Friday, January 28, 2011

Spruce It Up

I'm really looking forward to this weekend! In a way, it feels like the very first full weekend of my new year. Having been preparing for a work trip to D.C. for what feels like the entire month of January, there hasn't been a lot of opportunity for me to relax into my space. It's here, though, and despite a somewhat gray palate to the sky this morning - I think it's going to be a beautiful couple of days.

When the sun in shining and the sky is blue, I like to walk around this hilly town or take a bike ride to the beach or over the bridge. In terms of downtime, I mostly like to be cozy around the house - curled up on the couch with a blanket or a book, baking Barefoot Contessa granola in the kitchen while listening to music programs on public radio, or (and this is most ambitious) hunker down at my desk (candle lit, cue Appalachian Waltz) and write some poems.

For the past few days, however, all I can think about is retail therapy! It sounds kind of amazing to do a little shopping this weekend. I'm not much of a shopper, but there are some items that have almost hypnotized me. For example, the Missoni Hector throws featured above. Or...

Shoes designed by Beatrice Valenzuela. Jeana recently featured her on Closet Visit and Heather posted the above pic on LA in Bloom.

This Helianthus goblet from Anthropologie's home department. Can you make out the rows of sunflowers?

Scents and Sensibility - it you're interested in candles, Diptyque is the dream spot. Luckily, there's a store in SF, on Maiden Lane. I'm eying this cheerful pink Mini Roses candle.

I've been breaking in my La Trop for some time now and I think I'm ready for Le Mini Sac. My Clare Vivier collection wouldn't be complete without one.

Since I'll be starting my 40-days of Yoga to Personal Transformation soon (more on that later) maybe it's time I got a Yoga Journal subscription. If you add up the cost of the few issues I buy a year, it equals the subscription, so why not?

I love this Sprout Patten Ring from San Francisco based jewelry designer Claudia Kussano. Her studio is caddy-corner to Tartine - double trouble.

And finally, everyone's reading it! Since I just blew through "Just Kids," I'm ready to move on to another great read. Something draws me to this book, but I haven't yet picked it up. Since I'll be mostly window shopping (or dream shopping) this weekend, maybe I'll run to my local independent bookstore and grab it, as a treat!

Anything catch your eye lately?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Julia Child, Dorothy & Kermit

I'm not sure if it was the gray weather or my close proximity to the Arlington National Cemetery, but I found Washington D.C. to be a bit haunting - commemorating important people and events of American history, all of which shaped the country and many of which ended tragically. It's not often that a day of sight-seeing in a famous city leaves one teary-eyed.

So, for me, it was a breath of fresh air to visit the Smithsonian's American History Museum. The museum is not void of sadness, however it celebrates the country over a broad period of time - highlighting particular joys that have come out of American culture. Full of artifacts, this museum tells a story of America - featuring the Star-Spangled Banner, the first ladies' dresses, a history of the presidency (I really enjoyed the Lincoln section), and the evolution of transportation, electricity and musical instruments. It was there that I got to see Julia Child's kitchen:

Kermit the frog:

and Dorothy's ruby slippers:

***all photos by me except, obviously, for the ones of Jim Henson and the Wizard of Oz***

Monday, January 24, 2011

O! Say Can You D.C.

Just got back from Washington D.C., where I was attending the ABA (American Booksellers Association) Winter Institute. I was there on business, but luckily I had a chance to explore D.C. - and by the way, it was my first visit to our nation's capital! A trusted and notable travel guide said a night-time walk along the National Mall was the best way to view the monuments. I couldn't agree more! Be back soon to hear more about this inspiring conference and this breathtaking city.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The King's Speech

So inspired by all the clips I heard this weekend on NPR of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech. Even though I've heard it so many times, there's always something new to take away from his powerful words. Just listening to it, I think how relevant this continues to be. He exudes confidence and strength, singing poetry, which is why we still, today, hear his voice.

Be back soon...I'll be busy this week, with matters of a capital nature.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Big Dreams

There's been a lot of talk of resolutions. Fourteen days into this new year of 2011 and it only just occurred to me that I didn't make any for myself. Hopefully it's not too late! In each and every aspect of my days, I resolve to:

Be patient. The poetry will not always be in full bloom. Instead, it's in a constant state of blossoming.

Express myself in truthful ways. Consider life as a song and I am singing.

Notice the kindness in little things - even if they are tucked away in the corner.

Making decisions may be a dense journey, like battling fog on a long stretch of bridge, but keep watch for the other side - the mountains, the shore, the glimmering light. Soon you'll be home.

Take on the challenge, as twisted as it may be - because it will eventually lead me to a more peaceful understanding of the world.

Keep perspective and gain some more - it can only help to look deep within myself for answers, and even farther - through the trees and to the ocean - to make sense of it all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter's Bone

I recently watched "Winter's Bone," starring Jennifer Lawrence, in what the New Yorker's David Denby called a '"country-noir" thriller' and 'one of the great feminist works in film,' in his glowing review.

This is a must-see, which is why I won't carry on with all of my thoughts. I hope anyone who sees the film goes in knowing as little as I knew. It may have flown by you in the theaters, but it's now available to rent and I highly recommend you do so. To sum it up in a few words, it's the tale of a 17-year-old young woman's desperate attempt to support her family and save their land, against the harsh and silent landscape of the Missouri Ozarks.

I've heard of a film described in terms of a poem, and I would give that compliment to "Winter's Bone." Line by line, there is a silence that bookends each chilling beat and a voice hollering from below an icy surface. It never gets warm enough to melt, but somewhere underneath a woman breaks through.

***all photo stills from the film***

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Henry Miller + Patti Smith

Do you ever feel that there are so many books to read, it's as if they are falling from the sky? There's an amazing scene in an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," where Jeff and Larry are walking through a health food store. Larry likens it to walking through a bookstore. As always, Larry observes the experience, followed by an unfiltered, honest comment. He says something like, You know how bookstores always make you feel stupid? Health food stores always make me feel unhealthy.

Well, I wouldn't go as far as to say that bookstores make me feel stupid - but Larry's onto something. My take on it would be something more like this: You know how bookstores make you want to read EVERYTHING? Health food stores always make me want to eat HEALTHILY. There. That's more like it.

I recently visited the Henry Miller Library on my New Years trip to Big Sur with my family. It was my first time inside this incredible space - part museum, part bookstore, part archives, part art. Gallery. Whether you enjoy the life and times of Henry Miller or not, one minute walking through this hideaway and you're happy he was born.

After you've walked through the redwood garden of low sunlight, this poster, warped from the misty Big Sur climate, is the first thing you see. On the new year, or any day for that matter, it's not a bad thought.

Sheet music...

Swept away, was how I felt. Music played from an old record player. Passers-by nestled on the couch, playing the guitar. I found myself surrounded by books - new and old. I wanted to hold them all, magically - in a way that my eyes could read each word, on each page, from each book. I felt inspired, smart even! Walking down the health food aisle, I feel healthy.

Then, I began noticing a bit of Patti Smith paraphernalia. Having finished the book "Just Kids" on the trip, I was engrossed in her life, her song, her poetry - her beautiful words lingering in the air around me as a walked through these days. How perfect to see her on the walls of the Henry Miller Gallery. I wasn't sure of the connection, but cosmically I expected her there. I eventually learned of her great support of the library, participating in various fundraisers and events. Obviously, she took part in keeping the place alive. A place where thoughts move from off the page and into your heart, and books fall from the sky.

Monday, January 3, 2011