Thursday, October 13, 2011

Need Your Help!

I need a dress for my son's wedding!

Date: January, 2012 (brrrr!)

Inspiration for the wedding party: 1920s-1940s: vintage, mismatched, winter, old hollywood, city, classic, feathers & fur

Colors: , Maroon, Burgundy, Slate, Cream, Eggplant, Taupe, Mauve, Gray, Copper, Bronze, gold, etc...

I tried this, but it didn't work (at least the dress didn't--I adore the shoes but they're for fantasy purposes only):

So, any suggestions? You know what I look like: fit, but not skinny; broad shoulders, tall-ish. Budget: well, I'd like to keep it under $300 but willing to go up to $500-ish if it's amazing.

Bring it on, readers!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Road Trip, Summer 2011: Route 66. Day 4.

First, another great shot of the Acoma Pueblo:

Day 4: A busy one! Holbrook, Arizona, back about twenty miles, then onward to Flagstaff, Arizona.

We breakfasted at our Travelodge with a Swiss Banker and his family, who exhorted Max to attend grad school immediately after graduation from undergrad. (Max, who is a college senior now, is resisting further education at this point: he's sick of school and wants to experience the "real world." Snicker.)

Our first stop on the trail actually took us back east to the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. At the Painted Desert, we ran into two Southern Gentlemen who were touring the West together in this:

These guys had actually been on the Acoma Pueblo tour with us the previous afternoon. The older of the two men was a truck driver who has driven all over the West but, because of his rig, never was able to see the sights. So, he bought the above beauty and asked his daughter's live-in boyfriend (a retired pipe fitter) to come along sightseeing. Their transportation had already broken down several times, but at least it had air conditioning!

The Painted Desert Inn, a former hotel that is now a tourist attraction, was worth viewing:

From the Painted Desert, we headed south to the Petrified Forest:

And then from there, we made haste to Flagstaff, one of my favorite towns in the United States. I've been through twice before and it's so pretty, and the people seem so cool, that I was excited to visit once again...this time, in the summer.

Our agenda when we arrived in Flagstaff was 1) eat lunch; 2) find a place to stay; and 3) drive up to the Grand Canyon.

Driving into town, we saw a guy rolling a cigarette on a street corner and asked him where we should go to lunch. He recommended the Lumberyard Brewing Company. So Max and I walked past the Train Depot and into the restaurant, enjoying a tasty lunch and a couple of fresh-brewed cold ones (yes, my baby boy is 21).

As we ate, I checked out my Road Trip 66! iPhone app for recommended hotels in Flagstaff. I fully intended to stay in a Quality Inn or motel of equal caliber, but the app suggested the Hotel Monte Vista, built in 1926 and not only the favorite of many a Hollywood legend, but haunted as well!** I immediately called and booked the Jack Daniels suite--the rooms are named for their famous occupants. Thus, lunch taken care of and a room reserved, Max and I were off to the Grand Canyon.

Max had been to the Grand Canyon when he was five, but he had no memory of that visit, so he was really excited to see it again as an adult.

Although we didn't do anything special at the Grand Canyon, like hike or take a helicopter ride, we stopped off at a number of overlooks and were, of course, amazed and impressed. I would love to take a rafting trip down the Colorado and through the Canyon someday.

Back to Flagstaff, where our first mission was to hit up the hotel bar! There, we met a Burlington-Northern Santa Fe train conductor (I've never met a train conductor before!) and then two Flagstaff guys who told us that everybody in Flagstaff--including the teachers, the attorneys AND even the judges--gets stoned regularly. (Don't worry, we didn't. But still, what a town!)

There are two more Flagstaff restaurants I need to mention. That evening, we dined at a wonderful wine bar called Cuvee 928. The food was delicious the wine selection lovely, and the prices were reasonable (I had the fish tacos). The next morning, we had a fabulous Mexican breakfast at MartAnne's Burrito Palace. Whoa, boy, my eggs + chorizo, hashbrowns and beans was spicy and filling. Perfect start to the last leg of our trip...across the desert to L.A.

**Sadly, I didn't see any ghosts in the Jack Daniel's suite at the Hotel Monte Vista. But apparently John Wayne did while he was a guest!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Road Trip, Summer 2011: Route 66. Day 3.

Route: Tucumcari, New Mexico to Holbrook, Arizona.

Breakfast at Cline's Corners, New Mexico. The coffee was strong and so was the morality:

Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico. Max and I toured a still-inhabited ancient pueblo village on the top of a 367-foot mesa. Our tour guide, Joseph, was amazing, but it was incredibly hot on the top of the bluff. And I somehow thought Birkenstocks would be appropriate footwear. Nonetheless, our visit was totally cool and I highly recommend a detour from Route 66 to see Sky City.

Me climbing down from the mesa on the original stone steps. In Birkenstocks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Road Trip, Summer 2011: Route 66. Day 2.

The Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico. One of the "most historic hotels on Route 66," I found it listed on my Route 66 iPhone app and made reservations a few days before. (As is the Cattlemen's Steakhouse, it's listed in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.)

Our car stall, with a mural of Easy Rider.

I always wanted to stay in Tucumcari because Lee Van Cleef stopped a train there in For A Few Dollars More. I was sad to discover that the city of Tucumcari didn't exist until 1908, long after the movie action took place.

My son and I arrived in the early afternoon. After checking in with Nancy at the Blue Swallow, we tried our best to ignore the 100 degree heat and went mural spotting through the town. (I didn't take any photos of the murals, though?)

Later we hung out in front of our room and chatted with the other motel guests.

Sorry for the rambling. I'm writing from LA; we drove in from Flagstaff today and arrived in the late afternoon...2 beers, one large Father's Office burger later and I'm really tired! Tomorrow: Day 3.
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Road Trip, Summer 2011: Route 66. Day 1.

Our first stop on our pseudo-Route 66 Road Trip was the Cattlemen's Steakhouse in Oklahoma City.

Me under the sign, dying in the heat and waiting for a table.

Max under the sign, looking happy even though he doesn't really like steak.

My Strip Sirloin, served with a baked potato (butter + sour cream, yes please) and a homemade roll. God Bless America!

Sunset from Oklahoma City's Stockyard City.

Road Trip, Summer 2011: Route 66.

My youngest son, Max. is taking my beloved Saab 9 3 convertible back to Los Angeles with him for his final year at the University of Southern California. I'm devastated but it's definitely a car that is happier in LA. (Max calls it his little Swedish spaceship.) And a perfect excuse for a Road Trip.

This is not the Saab's first 2,000 mile excursion to SoCal. In late December 2006, my husband, oldest son and I drove my then new (to me) car-baby from Illinois to Santa Monica where I was starting a new job in January. Unfortunately, the timing was bad. We hit Amarillo just as a terrible storm bore down on New Mexico. The state closed down the main highway, but in our zeal to reach the coast, we cut south and took two lane roads through the storm. Two days later, we arrived on the other side, into Arizona, with the Saab having performed admirably but looking like this:

So although I'm currently watching a dust storm from my hotel room in Holbrook, Arizona, this road trip has been much less stressful!

Other than my trepidatious 2006 voyage, I've been along the Route 66 corridor before, long ago when my boys were young, my husband was in the Army and we were moving from Illinois to Ford Ord (we always seem to end up back in Illinois, I don't know why, we don't have any family there!). But Max doesn't have any memory of that trip and it also took place in winter, so this time around it's a different adventure.

Next post, day 1.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tea & Madeleines

I've spent my afternoon going through my old Victoria magazines*, which inspired me to make some Madeleines. When my sons were at home, occasionally we'd have Sunday afternoon tea and I'd make Proust's famous tea-cakes, but those times are past and I haven't made them in awhile. I don't know why not, because Madeleines are not difficult, although they do require some pre-prep and a special pan.

Anyway, today's Madeleine's are amazing, even though I'm the only one at home right now to enjoy them. And of course I must have tea to dunk my cakes into! Tilleul (tea made from linden tree leaves and flowers) is the recommended type for Madeleine dunking; I found mine at a local tea shop but Harney's ( I love their tea) sells a version as well.

Recipe here.

You can buy a Madeleine pan here.

*The Nancy Lindemeyer edited issues. See Nancy's blog here!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hermès Scarf Ring II

I continued to play with my new toy. I was looking through the Purse Forum and I came across a thread on stacked bracelets; one member had used her Mors scarf ring with a leather Hermès wrap bracelet. I got to thinking: What could I use to create a bracelet with my new scarf ring? Hermès ribbon! (Um, yeah: Bolduc!)

Voila, the Bolduc bracelet:

Appropriately, the Bolduc I used for my bracelet was from 2002, Year of the Hand!

PS: I initially practiced tying the bracelet on my husband, and it looked great on him too!

Hermès Scarf Ring

My newest Hermès beauty: a Permabrass Mors scarf ring. For this photo, I "borrowed" my husband's Bolduc pochette and paired it with a J.Crew tee shirt.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Workout Style

I started running seriously and regularly right around my thirtieth birthday--so about fifteen years now. For the first thirteen years, I admittedly dressed like a truck driver woman. I had two pairs of black shorts which I would alternate, and on top I'd wear a ratty t-shirt or, in the summer, a ratty t-shirt with the sleeves cut off for a makeshift tank. To keep my hair out of my eyes, I'd wear an old bandanna of my Dad's that I'd used since my high school field hockey days. On cold days, I'd wear a baggy pair of standard-issue grey fleece sweatpants with elasticized ankles. I guess it didn't bother my husband that I dressed this way while I was an outside runner, but once we joined a gym he put his foot down. "How can it be that you are so fashionable in all areas of your life except when you work out: you are a slob!"

I acknowledged this and was more than happy to do some shopping. My first foray onto fashionable workout wear was at the Adidas store in Santa Monica. I had moved to Southern California in January and thought I would need only shorts for running. No! It's cold in Santa Monica during the winter, running in the dark after work! I hastened to the Third Street Promenade where I bought a running pant and a matching top. So coordinated!

Later, when I moved back to Illinois and brick-and-mortar athletic wear shops weren't nearby, I relied on Athleta, and later at Foot Locker (they have some really good online sales!). Soon it wasn't enough that my top match my shorts, I needed a real workout bag and water bottle. Walmart bestform bras for $12.99 failed the grade; instead I required the $58 high-impact styles at Title Nine. (Hey, a girl's gotta protect her assets!)

Now, I've really gone to the devil. I've discovered Lululemon. Their stuff is pretty damn expensive. But awesome. Seriously, I am addicted and as soon as I've paid off this splurge, I'm going back for more (See, husband what you have started?). Here's what I got:

Groove Pant, Tall (Lululemon hems for free! And these pants make your butt look incredible!)
Run: Inspire Crop (I've never had a crop...I hate the loose ones but these are badass)
Wunder Under Crop (I'm planning to do yoga twice a week this summer, alternating with running. I bought these with a rainbow waistline!)

Yes the price was outrageous. What can I say? It's for my husband :-P

Also added to my workout wardrobe:
Athleta Pilayo Zippy Headband and Lululemon Satin Pirouette Headband. I have fine, slippery hair; these have a silicone grip on the inside that helps prevent slippage. I hate when my headbands--which I wear to keep my bangs out of my eyes--slide off my head mid-run! Plus, the Satin Pirouette headband is pretty, so I wear it when I wash my face or put on makeup too.

Anyone have any other recommendations to feed my addiction? Bring it on!

Saturday Afternoon Tea Break

If you're a knitter, at some point you will tire of the ubiquitous woollen hats, scarves and socks, and succumb to the appeal of kitschy knitted items. Such as, I recently became obsessed with the need for a tea cozy. At first I was just thinking of a traditional quilted kind, but then I got on the online knitting community Ravelry and found the most perfect, silly and useful cozy project. Behold, the Strawberries and Cream Tea Cozy:

The beauty of it is that it matches my Wedgwood Wild Strawberries tea set. I just finished it this past week and I couldn't wait to break it in with some Darjeeling and cherry sugar cookies.

I still don't know if it did the job--that is, keeping the tea warm--because my husband and I were hungry after a morning of gardening, napping (me) and motorcycling (him), so we pretty much gulped the tea and devoured the cookies.

Maybe I am crazy, maybe my taste level has diminished, but I have to say I thought the tea cozy adorable.

1. The tea cozy instruction can be found in the book Tea Cozies 2. But beware: there are a ton of errors so make sure you email the publishers before you begin and ask for the errata.
2. If you happen to be a member of Ravelry, please friend me! I am, of course, CashmereLibrarian.

Violet Eyes

The older I get, the more makeup I feel compelled to use on my eyes. The no-makeup look makes me look tired, so I always wear, at the very least, eyeliner and mascara.

My eye color is hazel-green, and so I wear a lot of purple-ish shades to play up the green. Here I'm wearing:

The pink from NARS Alhambra Duo on my lid
NARS Daphne in my crease
Stila smudge stick waterproof eye liner in Purple Tang, along my upper and lower lash lines
Stila kajal eyeliner in Onyx along my inner lower rim
two coats of Covergirl Lash Blast Volume in Very Black

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Has This Ever Happened to You?

You're sitting there, and you have this cute little blondie kid, and then all of a sudden he's 25 and he phones you and says,

It happened to my husband and I two weekends ago, and we are all beyond thrilled!

Details to follow...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ship Shape

Have you heard about Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi? Randy Quaid is an actor (and brother of Dennis) whose screen credits include Cousin Eddie in National Lampoon's Vacation and, more recently, Colonel Tom Parker in a TV movie, Elvis.

Lately, however, Randy and Evi have been holed up in Vancouver trying to obtain asylum from the Canadian authorities. Why? Well, it's a long story. It has to do with outstanding arrest warrants in the United States for vandalism and other illegal conduct, and apparently being targets of a gang called the "Star Whackers."

Whatever. Today I want to focus on happier times in the Quaid household, when Vogue featured their Los Angeles home in a 1993 spread.

Nice Hermès bags, Evi! And I don't know why I find this Hamish Bowles line hilarious, but I do: "Most recently she has cropped her blond hair like a midshipman's...."

A view towards the Pacific over the Santa Monica canyon...

I love the lined-up custom riding boots.

Blue, white, shells...and a Hermès apron!

I love that Evi commissioned a quilted leather jacket from Chrome Hearts when they were just starting out...lined with a Hermès scarf!
I'm pretty sure this house (in which they no longer reside...don't worry, Randy & Evi, I'm not stalking you) is in Santa Monica; does anyone know it's exact location? It looks like it overlooks the canyon, but I don't recall ever seeing it when I lived there. Does it still look like this?