Ten things that made me happy in September

  1. Our daughter and son-in-law have moved back to San Diego and will be staying with us while they search for a new home.  It is a crowded and busy household now but, as every parent knows, there is nothing nicer than going to bed at night knowing your kids are safe and sound asleep downstairs, regardless of how old they are!
  2. The SD Chargers continue to lose their games in very typical Charger fashion, last minute and due to their own bad play.  It is so hard to cheer for a different team and especially to root against my beloved Chargers and Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates etc. But what I do not want is for one more $ to go into Mr. Spanos’ pocket as repayment for his heinous treatment of the San Diego fans.  Be careful what you ask for Mr. Spanos!  And I am not alone in this feeling…check out this restaurant that is giving away free tacos for every Charger loss-https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/san-diego-restaurant-celebrates-chargers-losses-with-free-tacos/?linkId=42400184
  3. Visiting with old friends who are in town and enjoying dinner every night in a different spot.  Lots of laughter and reminiscing.  When I was a girl scount/brownie I learned a song that has stuck with me throughout the decades-“Make new friends but keep the old, some are silver while the other’s gold” and I remember that song whenever we are with friends…one of life’s greatest gifts.
  4. A little afternoon delight–in the form of a weekday movie.  One of the best parts of being semi-retired is being able to go to a movie in the middle of the week and in the middle of the afternoon.  And we feel even luckier because we attend movies in an old-fashioned little theater in the middle of Coronado–no lines, no noisy people, no teenagers!!  There are some pluses to aging!
  5. I can’t go a month without mentioning how happy I am when I am spending time with these goofballs.  They make me laugh and giggle and they make me very tired!  But they fill my heart up with so much love.ella and brendan at brandis wedding 2017
  6. https://yourcountdown.to/christmas-eve
  7. The smell of autumn in the air.  Yes, even in San Diego we have changing seasons, subtle, but changing.  Crisp mornings and warm (ok-hot) days are the norm for this time of year but occasionally we have an opportunity to put on a sweater and I even wore some ankle boots the other night!
  8. New home decor trends start popping up this time of year, right after the Fall market takes place in Highpoint, North Carolina and I am always anxious to see what is new.  Designers also eagerly await the announcement of the colors of the year and Sherwin Williams  and Benjamin Moore have both announced their color of the year which, interestingly enough, are complete opposites! Pantone will announce theirs in early December and their choice is really the deciding factor in what you will be seeing in the upcoming year as far as color goes.  Gold metal has also been popular for a couple of years and I know I have added some of this warm metal to my own decor in the form of accent tables and picture frames.  I love a funky chair in the room and I think this gorgeous chair from Currey and Company! fits the funky bill!gold chair from currey and company
  9. Does this put you in the mood for a fun Halloween?  Now that my daughter is all grown up, Halloween does not hold the same appeal.  However, I am beginning to enjoy it once again with my grand munchkins and this colorful pumpkin mantel would certainly set a party loving mood.


  10. The fact that I forgot to post this and now I can’t remember a tenth thing that made me happy makes me unhappy but, oh well.  Here is my list.  What made you happy in September?
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Is it too early to think about Christmas?


courtesy of Renee Collier facebook

I know—the weather is telling us it is still summer!  But I am a lover of all things Christmas and IMHO, one can never have too much red and white with a sprinkling of green during the month of December.  I love holiday plaid, sappy Christmas movies that always feature a snow-filled setting and a Santa that makes us all wonder if Santa really does exist, and holiday music.  In my house this music starts playing as soon as I can find it on the radio, and the movies, which begin the day after Halloween, are watched over and over and over again.  Holiday decorating is one of the joys of the season so here are just a few items that are on my decorating list this year:

  • A set of these electric snowflakes will be hanging from my front deck all through the winter.snowflake from qvc
  • Since my daughter and son-in-law will be spending the holidays in London and Paris (oolala) we will not be doing the complete decorating thing this year.  But, along with the snowflakes (my favorite) will be a small staked outdoor tree that will add a hint of twinkle to the exterior.outdoor trees from grandinroad
  • Setting the table is one of the delights of holidays.  I especially enjoy doing it when the meal is catered!  The old-fashioned design of this pitcher would be so cute filled with orange juice or milk for that Christmas morning breakfast and add a festive touch when paired with plain white dinnerware you probably already own.  Fill with cold water and place on the bedside table in the guest room or, if you are like me and cooking is not your thing, fill this pitcher with some beautiful flowers or greenery for an instant centerpiece.

    christmas pitcher from williams sonoma

    available at Williams Sonoma

  • Pompoms are everywhere this year.  What is it about these fluffy balls of yarn that seem to capture all of us?  These faux fur pompom throws will up the cozy factor in your holiday decorating.

    pom pom throws from pottery barn

    available at Pottery Barn

  • Pillows, pillows and more pillows.  A grouping of solid velvet pillows is simple and elegant or you can opt for a particular motif you enjoy.  In my case, I love displaying snowflakes because they can be used throughout the winter.  This design from Crate and Barrel caught my eye and the sparkle will help brighten up those dreary January days.  I am going to pair it with an ivory faux fur throw and gray velvet pillow on my off-white sofa that features black contrast welting—-gorg!!snowflake pillow from crate and barrel
  • I love all things plaid in both fashion and home decor.  We will all be seeing a lot of plaid for several months in all color combinations but I especially like the traditional shades of red and green sprinkled with, of course, some glitter!
    plaid ornaments from crate and barrel

    via Crate and Barrel

    So what do you think?  Is it too early to think about Christmas decorating?

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I want to live here

I usually spotlight interiors of homes that I would like to live in.  I get inspired by the furniture styles, paint colors and fabric patterns, architecture and artwork that is featured in the room.  This time, however, I am going to focus on the exterior of a home and all I can say is “Please let me live here!”

i could live here farmhouse in utah from millhaven homes

This gorgeous farmhouse style home, designed by Millhaven Homes, is located in one of my favorite places-Utah.  It is so serene I can almost hear the silence!  Here are a few reasons why this home appeals to me:

  • The mountain backdrop is heavenly!  To quote John Muir “The mountains are calling and I must go.”  A little bit of snow is nice but imagine how beautiful these mountains must be covered in snow.  I could build my own ski lift and shoosh down those runs and bowls any time I wanted.
  • All of that green grass is so appealing to this girl from southern California who almost never sees a large expanse of beautiful green lawn.  However, after a record breaking winter of rain, the experts tell us that the drought is over so maybe people will start planting grass again.  After all, does anything smell better in the spring and summer than freshly cut grass?
  • The simple black and white color scheme is classic and timeless.  And the beauty of our American Flag set against that simple backdrop is wonderful.  The only change I might make is an unexpected pop of color on the front door and perhaps a more comfortable pair of rocking chairs on that front porch.
  • The metal porch roof is a nice and somewhat modern touch to the otherwise classic farmhouse style.

How about you?  Could you live here?

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Ten things that made me happy in August

August is a crazy month and one of my least favorites.  Nothing exciting to look forward to, no holidays to celebrate and hot, hot weather.  But, through it all, I managed to find ten things that made me happy as I look forward to September.

  1. Final pool days before school begins with these munchkins.  One of my favorite things is the sound of kids at the pool…the laughter, the screaming, the splashing…all things that would normally bother me, but not at the poolella and brendan at the pool augu 2017
  2. Plaid is back!  You will be seeing it everywhere in both home decor and fashion.  Love me some good plaid!

  3.  While the parts of this I can identify with do not particularly make me happy, the whole thing made me chuckle…especially #2, #4 and #9.getting old
  4. Having my daughter in town makes me happy any time of the year!  Her maid of honor from her wedding a year ago was getting married so she was returning the favor.  A beautiful wedding party and a beautiful wedding and, of course, an incredibly beautiful bride.  It was a short visit but this mama will take what she can get.
  5. This article in which I am mentioned and appear in a photo makes me both happy and sad.  The acrimony between the political parties this year has been exhausting but the happy part is that my dear friend, Lisa, and I survived it all and our friendship remains intact.  It has not been easy and this article offers insight into how others with differing political beliefs maintain relationships.  I encourage you to read it.
  6. While I want to share the pics I do not have permission from the photographer to do that so I will just share the link and urge you to click on.  These photos of animals who are normally natural enemies, living and loving together is something we, as humans, should make note of and maybe learn from.  Trust me, the photos will melt your heart!!
  7. This country’s behavior can be such a source of frustration for many of us, me in particular.  At times I am so confused and angry and frustrated and even frightened by what is going on in politics and the media and, most importantly, in our neighborhoods.  But the way this country has come together to help those in Texas and Louisiana renews my faith that those who have fought to preserve the values that this country was built on have not been a colossal waste of time and lives.  My father died an early death as a result of serving three tours down the rivers during the Vietnam war; so my hope now is that this behavior is the beginning of healing for all of us so that we can get back to being proud to be an American and living the American dream which includes prosperity, safety and freedom for all of us.

    texas flag cartoon from wayne dupree show facebook page

    via Wayne Dupree Show facebook page

  8.  Two visits in one month from my daughter?!  This mom could not be happier.  Especially when this visit came with the news that she and her husband are moving back to San Diego!!!!  They will be staying with us for a couple of months while they search for a home so it will be crowded (especially with their 3 dogs) but that is something I am willing to put up with just to have them nearby again.
  9.  Staging job complete!  Sometimes all it takes are some pretty towels in cheerful colors to make an outdated space look livable.  After all, the whole purpose of real estate staging is to inspire prospective owners.  Let’s hope this does the job and results in a quick sale!IMG_3418
  10. One of the best parts of August is looking forward to fall.  Spotting this photo of another one of my favorite things, acorns, made me happy.  Remember, it really is the little stuff that makes us the happiest!

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I want to live here

The home of model/actress Molly Sims seems to be the perfect spot to say goodbye to the summer of 2017.  I could easily live in this Pacific Palisades beauty and here are the reasons why:

  • In this noisy world of ours I often long for some quiet and peaceful time where the only thing I hear is the rustling of the wind, the chirping of the birds and perhaps the distant din of the roadway.  This seems to be the perfect spot to spend that quiet time.
  • Plenty of green grass has become a real luxury here in southern California where “desertscape” has become the preferred landscaping style.  I must admit I am not a fan of cactus and other drought resistant plants, rocks and dry riverbeds in the front yard.  Give me big flowering bushes, lots of bushy trees and loads of cool, green grass.
  • An infinity pool is the perfect way to enjoy a beautiful view such as this.
  • Simple wood furniture adds to the serenity of this space.
  • The overall neutral color scheme makes it possible to enjoy the beauty of the trees, bushes and other landscape without the distraction that colorful upholstery, pillows and accessories might bring.
  • Simple concrete walkways also add to that serene feel.  While flagstone or brick or stone would be beautiful, the simplicity of the concrete is the perfect choice.
  • Those clear glass walls in lieu of a fence add to the overall modern look and feel which I so appreciate.

How about you?  Is this the perfect spot to bid farewell to summer for you?

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Some of my favorite home decor fall finds

ella with jen and griff etc in palm springs

family vacation in Palm Springs

Was this the fastest summer ever?  In just a few weeks, fall will officially arrive but it already feels a bit like fall in the mornings here in San Diego.  While our changing seasons are not quite as dramatic as they are in other areas of the country there is a definite smell in the air that signals changes are ahead.  And for you decorators, that means changes in our home’s decor.  Here are some of my favorite fall items that just might inspire you.

I am not a big fan of theme decorating but a few thematic items do set the mood.  For those of you who are not fans of orange and brown, this pumpkin pillow from Pier 1 is so pretty and can be displayed now all the way through Thanksgiving.  They actually have several options for neutral interiors that are very chic and sophisticated and will still put you in the mood for roaring fires, hot toddies and maybe even a trick or treater or two.pumpkin pillow with blue and green pumpkins from pier 1

These pretty leaves will add a bit of sparkle to your outdoor balcony or along your indoor fireplace mantel.  Who says you can only have lights at Christmastime?fall leavesl it up from pier 1

With shorter days, it might be time to add a new lamp or two to your inventory.  Small accent lamps can be placed on a bookshelf, atop a chest in the entry, even on the kitchen counter.  They add just the right amount of ambient light to many areas in your home.

lamp small lamp from west elm

Available at West Elm

If you already have plenty of lamps, a new lampshade can do wonders in updating the look and feel of your home.  A textured shade, perhaps burlap or textured linen, will make any lamp look “fallish”, especially in a color like this gorgeous tangerine version from Houzz,

Urbanest French Drum Burlap Lampshade, 12"x14"x10", Tangerine


The colors in this throw are scrumptious…I would like a scarf to match!  This might have to find its way into my fall decor.

plaid throw from grandinroad

Available at Grandinroad

Finally, nothing welcomes fall like a big bunch of sunflowers.  Fresh flowers are a must in any home, IMHO, and sunflowers, gerberas and mums are so affordable and easy to arrange in any vase.  For added texture, place your clear glass vase in a basket…..I can smell the fall leaves burning as we speak!design sunflower and orange gerbera from back porch musings

How do you add the beauty of fall to your decor?

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Five ways to extend your enjoyment of outdoor living now that summer is over


Aaah…the joys of summertime living–easy and carefree days, long evenings spent outdoors with friends and warm breezes wafting through open windows and doors.  Sadly, seasons change and before you know it summer turns into fall.  And while that means shorter days and a stricter schedule to adhere to, you can continue to enjoy outdoor living for a few more months.  Here are five easy ways to spend as much time as possible on your patio or deck.

Replace those colorful beach towels with plenty of cozy throws for those evenings when there is a bit of a chill in the air.  Drape them across the back of a lounge chair or keep a basket of blankets within easy reach.design-throw-cashmere-from-william-sonoma

Use lanterns in lieu of votive holders which will protect your candle flames from the wind and make it possible for you to delight in outdoor candlelight all year long.  Change your filler from whimsical floats and seashells to colorful fall leaves, acorns and other seasonal items.

S’mores are not just a summertime treat.  Few things are as special as sitting in front of a fire, wrapped in a warm blanket and roasting marshmallows so keep that firepit stocked with wood throughout the fall season.

Don’t overlook your garden and potted plants.  Summer’s blooms may be gone but they can easily be replaced with seasonal color like mums, sunflowers, pansy and lilies.  And succulents, of course, bloom year round and in most areas of the U.S.  Visit your local nursery for options that will work in your climate.
Fall is a season full of fun-loving holidays like Labor Day, Halloween and, of course, Thanksgiving.  To increase your enjoyment of your outdoor spaces be sure and add decorative items outside as well as inside.  A cheerful jack-o-lantern, outdoor pillows in all the colors of fall or a beautiful cornucopia on your patio table will make the space relaxing and enjoyable.
cornucopia lucky clover trading co

available at Lucky Clover Trading Co.

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Blown glass love


joe cariati glass set from y living

artist Joe Cariati and available at Yliving

I have had a long love affair with blown glass, in particular mid-century designs.  Clear and colorful bottles are my favorites and if it has a stopper….be still my heart!

design glass art colorful bottles from curated kravet

But I would not turn down one of the opaque beauties shown above.  Don’t believe me?  Just check out my pinterest pages and you will see what I mean.  But my love and appreciation of this art form does not stop with bottles.

One of the items on my personal bucket list is a visit to one of the pumpkin patches sponsored by the glass labs at either Stanford or MIT.  These “patches” sell pumpkins that have been made by the students and every year I am in awe of their talent.  My daughter now lives just a few miles from Stanford so I just might visit their pumpkin patch this October.  See anything you like in this picture…I sure do!


Blown glass can also be found in more functional forms such as lamps, bookends, mirrors and decorative items.

This black and white striped lamp would be a fun addition to a modern living or bedroom and the price is amazing.

blown glass lamp from shades of light

available at Shades of Light and on sale right now

Love the simplicity of these owl bookends, available on Etsy.

blown glass bookends from etsy

And the finest of the finest, Murano glass.  Another bucket list item is a visit to this magical island just to revel in all the blown glass beauty.  I would hang this treasure in a rustic sun porch to add a modern touch to all the natural elements.  Be still my heart!



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Ten things that made me happy in July

happy face sweating from iconshutdotcom free clipart

via iconshut.com

The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are in full swing, temps are soaring in San Diego and we have been very busy.  There have been lots of opportunities for happiness this month, beginning with:

1. A bird’s eye view of fireworks from our friends deck in Big Sky, Montana.  Such a great show…what a difference to celebrate the 4th in a state where fireworks are legal!  Thanks, Bowlins, for the best 4th of July I have had in a very, very long time!

2.  Occasional trips to Home Goods with my local bestie, Sandy.  We hit this store up every few weeks just for fun.  Sometimes we buy something, sometimes we don’t.  But we always cap the morning off with a delicious lunch and plenty of fun conversation.  I am doing a bit of real estate staging these days and it is such a good resource for inexpensive artwork, dish towels etc…one stop shopping makes this decorator very happy!

3.  Music in the park.  What could be better than sitting in the local park with good friends, good wine, good munchies and good music.  One of the best parts of summer in San Diego.

4.  Yet another road trip to the mountains of Arizona where our friends have a beautiful vacation home.  There is just something about evergreen trees and crisp mountain air that makes this girl very happy.  I come away with lots of decorating inspiration, that’s for sure!

5.  Everything about this picture makes me happy–the daisies, the Picasso style face on the vase, the black and white stripes n the background and, most importantly, the fact that the pic was taken by my daughter in her own kitchen window!jenna pic of vase with daisies in her kitchen window

6.  Christmas in July.  I know this annoys some people but I am happy as can be when I can turn the TV on and watch a Christmas movie and hear my beloved holiday music.  This keeps me satisfied until November when I can really get in the mood.

7.  The Nordstrom anniversary sale.  The prices seem much more reduced this year so I felt compelled to shop a bit more…what a budget minded person I am  (not!)  My husband got a new suit that was marked down almost $300…how could anyone say no to that?  My daughter added a couple of pairs of shoes and a gorgeous tote bag for $35 (I may have to get one myself) and I found a couple of cozy sweaters and some embroidered jeans.  And the home decor section was not over-looked…check out these pillows I found–the colors are perfect for fall:

Two of these are on their way to my home for the leather chairs in my family room.  The perfect complement to the red leather welting on the chairs

nordstrom pillow

And the colors in this pillow are so pretty…not to mention the tassels!

pillow from nordstrom
via Nordstrom

8.  A year ago this month my husband survived emergency open heart surgery with a 15% survival rate!  Nothing makes me happier than to report that he is as good as he was before with absolutely no effects from the “episode”, as we fondly refer to it.  We celebrated privately with our own “celebration of life” dinner in our backyard, shed a few PTSD tears of relief and reminded ourselves once again of just how lucky and blessed we are.

9.  My daughter’s new blog page.  She is such a great representative of her millennial generation and her blog promises to be entertaining and informative and just plain fun.  Check it out and follow along…you won’t regret it!  And be sure to share it on facebook so your friends can enjoy it too.   www.pillowtherapyblog.wordpress.com.

10.  The lazy days of summer provide plenty of opportunity for backyard barbecues with family and friends…one of my favorite activities.  Our weekends have been filled with hosting both.  Dinner might be something as simple as grilled hamburgers and hotdogs or something a bit more “elegant” like a charcuterie board (no one puts one together quite like my son-in-law) and some good wine.  I have learned, with age, not to wish for the future but, rather, to enjoy the present.  I know the chilly nights of autumn will arrive soon enough so I am going to enjoy the amazing, bug-free evenings we enjoy here in San Diego.

What made you happy in July?


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Octupus love?

Maybe I am alone in my confusion but I am struggling to understand why someone would want to display an octopus in their home decor.

While I can certainly appreciate the unique and strange qualities of this undersea being, to be quite candid, it just gives me the creeps.  I usually prefer interiors that are warm and cozy and inviting, not cold and frightening.  However, based on the number of home decor items that feature an octupus, I appear to be alone in my  feelings.  How about you?  Is this something you would like to display in your home?

Admittedly, this outdoor rug would be cute on a seaside patio but….?
octupus rug called juniper rug from grandinroad
I don’t think I could eat off of a plate that was staring back at me.
The beading and design on this pillow could be mistaken for a piece of abstract art but a close look reveals that it is, indeed, an octupus.  No amount of glitz and glamour will make that OK with me!
Every bookshelf needs an octupus that closely resembles a skeleton…right?
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