It seems appropriate this week to stop and reflect on some of the things we're most grateful for in our lives, and right up at the top of my list is the community we became a part of when my son Benicio started preschool for the first time this Fall.

He goes to a little school in Hollywood called The Sunshine Shack, and pretty much every day I count my blessings that we found such an incredibly sweet, creative, conscious and nurturing environment for my little one's first forays out into the world.

The teachers are endlessly kind and patient as they shepherd a bunch of 2 and 3-year-olds just learning to navigate the complexities of how to conduct themselves and get along in a group setting. This can be a real challenge for the kids!  It's an incredible comfort knowing that the teachers, their guides, are equipped with the latest, most relevant science on early childhood development that I've been immersed in since we hit toddlerhood (in the vein of Nurture Shock, Whole Brain Child, Heart to Heart Parenting, etc.)  Their every interaction with the children reflects their extensive knowledge on the subject and their commitment to a heart-centered, progressive approach, and I just can't ephasize enough how gratifying it is to know that my kiddo is learning social skills in this enlightened environment.

Another progressive aspect I love is that the school requires the packed lunches we send with our kids to be entirely "trash free."  No wrappers or packaging of any kind.  What an example of environmental stewardship to set for these kids from the get go!  

I take lots of inspiration from the mom/cookbook author who wrote Weelicious (I follow her on Instagram where she posts these pics of her kids' lunches each day.  Mine don't look quite like this but I'm striving to follow her lead :)  

A definite highlight for the little ones is Mr. Grey, the school bunny who roams the grounds freely and is a source of their endless fascination.

I also really love the thought and care that has gone into creating the school's physical environment.  As someone who definitely sees the impact of aesthetics in our lives, I have a special appreciation for the beautiful way the school is set up to encourage and entice the little ones to touch and explore and create and learn.  It's all part of the school's core philosophy: 

Everywhere you turn there are trays of colorful buttons, baskets of yarn, piles of wooden blocks, baskets of twigs, leaves, and pine cones, trays of sand for little fingers to sift through, all at toddler level welcoming their exploration.  In my view it's the perfect early learning environment!

There's nothing in the world better than seeing my little one all lit up like this. 

Grateful beyond grateful for that.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Here's a follow-up to the affordable armchair round-up I posted last week.  I'd be satisfied to find any of these dining chairs around my table, and I'd be even happier to get them at prices like these! 

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 

6 // 7 // 8 // 9

  And a couple more that caught my eye right at the end ...

We're off to NYC today for some fun with the kiddos and then to visit Marc's family in Princeton. We'll be breaking from the usual protocol and having lobster for our Thanksgiving dinner ... both Marc's parents being European, lobster for Thanksgiving is actually one of their long-held family traditions, which is fine by me!  Although I'm definitely sticking with the pumpkin pie, which I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner all year-round.

If you're hanging in LA (actually it's now spread to other cities too), a very cool thing to do on Thanksgiving is join up with the hands-on charity Gobble Gobble Give.  GGG is a huge group of volunteers who gather on Thanksgiving morning to prepare mountains of donated food and then fan out across LA to distribute warm Thanksgiving meals to the homeless.  We've done it with the original Echo Park GGG group and it's such a cool, grassroots approach that feels amazing to be a part of!  There's a Santa Monica GGG brigade too, as well as groups in Harlem, San Francisco, Austin, and some other cities.

To quote a very favorite writer:

“Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides. It means that you are willing to stop being such a jerk. When you are aware of all that has been given to you, in your lifetime and the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back.”
                                                                                                                                        -Anne Lamott


Ever notice how a decent living room arm chair from places like Crate & Barrel,  Room & Board, and even West Elm usually run around $800 and up? 

Well here's a little round-up of a bunch that I like for a lot less.  Many of these are available in alternate colors, and one or two are listed at the sale price, so jump if you see something you love!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 //

6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10

We're busy busy wrapping up lots of work and getting ready to go back East for the holiday with family.  So we've got vacation mode coming up, but I'll be checking in here as much as I can! 


We're at the "value engineering" stage of our house renovation project right now, which means going over everything with a fine tooth comb to find all the areas where we can save by mixing high/low design without sacrificing anything in style.

Obviously it's no small feat to essentially re-build an entire house (we're tearing down all the interior walls, completely rearranging the existing floor plan, and adding a master suite) and it's no small expense either.  Luckily I get a lot of pleasure out of finding creative solutions when designing on a budget.  There's something ultra satisfying about combining common things in an unusual and creative way to make it surprising and inspiring!

Lately I've been thinking about the kids' bathroom and wondering what I might be able to do with it using a high/low design approach.  I've run across some very attainable ideas from Ikea that I thought you might like too.

I think there are definitely some ideas worth considering here in some way, shape, or form!

Have a good week.


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