Saturday, November 21, 2015

Big Sur

I have terrible wanderlust.

About once a week I think wistfully of the brilliantly emerald Scottish highlands or traversing the cobblestone streets of Rome at dusk. I think about crisp hot trdelnik melting chocolate into my fingertips while listening to street musicians in Prague. I think about dancing in St. Peter's Square under twinkle lights to the moan of a violin.

I am a hopeless romantic and the sights, smells, and sounds of the world beckon to me.

About a month ago, Justin went to a Porsche event called Rennsport outside San Jose. He and his buddy Mark drove from San Jose down the PCH back to Los Angeles in his old school 911. He came back spinning tales of white cliffs, epic vistas, abundant succulents, and bathing sea lions. I was smitten.

And yesterday I got to experience it for myself.

Our day started at 4 AM with the anticipation of catching a 6:15 flight from LA to San Jose. From San Jose we planned to drive down Hwy 1 towards Big Sur to take in the sights. 

Our arrival at San Jose was like a shock to the system. First of all, San Jose airport was quiet, nearly deserted at 7:30 in the morning. LAX is an incredibly busy beehive, always jam packed with people and action. At San Jose, we wandered around the airport like two lost souls after the Rapture. Secondly, San Jose has open space. I mean, miles of it. Just these massive rolling green hills crowding the road with the occasional farm house to add perspective. 

In LA you can't find open space till you reach the ocean. 

And what makes it even more weird is the fact that it is weird to me at all. In the past four months I have become so accustomed to the crowded roads and cities of LA that I have forgotten what it feels like to be in a rural area. It is freeing and makes my heart ache a little. 

But California has a way of making you fall in love.

Northern California is abundant in verdant hills, sheer rocky cliffs, and breathtaking views. The roadsides along highway 1 are swathed in brilliantly orange and red succulents. Fog and ocean mist cling to the cliff sides like a lover and the sun sparkles off turquoise blue waters. There are swathes of towering pines and scrubby sharp scented creosote bushes soaking in the sun's warmth. Around every curve in the road there is a new wonder. A sharp intake of breath, you can't help it. The view kicks you in the stomach and makes you yearn for more. 

Somewhere along the road Justin and I pulled off, climbed a fence, and wandered our way along cacti and creosote to a lovely secluded beach. The way to the beach met us with long lacy grass caressing our fingertips and hips.  Seawater guttered around white rocks and driftwood lay scattered in the sand. It was a place just waiting for a love scene.

Later that day we dined at Ragged Point restaurant, chowing down on burgers and sweet potato fries with the hunger of the near-starved. The restaurant tabby, a monstrous orange thing with marbled fur, kept us company and vertical gardens sat draped against the side of the restaurant while we dined alfresco.

As I write this I can't help but wish I was back there. Brisk wind, hot sun, the music of the waves. Maybe when LA is all wrapped up and Justin and I have to move on we will turn our gaze to Northern California. To the hills that look like Tuscany and the cliffs that inspire poetry.

You just can't go too wrong there.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Angeles Crest Highway

Golly gee.
What a week.

Do you ever have weeks where at the end you can only be glad you survived? Do you have weeks where the only chance of recovery involves a solid night's sleep and a moment of blessed silence?

That was my week. We are talking a handful of 12 hour work days, being choked out by a six year old,  and a newly developed eye twitch from too much documentation. At the end of my day on Thursday I indulged in a good cry, some bourbon, and like six hours of The Flash on netflix. 

Isn't Los Angles life so glamorous?

I think missing Justin has clouded my sunny skies of late. From LA to Chicago to San Antontio, he has been busy jetting off around the country. He has been gone a week. In that time summer had fled, heralding a bevy of chilly mornings and perfect days. The beautiful LA weather I was longing for has finally arrived. We are talking sunny and 75 with evenings that host enough nip in the air to warrant a sweater. 

On my days off I have been sewing like a mad woman, compiling a wardrobe full of stripes, corduroy, denim, and lace. I have this mental ideal of my fall wardrobe, with items from Reformation, Free People, and ASOS. However, my checkbook and I don't see eye-to-eye on these desires, so I guess I will keep sewing. I have reached the depth of self-deception that I tell myself my creations almost look store-bought. 

I have a lot of items awaiting their turn to be posted, but I need to get started on the backlog first. 

So, with Adele piping soulfully away in the background, I am going to post some pics from the Angeles Crest Highway and my crazy mixed-pattern boho mess dress. 

This dress was kind of a Frankenstein of desires. I wanted something bohemian and floaty, yet edgy and structured. This is what came out of it. I didn't use a pattern and the sleeves are definitely funky. I glance at it periodically inside my closet and think I may have to edit them a bit. Lace, I think to myself, it needs some navy lace. But for now it will have to do.

The fabric is a mixture of striped linen and a poly-mix dotted in multi-colored arrows. I bought the fabric at M and L Fabrics from the discount pile. Holla for $1.95 a yard. I love the bodice, particularly the back with its trio of lines keeping it together. The waist is quite loose and the whole dress can be slipped on over my shoulders. It is the kind of dress that invites an extra slice of pizza and beer around a flickering firepit.

The Angeles Crest Highway is a carousel of thrusting pines and spicy earth spun among blue-white skies. You can stand on the edge of a mountain and feel anonymous yet powerful as a deity. There is no doubt it will be the backdrop for posts to come.