The Loss of Queen Elizabeth II & More on Today’s Weekend Meanderings

Thoughts on the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, a birthday luncheon, a luxury home listing and more on today’s Weekend Meanderings.

Happy weekend, friends!

Once again I’m joining Kim and Elizabeth for Weekend Meanderings.

It was Kim’s birthday this week!

More on that later.

Woman sitting at table with birthday dessert.

It’s unbelievably hot here.

We’re having a dose of what it must be like to live in Palm Springs, Las Vegas or Arizona.

Any thought of refreshing my front porch planters went out the window.

Fall doormats and wreaths are on hold too.

I may wait until October to make any seasonal changes outside.

It was an eventful week so let’s get right to it.



Like many of you, I had a mother who was fascinated by the British Royal Family. And she passed that fascination and love onto me. As a girl my mom was enchanted by the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. She kept scrap books filled with newspaper clippings of their coming and goings. The first royal event I remember is Princess Anne’s wedding to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973. I was eleven. My mom got me up at all hours to watch it live. Truth be told I was only mildly interested. And the Queen to me seemed a distant and humorless figure … she hadn’t yet captured my imagination.

Queen Elizabeth II

As I entered my teen years my mom joked that she’d send me to boarding school in England in hopes I’d meet and marry Prince Andrew. Wow, I really dodged a bullet there. Then along came Lady Diana and suddenly I was wearing ruffle necked blouses, billowy skirts, and flats. At last, a royal family member with whom I could identify. I was hooked and my mom was thrilled.

As the years went on, and I matured, I came to appreciate the Queen and the significance of her role. The more I read, watched, and learned about her life the more I came to respect and admire her. Her sense of duty and commitment. The pledge she made, at the young age of 21, is so moving …

“I declare before you that all my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

Queen Elizabeth II

Isn’t it remarkable that she did exactly that? And thankfully she lived a long life. We’re so fortunate for her example of commitment and grace, of dignity and restraint. Of steadfastness. Qualities we don’t see much of in our leaders today. I can’t help feeling that her death marks the end of an era … and era of relative stability, of decency, respect, and courtesy as common values with which to aspire.

It’s late. And I’m late with this post having found it hard to tear myself away from the television. I wish I could be more eloquent in expressing my feelings of deep respect and admiration for the Queen, what she meant to me and what she meant to so many millions of people around the world. And most of all to her family who’ve lost a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother. In the short time since her passing I’ve read a few really good pieces by Victoria Arbiter on and Tina Brown in the New York Times. And I was particularly moved by this thread on Twitter (of all places) from the @UKRoyalTea account that I enjoy following.

“One of the reasons so many of us admire the Queen is exactly what she has been criticized for. As a monarch for 70 years, she saw a huge amount of change. Societal, political, cultural, personal. As the head of a constitutional monarchy, her job was to support the government. This often meant supporting policies that she probably didn’t personally agree with. This often meant facing criticism for policies she wasn’t involved in shaping but had to be the figurehead for. This is true in her life and her death, and a duty she bore with grace. She was able to balance change with stability, tradition, and continuity. She was not perfect, and made mistakes along the way, but that is because she was a human, who lived a 96-year life in the public eye and learned and evolved along the way under intense scrutiny. I see King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla in the same way. People who have made mistakes, and will probably continue to, but have given their lives to public service. At an age where most would retire, they are stepping into shoes that are seemingly impossible to fill. No matter your personal feelings about any of the royals, they have given their lives and much of their privacy to a job that they were born into. I can’t say that I would handle it with half of the dignity they have, or that I would choose it no matter the perks. A full life has high and low points, successes, and mistakes. I hope the reporting over the next few weeks reflects that, and that we are all able to recognize and respect that 70 years of public service is something only a very rare person could handle the way The Queen did.”

Young Queen Elizabeth II and dog

My personal two cents is that the best way to express admiration and respect for the Queen is to support those who follow her in leading the institution she spent her entire adult life defending so brilliantly. May she Rest In Peace.



The morning of the Queen’s passing I was expecting five gal pals for lunch. Two of the crew are royalists like me and I knew they’d be equally devastated. But taking direction from the Queen’s example, stiff upper lip and all, the show must go on … and that it did.  You may recognize some of my luncheon pals. And you may be tired of hearing me talk about them. I asked Kim, are we giving the impression we do nothing but swan around like real housewives? I can assure you that’s NOT the case. See more of our luncheon party here.

Five women sitting at table celebrating birthday.

Birthday Girl Behind the Lense

Tuesday was Kim’s birthday and the Contessa spearheaded her birthday lunch.It was hotter than blazes but we persevered. We started with cool drinks and, you guessed it, mini-charcuterie (method to my madness here), on the patio. And quickly moved indoors for a lunch. I made my new favorite chicken, apple, walnut salad (recipe here) , Kim (yes, the birthday girl) brought caprese salad with tomatoes from her dad’s garden, Heidi (who created the beautiful painting behind me) brought deliciously deviled eggs and the Contessa made chocolate cake, and berries bathed in a yummy yogurt sauce. We had two special guests. Cindy of Cindy Hattersley Design. Cindy recently moved to the Paso Robles area but visits the Bay Area frequently to see her cute granddaughter, Summer. And, Linda, a surprise guest arranged by the Contessa for Kim. Apparently Linda is responsible for introducing the Contessa to Kim’s blog years ago. She was a delight and we had so much fun.

Not realizing we’d be in the midst of a once in 1000 year heatwave, I planned for lunch on the patio. And because last year we were plagued with flies and yellow jackets, Jim finally talked me into these table top fly repellent contraptions. I’m not sure why I resisted them, they work! As for the yellow jackets, they’ve not been bad this year but I still hide a hot dog suspended over warm, soapy water near our water feature. I’m pleased to report not one a fly or yellow jacket crashed our party.

Six women standing in garden with dog.

Happy Birthday, Kim!


Despite the ridiculous heat, I did add a couple of fall touches to our great room.

I replaced my round Serena & Lily tray with this square basket tray. I bought the basket tray several months ago intending to use it on the coffee table. Then it got put into service as an actual serving tray on the patio. It’s now made its way to the intended coffee table location. I added small fall-ish filler to the glass hurricane (similar here) with an unscented pillar candle and updated my coffee table books with a new to me book, Pacific Natural by Jenni Kayne, and Ted Kennedy Watson’s new release, Guide to Stylish Entertaining. The small, textured box is from William Sonoma Home and vessel/votive is from Wendy Bellisimo. I have the Wendy Bellisimo vessels in large and small sizes and they’re usually on the back patio. They’re beautiful lit up by candles at night. Of course, my woven Serena & Lily coasters made it onto the tray. The quickest way to get on my bad side is to put a glass down on a bare naked table. And, yes, that is a TV remote. Real life, people.

Fall coffee table vignette



Back to the Wendy Bellisimo vessels, turns out they make good flower vases too and I pressed them into service for Kim’s birthday lunch filled with hydrangeas from our garden. These vessels are POPULAR and frequently sold out, but you can sign up to get an email when restock is available. Update: my post is well timed, the stone vessels ( all sizes) are back in stock as of Sunday, September 11th … but they’ll go fast.)

I bought three kinds of vase filler for this large, wooden bowl. The bowl came from Salsa Trading Company in Sonoma, years ago, and it’s one of my favorite things. Because its so big, I used an inexpensive filler from Home Goods for a base (similar to this) and topped it in with a fancier fall filler and dried orange slices.

Built in book cases with decor

Confession. It’s late. Very late. And I’m exhausted. I can’t find links for these vase fillers, but I’ll locate them tomorrow and update … sorry. Ok … they’re updated!!!




Last month I shared my excitement over Ted Kennedy Watson’s new (and second) book, Guide to Stylish Entertaining. It arrived a couple of weeks ago and took pride of place on the great room coffee table. See above. As part of Ted’s book launch extravaganza, the Quintessence blog released a tour of Ted and husband, Ted Sive’s, Vashon Island home named WestWard. I love the simplicity of WestWard and how the Ted’s entertain so stylishly out of a relatively compact, but utterly charming, kitchen. Everything about their home and entertaining style is perfection.

Ted and Ted’s Upstate New York home, Hawthorne, got the Quintessence treatment a few years ago. You can see it here.



Earlier in the week Jim and I had the good fortune to attend an amazing soiree … just a hop skip and a jump up the street in our neighboring town of Lafayette. Hosted by our favorite real estate pros, the Dana Green Team, inside the gates of this stunning estate where we mingled with fellow DG clients, sipped wine and nibbled on delicious appetizers.

Happy Valley Home Outdoor Space

Insert Juliet & Jim here!

It was dusk when we were here and my pictures are terrible. The real estate listing photos are much better (obviously) so let’s look around some more …

Happy Valley Home for Sale Loggia

The loggia next to the main entry feels like walking into the Four Season Maui.

Wine Room Happy Valley Listing

Jim’s Favorite Room

And we asked questions about the current real estate market. After two years of insane rapidly rising prices, the market’s settled a bit, and interest rates have gone up, and everyone wants to know what does this mean for buyer and sellers? A major area of interest was first time home buyers. We’re all concerned about our kids, right?! Until recently sky-high prices, and insane overbidding presented discouraging obstacles for first time home ownership. Of course, Dana explained what she sees happening in the market and really put things in perspective for us. As with any market there are positives with the negatives. Dana sends out a great newsletter that does the same thing, minus the cocktails. It’s always the first email I open because … I’m real estate obsessed.

Back to this amazing, gated estate. The main house is 4 bedroom, 5.5 baths and 6390 square feet on 2.64 acres. Oh and it’s on a highly (HIGHLY) desirable street. You can see the listing here. And if you’d like to buy it, we’re just up the road and will be your best friends.

Thanks, Dana, Todd, Lauren, Wendy, Allison, Sarah and Matt for hosting us at your fun cocktail hour. We had a great time, met interesting people, learned a few things and more importantly fully enjoyed your new froze machine. We may have one more house sale and purchase in our future and it’s reassuring to know that  when the time comes you’ve got us.

I just asked Jim to describe the event and he said ‘market update with key clients.’  Oh my gosh, I’ve been drafting this forever and he sums it up in five words. Good grief, no wonder I’m running late. Anyhoo …

In the meantime, if you’re considering purchasing or selling a home in this area please avail yourselves of the experts at the Dana Green Team. In addition to being the number one real estate team, they’re super fun and you’ll want to be their BFF.

So there you have it, the high and low lights from my week.

Let’s go see what Kim and Elizabeth are sharing.



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

Woman holding tray of charcuterie.

Cheers from Snowberry!


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  • Such a beautiful home. Love the kitchen and my husband’s favorite room would be the wine cellar too.

    The Queens did live with grace and honor.

    • Good morning, Cindy … yes, its a spectacular home. I really appreciate the thoughtful details that make this house boutique hotel like. We were so lucky to spend a bit of time there. Hope you have an amazing weekend. It’s finally cooled down here. Yay! xo

  • Thank you as always for a post filled with lovely pictures and useful tidbits. I’m always appreciative of your cocktails! May I ask where your cute striped sundress is from? I love it.


    • Contessa … I agree. A perfect day, aside from the morning news and the afternoon heat. Thank goodness we have relief from the heat today. Finally. Your dessert was divine. Jim enjoyed it and asked me to find out what you mixed the berries in … yogurt?! After everyone left I sat down to watch the news … so sad, and moving. I just saw the funeral is confirmed for a week from Monday. At Westminster Abby. I know you’ll be setting an early alarm too. Time to rustle through my cupboards for appropriate tea service … and perhaps the famous Jubilee Pudding. Thanks for organizing another lovely get together … in blue with a pop or orange. And the orange sure does pop! xo

  • What a fun luncheon! You are an amazing hostess. Did you all plan coordinating colors? I’m still in LA but driving up to see Cindy today.

    I love seeing all the recap photos of the Queen’s life.
    Take care!

    • MA … we heard all about your visit to the Hattersley Boutique Hotel and Resort this weekend. Excited to see your snaps from the visit … how fun! xo

  • I loved the birthday lunch and that you all did this in crazy heat was the sweetest! Adore being in your house and with all of you. I forgot to mention Heidi’s deviled eggs and my caprese, all went together great with your signature charcuterie and delicious salad- which will be a regular rotation of mine now. I like how you change the chicken a little different than how I usually do a greens with chicken -and it was so good! Apples are so perfect for all your fall things! I agree that your dress was beautiful and I would love to find that brand.. Your whole house is so pretty and you changed up a lot since last time.. We need to have you on the blog. I’ll wait my turn after Cindy.
    Your basket is a nice fall look and I did notice the pretty vases with the hydrangeas! I didn’t know these were votives. Great idea. They look like expensive alabaster.. Your table was lovely and I always like how you stick to the signature green tones. Great write up about the Queen. I laughed because I also did not have any interest in the royals until Diana came along and I was always mystified why she would marry that dorky guy.. HA. I was cracking up.. Yeah wasn’t Andrew the man? Whew no kidding about dodging a bullet. He really turned out to be scary awful. Love the daughters though.. Maybe we need to give all the credit to the long maligned Fergie for that. Another subject for wine hour..
    I love the pictures of her you chose and the pieces. So much to read now I could spend forever on this. I 1000% agree that this is a sort of era of civility, I call it the New Elizabethan Era we are exiting and it was crumbling the last few years with politicians with no respect for decorum or even appearing to care. Anyhow, apparently we are both raging royalists!
    Adored this whole post and the homes too! Can I be your neighbor? Just need what is it 9 million? I’ll tell Max.. 🙂 Love the Ted and this book is on my list and I’ll order from you.. I’d like a visit to the store of his!
    Enjoy our cooler weekend- finally.. Hey we know what it’s like to live in Arizona now. xo

  • Juliet, where to start? The Queen, a wonderful woman who will be missed by many. I shed a few tears when I learned that she had passed and a few more when they mentioned that she died with only Charles and Ann by her side. I so wish the others had made it to say farewell, we love you. As sad as the world is I can only imagine the sadness of the family who must put on a stiff upper lip as they appear in public.
    Your party looked amazing. How wonderful to be so close to celebrate Kims birthday with Cindy, Elizabeth, Heidi and a suprise guest. Beautiful friends and food. I wish I lived closer!
    That house is beautiful! What a fun evening!
    As for Stacy and Suzanna, Quintessa, I love the blog and the home tours.
    Have a wonderful weekend Juliet!
    xo Elizabeth

  • I felt moved by the Queen’s sudden passing, as well. But on the positive side: as with the rest of her long, fulfilling life, she managed her ending perfectly: meeting the new prime minister on Tuesday, and gone by early Thursday. One can’t really do any better, I think.

    The birthday luncheon looked festive and delicious, and everyone in white and blue: great photos!

    The Lafayette home is dramatic and classic! I’m just going to mention that you have to entertain a ton and hopefully have extensive family to enjoy a home on that scale. We overbuilt our new home, and I have been sorry about it: more to look after and worry about on a daily basis! Being able to afford it is not reason enough for me (any longer ;-}

    • You are right about that, Joan … it’s an entertaining house. And I hear you about the over building … we were so happy to right size to Snowberry and our perfect 2500 sqft. Your spot on about the Queen as well. She timed her departure beautifully … fulfilling her duty to welcome the new prime minister. And she looked wonderful She was quite a woman. xo

  • Juliet,
    I loved what you wrote about the queen! So well done!
    I love your birthday celebrations! You sure have fun! And your charcuterie boards!

  • Hi Juliet,
    I so enjoyed everything you shared about our Queen Elizabeth. We will never have another Queen Elizabeth. Like you I was so taken with her. A complete “class act.”
    The birthday party that you hosted for Kim was so lovely. I’m sure she was taken back by all the love you put into everything. You gals are all adorable.
    It’s such a blessing that you have one another snd keep up the connection.

    • Hi Katherine … thanks so much for your comment. I agree, the Queen was a class act and will be missed. We truly are fortunate to have a wonderful group of local bloggers and its so much fun that we’re friends. Hope you’re having a wonderful week. xo

  • Darn my comment just disappeared. Thank you so much for including me in the Nor Cal Girls luncheon honoring Kim. I was so happy to see your lovely home at last. So much attention to detail…perfection!! I can’t wait to share it with my readers on Friday!

    • Thank you, Cindy … and sorry about the comment dropping. Loved having you here … and felt for you on the long, hot drive home. xo

  • Helloooo dear Juliet… I had a chuckle with you dodged the bullet about marrying Andrew. What a fun lunch you had with your blogger buds. Note to self: sell the house and move to Cal. asap! I need to get there before the next luncheon. Your Fall touches are stunning! I am going back to view the house tour and the beautiful estate. Hope it cools off in your neck of the woods, dear friend.

  • 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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