Nothing has brought me into a rush of nostalgia like the intro to Pippi In The South Seas. Our memorial day weekend launched with a surprise viewing of this film. The minute the title credits were done and the story opened in Pippi’s house I literally felt like I was hit on the head with a flash of memories. I’ve never realized how much I loved Pippi. I remember the house as if it were my own. Every detail. Where the kitchen table was, what the wallpaper looked like, Old Man (her horse), the amazing dirigible that Pippi created from her bed, Pippi’s strange sense of fashion, Annika and Tommy….the list goes on. Embraced by the warm familiarity of “home” and pacified by the soothing sound of the projector purr (yes, it was real film shown via projector), I sat on the edge of my seat (albeit somewhat because the chair was very uncomfortable) and enjoyed every moment of the story. For 90minutes I remembered being 8 years old and building forts out of pillows and blankets and my parent’s huge library chairs. I remembered how I built my own dirigible and flew over the 7 seas looking for pirates. What happens to humans that so many seem to lose that sense of magic? I’d like to read more on the subject of the “adolescent brain”. Is there a way we can slow down the degeneration? Or resuscitate it once its gone? Why do some have the ability to stay young at heart, and others loose it?
What can we learn from Pippi:
A. Anything is possible if we just believe in ourselves and our own strength.
B. If something goes wrong, no need to worry at all because no matter what, a solution is just around the corner.
C. Some things may look mundane, but it’s really a disguise. There is something special in everything, we just need to think outside the box.
D. As long as you have family (close friends included), you have everything you need to make it.
E. Memories are malleable. Don’t be subjected to a negative past. If you don’t like the story, change it. Look at it from a different perspective or headspace.
F. Enjoy the little things. Don’t forget to smell the roses.
G. Singing a ditty makes everything more fun.
This event was thrown by Cinefamily. Taken directly from their website:
The Cinefamily is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of movie lovers devoted to finding and presenting interesting and unusual programs of exceptional, distinctive, weird and wonderful films.
The Cinefamily’s mission is to reinvigorate film culture by fostering a spirit of community and a sense of discovery.
Like campfires, sporting events and church services, we believe that movies work best as social experiences. They are more meaningful, funnier and scarier when shared with others.
The Cinefamily was founded in 2007 by brothers Dan and Sammy Harkham and Hadrian Belove, founder of Cinefile Video. We currently average 14 shows per week, many of which are enhanced with special guests, live music, dance parties, potlucks and other kinds of social fun. Over 65,000 patrons visit the Cinefamily annually.
When I was ten years old my father took a business trip to Florida. I remember one day during his time away, as I sat diligently with my homework, the phone rang. It was my dad. He was SO excitedly beside himself!
Dad: “Guess where I am, Jilly?!”
Me: “Hi dad! I don’t know. Where are you?”
Dad:”I’m on a pay phone* right outside the convention center. Can you hear this?”
Me: (picturing father holding phone out at arms length) “No. I can’t hear a thing!”
Dad:”I’m at the Hall and Oates concert!”
I love my dad so much. I love that he felt so hip because he was seeing Hall and Oates. And how excited he was to share it with me, because we had a common love for music. Yes, I TOTALLY get that Hall and Oates has NEVER been hip. Nor have I necessarily ever loved them. They were more in the “I can deal with them until the next song comes on” category. But after that call from my dad- I love Hall and Oates. And every time for whatever crazy reason I hear them on the radio, I immediately re-live that wonderful moment with my father. He was such an enthusiastic vitaphile (is that actually a word?).
My family has always loved music. All kinds, from Classical to the Beastie Boys. Apparently my grandmother was a concert pianist and my aunt an opera singer. Yes, my mom walking around the house with her “Tab” soda rapping “slow and low that is the tempo” actually did happen….often. The only music we didn’t really love were National Anthems. Those I hardly ever heard played at home- if ever. We would often visit concert halls to hear The Cleveland Orchestra play some rendition of Tchaikovsky, the Yale Whiffenpoofs (my dad’s favorite barbershop quartet), or The Singing Angels. Sometimes, with picnic basket in hand, we would head out to the Blossom Music Center for an al fresca concert. These ranged from Van Halen to Itzhak Perlman. Almost every evening after dinner my father would sit at his piano and play. I think it was his way of unwinding. My dad’s piano songs are now some of my favorite. At the time I, of course, thought nothing of it. But now that he’s gone its a totally different story. During a barre stretch a few weeks ago the pianist played one of my fathers songs. I cried as I stretched. I couldn’t help it. I could feel my dad there with me. It was so wonderful.
My brother took me to my first rock concert when I was 14 years old. We went to see John Cougar Mellencamp, and had nose bleed seats WAY far in the back- but who cares? How cool of my brother to take me to a rock concert??? (He also was the first to let me drive a car- but more on that later).While JCM rocked out on his guitar belting “I was born in a small town”, thousands of leather jackets danced around me. A tiny little cigarette circulated the audience. This my brother insisted I not smoke! “Just pass that on!” I had no idea what it was hahaha. Oh the innocence! It was really exciting to dance and sing with all those other people. Back at school the following day I suddenly became like 10x cooler.
All this being said, spending New Years Eve at Motely Crue’s final performance was a TOTALLY apropos way to bring in 2016!
Motley Crue, first formed in 1981, is an internationally loved and iconic hard rock band. Though the band members may be considered “veterans” of rock, their songs are still used currently for films and TV shows, and probably on most people’s….how DO people listen to music anymore….phones?
Its often sad to witness the “final” something of anything, so when the opening song “Goodbye-Farewell” from The Sound Of Music started to play, I’m not going to lie, I cried a little (give me a break, I’m sensitive, ok?). I mean its the end of an era. A chapter in the book of my life. Luckily, things turned around from there and what a fun and entertaining show it turned out to be! I first saw Motely Crue four years ago in Vegas on Vince Neil’s birthday. That show was RIDICULOUS it was so good! I literally felt like I had taken the hot tub time machine to 1984. Crazed fans were so excited, making the energy vivacious and fun. This show was entertaining but not as crazy exciting. Lots of heart felt good-bye speeches from the band members- laced with comedic anecdotes, a great solo by Tommy Lee (who also got stuck upside down in his drum machine for 20min!), and an exceptional acoustic rendition of Home Sweet Home to end it all.
What To Wear To An 80’s Hair Band Concert:
Obvi! Lots of leather. Or pleather….whichever you prefer, and metal- of course!
And on THAT note….Coming soon….leather vs pleather, is it worth it?
If your running out for some last minute holiday shopping and you live in the LA area, consider spending an afternoon walking the streets of Venice Beach. Particularly Abbott Kinney. MSM and I look forward to our Abbott Kinney walk every year, and this year was just as wonderful as the past.
When we arrived we first spotted a Winter Festival- yes, in SoCal there was sledding and Santa and Carolers. So much fun! After enjoying time here we started to walk the shops.
This is a great shop for finding reasonably priced unique gifts that are actually useful, not kitchy like the stocking stuffers from Restoration Hardware.
I always find something lovable at Burro. Its a wonderful shop for finding a gift for that person that really has everything- and you won’t leave there with an item they will want to re-gift or throw in a closet.
This fabulous coffee shop is home of exclusive chocolates and sodas. A strange gift? Maybe. But specialty chocolate and a superb wine could definitely be a winning combination.
If you decide this isn’t the right place to buy a gift, take a break here over a heavenly latte paired with a delectable pastry- all made fresh in house. They also have an internet bistro table that seats about ten. Its funny to come into the shop and see the lineup of people typing away on their computers. Maybe they are each writing a blog!
Velvet by Graham and Spencer:
This clothing store, originally known for its casual T shirts, is stocked with fantastic basics. Capes, tanks, sweaters, and basic blouses abound, I was coveting a fabulous pair of faux leather leggings. I know, I know, some of you my put your nose up at the word “faux” but hey, they were sexy! Velvet by G&S also hosts great sales at Christmas time. Don’t miss out!
While walking Abbott Kinney one can take a peak into a nook and cranny or alley and find stand alone shops where local artisans sell hand crafted jewelry and, if your lucky, wonderfully unique fashions.
What the heck to wear when walking Abbot Kinney?
Its been unseasonably cold in SoCal. Let me rephrase; its been FREEZING (literally, 32 degrees at night) in SoCal. As per usual lately I decided to layer because sometimes, despite a chilly forecast predicted by the local weather man (do weather people still exist? Or is it all done by machines now?), when the sun peeks out to say “hello” it gets hot.
Hoping your holiday shopping is going well and your all having fun!
Remember that Michelle Pfeiffer movie from 1996? To Jillian on her 37th Birthday? Well, I never actually saw that movie, but I like the title so….
My birthday month has come to a close. Such an amazing month it was! Especially the last week, when my actual birthday fell. It began on Monday night when the show I just wrapped had a premier party at The Parlor in West Hollywood (I’ll review that another time) followed by dinner at Summer Buffalo with some cast mates (another review for another time- but WOW that food was good!).
Initially we had planned on celebrating my actual birthday dinner (on my actual birthday) at Maude, Curtis Stone’s restaurant. At 300$/person (without drinks) for the “November Truffles” theme, we decided it would dip too much into our Italy fund, so, at my bosses recommendation, MSM decided to treat me with reservations at Spago, home of Wolfgang Puck.
Back in the day Mr. Puck revolutionized the Los Angeles food scene with Spago. He decided he wanted to create an affordable menu based on food that was indigenous to LA and fit the LA healthy lifestyle. So Spago was born and healthy contemporary LA eating was put on the map. High maintenance orderers finally had a place to nourish their souls! MSM and I had never eaten there before, so we were thrilled to try something new.
When you first go into Spago, you are in the bar. There’s a small lounge area with sofas and chairs and then the bar itself. Upon entering, the atmosphere feels rich but approachable. This area is nicely lit with dim over heads and candles. The hostesses are friendly but professional.
From what I could tell there were two main dining areas. The main room is a well lit indoor space with contemporary paintings decorating the walls. MSM mentioned in passing that he wished it was more dimly lit. I, however, was excited to be able to see the menu without using my phone flashlight (embarrassing age giver-awayer- I know, not a word but gets the point across). The other dining area is an outdoor garden which looked very romantic with trees and twinkle lights (my favorite!). I was a little jealous we weren’t out there, but whatever, where we sat seemed more tailored and luxurious.
Most of the patrons at Spago, I hate to say it, were probably around 70 years old. I’m sure this is true because the place has been around for 30+ years and was SO ridiculously famously popular back in the 20th century that those visitors are still meeting there thinking its cool. Why is that? Like how come some people get stuck on things? Same hair cut for 50 years or clothing. Lord don’t let that happen to me!
Hilarious story- As I walked towards the restroom one woman, she must have been about 75, grabbed my arm and said “honey! Could you get me a glass of water? My leg is cramping. I can’t make it to the bar.” I’m pretty sure she thought I worked there (due to the average minimum age). Of course I helped her! And I told her to remove her stunning Jimmy Choos’ because they were the cause of the cramp. OMG 5″ heels almost killed me at blankety blank, how the heck is she wearing those at 70?? (and please let me be able to do the same without the leg cramp!).
Even though we were most definitely some of the youngest ones there, there was a mix of ages ranging from 30-80 and it didn’t feel stuffy AT ALL. It was lively inside. Fun. Lots of laughter and joy. I can see why its still listed in the top 3 restaurants in LA.
What to eat
Answer: Everything. I can’t even tell you how AMAAAAZING the food was here.
We started our adventure with an aperitif shot of Wolfgang’s cream of mushroom soup. Hello! Can I have a carafe of that please??
Next we shared an appetizer of spicy ahi in a crispy cone; Mr. Pucks rendition of spicy tuna on crispy rice. OMG. There are no words. Seriously. One bite and we exchanged that look that only “that look” can describe. That “holy S*** this tastes amazing” look. It was like a symphony of flavor that all blended so well together yet stood tasty on its own as well; a symphonic poem of food.
After the heavenly tuna cones we shared an endive salad (delicious) and a Bolognese pasta that was TO DIE FOR. Both exploded with flavors; their own symphonic poems in our mouthes.
For the main course I was (sadly) underwhelmed. My favorite food in the world is Weiner shnitzel. No, NOT the hot dogs. The actual dish that originated in Austria. Now, the first time I had ever eaten Weiner Schnitzel was in Baden Baden, Germany, so I may be a bit overly critical when an american chef attempts to correctly make it. Back in Baden Baden I sat with my father under the enormous oak trees. I was 13 years old. Long wire-y haired dachshunds frolicked in the park across from us. As the kliener vogel (little birds) sang their songs and my dad and I laughed about our day, the waiter served us our Veiner Schnitzel. I remember my father exclaiming “wait til you try this, Jilly, its my favorite!” He taught me how to squeeze the lemon over the veal, and then stir the spatzel into the gravy. We each took a bite and I remember the moment it hit my lips and the flavor explosion that followed. So delicious. And we sat there, in silence, enjoying our food and Germany. So many unspoken moments with my father where I truly felt loved and accepted as me. I so miss him. Anyways, I digress…. They say food is experience, and I do believe that one reason I love this dish so much is because of that moment when I first tasted it. So back here at Spago, the chef had huge shoes to fill and I’m sad to say he failed. It was dry and not so great.
BUT….the desert resurrected my taste buds. Delicious combinations of citrus and chocolate…..HOLY COW it was yummy! And the four of us (my cousin and her hubby were with us) were serenaded by our waiters rendition of Happy Birthday. Of course our waiter was a dancer and an actor and a producer and a singer….the list goes on. We do live in LA, right?
What the heck do you wear to Spago?
So I was really nervous because I went here straight from work and had no time to do my hair. It was up in its usual work bun. It was to my relief when I walked into Spago and literally half the women there had their hair in a bun!
The dress is mixed. I mean I bet you probably could get away with wearing Jeans and gorgeous shoes with a swanky top. However, I would never. I think I would call the dress here upscale casual. I was excited to wear the new coat that I bought for my birthday. Danielle found this GORGEOUS gem ON SALE 🙂 YAY!
So began the my birthday week. Off to a great start! Next post- our trip to San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles wine tasting….
Bon Apetit! And thank you MSM for such a wonderful dinner! :*
When in doubt or in a sad mood, there’s no better cure than going for a visit to the The Hotel Casa Del Marin Santa Monica. No need to book a room, as they are very expensive (unless you want to!). Sometimes all you need is a little dining or lounging get away. One of my favorite things to do in those situations is visit this hotel and, upon arrival, pretend its actually my own personal palace. Hee hee. What better way to placate the inner-princess??
The hotel is situated just off center from the heart of Santa Monica. Perched on the strand, there’s a view of the ocean from almost every window. When approaching the entrance, one will be greeted by the friendly doorman who saves each guest the burden of opening the voluminous front door. As the door opens, behold the glorious foyer; soaring ceilings, floors coated in extravagant tile, and lavish foliage freckled around the permitters. Two gorgeous staircases beckon the guests onto the second floor.
Consequent to the ascent, the guest arrives into a library with towering book cases and causally elegant coastal themed decor. Just beyond the library sits the parlor. Decorated in a more elegant coastal theme highlighted by a 180 degree view of the pacific, this room has old world charm. It is spotted with inviting sofas and sophisticated cathedras, a unique coffee table assigned to each area. Here guests may relax and converse over port after a delicious meal, sip pre dining aperitifs, or, if preferred, choose this area to enjoy their edibles. Usually on Friday or Saturday night the parlor comes to life with hotel hosted live music that ranges from lounge singers or a quartet to a small orchestra…it varies each weekend.
An ornamented bar sits in the center of the grand open room, separating the parlor from the dining area. The dining area is another step up from elegant, not falling short of stunning.
A Palatial Fantasy:
The other night, as MSM nurtured his brolationship with his BFF at an Opeth concert, my friend Catherina (the wife of the BFF) and I decided to go the classy route and meet for cocktails and tapas at Casa Del Mar.
Since I was playing the “this is my own palace” game, when I arrived I waved “hello” to the door man as if I’d known him for years. We chatted briefly and he took some photos for me. Then I sat in the library and relaxed over a coffee table book while I waited for Ina.
Once I welcomed Ina into “my home” (hee hee), we chose to eat in the parlor where a lounge singer roared, the room filled with her voice. The menu was small but the choices were all divine. Their wine list was vast and full of phenomenal vintages.
What to Order:
The menu at Terrazza (the parlor restaurant at Casa Del Mar) is full of delicious options. I tasted the Jalapeño Salmon roll, which was exquisite (not pictured). We also loved the Kale Salad with a light lemon vinaigrette. Last, who can go wrong with a fabulous charcuterie? (apologies to any vegetarians out there). We paired our choices with a grenache Rose from France (Ina) and an Argentinian Malbec (me). YUMMM. SOO GOOD!
The atmosphere in the Casa Del Mar is luxurious, so your dress should match. Think cocktail attire, and you will fit right in albeit slightly overdressed. Men wear suits with ties and women tend to be in dresses, not pants. Definitely no denim.
Ina and I had so much fun talking and laughing. It was like going away on a European adventure without the 16 hour flight. I say Europe because this hotel somewhat reminds me a tiny bit of my favorite place in on earth (in conjunction with The Ritz Laguna Niguel and, of course, Disneyland/Disneyworld); Hotel Du Palais.
Happy thanksgiving everyone! Remember to count your blessings (like wonderful friends, and good health). Enjoy yourselves! And Bon Apetit!
I don’t miss much about living in the mid west but I can admit that I do miss the one week in Autumn when the beautifully colored leaves paint the sky, reflecting water-color like portraits onto the lakes. Air that is crisp and fresh but not bone chilling, bracing just enough to rejuvenate the soul.
The Pacific Palisades Pumpkin Patch:
This year is the first time in FOREVER that I have gone to a real pumpkin patch. Well, as real as one can find in Los Angeles. With a backdrop of trees and hills and the glorious sounds of children laughing, the YMCA Pumpkin Patch in the Pacific Palisades most definitely delivered. There was a maize maze – albeit a short one (but who can complain? It was the perfect height for my inner child :)), hay bundles with scare crows, faux spiderwebs, and, most importantly, a brilliant selection of pumpkins!
What to wear to the Pumpkin Patch:
I took this opportunity to break out my new favorite fall pieces, recently delivered by Danielle. The sweater is the ideal weight for a cooler day in Autumn or any day in an LA winter (yes, it does get cold here). The high waisted feminine flow-y skirt is so comfortable and will look cute with crops and regular length tops. I love how these five pieces can be re-arranged with other basics in my wardrobe in order to create a zillion different ensambles. They are the perfect statement pieces for Fall.
I have to admit, BD (that’s Before Danielle) I would have never thought to wear this to a pumpkin patch. I think going in cute jeans and a fun T or even a halloween costume would also be acceptable. Definitely lower shoes or booties. But it was a great excuse to wear my new items. Thanks Saks!
Finishing the Pumpkin:
MSM and I learned a very important lesson today at the pumpkin patch. Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are NOT, I repeat, NOT baking pumpkins! hahaha. Though most pumpkin patches ALSO sell baking pumpkins, make sure you get the correct pumpkin for your needs 🙂
The word “foolproof” is in this recipe title. Click the link in case you want to try and bake your Jack-o-lantern: Foolproof Pumpkin Pie.
In memory of Autumn:
I’d like to dedicate this post to Autumn Radtke. Ironically I met Autumn at a Summer BBQ in Beverly Hills held at the Sharon Tate Estate, home of the Manson Murders. Though the party itself was festive and bright, theres just something so eerie about the estate.
Autumn and I bonded over her adorable bull dog and our common zest for life. Though very slender, she was Rubenesque and completely unaffected or possibly unaware of her beauty. She was a cosmopolitan xenophile advanced beyond her 24 years. Her courageous sense of ambition was contagious. It was one of those moments that I’ve mentioned before, where you never know how much one person can affect another – even in the most random and slightest way.
Over the years Autumn and I would sometimes touch base via Facebook, particularly around Halloween- she was an avid fan of costuming. I hadn’t heard from her for a long time so I decided to check in on her page and was horrified to find that she has passed away. Too young to be taken, may her soul revisit the earth via the winds of her namesake, inspiring all of us to live life to the fullest!