Saturday, November 29, 2014

weekend to do


around the house
holiday decorations
backyard set-up

make advent calendar
calendar holiday activities (school, ranch, violin, family...)
science fair project supplies
make teeth cleaning appt for moxie :)

hope you had a lovely thanksgiving! ours was full of laughter and good conversation with our good friends and neighbours. i love the traditions we have created - and watching these kids grow up together. (5 years ago) xo

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!


Gavin and the girls
Gavin: sweetest turkey ever.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Field Trip :: Japanese American National Museum

we took advantage of an appointment downtown to meet up with some friends and visit the Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum

Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty!

we also took in the permanent collection, with its images, model of Manzanar and an actual Heart Mountain concentration camp barrack. with the recent news events i found it especially moving. and another jumping off point for talking to the kids about racism and privilege.

thoughts i hope we will carry forward as we think about all that we are thankful for.

Monday, November 24, 2014

what not to plant & when

we are ramping up to add some low-voltage lighting and plants to our front yard. unfortunately we are a few years ahead of the curve, having turned off our sprinklers and killed our lawn back in 2007 (or earlier?). i can't remember. if you live in los angeles - the dwp has just increased the rebate offered to remove your turf. i'm helping an older neighbor get this done, and its exciting to see so many homes on our street taking advantage of this opportunity.

when we bought the house, it looked like this:
grassy (2001)

then we redid the driveway, built new fences, painted, let the hedge grow,... and let some years slip by to come to this:

(love the contrast from film to digital - also captured here!)

a good decade in and we are rethinking some spots. to be honest, i hand watered for the first half dozen summers, then settled on complete neglect. i realize it isn't everyone's cup of tea - but with a good layer of mulch in place i like the natural ramble of it all. not to mention all the wonderful insects and wildlife it attracts. and most of all it is low maintenance! (when we turned off the sprinklers, we also turned off the gardener who came with our home. and amazing man - but just wasn't an expense we thought a priority at the time. i still see him tending to the amazing back garden of our neighbor june. he is one of the last in los angeles.

my friend john picked up some plants for me at matilija nursery this week. (located in moorpark, it is a favorite along with theodore payne in sun valley and the grow native nursery at the va in westwood.) now is the best time of the year to plant here. the rains (we hope!) are on their way and the days are are getting cooler.

there are so many great native plants to chose from. and great books on the subject. we chose a selection that i know will do will in our yard - having them in place already - including California fuchsia and manzanita varieties.

i think if you are looking at drought tolerant, the more important consideration is what not to plant.

here is a great resource of plant that are pests in southern california. (i also love that it offers alternatives.)

the ones i see planted most often in the sfv the ubiquitous fountain and pampas grasses and broom varieties. (broom has invade the entire west coast - from canada down to mexico. it is so sad to see how it is wiped-out natives along the way. we actually spend a good amount of time every summer working to eradicate it from galiano, but it often feels like a lost cause.)

naively, we planted a peruvian pepper in our front yard soon after we moved in. it was early in my california-native education and sold under the deceptive name "california pepper". if we had to do it again, we would plant a native california sycamore in its place. (the sycamore is a high allergen tree - but still remains a favorite of mine.)

off to get those plants in the ground!

favorite books for the socal gardener (a mix of the inspirational and the practical)
Landscape for Living
California Native Plants for the Garden
Designing California Native Gardens
Gardens are for People
The California Native Landscape
The Sunset Western Garden Book
Gardens are for Living

Saturday, November 22, 2014

weekend to do (and into the holiday week!)


prep old statements for shredding
assess holiday lights and find replacement bulbs
progressive dinner invitations
menu plan

around the house
fix-it inventory
fridge clean-out (prepare for leftovers;) )

good to be home xo

Friday, November 21, 2014

new york, new york





lots and lots of walking. satisfying work completed. productive meetings. visits with california friends who were conveniently in NY at the same time. time to visit two favorite institutions.

and two exhibitions that were perfection:

Henri Matisse: the cut-outs (moma)
madame cezanne (met)

i stayed at the warwick. i think my favorite place to stay. the location is great for access to the park (which i love) as well as the trains and moma is across the street! (and work is just around the corner.) coupled with its size and history. perfect.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

the trifecta

and then on sunday night, part III of e's 13th birthday gift (3 favorite bands at 3 L.A. venues in 3 months) came to a close.


it ended big. 5 SOS were awesome. the forum is a great venue. and the two 13 olds by my side danced and screamed and danced the night away. (and there were covers of Green Day and The Romantics that I could sing along to too!)

no regrets. xo

part I here
part II was the janoskians at the wiltern. though my favorite L.A. venue, she wasn't accompanied by her mom to this one - one of the perks of having cool older cousins!

Monday, November 17, 2014

horsin' around

I'm working in NY all week - but had to pop in and post these photos from the weekend's visit to Pierce College and The Parade of Breeds...

parade of breeds

parade of breeds

parade of breeds

parade of breeds

parade of breeds

parade of breeds

this has become an annual event for us. (this memory from our first visit still makes me smile!)

aside from viewing over 40 breeds, there were crafts for the girls, and great demos: dressage, barrel racing, sidesaddle and jumping. we are very lucky to have this program, and its amazing equestrian center within walking distance of our home!

can't wait 'til next year!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

weekend to do


rain barrel giveaway
parade of breeds
violin recital
5 SOS concert!
pack for NY

around the house
get final plants in the ground
clean piano keys

favorite family card game?

Friday, November 14, 2014

coffee talk


i LOVE coffee. i was just telling d, that when i can't sleep, i just focus on that cup of coffee that will be waiting for me when i wake up. we have our morning coffee ritual in stone (pretty much). d wakes up at least 1/2 an hour before me (he uses an alarm, i don't) and makes a pot with our french press. there is a mug (good size) waiting for me when i shuffle to the table to spend a few minutes with him before he heads to work. then i have my 1/2 hour to savor my coffee - and the L.A. Times - before the first kid gets up at 6:00.

by the time the kid routine wraps up and i am back home from drop-off and dog walk, i am ready for another cup. i had been simply making another press pot - but it was always too much (and too much work). we had a bialetti moka, and i used that for a while, then developed a latte habit and d bought me the mukka (now discontinued). i love it. it totally satisfies my latte craving (though I need to make sure to drink it right away, or it isn't hot enough for my liking.) and then i wanted to cut down on the dairy, and decided pour-over, was the way to go.

again, i only need a cup. while i love the design of the chemex, it was too large for my need.  i didn't want something plastic.  when i saw this beautiful ceramic piece, i couldn't resist. (my ceramic mug is an important part of my morning coffee ritual!) it is perfect. (i am so sad that they are sold-out as i am very happy with it, i planned on it becoming - with some peet's coffee - my go-to-gift this holiday season.) the ceramic pour-over meets my easy to clean, quick and simple check-list. while still maintaing the coffee-making ritual.

no, we haven't bought into the pod system. the convenience is tempting, but my hippie side just can't get there. (d uses one at work - and is a fan.) for larger gatherings, we do have a cuisanart coffee maker that comes out of storage.


the best (and healthiest) cup of coffee?

**update** the coffee cone is available from its source - ANK Ceramics -  here!  (thanks shari for the tip!)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Palmer & Krisel - North Hills

Great restoration opportunity!

photo via sfvmod

Needs a lot of TLC but so many original elements still in place. (Reminds me a lot of our house when we bought it many moons ago. D saw the potential!)

Here's a great restored home in the same neighborhood.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

good read day/week/month

i've come across two interesting ways to share articles lately. (i really feel i get so much of my information - valuable and otherwise - from things that are sent to me via the web.)

1) joanna goddard's "articles club" (love this idea.)
2) my friend nomi's weekly "5 things" email where she compiles 5 things found on the web + a photo she is loving. (so good!)

four links that crossed my desktop today that i don't want to forget...

the best worst president ever (yes! i really need to become a citizen.)

we want your job: graphic designer at madewell (e and i have been talking a lot lately about careers - and i've been stressing to her that if you love it, and can imagine it as a job, it likely exists! she has a strong interest in fashion, photography and design, and i want to make sure to share this interview with her.)

at what point is a model really considered plus size (one of the things that worries me most about her interest in fashion is the perpetual idealized body images presented there. though the choice of phrase isn't a good one - this still made me happy.)

10 reasons your teenage daughter should own a horse (no comment!)


along with all that - today is our 15th wedding anniversary. it doesn't seem like such a big number really, but then i look at the pictures that chronicle that day and the pictures that chronicle those years and can't believe it. i am so very lucky. my dad told me a long time ago that marriage is hard. it is. but it is oh so worth it all.

i love you cowboy. thank you for letting me, be me. and for making me better at it. here's to many more. xo

Saturday, November 08, 2014

weekend to do


around the house
choose new outdoor fixtures
clean ceiling light fixtures
clean out medicine cabinet and bathroom drawers
vacuum upper cabinet tops
call in professional window washer for clerestory windows!

root for d who is running his first 10K!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

looking for fall

we thought fall had arrived. but then it snuck away.

in any case, we know it can't be far away, and i'm looking forward to the thanksgiving week and trying out some new hiking spots.

LA County Department of Parks & Recreation has just launched a beautiful new trails website, here. i love that you can search by zip code. (committing it to memory by posting it here!)

los pinetos trail is at the top of my list.

and of course some old favorites...

12 hikes
last october at malibu creek state park

Saturday, November 01, 2014

weekend to do


around the house

general clean-up (especially the girls rooms!)
pack away seasonal outdoor furniture (the rain has arrived!)

work a night at "the haunted ranch"!