A Week

Clivia.slimpaley.comPale yellow Clivia from my garden.

I hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed their Easter Weekend!

Clivia slimpaley.com

It was beautiful here in Santa Barbara.

roses slimpaley.com

I spent some time in my garden. Despite the lack of rain here, necessitating a serious cut back on water usage, it’s been a stellar Spring for our roses.

roses slimpaley.com

 Much better than last season, when my babies had to suffer through the vestiges of a ‘bad haircut’ earlier in the year. We all know what that feels like.

 The good news is my friend Dani Hahn, from “Rose Story Farm” assures me that roses don’t need much water to thrive. I plan on doing an entire week of rose posts soon, so I’ll leave the rose talk at that for now.

Hiking Santa Barbara slimpaley.com I also took a couple of beautiful hikes this week, including one to the top of the mountains above Montecito with a good friend who was celebrating her birthday. Nothing like reaching the peak after a hard climb to appreciate and commemorate  the passing of another year.  The stone heart stays the same but the messages change. This week we found one worth sharing.

hiking Santa Barbara slimpaley.com

The mist cleared when we reached the summit and the views were just gorgeous.

So Game of Thrones. (OK, I still haven’t watched it yet!)

Wild Flowers slimpaley.comThe wild flowers were sprouting and the hills were surprisingly green.

Why don’t I hike every week?!

~

On a sadder note,

Gabriel Garcia MarquezWe lost a great literary legend with the passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez on Thursday.

I remember so very clearly the first time I read “Love in the Time of Cholera”. It was as if I’d had the air knocked out of me. This love story, this incredible love story-it seeped into every fibre of my being. I was not even on this planet from the very first page to the last. It’s one of the few books I’ve read more than once.

Love in the Time of Cholera slimpaley.com

and I’m rereading it again this week.

Sorry “Middlemarch” but I’m kicking you to the curb for a few days. I’m quite sure George Eliot would understand.

~

and lastly, back on a lighter note;

black & yellow slimpaley.com

One of my friends was rocking Black & Yellow the day after my post on the same, so I just simply had to share this.

Ines de La Fressange or what?!

Bryan Ferry slimpaley.com

 Oh, just one more thing…

While we are on the subject of favourites? This happened last night! Bryan Ferry came to our little Santa Barbara Bowl and he was simply wonderful. The man is pure elegance in a top coat. Yes, a top coat.

That’s my kind of rock star <3

xx SP

~

This time last year 

 

 

The Blood Moon

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Wait!

Don’t go to bed yet-please read this quick post first!

I was hoping to get it up earlier, but you know how that goes.

Hopefully you peeps on the East Coast haven’t called it a night yet…

Here’s the deal; set your alarm for 3:oo am (EST) this morning if you’d like to witness the “Blood Moon” that’s going to occur.

They say North America will have a front row seat so time your alarms accordingly.

“The phenomenon in which the moon is completely covered by the earth’s umbral shadow for four eclipses in a row, as opposed to only partial eclipses that fall in the outer penumbra. But rather than succumbing to complete darkness, the moon will glow red as it receives the refracted light that spills over the Earth’s circumference.” (NBC news)

I do believe I witnessed a “Blood Moon” a couple of years ago in Sun Valley, where one can view celestial  shenanigans like nobody’s business. The night skies of Idaho are a stargazer’s dream.

 Actually, Santa Barbara is not too shabby in that department either, especially here in Montecito where there are no street lights and night landscape lighting is frowned upon. :-(

Video explaining the “Blood Moon”

(or a “Tetrad” as those of us in the ‘lunar know’ , er, know)

red moon , slimpaley.com

This is the one I saw in Sun Valley. Not a great shot as I took it with my very old iPhone but you get the idea. It was so cool! I kept trying to get everyone to come out and look at it, but no one was biting. I think there was a good movie on or perhaps a heated ping-pong game.

Plus I had to run back in before I got eaten by a bear.

blood orange  slimpaley.com

Speaking of eating…(how’s that for a segue?) it’s also Blood Orange Season.

blood orange tree , slimpaley.com

Our trees are producing abundantly this year so we’ve been getting pretty creative with these babies.

blood oranges slimpaley.com

Fresh Blood Orange juice by itself, though gorgeous to look at, is much too tart for my liking.

It’s better mixed with regular orange juice or another fruit juice that will give it some natural sweetness. Or vodka.

Or gin.

Tequila in a pinch.

blood orange water  slimpaley.com

I’ve also been squeezing the juice of just one or two blood oranges into my carafe of water every day. It makes me feel like I’m at a spa. I add a splash of Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic Water-it’s delicious and makes the water swirl like antique glass.

blood oranges slimpaley.com

 

dried blood orange slices slimpaley.com

 I think I mentioned slicing and drying the blood oranges in the dehydrater relatively recently…or was that on Instagram? Do you follow me on Instagram?? It’s fun!

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They’re quite good and no doubt super good for you, but now we’ve discovered that they’re even waaaay better with the rinds cut off. Just little sweet & sour explosions of chewy flavour.

dried blood oranges, slimpaley.com

Eat your heart out Dale Chihuly!!

Chihuly-10 Glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly

dried sliced blood orange slimpaley.com

 Don’t look at my manicure

blood_orange_chicken_b1

Tomorrow night we are trying this recipe- I’ll let you know!

And this link will take you to many other fun ideas;

blood orange recipes

Bubbly Ginger Blood Orange Smoothie (recipe below)

20 Brightly Hued Ways to Eat Blood Oranges

blood orange tree  slimpaley.com

Happy Lunar gazing

xxSP

Post Script; later on tonight…

Blood Moon April 2014

It was very cool indeed!

~

Black & Yellow

 

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 I can’t even…it’s April 10th already!

Who do I see about slowing things down a bit around here?! How come school never went this fast?

Occasionally I lose consistency with posting and lately has been one of those times

(uh d’yuh think?!)

It doesn’t mean we’re breaking up or I’m seeing other blogs, just that I’ve lost my gossamer thread of thought or inspiration or, more likely, real life got in the way.

Eventually I find my way back.

tumblr_ms2zvrLiCA1suw27to1_500via Pinterest

So here I am, taking a break from travel posts just for a moment to consider the colours Yellow & Black.

Not the most popular or likely colour combination to be sure, right?

 Or so I thought…

Golden Mustard roses slimpaley.com

 Though I’m a fan of warm golds and even yellow verging on mustard in interiors, yellow in brighter hues is not the crayon I gravitate to. I make the exception for flowers, and even then it has to be just the right yellow, like these beautiful “Golden Mustard” roses from my garden. Turning to a caramel colour in their denouement makes them just about the chicest, most interesting rose around, but I don’t wish to get off track here…

b8f1c5cea800e17a1f27a4389201ff5aAlthough these two photos are examples of yellows in super warm, almost gold tones, make no mistake, black & yellow in all hues is having a moment.

The Dutch House, Galle, Sri Lanka slimpaley.com An Instagram photo of the parlour at the Dutch House hotel in Galle, Sri Lanka

01-LA-Ace-Hotel-Lobbyvia Voyage Vixen

Ace-Hotel-LA-Stained-Glass-Remodelista

The new Ace Hotel in downtown LA has used the combination to cool effect in their stained glass windows

a3d5d54993d4901511325fc4ff8ded8cAlexander McQueen bag

PaliHouse03-RemodelistaJust a touch of yellow can make a dark room really sing

Screen Shot 2012-09-01 at 12.32.40 AMRalph Lauren

magazine-kate-moss-08_155450590977 It certainly does something for Kate Moss

yellow/black

 As a person whose biggest design nod to black & yellow is the bunch of overripe bananas I toss out every week, I’m not asking you to love it…or even like it. I’m just asking you to consider it.

Ines-de-la-FressangeAfter all, how amazing is Ines de La Fressange here?

 Ines-de-la-Fressange-chez-Versace_portrait_w674and here.

and don’t we all want to be as chic as Ines when we grow up?

330Or taken in another direction

6fc221f60ed0a8c68c82e11df460a539You have to admit it’s a fresh pop for Spring

Gianvito Rossi

Gianvito Rossi

Cecil Beaton's New York book

Place a black & yellow book on your coffee table, step back and see what happens.

Ask your child to paint you a portrait with black & yellows and lean it on the mantle.

How about a few daffodils popping out of a dark wine bottle? Give it a try.

Go on! Don’t be yellow!! :-)

Iris ApfelOf course when Iris Apfel does it, she does it.

photo by Sarah Moon

Sarah Moon

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Kenzo

2b5841740f537654c33232d96752c973Christina D’Ornano

Add blue and get all primary with it.

Jason Wu  slimpaley.comJason Wu

The stores in Dubai were choc-a-blok with black & yellow.

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ChloeChloe

WP81388M-006-Scalamandre-ZebraScalamandre fabric & wallpaper

black & yellowAn interesting mix of textures, new & antique with a pop of chartreuse-y yellow

KOR_0145.450x675Michael Kors

yellow & black

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Dior lemon meringue heels.

fec50aaeeb88929a33b190fca735109f

DIO_0198.450x675Dior Fall 2014

yellow & black

Louboutin for men slimpaley.com Christian Louboutin for men (btw-I’ve never seen anything like the selection of men’s shoes available in Dubai-what is that about?)

_D7Q0979.450x675 Celine Spring 2014

One of the most widely featured bags this Spring

fa65b063a57fffb0def179baca298f0cRalph Lauren

Tintagel Hotel, Colombo, Sril Lanka, slimpaley.comThe Tintagel Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka

gold & black

london edition hotel habituallychic 014 The London Hotel, NYC, photo via Habitually Chic

Moda Operandi

 JW Anderson via Moda Operandi

e7be31ace3d5d43f5dd05a2306569f28via Remodelista

black & yellow

ELLE Decoragain with blue for Elle Decor

Manolo Blahnik via Vogue InstagramOh so girly Manolo Blahnik grosgrain ribboned pumps

d2bca74088a615d9c96f5da509583f84So is it kinda sorta slightly starting to grow on you??

journal

Let the sun shine in!

xox SP

straws

Straws via Etsy

~

 This time last year: Bedouin & Breakfast

~

Please forgive or provide if possible, any missed credits

 

 

So Crafty

 

woman carving lacquer

We might as well start with this;

 I’m not ‘Crafty’.

A confession that might come as a surprise to some, as I’m a visual person who can draw and paint passably well, but you would be very, very wrong in assuming this translates to ‘craftiness’, at least in my case.

 Have you seen any photos of that hot pink antique lantern yet? Say no more.

When I do attempt something in the crafty vein it usually takes me about 974 hours to complete the task and I’m seldom happy with it.

I never even learned to sew or knit.

It’s all my mother’s fault.

slimpaley.com

 I was instantly reminded of this when taking photos (this one in particular) at the silk weaving centre we visited in Myanmar last week. A flashback to ‘Mom’s Sewing Kit’  growing up. It was small and oval shaped in green brocade-they used to be called a “Train Case”, complete with tiny mirror and 4 lipstick holders sewn under the lid. It ran a very sad popularity race against her infinitely more exciting ‘Manicure Case’ and housed a thread monster much like this one. More than anything though, the sewing kit was a repository for safety pins to hold the things begging to be sewn together and more importantly, as time moved on, pimple-popping needles. Sorry, but The Truth isn’t always pretty.

silk weaving Burma slimpaley.com

  I did, only because it was mandatory, study sewing in Home Eck.  in junior high. I might have mentioned this before (I’m like my mother in more ways than one :-) ) Our big project was to design and sew a stuffed animal-draw and cut the patterns and everything. I sewed a snake. I glued on spots, eyes and a long tongue and failed the class. Seriously-how long did she expect that tongue to stay on? Aren’t snakes supposed to shed their tongues anyway? Personally I thought my stuffed animal was pretty edgy. I don’t think I ever finished the second assignment; an apron ( micro mini of course) but I did learn to type, whipped up a ferocious Baked Alaska, achieved my future sun damage like nobody’s business leaning against the back wall of the building and sold one of my paintings to the Industrial Ed. teacher for $100.

A stellar scholastic year to be sure.

So, you can imagine my shock and awe when we visited a few of the Burmese craft houses I’m sharing with you here.

blue thread slimpaley.com

Did you know that thread has to be made??

Like the individual strands of thread are M-A-D-E ?

As in there’s no such thing as a Thread Forest.

Lotus plants for weaving slimpaley.comHere Lotus plants are harvested from Lake Inle

Lotus stem, slimpaley.com

Each individual stalk is cut several times and the fibres are gently pulled away by hand and rolled…

Check this out; (video might take a minute to load- but patience is everything, as this perfectly demonstrates)

After the lotus stalks are cut and the thread has been removed, the rest is fed to the pigs.

Of course there is also the controversial Mulberry tree silkworm spit method of creating silk but we did not see it being done here.

fabric dyes slimpaley.com

The threads are then dyed and the weaving process begins.

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Bags of dye waiting to be mixed. This part looked like fun to me but you can’t even imagine how hot these rooms were.

weaving loom in Burma slimpaley.com

Seeing the process from start to finish truly gives you a newfound appreciation for this timeless art.

If your travels ever take you to Burma, I think Lake Inle appears to be one of the best places to buy silks and lotus leaf fabric.

~

lacquer bowl Slimpaley.com

Heretofore I would have picked up a lacquer bowl and said with all certainty it was made out of…lacquer.

With no irony. I’m not proud, but there it is. I expose my foibles for the sake of honest journalism.

bamboo being made into lacquer bowls slimpaley.com

It actually involves, oh, about infinity different stages and starts out as bamboo.

You probably knew that.

making lacquer slimpaley.comHere, starting from bottom left to top right and snaking back, you can see some of the stages that the bamboo passes through, each one by hand, before it becomes the finished product.

making lacquer slimpaley.comHere the bowls have received an initial coat of lacquer and are being sanded for the next coat.

men working on a lacquer tableThese gentlemen are working on the lacquer table in the following photo

lacquer & mother of pearl table slimpaley.c

After each coat of lacquer the pieces go down to a very hot, dark and dust-free cellar to dry.

lacquer slimpaley.comThe finishing touches being made to dinner chargers. We ordered some of these to be shipped back home. I was never really that attracted to lacquer before. Now I can barely stand to wait the 7 months it will take to receive our chargers and set a chic Burmese themed table!

(yes, 7 months)

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This particular lacquer maker ships to clients all over the world- including a very well known, upscale store in San Francisco which we won’t name, but starts with G.

and ends in umps.

Young man painting lacquer

I think this might be one of my favourite photos-even if I do say so myself.

carving lacquer, Burma, slimpaley.com

Ladies quietly carving and painting the lacquer bowls.

hands carving lacquer , slimpaley.com

This is just one of the reasons why I love traveling so much. It’s both inspiring and humbling…

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place You occupy in the world.” Gustave Flaubert

PS. I’ll add the name of the silk & lacquer makers as soon as I find the receipts!

PPS. Does anyone on WordPress know how to make the new video format smaller?!

~

This time last year… Opulence Moroccan Style

~

~

 

The Dusty Road To Mandalay…

890A1365Sunrise, Bagan, Myanmar

I’m back! At least my body is…

My mind, I’m not so sure…it might arrive later this week. It’s still spinning with the imagery, sounds and scents of distant lands.

 I’ve lost some sense of time & space, but how lovely to come home to Spring and the clocks being turned back, er forward, or…whatever…

 It’s staying lighter much longer than when I left and that makes me very happy :-)

Oh and look at that-Wordpress got new smiley face icons while I was away.

Boy, did we do a lot of traveling in 3 weeks. If it didn’t involve a plane, van, truck, boat, bike, a hike or a climb and a 5:30am wake-up call it was a slow day.

Lake Inle, Myanmar, slimpaley.comCruising along on Lake Inle, Burma

Why all the early starts? It gets hot in *Burma quickly at this time of year. Very, very HOT.  100+ degrees  on many days with nary a suggestion of a breeze. The fine, chalky dust from the red earth rises to meet the omnipresent smoke of the open cooking fires blanketing the atmosphere with a gauzy filter from sunrise to sunset.

Woman smoking, Burma, slimpaley.comA woman in a street market in Mandalay

Yet, despite the heat, many destinations and points of interest require keeping your arms & legs covered, as well as closed toed shoes (because of dust & dirt) yet easily removable (because of the shrines)

Shwedagon Pagoda , slimpaley.comMy shoeless friend and me at the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Burma. The light coloured marble here was lovely underfoot, but some darker hued stone floors at other shrines, not so much…

We took sooo many photos. There was SO MUCH to photograph! Besides, I wasn’t about to lug my Canon 5D (AKA Big Daddy) 1/2 way across the world for naught. In its travel case it’s the size and weight of a small baby. I attached a big hot pink name tag to the strap (Travel Tip #1 learned after leaving my husband’s headphones in a plane seat pocket) in case I left the baby on a plane, or pagoda steps…Did I mention there are a LOT of pagodas in Burma?!

And that I now know the difference between a stupa, a shrine and a pagoda?

 What is a “Stupa”? for $500 Alex.

I also shot in ‘RAW’  format for the first time-FYI that’s a camera setting not a sartorial choice ( I only just learned about this, hangs head in shame. Thanks Mr. Sammy’s Camera Man!) So I’m busy downloading, sorting and trying to figure out how to transfer all these huge files without taking 5 minutes per pic. It’s hard being an empty-nester and not having in-house tech support anymore, but wowzer-zooming in has taken on a whole new meaning. If the photos take a little longer to load than usual, please bear with me.

Breakfast, slimpaley.comBreakfast. NOT every day.

I’m learning, always learning as I go, and we saw and learned so many wonderful things on this trip.

From the mind-blowing wealth and staggering architecture of Dubai, the chic decors and gorgeous people of Sri Lanka to the endless stupas, golden light and dusty chaotic roads of Burma it was a wild, wild ride.

The Tintagel hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka, slimpaley.com

And always, the beautiful children all over the world

IMG_9632A couple of heart-melters at a monastery in Inle Lake, Myanmar

video (might take a few seconds to load)

 I usually cave to self-inflicted Virgo-ian pressure to blog in chronological fashion, but as my last post was March 6th and inspired by my trip, I’m going to go ‘off road’  and let all these places and photos just spill out willy nilly over the course of the next few weeks.

IMG_9536Much like an intricate mosaic, they might not appear to make complete sense viewed too closely but trust me-they’ll be cohesive when viewed from a distance.

I think.

Stand back a bit farther.

I’m starting with the travel tips I promised you but rather than spew them all out at once (that could be pretty boring) I’ll give you just a few at a time.

Starting with the Most Important; MEDS.

1) NEVER pack them in your suitcase. Always in your carry-on.

2) BRING ANTIBIOTICS. Absolutely mandatory on overseas trips!

 No need for me to run through the more obvious medications (Dramamine, Imodium, Pepto-Bismol (pink bismuth caplets) etc. but you might want to also consider;

3) If you’re going somewhere tropical, always check to make sure the area you’re visiting is Malaria-free. If not, seriously consider taking Malarone tablets. I’d rather suffer through a few bad dreams (a possible side effect, and more or less a given for me) than Malaria. I’ve read too many books about Africa & India to risk it, thank you very much. I’m also always the one covered in mosquito bites so I carry

4) “Mozy” After Bites spray. Provides great relief.

AFTER_BITE_LENIT_14ML_3501_908019538-1

If your trip requires shots, i.e. Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Influenza, it’s always a good idea to carry your yellow International Certificate of Vaccination (approved by the World Health Organization), in case you need to show it to a foreign doctor for any reason.

5) Toothache gel.  Although I think tooth-aches are rare these days, this can be a life-saver if you aren’t near a reliable dentist. I’ve only ever suffered an adult toothache twice. Both times, away from home and excruciating. Once in San Francisco and once in Vegas, where basically you can just win a new tooth, but imagine suffering from a bad bicuspid in say, Africa??

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6) a Dental Repair kit. A friend shared this with me-how about losing a filling or a crown, especially HORROR of horrors, a visible one, right in the front? Talk about excruciating. No more holiday Selfies for you!

Dental_Cement

7) Leg cramp tablets. Long flights, not enough liquids, lots of walking, strange mattresses…I get leg cramps often when I travel and I like Hyland’s Homeopathic pills-I swear they work.

l_sh-1048

and lastly, for this go round; my Slim Paley Special Tip that works brilliantly for me whenever I’m around ‘questionable’ tap water;

8) Fluorescent hair ties.

fluorescent hair ties

 

Don't Drink the Water! slimpaley.com

Don’t Use the Water!

The first thing I do in a hotel where I won’t risk even brushing my teeth is to wrap a fluorescent scrunchie around the faucet to serve as a reminder. Because, let’s face it, we’re all Pavlov’s dog when it comes to daily hygiene habits. Works like a charm for husbands & children too :-)

~

Next up; not sure… markets & monasteries, fishing & silk weaving, shopping & eating, stupa climbing, beautiful hotels…suns setting & rising and lots of other fun stuff plus more travel tips.

Stay tuned.

Balloon over Bagan, Burma, slimpaley.com

Happy Spring to All!!

xxSP

*To dispel any confusion, Burma is now called ‘Myanmar’ but a healthy number, if not majority of Burmese including our guide and Aung San Suu Kyi still commonly refer to it as Burma, and Yangon as Rangoon. Much of the signage and newspapers still use “Burma” as well. I won’t dare attempt to get into the politics of all this, but the names appeared to be interchangeable without causing any rancour.