Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hiking in Temescal

I had a bit of a leg injury this summer that prevented me from going exploring in the Santa Monica Mountains all Summer.
 Since my leg is feeling better I thought I would start off with an easy trail to get 
me in back motion. I always hiked the Paseo Miramar Trail which is really challenging. I always felt like
an Olympian champion when I made it to the top.  The hike at Temescal is much easier and great for beginners.
Here are some photos of my weekend adventure.

Weeping Willows

An Oak Tree

Eucalyptus Trees

Secret trails 

Wooden Steps

Lush Green Landscapes

Old Gnarled Trees

Dried River Beds 

Paths filled with Stones

I attached some additional info that I copy and pasted about Temescal Canyon.

Temescal Canyon

Sunset, Temescal Canyon, Temescal Ridge Trails

Canyon loop is 4.4 miles round trip with 700-foot gain; to Skull Rock is 5.4 miles round trip.
Park agencies in the Santa Monica Mountains have combined forces to open a number of “gateways” to the mountains. For hikers (particularly those of us accustomed to beginning hikes at the end of dirt roads greeted by trail signs nailed to trees), these gateways are deluxe trail heads indeed: restrooms, picnic grounds, water fountains, native plant gardens and more.
I have a particular fondness for Temescal Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades. Not only does this park have it all, park pathways quickly leave it all behind.
Temescal Canyon is an ideal Santa Monica Mountains sampler. You get an oak- and sycamore-shaded canyon, a seasonal waterfall and terrific views from the ridge crest.
Temescal has long been a canyon that inspired nature lovers and enlightenment-seekers. During the 1920s and 1930s, the canyon hosted Chautauqua assemblies—large educational and recreational gatherings that features lectured, concerts and stage performances. The canyon was purchased by the Presbyterian Synod in 1943 and used as a retreat center until 1995 when the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy purchased the property.

Directions to trailhead: From Los Angeles, head west on the Santa Monica Freeway (10) to its end and continue up-coast on Pacific Coast Highway. Turn north (right) on Temescal Canyon Road and drive 1.1 miles. Just after the intersection with Sunset Boulevard, turn left into the parking area (fee) for Temescal Gateway Park.
(Sidewalks, picnic grounds, and an intermittent greenbelt along Temescal Canyon Road might tempt intrepid hikers to stride the mile from the beach to the trailhead.)
The hike: Walk up canyon on the landscaped path past the restrooms. The footpath takes on a wilder appearance and soon crosses a branch of Temescal Creek via a wooden footbridge.
At a signed junction, save Temescal Ridge Trail for your return route and continue through the canyon on Temescal Canyon Trail. Travel among graceful old oaks, maples and sycamores to the “doggie turnaround” (no dogs beyond this point) and enter Topanga State Park.
The path ascends moderately to another footbridge and a close-up view of the small waterfall, tumbling over some large boulders. Leaving the canyon behind, the path steepens and climbs westward up Temescal Ridge to a signed junction with Temescal Ridge Trail. 
I always enjoy heading uphill on this trail a half mile or so to distinctly shaped Skull Rock. The rock is a good place to rest, cool off, and admire the view.

temescal canyon trail map
As you return to the trail head down Temescal Ridge Trail, you’ll get excellent views of Santa Monica Bay, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Catalina Island, and downtown Los Angeles. The view to the southwest down at the housing developments isn’t too inspiring, but the view of the rough unaltered northern part of Temescal Canyon is.
After serving up fine views, the path descends rather steeply and tunnels into tall chaparral. Continue past junctions with Bienveneda and Leacock trails and follow the narrow ridgeline back to a junction with Temescal Canyon Trail. Retrace your steps on Sunset Trail back to the trail head.

Happy Hiking!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Barbora Radvilaite

If you've been to my home you will have seen this batik portrait of Barbora
Radvilaite in my living room. My mother is a huge collector of Lithuanian art and brought
this home back in the late eighties. There was something so familiar to me and
this piece that really resonate strongly with me. So much so that when I finally moved out
of my parents home I had asked to take this piece of art with me. My home would not feel complete.
Since then I've been reading as much information I could get my hands on about Barbora. Who was she? Being Halloween weekend I thought I would share this posting because it's kinda creepy. While I was in Lithuania this summer I went to visit Barboras final resting place in the Vilnius Cathedral. I have to admit I was a little freaked out and
didn't know what to except. 

Barbora Radvilaite

An outside view of the crypt doors.

Now I'm inside and the gate is locked shut and 
I'm starting to freak out a little.....deep breath...

I'm told to walk down these stairs....are you kidding
me???? It's pitch black at the end of the stairs....but 
I go anyways...

We finally make a few turns and my guide turns on a light and
we enter into one of the main crypts.....shh....Barbora's coffin....

Barbora's Crown

Here is a little Wikipedia info for you to read about Barbora Radvilaite...

Barbara was the daughter of a powerful magnate of the Radziwiłł family, castellanvoivode and hetman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Jerzy Radziwiłł, and Barbara Koła.
According to the writings of her contemporaries, Barbara was one of the most beautiful women in Europe. She was tall for her times (162 cm, or 5' 4"), with a slim, shapely body, blonde hair and even white teeth. Moreover, Barbara had an interest in fashion and cosmetics; she used perfumes and face powder. She had been well educated by her parents and spoke LithuanianRuthenian (Old Belarusian), and Polish and could write in these languages, and most likely Latin as well. She was married on May 18, 1537, toStanislovas GoštautasVoivode of Nowogrodek and later Voivode of Trakai, who died on December 18, 1542.
Her romance and later marriage in 1547, in Vilnius, to Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland Sigismund II August, the last monarch of the Jagiellon Dynasty, greatly increased the power of the Radziwiłł family in Poland and Lithuania, as may be seen in the rise to power of Mikołaj "the Black" Radziwiłł and Mikołaj "the Red" Radziwiłł.

Death of Barbara Radziwiłł. Painting byJózef Simmler.
There was substantial opposition to her marriage to the King from many nobles, as the marriage was carried out without regard to the laws governing royal marriages. It was pursued by the King, who seemed to have disregarded the political liabilities and consequences and to have been truly in love with Barbara. A divorce was demanded by the Sejm, and many political maneuvers took place around the question of the marriage, and were further inflamed by the machinations of the King's mother, Bona Sforza. This resulted in conflicts between the King and many magnates and lesser szlachta. A deadlock ensued, lasting two years. The opposition finally acquiesced, and Barbara was crowned Queen on December 7, 1550.
Barbara died on May 8, 1551, in Kraków, five months after her coronation. Her death was a severe loss to the King, and there was an unproven suspicion that she had been poisoned by the Queen Mother, Bona. It had been Barbara's wish to be buried in Lithuania, and a funeral cortege conveyed her body to Vilnius, where her crypt is found in Vilnius Cathedral.

Happy Halloween Weekend.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tartine Bakery & Cafe

My new obsession is baking bread. I'm just started understanding
the whole process. I ordered Chad Robertson's cookbook Tartine Bread and I can't wait until it arrives and start experimenting with recipes. I'll keep you posted on my progress.
In the meantime watch the video below on Tartine Bread.
You'll love it.

Oct 29th
Got my Tartine Bread and Tartine
cookbooks today....

Happy Weekend!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Santa Monica Antique Mart

The Santa Monica Antique Mart is one of the best antique marts around town. Dealers
from all over the world come here to show there antiques etc...
I was mesmerized buy how much silverware was on display.
I was in heaven.
I also saw a couple of high profile interior designers with their clients so
I know I was at the right place.

Spoons, Spoons and more spoons.

Vintage Photos

Vintage Hollywood Magazines...
Thanks to Ellen at Ellen's Elegants who let me snap some
photo's are her booth.

Mother of Pearl Silverware....hmm....I'm thinking....

Yes....once I saw these beauties I snapped them up. Service for 6 and
I got a screaming deal!!!
Anyone who know me knows that I'm a freak for mother of pearl. I have been
dreaming of a set forever and today was the day I made it happen.

And when I saw this flatware for 6 I couldn't resist. This set came from England.
Again.... I got a screaming deal and I love it.

And my shopping expericence would not be complete if I didn't find any
vintage jewels to take home. These beauties are in perfect condition and
I snapped them up for 5.00 bucks

 This piece converts to a brooch or pendant.
The dealer wanted 3.00 bucks.
I love it. 

Another great pair of rhinestone earrings....

The Santa Antique Mart is opened the first and fourth Sunday of
every month. Parking is free and admission is 5.00.
Happy Treasure Hunting.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

VU Design Studio

Welcome to VU Design Studio.
Summer is slowly coming to an end. Get ready for those crisp fall mornings that turn into sparkling afternoons. Linger over the newest collection and find something to brighten your wardrobe and your spirits. 
Come visit me on Facebook and become a fan. You'll hear about upcoming promotions and giveaways. Just search for VU DESIGN STUDIO.

Winter Blossoms


Ice Blossom's

I'll be posting my newest pieces all this week.


I love Etsy.  It's the best place to find anything and everything that's vintage or handmade.
Here are some of my favorite shops.

Transit Design
Personalized canvas bus rolls, tram banners and subway signs make a stylish addition to your home or a memorable gift. Michael J Watt's original bus scrolls combine vintage feel with a custom element to personalize your artwork.

Fashioned after historic destination blinds used in buses, subways and trams. Each piece is made-to-order, carefully laid out and printed with UV protected ink on high quality canvas. You won’t find comparable pricing for such well designed custom pieces.
CITIES OF EUROPE Bus Roll. Bus Scroll. Canvas 20.5 x 60

Blue Bird Heaven
Unique hand-crafted objects from the reuse of antique printers drawers, to picture frames, and many wallpapered items!
Printer drawer jewelry displays is an original idea and a fine handcrafted speciality item that can be customized to hold your accessories. Any other custom orders can be created upon request!
Reclaimed Printers Drawer Jewelry Display

Kettle Confections
Our French nougat candies are made in New York with our distinct recipe. We combine the best of confectionery techniques with the finest all natural ingredients to make this very special treat. Our Nougats have a fresh taste and soft texture similar to freshly made Nougat de Montelimar bars of France. We re-create this classic candy with new and interesting flavors. Impress your guests by using our gourmet Nougats in wedding favors, parties, or just simply indulge in them as a culinary treat to yourself.

Assorted French Nougats in 8 Flavors in Gift Box - Featured on

My Bits and Bobs
ALL of it is genuine and unaltered -- the real thing. Every piece has been naturally smoothed, frosted and shaped by the sand, gravel and surf action of the Mediterranean Sea. I collect it myself from beaches along the southern coast of Spain near my home in Gibraltar. (I'm prejudiced, but I think my seaglass is world class, especially my Seaglass Gems.) 
11 Unusual Seafoam Domes -- Seaglass Treasures

Happy Weekend!!!

The Eighties

My friend Suzanne was cleaning around the house when she discovered a
box of old photos. We were so young, full of energy and the future was
what ever we wanted it to be. Life turned out pretty great for the both of us.
I miss the eighties. I loved the music and the fashion. 

Long live the eighties!!!
Happy Weekend.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Palisades Framer's Market

Most Sunday mornings you'll find me at the Framer's Market in the Pacific Palisades.
These squashes and gourds are amazing. Don't you think? 

Pumpkins for Halloween or maybe Pumpkin Pie???


Ruby Red Pomegranate's 


Peppers for cooking Chicken Paprika tonight. A staple at my casa.

Artisan Cheeses

Fresh Baked Baguettes....I could eat a whole baguette myself.

Sunflowers..... that came home with me....

Autumn colored Roses.....perfection....

Orchids....another favorite.

How will be be spending your Sunday?
Until next time....

Friday, October 15, 2010

Macarons au chocolat avec Christophe Morel

My french could be better, a lot better. I really enjoyed watching this video with
Christophe Morel preparing chocolate french macaroons. I thought I would share.  It was very helpful just watching the
whole process. I'm still trying to learn to make the prefect french macaroon and hope to
be posting my version very soon. In the meantime you can still
go to Paulette's in Beverly Hills or make your own.
Keep me posted and if you have any tips...please share.


Happy Weekend.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Room With A View

Tony Murphy once wrote that Room with a View was both a feast for the 
eyes and the ears.... perhaps even
more importantly for lovers of great cinema.
 It is a feast for the heart and soul.