Author: Frances

Blog, Decoration & Design, Entertaining

Pretty Is as Pretty Does

You must be thinking about doing up your holiday table, if you haven’t already, and I just came across the prettiest, simplest centerpiece and table decorations by Carolyne Roehm in the November/December issue of Veranda. Of course everything Carolyne touches is pretty. Carolyne is pretty. And smart and funny and […]

Blog, Humor, Insight & Inspiration

One Little Thing: How to Keep Calm

In this busiest of weeks, at this busiest time of year, I am comforted by the thought that IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO PANIC. … Okay seriously, there is one little thing that can keep you calm. That’s it, actually: one little thing. If you can’t bust the whole rock […]

Blog, Recipes & Food

A Sweet Gift Idea – fun for kids, too

If you are like 99 per cent of the moms out there, you’ve promised your child(ren) you’d bake cookies together, and you swore you wouldn’t get the damn slice-and-bake because, like, how lame, but you probably will because baking from scratch is too much trouble and and and… but now […]

Blog, Fashion & Style

Elizabeth Taylor’s Treasures

Dear Mom & Dad, Did you read about my ring? It’s fab! Love you both. Wish you were here! Elizabeth & Richard This was a postcard from Elizabeth Taylor to her parents, soon after Richard Burton gifted her with the 33-carat Ascher cut diamond now known as the Elizabeth Taylor […]

Blog, Recipes & Food

A Little Behind in my Holiday Baking

I do love to bake for the holidays, but sometimes I get a little behind… ahem… so to speak… This was sent to me by my friend Susie Quinn, sent to her by Bonnie Burdett, and I don’t know who sent it to Bonnie. There is a faint by-line on […]



Greetings all. Just letting you know that something technical to do with this blog is migrating somewhere – Palm Beach? St. Bart’s? I don’t know what it means except that Frances and the Belles are out of commission until Monday morning, but we’ll see you bright and early then. Hope […]

Blog, Flowers & Gardens, Humor, Insight & Inspiration

A Barrel of Inspiration: Felipe Hernandez

Hey, want to start your Saturday off with a barrel of inspiration? Okay may I brag? Wine is beauty, harmony and joy, right? So it has a place in this blog, if only once in a while, and this is one of those whiles. A stupendous fellow named Felipe Hernandez manages the vineyard–and many other things–here at the ranch in Los Olivos where I am lucky to live part time. He also manages vineyards of some of our Santa Ynez Valley neighbors, including the well-known Koehler vineyard and winery just down the road.


One Little Thing–A Room With a Bloom

Brrr it’s turned chilly here at Rancho La Zaca, and windy too. As the days shorten and the weather turns, we can create a bright spot anywhere with the One Little Thing of fresh flowers or greenery. If I’ve been away the first thing I do when I return is […]