Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Warmth Company - A Distinctive Home Store in Aptos, California

I had the good fortune to meet the owners of the Warmth Company, Monica and Naomi,  at the Alameda Flea market at the beginning of this month.  Melissa and I had a great time visiting with them and checking out their finds; cool beach cottage painted furniture, antique aqua glass bottles, sea shells galore - they knew all the secrets!

Finally, last week I had an opportunity to  drive down  the coast  to see their store in Aptos. Aptos is a small historic town just beyond Santa Cruz, yet a few miles before you get to Monterey on Hwy 1, with part of the town (including the State Park)  on the ocean side of the freeway, the rest of the town tucked on the other side of Hwy 1. Thank goodness Naomi had given me her card at the market, so I could plug in the address into the GPS on my Iphone, because I did get turned around a little bit when I got off of the freeway.

 Warmth Company is located in the cute historic shopping district - will definitely have to go back when I have a little more time.

Wow -walked in the door and was instantly in coastal decorating heaven!  Enjoy my tour, and a just a small sample of all of the incredible treasures to be found inside.....

Here's the flea market chair in a pretty boudoir setting!  Sorry, it was so sunny that day, and difficult to get the lighting just right, the antiqued white dresser is covered in beautiful soaps, lotions and antique bottles with corals and shells....

Love this white mother-of-pearl lamp!

Beach washed bottles...

Tons of decorating books scattered throughout the store, including one of my favorites 
"The Way We Live By the Sea"...

All Shell Chandelier! So pretty..

My new bedroom...

Treasures abound in every single corner of this store!

In their words.. "Warmth Company offers fine home furniture, furnishings & accessories for those people with discriminating tastes and who desire a distinctive “look and feel” in their living space. Our mission is to provide everything you need to turn your house into your home."  

Warmth Company is a MUST SEE store on the California Coast!!
Here's a link to the website:,

Hope you enjoyed the tour, come with me next time!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tomales Bay Oysters!

Sunny, windy Sundays were meant for drives on the California coast. This weekend was my cute boyfriend's birthday weekend, so that means that he gets to pick the Sunday drive (well, I helped a little with that decision!) He chose to have a little lunch of fresh oysters on Tomales Bay at the Marshall General Store.  We discovered this little jewel last summer - right on Highway 1, after Pt. Reyes Station, yet before Bodega Bay. Lovely rustic bar tables perched just on the side of the road, wonderful view of bobbing sailboats, soaring seabirds + the bonus of incredibly fresh  seafood treats! This picture is from last summer - almost too windy to get pictures yesterday, we both had on 2 sweaters, coats and scarves.  BRRRR...

Yesterday, we fought mightily with the wind, hanging tightly to our bottled beer, enjoying some grilled baby artichokes, (these were delish!)  shrimp cocktail and of course, Tom's oysters. Kind of funny to watch the cormorants fight to fly in the wind, and finally give up and just go back to sitting on the pier!

Hopped back in the car to drive South on Hwy 1, thought about stopping at Hog Island Oysters, but opted to head to a new favorite stop of ours, "Tomales Bay Oyster Company".  What a fun place to buy oysters! You can buy 12  sweet oysters for 10.00 - (most of the time it's 13 oysters) fresh right out of Tomales Bay that day. Tom swears that the oysters from Tomales Bay are the best oysters he's ever had!  Friendly people, you can tell that this is truly an old family traditional business - they even have crushed ice to pack your oysters home in.  (We were prepared with your insulated cooler this time!)

Not only can you buy varying sizes of  fresh oysters here, but they invite you to have a picnic on their beach.  Lots of picnic tables, with bar-b-ques all ready to go, just bring your charcoal and your picnic basket. The parking lot is always packed, lots of loud party music and the sweet smell of charcoal grilling.   Next time, we are just going to crash somebody else's family party...

One more quick stop before heading home - Cowgirl Creamery in Pt. Reyes.  Too many choices of gourmet organic cheese.. I could really go crazy in this shop! We bought  the Mt. Tam and Sir Francis Drake varieties, after some careful consideration with one of the cheese mongers. Though, we couldn't possibly leave without a little chunk of smokey blue cheese to go on the birthday steaks tonight.  (Can't wait!)

Tip: Our "cheese monger" suggested that we have the Sir Francis Drake cheese on crusty french bread with a drizzle of local honey.  Can tell you that this is my new favorite appetizer -close rival to chocolate!  Oh mi - am totally addicted to this cheese treat....

Here he is, in his Pike Place Fish apron,  very happy to be back home opening his oysters for our little feast on the deck last night.  A few glasses of  Malbec, the cheese plate complete with honey for drizzling, sliced Fuji apples, apricots and we were in heaven.

P.S. Tom only cut his hand in one place while prying open the shells!

P.S. P.S. The French glass antique glass oyster plate was one of my most recent finds, in a little shop in Seabeack, Washington, but we did receive these oyster plates this week in the warehouse!

And these too -  3 sizes available!

Small oyster plates - pretty green recycled glass!

See you at the beach!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ah, Saturdays just the way I like them....

Woke up to another incredibly gorgeous, orange, pink aqua blue sky over my little strip of the San Francisco Bay! Slept in late, sort of. Finally decided to roll out of my comfy sun-dappled bedroom and stroll out to the kitchen.  Starving!!  Opened up the fridge,  took inventory of what we had and made a veritable feast. Grilled sweet potatoes with Yukon golds, nutty toast, fresh local strawberries, scrambled eggs with tons of  fresh chopped veggies..we DO like to eat well.  All the while, that cute boyfriend of mine made us latte's in his fancy espresso machine.  Don't ask me, I don't have a clue how it works.

Then out to the deck to dine "al fresco" in our p.j.'s (we are on the top floor - no one really notices us!) Hot sunny, lazy morning. Love these Saturday mornings when I get to indulge myself by catching up on Elle Decor, Coastal Living, House Beautiful, Victoria, Country Living (yeah, I am magazine junkie) and this morning enjoying my latest favorite design book - Elle Decor's "So Chic". getting lost in the inspiring rooms, colors, and  design ideas is one of my favorite ways to relax and dream of my next adventure!

Tom finally convinced me to get in the shower, promising me a walk on the beach down by the Cliff House, in San Francisco, just off of the Great Highway. Doesn't take a whole to convince me to go for a walk on the beach - who knows, we might even find something interesting rolling around in the surf...

Of course we had to have a little lunch before walking out on the dunes, it had been  over 4 hours or so since our breakfast feast!  Found a cute cute neighborhood cafe, the Java Beach Cafe - the place was packed! We ordered turkey pesto sandwiches and found a place on the lanai to eat.

Then over the dunes we went. We've never walked on the beach here, have only driven by along side on our way home many times, after enjoying the view at the Cliff House. Oh.. the Cliff House... that's a story for another day.

The beach that runs this stretch of highway is a great place to walk, beach comb for shells, hunt for sea glass, build sand castles,  and of course, to people watch.

We did find a few shells, lots of broken sand dollars, or as Tom was referring to them "half-dollars". Jellyfish were all over the place too (yuck).

I always admire the kite surfers!  Looks like so much fun, but looks way too cold, and way too hard for this beach girl!

Check out one of my pretty glass pieces (and sand!) that made it home in my pockets.. Actually, Tom may have found this round smooth aqua piece. Beautiful color reflected in the sun..

Can't wait to go back again when we have more time! 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Beach House - Nautical Details!

Caron's Signature

Classic Nautical  - Always a Popular Choice for 
Summer on the Shore!

Nautical is never a bad decision when decorating a beach house - classic blues, golds, scarlet red, crispNautical Linen Guest Towels white... I can hear the ocean breezes blowing right now! 

Crisp and cool with navy and white, sailing style can start with a white background, adding stripes in varying sizes and widths, then add a little wicker, rope or hemp.  (see my starfish garland!)  See how easy it is to put this all together?? 

Anchor PillowLayer your new look with with nautical detailed pillows - anchors might just do the trick! 

Then  finish off your new nautical look with a layer of old fashioned marine memorabilia. Think model ships, old world maps, oars, compasses, brass accents... scout flea markets, antique shops.  I think the fun is in the hunt! Looking for  just the right color, texture...  

Take a look at one of our antiqued model Sailing Ships!
See how easy that was? Your Beach House now has a new "Seaworthy Style"!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Girl's Lunch at Maggie's on Miller Bay...

So... I should be working on a newsletter for the Caron's Beach House site, but am having a lot of trouble getting motivated. (Gosh, was it the late night red wine and gumbo?)  I have a backlog of beachy blog stories to write, so I am opting for sitting here with my cup of tea, and gooey brownie.

By the way, don't you just love my new "under the sea" coffee cup? It was a present from my daughter and can be found at Starbucks if you would like one of your own.

Want to tell you all about my lunch at Maggie's beach house on Miller Bay outside of Poulsbo. Maggie is the talented designer behind Burning at Both Ends, she creates all kinds of neat accessories; wine charms, zipper pull charms, goblet charms, flip-flop charms - so many cool ideas!  I love carrying her coastal themed wine charms on the website, and she was so gracious to come up with some charms and bead colors just for us. Pretty cool, since she has some very big clients, like the "Made in Washington Store", and "Exclusively Washington".

This is her collection of antique oars and shells that greet visitors on her front porch.  Maggie's vintage painted oars are very special, and come from a treasured uncle's house in Michigan. I like how she wrapped shells and old fishing  floats with rope and tied everything all together.

Maggie can't help being creative, her dad is an incredibly talented artist and is still enjoying presenting his art at local Northwest galleries at nearly 90.  Here's just one example of the beach scenes covering her walls throughout the house, forgot to ask what beach this might be, but it kind of looks like Dungeness Spit in Sequim (?)

This is one of the coolest ideas that I have ever seen: a moon snail shell mortared into their fireplace for a safe keeping spot for matches! If I ever have another house, I am definitely copying this idea. (you all know I already have the shells)  Love all of the barnacles covering this shell, confirms that it actually washed up on Maggie's beach! Could not help it, I had to put the "Rosario" and "Latitude 47" matches in the photo - Northwest favorites.

 Enjoy the collections that are on her mantel too; shells collections, special rocks, beach washed birdhouses...

Miller Bay is a little inlet on the Kitsap Peninsula between Poulsbo and Kingston.  Living nearly all of my life in Kitsap County, I never even knew that this little bay existed until I knew Maggie. The day that we had lunch, it was more of a mud flat surrounded by beautiful homes, and some beached boats!  (P.S. this is Maggie's front yard - sort of!)

Our girl's lunch table on Maggie's stone patio right above the beach, so pretty surrounded by spring flowers, and natural beach grass.  We had the perfect day to enjoy sitting outside in the sun, definitely sometimes a rarity in the Pacific Northwest for the month of May.

Now, for the lunch menu: It was so good that I had second helpings! Maggie made us "Swimming Angel" - a Thai Chicken, peanut sauce, spinach and  brown rice concoction that looked so yummy piled in a charming pasta sea shell pasta bowl by Mud Pie. Accompanied by a sparkling pink pomegranate wine from World Market, and little ginger cookies with vanilla icing.  And yes, I do like to eat - invite me over ANY time!

I used to sell the Mud Pie dinnerware  in my Poulsbo store, so fun and soooo beachy! Managed to keep only one of the dinner plates that I now use for serving appetizers for our cocktail hour on the lanai. She is so lucky to have all of the matching pieces, including serving pieces and the cool napkin holders.

Check out our fun place settings for our girls' beach lunch -

Thank you so much for inviting me over and for introducing me to another beach girl - Sherry Eckert. So happy to always make new friends, especially when we are kind of living the same path.. Check out Sherry's Moondrops Yoga Blog, in her words "Yoga and the beach, the two things in my life that fill me up and keep me sane!!" Check out her blog for musings on yoga, life and doing lots of beach walking... (my kind of new friend!)  You have got to see her jewelry, absolutely beautiful, one of a kind art pieces..

One more final picture before I run off to finish that darn newsletter - here's a close up photo of the rusty kids' shovel with Maggie's ever growing shell collection on her front porch that I had to take.  Loved it, and such a perfect reminder of why I can't ever be too far away from the coast.

Come see our selection of Burning At Both Ends Wine Charms on the Caron's Site!

See you at the Beach! Headed to Aptos and Santa Cruz tomorrow...

Relax and Live at the Beach Every Day of the Year!

Most Popular Beach Posts!