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i have done quite a few posts of what is outside my backdoor, but this is what is outside my front door. LA! most people imagine beverly hills, beach babes, and celebrities…i would say it is quite the contrary. and as much as i can bitch about living here, there are a lot of things i appreciate about it. it is so culturally diverse, the sun is your best friend, i have a lemon tree in my backyard, and even after ten years of living here i still feel like i live in a different country!

i live somewhere in between echo park and downtown los angeles. across the street from the 101 (it is a lovely song in the morning) and just a few blocks from angeleno heights (the victorian era historic district). i can walk to chinatown, the disney concert hall, grand central market and on and on (however, i drive…i am so LA).  i admit, i was a bit scared of my neighborhood at first, but now i love how gritty and eclectic it is, and being so close to downtown LA.

take a right outside my front door and a few blocks west, sits a quaint little park (Vista Hermosa Natural Park) complete with natural vegetation and a soccer field. lots of little treasures await you along the way between  loads of suculents and cactus, painted telephone poles, and creepy houses. across from a small corner store nestled between apartment buildings, there is a set of painted stairs that lead up to what is suppose to be an art community. i am pretty sure it is a bit more sketch that that…but i appreciate the idea. i love looking at people’s gardens, old vintage cars sitting behind garage doors, and sometimes pure hoarding. i kind of love that stuff!  there are plenty of taco stands around the neighborhood, including the one two doors down in the neighbor’s garage.

 sure, pretty much everytime i leave the house i can see a homeless person somewhere on the corner. sure, the helicopters sound like they are landing on your roof due to traffic on the freeways? or crime?…who knows? sure ,the hose was stolen from the front lawn. sure, the high school kids love to sit on our steps and make out or smoke pot.  sure, occasionally people go through the garbage and recycling. but hey, that is city living! i got a view outside the front door and a little bit of paradise outside the backdoor!

(note: the sky is a different color in every picture. either, LA is that magical, or i clearly don’t edit with the same formula. 🙂 )

i have had this post pending for a while. i took the photos months ago. it is only fitting that i am posting it now. since, i have been back from Colorado, i feel like i have been looking at LA through the looking glass.  often, i forget the memories or the things i love…and yet, i feel full.  perhaps, i have eaten enough and what to come is dessert? i have nothing to dish out or admit yet….only talk of what i feel. i have been here before…it is just a matter of what i do with it. will i get hungry for LA, or venture to try something new and delicious? that is the question?


Los Angeles on Dwellable

my friend’s, stacy and alan, (whom are also getting married this summer) are kind enough to stay at my house when i travel to snuggle with wylie and lola. they bring their dog steven…and it is one big snuggle fest.

being the crazy, overbearing dog/cat mother that i am, it makes me feel way more comfortable knowing they all love each other!

before i left for colorado i made them a treat. a gluten free coconut cake with coconut and honey icing. it just worked out that i had all sorts of coconut ingredients and for some reason…i was craving coconut cake. i totally ate a piece (to taste test) before i left it for them. perhaps, i am selfish. it was i who really wanted the coconut, enough so that i dug into this baby before i even let them see it.  in my defense,i was worried about the consistency…which was slightly dry. the longer it sat though, the more it kind of gave into some moisture.  i am new to baking gluten free and all that jazz. so, i have not quite figured out if it was the coconut flour, the coconut oil not being heated up, or if i should have used ghee instead of the oil.

regardless, i think it still tasted good. luckily, there was some leftover when i got home!!!

the cake ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of almond flour

1 1/2 cups of coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 eggs

1 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup of coconut oil ( or ghee)

1/2 cup of honey

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

combine all wet ingredients with a mixer. combine dry ingredients and slowly incorporate into the wet ingredients. you can do 3 cups of almond flour if you do not have coconut flour or do not want to use it. you can also use ghee instead of coconut oil. i used lots of coconut products to make it a super duper coconut cake!

grease a bundy pan or regular cake pan. i put some coconut at the bottom of the pan as well. bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

let cool for 30 minutes. turn upside down onto a cake plate or regular old plate.

the icing ingredients:

 1 cup coconut milk

1 1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2-1 cup honey

1 cup of coconut flakes

heat the coconut milk and honey in a saucepan until hot and mixed well. add the coconut oil until melted. add the coconut flakes. store in a jar int he freezer until thick. if it is too thick, just let it sit for a bit on the counter. pour all over the cake!

boom!

the cake and icing recipes were derived from roostblog. i altered the cake recipe a bit, but the icing recipe is directly from roost. my go to for dairy,sugar,and grain free baking!

 alan, wylie, and steven. this picture makes me laugh.

man, what a weekend! that fresssssh, high altitude air surely makes a mark every time…and i think that mark is getting deeper and deeper. i might just explode if i don’t let that mark heal…by moving. shall i even say, i feel closer to leaving this land of angels? because next week i might be right back where i was last week. oh, geez. i sure wear myself out.

but let’s talk about how awesome the weekend really was!! old friends, new friends, landscape, and relaxation. we were somewhere between buena vista and salida, colorado. an area known as the “banana belt” due to mild winters. a high mountain desert with mild temperatures…does it get much better than that? i have to admit, after my last trip through washington and oregon, i missed the desert. i love a good lush forrest, but there is something about an open desert landscape: the sunshine, the air, and being able to see for miles. this was kind of like the best combo.

we stayed at mt princeton resort, but spent most of our time at laura and burke’s cabin down the street. equipped with their own hot spring, a creek, and a constant party! sometimes i felt as though time was standing still…slowly passing along to take in the smallest of moments. there was so much laughter, silliness, and smiles.

laura and burke had such a smooth set up.  normally everyone is running around,i’ll just say it, like assholes. luckily, they were able to set up the day before. so, we helped decorate and ice cupcakes in between dips in the hot spring, beers, and silliness.

laura and burke were actually married already and this was the party to celebrate. the  decorations were so intimate and creative. i wouldn’t expect any less from laura.

each guest received a corsage(ladies) and a pendant (dudes) handmade by miss laura. not to mention the lovely little gifts of jewelry she made us as well. we were spoiled.  if you haven’t already figured it out, LURKE is a combo of their names, laura and burke. so, we also all got a lurke pin. the tables were decorated with doilies, succulents, candles, and trinkets. colorful flag banners, paper lanterns, and tissue poms filled the room with color. i was severely admiring the vintage and colorful dessert table, not to mention the 20 cupcakes i may have consumed.  laura’s mom was the cutest with her frilly socks and crochet gloves.

but the cutest of all…laura and burke. love is the bestest !!! and so are my friends!

 


Salida on Dwellable

i am off to colorado tonight to see two of my favorite people marry each other. laura and burke are such genuine and unique people. it makes my heart warm that i have such friends in my life.  i admire them, respect them, and draw inspiration from them.  i have known laura since high school when we worked at a restaurant in the  mall with two of my other greatest girlfriends, kate and sarah! some of my fondest memories come from those days, and what i love the most about these girls is that each one of us is an artist…in our own light.

laura is a brilliant artist and photographer. (check out her website!!!!) she never seizes to amaze me with her evolving talents and ability to push far outside the box, evoking a haunting and intimate portrayal of reality. it is about HER art, not what is expected. this has always been an inspiration for me. i, personally, have always fell somewhere in limbo with being different and being ordinary. i can never quite push far enough to be miles “outside the box” with enough confidence to hold it. criticism can hold one back.  laura never allows this.

the picture above i took years ago at one of her houses in alabama. i will never forget that trip . a house filled with so many curiosities, art, and a bit like the feeling you get when watching an episode of twin peaks. i love this shit. i lived in alabama for three years in high school, but this trip somehow resonated this different side of the south for me.  the brutal history, the ghostly stories that swarm alabama, that cultural divide between the north and the south, and that gothic feeling i still can’t get out of my head years after this trip. all through laura’s eyes and inspiration.

i actually have the last one hanging on my fridge.

i am also leaving you with a trailer for a film my friend, jeremy, directed.  i met jeremy years ago on a film in arizona. he lives in new york with his wife and together they own brooklyn yoga school.  i am so proud and happy for him for his incredible film. i use to do a lot of kundalini yoga( hatha and bikram as well) and this totally inspired me this morning to find that peace and do some yoga. man, i really need to do some yoga. perhaps some time in the hot springs this weekend will evoke some more of this craving! i am feeling ultra inspired this morning and looking forward to seeing my old friends!

really, i just wanted to show off how talented my friends are!!! 🙂

unique LA was a success!!! we had such a great time and i have to say that i learned a whole hell of a lot! there were a whole lot of highlights for me, but i think the biggest stand out moment was when sonja, the creator and founder of unique LA, purchased one of my necklaces and wore it the whole day!  i couldn’t have asked for a better compliment! thank you, sonja!

i have lots of photos to share of the booth.  marianne, sean, and i cohesively and smoothly created a booth trying to be as frugal as possible, only purchasing a few key pieces and then using things from around each of our houses. i am including some ideas as well for booth set ups. as newbies at our first craft fair we were’t sure what to expect with the setup. so, we both searched the internet for ideas, but it was hard to find. we thought why not help out others, if they want it or need it, with our trials and tribulations of a booth set up.

we wanted to do something for the backdrop as opposed to the white plexi walls.  i found some thin brown paper at a local hardware store and with some poster tape it laid very nicely. we thought about using the big rolls of brown paper….but it can sometimes buckle and we wanted something that looked neat.  although, our neighbors had a nice paper wall set up using the big sheets, but they have been doing this a while! i still really like the way ours turned out!
and look, there is donna g! she came to help me set up.  she was a great merchandiser!

i have to say, i think the booth turned out pretty darn good. we all love merchandising though and have all worked retail…so, it was a no brainer in a way. i have to say there are a few things i would change about mine. it started to become a bit cluttered and there was a lot to look at (a general theme in my life). i would probably do a different tablecloth next time, something more simple… and possibly move the sign.  i played around with the merchandising throughout the event to see how people responded. making it a bit more simple seemed to draw a few more people in and when i featured different items on the wood on the table, it was picked up much more often!

i tried spreading out the necklaces or doing more simple pieces in-between.

we decided to do one joint wall in the back to tie our two booths together and then we would take either side for our own shops.  marianne came up with the idea to do the ladder and the shelves. i pitched in the idea to do cinder blocks as a base for the bottom shelf.  marianne and sean bought 3 blocks and 4 bricks. the bricks are layered between the cinder blocks, if you look closely.

i found all these sticks in my brothers backyard that i really wanted to use to hang necklaces from.  i attached a nail (per sean’s brilliant idea)to one side and wrapped twine around the nail and ladder to secure it. the other side was strung from a door hook from home depot.

sean came up with the idea to secure the top shelf in place with rope. brilliant! they also had a lot of hanging terrariums to hang and they came up with this brilliant chicken wire and rope display. the globes hang from s hooks!

now…let’s break it up by our sides.  marianne and i hit up a vintage furniture dealer downtown to buy some crates. i took this old drawer and added some small eyelet hooks so i could hang necklaces from s hooks.

i also did two slabs of cheap wood from the local hardware store that were already cut. i stained them and added some hefty nails to hang necklaces from.

i made signs by staining almost paper thin wood and using recycled brown paper. i burned the edges of the paper.

earrings and keychains hung from vases i had at my house.

i found the pyramid display case on ebay. i added in pieces of fern for some green and earth.

my sister in law made me this wood art that sits on an old rake. i used the rake part to hang the more delicate jewelry from. the mirror i bought at a vintage store in highland park.

now, let’s go over to marianne and sean’s side. they rocked it! people loved the terrariums and ate them up! be sure to check out marianne’s blog and her online store. if you want to make your own terrariums she sells supplies!!

i LOVED their side! it looked so pretty, and like a real store! they did such a great job merchandising and the neon pods gave such a perfect pop of color! people would b-line it for the booth…no joke!

i think our sides meshed together really well!  although, i have to say we had a totally different customer. i wasn’t sure what to expect, but now i do! it was fun to watch this and figure it all out as it went along.  we made some really great connections and have some fun things planned for the future. two more shows this summer, patchwork june 10 and renegade july 28-29.

we also have a little secret brewing…

i am working on a mini lookbook for the craft fair this weekend. if all goes well, i hope to do a much more extensive one. this is my neighbor, dede, (isn’t she pretty!!). we slapped a dress on her and did a quick mini photo shoot in the backyard. she is so naturally pretty and her hair was mighty fine that day. it was the easiest photo shoot i have ever done!

first off, i want to say thank you for all the lovely comments yesterday!!! the support was so warming and made those jitters of putting my heart on the table that much more safe!

back to regular programming! i have still  been eating a simple diet. generally juicing in the morning and very simple small meals like a salad or quinoa with some yummy veggies.  still doing a very limited amount of cheese, meat, sugar, and flour. however, when the time calls, like a night out with friends, i allow myself to indulge.  i am feeling pretty good about all of it and am more determined to feel the best i can more than ever! ( however i do allow myself to completely indulge this weekend at unique LA with all those lovely food vendors…and considering i will be there all day for two days!)

occasionally, i have been making smoothies like this! they fill me up and i actually have it for lunch sometimes. i still might be intaking too much sugar, buuuuut, it ain’t white sugar!

what you need:

an avacado (1/2 or a whole)

1 banana

1tbsp cacao powder

1/2 cup of almond milk (or another kind of milk)

dash of honey (if you like…or let the banana sweeten it)

1/2 tbsp of coconut oil

dash of vanilla

dash of salt

combine all the ingredients in a blender. serve it chilled or frozen!

the first time i made this i did so without the banana. either way, it was good and creamy!

oh,and mint! i forgot to add mint to the recipe! fresh mint makes this super divine!!!

here are two other hearty, yummy smoothies that are super filling!

peanut butter, banana, oat smoothie from joy the baker!

chamomile, strawberry, quinoa smoother from apron and sneakers

i recently read this blog post on creature comforts and it was as though someone was speaking for me. i was so impressed with the idea of “truth”. sometimes, i want to explode on the blog and say what is really going on in my head. i feel like a bit of a fake showcasing the best parts of my life. it can be overwhelming searching the internet (and i do a lot of that) hitting blog after blog full of beautiful inspiration of things i want: kids, a husband, fancy furniture, clothes, food that i wish didn’t make me fat…and then posting it all on pinterest in hopes to, what, acquire it one day? sometimes it can motivate me, sometimes it can torture me…and apparently a whole lot of other people. we aren’t alone in any of our feelings.

the truth is, i have been in one of the biggest emotionally transitional eras of my life. if that makes any sort of sense.  i use to talk about it a bit on here, hinting around to hurt or anger.  i stopped because i thought it was letting others get the best of me, i stopped for fear of not being able to move forward…and frankly i didn’t think anyone was interested in my bullshit.  this post and the amount of people that are also doing it (check the post for the list of bloggers) left me inspired to just let it out there. to let others know, life is hard sometimes, life is up and down. it is okay to acknowledge your triumphs and your failures. it is just so much more real and frankly, genuine. life aint always fun and games, and if yours is, well then i guess you won the lottery! this is not to say i am not grateful for EVERYTHING that i do have, but i am a person. and we all strive for more, have really bummer days. we identify with each other through our emotions, don’t we?

here are the things i am afraid to tell you.

 1. i am so not a girly girl. i hardly ever get manicures, pedicures, waxings. i get my haircut like once a year. i don’t color my hair, get blow outs, laser surgery. i just can’t spend the money on things like that. i just can’t. (well, occasionally i do mani/pedi’s… but i haven’t had one since decemeber and i still have some paint on my big toes from that pedi! ha!!!!) i have been too lazy to even put on eyeliner anymore.  i wear the same outfits over and over sometimes. and more often than not i am at home in leggings and a tshirt. i like to look pretty, i just take the chance it happens a bit more naturally.

2. i have to remind myself that Facebook, instagram, blogs…are people showcasing the best of their lives. sometimes, it can make me feel like a failure.  why am i not married and having babies? why am i not out having fun on the town? why am i not skinny enough? or creative enough? or funny enough?   it takes effort to remind myself, why it just doesn’t matter. i took myself off instagram, i don’t really post pictures on Facebook anymore. i use the blog for this purpose i suppose. people can choose to read it or not. it isn’t right there staring them in their face on their news feed.  i mean, occasionally it is…but i always have a guilty, strange feeling about it.

3. i never finished my bachelor’s degree.

4.i sometimes feel weird that i post so much original content on my blog. like i am exploiting myself. going back to #2. sometimes i wish i did more inspiration posts…maybe i will.

5. i am 32 years old, sometimes i still feel emotionally 25.

6.my line of work is hard. sometimes i work and sometimes don’t. that means sometimes i have money and sometimes i don’t. i am absolutely terrible at managing money. there i said it. i am working on it. i wonder if i made the right career choice? life choice? i often don’t feel successful. i often want to leave LA. i want to live in the country, or the desert.

7. i love my cat and dog so much that i hate leaving them at home. i miss them so badly sometimes, it hurts to leave.

8. i worry that i will never get married. i worry i am incapable of being in a relationship. this sucks, because i want it so bad. i want to fall madly in love. i want to have children. i also want to travel the world. ?

9. i tend to give and give and give. i am realizing i do this to make people like me or to keep the peace. and then when i feel it is not reciprocated, i get angry and hurt.

10. i use to love flying on an airplane. then one day i developed a fear of flying(a number of factors played into this). i didn’t go to one of my best friend’s weddings because i couldn’t get on the airplane.  i started having  to take a major amount of anti-anxiety pills to fly which lead me to completely pass out for the majority of the flight. (who knows what i looked like? yikes!). i didn’t stop this from letting me travel, it was just really difficult. i have been to europe twice since this began…and countless other trips. but my palms still sweat in turbulence and my heart is generally in my throat somewhere. i have to try and plan my flights to fly directly (less anxiety) and during the day (i hate flying at night).i can get super anxious the night before a trip as well.  i can get anxiety at other times too. i hate saying goodbye to my family and this often makes me anxious. i sometimes get anxious before a new job and working with new people (which is crazy because that is what my job is…all the time)

11. i have spent my life in spells of depression since i was a child.  i can get sad, i am HIGHLY SENSITIVE. it is frustrating, it is lonely. it is also, i believe, the one thing that gives me the heart and empathy that i have. it makes me creative, it makes me work harder sometimes, it makes me, me.

12.i had some falling outs with a group of friends last year and i have spent the last 4 months trying to heal from it. somehow i let myself become sooo incredibly insecure and didn’t even know who i was anymore.  i can’t even begin to go into the details of why or how. but from my end i was being accused of being selfish, depressive, not living my own life, hijacking another’s life, not happy for others, jealous, and a whole list of other things. sometimes, if it pops into my head it sinks so far down into my gut that i can immediately tear up.  we all have faults, we all do things to piss each other off, but this was somehow so much more than this. it all turned so incredibly bitter, ugly,and  immature .  i was being criticized for so many things. i felt backed into a corner, and frankly i felt if i didn’t walk away i was never going to get out of it . my side was never going to matter.  the hardest part was feeling as though i had to take all the responsibility because these “friends” were telling me who they thought i was…and it felt like they could sit there and agree with each other.   now i know, that just isn’t fair.   i know no one should do that to anyone. i would certainly never do that to anyone, certainly not how it was done to me. everything has two sides…and i have one too. i tried and tried to get them to understand that. i tried and tried to apologize for whatever i did that was so wrong to them….but this was all out of fear of loosing them.  the truth is, they were probably never friends to begin with.  sure, i had my faults, could have handled things much better than i did.  i was so desperate not to loose those friendships that i became the worst side of myself. that isn’t who i am, nor who i want to be. friendships like that, just aren’t worth it.

i somehow let this all bring me so far down that i was constantly second guessing myself in every single conversation i was having with anyone. even my mother.  was i being selfish? was i not listening? did i say the wrong thing? why was i spending so much time judging myself when i know deep down who i really am? i am compassionate, i care, i listen, and i am genuinely happy for all of my friends. i have never been a jealous person. are any of these people taking the time to assess themselves, to asses what their role was in all of this? my instinct doubts it. it seems to me once i was out of the picture, they could sit back and watch me fade away and tell themselves, they did no wrong.  and i somehow sat there for months telling myself i was the monster they made me out to be.  but i am not. i am human. sure, i was angry and i obviously let that anger show through. i had no idea how to tell these people that i was hurting, that they were hurting me because i no longer felt the support from a friendship, that i just couldn’t do it anymore, that i didn’t really understand what i did that was so wrong when we were all to blame. so i got angry.  i am sure i did my fair share of hurting. i am not trying to make myself  a martyr, but i do know how i want to be treated and that is how i treat my friends. i can honestly say that each one of my friends has something about them i don’t like or think they could work on. I DONT BRING THAT ON MYSELF TO BE THE ONE TO TELL THEM THEY NEED TO CHANGE. my approach is to give positive advice to encourage what they, yes, probably want to hear. some people say this is wrong. but who i am to tell anyone how to live their life. unless they are in an abusive relationship,a drug abuser, life threatening situation, or flat out  asking me….it is up to them. i will be there along the way one way or another.

i am not going to say that i don’t mourn these friendships. i do, a lot. i go back and forth between reminiscing about the good days and then the bad.  somehow, in these cases the bad outweigh the good.  and that breaks my heart. i sometimes long for the old days when i was part of this crowd. in a way though, that can seem bit juvenile to me. why am i longing for it? why do i need it? i don’t really know. i think for a few months i felt like these people were home. i felt like no one could hurt me. now, i feel like a fool.

i have to say trusting people is becoming a bit harder.  maybe this is a good lesson for me. i have always trusted too easily.  i actually really admired and looked up to these “friends” and i think that was why it hurt so much.  but i am trying much harder to look up to and admire myself. and it ain’t an easy battle. i still judge myself and compare. i still get so hurt over all of it and wonder if there will be a day i can forget all of it. i actually try to imagine being able to move on to a point in my life where it doenst sink so deep down.   i don’t know their sides anymore, nor am i sure i ever want to know.  i don’t think i could bare even being in the same room with any of them anymore.    i am in a phase in my life where i am most comfortable being along (i think that has to do with not trusting myself with others or not trusting others), but i also think it is good to get to know myself again. because i spent the last year and a half loosing her.

there is a way to treat your friends to love your friends. i know who those friends are now and i know the kind of friend that i am. i will never let anyone take that away from me ever again.

13. i just don’t care anymore what people are going to say about me. i can’t try and control it. not everyone is going to like me. i just need to understand that.  i don’t care that my thoughts or feelings are going to piss anyone off. i am tired of compromising myself because i am fearful of loosing people. the people that are meant to stick around, will. the people that are meant to be in my life, are and will be in the future.

14. i came home last night after a lovely evening with a girlfriend. i turned up some music really loud and had a solo dance party with head flips and all.  today, my neck and upper back are incredibly sore. i feel old.

thank you so much creature comfort and all the other bloggers out there doing this, for giving me the confidence to say whats really on my mind.

hey guess what??? my backyard was featured on apartment therapy today for their great outdoors edition! i was so excited when i was scrolling through google reader and saw a picture of my backyard. at first, taken back wondering where did this come from? i am super happy and honored to have made the cut again. ( my last apartment was featured a few years back!)

the one thing i didn’t mention(and wish i would have) in the post was that i share the yard with my lovely neighbors dede and tom and their pup, gary! they are such great, nice, charming neighbors and we all love the backyard.  tom has been helping me garden and dede loves being able to bask in the sun. gary, of course, and wylie are best of friends and the backyard is a luxury for them to run around in!

check out the link here!

here are some new pics of the garden. things are still blooming and i love waking up in the morning and walking around to see how everything is doing, you know just to say a little hello! the pomegranate flowers are showering the tree and ground with bright red flowers. the loquats are reedy to eat. the lemons i have been using for weeks now.

we also have finally started the garden. the herbs are going strong! so far we have planted: tomatoes (3 kinds), zucchini, strawberries, mesclun, kale, cilantro, fingerling potatoes, eggplant, beans, and lots of peppers! the berry bush from last year looks so pretty too! i hope it brings us some berries!

and of course, a few detail shots for fun!

thank you so much apartment therapy!!

lots of necklaces being made these days to get ready for unique la may 12 and 13! i am nervous and anxious to see how these little guys do at the craft fair! we have been working hard on our booth concept too! sooo much to do in the next week and a half! check out my booth partner, marianne…and her bf sean, over at bird and feather and her blog smitten living!

i have been expanding the line with earrings, keychains, and  a brand new line of simple necklaces. a nautical/knot theme is brewing as well(for next time). also, working on some rock and driftwood art and trying to work in some wall hangings. check out my rock drawings on apartment therapy from a few years ago.

i could get use to making stuff for a living.