Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Birds

Mimi has pointed out that I don't have many prints in my wardrobe, and that the few prints I do have are all of birds.

Okay, so I like birds.  Get over it, Mimi!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Tornado and the Silver Cuff

This silver cuff was bought at an antique mall in the middle of Indiana during one of the worst tornado rampages in years (until now!).  This is a true story.

Five years ago, my mother and I drove from Kansas City to Lexington, Kentucky, on a road trip.  On the way home, we were driving on the highway happily listening to music when I finally observed, "You know, mom, I haven't seen another car for miles!"  Mom looked out the window and up at the sky.  "Those are twister clouds, that's why."

I ejected the CD and turned on the radio.  Sure enough, we were in the middle of a tornado warning.  Hundreds of tornadoes were being spotted throughout Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.  I pushed ahead and took the very next off ramp and lo and behold, a giant antique mall offered us sanctuary.

The place was empty, but open.  A surprised man welcomed us by saying, "The place is all yours, ladies.  If the siren goes off, I'll take you downstairs."  My mom and I looked at each other and grinned.  For the next two hours we filled up a shopping cart with presents for ourselves and everyone else on our Christmas lists.

"You know, darling," mom said as we got back into the car-- the skies now blue.  "I'll go shopping with you any day."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Tornado and the Dress

Terrifying images of monster tornadoes have dominated the news this week.  The destruction in their wake has been tragic and my heart goes out to everyone in the Midwest who has suffered from these storms.  It is why I am so intrigued by a new designer, Kaelen Farncombe, who sounds like a nutcase chasing after tornadoes, except that I get it.  I absolutely get it.  Having grown up in Kansas, whenever the sirens went off, instead of heading for the basement like a sane person, I ran outside to see if I could spot one of these freaks of nature.

The steel gray skies are reflected in the fabrics Farncombe uses for her Spring collection.  It is the sky, before and after these storms, that are so beautiful and that have inspired her.  I am definitely making another trip to Los Angeles soon to buy one of her pieces.  I, too, am captivated by the colors of silver, slate, pewter and navy blue--all the colors of a sky heavy with conflict. Below, Mimi models some of the dresses I own.  Did these designers chase after tornadoes, too?

Babette Dress

Jigsaw Dress

Embe Dress

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mimi Wears Prada

"Putting outfits on me and schlepping me all over California has been fun, but I really only want to be a Prada mannequin."
"Oh really."
"Yeah.  I'd look good in Prada."
"So . . . I'll put you in Prada."
"Yeah, right."
"I have Prada."
"No, you don't."
"Yes, I do."
"No, you don't."
"Yes, I really do."
Mimi wears Prada.  (The skirt only, but don't tell her.  This is the happiest she's been in weeks!)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Soda Lake

This mineral-laden lake in the Carrizo Plain is 3,000 acres huge and usually just a basin of crusty white.  All the rainfall this year has transformed it into a true lake.  We were lucky to see it before the water once again evaporates.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Carrizo Plain National Monument

This is a magical place that no one has ever heard of--even in the nearby towns.  Unbelievably, it's only 100 miles north of Los Angeles.  The Carrizo Plain National Monument encompasses 250,000 acres and is located in southeastern San Luis Obispo County.  It is the largest native grassland in California today and an excellent place to see surface fractures from the San Andreas Fault.

We drove through the park to see the wildflowers,  which the plains are famous for this time of year.   We weren't disappointed, but the ranger told us at the Visitor's Center that some years are even better.  We had also hoped to spot the herd of pronghorns, but had no such luck. Oh, well, it just gives us an excuse to come back next year!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Taft, California

We stumbled into this "There Will Be Blood" landscape quite by accident.  Learned later that this is a major region for crude oil and natural gas production.

Mimi wears an LF top.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Canyon Road

Happy Canyon Road is one of the many routes into Los Padres National Forest.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pride of Madeira

This beautiful plant is a native of Madeira, Portugal, but it is now found all over Santa Barbara and is in bloom this time of year.

"I want to wear the brown velvet coat with the Tahari dress."
"But it's April."
"You can't wear velvet in April."
"Says who?"
"I don't know.  Velvet's worn during the holidays.  Thanksgiving through Valentines."
"That's ridiculous.  Get me the velvet coat.  It just feels right."

And so she wears velvet in April.  If it feels right, it is right.  Says Mimi.

Detail of Elie Tahari Dress

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tiles and Azulejos

As much as I love to travel, Santa Barbara is a beautiful place to come home to. This time I was struck by its similarity to Portugal, especially in the tiles you see all over town.

Santa Barbara Tiles

Portuguese Azulejos

Mimi wears a summer dress as colorful as the tiles in both places.  (Purchased in Kansas City.  She gets around!)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Shopping for Pottery

 "Let's make a deal.  An hour shopping for pottery for an hour at a castle."

Mimi approves of the majolica I brought back from Portugal.  An hour well-spent!