Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010, Day 151

I just love holidays! I spent most of the day in this very spot in our family room reading the biography of Marchesa Luisa Casati. Ms. Casati was very eccentric and threw elaborate parties at her homes in Rome, Venice and Capri. She had countless portraits made of her and was a great patroness of the arts.

I am wearing a Harijuku Lovers t-shirt I bought at a Round Meadow boutique and a pair of Alternative Earth cropped leggings from Lolita.

It was very hot again today – summer has indeed arrived!

Sunday, May 30, 2010, Day 150

Who knew we would see Candi again so soon (see February 6)? We were invited to a friend’s 40th heavy-metal themed birthday party at the Viper Room (costumes obligatory), but as everyone knows, I don’t go out on Sunday nights.

Relax, Candi said, I’ll go. Besides, it’s Memorial Day weekend. No school tomorrow.

Pictured is a YaYa dress purchased at Planet Blue, with a leather vest by Gary Graham bought at Stacey Todd. The Beau Coops platform booties and LnA leggings (with zippers up the back of the legs) were both bought in London. The necklace is by my wonderful niece Torie.

Candi is standing next to a miniature portrait by Victoria Gitman (see March 31)

Candi went to the party with her guitarist “Axe” who wore red with black zebra-striped spandex leggings and kohl-rimmed eyes. When the heavy-metal cover band at the Viper Room asked if anyone at the party wanted to jam, Candi got up on stage and belted out “Man in the Box” by Alice In Chains.*

It was a pretty wild night!

*Candi was very confident she knew all the words having performed this song many times previously and scoring 100% on Rockband.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010, Day 149

Here I am next to the window in our living room that looks out onto the Golden Gate Bridge wearing a sweet caftan from Planet Blue and a pair of leggings I bought at Erica Tarnov on Fillmore. I could literally sit here for hours (and have been known to) and stare at the beautiful panorama before me. The artist Richard Misrach (see July 1 and September 16) did a whole series of photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. We have the coffee table book up here.

I ordinarily avoid the airport like the plague during holiday weekends, but I believe we missed the crazy rush by coming up on Wednesday and leaving today. We had a delicious brunch with the kids down at Chouquet’s on Fillmore and then left to fly back home. We had such a great trip that even the kids were a little bit sad to leave our beautiful apartment.

Friday, May 28, 2010, Day 148

Gary made eggs, bacon, biscuits (see **** from May 27) this morning and we hung around the apartment most of the day reading and putting together the Lego Taj Mahal. Yesterday it rained on and off, but today was simply gorgeous and the view from our apartment’s living room window was stunning.

Just before lunch, we paid a visit to Baer Ridgeway Gallery with the kids and bought a small Travis Collinson (see April 20 and May 27) portrait of a girl. We took this picture close to the gallery, outside of SFMOMA. I am wearing a dress by Marc By Marc Jacobs.

Thursday, May 27, 2010, Day 147

This is the final good bye of this dress. I’ve tried so hard to like it, but it is not to be. I first encountered this Wyeth by Todd MacGill dress in a little shop at Ventura and Fallbrook. I saw it on sale and tried it on. Something, even way back then, was just not right. Like I said, I wanted to like it; I appreciate its retro flair and the little buttons at the jauntily capped sleeves.

I kept seeing it there on the sale rack, becoming cheaper and cheaper until one day it was gone. It never seemed to be worth the price they were asking, not even in the end, but it was a nice dress. One day, my friend Amy redid the closets in her house and put a large pile of old clothes together for charity. I took a look through her pile – other people’s trash is sometimes your treasure – and found this dress. I figured it was meant to be and it sat in my closet for a couple of years before I sent it up to our apartment in San Francisco. I actually did wear it up here once. But it is really unflattering, even styled with a wider belt. This is the absolutely best it’s ever looked in this photo right here.

And so I said goodbye to this dress and didn’t wear it* when we went out to dinner this evening with Jamie** and Travis*** at Elite cafĂ© on Fillmore.****

*I wore a skirt and sweater I will feature another day.

**Jamie will always be credited with making my memorable run with bangs happen. She works at Posh on Fillmore and blow dries my hair when we are in town. She says she can always tell when a woman is from Los Angels or New York because (unlike San Franciscan women) we always get a blow out when we come to the city.

I was at Posh last year to get a blow out and admired her bangs. I said I’d always wanted bangs, but have never worn them successfully because I have a small forehead. She candidly picked up her own bangs and said she has a small forehead too. I figured who better to cut my bangs than someone familiar with the issue.

Afterward, I was meeting Gary and Tony and Patty down the street at Mureta’s and was the last to arrive. The small shop was crowded and Gary stepped aside as I entered and said politely, “Excuse me,” to me as if I were a stranger.

***Travis Collinson, the artist. See April 20. He took some photos of me before we left for dinner. I've commissioned him to paint my portrait.

****Elite makes the best biscuits and sells them two dozen at a time frozen and ready to bake.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010, Day 146

I started this day out in yoga and ended it in San Francisco going to dinner with Gary and the kids. I am wearing a pair of AG jeans I probably bought at the AG store on Robertson.

The coat is by Juicy Couture and I bought it at Juicy Couture in San Francisco one time when we were visiting with the Daniel family in the city. I had completely misjudged the weather that day and was wearing the dress from April 15 with a light cardigan. I was absolutely freezing as we shopped south of market near the mall with the Nordstrom. I tried this coat on and immediately appreciated how snug-fitting it is for a “puffy” coat. It’s probably the most flattering coat of this style I have seen to this day. Despite its relatively high price,* I made a snap decision to buy it and wore it happily out of the store.

It really was an excellent investment as it is the perfect San Francisco coat in that I have never been cold in it, not even when the sharpest winds are whipping off the Bay. I have had it now for four years and can see myself in it for the next forty.

*As I’ve mentioned, I didn’t always enjoy such a large clothing allowance. This coat arrived at a time when I was just getting used to being able to buy something a)not on sale and/or b)without shopping around to make sure this was the best one at the best price. Being able to now buy things I fall in love with is never not exciting to me. I never stop feeling like a very lucky girl.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010, Day 145

Here we have a photo of what we erected at the Erection Party last Saturday (see May 22). It’s so beautiful, especially when a breeze blows by. The “paddles” move independently of each other and mimic the movement of the leaves on the big sycamores behind it. It’s almost like another tree. It’s very meditative and I love watching it move.

I am wearing a top and pants by Burning Torch. My sandals are by Azzedine Allaiia. Elodie and I had our nails done at 3pm. Gary and I went for sushi and got late massages from Cynthia.

Monday, May 24, 2010, Day 144

Elodie and I had a playdate today*. We began it with Daddy and a walk through Ahmanson Ranch this morning. It’s such a blessing to have a nature reserve walking distance from our house. We’re having lunch with Graydon and Daddy and then going shopping for bathing suits and shoes, just us girls. . She set it up. What a lucky mom I am. Here we are in front of our lunch spot, Ruby’s Diner.

After lunch, Elodie and I went to Old Navy, Justice and Target. We, as Elodie put it, “shopped ‘til we dropped” and carried home bags of new clothes for Elodie and a few things for Graydon too.

I am wearing Martin Margiela skirt with a Marc By Marc Jacobs top identical to the orange one from January 2. The boots are Born and I bought them at Leap a million years ago.

*Due to the state's budget crisis, this week leading up to Memorial Day weekend became a furlough week and we took full advantage.

Sunday, May 23, 2010, Day 143

I am wearing a little house dress I picked up at Planet Blue years ago. Next to me is a lovely Jennifer Bornstein etching that sits on the wall across from the one described on February 18. We bought this one at an art fair in Santa Monica a few years ago. I love Jennifer’s pieces, especially her people.

Look at the amazing dahlia in the vase on the small table. Isn’t it gorgeous? It grew on a whole bush of them I bought at Sperling Nursery . It looks unreal. I also bought an equally unreal red dahlia. We planted them in the cutting garden out by the kids’ trampoline. The orchid and the flowering plant also came from Sperling. I went there to get the orchid and ended up buying all sorts of beautiful plants.

Saturday, May 22, 2010, Day 142

I am wearing a lovely jumpsuit by Stella McCartney we bought in London at the Stella McCartney boutique with a cropped jacket by Manish Aurora. I was wearing this jacket in New York at the season finale of Project Runway (see January 9).

Today we had an Erection Party. Let me explain. After our Implosion Party (see May 19) was such a success, we wanted to do something similar this year. Everyone loved the theatricality of the implosion and so we thought about installing another piece of art during the party.

Right about the time we were thinking about what to do, we ran into our friend, the artist Brad Howe, at an art show at the Los Angeles Convention Center (see January 20). He had a small kinetic model at the show and I asked him if he’d ever made anything like that, but on a large scale. He said he could and then bring the sculpture out to our house to install in pieces. He could put it together, or erect it, during the party and voila – Erection Party.

Brad was a very good sport regarding the naming of the party and everyone got a kick out of it. The weather cooperated fully and we all had a great time. The installation was a complete success!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010, Day 141

I was going to style today's photo in a completely different way,* but Gary said this dress needs movement and he was right.

It is by Jerrell Scott (see March 27) and I wore it to my 40th birthday lunch.** I bought the shoes at a little shop on Abbott Kinney. They were not cheap and I have never worn them. I really should. They are pretty hot and not terribly uncomfortable. Have I already said how much I love platforms?

We stayed home with the kids tonight. Tomorrow we are having a

*Since this dress is so dramatic and Gary and I were staying in and watching movies tonight, I was picturing myself laid out on the sofa in our theater. We actually took a very good one like that, but this photo won out.

**You can see photos from that lunch at

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010, Day 140

I am sitting on the bed in Rachel and John’s suite at the SLS Hotel in West Hollywood. Gary took this picture of my reflection in a smoky mirror. I am wearing a beautiful Catherine Malendrino dress I bought at Dash. It has “strings” hanging vertically from the neck to the waist and from the waist to the bottom hem which move when I walk. The shoes are Vivienne Westwood (see April 11).

Rachel and John had a busy day of meetings with their Bootcamp staff at the hotel and then took Gary and I to dinner downstairs at Bazar Restaurant for Gary’s birthday. The food was complicated and (mostly) delicious. It’s always lovely to catch up with great friends.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010, Day 139

Last year we went to Danny First’s house and fell in love with a sculpture in his backyard by Ewerdt Hilgemann. Mr. Hilgemann happened to be visiting California soon after (he works in Amsterdam) and met us at our house to discuss installing something similar in our backyard. He makes hollow steel vessels and then sucks the air our of them and they collapse into these beautiful shapes. For us, he made a pair of cubes stacked one on top of the other to reflect Gary's and my partnership.

He ordinarily finishes his pieces in his studio, but I asked him if he could do it on site. He said yes and that it would take about thirty minutes for the vessel to collapse or “implode.” We decided to have a party while it was going on and it was an incredible day.

When the piece first began to implode it made a loud Boom! I had told our guests it would take approximately thirty minutes to completely implode and fully expected them to wander away in search of another drink or appetizer. Instead the opposite happened. As the piece began to really morph and change (much more quietly), all the people gathered around moved toward it. Some even moving in to touch it. Someone asked Mr. Hilgemann when he knows when a pice is done imploding and he responded that he doesn't; the piece knows.

I am wearing a sassy little Ghost dress. It has some mesh inserts which keeps it interesting. I love this picture because you can see my boy’s shadow in the grass as he is taking my picture.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010, Day 138

It’s taken me 138 days to put on this skirt. Of course I loved it when I bought it at Scott Hill years ago. I bought it on the same shopping trip as when I bought the velvet suit from March 11. It too is Seven for All Mankind.

But it’s tricky to wear and needs a fitted top that can take a high-waisted skirt. Here I’ve paired it with a Giorgio Armani black velvet t-shirt with burned-out stripes I bought at Neiman’s on that birthday trip.

I like it enough to keep it in my closet – everyone needs a jean skirt, right?

Behind me you can see a silk screen on wood panel of a pair of lips carved by Stephan Balkenhol (see May 4). It looks great up there from this perspective. Below it in the distance you can see an etching (on the right) and a watercolor (on the left) beneath the sconces, both by Paul P. The watercolor is from a series called Venice Beach/Venice Italy and was made up of drawings and paintings inspired by the two Venices. In the far corner is an old drafting table we picked up in Ilse Sur La Sorge. Right next to me on the table is an old specimen plant I got from Ariana at Lily Lodge. Lily Lodge is my favorite flower shop.

Monday, May 17, 2010, Day 137

I am wearing a skirt from JCrew (see May 11 for details) with a Marc By Marc Jacobs blouse and an Inhabit cardigan.

I am standing next to a vintage shooting gallery we bought at Urban Country on Main Street in Venice. We love Urban Country and have bought many things there including our kitchen table which used to be an industrial table and the large Santos in our kitchen (see February 22).

Last year Mark Cutler called me up and asked if it was okay to show the house to Diane Keaton the following Wednesday. I later found out she’s been in some major movies including The Godfather, but I have to confess I’ve followed her home renovations more closely than her films. She famously sold a candy cane-striped house in the Hollywood Hills to Madonna and wrote a whole book about Hacienda Style.

She was researching her next book on farmhouse-influenced homes and heard that our house was worth a look. She was very complementary and we had a very nice visit. At some point her assistant asked if I knew how they found out about our house. I had assumed it was through Mark Cutler, designer to the stars and one of the top 40 designers in the world.*

“No,” said her assistant. “We were in Urban Country and asked the owner if he knew of any cool houses we should look at for the book. He said, 'Well, there is this woman who comes in here from time to time and buys really cool stuff. I hear her house is very cool.'”

*According to the Robb Report.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010, Day 136

A few years ago, a friend of mine was helping out a French portrait artist named Laurent Dareau and asked if I would be interested in having my portrait painted. I said sure and we set a date.

The day came and when Laurent rang our doorbell at the appointed time, I was still in sweats and had no make-up on. I ran upstairs and threw on this beautiful aubergine dress by Ghost. I put on some make-up and ran downstairs, still in my sneakers.

Laurent took a bunch of photos of me in our living room (note the chair I am sitting on and the curtain in the background of the painting). We talked about doing a much smaller painting,* but when he was done, he also made this larger version. Laurent said we were under no obligation to buy both, but I liked them both and felt a little unsettled about letting one of “me” hang out in some French artist’s studio.

For reasons of modesty, we didn't feel we could possibly hang this huge portrait of me anywhere in our house other than inside Gary’s closet, but maybe someday, some descendant of mine with hang it in her first apartment. She’ll tell everyone, “This is my crazy great-aunt Gilena. She loved fashion.”

*The smaller version is hanging in our library. You can catch a glimpse of it on January 12.

Saturday, May 15, 2010, Day 135

I am wearing a lovely simple silk Stella McCartney dress I bought on sale at Madison Gallery. It was another case of me trying it on when it was full-price, passing on it, and being rewarded with finding it on sale a couple of months later. The shoes are from Gimme Shoes on Fillmore.

I am standing next to a cabinet* we bought on our shopping trip to Isle Sur la Sorge in 2003. We added the antiqued mirror and have filled it with “curiosities,” mostly found on Ebay. There are some strange things in there including old medical instruments, unusual carvings, and a glass eye.

Tonight we went to Marc Selwyn’s fiftieth birthday dinner at the Sunset Tower Hotel. Marc has incredible taste in art and I tell everyone his gallery is the one most represented in our collection. His celebration was so very touching and very fitting for such a dear man.

*The cabinet is one of two: its twin stands to the left on the opposite side of a beautiful picture window.

Friday, May 14, 2010, Day 134

I just love when friends have parties! In honor of Allan’s 40th birthday, the Karlsens threw a “White Party” which meant all guests were required to wear white. I am wearing a pair of Citizen for Humanity jeans I bought at Heidi Says on Fillmore and a pair of Celine platforms from Barney’s in San Francisco. The tank top is American Vintage and I bought it on sale from Madison Gallery. I borrowed the vintage ostrich feather jacket from my friend Gillian and it really makes the whole outfit special.

The Karlsens live directly behind us (behind that row of eucalyptus trees in the background) and it was very nice to be able to walk to the party.

Thursday, May 13, 2010, Day 133

Today is Gary’s 50th birthday! He was born on Friday the 13th, 1960, but he’s only ever been good luck to me.

This is the brilliant display of bougainvillea I alluded to on May 10. Sadly, it seems the top two or so feet of it has been deleted from this photo, but you get the idea. This section is to the right side of our outer doorway and there is a corresponding left side equally magnificent. We planted waves of little succulents a few years ago which have grown into beautiful rainbows of color. You can see more kangaroo paws on the right.

I am wearing a lovely Gucci dress that was bought that magical birthday trip to Neiman’s I’ve referred to before in the blogwhen Gary told me to buy whatever I wanted.* It was one of the last things I bought that day and was very expensive, but I’ve probably worn this dress more often than most others in my closet, bringing down the cost per wear. It is very versatile and I love the way it drapes against my body. Despite this being day 133, I still have some favorites hanging around.

We went to the Open House at Round Meadow and saw all of the beautiful work Graydon and Elodie have been working on all year. Afterward, we went to a MOCA event at a collector’s house in Beverly Hills. It was up in the hills and had a beautiful view of the city.

*It is already officiallya most legendary day and you haven’t even seen everything yet!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, Day 132

I absolutely love this skirt. I never really knew before today how to style it, but now that I do (with boots and a sweater), I will be wearing it more often. It’s by Yeholee and I bought it directly from the designer at a trunk show a friend hosted at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. It was so fun: racks of clothes, champagne and strawberries. I bought both this skirt and the outfit from April 30 that day.

I had never heard of her before I met her in Santa Monica, but I saw a dress by Yeholee on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She has an Asian sensibility like June Watanabe. This dress is flowy and sexy and felt great in it all day. I am also wearing a Martin Margiela sweater I bought on sale at Theodore and my black suede Florentine and Baker boots.

I am in an area of our yard known as the “kids play area.” The window directly in front of me is in Elodie’s bedroom.* The playhouse was built by Gary himself from a plan adapted from a Martha Stewart magazine.

To the left of me is an artichoke plant and you can see two artichokes still growing.** The irises seem to be over, but you can still see one or two light purple blooms. The crepe myrtle tree in the corner will have light pink flowers all over it any day now and pretty soon the hydrangea bushes under Elodie’s window will burst forth and stay like that all summer.

*Gary originally designed French doors for this opening, but I said why help her sneak out when she’s a teenager?

**We had artichokes grown on this very plant last night for dinner and they were delicious.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010, Day 131

Yes, those are lobsters on my dress.

When Gary I got married, our friends Tony and Patty gave us a gift certificate for four Main lobsters* as a wedding present. After we built the guest house and planted the fruit trees, we elected to double the order to eight and have a dinner party in the middle of the orchard. I hung some lanterns on the (at that time) tiny trees and Gary made caeser salad using Tony’s recipe. It was such a beautiful night and we all had such a good time that we decided we would do it again every year.

A few years ago I saw this dress in a JCrew catalogue. They also had (and I bought) a skirt with blue lobsters on it and a plastic bead necklace with a plastic lobster “pendent.” It’s a little crazy, no? I mean, I have a lobster dinner every year so it makes sense for me, but for anybody else? Let’s just say I found myself explaining my dress all day today because it is kind of silly to have lobsters on one’s dress.

This year we will have our 10th Annual Lobster Dinner in the Orchard. I keep a scrapbook with pictures from every year. You can tell how fun the party was by how many pictures are taken. More pictures = more fun.

*The lobsters arrived alive, but lethargic by Federal Express the day of our dinner.

Monday, May 10, 2010, Day 130

This is a dress by Tracy Reece for Plenty that I bought at Anthropologie awhile back. I first wore it to one of Emma’s Easter parties and Elodie has a picture of her and I at that party in a frame next to her bed.

Just look at that bougainvillea behind me. Isn’t is beautiful? You should see the bougainvillea in the front of the house on the other side of that wall (and I’m sure you will). The wisteria (see March 30) is already done, but the Boston ivy is just getting started. Pretty soon the jacarandas (you can see one peeking over) will burst into purple flowers. This really is a gorgeous time of year.

I am standing at our pond in the front courtyard. Look at how lush everything is. Gary has always been the keeper of this pond. We have a service that comes once a week, but it’s Gary who selects and replaces the plants and feeds the fish. When we were first planning to build it, Gary wanted to make a metal sculpture in the middle and I hope he still does that someday. Right now there is a beautiful pot in the center that the water trickles over.

Gary bought all the fish as little bitty things from Pet Co. Over the years the oldest ones have grown to be several inches long. They are like dogs and totally come up to you when they smell food or feel your fingers in the water. One of them is always pregnant. Not all of the babies make it because sometimes the daddies eat them.

One time there was the most beautiful bird in the courtyard and I called Gary at work to tell him about it.

“Is it a big white bird?” he asked. “Yes,” I said. “Does it have a long beak?” he asked. “Yep,” I said. “Get it out of there!” he said and I looked back outside in time to see the bird stick it’s beak into the water and pluck out a fish.

If you look close, you can see the piece by Rita McBride through the reeds on my left (see March 2).