Weekend Reading

By Kate Riley June 2, 2018

Happy first day of summer! I have a busy month of travel ahead and I’m very excited about that! We’re taking a quick family trip to Las Vegas to swim and play for a few days, then I’m off to Europe the following week. The two new countries I’m visiting are Belgium and the Czech Republic. For those of you who have traveled there, I’d love your suggestions on what I should see and eat! I’ll be in Brussels, Bruge, and Ghent in Belgium, and both Prague and Brno in the Czech Republic. Can you recommend any favorite stops?

I also heard some happy news this week. Remember those destructive wildfires we had here in California last fall? Our aunt lost her house in those fires, and she’s been living in our studio ever since. We just hired a contractor to rebuild her house and I’ll be helping with the interior design during the building process. It feels very hopeful in our local community to see all the rebuilding happening. Once the foundation is up and the house is framed I’ll be blogging about the design choices for that rebuild. :)

Favorite links from the week:


I love the textiles and textures in this colorful California home.

Find more fun doses of saturated color in this home tour.

A fresh, modern black, white & brass kitchen.

Isn’t this a beautiful and creative planter?

12 places to visit in Italy if you’re a foodie.

Love the outdoors? 40+ cabin getaways in the West.

Signs you might be in a toxic friendship.

How therapy changed her life.

Benefits of sleeping in on the weekend.

A tragic situation: all the plastic waste in our oceans.

Travel is about commas, not exclamation marks. :)

Happy weekend !



Cute Backpacks for Travel

By Kate Riley May 31, 2018

I’ve started packing for my two week vacay in Europe in June and whenever I travel I prefer to carry a small backpack instead of a purse. It holds my camera, my water bottle, my phone, and leaves just enough room for a little souvenir. I like backpacks because they leave my arms free, I also prefer them on a beach vacation for the same reasons.

Recently I got attached to the Herschel brand, their extra small backpack is the perfect size and this pale gray colorway is the second one I’ve purchased. My trusty black floral backpack (the one I mention among my travel essentials) was worn out so I was in need of a new one for this summer’s adventure.

This backpack I chose is a pale gray but I wanted to personalize it, so I brought it to my local screenprinting and embroidery shop and had the black floral detail sewn on to dress it up. It wasn’t the exact design I wanted, I was looking for something a little more edgy, but my selection was limited so I settled on a simple floral stem in black and white thread.

If you’re curious how I customized this backpack with embroidery, I’m sharing the process in my Instagram stories today. :)



A crossbody digs into my shoulder so I prefer the softness of a backpack straps for carrying all day when I’m sightseeing. I’ve convinced my travel mates to carry backpacks too! There are so many cute ones out there and I’ve grown so fond of mine I started to carry mine around town even when I return home.


grove island / miss plume / marc jacobs nylon (multiple colors)

longchamp ‘le pliage’ (multiple colors) / fjallraven mini (multiple colors) / aotian daypack

herschel brick red / downtown kane   / taikan black & white


One travel tip: it’s always important to be aware of surroundings and pickpockets! In crowded places or on a train, I’ll wear my backpack on the front of my body just to keep an eye on zippers. I don’t care that it temporarily looks silly, I’d rather hang on to my money and bank cards :)


PS. I’ve mentioned I pack a few dresses when I travel to Europe, they’re so comfortable and work for day or night. The red striped cami dress is from a favorite source for inexpensive summer dresses, the one I’m wearing is less $20. :)