Thursday, April 29, 2010

blow out

In Laguna Beach the weather always calls for some version of nice. Sun. Sun with a few puffs of clouds. Sun with a breeze. It is no wonder these long time residents are always in such a good mood. Those of us who hail from New York, as I may have mentioned before, are a bit cynical of sunny niceties. We need a good storm, or someone with an attitude, to show that the world is right.

Since last night it has been windy, the kind of wind that blows your lawn paraphernalia into a neighbor's yard. The ocean is wild with passion. There is not a surfer in sight. This reminds me of the weather in East Hampton when a hurricane approaches. It is exciting. People are preparing for the hysteria to come. Wind chimes rattle and then fall to the ground. I can hear our chunky buoys clank about, this is a first for me.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

herb appeal

Typically I welcome rain and inclement weather in Laguna Beach. All of this sunshine can make a cynical East Coaster somewhat suspect. However this week the rain's presence was a tad disconcerting. With the help of some great local talent and my colleagues, we have been planning the first photo session for Yum for Kids, a new food and entertaining magazine for moms and kids. Part of the shoot will be a pizza making story photographed at a nearby home. We postponed the shoot for tomorrow due to the forecast. Thus I had more time to prepare, marketing for such ingredients as fresh herbs and tomatoes that have yet to be broken from their vine.

real banana bread

For tomorrow's photo shoot, I made banana bread--cracked eggs, mashed bananas--the real deal. Though the two muffins I made with the remaining batter did not turn out as well. Allan said otherwise but he is just being a sweet husband.

Recipe is as follows, though I recommend licking the bowl if you have excess batter.

* 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
* 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
* 1/2 tsp table salt

* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1/4 tsp baking powder
* 1 large egg, beaten
* 3 tsp canola oil
* 2 medium egg whites, beaten
* 3 large ripe bananas
* 1 cup instant oatmeal (maple or cinnamon flavor)


1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a 9×5 inch loaf pan, spray with cooking spray or grease the pan. (Margarine works best).

3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, table salt, baking soda and baking powder.

4. Stir in the canola oil and eggs into the bowl.

5. In a separate bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or fork. Then add bananas and oatmeal to the batter.

6. Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake it for about 45 to 50 minutes. Use cake prick and test in the middle. The bread is ready if it comes out clean.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

take a stand

There is a slow invasion taking place on our patch of the Pacific waters. The cool arch of the surfer is straightening up, recalling the romantic imagery of a Hawaiian paddler topped with a wreath of hibiscus flowers. Stand up paddle surfing (SUP) is a trend that is quickly dotting ocean lines. The sport requires less time obsessing over surf reports and fluency in surfer dialect is not a requirement. Stand up paddling provides a strong core workout that can result in the physique of a veteran yogi.

Expect the activity to dominate Laguna Beach this summer with the newly opened Stand Up Paddle Company. Partners Tommy and Noelle have seized the trend and are prepared to set the coastline ablaze with their bright boards. The shop not only sell the gear needed to outfit SUPers, they offer lessons, rentals and have plans to conduct ocean trash cleanups as a way of giving back to the community. There is also a finely edited selection of clothing and accessories, such as lululemon fitness apparel, SIGG water bottles and shirts you'd see on wavy haired skateboarders. We are fortunate to have this shop just blocks from The Four Tides.

america's next top models

Yes, Olivia and Dean do watch Tyra preside over aspring young models each week. Though the cold stares and poses that keep a chiropractor's office busy are less appealing than girls who giggle, they do model these hats better than the diva herself. Taken at SUP, we could have spent the afternoon trying on clothes, glasses and the like.

Monday, April 12, 2010

yahoo for wahoo's

Families, surfers, vegetarians, meat lovers--all are welcome at Wahoo's Fish Tacos. (Though don't let the "fish" fool you, the menu is brimming with choices). Right around the corner from The Four Tides on PCH, this is not a fast food restaurant or fine dining. It is a convenient, fresh and easy dining experience. There is a lot to look out inside and outside (seen here with Oliva and Dean in the patio, which is as colorful as a parrot). The line may also look long but it moves quickly. Calling in your order for take-out is an added convenience. However the popularity of this established eatery is the menu. Yes, Mexican does not have to mean fried, greasy food. You will find fresh fish, meat, beans, brown rice and even tofu. The prices are reasonable as well. It's no wonder we eat here so frequently.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

late for an appointment

Sean, a noted Brooks Street surfer who masters his skill, was gracious enough to flash us a smile despite his real interest: excellent waves.

toe-tally cute

Toe style at its brightest. Perfect for sandals, flip flops and sand. (Toe model: Olivia).

ocean tides

Even on an overcast day like this one, the tide draws you in. Here Olivia runs for the ocean, sans her wetsuit. This is the beach at the corner of Brooks Street--historic surf spot.

Friday, April 9, 2010

a guy's take

Husband thinks we need to show more of the Four Tides' male perspective. Do I suspect fishing and killer surf? Beer slurped from a can? Ribs well done on the grill? (Husband doesn't even like ribs). There is one conundrum, much of the materials I have been working with were his. This is the home he grew up in. In fact, we are in the process of adding more modern and masculine additions, removing some of the cutesy cottage stuff, as we update Low Tide.

sign language

I have never seen a sign that says "welcome to the city." Though at one time I thought hand-painted signs fell into the kitsch category--this is the beach, the rules are loose, nail up a sign. More to come....

finding a good home

Though this quilt speaks Laura Ingalls Wilder, it became a tad too bulky for our small bedroom. In its former place is the bassinet--story later... Luckily my good friend and colleague, Hillary Black, took it off our hands. In fact it is most likely in a better place, as she has plans to mend all its tatters and frays.

take another nook

Our dining nook is already in the process of a major transformation of the Nicole Ritchie kind. Gone are the wicker chairs, which are replaced by built in benches. Thank you Arturo! They also provide storage space. Once we have the bench cushions and draperies in place, you will see quite a transformation.

spring cleaning

We are not spring cleaning -- how a bottle of Windex would be welcomed in comparison -- we are spring overhauling. In anticipation of the summer, which is a double challenge with renters and the impending birth of our child, there is a lot to do. You will see that many of our cottage elements will be removed to make way for this new chapter. Example 1: the cupboard will, must, become more functional. Stay tuned...


It's here. The flower petals are springing open, seducing us. It's time to release seasonal clothing from their winter retreat. There are places that always make me happy in the spring: everywhere on New York's Madison Avenue, Central Park, bookstores, flower shops. In Newport Beach, once you past the lunching ladies who shield their appearances beneath their big sunglasses, as if they expect to engage with paparazzi, there is a flower shop that gets you in the mood. Urban Gardener is the place. They dazzle with creative displays, arrangements and sometimes will introduce you to a rose color or flower you've never known before.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

losing my marbles

Not just the material used to create statues, marble is the go to stone for some of the best looking kitchens I've been in. My last home was filled with it--tables, counters, cutting boards--I loved its simplicity despite naysayers who admonished its impracticality. Allan and I are looking into ways to bring marble into one of the cottages, either Low or High Tide.

past imagery

Five years ago I gave up the life I knew, I left New York for California. In New York there were nights that began after 9:00, the constant clanking of great shoes against marble entryways on route to some routine event that, now, is quite fabulous in comparison to the relaxed life I chose. Though, back in New York, I was happiest in my home in East Hampton.

My mother was amazed when she visited us in Laguna Beach, struck by the similarities of my current home to my home in East Hampton. Both are clapboards painted in barn house red. Both are vintage, built with such things as breezeways and potbelly stoves. Though East Hampton is distinctively East Coast, with its windmills and third generation run hardware stores.

This little wall in Red Tide is my love letter to East Hampton. There is a by the numbers painting of a lighthouse, which is probably not the Montauk lighthouse I grew up with, spending an afternoon exploring, but it works. There is also a framed envelope written with my former home's address, enclosed was an invitation to an event. This envelope was pure art, so beautiful it deserved placement in a unique frame my father found at a yard sale. The creator of this lavish envelope is Bernard Maisner, who is arguably the world's best calligrapher. As I traded one ocean for another, I can still be reminded of where I came from.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

collector's edition

I have always been drawn to pretty, interesting things. Husband is drawn to things. He is a collector. He collects old spritzer bottles, bicycles and even has a brick from the theater where Gone With the Wind premiered. Allan also collects the everyday. Sea glass, as an example, is big with him. These things find a place in our home of three (and growing!), which can be like an epic novel that takes an eternity to read.

the lone tomato

Today Allan gardened. In fact he gardens everyday that is garden-weather permitting. The trees were given crew cuts, pails collected the stray detritus of winter's unforgiving months. As with our home, there is still much to do. On Easter I gave Allan and Olivia a tomato plant. I have hopes to do the very Michelle Obama thing and have our family versed in growing our own food. The benefits are too numerous to site. Allan left the tomato plant today for the call of real life, the most fun outdoor projects saved for last (digging a can shaped hole, releasing the plant from its plastic cage). And how we will look forward to watching this vegetable grow and prosper.