Spring Break Phone Pix Dump

We actually did a lot over the two-week break.

The child had a bad case of the hives, got really sick, and also lost another tooth, but he rallied for the best parts of his vacation.
He had no trouble inhaling a basketful of candy on Easter morning.

🙂

The rest of our days went something like this…

lunch with Grandma
Inflatable World
Pump It Up
several different parks
a night at the downtown Marriott
egg hunts
and
I guess I’m too tired to remember anything else.
Enjoy the photos!

Oh, I almost forgot!
Husband got a new job.
(Insert great relief here.)
He started yesterday.
So far, so good!

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Insert bad family photo here (complete with chinless child and bug-eyed mommy):

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I love this next one of my husband.  He’s more than a little freaked out by heights, but that didn’t stop him from enjoying our 11th floor view of the bay and the bridge.

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The pools were beautiful.  The smaller one was walk-in warm in the morning.

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Next on the agenda?
Back to school this morning and then to the kid’s salon for a long overdue haircut!

What did you do?

♥♥

Rose Bowl Flea Market & Thrift Store Treasures

I met some friends in Pasadena last weekend.

I spent Saturday night by myself at the Courtyard Marriott in Monrovia.  This hotel is right on the 210 Freeway – convenient, but kind of loud.  If you’re a light sleeper, this may not be the place for you.

On the upside, the room was super clean, the hotel was nicely decorated, the service was excellent, and this was the view from my room:

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I didn’t mind the traffic noise at all and I felt very safe in the area too.  There are a ton of large chain restaurants and stores nearby and parking is free and plentiful, even at the hotel.

I thoroughly enjoyed moving at my own pace, wandering around a couple of stores, then going solo to a late evening soup and salad dinner at Mimi’s before heading back to the hotel for the night.

I found these four huge, sparkly ornaments on clearance at Kirkland’s for $1.24 each:

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On Sunday, I met my friends at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.  Have I told you how much I love that place and wish, with all my heart, that I could go to it every month?  Sigh.

I picked up an odd assortment of things this time.

First, there’s this:

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He is missing a foot (fin?) and has been wrapped in the middle with fishing line to keep from coming apart, but I love him.

He’s made from a gourd or some kind of seed pod and he is filled with little stones that make a very pleasant rain stick kind of sound when you move him.

Um…yeah…if you know me, then you know it was not possible for me to leave without this guy.

I’m not sure what to make of the mermaid and her friend on his back:

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I also found my favorite ribbon vendor and picked up a few things in her 3/$5 bin:

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I found two more Delft-style milk maids too.  I don’t know if I really love these ladies though.  Their faces aren’t as sweet and well painted as the other two I have, so I’m not sure I will keep them.  For the moment, they are in the china hutch with the others.

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I love these little Matryoshka egg dolls:

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I’m not sure how exactly to display them, since they won’t stand up on their own, but they amuse me!

I picked up the sweetest little wooden duckling too, but the ten-year-old promptly claimed it on my return.  I haven’t seen it since.  😦

My favorite find of the day was this wire cake stand:

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The seller wanted $15.

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I offered $10 and hoped she would take $12.50.

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She took the $10!  Yea!  The silver stand below it is another of my favorites from long ago.  Just one more and it’s a collection, right?  Uh oh.

When hunger hit us, I wasn’t in the mood for our usual Italian place, so we ate at the Cheesecake Factory.  I rarely go there, so I never know quite what to order.  This time, I copied my friend – faro salad and fried avocado egg rolls.  Oh my, was that ever a tasty lunch!

We wandered the shops for a while and then went to Goodwill and an unexpectedly large and interesting antique store in South Pasadena before parting company.  It was a disappointment to find the Out of the Closet thrift store closed for the day, but we all felt pretty good about our other adventures.

What a great weekend!  Good friends, good food, good finds, good fun.  Thank you, Leighann and Corina!!

Back on my home turf and apart from my son after three and a half long weeks of winter break, I wandered through the Goodwill and Salvation Army stores near my home yesterday.

I picked up a little wooden candle holder:

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and I found this amazing little wooden stool:

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At first glance, I thought it was painted.  It’s actually decorated with beads.  They are hammered into the wood.

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I would love to know how the artist did this.

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The wood seems soft, but surely there’s a secret.  The whole thing makes me swoon.  It’s clearly hand crafted, an interesting shape, probably Mexican or central American, colorful, detailed and lovingly made – just my taste!

And that’s it!

What did you do this week?

♥♥

Some Christmas Stuff

The little boy and I made some of those glass “marble” ornaments last night.  I’ve made them every few years or so, but never been pleased with them enough to post photos or really even to keep them.  This year’s batch is making it to the tree!

Here they are:

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It’s hard to get a picture of them actually hanging on a branch.  I think my camera is dying.  😦

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To make then, you need some clear glass ornaments and a bunch of acrylic paints.

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You just put some paint inside the ornament and swirl until it looks right and everything is covered.

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On a few of them, I swirled in one color, let it set for a few seconds, then used a straw to scrape stripes in the first color before I poured in the second color.

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You will waste some paint.  It takes more than a tablespoon to get the insides really coated.  I dump out most of the excess then put the ornaments upside-down on an empty egg carton to drain/dry completely.  We waited overnight before replacing the caps and hanging them on the tree.

I think they look like giant Italian marbles.  🙂

There are a few other decorations new to our house this year too.

– a huge glass strawberry that I picked up in one of my favorite Poway thrift stores:

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– a fun felt garland from Michael’s:

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– a paper garland, carefully handcrafted by the little boy:

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– the usual menagerie of sticker-covered wrapping paper trees in the stairwell:

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I’ve had that wire birdcage house on the shelf for a few years.  It came from one of my all-time favorite stores – The Vintage House in downtown Brentwood, California.  This year I filled the cage with a bag of those fragrant cinnamon pinecones from the grocery store floral department.  They smell so good when you walk by them to climb the stairs.  Ahh.

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And last, but not least, I finally found a frame at Goodwill that was interesting and big enough to fit the little Mexican tapestry I bought a few months ago.  I did a really bad job of spray painting the frame – my Facebook friends already read my note to self about avoiding windy days and swarms of gnats next time.  😦  Ha!  But it will do.  I just wanted to get the cloth protected a.s.a.p. and onto the wall while I put more thought into the bigger picture redo of my bedroom.

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So there you have it.  Christmas stuff.

How are you decorating this year?

♥♥

Holiday Brain Dump

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Bad Mommy

I waited too long to get my son an advent calendar from Trader Joe’s, so now they’re sold out and I feel like a bad mom.

Well okay, I felt like a bad mom before I went to Trader Joe’s.

Today, I made my son cry.  And I made my mother cry.

Just for good measure, I asked my husband if there was anything shitty I could say to him too.  Wisely, he offered no suggestions.  😐

The little boy’s upset was related to homework.  Or rather, my upset was related to the homework (and to the accompanying note of parental reprimand from the teacher.)  The little boy’s upset was related to homework and to my reaction.  Big surprise.  Might I just say, AGAIN, that I am baffled by the papers that come home with my son?

Getting him interested in looking at them is a daily nightmare for the two of us.  He is tired when he steps off the school bus.  He wants a snack and then something mindless to amuse himself for the rest of the afternoon.  Homework is painful for my child and painful for me.  We both hate it.

But enough about that.  It’s an old, worn-out problem with no solution.  I work daily not to care what the teacher or anyone else thinks of how we handle it.  Or don’t handle it.

Moving on.

Bad Daughter

I made my mother cry because I reminded her that we weren’t the best of housemates when I returned from college feeling all independent and snappy two decades ago.

I had moved back into the house with her and my dad and she and I argued sometimes.  Who wouldn’t have?  Headstrong twenty-something suddenly sleeping in her old twin bed?  I was unpleasant.

Ultimately, mom and I came to a mutual understanding that I needed to find myself a real job and somewhere else to live.  It was an excellent idea, and I am the better for having done just that, but now mom is worried.  She hadn’t remembered the low points of that summer until I burst her rosy impression over a cheap plate of pancakes at Denny’s this morning.  Sorry, Mom!  😦

So, two for two.  My son cried.  My mom cried.

I cried too, but that came after I had filled my cart at Trader Joe’s and then discovered the item I had come for, the advent calendar, couldn’t be had.  I bought every seasonal chocolate product the store carries.

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And yes, I waited until I was in the car to open the teary flood gates.

Okay, so changing the subject completely…

Husband Update

Husband is mending more each day.  He might even go back to work tomorrow – driving in his own car!  Yippee!  He is still uncomfortable at night and if you watch him for a few minutes you will notice how much he favors his right side, but he’s getting there.  The ribs, the collar bone…they are repairing themselves.

The Mission Inn Festival of Lights

We drove up to Riverside on Thursday to spend one quick night at The Mission Inn.  We sort of owed it to the boy (and ourselves) to do something spontaneous and fun to make up for the Palm Desert accident weekend.  The Mission Inn was the perfect answer.

The Festival of Lights is amazing.  There are animated characters, lighted horse carriage rides, giant nutcrackers, icicle lights, garlands, candles and falling snow too.  There are real reindeer and vendors with gingerbread, roasted nuts and miniature doughnuts available every night during the holidays.  There are Christmas carolers and a roving Santa in the restaurants.

The sleeping rooms are luxurious and full of charm.  The spa products in the bath are rich and fragrant and the windows actually open.  The beds are very comfortable and loaded with extra pillows.  The linens are crispy white and super fresh.  There are big fluffy bathrobes in the closet and the package we got came with a divinely citrus-scented aromatherapy candle.

The hotel itself is a work of art.  There is a rotunda with a spiral staircase.  There are gorgeous plazas and flowered balconies.  There are stained glass windows, catacombs and an amazing clock.  The hotel pool is walk-in warm and landscaped to feel private, even though it is surrounded by sleeping rooms.  Everything is beautiful.  Everything is humbling.  And we didn’t even see it all.  We saw a lot, but we missed far more.  Next time, I think we’ll take a guided tour just for the heck of it.

My favorite thing was the twenty-foot, ornately carved church pew sitting in the hall outside our room.  I told my husband that I would gladly tear up the inside of our house and completely rebuild our decor to accommodate that pew, if only they would let me have it.  Sigh.

One of the best things about the trip for me was the little gray striped cat who appeared at the pool when we went for a swim.  My own gray baby passed less than a week before.  It was comforting to see a similar little face so clearly interested in my activities.  When my son splashed near, this cat was just as reserved and removed as my Poupon, but when my son wandered away, the cat came a little closer and talked a little more insistently to me.  I wish I’d gone back down to visit with the cat once we were dry and dressed.  Maybe next time.

Before I change the subject yet again, I have to mention Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s, the store across the way from our room.  I went in once with my husband and son and immediately I knew that I’d have to return again without them.  When I did, I bought a painted metal bird and a weird little nativity set.

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Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s is jam-packed with the most interesting little trinkets, wrapping paper, bath soaps, whimsical tins, garden treasures, dishes, tiny paintings, knick-knacks and Christmas ornaments ever!  The hours aren’t set in stone, but it seemed to me there was someone behind the register most of the day.  It will take you some time to see everything, so be prepared to browse for a while!

Happening Now

The little boy has liberated some empty magazine files from my bedroom and is constructing makeshift body armor with scotch tape.

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The husband is playing computer games and I am dreaming of pajamas, ice cream and a better camera. 😦

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The last remaining cat has finished eating dinner alone in the kitchen.

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And tomorrow our routine starts all over again.

What are you up to?

P.S.  That Santa plaque at the top of the post is something I picked up on clearance in Bazaar Del Mundo a few years ago.  It reminds me to tell you how emotional it was for me when Santa stopped by our dinner table at the Mission Inn Restaurant the other night.  It was the first time our ten-year-old had ever met him.  Because of the many challenges our son faces just getting through a “normal” day, we have never bothered with shopping mall Santas and their incredible lines.  We’ve never been to any event where Santa was a main attraction and even the occasional Santa in front of a store or at an amusement park has always been too removed or surrounded by other children for us to have a meaningful experience.  This time, Santa came to us and asked our son what he wanted for Christmas.  Our sweet little boy told Santa what we already knew…he just wants pencils.  🙂

♥♥

Renegade Craft Fair & Fun With Friends

I met a couple of friends in Los Angeles yesterday.  They rode the train in from the desert and I drove up to Union Station to meet them.

We started our morning with some coffee and Mexican pastries on Olvera Street.  We sat and chatted while the sleepy storekeepers unfurled their goods, then we shopped a bit before walking back to my van for a quick ride to our main destination.  We were headed to the annual Renegade Craft Fair at Los Angeles State Historic Park.

Renegade is an annual gathering of etsy.com artists and local food trucks.  The off-road parking is dry and dirty, the bottles of water are overpriced, and shade is in short supply, but the art is worth the inconveniences!

I think the best thing about this event is that everyone has a web presence.  If you spend all your money before you get to the end of the first row, you can still have fun walking through and gathering business cards for future purchases.  All of the vendors sell items online.

Another great thing about Renegade is that it’s not gigantic.  You can actually see everything.  Twice.  And you still have time for some other adventures in your day.  That’s a boon for me, since I don’t live in the area.

We headed to Atwater Village next.  After a quick peek into the Out of the Closet thrift store, we had veggie burgers at the very teeny Atwater Grill.  I was pretty hungry when we got there, but even with that bias, I think I can say that was one of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever eaten.  It came with huge, delicious onion rings too.  Yum!

Ever the fiend for something chocolate immediately after a meal, I shuffled my friends down the street to a little bakery called Sweets for the Soul.

Honestly, I wasn’t impressed when we walked in the door.  The cashier was a bit aloof and there was a stressful vibe in the air.  Odd.  Or maybe we were.  I don’t know.

Nothing in the display cases appealed to me particularly.  I really sort of wanted to leave, but my manners got me.  I chose a salted caramel shot, just to be polite.  I paid a few dollars and thoughtlessly tossed the container into my bag as we walked out the door.

It wasn’t until I had parted company with my friends a few hours later that I found the box and decided to eat the little cake inside.

OH MY!  What a surprise of heavenly goodness!  Small wonder this place has gotten rave reviews.

The “shot” was something in between a brownie and a small cake.  It was dense, but with a good crumb texture.  And it was moist, not like the dry muffin I’d had hours before on Olvera Street.

It was very chocolate, but neither too bitter nor too sweet.  And the salted caramel on top?  It had melted slightly in the box – a happy accident, if you ask me.

The whole thing was just three teeny bites of yummy.  I wish I had another one right this minute.  Sigh.

I’m in chocolate love and MUST go back to Sweets for the Soul.  ♥

This experience taught me a lesson.  I think I’ve concluded that small sweets need to be eaten within mere steps of their source.  If you have to get another one, you’ll need to be right there.

Going forward, I will make my purchase respectfully, but with a fib about saving it for later, then I will duck around the nearest corner and enjoy it at once!

From there, we headed to Potted in Los Feliz.  I love this store!  Love!  My friend had been there before and she described it only as “inspiring.”  I have to agree.  Potted is serene and beautiful, but interesting, just the way a garden ought to be.  I saw many, many things I would love to own from this place.  I will definitely go back the next time I am in the area.

On West Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, we went to Mindfulnest Contemporary Artisan Gallery.  Over 70% of the merchandise in the shop is made by local artisans, including the line of Klean Spa bath products blended on site in the back of the space.  I bought a small bottle of cream in the Lemon Love scent.  I think I might even like it more than my old favorite J.R. Watkins Shea Butter Lemon Cream!  THAT is HUGE.

Somewhere along the way to all of these destinations, we also hit a few other thrift stores.  I did the driving, but with my friends along, I was blissfully freed from navigation responsibilities.  Yeah, so don’t ask me how to find any of these places again, okay?  In fact, I will confess, I started our day by forgetting where my car was parked at Union Station.  That was a good 45 minutes of frustrated social anxiety.  Sorry, ladies!!  😳

Anyhoo, this is what I have to show for my day of fun.  Not a lot, but enough for me.  🙂

On Olvera Street, I bought a few more teeny chickens for my collection…

and a guatemalan wallet/glasses case.

At the Renegade Craft Fair, I found this whimsical soap dish by Catherine Reece:

and a very heavy weight, well made tote (with long handles like I love!!) by Dutch Door Press

At Mindfulnest/Klean Spa…

and from Leighann, my beautiful friend who always brings me the greatest stuff –

a very fun drawstring Maneki-neko bag – so freakin’ cute –

a pack of bright orange rick rack – not even opened – love!

and a very pretty batik stamp…

I agree – the little curlicue at the top is the sweetest part of the design!

And from one of the thrift stores, I bought a book for Thomas –

because who can resist those crazy Berenstain Bears?

and because I can’t leave my house without buying a book, right?

Right!

That’s it for my day in L.A.

Happy Afternoon!

P.S.  What did you do this weekend?

♥♥

Pasadena Shops, Rose Bowl Flea Market & South Pasadena

Husband pulled some solo parenting duty this weekend.  I escaped to Pasadena  to meet a friend.

I needed this little break so much.  Thank you, husband!

Pasadena Shops

I arrived late Saturday afternoon, checked into the Courtyard Marriott on Fair Oaks, then dashed down the street to hit a few of my favorite little shops.

I made it to Maude Woods with ten minutes to browse before they shut the door.  This shop is a little pricey, but it’s beautiful and serene and I thoroughly enjoyed the quick walk-through.  It’s an interesting mixture of home and garden and other little wacky things.  This was my first visit to the store and I didn’t really have time to find a treasure I couldn’t live without, so I moved on.

Next on the list was Mignon, thankfully open until 7:00 p.m!  I love this chocolate shop and I go to it every time I’m in Pasadena.  It’s an interesting departure from the See’s I am used to.  Mignon has a rich and fascinating family business history too.  Go to the Mignon website to check it out and then go to the shop to eat the chocolate!

Lula Mae was open the latest of the three, so I went there last.  It’s a teeny place with a ton of stuff.  I always wish I had a lot more time and a lot more money to spend in Lula Mae.  There’s a whole bunch of cuteness in there!

I bought a bag of sea salt caramels and a little glittery chickadee for my friend.  Yum.  Sweet.

I bought this amazing dyed silk ribbon for myself:

It looks great with orange paper too…

I love Lula Mae.  ♥  I want to go back there right now.

Rose Bowl Flea Market Finds & A Celebrity Sighting

On Sunday morning, I raced to the Rose Bowl to join my friend for a day of wandering and lunch.

This is what I bought:

an antique French butter mold

a small car with wind-up key

a little painted plaster duck (can’t get a good pic of this for some reason)

Friendly Hen print

another color plate of animal drawings (I have two others already framed from the same book)

and a small potted plant watering bird

On the way out of the Market, I spotted Joy Bryant, who plays Jasmine on Parenthood, one of my favorite shows.  She was just coming in with her friends.  She is even more beautiful in person than she is on t.v.

Happy shopping, Joy!

South Pasadena

After the Flea Market, we headed to Zinnia in South Pasadena.  Oh. My. Gosh. I. Love. This. Store. And. The. Giant. Pretty. Kitty. Who. Lives. There.

I bought a funny flat paper donkey, some beautiful yarn and a pile of teeny felt balls.  Love.

I also bought two jumbo sized fuzzy pipe cleaners for my son…I’m not sure why…they just made me think of him for some reason!  😀

We skipped across the street to Hodgson’s Antiques too.  There is so much to look at in this shop that I was overwhelmed.  I would love to return to Hodgson’s on a weekday and take my time looking.  It is full of unbelievable treasures, but my claustrophobia kicked in a bit when we were there.

We had lunch on the patio at Mike & Anne’s, where a shortage of sourdough proved lucky for me.  A delicious cinnamon walnut raisin bread was substituted and it absolutely made my grilled Swiss cheese, tomato and carmelized onion sandwich.  Garlicky mayonnaise and a pile of sweet potato fries were a great side dish.  The place was packed, so it’s surely a local favorite.

Unfortunately, my friend didn’t fare as well with the bread substitution.  Her pesto didn’t really go with cinnamon and raisins.  😦  That aside, we enjoyed an hour on the patio and had a nice conversation with our waiter about where to go for dessert.  He didn’t have a clue, but he was funny.  (Do you have a clue where to go in South Pasadena for an exquisite dessert?  Please let me know!)

We left and headed for Marz, Rue de Mimo, Camille Frances de Pedrini and the Dinosaur Farm toy store on Mission Street.  Marz was my favorite.  It’s a wacky gift shop that has a little bit of everything.  It is connected inside to Mimo and Camille, both of which have beautiful clothing and jewelry.  The Dinosaur Farm reminded me of Geppetto’s.  I enjoyed it a lot, but I didn’t really see anything I hadn’t seen before.

Somewhere in this very full schedule, we also went to Out of The Closet Thrift on Fair Oaks.  In the back of the store, I found an amusing, hideous animal drawing marked $10.  I picked it up in disbelief and promptly dropped it, shattering the glass to pieces.  The whole incident knocked me off my game, so it was probably good that the day was almost over.  I paid for the ugly painting and we left.

And that, my friends, was a wonderful, lovely weekend!

Thanks to beautiful Leighann for spending the day with me and for giving me a huge bolt of gorgeous upholstery fabric and this amazing Mr. Bunny chocolate mold:

Happy Monday!

What did you do this weekend?

♥♥