The kids could not be more excited about the idea of staying up until midnight..I could not be more thankful for the amazing year full of love, learning and incredible friends. A year ago, I could never have imagined all that this year would bring, and the friends and community that I would find on line as well. There is so much to reflect on, be grateful for and connect with..and have found moments over the last few weeks to do just that. Over the next few hours and long weekend, more reflection, connecting and thinking about what 2010 might bring and what I hope it will be all about. As I learned clearly in 2009, love, laugh and truly live what you love.
Love the week between Christmas and the New Year...hanging out with family, playing simple board games, reflecting on the year and thinking about all that the coming days and months have in store. For some reason, always a favorite time to get organized, take stock and regroup.
For some reason, as I think about the days and months ahead, love the idea of a fresh updated hairstyle..Keep seeing this photo ( of one of my favorite women..) and wondering if there is ANY way I can pull off the hairstyle...
Can't remember the original source of the photo..but the lovely Vanessa reposted
A little late to the party no doubt, but read about this book ( and do miss some of my old NY Favorites...Sullivan Street Bakery is one :) and was thrilled when it appeared under the tree.
The book got rave reviews when it came out, and for some reason over the last few months, a number of people recommended it. Have been doing a bit of baking during the holiday break, and looking forward to more in the New Year. This week..have earmarked a few recipes from this treasure of a book. What better then fresh bread, foccacia and pizza's in the winter months ahead. The perfect Sunday activity.
I can not wait to ride this little beauty to the farmers market next Saturday..and every Saturday there after. The girl and I already have plans...and thank you to Mr. W we are dreaming up other jaunts around town. I can picture a pile of books in the back and cycling home from the library...a picnic in the park...
The picture does not do it justice. It is a treasure and I am quite sure we will be smiling from ear to ear riding it around town.
A year filled with all that the Holiday season should have..or should I say, what I have always most wanted. 1. Our Family, and the first Christmas with our beautiful daughters and a house filled with Kids and laughter 2. Great memories; watching both Mr. J and Miss S recite poems so beautifully and confidently in their school concert; the cousins holding and totally connecting with their youngest and newest family members; the grandparents faces and joy as they watched the girls enjoy Christmas dinner from the high chairs that they fixed up just for the occasion, laughing with friends in the days and weeks as we connected, shared, and helped each other, experiencing all that the season brings. 3. Dear Friends; and a coming together through joy and pain. Connecting in the most wonderful way with long lost friends from days gone by... 4. Giving; A morning with friends helping those in need during a time of year when so much is about giving of the material kind.. An outing with the Mr and Girls to deliver to moms to be gifts and necessities to make the coming months a bit easier ( and I hope what will be the first of many days of giving and service ) 5. Treasuring; Watching the kids as they opened their gifts and helped their new sisters discover their toys ( and the joy of eating wrapping paper ) Noticing, that they were appreciative of the few special things they got, and less focused on the quantity of gifts, holiday music, the roaring fire, funny movies at night... A treasured and coveted gift from the Mr and a few other romantic treats... The unexpected gift from a new group of important people in my life..who took the time to seek out something that was so special and generous that a few weeks later I am still glowing.
As I look back, and as we spend time as a family during the week between the holidays, I keep reflecting on all that we have, and all that we have become in this last year. For so many reasons, I feel more complete, more peaceful, and incredibly grateful for all that we have in our lives. Oddly enough, cleaning out the garage ( still a bit more to complete in the next few days ) I was stuck by how much I have acquired and accumulated over the years. As I must have been finally ready to let much of it go, packing up bags for charities, books for the library and gifts it occurred to me that I spent so much time thinking about what I might want and should get. For some reason, it never filled the space I was looking to fill. The space, I realize finally is filled. With the family, the true friends and the person I most want to be, and am yet to become. I am, I realize desirous of spending my time doing, learning, failing, exploring. And while yes, I shall always appreciate beautiful things, I need not own them all.
So looking forward to another amazing year, and to all that it brings...
I was reading the latest issue of LMNOP this morning, and was thrilled to come across this new book from Todd Oldham.. Kid Made Modern is part design book and part activity book with a stylish view into the modern art world AND is filled with great projects for kids..with holiday vacations right around the corner, and winter weekends upon us, love having some great new activities that everyone can do together..
There has been so much going on over the last few months, I don't even know where to begin. Unlike other times in my life when changes were happening ( or needed to happen ) I was totally committed to being present, and to allow myself to completely experience and feel everything as it came up. Without needing to go into too much detail, I woke up this morning, and knew in more ways then one, that I was back. That staying present and strong, and most importantly true to myself and my most important relationships ( with my husband and children ) allowed me to give voice to and act on what matters to me.
I have learned over and over that the most important thing in the world is the love of family, being honest and kind, and pushing yourself to do your personal best. While I have done those things in my personal life these last years, it was not necessarily true of my life at work, which was for me the first time ever that this was the case. It felt good these last months to stay the course, speak from the heart and connect with what was missing for me.
So many exciting things ahead, and a future of professional work, projects and partnerships that I could not be more excited about. A life that is full and complete, and a family and friends that I feel honored and lucky to have.
As I get ready to return to this blog, and develop other creative projects, a huge thank you to the friends here that I have made along the way. The support, kindness and the constant inspiration has been a gift. I thank you.
Someone had given me this card years ago, the well known quote was always an inspiration and well said reminder of what is important.
So yes, I am on a budget, and yes, after a year of wearing my husbands clothes, the same outfit repeatedly and full enjoying all of the foods that I desired a little bit of a wardrobe update is in order. The funny thing is, I also think of myself a bit differently and the desire is to have a bit of uniform with fewer pieces and things that I love. I think back at some of the splurges I have made and realize it is those lovely few pieces, mixed with my Levi's and J Crew knit tops that have become the base of this look. Ironically as well-trying things I would never have tried before..Hmmm more on that later.
Given the economic enviornment, pretty easy to do all of this on a tight budget. In any event, as I thought about the slim jeans I wanted to wear ( and the fantastic Citizens Avedon Jeans I was gifted from a dear old friend ) I knew that the splurge of the season would be some great black boots. Alas, perfection. Landed on an authentic dress riding boot from Ariat. Can't wait for these to arrive. Why find some "version" that has been redone when you can have the real deal?
Life has a funny way of happening, and when one is true to one self, seriously the right path unfolds. Was so disappointed when I had heard that Shabby Chic was closing, so many reasons, and most of all a sign of the economic times in more ways then we could know. At the heart of it all, a really talented woman, who knows what she loves and worked for years to bring it to life. Was thrilled when I started to hear rumblings, and then got the email that the LA store was opening and NYC would soon follow. Happy for her and to see what treasures were in store for me as well! I also missed the energy and people that would often visit our store ( we are neighbors on Montana Ave in Santa Monica ) before or after a visit to Shabby Chic.
Happened to be in LA last week, and had the chance to stop by. It is the perfect shop..true to Shabby Chic yet updated in the perfect way, love the raw wood pieces, as always the upholstered finds and the scale and freshness of it all. This book is sure to be added to my library, and I can't wait to go to one of her book signings.
Most of all, I salute Rachel as she built and rebuilt her dream. Check out her blog here..she shares the journey...
So, we have a wedding to go to this weekend, and as usual wondered what to wear. Was in LA for the day and ran into a friend who has fantastic taste. I had stopped for a moment to get a bite to eat, and the next thing you know, was standing in Calyspo, staring at this stunning dress. With her encouragement, and I admit a very reasonable price tag hanging in front of me, I slipped into the fitting room and tried it on. Perfection. The photo does not do it justice. Trust me, on the beach with flats, or all dressed up a piece of heaven for a mere $225.00
Meanwhile Calypso is so nicely updated these days, I am crazy for this sweater also.
I have coveted my Hunter boots for 5 years...Wearing them from the first rain to the end of Winter ( don't laugh, there is a winter in California! ) Year one was all about the Green, a versatile color that worked with everything. Then, for Christmas a few years ago, My mother in law gave be a pair in Navy. Also, perfect..and easy to wear with dark jeans, sweaters and jackets from November until the end of February. Both of these boots have gotten more wear then any other shoes I have owned and I might add, saved many a shoe I did own and use to wear in the rain. Alas, I am setting myself up for a purchase. Validating how these will also be as coveted, used and adored. This pair of wellies from Isle Jacobsen is just a step forward from the traditional. Imagining them in Black, I love the idea of a little update and additional color...Should I or Shouldn't I?
You can get them here or check out all of her styles here
Somehow, I missed the fact that Maira Kalman was back at the New York Times. Yesterday morning, I discovered her again and with sheer joy shared her work and read numerous passages out loud to my husband. ( who i might add, was trying to do his own share of Sunday morning reading during 15 minutes of unusual peace & quiet ) With him focused on the NYT, and me falling in love with each of her posts the day was off to a wonderful beginning...Cuddly, sleepy babies and now this!
Enough of your time taken with my intro, it should be used to enjoy this and this I LOVED her visit to the Supreme Court and talk with Ruth Bader Ginsburg...and her divine trip to Monticello...and...
Anyone know where and how to get one of her prints...I shall save forever to aquire!
As you may have noticed, have not been blogging much. Not that many thoughts, ideas and a ton of inspiration is not swimming around in my head but.... We are moving! Now that the girls are 10 weeks old and our family of seven has more then outgrown our current space, we are thrilled to have found a new place to call home. Moving just a mile away, but the purging, prepping and packing has been all consuming. In addition to the physical move, so many transformative thoughts and plans that we've been working through.
So , stay tuned, missing the blogging world, but eager to get our family and home set up.
Will be back by month's end. Can't wait. So much to share.
PS Love these letterpress announcements from simple song. Still treasuring the holiday cards and gift tags that we got from her!
Came across this beautiful barn/dining area on Skona Hem. Everything about this image says relax and gather round...love the comfort and ease of such a spot in the home for nightly family dinners and casual moments with friends.
p.s. Wouldn't it be glorious to have a big old barn to hang out in?
Doing a little blog reading this weekend, and thanks to Jen of the fab Made by Girl, I discovered that Urban Outfitters has some pretty amazing furniture. I immediately fell in love with these chairs. Hmm, perhaps when we move I can find a spot for these.
Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday Weekend. We wanted to celebrate the start of Summer with friends and family and an invitation to our summer friends and family sale. Have to make sure those kids are comfortable and stylish with dollars to spare for road trips, days at the beach and trips to the boardwalk.
I love wicker. Plain and Simple, Indoors and Out. We have a fabulous set of black wicker chairs outside on our patio, and when we move, I keep thinking about how fabulous they would be indoors in a kitchen or dining area..
Which, of course got me thinking. I keep seeing the Martha Stewart Channel Islands Collection, and I must say I think it is fabulous. I can totally picture the sofa, chairs and tables in any outdoor space. With a pile of magazines and morning coffee or a group of friends, beverages and ice cream sandwiches the perfect place from which to hang out and catch up.
I was taken by the whole concept of Rough Luxe, I had to add a part two to my post. While the location and spot in London looks divine, I can't help but think about taking an excursion to one of the other fabulous locations in the group.http://www.roughluxe.com/photos/staz%201178.jpg This hotel in St Moritz caught my eye.
How simply fabulous. I am happy just looking at the photos..
So while yesterday's post may not have been seasonally appropriate, I can't stop myself from sharing some of the fabulous hotels and locale's I was reading and thinking about this weekend.
With us all being on a tighter budget, places that are chic, stylish and affordable make the top of my list. This fabulous hotel group has properties in Cape Town, St. Moritz and Costa Brava as well as this spot in London.
Loved the charm and design aesthetic of this spot and think it would be a great place to stay. With a tea room and coffee bar, a small spa area and located near King's Cross, seems like the perfect spot from which to explore London.
So far, Bed rest has been going pretty well. After a few false alarms late last week though, I was a bit antsy this weekend, and found myself longing to get out and explore the world. Over the last few weeks, having kept surprisingly busy with work ( doing mostly creative design and development work ), personal and over due to do's and connecting a bit with old friends I have not thought much about travels outside the home. With family and our new additions on my mind, continued awareness about the importance of staying connected to what is in my heart and building a rich life with my husband, a feeling of peace and contentment.
I did start to think about family trips, a few romantic getaways with the Mister and the thought of our kids, or us travelling or living abroad at some point in the future. Wouldn't you know, I came across a few places as I flipped through magazines this weekend, some that we had been to and some on the list for the future.
So here we go... Korkia Pensione in Palm Springs..Scott and I spent a long weekend here in the late fall. One word-Heaven. With stylish and really reasonably priced rooms this should be a must on every ones list of romantic getaways.
The recipe for the perfect weekend -Reservations and simple packing-dresses, shoes, mag/book, sunglasses -Drive and arrive early Friday morning -Relax and Hang by the pool, play games, retire to your room -Dinner in town -Morning wake up, coffee, fruit and paper outdoors -Morning Yoga ( complimentary at the hotel 0 -Hiking in Joshua Tree -Drinks and Dinner under the stars at the Parker -Morning, wake up and repeat-breakfast and yoga -Massage -Leisurely drive home.
Came across an article and realized that my love of cut arts carried over from simple and elegant silhouettes to these more extravagant art forms .Piles of tear sheets and a fabulous realization....Rob Ryan a British Artist who has turned this craft into a beautiful art form, has a shop on Etsy!
If you love his work as much as I do, you will be thrilled to know that he will have an instillation at the Earnest Sewn shop in the Meatpacking District until the end of May.
Would love to take a visit to Petersham Nursery and the Cafe in Surrey. The shop which you can tour on line looks like the ultimate in English Gardening. The Cafe which is run by Skye Gyngell has become one of the most difficult reservations to secure due to her fabulous cooking and approach to the weekly menu she creates. Entirely dependent on the gifts of the garden and the seasons, just reading it makes me hungry.
For those of us who have no immediate plans to go to England, her cookbooks look fantastic ( and would make a great gift! )
Looking forward to this first weekend in May...And spending a little time outside. Even if only on our outdoor patio! Loved this space from British Home and Garden. A reminder that with some thoughtful gardening and fabulous lounge chairs, any outdoor space is to be coveted. A wonderful spot to enjoy morning coffee and the paper or an end of day beverage!
Yesterday ( while following my prescribed bed rest ) on a beautiful spring day, I watched the new Grey Gardens. Having seen the original which was interesting for sure, but also a bit disturbing, I did not really know what to expect. As someone who has always loved interesting people of style, the history of the 1930's and the Hampton's, this movie had all the ingredients for the perfect film. It did not disappoint. I so love how they mixed the back story with clips and the making of the original film, seeing the house as it was in hits previous state full of life and beauty and the relationship between mother and daughter so honestly portrayed. This is truly one not to miss. Fascinated as well by the story of Little Edie, and how she finally left the home shared with her mom, and made her way back to New York, and eventually Florida. Loving the fact that the home was sold for only $220,000 in 1979 to Sally Quinn and Benjamin Bradley with the understanding that they would restore it. Restore this beautiful home they did...the gardens are to die for, and the recent article in The New York times and the evolution of this fabulous property is exquisite.
Take a look at the beautiful images above.
For a great view of the Beale's and story of the home, this article from 1972, written by Gail Sheehy is worth the read
As everyone in California knows, we have been having a bit of a heat wave... The warm weather, time at home and April days at the pool have me think of summer and how much I adore this time of year. As we look for a new place to live, can't help but to daydream about an outdoor space where we can gather, hangout and eat as many meals as possible outdoors. To me, one of the best parts of this time of year is truly being outside as much as possible.
This lovely outdoor spot from Skona Hem was the perfect image to capture these daydreams.
Ok, since I have been thinking about summer and fond summer memories all week, I can't leave this out. The best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had...and the recipe tracked down to share with all of you. Kathleen's cookies as it was known for years ( now Tate's, is famous for its buttery, thin crispy chocolate chip cookies. As someone who much prefers a soft ( almost undercooked ) chocolate chip cookie and I admit, the raw dough itself, I must say these are to die for.
The only other improvement on the old toll house classic, is my husbands substitution of milk chocolate chips. So here you go, two options-The version below, and the old standby with milk chocolate instead of semi sweet. Oh, and if you are thinking this far ahead-either version is divine made into an ice cream sandwich...
Chocolate chip cookies are our signature item. They are thin and crisp and remain everyone’s favorite. Tate’s Bake Shop bakes and sells thousands a week and ships them all over the country. Yield: 4 1/2 dozen three-inch cookies. 2 cups all-purpose pour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup salted butter 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar 1 teaspoon water 1 teaspoon vanila 2 large eggs 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two cookie sheets or line them with Silpat. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add the water and vanilla. Mix the ingredients until they are just combined. Add the eggs and mix them lightly. Stir in the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips. Don’t overmix the dough. Drop the cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets using two tablespoons or an ice cream scoop. Bake them for 12 minutes or until the edges and centers are brown. Remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Yesterday was a lovely day ( or so I hear :) ) and Summer is in the Air. After a little ( and I do mean little...outing on Saturday ) I had to make sure I stayed mostly horizontal yesterday. So while my adorable and loving husband made us all a gourmet breakfast and took our daughter ( he is such a trooper ) to an early showing of Hannah Montana I hung out with the boys and played Scrabble at home. A few hours later, a friend came by with her son ( a good friend of our oldest's ) and brought with her some favorite mags. Hours later, when the Mr. took the kids to the pool and enjoyed an afternoon of swimming and ice cream, I took a virtual trip to some wonderful pools, beaches and gardens through the pages of said magazines.
Here was one of the treasures I laid my eyes on...A few years ago, knows as J. Harper Poor Cottages, this charming inn, Baker House 1650 has now added a lovely pool. The wisteria and outdoor areas took my breath away, Enjoy, even if only as I did, virtually.
Yesterday, I found myself looking at some of my favorite interior blogs ( many of them from Australia..) and found myself on one that I quite adore. Pink Wallpaper written by a new mom and interior designer has a lovely design sense and pratical tips and ideas for the home.
I loved this image...would be a great cottage kitchen or playroom set up for the kids..I can imagine ( let a girl dream ) all the kids stuff and art supplies organized with a fun word spelled out in these fab metal letters.
Ok, I admit it, I have a few blog crushes...Joslyn from Simply Lovely, Chelsea from Frolic and Marta from Marta Writes to name a few. As I have followed and watched Marta on her journey into motherhood, I admire her love, honesty and ability to connect with her best self and those around her.. Her post today reminded me of her love for life and experiencing all that it brings.
Loved her resolutions when she posted them, and to be honest about hopes and dreams..motivated to bring them to life and real enough to laugh along the way.
PS-her diaries ( and her handwriting ) are treasures as well! Check them out-a fantastic gift for mothers day!
One of the sites I love most for home inspiration is Skona Hem. A fab magazine from Sweeden that I would LOVE to track down here. For now, a simple visit to their site every now and then, keeps me dreaming. I came across what would be the perfect kitchen. Seriously, how could you not love a space where everyone can gather with ease, there is ample room to prep and cook, an office space for organization and a wonderful eating area. To me, the kitchen often feels like the heart of the home and this one says Love.
As you might know, spending a bit more time working from home. Have always loved a place in the home, away from everything else for writing notes, doing some creative work, and housing inspirational books and tear sheets. I have learned over time to keep the space clean and organized and stocked with favorite pencils, a giant note pad fantastic note cards. With some simple tools for keeping things organized, the space provides a tranquil spot to recharge. Even for a few minutes each day.
Ok, after months of thinking and really sitting back and understanding what I love and what was important to us when we started our little concept I am taking the plunge. I so love connecting with people, sharing and learning more about people, resources, adventures and stuff that makes our life as parents and people easier, richer and more rewarding. A place where ideas, people, and a community can be created. When my husband first started talking about what he wanted and hoped we could do, I did not really and truly understand. Now I do. And while bringing that dream to life is likely a bigger project and focus for us in 2010, for now I know at least that the desire for me is strong to start capturing the topics, connecting with the people and learning from others. There are so many people we meet, information that is sent, stories that are told and stuff that people send to us. My hope is that this will be a place to share those all. So here we go, I am planning to work on some of the content this weekend, and go live on Monday.
Amy Williams is a 41 year old Daughter, Wife and Mother. She has three amazing stepchildren and newborn twin girls. She and her husband created and co-founded Peek Aren't You Curious , a store for children and parents to experience the joys of childhood and parenting.
Discourse & Design is where she gets to share her finds in style, photography, cooking, life and travel.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org