Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas blues

Because our families literally live oceans apart, Sean and I always have to choose; Christmas with his family or Christmas with mine. This year, for the first time we were - kind of - able to do both. We spent the 24th at home just the three of us - Sean, me and Moses...we opened a few presents, cooked traditional Swedish Christmas food which includes ham, meatballs, herring and rice pudding (suddenly this strikes me as quite a bizarre mix, but eaten as separate courses, it's really very delicious:) and went to a beautiful late night service at our local church. Christmas morning we went down to Playa del Rey to do brunch and gifts with Sean's parents. The weather was so gorgeous that we were able to eat out on the deck - definitely a new Christmas experience for this particular Irish Swede :) My mom arrived at LAX that evening, so after picking her up, we went back to ours for a late supper and some more gift swapping. Then on Boxing day, the five of us got together for a proper British/American Christmas dinner with turkey and all the trimmings; lovely food of course and even lovelier having our parents in one place for once. All in all, this has been a very different and very special holiday for me, and one that I'm not ready to let go of... just yet...

                                  Christmas past
Christmas table setting last year at my mom's house

My brother Jens and Sean by the fire at my mom's

My cousin Malin, her husband Andreas and baby Isac

Aunt Gunilla, cousin Martina, me and my mom

The guys playing foosball in my brother's kitchen

Christmas present...
Sean with his parents on their deck on Christmas day

Moses trying (in vain) to play with Jake the cat

My mom with a fake penguin and a random boy in Beverly Hills

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Old friends


Nothing beats spending time with old friends around the holidays and it's one of the reasons why going home in December is so special to me...
Since we're staying in LA this year, I was especially happy to hear that one of my good friends from high school had decided to skip out on the cold and snow in Sweden and spend this Christmas soaking up the California sunshine instead.

My friend Johan, his wife Johanna and their baby girl Vera all came over for dinner last night. On the menu; Sean's excellent chicken chalupas (they're actually from a Liz McD recipe, and I know she'll be glad to read that Sean cooks them to perfection:), homemade salsa and guacamole. For dessert Johan and Johanna enjoyed their first ever eggnog (spiked with brandy of course). Vera was a perfectly behaved little angel, she happily munched on clementines all night and loved playing with my old Russian doll.* Although she didn't much appreciate Moses treating her like his new best friend, and found it preferable to stay in her mama's lap; out of reach and off the floor...



                                                                            


*(I don't remember where I first got this old thing, but I've had it since I was little and to my amusement I just discovered that it says "made in USSR" on the bottom. How weird and wonderfully retro!) 


Friday, December 18, 2009

Quote of note

I'm dedicating this week's quote to my friends, Katta and Lotta.

"Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not its clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all it's sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."
Max Ehrman



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Trial and error

Having received so many adorable Christmas cards from friends with kids, this year I felt inspired to send out a picture of my own (substitute;) baby. Unfortunately things did not exactly go according to plan, so when some of you open your very very plain card from us in a few days, know that I had intended for it to include a picturesque photo of a puppy beneath the Christmas tree....

Below; the results of my failed endeavor. (Notice the crazed/sleepy/defiant facial expressions).       






                                   
                                 


Friday, December 11, 2009

Lighten up

After much deliberation, and with the above quote in mind, I decided on blond highlights on a brunette base at the hairdresser's today... 'Something in between' to be 'on the safe side' in other words... or simply "lagom" as we say in Swedish :)

...My favourite product to keep those buttery streaks on the right side of brassy?  Blue Malva Color Conditioner  from Aveda does the job, smells great, and contains organic ingredients. 


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

My latest gig

You would probably drive right past the high concrete walls surrounding the Fox Studio lot without even noticing, it's that inconspicuous. And were you to actually seek it out, the security at this vast facility is so tight, that even if you managed to locate one of its discreet entrances, it's unlikely that the vigilant staff would let you pass without a fight. However, if you happen to be a Fox Invited Guest, like I was for the first time yesterday, :) you may cruise through the gates unhindered, past the armed (?) security guards and experience the 'city within a city' that lies within. And what an experience it is - there are roads, buildings, parks, walkways, restaurants and best of all - permanent outdoor movie sets! Say you're just walking along, maybe you're chatting to someone and not paying particular attention to your surroundings...suddenly you look up and you swear you've been magically transported from the starchy streets of Century City Los Angeles, straight to a dusty Brooklyn sidewalk... It really is awesome. Naturally, I imagine returning one day a lauded star, (perhaps having just won my third Oscar...) fully decked out in period costume and shooting extensive scenes (probably adapted from some critically acclaimed novel) right there in make-believe New York ...  Ahhh now that would be something.

Alas, my mission at Fox yesterday was of a different kind entirely; I was hired to decorate their lobbies for Christmas. Hmmm yes I know, not quite as glamorous or exciting... But really fun work nonetheless - it was me and two other ladies, and we spent the whole day bringing holiday cheer for the benefit of entering and exiting studio executives. We decided on different themes for the three lobbies, depending on the colours and existing style of each room: Fox News got a whimsical look with gift-stuffed stockings, reindeer and a large snowman. For Fox Sports, a cleaner theme of silver, blue and lots of white poinsettias felt appropriate. In the huge main lobby, we hung elegant wreaths, bows and garlands in shades of dark green, gold and burgundy, following the same sumptuous colour scheme for the tree. The results were very handsome if I may say so myself, but unfortunately - again for security reasons - I wasn't able to catch our work on camera... So unless you're also a Fox Invited Guest or employee, you just have to take my word for it. :)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Quote of note...

"More is more. Less is never more - less is obviously less. Who wants less?"
Michelle Nussbaumer, Interior designer and owner of Ceylon et Cie

Perhaps not the most appropriate sentiment for the season...
or is it?  :)

                                                       

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Christmas L.A. style



Despite the ceaseless sunshine, swaying palm trees and unusually warm weather (even by L.A. standards), I am currently determined to get in the Christmas groove. This has always been my absolute favourite time of the year and I go all out playing the music, watching the movies (It's a wonderful life anyone?), decorating, thinking of the gifts and the food and the tree as soon as it's reasonably sane to do so. Because for me, Christmas is all about tradition, atmosphere and wonderful memories and I'm overwhelmed by a warm, fuzzy sense of undiluted happiness as soon as December sets in...

Normally, Sean and I go to my mom's in Sweden to celebrate with my extended family (and it should be admitted, also to be that little bit closer to the North Pole...)
But this year, we decided to take it easy and stay in L.A., and even though I know I'll miss many of the elements that always make going back so special (my brother, my aunts, uncles and cousins, the cold weather, my mom's beautiful house...), I'm actually looking forward to planning our own Christmas for once... I'm very exited about getting a tree of course, and trying my hand at some of our family recipes in my own kitchen should be fun (before you judge me, know that I've lived abroad for 10 years and usually go home for the entire holiday...) I also love to think that these efforts will be extra meaningful, as in a complete role reversal, I get to play hostess to my mom when she flies in on the 25Th to spend a couple of weeks with us. (Preventing me from feeling too, too homesick on Christmas day :)

Anyhow, to kick things off last Sunday (1st of Advent), I went on an inspirational quest to the part of this town where they do Christmas best. - And where's that, you ask? ... "Rodeo Drive, baby."



Saturday, November 28, 2009

Quote of note...

I know, I know it's not Friday... But better late than never and definitely worth waiting for; this week's quote is a good one. So good in fact that I keep it up on my fridge as a constant reminder...

As you may imagine, these words spoken by Winston Churchill, 
hold extra significance for a struggling actor :)


Friday, November 27, 2009

A feast to remember



Little cousin Tatum

Sean with his Uncle Michael

Aunt Julie with Oogie the Shitzu

The Bird (cooked on the barbie because of sudden oven break-down!)

                                       Sean, me and Joe (friend)                                          

View of Santa Monica Bay

                                                                                                          
Me with Sean's uncle David

And on the telly?  American Footie of course!

Thank you Mark and Peggy for hosting yet another gorgeous Thanksgiving!   


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The best (American) holiday?

So tomorrow it's Thanksgiving... You know, the fourth Thursday in November when Americans sit around for an entire day, eat lots and lots of food and feel generally thankful about stuff? ...Truly a wonderful concept if you ask me, and one that I have happily adopted even though I didn't grow up with the tradition. Every year, Sean's parents host a big dinner at their place on the beach: It's always a party complete with a huge turkey, homemade cranberry sauce and trimmings, a crackling fire, beautiful table settings, and most importantly - a ton of happy relatives and friends... (Sean may be an only child but he sure has a gigantic extended family!) This evening, I am already excited by the thought of tomorrow and how lovely I know it will be.

And here (in no particular order :) are some of the other things I feel especially grateful for right now...

                                                                                             My Moses                    

                                                        My Mom

My new coffee cups that I picked up for a song at my new favourite store TJ MAXX 
                                                   (There's a recession people!!)

My secret makeup weapon that hides any flaw in an instant!
Find it at  http://www.ysl.com/

                                                                                  My (muscle) Man

                                                                                             My Home

                                                My oldest friend, Tanja

Happy Thanksgiving!

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