Saturday, May 9, 2015

Simple Things

Peonies, a new mint green tray that reminds me of childhood, and a sunny yellow candle. Together they make my Saturday a cheery one. 




Thursday, April 16, 2015

I ❤ New York

I was in my old hometown of New York City a couple of weeks ago for Passover. It's spring there right now, my favorite season - and I remembered why I love the East Coast. Here, a few random reasons why I heart New York.

Crocuses in Central Park, the first sign of spring.


In just a few months, you'll be picnicking in the sun on Sheep's Meadow lawn, hoping those frisbee guys move further away from you.

The skyline. Still one of the best. (Chicago's a close second for me).


The animals (minus the rats and flying rats, aka pigeons)


Can you believe this was on Roosevelt Island? Looks kinda familiar...


Oh yeah, Van Gogh's wheat paintings, in particular, Wheatfield with Sheaves.

Guess ol' Vince liked the view from Long Island City.

I've always wanted to check out this spooky old abandoned smallpox hospital. It appeared in the 2002 movie Spider-man when the Green Goblin and the eponymous hero have a showdown, and every time I drove past on FDR drive, I'd look across the river and try to see ghosts.


Spooktacular from afar, and beautiful up close.



The gorgeous view from the Roosevelt Island Tram. I never bothered to go there when I was living in New York, but coming to visit makes you do weird things.


Another one of my favorite things about New York City: Bodega cats.


"Whooooaaah, man. I'm soooo high right now."

We spent some time at an old bar I used to love but had forgotten about, St. Dymphnas. Great burgers and beer. In the daytime, it's practically all Brit, with open windows, rustic wood, and hydrangeas in the window.


Speaking of burgers, my favorite thing about New York: The food.

Here's a cheese plate from the Seder dinner. Yes, that's six types of cheese. All for one person. The third course. With more to follow.


I love classic New York apartments. (Not so much my overpriced fifth-floor walk-up with vermin, though).


Walking on air in my old hood, the Lower East Side.

See ya next time, New York! Back to sunny and 70.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Hobbit House of Culver City

I love me some Lord of the Rings. Yes, when Gandalf shows up for battle as Gandalf the White or when Aryan hottie Legolas surf-glides down a pile of orcs, I get chills down my spine. Embarrassingly, I get equally excited for the part with Bilbo Baggin's hobbit house, because it's just so damn quaint.

From Cynicalscribble.wordpress.com
So when I was on my way to an audition in Culver City and happened by this...
...my head exploded.

Turns out, it's the Lawrence and Martha Joseph Residence and Apartments, and yes, there are real hobbits people living in there.


The cottages, nicknamed "The Hobbit Houses," were designed by former Disney artist Lawrence Joseph, who was also a skilled carpenter. He worked on it from 1946-1970, and apparently there are no right angles in the complex.

From the LA Conservancy's website:

The Joseph Residence and Apartments is one of the most significant examples of Storybook architecture in Los Angeles. The sweeping shingled roofs, diamond-paned windows, and clinker-brick chimneys exemplify the fanciful Storybook style, which took inspiration from idealized interpretations of European cottages.




 Can you see the little turtles in the pond?
One of the apartments opened up last year, and prices were $2,595/month for the 2-bedroom, 1-bath cottage.

I wouldn't actually want to live in there, but I could just imagine Bilbo welcoming Frodo and Gandalf in for a cup of tea or a few drags of the Shire's finest pipe-weed, then just talking for hours about that one time when they went all the way to Mount Doom in Mordor, wasn't it a blast? And then getting some munchies for Elven bread and watching Space Ghost til 3 in the morning.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Flower Power and Fleurish

As much as I love fresh flowers in the house, I'm not so great at arranging them. 


My usual MO is  to just buy a bunch of whatever's in season from the farmer's market on Sundays, cut the stems, and stick 'em in a vase filled with water.


Or, when someone gives me arrangements that I'm not too keen on, ahem, carnations...


I'll try to do my own editing to keep what I like and edit out what I don't.



But lately, on Instagram, I've been very inspired by @swallowsanddamsons, a beautiful little flower shop in England run by florist Anna Potter. Here's some of the eye candy she gives out on Instagram:



It's the stuff of Shakespearean dreams.


There's something so dark and lovely - so British! - about these arrangements. I'm hard pressed to find floral arrangements like that in Los Angeles. So ever the DIYer, I set out last weekend to try my own hand at flower arranging in the style of Swallows and Damsons.


Problem #1: The farmers market doesn't have all those beautiful dusty green cabbages and blood purple tulips that abound in their stuff. It's all so...so...cheery. Yeesh, California. I'm trying to be emo here.


But I tried. Here's my bounty:


After some squishing and cutting...it's okay, but I just couldn't make it look so nice and full!




Afterwards, A. laughed at me because I was all bummed about my flowers turning out ugly. He's like, "You're sad you weren't able to make a flower arrangement like an internationally known professional florist on the FIRST TRY?"  Well, yes. Yes I am.

Attempt #2: Yesterday, my friend Cyn had a floral arranging party for her birthday at this cute little flower shop in Brentwood, Fleurish.  You can go to buy some stems, or an arrangement, or you can sign up to take a little in-shop tutorial where they guide you in how to arrange flowers so you can become a pro yourself at home.

It's the Drybar of florists!


There's a bar where you can take a seat to play with your blooms, and a giant walk-in fridge where all the flowers are kept.


They even have drinks, or you can bring your own pick of drinketty drank.



Wine in hand, we took a seat at the bar...

...and were handed our personal fleur-kits, containing what we needed to create our own bouquet (which we pre-ordered). You can also opt to do your own custom arrangement, and they charge you by the stem.


I chose "Snow Drift," since it seemed sort of reminiscent of a wintry English garden. Can't you just imagine The Dowager Countess walking through her garden in the snow, being all, "First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I'm living in an H.G. Wells novel!" Inside my kit were these tools:


And armed with an iPad and the guidance of our Fleurish helper, I went step by step.


Once we got our vases set up, we braved the frigid flower case to choose our own blooms. Mine included hydrangeas, roses, cymbidium orchids, and this fuzzy looking leaf.


One of our party chose to do a terrarium, so she got her pick of succulents. She (rightly) chose an adorable panda plant, among others.


Let the fun begin!





Here's my final product. Not exactly Swallows and Damsons, but not too shabby! Plus you get to keep the vase.



And here are the other arrangements made by some of the other girls:





All in all, it's not a bad way to spend a Sunday, chatting with girlfriends, drinking wine, and surrounded by beautiful flowers. Fleurish is a great place to get drunk learn more about flower arranging, have a bridal shower party, a birthday party, or just hang with friends. Their available arrangement kits vary with the seasons, so you can keep going back with different offerings. I wouldn't mind returning and trying out a custom arrangement to really test my skills. Prices for arrangement kits run from roughly $30-60. Check out more about Fleurish here.







International professional floral design, here I come!