Tag Archives: travel

Postcards from Santa Barbara

2 Aug

Postcards from Santa Barbara

My husband travels quite a bit with his job and luckily… sometimes I am able to join him.  He just traveled to Santa Barbara so I met up with him there (and even brought my two dogs with me for the journey).  Santa Barbara is about a short one and a half hour drive from Los Angeles  -  and since we found a great hotel that allowed dogs…so it was a great little “family” trip.

While he had meetings in the day, I explored the city waiting for him to finish.  Santa Barbara and the neighboring Montecito area are some our favorite places in southern California. We feel in love with Santa Barbara so much we actually got married there two years ago.  We hadn’t been back since we married so this was a great chance see it all again!

Here are some of the pretty sights I stumbled upon…

And here’s Arnold enjoying a park near the east beach. Isn’t he cute? :)

Memory Lane Week 4:: Trip to Texas!

14 Jul

Memory Lane Week 4:: Trip to Texas!

Carrie is currently camping with her daughter.  I hope she is having a great time and can’t wait to hear all about it.  Since Carrie is not here to share her weekly Memory Lane recap…you get mine! :)

I traveled to Texas with my husband.  He was working in Texas so I joined him to take advantage of the free hotel and car rental.  It was a crazy last minute trip and I didn’t get much sleep but… so worth it because I got to spend time with my family in central Texas and also had lunch with Carrie in Houston.

Carrie and I chat everyday but I had not been able to see her pretty face in 15 months!!  The visit was pretty surreal!  15 months is way too long.  I didn’t realize how much I missed her until I saw her.   There’s nothing like hanging out and spending time with your best friends.  (Love you Carrie!)

I was also able to visit San Antonio and discovered an innovative shopping center called The Pearl Brewery Complex.

The Pearl Brewery Complex used to be an actual brewery that made beer. It was established in 1883 and later become Pabst in 1985. The brewery was closed in 2001 were it sat vacant until some geniuses decided to transform the historic brewery to an iconic culinary and cultural gathering place where you can eat, live, learn, work and play.

It’s urban revitalization it is finest.

Pearl is a place where you can attend a wedding in an elegant oval former stable… learn to bake brioche where bottling equipment used to be stored… luxuriate at a salon housed in a former garage… hunt for one-of-a-kind goods in one of an eclectic array of shops.

This one one of my favorite sights at The Pearl Brewery Complex.  Old tanks made into garden planters.

You know how I love above the ground planters!

If you are ever in San Antonio, Texas the The Pearl Brewery is a must see.  There are lots of great shops and the brewery connects with the famous San Antonio Riverwalk.  There are also great restaurants.  We ate at Osteria Il Sogno, and it was amazing!  Olive bread and Shrimp Risotto were tops!

So that’s my week.  I drove and traveled all over Texas and unfortunately didn’t get to take many pictures.  Texas is a unique place with lots of history so hopefully I can take more pictures next time :)

Road Trip :: Malibu Lumber Yard

17 May

Road Trip :: Malibu Lumber Yard

Malibu is symbolic of mansions and celebrities with enormous amounts of wealth.  It should be known for it’s unbelievable beauty and eco-friendly designs and culture.

One of which is the Malibu Lumber Yard.

The Malibu Lumber Yard is a 2-acre shopping complex where reclaimed wood was used as cladding for building faces and walls.  75% of the site’s impervious surface was replaced with pervious materials such as decomposed granite and free draining reclaimed wood decking.

If you love reclaimed wood – this place will get the creative juices flowing!

According the The Malibu Lumber Yard website, the Lumber Yard redevelopment is a gesture towards the historic culture of Malibu overlaid with a green, sustainable, design approach that promotes the education of nature.

The Lumber Yard’s courtyard was designed from studying the surfing culture of Malibu and the surfboard form itself. The courtyard is encompassed by curved wood.

The mesh of the different colored woods used throughout the complex is beautiful!

It’s a green eco friendly oasis filled with shops and restaurants.

Speaking of shopping, check out this gorgeous skirt and the bright colored picture frames the mannequin is holding at Alice and Olivia!  LOVE!!

At the core of the courtyard are aquatic sanctuaries and fish tanks.  The Malibu Lumber Yard is home to the largest outdoor completely free standing aquariums in Los Angeles.  All three aquariums hold a total of 3200 gallons of saltwater.

I lounged in these chairs forever. I wanted to take these home with me.  Especially the large square table/bed!!

Love the SLANTED legs!!!

I not only fell in love with the reclaimed wood but a few other things…

These pots on the wall at Havana Café – a Cuban restaurant owned Rande Gerber (Cindy Crawford’s husband) in the Lumber Yard.  We ate there and the food was good! I was naughty and had a pulled pork sandwich.  I tried to justify it to myself because I went jogging that morning :)

Blue mosaic flooring also at Havana Café.

I have to admit I was a little embarrassed at Havana Café when hostess asked if I wanted her to take a picture of me because… I had to admit I was taking a picture of the floor.  I am so lame!  :)

This Scorpio loved the horoscope pillows at Kitson!

Vintage looking luggage as one of the displays at the Lumber Yard. I would love a stack of these in my house.

I was also obsessed with this round planter. It was huge and I wish I could have about 5 of these at my house.  Maybe one day I can try to make them because I am sure they are expensive to buy (if even possible to find them).

And lastly, isn’t this the cutest little store ever?

It actually wasn’t in the Lumber Yard but right next door in another complex, the Malibu Country Mart. The Malibu Country Mart is equally impressive as the Lumber Yard.  Even though the Country Mart isn’t as eco friendly, it is an interesting eclectic design concept featuring 65 unique shops in a rustic setting.

Hmmm…I’ll just have to head back to Malibu soon so I can do the Malibu Country Mart justice and share that with you too!

We live about 30-40 minutes from Malibu and drive there about once a month to enjoy the beach and beauty. Even though we go to the Lumber Yard and the Country Mart, we don’t really shop but mostly go there to walk around and take in the sights.

It’s a nice get away and a pretty drive along the ocean on the PCH (The Pacific Coast Highway).  This time however, we drove back through the country side and it was just as pretty with rolling hills and canyons.

There are so many things to do in Southern California so planning a lot in a short time frame is hard.  However if you ever do get the chance to visit the area, Malibu is a MUST!!  I love that place and feel so at peace there.  If you ever plan a trip, go in the morning because no one is usually there. Otherwise, it can be packed in the afternoons and you won’t feel so at peace.  :)

Introducing :: Styrofoam Art

29 Apr

Introducing :: Styrofoam Art

When we lived in Mexico a few years ago, we traveled there with very little.

Since we were only planning to live in Mexico one year, we just took the essentials and mostly bought temporary things in Mexico to live with.

Our house there was pretty small but how I loved it and the experience so.  We were lucky because our house was furnished…we just need to decorate and add our little touch to make it “home”.

I discovered this piece of art in a gallery in Mexico City and feel in LOVE.

I adored the bright color and the imagery.  It had a sense of happiness to it that made me feel good inside.  After we left the gallery, I thought about the painting for days. By thought, I really mean obsessed.

I could not get the thought of it and the image out of my head.

About a week of suffering later, I went back and bought it.  It cost the equivalent of $300 US dollars.  It wasn’t the wisest thing to do since we incurred large expenses getting settled in Mexico.  And…I KNEW when I bought it that there was a very high probability (99.99999999%) chance that I would never get to take it with me back to the states when we left Mexico.

It was a huge wasteful splurge and completely out of character for me.   Especially because, I knew it was made of Styrofoam.  STYROFOAM —A thin sheet of Styrofoam!

I had never seen or heard of such a thing!

How fragile, how crazy….

Why on earth would someone have ever painted on a Styrofoam?

But I didn’t care. I loved it and enjoyed it immensely that year.

Here it is hanging in our old house in Mexico City.


Thinking of those times in Mexico and looking at these pictures brings back such great memories!

Living in another country for a year was a surge of new experiences.


The sights, the food, the language, the culture!


Oh, to do it all over again!  A girl can dream…

Fast forward one year later, my husband’s job moved us back to the US and I had to leave my beautiful Styrofoam art masterpiece behind.  I almost gave it away to someone.  But something in me knew that maybe…just maybe I might see it again.  So instead of giving it way, I tried to try to save it.

And I did see it again. It is very long and crazy story with lots of turns and twists.  The simple version is I begged to stuff my beloved orange art in a someone’s basement (some of my husband’s family lives in Mexico City).  And there in a huge dark damp basement it sat for two years buried behind a billion boxes and unused furniture stacked up to the ceiling.

By a stroke of luck, I knew someone who was moving some things from Mexico City to the US and I begged (I am not above begging!) for them to please move my art with their belongings.  Not only did they agree but they kindly also went to that basement and spent hours digging behind boxes and furniture to find it.

And here it is now.  In my home in Los Angeles.


Funny that something so delicate –a flat thin piece of Styrofoam — has made it so far.

It has withstood years of damp conditions in a basement, several location transports, two countries and 2200 miles.

For a thing considered fragile, it has actually proven to be quite tough and resilient.  And a nice thing about it is that it is incredibly lightweight.  I can hold it up and dangle it on one finger!

I just received my baby back after all these years and miles.  It temporarily sits above a worktable where I work on craft projects.

I am soon going to make a special place for it in our dining room.

I love my orange foam baby and now that I have it, I am at peace again.  :)

Have you ever seen styrofoam art like this before?  What do you think about it?

UPDATE:   Thanks to reader Sandy for  helping me realize something I had omitted earlier.  The reason we could not take this piece of art with us from Mexico was basically due to money.  When we moved back from Mexico we had a lot of things to bring back with us. Our personal belongings like computers and clothes were very expensive to ship back. Since we had a limited budget, trying to find a shipping container and pay for shipping for this large piece of art was not in our budget. Also shipping from Mexico is not very reliable and customs fees and forms (especially for art) can be complicated and expensive.

A Girl’s Gotta Shop!

18 Apr

A Girl’s Gotta Shop!

I am back in Los Angeles now.  Unpacking isn’t so bad because I am unwrapping all the delightful things I bought in Mexico!  Here are my excellent shopping conquests!

I am obsessed with this ring. The picture doesn’t justify…it is simply stunning in person.  It is made from a seed!

The Tagua seed is referred to as “Vegetable Ivory” because it is the only 100% sustainable alternative for elephant ivory since it’s color and hardness are very similar to ivory.  It saves elephants from being slaughtered and no rain forests are damaged because trees are not cut down.  The seed hangs from the tree and is simply removed.  Once dried, it can be carved and died.

I only bought one because they were pricey.  Here are all the others I was drooling over.

These three beautiful necklaces are also handmade.

The red one is made of some sort of shell, maybe coconut shell… and the green and black ones are made of Tagua seed.

I just love that seed!

Check out my handbag and pillow cover.

The pillow was handmade in Mexico.  I had never seen this embroidering design in Mexico before and the store keeper told me it was a new style that is evolving in Mexico.  I LOVE it and it will look so great with my pink couch.

This embroidered purse was handmade in Guatamala.

Check out the coolest iPad cover ever!!  Made from Mexican table cloth called oilcloth.  I also bought this oilcloth coin purse.

These necklaces I bought for my niece and nephews are made from coconut shells.

Crocheted earrings.  For fancy or casual wear and very lightweight!

These skirts were made in Oaxaca.  Oaxaca is known for their beautiful textiles and these skirts are handmade.

So nice, I bought twice!  A blue and green one.

And more beaded jewelry!

Thank you Mexico!

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