Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Colors

At my mechanic's, a giant Winnie The Pooh tests drives a red car.

I've had the same iPod mini for almost 5 years - I just can't let it go because 1) it works fine and 2) it was a present from someone precious. But when I see those new candy-like Nanos...

Pretty cards that landed in my mailbox; even better when they come in an envelope adorned with cool stamps.

On Main Street in Santa Monica, a gate and a building get a fresh coat of paint.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The 30's With A "Provincial Lady"

If you've been following AUREA, you know about my passion for the 1920's and 1930's - not for nothing did I recently gulp up Juliet Gardiner's massive The Thirties, an 800-page exploration of that decade in the UK. So I was delighted when I stumbled upon E.M. Delafield's 1933 Diary Of A Provincial Lady, a best-seller in its time, in a 1982 edition that includes the novel's original illustrations - wasn't it wonderful back in the days when novels were illustrated?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend Gourmand

From top: pure pomegranate juice, snap peas and cherry tomatoes (all from the Venice Farmers' Market), Syrah wine.
What does the word gourmand (see title of my post) mean? It's very difficult, if not impossible to translate into English. Basically, it's used to refer to someone who enjoys eating. But a gourmand is not necessarily a gourmet - a gourmand is not always picky about the quality and complexity of the food. It is more of a simple hedonistic quality; a gourmand always wants more, but there are no negative connotations (a gourmand is not a glouton!).
For instance, yesterday at Stella's in Silverlake when I poured gallons of maple syrup on my lemon ricotta pancakes, I was really being a gourmande...

A couple of fun links:
Models reading books backstage during Fashion Week
Gustavo Arellano asks: Frugalistas - what took you so long to become Mexicans?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Earth Tones

Tsuchikara Pottery, is one of my favorite Etsy shops. The pottery offered by Ippuku is both rustic and delicate, and it always comes in such pretty paper that I don't want to unwrap it for a while... I just bought this little pitcher; with its graceful lines, it is a genuine adornment for my kitchen.

As you know, I love vintage hats. I got this original 1930's skullcap at the Green Flea market in New York last month. 100% wool. I find it youthful and sassy.
Isn't it adorable?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Welcome, Lily

My friend Mariame is not only the most intelligent, best read and most articulate person I know, she also has a rare sensitivity, a true gift of empathy that have endeared her to me for over 10 years. A couple of years ago, I blogged about her wedding. And now she is a mother!
On August 26, she gave birth to a little girl, Lily. The uncanny thing is, just a few days ago I was reading a children's book about John Singer Sargent's masterpiece "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose" and thinking what an enchanting name Lily was - without know that Mariame and her husband had chosen that very name for their baby! More uncannily yet, the very day Lily was born, I posted a picture of this painting on my blog.
As soon as Lily is old enough, I will buy her Hugh Brewster's magical book about this painting (above)...
Maybe one day Lily will have brother and sisters, echoing other Sargent paintings I adore - I just read Erica Hirshler's fascinating Biography Of Sargent's Daughters, which tells the story of "The Daughters of Edward Boit" (Sargent never had children of his own, bar his works).

In the meantime, I got her the same mouse hat I had chosen for another tiny friend, from ElleGanT's Etsy shop; I hope it keeps her warm in the Parisian winter.

Welcome to life, Lily! In my heart, you are already a treasure, a beloved trasure.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Postcard From Benjy

Readers! Fans! Bipeds and Quadrupeds (including Feline Ones)!
Over the course of the summer, many of you have inquired about my whereabouts and spirits - thank you for keeping The dachshund in your hearts. I gave my amanuensis/assistant/nanny/owner some time off these past two months and went on adventures of my own.
From my home in California, I flew to Paris in early July; there I was feted as I should be. I then took the train to Normandy, where my warm hostess was one Dame Elizabeth. I roamed gardens and paths in the vicinity of the D-Day beaches, and also worked out an agreement with my hostess's husband: as his appetite waned, I kindly helped him polish off the steaks on his plate and for a while, no one was the wiser. Yum. A few weeks later I headed for Lafitte, the manor in South-Western France where I always spend parts of my summer, ruling over the park while my assistant's mother made apricot preserves in the kitchen.
Finally, I hopped once again into my silver Mercedes, dozing off on my personal backseat checkered blanket as we drove to Belgium for dear Celinoo's wedding; during the cocktail, many prominent, international guests came by the Mercedes to curtsy or bow before me, and during the ceremony, as Mary-Laure walked up to the mike to read her limerick, a song composed and performed by the bride in my honor played in the background ("Benjy Pipi", hopefully soon available on iTunes).
And now?
My assistant is shuttling between Los Angeles and New York for work, so to avoid all those flights that disrupt my activities (meditation, soccer, digestion), I have stayed in Paris. But I will join her again soon, either in our LA home or, if all goes well, in our new home, in a city whose name I will shush for the time being...
Love, Benjy

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Céline & Joren In Belgium

Remember, last December, my sister married Joren in Paris? It was a strictly intimate celebration, and this weekend, they tied the knot again in Belgium in front of many friends and relatives - some had flown in from as far as the US, Uruguay (my grandma!) and Kuwait. Céline and Joren met in Amsterdam and now live in Dubai, so traveling was the theme of the party; guests sat at tables with the names of places that are meaningful to the couple and everyone received a boarding pass guiding them through the event.
The bride wore turquoise and gold, a reflection of her sparkling and creative personality - I wore a black chiffon dress from the 1920's.
Belgium seemed like a good place, between France (our father's country) and the Netherlands (Joren's homeland). The castle of Feluy, dating back to the 14th c., was the chosen venue, with its medieval tower and beautiful garden, where the ceremony took place - after Céline and Joren pronounced their vows, we blew bubbles in an airy and iridescent demonstration of joy that the children particularly enjoyed. During the cocktail, guests chatted by the pond, and then everyone moved on to a wood-paneled room for dinner.Here is the limerick I wrote to read during the ceremony:
september 4, september 4
'tis a special day
in belgium we are gathered
'tween the french and dutch midway

my celinoo, my sis, my pal
to joren she said OUI
oh dear oh dear oh dear
what doth this mean for me?

her jokes her sparks
her secrets and gaffes
no longer will she share?

los angeles chauffeur
midnight confidante
shall i no longer be?

wistfully do i sigh
yet blissful is my grin

for i know tis a good man
who loves my dear celine.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Paper & Silver

I bought this exquisite silver-plated spoon for $1 at the great flea market on 76th and Columbus - if you go, don't miss the mouth-watering farmers' market behind the Museum of Natural History, one block North.
As for this extraordinary and delicate silver mesh bag, it dates back from the 1930's. I bought it on Etsy, from Arte Della Moda.

And here are the books I've been reading this past month in NYC.
I just bought Ian McEwan's Enduring Love to read on the plane tomorrow, as I'm flying to Paris. Stay tuned for more traveling!