Category: House & Home

It was such a joy to host our first Thanksgiving this year; in a lot of ways it felt like a rite of passage.  Once you’re hosting holidays, I think you’re a bonafide adult.  😉  We have been traveling so much this year that we felt like we just needed to slow down a bit this season.  After some discussion, we decided to stay here for Thanksgiving and simply invite our families to join if they were willing.  With my sister out of state, and one of Erik’s sisters out of the country (on her honeymoon!), we knew the family would be a bit spread out.  In the end, we hosted just a handful of relatives: my parents and Erik’s eldest sister and her family.  Our table of 9 felt perfectly intimate and cozy and we were able to enjoy a wonderful meal along with meaningful company.  I especially enjoyed watching Olive playing with her two cousins!  She doesn’t get to see them very often so it is a shriek-fest of joy when she is with them.  What a blessing!

I had my sweet mama here to serve as the ultimate sous chef.  She helped me wash, peel and chop vegetables all morning while I tended to each dish.  She also washed dishes and countertops, packed up leftovers and helped me make a lovely turkey broth.  We shared a lot of great conversation in the kitchen and agreed we ought to do more cooking together.  It is such a timeless way to connect parent and child, mother and daughter.  Working alongside one another, we laughed and reminisced and taste-tested.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am for her beautiful heart of sacrificial service.  There is no doubt about it — my mom is the most servant-hearted person I know.  The way she works so hard (to this day) to bless me, my sister, and our husbands (and Olive, of course!) convicts me of my own need to serve more.  How’s that for gratitude on Thanksgiving??

I loved being the hostess this year; every part of the process delights me.  From planning the menu, to shopping for ingredients, to setting the table, I take such pleasure in creating a special experience for my loved ones.  You know how they say the cobbler’s children have no shoes?  It’s true in the event world, too: we spend so much time planning personalized celebrations for others (whom I love!) that we often skip the effort for our own families.  While I know that a get-together (especially Thanksgiving!) does not find its value in perfectly placed flatware and manicured tabletops, I still think there is worth in thoughtful details that make a guest feel special.  I tea-stained cheesecloths for a simple runner (under $5), gathered Trader Joe’s tulips + spider mums in some vintage brass and Delftware vases from my own collection, and used my own china, flatware, napkins and amber glassware to set the table.  The pumpkins are part of our home’s fall décor — I just moved them from the living room to the dining table.  Candles always elevate the formality of a tabletop so I just placed votives into extra amber goblets I had!  To top everything off, I foraged some fallen leaves from the neighborhood.  And by “foraged,” I mean I pulled over on the side of a road and picked pretty leaves off of someone’s yard while their dog barked menacingly at me.  It was hilarious and worth it!

My favorite part of our Thanksgiving table (other than the people around it) was the table itself.  My amazing husband built the table the week before the gathering, using reclaimed wood and US-made steel hairpin legs.  He even made a matching bench for one side!  We look forward to hunting for just the right vintage chairs to complete the set; on Thanksgiving we just used old dining room chairs we had.  Being the sap that I am, I felt there was a unique symbolism in gathering around a table that was built by my husband, hosting our very first family holiday.  I can’t wait to make many more memories around that perfectly imperfect table.

Here’s a glimpse of our gathering…

prep in progress

not the best pic of me and my mama but I’ll take it!  😉  Next year we’ll take more pictures of people!

before: slathered with sage butter and stuffed with shallots, apples, lemons, celery and herbs.

after!  Don’t mind my amateur trussing job.  It was delicious!

the beautiful table + bench

Erik’s beautiful sister, her husband, and two sons (Olive’s cousins) — check out Olive’s awesome bedhead!

homemade vanilla bean ice cream

dessert: apple crumble à la mode with salted caramel sauce

I hope you all are having a great weekend!  We are doing lots of tidying/cleaning — I feel like I have the spring cleaning bug a few months early.  I’m taking advantage of the motivation and purging tons of stuff.  See you again next week!  🙂

No April Fool’s jokes here… I am honestly just excited to see this month arrive.  Once April unfolds, I feel like the entire spring and summer come tumbling behind at super speed.  I glance at my spring/summer wedding calendar and know that all of these dates will be here before I know it.  I can’t wait!

tulips and muscari in our mailbox planter

Today I have been cleaning house (literally), having been recently inspired by Clean My Space.  I found Melissa on YouTube this weekend and was instantly hooked on her fun cleaning videos (I know it seems crazy, but stay with me).  Am I the only one who gets major clean-spiration from watching and reading things like this??  You give me a cleaning checklist or show me a new trick for organizing and I’m totally energized to tidy and mop and scrub.  Anyone??  Well today I tackled four loads of laundry, overhauled Olive’s closet and vacuumed two rooms… and dinner is already in the works.  I’m feeling unstoppable!  😉  My toughest task is purging.  I’m not a hoarder by any means, but I’m certainly nostalgic and I find it difficult to let go of mementos.  Thankfully I am getting better at it but I still wonder if one day someone will rife through my stuff and find it odd that I kept all my high school drama production playbills.

In other news around the house, Erik spent most of the weekend leveling and filling in our side yard with float rock (a light colored landscaping rock).  I love the look of it and can’t wait to add some outdoor furniture, a grill, and maybe a hammock??  He also built another raised bed planter to add there.  We picked out four heirloom tomato varieties for planting and we’re nearing harvest time for some of our leafy veggies.  It’s amazing to see how beautifully everything has come up, when all we did was plant and water.  Next up, he’ll be putting up a new wooden fence and gate for that area.  I’m hoping that by the end of the month, we will finally get to refinishing the hardwood floors inside the house and tackling the kitchen cabinets.

from two recent site visits // dallidet adobe & saddlerock ranch

Our busiest time of year for weddings is just ahead so I’m handling lots of walkthroughs, timelines, stationery design, floor plans and design presentations right now.  Seeing things fall into place for each event makes me so excited.  I’m also working on my presentation for the Enjoy Events Co. workshop next weekend in Santa Barbara.  I am honored to be a guest speaker and hope to share lots of useful information with the attendees.  I think a couple seats may still be available if you want to check it out!

And perhaps most exciting of all: my completely new website and blog will launch very soon!!!  I cannot wait to share them with you so stay tuned.  😉

meal plan + shopping list from a few weeks ago // LOVE this meal planning pad from my friend rachel of heart of light

For now, I’m off to pour myself a glass of home-grown lemonade (yum!) and finish my weekly meal plan before we go to the grocery store this afternoon.  How was your day??

requisite photo of Olive 🙂

See you again soon!

Happy Friday!!  I am checking in with a quick update on my Christmas stockings knitting project!  I originally posted about my grand plans HERE and I’m happy to report that I finished stocking #1 (Erik’s) on Thanksgiving Day.  I am really pleased with it, though it still needs blocking.  I think that will definitely help smooth out some of my inconsistencies and just give it a more finished look.  I hesitated on doing the striped lining in the cuff (no one will really see it except Erik!) but I am glad I did — it’s the perfect special touch!  You can’t see the lining in these pics, but I posted a silly vid on Instagram today if you want to check it out!

mantel in progress // the ‘rejoice’ banner is by joyful joyful

stocking in need of blocking 😉

I’m working away on stocking #2 (mine) and have a personal goal to finish it by next Friday.  That will give me two weeks to finish the third and final stocking for Olive.  I figure she’ll be understanding if I don’t finish in time.  😉

Are any of you working on last-minute Christmas projects, knitted or otherwise??

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!  We will be finishing up with our Christmas decorations around the house and decking out our beautiful 7+’ tall noble fir tree.  It smells incredible and Olive is already enamored with our un-adorned “Kissmas Tee!”  I can’t wait to see Olive’s eyes light up when she sees it in all its splendor!

Happy Friday, everyone!  I’m dropping in with a quick post about my latest knitting project: Christmas stockings for my little family of three!  I knew that I wanted to knit heirloom-quality stockings for us this year, but I wish I had jumped on it a lot sooner.  I started working on Erik’s stocking first, casting on in late October.  Of course I had an ambitious schedule planned, hoping to finish each stocking in a record 2 weeks time.  Well, four weeks later I am still working on Erik’s stocking.  :-/  I simply haven’t had the time to sit and knit; I’ve let weeks go by where I have barely touched the project!

my first sock // LOVE the turkish cast-on and the toe-up construction so far!

Tonight I had some renewed motivation and I am intent on finishing this trio of stockings before Christmas.  If you see me between now and then, feel free to nudge me and ask about how they’re going!  I am going to try to finish Erik’s before Thanksgiving.  If I just had a couple days to knit, I know I could finish them rather quickly.  All my mama friends out there know that it’s hard enough finding 15 spare minutes in the day and unfortunately, that translates to slow knitting progress.

stocking status tonight: making my way up the leg!

I love this pattern already and can’t wait to see how it looks when it’s complete, hanging over our very own wood-burning fireplace.  😉

Pattern is HERE and my Ravelry project notes (very limited for now!) are HERE.

Have a marvelous weekend!!  I have some serious knitting on the agenda.

Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope you had a great warm weekend!  Apparently we crossed into autumn yesterday but here in California, not much has changed.  😉  Our little family spent lots of time visiting local nurseries as we are planning and preparing for planting our very first garden.

Since becoming homeowners (pinch me!  Still can’t believe it!) in June, we have spent most of our free time working on various projects around the house.  We’ve done some painting on the inside, replacing of various fixtures and appliances, power-washing, tree trimming and sprinkler system re-design and installation.  Our next order of business is getting our garden going!  We are blessed to have a big front yard and backyard, as well as a little side area that we will eventually use for a vegetable garden.  For the front yard, we have two sections on either side of the driveway: one side gets full sun most of the day, and the other side is a mix of sun, partial sun, and full shade (due to the presence of some gorgeous oak trees).

We’ve purchased and checked out books from the local library, done our online research and made a list of potential plants, shrubs and flowers.  My favorite activity, however, has been visiting local nurseries.  These aren’t your local hardware store garden centers; they are sprawling living gardens.  I could spend all day traipsing around a nursery, peeking into greenhouses, admiring mature trees, smelling flowers, chatting with the gardeners.  It is so relaxing!  We live in an amazing area for visiting nurseries (both wholesale and public) and have seen maybe a dozen of them in the past month.

Next month I hope to share some before & after photos of the front yard so you can see what we have done.  We are just about to do some soil amending and then we should be planting in 2 weeks or so!  For now, here are some photos of our recent nursery trips…

Would anyone care for a tiny glass of lemonade??


Coleus foliage with stunning purple undersides.

Positively obsessed with begonia rex.  Insane!

Olive is in heaven at a nursery, running around in pure excitement.

Posing with Fifi under the mulberry bush

Falling in love with a puppy statue.  I think she needs a real puppy…

I got about 15 pictures of her petting and kissing the statue!

Love this overgrown live wall <3

I can’t wait to share more with you soon!  If you have little kids, I highly recommend finding your local nurseries and taking them for a visit.  Lots to see, plenty of space to run around, and most of all, a great place to just breathe deeply and enjoy nature.

Have a great afternoon!!