My Life: Danielle Steele, Lentil Salad and A New Beach Cottage Project

Last week, I took this little guy to the vet (he's fine) 
 and passed Danielle Steele's house in Pacific Heights.
 I looked her up on the internet to see what she has been up to and read her latest blog post.  She is the best selling author alive and is still at it!  So if the neighbors complain about her unattractive 30' high hedge (that's not blocking anyone's views)…oh well.

There are 55 rooms and a formal ballroom and the views of the bay must be incredible.   And I bet we go to the same grocery store..rubbing elbows with the famous…she says she goes to the grocery store herself.

Speaking of views…on Tuesday I went to Newport Beach to 
help a client plan a move to

this charming cottage…won't this be fun to decorate?  The wheels are turning.  While incorporating her current furniture we are

 looking at a few new things...
Pottery Barn for the family room

Noir Furniture for the living room

Wisteria for the living room

I stayed with Debbie while I was there…love having this pretty bath...
better than a fancy hotel.
We celebrated our friend, Laura's birthday that night and I came back to San Francisco the next day.  Below is Lido Isle (where our house and the new project are).  A quick trip…so nice that it's just an hour away.

On Thursday, I made this Easy Lentil Salad recipe using Trader Joe's vacuum packed lentils. 
We keep sliced red onion in in red wine vinegar in the refrigerator (mellows the taste) for salads or sandwiches.
Take the package of the lentils and mix in 1/4 cup of chopped marinated red onion, the juice of three or four small lemons, drizzle with olive oil, four tables spoons of chopped parsley and salt and pepper.  Marinate a few hours or overnight and serve on sliced tomatoes.
Good the next day for lunch, too.

I also made this Chicken Saltimbocca (skinless chicken breast with sage leaves wrapped in prosciutto) except, I didn't bother to pound the chicken (lazy) and I added fresh spinach (instead of asparagus--all we had) at the end to serve it slightly wilted.  I took it off the heat and left it covered for a while while I set up our trays (reality…we eat in front of the TV a lot--empty nesters).
It gave the chicken a little time to steam and it came out nice and moist!
This is how I spent my Saturday night with my husband away on business…it was awesome (but I missed you, Honey).

Choose happiness, be grateful and call your mom.  I will, too.


  1. That is one gorgeous bath!!! Really divine! Love your picks. Cheers

  2. Looks like a fun project and what a gorgeous bathroom! Chief is just the cutest!

  3. That cottage does look like a fun project...love the space already and that Pottery Barn piece is great!

  4. What a fun project! The cottage is awesome and the bath is so charming! I love your choices so far. Perfect!
    Danielle Steele has quite the home! I bet you have shopped at the same times. Look for her the next time you go!

  5. The cottage in Newport Beach is adorable! I also love your pretty white flowers.
    I enjoy your blog and I would like to invite you and your readers to come read my blog at:

  6. Oh, the life! Who knows why Danielle Steele is as popular as she has been. Anyway, everything is looking great!

  7. I knew Danielle Steele lived in SF and that her place was quite opulent! However, that is some hedge! Ain't nobody going to see what goes on through that forrest!!!

    The beach cottage you're working on is the beach cottage of my dreams (like yours is too)! I could live in it just like it is with nothing in it! I can't wait to see how you work your magic and make it into another perfect home!
    I also love Debbie's bath! Do you know if the Etagere is from RH? This is how I dream my bathroom to be!

    You also managed to make be drool over those recipes! The look delicious and easy! Will have to try them!
    Thanks for sharing....can't wait for your next post!
    xoxo Gail

  8. Sometimes….a night alone is just the thing(even better with all those design magazines…) Glad Chief is fine!!

  9. Oh that cottage!! LOVE it. I would just take the one little wall and be happy. LOL Danielle Steele's "house" should be hotel. Thank you for sharing the recipes. I am going to copy your tip for the red onions. Great and yummy idea!

  10. Oh, what a super cute cottage to decorate. That lentil salad looks so good.

  11. I love that cottage, and can't wait to see you decorate it. I had to laugh about Danielle Steele, because I love her books :). Also glad to know that the pup is fine.

  12. Great cottage, love the salad somehow not surprised at how extravagant Danielle's humble abode is...think I read she has a penchant for "living large" and indeed her house proves it:) That bathroom is so pretty and fresh......happy cute little Chief is happy and doing well. Life seems good over on that coast, happy to hear it!

  13. First, what a cute dog you have, I think this is the first time I have read a post of yours featuring your little nugget. Adorable!
    The cottage is beautiful, I love the dark floor/white walls contrast, this will be a lot of fun decorating! Are you going to share some reveals with us? I am sure it will be beautiful!
    The bathroom is amazing, I am a sucker for everything white and I love the counter top, beautiful bathroom. Enjoy the rest of your Monday!

  14. I love the cottage...it would be a blast to decorate!

  15. I want a cottage on Lido!!! I didn't know there were any left. And great tip on soaking the red onion in red wine vinegar.

  16. The cottage is so cute - would love to get my own hands on it to decorate.
    Danielle Steele's house is huge and the hedge while it doesn't block anyone's view - it is so off scale and likely a breeding ground for bugs.

  17. Oh my that beach cottage looks amazing! Can I move in?

  18. I cannot wait to see the cottage come to life - it's amazing!! So impressed that you were eating carrots, celery and almonds…

  19. You've been a busy, busy lady! That cottage will be such a fun space to decorate! Give Chief a hug for me - that face just kills me :)

  20. You’ve revealed my dirty empty nest secret: the minute my baby went off to college, we reverted to eating in front of the tv like we did before kids. Glad to know we aren’t the only ones. That cottage will be so fun to decorate. It is already so full of charm.

  21. Your weekend sounds so exciting. Glad Chief is doing well. You're so good in the kitchen. All of your meals always look so great.

  22. You are just so busy!!! Love a great night when you have the house to yourself. That does not happen to me anymore since my husband retired from flying:( Can't wait to see what you do with your new project!

  23. your posts always make me happy Mary Ann. such eye candy, both design and food wise. your friend's new home is beyond gorgeous. I cant wait to see what you have in mind. glad chief is ok...that dog gets cuter every time I see him.


  24. I wonder what Danielle Steel's home looks like on the inside - the exterior is beautiful but the hedge should go! Loved your friends bathroom and that cottage should be great fun to decorate. I'm impressed with your healthy snacks while your husband was away. I would more than likely go for a glass of wine and some chocolate! x Sharon

  25. Mary Ann- Cannot wait to see what you do with the cottage! Will look forward to lots of posts on it ( hint hint)
    Love your recipe ideas. By the way, I made the fig, prosciutto and basil crostini you mentioned in an older post for a dinner party and a few other events. Everyone loves it and asks how to make it. So thank you for sharing!!-- Gillan

  26. sounds like an amazing weekend. I'm jealous. That bathroom was so pretty and I love where you are going with the cottage can't wait to see you work your magic as always!

  27. Good evening!

    How interesting to live so close to such a very famous person! Thrilling!
    I often look at your blog posts and especially when you write about beach cottages...Now, I have a humble question for you...I moved from Sweden and into a beach cottage in Coronado (San Diego) in June. It is tiny and cute and built in 1928. Now I am in the process of making some window treatments for the front room, and I think I will copy the style I saw in Costal Living Magazines idea house here on Coronado for the normal sized windows, but the problem is the front window that is oblong and large...I will post a picture of it on my blog tomorrow. Do you have any suggestions where I cold look to get an idea of the most appropriate type/kind/shape window treatment for that window?

    Thank you and good luck with the NewPort beach Cottage. It looks great!

    Kind regards,

    Anneli from Sweden on Coronado

  28. Mary Ann, you are living an exciting life and I love that you always appreciate whatever comes your way!! I have made the lentil salad, thanks to you!! LOVE it, so fresh. Happy Wednesday,

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  30. Mary Ann, I am thinking of your wonderful new stage in life and can see that you are taking advantage of it just as it is meant to be! I love that you are staying in touch with your good friends and "doing your thing"!

    Haute Couture Ateliers

  31. Aww, I loved this post Mary Ann, from the beginning (I used to read every single DS book as soon as it came out)….to the "cottage" you are going to decorate (dreamy!!), your view of Lido Isle and the recipes. Thank you for the fun respite this afternoon. I'm choosing happiness, definitely grateful and have seen my mom and talked to her on the phone today!!!

  32. whoa, I'm loving that peek of the cottage you gave. And I can't wait to see what you do with it. What a fun project, it makes me miss my high ceilings. sniff sniff. I enjoyed seeing Danielle's Steele's home too. Funny, it looks familiar but I would've never guessed.


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