What a Random and Fabulous Week

Our younger son is on Spring Break this week and that means he doesn't have to get up early with the rest of us so I've found him like this...
...every morning this week.  I want to wake him up, but his little face is too sweet for it.

Two nights ago the cutie above was getting the mail and came running in to tell us he saw an owl.  It went something like ~
"MOM! Come outside and see this! I found an Owl!"  
"MOOOOMMMM!  Hurry!  I said I found AN OWL!!"
Sure enough, there was an owl perched on the tippy top of a tree in our neighbors yard.

It was getting dark, so there isn't much detail, but you can tell...
See him? The tiny spec right in the center

He was noisy, but entertaining to us.  
The hubs would hoot and then the owl would hoot in response.  
I had to come inside, I felt uncomfortable watching my hubs flirt with a bird.

Yesterday was to die for beautiful here in my neck of the woods.  It was sunny, and warm {88} and I had on shorts...even though my legs are ghostly white.

Because we woke up to clear skies {no fog, low clouds or rain...just sun} the hot air balloons were flying.  They're up every clear morning ~ but it's been rainy and cloudy for so long I had almost forgotten what they look like!

These 2 were flying over the vineyard across the street from our house.

This 1 is crossing our street, headed right for our house

Here it is flying over our yard

On to our neighbors house now

I just love the balloons ~ we count them on our way to school in the mornings.  The record number we've seen is 13 and it's been in place for a couple years.  Maybe it will be broken this year.

In other random musings, we've had a bee hive in the trunk of an old walnut tree right next to our house since we've lived here.  
It's always fascinating to watch the bees busily fly in and out of their home working so diligently to pollinate for us.

Well, this morning as I was walking by the tree, after my spontaneous photo shoot with the balloons ~ I noticed something I hadn't seen in our little bee tree before.

The bees are spilling out of the tree

It's a bee beard!!  

I was a little scared as I took these pictures.  Luckily no Carrie was harmed during production. Phew!



I Am Addicted

My name is Carrie and I am an addict.  
Some of you may share my addiction.  
It seems to be common, especially among women.

This photo was taken while we were at lunch together at our favorite deli

Trumpets sound and angels sing ~ There she is.  

Madame DIET COKE!!

I prefer it served cold, right outta the icy can.  No plastic bottles for me!  {They don't keep it cold enough} I'll settle for my DC from a soda fountain with ice and a straw, but not usually from a convenience store.  Those convenience store fountains aren't cleaned regularly and can taste icky.  Usually restaurant soda fountains taste fine -- the best is when a restaurant surprises you by serving your supreme soda beverage in a petite, glass bottle {you know the kind, short and fat with a little white, plastic twist top} and a tall glass of ice.  It's rare, I know, but such a treat when it happens.

Because I know I'm an addict, I try to limit my consumption of this bubbly delicious-ness to one, OK, two cans per day.  Sometimes when I'm feeling particularly stressed, or tired, or indulgent, I up the daily intake a smidge.  
But I try to keep it a secret -- which proves the addiction.



Yummy in my Tummy

Have you tried the Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake from Trader Joe's?!?  If not, you MUST.  I've made it a couple times when we've had overnight guests, because it's a crowd pleaser and really, really easy ~ meaning I can make it while I'm half asleep :-) 

We had some family spend the night this weekend and I made the coffee cake as part of our breakfast Sunday morning {along with eggs benedict, sausage and fruit} and this is all that remains.....

Just one lonely little sliver, waiting to be eaten. Will it make it through the afternoon? Doubtful



A Field Trip!

Today was the first day of Spring Break for our younger son.  We have 2 kids in 2 different schools and they don't have the same vacation schedule.  So....it means we're not going anywhere for spring break this year.  Neither spring break.  But we did go on a little field trip this morning.  We went shopping for {drum roll please} ......


I was thoroughly excited about this little journey because I have an unnatural love for marble {particularly honed, Carrera, 3cm}.  Our son, however, did not share my enthusiasm as noted by his pouty face and the fact that he chose to sit in the 3rd row even though the 2nd row was empty and he was the only backseat passenger.

Once we arrived at the first wholesaler our little guy returned to his usual happy helper self.  {Thankfully}

I think wandering through rows and rows of gigantic polished rocks helped him on his journey back to happy guy.  Every boy loves rocks, right?

And this place had a LOT of shiny rocks.  My little helper and I snaked through the tidily kept rows running our fingers over the impressive creations of Mother Nature.

Totally amazing {Although I don't want it in my house :)}

It's difficult to tell, but what looks blue in this image is actually a bright violet.  I'm sure some people love it, but I'm more of a simple, traditionalist when it comes to extraordinarily expensive, semi-permanent home decisions.  
{Even though I did paint my house black}

Our 'third wheel' couldn't help but be fascinated by the way the slabs are moved around...

At this facility they used a forklift with a special attachment.  There was 1 guy operating the lift and 2 guys helping to guide the slab.

The next place used special cranes that were on tracks throughout the warehouse.  The crane was remotely operated using that little control pad resting on his hip in this image.  More efficient yes, but nobody was helping him guide those heavy slabs! Yikes-a-roo!!!

As it turns out, our First Day of Spring Break Field Trip was a success ~

We found a slab that matched our client's needs perfectly!

{Love the organization}

I got to drool over my love....

And this Cute-Puh-Toot smiled and even had a little fun.



My Risk ~ A Black House

I was visiting the nesting place today and she has been talking about taking risks with decor.  I thought about my house and didn't think we had really taken any risks.  We live in a mid century California ranch and we've made some modifications to it since we bought it in '07...none of those changes seem particularly risky though.  Then it hit me.  



Not dark grey, not deep brown, not navy blue....but black.  That's pretty risky right?  You don't see a black house very often.  I think it was a risk worth taking and love the way it turned out.

The house has a brick border all the way around which helps to break up the black

We used galvanized exterior lights ~ They're ranch-y and stand out against the dark color

Although it's difficult to tell, the front door is an apple green (called Napa Valley Green ironically) and helps to brighten things up

The porch chairs are also Napa Valley Green
{Believe it or not, choosing the white for the trim and eves was the most difficult decision. 
I wanted it to be warm, but not too yellow and there are just so many whites!}

A view of most of the front of the house.  It's a rambler and difficult to fit the entire length in the frame.

It's a happy and cheerful home despite the ominous color.  I think it makes something classic sort of edgy and I really like the way the mossy green landscape looks with the black during the summer time when the sun's out...which is hard to tell from this gloomy, grey weather.



School Auctions

We went to the auction for our younger son's elementary school on Saturday night.  It's always a fun event and we have a great time with our dear friends...There's always dancing after the auction and dinner are over but this was the first time we stayed for the dancing.  Based on these pictures, we should probably go back to skipping it in the future!

I'm uncertain what this move is...but my husband looks worried about me.

 Uh...it appears as if he's pointing at me in this picture as if to say "do you see this?"

And of course there is the obligatory hands up move.  Can't hit the dance floor without the hands up move.

PS -- that's our table in the foreground of this image....notice the wine in view with so little of the table actually showing.  This could explain the freedom of expression through dance that occurred that night.

PPS -- there are other photos which will remain private, they're that good, or bad, depending on your perspective.

**On another note ~ I'm summoning the courage to begin a project I'd like to share.  It involves fabric and furniture and I'm scared. I'm hoping that posting it here will be like bullying myself into doing it.  Stay tuned for that...



So Happy I did this...

Recently I headed out to our yard with my camera.  It was such a pretty day and the trees were blooming.  I heard on the weather that a cold spell was coming and that we could expect snow.  SNOW!!!!  I live in Napa Valley people - snow just doesn't happen here.

{Side note ~ I am obsessed with the weather report.  I can't explain it, I have NO explanation, but I am completely and totally UHB-sessed.  I stay up late to watch the 11 o'clock report even though I watched the 10 o'clock which I watched after I saw the 5 o'clock report.  You should also know that I critique the 'weather man'.  I know the official title is meteorologist, but I prefer weather man or weather girl. And he or she better get the forecast right or I will for sure be bad mouthing him/her all day long!}

So, because I knew, from watching my weather reports, that freezing temps were on their way I thought I better take some pictures of the blossoms that come only once a year just in case the freeze killed 'em dead.

Tulip Tree {that's what we call them}

The bright pink fades to white too quickly ~ but I love these trees anyway

Euphorbia rolling out it's blossoms. I love the deep red tone of this variety

More Euphorbia, with a brighter, more chartreuse flower

Plum blossoms

Little known fact, but Napa Valley originally grew plums and some were dried into prunes.  Not nearly as glamorous {or lucrative} as wine grapes but the history has left us with volunteer plum trees around the valley.  Their fruit is small and sweet and fun to eat in the summer time...if we can manage to get them before the birds!

Last but certainly not least are these sweet tulips popping up in our yard right in front of our kitchen window.  The hubs secretly planted them in the fall as a surprise to me.  They're my favorite flower, and he's my favorite guy.  love


Spring Time

It's Spring and baseball is in the air.  
Our youngest started practice a few weeks ago.  Neither of our boys have ever played before so this is new to our family ~ but we are having a great time!  I love watching practice and taking pictures of him ~ ya' never know...he may be the next Buster Posey, or Brian Wilson {Fear the Beard} and we need to have pictures of him for Sports Illustrated {wink wink}

First time catching

Throwing to third

I hope your family is enjoy some outdoor fun this weekend too.



Earthquake & Tsunami

I saw a CNN update on my phone last night about an 8.0+ earthquake {most recently I heard the magnitude had been increased to a 9.0} in Japan and later before bed, I watched the news of the devastation and destruction that happened as the water flowed quickly and freely to the area it didn't belong.

I didn't sleep well last night and found myself awake at 2:30 -- unable to fall back to sleep I wandered to the living room and turned on the news which is when I learned that California, and the entire West Coast of North America, was under a tsunami Warning.


A warning means that the tsunami is coming people -- the forecasters are certain.
This caused me a few minutes of panic as I imagined myself fleeing to higher ground with my family and our doggies.  I know, I know, we live in Napa and Napa isn't ON the ocean, or even that near it.  But, our little town is not very far above sea level, we have a tide affected river that runs the length of our valley and feeds into San Pablo Bay, which is essentially an extension of the San Francisco Bay. So you can see how I began to get nervous. 
Turns out that the surge wasn't expected to be very high in California and it was estimated to arrive with low tide keeping it as 'in check' as wrath of mother nature can possibly be.

So here in Napa we're perfectly fine, but other parts of our coastline are not.  The harbor in Santa Cruz has been hit pretty hard and Crescent City has been completely evacuated.  It's been fascinating to watch the details on the news because it proves what we know but often forget ~ we are all connected.  An earthquake in Japan was felt, nearly, across the entire world -- certainly across the entire Pacific.  

My thoughts are with the families of lost loved ones in Japan and all the Japanese people.

love and hugs,



Have you ever felt pride from a friends successes?  I hope I'm not the only one, but when a close friend of mine reaches some milestone, personally or professionally, I feel a sense of pride.  Like, "Hey!  Look at her!  She is fabulous and I know her!!"  I often hear people talking about the exact opposite in their 'friends'; people who act as if their happy for your success but really wish you ill.  We all know the type...  I figure if that's the case, they aren't really a true friend and at some point in our lives we have to eliminate all things untrue, including friends, and just be real.

I started thinking about this today when I read a tweet from a dear friend of mine who is a successful jewelry designer.  She started a few years ago selling her hand made items on eBay and over time that small business has blossomed into a beautiful shop, Haute Bride, in San Francisco and nationwide recognition.  She has even had some of her incredible pieces worn by celebrities on the red carpet!  Well, today she posted on Twitter that she is expanding her design studio and hiring more busy hands to help make her bling!  I am so happy for her hard earned success, but particularly during a time when what we seem to hear most about is economic difficulty.

Lindsie gave me this piece for my birthday last week  

I found myself filled with pride -- even though I have no connection to her business, except through our friendship.  Maybe I'm just happy to know somebody who is "making it work".

Visit my friend Lindsie at her sites here and here. And be sure to keep up with all things new and fabulous in the wedding world by following her on Twitter @hautebride.

Love and Hugs,