Sunday, November 24, 2013

santa barbara thoughts

Santa Barbara is a gorgeous place to live. The temperature is perfect, the people are pretty, farmers markets are in abundance, and the beach is easily accessible. So, what's the problem?

Housing prices are through the roof. It's insane what $750,000 will  won't buy you in this town. In Arizona, husband and I moved every few years to upgrade or remodel a home. We knew we could always find something affordable to makeover or a piece of land to create our new home and we made money in the process. 
In Santa Barbara when you find a home (and said home needs to be in the "right" school district if you have children) nest. The demand for houses in the "under $850,000 price range" in the "right" school district is so high that unless you were left money in Aunt Irene's will and are upgrading to a $900,000 home in the "right" school will be hard pressed to find another home with the amenities you may want. You nest for the next 20 years and then you might consider selling and moving to...Arizona. So, what's a renter to do?

You remodel your body. I am noticing that people here look better because they don't have homes to upgrade or remodel because they can't afford them; but they can take the time and cash to invest in their body and how they look. Buying organic and enjoying the Farmers Markets is another benefit to the SB lifestyle that adds to the healthy, fit physique many SB natives share.

Dog parks, beaches, hiking trails, and restaurants seem to be enjoyed by dogs as much as their people. It's a joy to live here and be a part of all the activity the California lifestyle and weather has to offer. I'm sure many people don't care what their address is as long as it's in Santa Barbara...and that's an easy to understand thought.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Where does the time go?! Autumn is upon us and the holidays are getting ready for the first punch...Halloween! 
The busy factor got pushed into high gear when we took a trip back to Arizona for a week in the middle of this month to empty out our storage unit filled from the sale of our home two years ago.
Besides the task of loading and unloading boxes; the biggest activities have been deciding on the perfect pumpkin and choosing Halloween costumes. 
Eleanor is a Garden Gnome and Ruby will be an Ice Cream scary costumes any day in my book.
We never really did Halloween when my kids were growing up. It was always a tightrope holiday with the church we attended. If you didn't dress like Jesus or a character from the Bible you felt like you were doing something wrong or given the evil eye. The church "Harvest Party" was always a substitute but my kids liked their candy and the thrill of going door to door to get the goods.There are arguments for both sides but the idea of little kids excited to dress up and feeling so exhilarated going through the neighborhood to collect candy in their pumpkins makes me smile. 
The picture of both girls was taken during "snack time" at the pumpkin patch farm and these girls take their snacks seriously! I have learned to always be prepared when you leave the house with kids and one of those commandments is to bring SNACKS! It still amazes me the quantity of food that little ones can eat and the number of times they could/can/do eat during the day. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

celebrate me home

We are in the new house and getting into the groove of work and children's schedules. Every day is different and filled with new adventures, challenges, and pinching myself realizing that I'm living 5 minutes away from the beach and being able to share it all with my daughter and her family. 
This weekend the husband, the doodle, and I will be taking a road trip back to Arizona and I'm so looking forward to seeing familiar faces and what life has happened while I've been living in the Santa Barbara bubble. On the return trip we're bringing back some of my stash of furniture to fill in some blanks in our bedroom and artwork to cover lots of wall space the new home has given us. Can't wait to share with you.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Kinfolk Gathering

Have you heard of Kinfolk?
Kinfolk magazine is a quarterly, 144-page, ad-free print magazine that collects ideas from a growing international community of artists, writers, designers, photographers, cooks and others who are interested in creating small gatherings and finding new things to make and do. 
In 2013, the Kinfolk team has hosted between 12–30 dinners and workshops every month with a shared theme across multiple cities around the world (examples include the Flower Potlucks, Campfire Cooking and Butcher Block Parties) selling limited reservations to guests who would like to be a part of the experience.
I was lucky enough to score a reservation to the Santa Barbara Kinfolk gathering which included a lesson regarding preserving fruits and vegetables of the season. In our case it was Meyer lemons but it could be any number of fruits or vegetables depending on what area you are taking the class. 
It was a lovely day and a delicious lunch ended the three hour workshop. If you would like to know more please check out the Kinfolk website here.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

me again

We are on the move again! This will be our third move in less than two years (crazy!) so we should be getting pretty good at it. Chances are we'll be moving once more in the next two years; but that story can be saved for another day. 
Here's the history in a nutshell: 
We moved to Santa Barbara from Arizona to be closer to our daughter's family which includes granddaughters, Miss RubyBird (three years old) and Miss EllaBella (one year old). The idea was for Audrey's fam to save some $$ from daycare and to be able to slap a deposit down on a house . 
Audrey was lucky enough to find us a pint sized cottage two doors down from where she, her husband, and the two girls live. Both homes were owned by the same landlord and it was easier than snapping your fingers to rent and move in. 
Fast forward six months later and we all realize that more $$$ is needed to be found for a deposit in the Santa Barbara housing market so we put our thinking caps on. Our rent ($2000 a month) plus Audrey's rent ($2700 a month) was a hefty chunk to be going out each month (and in the SB housing...these prices were considered average to below average for the size of houses we were renting). Creative thoughts began to perk and what if...what if we pulled our resources and found a BIGGER home for LESS money that we could ALL live in for the next year or two. Could it be done? 
We did it! Found a much bigger home, bigger yard, and better neighborhood for about a $1000 less than both our rents combined and we signed the dotted line to rent for a year. It's 5 bedrooms and space for everyone to have a bit of privacy when needed and the most important detail: Audrey and Josh can sock away some major $$$ for that future home. 
I might be the lucky one who gets to enjoy the home each and every day while taking care of the girls when they are not at preschool or other activities. Pictures will follow but for now consider us the trendsetters...the multgenerational family home.

Monday, August 26, 2013

park it

The average everyday 75 degrees in Santa Barbara is pretty hard to beat. The temps allow you to enjoy the outdoors and there is so much to enjoy in the "American Riviera". This is one of the many parks we take the girls to with a playground, a carousel ride, feeding the ducks, and this garden with the fountain, the lawn and the palm trees cheering us on.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

wake up

I love a cup of joe first thing in the morning but I'm slow to build an appetite for breakfast. I like breakfast foods but if I'm rushed I don't enjoy scarfing down a bowl of cereal or a plate of eggs.
 I like to take my time with my first meal of the day...don't rush me please.
I tend to be a morning dawdler and am always setting my alarm to allow me that leisurely pace but breakfast is never on my morning menu of things to do. What about you? Do you need that first meal before you're out the door?

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I can't believe I'm going to write the next sentence: We are moving. Again. 
There I did it. official. We will still be in Santa Barbara but in a much bigger home with more elbow room and we will be the next up and coming way to live: a multi-generational home. 
Santa Barbara rents are over the moon expensive so we put our heads together and decided that for every one to save money and to end up with a bigger (and better) living space we would be roomies and maybe. just maybe. our daughter and her family might be able to afford a house (with perhaps a lovely little guest house in the back?!)  in a year. or two. in this town they call the "American Riviera".  In 30+ days and counting down we'll be there...just think of the new photo opportunities (wink,wink).

**photo: ditte isager for bon appetit, august 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

why I do it

Why do I take pictures of my house, what I'm wearing, and create ,snap, and post what I like to call "eye candy"?? It makes me over the moon happy. 
When I worked at our local high school my job was answering phones while sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day and now in Santa Barbara I'm certainly not sitting while watching my granddaughters but both jobs are very "customer" oriented. I wanted high school students and parents to be pleased and now I want to make each day a "happy" day for a very precious 3 year old and 1 year old. 
That being said I like to think I'm a creative person and I crave.need.and want to share the beauty of what's around me. and you. and am delighted when I capture a look. the light. and the moment. and most of the time with things that are sitting in my home,in my closet, or in the back yard. The ultimate goal is to inspire someone out there to see their own beauty. explore. enjoy life. and thank you for allowing me to indulge and share with you.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

call me Alice

The bed frame is by Kreiss furniture and I scored it from ebay years ago. The 1920's hat is another ebay find as well as the Bella Notte shams and the vintage mexican top. If I have any advice for anyone thinking ebay is too daunting and there are too many items to look at; I would suggest to narrow your search. Type in exactly what you're looking for (helps to have a name designer), a size, a color and chances are something will pop up that sends you down the rabbit hole searching for more and more...hence the blog title.

Friday, July 19, 2013

farmers market

There's a farmers market almost everyday in the Santa Barbara area. Flowers, fruits, vegetables are in abundance and we love checking out the differences between the locations and days. This one happened to be in Montecito (where Oprah lives, Drew Barrymore, Rob Lowe) and it was near perfection. Not too big to be daunting (another booth of zucchinis?!) but large enough to have a variety of vendors (hello San Ynez pies and fresh baked breads from Ojai). 

Thursday, July 18, 2013


We are exploring Santa Barbara this week; hitting the "must sees" and the "should do" so we can share when others come to visit. Such a beautiful city we are in!

then and now

There are friends who will casually walk into your life at a time when you need someone who knows what you are going through and then disappear almost as quickly as that life-altering dilemma arrived. Some friends you'll meet for a school or work project with whom you will share little other than the reliability to get the work done and have some delirious overworked and caffeine filled conversations with during the day.
And then there are the friends who walk alongside you from the time you meet them until the time that you or they pass away. I was fortunate enough to go spend a long weekend with two of these lifelong  friends in Chicago last week. 
Ann (on the left) was my 4th college roommate my freshman year. yes. 4th. My first was a tennis player. very butch. and we seriously had nothing.nothing. in common. 
The second was a nymphomaniac. not fun in a dorm room.
The third was a delight but went home with medical issues. pregnant? was she pregnant?
And then Ann was there with an empty bed. not to be confused with first roommate. but a room that was filled with wit, humor, and tell it like it is street smarts. Plus, this girl could rock any room into a party. 
Sharon, on the right, was my sorority sister and I just happened to introduce her to her husband of thirty years. Amazing, eh? If you ever needed someone in your corner I would choose Sharon. She would always be by your side through good and bad. She is an Eeyore at times but it only makes her more endearing when things turn out well.
This picture was taken on our way to see Sharon's husband play at a summer festival and it was like we were 19 again. and that's the way true friends make you feel. happy. alive. and forever young.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


This weekend should be a fun one. Off to Chicago to celebrate my two favorite friends' 30th wedding anniversary! 
I met Mike when I helped with concerts at my university. We thought we were pretty special meeting Dolly Parton, Kenny Loggins, Emerson Lake and Palmer...and my sorority sister Sharon thought Mike was pretty special when he helped our sorority learn a song and dance routine for "Sigma Sing". For the record we did a medley of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band songs and Mike was in charge of teaching 50 college age young ladies what and when to sing.
Sharon asked to meet Mike and I did the introducing and 30 + years later they are still together. Maybe I can get a show on Bravo and match up a few more single friends?!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

summer feet

In Arizona my feet were bad. b.a.d.
During the winter they could pass; feet stuffed in socks, stuffed in boots; but during summer season it was tough to do sandals. I would always wonder if it was the way I walked; what I did; what I didn't do to make them not as beautiful as they could be.
And now I'm in California where I have a feeling sandals will be worn a majority of the year and I needed to get these feet in shape. And it was so easy. SO easy.
Hello humidity.

Friday, June 14, 2013

the thrill of the hunt

When you move to a new place it's thrilling, maddening, and necessary to figure out what streets go where and is such and such a place located here? or there? I am thanking Google Maps just about every new adventure I take in Santa Barbara; I would seriously be lost without it.
The most frustrating part about the new town discovery is finding my people. my monthly maintenance. hair. massage. pedicures. you know who you are.
I found a great stylist for curls. BUT she's new to the business and very slow when it comes to color. I'm in a stylist chair every month for root touch up that I need it quick. good. and out. Loved the girl I went to in Arizona and even love her more now that the hunt is on. 
I went to a guy that was highly recommended via yelp for color but we are not dancing very well. When he's telling me that "oh be sure to tell me" or "you should have told me" I can agree; but at the same time I think "you're the stylist; you should have asked". Whatevs. Lots more stylists in the SB fishbowl.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

getting settled

We've been in Santa Barbara in the new digs; our little "cottage" for about 6 weeks and we are feeling moved in. It's tight quarters; 720 square feet tight but the smallest place is most likely our bed when 60 pound Lola wants to join the "pack" her "peeps" at bedtime.
Many of the paintings are from ebay; vintage and new and I still have more! What can I say? Knowing that someone loved their pup so much to have a painting made of them makes my heart sing. And yes; Lola is on the wall.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

growing up

We've only been in Santa Barbara a few short weeks but long enough to welcome a new year for now three year old Ruby and to see an almost 10 month old Eleanor learn to stand up (with help) and be like the big kids.

Friday, May 10, 2013

surf's up

There's something about the water. It's soul filling and energizes you. 
I'm always surprised (and perhaps a bit happy...) that the Santa Barbara beaches are not packed with people enjoying the light, the sand, and the sounds of the ocean. 
Things may change when school is out and the surf is up but for now we'll delight in the quiet but joy-filled sounds of the water and waves.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

nap time

Do you take naps? Ruby knows when she needs one, states it as a fact,and all I need to do is give a kiss and tuck a tired 3 year old under the sheets; thumbs up in my book.
Lola believes Ruby and Eleanor are her children and although annoying at times (alarm barking when the girls cry; and we are 2 feet away from them) it's quite endearing when you see her watching over her charge.
Ruby says she's giving up her pacifier on her third birthday. in three days. We'll see how that goes.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I run with Lola across the street from where our cottage's gorgeous light and the trails are easy on the feet. 
The most difficult part of a new place to live is not knowing the who, what, and where which can be a bonus. For instance; I'm interviewing a hairdresser on Tuesday who specializes in curly hair and it will be fun to get a new opinion that might make me rethink my natural waves and curls. When you see your hairdresser as often as I do finding a potential candidate is in the top 10 list of things to do.
Ruby and Eleanor are a delight; Ruby can be silly but also is a thinker as well and Eleanor's smile fills your heart with joy. Such a blessing to be able to be a part of these two girl's lives.

Monday, April 15, 2013

around here

we're pretty happy in these parts. packing up and getting ready to hit the road.
had one last photo shoot with one of my models in town; now I'll get to be "creepy lady" in Santa Barbara asking "you want me to take your picture?" just kidding. I wouldn't do that. I might. 
can't wait to hang my vintage dog paintings that have been in storage for the last year in the new place. 
I'm totally going to run on the beach. but not in a red one piece. but maybe in a red cupcake.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

leap of faith

This is it. This is my last week at work. The school district was part of my life for 12 years and it's been a swell ride; lots of friends and a few faces that I'll be happy not to run into. ever. again. Being at the high school this year has allowed me to see some first graders I met while teaching in elementary school turn into amazing sophomores. almost juniors. and that has been a joy. 
I'm packing up the home front and getting ready for next weeks move. Santa Barbara here we come. So many more pictures and stories to come.

Friday, March 29, 2013

mellow yellow

This was actually a pile of clothes on my dresser and adding the Miss Albright (from Anthro) shoes on top kind of sang "photo op!" On my ebay page and the bidding has started--you can click on the "my shop" page to check it out. I'll be selling more clothing and shoes that I feel like I won't be needing in the next couple of weeks; cleaning out before the move to Santa Barbara!

Sunday, March 24, 2013


I love when you can reinvent something from the past into something that fits right into today. Happens in fashion and happens in life. The skirt was created from vintage 1970 jeans and the center patches are from an early 1900's crazy quilt with the art of hand embroidery added on as a finishing touch. The hat is from the 1920's (from a new friend I found on ebay) and the stripe shirt was first created for the French navy in 1858. How's that for a history lesson?

Friday, March 22, 2013


It's been forever and for the one person out there that still pays attention to this little old blog...things will be changing. and. quickly.
You know how the universe makes you stomp your feet and drum your fingers when things are not going as quickly as they can and you just yell to the heavens why things are not working according to YOUR plan??!
Yep. we've been having days like that. knowing full well that something. would set. it. into. motion.
All it took was a conversation with a teacher at school to set the plan moving. She doesn't even realize what she said.but to me. to me. it was an epiphany. It was like I had never thought of the idea or ever realized it would be possible. and then a lightbulb. Have you ever had those moments?
After I took ownership and began to share this epiphany with family and a tight circle of friends it made me see EVERYTHING so clearly. Where I was and why I was there. Details later. later.
After I give my 2 week notice.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


This week has been a whirlwind. We arrived home from the "tweed" wedding on Monday and I've been catching up these last few days. Here's a quick pic of me and RubyBird in our tweed. No cake for the wedding but pie to go with the theme...and Ruby loved the blueberry. 
The hat is a 1920's cloche (not eBay but etsy)  that I wasn't quite sure if I would wear or not but in the end; it was too beautiful not to add the cherry on top.Let's hope I don't regret it when I see pictures ten years from now and ask "what was I thinking?!".

Saturday, February 16, 2013

how tweed it is

Our oldest son is getting married next Saturday in Portland, Oregon and the suggested attire for the wedding is tweed. We have shopped vintage, scoured the internet, and purchased much of our wardrobe from Rugby by Ralph Lauren and the Ralph Lauren website. And speaking of; the Rugby site is now closed. 
Can you imagine all of the money that was spent on securing the domain name; the photos; the product; and now it's gone. 
I feel like we own a bit of fashion history.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

pockets full

Saw this skirt online at J Crew several seasons ago; put it in my cart; and forgot about it until they were sold out.bummer.
I've been thinking about it and did some searching on ebay and voila! I found it. The wrap around skirt (dreaming of it on top of jeans as well) and the pockets are what do it for me. And the thought that I can fill those pockets with needs, wants, and special treats for two special girls in Santa Barbara made this *sold* the second time around.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

here to there

Ever have the feeling like things are swirling all around you way too fast but you're basically standing still? It's usually when you're overwhelmed with choices or ideas but none of those ideas are coming to fruition fast enough so you basically feel stuck. and wait. for. it. to happen.
My life right now is being at point A and anxious to get to point C but the road to get there has been fast and furious and at times long and winding and I keep reminding myself to let it B.
When you look back at the biggest moments in your life chances are you see how those times mapped out. How it felt like forever, but in reality there was a reason for the wait. When you look back you see how you started at A, endured B for a bit, and finally ended up at C and thought about what a wild and crazy ride you were just on. And how you'd love to do it again.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

sunday thoughts

so happy that tomorrow is monday and I have the day off. 
over the moon happy that the weather is turning "back to normal" and it's back to a mild winter.
not too happy about the recent ebay transaction that I was involved in. 
I received a coat that was not near as "wonderful" and "beautiful" as the seller suggested. Brought it to ebay protection but since it wasn't a different color or missing a sleeve I wasn't kicked back original payment. 
The good thing about ebay is that I can leave feedback for the seller that reflects how I feel= negative feedback; and a warning to others to watch out for that seller. The better thing is that ebay buyers can't be left negative feedback from the sellers so my 800+ positive feedback still stands. Hell hath no fury...
Keeping busy on this end with school (each day last week recorded minimum of 150 students out with flu, virus, or stomach bug); house hunting in Santa Barbara; flower making for a son's wedding; and a photo shoot for DOTS in March. Lots of posts to come and thanks for checking in.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

urban cowboy

LOVE having the week off...don't love that it snowed...but it's melting quick. Showing some ebay and etsy style...the camo jacket by Zara, the Ralph Lauren cashmere black turtleneck, the Golden Goose boots and Brighton belt all were won (and some great deals!) on ebay. The vintage squash blossom necklace is from an etsy seller that I wish lived in my neighborhood...she's 75 and too cool for school.