Gluten, I Hardly Knew Ye

gardenias & berries

Chilled white wine, lush sweet berries, the scent of freshly picked gardenias wafting over a beautifully set table beneath a lemon arbor…

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Fluorescent pink roses against a garden wall

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Great friends, non-stop laughs and plates piled decadently high with delicious warm weather delights, including a massive platter of fresh crab meat.

Summer Perfection, right?

Except just look at that crispy white French bread.

Filled with naughty gluten.

And oh I just wish I could show you a photo of my gluten-free for 3 months lunch mates’s tiny little ballerina waist.

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I hadn’t seen my friend in awhile and I was totally gob-smacked by the transformation. I was so jealous happy for her.

So much so, that I only had 1 1/2 pieces of that bread (only because there was cheese) and decided to try going gluten-free for 3 weeks myself.

Not right away mind you, but a couple of days later.

I’m 6 days in and so far, so good. I’ll keep you posted.

Now all of you long time S.P. readers (bless each and every one of you) know diet & exercise is not exactly a recurrent theme on this blog.

Other than the exercise post I wrote a week or so ago, I think I also mentioned going for a run once this year.

The only productive thing that came of it was I bought some better bras. Never ran again. Dude, it was hard and I ran out of breath.

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I did keep up my coconut oil “pulling” for a few months but that fell by the wayside with traveling so much. I will definitely start doing it again, for the meditative benefits alone, if for no other reason.

If you missed that post, you can read it here  but of course oil pulling hardly counts as exercise.

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I stopped Pilates too long ago to even admit, though I still adore my pilates trainer Kristi Cooper and derived a great deal of perverse pride in being her longest lasting, worst client ever. Literally.

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Her. Remember?!

Kristi now has the uber-successful website “Pilates Anytime” and I like to think that in some infintesmal infintesimal small way my laziness and bad attitude contributed to her turning to web-based classes and she’s never looked back.

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I DO still love yoga and my yogini Denise Zeverdes with whom, I just realized, I’ve been practicing for 7 years.

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However I’m afraid to do handstands (my wrists are like twigs) it has to be on days it’s OK for my hair to be frizzy and my pitiful “OM” in class is a constant source of embarrassment.

WTF?? How does everyone else “OM” so loud for sooo long??!

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But let’s back track, as I believe I was on the subject of tiny waists…

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I really wanted to share the amazing results of another  good friend’s commitment to getting majorly Bathing Suit Ready this summer.

Now as you can see in the photos below (which she so graciously permitted me to share) Ronda wasn’t exactly battling a big weight problem,

but after having two babies, she was sick and tired of the constant yo-yo of diet and exercise regimens that never seemed to ‘stick’.

One day, along with a couple of friends, she simply made the decision to work with a trainer, keep a food journal, and religiously follow everything her trainer told her to do.

Without question, without cheating.

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BEHOLD!

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Yes, she’s tall and has gorgeous legs, but don’t be a hater. Ronda worked super hard to achieve these results in just a few months!

PS. I always assume these type of photos are photo-shopped or totally fake but these are 100% real.

Before & After shots

Most importantly, she feels empowered, looks amazing and has kept the weight off.

 Way to go Ronda!!

And yes, she is a lot younger than me. I have young friends because I’m cool :-)

And refuse to grow up.

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What’s not so super cool is that I thought I might cheat my way to Ronda’s results with an aggressive regimen of GUAM cream.

I got caught up in the incredible Beauty Department of Liberty’s in London.

Even though the only words I could read on the box were “CELLULITE”, “Quick and easy to use mud-based cream” and “Guam”

I mean, I’ve been to Guam. What could go wrong??

skin test patchSo, you might be thinking that due to the “strong” reaction the test patch produced on my arm that I’d reconsider this ‘Get Svelte Quick Scheme’

Uh uh.

Instead, I thought- yes! This is going to burn fat off my thighs something fierce!

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In fact, for the sake of the blog, i.e. YOU, I’ve been applying it to just one leg and, er, cheek, to see if I’m able to measure any discernible difference after a few weeks.

So far, nada.

But if you happen to see me around town with one leg like Gisele’s and one like Melissa McCarthy’s, you’ll know the reason why.

In the meantime, I remain your gluten-free, pink thighed Slim(ish) Paley.

Any diet/exercise/gluten-free secrets YOU care to share?!

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*Ronda’s Santa Barbara based trainer’s name is Andrea McLarty

Denise Zeverdes’ Montecito Yoga

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Black & white & “Soleil” photos via Tumblr

Nice To Be Home

No matter how much you’ve enjoyed a long trip, it’s always nice to come home, isn’t it? Funny how that works. Your own bed & comfy sheets, the way your home brewed cuppa tea in the morning tastes so much better than any hotel tea (except maybe in London)

Other than the unpacking, and the stack of bills awaiting you, it’s a grand feeling.It’s especially nice to come back to roses on the 11th of November!

I know we should be cutting them back, but it’s hard when they’re still making such an effort!

Some of them are about 7 to 8 ft. high.

About the same height as my bills and catalogues.

I’ll be back in a day or so-I went to a much needed “Restorative Yoga” class tonight and my bed, my wonderful bed, is calling to me :)

Namaste Friends

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The Results are In

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I survived The Week of Extreme Healthiness!

It truly wasn’t that difficult. I had plenty of food (‘ceptin for dinner-which was just 1 cup of light soup each night)

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All the breakfasts were good

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Buckwheat-millet pancake with stewed fruits (ya, I couldn’t wait to take a bite before I took the photo)

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Drinks were wonderful and lunches were the heartiest meals of the day, as you can see below

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Cabbage wrapped spring rolls with tahini sauce-totally yummy for lunch

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There was none of this. Nada, zip, vapor.

 aaah, can’t you just smell what you’re missing??

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I don’t want to say that going 7 entire days & nights without wine was hard…

but going 7 entire days & nights without wine was hard.

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Saturday was interesting.

After starting with breakfast at The Cafe I ambled upstairs to a morning meditation class followed by Sound Healing, which might have been one of my favorite parts of the week.

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The Staircase at The Alchemy Arts Center

The lovely Rose sits ramrod straight in front of two extremely large and beautiful gongs and beats not so gently away at them with a large cloth covered …gong beater.

The sound is resonant, intense, and feels as if it’s reverberating  into your very core. With your eyes closed and your heart open, it’s quite an amazing experience.

I would definitely like to do that again. In fact, I’d like to have my own set of gongs for all sorts of reasons, but we won’t go into that.

After The Gong Show

I treated myself to the infrared sauna at Alchemy Arts

(this is not the actual unit there)

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These are NICE! Pretty much like a traditional sauna except  dry (no water poured over coals) and you really don’t start “glowing” until towards the end of a 30 minute treatment.  As most of the infra red saunas I’ve seen on the internet appear to be portable, this would definitely make a luxurious and easy enough addition to a home spa!

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Out of the sauna and into the Isopod;

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The flotation tank was fun and not at all claustrophobic, which was my one big concern. Much larger than I’d imagined, you pull the “roof” up and down from inside so you are always in control. I’ve never been to The Dead Sea but it must be a similar sensation- you actually have to fight against not floating. That being said, it takes awhile to relax your neck muscles and “trust” the float, if you will. It took clasping my hands behind my head (like men on a sofa watching football-not a pose I find myself in often) to really relax. The moment I adopted that pose, my entire balance changed and I was able to fall into the experience.

Strangely, I also started to root for The Patriots.

Did I enter into a meditative state? No. Alas, the endless lists that cycle through my mind don’t have an “Off” button.

But I did enjoy feeling a little bit astronaut, a little bit Mary Poppins, a little bit  Gaga…

All in all a good time was had,

and here are just a few things I learned from this experience;

-that I can easily go at least a week without any animal protein

-vegetables are truly delicious and creatively limitless recipe wise-

They’re the Karl Lagerfeld of the Food Pyramid.

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-I can easily manage a week without carbs.

-no bread, no problem.

-that lo and behold, I love like freshly squeezed Wheatgrass shots

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They really grow on you.y

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-That simply adding a single exotic element to an otherwise ordinary ritual (lemon grass in your tea, essential lemon grass oil in your bathwater) can transport you off to Calcon Land after a taxing day.

-But… wine is good.

How about Lemon grass wine, damn it??!

Lemongrass Martinis?!

I might be on to something but…

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back to shopping for just a moment;

The adorably happy tableware  at Alchemy Arts that several of you inquired about  is made by Pip Home

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Perhaps a couple of sweet heart shaped plates for Valentines Day?!

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And lastly,

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I rounded off My Week of Health & Fitness on Sunday with a lovely yoga session with the Divine Denise Zeverdes , yogini extraordinaire and owner of MoYo in Montecito.

As you can see, she brought me a little gift, that just so happened to match the colors of my yoga mat and accoutrements  (sooo Denise!)

And NO it wasn’t candy or chocolates!

PS. I’m loving my ‘tagged’ personal yoga mat! It makes me so happy every time I unroll it, and it comes in handy for instruction too;

“Put your big toe just to the left of the “OM”, “Place your hands on either side of ‘DO NOT COVET YOUR NEIGHBOUR’S DOWNWARD DOG”

I highly rec. graffitiing one of your own.

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So now, all that’s really left to make things perfect is one of these;

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God only knows I have enough marsupials around the property!

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Namaste All

xox

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Off to a Good Start…

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As we near the end of this first week of 2012, I’m sharing just a few photos I snapped in Santa Barbara where we’ve been blessed with some of the most incredible January weather I can recall  in many years.

Almost guilt-ifying (but not quite )

I popped over the mountains to beautiful Ojai on Wednesday afternoon and on the drive home felt compelled to pull over to the side of the road and capture the moment.

 I’m afraid I missed the best of the light, due to the driver behind me who was obviously neither a proponent of the “Slow Movement” or a person who appreciates spectacular natural lighting but I guess that’s life in the fast lane (see what I did there?)

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In addition to the spectacular vistas encountered on the pass between Santa Barbara and Ojai,  the copious amount of avocados rolling around on the road at this time of year is almost comical.

 I was mashing guacamole the entire way :)

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and lo & behold the “Golden Arches” (Montecito Style) are out

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Meanwhile, the last batch of Trader Joe’s frozen chocolate croissants were devoured…

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(Sorry, but these just never get old for me. I mean look-they’re jockeying for position off the baking tray for goodness sake!)

This is the closest I will ever come to baking like Martha Stewart.

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I grabbed nice long hugs before I sent my cubs back to school

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…I did not win the first Scrabble game of the year, despite a last minute “Qi” on a triple point letter square, but did manage to keep several New Year’s “Intentions” in tact, including pulling out my art supplies and reading a non-fiction book ( resolution #4; learn something new everyday and write it down).

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Although I didn’t get a yoga practice in, I intend to this weekend.

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from the book “Bitter with Baggage”

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Lastly, the second season of “Downton Abbey” starts on Sunday night- I can hardly wait!

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and this was the view from my desk most nights this first week in January.

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The world is indeed a wondrous place to live.

Slow down, look around and pick up the free avocados

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Thanks again for all your lovely comments on my New Year’s Post, I truly appreciate each and every one.

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Happy Weekend All!

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PhYsiCaL GrAffiTi


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Sunlight catching the coloured pencils on my desk.

Whatever possessed me I don’t know, but while I was in Sun Valley last week I decided  I would graffiti my yoga mat.

Before we go any further, let me share something with you:

Be extremely careful opening large, waterproof felt pens at high altitude.

We’ll leave it at that.

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 After I cleaned up and started to draw, the most amazing thing happened. The early morning light began throwing wildly vivid rainbows through the beveled windows of the dining room onto my “canvas”!  The photo above is not enhanced in any way.

I took this as a message from Heaven.

Basically, the message was this;

“SLIM!, Standard & Poors is about to downgrade the credit rating of the country for the first time in 70 years, so enjoy any and all forms of Art where you may find them”

Can you believe it??

From there, I began to ponder the true definition of “Art” and if, in fact, graffiti really could be considered a true art form.

From  “Art In the Streets” at the MOCA in LA

Though steeped in controversy, I believe it is, and a rather primal one at that if you think about how earliest man was painting on his cave walls.

Which might beg the question; Was he painting on his own cave walls, or someone else’s cave walls??

The age old rub with graffiti…

Personally, I enjoy a bit of well done graffiti in a very urban setting, say NYC, but I’m slightly horrified by it in a small town like Santa Barbara, and that’s not a case of “not in my town” as I lived in NY for many years and I love the city. Can’t wait to be there in just a few days!

“Bloody Tears” bracelet in silver and fluorescent enamel, by Delfina Delettrez for OPENING CEREMONY

(Eerily close to what transpired in my dining room :) )

Shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood celebrates artist Keith Haring

Moschino’s doing it.

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Slim’s doing it…

and as really long time, faithful readers of S.P. know- whatever Slim does…

Karl does…

that little scamp..

Someone tagged  Daphne Groeneveld

Playa Vik Jose Ignacio

“Graffiti-esqued” walls are showing up in hotels

as well as underfoot

 modular area rugs ByHenzel.

Monday, August 8th  (tomorrow!) is the last day you can catch “Art in The Streets” at MOCA

If  you can manage to make it there

your entrance fee will be graciously picked up by BANKSY

You can see the trailer for Banksy’s 2010 film about Street Art “Exit Through the Gift Shop” HERE

.A little “graffiti” I wouldn’t mind owning…

Basquiat squared.

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96 Marks Place, the original building on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti” album

Even old luggage titans like TUMI  are tagging

The Novogratz’ enlisted street artist Matt Siren to create this bedroom on the first episode of their new show on HGTV.

( hope they’ll be showing more of their adorable kids on the upcoming shows, don’t you?)

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Banksy in NYC

Keith Haring

Nicholas Kirkwood’s Keith Haring shoes

(Special order only.  D’yathink?!)

Check out the Sumi Ink Club in LA  ( “All ages, all humans, all styles” ) Cool.

.Playing Safe for the home or office;

Flaunt your points on this very cool chalkboard pingpong table by Puma

and graffiti to your little vandalizing heart’s content :)

Banksy

I love the whole vibe; the huge circular fire pit (including the genius round log holder), graffitied corrugated metal walls, & multi-coloured chairs.  Fun!

I’ve had this image on my inspiration board forever-I think it might be a hotel somewhere in South America.

 Free water-proof felt pens for the first caller.

Vivienne Westwood, a graffiti soul if ever there was one.

Basquiat

If it’s on canvas and worth a zillion $, can it still be considered “Street Art”?

Have to admit I love the combat of the graffitied wall and old classic floor tile.

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It’s not quite finished yet, but I needed to use it this morning!

 I started off with the best intentions of channeling Basquiat and Haring and crew, but somehow ended up with a rose… then vines & hearts…I guess you just can’t teach an old tagger new tricks :)

.I leave you with permission to draw on your walls,

and this little video I first posted in July 2010, but I like it for this post!

Color Me Crazy  by Sarah St. Clair Renard

Are you getting your felt pens out yet??!

xx

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