The Goat is Back and Blogging

Holy moly, where has the time gone? I’ll admit I’m a bit ashamed of how long it’s been since my last post. But that’s ok, because it is a new year and there’s lots to look forward to this year! I have a better handle on my school/work/life schedules and I’m ready to start fresh. A new year, a new routine. So keep your eye out for new posts once a week on Thursdays. And I’ll try to periodically post some “This Week I Loved” entries. Some forthcoming topics to look forward to:

All sorts of goodies from the Las Vegas Market.

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My favorite shop for eye candy, in SoHo.

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Flea market fun (and finally a post about the flea market on Melrose and Fairfax, a local favorite).

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And more!

So, happy New Year to my faithful readers, and welcome back to anecdotes on design, travel, and life in Los Angeles that I hope will delight your senses.

Cheers!

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Fall Time on the Farm

After a couple days in New York City, I had some time to go up to Rhode Island to spend some time with my best friend. Since we don’t have much of a fall in Los Angeles, it was such a treat to get a little taste of the crisp air and changing colors of an East coast Autumn. And nothing says fall time like apple cider, pumpkins, and a corn maze! So we took a trip to her aunt’s and uncle’s farm.

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DSCN3861They don’t have many animals on this farm, but we were sure to say hello to the donkey and the llama that live by the barn.
DSCN3859 DSCN3855 Every fall they sell Indian corn, gourds, pumpkins, and apples.

DSCN3837DSCN3842 DSCN3844All their maple syrup is home made, and they’ve even posted instructions on how it’s done for any curious eyes.
DSCN3848 DSCN3845 Heated only by this stove (which was really quite warm), the inside is lined with all sorts of antique farm goodies, including a collection of old tractor seats.DSCN3849

DSCN3847The best antique of all is this massive antique cider press, which they use to press fresh cider every year. We missed the last pressing by only a couple of days, but I still got to enjoy some cider and it was delicious! Fresh, perfect apples in liquid form. No added water or sugar or anything else, just pure perfection in a bottle.
DSCN3813 DSCN3812 Next we headed past a small field of sunflowers for a walk through the corn maze, which they create every year. All are welcome, kids and adults alike.DSCN3814 DSCN3815 DSCN3817 DSCN3819 Each intersection was marked with a fun, educational fact about farming and some of the critters who might live on a farm.DSCN3821 DSCN3820 In the center of the maze, we came across this giant, friendly hay-spider.DSCN3825 When you exit the other side of the maze, you are left right in the middle of a pick-your-own-pumpkin patch. If I hadn’t had a flight ahead of me, I certainly would have loved to bring some home and carve them into wonderful jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. DSCN3832 DSCN3833As we left the farm, I tried to imagine what it might be like to run such a place. Undoubtedly it is a tremendous amount of work, but how I would love to spend my fall days surrounded by pumpkins, cider, and maple syrup!

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DSCN3829Happy Autumn, everyone!

What’s your favorite part about this time of year?

A Walk Through Central Park

Last week I mentioned my trip to New York City, and this week I thought I’d share some of that trip with you. Most of my time in New York was spent celebrating the union of two dear friends, but a few of us still made time to see some of the sights. I’ve been to New York a few times before, but had always spent my sightseeing excursions going to museums, dining with friends, and doing a little shopping here and there. So this time I made sure to spend some time in Central Park.

The weather there was really quite perfect, so it was a great fall weekend to spend a little time strolling through this amazing park.

DSCN3665 There are some fantastic roads and bike paths all throughout the park, and we saw lots of joggers and bicyclists taking advantage of the beautiful day.DSCN3702This is the mall, which has appeared in many a movie and tv show throughout the years, and being there I could see why. It’s a wonderfully romantic place, covered with a canopy of trees and with plenty of benches to sit and read, take a rest during your walk, or just breath in the fresh air. This place feels very far away from the bustling big city surrounding it.
DSCN3668 DSCN3671 The trees weren’t changing to autumn colors as much as I had hoped, but every once in a while there was one like this to remind me that those fall colors are indeed right around the corner.DSCN3673 At the end of the mall, the Bethesda Fountain almost seemed to pop up out of nowhere. There was lots of activity here, some people just passing through, others enjoying the fountain or taking pictures.DSCN3677 DSCN3684 I love the views from inside the park. There’s something magical about seeing the skyscrapers of New York watching over the park.DSCN3687We came across several refreshing ponds, where life thrived all around them.

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DSCN3686 Since it was right before Halloween, there was even a pumpkin patch right in the middle of the park.DSCN3692 We made sure to visit Strawberry Fields, where dozens of people were gathered to pay tribute to John Lennon. I imagine it is this crowded, or more, all the time. It really says something about the influence the Beatles continue to have, even now.DSCN3696 DSCN3693 DSCN3694I loved coming across this bridge, Oak Bridge.
DSCN3703And I loved the view from the bridge even more.
DSCN3704 And of course, we had to pay a visit to Belvedere Castle, which provides the highest point from which to view the park from within. (Incidentally, it’s also the point from which the national weather service monitors the temperatures for the city.)DSCN3716 See, look at that view!DSCN3708Central Park is huge, and we really only explored the lower half of it. I hope to explore the rest next time I’m in the city.

Do you have a favorite spot in Central Park?

This Week I Loved… (East Coast Travel Edition)

Of course the thing I loved THE MOST was seeing some amazing friends old and new, and celebrating the union of two very incredible people who I love dearly. But in this anecdote I thought I’d share with you some of the sights I saw while I was in New York (for said friends’ wedding reception) and Rhode Island / Massachusettes (to play for a couple days with my best friend). More posts on my trip coming next week!

This week in New York I loved…

Central Park in the fall.

DSCN3704 Strawberry Fields, which still draws a consistent crowd.DSCN3696 DSCN3694 This awesome street vendor in Soho. Hoping we’ll see her on Etsy one day! Until then, if you want her email address let me know and I’ll send it along. 🙂DSCN3732

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This week in New England I loved…

Visiting my best friend’s aunt and uncles’ farm in Rhode Island. Cider, a pumpkin patch, and even a corn maze!

DSCN3834 DSCN3814Touring The Elms, one of Newport’s “cottages.”DSCN3879 The most incredible display of jack-o-lanterns I have ever seen, at the zoo near Providence.(Yes, these are all REAL pumpkins!)DSCN3939 DSCN3917 Ending the trip in Salem, Massachusetts on the perfect fall day. The Witch House is the last remaining structure from the 1692 witch trial era.

DSCN3975Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween yesterday, and Happy Fall!

Halloween Inspiration

As the hubby and I were cashing in the first day of our annual Disneyland passes, I was excited to see the park at Halloween time. We even picked up a little inspiration for our own house at the Haunted Mansion.

Of course Disneyland was sure to boast happy pumpkin versions of favorite characters our front so as not to scare the kiddies.

DSCN3565 DSCN3579 The whole of Main Street was decked out with pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, and general fall decor.DSCN3571 DSCN3568 DSCN3577 In the New Orleans portion of the park though, things got a little more dark.DSCN3574 The Haunted Mansion was spectacularly decorated for the season, and was especially fun to see at night. It’s lined with flickering flameless candles, glowing jack-o-lanterns, skulls, cobwebs, and black and purple ribbons. DSCN3606 So we brought some of those ideas back home with us. We threw a Halloween party and practically plastered the house in cobwebs (equipped with little black spiders) in time for the festivities.DSCN3638 We lined the mantel with flickering flameless candles and left the main lamp in the living room off to create a dark, spooky glow about the room.DSCN3637 I created one pumpkin and skull vignette on the coffee table…DSCN3642

…and another on the dining room table. I think it sort of says “Maybe we’ll eat YOU for dinner.”
DSCN3644 One friend pointed out that we could not have gotten to our books if we’d wanted to! But it’s amazing what a plethora of cobwebs will do to make even the newest of book collections seem ancient.DSCN3643 And of course, no Halloween house would be complete without ghosts! The great thing about placing this one in the window is that it also creates a ghost silhouette when looking into the house from outside. A perfect greeting for party guests as they made their way up the steps to our front door.DSCN3639 I found these little black birds online and perched them atop the lamps, silhouetting them a bit and creating the illusion that they are looking down on you, maybe even watching you.DSCN3641 DSCN3647 We even strung cobwebs from the dining room ceiling, creating a seeming canopy of creepy crawlies.DSCN3645 DSCN3648 Outside next to the beer cooler, we created a spooky graveyard, complete with bones and dismembered limbs.DSCN3630 Even an unfortunate soul “unearthed” in the vegetable garden.DSCN3631 And of course more flameless candles in a row of jack-o-lanterns on the hedge and in a lantern by our outdoor lounge furniture.DSCN3635 DSCN3636What is your favorite thing to see in Halloween decorations this time of year?

What Have I Been Up To?

Well folks, I have to admit getting used to a new routine involving an intensive hand-drafting/hand-rendering class and a busy work schedule has been a challenge. I’m starting to get a hold on how to best manage my time so I can get back to blogging! I’ve got a couple up my sleeve, plus I’m heading to New York for a friend’s wedding celebration and will surely have lots to write about when I get back. In the mean time, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Among many things, at work I’ve been pairing fabrics in our library.

fabric And shopping for fabrics in the Fabric District in Downtown LA.fabricdistrict At home, the hubby has been cooking up a delicious storm, including roasting these tomatoes and peppers.tomatoespeppers We watched the Breaking Bad series finally, accompanied by these red velvet cupcakes the Village Bakery made in honor of the final paragraph of the live of Walter White.bbcupcakes I snuck away from my drafting table for a night with girls at Street Food Cinema… Princess Bride screened outdoors in a nearby park, plus lots of food trucks. Mmmmm Umami….umamiburger princessbride This oh so scrumptious hot cookie and ice cream dessert at Pop, a champagne and dessert bar in Pasadena, where we met a wonderful friend from college during her brief work-related visit.cookiedessertAnd Disney lovers hold on to your seats… my AMAZING husband, who clearly knows me too well, gave me annual passes for Disneyland for our anniversary! BEST. GIFT. EVER.
DSCN3580I’m looking forward to sharing regular anecdotes with you all again! Next week: a nod to Halloween.

Why I Love Turquoise

I have had turquoise on the brain lately! So today I’d like to share why. Firstly, it’s a fantastic color. Personally I especially love a dark shade of turquoise, but that’s the great thing about it. It looks great in dark or light shades, on walls, furniture, or even smaller accessories to give a room a certain punch. It’s a little blue, a little green, and as I learned after hours of mixing paint during my color theory class, sometimes it takes a bit of orange to create just the right shade. It’s a color that goes well with every other color, and to top it all off it’s a color that comes from nature.

As we were told during our vacation in Turkey, the word “turquoise” originated in Turkey. (Hear the connection?) Here in the US we are most familiar with the mineral turquoise as it pertains to Native American art, but in fact it was first mined by Persians thousands of years ago. And in its most natural form, straight from the earth, it even contains a bit of silver.

So, how to use it in a room? Well, I’m about to do just that. I mentioned on Tuesday that I came up with a plan to redesign my living room for one of my final projects. Well, that plan includes a dark turquoise paint, and I cannot wait. This is similar to the color I plan on using.

I also particularly like this clean, bright use of turquoise.

And this is a great way to incorporate  it if you are a little reserved about using bold colors. This light tint of turquoise is safer to be sure, but still give the effect of using such a wonderful color.

It’s a pretty easy color to find these days too, so I’ve been coming across all sorts of fun patterns and bold shades of dark turquoise. Here are a few fun turquoise accessories you can put in your house if you’re feeling in a turquoise mood.

I love the contrast of the white honeycomb patter on this dark turquoise background. It’s clean and modern, bold but understated.

This one uses the natural colors of peacock feathers as inspiration but still incorporates the blues and greens that make up a good strong shade of turquoise.

For a bigger accent to your room, try a whole piece of turquoise furniture.

Or for a more subtle nod to nature’s color, try a summer set of dishes.

Or some small accessories around the room. Maybe try mixing some turquoise accents among your other favorite colors. It goes with just about anything.

If you want a big display of turquoise but you’re not ready to paint your room yet, maybe a set of turquoise curtains.

And I loved coming across this rug with my favorite color combo, turquoise and orange. In a nod to the Turkish origin of the word, this rug almost looks like the Iznik tiles we saw all over Turkey.

Have a few ideas for turquoise in your home? Tell me about it.

Let’s catch up. I’ve missed you.

Well, it’s been a wild two weeks! Between my awesome new job and final projects for three classes, let’s just say there’s been no time to feel bored. So what have I been up to?

I made a lighting fixture out of birch veneer strips. (It lives in my guest room now.)

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I designed a lighting  plan for a theoretical Downtown LA loft.

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PS. I love these table lamps I used in the lighting layout!

I redesigned my living room. (Stay tuned for a low budget “how-to” living room makeover, with a partial execution of this plan!)

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I created a repeating pattern with gouache paint.

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I finished a full rendering of Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion.

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And I bought an awesome second-hand drafting table. After a little elbow grease it’s as good as new! I’ll be spending the better part of the next three month at this set up.

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I’m looking forward to getting back to regular blogging again. I’ve missed you! Have you missed me?

Happy Tuesday, Anecdote Lovers!

Happy Tuesday everyone, and I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend! I just wanted to post a quick update. For the first time since I started this blog, I am taking a short hiatus while I finish up my final projects for the summer quarter. I miss writing, and finding new adventures to write about! But I promise to be back in two weeks with new anecdotes.

Here’s a peek at one of the projects I’ve been working on. Enjoy!

Handmade Lighting Fixture

Pendant light made from birch veneer and copper wire.

Dinner at Terroni, Downtown LA

Several of our favorite dinner experiences in LA have been at the Terroni in the Fairfax district, near West Hollywood. It is well designed, has an intimate atmosphere, the service is always great, and I’ve never eaten anything there I didn’t love. Admittedly those favorite dinners also included some of our favorite people, but we always had a blast and felt inclined to stay for an extended dinner and plenty of great wine. So when we heard they were opening a location in Downtown LA (closer to where we live now), we kept an eye on its progress. We finally went there this weekend to check it out, and I was particularly excited to see the interior design after seeing some teaser photos during construction.
DSCN3526 The downtown Terroni is located at 8th and Spring, in the old National City Bank building. Above the restaurant are some loft apartments, part of the gentrification that we’ve been seeing downtown over the past six years or so.DSCN3525 DSCN3524 When we first walked in, straight ahead was this awesome bar. Comfortable seats, slick, moody overhead pendant lamps, and highly designed wood set the tone. Especially striking was the under counter lighting that highlighted the texture of the wood on the bar.DSCN3522 Around the bar were plenty of bar-style place settings. It felt like an updated version of the Terroni we have grown so familiar with, and I could just imagine this space packed with people eating, drinking, and laughing the night away. But it was right about then that I realized it was 7:30 and the place was nowhere near to becoming packed. I know that’s early for dinner for some folks, but usually we find that’s prime dining time at most of our favorite places, so we always make a reservation to eat at that time of night.  I was surprised not to see more people there.DSCN3523 I loved this striking modern chandelier, set over a large table right by the window (presumably so it can also be seen from outside).DSCN3521 The hostess walked us around to the other side of the bar, where the larger dining room was located. Immediately I was loving all the original architectural details that they not only kept, but accentuated.DSCN3519 My favorite bit of history was the ornamentation on the ceiling, just the kind of thing you would see on an LA Conservancy tour. And I loved that they were still able to include the modern sculptural design and red accents that play into Terroni’s Italian theme.DSCN3513The space was equipped with huge arched windows, another original architectural detail they embraced in designing this space. I loved the way the space looked. But after we were seated, I noticed that something didn’t quite feel right. I think a big part of it was that when we first arrived, the sun was still making its way down, so there was a significant amount of natural light spilling into the huge windows. The space was so open that, combined with the daylight and the booth-style seating throughout most of the dining area, there was something reminiscent of a food court or franchise restaurant. Also, all the walls were painted white. My personal opinion is that they need to do something to darken the space during daylight to make it feel more intimate. Plus, the service was good but way fast. We went there for a leisurely date night, but instead they had us in and out in 45 minutes. Not exactly the leisurely night out we were hoping for. (We went elsewhere for drinks afterward, because we weren’t ready to end the evening yet!)DSCN3517 The still included their signature projected old black and white Italian movies.DSCN3515 And we were enjoying trying to figure out this map, which was on the wall behind me in the booth. We think it’s some sort of recipe map.DSCN3516 And my husband the foodie is always a fan of an open kitchen, so he can watch the bustle behind the scenes. I was loving that they had continued the awesome wood pattern and under counter lighting here from the front bar.DSCN3514 As we were leaving, feeling a bit rushed out to be honest, we happened by this back room. Now, this is the environment we were hoping for. Intimate but modern, and the kind of place you could really take your time chatting over a glass (or three) of wine. Unfortunately this room is reserved for large parties only, but I really wanted to have dinner there. Who knows, maybe I’ll have a birthday party there or something sometime. (Although admittedly for a smaller, intimate dinner with my husband or just a couple friends, I probably won’t go back here. I will stay loyal to my Terroni on Beverly and Fairfax.) To me, this is a fantastic restaurant environment, which I would have loved to see continued throughout the whole space.DSCN3520

What makes a successful dining environment for you?