Oh, Sierra Water Gardens, You Complete Me

Reno's SierraWaterGardens.com

I’ve been hearing about this place for awhile now. My Reno friends visit often, and talk it up. They bring home the loveliest little garden bits every time that they go. So, I started following Sierra Water Gardens on Instagram, and then on Facebook…and there was no turning back. On my latest trip to Reno, I had only one request: I. Must. Go. To. There.

And you know what? If you are ever in Reno, I’m telling you, you must, as well. Take a little swing down Dickerson Road…you’ll know where to park: right next to the old Hudson. The one with plants cascading out the windows.

Old Hudson turned into a planter at SierraWaterGardens.com

This is taking upcycled garden art to a whole new level of awesome.

Through the wisteria-covered steel beam archway (you know I love me some rusted steel, people), is a secret botanical wonderland. You just don’t see it coming; the loveliness that unfolds in front of you as you step off the road and through that entrance.

Visiting the magical Sierra Water Gardens. sierrawatergardens.com

Immediately, you are immersed in container-garden and water-feature heaven. Everywhere you look are pots overflowing with lush greens and splashing water. My eyeballs could not even keep up.

Lovely water feature at SierraWaterGardens.com

Potted water feature at SierraWaterGardens.com

 

A mosaic succulent wall hanging at SierraWaterGardens.com

There is just something wonderful about the variegated green mosaic of a succulent wall hanging.

Sweet resident garden doggie, Copper, at SierraWaterGardens.com

It’s at about this time that you’ll probably get greeted by the resident garden dog, Copper. As if I didn’t love this place enough! Sweetest boy.

Stop by the Succulent Bar and find all sorts of goodies to create a DIY garden in a found object container:

A rusted toolbox succulent planter at SierraWaterGardens.com

More upcycled container-gardening. Rust and succulents are always a brilliant combo.

Succulent display at SierraWaterGardens.com

Succulents waiting for their turn at the Succulent Bar.

Once you have wound your way through the container garden moment at the front of the property, the true magic of Sierra Water Gardens unfolds:

Succulent letters at SierraWaterGardens.com

The main pond at SierraWaterGardens.com

Water lilies at SierraWaterGardens.com

Gotta take a Monet moment here.

The main ponds at SierraWaterGardens.com

Lush, vine-covered seating area at SierraWaterGardens.com

Koi fish at SierraWaterGardens.com

Happy koi.

It is simply breathtaking to stand and take this all in; the ponds, the waterfalls, the bright koi fish, the lush greenery, the secret little nooks and seating areas. And all the while you’re wrapped in that yummy hum of running water. No joke, I could just stand still and look for hours. It’s one of those places that you just want to be.

But, wait. There’s more!

Reclaimed wood sliding barn doors on the adorable potting shed at SierraWaterGardens.com. Doors by BoneyardDesigns

Check out the UHmazing doors on this potting shed. Reclaimed wood gorgeousness designed and built exclusively for SWG by Boneyard Designs.

Let’s just talk about this shed for a moment, shall we? Those salvaged wood sliding doors are phenomenal.

Detail of salvaged wood design in the potting shed doors at SierraWaterGardens.com

Perfection.

And the reclaimed, rusty corrugated metal roof is killing me. Killing me.

Phenomenal reclaimed wood sliding barn doors and vicious guard dog at SierraWaterGardens.com. Doors are the creative genius of BoneyardDesignsReno.com

Copper digs it.

But also–the inside of that shed is not to be missed. Treasures!!!

Tillandsias displayed in rusty old tool bin drawers at SierraWaterGardens.com.

Tillandsias displayed in rusty old tool bin drawers.

The mouth of a big, glass terrarium with a belly full of lovelies at SierraWaterGardens.com.

The mouth of a big, glass terrarium with a belly full of lovelies.

Tillandsias displayed on a rusty mattress spring at SierraWaterGardens.com.

Tillandsias displayed on an old mattress spring. Joy.

Stained glass window in the potting shed at SierraWaterGardens.com.

A reclaimed stained glass window glows in the back wall of the shed.

Potting shed light fixture at SierraWaterGardens.com.

I’m in love with the shed ‘chandelier’. Casual, industrial, and so delightfully colorful!

A giant tillandsia at SierraWaterGardens.com.

Excuse me, Miss? There seems to be a mistake. I believe I ordered the *large* tillandsia. Laura of Olive and Love displays the newest addition to her airplant family.

Reclaimed wood and chalkboard potting shed side door at SierraWaterGardens.com.

Look at the side door to the shed. Just look at it! GAH!

Back outside, I fell in love with these:

Succulent heart planter at SierraWaterGardens.com.

And took one home. :-)

I also fell in love with these:

Shop kitty Fig at SierraWaterGardens.com.

Shop kitty #1. I disturbed Fig’s catnap.

Shop kitty, Newt, at SierraWaterGardens.com.

Shop kitty #2, Newt, assists me in exploring the gardens.

I thought about taking them home.

Oh, and when you wander to the back of the property, you find that the whole thing backs right up to the Truckee River:

Reclaimed wood garden gate leading to the Truckee River at SierraWaterGardens.com.

I love that charming reclaimed wood gate, too. The river’s not bad, either.

And, in addition to the all-around awesomeness that is Sierra Water Gardens, they also do live music on Saturday nights during the summer season, featuring independent local musicians. You bring your wine, you bring your cheese, and you sit and soak it all in.

Summer Saturday night live music at SierraWaterGardens.com

The vibe on a summer Saturday night is absolute bliss.

Shop doggie, Copper, loves live music night at SierraWaterGardens.com.

You may get some Copper love while you’re enjoying the music. Especially if you have cheese.

Musician Tyler Stafford (TylerStaffordMusic.com) plays at SierraWaterGardens.com's Saturday summer live music event.

Musician Tyler Stafford was the incredible talent for the night. Check him out at TylerStaffordMusic.com.

A blissful evening of live music at SierraWaterGardens.com.

Like I said: BLISS.

Undoubtedly, you’ll meet these two smiley faces:

Sam and Sutter of SierraWaterGardens.com.

Sam and Sutter; they run the joint. Oh, and they also live there. Oh, and they’re also the cutest couple EVER. (Photo courtesy of Samantha Stremmel).

So YES. Put this place on your must-stop list if you are in Reno (between April and October, they are understandably closed in the winter). Sit a spell and soak in the tranquility. Hit the succulent bar and build yourself a sweet little garden somethin’-somethin’ to take home with you. Buy a couple of koi for your pond. And say ‘hi’ to Sam and Sutter for me. And Copper, Fig, and Newt, too.

Oh–and you simply have to find them on Instagram and Facebook–two of my favorite feeds. A lot of gorgeous photos getting got over there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hallo, St. Maarten!

Hallo St. Maarten via Farmhouse38.comOkay, this is a rambler; lots of photos to scroll through. I apologize in advance, but I can’t not share some images from our recent trip to St-Martin/St.Maarten. It has been a looooong time since the Texan and I have gone on a grown-up vacation (the last being our honeymoon in Belize, seven years ago–OY!), and this one was definitely worth the wait. Gotta give a loud shout-out to our friends, Laura and Dan (of oliveandlove.com fame) for letting us tag along!

Farmhouse38.com in St. Maarten/ St. Martin

The amazing view from our unit.

For those of you who don’t know, this pretty little Caribbean island has the interesting distinction of being one of the smallest sea islands divided between two separate countries. So a little over half the island is French (Saint-Martin) and just under half is Dutch (Sint Maarten). Makes for a charmingly diverse vacation spot. With lots of views like these:

The Sun Beach Clubber in French St. Martin via Farmhouse38.com

 

Panoramic view from the rooftop of one of our favorite spots on the French side in Orient Bay, the Sun Beach Clubber, via Farmhouse38.com

Panoramic view from the rooftop of one of our favorite spots on the French side in Orient Bay, the Sun Beach Clubber.

A relaxing lunch and cocktails inside the Sun Beach Clubber, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

A relaxing lunch and cocktails inside the Sun Beach Clubber, St. Martin.

Swimming in the amazingly green water of Orient Bay, St. Martin. Via Farmhouse38.com

Swimming in the amazingly green water of Orient Bay.

View from the beach of Simpson Bay, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

View from the beach of Simpson Bay, St. Maarten.

Floating in Simpson Bay, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

The Texan and I getting our float on in Simpson Bay.

Great Bay, Philipsburg, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

Great Bay, Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

Great Bay, Phillipsburg, St. Maarten. Via Farmhouse38.com

More Great Bay gorgeousness.

Simpson Bay sunset group selfie! St. Maarten via Farmhouse38.com

Simpson Bay sunset group selfie! What is my face even doing?

Sunset over the pool and beach of our resort in St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

Sunset over the pool and beach of our resort.

 

I mean…the views everywhere were ridiculous.

Another of my very favorite things about the Caribbean is the architecture. I obsess over it. And took 900 photos of it (of which I shall spare you the lion’s share).

The Dutch capital of Philipsburg was so full of charm:

Caribbean beach architecture in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com.

Philipsburg, St. Maarten, architecture via Farmhouse38.com.

Caribbean architecture in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

 

Caribbean architecture in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

I kind of want this shed in my backyard.

A charming alleyway in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

A lovely little alleyway in Philipsburg.

The Guavaberry Emporium was a must-stop to sample their famous liquors and rums (and it is a darn darling little Caribbean building). Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Via Farmhouse38.com

The Guavaberry Emporium was a must-stop to sample their famous liquors and rums (and it is a darn darling little Caribbean building).

There's OliveandLove.com smiling with her guavaberry cocktail. Philipsburg, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

There’s OliveandLove.com smiling with her guavaberry cocktail despite the fact that I had just been mercilessly dragging everybody through the streets of Philipsburg in manic pursuit of this place.

The French capital of Marigot was full of adorable buildings, too:

Adorable Caribbean building in Marigot, St. Martin. Via Farmhouse38.com

The French side of the island just in time for la Fête Nationale. St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

We happened to be on the French side of the island just in time for la Fête Nationale, so there was lots of festiveness everywhere!

French Caribbean architecture in Marigot, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com.

Just FYI...when I buy a house in the Caribbean, I'm painting it hot pink and neon yellow. Fact. Marigot, St. Martin architecture, via Farmhouse38.com

Just FYI…when I buy a house in the Caribbean, I’m painting it hot pink and neon yellow. Fact.

We love us some beach bars, and St.Martin/St.Maarten did not disappoint:

The Blue Bitch Bar, Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Via Farmhouse38.com

 

Guava berry coladas at a beach bar in St. Maarten. Via Farmhouse38.com

 

Beach bar in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

Beach bar beyond yellow stairs in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

Incidentally, this is one of my favorite photos from the trip…this little hidden bar down a little side alley in Philipsburg. And just on the other side of that bar? The beach.

Speaking of awesome beach bars…this one kind of takes the cake:

The Sunset Bar & Grill, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

The Sunset Bar & Grill is a great bar, perched on a pretty little beach.

Sunset Bar & Grill, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

Which also happens to sit right next to the airstrip of the Princess Juliana International Airport.

747 coming in over the Sunset Bar & Grill, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

So…ya know…this happens.

Standing under a landing 747 at the Sunset Bar & Grill, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

You can stand, literally, right beneath the planes as they are landing.

Standing under a landing 747 at the Sunset Bar & Grill, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

And, literally, piss your pants

The bar posts the flight times, of course, because it’s a big attraction on the island…I highly recommend experiencing a 747 coming in (pictured above). I also highly recommend a pina colada before, during, and after.

Though we mainly spent our time at the beach, our adventuring did take us briefly inland to visit La Ferme Des Papillons (the Butterfly Farm, read all about that here) and then on to spend a day at lovely Loterie Farm.

Lovely Loterie Farm, french St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

A jungle oasis, complete with natural spring pools and private cabanas. Oh, and French pool boys serving you cocktails.

Loterie Farm, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

These pools were to die for; connected by meandering streams and waterfalls all tucked away amongst the jungle. And your cocktails are brought to you, did I mention that?

Loterie Farm, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Beyond the pools, there is jungle zip-lining (that’s a nope for me) and hiking through the lush forest. And then there’s the amazing restaurant and bars on the property. It was a whole lot of awesome for one place.

Some other highlights from the trip:

Top of Fort Louis, French St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Climbing to the top of Fort Louis for the panoramic views of the French side of the island. That’s the Texan actually doing a panoramic on his phone.

Island goat, St. Maarten/St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Island goat!

Tropical flower arrangement with cocktail umbrellas, by Farmhouse38.com on vacation in St. Maarten.

Island flowers.

Island chickens, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

You know I had to find some chickens.

Awkward vacation selfies, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

Awkward vacation selfies.

Awkward vacation selfies, St. Maarten. Via Farmhouse38.com

 

Philipsburg, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

Little moments of island perfection.

Oh, hayyy lizard. St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Oh, hayyy lizard.

Holding an Atlas Moth at the Butterfly Farm in French St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Holding an Atlas Moth like I do it every day.

Island sheep in St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Island sheep.

Floating, Simpson Bay, St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

This is really how I spent most of my vacation.

 

Drinks and more drinks in St. Maarten/St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Also this…

 

Can we go back yet? I’m ready to go back now.

Fun in St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

 

 

 

 

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin

La Ferme des Papillones, the Butterfly Farm, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Of all the marvelous adventures we had on our trip to St. Maarten/St. Martin, I of course, must start by posting photos from La Ferme des PapillonsThe butterfly nerd wants what the butterfly nerd wants. If you are lucky enough to visit that beautiful little island, you simply must plan to make a stop at the farm. We arrived early in the morning, just after a rain storm, and it was magical.

La Ferme Des Papillons, St. Martin, by Farmhouse38.com

 

 

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, by Farmhouse38.com

The incredible Dead Leaf Butterfly…folded up, looks just like a…(wait for it)… dead leaf.

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Holla, Swallowtail!

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Eggs on a banana leaf.

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Young larvae of the Giant Owl Eye munching on a banana leaf.

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

A nearly full-grown Owl Eye larvae.

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

The Giant Owl Eye Butterfly (can you tell I love this butterfly?).

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

I was thrilled to see monarchs here (all the species represented at the farm are non-native). Our tour guide discussed the dwindling monarch population in America and, of course, got to hear me gush about my monarch-centric garden back home. This garden was full of gorgeous tropical milkweed that all the butterflies were going ape over.

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

The curators of the farm collect many of the chrysalises they find and keep them safely in vented cupboards. These are opened every morning to release any new hatchlings. I was fascinated by these cupboards, and took billions of photos (of which I will mostly spare you)–they are treasure boxes lined with tidy rows of enchanting little charms. So breathtaking to see them displayed like this.

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

Particularly fascinating were the cocoons of the Atlas Moth, spun inside dried leaves as camouflage.

And…speaking of which:

Holding an Atlas Moth at the Butterfly Farm in French St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

By far, the most memorable moment of the farm (and maybe the whole trip for me), was getting to hold an Atlas Moth in the palm of my hand. The world’s largest moth…these things only live for seven days!!!

La Ferme des Papillons, St. Martin, via Farmhouse38.com

This is one of those creatures that makes me lose my breath. It is so incredible that this thing exists–it seems like a prop out of some fantasy/science fiction movie. Right? How is this thing even real!!!

And in case you were wondering…the island, itself, was teaming with indigenous butterflies–everywhere you looked things were just alive with them:

I don’t mean to overshadow the gloriousness of the rest of the island with my trip to the butterfly farm–I just get overly excited about butterfly farms and pavilions and gardens (ya don’t say!!!). Stay tuned for a subsequent post with non-butterfly highlights from the trip that look a little something like this:

Visiting St. Maarten/St. Martin via Farmhouse38.com

St. Maarten, via Farmhouse38.com

 

St. Maarten/St. Martin is pretty easy on the eyeballs, let me tell ya.

 

#tutuTOUGH

 

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This kid:

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I have no words!

Okay, maybe I have a few words:

Carlin is a precious three-year-old chock full of three-year-old sparkle; she loves to play outside, ride her horses, chase chickens, and dress her dogs in costumes (and you know they love it right back!). A country kid, through and through! She adores preschool, and being with her big sister.

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photo copyShe is something of a tutu connoisseur, and rocks those things like no one I know. And man, does that kid have a smile that goes for days.

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In November of 2013, with no warning at all, she suffered a seizure that sent her to the ER, where the doctors discovered what they thought to be a low-grade brain tumor. Surgery proved otherwise.

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Carlin was diagnosed with an extremely rare and very aggressive type of brain tumor called ETANTR (Embryonal tumor with abundant neuropil and true rosettes). She is currently undergoing an intensive chemotherapy protocol, which will be followed up with radiation.

And yet, still rocking those tutus with a big ol’ smile!

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tutuTOUGH.com ETANTR Awareness

Carlin getting a special visit from our good friends Tina & Roo of Read to Roo.

tutuTOUGH.com ETANTR Awareness

Carlin, her big sis, Harper, and Roo (sporting a tutu of his own).

When Carlin was first diagnosed, there was so very little information out there on this diagnosis (there is somewhere around only 300 reported cases) that her parents were at a loss. It is their hope to bring more awareness to the ETANTR tumor, and to its research. Here is a more detailed article for anyone wishing to have a little more information on ETANTR.

For more about Carlin’s story, please visit tutuTOUGH.com and follow along on Twitter. You can help support Carlin’s treatment by donating directly or by stocking up on Team Carlin Gear.

Additionally, you can cheer Carlin on by using the hashtag #tutuTOUGH on your tweets, Instagram photos, and Facebook posts. We want to see you sporting your Team Carlin gear, so be sure to take a photo and tag it with #tutuTOUGH! Here’s some examples:

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My Nephew rocking his Team Carlin shirt. He thinks Carlin is not just #tututough, but also superhero-tough! (His words!)

 

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Abbie, Phoebe, and Milo show off their muscles (and muffin-tops) in their #tutuTOUGH doggy t-shirts.

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Go Team Carlin! Photo courtesy of Michelle Agnew.

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Team Carlin in Ohio! Photo courtesy of Tina Anderson.

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Two #tutuTOUGH pixies representing after their theater production of Peter Pan. Photo courtesy of Amy Loy.

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#tutuTOUGH, Dallas-style! Photo courtesy of Jennifer Smallwood.

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Tutus for #tutuTOUGH–thanks, Roo and E! Photo courtesy of Tina Anderson.

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And, of course, the most #tutuTOUGH of them all: Miss Carlin!

Fight’s on, Brain Cancer!