Accessories, Art, Bathrooms


coat rack

A friend of mine, who also happens to have a terrific Public Relations firm in San Francisco was filling me in on one of her new clients.  I immediately asked if I could interview the founder, Diana Vincent for a blog post about her recently launched High Camp Home.  What started as a brick and mortar boutique and premier design firm in historical downtown Truckee, California, in the Tahoe area has stretched its wings into a fabulous e-commerce site.  High Camp Home makes sprucing-up the ski cabin an incredibly easy task!

High Camp Home is cholk-full of all the chic rustic lifestyle essentials including furniture, lighting, accessories rugs and seasonal decor.  My favorite detail over at High Camp Home is the local artists work available for purchase, making it easy to find the finishing touches for decorating with a relaxed, yet polished vibe.

With the leaves starting to fall and the wind blowing outside just about every item over at High Camp Home is on my “must have” list for fall and winter

A few of my  absolute favorites…

cabin decor, tahoe decor

We are so thrilled for the month of October Cecy J readers can get 15% off on all items, just enter the code RUSTICALLY at check out.

I hope you enjoy the interview with Diana Vincent and a peek at one of her Tahoe area interior design projects that is a true inspiration for comfortable beautiful living.  Not to mention… her fantastic travel tips for your next visit to the Lake Tahoe area.

Happy fall + winter shopping and a huge thanks to High Camp Home


breakfast room cabin


1.) What is your signature style? 

My signature style is sophisticated rustic design.  No bears or moose allowed!  I love combining texture with natural materials to create space that is warm and inviting but rustic and rugged enough to withstand the active lifestyles of my clientele and the harsh climates that surrounds most of the homes we work with.


2.) The perfect carpet brand/ line for a Tahoe cabin to withstand snow & ski boots? 

In reality, the perfect carpet is really WOOD as it is durable and wears well.


chic rustic sliding barn door


3.) Go to paint color/ brand?  

For a white paint that is warm and works well in most settings, Pratt and Lambert Milk White.


4.) Favorite, product you have in stock right now?

As it is fall, I love pulling out the blankets and throws and currently our store is filled with some wonderful throws that are not too heavy but have fabulous texture and rope like tassels.  The Europa throw in camel is my favorite, although our Halloween Ghosts are seen walking down the street with customers visiting our store everyday, this time of year!

5.) The perfect stocking stuffer for Mom?

Pairing the Chalet Stripe Scarf with the Decorated Hoop Earrings is a great combination.  Throw on a pair of Uggs, cozy sweater and jeans with this scarf and earrings and you are good to go anywhere in Tahoe!

stocking stuffer scarf

6.)  You are based in the in Tahoe area.  Give us the scoop… 

Where should we….


True Old Tahoe Ski Ambience – Cottonwood

Great Menu – Stella


I like the simple European feel of the Cedar House, but if you want a resort feel the Ritz Carlton being right on the mountain is a great way to spend a weekend.


Lone Eagle Bar in Incline Village


For families – Northstar; for great skiing Squaw/Alpine always wins


I love going off old fire roads and hidden spots but for easy to find snowshoeing the meadow up at Mount Rose is really pretty

relax fireside?

The Ritz Carlton Bar


Recipes, Travel

Holman Ranch | travel


California’s Carmel Valley lies just inland from Carmel-by-the-Sea but feels worlds away.  The weather in the valley is perfection and the rolling hills and vineyards have a Napa Valley feel with the benefit of an ocean breeze from the coast line that is just a few short miles away.  It’s absolutely beautiful.  So, when I received a press invitation for an overnight visit to tour Carmel Valley’s Holman Ranch, I grabbed the husband headed out.

Honestly, I had no idea what to expect as we drove up a winding hill, through a large gate with beautiful horse stables just off the road.  There were vineyards dotting the hills and blue skies above.

Holman Ranch has a rich history dating back to 1928.  The property is several hundred acres in size and houses vineyards, a tasting room, horse facilities, an olive grove, overnight guest rooms and a classic Spanish-Style hacienda.  The grounds are impeccable and very well appointed, yet it has a wonderful rustic vibe.  It provides a unique and stunning setting for private events.


We were running late and pulled up as the property tour was beginning but were promptly handed a glass of Holman Ranch Sauvignon Blanc to get us through the tour.  My kind of Ranch!  My immediate reaction was: what a fun place to throw a birthday bash with friends for a lazy, secluded weekend celebration…

The tour was led by Nick Lowder, one of the current owners and operators of the property.  He and his wife Hunter were so friendly and welcoming.  They taught us about the property and made us feel right at home.  It was immediately clear that they have gladly taken on the painstaking process of maintaining the integrity of the initial design and enriching its beauty.  We wandered around the property, soaking in the history, and ended up on perfectly maintained greens overlooking the Valley, an absolutely ideal location for a wedding celebration.

In 2006, they started a redesign with the help of Architect, Paul David, Jr , Contractors, Stocker and Allaire and Interior Designer, Howard Tutwiler.  I was intrigued with the Carmel Limestone prominently used throughout the grounds.  Carmel Limestone looks very similar to Texas Limestone but, as the name implies, is local to the area.  In fact, the Carmel Limestone used at Holman ranch was quarried locally from the property itself.


HolmanRanch4Carmel Limestone





After the tour we sat down for a family style meal outside and under the cascading grape vine trellis.  They served Holman Ranch wines and food prepared by Wild Thyme Deli and Catering.  The meal, the Holman Ranch wine and the company of other bloggers, writers and press was festive and inspiring.  Thank you for the lovely evening Nick and Hunter, it was such a perfect visit.

Chef/Owner Terry Teplitzky of the Wild Thyme Deli and Catering Company, who hosts most of Holman Ranch events, was kind enough to provide a recipe from the evening for me to share with you.  I hope you enjoy cooking the recipe as much as we enjoyed eating it.


A light version of the recipe from the Basque region of France, we use it on a juicy roast chicken, but it is equally at home on a seared fish filet or an omelet.


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cleaned, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 4 medium red, yellow, and/or orange bell peppers, washed, cut the top and bottoms off, sliced the pepper and clean out the seeds and membrane. Slice the pepper in to ¼ inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium dried bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Chiffonade of fresh basil

In a heavy bottomed pot heat the oil , then add the onions , garlic, peppers, and bay leaf turn the heat down and stir. You want the mixture to cook but not get any color, so keep stirring as needed and keep watch on the flame. After 20 minutes the onions should be translucent and the peppers very tender, almost melty. Add fresh thyme and parsley, cook five minutes more. Take off the heat, remove the bay leaf, and add salt and pepper to taste. Can be served hot or cold.

Spoon the Piperade on the chicken and garnish with the basil.

One last idea for a quick appetizer, spoon on crostini, top with basil, prosciutto, and some shaved asiago or parmesan.

Art, The Bar, Travel

Feed in Venice, CA | Travel






During my quest for inspiration in Southern California last month, I ducked into a new hot spot restaurant in Venice called Feed.  They were preparing for the lunch crowd but the restaurant immediately drew me in because of its glamorous vibe.  Apparently, it’s also appropriately edgy and cool for the Venice kids.

One of my favorite design highlights was the table lamps on the bar counter which seemed to make the space intimate.  I also loved their art.  The well appointed doors were painted in a dreamy black and accessorized with beautiful hardware.  Last but not least, the powder room was gorgeous as were the tile floors.

Regrettably, we did not make it time to eat at Feed but it will be my first stop when I’m back in town. Thank you for the inspiration Feed.  I hope your food is as good as your decor.

Accessories, Bedrooms, Celebrities

L.A. Design Trip | Travel

Hollywood at Home, Design

I’m back from L.A!

On Monday at 6am, I boarded a Southwest airlines flight to sunny southern California with my good friend Allison from Dehn Bloom Design.  We decided to go on a quest for inspiration, new vendors and some fun.  We worked in a stalking session of architect Wallace Neff designed homes as well as a visit with our friend David John of DISC Interiors.

I can’t wait to share all the details with you.  For now, here is a shot of the Hollywood at Home Design studio.  It was such a pleasure meeting the team at the brilliant home design haute.


Carmel | travel

Carmel City Hall

We spent a long weekend in Carmel celebrating the hubby’s birthday and closing out my boys spring break week.  Carmel-by-the-Sea is a sleepy little fairytale town which is home to artists, poets, writers and dreamers.  It truly oozes charm.  In addition to the sweeping ocean vistas, Carmel is one of the best overall places to visit if you appreciate the fine details in home design or just have a thing for mission style cottage architecture.

I shared some photos via instagram over the weekend but wanted to highlight this shot of the Carmel city hall I took while on a walk after breakfast.

Decor, Interviews, Travel

Find me over at Confessions of Design Geek today!

San Francisco Style and Design Guide, San Francisco Tourist

Talented London based journalist Katie Treggiden runs an award winning design blog called Confessions of a Design Geek.  We met during Blog Tour NYC last spring and became fast friends.  I am flattered that Katie has invited me “explore” the San Francisco Bay Area with her readers and share some of my absolute favorite design, food and resting spots.

You can read all about my picks over at Confessions of a Design Geek today

Thank you Katie for asking me to do this.  What a pleasure!

Life + Style, Travel

Boot and Shoe Service | travel


I met a girlfriend for lunch the other day at Boot and Shoe Service, a really fun neighborhood restaurant in Oakland located in… you guessed it… an old shoe repair shop.  It’s one of my favorite places so I wanted to share some of the photos I snapped.

The exposed brick makes the joint feel cozy and the rustic bar in the rear of the restaurant has sort of a speakeasy feel while churning out fresh and amazing cocktails.  Enjoy the handmade pizzas from the wood burning oven or try the rigatoni and meatballs.  Delicious.

Interviews, Life + Style, Travel

cabo + kids | travel

cabo san lucas photographer wedding

Over the past 10 years, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico has become a special place for the hubby and I.  We vacationed there, we were married there and we continue to go for special celebrations and sun drenched relaxation.

That’s what made it ever better when I met professional photographer, Amy Bennett, as she was shooting away at a beautiful wedding we attended in Baja last spring.  She inspired me when I learned she had taken a leap of faith and packed up her family and left the Vermont snow… to call Cabo home.  I had a million questions for the happy, friendly and talented mother of three and she was kind enough to answer.

If you have a family trip planned to Cabo in the future, or just want some insider tips for your next romantic getaway, her insight is a must read below.  I hope you enjoy.




How did a girl from Vermont end up living in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with three small children?

Back in 2009, I had just given birth to my third daughter, Kate.  One day my husband sent me an email saying, “I just received a job offer… would you ever consider moving to Cabo?”  Within seconds I responded “!#@$?…YES!”  It took another 6 months to solidify the job.  David says that I would have moved whether he got the job or not!  I was ready for a change from the cold and cloudy (but beautiful) state of Vermont.  In February 2010, we had a two day yard sale and sold or gave away everything that we owned.  David and his brother drove two cars, our dog Gaby, and the rest of our belongings from Vermont to Cabo.  It took 8 days!  It is a 24 hour drive from San Diego to Cabo!  It was a great decision…We haven’t regretted it for a second.

What led you to a career in photography?

A career in photography was always a dream of mine.  From a very young age, I was one of those people who always had a camera on them. My mom bought me my first Canon SLR camera when I was 14. I always loved taking pictures of people.  One of my friends recently said she never brought a camera anywhere, because she knew that I would have a camera and take much better pictures.  Anyway, I eventually went to business school and after graduation worked in marketing and events for the PGA Tour and Mercedes-Benz USA.  At that time, photography was still a passion of mine and I was thrilled when Canon came out with an affordable digital SLR.  I started studying photography and taking classes when I left the working world to stay at home with the kids.  When we moved to Cabo, I decided to invest in professional equipment and launch the business.  I couldn’t think of a better location to have a wedding photography business!

Three tricks for taking a great photograph of someone?

1.  Use backlighting.  Look for the shadow of the person and stand directly on the tip of the shadow.  That way the persons face will be completely turned away from the sun.  Also, the person won’t squint due to the harsh sun.

2.  Fill the Frame and use a zoom lens.  My favorite lens to use for taking portraits, couples or even group shots is the Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8 zoom lens.  By using this lens instead of a “short lens” I can stand farther away from the subject(s), but still fill the frame.  I feel like people relax a bit more when the camera is farther away.

3.  Have fun, make jokes and laugh!  The more comfortable the person is with the photographer, the better the photos are going to turn out!


cabo weddings  amy bennett photography

Any “go to” scenic locations in Cabo for all of us photography buffs.

There is an endless number of beautiful locations to shoot in Cabo.  The beaches are amazing, but you should try to shoot on the beach at sunset and sunrise.  I like to stick to the beaches with the least amount of people for my photo shoots.  The beach between the Hilton Los Cabos Beach Resort and Dreams Resort on the Sea of Cortez is perfect.  The beaches North of Cabo are always empty and there are the most beautiful dunes, especially around Diamante.  I love shooting around town in Cabo, too.  I would recommend shooting around the traditional Mexican Haceinda-style homes and resorts.

Lots of buzz about all the 5 star hotels on the scene down in Baja now.  Do you have a favorite?

The most dramatic and most “buzzed” about hotel right now is definitely Capella Pedregal.  It is located on the Pacific coast and is very close to the marina & downtown Cabo.  It sits up against the mountains of Pedregal and you have to pass through a 300-meter private tunnel to get to the Resort!  It seems to be gaining popularity with the celebrity crowd!

cabo wedding, 300-meter private tunnel, Capella Pedregal

What do you miss the most about living in the United States?

Target, camera stores and on-line deliveries.

Do you surf?  Where should we head in Baja for good waves?

I do not surf, but I am hoping that my girls learn one day… Cerritos Beach is located about 30 minutes North of Cabo and is the best place to learn.  If you are a solid surfer, there is a good spot at Cabo Surf Hotel in San Jose del Cabo.

vacation cabo kids cecy j

Where should we stay with the kids?

I would recommend staying at one of the Resorts on the Sea of Cortez if you want a swimmable beach.  It is not safe to swim in the Pacific Ocean in Cabo.  A good option in the mid-range budget would be the Hilton.  If money wasn’t a concern, I would stay at Las Ventanas or Capella Pedregal.  Both resorts are very kid friendly.

Best snorkel spot?

Chileno Bay

Where should we go for a family dinner?

Our family loves Hacienda Cocina.  It is located on Medano beach near the marina.  The restaurant overlooks the Bay and Land’s End (the arches).  They have yummy, traditional Mexican food at a VERY reasonable price for Cabo.  You must try the Carnitas, the churros and the cuatro leche cake.  Amazing!

What do you do for family fun on the weekends?

We like to go to the beach.  Our favorite beaches are Santa Maria, Chileano, or Cerritos.  What kid doesn’t love the beach!?!  We have started to take mini-trips around the Cabo area.  We went to Bahia de los Suenos a few months back and we are planning to go to La Paz soon.

travel cabo kids, families


Learn more about Amy Bennett Photography here.