Guy Stuff: Orvis catalog


I was a menswear buyer and merchandiser for many years early in my career and I have a love for men's clothing.  I never designed a single piece of women's wear nor did I consider myself a very good shopper when it came to my own wardrobe.

 As an ardent student of the "Ralph Lauren" school of menswear, to this day,  I love mens clothes.

 I buy them for my husband and son and I love the look of menswear as it relates to my own closet.  Sometimes I scour the markdowns for a size small cashmere vest that a guy would never wear but works perfectly for me!

I would consider myself a catalog junkie and the new Orvis Clothing for Men catalog is really special.
What is not to love about these bright chunky watches!

These are the nicest sweatshirts, from the Montana Morning collection; nice colors and really soft washed out feel.

Love this boot.  Very Ralph Lauren-ish

This is where it all started for Orvis; their incredible Fly Fishing rods and reels.  These are from the Adirondack  Collection and will set you back about $2000 dollars.

This luggage is really great looking and looks pretty functional as well.  I could totally see a woman using these.  That satchel is great.

Gotta love the dog stuff.  My pal Millie has this collar.

No comment....snooozing now

Cute pea coat and scarf

I like these unbreakable plates and the rosewood tableware, really pretty

I must admit the women's section is in serious need of some new talent in the merchandising dept.

Need I say more?  So silly looking, who would wear this?

I actually like this hat better, sort of like a kitty on your head.  Check out the Orvis catalog for the man in your life.  I think you'll agree there is some great stuff.
happy shopping~*~kelley

Carmens Best Guacamole: foodie friday recipe #1


With all of the new citrus trees just planted including a Bearss Lime and Haas Avocado it really got me thinking about what to cook this weekend.
I have a little journal, actually a couple of them, full of random recipes and thoughts about parties I might host and what kind of food to serve.  I usually jot things down on the weekends when I have a minute to sit and reflect.  I don't keep a journal so I suppose this is my version.

A wonderful gal who worked for me a few years ago was also working for another family who happens to own a couple of really good restaurants in the LA/OC area:  El Cholo and Cannery Seafood.  She did  plating and food prep at the restaurants. One afternoon before she left for her "2nd" job of the day we talked about guacamole.

Here is Carmen's version and the one I always use when I make guacamole.  It's not hot because I don't think thats the way it was intended.  Serve with your favorite salsa and chips.  My fave right now happens to be Santitos which are about $2 dollars for a huge bag!

In a large bowl combine:
     3-4 ripe avocados (Haas) pitted and flesh scooped out
     1/2 cup finely diced white onion
     1 jalepeno finely diced
     1/4 cup cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
     kosher salt to taste
Work all ingredients together with a fork, the mixture should be chunky.  Cover well and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Remove from the fridge and add:
     1/2 cup ripe roma or firm tomatoes rough chopped
     Juice of 2 limes
     Recheck seasoning and add salt and more lime juice if needed
    Top off as garnish:  finely sliced radish (I have white in the photos because it was at the farmers market)

I  usually serve my workers "the landscape guys" something every friday before they leave.  Usually cookies and soft drinks but today it will be chips and guacamole.

Happy Foodie Friday ~*~kelley

Lovin my Oven: Bertazzoni; Direct from Italy


Back home today in Newport and already knee deep into another project.  I have so many things going on right now I feel a little dizzy! 
 We are doing some construction to fix a structural defect in the house we own and while we were doing that we also thought it might be a good time to give the kitchen a face lift.  Nothing is ever an easy fix and we've already run into a bunch of little problems but there is always Plan B.  I'm not sure what Plan B is yet but I'll probably find out really soon. 

The highlight of my day today was the uncrating of my new Italian free standing range form Bertazonni. The company has been making stoves in the Emilia-Romagna  region near Parma Italy since 1892 and they have just recently started to become available in the US. This region of Italy is really the heart of the food world and the stoves are a work horse for the home cook as well as the professional chef.

The stove comes in quite a few colors including stainless, this shiny black and bright red which would be really fun to do with stainless counter tops.  I love the logo at the base with the wings.

Heres a sneak peek at the reno and my new Italian love.  The paint on these is like automobile  paint, really shiny and deep looking.  The knobs are really interesting as well.

  We are pulling out the stone on this center island and replacing it with black absolute granite which should really add some bling to this little kitchen space. 

Stay tuned for more demo and the finished project!
Have a great week~*~kelley

Eat what you grow: Sustainable Gardening & Biodiversity

In the process of designing our landscape and more specifically our garden and Orchard we are thinking hard about sustainability and biodiversity:   plants that will last and will not require an excessive amount of energy and water and water features and vegetation that will provide food and shelter for a variety of animals and insects.  All these things create an environment that will support and maintain the vitality of the garden and the surrounding landscape.  We got a plant delivery this morning for the rear garden and orchard.

 The original Orchard consisted of about a dozen citrus, Valencia oranges, Eureka lemon and Satsuma tangerine.  We are adding two Meyer lemon, a yummy sweet juicy lemon and a Bearss lime.  There are also acres of avocados in this area so we are planting two Haas avocado as well.  Its important to note that all of the fruit trees are inspected and receive a stamp issued by the California Department of Food and Agriculture prior to being transported and delivered.  The last thing you want is some crazy little bug eating your beautiful fruit trees.

For the rear garden area we have begun to work on the "bones" of the vegetable garden with the construction of six raised rock planters.  These will alternate with vegetables and ornamental plants depending on the season.  The center area is reserved for four apple trees, Anna, Dorsett Gold and Fuji that will be bordered by a grape vine "fence".  Two peach trees, Babcock and Mid Pride  will be added at the rear of the vegetable planters.  Much of the hardscape is planned for DG or decomposed granite pathways.  We love the gravel in the drive but it won't work for an area that is a work surface.

All of this planning is aimed at a desire to actually eat what we grow and to enjoy the garden visually from various vantage points around the property.  FYI all of this stone came from the yard!!! Its everywhere you stick a shovel.

And last but not least we have reconstructed the seasonal creek that runs the entire length of the lot.  It got its first use this last few days as we got about 3" of rain.  It worked beautifully and the run off was surprisingly clean and clear.  The Arroyo or creek will also be lightly planted with ground cover and succulents to soften the edges and provide shelter for the birds that use the creek for their daily bath.
Here's the Arroyo yesterday in the midst of a down pour.  It starts to run pretty rapidly, all the more reason to keep it clean.  All this water eventually ends up in the Pacific.  We are actually working on plans for water storage from this run off because we could probably water most of the summer with reclaimed water if we had the capacity to store it.
There are two excellent articles in Fine Gardening this month on biodiversity and sustasinable gardening, both worth reading.

Enjoy the weekend~*~kelley

Strawberry flavored Cactus


Only in California do you get succulents in strawberry boxes.  I thought this was such an interesting juxtaposition.  Yes, I hate to admit it but we are still getting some local berries here in Ojai as well as all the fall veggies too.

These are such pretty and graphic cardboard boxes and I never noticed it before but one side is in English and the other is in French.
I picked up these beautiful succulents from a little grower just off the highway coming into town.  They only take cash and the quality of their plants is amazing.  I am using almost all succulents in containers right now because of our water shortage but also because they require so little work and look so amazing.

The colors really do say fall to me with the green/grays and golds.  I am so jealous of those who are enjoying the turning of the leaves right now.

No frost on the pumpkins yet, although is was 37 degrees this morning.  I love it!
best to all~*~kelley

Garden Design Element #1: Gravel Driveway


A major design element in our front garden area at our little Ojai house is the long circular driveway.  This is the house before.

This driveway was probably original to the home and was patched and lumpy asphalt.

We really wanted something that would act as a compliment to the rest of the garden as well as being functional.

The idea of gravel was really appealing but it has some major drawbacks, one of which is that it can be messy and not very user friendly for automobiles.

The first order of business was the demo.  Not a fun job but well worth the misery for the end result.  Ripping out the entire drive also allowed us to reconfigure the curve, location and width.  We also added much needed drains.  It can rain really hard here and drop a lot of water in a very short time.

After the proper grade was established we put down about 3 inches of road base to stabilize the ground and then added a curb to either side of the driveway.  I'm not a big fan of concrete but this curbing was important as it serves to hold the edge of the gravel and defines the driveway path.  The concrete is extruded out of this little machine, kind of like play dough!
 These are primarily used to plant grass in and can then be driven on but we used them here to hold the gravel in place and to further add structure for cars.
 We didn't want the gravel sliding all over and moving around.

After the pavers went down we filled the cells with a beautiful tan/chamois colored pea gravel.  It comes in these huge sacks and can be moved around with a fork lift (it often helps to have a fork lift on hand) and then spread by hand.

This particular mix of gravel has alot of opaque stones which really added to the beauty of this project.  I was told this pebble is from beaches in Mexico.

Heres a snap shot of the finished project.  It sounds beautiful when you walk on it and the color and texture are perfect with the local stone we have used for our walls and fencing.

This is not the most "sexy" post I have done to date but I think it is an idea that can be adapted to any home and it is really a great garden design element.

More garden posts are on the way!!  I love the fall and it is a perfect time of year to get out and play in the dirt.

Happy Tuesday~*~kelley