Off to a Good Start…


Slim Paley photo



As we near the end of this first week of 2012, I’m sharing just a few photos I snapped in Santa Barbara where we’ve been blessed with some of the most incredible January weather I can recall  in many years.

Almost guilt-ifying (but not quite )

I popped over the mountains to beautiful Ojai on Wednesday afternoon and on the drive home felt compelled to pull over to the side of the road and capture the moment.

 I’m afraid I missed the best of the light, due to the driver behind me who was obviously neither a proponent of the “Slow Movement” or a person who appreciates spectacular natural lighting but I guess that’s life in the fast lane (see what I did there?)



Slim Paley photo

In addition to the spectacular vistas encountered on the pass between Santa Barbara and Ojai,  the copious amount of avocados rolling around on the road at this time of year is almost comical.

 I was mashing guacamole the entire way 🙂



Slim Paley Photo

and lo & behold the “Golden Arches” (Montecito Style) are out


Meanwhile, the last batch of Trader Joe’s frozen chocolate croissants were devoured…


Slim Paley photo

(Sorry, but these just never get old for me. I mean look-they’re jockeying for position off the baking tray for goodness sake!)

This is the closest I will ever come to baking like Martha Stewart.



source unknown

I grabbed nice long hugs before I sent my cubs back to school



Slim Paley Photo

…I did not win the first Scrabble game of the year, despite a last minute “Qi” on a triple point letter square, but did manage to keep several New Year’s “Intentions” in tact, including pulling out my art supplies and reading a non-fiction book ( resolution #4; learn something new everyday and write it down).


Although I didn’t get a yoga practice in, I intend to this weekend.


from the book “Bitter with Baggage”



Lastly, the second season of “Downton Abbey” starts on Sunday night- I can hardly wait!




Slim Paley photo

and this was the view from my desk most nights this first week in January.


The world is indeed a wondrous place to live.

Slow down, look around and pick up the free avocados



Thanks again for all your lovely comments on my New Year’s Post, I truly appreciate each and every one.


Happy Weekend All!



  1. Your photos are so beautiful that tears are streaming. Indeed, life is beautiful and definitely what we make it. Thank you for the Mama & Baby Bear hug. 2012 is off to a great start. Mary

  2. Aren’t we so so lucky to live here and see these sunsets daily? This Indian summer weather is throwing havoc into what to wear! It is still chilly in the morning…..and then… is so warm and lovely in the middle of the day!

    30 (I counted 3 times!) ducks in our pond this morning!! Lovely! Happy New Year!

    You are some photographer! You continue to amaze me!


  3. I am so jealous………I paid $1.50 for my avacado tonight for my salad. Great post. We are getting a Traders Joe’s in Dallas in the next month. So excited..i will be in Laguna Beach for a month next month so can’t wait for that sunset. What channel is Downton Abby on ? Happy New Year………………….72 degrees here today !! Life is good !!!!!!!!!! I have 2 sons from TX A&M and UT. Remember kissing them goodbye too.

  4. Hi Slim, I’m already signed up and wordpress has a GIANT grey block in the right hand lower corner of this blog. It’s totally ruining the experience for me. Anyway of zapping this thing? It partially blocks your photos. Thanks.


  5. I recognize that yoga-fountain-lady .. La Pamillia! She has the right idea ~ as do you. Slow down, relax and “smell the sunset”. You know how you want a teacup piglette? I now want a baby polar bear. ; ) xoL


  7. Sigh…yet again! I am off to see the sunset over Angkor Wat……how bad is that!!!? I hope it compares to good old SB because we’ve come a long way for it!
    Learned of another wonderful way to enjoy avacados in Vietnam….they love avacado smoothies……so good! Try it!

    We’re beginning to look forward to coming back to the USA after more than 3 months of traveling…but we’ve learned (been reminded) that all of the people of the world just want good things for themselves and their children.
    Happiest of New Years to you and all.

      • PS. I just clicked on your link and loved your post–especially that you didn’t shy from the harder aspects of visiting this war-torn land. But oh my did that make me want to hop on a plane and go back pronto! I am a travel-writer and my honey, Remi Benali, a photographer–we were there on assignment for a French magazine and so not only were able to stay long enough to dig into the culture but had access to the archives of the Conservatory. Insane. It is one of the few experiences that we tell folks really is a “must”. And yes, I saw the best sunset of my life at the Bayon! Please excuse my chattiness today–glass of wine at lunch will do it every time. 🙂
        Off to check out Ms. Tree’s foundation. Merci!

  8. Beautiful post, Slim! Love your humour and word play! Do you have a lot of fun writing these posts? They’re equally fun to read. I can also appreciate all the effort! Your New Year resolutions were great! Yes, you are off to a good start!
    Thank you,

  9. Beautiful beautiful sunset photos. Almost better than the real thing. Did you stay at G & G’s after I left long enough to get the sunset from up there? They have such great vistas. Glad you reminded everyone of Downton Abbey return. I’ve actually been watching the whole past season again so I can ease right into the new season. But alas no more garden parties and debutante balls ahead I’m afraid, it’s WWII and the horrors of war. Worries about bombs falling on Britain not who has the best rose in the flower show competition. Speaking of which there is a very interesting new British book on what went on in the major hotels in London — Claridge’s, Dorchester, Savoy, Ritz during WWII bombing raids. What intrigue! What drama! Top members of British government, Nazi spies,deposed Royals, famous courtesans, movie stars, business tycoons — and they all huddled together in the subterannean bomb shelter passages of the hotels as the bombs fell on London. The book is West End Front by Matthew Sweet. Really got me prepared for upcoming Downton Abbey!

  10. Can’t wait for Sunday with the return of Downton Abbey – my Mom is in town so we’ll get to share it together!
    We cut down our avocado tree last year. To avoid trouble. It was not a tasty variety – but good enough for a gang of young (and beautifully coated) raccoons.
    Unfortunately, they were not gentlemanly Monticeto raccoons who throw civilized parties admiring stargazer lilly arrangements. They were South County rowdies who got into loud brawls that ran late into the night! -The End-

    Happy New Year Slim – Cheers!

  11. Hi Slim, Now I have the “big” space, thank you! Your pictures are beautiful, just beautiful, you are quit the photographer! I would have to stop myself from filling up my trunk, as I adore avocados. Those bears….awwwww! I am so happy that Savannah doesn’t have a Trader Joe’s, the chocolate croissants would put my healthy eating plan to the test. I already have the best bakery a block away from me, and they deliver. I pinned chocolate, that I can’t even eat, half the day! Like I am getting away with something! A book, wow, and non fiction, oh do tell. I wrote one while I was going through my divorce and my Mother told me that she would disinherit me if I published it while she is still alive, and haunt me if not! It was cathartic though. Thank you again, I love California. I have three first cousins who live there, and so many good memories. Take care. Pam

    • I misspoke, or rather, miswrote; I am not writing a non-fiction book (not yet anyway) merely READING one in keeping with N.Y.R.#4 to learn something new and write it down every day.

      PS. A bakery that delivers?? That should be against the law!

  12. It’s been those same kind of sunsets up here in Carmel, too. Last night, walking back from the beach (no camera, darn) by Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch Inn….the waves have been very high, 1/2 the sheep meadow behind was flooded. The back view is over the meadow & bird refuge to Carmel River Beach and Point Lobos beyond. ALL enveloped in that red sunset as above….and it was reflecting on the flooded part of the meadow..

    The sheep were standing by the gate to their little night house waiting for their alfalfa–oblivious. Tourists were stopping their cars and starring like fire worshipping meades.

    Once my son and I were walking on the beach in Santa Barbara on Christmas Eve…same kind of sunset…with our dog before dinner. It was cold and deserted with one bright star over Anacapa Island and a top-heavy fishing tug being followed in by dolphins and seagulls.

    I realized that would be the moment I would choose to live with for eternity if could only choose one. The perfect companion, beauty and peace.

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures.

  13. Hi Slim….Your blog is always great to see and to read, your comments have always this “English humour” that we like….Your pictures of the sunset are beautiful and it remembers mine, at the beach,last year,in Cal…..We wish to the “American family” a mega year 2012,full of light,full of life,full of love…..

    Please,carry on,to enjoy to take some great pictures….

    By the way,I am going right now,to buy some avocados at the local market because your pictures make me envy to devore them!!!!….



    PS: Please,no more fabulous pics of the “Pain au chocolat”…I try to avoid the French bakery to not eating them all!!!!….X

  14. You put out a damn fine sell for the Cali life, SP. I gasped an “oh wow” at that last gorgeous photo. Having finished high school in Santa Cruz (after beginning in Amish country–can you imagine the culture shock?) and spending summers with my folks in San Diego, I am biased of course but it really is one of the best places on the planet. Free guacomole! TJ’s! Folks shopping at Safeway in their jammies! If we ever leave Provence, yep, you guessed where we will be heading. 🙂

    PS. I just discovered the online classes of Eoin Flinn who says wacky things like “make this flow as sweet as a Sade love song” all while royally kicking your butt.

  15. Thanks for the beautiful photographs to start off the new year! Very inspiring and fun to see from as chilly New England perspective. But the one that really made me smile was the “Yoga Chickies”. Does anyone ever feel like one of those little guys when you first get down on the mat?

  16. The photo of “Maude” in her yoga class struck my funny bone…just had to LOL! I found it very poignant juxtaposed to the photo of “Downton Abbey” because we know the Great War will have changed life forever…

    Happy New Year, Slim. Thank you for sending a little beauty to my Inbox every morning.

  17. Your sunsets rival ours!! Looking out over the lake and pink and mauve and melon and purple clouds…indeed, we are blessed. Your photos and prose are wonderful. franki

  18. You are helping me get excited about my Winter Break to Santa Barbara in about 7 weeks. I love your posts and this is starting to easy the gloom of Central Kentucky in the winter. thanks,

  19. Thank you for a beautiful beginning to 2012! I so jealous of all those renegade avocados rolling around out there-they are sooo expensive here in Boston! But they are one of my very favorite foods so I buy ’em anyway. When you said you are starting a non-fiction book, I’m guessing you are reading one not writing one, but my heart still skipped a beat at the thought of a Slim Paley coffee table book! Hoping the rest of January brings you some more fabu sunsets.

  20. Slim great photography. I love the yoga chicks! ha! Thanks for the reminder of Downton Abbey as well.

    Oh and lastly, did I tell you that Trader Joe’s opened just a few blocks from me. You can be sure the next time I am in I will try the Chocolate Croissants!! Yum!

    Art by Karena

  21. Welcome back and happy new year! Lovely photos and the chicks hold a special place in my heart, as I was beyond tickled by ones of the same variety in Amsterdam this past Easter. (

    Cannot wait for Downton Abby to return — can Mad Men be far behind? (Probably.)

    All the best to you and your family in 2012. And I look forward to many more fabulous posts from you as well!

  22. Love your resolutions
    I love your photo’s
    love that your really paying attention and appreciating the view
    Thanks for reminding us to do the same

  23. You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place! We have also had some amazing sunsets in San Francisco these past months, but the photo of your’s is stunning.

    Happy New Year,


  24. Beyond beautiful, entertaining, genius photography.
    THE HUG, I know it brings a tear, as it goes in a blink. Keep the laughter coming and we will get through it all, and then some. Really looking forward to another great year, ox

  25. What a view! How gorgeous, you lucky girl! And yes, Trader Joe’s croissants are definitely favorites in our house. Yum! Can’t wait for Downton Abbey – I will have company so I will have to DVR and watch it later.

  26. Slim,
    Okay, I want the name of the street where avocados roll out onto the road. I live in California…I could pick up enough for guacamole! It has been amazing weather and I hesitate to say this to a warm-weather fan like yourself, but seriously, its winter…I would like a little rain, even frost. Maybe it’s being born and raised here that makes me long for cold weather since we really never experience truly cold weather. 🙂
    I remember those holidays when the boys were home from school and you had to make every second count since they would leave soon after New Years. Love the polar bear hugs.

  27. As part of my Christmas gift from my second daughter, I will be going to NYC on Monday to be part of the studio audience at the taping of the “Martha” show-shall I say ‘hello’ for you? I am so excited for the whole experience! Time with my girls, time in the city, and the show-yahoo!

    • Shut The Door Lois!!
      How exciting is that?? You must report back to us!
      Have tons of fun with your girls and yes, puhleeze say Hey to Martha from Slim 🙂

  28. Happy New Year Slim! Your resolutions resemble mine!
    I actually went for a walk today – the weather is beyond gorgeous.
    What’s up with that? Love your Santa Barbara sunset photo. Beautiful!

  29. Hi Slim,
    The colors in your sunset photos are so lovely. Thank you for taking the time to capture the views and share them with us.
    I must tell you that your resolutions have been inspiring. Every day since New Year’s I have stretched to a ballet workout DVD and then walked outside to a soundtrack made to accompany a brisk walk. I started a journal to write down my activities and insights. I have a tendency to remember what I’ve done wrong and forget the positive things that I’ve done, so I think your idea to record accomplishments will help me with that. Today, Boston was unseasonably warm. Walking, shopping and people watching on Newbury Street was a pleasure.
    Life is good. Thanks for reminding me of that in such beautiful and funny ways.
    All the best,

  30. Beautiful sunsets and “the pink hour” as our mountains glow in the light of the setting sun now. Avocados, TJ’s chocolate croissants (like a trip to France)….what more could one ask for. You’ve said it all Slim. Thank you!

  31. Oh, how jealous am I? I’m thinkin a trip out west may be in my future! Love that the avocados fall off the tree. I bet they taste great after seeing the grooves in your tires!
    I still have not made a resolution list, but I’ll get to it! Thank you for making last year so enjoyable for me to read!!!’

  32. let’s see… my resolution for 2012 was to get really really healthy.
    i awoke at one a.m. this morning with mr. paley’s new year’s eve whatever. but.
    that will not stop me. i am going to get a blendtec blender and drink green smoothies. then
    i will report. i read the book “the green life” over the holiday. fabulous! it makes all that spinach, kale, etc. . . soluable, so your body gets all the good. but you add fruit so it tastes divine. my daughter-niece-in-law had me try them. delicious.
    now if i could just breathe right now… oh wait. a sneeze coming on.
    healthy in 2012… healthy in 2012…
    but i like your resolutions too. and i dearly love your blog. especially heartening for us sick folk.
    tammy j

  33. I,too was born here and love the January weather but long for some cold. My family always believed that these sunsets were caused by the angels baking cookies for Christmas. They usually start around thanksgiving. Wishing everyone happy times and so excited for “Lois” who is going to the Martha show!
    Marcy. And, thank you, Slim for all this!

  34. Normally I’d be green with envy over your California weather, but it’s been crazily warm on the East Coast. Nearly 70 yesterday!
    But oh, what I’d give to be driving over avocados. I love them!
    Stunning shots all, Slim.

  35. Hi, Neighbor! I live on the coast North of you….
    Love the photos…always do…
    Would you mind telling me what kind of camera you use?…I am in the market for an upgrade…
    Your sense of humor is the best part of your blog to me…enjoy the photography, fashion, food and drink sharing, etc., and, all about family and friends…

  36. A world where it is raining avocados? I must move to a warmer climate soon! Your sunset shot is extraordinary. I am also a fan of TJ’s chocolate croissants, made the most marvelous 1/2 morsels this morning! Will post soon..

    So happy you had long bear hugs with your cubs before they left….I’ll be there next year. Hoping I can deal with it as well as you have. Take care and happy New Year, SP.

    xo ebh

  37. Trader Joe’s chocolate croissants are the bomb! Now if you combine them with Downton Abbey then…you have something extra indulgent. Great pics!

  38. -Road Guac Janet- let’s see that in M.S.’s next cookbook 🙂

    -Hope you’re feeling better Tammy

    -not sure Victoria but I believe they’re some form of agave?

    -Hi Neighbor Kathleen- I alternate between two cameras the Panasonic Lumix and the Leica D-Lux 5, both just little point & shoots.

  39. Hasn’t this been the most wonderful start for the new year, SP?
    The sunsets, the temp, the kitchen stuffed with leftover sweets? Whoa, they are killin’ me!
    Back to the ‘Green Blended Drink’ life for me…tomorrow! Go for it, Tammy J!

  40. YIKES! FREE AVOCADOS!!! don’t tell the avo farmers that!…did you know for every avocado that a squirrel or rat takes/eats, that is one less dollar that the farmer gets..time to get a gun……p.s. the littl;e yellow spots you see on the avocado represent the “oil” content, the photo of the avo’s you took will be ready for harvest in a few months 🙂 i think Penelope Bianchi will have mass quantities of ducklings this spring…um game preserve or free ducks 🙂

  41. Hey Slim, I’ve hit a snag. I suddenly don’t receive your posts anymore. I did right up to Christmas (that heavenly “advent” of yours) and then . . . nuttin. I signed up again just to b on the safe side and still . . . nuttin. What do I need to do – I miss you som, Mary

    • Hi Mary
      Have you changed your email address? and if so, when you signed up again, did you receive a confirmation email from WordPress and click on the “confirmation” link? You must do that in order for the email alerts to be activated.

      Sorry for the snag!

  42. Hello Ms Paley!

    Beautiful blog, have been sending your link to all my besties. I’m so glad I found out about your blog from a radio program I listen to just about every day. It took me a while to make the connection but between your blog and this certain radio/Internet program, I feel it’s a perfect “marriage” and helps me to be a well-rounded person.

    Please add me as a new fan!!


  43. I’ve read about your fondness for those Trader Joe’s chocolate croissants before. So far I have resisted my temptation to buy them. I glance at them in the frozen section but keep walking (to the wine aisle….). If you post about them again, I’ll cave. They must be THAT GOOD!

  44. Ok, Slim, I bought the TJ’s chocolate croissants because of you! Do you do something special to them like letting them rise overnight before morning or do you just follow the directions and bake them frozen? I suspect you are unique.

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