Ballet Flats are Back, Luxury Closet Talk, Making Ina’s Ramen-Noodle Soup + More on Today’s Weekend Meanderings

Today on Weekend Meanderings, ballet flats make a comeback, luxury closet talk, Ina’s Ramen-Noodle Soup recipe and saying farewell to our favorite pig.

Happy weekend, friends!

It’s Saturday and I’m joining Kim and Elizabeth for Weekend Meanderings.

Our weekly roundup of inspiration and goings on.

It was another cold and rainy week here in Northern California.

This post includes affiliate links for your convenience at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Camelias in bud vase in living room.

Aside from complaining about the weather, which has become a bore,

I got out for lunch with my friend, Jane.

Spent a lot of time in Turks and Caicos, on the treadmill.

And managed to get the dogs out for few walks between breaks in the rain.

Are you ready?

Let’s go …


In sad news, you may already be aware that our friend, Contessa, lost her pig, Banksy, on Monday. Banksy had been unwell for some time and he’s now in heaven.

Contessa and her pig.

Contessa and Her Pig

Jim and I had the pleasure of meeting baby Banksy way back in 2015 … he was just a wee lad.

Man holding piglet.

Jim & Baby Banksy

I’ve since had the good fortune to enjoy several occasions in the Contessa’s lovely garden with Banksy swanning about.

Rest in peace, Banksy. You were an angel on earth and I’ll never forget you.

I like to say that dogs are the best people I know. And I’ve expanded that to include donkeys. And pigs.

Be sure to stop by the Contessa’s Instagram and blog to read more about the amazing life of Banksy the pig … and be sure to leave a comment. Contessa loves comments … and responds!



The past couple of weeks have been so wet and chilly and soups and stews are what I’m craving for lunch and dinner. Week before last I shared a quick and easy tomato soup topped with salsa verde. It’s one of Jim’s favorites. Another favorite I’ve been making on repeat is Ina’s Chicken Ramen-Noodle Soup from her latest cookbook, Go-To Dinners.

Go-To-Dinners cookbook on rack in kitchen.

Go-To Dinners

Ina, of course, roasts her own chicken breasts, but I’ve been using a rotisserie chicken picked up at Diablo Foods. I love their naked (no seasoning) chicken.

Chicken Ramen Noodle Soup.

Yes, that’s right, served with garlic bread. Because … Jim likes garlic bread and who am I to argue?



I’ve mentioned The Chairish Podcast before. Hosted by Michael Boodro, it’s one of my favorites. The current episode, The New Closet: Why Glamour and Luxury Are Essential, is particularly enjoyable with guests Lisa Adams, LA Closet Design, Melanie Charlton Fowler, Clo-sette, and Maria Castro, California Closets.

The Cherish Podcast Logo.

Crafting the New Closet

“Proper organization and storage are crucial to any successful home. But storage has gone far beyond the utilitarian. Luxury closets have become potent fantasies for clients and stars on social media. Creating spaces for everything from an array of Hermès handbags to a hand-made carbon fiber bicycle is an opportunity for designers to dazzle their clients—or disappoint them. How can you satisfy the demand for luxury organization? Three closet designers—Lisa Adams, Melanie Charlton Fowler, and Maria Castro—reveal their secrets for transforming overlooked spaces into useful assets, ingenious ways to upgrade existing storage spaces, and why closets are quickly becoming the most glamorous room in the house.”

LA Closet Design

LA Closet Design

As one of the podcast guest points out, kitchens and closets are the first spaces unpacked when moving into a new home. To say they’re important is an understatement. And if you have the opportunity to design a custom closet to accommodate your specific wardrobe needs it’s a real luxury. That said, it’s a luxury more and more accessible at all price points with a myriad of closet organization components available just about everywhere. Organization inspiration and resources abound. My favorite,iThe Home Edit, has published two books, A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals, and Life: The No-Guilt Guide to Owning What You Want and Organizing Everything, a workbook, filmed a television series in its second season, published a quarterly magazine, and developed product line. They offer endless ideas and inspiration on their website and social media channels.

Closette Closet


But I digress, this podcast focuses on the luxury closet market … and the new emphasis on closets as showplaces. I was enthralled and can’t wait to do a deep dive into the guests Instagrams and websites.

CA Closets

California Closets

Jim and I first indulged in a California Closet when we bought our first house together. And the five houses since. Actually, Snowberry’s closets were designed by me and built by our cabinet maker. Of course, I was heavily influenced by what I learned from my experiences with California Closets. We frequently talk about which of our closets was the best … I know, we’re both closet geeks. One of our favorites was in our Fidalgo Island home.

Walk in closet.

Some of my favorite closet organization tools ~



Ballet flats are back!

When did they go out? I don’t know, but I haven’t worn mine in years.

Row of ballet flats.That said, I’ve held onto them because one pair in particular is so comfortable I can’t bring myself to part with them. And I’m sure happy about that now.

Jessica Simpson black ballet flats.

These are my Jessica Simpson – yes, Jessica Simpson! – ballet flats. At least 20 years old, and well worn, they’ve held up over time and are the most comfortable pair of shoes I’ve ever owned. From day one … meaning there was no break-in period, no blisters, just comfort and classic style at a reasonable price. I love that the soles are flexible, yet even with minimal arch support they are comfortable for walking and all day wear. I wish I could say the same for my pricer Chloe scalloped and Jimmy Choo cork ballet flats (both have given me blisters). In addition to comfort, I love the squared, suede toe.

By the way, liquid bandages, which I discovered last year during Kyle’s wedding weekend, are a life saver and I don’t go anywhere without them.

I have no recollection of buying my Jessica Simpson ballet flats, but I do recall feeling a degree of embarrassment at purchasing from her brand. That seems silly to me now, it’s not about brand status, or price … it’s about comfort, quality, style and durability over time. Jessica, please accept my apology. Your ballet flats are one of the best pair of shoes (not just flats) I’ve ever owned. And I think these shoes will survive in my closet through another round of in-style, out-of-style, back in-style. Heck my nieces may end up fighting over them upon Auntie’s demise. How morbid.

Anyway, let’s look at what’s out there now in terms of classic ballet flats …

Here’s the current Jessica Simpson basic ballet flat …

Seychelles ballet flat, I’m partial to a squared toe …

J. Crew …

And I love these reminiscent of the classic Chanel ballet flat (that you can find on resale sites like this pair on eBay) …



Any golf lovers out there? I’m not exactly a golf lover but I enjoyed Full Swing, a docuseries on Netflix from the producers of the wildly popular F1 series, Drive to Survive. What made it even more interesting was that the filming took place during the Saudi LIV golf tour brouhaha with speculation around who-will-and-who-will-not-take-the-money-and-run. Jim lives and breaths golf and couldn’t wait to binge this series. I was less excited, but as with Drive to Survive, I got sucked in immediately and, I’m going to say it, enjoyed it a lot.

If you live with a golf fanatic who spends endless hours watching golf, when not spending endless hours playing golf, it’s a pretty compelling series and it certainly makes golf more interesting to watch when you’ve gotten to know the players.

And speaking of Drive to Survive, season 5 is now available and we’ve already indulged. It’s the first year of financial parity among F1 teams, overdue in my opinion. (Listen to me talking like I know anything. This is what the show does to you.) Along the same lines, you may also enjoy Break Point, produced by the same group, following the pro-tennis tour. I love that this series features the women as well as the men. The first half of the season (5 episodes) is available now, with the second half following in June.

Whether it’s driving Formula One cars, hitting golf or tennis balls … these pros are incredible athletes. And the physical and mental training involved to compete at the elite level is fascinating and inspiring.

So there you have it.

My weekly favorites.

Let’s see what’s inspiring Kim and Elizabeth.



Odds & Socks ~

This looks like the best spring dessert recipe!

Unforgotten, season four, an incredibly good Masterpiece series, is available on Prime Video. It took me a while to figure out how to access then stream it on the TV … why do they make these things so difficult? But it was worth the effort. If you haven’t seen the first three seasons, they’re more easily accessed. I’ve mentioned this series before … starring Nicole Walker. It’s brilliant.

Current Favorites ~


Catch up on last weekend’s meanderings here.

And all my Weekend Meanderings posts are collected here.

Follow along for more fun on Instagram and Pinterest.

As always, I appreciate your visit and welcome your thoughts in the comments below.

Cheers from Snowberry!


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  • Such delightful pictures of Elizabeth , Banksy, and all of you lovely ladies! Admittedly, I don’t know anything about having a pig as a pet, but the fact that Elizabeth loved Banksy so much and he brought her such joy makes me love him too! My heart goes out to her for her loss.
    I have always loved ballet flats, and, like you, have held onto some of my favorites for years. Now I’d like to add a red pair to my wardrobe!

    • Ginger … I love the idea of red ballet flats. What a fabulous pop of color – statement – for any outfit! xo

  • Juliet,
    I am with you, I never knew ballet flats went out of style. I have a pair that is over 20 years old and I have walked miles in them, so comfy. I think they are Tahari? I have others that are not so comfortable. I wonder why I hang on to them.
    Closets…I miss my old closet. It was a room, with beautiful shelves and baskets There was even room in there for a chase lounge! Sadly my new closet is not that big and it very badly organized. I need to take EVERYTHING out and have it redesigned, but that is a project for another day. I still have 3 bathrooms(1 in the works) to remodel.
    I was so sorry to read about Banksy, the Contessa has had a difficult winter with her illness and now the loss of Banksy. How wonderful that you were able to spend time with hime.
    I have not make this Ina soup recipe, thank you for the heads up, it is now on my list.
    Have a wonderful weekend Juliet. Stay warm!
    xo Elizabeth

    • Sounds like I’m not the only one with a soft spot for a favorite pair of ballet flats. Comfort is the key, right? Ina’s soup is so yummy, definitely give it a try. Wow, Elizabeth, three bathrooms … you’ve got your work cut out for you. Home ownership is sort of a series of projects. One after the other … and then it starts all over again! Sigh. Your kitchen looks amazing … I know your bathrooms will be phenomenal too. Happy weekend! xo

  • Aw how sweet you began with baby Banksy. We were lucky to get to visit with him and how nice you and Jim got to see him as a baby. He really had the best life with Elizabeth and her menagerie didn’t he?

    Love this soup and yes to garlic bread! Anything by Ina always becomes a rotation in our house.
    Love seeing the pretty closets. I feel lucky to just have my skinny space. One day would be nice to have an island, an ottoman..Yours is gorgeous!
    Ha we were on the same page about ballet flats. I think the feminine look of the shoe is so good with those bigger shape pants. You were smart to keep your pairs and that Chloe scalloped has always been on my radar. Too bad they aren’t comfy. I love the shape of the Jessica ones no wonder you kept them. My issue is I don’t want to feel squeezed in them, and some can feel like that, especially the turned up toe ones. Oh those Ebay Chanel ones are a find. I would grab if they were my size and have them brought to a cobbler and resoled and cleaned up! Love your picks here. Have been looking at a Chanel-ish pair.
    The golf series sounds good.. I am currently on the tennis one you told me about and loving it! Also the detective series.. Seems like the Brits have so many murder solving shows. My last that I loved was Granchester.
    Happy Saturday!

  • I had those Jessica Simpson ballet flats years ago and felt the same way when I bought them…so silly! They were very comfortable and I wish I still had them.
    Thanks for the great post!

    • Hi Lauren … I love that you had the JS flats too! Whoever designed them was a genius. Wishing you the best weekend! xo

  • I guess I’m one of the few people who never left ballet style flats behind! I’ve always loved what seems like a classic styled shoe that goes so well with many different style of clothes. I also hate wearing anything with heels, so they have a huge appeal to me. I can remember seeing those Jessica Simpson shoes at the mall department stores for years! There’s a website called Ballerette that has some adorable flats…I’m not sure I can pull the trigger for the price, but they look like well made shoes.

    • Hi Paula, I’m going to check out the Ballerete site. I don’t wear heels anymore either … in fact I’m getting ready to purge my closet of them. Wish Jessica – or someone – would bring this style back. Hope your weekend’s off to a great start! xo

  • You are too cute, Juliet! I didn’t know ballet flats ever went out of style… (Not that I have much opportunity to wear them here in Maine.) I have always thought of them as timeless classics! Thanks for the streaming recommendation. I need something to watch! I have never been a big organization freak. That said, it always does feel good when something is beautifully organized! You have had rain there, and we have snow here! It is beautiful, but I would kind of like it to be spring, haha. We don’t get spring until May, though, so I might as well enjoy winter! Have a wonderful week, my friend!

  • Ooh love hearing about a new podcast – and that one sounds so up my alley so thank you!! And of course, thanks for featuring my recipe! 🙂

    Happy weekend!


  • Hi Juliet,
    What a sweet picture you shared of Jim and baby Banksy. You go way back with such treasured memories. This is the glue that holds our heart together when we lose our fur children and people that we love. I have no doubt that Elizabeth and “the Italian” were the best parents to Banksy. Any way you look at it, it’s just a very rough time.
    I so enjoyed seeing the picture of you girls gathered together on different occasions.
    The hats look like something Elizabeth created.
    I wanted to let you know I made your Divas Can Cook moist banana bread. My Honey
    Bear really liked it. I think it turned out perfect. It’s not fair to compare it to my Banana Bread Supreme it’s a totally different bread.
    The clothes closet you had is pretty awesome. I bet that was hard to give up.

    • So glad you made the bread and it turned out! It sounds really good right now, my stomach is grumbling. Banksy was a sweetheart and had the most wonderful life at the Casa de Contessa. He’s going to be greatly missed. xo

  • Sadly, I can’t keep the adorable classic ballet flat on my foot: need a strap aX my instep, which isn’t nearly as elegant, is it? Will have to check out Ina’s Ramen soup recipe — did notice both bowls of soup had a side of garlic bread… Condolences to the Contessa and you on Banksy’s passing: I wonder if 8 years is long-lived for a domesticated pig, as they are known to be highly-intelligent and dogs can live to 13-16 years old? We also have narrow, long his/hers clothes closets that we designed and had our cabinet maker build: room to walk/turn, but I did not include a large enough folding shelf for tops and sweaters… I love your glass-front shoe cabinet from your Fidalgo Island home; I made the poor choice of putting all of my shoes in Container Store shoe and boot boxes to keep them dust-free and organized — it is a pain in the neck to take them out and put them back!

    • Joan, I do the same thing … use those clear boxes. But the boxes get dusty! I wish I had room here for the glass front shelves, but alas … I’ve had the same issue with some flats, my feet won’t stay in them. That’s why I’m holding onto this pair … they fit perfectly, are comfortable and stay on my feet. A tall order! Have the best weekend! xo

  • Twenty years I was told is the average life span of a PIGGY!
    Thank You Juliet for pulling these photos out of The Archives way down DEEP!I so enjoyed going back in time!
    I have the real deal Ballerina flats and they were Never comfortable!!!!
    I too have a knock off brand in yellow and black that I loved!Believe I ordered from Soft Surroundings years ago!I can’t part with them either!
    Thank You for taking me down MEMORY LANE♥️

    • I always love to wake up on Saturday to a new weekend meanderings. The one good thing about rain on the weekends, it forces me to work inside and accomplish tasks I have put off. One of which is my closet. My closet is nice and big, not like the ones you have pictured but today I rehung everything with new velvet hangers. Over the years, mine have disappeared…I will definitely try Ina’s chicken ramen soup recipe, tomorrow is a perfect day for soup. So sad about Banksy, I know he was a well loved pig. In the meantime stay dry and get out in between down pours!

  • So funny! I had those exact Jessica Simpson flats in brown! Why, oh why did I not them keep as you did? You are very wise! I think I purchased them at Macy’s. Maybe even Capwell’s! Then there was Bullock’s, Liberty House before that. . Remember those great stores? Aging myself, I’m afraid. Great Weekend Meanderings!

    • Oh, I wish you kept them too … so hard to find comfortable flat that don’t give blisters. Yes, Capwell’s … I worked there last two years of high school! And, Bullock’s, of course! Those were the days on Broadway Plaza! xo

  • Juliet, How sweet of you to open with Banksy! I’m sure Elizabeth is very touched. I know how much she loved Banksy.
    I’m not sure how I feel about ballet flats being back! I have a few that, luckily, I never got rid of, but I do find loafers more comfortable. My daughter was home last weekend and brought a pair of her old ballet flats to the city. A pair of silver Prada that I had bought for her in the 8th grade…what was I thinking? I wore mine through and had to toss them in the trash after several attempts of having them resolved that made them too small!
    I love that scalloped edge of the Chloe…even more “in” now!
    Your soup looks sooooo good!

  • My hubby just watched the golf show last night. I sat on the sofa with him with my airpods in reading Flower magazine and planning my week…he ALSO watches endless hours of golf, when not playing golf. It puts me to sleep.

    • I’m with you, watching golf is a bore … but I very much enjoyed the Netflix show. Who knows I might be more interested in golf in the future having some frame of reference. We’ll see! xo

  • What a truly beautiful tribute to our beloved and favorite pig, Banksy! I only had the pleasure of his company once, but undeniably, he made a lasting impression.
    I can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but ballet flats have always been my least favorite shoe style. I have never found the perfect comfortable pair and like you, experienced too many discomforts and blisters to count. Nonetheless, I am counting on you to let me know if you ever come across the next perfect pair!
    Hoping you are having a wonderful International Women’s Day!

    • Hi Diana … meeting Banksy was truly a special experience. I adored that biggie. I hear you on the ballet flats. That’s why I will wear the pair I have until its in threads. Why do sensible shoes cause blisters?! xo

  • Hi, I’m Juliet … welcome to Make Mine a Spritzer where we talk about all things home décor, classic style and more! I’m so happy you’re here!

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