A big thank you to all of our veterans and their families!

Captain Joseph P Harrison USN

Captain Joseph P Harrison  (Ret) USN

As I have matured I have come to realize and appreciate the true reason we celebrate Memorial Day.  It is not for a long weekend that marks the unofficial beginning of summer, it is not an excuse to have a beach party and haul out the bbq, or sleep in on a Monday morning.  (all good things, I might add)  Rather, it is an opportunity for all of us to take just a few moments to think about, understand and be grateful for those that gave the ultimate sacrifice, those that are in harm’s way now and those members of the military who support the fighting forces AND their families that are left behind.

As many of you know, I am the very proud daughter of a military hero.  I spent my entire childhood as a Navy Junior (as opposed to Army Brat) and my father lost his life way too early, not in battle, but as a result of the years of battle he did participate in and the chemicals he was exposed to.  He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors and I miss him every single day.  And I know I am not alone in this situation or in these feelings.

thank you from cafepressdotcom

So, a big thank you to all of you who have served or are serving now or have lost a loved one in their time of service.  Just a few people who are close to me who have served:

Master Chief Ron Bowlin (Ret)-USN

PN2 Sheryl Bowlin

Lou Berger-WWII

Sr. Chief John Adler (Ret)

Master Chief Darel Handley (Ret)- USN

Capt Matt Warren-Army

Jerry Warren-Special Forces Vietnam War

and many more that I am not listing.  Thank someone special to you this weekend.

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Ten things that made me happy in April

1.  No words necessary!  Who wouldn’t be happy looking at these faces?!

ella and brendan in hat on easter 20152.  Easter cards.  They are such an unexpected surprise, especially when they come from friends who live cross country and we just don’t get a chance to catch up very often.

3.  Dare I say it again without jinxing it?  After rising almost back up to $4 per gallon gas prices are back down below $3.

4. Stepping outside and being “hit” with the scent of honeysuckle.

5. The return of “normal” weather in San Diego.  After the hottest March on record and the lack of any sort of winter, springtime appears to be normal.  Crisp mornings where the cloud cover burns off by 10:00 a.m. to clear blue skies and chilly evenings.  Everything just looks and smells so good!

6.  The annual Coronado Garden Show.  How lucky am I to live so close to such a beautiful area as Coronado?!  My girlfriend and I walk this every year and it is something I always look forward to.  What is better than an afternoon with a good friend strolling through beautiful neighborhoods and lunching in a sidewalk cafe?  Not much…..

7.  Taking care of my husband’s daughter’s dog, Penelope.  This little chihuahua has been in our family for 10 years and I never see her so it was a nice surprise to have her for a few days.  Definitely made me happy.

8.  My granddaughter’s first ballet recital.  I spent many, many years attending dance recitals with my own daughter so it brought back so many special memories.  I asked her if she was a ballerina and she responded with “Not quite yet, Grandma”.  So funny!  And so cute!!

9.  Being asked to go away for a weekend with our daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law.  How nice it is when your adult children want to spend time with you!  So we will all be celebrating his birthday in June basking in the sun in Palm Springs.  Can’t wait!

10. New patio furniture.  I had grown tired of the usual round table and 4 chairs, loveseat and two chair, matching table combo.  We traded in a 1/2 acre and three very large decks when we downsized for a small backyard and, since we rarely eat outside at this house but still enjoy entertaining outdoors I opted for a 5 piece “chat set” This includes a large round center table that can be used for casual dining as well as 4 very comfortable chairs that rock on their pedestal.  I can’t wait for warm summer evenings spent outdoors with my favorite recipe–a glass of good wine, good friends and great “chats.”  This is how it looked when we began the remodel and I will share the new look next month, just in time for summer.  Care to stop by for a cocktail?

Backyard before remodel

Backyard before remodel

What made you happy in April of 2015?

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Beauty in Baltimore

While Baltimore Maryland is in the media spotlight right now there is really very little difference between Baltimore and other cities across the U.S.   Like all cities, it is made up of people, families and businesses all with a common goal–to create a nice place to live and raise a family.

Sadly, when things like the recent riots occur, the vision of what type of city Baltimore is becomes greatly skewed.  I have visited Baltimore and I know what a beautiful place it is so, true to the designer in me, I am sharing the homes of those who live in this area in the hopes that these images are what will stay with you, not the tragic images streaming across your tv.

You can always expect beauty from the Ritz-Carlton and the residences of the Ritz in Baltimore are no exception:

A cozy and inviting little family room for families to gather:

This room takes advantage of local materials through the use of locally quarried Butler Stone on the fireplace.

Imagine the family meals cooked and enjoyed in this farmhouse kitchen.

As you can see, Baltimore is full of many different styles of architecture and interior decor that reflects the personalities and lifestyles of those who call Baltimore home.

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Amazing whale video (and some design tips)

I have a wonderful, long time client who is one of those people that revels in the experiences of life.  She has traveled the world, sometimes as a couple and sometimes all by herself.  I so admire her sense of adventure because that is so not me!

Her homes are full of items she has collected from all her travels.  Things like artwork from Hong Kong, weavings from Central America, scarves from Thailand; all scattered among her own award winning baskets.

One of the adventures she participates in is whale watching in Baja California.  The lagoon is the place female California gray whales go to give birth and train their babies before making the long trek back to Alaska in the springtime.  This video is from her most recent trip and it is pretty amazing to get that close and personal with these magnificent creatures.  And this is the ONLY way I will get that close so I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I hope you do as well.

And if you are interested in displaying your souvenirs and collectibles in a pleasing way check out these ideas:

Not sure a collection of miniature alcohol bottles is up my alley but I love the way they are displayed in this otherwise elegant dining room.

This is a great use of under-utilized space in a kitchen or dining room.

Usually not a fan of plate walls but this one is pretty cool

What do you collect and how do you display it in your home?

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10 things that made me happy in March

  Happy Birthday to me!   via Pinterest

Happy Birthday to me!
via Pinterest

1.  A home full of birthday flowers.  My family and friends certainly know what I enjoy.  Roses and sunflowers from my husband, tulips and daffodils from my beloved granddaughter (picked out by her very thoughtful Mom) and, even though my daughter was out of town a giant bouquet of multi-colored gerbera daisies greeted me at the door when I got home on my birthday.  She is the best!!

2.  Road trip!  We took a quick road trip to Phoenix to catch a game or two of the Padres spring training.  In spite of the unseasonably warm–nay—HOT weather we had a good time, as always, on the road.

3.  Do you remember the childhood song “Make new friends but keep the old…”?  My girlfriend and I have been friends since the first day we met in 6th grade.  Through all the trials of childhood and the teen years, marriages and divorces, raising kids, losses of loved ones and health issues we remain friends and found the time to meet up, without the distraction of husbands, for a nice long catch-up visit and a trip down memory lane as we drove around a town that just seems so much smaller!  Why is that?

4.  Re-upholstered dining room chairs.  Loved the animal print for many years but was in the mood for something snazzier.  What do you think?

New fabric on right is a velvet chenille zigzag that feels so wonderful on the tusch!

New fabric on right is a velvet chenille zigzag that feels so wonderful on the tusch!

5.  The power of blogging.  A blogger recently moved to San Diego and in reading her posts about their new home I offered up some contacts that were trustworthy, honest, detail-oriented and good at what they do.  She ended up hiring my amazing painter.  And we have never even met!

6.  An ecstatically happy daughter.  My one and only daughter got engaged this month and she is over the moon excited to begin this next phase of life.  Time to start rolling pennies to pay for this wedding!

7.  Photos of my hometown.  I grew up in Pacific Grove California and I am so happy when I see a new post on “You know you are from Pacific Grove, California when…” facebook page.  Check out this gorgeous shot from Robert Pacelli.  There’s no place like home….

pacific grove photo by robert pacelli you know youre from pacific groe claifornia when facebook page

8.  Signing a contract for the wedding venue (yes, already!)  What a relief to know that is taken care of and now we can spend these next several months on fun stuff.  Let the party begin!!

9.  A new design client.  It just seems that as I complete one job another one comes along; just the pace I like.  I will keep you posted on the progress and scope of this after our initial meeting next week.

10.  I have probably said it before but mid-week lunches with girlfriends are the best.  Try to find some time to do this as it can be so rejuvenating and simply good for the soul.  Thanks Lisa, Sharon, Sandy and Paula!

So what made you happy in March of 2015?

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Happy Easter!

This is bound to make you smile!!

photo from slim paley's blog  http://slimpaley.com/about-slim/

photo from slim paley’s blog http://slimpaley.com/about-slim/

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A burst of juicy color in a family home

I have always loved serene and neutral rooms that are popped with color in the form of artwork, pillows and accessories.  When given a choice I am always drawn to the room done in neutrals with plenty of black accents.  But when I saw this home in Traditional Home online magazine  designed by Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey, I remembered how much I also love color.  Not sure I could live with a purple couch forever but I can certainly enjoy looking at it and admire the courage of the homeowners to step out of the beige and greige box most designers are pushing and really embrace their love of color.  I mean—pink checked drapery panels?  Gotta love it!

Photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home

Photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home

And painted nightstands are such a fresh change from the more expected dark wood tones or even a mirrored cabinet in this mouth watering orange and turquoise guest room.  Be sure to take note of other fun details like the multi-colored fringe trim on the drapery panels and the placement of fun artwork.

photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home Magazine

photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home Magazine

Be still my heart!  This is about the cutest little boy’s bedroom I have ever seen and the sophisticated textiles and colors will grow with him requiring just a simple change of artwork and accessories as he gets older.

Photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home

Photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home

And for those who appreciate the serenity and beauty of neutrals…a master bedroom to dream in.

Photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home

Photo by Gordon Beall for Traditional Home

What do you think—-neutrals or saturated color in your home?

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