Friday, May 29, 2009

Vintage Buys For My Home

A couple of days ago, Track 16, an art gallery in Santa Monica, held an unbelievable bazaar, selling all kinds of vintage items at lower than low prices. I chose 4 wine glasses and 4 delicate champagne glasses, $1 apiece - I love champagne! It's the only alcohol I'll have. I also went for a shiny milk jug a and sugar pot.
But my best buy was definitely the large red trunk, made in a bakelite-type material, for a mere $5. I use it as a coffee table.
More about my new Venice abode in the days to come...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Clean-Burning Scented Candles


I love scented candles but stopped buying any some time ago after I read about the release of toxic substances into the air when burning; some are carcinogenic. Synthetic scents, lead in the wick, paraffin wax and other ingredients are to be avoided if you want your candles to burn "clean". Make sure you buy soy- or beeswax-based candles, scented with essential oils.
I found two wonderful options.
At Soaptopia, a wonderful place I told you about where everything is handmade and natural, they offer scented candles that are really exceptional: shea-butter based, they melt into a hot massage oil. So sensuous!
I also got a lavender & lemongrass one at Whole Foods. So fresh!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rosewood-Silver Cuff & Some Lace

For my birthday, my sister really spoiled me... We went to my favorite design store, A+R on Abbott Kinney boulevard in Venice, and I got to choose a present. (Remember the plates and the barbed wire eco-plastic skin jewelery piece I also got there?)
I went for a sleek, modern wood and silver cuff designed by Tadd Sackville-West. It has hardly left my wrist since we left the store.

I received yet another treasure of an adornment, this time from my friend and aspiring designer J Elaine, who made this headband for me with a strip of old lace. She searches the flea markets of Paris for ancient fabrics and trinkets she then transforms. This lace headband totally dresses up any simple outfit.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Erik Bruhn And Bournonville


Erik Bruhn was one of the most important and beautiful dancers in history. His long lines and extraordinary technique made him Nureyev's only role model - he was also the great love of his life. A Dane, Bruhn honored, in this slender volume, his country's most influential choreographers ever, Auguste Bournonville, whose technique and ballets (such as La Sylphide) completely shaped the Danish national ballet company. It features wonderful pictures, but also valuable technical advice - the chapters on pirouettes is especially enlightening. Though it is out of print, this precious book can be found online.

Love dance? Watch the New York Times's recent video tribute to the tutu, and their Baryshnikov slideshow + article. Also check out dancer Daniil Simkin's blog.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

1920's Russia Book

Another one of my birthday presents this year, aside from the Tortilla Girl dress, is a superb book called Moscow and St-Petersburg 1900-1920. It covers the arts and culture in those cities during the Russian "Silver Age", when artists such as Kandinsky or Chagall created great paintings, while the likes of divine Anna Pavlova (bottom pic) and Michel Fokine turned Russian ballet into a eternal legend. In some works, you can see elements that would later inspire Yves Saint-Laurent, Paul Poiret, generations of designers and creators. As the Russian empire was about to crumble, the arts bloomed. The book also includes extraordinary pics of historical figures like the last tsar, Nicholas II, Rasputin, and others, as well as heart-wrenching shots from World War 1.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My New (As Yet Nameless) Bike


As you know, I just moved to California's Venice. With the beach 6 blocks away, the super cool Abbot Kinney boulevard's trendy vintage stores (and my favorite bakery) about as close, with nearby yoga studios and with a huge Whole Foods supermarket a couple of blocks away, I thought that it may be a good idea to get a bike. On Craigslist, I found this used black Schwinn Beach Cruiser - a cult model. I love its sleek, curvy lines.
Though LA is known to be the city of car life, it is also pretty eco-conscious. Buses for instance, many of which run on natural gas rather than on oil, feature kinds of racks at the front, allowing you to load your bike on the bus as you commute.
I have always named my bikes. My favorite ever was a classic Raleigh I bought from an Irish girl in Paris; I named it Ulysses after Joyce's divine novel: a reference to my bike's Irish origins and urban voyage nature - Joyce indeed fetes the city of Dublin in the book. Now I'm wondering what to name my Angeleno beach cruiser; any suggestions?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Painting Mugs With Céline

My sister visited me in Los Angeles for a week. She has the great idea to go to Color Me Mine in Santa Monica, a pottery store/art studio you can pick a blank item and decorate it yourself in their cool and bright space. We made one for each other, and Céline also made one for her boyfriend.
My very creative sis chose to make mine a tribute to the Russian avant-garde - "Kandinsky got nothing on me, Malevich's in the ditch," she rapped as I giggled. When we were in our teens, my mum took us to Nantes to visit the very first major international Russian avant-garde exhibition and were all in awe.Paints and brushes! It was like being in kindergarden all over again...

Oh, and we had our favorite breakfast: pancakes! Buckwheat with blueberries and maple syrup for me, buttermilk with whipped cream for Céline.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Benjy On The Road



Benjy just loves riding cars. So he needed no encouragement to hop into my car, aka Red Chief, and we drove down Pacific Coast Highway from Malibu along the ocean. Remember how last week I wrote that I would be announcing some important news? Well, here it is: we're leaving Malibu and moving to Venice!
In the days and weeks to come, I'll be posting pictures of Benjy's new abode, his garden view and my decoration efforts...

Afterthought: based on your comments, I realize I should have mentioned that we're moving to Venice, California, not Venice/Venezia, Italy.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My New Dress


One of the many presents I got for my birthday from my mum is this exquisite handmade dress. It was designed and made by the talented Tortilla Girl, whose Etsy store always has me drooling. Here's how she describes her work on this Pont-Neuf dress: I built this original design from scratch through the French design technique of "moulage": I pinned and tucked on a dress form and a live model until it was sculpted from my imagination with attention to drape and fit.

I'll be showing off other presents in the days to come, so stay tuned.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Cheers!


Isn't the wine list at R+D restaurant in Santa Monica fun? How about a glass of Kung Fu Girl Riesling?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Felt Notebook


I always carry a notebook in my bag, to jot down ideas and information. As I had to get a new one, I fell for this pink Japanese notebook - rather than some kind of thin cardboard, it is covered in felt, a material whose rough yet soft texture I adore (I remember a store in Berlin where all they had was felt products...) The color of the felt is a fresh pink: momo-iro, or the color of a 桃 (momo). Kawai!