Made in the Shade

3d93614485205854ebd51e63cf98f5eeAs the days begin to warm up, spending time outdoors becomes a bigger priority! And, for those of us who have already logged too many hours in the sun, a stylish umbrella becomes more than outdoor decor. Ok….it can make our outdoor decor, but it’s really practical, too!

There are so many chic options these days. Though, I’ve lusted after the couture style umbrellas from The Santa Barbara Umbrella Company, other companies, such as Frontgate, Pottery Barn and One Kings Lane are selling stylish options at much lower costs.

Here’s a little eye candy to help you design your own backyard oasis.
66fcf763742f3ad1f7b48b931b85d7ebScreen Shot 2017-04-23 at 8.59.30 PM Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 9.00.19 PM Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 9.00.42 PM626d121ba48ccf79f7ab48c3e770e198 c15587e41aeffcacaec5c621ab1723de def4796323f993283b8feee77b7e3e79I recently upgraded my own umbrellas to something with a little more panache. I’ll share which one on Instagram tomorrow, so visit me there at

This summer….you can have it made in the stylish shade!


My Secret Garden

Finally! I never dreamed I would find such joy in a simple fence, an arbor and some gates. After 8 years in our home and frustration with an oddly shaped back yard (long, not deep), we are in the home stretch on our garden project. 
As you can see through my new arbor, it appears to be the front of the house. But, it’s not. Well, not really. We’re on a corner, so we actually have 2 front yards, according to the city records. What it does mean is that the foot and car traffic along the “side” of our house is as busy as a typical front yard. That left me feeling too exposed. I craved some sense of privacy.
Sometimes what can be seen as a problem or obstacle is just an opportunity to do something unique. We had an existing footpath into the back yard from our earlier landscape design. Instead of ripping everything out, we kept it and put in a little “folly” gate. It works, but it’s not something you or I would go through. But, perfect for children. Almost like their secret entrance. 
From this view, the secret gate is in the corner, under the hydrangea tree.
Here is the view from our side yard.
And, here is the view from my favorite chair, seen above. 

There are a couple more finishing touches that we hope to get to, but overall, I’m really happy with how it’s coming along. At last, I feel like I have a little backyard oasis…my secret garden.

Do you have a secret place?

Backyard Bliss

The best investment we made this year….was new patio furniture. How we had lived here for so long without anything besides an outdoor dining table and a small loveseat tells you how much time we spent hanging out on our back patio. Zilch. 

After perusing all the catalogs for the best deals and the right look, we opted for these pieces from Ballard Designs. They complimented our dining table without being “matchy matchy” and were much less than the sets I coveted from Janus et Cie

The pillows with the green Chinese symbol are from HB Home…and though not for outdoors (we bring them in most nights) they help this area feel like an extension of our home. 

Most evenings at dusk (my favorite time of day), you can find me outside with my homemade limeade drink, listening to music, watching the fireflies and grateful that I finally have someplace to sit.

Do you have a favorite outdoor area?