Friday, March 28, 2014

In The Kitchen -- Spring Break-Fast // Yogurt Bowls

I'm definitely more of a savory breakfast eater than sweet (poached eggs, scrambles, and omelets are my go-tos) but sometimes I get on a roll, especially when spring and summer hit, where nothing sounds better than a cool, refreshing yogurt bowl. Greek yogurt (either full, two percent, or zero fat) over the regular variety is a must for its uber creaminess and whopping helping of protein. Then I throw in collaborators such as fresh berries, chopped almonds or pecans, cut up dates, and shredded coconut. 

When I want to relive my TV industry days grabbing breakfast meets at (now closed) Duke's on Sunset in LA, I'll straight out imitate their ahead-of-the-trend four ingredient bowl (sour cream + strawberries + bananas + shredded coconut) that I would get every-singe-time because it was sooo good. I just swap in Greek yogurt now in place of that sour cream (yikes).

Granola is welcome to the party, of course, though when I invite granola, I usually choose to dress things up as a yogurt parfait instead, layering the ingredients (yogurt-granola-fruit-repeat) in a tall glass and adding a drizzle of honey over the top. Kiddos sure seem to like the added festivity, too.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Is In The Air... And On The Ground... And On The Walls...

Everywhere I look lately while out and about, I'm seeing (and snapping up) Spring -- and it's giving me a bit of garden madness. I'm ready to bring these encounters home and kickstart my yard with more clay pots, more succulents, and more flowers. Mixing up the delivery systems by way of funky wall panels and unexpected vessels is on the menu, too...

spotted my favorite delicate flowers taking a bath at the lark

color pops are always in season

garden simplicity at its best
at botanik

so ridiculously beautiful
framed succulent walls! at the lark

chamomile is always welcome in my backyard

more garden arsenal at botanik

flowers that glow in the light

succulents + chunky pots make for bffs

filling in the gaps on the ground

sweet bright whites

definitely on the right path

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Stroll Though An Eclectic, Gallery-Like Home

A trip to Nancy's house is like a visit to an incredible art and antiquities gallery. She is the definition of art lover and makes hoarding look like a very good thing. From stunning paintings to gorgeous sculptures, there is not one spot in her home that doesn't have something to feast your eyes on. Her other collected treasures, including vintage fashion accessories, add even more luster to the mix. At eighty-one, this former SAG card holder continues to star in a very stylish life.

Nancy hails from Los Angeles, brought the first of her four boys into the world in New York City, and spent a good chunk of time in Carmel Valley (where she held garden parties at her art studio) before settling in for good in Santa Barbara. Her relationship with art runs deep. She says that every time she falls in love with a piece, she immediately tries to figure out how she can own it. Once it's in her home, she embraces it and the memory of the moment she first came in contact with it. Often, she will go on to represent her favorite artists and form lasting friendships with them. 

Another strong pull for Nancy is her affinity for Oaxaca where she travels frequently and brings tour, photography, and cooking groups. That influence is sprinkled throughout her home through various artifacts and regionally acquired art. Pair all of this with a fondness for classic antiques, and it is one eclectic abode to say the least.

Let's take a little stroll through...

beauty in the bathroom
drawing by grace vollmer
figurines by sculptors including patrick stephens and ken wiese

looking glass elegance and a vintage french metal daybed grace the bedroom

drawing above dresser by a german doctor from the 1880s

loveliest pen + ink drawing by raul soruco
(i own one myself)

things get fanciful

art + artifacts abound in the dining area
pottery is ancient spanish, italian, french, english, and dutch

paintings l-r: raul soruco, jeff adamsjeff adamschris winfieldperla krauzezivana gojanovic

by her late friend, artist john lincoln, in her study

mantel pieces in the living room -- washed ink drawing by john lincoln
various metal figurines

clusters of paintings at every turn, each with a story
these are early works of raul soruco

timeless chic is calling

bronze mother + child shares its perch with a set of vintage keys

in the loft -- paintings by artists nancy currently represents
shown in the mix judy coxarnold dobbs, and jan wagstaff

view from above

oaxaca festivity in the kitchen

a favorite statuette of nancy's by oaxacan potter, dolores porras

a shrine to her late mother

Monday, March 10, 2014

Health Fix -- Indian Food And The Healing Wonders Of Ayurveda

I have long been a huge proponent of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian healing system whose very translation is the science of life. After suffering from particularly horrible asthma one summer while living in NYC (something about the wicked cocktail that brews when pollens mix with a high mold spore count), I was looking for an alternative health solution to inhalers and such. I sent myself to California (from whence I came) to recuperate for a month, and while there met with a practitioner who had studied Ayurvedic medicine with Deepak Chopra. One copy of Chopra's book, Perfect Health, and two private yoga lessons later, I was armed and ready to take on my health matter the Ayurvedic way -- treating the whole person not the symptoms/affliction. I still follow many of the basic principles as best I can, and at the least, make it the first place I turn when I need a restart or health boost.

In a nutshell... everyone has a certain mind/body type and it just makes sense to feed and exercise it accordingly. And not in a Western calorie restricting/body pounding kind of way. Instead, it's about satisfying your taste buds and keeping your digestion and spirit strong. Plain and simple. As far as exercise is concerned, there is a huge debunking of the No Pain No Gain philosophy here. There is a lot to be gained with minimal effort.

Each of the three body types, or Doshas as they are called -- Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, carries certain physical and personality characteristics which, when out of balance, can manifest as negative traits or ailments instead. By following a few select guidelines, you can hopefully keep things on the positive end of the spectrum. For example, a Vata type, who tends to be creative and more free spirited, will benefit from warm comforting foods, mild-type exercise, and a regular schedule to offset its restless tendency. A Pitta is more type-A, does well with cooler climates and foods, etc...

You can figure out your dosha in the book or online (often you'll be a combo, I'm a Vata/Pitta), and then you can explore what foods and spices will promote a healthier you. 

This is where I love turning to Indian food -- the taste bud/healing spices are so built in. Western culture has only recently started paying attention to spices such as turmeric while Ayurveda has been relying on these wonders for eons.

get your spices on!

In addition to favoring dosha-specific foodsthere is a set of eating tips or "Bits" that anyone can benefit from. Because sometimes more than what you eat it's how you eat it.

Bits -- Body Intelligence Tips (from the book Perfect Health)

1.    Eat in a settled environment.
2.    Never eat when you are upset.
3.    Always sit down to eat.
4.    Eat only when you feel hungry.
5.    Avoid ice-cold food and drink.
6.    Don't talk while chewing your food.
7.    Eat at a moderate pace, neither too fast nor too slow.
8.    Wait until one meal is digested before eating the next.
9.    Sip warm water with your meal.
10.  Eat freshly cooked meals whenever possible.
11   Minimize raw foods -- well cooked food is much easier to digest.
12.  Do not cook with honey -- considered to produce ama (aka clogged energy)
13.  Drink milk separately from meals, either alone or with other sweet foods.
14.  Experience all six tastes at every meal. 
15.  Leave one-third to one-quarter of your stomach empty to aid digestion.
16.  Sit quietly for a few minutes after your meal.

If you're someone who is looking to lose weight, you'd be surprised at how following these tips and even just eating to three quarters capacity will make a difference. Also, there is an emphasis on lunch as the big meal of the day and a de-emphasis on snacking (with the exception of something late afternoon/tea time for Vatas who often need a boost to make it to dinner). Sipping fresh ginger root tea throughout the day is another overall recommendation to aid digestion.

Other vital parts of the program include Yoga (particularly the Sun Salutation), deep breathing, and meditation (a magic wand in my book). When I'm implementing all of these goodies regularly, I'm at my absolute best.

Hope some of these principles help in the quest for vitality. If nothing else, enjoy a little Indian food whenever you can!

{I'm wondering if I've just entered territory where it's necessary to say check with your doctor before starting any kind of eating or exercise plan. So consider it said! Also, the safety of online Ayurvedic supplements has come into question as they are not regulated so consider seeking an Ayurvedic specialist for any supplements.}

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dressing Room -- Fashion With No Expiration Date

Lately, I've been living in my favorite pair of ratty pants (definitely more rat than pant happening at this point) and I've been getting asked where I got my "boyfriend jeans." Here's where -- from my permanent boyfriend, the husband. 

While the two of us were cleaning out the garage one day years ago, I rescued them as they were about to hit the haul-away pile. I'm a Levi's loyalist as it is, and it doesn't get more classic than the tried and true 501. Especially when the rips are earned entirely through human wear as opposed to factory. 

My plan is to continue to always have a good pair of these in rotation and still be donning them even when I'm ninety. Along with a perfect fifties-style sweater and other favorite ageless pieces such as a lacy vintage top, a great pair of old boots, and timeless accessories like these and these.

Luckily, my hubby has agreed to continue to do the wearing-in of jeans for me into old age... unless he wears out first, he says.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Daycationing -- Vacation And Staycation Had A Baby

Over the holiday break, with the bulk of festivities behind us and a little time on our hands, we decided that in lieu of going on any major kind of trip, we'd get our vacation-y fix by being daytrippers. So, what began with all of us joining the hubby for one out-of-town job site visit, spiraled into three day trips in three days. Not quite a vacation -- not quite a staycation. It turned out to be a perfect blend of the two... a series of daycations.

DAYCATION ONE:  Los Olivos/Santa Ynez/Solvang/Ballard aka Santa Barbara Wine Country

We headed to Los Olivos and checked in on the hubby's design project -- a modern horse ranch on six plus acres of country beauty.

stage one -- stables converted into a contemporary home office to offset the country farmstead 

We had lunch in town at the always bustling Sides. I only began eating a little red meat again after a double decade absence, but I can say that the burgers at this place felt worthy of the return. This round, it was open-faced with avocado, jalapenos, tortilla strips, and aoili sauce.

the town square

We stopped in at the boutique, Bonita, where I tried on a lovely hat by Lovely BirdMade it mine, and it graced me the rest of our trips that week.

Charm oozes everywhere in these parts... 

spotted this little quaintness explosion in ballard

We planned to stop in on the miniature horses in Santa Ynez but overshot closing time by a few minutes. Happy to have an excuse to go back sooner than later.

DAYCATION TWO:  Los Angeles -- Westside

We hopped in the car mid-morning and headed to LA. The kids were craving their old spinach souffle from Reddi Chick at the Brentwood Country Mart, so that's where we beelined for bites, taking up the usual picnic tables outside. (I'm pretty sure Gwyneth Paltrow likes The Mart as much as I do because I've seen her there the last couple of times I've been.) And, of course, a stroll through Farm Shop is a must, even just to grab a cup of coffee...

farm shop marketplace

coffee please

After lunch we headed over to Abbot Kinney for a little strolling around, Venice-style. First stop -- Local 1205 to say hi to my pal, Craig, who owns this gem of a foodie mecca. It boasts a fresh squeezed juice bar and deli walk-up, pizza oven, oyster bar, as well as a gourmet international food market place. I left with a few goodies, but next time, it'll be a straight shot here for the full sit down.

Local 1205 lives right next door to its sibling venue, Another Room, the LA offshoot of Craig's lovely line of bar/lounges that now has five locations. I'll never forget opening night at the original in NYC all those years ago. Well done, Craig! 


I had only been to Ojai on two occasions before this day trip -- once for a wedding and once for a wedding reception -- so this was a chance to be on foot and actually check out the town...

We wandered in and out of boutiques like Fig Curated Living, and hit a couple of antique stores...

i have a thing for vintage bloomers.
not sure why they ever went out of fashion.

We also made sure to go to this fabulous bookstore that you can get lost in. Not just lost in the 'get lost in a good book' kind of way -- but literally lost. It's huge, and goes on and on, one winding room after the other. I've never seen an opened planned book store quite like this one. It is delightful.

the honor system is alive and well in ojai

We nourished ourselves at this cafe after stumbling onto it while actually looking for a different place. It was light fare in the health food sense and heavy fare in the satisfaction sense. We'll make sure to go back to this one.

sweet ojai-style outdoor seating

the most unusual version of miso soup i've seen (it had carrots and squash). so delicious

Loving this concept of daytripping aka the Daycation. Definitely keeping it in the repertoire...