Scenes from Southern California

By Kate Riley May 14, 2012

Hey all, I had a crazy cool weekend and a mini getaway to the southern part of my state.  For anyone who hasn’t visited California yet, the South and the North are like night and day.  I don’t get down south as often as I like to, but it’s such a fun place to visit.  Palm trees, beaches, breezy tropical cocktails, fish tacos, and plenty of things to see and do.  It was my cousin’s baby shower but also an opportunity to hang out with family and friends, even if just for a 36 hours.

palm trees beach shack


I met up with my blog buddy JJ from the Blah Blah Blahger on Saturday and she was kind enough to drive us down to the Newport Beach area, and we headed to Crystal Cove for lunch and some great beach views.  This is such a cute little beach hangout where you can actually rent cottages if you make your reservations way in advance. 

crystal cove beach

rental shack crystal cove

beach shacks


Someday I need a rope fence in my life just like this one.

rope fence


One of the things I love most about travel is how different the botanicals are.  I’m pretty sure this is a yucca tree, they are everywhere, just like palm trees and bougainvillea.

yucca tree in southerncali


We popped into some shops in the Newport Beach area too and I couldn’t help but love this climbing vine, 5,000 points if you can tell me the name of it because I don’t know what it is. 

climbing vine


How cool are these woody tangled stems and those huge yellow flowers?  What is its name?   Does it grow from magic beans all the way to the sky?  These things I must know.

climbing vines in southern cali


Speaking of shops, we hung out in an amazing home furnishings and decor store called Juxtaposition – when in Newport Beach you must visit.  I love this simple pennant pillow (and psssst…. what a great idea for a DIY project to represent your alma mater). 

college pennant pillow


I prefer smaller scale chevron prints and this one from afar reminds me of a twist on sophisticated houndstooth, and hello fabulous nailhead trim. 

mini chevron print ottomans


This is a favorite conversation area combo: tailored neutral furnishings layered in textured large scale textiles with a rustic coffee table in the middle, I could curl up here all day. 

striped chairs rustic coffee table


Just behind were rows of divine fabrics from Ikats to summer stripes, I’ll take one of each pillow case please! 

divine fabrics


This large scale floral was one of our favorites, we loved the perfect medley of colors.  

large scale floral


Green glass bottles with vintage labels are great for so many things, from storing cotton balls to displaying fresh flowers.  

vintage labels on green glass jars


Flags in home decor are still popular, especially here, and I love all the interpretations from pillows, to throws, or even framed as art.  

swiss and union jack flag pillows throws

americana pillows and flag

I spied several patchwork patterns and also the ‘over dyed’ ultra saturated fabrics in  many of the decorative pillows and throws on the floor.  And it’s official, the fiddle fig tree is the hottest indoor botanical right now, they were everywhere too. 

This was my favorite display with its curated mixture of textures and styles from rustic to glam, it looked like something straight out of Lonny magazine. That chipped paint concave mirror in person is TDF and so were those silver lamps with black linen shades, swoon!

portraits and rustic furnishings


It was so great to dip my toes in the sand and spend a beautiful sunny day in Southern California. 

southern california beach


What’s better than a getaway with girlfriends spent by the sea?  Not much if you ask me!




  1. Could it be….
    Solandra maxima, also known as Golden Chalice Vine, Cup of Gold or Hawaiian Lily, is a vigorous vine which is endemic to Mexico and Central America. It has very large yellow flowers and glossy leaves.
    Cup of gold is often grown on large pergolas or trellises-requires plenty of space and a strong support.

  2. I LOVE that fabric!!!! It is hard to find something with red in it that is not too dark or Tuscan themed. Do you remember the maker? The name? Right now, I have chocolate brown couches and a red accent table, ottoman, and some pillows in my living room but I really want to brighten the space and add some new colors! This fabric looks perfect for that :)

    • Hi Steph, I don’t know the fabric source, but I’ll look around, I suspect it’s a Schumacher or Kravet…. looks like something from their fabric lines.

  3. What a fun shop! Looks like you had a great trip. Thanks for sharing it with us!
    And P.S. You just reminded me I need a vacation. :)

    -Erin Spain
    DIY On the Cheap

  4. Yup, it’s “Cup of Gold,” or as we call it in L.A. (where over half the population is Latino), “Copo d’Oro.”

  5. Here in Hampton roads, VA we have a Vine flower that looks very similar, it’s called Bignonia Capreolata “Cross Vine.”
    :) Your trip looks like so much fun. I’ve never been to California but it sure looks like I could do some relaxing! Thanks for sharing!

  6. The red flag pillow is an interesting find in SoCal :)

    It’s called a Red Ensign and was used as the Canadian flag before the Maple Leaf flag was made the official Canadian Flag in 1965.

    It also used to be the official flag of the Canadian Pacific Railway line of steam/cruise ships.

    That vine is beautiful and is obviously old/has been growing there a number of years, sorry I don’t know what it is–I’m sure it wouldn’t overwinter up here in Canada :)

  7. What a fun weekend! Newport beach is a great getaway. Now I wish I was going with our youngest daughter (18 year old)who is leaving Wednesday to visit our oldest daughter(19yo) who lives in Hollywood. I grew up in Long Beach and we lived there until 12 years ago. Your photos are wonderful and I can almost feel those cool ocean breezes!

  8. Oh, you have discovered one of my favorite places in the world! Crystal Cove is rich in World War II history, the cottages were built and owned by families that summered there during the war. The Beachcomber Restaurant is really right on the water, such fantastic food & drinks! And, Juxtaposition is one of my favorite stores!!! I Love Crystal Cove!!!

  9. I love your photo of palms by the yellow house. I love southern CA and would live there in a minute (if it didn’t cost me so much.) I love palm trees- the sparkle in the sun light. I ignore the scruffy leaves hanging. Fun decorating photos and beach. Thanks.

  10. Ah yes, Northern California vs Southern California. I grew up in the former and now live in the latter. Each has its pluses and minuses, but I am a NC girl at heart. It was a lovely weekend here. I’ve been wanting to rent a cottage at Crystal Cove since they opened but you have to reserve seven months in advance at 8:00 on the dot in order to get in and even then it’s tough. You have motivated me to try again, maybe calling and hoping for a last minute cancellation. And that store . . . I have to go there. I loved everything in the photos.

  11. You were right in my backyard Kate. I love going into Juxposition but I find that the staff is not the friendliest. Did you have Mexican food at Javier’s? Scenes from The Real Housewives of Orange County have been filmed there. Personally, I don’t really like the food. The Laguna Beach location used to have much better food.

  12. You should eat at Pacific Whey next to Juxtaposition. They have the best custard triangles on earth. Try it, I think you’ll agree!

  13. We were also in Newport Beach over weekend. Glad you had a nice little trip!

  14. Is it bad that I keep thinking about that pillow??? Maybe I should start hitting up fabric stores to see if I can find something similar…TOO expensive!

    I had SUCH a blast with you and you are more than welcome any time. I’m looking forward to a visit north and more fun adventures!


  15. LOVE California…southern, northern – doesn’t matter to me! If I could move, I’d definitely be in Cali…sigh.

    Love the photos of that store you stopped in, too. Gorgeous furniture & accessories.

  16. Before I was a Stay At Home Mom of 2, I worked for the land owner and developer of Crystal Cove and the vine is called: Guinea Gold Vine

  17. I could swear that Sarah Richardson used that print or something very similar in her farmhouse series…maybe for his and hers chairs in the master bedroom? There was a segment about taking the fabric to the upholsterer and choosing which flower she wanted to be the focal point. No idea about specifics, but you might be able to check if she has sources listed for that episode or something. I love vintage textiles and flags, so I’m in loving that store! I’ll have to see if they have a website.

  18. Wasn’t the weather fabulous?! We spent a long weekend in Disneyland with friends and family. As much as I love Tahoe and the Bay, Southern California will always hold a special place in my heart…minus the traffic. Glad you had a wonderful weekend too.

  19. I am so jealous! I was there last month with my family and we had rainy weather in the fifties and sixties. I thought it always shines in Southern California!!! The funny thing is that Chicago had a heat wave in the eighties for several weeks in March!!!! Go figure. Next time I am leaving the hubby home so I can go visit some of these great stores. During a rainstorm, I did get to venture out with my daughter to the shops in Mission Viejo (a really nice mall) and had some serious retail therapy. Disneyland was fun albeit chilly. I’ll take that over the intense heat. I want to go back to Newport and Dana Point when it is warm and sunny!!! I need beach/salt water therapy too!

  20. Is it a Mandevilla? We have them in Saskatchewan – grown in greenhouses of course -and they look just like that.

  21. Glad you had a good time on your “getaway” trip! Looks like you really enjoyed yourself, judging by the photos you posted! :) Regarding the flowering vine & its bloom that you mentioned ~ I saw the same vine recently when I went down to Balboa Park, down in the San Diego area. I took several photos of it and the blooms look exactly like the blooms on the vine you took photos of. I saw several different comments posted on possible names that this bloom could be called. I’m also on “Dave’s Garden” which is another “blog” style site, but also can help with identification of plants. I’ll post my image to that site & see what name they come up with. Once I find out, I’ll post the answer here. I’m in the SoCal area too, so have the opportunity to visit all the “hot” spots when I get the urge. Have a great week Kate!

  22. Ah, Crystal Cove one of my favorite spots! And Juxtaposition is one of my favorite stores. You are so spot on about the the differences between NC and SC….

  23. I love that store and Crystal Cove! Thanks for reminding me about this spot. I have friends coming in from out of town and I’ll take them there:)

  24. Kate I always love how your pictures turn out. Gorgeous!!! We were just in So. Cali 3 weeks ago, but we were even more south then you were. We were in San Diego for 6 wonderful days. Weather turned out great. We decided we needed more time to do the North to South Cali trip like I was asking you about. But we had a great time. We will have to visit Northern Cali next time we get out there. :) I have to post pictures of our trip soon. Still trying to get through my 500 pictures I took. ;)

  25. LOVE Newport Beach and seeing your delightful photos makes me want to travel cross country to go and rent one of those cottages!! On the vine… cousin of Bouganvilla or Clemetis perhaps? (ps-pls disregard my slouchy attempt at proper spelling!!)

    Regards, Whitley

  26. A trusty source tells me that it’s called Allamanda Neriifolia, common name is Bush Trumpet.

  27. Hello Kate,

    I’m so impressed with your talents and DIY skills.

    I’m a blog writer and gardener based in SoCal. I believe what you are calling a “Yuuca Tree” in the photo above is a Dracaena plant, an evergreen palm-like tree. We have one in our front yard–the Dracaena draco from the Canary Islands–and love it!

    So glad you enjoyed our corner of California. Best wishes and and keep the posts coming!

    Alicia Bien

  28. Huh… I wonder if that is the Trumpet Vine a friend keeps trying to give me. Want one?
    Am just down the road from your other SoCal hangout (Carlsbad).

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