Own Your Style: A Cheerful Winter Wardrobe

The first couple months of every New Year is my favorite time to 
clean and organize my closets.
Is is yours too?

No room is off limits.  
Kitchens, bathrooms and pantry's are usually full of weird odds and ends
 that end up in the garbage pail.  
Why do I always have an extra can of pumpkin?
and what's up with all the red pepper flakes?

Clothes closets are always challenging because it's sometimes hard to giveaway a beloved skirt or handbag that might be the item you wish you had saved down the road. 

 Remember that denim skirt you made from a pair of jeans Sophomore year?  
Yea that one....don't ya wish you still had it?

BTW....just for laughs google: home made jeans skirt...no words can describe these skirts

 how about the tooled leather thingy from Cabo circa 1993
(clearly a case of too much Cerveza)

  I actually have seen furniture that I have sold/consigned or donated show up in antique malls.  
Always a weird feeling....especially when I see the prices!!
I recently consigned two side tables....which I received $250 dollars for....not too shabby 

about a week later I ran into them (hello tables) in a rather upscale antique mall
priced at $1250


weirder yet, I looked inside to see if I had left anything!

even weirder, the shop owner said 
"can I help you with anything?"

to which I answered:
"yes, I would like to buy these amazing tables for
one thousand two hundred and fifty dollars"

just kidding about the last part 
but I did peek to see if my book was still in the drawer

 Last year I did a major purge and it felt really great.
So this year is more about organizing the things I wear over and over again 
and updating accessories and basics 

I tossed a few pairs of old boots, which was actually kinda hard ; )
truth:  I rescued a pair of Frye riding boots at the very last minute....I felt like I was saving a dear friend from certain disaster.  
They will eventually find their way back into the donation box.  
That's what boots do....they go walking

I did purchase these
this is a beautiful basic black boot that hits just below the knee,
they look great with everything and were soft and comfortable right out of the box...always a plus because I'm just not into blisters any more, I don't care how awesome the shoe is!

not sure if you can still find this boot 
it's the Suzie boot from Sigerson Morrison

always a staple for me are light weight running/walking shoes 
which look great with jeans and khaki's
These are New Balance 711's 
love these in black and the other fun colors

hoarder alert...I own 3 pair! 

I wear my fave vintage Donna Karen Collection (circa 2004) cashmere coat with everything...
it even looks good with pajamas ; ))

 love this coat from Theory
It has a wonderful menswear appeal

 Invested (luggage is an investment) in some new duffels 
and totes from Filson
In addition to being beautifully made these should last forever...
probably much longer than I will want to keep using them, cause forever is a really long time

 I love/need a big cross body that I can open up and see everything I've thrown in there 
and this one can double as a weekender in a pinch 

Will someone please write a post about purses and analyze why we put so much stuff in them...
it's truly amazing.

It's as if we women were taught at an early age that the ability to cram your entire life 
into a smallish bag 
(which you will then carry around you neck until you need surgery)
 is part of growing up...but I digress

I love white and cream in the winter too and found some great Levi 501's in white
these are a boyfriend fit and a bit distressed 
super cute and comfy
found these at Macys.com ...I think they were around $50 dollars 

add a few more lovelies like a great big chunky black sweater
and a floral scarf and your sure to feel cheerful
even in the rain
Eddie Bauer

Cath Kidson

other items:
Sunnies: Krewe
Watch: Longines
Jeans:  Polo
Blue boyfriend shirt:  Polo  

I didn't use links but you know how to get there ; ))



Hello Sunshine

For some strange reason I know I have used the title before,
 but today I want to share the work of a creative and lovely acquaintance 
Victoria Pearson. 

These are her photos and she now has a wonderful new cookbook devoted to the subject of Citrus....
which you can purchase here

Vickie has been a longtime photographer/contributor to Martha Stewart and there is a nice feature and some of the recipes included in Martha Stewart Living this month.

I had the pleasure of working with Vickie when she photographed
 our home in Ojai for Country Living
It was really interesting to see how she sets up for a shot and what the end result becomes.  I usually can spot her work in a magazine before I check the credits.
Her photos are always very etherial and light filled 
which I love.

Vickie has a true love for Ojai and she relishes her time at her home on the east end,
 surround by...you guessed it...citrus trees! 
After reading these recipes I'm convinced she is a wonderful cook too.  

She co-wrote the book with her friend Valerie Aikman-Smith

If you are at the farmers market this month it is brimming with citrus, especially tangerines and odd oranges like Cara Cara and Blood oranges. 
Cara Cara's are really good.  
Not as sweet as a valencia with a bright salmon-isn pink-ish interior. 

And Blood oranges are bitter and sort of peppery but very tasty. 

And of course you know my fave is the Meyer.....here's my best vinaigrette ever
The book is full of recipes that are not the usual 
but very 
creative, simple and delicious 
with out all the hype....
which is so needed right now. 

rant allert!

 I'm so sick of slick "food network" celebrity chefs that appear to spend the majority of their time attending Food and Wine festivals, creating silly television and inundating book stores with uninteresting, unusable cookbooks.  

The fact is that most of us (even those new to cooking) understand good food and the enjoyment of creating a wonderful meal for your family and friends. 
It has absolutely nothing to do with throw downs, shopping cart races or using odd ball ingredients like freeze dried Nutella.

 come on....will someone please call the food network and the cooking police and tell them to please stop already!

ok I'm better....back to the good stuff
This time of year it is pretty easy to get stuck in the comfort food rut because the weather is chilly.
Because citrus is available all year,  any of these recipes will work for you right now
And if you're really in a winter rut you can break out the blender and whip up some 
home made Margaritas for Sunday football!!!
Stay warm and cozy 
and squeeze a little sunshine into your day




Santa Barbara Garden Design

 Wow somehow the summer just got the best of me and the days zipped on by.  I realize I have pretty much been off the blogging grid for a few months but I needed a breather...
and honestly my creativity seemed to be on vacation ; ))

Blogging is time consuming and while it is a wonderful way to express yourself and share ideas
it can become really hard to squeeze it all in.
I realize I'm "preaching to the choir" here...!

I do share photos (randomly) on Instagram
just in case you like stuff about pretty much anything

We did get a few things done....the garden is about 75% with a few large projects left for after the holidays

Just to refresh, here is a quick before shot from around February 
 The lot is pie shaped and a little odd so we started off by creating a series
of landings and green garden rooms
The plantings will be drought tolerant and meadow like, with scented geraniums, lavender, grasses
and small dry creeks with succulents
 There will be a  large stone water feature in the center of the old lawn...this is a "no grass" garden
but still very green
We did our best to incorporate large rocks and existing hedges into the plan as well

throughout the property there are a series of small gated areas unified with white stucco, Monticeto and Santa Barbara stone, gravel and aged redwood

 The kitchen garden is at the very East end and gets lots of sun and heat.
We used stone quarried  here on the property to build the new raised beds,
it's a beautiful pale beige stone full of character

little veggies just getting started....this was a while ago

The garden doors are very simple redwood
and with rusted iron hardware
This is the new fountain and garden path. The walks are bordered because I like a clean break between the beds and the gravel.  The pathways are first graded and tamped and then a layer of filter fabric is stapled down to keep out weeds and finally topped with gravel

I planted tomatoes just in time 
at the very end of May
This is a bamboo staking method which I really liked and it looks interesting too
For the climbers and veggies that need support I used willow trellis structures. I took them apart and created a new supports with the addition of bare willow stakes and jute lashing

the supports are tied at the top with the rustic jute 

this little vegetable garden has tons of potential and I can't wait to add pots 
and some other interesting containers back here

Geraniums are a favorite in this climate and they look so pretty in these old concrete pots
The garden is full of bright pink and yellow with splashes of blue

I purchased some huge French Gresale pots and they are filled with flowers and succulents.
The dry creeks run throughout the garden randomly and were created free form with existing large boulders, rocks, beach pebbles and gravel

 succulents and flowers  tucked into the little cracks and spaces

This is the beginning of layout for new plants and you can see we have the fountain up and running and the pea gravel pathways finished.  I wanted some citrus 
so we have 4 lemon at each corner of the pathway
There is a nice little redwood deck which will eventually be surrounded by tall grasses and will "float" in the center of the plantings

I like the natural look of this garden and the maintenance will be really easy for the most part

This garden post is a bit odd for this time of year when we are all consumed with
Holiday shopping and decorating 
but oh well
there is always time to garden and winter is a wonderful time to be outside
bundled up with a big sweater and a favorite pair of jeans

We are slowly getting started on the inside of this old house, lots of projects, planning and creating.

but for now
take time to enjoy each day...especially the little things

xo kelley

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