Thursday, July 26, 2012

Matchbooks and Menus

This spring, my husband finally repainted a hallway off our kitchen. Years ago, the ceiling had been damaged from a bathtub overflow; we repaired the plumbing but the ceiling remained an embarrassment until recently.

Back in December 2010, we were lucky enough to dine at the famous Alinea with our neighbors; my neighbor had the great idea to frame the menu and, so, once our hallway was presentable once again, we copied. We also framed a signed menu from Chicago's TRU. I hope to add many more menus to this wall! I get so hungry every time I'm passing through and I glance through the choices.

Earlier this summer, I was scrolling through a blog entry from featuring charming Lilly-ish decor in a newly opened store, including a striking collection of framed matchbooks. I've been collecting matchbooks for a long time--sadly, they are harder and harder to come by--and it occurred to me that I could finally put them to some aesthetic use. Thus, some of my matchbook collection displayed in a shadowbox frame from Michael's. Most of them come from places in either Chicago or Los Angeles, but Bermuda, Nantucket and New Orleans are also represented! (A friend brought me back a matchbox from the famous Raffles hotel in Singapore, but since I haven't been there myself, I thought that would be cheating.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Graduation Days in Los Angeles

I'm Back! I'll try to do better, I really will. I've gotten very lazy now that I have all this empty-nest/summer-off-from-teaching time. But it's been an eventful year, all the same. As you know, my eldest son was married in January. A few days later, my Dad passed away. Then, in May, my youngest son graduated from the University of Southern California! Hurray!

It was a splurge-y kind of celebration long weekend.  We brought along our oldest son and our *new*! daughter-in-law, and we stayed at the Viceroy Santa Monica.

Of course, we immediately hit up the gorgeous lobby bar for drinks:

Later, the soon-to-be graduate joined us for dinner at Mercado in Santa Monica (the recommendation for which I owe Femme Curieuse a big thank you!):

Graduation day dawned cold and foggy. We froze through the main ceremony, but I did get to see Kathy Lee Gifford and her daughter Cassidy (her son, Cody, graduated from USC son has waited on him at a local restaurant and says he's pretty nice)! The sun came out eventually, and Max got his Bachelor of Science!

Max and a few of his housemates:

The proud graduate...

Back to the Viceroy for lunch and cocktails with my brother, sister-in-law and niece, who came down from the Antelope Valley to celebrate with us.

Other highlights of the trip included:

  • Mother's Day brunch at Duke's in Malibu, where we saw a whale AND met the REAL Gidget!
  • Seeing Conan O'Brien and his children crossing Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica.  He is damn tall!
  • Other celebrity sighting:  Elizabeth Perkins at James Perse in Malibu.
  • SHOPPING!  I hit up Planet Blue and Lululemon big time. 

We adored staying at the Viceroy. The Kelly Wearstler design is not only beautiful, but amazingly comfortable, and we loved all the employees we had the pleasure to encounter. Although we didn't get to enjoy the pool because it was so cold throughout our stay, we took full advantage of the heated pool-side cabanas for meals and for late-night martinis. On Saturday night, my husband and I hung out in the lobby and met so many interesting people.  I'd say if you can afford it, stay at Shutters  or Loew's because they're on the beach, but the Viceroy is a bit less pricey (though of course still a splurge!), and is just a walk across Ocean and down a bit to the Pacific.

No.  More. Tuition.  Hurray!  And congratulations to my darling college graduate, Maxwell.