I Love You, California: Children's Fairyland

I love Children's Fairyland. It is hands down one of my favorite places to take Rosie on my day off. Enough that we've been there pretty much every other week for the past two months! If you have a toddler that's walking or older I highly recommend it for a (few!) visits.

We bought a membership off Living Social for $50. The admission is $8 for all adults and children over the age of one, so if you live in the area I think plunking down the cash for a membership is the way to go. Parking is usually $2 if you can't find a free spot on the street. This isn't the cheapest Bay Area adventure, but I do feel it's got bang for your buck.

In the five or six times we've been to the park we still haven't seen the whole thing. It's dense, but the exhibits of different fairytales are divided up so well it never feels like you're in the same area over and over again. There is literally something to discover every time! Rosie loves toddling along the little road and bridges, and I love that she can walk the entire time with ease. 

The exhibits themselves are just so precious, and our membership came with a "magic key" that you can also buy separately to unlock a story box explaining each fairytale. The kids love the keys and turning them to hear songs and stories. This place is truly brilliant.

The little houses are all kid sized, Rosie loves exploring them. They have a sweet little train that takes you for a ride around the park, a pirate ship to climb, whales to climb into, boats to climb over, a huge music tunnel for kids to run through, animals to look at. It is delightful at every turn.

We were at the park at closing time the other day, and they have the cutest little puppet show that they put on in the theater for the kids (after the close! Generous!) Rosie ate her little snack and watched the show, for a few minutes until she became distracted. But the other kids were really enjoying it.

I should mention most of these exhibits have been around for 40 years, this place is a true Oakland tradition. It's not old and dated though, more charmingly vintage. If you haven't been, please go. It's a favorite spot and I hope to continue bringing Rosie here for years and years to come!


It's Pantone Color of the Year and it's everywhere, and I don't think I'll ever get sick of it.  Emerald green is just so good.  Between the emerald art deco jewelry out there (I have a piece a lot like this handed down from my great grandmother), deep green silks, sweet green and black wedges, or the palm springs revival palm trees on every ironic shirt...I'm living in Emerald City heaven.  Filling in for Natalie this week, here are MY favorites.  Enjoy!

1. Madewell Cabana Dress // 2. Anthropologie Mimbres Chime Pendant Necklace // 3. Juicy Couture Forrest Wedge Sandals from Shopbop // 4. John Bucklin Original Painting "Green Swells" from Serena & Lily // 5. Joie Alexsa Intarsia Sweater from Shopbop

If I could buy just one, it would be the palm tree sweater.  No, the Juicy wedges.  Wait, the John Bucklin painting.  Ahhhhh, I want it all!  Spill the beans, what are you jonesin' for?

Good Day Sunshine!

It's HERE!  The unofficial start of summer, and it couldn't come a day sooner.  I hope you're all enjoying the sunshine, maybe eating some BBQ and taking a moment to remember those who have died in the service of our country this Memorial Day.  I come from a long line of military service men and women, and although my family has been fortunate to return home from wars near and far - many do not.  I think about that on days like today.

To celebrate the beautiful weather we've been having and excitement about sunny days ahead, these are a few of my favorite toddler summer essentials.  If you need ideas about where to go with your toddler this summer, stay tuned for more I Love California adventures, the first few here.

1. Tea Collection dresses (this one the Cave Rock Mini Dress.)  They are the perfect summer dress, easy and comfy to wear, durable (they wash SO well!), and so so so cute.  Rosie has a few and they are a favorite for both of us.  $15 dress sale ends today!

2. Salt Water Sandals (this one The Original from Nordstrom.com.)  My daughter is an explorer, and these sandals stand up to a lot of abuse (including LOTS of water at the water table!)  They have a really sturdy sole, and from the first time she wore them they were soft and needed no "breaking in."

3. Shorts from Target (these ones Circo Striped Shorts.)  Four dollars - they have lots on sale for that price!  So cheap, so cute, and so comfy.  Check, check and check.

4. Great Sunscreen (this one Coppertone Water Babies Pure and Simple.)  Rosie has my skin, very fair and burns easily.  I try not to be obsessive, but the girl needs serious sunblock and I hate that so many are basically toxic sludge.  This one is rated very well by the Environmental Working Group (have you used their website to look up Consumer Products?  Am I exposing my inner crazy?), and it's SPF 50.  I use it for myself too and it's not so thick and gloopy (like some zinc based sunscreens) that I look like I'm wearing pancake batter on my face.  Boom, covered.

5. Sporty Swimsuits (this one Old Navy Striped Cross-Back Swimsuit.)  I love this stripey number, with great coverage.  And at $11 the price is right!

6. Crazy Girly Flowery Awesome Bikinis (this one Janie and Jack Blossom Bikini.) Ok, ok, I am a sucker for toddler swimwear!  Rosie has several swimsuits, in every size up to 3T.  I have a problem!  They are just precious, don't you think?

7. Skinny Jeans (these ones Genuine Kids from OshKosh Denim Jean from Target.)  Rosie's Auntie Jenna bought her some amazing Circo Jeggings for Christmas and I've been OBSESSED with skinny jeans for her ever since.  They are just so adorable!  They don't sell the Circo ones anymore, I looked forever for extra pairs.  But these ones by OshKosh are perfection (Old Navy sells some great ones too, with great prints), with those tiny flowers embroidered on the waistband.  Yes, please.  I'll take one for me and one for her.

Oh and number 8. on the list?  PIGTAILS!  Oh lord, it's awesome now that Rosie's hair is long enough for pigtails (not that she's sitting still for it!)

Enjoy the sunshine, friends!

Style Crush: Scarlett O'Connor, Nashville

You guys, I have a serious style crush on Scarlett O'Connor from the show Nashville (please tell me I'm not the only one watching that show, because if it gets cancelled I'm going to be so mad.)  She has the most adorable style, gorgeous long curly hair (I always wanted long curly hair), and wears these amazing girly dresses and scuffy boots on every episode.  I'm obsessed, to the point of buying this dress damaged on eBay (which I fixed this weekend and wore yesterday - YAY!)

(Anabelle Flared Dress from Anthropologie, sold out - bought mine on eBay)

I mean, even doing the laundry the girl is totally gorgeous.  Just try and tell me you don't want this sweater (and her boyfriend, yowza!)

(Wildfox Couture Prarie Rose from Revolve Clothing, sold out - try eBay or here)

It doesn't hurt that she sings like an angel and plays the banjo, secretly I've always wanted to do both.  Maybe I'd like to be more Emmylou Harris than Taylor Swift though - if you know what I mean.  Most of the items from the show are sold out, so here's a few items I pulled together from my wishlist.  For all you Scarlett lovers.

1. Vintage 50's Dress from Etsy (similar here) // 2. Topshop Bright Flower Cami Tank Top // 3. Melissa Button Frye Boots from Zappos.com // 4. Jardin Lace Dress from Anthropologie // 5. Washburn 5-String Banjo from Guitar Center // 5. Topshop Organza Embroidered Dress (for her next big show, duh!)

The season finale is on tonight, I've been watching on Hulu but I might have to break out the old antenna so I can watch it live.  (No, we don't have cable - ain't nobody got time for that!)


I was born and raised in Minnesota, but I've been living in California for the past 9 years.  I always say how much I miss "real" storms, but I forgot just how dangerous a those storms can be.  My heart goes out to those suffering in the wake of deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma, especially parents of those precious children who did not make it to safety.  Two elementary schools were in the path of a two mile wide tornado.  I can't read the news reports without wanting to cry.  I'll be holding my baby just a little tighter tonight.  Heartbreaking.

To help, text the Red Cross at 90999 to donate $10 or visit RedCross.org

I Love You, California: Little Farm in Tilden Park

Friday was the perfect sunny day to spend in Tilden Park, and we just LOVE Little Farm!  If you don't know of it already, it's a working farm that is open to the public every day of the year - for free.  There are pigs, sheep, goats, cows, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits.  With plenty of space to run around, and a playground for the kids to play on, we have such a great time here.  There's also an indoor center with interactive exhibits, games, and bathrooms.

We packed a picnic lunch and just spent the day feeding the animals (lettuce and celery only - bring some!), running amok and enjoying the sunshine.  Even with several groups of school children running around there was plenty of space for everyone, and when things died down in the early afternoon we basically had the place to ourselves.

It's amazing the fun little adventures you find when you're trying to entertain a ridiculously energetic toddler all day.  I love that our area has so many affordable (read: free) places to go and explore! Have you guys been?

Our Office: Mood Board

Hey folks!  It's been a busy week, and I've been hard at work redecorating (our house, other's houses, it's been awesome!)  Our office has been long neglected, and it's been a dumping ground for stuff that doesn't have a home.  Wait until you see the before pictures, oh my, the shame.  I don't know if I'll survive it!  I was inspired by this amazing watercolor print by Emily Green, who is by the way a genius and I envy her amazing sense of color.  For now, you'll have to be content with a little mood board of things to come, I CANNOT WAIT!

1. Peacock and Candy Pink Watercolor Clouds by Emily Green // 2. Ikea KAJSAMIA Curtains (um, between you and me they are already hemmed and up, they look UH-mazing) // 3. Crazy bright desk accessories by Poppin (you're obsessed, right?  RIGHT?) // 4. Plants, green and gorgeous. // 5. Ikea LINNMON/KRILLE table top and legs // 6. Madeline Weinrib Cotton Indigo Brooke Rug (ha, as if I can afford this!) // 7. CB2 tps mint file cabinet

Let me just tell you now, if you love those amazing (and cheap, you guys, so cheap) hairpin legs on casters you better snag some now - Ikea signs said they were going going gone...

High Five, Minnesota!

Hey, do you guys know what happened today?  My home state, good ol' Minnesota, became the 14th state to legalize gay marriage.  HIGH FIVE MINNESOTA!  In honor of this awesome news, here's a round up of my favorite gay wedding cards.  Hooray, and congrats you future Mr. and Mr.'s and Mrs. and Mrs.'s of Minnesota!

(source and source)

(sweet cut out, right?  source)

Last, but CERTAINLY not least:

(source, will be available for purchase here.  Hopefully soon, it's my favorite of the bunch!  SWOON!)


I was totally just planning on calling this orange, but learned that orange is not a cool fashion word. Nope, you have to call things neon persimmon or tangerine tango. Maybe I'll do tangerine next? natalie

1. Soft moccasin, Zara \\  2. Tie-front tanksuit in safari sketch, Madewell \\ 3. Oh, snap! Hoodie in cotton ottoman, Kate Spade Saturday \\ 4. Cotton-jersey racer-back tank, Victoria Beckham Denim \\ 5. Pilar sandals, J.crew \\ Ariel crepe skirt, J.crew \\

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day is a good time to thank all the women in my life who have been there to support me, both growing up and now as a mother myself.  I also appreciate all the women who love my daughter like their own, I know she will look up to them as she grows older.

Her goofy Auntie Bini who comes to play and laugh with her every other day, her Grandma Rima who comes every weekend to babysit, the terrific teachers at preschool that love and care for her each and every day, her Auntie Jenna who babysits and keeps me sane, her Auntie Martina who calls every weekend to video chat with her "little peanut", her Auntie Amanda who was there to spend the day with me in labor and has been there every week since, her Auntie Natalie who adores her, her Auntie Isabel who dotes on her and takes me out so I don't lose my mind, her Grandma Audrey who comes all the way from Wisconsin to visit, her Auntie Britta and Linda in Minnesota who never forget a single occasion and mark it with a card or treat or meaningful gift, her Auntie Sara who always has a joke and a treat for her, her Auntie Ellen who made her the most gorgeous blanket ever, her Great Grandma's Nancy and Priscilla who send love, letters and gifts that are always so thoughtful and sweet.

This daughter of mine is truly treasured by the women in her life, and I'm proud to say that regardless of parentage, these women share motherhood with me and make me a better mother.  I never really felt the true meaning of "it takes a village to raise a child" until I had one of my own and needed the support and help of my friends and family every day. Throughout my life different women have raised me, supported me, advised me, cared for me, and loved me. As hard as I try I will never have all that Rosie needs, it does not diminish my motherhood to share the burden and joy with these amazing women. I'm just so so so grateful to them.  We don't parent in a vacuum, and thank god for that.

So Happy Mother's Day, to all you moms, grandmas, great grandmas, aunties, teachers, and BFFs.  Life is so much better with you in it!


Last Minute Mother's Day Gifts

If you're anything like me you have the very best intentions (and ideas!) for gifts but life just gets in the way. On Monday I had planned on getting cards and gifts in the mail for Mother's Day, but Rosie came down with pneumonia and the week was spent tag team parenting, consoling, and fighting WWIII trying to get antibiotics into the tiny tyrant. Whew, I'm exhausted just writing about it.  And now Mother's Day is Sunday, eek! Here's my plan is to get back on track, lickety split.

Chic Last Minute Gift #1: Photos, what mother doesn't love getting photos? And better yet, Instagram photos! Pretty, perfectly curated, and you can print directly from your Instagram library with the Walgreens app (for Droid or iPhone!) You guys, I spent 1 minute downloading the app, 5 minutes choosing the pics I wanted to print, 1 minute googling a coupon (PRINTS40 for 40% off!) and like 30 seconds checking out. You can pick them up in an hour at your local Walgreens. A little kraft paper bag, Washi tape and bakers twine...boom, done. $10.74, 10 minutes of action time, 1 hour of waiting and your first chic last minute gift is handled.

Chic Last Minute Gift #2: Trader Joe's flowers.  Here are a few secrets to get $17.96 worth of flowers to look like a $50 florist bouquet.

1. Choose flowers that are all in the same color family. Pinks and purples, red/orange/yellow, or whites and blues. It's the easiest way to get them looking coordinated.

2. Strip the flowers of leaves and buds below the water line (basically 4-5" below the head.)  Keep any straggler flowers that are too short or have broken stems, we'll use them later.

3. Grab a few flowers of each variety in one hand and continue adding a few of each variety as you turn your bouquet around, until you run out.  Cut those stems down and plop into water, done-zo!

One more time, for the cheap seats in the back (this is still using the same $17.96 worth of flowers we bought for the first bouquet.)

Last but not least, I like to pull out these little brown jars for straggler flowers that are too short to make it into the big arrangements.  They are infant Advil bottles and vitamin bottles with the labels pulled off.  I keep any glass bottles with a pretty shape or color for little arrangements such as these. Toss a few of each flower in the bottles and brighten your kitchen window.  A few more tips on cheap (but pretty) grocery store flowers here and making flowers last for the long haul here.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  Mom, mother in law, and you - all taken care of!  I especially love the last part, seriously moms, you need to TREAT YO'SELF!

I hope this has been helpful, and that your mom's day gifts are all settled.  Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there.  Every day you don't lock your kid in the closet and run away is a win in my book, I'm impressed!

I Love You, California: Redwood Regional Park

I love California, I really do.  It's my adopted state, but the longer I live here the more I just love the crap out of all the little adventures to be had.  This weekend the whole family was feeling a little under the weather, trying to make the best of it (and not willing to make a huge driving commitment) we decided spur of the moment to visit Redwood Regional Park.

It was our first time visiting, which is shameful because it is practically in our backyard.  A quick pack of the diaper bag, tossed the babies (human baby and fur baby) in the car, and seven minutes later we were at the main gate.  It's $5 to park and a $2 fee to bring the pup in, and if you drive to the last parking lot (Canyon Meadow Staging Area) you're just a hop skip and a jump from the children's playground, a few picnic areas, and the prettiest walk in the city.  Holy smokes, I couldn't believe we were smack dab in the middle of a redwood forest!

With Rosie fading fast we didn't walk far, but the walk was so pretty even the short distance we covered.  It's the perfect mini hike to take with squirmy toddlers.  The skies were a little threatening, but we didn't let that intimidate us (hey, we live in Oakland, the Lees aren't Nervous Nelly's.) 

It was the best way to spend a couple hours on a Sunday, and we found the sweetest little (ha, redwood trees, little?) gem right here in Oakland.  California is the best.

More California love here and I love this too. ♥  

P.S. Did you know California's State Song is I Love You, California?  It was running through my head when I was writing this post.

Mid-Century Modern Office Lounge Makeover

A month ago I got a call from an old coworker to makeover an office lounge (where I used to work!)  She shared that the room was under-utilized and really sterile - this is what it looked like before we got started:

The really beautiful booth chairs were already there, and we wanted them to stay.  My goal for the new lounge was to make it feel warm and inviting, a place people wanted to hang out.  It was a space I'd seen a lot of in my former life as an employee, and I was very motivated to see the room get some love.

The first step was removing the cold (but beautiful!) glass and welded steel tables.  They were not the right fit for the space (sharp angles on the chairs, sharp angles on the tables, it all felt really pointy and not so welcoming.)  I found the Fuller Cocktail Table in Walnut at Room and Board, it's just gorgeous and instantly made the space feel so much warmer.  Isn't it funny what swapping out one piece of furniture can do to change the way you feel about a room?

The next find was this Dutch mid-century table - one of my favorite Alameda Point Antiques Faire scores from last month, cannot wait to see what turns up this weekend at the Antiques Faire!  I had way too much fun picking out books for this room, the guy who started the company loves art, music and has an awesome sense of humor so I kept that in mind. 

The antique pull toy on top of the stack of books reminded me so much of the State of California flag, I couldn't resist it!

The view is just outrageous, floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Bay Bridge.  And seriously, it's not even the best view in the office.  Sooooo jealous.

Yes, it's a little "home-y" for an office, but that was kind of the point.  They already have several conference rooms, call rooms, and they are all pretty serious.  I wanted to get people to feel comfortable and lounge-y in this one room, to be more social and take in the view.  I think we decided we could sit in there for hours.  Can't wait to go back and visit (man sometimes it's hard letting go of all the pretty vintage finds!)

Fuller Cocktail Table in Solid Walnut - Room and Board
Dutch mid-century side table with drawers and iron pulls - Alameda Point Antiques Faire
White Skars Tall Serve Bowl (used as planter with fern on side table) - CB2
White Skars Taper Serve Bowl (used as planter for succulents on coffee table) - CB2
White Patterned Pot in Waves (on console table) - West Elm
Rustic Console Table - West Elm 
Shades of Blue Pencil and Watercolor Art - already owned
White Evesham Chairs - Keilhauer 
Standing globes - Alameda Point Antiques Faire
Rocking Bird - West Elm

Antique Brass Martini Side Table - West Elm
White Lacquer Tray - West Elm
Mid-Century Inspired Water Carafe (With Wood Base) - West Elm (can't find it on their website)
Strauss 11 oz. Double Old-Fashioned Glasses - Crate and Barrel
Modern White Clock - Ikea, from a while ago unfortunately!  Wish I had bought them out!
Oversized Green Vase - Vintage
Vase (with star of Bethlehem flowers on lower console shelf) - West Elm (not on website)
Small Painting - from my collection, can't remember artist (eek! but I think it was local)

Gift Guide: Mother's Day (May Day Inspired)

Inspired by the flowers of May Day, below are a few floral Mother's Day gift ideas.  All my pretty but affordable picks are $32 and under, enjoy!

1. For the moms out there who love flowers, The Flower Recipe Book ($15.99) - the cover alone is swoonworthy!  "A flower-arranging bible for today's aesthetic."  YES PLEASE! 

2. This floral hedgehog print from ChipmunkCheeks on Etsy is adorable and chic ($20), a mother who loves art and decorating might enjoy this.  Pop it in a little frame ($10), done and done!

3. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the production samples of the Rifle Paper Co. iPhone Cases on Anna Bond's Instagram in January.  I've been dying for the Rifle Paper Co. Botanical Rose iPhone Case ($32) ever since.  Could it be any prettier?  Nope.

4. My mother loves to garden, and I'm pretty sure she'd love these gorgeous Flower 3 pc. Tool Set from PJ Tool Supply ($29).  They remind me of the Liberty of London and Target collaboration a few years ago, do you guys remember those gardening gloves and household items?  I still dream of them, and wonder why I didn't buy more of the amazing items.  Sigh.

5. For the mom who loves to cook, or just loves her kitchen I love this Pink Floral Dishtowel by Etsy seller LisaRuppDesign ($20), the print is an original work by the seller/designer Lisa Rupp.  It is so pretty, and comes in two other designs grey and yellow

6. For the perfect hostess of a mother, these glasses are $2.49 each KROKETT glasses from Ikea.  They come in pink and light green and are even prettier in person, seriously you guys.  A set of 6 would set you back $15, such a good deal!

7. Does your mom sew?  If so, think she would seriously obsess over what to do with a few of these gorgeous Liberty of London fabrics - I know I do!  These are my favorites, starting from the top left going clockwise, Claire-Aude in Pale Yellow ($8.75), Claire-Aude in Red ($8.25), Nancy-Ann in Purple ($8.75), Irma ($9), Tatum in Blue ($8.75).  (all prices listed are for a fat quarter)

8. For the most sentimental of moms, this Mother-Daughter Card by Rifle Paper Co ($4.50) is seriously my favorite.  Ever.  It says "Happy Mother's Day, to the mom who taught me everything."  I would love to get this card from little Rosie Posie someday, with a note about all the things I taught her.  Hopefully she'll leave off "swear like a sailor", but let's be honest - probably not. 

In true May Day fashion, I'm off to pick up and arrange some flowers to drop off at a friend's doorstep.  Hope your day is extra sunny and full of pretty flowers!

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