Spritzer Leyba Out and About Journal

Week of Design (Day 6) March 31, 2007

Second to our kitchen, at home we spend the most of our waking hours in our living room, which right now is also our office and dining room (ah, small apartment living!). Let's do an inventory of items we have already procured that are necessary according to my favorite living room photographs below. Beige sofa: check! Snazzy chair: check! Great artwork: check! Throw pillows, recessed lighting, marble fireplace, and books: check! Evidently all that's missing is a fabulous chandelier, a styling area rug, and, oh, a beautiful living room with giant windows, gorgeous curtains, and hardwood floors...

For our dream dining room, we are way behind in its execution. We do have a fabulous giant wooden table (from my Grandfather), so that is a plus, and we have tons of great serving ware, etc., but we're still using wooden folding chairs for seating and pretty much lack any sort of ambiance that these pictures project:

Only one more day in our Week of Design... Stay tuned!


I *love* that first dining room shot, the one in the upper left. Where did that come from?

Posted by Geoffrey Long on April 4, 2007

Week of Design (Day 5) March 30, 2007

Some of my favorite evening childhood memories center on open fire pits, campfires, and fireplaces. I fondly recall the smell, the flickers of light, the warmth (sometimes overwhelming!), the singing and storytelling, and, of course, the food (and treats!) cooked over them. For several years I abhorred open fires when I was dealing with my chemical sensitivities, but now that I am feeling oh-so-much better, I've started to think again about fireplaces and their place in our dream home. While there are so many great ones out there, David and I were amazed about how inefficient many of the designs are. When we build our little cob cottage in the country, I want a fully-functional and efficient fireplace to occasionally cook over and heat our house... and I want it to look damn fine too.

Here are some fireplaces I love the look of, though I can't vouch for their functionality. Which one is your favorite? Can you guess which one belongs to Brad Pitt and which one is from a popular television show?


Cool blog!

I am torn, but I like pic 2 for the grouping and serene ambience and pic 5 for the pop of bright blue!

Posted by *Terramia* on March 30, 2007

Well, 4's my favorite. Which one's yours?

Posted by Geoffrey Long on April 4, 2007

Week of Design (Day 4) March 29, 2007

I love the use of textures, geometry, and natural materials (such as stone) in gardens. I love courtyards and entry ways, paths that don't just direct you from point a to point b, but lead you through a beautiful garden, and the use of plant foliage---and open space---in creating a place of escape.

For David and me, our bedroom is currently our most important place to escape, containing the ever-essential calming colors, soft materials, and a feeling of home. Our bedroom is also our greatest extravagance at our house, with our organic mattress and organic sheets. We both sleep great pretty much every single night and never wake up allergied or with puffy eyes like we used to (before we went organic). We get a good night sleep and love and look forward to going to bed each night. Rather than post pictures of our current bedroom which fits my tastes perfectly, here are some photos of other dream bedrooms for your more modern (and not-so-modern) sensibilities. I just love 'em.


Yay for gardens! I just bought a book called Small Garden and it's all about designing small outdoor spaces, including balconies, terraces, courtyards, and townhouse backyards. I'm trying to design our backyard now, and am having all kinds of trouble making decisions!

Posted by Beth on March 30, 2007

Week of Design (Day 3) March 28, 2007

Swimming pools are the ultimate extravagance... Aren't they just lovely?! I love the idea of taking a quick dip while waiting for dinner to finish up in the oven or in between emails or late at night when I can't sleep. I adore the idea of not needing to locate my suit, but instead just swimming in the buff in my own backyard whenever I like. I like the idea of a pool with lights underwater, so that it casts those lovely reflections all over the place in the evenings.

A few times a week I swim at the heated pool in our complex, but it really isn't the same. I just hate those nasty chemicals they use (and people are always there--strangers seeing me in my bathing suit, gasp!). If I were to ever have my own pool (what a big if!), I hope to use a more eco-groovy cleaning method (such as ozone filtration, etc., there are lots out there!)...

I adore swimming and will take what I can get, but this week is all about reaching for the stars, so here we go. I will always prefer private pools to public ones... but then again who doesn't?! Enjoy:


My favorite day so far! What great pools. I definitely agree with you on the chemicals, filtration, etc. and the big what if part too!

Posted by Tyler on March 28, 2007

Shaun's mom's pool has a copper ion filter (I think - I know it's copper something, and there's a coil). Anyhow, it's fantastic because they only use a chlorine shock treatment once in a while (maybe once every couple weeks during high use times - especially if little kids have been in the pool, I'm guessing). I like it because my hair doesn't get that green tinge those of us with light hair have to deal with, and my skin doesn't feel all dry when I get out. I'm glad she has a pool because we can go visit for the weekend and use it, since I'm guessing we'll never have one of our own!

Posted by Beth on March 28, 2007

Week of Design (Day 2) March 27, 2007

Some favorite design websites:
* Apartment Therapy, Decor8, Design*Sponge, Domino Magazine, IKEA Hacker, Inhabitat, Land+Living, MoCo Loco, Terramia, Treehugger *


I'm enjoying your design photos! My concept for our bathroom (that we're redoing sometime before July, hopefully) is closest to the last photo, but we're going to use filled/honed travertine and only on the floors and tub/shower surround. Definitely darker wood and white sink/tub, and kind of a darker tan/very light brown paint. We have pretty small bathrooms, though!

The guest bath will end up (eventually - maybe in a year or 18 months, when we finally get around to it) being all white (tile, vanity, sink, etc.) with colored walls, shiny silver fixtures, and a nice shower curtain (we'll do a glass door in the master bath) - kind of Restoration Harware-like.

Posted by Beth on March 27, 2007

There's an issue of COUNTRY HOME from a year or two ago that had the most amazing bathroom I'd ever seen -- the shower was in a circular mini-tower extension of the room, all done up in stone and copper if I remember correctly. Drop-dead gorgeous.

Posted by Geoffrey Long on April 4, 2007

Design Addict - Week of Design (Day 1) March 26, 2007

When I was ten years old I got my first magazine subscriptions to House Beautiful and Vogue. Now those of you who know me well are aware that I am not terribly fashion conscious. I don't spend any money on clothes, so I've been wearing the same gap t-shirts since 1994 (I even have photos to prove it.). I may not wear it, but if you ask me what's in style, I tend to know the latest trends (even though my Vogue subscription expired years ago; now I just love the internet!).

I like to think the same goes for my knowledge of architecture and interior design.

For years I have been collecting images of design and decorating ideas for when I finally would own a house. Anytime I saw a photo I liked online or a clipping in a magazine, I saved or scanned it and put it in my 'future house ideas' image folder. It has always seemed so far fetching and David loves to tease me about how crazy it is that I've been planning this for years.

Well, I'm hoping it has paid off. We're house hunting. Or, rather, we're townhouse hunting, as the California housing market makes me want to cry. We're hoping for a real fixer upper so we can make it our own. Right now we're keeping our fingers crossed and trying to take deep breaths and stay sane...

In celebration of the possibility that we may actually own a place in the near future, I though I would post some of my favorite designs from my 'future house ideas' folder. So, keep checking back for a new photo collage posted each day this week.


I LOVE the blue cabinets! they are so awesome!

Posted by Rachel Schwartz on April 1, 2007

Season for fresh salads March 23, 2007

(Recipe for Caribbean Salad here. Also delicious with rice!)
Happy Spring! The temperatures are supposed to drop down to the 60s next week, so we will be outside as much as possible tomorrow and Sunday!

Have a great weekend!


hi carrie!

these flowers are just beautiful. so lovely and spring-y. :) and the salad is so colorful and yummy looking!

hope all is great over there!

Posted by celina on April 1, 2007

Great designs. Let me know when your cool house is done and we'll be there with our two red-headed boys to wreck it! : ) You are too fun, Carrie. And California looks WONDERFUL.

Posted by Judy Holdener on April 1, 2007

On our run yesterday... March 20, 2007

    Me: Ah! I keep getting bitten!
    David: I am sorry it's not me.
    Me: What, getting bit by mosquitoes?
    David: No, biting you.
    Me: I am so putting that on the blog tomorrow.


Shut up and sing March 20, 2007

We finally watched the Dixie Chick documentary Shut Up & Sing-- it was fantastic (although I definitely liked it more than David)! What a fabulous group of sassy, interesting, intelligent, and talented women. I was so touched by their camaraderie, as well as their deep love and respect for each other. They just blew me away! It's so refreshing seeing superstars as regular people and people you could see hanging out with (in my dreams, right?!). If you are at all a fan of their music or if you want the inside scoop on the 2003 "incident," rent it!

    "My friends from high school married their high school boyfriends, moved into houses in the same ZIP codes where their parents live... But I, I could never follow... No I, I could never follow..."

    Oh, how I can relate to those lyrics. From New Jersey to California with no regrets.

I don't think of myself as a country music fan, but I also didn't realize that their new album isn't all that country... so, I've decided that I am going to put my money where my mouth is and buy their cd . I want to support them!


Hey Carrie! You know I am not a country music fan but I do love the Dixie Chicks. Their album is very good and I truely admire them for saying what they believe. Hooray for strong women!

Posted by Aida on March 31, 2007

Gardening: your civic duty March 19, 2007

We walked into the Picasso exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and everything looked so familiar. I had seen and hated that Matt Weber piece before... I recognized that sculpture... and suddenly it dawned on me... It was the same Picasso exhibit that I has seen in New York at the Whitney Museum in November.

Only I would unwittingly go to the same exhibit on both coasts. (Btw, it was so worth it.)

Anyhow, we loved SFMOMA! There were two fantastic temporary exhibits: photographs by Henry Wessel and the SECA Victory Gardens by Amy Franceschini. Amy's work focused on shaping agricultural and food policy and encouraging people to grow gardens for their food supply (learn more here). I am so excited about this! I had never heard of Victory Gardens before:

    "Victory gardens were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom during World Wars I and II to reduce pressure on the public food supply. In addition to aiding the war effort, these gardens were considered civil morale boosters in that gardeners could feel empowered by their labor and rewarded by the produce grown." (link)

How cool is that?! In the exhibition they showed historical photographs of the fields in front of City Hall transformed into gardens. What a shame these practices (and ideology) have fallen by the wayside! I am so hopeful for a resurgence.

One of David and my longstanding goals is to grow our own food and, as vegetarians, we feel we could maybe just pull it off. I really, really can't wait for us to own land. Before we redo the bathrooms or refinish the floors, we are going to sew our garden...


Yes, I understood Victory Gardens were to help with food shortages here during the war. Reminded me of allotments in the UK. Hey! Maybe they are left over from the wartime victory gardens...?

Sounds like the exhibit was very interesting ~

P.S. am loving your blog! The news is great to keep up with & the photos are gorgeous! Thanks for keeping up with it! I love reading what you and David have been up to!


Posted by Mom on March 19, 2007

Laura's trip... March 18, 2007

So we never made it to the barrel tasting. We got wrapped up in other activities: sushi at Ume, milkshakes at Taylor's Refresher, wine tasting at Grgich Hills and the reserve tasting at Chateau St. Jean, many dips in the pool, giant mixed drinks with foot long straws at the local Mexican restaurant, hightailing it around the Sonoma and Napa valleys and San Francisco, fabulous tapas at Andalu, lounging at the beach, walking along the Golden Gate Bridge, catching the ocean at sunset, and seeing the Picasso exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

A jam-packed four days. We had a blast!

We miss you, Laura!
A couple more photos are on Flickr (more coming soon).


Wow - it was only 4 days? I can't believe it! You guys did so many different, interesting things. Carrie, you and David are such wonderful hosts! Laura had such a wonderful, relaxing time - she came home rested & promising to make sure you 'vacation' together regularly in the future! Success! ;o)

So glad you enjoyed as much as she did!

Love and hugs,

Posted by Mom on March 19, 2007

I love this picture!!!

BTW - must tell you -- I've been shopping for books at amazon & ordered them this weekend through your website! So you should be getting quite a profit from my shopping ;o)! Glad you get a kickback at least, from my purchases!


Posted by Mom on March 19, 2007

Laura in wine country March 14, 2007

We had a great time.
More about our long weekend coming soon.


More Pictures and a complete description of this weekend, please.



Posted by Dad on March 17, 2007

National Geographic Photos March 9, 2007

Every few weeks I select a new wallpaper image from National Geographic for my computer's desktop. Over the past few years, I've enjoyed visits to tropical rainforests, desert landscapes, open air markets, etc... I love their images. I've just discovered that hundreds of stunning National Geographic posters are for sale! They are pricy, but the photos are stunning. Here are several of my favorites (click on each to learn more).

A Tree Floats in the Crystal-Clear Waters of Palmyra Atoll
Grasses Sprout up from a Desert Landscape
Silhouetted Joshua Trees at Twilight in the Desert
A Monkey Hangs from a Tree by His Tail
Laura will be here in a few hours. Tomorrow we are barrel tasting! ($10 to taste at 100 wineries -- we are so there!)


Thank you so much, Carrie, for posting the National Geographic photos. I went to their web site and found a terrific photo of the Maine coastline that I've set as my wallpaper.

I hope you are well. Your enjoyment of the outdoors in California has motivated me to get outdoors myself--if only the temperature would stay above 40 degrees PERMANENTLY a little bit sooner!

Posted by Matt on March 12, 2007

Spring in the garden March 6, 2007

Yesterday I visited the organic culinary gardens at the Kendall Jackson winery. (I was probably the only person there who didn't enter the tasting room. And, yes, it was before noon.) They have a number of different garden plots organized in a variety of ways: by product (such as heirloom tomatoes or herbs), region (South America, Asia, etc.), and color (reds, whites...). Many of the beds were newly planted, with seeds just sprouting and plants just beginning to grow. I love that initial stage of the garden, with everything lined up and orderly before the weeds set in.

I like that the KJ gardens are working gardens not just cultivated for display purposes. The plots are farmed organically using integrative pest management techniques. Local upscale restaurants purchase produce from the gardens and cooks on site utilize the produce as well. While I was there, a cook in her crisp white uniform come out and grabbed a branch of bay leaves off of this enormous tree that was at least 20 feet tall! How cool is that?!

Yesterday I wandered around the plots looking for photographic inspiration and to also gather ideas for when we have a garden again. Incidentally, this weekend we picked up organic seeds to start a container herb garden; maybe I'll get to planting after Laura's visit. My favorite parts of the KJ gardens are the herbs, which largely grow year-round, and I love the citrus trees: lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange. To me, that is by far one of the biggest perks of living in California. I adore citrus.


Just gorgeous. I envy you! :-)

Posted by Karina on March 6, 2007

Hot weather and cool drinks March 5, 2007

When we moved here, I read about the Napa Valley Mustard Festival, when wild mustard plants grow rampant through the vineyards in the winter months of January through April. Last month, I was skeptical of the existence of these mustard plants, which evidently turned the valley floor yellow, because the fields were still completely green with no flowers in sight. This weekend, however, the mustard plants bloomed here in our Sonoma Valley and I am floored. Imagine fields of green covered with little yellow flowers. I know, it's the beginning of March, and if you don't live here you probably don't believe it either. I need to get out there and take some pictures! I do believe that spring is on its way!

We had a great weekend. After a drive in the country (looking at house rentals in Sebastopol) and a bike ride in Annadel State Park, nothing beats coming home to cool, refreshing (and strong!) mojitos. I've been craving them for a few days and yesterday we finally found fresh, local, organic mint and it made my day! Oh-la-la, with one sip I was transported back to happy hour at Aji (a fabulous Latin American restaurant in Boulder), sans ceviche and our Boulder friends. Our drinks were so terribly good, and we have so many mint leaves and limes left, that I think that I had better hide the rum until Saturday... Laura will be here in five days and then let the partying begin.


These photos are phenomenal!!! You could definitely sell them!

I've never had one of these -- but the pics look sooo refreshing, as are your comments! Maybe I'll try 'em sometime.

I'm actually looking forward to 3 1/2 months from now when I can really RELAX!!! School will be done before I know it! Yay!

I plan on really relaxing and enjoying THIS SUMMER, as last summer I was so worried about starting a new job, etc. Whew! Kids all like me now, so it's been much, much easier. Having quite a good time too!

Thank you for all of your support along the way.
**kiss kiss**


Posted by Jackie on March 5, 2007

Escape to the park March 2, 2007

Today I headed over to the park with my camera. (It so felt bizarre moseying around the lake without my running shoes on!) While I was out, I photographed beautiful blooming trees and green hills, and also snapped these pix of me.

Tomorrow I begin volunteer training at the Luther Burbank Gardens. I'm excited!
Have a great weekend!


I'm jealous about the time you will be spending at the Luther Burbank gardens. Maybe you can snitch me some cuttings!!!

Posted by Anita Ingalls on March 5, 2007

How great! Do you know what you'll be doing yet? I loved that visit! ;o)


Posted by Mom on March 5, 2007

Hi CC!!! Can't wait to take a walk there too sometime soon. I loved our walks in that park.


Posted by Mom on March 5, 2007

Stranger than Fiction March 2, 2007

Falafel dinner into the oven -- love those matching yellows

Every year I look forward to doing our taxes (crazy, I know!), which I do by hand with my trusty T1-83 calculator. I am almost done with our 2006 taxes; I just need to double check the good news (I think we're going to Hawaii and buying a washer/dryer with the refund).

Anyhow, last night we watched Stranger than Fiction, whose central character is an IRS agent (and oh so much more). I really have no idea if I made a conscious connection (IRS!) when I picked up the movie. I think I was just so excited that it was available on DVD as we missed it in the theaters, but who knows. It could be coincidence. Either way, Stranger than Fiction was great.

We enjoyed the oddities of Harold Crick, especially his obsessive counting and his noticing geometry all around him (which we could relate to). We liked the underlying message that life must be lived to the fullest and the development of the romance in the film. We loved the rock-solid, phenomenal script, with a brilliantly-written narration delivered by Emma Thompson. We loved this movie.

We liked it way better than Little Miss Sunshine and we loved Little Miss Sunshine.

Now, we are not Will Ferrell fans. But this is not a typical Will Ferrell role. In Stranger than Fiction, he plays a straight-edge guy who happens to be really quirky and he nails it.

So, if you are at all quirky, get yourself to the video store and rent Stranger than Fiction!

p.s. Do you like my new wide angle lens attachment?
Fabulous birthday present from David!


Thanks for the recommendation! We will have to definitely rent it! Sounds like something your dad would like too!


Posted by Mom on March 5, 2007

We made it to March March 1, 2007

Wow, that is so much better. Please enjoy the March color scheme: now with double the Spritzer... My sister arrives in a little over a week and we are PUMPED!

Here's a picture of my hot sister from our road trip to Las Vegas in 2003. Yes, it's been way too long since we've vacationed sans parents together. I can't wait.

I've been busy planning things to do together and I hope that the weather cooperates. Thinking about a trip to the beach, wine tasting (love trying those $100 bottles of wine), whirlwind tour of San Francisco, and lots of chill time with good food and fabulous drinks and the best company ever...


This is soooo adorable! I'm excited for you all! I know you'll have a blast! Laura had such a great time with you both in Boulder! Sounds like you have a lot of fun things planned. There is no shortage of things to see in San Fran/Sonoma County... It is a huge tourist destination, after all. Plus, Laura gets to see her sis and bro-in-law!!! Should be a fun vacation for all!


Posted by Mom on March 5, 2007

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