Brick House Trim Color Ideas

housetrimOur house trim is getting super shabby, so it’s time for a major update! I spent some time in the paint store today, matching swatches until I came up with the perfect color set for our brick house. Now I just need to figure out WHERE each color goes.

Color #1: Benjamin Moore Carter Gray. This color is perfect for the clapboard siding on the house extensions and the garage /  carriage house. We’d also use it for all of the porch, window, and door trim, including the porch and entry floors.

Color #2: Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue. This color is for the porch and entry ceilings, obviously.

Color #3: Benjamin Moore Onyx. This color is for the front door, the wrought iron balcony railings, and the window mullions (and we’ll be replacing the front windows with mullioned windows as well).

My big question right now is doing the porch trim and floor all the same color, but Onyx on the porch floor will get REALLY dusty quickly. What do you think?

Beverly Hills (When You’re Not a Billionaire)

Can Beverly Hills be done on a quasi-budget? We keep ending up there for a day or two when we stop in LA to visit family and friends, and I feel too old for Venice, Santa Monica, or Los Feliz. So, here’s the mini-guide to 90210 without breaking the bank. Too much.


We use HotelTonight (use code TFERRO for $25 off your first booking) and have ended up at The Crescent, Maison 140, & the Mosaic Hotel. Maison 140 smelled so badly that I couldn’t stay there for fear of losing my lunch (to be fair, I was pregnant at the time) but Hotel Tonight refunded our money and we booked into the Mosaic, which was recommended by my aunt. The bed was insanely comfy, but the decor is basically half Charleston and half Venice, Italy. If they’d only lean in to the Charleston side, they’d be great. They’re redoing the pool and if the prices stay low once they’re done, this will be a great value hotel in walking distance to everything.  The Crescent is cute too, but no pool. Sure, I’d rather stay in the Beverly Hills Hotel bungalows, but I forgot to marry rich.


There are actually quite a few free parks in Beverly Hills, but the absolute best is the stunning Greystone Park & Mansions. After spending the morning there (bring a picnic breakfast?) do some winding throughout the hills for the most insane housepeeping ever, including the Spadena House.

greystone_park greystone_park2 spadena


Le Mervetty, taken to go and eaten at Beverly Canon Gardens with a cappuccino from Bouchon.

Urth Caffe, for pastry, huge breakfasts, and roiboos lattes.

The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and walk the grounds afterward. Forever.

Take out In-n-Out, eaten in bed at your hotel.

lemervettybeverlyhillshotel pololounge inout


Thrifts weren’t super great – we checked out a few but the prices were high and they felt very, very dirty.

I always find it worthwhile (even if I’m not doing major shopping) to browse better shops to check out construction, fabrics, fit, and style. Learning what makes clothes fit well, what’s in style now, which fabrics feel absolutely impeccable, and how to spot fakes will only help in your search when thrifting, buying on eBay, shopping sales, or taking a side trip to the Cabazon Outlets.

Don’t miss the trifecta of Neiman Marcus, Saks, and Barney’s in a row on Wilshire. I find the sales assistants to be nicer here than in San Francisco, as well. But NYC sales assistants are usually the nicest. Go figure.

Please let me know if you have more suggestions!

Classic Homemade Granola Recipe

I’ve been searching for a perfect “non-flavored” granola, everything in the co-ops here trends toward “Peach Mocha” or other nonsense. My mom always made our granola growing up, but she used a lot of molasses and brown sugar for a pretty heavy granola. This recipe is part “pantry scavenge” and part attempt to make a less sweet, mellow flavored, classic granola.

In a large mixing bowl, mix up:
2 cups oats
1 cup chopped / slivered almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chia & flax seeds
1 tsp sea salt

On the stove in a saucepan, on medium heat:
3/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla
3 tbsp sunflower oil
dash cinnamon

Set aside:

Sloooooowlllllyyyy stir the warm mixture into the dry ingredients, letting it clump up and making sure to coat everything. Spread across a baking sheet (lightly oiled) and bake at 300 degrees for 40 mins. Shake/flip occasionally for even cooking. Let cool 20 minutes, then pour back into mixing bowl, add raisins.

Eat with greek yogurt and fresh blueberries and be happy.


It’s a Mystery

mystery2If you follow me on social media, you’ll know we’ve been dealing with some bad news. I’m trying to manage my grief & stress in a healthy way (eating well, 6:30 am daily elliptical and power songs) but some days (most days, to be honest) require a special kind of escapism. The kind that has 18 volumes and completely impossible happenings in other time periods and places.

I never read mysteries until we moved to Vermont – the long winters require a LOT of reading material. I started with the Amelia Peabody series, and haven’t looked back. It can be hard to find new authors who are good in a field completely saturated with really, really poor writing. Here are my recommendations for mostly female leads, mostly historical, mostly England-located, and not-quite-cozy-but-not-too-violent mysteries.

Maisie Dobbs mysteries by Jacqueline Winspear. Set in 1929 London, a former WWI nurse sets up shop as a psychologist & investigator, while dealing with the trauma of post-war England.

1. Maisie Dobbs
2. Birds of a Feather
3. Pardonable Lies
4. Messenger of Truth
5. An Incomplete Revenge
6. Among the Mad
7. The Mapping of Love and Death
8. A Lesson in Secrets
9. Elegy for Eddie
10. Leaving Everything Most Loved

Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd. Another WWI nurse, but with a quite different character to Maisie Dobbs. She continues to work as a nurse through the series, going back and forth between France and England.

1. A Duty To The Dead
2. An Impartial Witness
3. A Bitter Truth
4. An Unmarked Grave
5. A Question of Honor
6. An Unwilling Accomplice

The Kate Shackleton series by Frances Brody. Yet another WWI nurse who tracks down missing soldiers post-war to help their families, and ends up becoming a private investigator.

1. Dying In the Wool
2. A Medal for Murder
3. Murder In The Afternoon
4. A Woman Unknown
5. Murder on a Summer’s Day
6. Death of an Avid Reader

Charles Lenox mysteries by Charles Finch. Victorian gentlemen of private means turns sleuth. Happened all the time, right?

1. A Beautiful Blue Death
2. The September Society
3. The Fleet Street Murders
4. A Stranger in Mayfair
4.5. An East End Murder
5. A Burial at Sea
6. A Death in the Small Hours
7. An Old Betrayal
8. The Laws of Murder
9. Home by Nightfall

Julian Kestrel series by Kate Ross. Gorgeously written Regency mysteries that take the reader all over Europe. Heartbreakingly, this author passed away at a very young age from breast cancer right after writing her fourth book.

1. Cut to the Quick
2. A Broken Vessel
3. Whom the Gods Love
4. The Devil in Music

Crowther and Westerman mysteries by Imogen Robertson. Ultra creepy Georgian anatomist Crowther meets shockingly independent Harriet Westerman, and they reluctantly become a sleuthing team. A bit more grim than the other books here, this one definitely gets a violence warning.

1. Instruments of Darkness
2. Anatomy of Murder
3. Island of Bones
4. Circle Of Shadows
5. Theft of Life

Flavia De Luce series by Alan Bradley. Precocious pre-teen chemist in decaying English country house solves the disproportionate number of murders that seem to occur in her small village.

1. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
2. The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag
3. A Red Herring Without Mustard
4. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows
5. Speaking from Among the Bones
6. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
6.5. The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse
7. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

Dido Kent series by Anna Dean. So the idea of a Jane Austen inspired mystery series is a terrible one. But Dido is a delightful spinster aunt character and the books work, though you’ll feel some deja vu about the plots. Emma, anyone?

1. Bellfield Hall
2. A Gentleman of Fortune
3. A Woman of Consequence
4. A Place of Confinement

Daisy Dalrymple mysteries by Carola Dunn. These mayyyybe are a little silly and definitely the most “cozy” of the list, but still a fun romp through 1920s England with a journalist who keeps finding dead people. Oops!

1. Death at Wentwater Court
2. The Winter Garden Mystery
3. Requiem for a Mezzo
4. Murder on the Flying Scotsman
5. Damsel in Distress
6. Dead in the Water
7. Styx and Stones
8. Rattle His Bones
9. To Davy Jones Below
10. The Case of the Murdered Muckraker
11. Mistletoe and Murder
12. Die Laughing
13. A Mourning Wedding
14. Fall of a Philanderer
15. Gunpowder Plot
16. The Bloody Tower
17. Black Ship
18. Sheer Folly
19. Anthem for Doomed Youth
20. Gone West
21. Heirs of the Body
22. Superfluous Women

Angela Marchmont mysteries by Clara Benson. I’m convinced the marketing behind these (old 1920s novels, freshly discovered!) is complete nonsense, but the books are fun, if anachronistic at times.

1. The Murder at Sissingham Hall
2. The Mystery at Underwood House
3. The Treasure at Poldarrow Point
4. The Riddle at Gipsy’s Mile
5. The Incident at Fives Castle
6. The Imbroglio at the Villa Pozzi
7. The Problem at Two Tithes

What’s missing? I’m always looking for new books to read.