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

                                                                                  My (muscle) Man

                                                                                             My Home

                                                My oldest friend, Tanja

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

At the market

The Farmers Market on Main street Santa Monica is definitely one of the best of it's kind here in Los Angeles: Always hopping with people, street music, exotic food-stands, fresh produce, pet adoptions and even pony riding. Going there on a Sunday-morning for fresh flowers and veggies, or just to soak up the great atmosphere is a wonderful way start to the day and something Sean and I used to do often when we lived in the area. Then about two years ago, we felt the urge to leave the beachy vibes of S.M. for the more urban Brentwood, and while that's still relatively close (about 10 min by car), it just isn't the same when  you have to drive there... Actually, in all the time since our move, we've only been back to the Farmers Market once, or maybe two times. A shame really.

However, today it seemed the perfect spot to meet up with our friends Jake and Yoko (visiting from Seattle) for brunch. The last time we saw them, we had just found out that they were expecting a little baby boy... So naturally it with great anticipation that we met the by now 5 month old Enzo Canyon Kazdal for the first time! And what a little munchkin he was - Pure Baby Bliss :)

For some reason, I didn't manage to get a picture of the whole Kazdal family together. Nor do I seem to have gotten one of my husband, although I could have sworn he was there...

Jake with Enzo

Toy Therapy

Sean and I bought Enzo one of these... I think they're cool, cute and gorgeously retro all at once :) Check out  for more options, kits with patterns to knit your own Sock Monkey and general info on this fantastic brand dating back to the 1890s.

Friday, November 20, 2009

For your consideration

Dear C'est LA vie reader,
Once a week (starting today:), I will post a note-worthy quote from someone wise and famous for you to ponder. This will occur every Friday in a new little featurette I'd like to call...

"Quote of Note for the Weekend."

Please enjoy responsibly.

"Happiness is good health and a bad memory"
 Ingrid Bergman

Monday, November 16, 2009

Little old Ladies

There's this nice elderly woman living in our neighbourhood. Moses and I bump in to her every now and then just outside our building; it seems our daily walk often coincides with her grocery run. I would estimate her age to be about 85, her outfit always includes a fab combo of pink lipstick, a bright white tennis visor and a pair of enormous black shades. She either really likes to eat (although she's tiny), or she must throw a lot of dinner parties - because every time we meet, she's laden with shopping bags filled with food. I don't know her name; we never talk for long, but as soon as she sees us her whole face lights up and she promptly drops her bags to the ground, pets and compliments Moses a while, and then produces a treat from her pocket (for the dog, not me).

For all of these reasons, she never fails to make me smile... for a moment... But then I normally try to excuse myself, move on and get back to my walk, my lunch, my day, my life, whatever... And I forget all about her.

So today when we saw her again, I didn't think much of it - our little ritual proceeded as usual; the smiles, the bags, the petting, the treat (that Moses, rather rudely, always spits out after about a second!) ... And I was just about to deliver my standard 'goodbye' and ' you have a nice afternoon', when suddenly she paused, took off her sunglasses to reveal the kindest, bluest eyes and said in a clear, happy voice: "You know, this is the best thing that's happened to me all day". She then put the shades back on, waved lightly, gathered her shopping bags from the ground and continued up the sidewalk.

It was all I could do not to tear up right there on the street.
And then I thought to myself: Well, let this be a lesson about cherishing the small things without setting the bar too high, living in the moment and appreciating all that's good in your life...

Next time I think I will ask that little old lady for her name.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lunch date at the Thompson

Every week, Sean and I try to go on at least one proper date. The time of day, the type outing, which day etc. differs and doesn't really matter. The important thing is that we plan ahead to do something a little special together...and that it's just the two of us.

                                      Mmmm yes, these were just as good as they look :)

                                                                Here's looking at you kid.         

...So this afternoon, we went to the Thompson Hotel in Beverly Hills for lunch; lobster tacos and champagne (me), Kobe burger and beer (Sean). They have an amazing roof-terrace there, complete with a pool, a bar and cozy cabanas - it also boasts panoramic views all over Los Angeles. This is a bit of a 'spot', normally buzzing with people, but today we had the whole bar area almost completely to ourselves (with the exception of a very hungover bartender and a couple of bikini clad ladies lounging by the pool... Sean politely turned his back to them, thank you very much). It was a really great experience - the weather was perfect, the food delicious and we felt like we owned the place...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Two sides to the - Lanvin - story

This ad literally leaves me both hot and cold. If I had $2000+ to spend on accessories right now, it sure wouldn't be on those boots to the right. What is with this bondage/stripper trend that's EVERYWHERE in footwear this season!? Even - evidently - at Lanvin, a brand normally synonymous with somber sophistication and class.
Why anyone would spend a small fortune just to look cheap is beyond me. As for that beautiful piece of art on the left...Well, that's a whooole other fashion matter. Sheer perfection. In a bag.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Great products + Folic Acid = Good hair

Visiting my LA hairdresser recently (the excellent Amanda at Luxe Lab in Santa Monica), I received a welcome compliment on the improved quality of my hair. I put this little victory over my formerly brittle strands down to a couple of factors: For the past three months I've been supplementing my diet with Folic Acid (not only does it make your hair grow faster, it also strengthens bones, skin and nails), and twice weekly I lather up with Philip B African Shea Butter Shampoo. This is hands down the best shampoo I have ever tried; rich in texture and fantastically nurturing without ever weighing the hair down. It is also fragrance free which is great if you have sensitive skin or want to add a scented conditioner. Granted, at $39 a pop it's hardly a bargain, but if one were to view it as a yearly treatment - rather than a daily hair wash - the high cost could be somewhat justified... :)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Oh la la...

French Toast!

If there's a better way to start a lazy Sunday I don't want to know it. The ways to cook French toast are many and the ingredients vary. My personal favourite is a cinnamon variety served with fresh fruit, crisp bacon and - most importantly - maple syrup.

This recipe serves two:

Dip 4 slices white bread (lightly toasted to better soak up the eggs) in a mixture of
2 large eggs
1/2 - 1 cup (1-2 dl) milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground black pepper (for added oomph:)

Preheat a pan on medium heat and brown the bread on both sides in plenty of butter.
Serve hot.

(A little factoid: The Swedish name for French Toast is "Fattiga Riddare" meaning "Poor Knights" ... I recently learned that the name is old and stems from the days of yore when no food was ever wasted and poorer people made this meal as a way to salvage old, dried out bread.)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I heart the Internet

...Just as I had settled in to my new, old-fashioned way of thinking (see yesterday's entry), I found several really good reasons to be pleased about, and thankful for modern technology: Logging in to Facebook this morning I was pleasantly surprised by the resurfacing of my old friend and London hairstylist, the fabulous Maximiliano Centini. (If you think the name is fantastic, wait 'til you meet the man :) I haven't seen him in over three years, but now, thanks to Facebook we're back in touch. Another lovely little occurrence on my homepage was a friend's request from a childhood acquaintance who reminded me of places and people I had long forgotten but am very happy to re-remember... And last but not least I received the longest, most gorgeous email ever from my bestest Irish-girl Dorothy Fitzgerald (another great name). We met in acting class years ago when we both attended the London Film Academy...Hadn't talked to her in a while and reading all her exciting news was the perfect, inspirational way to start the day. Here's to good old friends conveniently connecting online!

(In the pic: Me and D in the Hollywood Hills last fall)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Grandma's ways

This spread on Thank You cards in the November issue of House Beautiful immediately made me think of my Grandmother. Her name was Gunnel and I remember her as a Lady in every sense of the word. When I was a child, I often watched her sit down by this beautiful old, blue and white secretary that stood in her bedroom. Next she would pull out the top drawer and produce a pretty, printed card on which she would write a note of thanks to someone for a dinner-party here, a luncheon there. After she finished, we took the short walk down the village, stopped by the Post Office for stamps and that obligatory chat with the woman in the window. We'd then put the letter in the box, pick up a bag of "granny-candy" (you know, the multi- coloured bonbon kind?) from the shop and typically finish it before even reaching the house...
A lovely tradition really. And isn't it a shame when you think that all the little stages of such a simple action; the pretty card, the pen, the walk, the stamps, the chat...are completely lost when you shoot off that quick e-mail instead? Personally, I can't wait to get my hands on a gorgeous set of cards like one of those above, sit down (my kitchen table will have to suffice as - unlike my Grandmother - I don't have a beautiful secretary in my bedroom) and hand-write my next Thank You to someone special...

Sunday, November 01, 2009

What's for dinner?

This year, for our Halloween supper we cooked oven roasted chicken with a spinach, pear and walnut salad. Pickled beetroots and goat-cheese provided that crucial finishing touch... Dessert was pumpkin pie.... of course. 'Yummy' doesn't do this justice. - Do try!

Happy Campers

My hubby Sean and I went to nearby Temescal Canyon this afternoon in search of its supposedly amazing waterfall. We probably should have figured it - since it hasn't rained in L.A. in like forever - but once we finally reached the top of the hill to take in the fall, all the drought had left behind was a few muddy puddles... Ah well, the hike was lovely nonetheless, providing well needed exercise after yesterdays pumpkin pie, and the scenery was of course gorgeous. (Esp. all the shirtless, well oiled (or sweaty?) male joggers that in typical LA fashion overrun the trail...)

Footnote:) The boots I'm sporting in the pic above are Campers  and they are the most amazingly comfortable things you could ever wear (and so much more attractive than those dreaded UGGS, no?) The ultra soft leather keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Highly recommended!
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