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Residents across Los Altos and Mountain View have installed ghoulish home decorations that in a few cases approach the experience of an outdoor, enjoy-from-the-sidewalk haunted house as families prepare for another season of pandemic-influenced Halloween celebration.

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Scrolling through my Instagram feed recently, I took in image after image of avant-garde fashion from this year’s Met Gala. The theme was “America” – and in true American style, no two looks were the same, from Billie Eilish’s peach Oscar de la Renta gown to Naomi Osaka’s Vuitton graphic jac…

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We all have them: the ever-present flat surfaces that seem to be forever covered in piles of something, whether it’s papers, jackets, books, toys or groceries. We purpose daily that we’re going to get a handle on it, but we come home exhausted or get distracted by our incredibly busy lives a…

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Vicki Moore removed the first slice of lawn in her Los Altos backyard around 15 years ago and then, bit by bit, kept replacing pieces until eventually all the grass was gone.

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If you drive or cycle in the hills west of town in spring or summer, you may notice light-orange flowering shrubs covering steep, dry hillsides, often in part shade. These shrubs are native, drought-tolerant, long-blooming, deer-resistant, attractive to hummingbirds and adaptable to gardens.

Have you ever walked under a native oak tree in the spring and discovered a caterpillar or 10 tangled in your hair? The next time it happens, I hope my first thought is, “Yea! Food for songbirds” rather than “Eeuw! Gross!”

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Everyone loves a home flooded with light, but the reality is that not every home has abundant natural light. The layout of the house, shade from surrounding trees and buildings, window placement and many other factors influence the amount of natural light that enters a space.

If you’re planting native milkweeds for monarch butterflies and other natives for the birds and bees, consider adding a California pipevine for the pipevine swallowtail butterfly. Also known as Dutchman’s pipe, this plant has interesting flowers and fruit as well.

Growing up in California, I’ve always been fascinated by Big Sur: the knotted driftwood, the jagged rocks, the miles of coastline and the way the water turns from teal to deep blue to gray. I remember the wind whipping through my hair as I sat in the backseat of my parents’ Rambler, windows …

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Over the past year, I’ve been fielding questions for Town Crier readers that may at first feel like overwhelming design conundrums. However, once the problems are broken down into simple and logical parts, the solutions are often quick and easy fixes.