Why I Love California & A Peek Inside a Favorite Bloggers Home

Today on weekend meanderings, a local lifestyle tour, a peek inside a favorite bloggers home, and three reasons I love California.

Happy Saturday friends!

It’s time for the weekend post with Kim and Elizabeth.

Our weekly roundup of inspiration and goings on.

This article includes affiliate links; if you click on a shopping link and make a purchase I may receive a commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Scenes from my week collage.

It’s going to be a sunny, warm weekend here in Northern California.

No rain on our Mother’s Day parades.

Unlike last weekend … but we’ll get to that.

Today it’s all about my love for California.

Let’s jump in …

Cute Summer Sandals

Kim and I teamed up to share our favorite summer sandal styles. As you can see, we’re both a fan of the Birkenstock. Which means we’re right on trend. A salesperson at Nordstrom told me it’s they’re the second most popular sandal by sales.

We’re sharing a lot more than Birkenstocks, so if you haven’t read our sandal inspirations you’ll find them here and here.

These are a few more favorite sandals that didn’t make it into my post. If I have time I’ll add them to the post later today.


I Love California

This time of year brings some of California’s most ideal weather. Truth be told most times of the year are ideal, except maybe a couple of winter months. But late spring and early summer are a sweet spot and we can throw open the doors and let the sunshine and light breezes in.

Designer Nathan Turner was a recent guest on the Business of Home podcast. He has a new line of fabrics to promote. You might remember Nathan from Million Dollar Decorators. He also wrote a book about six years ago called I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way, one of my all time favorite lifestyle books. It’s a great book to reread as the al fresco season approaches.

I’m glad I was familiar with Nathan from his books (his first book, American Style, is also a classic)  before watching Million Dollar Decorators where he comes off as kind of silly. He’s not the only one. The show features some fabulous interior designers, but it’s reality TV and, in my opinion, everyone comes off as full of themselves, arrogant and just plain ridiculous. I’m not sure if the producers push false and inflammatory narratives or edit their stars in a way that makes them seem awful. Maybe both. The same designers behaving badly on the reality TV are completely different people when seen and heard on talk shows and podcasts … they’re actually smart, funny and interesting and bear no resemblance to their reality TV personas. They’re people you might actually hire (if you had the million dollar budget … wouldn’t that be nice). Ok, so getting off of my soapbox …

Nathan grew up in Northern California and later moved South. His love for our state … north, south and central … knows no bounds and I enjoy reading about his enthusiasm for all things California and his casual, seasonal cooking and entertaining style. He shares a lot of wonderful places and things to see and do in our state. So many of them are nearby it’s a gentle reminder to get out there and enjoy all the wonderful things about living in California. And you don’t need to live in California to be inspired by Nathan’s love of enthusiasm for seasonal menus and entertaining.

Collander of lemons sitting on stack of three books on kitchen island with green galley kitchen in background.

Flipping through the pages of I Love California got me thinking about a couple of other California-centric books that I adore. Lush Life by Valerie Rice, a Santa Barbara native who truly embraces the seasons with her delicious recipes and cocktails. The book has a permanent position on my cookbook stand, open to whatever season we’re in.

And then there’s Southern California Cooking from The Cottage. I mentioned it last week and shared a quiche recipe and Mother’s Day gift idea. The Cottage is a restaurant in La Jolla that’s so Southern California in all the best ways.

Collander full of lemons sitting on three books on kitchen counter.

All three books showcase the beauty – and bounty –  of our California lifestyle.


Lafayette Juniors Lifestyle Tour Recap

Now that I’ve bragged about our good weather, last Saturday we had a blip. By blip I mean rain. A major downpour. The Lafayette Juniors Lifestyle Tour, that I look forward to all year, was nearly rained out. But we don’t let torrential rain stop us from touring beautiful homes, and we donned our rain coats, boots and umbrellas and went boldly forth.

Home Tour Sign with blue and white balloons.

I thought I was so smart monitoring the hour-by hour-weather forecast and delayed setting out for the tour thinking the rain would let up. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Between the late start, and early finish (we had another engagement early afternoon) and a quick stop for lunch … we only made it to two homes. Jim says a lot of the problem was me stopping to chat with friends, blog readers, and interior designers … well, everyone. He tried to move me along to no avail. While I may have miscalculated (understatement) on timing, the homes we did see were stunning and inspiring inside and out.

But back to the rain, imagine the disappointment of the homeowners who graciously opened their beautiful homes to raise money for wonderful causes. Not to mention all the volunteers who work tirelessly to make this annual event a success. Not to be deterred, the tour went ahead as planned. There were lots of raincoats and umbrellas, and taking on and off of wet shoes before entering the amazing houses. Everyone laughed it off and had a great time.

Two woman wearing blue aprons standing behind welcome at home tour.

I don’t have a ton of great photos. In my defense there were so many people taking the tour that getting a clean shot of any room was next to impossible. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Here goes …

The first house we visited in the modern farmhouse style and we watched it being built while we were renovation Snowberry. We had to drive by it to get here. And that made it even more fun to get a peek inside.

Exterior of white modern farm house and side garden.

The house has soaring ceilings in the great room and the biggest kitchen island I’ve ever seen.

Dining room of large modern farmhouse.

Jim is fascinated by details.

Man looking at mantle in large great room.

Loved this art piece. Pun intended.

Heart sculpture on wall.

My fascination with powder rooms continues. I think it’s that they so often get a bold paint or fabulous wallpaper. Small rooms with big impact.

Powder room with pretty blue and white wallpaper.

A closer look at the wallpaper.

Blue and white wallpaper with bird motif.

I’m here for a good drop zone.

Mud room.

It’s really fun running into readers of the blog!

Three women standing in living room on a home tour.

I would’ve loved to have a closer look at this beautiful, spacious backyard.

Outdoor pool deck in the rain.

Outdoor pool and grass area in the rain.

The next house was a recently renovated ranch home with a more traditional style … and it’s on one of my favorite streets very near where I grew up.

Look at the beautiful throw pillows … I think the floral print is a Schumacher fabric.

Great room of newly renovated ranch style home.

Everyone was buzzing around the eat-in kitchen table set by White Barn Home … a darling home decor store in Lafayette.

Round table set with florals looking out over beautiful gardens.

Colorful flower arrangements.

Here’s a better look from White Barn Home’s Instagram. All the pieces that make up the table setting can be found in their shop.

And finally the kitchen. I wish I had a wider, better shot.

Kitchen island sink.

The quartzite countertops are stunning.

Close up on quartzite island slab.

I’m taking notes on this appliance garage situation.

Shot of kitchen cabinet run ending with appliance garage.

On the far side of the kitchen is a full-size second sink. The built-in furniture-like cabinet is so pretty and I bet there’s a lot of storage in there.

View across kitchen island to built in cabinet, back door and secondary sink.

Can I offer you a cocktail?

This house sits on a 1/2 acre lot with stunning – STUNNING – gardens. Rain or not we couldn’t resist walking through them.

Looking out at beautiful stone wall, steps leading to lush garden.

Pretty rose garden and fountain with White House in background.

Beautiful backyard with lush lawn, fountain and white park bench.

The gardens took my breath away and Jim had to drag me away.

A final snap from the front yard as we reluctantly departed.

Colorful garden border next to lush lawn and white picket fence.


A Peek Inside a Favorite Blogger’s Home

The home tour I most wanted to see belongs to Ashley of Modern Glam Home. That’s right … major lifestyle blogger AND owner of everyone’s favorite Bay Area boutique, Flaunt. Everything Ashley does is beautiful … from what she wears, to how she styles her home and her chic shop. Last year, Ashley and her family took on a couple of big home renovation projects. They renovated their kitchen AND built a darling backyard studio/cabana. Both projects were showcased on the tour and since I (stupidly) missed it, Ashley graciously shared some photos with me. So we can take the tour now!

Let’s start in the great room where puppy Duke (yes, he’s a puppy) welcomes us into his beautiful abode.

Dog laying on hardwood floor in front of beautiful living room.

Pretty living room.

Aren’t the boucle dining chairs are fabulous? Look closely … Duke’s big brother Romeo is peeking out to say hi.

Dining room and living room of beautiful contemporary home.

The newly renovated kitchen is stunning.

Beautiful contemporary kitchen.

I like the u-shaped design. So functional. But who cares about function, look at all the spectacular details. And the sconces and pendants … swoon.

U-shaped modern kitchen.

It just keeps getting better. Ta da … the backyard.

Backyard and open cabana.

Before we look into the new studio / cabana, let’s appreciate this amazing outdoor seating area. Can you imagine all the magical summer nights around the firepit?

I spot an outdoor kitchen to the far left. It might be new too.

Modern contemporary home backyard and cabana.

Let’s go inside the studio / cabana. Again … the details!

Cabana kitchen cabinet run.

Oh my gosh, the chevron pattern floors.

Interior space of backyard cabana.

In addition to being one of the chicest people ever, Ashley is also one of the sweetest. Thank you, Ashley, for sharing your beautiful home!


Raised Bed Garden Update

The amazing edible gardeners from Homestead Design Collective were here yesterday to plant our summer garden. But first they did a little clean up and harvesting. I came home from the dentist and found this on the back step. The last of the greens, scallions, snap peas, flowers and greenery.


Three varieties of tomatoes were planted, all small cherry and teardrops. We have to ask Kim if her dad has sanctioned the planting of tomatoes yet this season. He usually says I’m too early. But this year the decision was made for me so it’s all good.

It was pretty hot yesterday … never great thing for planting. Our beds get tons of morning sun, and plenty of afternoon shade. I’ll be watching closely and giving them extra water.

Raised bed garden, gravel path and teak bench.


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Odds & Socks ~

All the 70’s Ladies … this article (gift link) in our local paper is about 70/80’s band Pablo Cruise, the original yacht rockers and one of my favorites. They did several shows in the Bay Area this week. And they’ll be in Grass Valley tonight. See their tour schedule here.  They’ll be back to California in August.

Current Favorites ~


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And that’s what I have for you today.

Let’s visit Kim and Elizabeth to see what’s inspiring them.



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If you missed last week’s post, I visited The Barlow in Sebastopol.

And shared a Mother’s Day gift idea and quiche recipe … in case you need a last minute idea.

Jim and I are off on a garden tour.

I’ll share the pretty gardens on Instagram stories.

Wishing you a very happy Mother’s Day weekend!

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  • Good morning Juliet!
    I loved both you and Kims sandals post! So many great options for every occasion.
    The home tour!!!!! WOWOWOW! Something to look at and our over in ever photo. The view of the garden at the second house took my breath away, stunning. As for the fabric of the pillows I think it is Chiang Ming dragon, stunning look.
    Nathan Turner is a favorite of mine as well. I love his book American Style, beautiful design and a few recipes as well.
    How fun to meet some of your readers! I am sure that was a highlight for your all.
    Have a wonderful weekend Juliet, happy Mothers day! Enjoy the sun.
    xo Elizabeth

  • Dear Juliet
    I wonder how many of your readers purchased the Breville Milk Cafe.
    I did!
    You mentioned it took some time to get “ it right” and I was wondering if you would share your recipe.
    Love reading everything you write!
    Thank you,
    Pat( from North Carolina)

    • Hi Pat! There was an adjustment period from the Breville 1.0 to 2.0. But I have the hang of it now. First I turn the heat dial almost all the way up. I use about 8-12 oz of 2% milk. Sometimes I add a little half n half or heavy cream (if I have it in the fridge left over from another recipe) or make it with whole milk. The more fat the creamer it turns out. Anyway … After adding the milk, put the lid (minus cap) on and start machine. Add cocoa powder through the top after it’s already frothing, top it off with the cap and wait until it’s done. I think the key is turning up the heat dial. Let me know what you think. xo

  • The soil and weather in Cali cannot be beat. We just cannot grow much of what you can! Love the house tours. That garden.
    The Schumacher pillow fabric is called Chiang Mai. I have a chair covered in it.
    Oh. My. Gosh. PABLO CRUISE! I have a friend that adores them and we crank it everytime we go anywhere to find out place in the sun…..

  • I love California too!!! I am a third generation Californian and feel very fortunate. I have enjoyed Nathan Turner’s book for a while. Do you ever watch California Bountiful or receive their e-mail? I am always open for new discoveries in our state. I highly recommend the S.F. Decorator Showcase this year. Also the Fashion Exhibition at the de Young Museum.

  • Where was the frig in that stunning kitchen?
    Your photos were fabulous and an inspiration as we’re currently designing our new home.

    • Hi Arleen! Ashley’s kitchen? Good question. I think it must be on back wall … opposite wall from sink. I’ll ask her. Exciting times designing a new home!!! xo

      • The fridge was on the back wall, opposite the sink. I remember it because I remember looking at the coffee bar next to the fridge. I was very curious about the sconces over the kitchen sink-never have I seen any like them before. I’m wondering if they were designed specifically for that spot….

  • Happy Mothering Day Weekend, Juliet! Well, what a big bummer about the downpour for the Lafayette Home Show. I loved seeing the gorgeous homes and gardens! So sorry you couldn’t make it to all of the homes. Have you thought about showcasing Snowberry in the annual event? I am looking forward to you writing about your recent purchase of that adorable cottage. I know we will be missing our mom’s this weekend, but we can still honor them by sharing a sweet memory. Enjoy doing whatever brings a smile to your face! Xo

    • Good morning, Karen. It’s funny you mention it, I’d love to have our house on the lifestyle tour. Unfortunately, Snowberry is in Orinda. But it’s a goal for our little house on 4th Street. Of course, that’s years away. Thank you for your kind words. You’re right about our memories and recollections of moms … talking about them bring them to life on Mother’s Day and everyday. Wishing you the sweetest weekend. xo

    • Hi Eileen, I just wash them like I was everything else … warm water (I think instructions say to wash in cold), regular wash and dry cycle. There’s a lot of lint in the dryer! Hope you love them as much as I do. Happy weekend. xo

  • Juliet so fun to see all these homes on the tour! I can’t believe they had rain.. I love that beautiful powder room, especially in the wallpaper. I’m down for appliance garages . I wish I had one!! Ashley‘s home is gorgeous. I love her taste. I agree that the U shape kitchen is underrated and so smart! Her barstools are cool!
    I was just going to put on my blog that it is now OK to put your tomato garden in and link to my dad‘s post from last year but I’ll do it next week. So your gardening people are right on time. I’m gonna put my tomato garden in next week hopefully!!
    I hope you have a lovely weekend Juliet!! Was fun doing the sandals! xo

    • Breathing a huge sigh of relief that your dad has sanctioned tomato planting. I usually jump the gun, but this year with my garden fairies I finally got it right. I went to the nursery today for mint and there was a major run on tomatoes … and other veggies. Love this time of year! xo

  • Happy Saturday! Juliet, it was such a joy to meet you Saturday on the tour. You’re as lovely as I imagined you would be!
    My mom and I had so much fun seeing the homes and driving around the area. I love listening to all her memories of growing up there. So, thank you for talking about the tour on your blog, or we wouldn’t have known it existed. We will certainly do it again next year. For the record, you visited the two homes that we loved the most!

    • Hi Janet! What a delight to meet you and your mom. I’m so glad you two came out to the tour even if it did rain on our parade. It was so fun reminiscing about ‘old’ Lafayette. Did you walk around the gardens of the Los Palos house? I probably spent an hour wandering around which contributed to my poor time management. But they were fantastic. I hope you will come next year, I’m already planning tips for a successful tour … like starting right on time and ordering the tour lunch! Ha! Thanks you so much for reading my little blog … it means the world to me. And I’m just tickled pink to have met you. xoxo

  • Thank you Juliet for such a delightful blog . I appreciate your candor , kindness and ability to deliver content while respectfully navigating trigger topics with grace and.. omission.

    When I locate ( feverishly obsessively searching ) the name of that Schumacher print on those pillows I will share with you ! I can’t wait to give back as I’m always taking away from your blog !!

    Thank you again.

  • Hi Juliet,
    I live California too, but we are not moving back. I miss SF and Marin County. I wanted to share with you when we moved to Sausalito for a sabbatical back in 1978 I believe we had a magical place. Lo and behold we lived across the street from David Jenkins, Pablo Cruise, lead guitarist, lead vocalist, and song writer. My honey went over to introduce himself to him, and had no idea he was one of the big cute guys of Pablo Cruise. The band would come to the house that over looked the ocean and they would practice and rock out. We had our own private concert going. We lived above their open. It was a magical time in our life, we were newly married and going through the honeymoon high. We still LOVE their music. David Jenkins was a member at its conception 1973 and stayed until they disbanded in 1986.
    Did you happen to go to their concert?

    Loved going along with you on your Lafayette open house tour. Some gorgeous homes, gardens, sorry for the rain. So great you got to see your mother/daughter blog friends. I know how guys can be with moving you along. I talk with everyone too.

    • Katherine! Oh my gosh, that is the best story … how absolutely wonderful to live across the street from the band in their heyday. What a wonderful memory. I wish I’d gone to one of their local shows, but our paper didn’t publish the article until two of the shows were over the last one was the same night. I would have gone it had Jim been home or I could have talked a friend into a spontaneous trip. Hearing their music brings back so memories of a wonderful time in my life. I can’t imagine how it is for you having them rehearsing in your backyard and being in your newlywed years. Thanks for sharing that. xo

  • Hi Juliet! Love all the interior design inspo you shared today! I am so sorry it poured rain for the house tour! And even though my heart belongs to New England, I do love the California lifestyle. I will have to check out those books!

    • Hi Molly … I know, the best laid plans. Thankfully, everyone came out in the rain … who could resist! 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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