Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Mahogany Sessions

Get outta here with this.

Incredibly thoughtful production, intimate presentation, delicious artists, and the happiest of moments make this the best thing I've seen on the internet in weeks.

Here are some highlights, but really I can't post a tenth of the greatness I saw. It was even worth suffering through mood-busting commercials! Explore the whole channel and subscribe!

This is the song that initially brought me to the station. Michael Kiwanuka. This song and this voice are timeless.

Then I got the pleasure of hearing Peter and Kerry. I'm so in love. They have an original song on the channel but I really like the ambient noise in the "Wicked Game" cover. Also, give their song "Knees" a listen.

I'm not a huge fan of the Bahamas but I'm a huge fan of 1:50 - 2:10. I almost pooped and cried at the same time.

Are the Staves not a total breath of fresh air?

And finally this beautifully talented 16-year old from Leicester named Leo Stannard. I see people like this and I want to protect them like a human shield. It's the closest I've ever come to a mothering instinct.

I needed that.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I Follow Rivers Three Ways

So Lykki Li's song really inspired me last year while we were getting ready for the wedding. The spare space, the unapologetic oddity, and simple repetitive message really resonated with me.


This is one of those rare examples of a re-mix that really gives the song a fresh energy instead of being drum and bass complicated mess. By The Oohs and Aahs! If you don't listen to this in headphones at a decent volume you will totally not get the genius. Trust.


And for something COMPLETELY different but equally cool, this is Triggerfinger's interpretation. His voice is so beautiful. Sounds a little like Ray Lamontagne, no? Disregard the silly morning room set-up, but the drummer actually plays two cups for percussion which makes it my favorite youtube version.

 The Olympics are over. Can you tell?

Thursday, August 02, 2012

No Telly? No Problem!

I might have mentioned this before but our house is cute and VERY TINY.

Early on I had a feeling going without TV would be a good move for us, and having absolutely no room for one made any sort of temptation super slight. The ONLY time I regretted this was for about 5 minutes when I found out we had super limited online coverage available from NBC.


Minh however is unassailable and within minutes found this awesome post at OurMilitaryHome.com about getting a subscription to the BBC for only $9!

The BBC coverage, (understandably right?!) has been phenominal and even though their sites aren't super intuitive, we've gotten the hang of it and have watched OODLES of footage. Their documentaries have been amazing, and if you're into Brit programming anyway (AbFab, Dr. Who, etc.) it is triply worth the cash.

Even if you've got cable here but want to watch Olympics in the best possible way, check this out. DO IT.

Special Serious Guest Post

I honestly can't fit in any blog time because I am up to my eyeballs in Olympics coverage (BBC FTW!), but I wanted to feature a special guest post by a hormonal adolescent who is definitely NOT a happily-married 27-year-old serious person who thinks her husband is one of the most handsome men she's ever met and has a killer body. Definitely not.

Here it is:


PHiliPp BoY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MarCEl NguYEn!!!!!!!!!!!!

I FEel SoRRy For AnyONe stuCK wITh NbC covERaGe they HarDLy ShoWEd thEM at ALL buT thER'es AlWAys YouTUbe aNd GooGLE IMagES!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Friday, July 27, 2012

The answer is YES

The question is: Would you carry a tool bag as a purse?

Klein Mini Bucket Bag Leather Bottom

I'm going to be on the lookout at every sale hence. I'm pretty sure I saw one like this at one of my first estate sales, but that was back in 2010. . . I was too young to know a good thing when I saw it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Look what God's doing!

A few weeks ago a friend was kind enough to give me some "mystery tomato" seedlings!  She dries the seeds of tomatoes she's eaten on paper towels and plants them once their dried. Every year tomatoes start popping up around her property like clockwork. The two she gave me were growing near a wheelbarrow and needed a new home.

The success of my gardenia and the strawberry plant have given me some courage so I've been dutifully watering and fertilizing and lookee here!

We've got tomatoes! What kind, I'm not sure, but I know the second plant will give me something different!

So cute! I will eat them!

Maybe with some of this!

That's right. More green things! Above are lemon balm and pineapple mint, respectively. Both make a glass of water or tea super delicious.

 AAAAAnd some regular mint and some lemon verbena that's growing like gangbusters.

I've got this little ritual going now. After watering, I'll take a leaf off of one of them and rub, just to get a whiff of something nice.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Guess where I'm going . .

Here's a hint:

3rd Annual LA Street Food Fest at the Rose Bowl July 21st@


I'm super excited. My mom and I will be constructing a gameplan beforehand to make sure we hit the best spots. Mezcal tasting is locked in for sure, and Hendrick's Gin (a super favorite of mine) will have a cocktail bar set up too. I usually only have about a drink and a half each year so maybe they can give me thimble sized shots so hopefuly I can try more than 2 before passing out :)

Some of the food vendors we're hoping to try:

Gravy Train Poutinerie (Fried Cheese Curds!)

Peiking Duck Truck (Duck Sliders!)

Antojitos mi Abuelita (Black Mole!)

Mexicali Taco and Co. (Cachetadas!)

Haven Gastropub (Cola Glazed pork and Crispy Pig Ears!)

Tiana Cafe's Balls of Lust (pork stuffed poblanos!)

and basically every dessert they have. Gluten free churros! Friend chicken and waffle ice cream! Brown Butter rice crispy treats waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!


Sellers we dig: Bottlessoldcheap

c1890-1940s Collection of 16 Different Glass Insulators Aqua, Blue and Clear Lot 2

image by David Corriera of Bottlessoldcheap

Etsy has a new featured seller each week, and while most of them have a decent product, I feel like a lot of really cool people can get glossed over if they're not taking photos with a DSLR. Sure, I like the pretty pictures too but in the end, you;re not spending money on a listing, but a product you will hopefully love and enjoy or appreciate.

Bottlessoldcheap is run by a guy named David Corriera out of Vermont and he has a FANTASTIC assortment of vintage glass from the past three centuries spanning from food containers to ink or poison bottles to even those lovely insulators of yesteryear. The only thing that matches the selection are his prices.

Here are some of my favorite items:

19th century hand blown pocket flasks (awesome bud vases!)

blown glass half gallon mineral water bottle

6 round bottomed torpedo bottles (mad crushing on these)

Super cool Pawnee Indian Medicine bottle with the label intact

a spring water bottle with a porcelain topper

And my FAVORITE a druggist bottle with a mean lean (super love it)

This man will be getting my business, but the hard part is going to be choosing what to buy, he's got over a thousand items and even huge bulk lots for weddings and parties.

I love when people do right by other people.

Good dude.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I don't even have words to describe how awesome our 4th was, and really don't have enough pictures to detail some of the fun stuff we got ourselves into, but if I don't put this up now it'll be in draft land forever.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Big Skies

Canary Melon Cooler

 People are over their gourds about stone fruit right now, and with good reason. This year's nectarines have been some of the best I've ever tasted! I don't know if it's a mix of the cheapness and us not having air conditioning, but I'm enjoying melons of all colors as much as I can right now.

drink me!

One of my favorite things to do right now is mix sparkling lime water, a little ice, and whatever melon I have lying around. Today, it's Juan Canary. Usually my heart belongs to watermelon,but these Juan Canarys give the icy drink a smooth and creamy, silky, almost milky texture that's just so awesome. If  I were going to spike this, I'd probably give the vodka a rest and use a little sparkling moscato instead. Just sayin'. . .

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Nursery Mural

 The director of Children's Ministries at my church asked if I'd be able to do a little somethin' on the wall of our newly remodeled nursery and I was like, "For the wee ones? Totally."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Bike Weekend!

Sometimes Minh gets an idea stuck in his craw and it won't let up. Something will strike his fancy and then he'll be on Craigslist obsessively until said object is found and acquired.I have often been the grateful beneficiary of this habit and this week was no exception!

Minh had the great idea to take a train trip up to Santa Barbara and get around town on bikes. We've got bikesa single speed and a mountain bike each, but how about new bikes! Ten speeds! This all made complete sense to him so I trusted his inkings and went along with it. Until we checked prices. Santa Barbara in the summertime? Yikes! So we decided to postpone the trip until Autumn but why, why not get the bikes now?

It wasn't my idea so I wasn't sure to begin. I stopped noticing bikes ever since the dirty hipsters started dominating the scene a few years back. Minh gave me a few bikes to look at but nothing struck my facncy as being better than the single-speed I've already got or my Cannondale that can ride over anything. And then a few pages in I saw The Pelican.

I'm calling it The Pelican because I saw a flock of 'em cruising at low altitude on our most recent jaunt down to the dog beach and I never realized how cool they were. They glide around like they own the joint and you're just lucky enough to be in their shadow for a second or two. I respect them and this bike gave me the same feeling. They're kinda similar: they;re not flashy creatures but the'ye cool just the same.

The Pelican is really a Canadian-made 1968 CCM Grand Prix. It's called a Mixte because it's a neato compromise between the durability of a traditional diamond frame and a skirt-friendly low slung lady frame. I'd seen a few examples but the geometry of this one knocked my socks off. It's got a sort of low-rider attitude and one test drive was all it took. Sold.

But this bike is no spring chicken. It's got a fair amount of rust on the chrome but nothing some steel wool and Brasso can't fix easily enough.  There aren't any fancy lugs but the styling is cool enough for me and I like the little ripples in the front fairing. Some new grips, new tires, new pedals, maybe a pannier and a saddle to boot, and it'll be better than new :)

Minh's got a 3-tiered scale when it comes to most things in life: either it's bad, pretty good, or good. Except when it comes to bikes. He's a cycle sommlier, noticing fine lines, geometry, lug shapes, everything I don't. So my bike had been successfully acquired but that isn't enough to keep Minh from giving Craigslist a few more once-overs before moving on to other things. He establishes habits quickly I guess :) So he comes across an understated ad that basically reads: "old Raleigh, hes been sitting in the garage for years, no rust, locking front fork with key, made in England"  The single picture shows a blue and gold trimmed bike and the seller is asking $125. Minh's got a feeling it's a late 80's model, but the locking front fork and "made in England" remark make him think it's worth investigating.

Oh boy.

He was right.

This bike is sweet. SWEEEET!

Turns out what Minh got was a 1958 Raleigh 3-Speed Superbe. This is the equivalent of getting a Pollock painting at a garage sale. Ok well not that crazy but close. He's been on Cloud 9 and I can't wait to cruise around on some sweet early evening rides.

Once I learn how to take a picture properly, I'm sure you'll agree :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cute Helmet Hair

Due to some exciting occurrences this past weekend I have an excuse to try (some of) these neato hairstyles from Refinery 29!

Every single one. This is going to be a vast improvement on the whole frizzled-poor-excuse-for-a-side-pony-that-looks-like-it-got-chewed-on-by-a-drunk-weasel of years past. Wish I had pictures of that to do a proper before-and-after.

 Honorary Member of the Braid Brigade for LYFE!

All photos by Anna-Alexia Basile

Operation Quit Looking Like an Ambivalent Troll" has just been given a booster shot!

Thanks internet!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Peggy's Mural

Today I finished up a mural for a super cool woman I met at Trader Joe's. She liked the pond scene I painted behind the flower section and wanted to know if I was free to paint something similar at her place.

She's got a sort of oasis for herself and her menagerie of rescue dogs up in the Pasadena foothills. This place is cool. Tons of different old growth plants, an enormous avocado tree, trellises, garden paths, and toward the back is an old horse barn.

Part of the structure had to be replaced with new particle board siding which didn't do much justice to the vibe she had going, so I concentrated my efforts on that spot. Maybe 13' by 9' ish?

She gave me free reign to do as I pleased, with a few requests: butterflies, cacti, and a 1955 Ford T-Bird. why? Because she totally has one, in super nice condition, and it runs like a champ!

Cars aren't easy, but how could I refuse? :)

Here's an example of that scary midpoint, just before I started the car. Just when everything can go down the chute.

Crisis averted.

I filled in a little more background just so I wouldn't have to repaint stuff behind the windows and blocked in the car. Butterflies are still undone. I decided to save the car for last and go ahead on the butterflies.

And with most of them done, let's get going.

 I tightened up the lines and started articulating the cut lines in the body, hood, windows and hard top.

Looking back at the car it really wasn't a stark white so I warmed it up a little and started to contour.

 Compliments the teal interior nicely :)

And here comes the reflections in the  headlights plus the grills on the hood and front end.

 Now reflections in the chrome fixtures, hubcaps, and windshields!

 Perspective is only really weird from the extreme right side, but still fun to look at :)

On the last day of painting, Peggy surprised me with a beeeyoutiful barrel cactus (seasonally decorated just so) to add to my own fledgling garden.

The whole job was such a treat. Happy to do it again soon!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Minh's Pick

Minh might not be able to distinguish between and chuck steak and a ribeye but he's got terrific taste in music. This little ditty has been worming its way into our hearts for months.

Last week this song started as we were pulling up to the house. I suggested we back out and take a drive. Around minute 4 we wound up looking at a orangey, twinkly San Gabriel Valley, very happy to be alive.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Office

This is were I've been 5 days a week for the past 3 or 4 years. Cozy isn't it? I make signs, large and small for Trader Joe's ( a national brand of neighborhood stores!! We cut out the middleman and pass the savings onto you!! We add ginger to everything!! yack yack yack). Well all that's true but looking at this I think you can see how someone can go a little stir crazy after a while, no?

Well as of this week, I'll get a little more fresh air. I've been getting a steady stream of freelance work making signs and chalkboards for people in San Gabriel, Pasadena, etc, enough to cut my work week down to 4 days. WEE!

So I can gripe for days about nitpicky junk but sometimes when I take a step back I remember how low stress and fun and silly my job can be so I thought I'd share what I'm up to every once in a while.

Today, on top of figuring out price changes and some run-of-the-mill maintenance I kept working on some end cap crowns for our fearless flyer. I'm sad I didn't think about taking pictures from the very beginning because it's fun to see how something can go from looking like total trash to actually presentable. The midpoint is always interesting to me, where one bad decision can make it look like total hell. That point for these came well before these shots when I was outlining the banner. Just an inch-around smaller is all it would take, and a coat less of white paint in the center.

Once the banner came out looking ok I figured we'd be in the clear. We used to have to decorate differently for each flyer but our regional or whoever wants us to streamline the process which means anythign I made this time around had to be more generic and more permanent. That just means blowing up text as far as I'm concerned and I like trying my hand at different fonts so I don't mind. That's a copy of the Flyer there under the sign near the ruler. I use my hands and fingers to make measurements and can spot centers and straight lines pretty ok.

I freehand the letters in pencil, just because I like the practice, but before I throw paint down I checked with a ruler to make sure my letters weren't tapering too much and wouldn't you know it? All my small caps were in an eighth of a inch of each other on all three boards :)

Here's two of the three in progress, side by side. Never underestimate the power of a drop shadow. See the difference?

Loving Windsor Blue.

So after they all get a little drop shadow action I need to strengthen the backs and attach a mounting bracket. Here comes the 1/2" x 1"s and a few L-Brackets and then . . .

New project!


The boss needs this  Rosenblum wine sign done el quicko.  For the small wine chalk signs I like to keep it quick so most of the time I'll write the name out in my own loose Trader Joe's font but the Rosenblum spoke to me so I went with their text style. Textstyle. That's a good name. Taken. Just checked.


Here's some chalk lettering, done freehand again.

This is how I check to see if I'm straight and keeping the same letter height consistently. Just look at it from the side! Foreshortening. Fore sure.

 I save the bigger letters for last.

It turned out fine. And so did the headers! Trader Joe's doesn't like to have blank anything in the store so on the back I whipped out a little leaf print. For now.