Sunday, October 31, 2010

No Plan B


Green sauce for the lamb.


Anna's salad.

Philosophy over dinner. I love this.

Lee and I had dinner at Anna's the other night. Now, Anna works a full time job in New York at Holly Hunt. She is my from-some-previous-life-soul-mate. And the girl can cook. She is also my go to for opinions on taste - when I have that little question in my head.

So, we go to her charming West Village apartment for - get this - after a full day of work - grilled lamb with green sauce (which was an amazing hand ground pesto), arugula, pear and proscuiutto salad and = double get this = homemade pumpkin bread pudding.

Well, it was divine. But the coolest part of the night was a conversation we had about a training she had attended at Holly Hunt. The message was...."There is no Plan B."

The sub-text: Make Plan A work.

This is just uber cool. This rocks as a way to live life. This means you become very very intuitive, sensitive, focused and agile.

This is it for me. Since we all make up our lives anyway - at least once we have left the home of our parents - why not make it up the way you want? If I am certain of anything at 57, I am certain that we make this all up.

Examples: I want a job in marketing. Okay...what do you do to get one? I want an apartment in NYC. Okay, what do we have to do to keep it? I want to go back to college. Okay, how does that happen?

Dreams can take time and work and paying your dues. But everything does, so we might as well just go with Plan A. (With this one minor caveat....as long as the plans are in our hands.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Year of the EQUIPMENT SHIRT


From Bergdorf Goodman - online: www.bergdorfgoodman.com


From Bergdorf's - see above.


This one is not one I purchased but found this yummy color on Net-a-Porter.
www.netaporter.com.




It's official. The Equipment Silk Shirt has finally replaced the DKNY black long sleeved t-shirt as my new uniform. (Before that it was the J.Crew long-sleeved basic T - in black, of course.)

Not only is this a new fabric - it is silk, instead of cotton - I am buying it in colors!
It is also a new shape.

Whew! Even my own mother got really sick of seeing me in those T-shirts every time she saw me.

Of course, now that I have five (yes, 5) of the Equipment shirts, she may get sick of that, too. But, the hubby likes them. Like, he just complimented me in my new ivory silk one. I think he forgot that he complimented me yesterday in the black one and the day before that in the green one. And he really liked the navy charmeuse one. Or he liked the way it felt. Wink. Wink.

It's a good thing. I needed a change. And I'm doing my best to emulate Diane Sawyer's fashion look when I need to look grown up. I don't love to shop. So, when I find something that works, I buy in multiples. Ask DKNY and J. Crew.

It hides a multitude of sins (like too much triple cream brie.)

Note: If you decide to buy one - they run a bit small.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Textiles 101


Indian towels from Canvas Home - www.canvashomestore.com - part of the Ochre group!


Restoration Hardware Turkish Towels. Really. From Turkey. I get mine on Wednesday. I'll let you know what I think.


Striped alpaca throws from Canvas Home - www.canvashomestore.com


Restoration Hardware Belgian Linen Sheets - I send EVERY client to buy them. Amazingly old world and sensual.

I was a Textiles and Clothing major in college. I have loved fabrics since I was eight years old. I loved the scraps from the sewing my mother did. I made doll clothes out of it.

Lee and I have kept our New York apartment by the skin of our teeth. (But, then, it does seem the stars align when the two of us are simpatico.) We have kept it by renting it to people who want to visit New York and not stay in a hotel. We had a gregarious woman from Australia who stayed a month, a couple from France, a couple from London, soon a couple from Rome and upcoming, a couple from Santa Monica. And we are here for a couple of weeks - to RELAX! and find inspiration (for me) to RESEARCH and WRITE (Lee). While we are here, I have to tweak this little B&B we seem to be running. (well, there is a Bed, but no Breakfast unless they run to EAT for the croissants.)

What I have noticed since I returned is this:

The place is in perfectly fine shape except for the need for more....TEXTILES! I have purchased two sets of Restoration Hardware Belgian Linen sheets, a second down comforter, a cotton blanket, 4 new Turkish towels and a bath mat. Tomorrow I am going to purchase an Indian hand towel and an alpaca throw for the daybed. I am a nutty textiles maniac.

There is little more important to me than a perfectly made bed. We had this darling French couple here in the apartment a couple of weeks ago. After they had been there for a few days, Andre, the husband emailed me:

Alecia,

Evelyne would like to buy sheets and pillowslip same as the one
you have, they are really confortable. Do you know where we could find
similar and if there is any reference.

Best regards

Andre

Well, you could hardly have told me anything more complimentary! That my child was brilliant! Okay, fine. But, I am very excited if you like the way I make a bed!

So, I am driven, compulsive, obsessed with getting the textiles right in this apartment - both for me and for our guests. This makes me realize that TEXTILES make a home COMFORTABLE. The throw that is on the chair to wrap up in when it is slightly chilly, the linen sheets, the down pillow and carefully chosen down comforter on top of you, the rich towels and bath mat, the linen hand towel. It is luxury. It is such a little thing - (and, oh, so rather expensive) but worth it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Michelangelo Buonarroti di Simone - my new book!


The David's tush - in Piazza della Signoria (The REAL David's tush is in the Accademia. This is a copy - but the original used to be in this spot. I say, no matter where it is...it is a nice tush.)


Florence, Italy - home to Michelangelo Buonarotti di Simone


The inspired. Brunelleschi's Il Duomo and Giotto's Bell Tower


Piazza della Signoria, Florence. Lunch time.

I haven't had a good book for six months. This is not like me. I am a 4 book a month kind of gal, but I just lost my juice this past Spring - the Lee work stuff, the "are we really leaving New York" question (we didn't btw), the Izzy heart problems (which have resolved themselves), the living again with Lee stuff. Just stuff and I couldn't find a book in which to escape when I most needed it.

But, this past week I heard about Young Michelangelo by John T. Spikes on NPR and I was compelled to buy it immediately. I got it just in time for this trip and I am enthralled. It reminds me of sitting in an Art History class with a really great professor. It is a bit academic, but incredibly interesting. And because it is about Florence (so far) the places and people are familiar - something I have heard about before when Lee and I took the Renaissance Art History class in Florence in 2006. But, somehow, my brain is latching on to it this time - reading it. So, it is so much fun to noodle with Lee about it. IF you like biographies and history and art, it is really fantastic. The author is known for his book on Carravagio (which is next on my read list based on this one.) I'll fill you in on what I've learned that sticks in my next post. As Lee and I are planning a trip to Italy next Spring, I feel like it is getting me in shape for the trip. It is just yummy to have my brain working in the world of words.

Speaking of words, I am just carrying on and meandering...something like the streets of Florence. Ciao.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall Fantasy - Warm Days in Minnesota and Sibling Rivalry


Lee lost on top of Eagle's Peak.


View from Eagle's Peak.


My Fiorentini and Baker boots worked well for hiking. :-) Love these boots!


The pool house at the Lake of the Dalles. So vintage and sweet.

This never happens here. Languishing at table over lunch at Lucia's - outside in the sun - on October 10. But it happened this week - since the beginning of the month, we've had what I call "Santa Monica days" = 72 - 76 degrees and sunny. Perfection.

It inspired Lee and me to do a "color drive" yesterday. It seems a little Midwestern ma and pa to me, but hey, I guess that is what we are. I didn't have an Oldsmobile, though. I had my Mazda.

We don't, however, think ahead - like pack a blanket for napping in the sun, or take water or my camera. All I did was pack a couple of apples in my handbag in case Lee's glucose levels dropped (have I mentioned he's diabetic?) That's it. He's not a planner that way. He's more, "Let's just go and stop talking about it."

So we drove to Taylor's Falls, MN up Hwy 95 in Minnesota, then headed across the St. Croix to Hwy 35 in Wisconsin to Interstate Park and the Lake of the Dalles. It is so incredibly lovely and quiet and park-y. So un-Manhattan. Or un-Minneapolis. So nature-filled. Really calming and beautiful.

Well, here's the quick story. Lee reminded me of his oldest brother, Don, and his wife, Gail, who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for Gail's 65th birthday a couple of years ago. (And, Don is older than Gail, but we won't be specific.) This is impressive! They live in Colorado and have been climbers for years, talking about "14-ers" and things that make me go all woosy. A 14-er is a 14,000 foot mountain. That is almost 3 miles up. Well, please, I thought I was something special living on a 4th floor walk-up in NY!

So, anyway, we are duly impressed - or depressed - I'm not sure which - especially given that we are 10 (ten!) years younger. They talked about how they literally had to think about turning over in the tent at night - it took so much energy- they had to decide if it was worth it. And Don thought at some point, he had acute pneumonia at a certain altitude - and may be the end of his days.

Well, we knew we wanted to hike up to Eagle's Peak at Interstate Park. I can't even say "climb" up to Eagle's Peak. It is just a hike - and it is .8 mile. It is not a big deal. We did fine - got to Eagle's Peak - relived our romantic past there and decided to head back. Well, we went the wrong way and within moments, realized we couldn't find the path back down. We tried this way and that, with no luck. Then we decided to go back to the top - and start over. Obviously , we got ourselves there - surely we could find our way back.

As we stood on the top of the rock, another hiker auspiciously came up from the path. We felt like this was our lucky, lucky day - the gods had sent us just what we needed! We acted like we knew exactly what we were doing - headed toward the path from which the hiker arrived as we said "Hello." He said, "That's the way down, you know."

We said, "Yeah, that's what we want." Wink, wink.

Whew! We were totally lost at Interstate Park on Eagle Peak - only .8 mile from civilization. All I could think of was either...."I want my mommy" or "I want New York, where I know my way around."

It was made very clear. We should never ever attempt Mount Kilimanjaro. Don and Gail, you will always be way cooler than we are. Seriously. What you did is immensely impressive.