If You Love Mid-Century Modern …

037… you must visit Palm Springs! For Chris’ birthday, we took a quick road trip to P.S. and had an awesome time. Here’s how we experienced the four things I wanted to give him for his birthday:

0211950s tiki culture: We experienced this at our hotel! We stayed at the very-retro Caliente Tropics (at the end of East Palm Canyon Drive), which was originally built in 1964  in classic Polynesian and tiki style (which was very cool and postwar-exotic at the time). The motel-style digs have since been redone and brought into the modern era with things like marble tubs and in-room fridges, but the motor-car-style place still retains its uber-vintage vibe, with tiki torches, bamboo plants, lots of palm trees, and even private cabana “huts” for two. There was a family-friendly pool surrounded by green lawn and barbecues. You half expected some pearl-wearing housewife and a bowling-shirt-clad daddy-o to step out with a tray of grillin’s and Jell-O.

Midcentury-modern architecture. Well, Palm Springs is the epicenter of midcentury-modern everything now. Embracing its roots, which sprung forth in the middle years of the century with the unique “desert modernism,” the town has turned its attention to renovating its modern-movement buildings. The deep overhangs, flat rooflines, great use of glass, and desert landscaping create an environment that looks right out of a vintage postcard. Continue reading

Making School Lunches and Other Things I Always Need Help With …

Whew! Busy week! I’ve been kind of M.I.A. — but just busy with work and writing and editing and such. …

Today I’m over at Health Bistro, giving more parenting tips for the start of school. This one is about making kids’ school lunches every day and keeping it to a reasonable amount of time. I’d looooooove to hear others’ tips and ideas on this, so please come over and visit, and share your strategies. Do you make lunches in the morning or evening? Do your kids help? Do you have a “lunch station”? I’m here: Mom Tip 2: Making School Lunches.

California Settings in Books …

Do you like the bougainvillea I chose for my header?

It’s a picture I took, and it’s so very “California.”

When I first started writing fiction I decided that, if I can, I’d like to set all of my romances in California, since there are so many nooks and crannies to explore. Most people only think of the beach, or of L.A., or of San Francisco when they think of California, but there are so many other areas to this enormous state. I thought it would be fun to have books set in wine country, balloon-riding country, along old Highway 49 (“Gold Rush” country), some of the islands off the coast, at a national park or two, and maybe even on a houseboat in one of the harbors. The Golden Heart-finalling book was set in a California mountain resort, because that was a place I always wanted to write about. (I’m not sure people think of “mountaintops” when they think of California, but we have a lot of them. And I wanted to write about how it feels to be “stuck” in a resort on a hilltop.) My next two books were set in fictional “Sandy Cove,” which is based on the real-life San Clemente and Dana Point. I chose those places because they’re beautiful seaside towns that still have a bit of an “old-school” California vibe that we don’t always see here anymore.

But California also has lots of dairy farms, ranches and agriculture. The state is so rich with land and stories — I feel I could write about it for at least 70 books. : )

Let me know if you like my new masthead, and if you have other favorite California settings you’d love to read about. … If you’ve lived here or visited here (or live here now), what area left an impression on you and why? Was any place completely different than you expected?


When D.I.Y. Goes Horribly Wrong …


Exhibit A: Successful project

Well, we can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way, ya see? …

Our D.I.Y. projects are picking up speed, but — just like all D.I.Y. projects (as many of you probably know) — one leads to another. For one reason or another.

We started with an easy one recently. See Exhibit A (above) — cute, easy project: I bought a chair! I’d always wanted a “reading chair” like this, and finally got one. This is in our teeny-weeny little den, and hardly fits, but I don’t care. I love this chair. It’s right behind my writing desk, so it’s great for anyone who wants to come visit me. (!) Mostly one of the younger kids sits here with the laptop in the evenings, even though they have a full desk right next to mine.

So we were on a roll.

And that one was soooooo easy.

So maybe we were getting cocky, but we actually thought we could handle something bigger. This one would involve a hammer.

I wanted to put up a white board in the kids’ “homework/paper center.” Now, the first irony is that I took a picture of the homework/paper center earlier this week for a blog post I was doing over at Health Bistro. The post (and original photo) is right here. I was writing about how organized I was, you know, and how I was giving tips, for God’s sake, on how to be organized. Like me. [*rolls eyes*] …

But don’t take me too seriously. Because just two days later, the “homework/paper center” looked like this:


Exhibit B: Um ... fail!

It’s now become D.I.Y. project 214. …

What happened is that I bought this very cool white board that I wanted the kids to use.  With two teens, now, we’re having a harder time keeping track of everyone. (Because, you know, when they’re older they often forget to tell you there’s a dance, or there’s a thing after the football game, or there’s a Saturday football practice, or whatever. …)

Anyway, this cool white board was going to go up on the wall right among the plastic bins that hold their school stuff, so I asked Superman (God bless him) to nail it up there for me. He was being all great and honey-do-ish and did it for me while I was at work so I’d come home and be surprised. (Yay.) But I came home and … heard … water? or a whishing? … hmmm … Of course, I was mostly happy that the white board was up! The white board is up! Hoorah! We’re more organized! And I got all sidetracked being happy about the white board being up that I didn’t even investigate that weird water noise. (I guess I just thought it was a toilet running, which we can sometimes hear in our very-thin, cheap-housing, not-even-made-of-brick Southern California homes.) Continue reading

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