family life

My best purchase of 2016: a new lifestyle

by Ana Bianchi | | 3 comments

In a few weeks our family life will change A LOT.  
We will go from living in a New York City co-op 2 bedroom apartment to living in a Northern California house with a vineyard.  Definitely a new lifestyle!  A lot of people have told us with a "funny" look in their eyes:  "wow! I love it when people just suddenly decide to do a radical change!"  to which I respond, "we did not suddenly decide to change..."  *wink*  *wink*.

New home, new lifestyle

What drove us to change our NYC lifestyle for sunny California?  our desire as a family to have a house with a garden in a nice weather near a smart city:

• Miss F, our daughter (since she was 3, now 7):  "mom, my biggest dream is to have a house with a garden" "if I won't $10,000 in Chopped, I would use it to buy a garden", 

• Mr. B, my husband (a molecular biology PhD): "I would like to become a landscape architect-scientist in my next life"

• me, well, I grew up in Mexico City's lovely weather, always with a garden (with a fruit and veggie section"  that was my mom's hobby and joy and was dubbed "the garden of Eden" by my friends for its botanical rarities. Plus my dream of having an indoor-outdoor art studio like Picasso in the South of France.


This all started, really, when Miss F was a baby.  We left her to be pampered by grandpa in Spain and went off for a few days to Capri as a couple. During that trip, we had time to talk about things we wanted in life and in a marble paper notebook, we made lists of different things we wanted to do at some point in life:  places to go, things to learn, etc.  In the category of things to have,  we both stumbled upon the house with a garden and then we just stayed in the list of what we would want this house to be like. A house that would contain all our creative endeavors and would be, first, a place for Miss F to play as a kid but also a place that, later in life, she'll love to come back to and call home.  

In 2016,  a lot of "stars aligned" for our family:  Miss F's age, Mr. B work and my ever-bubbling need for a bigger art and design studio and all roads took us house-hunting to San Francisco's East Bay and straight into a somewhat quirky house that checked with most things in our list in the marble paper notebook:

- a house in a sunny, nice weather:  check! after all I am from sunny Mexico and Mr. B is half Californian so San Francisco's East Bay is a great fit (note: no fog or drizzle, just rolling hills and big views)

- near a great city:  check!  yes, we still need to go to great museums, opera, dining and all those things a city offers,  after all I am from Mexico City and Mr. B grew up in Buenos Aires and Miss F calls herself "a New Yorker".

- space for a veggie garden: check!  there is a Renaissance style topiary garden that we will turn into an edible garden

- a big tree:  check!   there is a venerable 150 year old Heritage California Oak that MissF named "uncle-grandpa" and we will now be in charge of taking care of.

- a garden project for Mr B with space for a secret garden for Miss F:  check!  half the plot is now just a dusty slope with trees needing a talented man with a desire to make a garden that is respectful to local species (we already started researching on gardening around oaks and native dry-Summer plants)

- an orchard: check! with a variation....we originally were thinking fruit trees but instead this house has a little vineyard with Sirah grapes.  So we are learning about grapes and wine making.

- a big and airy kitchen to make great family meals and throw parties with friends...check! yet it does need a bit of remodeling to fit our eye.

and of course,  for me, an indoor-outdoor art and design studio: check!  there is a former media room that opens up to the shade of Uncle-Grandpa, the oak, that I will transform into the new PaperGirl art studio.  


So what about PaperGirl Collection? we will go from "Joyfully designed in New York"  to "Joyfully designed in California".  We will continue to produce in the USA, first bi-coastally and then locally and the big news are that along with continuing making our collections of illustrated dresses that tell stories for little girls, PaperGirl Collection will soon include home decor products -wall paper, kids room textiles and unique objects.

 New life, new stories to tell, new designs to make!!


Please sign up to our mailing list to learn more about PaperGirl Collection and to follow our "California dreaming"creative endeavors as a family doing home redesigning, kitchen, crafting and gardening adventures as a family in my blog, Our Illustrated Life 

Last but not least, as part of todays link-up please join me in reading what other fellow, awesome bloggers consider their "Best Purchase of 2016"


Running in Heels

Glam Karen

Oh My Nosh

Tracing the Edge

Frankly Entertaining

Twenty Something Plus

Freckled Italian

Spitfiregirl Design

A Touch of Teal

Cake & Lilies

Alyssa J Freitas

White Cabana

Luv in the Bubble


Our Illustrated Life







What a wonderful purchase! I’m envious and can’t wait to hear about your new adventures!



What an amazing purchase! Good luck on your new adventure!!



How lovely! My husband and I are NorCal natives and one thing we are sad we can’t give our Arizona babies are lush green yards with tall trees to play in like we had. What a blessing to your family!
Oh My Nosh Nutrition and Wellness

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