Thursday, December 30, 2010

One For the Road

Actual New Year's Resolutions:

1. Travel more. Try to make it to Santa Fe.

2. Continue to work on fully realizing and appreciating my life right now and not being so worried about the uncertainty of the future.

3. More time in West Marin, contemplating and hiking once the knee is better.

4. Get rid of more stuff and have less stuff. Buy and keep only what I truly love. The real challenge is two collectors living in a small apt and keeping up with this...

5. Continue to work on spending more time with my own little family and establishing our own traditions.

6. Sleep more, talk less!

7. Breathe, deeply and often (it's so easy to forget)!

What are some of your resolutions for 2011?

Friday, December 24, 2010


It's Christmas Eve and I am supposed to be working but instead I admit I have been trawling etsy for the past half hour or so and I turned up some adorable suede booties! Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

I'm quite sure these would go with pretttty much everything that I own, but I am also quite sure that I gotta hold off...for now...

Incidentally, I have had these Minnetonka mocs for about 6 years and think they are the greatest!

I had a pair in pink when I was super young and thought the same thing back then! Though my color taste has evolved somewhat since then, some things never change.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

When the River Meets the Sea

Funny how topsy turvy life is. It never ceases to amaze me.

The bf broke his kneecap last week. No insurance. And he graduated from college. And we're prepping for Christmas. And I had to apply for a job opening I'd been waiting for. And we're taking care of the bf's son through Christmas. And I have no days off except Christmas itself and the day after. It's been totally insane. My mind has never been so scrambled! I'm taking each day as it comes and trying to break even that down to moment to moment. It's making all this easier to manage. I do love the Christmas season, even in this whirlwind.

My favorite Christmas song.

Hoping you all have wonderful holidays! Hope we all get a little respite somewhere in there and make the most of it!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Traction in the Rain

It's too hot in the apt to sleep tonight. Back to Christmas shopping for the bf. It can be difficult, as I mentioned before, but I think I am done at last!

Of interest, perhaps, to you: I bought this book for him tonight, a book of dreams! I can't believe I'd never heard of Lloyd Kahn before somewhere along the line -- he lives in Bolinas and wrote the famous book Shelter in the early 70s. (I'm loving his blog now!) I've picked up Builders of the Pacific Coast multiple times at my favorite shop, Gravel and Gold, and been totally taken -- the houses and spirits shown within are just what make my little heart sing (and the bf will agree)! The images resonate with what I've grown up around and what we hope our future dream home will be someday -- derived from and in harmony with nature, a bit rough edged, and hewn with love. It seems like just the kind of fantastical book we need to have in our home -- utterly inspiring. I have to admit this gift is as much for me as it is for him! I may post more about it once I've read the whole thing.

Other Christmas gifts I'm giving are super man-specific so I won't go into great detail here...Giants tickets for the three of us and a Nitty Gritty vinyl cleaner (we are both huge record collectors), other assorted odds and ends. Last year we had a gift-free Christmas, which was good, and this year I overdid it, maybe to compensate? It's always a bit of a trial, attempting to figure out what will be a hit for the man who claims he doesn't want anything. But the payoff is grand, seeing his surprised and sweet face!

And, thanks to Lloyd's blog, I have spotted yet another book I would love to pick up eventually:

Waterloo Sunset

The bf and I have planned a bitty one night getaway to Calistoga in the new year! I'm thrilled!

It's the (relatively) cheap time of year to hit up Indian Springs and we've made it a bit of a pilgrimage the past few years. Normally outlandish, between Nov and March you can swim in the gorgeous hot spring fed pool for just $200 a night-- which is really two full days, since you can stay till 5pm after you check out.

I'm not a spa girl at all; in fact, I have never been to any other one or even used any of the actual spa services at IS, but I find laying in the warm water for basically two days straight, watching the fog slowly creeping over the dark, forested ridge lines and the incredible billowing sparrow "clouds" that open and undulate in the sky to be the absolute best kind of refueling a gal can do. It's worth the price of admission, esp when your grandma is treating you for a Christmas present!

My great grandparents used to come to this very spot way back in the day to stay in the cottages and get their hot spring on. I love that.

and p.s. There's a great Native American jewelry store on the main drag in town. I often come home with a treasure or two.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Can't You Hear Me Knocking

by The Rolling Stones

Also having problems not buying this...for my cat. A teepee for cats? Honestly, while I can freely admit I am obsessed with my cat, I truly don't usually get so silly about cat stuff (he is as happy as anything in a plain ol' grocery bag), but the plaid underside of the bearskin rug is the extra kicker. Too much! And my cat lives and dies for cardboard or any paper product, really. He would be delighted. Don't know where we have the room in the apt, though.

And aren't these models just beyond gorgeous? I think they are Burmese. Sweetfaces!

(First saw the teepee on design*sponge.)

I Put A Spell On You

by Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Oy vey, this freakin' blanket is making me crazy! It's wayyyy the wrong season to buy something so outlandishly expensive and not needed for ones' self...but I am so fully tempted!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Wear Your Love Like Heaven

by Donovan

In the spring, I was on a True Blood bender. Lafayette is my favorite character and his home, with its various religious symbols, plus a prominent Virgin Mary shrine, as well his general attraction to a mutation of magic and mysticism in the sticky South, got me thinking about Voodoo, a mixture of African and Christian religions, which eventually led me to Haitian Vodou Flags.

As seen here in photos from the home of folk art collectors, the flags are hand sequined and each design presents mosaic-style images of different gods that inhabit the Vodou spirit world.

And here's another from the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in LA.

The flags are fascinating to me -- the symbolism, and also the use of sequins! The sparkle adds such an unexpected and reverential quality to them. They can be quite expensive, but another way to have a little Vodou in your home is with these papier mache ornaments. Proceeds go to Haitian relief.

The one on the right represents Papa Legba, guardian of the crossroads. I'm feeling particularly drawn to him these days!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Paths of Victory

Bob Dylan cover by Cat Power

Lately all I've been doing is dreaming about taking a road trip to Santa Fe via Arizona. Actually, I've been thinking about it for about 2 years straight at this point, but in the past few weeks I've been checking out more books about Navajo weaving, pre Columbian art and adobe decor that have further whetted my already ravenous appetite.

No idea when I will actually make it there, but I have a feeling I will pass out with joy when I finally reach the promised land of the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe Indian Market and cliff dwellings, among a billion other special and sweet things.

I read about something that sounds totally amazing today: The Hubbell Trading Post. It's in northeastern Arizona and is the oldest continuously operating Navajo trading post, now operated by the National Park Services. Definitely will be on my list of stops along the way!

Have I mentioned I am totally over my so-called "career," mostly cause I can't make enough money to actually live, even with 2 jobs? I'm open to suggestions...I don't really know what to do with myself at this point aside from run away to Santa Fe.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let's Move To The Country

by Smog

My apartment's decor is something that happened organically, just me gathering things I loved (and that the bf approves of!), until I realized one day finally where all these textiles, rich colors and woodsy influences actually came from! It was a head smacking moment -- of course! I was inadvertently recreating in my own small way the interior of the Ahwahnee Hotel, an important sentimental place for myself and my family.

Anyway, I'm thinking of changing a few things for the better. The bf and I have a Native American rug hung above our bed, sorta like the one above, and two cheap wrought iron sconces with candles on either side. I am thinking of switching up the sconces, replacing them with these rustic beauties from etsy:

I've also had some garlands draped above the rug (from Daiso, my favorite Japanese variety store, originally!) that are tiny pinecones, star anise and cloves twined together with gold thread, but after a few years I've realized they don't stand out enough, and that if you are not close to them, they actually appear to be bits of dirt! So I am considering replacing them with real pinecone garlands, now that they are more readily available since it's almost the holidays. I like this one:

If I lived out in the country I'd probably make my own, but seeing as I'm city bound, without any outings to pinecone country planned any time soon (sob!), I may just purchase one instead.

Above all, I want my bedroom to be as warm and cozy as possible, considering it is a dark, popcorn ceiling-ed cavern. I guess gussying it up to be reminiscent of the Ahwahnee is my small way of making it feel like home.

p.s. Isn't this song so romantic? I love it! Hadn't heard it in a while.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sleepless Nights

by The Everly Brothers

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, though we got a jump on things and celebrated last night with our own at-home Turkey Day, something the boyfriend invented a few years back so that we would be able to have our own leftovers! It was exquisite -- he cooked everything, and perfectly! It was a quiet, fun respite before tomorrow's more frenetic extended family feast. It's a such a maddeningly busy time of year.

This candelabra is my dream table decor for the holidays -- heck, for any time of year! It's by a New York florist, Emily Thompson Flowers, and they also have the most gorgeous menorah I've ever seen, if menorahs are your holiday thing:

Simply stunning. Hanukkah starts the second, I think, but for now, Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


by Quasi

There's a new shop, Big Things, opening in SF on 17th and Capp and I checked out their website today and came across these fab bandannas.

What's with my bandanna obsession lately? It's getting real! And Yosemite, constellations and a cloud diagram?! How's a girl to decide? One of each to decorate a wall, perhaps?

Monday, November 8, 2010


I've established here that one of my favorite stores in the city is UnionMade. I pop in there all the time and a few weeks back I saw this beautiful bracelet.

I couldn't get it out of my head.

Nearly all the men in my family are or were carpenters and construction workers of some sort. Before I was born my father inherited a tiny second home overlooking the bay that has been in the family since the '30s but was built long before that. He rents it out and has always done all the work and renovating himself. Long ago I remember my dad tearing up some portion of the house and showing me the square nails he was finding with pride. It meant that the house was even older than we thought, since square nails were last used around the early 1900s. Ever since then I've had a fascination with square nails and their beauty.

The "nail" for this cuff is a railroad spike. So simple -- weighty yet elegant.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day of the Animals

Now that Halloween has passed, we are officially at the time of year that inevitably hurtles full force toward the holidays, and with that comes the time when the difficult shopping for my boyfriend begins. He seems like the most laid back guy on earth, and in most ways he is, but at the same time, this is a man who felt the need to buy and iron AND an ironing board for our tiny-ass apt! (Wrinkled clothes are a-ok with me.) I mean to say, he's particular about certain things, gifts included. His usual refrain is, "don't get me anything," which leaves me to my own devices.

Something he loves more than ironing is the movie Day of the Animals from 1977. It's exactly what you think it is: the animals strike back against unsuspecting humans! So over the top! Kitchy horror and Leslie Nielsen flicks are my dude's thing for sure! So I am considering getting him a vintage movie poster. It's kind of bad ass and will even go with our lodge-y decor!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Winter Is Blue

by the beautiful Vashti Bunyan

I'm having the hardest time getting any real work done today. The air is crisp with scattered drips of rain and I have been crunching fuji apples non-stop and letting time drip past slowly. I am angry my beloved Mondo lost Project Runway and I am frankly weary of my daily grind, even though it's not all that bad when I realllllly think about it.

On to much more important things! I had already decided not to send Christmas cards this year, since I am trying to save money (hah!). I do love Christmas cards so much, though, both giving and receiving! It was with great pride that I sent out my first set 4 years ago. I felt like a proper adult with my own real, live family and a home to call our own! I'd made it! I'm such a paper product fiend.

So today, I saw these adorable Rifle Christmas cards are sold in boxes that come out to $2 a card...hard to resist, though I am for the moment...

I am resolved to get out of this mental rut. Once I am done "working" I will attempt to thoroughly clean my house (hah again!), get rid of the clutter, and set my mind free!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Age Old Blue

by Alela Diane

These crystals from Little Doe are not messing around -- they are serious chunks of hunky matter! I love them. It's killing me that I can't upload the big sized pics on the site. Just go there and have a look!

Chase Cohl is the lady behind Little Doe and she also designs accessories such as these:

Although there is more than a touch of LA-trust fund hipster to all this, I gotta admit I love her looks. Feathers, crystals, velvet, you say? I'm easy like Sunday morning.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Give Him a Great Big Kiss

by Astoria's own Shangri-Las

Two of my dearest friends happen to be proud residents of Queens, NY. And one of them will be getting this bandanna for Christmas this year!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

You Muses Assist

by Alasdair Roberts

Ever since I saw this image of the inside of Yves San Laurent's home, I have been captivated by and paid special attention to y-shaped branches and objects.

And so when I saw this shaman's wand, well...I'm into it, even if it seems kinda out there. I do love a quartz crystal and driftwood, so seeing them works.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


by Fleetwood Mac

Yosemite looms large in my memory. As a child we made a yearly jaunt every spring and it remains my favorite place on earth, and one of the most evocative of times past. Having breakfast at the Ahwahnee Hotel was always a highlight on our trips. I spent countless hours exploring both the interior and the grounds and its intricacies have been etched in my mind.

The decor in my apartment today is in many ways influenced by its design. I'm always looking for more ways to create the feeling of being in Yosemite in my tiny place (which is hilarious when I think about it -- our apt is so tiny and dark!) and just found out that Pendleton has a special Ahwahnee blanket! Love it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Little Bit of Rain

by the inimitable Karen Dalton

Every house needs some driftwood. Yes, please!