Unlike in northern climes where the seasons are clearly delineated
there is generally some question about what the true seasons are in Southern California
Some say Flood, Fire, Mud, and Drought
Others say Fire, Mudslide, Earthquake and Riots
Yesterday, while strangely cold in the morning it began to feel like early Summer
aka early Fire season in the afternoon
One wouldn't say that down in the flats of Beverly Hills or Brentwood
where roses and jacaranda trees are blooming profusely
but up in the hills there are already signs of the start of a dry hot Summer
These are my photos from my hike in the hills yesterday
you can see how close the trail is to the ocean
which brings so much moisture from the marine layer
yet dryness is everywhere
in another month most of the green on the hills will be gone
It amazes me that some wild flowers can be in full bloom and lush
amid other plants that are utterly dead and dry
don't they both have the exact same exposure to both water and sun?
With a book to listen to on my ipod, I can hike alone on the trail for hours
and I do
It is Memorial Day today
and I am sincerely thankful for what so many others have sacrificed for this country
so that I can spend my weekends wandering in the hills.
It's snowing like the dickens in mountains of Colorado.
Meanwhile it's bright and sunny in Southern California.
I was fortunate to be able to spend the morning at a beautiful house on Balboa Island in Newport Beach
It was gorgeous.
There is nothing like being on the water on a sunny day to make you feel like summer is finally on the way!
Last night I had the privilege of attending a lecture sponsored by the Royal Oak Foundation given by architectural historian Victoria Kastner, the preeminent scholar of Hearst Castle. The lecture was held at the Beverly Hills Women's Club, an organization with many members who have an interest in decorative arts and the architectural preservation of important local buildings and landmarks.
Kastner, who has been the official historian of Hearst Castle for 30 years, has written these two amazing books.
The lecture focused on Hearst as a collector, the construction of San Simeon, and use of the property as a country house. Hearst typically entertained the Hollywood set at the Castle, but he also hosted George Bernard Shaw, PG Wodehouse and Winston Churchill.
I won't go into to details of the hour long lecture but I will post this short interview with Kastner who explains some of the wonder that is Hearst Castle.
Of course no lecture on this topic could be complete without a description of Julia Morgan, the greatest female architect...ever. Julia Morgan, who graduated with a degree in civil engineering from UC Berkeley in 1894, was the first female student to graduate from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After studying in Paris she returned to California and built the first bell tower or campanile on a college campus in the US, which housed bells that had been cast for the World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893. The campanile, which was the first reinforced concrete structure on the west coast, withstood the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and she became sought after to rebuild important structures that had been damaged, including San Francisico's Fairmont Hotel. Then in 1919, after some 500 commissions, she became the architect of Hearst Castle and Wyntoon, Hearst's other fantasy property.
In her long career she was the architect of some 700 buildings.
Imagine that for a woman who died in 1957.
OK, I can go on and on about Julia Morgan but she deserves her own post.
So instead I'll write about something really important...like what I wore.
As I've mentioned before, navy is my neutral
so voila, a navy blue suit and sapphire and diamond estate jewelry from Beladora.com
Naturally, I had to wear that sapphire cuff bracelet because it was all things wonderful
But instead of the mother of pearl and diamond earrings I kept with a cabochon sapphire story with these earrings
Last night I dreamed of Manderley
no not really
But I did watch the film of the other great Daphne du Maurier tale My Cousin Rachel
which stared a young Richard Burton and the verly lovely Olivia de Havilliand
If you haven't read the book or seen the film, the story revolves around a young man, Philip Ashley, who is on the verge of inheriting the coastal country estate of his late uncle. He becomes romantically obsessed with his uncle's widow, Rachel, while simultaneously suspecting her of murdering his uncle.
Yeah, drama ensues.
Because of his obsession with Rachel he presents her with a magnificent pearl necklace that is entailed to the estate and then more drama ensues.
The entailed jewelry and how it is treated by Rachel plays an important part in the story and leads to Philip's final understanding of his cousin and her motives.
So, if you like classic films, Richard Burton and Daphne du Maurier
It's Design Day Monday chez BHB La Brochanteuse has brought us garden design from her trip to the Chateau Villandry
The formal parterre...lovely isn't it
wow, talk about fresh local ingredients
with a vegetable garden like this, you could practically feed an entire village
From her post An imaginative twentieth century re-creation of a renaissance castle garden. The moated Chateau dates from c1536 and had a formal garden in the eighteenth century. The present garden dates from the years after 1906 when it was bought by a Spaniard, Dr Joachim Carvallo. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, he wished the garden to have a sixteenth century character. Great horticultural skill was deployed, especially in the use of vegetables. An arbour of grape vines leads to a great parterre, conceived as a Garden of Music. On the other side of the canal is a Garden of Love. Symbolising the moods of love, it looks rectangular from the chateau but is actually trapezoid. The aesthetically designed vegetable garden is based on an illustration from Du Cerceau's Les plus excellents bastiments de France (1576). Despite its origins, Villandry is the work of a twentieth century imagination.
And then we have interior design from Dwell
with a Mid-Century meets Manhattan Beach at the home of Matt Jacobson and Kristopher Dukes.
I love the minimalist approach in a town full of millionaires and their beachside Mcmansions.
And then we have graphic design with the work of Paul Crifo, the master of the movie poster.
I found these images on the Mr Movie Poster page on Facebook
Here is some of his better known work
Now I know that Akris clothes are manufactured in Switzerland
but with the cashmere jacket priced at $3990, the top at $995 and the pants at $895
are these clothes handmade with spun gold by Gnomes, Heidi and William Tell himself?
And finally we get to the really important part of this post...jewelry design
Here is my new favorite piece
an important sapphire, diamond, mother of pearl and black onyx cuff bracelet
my photos don't do justice to how awesome the piece is
because this bracelet is truly a work of art
Ah, finally Friday
Lot's do to this weekend away from the computer...car shopping, training session at the gym, art gallery opening, dinner with a friend, hiking...the usual nonsense.
DSK and Arnold aka the "topic of the week" has been a gift that just keeps on giving with so much stuff all over the net. A friend wrote this to me in an email: And preying on women is big time wrong! And from an egoistic point of view where is the satisfaction ? "A vaincre sans péril on triomphe sans gloire". Indeed
So here is some music to start your weekend off
I like the chill sound but the video could bring on an epileptic fit
so listen rather than watch
Los Angeles--A husband and wife team who owned a Los Angeles department store were sentenced to three years behind bars for selling counterfeit designer jewelry containing dangerous levels of lead, federal officials announced earlier this week.
The investigation into the Oh’s business, the Elegance Fashion Mart located on East Olympic Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles, began in 2007 when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations division received a tip that the store was selling counterfeit merchandise.
toxic and counterfeit!
The goods, knockoffs of labels including Tiffany & Co., Bulgari, Tous and Van Cleef & Arpels, were manufactured in Qingdao, China, and illegally imported in the United States. If the seized items had been genuine, they would have been worth more than $18 million, federal officials said.
Fake designer goods and jewelry seem to be everywhere these days
If the price on signed Tiffany, Bulgari and VCA jewelry seems too good to be true
it's probably all counterfeit and straight from China
When buying both new and estate jewelry
be sure that you only purchase from reputable dealers
counterfeit is bad enough, but toxic...trust me you don't want to go there
I don't know what happened to Spring.
It was here, now it's gone
Temperatures have been well below normal
and Saturday night I woke up to the sound of rain...of all things
It was a good weekend to stay inside with a good book
But no, there were places to go and things to do
reverting to the norm, if you will.
Sunday morning at the gym and Sunday afternoon on a hike
both made palatable by this audio book on my ipod
So far I've listened to the tale of interconnected relationships between Anne of Austria, Richelieu, Mazarin, The thiry Years War, Condé, Conti, Henriette-Anne Stuart, Marie-Louise d’Orléans, les Mazarinettes and La Fronde
and I'm still in the Regency Period.
It's a very interesting book and I recommend it.
Last night, a quiet dinner at home
I made an asparagus, roasted red pepper, spinach and feta frittata
and served it with Fino
it was delicious and healthy...well except for Fino
The week ahead will be busy
with beginning preparations for the upcoming Antique and Estate Jewelry Show
and watching the ongoing saga of DSK
could he really have been that stupid or was it all a set up by Sarkozy?