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Inspiration: Rustic Retreat

Today was National Dream day, named in commemoration of MLK’s Dream Speech.  While I would love for the world to be a better place for our children to grow up in, my dreams are smaller in scale, more personal. I hope you’ll indulge me while I share my dream of the perfect family friendly rustic retreat.  It’s a place that I imagine our boys building memories in and a place that they could bring their kids to.  My dream rustic retreat looks like this:

1) Space for running around



2) A pool for warm summer days

infinity pool with a view


3) A great casual kitchen with open shelves

farmhouse kitchen


4) Bunk Beds for the kids

rustic bunk beds


5) A place to hang around

hanging chair


6) Alfresco dining area

alfresco dining


7) Simple, crisp master bedroom



8) A cool Dutch door

rustic dutch door


9) Lots of windows to let in the light

industrial factory windows black


10) A fire pit to enjoy the outdoors when the weather gets cooler

fire pit


Honestly, I don’t know how a city girl like me became so country.  But, this is my dream. What’s yours?


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Out and About: A Weekend Away

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You probably didn’t notice that there was no “Out and About” post for July. That’s simply because we actually didn’t manage to make time for each other.  With school out and kids to engage, it was harder to carve out time .

So, we made up for it with a weekend away in August.  Originally, I had thought we would go to Palm Springs.  It was our favorite, quick getaway destination when we lived in L.A. We like the weather, the midcentury design, the relaxed, hip vibe.  But it turns out that getting to Palm Springs from the Bay Area is not that easy or cheap.  So we decided that we needed to go somewhere else with a reasonable expectation of hot weather (the Bay Area is so cold in the summer) and easy to get to.

We ended up at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale AZ.  We wanted to stay somewhere nice since this was our first weekend away ALONE in four years.  The hotel was very nice, service was great and hubby and I got to do things we normally don’t do, such eat food without having to consider a little one’s palate, read a book, watch violent/suspenseful movies on TV, and of course, chill out by the pool and do nothing.  It was rejuvenating, though I will admit that for both nights I had a hard time falling asleep because I missed my boys so much.

Here are a few pics from our August date taken on my iPhone.

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Celebrate: Modern Minecraft Party Inspiration

It’s that time of year again.  Big Boy is turning one year older. For this year’s birthday he requested a Minecraft birthday. Let me put that request in context.  He requested a Minecraft birthday almost as soon as he finished unwrapping presents from his Lego birthday.  I wish he could just enjoy the after glow of his birthday, but he goes straight into planning next year. I guess he’s a planner. I can’t really fault him for that, I am too. So, here’s my Minecraft birthday inspiration board.

Modern Minecraft Party Inspiration

Big Boy has been obsessed with Minecraft. As a parent you worry that it’s not healthy. But while I like to limit his time, I find that Minecraft has actually taught him many things, from learning to survive and finding food, to building his dream house, to trading with villagers. Next up for him, learning to use “red bricks” which have the power of electricity, to build more complex creations.

There are plenty of Minecraft birthday party ideas out there. But I found that most of the parties are predominantly based around the green Creeper character.  As a party planner, I can see the appeal; simple color scheme, clean graphics. That said I would like to attempt to encompass more of what makes the Minecraft world so fascinating.

Sources:Minecraft ToothpicksMinecraft Torch, Edible Diamonds, Creeper Drinks, Minecraft Masks

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Inspiration: Top 5 Cool and Casual Ways to Display Photos

For many years I was a family photographer, so it’s a given that I like taking pictures. But I’m quite particular about displaying them.  I don’t display any family photographs in our “entertaining spaces”. I reserve these spaces for art. However, every other area around the house is ripe for a display. Recently, I created a wall of photos in our Big Boy’s Room. He’s changing school in the next few weeks, and I wanted to take this opportunity to honor the friends he already has and give him a sense of connection to them. Many of the friends pictured are from the school he last attended, but many more are from when we lived in Los Angeles. That way he can learn that out of sight does not mean out of mind.

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For this display, I used the back of my son’s bedroom door to act as a natural frame. Then I printed up a bunch of images and arranged them with blue painter’s tape.  I love that the blue tape is gentle on surfaces, plus the color works nicely with his room’s existing color scheme.

With this in mind I thought I would show you a few more simple, yet cool ideas for displaying photographs around the house. One thing all of these displays have in common is that they are 1) untraditional, no frames used, 2)  cool and casual, 3) easily interchangeable, and 4) budget friendly DIY.  Hope these ideas inspire you to get the photos out of your phones and computers and on to your walls.

Top 5 Cool Casual Ways to Display Photos


Top 5 Cool Casual Ways to Display Photos


Top 5 Cool Casual Ways to Display Photos


Top 5 Cool Casual Ways to Display Photos


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Vintage Finds: Elegant Estate

If you follow me on either Instagram or Facebook, you know that I recently had to rent a truck to haul the goodies I scored at a recent estate sale. Saying that “I scored” is a complete understatement. I came home with a bounty of gorgeous treasures. Truthfully I have never been to a flea market, garage sale or estate sale where I wanted to buy so many items. This is usually because many things are not to my taste, and if they are they are more than I’m willing to spend, or they are in a sorry state and would require more of an investment than I’m willing to make. The recent estate sale that I attended was the perfect Venn diagram of design and price. I knew I was in trouble the minute I walked in the door and noticed the homeowner had my EXACT same dining set, and two cane barrel chairs almost identical to the ones I already own. With that much in common, I knew I was in trouble, but the good kind of trouble. I arrived at the estate sale mid-morning on the second day expecting to find that the place had been picked through, but I was wrong. Behold the beauties I brought home.

First up, this gorgeous vintage swag gilt metal pendant lamp, with an artichoke/petal design. Not sure of its exact provenance, but it has a little metal tag that says it was made it Italy.  It even has a cool silk tassel to serve as the on/off switch. Though the form of my lamp is rounded, the design is similar to that seen on these pendants sold on 1st dibs. I got mine for $60, can’t even imagine what it would have cost at an antique dealer. Guessing upwards of $1000. Does anybody out there in the interweb know more about the design origins of this vintage artichoke pendant lamp? I would love to learn more about it.

Vintage Swag Brass Pendant Light copy

Next up this luxurious velvet loveseat. I was planning on reupholstering some arm chairs I already owned, but hadn’t pulled the trigger yet as I had not yet located fabric that inspired me. Enter this gorgeous curved back loveseat in the most perfect shade of mustard gold yellow. A tag on the piece says that the fabric is actually “Venezia Gold” and was made by J. Breuner. I’m guessing the piece is from the late 50′s and for a piece this old it is in stunningly good condition.  Also it is SUPER comfortable. The curve in the back just hugs you and makes you want to lounge with a cocktail. So I scrapped the idea of reupholstering my two armchairs (which would have likely cost me $250-300 per chair including fabric) and brought home this great piece for a mere… $25.  Yep, just $25 and for now I don’t even need to reupholster. She had a twin sister and I felt bad about splitting them, but honestly I don’t have the space for two of them. The curved back design of this piece makes me think of Emily Henderson’s Fig House project. I think she would approve of this piece.

Vintage Curved Yellow Velvet Loveseat copy

Another piece that had to come home with me is the beautiful vintage sideboard made by Basic-Witz, part of the Concerto:75 collection. I had never heard of Basic-Witz, I just the big names  you usually come across in vintage furniture like Lane, Broyhill or Drexel. The piece came with a 4 paragraph description that was originally included with the sale of the item and it details why they selected each wood, the qualities they bring to the design, etc.  The overall piece is in great condition, but the legs are slightly beaten up.  But for a a well made, all wood vintage piece with great lines for $75 I can deal with slightly scuffed legs. It has great storage and I do love me some closed storage!

Vintage Sideboard copy

Last but not least is this unique vintage glass bowl.  It’s Murano – esque, though I can’t attribute it.  The design has great movement and color, and weighs considerably more than you might think.  For $9, I had to bring it home, because ultimately it’s the small decorative art and accessories that often help to give a space personality.

Vintage Glass Bowl copy

The timing of the sale was great as it was the day before my birthday. Happy Birthday to me! I couldn’t be happier with my Vintage Finds. Hoping my luck stays with me.

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jen - Popped over from your kitchen tour on HouseTweaking. I’m green with envy over your finds!! I’m an estate sale junky but until I clear out some other finds, I have no more space in our little bungalow. I especially love the curved love seat and artichoke pendant!
My birthday was August 4th…and I celebrated by buying a mid-century love seat some an estate sale. I think we could be friends, ha! :)

isadorag - Thanks for dropping by Jen. Sounds like we could be friends. I dropped by another estate sale today. No big haul, however, I did score a super cool planter and a Drexel nightstand perfect for my Monkey’s bedroom remodel. The artichoke pendant was a fluke. I don’t think finds like that come by often… the homeowner would need to have had really good taste. And as we all know that’s often easier said than done. Hope you score many great finds. Post them to my facebook, I’d love to see what you get your hands on.

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