Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My New Favorite Plaything.

Anyone who read my most recent post prior to this one probably knows the depth of despair that I was wallowing in due to finding out that I will never be able to own my own petite lap giraffe as a pet, but as a reader of my blog, you should also know that I am prone to extreme highs and lows. Which is why I have completely forgotten about lap giraffes, pets, and sadness, and now want to rave about my new toy. 

It's called

Despite what you're thinking, it's not a website for packing tasty outdoor treats; no, it's so much more exciting than that. It's FREE photo editing tools that are on the internet. If you're wondering why I'm excited about this, then it's clearly because you haven't had the experience of thinking to yourself "Hmm, it might be kind of cool to have Photoshop on my computer so that I can touch up some of those pictures I wanted to put on my blog.", and then found out that the latest version of Photoshop costs a whopping $400. Furthermore, if you're like me, and your computer is a Dell-o-saurus Rex, it would probably crash if you put Photoshop on it. Picnik erases that problem, because not only is it all online, it also stores your pictures, and all of the edits you make to each picture on your account. Did I mention it's free?  It's literally God's gift to bloggers. 

So now, credit where credit is due: I found this website through a very cute blog called Kitchen Corners, which is written by an adorable Brazilian mother of two named Damaris. She initially was using Picnik to edit pictures which she then used to make t-shirts for her son's birthday party. Anyway, she's a doll, you can check out her blog here:

Without further ado, here's what I've been tinkering with on Picnik, and believe it or not, this is only a small sample of what you can do with the tools and filters they offer. Agh, I'm having way too much fun.

1. Swanky Calabasas birthday parties. Photo cred to the woman who kept bringing us appetizers.

2. The cute people who made me from scratch. Photo credit: Curtis Simpson Photography

3. Da Jabon Market at the Dominican/Haitian border when I visited in 2008.

4. Beach with friends in the Dominican Republic.

5. Busy streets of Monte Cristi.

6. B-dub being affectionate at an ice cream shop in DR.

7. Friends at Malibu Family Wines. Photo Credit: Liz Abend (soon to be Navarro!)

8. Roses from my Mom's garden (FYI this was taken on my Blackberry).

9. Droid phones and cuddle buddies. Photo Credit: Sarah D.

10. Co-chairs. Dodgeball. 80's Ladies. Photo Credit: Co-Kelly

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tale of Heartbreak

There once was a girl who never had pets as a child because her family moved all the time. All of her friends had dogs, and cats, and gerbils and hamsters, and turtles and crickets and doves.

But this sad girl had no pets. Well, she had a couple of goldfish in college, but they were emo and one of them committed suicide. Anyhow, this girl went through 23 years of life with no pet to call her own, and the longer she lived, the more she realized that she wanted a pet, but she wanted a really special pet. Not a dog, cat, gerbil, hamster, manatee, a cricket or an emu.

Something really special. And one day, she found it.

It was perfect.  A Petite Lap Giraffe.

Through the wonders of the interwebs, the girl found out that these tiny giraffes like air conditioning, hugs and kisses and filtered water, all things which the girl also liked. She also found out they only grew to be about 30 inches tall, which meant it would be the perfect size pet for a girl who lived in a studio apartment in Venice.

The girl spent lots of time reading about Petite Lap Giraffes and trying to figure out how to get on the waitlist to buy one from a farm in Russia. She also spent time day dreaming about how happy she would be when she and her tiny giraffe could run around the beach and frolic merrily in the sun.

And then it happened: The girl saw a commercial with a petite lap giraffe in it! She watched the commercial excitedly, and showed it to her friends and her Mom too. For some reason though, her Mom seemed to doubt the actual existence of the Lap Giraffes. The girl scoffed at her mother, and quickly set about proving her wrong in the most efficient and reputable method possible: Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, that backfired, because she found that there was no wiki page for lap giraffes. She then employed Step #2 of the Scientific Method: Google searching "are petite lap giraffes real?"

From this point, a downward spiral occurred that left the girl reeling in shock and anguish. Several blogs pointed out that the pictures of Lap Giraffes were actually stock photos with giraffes photo shopped in. Others pointed out the the Sokoblovsky Farms website where the giraffes could be purchased was actually a website run by a media company that does advertisements for DirectTV.

It all fell into place with a crushing and terrible devastation. The girl's beloved lap giraffe, who loved filtered water, hugs, and bonsai trees, was a hoax.

This is a cautionary tale about the cruelty of DirectTV and the internet. Make no mistake, this can happen to you. Adults and children alike have fallen into this terrible trap of fictitious lovable pets, and so I felt it was important to let this be a lesson to everyone:

Lap Giraffes are not real, and Direct TV is no closer to gaining my business because of their dirty, dirty advertising tricks.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Right Now is Beautiful.

As wonderful as life can be, it's really easy to get caught up in tomorrow.

It's easy to spend so much time thinking about what's coming next, and who, and where, and what you're going to be, that you completely miss the beauty of right now.

It's fun to be excited for the future, but it's better to remember that getting there is half the fun. 

Sometimes, I get in my car, and I have no idea where I'm going. I drive, and let my mind wander, and sometimes I end up in places I forgot I loved. Places that I forgot were beautiful. Places that I once found by accident. And then I remember that you don't have to know where you're going to end up where you're supposed to be.

So enjoy the ride. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Weekend Stroll

Since moving to Venice, I've been trying to immerse myself in new experiences as often as possible; even if they're a little bit out of the way. This has ranged from going to a speakeasy in Downtown LA, to being invited to the annual Polo Opening Day at Will Rogers State Park. I keep telling myself that most of the time the overall experience will outweigh the hassle of traveling (usually in some traffic). For the most part, I've found this to hold true, but sometimes I get lucky, and find amazing new experiences right in my neighborhood, and such was the case with my visit to the Venice Canals.

I've been wanting to visit the canals for a while now, but due to un-California like rain, a busy work schedule, and several trips out of town, I had to postpone this particular adventure.

Finally, last Saturday, the rain let up, and I was able to convince my friend Bryana to come check it out with me. We were pleasantly surprised when we got there.

I know I'm prone to hyperbole, but this was seriously so cool. The canals are on South Venice Blvd. and you could literally blink and miss them if you were driving down the street; it's like being in an entirely different world.  These tiny, shallow waterways run next to the most beautiful and eclectic mix of houses, and each house comes equipped with its own little boat.

There are foot paths and bridges going from one side to the other, and walking through them, it's easy to forget that Santa Monica is a nine-minute drive away and the beach is even closer.

 I did a little research (because, yes, I'm nerdy), and apparently, the Canals were the idea of Abott Kinney, the eccentric visionary who founded most of Venice in 1905. When they were first completed they were fully functional water ways for several miles, complete with gondoliers. Unfortunately, by the early 1930's with the popularity of the automobile, the canals fell into disrepair and were  mostly filled in by 1940. In the early nineties, some extensive renovation was done, and now the canals are not only a popular attraction, but multi-million dollar real estate as well.

Venice Canals in 1909. Photo courtesy of LA Public Library Photo Collection

Anyhow, enough with my history spiel. I'm happy to say that this is destined to become one of my favorite new spots for a quiet afternoon walk or bike ride, complete with fantasies about owning a $3 million waterfront home, a dog, and a gondola.

Hey, a girl can dream.

Friends don't let friends miss out on Pancake Day.

I absolutely live for special occasions, and there's nothing I like more than finding out that there's a special occasion happening that I wasn't previously aware of (unless it's a birthday, because then, chances are I just end up looking like a bad friend).

That said, today is......National Pancake Day!!!! and I have three things to tell you about that.

1. These are quite possibly the most beautiful pancakes I've ever seen. Click on the link to get the recipe:

Photo credit: Deb from Smitten Kitchen
2. You can get FREE pancakes at IHOP today between 7AM - 10PM. Not only that, but you have a chance to help a good cause, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, which will be accepting donations at participating IHOP restaurants. You know how I love fun and good causes.Check it out here for more details:

3. Happy National Pancake Day! In case you're wondering, I will be at the IHoP on Lincoln Blvd. in Marina Del Rey tonight, getting my pancake fix. Come say hi.