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one hot and sunny saturday in October a bunch of ladies got together here in my backyard to indulge, marie antoinette style.  i started a pinterest board ages ago when i  was inspired by the pastries of bottega louie, a restaurant here in DTLA.  these pastries transport you directly to paris or italy, with magnificent artistic quality. they are almost too pretty to eat, but i pretty much just want to shove them in my face. my friend stacy was all about it too (it is our favorite restaurant to get together at) and we decided to co-host the party bringing together an eclectic mix of LA women!

stacy and i are doing a cross post about the party, giving two perspectives. mine somewhat of a tutorial filled with images, while stacy’s post is filled with beautiful poetic words that read like a song. she talks of her  personal and intimate experience of attempting to be a girly girl. i love this lady, i love her writing. check out her post for a deeper perspective of one girl’s marie antoinette experience.

also, inspired by the sophia coppola movie, marie antoinette, which i have been a fan of since before it hit theaters, not to mention the soundtrack. i know it was booed at cannes, but i loved it. the colors, the indulgence, the over-exaggeration, the excess, the history, the innocence. i guess there was something dreamy about indulging on sweets, and champagne, and clothes with little guilt or regret. something, i think as women, we over compensate for these days.  so, we made decadence a little bit of reality for the day.

stacy and i pulled the decorations together using tangibles/fabric we already had, only spending money on the treats and flowers!  we asked everybody to bring either a dessert or champagne, as well as dressing the part. the ladies got a peek at the pinterest board for inspiration…and man did these women pull through! the outfits were amazing, the desserts to die for, and the champagne was constantly flowing!

now, marie antoinette is a controversial woman. i became slightly obsessed with her after the movie, bought the book, and did a lot of wikipedia reading up on her. the movie portrayed this innocent young girl stripped of all that she knows, thrown into an already indulgent hierarchy and married at 14, to then be crowned queen at 19. she was blamed for not producing an heir, when in truth it was due to the king’s inability to perform in bed. she eventually beared children, she lost children, she then lost her head. sure, she lived extravagantly and the people not so much. they hated her for it. i wonder though, can we blame her? i don’t know. there are two sides to every story. i wonder if she knew any better. did she know what was going on outside those palace walls? did she care?  was she just naive? or selfish? regardless, i became curious about her life, her interests, her tragedies. no matter our lot in life, we all have them.

i will take credit for the cake at the top and the raspberry cream puffs (which i made a while back, you can read the post here). i think that cake might be my  favorite thing i have EVER made…and i also think i have started a new obsession/style! the girls brought blue velvet cupcakes, madelines, chambard, napoleons, eclairs, princess cake, more cupcakes, and more sugar, and then some more sugar! top it off with champagne and we all went home with belly aches!

besides stuffing desserts in our mouths, which i made everyone do for the camera, we played some games. specifically, the one they play in the movie, let’s just call it the “name game” because i have failed to ever find out the actual name. i love this game for some reason and it isn’t the first time i have made people play it at a party!stacy also brought over some paper to hang on the wall where the girls could blindly draw someone else! hilarious! we also set up stations for nail painting and craft making! most of us just ate and drank…we should have hired foot massagers!

stacy and i collaborated so smoothly together, taking on different tasks and getting excited to build off one another’s ideas, but my favorite was the WIG!  stacy’s originally idea was to paper mache a wig onto a balloon, but… we were fresh out of balloons. however, i did have a hat form. i handed it off to stacy and she created this masterpiece with bubble wrap and toilet paper rolls. she sat quietly in the corner and assembled this piece of art (her forte) and when it was finished, i thought it couldn’t have been more perfect. “I love the humor of it falling short of being anything beautiful at all,” stacy, describes in her post about the wig.  it was art on a whim with limited materials, evoking silliness.  creativity at its best: humble and true.  much like my friendship with stacy. to me there isn’t much, more beautiful than that! at the end of the day, we were proud of the food,wig, and event we had created together…imperfections and humor -resulting in beauty.

we made a little photo booth and here are some of the gems that came out of that! thanks to all the ladies for making this such a fun, indulgent, and decadent day! and to stacy for planning it all with me!

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so, i am giving you another “the week…ends” post today. i spent the past weekend in olympia, washington visiting my brother and his family.  i have posted about olympia before, but it seems i can never get enough of the sweet little town. just about an hour from seattle and two from portland, olympia is kind of an undiscovered gem.  the capitol of washington and the home to evergreen state college, the town has cute shops, good food, the puget sound, a view of the Olympic mountains, and the PNW written all over it. being an epicenter for the puget sound, the city has some great seafood, and we always manage to hit those places up! their food truck scene is growing and the farmers market is one of my favorite. full of so much color and great merchandising! i always make point to go.  over the weekend we were lucky to have two days of some great sunshine. something we take for granted here in LA, something to be coveted in Olympia. well, i might be a sun snob!

it was just a quick 2 days for me, but we managed to get in some fun stuff. my bro’s kids are just the cutest and i am a sucker for the little ones.  general play time is always a fun event. on sunday we hit up a apple/pumpkin farm and ate too many good treats…like the best apple fritter i have ever had (and the longest line to get one), some tangy apple cider, and a cream puff we brought home for later. which the 3 of us adults inhaled after the kids went to bed…not an uncommon event when i visit these guys!! we all share a sweet tooth.

i will leave you with one post about a weekend trip as i am about to pack for another. yes, i travel a little too much. besides the stress of finding a dog/cat sitter, i wouldn’t have it any other way. before i found my cabin in colorado i went on a little adventure with some friends up to big bear, california. big bear is a quick mountain getaway from LA. only 2 hours away, it is a skiing hot spot if you don’t want to do the trek to mammoth or tahoe.  i personally don’t ski, but i enjoy a good mountain town anytime. obviously, it isn’t ski season either…but it was oktoberfest, which we somehow managed to miss.

big bear is full of rustic charm with a little bit of a back woods feel. if ya know what i mean. we stayed about 15 minutes from the center of town, but the road is packed with antique stores and a plethora of bear statues. it is a sweet little town filled with plenty of things to do.

the first night we knocked on the neighbors door to ask for some firewood, to which he gladly gave us some, and then about 2 hours later he came over and told us it was illegal…ha! so, we moved the fire inside. we made dinner, with limited utensils in the rental kitchen. somehow the girls managed to make guacamole with no cutting board…and i made homemade tortillas with no measuring cup.

the next morning donna made sausage and egg biscuits and i made chocolate caramel croissants and concord grape jam ones too. after breakfast we took a little hike that was right outside the front door. although, we only hiked for a bout 30 minutes total…we collected rocks and sticks and saw the most amazing white birds in the sky that at the right turn, would glow with the sun. it was pretty cool. you can kind of see them in the photo above. not the moon, but the other faint white spot on the photo! hard to capture, but sensational to watch.

for the afternoon, donna suggested we hit up the go carts. so, we ended up go carting, eating cotton candy from a machine, and hitting up the alpine slide. we ate some dinner in town and later hit up the local brew and then ate another late night dinner in town. somehow, i ended up almost winning both games of elimination on the pool table, even though i am absolutely horrible. it was so nice to just be silly and trot around town with little worry for the day!

now, there a whole lot of other things to do in big bear: like the glorious lake, serious hikes, skiing in the winter, shopping, antiquing, lounging, and so on. this was our own little big bear experience…and it was perfect!

i left super early that monday morning and man was that drive back down the windy mountain road  stunning. high above the fog and gloom that was covering LA, the sun was shining perfectly and the layer of white over the city was breathtaking.  once you get back onto the freeway to LA, it’s as if big bear was some sort of magical enchanted forrest.

 

jan, of poppytalk, did a post today about my house and home!  i couldn’t be more thrilled and honored to be a part of such a renowned publication on the web. i have been fan of poppytalk for such  long time now, gathering much inspiration and frankly, motivation.  the blog features many talented crafters and designers from around the globe, showcasing stunning images, DIY’s and weekend projects, crafter round-ups, and dispatches from around the world.   i did a tutorial post for them a while back on african mud cloth’s, and was thrilled then too!!!  i always thought it was so kind for jan to remember me and to keep in touch. i can only imagine she gets a whole lot of emails and submissions! thanks jan for that, and for the feature today. a nice tribute to possibly my favorite home i have ever lived in! i’m gonna miss this place!

 

 

i have been drawing on rocks for a while now, but this is the first time i am introducing them as a series.  some sets come packaged in a small tin box with dried sage, others in a larger white box. there is a large series of the zodiac signs that can be bought individually or as a set! i was largely inspired by a petroglyph book and constellation book i bought in joshua tree on my recent trip. the driftwood can now be bought in bundles and there are sets of cards as well!! great christmas gifts guys!!!!

i have also been working on a new series of macrame chain! inspired by chain mail and using the same techniques as with the leather, i started producing these delicate pieces.  currently, on the shop as a custom order right now until i get the ball rolling a little more! email me for details.

http://sunandgloryshop.com

some more exciting news for sun and glory…i have joined a collaborative showroom here in DTLA, free agency,  with some other really talented designers (bandit brand, heyoka leather, warpaint…just to name a few!!!) i am super excited to be a part of this creative group of people!

 

sooooooooo… i did it. i signed a lease in colorado, and this is my new home. i am excited, nervous, confused, sentimental, and excited all over again. how did i get to this place?, i have now been asking myself. it has finally hit me what all this drive, complaining, and contemplation has done…it will change my life. well, for 6 months at least. i signed a six month lease, just in case it turns out i am not a country girl ( or i can’t find a job). i am looking at it like a 6 month adventure. i have daydreamed of living somewhere like this for a long time now. probably, since i was in college.

it is a charming property that sits on the big thompson river between estes park and loveland, colorado. the topography on the county road to get there is stunning. it reminds me of a cross between new mexico, utah, and colorado.  perfection.  there are three houses on the property so, i won’t be completely alone…and across the river live some very nice neighbors.the landlord is amazing, and the neighbor a handy man (probably good for a girl moving from LA to middle of nowhere!) the sweetest couple came over in their vintage 1930’s truck to say hello…and i fell in love with them immediately. i have a fireplace, a small room for my art, a river to fish in, a garden to plant in, a field for wylie to run in, the sounds of rushing water, and inspiration all around me. down the street is a gem & mineral store (i mean could that be any more perfect?), a shack of a coffee shop, a native american trading post,colorado cherry company, the dam store is a neighbor, and a saddle ranch that my dad has been dying to go to. i mean, as i am writing this, and realizing what my life is going to be by middle of november, well frankly, it feels surreal.

i have no idea what to expect, if my life will change, if i will feel different. if the things that i seek will come forth. i do know, this will be an adventure, it will be a challenge, it will probably be lonesome sometimes, i will miss my LA family so much.

will i make friends?

will i be living too far from the two i have there already? will wylie be happy? will i be happy? will i miss the city? will i be inspired?

 from talking to other friends though, these all seem like normal feelings.

but everyone better come and visit!!!!!!!

 

i thought i would leave you with another post this week…because next week i am headed to colorado to look for a place to live!!!!!! holy moly…i am doing this! i have so many emotions about this move, mostly good ones…a few holy shit ones! so, much that i keep typing things out and erasing them, it’s like i can’t talk about it. instead, let’s just talk about food. what better form of therapy is there? too bad it can give you double chins.

on my trip to Ojai last week, i bought some concord grapes. these guys originated in concord, massachusetts, hence the name. they just looked so pretty in that cute little white bag and smelled so good in the produce section of the tiny market, i couldn’t resist. now, i probably only ate like two grapes the whole time i was there, typical, but luckily i could drive em home and make some concord grape jam with these scrumptious purple gems. i mean, they really do taste like the juice, or the gum. it is like none other flavor i have ever encountered. just eat them, seeds and all.

1. separate the inside of the grape from the skin. to do so, just squeeze one end end and out pops the green yumminess. do this over a bowl to catch all the juice as well, and do not discard the skins, but place them in a separate bowl. this is a bit of a daunting task, but kind of therapeutic.

2. in a food processor, take the skins and 1/4 cup of date sugar and puree. you can use regular sugar as well. i used just a small amount to keep the sugar content down. add more if you like.

3. in a large pot, boil the skin mixture, green insides, and 3/4 cup of honey. honey, adds moisture which is why i added less then 1 cup. if you want to use white sugar add 1-2 cups of white sugar, depending on how many grapes you have. boil the mixture until the grapes have broken down and the seeds are popping out. these are large seeds, so beware.

5.using a strainer, strain the mixture into a bowl to discard all the seeds. i really went to town on mine to make sure i got every last drop…my hand kind of hurt.

6. can the jam! now, i generally just boil my jars, fill them, and let them sit until they have sealed (when the top of the mason jar no longer pops back and forth). i don’t use pectin in any of my jams, and i generally try to eat the jam quickly and give away as presents. if you have never jammed and canned before, i suggest reading some other blogs or books that are a bit more of a veteran then i am!  this is how i learned to do it.

as i mentioned in my last post, i may or may not have illegally picked some california white sage on my adventure to ojai last week! once, i discovered it growing on my first day of hiking, i immediately began a hunt and a mission… to hoard as much as possible.  it was so fun to forage this beautiful treasure, and couldn’t help but to think of mushroom or truffle foragers. how fun to be on the search ending in an instant gratification of triumph! the prize is yours. kind of like thrift store shopping! i have always felt this sense of peaceful accomplishment when finding my most prized possessions in nature. some sort of natural instinct turned frivolous vs. survival? 🙂

california white sage, only grows in southern california, but you can find it for sale in many places. there are other types of sage that are harvested and sold for the same purpose.  sage is used in many global indigenous practices to cleanse the body, the soul, sometimes tangibles,and mostly negative feelings. the sage can be burned taking the smoke cupped in ones hands and and rub or brush it over the body. when harvesting it is best to cut at the soft part of the stem, not the woodsy part. this will allow the plant grow two more branches the following year, otherwise it will grow none. traditionally, indigenous people would leave a gift like a piece of hair or a seed to honor the gift they have been given. if you wrap your own be sure to use cotton or hemp, other unnatural products will smell awful.

after doing some research on the internet, i have come across some negative feelings about the new age connotation of using sage amongst “rich white people”, or the misleading use of native american culture.  we are clearly currently seeing this in trendy clothing stores and boutiques. pendleton blankets are a commodity, even my jewelry line is inspired by native americans.  i couldn’t help but to ask if this is a shame for the native american culture? i can see where people might be taking advantage of such and not respecting the true context of the culture.  for me, it has always felt personal. i have always identified and extremely admired the indigenous tribal traditions of this land. as a child we were always taking trips to the mountains as a family. i would buy all the indian trinkets and children’s books. to this day i can remember vividly reading a story about a young boy sent out on a journey at the coming of age. the book was bought in jackson hole, wyoming and and am still on the hunt for it again (even scouring my parents basement). it inspired me so much as a child.  my mom loves to bring up how i am channeling our sioux ancestor. now, this was a long time ago, but we love to talk about it, much like we love to talk about being italian, even the small amount we are.  it is said that my dad’s uncle looked truly native american. this is when i wonder about past lives and the link to our ancestors. perhaps, this is where it begins for me subconsciously.

i do believe the founding fathers deeply wronged the natives to america, i do believe they suffer to this day and their cultures and lifestyle are badly badly bruised as a result of our ancestors. i do believe this is spiritually their land, unfortunately, like many things, violence won.   such beautiful traditions and beliefs destroyed and i hope that my love and inspiration only helps to keep it alive and perhaps help in the future through education and respect. check below for some links i have looked into for donating or volunteering.

PLANET YOUTH

RE-MEMBER

ST JOSEPHS INDIAN SCHOOL

i took off again last week for a little get-a-way…this time it was just me and wylie. we drove about an hour and 15 minutes north east of LA to a small town called Ojai. i have been wanting to come to this little gem for some time now and decided it was time to cross it off my bucket list since my days in LA are starting to come closer and closer to an end. on this little journey i came up with a new sector for the blog called- the week…ends. since i am often going on these little weekend adventures i thought why not categorize them as such… plus, it is just incentive to continue these small  adventures. (i also have this small dream of having an airbnb blog…maybe someone would pay me to review places! oh, the ideas i come up with!) for the longest time i think i was waiting for a man to come around to take these little trips with. i was always a bit scared to do it on my own…but no more waiting around, i am a big girl now (with a dog).

i rented a little cabin on the east end of Ojai off air bnb called the Wabi Sabi house. my friends stacy and allan stayed in the bigger version of this small cabin for their mini-moon. they convinced me the place was well worth it, and well, they were right!

a little one room cabin with charm and love. perfect for one or two people with just the right amount of amenities.  complete with some coffee, a bottle of wine, and pellegrino. although, i was dying to stay in the other house which was featured in marth stewart living, i settled for the cheaper  place. i have to say i am happy i did. i think my favorite part was the bathroom. a japanese style outhouse where the breeze and sunlight hit it just right. after a long hike outside the front door, i took an afternoon soak in this tub. it was just me, the birds, the sunshine, and wylie hanging next to me. the breeze would sneak through the small open windows and hit my skin. it was as if someone was blowing whispers.  it was heaven.  frankly, i didn’t want to get out.

we went hiking both days and it was the first time i felt like fall had arrived in california, and  i loved every second of it. i have to admit i miss seasons like crazy this year, perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it is suppose to be 100 in LA today on October 1! there wasn’t another soul on the hike the first day, just us and the critters.  i picked a whole bunch of california white sage (illegally? i don’t know?) and even went back for more the next day. there was an empty soccer field just right before the hike that wylie got to do his favorite thing, run! i absolutely love watching him do this…it cracks me up!

this place is filled with so much charm, peace, and spirituality.  if i hadn’t already settled on colorado,i could totally settle in here. it is everything a california town should be, to me anyways. orange trees, health food stores, good restaurants, hiking, mountains, 20 minutes to the beach, art and lots of it, locally owned stores (all that is allowed, no chains!), artists, farmers, sunshine, yoga, hippies, sometimes the rich and famous, swimming holes, just to name a few things. small town living with  some culture…something i certainly can’t say for my home town! ha! poor CP!

i have to admit i spent a bit more time on the computer than i had hoped too…but it was nice to do away from my desk.  we hiked, drove around town, and hit up a few of the eateries and such. i bought some groceries from west ridge market, got take out from boccalis (just down the street from the house) and hip , a vegan hot spot. hit up bart’s books, the coolest little outdoor bookstore, walked around downtown -full of cute shops, and drove up to meditation mount for the most glorious view! on the way out i stopped at knead and got the best breakfast sandwich ever…and maybe a nutella croissant too.

even though i didn’t want to leave this place, as i took the 101 south to LA, listening to Karen Dalton, “are you leaving for the country“, i felt happy. happy, knowing my decision to move on, out of LA, is right. i will begin a journey to find a more realistic and simple approach to this life of mine. i couldn’t be more excited to begin this next chapter.


Ojai on Dwellable