Super Bowls (in the Bathroom)

By Kate Riley February 4, 2016

Are you ready for the Big Game? We’re invited to a Superbowl par-tay at a friend’s house, they have a ginormous TV. There will be much snacking, drinking, cheering, and watching of The Commercials. I love everything about the Superbowl, my team doesn’t need to be in it for me to enjoy it, and this year it’s in the City by the Bay so that’s exciting although I wouldn’t go near San Francisco this weekend, the traffic is off the charts awful. I have a little crush on Cam Newton but I am routing for Peyton and the Broncos #westsidelove – who do you think will win? Me thinks the Panthers offense will prevail.

And yes the Superbowl inspired this post on ‘Super Bowls in the Bathroom’ ha ha aren’t I clever. I’m a lover of a great bowl sink, it’s one detail that can make a bathroom extra special. To me, they’re a flashback to the old fashioned pitcher and bowl from the past before running water. I spied this beautiful bowl sink at the Kitchen and Bath Show last month and it’s my current favorite.

I prefer the undermount sink in a master bathroom where the daily prep occurs since in my experience the water seems to splash about more in the vessel or bowl sinks (but that’s my personal preference). In a guest or powder room, I say bring on the super bowl sinks for the look alone. Enjoy the eye candy.

marble bowl sink


 gold bowl sink

new york times


bowl sink nickel sconces

beach chic design

 rustic marble bowl sink

heather bullard


 mary douglas drysdale

 bowl sink blissathome

bliss at home

bowl sink natural vanity

kathleen dipaolo designs

 white bowl sink

halcyon homes

 intricate bowl sink

 dresser with bowl sink

chenault james interiors

 hammered nickel sink bhg

better homes and gardens 


Ten Days in Australia

By Kate Riley February 3, 2016

I’ve waited two months to write about my trip to Australia because it was so amazing I’m still processing it all. Since I was a kid I’ve wanted to go there, I grew up on Crocodile Dundee and Steve Irwin as the two on screen personalities that made me fall in love with the “accent” and over the years I’ve read stories and met many Australians who talked about the beauty and adventure that exists in their country. I have two cousins that grew up in California but now live in and are married to Australians and their stories and pictures further stimulated my desire to visit.

Australia was thrilling, there was never a dull moment and so many fantastic beach days and wildlife encounters. The family spent 10 days exploring various cities in Queensland and New South Wales along the east coast, we spent 3 days in Cairns, flew by plane to spend 3 days in Brisbane/Gold Coast, spent 1 day driving from Gold Coast to Sydney, and finished with 3 full days in Sydney before we flew home to California and we loved EVERY minute. I took hundreds of pictures but today I’m just sharing the highlights.

 australia trip

We rented a car for our entire stay in Australia. We got the hang of driving on the left side of the road after spending a week in New Zealand before arriving. Our first adventure took us out on a boat trip out of Port Douglas to the Great Barrier Reef. #bucketlist

We are not certified for scuba so we couldn’t go out into the deep water, but the snorkeling was great, we saw giant sea turtles, little reef sharks, so many fish and coral, and a venomous sea snake, yikes! But it was thrilling to spend a day at the beach and in the water.

 cairns ferry

 cairns water adventures

 cairns boat

 snorkeling great barrier reef


 matt great barrier reef


During our stay in Cairns, we rented a 2 bedroom place on Trinity Beach, they had an area netted off just beyond our condo for swimming since jellyfish (“stingers”) are in the water in November.

Trinity Beach is a small coastal resort with a lot of vacation villas. It was close to everything with a gorgeous ocean view, I spent every morning walking the coast with my coffee in hand, these are two cell phone pics I snapped while the family snoozed, I simply can’t sleep in on a beach vacation, I must get up early and feel the sand between my toes!

 trinity beach

 view of ocean

The next day took us up the road 20 minutes to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures and this place ranks top on our list of favorites. It was AMAZING. Hartley’s is an outdoor preserve that allows you to get up REALLY close to the wildlife.

Can I just pause for a moment and say that crocodiles scare the bloody hell out of me. You too I imagine. So at Hartley’s I couldn’t believe how close you could get to the salt and freshwater crocs with only a fence to separate you. They have a lagoon with a boat reminiscent of the Disneyland Jungle Cruise except crikey, the crocs around the boat are REAL.

In between visiting the tame animal habitats, we watched two croc shows, one was a feeding where we learned all about their biology and natural habitat, at another show they demonstrated how crocs lurk under the murky water then JUMP out, OH MY GOD, and then they showed us at the attack show the underwater death roll, you can watch this one on You Tube which also shows it too. Wow.

 croc feed 4

 croc feeding


At Hartley’s there were a lot of cute critters that you needn’t be afraid of, in fact you’re welcome to pet them! Kangaroos, koalas, wallabys, and more. We fell in love with a harmless water dragon that hung around the cafe, I loved the pattern on his reptile skin. I was able to get up so close to so much of the wildlife, it was the best animal habitat I’ve ever been to.

 kate kanga

These next two poses kill me.



 shy wallaby


 sleepy koala

 water dragon

Another place that’s big on the list of things to do in Cairns is visit the Kuranda Village in the rainforest. You can take a train or a gondola, both are popular ways to get to Kuranda Village, but we didn’t want to spend the money and time so we drove our car to the top to walk around the village. There is an animal habitat where you can see crocs, pet kangaroos, and hold a koala, also a shopping mecca where you can buy Australian made goods.

The highlight was the Butterfly Sanctuary in a gorgeous conservatory filled with thousands of fluttering butterflies and tropical foliage (it reminded me so much of this one in Niagara Falls).

 butterfly garden aviary

 kuranda butterfly

 butterfly fred

 milkweed feeding butterflies

 kuranda fern