This year I have a goal of doing one photo shoot each month. I prefer to be behind the camera, but we'll see if a reverse of that ever happens. Let's just say taking my About Me portraits nearly sent me over the edge. I do however, have lists of places that I'd like to explore, ideally we get in the car or plane and just make it happen. With my busy schedule this a good challenge, and hopefully doable. Also a good chance for SB and I to have mini-cheap little adventures. With all the construction going on in our city for the Expo line we desperately need to "Get out of Dodge." Hmm there's an idea, maybe a trip to Dodge City.
So January 1st, I talked him to driving me to the Salton Sea. This is a place I've REALLY REALLY, really wanted to go to. I few photographers I follow over the years have been taking some amazing images. So I asked where to go and when. Right now the temperatures are perfect for this part of the desert. It's near Coachella and I knew no one would be out there on New Years day.
If you want to read about this place, check it out here. It's a bizarre little area. I spent most of my day on the western shore at the Salton Sea Beach. This place was super cool, but admittedly after 2 hours you get kind of depressed with all the abandonment of a former sea resort.
Later in March I'll try to explore the Eastern part of the sea, I've heard there are a few abandoned pools, we'll see if can get SB to skate the bowl. Enjoy this first round of images. Yes I know it's image overload, but I had to share. I'll be loading the big lot of them to my flickr account here.
Today my mind is jumbled AGAIN. I have so much going on I can't focus at all. So I'm moving from one thing to another. I gave myself a computer break this weekend and I probably should have just sat down and hammered out what needed to be done. Today I am finally making me a list of what I need to do. I have a few friends that love LISTS and love to cross off what they accomplish, I'm more of check the box kind of girl. I find that writing things down is super helpful. For one it organizes my mind.
Sunday was National Coffee day and well I barely had time for a cup of coffee. I did manage to have some over the weekend, visiting my usual places Groundwork in Santa Monica for a Mocha and a Machiatto and then Emilia's for a Cappucino and that was all on Friday and Saturday.
Over the weekend I really took advantage of living on the Westside of L.A. county. Went to the local farmers market for some food inspiration, met the harpist above, who was such a happy soul. Produce right now is very transitional. I was on the hunt for figs, cause it sounded so good, but didn't find any. Apples are in and although I didn't get to apple picking with my friend Deborah at my.life.at.playtime, I hope to reap the bounty of what she picked and make something fantastic.
This is the third year for Glow in Santa Monica that showcases few art installations on the pier and beach. Some things were pretty cool. Like the beautiful light filled nets above which came with it's own audio, and mounds of sand to climb around. NYT wrote an interesting review on it. Other things were plain out weird and cosmic, not my thing. Great time for walking and biking as most of the downtown streets were closed. We choose to walk and boy my feet felt it.
After that we tried a new place called Bar Pinto, felt like a trip to Spain, followed up by watching Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown episode on Spain , which really made me visit Granada, Spain. On my list of things to do in this lifetime.
Last thing for the weekend was a quick jaunt to the Abbot Kinney festival. I went early, 10AM just to get myself a tote from Urbanic and buy a t-shirt for my friend in the UK. It was already hot and looked like it was going to be a fun day full of food, music and amazing locally created arts and crafts. I had, had enough of crowds so getting there early was key for me, get in and out and take a quick look. Plus all the road closures and parking were not ideal.
October starts tomorrow. I hope to have a few more Fall focused posts and can't wait for a busy fun month of activities. Enjoy your week!
I am outside my one post per day. But I found out Stumptown Coffee Roasters opened up in Los Angeles yesterday. Location is 806 S. Sante Fe, in Downtown LA. I love this new space, can't say I am super glad it's in DTLA. Would love something closer to the Westside, cause as you all know it takes hours sometimes to go 10 miles here.
LA Times photographer was there today and there should be something online at LATIMES.com this afternoon about the opening. Great space, tall ceilings, amazing roasting machines. It's all industrial with warm wood tones and that's just the decor.
I need a these lamps AND I need a space where I could hang these too.
On to the coffee. There are nice choices, I've already done a mini tasting of the coffee during my camping trip here. So I'm familiar with a few of the blends. I ordered a Latte, it was milky smooth, but I think I'll be moving back to Macchiato's, I'm not such a milk person these days, I just enjoy the jolt of the beans by themselves.
Oh and treats a Maple BACON scone. And yes there was a piece of bacon on top. I couldn't order it, GUILT, but I will when I go back when I feel less guilty.
I am going to call this image above the Stumptown Coffee Roasters Rolls Royce. It is a beautiful machine for brewing the espresso.
Digging there logo and well I got so excited about drinking this I mixed the latte art with my raw sugar. Oh well.
Products peeps, I love mugs, and tin camping mugs even more.
Wish you were here enjoying a great
cup of coffee with me in this new #DTLA
Stumptown Coffee location.
During our time in Arnold enjoying Nature was one of the best parts. I really forget how much I miss this living in the city.
Dragonfly's, I swear I chased these bad boys down and still only got just a fleeting image. I will invest in a waterproof camera next time as they buzzed me a million times while floating on the Lake.
Can you smell the pine leaves, another thing I miss. FRESH AIR.
These wild lily's were everywhere. The contrast of the green leaves, blue water and bright orange petals made you smile.
I love trees, the stillness of them and then the rustle when the wind breathes thru them is one of my favorite moments.
I called this my pine cone constellation, not sure which one, but it reminded me of the stars I saw at night.
More lily's hanging out at the lake.
Light, leaves, shadow and pattern.
I don't believe you could call it a lake if you didn't see the cattails on the edges of the water.
While everyone loves to travel to England in the summer to drive thru the lake country that sings of Jane Austin's past, us Californian's have our own lake country. Visiting these lakes felt like a modern and much cleaner version of Dirty Dancing. It's the idea of creating family memories and enjoying a week or two together. Having no children of our own, I can't say that Rob and I have any family traditional vacation. Unless we count going home to New Mexico every year, which usually involves helping to repair anything on Mom's house, hardly a memory building vacation, well maybe. We usually look for a place we haven't visited yet and go to exploring. We're always up for an adventure, especially when the budget allows, which usually means a road trip.
A few 6 hours north of LA and just east of San Francisco in a town called Arnold there are a few vacation lakes with many permanent residence. And another 30 minute drive and your in the high country with boating and more fishing lakes. This particular one is called Lake Mont Pine. Families have been coming up here for years renting houses around the lake and enjoying leisure time.
At Lake Mont if you rent a house here, and there are quite a few that hold 8 - 14 people, you will usually get few passes to rent equipment for the lake and just hang out on the lakeside beach. This isn't usual for all lakes in the area most times you need to have a steady supply of change to rent any equipment. Activities at the lake range from swimming, paddle boards, kayaks and small pontoon paddle boats. During the week they also show movies at night outside for the whole family. Oh and the STARS, living in LA we forget they exist with so much disturbance light you never see one. That first night we saw the Milky Way and so many stars you can't even begin to count.
In the still of the day here are the reflections of the trees on the lake.
What better treat to eat during the summer, by a lake, is watermelon. Indeed eating outside, food taste SOOO much better.
It's a quick and leisure walk around the lake. You get to peek at all the houses that can be rented and the view they have. Also just a nice nature study of light and color.
This lily pathway was a welcome surprise.
Lily and toy still life. It may also be a fish lure, but at this state it looks like a toy ducky.
Boats and reflections wait for a push to the refreshing water.
Trail narrows in places along the lake and even SB got into the photo action.
A five minute drive from Lake Mont is the Calaveras Big Trees. This is a giant Sequoia tree grove, it's one of the first tourist attractions in California. The "Discovery tree" is here. This was one of the first Sequoia trees discovered by Augustus T. Dowd in 1852.
John Muir said about this grove: "They [the Calaveras giants] were the first discovered and are the best known. Thousands of travelers from every country have come to pay them tribute of admiration and praise."
This was a treat for us. Other than knowing we'd be by a lake we had no idea where we were going or what was around.
Sadly the Discovery Tree was chopped down and shown around traveling exhibitions as proof of these giant trees. The stump has been planed and smoothed down and even served as a dance floor. In 1852 they didn't have the modern tools to saw a tree down so you can see that they used various tools and drills to fell this giant. Thankfully Dowd and many other visitors protested to the chopping down of these majestic trees so that we can enjoy our Creator's delight.
You feel so small and insignificant next to these beauties.
This is little Marie, 9 years old walking among giants.
The view from below.
Between the trees.
The rest of our time was spent at the lake, cooling down and relaxing in the refreshing waters. We even found a few friends to hang with.
"MURPHY'S CAMP is a curious old mining-town in Calaveras County, at an
elevation of 2,400 feet (730 m) above the sea, situated like a nest in
the center of a rough, gravelly region, rich in gold. Granites, slates,
lavas, limestone, iron ores, quartz veins, auriferous gravels, remnants
of dead fire-rivers and dead water-rivers are developed here side by
side within a radius of a few miles, and placed invitingly open before
the student like a book, while the people and the region beyond the camp
furnish mines of study of never-failing interest and variety." - John Muir
Recently on our roadtrip up North we stayed in a the town of Arnold, just a few miles North of Murphy's. The old merchant town was the base for all the Gold Rush that invaded this part of California. Though Murphy's had seen at least 3 fires during it's boom it still has the feeling of an old gold mining town. My friend took us here as she knew I'd love it.
Murphy's is about 6 hours north of Los Angeles, While the 405, 5 and 99 aren't exactly lovely, when you get off the roads there is SPACE. Us Angelenos relish some SPACE. I'll share those wide open spaces on the next post.
First stop was the Pokey. Tiny little jail, let's hope there wasn't a huge rash of crime, not enough room for more than two people and that's pushing it.
Cream stone and green shutters are so appealing to this old Murphy's Hotel, serving patrons since 1856, it adds charm to the authenticity of this town.
Don't you just love them.
Our friends sister helps out a few days at Aria's bakery. Amazing breads and tasting baked treats here. She brought us a whole bagful of treats. Me and the young girls I was with laid out our favorites and took a picture of them the next morning.
The cinnamon roll and scones were delicious, this is a must stop place when visiting Murphy's. I'd heard when I was in town that Sunset magazine had made a recent visit, great minds think alike. You can read about it in the August 2013 Issue.
I think I'm kind of obsessed with doors, every door in this town was unique. See below.
One of the places my friend took me to is Marisolio an olive oil store, that allows you to taste anything. I ended up trying more balsamic then olive oil and walked out with a ripe peach and blueberry balsamic and a Milanese olive oil. All so tasty I can't wait to try them all with various recipes.
After our little walk thru the town we drove to Ironstone Winery. Everyone told us how great all the restaurants were in town, we'll be coming back to taste away.
Ironstone Winery is beautiful and they have it set up for concerts at night. The wines were tasty and as usual I ended up leaving with a Moscato. I like me some sweet after dinner drink.
You'll have to take the time to drive here, it's worth it and totally family friendly. More to come on the lake. Enjoy!.
Giving you all a quick break from Cuba and focusing on a cool SoCal city. Recently I spent a week in San Pedro, while i wasn't exactly a tourist, I did get to spend time in the area with quite a few of the locals. I have to say I've driven to this city several times on my pacific coast highway adventures. But this is the first time I really hung out in the area. Gaffey seems to be the main thorough fare from where the 110 ends at the coast. South of Gaffey seems to be a lower income area and flatter to walk. North of Gaffey you start getting more houses and less apartments, also at the top of hills up you can see the San Pedro harbor, I really never got tired of this view.
So I found out that there are lots of Italian and Croatian's living here, purely because at one time this was a fishing town. Back in the day there were up to 70 commercial boats in the harbor, now merely 12. So of course you'd expect to find some good fish in the area. Our friends took us to a place on Gaffey called Baja Fish, small place tucked in between a few other places. They had salmon and various fish tacos served with beans and rice, all very good. I'd go back to this place for sure, everything tasted fresh.
611 S Gaffey St
San Pedro, CA 90731
While walking thru one of the neighborhoods I was startled to see a peacock on top of someones garage. Then they told me there are all over the area. This was so bizarre to me, but seriously I saw about 25 Peacocks mostly male but I saw a few females and their chicks. It was a bit misty in the area and their calls were haunting, I felt like I was at a wild animal park. The history goes that peacocks where gifted to the Vanderlip family and Estate which is in the area. There are quite a few in this neighborhood of San Pedro and Portuguese Bend in Palos Verdes.
Along with great fish in the area I also found an amazing Italian bakery. A few locals told me about the place. I went in and asked what the favorites were and they pointed to the treats below: Rum Ball, Almond Cresent and Cannoli.
9111 S Western Ave,
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
Oh my goodness, I took a bite of that rum ball on my drive home with
coffee and I have been dreaming about it ever since. Dark chocolate covered rum infused cakey texture with just enough to not get pulled over for a DUI. I can't wait to go back.
Walking again in another neighborhood one of the locals pointed out this Corner Store, she loves to go here for breaks and raves about the lemon bars. We took a quick stop had a few sandwiches, sodas and took some baked goods home. This is going to be a place I come to all the time, I would have never found it had I not been with a local. This is the best way to find out about these special little places. Some of my best dining experiences have been when I asked a local for a recommendation.
118 W 37th St
San Pedro, CA 90731
At the Corner Store they have live music. On this day these guys were playing a few old tunes. The harmonica player was funny, he stopped playing for a minute to tell me he liked my hot pink shoes.
Nothing fancy here, but feels like a family joint. Simple fair with an easy-going vibe.
We order the Italian Stallion: grilled chicken breast with provolone cheese, mayo, sicilian bruschetta on ciabatta roll. Tasty goodie.
Loved this view from the table.
They have a wide range of sodas in every flavor imaginable. You can even take some flowers home.
My friend insisted we take home some sweets, she order a Brownie, Apricot tart and Butterscotch Blonde. Wow were these delicious. Rob preferred the brownie. I was partial for the apricot tart, but the brownie was my second favorite. Again this is a place I'd returned to and hopefully very soon. Take a day and go explore this great little area. The views are great and I saw a few hiking trails along the coastal line with a historical lighthouse and park nearby. Enjoy!
I had one day to enjoy San Francisco. I flew in the morning, had a meeting at 12noon and then rushed off to my hotel, freshened up and taxi'd to Bar Agricole. I had great foodie friend give me some recommends. Read Dylan's amazing suggestions at Eat Drink +Be Merry, here's his San Francisco post.
Bar Agricole was unfortunately closed and we wanted a cocktail so we taxi'd to the area by our restaurant and ended up at West of Pecos. I had to go here, I hiked through the Peco's wilderness my whole childhood. Most cocktails on the list had mescal and tequila, not my type of liquor, though I'm thinking I might need to venture out. I settled for the bourbon drink called the Devils Tooth and I'm kind of obsessed with the big ice cube these days (see above).
Next up was a walk across the street to Bar Tartine. Several recommends and write-ups on this restaurant. This place is not to be missed and has been nominated for a James Beard award this year. I hope they get it. Another thing I like, but can annoy most people, is the no sign on the door anywhere, it's like you have to be in the know to know this is even here. Annoying or cool?
Please note all images are with my iPhone, I couldn't fit my camera in suitcase so it's was the phone only on this trip.
Below is the menu, it's one of those menus you look at and really not sure what it is or if you'll like it, that's the great thing about places like this, you are forced out of your comfort zone to try new combinations and inventive cooking. Also if your vegetarian our whole meal was all that. And we went home full.
Suggestion was to order about 2 items per person, it was a lot of food, but glad we did, as it gave us the option of trying a variety of items.
Some of the most inventive flavors I've ever tried. The kale below was so good, nutty with tart yogurt and a surprise sesame seed tahini, plus they used yogurt dust. No idea what that is, but it was GOOD.
Next up was the goat cheese with peas and edible flowers. This was served with sesame seed crackers. Creamy, tasty and beautiful presentation.
The potato flat bread below was rich and filling I remember a slight smokey taste to this dish. These are definitely items to share as eating the whole thing would be too much.
Smoked potatoes were crazy good. Smokey, crunchy and soft inside, these were amazing (in the back of the image below). Farmer cheese with beet was a great combo and a fun try.
Finished off with a cheesecake that was bursting with flavors, ripe and under ripe strawberries, and crunchy popping cookie crumbs. It's indescribable.
The next morning we got up early and drove to Tartine Bakery & Cafe. I've seen so many Instagrams of this place and it's owned by the same people as Bar Tartine. Our waiter told us to get there early. So we were there before 8AM, short line inside. I bought the biggest Almond Croissant ever and a Frangipane tart. Wow both of these items and my coffee were wonderful, if only we had enough time to linger and munch.
This Fangipane tart was filled with light almond cream in a flaky pastry shell and wild blueberries. It's a seasonal fruit tar so it could be filled with anything depending on what's ripe. I really loved this and savored it for the next day with my Philz Coffee in San Jose. I found Philz on Yelp and there was a location around the corner from my hotel. When did coffee get so complicated, it's not small, medium or large or a tall, grande soy, non-fat latte world anymore. Philz is inventive in the coffee category, and who wouldn't like to order a coffee called "So Good" every morning. Next up is a coffee tasting day, it's all the rage these days and we all know how much I love coffee. Enjoy these suggestions the next time your up in San Francisco.
West of Pecos
550 Valencia Street
San Francisco, California 94110
561 Valencia Street
San Francisco, California 94110
Tartine Bakery & Cafe
600 Guerrero Street
San Francisco, California 94103
Philz Coffee (San Francisco, San Jose, Menlo Park areas)
I'm still trying to come off my ALTSUMMIT high. Love reading the recaps from all the amazing bloggers. Here's a few of my favorite posts:
I quit my job - You are so brave
My first Alt Conference - Great new LA connection
The business cards of Alt - Love my new friend Sheri Silver
Best cocktails - Available at the mini-party from @Vecco
A Guys Perspective - Love this post, so honest
Life Lessons - Emily is adorable
The inspiration keeps coming from all the amazing people I met. However, here's a quick tale of my Saturday at the ALTSUMMIT conference, well actually of Park City. Saturday was a day of Design Camps and because of my late registration I wasn't able to get into the sessions that I thought would be most useful for me. So instead I took a chance to see if I could hop on the Sundance Tour. This tour sold out on the first day of registration, but I decided to give it a try and see if there was room. Most likely because of the amazing mini-parties the night before quite a few people didn't show up. So there I was with 7 other people on a big rock star bus which included the amazing Stefan Sagmeister and his lovely fiance. SCORE!
After we arrived to a nearby hotel we took a quick shuttle into the main street of Park City and then basically we all went our separate ways. Among this crew was Peggy Wong an accomplished Creative Director and Photographer who incidentally knew the same people I did in LA, small world. I so wanted to tag along with her and watch her work. She was at the conference shooting for Citizens of Humanity, she's a BIG deal and super nice. The other two girls Laura and Bree attend Alt and were newbies like me, I'm anxious to follow along their progress over the next year.
Below are few images of my explorations this day.
After all this exploring it was time for eats. I have to say the people of Park City are so nice, especially as once a year their little town gets turned upside down by Hollywood. I chatted with quite a few and the same place kept coming up as a reco. The High West Distillery. Whiskey, I was SO in. I walked down the street and got a seat at the bar. Spaghetti Western rye whiskey, with short ribs was on my menu. Followed up by a butterscotch pudding and the local Wasatch brew to wash it down. Ok, so it was after noon and I did sit there a long time, but after all that and then walking up the hills of Park City's 10,000 ft above sea level I really needed and nap.
After food I continued my photo journey, trolley ride and shuttle down to the Library Auditorium for my very first screening of a Sundance file. Movie was "The Way Way Back." Was picked up by Fox and will be out in theaters later this year. Cute film and so glad I stayed, ate dinner with new friends and arrived back at my hotel at 11PM. Long day but all this was courtesy of Bing and I thank them again for the all-access pass and amazing day and evening in Park City. A local said to come back in spring it's lovely and full of flowers and great things to explore. I will be back for sure with SB in tow. Enjoy my little journey.
For the past several years when I go to Albuquerque I like to take a slow drive down Rio Grande Blvd (25 miles is the max speed limit). When I was a kid we drove down this street all the time where you can get views of the old ranch houses and horses, there use to be buffalo. I remember going to the buffalo house when I was in pre-school. During the Fall the trees down this boulevard are the golden color cottonwoods I love so much. My favorite farm is the old Simms Farm which is where the The Farm Shop is. It's in the original Creamland Dairies building and is part of the property connected to the Los Poblanos Inn, which has a rich history found here.
My mom visits here yearly for the Lavender festival, they have rows and rows of lovely lavender. It's an organic run farm and supplies the ingredients for the amazing dishes that are served up at the Los Poblanos Inn. The Farm Shop sells lavender spa products, artisan foods, gourmet kitchen and gardening tools and locally made gifts from all over New Mexico.
Lemon lavender gelato, refreshing and tasty. Thankfully no too much lavender, but just enough for the essence of the taste. I've had llavender panna cota which tasted like creamed perfumed soap, not ideal, this was the opposite.
Every corner is artfully directed and begging to be bought.
Lately I'm obsessed with the tea towels from Kei and Molly, here's their story. Next time I visit I want to look them up and see if I can meet these amazing women in person, I love everything they make. Their towels are beautiful and hang in the light filled windows of the Farm Shop. Check out their Etsy store
Mom has bought me two so far, and our last purchase was a typical mom daughter conversation.
Me: I like the turquoise one, but it has a cross in it, so maybe not
Mom: It's pretty, but how about the ones with the coyote
Me: Nah, I like the satelite dishes
Me: It's kinda cool, and sci-fi, and New Mexico
Mom: I don't get it
Me: It's ok, I like it
Mom: But why would you want that in your kitchen?
Me: Why wouldn't I, look at the conversation we're having about it
Mom: Your funny, you like weird things
Me: Mom don't you remember when I was a kid, if you don't like it, buy it, I'll LOVE it, that hasn't changed.
Mom: I guess, ok I'll get you that one.
Me: Thanks Mom.
So now I have two the orange citrus slices next to the indigo blue satellite dishes.
Driveway up to the Inn and Farm. It's breathtaking in the winter and fall its AMAZING with the golden leaves on the trees.
I never get tired of this view when you walk to the Farm Shop, especially as you wonder around with chickens and peacocks, both white and the typically amazing blue and green.
Driveway out...just as lovely.
The Farm Shop
4803 RIO GRANDE BLVD NW
OPEN DAILY 9:00A – 5:00
Mid October we had to take an unexpected trip home to New Mexico for a family funeral. While I was devastated by the loss I appreciated the time to be on the road for 12 hours and unwind from the crazy L.A. lifestyle. SB and I pass these signs all the time and have taken some analog film shots, but this time we just jumped out and took a few iPhone and Android shots. It's such a competition between us to get the best shot, but it pushes us to try all kinds of filters, angles and apps.
In December we took another trip home to see family. Unfortunately we got stuck in Gallup (worst town in NM) for 2 days while everything was closed to fix the car during Christmas Eve and Christmas day. So we took advantage of the great signs in the town and took a few digital and iPhone shots.
On the way home I talked SB into taking a historical detour down route 66.
Enjoy all the cool signs and a trip down the past.
Quick post on yesterday as we had a full day in Malibu starting at 7AM and ending the day at 5PM. Lots of adventures with great friends by the beach and in the canyons. L.A. offers such a variety of things to see and explore which is why so many of us live here, but Malibu has it's own culture. People run into friends on daily errands and coffee breaks. There is a more relaxed attitude here.
At one point we needed to make a stop at a restroom and we walked threw the camp grounds at Malibu State Park. No one there except the fallen leaves of autumn and me and Heather traipsing in our sandals to the restroom. After we made sure that there were no creatures lurking in the restroom we ran in and out as quickly as possible.
Zuma beach was lovely.
Malibu Kitchen for quick breakfast.
I guess we need to be Bob's friend if we want to park here.
Clouds were amazing this day.
Canyon's were so quiet and beautiful.
Take a ride thru Malibu Canyon and Enjoy!
So after are three weeks of volunteer work in the blazing heat of over 100 degrees everyday, our friends treated us to a few days in Pismo beach. About 3 hours North of Los Angeles. We rented a house steps from the beach with a view of the Pier. I took tons of pictures so sorry for the picture overload below. These 3 days were thoroughly enjoyable and varied. Long walks on the beach in the morning and sunset, surfing, wine tasting, whale watching (unintentional), reading and cooking.
This is the first time she's used her board and had never waxed it.
SB showed the young teenagers how to surf and freeze in the cold water (wetsuits NOT optional.) In the meantime Bekah and I did the TJ shopping and then off galavanting to Laetitia Winery.
Sunflare on the Pier.
Here's the house we stayed in.
View at sunset from those windows.
Bench at Edna Valley Winery. When we arrived here we encountered a woman who drunkenly said "they have the best wines in there."
Lounging and wine tasting area at Laetitia winery.
View at Edna Valley winery. Gorgeous.
Ok so we talked the girls into going to a Loufa farm. I had no idea how loufa's were made, and I was pleasantly surprised by this whimsical and educational little farm. Did you know Loufa's grow on vines. I had no idea.
This is what a loofa looks like, kind of like a squash, from the squash family in fact. It dries out on the vine and then you take it out soak in water and peel off the harden skin. Voila a loofa, free of pesticides and ready to scrub-a-dub-dub.
Did you know there are at least 3 kinds of lavender. I didn't. The most used is English (which is kind of soapy smelling), then French (middle ) and finally Spanish. See what you learn at the loofa farm.
We drove up the road a bit and explored the other beaches, specifically Avila Beach. We found this lovely country farm. Included organic fruits and veggies. Also had kitschy kitchenwares. They grilled sweet corn and we ate it sitting on haystacks. Seriously country folks.
Ice cream stand in a barn. Delish.
Some fun photos below of our days lounging.
Random chair on side of road.
I have been away on a volunteer assignment, so not much cooking being done, just a little exploring. Enjoy some of my Instagram images over the past few weeks.
Many years ago when a friend was getting married she asked about taking pictures at a place called the Adamson House. I had no idea where this place was, then I was invited to a wedding here and well it's one of the most beautiful Spanish Revival Colonial houses on the west coast. Tours of the inside of the house are $7 (cash only) but you can walk the outside grounds for free.
The courtyard. This house is located just North of the famous Malibu pier, next to the lagoon.
This just screams Malibu to me or one of those postcards that says:
"Wish You Were Here."
I just liked the blue umbrella on the beach and you can see this view from the grounds of the house.
The Spanish Colonial house was built in 1930 for Rhoda Rindge Adamson and her husband. What kept this house from turning into a parking lot (aghast) was the it has so much of the now defunct Malibu Pottery (Rhoda's mother Mrs. Rindge started Malibu Pottery). The tiles saved the house. You'll love the historical stories about the beginnings of Malibu, and the Rindge and Adamson families. Enjoy the lovely images from around the grounds, you'll see it's covered in gorgeous tile.
Pool house and pool.
Dogs get to bath outside, this is nicer then some of the inside bathtubs.
View from the visitors bathroom, literally from the toilet. There is a building to the right of the entrance where there are public restrooms.
When we were there for a wedding we weren't allowed in the house only outside. I'd heard the tours inside were special, so I have made it an effort to get there for the tour many times. I have no pictures inside of the house as your not allowed to take any....boo! But you'll love the tiled floor that looks like a rug, even with fringe. This is a great house that tells a wonderful story about one of the most beautiful area's on the west coast, Malibu.
Malibu Lagoon Museum
23200 Pacific Coast Highway
P. O. Box 291
In the past I have posted some of my favorite books and one of them that I read often, sometimes once a year is
Under the Tuscan Sun
My friend Nancy told me that Frances and Ed Mayes had published a cookbook and that the book tour was bringing them to the Getty Villa in Malibu. I was too excited for words, so I booked a reservation for four people to the Getty Villa, you need to do this on their
. They don't charge per person, but per car, so I assumed my friends visiting and SB would go with me. Alas, on that day everyone had different plans. I called Nancy at the very last minute to see if she wanted to go with me, as I had turned her on to this book and she had told me about the book signing. She already had plans, so I ventured to one of my favorite places alone. Before I get to my story here are few of the my photo's of the Getty Villa, which houses J. Paul Getty's antiquity collection (lots of statues).
Water lilies by the water fall.
A view of the cafe....best museum food I've ever had.
Beautiful tiled fountain.
This is the best view of the pool and if you don't know this balcony below is here, you'll miss it. There is a door to the West of the upstair elevators. Push the handicap button and the doors will open to this balcony and enjoy the view. It's not always open, but if it is, go...and thankfully this is still a well kept secret. There is hardly ever anyone out there.
A hipstamic moment.
I got there at 10AM. No one was there, it was so empty, a class of kids was in the amphitheater and hadn't scattered thru out the museum yet, so I really had the place to myself. I found the book store to purchase this cookbook. You can purchase it
At the bookstore they'd asked me if I'd reserved a book, I hadn't and became worried. But they'd ordered extra so I got my book and then hovered near the table and line in the shade waiting for Frances and Ed. When they walked by I recognized her right away and said "hello," like I knew her, really I've never met her but felt like we were long time friends.
Two gentleman went before me in line and had bought every book she ever published and had her sign them all, she kindly did so and chatted them up. This took a while, then they gave her embroidered tea towels, really how can I compete with this thoughtfulness. It did bode well for getting my personal first edition copy of
Under the Tuscan Sun
signed, which I had brought with me. When it was my turn I was so excited and had her sign the cookbook and asked if she'd signed my
Under the Tuscan Sun
copy. I told her and Ed I read this about every year while drinking a nice glass of Prosecco (she introduced me to this delicious bubbly wine). Ed said "Good for you!" The third person at the table happened to be the photographer. I had looked at the photographs and thought they were lovely so when I got to him I asked him if he'd sign his favorite picture. This is like asking someone what there favorite city was on a European tour, or your favorite pastry at Laduree. He couldn't find one of his favorites but described which one it was, it's the vegetables against the plastered walls of Bramasole (the Mayes home in Tuscany). Later on in the day I found it and almost went back to have him sign it.
It was only 10:45 by now and someone mentioned there was a lecture at noon, this series is called: Celebrity Chef Series: Frances Mayes (The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen) Author Frances Mayes speaks on the occasion of the publication of her first-ever cookbook. Mayes talks about how this cuisine transports, comforts, entices, and speaks to the friendly, genuine, and improvisational spirit of Tuscan life.
I wasn't planning on staying that long, but I thought I'd wonder thru the museum as it wasn't crowded and explore images I might want to take and see if there was anything new. I've been to this museum many times before and after the remodel. It's like being transported to Italy. Such a beautiful re-creation of an Italian villa. Below are some of the patterns, textures, and tromp l'oeil you'll see everywhere.
This is technically the entrance of the museum. Make sure to look up, the ceiling is beautiful.
By noon I was still there so I went to see if there were any tickets left, they are free, they handed me one and I went into the auditorium. Bon Appetit introduced her, did you know they manage the cafe at the Getty Villa? This makes sense as the food is delicious. Her reading was poetic and painted many word pictures. I kept thinking how glad I was in this position to come on a Wednesday morning to the Getty Villa at the last minute and hear one of my favorite authors describe the Italian life she'd made for herself and how people thought she was crazy to start this venture, I was inspired and moved. After the reading we were allowed to ask questions. Not many went up, so I asked why she choose Cortona of all the places in Italy to live [she'd initially stayed there on her first visit to Italy as it was centrally located to where she wanted to tour, after that she kept coming back, so it seemed a likely place to set roots]. Someone else asked her about the difference in writing a cookbook versus her travel logs [much different, she hadn't realized the ingredients were listed in the order you put them in dish].
By this time it was 1PM and I was hungry, the cafe was making a few of the recipes in her book, so I went up there and order the crostini. These were so savory. The Pea and Shallot had a hint of mint, a surprising refreshing burst of flavor in your mouth. The other crostini was Pecorino and Nut (walnuts). Nutty from the walnuts and cheese with a tangy salty flavor.
Some of my favorite statues....and well, one that scares me to death, I use to dream about this "chicken lady" chasing me thru the ditches in New Mexico when I was a kid. Yes I know I need therapy.
A Siren...but I call her the "Chicken Lady."
For some reason this one reminds me of the statue I saw in the movie "The Saint". I believe the statue I am referring to is at Oxford, at least it was in the movie.
After this lovely afternoon I walked thru the herb garden and headed home. Funny thing was Nancy deeply regretted that I didn't talk her out of her plans (which I really couldn't have). She ended up having to drive down to Costa Mesa to get a signed copy of the books as the Getty Villa had sold out. It was a fun adventure for the day. I can't wait to have a few more.
17985 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
It's been a VERY long time since I went to Descanso Gardens. I was probably 10 years old, and well that's a long time ago. The gardens are in La Canada, and worth the drive for us Westsiders. The gardens were lovely and seeing as its spring most of the flowers were in bloom. Admission for adults it's $8 and $3 for children (5-12yrs old)
Tulips were breathtaking. I recently took a quiz about
"which of flower are you?"
Try it yourself
. I am a Tulip, which makes sense why I was drawn toward these gorgeous flowers. Personally Dahlias and Peonies are my favorite flowers, but there were none to be found that day.
Pink and pretentious.
White and purple color palate.
Art and Craft style building on the grounds. I believe you can rent many of these spaces for events. They are pretty spectacular and worth checking in to.
This is the house where the original residence lived. It's pretty amazing.
I wanted to be inside so much but they don't have the house open on Monday's. I made myself go into the house with my reflection on the window and the mirror inside.
Below are my images that are an ode to a few photographers I really admire.
An ode to Ansel Adam's Dogwood image.
Ode to Imogen Cunningham and Georgia O'Keefe.
My college photography professor would have a few unkind words to say about the above image, but I love it, so there.
Bridge with cherry blossoms all around.
Lonely Cherry Blossom tree.
The color palates everywhere were breathtaking.
The Lilac bushes were so fragrant, before you even walk into the area you are surrounded by the perfume in the air.
So many lovely Camellia's.
You must take a day this Spring and stop and smell the roses.
1418 Descanso Drive
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011
Near intersection of 210 and 2 Freeways.
20 Minutes from downtown L.A.
Here's the pictures I've promised.
So this winter I had 1 -1/2 weeks off from work so we decided to take a road trip and visit my family in New Mexico. As the weather was extremely bad we had to take the southern route to Albuquerque. This made our road trip 15 hours instead of the usual 11. Seriously the last 3 hours where the worst and most disappointing as it was so dark and we were going through a part of New Mexico that SB has never seen. The stars where amazing though. Here's a sampling
of what we saw along the road.
Early morning...I love to see the sun rise and the clouds were everywhere so it was amazing.
Palm Springs energy windmills.
Colorado River crossing into Arizona.
Texas Canyon Rocks, in Arizona, very cool.
Sunset time in New Mexico....finally.
Road Trip. I have to say I really enjoy road trips. I've spent many hours in the car growing up driving Route 66 and many other US highways, Interstates, freeways etc...
A few months ago we drove from Los Angeles to Boise, Idaho. Dear friends or ours were
moving up there. We drove their second car and made our way through California, Nevada, Oregon and finally Idaho.
We left LA at the grueling hour of 4am, it was suppose to be 3am (I took that picture above at that time, no turning the clock back for a photo op) so you can imagine how early we had to get
up for this. Our friends have two kids so it was essential to get them in the car asleep a
nd get in a good 6 hours of driving before they woke.
We took the 5 freeway and hit a few pockets of nothingness and then stumbled upon the worst smell ever. And for 5am, it was miserable. Cow's for miles and the stench j
ust wouldn't go away.
After passing the stench we get to the grapes of wrath where there are lines of fieldworkers that define this part of the continent.
Food fair on the road is pretty dismal. My mom use to pack a lunch or stop in some great little hole in the wall diner in some small little town along our route. There weren't that many options this time. So as typical Americans we stop at the usual fast-food, chain restaurants.
McDonald's, Denny's and a Subway, which is the healthiest of the bunch. For some reason this
food is appetizing on the road.
As we drive into Nevada and closer to Reno the scenery drastically changes it becomes beautiful blue sky's, tree line mountains, with patches of snow higher up.
We arrive in Reno about 2PM and are completely spent, it's the ridiculous tired feeling. We stay at the Grand Sierra Resort Casino.
I take a nap, check out the hotel amenenties while SB runs down to the pool with our friend and his two kids.
In Nevada's alternate to Las Vegas, Reno pale's in comparison for casinos, though the vie
awesome. We do however, decided to head down to the Casino to eat the buffet....seriously we
get there and the line is around the corner, through the slot machines to the race track and through to grandmother's house. Wait is 1 hour. I feel meltdown coming on all of us...finally we can't make a decision and just head to the quickest nearest place possible
, Johnny Rockets.
More burgers, fries and shake...but ooooh so delicious.
We had a great night sleep in a bed that SB absolutely loves so
much that once we
got back he called the hotel to find out what kind of bed as we need to purchase a new one ourselves. We
ate breakfast repacked the cars and took off for some interesting scenery.
You may or may not be surprised how many penitentiaries we passed in the middle of nowhere, not a lovely site.
We really got to see the little towns, abandoned shacks, farms and beautiful places.
Just before entering Boise we came through this town that had wineries and fruit orchards and the like it was really inviting.
After a day waiting for our friends POD to arrive we checked out downtown Boise, reminded me of Portland. It felt very College town like, without the FRAT boys. The next day when the POD arrived we unpacked it and it was barely empty before SB and I had to catch a plane home.
I got very emotional. These are dear friends but because of our busy schedules we didn't get
together as much as we'd like. We really bonded with them and their kids and I for one was sad to leave them. I know they'll adjust to their new 3 bedroom, 2 car garage and yard quickly and
their new friends will come to love them as much as those of us who grew up around them.
Can't wait for the next road trip, I've already got my mind spinning. We were sad to leave our friends behind, but made a promise to visit in the winter, I'd love to see Boise with snow everywhere. We miss you P family.