Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No One Belongs Here More Than You

Despite the fact that the title reminds me of those terrible Israeli tourism ads, I love this quirky slideshow:

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Thanksgiving" Sunday Supper

Sunday Supper 11.23.08
This past Sunday, we hosted a Sunday Supper at our house, and though it wasn't Thanksgiving just yet, we served a Zuni Style Turkey and Bread Salad - almost as if it were. Someone commented on my recent post about the 5th of July dinner party that they wanted to see what I'd do for Thanksgiving - so I thought I'd share a couple of photos. Though this was a "dry run" - I pretended it was the real thing.
Sunday Supper 11.23.08
I used the same baby blue and flax runners and placemats without a tablecloth, and decorated the table with some dusky pumpkins and squash that I picked up at Schaner Farms' stand at the Saturday Little Italy Mercato - along with this lovely little herb bouquet that I hung on the front door. (Schaner also sells at the Santa Monica Farmers Market in Los Angeles.)

Herbs from Schaner Farms
The silverware was my great grandmother's, and the candlesticks are from West Elm (they're a year-round fixture.) The party favors were little 2 piece boxes from Eclipse Chocolat containing one each of their Pomegranate Sage and Pumpkin Muscovado chocolates. (I still haven't eaten my box yet - yum!)

If you're curious, you can see the menu and read more about the meal on my food blog - Alice Q. Foodie.

Friday, November 21, 2008

If I lived in a cold climate...

Ugg boots
I'd be so all over these. They just look so comfortable and stylish.

Also, sorry, I realize my nablopomo sort of nablew-away this week. Too much work - hate when that happens. I will try to catch up. I'm also going to be cooking all weekend for a big Thanksgiving Sunday Supper on Sunday. Read all about it over on Alice Q. Foodie next week!

J Crew is KILLING me this week with their sale - they've marked everything down again, AND there's a 20% off code on their homepage. I also believe they sent out a free shipping code last week, but I can't find it - so check your mailbox if you usually get their promos!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ben Stiller's Home on "So Haute"

I don't know if anyone else will remember this, but a couple of years ago, Elle Decor did a feature on Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor's home decorated by Roman & Williams. In a classic case of life imitating art, these guys became sought after designers after doing set design in Hollywood - they were so good, celebrities started hiring them to do their homes. They landed some commercial contracts, and the rest is history. (Coincidentally, the guy who designed and built our mantle used to be a set designer too.)
stiller living room
I absolutely loved this spread and I haven't stopped thinking about it since, so I went online to look for some photos to post. These came up on a lovely and intriguing blog called So Haute - along with some other photos of Roman & Williams' work. Check it out here. The world of design blogs is still relatively new to me, having been wrapped up in the food blog world for so long, and this one looks like a very worthwhile discovery indeed. I especially love that it's not snotty, like so many decorating blogs seem to be (not that that doesn't have its place too) and I am especially amused that she thinks she's late to the Eddie Ross party. If she is, then I almost missed it entirely! ;-)
I just love the dark walls, eclectic mix of furniture and wood beam ceilings. And that ladder bookcase really gets my motor running. It's almost hard to believe it was decorated, since it looks so lived in and personal - but I guess that's the magic of hiring a set designer!
stiller living room2

photos via So Haute

Monday, November 17, 2008

Neato Gift Idea - the Atomic Bonsai Tree

atomic bonsai tree.

I could have just mentioned this in my last post about Tortoise, but I kind of thought it was so nifty that it deserved its own. I bought one of these a present for Mr. Q. Style - aka "Jim" at Tortoise. At the time I thought it was just a cool pop-arty gadget, I didn't realize that it was extra cool because it was designed and made in Los Angeles by a local artist, using 100% recycled materials and non-toxic inks. It comes in a flat box, and you put the whole thing together using the notches, kind of like Lincoln Logs. You can rearrange it or play with it to get the shape you want, and keep rearranging it just for fun. I'm not sure I'd buy it as an alternative to a real foliage, but it looks cute once you get it put together, and makes a fun little desk decoration or toy.

Available here on wishingfish.com, and on Tortoise's website for around $20.

Photo via Wishingfish

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tortoise on Abbott Kinney in LA

Tortoise on Abbott Kinney in Venice Beach
I stumbled across this little shop recently when I was in LA for a girls getaway with a good friend. We'd stopped by Venice Beach on our way home to San Diego to take a look around and check out Jin Patisserie, just next door. Tortoise specializes in Japanese crafts and housewares - glassware, textiles, kitchen items, jewelry, garden decor, games, cards and paper, finely crafted wooden and ceramic vessels and small furniture items. Everything is carefully curated and artfully displayed, and you just get that lucky feeling - like you're seeing things you're not likely to see anywhere else - and let's face it, how often can you really say that these days?
Japanese Textiles at Tortoise on Abbott-Kinney in Venice Beach
I was particularly infatuated with these Japanese textiles. They're multi-purpose squares of cloth called tenugui that were traditionally used as scarves or headwraps, but can also serve as napkins, bread basket liners, table decor, kitchen towels... you name it. I contemplated them as napkins - but the $12. pricetag was a bit of an obstacle since I wanted one of each.
Tortoise on Abbott Kinney in Venice Beach
Their online store doesn't provide quite the same experience as the shop, but if you've been there before, or need to shop for a gift from afar, it's good to know it's there. They also do the most amazing gift wrapping, with a beautiful handcrafted paper overlay with stamping and a ribbon.

1342 1/2 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
Open Wed-Sun 12-6

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fanny at Chez Panisse


This is one of the cutest cookbooks out there for kids, with gorgeous illustrations and a nice little history of the restaurant, Chez Panisse. Take a peek!

Friday, November 14, 2008

SF Victorian Remodel in the NY Times

sf victorian remodel dining

Nice piece in the NY Times today on the remodel of a Haight Victorian, with some great ideas for letting in light and modernizing a historic home. I love how even the dog coordinates with the decor! Click here for the slide show.

sf victorian remodel

Photo via NY Times

New Trina Turk in the OC

Just received an email about the opening of the new Trina Turk this Saturday at Fashion Island. Sadly I'll be otherwise occupied at the SD Bay Wine and Food Festival, but I'm sure it will be a hoot!
Trina Turk

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Revisiting the 5th of July...

Today I'm revisiting summer to tell you about a fancy dinner party I threw back in July. If you read my food blog, these photos might look familiar - but I couldn't geek out on the decor, etc. as much as I would have liked over there. Or at least, I didn't think I could.
Blackberry Caipirinhas and Champagne
I had really wanted to do it on the 4th, but too many people had conflicts, so the 5th it was. I still kind of like the ring of it. We poured champagne and did Blackberry Caipirinhas to start, and had some nibbles. Here's the menu:

Fancy Dinner and Cocktails in the Backyard

Blackberry Mint Caipirinhas
Roederer and Domaine Carneros Sparkling Wine
Andante Picolo triple cream cheese
Fra'mani Salumetto
Bread and Cie Crostini
Pickled Cherries
White Bean Hummus
Local Olives
Fried Capers
Vinho Verde
Thyme and Honey Glazed Baby Back Ribs
Green Salad with Grilled Stonefruit and Pinenuts
Barefoot Contessa French Potato Salad
Tempranillo Rose and Cote du Rhone
Banana Cream Pie

(You can read more about the food here and here.)
Pre-Dinner Appetizers
For the table settings, I raided Pottery Barn, Target and Crate and Barrel. (The tables, chairs and long tablecloths were rented.) The original plan was to go with white tablecloths and flax colored linens, but when I spotted the robin's egg blue placemats at Target, I couldn't pass them up. The runners are from Pottery Barn, and the wooden clothespins came from Ace Hardware. For the candles I used the white ones from the Mexican section of the grocery store, and I put hydrangeas and peonies in Mason jars for the flower arrangements.

5th of July Dinner Party

God I love peonies.
Hydrangeas and Peonies
I already had a dozen plates, wine glasses, champagne flutes etc. so it wasn't too much of a stretch to buy a few more (and make up for breakage, in some cases.) This is where it pays off to buy plain, versatile stuff - all of these things will be used again for the holidays and future dinner parties.
5th of July Dinner Party
Here is a not-quite-exhaustive list of what came from where. (If you have any questions or want more specifics, feel free to send me an email.)

Crate and Barrel - White plates, wine glasses, champagne glasses, bamboo plate (on table), Zinc tray (on drink table) mini juice glasses (used to serve the Ajoblanco,) and dinner napkins. For dessert and appetizers I used little disposable Bambu plates.
Pottery Barn - Hotel silver drink bucket (a few years ago), linen runners, linen cocktail napkins.
Target - blue placemats, tea towel (in basket on table), water glasses. The petal shaped metal bowls are also from Target a million years ago.
Ikea - small stackable cocktail glasses that were dirt cheap.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"The Other Kate" - 25% Off Everything at Kate Spade Fashion Valley

New Kate Spade store at Fashion Valley
I was just in the new Kate Spade store at Fashion Valley yesterday, and everything in the store except the jewelry is currently 25% off of the marked price, including the sale items, paper goods, etc. I just love the way they decorate the boutiques with vintage pottery and cool library books, all color-coordinated with the goods.

We just have so much good stuff at Fashion Valley now - with Anthropologie, Tory Burch, and the new Hermes coming soon? Lord help us!

Eco Orbs at Kate Ross Shoe Boutique in North Park

Orbs at Kate Ross shoe store
After brunch at Urban Solace the other day, I spotted these "eco orbs" hanging in the window of the Kate Ross shoe store next door. They're little terrariums of desert plants and succulents in orbs that are a little larger than a Christmas ornament. (They weren't open yet, so I snapped these photos through the window.)
Kate Ross shoe store
They look like a fun gift, and multiples of them make a really nice display in the window. I tried to find them online but nothing seems to be coming up so maybe this is a local phenomenon. In the course of my google searching though I did come up with one other company that makes something similar for $600. Gak.
Orbs at Kate Ross
The original Kate Ross Boutique around the corner on University and this newer shoe store are both fun stylish little shops. Kate herself is often on the premises and is always very nice and helpful. I actually haven't been in there for a while, and need to check out the shoe store after peering in the window - so check back for more on that soon!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

J Crew is at it again...

My Pictures
Sarah from Whoorl just alerted me this morning (via Twitter) to the fact that J Crew just added a whole bunch of new items to their sale page - including all of the above. They're not at their cheapest prices ever, but they are returnable, which is always nice when ordering online. They're out of the turquoise pumps in my size, but I'm seriously considering the dresses. The dark wrap one is $99. and the leopard print is $69. Must...resist...

Eddie Ross in Domino

eddie ross domino bar.

I had the privilege of meeting the fabulous Eddie Ross (of Top Design and Martha Stewart) in NYC recently, and I'm really loving his blog and this spread in November's Domino (the same issue with the Jenna Lyons house tour.) I am feeling a little vindicated actually because his style is strikingly similar to mine, with lots of flea market finds and vintage classics - hotel silver, Spode, mix and match silverware, etc. We actually set up our bar very similarly too. Just one or two types of booze (usually Ketel One and Makers Mark) and some mixers - and sometimes a specialty cocktail, like caipirinhas or margaritas. (Our good friends who like to drink something else know where to find it anyway!)

He's doing a flea market tour in NYC on Sunday the 16th of Nov. which I would totally do if I could. I looove flea marketing, and have been jonesing for some lately - I really need to get up to the Rose Bowl Market sometime! It's on the second Sunday of each month at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

To get the full effect of Eddie's talent - check out his portfolio here.

Photos and links from eddieross.com

Monday, November 10, 2008

A last chance at some serious bargains...

mosaique hobo

I know I'm kind of flogging Hayden Harnett to death over here, but they're having a big sale that's just wrapping up - I'm sorry I didn't tell you about it sooner, actually! This bag is one of the best items left. Check it out here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Seriously loving these shoes...

coclico bootie

A few weeks ago, we talked about these - and since then they've added more sizes and styles. The cuteness - it just doesn't stop!

From Coclico

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Japanese Baths

One of my most cherished fantasies is that I will one day have a Japanese bath in my home. I already have the spot in the yard picked for the garden, and it just so happens that our master bathroom, which is in desperate need of remodeling - opens onto that side of the house. So maybe someday, something like this will be a possibility...
japanese bath i.
japanese ofuro tub 1.
I'd also be ok with one of these out in the garden itself... Really, it wouldn't matter...
The most important elements are hot water you can get into up to your neck, and a view of nature (or at least natural light) while you're soaking. A garden to cool off and meditate in afterwards is nice too.
bath woodblock
Beautiful Japanese baths are available for day use at:
Ten Thousand Waves in Santa Fe
Kabuki Hot Springs in San Francisco
Esalen in Big Sur (Their signature massage is worth the trip in and of itself.)
Tassajara Zen Center near Monterey also has Japanese baths, and is re-opening for guests in April, 2009. More info is on their website under the "Guest Season" tab

Photos via Zimbio, Dufarelli, Kyoto Guest Houses and Konyoku.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Michelle Style

Michelle Obama Collage

Michelle Obama has definitely taken some heat for the dress she wore on election night, but I have to give the woman props. She has put on a public face every day for going on what now, two solid years? And for the most part, she's looked absolutely amazing. She has a strong spirit to go along with those upper arms and an absolutely spectacular smile, and I can't wait to see what she wears come January 20, 2009. Whatever it is, I'm sure she'll rock it.

Photos via The New York Times

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jenna Lyons' Kitchen in Domino

jenna lyons kitchen
I'm really digging the Jenna Lyons home tour featured this month on Domino's website and in the November issue of the magazine. Jenna is J. Crew's creative director, the home really seems to embody her signature style. I am constantly salivating over kitchen designs, since I hope to do a remodel someday myself, and this look - simple, traditional, utilitarian and comfortable - is exactly what I'm going for. Or will go for, when the time comes!

A Wedding at Manka's from Snippet and Ink

wedding shoes
wedding hair
wedding sign
boathouse interior
happy couple
happy couple on dock
happy couple on beach
wedding dinner
wedding cupcakes
couple at dinner

If we hadn't eloped, I'd like to think this is the kind of wedding James and I would have had. Quirky waterfront location, casual but elegant, etc.

Beautiful as they are though, these photos make me a little sad. You see, the restaurant and main lodge at Manka's Inverness Lodge - where this wedding took place in November, 2006 - actually burned down on the night after Christmas that year. Everyone has been waiting for them to rebuild, but it appears that the owners had no fire insurance and there's a dispute as to whether the zoning variance that allowed the place to continue to operate allows for it to be rebuilt. The inn continues to rent the cabins and outlying rooms though, and the Boathouse - where the ceremony took place, still exists and is available for weddings.

I've actually been wanting to go to Manka's for a long time. I'm a little sad that we missed out on the lodge and restaurant, but now when you go, I hear they actually cook for you in your cabin - sometimes even right in the fireplace. Cabins are around $400-600 per night. Most of the rooms have outdoor showers and soaking tubs, and the West Marin location is perfect for day trips to Point Reyes Station, Bodega Bay or Stinson Beach - not to mention oyster picnics at Hog Island Oyster Company. I'm looking at the calendar right now...

All photos via Snippet and Ink - one of the coolest wedding blogs I've ever come across. Wedding styled by Alison Events. Photography by Mel Barlow and Sara Remington. (Click through to Snippet and Ink for specific credits and more photos and information.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

10 Reasons to Be Happy About the Time Change

I moan and groan about Winter and the shorter days and longer nights it brings, but there are a few things I really look forward to. Such as...
Mocha at Cafe Fanny
  1. taking lots of steaming hot baths
  2. making soul-warming soups and stews for dinner
  3. taking yoga classes by candlelight with steam on the windows
  4. walking the dogs in the cool night air
  5. steaming mugs (or bowls) of hot chocolate and mochas
  6. the smell of wood burning in fireplaces
  7. all those cookies
  8. cashmere and boots
  9. holiday parties with lots of champagne
  10. snuggling under the down comforter

How about you? What do you look forward to?

photo of a mocha at Cafe Fanny in Berkeley

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Audacity of Soap

Obama Bar
Just $9.99, in scents like "From Sea to Shining Cedar" and "Honey Oat Hope." Good for your skin and ready to wash away the Nation's Woes. Bet they're going to need a lot of them in Washington to wash away the stink of eight years of ... oops did I say that out loud?

Buy them here.