Polished Concrete VS. Maple Floors, Make up My Mind for Me Please

I spotted this house tour on Sight Unseen and was immediately taken with it’s clean modern design, and functional simplicity.  The neutral palette makes my heart sing.  And I couldn’t love the dining room chairs more- natural leather is one of my most favorite materials and it pairs so well with the concrete floors!  Which brings me to what this post is reallly about.  Concrete floors.   I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect maple floors for our new home and in my research found out that engineered hardwood floors are made with all kinds of nasty chemicals that off-gas and are a health hazard.  WHAT?!  Not all of them are so toxic, but the green products that I’ve found are twice as expensive as a comparable non-green option I had my eyes on.  I had my heart set on hardwood but now that I’m looking at this house I’m revisiting the idea of concrete.  We had concrete floors in our Palm Springs house and it was so nice- cool during the hot summer months and easy to keep clean.  Plus they’re pretty much indestructible- which is a big deal when there’s a toddler hurricane residing in your home.  It’s a completely different look than the light maple I was planning on but it’s verrrry tempting!  What do you think?  Should we splurge for the green engineered hardwood or save our budget for the million other things we could spend on in the house and go with beautiful polished concrete?  Anyone with kids have concrete floors and love or hate them?  I do have a fear about Teo bonking his head on the concrete.  Ughhhh.  Would love to hear your thoughts!  xx- Sarah  {photos by Pippa Drummond}

Date Nights Are Happening!

You guys!  Lou’s mom is visiting us on a one-way ticket from Florida and it has been a GAME CHANGER!  We’ve been to the movies (the first in over 2 years), dinners out, and there are plans in the works for even more alone time!  It’s the best thing ever!  I definitely undervalue date nights.  Normally, we’ve not been the best at making alone time together a priority.  I’m nervous about baby sitters we don’t know, and while we’ve had friends offer (and have taken them up on it a couple times), it’s not the kind of thing we can do regularly.  But date nights are SO GOOD!  On top of remembering who we were as a couple before Teo joined us I get to wear normal pretty clothes that are light colored and not practical for toddler chasing!  That time together is so much fun, it feels a bit like time traveling to our life pre-baby.  I don’t want to live in that pre-baby time land but I do reallly enjoy a visit there!

Having Teo’s abuelita here is just the best thing ever.  He loves her so much, she loves him so much, and we love having help soooo much!  Everyone is winning!  I understand now why people move across the country to be closer to family.  We can’t do it, for a multitude of reasons, but it’s damn tempting.  For now we’ll just soak up every minute that we have Nani here!  Seeing Teo bond to her makes my heart just burst.  Family is just the best.  Have any of you made a major move to be closer to family while you raise your kiddos? xx- Sarah {shirt, skirt, shoes (on sale!!!)}

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Roasted Cauliflower “Rice” Bowl

Hi friends!  I did one of those “ask me anything” things on Instagram stories the other day and I got a bunch of questions about my health, and health in general.  Unfortunately I never have enough space on Instagram because I’m such a wordy lady, but I realized I need to give ya’ll a health update and also share more of what I’ve learned over these years in my extensive research about autoimmune disease and natural healing.  So both of those things are coming soon, I promise!  In the meantime, I made you a bowl of goodness!  This is how I’ve been eating lately: lots of plants, lots of pastured meats, lots and lots of pesto and chimichurri.  So it’s delicious, even if there is a current laundry list of indulgences I’m not enjoying.  But more on that soon.

How on earth are you managing this with a toddler you ask?  Two words: MEAL PREP!  If you aren’t cooking a bunch on a weekend day for meals you can throw together during the week, I dare say you’re missing out like a one winged penguin!  Swimming in circles!!!  Roasting pans full of veggies, grilling up chicken breasts, making large batches of pesto and chimichurri- these are the things that make my world go round.  Or at the very least keep me from losing my mind, falling off the health wagon and resorting to a bag of cherries for dinner.  Most of the time anyway.  All of this is to say that a meal like this is labor intensive IF you aren’t batch cooking and eating all of the ingredients again the next day in a salad, or another yummy bowl with a few small modifications.  If you ARE batch cooking, a meal like this is thrown together right before it’s time to eat  will make you so grateful to your past self that you may want to marry her (or him).  The recipe the amounts will be for making 2-3 large bowls, but you know what I think you should do- batch that ish!

Lastly, it feels sooooo good to be back at this blogging thing and I’m sooooooo grateful for all of your support.  I’ve had many a moment of intense gratitude thinking about how even though I basically fell off the planet for a couple of years you didn’t forget about me and have welcomed me back to this space with arms that feel like a grandma’s hug.  The best possible!!  Thank you so very, very much.  xx- Sarah . {Recipe after the jump}

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Motherhood: Riding the Waves and Trusting What Is

Hi friends!  Thanks so much for sharing your own experiences and lifting me up in mine on this post from a couple of weeks ago!  One of the best pieces of advice I received when Teo was a newborn was to “ride the waves”.  This was general life advice when it was given to me, but I clung to it like a life raft this past year and a half with Teo.  So I’ll share it here and hope that it helps one of you.  There are times in parenting (and in life in general) that you’re pushed to the very brink- physically, mentally, emotionally.  When your babe is teething and not sleeping and you are fighting with your partner and the pressures of life are looming it can feel like nothing will EVER be ok again, right?  Exhaustion couples with frustration and worry and a host of other emotions pile on top.  It can be suffocating.  It’s like a wave that knocks you down.  You’ll make it up for air eventually, but the time underwater feels like it will never end.  Hopefully you land on the other side of the wave soon, and have a ride on the topside that is fun and thrilling and magical!  But either way, whichever side of the wave you’re on your only real choice is to ride it out.  This idea that the good and the bad all comes and goes brings a sort of ease into life I think.

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Dark Bottom Pool for the Ojai House?

Hi everyone!  I’m over the moon about the response to the news about our move and home reno project- I swear the collective excitement of the internet has made this 1000X more exciting!!  So basically I’m dead from excitement, it’s too much!  I’m gonna resurrect myself though because there are DESIGN DECISIONS TO BE MADE!!!!  We’re diving right into it with the pool.  {see what I did there?!}

Anyway, do you want to know what nagging thought is waking me up at 3 am?  What if I design all of these things and want to change them allll in five years?!?!  GOOD GOD HOW CAN I MAKE A COMMITMENT TO A KITCHEN WHEN I CAN BARELY STAY IN LOVE WITH A THROW PILLOW?!  This was triggered (heavily) by a wander I took through some secret Pinterest boards I created when we bought our San Diego house.  All I could think when I was going through them was I’m really glad we didn’t do THAT!!!!  And not because any of it is hideous, it’s just that design trends change and my fickle heart gets swept away easily.  I actually think there’s a collective unconscious that effects design specifically.  I mean, otherwise how is it that we all legitimately fall in love with things at the exact same time?  Anyone study this in an Anthropologie class?  {see what I did there?!  HA!  I’m on a roll today}

{Image via Apartment Therapy}

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Our Ojai Fixer

Hola friends!!!  I’m sure you gathered by the post title – WE ARE MOVING TO OJAI!  WHAT!?!  I know.  I KNOW!  We sold our house in San Diego, and we were shopping for another when I happened to cruise up the coast mentally to my dream town, Ojai.  It’s the town I’ve been trying to get Lou to move to since we left LA in 2012.  Tucked into a valley surrounded by foothills and mountains, it’s a magical little place that has had my heart since I first visited during my time at college in Santa Barbara.   I spotted this house and sent the listing and a few others to Lou and our realtors, just asking WHAT IF?

I was absolutely SHOCKED when Lou’s response was that he liked this house, that we should go see it.  I was already pretty attached to the idea by the time our realtors got in touch with the seller’s realtor and was a bit gutted when they told us it had gone under contract within 2 days, and had multiple offers over asking.  California real estate is BANANAS you guys.  We decided to put in a strong backup offer just in case.  And the next day  we got word that the investor who had made the original offer had backed out and it was ours if we wanted it. (!!!!!!!!)  So just to recap, it was Wednesday when I threw out the idea of moving to Ojai and by noon on Thursday we were under contract for a house we’d never seen.  Craziness to the max.  HA!

That Sunday we drove up to Ojai to see the house, meet with contractors, have the house inspected and spend a little more time in Ojai to be sure we were making the right decision.  It didn’t take long for us to know that our instincts hadn’t failed us- we still love Ojai and the house was even better in person.  Well, the house is in crazy disrepair actually, but that’s what we’ve been looking for- a house we can make entirely our own.   And we see soooo much potential with this sweet little mid century ranch house.

Many of you know all of this, but just to recap…when I started this site in 2011 we lived in LA.  In 2012 we moved to Palm Springs to try out life in our favorite vacation town in a beautiful modern dream house.  After living there for 2 years we realized it wasn’t going to work being so far from the beach and friends, so in 2014 we moved to San Diego.  We looovvveee San Diego and the beautiful Spanish house we transformed in our time here.  BUT.  It’s expensive and we’ve had many many conversations about where we could go to have a slower pace of life while we raise Teo.  And so, Ojai is next.  In case you’re counting that makes it four towns in seven years.  OMG.  Hopefully we love life in Ojai as much as we think we will!  We’re ready to really settle into life and stop the chaos of moving.  We don’t regret any of the moves so far though, each has served us so well and it’s been a great adventure!  So if you’re considering trying out a new place to live I say go for it!  Life is short and there’s no way of knowing if something will work if you don’t try it!  Of course if you’re thinking 4 moves/towns in 7 years is legitimately INSANE, I kind of agree with you too.  HA!

So, are you excited to see more of this house and hear what we have planned?  You do know I’m going to be a sharing fool while we go through the renovation and design process, right?  It’s an absolute dream come true for us, to take something old and unlivable and give it a new lease on life!  We’ve got BIG plans for this place!  And I think it’s going to be sooo fun to share the renovation process with you all and hopefully inspire your own project houses!

Click through for a quick BEFORE home tour and read a bit about what I’m thinking going into the design process…

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