I’ve heard a lot about these “staycations” everyone is taking. Exhausted from a summer of globe trotting, I decided to try one on for size. I’m lucky because I live in a place where most of the world comes to visit. Beverly Hills, Malibu, Santa Monica and Hollywood are all stomping grounds for me and my posse. But to be honest, it’s a completely different experience when you approach these places with a staycation state of mind. We began at lovely Douglas park in Santa Monica with a picnic hosted by our good friend the deb from Houston. In addition to a fenced in area with copious amounts of creative structures for little ones to climb and a sublime duck pond, this park also has a fountain area that sprays into the air and keeps kids busy and cool on hot days.
It felt like a place you would normally have to pay for entry.One out of towner commented twice about how beautiful the parks of Los Angeles are and that they don’t have anything like that in her city. (Hearing things like that always makes me feel better about our 10% sales tax.) The dutchess from the South brought it with yummy finger food, fashionable guests and delightful table decorations. Anyone who knows me, knows I love a civilized picnic at the park. (And someone has also being doing pilates- look at those arms!)
MY LOVELY LITTLE ELLE BELL
Fig jam was the next treat on my holiday at home. The trees in my front yard are EXPLODING with figs and don’t look like they’ll stop anytime soon. We had a fig fiesta last week- serving up grilled figs with goat cheese and tri-tip keebobs. I sent folks packing with figs galore, but alas, those trees kept pumpin’ out more figs. What better way to thank the editors who gave my book, Green Interior Design, rave reviews than jam made from the organic figs that I grew myself? I also plan on sending a few jars to the people who missed the fig fiesta like Ms. AGL and the editors from Angeleno and LUXE. Since one of the chapters includes ideas about replacing grass lawns with edible gardens to grow produce that is free of pesticides, insecticides and herbicides, I think it makes sense. I hope they like figs.
For any of you wondering, it’s pretty simple. 1 part figs to 3/4 sugar, finely chopped lemon rind and a splash of vanilla. Put it on slow boil for two hours. Let cool. Cover until next day. Boil for 15-20 minutes. Let cool. Put in jars.
Next we headed over to the Beverly Hills Food and Wine Festival. Christofle has been sending me invite after invite for the last 6 months, so I popped in to finally say hello. I had no idea that they made jewelry, frames and other amazing accessories. They served up Bouchon cookies and delicious red wine against a back drop of some of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen.
The SoCal Contractor and I are renovating a hacienda on Laurel Canyon so we decided to mix business with pleasure and head over to the Montage for some inspiration. I never thought about doing this with our toddler in tow, but we sat down for cappucinos and ice cream in the lobby lounge. It was so pleasant and Elle was so well behaved that we stayed for dinner: sliders, fish tacos and french fries. The last thing I expected in a place where the well heeled go for cocktail hour was a chest filled with children’s books. Very smart boutique hotel. Darrell Schmidt’s fabulous interior design, a phenomenal jazz sound track, gourmet cusine and NO DISHES, forget a Cabo beach, this is what I call paradise. We were so elated that we spent $80 on a stuffed cat Elle adopted in the gift shop. ( Incidentally every single item in that shop was something I would want to receive as a gift, simply the best hotel gift shop I’ve ever visited. And Nicole Campbell, at the helm, was adorable too.)
Our real cat Monkey thinks he’s been sent a mail order bride.
Three more house parties to attend befor this staycation is over on Tuesday. I’ll keep you posted….