Archive for February, 2010

Happy Weekend

Feb 26, 2010


Driving along Interstate 5 on the way back to Los Angeles. Already missing San Francisco! This weekend I’ll be doing lots of laundry…

What about you?

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This little vintage box — found in a San Francisco thrift store — has the charm of Asia and the romance of the Viennese waltz that plays when you lift the enameled top. The tune will make you think of glittering ballrooms and floor-length dresses. And it’s the perfect place to stash small treasures heavy with memory. In our souls, we all know how to waltz.

Please leave a comment here to enter. The winner will be announced Monday!

PS: If you have a chance, please let me know which zines you read (see two posts below!) I’m putting together a list!

Thank you! Have a wonderful Thursday.

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San Francisco’s Mission District is known for its colorful murals, a tradition fostered by the city’s Mexican-American community in the 1970s. A walk along 24th Street between Valencia and York is especially wonderful, with vibrant Frida Kahlo-esque designs.

The Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center at 2981 24th Street is the perfect place to start an impromptu tour. And you’ll find more than 30 murals on Balmy Alley one block away. I wish I had brought more Polaroid film to photograph it. Next time!

(Photos above by Brooklyn-based home writer Jen Jafarzadeh L’Italien. You can find more on her lovely blog, Haystack Needle.)

Categories: Travel | 10 Comments »

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Zine Scene

Feb 25, 2010

City Lights in SF is not only a great bookstore, it has an interesting selection of zines.

Here are a few found on the shelves…

This one was hand done on a letterpress:

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It’s by someone named Artnoose in Pittsburgh who has an issue with their “inner Nietzsche.”
“My Inner Nietzsche berates me and says that those with power are the ones with the will to power,” says Artnoose. “I hate my Inner Netzsche; I think it’s a jerk.”
(You can also find Ker-bloom! on Etsy.)
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There’s the Cement Press, printed on a copy machine:

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And then there’s Comicosmos, a “non-fiction zine reviewing ideas, topics & books”:

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This issue includes several Shaker recipes: baked sea scallops with cider sour cream sauce; a chilled blueberry-lavender buttermilk soup; and an apple-custard tart with rosewater meringue.
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It would be so much fun to do a zine…. I would love to have a letterpress in the garage. Or maybe just a Xerox machine. I picked up a copy of Nylon magazine at the market this evening and noticed that they have a story on fashion zines. In short, print lives!

So here’s my question: Do you read zines? Which ones?

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Tea, Anyone?

Feb 24, 2010

Look at this cute tea house, Crown & Crumpet.





Crown & Crumpet has pink and white floors, tables covered with chintz and little crowns on the tea cups. Located in San Francisco’s historic Ghirardelli Square, it’s the tea room equivalent of marzipan…

Like bookstores, I keep a list of favorite tea houses:

There’s the Tea Palace in Notting Hill

The Rose Garden Tea House & Cafe at the Huntington Gardens in San Marino

Paris has Mariage Freres

In Rome, there’s Babingtons

Any others??!

Categories: Travel | 53 Comments »

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The Rear Window

Feb 23, 2010

The view of the alley outside our temporary SF abode…
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…I wonder who lives in the apartment with the lace curtains and the window box. I love how she has her little clay pots and basket on the fire escape. …

Maybe she’s an international banker. Or maybe she’s working on the next big Internet sensation. On the weekends perhaps she listens to Edith Piaf on an old turntable, makes fantastic omelets with cheese from the farmers market and reads the Atlantic on her Kindle.

I wonder…

What do you think?

Categories: Travel | 28 Comments »

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Farmers Market

Feb 23, 2010

Along the Embarcadero…



Oceans of oranges and veggies from Half Moon Bay.

Categories: Travel | 12 Comments »

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Japantown

Feb 22, 2010


Fudge magazine and a small dog that looks like a wild bear, in SF’s Japantown.

UPDATE: The winner of the green silk opera bag is Thalia.

Happy Monday!

Categories: Travel | 12 Comments »

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Downtown San Francisco
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The fog makes the contrast between gray and vibrant color even more remarkable!

Categories: Featured, Travel | 19 Comments »

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Vampire Weekend

Feb 20, 2010

Happy Friday everyone!

The SF hotel where we’re staying has this massive chandelier in the lobby (which reminds me of the cover of Vampire Weekend’s first album)….below is our little dog Lola talking to herself in the mirror…


Have a wonderful weekend…It’s properly foggy now in San Francisco and we’re ordering take-out Chinese food. More Polaroids Monday!

Categories: Travel | 18 Comments »

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City Lights

Feb 19, 2010

There are lots of interesting places to visit in San Francisco, yet I always end up at this bookstore…
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City Lights is the cradle of the Beat Generation, and I could spend hours browsing the shelves. On Tuesday evening, Silicon Valley visionary Jaron Lanier was at the store discussing his new book, You Are Not A Gadget, a manifesto on how technology is changing our culture. The author was greeted by a standing-room-only crowd. (Of course, I had to buy his book, along with five others.)

Books are so heavy to lug home from a trip, but I can’t help myself. I love Strand Bookstore in NYC, and then there’s the Tattered Cover in Denver. Every time I went home to visit my parents in Albuquerque, NM, I would stop in Salt of the Earth books on Central Avenue. (Like so many independent booksellers, the store is unfortunately now closed.)

Books –and the stores where they’re sold — feed the soul. So here I am, books in tow…

What’s your favorite bookstore?

Categories: Travel | 29 Comments »

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Hello my dears, this was another one of my Paris flea market finds. I had it listed in my eBay store, but I’m clearing out the Paris inventory to make way for treasures from San Francisco.

Would you like to have it? It’s lovely: made of silk with a green glass bead handle. The latch looks like an green jeweled antique brooch. It’s large enough for lipstick, a few euros and tickets to the opera!

Please leave a comment to enter! The winner will be announced Monday. Thank you! Meanwhile, I’m off to explore more of San Francisco…xoxo

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Under a balmy blue sky
San Francisco
It felt like summer today…
San Francisco
You could smell incense in the warm air as the city’s large Chinese community welcomed the new year with shrines to Buddha and prayers
for good luck..

As usual, I was distracted by all the architectural details…
San Francisco
The buildings are so European.
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But the weather and vibe is pure California…
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At the moment, the huge bay windows in my hotel room are propped open and I’m listening to the city life outside: that ringing trolley bell and all those squeaky breaks, worn from climbing all those hills.

And I understand why many hearts are left here.

(Photos taken with a 1970s Polaroid OneStep Flash camera.)

Categories: Travel | 29 Comments »

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Chinatown Markets

Feb 17, 2010

Fruit, firecrackers, Chinese newspapers, cookies and candied ginger…
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Such a colorful melange of things on display along the sidewalks of SF’s Chinatown today.

Happy Year of the Tiger, everyone! Goodbye damn tough Ox.

Categories: Travel | 27 Comments »

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To kick off my week of blogging in SF, I wanted to ask…


…do you think San Francisco is the most beautiful US city? When I was growing up, my dad used to joke that he was going to quit the rat race to work as a trolley car operator. He loved SF above all other cities (including Santa Fe)….

I love NYC and the Garden District in New Orleans is amazing…but SF has my heart…

Categories: Travel | 68 Comments »

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Pet Serendipity

Feb 15, 2010


We were not planning to get a new dog so soon after losing Murphy. We weren’t even looking. But the other day, while I was at the flea market, a woman walked past with three black Pomeranian puppies in a stroller. They were the first litter of her pet Pom, and she was looking for good homes for them. My heart melted for the smallest one, a girl. She looked like a little black bear!

I hate to think that I’m disrespecting Murphy’s memory by not waiting longer. I miss him everyday. But I also wanted a chance to give a home to another sweet dog.

And so, my dears, I would like to introduce to you our new baby Pom cutie, Lola. We’re all madly in love with her. (She’s coming to San Francisco with us!) My 11-year-old daughter, Isabella, made this video capturing the slightly mischievous side of our little dog. Let me know what you think!

Also, I want to ask you: Do you think pets pick us, instead of the other way around? There always seems to be a lot of serendipity at work in this, one of life’s strongest matters of the heart.

PS: THE WINNER OF THE PAINTED BOX IS Kim O’Brien, of K. O’Brien Jewelry. Congratulations Kim!

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My dears, we’re packing now to head up to San Francisco to visit relatives for the week. I’m excited to go to Chinatown (with Polaroid camera) for Chinese New Year!

When we return, we’re going to begin the search for a new place to live. We’ve been in our house for more than 12 years and we’d like (rather, need) to downsize. Maybe a loft? I don’t care if it’s small, I just want something light and bright!

Photo from Apartment Therapy.

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The Weekend

Feb 12, 2010

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Happy Friday everyone! This weekend I’m having lunch with my friend Elaine in Beverly Hills and I’m packing for a trip to San Francisco, where I will be taking lots of Polaroids and blogging next week! I’m putting together a list of great flea markets and thrift stores in SF…Any suggestions!?

What are you up to?

Photo above taken with my iPhone on my recent trip to Paris.

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I love these photos taken by Juergen Teller at the Missoni estate in Sumirago, where even the couches and chairs are covered in Missoni knits…
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Margherita looks so effortlessly chic, with her charm necklace…

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Bracelets, rings and red nails…

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From the March issue of Bazaar…

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A beautiful vintage box found at the Porte de Vanves Flea Market in Paris….


Painted on both sides….


And just large enough to hide an old love note…

It’s small, about the size of a deck of cards!…I’m not sure how old it is, but it’s very special.

Leave a comment to enter! Winner picked on Monday!

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It’s rainy and cold. And I just want to stay in and read. Don DeLillo: “She used the old dented kettle instead of the new one she’d just bought because — she didn’t know why. It was an old frame house that had many rooms and working fireplaces…”

Will be back tomorrow…

(Photo by Pretty Random.)

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Buttons & Glass
Hello my dears, thank you for all your amazing stories about why you started blogging! I’m so happy to meet you & blog with you. You are a wonderful bunch and I am so lucky to know you….

It’s Monday morning here in LA. It’s finally stopped raining and the sun is out. It’s beautiful, actually. I’m trying to restock my little eBay store with more treasures from Paris. (See above and below.) If you’re interested, you can check out the store {here}. I hope to have more listed this afternoon!

Have a lovely Monday.

PS: Tina Tarnoff is the winner of the travel diary!

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I started English Muse a little over a year ago to help deal with the sadness and hopelessness I felt watching so many of my friends lose their jobs at the Los Angeles Times. After so many years working at the paper, I felt like a refugee there, searching for a community where I belonged. I had no idea then that my friends here would be the ones who would help me the most after my own layoff from the LAT.
So I’m wondering, if you’ll please tell me, why did you start your blog?

(Photo from Yay!Everyday)

Categories: love & loss | 125 Comments »

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Sad Robot + Rain

Feb 06, 2010


It’s pouring rain in Los Angeles tonight and I have this song by the band Stars stuck in my head. It’s called Sad Robot. Have you heard it?

The lyrics are in French but it’s about this robot who is left out in the rain. And he’s scared his heart is going to rust.

Goes like this:

Il pleut
Je pleure

J’ai peur que je vais roullier ce soir

J’ai peur que mon temps soit expiree,
J’espere que vous viendrez me secher
J’espere que vous pouvez me reperer
J’ai peur que je vais roullier ce soir
Mon coeur,
Changera de l’acier a la poussiere

Translation:

It rains
I cry

I’m afraid that I’m going to rust tonight

I’m afraid that my time has expired,
I hope that you will come dry me,
I hope that you can repair me,
I’m afraid that I’m going to rust tonight
My heart,
Will change from steel to dust

If you, too, would like this song stuck in your head, you can listen to it {here}. The very cute robot, above, is from the etsy store, Reclaim2Fame.

Where is everyone today, by the way? I feel like I’m all alone on my blog tonight…And so I’m writing random posts about robots…

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