Backyard Bliss


I've recently been playing in my own backyard.

After the wedding I was warned many times
about the emotional crest and drop after a wedding
and
 my friends
for me it was so true!

I had been advised by many to plan a trip 
for after the wedding.
I definitely considered it.


But for me 
I realized a better alternative
would be to redo a space at home.
The 'living room' in the backyard 
was the perfect space to fluff and restyle!
I so appreciated a new focus
and 
I am always emotionally soothed by the beautiful spaces I create.
It is vital self care for me.


We had needed new seating 
as our old backyard living room pieces looked nice enough
but were the opposite of comfortable.

So instead of a trip
we invested in some new backyard pieces.
Beginning with a  basic neutral seating unit from Costco.
The bones were great and the right size for the space
and 
I knew with some creative styling 
it would have the aesthetic 
and 
comfort we were looking for.

We also got umbrellas and heavy duty bases from Costco.
Shade is an important player 
in summer comfort  for us
as we live in a desert climate for the most part.
I don't want a permanent structure
because in the winter I so appreciate 
the open air and light.


I have been switching out to succulents the last few years
with great success!
It has been so lovely not to lose gardens and plants during a hot spell.
Also when the succulents outgrow their space
they transplant ever so easy to bigger  plantings.
This season all I had to do was move some plants around
and 
invest in a few flats of tiny succulents to fill in some pots.

This succulent bowl is my favorite outdoor centerpiece
and 
performs beautifully in the direct summer sun.


After a brief switch out to candles
(which quickly melted during a hot spell)
I have once again done a  run of small succulents down our 
long farm table.

They are doing great
and 
just call for a weekly watering.
I have found it most successful to submerge each of them in a bucket of water.
They are able to absorb the maximum amout  of water
and 
there is no table runoff to clean up.


The succulent wall that I started several years ago
has grown in beautifully!
It encloses a small waterfall that adds the most lovely ambient sound to the garden living room.
I have recently added in antique windows and candles.


My exciting to me addition this week is 
a tepee!

Last Saturday night
during  some beautiful summer breezes
I remembered how much I loved our tepee
that my husband built
 over a decade earlier
when the kids were little.
We were homeschooling at the time 
and 
studying Native Americans.
It ended up to be such a wonderful space and summer memory. 

The tepee back then
had reminded me just how much
I had loved making simple tents as a child
Both inside and outside.
The fresh new cozy spaces always filled me with wonder and joy.
With some simple sheets and chairs and clothespins
you could instantly create
safe cozy spaces
that with imagination
could take you any where you wanted to go!



So Sunday my wonderful husband 
built a brand new teepee for me!

With 5 12 foot lodge poles
2 drop cloths
jute rope
a full sized air mattress
a quilt
and 
collected pillows
there now is a  blissful new summer space in our backyard!

We used one 12 foot by 15 foot drop cloth for the tepee itself.
I used another the same size 
for the tepee 'door' flaps.
I simply tore it in half width wise
gathered each side up and tied it to the top.
Now I can close the tepee up entirely!


We celebrated our brand new room Monday night 
with charcuterie and wine accompanied by a summer breezes!
It's such a perfect summer pop up space!


It makes me happy just looking at it!


Inside I added 
a striped pouf
topped with a wooden butcher block
which makes for a perfect side table.

I also brought in a  small
ceramic table 
for just a bit more function.

Outside the tepee I brought in a wooden stump
for a table to hold a lantern.


On the other side
there was just enough room for a basket 
that I filled with blankets
for chilly morning comfort!


I have the basket and pouf 
both sitting on metal  garden pot holders
so they don't get wet.


I am afraid my pictures
can not do justice to what a fantastic garden space 
the tepee actually is!
Every morning 
 I can't wait to get up and go out to the back!
I enjoy the view just looking at it
almost as much as I love being inside the tepee!


While my coffee is brewing
I have sparking water with Meyer lemons from my trees.


Inside the tepee I have a view out to my newly restyled living room!


After working with so many 'hip' and fresh styling pieces
for our daughters wedding
I knew afterwards I wanted to integrate 
some freshness into both the  inside and outside of my house.
A lot of the times
it ended up 
with actual pieces fro the wedding!
Like this candle collection
my daughter found
and
 luckily for me
she had no space in her apartment!


 I have now moved my morning ritual of coffee and candles
into the tepee.
With the early sunrises I have traded out candles for lemon water!


But reflecting on my gratitude during my morning coffee time
is still the main focus.

I feel I have traveled far emotionally
since the wedding seven weeks ago.

I am now at peace and happy that my daughter is married
and 
both of my sons are successfully on their own.
I am now fully embracing and cherishing our empty nest.

What felt like a hole that would always be in my heart
has now healed
and 
I am now able to step back
and 
appreciate the past
with renewed hope and gratitude for the future.

My simple tepee
is a visual reminder
that no matter ones age
or
 spot in this journey that is life
we can always build new joys
and 
immerse ourselves in gratitude and beauty.



As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life.










San Diego's Puesto At Headquarters


We were back in San Diego this week!
This time to take my daughter and her husband
(first time I've typed that word since the wedding)
out to a mid week dinner.

I once again chose one of my favorite kimonos 
this time pairing it with a recent Free People maxi dress purchase.
I once again finished the ensemble with straw accessories.



I have found this hair style to be a 
'perfect hat do'.

I buy my hats one size up usually
to compensate for my hair
so inside or at night I can take my hat off
and 
not suffer the usual hat hair hardships.


We got to San Diego early
so we were abel to have a cocktail down in the Marina District
at one of my favorite
Mexican Restaurant Watering Holes
Puesto.


I love the open air patios
with their eclectic decor.


I have a special affinity to their open air bar!




Puesto has been built into the Headquarters plaza
which is actually a redevelopment of the old San Diego Police Headquarters.
The open air plaza is now full of shops and eateries.


And includes some traveling 'Street Art' as well!

How wonderful is this piece by Artist Kelsey Montague

What Lifts You!!



What a wonderful concept to spend time pondering!

And so may I ask …

What Lifts You?



As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life










Travel Day Wardrobe and Accessoreis


Last weekend I once again took the train down to San Diego!
This time it was to take my eldest son
on a harbor cruise and then to lunch at the Del Coronado!


I absolutely adore taking the train to San Diego
and have written about it often HERE

So I have traveled often enough to know
that good outfit and accessory planning
can make all the difference
when being out and about the entire day
without a hotel room or car for quick changes.

A great bag is always a must for me!
This time I took my new canvas boat bag
that gave me plenty of room for my necessary shoe changes
and 
could easily accommodate carrying outfit layers when need be.

I always try to arrive early enough in the morning
to do my morning walk along the harbor.
I have learned by trial and error
a chic tennis shoe with socks are well worth bringing!
I can then quickly just change back into my 'cute shoes'.



The Amtrak Surfliner train has long expanses
of the most breathtaking ocean views
that never get old!
From South Orange County where I live
it's about a two hour train ride to Downtown San Diego.
I get a seat in Business Class which comes with coffee on the way down
and 
wine and snacks on the way home.


Once at the station the spectacular San Diego harbor is just a few blocks away!
This time I walked to the far south end
and 
had a quick breakfast frittata at the Hilton hotel.
It's about a 45 minute brisk walk
with the most stellar views
it seems like half the time!


I met Slater at the Hornblower dock for a two hour harbor cruise.
I highly recommend this  cruise.
It's about $30 for two hours
or about $25 for one hour.

We had done it for Mother's Day with the family
and found out it's such an easy way to not only get out on the water
but learn a lot about San Diego along the way.
A full bar of offerings can add even more to the experience.


An absolute must accessory in my book
not only for the cruise
but for  being out in sunny San Diego
a wide brimmed sun hat and quality sunblock!


Being out on a boat
is a perfect way to see a new perspective
of the gorgeous San Diego skyline!


There is always something new to see out in the harbor.
This beauty is from the San Diego Maritime Museum.


After the cruise was finished
my husband met us at the dock 
and
we were off to the Del Coronado for lunch.

We had planned to take the water taxi over
but sadly found out it was out of business.
Which ended up fine
as we got to drive over the spectacular Coronado Bridge!


Once on the island
we headed straight to iconic The Del Coronado for and alfresco lunch.

My tip for the Del Coronado
try to arrive at non peak hours
it is such a widely popular destination
both in the summer and during the Christmas holidays
it can be a bit overwhelming
unless of course
you adore mass crowds.


We had such a lovely Sunday together
and 
I couldn't have been more happy with how my outfit functioned!

I wore a new striped tunic dress from Norma Kmali.
It moved easily during my walk
and was still a strong visual piece
when it warmed up 
and 
I shed my fabulous kimono!


I find kimonos particularly joyful
and ever so fun and dramatic to wear!
This beauty is another of my favorite finds from
Le Bel Age
 in Mission Hills San Diego!

As a side note
Valerie who is the  truly gorgeous owner
of Le Bel Age and several other shops on the street
actually grew up living in the iconic Del Coronado!!


All in all 
I couldn't have been happier 
with my 
travel  day wardrobe for San Diego!

Here's to wardrobe preplanning
to ensure getting the very most form any travels!


As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life












Untangling An Estrangement … A Story Of Hope


I have written often over the course of  the last few years on my blog about
 the painful estrangement 
of my eldest son from the family for over three years.

I wrote first about it
in January of 2014 HERE.
It had been going on a while by then
and
 missing him so bad over the holidays left me having to
be transparent with our situation.
To let the pain out.

My writing was meant with such love, support and understanding
I can still reread those comments even today
with such a grateful heart for the extreme compassion and encouragement  that was shown
and
continues to be shown when I write honestly
about such a painful topic.

The next time I wrote of the Estrangement
it was all about learning to
find Gratitude in the midst of heartache
and
to practice self kindness
 HERE

Next I wrote about
Sharing Our Stories
in my Series of Writing the Blog You Want to Read 
HERE
In this post I wrote about
really learning Unconditional Love.

Here I wrote about disconnected writings
as I realized my blog would continue to be an online journal of my 'real life'
as well as one sharing styling beauty.
Having pain in your life
can me a motivator to actively seek beauty.

I will list the other posts
at the end of this one for those that are interested.


In the last year
I have also written about the beginnings of
Untangling of the Estrangement
which started with a 


With a family situation 
so painful and close to my heart
I have been very careful about what to share
but now with positive backing from my son
I can say the estrangement 
has come to an end.


I want to share our story
in the hopes 
I can offer support and encouragement
to anyone else
walking the painful path of estrangement.

Looking back
I remember vividly how the estrangement began.
It wasn't one simple blowout
but a string of situations 
that seemed to become harder and harder …
on both side.

How it started to me is not the story.

Rather 
this story is about how the estrangement ended.
It was not an overnight change.
But rather a process 
that literally took years.


For me
it probably began to get better
when I could forgive myself.

The first year of the estrangement
was all about anger for me.
Anger at him.
For doing 'this'.
For me
Anger felt more empowering 
at least for a while
than 
acknowledging the utter pain of being 
rejected by someone you loved so much.

When I let the pain in
it took me to my knees.
The pain was overwhelming
especially the year none of us heard from him.
I wondered it I would ever see him again.
We would have three Christmas's without him.

for years every time the landline rang
I feared grim news.


In the most painful year
I began to go over everything in my mind.
Where had I gone so very, vey wrong 
to have caused this dreadful family circumstance.

After much soul searching
I  realized
I had indeed made many mistakes regarding my relationship 
with my son.

Then I got to a place where I 
forgave myself.

I realized mistakes or not


I had done the very best I could
with what I knew 
at the time.

Living that year on my knees
I realized
to keep living
I had to give myself Grace.



And the beauty of learning to 
give oneself grace is that
your heart changes
and 
automatically 
your heart gives Grace to others.



If I had been doing

The best I could
with what I knew 
at the time 

Then so was Slater.

In that realization
there was no longer reason
for anger
at myself or him.

We had both been doing 
the very best we could
with 
what we knew 
at the time.

When I got to that realization
I saw I could make a new choice
going forward to

 Love unconditionally 
without expectation.

I could change my intention.

I could quit 'keeping score' in my head
that he did this
or
I did that.

I could just choose the action of unconditional love.

I realized I could never control another's actions
and
 that my job here
was to live my life in an integrity
where I knew my God and I were good.


For me
that was a seismic internal shift.


So fast forward a year later
when 
a miracle pit bull brought hime back for the day
I could just love on him
without bringing our tumultuous past to the table.


I had realized
that it was up to me as his mother
to demonstrate unconditional love
without expectation
if we were ever to move forward.


As our relationship progressed
I had to sit quietly
and 
really listen to what was on his heart
without wanting to defend myself.


When I really listened to his heart
I realized just how similar we were
and 
how much I had miscommunicated 
my immense love for my son.



It was his courage to be emotionally honest
that enabled 
he and I to  begin to move forward
with honest determination and compassion.


It had been my hope every since my daughter's engagement
that Slater would be at the wedding
as much for his sake 
to realize what an intragal part of the family
he always will be
as for the rest of our family
to feel whole again.


And of course as his mother
I definitely wanted my son
and
our whole family to be present for the wedding of our daughter.



Slater was not only at the wedding
but 
Slater
was truly my 
Wedding Hero.
It was with his support, love and encouragement
that I was able to
not only get though the rehearsal dinner and wedding
but
to be able to show up for the wedding 
as the loving family matriarch 
that I was hoping to be.
I am truly grateful for his love and support
during such an emotional event.

That memory  of his love and support
will live in my heart forever.


As Slater was walking me down the aisle
of  Ellis's wedding
he said
"did you ever think last year,
we'd be here'.

I hadn't even had the courage
to hope 
that we'd truly be
'where we are'.


I am so very proud of the man my son has become.
Our journey has been a tumultuous one.


But just like when I had cancer
and 
came out of that frightening journey
 so much a better a soul
with
gratitude at the end for the lessons learned on the journey.

I am grateful for how my soul and heart
have grown
and
the lessons I have learned on the excruciating journey through estrangement.
As painful as the estrangement has been
I am a better person through it all.
And now  have nothing but compassion for all of us
who navigate relationships with family.



I offer
the  Story
of my son and I
and 
our ability 
to 
Untangle Our Estrangement
in hopes to encourage others walking a similar path.



I remember in my darkest days
of our estrangement
feeling so hopeless.
But now I know
with lots of love, patience
and 
really listening
and 
a whole bunch of Grace

Estrangements sometimes can be Untangled
ending with a much improved relationship
and
much love and respect for each other.


Slater thank you for your emotional bravery
and 
for truly being my Wedding Hero
during such an important family time.
Much love my dear.
Much Love.


As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life





Final posts on Estrangement


Finding the Magic In Life - Learning to see life's magic
even in the midst of heartache.

Self Care During the Holidays