Archive for the ‘Art/Design’ Category


in a recent design*sponge post about keeping organized, i saw this adorable framed picture board with ribbons.  what a fun idea!

[photo credit: design*sponge]

& wouldn’t it be a cinch to put together yourself? i think i might make this a holiday project… it would be so easy to customize the project with whatever frame fits your taste & whichever ribbon colors match your decor.  i think i would be happy if mine turned out just like the one in the picture.  it’s so bright and cheery!

so what do you think? … cute or tacky?



christmas ideas?

if anyone needs some great, original christmas ideas for the artsy- or urban-minded in your life, check these lists out from design*sponge…

and if you’re looking for any ideas for me, i’d be happy with about anything on either of these lists. way to go d*s!

[i’m a squirrel nutcracker!]  [i’m a horseshoe necklace charm!]


ok, now back to studying…



fall flowers

could these flower arrangement be any more perfect?!

i don’t think so . . .



[both pictures from a “we like it wild” post this morning on design*sponge. eat your heart out!]

it’s gonna be sweet!

for the 60th anniversary of candyland they have turned the crookedest street (lombard) into a life-size version of the board game!

this is what the street normally looks like: 


i have SO many memories of playing this game with my sister, brother, and friends down the street on seven oak court… do you remember the gingerbread people? king kandy? gramma nut? mamma ginger tree? princess lolly? princess frostine? lord licorice? & gloppy the chocolate monster?

from this: 


to this: 



from SF Appeal: “the street will be closed to traffic as children from the university of california, san francisco children’s hospital participate in the game as colored game pieces and interact with life-sized game characters, according to organizers.” (why do only children get to play?! oh well…)

i haven’t been able to head over to see it, but i just might have to take a fieldtrip today to see my favorite childhood board game come to life.


in case you were wondering…


[julia child with a very large monkfish, 1979.]

the julie/julia project. if you haven’t seen the movie, i highly recommend it. full of humor, mouth-watering food, real characters, and cuteness. what more could you want from a film?

i found the original julie powell blog. if you’ve seen the movie already, you will probably enjoy this more. 

and, yes, i saw julie & julia TWICE last weekend. i loved it that much!


[amy adams as julie powell in julie & julia.  © 2008 columbia pictures industries, inc.]

does this person look familiar to you? …








that’s because it’s ME!!

i made it online, here

photofunia: i  found out about this creative site from a friend. there are a ton of “effects” to choose from. 

{have fun}

my style

took the style quiz on & discovered mine is . . .

vintage modern

decorology Victoria Perry Victorias+house+-+lounge


cottage chic

domino gasl02_warmmodern


modern elegance 

decorology martha stewart la100324_1003_traylivingroom


this might be the first quiz, ever, that turned out to be pretty accurate. 

(i have a long history of taking quizzes with horribly inaccurate results – starting with that first “career aptitude test” we were required to take in high school which informed me that i was best suited for a career as an air traffic controller. i mean, seriously?!! i am SO glad high school tests don’t determine our careers like in france!)

may it please the court.


goodness, two of my favorite things: oh, how i love the pursuit of happines [an art blog from nytimes] and how i adore ruth bader ginsberg. 

check out ms. kalman’s newest post here on her visit with and thoughts on justice ginsberg. be prepared to fall in love with her blog too!

a san francisco saturday


the boyfriend took me to the MOST AMAZING brunch on saturday – at garibaldi’s on presidio. YUM. i had bacon & potato hash with eggs & fresh-squeezed orange juice. robert had a frittata (all of which was just perfect).

. . . we will definitely go back sometime.


then we headed to the de young for one of the BEST museum experiences i have ever had. there were a few really great exhibits going on – andy warhol live, yves saint laurent, and signs: wordplay in photography. i suggest anyone in san francisco should head over for what will be the best $15 you spend all week! 

. . . subsequently, became intrigued with andy warhol & gathered enough information online to write a report on the guy! (interested? — see here, here, & here)


we also went to kabuki cinema to see duplicity. great movie, but i’m still a bit confused about the ending.

. . . can anyone who’s seen it explain to me why it ended that way?

a beautiful saturday with the darling boyfriend.

a vintage holiday


if i could, i would fill christmas with all things vintage …

an old-timely looking christmas tree:


[seen @  sfgirlbybay]


vintage ornaments:


[seen @  girlhula’s etsy shop]


vintage christmas cards:




[seen @ design*sponge]


vintage-looking wreath: 


[seen @ potterybarn]


vintage black dress, rosemary clooney wore in white christmas





nature’s watercolor

i bought some festive-colored tulips at the grocery store a few days ago. they’ve since started to wilt and unfold. as i was going to toss them in the garbage, i realized the explosion of color that i’d been missing . . .



have you ever looked inside a tulip?

c’est magnifique!

paris 1962: yves saint laurent & dior, the early collections

i always find myself searching for this beautiful art book in shops, just to thumb through the pages once more (border’s, anthropologie, etc.)  … it’s really more of a photography book than one for fashion fanatics.

i love the time period and mood of the photos more than anything. they exude mystery, warmth, aristocracy, sentimentality, & all through that very french-inspired/audrey hepburn look. 

although each photo is in black & white, you hardly notice the lack of color, as the many shades of grey create a color palette of their own. SO marvelous!

i ♥ pac heights

just wanted to share some pac heights news with you  . . .
so, today, as i was riding the bus to work, i noticed a mass of people on fillmore… a bunch of camera crews, a man in a black beret, huge lighting apparatuses, tripods & neat yellow cones to direct traffic away from the mess.

i asked someone on the bus what was going on, and they said they were shooting a movie. like, “it’s no big deal, honey, just a movie.” but i’m thinking, HOW COOL IS THAT? they’re shooting a movie on fillmore. like 3 blocks from my little studio apartment. i’m sure the movie will be fab, i mean, can you think of a cuter location? i wonder if they need any extras??

& if you were wondering, here’s a list of movies that – at least in part – were shot in pacific heights:

down to you, the wedding planner, mrs. doubtfire, pacific heights (called a “horror film for yuppies,” of course!), dr. doolittle, the princess diaries, basic instinct, nine months, and the list goes on… 

(carrie & i outside of bittersweet on fillmore)

pac heights: the neighborhoodthe shopping. the architecture.


wordle turned my rambling mind into something beautiful.

these were just some of my conscious thoughts as of 9:18 on this tuesday night.

well done.

i am not usually impressed by advertisements.

this is an exception. artsy & entertaining.

it’s called: you need a quiet space


… also makes me want to buy things like this & this & this & this from ikea. 


over the last few days, i have been exploring los angeles with the boyfriend, his brother, his brother’s girlfriend & my sister.

i am always amazed at how much there is to see & do in LA. even though i was born & grew up a mere two hours from the glamour & excitement of LA, i felt a world apart from it.

LA might as well have been on the other side of the world, because bakersfield (my hometown) is, proudly, that different.

we only went down south for the shopping, for school field trips, or to drive through – heading somewhere else.

all of that being true, i still love all that LA has to offer.

some of the fun, quirky or breathtakingly beautiful places we visited:

(i recommend all of them)

lilly’s french cafe & bar – french food in a super cool part of a super cool neighborhood, venice

a stroll along the canals of venice – beautiful homes backing up to canals styled after those in venice, italy. the christmas lights were spectacular!


the hollyhock house – a home by famous architect frank lloyd wright for an extremely eccentric heiress in the 1920s. many design elements inside & outside of the house were modeled after the hollyhock flower – the original owner’s favorite. (the walking tour was worth the wait!) … my interest in FLW & his architecture was thereafter heightened

the griffith park & observatory – an immense & beautifully natural park with a 1920s-built observatory at the top (winter is best for the beautiful views – we could easily see the hollywood sign & all the way to long beach)


the ambrose hotel – a comfortable, environmentally-friendly hotel in santa monica

the laguna art museum – an excellent art house with the current exhibitions being wayne thiebaud & “shag” (aka: josh agle) — loved it.


yoga works – what better place than gorgeous huntington beach to get some yoga in?


“hear! hear!” screamed the jay from a neighboring tree, where i had heard a tittering for some time, “winter has a concentrated & nutty kernel, if you know where to look for it.”

(henry david thoreau, 28 november 1858 – journal entry)

robby & i spent most of yesterday around union square marveling at the christmas decorations & finishing up my christmas shopping.

the nordstrom’s decor was my favorite! it looked like we were walking through a tim burton film, as robby so aptly put it.


today, we explored palo alto. the town is just so darn yuppified. i couldn’t take the cuteness. with it’s old theatres (the stanford), quaint wine shops (the wine room), cozy cafes (coupa cafe), amazing bike shops (palo alto bikes) & perfectly-dressed patrons, i felt like i was walking around in a nora ephron film.




more times than not, it seems that life imitates art (films & books, in particular), when shouldn’t it be the other way around?

all too often i feel that i’m walking around in some articulately-written scene from a book i’ve read. today was a perfect example of this.

i suppose winter seems to bring out the literary-minded in all of us.

as john burroughs put it: “the tendinous part of the mind, so to speak, is more developed in winder; the fleshy, in summer. i should say winter had given the bone & sinew to literature, summer the tissues & the blood.”

well, if this wintertime is to feel like a novel, i would hope for it to be a henry james or a jane austen.

he’s going to kill me for this…

but i don’t care.

(click to enlarge – to feel the full effects of this cuteness)

the preppy tie, the purple flowers & the goofy smile… i couldn’t help myself.

we had a nice, relaxing weekend cooking, exploring & helping set up a fall family harvest festival put on by the church that we attend.

i wish i was still there right now… setting up games, arranging pumpkins & sweeping up from the hay bails. it was a few hours in the land of leisure. two words: NOT STRESSFUL. something i cherish so dearly right now.

photo op

a few days ago, i discovered a program on my mac called “photo booth.”

robby & i had fun testing it out.

i’m pretty proud of these candid pictures (sans touch-ups!) taken with the teeny, tiny lens above the screen on my computer…




the oldest surviving structure in san francisco

i spent most of the weekend with some friends, exploring the city of love …

we went on a couple nice bike rides along market street, the embarcadero & down union, we stopped by a few coffee shops and otherwise generally enjoyed the sunshine on this extended labor day weekend.

my favorite: we went to the original mission in san francisco, mission san francisco de assisi (commonly known as mission dolores).

mission dolores was founded in 1776 by spanish settlers in northern california.

as a native californian, to be in a place with so much history – over 200 years worth, to be exact! – was quite a treat. the mission has changed a lot since the 18th century, with many renovations, updates and the addition of a large basilica next door to the originial mission.

the location, however, has not changed.

(the mission in 1913)

(the mission today)

(the current interior/altar of the mission. it is still used for regular mass gatherings.)

***pictures above are borrowed from

i felt like a little girl playing house…

last weekend, with a lot of help from mom, dad & robby, i moved & assembled my furniture into my new pac heights studio. (thanks, guys!)

as requested from many of you, here’s a little peak at a few things from west elm that we set up inside:
(first few pics are from west elm, not my apartment!)

my dining chairs (garvey dining chairs in expresso/beet jacquard print) —p_f523_inroom_we07c158d_f07_070619152653_inroom.jpg

my coffee table (low wood coffee table in chocolate) — p_f553_inroom_we07bp112d_f07_070523131832_inroom.jpg

my bed frame & headboard (low wood cutout headboard in acorn) —

my duvet cover (octagon jacquard duvet cover in steel) —

my entry rug (modern link design) —

& a little look at the ouside of my new abode:


things i’m super excited about…

having friends come visit & explore my neighborhood with me, walking around the corner to the grove, getting my latte fix at peet’s coffee & tea, going to yoga at international orange (namesake: the color of the golden gate bridge), grabbing groceries at the cute little corner market, the jonathon adler store and grabbing cornbread to go from the elite cafe.

… more pictures to come!

bright, sunshiney day

went to the park to read a new book i got from a friend – french by heart by rebecca s. ramsey – passion iced tea in hand.


then went to the farmer’s market nearby, bought some cherries & sat on the porch at home to eat some.


what a lovely way to spend a sunny sunday.

welcome to a year of mornings

every once in a while, when i feel starved for some organic art or i’m wistful of lazy saturday mornings with my mom & dad – pancakes on the griddle, dad in his robe reading the newspaper, i turn to 3191.

this beautiful site combines the photographs of two women who live 3,191 miles from each other. (one in portland, oregan; the other in portland, maine.) their morning photos are juxtaposed against one another, creating a movie-reel-like snapshot of the beginnings of a day in two corners of the world.

they profess: “we like to get up early.”

the shots are mesmerizing at times.

a few of my favorites:





check out their site. you’ll thank me later.

* * * this post is dedicated to mr. robby smith … the boy who is always unabashedly chipper in the morning!

girl power (and so much more…)

poster-1.jpg the heidi chronicles – a smart, sassy play about the dilemmas of modern womanhood – is the next show coming to arena stage.

i am super excited. so thrilled that i can’t keep my excitement to myself.

i’ve read the playbook and it’s marvelous. the heroine, wendy, is intelligent, witty, charming and endearing.

the play opened in new york in 1987, but it is still unbearably relevant in 2007. i love it.

it won every major award (including the pulitzer) the year it opened, and it’s easy to tell why.

i stumbled upon the original review by the new york times. i could not agree more with the reviewer that it is a “penetrating play … theatregoers are left with tantalizing questions about women today and tomorrow.”

i know that arena will handle this hilarious, poignant and important play brilliantly.

i snuck a peak from the sound booth at the set that’s currently being arranged and it’s wonderful.

i can’t wait.

home envy

while wandering around some hip and trendy neighborhoods on foot a couple days ago (while the weather was nice and balmy), i had a marvelous time peeking inside fancy townhouses, studio apartments and lofts of the well-to-do in the district. while it was dark outside, many of these homes had their lights on and windows open … i know, i know, it sounds a little sketchy of me to be eavesdropping this way, but you know you do it too!


although i didn’t have my camera with me – and I would have felt a little weird taking pictures of the places – i was inspired by some of these completely modern, completely comfortable-looking, completely well-put-together abodes.

online (on an architectural firm’s site, in the new york times’ home&garden section, on blogs and in online european traveling hubs) i found some photos of apartments, studios, homes, hotels and swanky hostels with the same appeal.

someday i want to live like this. 

enjoy …


the 1930s rockefeller apartments in manhattan. called “the moderns.”


a cheery kitchen of one of “the moderns.”


 casa howard: an italian hotel chain.


award-winning soho based architectural firm roger hirsch architect. (i want to be his friend.)


image from cadwallader design. 


sarah jessica parker/matthew broderick’s kitchen (with a lovely enzo mari la mela print) from elle décor.


* click on the pictures to enlarge *

a vanishing art form?

in an effort to connect us more fully to eachother, in some ways, technology has done just the opposite. 

letters hand-written or plunked out on a typwriter evoke a certain intimacy and connectedness with words and with eachother that I wish our society hadn’t lost. the technological inventions of the past few years that provide faster, more efficient modes of communication (email, text-messaging, internet-messaging, cell phones, etc.)  are amazing ways of more effectively using our time, but i get so sad when i think of what we’ve lost in the process of our efforts to connect with people in faster, cheaper and all-too-often less personal ways.

i have also fallen into the routine of allowing casual communication methods to dominate the way i keep up with friends and family. it’s so hard to be truly personal now.

for me, this is hard because i love words. i love connecting to other people through a letter in a thought-out, wholly-intentional, formal way. english has consistently been my favorite subject in school, and i have always loved to write and to read.  i even studied print journalism in college, writing for the university paper for a couple years. i guess this passion has always been in me.

attached to each gift i give is a hand-written letter, most often containing some sort of personal reflection. each time i have a chance to sit down and write a friend living far away a letter, i do. i like to leave notes around the house for roommates or family members. i always send hand-written thank you notes. and i LOVE getting letters in the mail too! i live for finding new letterpress or stationery shops, collecting fun note cards and getting personalized stationery as presents. i would much rather send a friend a hand-written note with a stamp attached rather than shoot them a free email.  

 many people like me that are passionate about words, personal communication and snail mail letters are also passionate about the utensils – paper and pens and typwriters – that create those letters.

i have always desired to keep up this failing art form in my own small ways, but it’s not easy.

you see, letter-writing has important benefits beyond the deeper connection is provides to its sender and receiver… it helps us uphold a certain number of skills that are getting lost in the computerized, spell-checked world of the internet and word-processing programs. we now shorten words and reject formal headings and structures. the artful penmanship once commonplace among letter-writers is slipping away.

 if you look closely, the importance of letters bleeds throughout much of our history. letters were used in literature; some of the earliest novels were collections of letters. letters between members of society – from important historical figures to ordinary citizens – have unlocked and explained many past events.

while hoping that i don’t sound too sappy and reminiscent, i truly wish we all wrote more.

there is something reflective and cleansing about writing and receiving a letter. i really believe that we are forced to process information in a different, more creative, deeper way when we sit down to write a letter. it helps us smooth away the rough edges of life and figure out problems and sort through ideas. writing can be beautiful.

“Just as hot-out-of-the-oven bread gives wondrous pleasure to anyone lucky enough to be within nose-shot of that kitchen, so finding a plump, hand-lettered envelope after opening the mailbox and rifling through the junk is an equally exquisite pleasure. Like bread, letters are a tactile pleasure unduplicatable by the ring of the telephone or the blinding neon of a computer.”
 – Jacque McIntosh, a retired Tahlequah Public School teacher, who thoroughly appreciates receiving a hand-written letter.
“Just to get a letter in the mail makes you think ‘Wow!’” said McIntosh. “You’re so appreciative a person took time out of their day to write to you. We’re so mobile now, it’s difficult to find the time to write a thoughtful letter.”


get inspired to write a letter:

     MyTypewriter: a site dedicated to typewriter fanatics, with a lovely section on the history and importance of the written word

     Iomoi: an online store with an array of colorful, cheery and fun stationery and note cards that beg to be written on

     Letter-Writing: an essay about the lost art of writing letters and why so many of us long for this personal connection with others


art: so many forms

i am currently obsessed with roz chast’s cartoons. roz has been drawing cartoons for the new yorker, among other publications, since 1978. (her first cartoon for the new yorker was published when she was just 23!) i’ve never been much of a cartoon fanatic, but her stuff is so smart & witty. it’s all too poignant for me, as well, because she is a sort of “professional phobic,” as the new york times describes her.

i can definitely be anxious about life sometimes, but her anxieties are much more interesting.

to clarify, roz has a long list of these intriguing phobias. she hates holidays. she hates loud noises & large crowds of people. she doesn’t care for amusement parks. she’s anxious about her decorating abilities. she worries that she’s not normal. she’s constantly anxious. she’s even anxious that people thinks she anxious. she seems so odd, to say the least – odd enough that i want to be her friend.

i really love the urban family anxieties that she pours into each piece of satirical art (because that’s what any good cartoon is). she is real & honest & likable in a quirky sort of way. her cartoons are consistently endearing. i’ve come to expect her to speak eloquently – in a cartoonist’s way – about the anxiety-ridden side of life. she always delivers.

roz’s interesting background first got me interested in her work. the anecdotes she tells about her life seem to breed her art.

one of these stories happens to include halloween … she & her equally quirky husband live in a clapboard colonial in connecticut, where they’re known for their elaborate halloween displays. the funny thing is, roz hates halloween & it is her husband’s favorite time of year. he decorates the yard with enough props & characters that he has to rent a storage unit in town during the year to house all of it. neighbors & friends began to dump random give-away junk in their yard for his use on halloween. (this all began one year that he decided to buy a casket at the local funeral home to decorate with for the holiday – who does this?) but the funny thing is, roz has a sort of phobia about it all – each year she nervously sits inside all night, hanging out with the family’s parrots, eli & marco, as her husband hosts the block party of the year out in the front lawn on the day roz most dreads.

mr. & mrs. chast are polar opposites in many ways, but they seem to inspire one another & these are the sorts of stories that artists are happy to work from in their art. apparently, her life is filled with a ton of little vignettes such as the halloween one. she’s quite an interesting person with an interesting history.

& as any talented artist has the ability to do, chast has opened me up to a form of art i once scoffed at.

her self portrait (with her husband getting one of their kids ready for halloween):


i heart nature

for the first time today, while sitting at my desk at work, pounding away at a discovery response, i saw a flower bloom. i actually saw the petals of a sunny yellow daffodil in a vase on my desk pop open and slowly unfold.

the bud literally sprung open before my eyes – it seemed like magic. it struck me how beautiful nature is.  this short moment brightened my morning.

this reminded me of an eye-opening poem by Pablo Neruda that captures the wonderment we often feel when encountering one of life’s little magical mysteries…

A Lemon
  Out of lemon flowers
on the moonlight, love’s
lashed and insatiable
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow
the lemons
move down
from the tree’s planetarium
Delicate merchandise!
The harbors are big with it-
for the light and the
barbarous gold.
We open
the halves
of a miracle,
and a clotting of acids
into the starry
original juices,
irreducible, changeless,
so the freshness lives on
in a lemon,
in the sweet-smelling house of the rind,
the proportions, arcane and acerb.Cutting the lemon
the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
aromatic facades.So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world
on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
to your touch:
a cup yellow
with miracles,
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet.

Pablo Neruda