Saturday, July 30, 2016

Writer's Room

I've always been endlessly intrigued by work studios and art sheds. Spaces carved out solely to feed creative construction. Which is why the NY times series "A Writers Room" has become such a gem.

I was delighted to find Emma Cline detailed recently in her makeshift garden shed turned studio, considering it's where she wrote her first novel "The Girls" - which I finally finished this weekend. After midnight up top in a wind creaked Topanga cabin loft where my imagination (fired by the gruesome ending of the Manson themed storyline) kept trying to spook me. In the end I got up and locked all the windows. Turned out all but one light and ultimately took a walk to the outdoor bathroom to find relief in seeing the other homes on the lot had been filled and the premise wasn't nearly as secluded and remote as I had drawn it up in my head the night before. Only proving that a good book, in the right setting, on a quiet night, can still get my head turning just like when I was 10.

Full Studio tour HERE

Waiting on Nora

A few photos taken at my house last week during my sister's visit. Rachel, 39 weeks with her third. And Claire waiting in sweet six year old anticipation for a new baby to love and dote on. Since Hayes has grown too feisty to oblige her these days. Nora will be their 9th cousin on my side of the family (I come from four ) arriving any day now. To the mounting excitement of a big family waiting on the first word of labor. Always open and ready to welcome yet another.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Gluten Free Berry Skillet Cobbler

We are off today to spend a few quiet days in Topanga Canyon with some friends but I wanted to make sure I dropped by to share the recent recipe I made in partnership with Tillamook before we do. A berry cobbler baked in an old cast iron skillet that I pulled from the Novice Chef Blog and simple traded all purpose flour and oats for Red Mill's GF options so Leon could enjoy it too. 

It was delicious! Topped with vanilla bean ice cream. And Tillamook was so great to work with. Learning about the history of their company and how much they dedicate to promoting (and distributing) Real Food is pretty impressive. Makes me love my butter and cheese a little more. 

You can find the full recipe HERE

And I'll be back at the end of the week. To share some photos of our canyon get away and a couple books I bought and hope to read there in honor of it.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Barnacle Bags Giveaway

Happening on Instagram today in partnership with one of my favorite shops.

I came across Barnacle Bags a few years ago and was instantly smitten by the classic designs and quality leather she adheres to. When I got to know the lady behind the bags a little better (through social media, as seems to be the norm these days) it only enhanced my love of the brand.

Lissa kindly sent me a leather tote recently that I carry now with me daily, and can't stop telling people about because of how soft and well made it is. The kind of thing I know I'll carry for years to come. That will look even better with age.

If give aways aren't your thing - I urge you to check out her shop anyway. It's good site to keep on your radar. For gifts, for diaper bag options, for wallets and totes. Because a good bag buy holds little reason for regret.

Joshua Treehouse

I always say three days is the magic number when it comes to being on vacation away from your kids. It's usually three days where I'm itching to get back home, missing them all like crazy. The chaos of home life, the plight of laundry, the reality of a two year old's boiling tantrums having been sweetly eclipsed by the peace of mind that comes with newfound rest. And wine, and uninteruppted conversations on long nights in a warm spa under a blanket of white stars and a full moon in Capricorn lighting up that endless desert sky.

I got away with a few ladies last weekend to the Joshua Treehouse, which Bri booked months in advance and proved just as incredible as it's Air B&B profile suggests. A stunning ode to modern desert decor done right. From the copper edged fire place to the tasteful selection of art, books, blankets and records, all the details feel well thought but still effortlessly "cool."And who doesn't love the idea of dual hanging rattan chairs in the living on vacation?

The prettiest place to nap and talk, and dance. And connect with ladies. And to rest your head long enough to miss home. For good. For real.
Three days. It's all it takes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Stuck ON

The golden age of Lauren Canyon's great musical past. I've been slightly obsessed this summer reading how it all came about and the infamous folks linked to it's hey day. I came across a Vanity Fair article this morning on a rare solo coffee shop excursion and just had to share. The reflections in it are so telling. So intriguing, insightful and funny. Check it out when you get a change. The "Rock Snob" video is so good I watched it twice. And now I can't stop thinking about Carol King's cat named "Telemachus."

For instance, Joni Mitchell remembers
"My dining room looked out over Frank Zappa's duck pond, and once when my mother was visiting, three naked girls were floating around on a raft in the pond. My mother was horrified by my neighborhood. In the upper hills the Buffalo Springfield were playing, and in the afternoon there was just a cacophony of young bands rehearsing. At night it was quiet except for cats and mockingbirds. It had a smell of eucalyptus, and in the spring, which was the rainy season then, a lot of wildflowers would spring up. Laurel Canyon had a wonderful distinctive smell to it."

The full article, with plenty more famous singer songwriter reflections found HERE 

Friday, July 15, 2016

IN Shop

A handful of new pretty textiles added yesterday. And a couple cute things for the little folk too.
Shop Link HERE

Thursday, July 14, 2016


With this many kids we gave up - a long time ago - the fantasy of overseas vacations in our near future. Extended destinations that include air planes and resort stays. Mainly because it costs too much and the impractical circumstances (at least at this point in our lives anyway) always outweighs the practical. What we've come to settle on in exchange is short - one or two night daycations - Usually local - Usually on slim budget. And we tend to stick to the places where we know we're all welcome. 

Palm Springs has the Ace, and Ojai has the Rancho Inn. Quaint cabin decor tinged with just the right hipster vibe allure. And friendly gray haired ladies at the front desk handing you sticks of palo santo at check in, wearing good jewelry, bearing helpful tips about food delivery and all other kinds of random staples that are most attractive to the locals, who have lived here long before it became a boon of new age artists flooding the place over the last few years, driving up real estate and making news in the papers professing their current endeavors, claiming the sleepy town of Ojai as their own. As next residence of cultural enlightenment for those feeling rightfully worn out in L.A. 

What's nice too, is having friends who share your love of these casual (ill planned) overnighters, who aren't afraid of packing up a big van full of boys and road tripping it up the coast (in the face of rush hour traffic no less) for one night away to feign vacation in proper poolside setting. Morgan is one of them. Who, even at nine months pregnant, is never one to complain about the inconveniences or the unexpected circumstances that are bound to arise on such a trip. And they did. Per usual. 

We sat together at the loveliest on site bar while Hayes slept and the older boys ran around an open field on premise perfect for late afternoon picnics, morning wood decked powows, and late night pizza deliveries that arrive just in time to quell the excitement that comes with the surprise of raccoons tramping rampant around drought dying grass quarters of the hotel. 

24 hours together that included free slurpees on the 711 on the way up, and cartoons in a cramped but cozy hotel room after dark. Swimming, skating, fighting, laughing. Two exotic beers in tall cans. A dead battery upon checkout. All in a day's drive. Because the possibility of a week in Hawaii has a long way to wait. But they way I figure it is at least we know the best corners of California to keep us entertained here in the meantime.

On the Books

It took me birthing four children to finally see my body indefinitely altered by it. Having previously taken for granted the ease with which my weight seemed to drop away and my waist shrink back close to where it began before kids, every time, except the fourth. The babe I grew proud as the rest who left proof of his glorious arrival in everything from the loose skin that now sags around the width of my stomach, to the extra pounds that stuck around long after the fact of his easy birth. Leaving me weighed by new insecurities I know I don't cary alone. Feelings of self doubt, and defeat, that kind of change comes to ignite. Simply because I don't like the way my jeans fit anymore. And I don't feel comfortable in a two piece like I did for so many years before. As much as I tell myself it's a trite issue to lend much mind to, it still gets me down more than I wish it I would allow to. And yet some days it seems to feed itself 

On that topic, in case you missed it, Luana wrote something spectacular about embracing the natural unraveling of time that comes to settle in body, face and experience. She said before that she didn't have the urge to write the way she does until after she had children and I thank God - when I read her prose - that the will came then, rather than never at all. She is a stunning storyteller and the essay is not the kind you pass up. Read it, pass it along. To everyone you know could use it. And then raise a glass to your graying hair, crows feet and happy, healthy sagging skin that brought the great gift of these wild children that keep us earning these wrinkles. Day in and day out. 
For better and for worse. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July 4th

Another holiday spent exactly the way I prefer. In rugged camp style celebrations alongside a few of our favorite Americans, eating too much. Laughing and relaxing in excess. Sticking to a few beloved and tried traditions that spring in the form of delicious salmon kabobs in honor of Rob's birthday cooked at sunset on the 3rd, paired with sea soaked corn on the cob and watermelon sprinkled with lime and salt. Hot dogs, and mint julups poured tiny metal cups. Kids scattered in every direction as the sun shifts and slices across the sand at different angles (and intensities) with each passing hour. And our grand old American flag winding up a glorious accent to the backend of an equally loved old Ford RV after a long expected debate that has come to humorously mark the morning of the 4th. Where Mike and I openly debate the best possible spot (and way) to hang this beauty to best showcase it's glory. So that the light catches it just right. A cherished symbol of patriotism expressed by a woman in 1948 who hand's sewn dedication ended up on the plane her husband flew the same year. A tattered beacon of love. Highlight of our sweet July spot staked there in the sun. Year after year. While the babes grow longer and leaner in limb, but the food and backdrop always stay the same.