Saturday, October 15, 2011

Auf Wiedersehen

We are off to Berlin this weekend.  Poor Mimi must stay behind to supervise a big gardening project, but she is dressed for the spirit of adventure.  She has always coveted my Burberry rain hat so doesn't mind a bit wearing it the whole time I am gone.  The classic trench she is wearing has been on many a trip with me.  I found it while antiquing in Missouri with my sister.  The label simply reads "Made in Poland" and it was only $20!

I'll be back in November with lots of new photos, stories to tell and new clothes for Mimi to wear.  Meanwhile, please enjoy my archive.  Auf Wiedersehen.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Rainbow on Haleakala

If ever there was a magical moment during my travels, it was the time I hiked across the lava rock on Haleakala in Maui and looked across the summit at a circular rainbow.  My shadow was smack dab in the middle of it!  I've been chasing rainbows ever since.

Haleakala, which means "House of the Sun," is a  10,000 ft. volcano on Maui.  The hiking in this summit area is surreal--as close to hiking on the moon as I'll ever get.  (Maybe!)  The air is thin, making hiking difficult, but absolutely worth it.  The colorful lava rocks, the clouds, and the rainbow made me feel like I had walked into an Impressionist's painting.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fairy Fashion

A Book Review

 Whenever I need cheering up I reach for this book:  House of Ellwand Fairie-ality.  For fairy fashionistas, the House of Ellwand is the only place to shop.  It is the Dior and Chanel of the fairy world.  Fairies love clothes and legend has it they will help you out if you give them a gift of beautiful clothes.  But beware!!  If they are made of inferior fabrics or poorly sewn, they will be highly offended and wreck all kinds of havoc on you.  Fairies are, after all, very mischievous.

This book will help you find the famous Ellwand atelier in the ancient bluebell groves of West Sussex.  You will then have a difficult choice to make.  The rose petal jacket?  Or the peacock feather dress?  It's a bit of a Catch-22 though.  Fairies love their privacy and if they find you on one of their paths, they will try every means possible to lead you astray. 

I sometimes wonder if Alexander McQueen was a privileged guest of this enchanted place.  I bet you a hundred dollars he had this book in his library.  So I was thinking, if I took one of his gorgeous frothy white skirts with me, surely I would gain entrance. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October Still Life

I love fall.  I love dining by candlelight.  I love pumpkin soup and warm stews.  I love jackets and boots and sweaters.  Sometimes I think I should move to Vermont.  Fall and winter are very short-lived in my part of the world.  My first purchase this month was this great olive green trench from Renaissance in Santa Barbara.  I almost always find something in this incredible store, and in this case, I bought it for the long lean lines and the pointy back.    It will be perfect for my upcoming Eastern European trip, along with my new olive green hiking boots. The Tatra Mountains are beckoning me and what a great place to break them in!  The Tatras are the highest mountain range in the Carpathians and border Slovakia and Poland.  Five more days and I'm off!
I'm going to miss Halloween this year.  Well, maybe not.  I'd rather be traveling!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I do not see what others see
I see distortion
A point of view from an orca's eye

I do not hear what others hear
I hear an echo
A whisper carried by the wind

Give me a mirror, a glass pane, an ocean calm
A reality exaggerated
A life lived in mirage

Friday, October 7, 2011

Flunking Tourism 101

Don't get me wrong, I love museums, especially art museums, but sometimes after several 10-hour days on the tourist trail, I just can't bear the thought of one more museum.  I climb a few steps, look up at yet another mammoth building and promptly turn around.   I want fresh air.  Music (preferably jazz).  And coffee. "Please, sir, can you tell me where the nearest cafe is?"

These are the days I flunk Tourism.   My guidebook lists the top 25 sites of the city I'm in.  I've seen eight.  Isn't that enough?  As a traveler, I have come to value quality over quantity.  I still hit a few highlights, but I make sure I have lots of time to wander aimlessly about.  More often than not, these are the days I bump into something so bizarre that no one back home would believe me if I didn't have a camera to prove its existence.

The best art, like the best fashion, is found on the streets.  This is true for art museums, as well.  There are massive sculptures outside the museums for the pragmatic reason they are to big to fit inside.  And guess what?  It costs nothing to see them!  So when I'm too tired (or too broke) to spend hours inside a museum, I just walk around its exterior.  It gives me more time to just sit at a cafe, drink coffee and people watch.  I may get an "F" in Tourism, but in Mimi's School of Travel, I get an "A" in Living.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Autumn and the Tights

Yesterday's rain brought cooler temperatures to the South Coast and you know what that means!  Pack away the sandals and bring out the shoes, leggings and tights.  Autumn is here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Franceschi Stone Sculpture

Driving through the boulder country of Simi Valley reminded me of a treasure we have in our own backyard.  This enormous stone head of Francesco Franceschi is located on Mission Ridge just below Franceschi Park.  Many Santa Barbara locals know about the beautiful little park with stellar views of the city, but they've never noticed the stone head.  It's easily missed when navigating the twisty narrow road leading to the park.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pink Elephants and Flying Pigs

I love driving through this rocky enclave of Simi Valley, California.    These photos were taken along Box Canyon Road.  From all the incredible art we saw along route, many artists must live among these boulders.  So inspiring!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


My traveling buddy, who was born and raised in L.A., claims he has never seen this American Icon from the road.  I have a hard time believing that, but then again, he points out he is always driving and I'm the one who gets to look. (Do I sense some resentment there?)   He has, of course, seen it in countless movies:  Mighty Joe Young, Earthquake, Superman, Pretty Woman, Escape from L.A., Predator 2, the list goes on and on.  So when I suggested we drive up Beachwood Drive for a good view of it, he jumped at the chance.

There were people from all over the world snapping a picture of these famous 45 foot high letters.  Back in 1923 when the sign was erected it originally read, "Hollywoodland" as an advertisement for a development company.  The last four letters were removed when Hollywood became the movie capital of the world.  It sits on top of Mt. Lee, the tallest peak in Los Angeles.  The view of the city below is worth the drive.  On the drive down, we were surprised to see there is still a realty company called "Hollywoodland".  What a place to buy a piece of property!