Friday, December 31, 2010

Mission, the Literal

One of our last stops on vacation was at the serene Mission San Juan Capistrano. I thought it would be a fitting way to end this year's blogging with pictures from our visit since the start of a new year reminds us all to clarify our mission.

May Your New Year be Blessed and Your Mission be Clear!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

On the Road Again: Water in Paradise

Marina del Rey

After all the rain in L.A., we finally had a gorgeous warm day on Monday--a picture perfect day for heading down to Laguna Beach where there had been mudslides because of all the rain. The mud was mostly cleaned up in town by the time we arrived.

Here are some beautiful water photos from our trip to brighten your possibly snowy wintery world. They will provide wonderful memories for us as we head back to the perpetual rain that is winter in Oregon.

On the road: Palos Verde

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown L.A. is a spectacular spot to have a camera on hand. Leave it to Frank Gehry to make every angle one that surely looks great from a camera lens. I would love to hear music there some day.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Culver City: The Hayden Tract Revival

Samitaur Tower is an information tower designed by world-renowned architect Eric Owen Moss. It sits along the newly developing mass-transit line that will connect downtwon L.A. to Culver City and which someday may extend all the way to Santa Monica. This open-air tower has translucent acrylic screens designed to display video, artwork, and/or advertising.

The tower serves as a sort of gateway attraction at the corner of an old industrial complex that has become an extraordinary repurpose project because of the vision of developers Frederick & Laurie Samitaur-Smith and the design genius of Eric Owen Moss. The Hayden Tract is a fascinating place for any lover of modern architecture and photography.

Here are some photos of various buildings in this exciting tract which houses an eclectic mix of businesses, many of which are design or entertainment related. The next photo is the back of the tower.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Want to Go Riding in My Car?

At the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, a current exhibit is titled "Automotivated, Streamlined Fashion and Automobiles." It pairs fashion and cars in an excellent retrospective.

The prevailing fashion for women at the time of the invention of the automobile was highly unsuited to traveling by this new-fangled mode of transportation. As cars became ever more sleek and elegant, fashion followed suit.

You'd better get dressed up when you head out in a fancy car:

This is the perfect get-up for all kinds of weather. 
The goggles are perfect for old cars that did not have windshields.
The leather helmet is terribly chic.

Here's a more upscale look for a more modern car.

Razz-ma-tazz, and all that jazz.

I don't think I'd want you and that thing on your shoulder in my ride.

Apart from the special clothing exhibit, the collection of automobiles at the Petersen museum is really impressive. Historic cars, in mint condition, will take you back to your childhood and that of your parents and grandparents.

One of my favorite cars in the exhibit was the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible:

This car measures 225 inches in length and weighs 5,060 pounds. Look at the back white side-wall tire and see how low the chassis is sitting to the ground. Dig those rocketlike tailfins in back and the chrome detailing.

Gorgeous cream and blue leather interior here. Note some of the custom details in this particular car: the matching blue phone built into the front console and the place for the crystal ashtray in front of it, and the built-in spot for a liquor decanter and two shot glasses in the back. Oh boy, this was before MADD, for sure.

In case you are wondering, the hood of this vehicle looks about the size of our king-sized mattress. It is truly gigantic! Of course there is a 345 horsepower 8-cylinder engine in there, so it has to be huge.

The museum also has a superior collection of motorcycles. Two in particular impressed me.

This is the 1904/5 FN four-cylinder motorcycle--the first one that was mass produced according to the signage on the display. It is very clever looking in a steampunk kind of way. I could definitely enjoy riding around on that.

The second motorcycle that was totally cool was a OOAK handmade skeleton cycle. Think I'll wait until Halloween next year to show you photos of that one.

Friday, December 24, 2010

L.A. Christmas

We arrived in Los Angeles to major rain storms, mudslides, and weather reports of possible tornados. Goodness, there was more rain than we usually get in Oregon.

After a downpour in a thunder and lightning storm on Wednesday afternoon, Santa and company passed by a beautiful rainbow at The Grove shopping center where we took refuge from the storm by taking in a movie.

See that dark sky--it was mid-afternoon!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Belle of the Ball

In an imaginative world you can have things how you like them, even if your daily life is not going peachy keen. When an artist's work speaks to you in a way that transforms the world of your daydreams into a tangible image that far surpasses your imagination, it is a glorious thing. It is such a surprise and delight to find that the world she created feels like it leapt out from your very own heart.

Such is the case for me with the joyful collection of work by Janet Hill of Janet Hill Studio in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. Janet has taken her degree in Fine Art and applied it stunningly to the study of beautiful women, interiors and still-life. Her collection is teeming with feminine magic. Have a visit to her website and to her Etsy shop to see for yourself. You will find original paintings and prints to brighten your world.

When I first happened upon Janet's Etsy shop, I must have clicked on every item in the store. My mind created stories around her images that fit my world. This is one such story.

The White Owl Dress

On the day of a special holiday ball, Mr. Cha Cha is always calm and collected. His attire for the dance is relatedly straightforward but I get started weeks before the event searching for the perfect dress or gown. Not only does the dress need to be flattering, it needs to be danceable and appropriate for the type of music that will be played.

Let's imagine that on this occasion, there will be a big band playing some swing, some foxtrot, and some waltz. Out of all the possibilities, I have chosen this lovely White Owl dress in which to be a night owl belle. Put yourself in my position, getting ready for the ball.

The Owl and the Clock

Starting early in the afternoon on the day of the event, everything must be tried on at least one more time to make sure it still looks lovely and that the extra five pounds that you gained since buying the dress will not be a problem.

You must check your hosiery to make sure there are no runs, and you must set aside an additional pair to take along in your danceshoe bag as a back-up.


You must also go to your dance shoe collection and choose the perfect shoes for the evening. The suede soles of the shoes need to be brushed, and then you can put them on, turn on some practice music and dance about your house, all dressed up. How does the outfit feel? If you feel anything less than a princess, you must figure out a solution now.

Beatrice's Dressing Room

All right, the clothing has been perfected. Now everything else needs to be set out so that getting ready feels like a luxury and not a last-minute panic: make-up, hair accessories, jewelry, evening bag, handkerchief. Forget the cologne. Dance etiquette now calls for everyone to be aroma free.

Oh, and at this particular dance, there will be a little gift exchange for the ladies, so you must wrap the gift that you are taking (a pretty little bead knitted bracelet from Knot-Cha-Chá!™).

Christmas Belles

The dance is uplifting and energizing. The music, sublime. Mr. Cha Cha, the perfect partner. The evening goes by much too fast.

After the ball a stop by a little patisserie that is open late.

Lovebird Patisserie

When you dance that much, you really work up an appetite!