The Importance of Being Prepared

By Kate Riley October 10, 2017

You guys, it’s awful. Our beautiful Wine Country is burning. The fires are spreading and there is little containment. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated. 75,000 acres burned so far. Wineries, hotels, homes, so much devastation. My Catholic high school, burned. My favorite winery, burned.

My aunt and her neighbors were up at 2 a.m. and barely had time to make it out of their houses. Their neighborhood is completely gone. They are living with us now. The shelters are filled with people in desperate need. I’ve been to gas stations and grocery stores and heard so many stories. This has touched everyone’s lives in our community.

I have no pretty pictures to share today. I can’t talk about design or decor when so many people have lost absolutely everything. So today’s message is this: you never know when disaster strikes and and you’re facing emergency. It’s important to be prepared.



A few things to consider:

Roadside Emergency Kit. Have one in your car that includes jumper cables, tire sealer and inflator, tie down cord, flashlight and batteries, signal torch, work gloves, and a SOS sign. Also emergency blankets, a whistle, flares, and a hand crank radio with flashlight/cellphone charger. Have a roadside assistance program like AAA.

Basic Survival: Store in a duffle bag a cell phone charger, tarp, LED lantern with extra batteries, first aid kit, camper’s tool, utilities shut off tool, dust masks, duct tape, waterproof matches, flashlights with extra batteries.

Food & Water: Set aside a few cases of bottled water ready to grab, also some non perishable food: canned goods, a can opener, and protein bars.

Specific Needs: Make a list of essentials you can quickly refer to, things you’ll need right away. Medications, feminine hygiene products, baby formula and diapers, pet supplies, etc.

Digital diligence: Make digital copies of your birth certificates, social security numbers, passports etc. in case you don’t have time to grab them. Back up important documents and your photographs on a cloud or online storage provider like Carbonite. Photograph high dollar valuables to provide later to your insurance company.


My community makes me proud. So many are rallying to help transport people and supplies, provide shelter, pick up prescriptions, share their bedrooms and blankets and food with the thousands displaced by fires. It’s amazing to see and it reminds me of the goodness of people when they come together.


So far, the fires are not near my house but they are not contained and we are on alert and being vigilant. Our air quality is extremely bad, filled with ashes and smoke. We have bottled water and a car packed if it ever becomes necessary to evacuate.

Right now we’re just doing our part to help the people who need housing and supplies. Our community is working together, but it will be a long road to recovery. Keep us in your prayers. Consider donating what you can. We are #winecountrystrong.

Weekend Reading

By Kate Riley October 7, 2017

Weekend greetings! The weather is perfection right now, I just love early October in Northern California. The mornings are chilly but the skies are blue. The afternoons are warm and the leaves are changing. It’s fleeting, but it feels like fall so I’m just walking around my town as much as possible until the cold and rainy season comes.

It’s a quiet weekend around my house. I’m still moving some things back into the house after having the floors redone, and in the process sorting through years of stuff we’ve accumulated. I didn’t realize how much had piled up! I’m slowly wading through the stacks and bins in the garage, nothing too exciting but it needs to be done.

Favorite links from the week below:

Very chic, the sophisticated use of black in this small condo.

Of course I’m a fan of the Sherwin Williams 2018 Color of the Year.

I love the simple greenery and dark hues on this porch.

A lovely example of dark grout with white tile.

Isn’t this the most charming staircase trim?

A very pretty modern fall wreath.

Also faux concrete pumpkins. :)

The most internet famous chocolate chip cookie.

The pleasure/happiness gap.

I bought myself a little Adventure this week.

10 European etiquette rules to know.

Dear America. (Thank you Karen).


***Monday update: Massive wildfires in Sonoma and Napa counties here in California. Hospitals evacuated, schools have burned. Many homes have also burned and thousands are homeless. We are helping all we can, sheltering evacuees and offering supplies. Please keep California in your thoughts and prayers today!