Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Wishes

Be merry and bright this holiday season! I woke up this morning with "White Christmas" stuck in my head. Just like the ones I used to know. It got me thinking of my friends and family - and all of my gratitude. I wish you all a happy holiday and an inspiring, healthy and fun new year. See you back here in 2011.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ciao Mama

It's another Closet Visit on Jeana's blog - and this time it's with the one and only Sunday Taylor - aka: my lovely mom. If you want a little inspiration for how to be cozy, sophisticated and beautiful all at the same time, check it out.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Breakfast at Tiffany's

I was so sad to hear the news about Blake Edwards. Breakfast at Tiffany's is easily one of my favorite movies ever - I can't count the number of times I've watched Audrey Hepburn sing "Moonriver" on her windowsill. Let's face it - there's a little Holly Golightly in all of us.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Under the weather one day, on top of the holidays the next! Since I've just been hanging around my apartment resting up, I've had endless hours to sit around and envision holiday decorations. In a bout of energy Saturday night, I gathered around all the greenery I picked up when I got my Christmas tree and all the berry branches I picked up when I bought my mistletoe. Together, and with a bit of green wire, these decorations and I got to work!

First, I had a vision for my mantle. I was going for a look that was rustic, but elegant. After pulling apart the garland I picked up at the Delancy Street Christmas Lot, I arranged the branches on the mantle. I then cut berries from their bunch, garnishing my arrangement wherever I could.

Spray of Christmas...


This is the first year I've put up a wreath - the start of a long tradition, I hope!

The little tree! I usually get a small tree (the kind you'd see in a child's room), because I'm not quite ready for a big one. My parents have the most incredible collection of ornaments. Many look antique, and very old-fashioned - which makes sense because they've had most of them since before I was born! Three years ago when they gave me a few treasures from the lot, I was delighted to put them on my tree. Now I can build my collection on holiday memories from my childhood.

Year-round, I keep a framed photograph of Joni Mitchell in my non-working fireplace. I usually move it when the tree comes around, but this year I'm just not ready to. From this angle, I think it looks kind of nice.

Don't laugh!

My first Christmas card of the year! Now my place is perfectly cozy for this holiday season.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cold Season

Home sick, feeling under the weather. I do have these dainty flowers to cheer me up.

They are mesmerizing to study. They also fit in perfectly at my place. They remind me of Chinese Lanterns, but these are yellow. Those are orange.

There was also a lovely Emily Dickinson poem I heard on the Writer's Almanac this morning: "The Props assist the House." Read here.

Friday, December 3, 2010


J.L.G. today.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ojala, Sweet Ojala

I find it very difficult to return home from a vacation. It's always the same.

On holiday, you seek clarity and find it - suddenly your brain makes space for all the thoughts once crowded inside. Suddenly, your imagination has a voice. You make a goal: to relax. Relaxed you are: waking up late from restful slumbers, forgetful that hours and minutes once determined your days, slowing your pace from a bullet-like speed to a leisurely sail.

Nearing the end of your vacation, you claim ownership over this new way of being. This new You! You think, I can beat the system! I can carry these feelings of calm, stillness and awareness with me wherever I go! Wow, this vacation really worked! With the coming week (not on vacation) in full loom (that's loom, not bloom), you vow to keep these feelings close. Nothing's going to get in my way...

Fast forward...and I mean Fast. You pack up your things, turn in your key and return home. You go to sleep, you wake up and there you are: cracked out on coffee, zooming along with the morning commute. What vacation? Like I said, I find it very difficult to return home from a vacation. It's especially challenging to come home from a vacation when the time you've spent away has been in Ojai.

Well, in this moment, I'm happy to keep close the weekend I spent at Ojala in Ojai with Liz. Some highlights:

The charm of the front porch in the morning. It was the Love Shack that made me fall in love with incense last New I burn Sandlewood at my place every chance I get. The wood burning's not quite the same when I put my heater on in San Fran, but I can pretend.

Soaking in the goodness on the Cozy Dell Trail - reminds me of all the amazing hikes we have in the Bay Area.

Yum. Breakfast at the Farmer and the Cook followed by a visit to their farm...

It's hard to recreate that anywhere else...but for the past few days I've been cooking with the produce I bought at their farmer's market stand. Ojai feeds the does any farmer's market! I'll have to go to the Noe Valley one on Saturday.

Liz does a head stand at Meditation Mount. The great thing about yoga and meditation is that you can take it with you. It's not limited to a temple, a teacher, a studio or a mat. That's what I love about the practice.

Happy December! Heading back North from Ojai, Liz and I took the mountainous, high-altitude route - and what do you know! Snow! I won't be finding much of that in the Mission District but that's fine with me. Besides our lack of snow, I think I can keep the Ojai goodness with me as long as I chose. One city, another city. One weekend, the next. There is Ojai, sweet Ojai, and there is Poem, Sweet Poem. This is life, and as far I'm concerned - it's all good.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Palm to Palm

These palms are in a post-vacation stretch. They bend their back, they are lightness elongated - aiming high, they reach for the sky. See you in a few.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gearing up for Grateful

I wanted to squeeze in one more blog entry before the long holiday weekend - soon enough I'll be too full of turkey stuffing and pecan pie to lift a finger, let alone compose a thoughtful post.

With all the scurrying around, however, I've made certain not to forget to acknowledge my gratitude. One of my yoga teachers, Jill, incorporated a grateful pose into practice: she recommends during back-bends to think of your loved ones (specifically all of those for which you are grateful) and picture them in miniature on your belly, as it rises to the sky.

At first I giggled at this visual: everyone, and I mean everyone, I'm thankful for - hanging out like figurines in a marvelous pack - with my stretchy yoga top as their ground. But then, after doing this multiple times over multiple classes, I started to come around on the exercise. I actually thought of more people than I imagined - trying to fit in as many as possible, as not to leave anyone out of the party on my ribs. I suggest you try it, and I don't think this acknowledgment practice is limited to a yoga class. Maybe as you're getting ready for bedtime? Maybe while you're rolling out pie dough?

There's no way I could share all of my gratitude in this one blog, so I will simply share one thing that I couldn't live without: the spontaneous "me" day. While rattling on about everyone I love, I know it's strange to bask in the glory of me - however I need to take care of myself before I can give back to the others - I stand by this truth.

My "me" day was on Saturday and there was one thing on the day time agenda: no plans to speak of. With no where to be and no one to meet, I relaxed, creating space to do things I didn't even know I wanted to do. My "me" day was a real success because I actually felt myself
s l o w d o w n - a rare sensation that can only be felt in its genuine state.

My pace came to such a halt that I actually took the time to take care of some things around the house. I fixed a lampshade that appeared to be eternally crooked, I dried flowers and arranged them into bouquets, I hand-washed some clothes and I listened to one of my favorite music programs, the Thistle and Shamrock, on a local radio station. I also...

Dropped in to Flora Grubb Gardens, where I bought two plants to add to my collection. Their space is half plant store, half plant museum.

I've wanted to make a wreath for some time now and my hope is to make one with my dried flowers. There's a succulent wreath-making workshop there this weekend - if anyone's in town...

Something to be grateful for: When walking down the street, don't forget the things below your feet!

Aww, Arizmendi. Something to be grateful for. Since they opened on Valencia, I'd yet to stop in for a slice (or two) of pizza and my "me" day was the perfect time to do it. I enjoyed my mushroom, goat cheese and leek pizza al fresco to the sounds of an accordion, courtesy of Gypsy Honeymoon. Obviously, a trip to Arizemendi isn't complete without a drool-fest over their pecan rolls.

Gypsy Honeymoon - a place where the antiques never get old! Lately, on nice days, the owner sets up a table of cherished items on her stoop. I couldn't help but notice how colorful and lively everything looked - almost as if I was at Flora Grubb.

How cute is that lamb? Obviously, a "me" weekend isn't complete without some good socializing. Sunday night, Liz, Sarah and I cooked this Onion Madeira Soup with Gruyere Toasts (which I spotted on A Bloomsbury Life). It rounded out the coziness of the entire weekend.

With a little bit of time for "me," I am able to be even more grateful for the ones who want to be with me - even in miniature, with my chin aimed for my heart, these people - these loved ones - they make the best company.