Friday, May 28, 2010

We leave to go to VACATION.
First Princeton Reunions. 

Then New York - where I must stop to have a meal at Al di La in good ole Brooklyn -

And if I'm really lucky I'll get some curry goat at Christie's Beef Patties

Then off to the Jersey Shore for a wedding.  We are staying at this wonderful cottage.

Waterworks New Introductions

Thursday, May 27, 2010

shhhhh...... this hasn't even hit Waterworks' website yet.  The eponymous bathware line is launching a new line of plumbing products called Henry.  I love the rubbed brass, the little finger indents and the refined yet industrial sense.  They also have a new line of tiles (featured on the backsplash below) called Grove Brickworks that promises to give Heath Ceramics a run for their money.

double, triple,..... Quadrupel!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Along with hitting up the flea markets this past weekend with John Paul, we also patroned the new Pasadena gastropub Quadrupel Brasserie.  So this is a little more upscale that your typical Father's Office type gastropub, but YUM.  And the decor is so warm and inviting.

They have a great selection of imported and local beers on tap as well as tons of wines and the food is to die for. 

Try the pork shank.

But maybe consider splitting it.  I think I am still full from the weekend.

Sculpture Sculpture on the wall...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

John Paul was visiting from NYC this weekend, so we did a little flea market shopping. Along with the incredible 80's lucite lamp he scored (and had to haul back in his carry on), I got this fabulous brass wall-hung sculpture. 

Perfect for over the mantel.  It still has to be hung up, instead of propped up, but we got inspired and did a little accessorizing.  And found some other items from throughout the house for the coffee table.

And then moved the chairs to in front of the window. 

Of course we now need some sort of upholstered daybed between the coffee table and dining table, but one thing at a time - the slat bench will work in the meantime.

Bargain hunting

Monday, May 24, 2010

Don't you love getting those really cheesy home decorating catalogs like Home Decorators Collection, Chiasso, and Frontgate?  Most of the time they go straight to the recycling.  They're like the Victoria's Secret Apparel catalog of the furnishings world.  However, you never know what little jewel you might find.  Most recently I noticed the following fabulous items in the Home Decorator's Collection catalog:

Birkin Arm Chair ($649 - not to be mistaken for the Hermes purse by the same name but several times the price)

Fretwork Rug (starting at $124)

Keys Console Table ($259)

East side to the West side

Thursday, May 20, 2010

So.... Dwell on Design is once again upon us. 

 For those of you who are LA newcomers or design newcomers - that means a conference and exhibition on design, urban planning and sustainability.  It takes place June 25-27 at the LA convention center.  For those of you not able to take work days off to visit and attend the conference or who are just curious, I think one of the best parts of the event are the Saturday and Sunday home tours

For a set price you get to visit six homes on the East side or West side or do the landmark tour of the Stahl House (Case Study House 22) and you get free admission into the exhibition.  No Dwell on that...


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yes, that's right. Charley Harper is having a notecard sale, so stock up.  His wonderful animal illustrations are perfect for even the pickiest recipient - baby showers, gifts for mothers-in-law, secretary's day (oops, I meant admin assistant day). 

Weekly Weeds:Killers?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I was making the rounds of a local garden tour recently, when I fell into a conversation with a fellow environmentally-conscientious gardener about methods for removing lawns in favor of drought tolerant plants.

His comment caught my attention: “Well, I could just use Roundup. They say it’s harmless.”  

It’s a common sentiment, even though the product is made by the company responsible for one of the most effective de-foliants ever invented, Agent Orange. 

Here's a recent New York Times article about superweeds--unwanted plants that have developed resistance to herbicides like Roundup (glyphospate), much as superbacteria have been created in response to antibiotic overuse. 

In spite of my fondness for some “weeds,” the idea of a plant that grows 3” a day, reaches 7’ in height to compete with crops and actually damages harvesting equipment is not my idea of desirable.  Nor are farmers too fond of such unflappable freaks of botany.

Super weeds vs. corn.  Who's winning here?

Monsanto (producer of Roundup) and their competitors have engineered a perfectly closed cycle in which they supply both the genetically modified seeds and the herbicides that ensures that these monoculture seeds will proliferate. 

When this system breaks down, agribusiness is at the ready with yet a new chemical/seed.  
As Michael Pollan germanely notes in his response to the NYT article above, “…the effectiveness of Roundup lasted almost exactly as long as its patent protection.”  

In addition to creating a market dependency and guaranteed revenue stream for themselves to the detriment of local and global sustainability and diversity, these companies will sue the wellies off of farmers who happen to save seed (it’s THEIR patented seed, they claim) and drag into court, cart and horse, even those  farmers who have never used their seed, but whose crops have been inadvertently contaminated via wind or cross pollination with their genetically modified (patented) plant material.  

The third world market has been especially profitable for them. But that's a topic for another day. 

Dr. Vandana Shiva, an environmentalist visionary and activist, sums up the big picture:

On an optimistic note, it seems that the idea of letting a few weeds coexist might be catching on, at least in the home-grown sector, judging from the response to a recent NYT editorial, The Dandelion King.

The readers' responses about "grass" to this article (mine included) are as impassioned as the writer's. While grass-lovers seem to be in the minority here, when there is a negative response, it’s almost like those weed-lovin’, grass-hatin’ folks are plain un-American and sworn enemies of life, liberty and lawns.

Quite ironic when you consider that the lawn as we know is a British import!

So, before we pick up our next bottle of easy-spray glyphospate, we might ourself  how much we really need that dandelion to be vanquished.

Try boiling water, weed torches, landscape cloth with at least 2" of mulch, vinegar and/or salt (only in the appropriate situation!), hand weeding tools* and other more judicious methods instead.
 It all sound rather medieval, doesn't it?  But then not much has changed in the war against weeds when not armed with Roundup.  Except perhaps our lack of  tolerance for these maligned plants.
For more wicked weeds, such as poison ivy, oak or sumac, go to this site for the benefits and downfalls of different removal methods.
If you do use a chemical spray, the dead plant material from these nasties still contains the active oil urushiol which causes the painful reaction.  

And keep in mind, a superweed poison oak is verily the stuff of nightmares!

*This is a hoe, an ancient and practical weeding tool. Well, not too practical for 1000 acres, but pretty good for a modestly-sized backyard.
Weekly Weeds by 
Nancy Knapp

Glass Galore!

So I finally found a great source for glass tabletops on LA.  Way cheaper than anything I have found on craigslist or online. 55 Glass.  They deliver in the area and carry tons of sizes of round and square glass table tops.  We just got the final two round glass tops for our outdoor furniture and I couldn't be happier.  I'm not going to post another photo since I think you've seen enough (and since it just rained there are no cushions).... but I'm sure you get the idea. 

Backyard Update

Monday, May 17, 2010

 So this weekend was spent out in the yard gardening up a storm - and developing an amazing flip flop tan.  We got half of the yard planted (the back terraced half).  Thanks to Nancy of Weeds Garden Design for her beautiful landscape plan and help with the placing and planting. We went the inexpensive route and planted baby plants so now I just have to go out and sing to them every day so they grow faster.  One day the hope is to have a mix of green, silvery and bronze foliage, natives such as agaves, ceonothus and artichoke (yum) and swaths of rosemary trailing over the garden walls.  Use your imagination....

Plant materials prior to loading into Jess's Fit and Nancys Boxster - yes they all made it in one trip!

Nancy working on the placement strategy.

 First terrace planted - Artichockes are crying out for WATER!

A brief intermission on Saturday evening - attempted climb to Eagle Rock with Champagne to celebrate our 6th anniversary.  Failed. Ended up back on the patio checking out the plants.

 Jess watering at the end of a long weekend

More watering (the Gods must be happy though because it actually rained in LA today and last night!)

9 by Design

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm obsessed with Bravo's new show 9 by Design about Sixx Design Group's Bob and Cortney Novogratz and their family of 9. 

The show follows their funy highbrow/lowbrow design adventures and the escapades involved with raising 7 children in Manhattan. 

I'm loving their style and their carefree attitude toward childrearing and whatever is thrown their way.  And I was really happy to see how down to earth they are when they threw a fundraiser for a friend's daughter with Leukemia - one of my own favorite causes to support (LLS)

Tunix or not tunix

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Super cute Tunics (or Tunix) for a reasonable price. 

This is feeling like a good choice for a summer BBQ - perhaps with a pair of white jeans (or perhaps just a summer picnic since BBQ sauce + white jeans = disaster)
Check out their sale section as well.


OK, so featured on today's tasting table...

Komforte Chocolate's Ramen covered with chocolate.  Now I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but ramen for me is like chocolate for other people... so this is something I'm perfectly willing to try.

Up the Avenue

The Ladies at I Heart Design by Avenue have made it to the big time!

Check out today's Daily Candy Everywhere for a feature on their design services.  Is it ok that I feel cool by association?  I mean how many times do people you know actually get featured in Daily Candy?

Mirror Mirror....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm finding this mirror from Z-Gallerie fascinating.

I can see doing a restaurant with this as the back wall sort of a tiled effect..... or maybe behind the console in our living room?  Or is it too fun-house-ish?


Um, yeah.... that is how excited I get about it. 

Anyone who knows me would say I need this Ramen Purse.

Weekend Update

Monday, May 10, 2010

This weekend
Scott discovered a rose bush behind the house and clipped this cute little sucker for me.

We installed a new pendant in our study (in lieu of the 70's remnant faux wood ceiling fan that was there before).

Harvested some loquats out the wazzoo

Put the new cushions on the outdoor furniture.... and then took an outdoor nap!


Powder Room Dilemmas

So, this is our powder room.

It's not quite as shabby chic as it used to be.  I have removed the eyelet lace skirt on the vanity and Scott's mom removed the wallpaper border.  We are left with a very blah room with a two-tone stripe up to.  What to do?  I want a quick fix that doesn't require a ton of painting (I have maxed out on painting), and won't cost a fortune because we plan to renovate the room further down the line.

Any suggestions?

Weekend Retreat

Well, in an ideal world, for my upcoming 6th anniversary Scott and I would make the 40 minute drive down to Rancho Palos Verdes and have a weekend getaway at the Terranea Resort and Spa

Situated on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific, Terranea is a beautiful property. 

The spa, which I recently got a sneak peek at has some amazing location-based treatments and you can get a day pass that gives you access to the spa lounge, jacuzzi, sauna, pool etc.  Not bad.  Although after doing some math, it still would have been about a grand or so for the entire weekend. 

Instead Scott and I will be hiking to the top of the Eagle Rock, having a bottle of Champagne and going to a local dinner at Cafe Beaujolais.

Weekly Weeds: We Are Family (well, sort of)

Friday, May 7, 2010

You know that sisterhood of peppery salad greens, arugula, watercress and nasturtiums? With the similar spicy taste? Completely different families.

Well, specifically, different genera; they are more like third cousins, twice removed. Just for confusion’s sake, Nasturtium is actually the genus name for Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) and only a common name for what we call nasturtiums (Tropaeolum species). “Nasturtium” is from the Latin Nasus tortus, twisted or wrinkled nose, no doubt a response to the pungent bite of the plants. Arugula (Eruca E. sativa) has this characteristic too. Climbing up the family tree, all three are related through the Order Brassicaceae whose members commonly produce mustard oil compounds (glucosinolates). This explains the whoo-ee factor, which you might not really experience unless you grow your own. By the way, glucosinolates are being studied for their cancer-preventing properties, so eat up.

Besides their distinctive peppery flavor and diluted mustard family ties, these plants share an easy cultivation habit. They can be started from seeds or plants. Harvesting the arugula and watercress repeatedly will stave off flowering, which can make the leaves too strong tasting. Nasturtiums and arugula are much less thirsty than watercress. Those of us in water-challenged areas with no burbling stream nearby should consider planting watercress in well-irrigated containers.
I sowed wild arugula from Seeds of Change more than ten years ago and still have clumps of it that return every year. How's that for ROI? Unfortunately some are now at the edge of the street (how? I don’t know) at perfect dog height, which feels a bit dodgy when gathering it for dinner.
Most use arugula (or rocket, roquette, rucola) in salads. It’s also great in risotto, soup, pasta, chopped on top of pizza and as a pesto.

The arugula flowers are edible too and taste great, but somehow they seem a little buggy-looking to me as a foodstuff. If I didn’t know what they were, I might be inclined to discretely pick them out of my salad & hide them in my napkin.

Nasturtiums are equally as persistent as arugula, though if you are planting unusually colored varieties, be prepared for the plants that re-assert themselves next year to look fairly different from the packet. They are a fun addition to your garden - with their big saucer leaves and surreal flowers, squint and you can just see the fairies living beneath...

Fantasy aside, for ornamental value, nasturtiums easily win the family beauty pagent. The lily pad leaves bead up water, begging to be photographed, and the flowers range from creamsicle to fanta to mahogany. They are as photogenic in your salad as they are in your garden.

The flowers and leaves can beautify cheese plates or desserts. You can pickle the flower buds to use as you would capers. If you are making pasta from scratch, roll a few petals into your fettuccine for a pretty confetti effect. Or how about chopping up some in cream cheese for a lovely sandwich spread or using the leaves for dolmas?

The last cousin here, watercress, to me conjures up scenes of afternoon tea from a PG Wodehouse novel: "I say, Jeeves, what about another of those watercress sandwiches? They are rather spot on, eh?"

It is one of the main veggies in V-8, in case you think you’ve never had it.

Jeff Cox has done such a great job in writing about watercress that I defer to him in his lovely article, All About Watercress – complete with Watercress, Beet, and Orange Salad Recipe. This is a great recipe which is interchangeable with arugula, by the way.

My favorite way to use watercress is to add to a basic vichyssoise for a delicious cold spring and summer soup. I’m not sure about watercress ice cream but the color would be ethereal!
Weekly Weeds By
Nancy Knapp
Weeds Garden & Interior Design