Monday, July 4, 2011

Vanity (both kinds)

Happy Birthday, USA! Today we went to our little town's 4th of July parade. For a wee little burg it happens to boast the second-largest parade in les États-Unis.

The antique store was kind enough to deliver my new vanity over the holiday weekend

and, since I'm feeling cute, a picture of my anonymous son and me after the do today.

I'm wearing a vintage blue and white polka-dot number with new red cork-sole sandals and a bit more post-s'mores pooch than I'd like (but enough self-love to rock it anyway).

Now to wake my sleeping kid and husband to head out to a friend's little bbq. What are your plans for the day?

Happy 4th to you!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fruit and Veg, Woeful Sprawl, White Teeth

It was a hot weekend of playing in the garden. We now have edible green beans, strawberries, arugula, mountains of chamomile for tea and skincare formulation, lemons and limes, spearmint for tea, Morrocan mint for mojitos and juleps, three kinds of lettuces, and some decorative plants. We planted zucchini and hope that will be ready to harvest in a short while. In the meantime, have a look at our chard and apples!

We returned from our little vacation on Friday. It was an unexpected delight. We had planned a week of camping in the redwoods but we got rained out after the first night. So we packed up our camping stuff and checked into a chain "inn" in Santa Cruz to ride out the rainy days. It was a lot of fun. There were hikes in the redwoods, lots of train and trolly rides in various places (because vehicles, particularly the antiquated kind, are my toddler's current obsession), and day trips to Big Sur and Monterey. Except for beautiful Big Sur, I noticed a depressing abundance of chain restos and awful tourist traps everywhere we went. It got me thinking: has the landscape of this state changed so much that there is no longer any place to go except nature, tourist places and chains? Are we lazier now that we travel with a child or is there really, as Gertrude Stein once said about my neighboring town of Oakland, California, "no there there?"

This feeling of opressive sameness was mitigated somewhat by the glorious, gritty descriptions of North London and its varied population in Zadie Smith's fantastic 2000 novel, White Teeth. I loved this book, with strong, funny characters and an epic narrative that spans WWII to 1996 or so. Smith has wit and spark as she touches on such issues as colonialism, race, class, sex, beauty, religion, ethics and coming of age. White Teeth spans generations and locales--India, Jamaica, Bangladesh and London-- to weave together seemingly disparate people into a surprising story line that I whipped through because I couldn't put it down. I believe I am the last semi-literate person on Earth to pick this book up (there was a time that everyone I ever encountered anywhere was reading it). But if there are any other latecomers out there, expecially those who love Salman Rushdie (who I would have guessed was the writer here in a blind taste-test), I recommend it most highly.

Now I'm onto a reread of Living the Savvy Life and a book of short stories by the very promising Katherine Mansfield.

What are you reading?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

On Vanity

I used to have a delightful chinoiserie vanity table. I got it when I was a funky young creative type. It was a fabulous flea market find that had the patina of age and a milky turquoise paint chosen by some previous old funky creative type. I sold it in a move many years ago and I've been without a space to get fabulized ever since. I don't tend to shop for sport but I was thrilled to find the vanity of my dreams today. It is similar to this:

but a thousand times better!

It will go beautifully with my nightstands. They look a lot like these:

The rest of the room is rather sparse, save a beautiful Indian tapestry that sounds hippie in the extreme but is actually rather lovely in person. I will take pictures of my boudoir when the new vanity arrives. For now I was excited and wanted to share!
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