Sunday, November 30, 2008

I had to buy clothes - really

My laundry was "taken" from the laundry room of the place where I live, two weeks ago. It included both my hoodies, ancient t-shirts that brought back many memories (oh, my 10-year-old Middlebury tee!), as well as a few truly wonderful pieces, like a Helmut Lang top and more. Sigh.
So I really had to buy some clothes. At Urban Outfitters, I got a very light painter's tee I just love - I also fell for their Joy Division t-shirts, but $38?! Of course I headed for American Apparel where I got two XL hoodies, one cranberry and one black, a few plain black tees (I like getting guys' v-necks in Small), as well as a this cute gray little romper I wear to ballet class over my leotard.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Flowers - Thinking Of Mumbai

When I posted about the Santa Monica Farmers' Market, Octavine requested I share pictures of the market's fresh cut flowers. So here are some beauties I spotted this past Wednesday.
These colorful, fragrant flowers seemed like a perfect prelude to Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle's fabulous new flick set in Mumbai, which I was about to go and see when I happened upon the market. When I came out of the theater, moved and thrilled by that high energy and almost gaudy movie, I turned on NPR and hear about the horrendous attacks in Mumbai. My heart sank.

Years ago, while traveling in Ladakh (Indian part of the Himalayas), I had sweet, spicy tea in the garden of the small hotel where I was staying. The tea was delicious, and the company was even better. I sat with the hotel's owner, a round-faced Buddhist who served only vegetarian fare in his lovely establishment, as well as Hasan, a Muslim visitor, and my travel party, one of which is a Catholic.
Our conversation spurred in me a deep respect for India. This is the largest democracy in the world, the hotel owner reminded us; Muslims, Hindus, people of all religions live and vote here in peace and freedom. Look, here we are, people of various confessions, enjoying a cup of tea together and chatting peacefully. Granted, there were occasional spurts of violence, but things were being worked out, in this very young democracy.
I was filled with admiration for this country of tolerance, even while I realized that vision was a bit idyllic. Then on Wednesday I was filled with despair. It wasn't just about the bloodiness of the attacks; it was also because it shattered my loving, hopeful belief in India.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Meet Red Chief

I named it Red Chief. This two-seater, a 1989 Chrysler by Maserati (!), is my very first car. Shown here with its hardtop, it's actually a convertible - Benjy loves a drive with his ears flapping in the wind... It's kind of a car for show-offs, which is not very "me", but I guess California's love of bright colors and hedonistic style has gotten to me after all.
I find the design of contemporary cars generally uninspiring and always wanted an older number, tough I was reluctantly talked out of my dreams of 1970's models by reasonable minds.
Do you remember your first car? Any cars you're in love with?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reading list

A couple of days ago, I was delighted to meet the beautiful and bookish Joanna from Lark; we discovered a shared passion for literature and it made me realize I hadn't posted a reading list in quite some time. So here are the volumes I perused since arriving in Los Angeles...
On the plane, I read my dear Iris Murdoch's comic novel Under the Net - very Buster Keaton-ish... The Balanchine Variations is a wonderfully stimulating slim volume about the master's most important pieces... I found the Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing a bit disappointing, though the first chapter is excellent and funny... I am fascinated by Greek art (ah, Praxiteles!), but didn't know much about it or about ancient Greek history, so I enjoyed The Oxford History of Greece and the Hellenistic World... I've saved the best for last: Alison Light's Mrs Woolf and her Servants is an extraordinary study not only of Virginia Woolf's complicated relationships with her cooks and maids, but also a fascinating history of servants in England from the late 19th century to the 1940's - a must-read, really.

And if you're not up for all that, there's always Teen Vogue! It's smart and stylish without the snottiness of regular Vogue. You're allowed to love it even if you've been a post-teen for a long time; my sister, however, would sigh "Oh grow up!"
On my copy of the mag is a lipbalm I bought at the Santa Monica Farmers' market. Bill's Bees brings us super fresh honey as well as all-natural honey and wax lipbalm, isn't that great?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Santa Monica Farmers' Market

A longtime fan of KCRW's Good Food, which I used to listen to as a podcast from Paris, I was thrilled to finally discover the fabled Santa Monica farmers' market. It turns out that the abundant and luscious produce is only one aspect of the market. You can also buy local pistachios, nuts, dried fruit, raw milk, free range eggs, fresh unpasteurized cheese (that's right, Carlotta...)(private joke, sorry) such as mozzarella and Gouda, fresh honey (hurray!), vibrant bouquets and potted plants as well as herbs, jars of olives, and more... I even found some genuine bread, not the odd concoctions sold around the US with cryptic and endless lists of ingredients.
It seems there are endless varieties of tomatoes and apples - I chose the tart Pink Ladies. The intoxicating, sweet smell of guavas brought back blissful memories from my childhood; I bought a small basket of yellow guavas of the delicate pink flesh and felt content.

I suspect there will be many more visits to the Farmers' Market on this blog. Anything you'd like me to add to my photography shopping list next time I'm there?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

On My Walls

A couple of weeks ago, on this blog, I wondered what images to decorate my walls with.
Finally, I went with this poster (you can buy it here), a retro Californian photograph by Don James with great typography.

I also pinned up the first page of the Los Angeles Times November 5 edition, the Election Issue, using it as a happy poster, as well as pictures of friends and relatives. Those are my beautiful mum and sister in black and white... Regular readers of this blog may also recognize adorable baby Arthur, and fans of the talented Fifi Flowers will spot at once her whimsical design on a card she sent me (just because she is so sweet...)

Make sure to visit this weekend, for a very special trip to the beach...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Let's Shop

When my sister and I were little girls, as soon as we arrived in the US for our summer vacation, we asked our parents to stop at the very first foodmart so that we could get our hands on some much-missed Oreos, that all-American treat...
These days, I still munch on Oreos as soon as possible after landing in the US, but another thing I love is hanging out in drugstores and checking out products for my hair and skin. I always buy bottles of Dr Brommer's soaps, especially the Tea Tree one, as well as moisturizers from Burt's Bees, an all-natural brand I discovered years ago in Vermont - the company was recently purchased by Clorox, which I hope will remain faithful to Burt's Bees classic ingredients.

After shopping, I love heading to the Vitamin Barn (at the Malibu Colony Plaza) for a strawberry smoothie, another all-American treat...

Saturday, November 08, 2008


As I promised, we are stepping into my studio to glimpse at parts of the decoration, and today I wanted to show you fabrics I brought from my previous home, to make this new place look more familiar. First, there's a a light-as-a-feather black and white shawl I bought in Singapore, that I use to cover the comfy chair where Benjy curls up for his naps. There's also the ancient towels my mum received from my grandmother (!); their rough cotton dries and invigorates the skin in no time. I also brought with me my dear almond-green bedsheets and pillow cases; with a brand new pristine white comforter, it makes my bed look fresh and pretty.
More next week!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My Paradise Cove

Several of you have asked to see more pictures of the place where I live, so here are some! I live in a small studio attached to a house (top picture) - go up the steps and knock on the door on the left if you're around, and I'll make us a cup of tea. Paradise Cove is the name of this "community" in Malibu and a befitting name it is indeed. It has dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean, and paths leading to the beach, where Benjy is learning about the sea... It's also a very green area, replete with colorful flowers. I particularly love the trees here, and how the banana trees and the eucalyptus trees stand side by side; it reminds me of Uruguay somehow, as my grandmother used to have a banana tree in her Maldonado garden, in the middle of a eucalyptus-planted neighborhood. At night in Paradise Cove, the scent of eucalyptus fills the fresh ocean air, and it's heavenly.

In the days to come, we'll step into my studio, which I'm redecorating to make my own...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

All for Obama

MacBooks for Obama

Kids for Obama

Pooches for Obama

Over the past few days, I spent some time volunteering with Barack Obama's campaign in Santa Monica, where the 3 top pictures were shot...

And at last, it's election day! I already voted (in Massachusetts), with Benjy barking for Obama, naturally.

Update: he won! After some last calls from the campaign's Santa Monica venue, I followed the results on TV with other volunteers. Incidentally, I found John McCain's concession speech not only gracious but also genuinely moving...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Weekend Shots: Halloween

For Halloween, even the Californian skies turned eerie and dark. Grinning pumpkins glowed, as I doled out candy bars to spooky creatures...
Spider cupcake, anyone?