Life Updates

When things are quiet around this blog, it usually means that life is too loud elsewhere.  There has been a lot of commotion, transitioning and coping.  All is good and I certainly see my blessings.  But, being in my third trimester with two very little ones to take care of, has been exhausting.  Also, our country’s current tragic events have been draining as I grapple with how I can contribute to creating a more just, loving and safe society.


From the past two pregnancies, I knew that I would be exhausted at the end of pregnancy so I upped my hours with my sitter in preparation.  Unfortunately, after two weeks of more help around the house, the girls got sick and so I didn’t have my sitter come that week.  The following week our sitter had hernia surgery and she has been out for the past three weeks recuperating.  We’re thankful the surgery went well and we are looking forward to her return in a week.


But it’s been a lot of kid time and little to no design or blogging time.


Good thing they’re cute.  Last week, I ordered in the big guns – “daddy”.  Graham took the week off and I absolutely loved having non princess conversations and the extra help.


We even snuck off to Napa for a family vacation that avoided any sort of airplane or major travel time but still felt like a world away.  We rented a home through Air B n B and I’m now completely convinced this is the way to travel with kids.  You get your own kitchen, multiple bedrooms and a backyard.


On the design front, one of my favorite nurseries that I’ve ever designed has been photographed and I’ll be able to feature on the blog later this week. Here is a sneak peek.


I have been working with the ultra stylish Katie of the chic blog Cardigans and Couture.  She is due in about a week with her baby girl so it’s a very exciting time for her.  Today, Katie posted the four different nursery room options that I originally sent to her before she chose the direction that we went in. I’d love for you to pop over to her blog to see it.  And stay tuned for the big reveal of her nursery later this week!

July 12, 2016 at 5:17 AM 3 comments

Bora Bora Bridal Bash

When I was seven years old, my parents bought a beach house just down the road from where they first met as teenagers.  My mom’s brother lives in the same beach town as well and so the new house meant lots of extended family time.

The beach house brought on boogie boarding, playing volleyball and riding bikes to the candy store.  Summers were spent skipping from one beach activity to the next with my brothers and cousins.  A fast and furious bond grew between my cousins and I.

Fast forward 25 years later, when I was pregnant with Josie and working full time, I knew I needed to bring on someone to help me out with my design business.  Allie, my cousin, was my first and only call.  Not only did we understand each other through and through – she’s the most stylish lady I know – by far.  Without hesitation, she packed her bags and moved to the city to work with me.

That was the best time of working for me.  Not only could we collaborate creatively but we also could just sit around and laugh, cry or chit chat together.

Soon after Allie’s move to SF, she met a guy; they fell in love, he popped the question and now wedding bells will be ringing in August.  But before marriage comes the wedding shower.

My mom and I wanted to host a shower for Allie that was special to her and showered her in love.  We thought the beach house where we ran around as little kids was the perfect setting.

Allie requested a honeymoon themed shower.  And before she even showed me a glimpse of her pinterest page, I knew exactly what she was envisioning.

Then…the pressure was on. I went ahead with something I rarely, rarely do and took out my sewing machine, iron and hot glue gun. I made some table toppers and got to work on her “Bora Bora Bridal Bash”


Invites by Love Lucy Design on ETSY

Here’s how it all turned out…


The photos show thick fog, but the moments the guests arrived, the fog receded to the ocean and we had nothing but blue skies.


This is what the weather looked like the day before the party when we were doing the dry run to make sure everything worked…


We did a mixture of high cocktail tables under the verandah for shade –

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And then lower tables on the deck along wooden benches looking out at the ocean


For the tabletoppers, I used palm leave fabric with pink or white pom pom trim and rope fabric with pink or white pom pom trim (all available at JoAnn’s Fabrics).



The flowers were by Susie’s Flowers in Aptos and they were gorgeous.


Susie also made a flower crown for the gorgeous bride in theme with the party’s flowers.


As a final surprise to my cousin, we put a teepee on the beach and decorated it in Bora Bora theme.  Because there are teepees all over Bora Bora?  Probably not.  But I know Allie loves a good teepee moment…


And in my eyes, a good teepee moment includes a couple of plastic hot pink flamingos.

All in all, it was such a fun day with so many fabulous ladies!!


Next up, the big day!  Woo hoo!!

June 8, 2016 at 5:11 AM 5 comments

Roman Shade Trim Options

Thank you so much for your comments and sharing of my One Room Challenge project.  They absolutely made my day and my entire weekend, frankly.

I’m now jumping from one home design project to the next.  The nursery.

As a refresher here is the plan so far –


The Katie Ridder Beetlecat wallpaper has been ordered; I custom colored it so that the flags and sail outline are actually red instead of pink.  The Quadrille zig zag fabric is sitting in my living room and ready to be made into Roman Shades.  Today my seamstress will be over to measure the windows and get to work on the shades.

Here is where today’s decision comes in.  I’m going to do a blue grosgrain tape that matches the background of the blue in the paper on the shade.  So how to position the tape.


Option A would be to just put it along the bottom like how Lauren Nelson did in this office


Option B would be three sided with the taping inset on the shade as Erin Gates did in this girls room


Option C would be to do the taping inset but let it criss cross at the ends like this boy’s room from the Salt Lake City Parade of Homes



May 16, 2016 at 5:12 AM 7 comments

ORC – Patio Reveal Day


Calling It Home’s One Room Challenge, where you decorate one room in six weeks from start to finish, is like having a newborn.  Those first six sleep deprived weeks are both joyful, tearful, blissful and insane.  And then the baby starts sleeping and you forget about those weeks and you want to do it all over again and again.  At least that’s what happens to me.

I’m pregnant with my third child so that could be why the analogy feels so fitting.  Well at the end of week six, I’m exhausted and I could use a drink that isn’t a “mocktail.”

For those allowed cocktails, let me show you our new favorite spot for drinks and dinner.  Our revamped patio…


And here is what it looked like six weeks ago…

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Goodbye to that unused, unattractive table and chairs that the previous owner of our home just left behind.  Hello to the custom Christopher Farr Cloth cushions, Serena and Lily pillows, bench handmade by my husband, Dash and Albert Rug, Turf clad coffee table, vintage faux bamboo chairs and a vintage elephant side table.  Each of these pieces makes me super happy.


Isn’t that bench amazing?!  I’m super proud of my husband’s secret woodworking skills.  He should never have revealed his skills because now I’m constantly coming up with projects for him.


It’s hard to pick a winner but I must say this fabric makes me the happiest of them all.  I’ve been dreaming of having it in my home for the past eight years when I first saw it in Australian Vogue.  It didn’t hurt that my mom had the left over fabric from the One Room Challenge that I did four times ago of her pool house.  I took the left over fabric from her sofa.  Thanks mom!


Back to the project this time around.  In addition to my favorite Christopher Far Cloth Fabric, I also loved the Montecito pillow from Serena and Lily.  It’s the softest outdoor pillow I have ever felt.  I have no idea how they pulled it off.


The other loves are the grass ottoman that I got at the Filoli Gardens boutique.  It’s a beautiful local garden that I visit often with my girls and for month’s on end, I would walk by that grass ottoman and wish for it to be mine.  They have a once a year sale and I grabbed it faster than you can say, “sold sweetie.”


Those vintage bamboo chairs I bought about eight years ago at a thrift store for $40.  I sprayed them in an outdoor spray paint and we’ll see how long they last outdoors.  We don’t have a spot for them indoors.



Remember New York Seltzer?  I thought they went to the land of Tab.  I drank one after the shoot and it was delicious – absolutely packed with sugar but delicious.  Also, that flower looks straight out of a cartoon but I assure you it’s a real peony.

Down those steps comes our newly revamped bar/bar-b-que area…


As a refresher, here is what it looked like six weeks ago…


They say the heart of the home is the kitchen, for us it’s our bar-b-que.  We use this spot all the time from May through October.  And I have HATED the red chipped tile since we moved in two years ago.I absolutely love the new tile and I’m so happy that we decided to tile the entire bar.  What a difference!

I wanted an antique blue/white tile to go with our 1936 spanish colonial home.  But sometimes “wants” run a couple hundred a square foot.  Enter this faux antique from Wayfair tile for $5.65 sq/ft!


We nearly cheaped out and didn’t fully tile the back but I’m thrilled we went the extra mile.  That hole to the right will be getting a refrigerator and that brick area is where a wood burning fire pit goes.


That Salamat Designs light, hanging over the bar, was a battle to get with my husband; we tried out three different lights until we landed on that one – the best one!  It was my top choice all along.  Luckily for me, Salamat Designs is based out of San Francisco and they let me come to their warehouse earlier this week to get the light.  It’s actually only up by fishing wire right now.  Electrician will be out next week – because it truly has only been six weeks.

Moving right along, just beyond the bar is a large farmhouse table that my husband also built.  We didn’t do any changes to it but I did put together a tablescape.  PS – I cut that palm frond from our own back yard!


I tried to keep the tablesetting as simple as possible which is tough for a maximalist like me.


Those flower pots are some of my favorites ever for tablescapes; they were a gift from my mom.



You can see that just beyond the table sit two green wicker chairs that are positioned to look out on the lawn.


I just had new cushions made for the green chairs.  Even though the least was done here, this is where I spend most of my time, sitting and watching the girls run on the lawn.


It’s all very new but I can already say that we use it all the time.


Some find a spot to dance


Some lounge on it like little queens.

IMG_3746It’s a pretty awesome spot.  I’m not going to lie.  Now to invite people over.

I encourage you to go check out all the participants and their hard work in the One Room Challenge at Linda’s blog, here.

May 12, 2016 at 5:30 AM 49 comments

ORC: Shit Happens

Honestly, I’m not the hugest fan of rugs used outdoors.  But I’m even less of a fan of my outdoor hardscape.  So, I got this rug from Dash and Albert for our patio lounge area.


It arrived during nap time this past Saturday which was a perfect opportunity to lay it out and to debate wether or not to keep it.


Then, my 20 month old and three year old woke up and I moved on.

It was a hot day and so naturally my girls got naked because that’s what kids do.  Right?

The number one unsolicited parenting advice I receive is to potty train in the summer so that your kids can run around naked.  Graham suggested we take the diaper off our twenty month old so we can “potty train” her.  To which I replied, “what if she poos?” to which he responded “I’ll clean it up” to which I quickly agreed.

We were all four roaming around outside doing our own things when we hear our three year old exclaim, “who pooed on the rug?!”

I ran to the rug and sure enough there was poo, without question, supplied by our 20 month old.  And she successfully landed 100% on the rug; there was no half-assing it.

Graham was stuck on clean up duty.  He did a very thorough job while the girls and I stood back and watched.  Then we flipped the rug over.


So guess what?  We’re keeping the rug.  But, the good news is that I like it!

FullSizeRender (2)

See the full monty (of the rug, not my daughter) next week.  Until then, here are a few sneak peeks in whats to come…




check out the other participants here at Calling it Home.

May 5, 2016 at 5:17 AM 14 comments

Baby Boy Nursery Plans

Thank you so much for the comments and phone calls after Gene’s post.  It was so very healing to hear from you and I’m glad that the story of his life could touch so many.

Last week, Graham and I went and checked in on our baby boy with the 20 week ultrasound.  Thankfully, all is looking good with him.  So, I asked the Dr. if I could start working on the nursery and she said yes.  Dr’s orders!

The baby will be going into Grace’s room and Gracie will be moving in with Josie.

Most everything will remain the same – carpet, crib, glider, lighting, art.  I just want to add a few things that make it feel more boy.


When we found out we were having a boy, Graham came home so excited with a nursery theme: Sports!!  To which I laughed and said I just couldn’t do a chic sports nursery.  He tried to claim that it would be a fun challenge for me.  Nope.

I got to looking through schemes and we came up with a compromise.  A room in Golden State Warriors colors.  Doesn’t this room just scream Warriors to you?


I’d like to do Katie Ridder’s wallpaper – Beetlecat on three of the four walls and then Quadrille’s zig zag as Roman shades and a bit more boy bedding.  It got Graham’s approval.  Items have already started arriving and I like how the scheme is coming together…


Go Warriors!!

PS – Don’t feel sorry for Graham because in like ten short years, our boy will likely cover his room in sports posters and will absolutely live in those sports jerseys.  So really this is my five minutes of a “sports themed” room before it all goes very full on Steph Curry.

May 2, 2016 at 5:18 AM 5 comments

To Gene: In Loving Memory


This is a difficult topic to put words to as everything still feels so raw right now.  But, today is my Godfather’s funeral and he deserves a post in his honor.

Gene was certainly my Godfather, yet he was so much more than that.  He was my dad’s lifelong best friend; he was my mom’s confidant and support; he was a loving father; a loyal husband; an adoring Grandfather and a giving friend to many.

Gene was one of the greatest listeners I knew and someone who laughed with great freedom and abundance.  My dad was one of the greatest story tellers I knew and someone who could perfectly time his jokes.  They were the perfect pair like that.

And a pair they were.  Gene and my dad have been best friends since elementary school.  As little boys, they’d take to the hills of East San Jose and they’d go fishing and hunting.  In high school, they would bring girls to the James Lick Observatory to look at the view and to attempt a make out session, with little success.  In college, they were fraternity brothers and they got up to more trouble than good in the very best of ways.  I gave the social side of college my all because of the raucous fireside stories we grew up listening to Gene, Dad and Mom laugh their way through.  Post college, they each got married and lived in San Francisco and began families.  My dad soon moved out of the city while Gene stayed.  Even though adulthood inevitably crept into their lives, they remained foolish little boys together.

Moves and children and jobs never took an ounce of their strong bond away.  They would still check in with each other, poke fun of each other and cry with each other.  They had a history of leaving each other long, hilarious phone messages.  My dad would find Gene’s messages so funny that he would put it on speaker for his office to listen or he’d replay it to us while we drove to Sunday mass.

They were enthralling and hilarious messages because Gene was a story teller.  He was a poet.  He was a connoisseur and appreciator of words.  He could nail a well crafted joke.  In actuality, he was a sports loving CPA and banking consultant living in San Francisco.  However, in my mind, Gene will always be a cowboy poet.

Certainly, we loved growing up listening to Gene’s phone messages but what far surpassed that was Gene in person.  Here is where the cowboy part of Gene comes in for me.  Gene would come on all of our fishing trips.  He was happiest in nature.  He was one hell of a fly fisherman.  But, one thing I always found so cool about him was that he would prefer to sleep outdoors under the stars.  So even if we had rented a cabin, Gene would take to the deck in his sleeping bag, refusing the bed.  He climbed Mount Shasta many times.  When my mom turned 40, with four young kids at home, she climbed the mountain, with Gene cheering her up all 14, 180 feet.

When Gene became my Godfather at my baptism, when I was just a baby, he wrote up and framed a very official contract saying that he was to start a fly fishing fund for me to be given in completion on my 13 birthday.  He was to totally equip me with fly fishing gear and to remain my fly fishing spiritual advisor.

One of the greatest and most memorable gifts I have ever received was shortly following my 13th birthday at the Bollibokka Club on the McCloud River.  Gene gave me waders, boots, a fly fishing vest, a new reel and all the flies you could possibly need.

As much as I’d love to be as passionate of the sport of fly fishing as the rest of my family, I really have preferred a book by the side of the stream.  So, why would such a gift be so wonderful?  Because I can still picture the ear to ear grins on both Gene and my father’s faces.  I can remember like yesterday their pride beaming on me, as my little bony body put on the oversized waders and massive wading boots and took to the stream with the two of them.  It was one of those moments where I felt on top of the world, absolutely ensconced in their love.

And love, Gene did.  My mom recently said that she didn’t know anyone who was as loved as Gene.  I think it’s because he loved so much.  I always felt so incredibly special around him.  And it’s not until his passing that I’m realizing I wasn’t the only one.  He had a way of making you believe you were the only one in the room, showing you how much he deeply cared for you, ever listening, laughing and encouraging.

When my dad passed away, Gene surely lost a large part of himself as well.  But he never let us know it because he immediately stood in as the rock for all of us.  He gave a beautiful, eloquent, touching eulogy that perfectly captured my dad.  He took my mom for hikes and listened as she talked through her grief.  He read my blog posts from the day I began writing and he would send me e-mails of support, recounting his favorite posts.  He came to the hospital on the day Josie was born, which helped to mend my broken heart that my dad could not be there.  If ever anything any of us needed, Gene would have dropped all to be there in a heartbeat.  He wasn’t just my dad’s best friend, he was family through and through.

My last visit with Gene came at my mom’s 70th birthday party.  He was weak from chemo and intense cancer treatment.  I thought he’d won the awful fight and we were ready to put that dreadful C word to rest.  He came to say goodbye to me as he was leaving the party.  Then he began to walk to the car, ever the cowboy, he didn’t ask for assistance for the rather far walk.  Remembering how hard it was for my dad to walk when he was that physically weak but how difficult it was for him to ask for help, I ran to Gene, grabbed his arm and assisted him to the car.  He didn’t refuse the help as I think he also enjoyed the time with his Goddaughter and I loved the time with him.  Little did I know that would be our last walk.

The keyboard is wet as I have fallen into another crying session.  But, I know Gene is sending his love, support and helping me to walk as I work through the grief.

Gene, it was all too soon.  Know you are massively loved and you will always be missed.  Enjoy the humongous hugs, guttural laughs and Old Crow with my dad.  Thank you for living up to your contract and for being the best damn fly fishing spiritual guide that ever lived.  Can’t wait to get back on the stream to have a good fish, a healing cry and an abundant laugh in your honor.

April 28, 2016 at 5:01 AM 13 comments

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