California Dreaming (Again)

The entire state of California is basically cost prohibitive for me. But when I’m perusing homes for sale for fun, I inevitably end up there. This house is my latest favorite. It’s in Corte Madera, just north of San Francisco. I love it for the unusual layout, bright rooms, incredible views, and cool modern touches. So, if they could just decrease its price by about  85%, we’d be in business.


Project Fireplace Fix

It’s officially fireplace weather. And mine needs some work. “Fix the fireplace” has been a high-ranking number on the House To-Do list for several years and this fall it’s officially made it to the top. It’s a nice enough white brick fireplace, but it’s covered by a black metal firescreen that I’m assuming has been here about 70 years. And that screen is the only thing between my living room and the great outdoors. So, here’s what I want:


Take away the screen, clean out the chimney, and install a damper in the chimney to block the flow of exterior air into my house.


I’ve considered installing a gas fireplace like this because I like the ease of it. (Sidenote: There is something super decadent to me about being able to say “Oh, let me just flip on the fire.” Like, imagine if you could time travel and tell the pilgrims “Hey, one day this thing that you’re so focused on doing for your survival will be something it takes me 0.4 seconds to do as I stick my food in a thing called a microwave and watch a thing called a TV.” Modern life is crazy, you guys.)


Anyway, I didn’t mean to get sidetracked by pilgrims (first time saying that sentence). My point is how gorgeous are these fireplaces? It’s time for me to call a chimney sweep (the internet tells me that’s a real job and not just a character in Mary Poppins) because I’m ready for some fireside time.


I’ve had Rosie for almost 11 years. That’s 77 in dog years. The average human life expectancy in the U.S. is 78. So, basically I’ve had Rosie for a lifetime. (This is how I do math.)

When I’m away from home—as I am this week—I don’t miss much. I freaking love to travel. But I really miss this chubby little dachshund. I have another dog, Pawley, who I adore. But Pawley is a dog’s dog. (Some days it feels like she’s basically a feral coyote that I’ve tried to domesticate.) Rosie is a different story. She prefers her sleep to be in fresh sheets, her dinners to be spaghetti, and her baths to be lavender scented.

So when I leave I always miss her. But I’ve long thought that the best part about travel is coming home to a place you love. And Rosie always makes me extra happy to come home.

California Dreaming

Last spring I was on a trip in California with friends and we stopped in Long Beach for a few hours. Our friend Danny lives there with her sweet family and so we took advantage of a free afternoon to stop by for hugs, a tour of town, and the most ridiculously amazing creamy cilantro dip I’ve ever eaten at a place called Lola’s.

So really, while southern California is certainly alluring for its sunny days and beautiful beaches, my main reason for having any interest in looking at real estate there is that dip. I would like to decrease the distance between me and that cilantro dip by about 2,800 miles. Which is why my fantasy house for today is this all-white dream in Long Beach.

It has a sliding glass wall, a yard filled with fruit trees, views of the San Gabriel Mountains, an outdoor shower, and it’s just a quick trip down the road to the world’s greatest cilantro dip (which, weirdly, they didn’t include in the listing). I’m sold. Now I just need $1.9 million and we’ll be set.