Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lampe Berger

You need a Lampe Berger.

What it does: purifies the air in your home and destroys odors. (Cooking smells, cigarette smoke, pet odor, etc.)

How: Via catalytic combustion. Whatever.

Why you need it:
  • It works.
  • The lamps are beautiful.
  • It smells wonderful (or, it simply cleans the air without scent if you like; it's up to you)
What you need:
  • A Lampe Berger lamp. They can be pricey, but they come in an array of styles and prices and look beautiful simply sitting on your table. Below, some of my favorites from the Lampe Berger website.

    Glass, "Capri"

    Limoges Porcelain, "Louis XII"

    Metal, "Compression"

  • Lampe Berger Oil. My favorite scent is New Orleans: "A deliciously gourmet fragrance with fruity and sweet accents, enhanced by a hint of cinnamon." I've also enjoyed Lilac Blossom and Royal Jasmine (one I do not recommend is Amber Powder). As I mention above, you can also use a Neutral oil which will cleanse the air of odors but not disperse a scent.
Where to buy: My favorite on-line source for Lampe Berger lamps and oils (and candles, generally) is Candles Off Main. If you find a local store that carries Lampe Berger products, however, you can usually test the fragrances, which is nice.

How you use a Lampe Berger:

  • The first time you use it: Remove the cap and the burner/wick, fill the bottle about half full of oil. Replace the wick and let it soak, capped, for at least twenty minutes.
  • Then, whether you've just done the step above or for regular use: Remove the cap and light the burner. Let flame for about two minutes, or when the burner starts to turn gray. Blow out the flame, and top the lamp with the decorative cover (do not cap!). It will take 25-40 minutes for the lamp to do its thing: rid the air of bacteria while emitting the scent. NOW, remove the decorative cover (careful, it's hot!), cap the burner and replace the decorative cover. Mission accomplished.
If you already use a Lampe Berger, what are your favorite oils?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Things I'm Supposed to Feel Badly About, But Don't

  • I wear white all year 'round. (Not, however, only white.)
  • I like Birkinstocks.
  • AND, I'm all for spending hundreds of dollars on beautiful shoes and handbags, preferably with cash (but usually not).
  • I think a woman of any age can have long hair.
  • I apply lipstick in public.
  • I don't really like to entertain (but I like to be entertained).
  • I like to eat, but I don't cook and I don't want to learn. (I do bake.)
  • I think having a career is overrated.
  • I think people should be able to hunt as sport. Unregulated ownership of M16s or handguns is not sporting.
  • Americans don't all have to speak English.
  • Smoking is unhealthy, but an occasional Sobranie along with a Very Dry Martini is le dernier mot.
  • I enjoy witty vulgarity, and sometimes there's no greater satisfaction than a well-rendered swear word.
  • I admire Dita Von Teese and Kim Kardashian for their beauty and style.
  • If someone gave me a gorgeous fur coat, I would probably wear it.
  • I might try hard drugs when I am eighty. (Curious about the supposed heightened awareness, concerned about addiction or a bad trip.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Ferris Wheel in Berlin

I know all your heads are going to explode when you see I am posting AGAIN so soon, but my last post on the Santa Monica Pacific Wheel reminded me that I hadn't yet shared another recent, amazing ride from my travels this summer.

As you know, I spent almost three weeks traveling in Germany this past June and July. We were fortunate to have wonderful friends and family to stay with for most of the trip, but during the last week, we headed to Berlin where my son went off to stay with friends and my husband and I bunked down at the incredible Hotel Adlon, overlooking the Brandenberg Gate. (The hotel is famous for, among other things, being the place where Michael Jackson dangled his young son out the window.) When we first arrived, our room wasn't ready, so we had cappuccino and strawberry cake out on the terrace while we waited...also having a coffee nearby was Calvin Klein creative director, Francisco Costa, in town for Berlin Fashion week! (We were not invited to "mingle" with the Berlin fashion cognoscenti, alas.)

More importantly, though, that first night, Berlin was celebrating the World Cup semi-final match between Germany and Spain. The city had set up a big party (for +300,000!) in the Tiergarten with big screens, performers, and, happily, plenty of beer stalls! It was a short walk from our hotel across the Pariser Platz to the Tiergarten, joined by so many exuberant German football fans.

And I was thrilled to find a ferris wheel set up amid the celebrations. (I should note that, as far as rides go, I'm more of a roller-coaster girl...I also adore Merry-Go-Rounds, especially when it plays Strauss or Sousa.) The views from the wheel were amazing. I'll let my photos do the talking...

Sadly, Germany lost that night. We ultimately didn't stay for the whole match in the Tiergarten; instead, we watched the final minutes from the cozy confines of the Hotel Adlon bar, sipping Hendricks martinis.

PS: Can you tell I have papers to grade? That's the reason behind this recent re-interest in blogging.... Ah, procrastination!

PPS: Thank you to M.Lane and LPC for kindly remembering Chez La Vie...and especially to LPC for her lovely comment regarding my family!

USC Parent's Weekend!

The first weekend in October, my husband and I traveled to Los Angeles to attend Parent's Weekend at the University of Southern California, where my youngest son goes to college.

My brother, his wife and daughter came down from Palmdale to see some Trojan football with us. Too bad USC lost to the Huskies in THE LAST THREE SECONDS.

It was a busy weekend, and I was so sorry not to have time to meet up with The Daily Connoisseur and see her new daughter. We did have two quick visits to Santa Monica, and I kept hoping to run into a beautiful girl pushing a stroller, but no luck!

On our final evening in SoCal, I had made reservations via OpenTable to a bistro in Santa Monica, Anisette. (It opened after I moved away from Santa Monica in 2007, and I wanted to try it next time I was in town.) Unfortunately, no one had apparently told OpenTable that Anisette had closed its doors on September 30. As luck would have it (but not my bank account), Boa was right down the street and had a beautiful table open. So we feasted on lobster (yes, I know it's a steak house, but...) and wine with a great waiter and thus celebrated my forty-fifth birthday!

But first, I convinced my son and husband to go on the Santa Monica Pier ferris wheel with me. Even having lived within walking distance to it, I had never gone!

Here we are, our excursion on the Pacific Wheel immortalized, below. My poor husband plays his usual role of straight man. I love the uncomfortable smile on his face!

A big thank you to Petunia in Paradise for her Twitter message letting me know she was still looking out for Chez La Vie! My only readers now seem to be spammers: "Kiev Girls" or Christian Audiger merchandise (yuck!) or I-don't-know-what 'cause it's in Chinese.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Husband Has a New Girlfriend

This past May, my husband and I took a local motorcycle course, so now we are licensed to drive motorcycles!

We were so busy flitting around having fun all summer, it wasn't until August that we went motorcycle shopping. My husband has been busily perusing motorcycle magazines and websites, so when we finally got to the dealership, it wasn't a hard choice: a Kawasaki Ninja 650.

Now I am a motorcycle widow. Weekends I am left alone while my husband roars across the Prairie.

Mid-life crisis? Perhaps, but the real truth is now, in our 40's, we're finally able to afford the extras out of our reach while raising children.

Why didn't I get a motorcycle too, you may ask? Well, I prefer to spend my money on expensive shoes and purses, NATCH! Do you know that this toy cost almost as much as a Birkin!!!?

Besides, I'm not really into riding around aimlessly. I'd rather read, or knit, But I have taken it out on the road, and I admit that it's a huge amount of fun in small doses. And I like knowing how to ride, even though it's not the way I prefer to spend my free time.

Hell, I'll probably eventually get a bike. But for now, my husband has another love. And I'm not terribly jealous.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ich trank viel Bier.

Upon arrival in Bavaria, we hit our first Biergarten...

At a Sommer-Sonnenwende bonfire (on my second Maß, apparently):

Enjoying a Russ'n at the Hofbräuhaus in München:

In Heidelberg, recovering from the Philosopher's Walk and Heidelberg Schloss:

Sailing up the Rhine:

A luncheon overlooking Linz:

At the Opernpalais in Berlin:

A fantastic time was had by all. More to come...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Back From the Beach; On To Deutschland!

I spent last week on Sunset Beach in North Carolina with my husband, parents, and brother's family. Unfortunately neither of my boys was able to come due to prior commitments, but nonetheless we had a lot of fun hanging with my nieces and nephew, who are my sons' age.

About to go to dinner: Seafood Platters with plenty of Hush Puppies and Sweet Tea!

Wine Tasting:

Hippie Husband:

Preppy Husband:

Tonight we're leaving for a couple of weeks in Germany! Munich, Cologne, Berlin and places in between. Bon Voyage!

Friday, June 4, 2010

iPhone App: Camerabag

I recently found this app mentioned in a magazine and I see Hollister Hovey has been playing with it too.

For $1.99, Camerabag allows one to change iPhone photos into something really special. There are twelve camera options:

"Helga" - Square-format toy camera with washed-out highlights and old-school vignetting.
"Colorcross" - Hazy, chemical color-swapping straight from the darkroom.
"Instant" - No need to shake this instant-developing film.
"Magazine" - Rich tones for glossy pages.
"1974" - Your father's camera: faded, tinted, and hip.
"Lolo" - Shoot from the hip and take life as it comes with vibrant, colorful shots.
"Cinema" - Dramatic, moody coloring with a widescreen aspect ratio.
"Silver" - From the earliest days of photography, when taking a shot was a much larger production than it is now.
"1962" - Dynamic, high-contrast black and white from the photojournalism of a bygone era.
"Mono" - Smooth, refined, balanced black and white.
"Infrared" - Simulation of the popular landscape photography technique.
"Fisheye" - Go ahead, get too close to the lens.
"Original" - Just in case you got it right the first time.

I experimented with a photo of my husband preparing his absinthe. Which camera style do you think is the best suited to this subject matter?














Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Hanging on the sofa, listening to Beethoven sonatas and playing with my iPhone.

Friday, May 7, 2010

'Memba This?

Remember the Tunic Dress I was making? You can read about it's beginnings here and here.

Well, it's done. I wore it for the first time yesterday, to a production of my son's acting class at college.

I hadn't planned yet on how to wear it; ultimately I decided it looked better with a belt, and I pulled out an old gold chain belt for yesterday's outing. It was okay, but I think I will make a simple self-belt of the dress fabric and wear it at my natural waist. I had problems with the sizing. Sewing patterns (this was a McCall's) DO NOT have the vanity sizing that we're used to at J.Crew and Banana Republic, however the pattern charts aren't quite accurate either. I customarily wear a six on the bottom and eight on the top in the store; according to the pattern chart I wear a fourteen! So I originally cut the fabric to a size fourteen, and ended up trimming it down to a twelve. I still think it's a little big which in my opinion, in this sort of tunic shape, adds pounds; I like to think a more body-skimming (say, a ten in the McCall's size chart) would have been a bit more flattering. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking?

Here it is with the chain belt:

And here it is without.

What do you think?