Fall in Tucson

I absolutely love fall in Tucson. While we don’t have trees with yellow, red and gold leaves, we do have plenty of vibrant rich color that will last into the new year. This is the perfect time to be outside here in the desert. Temps are in the mid eighties, the breeze is cool and the sun is warm. It’s Heaven I tell you.

Colorful fall flowers in Tucson, Arizona
Colorful fall flowers, Talavera birds and tree spirits in Tucson, Arizona.
Prayer flags blowing in the breeze.
Prayer flags blowing in the breeze. Fall in Tucson, Arizona.
Fairy door.
Fairy door.
Oklahoma rose.
Oklahoma rose.

The puppies love hanging out in the backyard too. We usually have cool drinks in hand and something delicious grilling on the barbecue.

Rylee, our three year old cockapoo,  enjoying the fall afternoon.
Rylee, our three year old cockapoo, enjoying the fall afternoon.
Kona, our crazy little green-eyed mixed breed puppy.
Kona, our crazy little green-eyed mixed breed puppy.
Luna Bella, our three year old Shih Tsu.
Luna Bella, our three year old Shih Tsu.

Reading, drinking tea, journaling, meditating and yoga are some of my favorite things to do outside this time of year.

Cup of tea and a good book.
Cup of tea and a good book.
New journal, new possibilities.
New journal, new possibilities.
Sunrise Yoga in Tucson, Arizona
Sunrise yoga, Tucson, Arizona.

All Hallows’ Eve is one of my favorite times of the year. Days are warm, nights are cool, and it’s a peaceful time of reflection and introspection.

Talavera pumpkin soaking up the sun. Halloween - Tucson style.
Talavera pumpkin soaking up the sun. Halloween – Tucson style.
Chai tea and puppies on All Hallows' Eve.
Chai tea and puppies on All Hallows’ Eve.
Why yes, as a matter of fact, I can drive a stick 😉
Why yes, as a matter of fact, I can drive a stick. That’s my familiar, Harley, in the background.

Where ever you are I hope the weather is beautiful and you are enjoying life.

Greeting the Sun – Yoga in the Desert

Good morning from Tucson, Arizona. I’m getting at it early this morning before it gets too hot.

Sunrise Yoga in Tucson, Arizona

We are still waiting for our annual monsoon to arrive here in the Sonoran Desert. At  5 am it is 82 degrees and and humid. The air is heavy – a good monsoon omen.

Sunrise yoga - perfect way to start the day

It’s a great morning to be outside practicing to the sweet music of birdsong and wind chimes and I’m grateful for it.

Thow in a delicious cup of double spice chai tea and vibrantly hued flowers and I’m in a little patch of paradise.

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I hope, wherever you are, that your day is filled with sunshine and love, and is everything you need it to be.

Namaste from the desert 🙏❤️

Week 5 Backyard Remodel – And We’re Done!

IMG_7783After five weeks of demolition and construction we are finally done with our backyard remodel and couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.

This backyard shouts “party over here!” It’s a perfect place to entertain during our beautiful desert nights – and just in time for the summer solstice.

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We kept the furniture simple and comfy and used colorful Talavera accent pieces and pottery to decorate with. Our style is a bit ecclectic – Buddah and Buddhist prayer flags share space with St. Francis and pagan gods and goddesses.

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The dogs are certainly enjoying their new surroundings too.

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And when the sun starts to set, its adds a whole new vibe to the place.

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Here is a before and after shot. We enjoyed many years in our “before” backyard and are looking forward to many more in our “after”.

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Week 3 Backyard Remodel – We’re Getting There!

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Harley surveying his domain from the newly laid brick.

Finished week 3 of our backyard remodel and are heading into the home stretch.

The seating and walls have been painted and the flagstone toppers measured and cut.

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And the brick! So happy with the brick work. The colors are gorgeous and I’m loving the three different sizes and pattern.

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Kylee (our 2 1/2 year old cockapoo) checking out the comfiness of the newly laid brick. She is an old-soul and as loyal as they come. Love this mut. And the brick. ❤️

And the dogs are still supervising the project.

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Kona, the baby of the bunch, walking the job at the end of the day.
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Allie is testing her camouflage superpowers during construction.
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Luna Bella is going to be sad when the job is finished and she has no more sand to roll around in.

Week 2 Backyard Remodel – Dirt, Dust & Noise

Troy and I love quiet mornings on our patio. Chai tea for me, coffee for Troy, puppies playing and birds chirping in the shade trees under a stunningly beautiful blue Arizona sky. No shit, that’s how the mornings are around here for most of the year. Totally zen and pretty much heaven. A perfect place to write, read, nap, do yoga and eat breakfast.

But for now that peaceful little scenario has been shattered. It’s noisy, dirty and dusty — on steroids. The dogs think rolling around in the dirt is a competitive sport and every time I turn around they are dragging bits of debris inside. There is dirt in every corner of the house and it’s wreaking major havoc with our sinuses.

On the plus side the walls and seating have been built and stuccoed; the fire pit is almost finished (and looks amazing) and the whole yard is shaping up like we envisioned. Things are progressing on schedule and (for the most part) we’re staying within budget.

I think we are going to make it through this project with our sanity intact and I’m still convinced the mess is going to be totally worth it.

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Luna Bella is can always be found playing in the dirt.
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Seating and walls have been stuccoed and are ready to be topped, painted and inlayed with Talavera tile.
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Fire pit.
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Fire pit gas ring.
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Boulders have been placed.

Week 1 Backyard Remodel

Week 1 of our backyard remodel is finished and a lot of progress has been made. The grass has been cleared, trenches dug and block for the seating and retaining walls has been delivered and is ready for installation.

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Bella and Rylee soaking up the sun in the area that used to be grass.

Holy cow – I knew this remodel was going to be a messy process but I totally underestmated how messy. Keeping six dogs clean for the next three weeks is going to be impossible. With all the dirt and dust tracking in to the house my vacuum has become my best friend.

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Goodbye grass – removing sod isn’t easy or pretty. And very messy – the dogs keep bringing clumps of it into the house.
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The backyard looks a lot different with no grass.
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So happy with the Talavera tile we chose to accent the brick and block work – it’s called Guadalajara.
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Troy painting a new privacy screen for the jacuzzi.

And even through the mess and dirt things are beginning to take shape. Watching our vision emerge is a lot of fun and it will totally be worth it in the end.

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A New Backyard

There is a major backyard re-do underway at our house. We spend a lot of time in our backyard and want to create an outdoor living and entertaining space we can enjoy year-round.

When we bought the house in 1997 our needs were different. We installed a large grassy area for our kids to run around and play in and that grass served us well for many years.

Here are some photos of our backyard in 1998 when after we laid the sod and planted the trees.

However,  it takes a lot of precious water and a huge amount of maintenance here in the desert to keep the lawn green, healthy and vibrant.  I’m talking a shit ton of maintenance. And seriously, who wants to mow that much grass? It is so not fun mowing in the summer months when the temperature regularly passes the 100 degree mark and lands in the hundred and teens. And don’t even get me started about the mosquitos during monsoon season. Ugh.

And so, 19 years later, the time is right to build a new backyard in the style we’ve been dreaming about for a while: a mix of Southern California/Santa Barbara/hacienda courtyard with Mexican, Spanish and Mediterranean influences.

Elements include an extensive brick patio, built-in seating, fire pit and textured retaining walls. We’ll add a large market umbrella for shade, Talavera tile and pottery,  and dreamy and subtle lighting for when the sun goes down.

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Here is an example of the type of seating and firepit we are going to incorporate into our new backyard design. The materials will be different but the general idea is the same. Photo credit: Pinterest.

We’ll be keeping the jacuzzi, all six existing trees and planting colorful (and drought tolerant) plants such as bougainvillea, lantana, rosemary, statice and more.

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With so many beautiful Talavera tile options choosing one is going to be difficult. Photo credit: sandiegorustic.com

Stay tuned for updates on the progress as we build our new dream backyard.