A couple of weeks ago I took my children to see The Sound of Music Sing-a-long at The Castro Theatre in San Francisco. It was beyond fantastic. I felt like a child, chiming in joyfully to tunes my mother had taught me, and I thought about how much she would have loved doing that with her grandkids.

Puritan that she was however, my mother would have been horrified that I was exposing my children to the Castro community’s culture. While the highlight of my experience was seeing the Nanny kiss the Captain, my son and his friend would definitely tell you that seeing the naked guy on the street outside the theater (twice!) was the highlight of their experience.

I delight in knowing that my kids have parents who teach them to embrace all lifestyles and cultures—which is very contrary to my own upbringing.

This holiday season has been a growth-promoting mix of keeping the interior design machine running smoothly and staying committed to my investment in my own personal happiness. While happiness is a quality that naturally comes from self-actualization, there are certain objects and items—touchstones—that also inspire and increase happiness, just by being in my environment, or my being in theirs; “things” that remind me to slow down and enjoy the blessed life I am living.

Taking a tip from Julie Andrews, here are a few of my own Favorite Things:

Flowers: Peonies—pink, or white with just a little pink around the edges

Coffee: Cole Coffee‘s Fair Trade Sumatra

Tea: Teance’s Jasmine Green, in the afternoon

Lamps: Christopher Spitzmiller

Soap: Savon de Marseille

Artist: Famous—Rothko

Artist: Famous someday—Tracey Kessler

Paint Color Staple: Benjamin Moore Pashmina from the Aura Collection (kitchen by Martha Stewart)

Favorite Design Trick: Wallpaper for the master bedroom anchor wall

Healthy Breakfast: Green Smoothie (email me for the recipe!)

Decadent Breakfast: La Farine‘s morning bun and poached eggs

Fireplace Wood: Birch logs for decorating, Recycled-waxed-cardboard logs for burning

Mattress: McRoskey

Fabric Line: Quadrille China Seas (contact me to view the collection)

Towels: Restoration Hardware

Ice Cream: Coffee anything

Activity: Morning alone time to meditate, journal and process, or a long hike in the hills by my house

Blog: Danielle LaPorte’s White Hot Truth


I’d love to hear what your favorite things are too! Please post your comments below.

(And congratulations to Sharon Wright, our winner of two hours of design time—for sharing what she is grateful for in my Thanksgiving blog post. Thank you, Sharon, and everyone who posted; it was a delight to read your responses.)