Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend Edition: First Sourdough in California

Yes, I brought my sourdough starter with me to California.  That's extremely nerdy in a culinary way, I know, but once you get used to a certain quality for your daily bread its difficult to go back to store-bought bread.   Ironically last weekend my never-fail sourdough pancakes kind of failed.  This weekend my first loaf of bread in the new climate looks to be a success.  It rose well and has a nice crust.  Tomorrow will tell if the flavor is good.  (Its always a good flavor, some weeks its more sour than others).  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Strange Life

I'm still in California.  Still don't know how long I'll be here.  At least half the people in the office are working on the same contract that I am, and we've been hearing that it will be extended, but the date to which it will extend has varied based on who is telling the news.  Supposedly we'll know more on Monday.  Until then my life is seriously up in the air.  Which is weird, but also liberating.  Its okay though because this is what I've been seeing everyday.
Avocado orchards.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekend Edition: Roadtrip to Winslow, AZ and Beyond

On Saturday afternoon I picked up my friend Elise and we drove to Winslow, AZ to stay at the Mary Colter designed La Posada Hotel.  I'd wanted to visit the La Posada since I listened to an NPR story about its near demolition and subsequent restoration back in 2000 (no longer available for online listening, which is too bad).  I loved it, the beds were comfortable, the restaurant is renown, and the history is fascinating.  The interior of the hotel is largely renovated, and they've made a lot of progress on the gardens.  We arrived just after sunset got settled, went down to the restaurant to eat, then explored the hotel via their handy self-guided tour.  Early the next morning we woke up so that Elise could catch the Amtrak back to Albuquerque, while I embarked on a nine hour drive to Southern California by myself.
Warm winter kale and lentil salad.  I think those disks are sunchoke... can't remember.
Braised bison short ribs in blackberry barbeque sauce.
As close to licking the plate clean as you can get in a restaurant.
One of La Posada's great appeals was the oasis in the desert that it provided travelers.  Since its winter, the gardens were just starting to green up, but this view of the sunken garden gives a sense of its shadiness and enclosure.
Looking back from the end of the sunken garden.  The ballroom looks over from the left, and guestrooms on the right.
The Ballroom.
This snippet of video was perhaps the highlight of the drive to California.  Still quiet on the road and early enough that I wasn't aching to get out of the car.
On the Road near Flagstaff, AZ from S@sha on Vimeo.

Why was I on the road to California, you may ask?  It looks likely that I'm moving here for awhile.  Tomorrow I start a job that was too good to pass up.  I really didn't want to leave the Albuquerque and the homestead, but now I should be able to earn enough money to actually get a lot of work done on the property.  I'll still blog about the same things (I brought my sourdough starter with me for example), though they'll have a slightly different regional focus.  More marmelade and less green chile.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Recent Acquisitions: Little Things

Since I've been back at work, I've been trying to gift myself some of the little things that I haven't allowed myself to indulge in over the last couple of years.

First up, 18" Trove wallpaper samples.  I'm really intrigued by this wallpaper, which I've posted about before, and I finally ordered a couple samples.  My walls aren't really paper friendly, being adobe plaster that resembles stucco in a couple of rooms, but there are a few frame walls on the interior of my house.   I ordered these two, Sargasso and Auva (actually in a slightly different colorway):

Screen shots from the Trove website.

And this is what the samples look like when they arrive.  I'm slightly disappointed in the Sargasso sample because I would have liked to be able to see the area a little higher where more color comes together on the large image.  It seems a little too grey otherwise.  It is a beautiful pinkish grey.  The more I look at it the more I like it, actually.  I really love the Aura, and it's interesting to see what a large scale those swirls are in person.  

I also just ordered a box of potential glasses frames from Warby Parker.  My old glasses are in terrible shape, so much so that I never ever wear them off the property.  Can't wait to have new glasses, so cross your fingers that the Warby Parker frames look cute on me.
The second and third from the top are the contenders, now that I've tried them all on.  They are pretty similar, but the brown ones (Miles) have a slightly wider frame.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Garden Inspiration: Jinny Blom in Garden Design Magazine

A Jinny Blom garden at Corrours Estate in Scotland.  Seriously, I want to be there right now.  That grey sky reflected in the glass wall?  The Wegner loveseat and Eames spool table?  Tuck up your feet, lean back and stare out the window at those grasses undulating in the wind.  You can just imagine it perfectly can't you?

This image is in the current Garden Design Magazine. March/April edition?  It's one of the best things in there, and I was happy to see it.  Garden Design used to be one of my favorite magazines, but it had gotten pretty terrible over the last few years.  Lots of really uninspiring gardens in between those totally staged "parties" where all of the shots were just product placement details and outrageously expensive outdoor kitchens.  Or so it seemed.  Don't want lame entertaining stories in my garden magazines.  It seems as though there is now a new editor, and the magazine is taking a turn back towards an audience of designers and gardeners.  I think I'll start reading again and hope the trend continues.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Late Night Inspiration: Stephan Hamel's House in Tuscany

Well okay, its not that late, only 11:15.  But I should be sleeping since I have to get up early and go to work tomorrow.  I just found these photos from Vogue Living Australia Nov/Dec 2010 issue online, and wanted to repost them.  I stopped at Barnes & Noble this afternoon when I was in the neighborhood running errands, and this issue was still on the shelves.  I LOVED this house, but didn't want to shell out the $10 cover price for an imported magazine.  I thought it would be easier to find the photos online, but it actually wasn't.  Thus I'm going to re-post them so others can enjoy them too.  I found them here.

Why do I love this home?  Its kind of cluttered and has a few too many objects that just scream 80s to me.  I think there is an object that I hate in almost every photo, but there is also something I love in every photo.  I really like the colorful nature of just about everything. The beamed ceilings, brick/tile floors, and bright light are all relatable to NM houses.  And I like that there are so many of those crazy contemporary furniture pieces that are really more theoretical than practical, actually in use in the house.  Ultimately it looks lived in, and lived in by interesting people.

I think what I really love about looking into other people's homes is seeing their personalities come through.  I don't believe in a perfect space.  Personalization is a vital part of human nature, and its why interiors that look too highly stylized or spartan just don't read as authentic to me.  Give me a crazy Italian retreat any day.

How about you?  Any crazy houses that you really love?

Fashion Inspiration: Silhouette

At least half the blogs in my blog reader are fashion and style related.  Some are normal small-town-dwelling people who document what they wear each day, most found via browsing the Wardrobe_remix pool on Flickr.  Others are the big-time high fashion bloggers like Garance DorĂ©, The Sartorialist, All The Pretty Birds, etc.  Sometimes the two types of blogs don't seem to have that much to do with one another since one is aspirational, and the other achievable.  I'll certainly never have the clothing resources of the women that populate Garance Dore's world, but they are great for inspiration.  I've had this photo of Giovanna Battaglia in my inspiration folder for at least two years, and it still resonates with me.  I love that dress/coat that looks like a really well cut lab coat.  I think it appeals to the side of me that would like to have a uniform to wear everyday.  But only if it was a really flattering and completely chic uniform. 

After browsing the Modcloth sale the other day, and seeing this coat on sale for $18, I was reminded of my inspiration folder images.  This is how I'd interpret the silhouette for every-day wear.  That cardigan would be worm underneath the coat when it was needed.    The glasses are a pair I'm considering.  The boots I already own and wear more days than not.  The scarf is one of the many colors that look too-beautiful-to-choose-just-one, from Scarf Shop.  The bag I was coveting from J.Crew until it sold out.  The shoes, just look comfortable and tall, a rare combo. (Also sold out).
Winter Work Uniform

Winter Work Uniform by natasyah on

I think these pictures of Valentina Di Pinto also show a variation of this silhouette, and the last photo of her is one that's also been in my file for quite a while because of how good those glasses look on her.  
Via Garance Doré.
Via The Sartorialist. 
Via The Sartorialist.
Do you have a go-to "uniform" for work?  What's it look like?