Happy Chinese New Year!

2020 is the Year of the Rat

Recent years of the Rat are: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020.

Rats are clever and quick thinkers.  Here’s proof:

The Rat is the first of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. The Rat tricked the Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived at the finish line, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox, becoming first.

The Rat is also associated with the Earthly Branch (地支—dì zhī) Zi (子) and the midnight hours. In the terms of yin and yang (阴阳—yīn yáng), the Rat is yang and represents the beginning of a new day.

In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus.  More at link below:

Here’s what I’m up to this evening:

Introducing a new monthly Sunday Soiree at Jake’s restaurant, Palm Springs. They want to kick off by celebrating Chinese New Year. Since this town tends to celebrate the Rat Pack on any given day, how fitting that 2020 is officially the Year of the Rat!

It’s a chance for Jake’s (a hidden gem in a town of many large venues) friends, family and fans to get together for a party. While usually every night is a party at Jake’s, the new Sunday Soirees will have a theme and seating will be limited! It may be a dinner, cocktail party or a fundraiser, but whatever it will be an evening filled with great food and drinks! Their culinary team is working very hard to develop creative menus for each event, while the bartenders are also creating new cocktails for each night. The self-proclaimed friendliest staff in town will be there to welcome you and ensure you enjoy the festivities.

Chinese New Year 2020                 

                                                  Celebrating with the meanings behind the menu

Craft cocktails specially created for the evening! (means we just want to drink)

Passed dim sum, dumplings, and potstickers

(they symbolize unity, togetherness and harmony)

Amuse

Duck Confit Spring Roll  春卷

(since they look like bars of gold, spring rolls are a wish for prosperity and wealth)

Starter

Longevity Noodles with Lobster Broth and Tail Meat   长寿面

(long noodles = long life, lobster means endless money rolling in!)

Main Course

Steamed Cod Ginger Scallion Sauce   蒸鳕鱼与姜和葱

(The typical blessing is wishing you to have a surplus of food and money every year)

Kung Pao Chicken  功夫保鸡

It represents reunion and rebirth

Pineapple Fried Rice 菠萝炒饭       Mr Tso Cauliflower 先生椰菜花

(they just taste good!)

Dessert is an assortment of Chinese and American Pastries

More about Jake’s Restaurant:

Jake’s is a casual European-style bistro nestled in a secluded courtyard at the epicenter of the Uptown Design District of Palm Springs. Much like the architectural & style artisans that surround it, Jake’s takes cues from the past with a nod to the future in the kitchen & behind the bar. Classics menu items are given a surprising twist while new flavor combinations excite the palate. They meticulously select all of their wines, and the cocktails are creative and modern. With a vast selection of cakes!

Since 2007, Jake’s has defined al fresco dining in the area, often described as “quintessential Palm Springs” & recognized annually by OpenTable as one of the Top 100 Al Fresco Dining Spots in the USA.

More about the Rat:

https://chinesenewyear.net/zodiac/rat/

Art + Accomodation

I love the idea behind a brand new boutique getaway in Palm Springs aptly named the

ART Hotel

Photo: d. king

I say “getaway” instead of “hotel” because it’s the kind of place you will want to stay and linger for longer than a weekend.  Maybe a month or more? It’s easy to get inspired in a place like this.  It’s bright and bold so not for the faint of heart, or at least color.  A perfect place for artists.  The owner is in fact an artist, designer, author among other notable achievements.

Photo: d. King
Photo: d. king

Bookings for the Art Hotel will begin in January 2020. In addition to rentals, Turco also wants to use the space to host hybrid art exhibits/pool parties that will raise money for public arts projects.

Photo: d. king
Tracy with my Layla at Animal Samaritans Yappy Hour at the Riviera Hotel.  Tracy designed the dress she’s wearing.  Stunning – both she and the dress!   Photo: d. king

Coming soon: the Tiki hotel – another Turco project.

Take a peek inside here:

https://www.desertsun.com/story/money/business/2019/10/25/take-peek-inside-tracy-turcos-new-art-hotel-palm-springs/2452045001/

Questions + Answers with Tracy here:

http://www.avenuemagazine.com/space-and-places-a-qa-with-interior-designer-tracy-stern/

Le Vallauris – One for the Books

Last night I went for dinner to a slightly casual fancy French restaurant. 

That’s how I’d describe it.

 One considered to be Michelin star, situated in a restored historical landmark.  With a gorgeous setting; named after a village in Southern France where Picasso spent his pottery and ceramic painting years.

One I’ve been wanting to try and waiting for a special occasion but the occasion never arrived.  So I decided last night would be it.

Alone.  Well, not completely alone because I had my two shelties in tow…because you can do that in Palm Springs.  You may not be able to take them on many hiking trails anymore, but restaurants welcome well behaved canines. I’m not going to question this logic.   Think it has something to do with them disturbing big-horn sheep. Anyway, having said that, they were the only two in the place and did receive some attention as a result of.  They lay down quietly and behaved themselves.

It felt quite natural and somewhat bold up until the maitre d, realizing no one would be joining me, took the other place setting away and the couples started rolling in. Before too long the place filled up. One couple even brought a youngster at which point I felt my dogs were more well behaved.

I tried to ignore the couples however it began to feel somewhere in between completely natural and slightly awkward.  A waiter positioned a large white board featuring daily specials handwritten like artwork on an easel in front of me and placed a leather bound menu on the table.  I decided on the dégustation menu – a sampling of smaller portions of some of the chef’s signature dishes. This offering changes weekly.  It was incredible.

In between courses over an enjoyable glass of pinot noir, I began to question why I should feel strange sitting on my own.  After all I wanted to enjoy a quiet gastronomic experience.

I guess perhaps because it was not a cafeteria or a coffee shop but instead a romantic restaurant. 

In any event I’m happy I experienced taking myself out on a romantic date.  I can now cross this little chapter off my list and go back to cafeterias and coffee shops by myself.  And Luckily there are no big horn sheep allowed in the restaurants….so far.  Because my dogs make darn good dining companions.  The customers don’t seem to disturb them but the sheep would.

Happy Ending with a Grand Marnier Soufflé – light, fluffy, lovely. Photo: d. king

Le Vallauris celebrates it’s 40th year in Palm Springs as the leading French –  Mediterranean restaurant with the highest rating in the Valley by Zagat Survey, AAA, American Express and many others for many years

.http://www.levallauris.com/

Thick as Thieves – a boutique

Have you ever walked into a boutique and wanted to sit down, make yourself at home, have a cup of tea and just enjoy the space?

Photo: d. king

Thick as Thieves in Palm Springs is such a place.  You kinda want to move into the place.

Look up, look way up. The macrame was done by hand by the owners mother. All of it. Photos: d. king

Thick As Thieves was started by Jeremy Smick and Samantha Caltagirone, a husband and wife team who packed up everything they owned and moved from the Midwest to beautiful Palm Springs, California to open their first brick and mortar boutique store in early 2017. With a little budget and a lot of creativity, the duo created a highly curated shop of handmade goods, gifts, clothing, oddities and unique finds that blend industrial, primitive, modern and global styles. In December 2019, their store was named 1 of 50 Best Home Stores in America by House Beautiful Magazine. They’ve also been honored to be included in Goop’s Travel Guide as Best Shops in Palm Springs, California.

2020 Vision…when life gets blurry adjust your focus

Happy New Year everyone…finally.

We’re already two weeks in but until recently I’ve had company, a floor renovation here in Palm Springs and finally the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) which has just ended.  So I’ve been somewhat distracted until now. Normally I try to take in as many films as possible.  However this time I managed only four films.  Three fascinating documentaries of which I’ll touch on here to start up my blog.

The Truth – taken from PSIFF film media library.  I think Deneuve is solely responsible for making the “leopard coat” sexy and relevant even today.

I saw one feature “The Truth” starring Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche & Ethan Hawke (above photo).  A celebrated actress (Deneuve) publishes her memoirs amid a choppy relationship with her daughter (Binoche) who lives in her moms shadow and is married to a second rate American Actor (Hawke).  I enjoyed watching this film solely because of the actors.  Deneuve alone was the deciding factor going in with no prior knowledge of what the film was about.  She does a tremendous job of playing a self-absorbed screen diva.  She remains beautiful.

David Foster: Off the Record

David Foster with just a few grammy awards – taken from PSIFF film media images

 I thought for sure that the U.S. premier about the Canadian music icon would not ensure a full house.
But I was wrong.  Albeit a lot of the audience members were Canadians.  He is after all the Canadian equivalent of Quincy Jones.  His musical accomplishments could not be more celebrated in this documentary about his life and career. He discovered Celine Dion.  It explores his creative relationships with Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand and countless others. Fascinating man.

House of Cardin

House of Cardin – image taken from PSIFF film media library

What is Pierre Cardin up to?  Is he even still alive? At 97 years of age his name has a stamp on pretty much everything.  If he sold out, he did so on his own terms.

Pierre Cardin, the Italian born (everyone thought he was French) fashion icon changed the world of haute couture forever.  This documentary traces the life and career of a remarkable trailblazer.  As the trailer points out, it’s filled with eye candy (Sharon Stone among others are interviewed) and is a five-course feast for fashion lovers.  Indeed! If you love fashion this doc is a must!

The Kingmaker

Imelda Marcos on her 85th birthday in KINGMAKER. Photo Credit: Lauren Greenfield.

Dramatic, Dazzling, Disgraceful.

Lauren Greenfield’s cutting portrait of the legendarily extravagant Imelda Marcos starts with the shoes and the servants, then slyly expands into an examination of her dynastic ambitions and the damage that she and her corrupt family have wreaked upon the Philippines.

Stay tuned for updates from Palm Springs on various places to dine, shop and play.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Mood: Mission Inn

HISTORY AND BEAUTY AROUND EVERY CORNER

I had the unexpected pleasure of visiting the unique and magnificent Mission Inn Hotel and Spa during this holiday season along with a splendid Festival of Lights that light up the hotel and surrounding areas.  Located in Riverside, California (about a 90-minute drive from Palm Springs with little traffic) and with only two more days until Christmas, let’s just say that this helped get me into the spirit. These photos barely do it justice.

Photo: d. king

The Cornerstone of Downtown Riverside

It is the most unique hotel in America. It’s a monastery, a museum, a fine hotel, a home, a boardinghouse, a mission, an art gallery and an aviator’s shrine. It combines the best features of all of the above. If you are ever in any part of California, don’t miss the famous Mission Inn of Riverside.” – Will Rogers

Photo: d. king

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, is a historic landmark hotel in downtown Riverside, California.  Many presidents (including President Kennedy) stayed there and Richard Nixon married Pat at this hotel.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

The story of the Mission Inn stretches over more than a century and began with the Miller family, migrants to California from Tomah, Wisconsin.  In 1874, civil engineer C.C. Miller arrived in Riverside, began work on a water system, and with his family, began a small boarding house in the center of town.

The Mission Inn’s rise to greatness began in the late 1800’s when wealthy Easterners and Europeans flocked to Riverside in search of both a warmer winter climate and also a way to invest in the area’s profitable citrus industry. By the 1890’s, Riverside was the richest city per capita in the United States. The consistent influx of tourists to Riverside made Frank Miller, the Master of the Inn, recognize the dire need for a grand resort hotel.

It was in that moment that the evolution of The Mission Inn began. Frank Miller opened the first wing, The Mission, of his new hotel in 1903, which was built in Mission-Revival style architecture and incorporated different structural elements of the 21 California Missions. Mr. Miller went on to add three more wings to his hotel: the Cloister, the Spanish and the final addition, the Rotunda wing, in 1931.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 1996, dates back to 1876.

Horse drawn carriages for a fairytale ride. Where’s my Prince?  Photo: d. king

 

Happy Holidays!

References:

https://www.missioninn.com/

https://missioninnmuseum.org/contact/careers/history-mission-inn-hotel-spa/

Header Photo (red ribbon on building) – d. king

Style Notes

I arrived Palm Springs just in time for Thanksgiving, and after a lengthy break from posting it’s now almost Christmas.  Hard to believe. Heading into another New Year I look forward to what lies ahead.  The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) kicks off early January so that’s always a welcome start.  Check out new movies, events and places on this website come 2020.  Wow….2020 – isn’t that wild?

Until then I want to share with you the glamorous beauty and accessory finds that arrived in Rachel Zoe’s Winter Box of Style.  Starting with this classic fashionable addition:

From Maison Du Soir:

A chic crepe de chine floral robe that can be layered a multitude of ways to wear all year long.

Top Notch Beauty: the Radiance Rescuer from ESTÉE LAUDER

This Revitalizing Supreme+ Global Anti Aging Crème is a multi-benefit moisturizer with *moringa extract to help boost skin’s natural collagen and anti-oxidants.  I love how it helps smooth and firm skin while also hydrating.

The Everyday Adornment: AF by Andrea Fohrman  Diamond Pendant

A genuine diamond pendant on a gold plated sterling silver necklace.  This 16″ with a 2″ extender is delicate to wear on its own or layered with other pieces.

The Cozy Essential: Ethics Supply Co. Starry Night  Candle

Set the mood with this candle Infused with essential oils and hand-poured in the U.S. Bonus: has a 55+ hour burn time.  Smells heavenly.

Hollywood Glamour Mini Palette 

With this Rachel Zoe x LORAC palette (choose between warmer or cooler shades)

Rachel is a smokey eye expert and selected a combination of colors that will suit any complexion.

That wraps up Box of Style for this year.  We’ll have to wait to find out what’s in store for next year.  You can order yours here:

Box of Style

Get exclusive seasonal styles delivered right to your door…four times a year! And don’t worry, you can change or cancel your membership at any time with no questions asked.  How great is that?

*Moringa is a plant that is native to areas of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. It is also grown in the tropics. The leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds, and root are used to make medicine.  The natural vitamin C in moringa oil boosts collagen, helping reduce fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.  The vitamin-rich and nutrient-dense moringa oil makes for an excellent active ingredient in skin-care products, thanks to its antioxidants, antibacterial, and nourishing properties.

Above Images taken from Box of Style Website

 

 

Feel-good Friday: Echo in the Canyon

This is the most feel-good I’ve felt ALL WEEK

(left) Tom Petty gives his last film interview to Jakob Dylan (son of Bob) in “Echo in the Canyon”, (right) David Crosby recalls the neighborly “social network” that made Laurel Canyon special – images The Argonaut (by Bliss Bowen).

This is music history in the making with a loving look at Laurel Canyon and the California Sound back in the day.  ENTERTAINING to say the least.

This NETFLIX rocdoc is a must for all music and rock fans in general.  It’s a well thought out documentary about the history of music in L.A. with interviews going back and forth with some of music’s greatest.  Uplifting, funny and most of all, fantastic music.  You won’t want to miss it.

Now on Netflix

Mural in the Making – painting a story

Let me introduce you to extremely talented Canadian visual artist Kris Friesen.  Everybody has a story.  He can paint yours.

The header today is the finished mural at the Greek restaurant Koutouki in the 124 Street neighborhood of Edmonton. It depicts a colorful streetscape of busy life in restaurants and cafes in Athens.  By Kris Friesen.

I love painting split scenes that show wildlife above and below a water line. From left to right in this river mural are: a coyote, tiger salamander, Canadian toad, mallard ducks, silver redhorse, river shiner and beaver – Kris Friesen.

A smiling drummer in traditional African clothing performs in the foreground of this mural, celebrating the Kaleido festival in Edmonton – Kris Friesen.

This group portrait painting depicts four generations Canadian military service with five members of the Scott family, from the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War 1 to Combat Engineers in Afghanistan. Where the oldest generation did not meet the youngest, and a photograph would be impossible, all are painted shoulder to shoulder in this portrait – Kris Friesen.

I first met Kris about 15 years ago when my husband and I commissioned him to paint a wall on part of our outdoor courtyard after seeing his work on the outside of a gelato shop on Commercial Drive in Vancouver.

Jia Jia lying by the first mural flanked by real rocks, shells & wood flowers.  Photo: d. king

Our friend Jackie was anxious to take us to this new place for the best gelato in the city, but as good as it was we were more mesmerized by the lifelike Italian scene depicted on one whole side of the building.  The attention to detail was amazing. Actually, it was the best mural we’d seen to date and it got us thinking about how we could incorporate something personal to our own outdoor space.  So I got in touch with the shop owner who let Kris know we were interested.  Unfortunately the shop along with the mural is no longer there.

We had some ideas, Kris painted a story board and voila, our idea came to life.  A bit Santa Fe, a bit Wine Country and some water and mountains off to the distance.  And of course, an expanse of sky.  When we sat out there we felt like we had a special view of everything we like.  And it was after that that we wondered why on earth we hadn’t asked him to paint another wall.  We pondered that idea for several years.  Then we decided to move on it.

However by then Kris had unfortunately for us, moved to Edmonton and we dressed up the blank wall with a wall hanging and later on a mirror with plants in front.  We felt it needed something.   Fast forward to this past summer when I found Kris’s website and sent him an e-mail not even sure he’d remember me. Surprisingly he did.  By this time he had moved to Duncan, B.C. – at least it was a lot closer.  I told him my husband had passed away and that we had been talking for years about wanting to get him back to do some more art.  Luckily for me, Kris was Vancouver bound for several days just recently so we discussed the wall.  I thought Spring would be a perfect time to start however Kris was going traveling for a while and not sure exactly when he’d be back.  Since the weather was good and considering how well the other mural held up over the years, I decided to go ahead.

I wanted the older mural to be extended around the corner and a few other things added to the much smaller blank wall area; which would have not been in the original plan.

The work in progress:

Always start with a blank canvas

Draw it out for a rough draft

Get started.  Looks a bit sketchy.

Starting to take life

Just about finished.  I have to leave a little bit to the imagination.  There’s a few missing little details.  Group of photos: d. king

Mural Mural on the Wall – I’m very happy with the finished result.  He even put another protective coating on the first mural which had held up very well and re-painted a few things on the upstairs deck.  Oh yeah; he also painted some rocks, sagebrush, flowers, gekkos and butterflies on the upstairs deck.  Looks great.

Here’s a small sampling of his other diverse original works of art.  Kris not only paints murals. He started with that, however now he paints on canvas and panels mostly.

This painting of a Chinese flute player that has been called a fairy or spirit by some members of Edmonton’s Chinatown – Kris Friesen.

This Asian elephant moves forward into a stream of water while throwing up an airborne stream of dust. As much as I like the contrast between air and water my understanding of elephants suggests they might like it more, as their trunks can provide a unique medium between the two – Kris Friesen.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge saw Canadians advancing uphill against Germans defending their hardened positions. The mural depicts some of the terrible conditions Canadian troops would have experienced as they gutted out their rolling barrage. To emphasize the challenges soldiers faced I made the direction of the mural up and to the left, the most uneasy direction to look if viewed by a westerner, as we read left to right and downwards – Kris Friesen.

First Nations peoples utilized Alberta resources long before Europeans arrived, like this painting of a spring fishing camp, where walleye and pike are caught and prepared with stone tools at a northern stream. Fish that are not cooked or smoked are placed on wood racks to dry in the sun, while nearby two people seal a birch bark canoe with spruce pitch and bitumen – Kris Friesen.

Website:

http://krisfriesen.com/