At Home: Entryway

It’s been a while since I shared much of my home, so I thought I’d catch you guys up on what things are like around here. First up, the entryway.




There isn’t much to the entryway, but I like how, despite its small size, it’s better than opening up the front door straight into the living room. Our shoe organizer provides a small shelf to drop keys and mail, and the picture (an antique painted by a great-relative) gives the area a little “something special.”


I may trade the picture for a mirror if I find one that can withstand being next to a slammed door day in and day out (our door closes very heavily).

I love this STÄLL IKEA shoe organizer. It holds a surprising number of shoes for its narrow size. Those Swedish geniuses!! We store shoes in three compartments and use the upper right compartment for doggie stuff (leash, harness, dog tee shirt), as well as the mail key and other assorted keys (padlock and bike keys, etc). I love the way its slim profile doesn’t block the light from the sidelight window.




Right now we have a can light with a brass ring around it, but I’d like to updgrade that to something more special. I’m also on the fence about painting the back of the front door. Per HOA, we can’t paint the exterior, but I’m wondering about adding a little color to the living room this way. I’m just not sure what to do about all the trim along the doorjamb and the sidelight window. Suggestions?

A Long Weekend in Phoenix

As I mentioned on Wednesday, my sister and I took a Labor Day vacay to Phoenix. Why Phoenix? Why not? While super hot and not totally glamorous, it is the sixth largest city in the U.S. and is totally drivable from San Diego.


There is something about the beauty of the desert that makes a drive like this relaxing. A long and straight highway lets driver and passenger focus on the scenery in a way that’s a bit more difficult on a windy mountainous road. Everyone should drive through the desert once in their life, whether it’s to see saguaro cactus like we did, or to see the painted desert closer to the north part of Arizona and New Mexico.



We stayed at a really cute Airbnb that did nothing but exacerbate my dreams of owning a home with a casita out back to host my own out of towners. The decoration was feminine and cute while still managing to be desert-y. Small touches like a pastel colored Mexican blanket and drinking glasses with a desert motif helped remind us where we were.

The first evening we got there, we headed to the Desert Botanical Garden, but balked at the price ($22!) since we only had a few moments left of daylight. There were a bunch of kids arriving with flashlights and headlamps for a night guided tour—how fun! If I were visiting for longer, I’d definitely carve out a half-day to see the whole garden. The following day we ate our way through the city. We started with donuts and coffee, moved on to lunch with my old coworker and friend and then did a bit of thrift store and antique shopping.

The heat was surprisingly draining. We spent a disproportionate amount of time just recuperating in our air-conditioned airbnb. This makes sense though—while we were out and about I was struck by how empty the streets were. One of the main design things I noticed about Phoenix is that keeping the sun (and thereby the heat) out of homes, restaurants, etc was of paramount importance—even more important than making the outside of places terribly attractive. However, I did see it done in some unique and beautiful ways, particularly in the Coronado Historic neighborhood where we stayed.


On the way to Phoenix, I noticed a road sign that pointed out Native American petroglyphs. On the way back, I insisted on going to see them, even though I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was fairly out of way way, 11 miles off the freeway, but I think it was worth it. Seeing artwork created by ancient people, thousands of years ago, really left me speechless. The desert is such a hostile and inhospitable place, it is mind-boggling to think of humans roaming the area in such a primitive time.



Before the trip, my co-worker and Arizona native told me that while making the drive we had to stop outside of Gila Bend and get one of Dateland’s famous date shakes. I’d never really heard of a date shake before but I was diligent to take her up on the recommendation. The date shakes were so delicious, Steph and I were sure to get them again on the way back to California!

Sometimes getting away for even just a couple of days can be really refreshing for a couple of reasons. Checking out a new city can be so energizing—but getting home to familiar settings and routines can be comforting in a way.


Where is your go-to escape for a three day weekend?

“Why Not Me?” Book Review and October Selection!

Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me? has got to be one of the best books our little virtual book club could have picked for September. We were coming off a pretty heavy book in August and we were trying to ease from summer to fall. At the beginning of the month my sister and I took a short girls’ trip to Phoenix which is about five hours from San Diego. I signed up for Audible, cashed in one of the two free books offered, and we listened to Mindy the whole way there.

I downloaded the book at home and streamed it to my car using my Kindle Fire and bluetooth connection. (This saved data and my iPhone battery). Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

Mindy’s style was just like having another gal pal in the car with us. I loved the insider peek on Hollywood hair and makeup and even hearing about some of the more mundane parts of her dating life, like an “are we or aren’t we” saga with a long distance guy (okay, it wasn’t totally mundane—he was an aid to President Obama). I read Mindy’s first book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me a couple of years ago (and lent it out—if you are reading this and you have my book, give it back!) …I was happy that her second book retained the same chipper writing style and that there were lots of new things for her to say, despite the books being released relatively close together.

The final part of her book where she tackles being a role model for women of color and women with a non-Hollywood body type was encouraging to me and pushed me to work harder to achieve my goals. In the past, she famously said that she didn’t want the responsibility to speak for minorities in Hollywood, but the last chapter made me feel that she is coming around to her undeniable role. One theme that has persisted through both of her works is that if you want to achieve something, you must work at it tirelessly. It will not be handed to you. If Mindy didn’t have her characteristic drive, she would be your funny friend at work, not a writer-producer-star of her own TV show. I’ve read a few inspirational female books lately including #GIRLBOSS, but this Mindy, using humor, comes across as more authentic which owes a lot to Mindy’s writing style and, well, her narration since I was listening to an audiobook.

Serindipitous timing—Why Not Me was released as a paperback just yesterday! I really do recommend it.

51taoalah7l-_sx334_bo1204203200_For October, something a little creepier. We’re going to be reading The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. According to the first half of the wikipedia article (I didn’t want to go too far and read spoilers) the book is about a boy who is raised by graveyard inhabitants. It was compared to The Jungle Book in which a boy is raised by jungle animals. I think this is going to be great! I enjoyed Stardust (another Gaiman book) when I read it about 7 years ago, so I know I’ll like his writing style.

As always, you can check out Libby and Stephanie’s responses to Why Not Me at their respective blogs! And don’t forget to join in the conversation in the comments or on your own blog if you decide you’d like to read along with us.

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