Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Darkest Night

I know I'm not the only one writing about this today.

We have a total lunar eclipse on the full moon on the winter solstice. It's kind of a big day.

Above is a pic I found on the Huffington Post taken in El Salvador early this morning. It's the Savior of the World after the earth had passed in front of the full moon and turned it to that deep mysterious orange.

I like astrology; I don't know a whole whole lot about it past the basics that most of you probably know too. I know the basics of my chart, the basics of all the signs, and what it means when Mercury is in retrograde. But I am fascinated by it, and today I had a feeling that there would be some big stuff being written given these cosmic happenings. On Astrology Zone you can read more about eclipses. Bottom line is they bring change. Could seem positive, could seem challenging, but they bring change and with that the feeling of being suspended in the unknown. Doesn't have to be a scary thing.

Then I went over to the Golden Bridge site and listened to Gurmukh's message and learned that this is only the second time in 200, 000 years that we've had a solstice, full eclipse and full moon happening at once. Whoa. She says don't do humdrum ordinary things today. Even if you're in your routine, be present to the possibility of the extraordinary. I like that.

The solstice is the longest night and in that way it symbolizes a return to the light. The days will start getting longer. The light is slowly coming back. The end of the year is a time where we let go of the old and allow the new. I know I want to get clear on what I need to feel good about 2011 beginning. What thoughts I want to let go of. Start to shape my dreams for the new year. Tie up some loose ends specifically involving my health insurance. Do some file purging. Recognize what's old, not helpful, what's getting in the way. Make room for new dreams, let new ideas to take shape, embrace new happiness and welcome the unfolding of new freedom.

It's a busy time and we've all got a lot to do. But it could be nice to take a few minutes to meditate on the magnificence of the cosmos, to be willing to align with nature since, after all, we're made of the same elements, and whether we pay attention or not there are some unusual things happening out there. Or maybe we simply sit with closed eyes and be in the dark. A lot of amazing things happen in the dark.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dandelion Ranch

Sounds like somewhere nice to hang out, doesn't it?

Run by Clover and Fern (I mean, C'MON), it's not a shop you walk up to but rather a tucked-away stone room in Baldwin Hills where you can make an appointment to visit. I knew I was there when I came upon stacks of old tires with all sorts of lush wild things growing out of them.

I first found them when I was planning our wedding. I pulled this off the internet somewhere
as exactly the feel I wanted for the cocktail hour: elegant but a little bit wacky. Alas, our wedding not being in LA (hence needing to pay for flower travel) and me deciding to save money and do a lot of the flowers myself, I didn't hire Dandelion Ranch to do it. I'm still getting over that and torture myself sometimes by hanging out on their weddings page.

Thank God there are other reasons to buy flowers than a wedding.

I wanted to send an extra-special thank you this summer to one of my agents who kicked booty in negotiating a job for me, and I called up Dandelion. They said Modern or Rustic? I said Rustic. They put together this

and my agent just about died.

Then, it being the holidays, and I, for one, not being in need of another cookie, felt maybe I wasn't alone and rather than showering the agents' office with baked goods, I called again. Modern or Rustic? Modern. I brought them these
A peony and ranunculus and juniper berries and cool pine-cone-related thingys!
They almost died again.

Dandelion's whole philosophy is about letting the flowers do the expressing; not trying to arrange them in some crazy interpretive way but rather as though you stumbled across a rather perfect garden. They do the flowers for Mozza, Grace, and of course Lucques (yet another reason to worship that restaurant. We were there last night for Sky's bday with a party of 12 and we've converted everyone to being Lucques disciples) and I think maybe every great restaurant in LA.

Inside the studio is a giant blackboard with days of the week and what gets deliveries when. I got oddly thrilled, like I was seeing Helen Mirren's dressing room or something.

Needless to say, I'd recommend these ladies for any event or gift you have reason to throw or send. For my mom's party that I'm throwing Jan 6 (and haven't even started on eek) I might have to have something like this

or this
or this
or maybe this
or should I go succulent?
or berries. Definitely berries.
all photos courtesy of Dandelion Ranch

I might have to name a daughter something botanical in the hopes she'll open a Dandelion Ranch of her own one day.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vive La France

Somehow I always have visions of the holidays being a time where I stay home and do nothing but make delicious treats, and somehow I am out and busier than I just about ever am. I bought 9 cookie tins from Ikea with grand plans of all the recipients of 4 different kinds of cookies, I've pulled recipes for black truffle pasta and Christmas cakes, I've read up on different peppermint extracts, and yet I feel like I've barely seen my kitchen to make more than morning oatmeal. I have not abandoned hope: there are a couple of events coming up in which I must make things for and am most excited to go all-out, plus we'll be in Taos for Christmas and I'll have ALL DAY EVERY DAY to cook eat cook eat repeat. Maybe read in the middle. THEN I'm throwing my mom a 60th birthday party on January 6th and I'll be cooking for 50. YES.

I actually did make persimmon jam this weekend and totally planned on posting it and it's just not that good. Maybe that's why I don't see persimmon jam out there more. I'm cleaning the jars and am going to try a recipe for persimmon butter which I hope will be a grander success. I'll share if so.

I did eat some amazing food this weekend at the Lazy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo. That was some black truffle pasta. And some spaghetti squash that is dressed up as a decadent buttery herby bowl of heaven. And beautiful feta with olives and herbs. And pickled beets with creamed mushrooms. Huh? Indeed.

However, even if one isn't cooking excessively, there is never a shortage of gastronomical delights to share. And I have one for you. A little backstory:
As some of you know, my mom of aforementioned birthday party has a cookie business. Her cookies, while being the cult favorite snack, dessert and Christmas gift of many a West-sider, are making their way into Whole Foods soon, and part of that process is Mom now bakes in a commercial kitchen. (If you need to send Christmas gifts to business partners or thank-yous to your supporters, or anything like that you might send these cookies---Sky sends them every year and gets thank-you notes for weeks).

The kitchen sounds like a trip. You rent space by the hour and you're in there with anyone else that rented too. Did you ever read this book as a kid?
Mom says it feels like that.

She has shared kitchen time more than once with Razmig Cyril Tchoboian and his amazing macarons. Mom knows I love a macaron. And that I take them very very seriously. I, of course, asked if he'd give me a sample. Since I'm such a connoisseur he would be honored, I'm sure.....Mom says she's not sure if the French had sample in their vocabulary....Oh well.
But I went to his site, and all I can say is, Christmas gift for me from me? Or I order them for Mom's party but somehow they just don't last and I have to eat them before......


Voici les macarons


Vanilla Creme Brulee
Chestnut Cream.
Oh my god.

And of course there is caramel. Coffee. Pistachio. Almond. There's cola and green tea and peanut butter chocolate. There are, in fact, 17 flavors.

Mes amis, ce sont tres formidable. Magnifique. Delicieuse.
And you can order them online and you know what? I just think you should. For New Year's. Or old year's. Or a special dinner. Or a birthday present. Or just because you like beautiful delicious things and life just gets to be about that sometimes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If You're Playing Santa and are Stumped

Some clever planet-friendly gift ideas from our friends at Uncommon Goods

This decanter

and these wine glasses
give new meaning to the image of drinking from a windshield
Not sure what I mean? head to the site......

why settle for a boring tissue box when you can use one of these cutie things?

i love these for the kid who's not afraid to be smart

N is for Neuron!

this laptop case was a wetsuit. Dude.

I want someone to give this wine-barrel-turned-lazy-susan to me

And for the record why is a lazy susan called such?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Be in the I Don't Know

A wonderful woman I have the honor of knowing said this in her newsletter as she talked about the brilliance of being willing Not to Know

Jump up and down at the question marks long enough for them to become the exclamation points

I can think I have to solve it all. I don't. I can think I have to know how to get where I want to go. I don't. I can think if I don't come up with the path no one will. Not true. The universe usually has a much cooler, more creative, easier plan than mine if I'll just start breathing and enjoy this beautiful life.

Thanks so much, Shareen, for reminding me!
If you live in LA or NYC, or next time you visit, head to her store. It's more than clothes. As I'm sure you can guess.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Meet Jocelyn

Jocelyn and I have been friends for several years. The whole movement teacher/actress double life initially bonded us. She was a gyrotonics teacher; I, as you know, teach the yoga, and we've both been working away at our acting lives for a good while now. We've kvetched about wanting better agents, we've been up against each other for parts, we've been in great classes and totally lame classes together, we've supported each other's goals, we've eaten bad Italian food at 1am on more than one occasion, and alternately gone on and off sugar, gluten and alcohol.

Joss wrote a movie a while back that blew me away. Blew lots of people away actually. A funny, quirky, very very moving story called I am I about a girl connecting with her father for the first time. A father who's mental health is questionable.....I'll say no more. When I read the script I couldn't believe how she said so much in such clean language. By clean I mean nothing extra: spare in the best way. She's been working on getting it made. It is as hard as everyone says it is to get funding these days, and Joss is attached as writer, star and now DIRECTOR. Whoa. Fast forward over several months (a year maybe?) and Joss decides there's another way to go. She's raising the money herself via Kickstarter.

Please please give yourself a treat and go watch her video that explains about the movie. It's one long 4 1/2 minute take (that is a long brilliant take!) Then click on the button to learn more about backing her film. Even if you choose not to, reading the rewards you get for pledging different amounts are hilarious, genius, and completely enticing. But you could pledge $1 and help get this thing made. I am totally inspired by my friend. Talk about going after what you want. Yay Joss.