jackets  which  are also very flattering as a layering piece over a longer tank or top. This utility jacket in a model material would be nice for warm weather travel too. I like the khaki color for summer.