thinking about thanksgiving

Thanks to Stephen Andrew Jones I now have Thanksgiving on my mind.  I want to try his pumpkin pie recipe.  Last year we squeezed over 25 peoples into this small house and it was an engineering feat. Secretly I hope someone else hosts this year although I do love decorating for the day.

One thing I do know is that I plan to make stuffed portobellos again this year.  This time with a roasted butternut squash risotto.  I'll start working on that recipe this weekend.

Is it too soon for you to start thinking about the holidays?  xo


finding storage where there isn't any

The number one question I'm asked regarding living in a small house is where do I put my stuff.  I've had people come over and question whether or not we rent a storage unit, we do not.  Or look around in the back garden for a 2nd house, true.

I like to get creative when it comes to storage.  Those suitcases up on the armoire are not just decorative, they hold pillow covers and magazines I want to keep.  That newly acquired chinoserie tin holds little snacks for my grandkids.  I love using pretty storage solutions because then it is a double win.  I'm not a big fan of underbed or hidden storage.  I tend to forget what's stored in things like that and then there is the dust issue too.  I like most of my stuff front and center so I can enjoy it.

Of course the ultimate storage solution is owning less.  Could you manage with one closet and no garage?  I've forgotten what it's like to have those options!  xo


my daily cleaning list

Good morning and happy October.  Some people wonder how I keep my house so clean so I thought I'd share what my cleaning list looks like.  Plus here comes the holidays and why not get a jump on a lot of the chores? 

Daily Chores

Straighten living areas
Make the bed
Attend to all mail, either file it or recycle it
Plan my dinner for the day (do I need to soak beans? etc.)
Wash dishes and countertops right after we eat
Sweep kitchen and entryway
Straighten and wipe down bathrooms
Check the laundry and run if I have a full load
Take out the trash

Weekly Chores

Dust furniture 
Launder sheets and any other large items such as towels or blankets
Scrub bathrooms
Wash the floors
Refresh vases with flowers or branches

Monthly Chores

Deep vacuum the whole house including inside kitchen drawers with this Eureka vacuum
Clean out and organize refrigerator and pantry
Thoroughly clean kitchen cabinetry and other woodwork
Clean chandeliers
Wash the inside of the windows, sills and drapery rods

I do most of the cleaning with a little hot soapy water and I know this sounds like a lot of work (I'm tired just reading it) but honestly it takes me about 15 minutes each day to clean the house.  The added weekly chores adds another 30 minutes and the monthly list takes me about an hour.  Keep in mind this is for a small house with only 2 adults.  When I had 3 little boys running around wreaking havoc I still tried to stick to the same schedule.  Don't forget to leave your tips in the comments because that is the best part of this blog.  xo


hey there

I finally had to replace my old computer with a new one and I've yet to figure out how to transfer photos to it.  I pretty much lucked out getting the above photo to cooperate.  I actually purchased this Chromebook instead of a computer.  Please don't ask me the difference because I really don't know, I just have to trust L on this. I do love that it is so quiet and lightweight, but you'll have to bear with me til I get the hang of it.

The fact that the weather here in southern California still says summer, it is indeed fall. I brought in these dead branches because I adore their color.  The season change is so subtle here but I love it nonetheless. And like the rest of the world, I confess to have been making pumpkin pancakes for breakfast.  It's easy to turn just about any recipe into a pumpkin recipe with teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

I only have one last slipcover to get washed before the heat ends and summer is officially over.  The fall garden clean up has begun and the days are getting shorter.  What is fall like in your area?  x


how i create a sense of peace in my home

The very best compliment anyone can give me regarding my home is by saying it feels calm to them. For me that's a compliment because oftentimes my life is anything but peaceful.  So despite the worries I have, and the pressures of home, work and family, creating a peaceful environment is something I crave.  The world is a crazzzzzy place and when I walk through my front door I want to leave that craziness behind.  Living in a small house with only one closet and no garage can be a challenge so I thought I'd share what works for me.

1.  Order

I thrive on it.  One of the things that can make me a bit crazy is having drawers and shelves shoved full of stuff and especially if there is no rhyme or reason to it.  That's why I'll do a weekly quick declutter because stuff accumulates fast.  I challenge myself to see how much I can get rid of in just a few minutes and it always shocks me.

2.  White

I love living in a small space and I find white compliments that beautifully.  love white walls, sheets, towels and slipcovers.  They are all easy to clean and provide a great backdrop to small or large doses of color. Again, walking through the front door and seeing order mixed with white is like tonic to my soul.  I don't have a linen closet to store these things away so a cohesive color pallet looks prettier on my open shelves.

3.  Nature

The number one thing I learned from the Country Living photo shoot was to bring nature inside.  It's so darn easy to clip some branches and place them in a vase and so economical.  Any green branches will do and it feeds my gardeners heart when no flowers are in bloom.

4.  Display

You would think that all that white and order would be boring but it isn't!  It allows my favorite/cherished items to stand out.  Limited space forces me to use and put my best stuff on display.  If wall space and storage space were not an issue I would never have created a top to bottom gallery wall in my bedroom.

How to you create a sense of calm in your home?  Do tell.  xo


4 free habits that will improve your well being today

1.  Go for a jog or long walk.

On May 1st I started adding a simple HIT workout to my daily routine.  HIT stands for High Intensity Training but don't let that scare you.  From the first day I tried it, I've been hooked.  You start by walking 2 or 3 minutes and then run as fast as you can for 20 seconds.  Then repeat that 2 additional times.  The total workout is only 8-10 minutes long but the results are pretty amazing.  The reason I keep at it is because no matter how much I'm dragging, after this simple and free workout I have so much energy.  It wakes me up and revitalizes me.  It really does.  HERE are some other examples of free HIT workouts to investigate.

2.  Breathe deeply.

Omgosh how often do I forget to breathe deeply?!  A lot.  It will mostly be during social situations that make me nervous or on edge.  I'll find I am making the problem worse by not slowing down and taking deep breaths. Deep, calming breathes are as effective as tranquilizers and so much healthier for us.  HERE is a list of additional benefits of deep breathing.

3.  Get some sun.

What?  As an esthetician it may seem odd that I'm recommending spending any time in the direct sun but research shows that getting enough Vitamin D every day is vital to good health.  I'm so fair that I have to be very careful not to burn and I keep my face out of the direct sun with a hat because of previous skin cancers. But I will say that our afternoon swim in full sunshine has done wonders for my mood and overall feeling of wellness.

4.  Get good sleep.

The effects of poor sleep and/or not enough deep sleep have been well documented but did you know that the symptoms of poor sleep can mimic depression and anxiety and actually increase your appetite? You can read more about that HERE.   Sleep is so sacred to me.  I have a definite nightly routine that I follow to get the deepest sleep.  Bath, read in bed (from a book) and lights out early, by 9pm.  Early to bed, early to rise turns out to be really really good advice.

There are lots more little things like this, such as eating more fresh vegetables, fruit, beans and lentils that all do wonders for our health.  When I was young I could cut corners and get away with it but now that I'm staring down 60 these little things add up and are helping me feel good each day.

What little tricks would you like to share?

PS - Thank you all so much for all the amazing gardening advice you left.  I have a lot of decisions to make and am so grateful for all you've shared.  I love our little community here.  Don't you?!  xo



Thank you all for taking the time and sharing your excellent ideas for my garden.  A little progress was made in the last few days.  I planted these little white vinca flowers in hopes that they will fill in this planter so that eventually no dirt will show.  Underneath them are the mums that were planted for the wedding 2 years ago so that will be cool if they can come up in between the vinca.

This is the the area that is under scrutiny.  It get hotter than blazes here in the late afternoon.  I want to remove the rock border and put a small hedge and then fill with iceberg roses and maybe herbs too?  Not sure.  But as you can see it looks awful as is.  It kills me each time I pull into the driveway.

Also, some of you are interested in A and B's store here in Redlands.  It's called Redlands Country Mart and the address is 1915 E. Citrus Avenue Redlands CA 92373.  I help out there when I can and I can't tell you how much fun it is.  Their prices are reasonable and they both have a great eye for amazing pieces.  This is one of the tee shirts they make, $28.  They make all the sweaters and tee's themselves right here in Redlands.  They ship worldwide too!  Also, these sunglasses are from the 1950's.  They have a few brand new (deadstock) pairs for $38 ea.  Please stop by if you are in the area for a great cup of coffee and a lookaround.  See their Instagram HERE xo


fall garden goals

The last 2 summers have just been brutal on the garden.  Last summer we were in Utah so it didn't get the attention it demands. It's a hard garden to handle without any sprinklers in the intense summer heat, so I'm grateful it survived at all.  Then this summer we've had record breaking heat for big blocks of time which really took a toll on everything - including me.  The forecast for the next 3 weeks is more manageable with temps only in the 90s, so I plan to give it some much needed attention.  Weather permitting we can have Thanksgiving outside as opposed to last year because it actually rained here.  So now is the time to start preparing for that.

Garden Goals

1.  Remove things that are not performing (lots of plants in the garden have just seen their day)

2.  Add more white drought tolerant plants

3.  Grow more herbs!

4.  Improve the soil - this actually will be first on my list

5.  Re-seed and fertilize the lawn

6.  Figure out what to do with that little section of dirt next to the front entry.  It has always been a hard spot to figure out because it gets intense afternoon sun/heat and everything fries there

7.  Try to control the ferns

8.  Refresh the painted stripes on the porch

9.  Do all of the above without spending much. :)

Do you have any garden plans for fall?


summer fashion vibes

Before I start talking about the fashion vibes around here I want to let you know that I'm not giving up on this blog.  It's been a long, hot summer and I've been incredibly busy but I really really want to keep this thing going.  I actually feel guilty when I post on INSTAGRAM instead of here because the blog was first and now it seems secondary.  I don't like that.  IG is fun, fast and easy and this is more work so I'm thinking it has just been the summer heat that made cheat on you. I promise to be better.

See that beautiful woman in the above photo?  I spotted her while shopping the other day and she mesmerized me.  We almost ran into each other while I was exiting a store and she was entering.  She looked to be in her 70's.  I loved her hair right off the bat and then I noticed how lithe and stylish she was.  To get this photo I was literally running to keep up with her, she was so fast.  She darted in and out of all the right stores, Neimans, Ferragamo, etc.  She didn't buy anything (either did I) and let me tell you it was hot that day, like 105. She was bare legged in loafers (love that!) but had a long sleeve tee on and yet was so chill.  Anyway, wanted to share that because you don't see women like that every day.  

My hair is getting long again and I'm going to try and not cut it.  I love being able to put it back and up and it's easier than styling it in a bob every single day.  My hair is really thick and a pain to style. I've joined Larry's gym this summer to swim and this is just easier.  So wish me luck.

Here I am looking rather stiff and unhappy but I wanted to show you this outfit I've been wearing. The tee is from Alex and B's store that they opened here in Redlands.  They make the Tee's and sweaters themselves and lots of other things too.  I got the vintage linen cropped trousers there also. I've been wearing this everywhere because it's so comfortable and surprisingly stylish.

I was minding the store for them in a vintage dress and loafers.  There is also a coffee shop in the store and will soon have a barber too.  It's a cool little store that was once a dairy in the middle of an orange grove.  It's chock full of amazing vintage finds and is quite reasonable. Come visit me there!

Hope you summer has been far more exciting than mine.  xoxo


everlane luxe drape muscle tank dress review - summer classic

Thanks to you readers I was able to purchase this Everlane Muscle Tank Dress.  It couldn't have come at a more perfect time because the temperatures this summer have been off the charts.  Pair those temps with menopause and honestly, I've been miserable.  I can't remember ever being this hot.

When I saw this dress on their site I knew I had to give it a chance and I'm so glad I did.  Let's go over the pluses first.  Super lightweight yet not cheapy lightweight.  The fabric is 100% lycocell which really does have a luxury drape to it.  Just roll it up and it would pack like a dream - the perfect weekend getaway dress.  I love the cut, as it skims rather than clings, so important in this heat.  Love the neckline and the fact that you can really dress this up or down with jewelry or scarves.  It really is a summer classic.

My only negative about the dress is that it's a tad short.  I'm much more comfortable with my knees covered but in this heat I'm not complaining too much about it.  So if you are looking for a super lightweight easy to wear, classic style I'd say this is a winner.  The price is not bad at $45.  Sizes range from xxs to large.  If you use THIS code I will get credit and it will sign you up so if your friends or family purchase something from Everlane, you will get credit too.  It's a good program from a good company that is very transparent in their manufacturing practices.  They have an oxford shirt coming out soon that I can't wait to get my hands on and will do a review on that too.

Wherever you are I truly hope that you are much cooler than I am.  No, seriously, I hope you are having a wonderful summer and for those who wish summer would never end, I'm thinking it's never going to...x