Oh #$&^*%(#… It’s December!!

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Wait

Does the calendar say December 8th already??

et moi, without a single post up yet for the month?.

I guess that old kidnapping story won’t fly again.

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or  “the dog ate my computer” excuse.

To tell the truth, the days have flown by and I’m as surprised as anyone that Christmas is just a little more than two weeks away.

I’m out of my sling, driving again and continuing physical therapy but, with no offense (my therapist is adorable) the process alternates between being boring, guilt provoking and painful (insert your old relationship’s name here)

The upside is I’ve found I have a ton of company. I’ve joined a ‘Torn Rotator Cuff Society’ where we all give secret “Live Long and Prosper” salutes, albeit with awkwardly hunched-up shoulders.

Christmas will be different in our home this year. I’m not decorating in our traditional fashion, so unfortunately, I won’t have my usual Christmas fare to share. It would be impossible for me to get on a ladder to dress the tree. Let’s get real, I still can’t even tie up my hair.

OK, let’s get really real, did I mention I gained 10 lbs? NO JOKE, therefore not at all funny so stop laughing!

Who would imagine that months of no exercise, a steady diet of comfort food and a newly acquired penchant for red wine would be so deleterious??

But I don’t really like to talk about weight, diets and yucky things so we’ll leave that there.

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December sunset in Santa Barbara

Changes are afoot for ‘Slim Paley’. Good changes (hopefully)

After 4 years it’s time.

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Somebody forgot to tell my roses it was December.

I’ll be tinkering with my entire format and design, so please bear with me in the following weeks.  I need to address issues such as my crowding columns and “Category Cloud” disappearance.

Let’s face it-”Slim” needs a lift

I’d like to return to shorter, more frequent posts and possibly include some short videos too.

2014 Baby!!

In the meantime, please do visit my past December posts in the Archives,

as well as The Popular Kids,

and my Travel tab which I’ve been updating slowly but surely.

More new travel coming soon!

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Keep your cool in the crowds, don’t let the holidays make you crazy, and remember…

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to breathe.

And feel free to comment with any great holiday tips for us :-)

Happy December!!

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Dog photo via Pinterest

Happy Summer Solstice!

gingerbread cottage

Summer’s HERE!!

Even though I live in Southern California I still get so excited about its official arrival, don’t you?!

Would that it last as long as it did when we were children. An eternity, it seemed.

Growing up in Vancouver, where it stayed light until almost 10pm at night, we’d ride our bikes to the park to play softball, fluorescent ‘clackers’ spinning on tire spokes, streamers flying from our handle bars until the street lights signaled it was time to go home. Occasionally a friend would show up at our front door on a horse instead of a bike and we’d end up at ‘The Barn’ where I’d marvel (be jealous) at the girls who weren’t afraid of horses the way I was. I wanted my parents to have Avocado Green appliances more than I wanted a horse of my own. I think that was telling sign of what was coming down the pipeline, don’t you?!

 As we got older, we’d walk barefoot to the beach (OK, we often hitchhiked, swear to God, but never at night and never alone. What were we thinking?? It was a different world back then) our leather fringed purses (twice as big as our cut-offs) bulging with “Sun-In”, baby oil, cigarettes, Yardley “Pot-o-Gloss”, hairbrushes, Sweet Tarts and salted sunflower seeds. No sunscreen. No sunglasses. No phones or cameras.

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Like I said, a different world.

It was sweet.

Now that I’m a grown-up (most of the time) I no longer sit in the sun. I really miss it, as well as the tan, but I know it’s not worth it. I certainly don’t wear cut-offs the size of a hang-nail and pay a hell of a lot more  to colour my hair. Friends no longer show up at the door on horseback and I own my own car, so that takes care of the hitch-hiking issue.

But let’s not get all melancholy, there’s still plenty of fun to be had when summer arrives!

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We’re so blessed here in Santa Barbara, with beautiful beaches and stunning mountains just a mile or so in from the water’s edge.

In less than 1/2 hour we can be over those mountains and into the wine regions of Los Olivos and Santa Ynez.

pink roses on my porch

Roses from my garden sit on the front porch.

My garden brings me pleasure I never would have predicted in my younger years. I wear a big hat, have my favourite wooden handled clippers… I’m half-way to wearing Liberty print gardening gloves truth be told.

My brother even bought me this so I could enjoy my evening glass of wine while I’m gardening (is this a brother gift, or what?!)

gardening glass with lid

In fact, I did a thorough walk around my property the other day and decided to buy myself another little gift to celebrate the first day of Summer;

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For the bigger jobs. and it’s cordless. So exciting! I really wanted the fluorescent green one (like my old clackers) but this one had the best rating.

Yes, times have changed.

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So what are your plans this summer?

ImageAre you looking forward to a long lazy one filled with languorous hours of reading?

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Will you stick close to home, do lots of grilling, making home made ice-creams, sorbets and popsicles with your kids?

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Mango Lassi Popsicle recipe

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Perhaps you’ll be boating like Kate? (you simply must have plenty of black & white in your summer wardrobe-but that’s another post!)

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Take a family holiday to Europe or go water-skiing on a chilly lake?

Lake Muskoka, Ontario

Beautiful Lake Muskoka, Ontario

Shasta trailerTake a road trip  (I saw this beauty in Los Olivos)

38325ab6556782aef43a2e84c94f3341Re-do a guest room in cool tones

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Update your draperies, white wash your kitchen (I’m thinking of it) or have some summer slip-covers made?

Slim Paley's car slipcoversPhoto of my car by David Tsay for House Beautiful

ha ha!  I still have the car, but I’m afraid the chintz slip covers, like my old cut-offs are way past their prime :-)

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Will you go biking, sailing, play tennis, swim your heart out, or run your first marathon

Or maybe just set a goal to read ten GREAT books?

that sounds wonderful to me!

tumblr_md1kj7Gn4s1rpx9bqo1_500And will you be looking for the “Super Moon” tonight?

(ps. I started this post on Friday night-Summer’s almost over for God’s sake)

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Me, at a friend’s home, taking a photo of a weird ring around the sun in Montecito

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See that’s the wonderful, fabulous, exciting thing about Summer

Your options are as numerous as the stars.

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*Wooden Popsicles by Johnny Hermann

HAPPY SUMMER!!!!

May it be long, fun and memorable in the best possible way.

xoxo

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“Johnny Hermann is the alter-ego of craftsman & designer Mauro Savoldi from Milan. He re-creates the vibrant, colorful magic of summer ices, recalling one of the sweetest and most nostalgic treasures of our past.”

FYI; The original “popsicle” was invented by an 11 year old boy in San Francisco in 1905.

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WAIT!

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Vignette in Ralph Lauren, NYC by Slim Paley

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Hold on!

It simply can’t be Labour Day Weekend yet!

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To accompany your stroll

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Slim Paley photo

Poolside at The Coral Casino, Montecito, California.

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The weather in Santa Barbara is so GORGEOUS right now.

Hot.

Blue skies.

Nary a breeze.

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Eat your heart out down there in the S. of F. :)

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Fernanda Cameron for SIS magazine

Iriving & Fine top

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 I’ve hardly been to the beach

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There are still so many summer books to read (like, ALL of them :( )

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So many blue & white stripes yet to wear…

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Armani 2012

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Salvatore Ferragamo resort 2012

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Armani 2012

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photos to take…

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Footwear to consider…

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Accessories to splurge on

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Blue Rope Chairs from the “Melt Down” Series by Tom Price, U.K.  VIA

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Jean Paul Gaultier

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and rooms to “phooff” up…

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Raoul Textiles

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The “Raoul Textiles” shop, Santa Barbara, CA

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Not to mention all the summer cocktails I was going to concoct…

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I’m just not READY.

I’m going to be like the party guest that won’t leave,

still banging on about summer & watermelons while every one else has moved on to pumpkins & cashmere

But isn’t that the beauty of writing my very own blog?

NO BOSS :)

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Cheers & Have a fabulous Holiday Weekend!

xoxo

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A Tourist at Home

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Los Olivos, CA

Los Olivos, California

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Recently my husband and I have been playing tourists very close to home.

Not quite sure what’s come over us, but it’s fun!

I guess these are the things you start to do when your children begin leading their own lives (the nerve)

Truth be told, we’d also become a little guilty of what I call “Disneyland Syndrome” – you know-living so close to something special that you end up taking it for granted?

 Like the person who tells you they live within the shadow of the Eiffel Tower but have never been to the top and you’re thinking “Whhaa??? Are you nuts?!”

Well, that was us.

So on a day when Santa Barbara was tucked beneath a heavy duvet of marine layer, off we went to Los Olivos, located aprox. 40 minutes north east of us.

In less than 25 minutes we were feeling the kiss of the sun as we crested the top of the mountains separating the ocean from Solvang, Santa Ynez, and Los Olivos…

home to some of the finest vineyards in California. World-class vineyards.

That’s right- there was WINE over there for God’s sake!

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Wine country, CASlim Paley photo

and beautiful scenery, epically different than Santa Barbara’s.

Positively “Bonanza-esque”

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Cows

Large animals with big horns

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Slim Paley photo

Wind-thingies

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Wine country, CA

Our first stop was  Harrison Clarke Wine where Roger Harrison (accompanied by sweet Rita above) gave us a most enjoyable and educational tour of his vineyards.

Roger is a man in full with a real passion for what he does.

What a pleasure to see.

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Wine Country, Santa Barbara area, CASlim Paley photo

Really, the photos don’t even do it justice.

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Slim Paley photo

Magic beans!

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Roger’s lovely wife Hilarie led us through a fun tasting, and I must say, the couple were very gracious about our total lack of wine knowledge.

We just knew that all the wines tasted good to us.

I was reminded of one of my most important New Year resolutions; To learn something new every day.

Doing fairly well on that front :)

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Afterwards, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at “Sides” in the little town of Los Olivos.

Good thing a friend had told us of the restaurant.

As you can see, it exists quite happily with no signage.

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Naturally I felt compelled to order sorbets to match the awnings. 

The one on the right was lemon verbena flavored, fabulous.

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We ended this most excellent day by stopping by the Clairmont Lavender fields

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fields of lavender, Los Olivos, CA

Which were not quite in full bloom  (NOW is the time)

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 Meryl, the proud owner of the farm, shared a photo of her fields published.

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Who knows what or where our next local adventure might be?

The infamous pea soup in Buellton??

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Wine country of Santa Barbara

It’s a beautiful life Rita.

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Comprehensive List of Santa Barbara County wines & vineyards

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Happy Weekend Everyone!

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Can We Talk?

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Can we talk??

Have you ever been applying  your make-up and thought that a very fine, stray hair from your make-up brush was stuck to your face and gone to remove it only to find it was a line??!

  Me neither.

(right by my your eye)

I was just wondering if that had ever happened to you.

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So, speaking of getting gussied up…

We attended a stunningly beautiful wedding this weekend.

Now Santa Barbara, as most of you probably know, is a magical location for a wedding,

and this one was no exception.

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Love was literally in the air :)

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Of course due to privacy,  I won’t go into any details but…

‘Twas a Black Tie affair.

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I wore an ultra-violet evening gown with hot pink suede Christian Louboutins (never to touch my feet again, such was the agony of the experience) and carried my hot pink patent Alexander McQueen oversized clutch.

(We’re talking borderline too big for ‘carry-on’)

I do love a clutch that you can actually fit $%#@ into though, don’t you?

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The Satan Spawn Shoes (sorry Mr. Louby)

You know it doesn’t bode well when you’re applying band-aids before you’ve even left the house.

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I wish I’d had these instead.

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and while we’re on the subject of shoes

( I think we can all agree; a subject very near & dear to our collective heart :) )

Never have I been to an affair

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where the men seriously gave the women a run for their money in that department

(no pun intended)

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Wish I’d gotten a better photo of this gent’s wonderful zebra skinned evening slippers

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And I so wanted these…

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Gorgeous bespoke beaded gems (size 15 1/2 no less. Dude-that’s a lot of beads…)

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Truth be told, I’m absolutely loving the resurgence of the evening slipper for men & women right now.

So much so I even convinced my husband to pay a visit to the Stubbs & Wootton website the very next day.

See? miracles DO happen!

it’s just all in the timing…

When love is in the air, anything is possible.

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And is it embarrassing to say I still get a little thrill at a good cluster of Disco Balls?!
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If only I’d had velvet slippers to dance in!
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Congratulations Beautiful Newlyweds
May you trip the light fantastic for many decades.
xoxo
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*Footnote ;
Many thanks to Leslie v.W. for sending in this additional pic. from the evening!
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Great Minds…or what?!!
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