Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Legend of Sleepy... ME.

Happy Halloween!!

I couldn't decide which fete to attend tonight,
and to be really honest,
I wasn't sure what I felt like dressing up as...

(I was thinking of going as a Mad Men era glamourpuss-
my grandmother was a style MAVEN
and has given me the majority of her remarkable dresses)

Upon checking in with myself and realizing that
1) I am tired
2) feel too old for the Los Angeles crazy Halloween Party madness
I decided last minute to just stay in,
make some chili,
and knit,

with the dogs and some Halloween movies.

Now I'm not really one to handle scary horror flicks-
(especially alone on a chilly Halloween night.)

So tonight's viewings were

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

and Sleepy Hollow.

These films make me happy in SO many ways.

The fabulous party...
Linus sitting in the patch, waiting patiently...
I remember watching the special on TV as a kid,
with my mom, all curled up with some popcorn.

I've always thought Charles Schultz was such a brilliant man,
and since he lived, wrote, and cartooned in
one of my FAVORITE places on earth,
Sonoma County,
I cant help but love him.

*It is said the scenery for the infamous Pumpkin Patch
is meant to be in Sonoma

Then on to Sleepy Hollow,
a film I find to be one of the MOST
remarkably art directed/production designed
(not to mention costume designed-
HELLO Colleen Atwood= GENIUS)
films ever made.

*Can you PLEASE look at how GOOD the
deer heads are? GASP.

I love the sets, the cinematography,
even the old world New England accents
(not to MENTION Johnny Depp's every feature)

*He's kinda handsome

It makes me want to pack my bags
and move to New York State,
buy a farm, raise chickens and cows,
and make cheese.

Course, I guess moving alone, with the dogs,
to a place like Sleepy Hollow would
scare me even more than the madness of Los Angeles.

*And I cant imagine the men are anywhere near as delicious as Ichabod Crane...

At the VERY least there are no Headless Horsemen here.
Not that I've seen recently at least.

Guess I'll stay put.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Home again, Home again...

It's good to be back.

I needed a little time to reflect,
take a couple of mini-breaks,
and regroup.

After a long, hard summer,
it was time to turn within,
and get back to nature.

A trip home, to the cottage on Lake Michigan,
was just what the Doctor ordered.

I also made a stop at Sequoia National Forest,
and said 'hello' to General Sherman,
a 2200 year old, 275 ft tall, 36.5 ft round

*thats him.

He was lovely.

There was of course some work sprinkled in there...

I planned a cocktail party for Claire
using my favorite caterer:
Love Catering.

Jonathon is a DOLL
and they are nothing short of tremendous to work with.

I recommend the mini Niman Ranch burgers,
and the pizzas...

The Lavender Lemonade cocktail was a hit,

and their famous bittersweet chocolate brownies
were just YUM.

I also assisted my friend Katie Fine
with a charity design project for the Skid Row Housing Trust;
we designed an apartment as part of a
design showcase fundraiser
in a record 2 day install.

*It turned out so beautifully, I'd want to live there...

What a blast, but PHEW was I wiped!
Katie, were there cameras, or did it just FEEL like we were
on a reality show? ;)

A few dinner parties,
a couple of great movies,
and one delicious date,
(he took me to buy a watermelon),

have brought me back,
revitalized and ready to focus
once again on my true passion.

Sharing the world of design,
and all the things I find remarkable,
with you.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Summertime... and the livin' is LAZY...

I got this from a friend today...


Look how healthy and happy he was,
sweet little bear.

Things are good.

I have been working quite a bit on random projects,
but am mainly focused on
enjoying some last-days-of-summer fun.

A trip to Disneyland,

*yes, those are PINK ears with a crown...
I had my name embroidered on them and everything

A BBQ or two,

*at a lovely soirée in Laurel Canyon for Labor Day

and the last peaches at the Farmer's Market.

The dogs and I have been going for walks every night,
it's really the only time I can bear the heat.

I have been reading a ton too,
and have so many snippets of magazines
ripped out to share with you...

But I just cant seem to muster the energy to scan them,
and then talk in detail about
the essence of color therapy.

Don't get me wrong,
I love my work.
Love my career, my passions,
all of it.

But its been a long doggy-day summer,
and I'm a tired girl.

I'm gonna soak up these last days of heat,
these last days of being able to laze through,
and will get into the more interesting stuff again soon.

The Interior Designer,
Event Planner,
TV Host,
will be back.


For now, she's calling it in,
from the patio.

Stay tuned.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Take me home to the ball-game...


I cant believe it's almost over.

At least the calendar is gentle this year, and Labor Day comes
a little later than normal.

I have had a great summer,
really I have.

Despite the challenges, it has been lovely
to take the time to slow down
and do the things I did as a kid.

And in typical child-like fashion,
I am finding myself making a mad-dash to
get in a few more summer-fun activites
before the official start of the 'school-year'.

(even though I haven't been in school
for nearly a decade,
my brain still focuses on
freshly-sharpened pencils
and starts preparing my annual
Pumpkin Carving party at Halloween,
while my hands start leafing through cookbooks
looking for roast recipes)

One of these such immediate summer activities
was to go, without notice,
to the Dodger game on Sunday.

(ok, well NOT a DODGER game,
really a CUBS game, but dont tell my fellow
Angelenos that that is REALLY why I went)

I remember summers in Chicago

(we didn't live there, but it was my first introduction
to a big city, and is still, minus the weather,

when we used to slather on the sunscreen,
grab a hot dog,
and watch the Cubbies at the most perfect ballpark in history:

Wrigley Field.


I was overcome
even then,
by the amazing aesthetic of such a remarkable place;
you could SMELL the history in the wooden bleachers,
and I was spellbound by the romance of
the 1913-built field,
with its ivy-covered outfield walls
(planted in 1937)
and un-duplicated anywhere in the league
rooftop seats,
making it, to me, like a very large, magical, back-yard.

*the nearby apartment building's rooftop seats
have always seemed like a special club to me,
and I fantasized as a child about living there someday...

I was pleased to see that the architect's name was
Zachary Taylor Davis
(mine is Ryann Taylor Davis,
preceded by my Grandfather, Carmen Taylor Davis)
so maybe I am connected, somehow,
to this great legacy,
and my cells just KNOW they belong there...
(my grandfather WAS an active part of the Teamsters
in the Chicago area, afterall.)

I hadn't been to a baseball game since I was 12,
and being back, watching the first all-American sport
was a coming home.

I had a wonderful time,
even if we WERE at Dodger Stadium
(which is actually very beautiful as well.)

*Gordy, a Dodger fan, and I, at the game...
he was mortified to be seen with me in my Cubbies regalia...

It has to be noted
that as we arrived late to a tied game,
Dodgers/Cubs 1-1...
the second I sat down at the bottom of the 3rd,
hot dog in hand,
the Cubs started to win.

And they did.

Guess they knew I was 'home'.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Visions of Sugar Plums...

So I'm finding myself getting back to ME today.

Grief is a funny thing,
it comes in these gentle waves
(which I've found best not to resist)
and I'm surprised to find that what is really coming up for me
is gratitude,
not sadness.

I picked up Benji's ashes today.
They came in a little handmade oak box,
which is now sitting on the bookcase
in front of my vision board.

I have a vision for my life.

It includes
loyal (well-behaved) animals,
honest, dear friends,
a strong, spiritual man,
delicious children,
a beautiful place to live,
and an abundance of
delicious food,
interior design,
TV hosting,
and travel.
(to name a few)

And although this week has presented a great deal of loss,
I am aware of how blessed I truly am.

And am grateful
for the fact that I am living my way
into my vision,
right now, in real time, today.

Despite the challenges,
the loss,
the changes.

I have it really good.

Also on my vision board
is a photo of George Clooney,
in a bathing suit,
on a Chris Craft boat,
at his villa in Lake Como, Italy.

*Hello, Sugar Plum.

Hey, a girl's gotta have vision.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

After the Agony, the Laundry...

So, he's gone.

Tuesday morning I woke up before dawn,
and sat outside with him as the sun came up on his last day with us.

It was a chilly morning,
and we snuggled together listening to the birds start their day,
enjoying our last moments together.

It was hard. To watch him leave us.

But he handled it beautifully,
and I sang to him and rubbed his ears as he gently passed away.

The last couple of days have been weird.
No herbs or pills, no rushing home to make sure he's alright.

It's been calm.
And I know this is what he wanted for me.
To have calm back in my life.

He thanked me, with his eyes, as he went.
For all that I had done,
all the love we shared,
and for making him comfortable these last weeks.

And so as sad as I am,
as hard as it is to not see him wagging his tail
when I walk through the door,

there is peace.

And he is ok.

And so am I.

And so, now, with a new appreciation for all that I have,
all that I am,
and all that I do,
it's back to life.

I am grateful.
For my health and heart,
"The Farm",
the sweet cottage on Hudson,
a fridge full of food,
fresh laundry (with new sheets on the bed),
my incredible life's work,
and the amazing people in my life (including YOU).

And although we all miss him,
"The Farm" is thrilled to have 'me' back.

*Pippa Squeak, Cricket Magoo, and Figueroa


It's good to be 'home'.

To Benji-man Button,
wherever you are:
Thank you for being a part of this family,
for making us smile every single day,
and for leaving us with such grace.


We miss you.
Rest, my love, in peace.


Monday, August 17, 2009

You're too much.

So today, we went to the beach.

I couldn't let him go without saying goodbye
to one of his favorite places.

I wondered if taking him was a bit too much.
If I was just willing him to be better than he really is.

I was stunned at the way his energy perked up
the second we arrived,
and how he dragged me, pulled me, down the beach
further and further
until I inevitably had to carry him back to the car.

*"MOM, lets GO..."

Sitting there, on the beach with him,
the cloudy sky holding us both in the breeze,
as we snuggled close,
was a moment I will never forget.


I realize now that it was the best thing for him,
and for me,
to get out, see the vastness of the ocean,
witness its natural ebb and flow,
like life,
and feel comforted by the warm sand under my toes,
and the life breathed into my boy
for that short time.

For an hour, he was a puppy again.

And I am so grateful to have witnessed it.

THAT is how I will remember him,
how I will hold him in my heart.

I made peace with losing him today.
Watching him lay in the sand,
with the breeze on his face,
is how he will always be to me.

And a great lesson was learned:
It is never too much
or too late,
one is never too busy
to take the time
to create the memories we hold most dear.

And I'm forever grateful.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Time Traveling Dog.

Benji is still hanging in there,
although they say Lymphoma is going to take him from us soon.

*Sweet Bear

We've been doing acupuncture twice a week
and he is on Chinese herbs as well.
Our goal is to keep him comfortable and supported as he makes his transition.

As challenging as it's been to know
that we are going to lose him,
its been really nice to lay low with him,
and enjoy our last summer together.

We've read The Time Traveler's Wife
from cover to cover
(536 pages of yummy- please DO read it if you haven't)
and seen the subsequent movie.

*Eric Bana is SO delicious.

(Ben stayed home for that one, but
I'm sure he would have liked the book better, as I did, anyway.)

We've done a 1000 piece puzzle...

*our first one was of an East-Coast seaside town

and started a 2nd.

We've caught up on a few months worth of shelter mags
(the July issue of British Homes and Gardens is immaculate-
we especially love Ian Mankin's new
Organic Linen Union ticking)

*Perfect organic doggy-bed fabric

(Benji informed me he'd like a new dog bed
fashioned out of the 'Night' colorway)

and of course we've managed to take a nap or ten.

In order to take care of myself,
and stay above water, as they say, in this trying time,
I have really gotten back to basics:
lazy summer days, light simple meals
(I made grilled farmer's market peaches that were to DIE for,)
the people that I love.

They've all come around to let us know we are loved,
and to make sure he knows how special he is to all of us.
And he does, I think. He knows.

Maybe he can come back to visit some day,
on a time travel mission,
and we can do a puzzle and grill some drumsticks.
(his favorite)

Until then, I'm thrilled to have my boy by my side,
as we take this one moment at a time,
and cherish the time that we have together.

I'll never forget what a great summer Benji has given me.

I hope you're enjoying yours as much as we are.


Grilled Peaches:
(thanks Martha)

Peel, halve and pit 8 fresh peaches.

Preheat grill to high.
Combine the juice of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon veg oil in a bowl.
Add peaches; toss to coat.
Place peaches (with liquid) on a large piece of
parchment-lined foil.

Stir together:
1.5 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt.

Brush over peaches, fold foil to form a packet, crimping edges to seal.
Grill, covered for 15 mins.

Slice peaches, divide among 8 bowls,
and let cool for 5 mins.

Top with vanilla ice cream and serve.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Life is but a dream...

What a challenging few weeks its been.

Poor Benji-man Button has been very sick,

and after several vet visits,
numerous tests,
and an acupuncture session,

we are finally seeing some improvement in the little bear.

I cannot tell you how attached I have become to the sweet man.

And how being with him, while he is ill,
praying to whatever is out there
that he WILL make it,
that he will be fine,
has really brought me down a level.

Why, I wonder, is it always the threat of tragedy
that brings us to our knees,
to help us appreciate the sum of tiny miracles that is our
perfectly precious lives?

A cup of coffee hasn't tasted this good in a while,
just the aroma, the swirl of the cream,
the perfect dollop of sweet honey,

and sitting outside to watch the sun rise over the horizon,
highlighting one of the greatest cities in the world,
that I am privileged enough to
be a participating resident of.

It isn't the easiest, however,
to have light shed upon how perfectly transient this all is,
to have the notion of 'How important is it, really?'
be at the forefront of your mind at every moment.

The challenge lies in how lonely this begins to feel
when nearly everyone around you
is SO committed to the
lives they have created, and the importance
of every last detail,
where, to me, for today,

its just not.

Its just not that important.

Most of it.

What matters to me today:
Hearing him breathe,
watching him drink water,
being SO overcome with joy
when he eats a BITE of chicken,
that its almost as if he had started
reciting Shakespeare.

I've always known it was the little things that gave me so much joy.

That's what this blog has been for me,
a place to share, with you, the teeniest little pieces
of my innermost awe.

And for today,
my life,
as it is,
with Benji sleeping soundly beside me,
healing deeply,
is so much more than I could ever hope for.

Thank you for being here to share it with me.


Friday, July 24, 2009

The Dawning of a New Era...

I am turning 30 tomorrow.

My 20's were filled with many an interesting experience...

They began at UCLA Theater school,

while producing the Pussycat Dolls at the Viper Room
(before their current incarnation, thank heaven)


and travelling around Italy, France, Portugal and Spain
kissing cute native boys and drinking various regional varietals
(my favorite being Brunello di Montalcino),
while dancing late at night, and taking naps on the beach.

*I lived in Marbella for a while. It didn't suck.

Then on to my career in production,
working the red-carpet at the Golden Globes and other award shows,
rubbing elbows with Hollywood's finest
(and discovering they are really JUST people,
something I didn't expect while growing up in the Midwest cornfields)

and living at Villa Primavera at Harper and Fountain,

*James Dean lived in my unit

while having a wild and brilliant night-life filled tryst with Los Angeles,

before meeting a strapping and brilliant European man at 22
and moving to
to be with him.

*Nice view.

For a while.

25 brought with it a move to a bungalow in Venice,
and Preppy Propaganda,
my short-lived but heart-felt
non-profit political T-shirt line,

*the Future Voter one was my favorite

and my stint as a nanny
(loved that job)

before discovering my passion for Interiors at 26,
(while up to my elbows in hardy-backer and stain,
fixing up a house for resale in the hills,)
and living in Hancock Park,
strolling through
Larchmont Village with a Peet's coffee in hand.

Succulent was born while I was 27,

*this was always my favorite arrangement

and seeing a handsome and lovely (motorcycle driving) lad
who lived in a gorgeous loft at 4th and Main downtown.
(We used to wander the streets late at night,
and eat huge breakfasts at The Pantry)

*they have the best pancakes in the city

This final year of my youthful decade
brought about the closing of Succulent,
the launch of a blog,
my re-entry into my passion for Interiors,
and my move to the sweet cottage on Hudson Ave,

where my 30's will begin.

In the morning.

My 20's were a blast.

But I have to say,
out of all the places I've lived in LA,
of all the jobs I've worked,
of all the men I've dated,
of all the places I've travelled,
of all I've experienced
during that carefree yet challenging decade,

I cant imagine being ANYWHERE else
but RIGHT here,
RIGHT now.

With you.


Monday, July 6, 2009

O! Burger, Where Art Thou?

Ok, I have a new obsession.

Now, I know its the time of year where one should
technically be manning their own BBQ.

(or rather WHY in LA)
would one want to bother,
when there is a place called O! Burger?

This yummy little gem, tucked inconspicuously
along the shops in Boy's Town
offers completely delicious
100% Organic Grass-Fed Beef Burgers,
and perfectly crispy fries
in a clean, modern environment with friendly staff.

And although it isn't the CHEAPEST place in town
(a 'combo' of beef burger, small fries, and ice tea runs $10.99)
I've spent more at Fatburger only to feel like a small
beluga whale soon after consuming.


The 'About Us' page on their website
talks more to the details of their mission:
everything edible they offer is organic,
(right down to the ketchup)
and grass-fed beef
"is rich in Omega 3’s, CLA (a fatty acid that may be a potent cancer fighter),
vitamins A & E, and antioxidants, plus it has fewer calories.
It can be as lean as skinless chicken."

Their hope is to "leave you satisfied without feeling stuffed."

So should I feel SO guilty that
I have eaten 2 of these burgers in
the last 24 hours?
(dinner last night, and somehow I happened to end up there again at lunch)

Honestly, I can truly say I've never felt this good
after pigging out on a burger and fries.

At this rate, I may continue to show up for a meal everyday...

Kinda like Super Size Me, only the organic version.

Where's a camera crew when you need one?


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Oh, Say, Can you See?

What a great 4th of July.

A very charming, and handsome, young man
took me on his brand new Ducati Monster 1100
out to Malibu,

replete with festive, holiday-appropriate helmut.

*Cute right?

The ride was gorgeous, and I was surprised
that not only did I feel SAFE on this powerful machine,
I actually found myself wanting one.

(I would like to create a NEW genre of female rider-
the Biker CHIC- sans K)

His looked similar to THIS:

*apparently, this is the Governator's manufacturer of choice

And mine, I'm guessing, would look more like this:

*yes Ducati now offers custom colors on their Monster 696 models

Anyway, we drove out north of Geoffrey's,
(which has THE best Cadillac Margarita in the UNIVERSE,
and the views, of course, are the best in LA)

to a friends rental off of PCH.

*quite palatial, no?

We grabbed a Corona, changed into our suits,
and jumped in the pool.

(well, ok, technically HE did, I stuck my toe in- BRRRR- and decided
I had risked my life enough for one day)

Hot tub for me.

After some time chatting over basic BBQ conversation:
who does what, with whom, and when,
and the inevitable mention of Iran,
and Michael Jackson,

We changed and hopped back on our sweet ride.

Back in town, we regrouped, and headed up the hill
for the Ghetto Fireworks Extravaganza
at Claire's.

The views were amazing,
and as we watched 'The Rocket Man' and 'American Pride'
regale us with their spark-ed glory,
we laughed as the shrapnel flew,
and the kids screamed in glee (or horror, I wasn't quite certain)
before heading back down the hill to call it a night.

Returning home, I was somewhat worried
about what the dogs would think of our time-honored tradition
to blow things up very, VERY loudly.

Cricket and Pippa were fine,
Benji on the other hand was NOT a fan.

*Poor little bear

(When I let him out to go 'potty' he subsequently ended up UNDER the house.)

Not the kind of 4th of July's I remember from my childhood in the Midwest,
but I must say, the California way has something going for it.

I'll be back.