December 2015

As many of you know, Parker is named after his grandfather (Papa's dad). He always taught us the value of giving back, and this is a lesson that we hope to share with Parker. I recently saw this idea on Facebook, and I loved it.

We created "blessing bags" that we keep in our car, or in Parker's stroller. It is a hygiene and care package for someone that might be homeless. In the bag, we have band-aids, toothpaste and toothbrush, water, chapstick, soaps, shampoos, water, snacks, hand wipes and tylenol. 

This is one of the new traditions we are beginning with Parker. We would love to hear your ideas on how you're giving back this holiday season. It would be fun to start a movement, huh?

If you're looking for the perfect holiday gift for someone. This is it. I was introduced toglassybaby by my good friend Tawnie. I smile every time I drop a tea light in and watch my house start to glow. The company was founded in Seattle by Lee Rhodes. Her handmade glass votives are so unique and beautiful, but that's not all. Their tagline is "one of a kindness." She donates money from the sale of your glassybaby (10% to be exact) to charities helping cancer patients with costs during chemotherapy, and other charities "dedicated to healing"

If you're shipping in the US, it's free shipping. Or, if you live in San Francisco, they just opened a store in the Presidio! I'm so excited!

Thanks Tawnie! Every time I light a candle, I take a little moment to be grateful for our friendship.

November 2015

If you're looking for a little splurge this holiday season, here's one of my all time favorites. Check outAstier de Villatte pottery, dinnerware and candles. I saw this pottery in Paris and absolutely fell in love. Papa started me a collection when we got back. It's one of my most cherished collections.

My dream is to have a full dinner set one day, but that day is a loooooong way off. It's so gorgeous, but a little pricey. I'm telling you, it's a splurge.

The candles are a wonderful gift for the holiday season. Each candle comes with a ceramic topper. I love my vase that Papa got me. It's so fun to display holiday floral arrangements. If you are in San Francisco, you can go to one of the best stores around to shop their extensive collection,Sue Fisher King (or check it out online).

I absolutely adore the holidays. I grew up watching my grandmother create wonderful memories, turning an ordinary holiday gathering into something magical. I hope that I can create these kinds of moments for our family, friends and Parker. I love building the perfect "tablescape" for our parties, although Papa would say I go a little overboard. For me, it's about perfection. Those little touches. That's what my grandmother taught me.

When we host a get together, I love including gifts/recommendations from friends on the table. It's my way of showing them how much I love their ideas and thoughtfulness. For example, one of my all time favorites is the pillar candle from Hudson Grace. This particular candle was given to me by our friends Kelly and Beau, and every time I see it around our house, I smile. 

Hudson Grace is an incredible store in San Francisco, and I always leave there inspired. Monelle Totah and Gary McNatton founded Hudson Grace to offer a different kind of shopping experience, and I can't say enough amazing things about their store. 

I found these pumpkins from Hot Skwash by Dariaabout five years ago. I absolutely adore them from a style perspective. I leave them out from Halloween through December. These silk velvet pumpkins with natural stems immediately transform our house from summer to fall.

I equally love the company and their vision. They hope to , "create the highest quality collectable art that enhances the spirit and energy of your home, stands the test of time, and most importantly, invites you and your guests to smile." Who wouldn't want to buy their products with a vision statement like that?

I love displaying them in my Astier de Villattedish that Papa found for me. But, more on that in a future post. 

I hope you love these pumpkins as much as I do! Send me a photo if you start a collection of your own.

Also, share your favorite fall decorations with me! I'm always looking for inspiration and ideas.

It's FALL! This is Dad's favorite season. He's been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to share some of his favorite tips.

It's all about pumpkins and gourds at our house. In addition to my favorite velvet pumpkins from Hot Skwash, I'm also in love with my hand-blown glass pumpkins from Cohn-Stone Studios in Richmond, CA. If you are local, you can make a day trip to pick out your pumpkins (and watch them being made). They have it set up like a great garden pumpkin patch. I would just recommend you not take a 17 month old with you (otherwise you might be buying a couple of broken gourds). If you aren't located in the Bay Area, no worries! They will ship.

Their inspiring works of art are sure to make your home a happy place! Check them out!

October 2015

On October 3rd, we went to cheer on Papa at the Lake Tahoe Spartan Race. I remember my mom used to make signs for me during my soccer games growing up. My grandmother was a painter, and I was always in awe of her talent. This weekend, as we get ready to cheer on Papa, I wanted Parker to take part in making some fun signs for Papa. I wanted to let him be a part of the creative process.

More importantly, we are trying to show Parker that he can accomplish anything he puts his mind to. I saw a quote from Dancia Patrick where she said, "Give yourself permission to shoot for something that seems totally beyond your grasp. You may be surprised at your capabilities!" Let's just hope Papa survives this 13 mile race, with 30+ obstacles. Parker and I will be comfortably sitting on the sidelines cheering loud!

Thanks to Don Frisbie who filled out the form below and recommended the following lifestyle tip, "take time to paint. finger, watercolor, acrylic. canvas, wood or paper. Allow yourself a moment of creativity:-)" Don, you inspired us this week!

September 2015

Raising a toddler (and a Papa) is time consuming. Between organizing their chore list, making lunches and reading some of my favorite lifestyle magazines, there isn't a great deal of time left for keeping up with the news.

That's why I love The Skimm! It was recommended to me by my boss, KC. It's a daily e-mail newsletter that breaks down the news and world events for you! It's definitely a time saver for me.

I also love the story behind the site. It was founded (and run) by two women that met in Rome while they were studying abroad. I love their story of friendship and seeing women find success in the start-up world.

Finally, I love their writing style. It's good. I always chuckle on Bart when I'm reading in the morning. And, if you live in the Bay Area, you know there isn't much to chuckle about on the morning train.

August 2015

It's Labor Day, and we are headed off to Russian River where we have rented a house with some friends. We love these weekend get-aways and always try to have some type of game or competition. It's all about creating incredible memories. 

The Pie Contest In A Box was given to us as a gift. It's ideal for dinner parties, competitive-cooking-show fans, holidays, or any Tuesday night where you can have pie! You can go savory or sweet. It's awesome.

It makes a unique gift when given with a pie cookbook (this one is our favorite), some fresh fruit and a pie dish. Guess what some of you are getting for your birthday?!?!

Dad's Tips: Don't play with Papa. He cheats.

Papa's Tip: Don't invite your friend who is an accountant. He will use a spreadsheet to tally the score and bust you cheating.

This week's life-style post was a tough one for me. I love so many great products. However, we are also teaching Parker the value of experiences over "things". All of the good research shows you that experiences will often bring you more enduring happiness.

One of our favorite experiences (we go almost every weekend) is the Redwood Valley Steam Train in Tilden Park (Berkeley, CA). It is one of our favorite spots! One of my co-workers, Bruce told us about it. It's a place where we can go as a family, with other kids, or when we have visitors. Little man loves it. It's a chance for us to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and just hang out as a family.

Tip: Our friends Gill and Leonie (and their twins) taught us this trick. Yell "tunnel! tunnel! tunnel!" when you go through the - well, tunnel. You've never heard kids have more fun than in that moment