Yes, I think she is great. I do.

And she has done it again - this time with GOOP, a lifestyle site for everything from hotels in Barcelona to adrenal fatigue.

And it's just really fun to read.


I've always wanted to buy an old truck and cross the United States - visiting every possible local flea market that I could find. In preparation for this "trip", I have this pile of magazine clippings about the best flea markets, and instead of keeping more paper, I am just going to start a list here...

New York
US Flea Market Directory: A Guide to the Best Flea Markets in All 50 Statesby Albert LaFarge
Pictures from a very old Lucky magazine


It's Sunday morning - the first Sunday of the month and that means the Alameda Flea Market is taking place. All week I was thinking of right now - walking through the stalls, searching for treasures. But yesterday, as the rain was streaming from the heavens and I was cleaning up, I realized how many unfinished "projects" are sitting all around me - the paint chipped dresser, the dresser for baby in the trunk of our car, the box of "needs sewing", unframed artwork. So, instead of adding, which inevitably happens when I go to Alameda, I stayed put. But I am dreaming of the first Sunday of December...


Don't underestimate the power of space that is all your own.

Whether it's a corner altar, a closet or a whole room - find a nook that is yours for inspiration, rejuvenation, introspection or creation.

Perhaps inspired by Virgina Woolf's A Room of One's Own, designer Chris Madden's book showcases the intimate and private spaces of several women and helps to inspire others to create something for themselves. It is part how-to and part beautiful inspiration and is one of my favorite books to encourage authenticity and individuality.


from Organic Style, May 2005 : photos by Robert Lyons

I am always curious how people live. So when I recently re-read this article about a couple living completely sustainably on their self-built floating home, I decided to do some digging.

And sure enough, there is a video on U-tube video about the Freedom Cove Floating House, close to Tofino, Canada.

Catherine and Wayne Adams, the artist couple who built to pink and teal home themselves, grow their own food and live in the quiet serenity of this wilderness.

From Tofino you can take a boat to visit them and see how simply and intentionally one can live.


photo by marisol villaneuva

I have never really paid that much attention to my undergarments, to tell the truth. I am a hige fan of Old Navy cotton panties and do love my Hanky Panky thongs (if you don't know these - find them and you will never by anything else.) But I love this line of organic lovelies from loup charmant.

Perhaps its the styling that is so dreamy and the modern rusticness of it all.

Regardless, I might have to start thinking about lingerie in a whole new way.


Einstein said "Few real problems can be solved with the same consciousness from which they arose."

Where could you use some out of the box thinking?


Eloise at the Plaza, New York taken by me, 1998

There is a picture somewhere of me sitting on that marble and gold leaf table, at age 8, during my first visit to New York. How many 8 year olds who grew up in California know what the Plaza Hotel in New York City is?

"I am Eloise. I am six. I am a city child. I live at the Plaza."

That's how it started. Every time.

On Fridays I usually write about a woman who inspires me, but somehow today I was compelled to talk about a 6 year old who is so firmly rooted in my childhood memories and perhaps even the development of my personality. If you know the story of Eloise and you know, you might be smiling now.

It was before Hollywood made her into a movie princess and before she went off on adventures to Paris and Moscow. It was just Eloise, just at the Plaza. My tattered copy is one of my prized possessions because attached to it is not only the story of this precocious child but the very fond memories of my dad reading every single word to me. And he did it every time. If I close my eyes, I can feel him next to me and almost feel the rhythmic movement of his chest as he read the punctuationless text - in a steady stream, with all the right accents and intonations. I have tried in my adulthood to recreate this but it is impossible.

This post and this little girl and the memories of my dad are even more profound now because I am going to be a mother and I can't imagine how to do this without him.


String, plain and simple

image borrowed from nibsblog.wordpress.com

Creativity doesn't half to cost a lot.

Neither does good design - and if I have any kind of soap box, this is it. So when I see fancy people making beauty with simple every day things, I get excited.

String for example. Have you ever thought of using string for more than tying bundles of newspaper together or making sure that your latest IKEA purchase doesn't fly out of your car? I really hadn't, though I love the organic color and texture of string. So I was excited to see this article in the NY Times about out of the box design with simple and basic materials.

Enjoy the slideshow


I just don't really know what else to add.


It's been a long time since I wrote. Two weeks to be exact - which in the span of universal time is a mere wink, I know. But it feels long because I made a commitment to myself to write every week day for 30 days. Habits only change with practice and discipline I have learned.

But life gets in the way of changing habits - starting a new job has derailed my initial intention to write everyday and though I at first got down on myself, I realized that this was more a lesson in understanding and flexibility. I asked my husband to give me wiggle room for two weeks as I got adjusted to this new schedule but someone I forgot to allow myself the same thing.

So I wiggled and I didn't get anxious that I neglected my writings. Instead, I let myself sleep in and trusted that when the time was right I would find the time, or the time would find me.

And as always, here it is.


Everyday, I am inspired by the strength, determination, resiliency, vulnerability and creativity that women in my life show me. So Julia -buy the land and make it home - The Lady Farm is waiting to happen.

I am not alone in wanting more opportunities to gather and learn from other women. I have attended women in business conferences, am part of an outrageously splendid women's circle and think every women should read The Red Tent and dream of a day when we can learn from our elders and be in community with other women.

So I think it is also important to remind ourselves of the pioneers who have gone before us - the women who are breaking the molds, accepting themselves as they are and perhaps making it easier for us to accept the divine and authentic parts of ourselves.

I have a list of women who consistently inspire me...both creatively and personally. That is why every Friday, I pick one woman - famous or not - who knows her self and from afar, helps me to know myself better.

These images are my "inspiring women" mood board - a part of my inspiration wall that I see everyday. They remind me to smile and accept the fact that I love beautiful things.

What and who inspires you?


{you are always at the right place}

My favorite artist Penelope Dullaghan posted a response to this thing she read on her blog this morning and it got me thinking:

“act as if you know what’s going on. as if you are divinely guided. believe that you are always at the right place at the right time and everything you do and everything that happens is orchestrated for your higher growth.”

What if? What if we did? Jump and the parachute would appear is easy to say when you are not standing at the edge of the cliff - looking down into complete uncertainty and nothingness.

But if I really did believe that there is a plan, in which all is okay - and that really truly deeply - there is nothing wrong, I would have so much more time and energy to embrace life as it comes, instead of wanting to bend and push it into a form that makes me comfortable.

Believing that I am divinely guided might actually free me up from the worry and anxiety that I carry along in my purse - like a faithful companion who never lets me down. If there is nothing wrong, then there is SO much more room to breath and laugh and expand.

And to trust so exceptionally and fully is SO hard - so extremely difficult when you feel abandoned and loathed by the universe - but that is at the exact time when it is so necessary to trust the forces that are bigger than yourself. Trusting. Trusting yourself, trusting your path and trusting that in fact everything is exactly as it should be.

And trusting that what ever it is - from the greatest joy to the deepest sorrow - it too shall pass.


from the latest TOAST catalog

Everyone has a style. Perhaps you know yourself so well that you can pop out a two word catch phrase that explains your personal aesthetic: classic modern, vintage chic, preppy punk. But maybe you are like me and have split personalities that can appreciate anything from princess to preppy. But I have wanted a name - my own catch phrase that acts like an umbrella for all the things I love. The better you get to know yourself, the clearer things get and the more focused your eye becomes - you know what fits, what colors make you glow and what pieces of furniture will never get on your nerves. For me, this has been one of the beautiful parts of getting older - with each year there is more clarity, more precision and more acceptance.

So, after careful introspection and a lot of self-improvement books, I have come up with two options: earthy chic or modern rustic. It is a style defined by imperfections, reclaimed wood, heavy farm tables, washed linens, organic properties, clean lines, deep jeweled color, signs of aging, and classic elegance. It's what I gravitate towards - everytime.

Which is also why I began to salivate when I found - TOAST . From the UK, it promotes the use of organic cottons, local vendors and sustainable business practices. And it is beautiful.

From home goods to women's attire - I love every piece and want to melt into every photo. A bit Anthropologie, a bit Sundance, a bit cowgirl,a bit environmentalist, a bit romantic, a bit modern, a bit hippy, a bit classic, a bit eclectic, a bit gypsy, and a bit European - just like me.


PS - They have cool wallpaper images (that are changed per catalog) that can be downloaded as screen savers for your computer.


Spain...On the Road Again

Some of you may know my about my deep affection for Gwyneth Paltrow - so you can imagine how giddy I got when I read about this new series. She, along with Mario Batali and two others explore the culinary side of Spain and it was all shot in high definition video.

For a sneak peak take a look at the site and watch the video snippet. My taste buds are ready.

I just have to find someone with a television now who will let me come over and watch!


I'm a paper girl, so though I try to recycle everything and buy groceries without a lot of packaging, I have a hard time resisting cute cards. But as I mentioned, I am on a paper fast until my stash is used up but that doesn't mean I can't spread the word about paper products that I stumble upon. And did I mention - they are actually made of wood from sustainably harvested birch trees.

So check out Night Owl Paper Goods for some clever new ideas...Their holiday selection is pretty darn adorable!


It's been a while since the famous mermaid movie but Daryl Hannah is still making a splash. Her outspoken stance on helping the environment and living a consciously aware life is now part of her new campaign to educate America. Called DH Love Life, it's an interactive way to learn about running your car on bio diesel and how to support your local community supported agriculture (CSA).

And it's cool.


some day...

from Outstanding in the Field website

I girl gets to dream doesn't she.

Someday, I will get to RSVP to a dinner under the stars - eating as nature had intended.

The Outstanding in the Field events are just that - from farm to table - food and culinary delights that are local, organic and fresh from the earth. It is a true gem of an idea.

Visit their website to get on their mailing list about future events.


Do you have a spot - just for yourself, where you can go to tune out the world, silence the phone and just breathe?


from CommonGround Magazine, 2005

Keep following your bliss.
If you haven't found what you love, keep looking.


{the ritual of public baths}

From Japan to Turkey to Finland to Russia, the idea of communal bathing is certainly not a new concept. However, it is not part of our American culture and it is a shame. Our closeted and fearful relationship with sexuality and sensuality and nudity makes communal bathing still a fringe experience.

Luckily I live in San Francisco, which means I have a few more options when it comes time for this lovely and relaxing ritual. However Osento, the women's bath in the Mission is now closed and the popularity of the public baths at Kabuki now means that I might have to wait for 2 hours to get in, so I am in desperate need of a new place to soak and get warm.

So for now, I will have to share with you about a spot in Seattle, that is certainly worth a visit.

Banya 5 : Seattle Urban Spa

I have only been there once but I will be certain to visit again when I visit the Pacific Northwest.


{time to toss}

We hoard things.

After traveling for 10 months, with nothing more than a small suitcase, it became very clear that I do not need birthday cards from people I don't know anymore, boxes of superfluous paper and greeting cards or unused books that take up space.

I have actually always been very good about throwing things away (or of course donating them or recycling if I could) but there is always room for improvement. But of course, what has to change as well is the buying habit. My big frustration about the Green movement these days is that it is not encouraging people to look at their buying habits, just telling them to buy green products instead. Yes, we need things - and when you need something, consider buying an earth friendly version. But look too at what you are already surrounded by and perhaps something can be recycyled or repurposed into something totally new.

So, in an effort to really simplify life here are a few suggestions that I have found helpful for cleaning up and cleaning out:

1) In 2006, while planning my wedding, I made a pact - No more paper purchases (cards, wrap, etc) until everything I already owned was gone. I have passed the 2 year mark, and except for a batch of tissue paper, I haven't purchased a thing. And the crazy thing, it doesn't even look like I have made a dent. Look at what you've got and USE it!

2) If you buy something new, something old has to go. Donate it or give it to a friend!

3) Check expiration dates - Things like ink cartridges, medicines, suntan lotion, toothpaste, and make up have expiration dates these days. Once past, the items may not function as well as they should. This should keep you from hoarding things in storage and really using what you have and buying only when you need it.

4) Is it a duplicate? Often when households merge, you end up with two coffee makers, two irons, two plungers. Unless you have a vacation home, consider having a yard sale or donating the items to your thrift store. By the time you might need these items, you'll want a newer better version anyway.

5) Does it fit? This is not just for clothes in your closet. People change and tastes change. What you liked three years ago, may not be your style anymore. Or what fit in your studio apartment no longer works in your new home. We are really good at holding onto things because we think we should instead of letting go and moving forward.

Start small. For some getting organized and clearing the clutter feels daunting and overwhelming. Choose one shelf or drawer to start with. If you give yourself opportunities for small triumphs, then the bigger challenges will follow with ease.


{remember to...}

I am usually quite grateful for the women in my life, but somehow this week I have been in awe: of a friend who reached out and asked for help, of a friend who confided her sorrow and frustration, of a friend who is loving as she never has before, of a friend who listened to the advice of her dad, of a friend who with baby in tow showed up to support a friend, of my mom who received an award for outstanding new business owner, and of my women's circle who rallied spontaneously and immediately when we were needed.

This posting is for you.


Be the designer of your life.


{trust your instinct}


I learn something new every day. I have learned to accept the fact that things will be messier than I want them to be, that I will have computer cables in my life and that clothes on the banister are not there to spite me. And in fact, if all those things disappeared, I might be happy for a second (or maybe a week) but that that is not where the true source of my happiness comes from.

But I have learned something far more important about trusting my instinct. My whole life I have been in control of the spaces that I lived in - staying up until the wee hours of the night to unpack every box and hang every picture when I moved. There was never anyone's opinion to ask and if I had roommates, they either trusted me implicitly or I trusted them - and decisions were effortless.

But now, I live with a man - a good man, who doesn't understand the need for superfluous pillows and does have an opinion every once in while about the space that he lives in. And I want him to have an opinion - it's his space too. So when it came time to get new bath mats for the bathroom, we headed to Bed, Bath & Beyond and made a decision together.

I knew he didn't like I what I liked. And when he pulled out the blue fluffy ones, I knew I didn't like what he liked. And in my gut - I knew I wouldn't learn to love them either. But I figured, they are bath mats - I can learn to live with them. But I can't.

It's been over a year and what I realize is that it is less about the bathmats and more than I did not listen to my gut reaction. I should have listened to my instinct and continued the search - knowing and trusting that we would find something that we both liked.

So be patient and listen to your own opinion and instinct - whether it's for choosing your next job or a new set of bathmats. The right thing will appear.


{emptying your mailbox - the old fashioned one}

8Ever wonder how all these magazines appear in your mailbox that you never signed up for? All it takes it ordering from one catalog once and then it all starts - one catalog after another based on your spending habits and assumed demographic.

Since I have narrowed down my favorites to a few (and I can access the latest and greatest online) I have canceled all of the catalogs that come to our house and have taken the next step to reduce the amount of unsolicited mail that arrives as well, including pre-approved credit card offers. You can of course recycle all this spam mail when it arrives, but wouldn't it be much nicer to not receive it in the first place?




It's easy and takes only a few moments at your computer. Follow the links below to remove your name from the database of "sent spam" and start de-cluttering your entry way table today.


{unfinished business}

One of my favorite sayings is

The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

And I have always thought that to be very true. If I do something I do it well and to the best of my ability - whether it is writing a thesis, painting a room or washing the dishes. And then I really started to think about it and I looked around at my life and all the bits and pieces of started projects and ideas. What is actually true is that I start with passion, energy and drive and then at some point I either get distracted or bored.

So I am surrounded with unfinished things - a lingerie chest that is half covered in original paint, inspiration binders that are uninspiring and a mess, newly upholstered pillows on the couch still needing snaps. I started to realize that all of this unfinished business was adding to the mental clutter in my head and taking away vital energy needed to move forward.

So, what have I been doing. I've been completing. I made a list of ALL the unfinished things in my life, even the ones stacked away in drawers and hidden in the closets. Just making the list took the load out of my head and made space for clarity and a plan. When new projects and new "To do's" entered my mind, I could immediately assess whether to start working on them or not - and the astounding answer was no. Finish what you started. So the list for now is getting shorter and the feeling of completion is outstanding.

Changing habits takes discipline - everyday. But as I start to see the beneficial affects of these changes, I am re:energized to keep going. So, if my new motto is finish what you start, I'll just have to see what other areas in my life need some completing as well.



Imagine that the key to happiness is following your own intuition instead of other people's opinions and advice

from the Happiest Book in the World by alex ostrowski


{me. modern dinosaur}

It's official.

I'm a dinosaur.

I write and send thank-you notes, use a fountain pen, think my cell phone is for my convenience - not yours, can't part with my mixed tapes, prefer movies that were made before the special effects revolution, think that we should have never stopped fighting with swords, had a walkman until two years ago, love the music quality of LP's, believe that life in the time of Jane Austen is worth striving for, prefer gifts that are hand-made, can't figure out why someone sends me a text message instead of calling me, miss picking up photos from Wahlgreens, believe that Prince Charmings do exist and at 33, already find myself saying "When I was little.."

I never thought of myself this way, until my friend Kelly came over last night and after hours of delightful conversation we realized that we indeed shared this same state. She had just stumbled onto "Say Anything" on television, and of course had to watch. Her thought once it had finished: "The days of boom-boxes outside your window are just over."

But I can't accept that. Maybe the boom-boxes just look a little different.

Being on a path of self-acceptance, I figure I need to accept the dinosaur part of myself and even see it as a delightful way of living a simple and happy life. And, I love my itunes, have figured out this blog thing, love our projector and watching movies on our living room wall, applaud cities with highly evolved public transporation systems, am teaching myself Illustrator, have even played around with HTML and love how the Internet has given people community and a voice, even if it's a virtual one.

So, I'm a modern dinosaur - a description that Kelly and I can both live with.


{maintain well-being}

If an artist date is time to nurture my inner creative self, then a wellness date is just time to nurture myself, period.

Self-care shouldn't be a tricky or foreign concept, but it may just be the most diffilut thing for some of us to do. We don't take care of ourselves. I am fascinated with the why and will probably spend lots of time and entries getting to the essence of the answer but until then, I am going to commit to a weekly wellness date - time, alone, to nurture myself.

This week I visited Safronya, an Ayurvedic retreat center, in San Rafael. Once a month, they host a sangha - the Sanskrit word for a gathering or community with a common goal, vision or purpose - open to the public to share and discuss the practices and philosphy of Ayurveda.

Ayurveda, the living and healing science of India, is a true lifestyle approach to well-being. Nourishment and therapies include guidance with food, stress reduction techniques, mindfulness practices and movement - though it can not be reduced to these "To do" things. It is truly holistic in nature and I have found it to be the most beneficial approach to my own health. It requires your own participation in your life and health and that you take care of yourself.

Safronya offers services for body, mind and spirit that go beyond spa treatments. Last night's sangha was a beautiful gathering of women, who each gave themselves this time to connect, listen and learn.

I left feeling excited, happy, empowered and eagerly awaiting the gathering in August.

For more information about Ayurveda and Safronya, please visit their website.


{beach hat}

At a wedding in Charleston {South Carolina} in May 2006, I found Skirt - a newspaper for and about women. I brought it home and tore this image out for my inspiration board. The work of Penelope Dullaghan is now some of my favorite.

The quote at the bottom reads...

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. - Buddha


{my creative self}

On my journey of self-discovery, Julia Cameron's The Artists Way proved inspiring and habit changing - the key to any type of transformation. In it, she encourages readers to take time for themselves, specifically time to nurture your creative-self. This time she calls Artist Dates.

What is an Artist Date?
A weekly commitment of time, for you alone, to explore and indulge your inner creative self.

The key to artists dates is that you are alone and that you stick to them, as diligently as you stick to your other commitments. And your inner artist doesn't have to be a painter - cooking, nature, house decorating, dancing, music, scrap booking, reading, knitting - these are all creative outlets.

For me, it is a time to be unavailable to everyone else - there are no bills to pay and nothing to do but explore something that delights me. It may sound indulgent, but for me, they have become as necessary to my health and well-being as eating well. I have committed to a weekly artist date and will share with you my adventures + insights, in the hopes of inspiring your own inner artist.


{the Renegade craft fair}

In the end, the only steps that matter are the ones you take all by yourself.
you can't go back now
- the weepies
Today is just a regular Monday. And here in San Francisco, it's actually a cloudy and gray Monday. But today is special - this is my first posting and my first little step.

Gratitude crept into my meditation this morning - gratitude for the wonderful weekend I had. A boisterous dinner with some of my favorite people, a sunday spent on DIY projects at home with my husband and a visit on saturday to SF's first Renegade craft fair.

Full of inspiration + creativity, I left feeling hopeful and happy. With my new found path of simplicity and mindful consumerism , I actually left without buying anything but I made sure to take the information for my favorite things.

The stand out :

Tea lights from domestic construction

Other things worth loving :

pottery by sara paloma : soap dish + vases from mediums to masses : polaroids + art from elizabeth soule : art, posters + calendars from nikki mcclure : covers for moleskin journals from chikabird + randl : vintage book journals from jacob deatherage : letterpress element art by lizzardpress : baby onesies + kid clothes by lali : belt buckle from reclaimed metal by buncombe buckles : recylced sterling bird on a wire necklaces by figs&ginger : collage : art by michelle caplan : ceramic pendants + pieces from olaria studio

I know that buying at the fair would have been the local thing to do. Most of the artists I mentioned are in the Bay Area and sell their wares locally - others are available through Etsy.