Friday, November 25, 2011

Today's Picks! *or* A Rant About Black Friday

1. As you probably noticed from current news, peeps are sticking it to The Man lately. Many average American people don't have it as easy as before and nobody likes the people who do. So, in true Occupy Wall St. fashion, support the little guy this Christmas/Chanukah/winter AND save some money on affordable gifts! These bennykelly scarves are ridiculously comfy and completely fashionable. The first circle scarf I ever saw many years ago was from this designer. She's the cutting edge and you need her in your life.
2. Terrariums! Do I need to explain how awesome this is? If you have a black thumb like me, you can buy a complete kit from Terrain. Otherwise, I highly recommend getting creative.
3. Cheap sustainable apparel! I've been buying from Threads for Thought at Whole Foods for years, and you can find even more on the brand's website.
4. Rock your holiday parties and 'damn The Man' (see #1 above) in something truly unique like this necklace I spotted on Etsy. Nobody already saw it at the mall or on someone else.
5. Oh, Lupicia, I love you so! Check out Carol tea which comes out only for the Christmas season each year. It's a favorite at my house. BTW this is a Japanese company. Remember? That disaster we all donated to a while back? They're still cleaning it up even now that it's no-longer top news. Here's a link for the American Red Cross, because we'd all like to think someone would help us if we were in such need.
6. I love the sustainable Christmas trees my family gets every year, but they don't have the strongest scent. This year we're filling the living room with tree scent via these Illume candles from Anthropologie. They smell perfect and they aren't made of poisonous ingredients like the candles I see elsewhere.
7. Is anybody else sick of holiday consumerism? I realize our economy runs on it and Christmas presents are so much fun, but I feel like the US needs to quit overspending! We are a culture that buys crap! Loads of crap! For ourselves, for each other... if the money is in our pockets, we buy crap with it. (Yes "we!" I'm guilty as well!) ...For years I've dreaded holiday shopping, and yet we all go back and wade through crowds to wait in ridiculous lines to give our money away because we have to give our loved ones something else to add to their piles of crap. ::insert painful landfill/my bedroom image here:: ...These are the festive cupcakes I baked and decorated that were served at a holiday charity event recently. (What?! I donated time and money and passed on something else like coffee or a fancy meal out?! Yes! And you can do it too!) I think more of my friends might be getting baked goods this year. *Note: You can waste less food if you share!*

(Also, since I mentioned it, here's a well-written critique of OWS. While I'm a progressive person who cannot blame people for being angry about the state of our economy, I believe in real, practical solutions. I support parts of the Occupy movement that I think can lead to a valuable outcome: financial consciousness in American government and everyday life ... For the rest of it, here's THIS article.)

In conclusion, I'd like to encourage everyone to get creative and even more thoughtful this holiday season, in whatever way you see fit... even if you choose to buy from a large corporation. ...They probably employ lots of nice folks.

Wishing everyone happy and cozy holidays!!!!!!!
(with minimal credit card bills)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hiking Temescal Canyon

Today some friends and I hiked Temescal Canyon in Pacific Palisades. (The only Palisades trail I'm willing to share on the Internet/with non-locals.) It was amazing... and grueling. I'm so out of shape since I stopped wanting to hike alone! (That ends now. There haven't been any new mountain lion sightings.) ANYWAY! This isn't a diary and I do have a point! ... We hiked a higher version of the loop than I've ever done before (general rule being start at the left and stay to te right after the waterfall) and when we got to the top there was a big rock to climb. Here we found a new version of the sweeping city+ocean views Temescal has to offer. It was breathtaking! Our (barefooted!) hiking guide had even brought us each a perfect apple to munch while looking out over the Pacific. The real highlight, however, was an unnatural one. A fire department helicopter came cruising over the hills while we were on the rock. For a good time we were ABOVE the helicopter even. Finally, it came so close we could see the people inside through the glass!... and then it swooped overhead and left us back with our peaceful view.
I'm trying to not always be one of those people who sees the world through my iPhone, so I was sans camera for the whole thing, and it did feel good, but that means you'll have to use your imagination.

...There are cabins in Temescal too! I took this photo on a previous visit:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Lost Notebooks of Hank WIlliams

I've never considered myself a country fan, but somewhere along the way I took a huge liking to Hank Williams music. "Hey Good Lookin'" makes me smile and sing every time I hear it. Now, unrecorded music from Williams' notebooks has been recorded into a new album by a variety of current artists, including Bob Dylan. (I think the NPR report on this is the best.) "You're Through Fooling Me" performed by Patty Loveless  and "The Love That Faded" performed by Bob Dylan are my favorites of the moment.