Weekday mornings are usually a crazy whirlwind.  I jump out of bed, after hitting the snooze on my iPhone twice and quickly go through my routine…..

Brush teeth and hair

Turn on kitchen lights and tv news softly (just to wake myself up more)

Run out to kitchen and start coffee

Feed all the pets

Make Ellie’s lunch (If I didn’t already do this the night before)

Start Ellie’s breakfast (More like assemble because she only wants cereal usually)

Go wake her up…throw off her covers, open roman shades, turn on light and then carry…yes carry her highness into the dining room for breakfast.

Then from there it’s a mad dash to clean up, get her dressed and packed up for school, get myself dressed (Thank God for workout clothes!), rush out the door and get her to school on time. If it’s a workout morning I sneak in a yogurt and/or banana before we leave.  But it’s the days I have just a little more time to myself after dropping her off that I relish.  It’s usually a day that I have lots of office work to get done and no client meetings. Those mornings I like to treat myself to a nicer breakfast. And this one fits the bill perfectly!

Serves 6

(I only used one egg and then adjusted the rest accordingly since I was the only one eating it)

Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

6 large eggs

2 bunches pencil thin asparagus

Canola oil

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

2 cups torn country bread

extra virgin olive oil

aged balsamic vinegar

fleur de sel

Poach eggs. Bring 6-8 inches of water to a boil in a deep saucepan. Prepare an ice bath.  Add the vinegar to the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Crack 1 egg into a small cup or ramekin. Using a wooden spoon, stir the water at the edges of the pan twice in a circular motion to get the water moving. Then add the egg to the center and simmer gently 1 1/2 minutes or until white is set but yolk is still runny. With a slotted spoon, transfer egg to ice bath. Skim off any foam that has risen to the top of water and repeat with remaining eggs, one at a time.

Peel or trim asparagus stalks if necessary. Spread asparagus out on a platter or baking sheet and drizzle generously with canola oil (I used olive oil) and season with salt and pepper. Grill asparagus on an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan. I used a cast iron skillet because I was only making it for myself and the skillet was easier to manage. It worked fine.  Cook 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side.

With the grill or pan still hot toast some of the torn country bread. This was very easy to do in the cast iron skillet. There was still oil at the bottom, so the large chunks just toasted off of that. Worked  great! Takes about 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a simmer. Lower the cooked, poached eggs into the simmering water for about 30 seconds, just to reheat. Blot on paper towels after. Note..you can cook the asparagus first, then the eggs so that the eggs don’t get cold. This works if you are only making this for one or two people.

Arrange some asparagus on plate, then some prosciutto and croutons. Lay an egg on the asparagus then drizzle all with olive oil and balsamic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. SO GOOD!



There you have it. Super easy!  And it would also be a nice weekend breakfast. Of course the kids probably would want nothing to do with it. Their loss. Oh…and this is also a really nice light dinner.  It goes really well with a chilled white wine!

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February 3, 2014

Drought Tolerant Gardening

by Shelly

Living in Southern California my entire life, I have grown accustomed to hearing how we should conserve our water and cut back our use.  Even when a year seems particularly “rainy” and wet, it seems we just never have quite enough water for the mass amounts of people that live here.  This year unfortunately, as those of you who live in the area know, we are in a real bind .  We’ve gotten some rain the past week, but given we are so late in the season it is doubtful that we will catch up to the rain needed to meet our needs for the year.

As an avid gardener, the threat of water shortages does not bode well with my soon to be spring time planting!  Looking over my sad, winter-barren yard the other day, I started to scheme up some ideas on how to make my yard look nice this spring without the need for lots of water to keep it looking good.

My garden tends to lean towards country English/formal English. I’d probably say it’s more semi-formal English…not that it exists in the gardening world, but that’s close to what it actually is. In any case, I like lots of roses, boxwoods, ferns, hydrangea and gardenias.  These aren’t all the best for times of drought. So I’m thinking of repotting all our hanging baskets and pots with succulents and ornamental grasses and replacing some of the water heavy plants (once they inevitably die) with lots of lavender, white shrub roses (which I already have a ton of actually), and herbs.

The goal is to make the yard more Mediterranean feeling for the time being and who knows, maybe I’ll start to like it better! Above our some of the ideas I found for pots, etc.  Definitely more of a Napa feeling no? Below are some ideas on what, where and how to plant a drought tolerant yard or patio.


Hedges or Privacy Screens: 

{via daves garden}

1. Pacific Wax Myrtle

Great screen or hedge plant. Tolerates wind. Sun to partial shade.


{via sf gate}

2. California Bay Laurel

One of my very favorites! Aromatic with yellow flowers December to May. Can use the leaves for cooking, although it is a bit stronger than regular bay.



{ via this old house}

3. Privet Ligustrum

Another fav! We actually just planted a long hedge of this in our backyard to gain some privacy. Classic look..think Hamptons! Tough as nails and very tolerant of air pollution. Perfect for So Cal unfortunately.



Container Plants and Hanging Baskets:

1. Verbena or Lantana

Hardy and easy to grow. Heat and drought tolerant. Full sun! Makes beautiful, cascading baskets for your patio!


2. Lavender

This can be used in pots for a Napa wine country feel or just grow straight in the ground. Either way looks beautiful and grows so easily! Smells amazing. Use dried flowers in sweater boxes as insect repellant or just to make your home smell wonderful!


(via valeaston}

3. California Poppy

So, so pretty and colorful! These work anywhere…containers, hanging baskets or straight in the ground. Flowers spring to summer. A great place to buy poppies is here!




Often overlooked when selecting plants for the garden, grasses add so much….dramatic backgrounds,

soft edges, interesting foliage colors and textures ranging from spiky to soft and silky. These varieties are very
drought tolerant.

1. Sheep Fescue

2. Deer Grass

3. Purple Needle Grass

4. Giant Wild Rye



Best All Around:

Last but not least, everyone’s favorite plant of the moment, succulents. They seem to come back around every 20 years or so. I remember my mom being big into them when I was just out of high school. Now here we are, exactly 20 years later (my big 20th hs reunion is this year eek! ) and she is all over the succulent trend again. They are great in just about any application….containers, wreaths, wall hangings, hanging baskets, or in the ground.  I like to mix these in with other plants like herbs, roses, or citrus trees when doing pots. They give a nice modern edge to a container.  The trick is to make sure the soil is very well drained. They don’t like to sit in wet dirt. So, make sure you are mix your regular potting soil with a good amount of gravel mix before dumping into a container. Once you plant the succulent into the mix, it looks nice to top the soil with decorative stones or aquarium gravel. It gives the pot a nice finished look!


 I hope I’ve given you some ideas on how to make your yard or patio garden pretty this spring, even during this horrible drought.  Please share any other water saving yard ideas and plants with me!  I love to learn new gardening tips!



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January 28, 2014

Family Adventure: Australia!

by Shelly

I’m alive, yes…I’m alive!  I fell off the face of the Earth there for a while.  After five years of blogging I seemed to have run out of steam this last year.  With work and daily life, I found blogging to be a chore for a while, that I wasn’t really sure was paying off in any way.  And to be honest, I was breaking down in more ways than one.  Stress can be a bitch like that and I am VERY affected when I’m overloaded unfortunately.  I probably need to meditate more or do yoga…something.  For now I’ll stick with drinking red wine to de-stress! haha!

So, here we are twenty-seven days into 2014! Happy New Year a bit late everyone.  The holidays were crazy busy, but our little family spent some great time together that was very needed.  And right after the holidays we took off on a major trip of a lifetime.  We went to Australia!  The hubs had to go for a work function and since he had done a semester abroad there some 20 years ago, he was aching to go back and show me the country he fell in love with.  It took some work to figure out the logistics, but we spent two fabulous weeks together.  We even brought our six year old along!  We didn’t want her to miss out on this possible once in a lifetime opportunity, so we worked out independent study with her school so she wouldn’t fall behind.

The first week we spent in Sydney where the Mr. had his work event. He was able to join us for a couple days of sightseeing, but then it was just Ellie and I tooling around the city and exploring.  It was tough mapping out Sydney alone with a kiddo, but we did it and really bonded in the process.

{view from the Sydney Tower}

{manly beach}

{sydney opera house}

Sydney is a beautiful, clean city.  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was a lot prettier than I had imagined it would be.  Litter is scarce, there is very little graffiti, the air is clean, the water is crystal clear and you can just tell that Australians are full of pride for their city.  Such a refreshing thing coming from dirty ol’ So Cal!  But word to the wise, it is EXPENSIVE! Eating out was our only option since we stayed in a hotel the first week and the meals really added up.  It’s something you just have to get over, which isn’t easy. But if you let it continue to bother you, it can really dampen your spirits.

Some highlights while were in Sydney:

*Ventuno Pizzeria Enoteca Birreria for the Sunday pizza and beer/wine special for $20. Legit, Italian pizza and a beautiful view!

*Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife World. Ellie loved it and so did we! So many animals, reptiles, fish, etc. that we had never heard of before.  We’re all big nature lovers, so this was a highlight for us all.

*Tumbalong Park…quite possible THE coolest children’s playground ever! Great climbing equipment, zipline, tire swing, huge slides and a little water play area.

*Ferry ride to Manly Beach for the great views and a very pretty beach.

*Bondi Beach…great beach, great shopping

*Sydney Tower for the fabulous views over the whole city!

After the hubs wrapped up his work obligations in Sydney, we headed to Brisbane to spend time on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.  Our first stop after we landed in Brisbane was the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, so Ellie could snuggle a koala and we could feed kangaroos. SUCH a cool experience!

{surfers’ paradise}

The last week we spent solely in Noosaheads, which is about an 1 3/4 hrs from Brisbane.  I cannot express enough how magical this part of Australia is. Nature everywhere!!  I’m a big bird watcher dork and this place was just filled with parrots, pelicans, and the like. I’ve never seen a place with so many different types! And then there were the lizards and flying foxes aka GIANT FREAKING BATS, the different types of jelly fish and the various sharks that roam the waters in the area (which luckily we never saw). We even caught glipses of koalas in the trees during one of our hikes and kangaroos just lounging on someones’ front lawn as we drove by. Awesome!!

{our kangaroo buddies we drove by one evening}

All in all it was probably the best family trip we’ve taken together. Australia is a country not to be missed! The 15 hour flight there is long, but it goes by quickly with meals, sleeping and after watching a few movies.

Some Queensland highlights (Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast):

*Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

*Burger Bar in Noosaville for the very unAmerican and very Australian version of the hamburger. Their chicken “burgers” are out of this world good too!

*Jojo in Noosa for cute dresses and accessories.

*Noosa National Park

*Nitrogenie in Noosa for the most AMAZING ice cream. Get the salted caramel popcorn.

*Golden Breed…rent a surfboard and get in the water! The surfing is great and the water is warm and clean.

*Spirit House Restaurant in nearby Yandina. Amazing Thai food and I thought I didn’t like Thai! Get the crispy fish and the coconut soup with salmon. TO DIE FOR!

I hope to blog on a more regular basis this year! Can’t make any promises, but I’m going to do my best. See you soon!

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November 14, 2013

In Flight

by Shelly

Last weekend was my fabulous hubbys’ big 4-0!  Since it’s been quite a while (four years to be exact) since we’ve taken a proper vaca, I decided to spoil my hardworking boy with a trip to Hawaii!  We’ve been to Maui and Oahu before, but we were looking for something a bit more laid back and the Big Island was definitely on our list of must sees.  So we decided to include our six year old Ellie and we headed to Kona for some much….MUCH…needed R and R.


We’ve done our fair share of airplane travel over the years and with the holidays coming up, I know many of you will be flying around the country to see loved ones.  So, I thought I would share some of the items that have made my time in the air much more comfortable.

1. First things first. Before I even leave the house for the airport I use a high level face sunscreen, since the suns’ rays are fierce up in an airplane! Then I lather with a fairly thick cream.  Yes, I know this is technically a night cream, but hear me out. That plane is DRY!! And my regular day cream just gets sucked up.  I don’t use a lot of this, just enough to be a bit more than usual. My face stays pretty well hydrated the whole trip!

2. Sleeping on a plane….SUCKS!!!! It’s loud, the seats are uncomfortable, you’ve got a stinky…large…snoring man sitting next to you. Whatever.  It’s not that easy. We use to take a sleeping pill which actually worked wonders, but I’ve started to back away from that since I don’t like being completely knocked out in case of an emergency or something.  So this trip I went all out and bought a few things to make sleeping more comfortable for us. The eye mask ended up being AWESOME and really helped to make me feel like I was in my own dark bedroom at home.

The neck pillow was one of the best ones I’ve ever used. The fabric was nice and soft and not too hot. And I also liked how you could adjust the air to get it just right to your own liking. Along with the travel blanket I was a happy camper. The blanket actually is LONG and covered me from neck to my toes.  There are two pockets at the bottom you can actually put your feet into as well. I was very cozy.

3. Since we live about 5 miles from the ocean I am use to more moisture than normal.  I really, really dry out in airplanes or anywhere with a lower humidity level actually!  This Moisturizing Face Spray is wonderful for mid-flight mists. My husband even likes it.  It has a nice subtle scent and it just refreshes you when you start to dry out and feel zapped of moisture.

4. This trip I brought my everyday water bottle. This bottle goes with my EVERYWHERE! No joke. I realized a few months ago I wasn’t drinking enough water and it keeps me away from sodas and other sugary or calorie full drinks. My daughter and I each brought our water bottles filled up to the airport and we made sure to drink it up before we reached the security check point.  We just dumped the last few drops out, so TSA wouldn’t give us any problems. Once we got through the check point, we filled them up at the water fountain.

5. I’m a clean freak. Borderline OCD at times….and I’m not ashamed of it. :)  Airplane germs gross me out beyond belief.  And after reading more about what types of germs are actually on a plane and where they are hiding, well I decided that I needed to cleanse my seating area as much as possible.  First thing I do when I get to my airplane is seat is whip out these bad boys and wipe EVERYTHING down! I unfold all our tray tables and wipe them down, I clean the arm rests and the seat belt bucket all over, I clean around the side of the plane where the window is and my little one likes to sit and I wipe down the outside of the seat pocket. It takes me about a minute or two. No biggie and I feel better about not picking up some nasty germ.

6. After being on a long flight sleeping with my mouth open (sexy I know) and eating lots of snacks and maybe a meal or two, my breath is probably not the freshest. I could always just pop some gum in my mouth, but that’s only a temporary fix. These little Crest Wisps are a lifesaver for being able to brush my scummy teeth, freshen my breath and not even have to even get out of my seat to do so.


So there you have it! My must have take alongs that make my flying experience a whole lot nicer. Do you have anything that you like to bring along? Please share, I love to get new ideas.


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Halloween has long been my second favorite holiday of the season. 4th of July is my #1!  The first couple years after we were married, we threw pretty large adult only Halloween parties that I went way out for. Tons of decorations, large amounts of food (that I made myself), fabulous themed drinks, and pretty well thought out costumes.  Our last big party was in 2008 and I sure have been missing those fun events!  After going through old photos, I decided that it would be fun to share our silly costumes with you all in case you were looking for last minute ideas for yourself. Although I’m sure most people went to parties last weekend. In any case, here they are!

{reed 2005}

Oh boy, this one goes way back!  Our very first Halloween party at our tiny first home.  This was the best one!  Reed and his friend Mike decided to be robots.  It was awesome!  This is Reed…He basically just taped together cardboard boxes and spray painted them silver. To add to the look of metal, he drew in rivets with Sharpie marker.  The robot was much taller than he was, so he used the front of an old radio for the chest piece and that is where his head was.  He could flip the stereo piece up if he wanted to chat or eat and drink. Notice the “alcohol powered” above where his face is?  Oh, life before kids.  The very top of the robot he took wire hangers, bent them and covered them with aluminum foil and then hooked them up to small battery operated wheels that made the antenna spin! So awesome! The arms are ducting that he got at Home Depot and he used work gloves for his hands. He finished it off with silver pants he found at the thrift store and old boots he sprayed silver. Loved this costume and so did the kids when he answered the door on Halloween!

{us 2006}

This is probably my favorite costume I’ve worn.  I was Marie Antoinette…in her underwear of course! And Reed was the original Willy Wonka.  Both costumes were pretty easy!  Mine..I found the corset, bloomers and blousy undershirt on a Renaissance fair clothing site. You can’t see the shoes, but they were very French looking and I found them at good ol’ Marshalls for $10!  I added long pearls, a French fan I bought on Ebay, a FABULOUS wig I got online and a huge feather and flower that I pinned into the wig. SO fun!

Reed found the shirt and jacket on Ebay. He wore a pair of his own pants and shoes and the tie he bought at the local costume shop for $5.  He added a silly curly wig and a top hat from the local party supply store.  The best were the golden tickets and candy bars he made!  That was the most time consuming part of the costume!  He photoshopped out wrappers and the tickets and made about 20 of them that he handed out at the party. OH..almost forgot…you can’t see it in this pic, but he found an awesome cane with a big diamond on top from a PIMP STORE online! Yes…you read that right.. a pimp store! hahahaha!!!

{us 2007}

If you think I look busty in this picture you are right! Yikes!  I had just given birth to our daughter about three months prior and this is what breast feeding did to me. We dressed up like a German couple because our best German friends were in the US visiting and we hadn’t seen them since they had moved a few months earlier. We thought they would get a laugh. Both our outfits were found online. These were dialed in…no creativity here, but our friends thought it was funny and my husband really liked my costume. *wink wink*

{us 2008}

Oh Lord, this picture scares me everytime I see it! My husband with eyeliner and me…well…looking like a total hussy.  The hubs is Bret Michaels from Poison fame and I’m a Rock of Love contestant. If you never saw the show, this may not be that funny to you.  But if you have…well you get the joke!  Again, easy costumes.  His outfit consisted of too tight jeans, cowboy boots found at a thrift store, bandana he already owned, cowboy hat and a $10 tee he found online. The eyeliner? Yeah, that was mine.

I found the dress at some cheapo clothing store at the mall. Shiny, tight, too short…yuck. The fabulous wig wasn’t a total cheapy. I got it from a reputable wig shop online.  It’s actually kind of…uhh..nice. If you wear wigs that is. I have about 10 lbs of makeup on and the BIGGEST silicone boob enhancers in my dress. Bummer, but you can’t seem my other arm which had a bunch of stupid fake tattoos. I also added a tattoo around my ankle and have on THE highest heels I have ever worn. Reed went above and beyond and made me a Rock of Love backstage pass that Bret used in the show much like a rose is used on the Bachelor. Hilarious!

So there you have it! Our funny Halloween costumes throughout the years.  I might share some fun ones of Ellie this week as well….because..well I love Halloween!

Have a great week everyone.

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October 7, 2013

My Favorite Things: October

by Shelly

Fall is officially here, but our So Cal weather doesn’t know it. This weekend we had crazy, heat in the 90s and we actually spent the day at the beach Sunday trying to cool off and enjoy the good surf!  But behold!  Rain is in the forecast for this week…THANK GOD!  So, I’m already planning on my husbands’ fav Split Pea Soup for dinner and wearing the new cable knit, over-sized sweater I recently purchased.  Here are some other items that are on my radar this month.

1.  These Ear Phones caught my eye somewhere on the internet and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them since. I’ve gotten into jammin’ the music loud in my office when I’m working and sometimes I really, REALLY want to be able to hear all the nuances of a song (it’s the music geek in me). These are SO awesome looking and they get great reviews!

2.  I have always been a hat girl. My husband still cracks up at an old picture of me from when I was 14 and sporting a serious Blossom hat with denim overalls. Not an fab fashion moment for me, but I loved it. I have plenty of warm weather hats, but I would love a wool one for the colder months. This Fedora  is to die for. Simple. Classic. Well made. I really want it!

3.  Ahh… comfort food.  How I love thee.  I am the self -proclaimed queen of making comfort food. Coq Au Vin, Pork Cassoulet, Split Pea with Ham, French Onion Soup, Beef Bourguignon…these are my go tos for when the weather gets cold. I am in desperate need of a larger Le Creuset pot. Mine is just a tad too small for the food I like to make. This Dutch Oven would be perfection and it’s oval which would hold large cuts of meat well. The color is so pretty too!

4.  This Sweater reminds me of the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox. Such a cute, quirky sweater for Fall.

5.  Pumpkin pie is hands down one of my favorite desserts ever.  It holds such a nostalgic place for me in my heart. This Candle is perfect for this time of year and the house seems unbelievable, but I will admit it makes me crave pumpkin something fierce!

6.  If you aren’t already listening to The Foals you are missing out!  And of course they are an English band (anglophile right here!). Check them out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

7.  Oh, good Lord! Is there anything better at TJ’s than Pumpkin Butter?  Such a Fall staple at our house. Tastes so yummy on a toasted raisin bagel in the morning with coffee.  The kiddo likes it with peanut butter for lunch.

8.  IN. LOVE. These Rings are gorgeous! *hubby you can gift one to me if you want!* I usually wear my wedding ring on my left hand and another ring on my right hand. I feel naked if I don’t.  The ring I usually wear is bent and is getting impossible to take on and off. And I’ve been wearing it for like 10 years. I need a change. This whole line is amazing!

Off to do a rain dance!!

Happy Monday to you!






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It seems to be all about contrast for me lately. I am digging graphics, black and white, and interiors with details that POP!  Over the last few weeks I got lucky with some major sales and added a few things…some needed…some not….to my wardrobe.

{the loot}

Black leopard calf hair flats. A neutral in my book. A cute, lace trimmed, three quarter length sleeve tee. A delicate black and white beaded necklace with tiny tassels.  Black patent heels. Black and white tiny dot shirt. And the hubs got me the fun bright, coral geometric necklace.

And my big project has been FINALLY finishing up our family room.  I’ve been recovering a few things, adding new pillows, and am in the market for some giant framed botanicals. I can’t wait to show you!  But I will give you a little sneak peek.  Here are the two fabrics I am adding and I think they will add a lot of punch and CONTRAST (my favorite) to the room!

{the star of the show}


{the accent}

I should be done by the end of the month and I will for sure share once I am!


August 23, 2013

Keeping It Neutral

by Shelly

A new project I am beginning work on for a sophisticated new family is having me shift my normal design tendencies a bit.  The couple would like a neutral palette with layers of texture and a slight zen feeling.  Normally I am all about color and pattern, so this is going to be a fun change.  I’ve started gathering inspiration for the project and am really starting to like the feel we are aiming for.



{Ellen Grasso & Sons, LLC}


{Debbie Duggan}

Hope you have a nice weekend! School starts next week, so we’re having one last hurrah and going wakeboarding this weekend. Hoping we have fun without breaking anything.  Haha!

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August 14, 2013

Catch Some Zzzs

by Shelly

Oh boy! Summer is almost gone.  The little one only has two more weeks before she starts FIRST GRADE!  What?!  Seriously, I know everyone tells you it goes fast, but wow it really does.

I apologize for things being so quiet on the blog the last few months.  To be honest, I needed a break. Work, personal life, blog life, social life….all of it…it was consuming me.  And I needed to step away to recharge, feel grounded again and figure out what the hell I’m doing.  Do you ever feel like that?

What I did figure out is that I was tired. Exhausted really? It’s been a busy year so far!  And what I also noticed is that it wasn’t just me, but the whole family was in need of some rest.  We’ve all been sleeping just a wee bit more. Ellie, who is already a majorly good sleeper, has been sleeping till about 9am everyday.  Awesome, right moms?  But we are all starting to get back to our normal routines now and are ready to conquer the world!  Well….or at least ready to conquer today. We’ll start there. :)

So in my quest to re-energize this summer, I stumbled across two amazing companies to make going to bed just a little bit sweeter.  First up, the CUTEST line of bed linens I ever did see from Biscuit!  The next project I plan to tackle in our home is a mini makeover of our master bedroom.  This line is a serious contender for the redo.  I’m totally smitten!

{Peppermint Bliss}

{via Look Linger Love blog}

I just love that floral print, but alas I think the hubs would think it was a bit too feminine.

{Piece of Toast}

This splatter print is so fun and fresh!

{La Dolce Vita}

And the cutest, guest bedroom redo from my friend Paloma of La Dolce Vita blog!  Love me some polka dots.  Her pup makes the bed though, don’t you think?

So now I’ve got to narrow down my design ideas and come up with a plan for the room. Stay tuned for that!

And while I’m on the subject of slumber….check out Sleepy Jones! Sleepy Jones was established in 2013 by Andy Spade and long-time collaborators Anthony Sperduti and Chad Buri. You can read more of their story here.  Adorable-ness. I’m a boxers and tank to bed kinda girl (no silkie nighties here!).  So this line is right up my alley!

Here are some of my favs so far….

This cute floral top


these bottoms.

Feeling a little stripey?

And for the guys.

Our daughter calls my husband “Dada” in the funniest way. So I think he’ll be getting this tee sometime in the near future!

Paired with these…

So many great looks.

All is available at Sleepy Jones!

Are you ready to hit the sack?

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Hello!  Hope your weekend was fabulous.  There is nothing better than getting a message from your mother, freaking out that she just read your name in Better Homes and Gardens magazine which hit newstands over the weekend!  I love giving design advice to my friends and family and loved having the opportunity to do the same in the magazine.  Hopefully someday soon I’ll have a chance to work with BHG on one of my projects!  A girl can dream! *wink wink*

Check out the feature below and in the August issue of Better Homes.

Hope you enjoyed the sneak peek and the great tips from all the contributors!



July 3, 2013

Birthday Wish List

by Shelly

Holy crud! It’s that time again…my birthday. Where did this year go?  The first week of July is arguably my very favorite time of the year.  Warm weather, barbeques, beach days, surfing, riding bikes, longer daylight hours, ice cream….I could go on and on. And I love the 4th of July. It’s like my birthday kickoff party!
I had SWORE last year that our kiddo wasn’t going to get a big birthday party until she was 10.  Especially since her last one was so much work.  But alas, I couldn’t let her down.  It’s difficult when every single kid she knows has a major party for their birthday…every. single. year.  What is that all about anyway?

So I’m planning a little something this weekend for her and a few close friends. I’ll be sure to share that with you all next week.  Since Ellie and I share a birthday, I am usually left to celebrate on another day. The other half and I are going to take a little trip up to Paso Robles in a few weekends to wine taste and visit with some family.  We’ll do my celebrating then. No biggie for me…wine..glorious wine!  And since it’s my birthday week I’ve put together a little collection of items that are on my wish list.

Now that the water is at a temperature I can handle, I will be shedding the full wetsuit.  I am really in need of some cute warm water surf gear and this J.Crew collaboration with Pret a Surf is fabulous. Rash Guard and Board Shorts

I’m a HUGE…HUGE….HUGE Beatles fan. I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned that on the blog before, but I’d be surprised if I haven’t. In any case, I ran across this awesome sign from Sugarboo and I am obsessed!  Antiqued Sign

I am need of a cute, more casual clutch to go with some of my summery outfits. This Clutch fits the bill perfectly! It appears to be really well made too.

There is nothing better than a bright orangy-coral. I love the color on my skin. This Essie polish is a pretty summertime look. Nailpolish

I wear sandals a lot. NO. JOKE. I’m a So Cal girl afterall! I wear them with everything too…shorts, jeans, dresses..you name it. I’ve been looking for a dressier pair to go with some of my more flowy skirts and dresses.  These Sandals are the perfect mix of dressy, casual and Bohemian. I love them!

Recently I gave our guest bath a slight makeover. I’ll be sharing that with you all soon. I’m thinking a pair of  Fouta Towels would look really nice in the room.  But I also kinda want them for the beach. I’m conflicted. I think I’ll need a few pairs.

Be back soon!

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June 19, 2013

Camping with the family

by Shelly

Last weekend we whisked away the Mr. for a little Father’s Day R & R in the mountains.  No cell phone service, no electronic equipment…just us and nature.  It had been about five years since our last camping experience and we were all anxious to try it out again.  We had gone three times before Ellie was about two years old, but every time it was a bit of a disaster…..wind storms twice and sweltering heat with no shade one other time.  So we had sort of curbed the whole camping thing for a while.

Ellie is now at a great age where she isn’t so dependent on us, she’s very into being an explorer and is quite the little helper when we need her to be. That combined with the fact that we are still in super budget mode (which means cheap vacas for a while)…camping just seemed like the perfect family trip!  We decided to check out Sequoia National Park which is known for it’s beautiful scenery and giant…I mean GIANT sequoia trees. They really are pretty spectacular!


Since we were headed there without a camping spot reservation, we knew that finding one might be difficult. Once we drove the 4 1/2 hours from North Orange County to the entrance to the park, we knew driving another two hours up into the big tree forest to camp wasn’t an option.  It was getting late and we still had not eaten dinner.  So we opted to stay in the foothill region of the park at Buckeye Flat Campground.  It actually turned out to be a beautiful little spot that is situated right next to the middle fork of the Kaweah River.

{kaweah river with mt.whitney peaking over the ridge}

Ellie thoroughly enjoyed herself!  She loved the whole sleeping in a tent experience and she thought it was a total blast cooking our meals outdoors on the propane stove and over the fire.  If anything the enthusiasm we saw from her made the whole trip worth while!  She is definitely a nature girl and we never would have realized it if it were not for this trip.

{ellie the first morning looking happy as a clam}

{cooking outdoors was one of her favs}

This particular campground did not have showers, but we drove up to another campground one day and took a shower for $3. Money well spent!  The other days, we all opted to bathe in the river.  Honestly, it was a wonderful, refreshing experience. You can’t beat soaping up your hair while gazing at Mt. Whitney! It was beyond beautiful.

{hiking to our bathing hole. my nephew and his fiance also camped with us.}

We are already planning our next camping trip since this one was such a success!  And let me just say friends….I am NOT a total outdoorsy girl. I’m pretty girly to say the least.  I still managed to wear a bit of makeup each day…lipbalm and a bit of my CC cream, last seen here.  And a cute trucker hat or a head scarf hides bad hair for sure!  Below are a few items that make the whole camping experience much more enjoyable for me.


1. I may be camping, but a cute table is still important to me.  Retro and bright are a fun way to dine alfresco!

bamboo flatware

melamine plates

enamel cups

oilcloth tablecloth

2. In the evening there is lots of sitting around the fire time. A comfy chair is imperative and this one is cool because you can set a drink or a plate down as well.

camp chair

3. Bugs really, really like me. It may just be all the red wine I like to consume. Haha!  But seriously, this lantern is fabulous for keeping away the bugs and shedding some light on your campsite.

citronella lantern

4.  Cooking in the dark or even at dusk can be challenging to do.  I have found that a headlamp is perfect for this situation.

head lamp

5.  Bottles are not exactly ideal when camping.  So I usually seek out good ol’ box wine, so that nothing breaks.  This wine is definitely a step up (a few steps actually) from the low grade stuff we usually drink while camping.


6. Truth be told, I don’t own this. BUT I will soon!  I think this little piece of equipment is just perfect for keeping the cooking off the main picnic table.  It just keeps all your cooking stuff in one convenient place. No more slouching over to sift through our big plastic storage box of cooking stuff.

camp kitchen


So, do you and your family like to camp? What are your must haves? And where do you like to go? I would love to get suggestions on both of these since this is quickly becoming our fav new hobby!

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May 31, 2013

Project: Vintage Bike

by Shelly

Around the same time last year I posted about a particular bike I had my eye on.  Well, I didn’t get that bike for my birthday last year, but my boy didn’t forget how much I wanted a vintage one.  This year he totally surprised me on Mother’s Day and picked up a 1975 vintage Schwinn Breeze off of a Craigslist seller for $60 bucks!  After researching the serial number, I also found out this particular bike was made not only in the year I was born, but the same month as well…July!  I just dated myself, but I don’t care. So cool!

*sorry for the blurry Instagram pic!*

She looks pretty good in this picture, but the paint is dull and chipped, she’s missing her pedals, the tires need to be replaced, and the chrome is all rusted and pitted.  My hubby use to do triathlons in his teens and early 20s, so he’s pretty good at taking apart and fixing up bikes.

I decided to try and make this bike as New England-y as possible and go with a navy, white and tan color combo. Here is what I’m doing to fix her up…  Thank you hubby!!

She’s getting a new powder coat paint job in Sapphire Blue (my fav color).  We’re replacing the grips with some cool cork ones and staining them a darker color to match the seat.  The old leather seat is coming off and I found a vintage style quilted one that will feel nice on the tush.  The old black tires are also coming off and being replaced with a set of fresh, white ones. And the final accessories are a large wicker basket just perfect for carrying groceries or a picnic in and a cute little brass bell!  I’m excited can you tell?

I’m sure you are wondering if I’m really going to spend a ton of time on it. Well, already Ellie and I take quite a few bike rides throughout the week!  Our neighborhood is also filled with lots of summertime activities…concerts and movies in the park, etc. Parking a car can get pretty crazy, so it will be nice to have a bike to avoid all that. The vintage bike thing has definitely caught hold in our household and now the hubby is looking for a Schwinn of his own and I’m looking for the kid version of my Breeze for Ellie. They made a smaller girl bike version of the same bike!

I’ll leave you on this beautiful Friday with some pretty bike images that I’ve found to inspire me!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

1.  begbicycles.com 2. lovelybike.blogspot.com 3. modern-sophisticate.blogspot.com 4. unknown 5. weheartit

Hope you all have a great weekend!

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May 23, 2013

Orchid Centerpieces

by Shelly

Hi all!   Today my buddy Andrea over at For The Love Of  is showing her readers how I helped her create an orchid and fern centerpiece for her dining room table.  Please stop over and say hi and learn how to make this easy and quick arrangement for your home!

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It’s no secret that I LOVE summer!  My little girl and I share a July birthday and combined with all the beach days, bicycle rides, bbqs, ice cream cones and outdoor concerts…well it pretty much encompasses all the things I love in life.

As far as our dinners around here, I have definitely been switching things up and making my menus a bit more light and grill friendly.  This yummy recipe was an older one I stumbled across in my recipe folder filled with lots of handwritten recipes and torn out pages from magazines.  You will NOT be disappointed!  The hubby and I SCARFED up our food, it was that good.

To make it a little kid friendly I just sliced up the steak, made her a simple salad of lettuce, carrots and garbanzo beans on the side and added a slice of the DELICIOUS grilled ciabatta . She was happy!

So get all the ingredients before this weekend and make sure you don’t forget a nice bottle of wine to go with! This is perfect for a relaxing dinner on the patio.

Makes 4-6 Servings

40 minutes


1 pound hanger, skirt, or flank steak

1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more

Freshly ground black pepper

1 medium tomato (about 6 ounces) halved

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 cup plus 5 teaspoons of olive oil, divided

4 spring onions or 6 scallions, bulbs halved, dark-green parts discarded

5 1/2- inch thick slices ciabatta

8 cups mixed summer lettuces (such as mizuna, baby mustard greens, and tatsoi) *I just used baby herb greens and it was great!*

3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into 1/2 inch strips


Season steaks with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper; set aside.  Grate cut sides of tomato on coarse holes of a box grater into a medium bowl down to the skin; discard skin. Add shallot and vinegar; whisk in 1/4 cup oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside. Vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead.

Heat a gas grill to high.  Toss spring onions in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill onions until just tender, 2-3 minutes per side.  Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 2″ pieces.

Grill steak until seared and cooked to desired doneness, 3-5 minutes per side for medium rare, depending on steak’s thickness.  Transfer to a cutting board. Let rest, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make croutons.  Brush both sides of bread slices with remaining 4 teaspoons (or more) oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill bread until dark golden brown and nicely charred in spots, about 2 minutes per side.  Set toast aside until cool enough to handle, then break into roughly 1″ pieces.

Thinly slice steak against the grain.  Toss lettuces, basil, spring onions, croutons, and some of the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add steak and toss gently to coat.  Serve with remaining vinaigrette along side.






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