Tuesday, December 6, 2011

On Glitter and Gold

I am into gold this holiday season. To prove it, I spoiled myself after work today and got a sparkly gold pedi.

 This golden story continues: Tomorrow the company for which I work is hosting their annual holiday party and I will be decked out in a gold and beige get-up from J. Crew. There is a nice story behind this dress. About a month ago, I had dress envy when I first saw it on the hanger in J. Crew. My BFF was in town and I was gushing over it. "This is the best dress of the season, if I had a job, I would buy it, etc." A few weeks later, I was in Seattle for Thanksgiving waiting to hear about a prospective job. I got a good news phone call mid-afternoon and by the evening time I was celebrating in J. Crew with office attire on the mind. Sure enough, this dress had just been tried on and denied and had made its way back to the SALE rack and it was the only one left and it was in my size---sure sign we were meant to be together forever.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On My Homemade Salad of Choice

I like this salad so much, I ate it!
Salads are so great. So much can happen in a salad.  I could eat salad for the rest of my life and nothing else and not be sad about it. Ok, I would miss sandwiches from time to time (in re my earlier post about my love affair with the sandwich). Regardless, salads are all about finding the perfect mix of ingredients.  I love salad! Salad, salad, salad! My current homemade favorite is a balanced blend of:
red leaf lettuce
edamame (shelled and steamed)
chopped radishes
shredded carrot
sunflower seeds
sprouts (any kind will do) or micro greens
all tossed together with a lemon herb dressing (I use Follow Your Heart Brand Vegan Lemon Herb Dressing)
No need to measure out the portions.  Get crazy with it. Put more of what you like and less of what you can do without, but be sure to feel good eating it!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On Rituals

One of my favorite annual traditions is, but of course, French. Not only is it French, it also involves wine. 
 Having lived in Paris for a year and dated a Frenchmen (make that a Parisian) for a year (that makes two years of assimilation), I have witnessed the strikes (les grèves), many variations of tartare, some very cerebral films (les amants règuliers comes to mind), runny egg yolks, among other je ne sais quoi. . . very French things.
One ritual that I love involves French pastry.  It is called Galette des Rois, which a frangipane filled tart that is eaten on the day of the Epiphany (the first Sunday of the New Year).  A fève (nowadays a plastic trinket of a king) is baked inside the cake. The cake is to be divided into equal parts and served completely, except for one piece. Whoever eats the piece with the fève inside gets to act like the roi (king) and boss everyone around for the day. As well as, I suppose, eat the remaining slice of galette. 

But let's get to the wine. The galette story was just an amuse-bouche.  One of my favorite French things is Beaujolais Nouveau.  Once a year, on the third Thursday of November, this wine is released.  It is fermented right before its arrivé (arrival).  It is intended for immediate drinking (this I like!) The Beaujolais wine indicates the quality of the year's regional wine harvest. In Paris, cafes were crowded on Beaujolais day.  The first bottles were opened when the clock struck midnight and people drank up, speculating whether it would be a good year for viticulture.  Regardless of the verdict, it is always a fun night. I am sipping on some 2011 right now and I think it is going to be a good year. Santé!   

Sunday, November 27, 2011

On Seattle and its surroundings. . .

I have been out of town for the Thankgiving holiday.  Sorry for the blogness days and nights, dear readers. I really did need to get away.  However, I will be integrating myself back in society sometime soon.  First with a plane ride, then with a cell phone turned ON, and finally with some high-speed internet.  I have been taking it easy on the connectivity this week, though I cannot resist posting a few photos to Le Facebook and texting the family and friends with encouragements to eat a lot.  
Seattle has been rainy and grey, but not in a negative sense, in a very cozy and relaxing sense.  The weather encouraged me to consume many cups of coffee, tea, and wine.  It smells like Fir trees and cinnamon and wet pavement.  There have been long conversations, hours of book-reading, baking, running in the rain, and trips on the ferry across the Puget Sound. This city always seems to glisten and sparkle. For me, it is a magical place.

Friday, November 18, 2011

On How Staying in is the New Going Out To a Fancy Place

Last night some friends came over.  We stayed in.  We ate great food. We drank good wine.  We watched video clips from the internet.  We tried on clothes.  We laughed. We lounged about. We listened to music. We talked. It was the perfect little evening just staying in.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On What I Want to Watch

One of my favorite evening activities is going to see a movie, especially as the days get darker sooner. I currently have two films on my must-see list (having seen 50/50 and Moneyball, both I would recommend).  

 The first, Like Crazy, looks like a tear-jerker.  Watch the trailer here.  I am a crier when it comes to movies so avoid me for this one. The trailers just tear my heart out. The official website synopsis puts it nicely, "Like Crazy beautifully illustrates how your first real love is as thrilling and blissful as it is devastating."Gah, I have been so sentimental about love lately.  Hopefully this movie will purge me of those feelings or lead me to the path of another hopeless romantic just like me.  

 The second, The Descendants, is the work of Alexander Payne (who directed Sideways and About Schmidt).  Trailer: here. It stars George Clooney as his frumpier (ahem tucked in Hawaiian shirts) than usual self (wholly attractive nonetheless).  In short, his wife is involved in a boating accident that renders her in a vegetative state just as Clooney finds out she has been having an affair.  The movie explores where he goes from there.  Seems like a quite a starting point. . . 

 Looks like this weekend I will be packing for my Thanksgiving vacation, writing an Architecture research paper, and clearly, procrastinating by going to the movies. Who is with me?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

On My Posh Polish

Last season I was all about the neutral tan nail lacquer, but I have just made the switch to a richer, fuller color for late fall/winter. I call them my red wine nails, but you can call them plum. Très chic.

On Music for A Rainy Day

The skies in LA have been dramatic this weekend. The clouds look like they are just waiting to open up and shower us with a cold, hard rain.  In any event, I have been feeling quite cozy this evening. It is the perfect night for Pandora, a sweater & slippers, red wine, a home-cooked meal and a little blogging. I usually find myself listening to Feist on nights like this. It is fitting because her concert is happening down the street from me this very moment (@the Wiltern).  I also tend to like Radiohead when the weather is foreboding.  The Black Keys, Midlake, Au Revoir Simone and Bon Iver (I imagine he would be good to listen to when it snows!) are others I would recommend on a delightful night of R&R.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On My Sis

If my sis and I were characters in an Aesop's Fable (which we thankfully are not) we would be in "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse".  As the town mouse, I would be boastful about the splendors of the city while she, the country mouse, would devote her life to a place bucolic.  

For one, I live in the most densely populated area in Los Angeles and my sister lives in a remote part of New Hampshire that I always confuse with Maine.

My sister's life in the country is the exact opposite of the life I have found for myself in the city. My sister wakes up (most likely to the sound of a rooster crowing) so that she can feed her goats organic something-something (whatever goats eat?. . . . sweaters?) before the sun comes up.  I wake to the sound of a bus announcing the name of its route ("Line 204 Vermont and Sunset") to then run around some blocks of the city grid before shoving off to urban design class where I learn about development.  

I depend on the grocery store for food, retailers for clothes, the Metro/my scooter/cars for mobility, and spending money to make money while my sister lives in true subsistence.  

Unlike the mice in the fable, we don't really bicker about our differences, but use them to make our relationship more interesting.  I don't, by any means, reject her lifestyle.  It does, after all, include this little guy: 

Tiny Hill Farm

Sunday, November 6, 2011

On Maps

I like maps, like really like them.  When I was a little girl I used to sit in the back of the car and instead of playing with my very hip, older sister I would ask my dad to borrow the Rand McNally road atlas and would study it the whole way there.  I remember being reluctant to give it back even in the case my parents took a wrong turn along the way.  You see, this map reading was really no big deal when we were going to one of my grandma's houses which was in PA or to my aunt's in DC (ok eight hours worth of map reading) BUT the trip I am referring to is when we used to drive to our house in Nova Scotia, Canada which is exactly 1,000 miles from our house in Connecticut.  We are talking 2-2.5 days straight in the car.  Two days straight of Rand McNally and I was more than fine. 
Years later, I am learning how to make my own maps and I am loving every tedious minute of it. 
The maps on my current lust list: 
Unusual Restaurants Around the World (courtesy of my friend Candace)
The Size of Subway Systems Comparatively (please note the URL: Fake is the New Real. . not sure about that one)


Monday, October 31, 2011

On What I Will Do for Halloween

Let's face it, I am extremely low key these days. My ideal night is probably dinner out and a movie or cooking at home or a glass of wine out and then cooking at home. All of the aforementioned options are not what my peers would call very risqué but that is me, and that is how I do it. 
I am not going out in costume this year (doesn't mean I won't ever). I will not drink hard liquor (not this year, not really ever). I decided about a week ago to host a low-key girls' night of art and crafting for Halloween.  It is Monday night, after all and I am sure traffic to go out anywhere is a royal @%#4! (400,000 are expected in West Hollywood tonight, and there are road closures, uhm, I am staying in!)
I have just pulled my place together. Soon, it will be time to get crafty! I have paint, I have canvas, I have cardboard, mason jars, buttons, golden markers, and a hot glue gun. Not to mention, wine, beats streaming from Pandora, fresh-out-of-the-oven pumpkin bread with chocolate chips, dark chocolate, olives, cheese, bread and candy corn (because even though it is kind of gross, it only comes around once a year!).  
Happy Halloweenie! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

On What I Eat in Lieu of Clif Bars

My fabulous cousin clued me in on a little snack recipe for athletes.  I call it: The Nugget.  It is my go-to when I have a sweet tooth and deep runner hunger pangs.  It takes about 10 minutes total to cook, cool, and eat, which is somewhat of a miracle when it comes to baked goods.  It has four ingredients: chocolate chips, peanut butter, milk (almond, soy, or dairy), and raw oats.  Here's the prep:
1. Mix 1/4 cup chocolate chips (or baking chocolate, dark chocolate, your choice), 2 tablespoons milk, and 2 tablespoons peanut butter In a saucepan and stir on low heat.  
2. Once the chocolate has melted and everything has smoothly come together, add 3/4 cup oats.  Take the mixture off the heat.  
3. Stir. 
4. Ball the batter and place in the fridge. Wait for about 8 minutes and munch away.  
5. Approach your next workout feeling fueled and satisfied.     
For the original recipe:

Must give credit where credit is due. Oh and thanks to my cuz.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On Turning Up The Heat

A hot yoga studio has locally established itself. Go Moksha! I am on cloud 9.  The weather is getting nippier and, alas, I have a steamy place of refuge to practice my vinyasa.  Hot yoga has got me hooked--there is nothing like listening to your sweat drip off of you as you twist and turn and move and hold still and then move again. 

 The best part is when you step out of the studio doors after a tough class and the blast of cool evening meets the more lucid and lighter post-yoga you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On What Came in the Mail Today


On the Los Angeles Lunch

Out of all the things to do in LA (there are tons!), one of my favorite is to dine. When it comes to lunch, Joan's on Third cannot be rivaled. Best Sandwiches ever (I go for the basil, mozzarella, tomato, on a baguette.  It is perfectly peppered). Tons of people watching (and star sightings. Jeremy Piven was a lunch companion one day). The pastry case is among the best I have seen and the cupcakes are not to be missed.  My personal favorite: Classic Vanilla.
It makes me think of Meryl Streep's restaurant/cafe in the movie It's Complicated (as pictured below).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

On Ways to Enjoy the Weekend

Where I will be tonight.

Hello all, remember! 
Enjoy the weekend, but how could you forget?

Besides doing my homework researching this, I will be running here, seeing this, doing my shopping here, drinking this, and spending time with this lovely cousin of mine.

Confused by this blog? Just click on the links!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

On My Autumn Obsession

Anything, and I mean anything sweet and pumpkin. I am an addict. In the morning, I typically take coffee from my French press strong and unsweetened, but when October and November kick in I spring for pumpkin lattes (with half the sweet, heavenly, but artificial stuff, an extra shot of espresso, and extra hot). .and pumpkin bread, and pumpkin scones, and pumpkin cupcakes, and pumpkin pancakes. Oh, heaven!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On The Look Book

I keep a scrapbook called the Look Book.  It is full of magazine clippings that capture various looks or outfit ensembles.  It is a very handy resource for when I need help getting dressed in the morning or for when I am out on a shopping excursion (usually for me, vintage hunting).  I have created an abbreviated, online version to share with you.
The Prairie--scarves, denim, rugged plaids, boots
The Art Gallery Goddess--glasses, tweed of some sort, black & white, silver jewelry
The Academic- men's shirt, oxfords, stripes and regal colors
The Hipster-skinny. . . as in everything.
The Artiste--splattered or ripped jeans complete with a wrist stacked with bangles and some red lips
The Hip Urbanite--blazer, hat, booties, rich colors and some edge

Monday, October 17, 2011

On How To Spend Your Free Time

Last week I paid a visit to  the LACMA.     

Go spend the afternoon museuming. Southern California is ripe with visit-worthy exhibits now that Pacific Standard Time (PST) has launched. We have six months to discover more about the place that we call home and more about the incredibly cool people that have lived here. Ruscha, Warhol, Kienholz, Neutra. PST is a celebration of the origins of art and culture in LA and has really inspired me to spend my unscheduled afternoons at the museums.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

On The Color of the Season

 I just bought a chunky red sweater from Anthropologie. Whenever I pass my closet, its vibrant hue catches my eye.  Red makes such a statement.  It is bold but it is appealing (not like orange, orange doesn't work for me).  Something is very classic about a rich red.  
Which red piece would you like to add to your fall collection?

Photos courtesy of J.Crew

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On The Albums of the Moment

I am sure I drive my neighbors crazy, but I have two albums on constant repeat these days---- Little Dragon and Feist (their latest). Both albums are completely different. Little Dragon is more up-beat and celebratory while Feist is melodic and melancholic.  Despite their very different styles, these ladies' voices fill my studio with strength and purpose.  Just what I need right now. Take a listen.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On Feelin' Like a Kid Again

Do you want to feel great? Go find your bike and ride it. 

 I woke up feeling iffy this Sunday, I was not sure if I wanted to partake in a city-wide event.  I was full of excuses, had plenty of schoolwork to tackle, but I ended up going to CicLAvia.  Now, I want nothing more than to spend my Sundays riding bikes.  

CicLAvia will be marked on my calendar from this point forward.  I will anticipate it and never possibly think of any excuse as to not attend this event.  The streets were closed to vehicles (well some motorscooters seemed to be among us).  The shops, bars, and cafes lining the route were spilling out into the streets.  People were joyous! A group of hundreds of joyous, light-hearted people in LA, you ask? Totally possible, just get them on bikes.  I couldn't wipe the grin off my face all day.  In fact, as  the California sun pierces through my windows, I am still smiling.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On Being Inherently Good

I had a closer encounter with a crisis on Tuesday night. After being on campus for 9 hours of meetings, readings, and class, I got out of Architecture lecture early.  I was checking in with the prof about my research paper topic while digging through my bag for my keys.  No big deal I thought when I initially couldn't find them, my school bag is huge. Things tend to get lost in there. Ok. I end my conversation with my professor, still nothing. Hmmmm. There are a lot of books in my bag, I reason, keys are under books. I take everything out of my bag. My heart is pounding, and nothing. Phone. Enough pens to restock a Staples. Bobby pins galore.  Tupperware from my lunch. Wallet, check. Notebooks. Three textbooks. The Style Section of the Sunday NYTimes, BUT NO KEYS! 
That would mean, I can't get home. I can't get in my house if I do get home. I can't check my mail ever again.  A myriad of obstacles and difficulties and locked doors that I cannot get into would be my future. 
What to do. I called a friend who I knew had night class too and left a half panicked, half incomprehensible message, "Hi, it's me. Problem. Keys. Can't find. Can I get home with you? Can I just sit in your car and cry for a moment? Ok thanks. Call me. Bye." 
Next I call my landlady (who is far too young and hip to be called the landlady, but I can't think of an alternative title in the midst of recalling this gripping story)I made sure if I could get home that I could get into my apartment and would not have to spend the night in the hallway on the moldy carpet which would surely be soaked by my stale tears if I was nestled up in a heap in front of the door to my house, but not IN my house.  Yes, she had a spare key. Phew! Crisis not the worst of the worst if keys were truly gone.
 I take a breath and decide to walk back to my scooter. Like my mom always says when I lose something, "Retrace your steps." So I went back to where I had started the day 9 long hours earlier parking my scooter in the lot with all the bad asses that ride motorcycles to school.  My helmet was there perched on my little moto.  I picked it up and I heard the jingle of keys. KEYS! My KEYS! 
Next to the keys was a business card and a note handwritten on the back,"You left your keys in the ignition.  I put them under your helmet.  Call me if you have any questions. Eddie."  
Since, I have gotten home and back to school a few times, I have locked and unlocked my door, I have slept in my bed and not in the hallway, I have checked my mail, and my life is back to normal.  Importantly, I have gotten in touch with Eddie. He calls me scooter girl and told me he was nervous about putting my keys under my helmet because he didn't want anyone to think he was stealing my pink helmet. Ha. People are good. There are good people out there. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

On the High Bun

I love this 'do.  The High Bun. 
Ballerina gone edgy. 
I remember when I didn't wear my hair any other way than in a bun. I went through the neat phase and then the messy bun phase, but I have yet to try the high phase, and I think it is awesome. It looks so adorable with glasses too!
You can tailor the look to what suits you.  
Feeling daring? Pull your hair really taut and your bun really high.  


Romantic? Loosen it up and let some wisps go. 

Is this last one too high?


Friday, September 30, 2011

On My First Wall Hanging

I have lived in my studio for about 4 months now and I have yet to hang anything on the walls.  I am not sure why, just nothing seemed to be good enough . . .

until I found this online, available for purchase

How could an Urban Planner (to-be) with an interest in neighborhood and community development pass this one up?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On What I Will Watch When I Get Around to it

When I was half listening to last night's lecture, I used the other half of my attention to compile a list of "classic" movies that I have yet to see or that I have seen when I was far too young for them to resonate properly.  Of course, this list is tailored to my tastes (hence no Sci-fi titles and a few related to Paris have made the cut).  This list is by no means exhaustive, please feel free to add-on! This is what I currently have on the Classic Movie Bucket List:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

On What I Vow

With the passing of the summer to darker, more dramatic, gloomier days (even in LA), I have made a promise to myself. I will take a daily walk.  I know this sounds like something my elders would do, but I think of my walks as meditation.  Each and every day, despite the weather, what I have on my plate, and the physical activity that I have already mustered, I will walk.  I will put away my computer and my Iphone and go out into the city and just walk around. 
What's your daily promise to yourself?